Disclaimer: No, the characters are not mine. I wish.
Thank you list: to sweet Alice, my beta! And TO ALL OF YOU who have followed the story this far! The story is over, folks! This is the last chapter. I cried after I finished it… I enjoyed Love me, Love me not very much! I hope you have enjoyed it, too. Please, review when you finish. Say goodbye to me! Please! I beg you! ;; Erm… Ok, maybe I'm a little desperate… lol! But seriously, leave me something! Anything! I'm so lonely now that I finished LMLMN…
Enjoy the last chapter!
Chap. 48 – A Rather Long Epilogue
Even though Flourish and Blotts had been magically enlarged to hold The Event of the Year according not only to the Daily Prophet, but also to every other wizarding magazine and paper, the place seemed too small to welcome so many people.
On the table was a big pile of books just waiting to be signed and given away. But the guest of honour, the man who was supposed to sign them, was nowhere in sight.
Draco glanced at his watch and sighed. Harry was very late. He had told Draco not to worry about him and go straight to the bookstore from work, but Draco wasn't sure he had made the right decision. Even though almost a year had passed since his last major breakdown, Draco still worried about him.
Harry still felt depressed from time to time, and on those short periods he isolated himself until the feeling was gone. Tei Pei had helped Harry get detached from Voldemort and every bad memory associated with him, but he hadn't been able to help Harry heal all of the scars in his heart. To achieve that Harry would have to go back to Tibet and spend a long time there, but the raven-haired man was rather busy with his life now. Besides, as Tei Pei said himself, Harry's sadness was something normal, just a part of every day life. He would be able to handle it on his own and keep on living without making a big deal about it.
Even so, Draco worried. And, if he was to be honest with himself, he wasn't just worried about Harry. He was worried about what that day would represent in both their lives. They had been together for almost ten months and had been married for two, but only their closest friends and family knew about it.
Although Charles Hagen had stopped writing about them – thanks to Hermione's threat of telling on him for not paying his taxes properly – The Daily Prophet still speculated about their relationship, and they were quite harsh in their judgement. Thanks to that, Draco, who had been recovering rather slowly from the events of last year, always kept a low profile about his marriage to Harry.
Which was why he was so nervous. This was the day Harry would not only celebrate his success as a best-selling author, but they would also be open about their relationship to the whole wizarding world for the first time.
There. He had finally admitted to himself. He wasn't really worried about Harry getting depressed in such an important moment. He was worried about the repercussions of that day. People were already staring at him suspiciously. If Harry dared to leave him all alone to face the public's criticism, he would ask for the divorce.
Someone touched his shoulder gently, and Draco jumped with surprise. He turned around quickly and his eyes fell upon Bill.
"Bill! Hi!" exclaimed Draco, hugging Bill tightly in reflex.
Bill chuckled at his ex-lover's evident anxiety. "Hi, Draco! You look great! A little nervous, but great. Thank Merlin that Jacques isn't here yet, or else he would hex you. For real."
Draco made a face. "I still don't know how you can put up with that brat. You are very brave to marry him. He created such a scandal at your wedding… Although it was kind of nice to see him throw a spell on Fleur when she tried to ruin the ceremony." Draco smiled as he remembered the comical scene, but Bill didn't seem to find it so amusing.
"You say it as if Harry is so much different from Jacques…" Bill sneered, wiping Draco's smile off his face. "He's terribly jealous of me. At your wedding, he threatened me if I didn't stay away from you! And that was after you and I had danced just once!"
"Don't be silly!" Draco exclaimed. "He didn't threaten you! He just cut in and took me away a little hastily… It was Jacques who stomped on my foot and asked me never to dance with you again!"
Bill smiled. "I guess he's a little possessive."
"He's demented," Draco stated.
"So is Harry."
"Harry is an angel compared to Jacques. He isn't much of a jealous person."
Bill frowned. "That's because he always chooses to threaten his rivals when you aren't looking. Trust me, your boyfriend can be very scary when he's jealous of you."
