Chapter 17 : Epilogue
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Finally. I know, another long wait. But this month was crazy. What with all my end of semester projects, tests, and then exams, I had a full plate. This had been written in a rough outline for a while but i had never actually sat down and typed it out into something I liked until tonight, so yeah, just be happy that I put it out the same night I finished it.
I know a lot of people are asking if there’s going to be a sequel, and I’m going to tell you right now. This chapter is the last you are going to see of this story. I’m very sorry to disappoint anyone, but the way I see it, this story began where I started it, and ended last chapter. This epilogue wasn’t even in my original plan, so I’m stretching it just writing this. I know that if I wrote a sequel it just wouldn’t be good enough...
I just wanted to throw out a thanks to everyone who has read this story as well, from the people who were there at the very beginning, to the people who have taken hours out of their lives to read it after just coming across it at the last chapter. You all kept me going and are as big a part of this story as I am as the writer of it.
Alright, that’s enough babbling though. The last thing I’ll say before giving you the epilogue is that if you have any questions about the series or about me, please go ask them on my author thread on the forums. You can get to it though the link on my author page. :)
Oh, and one more thing. please don't mind spelling errors. This is probably full of them, but it's late and I only read over it once, but I wanted to get it out to all of you.. so :)
Blaise pulled the collar of his coat up to shield his neck against the biting cold of January, cursing himself for not bringing his scarf. Draco always told him it made him look like a wanker, so he had gotten into the habit of not wearing it. Actually, Draco had something to say about most things Blaise wrapped around his neck. The only thing the blonde didn’t have a problem with was that stupid gold chain from when Blaise was a kid, and ties. Blaise looked fine in ties he guessed, but this wasn’t school anymore, and he really had nowhere to go that permitted dress fancy enough for a tie since then.
A lot of things had changed since school ended, not just where Blaise could wear certain cloth items. The first thing would have to be the fact that the war was over. Blaise had never been deep in it, Zabinis tended to mind their own business in matter like that, but he had always known a little too much being friends with Draco. Blaise probably would have been a great candidate for a Prisoner of War if the Order had ever gotten that desperate for information. Not that he would have given them anything. He wouldn’t have been able to, not when he was the one to see Draco at his very worst during it all. When he was sure they were going to kill his mother, and found his father in a drunken wreak, chopping off his hair while tears rolled down his face. Blaise had found him in the rain, sitting, soaking wet on the front steps of the entrance to his flat. He was blank for hours, but when he finally came around Blaise would never be able to forget the pain written on the boy’s features.
Blaise had gotten a flat in London by himself. Both he and Draco had decided on the idea of living in London considering neither of them had ever lived in the city. Blaise liked it enough. It was small, which was his favourite thing about it, considering his mother had always favoured large homes that tended to be stark and lifeless. It had a lovely view of the building beside his, and the water was either scolding hot, or frostbite cold, but it was liveable. In all honestly, he needed some mediocrity in his life.
He had also gotten a dog, a year late ‘graduation present’ from Draco’s mother, who was going on three years old now. Narcissa had always been an animal person, but Lucius didn’t like dogs all that much. Perhaps she thought she would be visiting Blaise more, therefore seeing the dog more. Whatever her reasoning, Blaise assumed the dog was more for her then him, considering she had a very hard time giving the silver Great Dane pup to him. He was sure she wouldn’t have thought it as ‘cute’ anymore, now that it was bigger than a horse and thought it owned the house. In a very unoriginal moment of irony, Blaise had decided to call her Tiny. Blaise was still amused at the fact that Draco was the only person Tiny would listen to. He was sure this was proof that it wasn’t just humans, but females of all species who were a slave to his presence. The moment he would come in the door she was at his side and her head would be in his lap the second he sat down, the rest of her lanky body filling the left over space of whatever couch he had decided to sit at. Draco hardly minded, on the contrary, Blaise was sure the blonde loved the animal completely. It was hard not to love something that got its greatest pleasure from a simple pat on the head.
