Hope this was soon enough for all of you! Enjoy! Oh! And I sure hope all of you have read OotP…
Disclaimer: The following songs mentioned below are not mine. You'll find out why.
The Sorting Hat Speaks: Reprise
He was looking at her again.
The whole student body erupted in cheers as she climbed up the stage, with her two best friends on either side, escorting her to the stage. Their arms were entangled with each other as if nothing could ever break them apart.
"…This year's class valedictorian, Miss Hermione Granger!" Professor Dumbledore had called out.
Draco Malfoy's ears rang from the deafening noise, but he took no notice of it. Some students stood up from their chairs, applauding their hearts out, but he only leaned back on his seat, a knowing smile on his lips, and his eyes, never leaving Hermione.
It was finally the Leaving Ceremony, and after a very scrumptious dinner, each student was called to the stage to accept their diploma and shake hands with the Headmaster. Four students had been called out for Special Mention for Excellency Award; it was the first time in the history of Hogwarts where two students were tied in the Second Honorable Mention, Mandy Brocklehurst from Ravenclaw and Ernie Macmillian from Hufflepuff. Neville Longbottom had surprisingly achieved the First Honorable Mention, clearly overcoming a huge obstacle otherwise known as Potions. The poor bastard humiliated himself by wetting his pants when he got up the stage.
Draco snickered at the sweet memory before his fingers had awakened to the touch of a silver cup in his hand. DRACO MALFOY: CLASS SALUTATORIAN. The Slytherins had been the noisiest when he accepted his award infront of everybody, filling the hall with their screeches and hollers while the others were banging their fists on the table. He raised his award in the air like he knew it all along, and the whole Slytherins only screamed some more. It was a while before Professor Dumbledore had managed to settle them down.
Then it was her turn. Among all of the students at Hogwarts, no one looked more proud of Hermione than the Wonder Twins. Weasel looked like he was ready to cry. Draco smirked and briefly turned his attention to Harry, who probably didn't even take the time to brush his hair. But he was also smiling up at her. Stop gawking, Potter, he thought to himself before he returned to stare at Hermione, only to find out that she was also looking straight at him.
Then again, who could blame Potthead? Maybe it was the bright lights in the Great Hall that made her whole self sparkle, or perhaps it was that simple, sheer white tube gown that fitted her body just right, that made her look like the perfect angel. Her hair wasn't tied up in fancy twists, it merely cascaded down to cover her bare back. She wore no other jewelry except for the necklace he gave for Christmas, the silver snake coiling around her neck, down to her cleavage.
Hermione nodded her head towards him in a playful manner, eyes seeming to say, "I beat you!"
Draco Malfoy ran his fingers through his silver locks and nodded back. He knew what she was thinking, but how was he supposed to disagree when she was looking like that?
"Sonorus," Professor McGonagall aimed her wand at Hermione's throat, and then a gradual silence fell on the Great Hall. If Hermione was freaking out right now, she had a lot of talent for hiding it.
"I wasn't really expecting any of this—" she began. Most of the students laughed ironically at this.
Hermione smiled nervously, taking a look at Draco, who raised his eyebrow as a sign of encouragement. She cleared her throat again and spoke more clearly this time.
"To the members of the faculty who never ceased to give me their support and guidance, to my fellow classmates who gave me the inspiration to be the best that I can be—" Hermione quickly stole a glance at Draco. "— to those of you who never knew you have touched my heart in so many ways…" She paused and took a deep breath, facing Harry and Ron who stood right below her. "And to my best friends, who have stood by my side no matter what.
"I could have never reached this point in my life if it wasn't for each and everyone of you. I did give a hundred percent in everything that I have done, studied my brains out almost everyday, but I'm so sure that if only you could have done the same thing, then maybe it would be…" Hermione's eyes scanned the Great Hall. "—you, giving a speech here tonight," Hermione's trembling finger pointed at the clueless Gregory Goyle.
"Hermione," Harry whispered warningly, shaking his head.
