Woo hoo! I luv you all. It's been a very good run... we've had our highs, our lows, our inbetweens... but now it is coming to an end, as all good things must .:sniffles:. I thank you all soo very much for all of the support and kindness you've given through reviews and emails, and dearly hope you give one last comment at the end of this final chapter. Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu, minna-sama .:bows respectfully:.

Note: I tried, really really I tried, to keep everyone in character all through out this fanfic.. I think I kinda killed that attempt with this last chapter -.- Marcus is, ehm... well you'll see. Draco, bah.. He's a little OOC too, I think. Usagi .:shrug:. I dunno.. I tried! But I think some of the chars are just a bit OOC and I apologize for that. .:sweatdrop:.

Reminder: (December 31st; New Year's Eve) This is Usagi's 13th day...

x-x-x-x-x-

Chapter Sixteen

The Golden Ring of a New Year...

"Ow!" Usagi cried, wincing. "Draco-kun, that hurt. Be gentle," she whimpered, sniffling slightly.

"Sorry, sorry," he muttered quickly, his brow knitting together as he went about his task. "So it isn't like...this..." He jumped slightly as Usagi let out another small yelp.

"Mo," Usagi grumbled, standing up from the chair. She looked at herself in the mirror and cringed. "My hair," she moaned pitifully, shaking out the mess he had made of it.

Draco frowned. "I can't figure out how you style it into those ridiculous buns," he muttered. "Do you use some kind of spell?"

Usagi giggled, her eyes rolling. "You took me wand the first day I got here, remember?" she said pointedly. "It's easy, really..."

Draco gave her a look that clearly expressed his disagreement of that statement. The doorbell sounded softly, and Usagi yelped again slightly, snatching the hair brush from Draco's hand and quickly running it through. He watched with a disbelieving expression as she completed the task of fixing her hair in twenty seconds as opposed to the twenty minutes he had attempted. "Unbelievable," he muttered, shaking his head.

They walked together to the door and opened it quickly, having kept the person waiting. "Maxwell," Draco 'greeted', inclining his head.

"Hey Draco-man! Hey babe," he said with a sly grin to Usagi.

Usagi smiled warmly. "Hi, Duo-kun," she greeted happily.

Duo entered the house, clasping Draco on the shoulder and hugging Usagi. Draco glanced at the clock upon the wall. "The others will probably be arriving—" He paused as a urgent knocking sounded upon the recently closed door. "Soon," Draco finished with a smirk.

Usagi giggled and opened the door, her smile broadening. "Hiya Minako, Rei-san, Mamoru-san," she said.

"Hey Usagi," they unisoned. The three smiled at the blonde girl, entering the mansion. The group proceeded to the living room, just as the doorbell sounded again.

"You should just leave the door open," Usagi teased, walking back to the door with Draco.

Goyle entered the house with Pansy, smiling maliciously at the blonde girl. "Hello, wench," he sneered out.

Draco glanced at Usagi's flushed expression. "Go to the others and we'll catch up," he said to her gently. Usagi nodded slightly, walking away. She wasn't quite sure what kind of conversation took place between Draco, Pansy, and Goyle, but when they returned to living room, Pansy hardly spoke another word to Usagi, and Goyle gave her a friendly smile accompanied with a mumbled apology. Usagi glanced at Draco curiously, but he merely shrugged.

Marcus Flint arrived half an hour later, a frown upon his lips as he entered the spacious living room. "What kind of party is this?" he demanded. "There's no such thing as a party without some dancing!" He ripped off his shirt and began dancing to his own little mental tune. Minako swooned and sighed dreamily while everyone facefaulted.

"Ahh, these are good times," Duo commented wistfully, chuckling at the sight of Marcus rounding up the others with commanded orders to dance.

Draco raised an eyebrow. "If these are what you consider good times, Maxwell, I'd hate to bare witness to what you consider bad ones," he replied lightly. Duo merely grinned.

"Malfoy! Maxwell! Gryffindor!" Marcus barked with sternness. The three jumped slightly as the shirtless Slytherin Quidditch captain approached. "Why aren't you three dancing?" he demanded. A wispy stream of his breath caught in their sense's path; apparently, Marcus had delved in a bit of alcoholic celebrating prior to arriving.

