Epilogue

The light from the setting sun made even the burned timbers of the Manor look peaceful and pretty. Draco stood up, wiping ash and dirt from his hands, and gazed out over the forest. The new manor he had wanted to build no longer rose up in his imagination.

"All this gold – what are you going to do with it?" Harry asked softly from behind him.

"I'm not sure," Draco replied. "Donate it to St. Mungo's or maybe," he hesitated, "maybe use it to start a campaign to get rid of Azkaban and the Dementors."

Harry's breath was warm against his cheek. "I think that's a great idea. As long as you're sure…"

"I'm sure," Draco replied. Two nights ago, they had invited Hermione, Ron, and Greg over for dinner. They had all been crammed in the kitchen, but as Draco looked around the small room, he realised that he didn't need – didn't want – anything more than this. The very next morning he had gone into work and told the first client who insulted him to please keep a civil tongue in their mouth or they would need to find another banking establishment.

Harry squeezed his hand and then knelt on the ground. He touched his fingers to the dirt and whispered a spell. Wildflowers sprang up around the black wood and iron – pink, blue, purple, yellow.

"Showoff," Draco said with a smile.

v.v.v.v.v.v.

Ron stood on the grassy lawn, staring up at the house with a smile on his face. It was just what he had dreamed of – round windows peeking from behind corners, narrow chimneys jutting out at unexpected angles, grass sticking up through the stoop.

Hermione emerged from the doorway, dusting off her hands. "I finished off two boggarts hiding in the closets," she announced.

"Still turning into McGonagall these days?"

Hermione smiled, but then her face became serious. "No, actually." She took a deep breath. "I want to say, Ron, that I'm sorry. For what I said."

"Me, too." Ron scuffed his shoes in the dirt.

Hermione came and slipped her arm through his. "It's not that I didn't want to, really, but I'm…scared. I don't have any experience with children."

"Hey, it's okay." Ron cuddled her closer. "I've never been a dad, either. And anyway, I know they have books all about it."

Hermione laughed. "That's true."

"I mean, we shouldn't rush into it or anything. I guess I just wanted to know that it might be part of our lives at some point."

"But not seven?"

"No." Ron chuckled. "I'm not as crazy as my parents."

"Then…yes. If you're there to help me."

"Always," Ron said, kissing her.

Sitting down with Hermione under a shady tree by their new home, Ron decided that this future, although not what he had expected, wasn't all that shabby either.

Author's note: Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed this story! Many thanks also to my beta, Carnilia, for all her help.