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Story Notes:

Warning: Mention of character death

Originally Posted: September 1, 2004

The wall beside the stairs was covered with photographs of their lives together. Draco stood on the bottom step looking at the photos from their youth at Hogwarts. One of her with her friends, another of him with his, before they'd been friends, a lifetime ago. He moved up one step, a smile on his lips as he looked at the image of her with Macmillan, both displaying their Head Badges with proud smiles.

He continued up the stairs, lingering and looking at every photograph. Their courtship, their wedding. She'd been so beautiful, both so young and in love and happy. The happiest day of his life had been when she had declared her love in front of everyone and become his wife. Of course, every day with Hermione had been wonderful. They'd fought and loved with such passion and devotion, completing each other in the clichéd way often mentioned by those considered romantic fools.

Draco passed the photos of them and their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. His eyes happy as he surveyed images of the life they had together, full of love and desire and affection. When he reached the top of the stairs, he looked at the photo taken only a few months ago. They were holding each other, his eyes watching as she smiled, kissing him softly, still so much in love after nearly eighty years together. His fingers traced the image of her face, still beautiful despite the wrinkles and gray hair. She had died two months after the photo was taken, nearly four weeks ago.

Wiping the tears from his cheeks, he entered his bedroom and laid down, immediately pulling her pillow to him, burying his face into it and inhaling her scent. He had charmed it because he couldn't sleep without her, needed to at least smell her scent before he could rest at night, not that he had slept since she had passed away. He missed her with every breath that he took, life empty without her. He loved her so much, too old to live alone in this empty house with memories of her everywhere. He was ready to join her, to start another chapter of their lives together.

Closing his eyes, he saw her, looking beautiful and youthful in her wedding robes. He began to walk towards her, becoming younger with every step as he moved closer. She was smiling lovingly, not urging him to go back as she had every other night when she came to him, realizing that it was time for them to be together again. She spoke of her love for him and about an endless future together in this beautiful place. Soon, he was standing before her in his wedding robes, handsome and unbelievably happy as he took her hand and pulled her close. He kissed her gently, whispering, "I love you, Hermione," his lips curving into a happy smile in his sleep as he let out his last breath, finding peace once again in her arms.

the end.