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Slight warning: this is an epilogue, folks. Not really much new here in terms of plots, just tying up a few of the loose ends. Not all of them, because as a reader I feel a bit put off when writers tie up everything in a neat little bow; it makes me feel like there's no possible scope for the reader to imagine what might come next.
...which means I'll probably be ticking off the readers who do appreciate everything being tied up neatly. So, to those readers: I'm sorry, guys. Wish I could please everybody, but I can't.
Day 236, Saturday
Harry gave the large scoreboard at the edge of the pitch one last glance before shaking hands with Carmichael and beginning the last Quidditch game of the year, starring the two last-placed teams.
He looked at his team-mates and raised his eyebrows, seeing if they were still in accord, and they nodded back as one. The Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff game had ended in a surprising 160/30 win for Ravenclaw, which meant that Gryffindor had a – very slim – chance of winning the Quidditch Cup. Had Hufflepuff won the last game, it would have been almost impossible to beat them, but today Gryffindor needed 180 points to reach the top spot. And his team-mates had voted to let him try to just keep the Snitch away from Slytherin until they had scored three goals.
Which wouldn't be easy. The Slytherin Keeper had vastly improved, and looked good to block just about anything, and Gryffindor's Chasers were not up to speed for this game. Ginny, Dean and Demelza Robins had been great together, but then Dean and Demelza had both been turned into newts during a Duelling Club practice, and their replacements were not of the same calibre. It would not be easy to keep the Snitch from being caught until Gryffindor got three goals. Then again, it was a rather dark, windy day for late May; maybe he'd get lucky and neither Seeker would be able to spot the Snitch for a while.
He looked up at Draco, getting into Seeker position above him, and grinned despite the dismal day. It was wonderful having him up here, considering all that had happened in the last few months. Draco had had to fight tooth and nail to not be replaced on the team as Slytherin house ripped itself apart after their re-bonding, especially since he hadn't gone back to live in his dorm. But in the end, he'd prevailed. And now here he was.
And here they were. Come full circle and playing a Seeker's Game.
And there was the Snitch, right over Slytherin's goal. Draco dove for it, Harry right behind, and they fought in the air, one overtaking the other, whirling around each other, and Draco almost had it – and then it turned on its wing and Draco cursed and almost crashed into a Gryffindor Chaser, and Harry swerved to avoid them both, and the Snitch was lost again.
Harry flew a little higher, looping around. Thank god the bond had subsided again, after two months, and they were able to do this without discomfort. It had been incredibly frustrating, for the first few weeks after the bond, to have to be together all the time again. Though it hadn't taken as long as they'd thought it would to be able to be apart again. Shagging regularly had gone a long way towards appeasing the bond's demand for closeness and, paradoxically, loosening it a bit. Not a bad deal, that.
The proximity hadn't been the worst problem, not by a long shot. It had not been an easy couple of months. The worst part, of course, had been that Lucius had indeed called Draco with his pseudo-Dark Mark, and Draco had refused his summons. For five hideous days that still gave both of them nightmares, Harry had held Draco while he suffered from the pain of the mark and Healers tried everything in their power to counteract it, with varying degrees of success.
And then the pain had stopped.
For reasons known only to himself, Lucius Malfoy had stopped his torment of Draco and left Voldemort's side. And with his top lieutenant gone, his grand gesture of killing The Boy Who Lived once again in shambles, several of his Death Eaters defecting, and his support dwindling, Voldemort had disappeared once more.
Which did not make anyone think for a moment that there was no more danger from him. One had only to look at the Aurors ringing the pitch today to see that. The Quidditch game was warded strongly, more strongly than anybody had ever seen it, on the assumption that having the Boy Who Lived or the Boy Who Bonded (the Ravenclaw who'd called him the Boy Who Loved in April had only just stopped mooing last week) killed in mid-air would really be a bit of a downer for the end of the school year.
There! The Snitch! Harry and Draco raced towards it, once more whirling over and under one another, and Smith was going insane trying to keep up with the commentary.
