Title: Harry Potter and the Mirror of Paradox

Author: Yih

Disclaimer: I own nothing except Sahar Lestrange & Signy the Basilisk.

Beta: The bloody brilliant Blackumbridge.  


33: Graduation and Gala (October 24, 2003 to October 25, 2003, November 8, 2003 to November 10, 2003)

The summer awaited, the summer he'd get to spend all alone with Severus at Snape Manor.  He was eagerly awaiting graduation, like most of his fellow students.  He was sad to be moving on, but he wasn't devastated like some of the other students were.  And why should he be?  Hogwarts had been an excellent education, but there was so much more to life than what was contained within the stone walls.  There was more he could do outside, and that was what he was going to do at Snape Manor. 

"It has taken seven years of work to get this far," Dumbledore began in his sweeping tone that echoed throughout the Grand Hall, "but you have finally gotten to this point.  And some classes have proven to be more special than others to the extent that they will never be forgotten.  Your class is one of them.  You graduate at the verge of a new century, a new millennia. 

"You are the ones that will pave the way into the 21st century.  It is your merits that will see to the continuation of the wizarding world.  And I see this class fulfilling that promise to shape the magical world like never before.  In your midst, you have an avian animagus, a crack duelist, a certified mediwizard--- three of the most talented wizards or witches to graduate from Hogwarts in the history of Hogwarts.

"Two of them deserve recognition for not only being severely gifted in one expertise of magic but also for performing well in all forms of magic, our Head Girl Hermione Granger and our Head Boy Draco Malfoy," Dumbledore declared, gesturing next to him where both of them sat.  "But let's not forget the third wizard, who brought the Goblet of Fire back to Hogwarts once again, Sebastian Biggerstaff, and if not for his two friends--- would have been at the top of his class." 

Everyone erupted into applause, it didn't matter who they were cheering for anymore.  Everyone was happy to have gotten this far.  Even the Gryffindors, who ever notoriously anti-Slytherin were clapping politely, though not as enthusiastically as the other houses.  Of course, the house that was applauding the wildest of all was Slytherin.  And why not?  They had won the Quidditch Cup and were bound to take home the House Cup as well.  It was only a matter of announcement. 

Even their Head of House, Severus Snape was barely holding back a smile.  "With two such remarkable Slytherins," Dumbledore declared, "it is no wonder that the House Cup resides with Slytherin House for the sixth consecutive year with 451 points.  But thanks to the merits of Head Girl, Hermione Granger, it was a tough race as Ravenclaw finishes second with 425 points.  Third as last year is Hufflepuff with 310 points, and last is Gryffindor with 212 points." 

All the houses but Gryffindor applauded as the Grand Hall burst into the Slytherin colors of silver and green.  "I have no doubt that you all will go on to do great things.  I have all the confidence that you will do what rests in your hearts.  I have only one piece of advice further to offer you: No matter how great the difficulty, you will find a way."  It took a moment before claps burst from the students.  But when it did, it roared through the Grand Hall in a thunderous wave. 

When it finally calmed down, Dumbledore bowed and sat down.  Hermione and Draco stood up and took to the podium.  "We are about to begin a new phase of our lives," she began with a reassuring smile.  "It's not going to be easy, but we are prepared.  Hogwarts has prepared us.  Some of us will be going to Auror training; others will continue onto University; more will be returning back to the Americas.  No matter what path we've chosen, I have the confidence that whatever we do, we will succeed in our endeavors if you make the effort." 

"Hard choices are in front of us," Draco declared.  "We are not children anymore; we are not stuck on the verge of adulthood.  We are adults now, and we will be forced to make decisions that have always been decided for us by our parents.  But it's time for us to grow up and to take the next step.  Graduating is one of them.  And while there may be difficulties, there will be times of considerable joy.  The extremes go both ways.  And if I had my wish, I would hope that the best years of our lives are ahead of us!" 

