EPILOGUE #2

Malfoy Manor – Wiltshire, England

5 June, 2003

Hermione was married under the moonlight in the gardens. Everyone she loved who still lived was in attendance.

Her parents had come all the way from Australia, where they'd decided to stay after having their memories restored by her last year. The Weasleys were in attendance, too. They had taken a bad hit between the war and the plague, and now there was only Ginny, Charlie, Arthur, Bill, and Fleur left. But they had all come, and they had stood up with everyone else and watched her bind her life to Draco's with cheers and smiles for her, no matter their reservations about her marrying a Vampire - and especially a Malfoy one (only Ginny thought it romantic). Of her school friends and former teachers, Hermione had further reconnected with Neville Longbottom, Minerva McGonagall, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Aurora Sinistra, Lavender Brown, Seamus Finnegan and Luna Lovegood over the past few months, and although it had taken some serious convincing them, too, that her lover had changed - literally - they had all shown up tonight to celebrate this important moment with her.

On Draco's side, he had only his aunt, Andromeda, his nephew, Teddy, and his Vampire brothers - the friends who had stayed with him through their trial by fire. Of the latter, some of them still lived at the Manor, but over the last year and a half, others had moved out to adjust to their new lives the best they could.

Lucian Bole and Peregine Derrick had been the first to leave the Manor in June the year before, once London had been sanctioned 'clean' and the quarantine lifted by the Muggle government and the new Ministry. The two men, along with Mafalda and Latisha had set up residence in a large penthouse suite of some posh hotel overlooking Hyde Park (in effect, they simply took the spot over, and no one dared dispute their ownership after the fact, given that they were two rather intimidating Vampires). Presumably, the "fuck-fest" recommenced there, at least for a few more months.

The two women, however, finally decided this past October that they had wanted to get out and see what the newly bustling city had to offer and parted ways with their Masters, who removed their collars and wished them well. Recently, Lucian had found a girl and convinced her to come home to share with Peregrine. They were "downsizing," according to a grinning Perri, who had his arm about the lovely, dark-skinned witch, while Lucian nibbled on her neck. Meanwhile, Mafalda and Latisha were making their way through the eligible male population of London, enjoying being alive and experiencing freedom. They were all very amicable towards each other as they met again at the wedding for the first time in almost seven months.

Theodore and Felicity had been next. They journeyed to Nott's abandoned family home in August, 2002 and made it their permanent residence. Tonight, they'd skipped out on most of the ceremony, too excited to shag in their old room inside the house, according to a chuckling Blaise. Apparently, Nott and Felicity were happy, but she was still very much human and didn't seem willing to be Embraced to change that fact. The jury was still out on them lasting as a result.

Abigail had let Zabini Embrace her soon after they moved into his family's posh townhouse closer to London this past January. Turning her had been allowed by special dispensation by the Giovanni Clan leaders – who had a set rule that Giovanni only turned people who were blood family. It was considered Blaise's 'reward' for his part in stopping the Vampire-zombie plague from spreading, and for destroying the one who had been behind the bio-terror attack (the Giovanni had been absolutely disgusted by Warrington's purposeful spread of the disease by biting his own sire, and were brimming with approval for Zabini helping Draco kill and dispose of the blasphemous Tremere).

Zabini boasted at the reception that his Abby was a better Vampire than he was, and it was clear from their banter that their match was a good set. How they satisfied their need for fresh blood was anyone's guess, but Hermione thought it quite likely that they got their needs met through a blood bank, for it didn't seem likely that Abby would tolerate a third-party in their relationship – not even a Childer. She seemed rather possessive of not only Zabini's attentions, but his body parts and fluids as well. For his part, Blaise seemed to love her claim upon him.

Not everyone was in attendance, though. Warrington was obviously, thankfully dead. Patricia had left Britain, as promised, never to return. Last Hermione had heard, the witch was living in Hawaii, an island chain that was known to have no Vampires living upon it and was sunny for longer periods of the day because of its proximity to the Equator. They had no contact after a few owls in the couple of months after her Master's death.

Surprisingly, Eleanor had Apparated in to the wedding just before the ceremony had begun, looking as lovely and healthy as she'd always had the potential to be, but she was dateless. Hermione noticed her looking for her former Master in the crowd, but there was no sign of Evan. She hadn't heard from him since he'd left the Manor the day he'd set Ellie free. She didn't think he'd ever show his face to any of them again, honestly.

Adrian and Vicky had split in May last year. She'd apparently scratched that itch for the rough, kinky stuff, and settled on a nice, normal wizard who owned a small bookshop in Manchester, looking to start a family. Nine months later, she'd delivered a healthy baby boy. Because she was a mother to a three month old now, she'd sent her regrets at not being able to attend the midnight services. However, she'd made up for her absence in the form of an old text on Toreador Vampires from the sixteenth century that her husband had found at her request. Draco had had to physically take the book out of her hands and hide it to prevent her from ditching their plans of a honeymoon in favour of staying put and cracking open the book.