Draco chuckled softly. To know that Harry felt jealous of him put him in quite a good mood. And to think that the previous year Harry could barely stand to be in the same room with him. Now they couldn't get enough of each other.
"Isn't Harry late?" Bill asked.
Draco nodded, distressed. "Yes… I bet he and Severus are fighting…"
"Oh, you godfather has come!" Bill asked, surprised. He knew that Severus was anti-social and didn't like to leave his house in Scotland for anything in the world.
"He was forced to come by Sirius. Harry's godfather is quite happy that he doesn't have to play dead anymore. He loves a party, so he drags Severus with him everywhere. Needless to say that Severus' mood gets worse every time that happens, and he blames Harry for it," said Draco bitterly. "The house has become a battle of wills..."
"Why does Snape come then? I can't see the old grumpy Professor Snape doing something against his will..." pointed out Bill.
Draco smirked. "He would never admit it, but by coming with Sirius he's marking his territory around his lover. No one has ever dared come on to Sirius when Severus is beside him."
Bill smiled wryly. "I see! We all have possessive lovers."
"Indeed," said Draco returning the smile.
"And how is your job?" Bill asked.
Draco grinned. He had just recently gone back to working as an Auror for three reasons. First, Hermione and Boss had pleaded him to join them again. Secondly, because Jonah had been sacked after Hermione gathered enough proof that he had connections with Lucius Malfoy – explaining why he seemed to pick on Draco so much. But mostly, he had gone back because he had been tired of being a 'house-wife' 24/7. He would rather face long written reports than house chores – with Mrs Black on the background giving him instructions.
"My job is doing great. Hermione has already given me enough work for the rest of the year," he answered.
Bill raised an eyebrow. "Is this good?"
"It's wonderful," Draco said, winking at him.
Bill got closer to him and touched Draco's waist softly. "You do look stunning, Draco," he teased. "Would you save me a dance at Harry's celebrating party at our house later on?"
"Where's the brat, Bill? Are you sure you want him to see you flirt with my man?" asked Harry coldly, cutting in.
Bill made a face. Draco flushed slightly but happily to hear Harry calling him his.
"How are you, too, Harry?" said Bill, amused. "I knew you were there, which was why I decided to tease Draco."
"Really?" Harry smiled wryly. "That's what you said the last time when I caught you sweet talking Draco."
"Can you blame me? Draco is irresistible," Bill said, making Draco roll his eyes.
"I know that," said Harry with a cold smile. "Just don't forget that he's mine."
"I had him first, if you remember," Bill pointed out.
Harry's face went red, and he clenched his fists. "Do you have a point? Because last time I'd checked, you were the one who..."
"Harry!" Draco cut in before Harry started a real fight. Bill always had fun teasing Harry, but the raven-haired took his jokes rather seriously. It was up to Draco to pacify him later, and it was never an easy job. "Don't start."
Harry frowned. "I didn't! He was the one with his hands on your waist, and his mouth very close to your neck!"
Draco made an outraged face. Sometimes he liked it when Harry showed him his possessiveness, but most of the time it only upset him.
"Oh, there is my blond!" Bill exclaimed. "If you would excuse me," he said, patting Harry's back fondly and winking at Draco before leaving them.
Harry sighed. "I know he's crazy about that brat – Merlin knows why – but he really pisses me off when he comes so close to you." Harry looked at Draco, who was rolling his eyes, and wrinkled his brows. "What? You know how I feel about Bill!"
"He's a dear friend now, married, and your best friend's brother. You know Bill would never come on to me for real now. He likes to tease you, that's all."
"And I don't like it when he does that; I don't care if it's only a joke," Harry replied moodily.
"Forget about Bill. Tonight is all about you. And you're late," Draco stated.
"I have your loving godfather to thank for that," sneered Harry. "He behaved insufferably as usual. He kept grumbling about having to watch me sign autographs all night for a stupid book about my years at Hogwarts that he can't understand how it became famous in the first place because, according to him, I have a very poor writing style," Harry grumbled at once. "I told him that he didn't need to come. Merlin knows that the last person I need here is Snape and his 'finally a true celebrity rises' speech. Like I wanted more attention than I already had... You know I wouldn't be here if Dean hadn't begged me to! But he is a dear friend and he was really nice by giving me this chance and accepting my book, so... He could have spared me to sign autographs, though!"
