"I fly in dreams, I know it is my privilege, I do not recall a single situation in dreams when I was unable to fly."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
They told her she was insane.
Hermione's hand groped air and lighted on a wiry wrist, wrapped tight around it and held on. Draco glanced sideways at her as he felt her squeeze and the flutter of her nervous pulse.
They were in the Weasley's sitting room, and Harry Potter was fuming.
"What? You're what?" He asked, quietly and with that unnerving intensity that was The Boy Who Lived. Draco told him this time, with a glinting expression that dared, because Hermione was afraid of loosing what she knew. I dare you, he didn't say, to stop us. I dare you to hurt her.
Harry was silent for a short eternity, but then he walked towards Hermione and captured both her hands in his. "'Mione… This is what you want?"
"Yes." And her voice was strong.
Trustworthy. Good. Not going to cause you pain.
"Yes," she responded, knowing exactly what he meant to ask.
He kissed her gently on the forehead, briefly again on the lips like a brother, and then let her go. Hermione, understanding, caught Draco's hand.
Their existence together was something full of surprises, stubbornness, and necessity.
Soon, Draco had sold his empty Mansion and bought a smaller, less memorable model. Two weeks later Hermione broke the lease on her flat, packed up her belongings, and arrived on his freshly-painted doorstep with three large boxes and a shelf's worth of books.
His presence calmly saved her, and she grounded him to everything real. His capacity to wound would unexpectedly shock her, and her quick response would unfailingly prompt one of his own. Her abrupt despair, her unwarranted depression, would startle him, and his quick temper would astound her. Their relationship was composed of compromises. This was how they lived.
There were no roses, no happy endings, no unnecessary romance. But there was life and need and acceptance and hope where none had been before, and that was all either of them needed.
It is all anyone needs.
It was nearly seven months before Draco said he loved her, and she felt safe replying after two days of quiet, encompassing thought.
Because she did, you see. Love him.
"He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
Final Note: I can't believe that this is over. It's been such a fantastic journey and I'm so glad to have shared it with you all. Enjoy, take it as it is, and I hope to hear more from you.
I really hope people are satisfied with the ending. I didn't want to make it mushy and perfect and happily ever after because, frankly, I find it annoying. And I couldn't end it so ambiguously as in Ch. 14, and I wanted to write something about how everyone they know deals with their newfound relationship. No convenient pregnancies, no marriage proposal. Just the imperfection of life. I love that it took Draco a long time to work up the courage and conviction to say he loved her and Hermione had to think about it too.
On a side note, this fic won "The I Never Really Loved You Anyway" Award at Dangerous Liaisons! I'm so excited and thankful to anyone who voted. The pretty banner thingy is on my livejournal, which I've just created and is deplorably empty. The link is on my profile, if you're interested.
Also: 600 reviews! Eeek! THANK YOU!
What's Next: I'm not completely sure, actually. Hopefully I'll be able to start working on my unfortunately ignored POTC stuff. Hopefully. I know for sure that I will do something else in the universe of "The Nietzsche Classes" revolving around Vulpe, because I love her character. I also will likely write a "V for Vendetta" oneshot or two. That movie is disturbingly awesome. I'll probably get inspired by something else Harry Potter and engross myself in some other project in the future. I'll not promise a sequel, but that's not to say that I won't write anything else about Draco and Hermione's future. If something original and not stupid strikes my fancy, I'm not averse to writing something about them.
As of this moment I'm also writing a completely original short story (in other words, I've had to do all the pesky character creation and development myself, damn it) that's for a national writing competition and is completely different than anything else I've done on fanfiction. I'll post it on my livejournal when its finished (in a couple of weeks probably) if anyone's interested. It's very much based off personal experience, except that the main characters are musical prodigies and I'm not one. Unfortunately.
Keep writing, keep reading, and keep in touch.