The Manor was cold at this time of year. Well, in Draco's opinion, the Manor had always been cold, but now, at this particular time, it seemed that the whole house drafted with a freezing wind that made his skin crawl. So, it had come to pass that he had purchased a small country cottage that he attended more often than the Manor. It seemed that the weather there was more amiable, and he liked the cozy aspect of the small house. He found it suited him more than the Manor ever had. And so it was, after a period of time where he traveled from one place of residence to another, that Draco Malfoy closed up the Manor for good, blanketing the furniture and sealing the gates, and moved permanently to the cottage. It was there, however that he received a letter.
I know that in the past we had our differences, and that we both followed Lord Voldemort blindly into the darkness. However, I feel that through the years that I have known and trusted you that we were at some point friends. It would mean a great deal to me, and my husband, if you would pay us a visit in London. We would be more than happy to meet you in Hogsmeade, at the Three Broomsticks, if you'd like. I know that you probably want nothing more to do with us, what with our colorful history, but I would so very much like to rekindle our friendship, that we may benefit mutually from a positive relationship. A relationship unhindered by the presence of a man of such evil as was the Lord Voldemort.
The owl that had delivered the letter hooted impatiently by the window and waited for a reply. Scribbling out a confirmation and agreeing to the Three Broomsticks at noon the following Friday. That gave him a week to figure out what exactly he had to talk about with Blaise and Pansy.
Friday came along much quicker than he anticipated, and when Draco found himself seated in the Three Broomsticks, so close to Hogwarts, he realized that he wanted nothing more than to turn and run as fast as he could in the other direction. However, this was exactly the moment that Blaise and Pansy walked casually into the pub and spotted him. Pansy smiled, gracious and warm, moving towards him intent on wrapping him in a tight hug. He stood to greet her, and when she did hug him, he realized that coming here, meeting with old friends, was all he could ever have asked for.
"Draco, thank you so much for coming." Another bright smile. "I've been so worried about you! Especially after what happened with…well…and now you're not at the Manor anymore! That little cottage can't be big enough for you. Really Draco, the Manor is much more suited for you." She sat beside him as Blaise took the seat opposite.
"Pansy, dearest, let the man alone. He's living his own life, and there's nothing we can do to change his mind." He looked pointedly at Draco. "Am I right?"
"Of course Blaise. It's really wonderful to see you both again. It's been too long. What have you been doing?" He smiled at them, hoping it didn't appear forced, and was rewarded when Pansy began to prattle on about Blaise's business, and how it was taking the Muggle world by storm. This was how the rest of the afternoon progressed. Blaise barely said a word, only joining the conversation to calm his wife, and Draco merely nodded, smiled, and took in all the information Pansy gave him. Many hours and quite a few butterbeers and firewhiskeys later, Pansy excused herself to the restroom, and Blaise pounced.
"What the hell happened to you?" Draco almost choked on his drink.
"I beg your pardon?"
"You've practically disappeared. What happened to you? I would have a least thought that you would get Malfoy Industries back on track, or even follow your dreams of becoming an Auror, but no, you've hidden yourself away from the world. It's as if you're running from her, Draco. She's not even chasing you and you're running from her." Blaise shook his head. "You're a disgrace Draco. The public world has completely forgotten about you—"
"Good. I don't want her to have to remember any of it. She deserves better than that." He sipped his drink and stood. "Tell Pansy I said goodbye. I really should be going home. Goodnight Blaise." Wrapping his coat firmly around him, he dropped a few coins on the table and left.
"How could you have told her? Why did you tell her? Do you realize what could happen if he finds out she knows now?" Harry'd been pacing in the kitchen at the Burrow for the better part of an hour, and it was getting on Ginny's nerves.
"She deserves to know Harry! I never made any promise to Malfoy about not telling her, that was your fuck-up! We should have told her the day she woke up, the moment she asked why Malfoy was even there! They are still married Harry, and he still loves her. She needs to know that." Standing by the stairs, Ginny looked at her husband. He'd stopped pacing, finally, and was now leaning against the counter, glaring intently at the floor. Ron hadn't spoken a word.