"Potter takes the lead – he's clinch- no, he's lost it – oh, close one! And now Slytherin's Seeker closes in on – Potter attempting a Marlowe Roll – Slytherin Chaser Donohue scores! 10 – 0 for Slytherin, and the Snitch is lost, both Seekers are back to the skies..."
Harry shook his head at the murmur from the stands, as the Slytherin crowd didn't know whether to cheer or jeer. Months after the bonding, they were still conflicted, though less so than they had been at the beginning.
When Draco had gone to Harry's side, it had been a big loss for Voldemort's forces, because if even the son of Voldemort's right-hand man could defy him and side with Harry, it didn't exactly look like a ringing endorsement of Voldemort's power. Made him look just a bit pathetic, actually. Add to that the fact that with Draco's defection, Harry had gained an ally who knew a fair bit about Voldemort's followers and their methods, was a relatively skilled wizard himself, and could provide Harry with the added strength of a bond... and then with Lucius Malfoy gone as well... the political upheaval had been intense, and it had played itself out within Slytherin house as nowhere else in the school. Every day, for weeks, families were deciding their loyalties and affecting their children's school relationships. And, to a lesser extent, their children returned the favour, with more than a few Slytherin students effectively bringing their families over to one side or the other based on their own school alliances.
Snitch sighted again, and he dove for it, reaching it a split second before Draco and needing all of his skill to keep Draco away from it and all his self-discipline to keep himself from grabbing it.
"And Potter lets the Snitch go! Looks like Gryffindor's interested in winning more than just this game! Third placed team, let's see if they have a chance; Potter's going to have some trouble, Black almost had it there-"
Draco pulled up near him, angry. "Trying to win the Cup, are you?" he yelled over the wind.
"We've more of a chance than you do," Harry shouted back.
"Fuck you, you arrogant shit!" Draco yelled, and Harry cheerfully gave him the two-fingered salute and resumed looking for the Snitch.
"Gryffindor Seeker makes rude gesture towards the Slytherin Seeker," Smith said, and a wave of laughter rose from the stands. "Right, gentlemen, let's keep domestic squabbles off the pitch, shall we?"
Slytherin was really playing well, Harry thought as he scanned for the little gold ball. The loss of Millicent Bulstrode as Beater had been tough, but they'd recovered remarkably well from it. One day she had simply not appeared at the dormitory after class, and a day later Aurors were searching for her, to the puzzlement of all. Within days it began to filter out from god only knew where that she had been Parnassus McKay's "inside source" at Hogwarts, the one who had helped him carry out the original bond curse. There was a rumour that McKay was some kind of distant relation or something. Another rumour, even more nebulous than the first two, was that she had also been the one who'd sent the papers the picture of Harry and Draco that had prompted Lucius to disown Draco the first time.
Which was just plain weird, if it was true. Millicent had never seemed all that hostile to Draco – or to Harry, for that matter. She hadn't been terribly friendly either, but when one thought of "inside sources," one usually imagined mysterious, enigmatic figures who, once found out, caused everyone to kick themselves for not having guessed their shady doings. Or one thought of the type of "nobody would have ever suspected" angelic creature who caused complete shock as their nefarious secret identity was revealed.
The most universal response Millicent's unmasking as a secret agent of evil had engendered had been a resounding "Wha?"
Then again, just about everything that had happened this year in Slytherin house had been just plain weird, from Harry's point of view. Including the rather bizarre way that some political alliances had worked themselves out. Much of it had been rather ugly as well, as people flocked away from Voldemort and hastened to strengthen their new position by betraying friends and relatives still on the other side.
What a cowardly, self-serving thing to do, Harry had found himself thinking contemptuously every so often. And dutifully kicked himself every single time he did so, reminding himself that his own spouse had done the exact same thing.
