For some reason this chapter was the hardest chapter that I've written for this story. It's strange to think that this is now the end of it. I almost couldn't believe it when I finished it.
Thank you to all of you who have read this story, and all of you who have reviewed. When I started this story I thought that I would be lucky to get even one review, and now I have 974! That's almost a thousand times people have felt that my story was good enough to give feedback! Amazing! Not to mention the 300,000 people who have read but never reviewed!
This story has become something far beyond what I thought it would become. It's helped me grow as a writer, and I thank all of you for taking that journey with me. I will have some finally notes at the end of this chapter as well, and I hope you all take the time to read them.
Disclaimer: Everything in this story belongs to the inspirational J.K. Rowling minus the plot. Thank you for allowing me to write it! And I make no money from this story.
Ughhhh. Her head hurt, badly. She blinked her eyes open, and couldn't figure out where she was. Was it over? Was it all really over? She remembered Voldemort falling, and Inky-
Her arm felt like it had taken a bludger repeatedly as she tried to sit up. This was bloody awful. She wasn't in the hospital wing, but it kind of looked like it. St. Mungo's! She must've been transported there. She needed to know what happened. It was so confusing in her mind, so blurry...
"Miss Granger! It's good to see you're awake!" A stout woman in green robes exclaimed a chart in hand as she came over to her bedside.
Hermione opened her mouth to speak, but only a cough came out, she was parched. The healer immediately cast aguamenti filling her mouth with fresh cool water. She gulped it down happily, and renewed her efforts to speak.
"Are both fine and in beds of their own, Mr. Smith is as well, and we are doing are best to stabilize Mr. Snape."
Hermione wanted to nod, but her head felt to heavy to lift. "Everyone else?" She asked hesitantly.
The healer's face turned grim. "Now is not the time to discuss such things. Just know that thanks to you and your friends, Voldemort is gone for good. Thank you Miss Granger for your service to our world!"
Hermione frowned. She wanted to know if everyone was alright! Was Draco safe? Was Blaise alright? Panic welled within her, and she tried to pull herself up again, but the healer tutted, and stopped her.
"Your shoulder and arm were shattered Miss Granger. You must wait another day for the skele-grow to finish it's work, and only then can you get up. You also had a rather nasty concussion, and suffered from aftereffects of the Cruciatus. In the meantime the Minister of Magic is here and wants to meet with you. I'll send him in."
Hermione glared venomously. She didn't want to see the daft bloody Minister of Magic. She wanted to know how her friends were! How her lovers were. Not be a part of some stupid political ploy by Rufus Scrimgeour.
When the curtain was pulled aside again, however, it was not Rufus Scrimgeour who came through.
He looked rather frazzled and as if he was carrying a heavy burden, but he sheepishly nodded at Hermione.
"You're the Minister of Magic?" Hermione asked shocked.
He shrugged, rubbing his dark bald head for a moment. "The Wizengamot called an emergency meeting following the battle. It was chaos. There was a complete upheavel. The seats held by Death Eaters were revoked and new members were sworn in. Percy Weasley is now the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. They enacted an emergency decree instating me as interim Minister," he explained.
Hermione grinned. At least some good could come from this madness. "What happened?" she finally asked.
"I was hoping you could tell me-" Kingsley said disappointed.
"We should wait for Harry and Ron to be better, then we can all explain at the same time- to get the whole story. The healer said I'd be able to get out of bed by the end of today."
"You always were a smart one Hermione," he said smiling.
Hermione blushed at the compliment. Kingsley stood about to leave.
"Kingsley?" She called as he was about to leave. He paused. "Draco Malfoy and Blaise Zabini... are they both alright?" she asked scared.
Kingsley gave her an odd look, but nodded. "They're both alive."
Relief flooded through her at his words. They survived, thank God, Merlin, and anyone else she was indebted to for this turn of fate.
The day went by quietly, with the odd healer or two checking in on her progress. As the pain started to fade away (with the help of several pain relieving potions) and she began to regain movement of her arm she became more and more restless.
