Yes, this is the final chapter of Life Left Behind. I know, it's sad, but here it is. Author's notes at the bottom.
Not JK Rowling. I don't own Harry Potter or the entire world within. Anything you recognize would belong to her. Anything you don't would belong to me, including the crack!plot of this trifle of a story. I am (obviously) making no money off this though if you really want to sue me, I've got $10.00. Good day.
Draco Malfoy turned the page of his book only to be interrupted by an incessant beeping coming from somewhere in the back of the flat. He stood up, about to check what the sound was when a bang was heard at the door, and Draco headed for his newspaper instead. There was rustling heard in the bedroom as the beeping stopped, replaced with swearing, and he opened to door to retrieve his newspaper.
"Up already?" asked Harry, coming into the living room where Draco had sat back down with his tea and paper.
"I couldn't sleep. I keep thinking about Cherish. I miss her."
"I know you do, but she's going to be okay. We went through this before." Draco nodded. "You going to be okay?" Draco nodded again. "You don't mind if I leave early, do you? I have some invoices to go over and Ron's been bugging me about it for ages. He keeps claiming that I'm too distracted with my love life."
Draco snorted as he unfolded the paper. "That Weasley prat would say something like that. See if Hermione said anything about Cherish. I want to know how she's doing at school. I wish she'd write already."
"Draco, Cher's barely been at Hogwarts. You took her to the train station two days ago. The least you could do is let her get settled in. The poor girl is probably still getting lost trying to find her way between the dungeons and the Ravenclaw common room. Snape probably isn't making it any easier on her, either, but I'm sure Harper's been a help. Shame they weren't in the same house."
"My daughter would never be something as lowly as a Gryffindor."
"No, your daughter is a Ravenclaw."
"It's just as well. I didn't want her to be a Slytherin anyway."
"That's just because you know from personal experience what a rotten bunch the Slytherins are."
"Well there are a few rare sweethearts," he said, winking.
"Yes and it's a shame that you weren't one of them."
Draco scowled, whacking Harry with the paper. "Honestly, Harry. I'm heartbroken over my little girl going away from home, do you really have to insult me as well."
"Oh, Draco, you're worse than a woman with PMS."
"And continuing with the insults."
"You know I adore you. That ring on your finger should be a reminder."
"I know," Draco teased, as he finally unfolded his newspaper and looked down on it. He felt his mouth go dry and he immediately folded it back up again. Hesitating, Draco unfolded the paper a second time and ripped out a piece of the headline before shoving it into his pocket. Harry stared at him refold the paper and drop it into the wastebasket. "I've got to get ready for work. Have a good day."
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," he lied. "Now go. You have invoices waiting."
Harry looked hesitant but Draco placed a kiss to his lips, traced his fingers over Harry's cheek, and softly ordered him to get to work before Ron castrated him. Smiling, Harry had hugged Draco before leaving the flat and the door slammed shut behind him. Once he was gone, Draco retracted the torn piece of a muggle newspaper and he stared down at it, studying it in hopes of committing the memory to heart.
After contacting the ministry to let them know he wouldn't be in today, Draco searched through the closet behind robes and cloaks for his muggle clothes. Finding a pair of jeans and a sweater, Draco slid into his clothing before draping a cloak around his shoulders and heading outside. He considered where to go to kill time, and after careful consideration, he headed down the road to Three Broomsticks.
Sitting near the back of the pub with a mug of butterbeer before him, Draco's mind raced over everything that had happened in the past two and a half years. Draco had watched the door and waited on an early morning in late June. When Harry and Cherish had arrived back after a night with the Weasley family, Draco had asked them to sit down and told Harry, very plainly, that it was up to Cherish because, if she wanted to, he would agree to Harry's offer.
At first Harry had sat there, struck dumb as he stared. Cherish became restless, not knowing what was going on, and Draco explained that Harry had offered for them to come back to England with him. He explained to her why he hadn't said anything sooner, his apprehension, but that Joel had been the one who finally convinced him to go. Cherish had exploded, hugging them both and telling them that she thought they should go. If things didn't go well, they could always move back.
