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Chapter 17 : Epilogue - The Happy Ending And The Reality Following
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Epilogue - The Happy Ending And The Reality Following ___________________________________________________
The Awards Banquet for the Order of Merlin took place three weeks after the end of the school year instead two. This slight delay occurred so that every one of those who had recovered from long-term Cruciatus Curse effects would be well enough to attend.
Mr. J. Poindexter Wilberton had made good on his promise that it would be an event to be remembered.
The number of recipients and their appropriate guests grew to such an extent that it was decided to host the banquet at Hogwarts in the Great Hall. Even there, an Engorgement Charm was needed to prevent overcrowding.
A special Hogwarts Express was laid on for the event. Portkeys were available for those with time restrictions or other concerns, but the Special Express, as it was called, was wildly popular. Extra cars were laid on to meet demand for seats. Most of those attending had been students at Hogwarts, and remembered the train-ride with nostalgia. There were a number of current students invited as recipients and their parents were among their guests. It was a unique treat for those with muggle born parents. Arthur Weasley took great delight in showing The Grangers around the train and regaling them with his school memories. Justin Finch-Fletchley's muggle parents were a bit cowered by their fellow passengers, but they joined in with the gaiety when possible.
The Cruciatus Curse survivors were special guests of the event. Harry was delighted that they, at least in word, would be center stage. Their sacrifice could not be overrated. Luna was the only one of these survivors that was still having trouble walking, but the other survivors were never too far from a place to sit. None of them had completely regained their strength.
Each of these survivors had been in what was similar to a petrified state, though not exactly. They remembered just about everything that went on around them while still trapped, but they were so out of the mainstream of life that there was a re-education program going on to bring them up to date.
The Longbottoms had missed the most about the world outside their ward beds, but they knew quite a bit about their son's life. Neville had visited them often and had told them about everything that he had experienced at school, just as any returning child might tell his or her parents at the end of the year. Frank and Alice knew a bit about the rest of their family and current events during their confinement, because when Neville's Gran visited, she talked to them just as Neville had. Neville had insisted and now his grandmother was extremely grateful that she had followed his demands. This had kept the two informed to a degree, but it had also kept them alive until the cure could be perfected all these many years later. She would have never been able to forgive herself had she not done as Neville requested.
Luna was in a what muggles would consider a wheelchair except that it had no wheels. It levitated about six inches above the ground and would stay exactly where it was stopped. But it moved with a finger touch, backwards and forwards, and even up and down steps. Claire though it amazing and added it to the list of magical contrivances she wished she would be able to take back with her to the muggle medical world.
Claire stayed right by Luna's side during the train ride as much as he was able. Harry wished he could stay there, but it was "required" that he visit each train car. It started out with everyone on the training wanting to come and either meet him or reminisce with him. His classmates all wanted to introduce him to their families. He was, after all, the celebrity of the hour, probably of the century.
Luna understood. She encouraged Harry to go to make the crowded situation easier on her fellow survivors. She had been able to understand everything that was said by anyone within earshot during her coma, so she had plenty of things to discuss with Claire. Luna had even remembered details of the battle with Riddle that Harry had not. Claire found it disconcerting at first, that Luna would start talking based on conversations Claire and Harry had had in her presence, as if she too had been their as a participant. Claire was quickly getting used to the fact that Harry had been correct when he treated his girlfriend as if she were with them in more that just body - she had been.
Neville Longbottom, his parents, and his grandmother were in a constant family conversation. Neville jumped right in speaking with them as he had since he was first able to construct whole sentences. Frank and Alice would talk about subjects from Neville's fifth birthday as readily as subject from his visits from two months before. He had lost count of how many times his Gran had thanked him for insisting she also talk to her son and daughter-in-law in that manner.
Harry and his fellow students had attended numerous feasts, parties, and a few balls in the Great Hall, but nothing compared as to the decorations and special magical affects on display. The muggle parents that had never seen the castle or the Great Hall we most impressed of the whole crowd of very impressed attendees. The ceiling was ablaze with silent fireworks displays that you did not see if you weren't looking directly at them. That way the display did not distract you from the speakers or conversation with your dinner partners. The walls of the Great Hall were awash with the great waterfalls of the world.
The muggle Prime Minister was in attendance as the official representative of her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. He was seated with Prince Geoffrey and the Minister of Magic. The Prime Minister's and the Prince's security retinues were shuffling to see who would take the primary positions, but then the muggle Prime Minister reminded his guards that the others were wizards. Prince Geoffrey intervened and key positions were shared. The Minister of Magic was there without security and made a comment loud enough for both security forces to hear, "The few remaining Death Eaters, the biggest threat to any of us, are far away from us by now. But if one were to appear, I will trust in the students around us for protection rather than these blokes. The kids have more experience in these things."
The meal was scrumptious and the muggles present were shocked at the delivery methods. Arthur Weasley tried to explain about house elves but his wife stopped him and told the Grangers, "Its magic."
Mr. J. Poindexter Wilberton was the master of ceremonies for the evening. He had a beautiful speaking voice and the Sonorous Charm worked, well, like a charm. He was quite humorous and had the diverse audience comfortable and at ease in minutes. He welcomed all of the dignitaries by name and the guests in turn.
There were many more recipients than Wilberton had originally envisioned, but he was happy that justice was being done for those who had served valiantly.
The order of award followed chronological order for the most part. All of the fully active Order of the Phoenix members from the year when Fudge and the ministry were denying Voldemort's return were recognized with some class of the Order of Merlin. This included Molly Weasley who received a Third Class.