Finally the first healer she had met when she had come in returned, ran a few tests and declared she was able to go. She nearly jumped out of bed, and once she exited her small room she realized the true chaos occurring in the aftermath of the war. The hospital was in a flurry. Healers ran from room to room, memos zipped by her head in the air, as they attempted to keep up with all the injured from the battle. An auror immediately stood by her side from his previous post at her door. She couldn't remember the auror's name but she remembered his face. He looked at her with something akin to awe, despite her disheveled and scruffy appearance. She was still wearing the same clothes from the battle, and there was dirt and blood on them.
She muttered a quick scourgify and blushed as the auror continued to stare at her. She cleared her throat and the auror seemed to snap out of his trance like state.
"Um- err Miss Granger, I s'ppose you want to see Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley?" he stammered nervously looking at the ground.
Hermione nodded, and the auror led her through the chaotic halls of St. Mungo's sometimes yanking her out of the way of a levitating body, or a memo zipping by. When they passed the auror guarding Ron's room, he gave her a cheerful salute and opened the door to reveal three redheads, one laying silent and still on the hospital bed.
Her guard stayed outside and Hermione nodded to Charlie and Bill as she sat at Ron's side picking up a pale hand.
"How bad?" She asked.
"He's just banged up is all. He's got a couple of werewolf scratches though on his arm, and the healer's aren't sure yet what kinda effect that's gonna have," Bill said his hand coming up to rub his own Greyback scars.
"But they said he should be up soon, he's only asleep because of the Dreamless Sleep draught they gave him so his head injury could heal. He was bleeding in his brain, but they fixed that," Charlie finished.
Hermione nodded and gulped. "The r-rest of the family?"
Charlie and Bill glanced at each other and a deep sadness gripped their faces. "Mum's with Ginny a few doors down, Fred and George are alright, making trouble for the healers," Charlie said.
"And Mr. Weasley? Is he with Percy at the Ministry?"
Bill took a deep breath as Charlie stared at a blank space on the wall. "Dad fell in the battle. He's d-dead."
Angry tears attacked her eyes before he had even finished speaking, salty droplets flowing freely down her cheeks, her lip quivering. Mr. Weasley was like a father to her, helping her where her own parents couldn't with matters of the magical world. His death left a deep pit of sorrow in her soul.
She was somehow aware of Bill holding her at some point as the shock and the tears meshed together blurring her sight to the point that it seemed like a dream. At some point her eyes had dried, and she was able to move her arms to wipe the wetness from her cheeks and lips.
"I'm so sorry," She finally managed to croak out. She pulled herself out of Bill's arms and quietly whispered to Ron before setting her shoulders as quickly and leaving Bill and Charlie to look after her friend.
Harry's room was a bit further away, and guarded much more heavily. It took a few moments before they allowed her to go in. Harry seemed at peace for the first time since she had met him on the train to Hogwarts all those years ago. His scar was faded, as if it had melted into his skin so that you could barely see it.
She held his hand as she had Ron's and whispered for him to wake up soon, and that she loved him before leaving him to continue resting. She looked around oddly not knowing exactly what to do next. Voldemort was dead. Gone. There was no philosopher's stone to discover, no Basilisk to defeat, no prisoner to help escape, no tournament to help Harry win, no corrupt Ministry to fight, no evil plots to uncover, no horcruxes to destroy- what now?
"Do you know where Draco Malfoy is?" she asked the auror. The auror looked perplexed at her request but nodded, taking her to almost the opposite end of the hospital. She hesitantly turned the door knob and entered the room. Blaise's eyes blinked open slowly and he lifted his tousled head from Draco's side and slowly stood, pulling her into the tightest hug she had ever received.
Love swelled in her, her chest tightening and choking her as the tears returned. She grasped Blaise's shirt in white knuckled hands, pulling him as close to her as she possibly could. He pulled away slightly and she tried to press herself back to him when his lips smashed against hers almost painfully, and his hand tangled in her wild locks pulling her closer to him.
