A/N Okay okay I'm sooo sorry this took so long, but first my file kept on getting corrupted ( I managed to salvage it through notepad), and now this is the un-betaed version because my beta's inbox is full haha. Anyways, here it is…the LAST CHAPTER. I know, I know, I cried. But yah, endnotes, thank-yous, and deleted scenes at the end. Read on. And review.
Chapter 15. For Whom the (Wedding) Bell Tolls
The congregation stared at Draco in shock.
"What are you doing here?" said an angry Ron Weasley.
"I have come for my love, your sister," proclaimed Draco.
"She's dead!" wailed Fran. "And now you've interrupted my wedding! This is a no-good very bad wedding day!"
"Dead?" cried Draco.
"Yes," answered Harry. "She killed herself two nights ago, you know, waiting for you to come around."
"You knew about this?" demanded Ron. "You knew she was in cahoots with the big bad Malfoy and you didn't tell me?"
"Sorry," shrugged Harry. Sheepishly.
"I swear if you weren't so sexy and famous," said Ron, shaking his fist. "I'd kill ye with my own bare hands."
"But if you did, we wouldn't have sexy and famous Harry to stare at," murmured Hermione dreamily as she made googly eyes at Harry.
"Unfaithful wench," muttered Ron. "I think I will kill Harry with my own bare hands now."
"Doesn't matter," said Harry, cool as a cold pickle. "Ginny would still be dead, your wife would still have a festering but now necrophiliac attraction for me, and you would be charged for murder."
"No!" wailed Draco. "Ginny really is dead?! Then I shall kill myself too!"
"How Romeo and Juliet of them," said Hermione sadly.
And the wedding continued.
Okay just kidding here's the real chapter.
Chapter 15. For Whom the (Wedding) Bell Tolls
Of all the dresses she could've picked. Ginny frowned at her reflection in the long oval mirror. It wasn't that it was a particularly ugly dress, as Fran had impeccable taste – she had to, being engaged to Harry Potter and all, but my, Ginny had never worn anything more distinctively uncomfortable. Made of light blue silk, the gown hugged her skin, cinched her waistline with some sort of muggle corset, and flew out about her legs in soft layers. In all, she couldn't feel her movements, which simply aggrandized her fear that the dress would split.
"Fran," Ginny called into the adjacent room. "Are you sure this dress can hold me?"
"Gin, you have to be kidding," came a voice from behind her. "You look gorgeous."
She turned around in alarm to see Harry Potter, grinning beatifically at her, Ron at his heels.
"Harry! Ron!" Ginny gasped. "You aren't supposed to—"
"See the bride?" Ron finished. "Well, you're obviously not the bride, right?" Dressed in a tuxedo, coattails and all, he looked every bit as uncomfortable as her as he took a seat directly next to the mirror and smiled toothily at her.
Ginny nodded, and the three of them sat in harmonious silence for a few moments before Ron let out a long sigh. Knowingly, she glanced at Harry.
Harry was the one who spoke. "Spit it out, Ron," he said teasingly, taking a seat beside his friend.
Ron sighed again. "It's just, I'm happy for you and all, but I just don't understand—"
"—why it's not Gin?" Harry finished, meeting her eyes and grinning. "I thought we explained that to you already. We don't love each other. I love Fran, and she loves—"
"Not Harry," Ginny supplied quickly, shooting him a warning glance.
"Don't you feel this is all so soon, though?" Ron frowned. "I mean, one minute, you're engaged to my sister, and the next minute you're getting married to Fran."
"Fran and I have been in love for ages," declared Harry. "What happened between Ginny and I was just experimentation, you see. Nothing serious."
Ron had a skeptical look on his face, but he nodded slowly. "If you're sure, Harry," he finally said dubiously. "I just hope you're making the right decision."
"Ron," Ginny and Harry said simultaneously, and he held up his hands.
"Yeah, yeah." There was a pause, and then he smiled. "It's just, you know, I always thought it'd be cool to have you as a brother-in-law."
"But would you really want the mental images of me shagging your sister?" Harry laughed. Not that Malfoy would be much of an improvement, he added to himself.
Ron frowned. "Good point." Standing up, he dusted off himself quickly and brushed a quick kiss to Ginny's cheek. "I'll see you outside, then. Come now, Harry."
"Hold on," He called as Ron exited the room. "I need to talk to Gin."
He stopped, surprise evident on his freckled face, but nevertheless nodded and slipped out the door.
"Gin," Harry said as soon as they were alone. "I wanted to thank you."
