A night of peace
Chapter 23: A night of peace
It was already past dinner when Angus and Susan returned to Hogwarts. Angus nervously fingered the small box in his pocket – he had decided not to wait anymore. As planned, Ginny and Harry remained at the Cottage, Blaise and Luna went for the Zabini estate, Alice for Fred and George´s flat, Draco for the Ministry and then Malfoy Manor and Torie... she was supposed to return to Hogwarts along with them, but... she had other plans.
"I wonder if Dray is aware of this."pondered Susan as she led Angus by the hand trough a corridor.
Angus let out a low chuckle.
"He won´t be until its too late. She´s always able to get the drop on us. Well... except Harry, but that´s understandable – he was the one, who taught her the Disillusionment Charm in her first year. She is a natural in concealment."
Susan gave a small smile and heaved a sigh.
"The five of you really are something... I mean... all the places you´ve been to... all the things you´ve done... everything you´re capable of – I really think sometimes, that there is nothing you can´t do."
Her voice oozed with admiration, making him blush furiously. Before he could say anything, let alone muster the courage to do, what he had vowed to do to since early morning, they heared their names called. Hannah Abott was coming to them, a concerned look all over her face.
"You haven´t seen Neville somewhere around, did you?"
Susan fought not to show any emotion, while her fiancee – a Slytherin indeed – did so without any effort.
"No, we haven´t. What happened?"she asked before Angus could.
"We were supposed to meet up before supper, but I wasn´t able to find him."said Hannah, looking deeply worried.
Angus quickly thought back to the instructions Harry had left.
"Have you tried the library?"he asked in a reasonable voice.
"Maybe he is looking something up for that project of yours."nodded Susan, going along with her love.
Hannah looked doubtfull, but nodded.
"You might be right. I´ll go and have a look."she said quietly, at once turning and heading towards the staircase, that leads to the library.
Eyeing her best friend with great concern, she turned to Angus.
"Do you really think its such a good idea not to tell her of Harry´s suspition. I mean... its just a suspition... what if he´s wrong?"
Angus shot her a very serious look.
"What if he´s right? She would be in extremly serious danger. Not to mention the fact, that she really loves Neville – do you really want to worry her with something like that? Especially if we don´t know for certain yet."
Susan bit her lip thistime. She looked up to his face and saw, that he had dropped the infamous Slytherin poker-face and replaced it with a sombre look as he took her other hand as well.
"I know, Susie... she´s your best friend and..."he started with an anxious note to his voice, but she quickly shook her head.
"You trust Harry´s judgement on this. And as for me... I trust YOU."she said smilingly.
Her sincirety made him look at her in wonder. Unable to surpress a grin, she gently pryed her smaller hands from his and started to walk from one place to another as he looked on.
A door appeared on the wall, seemingly out of nowhere.
"The room of requirement?"he breathed in surprise.
Susan blushed a deep-red, her face taking on a shy look.
"Ginny and Torie told me about the Cottage sleepover. About how they got around Mrs Potter´s protective charm and..."
Angus turned – if possible – even redder, could she possibly mean...?!
"... but only if you want to... I mean... I don´t want to pressure you...I..."she stuttered shyly, looking anywhere other than him.
She fell silent as she felt him grab her hand and place something into her palm. She looked up and right now it was Angus, who couldn´t look into her face.
"S...Susie... I thought about this for a while and... I... well, you... I mean..."he cursed himself inwardly for stuttering like a bloody idiot during such an importaint time.
Susan looked onto her palm and gasped – it was a small open box with a...
"I had Pop get it for me and he didn´t forget it thistime... I realize, that this may be too soon, but I don´t want to wait anymore... Susie, I suppose what I´m trying to say is – will... will you...?"he asked nervously, watching her hand in his rather than her face, that was starting to shine with pure joy.
"OH, ANGIE...!"she howled, the entire corridor ringing.
Angus barely had a split-second to jump before she litterally launched herself at him, jumping into his arms and wrapping her legs around him, hugging for dear life, absolutely beside herself with pure, utter joy.
"YES, YES, YES! I WILL!"she squealed, feeling that she had never felt so happy in her entire life.
The feeling was heartily shared by Angus too. He hugged her back much fiercely than he ever had, before before catching her lips in an "Ultimate-leveled" passionate kiss that seemed to last forever.
"WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?!"roared Deianira as Draco had entered the large Ministry office.
Many of the people there cringed at the loud roar, her mother shooting her a disaprooving glare. Draco however looked completly unfazed.
"I´ve been going over my contacts and asking around for information, which took quite a bit longer than I expected."he answered, lying calmly and raising his Occlumency defences to maximum.
