SURPRISE. The final chapter is uploading today instead of next week. Thank you for coming on this journey with me. I hope the end is satisfactory. There will be a rambly note at the bottom, but I won't keep you from the chapter! The first scene is what was cut from the last chapter.

Hermione pushed her jeans down her legs. "Draco?"

"Hmm?" He pulled his shirt over his head.

"He's terrified," she murmured, tugging the covers back. Waiting for him to slide into bed beside her, she pressed her cheek to the cool surface of her pillow. "We have to do something."

"It will all be over soon. Potter—"

"No," Hermione sat up. "We need to do something. He's our son and in a few hours he'll wake up from a nightmare, screaming until his throat is raw. They hurt my son."

Draco tried to tug her back down, but she wouldn't budge. "I know. He's my son too, and I promise you, when I find—"

"If you don't use Legilimency on me tonight, I'm going to Ron. You might have convinced Harry that it's too dangerous, but I know Ron will see it from my point of view." The sheets bunched around her waist. "Shouldn't we be doing everything we can to find them? The answers are right in front of us, Draco. I know you're scared, but I think it's a risk we need to take."

They've had this argument.

In fact, they've had it multiple times.

"His birthday is next week," Hermione whispered, her voice breaking. "I don't want him to be scared on his birthday."

He grimaced. "I don't want to lose you. I've just gotten you back, Hermione. If this doesn't work, then—"

"Then we start all over. Or you're free to decide that you don't want to—"

"Don't," he warned. "I would do it over and over again until the end of my fucking life if I had to. It's not just that though. You could lose your mind. We need to consult a healer."

"I can't wait for that." She met his gaze. "Draco, I trust you."

Draco reached behind him for his wand, scowling. "Well, that makes one of us, at least." He sat up and tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. "I love you more than my own life, you know that? Every time I look at you, I'm scared it might be the last time. I've already lived through losing you once. It could hardly be called living… I can't do that again."

"I'm not going anywhere, but if the worst were to happen—and I have faith that it won't—we'll overcome that. We always have."

His lips pressed to hers. Draco's wand brushed her temple as the whispered word unfurled across her skin. "Legilimens."

Hermione's fingernails dug into his thigh as he gently sifted through her memories. He was efficient, if a little slow—he heard that thought and hissed—until he arrived at the memory. She'd told him what they had done to her, to Scorpius, but to see it…

His anger rippled. Draco tore away from her as if the memory burned, his chest falling with a stuttered breath. His features screwed up with rage and Hermione was certain that she had never seen him angrier than he was then.

"That fucking bastard," he growled.

Draco paced the length of the sitting room, his hands closed in tight fists, and his jaw clenched. She wished he'd sit down beside her so she could offer some sense of comfort, but given the fact that he hadn't slept the entire night before, Hermione didn't believe there was anything that could be done.

Scorpius remained upstairs, safe and sound, with Clara and Crookshanks. He was irritated that he wasn't allowed to join them under any circumstances. Hermione checked the stairs every few moments just to be sure he hadn't snuck down. Soon enough, Clara would put him to bed and leave.

The old woman that had looked after her for so long was still a mystery to Hermione, but she would ask Clara to explain everything fully in the morning. There was still the burning question about how Crookshanks had arrived in France after Hermione was finally allowed to live on her own. From what she could remember, Hermione had sent her familiar to Australia with her parents.

The thought of her parents twisted sharply in her stomach. Now that she'd regained her own lost memories, she could only imagine how angry they would be if she was ever able to reverse the charm. It had been for the best, she would maintain that reasoning stubbornly, and it might have even been better that they didn't remember having a daughter considering she had disappeared for so long.

Hermione could reconcile one thought, however, and that was that she'd never fully understood just what she had done to her parents until her memories split her mind open in the middle of the night.

"What are you thinking about?"

"I was wondering how Crookshanks got here when he'd been in Australia, and that caused me to think of my parents."

His glare softened, and the sofa dipped under his weight. "Oh." Draco ran a thumb over her knuckles. "I see."

"Scorpius will probably never know his other set of grandparents." Her voice was low, shaky at best, and Hermione blinked back the tears that stung her eyes. "And with your father…"

It was the first time she'd broached the topic since Draco had sent a vase across the bedroom.

