Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer own these boys. No copyright infringement or offense is intended.
Thank you to ArcadianMaggie for betaing and to ltlerthqak and Melooza for prereading help!
Chapter Twenty: Epilogue
"What does it say, love?"
The owl had come almost an hour before, but Draco hadn't moved from his position by the window overlooking the water. Edward had watched him, curious, as he'd opened the letter and read it quickly, a peculiar look crossing his face at the message inside, but Draco hadn't said anything. Most likely it was a note from Snape—they came often these days, filled with vague statements about the ongoing wizarding war. One thing was certain, however; Voldemort's side was gaining strength in numbers and Draco was worried about his family's position.
There was still no reply, and Edward let it go, trying, and failing, to turn his attention back to his novel. He knew better than to press Draco when he was thinking. The blond would come to him when he was ready.
The owl, a scraggly creature with knowing yellow eyes, perched on Draco's chair next to the fire, warming itself from its undoubtedly tiring journey. The winters were harsh here. Luckily, by unspoken agreement, Edward and Draco usually kept the fire burning during the long, cold nights.
The cottage was comfortably furnished in a plain but tasteful style, with a breathtaking view of the rocky shoreline of one of the Outer Hebrides' most remote uninhabited islands. Though the land was stark, low-lying, and relatively barren, the arrangements were nicer than the cabin in the Forbidden Forest they'd set out on foot from six months before. Things had almost gone badly when Draco had caught the scent of human campers. Luckily, they'd been far enough away that Edward had been able to regain control of Draco before he attacked, but he'd gotten his arm wrenched out of the socket in the process. After the bloodlust had abated and they'd moved downwind of the humans, Draco had been contrite and had apologized in his own way by fussing over Edward, though by then the injury had already nearly healed. It was impressive Draco had been able to resist at all, and Edward told him so—foolishly, perhaps, because Draco never tired of reminding him again, and again, and again.
Draco's accidental magic had been more difficult to master, but he'd made substantial progress in the past couple months. Edward only very rarely wound up levitating during sex these days, and weeks had gone by without the ceiling caving in. Still, Draco would need training, and he was eager to flex the untapped power they both knew he possessed.
Draco's light tread drew Edward's eyes from the page he'd been pretending to read. He held out the letter.
"It's from Potter," he said.
Surprised, Edward took the paper and looked it over.
I hope this letter finds you well, if it finds you at all. My own owl has been killed, you see, and you never know with these rentals.
Anyway, you're probably wondering why I'm contacting you. There's no use denying we've never been friends, but things are different now, at least for me.
I think we might have a job for you—with your bloke, if he still is—but I can't elaborate more given the circumstances. If you're interested, send an affirmative reply and we'll set a place and time to meet.
"A job," Edward said, re-reading the letter and finding it frustratingly absent of detail. "With the resistance fighting Voldemort?" He tried not to focus on the phrase "if he still is" and the jealousy that threatened his composure. It no longer bothered him to be jealous, especially since the revelation that Draco was even worse than he. About two months before, Alice and Jasper had visited and stayed for a week. It had been over a year since Edward had seen them, but the slight initial awkwardness had given way quickly, and soon it was as if no time had passed. Yet despite their best efforts to include him, Draco had maintained his distance, sullen and moodier than usual. When Edward asked what was wrong, he'd received a characteristically snippy retort. One day Draco had flown into a rage as Edward and Jasper roughhoused on the beach, using his magic to drag Edward's brother off and toss him into the water nearly a mile from the shore. Jasper had swum back with little problem and laughed it off, but it hadn't exactly ingratiated Draco with him. Still, Edward hadn't been able to stay angry, replaying what Draco had said as Jasper dangled from one ankle as if held by an unseen hook: Get your hands off my mate.
After many assurances that Draco had absolutely nothing to worry about from Jasper of all people—Jasper, who was happily mated to the girl Edward considered his sister—Draco had relaxed and apologized. The incident had also led to some of the best sex they'd ever had, a frantic coupling in the rocky surf. Just thinking about it had Edward shifting in his chair.
"I would imagine that's what it means, yes," Draco said, plucking the note out of his hand and folding it before sliding it into his pocket. "Though it is rather vague."
Edward crossed his arms, looking up at his lover—it was still sometimes difficult to focus on anything aside from Draco's beauty. He'd grown even more handsome since they'd come to the island, well fed as he was on seal (though he abhorred it). Edward didn't particularly enjoy the limited diet, either, and in recent weeks they'd discussed leaving, though no definite plans had been made.
"What do you think?"
"I don't know," Draco replied, moving to sit opposite Edward. The casualness of his tone belied the obviously serious thoughts he must have been having while staring silently at the sea for over an hour. The owl ruffled its feathers and hooted softly, skirting to the far end of its perch as if aware of the danger.
"Well, obviously he was worried about interception. Are you sure it's from him?"
"I'd recognize that abhorrent penmanship anywhere." Draco fished out the note again and examined it, nodding.
The owl hooted again, obviously wanting to be off. Draco silenced it with a flick of his wrist, producing a treat.