"Well, you see... annou... ah doorbell!" Usagi exclaimed with relief. "I'll go get that.."

"And I'll accompany her.."

"I think I'll help the two out..."

The three quickly proceeded away from Marcus Flint, going to answer the door with apparent relief. Usagi giggled softly at the situation, twisting the door knob. Her eyes widened slightly at the figure that greeted her sight. "Crabbe-kun," she murmured with surprise. After what had happened, she really didn't think he would come.

"I'm not happy with the situation," he began quietly. "I'll let you know that right off. But... I can't bare the thought of losing your friendship again. I'd rather have you as a friend than not at all..."

Usagi smiled warmly, her eyes watering with happiness. "I'm so glad," she whispered, hugging him tightly.

Duo cast Draco a curious glance, but Draco merely shrugged as a reply.

x-x-x-x-

"One more day," Harry murmured, glancing at his clock. 11:45pm. Fifteen minutes... the new year was only fifteen minutes away. He couldn't believe two weeks had actually passed. Two weeks, Usagi had been with Malfoy. What if he had harmed her? What if she'd never be the same again...?

He shook his head quickly, clearing away the brew of troubled thoughts he had managed to fight off for the past thirteen days. Usagi would be fine, he resolved firmly.

Harry closed his eyes, attempting to drift off to sleep quickly. Afterall... the quicker he managed to sleep through the night, the quicker he'd be seeing Usagi the very next day...

x-x-x-

"One... two... Three! Go!" Minako cheered, quickly raising her own small glass of liquid.

The assorted group each drank quickly, but it was Duo who slammed his empty glass upon the large table first. Marcus followed a close second, his hand slipping unevenly and the glass clattered to the floor. Draco followed third, wincing slightly as the harsh liquid stung at the back of his throat. He glanced at Usagi who sipped the last of it with her eyes squeezed shut, coughing slightly as she shakily put the glass down.

"That tastes horrible," she moaned, rubbing at her throat.

Duo grinned slightly. "Well, ya don't drink it for the taste, babe," he explained.

Usagi tilted her head. "Then why else would you drink it?"

He looked at her with disbelief. "You've never had alcohol before?"

She shook her head slowly.

An uneasy laugh came from Duo's lips. "Heh heh... perhaps I shouldn't have given ya so much..."

"Almost time!" Minako exclaimed happily, pointing to the grand clock. The slender minute-hand was a scarce few ticks away from joining the hour-hand at the 12 mark. The group watched in silence as the second-hand tick, tick, ticked several slow times before a tinkling bell sounded as the new year finally struck.

Minako and Rei hugged happily; Crabbe and Goyle grinned at one another; Pansy and Duo hugged, though quickly pulled away upon realizing this; Marcus and Mamoru hugged as well, though as Marcus began to get a little carried away in his excitement, Mamoru kindly pushed him away.

Draco glanced at Usagi, seeing the happy smile spread wistfully upon her face. He leaned over to her then, pressing a soft kiss to her lips as the clock's bell-sound tinkled one final time. Usagi's eyes widened with surprise, disbelieving this moment was truly happening. "So romantic," she mumbled, letting her eyes drift shut as she gently kissed him back.

They hadn't realized quite how long they had been kissing until several soundly cleared throats interrupted them. Usagi pulled away slowly, a heated blush upon her cheeks as eight pairs of eyes stared at them. "Happy New Year everyone," she said happily, laughing a little uneasily and rubbing the back of her head.

Draco smirked slightly. "Yes... This very well might be quite a happy new year," he murmured.

Marcus nodded faintly. "Indeed... this has been a strong year, no? Good studies, good company... good dancing," he nodded in approval. He glanced at everyone else in the room. "I declare my new year's resolution will be to strengthen the Quidditch Team and arrive us to an assured victory against the Filthy Gryffindors this Spring!" He switched his gaze to Usagi for a moment. "The, uh... the opposing team, I mean," he corrected in a grumbled mutter. Usagi smiled at him, shaking her head.

