A/N: I just read through the previous chapter – as I always do before starting the next one and I have to say… I was proud of it. Anyway, thanks for the reviews!

DISCLAIMER: Refer to the previous chapter.

Chapter Twenty-six

One Day Later…

"Will you be alright?"

"I'm certain we will be," smiled Hermione looking around at tents being pulled down, "It's over. No Death Eater's will bother us now, Harry."

Harry gave a grin and a nod looking tired, "Mrs Weasley said to tell you she expects you and Draco at her place tonight."

"We'll be there."

Hermione gave Harry a hug and hurried over to Draco, who was talking with Blaise and Pansy. The pair were returning to their homes that afternoon with the war over. McGonagall was returning to Hogwarts that night with the other living Professors to start cleaning up the school. The protected students would find out in three days whether they would be accepted back into Hogwarts for their final year or not.

"Ready to go?" asked Hermione as Draco slipped an arm around her waist.

Draco gave a nod before gesturing some distance away.

Hermione looked over to see Rhian, Ric and Riley looking at her expectantly. All three were preparing to head to London for a few days with the other Australians before heading home via floo powder. Hermione walked over giving the three smiles, "Going already?"

"Well, we were going to stay and help clean up but McGonagall insisted we bugger off," said Riley, "So we gave in and are doing it."

Hermione gave a chuckle, "You all did so much to help us. We couldn't have done it without any of you."

"It was our honour to be part of saving the future," said Ric.

"Keep in touch with us," said Rhian warmly, "I expect to hear about you graduating top of your class in a few months time, alright?"

Hermione grinned and nodded, "I promise. Maybe someday my friends and I can come visit you all?"

"Hey, you'd better!" said Riley, nudging Hermione in the arm before hugging her, "Take care."

"Yeah," said Ric taking his turn in hugging her, "Grow some more as well, squirt."

Hermione laughed before turning to Rhian, "Thanks for everything Rhian."

"You too."

The pair hugged before the triplets went to say farewell to the Weasley twins. Hermione turned away walking back to Draco who was now alone.

"Life long friends then?" he asked.

Hermione nodded with a smile as she hugged her boyfriend, "Definitely. So, shall we go then?"

Draco gave a nod and held onto Hermione as they left with a crack.

--

The forest was cool around them as they both looked around at their destination. Draco stepped forwards looking at a mound of dirt with a wooden cross at the head of it.

"This won't do," said Draco angrily.

Hermione stepped back as she watched him look around for something better. He walked over to a large boulder and pointed his wand at it carving a gravestone out of it. It was in the shape of a butterfly by the time Draco finished. He smoothed the edges over before engraving his mother's name, birth date and death date into it. Underneath he wrote a simple message.

Thankyou, with love – Your Son.

He pulled out the shabby cross and levitated the gravestone into place. Then, still not satisfied, he moved other rocks to around the mound of dirt and picked some colourful wildflowers by hand. All the while, Hermione stood back letting Draco do his work in saying goodbye to his mother, who gave up her life to save him and Hermione.

When he finally felt pleased with his work he stood beside Hermione and looked at her.

"Its beautiful Draco," said Hermione, "Really, it is."

Draco gave a nod, "Its what she deserves. You know, to know I loved her and am grateful for everything."

Hermione held onto his hand reassuringly, "So am I."

She released his hand as he walked forward and knelt to the side of the gravestone, one hand atop it.

"Goodbye Mother. Rest in peace and know I love you always," whispered Draco before standing and walking back to his waiting girlfriend.

First Day of Hogwarts…

January 3rd…

"Well did he get accepted?"

"I don't know. He went home last night to see what state the Manor was in," said Hermione to Tonks as she hurried through the packed Kings Cross train station with Harry, Ron, Ginny and the rest of the Weasley's and Order members.

At the barrier they casually walked through the brick wall in pairs being welcomed to the dense steam billowing from the waiting Hogwarts Express.

Despite the school going back with Lucius as the Head Master, once the war ended the school had closed again.

It had been two months since the war ended and apparently a lot of repairs and cleaning needed to be done at the school. The Daily Prophet reported that the schools rules were being checked over and guidelines put in place for what is to be done in case another war took place. With all of that going on, no word came on whether Draco, Blaise and Pansy could return to Hogwarts.

