A/N: And this is it. I love you all :)
Thanks mucho to: ItsOnMars, potatocrazy4, fat1236, KatenHaanrath, Amortentiaa, Lightest'Ink, Loriann, Ceylon, BelovedSaiai, kyky7787, LK1995, PsychoticAviatrix, LauraFlowi, and Hartwi1 for reviewing last chapter!
ItsOnMars: Thank you so much! That's an insanely huge compliment, and I appreciate it :) You're too nice!
Amortentiaa: Thank you! I promise that I will try :) I have an idea for one, but have to flesh the idea out a little bit more before I actually consider posting the first chapter, which is completed. Or else there will be insanely long periods of time in between updates. :D
PsychoticAviatrix: Really? Thank you so much! What a compliment :) And you definitely need to get to a computer soon! And yeah, the whole idea of the Pansy part of the story actually just sort of came to me while writing the chapter that it was in. If I had thought of it sooner I would've hinted at it a bit more, but it just sort of...hit me. I admit that I'm not the best when it comes to planning out my stories in great detail, but I'm trying to be better about it!
Draco Malfoy had never been so nervous in his entire life. He had not been this nervous when he was going on trial for all of the crimes he had committed, had not been this nervous when he had proposed, had not been this nervous when Harry had asked that he be there when Ginny had her first baby, had not been this nervous when someone on the streets had screamed at him for being a Death Eater and drawn much unwanted attention and demanded that he be taken to Azkaban at that moment.
It had been two years since the end of the war, and he was getting married.
Both he and his fiancée had agreed that they should actually go through the 'dating process' before they jump into marriage, as she had wanted before. And he had proposed exactly four months ago.
Everyone had been so incredibly excited. His mother and Mrs. Weasley had immediately got to work on planning the decorations, Harry and Ron had congratulated them, the twins planned how much firewhisky they would need to order and how extravagant they could get the fireworks to be, and Hermione had been pulled aside by Ginny to discuss some girl-related topic that he could only guess at. Harry and Ginny had already been married. In fact, they had wasted no time, and had gotten married immediately after the War had ended. Their first child, a boy, was one year old, named James Sirius Potter.
Harry and Ron had jumped into the Auror occupation headfirst and had passed the test with flying colors. After all, they had had more hands-on experience than many. Ginny had jumped into professional Quidditch in no time and was quite the star. Hermione had started out with a job at the Ministry, first being in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, and then working her way up to a high position in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Luna lived a quaint little life, running the Quibbler. Neville had assisted in the rebuilding of Hogwarts and was now the Herbology teacher. Draco also worked in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. In fact, he had contributed quite a bit in finding Death Eaters that were still in hiding and making lists of the Death Eaters still at large.
On Draco's first day at work he had run into one of his old acquaintances, Blaise Zabini. He and Zabini had never been too entirely close in Hogwarts, as he had not been too much of a talker, but it seemed that something had happened to his fellow Slytherin over the course of the war. He still was silent, although not as much, but it was more of a strong silence rather than an antisocial one, and he was rather good company to be honest. They had grown close over the two years they had been working together, and when he had told Blaise that he was getting married to Hermione Granger, the man had congratulated him with a smile and a handshake, not at all what Draco had been expecting, even though he should have guessed that Blaise would have thrown his old prejudices behind him. He never asked his friend what he had gone through in the war to change him, and he supposed he never wanted to know. All he knew was that Blaise had lost his entire family to the war and lived alone. Draco remembered the day he had asked Blaise to accompany him to the Weasley's for dinner. Their normal company had been apprehensive at first, but Blaise had been polite and made conversation with everyone there.
If someone had once told Draco Malfoy that, after contributing to the end of the War, he would be getting married to Hermione Granger with Blaise Zabini as his best man (Ron and Harry both being Hermione's Maid-Of-Honors, which he had initially laughed quite a bit at), he would've laughed in their face and known that they were crazy. It would've been bloody obvious. But here he was, standing next to Blaise in a suit, feeling queasy, and trying his best to ignore his mother, who was weeping in the front row.
And then he saw her.