By far the oddest chip that had fallen this year had involved Theo Nott, who, god only knew why, had suddenly declared himself an opponent of Voldemort. And gone on to vigorously defend Draco's right to remain Slytherin Seeker and his right to be counted as part of Slytherin house, even if he no longer lived among them. Assuming Nott's conversion was genuine, they'd probably never know what had prompted it – any more than they would ever be completely sure why Parnassus McKay had done what he had done, or how Lucius had managed to catch him.
Queenie Greengrass hadn't budged an inch. The Potter-Malfoy and Thomas-Davis pairings had survived till almost the end of the year, so far, but the Greengrass-Nott romance had died an unsightly death.
It was interesting, thought Harry as he tirelessly scanned the skies for the Snitch, how well the Slytherin team was playing despite all the internal conflicts in the house and on the team itself. Carmichael, with some prodding from Draco and Nott, had decided the line-up for the final game along political lines as much as along skill, and goaded his team into competing against each other to see who could deliver the best game they'd ever played. Carmichael, two of the Chasers, and Draco were on one side. The Beater who'd replaced Millicent, the third Chaser, and the Keeper were on the other side. And all of them were challenging each other to pull together and show what Slytherin House could do together, when push came to shove.
"Gryffindor's Ginny Weasley scores! It's 20-10 for Gryffindor, one more and Potter can stop dancing around the Snitch and try to catch it for real – and it's been sighted, again, both Seekers on their way – Black narrowly missing Gryffindor Chaser Frobisher, and he's in the lead – Potter fouls! Penalty to Gryffindor, Black does not look happy about that!"
"Fuck you, Potter!" Draco shouted angrily.
"Up yours, Black!" Harry shouted back, knowing how much Draco hated his new last name.
Though Lucius had disowned him again after their marriage, Narcissa had refused to follow her husband's example and had allowed Draco to keep some of his Black inheritance. The name, a respectably filled vault in Gringott's, a few small properties in Europe, that kind of thing. She refused to see her son, but at least she'd given him something. Which Harry knew meant a lot to Draco – coming to Harry penniless and completely dependent on him would have galled him – but didn't make Draco any fonder of the last name he was now forced to use.
The papers had carried rumours that the senior Malfoys had parted company over the issue of their son. Which Draco didn't comment on, and which Harry secretly hoped was true. Couldn't happen to a nicer couple, really.
"Gryffindor scores again! Gryffindor stands 30-10, the Gryffindor Keeper's putting in a stellar game – for once – and now we'll see who's got the best Seeker..."
A Seeker's Game of sorts, that's what it came down to in the end.
Actually, no – a Seeker's Game was what they had been playing so far, as Harry focussed on Draco instead of the Snitch. Draco's own game, and Harry had beaten him at it. Now they were back to Seeker versus Snitch, Harry's area of expertise. He put Draco out of his mind and concentrated all his will on catching any flicker of gold.
Then he was diving, and Draco was too, and Smith couldn't keep up with them as they dodged over and under and around one another, months of working out together and knowing what the other felt making this incredibly intense. Harry could feel Draco's fierce concentration, his need to win, the lengths he was willing to go to, to get the little ball.
And his joy at this, the rush of air past him, the thrill of the challenge, the grip of the broom, the exhilaration and excitement.
Gryffindor scored again and dimly Harry heard wild cheering underneath them, and with a very small portion of his mind he registered that this was probably one of the best Quidditch games ever played at Hogwarts. Everybody was playing to their full potential – including Gryffindor's replacement Chasers – and Ginny, Ron, Carmichael, Harry and Draco had never flown better.
The little ball was teasing them both, suddenly turning and making them both swerve and almost flip off their brooms, avoiding a mid-air collision at the last possible moment, quickly getting back to the chase.
Harry reached out, felt the fluttering of the wings at the tips of his fingers, felt a fierce joy as the Snitch teased itself forward, and Draco was close enough to touch, and reaching forward, all of their mental energy focussed on the little ball...