The entirety of the Slytherin table got up and gave Draco a standing ovation; the Ravenclaw table did likewise for Hermione.  Both Draco and Hermione linked hands and bowed to the crowd.  Once they'd taken their seats again, Dumbledore stood up and came up to the stand.  "They have both given you sound advice.  You are a talented group and your better days are ahead of you.  But as Draco said, it won't be easy, but as Hermione said, you will succeed if you try.  And I'm overjoyed to say that the class of 1999 has graduated!" 

Hats flew off the 7th years heads first followed by the other years as the hall erupted into celebration. 


He had graduated.  He had finally graduated.  He could scarcely believe that he was about to start the next chapter of his life.  His post-Hogwarts life.  He'd never even considered it.  A part of him had always assumed that Voldemort would kill him before he got to be that old, at least that was how he'd felt after 4th year when he'd accidentally resurrected the Dark Lord.  But he'd made it, and he'd graduated. 

Holding his diploma felt nice, but that wasn't what he was really looking forward to.  Now that the option of going back home was delayed indefinitely, he had a future here to look forward to with Severus.  He wasn't going to stop trying, if the spells had almost worked before--- they had to be doing something different or maybe the spells simply weren't valid anymore.  He was still going to try to get back, but while he couldn't--- there was no reason not to take advantage of the life here was there?

That was decidedly Slytherin of him.  If he was being Gryffindor, he would not start anything with anyone not knowing when he'd be going back home.  But he was here, and who knew how long he would remain?  A part of him suspected that Dumbledore wanted him to stay, and that he was pleased that he couldn't go back.  But Dumbledore had been so good and so helpful, so why his change in mind now? 

Harry shrugged, he didn't want to think about that now.  There was only one thing that was on his mind right now.  He still remembered the words Severus had said after he'd gotten Severus to kiss him for the first time through the imperius curse.  He had said, "Later."  He had promised, "Later."  Well Severus had his word to keep and there was no way Harry was letting Severus back out now.  Not when there was so much exquisite sexual tension between them. 

He knew where he was heading first thing once he'd gotten out of his graduation robes.  He was going to the dungeons and he was catching Severus.  If things worked out the way he hoped, he wouldn't be as innocent as Draco always swore he was.  It wasn't like Draco had gotten far with Hermione, at least from all that Harry knew, their more heated activities only consisted of snogging sessions.  It wasn't that Hermione was a prude, she was just infinitely moral.  He doubted she'd sleep with someone until she was married.  She was that type of girl. 

"You're in a rush," Draco commented as he walked into the room to find Sebastian sifting through his limited wardrobe.  "I'm guessing you're going to see Professor Snape?"  Harry had confessed to Draco early on that he liked Severus and had along the way confided more intimate details.  He needed someone to assure him that Severus really did like him and it wasn't just his imagination.  Draco more than fulfilled that need. 

"Yeah," Harry answered.  "It's after graduation." 

"And you're not a student anymore," Draco remarked with a whistle.  "Well, if you're going to go see him, you might as well impress him with your choice of clothing.  Borrow something from me, Bast.  We're about the same build, and any minor adjustments can be made by magic." 

"Umm…" Harry wasn't sure.  Some of Draco's fancier robes were rather pretentious and he knew he wouldn't be comfortable wearing them.  If there was one thing he needed to be, it was comfortable.  "I don't know, Dray." 

Draco clucked his tongue and waved his wand, which promptly summoned a sleek emerald robe that vividly mirrored Sebastian's eyes.  "I think this will suit you perfectly.  I haven't worn this in ages, but I've always thought it'd be perfect for you.  Slytherin colors and they match your gorgeous eyes."  Draco winked and muttered a spell that divested Sebastian of his clothes and wrapped the forest green robe around his form. 

"No underwear," Draco commented salaciously.  "That's bound to drive Professor Snape mad when he realizes it.  Don't be shy, Bast.  I suspect you're more than ready to pounce on him, aren't you?" 

