Don't hate me, but I had to write this.
"Yes, don't hate the author. It isn't nice to hate. Even if they go and do something like this with such a cliffhanger in the previous chapter. :) Thought I should say - 'Hi!' like some betas' do, so I am, finally. Hi! :P" - Mari681
I know it's probably not to most people's tastes, so apologies in advance, but I've had it in my head since I started this story so I simply had to write it down, and it seemed a shame not to share it.
"Yes, it would be a shame, especially after such a cliffhanger. Y'all, can you tell I didn't like the cliffhanger? xD" -mari681
Enjoy! or don't, either way, here it is, the final chapter.
Albus Potter was following the large group of first years up from the boats through the grounds of Hogwarts, heading towards the Great Hall where they would be sorted into a house. He recognised many of the children around him, his cousin Rupert, Aerith Longbottom, Crispen Zabini, Astrid Parkinson, and even one Scorpius Malfoy. His uncle Ron and aunt Lavender always spoke about the Malfoys with malice, as did his mother sometimes, but his father never did, and would not stand to hear a bad word said against them.
James seemed to stick with his mother's views, saying that all Malfoys were bad news, but Albus never could agree with him, always following the words his father said: 'You must not judge people by their past, their blood, for it will likely be your undoing.'
Albus looked up to the stars, trying to remember this moment, take in every detail of it, when he thought he saw something through the clouds, wings. It was too large for a hippogriff, yet too small for a dragon despite its wings looking reptilian. He didn't point it out to anyone, knew it could not possibly be what he imagined, and simply watched as it landed at the top of the astronomy tower, two people seemingly climbing down from its back.
He pondered on it as they continued up through the grounds, now deep in thought. Before he left for Hogwarts, a package had arrived in the post for him, it's sender unknown, just as it had for James when his time to go to school had come. James had seen it was a book and dismissed it, typical of his brutish brother, but Albus was intrigued, had never seen the book before - A Book of Monsters I Wish were Mythical.
Despite having to get to sleep for his early trip to the station, Albus had stayed up all night reading it, finally getting to the last page which had a message on it.
This book is a replica from the Library of Alexandria.
He hadn't heard of that library, thought it strange, but it was a particular creature which had caught his eye the previous evening that now he thought he saw. But, as they finally arrived outside the doors of the great hall, he dismissed it, Manticores didn't really exist, did they?
They seemed to be waiting for someone and it was then that Albus noticed two students which hadn't been on the train, being escorted to join the group by Teddy Lupin. Teddy seemed to know them as they were smiling and laughing together, and the two appeared to know Scorpius too as they joined the group and began talking animatedly with him. They were clearly twins, both platinum blonde, the girls hair was wild, her eyes hazel, the boys long and straight, tied back with a black ribbon, his stare an icy grey. On anyone else, such hair would have looked odd, old, but on this boy it looked perfectly natural. Albus could not deny that both were beautiful, an air to them that told him they were intelligent, powerful, and they intrigued him, he wanted to know who they were.
"Right everybody, let's all get into an orderly line now." Teddy said above their chatter, his green eyes catching Albus' with a smile, his hair almost identical to the unknown boy standing a few feet away from him.
Once they were all organised the large doors were pulled open and Albus was struck with awe as they made their way through the hall, Headmistress Mcgonagall waiting for them at the end, sorting hat on a chair next to her.
Albus had thought long and hard about which house he wanted to be in, where he would be put, and was still so unsure, not even his fathers words helping to console him. Gryffindor was the house all of his family had been in, yet, Slytherin seemed to call to him, seemed to be in his blood. Perhaps he would end up in Ravenclaw like Teddy instead, he thought, as he saw his friend go and sit at the head of the blue house's table, or maybe even Hufflepuff, he would probably make a good Hufflepuff.