"I know you didn't make any promises Gin, but if he wanted her to know, he would've told her. He'd be here every day drilling it into her head." He laughed at the notion. "I'd bet you he'd be the old Malfoy, the one we knew in school. The Malfoy who would never stop teasing you, would never stop bullying you, until you gave up trying to reason with him and let him go with it. That's when he'd stop, right when you'd gotten used to it." They all chuckled at the memory. Then Ron spoke, his voice haggard.
"You know, he was the one that helped me find you. When we were looking for the Horcuxes, he found me in the woods and gave me right talking to." Harry and Ginny blanched. "I'm serious. He told me everything, things you guys don't even know."
"Like what?" Harry was hooked.
"Like what happened between him and Hermione at Hogwarts. Apparently, all this started in Third Year. At least, that's what Malfoy said. Apparently, he's been in love with her since she jammed her fist into his jaw. You didn't seriously think that he only fell for her after they'd been married, did you?" He laughed hoarsely. They've been in love for years now, and he knows her better than we even do. He knows every part of her, and he's staying away to give her a chance a life without the remembrance of all that pain, all the horrible things they went through. She gets that enough having that Mark branded on her back, and now to know that she and Malfoy were married? From what I know about them, knowing that she was married to him, had him like that, for three years and to have lost it all in an instant, is more torture than any of us could ever understand." He was silent for a moment, his thoughts running rampant as Harry and Ginny contemplated this new information. "No, I agree with Ginny. Draco wasn't right. I understand why he did it, why he ran from it, but it wasn't the right thing to do." With that he stormed from the kitchen and into the parlor, grabbing a handful of floo powder and stepping into the fireplace.
"Ron! What're you doing?" Harry was right behind him.
"I'm going to give Malfoy a right talking to." With a smile, he shouted 'Malfoy Manor' and was whisked off into the floo network.
He didn't know why he did it. He didn't know what propelled him to return. All he wanted was to forget, all he wanted was to let the past be the past. And yet, something pulled him, something forced him to apparate to the gate, touch the familiar iron, watch as it opened to the Manor's Master. Draco Malfoy walked the long drive up to the house, noticed the disarray of the grounds. Ferns had gone unattended, grass uncut, trees tangled and twisted into each other. And when he finally reached the doors, the entrance to the once great Malfoy Manor, he felt such a loneliness, such a heavy weight of guilt pressing on him as he pushed the weighty doors open and once more stepped into the place he had once called home.
"Malfoy! Draco Malfoy get your ass out here right now!" Ronald Weasley's voice echoed through the halls of the Manor.
"Weasley?" He wandered into the parlor, the smell of burned floo powder overwhelming his nostrils. "What the hell are you doing here?" He coughed as he inhaled dust and ash.
"Here's a better question, why is all your furniture covered in sheets, and why is there an inch of dust coating every surface in this house?" Ron crossed his arms and glared at Draco.
"Well because I haven't been living here! I live in a cottage very far away from here. This place is too big, too imposing for one person alone." His voice trailed into a whisper as he spoke.
"And that brings me to the real reason behind my visit."
"What, you didn't come just to say hello?" His smirk graced his lips for a moment before fading.
"Surprisingly no. I'm here because of Hermione." Concern flashed over Malfoy's face. "Don't worry, she's fine. She's just…well…Ginny told her that you and her were married…"
Harry and Ginny were sitting, waiting, in the living room at the Burrow. Hermione hadn't come out of her room, and the more Harry stared at the fireplace, the more Ginny wanted to smack him. "Oh stop Harry. He'll come back when he comes back. Until then, there's nothing we can do about it."
At that precise moment, fire raged up before them, blazing the room green as none other than Draco Malfoy thundered into the room. "Ginerva Weasley I am going to kill you!"
