WARNING: I know this website isn't keen on really in-depth sex scenes and I think this one might be a little.......um, descriptive really, but I really like it so PLEASE don't read it if you don't like that sort of thing. However, if you do read it and don't like it PLEASE don't complain about me. Lol. You have been warned. I don't think it's that bad but I have had my work edited before (oops!)

Hopefully most of you read my A/N that explained my lack of update. Now, to add to my problems, I have misplaced my Chapter plan (Eep!) so I'm thinking on my feet now. I obviously know where I'm going it's just the finer points were on that sheet and as I'm dense sometimes I didn't have a copy. So all I can do is apologise for the delay. I get annoyed at myself when I don't/can't update so thankyou to everyone who hasn't given up on me and who has waited patiently. It's all nearly over now.

Also, to everyone who wished me luck in my A-Levels. I got my results the other day. I needed two B's and a C to do English Language and Media Studies at the University of Stirling. I got a D in Psychology, a C in Media Studies and...............a B in English Language and a B in Sociology. I'm off to Uni baby! I leave in about two weeks (Eep!) and I really am aiming to finish this before I go. So I guess I'd better get my act together.

Thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou a million times to everyone who is sticking with me through my awful updating. And thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou a million more times to everyone who has reviewed. I promise I do read them all, I've just fallen out of writing back. When all this is over I will go through and reply to every single one. I promise.

Ah well, fingers crossed and here goes...

Chapter 28-Goodbye to What We Knew; A Time for Speeches

It was early evening and Draco absently flicked the pages of his calendar over with flicks of his wand, realising he hadn't altered it since December. He was more than a little shocked to discover it was now the middle of June and that the Seventh years final exams were looming ever closer. The announcement that exams had to go ahead; despite recent events, had been greeted by a chorus of groans and loudly voiced protests at breakfast the other morning, but Draco could see Dumbledore's point; although he may have not fully liked it. Life still had to continue. As cruel as it sounded, the world had not stopped because people had died. For the Seventh years especially, these exams were the most important of their young lives; University choices and jobs decisions would be made off the back of these results.

That had been the other thing playing on Draco's mind lately; the future after Hogwarts. Draco had not changed her mind about University and, if he was honest, he was glad as he too had always planned to further his education. It was going to be more than slightly difficult though. She wanted to specialise in Charms, which meant studying at the Stone Henge University for four years. However Draco's choice of subject; potions, of course, would take him to the South West of England at Tintagel University for four years. Yet his course was to be even longer once he had finished there. In order to become a potion's master (an honour held by few) he would then have to study for a further three years at Edinburgh Castle University, with a year taken out to transfer to Japan in order to gain a full grasp of all potions and their antidotes in a course that combined potions and medical studies. The whole thing gave him a rather large headache.

And now to make matters worse, Dumbledore had sprung it upon Draco and Draco that, as it was a ritual, they were expected to give separate speeches at the end of year assembly once the exams had finished, in order to wish their friends and companions good luck in the future. There would be the customary ball afterwards; it would be the last time the year would be together.

Draco sighed and stared at the blank piece of paper in front of him. He had nothing and everything to say at this assembly and none of it that he had written down had sounded right. There was just too much to say to certain people yet nothing to say to others. There wouldn't be a single Slytherin present, meaning he had to speak to three rival houses for three or more minutes about how their lives had been affected by Hogwarts and each other. An impossible task.

He was seriously toying with the idea of handing the task to someone else, but a stern letter from the all-knowing Headmaster had soon banished that thought. So now he sat, alone and confused in his rooms, his Quick-Quotes-Quill poised readily on the paper, quivering in preparation for the words that he so wanted to come from his mouth but which refused to sound any good at all.

He sighed in impatience and anger, throwing himself back onto the couch and staring up at the ceiling, willing thoughts to come to him. Any thoughts.

