Warnings: Fluff warning!!! This chapter contains a high level of fluff. You have been warned!!!
Disclaimer: see first chapter.
Note: Here it is! The LAST CHAPTER! WOW. I have a few things to say:
1. Thank you all SO MUCH for all the reviews. The amount of feedback is beyond anything I could ever have imagined. So thank you!
2. I am so glad I decided to continue this to its proper end. There is always the possibility of a sequel, but it I'm not planning one now. If inspiration ever strikes however, I'll be back!
3. This chapter starts with the missing scene between Draco and Hermione. I hope you all enjoy it and I apologies for those who like Hermione to the point where they never want her to make mistakes. She is human however (well, not really) and I believe it is possible even for her to be a little prejudiced.
Thank you for sticking with this story for so long! I love you all!
On Monday night almost every student was fast asleep. Draco Malfoy wasn't. He made his way stealthily out of his dorm and through the Slytherin common room. Even though the dungeons were barely lit he found his way easily from memory. He was going to surprise Harry. Earlier that day he had managed to get Blaise to get the password from Neville. All for a good cause of course, Draco thought as he turned into the potions corridor where he stopped dead in his tracks. A light was coming from the potions classroom and since Draco knew Snape was no doubt out patrolling the rest of the school he knew it was most likely not the professor. Draco considered not bothering to tell the student off. He would have to take points as well, which he wasn't in the mood for, and to top it all off it would take valuable time away from Harry and him. His hand went up to unconsciously touch his Prefect badge that was permanently attached to his robes. He sighed and made his way towards the classroom.
He opened the door after casting a silencing spell on it to make sure it didn't creak. Inside the room was empty, but the light source was now obvious. It was coming from a wand inside the storeroom. He crept along the row of desks and peered inside the storeroom without opening the door further. Unfortunately he couldn't suppress the gasp that came when he saw who was trying to steal potion ingredients in the middle of the night. He saw the witch in question tense when she heard the noise and start to turn. Draco, with seeker reflexes, pulled the door open and took a step inside; his wand already raised by the time the witch had spun around.
"Granger," he drawled, trying to hide his bewilderment. Hermione looked at him with wide eyes for a moment, then eyed the wand warily before she held her hands up. She was holding two bottles of ingredients in each hand, her wand was lying on a shelf, casting it's light on them. Draco made a quick mental note of each of the ingredients before Hermione very slowly placed them back on the shelf to her left. Draco decided that she wasn't going try and hex him so he slowly put his wand away, causing Hermione to frown slightly.
"Malfoy," she stated doubtfully.
"What are you doing, Granger? I thought you usually left the midnight strolls to your boyfriend and Harry. Or don't they want to do your dirty work for you anymore?" he spat. He saw her tense, but she didn't move. They both knew she was in a lot of trouble if Draco breathed a word of it, which he was contemplating at that very moment. Suddenly the door to the classroom burst open and by the time the two Prefects had turned around to face their doom, Snape was already towering over them, the light from Hermione's wand making his features even more prominent and daunting.
"What is going on here? Stealing potions ingredients no doubt. Explain yourselves," Snape snarled. He looked at Draco and Hermione one after the other and seemed to come to his own conclusions fairly quickly. "Mr. Malfoy. I presume you have finally caught Granger here in the act. I have my suspicions she has stolen from me more than once before. Good work."
"No, sir," Draco spoke before he could stop himself; before he even had time to think about what he was about to do. Hermione and Snape stared at him in disbelief. He swallowed hard and tried to meet his Head of House's piercing gaze. "It is the other way around I'm afraid." He was suddenly feeling very short and he wondered vaguely if Snape was wearing high heels. The Potions Master opened his mouth, but nothing came out at first. He shook his head as if he wasn't sure he had heard right. Then he drew himself up even more if that was possible and fixed Draco with a glare that made his blood run cold.