"What?" She jumped from her chair and marched right up to him. "I only did what you should have done when she woke up in St. Mungos! She deserves the truth Draco! She deserves to know that someone in this world loves her more than he loves himself! Even after all she's done, and all she's been through, she deserves more from you Malfoy! She deserves the truth, and she should hear it from you!" Her chest heaved with her anger. Harry touched her arm and she shook him off. "If you aren't going to come clean right now, then so help me, I'm going to make you wish you'd never met her!" Her cheeks flamed red as her temper flared. This was of course the point when Ron stumbled into the room from the fireplace.
"Draco you can't just scream at me and then storm off into the fireplace! I had to search the whole parlor for the floo powder!" He stood behind Malfoy, hands on his hips, pouting.
"Ron, this is not the time." Harry's voice was calm through the chaos. He turned to Draco. "You should go up to her. She hasn't come down since she found out. Ginny's right. Go talk to her."
The window seat in her room was warm from the afternoon sun. She heard voices from downstairs, heard Ginny screaming. It was so hard now, so hard to let go. It seemed only yesterday now that she was in the Hospital Wing with Draco, so happy, and then so very lost. She tried to remember, tried to see the battle, see their life together. Tears came to her eyes, stinging them as they fell on her cheeks. "Stop it. Just stop it." Palming them away Hermione stared out the window at the Weasley's garden. She wished Molly were here. She wished she had someone to talk to. Sadly, Molly, Arthur, the twins, and Percy had all taken a holiday to Fiji or some other exotic place. She couldn't keep up with them now. Breathing heavily, she strained for the memories, pushing her mind to remember. There were footsteps outside her door, followed by the knob turning and the door opening slowly, almost hesitantly. They moved into the room, the foot-falls heavy, like Harry's or Ron's, but there was something else there too.
"Go away. I don't want to talk to either of you." An intake of breath, the preparation to speak. "No! I don't want to hear it! You should have told me! You shouldn't have let this go on! I deserve to know! You—"
"I know." She froze. That wasn't Harry or Ron. Her heart leapt in her chest, her breath hitched. Slowly, she turned from the window, hoping she was right. But when she turned, what she saw hit her harder than she'd ever thought possible.
"Draco…" Her voice was hoarse, almost a whisper carried out on the wind. He didn't smile, didn't smirk as he once might have. Moving closer, he stepped into the light, his silver eyes smoldering into deep, dark grey. She felt tears coming to her eyes, but couldn't bring herself to blink them away.
"I never should have left you." He was close now. Too close. She moved to step away, flee backwards, run any way she could, but the window seat was at her back, and when her foot knocked against it her knees buckled and she began to fall. But something caught her, pulled her forward. He was holding her now, his arm locked like iron around her waist. "I should have told you the moment you woke up. I should have held you, I should have told you how happy I was that you were alive. I should have stayed with you." His words choked, his voice catching in his throat. "There are a million things I should have done years ago, things that I can't change that I wish were different." His hand brushed over her cheek before trailing down her neck, gripping the nape and drawing her in. And when his forehead was pressed against her own, his voice flushed against her lips. "But my biggest regret, my biggest mistake, was telling you, all those years ago, that I couldn't love you. That night in the hospital wing, that moment when I lost you, that moment when you turned away from me, I knew that if anything was possible, if Harry Potter could live through the Killing Curse as a baby, that I could have thrown everything away for you. Because of everything I've ever known, the single, solitary truth is that I love you, Hermione Malfoy. And nothing is ever going to change that." He pulled away, suddenly, his warmth leaving her standing awkwardly before him. "I just wish I could have realized it sooner." Turning away from her he moved towards the door.
"Were we happy?" Her voice trembled. "Did we ever have a moment of happiness through it all?" The tears were streaming now, slipping down her cheeks and staining her skin.
Turning to face her again, she saw the pain in his eyes; saw the sorrow on his face. "I believe we were, however briefly." He tried to smile, but it didn't carry in his eyes. He turned to leave again, and something made her speak.