The Head Girl squeezed her orbs shut and took another deep breath. She knew she wasn't going anywhere. She opened them once more, and found Draco Malfoy smirking softly back at her. Suddenly the hundreds of other pair of eyes were gone unnoticed.
"We have been through so much in all our years here at Hogwarts. Our lives were constantly in danger, having a troll set lose once, never knowing when a certain basilisk would strike, having an escape Azkaban convict in our school, experiencing death, going through the worst Headmistress—"
"Hear, hear!" Terry Boot shouted.
"— And most recently, being a part of two different wars. If there's one thing Hogwarts should take pride in, it's us." She stopped in mid-sentence as the Batch of 1998 yelled in agreement, pumping their fists in the air and waving their glasses of champagne.
"We wouldn't have made it this far if it wasn't for each other. So let's just put the past aside and move on with our lives." She couldn't believe it. Tears were already welling up in her eyes. "Hogwarts will be forever in our hearts and minds. It's time to make the rest of the world get ready for us."
And so the crowd rose in cheers, with each member of the faculty clapping their hands together. Hermione was pulled down the stage while the rest of the teachers followed suit, except for Dumbledore who stayed in front.
"Well done Hermione!" Ron yelled in her ear, amidst the noise of their classmates. "Stop shaking! You did well!" His twin brothers had bought him a new set of robes for the Leaving Ceremony, and it's khaki shade made him look devilishly handsome.
"I knew you could do it, Hermione!" Harry shouted before lifting her up in his arms and twirling it around. Hermione laughed whole-heartedly.
Professor Dumbledore raised his wand in the air and pointed at the enchanted ceiling, which sported the night sky outside; a perfectly black blanket studded with stars. "By the power invested in me, I, Professor Albus Dumbledore, do hereby declare you as graduates of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!" A sudden bright light escaped from his wand before splitting into hundreds of thick smoky strings, enveloping each student with its warmth and brightness.
The Golden Trio looked at each other in amazement.
"Bill and Charlie never told me anything about this!" Ron exclaimed.
"Neither did the others who came before us!" Harry replied, laughing as the bright light tickled his arms.
"Look up, my dear students," Professor Dumbledore spoke, and the rest of the student body did as they were told.
Hermione gasped in shock. So that's why it was enchanted, she thought to herself.
The clouds above the Great Hall rose higher and higher, until suddenly, they did see the ceiling, which showed that there was nothing magical about it… except for the thousands upon thousands of names that were engraved in the ceilings… Peter Goodwick, Arthur Weasley, Alisha Rottenwood, Sirius Black, Terrence Nightingale, Heather Olivander, Yolanda Oakpin, Forsythe Fudge, Yuri Natoko.. Each name written in different handwritings, different sizes, and yet, no matter how limited the ceiling was, there was still room for more.
Harry's heart was beating rapidly in his chest. Right above one of the upper windows in the ceiling, were two names together, one written in messy cursives, one in neat print; James Potter, Lily Evans. Ron and Hermione saw the same thing, and squeezed each other's hands.
"Now grab your wands, and repeat after me," Dumbledore cheerfully ordered, and raised his wand high towards the ceiling, and a green light sprouted from its end. He signed his name above them, Albus Dumbledore.
And the rest followed.
Some signed their names with flowers, unicorn's horns, a peace sign, anything they could think of. Harry, Ron and Hermione raised their wands in the air and wrote their names right beside Harry's parents.
"I don't get it," Ron said, after underlining his name. "Why did they have to hide this from us all these years?"
"You don't have to understand everything, Ron!" Hermione exclaimed, marveling the sight of the names staring back at her. "This is just one of those secrets that makes Hogwarts as it is."
"Which is…" Harry pressed on.
Hermione froze. "I absolutely have no idea, Harry!" she laughed.
The backdrop of the stage vanished, and a band emerged from behind it, lead by Dean Thomas who was on a sleek red guitar. He strummed the few chords of the Hogwarts Anthem, before the bass joined and the drums kicked in. Everyone in the Great Hall beat their fists in the air and sang at the top of their lungs, with Hagrid being the loudest:
Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something please,
Whether we be old and bald
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling
With some interesting stuff,
For now they're bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we've forgot,
Just do your best, we'll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot!"