Edward smiled. Draco's wandless magic was still a wonder to behold. "What are you going to reply?" He suspected Draco wanted to return to the wizarding world, and wondered if this was the catalyst that would set things in motion.
Draco's eyes met his, the redness faded now to a vibrant burnt gold. "I think we should go."
"You think you're ready? It will be very . . . different from here. It's hard to deal with the temptation, even for an older vampire." Edward didn't bother to mention that Harry's interest in Draco didn't seem to have faded much over time. He didn't exactly relish the idea of the two of them working closely together, even if it was for the right cause.
"Like you?" Draco teased.
Edward shot him a mock-glare. "Ha."
"I never imagined I'd be mated to such a testy old man."
Edward rolled his eyes at the jibe while secretly thrilling at the other words. Draco was his; they were bound together with a force stronger than one Harry could ever exert.
"You weren't complaining an hour ago," Edward said.
Draco raised his eyebrows and said, "Touché," making it easy to imagine the faint blush that would have pinked his cheeks if he were still human. It was the one thing Edward missed.
"I need to make sure my family is safe," Draco said, becoming serious. "I know I can't reveal myself to them. . . . yet. But maybe I could do something."
"You want to help defeat Voldemort?" Draco was certainly much more powerful now; there was little reason to fear he'd be easily hurt. If he wanted to use those powers for good, to atone for the things he'd done, Edward understood.
Draco's face clouded, his fine eyebrows drawing together. He sat staring at the fire for some minutes before he spoke again.
"Ridiculous," he said, curling his hands against his knees. "Utter nonsense."
"What is?" Edward asked, confused.
Draco didn't seem to hear him. "To think I could . . . it's just impossible."
"Hey," Edward said, "What are you talking about?" Sometimes Draco wanted to be left alone with his troubles, and sometimes he wanted them coaxed out. In the past six months Edward had learned enough to know this was an example of the latter instance.
"I can't go back there."
"Listen to me . . . It's not a good idea. My parents, if they see me—Edward. I'm a . . . a . . ." The last few words hung in the air, but the meaning was clear. Draco looked away. "They'll despise me."
A pang shot through Edward's chest. A monster, Edward thought gloomily. He'd believed the same for so long, but Draco had made him see a different side of himself. Something more. Now Draco was feeling that same self-loathing . . . and it was Edward's fault. He'd done this.
"I see," he mustered, trying to mask the hurt in his voice. He couldn't say anything else.
Draco's eyes met his, widening in understanding. "No, that's not what I meant. I was trying to say . . . it's my parents; they'll not understand. I wanted this, and I'm happy." Draco's voice grew more desperate. "You have to believe me."
Edward tried to repress his dark thoughts. Draco had, after all, grown up in a society where blood was all, where his parent's hopes rested on him carrying on the family line. How ironic, now, for blood to be the one thing he truly craved, but didn't have, and that the family dynasty would continue, perhaps for eternity, but not in the way the Malfoys intended.
"Okay," he said softly.
"I was just trying to say, badly, that I don't think they'll ever . . . they won't accept me, like this. And I'm not sure I can—I'm not ready to—have them hate me."
"They won't," Edward said, and not only because he couldn't imagine ever hating Draco. He knew how much the Malfoys doted on their son, and it was more than him just being their heir. He'd seen the way Narcissa looked at him; she loved Draco and would accept him in any form. He suspected that even Lucius, in time, would grow to accept the change—especially when he learned of Draco's newfound power. But that couldn't happen while Voldemort was still alive.
"You don't understand. You don't know them. I—"
"If your parents are cold-hearted enough to wish you dead rather than . . . what you are . . . then I say good-riddance. Listen. You're still you—the same person you were, inside. They'll love you no matter what."
Draco's eyes widened, making him look more fragile than he'd seemed since he'd been changed. "But that's part of the problem," Draco said, "I don't think I want to be the same person. I was so afraid before—and Salazar knows I'll never be a bloody Hufflepuff, but . . . I did terrible things. It would be nice to be on the right side. For once."
"You already are," Edward said, feeling the coldness recede from his chest when Draco smiled. "It might take some time, but your parents will understand. They'll be happy to have you . . . er . . . alive. And surely their loyalty to you will overshadow their loyalty to Vol—the Dark Lord."
"Voldemort," Draco said. Edward raised his eyebrows, surprised. Draco shrugged. "It's just a name, isn't it?"
"Yes. It's just a name. So . . . we're doing this?"
Draco nodded, looking back at the fire. "Yes. Though I don't particularly wish to work with the sodding Gryffindors . . . even if Harry isn't as terrible as I once believed."
The utterance of Potter's given name had Edward stiffening in his chair. it was even more shocking than his use of Voldemort's. Draco glanced back, an assessing glint in his eye. "You're jealous," he accused.
"You are," Draco said, his smirk returning, growing wider as he stood. The movement startled the owl, which flew to the opposite side of the room and landed with a disgruntled hoot on the never-used kitchen counter. "Don't hide it. You know I like it when you're a little jealous."
