Disclaimer: Still not JKR! She is brilliant and fabulously wealthy... me, not so much...
Chapter 16: Epilogue - A Happy Ending
*** Malfoy Manor ***
Narcissa Malfoy fussed with the paintings on the bedroom walls. She fussed with the hand-picked flowers in the vase. She fussed with the pins in her elegant chignon. She fussed with the fastens of her rich brocade sleeves.
When she could find nothing more to fuss with, she fussed over feeling helpless.
Everything must be perfect. Today was the beginning of the rest of her life.
With a large sigh, she sank into her favorite soft white leather sofa and fixed her eyes on the door, willing the clock to tick faster.
Any moment now, her life would become that much less lonely.
Any moment now, one large step on the path of restoring her family would be fulfilled.
Any moment now, Lucius Malfoy – a wand-wielding Wizard once more – would return as Master of his house.
And Narcissa suddenly realized she could not be happier.
*** Hogwarts School ***
Walking down the narrow stone corridor, her trunk dragging along behind her, Anneliese felt happier than she ever had before. She had just completed two months in an accelerated fifth-year program at Hogwarts, and despite her deepest fears, did not completely fail out of school! Maybe Father is right, maybe I did get Mum’s brains. Her parents – she was still not used to having parents, plural – told her often how proud of her they were after she was sorted into Ravenclaw.
Even her stodgy, old, aristocratic Malfoy grandparents were not too terribly disappointed that their only grandchild was not in Slytherin. Her grandfather actually requested that an entire suite in Malfoy Manor be redecorated in deep blues in honor of her House. Dad nearly choked on his muffin at brunch when I told him that.
Annie smiled at the memory. She loved her new family. She put her hand in the pocket of her new royal-blue summer cloak and extracted a long, smooth piece of wood. I have a wand. I am a witch. I can do magic.
Annie found herself still adjusting to the last months’ changes. With wedding bells in mind, her parents had purchased an old Manor house near the Potters’, though not quite as large. She knew her mother was happier here than Annie had ever seen her. She’s not the only one. She smiled at the memory of how instantaneously at-home she herself felt in the Magical world. I was never this at-ease in the States; no matter how well-liked I was, I was still pretty much always a loner.
"Annie! I am so thrilled that you are still here! I was worried you would leave for the summer break before I would have a chance to say goodbye!"
Her daydreams interrupted, Annie turned toward the excited voice of her best friend and roommate, Dominique Weasley. The stunning, lithe strawberry-blonde beauty was running with natural grace toward Annie, her million-galleon smile wide and welcoming.
"Dom. Relax. I told you that I would save you a seat on the train, didn't I? No worries, okay? Now, lets just go and set our trunks in the Great Hall and have a bite while we wait for the rest of the castle to wake. Hey... you don't have your trunk! You will likely not have time to return to the tower after breakfast, Dominique, so you should probably go and get it now."
"Already taken care of, Annie dear. Nathaniel Nott was practically begging for the
chance to help me with my very heavy trunk, how could I refuse? It would have been cruel of me to deny him," Dom giggled.
"Dominique Ginevra Weasley, you little devil! Poor Nate would do anything just to be breathing the same air as you; why, I'll bet your father would love to know all about how his little girl shamelessly uses her Veela charms on unsuspecting men!," Annie mock-scolded her friend.
Dominique pretended to ponder this for a moment. A sly grin slowly spread over her face.
"Nah. I think that this will just be another one of our little secrets. We can add it to the list, right next to the BIG secret I have of you falling arse-over-ears in love with Franklin Longbottom, and how I caught you two snogging in Hogsmeade just last week!"
Annie felt her cheeks turn pink at the mention of her new boyfriend. "Dom! Shhh! I will admit, Frankie and I may have gotten a bit carried away in Honeydukes, but my mother does not need to know about it!"
The only response Annie received was a devious-sounding laugh.
As the two girls entered the Great Hall and approached the Ravenclaw table, they were surprised to see former Head Boy, Ted Lupin, standing near the Gryffindor table and grinning at them.