After a short and inspiring speech the sorting began, now alphabetically. He found himself wondering where the mysterious twins would be put, strangely wanting to be in whatever house they were sorted into. He feared they would be called after him but once Aerith Longbottom had been sorted into Ravenclaw, eliciting a great cheer from the house, not to mention Neville, Albus' luck was in.
"Azadene Malfoy." Mcgonagall called. Another Malfoy, how curious, Albus was sure he had only ever heard of Draco and Scorpius, but he supposed the hair made sense, then again, Teddy wasn't a Malfoy, and his hair was platinum too. The hall had broken into quiet murmurs, even amongst some of the teachers, Severus Snape seeming the only one un-phased - clearly these too were a curiosity to more than just him.
"Thank Merlin they didn't call your full name." Joked Scorpius quietly to the girls brother.
Before Albus had the chance to register what he was doing, he found himself asking. "What's your full name?"
The boys' turned to look at him, Scorpius looked torn, wanting to talk but seeming hesitant to, the other boy's eyes were cold, indifferent. Scorpius and Albus had only ever spoken briefly when their fathers had exchanged pleasantries with each other, but nothing more, Albus always getting the feeling that his father had wounded Draco somehow, and thus didn't know if he would be well liked by Scorpius.
"It's alright Scorpius, Mother says it is okay for people to know now." The boy said, his voice already deep, eloquent.
Scorpius eyes lit up, clearly no longer having to keep some sort of secret, and he happily told Albus.
"Well, officially, those twos' full family name is Black Lestrange Granger Malfoy, but Malfoy does just fine, considering it's the best, after all." He said smiling, giving the boy a playful shove.
"They are all very respectable names, Scorpius." The boy chastised, sounding so mature yet not quite keeping a smile from coming through the corner of his lips.
All of the names were familiar to Albus, everyone knew of the three notorious pureblood houses, but one he was certain he knew of yet couldn't quite place, Granger...
"Difficult, so very difficult." Said the sorting hat, interrupting Albus' thoughts, as it was placed on Azadenes head. "There is a lioness within you I am certain, yet, I sense a snake there too. But which house, which house.?" It pondered. "I have not had such a tough decision to make in quite some time..."
The girl did not appear at all distressed at the hat's dilemma, not as Albus feared he would be, seemed content with whatever decision it would make. Perhaps she knew that wherever she would be put would not change who she was, being in Slytherin would make her no less brave, Gryffindor no less cunning.
"Slytherin!" The hat finally called, accompanied by a great cheer from the house, not to mention Scorpius. Her brother smiled slightly to himself and gave his sister a subtle nod as she walked by.
Mcgonagall looked back down at the list and, if Albus wasn't mistaken, seemed to smile sadly, before reading out the next name, the name of the mysterious boy.
"Lucius Malfoy." She called, the room falling quiet.
Lucius Malfoy. Albus certainly knew that name, not that it was ever mentioned in their house, his father always seeming to stiffen whenever the name was said. He had read about Lucius once, in a book about the war, and again in a strange document he had found on his fathers' desk.
He had heard his father crying in his study late at night the previous year, so, Albus had gone to him concerned. His father said he just missed an old friend and took Albus back to bed but Albus could not sleep, had seen that his father had been reading something. So, later, when he was sure Harry had gone to bed, he snuck back to the room, easily unlocking it, and climbed into his fathers chair.
It had been a mission report, an old one, and described an attack on the Lestrange Estate. There had been a list of deceased, there were few, so the name had stuck out to him, Lucius Malfoy, killed by his fathers own hand, accidental death.
Granger, there had been a Granger there too, now he remembered. In the list of missing people, that's right, Rodolphus Lestrange and Hermione Granger, along with the body of Lucius, had escaped, and, if the report was up to date, had never been seen again.
Hermione Granger. It had been then that Albus realised who his father missed, his best friend from school, the war hero, Hermione.
But this Granger, Azadene and Lucius, it couldn't be...
"Another one!" The hat exclaimed. "My, my, isn't today full of surprises. Hmm, the same as your sister I see, the same as your father too..." It mused.
