Disclaimer: All belongs to the ever-wonderful JKR.
Chapter Notes: Here it is. The Epilogue. I'm going to try not to cry!
'I did scoot over! You scoot over!'
'Excuse me. Would you be a dear and scootch down just a bit? There's not quite enough room for us here.'
'Scoot down. She wants to sit here.'
'There's no where to scoot!'
'You stand. I don't want to stand!'
'Boys! Stand or you won't get supper for a week.'
'Hate to break it to you, Mother Dearest--'
'--but we don't live in your house anymore.'
'We cook our own supper--'
'--in our own kitchen--'
'--with our own knives--'
'I get the picture. But regardless of where you do your cooking with whomever's utensils you choose to use, I am still your mother and you still have to do what I say when in my presence!'
Harry chuckled as Fred and George made a huge show of laboriously getting out of their seats and standing behind Harry.
'--how come Ron gets to sit?'
'Because those two still give her nightmares,' Ron muttered to Harry, who did his best to suppress a laugh.
'He's the next to go,' Molly said, eyeing Ron suspiciously.
'Ahem. If I may have your attention, we can begin.'
A blanket of silvery hush fell over the overcrowded room as Dumbledore stood at the front of the room. He tapped his wand to his throat before beginning again:
'Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. I apologize for the lack of space this evening, but I'm sure you understand the importance of this location.
'As you may have noticed, we have recently acquired some new faces to the Order. Some of them you may recognize, and others you may not. But all of them have agreed to join our ranks in the fight against Voldemort.
'You may be curious as to where we recruited these new members and I am happy to inform you that they come to us as the result of a very perilous mission carried out by two of our own students. These two students made a brave journey beyond the realms of life and death to rescue these new members, who had all fallen victim to the nefarious devices known as Death Veils.
'Of these new members, there are two I would like to introduce to you personally.' Dumbledore nodded to Søren and Gus and the pair walked up to the front of the room.
'I would like you to meet Søren Malfoy and his partner, Wolfgang de Gauss.'
There was a collective gasp around the room at the sight of a Malfoy. Harry's jaw had dropped in surprise and he saw that Remus had a similarly shocked expression.
'I doubt that many of you will remember Mr Malfoy. He attended school here at Hogwarts through his final year and was Head Boy of his class. Shortly after he graduated he disappeared, much to the confusion of everyone. His parents requested that he be forgotten and everyone moved on without another thought.
'However, there is more to the story. Until recently the circumstances surrounding Mr Malfoy's disappearance remained a mystery. But it has come to light that this young man disappeared at the hands of his father, Lucius Malfoy, by means of a Death Veil, all for refusing to take the Dark Mark. I have a feeling he will be a great asset to the Order and I hope that you will welcome him as one of our own.'
The room was awkwardly silent for a moment, everyone unsure of what to do. Harry and Sirius began to clap loudly. Remus and Molly, Arthur and the twins were the next to join suit and soon the whole room was applauding.
'Let's not forget our other inductee,' Dumbledore said and the room quieted down. 'Wolfgang de Gauss is a name I'm sure none of you know. I myself had not heard it until just a few weeks ago. Mr de Gauss is a prominent figure from the 1500s, most famously known for his invention of the first Death Veil. He, too, will be a very valuable asset to the Order and I wish for you to do the same for him as you will for all of our new members.'
Søren and Gus sat down and Dumbledore cleared his throat again. The fervent whispering died down immediately.
'I have one more general announcement before we bring out the tea and biscuits.
'We have one more person to introduce. He is a honourary member, if you will, that will be joining us in less than a years time. I have a feeling that at first you may be shocked, some of you angered even, but I trust you that this young man means no harm or foul to us.
'Draco, would you please come out here?'
Draco stepped out from a dark corner and next to Dumbledore. There was no need for further introduction. Unlike with his brother, there was no confusion or ignorance as to who this young man was because, much to his dismay, Draco Malfoy was the spitting image of his father.
There was a silence. Not one person made a noise and no one dared move. There was an ill mixture of distaste and distrust in the air that was stifling.
Draco shifted uncomfortably. Dumbledore cast a meaningful glance over the room. Finally, Harry could not stand it.
'I would trust Draco with my life and I have. If I trust him and Dumbledore trusts him, it should be enough for the rest of you.' Harry rose from his seat and stood next to Draco. Slowly, he entwined his fingers with Draco.