Harry blushed a crimson red.  He was really embarrassed whenever Draco teased him about Severus.  Draco had told him it was so obvious to anyone that had eyes that they were both interested in each other.  The way they were always sneaking gazes at each other during dinner time and how Severus was always near him during potions class.   "Draco," Harry hissed, "I can't go without my boxers, it'll be obvious!"

Draco chuckled and grabbed Sebastian's wand before he could conjure a pair of boxers to him.  Then he quickly cast a complicated locking charm on the drawers so that Sebastian couldn't access his underwear.  "That's the point, my dear boy.  I can only imagine how he's going to ravish you when he sees how hard you are for him." 

"This isn't funny, Dray!" Harry exclaimed.  "Move aside!"

"Time's ticking," Draco reminded, pointing toward the clock.  "I'm not letting you get any boxers on, so you might as well go.  You're wasting time." 

"Don't you have better things to do than to be here?" Harry growled.

"No, Herm's not meeting me until later tonight," Draco explained.  "She wants to spend the early part of the night saying good-bye to all her Ravenclaw friends and such.  Besides, I have an obligation to show up to the huge graduation gala that my mum's throwing.  Don't forget, you've already said you're going to attend.  I need you there when I introduce Herm to my parents." 

Harry still couldn't believe that it'd taken this many months before Draco felt brave enough to confront his parents with the knowledge that he was seriously dating a muggleborn witch.  Even more importantly than that he was dating her was that he was falling head over heels in love with her.  It wasn't sick puppy love, Hermione and Draco really did understand each other.  They were best friends and lovers.  If anything, they were soulmates. 

He could only hope that he and Severus might have what Hermione and Draco shared.  "When's the gala?"

"Tonight at 9 o'clock sharp," Draco reminded.  "I'll need to be there before, but Herm said she'd meet you at the Slytherin common room at 8:45 so that you can apparate to Malfoy mansion.  There's a set time slot for apparation.  Remember that, and anyway she knows and knowing her, she won't let you miss it.  So don't tire yourself too much with your Slytherin lover, all right mate?" 

Harry rolled his eyes at Draco and glanced down to make sure that nothing was showing.  Keeping his hand on the robe firmly to keep it closed, he made the decision to be sure next time not to let Draco catch him off his guard.  He had little choice but to go down to the dungeons.  He'd recognized the locking charm that Draco had used.  As the best charms student, Draco had used a complicated locking spell that wouldn't end for a certain time period no matter how many times he said alohomora!

Damn Draco.  Bloody hell, there was no way he was going to be able to hide his arousal.  Not when even the sight of Severus could send a strong tingle of desire to his groin and just hearing Severus's sexy voice could make him fully aroused.  What a bloody predicament he was in.  Either he could go like he was now and make it obvious how much he wanted Severus or he could go back in his room and not do anything about it. 

Decisions, decisions.  He'd waited this long, and it wasn't like Severus didn't know how much he wanted him.  He'd waited long enough; he was tired of waiting.  So he continued his march down to the dungeons, careful not to stride too fast and accidentally flash anyone that happened to be walking at the awkward angle that would reveal him.  When he'd finally made the last turn down to Severus's private hallway, he breathed a sigh of relief. 

He was here.  He was going to do this.  He'd waited long enough.  Lifting his hand up, he knocked hard on the door.  It was only a moment or two, but it felt like eternity before Severus opened up the door. 

"It's later," Harry murmured throatily. 

"It's later," Severus agreed huskily. 

"I've waited patiently.  I don't want to wait anymore." 

Severus didn't say anything, but he stepped aside and gestured for Sebastian to enter.  That was a better answer than he had even hoped for.  Harry walked in, feeling excitement overwhelm his system.  His only thought was finally. 


"Draco, are you there?" called out Hermione as she popped her head into the Head Boy room.

"Herm?" Draco responded, a bit surprised.  "What are you doing here?  I thought you wanted to spend the afternoon and evening with your Ravenclaw friends." 

"I did, but I just wanted to make sure if you're certain about tonight," she replied, concern showing in her warm amber eyes.  "I know I'm the one that wants to let your parents know about our relationship, but if you think that we ought to keep it a secret for a while longer--- I'll understand." 

