Thank you to everyone who has support this story for the last year and half. I'm off to pick back up my Vikmione, Runes and Rituals.
She woke several days later in her own bed at Malfoy Manor. Theo lay above the blankets drowsing besides her. The instant she stirred, his eyes popped open. "Good morning, sweet."
"Hello. Why am I at home?"
"The school is closed for repairs, and once you passed the danger point of recovery from magical exhaustion St Mungo's sent you home to rest."
"How long is the school closed? What about our NEWTs?"
Hermione say up, Tangle and Crookshanks moving to caress their witch. She petted them in return, assuring them she was fine now.
Laughter came from the doorway. "Only, you my treasure would awake after a war ending battle and ask about your education."
"I'm not ready to hear about the casualties yet."
Lucius stepped into her room, "Understandable. In regards to your NEWTs, I have news you may not like."
"They canceled the exams."
"Not exactly. Once the entire story came out the Board of Education has decided to award you and Harry Outstandings for all your NEWTs. They feel the breadth and depth of magic you have both displayed over the last seven years justifies it. You both showed great power and mastery."
"But," she started to protest.
"My treasure, the board of directors, and the ICW agree. No essay questions, or practical test could better serve to show what the two of you can do." He looked at Theo, "Everyone else will be taking their tests in June as scheduled, once the castle is reconstructed."
"Look on the bright side, sweet, you can devout all your time to demanding the rest of us revise." She glared at him. "You know you love me."
"I just don't know why."
"My adorable face and unending devotion."
"Possibly." She kissed his cheek and turned back to her father. "Okay, let's rip this plaster off. Who did we lose?"
"Dumbledore to begin with. No one saw what happened. But we found him afterwards."
"That's for the best, really."
"I concur. I must say, Ronald Weasley's plan was ingenious. Of the few fatalities we sustained the only one you might know, is Percy Weasley. The others were Order members Sirius said you never met." She nodded. "The Death Eaters you knew of would be Crabbe Sr, Alecto Carrow, Anton Dolohov, Rodolphus Lestrange, and Thoros."
She turned to Theo, "I'm so sorry."
"You shouldn't be. The arsehole was trying to kill me so he could make a proper heir and Tangle bit him. I just wish his death had been more painful." He caressed the purring snake's head. "She's a good girl."
"Please don't spoil the snake."
Lucius took back over his narrative. "The remaining Death Eaters are being held pending trials, but most will be headed to Azkaban. A few of the younger generation are being granted immunity in exchange for their testimony of being forced to take the mark."
Hermione yawned, "I assume we're expected to attend the trials?"
"Very perceptive of you." Lucius kissed her forehead. "Get some rest, the trials aren't for a few weeks, and there isn't anything you need to prepare."
She lay back down, "In that case, I'm going to sleep for a little longer."
The last week of May, the students of Hogwarts returned to the castle. Those not present at the Battle of Hogwarts marveled at the new walls, and some of the battle scars magic could not remove. Ron proudly showed off the classroom Hermione destroyed the horcruxes in, the scorch marks still present. She refused to reveal why Ron owed her a life debt, remarking that it was between them and would stay that way.
Harry and Hermione chose not to divulge to most people that they would not be taking the NEWTs, they attended classes, completed the homework, and attended revision sessions. The night before the test began they insisted on taking patrol of others. In the mornings they helped the others do last minute cramming, and in the evenings they commiserated. Only Theo, Draco, and Tracey knew where they were during the tests. If anyone noticed they were missing, they remained silent.
The week after the last test, Hogwarts held its first graduation ceremony without Albus Dumbledore in close to a century. The Head Girl was also the valedictorian. Two graduates received Order of Merlin first class, along with their Potion's professor. The new headmistress, and three graduates, and one student received Order of Merlin, third class. And yet, the most talked about part of the ceremony occurred immediately after the ceremony.
Before anyone could move from their seats, Theo popped out of his and knelt on one knee in front of Hermione. "Hermione Celeste Malfoy, you made me promise not to do this until after graduation. And it is now after that. I don't care when the actual ceremony is, I just want to know that you will be my wife." He opened the small velvet box revealing a two carat emerald cut diamond ring.
She looked up at him, though his face radiated confidence, she saw the tiny bit of fear in his eyes. She smiled, "Yes. I will." The audience cheered as he pulled her off her feet into a hug. She noticed the joyful predatory gleam in Narcissa's eyes and sighed. "But to be clear, later, rather sooner."
Dudley lamented the fact that while Pansy and the others attended his graduation, he was forced to miss theirs. "Stop letting it bother you, bunny. We have the rest of our lives to make up for the lost time. And no fathers hanging about to disapprove." She kissed his nose, much to his schoolmates amusement.
They chuckled, "Awe, bunny, don't worry." Dudley blushed.
Pansy's eyes narrowed dangerously, "Is there something amusing about using a pet name, arse hat?" She put most of her weight on her left leg, and her hands on her hips. Danger flashed in her eyes causing most of the young men to step back nervously.
"Um, no, ma'am. No problem at all. See you around Big D."
"Oh, Big D. I quite like that. I may use that along with bunny." Pansy smiled at him.
Dudley wrapped his arm around her shoulder. "Anything you like, love." He lead her from the hall and towards the car park. Once they were out of hearing distance, "Are we driving home, or taking other means." Had anyone overhead they would have thought he meant the train or a bus.