"Teddy! What are you doing here?!" Dom yelled as she flung herself into his out-stretched arms. Annie had of course met him while staying at Potter Manor.
Setting the red-head gently back on her manicured feet, Ted laughed. "Whoa, Dom, it is way too early to be so chipper, eh? I am here on official business, actually, and needed to speak to Annie. But... I don't think it will hurt if you hear this as well.”
Teddy paused, picking up a poppyseed muffin and taking a large bite. After swallowing and following with a swig of pumpkin juice, Teddy continued. “Annie, the man responsible for your parents'... separation... has been identified and apprehended. He confessed to a rather complicated scheme, all of which boils down to a blinding lifelong hatred concerning your father and everything his family stood for; he has been implicated in leading a recruiting movement currently calling themselves Pure-Death. He, along with the rest of the group, will face trial shortly."
As Ted suddenly broke off and looked at his feet, Annie realized there was something more that he was not telling her. He looked pained.
"What? Ted, what else? Who is he? Why did he do this? What aren't you saying?," Annie demanded. Dom was strangely quiet.
"Well... you see, he was friendly with your Mum while they were in school. He seemed like a nice enough bloke, albeit a bit big-headed. It is complicated, but he faked his own death awhile back, and for several years was living under the assumed identity of one of Harry and Ron’s closest mates. Recently, he killed one of the most decorated Aurors on the squad. Harry is not in the best of spirits,” Teddy finished.
Dom and Annie merely stared at Teddy, the tears of relief and regret already running freely down Annie's face. Dom pulled her friend into a hug. Sensing that Teddy had said his piece, Dom changed the subject. "So, Teddy, aside from being Uncle Harry's most trusted owl (at this she received a light-hearted smack from a smirking Teddy), what else has been going on in your life?"
"Oh, you know. Not much, actually. Let's see... I am at the top of my recruiting class in the Auror Academy. I have been working with Ron and Harry to round up the last of the dangerous werewolves so they can get the proper potions and participate in society again. I bought a new broom. I visited my folks' graves on the Anniversary as I do every year. Oh, and I proposed to your sister last night and she has agreed to make an honest man out of me," Teddy grinned from ear-to-ear.
“Teddy! That’s wonderful! You’re going to be my brother! I mean, you have always been, in a way, but now it will be official! You have to tell me everything. Where did you propose? What did you say? What did Vic say? What were you wearing? Did you ask Dad’s permission first? He’s big on tradition when it comes to stuff like that, you know…” Dom prattled on, dragging Ted and Annie with her to sit on a bench at the Ravenclaw table. The Weasley appetite having reached all of Molly Weasley’s grandkids, Dom picked up a plate and began to load it with mouth-watering food.
“Dom, I am certain Tori is writing you a letter as we speak telling you all about it. I would love to stay and chat, but Harry is expecting me home so we can floo to work together. I think he wants to give me some sort of Father-Son talk now that I am engaged…” at this Teddy looked vaguely ill.
“Oh. Alwigh! Bigh, Tweh!” Dom managed to say around a mouthful of food. Annie just grinned at her friend and laughed as Ted walked away muttering, “no manners, that one.”
Annie smiled as she reached for a blueberry muffin. Yup. This is home.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the story! Please let me know what you thought. I had such fun writing it! Now I will focus on the prequel ("Stolen Schatzi"), and then write a sequel to my Sco/Rose story. :) Happy reading, as always!
Just for clarity, in my world...
When Annie comes to Hogwarts (5th year):
Teddy graduated 3 years ago
Victoire just graduated last year
James – 1st year (H/G)
Fred – 1st year (G/A)
Dom – 5th year (B/F)
Louis – 2nd year (B/F)
Albus – will start next year (H/G)
Lily – will start in 3 years (H/G)
Molly/Lucy – will start in 2 years (P/A)
Roxanne – will start in 3 years (G/A)
CHARLIE engaged to another dragon tamer
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