"Congratulations, Batch of 1998!" Professor Dumbledore bellowed. With one last wave of his wand, the tables changed into little round ones and were sent to the back of the hall, which made enough room for dancing. "Now, as our muggle friends say… LET'S PARTY!"
* * *
"Hey Malfoy, let's go!"
Draco suddenly turned to Crabbe who was sitting beside him, wearing black robes clearly too small for his protruding belly.
"Where are we going?" he drawled lazily, as if he was bored that school was finally declared over, once and for all. He completely disregarded the band that was playing only rock and mushy songs alternately.
"The Slytherins are gonna hang around the school, take pictures and stuff before we leave this shithole," Damien Baggerbath's voice filled his ears.
"How are you going to manage that?" Draco asked, subconsciously tracing the rim of his champagne glass.
Goyle took an old-fashioned camera from inside his robes, flashing a look of self-contentment. "Got it from that puny little kid from Gryffindor last week."
The tiny high-pitched melody coming from the glass stopped. "I think you mean stole it from him," Draco replied, shaking his head.
"Oh, come on Malfoy! Blaise Zabini isn't your only friend!" Crabbe begged. "At least do it for old time's sake!"
Draco Malfoy stood up from his chair, hiding his surprise in hearing that name again. "Who said I wasn't going to come?"
"Well." Crabbe replied, dumbfoundedly. "I figured you'd be staying here, you know, with your mud-, girlfriend," he added quickly, taking notice in the change of color of his gray orbs.
"Hey, what is going to happen to Zabini now?" Goyle asked to no one in particular.
"Who knows?" Damien shrugged. "We might see him again sometime soon."
Draco sniggered, turning his head around to look at Hermione, who seemed to be in a serious talk with her friends. Professor Lupin had joined the Golden Trio, and it looked like his angel was going to be held back from him for quite a while. Draco smirked. His angel. How the fuck did that sound so good?
"Coming, Malfoy?" Damien asked one more time.
He broke away from his reverie, and nodded to his friends. "Yeah, sure."
* * *
"And t-t-this is f-for the t-t-time when I thought y-you l-l-left me…" Lavender Brown was sobbing uncontrollably in her coat.
While the rest of the students went dancing or back to eating when the band played, she and her best friend, Parvati Patil had proceeded to go outside, to pay a little visit to the brass monument that was put up after the war between the Slytherins and the Gryffindors. They had dug as deep as their little shovels could and each placed a significant object in their life in Hogwarts in that small hole, to be buried in its earth and dug up later on, when they were both sure they had a line designer clothes set up in Diagon Alley.
After a cosmetic kit and an expensive barrette were buried together, the two girls stood up on their feet, sniffing and hiccupping at the same time.
"I can't believe we have to leave Hogwarts," Parvati sniffled, patting the brass head of the Gryffindor Lion.
"Time flies so fast," Lavender said absent-mindedly.
"So much things we have to do—"
"So much places we have to go—"
"And we still don't know what happened to Malfoy and Hermione!" Parvati suddenly shrieked.
"Oh my goodness, what are we doing out here?" Lavender exclaimed, grabbing her purse and pulling her best friend back inside the castle.
Alas, some people never change.
* * *
"It was all my mistake, I overlooked that book, I never should have given it to you," Lupin shook his head wearily.
Dean's voice filled the Great Hall as the music continued to beat from the magical speakers, but the Golden Trio looked unaffected by it.
"How could reading from a book be so dangerous?" Hermione asked for the nth time, holding a glass of champagne in one hand. "I've read it twice already, and there's nothing mysterious about it. It's just a map of the skies!"
"It's more than that, Hermione," Lupin's brown eyes pierced through hers. "If you've read the book from cover to cover, then you've probably read an incantation that already makes you the guardian of that book. I don't know what exactly it is, but I'll find out soon." Lupin flustered, looking like an older male Hermione who was so determined to get the correct answer. "You're right, Hermione, it is a map, and it shows the directions that lead to something with immense power. Something that other orders are searching for. Orders that will not stop at nothing until they get what they want."