"CAN´T YOU SEE, THAT WE HAVE A SITUATION ON OUR HANDS?! THIS IS NO TIME TO..."
"Deianira!"exclaimed Athena in a warning tone, making her go silent at once.
Draco smirked as he walked closer and took his respective chair beside her.
"You know, you would do very well not to shout at your hard-working fiancee like that."he said silkily, relishing the way she swelled like a bull-frog yet again.
Cassiopeia and Broderick, who were sitting nearby had to work hard to conceal their snorts of laughter.
Sitting comfortably, Draco looked around to all, who were sitting around.
Athena Kellen, Cornelius Fudge, Deia, Peia, Double B, Thicknesse (smiling dreamily), old McLaggen (who was glaring him), Cadabrus Flint (Marcus Flint´s father), Eldrich Macmillian (who was looking deeply worried), Rex Rowle (looking calm dispite the sitation), Mauricius Bletchley, his own father Lucius Malfoy, Mafalda Hopkirk, and (surpressing a glare, as his eyes fell on them) Hyperion and Slivaterra Greengrass.
Fudge cleared his voice.
"Well... now that young Draco has arrived, perhaps we should ask his views on this horrible matter."said Fudge with a respectfull nod at Draco.
Draco sighed and cleared his throat before standing up.
"My sources informed me, that the attack on the small Muggle village in Scotland was directly linked and made as a diversion in order to perform the attack on Azkaban. The main attackers were identified as Peter Pettigrew – also known as Wormtail -, Marcus Mulciber..."
"Whom YOU have killed and blasted on the damn pavement!"said Deianira with her arms crossed.
"Making a great mistake I might add."said McLaggen sneeringly.
Lucius Malfoy turned his head towards him and glared angrily. Draco also turned to him, but his face was neutral, save for a raised eyebrow.
"Under the imminent threat of death I responded accordingly. Seeing as Vigilantee Task Force members have Auror Priviledges – the priviledge to kill rather than capture for instance – I acted within my rights. I understand, that the Dark Force Defence League members have such wide experience with fighting Death Eaters, that they see fit to lecture those who actually DO fight, but..."
McLaggen shot up from his chair, an expression of pure rage on his face.
"Watch your mouth, boy! Just because you have gained the position...!"he roared in rage.
"Along with my position I have been given responsibilities that not many can shoulder. And shouldering them means, that I sometimes have to make split-second decidions – especially when handling lethal situations, McLaggen."said Draco calmly and rationally with the air of a much older person than seventeen.
"Gentlemen please, that´s enough..."pleaded Fudge, waving his arms franticly.
McLaggen continued to glare Draco, but sat back down.
"Well as I was saying, one more Death Eater had been there – Rabastan Lestrange. However all the evidence suggests, that he had been killed by the Masked Wizard, who was there at the time."
Macmillian raised his hand, looking at Draco to see if he could interrupt. At Draco´s nod, he cleared his throat.
"This would then mean, that the Masked Wizard couldn´t possibly have launched the attack on Azkaban. If he was somewhere else at the time..."
"We do not know that, Macmillian!"said Athena Kellen sharply.
"I agree, this may have only be a ruse to disguise his involvement in all of this."nodded Fudge.
Draco shook his head, but carried on.
"In any case, my sources inform me that the Azkaban attack was very similar to the Mass Breakout from nearly two years ago. Indeed several rumors are going around presently. One such says, that the Dark Lord is somehow still alive and re-grouping his faithfull Death Eaters."
There was a general wave of shock at the words.
"Now young Draco, see here... You-know-who had been killed by Neville Longbottom months ago. The Chosen One... the prophecy and everything..."stuttered Fudge.
"Well it IS merely a rumor, but to be honest... when it comes to the Dark Lord, I wouldn´t be surprised at that. Afterall this is a wizard, who had cheated death times before."he said thoughtfully.
Both Draco and Lucius absent-mindedly ran their hand over their left forearm.
Many exchanged scared looks... could it BE?! Could the Dark Lord have somehow survived?! As Broderick was pondering on the matter, he felt something close over his hand – another, a much smaller and gentler hand. Looking beside himself, he saw it was Cassiopeia whowas holding his hand in a vice-grip, her head bowed and she was shaking nervously. He used his other hand and covered hers, strocking it soothingly – his heart shaking just as nervously as he did so as the Head of the Vigilantee Task Force spoke again.
"In any case, I will devote my and my Task Force´s efforts to confirm or deny this. We have very little firm facts at the moment, so I cannot say anything with certainity. In any case, the escaped Death Eaters are the more pressing matter..."
