EPILOGUE - In Which There Is A New Beginning

******************

THE DAILY PROPHET
December 24, 2003

LUCIUS MALFOY DEAD, 23 DEATH EATERS ARRESTED

by Rita Skeeter

London - Lucius Malfoy's life was ended late last night by the Killing curse at his own Malfoy Manor. Aurors arrived at the scene minutes after the crime and found 23 Death Eaters bound to the ceiling under the supervision of Malfoy's own son, Draco and classmate, Virginia Weasley. Fellow Hogwart's student Yvette Delacour was discovered unconscious in the same hall and was rushed by mediwizards to nearby Malfoy Village Hospital. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ronald Weasley reported the incident, meeting Ministry officials outside the manor.

The case is still under investigation, but for now, authorities believe Malfoy's death was caused by a reflection of a killing curse he cast at Virginia Weasley. The Malfoy heir and mother, Narcissa, have no comment on the death nor the arrest of her husband's comrades. The 23 detained members of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's inner circle have their trial scheduled for the second day of the New Year. Though the names of the suspects have not been released to the public, Head Minister Cornelius Fudge commented, "It is hard to believe that such respected citizens collaborated with the Dark Lord."

Virginia Weasley is the suspected perpetrator of the Protego curse that ended Malfoy's life. She will be held at Ministry Headquarters until her expected release. "She confessed to it, but they can't send her to Azkaban for self-defense against a Death eater," said auror, Alastor Moody.

***********

Draco threw the paper aside on to a nearby table and sank back into the luxurious leather chair behind his father's mahogany desk. He was in the library, waiting for the Ministry to summon him to testify as a witness at the incident. A few words from his mother managed to convince the Ministry to let him remain at home rather than to be detained at the government offices. But that was where Ginny was. He stared into the large fireplace, waiting for some Ministry lackey to call him to the bureau. He checked his timepiece and glared at the fire impatiently. Finally a timid face appeared through the flames.

"Mr. Malfoy?"

He sat up straighter. "Yes?"

"The Ministry of Magic now summons you to its London Headquarters to testify in the trials of Virginia Weasley, Peter Pettigrew, Igor Karkaroff, Bellatrix Lestrange..."

Draco's focus waned as the head in the fire place continued to rattle off names of death eaters. This was it - he was going to see Ginny for some long-awaited moment of truth. He knew what he was going to say, and he had waited two days (an eternity in a seventeen-year-old's life) to say it.

*************

Virginia Weasley sat stiffly in the wooden seat of the court. Light streamed in from the tall windows behind the row of ministry officials and she watched absentmindedly as the millions of tiny dust particles danced in the air. The room was decorated for Christmas and Dumbledore, who sat on the panel, was wearing a Santa hat. In contrast to her weary emotions, the ministry headquarters were decked merrily with the season's red and green. It was slightly sickening. Her family had assured her that she would not receive any drastic punishments, and that her trial was just a formality brought on by the strict rules of the ministry. All eyes were on her as she quietly made her way to the witness stand and answered the panel's gentle questions.

"Do you confess to the murder of Lucius Malfoy?"

"Yes."

"Do you concur with the testimonies of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley?"

"Yes."

"What was your motive in killing Lucius Malfoy?"

"He was going to kill Draco. I had to do something." Her eyes rested on the wood paneling while her fingers traced patterns on her robes.

"What were you doing at Malfoy Manor that night?" "I got a ransom note for the kidnapping of my best friend, Yvette. I was told to meet the captors in the woods. I'm not really sure what happened but...I ended up in Lucius's hands."

"What happened when you got there?"

"I was bound and blinded until the ceremony, at which they offered my body for the Dark Lord's possession."

Her responses were calm and concise as she has thought them out in the hours before the trial. It's what Draco would have done, she realized, and with this felt a pang of sorrow. It was about two days since they had first kissed, and now she had killed his father.

When at last her questioning ended, Cornelieus Fudge stood and called in the final witness. She watched numbly has he entered, meeting his grey eyes as they found hers. She listened to his words and knew that he didn't care that she killed Lucius, but that he also was not willing to turn his father in as a Death Eater. The past is the past, and it would be buried in two days at the funeral. The Malfoy name would remain untainted in the books, though severely scrutinized by moral witches and witches as always.

The trial ended with a rap of a gavel and she was free to go. Free to move on with her life. She smiled and hugged her family and friends as they came up to her amidst the reporters' frantic questions and the photographers' flashing cameras. The room cleared after what seemed like hours until all that remained was the owner of the steely grey eyes. He was still in his witness chair and they were finally alone.