"Name one," Ron declared seriously.
Lupin paused and eyed each one carefully. "Well, there's this one called the Order of the Dragon. It's been going around that they will have a future leader sooner than we think, and who knows what might happen if this certain treasure or object falls into the wrong hands…"
Hermione felt a lump on her throat. Dragon. Draco. She remembered Narcissa telling them that a Seer once said that her son would become powerful, another Dark Lord... Almost killing Blaise Zabini with only a Cruciatus Curse…
"Look, it doesn't make sense," Harry frowned, pushing up his glasses. "So we got this part figured out. Aris, Luna et Stella means Sun, Moon and Star. You believe that you and Sirius are connected to this because you guys came across this book once, a long time ago."
"We did hear that that book held special powers, but they were only rumors then. Nothing happened to us when we read it… This was where Sirius got the idea when he became an Animagus!"
"Siruis, named after the Dog Star, the brightest star in the whole universe," Hermione whispered, involuntarily stroking the snake on her chest. She looked at Lupin, with a new sense of enlightenment. "Moon, source of weakness and strength of a werewolf."
"So that leaves us with the Sun," Harry replied, eyeing Hermione carefully. "What's that got to do with her?"
"I don't know yet, Harry," his guardian replied truthfully.
"Damn," Ron cursed, biting his lip. "Right then. So here's what we do. Search for this Order the Dragon, take out all the members, figure out the clues of that damned book, go on an exploration for something we don't even know yet, all the while preparing for the burdens and freedom of adulthood." Ron paused and gave a shrug. "Sound just like school, eh?"
Suddenly a loud screech came from outside the Great Hall. Everyone looked up to see what it was, and realized that it was a ghostly owl, biting a piece of a very transparent paper in its beak. It landed right above of Dumbledore's table and sat up straight, so the Headmaster could read what it said. It tried very hard to be still, although being a ghost familiar, one couldn't help floating in the air. Finally, Dumbledore was finished and nodded his head to the owl, who immediately set forth again, leaving no trace of its presence.
"What was that?" Hermione wondered out loud. "I know it was mail, but who could it come from?"
Lupin chose not to answer that question.
Harry went back to the matter at hand. "Look, Lupin," he said. "I appreciate you telling this to us as soon as possible, but it's our last day here and, well, we just want to enjoy it while we can."
His father's friend nodded approvingly. "I know what you mean Harry," he laughed. "I remember our Leaving Ceremony, Sirius and your dad did so many practical jokes on our classmates, just because they knew that they were never gonna have that much fun again."
Harry chuckled. "Did you stop them?"
"Me? No," Lupin shook his head. "I designed some of those good-for-nothing gadgets. I wanted to see if they would work. Your mother did give us one hell of a lecture afterwards."
The song changed into something slower, nothing but the strumming of guitars and violins and a voice, singing about his everything. Hermione's mind was drifting into somewhere else, an image of a silver-blonde boy smiling down at her. As if on cue, the glass of champagne she was holding in her hand escaped her fingers. She turned around to see where it went, and found Draco on the other side of the wall, drinking an almost empty beverage, with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. She caught his stare, and immediately their eyes had their conversation again.
"May I have this dance?" His gray orbs seemed to say.
Hermione turned around to Lupin and her friends. "Um, guys, do you mind if I—" she pointed the dance floor.
Harry smiled at his best friend. "Go ahead, Hermione, I think I'll be having more of that Carbonara at the buffet table."
"I'll be leaving as well, there's still a lot of things to do," Lupin said. "Congratulations again. I'm very proud of all of you."
"Thanks," Harry and Ron said in unison. Hermione reached out and kissed Lupin in the cheek and gave him a big hug. "Thank you, Uncle Remus!"
"Don't call me that," he said seriously.
The Golden Trio laughed.
"Just go, Hermione," Harry spoke softly. "Malfoy's waiting for you."