"He'll never get the chance to be near him." The promise filled the air and sunk into her bones. "As far as I'm concerned, he doesn't deserve to live in the same world as my son." The last two words were murmured so viciously that Hermione flinched. "I'm not—"

She nodded. "I know you wouldn't do anything to put us at risk, but Draco… you can't confront your father."

It was another disagreement, one that had rapidly festered over the last twenty four hours.

He clenched his jaw.

Swallowing, Hermione covered his hand with her own. "You'll kill him if you're in the same room, Draco. I think you're capable of many, many things, but being a father from Azkaban is not one of them."

Before Draco could say anything, plumes of green smoke filtered from the Floo and Harry stepped into the room. Dusting powder from his hair, Harry knocked the heels of his boots against the edge of the fireplace. "I don't have long. Robards has me working on—"

"You can stop working on that." Hermione and Draco exchanged a look. She stood, wiping her clammy hands against her jeans. "Draco used legilimency on me last night, and—"

"You did?" Harry's jaw dropped. "That's so fucking dangerous."

"If he hadn't, I would have gone to Ron. The pair of you want to protect me, and I know that, but my job is to protect our son." Hermione threaded her fingers through Draco's. "What's done is done and all that matters now is that he recognised the men that were sent to attack Scorpius and I."

Her legs threatened to give out as Draco began to explain. Lucius was no stranger to the seedier parts of the Wizarding World, specifically Knockturn Alley. While he'd maintained a front of a lobbyist inside the Ministry for several years, Draco had seen terrible looking wizards enter the manor as a child.

And while she didn't know exactly what those wizards did—Draco hadn't told her and she hadn't asked—she had an idea.

"There were always two he favoured," Draco explained. "Apparently, they're still doing his dirty work."

Harry appeared ill. His face whitened several shades, and he continued to turn his gaze back to her—as if he still couldn't believe she was really there. "You're sure?"

"Mother says they've always known about Granger and I. This isn't something I would have thought him capable of."

"It's not your fault." Hermione pressed a kiss to his shoulder. "You couldn't have known it was him."

He swallowed, his throat bobbing. "I should have known. You've been here for years. He's kept up the charade this whole time." Draco pulled away from her and rolled his shoulders. "I've been waiting for you to get here before I take a portkey back to England."

A strangled sound forced its way free of her throat.

"You're the only one I trust to keep me safe. I'm going straight to Robards for the arrest warrant."

Her head spun. This can't happen.

Harry shook his head. "You're too close to it. You can't even see what a terrible idea this is."

"Of course I'm bloody close to it!" Draco slid his wand into the holster hidden in his sleeve. "He took everything from me. My son didn't meet his father for years. I never saw his first steps. I never heard—"

They all went quiet as the pitter patter of small feet sounded on the stairs. Both Hermione and Draco turned to find Scorpius leaning against the banister. "Miss Clara went home, but she forgot to read me a bedtime story. Daddy?" He rubbed his eyes.

Draco pinned Harry with a hard look. "I'll be right back."

She watched him climb the stairs and pick Scorpius up, who waved to her over Draco's shoulder. All she could think about was that she wanted every night to be just like this. Hermione waited for a door to close upstairs and turned to look at Harry.

"Don't let him step one foot in that manor," she whispered, her voice breaking in the middle. "If he does, he won't come back."

"He's got great self-control." Harry's face gave it away. "He really does, but I think if he ever sees Lucius again, he'll probably do something the DMLE can't cover up."

Hermione pushed hair back from her face. "Please. I've only just gotten him back. Scorpius finally has his father."

Harry pulled her into a tight, one-armed hug. "You know I'll take care of it."

She hoped that Draco would see it from her point of view once everything was over.

Hermione had kept a straight face when Harry told them he would go to Robards to complete the paperwork and be back the day after. Draco, of course, expected to go with him.

She worried about his reaction when the time came and that never happened, but eventually, he'd have to see it from her perspective.