"The Task Force should join forces with the Auror Office."suggested Lucius, something a few of the other pure-bloods there, like Macmillian definitely agreed on.
Athena exchanged a look with Fudge – they did not want to bring Potter into this, if they wanted to finally have him removed from the position.
"I agree. I see no problem with working with James Potter and his Aurors. I consider him to be a very strong, capable leader and an outstanding wizard. He certainly has more experience with catching Death Eaters than I do."said Draco nodding, inwardly smirking – all was going as planned.
"Humph. There is no need for us to ally. We are more capable than they are."said Deianira with her arms folded.
Surpressing the need to roll his eyes, Draco turned to her just as McLaggen once more stood up.
"This is obviously going to be one very long meeting."he thought to himself.
"Not that I´m not proud or anything... but this sure is a LOT to take in."said Lily weakly.
The Potter Cottage´s living room was now strangely empty. Sirius had left for Grimmauld Place where Amelia was waiting for him, Severus and Albus for Hogwarts along with the other teens, Alice for Fred and George´s flat, Remus for Tonks´ house to his wife and little son, and Molly and Arthur for the Burrow (Molly after exchanging a tearfull goodbye with both Ginny and her new son-in-law). This left only James, Lily, Harry, Ginny, Fidus and Apricie as the only occupants of the house.
"Unfortunately Mum - the reason I had decided to come clean with ALL of you, not simply with Ginny – is that we will have a large problem on our hands and we can only handle it together."said Harry somberly, sitting on a large couch with his wife.
They have been beyond shocked when the diary had displayed Harry´s find before the sixth year, when a very drunken Horace Slughorn revealed to him a conversation he had with the young Tom Riddle during a small party at the Malfoy Manor – SIX HORCRUXES.
Ginny was beyond proud when it shown how Harry had tracked Riddle´s origins to Little Hangleton by consulting the Wizard Geneology book, then questioning the Muggles of the little town and on the very same night, along with Aberforth and Naja had rescued Albus from placing the cursed ring on his hand, saving the Headmaster´s life.
"And speaking of problems, Harry... you really believe, that Neville is..."asked Lily, unable to finish the sentance.
Harry had picked up the glass of chocolate milk made for him thistime by Ginny, who wanted to try Lily´s recipe.
"Unfortunately Mum, I DO. It makes sence. I mean... let´s count – I killed the Diary in the Chamber of Secrets, Naja the Ring when she shot her venom at it - creating quite a large sizzling hole into the floor of the Gaunt shack I may add, Neville the Cup in the Crouch family vault – I´m still amazed, that Voldemort ever made such a stupid mistake by giving it to Barty Crouch, Alice the Diadem when she found it in the Room of Requirement, Albus the Locket when he and Neville had returned from the Cave shortly before the Battle of Hogwarts and finally Ron killed Nagini with the Gryffindor´s sword during the Battle of Hogwarts."said Harry, counting each one on his fingers.
"That means Voldemort should´ve been mortal when you struck him with the Underworld Curse."surmised Ginny.
James and Lily still couldn´t hide their astonishment at Harry´s magical creations: the Gravity Curses and his re-creations of Ancient Egyptian Spells and Curses, aided by a ghost in Naja´s birthplace – the ancient egyptian city hidden deep underground where Royal Queen Cobras live along with a ghost of an old priest.
"Exactly, love. Though its full name is "The call of the Underworld Curse". But yes... and Neville had been in a small coma for two weeks after I did. Then he was looking sickly and had those nightmares again. AND his scar was hurting - that shouldn´t be possible if Voldemort is dead. Then suddenly we have the Death Eaters getting a bit too active and then another mass-breakout from Azkaban. That only sums up to this – Voldemort is alive, meaning there is STILL one Horcrux: Neville´s scar. That must be why Nev is able to use Parseltongue and that´s why he has those visions of his. But... the Underworld Curse blasts the soul into the afterlife... there is something that intrigues me there – the Master soul was sent to the afterlife, so the piece in Neville shouldn´t be able to act up that way. Unless Riddle somehow switched the control to the final piece – a soul swap of sorts, but HOW... well, he IS a unique case since no one has EVER made more than one Horcrux. "
There was a long silence.
"You´ve certainly done a lot of research on this..."breathed Lily with a smile and knowing his EXACT reason for doing so.
Harry however gave a sigh and he sipped his chocolate milk again.
"Not nearly enough I´m afraid... that´s why I asked Albus for help as well as a few foreign contacts I have... we have to figure out, how to safely extract the soul WITHOUT harming Neville."
James, Lily and Ginny gave him big smiles. Ginny snuggled closer into him, kissing his neck.
"And they call you a cold, heartless snake."she purred, happy at the fact that appearances can be SO decieving.