She furrowed her brow. "For?"
He shrugged. "Being there for me. Understanding about Fran. I—I realize I wasn't always there for you at Hogwarts," he told her ruefully, "And I'm sorry. I just—I'm really glad we're close now, you know? You really are like a sister to me."
She touched his arm, genuinely touched. "Harry," Ginny replied softly, "Don't worry. I—I'm glad you're in my life. And even though you ditched me for Fran—" she took on a teasing lilt now "—I'm glad you're happy."
"Yeah," he smiled. "This whole Fran thing happened rather quickly, didn't it?"
"I just couldn't stand another day not being married to her," Harry said, a dreamy grin spreading across his face. "You know how it is, don't you? Being in love."
Again, she nodded, feeling a pang of sadness stab her.
"Gin?" called Fran from the other room. "Are we starting?"
"Just a sec," Ginny replied. She turned back to Harry, and wrapped her arms around in him a warm hug. "Go on and get married to the love of your life," she whispered.
"If there be any objection, speak now or forever hold your peace."
Ginny leaned back as much as she could in her seat, a small smile on her face as Fran and Harry gazed at each other with adoration. Once, she thought, she'd gazed at him that way. And once, she'd gazed at Malfoy that way. Fran looked every part the perfect bride, her pale blond hair swept up in an elegant chignon and her cheeks blushed with the natural red of happiness. Harry hadn't taken his eyes off her since she'd entered the chapel, and neither had any of the congregation.
Any moment now, they'd be married, entwined forever in matrimony…
The door burst open. "You can't marry him," a loud, male voice rang out. "I won't let you."
Ginny froze. That voice…it was as if thinking about him had summoned him… She lifted her eyes to see Draco Malfoy storming down the aisle, focused on Fran and looking particularly brassed off. As the church began to murmur and gasp in surprise, she couldn't tear her eyes away from him. Never had she seen him look so undignified, his usually neat hair in disarray about him, and was that a smudge of dirt on his cheek? His clothes were torn, actually torn, and she saw that he had a cut just above his lip. He looked downright terrible, and she had never been so glad to see him in her life.
"Malfoy?" said Harry in shock.
"That's right," Draco answered defiantly, and Ginny still stood limp with disbelief. "You're not going to win this time, scarhead. She loves me. I know she does. In fact—" from his pocket, he removed now a dangling necklace she recognized immediately "—I can prove it."
"I don't even know you!" Fran said then, more surprised than anything, and the look upon Draco's face was of pure, unadulterated astonishment. In that moment, all doubts were eased from Ginny's mind, for she knew he was here for her, and she knew why.
"Draco," she interjected then, and he finally tore his gaze away from the blonde to drink her in, hair curling around her face and blue dress fluttering about her as she made his way towards him.
"Ginny," was all he could say as she stopped before him.
"Draco," she agreed solemnly, though a smile threatened to tug at her lips.
"What the hell?" Ron burst out from his place besides Harry, and if it hadn't been for his best friend he would've lunged towards the tall blonde man staring contentedly at his sister.
"Ginny, I—we—you—" Draco started, but then changed his mind, instead circling her waist with one hand and pulling her close. "Oh shove that," he muttered before dipping his head to hers and suckling at her lips in a fierce, hungry kiss. At the cool touch of his lips, she felt her anger and frustration fading away, the loud world around her melting into oblivion as she curled fingers into the hairs at the nape of his neck and kissed him back ferociously, drinking him in as a man would water in the desert. He felt so familiar and so good she couldn't imagine spending the rest of her life without the unique touch that was Draco Malfoy. I've come home, was the thought that resonated through her mind as she tightened her grip upon him.
"Ginny Weasley, what the hell are you doing?" Ron's voice rang out louder than anyone else's, and finally she pulled away from Draco, turning to see a shocked congregation staring at her. Blinking, she glanced towards Draco, who wore the same glazed expression in his eyes.
"I think we all want some answers," Hermione declared. "Considering your prat of an ex-boss has just interrupted Harry's wedding and, ugh, touched you."
Not that I mind being touched by him, thought Ginny ruefully.
"Better prat than mudblood," Draco snarled, and those around Hermione gasped and clutched her arm in shock that he had dared insult her in such a way. Ginny herself winced, knowing that it certainly was not doing anything for his case.
Helplessly she looked towards Harry, who simply shrugged in the same helpless fashion, and then towards Draco once more, who was now glaring at Hermione murderously. "Um," was all she could say.