Draco was sensitive enough to hide a smile at Harry's inflamed speech. Harry really didn't like the attention he was getting with his book. He had never expected it to reach the top of the chart. It had all started as some sort of diary that Harry decided to transform into fiction, changing a few names and places every here and there. It was, as Severus had put it, about his years at Hogwarts. The difference was that rather than write in the first person, Harry had decided to write as if he was a distant observer. It made things easier for him. What really angered Severus the most was to be described through the whole book as the old bat.
Draco hadn't liked his description in the book as well. He was the brat with a pointed face, a horrible attitude and a drawling voice. Harry had only managed to convince him not to murder him at night by snogging him until he melted in his arms.
"And then Sirius made things worse by adding that if Snape stayed home he would flirt with half of the people here! So you can guess what happened next..." Harry continued, taking Draco's mind out of their night of passion.
"Did he become irrationally jealous just like you do when Bill is talking to me?" suggested Draco softly.
"Ha-ha," Harry laughed humourlessly. "No. He didn't become irrational. He is like that normally... The problem was that Mrs Black decided to join the discussion with her witty comments."
"Merlin! I bet it was ugly!" Draco chuckled. "My goodness, we make such a strange family..."
Harry ended up smiling too. "Don't we? So how do I look? You haven't said anything... I suppose I'm not as good-looking as your ex, but..."
Draco ignored Harry's last childish sentence to focus on his general appearance. He didn't know how he hadn't noticed just how gorgeously stunning Harry looked in a black gala robe with Gryffindor's tie adorning his neck. He wasn't wearing his glasses, and his green eyes were glowing more than usual. His heartbeat quickened. Harry could still take his breath away. It made Draco wish that he had dropped by their house, taken a shower and dressed more properly instead of coming straight from work with his plain black robes. He couldn't understand how he had let Harry talk him into doing that – him, who always made sure to look good no matter where he was.
"So?" Harry insisted a little insecurely but adorably cute.
"Stupid. You look beautiful. You're far more attractive than anyone in this room," whispered Draco, closing the distance between them and kissing Harry fully on the lips. Harry enlaced him by his waist and brought him even closer. They got lost in their private loving moment when a strong light fell upon them.
FLASH! They heard the sound of many cameras being activated at once. They parted slowly and carefully. When Draco looked around, he almost panicked. The room had suddenly become very quiet. All eyes were on them. At their left, Colin Creevey enthusiastically waved his free hand at them and took another picture, making Draco go blind for a second.
Draco blinked, then gulped. This was it. Everybody knew now that they were a couple for real. He just hoped that their relationship wouldn't jeopardise Harry's future as a writer. He also hoped not to be expelled from there with cruel hexes for having the audacity to be married with their hero.
Harry held his hand and squeezed it reassuringly. They stared at each other, and Harry smiled at him as if telling Draco that everything would be all right. Draco smiled back, and he held his head high – resembling very much the same brat with a pointed face and a drawling voice from the old days.
They waited for the crowd to be all over them with questions and criticisms. But what happened next left Draco speechless.
"Look, it's Harry Potter!" someone shouted.
"Harry! Harry!" a series of voices began to call out his name.
"Could you sign my boobs?" asked a witch with curly hair jumping in front of him and taking Harry's hand. Draco was too dumbfounded to say anything.
A small group of people surrounded Harry and took him away. Draco was left alone and stunned. He watched as a scared Harry sat down on the chair reserved to him and began to sign his books automatically.
After a while, Harry recovered from the initial shock and began to smile and shake people's hands as if he had been born to do just that. He glanced at Draco and smiled cutely. Draco flushed slightly, but he smiled back.