"Scorpius." Whispered Albus, moving to stand next to the blonde. "You guys are related right?" He asked, gesturing to Lucius.
"Well yeah." Said Scorpius as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "They're my aunt and uncle, technically speaking, but dad always said to treat them like cousins."
"You're aunt and uncle? But that would mean..."
"Slytherin!" The hat called again, another great roar coming from the house, a smirk to Professor Snape's lips.
"My turn." Scorpius said excitedly, practically jumping up and down on the spot. He was a curious boy, Scorpius, so free-spirited, so happy, had always been, whenever Albus had seen him, a stark contrast to what he'd heard of Draco at the same age.
"Three in a row." Said the hat exasperatedly when it was placed on Scorpius' head. "Where did all these Malfoys come from?" It seemed to mutter to itself.
"Another hard one, a different path I see for you...Hufflepuff." It called, much to Albus' surprise.
For a moment Scorpius looked shocked, but simply shrugged and bounded over to the Hufflepuff table, joining Lorcan and Lysander Lovegood, the sons of Luna and Rolf Scamander, the trio already looking like they'd be the best of friends, not to mention quite a bit of trouble.
"Albus Severus Potter." Mcgonagall called loudly, clearly having to repeat his name for the second time as he'd been watching the young Malfoy.
Reddening slightly in the cheeks, Albus made his way up to the chair, fairly sure his legs were shaking slightly. As he sat he couldn't help but look out into the hall, the four houses spread out before him. Ravenclaw, Teddy's house, a friend he had always admired, Hufflepuff, with the three young boys he knew would fill his years with laughter, Gryffindor, the house of his brother, his cousin, his family, and yet...
"Slytherin!" The house called out almost as soon as it was placed on his head, needing no time to deliberate, and Albus could only feel relief as he looked out into the crowd and saw the two, both smiling, accepting him.
Twelve Years Earlier
Hermione saw the light, heard the words, had anticipated this, knew her father might die tonight.
It happened so quickly, with so little effort, but he was still there, still in her arms, still breathing.
Then she saw it, him, his grey eyes colder than they had ever been.
No. Not Lucius. Please, not Lucius.
She wrenched herself from Rodolphus' arms and fell to her knees, searching his body for some sign of life, a flicker, anything.
But he just lay there, motionless, unseeing, unmoving. Nothing.
She saw Harry through the tears that were spilling from her eyes, he stood still, watching, in shock.
Hermione reached for her wand, the word 'crucio' on her lips, she would give him a fraction of the pain she was feeling.
Someone was holding her back, strong arms, kind soft words from a deep voice.
Andromeda stood between them, protecting them from the aurors still trying to kill Rodolphus, none of them seeming to care that Lucius was dead, only thinking of their mission.
She fought it, pulled against her fathers' arms, screamed as tears dripped down her cheeks, until she could do it no more, her strength, her life, gone.
Hermione collapsed against Lucius, holding him, pressing a light kiss to his still warm lips.
She had to leave, could not stay here, so she held Lucius close and prepared to disapparate. She could feel the charm the aurors had put in place fighting against her but her magical energy was overflowing, powerful, but she knew she could not do this alone, not when she had to take Lucius with her.
Suddenly her parents were at her side, knowing, sensing her need, and together they left.
Hermione leaving what had been her life forever.
They had arrived in the hall of Malfoy Manor, Narcissa, Draco, Teddy and Severus rushing out at the sound.
From there it had been a blur. Draco kneeling next to his father's body, shaking with rage, with anguish. Narcissa crying by Lucius side, his hand in her own. Teddy ran and hid behind Andromeda's legs, confused tears in his eyes. Severus checking the body, trying to see if there was anything he could do. Hermione held Lucius head against her, stroking his hair as if he were asleep, closing his eyes forever.
Or so she thought...
"Where did you get that?" Rodolphus asked roughly, pushing them aside.