In the room across the corridor from theirs, Scorpius was still sleeping soundly when she poked her head in to check on him. She waited to see his chest moving with each breath, and watched him roll onto his side, nuzzling the pillow. Leaving Draco to sleep—it was rare that she woke before him, especially now—Hermione descended the stairs, pulling her jumper tighter around herself.

The soothing smell of freshly brewed tea caught her attention, and she saw Clara sitting on the sofa, her ankles crossed as she sipped her cup. "Good morning, dear. Draco told me I was welcome anytime, and I thought you must have questions."

Hermione took the spot at the end, leaning her back against the armrest. "I don't know what to ask…"

A smile curved Clara's lips. "Well, that's alright. I'll start at the beginning."

The beginning.

There was something so terrifying that engulfed Hermione whenever she thought about that day.

"As you remember, I discovered you on the edge of town, and it was a terrible sight. If anyone else had found you, I'm not sure you would have survived the night. You see, I'm the only witch here. No other wizards, either." Clara's fingers curled a little tighter around her mug. "Muggle medicine wouldn't have been able to heal you in time. You required several blood replenishment potions."

"I thought I was found in the morning… I was brought to the hospital in the morning—"

Clara nodded. "I didn't call for help until I stabilised you myself. At the time, I didn't know you were a witch. Your wand was missing."

It must have flown out of her hand when Bellatrix sent her hurtling into another country. Her wand could have landed anywhere.

Hermione gripped her replacement wand.

"I recognised Dark Magic at work, and once I was certain you would live, I took you to the Muggles. At that point, you really only required rehabilitation."

She'd had to learn to walk again, Hermione remembered with a bitter taste in her mouth. The trauma from the fall had been so great that it had led to extensive brain damage. Back then, she'd believed it to be from a beating.

"I never intended to insert myself into your life as a permanent fixture—though I'm so glad I did. When they told me you were pregnant at the hospital, it threw me for a moment because even then, I assumed that you must have known before you were—"

Swallowing, Hermione spoke softly. "I did know. We were in the middle of a war, and I kept it from Draco—from everyone. The woman that cursed me... She—she nearly killed me in Malfoy Manor."

Clara reached out and gripped Hermione's hand.

Hermione cleared her throat. "Anyway, please continue."

"Once I knew you had every intention of seeing the pregnancy to term and raising this little boy, I decided to go back to England. I hadn't been home in some twenty years, possibly longer. It's so easy to lose track. Once there, I sought out those two boys, though I never spoke to them directly. When I saw Draco alongside Harry though, I knew." Her expression darkened and Clara fidgeted in her seat.


"I've delayed the happiness of your family for quite a long time, Hermione. I'm not sure it's something that can be forgiven. Even though I know you will, I'm certain you shouldn't extend that kindness to me. If I had gone to him earlier, he could have been here for Scorpius' birth."

Hermione reached for Clara's hand and gripped it. "It wouldn't have mattered. I could have never trusted him, and I think I would have run away from Draco had I seen him. I was terrified back then."

"At the time I believed Draco could have done this to you. The chains of pureblood ideals are not so easy to break, and I have to admit that I doubted him. Merlin, when he came here, I wasn't sure what to think."

"You were always so supportive of him, and you pushed me toward him." Hermione laughed.

"All it took was seeing him with Scorpius and you just the once and it was evident that this man had searched for you." Clara hesitated. "Has he told you how he found you yet?"

Hermione watched Clara shift in her seat. "He said he showed someone a picture not far from here."

"It was me." Clara grinned then. "I saw him long before he saw me, and I keep a supply of Potions."

"Polyjuice?" Hermione breathed. "You must have had to hurry home to get back to him."

Clara waved a hand. "He took his time asking people if they'd seen you. Seemed he wasn't going to take no for an answer."

That sounded just like him.

"He showed me a photograph that he pulled from his wallet. It was worn and faded, but there was no mistaking you. Your name was scrawled across the bottom, and it was impossible to not see how utterly devoted he was to you. I told him you were here and I decided then that I had spent too much time not being supportive."

Her heartbeat pounded in her ears.

"While I realise this sounds kind of me, it's not. I tried to control your life, Hermione, for what I thought was better, and that's not kind at all."