" 'New Year's Resolution', eh?" Duo said thoughtfully. "Hmm... My New Year's Resolution will be to find myself a hot little babe this year...and uh, maybe do a little better on getting homework completed...though the first is top priority.."

"Ooh, that's a good one!" Minako exclaimed. "I'll make the same one! My resolution is to find Mr. Right this year... a charming boyfriend with enough beauty and grace to match my own!" She giggled happily as she became lost within her own little fantasy.

Rei rolled her eyes at her friend, though a smiled tinted her lips. "I'd merely like to work harder on my studies this year..." She paused, her voice lowering a little. "Although, a boyfriend would be nice too..."

Mamoru raised an eyebrow. "Oh? I'm not good enough anymore?" he inquired.

Rei laughed uneasily, hugging the taller male quickly. "Ahah, I was just kidding Mamo-chan," she stammered.

Mamoru smirked, shaking his head. "My resolution is to teach my girlfriend some manners," he said wryly, causing Rei to blush.

Crabbe smiled slightly. "My resolution would have to be working on fixing up some mistakes I've made and repairing some friendships," he said quietly, casting a glance to Usagi.

Usagi smiled gently. "I doubt you'll have to work very hard," she replied lightly, causing Crabbe to relax. "I guess my resolution should probably involve getting my grades up," she mumbled out with a blush.

"It probably should," Draco agreed, "but something tells me you won't."

Usagi glared at him. "Hey! I could very well get my grades up," she defended.

"Oh really? Why am I having the hardest time believing that?"

"Because you're meean," she stressed out, nudging him. "And you have so little faith in me," she sniffed dramatically.

Draco smirked. "Well, I certainly hope you prove me wrong."

"It would be my pleasure," Usagi replied curtly, raising her chin proudly.

"Oh really? What kind of pleasure do you speak of?"

Usagi groaned. "Pervert," she mumbled.

He leaned close, his lips brushing her ear as he whispered for only her to hear. "Only for you," he murmured, smiling as she shivered.

Pansy looked on with disgust. "Hmph. My New Year's Resolution is to convince a certain somebody to come to his senses and forget about meddling with someone who obviously doesn't deserve him," she stated firmly, though she kept her gaze averted from Draco and Usagi, both of whom rolled their eyes.

"I resolve to get some sleep soon," Goyle grumbled tiredly, a yawn parting from his lips as if to prove his point as he lay down on the floor.

"Mm, that's a good plan," Duo murmured, yawning as well. "Can sleep right here..." His eyes drifted shut as he lay back on the floor, a soft snore leaving his mouth.

Draco raised an eyebrow. "I can't believe anyone could fall asleep that fast," he muttered, glancing at Usagi...only to see her sprawled out on the floor with her eyes shut, snoring softly as well.

Pansy rose from the floor, proceeding to the couch. "G'nite Draco," she cooed happily, cuddling on the soft cushions.

"Good night," he replied curtly, retrieving a blanket from the opposite couch and laying next to Usagi, placing it upon them both. Minako used that couch to lay down upon, falling asleep relatively quickly.

Marcus and Crabbe slept a short distance away from one another, and Mamoru and Rei were cuddled close near the couch Minako slept upon.

A new year dawned joyously, while sleep pleasantly settled upon them all.

Two hours later...

Duo stirred slightly from his position on the floor, opening his eyes partially. Quiet snores were heard from the other occupants of the room, but over the snores he heard a hushed whispering. He strained to hear what was said, slowing his breathing.

"Draco-kun! What if someone wakes up?" Usagi whispered desperately.

"Mm, so what if they do? That's part of the excitement, little bunny," Draco replied hotly.

"But..." Usagi's feeble protest was cut off as Draco pressed his lips against hers.

Duo's eyes widened as he eavesdropped; he could hardly believe Draco to be so...adventurous. He would have felt a strong surge of pride for his friend if not for the tidal wave of jealousy.

"Draco-kun..."

"Shhh...You have to stay relatively quiet..."

"How'm I s'posed to stay quiet?" Usagi whispered desperately, biting her lower lip as his mouth rested warmly against her neck. "And furthermore, you're not all too quiet yourself," she teased quietly.