Hermione was ready to hex him until she noticed what he was doing, what he was looking at. The purple leaf from the estate, poking out of the top of Lucius jacket, in perfect condition despite where it had been.
"Where did you get this?" He asked more forcefully, inspecting the leaf.
"I, I found it in Avery's pocket." Hermione said shakily, surprised that she could even speak.
"It can't be..." Rodolphus said, seemingly to himself. "That fucking bastard." He suddenly exclaimed.
"What is it?" Draco asked weakly, the life gone from him, yet a small hope in his eyes.
Rodolphus did not answer straight away, yet turned to look at Andromeda, then at Hermione.
"My family, my ancestors, they were obsessed with maintaining our bloodline, to keep it pure." He stated, sounding oddly remorseful. "They used dark magic, awful magic, to make sure there would always be an heir to the Lestrange estate, a pureblood heir. You saw the gate, must know what it is capable of, what it took to make. It is not however, the only thing they created..."
"What?" Prompted Andromeda, coming to rest a hand on his shoulder. "What is it Rodolpus? What did they make?" She asked calmly.
"They made a tree, made it by sacrificing many of their family, some willingly, others...less so. It only ever loses one leaf at a time, this one was locked up in the estate, that bastard Avery must have stolen it." He explained, a clear anger rising within him. "Another leaf only falls when the last has been destroyed, but destroying it isn't easy..."
Rodolphus paused, but, after an encouraging smile from Andromeda, pressed on. "The leaves were used as a safety net for future generations you see, if the lord of the estate, or the last heir were to die...the leaf could be used to, bring them back."
"It's not possible." Said Severus, the first to speak, so sure of himself, his voice lined with malice at Rodolphus for bringing false hope.
"Can you bring him back?" Asked Draco, a desperation in his voice.
Hermione was too shocked to speak, surely this wasn't possible, couldn't be, she wouldn't let herself believe it.
"Yes." Rodolphus confirmed, but quickly continued. "It must be done quickly, only works when the body is still intact, hence why I never used it on the Dark Lord or Bellatrix, but it is complicated...requires a sacrifice."
"What kind of sacrifice?" Hermione asked tentatively, fearing she knew what the answer might be.
"The life of a pureblood..."
The room fell silent, Hermione sure that Narcissa, Draco and she were sharing similar thoughts.
If Rodolphus did not tell a lie, they could do it, one of them could bring him back. She could bring Lucius back.
Hermione was about to open her mouth, to volunteer herself, when Rodolphus spoke.
"I will do it." Rodolphus said, as if he'd made his mind up as soon as he told them about the leafs power. "I will do it for you, Hermione." He said, taking her hand, a sadness in his eyes. "I've done so much wrong in my life Hermione, missed out on so many things, and I do not think I could leave now, I couldn't run knowing you're here...I would rather die than never see you again, never get to know you...You love him don't you." He said, already knowing, already understanding.
A fresh batch of tears came to her eyes and she threw herself into his arms, heaving as she cried. Andromeda joined them, both her parents holding her, holding each other, for the very first and last time.
"Thank you Rodolphus." She whispered through deep breaths. "Thank you dad."
He too began to cry, murmuring things to himself. "What have I done...why, why..." She heard him say, rocking back and forth slightly.
After some time he eventually let go and turned to face Andromeda. "I never stopped loving you." Rodolphus admitted, a look in his eye Hermione imagined had been there when he was the happy young man he used to be.
"Nor I you." Said Andromeda, wiping a tear from his cheek before kissing him. He held her to him, gently kissing her back, his eyes squeezed shut as he tried to hold back more tears.
"I cannot use the killing curse." Rodolphus began to explain once he'd let Andromeda go, pushing through his grief. "We must place the leaf above Lucius' heart and my blood must fall on it, a single drop will do, but I must make the killing cut to myself. It is imperative that we do it right, it is the only way it will work." He said seriously, making sure they all understood.
