a/n: Please be considerate to other readers and DO NOT INCLUDE SPOILERS IN YOUR REVIEWS.

Chapter 28: Certain Tomorrows


Eventually, they made their way back to Hogwarts to sit for their N.E.W.T.s—Draco and Hermione, that is. The others considered themselves somewhat above the concept of exams, considering that while Ron was already busy working with the Order, Harry was… rather uninterested in exams (as he had always been) and Theo had recently inherited the entire of his mysteriously deceased father's wealth (an unsolvable mystery, ruled the Aurors—almost as if the person who'd committed the crime had simply disappeared from the face of the earth).

There were some in-between bits, of course, including leaving the universe they'd temporarily occupied. Their return to their own reality came courtesy of a not-entirely-sober other Narcissa, who'd gleaned significant bits of Tom's understanding of magic during her service to him.

"Doesn't matter which wand does it," she scoffed into her near-empty glass, which had once contained a dirty martini she'd inexplicably known how to locate in James Potter's house. "The entire point of apparition is it requires destination, doesn't it? That's the only problem. Knowing there is another universe is valuable enough information to get you there," she sniffed at Draco, "and besides, I simply went through the hole you left."

"Should probably close that up," Hermione murmured to Draco, who fervently nodded his agreement.

They'd taken one set of the Hallows with them, though by then they'd nearly lost track of which was which. It had taken Lily grudgingly confessing where she'd hid their universe's version of the Elder Wand (as a thief, she evidently had a number of truly successful hiding spots, none of which she would permit them to see) before distributing their universes items one by one: the wand to Draco, the stone to Hermione, and the cloak to Harry.

It was James who gave back the cloak, resting a hand on Harry's shoulder.

"I don't know your dad," James said carefully, "but I'm sure he was great."

"Unlikely," Lily said, shrugging. "In my experience, he was probably a too-rich arrogant toadstool."

"True," James agreed, "but I can promise he loved you."

"Yes," Lily said, nodding firmly. "That we can definitely promise you."

Harry managed a smile. "Thanks," he told them, before flashing a stern look at his other self. "Be grateful you have them."

"I hardly need you telling me what to do," said the other Harry, "but yeah, fine." He cleared his throat gruffly, glancing with what was obviously unmistakable relief between his reunited parents. "I suppose I'm rather relieved."

They'd left the other universe in good hands, or so they hoped, saying their goodbyes and repairing the shattering between worlds after passing back through to their own.

"What are you all going to do with those?" Ron asked, glancing between the wand Draco was holding and the stone in Hermione's hand. The stone in particular was no longer producing any noticeable results, which was somewhat (read: immensely) frustrating to all of them, particularly Hermione. They'd never worked out what made any of the Hallows work, and there was certainly little to no explanation now that they'd returned.

Perhaps, they'd finally settled to reason, some things simply had no explanation.

"We could… share them?" Draco asked, glancing at Harry. "Minus the cloak, I suppose. That's yours."

"Well, not necessarily," he said.

"Shut up," Draco advised succinctly, and Harry grinned. "It was your dad's, so it's yours."

"Fine, I accept," Harry said, shrugging, "in which case, you can have the wand. Provided we can collectively use its singular proclivity for property damage when necessary."

"And this?" Hermione asked, holding up the stone. "I suppose I could just… hold onto it," she said, not particularly interested in confessing she'd actually attached some degree of sentimentality to it.

After all, it had brought her Draco precisely when she'd needed him.

"Yes, do that," Harry agreed. "Besides, we'll all still be working together anyway, won't we?"

"Only if you ask nicely," came a drawl from behind them, and Harry spun, turning to find Theo leaning casually against the doorframe of the drawing room in the old Black house.

"You're remarkably not dead," Theo commented to Harry. "Unless you're… undead?"

"Are you asking me if I'm a vampire, Nott?" Harry said.

"If anyone's a vampire, it's obviously Draco," Theo said, kicking his foot out aimlessly and taking a step towards them. "You look your usual idiotic self, Potter."

Harry's mouth quirked. "Miss me, did you?"

"Sorry, were you gone?" Theo mused. "Must've missed it."

"Oh, bloody hell," Ron grumbled, glancing at Draco. "Are they always like this?"

"Worse," Draco assured him, but by then Harry had already crossed the room, taking hold of Theo's face with one hand.

"Did you take care of your dad?" Harry asked.

"A bit, yeah," Theo said. "Murder your nemesis?"

"Murder? Never," Harry said. "Though he is vanquished, no thanks to you."

"You're honestly," Theo sighed, "the least tolerable hero I've ever met."

"I know," Harry assured him, and kissed him.

Some things, it seemed, never quite varied world to world.

