Anna C. – Thank you for reading and the nice words.
chochang0614 – Hopefully, you find the epilogue with all the answers you're looking for. Thanks for reading.
LiL-Miz-Chief – You get your wish. This is how Harry reacts. I'm glad you enjoyed the fic!
Ferret Boy – Yeah, I had a feeling the last few chapters would be everyone's favorite. Thanks for all your help. :) Drop me an email when you have some time! I'd love to hear from you.
Iris C – Maybe having Cho leave Draco would have been more realistic, but I really wanted them together. :) Thanks for your comment on the cinematic last line. Makes me happy when I see readers pick up on such subtleties.
*cho chang* - Yes, it was the last chapter. But, here's the epilogue. It took a while, but it's here. I hope you like it.
RowenaRavenclaw96 – Chapters 7 and 4 were fun to write. Glad you enjoyed them. Thanks for your enthusiasm and promotion of my fic. I really appreciate it! :D
SomniumSeeker – I wouldn't get so down about love. It'll sneak up on you when you least expect it. :) Draco/Cho are the best and I'm just as lucky to have such a big fan. Thanks!
aZnGurLY02 – Thanks for the review!
GiGi – Yes, I couldn't have Draco just fall at her feet. How realistic would that be? I also forgot that one of the more memorable moments was when Cho saw Draco for the first time in years. And yes, the song title should sound familiar. It inspired a lot. Hope you've had a chance to listen to it.
nunce - Hi nunce! Thanks for the kind words and I hope you enjoy the epilogue.
Lady Penguin – Thanks for the awesome review! Draco was so much fun to write and I'm glad you didn't find the romance too overbearing.
SlytherinChick – You're so funny! I'm glad I've inspired you to write more
Draco/Cho! Yippee! And you need to share your pics…I would love
to see them!
Lily Vance – Hope you like the epilogue and thanks for reviewing!
pookie16 – Thanks for the kind words and sorry I took so long with this last installment.
Malfoy – Sorry
the ending was abrupt, but I thought it was a rather good place to end
things. Hope you like the epilogue!
Lil Marie Antoinette – Thanks so much for taking a chance on Draco and Cho! I'm so glad you enjoyed the fic and like the pairing. The more people I can convince, the better! By the way, what made you want to read a Draco/Cho? I'd love to know!
Patrioticangel – Thanks for the wonderful review. Hope you find the epilogue with just as much readable plot and good imagery.
j88hyd – Thanks for reviewing!
Kate Lynn – Thanks for not shying away from Draco/Cho. The potential for this couple is unbelievable. *blushes* Thanks so much for your comment about Draco. I had a lot of help there. I really wanted to keep him canon. It was hard at times, but well worth the effort.
Thrintje – I kind of know what you mean about the dialogue…at times it really felt like I was writing a soap or something. LOL. I suppose all that Jane Austen influenced me somewhat. Thanks for your positive critique. I really appreciate it!
Bluebell – Thanks so much for reading and more for sharing your thoughts! The plot and fic were so much fun to come up with. A really neat experience.
mixxiekit – Thanks for the enthusiastic review! I hope you enjoy the epilogue.
Anastasia – Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The Draco/Harry/Roger chapter was the most intense and I think a lot of people like that chapter best too!
Emmeline Delacour – Thanks so much for writing a great review! I'm glad you liked the plot and my writing style. Hope you like the epilogue just as much.
All – I apologize for the long wait. Five months. Wow, what a long time to wait for a chapter. I'd actually be really surprised if I get very many reviews for this last installment. People have probably given up on me.
And since many of you humoured me and told me which chapter they liked best, I figured I should do the same. My favorite is Chapter 5 – Stupid. I think I like this chapter best because we get to see how others view Draco and Cho's relationship, and more importantly, how others view Cho. The catfight was amazing to write and I also enjoyed writing all the bickering between our two lovers.
By the way, this chapter was not beta-d and I apologize in advance for that. But, I want to thanks Chessie for the remarkable job she's done with my fic. I couldn't have asked for a better beta. Anyways, please read and enjoy.