Much to Harry's delight Sirius Black was award a posthumous First Class Order of Merlin for his activities up to and during the battle of the Department of Mysteries.
Dennis Creevey and Hannah Abbott were awarded posthumous Second Classes for the Battle of Hogsmeade. Their two muggle families were present and surrounded by the families of Gryffindor anf Hufflepuff classmates of the two.
Fred and George Weasley and their brother Charlie were given the Order of Merlin Second Class for their activities as members of the Order of the Phoenix. The surprise for the Weasley family, and many others, came when Percy was awarded a posthumous Second Class for his undercover work trying to find out information on the activities of the Death Eaters. This had been revealed when special records from the dark days were declassified. Finally they knew how he had died.
Most of the auror's awards were given next. Theirs were not involved with the battles that Harry or the other students had participated in. Tonks received a Second Class and Kingsley Shacklebolt received a First Class to go with his Second Class from the previous war with Riddle.
Though not an Auror, Arthur Weasley received a Second Class for assisting in an Auror mission when an essential team member had fallen ill at the last minute. Wizarding medicine had not discovered how to prevent an acute appendicitis attack any more than had muggle medicine.
Bill Weasley received a First Class for his defense of Gringott's Bank when he lost his leg. He was walking on his new artificial leg, but Fleur walked with him to steady him. Her pregnancy was just beginning to show.
By far the biggest single awards event of the evening was the battle of Hogwarts. All fifty-three DA members who participated in the battle received a Merlin of some class. With each award a brief paragraph of the individual's particular acts of heroism and fighting prowess were told. Claire thought most of it was straight from Harry's "chat" with Wilberton. She had no idea that he had gone back to the Order of Merlin Offices and used a pensieve to record Harry's words exactly.
Orders of Merlin First Class were awarded to Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Collin Creevey, Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley, Ernie Macmillan, Terry Boot, and Professors McGonagall and Flitwick. Posthumous First Class awards went to Professors Sprout, Sinistra, Vector, and Severus Snape.
At this point every member of Arthur and Molly Weasley's immediate family had received an Order of Merlin of some class. It was a small measure of the debt the wizarding world owed the family, and Harry was very glad to see it.
A Second Class award went to Madame Pomphrey who blushed profusely during the retelling of her valiant efforts to ease pain and save lives. Parvati and Padma Patil and Cho Chang were other Second Class recipients.
Orders of Merlin Third Class were awarded to the rest of the DA members who fought and one single non-DA member. Roxie Lazaar had entered the battle and fought well when needed thought she had been knocked out fairly early on. She had had no battle training other than what she had learned off-handedly from her father. She had entered the fray and fought like a true Gryffindor. She was on fourteen and a half at the time - the youngest combatant on the field.
Harry was awarded his Order of Merlin First Class with the others that fought in the battle of Hogwarts. Only his name was called, not a reading of his exploits. But when Wilberton called his name, there was a standing ovation that lasted over a minute. Everyone knew what he had done that day.
When he sat back down at Luna's side, he was truly glad that he was but one of many instead of treated specially. He had done his part like everyone else had done their parts. Others had suffered far worse than he had. He was content with his award. But...
"There are a few final Orders of Merlin to present based on activities going on since that particular fateful day. Ladies and Gentlemen, as you know, there are a number of people that are here tonight as opposed to lying in a hospital bed. Those brave souls have fought battles we will never fully fathom. They fought alone and in the darkness. A few of them fought for years, alone and all but forgotten. One of them faced Voldemort alone for hours, and lived to be with us today.
"Orders of Merlin Second Class go to..." Wilberton read of the names of all of those how suffered under the extended Cruciatus Curse and Professor Lazaar.
Wilberton continued, "For sixteen years Frank and Alice Longbottom fought the same fight these brave souls endured. But they did it for sixteen years. SIXTEEN YEARS. For this singular act of heroism they are awarded the Order of Merlin First Class."
The applauses were long and hardy.
No one has faced Voldemort as often as Harry Potter. But no one has faced that malevolent evil for a longer amount of time than our next recipient. She was in his clutches enduring his vile ministrations for over four hours. She never gave him information that would help his cause. Tonight we give a well deserved Order of Merlin First Class to Miss Luna Lovegood."
Harry and Claire guided her floating chair up onto the stage area. She had nothing to say, but held Harry's hands tightly.
Wilberton quickly said, "Before you leave the platform, I want you two to help me with the next award. Much of what occurred with the remarkable healings of the Cruciatus Curse survivors would not have happened if it were not for our next award winner. For the first time in history, an Order of Merlin Second Class go to a muggle, the person who may very well have saved Harry Potter's life in St.Mungo's, Sister Mary Claire.
Even Luna made it to her feet to cheer for this latest award. Claire was speechless, but as Wilberton leaned in to place the sash and medallion around her neck, she was heard over Wilberton's Sonorous Charm, "Please call me Claire."
"There are two other presentations to be made here tonight other than Orders of Merlin. But before we get to those, we have three very special last Orders of Merlin to present. Years of lonely work went into the research that released these curse survivors. Those researchers never lived to know that their effort bore the fruit they so hoped for.
"Three last Orders of Merlin First Class go out tonight. Two are posthumous awards to Healer Aldys Derwent and Senior Research Assistant Stellar Goodleak Lovegood. The final First Class goes to the one man who refused to believe that their work was in vain. One man took their years of work, and with the addition of his unique abilities and powers, the impossible dream was realized. Our final Order of Merlin First Class goes to the first person to ever be awarded two First Classes at the same time, Harry James Potter!"
There was pandemonium on the floor. The noise and fireworks and cheering went on for over three minutes. Dozens stopped Harry to shake his hand before he made it to the platform. Dozens more were there as he made his way off of the platform.
