Luna clicked the microphone to off and looked at Theo. They'd been doing this since Harry and that lot had fucked off to France. She didn't like French soup and thus had decided she'd rather stay. Plus, the magical mechanics of running a radio broadcast from across the Channel had stumped her. "So," she said. "That's that."
Theo did that thing where he bit his lip and worried at it with his teeth. "I think we won," he said.
Luna wasn't so sure. She liked Percy well enough, but power had a habit of twisting the people who wielded it, and he had developed quite a knack for directing the mob. Between him and that photographer girlfriend of his, wizarding Britain might be in safe hands, or they might have traded an obvious monster for a subtler one. Time would tell whether he liked the taste of authority too much.
Either way, she was tired of the radio broadcast. "Now what?" she asked.
A slow smile bloomed across Theo's mouth. "Have you ever considered travel?" he asked. "The Notts have a property on the edge of the Black Forest and I hear there have been some interesting creature sightings."
"What's the soup like in Germany?" Luna asked, but she was already mentally rummaging through her wardrobe and making a list of things she'd need to buy before they left.
. . . . . . . . . .
Mad-eye Moody clicked off the radio, leaned back in his chair, and smiled. Everything had worked out the way he'd wanted it to. He let his fake eye spin around and adjusted the power so he could see through Gabrielle's outer clothing but not her very lovely brassiere – he so adored French girls – or, Merlin forbid, her skin. The first few days with the eye had been a quick learning experience. Beauty really was only skin deep. He sighed with rapt pleasure, the turned his attention back to Molly.
He didn't bother to look through her jumper. Molly also rather liked good underwear, but sagging breasts held up by silk and lace were still sagging breasts and he'd rather not. "So," he said. "That's done."
"All's well that ends well," she said. She glanced over at the baby, doing one of her immediate assessments of the state of the nappy, and began to pull down powder and wipes. "And Percy as Minister. I hadn't expected that."
Moody shrugged. It had been a crapshoot, of course, but political dissidents who spent time in the public eye on trial often did well afterward. "I thought he might," he said. "Didn't tell him, of course, when I told him to bomb that office. But -."
"When you did what?" Molly's voice had gotten dangerously quiet and she set the container of Selwyn's Super-Absorbent Powder down on the counter with a very decisive thump. The baby on the front package glared at being treated thusly and opened its mouth to let out a silent wail.
"When I told him to go bomb that office." Moody stretched his feet out in front of him. "I knew he'd get himself caught and that Granger girl would have to testify against him. Got her well and truly fixed in with the Malfoys and their ilk, didn't it? No one doubted her after that." He closed both eyes and reached up a hand to scratch at his head. Did they have fleas in France? He was starting to wonder if he hadn't gotten fleas from the Delacour's kneazle. "I figured, he'd spent a little time in prison and then -."
Because his eyes were closed, he never felt the slap coming. Molly Weasley was not a dainty woman, and she'd raised seven not-dainty offspring, and she didn't hold back. The force of the blow nearly knocking him out of his seat, and based on the way blood began to stream from his nose, might have broken something. "What the hell is wrong with you, woman?" he demanded.
"Get oot," Gabrielle said. She had a frying pan in one hand and a furious set to her mouth. "Eef you are not oot of my house by zee time I count to five, I will knock you oot."
Moody had no idea what had set the crazed pair off, but he hadn't survived two wars by staying where he wasn't wanted. He left.
. . . . . . . . .
"These are wonderful, Mrs. Malfoy," Ron said, reaching for another biscuit. Draco suppressed his urge to roll his eyes. He'd never liked the ginger prat and was unlikely to start any time soon. Lazy. Self-righteous. He'd let Hermione wing her way off to what could have been a nightmare without any realistic plan to rescue her if things went south. And things could have gone very south indeed. That they hadn't would probably continue to astonish him for the rest of his life. Yaxley dead, Percy Weasley installed as Minister, and his own parents safe at last.
He flicked his eyes over to where she sat, head down in a conversation with Harry Potter. Potter he was probably going to have to learn to tolerate. He was the Chosen One, and they were friends, and since he hadn't gone off and conveniently married some French girl he would probably be moving back to Britain. Potter was the sort who would show up at inconvenient times, wholly oblivious to the possibility Hermione might have something better to do than solve his problems.
"Draco." Hermione looked up with pleasure on her face and he braced himself for what was surely coming next. "Harry and Ginny are planning to move into his townhouse in about a month. Isn't that wonderful?"
"The Black townhouse?" Narcissa asked.
"Yes," Potter said, a bit defiantly. "Sirius left it to me."
Narcissa nodded slowly, and the glint in her eyes made Draco nervous. "If I remember correctly," she said, "Aunt Walburga never updated that place."
Potter and Hermione glanced uneasily at one another, but Draco began to positively gloat at what was about to happen. Poor Harry Potter. He had no idea what he was getting himself into. Narcissa Malfoy with a project was a force to be reckoned with or, if you were smart and lucky, avoided. She didn't want that old dump, not her. What she wanted was –
"You must let me recommend a good decorator," she said. She was already reaching for a quill and writing a name down. "Not everyone is prepared to cope with the inevitable stash of Dark artifacts, and you'll need a general contractor as well, and building permits from the Ministry come much more quickly if you have the right witch on the job."