"I'm sorry," she said softly.

He shook his head. "So am I." He rose and made his way to her side. "Ginny, I need time. Lots of it, away from this situation."

She smiled weakly. "I understand."

"No, I don't think you do." He reached out and held her hand. "I...I feel for you more than I've ever felt for someone. But when I look at you...I remember my father and despite how he was, I am his blood and I can't turn my back to his memory."

"No, I guess you can't," she said softly. "It's just...all so fast.the curse, Yvette's capture.Draco -"

"Shhh," he leaned in so his forehead rested on hers. "I should have come clean to you long ago, but I never expected...I just never expected all this."

"So you really liked me?" she asked unsurely. "It wasn't the curse talking?"

"Like I said I need time. I don't deserve you yet, but I will someday." he stepped back and ran his hands through his hair.

"Well, you may only have until your eighteenth birthday." Her voice quavered but she looked him straight in the eye and cleared her throat. "Thanks for ...I'm sorry that...I mean..," she sighed. "Well, I guess we'll be seeing each other around."

He nodded kissed her lightly on the cheek.

"Wait," she thought to him, but he had shut his mind to her's and reached in to his pocket. He rolled the shiny mind ball on to one of the tables and walked down the aisle. She bit her lip and sank shakily into her seat. It was over now.

"See you when school starts, Ginny," he said quietly before shutting the door behind him. But something new was just beginning.

*********

The End (for real)

Merry Holidays and Happy New Year!

*********

Little Beauty - yay! thanks so much for sticking with us. had so much fun with you at homecoming ^_^ you should somehow come to our prom too! good times! hehhee.....you were definitely the last bit of inspiration we needed to polish off this last chapter. antithetical is finally done! ^_^ Marie - now..THIS one is the REAL last chapter....lol Jenny - your review is from August...so i guess we weren't too timely. hope you managed to make it back to read the epilogue..and this very personalized thank-you for your review ^_~ Dark Gypsy - i luv gypsies ^_^ we were gypsies from hell for halloween. and yep, you're right. the thirst for reviews brought us back to the fic. SaKuRa LoVa - hehe...glad you think our fic is COOL! we think YOU'RE cool! ^_^ Adria - AP chem? ouch...hehehe...you're so hardworking for a sophomore....hope we'll see you again this summer! and thank you so much for taking time to review! much love! Barn Bum - break out the bicardi! we made someone's favorite list! ^_^ yay! sorry it took so long to update. kneh13 - lol...you really think it was interesting? hehhee...nope, not adding anymore after this final chapter. elain3 - lol....the best one? well...we tried ^_^ hope we did it? Dragon Faerie - you didnt REALLY think it was over, did ya? lol...apple-eyez - hehehe we love people who review on ff.net. we love people who review on FA. but people who review on both? double love! no no...like quadruple love! yes...we tried our hardest to make antithetical a little more than completely predictable chicfic Jennifer Kay - we're surprised you even managed to find us again! you know...after six months and all...lol, sorry for the long wait (again) and good job for winnign against writer's block! Indice - lol, you rock our world too! sorry about the turmoil and strife. really, we are. melonsprite - hehee...your name sounds like a perfume. hehe glad you liked the fic...and yeah...the shield charm thing is kind of a plot hole...shhh..dont tell anyone. Borderline Felton Stalker- lol...but it wasn't REALLY the end. ^_^ hehehe...borderline felton stalker? lol...i've definitely crossed that border i think....lol.... frananddragon - it's a really good suggestion to stick in a little summary of last chapter to help our readers along...especialy after such a long break...but we're soo lazy. _ sloths, both of us. lol....and no yule ball, we definitely decided that it'd be weird for ginny to be gallavanting off to dances after committing murder. hehe we love you for reading us! Ezmerelda - heheh smart girl for reading on! ^_^ thanxs for writing? no....thanxs for reading...AND reviewing! TrinMalfoy - hehe...mags! sorry it took us sooo long to update. we never did manage to get tom felton...hmm...must save up for london plane tickets...lol...hehehe..i heard he's like 6'2 now...omg so hot. so hot. sabacat - yepp....DG love rules! ^_^ thanx for sticking with us...hopefully you made it to this last chapter...lol kai - hehehe...hey jessica. thanks for reviewing! ^_^ and good job on your math song! go us for giving up our dignity for single extra credit point! oh yeah! lol..._

and thus concludes the thank-yous for reviewers. for all first time readers, congratulations for making to the end of the fic. good job! high-five! ^_^