Blaise got a starting job at a local London magazine, and since then had started writing articles. He liked it most days, the people were friendly enough, and in most cases he was writing about things he liked. It was a good enough job for him. He was far past wanting everything.
But out of everything that had changed, Blaise would have to say Draco had changed the most. Once the war had let up and he got away from the crowded hallways of Hogwarts as well as away from the prying eyes of his parents, he ended up relaxing into a normal young adult. He still had a sleek and sexy aura, but he didn’t get as much joy from it as he used to. On the contrary, Blaise would be drowned if he had a drop of water for every time Draco had complained about the attention. The shell around the blonde that Blaise had chipped at constantly during the school years, had broken completely off during the times of war, and Blaise had seen a new side of his best friend which he couldn’t help but grow fond of all over again.
In general, things had worked out. Better than Blaise could have expected.
The boy hunched his shoulders slightly as he walked, regretting his idea to go out for coffee because he now realized that the warm feeling that he had been striving for, which was induced by the nice cup of caffeine he had just downed, would soon be gone now that he had to walk back to his flat. The regret at his foolishness hit him roughly, and he sighed, his breath showing on the air in front of him. The regret didn’t last long though.
Blaise turned a corner quickly in his speed walk, and ran straight into a woman who had been looking at the small girl she was pulling along beside her. The collision sent a bag of food flying so that fruit and vegetables of all types were soon rolling along the chilled sidewalk of London. Both Blaise and the woman were on the ground, nursing hurt backsides. Blaise rose first, and through hurried apologizes he attempted to retrieve the food.
“Merlin, I wasn’t watching were I was going, I’m so sorry. That was completely stupid of me. I’m a prat really...” He shoved an orange into the bag and went to reach for an apple when the woman joined him in picking things up, kneeled on her knees in her pencil skirt. She seemed like a business woman, her hair sleeked into a long straight ponytail at the back with perfect straight bangs hanging across her brow, gold hoop earrings dangling from her ears.
“Don’t worry about it, I wasn’t watching either. It was an honest mistake.” She reached for a cucumber that was close to her and put it into the bag as well. Blaise had stopped picking up the food when she had started speaking though, because some shock was too hard to function through.
He knew that voice, in, what it seemed, a personal way. He leaned closer to her to place another vegetable into the bag and he caught a smell. It was covered with an additive fragrance of perfume, but it was still there. Orchids and coconut.
“Hermione?” He whispered it, in hopes that perhaps he was hallucinating and the girl would lift her eyes and reply with a confused ‘pardon’. But she had instead paused abruptly at the name, and Blaise let his mouth fall open as her face lifted.
She looked obviously older, but in a good way. Her face was thinner, her eyes slightly lighter, around them the very first sign of laugh lines. It was her hair that was so different and so strange to see on her face, for Blaise was sure in all the times he had seen her, kissed her, and looked at her for what seemed like hours on end, he had never seen that brown hair so straight.
She seemed just as awed as him, and as she put the last piece of food into the bag, and they both rose slowly to their feet, she finally tried her best to wipe it off and replied.
“Blaise.” It wasn’t a question, but it sounded like it, as if she would have never thought of ever seeing him again. Blaise felt something long forgotten tug inside of him, and he felt bad that he had made himself aware to her. Would she have been better off not knowing it was him?
“Wow. You look different.” She spoke first, trying to be polite he was sure. He would admit that after moving out he had refused any money from his mother and was defiantly not as finely dressed or put together as he would have seemed in Hogwarts. Then again, he had about the same hair style and had lingered around the same 150 pounds that he had been for years.
Of course, right now he felt about three hundred pounds. The weight of his memories with her pressed down on him like the earth.
“You look amazing.” He did one better, and he thought that for a moment he caught her smile, but she turned her face away as her hand went to touch her neck, her voice clearing. He told himself that his eyes were playing tricks, and he shouldn’t say things like that. But yet, a part of him erupted that had long been suppressed, and he couldn’t control it.