Disclaimer – I don't own anything except for this highly-improbable Post-Hogwarts plot.
Epilogue – Dear Harry
For what seemed like the millionth time, the lethal words echoed in his mind and he forced himself to open his emerald green eyes. He didn't want to see what his mind would surely show him next. He didn't want to see the death that would inevitably follow. Through tears, he stared at the tombstone before him. Not surprisingly, the all too familiar feelings of pain and anguish filled him and he was forced to direct his gaze instead to the world around him.
He marveled at the sight before him. Never in his life had he seen such tranquility and peace. In the silence, only a bird's call could be heard in the distance. Spring was a beautiful time in England. Even in the midst of a gravesite, rebirth and rejuvenation were evident everywhere he looked. Gone were the bitter cold and biting winds of winter. The cloudless sky was the most soothing pale shade of blue…the perfect backdrop for Quidditch.
It was hard to believe just a week ago, the wizarding world was in turmoil, teetering in the balance and fearing the worst. Just a week ago, the final deciding battle in a raging war of six years had been fought. Just a week ago, the Light side at long last triumphed over the Dark and the whole of the wizarding world rejoiced.
And him? He was proclaimed the hero of it all. As the leader of the Light side, all the accolades and praise naturally fell onto him. The Boy-Who-Lived had fulfilled his destiny.
But, he couldn't feel the joy everyone else felt and he couldn't appreciate the honors bestowed upon him. The war had taken its heavy toll on him…in so many ways. Confidants and dear friends…so many had been lost. But as sorrowful as he was for these losses, they all paled in comparison to the one loss those two unforgivable words had caused…the one loss he could never forget. Unthinkingly, he closed his eyes again, and in an instant, the day came back to haunt him.
"…do not let Voldemort go! The war will be over soon. Everyone is counting on you!"
When he opened his eyes, he found himself even more distraught than before and in one sudden weak moment he fell to his knees. A shaky hand reached out to trace the words recently engraved on the cold grey stone marker. The grave was still fresh and many of the flowers that had been laid down out of respect for the deceased still remained. Tears stained his cheeks as his grief-stricken eyes moved over the reverent words one more time.
"I'm so sorry. I never meant for this to happen. You know I would have died for you. You know this, right?" he said in a voice barely above a whisper.
An hour had passed and still, the brokenhearted hero remained on his knees, entrenched in the freshly turned dirt. The eerie silence was broken when he spoke again, "Everyone tells me to forget about you and that time will heal all my hurt. But, I don't think they're right. Time will never heal me. I think the only thing that helps me these days is to be here…with you. It's so peaceful right now. This is what it was all for. Six years…and you're not even here to see it."
After long moments of silence, he at last stood up and said, "I'll come visit you tomorrow." These were the same words he had uttered the last five days before he would leave her.
Harry sat at his desk and glared at the new pile of paperwork that Hermione had undoubtedly just left for him. It was a good thing he had been away when she had come. Otherwise, he would have had a few choice words for her to hear. But Harry knew what Hermione would have said in response, "Don't get mad at the messenger, Harry! I'm only doing this because Professor Dumbledore told me to."
Dumbledore. It was downright cruel, and not to mention unnecessary, for Dumbledore to forbid him, the leader of the Light, to go on any more missions for the Order.
With the victory secured, he was told there was no need for him to go and risk himself any further. He was also told the wizarding world would benefit far more with its leader safe at Hogwarts and that this would be a well-deserved rest from all the years he had to carry the heavy burden. Bullocks!
And the worst part of it was, everyone sided with Dumbledore. Even Sirius had refused to hear Harry's pleas against the injustice. And Snape never let a chance go by that he didn't rub this fact in Harry's face. In the end, there was little he could do but comply with Dumbledore's orders.
With one final glare at the stack of papers, he reached for it and pulled it towards him. Immediately, his eyes caught sight of something he thought he had thrown away. Freeing it from the heavy weight of the pile of paperwork, he couldn't help but be lured by the beckoning headline.
"END of WAR! LIGHT SIDE and HARRY POTTER PREVAIL! VOLDEMORT DEAD AT HANDS OF DRACO MALFOY!"