Wilberton finally called the assembly back to order. "It is my distinct pleasure to turn over this platform to the official representative of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, the Prime Minister of Great Britain."
The very distinguished looking and well dressed for 1998 (not some other time period like most of the magical attendees of this function) Prime Minister rose to his feet and approached the platform. When Wilberton pulled his wand to apply the Sonorous Charm, the bodyguards moved forward but the distinguished gentleman held up his hand to stop them.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, and the truly distinguished guest who have received these honors to night. I am here to convey the humble thanks and extreme gratitude of those who I represent, those who for the most part do not even know that they were saved from a terrible blight on the soul of this nation, and perhaps even this world.
"One of the truly remarkable aspects of why I honor you tonight is that many of you here have gone to great lengths to spare the non-magical community from the fact that a war has been raging within the shores of our great island nation. Many of you have fought, suffered, and some have even died to protect us.
"My Queen has asked me to represent her in one small attempt to express the gratitude she has for all of you assembled here tonight. Mr. Harry James Potter, front and center, sir, if you will."
Harry had no idea what to expect, but of course he did as he as asked.
The Prime Minister continued, "Sir, you have been recognized as a fighting member of paramilitary unit dedicated to taking the war to the enemy. Therefore, this award is not the highest award our nation gives to civilians. Tonight I award you our highest award for military service and bravery, the Victoria Cross."
Gasps, mostly this time from the muggles in the audience, told of the honor of this medal.
"Young man, I would trade my office for this medal. You may or may not know that this medal is one of the most rare given for bravery, heroism, personal sacrifice, and excellence in battle. Over half of these medals have been given posthumously. You join a unique brotherhood in our world."
The Prime Minister draped the beribboned medal around Harry's neck, he stepped back and snapped a parade ground salute that any Regimental Sergeant Major would approve. He shouted, "Sir, I salute you!"
The applause did not burst forth this time. It started with the muggles present, and those magical that understood the worth and rarity of the medal. Others joined them sporadically. Finally the importance of this specific award hit the magical attendees. They began to join and the crescendo of cheering peaked in about 15 seconds.
Harry made to turn but the Prime Minister spoke, "Stay here Potter. I believe Prince Geoffrey has a few words for you."
Harry's old dorm mate, Dean Thomas, now the halfblood Prince Geoffrey, came forward, administering his own Sonorous Charm and quenching that charm on the Prime Minister.
"Seven Years ago, both of us entered Hogwarts School for Witches and Wizards, and neither of us knew what to expect. But I dare say our experiences went a little farther than the typical muggle-born students enrolling there."
The laughter was obligatory, but it was genuine, also.
"Since my coronation, I have had only one official function and made only one royal proclamation, that was to name Harry Potter my Champion. Royal Champion is a title that has not been conferred by any monarch in centuries until I did it in early 1997.
"Harry James Potter will always be my Champion as long as he chooses to hold the title. I know all of you join me in praying that he never needs to use that title and its rights and responsibilities throughout his extremely long life. But I want it never to be doubted, he is my champion!"
The applause rose again with these words.
"I was not aware that when I was crowned there was any other right or responsibility to my title other than to name my champion. But happily, there is. Jennings. If you would be so kind."
Prince Geoffrey's chief bodyguard brought forth a worn leather case. The prince opened it and took out a battered old sword.
Dean/Prince Geoffrey continued, "Ladies and Gentlemen. This is the hereditary sword of my forebear, Prince Geoffrey of Powis, son of King Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine.
"Harry, take a knee."
Harry dropped to one knee, perhaps the only one in the room who did not know what was about to happen. The royal placed the edge of the sword on Harry's right shoulder. And as he took it from Harry's right shoulder, touched his left shoulder, and brought it back to his right, the prince made this proclamation:
"I, Geoffrey, Prince of Powys and Earl of Miniup, declare you Sir Harry, Knight of the Wand, and baronette of the Powys Sword, entitled to all rights, privileges, and responsibilities. Arise, Sir Harry, and be recognized."
There was no delay. The spontaneity of the outpouring of appreciation of the man of the hour was as sincere and heartfelt as any could be.
In her joy, Luna made it out of her chair and walked to his side, Sister Mary Claire was barely able to assist her. The roar of the crowd became even more deafening. This night did not bury the memories of those that had suffered and died. But it did give birth to a new hope for the future to all.
And that is the finest function that heros and royalty can aspire to.
Harry's Knighthood gave him a sash and a sword. The baronetcy gave him an hereditary property. Splendeloch Place was a cottage just outside of Hogsmeade and adjacent to the grounds of Hogwarts. It was not a cottage as we think of it today, a small warm cottage with a fireplace, a kitchen, and a bedroom.
Spledeloch Place was a cottage in the eighteenth century view of a cottage. It has eight bedrooms, a huge kitchen, large drawing rooms, a parlor, two sitting rooms, a library, a dining room that could seat sixteen, and a small ballroom for dances of up to thirty people.
It had spacious grounds and fields, stables and work sheds, and it own full sized Quidditch pitch. One of the closed tunnel exist from Hogwarts School had a branch that passed under Spledeloch Place.
In 2000, Harry and Luna were married, one year after she graduated from Hogwarts. She had spent that year restarting the Quibbler. The goal was to make it into a paper to easily rival the Daily Prophet. It would take years and a fortuitous event to accomplish that.
Harry had cut short the Auror training by a year. There was no one that wanted to try to teach him anything about fighting Dark Wizards, but there was plenty to learn about procedures and the law. Even at that it would have not taken two years had Harry not left school along with the training staff to twice join in chasing down the last Death Eaters save one.