"I am very disappointed in you, Draco," he said, his voice threatening to break into a shout. The fact that he had used Draco's first name made it even worse. "Twenty points from Slytherin." Draco blinked. Snape didn't say anything more, but his face told Draco that he was thinking up more punishments. When no more was forthcoming however Draco forced himself to speak.
"Eh, Sir… not that I'm complaining, but why so few?"
"Because I'm not finished. Slytherin should not suffer more deeply than you… First you will have detention with me on Fridays for the next two months." Draco nodded, that was actually less detentions than expected. "Second you will… hand over your Prefect badge." Snape held out his hand, waiting. Hermione gave a little gasp, but Draco said nothing. He just sighed and removed the badge from robes and placed it on Snape's outstretched palm. For a moment it looked like Snape regretted it, but he quickly put on a scowl and gestured for the door.
"Now, out!" The two students didn't need telling twice. "And I will be making sure you are back in bed." They heard Snape's voice from behind as they exited the classroom, making their spines shiver slightly. Once they were a good distance from the classroom they both stopped. Draco looked in the direction of his common room, but he could feel Hermione's eyes boring into the side of his head.
"What?" He finally snapped, turning to face her, a glare in place.
"Malfoy," she began, but he cut her off.
"I didn't do it for you. Don't think that for a second! I don't care what you think of me. I never have and I never will, but for some reason Harry cares and that's why I needed to convince you. And for some reason beyond my understanding I thought that saving your pathetic arse would help. Now however I'm thinking that may have been the most stupid thing I've ever done because you're probably not convinced in the least. Whatever, I don't care! But you should think about Harry and the fact that he needs your friendship! Especially now!" Draco stopped his rant, breathing heavily. Hermione looked like her eyes would pop out of their sockets. She took a deep breath.
"I… Thanks." Draco frowned. Hermione went on, trying to explain. "I can't tell you how much it means to me. I mean… I think I'd go mad if I'd lost my badge. I-" Draco waved his hand and cut her off again.
"Please, spare me. I couldn't care less. I never wanted to be a Prefect, my father did. Sure the power's good and all, but it gets boring really fast. Too much work for not enough perks. Save your speech for someone else…" Draco made to leave, but then changed his mind and looked Hermione straight in the eye. "I knew you didn't think much of me, Granger, but I never imagined your opinion of me was quite this low." Hermione stared at him uncomprehendingly.
"What? What do you mean?"
"Oh, please. You may be the only insufferable know-it-all at this school, but I do have a decent amount of knowledge in potions myself. I saw those ingredients and listing all the possible potions there is only one I would think you would want to make considering the circumstances." Hermione looked away and started fidgeting with her school tie. Draco smirked. "An anti-love potion. Honestly, Granger, what do you take me for? If you just take the bloody time and look at us together you would see Harry is not acting as if he's under the influence of any potion!"
"Well, you're not exactly the most trustworthy of people are you?! I needed to be sure!" They glared at each other for a while before Draco smirked again.
"Of course. Granger needs documented proof or else my word is worth nothing. Pathetic. Did you even ask Harry why he trusts me before you resorted to stealing?" Hermione said nothing, but kept glaring. "I didn't think so. That is sad, even for you." Draco turned and was about to leave for the second time, but stopped to look at Hermione over his shoulder. "You know, Granger. I always imagined it would be so satisfying to finally have a legitimate reason for telling you off and calling you pathetic… but it's not. Not at all." And then Hermione was left alone in the dungeon corridor. She took in a few shaky breaths, looking around and listening to hear if Snape was approaching. Everything was quiet so she made her way out of the dungeons as quickly as possible and practically ran all the way to the Gryffindor common room. When she finally fell exhausted onto her bed she thought that even though she had perhaps jumped to conclusions this time, she definitely wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. Even though she still hated Malfoy she would give him the benefit of the doubt and observe the couple together properly the next day. She would also ask Ron to tell her if Harry had explained why he trusted Malfoy. New plan firmly in place she drifted off to sleep, dreaming of potions gone wrong.