"And why exactly are you speaking with him?" Molly Weasley wanted to know. "If you're not working for Mr. Malfoy here – Lucius' son, I might add – then how do you know him?"
I love him? That wouldn't exactly blow over very well.
"She's possessed!" cried Janie, Bill's seven-year-old daughter, and Ginny found herself smiling.
Ron was not. "Well?" He demanded angrily. "You better have a good excuse for why he's here."
"I don't owe you any excuses," Draco said snidely, with as much pride as a man who had just interrupted his worst enemy's wedding dressed in tattered clothes could muster.
"And saying that I love him," added Fran.
"And snogging Ginny," sniffed Hermione, turning to the redheaded girl. "And you, Ginny, owe us an excuse for letting yourself be snogged."
All three of them fell silent then, the realization of what they had just said finally sinking in. In horror, Ron gaped at his sister, mouth opening and closing rapidly. "Tell me it's not true, Gin," he said disbelievingly. "You haven't been…you and Mal—if this sod put some spell on you I swear—"
Oh Ron, stop talking, Ginny found herself thinking as the guests flew into heated whispers once more. With the sole purpose of stopping his tirade, Ginny blurted out the first thing that came to her mind. "I'm his wife."
Bad idea, Ginny. Bad, bad, idea.
At least the whispers had stopped.
"His what?" Arthur Weasley's voice was barely audible, but equally full of anger.
"My what?" Draco said at the same time.
Just go along with it, Draco. She took a deep breath, grimacing as her mind spun furiously and trying desparately to send Draco signals with her mind. "Um, Mum, Dad, I would've told you except…you loathe the Malfoys like any normal wizarding family." At least that part was true.
Draco looked sour.
"You can't be serious!" Ron thundered, waving his arms wildly. "You don't even know him. You don't want to know him."
"Well deal with it," Draco said suddenly, voice icy cold. "Not only does she want to know me, she's gotten to know me. And physically, too." He smirked at the audience, and Ginny cringed. "Redheads do live up to their feisty reputations."
You are not making this any easier, Draco.
Molly squeezed her eyes shut in horror at the implications of his words, and all the Weasleys clenched their fists. "Somebody wake me up," Ron pleaded. "This has to be a nightmare."
"When?" Hermione finally asked, breaking the heavy silence. "When did this happen?"
"Seven years ago," Draco spoke now, keeping his eyes on Ginny.
"Seven years!" cried Ron. "But the thing with Harry—"
"Experimentation," Harry said quickly, the first he'd said all throughout the event. He grinned at Ginny, and she felt a wave of relief that at least one person in this chapel, Draco nonwithstanding, was on her side.
"We were separated," Ginny added, wishing she could stop the gigantic lie of a life she'd created for herself. "Draco and I."
"So now it's Draco," muttered Ron. "Any other shocking secrets, dearest sister?"
"Well, um," Ginny paused, scrutinizing Draco closely. Seven years…so he knows, but how much does he know? "There's also one more thing."
"More?" cried Bill. "What is this now? Don't tell me—you two have a house. No, a daughter."
"A son, actually," said Draco coolly, and Ginny nearly fainted with the shock that rippled across the chapel. So he does know! How the hell…? "Sebastian, as you might remember," he nodded to Harry. "He's seven now."
Percy stood up now, in great indignation. "Don't tell me that's why you two were married," he shook her finger at his sister. "Don't tell me it's because he got you pregnant."
"I thought you were in France!" said Fred, standing up beside her before any of them had a chance to answer. "That entire year—you were pregnant?"
"And the money, was it Malfoy filth?" demanded Ron, eyes flashing. The anger which had overtaken the Weasleys was suddenly diffused with disbelief.
"No," cried Ginny. "I earned that money, really. I…I was working in France, and that's how Draco and I er, met."
"And shagged, apparently," Ron growled darkly.
"Ronald," said Molly sharply, stunning them all. She stepped closer to Ginny and Draco, who glanced at her uncertainly. For a moment of tension-filled silence she simply stared at them, observed them. And then, after what felt like an eternity, gave a reluctant sigh. "I suppose I can handle this," she finally said.
"You aren't serious!" Ron cried.
"Mum!" protested Bill and Percy.
She held up a hand, silencing them. As for Arthur Weasley, he was standing immobilized in utter shock as he had been for nearly ten minutes now. "You're my only daughter," she went on, voice softening now. "I can't say I approve of—" she winced "—Malfoy, but seeing as you are a married woman, and, Merlin, a mother, I would rather gain a grandson than lose a daughter. I just—I don't see how you could've hidden this from all of us for so long. And I wish you didn't have to. Really."
