Authors Note: I couldn't wait any longer to post the end of this story so I am switching Claimed and with Healing this morning and Claimed will post tomorrow. So this is the end. I know, it's bittersweet. I shed a few tears in the making of this one, and it wa very close to me while I was writing it. I hope you're all content with the outcome. Thanks to Shannon and Alexandra who looked after and beta'ed this fic for me throughout.
Chapter 14 Epilogue
Rows of tombstones lined the winding path that Draco walked slowly down, making a steady progression through the graveyard. In the center of this little muggle cemetery was an area where wizards were buried with spells surrounding it to repel muggles from venturing too close.
Gnarled trees dotted the spaces between graves and added a movie-like quality to the cemetery. Draco had always found this graveyard to be cliché and even tacky with its ornate monuments and towering stone angels littering the area.
The Malfoys always preferred a nondescript vault for their family members in death, and he knew this wasn't Harry's preferred resting place either.
It was damp for an early May afternoon, and unseasonably cold. But Draco supposed it was only fitting weather for a cemetery visit. The massive tombstone in front of him was made of shiny black granite and the words carved into its face were embedded in his mind from how often he had looked at them. He ran his fingertips over the cold stone, tracing each letter.
On top of the granite slab was an intricate statue of a seventeen-year-old boy facing off with an evil looking wizard, their marble wands sparked with magic that looked like a muggle magician's parlor trick rather than the spell that saved the wizarding world from doom and ultimate destruction.
He rolled his eyes, knowing Harry probably hated this tribute particularly since he never got a say in it. Draco was thankful he had arrived before the crowds of witches and wizards who would all flock to this place to give tribute today.
"It's been a long time since the war," he whispered to the air. "But I finally think I understand it all.
"We fought through all the tragedy, we even fought each other, but in the end we were able to heal. It took some of us longer than others, and some of us were even tricked into thinking we were fine until something—someone—came along that proved that wrong.
"I can't even begin to thank you for your sacrifice, but at least now I realize that I'm not entirely unworthy of it, and that in thinking I was, I was doing a great disservice to the war, and everyone who died in it," he continued.
"You died to make this world a better place to live, you died for me," he rasped, unable to say anymore.
A warm hand rested on his shoulder and Draco leaned his cheek against it. "That was sweet, Draco," the husky voice said beside him.
Draco smiled and looked into the glittering green eyes of his lover. "You asked me to say a few words, so I did. I wouldn't want to disappoint you and have you revert to your old anniversary ritual," he responded with narrowed eyes.
Harry smiled and kissed Draco deeply. He had been saved that night, a year ago to date. No one even knew how he could have survived so much blood loss, and Draco's only answer was that he was Harry Potter, destined to be a pain in his arse for eternity. So small thing like blood loss could possibly take down the hero of all wizarding kind.
Draco kissed him back with a force that nearly toppled them both to the ground in front of the war memorial. Their courtship had been swift, and even before Harry had been released from St. Mungo's with a clean bill of health the two had been inseparable. Draco went from sleeping beside Harry's hospital bed, to sleeping in his bed at Harry's home in London.
"I love you," Harry whispered against Draco's mouth.
"I love you, too," Draco responded. He felt like he had said those words over the last year more than he had said them his entire life. He made sure that no day went by that Harry wasn't certain, beyond a show of doubt, that he loved him more than anything in the world.
"Are we done here?" Lexi called from the path, rubbing her hands up and down her arms and bouncing slightly in her heels. "It's freezing out."
"Would you mind?" Draco called back to her with mock disdain. "We're trying to pay our respects to the dead."
"By putting on a soft core porn show for them?" she called back with a wry grin. "We all know what will happen if I don't interrupt you," she added with a laugh.
Draco rolled his eyes. "For your information, we are perfectly capable of restraining ourselves."
"Right. If I left now it would only be minutes before someone was bent over that statue of Harry and Voldemort," she replied smugly.