The wings fluttered against his fingertips as he pushed his broom a tiny fraction closer and-
The little ball swerved just a hair's breadth to the right and he and Draco followed it, perfectly in tune with it and with each other, and then Draco's hand inched that tiniest measure closer and-
Harry felt the tickle of a small wing on his ring finger as Draco's hand closed around the body of the Snitch.
"Black catches the Snitch! Slytherin wins!" There was a moment of stunned silence before the stands erupted and Harry and Draco both pulled up and stared at each other in shock. And in the intense crushing disappointment of the moment, Harry felt a rush of exhilaration from Draco – that he'd finally done it, finally won, in a game, against the person he'd wanted to beat the most in seven years, and despite himself, a grin started to spread itself across his face. Draco just looked so stunned, staring at the Snitch in wonder, not even registering that the stands were filled with Slytherins – and other houses – who were cheering for him.
He started to laugh as Draco looked up and gave him an almost apologetic look – Draco, looking a little sheepish that he'd beaten Harry at his best game – and clapped him on the back.
"You did it," he said, and Draco gave him a brilliant smile, and then Harry quickly flew backwards as the rest of the Slytherin team reached Draco to embrace him in victory.
He went back to his own team, flying down to the pitch somewhat more subdued than the Slytherins, but still somehow a little high. It had been too good a game for normal post-defeat dejection to set in.
"Rotten luck, Harry," said Ginny, and Harry gave her a smile.
"Slytherin's still in last place," Ron observed as the scores went up, and Harry turned to look.
"Yeah." Harry grinned as they landed, and he clapped them all on the back, letting them know he appreciated their hard work – including Dean and Demelza, though he was careful to not touch their skin, as it was still rather moist and poisonous. Gave Hermione a hug, listening with half an ear and nodding as their fellow Gryffindors fell over themselves reassuring the team that they'd put in one of the most spectacular games ever. He caught Ron's eye at one point, his half-grin that said more eloquently than any of them could, that it wasn't necessary. The sight of the crowd exiting the stands was reassurance enough on that score – their flushed faces, excited chatter, and the younger ones fairly bouncing in exhilaration and replaying some of the more dazzling moves with their hands.
That was that, then. His last Quidditch game at Hogwarts.
He started off for the changing room, undoing the tie on his hair and shaking it out, taking off his shin pads and tentatively moving his shoulder around a bit. Must've pulled it at some point during the game, he hadn't noticed it. And he was drenched with sweat. A long, hot shower would feel – he groaned to himself as he realized he'd forgotten to bring the box with the Quidditch balls to the hut, as the losing captain was supposed to do. Turned around to head back to the pitch.
"Mr. Potter?" he looked around at the soft voice. There was somebody in the shade of the hut. He peered into the darkness and his eyebrows went up.
"Mr. Potter," she said, with the exact same look Harry had seen on her face the first time he'd ever seen her. The look of someone in the presence of some sort of noxious odour. Intensified as the door to the hut opened and Hermione came out, stifling a yelp of alarm and immediately moving to stand beside Harry when she saw who was with him.
"Do you – Draco's still out there, do you want me to-" Harry said, trying to keep his voice from showing too strongly his dislike of the woman who'd pretty much abandoned Draco. She had, after all, grudgingly allowed him to have her name and family money, and she was his mother.
"No, I don't want to see him. I... I probably shouldn't be here, my husband would be rather upset with me if he knew."
Husband. Not ex-husband. The rumours of their separation had been exaggerated. Pity. "Then why are you here?"
"I just wanted to know... how is he?" she asked stiffly.
"Why don't you ask him yourself?"
"I can't." She drew herself up, shook her head. "I don't wish to."
Harry crossed his arms, narrowing his eyes at her in distaste. If she didn't want to talk to him, she could bloody well sit and wonder how he was doing.
"Are you... there have been rumours of what you will be doing once you are done school."
"There are always a lot of rumours," Hermione said neutrally.
"I won't ask if they're true. I just wanted to let you know... I don't believe the Dark Lord will be rising any time soon. He is biding his time, he's been hurt by the loss of his supporters."
