There are a few references to the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which have been marked with an asterisk (*)
The sight of the Hogwarts Express, bright red and blowing steam through the platform, never failed to be incredible. Ginny glanced over her shoulder at the clock -- plenty of time still -- as her family searched through the crowds and steam. James had run ahead of them, as usual, but Ginny wasn’t worried. She kept hold of Lily’s hand, however, until they caught sight of Ron’s family near the end of the train. Albus let out a sharp breath of relief when he saw Rose, also beginning her first year at Hogwarts. Rose was already in her Hogwarts robes. Ginny grinned. She wasn’t sure if that had been Rose’s idea or Hermione’s to be dressed so early.
While Harry and Ron loaded the trunks and Albus’s owl onto the train, Ginny and Hermione listened to the children go into discussion on which House they expected to be in.
“If you’re not in Gryffindor, we’ll disinherit you,”* said Ron seriously as he and Harry stepped off the train.
Albus and Rose shared a worried look, but were soon comforted when their mothers reassured them that he didn’t mean it.
Just then Ginny saw Ron nudge Harry and nod in a way he thought was inconspicuous. Ginny followed their gaze to see -- her heart thudded in her chest -- Draco, looking far too formal and stiff in a long, buttoned-up coat. A tall, beautiful woman stood beside him, as well as a blonde boy that looked strikingly similar to Draco himself at that age. As if he could sense their staring, Draco glanced up, gave a quick, polite nod, and turned his back on them.
“So that’s little Scorpius,”* said Ron quietly. Ginny couldn’t imagine how he knew the child’s name.
Ginny was distracted, her eyes still on Draco. As his wife helped her son into the train, Draco turned suddenly, meeting Ginny’s eyes. He held them for a moment before giving her a genuine smile that Ginny returned.
“--Don’t get too friendly with him, Rosie.” Ron’s voice made Ginny’s attention snap back to him.
“Ronald!” cried Hermione in exasperation.
Ginny fought the urge to smack her brother upside the head. For all of Rose’s sweetness and charming personality, she had a defiant streak in her that rivaled that of any of Ginny’s siblings put together. Ginny shared a knowing look with Hermione -- Rose was already stealing curious glances at the blonde boy, the wheels in her head turning.
It took more than a few minutes, a few tears from Lily, and one horrified outburst from James -- “He’s snogging her! Our Teddy! Our Victoire!” -- to get the children onto the train. James allowed Ginny to give him a quick kiss on the cheek before he disappeared down the corridor to find his friends. Rose was with her parents and brother, giving them final hugs, and then jumped onto the train. A second later she came into view at a window, waving frantically to her family.
Only Albus was left. Ginny could feel his nervousness, and folded him into a tight hug.
“It’ll be wonderful, Al,” she whispered in his ear. She let him go to give Harry a chance to say goodbye, turning to wave at Rose.
Harry and Albus’s whispered goodbye tugged at Ginny’s heart. She remembered the anxiety of going to Hogwarts for the first time, leaving her parents, not knowing what her future held. At least she could take comfort in the fact that Albus’s first year would be nothing like her own -- that darkness was gone forever, thanks to her Harry.
As she gave Harry and Albus a moment alone, she overheard Harry tell Albus about his namesake being a Slytherin, and one of the bravest men he’d ever known. A pang went through Ginny as she remembered another Slytherin, one of the bravest men she knew, one of the people she cared about most in this world -- even after all this time.
In a moment, Albus was on the train, hanging out of the window with Rose, who looked ready to go explore. Ginny waved happily, her other hand holding tightly to Lily, who was simultaneously laughing and crying. The train began to move, picking up speed. When the train was out of sight, Ginny leaned into her husband.
She’d never once regretted saying goodbye to Draco, all those years ago. Especially knowing how her life had turned out -- each time she looked at her children she felt a surge of happiness, knowing without a doubt that things had happened exactly the way they were meant to.
A few days later, a letter from Albus arrived. He’d made a friend.
Hermione received a letter from Rose. She'd made a friend, too.
And that's the end! I am so giddy to finally have finished this story. It's been something I've been working on for over a year, and to have it all wrapped up nicely -- with a hint at a potential sequel -- is something I'm really excited about. So THANK YOU to everyone who's stuck with me, who has waited on updates while I struggled with writer's block, and who's left such amazing reviews. If you enjoyed it, please say so! I truly love knowing what you all think.
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