Twenty-four hours after I posted the Epilogue, I edited it again to make it reader-friendly. Enjoy.
This chapter is in reader-insert POV.
Author's Note: I was about to go to bed... but then, I remembered that I should post Alteration's epilogue (*grins).
Regarding a sequel, if I get inspired at some point in time, maybe, I will make one but I'm currently busy with my other fanfics. (*sighs)
For this chapter that you are about to read: I am giving you a chance to enter Draco and Hermione's world and be a part of it even for just one time. Be the guest! :D
So, I guess, this is the last post for Alteration.
Again, thank you very much. :) Don't forget to review! (*wink)
YEARS and YEARS LATER…
A young lady in a beige and gold dress traipsed across the room until she spotted you, admiring the details of the house in awe, standing beside the tall tree covered in lights and baubles.
"Happy Holidays! Is it your first time here?" She greeted you.
You point a finger to yourself to confirm if she was talking to you.
"Yes… you. Come in! Throw your coat into that closet, it'll fix itself. It's amazing, isn't it?" She smiled.
You watched as the coat closet closed.
"I love what you're wearing," the young lady said to you.
You smiled at her and looked down at what you were wearing to see what was so magnificent about it.
The young lady walked on and you followed her. Then she looked back to warn you about a puddle of something that would rather not be discussed.
"Careful, don't step on that. Someone drank too much and… that," the young lady wrinkled her nose and tapped a tall lady in front of her.
"Would you please clean this up with… you know," the young lady made swishing movements in the air with an invisible wand. Antonella (Blaise and Rafael's mother), the tall lady, chuckled and took her wand out to make the pile of muck disappear.
The young lady thanked her and Antonella smiled: "You're welcome, dear."
You smiled up at her too, captivated by the beauty of the tall lady named Antonella. Antonella was still beautiful, though wrinkles of age could not be avoided. She was the definition of 'aging gracefully'. Even though several years were added to her age since Voldemort perished, she was still the same witch that men chased after.
"I'm too old for those games of romance," Antonella would usually say when asked if she had been enjoying the company of men – both young and old.
The young lady walked on, still avoiding the spot where the muck was a while ago as if it was still there. You were not entirely sure why the young lady avoided the spot so you followed her lead.
"Looking around like you're in a museum makes it very obvious that it is your first time to come here," the young lady whispered to you.
As you walked with her, she smiled and bowed whenever other people smiled at her, though you suspected that she only knew half of them.
"Are you thirsty? Let's head to the punch table," the young lady invited, straightening non-existent creases on the front of her dress.
"Thank you," the young lady smiled at the servant who handed two goblets to her.
You grabbed her attention by clearing your throat then asked who was at that party.
"Hm?" They young lady took a quick sip.
You wait patiently for her to answer your question.
"Oh, I'm sorry. See there?" The young lady waved a hand at a man whose back was turned towards you.
"Recognize him?" She asked and looked at you.
You tried to think but you could not identify him so you shook your head.
"No one does... when you're looking from behind," the young lady laughed. "Walk with me."
And you did as you drank from your goblet.
"Recognize him now?" The young lady asked when you stopped on a spot with a better view of the man's face.
You glance at the man and your face lit up in recognition. The lightning-shaped scar on his forehead was an unmistakable mark of his identity.
She smiled at you and said: "…that took you long enough. Yes, that's Harry Potter with the scar and all."
You watched Harry Potter for a while who was whispering to the woman beside him.
"He's with his wife, Ginny."
You remarked about an article in the Daily Prophet on Harry and Ginny wanting to separate involving their son, James, and their daughter, Lily, in the issue.
The young lady narrowed her eyes at you and made a sound of disapproval. "You shouldn't believe everything you read."
You felt your cheeks warm up and pointed a finger to another man, though you recognized the flaming red hair and the voice that went with it.
"That's Ronald Weasley. He now heads the Department of Magical Games and Sports in the Ministry of Magic," the young lady sipped and continued: "That's his daughter, Ana, and his wife, Luna."
When you were both standing idly in one corner, the young lady's face suddenly lit up. "Let's go around."
You nodded in agreement, curious of the people and places inside the large mansion.
"I found something interesting," the young lady said proudly and walked to the statue at the bottom of the stairs. The young lady left her goblet on the table and so did you.
"Watch out!" The stone statue warned the young lady when she tripped on the carpet.
They young lady stood up straight, embarrassed but tried hard not to show it. She walked on with you tailing behind her. She knocked on the concrete wall of the stairs and you eyed her, wondering what she was doing. When the part she knocked on opened a passageway at the side, your face lit up in excitement.
