A/N – First, welcome to the final year of COTD. I will still be adding to the collection, so even when this year finishes, I've still got more to tell about what happens next, as well as going back and dealing with the past and scenes that didn't make it into the final stories. I did hope to have year 7 finished before I started to post it, but I've gotten a bit distracted lately with some other stories, so I'm still working on the end. Until it's finished, updates will be on Monday and Friday.
Secondly, you might remember a couple of weeks ago when I mentioned that two of my stories had been nominated and reached the finals of the "Something Wicked This Way Comes." Fall 2016 Dramione Fanfiction Awards. I got a message overnight to say both my stories had won first place in their respective categories.
First Place: Best Mystery/Crime Fic for Femme Fatale.
First Place: Best Potions/Spell Accident Fic for Future Adventures.
I want to thank everyone who took the time to go and vote for my stories. It was such an honour to even be nominated, and I honestly didn't think I stood a chance of winning. I'm so thrilled, and it really does make the negativity I've encountered this year easier to deal with. It's great to know I've got so many fans – so thank you all once again for supporting me and my stories.
The first few weeks of the summer holidays were filled with wedding preparations for the upcoming wedding of Severus Snape and his fiancée, Rosmerta. Even though it was just going to be a quiet family wedding, there was still plenty to sort and organise. Severus's stepmother, Beth Granger, and Narcissa Malfoy, helped Rosmerta with the majority of the arrangements and together the three witches soon had everything running smoothly.
While the women were busy with their arrangements, Severus was tasked with sorting clothes for him and his son, Harry, who was also going to be the best man. Harry also had his speech to prepare, and he'd sought help from his best friend, Draco Malfoy, while Severus had his closest friend, Lucius Malfoy, on hand to offer him advice.
The men weren't the only ones with clothes to sort as one of the priorities for the women was Rosmerta's wedding dress. At the same time as getting her wedding dress, Rosmerta also wanted to get the bridesmaid's dresses sorted. Rosmerta had asked Severus's sister, Hermione, to be her bridesmaid along with Harry's girlfriend, Daphne Greengrass.
Hermione had been thrilled to be asked to be bridesmaid, and she'd been pleased that Daphne had been included as well. On the day they went to get their bridesmaid dresses, Hermione and Daphne had a great time and they helped Rosmerta pick out beautiful lilac gowns. Rosmerta herself went for a simple, sweeping floor length ivory dress with a matching beaded shrug.
"You look stunning Rosmerta," Beth gushed as her future daughter-in-law modelled the dress.
"It's not too young looking?" Rosmerta checked.
"No, it's lovely," Hermione assured the older witch. "In fact, it's perfect."
"It really is," Narcissa added. "Severus won't be able to keep his eyes off you."
"Not to mention his hands," Beth interjected with a mischievous chuckle.
"I remember my wedding day," Narcissa said with a wistful sigh. "Lucius was like a man possessed when he saw me in my gown. He spent the entire reception trying to sneak me away to unwrap me."
"Did he manage it?" Rosmerta asked.
"Sadly, no," Narcissa replied. "We had a big wedding, and there was too many guests for us to sneak off. He had to wait until our wedding night. Although he did make up for the wait. To this day, it's still the most sex I've ever had in one night."
"Nothing beats wedding night sex," Beth agreed with a knowing nod.
"Can we please stop talking about sex?" Hermione whined with a grimace. She wasn't exactly a prude, but considering she was with her mother, her brother's fiancée and her boyfriend's mother, it was a conversation she wanted to have.
"Don't worry Hermione, your time will come," Rosmerta remarked with a light laugh.
"It's already came," Beth remarked, giving her daughter a knowing look.
"Mum," Hermione hissed, turning red with embarrassment.
"We all know about your relationship, Hermione," Beth told her daughter. "It's no secret that last year you were in bed with Draco when you collapsed."
"I am an adult," Hermione retorted. "And Draco and I are serious about each other."
"I know you are sweetheart," Beth said. "I just hope you're remembering to be careful."
"Yes, we're being careful," Hermione replied, rolling her eyes.
"Good, none of us want to be grandparents just yet," Narcissa said.
"Not when some of us are about to become mothers again," Beth said, resting her hands on her still flat stomach.
"But you're already a grandmother," Hermione pointed out. "Or does Harry not count anymore?"
"Of course Harry counts," Beth replied. "But that's different, he's Severus's son and Severus is a fully grown wizard. I think we're all in agreement that you and Draco are too young to be having children."
"Damn right we are," Hermione agreed. "There will be no children from us for a few years yet."
"That's good to know," Narcissa said, smiling at Hermione before turning back to Rosmerta. "And just when are you planning on having children, Rosmerta?"
"As soon as possible," Rosmerta replied excitedly. "We've agreed to start trying, so I've stopped taking the contraceptive potion. Hopefully we'll have another baby in the family before too long."
