A/N: Well, ok. I know I said it was over. And I know it's not quite the full-fledged sequel most of you really wanted, but by popular demand, we have an epilogue. And for those of you who promised me chocolate, I'll be awaiting it happily :grin: As always, thanks to Kate for beta-ing.
There was something about this place that always made Harry cringe. He walked over the burnt grass that would never grow again on the Quidditch pitch where he'd spent most of his best memories. He never missed the irony that the final battle had happened on Hogwarts grounds. He limped now, his bones never quite growing back the way they should when his femur was shattered by a Blasting curse. The mediwizards at St. Mungos told him he was lucky to still be alive. Harry disagreed.
The battle had taken down almost everyone else, so why did Harry have to defy death again and live on to be the celebrated Boy-Who-Lived-to-See-Another-Useless-Day?
There was, of course, a celebration. People regarded Harry as a hero, though there was no more staring in awe and scrambling to shake his hand. People were afraid of Harry now. He supposed it had something to do with the Avada Kedavra he was pretty much forced to do wandlessly as Bellatrix Lestrange had already snapped his by that point.
To be honest, he didn't know he had it in him.
He limped slowly over to the spot where he had watched his best mate fall under the combined spells of three Death Eaters. He was proud of Ron and grateful for all he did in his life, but Harry couldn't help but wonder if it was worth it. In the end, Hermione said it was.
Harry sat down at his favorite thinking spot, resting his back against the cool white stone of Dumbledore's grave and stared out over the water lost in his musings. So many people had wasted their lives in this ridiculous war.
Hermione wouldn't come here anymore. She said that Hogwarts was depressing when it was abandoned and cold the way hit had been since the war ended nearly two years ago. Harry just thought it was peaceful. A good portion of the East Wing had been destroyed leaving behind a hollow shell and a gaping hole. Harry found this fitting for some reason.
Severus Snape had been the most surprising development during the battle. Harry knew he played more for the Light than the Dark, but he never expected the man to jump in front of a killing curse just to save Harry's life. Harry felt incredibly guilty, but like everything else, there was nothing he could do about it.
Harry sighed and gazed over the clear water. There was one person completely missing from the final battle. Harry was sure he was probably the only one who noticed, but to him it was painfully obvious and screamed out to him like a fog horn.
Draco Malfoy was not there.
Harry didn't know if he was dead or in hiding or off on a holiday in the south of France. He wasn't even sure if Draco knew the war was finally over or not. He'd asked the ministry if there had been any news on the subject, but all they would tell him was that Malfoy Manor had been destroyed.
Harry's head snapped up, startled to find Hermione staring at him. She'd gotten quiet since Ron's death and had taken to exiling herself in the library of Grimmauld Place for days at a time. Her eyes darted towards the castle and around nervously, twitching slightly as she'd taken to doing. Harry never really noticed quite how thin she'd gotten, her black mourning robes practically hanging off her wiry frame, her brown eyes dead and haunting.
"Harry?" she tried again.
"Yeah, sorry. What?" Harry shook his head, trying to offset the image of Hermione staring blankly over Ron's broken body.
"Remus has an owl for you back at the Ministry. He sent me to find you."
Harry nodded and stood up, Apparating after Hermione over to the Ministry.
The owl was from Ginny. She wrote to him frequently from the Czech Republic where she worked for International Relations. Harry couldn't help but feel his heart contract with disappointment. Every time he got an owl, he hoped it was from a certain snarky blonde who had been mysteriously missing for over two years. He knew it was ridiculous—that Draco was probably killed by Death Eaters long ago, but he couldn't help the small part of him that was still a roaring Gryffindor. His instincts told him Draco was still alive and he had to believe them.
He thanked Lupin, taking up Hermione on her offer of lunch and headed out into Muggle London. The streets were bustling with patrons and shoppers, all completely clueless to the fact that there was a supposed hero amongst them—which is why Harry liked it.
He sat with Hermione at the little outdoor café, his eyes wandering aimlessly over the passing crowd. His heart leapt every time he saw a flash of blonde hair, but he knew it was just wishful thinking.
They had ordered and chatted about inane things until their food came. Harry didn't have much of an appetite and he knew Hermione didn't either, but they both ate dutifully to appease the other. It was the same dance they did every day, both retreating into their minds and allowing the world to go on without them. Harry was just finishing his last sip of tea when he heard a small cough behind him.
"Excuse me, but is this seat taken?"
