DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter and all other characters and locations belong to J. K. Rowling.
Epilogue -Flames Rekindled
Several Weeks Later
The sun shone brightly upon the white marble, the lines of gold tracing through the stone flickering and shining beneath the caress. Around the small monument, roses of red and white flourished, their petals full and soft. A small breeze stirred the bushes, the air filling with the sickly sweet scent. Harry shifted from his spot behind Draco, one hand resting lightly at the small of blond's back. He dropped the small bouquet he held in front of the stone, the petals of the pink roses fluttering.
Atop the tombstone, a crystal dragon lounged. It's wings half folded in rest. A ray of light reflected off the clear glass, casting small rainbows across the stone at their toes. Eyes of tanzanite glowed a soft lilac. Harry shuffled slightly, impatient to be on his way but not wanting to interrupt the thoughts of the blonds he stood with.
Draco glanced at him and raised an eyebrow. Moving forward, the young wizard knelt before the marble. One hand rose and ran lovingly over the name engraved in the marble. Narcissa Malfoy. Bowing his head, Draco gave one final stroke before standing and placing the rose he held next to the dragon. Stepping back, he grabbed Harry's hand and clutched it for all he was worth. The elder Malfoy remained quiet, pale eyes staring blankly at his wife's resting place. Sighing, Draco wrapped an arm around his father's waist, dragging Harry into the hug.
"You can go, Draco. I'll see the pair of you at dinner." Lucius murmured, fingers tightening around the flower he held. Draco offered his father a small smile before leading Harry from the hedged garden, pausing only once to glance back at the silent figure standing there. Harry followed Draco's gaze but found himself starring at twinkling tanzanite, he shook off the feeling the Dragon was winking at him and pulled the blond from the small garden.
Harry and Draco walked slowly towards Malfoy Manor, the brisk breeze capturing their cloaks and tossing them about. Tightening his grip on Draco's hand, Harry glanced down at the nip of metal. He smiled when he saw the silver and sapphire ring the blond wore, a recent gift from himself.
"What do you want to do now?" Draco asked quietly, rubbing the back of Harry's hand with his thumb. He shivered slightly as the wind lapped at the back of his neck, raising his other hand and rubbing at the spot.
Returning the caress, Harry smiled and pulled Draco closer. "I want to see a witch about a cloak." He said, chuckling when Draco nodded in agreement. Wrapping an arm around the blond's waist, he pulled out a Universal Pride portkey and activated it.
The Order sat quietly in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place. Cooling cups of tea sat before each of them as they stared into space. It was hard to believe it was truly over. Voldemort dead and they had had nothing to do with it. The Pride had waved down all praise and invitations to speak with the media. Making the wizarding world hold their breath as they tried to figure out whether the Pride would appear before the council and defend themselves.
The Pride had not disappointed anyone. Apparating straight into a non-apparation area dressed in full pride regalia, they had flashed wands as the lions on their cloaks snarled in warning. They had flowed into the wizengamot and arranged themselves calmly and quietly, ignoring the shouted questions of reporters and the parents bellowing their names.
The Lion's Pride was fully prepared to defend themselves and called member after member to present records and data, leaving the wizengamot silent. The council had stared in shock when a thick stack of parchment appeared with a thud on the desk of the minister. Thousands of names adorned the Pride's petition, all declaring they wanted the Pride to remain active in the wizarding world.
By the end of the trial, the Lion's Pride had become a fully licensed branch of the Ministry of Magic. With the permission and support of the council, the group had been given the duty of rounding up any remaining Death Eaters and bringing justice to those who had been injured by Voldemort and his supporters. When they had been released of all charges, the Pride had merely nodded and prowled from the room like a hunting pack of wolves, vanishing just as quickly as they had appeared in the ministry.
Shaking his head at the memory, Remus peered through his bloodshot eyes. "The greatest battle in history and we spent it locked in a dungeon." Remus muttered into his hands, rubbing his face in disbelief. The rest of the group nodded in silent agreement.
"That reminds me, Molly. How are the twins?" Minerva McGonagall asked, eyebrow raised as she reached for her cup.
Growling at the mention of her missing sons, the red-haired witch clutched her cup like it was a lifeline. "One of their employees said they were on vacation. Apparently they felt the need to go to Italy." Molly Weaseley grumbled, standing and carrying her cup to the sink. Sighing she dumped the cold tea down the drain, watching it swirl til it vanished down the chugging pipe. Minerva exchanged a glance with Remus, rolling her eyes when he shook his head in disgust. The red headed hellions were probably staying on Pride property, which would make them impossible to find.
"How was the Pride when you left?" Severus asked from his place in a shadowed corner. He sneered at the angered look on the werewolf's face. Choosing to wait for an answer rather then launch into an argument with the werewolf.
