DISCLAIMER: All characters, settings, and magical occurrences were all conceived and created in the brilliant mind of J.K. Rowling. Nothing except the glorious plot is property of mine. No profits are being made from my writing.

.-.

Chapter 18

Graduation had fallen upon them. There was that normal hustle and bustle of students preparing their last bits of notes and those preparing to leave Hogwarts' corridors forever. Though not everyone was doing as well as the others. Remus had been rarely seen with a smile upon his face. In fact, he was rarely seen. Harry had stopped by a few times but they hadn't been anything to write home about. Remus was of few words lately.

Though to be fair, things weren't any easier for Draco at all. He was stuck constantly going to and from class, seeing what was happening to him. Not being able to do anything about it. In fact, it was worse because he knew that he was the cause. Dumbledore's words still rang clear in his head.

On their final night at Hogwarts, there was the annual ceremony prepared to celebrate their last seven years and accomplishments. Parents of all were invited to stay for the festivities and enjoy the entertainment. Of course, there were notable gaps amongst the parents that evening. There was no mistaking some of them. Only because they were of the most well known families in the wizarding world. Most of which were Slytherins.

Hermione was to give her speech first. As Head Girl she was given time to share with everyone her times at the school. Of course, Draco found it to be terribly boring. Probably because it seemed all she was doing was praising Potter for being such a saint. Though he supposed that was to be expected. He'd have hated to sit through any speech Weasley might have made.

He lost track of what she was saying after she spoke of the Chamber of Secrets. He'd watched some of his fellow Slytherins fidget in boredom but his eyes didn't rest until they landed upon a certain professor. If it were possible, it seemed as though Remus looked worse off today than most days.

He wanted nothing more but then to be able to get up in the middle of that boring speech and snog him till he couldn't see straight. Though that wasn't an option. That would be a public fiasco. And as hard as it was to pretend that he didn't feel anything towards him, it'd be so much harder if he had. He didn't even want to ponder what the ministry might have done to him in this situation.

Finally the brunette concluded her speech and there was the customary round of applause that followed. She took her seat back with some of her fellow Gryffindors, tears staining her cheeks and eyes. Suddenly something about getting up in front of all those people and given the speech he intended to give just didn't appeal.

Suddenly, Draco had less desire than ever to get up and present his own speech. He'd spent such a great deal of time working on it but he still wasn't sure. He'd even had several members of the Slytherin house read it and give their critique. There was no turning back now though. Especially as Dumbledore gave his introduction and they were actually beginning to applaud him.

He stood slowly and walked towards the head table. Dumbledore gave a warm smile as he stepped aside, indicating that the floor was all his. He took a deep breath, slipping the bit of parchment he'd written his speech upon. He scanned the words a few times before he began.

"In my seven years at Hogwarts, I've found several things that I'll carry with me, even as I leave it's hallowed halls. I found friends. Many may be skeptical but despite the bad reputation we've earned over the years, there is so much more to most of the Slytherins than even I know. Though we do value that reputation." There were a bit of laughter from the parents and some snickers from a few students before he continued.

"I found guidance. Several of my professors offered advice that changed the course of my life. I believe that I can safely say that without some of them, I may not be here today before you, presenting this speech. They kept me in line as much as possible, and despite how I may have cursed them at the time, it means much more to me know."

"I found sanctuary. Hogwarts has been my home since the moment I stepped through the Entrance Hall. It's become a bit of a constant in all of our lives really. That bit of security most of us need. Especially at such a trying time for all of us. And given my current situation."

"But perhaps the most important of all things, was that I found love. Now, I don't feel ashamed to tell each and everyone of you that at any early age, love was known as a weakness. It's been drilled into many of our heads. I know this point well enough. But I know that I love this school and a lot of the people in it. And I know that I wouldn't be the person I am today without it. I may be an older version of that snobby little eleven year old boy who flaunted his father's name. And we certainly wouldn't want that." There was so much truth in that statement.

"So I like most here today, will always cherish my memories from Hogwarts. Good and bad. For above anything else, I believe they've shaped my life in more ways than one. They helped me find the right decisions and even get into some of the wrong ones. But they'll be eternal in my mind, and my heart. Thank you." There was an astounding applause that followed. He was pleased to see that Potter had joined in as had Granger and reluctantly Weasley. Though Harry would never admit it, there was so much truth in Draco's statement. So much.

He scanned the crowd a moment before leaving the Head table back for the crowd. His eyes moved to meet the gaze of the one the speech had honestly been delivered for. But he never found it. In fact, Remus was no where to be seen in the entire Great Hall. Draco's face hardened as he scanned more of the crowd. He was no where to be found.

He took his seat beside Pansy and leaned over and questioned her in a quiet voice. "Where'd Remus go?"

"He left just after you finished speaking. Draco, are you going to see him? He didn't look very good." She questioned. Anything she may have originally thought about the very unorthodox couple had vanished from her mind when she'd seen how miserable things had gotten for the both of them. Especially in the same room. DADA classes were dreadful lately.

