Hermione walked along a deserted corridor on the seventh floor, pausing to look out of one of the big windows. Below her lay the stunning grounds of Hogwarts, and Hermione felt a wave of nostalgia wash over her as she contemplated leaving the school for the final time that day. Of course she would be back as she overhauled the school systems, but it was the end of an era and Hermione was feeling sentimental. Her school days were now over, and she was about to venture into the adult world.
After the end of exams, and the excitement of Slytherin winning the quidditch cup, the last few weeks had been quiet and relaxing. The seventh years had made the most of their last few weeks at school, basking in the laid back lessons and freedom that had come with finishing their exams. Hermione had taken the chance to spend her time with her friends, even though she already knew she would see them all regularly once they left school.
Over the last couple of weeks, Hermione had heard Harry and Daphne talking about moving in together, and she was wondering about broaching the subject with Draco. With everything that had been going on, Hermione and Draco hadn't really spoken about the future, but it had been on Hermione's mind a lot lately. Not only did she want to focus on becoming an Animagi, but she wanted to focus on her relationship with Draco and their upcoming wedding.
Gazing out over the grounds she would soon be saying goodbye to, Hermione let her mind drift to the wedding she'd yet to start planning. However, she didn't have much of a chance to think about what sort of wedding she wanted before she became aware of someone approaching. Turning round, she sighed as Professor McGonagall rounded the corner, her face distorting into a grimace as she spotted Hermione.
"What are you doing, Miss Granger?" McGonagall snapped.
"Looking out of the window," Hermione replied flippantly.
"Why?" McGonagall asked. "Shouldn't you be packing? The train leaves in just over an hour. The carriages are just about to begin leaving for the station."
"As you said, I've got an hour before the train leaves," Hermione said with a shrug. "And my packing is already done. I'm just taking one final look around the castle."
"More like you're looking for more trouble," McGonagall muttered.
"I wasn't aware I'd been looking for any trouble in the first place," Hermione replied, narrowing her eyes at the Transfiguration Professor.
"You've done nothing but look for trouble since the minute you entered this school," McGonagall snorted. "I'm sure the Weasleys would testify to that. You've certainly caused plenty of trouble for that family."
"Anything that happened to the Weasleys they brought on themselves," Hermione snapped. "They chose to cause trouble when there really wasn't any need."
"From where I'm standing there was every need," McGonagall protested. "You can't honestly say you expected people to just sit back and let you and your family take charge of the wizarding world."
"Why not? People were quite happy to let Dumbledore do the same," Hermione retorted.
"Albus did no such thing," McGonagall argued, outraged at the suggestion that the former headmaster was anything like Voldemort and his family.
"Of course he did, he just kept quiet about his true intentions," Hermione countered. "For years, he pretty much ran the wizarding world and had all the power. He might not have been Minister for Magic in name, but Fudge was merely his stooge. He didn't make a move without consulting Dumbledore, and if Dumbledore didn't like something he was planning, he got it stopped. And as for Hogwarts, Dumbledore just did what he liked here before we started to open people's eyes to what he was truly like."
"Albus didn't want power, he wanted to save the world from your father's dictatorship," McGonagall said. "You lot on the other hand are just power hungry."
"Yes, we crave power," Hermione agreed with a nod of her head. "But we've never denied that. We've been upfront in our intentions to take control of the wizarding world. You can't say the same for Dumbledore. He took control on the sly, and most people weren't smart enough to see what was going on under their noses. Anyone who still thinks Dumbledore was a good guy needs their heads testing."
"And anyone who thinks you lot would ever be satisfied with a bit of power is fooling themselves," McGonagall retorted in a low hiss. "Sooner or later the power you have won't be enough and a full scale war will break out. You'll crush anyone who stands in your way, or at least you'll try. But you'll not succeed as long as I've got breath in my body."
"Is that a threat, Professor?" Hermione asked, arching an eyebrow at the older witch.
"No," McGonagall replied with a cold smile. "It's a promise."
Hermione bristled with annoyance as the old Professor turned on her heel and stalked back the way she'd came. Without thinking, Hermione pulled her wand from her pocket and quietly followed after McGonagall. At the end of the corridor was a flight of stone stairs, and just as McGonagall reached the top and was about to descend them, Hermione pointed her wand at the Professor's shoes and muttered a quiet spell. The spell snapped the low heel on McGonagall's shoe, and with a startled cry, the Transfiguration Professor lost her balance and went tumbling down the stairs before she could save herself.
Hermione winced at the noise, and quickly checking she hadn't been seen she moved over to the stairs and peered down them. McGonagall was lying motionless at the bottom of the stairs, although Hermione couldn't tell if she was breathing or not. Not wanting to take any chances, Hermione shot an obliviate curse to remove the conversation they'd just had out of McGonagall's head. She then turned and headed in the opposite direction, leaving McGonagall to whatever fate awaited her.
Half an hour later, Hermione was down at Hogsmeade train station with Draco, Harry and their friends. Other students were streaming onto The Hogwarts Express, but the group were all standing looking up at Hogwarts, thinking back on the last seven years and all that had happened.
"It seems strange doesn't it," Harry remarked. "To be leaving all this behind. So much has happened to us at Hogwarts."
"That's a bit of an understatement," Draco chuckled. "I don't think we ever managed to have a quiet year."