Draco Malfoy succeeded in eluding capture until 2008.
Harry and Luna had twins in 2001. The birth of twins, difficult for most, was particularly difficult on Luna. She was not a robust woman after all she had endured. But Sol James Potter, and Lilly Stellar Potter, named after their grandparents, were hale and hardy and robust enough for any three parents to chase after.
When the twins were seven. Draco Malfoy finally found a way to bypass the wards around Splendeloch Place and had the three under his wand. He would have killed them except that he did not know that Harry had had the tunnel passage way cleared between Hogwarts and their home.
Remus Lupin had finally broken the short-term nature of the position of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. He had held that chair for nine years. He just decided to pop over and visit that day. He walked out of door from the basement and had less than a slpit second to react. No time to pull his wand. Lupin took the Killing Curse and the last Marauder was no more.
Luna was her mother's daughter and a powerful witch. She had not spent her years with Harry and not learned to fight the last Death Eater. She dueled with him and he finally left her and the twins unscathed. But the house was a wreck.
Harry arrived home within minutes of the end of the fight at Luna's call. The Ministry did not want their most famous auror going out around the world chasing after Draco Malfoy. The solution was simple to this problem and Luna wholeheartedly agreed with Harry's decision. He resigned from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, spent a week with his family, and left for an undetermined time to capture or...whatever, the last Death Eater - the nemesis of his life as a wizard.
Sister Mary Claire had retired by this time and was living out her life peacefully in a cloistered convent in Scotland. She was not confined there, she merely lived there. She would visit Splendeloch Place four or five times year. Before Harry left, Claire agreed to move in with the Potter family for the near future.
No one can apparate across oceans. No one. Well, no one used to be able to apparate across oceans. Malfoy's favorite trick to avoid capture was to carry a portkey with him at all times that took him to another continent.
Harry found Draco the first time nine days after he killed Remus Lupin. Malfoy smiled and one navel-tug later he was in Asia Minor. Draco took a day to enjoy the local wine, women, and song, and then made his way back to England to continue his nefarious planning for a new league of Death Eaters.
Draco had been traveling the world enjoying the various debauches available in distant locales. He was a thrill seeker, not in the bungy-jumping or spell-dodging types of thrills, but the depraved types of dark thrills. There were plenty of places in the world, muggle and magical, where dignity and even life was held cheaply. Malfoy had tasted the craven life and was bored. He fancied himself the next Dark Lord.
Harry had figured out exactly what Malfoy had done to escape and decided he knew how to fight the impossible. So he went to St. Mungo's.
Right after freeing the Cruciatus Curse victims, Harry had spent two months helping the medical staff of St. Mungo's figure out how to perform the Analysis Spell and the Spell Suspension Charm. They were more than willing to help Harry modify that magical "technology" to analyze where a portkey took a person.
Harry could have visited his family easily during this time, but he wanted to keep his mind focused on the job at hand. Typical for a man, he thought if his wife did not know what he was up to, she would not worry. Typical. So when Harry was safely in St. Mungo's Luna was worrying herself to distraction.
The Analysis Spell was modified and ready for testing. Evidence of Malfoy's recruiting efforts were discovered. Neville Longbottom and Collin Creevey were aurors still and had worked with Harry on and off for years, depending on the case. They had disagreed with the Ministry's approach to the "Potter/Malfoy issue," and had offered Harry to resign also and help him. Harry asked them to stay, and if they could in good conscience, pass him information.
The typical auror team reaction time in 2008 was about ten minutes from hearing of a sighting of wrong doing to the team making it to the location. Collin heard of Malfoy buying drinks for lowlifes at a dive off of Knockturn Alley. To call the Chipped Goblet a seedy disreputable watering hole would have complimented it beyond belief. Its name wasn't even that original.
A fifteen second Floo conversation with Harry at St. Mungo's and Harry was on his way to test the modified Analysis Spell - under live-fire battlefield conditions.
Harry apparated right into the Chipped Goblet and might have captured Malfoy right away. Harry had his wand drawn and could have sent off a Stun Spell in a second. Unfortunately, Harry appeared with his back to Draco. Harry's trademark unruly hair gave him away and before he could turn, focus in the extremely low light, and cast a spell, Malfoy had activated the portkey medallion around his neck.
Draco landed in Rio de Janeiro, muttering under his breath about "Sir Bloody St. Potter," and was about to walk to his favorite house of depravity, when 'pop' Harry apparated roughly five thousand miles. It took Harry three seconds to collect himself after that record breaking hop. Draco was able to get over his initial shock at seeing Harry do the impossible twice; first, determine where he was going, and second, actually follow him.
With his right hand Malfoy pulled his wand and he thrust his left hand into his coat pocket and activated his spare portkey.
One navel wrenching later Draco was outside his favorite house of ill repute in New Orleans. He wasted no time in picking up a scrap of wood from the ground and reciting the incantation needed to turn it into a portkey to his favorite lowlife location in Bangkok.
Harry 'popped' into New Orleans twenty-five feet away from his quarry. He needed the three seconds to recover but had put up a quick Shield Charm before that time was up. It saved his life. Malfoy had seen Harry land but was not able to shot a spell at him accurately because of the low light. He shot out a broad beam Reductor Spell to try to hit Harry with something to weaken him for a fight. Harry blocked it and turned to give battle.