Hermione couldn't deny the fault with it. She knew that, on some level, it was terrible, but knowing it all now served as a balm. "It's not, but I forgive you."

"To go back a bit, I ran into that red headed friend of yours in a particularly rough stage of grief when I was visiting England. Clearly, Polyjuice isn't an issue for me. I found him in a pub when he was inebriated, and still grieving. I asked him if you had any family. He let it slip when I kept digging. I went to Australia. I learned that you had sent your parents there under a heavy Obliviation charm. I never spoke to them."

"Were they happy?"

Clara winced slightly. "Yes, they were."

That was enough for Hermione. "You brought Crookshanks to me."

"I did." She smiled. "I didn't bring him directly to you. Instead, I set him loose just next to my house before you picked Scorpius up after work."

"By the time I got there, Scorpius had already decided to adopt him." It suddenly made much more sense that Crooks had bounded to her and leapt into her arms that day. "Clara, Draco and I will most likely return to England permanently. I hope it's not too much to ask, but can we still—"

"You won't need to travel to France to see me, dear." Clara smiled. "I've already decided that if you move, I think I'd like to move as well. I fancy myself a rather excellent grandmother—even if it's only a surrogate—and I'm not sure I could stand not seeing the both of you often." She patted Hermione's hand. "I should go, dear. Draco's waiting for you."

Hermione glanced over her shoulder and found Draco leaned against the doorway. He nodded to Clara as she let herself out, tucking his hands into his pockets. "How are you feeling?"

She hoped the day that he stopped asking her that question was drawing closer. "She answered all my questions."

Pushing away from the wall, Draco took the spot next to her. "Did I hear you say you want to return to England?"

It was too much to ask for him not to have heard that, she supposed. Hermione hadn't actually told him her thoughts, but she'd known it was what he'd want.

Hermione cleared her throat. "I can't imagine not going back. Everyone I know is there. Harry, Ron, and I know you've said you could work anywhere, but I want you to keep your career."

His arm slid around her shoulders and Hermione rested her temple against him. "It's still home to me."

"Then we'll go." Draco's voice was soft as he rubbed the nape of her neck, and she melted into him. "We'll go wherever you want, Granger."

"As soon as this is over."

Out of all the things that had been recently introduced to Scorpius—like the concept that HE could fly on a bloody broom—he was most curious about the Floo. Several times now, he'd seen someone arrive through it.

In the stretch of time between dinner and bedtime, Hermione found him creeping around the fireplace. He poked the grate before leaning away as if something might burst forward. His eyebrows dropped when nothing happened at all. "How do I use it?"

Draco spluttered, "You don't."

"It's because I'm a kid, isn't it?"

They hadn't seen her yet, so Hermione covered her mouth to stifle a laugh.

"Where would you go if you could?" Draco rested his hip against the sofa, and folded his arms over his chest, his Auror uniform crinkling with the movement.

He'd been wearing it all day, and Hermione was positive it was because of the comment she'd made about enjoying the sight of him in it.

Scorpius stared up at the Floo powder that was just out of his reach. "Hogwarts."

Draco's face softened and he knelt down. "We'll go soon, I promise."

"But I can't go until I'm eleven."

He chuckled. "We'll go watch the Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch match. That one's sure to be a good one."

"Do you think I'll like Quidditch?"

Merlin, she hoped not.

"Maybe. I've always loved riding a broom, but Mum hates them."


"You should ask her sometime. It doesn't make much sense now that she's ridden a dragon." Draco let that fact drop as he feigned nonchalance. Their son caught it, however, and squealed.

"A dragon?"

"A dragon."

"They're real?"

Draco nodded. "If you go get yourself ready for bed without stalling, I'll tell you all about them before you go to sleep."

Scorpius shot out of the room, skidding across the wooden floor and sprinting up the stairs.

Watching from around the corner, Hermione was about to tell him that story wasn't child friendly when the Floo crackled. Narcissa's face appeared in the flames, panic stricken and void of colour even in the greenish hue.

A terrible shriek sounded through the room, and Hermione expected him to come running back down the stairs. "Is it true?"

Draco's eyes narrowed as he opened his mouth, but not a single word came out.