She was on the arm of Harry dressed in a simple strapless white dress that he had overheard had been her mother's. He had no idea how she had recovered it but supposed it had still been in her parents' home. The dress was tied at the waist with a satin ribbon and flowed from the waist down to her feet, trailing behind her in an elegant fashion. She lifted her chin slightly and caught sight of him. He only just realized that he was smiling, and she smiled back at him, her eyes lighting with something he was familiar with.
And he knew that this was right.
He'd probably have to amputate his hand off – at the rate she was going, she would probably have it squeezed off first. He grimaced and decided to say nothing. After all, she was the one going through the birth of their very first child.
Draco tried to tone out the commands of the nurses and doctors and his wife's screams. He was feeling a bit queasy, and the fact that Hermione was trying to squeeze the life out of his hand was not helping. Harry had taken this a lot better than he – Harry had actually been there in mentality and by her side, offering words of comfort. He, however, was trying to imagine that he was at their nice little home in the country – yes, that was better. His mother lived at the Manor and he and Hermione had had a house constructed on a little hill in the countryside. She had not wanted their house to be that large, so he had relented and thrown away his plans of a mansion (with a bit of grumbling and complaining, of course). When he had learned of Hermione's pregnancy it had been a total shock – they hadn't even been trying to have a child. After the shock came the horror. He didn't know how to be a father! It's not like his own had been that much of a role model. Hermione's words of encouragement had not helped, either.
He couldn't raise a child. He didn't know how. He didn't know what to do; how to make them love him. What if his own child hated him? He didn't want that. But didn't kids with poor fathers usually turn out to be the same? He couldn't be the same as his father. He and Hermione had fought quite long and hard about what to do with the child. Draco wanted to raise his child, yes, but he did not want his own baby to grow up to resent him. And then the other children and parents would know that their baby was the child of a Death Eater. What if that made the other kids afraid of Draco's child?
"Mr. Malfoy?" Draco snapped back to reality at the sound of his surname and looked up. A nurse was there, holding a little slimy thing in her arms. "Would you like to hold your son?"
He nodded silently and took the little crying thing in his arms. He looked into his son's gray eyes and realized that he had helped create this little bundle of life. He was so small, with his little chubby fingers and toes and his tiny little nose. Draco was suddenly afraid he would break his own son. He seemed so fragile, so easily broken. His son, his son squirmed and met his father's eyes with a little bit of questioning and curiosity. Draco looked at Hermione, who was smiling down at the bundle in his arms.
"His name?" The nurse asked.
Hermione answered with the name that both she and Draco had decided on (with much arguments and tantrums). "Jaden."
Draco looked back at his son and grinned. He could do this.
"Remember when Mad-Eye turned Draco into a ferret? Merlin, that was one of the funniest things I'd ever seen."
Everyone laughed at Ron's memory, well, everyone except Draco, of course, who scowled at the redhead. "That wasn't me." Mad-Eye said gruffly, his electric blue eye turning on Ron, who shrugged.
"Well, at the time we thought it was."
"Why'd he turn you into a ferret, Daddy?" Draco's daughter, Addison, turned from her position in her father's lap to stare at her dad questioningly. Her brown eyes twinkled in confusion and he tugged her blond hair, tied in a ponytail, in an attempt to avoid having to answer the question.
"Because he was a git." His brown-haired son said from where he was sitting with James and Albus, Harry and Ginny's children. James was ten (and naturally thought he was one of the wisest things on the earth) and both Jaden and Albus were eight. The Potter's youngest child, Lily, and Draco's daughter were both five. Ron and Luna's (yes, they had all been equally surprised when the odd couple began their relationship) had two children as well, Hugo (at the age of six) and Rose, who was only two years old.
"Jaden!" Hermione scolded, slapping her son on the back of the head good-naturedly, who scowled in a very Draco-like way.
"Really, Daddy?" Addie turned to stare at him in awe, as if wondering how he could ever do something that would earn him the insult.
Draco had learned every meaning of the phrase 'Daddy's Little Girl'. The first time Draco had held his daughter, he had had an overwhelming sense of the need to protect her from all harm. He had gotten a good taste of parenting from raising Jaden already, and was a little less apprehensive at the whole prospect. When Harry had jokingly said that maybe one day Hugo and Addie would date, he had nearly keeled over. His daughter…dating? Ha, she wouldn't be dating until she was twenty.