Harry Potter seemed a bit numb as Narcissa handed the parchment over to him. He couldn't leave her hand just hanging there, holding something out to him, but he didn't want to take it either, that much was obvious. Draco had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing out loud as the dumb prat tried to figure out what to do. He finally took the name and shoved it down into his pocket. "Nice of you," he said. "But you don't need -."
"Oh, I absolutely do," Narcissa said. "I can't let the savior of the wizarding world live in some outdated flat with just hordes of cobwebs and nixies and who knows what else."
Potter must have thought he'd found a way to keep her from busying herself with his life. "I think Draco was the savior this time around," he said.
"And after poor Lestrange was so sure it'd be you," Ron said. "Can we call you godslayer from now on?"
"No," Harry said flatly.
"Potter'll have to share the glory," Draco said. "And I'll share my mother's decorating skills." Potter looked utterly aghast and lost. He had no idea how to handle social manipulation and Draco began imagining all the horrible presents he could send the man that he would have to accept. Pansy would probably be churning out an unauthorized look at the Weasley family by the end of the week, and she was sure to include a chapter about the girl Weasley and Harry. He could probably get a signed copy if he asked her nicely enough. Or paid her.
"Then we are decided," Narcissa said. "I'm sure I still have a key. I'll send her an owl so we can get started tomorrow and I'll have her send the bills to me."
Harry looked helplessly at Ron who shrugged and handed him a chocolate covered biscuit. "Have you tried this kind?" he asked. "I think this kind is really quite good."
Harry took the biscuit.
. . . . . . . . . .
"So," Pansy Parkinson said, chewing on the tip of her quill as she smiled at the exhausted photographer. "Tell me again how you and Percy Weasley met."
. . . . . . . . . .
"It will be fine," Ginny said for the tenth time. She squinted at Harry's head, dancing in the flames of the floo call. "If she wants to pay for all the renovations that place needs, let her."
"I don't like her," Harry muttered. He knew he was being sullen and ridiculous but he didn't want to be in Narcissa Malfoy's debt for anything, and he was pretty sure knowing that was why she'd offered – insisted – on picking up the bill for a decorator he didn't even want. "She's horrid."
Ginny clucked in what he assumed was sympathy. "I could never have done what Hermione did," she said. "Making nice to the Malfoys. Forever. Can you imagine?"
Harry shuddered. He really didn't want to think about that too closely.
. . . . . . . . . . .
"Fucking Narcissa Malfoy," Antonin Dolohov said. He threw back the shot of whiskey and waved his glass in the air. He'd been drinking since Percy Weasley had stolen –stolen—the position he'd planned to manipulate himself into. He blamed Narcissa.
The bartended glared but poured another shot anyway.
"That bitch is a plague upon the earth," he said. "She's -."
He never got more out.
"I dunno what happened," the bartender said later to the overtired and indifferent Auror. "He was ranting about someone, and then he just choked to death."
"I hit him on the back a few times," a barmaid said. "Cast a couple of non-choking spells –."
"We use those a lot," the bartender said. "He's not the first to choke on a pretzel or something."
"Didn't work, though," the barmaid said. "Turned blue and bam. Dead."
The Auror sighed and nudged the body with his foot. This day had already been too long and he honestly didn't want to fill out the paperwork required for any kind of death where foul play was suspected, and the fool had probably had had too much and choked on a chip or something. Even Death Eaters – maybe especially Death Eaters today – could die that way. "Eh," he said. "I'll just throw the body into the indigent morgue with all the other dead bums, let them handle it."
"You're the professional," said the barmaid. "Can I get you a pint before you leave?"
"Don't mind if I do," he said. "Don't mind if I do."
. . . . . . . . . .
Hermione tossed first one shoe and then the other into the closet, then sank into a chair. Her feet hurt. Wasn't that the most pedestrian thing to be thinking about? She'd helped bring down a tyrant, seen a man she respected named Minister by screaming acclamation, and her best friend was moving back to Britain. Somehow, any day with all those things shouldn't also include sore feet. She bent down to rub one of them but Draco beat her to it.
"Let me." He sat on the floor in front of her and pulled her foot into his lap. She leaned back and closed her eyes as he pressed his thumbs into her instep, kneading away the pain.
"Keep doing that and I'll never let you leave," she said.
He snorted. "Unbreakable marriage vows."
"I could probably find a loophole," she said, her eyes still closed, "but keep that up and I'll be too distracted to bother."
His fingers worked their magic for another minute before pausing and she lifted her head off the back of the chair to look at him. "Problem?" she asked.
He pulled his lips up in a smile that she would have called a smirk once upon a time. "If what you're interested in is distraction," he said, "I can offer you a better alternative than foot massage."
She quirked her brows up. "Oh, really?" she asked.
He pulled himself up, leaned forward, and whispered into her ear. By the third sentence, her face had begun to burn as a blush overtook her cheeks. They'd been married for a while, but she'd had no idea how very detailed he could be in his planning. Or how filthy.
"Yes," she said faintly after he straightened all the way up. "That would be quite the distraction."
He held a hand out and she took it and let him lead her to their bed where he proceeded to prove that his skill at foot massage was, indeed, the least of his talents.
~ THE END ~
. . . . . . . . . .
A/N – Thank you to all the readers who came along on this journey with me. I hope you have enjoyed yourselves. Love to you all.