"That's it?" Ron was turning purple. "That's it?"
Molly turned around, the smile upon her face identical to that of her daughter's. "I think," she said, lifting up her chin and taking her seat, "that we have a wedding to complete, don't we?"
"Oh Fran," Ginny buried her face in her hands. "I've gone and ruined your wedding, I'm so sorry, I—"
"And you've gone and ruined your life!" Ron added indignantly.
"Oh shut it," Harry said, earning numerous shocked looks as he smiled at his bride. Taking her hand, they turned towards Ginny and Draco – well, rather, Ginny, as Harry was not so much keen on addressing Draco civilly.
"Well, go on," Fran urged with a grin. "Get out so we can get married."
"I—" Ginny started.
"You heard the woman," a low voice came in her ear, and a tremor ran through her at the familiarity of Draco's teasing lilt. And then his hand had grasped hers, and before she could do or say anything, they had disapparated.
When they arrived at Malfoy Manor, Ginny and Draco suddenly found themselves most alone, and most unsure of how to proceed from the day's unusual events. For a moment they stood in stock silence, both staring intently at the floor and sneaking glances at the other, and then came the unfortunate moment when they snuck glances at the same moment.
"My dress is killing me," Ginny offered by way of small talk.
"You look stunning," he said without much emotion, and she would've snorted in laughter had she not caught the look of absolute seriousness in his mercury eyes.
"You kept the necklace," she blurted out, because she was tired of their inane ways of avoiding the truth, and desparate for answers.
He nodded, but said no more.
"I didn't think you would," she went on, rambling really. "I mean, I hoped but you know, who wouldn't and—well, I'm just surprised."
A glimmer of amusement curled his lips, just so. "Surprised that I have a heart?" He said, the smirk of the Draco she once knew so well returning.
She grinned at him now, realizing for once how much she'd missed their easy banter. "Who said you have a heart?"
The expression on his face grew grave once more. "I do," he said quietly. "And my heart—I mean, I—well, I—"
Ginny felt her own heart racing. "You?" she prodded.
"I was wondering if you wanted some tea," he finally said, and she felt the hope which had bubbled inside of her deflate.
"No, thank you," she shook her head. "I'd rather…talk. There's a lot of questions you and I both have, I'm sure."
He nodded again. "Talk, then."
There was only a brief moment of silence. "How'd you know?"
"Pansy," he answered easily.
That explained it.
"Well, how did she know—I mean, I didn't know she knew all of it," Ginny stammered.
"She didn't," Draco replied. "But between what she and I knew, we were able to piece together the facts." He paused. "With the help of Blaise Zabini, of course."
"How much did she pay you?" Draco wondered. "And what would make you accept such a preposterous proposal?"
"Well," Ginny began slightly uncertainly. "My father was sick, direly ill. He needed money for this operation, but you see we've—well, we've never been the richest family in the world, and the sum required was beyond the means of any normal family, even with six working children. 50 million galleons, that's quite an affable amount. And at the time I heard of Pansy's proposal, I was on this new, obscure job for the ministry – top secret – in France, where I wasn't at all allowed to see my family, so I knew how easy it would be to, you know, complete the required deed. How easy it would be to go into hiding and conceive the child while pretending to be on the job."
"Cunning," Draco smirked. "You wouldn't expect that of a Gryffindor."
Unsure of whether or not he had complimented her, Ginny went on. "And then, at the ball, there was you. As much as I'd loathed you at school, there was something about you – I'm still not sure what – but I just…I lost a little part of myself to you that night." She blushed at her own confession. "I never meant to choose you, you know," she added. "What happened was pure coincedence, and I still can't explain the odd turn of events. I just—I used to think, sometimes, that it was fate, you know? Destiny's master plan."
"Funny," mused Draco, more to himself than her. "That's exactly what Blaise said."
"Anyways," she continued, "I didn't realize how hard it would be to give up my own child until a month before Sebastian was born. The ministry had sacked me for not fulfilling my duties – which, obviously was impossible to do. And knowing that Pansy had no idea who I really was, that's why I took up the job as governess. To be close to him."
"He knows, Ginny," Draco said, and her eyes lit up.
"I suspected as much," she said, excitement filling her voice now. "Or at least hoped for it. He's such a smart boy, I—"
"So you weren't engaged to Harry Potter," he said suddenly, before she had a chance to say anything else.
