Hi all! Firstly, surprise! Bet you never actually expected me to post a proper Epilogue to this novel. I started editing it a week ago, and since then I haven't been able to stop. The bulk of changes are an extension of the last chapter (30), so please re-read that (even if only that) to re-orientate yourself. Or even read the whole story and rediscover the Dramione love! It's been a fantastic ride, and I'd like to thank you all for sticking through me. This story was my writing baby, and even if I left it hastily wrapped up at 30 chapters before with loose ends (those are all fixed now, I promise), there is now finally a proper ending.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy. Much love - bitchywitchy (formally Tiadorable)
"Good morning, beautiful." Draco smiled as he rolled over to find Hermione sitting in bed beside him, a book propped open in her lap.
"Happy Birthday." Hermione grinned, leaning down to give him a kiss.
"So, is my birthday present you?" he asked, playing with her curls as she laughed.
"No." she reached down under the bed and produced a wrapped box, holding it out to him in her hands.
"And what is 'this'?" he asked, taking it from her and examining the perfect wrapping, the ribbon on top that curled into a perfect bow.
"Well if I tell you it's not a surprise. Open it!"
Curious, Draco carefully unwrapped the box and found it filled with a deep green fabric.
"It's an autumn scarf, if you don't like it you can take it back."
"I like it." he smiled, smoothing it between his fingers. It was so soft.
"That's not all. If you carefully unwind the scarf you'll find something else."
Draco set the present down and pulled the scarf out until he found small crystal ball sitting at the bottom of the box.
"What is this? Don't tell me you suddenly love Divination."
"It's a looking glass. You tap it four times and say a person's name, and no matter where they are you can see them in it. Tap it twice to end the spell. It's stupid, I know, and ridiculously sentimental but I just couldn't stop going back to it.
Draco rolled the ball around in his palms, staring at the clear glass.
"Hermione Granger." he said, turning around and tapping it four times. Her image appeared in the glass, making a face at him behind his back and he laughed.
"I can see you."
"I know." she stuck her tongue out at him and he smiled before tapping it twice. The crystal cleared, and a thought came over him as he rolled it in his palms again. Tapping it four times, he tried to ignore the shakiness in his voice as he whispered the next name.
The ball lit up with white, and then his favourite Professor appeared in the glass, sitting next to a large tree by a lake. Draco felt his throat tighten as he tapped the ball twice, feeling Hermione's hand on his shoulder.
"It's wonderful." he said, turning back to her and pulling her into a hug as she wrapped her arms around him in return and squeezed.
"Happy Birthday!" Pansy, Blaise, Theo, Daphne and Goyle all chimed as they clinked glasses of butterbeer in Hogsmeade.
"You guys didn't have to do this." Draco said as Pansy pulled out a box of cupcakes and put them on the table.
"Yes we did, Draco. What do you think we are, terrible friends? Merlin." Pansy sighed, shoving the box at him until he picked one.
"I mean, we are Slytherins." Draco snickered, and Blaise and Theo laughed.
"We tried to use that excuse on Pansy to get out of buying you birthday gifts, but it didn't work."
"And it never will! Wretched gits, both of you!" Pansy laughed, and Draco looked across the tavern to see Hermione at a table with Ginny, Ron and Harry. The dark-haired wizard caught his eye and raised his own Butterbeer as Draco tilted his head in thanks, knowing that they would probably bestow birthday wishes on him at dinner. Hermione had insisted that he leave their common-room at 11:30, trying to smooth back her bed-ruffled hair as she avoided his attempts to tempt her back to bed.
"You have to go and spend time with your friends, Draco! Now go!" she had laughed, smacking his hands away as he tried to snake them around her waist.
It had been over a year since the war had ended, and he was happier than he had ever been. NEWT's had ended the day before, after months of harrowing studying and Hermione near chewing her nails off with stress. Now all that was uncertain was their future, and results were back next week. But the stresses of the year had gone, and Draco was grateful that everything had worked out, even if it had been a terrifying and rough to begin with, and especially with all that had happened.
But whatever happened, Draco knew Hermione would be at his side, and that made everything better. He had one last surprise to plan before they left the castle, though, and he intended to make it perfect.
"Where are we going?" she asked, looking around curiously as Draco led her down a hallway.
"You'll see. Close your eyes and stop trying to figure it out, despite the fact that you got all Oustandings on your NEWTs I don't think you can spoil this surprise."
"Okay, they're closed."
"Good. Not far to go."
Draco counted the doors carefully, stopping at one and opening it. Gently leading Hermione inside, he let go of her hand.
"You can look now."
She opened her eyes and blinked slowly, looking around.
"A broom cupboard?" she asked, before gasping as it clicked in her brain.
"Not just any broom cupboard."
"No!" she exclaimed, looking at him. He nodded, and Hermione laughed.
"It's perfect." she smiled, pulling him close for a kiss.
"The door won't lock this time, and I thought it'd be nice to escape the hectic environment and spend a day together before we depart."
"I can't believe you remembered." she smiled, walking down the steps and looking at the small table and chairs set up, with candles floating around the ceiling and a small lunch laid out.
"Of course I did." he told her, walking up behind her and draping his arm over her shoulders. "This is the very first place that I kissed you. Shall we eat?"
"Yes. It smells delicious."
He pulled out a chair and waited for her to sit down before he did, his hand soon finding hers and holding it on top of the table.
After lunch, she insisted that they go to the Astronomy Tower, so they had climbed up the steep stairs to the top.
Hermione nestled into Draco's side as his arm draped around her shoulders, sitting in the tower and looking at the vast Hogwarts grounds below. He paused in their conversation and looked down at her.
"What is it?" she asked, looking up to meet his gaze.
"I just realised that I'm really glad we got stuck in this broom cupboard last year."
She laughed, pulling him closer.
"I'm glad, too."
"It feels like things have moved so fast." Draco commented, and Hermione sighed.
"I know. It's only a matter of time before we transform into fully functioning adults instead of students."
"Come away with me." Draco turned to Hermione, his heart beating a little faster as she looked at him.
"What do you mean?"
"Come away with me, Hermione. It's still a month before we start our training for our jobs, come with me to France."
"What?" Hermione asked, her mouth dropping open.
"Come on holiday with me, for a couple of weeks. My parents are happy for us to use the house, and you deserve a wonderful break."
"Are you sure?"
"I have never been more sure about anything else. You are my constant, Hermione Granger, and I wouldn't have it any other way."
"So you're telling me that you want to be stuck with my stubborn, fierce and know-it-all personality? Unless of course you wake up one day and decide that you don't love me anym-"
"Oh shut-up, Granger. That's never going to happen." he cut her off, kissing her.