She smiled at them again, before turning around to face Draco Malfoy, who was already at the dance floor, dressed in nothing but black. He smirked at her as she ran his hand through his hair, revealing the steely gray orbs that sparkled under the lights.
Hermione kept her eyes on his as she walked towards him. Time seemed so slow until finally, they were close enough for her to fling her arms around his neck, and for him to wrap his arms around her waist. How is it that they understood each other without having to say anything?
"I love you," His gray eyes confessed.
"I love you too," Her toffee orbs professed.
* * *
"Lupin! Hang on a second!"
Remus Lupin turned around, one step away form the exit of the Great Hall. Harry was sitting alone on the table, contemplating on future events while Ron was running after Lupin, breathless when he reached him.
"What's on your mind, boy?" Lupin asked curiously, his brows furrowed.
"You left a little something back there that needed an explanation still," Ron replied, his cheeks coming back to its natural color. "How did you find out that something was going to happen when Hermione read from Aris, Luna et Stella? Who told you that something was going wrong, and that Order of the Dragon was becoming powerful?"
Lupin's eyes suddenly became sharper. "Well, I must admit I wasn't planning to tell you this originally," he said. "But with Harry's heart broken and Hermione in cloud nine, you're the sensible on among the three of you at this time."
"Is there something else we need to know, Lupin?" Ron asked, looking straight at him.
His former DADA Professor sighed deeply, before grasping Ron's arm tightly. Ron looked a little surprised, but said nothing.
"You're Harry's best friend, and if there's anyone who's in the right position to tell him this, it's you."
"What is it?" Ron raised his voice.
"Sirius told me these things," Lupin answered, slowly releasing Ron from his grip.
The redhead looked at him like he belonged at St. Mungo's. "You're out of your mind," he shook his head. His heart was suddenly beating a hundred times per second.
"I wish I were," Lupin answered, almost casually. "Not flesh and blood boy, but he's alive." And with that, he wore his hat to cover his hair and left a speechless Ron staring after him.
* * *
Draco carried her through the beat, moving side to side, gliding on the floor. It didn't matter if the rest of the students had stopped dancing, or that Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil were screaming their hearts out in joy. All that mattered to Draco Malfoy right now was in his arms.
"Stop looking at me like that, Granger, I know you can't resist me," Draco drawled, holding up her chin in his fingers.
"What are you talking about, Malfoy," Hermione mocked, raising an eyebrow. "I hate everything about you."
"Really?" Draco leaned forward, feeling the warmth of her breath on his face. "Would you bet your life on it?"
"No," she replied, taking back what she said. Hermione closed her eyes and cherished everything she could, leaning her head on his strong chest. So many things were going on in her mind. Will this be the last time she would see Draco Malfoy? Before she even knew it, tears were already falling down her cheeks. No. She didn't want it to end this way.
Draco looked down at her and lifted her chin in his fingers. "Don't cry," he ordered, wiping away a tear. "This won't be the last time."
She gazed deep into his eyes. "How do you know, Draco?"
"Because you are going to stay at the Manor with me this summer," he replied, playing with her hair. "Then, give or take a few years, we're gonna get married, and have lots of kids."
She chuckled softly, with another tear flowing down her cheek. "Are you sure you're not a Seer, Draco?"
"How does being engaged to one of the wealthiest and sexiest man in Britain sound like?" he smirked, staring straight at her.
"Sounds just like an overly conceited prick I knew back in Hogwarts," Hermione replied, running her fingers through his hair. Until now, she was amazed at its softness.
"And what happened to this prick?" Draco answered, eyes never letting go of her.
"Well, give or take a few years," Hermione smiled, leaning forward to reach his lips. "We got married, and had lots of kids."
Draco bent down and captured her lips, pouring all his emotions on Hermione. He cupped her cheeks and kissed her deeper, making sure she knows that she was the only one for him. His fingers moved down towards the lock of the necklace, and fumbled with it before it came undone.
"What are you doing?" Hermione whispered, knowing her knees would give in at any second.