"Albus was right when he called you his equal."said James happily.
Harry blushed a crimson-red.
"Don´t be stupid."he muttered in embaressment, trying not to see the fact, that his Mum and wife were heartily agreeing with the statement.
"Yes, you are Harry, though from an opposite direction. But speaking of your Slytherin side, I´m sure you would make your late Grandmum very proud."said Lily grinningly, knowing what a mischievous, cunning old snake Dorea Potter used to be.
"As well as Professor Salazar himself."added Ginny with a smirk.
"Not to mention your dear old Granddad. He´d be roaring around happily if he knew, his grandson is a superhero."said James, sharing a laugh with his darling wife as they envisioned old Charlus Potter jumping around like a playfull little lion cub dispite his old age.
"Fidus agrees, master Harry. You is doing your family very proud."grinned Fidus, shooting him a proud look.
Harry was slowly turning more and more redder.
"And to think that I thought that all of you would be angry about this."he muttered deadpannedly.
"Oh, make no mistake, sweetheart..."breathed Ginny, promting him to look at her.
"... keep something like this from ME, and you WILL regret it."she said in a honeyed, sweet voice.
James roared in laughter as Harry actually gulped and responded with a meek "Yes, dear.".
"The fearless superhero IS afraid of something afterall - his own wife. Heh, that´s a good one!"
"What was that, Jamie?"asked Lily in the same sugar-sweet voice.
"N- n- n- nothing, love."he said quickly and just as meekly, the very same fear showing in his hazel eyes.
Ginny and Lily erupted in giggles.
"Like father - like son, eh Lily?"asked Ginny mischievously, wiggling her eyebrows at her mother-in-law as the two exploded in giggles again.
Harry and James were forcibly reminded of the very first date in the Three Broomsticks.
"On a more pleasant note, what about your honeymoon?"asked Lily, her eyes darting from Ginny to her son.
"We have agreed to post-pone it until Winter Break."said Ginny smilingly.
"Right now, we believe its best if we stay here. I mean... we can´t exactly take a two-week vacation from Hogwarts in the middle of the term."added Harry.
"And what´s the destination? Egypt?"asked James happily.
Harry fixed his wife a loving look.
"I´m leaving that to my sweet little wife. I´ll go whereever she wants."
Ginny fixed him the very same look.
"I should snog you to death for that, Potter."she said quietly, fighting down the urge to do JUST that.
The room exploded in laughter – even Apricie and Fidus laughed as they embraced eachother, clearly Apricie had forgiven him.
The three couples spent a most enjoyable evening together. Talking over more topics – like the Potter siblings´ appointment as little Teddy Lupin´s godparents (something that left Harry breathless when Remus had said so) or simply joking together, laughing and in Harry´s case, sipping down the chocolate milk his sweet wife had made for him – something he had been very eager to show his appretiation for.
"Oh no – it happened already... my crown for making the best chocolate milk in the world has been so cruelly stolen from me."remarked Lily in mock-anguish as Harry drank down his seventh glass.
"No, Mum... Ginny´s is just a bit...um... different, that´s all... "said Harry in a diplomatic voice, as Ginny giggled.
"I just tried to improve on the original recipe... I´m glad it worked. As you warned me, Lily... my sweet, adorable husband is extremely demanding when it comes to chocolate milk."
James and Fidus roared in laughter, remembering how stubborn tiny little Harry could be about it as a child – he wanted no other.
The grandfather-clock on the side of the room gave a loud animalistic sound (a testament to James´ little prank when he was fourteen), announcing the time.
"Goodness is that the time already?"breathed Lily astounded.
James quickly stood up.
"Well... we should go to bed... busy day tommorow. Ginny, enjoy your first night in your new home – the Traditional Home of the Potters... Mrs Ginny Potter – as head of the Potter clan, I welcome you humbly into our lion pride."said James, playfully grabbing for Ginny´s hand as though it were an official ceremony.
Ginny giggled – her father-in-law is even more playfull than Fred and George. She rose from her chair and did a mock-curtsey.
"I graciously accept your welcome and am happy to find myself in the Lion Daddy´s pride."
Harry and Lily roared in laughter - Ginny and James apparently shared the same sence of humor they loved so much. Lily had stood up and embraced Ginny.
"The Head Lioness is also very happy to have you here, Ginny."she said sincirely.
Ginny wasted not a second and wrapped her mother-in-law in a loving hug.
"Thanks, Mum."she breathed happily.
James and Harry watched the scene with affection, allowing the moment to linger for a while.
