*** Well, here we go, the last chapter of Their Room. *Sniffles* Can you believe that it's been a whole year since I started this thing?
This is awfully short, I know. But it was originally meant to be an epilogue. But epilogues just sound so final, don't they? And since there might be a sequel (MIGHT, not making any guarantees) I thought it best to just have this be a chapter. There are more notes at the bottom.
Hermione sat up with a start and rolled off her bed quickly, a stack of books that she had pushed to the foot of her bed the night before tumbled to the ground. The noise made her stop; she hadn't overslept, she wasn't late for exams, she was home and Hogwarts had finished giving exams almost two weeks ago.
With a frustrated groan, Hermione collapsed back onto the bed. She had been waking up like this every day since her parents had collected her from Hogwarts. Hermione just couldn't convince herself that she didn't need to get up so early to make it to breakfast in the dining hall or to rush off to the library for a few more desperate minutes of study.
She was still adjusting to being home for the summer. Even though school was officially finished, Hermione still felt that she should be there completing her exams or taking her OWLs.
She had hated leaving, but her parents had been adamant when they had finally arrived at Hogwarts. Dumbledore had then brought up from Hogsmeade where they had taken the train from London.
One look at her mother's determined face had left no hope for argument when the Grangers had swooped into the hospital wing. Her mother had glared at Hermione as if blaming her for getting into trouble and then had broken down into tears. Hermione wasn't use to seeing her mother so emotionally distraught. Both of her parents lived calm, sedate lives in London suburbia. The most exciting thing to have ever happened to either of them was Hermione's being a witch and they had accepted that with open arms. Neither of the Grangers were known for emotional outbursts, but there was Hermione's mother, hysterically clutching her only child and asking in a very shaky voice, just what had she been thinking?
There was a light sound against Hermione's bedroom door and she sat up again. Crookshanks butted his way into the room, a slice of fat bacon clamped tightly in his jaws. He jumped lightly onto the bed and dropped the bacon onto Hermione's pillow while he paused to straighten down a rosette of his orange hair that was sticking up before he returned his attention back to his meal.
"Breakfast already Crookshanks?" Hermione purred and ruffled her cat's fur, nonplussed about the bacon grease staining her blue pillowcase.
The cat made no reply and Hermione slid off her bed once again and pulled a sweater over her head. She always thought that her father liked to keep the house a bit too cold, even in the summer. She headed down the stairs deeply in thought.
She hadn't gotten to see much of Harry and Ron before leaving Hogwarts. Her parents had wanted to take her home right away; her friends had only just managed to catch them in the Entrance Hall on their way out. She hadn't seen Draco since he had left the hospital wing only moments before her parents had arrived. Not that Hermione had expected him to meet her parents. She had a hard time picturing Draco politely nodding while her father explained the mechanics of proper dental surgery, but she had felt terribly abandoned when he had given her hand a squeeze and then disappeared behind the white linen curtain. He had seemed almost afraid to touch her, afraid that she might break. Hermione had almost grabbed his retreating arm and pulled him back down onto the bed with her to show him just how far from fragile she really was. But in the few moments where such a bold act might have been accomplished, Hermione's sense propriety had reared its head. And Draco had left with things feeling horribly unfinished.
Hermione reached the bottom of the stairs and passed the large parlor on the right and headed towards the kitchen where the aroma of breakfast was already slinking down the hallway to greet her. Not surprisingly, the Granger's household was as neat and efficient as their daughter. Breakfast was put out at seven sharp every morning except for Saturday when her parents would go together for a late morning stroll, thus postponing breakfast until ten. It had been this way for as long as Hermione could remember and the schedule was refreshing after half a year away at Hogwarts where her eating plans depended on her study schedule and the wishes of Harry and Ron.
"Good morning dear," her parents chorused together as she appeared in the doorway.
"Good morning Mom, Dad." Hermione replied.
The Grangers were sitting at the kitchen table reading newspapers. They had long ago discovered that their marriage was a much happier one when they each got their own copy of the morning's paper rather than try to patiently wait for the other to finish it. Two identical headlines faced Hermione from either side of the table. She filled her plate with a helping of eggs and a few strips of bacon, but she wasn't feeling very hungry.