Hermione did not know if she could bare what was happening. Lucius could be alive once more but her father, her true father, would be dead, finally paying for his crimes in the ultimate way, yet she knew she would still miss him, knew her heart would still ache.
"Come on Draco, we should leave." Narcissa said quietly. "You don't want to see this."
"No." Replied Draco firmly. "I will watch it, I will not shy away from his sacrifice."
"Very well." She conceded, coming to stand by her sons side, slipping an arm through his. "Then neither shall I."
Andromeda did the same to Hermione, not needing to tell Teddy to leave as he already had, knowing it was not for him to see.
Severus undid Lucius' robe, exposing his bare chest and placed the leaf carefully in the correct place.
"Thank you Rodolphus." Said Narcissa. "This will never be forgotten."
He simply nodded in acknowledgement, seeming to have accepted what he was about to do.
Rodolphus looked at them all one last time, so much love, regret, in his eyes when they came to Andromeda and Hermione that she thought she would break apart again, knew she would never forget that look.
Closing his eyes he brought the tip of his wand to his neck, the tip glowing white, and with one last look at them, it was over.
Bright. Why was it so damn bright?
For that matter, why was he in bed? Why did his chest ache like he'd been hit by a bludger?
Where was Hermione? He wondered, noticing the bed empty.
He sat up suddenly in shock, cursing with the pain in his chest. He was supposed to be with Hermione, at the Lestranges, what had happened?
That's when he saw her, asleep in a chair by his bed, curled up with a blanket draped on top of her.
"You're awake." Said Severus, who came over and started to inspect him.
"Get off me." Lucius said irritably, swatting him away. "What's going on? Why do I hurt?" He asked, prodding his chest, wincing when it stung.
"You died." Stated Severus. "Dead for little over five minutes I'd say."
Lucius felt the urge to make a joke about losing brain cells but felt it was not the apt time, settling with an "Excuse me?"
"Harry Potter sent a killing curse at Rodolphus but, being the utter fool that he is, was unable to properly control such a spell and it hit you instead." Severus explained calmly.
"But, how am I still here?" Lucius asked, truly perplexed.
"Some very nasty blood magic." Severus replied, a look on his face that told Lucius it had not been pleasant. "Believe it or not, Rodolphus died for you, well, for Hermione."
Lucius was shocked, could not believe it was possible, but could tell Severus did not tell a lie.
"I will explain the details later, but for now I think there's someone who's been waiting to see you." He said, gesturing to Hermione who was just starting to wake up, shifting in the chair. And with that he left, giving his friend a smug smile before doing so.
Hermione's eyes fluttered open as the door shut behind Severus, almost immediately coming to settle on Lucius.
She smiled, the widest smile he'd ever seen her smile, and she jumped onto the bed and into his arms, kissing him thoroughly.
"I'd thought I'd lost you forever." She whispered, a tear rolling down her cheek. "I thought you were gone."
"I'm here, Hermione, I'll always be here." He reassured her, pulling her close, the ache in his chest now so much greater than before. "I will never leave you again." He promised.
"Always yours." She said, just like the night when they first became one.
They had held a funeral for Rodolphus whilst Lucius had still been recovering. It had apparently been a small and solemn affair, Rodolphus buried in the grounds of the Manor as they could not yet return him to his own home.
Hermione decided she could not face Harry for a long time. Her best friend had killed the man she loved and inadvertently, her own father, yet another parent lost to her.
Rodolphus' death had been hard for her to accept but she understood it. He could either run again, go to prison, or try and make up for all the horrific things he had done, try and give something to the woman he'd loved, to his daughter.
The aurors were searching for Hermione and Rodolphus, Draco unable to deter them from the Manor for more than a few days, so Lucius and Hermione left for his mothers' castle in Sweden. Lucius could not show himself, they knew they could not let anyone know about the tree, grateful it was safely locked away in the estate only Hermione could enter.