The period in between returning to their universe, setting everything back in its place (as much as possible, anyway), and sitting for their exams consisted largely of studying. There were reprieves, naturally—moments when Draco would suddenly crave detailed knowledge about a birthmark Hermione had (on her upper thigh, just under her skirt) or Hermione would wonder, academically speaking, whether perhaps Draco might taste better between her lips in the library than he would in her bed (ultimately a wash, though always worth the study)—but mostly it was a time of finding their footing as the rest of the world did the same, slowly recovering from the damage Tom Riddle had caused.

If people were surprised to see Draco and Hermione together, no one remarked on it. Draco had the Elder Wand concealed during his exams ("It's cheating to use an unbeatable wand," Hermione had scolded them when Ron, always the most inclined to locate loopholes, had suggested it) while a seat away, Hermione had fiddled with the stone around her neck, having made that her new nervous habit (an improvement on fidgeting with her hair, which according to Narcissa was a particularly unimpressive tell).

In fact, no one said anything to them at all, really, minus Luna Lovegood, who bumped into them on their way back after their exams.

"Oh, hi Draco," she said airily, "and Hermione, I see you've come back. That's nice."

"What?" Hermione asked, stunned, but by the time they'd registered her remark, she'd skipped down the hall, humming to herself and leaving them to make their way out of the castle.

It had been Hermione's idea to stop by the lake. They'd paused to take one last look out onto the parts of the castle that hadn't been ruined as they prepared to make their departure, headed away from Hogwarts for what would soon (optimistically speaking) be the remainder of their lives.

"You know," Hermione murmured, leaning her head back against Draco's chest, "I wonder if there's a universe out there where we've always loved each other."

"Where we were never enemies, you mean?" he asked, and she nodded.

"Yeah. Maybe there's a version of us who managed to just… put all that aside." She shrugged. "Maybe, somewhere, we've just been together forever."

"Maybe," Draco permitted, brushing his lips against her forehead, "though I wouldn't trade it, I don't think."

"You wouldn't?" she asked, turning to smile up at him.

"No," he said, shaking his head. "If I had to go through hell just to be worthy of you, I'd do it again. In a heartbeat," he promised her. "Everything it took to find you, I'd do it again, Granger, and it'd be worth it every time."

In lieu of telling him she knew precisely what he meant, she arched a brow.

"That," she said, "was very romantic."

"I know, I heard it," he lamented, tightening his arms around her. "Too romantic, do you think?"

"Almost," she grimly agreed. "Should probably ruin it somehow."

"Well, easy," he assured her. "From what I can tell, your last answer on the Transfiguration N.E.W.T. was unnecessarily wordy."

She turned to face him, scoffing. "It wasn't wordy, that's ridiculous—"

"It was," he said, "and furthermore, I have doubts about your History of Magic answers, too."

"Okay, that's just ludicrous," she said, and in answer, he smiled, tugging her closer.

"It's okay," he murmured to her, his lips brushing her ear and then sliding down, slowly, to the line of her neck. "We'll find out in August, won't we? When I get a better score, that is," he mused, hands bunching at her skirt as she fumbled with his zipper, rolling her eyes.

"Shut up," she said, pulling him into her and backing against one of the trees that overlooked the lake, sliding a hand into his trousers. "We both know I've already beaten you, Malfoy—"

He slid an arm around her waist, propping her up and letting his free hand drift up her thigh, toying with the thin cotton of her knickers. "Hardly, Granger."

She gasped, his fingers busying themselves between her legs. "Hurry up," she whispered to him, digging her nails into the back of his neck, "or someone's going to see."

"Frankly, I'm surprised you've gotten so reckless," he told her, positioning her legs around his hips and chuckling into her neck as she whimpered softly in his ear. "And to think, somewhere there's certainly a version of you who would never condone this sort of behavior—"

"And a version of you who knows better than to keep theorizing," she warned, successfully kissing him into silence, tasting the familiar sweetness that had yet to wear away. He smiled against her lips, satisfied, and in the space between racing pulses, both of them locked eyes for a moment; just long enough to make the same promises they always made.

Specifically, that whatever version of them they could have been, this one was solidly their favorite.


"Oh, god," Hermione exhaled, letting her head fall back as Draco's groan fell, muffled, into the side of her neck, both of them still breathing hard. "Draco, that was—"

"Impressive? Yes," he rasped with a laugh, lips pressed into her shoulder, "I agree."

Hermione rolled her eyes, trying to disentangle herself from him and stopping as she realized his Head Boy badge had locked itself unhelpfully in place with her Head Girl pin, the two of them momentarily stuck in place as she fumbled to release them. This was not an uncommon occurrence; nor was the lakeside fuck, really, which had been something of a traditional practice since they'd lost their virginities to each other after having snuck out of Professor Binns' class in fifth year. They'd been dating since the fourth year Yule Ball, of course. He'd asked, she'd said yes. There was never any question he'd been attracted to her, and she to him. Some things, they'd always reasoned, were clearly inevitable, if not simply meant to be.