"Look at the time!" cried Molly, "Hurry along now!"

The group pushed towards the train, with people parting to let Harry Potter and his friends through.

As they reached the train the goodbyes and be good comments started. The train whistle blew and the four friends climbed onto the train and hurried to a spare compartment so they could wave farewell to their family and friends.

"Bye now!" called Fleur.

Percy managed a smile and wave, still finding it hard to deal with Penelope's death. Fred and George waved away happily holding up a banner displaying that their business was up and running again. Molly, giving her twin sons a disapproving, yet slight amused look, waved and blew kisses. Arthur, Lupin, Kingsley and Moody waved and smiled – Moody attempting too – while Tonks jumped up and down grinning and waving, her hair constantly changing colour and length.

Once the train pulled out of the station Hermione stood up, pinning a gold badge to her robes.

"Head Girl duties," she sighed.

"Who got Head Boy?" asked Ron

"Terry Boot," replied Hermione, "I saw him with it on as we went past. No sign of Draco, Blaise or Pansy."

Hermione left the compartment looking in others as she strode past. She slid open a door dividing two carriages and found herself falling back to the ground. Two arms reached out and quickly caught her and pulled her up right.

Hermione pulled away and fixed her robes, muttering curses under her breath. She looked up and looked away before looking back again.

"You got back in!" she cried.

Draco gave her a grin as she hugged him happily, causing many stares from other students.

"Problem?" snapped Blaise at them stepping out from behind Draco.

"And you!" cried Hermione hugging Blaise as well, who patted her back in a friendly manner.

"And me," added Pansy with a small smile.

Hermione gave her a smile, giving her a small hug – things had improved between them, mainly when Blaise and Pansy started dating.

"Head Girl, impressive," said Blaise, "Shall I salute you and promise to behave?"

"Ha, ha," said Hermione with a grin, "I really wish I could chat – but Head Girl duties call."

Blaise and Pansy nodded and headed off to find a compartment. Draco smiled at Hermione and pulled something from his pocket.

"I wanted to give you this on New Years Eve. But we got caught up elsewhere," he said with a cheeky grin.

Hermione looked around her but people weren't listening – as far as she could see. She looked at Draco but gasped as he opened a black case revealing a silver ring with a white diamond, in a circle cut.

"Draco-"

"Its an engagement ring. To prove I am serious about our promise."

Hermione smiled and looked up at him, "Its beautiful."

"It's a family heirloom – my mothers."

Hermione smiled as he slipped it onto her finger – a perfect fit. She hugged him happily and shared a kiss before both went to their separate locations for the remainder of the trip.

Six months later…

"Two months away! How can you not be preparing for them?" cried Hermione, looking at Ron in disbelief, "Honestly! Do you expect me to give the answers during exam time, Ronald?"

"No. I just don't see any point in studying yet."

"Harry is! Blaise is! Pansy is! And so is Draco! Even Lavender and Parvati are studying!" cried Hermione waving her hands in the direction of the people she mentioned, "If you're serious about being an Auror when school ends then I suggest you focus on studying Ron! Your marks will determine everything!"

"Okay, okay – you two," said Harry coming in between them, "Cool it down. Hermione why don't you-"

"I'm going to the library," cut in Hermione in a haughty tone, "Just consider what I said Ron. It all comes down to your future out of Hogwarts."

"Not all of us have our future determined already Hermione."

Hermione paused from packing her bag and looked at Ron with a frown, "Sorry?"

"Some of us prefer to do things as they come along. Unlike you, I'm not engaged, not applying for schooling outside Hogwarts or whatever."

Hermione said nothing in return and left the Great Hall for the library. She knew Ron had always had a problem with her being engaged. He was the one who spotted the shiny ring on her finger, demanding to know what it was and meant. Harry and Ginny warmed up to the idea with ease while Blaise and Pansy were happy instantly- possibly because Draco had told them before he gave Hermione the ring.

Hermione was happy with her life. It had regained firm solidity that she lost with the death of her parents and the rape. She felt calm with knowing what was happening in her life and perhaps that was something Ron couldn't understand because he always had the firmness in his life with his ever expanding family (Fleur was four months pregnant and Charlie was engaged) and always having had proper direction in it perhaps he saw not planning ahead as an adventure – his own personal adventure.