Duo snorted slightly, his eyes quickly widening as he realized this. Usagi yelped at the noise, and Draco swore softly. Duo held his breath, trying hard not to make any more noise. The deathly silence that greeted the room was too much for him...

Duo's breath released, accompanied with uncontrolled laughter, not only from him but from another source. Squinting in the darkness, he saw the heaving shoulders of Marcus and Mamoru; they had also been awake, eavesdropping as well.

"It's not funny," Usagi moaned pitifully, pressing her head against Draco's chest in embarrassment, blessedly relieved it was too dark to actually 'see' anything, such as the heated blush stained profusely upon her cheeks. She felt Draco's chest vibrate as he too began chuckling softly.

"It's a little funny," he murmured through a grin, pressing a kiss to the top of the embarrassed blonde's head.

Usagi didn't reply, squeezing her eyes shut in a feeble attempt at getting back to sleep, her embarrassment little helped by the quiet laughter of the three other awakened males.

x-x-x-

January 1st. 1PM.. Day 14.

The assorted group of teens woke up rather late the next day.

"Gotta head back home and get some packing done soon," Duo sighed out sadly, stretching his sore neck.

"Me too," Marcus and Mamoru chorused, followed by agreeing nods from the others.

Usagi smiled at the others. "It was really fun getting to know you all," she said softly, meaning it wholeheartedly. "I never thought I'd get along so well with a group of...Slytherins. And a Hufflepuff," she added with a giggle as Minako cleared her throat.

Duo grinned at her. "Don't put such a tone of finality to your voice, babe. Ya really think I'm gonna leave you alone now just because we're heading back to Hogwarts?"

Usagi let out a small laugh, though her shoulders visibly relaxed. "Well I'd certainly hope not, Duo-kun," she said sweetly.

Marcus regarded her for a moment, nodding curtly. "Eh, well... you're not too bad, blondie," he decided finally. He leaned toward her, his tone quieting. "Just make sure you give a silent little 'root' for the Slytherins next Quidditch game, eh?"

Draco's arm slid skillfully around Usagi's waist, pulling her close to him. "Oh, she'd better," he said lightly.

Usagi stuck out her tongue, though a grin easily spread upon her lips. "You want me to betray my house?" she asked incredulously.

"By dating a Slytherin, you already have girlie," Minako pointed out with a teasing smile.

Usagi opened her mouth to retort, though quickly quieted upon realizing the sincerity of her words. "I suppose," she mumbled hesitantly.

Draco glanced at her, pulling her gently closer. "No regrets," he murmured softly.

Usagi smiled a little, nodding faintly.

A few more minutes of amiable conversing passed before the additional company began to leave. "It truly has been fun," Minako gushed happily, hugging Usagi. Rei offered a small smile to her, sticking out her hand. Usagi grinned, hugging the raven haired girl tightly. Rei gave her a look of surprise before slowly reciprocating to the action.

"Take care everyone," Usagi said happily, waving as they left.

Draco closed the door as they all finally left. "We should probably pack up as well," he said.

Usagi nodded slowly, the realizing that their vacation was truly coming to an end beginning to dawn upon her. So much had happened...so much had changed between them. Things were so different now...

She proceeded wordlessly to 'her' room, musing how little time she had actually spent in it. She pulled out the suitcase she had originally arrived with, placing it upon her bed. She made relatively quick work of packing away the few clothes she had unpacked during her stay. It really was all coming to an end...

Draco slipped quietly into her room, watching as she zipped up her suitcase slowly. "You're forgetting one thing," he spoke up.

Usagi jumped slightly at the sound of his voice and turned around, smiling at him. "Well I can't very well put you in here," she teased.

A soft smirk tinted his lips as he raised his hand. Grasped within it was her wand, and Usagi took it from him gingerly. "Thanks," she mumbled.

Draco inclined his head, keeping his gaze focused upon her. Usagi shifted uncomfortably, getting oddly unsettled under his stare. "What?" she asked finally. Draco didn't respond for a moment, pressing his lips together.

"Do you mind what people will think?" he asked quietly.

Usagi tilted her head, her brow knitting together in confusion. "What do you mean?" she questioned softly.

