Chapter Twenty-Three

The End-of-Term

Like Harry had told her she could, Madam Promfrey mended Hermione's arm. By the next morning she could move about freely, and Draco's face had cleared of his boils.

Harry, Ginny, and Ron came to visit her every day to the disgust of Madam Promfrey who only allowed five minutes. Ron had finally come around to the idea of her dating Draco, though he didn't come around to Draco as a person. It would be years before they would all be on decent terms.

On their last day at Hogwarts before the summer, Draco, and Hermione packed. It was the third time they had gathered their belongings that year. It almost felt as if they would never settled in one place. In three months they would have to do it all over again for their 7th, and final year. Hermione groaned at the thought of it. An entire year of what she had been through in the last several months.

They sat their things by the door, and walked together for their final meal before they got on the train. They were the last ones down there. Every face looked up with loathing at them, and Hermione didn't want to let go of Draco's hand, but she did, and they went to their separate tables.

Of course, not every face was sketched in hatred. Harry, Ginny, and Ron were quite friendly, and she was grateful that she had them. At the same time she felt bad for Draco. He had no one, and she found herself glancing over to see if anyone at the Slytherin table had a wand in their hand.

Soon everyone's attention turned to the front of the room where Dumbledore stood. He clapped his hands together, and grinned. "Another year... We have learned so much, yet so little. I'll be looking forward to seeing many of your bright faces again this September.

This is the part where I'd normally let you feed, and water yourselves, but I do have one more important lesson to give." He sighed heavily, "here at Hogwarts we strive to become a family. A family supports one another. We all know there are rivals in ours, like in anyone else', but a matter of support should still be there. This year, I'm disappointed to say that we have not done this.

A boy of one house, and a girl of another were forced together by circumstances beyond their control. For their own safety they were hidden. In the time they were together, they fought. Oh, the fights they had... Yet, somehow they fell in love. It is not important how, or why. The point is, they did.

They loved each other so deeply that nothing could tear them apart. Not even their friends. They were beaten, mocked, and ridiculed. And yet, they sit with us in one piece, loving each other no less.

Putting aside the spells, wand movements, potion making, and everything you have learned in your classes, I hope you have learned one more thing: Love should never be taken away.

Voldemort is gone, and we are free to love, hope, and dream. Three things that should never be sacrificed. Thank you." He clapped, and piles of food appeared on the table.

The strange thing was, no one felt very hungry. Hermione was bombarded with apologies, and sympathy from every house. Some had even made their way to the Slytherin table to tell Draco the same, though sadly his house sat quietly, without movement, or remorse.

She looked up at Dumbledore who had that all familiar twinkle in his eyes. He raised his goblet towards hers with a wink, and she raised hers.

Maybe next year wouldn't be so bad after all...

A/N: Hope you all enjoyed my first fanfic. I must say that I loved your comments, I really did appreciate them. There is another story coming very soon, so feel free to check it out!