"Quiet is overrated," Hermione said with a shrug. "Personally, I liked the drama."
"It was fun," Harry agreed. "Although, I've preferred things since we've been able to be ourselves."
"Yeah, playing the perfect little muggleborn was tiring," Hermione said.
"You should have been in my shoes," Harry snorted. "I had the tougher job. I had Dumbledore and the Weasleys fawning all over me."
"Luckily they're all gone now," Draco said.
"Technically there are some Weasleys left," Harry pointed out.
"Not with any fight left in them though," Hermione argued. "Some might have survived, but they're all broken."
"Serves them right," Blaise said sharply. "They got everything they deserved."
"Yes, they did," Hermione agreed.
"We should be boarding the train," Daphne said, glancing to where the platform behind them was rapidly becoming deserted as the students boarded the train to go home.
"Let's get going," Harry said, taking one final look up at the castle before he took hold of his girlfriend's hand and led her onto the train.
Hermione and Draco also took a moment to take in the castle one final time, before they joined their friends on the train. Settling in the corner of the compartment, Hermione nestled into Draco as the train began to move.
"This is it," Draco whispered to Hermione as the others began to talk and laugh amongst themselves. "The beginning of the rest of our lives."
"And just how do the rest of our lives look?" Hermione asked, wondering if the time was right to ask Draco about their living arrangements.
"First, we need to decide where we're going to live," Draco answered, almost as if he'd read his fiancée's mind. "I don't know about you, but I don't want to live apart. Not when we've spent the last year virtually living together."
"Do you think we should get our own place, or should I move into the manor?" Hermione asked. "I don't think my house is an option, not unless you want to live with a baby."
"I'd rather not," Draco replied. "I guess the manor could work. Since Mother and Father have agreed to stay on at Hogwarts, they're not at home every night. Although, I do like the idea of having our own place."
"Somewhere in the country," Hermione added. "We're going to need some decent grounds."
"Yes we are," Draco agreed with a chuckle. "But until we find the perfect place, how about you move into my wing of the manor. It's private enough so that my parents won't bother us."
"And when do you want me to move in?" Hermione asked with a smirk.
"Tonight?" Draco suggested, even though he knew it wasn't really viable for them to move so quickly.
"You wish," Hermione laughed. "We might not be able to manage tonight, but we can do it sometime soon."
"The sooner the better," Draco said, sliding his hand up Hermione's thin top. "I don't want to sleep alone."
"Nor do I," Hermione agreed, grinning up at Draco. "Maybe I can sneak over later on."
"I'll hold you to that," Draco said. "I'll be waiting for you tonight."
"Let's hope I come then," Hermione replied.
"You will do if you sneak over," Draco retorted with a saucy wink.
Hermione chuckled at her fiancé, as they turned their attention to the rest of the group and joined in with the conversations their friends were having. For the rest of the journey, Draco and Hermione were content to spend time with their friends and all too soon the train pulled up at King's Cross Station and they disembarked for the last time.
Beth and Voldemort were both waiting for the trio when they disembarked from the train. The couple were standing talking to the Greengrasses and when they approached it was clear that Beth and Voldemort were inviting the family to join them for dinner that evening. Normally first night dinners were for family, which included the Malfoys, and now it would seem the Greengrasses were now going to be considered part of the family.
Dinner that evening was held at Malfoy Manor, and the entire family were present, including the two youngest members of the family – Charlotte and Caroline. The Greengrasses had also turned up for dinner, and they were fitting in with the family just fine.
"So here we are," Voldemort said as the entire family settled down to eat. "How was everyone's year?"
"Mine took an interesting turn today," Severus offered. "Shortly after The Hogwarts Express left this morning, Minerva McGonagall was found at the bottom of some stairs. Her heel had snapped, and she'd fallen down the stairs."
"Was she okay?" Hermione questioned.
"Sadly not," Severus replied with a shake of his head. "At her age the fall was too much for her, she died shortly after being found."
"How tragic," Beth remarked, even though her expression said she found the incident anything but tragic.
"Quite," Voldemort said with a slight smirk. "And did everyone else enjoy the rest of their final year?"
"We did," Hermione replied, smirking slightly at the news that McGonagall was no more. "It's going to be nice not having to go back to school. The rest of our lives start now."
"Just as long as you don't think all the hard work is over," Voldemort warned. "I won't deny we wouldn't be in this strong position if it hadn't been for the three of you. You've been invaluable over the last seven years, but the work must continue. We must ensure we keep hold of the power this time."
"We will," Hermione vowed as Harry and Draco made similar vows.
The trio were no longer Children of the Dark, they were adults, and they were going to do everything they could to ensure that the dark kept the power they'd spent the last seven years accumulating. It was their job to ensure that the wizarding world remained in the dark's control for Charlotte, Caroline and any other future Children of the Dark.
A/N – I want to say a big thank you for everyone who has supported me through this series. I have to admit when I started writing this series I never envisioned it would be so long. However, I've thoroughly enjoyed writing it and I hope people have enjoyed reading it.
I have no plans on writing another long story in this universe, but I will continue to add to the collection series. Although the collection pieces will now include pieces set after this point in time (Including more on McGonagall's death, Ginny's life as a werewolf and the trio's future work and love life).
Thank you for reading and reviewing, and I hope to see you all next time.