“Thank you for helping me with my things.” She muttered, clearing her throat before grabbing the bag and holding it between her hip and arm while holding the other arm out to her left. The hand was taken by a smaller, pink mitten covered hand, and Blaise realized that he had forgotten about the small girl that they had almost killed in their collision.
“Um...” He bit at his lip slightly and tried to stop himself from glancing at the child, or Hermione’s left hand, but saw both; both the beautiful little girl, with adorable light brown ringlets behind both of her ears, and the ring on Hermione’s finger.
“This is Rose.” She said suddenly, obviously seeing his sudden discomfort, and Blaise nodded, sending a forced smile to the small girl. The girl looked at him with sceptical eyes. Blaise always felt uncomfortable with children. They knew too much. They saw too much.
“Anyway, we were off to dinner, and will be late if we don’t hurry, so, we best be off. It was nice seeing you again.” No, Blaise panicked for a moment. He couldn’t let her leave, not when this was already so awkward, and it was probably his only chance. If she had went four years, she could go another four without speaking to him, and he wasn’t sure if he could go that long with everything he wanted to say.
“Wait, Hermione.” He moved forward around her, to stand in her way, causing her to stop and frown slightly in confusion.
“Hermione. I’m really sorry, about...” he stopped, not even knowing where this was coming from, but she cut him off with a small laugh.
“I said don’t worry about it. Honestly mistake Blaise. I mean, we were both in a rush, just not paying attention.” She shrugged gracefully, a gust of wind blowing by and causing her to squint her beautiful eyes slightly and for that piece of bang to blow around her face. Blaise sighed, lowering his gaze and not talking for a moment.
“Anyway, we should probably be on our way, I mean, I have a meeting after dinner, and...”
“I meant, about before. I never got to tell you. So, I’m sorry.” Blaise spoke over her blabbering, stopping her by a gentle grip on her shoulder as she moved to walk by him. She stopped immediately, her eyes finally meeting his, and Blaise found himself out of breath. She hadn’t looked at him since... well.
“You didn’t need to.” She said simply, Blaise taking his turn to be confused.
“I knew you were. But, that’s the past. It doesn’t matter anymore Blaise.” A sympathetic look crossed her features, and Blaise realized that within the last time they spoke and now, the old Hermione had come back. The one that understood, and listened, and thought through things logically. He was glad.
“It matters to me. It matters to me that you at least know... know, that I did love you.” Blaise found himself whispering for, well, no reason. No reason other than the fact that he felt extremely wrong for telling a married woman that he loved her, but at the same time, so right, because as she looked at him right in the eye as he said it, he knew she understood this time. She smiled slightly. Only slightly, as if hiding a different emotion.
“I know. I think I knew all along, but, I just couldn’t do it then. I moved on though, and I forgive you. I did a long time ago.” The words were comforting, like a mid-July rain, bringing refreshment long overdue. Blaise didn’t even know he had been waiting, but when she said it, he realized that it was all he had been looking for from this. He had come to terms with her gone and not coming back, but he never really knew if he was ever forgiven, if she had ever understood.
“Common mommy, we’re going to be late for dinner.” Rose tugged on her mother’s hand, and Hermione gave a small laugh.
“Alright, just one moment Rose.” She replied, pulling her hand from her daughters for a moment to rummage in the black purse that Blaise just realized was hanging from her arm. From it she pulled a card. She held it close to her for a moment, as if second-guessing herself, then thrust it in his direction. He took it with a thumb and pointer, flipping it to read her name in ivy like font, with three contact numbers below it.
“If you ever, want to have a cup of tea, and meet my family, you can just call. I’m sure they’d love to meet you.” She smiled politely, and Blaise sensed something else in it, but he didn’t have time to read it before she said goodbye and was dragged off by her daughter.
Blaise watched her go, bent slightly so she could hold the small girls hands. He found a smile grazing his features, before he stashed the card in the pocket of his jacket.