Draco thought that journalists would surround him, but they were all trying to get close to Harry for an exclusive interview. Draco breathed in relief. He had feared the day for so long. It seemed as if he had worried himself about nothing. He kind of felt disappointed for not being noticed at all. He made a face.
"This is my moment of glory. I'll make fun of him for the rest of his life," said a hoarse voice behind Draco.
Draco smiled, and he turned to greet his godfather. "Severus! I'm so glad you've decided to come."
Severus grimaced. "Well, it was this or having to put up with my sweet mother-in-law."
Draco chuckled. "Tough decision, huh? Mrs Black did improve a lot, though."
"Yes, I am," said Draco smiling.
"So, it's amazing how Potter can get all the attention to himself. Aren't you jealous?" Severus provoked him. Draco cursed him in thought.
"Not at all!"
"I doubt that. You were all stressed out yesterday because of the press, and now they couldn't care less about you."
"I think it's because Harry and I being together is not such a shock anymore. People got used to it. I mean, we were the subject of every newspaper and magazine of our world," Draco stated. "I overreacted. I'm glad it's all about Harry today."
"Yes, I'm sure you're overjoyed."
There was a hint of poison in Severus' words that only those familiar with him would recognise it as such.
"Look, Severus! Lucile Allegro is talking to Sirius!" Draco pointed out with fake innocence. He knew how much Severus hated Lucile. The woman never missed a chance to flirt with Sirius when they met.
Severus grunted something, and very subtly the hem of Lucile's robe caught on fire. Someone close to Lucile cast a spell on her to put out the fire and got her soaked. She ran away to the bathroom screaming in rage. Severus' smile lasted a second before Sirius turned to stare at him with a frown and walk towards him.
Draco wisely left them alone to get on each other's nerves. He was thankful that he and Harry hadn't turned out the same way. Although he and Harry fought every once in a while – most of the time for stupid reasons – they didn't go for each other's throats every two minutes like Severus and Sirius did.
For half an hour Draco was a silent observer of everything happening around him. Harry was still quite busy with his fans.
Seeing his dejected expression, Fred passed by Draco and pinched his butt before going back to snogging a giggling Dennis. That certainly put a wry smile on Draco's face.
Draco went to the Weasleys side and talked to them for a while, but he didn't stay too long. He still couldn't stand Ginny Weasley. He knew Harry didn't feel anything for her anymore, but he couldn't trust her. Ginny loved to tease Draco and make him jealous. She was always talking about her and Harry's past together while Draco was in the room, and she made sure to keep staring at him innocently. She was a lot like Bill in that aspect. Draco figured it was a Weasley thing. They were teasers by nature.
Hermione and Ron were the last ones to arrive at the bookstore. Ron kept complaining about the workaholic side of his wife every chance he got. Hermione pretended not to listen. When she spotted Draco, she waved at him with a big grin and walked towards him. Hermione had been thrilled to have him back as her partner, and she never missed the opportunity to hug him in thanks. She told him that his laziness at work made her look good. Draco made a face at the memory.
"Draco! I swear I wanted to be on time, but I remembered that I hadn't finished my report about those dark artefacts found near Gringotts and I totally forgot about time! Can you believe it?"
"Not at all! And here I was, wondering what had kept you..." Draco sneered.
"You and me both..." grunted Ron. "Now I lost the chance to see Harry's annoyed face as he signed his books."
Draco raised a brow. "What are you talking about? Harry is right there!"
Ron shook his head. "Haven't you noticed? 'Cause I thought you would. Don't you think that the Harry in there is behaving way too cheerfully?"
Draco looked at Harry and noticed that, indeed, he was smiling and laughing out loud, which was totally out of character. Worse, he was flirting with a very attractive brunette that kept smiling at him seductively.
Draco clenched his fists. But before he could walk towards them and make a scene, he was suddenly grabbed from behind and dragged away. The abductor only stopped walking when they reached an empty alley. The strange hooded person didn't let Draco go, though.
For a second, as he was being dragged outside, Draco thought that his father had finally succeeded in hiring someone to finish him off for good. But as they stopped moving and the person enlaced both arms around him and pulled him closer, he felt the familiar warmth taking over him. He smiled with delight.