"Ooookay, Lil... let´s leave the cubs alone now. They have school in the morning, they should go to bed now."he said wiggling his eyebrows suggestively at his giggling daughter-in-law.
Harry fixed his father a small glare even as he blushed deep-red.
"Fidus and Apricie will leave now as well, young master."said Fidus with a grin.
Harry slapped his forehead.
"Not you too..."he muttered to general amusement.
Bidding them good night, both older pairs exited the living room, leaving Ginny in a fit of giggles and Harry in a wave of embaressment.
"And don´t forget to cast the Silencing Charm."sing-songed James happily as he peeked back.
"SILENCIO"exclaimed Harry, pulling out his wand in a split-second.
James swiftly dissapeared from view and Ginny was once more reduced to pure laughter.
"Well... he DID ask for it."she noted mischievously.
Grumbling, he sat back down on the sofa, folding his arms and huffing like an angry five-year-old. Grinning broadly, she approached from behind and encircled his neck with her arms, kissing the top of his head.
"You´re so adorable when you act like that."she cooed, laying her cheek on his head.
She felt him chuckle as he reached backwards with his arms, caressing her shoulders with his palms.
"I can also throw a tantrum into the mix if you really want."he replied, sharing a chuckle with her.
They stayed like that for a few moments, looking into the fire, just enjoying the moment.
"Harry...what d´you think Kellen might do when she finds out?"she questioned quietly, the question bothering her for a while.
Harry bit her lip.
"Well... she can´t do anything outright legally now. But as Dray and Double B had said, that she will be moving for grander plans... that´s more of a concern right now... and with the mass-breakout... she may press harder to accelerate her plans."
"If you remember the last High Society party my diary displayed, Kellen started to mobilize the pure-blood families in order to sieze all the political control in the country and the Second War has certainly set the stage for phase one – the Repopulation Act. Recently Dray and B have heared rumors about a new act that is being drafted by her and Fudge. Apparently, the Repopulation Act was merely the begining."
Ginny surpressed a shudder. She couldn´t imagine what kind of a stupid idiotic Act was Kellen drafting, but knew at once that it was bad news.
"I have already shared all that I know on the subject with Dad... he´s well-placed in the Ministry to alert those, who can form a sound opposition. And Al has alerted the Order of the Phoenix... but we will have to go extra cautiously. However I´m not sure if even that will help... There are quite a few powerfull pure-bloods on her side already."
"So this means that the good side will need some help from our Masked superhero."
"You really like this..."he breathed in wonder.
"´Course I do, silly... what girl wouldn´t want a bloody hero for a husband?"she said happily, placing one extra kiss on his head.
Getting up from the chair, she swing around and scooped her into his arms, Ginny giving out a girly squeal.
"Well... if you put it THAT way..."he said silkily, pecking her on her lips as he made way out of the room.
Ginny felt completly giddy as she allowed her husband to carry her bridal-style to his room.
"Correction, OUR room."she thought, sure that she had never been so gratefull for something in her life.
The door gave one of its riddles and Harry remained silent, smiling radiantly at her.
"Flexible and always down-to-earth, eh? What on earth could THAT ever be...? A snake."she said, kissing his lips passionately as the door opened at the correct answer.
"Oh, Harry..."she breathed in happy surprise as they separated and she glimpsed what he had done to the room.
The room was neatly cleaned, Harry´s bed enlarged to fit two with clean, silky covers, several lit candles floating in mid air, a small coffee table filled with fruit, sweets and two glasses for them – the scene of a pure, romantic perfection.
"Nothing but the best for MY wife."said Harry huskily as he set her down on the bed gently.
Ginny´s smile couldn´t possibly be more sunny – she felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
Harry quickly turned his sights to the side of the bed and with a grin hissed something in Parseltongue to – Ginny gasped happily – Naja and Hazumi, who were wrapped around eachother. The two snakes instantly nodded. Naja immediately set out of the room, but Hazumi bounced up and down around Harry and Ginny before following her trough the door – both snakes slithering trough it as though it wasn´t there.
"I asked them, along with the others, to give us some privacy."he explained, looking at her shyly, his cheeks reddening again.
"So... Naja and Hazumi are together then. Where have you sent them anyway?"asked Ginny curiously.
Harry grinned devilishly.
"To Alice´s room."he answered smoothly.
Both erupted in laughter.
"If Alice knew THAT, she would chew you up."giggled Ginny, remembering the argument the Potter siblings had during her last stay here.
"What the eyes don´t see..."said Harry shrugging.
"And on that note..."he added, waving his wand at the portraits, making large black blankets appear over them and casting non-verbal Silencing Charms on them.
"There... all alone now."he said in a cheerfull voice.