Adrian, meanwhile, had avoided emotional entanglements since Vicky, sticking to one-offs he purchased off the streets for his food and sex needs, as he'd been really hurt by his ex so callously dumping him, and then further rubbing salt in the wound by getting up the duff so soon after their split. Time healed all wounds, though – or so it seemed, as he was now sincerely chatting up Ginny, who appeared rather receptive to his advances. Her friend would have to be warned of his kinky bedroom preferences, of course, but even then, it seemed rather likely that Gin would make a good counter to Adrian's point. The two were very much alike in terms of seeking out a thrill to conquer, and Hermione knew that Ron's little sister had a bold heart and a daring, inquisitive side that just might match Pucey's wild nature. It could be fun for both of them. It could be more. Who knew?

To no one's surprise, Goyle still lived at the Manor and had married Sage within a month of the cure having been distributed to the Muggles. To the young couple's luck and delight, it turned out the Gangrel had a penchant for monogamy as well – something to do with a wolf infusion of blood in the line somewhere – and so Greg was able to take a mate and grant her a part of his life-energy as a result. She would age, he'd been told by the Gangrel Clan leader in Europe, but it would be very, very slowly. The Clan leader's own mate was human, and she was over two-hundred, and still looked no older than a woman in her mid-twenties.

It was nice to have another female in the large Manor house, honestly, and Greg seemed good company for Draco. The four often spent time together - moonlight picnics on the lawn or working together in the greenhouse, playing Muggle card or board games in the study, reading in the library to each other, trips into London to visit The Leaky Cauldron, to shop in Diagon Alley, to see a Muggle movie or concert, or to watch a wizarding play, and trips to nighttime Quidditch matches. Hermione was teaching Sage how to play the piano, too (all of those lessons her parents had forced her to take as a child were paying off finally!). It was fun to be roommates, in a sense, again. She'd missed that type of familial company since leaving Hogwarts.

As she and Draco stood talking with Greg and Sage now, she noted Goyle was absently stroking the Grangrel crest that had been tattooed on the inside of his wife's left wrist – the mark of his mate. It was a very sensual and loving thing to do, Hermione thought, and she decided right then and there that she wanted a Toreador rose tattooed on her – only some place a little more risqué.

Her new husband stroked over the sway of her hind, obviously having read her thoughts, letting her know where the tattoo should go. As discreetly as possible, Hermione took his hand and eased it over a spot just below her left hip, in the soft skin just inside the cradle of her pelvis. That's where she would want her tattoo to be, she thought.

A low growl escaped Draco's throat, and it didn't take a genius to understand that it was an overtly sexual sound. Greg stopped in mid-sentence at hearing the tone, his gaze passing back and forth between his best friend and her, and then he actually blushed as he caught on.

"Greg, my darling, I'm parched," Sage directed him, wise in the subtle cues (or not so much, in Hermione and Draco's case) of couples, and trying to find a polite way out of the conversation to give the happy bride and groom a moment alone. "Would you like a champagne, too?" she asked them.

"No, thank you," Hermione replied and covertly pinched the back of her lover's wandering hand in warning as he tried to inch it down her form from where she'd earlier left it at rest. "Go and enjoy yourselves. We'll catch up later."

They went, and Hermione whirled on her husband, intending upon having a nice long talk with her husband about behaving himself for a few more hours until the shindig ended. That conversation, however, ended up with him dragging her out of the garden, into his private study, and shagging her across the massive wooden desk from behind.

"Right here," he pushed her silky wedding dress higher up her waist to bare as much skin as possible and traced the spot on her swayed spine, just above her bottom – the spot that he'd caressed earlier. "My rose, right here." He sank deep into her in a slow, torturous rhythm as he stroked her sensitive flesh.

"And what" – PANT WIGGLE GROAN – "about a tattoo for you?"

They discussed it in detail… when they could actually talk beyond muttered profanities and sultry cajoling of each other to fuck harder, thrust deeper, and moan louder. Hermione was actually shouting her mate's name in a chanted prayer like he was her own special deity as he brought her closer and closer to climax.

"Say 'yes' to the tattoo, please," he bid, surging faster into her, about to lose his grip on sanity. "And I'll get one for you, anywhere you want. I really… want that rose… right here… to look at… when I'm… making love... to you," he gasped between snapping drives of his hips, tightening up, ready to spill into her.

Honestly, how could she say 'no' to such a fantastic, open-ended deal like that? Besides, she knew just the perfect location for his mark – right above the smooth skin of his heart where she could always see it when he took his shirt off, and be able to kiss it as she lay in his arms to sleep. For a trade like that, she'd get the rose where he asked.

They came together in agreement – and in other ways – a moment later, and Hermione nearly sobbed with how wonderful it was to feel him filling her to completion in every way once again.

How could she have denied him for over a year? She'd been such a fool to punish them both with distance, even if it had been time necessary for them both to grow on their own, outside of the worlds of expectation each had had thrust upon them their whole lives.

He nuzzled her throat and kissed her cheek. "We'll make it up to each other. We have an eternity to do so now, my mate."

She nodded. Draco was right. Their second bonding had taken root just last night - she'd made him wait until they both felt it was right - and their life-long commitment had been publicly made today in front of their families and friends, and signed and sealed on paper that would be filed at the Ministry later that day for permanent record. They now had all the time they needed to enjoy living...

...for there was no fear of Death when you were in love.

Immortality was finally theirs.

~FIN~