She hesitated, surprised by the hint of desparation in his voice. Desparation to know the truth or desparation for something else? "Well, I was. But it's not what you think—it's complicated really."
His eyes hardened. "Explain."
"Um—" she twisted her hands together. How?
Seeing her flustered expression, he asked in a gentler tone, "Did you love him?"
Ginny shook her head vehemently. "No. I wasn't lying, you know, when I told you I…that you were the only…"
"Ginny," Draco said in that same pensive voice that could indicate both a positive and negative turn of events. She met his gaze. "Maybe we should just stop asking questions."
She relaxed visibly at his words. "Maybe," she agreed.
Draco cleared his throat, moving closer to her. "You know," he said after a few uncertain seconds. "I've obtained the divorce."
"Oh?" was all she could bring herself to say.
"Yep," he confirmed. "And you know…technically, your family thinks we are married."
"Oh?" she was squeaking now.
"And Sebastian is our son," he continued.
A heat bloomed in the center of Ginny's chest, and she felt it was suddenly hard to breathe. Even as he continued to advance towards her, she felt a silly, pleased grin curling her lips.
"And a young child like him should have a proper family."
"That's true," she said, regaining her power of speech.
"A proper family with a mother, and a father that are also husband and wife," he said, keeping his voice perfectly neutral despite that his eyes were scanning hers with an intensity that she could barely stand.
"Why, Draco Malfoy," Ginny interrupted softly. "Are you asking me to marry you?"
He averted his eyes then, but she could tell from the involuntary clenching of his fingers that he was nervous. Draco Malfoy, nervous! She thought wondorously. So he does have that emotion. "No," he said abruptly, and then immediately hesitated. "Well, not no, just not yes. Not that—it's not—I was just thinking—"
Gently, Ginny pressed her index finger to his lips. "Shut up," she commanded in a quiet whisper, and then replaced her finger with her own lips. With her other arm she looped him closer to her, and his body relaxed against hers, strong arms coming to support her as he deepened the kiss, finally letting all guards down and surrendering to her. One of his hands ran through her hair and stroked her cheek with knee-melting tenderness, and the other trailed down her left arm until she felt a slightly cold metal pressing into her hand.
She pulled back in surprise to see a delicate silver ring glimmering from her palm. A familiar silver serpent was coiled around a sizeable diamond, flanked with two smaller gems. "The cufflink," Ginny said in awe, stroking the beautiful jewelry. "You transfigured it?"
"In memory of things that changed my life for the better," he said shortly, eyes hooded as he looked down at her. His face remained impassive but there was a flicker of vulnerabililty. "In memory of things I don't want to lose. In memory of things I hope…won't have be to be merely memories any longer."
"Oh, Draco." His name came out as a sigh.
She took a step closer to him, wanting to feel the warmth of his body, the scent of his masculinity. Well aware of his penetrating gaze, she slipped the ring onto her fourth finger and held it up close to his face, as if analyzing both the giver and the gift at the same moment.
He seemed to be in deep contemplation as she did this, his stare never leaving the infinitely delighted smile on her face, the smile of a woman well loved. "Well," he finally said, his voice low and slightly hesitant. "Is that a yes?"
Instead of answering, her smile simply grew wider. Bringing her hand around to the back of his neck, she brought his head closer in one swift movement, darting her tongue out towards his lips before plunging it inside, moaning softly as he suckled at her lower lip in return. "Wait," Draco said gruffly, pulling away with startling abruptness. He eyed her with a mixture of suspicion and hope which caused butterflies to flutter all down her throat. "All these years…all this time…it's all been one big masquerade ball for me, for us. I don't want anymore games, Gin."
"No more games," she agreed seriously, still smiling. Once more, she directed her gaze to the sparkling ring upon her finger.
With surprising gentleness he took her left hand in his, pulling the ring out of view as he intertwined their fingers. The move forced her to look up, and when she did so he rubbed his nose against hers. She giggled at the gesture, tilting her head so their lips were perfectly aligned for yet another kiss. "You've yet to answer me," Draco whispered against her mouth. "Is that a yes?"
"I wouldn't have it any other way."
Well, that's it, it's over!! This story has taken me nearly a year to write, and I've finally, finally finished. I'm relieved that its done, because I always start to lose steam after a while, and at the same time sad, because, well, I can never return to the world of Sebastian Malfoy anymore. And he was a fun kid, wasn't he? I'm always sad at the end of the story, whether I'm writing it or reading it, because every story creates a perfect little fictional world, and ending the story means is like leaving the world permanently. No going back. No finding out what happened. Sigh. And now I must do that to all you loyal readers.