"What about the pub? Are you selling up?" Narcissa asked.
"Not just yet," Rosmerta answered. "I've hired a manager for the summer, while we plan the wedding and Severus and I are on honeymoon. If all goes well, I might keep him on, although in the future I do think I could end up selling the pub."
"Just don't tell Blaise, he would snap your hand off for a pub," Daphne chuckled. "He's always saying how much fun it would be to run a pub of some sort."
"It's actually just the sort of thing you could imagine Blaise doing, isn't it?" Hermione chuckled.
"It is," Daphne agreed.
"Well, I'm not selling anytime soon, so Blaise can keep his hands off my pub," Rosmerta joked. "Right now, my focus is on my wedding. Since the dresses are sorted, we need to think about the cake. We need to make final choices on flavourings and decorations."
"Does this mean we get to have cake this afternoon?" Hermione asked with a grin.
"More than likely samples will be on offer," Rosmerta replied.
"Great," Hermione said, already looking forward to cake.
The rest of the afternoon was filled with wedding preparations, including sorting the wedding cake. Once the preparations had been finished for the day, Rosmerta headed off home to have dinner with Severus and Harry, while Beth dropped Daphne off home before she, Hermione and Voldemort headed to the manor for dinner.
Since Severus and Rosmerta weren't at dinner, the wedding wasn't mentioned too much, meaning one of the main topics of conversation with Beth's pregnancy. Hermione was still coming to terms with the fact her parents were having another child, and while she was mostly excited by the prospect of getting a little brother or sister, there was still times when it was hard to believe her parents had ended up pregnant. After all, who wanted to think about their parents having sex?
"Fancy a walk?" Draco asked Hermione once dinner was over and their parents moved into the living room.
"A walk sounds great," Hermione replied with a smile. Even though they wouldn't leave the grounds of the manor, they could still have a romantic moonlit stroll.
"We're off for a walk," Draco informed their parents.
"Don't do anything we wouldn't do," Lucius warned with a smirk.
"Anything goes then," Draco shot back.
Leaving their parents chuckling behind them, Draco and Hermione headed out into the back garden of the manor. Despite the fact their parents were in the front living room, the manor was still lit up brightly, and it cast a wonderful light over the vast gardens of the manor.
"I really love this place," Hermione remarked as Draco took hold of her hand.
"We do have beautiful gardens," Draco replied, leading his girlfriend down towards the rose gardens.
"I just love the whole manor," Hermione said.
"Angling to be lady of the manor, one day, are you?" Draco joked.
"I might be," Hermione replied with a cheeky smile. "Do I stand a chance?"
"You might do," Draco responded, grinning back at his girlfriend.
As the couple shared a tender moment in the rose gardens, they were completely unaware of a pair of beady yellow eyes watching them from beyond the boundary line of the manor. In fact they were so caught up in each other as they continued their walk, they didn't notice the eyes following them. Nor did they notice the full moon hovering ominously overhead.
Remus Lupin stalked through the shadows along the boundary line of Malfoy Manor in his wolf form. For the first time since he'd been turned into a werewolf as a child, Remus was allowing himself to knowingly hunt humans. Not that he was after any human, he was after a member of The Dark Lord's family. If he'd stopped to think, Remus may have chosen a different course of action, but since events at Grimmauld Place, he'd been running on anger. He'd been so caught up in grief that all he could think about was striking back at the dark and taking someone they loved away from them like they'd taken Tonks away from him.
Normally in his wolf form, Remus had no connection with his human mind, but as he stalked Draco and Hermione, his thoughts were crystal clear. After a few weeks studying the manor, he knew he couldn't break the wards in his human form, but he'd witnessed countless animals pass across the boundary lines without incident. Therefore, if he found an opportunity to strike, he was fairly sure he could get onto the property and off again before anyone from inside the manor even realised he'd been there.
Ten minutes later the opportunity to get to Hermione presented itself when the young witch wandered precariously close to the boundary line. For the first time all night, Hermione had left Draco's side as she walked over to a nearby bench. Waiting until Hermione's back was to him and she was about to sit down, Remus pounced.
Remus rushed over the boundary line in a flurry of brown fur, his sharp teeth glinting in the moonlight. While the move took Hermione totally by surprise, Draco was facing Remus as he came into sight. Without thinking of the consequences, Draco launched himself at his girlfriend, knocking her to the ground just as Remus landed where Hermione had been sitting.
In full flight, Remus was unable to change course when Draco got in his way, and as a result his teeth sunk into the blond's neck as he threw himself on top of his girlfriend. Draco's pained cry reached Hermione's ears before her eyes registered what was going on. When she did see the brown fur and sharp teeth on top of her boyfriend, she instantly knew she was looking at Remus Lupin in his wolf form.