She had already talked to Harry and Ron after arriving home. In fact, a letter had been waiting for her before she had even gotten there. Her father had carried her, despite protestations that she wasn't that hurt, up the stairs to her room and there, waiting impatiently was little Pig. The letter that the excited owl had brought contained only a few lines from her friends. But they were heartwarming nonetheless. Harry and Ron had promised to give her every gory detail of their exams and had added that studying wouldn't be the same without her color-coded notes. The letter had brought a smile to her face, as did all the others that had followed it over the past couple of weeks.
But she hadn't heard from Draco.
But oh, she had heard of Draco. She still got the Daily Prophet delivered every morning and for several days after her departure, the death of Lucius Malfoy had made the front cover every day. Her mother hadn't wanted Hermione to read it, exclaiming that she had been through enough over that man as it was, but Hermione had insisted.
Headmaster Dumbledore was good to his word for neither Hermione or Draco was ever mentioned in the paper. At first his death was listed as unknown. The papers said that he had been congregating with a few friends for a business meeting in Hogsmeade. God forbid that there be a mention of death eaters. Eventually the authorities had deemed his death an accident caused by a rare malfunction in his wand. Hermione had figured that any malfunction that may have been discovered in Lucius Malfoy's wand had been added after his demise.
The funeral had been held a few days after she had left school. Lucius was buried in the family mausoleum that sheltered its ancient dead on the edge of the Malfoy grounds. The Daily Prophet had reported that it was one of the most well attended funerals of the decade, second only to that of Betty Betchel, beloved socialite and founder of Witch Weekly. Hermione had spent more time that she would admit watching the wizard photo of Draco and his mother as they sat somberly greeting people that was in the Prophet the day after the funeral. But the picture Draco had never looked up from his dismal duty.
After the sensational funeral where Cornelius Fudge himself gave the eulogy, readers began to lose interest in his death. The Daily Prophet pushed back articles about his life and unfortunate passing deeper into the paper; the second page, then the fourth, and so on until one morning, Hermione could find no mention of him at all.
She pushed the eggs around her plate with a fork, making little yellow piles. It just wouldn't do to dwell on it, on any of it. She should spend her time more productively, studying for the OWLs makeup that she would be taking in another week. Hermione Granger did not pine.
A flutter of wings through the window didn't even make her parents look up from their papers as the Daily Prophet owl glided towards the table. But before it could land, another owl, dark gray and large, bowled past it importantly. It landed in front of Hermione and snapped its beak at the other owl as if it were intruding. It turned its attention back to Hermione as the Daily Prophet owl hung back respectively. The gray owl held out its leg pompously and waited for Hermione to remove the letter that hung there.
A smile of realization dawned on Hermione's face, she knew of only one person who would have such an egotistical owl. "Draco," she breathed as she pulled the letter loose.
"Draco?" Her mother asked glancing at her over the top of the paper.
"I don't remember a Draco," Her father added from the other side of the table, a trace of vague interest in his voice.
"He's my." Hermione paused because she didn't think that there was a proper term for just what Draco was. "He's my friend, from school." She amended finally.
Hermione's mother folded her paper and sent her daughter a questioning look. But Hermione wasn't going to stay for the quiz. She grabbed a piece of toasted raisin bread off of a plate before bolting up the stairs. Her parents exchanged a look and a knowing smile before returning to their papers.
The letter was written on crisp white parchment, an embossed shield portraying a fire-breathing dragon marked one corner. Hermione looked unseeing at the strict print that Draco used. She had been unsure if she would see it again, but here it was.
I meant to write earlier but things have been busy here at the Manor as you can imagine. Can you believe all the fuss that everyone has been going to over his death? And the turn out at the funeral was far more than I had expected. Although I wouldn't be surprised if half of our concerned visitors were there to make sure the old bastard was really dead rather than pay their last respects.
Mother is fine. Everything that Pansy had said was a lie. You were right. She's better than fine as it turns out. It would seem that she has become rather friendly with her Quidditch coach over at the club. Friendly might not be a strong enough term for it, let's just say that my mother has been participating in some very un-widow like activities. She is taking Lucius' death very well, so well in fact that if we had stuck him in the ground, I think she would be dancing on his grave every night. Or perhaps, even more seedy things with that coach of hers, but I'd rather not dwell on that.
The lawyers have been hell. No one expected the money and estate to be transferred to me at such a young age. But I'm hardly complaining. I've always enjoyed being disgustingly wealthy, and now it's all in my name. Lucius never trusted my mother with money, so it's not terribly surprising that almost all of the fortune went to me.