"I think I need to. What if he turns me out?"

"You won't let him turn you out. I know you." She returned to him, with a satisfied smirk upon her face.

"You know, you're right."

"I always am."

.-.

Finally, the graduation ceremony itself had concluded and it left only the reception that followed. Draco had planned to make his escape as soon as he could. Things of course were detoured. Harry had a few things he needed to clear up with him. Wasn't that always the case. Potter standing in the way of something he wanted.

"Could you speed this up a little, Potter. I have somewhere I need to be." Draco told him impatiently, leaning against one of the desks. They'd found another abandoned classroom for this chat.

"Someone to visit?"

"That I don't believe is your business."

"I think it is. Especially with what you've done to him. Remus did nothing to deserve you playing with his emotions like you have. One moment, you're going on about wanting to be with him and the next you won't even speak to him." Harry was genuinely worried and Draco could tell. Though he wasn't about to spill his innermost feelings to anyone. Especially Potter.

"Don't get involved in things you can't possibly understand. It's more complicated than you think."

"Try me." Potter was so bloody persistent. It was infuriating.

"In case you failed to notice, what with your duties of saving the world, that if someone would've leaked to the ministry what had happened, there would be a lot of trouble. Because Remus is a werewolf especially." Draco tried his best to explain without losing any of his edge.

"I'm more surprised your father never said anything." Harry had figured that morning might have been the end of Remus' position at the school. But as far as Harry knew, nothing had come of any of it. In fact, it seemed no one was even informed.

"Well Potter, Lucius was more than likely ashamed I was with involved with a werewolf, let alone one of the same gender. It has nothing to do with my well being or whatnot. Rather his name and upholding it. Controversy would do nothing for it." He couldn't exactly expect Potter to understand the workings of pure blood families. The name meant more than anything. And that was all that Lucius was preserving.

"Ok, so you'd have had to be careful. You were doing that anyway."

"Potter, too many people knew. It was becoming a liability to everyone involved. I had to wait. As much as I regret it, ties needed to be severed. It was the only option I had."

"I still don't quite believe that. Though you could've at least said something to Remus. He hasn't a clue what happened." At least that was Harry's understanding. The little bit he'd gotten from Remus about it all had been just that. He didn't understand any of it but it was just more of sign why it'd been a bad idea from the start.

"I know I should've but it just never seemed like a good time." He sighed deeply. He hated having to get information like this from Potter but well…there was no other available source. "How's he doing? As terrible as it looks?"

"Yeah. I don't know why but he really seems to care about you. Merlin help him."

"I have to go. Though I can safely say this hasn't been a wonderful experience and I'd prefer we never do it again."

"Oh I'll miss you too Malfoy. Though I'm sure we can catch up around Order headquarters." Harry smiled, teasing in return as the blonde began to leave. "Hey Malfoy, good luck." Draco just nodded and left the classroom. Harry wasn't sure why he'd chosen to add that last little bit but it seemed appropriate. Remus was in a right state and he might need more than luck to help him out in this one.

.-.

Remus has returned to his quarters right after Draco's speech. It was all too much for him to sit there and listen to. It all just hurt too much. There wasn't any other way to describe it. He'd begun to pack to leave for the summer. He needed to get away from Hogwarts and going to Order headquarters was the only option left. Get away from all of the harsh feelings swimming inside the school. That was proving to be easier said than done.

As he packed away what little possessions he kept with him, he was constantly being reminded of what had happened. It ate away at him from the inside. It was all too much. Finally, he'd resigned himself to the armchair nursing a cup of tea. Keeping his mind on anything but.

He'd been right from the start. He'd never been meant to be anything but alone and unhappy. He had perfected such a lifestyle and then he'd caught Draco in the hall after hours. Everything from that moment had been a downward spiral of his sanity. He may not have been happy but there was stability in his life. Something that couldn't be taken away so quickly. With the entrance of the blonde, his sanity took a bow.

It was very sad. There he sat, alone, heartbroken, and honestly wondering why. He sincerely wished his cup contained more than tea. Fire Whiskey didn't sound that bad right about then. All he needed to do was get good and pissed. Good and pissed and as far from the school as possible. It would've all been so simple if not for the sudden knock at his door.

He was a little startled by it. He hadn't expected to see Harry until later and really didn't feel up to entertaining guests. Though to be fair, he hadn't entertained many guests lately. So this wasn't exactly a new feeling. He managed to pull himself from the chair though to see who'd dropped in. He dropped the cup of tea in the door way at the sight of the blonde.

"Draco? What are you doing here?" He couldn't stop himself. All of his sanity be damned.

"I came to see you. And to apologize." Draco was very cordial. Very formal. Though he very well couldn't show up there and snog the daylights out of him in the door way. It had crossed his mind.

"Apologize? You don't really have anything to apologize for. I should've seen this coming." Remus sounded bitter, he realized. Bitter and rather angry.