Beneath the rousing headline was a picture of himself and Sirius emerging from Malfoy Manor in a tight celebratory embrace. Not far behind them, and hardly noticeable except to the discerning eye, was a miserable and forlorn Malfoy being escorted by two Aurors. Never had he seen such a crestfallen expression on the Slytherin before. Almost instantly, the anger he felt for Malfoy began to build once again and before he knew it, he had chucked the paper across the room. Soon enough, Harry closed his eyes as his own sorrow seized him. Without fail, he was immediately transported back to that wretched day…
"You do have a choice, Potter. I will give you to the count of three. Her life or yours. It's up to you…"
"But, sir, she is –"
"Harry, think what you're doing. We've come this far. We have him in the palm of our hands!"
Harry quickly opened his eyes. He always promptly stopped after those two words because he refused to be reminded of anything beyond them.
To Harry's relief, he didn't have to dwell on that day for long. A sudden movement from his windowsill drew his attention away. Looking over, he found a tattered old barn owl tiredly perched there. The owl seemed so relieved to finally locate its destination that it momentarily forgot the purpose of its arduous journey. Harry immediately offered it some of Hedwig's water to which she hooted in affronted jealousy.
"Oh shush! How did I ever end up with such a stingy and jealous bird like you?" Harry scolded. Unfortunately for Harry, Hedwig did not quiet down, but only continued to get more irate when he reached for her food.
Once the barn owl had a chance to recover, it finally remembered the letter fastened to its leg and apologetically offered it. Harry looked at the letter and frowned at its state. From its ragged and weather-beaten appearance, the letter must have been written weeks, maybe even months, before. As soon as the letter was delivered successfully, the barn owl offered a complacent hoot and flew away, much to Hedwig's satisfaction.
Opening the letter, a breath hitched in his throat as he recognized the elegant written hand. Wasting no more time, his eyes passed over the words.
I can almost picture your reaction now as you read this letter. Pure and utter shock. It has taken great effort to be able to write you this letter and still conceal it from Draco. In fact, I could only find an old barn owl to deliver this for me without fear of discovery by him.
You must be wondering why I'm writing you. I write to you today to ask a favor. I understand I have no right to do so. But, if you ever did feel anything for me, I beg you to grant me this one wish. I realize the war is about to end and the Light side is most likely to prevail. I see it everyday on Draco's face. He grows more quiet and distant and I fear for him.
If victory is to be yours, let me be the first to congratulate you. Please believe my sincerity when I say this. I have always wished victory for the Light side. And I am happy you will be at the helm of the wizarding world once the war is over. The wizarding world could not ask for a better wizard to help it heal and recover from so many years of fighting and turmoil.
The favor I wish is for you to spare Draco's life. I can imagine your reaction as I selfishly ask you this. And you have every right to be furious with me. You must realize that this isn't easy for me to do. When I decided to stay with Draco that day, I vowed to myself and to him that I would never contact you again. I made this vow telling myself that this was best…for everyone. If I was no longer in your life, you could forget me and get on without me. I only held you back by not being able to give you the one thing you wanted from me. And if I had a lifetime to try to make amends somehow, it still wouldn't be enough time.
This was the solemn vow I made and I
wouldn't be breaking it today if I didn't feel I had anyone else to turn
to. I don't even want to imagine how Draco would react if he ever found
out about this letter, and more importantly, my asking you to spare him.
If I didn't fear and worry so much for him, I would never imagine asking you
this. Please. If you ever did see me as a friend, I beg you, spare
Draco's life. If you can find it within yourself to do this one thing, I
will be forever grateful and indebted to you. It would only further prove
to me what a great wizard and person you are.
I don't know what shall happen to me. The world will be a turbulent and hostile place for those who supported the Dark. No matter what happens, I do know I won't be coming back to Hogwarts. It is no longer my home. My home is with Draco now. I realize that this is not what you want to hear. But, I must go where my heart dictates. If the Dark side should fall, Draco will fall. And, I will fall along with him. Please don't feel sad for me. This is the decision I have made for myself and I've made my peace with it.