I'll try to answer as many questions as I imagine you have at the moment, but I'm not much of a mindreader so if I leave anything out, feel free to IM/Livejournal/email me.
1. Presently: There will not be a long-sequence sequel. I realize not everything is entirely wrapped up nicely, but I do have a sort of one-shot sequel planned (called Ex Post Facto, I think). I don't think there's much left to go with Masquerade unless a war breaks out or whatnot, which would be its own story. And its so much more fun to write Draco and Ginny in their early romantic phases, wouldn't you agree?
2. In the future: I will continue writing D/G. Which is in a way bad, because D/G takes up so much time and energy and yet I can't seem to stop…I've started posting my third long-sequence fic up on FFNet and Schnoogle already – it's Even Heroes Fall, which, I know, is dark-themed, but will hopefully be better than this one. At least I like it better. I know some of my readers won't forgive me for killing off Ron, but that was a necessary evil, you see. I just felt like doing something more serious.
3. In the far future: I have several first chapters of random D/G fics lying around which I'll complete after EHF – I just like posting one story at a time, though I'm still working on my assorted fics now and then. So far, I have one chapter completed of Slytherin Season, Peripheral Vision, and Crime and Punishment, two of Unexpected, and one of The One Who Knew, which isn't D/G. I've also got half-finished one-shots lying around that I hope won't have to go to waste, so expect to see those punctuating the period between updates of EHF.
Firstly, some random facts about this story and how it came to be, just some FYIs.
Sebastian Aurelius Malfoy was just a second away from being Julius Augustus Malfoy. What changed my mind was the consideration that he'd be called Julie. I chose his name knowing I wanted the an ancient Roman name in there somewhere, as Draco was actually the name of an ancient Roman politician (hence the derivation of the word Draconian), so I figured what with Lucius and all they'd want a name similar to that. Thus, I went on this site with the etymologies of words and found words that would mean something to the Malfoys. For instance, Augustus means great. And Aurelius memans something to do with gold and wealth, I think (Think Au on the periodic table). I don't quite remember. And I believe Sebastian also had some meaning, though I could be wrong because I remember liking the name Sebastian from Cruel Intentions. Ryan Phillippe. Heehee.
Boy! Blaise was simply a conveniance issue. Though I did use Blaise as female in my first fic, Rowling has now conceded that Blaise is, indeed, a boy. So I guess that one was right. I, for one, have always thought of Blaise as good-looking, whether male or female.
The title, though not highly original, came from The Phantom of the Opera: the broadway soundtrack. There's a song in there called Masquerade. Track number 10 or 11, don't quite remember.
I was originally going to endorse some sort of Sebastian/Evie shipping at the end of this fic, in some kind of epilogue, because I figured that would piss Draco off mightily (and pissy!Draco oft equals sexy!Draco), but I changed my mind. Well, rather, I just never wrote an epilogue.
Music I listened to for inspiration during writers' block: 1) Mozart's Requiem (the entire CD) for the first two or three chapters. 2) Black Eyed Peas – Where Is the Love, as always that remains my D/G constant. 3) Dashboard Confessional – Hands Down, which is also a D/G song for me after Lil2's amazing story In Which Ginny's Clumsiness Finally Pays Off. 4) the soundtrack to Notre Dame de Paris, which is actually a French musical production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Secondly, acknowledgements. I could not have possibly gotten this far without the wonderful support of my readers. Though I wish I could say I write purely for the pleasure of writing, your reviews have been great inspiration and motivation for me, and I can't stress how grateful I am that people out there actually read my work! Anyways, thank you to everyone who reviewed, especially (in no particular order)