"I can read the papers too," Harry said flatly.
"Be that as it may. I simply wish to ask you not to hurry trying to track him down."
Harry and Hermione kept their faces blank.
"You don't trust me," Narcissa said, mildly amused. "You believe that I'm on his side and want to delay you to give him time to regroup. I'm not."
Harry shrugged noncommittally.
"I want you to succeed, Mr. Potter. Because if the Dark Lord wins, he will not be kind to either my husband or my son. But I also want you to... try to be careful."
Harry stared at her.
"Try to wait until the bond is dampened down enough that Draco won't be too badly hurt if anything happens to you."
"I know enough to take care of my own spouse, Mrs. Malfoy," Harry said coldly.
She opened her mouth for a sharp retort, then hesitated, and her face softened a bit. "Yes, I suppose you do." She glanced behind him as a group of people approached the Quidditch hut, and her eyes widened slightly. She glanced back at Harry, gave him a wintry little smile, and quickly melted back into the shadows behind the hut.
Harry and Hermione turned around, heading back to the pitch, and Harry smiled as Draco and his team approached on their way to the hut, ignoring the jeers from the other Slytherins as they passed by.
"Who was that?" Draco said, glancing towards the hut and giving him a quick kiss.
"Tell you later," Harry said. "Are you going to the victory party?"
"No, I don't think so. It's in Slytherin, and they're devolving into catfights already. I think it's going to be a little gruesome. Besides, I have some serious winnings to collect from our bet on the game, don't I?"
Harry grinned as Draco pulled him closer, letting Hermione go ahead and bringing his mouth close to Harry's ear, continuing sotto voce. "Let me see... first off I'll get out my Slytherin tie-"
"Have to find it first, won't you?"
"-but I'm having the worst time trying to decide where to go from there. Do I want you to start by talking dirty to me in Parseltongue, or go straight to that French spell Pansy was telling me about, or-" he stopped as Hermione turned around to see what was keeping Harry. "Hm... think I'll ask Granger to decide for me..."
Harry elbowed him warningly but couldn't suppress a grin and Draco smirked at him, his eyes sparkling with humour and affection.
"Oh." Hermione tilted her head, a curious expression on her face.
"Deja vu - I've seen this before." She put her head to the side. "Exactly this, you two on the Quidditch pitch, smiling at each other, except I didn't recognize you at the time," she said to Draco. "It was in a vision, I think..."
"That's very useful, Granger, thank you," Draco scoffed. "A vision of two people smiling at each other. Do you think you could try to have visions that mean something, like who'll win the Quidditch World Cup?" He let go of Harry and went past them, taking off his own elbow pads as he went into the Quidditch hut. "See you back home?" he called over his shoulder.
"May as well just wait for me," Harry replied. "I'm getting the ball box and coming back to the hut. I need a shower."
"It was in the healing circle..." Hermione murmured, and Harry nodded absently, his mind on the ball box and the next few hours with Draco.
"Careful!" he heard someone shout, and with a sickening thud, the world went black.
...the hell was that?
Harry swam back into awareness, finally focusing on something. The ceiling. The very familiar ceiling of... the hospital wing.
Damn, not again, was his first thought.
"You're awake," he heard a voice next to his ear. He turned and there was Draco, smiling at him.
"Only you, Harry. Demelza was putting the Bludgers away but she's still a bit slimy. One of them slipped away and cracked you on the back of the head."
"How long was I out?"
"Not that long. Forty-five minutes or so."
"You'll be fine," Draco said offhandedly, and smiled slightly.
"Still flushed from your success, I take it?"
"Mhhm." Draco seemed entirely too pleased with himself.
"Is that all?" Draco's grin widened. "Out with it."
"Well... while you were out, a scout from Puddlemere United had a little chat with me."
"What?" Harry sat up.
"Lie back down, I don't want you tossing your lunch onto my lap. Puddlemere United. Wants me for their Seeker."
"How hard was that blow to the head?"
"That's... that's amazing," Harry said.