The heart is a funny thing. When Cedric died all those years ago, I thought he had taken it with him to his grave and that was the reason why I couldn't be more of what you wanted me to be. But, he didn't. In time, my heart learned to heal itself. It truly is a wonder why it decided on Draco. This will forever remain a mystery to me. All I know is that it did. I'm not sorry for that. I suppose my heart has always been his and will always be his. Hopefully, you'll come to understand and accept this one day. Your happiness is what I want. If you can find it within yourself to be happy for me, our friendship would not have been in vain.
Life for me these few years has been very trying. Each day, I question what I am doing. And each day, I realize that what I am doing is right for me. You may not believe this, as I can hardly believe it myself at times, but the Dark Lord has been surprisingly supportive of our relationship. Admittedly, it is vexing at times as to why he is not more upset with the arrangement. But, Draco has reassured me that he works in mysterious ways and his reasons for doing things are not always obvious. I sincerely hope Draco is right and the Dark Lord truly does not harbor ill feelings towards us.
Before I finish this letter, I feel I must owe you an apology. I want you to know that even though I have chosen to remain with the Dark side, I still regard you as a very dear friend…never doubt that. You have been nothing but kind and supportive of me for all the years that we've known each other. Your friendship has been one of the most important in my life. I don't know what I would have done if you had not been there for me. I don't believe I've ever told you how thankful I am for that…for you to be in my life in such a special way. I'm truly sorry for all the misery and worry I've caused you. I'm sorry that I've betrayed your friendship. Please forgive me.
I will always hope for the Light side and will always hope for your safety and happiness. Take care of yourself, Harry. You will forever be in my thoughts. I love you.
With each repeated reading of the letter, a new wave of emotion overtook him. With the initial reading, shock and anger consumed him. He had never imagined he would hear from her ever again. But, then he quickly realized her main purpose in writing him and this infuriated him. She was right. She had no right to ask something like that of him, especially when the favor was to spare that pretentious son of a bitch's life. So appalled and upset by her request, he wanted to tear the letter to pieces and burn it. But he didn't.
After the fourth and fifth reading, sadness replaced the anger and shock. Cho knew the ending was near and yet she had resigned herself to such a fate. She didn't ask to be saved, to be brought back safely home. She didn't ask him to take her back. She didn't want to come back. She had made a decision, albeit a stupid one, and she was going to stand by it even with full knowledge it would mean her inevitable ruin and end.
Upon the final reading, the sadness finally gave way to a peculiar and unexpected sense of serenity and acceptance. It was not a secret that Harry had never fully understood or accepted what had happened that day at the clearing. It had been with great reluctance that he left without having accomplished what he had set out to do. For weeks and even months, he tried to come up with schemes and plans to go rescue her. He couldn't, for the life of him, fathom that Cho had willingly gone back to Malfoy Manor with that despicable manipulative snake.
But, the months grew longer and eventually a year went by and there was still no word from Cho wanting to be saved from Malfoy's evil clutches. And so, he was forced to come to the realization she had no desire to be saved. Her letter, her obvious contentment with her life by Malfoy's side, and her sincere apology were undeniable proof of this.
Nevertheless, he could still feel the hurt and anger. It was foolish to believe one letter could wipe that all away. But, it did give him an unexpected sense of closure.
A sudden knock at the door roused him from his thoughts.
"Harry? You in there?"
Quickly tucking Cho's letter inside his robes, Harry answered, "Yeah, come in."
The door opened to reveal Ron with an apprehensive expression on his face. Noting the distress on Harry's face, Ron asked, "You okay, mate?"
"Yeah, I am," Harry lied as he looked away.
"Cause if you're not, I could tell Ginny and she could –"
"She could what? I told you and I've told her! All I need is time. I don't need any of you hovering over me, afraid I might have a breakdown," Harry snapped, not letting Ron finish.
"I just –"
"I know," Harry interrupted again, but with a slightly softer tone this time, "I know. You mean well and I appreciate it. I really do. But, you…and your family, especially Ginny. You guys have to leave me alone. This is something I have to get over myself. No amount of hugs and sorrowful expressions is going to help me."