"So," he began slowly. "Who was the person impersonating you out there?"
"George. He loved the idea."
Draco made a face. "I know. I saw it. You do know that you two could be arrested for this little joke, right?"
"Are you going to arrest me? Do you want to handcuff me?" asked Harry seductively.
"Don't tempt me," answered Draco with a smile. He turned around and took Harry's hood off his face. He met the beautiful emerald eyes and said, "I'm serious, you know? If anyone finds out about this…"
"No one will find out," Harry guaranteed. "There's only half an hour before the end of the event… George won't do anything stupid. He wouldn't dare."
Draco grimaced. "It's George we are talking about. And he was openly flirting with the girls there, Harry!"
Harry shrugged. "So?"
"You want me to hit you, don't you?"
Harry smiled and pulled Draco closer to him again, locking his arms around him. "I just thought we could use this half an hour to do better things… Like… this…" Harry captured Draco's lips in a sweet but intense kiss. Draco melted in his arms.
"Dean will be furious with you," Draco pointed out when they parted a little.
"He won't. He already knows and he thought the idea was brilliant considering that I hate all the attention and George absolutely loves it."
"You were the one who decided to be a writer. Now deal with it."
Harry made a face, and he bit Draco's lower lip tenderly before kissing him and answering, "I know. But why do I have to deal with autograph nights and publicity when I have George to cover up for me? Let me do what I like, which is writing, and let George do what he likes, which is fooling people and getting all the attention to himself."
Draco shook his head, but he chuckled nonetheless. "What about the party at the Weasleys?" Draco asked against his mouth.
"We have plenty of time. Besides, I already told them that we might be a little late."
"Aren't you a naughty boy?"
"Totally," Harry answered, kissing Draco again.
They snogged for the longest time, forgetting that there were people on the street that might see them. For them, it didn't matter anymore. Harry hadn't been that happy in a long time, and he had Draco to thank for that. Now that Draco had started working again, he wanted to enjoy their moments together in the best way he could. He was finally free from his prejudices and insecurities. He was a man in love, and he would do anything for the object of his affection.
Draco was also amazed by the development of their relationship. Thinking back to their first meeting in Harry's house, he never thought they would be together. They had gone through a great deal of things. They were at peace with themselves now.
While they snuggled together, Draco wished for that moment to last forever.
"I love you, Harry," he whispered with his head on Harry's shoulder.
"I love you, too," Harry whispered back, stroking Draco's back.
"Oh, there they are!" a man shouted as he entered the alley. "Oh, how cute! They are cuddling, Hermione!"
"Again?" said another familiar male voice. "Man… they are always at it. Who would have thought, huh? Personally, it's kind of annoying… And we are late for the party."
"Aw, Ron! Just leave them alone! It's so sweet to see them together! See how Fred and I were right about them? How ingenious was our plan to bring them together? They are so right for each other!" exclaimed Hermione.
"Yeah. And the sad part is, Hermione, dear, that they never even thanked us!" Fred said, pretending to be outraged. "If it wasn't for us, they would have never got together!"
Harry and Draco looked at each other and frowned.
"Oh, can I call my brother?" asked Dennis excitedly. "He loves to take their picture!"
"NO!" said Draco and Harry in unison.
Dennis winced, and Fred put his arms around him protectively.
"You didn't have to be so aggressive with him," Fred complained.
Harry made a face. "I'm sure Colin is busy covering the event in Flourish and Blotts. Let the man do his job. There, not here," Harry finished dryly. No more press today. He wasn't so worried about the press anymore, but he certainly didn't want them chasing after him all the time.
"Boys, let's go to the party!" said Hermione. "You can snog there. It's getting really late, and I have an early morning tomorrow."
Draco rolled his eyes. "Tomorrow is Saturday!"
"So?" she shrugged. "Do you think evil people rest on weekends?"
"What evil people?" Draco asked. "Things have been really smooth at work lately!"