He was infinitely touched.  If there was anyone that understood him, it was her.  He grinned and reached over to pull her into his arms.  "I want to tell them about you," he whispered into her ear, kissing the side of her neck.  "I want them to know what a wonderful witch you are." 

She leaned her head onto his shoulder for a brief moment before pulling away from him and cupping his face so she could tilt it down to meet her gaze.  "I'm serious, Dray.  I'll understand if you want to wait a bit longer."  She smiled softly.  "You don't even know if it'll work between us yet.  We don't have to approach them until we're really stuck on each other." 

Draco wrapped his arms around her waist and drew her close to him so that there wasn't an inch of space between them.  "I am stuck on you, Herm," he said in a low and intense voice.  "Really stuck on you." 

"If Bast had acted more favorably to your intentions, you wouldn't have even given me a second look," she remarked knowingly, but there wasn't any jealousy in her tone.  "I'm not blind Dray, I saw the way you looked at him during 6th year." 

"Then you should," he murmured, "know that I've never looked at him with the intensity that I'm looking at you."  Her hazel eyes met his silver pools, and she drowned in them.  "I want my parents to meet you because you are the witch I want to spend the rest of my life with.  I love you, Hermione Granger." 

He fell down to his knees, and Hermione's heart started beating erratically.  She'd always dreamt of Draco's marriage proposal foolishly, never really believing it would ever happen--- not when there was so much against them.  For goodness sake, she was a muggleborn!  "I know that we've only been together for a few months, but you captured my heart far longer than we've officially been together.  I was just a prat and didn't realize it. 

"Will you give me the honor of being Mrs. Draco Black Malfoy?" 

She was floored.  She was speechless.

"For once the brilliant Hermione Granger doesn't know an answer?" he teased. 

She narrowed her eyes and glared at him mightily.  "For your information, Draco Black Malfoy I do have an answer!"

"And?" he prodded. 


"Yes what?" he queried.  "It's not like you to be vague."

"Yes, I'll marry you, you git!" she exclaimed, her eyes shining with happiness.  "You're impossible, Draco Malfoy!"

He grinned wickedly as he lowered his head down to ravish her lips.  "Yet, you've still consented to be my wife." 

"Maybe I'm crazy."

"Maybe you are," he agreed throatily. 

"Crazy about you."

"Mmm hmmm."


They had yet to say anything.  Harry wasn't usually nervous around Severus, but his heart was racing and his pulse was erratic.  Should he wait for Severus to say something or should he go ahead and say something?  He was about to speak when he was paralyzed by Severus reaching over to trace a finger on his lips.  Good god, how was it that the simplest touch from Severus was enough to drive him starkers? 

"What do you want?" Severus questioned, his eyes piercing into Sebastian's.  "What is it that you want?" 

"You," Harry breathed out.  "You."

"Are you certain?" Severus inquired seriously.  "I don't play around, Sebastian.  And I'm not a nice man either.  I don't share.  And it'll be hard for you since while you're with me in the summer, I'll be both master and lover.  I don't have a problem separating the two, but it might be difficult for you at first." 

How like Severus to tell him straightforward what to expect.  "There is no one else I would rather learn potions from," Harry answered, "then from the best there is to offer.  I know that work and personal life are separate, and I don't expect you to be easier on me because I'm your lover either.  I want to be with you Severus because you drive me mad whenever I think about you." 

"You plague my thoughts as well," Severus remarked offhandedly.  "You understand that there will be times when I will lose my patience with you and be angry with you?  A summer isn't enough time to prepare for a subject mastery.  I wouldn't even attempt it if I didn't think you were brilliant enough to pull it off.  It'll be hard work and little recreation."

"I'll make do with what's available," Harry responded huskily, stepping closer toward Severus until barely an inch separated their bodies.  "We have time now to waste." 