"Look. Ginny is just trying to help. She's worried about you! And rightfully so! You spend all day locked up in here. If you're not here, you're out there," Ron replied in frustration while nodding in the direction of the gravesite, "with her! This is not healthy! I mean, we hardly ever see you anymore!"
"I'm fine. Okay? Like I said. I just need this time to myself. I'll be okay," Harry tried to reassure his friend.
Ron kept his mouth shut. He didn't want to argue with Harry anymore.
After a prolonged silence, Harry tried to dispel the awkwardness by changing the subject. "What did you come see me for?"
"You need to go see Malfoy," Ron replied bluntly.
"I don't want to see him. He's the last person on this earth I want to see right now. Besides, I don't see why it has to be me who has to tell him."
"You know full well why it needs to be you. Everything is set with the Order. You can't delay this any longer than you already have."
Harry stubbornly walked to his desk and pulled the stack of papers towards him. "I can't right now. I'm busy."
Letting out an exasperated sigh, Ron turned to leave, but stopped when his eyes caught sight of the strewn periodical and its now-famous headline. "You know. I almost feel sorry for him…almost. I don't know what I would do if I saw Hermione –" Ron stopped abruptly when he noticed the daggers in Harry's eyes. "Sorry," Ron offered, but decided to risk upsetting his mate further by adding, "but I do. You should see him. I've never seen him in such a pathetic state. It's hard to believe he was the haughty and annoying Malfoy we knew of him in school. Go see for yourself if you don't believe me."
And with that final comment, Harry was alone once again with his insurmountable stack of papers.
It had taken nearly six hours since Ron's departure and a couple more readings of Cho's letter before he could drag himself to go see Malfoy. Ron was right. He had procrastinated long enough. The sooner he dealt with Malfoy, the sooner he would be done with it.
As he walked through the corridors of Hogwarts' dungeons, he was reminded of his younger days. Countless were the times he and Ron unenthusiastically trudged behind an eager Hermione to face Snape and Double Potions with the insufferable Slytherins. It had always been so cold and damp down here. Without windows or natural light and with only fires and torches to provide any source of heat, he wondered how the multitude of Slytherin kids had been able to call the dreariness of the dungeons their home. It was truly ironic then that these homes now housed some of the very same Slytherins as prisoners.
Before he realized it, he had reached Malfoy's cell. He still didn't want to do this, but he knew that he was the one who should. Brandishing his wand, he muttered the spell to unlock the door. What he saw inside made him want to turn back.
The once proud and pompous Death Eater was now reduced to the state of a pauper. The impeccable and elegant robes were now sullied and tattered. The once gleaming blond hair was now dull and dirtied. The sharp grey eyes, now sunken and lifeless.
Against his will, Harry started to feel sorry for Malfoy. The unwanted and unwelcome feelings of pity and sympathy quickly overshadowed the usual anger, hatred, and disgust and this worried him. He didn't want to feel these things. Malfoy didn't deserve such compassion, especially from him.
Looking up to glare at the intruder, the forlorn expression was quickly cloaked upon seeing who it was. In place of the once lackluster eyes, a glint of malice now shone in them. "Come to throw more salt onto my wound, Potter?"
Whatever compassion Harry may have felt for the man before him quickly died upon hearing the bitter words and the sardonic tone. He scolded himself for being so gullible to actually believe the Dark side's defeat had humbled him any. Malfoy was still Malfoy.
"No," Harry replied simply.
Malfoy continued, resentment present in each word he spoke, "Sure you are. I bet you just couldn't wait to rub it in. Was your jealousy that maddening? Were you so consumed by it that you needed to punish her for not choosing you? Or was it to punish me? You couldn't bear the thought of us together could you? That she ultimately chose me and loved me. You just had to find some way to tear us apart. I never thought you'd stoop so low. Obviously, I was wrong."
Momentarily taken aback by the unexpected verbal assault, Harry just stood there and took the accusations. But, it didn't take long before he lashed out himself, "Is that what you honestly think? That I let her die to punish her for choosing you over me? I would never do that!"