"Don't bother to discuss this with her, Draco. I've already tried… It's no use," answered Ron dejectedly.
Draco pitied Ron.
Fred enlaced Hermione by her neck and dragged her out of the alley saying, "No work, my dearest sister-in-law! You'll drink so much tonight that you won't even remember how you get home!"
"Fred!" Ron shouted, running after them. "Let go of my wife, you twit!"
Dennis followed them laughing his heart out. A few seconds later they spotted Bill and Jacques fighting about something Fleur had sent Bill. At their side, Sirius and Severus also fought about their irrational jealousy for each other.
Draco and Harry looked at each other and smiled.
"The only one missing is Mrs Black," Harry pointed out.
"Well, we did promise that the Christmas party will be at our house this year so she can participate," Draco reminded him.
"Oh, that's true." Harry grinned. "Can you imagine what a mess it will be?"
Draco chuckled. "Oh, yes, definitely."
"Hey, you two! You're too slow! Let's go!" shouted Ginny, making Draco a little irritated.
Harry kissed him before he started complaining about her.
As they walked together hand in hand with their friends laughing, fighting and teasing one another just a few feet away, they couldn't help to think that they weren't alone anymore. In addition to each other, they had a big and noisy family now. They were very unconventional, but they all cared for one another deeply.
When Hermione pulled Draco to her side to tell him something related to work, Sirius stood next to Harry and patted his back fondly. Severus walked closed by, still annoyed that he had to take part in everything Harry did.
"So, kiddo. Did you talk to Draco about working at Hogwarts?"
Harry smiled. "Yes. He was very supportive. I did enjoy teaching DADA on my fifth year… But I don't know. I'm not sure I'm ready yet."
"Please, say you will accept! If it's only Severus and me, it won't be as fun…"
Severus grunted something about a sex strike. Sirius quickly tried to amend with no success. Harry chuckled.
"What are you laughing at, Potter?" Severus grimaced. "In a few years you and Draco will be just the same…"
"No way!" Harry quickly disagreed. "Draco and I have our problems, but we are not like you and Sirius."
"Aw, Harry!" Sirius exclaimed. "That hurt!"
"If you go to Hogwarts, you realise I'll make your life as miserable as possible," Severus declared.
"Are you tempting me to go, Severus?" Harry asked.
"Suit yourself, Potter," Severus smiled mysteriously, and he went to stand by Draco's side.
"What was that all about?" Harry asked Sirius.
"Oh, the old bat would never admit it, but he's looking forward to you joining us at Hogwarts as well."
"It's hard to believe that!"
Sirius smiled. "That's Severus for you. Saying yes when he means no, and no when he means yes. It's quite fun! I confess I have even more fun when he says no!"
Harry made a face. "I don't want to know the details."
"I wasn't going to tell you!" They laughed. Sirius looked at Harry intently and smiled. "You're really happy now, aren't you?"
Harry looked at Draco, who looked at him at the same time. They smiled to each other lovingly.
"Yes," Harry answered without taking his eyes off Draco.
"I'm really glad, Harry. Now, let's provoke Severus a little more!" Sirius ran towards his husband like he was a little kid. Harry laughed his heart out.
He walked towards Draco and caught his hand tenderly, feeling that he had never been so at ease with the world, and praying that they remained in pure bliss for a long, long time.
A/N: So? How was it? Personally, I like how I ended it. I like the interaction between the characters. Plus, it was really fun writing about Mrs Black. At first I thought about making her a really evil character, but she grew on me… Instead of making her evil and burning her in the end, I decided to make her funny. As for Harry and Draco… They are still my favourite HP couple. I took things slowly with them on purpose. I wanted their relationship to be as real as it could be.
I'm already working on a new story. It will be called Lessons in Love, and it's far into the future. Harry's son will meet Draco's son in Hogwarts and will fall in love with him. Harry will go crazy with this, and he will confront Draco about it, which will lead to… well, you have to read it to find out!
It was a hell of a ride! Thank you so much for all of your support! Leave a review!