A Dragon and a Phoenix

Chapter 41

Two Years Later...

I stood in front of the window, looking out at the grounds. In the last couple of years I'd grown to think of this as home. Draco and I had been through so much if you really considered everything. Most people probably wouldn't have even made it this far.

"Are you ready to go?" Kat asked from the door.

Turning to answer her, I brushed a stray piece of hair back, "Yes. I'm right behind you."


It was early summer, Dakoda had just gotten home from Hogwarts the week before, and the weather was perfect. The gardens were a riot of color and fragrance. Kat held the door open and then scurried down the steps after me.

A white tent shielded the guests from the sun. Pale pink peonies and delicate white roses matching the ones in the bouquet could be seen as we approached. The carriage stopped at the arched hedgerow that served as the entrance to the garden. Dad opened the door and offered a hand to Kat, followed by Sara, as they stepped out. They both wore fashionable knee length, off the shoulder, pale, spring green dresses. Blaise and Dakoda escorted them down the aisle.

Dad held out his hand to me, "Ready, princess?"

"Yes," I smiled, taking his hand and stepping lightly out of the carriage.

Everyone stood, turning to look as I emerged. Dad took my hand and rapped my arm around his before leading me past all of our friends and relatives. I barely noticed them as I passed by. Draco stood, waiting on me, looking better in his dress robes than any man had a right to.

She stepped out of the carriage looking more gorgeous than I thought possible. The ivory silk of her dress fit like a glove before flaring out just above her knees and flowing into a delicate train behind her. Her ebony hair was a waterfall of curls down her back. She looked like something out of a dream.


"We are gathered here to witness the marriage of Kimberly and Draco. The two of them have written their own vows. Kimberly, if you will?"

I smiled nervously and met his gaze, "Draco, when I met you, I hated you. I couldn't imagine spending one moment with you much less a lifetime of them." He raised an eyebrow. "The years passed, and I have to admit, I secretly looked forward to fighting with you. We were insufferable to each other, and I loved every minute of every argument. Then when fate saw fit to throw us together with nearly insurmountable odds, I thought my life as I knew it was over. And I was right, it was. This new life with you has been better and more exhilarating than anything I could have ever imagined for myself. I wake up every day and find that it's better than the last. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for us. I love you."

"And you, Draco?" the officiant chuckled.

He gave me a trademark smirk, "You are temperamental, challenging, and at times exhausting, and I've never met anyone that pushed me harder and further. You have given me the freedom to be more myself than anyone ever allowed before. I couldn't be who I am right now without you in my life. I would rather fight with you than get along with anyone else, and I want to spend the rest of my days with you. I love you, Kim."

I heard a sniffle behind me that told me Sara was crying, but I barely noticed. The only thing that mattered in the whole world in that moment was the man standing in front of me.

After the ceremony, we thanked so many people for the congratulations and gifts that my head was spinning. Silently, I thanked my lucky stars that Kat was keeping up with the gift list so that I could send the appropriate thank you cards later. There was no way I'd have been as organized as she was.

The champagne was delicious, and the music was excellent. We danced for hours, and I loved every moment of it. The cake was a truly spectacular creation of delicate candied flowers and swirls of icing, and although it seemed impossible, it tasted even better than it looked.

Finally, we took our leave and said farewell to our guests. Back at the manor, our luggage was packed and ready to go. We had an extended honeymoon planned, and despite being tired after our big day, I couldn't wait to get going.

"I'm glad to have you to myself after all that," Draco sighed.

"Everything was wonderful, but I agree. I feel like I could sleep for a week!" I said.

"Oh, I wouldn't bet on getting any sleep for a while," he remarked with a devilish grin.

"Well I suppose you'll have to catch me first!" I disapparated to the hotel with a mischievous laugh.


Epilogue

It's been nearly three years since we were married, fulfilling, in part, the demands of the Vow. Today marked the completion of those would be obligations.

Draco and I had spent a considerable amount of time traveling even after our honeymoon was over. There was so much to see in the world, but after a year or so of nearly perpetual travel, we came home. Then, last October I'd given him the news; we were going to be parents.

Of course, we were both nervous at the prospect, but that was nothing compared to the angst of finding out that you were having twins. Although I was, at least, able to give up the fear of not producing a male heir. We soon found out that we were having a boy and a girl.

The months went by and I eagerly anticipated their arrival. Despite a nasty bout with morning sickness in the first few months, everything had progressed smoothly through the second and third trimesters. As my due date neared, I went to increasingly frequent visits with the healers. They assured me that both babies were healthy and right on track.

In the last few weeks before they were due, Draco took to hovering over me as if I were likely to explode at any moment. At first I just ignored him. A week and a half later I tripped over him for the fourth time and nearly jinxed him into jelly. "If you don't get out from under my feet I'm going to curse you to bits and mail those bits to every continent on earth!" I shrieked in exasperation.

"I'm only trying to help you! The healers said you need to stay off your feet as much as possible, and you don't bloody listen!" he retorted.

"I'm perfectly capable of walking down the library without an entourage. If one of the twins starts to fall out of me I'll give you a shout!" I snapped irritably.

After that, he sulked for the rest of the day and refused to speak to me. Although, I did catch him eyeing my belly suspiciously, like he really thought I might not tell him if I went into labour.

A couple of days after that, I apologized for snapping at him. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have yelled at you. I know you're just nervous about this like me, but the hovering makes it worse for me. Forgive your hugely pregnant wife and her insane hormones for making her edgy?" I gave him the sad eyes.

He sighed theatrically and feigned contemplation, "Well I suppose I could overlook it just this once."

I swatted his arm, "Whatever. You know you can't hold the crazy against me right now. Besides, it's all your fault anyway."

He gasped, "Wha- All my fault! Well, I never. I do recall you being the instigating party the night these two came into being."

I laughed, "Alright, alright. I concede that you might be right about that. Either way, just say you forgive me and get over here and give me a kiss."

He smiled and leaned over the expansive swell of the twins and kissed me. "I forgive you."

"Good," I said, placing my hand over his where he held it against my belly, "Because I've been having contractions for several hours and they're starting to get awfully close together. You might want to grab our bags and get me to St. Mungo's."

His eyes widened in shock. "Bloody hell!" he exclaimed as he snapped into action.


It had been a long day and I was more than exhausted. Bringing one life into the world was hard enough, but two had been more than I thought I could do. Now, I lay holding Caelum and Draco stood next to me holding Lyra. Our son wailed his displeasure at his new surroundings while his sister yawned peacefully.

"I think we know who took after their father," I muttered, raising an eyebrow at Draco.

"Oh, yes. I think we can both agree Caelum sounds just like you," he smirked.

"You'd better be glad I'm too tired to hex you," I retorted.

"I wouldn't be surprised if you did. You never cease to amaze me. These two are living proof of that," he leaned down and kissed me on the cheek.

A couple of days later, the twins and I were all ready to go home. Back at the manor, we settled into a somewhat bumpy routine. The twins couldn't quite get on the same feeding schedule, and I thought I'd never live to see the end of the diapers, but I was happy.

I stood next to the crib watching them sleep one day. Draco slipped quietly into the room and stood behind me with his arms around my waist. "Everything okay?" he asked.

"Yeah, everything is fine. I was just thinking. I love them more than I thought possible. I want to make sure that their lives are free of the fear and hate that we experienced. I want them to know that they're loved and always feel safe. I don't want to do to them what our mothers did to us. Although, if fate does conspire to send them each someone that's as perfect for them as you were for me, then I don't think I could ask for anything better," I answered.

"I couldn't agree more," he smiled.

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