"Let's go," the young lady gestured and walked on inside, making sure that no one saw you both enter the room. The room was well lit since it was a room full of books.
You asked if it was Hermione Granger's library when you remembered her reputation back in Hogwarts.
The young lady frowned and said: "You know her?"
You nodded and followed her to one of the shelves filled with books about dragons. The young lady pushed the shelf until there was a space, large enough for you to fit through.
When you entered, you noticed that the room was sparkling, not exactly, more like swirling silver threads in shiny glass bottles.
"Isn't it amazing?" The young lady twirled in place, admiring the view.
You asked if she watched any of them and the young lady looked at you questioningly.
"What do you mean?" She asked. "What are these?"
You stared at her, half in awe and the other half, in disbelief. The young lady had tumbled into a room full of memories and she didn't know what they were.
You were itching with curiosity as you explained to the young lady that these were memories that could be placed into a pensieve…
"What's a pensieve?" She asked, listening intently to you who seemed to know so much.
You answered that it was a stone basin where one could place the silver threads and watch them.
"Watch?" She asked.
You went on to explain that the silver threads are memories.
"How?" The young lady took a step closer.
You smiled slyly (you had an excuse to feed the curiosity) when the young lady was admiring the silver threads. You moved on to the pensieve in the middle of the room and told her that you'll both try to watch one. You asked the young lady to choose a bottle.
The young lady walked around the small circular room and picked one out with the initials "E.R."and a date under it; she went on and handed it to you. You tipped its contents into the stone basin and told the young lady what to do.
When you both dipped your faces into it, you were both sucked into the memory…
You were in a large bedroom with people rushing in and rushing out, fussing over a large white fluff in front of a large mirror.
You and the young lady moved closer and she asked if the people in the memory could see the two of you. You said no and tried to understand the scene.
A tall wizened lady with sharp green eyes and thin lips that were pulled up at the corners stood at the doorframe. She wore a purple witch's hat that matched her robe with her gray hair slightly showing.
"Relax my dear," she said to someone.
You and the young lady turned to see a woman under all the white fluff.
The lady in white pouted and quickly checked if her lipstick was smudged. "What if I mess it up?"
The old lady didn't say anything to soothe her but she smiled.
You understood what was happening at the same time that the young lady beside you whispered: "wedding". You nodded thoughtfully and continued to watch.
"Is she there?" a man's voice came from beyond the doorframe where the old lady stood.
"He's here," the old lady told the lady in white.
"Is she there?" the same voice asked the old lady, who nodded at a man with pale blond hair to enter the room.
"What's wrong?" The man went beside the lady in white.
You watched the old woman stay out of sight by moving one step out the door.
The lady in white frowned and didn't look up at him. "You shouldn't be here. It's bad luck."
"That's muggle rubbish," the man replied.
"Hey," the lady in white pouted again. "I was raised as one."
The man knelt beside her and sighed heavily. "Alright… I'm sorry Hermione."
The lady in white, Hermione, looked at him at last.
"Don't you want to marry me?" The man asked.
"Draco!" Hermione said firmly. "Of course I do!"
"Then why did you scare me by not going down the aisle?" Draco asked. "…I thought you changed your mind."
"I'm just afraid," she admitted.
"Of messing up," she said. "It's not like we chose to be together."
"But we did!"
"Isn't it just the magical contract playing with our lives?" Hermione asked.
Draco's eyes lit up in realization. "You've been thinking about this a lot, haven't you?"
She bit her lip, feeling guilty.
"Look, Hermione," he said and made her look at him by turning her chin gently to his direction. "A magical contract cannot control our lives. We can choose to follow it or not – that's why there are consequences in choosing."
She didn't say anything.
"Do you understand?" He said it like an old man explaining to a child. "We chose to be together! You and I know that if we both didn't want this, we'd rather die than be forced to marry each other."
A small smile pulled the corners of her lips like she had been waiting for him to say those words.
"Am I late for the wedding?" Hermione asked him.
"Just a few minutes late," Draco said and flashed a lopsided smile.
You and the young lady watched Draco kiss Hermione passionately until the old lady stepped back in, knowing that the critical moment was over.
"Save some for the ceremony," the old lady said to them.
Draco pulled away and Hermione chuckled, trying to contain the tears that threatened to destroy her make up. She pulled out a handkerchief from Draco's pocket and used it to remove the lipstick she transferred to his lips during the kiss.