"Draco!" Her feet carried her forward, and as he turned back, as he faced her with that same look of depraved, silent, sorrow, her lips met with his, hands delving into his hair, dragging him against her. Only the faintest moment of surprise graced him before his arms circled around her, drawing her into him. The kiss was harsh and fanatical, lips and teeth fighting for dominance as they gripped each other. His hands roved over her back, down her hips, grasping her thighs and pulling her up, forcing her to wrap her legs around him. Her fingers dug into his shoulders, ankles locking at the small of his back. He moved forward, propelling them across the room, hitting the wall and holding her firm against it. Bracing his hands against the wall, he pressed the hard planes of his body into her supple curves, their fire calming to rolling embers as their lips moved languidly together. Her hips rolled forward, drawing a groan from Draco's lips. He stumbled backwards, taking Hermione with him, his arms wrapped around her once more as his legs hit the edge of the bed. Lowering himself onto the bed, his hands splayed over her back as his lips left hers and trailed down over her jaw, her neck, her shoulder. Her breath heavy, Hermione turned into his lips, capturing them once more. And then she stopped. Something was slitting in her brain, blinding white and burning hot. She gripped her head, tried to push it away tried to block it out. It only came back with renewed force, stabbing, forcing, pushing.
"Hermione?" She knew that voice. It was familiar, it was known. "Hermione, are you alright?" She tried to answer, tried to scream back that she was most definitely not alright, that something was terribly wrong, but she couldn't. She couldn't see anymore, her vision was white. She couldn't speak anymore, her voice had disappeared. The pain was growing, the force of it pulling her away. The blinding white flashed before her, changing from image to image, imprinting upon her with memories. She tried to look away, but no matter where she turned the images remained. They were horrid images, terrifying visions. And yet, one remained a constant. A face, a person, someone she knew. He was familiar, and she knew him from somewhere. His sharp features and piercing silver eyes reminded her of something. She tried to remember, tried to see, tried to think. And then, with clarifying finality, it all came crashing down.
She was limp in his arms, her breathing sharp and short. There were footsteps on the stairs, harsh, running. Tears fell freely from his eyes, splashing on her skin as he willed her back. Her eyes remained open, wide as if in horror of some vile beast in her mind. He held her close, wanting nothing more than for her to blink and look him in the eye. The door burst open.
"What's happened?" Harry's voice was urgent. Draco looked to him, eyes pleading for something, but he didn't know what. "Draco…"
"Harry, she's…I don't know what's happening." A gut-wrenching sob tore through him as Harry moved closer. Ron and Ginny stepped quietly into the room, almost afraid of what lay before them. "Harry, tell me she'll be alright. Tell me she's not…tell me…" His voice faded into his sobs as his body wracked around Hermione's. Ginny moved to him, gripping his shoulders, holding him against her as her own tears began to flow.
"Don't Harry. Let him be." Ron's voice was strong and steady. He walked calmly past Harry and knelt before Draco, placing a hand on his shoulder and digging in. "It's gonna be alright, Draco." His eyes shot up to meet Ron's. "She's gonna be fine."
Harry didn't move. He knew then that even a boldfaced lie was better than the truth. Joining his friends on the floor, he took Hermione's hand and looked Draco in the eye. "We're all here. We'll be here no matter what." Draco's hand clasped Ron's arm, his sobs subsiding slowly as they all waited.
After what seemed like hours, but was only minutes, Hermione's eyes slipped closed, her breath forming raggedly, short and pained. Draco put his hand on her cheek, letting his fingers tangle in her hair as he stared at her. And then, after one long, drawn out breath, it all stopped. There was no more breath, no more ragged sound emanating from her lips, no more movement. He breathed in shakily, not believing his eyes. Pressing his forehead against hers, he closed his eyes. "Don't leave me. Please, please don't leave me." He closed his eyes and pulled away, eyes never leaving her lips.
"NO! Shut up!" Shaking his friends away he bent over her, sobbing starting anew.
"Ron, get him out of here." Harry looked at Ron, willing him not to argue. Thankfully he didn't, standing roughly and taking Draco by the arms, yanking him away.