"Sad. They didn't like all of the terms that were placed on them by the council. I know they need to finish their education but it seems pointless now." Minerva stated quietly, placing her cup down on the table. Sighing, she exchanged a look with the other female Order members. "Some of them are beyond Hogwarts. Their skills and knowledge are greater then that of the seventh years. Half of them know more defense spells and Potions then the staff. It will be hard to gain their attention when we're teaching them stuff they can do in their sleep."
"It will be good for them." Molly said sternly into the silence, beginning to clean the kitchen. As she puttered around replacing cups and tinning cookies, she ignored the looks of disbelief her comment gained. "They can be children again. If even for a few months." Sighs and nods of agreement were the only response. But many of them didn't think the Lion's Pride would ever be children again.
The little bell above her shop's door tinkled cheerfully. The small sound seeming to fill the shop with music. Sighing, the witch carefully set the last stitch on the robe she was designing before placing it on her worktable. Resting a hand at the small of her back, she rose and swept out to greet her guests. She froze in the doorway, mouth hanging open in startled surprise. Clearing her throat, she walked further into the shop.
"An elegant pair you make." She called, gliding slowly towards the wizards browsing through a rack of dress robes. She smiled in delight when the blonde turned, his pale blue eyes shining with laughter and love. He strode forward easily, wrapping his arms around her in a quick hug before pulling back.
"How have you been?" Draco asked politely, holding her at arms length as he examined her from head to foot.
"Well, and you?" She murmured, letting go of his hands as he stepped back to make room for the raven-haired wizard standing behind him. Smiling bashfully, he ducked his head and took one of Harry's hands in his. The flash of silver drawing her eye to the ring wrapped around his finger.
"Never better." Draco purred, a possessive hand resting on Harry's chest. His eyes sparkled brightly as he leaned against his lion.
Smiling, the raven haired Gryffindor caught one of her hands, placing a graceful kiss on the back before letting it go. "We have much to thank you for," Harry stated, his emerald eyes solemn as he stared at her. The blond nodded in agreement, fingers locking themselves in the satin of Harry's shirt as he remembered the last few weeks. "If there is anything we can ever do for you, you have only to ask."
"If it wasn't for you, we'd both be dead." Draco murmured, haunted eyes holding hers for a moment. Harry raised a hand and rested it on the nape of the blond's neck, the firm hold reassuring.
Smiling, Madame Malkin turned and began to straighten one of her displays. Sniffing slightly as the words replayed themselves through her mind, there wasn't a hint of doubt in the young wizards words.
The low swish of silk had her turning and looking at the black fabric Harry held cradled in his arms. She picked it up carefully, eyes widening as the gold lion lying across the back yawned, tail flicking impatiently. Her eyes followed the large cats movements, captivated by each twist and turn. The tinkle of the small bell had her head jerking up, blinking as she watched the pair disappear.
Rushing to the door, she stepped out into Diagon Alley. "You will of course let me create the dress robes for your bonding ceremony?" She called to their retreating backs. Embarrassed grins and quick nods had her smiling in triumph as she thought of the black and emerald robes she'd spent all night crafting. They would be perfect. No, she thought, watching as the pair merged with the crowd filling Diagon Alley, they were perfect.
Ice Manor was rowdy as everyone packed up their belongings and stashed worn clothes in hampers. It wasn't like it was the end of the Pride. They were taking a short vacation. Returning to Hogwarts to complete their sixth year. Laughter echoed off the walls as black cloaks were folded and stored in trunks, hidden under school robes and winter scarves.
They would merge with the rest of the school like they had never been gone. Except things would be different. They had seen death and destruction. Many of them had done things they'd wish they never had too.
They were the Pride of the Gryffindor Lion. United under the symbol of the lion, the sixth year students of Hogwarts would be a generation apart from any other. No boundaries could restrain them. Ravenclaws, Slytherins, Hufflepuffs, and Gryffindors; they were friends, companions, lovers, soldiers. A new generation of witches and wizards that would and could stand together against anything the world threw at them. And so they packed, saying goodbye to the manor that had held and shielded them for the past months. Come the summer, they'd all return and the Lion's Pride would hunt again.
A/N: Thank you to everyone who read and reviewed. I'd also like to thank everyone who followed this fic from the beginning to the end, your continued support always makes it much easier to write. While it's always sad to end a fic, I've taken the Pride as far as I can. I've nothing left to do but let the cloaked crusaders have a vacation after all the trials I've put them through. So thanks everyone for making this fic fly.
Jane Average - Glad you've enjoyed this fic.
ToyoKadiyaMikalya - lol, you totally read my mind!
xkohleyesx - lol, I didn't think to add Draco's comments on the dungeons. There probably won't be a sequel.
libaka - Sixth year actually, and I've never considered Hermione older then the rest of the group. If anything, her intelligence and knowledge make her a little jaded and cynical in my opinion.
Captain Nire the Pirate - Nope the Order didn't get a letter, only the Pride.