Draco didn't say anything else, however. He shook his head briefly as if to clear away his thoughts, pressing a small kiss to her forehead. He left the room then, leaving her to ponder what on earth was bothering him.

x-x-x-

Draco breathed out slowly, running his hand briskly through his hair. Indeed, the vacation was drawing gradually to its end. How did he truly feel about the girl? How drastically had he changed? He thought about the tender feelings he had developed toward the girl, and suddenly felt a confused anger. Perhaps Duo was right; perhaps he was getting soft. These emotions, beneficial as they were towards his 'happiness', weakened him and were pointless. How was he supposed to return to the public eye of Hogwarts in front of all of the students, baring amorous feelings and showing emotions of love?

He scowled faintly, laying down upon his bed and closing his eyes. Such contemplative thoughts swirled unpleasantly through his mind. He dimly heard the door open as the source of his conflicting turmoil shuffled quietly into his room. He kept his eyes closed as a shifting depression was made in the bed, as she climbed in carefully next to him.

"I don't care," she said to him quietly, her voice firm.

His eyes slowly opened, turning a questioning gaze toward her.

"I don't care what others think," she clarified. "I...I just wanna be with you."

He saw the sincerity in her eyes, and something in him slipped. He pressed a soft kiss to her lips, easing into the comfort of her reciprocating response.

Usagi sighed softly, resting her hands against his chest as his arms slipped around her back in a tight embracing hold. "Daisuki," she mumbled against the kiss.

Draco pulled away slightly, his lips still brushing softly upon hers. "And what does that mean?" he murmured, though he had a pretty good idea.

"It means 'I like you'," Usagi replied with a faint smile, watching the unreadable emotions flicker in his eyes.

"Is that so?" he inquired softly. He paused for a moment, his gaze locking intently with her own. "Just 'like?'"

Usagi's lips parted as she tried to grasp the extent of his soft-spoken question. Before it could fully sink in, his lips pressed to hers again in a dizzying kiss, the few traces of rational thought fleeing tranquilly from her mind.

x-x-x-

Harry sighed in exasperation, glaring at the slow tick of the clock on the wall. Time's meticulously slow-paced crawl seemed to dwindle further to languid imitations of any time actually passing. He had read, ate, napped, even studied. Why, he mused bitterly, did the time pass in fleeting moments of quickness when something good occurred.. yet slow down to drawling seconds when anticipation of something was present? He stopped his pacing of the room which he had scarce realized he was doing, laying down upon his bed instead.

The train arrived fairly early in the morning, he knew. Just a few more hours, and he'd see Ron and Hermione again... and of course, Usagi...

He pulled off his glasses and set them upon the small table next to his bed, his eyes drifting shut as he thought. Not all too much longer...

x-x-x-

"Our last night together," Usagi said softly. She waited for Draco to correct her that it was only 'technically' their last night together, that they'd still have plenty of time to see each other.

Disappointment filled her when such a response never came.

"Are you sure this is what you want?" he asked her quietly.

Usagi was about to turn and face him, but Draco quickly rolled from his position. Her breath caught as he was suddenly on top of her, his hands pressing firmly against her wrists. He watched intently as her eyes widened, her lips parting in a slight gasp.

"Are you sure this is what you want?" he repeated gently. "I don't think you realize the full extent of the situation. I've done some cruel, cruel things, Usa.. and I won't stop just because we are together." That hurt her a bit, he noted, watching the pain flicker in her eyes. But she needed to understand.

"I know you're a good person deep down, Draco," she began carefully, but the small quirk of his lips silenced her.

"But that's where you're wrong," he countered almost consolingly. "I'm not a nice person. Think about why this whole situation happened... think about your feelings toward me prior to this vacation."

Usagi's brow furrowed slightly, her gaze becoming troubled. "Draco-kun," she said softly. "I know what kind of person you are, and I accept you just as you are."

Draco faltered, his eyes holding a deep craving to simply drown within her comforting words. "You know very well I may hurt you again," he said quietly, his fingers tightening around her wrists.