"NO! Let go of me! No!" His hands came away from Hermione harshly, jostling her as Ron pulled him away. Ron's arms locked around him, dragging him out of the room and down the stairs. "Get off me Weasley! Let me go!" He struggled all the way through the house, out the doors and into the garden where Ron unceremoniously dropped him on the cold flagstones. He was up in an instant, charging Ron. He barreled into Ron's chest, grappling with him trying to push past him.
"You know I'm bigger than you Malfoy! Back off!" Ron through Draco from him, shoving him to the ground again. "Stay down Draco!" His finger pointed accusingly at Draco's chest. "Stay down." Glaring at Ron, Draco's fingers clawed into the grass between the stones beneath him. "You're not getting back in that house, Malfoy. Stay down."
Harry drew his wand slowly, levitating Hermione up onto the bed. He could hear Ron and Draco fighting outside, but his concentration was unbroken. "Harry…what are we going to do?" Ginny's voice was quiet beside him. When Hermione was resting peacefully on the bed, Harry sat at the edge, holding his head in his hands.
"I don't know Ginny. I don't know." He heard a sharp gasp, then sharp breaths. And then Ginny screamed. Spinning up and around Harry stared at Hermione on the bed. She was sitting strait up, her breath coming in harsh gasps. "Hermione?" Her eyes shot to his.
"Harry…I…" She swallowed hard. "I remember everything."
Standing bitterly, Draco began to pace in the garden. A not so innocent gnome had the misfortune to cross his path and was kicked back into the bushes. Draco ran his hands through his hair, his anger swelling deep within him. Vaguely he heard the door to the kitchen open and close, followed by Weasley's sharp intake of breath. "I don't want to hear it Weasley. Just leave me alone." He turned out towards the rolling hills beyond the garden and breathed. Closing his eyes, he calmed the fury welling in his gut. He felt something on his shoulder, a small hand, gentle and comforting. He knew that hand. He gripped it hard with his hand, holding on to the dream just a little longer. "I wish you were here." The hand disappeared, drawing away from him. And then someone was holding him, their arms snaking around his waist, pressing against his back, their cheek soft on his shoulder-blade.
"I'm here. And I'm never leaving you." His eyes shot open, his body going rigid with hope. He started to turn slowly and the arms loosened, but did not let go. He didn't dare believe what he saw, but it was had not to. She was there, looking up at him, smiling at him. Her hands retreated from around his waist, but his hands stopped them from leaving him. He gripped her wrists hard, not trusting his senses. Her smile faded as she looked at him. "I'm not going anywhere Draco." Slowly, she drew her hand out of his grasp and touched his chest, letting her fingers slide upwards to touch his cheek. "I'm here." She was smiling again. "I remember." Her voice was somber, yet full of hope. "I remember everything, Draco." Stepping closer she felt his hands rest on her hips, unsure. "And I love you." And then her lips touched his. It was a ghost of a kiss, but it was enough. His arms locked around her, sweeping her around, holding her against him as he spun. She smiled against his lips as they twirled. And then they were standing, holding each other, smiling. Draco heard Ron laughing behind them.
"I never figured Malfoy as the kind to 'twirl'…" He laughed harder then. Draco glared at him.
"Oy! Malfoy's do not 'twirl'! We are however known, on occasion, to express extravagant motions based on our deep emotions that can only be conveyed by large gestures—"
"Oh shut it! You twirled." Ron crossed his arms and smiled. Harry and Ginny, standing beside him, grinning like idiots, laughed as Draco pouted.
"Well I think that Malfoy's do twirl, and I absolutely love it." Hermione's voice brought his eyes to hers, and his smile returned.
"Well then…" And then they were spinning again, her feet flying as he twirled her around and around. This time, everything would be perfect. This time, nothing could stand in their way.
