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I'm so sorry for the super long delay! I'm afraid summer has been keeping me extremely busy (please don't kill me!). The next chapter is now here and it will be one of the very last so please let me know what you think! I hope you enjoy it, MM :)


 





The media was on fire at the announcement of Draco and Sofia's engagement. The couple had been splashed across the Daily Prophet and every other paper and magazine ever since they had told the world they were to be married. Cameras constantly followed them wherever they went and it was beginning to grate on their last nerves. Draco had been most furious when a swarm of journalists had nearly sent Sofia flying after ambushing them on the way out of Diagon Alley. Sofia had almost been scared of Draco himself when she saw him release his anger at the unrelenting press as she was reminded of the Draco she had known before this year. It seemed the whole world wanted to know about their relationship and they wanted to know the details of their wedding even more.

If the press weren't enough, Draco and Sofia were now facing the fact that that they were the hot topic of conversation between every person in Hogwarts. Their fellow students had been gossiping about the upcoming wedding for weeks now and it seemed that, as the end of their last year drew closer, everyone was becoming more desperate to find out the details of it before they left Hogwarts forever. Sofia wasn't sure if the end could come quick enough. She was sick of having to put up with the likes of Tracey Davies, a fellow Slytherin, cornering her in the corridors to ask her about her wedding dress. She wouldn't mind but she wasn't even friends with the girl! No, the sooner their wedding day came the better.

Sofia couldn't help but feel overjoyed the moment she woke up on that July morning, for every new day she welcomed meant she was a day closer to her wedding. On this day, however, her joy was short lived as she realised that this was it. This was the very last day she would wake up in this castle. After seven years of calling Hogwarts her home, she was now going to leave and never return. They all were. The thought overwhelmed her and she couldn't help but to let a tear escape from her crystal orbs. She knew that this day would come but nothing could have prepared her for the overbearing sadness she was feeling.

Hogwarts was not just a school to her. She had memories here, some that made her cry with laughter and some that made her heart cripple in pain. She had a family here too, one that she had built on friendship that she never wanted to let go of. It was with sickening nerves that Sofia climbed from her bed and got herself ready for the day.

As her small feet padded on the wooden floor, down into the common room, Sofia couldn't help but feel a small disappointment at the fact that she would be spending her last day in the Slytherin common room. She knew that was the house she was now a part of, but she had always imagined saying her goodbyes up in Gryffindor Tower with Harry and Ron. It seemed that her vision of that moment would not come true anytime soon though.

A small cough interrupted her musings, and Sofia turned to find Blaise smiling at her.

"Feeling a little lost?".

"You could say that", Sofia replied.

"I knew today would be hard for you. You, Harry and Ron have a connection to this place stronger than anyone has ever seen".

Sofia looked to the floor as tears threatened to flood her eyes once more. Blaise's welcoming arms wrapped around her small frame as he attempted to comfort his twin. It was an embrace that Sofia dearly needed.

"I got you something, to cheer you up", Blaise beamed.

Sofia was shocked as Blaise pulled out a small purple box. As she opened it she gasped in delight as she saw a small silver charm lying on the silver silk inside.

"I ordered it especially for you. I thought it would be a perfect addition to the charm bracelet Father gave you".

"Blaise, it's wonderful!", Sofia cried as she hugged her brother in thanks and surprise at her gift from him.

"Well, I figured with that, you'll never be away from here".

As Sofia attached the small silver Hogwarts model to her bracelet, she saw the truth in Blaise's words. She would never be away from Hogwarts, for it would always be in her heart.

*

All four of the House emblems hung from the sunlit ceiling of the Great Hall as students and families filled the vast space of gold wooden chairs. The seventh years were stood on the stage at the front while they waited for their Headmistress to finish her speech. It was bewildering for some to see tears glisten in Professor McGonagall's hazel eyes. They all knew why though, they could all feel it. It was the memories that engulfed them all as they stood there on their last day at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

"... and it is with great pleasure and sadness that I present to you the most respected and what will become the most remembered year group that Hogwarts has ever seen. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the class of 1999".

Applause rang throughout the Hall as parents and fellow students celebrated the year group that was the most remarkable year Hogwarts had ever seen. As silence began to reign again the Headmistress spoke once more.

"Finally, on behalf of this year's leavers, I would like you to welcome Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley and Sofia Zabini".

