It has been three years since these fateful events took place. The war is a thing of the past. I can go to sleep in peace now, certain that Lucius and Draco will be there to greet me when I wake up. To the relief of us all, none of us got sent to Azkaban, as Lucius had so feared. Oddly enough, it was Harry Potter who had stood up for us at the trial that was, in the wake of some preliminary questioning at the Ministry, held about a week after the funeral. Insistent upon appearing as our witness, he resolutely testified that none of us had taken part in the final battle, and were therefore guilty of nothing but being Death Eaters, which, in itself, could not be considered a crime. A lot of muttering followed this statement, for there were naturally many for whom the words Death Eater and murderer meant very much the same thing, but eventually the court gave in to the Boy Who Lived, whose word was held almost sacred at the time. He had, after all, saved the world, had he not?
At first I did not understand it. Of what interest were we to the Potter boy? What did he care if we spent the rest of our lives rotting in Azkaban or not? But as we all walked out of the court room, still barely daring to believe our good fortune, he inconspicuously brushed past me, whispering "Now we are quits," and that was when it finally dawned on me. I had most likely saved his life there in the clearing when I proclaimed him to be dead, and he had, in turn, saved my family from Azkaban. The debt was settled.
Finally free of all threats, we could start our lives afresh. A bribe or two secured Lucius a position at the Ministry. It was a far cry from the one he had held before, but since his ambitions had long since been trampled out, he did not mind. In fact, the peacefulness and anonymity of the work seems to be doing him good.
Draco, on the other hand, found it much harder to find his place in the world. He flitted from one job to another, eventually getting bored of each. I believe it was a common trait for all the children growing up in the Dark Lord's era. Whichever side they had fought on, they had always had a goal to look towards, but now that this goal was gone, it was as if their life had suddenly lost all sense. They were like a school of fish lost at sea, swimming aimlessly back and forth and in circles. There was a certain restlessness inside them that did not allow them to stay in one place for long. It was the same with relationships, too. I dare not count how many hearts Draco had broken before he finally settled for his current girlfriend. She must have talked some sense into him, too, for shortly after meeting her Draco decided to join his father at the Ministry, and has not left since.
But what about me, I hear you ask? Well, I am exactly where I promised Lucius I would be, all those years ago. I am at home, waiting for him with open arms as he comes back from work. We hug and we kiss and then we go for a walk in the garden, or just stay at home chatting, if the weather is bad. I can see us growing old this way. The terrible events preceding the Dark Lord's fall have formed a bond between us that I believe can only be broken by death. It is a quiet, devoted love, so different from its wild, passionate sister, the kind I have experienced only once in my life, with Severus.
Yes, Severus. It has been three years since he passed from this world to the one beyond, but he shall never pass from my mind. He still comes to visit me in my dreams, looking at me the same way he looked at me when I came to see him at his house for the first time, as if I were the most beautiful thing he had ever laid his eyes upon. I still think about him sometimes, when I wake up just before dawn, and cannot get back to sleep again. I see his face, all alight with love. I see his eyes, burning like two black coals. I see his smile, reserved for nobody but me. I see all of him, and I am happy. I have shed enough tears in the days following the funeral, when I seemed to think that there would never be any light in my life again. But now I know better. After all, did I not say to Severus that even if death claimed us both, I would much rather die remembering the good times we had shared than regretting what we had missed?
And so I remember, and I do not regret a single moment. I had always known there was no future for us. I belong to my husband, but without Severus I would never have found a way into his heart. Similarly, Severus would never have experienced what it was like to love and be loved in return if he had not met me. I expect that is why fate put us together, so that we could learn from each other. But then the bell rang, and the lesson was over. It was time to go home.
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