Angel of doom, zelphire, nmffnurse, flurrywurry, Kyrissaean, Fallen Down, Wunna's Realm, AraelMoonchild, Drowning in Misery, animezebra, Princess Sarah, Lielabell, DreamingofDragons, Kaodorite, pawzzz, rainlvr13, Blue Tiki, Raylee, Cjean, Killtheposeurs, LettersToViolet, Little ButterFly, FickleFickleMuse, ALE01, SilvinArrow, Daisie, cynthetic, Erised, Evalahn, FieryAndForbidden, Mistigris, Marie14, FyreFaerieGinny, Lorraine7, NocheSkye, Brattychick1771, infallibleamour, crazy eyes, shock-a-lot, MrsSpongeBob333, SexySlytherinChick, FallenAngelOfInnocence, animalcrackers, copperstring, silvereyez16, lost enchanter, quill-angel68, Minx Raine, Pegasus7, Starryn1ght, Eve Granger, AphroditeMalfoy, Virgin Sacrifice, Rockelle, YvettE Sorrow, Lilikins, Ariel Malfoy, windblader, Toki Inori, Flaky-Flores, faer, starstrucked, ginveraXmalfoy, Spirit of the Wolf, Artemis of the Ice, choco88, Freshie Wolf, HeatherWeasley-lover, rising-angel, Ryu's Wyvern, rutupatel, Megaparsec, NeoGal, Starrynight12312, MzTomFelton, Grumpy1, Madison27, budgie58, Aya8, Ellylon, Happy Frown, lemonskittle, ek298, Matriaya, apple-eyes, butterfly kisses3, Lade Jade86, nirvana, sleepy3, loves-kiss, Yammas, betrayer of hope, dru sharpeye, artichoke, applecede, koolgal101, bride of malfoy, rubookmark, seba, Parvati Felton, astralytic, bobbynotme, hart-break, HappyGoLucki616, Queen Alexandra, psycho lady, wingedcinner, crystangel03, Gianfar, Aelys, Darling Rag Doll, Ginny 234448, Queen Smuffles, Jama Gurlie, Amy the hyper caffeine addict, Caremelissa, baby, bandana gurl, Cathy1227, Chicken Soop, Phoenix-Star-08, Menthe, Alexiswright, SpellboundWriter, goodshiplollypop, Mir-Kitty, imabanana, Mo the Deatheater, Sweetindiagrl26, Yazethet, Katie01, Kawaii Tropical Oasis, broken echo, morganrules13, JenDraca, burgosdamasco, Lanna/Jon4Eva, Jeni Draco's Girl, MyOnlyCat, HermioneCloneForever, Starry Wolf, Christopher6, coincidence casualty, Sindergirl, Lttl Tranquility, cruciatus, DragonsMistress, Shyla, Aneira, ConCon, the-archeress, animefan2005, dragin, Eulene, dani-chan3, Draco Is My Peanut, chalise, Risk, Akarusa30991, moneeca, Mystic Azure Girl, Spinn, Ophelias dream, Restless-soul63, Dracomio, LovingPirates, Daphne-Enchanted, skygazing, bedazzled2080, Sinfonia, lilblondeiy214, Shameful, edward.marie, Nuttyscribbler, junkie323, Lady L Malfoy, Tom4ever, Georgentosser, CrystalSparks, Serpents Hopes, Atomic-Twilight, animefanatic07, d4rk-mrld-dr4, Sasami Tombo, silverbutterfly, telpe nar roccar, unwanted red roses, SomethingsWicked, rukki, ephemere, psycho-child-101, charles weatherby, lilquji, crmeina, yueEr, keika bee, distantorigin, hadhafang, pulchritude Xx, Fire331, SweetestBliss, Americasweetie, Dweeb, beautiful-exterior, Scared White Boy, dracoscutie, faith-2000, angelfire33, Aurienna, Silent Echoes, aLottaFagina, milklshake2612, JsaintG7, Beauty Amongs The Chaos, ginnymalfoy19862, Aloma, dark-phoenix17, dude-monkey, Vincelia Valentine, reflection, Adalheidis
Whoa that was a lot.
And special thanks to (in alpha order)
Ayumi-dono, who has stuck by me through every fic I've ever written, starting at IS, and who has continued to review every chapter without fail, whether bad or good.
Casey Collins, who is fun to talk about Harry Potter with, and who made a set of lovely rubber ducky icons for my LiveJournal, and who has also done wonderful fan art.
Eleoopy, who made me glad I wrote this fic.
Gill, whose reviews humored me to no end
Jenni Lucky, who is just cool, and who also as her own awesome fic you guys should read.
Priscilla, my wonderful, speedy, and intelligent Beta who faithfully edited every chapter of this story in short amounts of time, and who I wish an awesome time at college.
Robin, who was lured into the dark world of D/G and was thus companionable for D/G talk during APCS. And who, btw, made a cameo with her BOYFRIEND back in Chapter 13. Yes, Robin, you know you want him.
Vic Vic J Potter, my editor, muse, motivator, shameless fellow HP obsessor, co-captainer, and friend all wrapped up in one.