"Harry Potter just barged into the manor with more Aurors than I've ever seen—" Narcissa broke into sobs. "He arrested your father. Is it true? Did he keep her—Hermione—" Hermione could tell she couldn't breathe.

Unable to stop herself, Hermione hurried to Draco, gripping his hand in her own.

"It's true." Draco ground out, and he didn't return the motion as she squeezed his hand. "He sent Hit Wizards to attack Hermione and kidnap Scorpius after Astoria leaked the news."

Narcissa sank her fingers into her hair. "I didn't know, Draco. You must believe—Miss—Hermione, I'm so—"

"I don't blame you." Hermione couldn't quite believe the sight of the breakdown before her. "You've proven that you would never hurt your son, and I know you'd never hurt your grandchild."

She shook her head fervently, and Hermione could see Aurors pacing in the background. When Hermione heard 'Missus Malfoy', Narcissa wiped her face and closed the Floo without another word.

Draco stepped away from her, his nostrils flaring. "Did you know Potter was going to arrest my father today?"

Hermione thought she would have withered under his fierce glare if she were any other woman. "I begged him to do it. You can be angry with me for as long as you want, but I don't regret it and I wouldn't take it back."

She wanted to reach for him, but Hermione didn't know how the gesture would be received.

"It was selfish," Hermione whispered, and hearing him agree cut her deeply. "I know who you are, Draco, and I trust you infinitely, but I also know what I would do if I was face to face with that man."

Draco's boots were heavy against the floor as he closed the distance between them and pulled her into his chest. One arm locked around her middle, and he ran his other hand over her hair. "It's nothing compared to what I would have done."

Nodding, Hermione murmured, "I know."

They stood there for several moments, swaying slightly. "It feels like it can't possibly be over."

"Yet it is." Hermione pressed her lips to his jaw. "We'll need to go to England quickly. There will, undoubtedly, be a trial. We'll need to pack. With magic, we'll be able to finish it in no time at all."

It was easy, so easy to slip into what came next.

It was probably because she'd been waiting for years to go home.

"First, we'll need to put Scorpius to bed." His lips brushed the top of her hair. "And then I think we'll be a bit distracted for an hour."

She smirked. "An hour?"

Lean fingers curled into the soft flesh of her hip. "At the very least."

Swatting his chest, Hermione grinned. "Make your Gringotts story short and cast a silencing charm. I'll wait for you in the bedroom."

Just like Hermione had said, packing was simple with the aid of magic, but she'd insisted on boxing up her kitchen by hand. Scorpius gathered his toys while explaining to Crookshanks that they were going to their new home. He made sure to tell Crooks that there would still be mice for him to eat.

Hermione very sincerely hoped that wouldn't turn out to be true.

After deciding to wait to purchase a home, hoping the perfect one would appear on the market soon—even though Draco insisted he could make the perfect house turn up in a listing—they found a flat in London that was sizably larger than the one he'd shared with Harry and settled in nicely.

Scorpius spent most of his time playing in the large sitting room, dragging toys out that he was slowly starting to put back in order. He stared out the window at Diagon Alley below, and his favorite nights were the ones when George hosted fireworks at the joke shop. It was nearly impossible to pull Scorpius away from the spot by the window where his breath fogged up the glass when the sky lit up in a flurry of colours.

There weren't many rules in their home in the weeks that followed them into the beginning of the year, but there was one that Hermione strictly followed: The Daily Prophet wasn't allowed in their home.

Eventually, Scorpius would learn every detail of their lives, but she worried about him hearing it all so soon. Even still, Draco kept his Dark Mark hidden beneath a strong glamour. She, too, hid her own scars from the war. Currently, the news of them—mostly her and Scorpius—was still dominating every publication well into February.

It had all come out quite quickly once they had landed in the Ministry after taking an international portkey. Reporters had swarmed them from all sides, and Hermione had kept Scorpius sitting on her hip—even as he muttered he was far too old for that—and Draco draped his robes over their son's head as cameras flashed.

Neither of them detailed the nature of their relationship, or exactly when it had begun, but it had made its way into the new anyway. And word traveled fast. Suddenly, everyone knew that during the war—during the time that Draco Malfoy had turned against Voldemort—they had fallen into each other and had never come apart.