Harry's brow furrowed at the unfamiliar voice and turned towards the person behind him. His eyes locked with bright blue and he felt an unmistakable prickle run through his barely visible scar. He blinked in wonder, but kicked the chair out anyway. Hermione was peering carefully at the stranger with a look of knowing curiosity. He had shaggy brown hair that fell around his face in delicate curls and unnaturally intense blue eyes.
The stranger took Harry's offered hand, amusement twisting his mouth. "Oh I know who you are." There was a far too familiar smirk making its way through that voice and Harry felt his pulse quicken slightly. The man still hadn't let go of Harry's hand.
"You're a wizard then?" Hermione offered, her eyes still narrowed.
"Well spotted, Granger."
Harry's breath hitched just as he heard Hermione gasp. The long fingers wrapped around Harry's tightened and he felt the world fall away from under him.
"Draco," he breathed.
A slow smile spread across Draco's lips and he winked.
"But… how? Your hair…?" Harry spluttered, feeling the warmth from Draco's skin seeping through his numb fingers.
Draco rolled his brilliant blue eyes. "It's a glamour, Potter. Honestly, what kind of a wizard are you?" To prove it, he discreetly took a wand out of his pocket and tapped his closed eyes. When he opened them again, they were the same clear grey that Harry had come to know so well.
"So, do I get to sit down or are you just going to keep staring at me like that?" Draco asked, arching an eyebrow in a frighteningly familiar way.
Harry finally shook himself and stood to pull the chair out for Draco, who rolled his eyes again, but looked exceedingly pleased with himself.
"So… um… what name should I call you?" Hermione asked.
"James," Draco said, his eyes never leaving Harry's. Harry blinked and smiled softly.
Hermione snickered. "So James, where have you been? And how did you get a wand? The Ministry has been all over looking for you."
"They've been looking for Draco Malfoy, yes, but James Marcus Hoffman on holiday in Amsterdam, they have not." Draco slumped back in his chair and sprawled out in that casual manner that made Harry's mouth water. "James Hoffman's" body was stockier than Draco's and lacked some of the easy elegance the Malfoy family prided themselves on, but Harry could still see Draco among the movements.
Draco had spent the past two years traveling all over Europe, eventually landing in Amsterdam where he took up as a Muggle investment banker. Hermione was impressed with his skills and they chatted along merrily for the good portion of two hours.
Harry sat in a blurry haze. It was hard to believe that after two years of searching and hoping Draco would turn up somewhere, here they were in the middle of Muggle London having lunch in an outdoor café. It seemed so unnaturally ordinary. Draco talked on about how he made it far away from the Death Eaters and had even undergone some serious dark magic procedures to have his Mark inactivated. Hermione was extremely interested in the procedures and it was all Harry could do to not pull Draco away and finally have him all to himself.
Finally, nearly three hours later, they paid their bill and headed out. Hermione waved them off and gave the first genuine smile Harry had seen on her face since Ron's death.
"So…" Harry began, feeling awkward for the first time. "Do you have a flat or something?"
"Not yet," Draco said carefully. "I've been avoiding London for obvious reasons until I heard the war was over. My name is still shit among the Ministry, but I can try to plead my case under Veritaserum."
"What are you doing here now then?" Harry asked, trying to keep the waver out of his voice.
"Looking for you, obviously," Draco smiled. "I asked for a transfer at the Bank. This was the first chance I got to leave. Sorry it took so long."
Harry nodded and worried his bottom lip. "Look, why don't you come stay with me? Until you get settled in your own place, that is," he added quickly, blushing.
Draco's grin turned predatory. "I can think of much more interesting places I could get settled than in some flat."
Harry smirked and rested his hand in Draco's. "I think that's a brilliant idea, Mr. Hoffman."
Draco laughed and pulled Harry closer to him and not caring a whit for the people crowding the streets around them, sealed their lips tightly together.
"Come home with me, Draco," Harry breathed against his lips.
"I already am home, Harry," he whispered back.
Harry broke the kiss with a loud laugh. "That's the cheesiest line I think I've ever heard you say," he laughed.
Draco grinned and tucked a strand of stray black hair off Harry's forehead, noting that his scar had faded to an almost invisible thin line. "I know it is. Doesn't make it any less true though."
Harry rolled his eyes and wrapped his arm around Draco's waist. "Come on my big bad Death Eater, let's take you home and get you settled into some nice cozy places."
Draco smirked and grabbed Harry's hand, turning into a deserted alley to Apparate. Harry wrapped his arms around Draco's waist and held him close.
"I'm really glad you found me," he whispered into Draco's brown hair.
"Now who's being cheesy?" Draco smirked.
"Just shut up and kiss me," Harry laughed. Draco kissed him hard and Harry Apparated them both away.
(for real this time)