The blonde girl winced slightly, her eyes holding a hinted shadowing of fear. "Why are you doing this?" she whispered. "Why are you saying these things?"

Draco lowered his lips to brush almost teasingly against hers. "You don't deserve the kind of pain I'm known for inflicting," he murmured softly. "And honestly, I'm beginning to desire you in ways that I fear will cause you pain."

Usagi's eyes widened, her breath trembling out slowly. She licked her lips carefully, but the small nervous action tempted him. He kissed her deeply, a harsh kiss that she responded to with a rivaling passion. "Please, believe me," she whispered out. "I just want to be with you... I know who you are.. and you're who I want."

He kissed her until breathing became a slightly difficult task, his mind spinning with the lack of air and the reassuring voice of his beautiful little angel. He would have scoffed at this mental affectionate nickname, but the truthful sincerity of it applying to her was rather startling in its accuracy... She was innocent, pure, and quite possibly, it was seeming, his only means of salvation for some semblance of happiness. Yes... an angel. His angel.

He shifted from his position on the bed, his back now laying flat, the blonde girl pulled neatly to rest upon his chest. "I'm truly glad," he murmured softly, his hands stroking gently against her back. "Because I meant what I said earlier... No one else can have you. You're mine," he murmured sleepily, his eyes drifting shut at the soothing thought. "Mine."

Usagi's own eyes drifted shut from the gentle stroking of his skilled hands. "Yours," she mumbled absently, not realizing the full extent to which he meant this statement. The two drifted off to fairly peaceful slumbers, intertwined with thoughts of happiness that varied in their shades.

The next morning... The return home...

Usagi and Draco were among the first to arrive at the train that morning. They proceeded inside and to the back, securing their own compartment. Usagi watched as Draco slid the compartment's door closed, his actions slow and languid. The two had not spoken all too much that morning. Breakfast had been enjoyed in silence, with the exclusion of Dobby's tearful good bye to Usagi. A saddened smile hinted upon her lips as she thought of the little house elf. Truly, she would miss him. He had been a rather good companion in her time there.

Draco took a seat across from her for a moment, gazing at her contemplatively. He tried to imagine what his reaction would be if anyone had told him he'd be feeling this way for Usagi at the end of the vacation; surely, he would have scoffed at the very thought. Yet here he was now...

"Draco-kun?"

Draco broke out of his thoughts, looking at the concerned expression upon Usagi's face. "Hmm?"

"I asked if you were okay," she said softly.

Draco licked his lips slightly, pondering this question. Was he okay? Was he really okay with all of this...? "Yes, I'm fine." Usagi frowned, her troubled expression not easing any. She stood from her seat, surprised when he did the same. "You know this ride is awfully long," he said quietly.

She gave a brief nod. "A few hours," she replied, her head tilting at the slow smile that spread upon his lips.

"Yes, a few hours," he murmured, pulling her against him. "We have a few hours left together, away from everyone else."

She pressed her head against his chest, breathing in his familiar sent and taking comfort in his embrace. "I don't really want to go back," she admitted quietly, surprised that she actually felt this way.

"Sometimes...what we want, and what we have to do, are two very different things," he whispered, his eyes drifting shut for a moment as he merely held the girl close to him. She had been right; such comfort really could be found within the simplest of actions.

"Ne... tell me, Draco-kun... what is it you want?" she asked quietly, pulling away slightly to look at him.

Draco gazed at her for several long moments. He didn't quite answer her verbally. Instead, he pressed a soft kiss to her forehead, keeping the action innocent and chaste. He shivered slightly as her hand raised to cup his cheek softly within her palm, raising on her tip-toes till she could feel the feathery softness of his lips upon her own.

He was becoming addicted to her kisses, he feared, drowning in the comforting feel of her body pressed close against him, melded in perfection as he held her. Yes... this is what he wanted, he realized. He sat back down in the seat, pulling her into his lap as he did so. His hands clasped comfortably around her encircled waist, holding her tightly to him. "Things are not going to be easy," he murmured, his own trepidation of the situation finally coming to light.

Usagi nodded. "I know," she said quietly. "I know."

"No one will approve of such a relationship," he continued gently.