"But you did!" Malfoy shouted with even more fury than before, "you had a chance to save her and you didn't. Don't stand there and tell me you never would because you did!"
"Contrary to what you think, I'm not happy about what happened. I don't need your help in beating myself up over this. I do that very well on my own. This is something I'm going to have to live with the rest of my life. Don't think for a second that this is easy for me. Every time I close my eyes…without fail …I hear those words and then I see her face and her body…lifeless."
"Shut up! I was there. I don't need you to tell me what happened."
"And what about you?" countered Harry.
"What are you talking about?"
"You had a choice too! If you really cared for her, you wouldn't have taken her back with you. You knew how dangerous it was and yet you still took her back with you. If you were truly concerned about her welfare, her happiness and future…her life, you would have pushed her away. She would still be alive today if you hadn't been so self-serving."
"I did. I tried," Malfoy asserted quietly, the fury in his voice no longer detectable.
"Well, you didn't try hard enough. You knowingly led her to her death! You, Malfoy, are as much to blame as I am…if not more," Harry finished with contempt and reproach.
As Harry rattled off the last of his allegations, the blond Death Eater could only look away. Harry had the distinct feeling that this may have not been the first time Malfoy had wrestled with such unsettling and guilt-ridden thoughts.
"Look. This is pointless. Blaming each other is hardly going to bring her back. And even if we could, she probably wouldn't want to."
The seemingly callous and groundless declaration ignited Malfoy once again and he venomously spat, "How /dare/ you! You know nothing of what she wanted!"
Thinking back to Cho's letter, Harry wondered how much he could really say without compromising what she had confided in him. "I don't expect you to understand. I just-"
But, Malfoy wouldn't hear it. "SHUT UP! She. Did. Not. Want. To. Die!" he roared, stressing each word, "that's the last thing she wanted. Just days before…before she…she was telling me how she wanted a family. A family, Potter…with me! Does that sound like she wanted to end her life?!"
At the mention of a family, Harry's eyes immediately tightened and he dearly wished he had never been privy to such information. He was thoroughly disgusted at the thought of Cho continuing Malfoy's lineage. And sure enough, the familiar jealousy crept back to taunt him and he wanted nothing more than to leave. But something held him back and forced him to face Malfoy, however much it hurt.
Forcing his jealousy aside, he again attempted to get Malfoy to abandon the subject. "Honestly, it doesn't matter anymore. She's gone. Arguing is pointless."
But, Malfoy wouldn't let it go. "She loved me. She loved me so much, she overlooked the fact that I was a Death Eater and what that meant. So much…she wanted to have children with me. And what did I do? I led her to her death. I should have been stronger. I should have pushed her away. When I saw her being held hostage and the way she looked at me. I had never felt so bloody helpless in my life. And when it happened and she was gone, something in me snapped and…and I just had to do it. I had to do it…for her."
As Malfoy talked, Harry had to keep himself from hexing the Death Eater to a million pieces. He didn't want to hear such things. He didn't want confirmation that the love Malfoy shared with Cho was real. He didn't want to hear Malfoy's regrets and pangs of guilt. But, he couldn't run away from it either.
"As much as it pains me to say this…she did love you," Harry conceded, "and I'm finally beginning to realize just how much. But, it doesn't change the fact that you didn't deserve her."
With no desire to be in Malfoy's company any longer, Harry finally revealed the purpose of his visit. "Look, the Order has discussed your situation and we've come up with two alternatives. One, you face execution. Two, you go to Azkaban for life and receive the Dementor's Kiss. I know what you're thinking. The fact that you killed Voldemort –"
"I choose the former."
"You heard me."
"Does it honestly matter why? Besides, I think you already know the answer to that question?" Harry didn't reply. Malfoy was right. He did know. "All I ask is one thing."
"I want to be buried next to her."
"You know I can't do that. She's buried at Hogwarts. You're a Death –"
"It's not a matter of whether you can or can't. It's a matter of whether you can allow your precious ego to deflate just a little to grant her this one last thing. You know that this would make her happy. Bury me next to her."
After a long moment, Harry finally replied, "I'll see what I can do."
