Disclaimer:In case you have been living in a cave on mars with your fingers in yours ears for the last ten years or so; JK Rowling owns Harry Potter and all terms and characters associated with the fandom. I only own the story, some characterisations and an occasional OC; I try to limit them as much as possible. Some lyrics may crop up now and then and will be attributed as appropriate.

Chapter 23 - A Celebration Upon Completion

"I guess time has a way of making everything alright
it's just there is not enough of it
and so we drink and we sing and we celebrate
this lie and hope that it will last
morning is here night has passed...

But I guess fear has a way of making sleep unbearable
and the days seem cold and long
but we'll cry and we dance
and we stumble into love in awkward perfect grace
the moon is gone and the sun has took its place..."

Bright Eyes

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Draco looked at Blaise, lowering his brow. "Why didn't you mention something about this?"

"Ah, now..." Blaise said, pointing his index finger upwards. "I did actually try to tell you about this, however I was told to shut up and follow you upstairs."

"Point taken."

"Can I talk to you?" Hermione said.

Draco nodded his head, and then looked to Blaise. "I guess I have an owl to send." Blaise said. He gave Draco a nod of the head before leaving the room and shutting the door behind him.

"What are you doing here?" Draco said, as soon as Blaise had left the room.

"Did you think you had seen the last of me?" Hermione said. "I couldn't just leave things like that. Besides, they are hardly going to look for me here are they?"

Draco gave a small laugh. "I see what you mean."

Hermione smiled a little and walked across the room, sitting down on his bed. "So, you're leaving?"

"Looks like it." Draco said, sitting down on the end of the bed.

"Can I..." She paused, sighing, trying to find her words. "Could I go with you?"

Draco looked at her for a few moments, she seemed so different to the girl he had once gone to school with, she was still Hermione Granger, but he had a sense that some of the fight in her had been robbed by the war. She seemed like she was just ready to give up and take what she could get. "I don't think so, Hermione." He said.

"Why not?" She asked.

"A number of reasons, I suppose." He said. "One, I don't think you, me and Blaise would be very good at playing happy families. Two, getting caught smuggling you out of the country wouldn't exactly be good for my current state of being alive. And three, you slept with Blaise."

"Would it make any difference if I pointed out that there are probably less than a hundred women left in the country who haven't' slept with Blaise?" Hermione said.

"Probably not." He said. "You could have said; no."

"Maybe I could have, but he did more or less tell me I didn't have a choice in the matter and I could either try to enjoy it or just be miserable about it." Hermione said.

"Oh." He said. "I hadn't actually thought of it like that. Still, do you see the three of us laughing over mocha latte's in Paris?"

"You're going to France?" She said.

"Probably not, actually." He said. "Blaise's French is piss poor and mine is only slightly better than that. The only language I ever got a grasp on, aside from English, is Bulgarian and Blaise cannot stand places that are that hot."

"So what are you going to do?"

"Well, Blaise is pretty fluent in German, something to do with one of his stepfathers I think." Draco said. "I think he also can get by in Spanish and Italian, but I think that has more to do with summers spent on the continent trying to pick up girls." He said, smirking a little.

"It sounds like; you have things pretty much sorted out, then." Hermione said.

"Don't do that." Draco said.

"Do what?"

"You know what." He said. "Making me feel worse than I already do."

"Do you even like me, Draco?" She said.

"Whether I like you or not has very little to do with the fact that..." He sighed a little, looking at her. "I don't find you physically repulsive."

"That makes me feel good."

"Come on, give me a break." Draco said. "This isn't exactly easy for me, you know."

"Of course it's easy for you." She said. "You two are going to bugger off and you've made it quite clear you don't want me going with you."

"Well I didn't know you were going to turn up, did I?" He said. "I'm sorry; Blaise and I have been friends since we were in nappies. He's the closest thing I have to a brother."

"Did it occur to you, that I have no one?" She said.

"Yes." He said.

"Draco, I..."

"Don't say it." He said. "You don't mean it, you're just confused. It's because it's a shit situation and it seems hopeless to you right now..."

"Well what exactly do you suggest I do, Draco?" She said. "Any ideas? I'm open to suggestions."

He looked at her for a few moments, before shaking his head. "I'm sorry, I don't..."

"Stop, just stop." She said, pushing herself off the bed. "You've made everything quite clear, already. You couldn't give two frigs;so long Hermione and thanks for all the sex."

"Oi!" He said, pushing off the bed and grabbing her by the shoulders. "You can't say that!"