Hermione entered the library and sat at her normal table before pulling out her Transfiguration study notes. She soon lost her self in her revising only withdrawing from the past lecture when hands rested on her shoulders.

"I figured I would find you here," said Draco sitting beside her.

Hermione smiled and sighed, "Ron and I had an argument. Nothing new there."

"Potter told me."

Hermione nodded, "It will cool off. I like who I am and I love my life. It's taken me a while to get back to where I am."

Draco smiled, "I'm glad you feel that way."

Hermione nodded and smiled as Draco kissed her on the cheek leaving her be to finish studying for the afternoon.

--

"Weasley!"

Ron turned around and held back a roll of the eyes as Draco strode towards him. Ron crossed his arms over his chest and looked at Draco expectantly.

"What is it Malfoy? Harry told you, Hermione is in the library," said Ron in a bored tone.

"I've seen her already. Listen – I get that you don't like me. I don't like you either but we have to tolerate each other for Hermione," said Draco in a rational tone, "Hermione and I know you have your doubts about our relationship – but I think it has been proved over and over to be the real deal. I love her with all my heart Weasley, and I will do anything for her. Just accept it already and stop making her feel bad for being happy with her life. She went through worse in the war then you did and you know it."

Draco looked at Ron with raised eyebrows, who looked back at him with narrowed ones.

"Do you think it will last outside these castle walls?"

"It did before."

"That was during the war Malfoy. And the two month period after was everyone pulling their lives back together!"

"You love her," said Draco suddenly stepping away from Ron, "You're still in love with her!"

"She's my best friend Malfoy – of course I love her."

"No, no," said Draco almost laughing in disbelief, "You love her romantically! That's why you can't be happy for her!"

Ron shook his head, "I don't."

"Prove it. Say you don't love her then," challenged Draco.

Ron opened his mouth but closed it, turning and walking away quickly. Draco watched him silently before heading for the Slytherin Common Room.

Inside it, he sat by the fire gazing at a photograph of him and Hermione from Valentines Day that year. Blaise and Pansy joined him soon after, snuggling up together on the opposite couch.

"Mate, she is in this castle. Just so see her," teased Blaise.

Draco put the photo away and looked at his two best friends seriously, "Weasley still loves her."

"I thought he was dating that Romilda Vane girl," said Pansy.

"They broke up a month ago."

"Mate, you have nothing to worry about," said Blaise, "Hermione and you… Weasley won't destroy it if he truly cares for her."

"Well someone has been hanging around the schools softies a bit too much," said Pansy looking at Blaise in amusement, "You never speak to me that way."

"I do. You just aren't focusing on what I am saying then. You-"

"Not now!" said Draco loudly, "I don't need a run down on what happens behind closed doors thanks."

One Week Later…

"Is everything okay between you and Ron?" asked Ginny as she sat down beside Hermione at the Gryffindor table for breakfast.

"Well, he is avoiding me but I have no idea why," replied Hermione before she shrugged, "He'll come around."

Ginny nodded before sighing a little. Hermione looked at her expectantly waiting to know what Ginny knew.

"Word is, him and Draco had a… discussion last week. I don't know if it's true, you know how paintings like to start rumours. But the Fat Lady was asking me about it, who heard about it from the painting of Madam Most Honest."

Hermione looked over at the Slytherin table seeing Draco laughing at something with Blaise. Looking away she spotted Ron entering the hall. Standing she walked over to him, blocking him from sitting down.

"We need to talk," she said firmly, "Outside."

Ron nodded obligingly and walked with her out to the castle grounds where they walked slowly down the pathway towards the lake.

"Ginny heard that you and Draco had shared words," said Hermione calmly, "Can you tell me what happened?"

"We spoke about you," said Ron with a shrug, "About how you are happy and I need to accept that you and him are the real thing."

Hermione looked at Ron in surprise at the bitterness of his tone, "And you hate that I'm with Draco, don't you?"

"Yeah, I do," admitted Ron looking at Hermione, "He is a… great guy and I know you both will get married and most likely stay that way. I just… I just…"

"Need to let go?"

Ron nodded looking at Hermione with sad blue eyes, "I'm sorry."

"You can't help it," said Hermione with a small smile, "I did kind of think this was what was bothering you."

"Can you tell me something?"

Hermione nodded.