And that was when he realized he was an overprotective father. But he didn't really care. And besides, his daughter could do much better than Weasley's children.
The train whistled loudly, signaling that the last of the passenger's should board quickly. Hermione was kissing the top of her son's head and holding him tightly to her chest as if she could never let go. "Why does Jaden have to go, Daddy?" Addison asked from atop his shoulders.
"Because he has to go learn Magic."
"Am I gonna go to Hogwarts?"
"Not until you're eleven."
Draco stepped forward and pried his son from his mother's embrace. Hermione wiped her eyes and smiled a wet smile at her young son, who grinned eagerly, his back straight and his gray eyes lighting with excitement. Draco hugged his son and said, "Hurry, before they leave without you."
Jaden joined with Albus and hopped onto the train. Both of their heads immediately popped out of a window of a compartment and began waving frantically at their parents. Both Hermione and Ginny were an emotional wreck as Draco and Harry waved at their departing children. Addie leaned forward on his shoulders and called out to her brother, and Lily, who was hanging on to Ginny's hand, did the same. "Tell Neville we said hi!" Harry yelled at his son, who nodded in agreement. James was in the back of the train with his Third Year friends. He waved once and vanished from sight.
"I can't believe he's already off to Hogwarts." Hermione whispered, her hand on her chest as the train disappeared from sight. "Can you believe it, Draco?"
"No, I can't."
And the train turned the corner and was utterly lost from view. Draco took a deep breath, not quite expecting the sudden feeling of loss that washed over him. His son was beginning his life. He, himself, had once stood on this very platform, quite a different boy than what his son was. He had looked down on everyone present and thought he was on top of the world.
It wasn't the end, but rather the beginning. Hermione lifted her daughter off of his shoulders and held her close, as if dreading the moment when her last child would depart for Hogwarts. He followed her as they left the Platform, missing one of their children. Draco took the hand of his wife and smiled softly at her. She returned the gesture with wet eyes.
And they left the Platform with the flow of the other parents. Their adventures may have come to a close, but the adventures of their children were only just beginning. Their lives were far from over; they would still watch their kids grow. They still had many more arguments left in their lives and many more "I love you"s to say. And Draco still had to kick the arse of whatever unfortunate soul decided he wanted to date his daughter.
It was far from the end, but rather a new beginning to a new chapter in their lives.
A/N: So epilogues aren't exactly my strong point. I couldn't decide what events in their life to include and how detailed I should be. I thought a lot about writing about Addie going through the dating process and Draco's children becoming teenagers and going through all that fun angst, but decided I'd leave the end open. I like where I ended it, and I hope you do too :)
So a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has ever put this story on their Alerts, Favorites, or reviewed. Every single one of you made me get my lazy butt to the computer and write the next chapter to this story. I can't believe I finished it that fast. And I never, ever imagined that I would be getting over 200 reviews. That's crazy! It was more of a dream of mine, and I can't believe it happened.
I do have an idea for a new Dramione called Love Is Blind, and it will be a bit different from this one if I end up posting it. Draco will be a LOT more grouchy and rude and mean, so, in other words, he will be more like Draco. I have to think of a more detailed plot before I begin posting it, though. And, for me, school starts this Monday, which means I will be quite a bit busier and there will be a lot less time for writing. I also have written a One-Shot that I'll probably post in a few days, so check that out and tell me what you think :)
Things I meant to include in Asylum but never got to it:
1. This story is categorized under 'Angst', but as I wrote it, most of the angst that I had originally planned sort of vanished. So there was supposed to be A LOT more angst, but I decided against it.
2. It was supposed to take a lot longer for Hermione to regain her sanity. I was going to have them in Azkaban for longer than what actually happened. But it grew too repetitive and boring so I sped it up but quite a bit.
3. I meant to explain how Snape was getting a bit of karma. He made fun of Sirius for being practically trapped in Grimmauld Place and being unable to leave, and then the exact same thing happening to Snape. By the time I was ready to fit this in, it didn't exactly go anywhere, so I just scrapped it.
Once again, THANK YOU to everyone who reviewed! I LOVE YOU ALL!