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Their Finest Hour by Cassius Alcinder
Chapter 18 : Epilogue
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 7


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                                                        1971- 26 years later

The Headmaster’s office was more cluttered than usual as Dumbledore began his preparation for the upcoming school year.  He dug through each and every drawer in the desk, adding to the massive and ever growing mound of paperwork on top.  He was momentarily distracted as Fawkes suffered one of his many deaths, disappearing in a mound of ash.  He then heard a knock at the door, and hastily attempted to add a semblance of organization to his pile of papers as he beckoned his guest to come inside. 

“Is this a bad time?” asked Minerva McGonagall, who had filled his old role as Transfiguration Professor and head of Gryffindor House. 

“Please come in, Minerva, I was just doing a bit of cleaning.” he assured her. 

McGonagall took a seat across from Dumbledore at his desk, pulling out the list of things they had to discuss to prepare for the upcoming school year.

“Look what I happened to find today,” said Dumbledore with a grin, as he produced a black and white photograph of himself with a certain former Prime Minister which was signed with the inscription:

Dear Albus,

This was truly our finest hour.

-W. Churchill

McGonagall was filled with nostalgia as she remembered a simpler time, a time when she was young and naïve enough to believe that she was in love.  She and the young Scottish soldier had gone their separate ways after the war; it had been fun while it lasted, but she felt strongly that they lived in different worlds that could not be reconciled.  She did not regret her decision, but she occasionally wondered what might have been.   

The previous year had marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the war’s conclusion, and commemorations were held all over the country.  After many memories were altered by the Ministry, very few remained aware of the role the wizards had played in the conflict.  However, Dumbledore found that he still had friends in high places.  In a secretive ceremony at Windsor Palace, he had been knighted by the Queen for services to the British Empire.  Very few people knew of this honor, but he had to admit that “Sir Albus Dumbledore” had a very nice ring to it. 

As they proceeded with their meeting, the first order of business that McGonagall was presenting was the list of incoming first year students who were about to receive owls with their invitation to attend Hogwarts.  The majority of the students came from magical families, and were therefore already familiar with the school.  However, there were also a handful of Muggle-born students on the list, who were bound to receive a large surprise as they were introduced to the magical world. 

As Minerva made her way through the alphabetical list of students, she paused as she recognized a familiar family name among the Muggles. 

“Could this be a coincidence?” she looked up and asked. 

Dumbledore looked back at her with his familiar all-knowing gleam, “Minerva, very few things in life truly are.”

***

In a normal suburban house in the quiet village of Spinner’s End, Daisy Evans carefully removed her freshly cooked roast from the oven.  It was Sunday, which meant the Cranford’s were over for dinner.  

“Daisy, after all these years, your cooking still never ceases to amaze me.” said John, as he took in the aroma. 

“And John, you are still quite the flatterer.” she responded. 

“That really does smell delicious, Daisy. And it will go perfectly with this wine I brought back from Lisbon.” added Roger, as he eagerly awaited the meal.

“Yet another benefit of having a best friend who flies for British Airways.” said John with a smile. 

“Well you two certainly snuck on enough free flights with us,” Lydia Cranford playfully reminded them, “At least until your girls came along.”

“Speaking of the girls, where are they now?” Roger asked.

“Oh, they’re playing outside,” said John, “It’s good for them to get the exercise, just as long as they stay away from that greasy haired creep down the road.”

John then went back to helping Daisy set the dishes and utensils on the table.  Now that they were both teachers, they very much enjoyed having their summers to themselves, as well as having the girls at home.  However, the school year would soon be beginning anew, and they would be back at work. 

“So how was the retirement ceremony? I wish I could have gone, the bloody airline had me flying to Frankfurt.” Roger asked John. 

“I’m still in disbelief that Colonel Nigel Bromhead actually retired.  They pretty much had to drag him away from the base,” answered John, shaking his head.   

“Reynolds came back for it, all the way from Australia.” he added. 

“Really? How’s that crazy Aussie doing?” Roger inquired.

“Well he married Jane, and they opened a wildlife park outside of Perth.”

Lydia laughed, “I just can’t picture Jane in the wilderness, where would she ever shop?”

“I believe she had her father petition Harrods to open an Australian branch, and she even wrote the Aussie Prime Minister about it.” explained Daisy with a laugh. 

“And what about MacDonald, was he there?” Roger prodded. 

“Yes he was, he actually owns a pub in London now; it’s called the Rotten Haggis.” John explained. 

Roger let out a hearty laugh, “And judging by that I’m guessing he’s still single.”

“He’s actually been married a while.  I met his wife, she’s a librarian called Anne, and she’s a really lovely woman.” Daisy explained. 

“I would not have guessed that one,” said Roger in disbelief, “And don’t tell me they have kids.”

“They actually have a daughter called Mary, around the same age as our girls.” John explained. 

As if on cue, the front door burst open as the Evans girls came running in.  The elder of the two was holding a large white envelop above her head, taunting her younger sister who was eager to read the contents. 

“Tuney, please give it to me, it has my name on it,” pleaded the younger sister. 

“You should have found it first, freak.” Tuney taunted, as she stood on top of a chair, holding the envelope out of reach. 

John sighed, as hard as it had been leading soldiers into battle, he had learned that raising two daughters was not any easier. 

“Petunia Hyacinth Evans, get down from there and hand me the envelope.” he commanded in a stern voice. 

He grabbed the envelope in his hands as Daisy escorted the loudly protesting Petunia up to her room.  Never comfortable around kids, Roger and Lydia discretely slipped out the backdoor, and Lydia shot Roger a reproachful look as he attempted to bring his plate with him.

John looked over the large, white envelope with its fancy script.  He thought it was odd that it had arrived today, seeing as how the post never came on Sunday, but sure enough, it was addressed to Lily Evans, his eleven year old daughter. 

Lily calmly took a seat across from John, brushing her red hair out of the way as they prepared to read the letter together.  John smiled as she looked up at him with her bright green eyes, he always tried to be impartial and never have a favorite daughter, but Lily made it so hard sometimes. 

They unfolded the letter and pored over the words as John returned to a world he had once been made aware of, but had long since forgotten about.  The letter congratulated Lily on her acceptance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and contained a list of required books and supplies.  It was signed by Minerva McGonagall, a familiar name that he had not heard in many years. 

Lily happily danced around the room as she proclaimed, “I’m a witch! Sev was right, I’m really a witch!” 

John fumbled through the envelope, finding a small piece of paper which he unfolded to read:

John,

It appears that our paths have crossed yet again.  You must have countless questions; don’t worry, I will be stopping by tomorrow to answer all of them.  For now, please accept my warmest congratulations and remember that my door is always open. 

Yours truly,

Albus Dumbledore

John was overrun by emotions; he was heartbroken that Lily would soon be leaving home at such a young age, but he also brimmed with pride at all that she might accomplish. 

“Daddy, can we get some ice cream to celebrate?” she pleaded, making the cutest expression possible.

“Yes, we can,” answered John, knowing that he was fully incapable of resisting that look from her. 

They stepped outside, and a warm summer breeze filled the air as they walked arm in arm to the local ice cream shop.  John attempted to make sense of it all, wondering how these odd occurences always seemed to find him.  He had believed his days of adventure were well behind him, but now it appeared a new one was about to begin. 

 

 

 

A/N: This is the end of the story, thank you so much for reading this far! Please feel free to leave a review and let me know what you thought!
 
 


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