"Did you ever has feelings for me – beyond brotherly love?"

"Maybe in fifth and a bit of sixth year but it was short lived."

Ron managed a small smile before sharing a hug with Hermione. Both parted still with small smiles.

"He makes you happy," sighed Ron, "I never did see you and him coming."

Hermione laughed and shrugged her shoulders, "Life is full of surprises!"

--

"I want a word with you."

"What did I do?"

"Just follow me."

"Am I in the dog house or something?"

Hermione shut the classroom door behind her and turned to Draco, "You had a discussion with Ron and didn't tell me?"

"It was man talk."

"So man talk has gone from Quidditch to boasting about love?"

"It wasn't boasting. It's just…" Draco stopped at the look from Hermione. He quickly changed his direction of talk, telling her exactly why he'd spoke to Ron, "He upset you and I hated that. I was only trying to make him stop making you fell bad when I realised he was in love with you! All I did was meant for good intent."

"But I had to find out from Ginny who found out from the Fat Lady?"

"I didn't want to worry you."

Hermione sighed and walked over to Draco. She entwined her fingers with his and looked him directly in the eyes, "Surely you know I would never leave you? Ron is my brother. You are the man I am going to marry one day."

Draco gave a nod and sigh, "I know."

Hermione leaned forward and met his lips in a loving kiss before leaning back to look at him, "No more secrets?"

"None."

Two Months and Three Weeks Later…

Graduation Day…

"I thank you all for coming today. This day has to be one of Hogwarts proudest because before me today, are students who all helped fight in the war one way or another. Yet they came back, determined to finish their education. I am sure they are just as proud of themselves as I am," said McGonagall, "Many Professors believed, as I did, that when they first arrived here for their first year, that each student would grow up to become someone great in different ways. And they have. Congratulations Seventh years."

A polite applause broke out before McGonagall silenced it with a raise of her hand.

"Now with assistance from each Head of House, we will give each student their graduation certificate and marks from the N.E.W.T's."

"Hannah Abbott."

Hannah stood and headed up the few steps, accepting her graduation certificate and marks before heading to the side of the stage.

"Terry Boot."

Hermione clapped happily for the Head Boy, along with other students. The handsome young man stepped up with a small smile.

"Lavender Brown."

Names continued to be called out with applause for each graduating seventh year.

"Hermione Granger."

Hermione stood up grinning as she heard Fred and George wolf whistle in the audience. She shook McGonagall's hand and then Hagrid's as she accepted her graduation award and marks. She headed over to the other students already awarded, taking her place beside a fellow Ravenclaw student.

"Neville Longbottom."

The names continued on before finally reaching Draco.

"Draco Malfoy."

Hermione clapped happily as he stood up from his seat, his robes unwrinkled. With a slight smirk on his face he accepted his certificates and took his place.

"Pansy Parkinson."

"Padma Patil."

"Parvati Patil."

"Harry Potter."

The applause was enormous. The sound echoed off the walls as Harry did he best not to be overwhelmed by it.

"Harry, Harry, Harry!" came Fred and George's chant over the noise.

Hermione watched her friend with a smile and laugh as Hagrid gave him a bone-cracking hug. As Harry joined his fellow classmates he caught Hermione's eye and gave a grin and shrug.

"Ronald Weasley."

Ron stood but laughed as he heard his brother's singing 'Weasley Is Our King'.

Once Ron was awarded McGonagall read the last name.

"Blaise Zabini."

Blaise walked up to the stage with his usual grace. Once he was in place McGonagall stood beside the group, looking at them proudly.

"Please congratulate this years Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry graduates!"

The audience stood and applauded louder then they did for Harry. All of the seventh year looked out at the people in awe. Then some girls started crying. Their era at Hogwarts had come to an end. It was time to say goodbye.

--

Hermione rolled up her marks pleased. All subjects earned the highest mark except for Defence Against the Dark Art's, in which she earned Exceeds Expectations.

"What did you get?" she asked Harry, finding him with Ginny.

"A mixture of O's and E's."

"That's great. Can you do the Auror course then?"

Harry nodded looking proud of him self, "You can get in Medicine?"

Hermione nodded, "All O's and one E. Ron! What about you?"

Ron joined them, "Mixture, but I can become an Auror."