But things had gone well. The sight of Draco Malfoy suddenly wandering around wizard places as if he had not been gone for ten years had thrown most people at first. Cherish by his side had been even more of a shock. She loved living in Hogsmeade and Draco had to admit that he loved being back. They both missed New York and talked about it frequently, but they had gone back to visit four times already. The ocean wouldn't keep Joel away, and he had come over with Samantha and his children three times to visit. Joel had loved seeing the places he wrote about, and Draco loved showing them to him. Draco was in his element once again. That much was clear to Joel, and one night on his last visit, they had stayed up very late sharing stories of their lives. Draco had ended up crying, hugging Joel, and thanking him for guiding him home to England, to Hogsmeade, and to Harry.
He couldn't get the thoughts out of his mind, only this time, Draco didn't mind. He loved being with Harry every day and being back at the places of his childhood. Everything had changed so drastically, but Draco loved being a part of it. Even those who Draco thought would never be able to accept him had welcomed him in to the fold. In fact, he and Harry had just had dinner last week with Seamus Finnigan and his wife, Lavender.
The only thing missing was Cherish, who had gone away for her first year at Hogwarts two days ago. It had been a hard, painful, and teary-eyed parting as Draco clutched to his little girl in the middle of King's Cross not caring who was watching. For so long they only had each other, and it was difficult for them to say goodbye, even if she was only going away to school and would be back for Christmas holiday.
He hadn't been surprised when Hermione told them she had been made a Ravenclaw. Draco had been a Slytherin, but he knew he raised her to be different then him. She was smart, studious and advanced, and part of him thought she was going to be a Gryffindor, or even a Hufflepuff, but all along in the back of his mind he knew she would be made a Ravenclaw. Most people were surprised, but Draco just smiled and shrugged. Cherish knew better than to play as dirty as the Slytherins did.
It was very late in the afternoon when Draco finally left the Three Broomsticks. Finding a dark alleyway, he apparated to just under a tree by a parking lot at a muggle store. He stayed under the branches, checking his watch and seeing that he had fifteen minutes. Strolling out and leaving his cloak behind as if it weren't strange he had just appeared out of nowhere, Draco wandered to the front doors of the store.
Above the doors to the department store was a large purple and teal banner that read 'GRAND OPENING' and he pushed on the glass doors to enter. He stood just inside for a moment, hanging by the entrance without moving. It didn't take long to find what he was looking for, and any of the fear or doubt he may have been feeling before finding his target disappeared.
Leaving his spot by the doors, Draco strolled over to the girl greeting customers as they entered. Her golden blonde hair fell in waves just to her shoulders. She wore a black skirt that fell just above her knee, a black jacket with two buttons done, and a lilac blouse. Strands of gold jewelry hung from her neck and she turned to him smiling like she had to all the others, but her hand stilled, fingers curling into a fist.
"Draco," she said, voice weak.
"Melody," he replied.
"What are you doing here?"
Fishing through his pocket, Draco extracted the newspaper clipping and handed it over to her. "I saw the article about the opening of your store in the paper. Congratulations. I know how you always wanted your own business."
"I read that you would be greeting the customers from noon until five. It's four-fifty-five right now. That means you get off in five minutes."
"I just want to talk, Melody. We could go to my place and discuss things."
"I don't know. What about -"
"Cherish?" She shrugged, nodding. "Cherish isn't even home. She's away at school."
"She goes away to school?"
"Yes. In Scotland. To the same school that I went to. Believe me, I'm not asking you to come back into our lives for good. I'm sure you have your own life and we have ours. I'm not asking you to be Cherish's mother. As far as I'm concerned, Cherish doesn't have a mother. She has me and I'm all she needs as I've been raising her just fine on my own. You may have given birth to her, but you aren't her mother. All I want to do is talk."
"All I'm asking is to talk. We don't even have to go back to my flat. Where are you staying?"
"At an inn just down the road."
"Would you rather we go there?"
"I don't know, Draco."
"Listen, Melody, I need to talk to you. The last time I saw you -" his voice trailed off and he noticed that she avoided his eyes. "Well, you left rather abruptly and I feel I need to explain some things to you."
"You need to explain some things to me?"
"Yes. I'm not here to yell at you, Melody. Eleven years is more than enough time for the anger to diminish. When we - er - had our falling out, there were some things that I was keeping from you. Things that I think you deserve to know. You deserve to know the whole truth. I don't want anything out of you, Melody. I just want to talk. I want to explain."
She checked her watch. "Okay. Look, I have to go let them know I'm leaving. Stay here. I'll be back in five minutes."
"What did you want to talk about?" said Melody once they had gotten back to the inn she was staying at. "You said you had something to explain to me?"
"Er - yes. Do you remember the big fight we had just before you left?"