"Yeah." Draco sighed, a little wistfully. "Don't tell Weasley, will you? He'll be sulking for weeks."
"Won't he figure it out eventually-"
"Harry, don't be dense. I can't accept the job."
Harry bit his lip. No, he couldn't. Not with what they were planning on doing in the next few months, after school was done. Not with Harry about to go in for Auror training and then going to hunt down Voldemort. Flying above a stadium, vulnerable to anybody in a crowd of hundreds with a wand and a mission or a grudge, was probably not where the spouse of the Boy Who Was Going To Do For Voldemort should be. He would instead most probably go to the training position he'd already accepted in London, with a Potions master. And when he wasn't concentrating on that, they'd both be working on strengthening their bond magic and Blood Magic. It had already helped Draco get through the pain of his mark without too much psychic scarring. Hopefully it would also help Harry do what he needed to do as well.
But in a few years, maybe...
"Still. It's... it's amazing. To get an offer like that."
"You should've gotten it."
"You won the game," Harry said easily.
"That's not why they asked me and not you," Draco said, and Harry looked away uncomfortably. Draco chuckled. "We both know who's the better Seeker here," he said. "I'm good. Damn good, and if it wasn't for the war, I'd make a bloody good Seeker. But you're a force of nature."
Harry smiled at him. "You know... after we're... done... I mean, I don't know how long it'll take, but if you still wanted to-"
"Let's just survive the next year before we go planning life after that, all right?" Draco said, and gave him a kiss that started out merely affectionate but gained heat and intensity fairly quickly.
"Erm," Harry pulled away long enough to murmur as his body perked up with interest. "Should we be doing this – um – here?"
"Mhhhm... Pomfrey said you could – mm – um, go straight home as soon as you regained consciousness."
Draco pulled back slightly. "I believe her words were 'I've seen enough of Mr. Potter this year and he's got you to take care of him now. If I see either of you again, you'd best be at death's door or I'll put you there myself.'"
Harry laughed at Draco's dead-on portrayal of Pomfrey's brusque manner, then winced as his head gave a twinge.
"Draco?" Blaise entered the hospital wing and grinned at Harry when he saw he was awake. "How's the head?"
"That thick skull of his comes in handy once in a while," Draco smirked, still absently caressing the back of Harry's neck, and Blaise chuckled. One of the nicer outcomes of the Slytherin upheaval: Blaise's family had come down, hard, on their side, in large part because of Blaise. No more need for him to shun Draco in public.
"Well, good game, Potter," Blaise nodded, then turned to Draco excitedly. "Is it true? Puddlemere United talked to you?"
"Merlin! Must've burned to turn them down." Harry reflected that it was sad, that he just assumed Draco wouldn't take the offer. "A few of the Hufflepuffs spotted the scout. They were taking bets on which seventh-year he was here for. D'you know a few of them actually bet they'd ask Potter? As if the world doesn't know what he'll be doing in the next little while."
"Didn't say a thing to me," Harry said.
"Well, I'll let Pansy know. She almost strangled herself trying not to scream when you caught the Snitch."
Draco smiled, albeit a little sadly. Pansy's family had remained unwavering in their allegiance to Voldemort. Ordered her away from Draco on pain of serious repercussions, and although Pansy knew her parents would never disown her, out of love for them and allegiance to Voldemort she had reluctantly cut her ties to Draco. The overt ones, at least.
"Hey, Potter," Blaise said. "Do what you have to, soon, all right? I want to see a game like that again."
"Yeah, we'll be sure to tell Voldemort he needs to let Harry do him in quickly, because he's got some important Quidditch to play," Draco said impatiently, and rolled his eyes as Blaise winced at the name. "Nice priorities, Blaise."
"What priorities?" Ron said as he and Ginny entered the hospital, smiling in relief at seeing Harry sitting up apparently none the worse for the Bludger to the head.
"Nothing, just saying it would be nice if our top priority was Quidditch," Harry said. "Or even just the NEWTs and finding a flat."