Sometime In The Not-So-Distant Future…
It was raining, and his boots squelched in the mud as he made his way down the alley. He came to a door, red in daylight, but in moonlight, it gave off a dark glow, the red turning deep crimson. Raising his hand, he rapped on the door four times, then two, then once, and finally three. He heard the peephole open, then close, and then the door opened a crack, just enough to let him through. Once inside, he pulled down his hood, shrugging off his jacket and hanging it up before proceeding down the long hallway. It was dark, only lit by a few candles, each one giving off a dull, golden light. His dark eyes glinted as he passed each one, his dark purpose growing with each step. When he finally reach the door at the end of the hall, he pushed it open slowly, cautiously. Stepping into the dark room, he noted the seven other attendees. Each wore formal robes, each had their wand lain on the round table before them. Only one seat remained open. Moving silently around the table he nodded to members as he passed them. When he reached the empty seat he pulled it out and lay his wand on the table.
"Gentlemen, lady, you all know why we're here." They nodded. "Over the past few years we've all bided our time, regained out strength." Again, they nodded in agreement. "I know you've been waiting for the right time. And with Harry Potter and his band of blood-traitors relaxing in their post-victory stupor, now is the perfect time. The Dark Lord is gone, and there is nothing we can do about it."
"That's not true—"
"You know just as well as I do that where they sent him, there is no hope of return! I grieve his loss more and more each day. But he would have wanted us to carry on. He would have wanted us to be vigilant now more than ever. Our time has come. It is time for a new order. We all bear the Dark Mark; we all know his power is not gone. Soon, his power will rise, will choose someone to lead us. Until that time when our Lord finds us again, we must meet in secret, we must revitalize our ranks and regain our power. No one shall ever speak of these meetings to anyone. Not even your children. We cannot risk the Light discovering us."
"I thought your wife was happy in her life now. I thought she liked the fact that she no longer had to answer to anybody." The group chuckled.
"My wife is none of your concern. She will do as she pleases, and if the time comes when she is no longer needed, then so be it." He swallowed hard. "Am I being clear enough for you?"
"Of course. But what of Lord and Lady Malfoy? Hermione was a powerful force when the Dark Lord controlled her. What shall become of them now?"
"Hermione Malfoy is a Mudblood and a traitor. And once Lord Voldemort's power is restored and a new leader arises, she shall be dealt with, along with her traitor of a husband." He grinned maniacally. "I hear they're expecting a son now. I hear his power is already showing through his mother. I'm well trusted in their circle, and it isn't hard to keep tabs on the family. They've returned to Malfoy Manor, something about rebuilding and returning the Malfoy name to it's former glory. According to my contact at St. Mungos, their son is more powerful than Harry Potter. According to my contact, he is more powerful than Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter combined." There was a murmur of whispers around the table. "We might not have to wait as long as originally thought for our Dark Lord to return to us." And with that, he took his wand and pointed it at the hard wood center of the table. The seven around him followed. "Morsmordre." Deep green light surged from the tips of all eight wands, branding the table with the skull and snake. Blaise Zabini watched as the snake writhed before them, illuminating the faces of his surrounding Deatheaters. "Bellatrix, Crabb, Macnair, Dolohov, Travers, Yaxley, Rookwood, until we meet again." Standing, the others following suit, Blaise bowed sharply and spun on his heel, leaving the same way his came, and disappearing into the night.
Hermione sat on the patio at Malfoy Manor, her hand moving lightly over her swelling stomach. It was a beautiful day. The rain the night before had cleared the skys and left everything looking fresh and new. She smiled as the sun warmed her skin. Hands on her shoulders startled her, but she calmed when she heard the familiar chuckle. "You scare too easy."
"Can you blame me?" She smiled at her husband.
"No, I really can't." He smiled down at her before kissing her neck. "Come inside. Lunch is ready." He offered her his hand and helped her to stand.
"You know, you get to be a large as a whale and then you try standing and sitting and standing and sitting and standing and sitting over and over and over again. I'm telling you, it's not the most pleasant thing in the world." She groaned as she stood, her back protesting with each movement.
"I'd rather not, thank you. Besides, if we were both pregnant, who'd be taking care of restoring the Manor?" Wrapping his arm around her he guided them back into the house. "And I quite like you pregnant. You glow."