"Of course I do. You told me that you were still too much in love with your ex-boyfriend and you were never going to marry me. It's the reason I left in the first place."
Draco nodded. "Do you remember what started the whole fight in the first place?"
"Joel. . .Joel was starting to write his Morgan Straker books."
"You've heard of them, I presume."
"I read them."
"What happened to magic being evil?"
"It's only fiction, remember?"
He nodded a second time. "Do you have a pencil or a pen? Something of your own that you can be positive I haven't tampered with it in any way?" She looked at him oddly, cocking her eyebrow. "Trust me."
Undoing the zipper on her purse, Melody began to search through her belongings until she extracted a pen and handed it to Draco. "What is this all about, anyway?"
Before she had a chance to say anything else, Draco had pulled a long stick of wood out from his pocket, murmured a few words under his breath. Lying in place of the pen was a dagger. The handle was made of sterling silver and was encrusted with emeralds. The blade was razor sharp and it glistened in the light.
"This is why I got so defensive when you said that all magic was evil," he almost whispered. "I'm a wizard."
"You're a wizard."
"Yes. I'm a wizard."
"You're kidding, right?"
"No, I'm not. I just transfigured your pen into a dagger. Does it look like I'm kidding?"
"Well. . ." she said, mouth hanging open, speechless. "Why are you telling me this?"
"Because you deserve to know the truth about me and Harry."
"You and Harry?"
"Yes. Harry. My ex-boyfriend. You deserve to know the truth. I couldn't marry you because of him and you deserve to know why."
Her jaw trembled as he mouth hung open, not knowing what to say. For lack of a better answer, she nodded and said, "Okay," before sitting down and waiting as Draco tumbled out the story from the beginning with Voldemort's fall all the way to his arrival in New York.
"So you see," he said once he had finished explaining, "I couldn't be with you. Harry and I . . . we're too much a part of one another. I never meant to hurt you in any way. I just couldn't marry you. It wouldn't have been fair to either one of us. Over the years I've come to believe in fate and that everything happens for a reason. You left and I accept that. It's a part of our fate and I wouldn't be where I am today if you wouldn't have gone. Things were rough for awhile, but a lot of good came out of it. I don't begrudge you anything. Cherish and I were fine on our own."
"So - you said she goes to the school you went to."
"Yes. Cherish is a witch. She just got on the train two days ago for her first year at Hogwarts. Since you read the books and in case you care, she's a Ravenclaw."
"I see. Why. . .well, why did you leave New York?"
"Harry," he replied. "We're back together. Engaged, actually. He proposed to me six months ago and we're going to be married when Cherish comes home for Christmas holidays. He showed up in New York a little over two years ago and we've been together ever since. It was Joel, actually, who convinced me to come home. He was right. I belong here."
"When you say 'home,' and 'here,' you mean with other witches and wizards."
"Yes. I mean magic folk."
"And that was why you got so angry with me when I said magic was a tool of Satan."
"Yes. I was, quite frankly, personally offended."
"Well thank you for telling me, Draco."
"You deserved to know. I thought you should know. Maybe I was wrong."
"No. I - I appreciate it." She picked up the dagger, holding it close to her body. "May I keep this?"
"It's your pen," he said grinning. "I reckon it's time that we part forever."
"Are you - what I mean is-"
"No. I'm not going to tell Cherish I came to see you. She doesn't need to know and I don't want to burden her with that."
Melody nodded. "I suppose it's for the best."
"I think so as well. Goodbye, Melody." He kissed the back of her palm before disapparating from the room.
"And where have you been all day?" came a teasing voice from behind and Draco turned to see Harry staring at him from the kitchen table. "I hear you called off from work today and yet you weren't here when I came home to check on you."
"Must I always tell you where I'm going?"
"Of course not. I was just curious."
"You always were rather nosy."
Harry shrugged standing up and crossing the room to wrap his arms around Draco. "So where were you really? You've been gone all day long, and dressed like a muggle, no less."
Draco paused, hesitating, but he then reached back into his pocket to produce the newspaper clipping. He held it tight in his fist before reluctantly handing it over to Harry. Smoothing it out, Harry read over the blurb about the department store, Melody's, named after the owner. His brow crinkled, clearly not understanding what it meant.
"You went shopping?" he guessed.
"No," he said softly. "I went to see Mel."
"Mel?" Harry shook his head, eyes searching Draco's for some sort of clue, but Draco almost laughed when Harry finally got it. His eyes darkened as a hint of recognition came over his face. "Mel as in Melody? Cherish's mother, Melody?"
