February 2, 2009
Disclaimer: See chapter 1. Not mine, no money.
A/N: Thanks so much to Lyndsie Fenele for beta-ing, not only this chapter but the entire story, from chapter one of Diary of a Songbird to this epilogue. I have to thank all my readers: those who have stuck with the story from the beginning, and even the new readers who have dropped in over the last four years. Yes, four years! I never would have gotten this far without you. I mean it!
Review if you like it, and thanks for reading!
A little brown-haired girl of seven barreled into the spare bedroom her parents used for storage, giggling hysterically. She slammed the door shut after her, her sleek, wavy hair flying as she ducked for cover behind a large cardboard box. Stifling laughter, her heart pounding with adrenaline from the chase, the girl waited for her older brother and sister to barge through the door and find her. No one came, and after a few restless seconds, she stood up from her crouch and prepared to sneak back out of the room.
But a bright red object sitting on top of the junk in the open box caught her attention, and her curiosity could not be curbed. Upon closer inspection, she realized it was a book, and wondering what kind of pictures it contained, she picked it up and eagerly turned a few pages.
It was a boring book, she was disappointed to see. Most of the pages were filled with handwritten words in purple or black ink. Not interested in the secrets held within, she snapped the book shut and studied the cover. There was nothing special about it except for the gold words she recognized as her mum's name. Well, sort of. Her mum was obviously a Malfoy, not a Granger.
Just then, the door flew open with a loud bang and the little girl gasped, hiding the book behind her back.
"A-HA!" yelled a delicate-looking boy from the doorway. His shiny, platinum blond hair had been parted on the side and fixed neatly only that morning, but now it hung loosely at the sides of his face, disheveled from activity. "Found you, Cassandra!" he gloated, a smug smirk spreading across his thin face.
The boy had the appearance of being very fragile because he was so thin. Even though he was the oldest of the three children, the blonde-haired girl standing behind him towered over him. Compared to her, he was a tiny thing.
"What's that you got there?" the other girl asked her younger sister Cassandra shrewdly. She narrowed her eyes, her hands on her hips in an uncanny imitation of their mother. "Mum told us not to come in here!" It was clear that this girl took after her mother in more ways than one.
"Stuff it, Narcissa. I wasn't doing nothing. You're in here too!" Cassandra replied.
"Wait 'til I tell Mum!" Narcissa cried happily.
"Wait 'til you tell Mum what?" the mum in question asked from behind her two oldest children.
Cassandra said, "Nothing!" at the same time that her ten-year-old sister said, "She's been snooping in boxes!"
"Sam, what did I say about playing in here?" Hermione asked her oldest child, to his immediate splutters and complaints.
"But Cassie was playing in here! We were just looking for her!" Hermione narrowed her eyes. Her daughters giggled until she directed her gaze at them.
"What's that behind your back?" she asked her youngest.
"Nothing!" Cassandra's grey eyes were wide and her face was carefully blank, feigning innocence. Twelve years of raising children had taught Hermione how to tell when one of her darlings was not being truthful, and with all of her experience, she did not fall for her daughter's act.
She held out her hand, the other hand on her hip.
"Hand it over."
Draco stepped in the doorway just then and asked, "What's everybody doing hanging out in this dusty old room?"
Cassandra shoved the red book into her mum's hand and ran out the door shouting over her shoulder, "Not it!"
"I'm Uncle Harry!" Sam cried, running after her.
Hermione heard Draco grumble crossly, "He's not your uncle."
Narcissa followed her siblings complaining, "I don't want to be Voldemort! I'm always Voldemort!"
Hermione rolled her eyes at her husband as he kissed her on the cheek and then left the spare bedroom to comfort his daughter.
"Don't worry, love, I'll be Voldemort. You can be your mum."
Now alone, Hermione rolled her eyes again at the room and the boxes that filled it. She looked down at the object Cassandra had tried to hide. Her heart jumped to see the familiar leather cover of her old diary. Flipping it open to the last entry she had ever written in it, dated a little over twelve years previously, she read:
Draco is being insufferable. I've been propped up nice and cozy in my old bedroom at home and everyday, when he finishes his exams, he Floos over as if he owns the place just to tell me I'm not allowed to do anything! Mum plies him with tea and biscuits and chats up a storm, while I'm trapped in my room. They are all conspiring against me, I swear.