Sofia blushed as she stepped forwards with Harry and Ron. Despite the events of this year, the whole of their year group had thought it only fitting that she, Harry and Ron speak their parting words. It was a task that they were all honoured to have but one that came with such pressure and emotion.

The audience in front of them sat facing them, their eyes wide with anticipation. This was the first time the three had ever addressed an audience together. They had been begged to do so ever since the end of the war but they had always declined. Now though, the press huddled in the corner would get what they wanted because the trio knew, as they looked into each other's eyes, that this was it.

"When I was younger, I was always jealous of all my brother's. Apart from Ginny I was the last to go to Hogwarts. I used to beg my Mum to let me go early every single year. The stories my brothers told me made me want to come here more than anything. Their tales of adventure have nothing on mine though", Ron continued as soft laughs sounded throughout the Hall, "Never in a million years did I expect to go through what we did. We looked death in the face more times than I care to remember but we always came out on top. I wouldn't be the person I am today without these two stood next to me and, in my eyes, Hogwarts gave me them. I've had the same laughs in lessons as everyone else and made some genuinely happy memories but the one thing I thank Hogwarts for the most is my friends. They're my life, my existence and they always will be".

Cheers, applause and whistles could be heard at Ron's final words. Sofia and Harry did not join in though. They were too busy trying to stop the tears as the strength of Ron's words soaked in. They had never been so touched.

Sofia was quickly forced to recover herself though as the noise lessened and people waited for her to begin.

"In many eyes I'm a completely different person than I was for most of my time at Hogwarts but I can assure you I'm not. I'm still the same know it all that thrives off answering every single question in class and I'm still the same person that survived with these two. When I began Hogwarts I was terrified that I wouldn't make any friends. I remember thinking that even a group that didn't really like me but I could latch on to would be fine. I really didn't anticipate meeting Harry and Ron", Sofia smiled, "The three of us have done everything together. We've studied together, eaten together, walked to classes together, and been in detention together. Everything that best friends do together at school. But we've done more than that. We've fought the most grotesque kind of evil together, we've risked our lives together and we've survived together. We've even grieved together. The people we lost along the way of our journey through Hogwarts will never be forgotten, they will live in our hearts for eternity, but we also found people along the way that are still here now and that's all of you. I've read every single book in that library and achieved top marks in all of my classes every year, but the most important lesson that I've learnt at Hogwarts is that nothing in this world matters more than the love and respect we all have for each other because if we have that, then we have happiness".

There wasn't a dry eye in sight as Sofia finished. Hagrid was openly weeping and many mothers were dabbing handkerchiefs under their eyes. She hadn't expected such a reaction, all she had done was spoken from her heart. Finally, all eyes turned to Harry. The silence was almost unbearable as people prepared themselves to hang on to his every word.

"This place, this castle, it means the world to me. It was where I came alive. Before I came here, I had no idea about magic, I didn't know who I was, what had happened to me, who my parents were. I knew nothing. I think that was the first reason I fell in love with it. For the first time in my life I felt close to my parents. Despite everything that has happened here, I still feel the same way. People died in the very spots where we're stood now. Their bodies were laid down in rows on this floor but the magic of this school still lives on. I know that sounds morbid but it shouldn't be forgotten. Our friend's and our family died so that we could live without fear. So that we could stand here today and say that we did it. I realised, after listening to Ron's and Hermione's speeches, that our words aren't much of a representation of the whole year group. They're more about our own time here. I think after everything we've been through though it's understandable for us to do so. It's understandable because we are Hogwarts to each other. We've spent nearly every moment of our time here together. For seven years and the year of the Horcrux hunt we were constantly together. When someone says Hogwarts, I immediately envision this magnificent castle, the food, the ghosts, the magic but in every vision there are two constant things and that's Ron and Hermione. When I see Hogwarts, I see them. Albus Dumbledore once said Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home and it's true. That's because Hogwarts is everywhere. It's not just a building. It's a magic inside of us that connects us all but is different for each and every one of us. For me, Hogwarts is my friends, Hogwarts is these two", Harry finished as he looked at Sofia and Ron.

The trio fell into each other's arms as tears poured down their faces. They all already knew what had been said but to hear it voiced out loud from one another was overwhelming. Sofia couldn't help but think that Blaise was right this morning. She, Harry and Ron did have a connection with this place that no one had ever seen before and that's because Hogwarts had connected them in a way it never had before.