Draco held her hand and whispered to her: "I love you."
Hermione swallowed the lump that formed in her throat and the tears poured out of her eyes. She threw her arms around Draco and whispered to him: "I love you too."
A few ladies rushed back into the room; one of them pulled Draco away from her and the others fixed her make-up.
Later, Hermione stood up, looking like she was wrapped in snow. Her skirt ballooned and seemed to have tiny snow balls stuck to it (if that was ever possible under the sun). She walked to the old lady and hugged her.
"Thank you for everything grandma," she whispered.
"You're always welcome," the old lady, Eilynn, patted her back and let her go. "Go on. Don't keep them waiting now."
Hermione nodded and walked down the marble staircase with a smile on her face.
She walked slowly towards the main door and the ladies, assisting her since before the ceremony started, opened the doors to let her walk out on the red carpet laid in front of her, leading to her husband-to-be, Draco Malfoy.
Hermione smiled up at him and walked slowly to him like she was savoring the feeling of having him as the prize at the end of the slow march. As soon as her hand held his, her eyes were already starting to form tears again.
You and the young lady watched intently from the exchange of vows until the kiss.
The crowd stood up and applauded the new couple as they marched away from the large mansion. Hermione was staring lovingly at Draco as he smiled at her and guided her out of the gates.
The young lady blinked and stood up straight, you did the same and found yourselves back in the small circular room.
"That was… amazing," the young lady said in awe, staring into space.
You nodded and looked down at the vial of memory that you opened to watch: E.R.
"Do you know what it means?" The young lady asked you as she was also wondering about the letters of the label.
You said 'no'.
(A/N: An author-reader secret: E.R. = Eilynn Roquelle)
"We have to go back… they might find us here," the young lady said.
You turned the bottle face down on the silvery contents swirling in the pensive. The silver threads of memory reentered the bottle and you returned it to where the young lady found it.
The young lady heard your stomach growl and she was tact to pretend that it didn't happen though you were red on the face – almost as red as Ron's hair.
"Let's get some sandwiches?" She suggested nonchalantly and walked out of the room.
You frowned and looked back longingly at the many vials stored in the room. You reluctantly followed the young lady back to the noisy crowd.
The young lady felt like she had stepped back into the memory again when she noticed the mansion's interior. It was almost exactly the same. There were some differences though: the interior she was looking at now was scattered with mistletoes, festive lights, golden balls and a tall tree with ornaments; one other thing was the guests were inside and not outside.
You felt the same air of familiarity as the young lady when you examined the mansion but you were distracted when you spotted the buffet table on one side of the room and you walked towards it.
You hungrily took in the view of all the dishes displayed on the table. The servant greeted you both with a smile. The young lady ordered something unusual and you recoiled at the sound of 'mashed' food.
"I like cheese with it," the young lady said and took the sandwich of mashed muck-looking food.
You made a sarcastic remark about adding tomatoes.
"Really? I should put tomatoes?" The young lady looked down at her food and requested for some tomatoes while you watched, wide-eyed, wondering how would her food taste like. You inhaled sharply and watched her take a small bite.
"This is fan-bloody-tastic!" She said as she chewed.
You exhaled in relief but was curious of the taste. You ordered for a sandwich that looked normal enough to eat. Before you could take a bite, a familiar face came into view and you tapped the young lady. She looked up at you as she chewed.
"Hermione? Yes, that's her," she said when she swallowed. "The one beside her is Blaise Zabini."
You hesitated but the pull of gossip could not be resisted. You asked about the latest rumor that Blaise is with a girl who drives him crazy with a rocky relationship but has been with her for five years – a record for Blaise… if it were true.
"Oh him? Yes, that's true," the young lady laughed. "Abie's her name."
You asked about Kia Mizan, who was working at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, in the office for Improper Use Of Magic.
The young lady smiled and you asked, reluctantly, if Kia dated Blaise in the past.
"No, no," the young lady shook her head. "They're really good friends. I don't think they dated."
You noticed a familiar pale blond head in the crowd. You stopped the young lady from taking another bite.
"Where?" She looked up. "Ahh, yes, you're right… Draco Malfoy."
You both watched Draco nod and speak, hoping you could get closer to listen in on the conversation.
"He's with his only son: Alphaeus," the young lady stopped chewing and left the unfinished food on the table.
You commented on how Alphaeus looked very much like his father and took a bite from the sandwich in your hand.
"They're both talking to Neville Longbottom. Professor Longbottom," the young lady announced proudly.