And with a curt nod from Malfoy, Harry knew they had nothing else to discuss and left the Death Eater to ponder the fate he had chosen.
It been so long and he wasn't sure whether it was wise to visit the past. He didn't know why he was staring at his Pensieve. He hadn't looked upon this particular memory in over fifty years. He supposed, something in him stirred when he was taking a walk through the memorial that had been built commemorating the war he had been a hero of all those years ago.
He recalled the first time he had ever heard or had ever seen a Pensieve. It had been Dumbledore's and Harry thought it rather silly that the then Headmaster had to rely on such a means to hold his memories. But, here he was as the current Headmaster and he had to admit to himself the Pensieve was rather handy. There were countless memories he had deposited in the Pensieve. Many that were happy, but more often the case, many that were sad. He found it a rather effective way to preserve the more important things in his life. Things that would undoubtedly never leave him, but yet he wanted them preserved in order to retain all the rich details especially as the years wore on and he couldn't rely on his memory like he used to.
The first memory he had deposited into the Pensieve was one he wanted to forget. Or more truthfully, it was the one he wanted to be free of. But, it was a rather important memory. It was Voldemort's downfall and for the sake of history and the wizarding world, he had turned to the Pensieve. But, the memory was more than that. It was much more. It was the day Cho Chang fell.
He had moved on, yes. He had married Ginny Weasley and he was happy. For the time that they were together, he adored her and she him. He had many happy memories with her. But, she had passed on not too long ago. And although he did love her, there was still a small part of him that belonged to another.
Leaning over the Pensieve, he tapped it and searched for the particular memory. Upon locating it, he was immediately taken back to Voldemort's lair at Malfoy Manor…
Harry had Voldemort at wand point. Voldemort's wand was cast to the far end of the room. The leader of the Dark was clutching his shoulder, trying to nurse the wound Harry had just given him. Only Draco Malfoy and Sirius Black were there with them. However, Malfoy too was held at wand point by Sirius.
"It's over, Voldemort. I've broken your wand and you're wounded badly enough, a first-year's killing curse would finish you instantly. There's no way out. You can surrender peacefully or by force. Either way, it will be a pleasure."
To the surprise of all, especially Harry's, Voldemort began to cackle.
"Do you find this funny? You won't be laughing while you rot in Azkaban."
"I wouldn't be so sure, Potter! Remember. I'll always be one step ahead of you!" Voldemort stopped cackling long enough to reveal.
"What are you talking about? There's no way for you to escape. There's no one to save you, not even your devoted minion, Malfoy, over there."
"Well maybe not that Malfoy. But, you seem to have forgotten about the other," taunted Voldemort mysteriously.
"Have you gone insane in your final hour? There is no other Malfoy."
"You don't know? What a wonderful surprise it will be then!" Voldemort said with twisted glee. "Bring her out!"
To everyone's shock, Blaise Zabini emerged from behind the shadows yanking a gagged Cho with her. Cho was crying, but she didn't try to resist Blaise's hold. After a brief glance at Harry, she rested her gaze on Malfoy's alarmed and worried face.
Cackling still, Voldemort said, "Surprised? So was I when I learned my imbecile Death Eaters couldn't finish the job years ago. Yes. We wouldn't be standing here now if Malfoy wasn't so incompetent and so powerless when it came to this wench. But, it doesn't matter. I have her now and I will use her to buy my life. What do you say Potter? Let me go and I will spare her."
Harry looked at Malfoy and noticed that panic and fear had already overtaken his normally unruffled facade. "Your Lordship, why are you doing this? Why are you using –"
Voldemort turned menacing red slits toward the blond Death Eater and scolded, "Idiot to the end, aren't you Malfoy? Did you ever wonder why I was so lenient with you when you failed me all those years ago? Not only that, but allowed you to bring that muggle-loving wench into our midsts? You must know by now I always have an ulterior motive. Did you honestly believe I allowed you two to carry on for the mere sake of love? You're more stupid than I gave you credit for. I knew that one day, I could use her."