Again, I couldn't have done this without all of you! I hope that you'll stick with EHF now that Sebastian has faded (::sigh::). MUAH!
III. ALTERNATE SEQUENCES
And now, as I always do, closing drabbles. These were written originally as part of the fic, but were cut out for who-knows-why. And as I'm never really going to do a sequel of sorts, I thought I'd might as well post it here.Drabble I
This would've gone somewhere around Chapter 8, I think. Am not sure anymore.
"It's just, it's just that I love you, you big fool," she sobbed, and it all tumbled out. "I can't, I shouldn't, but I do."
His eyes were the darkest mercury she had ever seen them.
"And I don't know why I'm telling you this either, because I can't possibly expect that you could ever—"
"Shut up," Draco ordered. He tilted her chin with one slender finger roughly, studying her watery eyes for a long, infinite moment. Her lips parted as he traced his thumb over her lower lip with excurciating tenderness. "Ginny," he said in a low, hoarse voice. "Do you really love me?"
"Yes," she answered, tears welling in her eyes.
"I want the truth," He said gruffly, disbelievingly, and shook her slightly.
"It is the truth," she whispered, and the stream of tears spilled out, wetting her cheeks. "I love you, Draco, I love you so much."
And then he bent his head to hers, and kissed her like he didn't give a damn.Drabble II
This would've gone after this chapter. So it's pretty much the snippet of epilogue that I managed to complete.
The noise at 9 ¾ was incessant, but not unbearably so.
"Watch where you're going," He sneered.
She looked up, wide brown eyes surprised. "Oh," she said softly, lips parting as she took in his face. "I'm sorry."
He felt almost mean then, and in a moment of what he would later deem insanity, Sebastian reached for her bag. "Here," he said gruffly. "You probably can't carry it anyways."
She hid a smile, but studied him carefully. "You look familiar," she observed in a lightly accented voice.
He turned to her, startled. "Do I?"
"Well I've never seen you before," Sebastian shrugged, and they started making their way off the train.
"Oh I went to Beaubaxtons," she answered lightly. "My father sent me to see Dumbledore about transferring to Hogwarts, and I thought it would be fun to take the train home."
"Your father lives in England?"
She nodded again, and offered a shy smile. There was a moment of hesitation before she asked, "Is your name Malfoy by any chance?"
Despite a vain attempt to hide his surprise, Sebastian jumped a little. "How did you know?" He asked, slightly wary.
She shrugged. "Just a hunch."
"Sebastian!" A voice called out, one which belonged to his mother.
Draco and Ginny Malfoy were weaving their way through the crowd, Ginny rushing excitedly while her husband strode with nonchalant ease. "Goodness, Sebastian," she said when they had reached his side. "What took you so long?"
Sebastian glanced at his mother, looking slightly angry and slightly happy all in the same moment, and shot a pleading glance at his father. "But it's only been a few minutes, Mum."
"A few minutes," Ginny countered. "But yet Evan got here before you."
"That I did," his younger brother Evan popped up from behind them, silver eyes twinkling and a broad grin upon his face.
Sebastian narrowed his eyes. "You little—"
"Sebastan!" Ginny said sharply. "You will not speak to your siblings in such a—"
"Oh come off it," Draco interjected, encircling his wife protectively. "It's Sebastian's seventh year, Gin. We can allow him to be late." He pressed a small, but indeterminably well-placed kiss at the tip of her ear, and she all but melted, glancing up at him with warm brown eyes.
"You're too kind to them, Draco," Ginny replied in a soft voice which plainly suggested that the subject was forgotten.
"Mum," Sebastian complained loudly.
"I think it's cute," said the brunette beside him, and he flashed her a quick smile.
Ginny seemed to notice her for the first time. "I don't believe I've met you. Are you a friend of Sebastian's?"
"There you are!" A loud voice cried before she could respond. Ginny glanced up, startled to see a beaming man rushing towards them, a man who was very familiar. . .
"Potter?" Draco said incredulously. "I thought you moved to France."
Harry glared at Draco. "Obviously I did. And now I'm back."
"Oh Harry," Ginny beamed, throwing her arms around him. "It's so good to see you again."
"What are you doing here, anyways?" He said, folding his arms.
Harry pushed up his glasses. "Picking up my daughter, Malfoy."
"Evie!" came a familiar female voice, one that belonged to the pretty blond running their way.
"Hello, Fran," Evie grinned.
"Well well," Draco muttered under his breath. "Look at what a quaint little reunion we have here."
Love you all, and thank you for reading!