"Look at this," Draco whispered back, and held the necklace in his hands. A new pair of name was engraved in the jewelry, and I don't need to tell you what it read.
"Keep it on," he said to her, and placed it back on her neck. "It looks perfect on you."
* * *
The song changed, and Draco and Hermione left the dance floor hand in hand to the rockers who began to wildly spin their head around. They went towards the table where Harry was eating his Carbonara almost greedily, and Ron, looking paler than usual.
"Did you swallow a rat or something, Weasley?" Draco joked, before Hermione pinched him.
"Are you okay, Ron?" she asked, squeezing her best friend's hand.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine," Ron replied, wiping away the sweat forming on his forehead.
"Harry, you've got to slow down or your gonna choke to death," Hermione informed him.
"Can't help it, never tasted anything this good!" Harry swallowed. "Plus, I've been thinking about what Lupin told us."
There was an awkward silence as Harry was waiting for Malfoy to leave, while Draco was waiting for Harry to say something.
"Oh for heaven's sake, you've both got to realize that from this day, Draco's gonna be part of us!" Hermione rolled her eyes. "So stop being so childish!"
"She's right, Harry," Ron suddenly said. "The past is past. We've got a lot more things to worry about."
"Quite the philosopher, aren't we, Weasley?" Draco smirked.
"Shut up, faggot," Ron snapped. "That doesn't mean we forget."
Hermione shook her head. Boys are so hopeless.
"I almost forgot," Draco said, reaching down to his trouser pockets and holding a pink key in his hand. "This is for saving my life again in my own house," he said before throwing it to Potter.
"Is this some sort of joke, Malfoy?" Harry drawled at him.
"Do me a favor and next time I'm in deep shit, just leave me for dead. I don't want to be in debt to your heroic shit." The Golden Trio looked curiously at him. Draco sighed deeply and lazily sat beside Ron, making room for Hermione to sit. Some of the girls had joined in the mosh pit while Dean Thomas still singing, something about "hating everything about someone yet loving her". Muggle music is so complicated.
"Back in the first year, I was exploring this castle when I came across Snape's room. Let's just say the Potions Master has an alter ego. Absolutely loves frills and pinks. That key unlocks Snape's deepest secrets," he raised his eyebrows suggestively.
"You've been using this to blackmail Snape all along?" Ron fumed. "That's why he was so biased!"
"No wonder you were always perfect in the tests!" Harry added disgustingly.
"Au contraire," Draco replied. "Those scores were my own doing. I only waved it around for house points."
"Did you ever com back again?" Hermione asked.
"Are you daft? No way," Draco shook his head.
"Why not?" Harry pressed on.
"Potter, I've been through many things in my life, and never have seen anything scarier than Snape wearing a pink tutu and singing a muggle song called Dancing Queen."
Their table screamed noisily at this revelation. Harry looked like he was going to barf his Carbonara, Ron's face turned as red as his hair, and Draco Malfoy had his arm over Hermione's shoulder, laughing together, looking as if they were friends all their life, while the other hand clutched Hermione's, fingers entwined with each other, never letting go.
* * *
The scenes unfold, fading into each room of the castle. The Slytherin Dungeons, The Gryffindor Tower, Dumbledore's Office. Your ears are filled with tiny little noises from strange contraptions. Over at the side, Fawkes smiles down at you, and at the shelf behind Dumbledore's table, a wise tattered old hat gathers dust. The Sorting Hat has finished his story, and speaks for the last time.
Hush my friends, and let them hold each other
Help them make the moment last forever
In the end, it has be Draco and Hermione
For I am the Sorting Hat, and what I've said has been.
T H E E N D.
This story could not have been as successful as I imagine it to be if it wasn't for all of you who made this happen. Thank you so much for the advices, the help, the inspiration. Now I know I left too much subplots going on, but that's for the sequel… Aris, Luna et Stella perhaps? Please tell me what you think so I would know whether to pursue that dream or not. Whatever happens, it's been such a ride for me. I'll see you again soon.
PS. Could you guess the last song Dean Thomas was singing?
Love you all,