"They might, in time," she disagreed optimistically. "People just need time to adjust to something new. And take your friends, for example. They approve of it."

Draco snorted slightly, shifting to a more comfortable position in the seat. "No," he corrected. "They tolerate it out of fear of me. They do not approve of it, nor will they ever."

Usagi frowned at this. "They seemed okay with it..."

"They're not."

She let out a small sigh, feeling saddened. "It doesn't matter," she insisted after a moment. "I don't see how two people being happy with one another can be such a bad thing in the eyes of others."

He smirked slightly, resting his chin against the crook of her neck. "We have a forbidden love, dearest Usa," he reminded her in a whisper. "We're not meant to be together."

"Says who?" she mumbled.

"Says everyone, except us."

"Well so long as you're okay with it and I'm okay with it, that's all that matters," she said with a tone of finality.

For perhaps the first time, Draco was blessedly relieved of her ever-optimistic attitude. It would definitely be necessary for enduring this long year ahead, he knew. He placed a small kiss against her neck before leaning back, resting his eyes shut.

Usagi leaned back against him in his embracing hold, hoping dearly that optimism and requited feelings would honestly be enough for such a complicated relationship.

x-x-x-

Harry tapped his fingers upon the table repeatedly, glancing at the wide entrance in the Great Hall every so often. Several other people were there, waiting also for fellow classmates and friends. A slow murmur of distant chatter sounded softly and his gaze fixed quickly upon the entrance again. The gradual tide of returning students began filtering into the Great Hall, and Harry was on his feet at once, looking expectantly for that familiar hair style...

"Harry!"

"Heya Harry!"

Harry watched as Ron and Hermione ran over to him, beaming smiles upon their faces. Harry grinned happily at his two friends, offering a hug to Hermione and a friendly wave to Ron. "Good to see you both," he greeted, sincerely happy to see them again. "How did your vacations go?"

"Oh it was fabulous!" Hermione exclaimed breathlessly. "I saw so many wonderful things, not to mention merely spending time with the family is always a fun thing..." She trailed off as she glanced at Harry, feeling a bit guilty.

But Harry merely shook his head, the smile remaining pleasant upon his face. "I'm glad you had a good time," he said cheerfully.

"Look!" Ron exclaimed, his voice holding a tone of excitement.

"What is it, Ron?" Hermione questioned. She turned to his line of sight and gasped happily. "Usagi!" she yelled. Harry whipped around immediately, turning to the massive crowd of entering students. But sure enough, Usagi was the type to stick out in a crowd. Harry felt his heart grow warm at seeing her again.

"Usagi!" He called, joined with his other two friends in an attempt at getting her attention over the rowdy noise of all of the chattering students.

x-x-

Usagi gulped nervously as they entered the Great Hall, though the reassuring squeeze of Draco's hand holding hers calmed her a bit. "I guess this is it," she said shakily.

"Only for now," he assured. "We'll work something out, Usa." His thumb brushed a small circle against her palm, a soothing action that made her smile. She wanted desperately to give him a last kiss of parting, but knew they could not. They had come to an agreement to keep their 'relationship' fairly under wraps. It was no one's business but their own, and the added disapproval of others would only complicate things further.

Usagi saw the frantically waving forms of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and her smile widened incredibly. Draco glanced at the three, a frown hinting upon his lips. "Are you going to...?"

Usagi shook her head cautiously, answering his question without words. No, she was not going to tell even her best friends of this 'relationship.' There was no way they would ever approve, she knew. She squeezed Draco's hand one last time under the inconspicuous concealment of the other bodies surrounding them, before pulling away to join her three friends.

Draco watched her retreat, breathing out a slow sigh. There little vacation was officially over, and a whole new tide of trials and tribulations was just beginning.

Usagi shuffled her way through the mass of students. "Harry-kun! Hermione-chan! Ron-kun!" she called happily, squeezing passed the last of the bodies that blocked her from them.

"Usagi!" they unisoned, enveloping her in a tight hug.

"Oh Usagi, we were all so worried about you!" Hermione cried, pulling away to look the blonde over. "Are you alright? Did everything go okay?"

Ron picked up immediately. "What happened when you stayed with him? What was it like there?"