You watched Neville closely and repeated saying Neville's name with the word "professor" before it.
The young lady nodded. "He's the Head of the Gryffindor House at Hogwarts and he teaches Herbology."
The young lady looked away and busied herself with the front of her dress. "They're probably talking about Alphaeus."
You asked about Neville and continued to chew and swallow.
"I don't see his wife here but they own the pub that links muggle London and Diagon Alley," the young lady cleared her throat and adjusted the gold bracelet that wrapped intricately around her wrist to her elbow.
You asked about Neville's wife.
"His wife? Lavender's her name and they have three kids: one boy and two girls."
You nodded thoughtfully and silently admired Neville Longbottom, who stood with an air of confidence.
"His kids are very charming. That must be what they're talking about. Alphaeus is in his third year and he pulled a prank on one of his daughters who's also a third year – he's in trouble," the young lady said.
You pointed out the fact that Neville was smiling.
"Hmm… I don't know then," she placed a finger on her chin.
When Draco Malfoy glanced at their direction, the young lady froze and quickly recovered by pulling you to the side.
"Let's go there," she said in a rush.
You asked why you were outside.
"Oh, I just want to catch my breath sometimes," she replied and smiled sheepishly at you.
You asked if you could go back to the party.
"Don't you want a break as well? The hall's a bit crowded," the young lady tried to convince you.
When you did not reply and just stared at her, she sighed.
"Oh, alright. Let's go back in."
You "oohed" and pointed at the lady with Viktor Krum. You consumed the sandwich and handed the empty plate to the servant who passed by.
"Don't point," the young lady slapped your hand and you frowned though it didn't hurt.
"Yes, her hair is green. So? Haven't you seen other people with different hair colors?" The young lady said with a stern expression. "Her name's Regina Keile."
You asked if they were married.
"Married? No! It's still going to happen. Next week. You really shouldn't believe everything you read. It took them long enough to decide on this wedding," the young lady said and walked on a few steps ahead.
You heard a new song that filled the air and you saw Alphaeus approaching. You waited for an event that would play out.
The young lady shifted nervously and seemed like she wanted to hide under her own dress. When Alphaeus offered a hand to her, she glared at him.
"Let's dance," Alphaeus suggested.
"I don't know how to dance," the young lady pouted.
"Let me lead and you'll be fine," Alphaeus assured her.
The young lady glanced at Draco Malfoy who was smiling at them and held Alphaeus' hand to be led to the large empty area that was cleared out by the guests as they gathered at the sides to watch the people dance.
You watched intently and smiled as the young lady followed Alphaeus gracefully, not missing a single step. A few moments more, other dance pairs followed onto the dance floor and flowed with the beat.
Draco Malfoy was approached by a dark-haired woman (you recognized her as Pansy Parkinson from the magazines she was featured in years ago) and was asked to dance and he accepted. You watched and clapped (along with everyone watching) when the song ended. A new beat filled the air and other pairs occupied the floor as the young lady and Alphaeus returned to the place where the guest stayed.
The young lady bowed and Alphaeus smirked at her, like he knew something and you wanted so much to ask. The young lady turned to you and smiled, then later, was searching the room before you could ask her. "Hmm… oh!"
She rushed to a couple standing at the back of the crowd but not before turning to you and asked: "Oh, d'you want to meet Rafael Zabini?"
You looked for the man in the crowd.
"There he is with his wife, Vivian," the young lady waved a hand towards a non-specific area. "She's a professor at Hogwarts and she teaches Magical Defense – used to be called Defense Against the Dark Arts." The guest nodded thoughtfully, processing the information.
"Let's go meet them," she added.
The young lady weaved through the crowd like water seeping through gaps and you found it more difficult than that.
"Uncle!" The young lady waved at Rafael Zabini.
"Liana!" Rafael greeted and opened his arms wide, ready to receive a hug from her.
The young lady hugged him and she giggled when Rafael carried her.
"You look very nice," Vivian, Rafael's wife, complimented and kissed Liana on the cheek.
"Thank you! I love your dress Aunt Viv," Liana (turned out to be the young lady's name) said.
You then realized that the young lady was very appreciative when you recalled her complimenting on your clothes earlier that evening.
"I have something for you," Rafael put Liana down and patted his dress robes.
"It's with me," Vivian placed a hand on Rafael's shoulder and laughed as she searched through her purse. She gave an envelope to Liana with a seal on the front.
"Is that… what I think it is?" Liana said in awed whisper.
When Rafael and Vivian nodded, you watched Liana rip the envelope open and scan the paper with her eyes.