Harry grinned at Draco. "It does sort of sound like something we'd do," he whispered for Draco's ears alone. "Maybe we could come back later…"
Draco laughed. "Would you like that to be our new ritual? Fucking over the graves of the dead?"
Harry shrugged and grinned wider. "It's not everyday you would get to fuck me in front of a statue of me."
Draco rolled his eyes. "True, but I hate that statue."
Harry frowned and nodded. "Yeah, me too. We'll just stick to the original plan then and wait till we get home," he said with a wink.
Home. Draco always liked that word when it came from Harry's lips. He had sold his loft and moved in with Harry a few months earlier, and it was so nice going home to him every single day.
"Home," he repeated with a nod. He took Harry's hand, lacing their fingers together and walked away from the war memorial and back to where Lexi was standing, shivering in the cold.
"Finally," she said and hooked her arm through Harry's free one, kissing him on the cheek. "Have I ever told you how glad I am that your stupid stunt last year didn't work?"
Harry laughed. "Only every day," he replied.
She shrugged and smiled. "Well, this was fun boys, but some of us have work to do. I'll see you over at Andromeda's and Teddy's later," she announced and with a wink and with a wave of her wand, she was gone.
"Alone at last," Draco murmured, squeezing Harry's hand and leaning in to kiss him.
Harry cleared his throat and shook his head. "Not quite," he said, nodding to a cluster of trees just off the path. Under them stood Ron and Hermione in a similar pose, hand in hand, staring incredulously at the two of them.
Harry walked toward them and Draco reluctantly followed. Hermione's eyes were brimming with unshed tears and Ron looked uncomfortable. A moment later Draco's vision was obscured by a mass of frizzy brown hair as Hermione pulled Harry into a tight hug.
"Oh, Harry," she cried. "We've missed you so much."
Harry laughed and hugged her back with the hand that wasn't still clasping Draco's. "Well, you could always visit me," he replied.
She pulled back and chewed on her bottom lip. "Well… after last time Ron stopped by and… well, you know. We thought it might be best to wait until you contacted us."
"That's fair, I suppose," Harry replied with a blush.
"Well, you look good, Harry. Really good," she said. "I suppose we have you to thank for that?" she added, sparing a smiling glance toward Draco.
Draco only shrugged and pulled Harry closer, but Harry grinned and nodded. "He's my knight in pale armor," Harry answered, causing Draco to blush slightly too.
Ron stepped up to them and clapped Harry on the shoulder. "It really is good to see you happy, Harry. After all this time… we didn't know if it would ever happen. So if it's Malfoy who made you smile again, then… well, he must be okay," he said, still looking terribly awkward, but smiling all the same.
Harry shook his head and laughed. "Thanks… I think. Er… we were just heading home, but maybe… maybe we could all meet up sometime?"
Draco groaned silently but knew that he would eventually give into any of Harry's wishes. So if Harry wanted to be friends with the Weasleys again, then he supposed he would have to learn to like the ginger family.
Ron and Hermione both nodded enthusiastically and waved farewell as they went their separate ways down the path.
At the cemetery gate, Draco pulled Harry close and kissed him fiercely. "Let's go home and get you naked," he whispered against Harry's mouth.
Harry grinned and apparated them both home, away from places and times of sadness. That day—that anniversary—had changed for Harry from a day of pain and anger to a day of new beginnings and love, something to look forward to rather than something to dread.
He had his heart and his soul right beside him forever, and together they were healed.
Authors Note: Ah, so this is the end, of this story anyway. I hope you have all enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. If you did, you can thank Winter.Poem for the request. I'm sad to see it end, but on the bright side I've introduced Ron and Hermione back so that I can create a oneshot story of them attending a night at The Castle with Harry and Draco. TutelaTwin requested it and I think it would be rather humorous. So, please review, and if there are any more requests, send them my way! And don't forget to read my other fics (If you haven't already) I'm also working on a D/H oneshot that will be posted soon, so look out for it.