Severus wrapped his arm around Sebastian's waist and dragged his body toward him.  "We do," he agreed.  "But we don't have that much time, and when I make love to you for the first time I want to take my leisure.  And once I got you into my bed, I wouldn't want you to leave."  He bent his head down and captured Sebastian's lip in a kiss of ownership.  He wanted Sebastian body, heart, and soul.  "You're mine," he declared possessively.  "All mine." 

The things the man could do with his lips had Harry's knees turning into pudding.  If Severus's arm hadn't been snaked around his waist, he would have collapsed to the ground.  As it was he was being held up and ravished thoroughly by Severus's skillful tongue.  Merciful heaven, if this was what Severus could do to him just kissing--- Harry didn't even want to think of how mindless he'd be when Severus made love to him. 

"When do we need to be at Draco's gala?" Severus asked, leaning away from Sebastian so that they both could catch their ragged breaths. 

"In a few hours." 

Severus grinned and pushed Sebastian back up against the wall.  "I won't make love to you right now," he commented wryly, "but that doesn't mean I won't make you scream.  You don't know how much you've tempted me, Sebastian.  Have you any idea?" 

Harry gulped.  He figured it couldn't be as bad as how Severus had enticed him.  "Yes," he answered throatily.  "You've driven me crazy with lust." 

"Good.  Very good."  Severus tugged Sebastian's robes off and his only reaction to Sebastian's state of undress was to raise an eyebrow.  "Beautiful," he commented as he saw Sebastian's stiff arousal.  "Exquisite."  One hand cupped Sebastian's balls while the other wrapped around Sebastian's cock.  "How much do you want me?" he asked softly.  "How much?" 

"Oh god," Harry moaned as he felt Severus's skillful fingers stroke his hard cock.  "I want you so much, I want you to… ugh… to make me… ugh… cum.  Oh sweet Merlin!" 

"It'll be my pleasure."


"You look thoroughly shagged," Hermione commented, saying something so like Draco that Harry's jaw dropped.  Both Hermione and Draco had seemed to pick up each other's mannerisms.  "Well you do.  You don't think I haven't noticed the way you and Severus have been staring back and forth at each other for the past few months.  I'm not oblivious Bast.  So how was it?" 

He continued to gape at her.  "Just because," she continued, "I won't shag Draco doesn't mean that I'm not curious.  I would say because of my profound curiosity for knowledge, that I would be even more curious about such matters than most." 

"I didn't shag Severus," Harry responded, still blushing a light red from Hermione's startling bluntness.  "And even if you are curious," he declared sternly, "I'm not disclosing my sex life to you.  If you're so curious, you ought to ask your boyfriend.  He's the one with the most experience out of all of us." 

"My fiancé," she corrected, holding her hand up to Sebastian.  "He asked me to marry him a few hours ago and I said yes."

Harry's eyes widened and then he broke out into a huge grin.  Sweeping Hermione into his arms, he lifted her into his arms and spun her around.  "That's wonderful!  That's bloody marvelous, 'Mione!" 

She laughed and kissed both of his cheeks.  "You know," she murmured after he'd set her down, "I never thought he'd ask me.  I know how his family is all for the pureblood, yet he asked.  I know that he loves me, but I didn't know he loved me enough to defy his family." 

"I did," Harry whispered back.  "You don't see the way he's always watching you with his eyes.  If I hadn't been there when Terry Boot kissed your cheek thanking you for tutoring him, I think Draco would have cast an Unforgivable on the poor boy.  And he was mad about you before you two even started dating, he was just too dense to admit it." 

"I love him so much, Bast." 

"And he loves you too."

She smiled happily and nodded.  "I know." 

"Well, then," Harry remarked, "don't we have a graduation party to get to?" 

"That we do," She agreed.  "Apparate!" 


They arrived when the gala was in full swing.  Guests were dancing, conversing, and drinking.  Laughter abounded and happiness was evident everywhere.  It felt only right to be here.  Harry smiled and offered his arm to Hermione as they entered into the ballroom.  They suspected this was where they would find Draco, and they guessed right when they spotted his platinum blond head in the crowd dancing with an elegant brunette.  Harry felt Hermione's hand tighten around his arm, and he only hoped that Draco realized that Hermione was as possessive as he was. 