"But, sir, she's –"
"All the more reason why I'm doing this. Using your wife will hurt you the most. You deserve this punishment…she's just a woman, Malfoy. You'll survive. You should consider yourself lucky I chose to spare your life."
"Don't worry, honey. I'll still be here for you," Blaise chimed in as she gave Cho a triumphant smirk.
"Now Potter, what shall it be? I give you to the count of three."
Harry was visibly torn. And his knuckles holding his wand were pale and he looked between Cho and Sirius.
Harry focused on Cho. However, Cho's focus wasn't Harry. It was Malfoy. And for a crazy moment, it seemed as though she was trying to say her final words to him with her eyes.
"Harry, think what you're doing. We've come this far. We have him. He can't escape," Sirius kept chanting, trying desperately to keep Harry from letting his emotions overtake the situation.
Harry clenched his jaw as his eyes remained riveted on Cho. Malfoy tore his eyes from Cho's and looked at Harry. He seemed to be imploring Harry to do something…to save Cho. But then, Harry caught Cho's eyes and he thought he saw resignation in them. He was surprised to see no fear or panic in them. In fact, she seemed to be at peace with it. In all of one second, Harry had gained all this knowledge. He might have gained more had she not moved her gaze back to Malfoy. Harry followed Cho's gaze and for the first time, he noticed tears shining brightly within Malfoy's eyes.
"Harry, do not let Voldemort go! The war will be over soon. Everyone is counting on you!" came Sirius's voice of reason once again.
As soon as the words were bellowed, a flash of blinding green light filled the room and Cho instantly fell limp in Blaise's arms. Her tear-stained face lifeless.
Harry stood rigid with anger and disbelief as he stared at Cho's body, which had been heartlessly discarded on the cold hard floor. All of his senses seemed to go numb. He blocked out everything and didn't even hear the malicious laughter coming from Voldemort and Blaise.
And before he could regain his wits, another flash of blinding green light filled the air and Voldemort was dead. Harry looked at the source of the green light and saw a fury-filled Malfoy with his wand pointed at his Dark Lord. And before Blaise could unleash her retaliating wrath upon Malfoy, Sirius had killed her with his own Unforgivable Curse.
Malfoy quickly dropped his wand and ran over to Cho's body on the floor. Picking her up, he began to whisper words of affection and love to her, as if she were still alive and could still hear him. The numbness Harry felt left him and all the rage and fury came to him at a blinding speed. Harry wanted to kill Malfoy on the spot. He didn't care that Malfoy had jut secured victory for the Light side. He didn't care that the war was finally over. All he wanted to do at that moment was tear Cho away from Malfoy. But, Sirius stopped him.
"Don't. Let him have this moment."
Before Harry could protest, Sirius had dragged him away.
Eventually, they were able to remove Cho from Malfoy. At first, there was some resistance. But, in time, Malfoy gave up and let her go. Malfoy did not say a word as other Aurors apprehended him and led him away from Malfoy Manor.
Harry found himself standing in front of two tombstones. Two tombstones he hadn't visited for quite some time. One was well-kept while the other was not. Harry made a mental note to have a talk with the groundskeeper. Even though it was a Death Eater's grave, it did deserve a certain level of respect. But, he also made a mental note not to be too severe on the groundskeeper.
Harry remembered when he had gone to the Ministry and the Order with Malfoy's last request. As expected, he was met with everyone's objection to the scandalous idea. He was told the wizarding world would be in an uproar to discover their enemy buried within their beloved memorial.
But, he had stood firm. Not because Malfoy deserved it, but because he felt as though he owed it to Cho. Malfoy was right. This was what she would have wanted. He couldn't fulfill her last request to save Malfoy. But, he could do this for her.
When he turned to leave, he was mildly surprised to find the annoying feelings of jealousy and bitterness of the past remain there. He was also mildly surprised to find that he was happy…happy with how he had lived his life, happy he had found Ginny, happy for the good fortune for all those he cared for, and even happy for Cho and Draco.
Author's Note: *stands tall and waits for tomatoes to be thrown at her* I know, I know. How could I kill Cho and Draco off like that? All I can say is that it seemed like the right, natural progression of things.