There were theories about what their lives must have been like, and when confronted with the question, Hermione snapped that yes, it had been difficult never knowing if she would ever see him again. In public, he always held onto her a little longer, and Hermione chose not to be bothered by it. Scorpius clung to them all the same, confused by all the attention his parents drew.

There was no talk of Lucius Malfoy in their home. Scorpius had no idea who the man was, and as Narcissa visited as often as she could—which had been another source of contention for Hermione—it was clear she had no aims to mention her husband ever again either.

In fact, it hit the Daily Prophet within two days of Lucius' arrest that she was petitioning for divorce.

The trial, if it could even be called that, didn't last long.

Hermione had submitted the memories that had been captured by mind healers, and there hadn't been any room for error. She sat in the room, her knee jumping up and down as her stomach rolled over on itself, until Draco rested his hand on her thigh, warmth tricking through her jeans.

All she'd ever needed to know was why and Lucius hadn't been able to hold back the truth as the Wizengamot granted the use of Veritaserum.

Bellatrix had uncovered the pregnancy during the second bout of torture Hermione had fallen under at Malfoy Manor, and after they had escaped, she'd informed Lucius.

Hermione wasn't sure she would ever understand what had compelled him to opt for cursing her rather than killing her. Perhaps it was the mad witch's doing, to curse her to suffer all alone so far from home. Perhaps it was possible that Lucius hadn't wanted to kill Scorpius.

After all, he had sent men specifically to kidnap him instead.

Neither she nor Draco thought a life sentence was enough, but as it turned out, the Ministry had long since done away with Dementors.

"We never have to see him again," she murmured as the crowd stood.

Draco led her toward the exit, their fingers threaded together. "I love you." Pulling her into him, he cupped her face and kissed her like he imagined it was the last time. "I look at you and I can't believe you're here still."

"He's watching us." She didn't need to look to know Lucius was staring as he was led away.

"Good. He needs to know how much I love you." Draco tilted her chin up and slanted his lips over hers.

In another life, Hermione Granger would have worked at the Ministry. She imagined she would have worked in the Department of Magical Creatures, and would have worked her way up the chain of the DMLE as well since it had always been her plan to climb her way to the top. In that life, she probably would have run for Minister.

She would have won, by the way.

In this life, Hermione didn't waste a moment pondering about things people expected of her.

Unexpectedly in the Spring, Flourish and Blotts shut down. Seizing the opportunity, she opened a bookstore that was all her own after buying the space. In a way, it felt like it was always meant to happen. After a successful launch, she stumbled through the flat with Draco, hands roaming over his chest, and pretended she hadn't seen a tell-tale box stashed in his pockets earlier that day.

There were no more dreams that bubbled up in her subconscious, but it still took months before the fear of forgetting everything completely went away. When she woke in the middle of the night, Hermione usually found Draco protectively wrapped around her. He'd taken to sleeping with his want, too.

On a trip to Hogwarts, Scorpius watched a Quidditch match in awe before declaring that he was going to be a Seeker some day, and Draco smugly informed him that he'd held that same spot back in school.

Hermione had little doubt that the boy growing up all too fast for her liking would be placed in Slytherin when the time came. Harry tried to convince him that Gryffindor was better, but he hadn't managed well against Pansy and Draco arguing their point.

She'd seen it fit to not get in the middle of it, and told Scorpius at bedtime that he could be in whatever house he liked.

The second of May arrived and Hermione had sat on the sofa, waiting for the clock to hit midnight. That night, she hadn't slept at all, and Draco found her still sitting there when he arrived home from a mission early in the morning. He took one look at her and sunk to his knees between her thighs. Resting his head in her lap, she combed her fingers through his hair as Draco whispered, "I'm going to spend the rest of my life giving you everything you want."

He's already done so, but Hermione didn't breathe a word as they sat together, his breath falling steadily to her thigh until he drifted to sleep.

It was impossible to sleep given the day and the memories it brought. Hermione had planned to stay inside, but Draco told her over a late breakfast that there was something he wanted to show her. "It won't take long, I promise. Then we can come home and spend the day doing whatever you like."