"Can I come in?"

"I've been packing, the place is in a right state."

"This will only take a second." Reluctantly Remus gave in, admitting him passage. Draco felt a warm wave roll through him. He felt a little less uneasy if that were possible. He felt at home. "I was thinking about you during my speech, you know."

"What do you mean?" Remus kept his distance as Draco got comfortable inside the sitting area. It was very typical of him despite the tension in the room.

"You know what I mean. I wrote it about you."

"Don't play with my emotions, Draco."

"I'm not. I'm being honest with you."

"For once?" There was that bitterness resurfacing with a vengeance. Draco would admit that it stung just a little bit.

"You don't understand what happened."

"I think I understand very well. Things got a little rough for you and you backed out. Once you realized what you were really up against. I really should've predicted it. Hell, Sybil could've seen this coming."

"It wasn't like that at all."

"Really, then please enlighten me. What was it like?" Remus sat atop the arm of that old ratty couch Draco had spent many a night on. Despite his stinging words, he looked worn out and very hurt though he was trying hard to hide it.

"Dumbledore came to me. After the Spring holiday. Of course he'd heard what happened. I'm sure Potter played a part in that." He could fill the comment with enough malice as he'd have liked to. "He explained it all out to me. I had less than three months left of term. There was no proof about what had happened between us so he couldn't fire you. Lucius didn't go to the Ministry. But things were being said. We both know that. Rumors. Gossip. It was getting around. He told me, the only way to save both of our reputations and perhaps your life, was to cut all contact. Other than school related." He summed it up rather rapidly. His eyes not daring to meet Remus'. There wasn't much to the story when told like that. He'd just done what he could to help him. It didn't seem so simple anymore.

"So you thought you'd toy with my emotions to save my job? I'd have preferred to be fired."

"You told me once that you had nothing else but Hogwarts. I couldn't see you lose that over me."

"But what you didn't understand was that I would have." Remus spoke softly and shocked Draco with his words. Their eyes met and held for a brief moment as the shared words began to sink in.

Draco's own words failed. He'd opened his mouth a few times to speak but nothing would come out. He had told himself for so long that he had done the right thing. He was only protecting the both of them. That the suffering he was feeling would go away. He just had to get through the rest of term. But he hadn't given much thought to Remus' own state of mind. He had been so torn just over the two of them being together in the first place, ripping that away was the worst thing Draco could've done. He felt utterly daft right then.

"I just didn't want anything to happen to you. It may have been really stupid of me, but I believe you'd have done the same."

Remus studied him for a long moment. His eyes taking in the scene before him. He almost seemed to be in shock by it all. "Why are you here, Draco?"

"To do this." Remus seemed a bit taken off guard as their lips were crushed together but it was only a matter of time before he responded with vigor. Their arms grasped for one another in the rush of things, clinging to the offended articles of clothing that were currently worn.

Remus brought his hands up to Draco's face, fingers lacing themselves in the longer blonde hair which currently was worn down and loose. He took his time re-exploring the blonde's mouth and every aspect of it. A rhythmic battle between their tongues, as Draco finally situated them comfortably upon the couch.

But Remus pulled back. Draco mused to himself he should be used to this by now. Though he didn't get the excuse he was used to hearing after such a kiss.

"Maybe this isn't a good idea. I can't deal with you leaving again, Draco."

"That's good then, because I'm not going to."

"You say that now."

"And I'm going to continue saying it. Merlin help me I've fallen in love. I'm not going anywhere, even if you wanted me to."

"So I'm stuck with you?" Remus asked teasingly.

"You could put it that way."

"Well I guess it could be worse." It indeed could though it wouldn't take much. Draco brought his lips back to Remus' hungrily, resuming their former activity, trying desperately to make up for lost time. Though all they had now was time and both of them planned to take advantage of it.

.-.

A/N: That's all she wrote, folks. It's taken me forever but I have finally concluded the story. I do hope that you've enjoyed it thus far. There isn't enough good Draco/Remus fiction out there and this was just my contribution to the ship. I want to thank my extraordinary reviewers, a few of which have reviewed since the very beginning. It has honestly kept me going from the beginning. I do actually really enjoy the ending which is strange for most of the time, I'm not quite certain how some things will play out. It was quite fluffy though, wasn't it? Yay! If you liked/loved/hated it, I still would love for you to leave a review. If you liked a response personally, you can leave an e-mail and I will get back to you. Much quicker than I update I assure you. But in particular, to the last chapters reviewers, my last words of gratitude…

Empath89: I'm so glad to hear from you again. And as always, thanks so very much for the review. And I'm glad to get some positive feedback about the Ron/Pansy thing. It kind of just came out really quick and last minute. Though I guess a lot of what I stick in there does as well. That's just me I suppose. Doesn't matter how much planning I do. But anywho, thanks so very much for sticking with me this long and for the kind words through this whole process.