Exams went well. Potions especially, it was hilarious, that nit Longbottom spilled his potion and melted off half of Snape's robe. Of course, you probably don't find that funny at all, do you? I can just picture you telling me not to laugh at Longbottom. I suppose that he can't really help being an idiot.
I was thinking that perhaps, when you're feeling up to it, that you might like to come and see the Manor. Stay a day or two if you're willing. I know what you must be thinking, how can I possibly ask you to come visit a place known for various inequities and many dark, dastardly plots. But just think how much fun it would be to have Lucius spinning in his grave.
Just think about it. I have all of our work here. Dumbledore sent it day after I got home. He's either very smart, or much more crazy than I had believed. Actually, it's probably a combination of the two. But if Dumbledore still approves of us working together, how can you not? He is your hero, after Potter, anyway. Just think about it.
Hermione closed the letter and leaned back in her chair at the desk. A smile was splayed across her face and she felt better than she had in days. But going to the Manor? She didn't know if she was up for that. Wouldn't the pureblood walls rise up and crush her for her temerity?
There was a gentle knock on her door and her mother peered in at her. "Hermione, this came for you after you left the table." In her hands was a wrapped package.
Hermione frowned slightly as she took the parcel from her mother, not knowing why someone would be sending her something. Her mother walked back out, giving Hermione some privacy.
She pulled the paper off carefully, keeping the wrapped package at arms length. She knew enough of the wizard world to not trust things at face value. But as the paper disappeared, she recognized the dark green leather binding to be a book. Excitedly Hermione pulled off the rest of the paper and stared at her own name imprinted across the front of it. Trimmed with crimson and written in gold letters was the title A Translation and then under that was Volume I of the Gregorius O'Leary Journals by Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy.
She stared down at it in disbelief. With shaking hands she carefully opened the book and began to rapidly flip through the pages. They were hand printed; Draco's again, and only filled half the book. The rest was left open and blank. On the very first page he had written her a message.
"It's only a rough draft of course. We are supposed to be keeping our discoveries a bit of a secret. But Dumbledore thinks that in a year or two, we could actually publish. I started working on it as soon as you left school. I think that it has come out very well."
There was more, just a few more words. Hermione couldn't be sure but she thought that he had added them on later after much consideration. The slant to his letters seemed different than the rest of note. Hermione decided that she would ask him when she got to the Manor, because she had suddenly decided that she was going. How could she not after all? For at the end of his message were three brilliant little words.
"I miss you."
There were a few things that I wanted to address that some people mentioned in reviews. Just a few that I feel deserve an explanation.
As for all the people that complained about my grammar and spelling (some of you not nearly as politely as you should have). I always stated that grammar was not a skill that I possess. I think much faster than I can type, so thus things get muddled and words get misplaced and commas just disappear. I try very hard to rectify this problem, but I'm only human. I do have a beta reader, who is only human. And I do use a spell check, made by Microsoft, darn thing won't even recognize Zen as a word. So please, people, find something more monumental to be upset over. :-)
A few people asked about the title of the last chapter, He Mele No Lilo, this is actually the title of a song from the Lilo and Stitch soundtrack. I couldn't think of a song was playing on winamp.. You get the idea.
Jadrien thought that the love/hate thing between Draco and Hermione got a little tedious. But I disagree. I love them like that! They'll never truly get along; who wants a relationship where you're always sweet and kind? That would get so boring. I see Draco and Hermione as two very proud people with different ideals; they are going to clash, often.
Things are left somewhat unresolved between them because is any relationship really resolved? Things just keep going on and on and we muddle through the best we can.
Another reason why things aren't that resolved is because you have two people fighting against their emotions. Neither of them wants to fall in love, especially not with each other. That's why Draco is sweet one minute and then a complete ass the next; he doesn't know how to act.
A few people have been confused by the together/not togetherness of them. Let me state, they have NEVER in this fic, been together. That is a very large step, which I don't think either of are up to taking just yet. Maybe in the sequel! ;-)
And I just want to say thank you to everyone that has reviewed me! You guys really made this a wonderful experience. I can't even begin to thank you enough!
A special thanks to Vegeta, my beta reader, for putting up with me, and to Kenzie as well, she always defended me!