Sirius clapped him on the back, "We thought we would take the special express home."
"I'm ready when you are, just have to collect my trunk."
"Got it." Hermione patted her handbag. "Like to travel light, we do." Everyone laughed.
"So, London for celebratory dinner?" Dudley asked, looking about.
"Duddy-kins?" a weak female voice asked. Recognizing it both Harry and Dudley turned in shock. Behind them stood a frail looking Petunia Dursley.
"Mum?" Dudley asked in a wavering voice.
"Yes, darling." She smiled wanly.
"How? Why? What?"
"I, um, was released early for good behavior and poor health. I wasn't sure where you were living, but knew Sirius kept you in Smeltings, so I gambled that graduation would be the best place to find you." She lifted her arms, then dropped them back to her side. She shuffled uncomfortably. She turned to Sirius, "Thank you for being a better person than I was. I should have stood up to Vernon, and not let him prey on my jealousy." She turned to Harry, "I apologize for every cruel moment, every word, every deed, every time I did nothing." She looked at Dudley, "I'm sorry for all the lost time my actions caused."
Both boys nodded, but Dudley spoke, "When you say poor health, how poor?"
"Stage 3 cancer, but the doctors aren't hopeful. But that isn't what is important. You are, and Harry, rebuilding what I broke if you will let me."
Dudley looked at Harry questioningly. "Don't look at me like that. She's your mum. Hug the woman." Dudley embraced his mother. She smiled at Harry over his shoulder. "We can take baby steps to see if something between us is even possible."
"That is more than I deserve."
Harry nodded, "You should join us for dinner. You can meet Dudley's girlfriend.
Pansy stepped forward hesitantly, "Hello, Mrs Dursley, I'm Pansy Parkinson."
"Call me Ms Evans until you feel comfortable calling me Petunia. I divorced Vernon to save myself and Dudley any fines he might die with. But lovely to meet you."
In light of the newest development they chose a local restaurant for dinner instead of apparating to London. They purposely kept the conversation light. The boys answered the questions Petunia asked, and her smile never faltered, even upon learning Pansy was a schoolmate of Harry's. As the evening drew to a close, Harry spoke up, "Where are you staying, Aunt Petunia?"
"Oh, I was going to a little apartment near wherever Dudley was, I'm going to get a hotel room tonight. Thank you for asking."
Harry and Sirius held a silent conversation before Sirius spoke, "Your call, prongslet, not mine."
"Aunt Petunia, why don't you stay with us? You can use Hermione's room, she's rarely there."
Petunia looked shocked, but pleased. "You don't mind, dear?" she asked Hermione.
"Of course not. Like Harry said, I'm rarely there."
"Then if you do not mind, sweetheart?"
Dudley grinned, "I would love that, but it wasn't my place to invite you."
"Then I accept. I hope I can prove myself worthy of your compassion." Harry nodded.
Hermione offered her arm, "Shall I apparate you, ma'am?"
"Yes, thank you." The two women popped away.
Dudley turned to Harry, "Thank you. I know this isn't easy."
"No, but she seems really sorry, and she looks sick. I would give anything for two more minutes with my mum, and I get the feeling you aren't going to have too much longer with yours, how can I deny you what little time you have left?" The two boys embraced, tears standing in both their eyes.
"Okay, you two, knock it off before the old dog starts bawling on me." Pansy barked, she hugged Dudley, "I love you, floo me the day after tomorrow."
"Why not tomorrow?"
"Because you're going to spend tomorrow with your mum." She rolled her eyes like he was an idiot. "Now kiss me good-bye and get home and get your mum settled."
Petunia Evans slowly settled into her new life. She found employment at a local shop. The trials of the Death Eaters took place. It showed the wizarding world that while some old ways would be preserved, the time had come to move forward, lest they fall too far behind. The Lupins announced Tonks' pregnancy, asking Harry and Hermione to be godparents to little Teddy when he finally made his appearance. She found many things in her new world odd, though her new family patiently explained what they could. The one thing they never completely managed to explain was the complete and utter glee all of them seemed to feel when it was announced that some bridge woman receive more hours of community service. She must have been truly horrible, because it continued for decades. Petunia celebrated when Dudley proposed to Pansy, grateful the girl insisted on a quick wedding, as her health remained poor and in question. She hoped like live long enough to see Harry propose and marry Tracy Davis, but she kept such thoughts to herself.
Luck, or perhaps magic, was on her side. Petunia lived until the ripe age of 98. She helped Sirius and the Malfoys welcome numerous new member to the family. Offering her services for child care with the help of the house elves. Young Teddy Lupin became her first charge, the young metamorphmagnus keeping her on her toes. Then Regulus Lucius Nott and James Sirius Potter appeared nearly five days apart, the two remained fast friends despite ending up in different houses at Hogwarts. A few years later, Draco and Fay had their first child, Scorpious Hyperion. Calla Isadora Black made her dramatic entrance into the world interrupting her mother's swearing in as Supreme Mugwump of the ICW, swiftly followed by Posy Dursley. Two years later Lily Luna Potter, Lyra Hermione Malfoy, and Henry Remus Nott, and Hope Marie Lupin joined the family. None of the children understood why people stared at their family, or why people sometimes whispered about changes being made in awed voices. They just saw their parents and aunts and uncles. Not war heroes and the leaders of the governing bodies of the country and world. And really that was now it should be.