The last few months at Hogwarts passed faster than I would have thought possible. End of year exams were over and we'd all passed with ease (with the exception of Crabbe and Goyle). Graduation came and went, and my father took more pictures than I could count. When we left, I went home to pack. Draco and I were going on a celebratory vacation to Marrakech. He'd wanted to go to Switzerland, but in the end I'd won.
Dad was now the permanent Head of the Office of Interdepartmental Affairs, and the rebuilding of the Ministry was going well. His divorce from Mother had been finalized with decided rapidity. He had also gotten an official order denying her any visitations with Dakoda. If he wanted to see her again, he could choose too when he turned seventeen. I doubted that would even be an issue; he had heard or figured out enough to know that she was, at least in part, responsible for what had happened to us.
"You're still not packed?" Draco asked from the doorway. "How is that even possible? We just returned with fully packed trunks."
"We returned with trunks packed full of school things," I retorted, my eyebrow raised, challenging him to disagree. "I have to unpack all of the unnecessary things and repack for our trip. There's no way I'll be needing a fur lined cloak in Marrakech."
He looked skeptical, "So, what you're saying is that we're going to be arriving late."
"No, what I'm saying is that I've already got all of my Hogwarts things out of my trunk and all I have to do is pack up the everything else. I'll be ready to go in two shakes of a wand. Then I just have to say goodbye to Dad and Dakoda before we go," I smiled. He'd left the doorway in favor of standing beside me surveying the stacks of clothes and empty trunk.
I turned to him, standing on tiptoes to kiss him on the cheek, "You can go ahead and wait for me downstairs. Dakoda is dying to talk quidditch with you. He wants to gloat about Bulgaria losing in the quarter finals."
With a withering look at the mention of his favorite team's embarrassing loss, he mumbled something about getting it over with before turning to leave. "You know, he's going to be a right little chit about it. Are you sure you don't need any help with the rest of the packing?"
"Take it like a Malfoy! You're his favorite rival. I suppose it runs in the family," I smirked.
He laughed and was gone. I finished packing and wrote a quick letter to both Kat and Sara to confirm a lunch date when we all returned home in a few weeks. Sara was going to the south of France to soak up the summer sun, and Kat was going to South America with Blaise. They'd been seeing each since the Halloween feast, and apparently it was going well.
In the entrance hall, I found Draco waiting for me. Dakoda had caught him at the bottom of the stairs. He looked at me over my brother's head, "Oh, look, you're sister's ready to go. We're going to be late checking in as it is, so we'd better get moving, right?"
"You've just had enough humiliation reliving the match," Dakoda laughed. "We can talk quidditch when the two of you get back." He turned to me, "Bring me back something good, sis."
"You know I will. You try not to get into too much trouble while I'm gone. Dad will be at the Ministry a lot. Those two friends of yours are going to be here tomorrow, right?" He nodded. "Ok, well then, you three need to keep it low key. We received the letters from their mothers last week. They're going to stay here and I'll be back in time to take you all to Diagon Alley to meet up with their parents to pick up everything for Hogwarts."
"Right. We'll be fine. You worry too much," he chastised.
Just then, Dad came through the front door. "Hey princess, I'm glad I didn't miss you. I expected to be home sooner, but you know how it's been at the office. Things should be settling down in the next week or so, though." he said.
"We're just getting ready to leave. Dakoda and I were just talking about his friends arriving tomorrow. In the meantime, I've left the address for our hotel on the desk in your study. We'll be back two weeks before Dakoda leaves for school so I can take the three of them to Diagon Alley," I reminded him.
"Yes, yes. I'm sure everything is perfectly in order. You worry too much," he echoed Dakoda. "Just give your old dad a hug, and go enjoy your trip."
I smiled and hugged him tightly; then letting go I stepped aside. He surveyed Draco for a moment before holding out a hand. "I know you'll look after her while you're gone," he said.
Draco shook his hand and nodded, "Of course."
We disapparated from the front steps with our trunks, and in an instant I was standing in the warm sunlight in front of our hotel. The concierge hurried forward and took our trunks, and I took a moment to enjoy the normalcy of it all. There were no underhanded plots to worry about, and I could finally relax.
The suite was perfect. French doors lead out onto a large balcony that overlooked the hotel's private oasis. We took it easy and used the afternoon to get settled in, and after an early dinner, we sat on the balcony watching the sunset. Brilliant purples and pinks colored the sky as the huge orange disc of the sun slipped below the horizon.
"So I thought we could wander around the city for a while tomorrow. Maybe I can pick up a few things for everyone back home," I said.
"Mmhm," he mumbled in return.
"Don't sound so overjoyed," I commented dryly.
"Well, I figure that I'm going to be dragged along no matter what I say, and I'm too comfortable to protest at the moment," he answered.
"I suppose there's one way I can think of to convince you to come along willingly," I smirked standing over him.
He opened one eye and looked up at me, "Oh, I don't know. I'm quite stubborn. It might take you a while to convince me," he feigned innocence.
I held out my hand to him, "Well then, I suppose I'd better start arguing my point now."
He took my hand and stood up pulling me back into the suite. "Oh yes, I think that's a marvelous idea," he said as he leaned down swept me up, carrying me off to the bedroom.