"Help me," she said, nudging him. "We're going to be late."

He leaned as far back as he could to get a look at the pins. "Did you bring the diadem?" he asked, carefully dislodging the corner of his badge from where it had dug into the wool of her cardigan.

"Yes, of course," she said impatiently, exhaling with relief as he finally managed to extricate them. She'd have to repair the inevitable stretch in the material, but that was hardly a sacrifice, all things considered. "So interesting, isn't it? The way it's basically a walkie-talkie between worlds? Though," she amended thoughtfully, still fussing with the wool, "I suppose if it's supposed to provide wisdom, then of course that must include wisdom from all the worlds—"

"What's a walkie-talkie again?" Draco asked.

"Oh, sorry," she said, catching a smudge of her lipstick on his collar and fumbling for her wand, waving it away. "It's a communication device. Sort of like, um… radios?" she asked, and he nodded, grasping the concept. "But, you know. Directly sourced."

"Interesting. I love all your little muggleisms," Draco said, kissing her quickly, then again, lingering a little. "So fascinating."

"Well, it's not ancient house of Malfoy, but it's helpful enough," she agreed, shoving him away to fix his tie and then brushing some loose tree bark from her skirt before kissing his cheek, swiping at the remnants of makeup with her thumb. "Let's go, shall we?"

He nodded, gesturing for her to walk ahead, and they made their way back to the Headmaster's office, delivering the password ("Fizzing Whizbees") to the gargoyle before finding Dumbledore waiting expectantly for them, beckoning them to their usual seats.

"Well?" he said without preamble, and Hermione reached into her bag for the diadem, sliding it across the table to him.

"Everything went precisely as planned, sir," she told him. "We can confirm Tom Riddle is dead, and so is Grindelwald."

"Ah, excellent," Dumbledore said, looking pleased. "Thank you, Miss Granger. You two have been an invaluable resource."

"Well, we do expect to be compensated," Draco reminded him drily, glancing at Hermione. "Now that we've finished with school, Headmaster, we're going to need jobs."

"Oh, you'll have them," Dumbledore assured them, and they exchanged smugly pleased glances, Draco pointedly nudging Hermione's knee with his and pairing it with a subtle wink in satisfaction. "Oh," Dumbledore said, remembering. "Did they manage to sort out the Deathly Hallows?"

"No," Hermione said, shaking her head. "They never sorted out Grindelwald's warning, either."

"Mm, pity. No version of Gellert is ever very good at this," Dumbledore sighed, shaking his head. "Did Tom's Narcissa tell them why she had the diadem?"

"No," Draco said. "And the other one didn't tell them, either."

"Ah, she can always be counted on for secrecy, whatever form she takes," Dumbledore said with a chuckle, pausing a moment in thought before adding, "Well, no matter. The game continues, as it usually does."

"What's next?" Draco said, glancing at Hermione before they both returned their attention to Dumbledore. "Are we going there now, or…?"

He trailed off, expectant, and Dumbledore sat back in his chair, considering it.

"No," he said after a moment, shaking his head. "No, I think we should let them rebuild, first," he mused, giving his beard a contemplative tug. "Give them some time to recover, I think."

"Why?" Hermione asked, frowning. "Won't it be easier to go now, while things are still damaged?"

Dumbledore shrugged. "Maybe, maybe not. Either way," he said, absently fingering the edges of the diadem sitting on his desk, "let's let them have this one, shall we?"

Draco drummed his fingers against the arm of his chair. "For now, right?"

Dumbledore smiled, glancing between Draco and Hermione before nodding slowly, leaning back to close his eyes. They'd need to learn patience, he thought, though he was fairly confident they would. They would learn his patience, in fact, which had outlasted all the others.

"Yes," he said, beatifically certain. "For now."

For him, there would always be tomorrow.


a/n: A million thanks for reading; not every story is to everyone's taste, this one being no exception, but I'm glad it found its audience with those of you who've given it (and me) your love.

Should you wish to continue following my work, my other long WIP, The Commoner's Guide to Bedding a Royal, is very much ongoing, and I would expect to see some new one shots in Amortentia very soon. I'll definitely be doing a Dramione WIP for the holidays starting December 1, so... you know where to find me. Also, check out the playlist for this story on spotify—it's definitely a specific mood, but a weirdly satisfying one.

My next book, Lovely Tangled Vices, will be released on October 31, 2018 and is currently available for ebook preorder, should you have any interest. You can find a link to that and my other original work on olivieblake dot com.

As ever, it has been an honor to put down these words for you, and I hope you've enjoyed the story.

xx Olivie