"Oh, husband-of-mine..."she sing-songed cheekily, grinning from ear to ear.
As he turned back, he saw that Ginny had already covered the distance between them, pulling him into a heated kiss. Completly lost in the kiss, Harry had barely paid any attention to his wand as she took gently out of his hand and placed it neatly on the bedside table before litterally throwing him onto the bed.
"Woah... firery..."he breathed in pure wonder as she straddled him on the bed, her chocolate-brown eyes holding a playfull, lusty spark he had never seen before.
Ginny wasted not a moment, joining their lips again, her fingers already working on the buttons on his shirt. Harry responded with equal vigour and knew at once, that this will be a night he would NEVER forget.
The main door of Malfoy Manor had opened and in came three people.
"Ah... finally home."breathed Lucius, taking off his traveling cloak.
"Agreed. That sure was a long meeting... however the situation demands it."sighed Deianira, taking off her cloak as well.
Innitially she was against the idea of coming to Malfoy Manor, but as her mother had instructed, she had to keep an appearance. Especially in front of her stupid little sister.
"I think I´ll be going to bed."said Draco quietly, masking his anger.
"TWO hours of POINTLESS back and forth with very little resolved. Merlin... to think that THEY consider the current way of running things incompetent..."he growled inwardly, still carefully shielding his thoughts with Occlumency.
Deianira fummed, shooting a mild-glare at her fiancee´s retreating form.
"I thought we were going to talk over the next course of action for the Task Force, Draco."
Sighing, Draco shook his head.
"Sorry Deia... I´m just too tired right now... I think its best for me to go to sleep right away. Afterall, I have to return to Hogwarts tommorow morning – I still have my observations to keep up with. Come... I´ll show you to your room."he said in a calm, yet tired voice.
His tone of voice chaught her by surprise and she completly forgot to tell him off for calling her "Deia" again. Bidding them good night, Lucius made his way to the living room, where his wife was undoubtably sitting by the fire, awaiting news. Climbing one more story on the stairs, Deianira saw a long corridor, not unlike a Hogwarts one, decorated by many portraits and even two suits of armor.
"Mine is across the hall. This one is yours – I hope you will find it pleasant."he said, opening the door and showing her to the lovely decorated room, that was prepared for her.
Deianira bit her lip.
"We´re sleeping... separately...?"she asked, not exactly sure she was against the idea.
"Well... yes. For now at least. We are not yet as close for me to feel comfortable about sharing my bed with you..."he said, deliberately sounding like a shy second-year.
Deianira´s smile told him, that she had indeed swallowed his act completly. She placed a hand on his shoulder.
"I understand. Good night then, Draco."
Bidding her good night, Draco turned and made for his room. As soon as he closed the door behind him, he let out a long sigh.
"Thank Merlin. That bloody meeting sure took a lot out of me."he said aloud to no one in particural.
He was indeed tired. So much, that he fail to notice the sudden warm feeling his heart was feeling. With his eyes closed, he stepped forward, undoing his robes and throwing them on the ground, not even bothering to pick it up as he went straight to his bed.
"Nox"he muttered waving his wand around and extinguishing the light made by the candles, the only source of light in the large, spacious room was coming from the fireplace, where a fire was cracking merrily.
Setting his wand on the bedside table, Draco peeled off his shirt and pants and quickly slid under the covers, rolling on his side.
However, his eyes opened wide as he felt gentle lips kiss his nose. Yelping, he jumped and rolled over the side of the bed, crashing on the floor.
The giggles that sounded not a second later made him a hundred percent sure, who was in his bed, even if he wasn´t able to see her. Grabbing his wand, he aimed it to the source of the sound.
"Revelio"he muttered and sure enough, in his bed, under his covers, rolling around in giggles was Astoria Greengrass.
His eyes went wide again when he saw, that all Torie had on her was a long shirt – correction, HIS button-up, green and white shirt.
"I was begining to wonder when you´d come back. You don´t have to worry though. The only one in the Manor who knows I´m here is Dobby since he brought me here. I´ve also cast several charms on your room to ensure, that no one gets to drop in on us."
Draco´s stunned expression was turning into one of pure joy.
"You are amazing, Torie."he breathed, making her smile radiantly.
"I know."she replied with a grin.
"Before you start asking... Harry is spending the night with Ginny, Blaise with Luna and I´ll bet you anything Susie will be spending hers with Angus – I saw how jealous she was when me and Ginny told her of the Cottage sleepover. And you know, how I dislike missing out on all the fun, Dray."
"Well... who am I to argue with that..."he muttered happily.
Torie grinned and patted the spot on the bed next to her.
"Well what are you waiting for, you blonde-haired perv? Come here..."