It took a moment, but it finally came: a slow trickle at first, but soon the whole room was clapping. The whole room, except Ronald Weasley.
When the meeting had finally ended, Dumbledore had directed them to an empty classroom, furnished with chairs and refreshments. After have politely accepted many well wishings from various Order members, Draco stood with Remus and Sirius by the door.
'Draco, if you ever need anything, Moony and I are here for you,' Sirius said, clapping him on the back. 'I mean, if it weren't for you, I wouldn't be. Emotionally or physically.'
'Thank you, Mr Black--'
'WHAT DID YOU JUST CALL ME?' Sirius barked.
'Uh, Mr Black?'
'Settle, Padfoot. He was only trying to be polite,' Remus said. Turning to Draco, 'He hates being called Mr Black. Has a problem with authority, this one. So I try to use the name frequently, just to see him get riled up. Feel free to use it if ever you're bored.'
Draco chortled. Sirius fumed and grabbed Remus' ass, causing him to leap up and yelp.
'We'll see who does the riling up,' Sirius said with a smirk.
'Now, now. I'm going to have to be the responsible adult here and tell you to save it for the bedroom. No one wants to see that here. Have you happened to have seen Harry?'
'I thought he and Ron were out in the corridor,' Sirius said.
As if on cue, shouting could be heard from the corridor: 'WHAT THE BLOODY HELL DO YOU MEAN YOU'RE SHAGGING THE FERRET?
'NO! I WILL NOT QUIET DOWN. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING TO BE QUIET ABOUT! THIS IS...THIS IS...HE'S GOT YOU UNDER THE IMPERIUS, HASN'T HE! I'LL KILL HIM, I WILL.'
'RON, WOULD YOU SHUT UP FOR ONE BLOODY SECOND?'
'NO! HARRY, THIS IS THE FERRET WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE! YOU ARE MY BEST FRIEND AND YOU MEAN A LOT TO ME, BUT I WON'T LET YOU SIT HERE AND TELL ME YOU WANT TO BUGGER THE FERRET!'
'IT'S NOT ABOUT THE SEX, RON! I LOVE HIM!'
Draco smiled. He started to go out into the corridor, but Remus stopped him.
'Give them a couple minutes,' he said.
A couple minutes turned out to be eons. After the shouting died down, Draco slowly made his way out to the corridor.
'Is everything alright?' Draco asked tentatively.
Ron looked up. 'Oh. It's you,' he said disgustedly.
'Oh, yeah. Ron here's just being a prat, but otherwise, everything's spiffy.'
'Anything I can do to help?' Draco asked.
'Yeah. You can stop buggering my best friend.' Ron glared at Draco.
'Look, Weasel, no one said I like this any more than you. I love Harry, but that doesn't mean I have to like you. I respect the fact that he comes with the attachments of you and Granger. I don't like it, but I respect it. As his best friend, you should consider doing the same.'
Ron looked at Draco with narrowed eyes and his head and neck scrunched up in a way that sort of reminded Draco of a chicken. It seemed the Weasel was trying to think and it appeared to be having rather stressful effects on him.
'Alright. I'll play nice, he said after a moment. 'But only if you promise something.'
'Depends on what it is.'
'You promise to leave Hermione alone. No more of that mudblood bollocks.'
'That's all? Deal.' Draco stuck out his hand and Ron grudgingly accepted it. 'Just curious - why so protective of Granger?'
Ron kicked around some imaginary dirt. 'I...um...uh...you're not going to make me say it, are you?'
'I have absolutely no idea what on earth you could possibly be talking about,' Draco said with a mock innocence.
'I'mgonnaaskhertomarrymewhenwe'redonewithschool,' Ron said quietly.
'What was that? I couldn't quite hear.'
'I'm going to ask her to marry me when we're done with school!' Ron nearly shouted.
'My dear, Weasel. If you can't admit to that, you've got bigger problems on your hands.'
Ron glared at Malfoy, and then turned to Harry. 'I don't know what you see in him. I'll see you later, though, right?'
'Sure thing,' Harry said. 'Hey, Ron? Thanks. It means the world to me.'
'Well, whatever makes you happy,' Ron said with a shrug as he walked away.
'Look at him, the ungrateful arse. Acting like it was his idea!' Draco scoffed as soon as Ron was out of ear shot.
Harry hit him on the shoulder playfully. 'Now you stop that! It means a lot to me that he's willing to look past his differences, regardless of who's idea it was.'
