epilogue

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FOUR YEARS LATER


THE SLIDING DOOR THAT LEAD to the balcony opened with ease. The tiles of the floor were cold against her bare feet, but she ignored the minor discomfort as she walked towards the railing. She crossed her arms over the top of the rail, leaning her weight against it as she looked out at the view.

The soft breeze caused her silk night dress to flutter around her thighs, and one of the straps fell down off of her shoulder. She didn't move to fix it. Her eye remained transfixed on the

In the past few years, they'd visited nearly all of the places Theo had suggested they run away to during that one tearful confession. It were nice to imagine living another life for the few weeks they were in a different country; but there was something about being home. Having gone so long without a proper home, she never thought she'd miss it, but she did. Going home to see Regulus, and Draco, and Pansy, and Blaise would never get old.

Out of all the places he'd listed, they had saved the one closest to home for last. They had travelled all throughout rural France, but it'd be wrong to close out their trip with anything but the capital.

They had a perfect view of the dark, tall monument that was the Eiffel Tower. Even in the obscurity of the night, it towered beautifully over Paris nightlife. The view was so idyllic and the tower so close, even in the daytime, that she had no plans to ever ask Theo just how much he had spent to secure their room.

Behind her, she heard the faint sound of the balcony door sliding open. The soft pitter-patter of footsteps accompanied the muted noise of a near-slumbering Paris. Two arms wrapped themselves around her waist, a face nosing its way into the crook of her neck from behind.

"You're going to get a cold," he grumbled.

She hummed, laughter tickling her throat. "The Eiffel Tower sparkles for a little longer during its last run of the night. I haven't had a proper chance to see it yet."

He pressed a kiss against her neck. "Guess I didn't do a good enough job to get you to sleep through the night," he murmured, voice still rough with sleep.

This time, the laughter spilt past her lips. She moved down her hands to overlap his, and he instinctively nuzzled in closer. Warmth enveloped her.

It was so easy to just be with him.

Post-war, that had been the one constant. It would be a lie to say everything had miraculously fixed itself the moment Voldemort had died. If anything, she'd wager it had gotten worse before they could find themselves here, in the calm of a foreign city.

Losing vision in her right eye had taken a massive toll for her. It was only recently that she had finally accepted the loss of it, accepted the eye in all it's cloudy, distorted pupil glory. Some days, though, it was harder to live with it than others. So many things that she had taken for granted would never be the same again, such as her depth perception. No matter how much she worked to fix herself, the fact was it would never be the same again.

Dealing with Narcissa's death, and later Lucius's imprisonment, then Draco's slowly deteriorating mental state alongside it hadn't helped. Theo and Regulus had stuck by their sides through it all; there on the good days, but always the bad ones too. She doubted neither herself or her brother would ever be able to fully express their gratitude to them.

That final battle had stripped so much from her. She had thought herself strong, but immediately after the war she realised just how weak—how human—she was. In healing, she had become the worst version of herself. She hated it, but it brought her here, to this moment. It took time to heal, but she did heal.

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