"Draco," Hermione screeched, scrambling out from underneath her now prone boyfriend and dislodging Remus as she did so.
Before she had a chance to check on Draco, Hermione found herself face to face with a snarling werewolf. Idly she noticed how scrawny and uncared for Remus looked, as well as how his wolf form was a bizarre mix of human and wolf. Even though she'd seen pictures of werewolves, she thought Remus looked more of a mixture than any picture she'd ever seen. It was like he was both wolf and man, and as he looked at her, Hermione knew he wanted to kill her. His hate was emanating off him in waves and Hermione was right in his line of fire. Shakily she reached for her wand, just as Remus pounced with a low growl.
Conversation in the front room of Malfoy Manor was brought to an abrupt halt as a shimmering light began to pulsate around the walls of the room. Everyone in the room knew the light was a signal to say the wards around the manor had been breached, but only Lucius and Narcissa were attuned to the wards to know where the breach had occurred. Beth and Voldemort assumed the breach had happened at the front of the property, with someone trying to enter the manor, but Lucius and Narcissa gave them a shock by jumping to their feet.
"The back garden," Narcissa gasped.
"Hermione and Draco," Beth cried, jumping to her feet.
Before Narcissa or Beth had a chance to move, Lucius and Voldemort had torn out of the room and flew towards the back of the manor. Moving at lightning speed the two wizards sprinted out of the house and into the back gardens. Voldemort let Lucius take the lead and he followed the other wizard as he ran down the garden to where the wards had been breached.
As they emerged from the rose gardens, Voldemort saw a sight that made his blood run cold. Draco was sprawled unmoving on the floor, while Hermione was also on the floor, but sitting on top of her was a wolf like creature, his jaws inches from her neck as she tried her best to keep him off her.
"Hermione!" Voldemort flew past Lucius, his wand out as he shot curse after curse at the creature on top of his daughter.
One of the spells hit the wolf, causing him to howl in pain. Jumping off Hermione, he gave Voldemort a cold stare, before loping off into the shadows, limping slightly. Voldemort threw a few more hexes at the wolf, hoping he would hit him again, as he ran towards his daughter, Lucius hot on his heels.
"Hermione," Voldemort cried. "Are you okay?"
"Draco," Hermione gasped, rolling over and crawling over to her boyfriend. "Please don't let him be dead," She whispered, cradling his head in her hands.
As Hermione clutched at Draco, Lucius and Voldemort spotted the bloody gash on his neck. Exchanging worried glances, the pair surged forward and pulled Hermione away from Draco. Hermione protested at first, kicking and screaming at her father to let her go, but she soon stilled as her boyfriend's body began to vibrate and ever so slowly his human form disappeared and in its place lay an unmoving pale grey wolf. Only unlike Remus, who was half wolf half human, Draco had turned into a full blown wolf.
"Is he dead?" Hermione whispered, tears dripping from her eyes.
"I don't know," Lucius answered shakily as he looked at the wolf lying where his son had been only moments earlier.
Just at that moment, Narcissa and Beth arrived at the scene. Beth instantly ran over to her daughter, while Narcissa's face crumpled in confusion when she didn't see Draco. However, it didn't take her long to work out where Draco was as she followed her husband's haunted gaze to the prone wolf.
"No!" She wailed, collapsing to her knees. "Draco!"
"Is he dead?" Beth asked softly, repeating her daughter's earlier question.
"We don't know," Voldemort replied.
Making sure Beth had hold of a sobbing Hermione, Voldemort cautiously stepped forward. Kneeling down beside the wolf that was Draco, he kept his wand in his hand as he examined the wolf.
"He's still breathing, but it's pretty shallow," He informed Lucius, who had moved to stand behind him. "We need to get him in the house, but we need to restrain him."
"You can't do that, he's hurt," Hermione cried.
"We know that sweetheart, but at the minute he's also dangerous," Beth said gently, hugging her daughter. "If he wakes up he could slaughter us all without knowing what he's doing."
"Your parents are right, he needs to be secured," Lucius said. "We will treat his injuries, but we have to be sure no-one else will get hurt this evening."
Hermione nodded, blinking back the tears as she watched her father and Lucius get to work on making sure Draco was safe to be around. Numbly she followed everyone when they went back into the manor, wondering where everything had gone wrong. One minute she and Draco were enjoying a nice romantic stroll around the gardens, now her boyfriend was a werewolf and their lives were forever changed.
A/N 2 – I didn't want to mention my other point earlier on as I didn't want to spoil the chapter, but I just want to say how I'm going to be handling the werewolf thing. This is going to be very much my version of werewolf lore, so not everything will tally with the actual books (In fact, I don't think much of it will to be honest). So any reviews complaining about how the werewolves in this story don't match the ones in the actual books will be ignored. I've got my own vision on werewolves, and that is what I will be exploring throughout this year.