Draco thought of a plan and bang, he was in Bangkok. He realized Potter needed time to recover after each transcontinental disappartion. Instead of taking the time to prepare another escape portkey, Draco set himself up to stun his archenemy in the short period of time between appearing and recovering for battle. He came to a decision. No stunning or binding so he could gloat over Harry before killing him. Much as Malfoy did not want to admit it, this was Harry Potter. There was no logical reason to give him even a few seconds to figure out an impossible escape. "One quick Killing Curse and I can gloat over his dead body, and then tell his wife and brats all about how I killed him."
Malfoy just happened to be looking at the exact spot where our hero apparated. He let loose with the curse to end his life, but Harry wasn't there to be murdered. How did he miss being killed?
Harry had not survived even through his fourth year at Hogwarts by being stupid in a fight. Years of training and fighting as an auror had only heightened his skills and battle senses. Harry never had underestimated Malfoy's devious cunning. Harry knew there was a better than even chance that Malfoy would be standing there, wand drawn, ready to kill him in that few seconds he needed to recover from a transoceanic disapparation.
So after he cast the Analysis Spell and pinpointed Malfoy's portkey landing location, he took four quick steps and started a tumbling roll. Just as Harry took his leap to start the roll, he disapparated...
...and he apparated into the same alleyway in Bangkok and completed his tumbling roll into the large dustbins of a restaurant.
The Killing Curse cast by Draco hit exactly where Harry was - three-tenths of a second before. It was enough. Now Harry had to not only go through the few seconds of reorientation, but recover from all of the food debris that had covered him as he crash into the trash.
Malfoy was advancing and Harry tried a trick he had used in a battle with a vampire two years before. He apparated twenty feet away and right behind his assailant. When he landed this time he had just completed an exhausting long-distance apparation. Against the vampire Harry has sent out a simple Stunning Spell and captured his quarry.
This time he was still too weak from all he had done in the past few minutes to press his advantage. The net outcome was that Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy were face-to-face and ready for their final battle.
Draco was rightfully scared but he new he had one advantage, and he would use it. Harry Potter would try to capture him, not kill him. St. Potter still thought killing was wrong. Draco had no such compunction. Avada Kedavra after Avada Kedavra flew from his wand.
Harry had survived a few Killing Curses in his day. That is to say that he had survive being hit by the Avada Kedavra from Voldemort because of the unique circumstances of their cosmic link. The rest of the Killing Curses he had avoided. Anyone else's would have killed him.
It was an even duel in that Harry played by the rules of engagement of an auror that wanted to capture his subject and bring him in to face the consequences of his actions.
Draco knew he could not win in this fair fight after less than a minute. So, he followed his father's advice: "Never fight a fair fight."
They were fighting in an alleyway very near a busy street. He needed to distract Potter. He caused a wall to fall on Harry and ran the few dozen feet to the busy street. Harry was not effected by the wall, but he was distracted enough by dodging it to let Malfoy make this partial escape.
Now Draco had innocent muggles to use in his fight with St. Potter. He always thought Potter's love of muggles would be his downfall. Malfoy kept shooting spells, mostly Killing Curses, at Harry while he dodged in and out of the muggles on the street. Harry would not even use his non-lethal spells when he thought a bystander would be hit. This was working out better than Malfoy had anticipated.
A Killing Curses hit a muggle and he went down without a sound. Harry was deeply concerned by this and it gave Draco and opening he was not expecting, and did not take advantage of in time this first time. So he decided to kill a few more muggles and take his opportunity when Potter was upset.
Malfoy sent a Reductor Spell at a wall and several muggles would have been killed by falling brick work were it not for Harry's lightning fast reflexes. Draco then shot a Killing Curse at Harry, which he barely dodged. Harry's robes were burnt by the green light; it was that close.
Draco started killing muggles one after the other and turned to kill Harry when Draco saw the last thing he ever expected to see, and the last thing he ever saw.
Harry had refused to use the Killing Curse, but he realized in an instant that he needed a precision spell or charm to stop Malfoy and avoid hurting anyone. He remembered the Hole Drilling Spell, Bill Weasley had taught him that was used to accurately drill through several feet of rock in pyramids.
Malfoy turned from his last kill and saw a pinpoint violet light beam leave Harry's wand and enter his chest right at his heart. This vital organ seized to a stop instantly. Draco looked Harry directly in the eye for the longest second in his life. It was also the last second in his life.
Harry wondered what went through Draco's mind at that point. The massive trauma of his heart stopping in this manner has cause an instant nerve paralysis through out Malfoy's entire body. It was almost like the Killing Curse except Malfoy's eyes were not blank. There was something in this last stare he gave Harry before death.
And Harry would never know what it was.
It had been less than three weeks when Harry had left on his mission to stop the last Death Eater. It seemed like such a short time to him. He had been totally consumed in the spell development and modification and tracking the whereabouts of Malfoy. It seemed like such a short time to him.
It had been an agonizing eternity for Luna.
The twins were not quite old enough to understand where their father was and what he was doing. They were old enough to know there was something seriously bothering their mother.
She had been so understanding during their courtship. She had even understood the great lengths Harry might have to go to to kill Voldemort. Harry had assumed she would be just as stoic about this fight. After all, it was just Malfoy.
Harry was a very good husband and father, but he was being a "dumb guy" about this.
But he wasn't stupid.
He arrived back at Splendeloch Place and his children ran to his arms. Luna waited her turn and hugged him. Tears came to her eyes. She started crying harder. Her crying transformed into wailing. Sister Mary Claire took the children outside to play and was able to explain that their mother was not too upset to the satisfaction of the two. She hoped she was right.
Luna was a combination of wailing, temper tantrum, and furious housewife. Harry did not know what was hitting him. He tried to have a rational discussion. It went from bad to worse. He did not know what was going on but after five long minutes he sat down and went silent as he looked at her.