"The one and the same."
"This is her?" he asked waving the clipping at him.
"And you went to see her?"
"There's no reason to get upset. It wasn't like I shagged her again or anything."
"No. . .I didn't think you did. Just - well? Why?"
"I had to tell her. She deserved to know the truth."
"How did she take it?"
"I'm still in one piece and I did arm her so I'm taking that as a good sign."
"Are you okay? How could - Why didn't you tell me?" Harry pulled Draco close into him, nuzzling into his neck. "Were you alright? I mean, I know that it came as a surprise when she left you and -"
"I was fine, Harry." A smile crossed Draco's face as he looked into Harry's eyes. "Just. . .don't tell Cherish, okay? I don't want her to know. This was my battle, not hers. Mel left without a word to me. I needed closure."
"Did you find it?"
"Yeah. I think I did."
Loved something? Hated something? Tell me in a REVIEW or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
That's it. I'm sorry to say it's over. If you have a question or a comment that you want a reply to, please email me at the above address. Reviews are not only encouraged, but welcomed. You also may contact me via AOL Instant Messanger. My screen name is FoxyD227.
If you didn't like the way it ended, well I'm sorry. Make up your own ending mentally.
Thank you to anyone who has read and/or reviewed this in the past and will read and/or review it in the future, especially:
Dark Peppermint (it's okay to aw every once in a while), deedee (Francois and Joel will miss you, too), Koneko Tenshi (Becoming? Only becoming a great story? Pssh – lol), Skysong (Wasn't it amazing? Joel said something intelligent), Liz Swarthy (Draco + Furry animal + Joel = cute!), Aeris Tsukiyono (Welcome to the Joel Fanclub. I really should start keeping track of the registry), Hikari Kura (I hope this answers some of your questions), Aishiteru Tenshi (Continue, I did), Fate's Child (Still not too much information. I was vomiting all night long in the bathroom at my sister's school concert and then I started dry heaving because I couldn't even keep water down, but I ate an ice pop and it made the vomit blue. Was that too much information for you?), Leigh – Jane (I'm sorry that there was no Francois to satiate your need for odd French men in this chapter. I should look into writing the chronicles of Francois and Joel), … (Cherish is adorable, and certainly trouble, but nothing Draco can't handle. *wink* He was a hellion himself.), Lulily (You think it's bad I left it there. In my other story, I ended a chapter letting people think I knocked off Draco. I like cliffies like that.), Fallen Angel (I like your name. Ironically, I wrote a song called 'Fallen Angel'. It was also my band name. Anyway…I'm sorry there wasn't more interaction between the three.), Fanny chan (Sylvester must be adored), Amethyst (Amethyst is my birth stone. Draco doesn't really look forty. That was Joel exaggerating and trying to make his point.), Kumagorou (Joel didn't come with exactly but he certainly didn't stay away. Nothing can keep Joel from his best friend.), iloveanime456 (I LOVE my reviewers. Thank you. Tis more than deserve), Rois m.t. Lylthe (They are happy and that is all that matters), SIAS (Well, he went, and I hope it makes you happy), Yoink Daydurfurits (I adore this story, too. Glad we agree), Tine (I'm glad you like the story so much. Gods, who ever thought someone would say Joel was like Dumbledore. Joel knows you'll wait a long time for someone to like you. Everyone thinks he's a freak.), Temptress (They didn't exactly go to Rome, but they did go to Hogsmeade, and that is saying something), OzCrow (Thank you. I hope this was great, too.), Evil Laughter (The vice president of my Joel fan club! I did get your email, as I replied, and sorry, no jam balloons, but Joel is yours, darling.), SparkySparkles (I hope it was as great as you knew it was going to be. I hate having to live up to expectations.), Misty (Draco appears to have agreed with you), Madame Padfoot (Hahaha. Draco Potter. He'd write to Lucius in Azkaban about that one. Draco Potter and his half-blood daughter. Oh, the amusement I get from that. I should have done it.), YG (I suppose Harry could have stayed but Cherish decided they were going. Just a little plot point, eh? In Harry's defense, he did say that he might stay if Draco refused…), To everyone else I've already replied to, thank you once again. Look for 'Falling' if you like my work, or 'Overheard'. Keep in touch and keep Harry and Draco in your hearts because, really, they make the most perfect couple ever.
Hugs and Kisses,