Harry let out a sigh of relief when he recognized the girl that Draco was dancing with was none other than his cousin, Sahar Lestrange.  It only made sense why she was here.  She must have also graduated.  They were a striking pair on the dance floor, he thought reflectively, but while they waltzed with a timeless grace there was none of the energy that Draco had when he was with Hermione.  They came alive when they were with each other. 

"It's only Sahar," he told her.  "You remember his cousin from Durmstrang?" 

"I do," Hermione responded, relaxing her hold on his arm.  "Sorry."

"It's understandable," he remarked with a soft smile.  "With both of you being control freaks." 

"Hey!" she exclaimed, hitting him playfully at the side.  "That was uncalled for!" 

"What was?" Draco asked as Sahar and he approached them from behind. 

"Nothing," Harry and Hermione muttered simultaneously, then bursting out into childish giggles.  "It's really nothing," he affirmed.  "I was just teasing Hermione about her outlandish excessiveness." 

Draco chuckled and offered his hand to Hermione.  "If you'll excuse us?"

Harry and Sahar nodded, then watched Draco guide Hermione out of the ballroom.  "Good luck," Harry heard Sahar whisper.  "You'll need it." 

"I hope they don't," Harry responded. 

"They will," she replied steadily, her dark eyes solemn though not unhappy.  Suddenly she smiled and her face transformed into a thing of beauty.  She held out her hand to him.  "Dance with me?" 

"All right."  He took her hand and let her lead him onto the dance floor.


"I love you, you know that, right?" 

"Yes," Hermione answered, a bit puzzled by the desperation in Draco's voice, "I know.  I love you too, Dray."

"Come on," he urged, tugging at her arm the expression on his face entirely different from his tone.  She was relieved to see joy there and not anxiety.  "I asked my parents to meet me in the library, I told them I had someone important that I wanted them to meet." 

She nodded and allowed him to guide her to the library, mentally feeling overwhelmed by the luxury that was the Malfoy mansion.  Nothing could prepare her for seeing the library though.  If she thought the Hogwarts library was extensive, it was nothing compared to the Malfoy library.  She couldn't wait until she could spend some good leisure time in here; she couldn't even estimate how much time she could spend losing herself within these shelves of books.

"I know what you're thinking," he whispered teasingly into her ear.  "You're thinking about reading all these books, aren't you?"  She nodded, blushing.  "You're so predictable about things like this, it's adorable."  He grinned and she couldn't help but grin back.  "I promise you that you'll have all the time in the world to spend gluing your nose to these books.  Now, come on, follow me." 

He pulled her down through the library that seemed to go on forever before Draco stopped in front of a shelf stocked with books and stared at it expectantly.  For a moment, Hermione was again confused and then the shelf slowly slid open.  "It'll only work for a Malfoy," Draco explained.  "It won't even work for my mum if my father isn't with her." 

"Is that you Draco?" called out a distinctively feminine voice, Hermione assumed it must have been his mother.  She had only seen the beautiful Narcissa from afar, but she knew that a fair amount of Draco's excessive good looks were attributed to his mother's heavenly looks. 

"Yes, mum," he answered.  "It's me."  He lead Hermione through the narrow hallway until they reached a room that was elegantly furnished yet comfortable looking.  His eyes swept around the room and he only saw his mother.  He lifted his eyebrow, which was all he needed to do to communicate to his mother.

"Your father will be arriving shortly," she responded.  "He's running a bit late." 

"I am not late," Lucius declared, striding into the room from another entrance.  "I am exactly on time."  He headed straight toward his wife and bent his head down to kiss her fully on the lips.  "So," he drawled after he'd embraced his beloved Narcissa, "who is the girl that you wanted to introduce to us, Dragon?" 