Hermione sent a letter to Harry, simply saying goodbye, so that he'd know she was still alive. They heard the search for her went on for months but they gave up eventually, all but Harry assuming Rodolphus had probably killed her. They questioned Andromeda, as was to be expected, but since no one other than Harry knew of her true connection to Rodolphus, they accepted whatever lie she told.
He and Hermione decided to live in the castle permanently. Draco, as far as the rest of the wizarding world was concerned, was now the Lord of the Malfoy Family, the only one left. His son came to visit them often, as did Severus and Narcissa, now living together on Lake Como, and Andromeda and Teddy came to see them too.
Lucius proposed to Hermione not long after they moved, and within the month they were married. The ceremony had been small, considering few knew them both to be alive, but it had been perfect, in the grounds of the Manor where no one could see them.
Shortly after, they discovered Hermione was with child, two, to be precise, and he was thrilled.
They still had the manticore egg and, after some weeks of research in the library, discovered something most interesting. Firstly they found that most records suggested the face was that of a beast, not a man, the incorrect description only coming about due to the manticores' ability to talk and think as wizards did. Secondly, and most intriguingly, it turned out that the Malfoy family had some sort of affinity with the creatures, explaining the manticore statues which had littered the Manor in the past. They continued to read about them and found that, if raised in the correct environment, they were not typically evil beasts, one record even suggesting they could become great companions of their owners.
It was fate, they decided, that the egg hatched the very day their twins were born, the lion cub like creature no bigger than the babies.
His little girl, Azadene, Hermione had insisted on calling her, was just like Hermione, her warm eyes just the same. His son, aptly named Lucius due to his striking resemblance to his father, was a much happier child than Lucius himself had been, something that pleased Lucius to no end.
Hermione had discreetly claimed the Lestrange estate through the family lawyers and it was decided that, since Draco had inherited Malfoy Manor, Scorpius after him, that Azadene would inherit the castle, Lucius the Lestrange Estate, once they restored it to it's original glory that was.
They kept up with the news from the wizarding world, their old friends. Severus and Narcissa were married. After a far too short stint in jail, and a lifetime of humiliation, Ronald Weasley was free and married with children of his own, as was Harry, who it was said had never been the same since that fateful day.
They managed to destroy the tree, some fiendfyre doing the job, the last leaf however, the one which had fallen when Rodolphus died, would not break, so they buried it with his body, it's power hidden forever. Now that no wizard could ever use the tree again, the risk of a new dark lord averted, they decided it was safe to expose Lucius as being alive once more. So, when the time came, Azadene and Lucius went off to Hogwarts, feeling it was time they re-introduced themselves to the wizarding world, Hermione never forgiving Harry, but knowing it was time they got back.
So, on a clear night that September, they bid farewell to their children, who insisted on flying to school on their manticore, Rodolphus.
"Remind me why we said yes to that." Hermione sighed as she waved them off, leaning into her husbands arms.
"Because we're far too soft." Lucius teased, giving her a kiss."And because they wanted to arrive in style." He added with a smug grin.
"They are Malfoys after all."
Well, there it is, my silly, mostly happy, ending.
Hope it wasn't too cheesy and awful and I hope you liked the story.
I don't expect this will be the last story from me about these two as lots of little one shots came to my head when writing this that I don't expect I'll be able to resist writing.
Thanks to everyone who has been reading and reviewing this and sticking with it chapter after chapter, you've really helped me to keep writing, and of course extra thanks goes to my beta Mari681 who this would not have been possible without.
NOTE: I will be away without internet for about a month, leaving in the next couple of days, so apologies if I don't get back to reviewers etc. (At least I posted the chapter before I left :p)
"Oh, you could have managed. :P I still say I like my version better, when I thought that Lucius had stayed dead, and the twins were Hermiones' (then) unborn children, and Hermione had went into hiding because "Yes, Hermione would have fled. Especially if she was pregnant. Not wanting to ever forgive Harry, and not ever being able to live with being mad at him, if she saw him every day." Anyways, I really enjoyed it! :) In spite of the ending. xD" - mari681