The celebration continued with music and food being served. Hermione broke away from her friends searching for Draco. After ten minutes she found him by the Great Hall doorway, greeting him with a hug and kiss.

"So," he asked, arms wrapped around her, "Can you study Medicine?"

"Yes. Can you become a Lawyer?"

"Most definitely."

Hermione smiled and kissed him again. She pulled away and looked around them a little sadly, "Hard to believe we'll be leaving tomorrow."

Draco nodded as Hermione rested her head on his chest-watching students mingle with each other and the adults.

After all the years of Hogwarts this was where it came to an end. A war had come and gone; loved ones were lost all for the right to freedom. But now it was time for them to leave as young adults and build their own futures.

Sixteen years later…

"It's not scary, honest," promised Hermione with a look at her husband, "It's a wonderful place."

"Is it Dad?"

"You're mother is right. Hogwarts will be the best years of your life."

The young sandy blonde seemed content with what the adults had said and looked around for someone they recognised.

"There!"

Hermione looked over and smiled and walked forward, "Ginny! Harry!"

The two Potter's looked over and smiled with a wave.

"Lily's gone to find a compartment," said Harry, "How are you Jane?"

Hermione's daughter smiled at her Godfather and Godmother happily, "Nervous."

"Draco and I told her there is nothing to be scared of, but Jane and her imagination," said Hermione with a smile.

Draco gave a nod, "Narcissa, leave Jane's things alone."

Narcissa, who was two years younger then her sister gave her father a defiant look and promptly sat on top of the trunk.

"When will Lily be back?" moaned Harry and Ginny's son, James who was standing beside his brother Sirius.

"In a moment or two. Ron! Lavender!" cried Ginny waving to her brother and sister in law.

Ron and Lavender came over to them with their three children: Henry, Margo and Jasmine. Henry was in his second year with Margo entering her first.

"We ran into Pansy and Blaise," said Lavender looking at Draco and Hermione, "They were looking for you both."

Draco turned around and spotted their pair with their two children. Draco waved to them and called out, managing to catch their attention. The family hurried over with Pansy instantly fussing over their eldest son Ramal.

"Mum, will you stop it!" he moaned blushing a little as Jane giggled at him.

"Samuel!" said Blaise grabbing the four year old before he took off after a loose cat, "Stay here."

Hermione smiled at the young boy who gave all the adults an adorable, innocent smile.

"He's a cutie," said Ginny.

"That's the problem," joked Blaise.

The train whistle blew in warning and Jane spun around to face her parents.

"You'll be fine," said Hermione, "Henry will look after you, Lily, Margo and Ramal. Plus, Hagrid will watch out for you."

Jane gave a nod, taking a deep breath, "I'll write everyday."

"So will we," replied Draco giving her a hug.

Hermione hugged her then Narcissa. Narcissa turned and clung to her mother's leg looking sad. Hermione stroked her brown hair gently waving as Jane headed for the train with Lily, Margo, Ramal and Henry. Minutes later the new first years appeared at the window waving happily. The train blew its whistle again and pulled out of the station. Still the former Hogwarts students along with their own children waved until the train was gone.

"Well then," said Harry, "Let the new group of trouble makers begin their reign."

The adults laughed and left the station with their children, chatting happily about their memories pleased with where their futures had taken them and would take their children.

As Hermione held onto her husband's hand she found it hard to believe that her marriage and wonderful life had happened all because of a letter.

THE END

A/N: Well there you go. I finally finished it! Yay! I wasn't going to give the children names the same as J.K Rowling had given at the end of the seventh book.

Jane – named after Hermione's mother.

Narcissa – obviously after Draco's mother.

Ramal – Pansy's brother.

Samuel – Pansy's brother's middle name.

Henry, Margo and Jasmine – picked because I liked the names and figured they would to :P.

Lily, James and Sirius – obvious reasons again.

Anyway, I hope you liked the story. Thankyou all SO much for reading and reviewing even after the end of the book series! I enjoyed writing this story more then my other ones.

Well… I doubt I will start another Harry Potter story… I have considered a Rose/Scorpious story but Rose isn't on the list of names and it would really just be rehashing Hermione/Draco stories again with different characters… but you never know. My itch to write Harry Potter fan fiction may become too much to ignore!

Thanks for all the support again!

Love yas!

Love Coz!