Edward smiled as Draco climbed into his lap and settled there, pointedly grinding his hips.
"You don't need to sweeten me up, you know," Edward said, his own interest growing evident despite his words. "I'll go with you, if that's what you want to do. But we'll have to take it slowly, not move immediately into highly populated areas."
Draco hummed, skimming his lips over Edward's neck. "You'll help restrain me?"
"If I must. But hopefully you won't need to be restrained."
"What if I want you to restrain me?"
Desire ran sharply up Edward's spine; the next time Draco canted his hips, he caught and stilled them. "I think that can be arranged."
Sex was nothing like it had been while Draco was human—preparation wasn't strictly necessary anymore, though often Edward enjoyed taking the time to open Draco up with his tongue and his fingers before he took him. This wasn't one of those moments. And though they'd only fucked a couple of hours before, Draco's body would be tight. Edward growled at the thought.
He pushed Draco to the floor and held his hands above his head, pressing them down with more effort than he'd ever admit to. As a newborn Draco was still much stronger, but this was the game he wanted to play.
"You don't want to fuck me this time?" Edward asked. He knew what the answer would be, what Draco's preference was, but he wanted to hear it.
"No," Draco said. He grimaced. "Please."
"Merlin's bollocks, you're a prat. I asked nicely."
"You're awfully greedy today." Edward squeezed Draco's erection through the fine wool, and then let his hand drift lower.
"Fuck, Edward." Draco let out an impatient whine as Edward stroked lightly, making Edward chuckle.
"Well, since you did ask nicely."
They kissed viciously, teeth clashing in an effort to get closer until clothes became a frustrating obstacle. With a quick tear that had Draco cursing—he loved those trousers and was tired of mending them—Edward flipped Draco over and braced himself behind, lining his cock up and plunging inside. Draco's spine curved like a cat's at the force of it, arching into the rhythm as Edward thrust deep, just barely moistened by the venom he'd slicked himself with. He set a punishing pace, his cock growing harder with the friction of the tight grip.
Draco tilted his head back for a kiss, and Edward paused, leaning forward carefully to keep himself inside as their mouths met again, this time slowly, a tangle of wet tongues.
Edward opened his eyes as their lips separated, and the expression on Draco's face would have caught his breath in his throat, had he had any. He had to look away, nuzzling into Draco's neck to whisper the words he needed to say but couldn't say loudly—not at that moment—because they were too soft. No one had ever given this to him before, this feeling of completeness, and it wasn't just the sex, not anymore; it was everything Draco accepted in him—the darkness that he shared and fought, the light that could have been snuffed out, almost was, but each had at last saved in the other. Draco moaned and moved his hips, saying dirty things that drove Edward mad, sweet things that would make him scoff if Edward reminded him later. He meant them just the same.
Finally, with a shudder and a growl, Edward fell forward, bracing himself out of habit as he pulsed deeply inside, completely spent and more alive than he'd ever felt, even from his time as a human. Draco was working his own cock quickly, hand trapped by the floor and splintering the wood. Edward rolled to the side and drew Draco against his chest, reaching down to claim those last moments for himself. Draco was always beautiful, but never so much as now, head thrown back and teeth bared, looking for someplace to bite. Sometime Edward would give him his neck, not caring about the scars.
Later, after the owl had been sent away with the reply, a short and simple Yes, we'll come, Edward sat down at the piano. Draco had shrunk it and snuck it in his luggage—so you'll have something to keep you out of my hair, he'd said. Edward knew the real reason was because he loved to hear Edward play.
He'd fallen into the rhythm of the music when Draco entered the room and came to sit beside him.
"Don't stop on my account," Draco said, but his voice made Edward still his hands. He turned and saw immediately that something was wrong.
"Are you all right? Any problem mending the trousers?"
The blond snorted and shook his head. "They're fine . . . I don't suppose I can ask you to please stop tearing them. But—"
"Nope." Edward interrupted. Draco gave him a peevish look and continued.
"I just, I was thinking. Before I sent the owl, I didn't ask what you wanted to do. If you wanted to . . . come with me. I just assumed."
It didn't bother Edward that Draco had assumed, not really, but he decided to play a little. He frowned. "Yes, that's true. You did."
"If you don't . . . I mean, well . . . I don't know. I need to do this, but I want you, too. I just—"
"Draco," Edward said, cutting him off. "You didn't let me finish. What I was going to say is that before when you assumed, you assumed correctly."
"You'll come with me?" Draco asked, his hand slipping easily into Edward's. His eyes seemed to shimmer in the low light of the cabin, a darker, more intense gold than he'd ever seen. Edward leaned forward and kissed him soundly.
"Of course I'll come," he said. "I'll stay with you forever."
A/N: First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who took a chance on this fic; I know it was a bit out the comfort zone for some of you being a crossover, but I've treasured your support and reviews. I know some of you would like to see a sequel, and while that prospect isn't entirely off the table, if it does happen it is not likely for some time. Thanks again to my beta and pre-reading team for their fabulous help and thoughtful comments. I couldn't have done it without you. Love you ladies.
Until next time,