Draco did not need telling twice, he positively leaped back into the bed, his arms eagerly sneaking around her waist as their lips came onto eachother firmly.
"You might... want to be carefull... Torie... Deianira... is right in the... room... on the end of the hall."he said between the loving kisses.
Torie looked at him with a very stubborn look, that made him smile happily.
"Well too bad. I was here first and I´m definitely NOT sharing."she said firmly, making him chuckle and kiss her again.
"That´s good to know. I was afraid of becoming a ladies-man."he said teasingly.
Torie grinned, gripping him tighter.
"Not on MY watch you don´t, Malfoy."she said before locking lips again.
Draco, quite miracleously felt his exhaustion subside as he started to unbutton the green shirt.
"Merlin, I hope she keeps sneaking here EVERY night."he thought happily, grinning into the kiss as he felt her giggle.
The large office was almost entirely dark now. The only source of light in the room was from a small candle on a working table, where Athena Kellen was sitting. Everyone – even the Minister for Magic himself – had already went home. Deia had left with Draco and Lucius and Peia with Broderick, who offered to escort her home.
Athena had helped herself to another sip of the Firewhiskey as she went over the reports of the day. The day, that was supposed to be one of triumph had dissolved into an utter catastrophe. Runcorn and several other members of his small force were in St Mungo´s sporting quite a few injuries. The accursed Masked Wizard had made an appearance, but escaped again. On top of that all the damn Death Eaters were all free somewhere plotting who-knows-what!
She sighed as she went over a parchment, listing all of her allies and underlings. She was gratefull, that young Draco Malfoy had seen sence and joined in – he certainly was an asset. Her eyes fell to the files of Blaise Zabini and Harry Potter. Blaise´s case wasn´t as serious – he was certainly a well-connected young wizard, therefore something one would want on his or her side. Harry Potter however was a more pressing issue. Over the years she had observed him at the High Society parties – the boy was certainly different from his family. She had heared hundreds of rumors about him, but also saw him gain the respect of many powerfull witches and wizards. Hell, even that old fool Dumbledore seemed to hold great respect for the boy. She thought back to the power she had witnessed in the room at Hogwarts – the boy was definitely an incredibly powerfull wizard and having someone like that on your side would change EVERYTHING.
That also meant, that you could not afford having him as your enemy. She wondered, what was the best way of buying him off...
"I will have to find some way..."she muttered to herself as she looked over another document – the grand plan, her masterpiece – The Reformation Act.
In the secret hideout a party was on the way. Drinks, food and everything one could imagine was present in royal quantities as the Death Eaters were celebrating their regained freedom and excitedly talking over the next move their great master may have in his brilliant mind. One person however wasn´t taking any part in any of the heated conversations. Daphne was looking out the window to the night sky, her right hand gently caressing the Dark Mark on her left forearm. She flashed a look at Bellatrix, who was chatting happily with Pansy, Milicent and Barty, who sat besides Wormtail. She surpressed a smirk. Though it were a secret – one that was ONLY between the two of them – she knew, SHE was the one who had her beloved master´s neverending affections. Breathing a dreamy sigh, she wondered what was he doing now, back at Hogwarts, encased in the body of the Chosen One. She didn´t care how long she would have to wait for the plan to come to fruition, but he would be truly back.
"And mine..."she thought, insane happiness rising in her heart as she remembered the promise he had made to her.
"I shall find a way Daphne. You and I shall live forever."
Living forever with her beloved master... she knew, she would KILL for it to be true.
As midnight came, the night was unussually calm. At different places of the country, the very same feeling was very readable in the air.
For instance at the Tonks´ house, where Remus – completly dizzy with happiness – approached the bed, where his darling wife was sleeping beside their infant son, whose hair turned from bright blue to silvery brown and his tiny little face lit up into a happy smile upon seeing his father. Pressing his lips to both Teddy´s and Dora´s foreheads, Remus couldn´t believe his luck - his mother-in-law watching the scene affectionately, standing in the doorway.
At Grimmauld Place Amelia was chaught in a fit of giggles as a large jet-black dog had brought her the ball she had thrown across the room, waving his tail and barking happily, licking her with undeniable affection – oh, the joys of having a playfull Animagus for a lover.
Lily Potter was experiencing the very same joy in the Master Bedroom of the Potter Cottage. Laying comfortably on the king-sized bed, she kept running her fingers lovingly trough the fur of the brownish stag, that lay comfortably by her side – an affectionate, loving ritual they have kept since their seventh-year at Hogwarts, since James had revealed his Animagus form to her. It was one of the greatest ways he often used to assure her, that everything will be fine.