Harry followed right along. "Did he hurt you at all? What happ—"

"Hey!" Usagi cried, waving her hands frantically. "I can't answer that many questions at once! Let's talk about this later, ne? I just want to get settled here again first, we can talk it all out later. I'm so looking forward to getting some lunch!" Seeing the uncertain expressions upon their faces, Usagi offered a kind smile. "I'm fine, really! Everything went fine."

After much commotion of reuniting with friends, all of the students settled down at their respective house tables. Dumbledore stood from his grand seat in the front center, a smile gracing his lips. "Welcome back to all of the students. I hope you enjoyed the holiday festivities the year had to offer to you, and I welcome you back for the dawning of a new year. Enjoy your welcoming back feast!"

"Yay!" Usagi cheered, immediately filling up her plate with the plethora of food that appeared upon the table. Indeed, apart from her friends, this is what she had missed the most from Hogwarts.

Ron, Hermione, and Harry smiled at her antics. Apparently, some things would never change about the girl. "Usagi," Harry began gently. "I know you said to wait a bit, but we all must know—"

"Usagi!" Hermione interrupted suddenly, her eyes drawn to Usagi's hand as the blonde girl took a large gulp of her drink. "Where did you get that?"

Usagi looked at her with confusion, tilting her head. She glanced at her hand, her own eyes widening. Resting upon her second to last finger was a beautiful golden ring, a vine of intertwining diamonds in tiny heart-shapes encircling it completely. It was utterly breathtaking.

"Bloody hell," Ron swore, looking at the ring with wide eyes. "Ohh... Well, Christmas did pass," he rationalized. "Did a family member give that to ya?" .

Usagi nodded dumbly, bringing the drink to her lips again and taking quick sips to prevent the rise of emotions in her chest from bursting out. She chanced a quick glance at the Slytherin table and saw Draco conversing with Duo. His eyes locked with hers for a moment, and the tiny quirk of his lips and the beautiful glint of his eyes gave her all the answer she needed concerning the ring's whereabouts.

"Yes," she said softly. "Someone very special gave this to me as a way to remember."

Ron smiled wistfully. "Well with something that expensive and beautiful, I doubt you'll ever forget!" he jested.

Harry laughed at this a little, his smile deepening. "It's very beautiful, Usagi," he commented in agreement. 'But not quite as beautiful as you,' he thought with admiration.

Hermione remained silent. Apparently, the two boys were too dense to realize the meaning of things. The right hand was for everyday rings; the left hand was for rings of engagement or marriage. Maybe Usagi had made a mistake with its placement? 'Or maybe I'm looking way too deeply into this,' Hermione thought with reluctance, though a wary curiosity remained.

Usagi continued eating her feast, a happy smile forever plastered upon her lips. Yes, things would be difficult...

But she'd be damned if it wasn't quite well worth it.

Fin...

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.:falls over:. That was so very incredibly sappy and romantic at the end .:sweatdrops:. I bet you guys weren't expecting that, huh? See, the title of this chapter was a double-meaning! .:dances:. Well, once again, thank you all very, very much for all of the support you've given me all through out writing this story. Please let me know whatya thought of this conclusion, and if you'd like a sequel to come relatively soon ;)

Here's a possible preview/summary of what may happen in the sequel..

Draco and Usagi's relationship is kept relatively secret from everyone, except the select few who already know about it. Harry confesses his feelings to Usagi, but what happens when Draco finds out? As more people begin realizing the relationship going on between Draco and Usagi, the more their fears of disapproval turn into a reality.

The strangest alliance is formed with certain members of Hogwarts... their goal? Breaking up Draco and Usagi! Jealous friends and classmates are one obstable to deal with, but what happens when even the teachers are frowning upon the relationship?

Usagi begins to feel perhaps it's too much... Turning to Harry, she finds some comfort in his friendship, but what about the fact that he wants more than friendship? Conflicting emotions begin to stir, and things can only get more messily complicated from here...

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That's all I've really thought up so far for a possible sequel. Let me know if you're interested in one, or if this story is good as-is. ;)

Thank you all once again minna-sama! Aishiteru!