This is the last post of the Sacrifices Arc. I will write nothing further in the future of the story than this. (Incidentally, pay attention to the date at the top of this, or the content will make no sense). At a certain point, you've got to let the characters go and live lives that you can't even imagine.
A hearty thanks to all the people who read and reviewed, and stuck with a story that turned out to be much more massive than I expected.
And last word to Draco.
Epilogue: In Memoriam
June 5th, 1999
I'm a bit surprised to see you writing to me after so long, but beggars can't be choosers, can they? And you need someone to tell you what's happened in England, and whether it's safe for you to return.
Disregard nothing of this letter, Blaise, neither the content nor the tone. Harry has doubtless forgotten that you betrayed him, since he's had to live with so many and greater betrayals since then. I have not. When you return to England, tread softly, for you tread on my fangs.
Incidentally, as to the question that you included in your letter, I have no idea if the youngest Weasley is married, joined, engaged, single, or living with three monkeys and a hippocampus. Do you really think she matters to me?
Harry is asleep in bed behind me. Truly, truly asleep, without nightmares haunting him for once. He breathes deeply, which is why I can tell. Well, he should. We celebrated in many ways for my nineteenth birthday, including some that I'm certain you don't want to hear about.
Made it to nineteen, Blaise, in spite of the best efforts of you and many other people. This year has been mad. I once thought the largest part of our danger and excitement had passed with Voldemort, and, while I certainly couldn't predict what Harry and I would do from now on, we would be able to control it better when it happened.
I should learn not to make such statements where fate can hear me.
Harry just had to visit the Hebridean Black sanctuary and see the hatchlings the hybrid eggs from their British Red-Gold had produced, of course. I suspect you've heard about that. The Dragon-Keepers made sure every wizarding newspaper in Europe carried articles about it; "the blood of fire flowing in the world again" or something similar was how they titled it.
What you might not have heard was that Harry upset a dragon somehow—they don't know the vates so much as recognize him when they want to—and took a Hebridean Black's tail to the chest. I managed to hit him from the side and bear him down so that he missed some of the impact, but it happened anyway. He never came so close to dying, not even when he encountered a certain poison during the war with Voldemort. It was two weeks before he could walk again.
Harry being Harry, this did not disconcert him, and he refused to listen to my suggestions that the dragon be put down.
Then there was the journey to Africa and India, where we went to see about one of the magical species Harry's presence is loosening the webs on. I don't even what to mention it, Blaise. Don't talk to me about karkadanns and baobab trees.
We came back, and Harry happened to be in the Ministry on the day that assassins decided to go after Minister Apollonis. (I suppose you heard about the election, even in your little hiding place in France?) That's Harry's kind of luck. He can't be normal, and neither were the assassins; they had something with them like the Stone under the Ministry or the Potter Maze, an artifact from another world, and its specialty was undoing barriers of all kinds, including wards and Shield Charms. Including Harry's wards and Shield Charms. There was a lot of shouting, and a bit of possession, and some running around. An Order of Merlin, First Class, was appropriate for me when the day was done and the Minister still alive.
Did I mention that, Blaise? Cause trouble even just for me, not for Harry, and you're fighting someone whom half the British wizarding world considers a hero and is more than happy to aid. And that's not counting my political contacts, or the business ones that I've made by inventing new spells and selling them to the international community. They tell me that my new wards, modeled on house elf magic, will revolutionize security in the next few years. I don't care to know all the details all the time, of course. That's what the people I hire are for. But I know the money.
I've established some contacts of my own, for another business, in Peru. Lovely place, Peru. Of course, when the Dark Lady Elena Dead-eyes kidnapped me and put me in her labyrinth, I didn't think it was all that lovely, but I wasn't seeing that much of it. I couldn't maintain a prejudice against the country itself when Harry came after me, blinded Elena—he has a penchant for blinding Dark Ladies—rescued me, and found an abducted child named Clara whom the Potter estates apparently have decided is perfect for them and needs to be raised as the Potter magical and legal heir. So Peru is quite beautiful, and Elena was quite trounced, and Harry's life—he Floos back and forth from Peru to give Clara lessons and to smooth out details with her birth family—is quite busy, and I am quite rich.
We've completed the joining rituals, as of little more than a month ago, on Walpurgis Night. I am fully Harry's now, and he is mine, joined partner in everyone's eyes. I'm sure you will be pleased to hear that the Ministers of Austria, France, Spain, and Portugal—the other countries in what they're calling the Hand of Wizardry—continue to find Harry pleasing and to work with him on wizard-Muggle relations. They're slowly infusing Muggle popular culture with the acceptance of magic where they can, and have commissioned Professor Snape to make potions that can enable Muggles to see magic and may be quietly distributed to interesting and willing subjects.
Tomorrow we go to Senegal. Reports of strange unicorns are rampant there, and Harry wants to investigate them, but he also wanted to wait until after my birthday.
And I will never send this letter, Blaise, because I find it says rather too much of things I don't want to show to anyone else after all. I would much prefer to sit back, and watch Harry sleep, and avoid thinking about Senegal until tomorrow. I'll write you another letter, don't worry.
By all the fates that gave him to me, Harry is beautiful. I am only glad that he was good enough to deserve me.
Now to blow out the candles and join him.
Draco Lucius Black Malfoy.
I started this story for many reasons—to explore the ideas, to write about the psychology of a certain kind of abuse, to try and provide fuller and more rounded characterization than stories like this usually get—but the biggest was to see if I could do it.
And the answer is: Yes, I could. Close on three million words, in close on a year and four months, and I did it.
Thank you, once again, for following this, reviewing, offering constructive criticism, and letting me know that the story and its characters mattered to other people. I can never regret my decision to post this, even when it felt as if it bled me dry of all my emotions. I may write more fanfiction someday, even fanfiction in this universe, but now the Sacrifices Arc is ended, and I'm moving back to original fiction.
Farewell wherever you fare!