The sheer absence of any sound from bellow had told her, that Harry had indeed taken his father´s advice and cast a Silencing Charm to ensure privacy for him and Ginny.
A part of her still couldn´t believe it – her adorable little boy had grown into a strong, powerfull man. The scenes from the diary showing her just how much...
"Sweet Merlin... how the time has flown... and flown away..."she thought.
With a small pang, she suddenly wished she could turn back time for just a few minutes and hold the tiny little tyke, that Harry used to be in her arms again. Sencing it, Prongs turned his antlered head to her gently and licked her arm. Sighing lovingly, Lily moved and with an all-too familiar gesture, pressed her cheek on the stag´s forehead, whispering sweet endearments to her beloved husband.
Just beneath the Master Bedroom Ginny was feeling the very same feeling of all-consuming love as her affectionate snakie was placing one lazy kiss after another on her bare back while whispering sweet words, that made her want to start the... activities all over again. In fact...
"Come here, you..."she breathed passionately, turning around in an instant and siezing her husband fiercely, relishing the boyish grin on his face.
At the Zabini estate, Blaise was chuckling happily. Laying comfortably on his back with his beautifull wife as they stared at the stars trough the large cieling window, that he had in his room. Luna was pointing from one star to another - each star seemed to have a story of its own. Blaise chuckled lovingly – one of the many pretty things he simply adored on her was her giant imagination. He awarded each story with a gentle kiss, feeling extremly happy to have such an open-minded, albeit sometimes too-dreamy girl by his side.
Torie also had the same affectionate smile on her lips as she stroked Draco´s blond hair, his head tightly pressed against her naked chest – the perv seemed to have taken much to it indeed. Hearing him sigh her name in his dreams made her heart warm over – she was certain, that there was no one else in the world, that could make her feel this way. He snuggled as close as possible into her as he heared her loving "I love you, Dray" in his ear – his sleep nice, calm and pleasant in her embrace.
At Hogwarts, in the brightly decorated Room of Requirement, Susan Bones was also snuggled to the muscular chest of her beloved "Big Moo". Angus sighed as he proceeded to hold his greatest treasure gently. Susie was once more amazed – for someone so physically strong, he seemed to be equally (if not more) gentle when handling her, a fact that made her love him even more.
When she thought back to the very first talk she had with him on the meadow outside of Hogsmeade... it almost felt laughable, that there was so much uncertainity present there, when clearly neither had anything to fear. She was so happy, that she decided to take the risk of trying to make it work – clearly, her sweet muggle-born muscle-man was SO much more than worth it. The gentle music, that the Muggle contraption he had brought along (powered by magic) was playing a sweet lovesong, that she had re-played all over again today – the song she had grown to love, called "The greatest pair".
Up in the foremost tower, the current Head Boy and Head Girl were also chaught in an affectionate exchange, taking full advantage of the Head quarters and celebrating the fact, that in the end – admittably, thanks to Draco´s deal – everything turned out all right for them.
Hermione had snuggled to Ron contently, completly sure that she had never felt happier.
On the top of the Gryffindor Tower, sitting at the topmost window, the form of Neville Longbottom was viewing the grounds from the window. However, his eyes shone in bright red light.
The sight of the familiar grounds felt extremly calming to Lord Voldemort – he thought back to a few memories of his student days and the times he had spent on them – he felt at home after a very, VERY long time. Hogwarts – his first home, his first kingdom... the place where he truly belonged...
He allowed his thoughts to linger on the encounter with his mother in the limbo... how she had helped him, how she cried for him... how she had made him promise to...
Then his thoughts lingered on Daphne... the girl who had felt so much for him... the girl, whom he always felt was prepared to do anything in the world for him... the girl, who felt such all-consuming joy at seeing him alive... the strong girl who had intrigued him since her joining in when she was fifteen... the lively-fresh looking girl who possessed that something that intrigued him, yet he couldn´t for the love of Merlin identify, but still felt right... the girl he somehow envisioned spending an eternity with... a nice way to begin anew... the start of a new life... an EVERLASTING life...
A/N: aaaand that´s a wrap :) The first part of the story is finished :D I think I´ve once more become all too mushy, but admittedly... the couples deserved to have a night for themselves. Btw if you´re wondering – yes, Ron and Mione are Heads :D
Well... this concluded the first part, plus Christmas is rolling on...
Since this story is my side-project, I feel I´ve been neglecting my original one, so its time I returned to that too, so the next chapters for this one may take a bit more time, so keep patient. "Part Two" will show several other characters as well – the High Society ones as well as Torie´s parents, just so you guys can see just what kind of an upbringing the Greengrass sisters had.
So... till next time.