Eventually she quieted into sobs. He said, "I do not understand what is going on, but I know that the most important thing in the world right now is for you to help me understand. I will sit here in silence for an hour or day or a month until you make it clear to me what has you so upset. I know it is me; it is something I have done. Please make it clear to me."
Luna started talking from across the room. As she explained she moved closer to him and ended up sitting by his side. She eventually took his hand and he knew everything would eventually work out.
Without going into their personal conversation, the long and the short of it was that Luna had been living with the stress of her husband's dangerous job for all of these years and somehow had keep her anxiety and fears from him. This final event had brought it to the surface like the start of a new and previously unknown volcano.
Harry was fortunate enough to have not mentioned that he had been considering asking for his old job back as an auror. Instead he asked Claire if she could stay for two more weeks and took Luna on a long vacation. One week into the vacation he sent an owl to Dumbledore. Since the death of Professor Lupin, the headmaster had been filling in as Defense instructor for the last month of the year school.
That September first, Headmaster Dumbledore introduced the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Sir Harry James Potter. The cheers were long and hardy.
That first year that Harry taught, there was a student that bothered Harry immensely. It wasn't that he was disrespectful or anything, there was just something.... Benedict Arndt had enrolled in Hogwarts straight from a muggle orphanage. He was a seventh year Harry's first year teaching. Harry was told about Benedict. His witch mother had died in childbirth and his rather wealthy muggle father had disowned him. Harry could identify loosely with his situation and tried to reach out to him. There was no bond to build between them. He thought it must be that Benedict was Slytherin. Try as he might to notemulate Professor Snape's house bias in any way, there would always be a few from that house that set Harry's sensibilities on edge.
In 2027, a new significant threat of a dark wizardry cast it shadow on England. History repeated itself and the Minister of Magic resigned after it was proven he had let the Auror Corp and Magical Law Enforcement Division fall into poor condition. These divisions of government were headed, respectively, by Neville Longbottom and Collin Creevey. They had both been within a broom-straw's width of being dismissed as they fought the Minister over budget cuts and decreases in personnel. Ron Weasley was an Assistant Minister of Magic who was also on the permanent outs with the Minister.
When a vote of "No Confidence" had finally opened up the position for elections, these three were the logical candidates for the new Minister of Magic. Nothing was heard from the three for a week. However, an unexpected candidate announced his candidacy to much fanfare and rave recommendations from the Daily Prophet.
The candidate was Potipher Fudge, wealthy and handsome grandson of Cornelius Fudge. There were headline accounts each day of the wonders of Potipher and numerous editorials that extolled the marvelous work (and whitewashing the facts) that his grandfather had done as minister.
Neville, Collin, and Ron called a press conference and announced their complete and full support for their candidate - Sir Harry James Potter.
Harry hated being called Sir Harry, but he grinned and stood for it because of the seven voices that insisted on use of the title.
Luna knew she needed help making the Quibbler into the respected news journal she envisioned. When she became pregnant the need for help became most urgent.
Because Harry received Splendeloch Place as a part of his baronetcy, they had no expenses for housing. The two of them lived on his auror's pay and invest half of his inheritances from his parents and Sirius into the Quibbler.
The other half they invested in Hermione Granger Weasley's start-up business. She had seen the potential in everyday life of a weaker form of the Analysis Charm that Harry invented. Her parents had been dentist who use computer's in their business. Hermione found computer's fascinating before finding out Hogwarts existed.
Hermione thought that if it was possible for Harry do the impossible, she should be able to invent the impossible. She created a way for computers to exist in the wizarding world, and for them to be used along with wizard peripherals to perform a simple version of the analysis charm to improve quality control in wizard manufacturing. Once that was invented she became bored and sold controlling interest in her business to her brothers-in-law, Fred and George Weasley.
They in turn were a bit bored with creating magical practical jokes. They enjoyed what they had seen in the muggle world of television and computers and the internet. They took her business from small and profitable to extravagantly successful. Their only limiting factor was solved by their baby sister, Ginny Weasley Creevey.
Ginny had had a thing for muggle poetry and love stories. She became a successful serial writer of love stories and poems for Witches Weekly. Hermione had read her work and told her that, cleaned them up in a way to lead muggles astray from the truth, and her stories would make good "magical" romance novels in the muggle world.
Gringotts Wizard Bank informed the Weasley twins that there was a trade imbalance and that they could not increase purchases of computers from the muggle world. High finances between muggles and wizards work identically as between trading partner countries. There were too many Galleons going out and not enough pounds, dollars, yen, or any other muggle currency coming in.
(Gringotts had suggested going from the Macintosh computer to the cheaper PC-type computers. After experimentation, the brothers informed Gringotts that the Mac was a real computer, well made, with a viable operating system. The PC was none of those things, so it had to be Macs.)
At this time, Gennifer Creeves became a run away best selling novelist in the muggle world. Her novels were romance novels to the core that just happened to involve wizards and witches. Magic was a part of her character's lives just as electricity was in the muggle world. Gennifer Creeves - Ginny Weasley Creevey - created her own funds imbalance and the two financial situations corrected each other.
Padma Patel Longbottom was the financial genius behind the brilliant witches cosmetic line Divine Divinations. Parvati Patel MacMillan and Lavender Brown Finnigan had imagined into being a line of cosmetics that you held in your hand for a moment, and each bottle or dispenser divined how the witch in question would best look that day.
It was a brilliant product that needed funding to perfect. Neville was busy helping Harry clean up the wizarding world, so Padma convinced him to invest some of the Longbottom fortune in her sister's company. He agreed as long as she would be in charge of the business end of things.