He soon lost himself in memories and thoughts of the future. His biggest concern, if that was the right word, was Draco. She was in obvious distress over her infertility. Draco knew she'd always been the type to have a family. And, knowing her, a rather large family. But now that opportunity had been taken away from her forever and he couldn't do anything to save her from it. His mind raced as he thought of a way around her hurt. Anything that he could do to save her from the torment she was bound to endure at not being able to share her love with children of her own.

He had considered them adopting, and he was certainly keen on the idea, but he knew it wouldn't be the same. Not really. He ran every conversation through his head that might bear some significance to what he could do help Draco. Conversations with Harry, Ron, Ginny, Dumbledore and The Gods when he was in their presence. Fragments seemed to sift themselves out from each other and fit together to create new sections within his mind, without any conscious help from him. He focused on the newly arranged conversations, listening carefully to the words that were spoken, a smile spreading across his face. Of course. Why hadn't he thought of that? It wasn't all lost at all. There had been clues all along.

He sprang up from his position suddenly, abou to leap from the sofa and run to Draco, but a force stronger than any person held him back.

"No my dragon." The rich voice of a woman spoke, "Our Raven will know in her own time and not before. She must learn to cope with her burden before it can be unleashed fully upon her."

Draco nodded, recognising and acknowledging the authority and love in the voice of his true mother. He bowed respectfully and reluctantly lay back down, falling back into his thoughts of the up and coming assembly speech.

He awoke hours later to the gentle glow of dying embers in the fireplace. Pulling himself up and rubbing his eyes he glanced around the room, seconds later hearing a knock at the door.

"Good timing." He muttered, stretching as he stood up and ruffling his hair to stop it from sticking on end as it always insisted doing when he'd been asleep.

He opened the door to find Hermione, smiling and looking disgustingly proud of herself. He grinned at her;

"What have you done to deserve looking like that?" He smiled, pulling her into a hug.

"I finished my speech." She grinned back, waving several pieces of paper in front of his face.

"How much have you written?" Draco gasped, staring at the wads of paper she held in her delicate hands.

"Enough so I can say what I feel I need to; although not as much as I wanted. Where's yours?"

"Don't ask." He complained. "I can't do this 'Mi. It's impossible. What the hell can I say to 200 and odd people I don't know and who don't like me?"

"Somehow I know you'll think of something." Hermione smiled, kissing him gently on the lips.

Draco smiled back at her; although he was none the clearer as to what she was on about. Her cryptic confidence in him did nothing other than add to his dilemma of keeping secrets from her. She believed in him so much and he couldn't give her what she deserved to know. He sighed, pulling her closer and breathing in her scent.

She kissed him gently and he returned her affection, his hands wrapping in her curls and around her slender waist, drawing her closer to him. She returned his kisses, pulling him as close as she could by his hair, her slender fingers entwining in his ice-blond locks. His hands roamed here figure, reaching around and unclasping the black lace that encased her. She smiled as he removed her upper clothing and they made their way over to the bed, their hands exploring each other and their lips feverishly devouring the others.

Draco leaned forwards, pushing Hermione onto her back as he caressed her breast with his hands, kissing his way from her lips, down her neck, across her shoulder and chest to the bared nipple that stood erect and waiting in the cool air of the castle. He kissed it, swirling his tongue over the rose-tipped peak before capturing it in his warm mouth. She gasped as he withdrew and the sharp air hit the warm flesh. He smiled and kissed her again, his arms encasing her and wandering her body, easing her jeans lower until they lay on the floor.

She smiled a slow, almost shy smile, as his finger roamed the lace keeping her from him. He could feel her warmth and her want as he slid his fingers beneath the material, his fingers caressing their way over the hot skin, rubbing the sensitive spot at the front. His thumb circled it and his fingers slid inside her. She gasped, throwing her head back and closing her eyes as she savoured this feeling. His free hand moved along the soft skin of her side and up to her breasts where he lovingly caressed them one at a time, slowly, adding to her pleasure.

He kissed her again, trailing his lips and tongue over her sweet tasting skin, drinking her in with every breath. She was beautiful and she deserved to know it. His lips traced a dance along the slender curve of her neck, lingering around her small ears to tease them slightly before moving further down her bared body. He kissed her chest, paying careful attention to each part of her as he came to it, over her flat stomach, across her hips, grabbing her with his free hand he still continued to tease her with the other, his movements varying from fast to slow as he played with her physical feelings.