*

Sofia would have probably felt the same feeling inside of her that was screaming at her to latch on to Harry and Ron for as long as she could, but she knew that it was the words they had spoken just thirty minutes ago that was the driving force for her actions. She wasn't alone though. The two boys seemed to feel exactly the same way. It was for this reason that they had sneaked out of the graduation party, in the Great Hall, and were now wandering around the halls of their beloved school.

If one looked upon them, they would see three students walking aimlessly. Looking at everything the sacred school had to offer as if they were trying to memorise every archway, every moving photograph and every crack in every wall. That wasn't the case though. They were not wondering aimlessly. They knew exactly where they were going without uttering a word to each other.

Ghosts of smiles lay on their faces as they ventured down the third floor corridor to gaze upon the trap door at the end. They didn't say any words. They weren't needed. They just stared as the memories played through their minds. They only lingered for a while then the Trio went back the way they had come, to begin their path to the girls bathroom.

Harry, Ron and Sofia could still see the engraved serpent on the cool metal tap that marked the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets. Shivers ran up their spines as they remembered the near fatality of Ginny but they were finding a sense of ease whilst taking their own personal tour through the castle. Between each destination they never spoke. They just soaked in the beauty that was Hogwarts. It was even more beautiful from afar as they stood near the Whomping Willow. Experience alone had taught them not to get too close but it seemed they had pushed their luck as the tree started to get a little agitated by the sense of their presence. It was with this realisation that they began their stroll to the quidditch pitch.

Images of games, both watched and played, whizzed through their minds but it was the image of Harry returning from the maze with Cedric Diggory's dead body that overcame them. It had been the most dreadful night they witnessed, particularly for Harry, but once again the trio felt as if they needed to be here and remember just one last time. Not wanting to succumb to their tears, Harry, Ron and Sofia made their way back inside until they found the Room of Requirement. As they entered, they found the room just as it was back in their fifth year when their lives revolved around the DA.

They remembered how students of Hogwarts had come together to learn how to fight, they remembered the laughs as Fred and George tested their joke shop products at the end of every lesson and they remembered the look of sheer amazement and triumph on Neville's face as he mastered his first defensive spell.

After reliving those moments, they climbed to the highest point Hogwarts had to offer and gazed into the open air from the Astronomy Tower. The night that the world lost Albus Dumbledore will never be forgotten. It brought sadness even to the hardest of hearts but the Trio did not think of the bad in this moment. They remembered the goodness he had brought to their lives. They knew that without him they would not be standing here today. The wizarding world praised them beyond belief for their actions during the war but they knew they wouldn't have stood a chance without Dumbledore. As the last visions of his twinkling blue eyes flitted through their memories, Harry, Ron and Sofia made their way to their final stop.

The portrait swung open then shut as the three stepped into the home they had shared for many years. Sofia remembered being disappointed that morning that she would not be spending her last day in the Gryffindor common room but it seemed she need not have worried. The familiar warmth graced her porcelain skin as she embraced the red and gold. This was her favourite room in the whole of the castle and she relished in the fact that she was finally back here. Sofia remembered the first time she had ever seen the Gryffindor common room more than ever as she felt very much the same in this moment.

"So, this is it", Ron stated.

It was all they could do but stare around as the reality of their departure soon hit them. They tried to look at anything but each other as doing so would only give their tears permission to escape their eyes. The trio's resolve lasted all of ten seconds though. They soon found each other in a bone crushing as they longed to keep hold of one another for as long as humanly possible. Even as their embrace ended, they still didn't fully let go.

"I don't know why we’re being so stupid, we're still going to see each other all of time", Sofia sniffled.

They boys chortled in agreement and Harry added, "I know, it's not like we're saying goodbye to each other".

"Just to where we started", Ron smiled, "we still have the rest of our lives together, don't we, and everything that it will bring?".

Sofia grinned at Ron's words, as she looked out of the window to see Draco stood on the grounds with both his and her family. Every time she laid her crystal eyes on him, Sofia felt an overwhelming sense of admiration and love. She still couldn't believe that in just a matter of weeks she would become his wife. This thought didn't make her nervous though, as it would make most women feel. On the contrary it made her more excited than she had ever been and the truth of Ron's words rang clear through her whole existence.

"Yes, we certainly do, Ronald".


 
 
 
 

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