"This… is even more fantastic than that sandwich!" She screamed.
"I'm going to Hogwarts! Can you believe it? I'm going to Hogwarts!" Liana jumped excitedly. Though she was almost shouting, you noticed that her voice was not very audible because of the collective chattering in the hall.
"I thought I wasn't going to receive a letter since I had my birthday three days ago!" Liana said. "I better tell mum and dad!"
Liana ran away from the spot where you stood and disappeared into the crowd.
When Liana left, you spotted Hermione dragging Draco into the hidden library that you and Liana wandered into several moments ago. Being as nosy as you are, you followed them there and peeked through the door that was slightly open.
Your shoe went between the door and the doorframe so it wouldn't close.
"If you're jealous, then say so," you heard Draco's voice.
"I'm not!" Hermione retorted. "She wasn't invited to this party!"
"You know that people want to attend this party very much. You can't avoid crashers," he said.
"Still… what's Pansy doing here? You even danced with her," you saw Hermione cross her arms across her chest.
You were lucky that they were angled not to see the door that was slightly open.
"It was just a dance," he said. "It's Christmas, luv."
Hermione pouted, looking unconvinced with his explanation to why he danced with Pansy.
"She gave us her best wishes," Draco added.
"Let her eat her wishes," Hermione said bitterly and Draco laughed.
"It's nice to see you get jealous once in a while," Draco said. "Pansy's getting married."
"Again?" Hermione asked. "I knew it; even Zacharias Smith can't stand her."
"Oh come on, Antonella wasn't so diff'rent," he pointed out. "She got married seven times."
"Pansy is not even nearly as beautiful as my aunt," she said stubbornly.
"The next time will be her second wedding," Draco laughed again. "…and you're more beautiful than her too."
Hermione crossed her arms across her chest. "Are you mocking me?"
"No, I'm not," Draco moved closer and snaked his hands around her waist. "You're more beautiful than any of them out there."
"You're my husband," Hermione said. "It's not believable when you say it."
Hermione's mood seemed to have gone down to a calm level. The guest watched intently and hoped that they wouldn't look towards the direction of the door. There was a long moment of silence as they stayed like that, with Draco's arms around her.
"I miss grandma," Hermione said suddenly and Draco looked at her.
"She's watching over us now… wherever she is," Draco said softly.
"Really?" She looked up at the ceiling and mocked Draco by staring at it.
Draco chuckled and said: "She said you did a great job with this holiday party."
"You talk to the ones up there?" Hermione asked.
"Mm-hmm," Draco said and kissed her hair.
"Tell her to look away before I kiss you," Hermione said to him.
You were distracted when...
"Oh, there they are," Liana whispered and held the letter tightly in her hand.
You jumped and almost screamed in surprise but stopped and looked at Liana.
"What happened?" Liana wondered aloud.
You gestured at the couple inside and you both watched...
Draco flashed a lopsided smile (very much like the one in the memory they watched earlier) and said to Hermione: "She doesn't mind."
Hermione laughed and Draco kissed her, drowning her laughter.
Liana groaned softly and placed a hand over her eyes. "I don't need to see this again," feeling like seeing them kiss in the memory and in present time was enough to last her the whole year.
You stared at Liana, wondering only then, who she was -- at least, what her full name was.
"Hey, all right?" Liana waved a hand in front of your face.
You remembered the series of events that night and you stammered something about Liana being Draco and Hermione's daughter.
"Yes, Alphaeus is my older brother," Liana said with a smile. "I said only son – not only child."
Liana's face lit up with realization. "I forgot to introduce myself! I'm sorry… My name's Eliana Malfoy. My parents say they got my name from my great grandmother who died before I was born and they call me 'Liana'."
You pointed out that she didn't look like her mother or father.
"What do you mean?" Liana pouted. "I have my mother's hair and my father's eyes."
You were about to say something else but stopped when you noticed that Liana was indeed a mix of both. That was when you were starting to feel guilty about being there just to get some news for a popular gossip column that you wrote for. You felt like skipping out on this article (It's Christmas, after all), seeing that Eliana had trusted you and showed the circular room full of memories.
Liana sighed and you removed your foot from the space between the door and the frame to give the couple some privacy. Liana helped you close the door quietly.
"I can tell them about getting into Hogwarts later," Liana looked down at the letter in her hands. "Besides, it won't be much of a surprise."
Liana shrugged and smiled at you.
"After all, I'm a pureblood through and through."
November 21, 2008. 11:30 PM.