"I glow, do I?" Her arm twined around his waist and she let him lead. "Well, I suppose I can be pregnant." They laughed as they entered the dinning hall. Standing in small groups were all their friends. Harry and Ginny stood with Neville and George. Fred was not too far off chatting with Luna and Seamus. Dean and Oliver were debating the latest Quidditch game, while Ron and Katie stood with the Patil sisters and argued about politics. It was amusing to see Ron argue about politics, but Draco suspected it had something to do with Katie Bell and her rather disarming smile. Gregory Goyle entered awkwardly, but found his place with Fred and Seamus as they discussed the twin's shop and possible business deals. Last to join them were Pansy and Blaise, trotting in last minute and apologizing profusely for their tardiness. Taking their seats, Draco welcomed them all and expressed how happy he was they could all be here. Hermione sat to his right with Harry on his left. Ginny beside him and Ron across from her beside Hermione. That was how the five of them always sat at the frequent dinners and lunches they all shared at Malfoy Manor. The others, who also attended these lunches and dinners, but not so often as Ron, Ginny and Harry, found their seats and began to eat. Blaise sat at the opposite end of the table, staring down it's length at Draco. It made Draco uneasy. However, the meal passed without incident and when they all moved out onto the patio and the grounds beyond for a friendly game of Quidditch, Draco drew Blaise aside before the match began.
"Blaise, you're my oldest friend."
"Well-spotted. What's going on with you?" Blaise smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes.
"I think the better question is, 'what's going on with you, old friend?'" Crossing his arms Draco looked into his friend's eyes. He was hiding something.
"What do you mean? Nothing's going on."
"Pansy told me you haven't been home lately. She thinks you're having an affair. I told her it wasn't possible, but you're hiding something."
"I'm not hiding anything. I've just been busy with work."
"Fine, fine, don't tell me. Just know that I know." Draco glared at Blaise. "I know you're hiding something, and I'm going to find out what it is. We may be old friends, but I don't trust you anymore Blaise. You lost that long ago." Blaise frowned.
"I'm sorry you don't trust me Draco." He stepped closer. "But if I remember correctly, who's really the untrustworthy man here? Hmm? If I remember correctly, it was you who betrayed everyone around you and switched sides all those years ago. If I remember correctly, it was you, not I, who made everyone believe you were a dedicated Deatheater only to betray us all in the end. Be warned Draco, there are still Deatheaters out there. Your aunt among them, and they're very powerful, very angry, and very well hidden. You and your family might not be as safe as you think." With that, he turned on his heel and moved to Pansy, grabbed her arm and directed her back into the house. No doubt they were leaving, and Draco knew it was because something his said riled Blaise, and something was definitely wrong.
"Oy! Draco, you coming?" Fred's voice carried heavily from the sky. Draco nodded and waved up, summoning his broom and flying over to Hermione.
"Kiss for luck?" He grinned devilishly at her. She smiled back and pecked him lightly.
"Good luck, my love." Smiling brightly she watched him soar high into the sky. They were happy, they were safe. She was with her family and friends, and life was finally heading in the right direction.
OH. MY. GOD. That took forever. I'm actually quite satisfied with this final chapter though. It went in a bit of a different direction than I originally thought, but I'm really happy with it. It was, however, touch and go there for a minute with Hermione. I couldn't decide for the longest time if I wanted to kill her or not. That's mainly what took so long for me to finish this chapter. On another note, what did you all think? What the ending what you wanted? Did you hate it? Was it too happy, sappy, cheesy or all of the above? I love hearing what you all think, and seeing as how this is the final chapter and there will not be another one, you need to tell me what's up. Pretty please? And do tell if you want there to be a sequel, because I've left it open for one, but it probably won't happy any time soon. I need to focus on My Little Mermaid, and a few others stories that are in the works right now. But please, leave a review, tell me what you think, and if there should be a sequel or not. And thank you all for reading, for sticking with me from the beginning, and for all your support. It's truly been a pleasure writing this story, and it's sad to see it go. But above all, thank you for reading. It means a lot.
-The Crimson Sheath