Hermione remembered those days just after she'd been released from St. Mungo's. She hadn't been allowed back at Hogwarts because it was NEWTs week and without her magic, she had basically been useless. She had been willing to sit the theory portions of her exams, but everyone in her life had refused to let her, saying she needed to rest without the stress of studying if she wanted to regain her magic. Of course, being kept away from studying stressed her out more than it rested her.
The Healers at St. Mungo's had kept Sam for observation after she'd been released. Born four weeks premature, he was so little and frail that the Healers had feared he wouldn't survive. Hermione might have been under house arrest "resting", but she had worried about her baby every waking minute. Draco had visited him in her place and tried to reassure her that she would see him soon.
By the time she was allowed to take him home, her magic had returned and Draco had finished school. Sam was as healthy as he could be but he was always tiny and seemingly breakable growing up.
The diary entry went on.
Narcissa stopped by today to say that Lucius has been declared mad, but he admitted to all of his crimes gloatingly so he was thrown into a nice cell in Azkaban. Healers feared he would be a danger to others in the hospital, and the Wizengamot had no qualms about putting him in prison under twenty-four hour surveillance, despite his mental state.
I wish they would have killed him.
It was a dark and horrible thing for her to wish, but Hermione had still been suffering from nightmares of the night she'd been abducted, and then add on top of that, her emotional state after being kept away from her son, her friends, and Hogwarts.
Narcissa had been a calming presence during her recovery. She visited often, sitting with Hermione for an hour or two, and she never seemed to care that she was inside a Muggle home with two Muggles down the hall. Draco had finally heard the whole of his mother's side of the story from Narcissa and their relationship had gone back to rights. It always cheered her more to see them interacting amicably again.
Draco and Narcissa were the only people outside of her family that Hermione was allowed to see, but she had been permitted to receive owls from her friends and to write back to them. She had still been unbearably lonely and bored sometimes, but it seemed the combination of the two were the cure to getting her magic back. Once her house arrest was over, she never complained about it again.
Hermione continued reading.
The Daily Prophet is full of speculation about why Draco broke off his engagement to Parkinson. As soon as he told her it was over, she told everyone that I was having a baby and that was why I wasn't in school. Professor Dumbledore happened to be passing by her at one point and apparently made a comment about what an astonishing little boy my baby was, too. Parkinson tried to tell everyone that the baby was Harry's, trying to spread scandalous gossip, but Draco said he, Harry, Ron, and Ginny all cornered her in a corridor and hexed her until she decided she'd gotten it wrong.
Ginny told me that there were still plenty of people who believed the scandal, and that Draco went around making sure everyone knew that my baby was his.
Have I gone 'round the bend, or should I not be as ecstatic about that as I am?
Over the years, Draco had only continued to show his devotion to her and their children. She tried as hard as she could to make up for her mistakes as well, and it certainly hadn't been easy, especially in the beginning of their marriage. But they had managed, and they were happy now. Neither one of them could imagine their life without each other, or even Sam, Narcissa, and Cassandra. Hermione had no regrets, and she was almost certain that Draco hadn't any either.
Behind her in the hallway, all three children ran past the door screaming at the top of their lungs while Draco chased them, roaring and hissing, his arms waving wildly in the air.
Hermione didn't even pause in her perusal of her diary. Such scenes were common occurrences in the new Malfoy house.
The last of the entry said:
I don't think I'll need this diary anymore. I've flown through the darkest part of my life and I don't know how it could be worse. Well, I suppose I do, but I'm not going to dwell on it needlessly. The skies that Draco and I are flying through now may be cloudy, but they are a glorious blue. It may rain sometimes, but clouds always part and the sun will always shine through.
"Mummy! We want to see you turn into a bird again!" Cassandra panted from the doorway. "Daddy said you'd show us!"
Hermione rolled her eyes for the third time and sighed dramatically. He had probably got tired of running all over the place and distracted the children by promising magic tricks.
"Of course, sweetie," she said, closing her diary and tossing it indifferently back into the box of her old Hogwarts things.
She hadn't even bothered to finish reading the entry, because she knew how her story ended.
We'll make it. I know we will.
And they had.
Samuel "Sam" Amadeus Malfoy - 12
Narcissa "Cissy" Lyra Malfoy - 10
Cassandra "Cassie" Alice Malfoy - 7