The Quibbler struggled along with but a little help from Luna until the twins were two. Hermione left her company, quickly decided she needed a new challenge, and approached Luna. Ginny was extremely dissatisfied with Witches Weekly ( a division of the Daily Prophet) and was looking for another outlet for her new serial novel about a mixed marriage between a muggle and a witch. Padma wanted a new reasonably priced advertising outlet that wasn't controlled by the Witches Weekly/Daily Prophet consortium.
Luna brought this quartet of needs together. She became Publisher and Hermione became Managing Editor. Ginny was their star attraction to increase circulation, and Padma became their biggest sponsor.
By the time Sir Harry was the logical candidate for Minister of Magic his seven life-long friends were ready to make it so.
First, Luna sold out her interest in the Quibbler to Hermione to forego any appearance of impropriety. Luna became the full time wife of the candidate.
The Quibbler was running about 70% the size of the Daily Prophet. It still had a shadow reputation as a kook paper even though such articles had not been published in over twenty years.
The Daily Prophet and the Fudge campaign came out with a scathing series of slam pieces on the Quibbler and on Harry. They dredged up all of the old lies published about him in Harry's fifth year. They accuse the Quibbler of being still owned by Luna Potter and therefore, completely biased, unethical, and untrustworthy. It accused Ginny Creevey of selling magical secrets to muggle book publishers, and it accused Padma of creating Divine Divinations to brainwash witches. It called Hermione Weasley a mudblood in print.
The new Dark Lord had made only slightly fiercer enemies in Harry, Ron, Collin, and Neville than the Daily Prophet and Potipher Fudge had made in those four women.
The campaign was fierce. The truth is rarely as sensational as lies so the battle between the Daily Prophet and the Quibbler was a seesaw that always ended up in the air.
It finally was unearthed and proven spectacularly that the Fudge family had owned a silent but controlling interest in the Daily Prophet organization for over one hundred years. All the lies published about Harry and Dumbledore during Harry's days at Hogwarts had been at Cornelius Fudge's direct orders. The Daily Prophet was proven guilty of the bias and collusion it accused the Quibbler.
The truth won out and Harry was elected. The Daily Prophet organization was discredited and fell into a distant second place to the Quibbler as the newspaper in the magical world.
The battle against the new Dark Lord was nothing like the two wars with Riddle, but there were casualties. Kingley Shacklebolt was retired but he was attacked and killed by the grandson of Macnair whom the large auror had captured and sent to the Veil.
Harry made one brief major error as a father, he assumed that the son that looked like him was like him. Sol James, called S. J., did not like to fly on a broom though he was capable. S. J. was not mischievous and he was not rambunctious. He did not want to play the typical little boy games with his dad.
Lilly did, however, and it frustrated her that her father did not see it. So she began to misbehave. Luna did not see it at first but Sister Mary Claire saw it in a half hour one day when she came to visit.
Harry sent sullen S. J. and misbehaving Lilly to their rooms and Claire burst out laughing. She thought the two had seen it. They hadn't. She told them her observations in less than two minutes. Harry and Luna denied it for two minutes. They were silent for two minutes.
Then the two ran up to their children's rooms, completely forgetting Claire for over an hour. The twins were five at this time, but they were the ones that received the apologies that afternoon. They came back downstairs to find home baked chocolate chip biscuits made by hand by Claire. She had made a mess by not making them with magic but she remembered how to use Harry's wand to clean up and she amazed the twins as they watched muggle Aunty Claire do magic.
Claire died the night of September first, the day the twins entered Hogwarts. Harry had apparated to see her after Professor Chang had Flooed him the message that Lilly was sorted into Gryffindor and S. J. followed his mother and grandmother into Ravenclaw. Claire had bet Harry that that would be the outcome. He told her and paid her in Ferrara Pan Lemonhead lemon drops, her favorite. She asked him to tell her again about how the Sorting Hat worked. She closed her eyes while he was speaking and died with Harry holding her hand.
He was glad that he had told Claire so many times that he considered her as a favorite aunt. His twins called her "Aunty Claire." She had told him she considered Luna and him the closest thing to a daughter and son she had ever had.
Her death could have been a lot sadder.
S. J. went thorough Hogwarts proving he was the grandson of Stellar Goodleak Lovegood. He excelled in studies and topped all but one of Hermione's school grade records.
Lilly was Gryffindor Seeker and scored more total Snitch catches than her father, by one. She was the second first year Seeker in 120 years.
S. J. went into St. Mungo's after Hogwarts and became a gifted healer as well as a research genius.
Lilly went into auror training. She had inherited the Potter genes.
Lilly stopped the new Dark Lord right after he had killed Dennis Creevey II. That was not a lucky name. Dennis and Lilly had been secretly engaged and had been on their way to a family party to announce their engagement when the call came in to fight a large group of new Death Eaters apparating into Diagon Alley.
It turned out to be the final battle. It wasn't like Harry's final battle but six auror's died as well as fifteen followers of the new Dark Lord.
This would-be-Voldemort-reincarnate had developed a nasty version of the Reductor Spell that destroyed most of the internal organs in anyone it hit. I was a painful way to die quickly.
The duel between the auror's and the new Death Eaters was an even match. Then, the new Dark Lord apparated into the battle zone with his protection squad. His first blast hit a wall of Gringotts and killed three young witches hiding behind the columns. He then shot a blast against the facade of Madame Malkin's. This caused the auror's to spread out to attempt to protect all of the innocents trapped by the battle.