She opened her eyes slightly s he took her in his mouth, his tongue teasing her sensitive peak, his fingers still inside. He kissed every part of her that he could reach, appreciating her taste and her responses. Her fingers became entwined in his hair as she neared her pleasure peak, and he grinned as his hands fell away from her sex to begin, once again, their roaming of her body, all the while his tongue and lips pleasuring her as only his knew how.

Her body began to rapidly contract and relax as her legs shook and the familiar look of complete peace passed over her face. She smiled as he raised his head, and grabbed him with both hands, gently manoeuvring him to directly in front of her, her hands lightly skipping over the hair on his chest, down across his stomach and to his belt, which she swiftly undid, dropping his jeans to the floor, planting delicate kisses over his skin as she did so, her lips moving lower and lower until she took him in her mouth.

He moaned and placed his hands gently on her head as her tongue expertly danced over his skin, her hands running up and down his body, entwining in the hair on his chest, before moving down and coming to rest on his buttocks. He gently pushed her back and came to rest lying next to her on the bed, his hands constantly touching her soft skin. He kissed her and she looked at him quizzically. He smiled at her, taking in her natural beauty.

"I just want to hold you." He said, "I don't know what's going to happen in the future and right now all I want is to be near you."

She grinned at him and kissed him deeply, pulling him closer and throwing the covers over them, snuggling up as close as their bodies would let her.

They lay for hours n each others arms, talking about everything and nothing; the future, the past and the present, their friends, the end of year assembly, the bell; which, to Draco's delight, they would be attending together, in front of everyone. The talked long into the night until finally they fell asleep, still in each others arms.

Draco and Hermione sat, either side of Dumbledore, on the stage that had been erected as part of the seventh years assembly. Draco glanced around as the seventh years entered the hall, an array of emotions fighting on their faces; excitement at the future ahead of them, happiness at the prospect of no more school and sadness at leaving the place that, for many of them, they had come to call home over the last seven years. Dumbledore stood as the last of the eldest students settled into their seats;

"Welcome to your final day as students at Hogwarts." He began, "After tonight's ball you will no longer be pupils here and will only remain in school to take your exams before we let you loose on the world. Some of you may go straight into employments; others may seek to broaden their minds further by the means of higher education. Whatever path you choose our hopes go with you and we all, sincerely, wish you the greatest of luck."

Draco looked at Snape, who still looked at the other students with a look of mild distaste. True, it wasn't the loathing he usually reserved for them but it appeared that old habits died hard and that Snape wished only grudging good wishes to the students who sat before him. Draco couldn't help but smile and shake his head slightly as his head of house as Dumbledore continued;

"The seven years you have spent here have been to prepare you for the challenges in life that you now face as adults. Between us we, the staff, have hopefully produced a fine array of young adults who will go on into the world to change it for the better. However, it is not for me to say those words which you will carry with you for the rest of your lives. I am but an doddering old fool, so I hand you over to the two who were chosen to represent your year." He indicated to Draco and Hermione, hi eyes twinkling, "Yet before I allow them to steal the limelight, as I'm sure they will, I wish you, once again, from all of the staff here, the very best of luck."

He retired to his seat and the seventh years erupted into applause. Draco distinctly spied tears in more than a few eyes in the audience. He grinned at Hermione as she stepped forward, shaking slightly as she went to address her fellow pupils.

"I haven't got much to say." She began, "I have many happy memories to thank Hogwarts for and I'm sure all of you do too. I know there have been hard times yet between us we have made it to the end and, although we do not number that which we did in our first year, due to many losses that we will never forget, I can only say that I am happy to see friends here today. Every single one of you has made friends here and for every person here Hogwarts will hold dear in their hearts forever, especially over the next few years as we move out into the wizarding world. For many people here, like myself, Hogwarts has allowed for you to discover who you really are. The ability that lies in all of us is one which can never be taken away and which makes us unique, belonging to a world that others only dream about. We are the ones who were chosen, by birth right or by letter seven years ago, and we are the ones who sit together today, ending our education in this wonderful world and remembering those who can not be with us. We are lucky. We are privileged, and we must always remember that."