"Bloody hell, don't I get a hello?" an irritated voice said breaking up the intense kiss. She wiped her tears on her sleeve which was becoming drenched with salt and water. A small laugh bubbled in her chest as Draco's behavior, but quickly faded as she took in Draco's appearance. His left eye was heavily bandaged, and his leg was as well, blood staining the pure white gauze. He was smiling at her though, despite the dark circles under his right eye.
She rushed to his side and gave him a gentle sweet kiss.
"That's more like it." Draco smirked satisfied after the kiss was broken. She looked around but there was only one chair, Draco's room was significantly smaller than the one she had been given. Blaise solved her problem by sitting in the chair and pulling her snugly into his lap. She almost giggled she was so happy.
"I love you both so much," She told them quietly. Blaise nuzzled her neck.
"We love you too Hermione," Draco whispered tenderly, lifting his hand up to her. She held it tightly in her own and lifted it to her lips to give him another tender kiss.
Gardens, The Burrow
A month after the final battle, and Wizarding Britain was finally starting to settle into place. She had been to more funerals than she had ever wanted to- Dean Thomas, Katie Bell, Cho Chang, Millicent Bulstrode, Tonks and Remus- that had been a very difficult one to sit through- Arthur Weasley, and countless others.
The aftermath of Voldemort's storm was chaotic to say the least. The remaining Death Eaters were quickly rounded up and tried before Wizengamot, and for once it seemed as justice would finally return. Both Blaise and Draco were tried and found innocent, their part as spies revealed to the world, and upon Voldemort's demise, the dark mark had disappeared from their arms.
They had given the official account of Voldemort's demise to Kingsley, and an edited version to Luna for the Quibbler. It had turned out that Harry's scar had also been a horcrux, and that Inky, that demented dementor, had really been their savior, sucking the final piece of Voldemort out of Harry, but that truth would never go beyond Harry, Hermione, Ron and Kingsley.
She looked down at the beautiful bouquet of lillies in her hands and tucked a curl behind her ear. The wedding would be the first light through the clouds of war. She straightened and walked down the aisle, catching Draco and Blaise's gazes of pure adoration as she tried her best not to trip over the hem of her gown.
She took her place in the ceremony and broke her eyes away from where Draco and Blaise were sitting, and watched as the most beautiful bride she had ever seen walked down the aisle, white lilies braided into her flaming red hair. Her bright brown eyes gleamed as she focused solely on the man waiting for her at the end of the aisle.
The sun shined brightly as Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley became Mr. and Mrs. Potter, with only Molly Weasley's cries of joy cutting through the silence as the couple sealed the ceremony with a deep kiss. The applause filled the air as the happy newlyweds broke apart, and a magical array of fireworks that Fred and George had no doubt arranged burst in the sky.
The reception was just as beautiful, Molly had made sure every detail was perfectly. Draco and Blaise were in a deep discussion with the Weasley twins about some new product the twins were trying to develop. Harry was attempting to whirl Ginny gracefully around the dance floor, but his dancing hadn't improved much since the Yule Ball in their fourth year. It was very comical. The oddest thing was Ron twirling Luna around her yellow bridesmaid's dress that matched Hermione's.
Only a year ago, Hermione would have imagined that to be her. She took a sip of champagne and jumped in surprise as someone sat next to her on the bench.
"Zacharias! It's good to see you!" Hermione gasped setting her flute aside and giving the pompous blond a hug.
He grinned at her rather sheepishly. "Yea, the healers told me you visited, but I wasn't awake yet."
"Well, I'm glad you're alright," she told him smiling. "I never got to thank you, for saving my life from that Death Eater. I owe you a life debt."
Zacharias's face turned rather grim. "I'm glad I was able to save you. It was hard to turn on my best friend."
Hermione looked at him confused.