"I thought we'd found one," Draco said in surprise.
"The penthouse we saw last weekend in Islington? Woefully close to your ickle friends?"
"I thought you hated it."
"Well, that and being two floors up from your werewolf friend doesn't help either, but I didn't say I hated it, I just didn't hop up and down squealing 'Shiny!' It's actually right next to the best Potions supplier in England. It'll do for now, we can always move later."
"Oh yes," Ginny snickered. "You'll want a nice house with a large yard for your kids to play in."
Harry wrinkled his nose and Draco made a gagging sound, as Blaise and Ron laughed. "Excuse me, that's one of the nicer aspects of being disowned: I don't need to think about any of that unless I actually want to."
"So Harry," Ron said, "if you're all right, are you coming to the Tower? We're having a celebration."
"Of not coming in dead last place," Ginny said with a smirk, and Blaise laughed. "You're welcome to come too," she said to Draco.
"Be still my heart."
"Unless you're going to your own house's party?"
"Don't have much to do with them any more," Draco said off-handedly. "You go ahead, Harry, I'll go get a book to read and come up later."
"Well, I do have much to do with Slytherin," said Blaise, "so I'm off to watch the bloodletting. I heard Queenie and Nott started early."
"Oh..." Draco smirked. "Now that I'd like to see."
"Apparently he already hexed her during the game. Flumen Mensanguina, she had to go home and change."
"That's my curse!" Draco said indignantly. "Plagiarising bastard."
"You go on ahead," Harry said to Ginny and Ron. "We'll catch up."
"Let's go, Fryggindors," Blaise said cheerfully, and Ron gave him a slap to the back of the head as they left the hospital wing. "Oi! Don't take it out on me that your team lost, Weasley!"
"Don't get a book, Draco," Harry said. "Join the party. I'll make it worth your while..." he ran his hand through Draco's hair sensuously, realizing his seductive technique probably needed some work as Draco smirked at him, amused and unseduced.
"You're going to do that anyway. I won the game, remember?"
Harry grinned. "Or maybe we can just skip the party and go straight to our place, so you can collect your winnings?"
Draco snickered. "So your friends can interrupt us in the middle of god only knows what, asking why you're not at their party? Not interested. Now, let's go to our place long enough for me to pick up a book, then go to the Tower for a couple of hours." He gave Harry a quick kiss and pulled him off the hospital bed. "We'll have plenty of time on our own after that."They left the hospital wing and headed for home.
oooooooPost Author Notes: OK, well, as promised, the end is clearly labeled :) To answer a question many people have asked: no, I have no plans for a sequel right now. For the next little while I'm just going to see if my RL is still where I left it, gather my scattered wits, and recover from roughly 480 pages of writing ;) I'll be posting the last few bits of the DVD Extras: techie stuff, a couple of deleted scenes, and a few more of those "weird little plotbunny prompted by a reviewer" things. Might start up something new after that; might not.
A million thanks to my betas. You would not believe how many weird turns of phrase, logic errors, and pointless meanderings the readers were spared, because of them. Thanks to Kyllikki, for patiently wearing down my aversion to BookFic in general and squeamishness about writing anything more explicit than a kiss, as well as my whole "HP characters having sex lives is just wrong wrong wrong" attitude, and poking and prodding until I finally caved and wrote enough HP smut to fill a football field ;) And for sticking with me as it grew, and grew, and grew. And to Jérémie, for stepping in and obsessively fiddling with certain scenes of the later chapters, thus improving them enormously. I owe you, big. And to Calíope Amphora, for Portugese translation that leaves me utterly in awe and under the delusion that I can understand Portugese, and for stepping in with wonderful, wonderful beta that pointed out a whooole bunch of loose threads from the last three chapters.
Thanks very much to all of you who commented and reviewed and e-mailed me. I must say I've been rather taken aback by the response of HP fans; in my previous fandom, a ten-chapter story getting 20 reviews was viewed as a screaming runaway success ;)