Draco held onto Scorpius as he Apparated and Hermione followed shortly after.

Hogsmeade looked the same, but it felt different.

Even as Draco chased Scorpius, who burst into giggles, through a patch of grass outside the village, Hermione couldn't help but notice the signs that the second of May had happened years and years before. It showed in the chipped brick on a building, and the empty spaces where businesses had never recovered.

Draco latched onto her sides and tickled her until she wrenched free of him. "That's not very nice."

He smirked. "Neither is the way you tickle me in the mornings, but—"

"You weren't complaining yesterday morning." Hermione shot back as he tugged her forward. "As you can recall, that turned out very well for you."

And it had by the way he'd pinned her to the bed with every intention to tickle her, but he'd sunk into her instead.

"What are you going to show me?" She sighed as onlookers caught sight of them.

Draco asked Scorpius to sit on the bench, and pressed a kiss to her temple. "They honored those who were killed during the final battle. Potter and Weasley gave me the chance to say goodbye in the only way I could back then." He stepped onto the granite slab and guided her toward it. "Can you find your name?"

She leaned forward, scanning the slab as several other names greeted her. Her eyes began to sting with each additional line.

Fred Weasley.

Remus Lupin.

Nymphadora Tonks.

Hermione wanted to stop to read the words that accompanied them, but she paused when she found her own name. She couldn't breathe.

Hermione Granger

1979 - 1997

Order of the Phoenix Member, Dumbledore's Army, Order of Merlin, First Class—posthumously.

"You've always been the best of me."

"Oh, my God." Hermione covered her mouth, her hands trembling as she stared up at him. "This… You..."

Draco gave her a watery smile. "They haven't fixed the fact that you're alive yet. It's a mess of bureaucratic shite, and— None of that matters. I'm fucking rambling." He raked his fingers through his hair. "I'm in love with you. I've been in love with you since I was seventeen years old. I'll love you today, tomorrow, and every day after." He stroked her cheek, and the corner of his mouth lifted as she leaned into him.

"I love you, too." It was a single breath, and then it didn't truly matter if anyone—or everyone—was watching. "You waited for me."

"Of course I waited. Merlin, Granger, did you even read that?" He laughed halfheartedly. "There was never anyone else. I told Potter I knew it then, and I knew it every day until I saw you again." Draco glanced down as Scorpius tugged the hem of his shirt.

"Did you tell her yet?"

Hermione cocked her head to the side, and wiped her eyes. "What is it?"

"Scorpius wanted me to tell you that he would like a little brother. He's rather sure he wants a brother and not a sister," Draco managed, and it was clear that this hadn't been the way he planned to bring it up as he mouthed an apology.

She giggled. "Maybe one day, okay?"

Scorpius grinned triumphantly. "Can I have my little brother for Christmas?"

"Erm," Draco rubbed the back of his neck. "Might be a bit late." They watched Scorpius make his way back to the bench, and a smirk curved his lips. "You know, it might take a lot of practice."

Hermione snorted. "I assume you're up for the challenge."

His smirk was sinful. "I've always enjoyed a good challenge."

She ran her fingers over the words she never wanted to forget one more time. Pulling the delicate chain from under her shirt, she cracked the locket open. "You know, if we really stop to think about it, you say that I'm the best part of you, but it's really Scorpius." Her lips curved upward when Draco caught her hand and raised it, brushing his lips over her knuckles. "He's the best part of you."

He smirked. "Agree to disagree, Granger. Maybe he's the best of both of us."

That, she could agree on.

I can't believe it's over? I'm so grateful to have had the best readers in the whole fandom, and the best support team to light the way. Frumpologist, mcal, dreamsofdramione, and the tumblr user who submitted the prompt that brought this story to life. I never, ever in a million years expected this story to get the attention it did. It's been exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time. Feel free to let me know what you think in a review, PM me on FFN, or contact me via tumblr!

This will be my last dramione upload for a while, but I'm actively working on a new multi-chapter (dramione marriage law from Draco's POV) that I'm hoping to publish in May. You can find sneak peeks on my tumblr at mrsren96!

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.