Hermione smiled as the hall exploded with applause and cheers as she sat down. Ron punched the air and whooped with delight, and Harry beamed as their best friends sat down once again, tears brimming in her eyes. He took a breath. And not it was his turn. He stepped forward;

Uneasy glances met his approach to the front of the stage; to some on the hall he was still an enemy, not really to be trusted yet no-one would say anything because others had placed trust in this man who had once been a mortal enemy to everyone seated in front of him. Again Draco took a deep breath, and began;

"Like Hermione I don't have much to say to you all today, and I doubt you want to hear me say very much to you, but I will do, because despite the thoughts of some people in this room I do feel that I have a right to stand here and talk to you about what we have learned during our time here. Some of you know what qualifies me to do this, others may not. If you don't..............go and ask someone, but I will not be going into the details here and now. Aside from the education that we have been taught in what is each of our heritages; we have learned qualities that we will keep forever." He paused; they were listening. "When we arrived at Hogwarts seven years ago we were separated, each confined to a family according to our characteristics; cunning, loyalty, courage and intelligence are probably the most prominent ones. Yet now we all share that which once separated us. As we fought alongside each other only a few short weeks ago our four houses became one. We combined those qualities which were once responsible for our segregation, as we protected each other and fought for good. We, as a year; the first year to do so, we are not Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. We are Hogwarts."

He stopped and waited. The hall sat in silence before Harry stood and began clapping, followed quickly by the rest of the year. The clapping became cheers and stamping feet as the meaning behind of Draco's speech hit them all, one at a time. They were forever united as one by the horror that they had witnessed and no bond, not even that which the sorting hat placed upon them. Would ever be able to break it.

Seven o'clock and Draco stood with Harry, Ron and Hannah, waiting for Hermione. Harry had, of course, decided to go alone. He was still feeling the loss of Ginny more than anyone, although he had taken it better than Draco knew he ever would have. Harry was still putting in an appearance tonight and was trying his best to carry on as normal.

Draco stared as Hermione entered the room. She looked gorgeous, as always. Her dress was simple and elegant for her leaver's ball; long, strapless and made of a midnight blue material. Her hair was arranged in a mass if curls, sprinkled with dark blue glitter and on her feet were delicate midnight shoes.

"You look gorgeous." He muttered as she took his arm, making their way to the Great Hall.

"Thankyou." She whispered back, blushing slightly; she never had been one for honest compliments. He grinned; she was so naïve about things sometimes, considering.

The five of them entered the Hall, all immediately noticing how wonderful it looked. All four house colours hung in various displays of colour, and the enchanted ceiling glistened with a thousand stars on the inky background, as swirling lights replaced the light normally given out by candles, reducing the light to a dusky blue and increasing the atmosphere to a peak. The setting was perfect. All around them the seventh years bustled and giggled, cried and danced; all enjoying their last evening as Hogwarts students.

"Alcohol!" Ron suddenly yelled, punching the air and running over to one of the long tables, dragging Hannah with him, not very elegantly either.

Draco turned to Harry and Hermione and the three of them smirked and rolled their eyes;

"As if he's never had it before." Hermione giggled, offering Harry her other arm. He took it, with a grateful smile and the three of them joined Ron, who was throwing back the mildly alcoholic drinks as if there was no tomorrow.

"Um......there are about 200 other people here mate." Harry pointed out.

"Yeah," said Ron, in-between drinks, "But it's going to take about three hundred of these to have any effect."

Hannah smiled at him, whilst the other three just gave up arguing.

"Let him get wasted." Hermione muttered, "He'll regret it tomorrow."

"He won't though will he." Draco pointed out, "He'll have a lie in so he can sleep it off, and even if that doesn't work any idiot can brew a hangover potion."