Draco wrapped his arm around Hermione's waist in a possessive gesture that was very reminiscent to Narcissa of Lucius's own mannerisms.  Like father like son.  But while the gesture made Narcissa smile, it wasn't what really held her attention.  Her sharp blue eyes surveyed the young woman that her son had his arm around.  She was a pretty thing, Narcissa conceded, but not nearly beautiful enough for her son.  So what was the young witch's appeal? 

"This is Hermione Granger, soon to be Mrs. Draco Malfoy," Draco declared, pride evident in his voice.  "I've asked her to marry me, and she's given me the honor of accepting me.  She's a brilliant witch, father, mum.  She'll make you all proud.  She finished top in her class, and she's the Head Girl.  And I love everything about her.  I love her."

"And I love him," Hermione echoed, feeling a bit relieved that he had finally told his parents, "very much." 

"You are the Head Girl?" Lucius questioned, his piercing silver eyes settling on her. 

She nodded.  "Yes, I am." 

"A muggleborn I've heard," he began in a chilling tone, "was the first one to be named Head Girl since Lily Evans was named Head Girl in many years.  You are that muggleborn, are you not, Hermione Granger?" 

She again nodded.  "Yes, sir." 

He dismissed her by shifting his gaze toward his son, his heir.  "And you have asked this muggleborn witch to be your wife, Draco Black Malfoy?" 

"Yes, I have father," Draco answered steadily, not backing down one bit.  "I want to marry her.  I love her." 

"She is a mudblood!" Lucius roared.  "In a thousand years and beyond, our bloodline has remained one of the purest in the wizarding world and yet now my son and my heir wants to defile the Malfoy name by marrying a mudblood?" 

"I do," Draco stated firmly, his steel gray eyes gazing unblinkingly into his father's furious storm.  "There is no witch I want to call my wife other than her.  You should understand, father," he growled lowly, "when you defied my grandfather to marry Narcissa.  Everyone knows that you were supposed to marry her older sister!  The joining of two great houses through the heirs.  And yet, you chose my mum.  Would you take that choice from me?  Would you father?" 

"This is different!"

"How is this different?" he cried out.  "How?"

"She is a filthy mudblood!  She is what we've been fighting against all these years!  It's her kind that have weakened the wizarding bloodlines!  It's the reason we've declined.  It's because of the odd powerful witch like her that makes everyone think that mudbloods have just as many rights as purebloods, but do they breed true?  Rarely so!  They were a misfortune of chance!

"I will not allow you to taint the Malfoy name by marrying a mudblood witch like her," Lucius sneered.  "I at least married within my social rank and within the pure bloodlines.  What you are doing, Draco Black Malfoy, goes against everything the Malfoys have stood for in our centuries of existence!  I will not allow this atrocity to occur.  Do you understand me?  You can keep the mudblood witch for a mistress, a plaything, as your whore if you want, but she will never be your wife." 

Draco tightened his arms around Hermione, desperate now to keep her next to him.  But she had heard enough.  She had heard enough of his father abusing her verbally!  And Draco wasn't even speaking up for her!  Tears filled her eyes and she bit her tongue to hold them back.  She wouldn't cry.  She didn't dare cry in front of them!  But if she didn't leave now, she was afraid she would.  Jerking away from Draco's embrace violently, she ran like she'd never run before.  She just had to get away. 

Silence.  Deep unforgivable silence filled the room.  The look of hatred on Draco's face as he glared at his father crushed his mother when he turned those furious eyes at her too.  "How dare you!  How could you?" he cried out agonizingly.  "How could you say that to the woman I love?" 

He slowly backed away from them and turned to run after Hermione.  He had to console her.  He had to tell her that his father's words meant nothing to him, that it didn't matter, that they could still be together.  He didn't give a damn what Lucius thought.  "Draco!" his mother called out desperately.  "Draco!"  He didn't stop.  He couldn't.  He had to find her.  He had to tell her.  Nothing mattered but her. 