Draco was on the couch with Tiny when Blaise got home, and at first he got little recognition for either of them. He moved to the kitchen to hang his coat on the back of a chair and lingered in the doorway between the kitchen and lounge, watching as Draco sat playing with Tiny’s ears. Draco turned his silver gaze up and let a smirk cross his face.
“Where were you? I hope you don’t mind that I let myself in. I thought we were friends enough that I had free reign at least.” Draco’s jokes were a lot more normal now a days, he had humbled slightly over the years. Blaise liked it. He smiled.
“No problem. I just went for a coffee.”
“A coffee? You were gone a while.” Blaise tried to hide his amusement in catching that Draco had obviously been waiting a while.
“I ran into someone. From Hogwarts.” He explained, letting out a small awkward cough as he returned to the kitchen, pulling out a bag of hot chocolate powder as an excuse to return.
“Really? Who?” He was interested, more then he should be. Blaise thought of lying for a small moment, but decided against it. He let the moment mull though, pulling out a mug and starting to fill the kettle before speaking again.
“Hermione.” He replied simply, feeling the air suddenly tenser, more like it should feel.
“Oh. Well, how is she?” Draco asked. Blaise couldn’t tell if he was being careful or was simply less interested and asking out of courtesy.
“She seems fine. She married, and has more than one child from the sound of it. Her daughter is beautiful.” He left out the details, like how he could still smell her, like the fragrance of that new perfume was stuck under his nose, or how much he wanted to rip her hair tie out to perhaps reveal that hair that he knew so well.
Blaise resisted looking when he heard Draco get up, only to glance over when Draco leaned against the counter beside him, silver eyes watching the kettle fill for a moment before bringing the gaze up to Blaise.
“Was it how you hoped it would be?” Draco asked suddenly, not the question that Blaise expected. He took a moment to think, turning the water off quickly when he realized the kettle was overflowing, taking the opportunity by moving and putting the kettle on the stove before drawing himself back in the conversation. Blaise leaned against the counter like Draco, keeping a watch on the floor as he cleared his throat, knowing that Draco was still looking at him and not being able to handle that gaze. It used to be so much easier when they were both naive teenagers. But now those eyes were far more understanding and Blaise wasn’t used to it yet.
“No. But, it went as good as it could have.” He replied finally, Draco nodding slightly before Blaise caught a smirk tugging at his lips, and the serious moment disappearing for a brief intermission.
“Just like you, always wanting more than the universe has to offer. It’s given you my company, it considers that far more than anyone is worthy of.” Draco commented, arrogance from school shining through him, jokingly as they both knew. He moved slightly closer to Blaise, enough for their shoulders to press together. Blaise took no notice, shaking his head slightly at Draco’s comment through a small laugh.
“The universe might see you as a gift but I know that you’re just a burden.” Blaise replied, joking, although Draco was able to catch the seriousness behind it, and the humorous intermission was finished. Blaise cleared his throat at the sudden silence when Draco didn’t chuckle at the joke with him.
“Sorry, I was just kidding.” Blaise said, clearing his throat again. Draco shook his head.
“Don’t be. I am.” It was Draco’s turn to look at the floor, and Blaise frowned slightly.
“For being so selfish. If I hadn’t been, if things had happened at a different time, when I wasn’t so full of myself, things might have been different. I know I wasn’t what you really wanted.” Blaise let his eyebrows come together for a moment, watching Draco look out into space, avoiding his gaze, and knew that this was as good as he was going to get from the boy, and before even knowing that he needed it, he got the last thing that he needed to move on like Hermione. He had gotten an apology, or the closest thing to one.
“Just like you, still be selfish by thinking you had control over everything that happened.” Blaise sighed overdramatically, getting Draco eyes on him before he leaned into him and stole his lips for a brief moment. It wasn’t often that he took Draco by surprise, and he savoured it before pulling away slightly and telling another truth. Blaise smiled, knowing Draco would catch the meaning in the words, even behind the understatement.
“I think I can live with how things turned out.”