The auror's were losing their advantage of concentrated of power just as the powers of darkness were able to mass their forces. The new Dark Lord started blasting auror groups. He killed one with his first blast. Two more went down with his second. He was getting the range. Auror's were standing and attacking. The Death Eaters were shooting Killing Curses at the individual aurors. They had learned the Harry Potter techniques for dodging that spell, but they could not attack while dodging.
The new Dark Lord gave the order to stand for two more blasts and then spread out killing everyone they see. He spoke loud enough for the nearest group of auror's to hear. These auror's moved to stop the bloodshed. Three of them died instantly, including Dennis Creevey. Lilly was a part of that group. When Dennis went down the Dark Lord gave orders for all to stand to start blasting. Lilly could not allow it to happen.
She stepped right into their path and sent out a massed Reductor Spell of her own. No one but the evil leader knew how to cast it. But she was the daughter of Harry Potter. She killed twelve Death Eaters to prevent their killing spree. She ended up standing face to face to the new Dark Lord.
"Give up," she called to him.
He laughed at her. "Who do you think you are, Harry Potter?" He thought he was telling a joke that would scare her. All he did was strengthen her resolve.
"No. Harry Potter is my father. Surrender or prepare to die."
He stared at her and began to laugh. "It will be a pleasure to kill his whelp."
The duel was amazing. The new Dark Lord would fight her and then blast away a storefront or anything to cause mayhem. It was an even match. The other auror's were amazed as well as the few Death Eaters still free.
He was growing dissatisfied with the fight. He thought for sure that he would have killed this young girl by now. He knocked off the front of Florean Fortecue's ice cream shop and was about to apparate away when he saw a little girl in the debris, holding a cone with no ice cream.
He smiled at her and decided to kill just one more.
As he raised his wand the Hole Drilling Spell designed by Gringotts charm breakers pierced his cranium. Lilly had killed one more and the little girl was safe.
Lilly was an emotional wreck. She just sat down in the street and stared at the ground. She was there when her father apparated to the scene.
Harry was there, quietly talking to his daughter, when they took the mask off of the new Dark Lord. He recognized the face. It was Benedict Arndt.
Within a week she was doing better and back on light duty. The Quibbler reported the events with compassion and tact for Lilly Potter's sake. The Daily Prophetsaw this as an opportunity to gain circulation and printed all of the gory details.
When the doors were closed on the war with Bendict Arndt, the new old Dark Lord, Harry resigned. He had been a wartime leader and has served his purpose. Ron Weasley was elected as the next Minister of Magic without an opposing candidate due to Harry's endorsement.
Harry spent a long time with his wife and his daughter, who was on extended leave, mourning the lose of her fiance. The four Potters, the six Longbottoms, and a score or more Weasleys joined Collin and Ginny Creevey at their son's funeral. It was as sad a moment as any of the close friends had ever endured.
Harry discussed with Luna just how tired he was of stopping Dark Lords after they came to power. She agreed with him.
Within forty years Harry and Luna had adopted ten half-blood and muggle born witches and wizards out of muggle orphanages. They felt that they had discovered how to stop Dark Lord's without having to fight them - prevent them from becoming Dark Lords by loving them when they were young.
Between the twins and the ten orphans Harry Potter had twelve children.
Professor Trelawney's prediction in his fifth year that Harry would have twelve children and become Minister of Magic had become true.
Luna Lovegood Potter died just before her 100th birthday. Most witches and wizards lived past their 130th birthday, but Luna had suffered too much physical abuse under the care of Riddle and the difficult birth.
Harry became a recluse. The love of his life was gone and he wanted to die. One year later he was nearly starved to death and at death's door - not from illness but from despair and a broken heart.
His friend's tried. The twins tried. Various other children of his tried.
Finally the last orphan Luna and Harry had adopted told him he would either have to rejoin the world of his family and friends or come kill him when he became the new Dark Lord.
Harry stared at him for a minute and started laughing. The two of them laughed for over five minutes. They spent the night laughing and telling stories about Luna and getting drunk. It was the first and only time either had gotten drunk.
Harry spent the rest of his life building Splendeloch Place into the kind of orphanage that he would have wanted to live in if need be.
In 2121 Sir Harry James Potter was laid to rest besides Luna Lovegood Potter, the love of his life.
Wizards and witches the world over mourned his death.
Professor and later Headmistress Cho Chang never married. Though not a business associate of Luna's, the Potions Mistress became and remained one of her truest and dearest friends. After his death, Cho visited the grave of Harry Potter everyday that her health and weather permitted, until her death in late 2128.
This work is being published in 2321, the 200th anniversary of Harry Potter's death. It has been painstakingly researched from the original diaries and journals of the actual participants. It is an attempt to dispell the myth and legend that has grown up around the life of Sir Harry James Potter. The Truth is legendary enough. There have been nine direct descendants of Harry and Luna who had been Ministers of Magic. The ten adopted children of the couple never went into public service, but all ten did great things - great and wonderful and beneficial things.
Author's Note --Thank you for reading. Please help me. -- I have struggled over this epilogue. I did not want the typical happily-ever-after approach. How do you like the more "realistic ending" as I like to think of it. Please review the specifics of this epilogue.
A/N -- New Story Soon! In less than three weeks I will be posting a new story line. This one will take place long before the founding of Hogwarts. It will reveal how magic as we know it in Harry's day originally came to England. If you would like to be notified when it goes up please e-mail me at email@example.com. Thanks for your interest.
Disclaimer---As always, what belongs to J K Rowling is J K Rowling's. What belongs to anyone else is theirs. Everything left is mine, I guess, but remember the old adage -- "There is nothing new under the sun." - Aaran St. Vines
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