Author's Note: According to my beta, this is the best chapter I've written.  I've floored her and she betas WAD, IP, DW, Hunted, and anything and everything I write.  Now I realized it's a cliffhanger.  It's to encourage reviews, but it seems unless I do it like that, you tend to not to review.  I think there's definitely enough meat in this chapter for someone to say something.  I mean, this chapter was suppose to end halfway thru, but I decided to go ahead and make this long since you're not going to see anything for around two weeks, maybe 3 weeks (if it's 3, the next chapter will be long too). 

I know no one was expecting what I was going to do with Hermione/Draco's relationship.  But it's not a spur of the moment thing.  I've had this outlined since I decided I was going to 'ship Hermione/Draco.  I think this is damn realistic, and I'm not changing it.  Life's not all daisy and roses.  It's unfair and unpleasant.  And sometimes it'll want to make you cry.  And if this chapter doesn't get people to review, I don't know what will.  Review and let me know what you think.  You've got to have an opinion, a comment, a rant about this chapter.  It's thought provoking, isn't it?

This also concludes Year 7.  (duh graduation).  I don't know if I'll start another story or keep MOP within the confides of this story.  I haven't really thought about it, but people on the mailing list will be kept posted.  Also as you can see from this chapter, NC-17 is rapidly approaching and the only way to access it will be on the mailing list (for those that haven't joined yet).  Well, I'm going to rest my muse up and start writing hard when Thanksgiving hits.  I hope to write at least two chapters so I can keep you updated thru finals, but we'll see.  It's been a fun ride and I'd optimistically say I'm halfway done with Part 1.  Isn't that good news?

Questions: (1) Graduation speech? (2) Draco teasing Harry? (3) Harry/Sev confrontation and subsequent conversation? (4) Draco proposing to Hermione? (5) Sahar's reappearance? (6) Lucius' reaction to Hermione as a possible daughter-in-law? 

Thanks to psycho tabby cat (study's the devil), lil kawaii doom, Faby, TigerBlak (it's taken me 5 months to write it), Kimi-sama, CrimsonTearsofPain, Toxikos, Artemisu (I hate clichés), latin-freak, xenelle, Delphine Pryde, Ohayou, ShadowWolf, Shinigami061, Elena, DaughterofDeath, C.M. Aeris Queen of Insanity, Dracar, Janara (couldn't do another Harry gets hurt again, and needed a permanent reason why it wouldn't be attempted any time soon), Zaza, Lillian-and-Lime (it actually was a medium size chapter, #32), Amber Evans Potter (Harry's too naïve and trusting for his own good), yiota (can't please everyone), penny (it was suppose to be misleading), StarSong, rayvern, Seak, curlytop (damn, that's high praise the –best-), lazy ChibiBoko, Quickjewel, lilytiger20, Kyra2, Melissa, Gheist, Shahanna, The Goddess Artemis, Colibi, loverwren, lightyearsaway, menecarkawan (I'm reading your story, I'll let you know what I think soon), zapbee, Kiri, Prophetess of Hearts, Eaiva le Fay (hehe, Harry can't be perfect), Raven Lupin, wanderingwolf, DraconisSenshi, Serpent of Light, Alisama2, Luna Aelf Writer, asa-chan, Lady Snake, random person, chireel, Kathy stggvk, Siderius Cimmerii, MentalStaples, Witchy-Althea, The Shadow Bandit, Alia, keebler-elmo, athenakitty, Corgi1, stayblue. 

Xyverz: Speculations won't hurt anyone.  Feel free to guess, it keeps me amused and it sometimes amazes me how careful readers are able to actually see all my hints at what they are and they aren't always at face value. 

Barlexa: Wow, thanks.  It's taken me a while to get to Remus b/c he doesn't fit in the story 'til now. 

Ennuidemorte: You've spent a long time analyzing this.  I'm impressed.  Your arguments make logical sense.  I won't confirm if you're right or wrong, but you'll see it if you remember it.  The answer is a long time coming, like how I introduced Medimagic in chapter 13 and didn't talk about the MEDs 'til 31.