"Not if he doesn't have the ingredients." Hannah whispered to the trio suddenly, smirking.

Hermione burst into giggles at this and embraced the Hufflepuff;

"You're a genius." She laughed, quickly covering it up with a cough when Ron turned his head.

The music for the night was provided by an annoyingly happy group that Draco didn't; know that name of and didn't care to really.

"I suppose it's what happens when you put teachers in charge." He thought to himself, watching as Harry and Hermione stood up to dance.

He didn't take his eyes off his beautiful girlfriend the entire time; not because he didn't trust her, but because she looked so elegant and graceful he found it too difficult to focus his eyes anywhere else in the room. Harry whirled her around in some dance that he'd made up on the spot and she laughed and clung to her friends robes tightly as he spun her again and again. It was so refreshing for Draco to see her like that; without a care in the world, and he smiled as he watched her.

The next few weeks passed by in a whirl for Draco as he sat his exams along with the rest of his year. He was certain he'd passed everything; with flying colours in DADA, he thought with a smirk. Yet it was Potions that he was both the most confident and the most concerned about. The result from that exam would hinge what he did for the rest of his life. As he had never wanted to do anything else, the fact that he may not qualify as being good enough made his worry pointlessly. However, once the exam had passed and Snape had given him a tell-tale smile, Draco's worries all but passed and before he knew it the entire school was packed and on their way to Hogsmeade and to the station for the last time.

Draco was more than slightly nervous about going home; the thought of returning to Malfoy manor less than appealed to him but, until he and Hermione had decided on their long term plans when they both finished their education, it would have to be his home. He immediately planned to dismiss the House Elves and hand over to the ministry as much of Lucius' old Dark Arts things as he could. He figured it was going to be a very busy summer.

He now sat in one of the not-so-horseless-anymore carriages, along with Harry, Ron, Hermione and Hannah; the five of them together had become a common sight around Hogwarts and the thought that he was now fast friends with a Hufflepuff and three Gryffindors made Draco double up every time as he thought of his parents, probably turning in their graves at the thought.

The carriages rolled to a stop and the five scrambled out. Draco couldn't help but stare at the sight of Hogsmeade now. Houses were still burnt out shells and the majority of the small, quaint village was nothing but a ghost town.

"How long have we got until the train leaves?" Hermione asked.

"About half an hour." Ron answered, "Why?"

"I think we need to go somewhere." She responded, nodding her head towards the hill of the shrieking shack.

The others nodded, there was going to be no arguments from any of them. They walked together to the site of the final battle and it became obvious that the residents of Hogsmeade, and from various other places by the looks of it, had been too busy with this small section of their village. In front of them lay rows upon rows of white tombstones; each one about two feet high and made of the purest white marble, and opposite the rows of white lay rows of black tombstones; the same height, only carved out of deep granite. It seemed that everyone deserved to be remembered.

"I can't believe they'd do that." Ron almost yelled, "The scum on that side don't deserve memorials." He turned to Hermione, "Aren't you bothered about this? You of all people know what bastards they all were."

"Yes," Hermione whispered, "but they were people Ron. People who, once upon a time, even if it was only for a short time, were innocent and knew nothing of what they would become. They deserve to be remembered as much as anyone who fought for us."

Draco squeezed her hand gently and the small group made their way slowly through each and every row of tombstones. At each of the white graves Hermione charmed a deep red rose out of the air and laid it on the soft earth.

"They'll bloom forever." She explained, as they moved to see the darker gravestones.

Draco found his parents immediately; although the Gods knew why his Father had a grave here. He nearly died of shock when Hermione charmed two black roses out of the air and laid them of the graves.

"What are you doing?" He asked, shocked.

"Thanking them." Hermione answered simply, "For having you, bringing you into my life and making you realise that their ways were not the right ones"

Draco grinned;

"You," he said, sweeping her into a huge hug as the four went towards the station, "are unbelievable at times, do you know that?"

"Yes." She responded, giggling and kissing him, "so you'd better get used to it."