The rest of the year was spent in a more jovial atmosphere than anyone thought possible at the beginning of the year. Gryffindor won the House Cup, as well as the Quiddith Cup. But even though a few students wore sour faces, most simply congratulated the winning house. The bond between the houses reached a new high at the leaving feast when the entire Gryffindor house insisted on foregoing the traditional decorations and instead decorated the Great Hall in all the house colours, much to the rest of the students' delight. Harry and Draco flipped their now traditional gold galleon and sat at the Gryffindor table, along with all their friends. After the meal Dumbledore rose for one last speech.
"Never in all my years have I seen so many completely happy faces in one room. Which is all the more amazing considering what times we live in. But we should not dwell on that, but enjoy these last moments together. I wanted only to say that I hope you will all return next year, and keep this new tradition going. You have made Hogwarts History this year, each and every one of you. Even if it did all start by the loss of a few points, the things we have gained this year I hope shall last for a long time. Thank you." The whole Hall erupted in applause as the Headmaster sat down. Many students turned to hug each other, or in the case of Harry and Draco to give a chaste kiss. Hermione and Ron, along with the rest of the table, were beaming at them. The applause didn't die down for ten minutes, and even then Dumbledore had to gesture for the students to settle down, but the smile never left his face.
On the Hogwarts Express nearly every compartment held within it at least one representative from each house. In the last compartment the trio, or quartet now, sat without any Ravenclaws or Hufflepuffs, but we wont hold that against them. Ron and Hermione sat opposite Harry and Draco, everyone smiling and just enjoying each other's company.
"So, Draco. Where are you going to be during the holidays?" Ron asked. Draco smiled and turned to Harry who answered for him.
"He's going to be staying with me. Dumbledore arranged it, though I don't want to know what he told the Dursleys to convince them. It's only until my birthday, then we're off to Order Headquarters."
"I'll see you guys there then. You'll be there too, right Hermione?"
"Of course, Ron," Hermione said, smiling. Draco and Harry exchanged grins.
"Don't forget to write to each other now," Harry said casually, the grin never leaving his face.
"Yeah," Draco agreed. "It's always nice to express your feelings in a letter. So much easier. Right, Harry?"
"Oh, yes, very much so." Harry nodded. "But it wouldn't hurt you to express some of those feelings now. That way you'd have more to talk about in the letters."
"What a good idea, Harry!" Draco said and kissed his boyfriend's cheek. Ron stared at them blankly, while Hermione rolled her eyes.
"I'll express my feeling now so long as you two never act like that again," Hermione pleaded. Draco and Harry laughed.
"Well?" Draco asked after they had finished. Hermione sighed and turned to look at Ron, who still had a blank expression on his face.
"Ron. I like you." Ron's face didn't change. Hermione sighed exasperatedly. "As more than a friend," she clarified. This seemed to get a response from Ron who raised his eyebrows to previously unknown heights.
"Oh. Oh! Eh, right. Sure. I mean, eh, I, I like you too."
"Ever the eloquent one," Draco said, but playfully. Harry nudged him, also playfully.
"Shut it," Ron said before turning back to Hermione and smiling. "So, you really like me?"
"Yes, Ron. I really do." Ron's smile grew wider as he leaned in, spurred on by his Gryffindor courage that finally decided to show it's face, and pressed his lips to Hermione's, who returned the kiss immediately.
"Awwww," Draco and Harry cooed, earning another "Shut it" from Ron before the kiss was repeated with more enthusiasm. After a while the kisses ended and the new couple leaned back, Hermione leaning into Ron just like Draco was leaning into Harry. They sat in quiet contemplation as the Scottish countryside rolled away outside, all of them with thoughts on the future.
And so the story ends, perhaps in a way that an entirely different story should have ended. Not with death and betrayal, or sadness and uncertainty, but with the coming together of rivals and friends so that they can face the future strong and united. Harry and Draco arrived at the station and were greeted, if that is what you can call it, by the scowling Dursleys, but that I'm afraid is another story and one not to be told just now.
End – fin – slutt