The two boys rejoined the biscuits and tea crowd in the no-longer-empty classroom, only to find Sirius and Remus poking and proding each other.
'What on earth are you two doing?' Harry asked.
'He started it!' Remus cried.
'Damn straight! And I'm going to finish it, too!' Sirius chirruped.
'You do know that everyone's starting at you, right?' Draco said, leaning in to whisper to Remus.
Remus immediately straightened up and brushed his robes off. Sirius glared at Draco and muttered something that sound suspiciously like 'spoilsport.'
'You two kids seem to be having quite a bit of fun over here,' came a voice from behind them. The four turned around to see Gus hobbling over to them, rubbing his leg. 'Wish I could join in, but this damn leg seems to have gotten rusty since I last used it.'
'Which was some 400 odd years ago,' Harry remarked. 'Why didn't you tell us who you were?'
'Would it have made a difference if I had?' Gus said dismissively. 'All you would have wanted to do was pick my brain about those ruddy veils and since I was going to come back anyway, I figured I'd save my breath until everyone was around to hear.'
'But how did you know you were going to get rescued?' Harry asked.
'There was something about you. When I found you prowling around the cabin, I knew you were going to be the one to bring us back.'
'You should speak with that Trewlaney bird, you should,' Sirius commented.
'Now, Gus, you're not boring them, are you?' Søren asked as he came up behind. 'We only just got here. We wouldn't want them to revoke their invitation to stay.'
Gus slapped Søren on the shoulder, but Søren quickly sidestepped and kissed the considerably shorter Gus on the forehead. Gus just shook his head and muttered, 'Kids these days.'
There was a momentary silence where everyone just looked at each other, quietly acknowledging the struggles each of them had gone through to get to this point. It had been a long, rough year, but they had made it out alive.
'So what now?' Draco asked.
'Now...we wait,' Remus said.
'My favorite part,' Sirius said sarcastically.
'There's nothing else we can do,' Harry said. 'We have to wait for Voldemort to make a move or for Dumbledore to come up with a plan, whichever comes first.'
'Until then, I would presume we prepare,' Søren said.
'For what?' Draco asked, even though he knew.
AHHH! It's over! I can't believe it! It's so depressing. I have grown so attached to this story that I am very sad to see it over. I thank you all profusely for reading and staying along with the story – each and everyone of you (yes, I mean YOU) means the world to me. Thank you thank you thank you thank you!
As for my next project...I'm stumped. I was planning on writing a Marauder's era fic, but I'm not so sure anymore. I would love to keep writing Harry/Draco, but I sort of want to move onto a new ship, just for a change of scenery. So as for a conclusive answer to the question of what will I do next...well, you've come to the wrong place for conclusive answers. I'm just no good at those. But keep your eyes open because something new will be coming soon. I can promise that much.
Once again, thank you so much for reading my fic!
The last goodbye to my wonderful reviewers:
Suicidal Bunnies: The end of an era, indeed! I was thinking about maybe doing a sequel, but I have no idea what I'd do for it. We'll see. . Thanks so much for sticking by the story through the end! Much love!
fifespice: Sadly, you're right. Good things must end at some point. I don't know that it would be much good if I kept goingbecause the story's kind of ended. Oh well. Thanks so much for reading and diligently reviewing! I appreciate it a lot!
PrOnGs Da GrEaT: I didn't have the heart to kill Draco. Besides, what fun would that have been? Harry would have just gotten all mopey again and Harry's much better when he's not mopey, I think. Glad you liked the story!
suishoku-ketsurui: You're absolutely welcome! I'm glad that you really liked this story. It started out as a tribute to Sirius that I was mildly interested in into something that I am dearly fond of and quite overprotective. You can definetly expect to see more fics from me in the future...but I'm not sure when. Keep an eye out! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing through this whole story!
JaklynToki: You have a new name! I love that quote! It's absolutely perfect! Thank you thank you thank you for reviewing and being such an awesome fanfic friend! I'm so happy that you liked the story! Love you!
Peaceful Angel: Gloria is evil, but let me tell you, she was SO much fun to write! I think Jo's said that, too, that the evil characters are much more fun to write. I'm positive that Harry would have gone to his parents, which makes me sad, but I guess it's understandable. I agree about Draco, too. He does need to be the center of attention. I think it was the way he was brought up. Thank you so much for reviewing through out the story! It means a lot to me!
Peace out, everyone!
Thank you everyone!