"Oh yeah?" She said. "Why not?"

"Because, you're; Hermione Granger. You are not telling me you've got no fight left in you. You're going to give up that easily."

"You want to fight?" She said, understanding the meaning of his words.

He gave her a little smile. "Of course I bloody do."

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Two Months Later...

Dear Mother,

For the last time, me and Blaise are fine. We are eating three meals a day and washing behind our ears. We look both ways before we cross the road and we currently have no plans to return to England.

Yes, the secretary we hired, is doing a marvellous job, there is no need to send Aunt Bella to check her credentials, in fact if you do such a thing, I will stop writing altogether.

In case you're not following it, Blaise is doing very well in the European Gobstones League and is being thoroughly smug about it.

Please stop sending us winter clothes, the weather is very warm here, will write again soon.

Draco

P.S Blaise says; thank you very much for the gloves, he's sure he will use them if the weather ever gets cold.

Draco read the letter to make sure there were no mistakes, before folding it up and sliding it inside an envelope.

"So, I'm still the secretary am I?" Hermione asked from across the breakfast table.

Draco shrugged his shoulders. "Would you prefer me to tell the truth?"

"Not in particular." She said.

"Shut up, then." Draco said. "Do you think Blaise is planning on getting up any time soon?"

"Quite unlikely." She said. "He brought some girl back with him yesterday after the tournament and hasn't come up for air yet."

"Again?"

"What exactly do you expect me to do about it?"

"Well, nothing really." He said.

"Shut up, then." She said, smiling a little.

Draco rolled his eyes and picked up the morning paper, glancing over it while drinking his tea. They had developed a strange kind of relationship during the time they had been living in Spain. Hermione organised their lives for them still, she no longer acted like their slave, but he still wouldn't describe her as his girlfriend.

They would usually enjoy a good argument over breakfast, have a small fight after dinner and at least once a week, they had a full-blown slagging match. They were pretty happy with this. He was still sleeping with Hermione and Blaise had promised never to do so again, although in a very roundabout way. Blaise was now sleeping with a different woman every night, which made him happy as he had been running out of women in England, Tracey sending him his engagement ring back had actually made him dance about the kitchen, although he hadn't known Draco was watching.

Draco did sometimes wonder if they would ever develop anything past fighting and fucking, but every time they were in bed and he thought Hermione was trying to tell him how she felt about him, he would cut her off mid sentence by attaching his mouth to hers.

He knew that the three of them couldn't go on like this forever, pretending that there was nothing more to the world than just their own personnel lives. Nevertheless, for now it would have to do, because it was all he had.

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Author's Notes:

And so it ends... (Runs away)

Alright, before I am murdered, I feel the need to explain something. This was never going to be The Story of the Uber Happy Ending. This is The Story in the Soil. (Anyone who is able to explain the significance of this in their review gets a special prize.)

There is no way, that remaining true to the characters I have written here, the ending could have been happier than that. In fact, the way it was beginning to go, it almost wasn't going to end that way. I started suffering a huge attack of self-doubt and began telling myself that what I had planned for the ending was completely unrealistic and I would be better off killing Hermione.

So, if you've just read all 23 chapters of this story and you either loved it or hated it, please leave me some feedback. I would really like to hear whatever you have to say.

Thanks go to: tinydancer69, lilykins,, chaotix83, HarmlessLies, Ailla, ladyluck23, Iklepsis, ascii27, jjp91, Wishing.For.You, Frozen Darkness, waffenmac, tequieropapi522, The Nikster, darbythomas, BB Macintosh, BlowKissesNotBuildings, darbythomas, -Another-Imperfect-Soul-, IvEgOtAnOtHeRcOnFeSsiOnToMaKe and SolarGuardianChick, who all left me at least one review during the course of this story and believe me, it was appreciated.

Special thanks go to: Aisling Malfoy, evilizzy89, madam-obscure, allycat1186, snapefan2007, GiggleGinny, Writer Of Mysteries and Jonathan J Strange who all left me multiple reviews during the course of this story. You guys all rock, you really do, well done for making it this far without going insane.

UBER, Ultra, Special thanks go to: fantasygirl26, ImperfectSilver and of course Twiist, who have pretty much been with the story since the very beginning and have put up with my fairly long break and eccentricities without so much as a death threat. You are very special ladies indeed.

This has been pretty hard going, I only hope that it has been worth it.

The poll on my profile, to decide what story I am writing next, will be closed as of the 5/3/08 (That's the 5th of March if you're one of our American cousins.)

As always, please R&R.