"Cormac. It was Cormac McLaggen. He was one of my best friends before he graduated. We were still really close, and talked all the time while he was in the auror program. Hard to believe he went to the darkside."
Hermione was shocked. Cormac McLaggen? She remembered him being tried and found guilty, but she didn't know that he was the one who had tried to kill her. She had never thought him capable of murder, even if she wasn't fond of him.
"Well, I ought to be going. Owl me sometime yea Hermione?" Zacharias asked before walking out of the tent and disapparating.
She didn't have much time to think about it as Draco pulled her out onto the dance floor, Blaise watching them amused. Luckily enough the Daily Prophet wasn't back in order, and so Hermione's unconventional relationship with two wizards wasn't flaunted and attacked by the media. Even though her friends had originally been quite scandalized, they loved her enough to look past it. As it turned out, with three being such a magical number, their type relationship wasn't unheard of though still rare in the magical community, even if was usually two women and one male. Chauvinistic pigheaded men.
The dance ended and Draco pulled her back to Blaise who threw an arm around her shoulders as Draco held her waist.
"What colors would you like for our wedding Cara?" Blaise asked.
Her eyebrows went up. "Who says we'll have a wedding?"
Draco rolled his eyes. "Of course we'll have one. Ours will have to be much grander than Potter's though."
"Still competing with Harry?"
Draco sniffed. "Potter is hardly even in the range for competition."
Hermione only snorted in response. "That's right Malfoys have their own universe correct?"
"Of course. You'll understand that once you're a Malfoy."
"And who says I wont be a Zabini?" Draco scowled.
"Cara, you'll be a Zabini- Malfoy," Blaise interjected.
"No, she'll be a Malfoy- Zabini," Draco said stubbornly.
"I think Zabini- Malfoy has a better flow to it Draco," Blaise argued.
"Malfoys always come first," the scar cutting through his left eye looking fierce as he glared at them.
"Well not this time they don't."
"Alphabetical order. Malfoy comes first..."
Hermione smiled to herself as the two Slytherins continued to fight over the last name they would take.
"I think you should take my name, and we'll all be Grangers."
They both looked at her as if she had killed their most loved pet. "No way!" and "Absolutley bloody no!" both came out at the same time. She chuckled as they continued to argue, completely ignoring her proposition.
They made sweet love to her that night. And proposed two weeks later.
All was well.
And that was the end! Alright so my final notes: Yes I kept the last line the same as the one J.K. Rowling had at the end of the Deathly Hallows. Even though I wasn't thrilled with the last book, that line stuck out to me as the perfect portrayal of the peace after the turmoil of the series, but at the same time, it's well, not amazing not perfect, but simply well.
I also tried to keep the deaths as close to the ones J.K. Rowling had originally planned, but I really couldn't kill Fred or Snape... it was hard enough to actually let Tonks and Lupin die, but the symbolism with Teddy being an orphan just like Harry, but this time with a loving family just called out to me as a beautiful representation of the time of love that destroying Voldemort had created, bringing the story full circle.
The death of Arthur Weasley in turn for Fred was not something I came up with, but in fact, originally J.K. Rowling stated one Weasley would die in the series. She's said in interviews that originally it was supposed to be Arthur Weasley when he's bitten by Nagini, but that she couldn't bring herself to kill him, and had Fred die instead. To me I thought Fred's death was more tragic because of the promise and potential of his youth, and I felt Arthur had really lived his life, and would die happy knowing all his children were safe.
One last thing I left unanswered, the prophecy said that Harry would have a power that the Dark Lord knows not, which we all know was love. So Harry was able to destroy Inky and thus the rest of the Dark Lord's soul with a patronus, conjured with thoughts of his parents and Ginny.
I hope you all enjoyed this story, and for those of you who have read Between the Stacks, yes! This means I will finally be doing the sequel!
I hope you all continue reading my work! And thank you for reading this story!
Sidenote: I totally cried when I changed the status of this story to complete. I'm such a demented dementor. I imagine in the wizarding world that would be the equivalent of Silly goose.