A/N: An epilogue of sorts, making this complete for now. But if I have a bunny in the future for this world … Oh. And while I am a fan of Harry/Hermione, Harry/Fleur, Harry/Luna, and even Harry/Ginny if written well, my absolute favorite is Harry/Hermione/Luna. So ….
Albus Dumbledore sat within his office. It was June, 1998, and Harry Potter, as well as a number of other members of influential families, was graduating on the morrow. He sighed as he contemplated the previous several years.
In 1981, when Tom was temporarily defeated, he had taken steps to plan for his ultimate defeat. He had placed the boy of prophecy in a place that was shielded from both enemies and well-meaning friends.
A spoiled child would not do as the saviour of them all.
At the beginning, his plans progressed well. But within a few short months – everything had changed. Somehow, someway, in 1982 all remnants of Tom's handiwork had suddenly disappeared: The Dark Mark, already faded, finally disappeared from every marked follower. The Defense Professor, unremarkable wizard that he was at the time, was not mysteriously unavailable the next year (the man had lasted five before their current Professor had taken the post). And the Pureblood Supremacy movement, long a thorn in the side of Magical society, had – for the most part – quietly died an ignoble death, thanks to the most surprising person of all: Lucius Malfoy.
He viewed the attempt three years ago by Dolores Umbridge to reverse that change as a minor hiccup.
Muggleborns were no longer looked down upon for the most part, provided they educated themselves in Wizarding culture. Narcissa Malfoy had taken that matter in hand and made a successful cure with her book.
The changes within Hogwarts were just as astounding. The Houses, while still being rivals in a number of things (Quiddich being the main area), were for the most part kept from descending into conflict by the Heads.
The hiring of Severus Snape had brought a younger, fresher face to the House of Slytherin and the new Head, young man that he was, had changed the dynamics by educating his House members of the basic tenets of Slytherin.
Albus knew he should be happy with all the changes, but he just felt – superfluous. Like a prized stallion put out to pasture once past its prime. The liberal, Muggle-friendly side of politics had been usurped by former Supremacists such as the Malfoys. This new trend accepted the advances of Muggle ingenuity and ideas, but worked to maintain their traditions in the face of any influence to change.
He didn't know if things were better or not.
For a brief time, he had thought to influence Harry Potter into defeating Tom. Fresh from such a titanic struggle and blushing from victory, he would have been an ideal candidate to replace himself as the Leader of the Light. The Light had always needed a strong Leader and he wasn't getting any younger.
Albus, unfortunately, found out something that many philosophers and politicians before him could have explained: It takes two sides to make a conflict. With the retreat of the Dark – the Light had little purpose.
Maybe it was time to hand things over to the younger generation. He had always wanted to travel, and there were many arcane paths to research that he never taken the time to explore.
Harry opened his eyes blearily.
He and the other Seventh years (and a few sixth years) had arranged a party the night before graduation. Harry, having taken on the challenge given by his Godfather right before starting Hogwarts, had learned many secrets of the castle. He found himself in one of them: the Room of Requirement.
When Harry had told Sirius of the find, his Uncle Padfoot had been both proud – and jealous.
Finally, he felt a little more awake. He looked at his company and smiled.
Harry had begun dating Luna Lovegood toward the end of his fifth year (the end of her fourth) and the two found they suited each other. Harry enjoyed a bit of adventure, and Luna was up for trying anything. He had even joined her and her father on a creature expedition in the summer after his sixth year, after finally moving out from the Dursleys permanently.
The Lovegoods (plus one) didn't find any of their esoteric creatures, but they had fun looking. And Luna had nonchalantly told her father that she and Harry would be sharing a tent – no need to get another. Mr. Lovegood had put up some token resistance but could never say no to his Moonbeam.
Harry had really enjoyed the summer trip.
At the beginning of Seventh Year, life had been going great. He was looking at playing professional Quiddich while learning from Sirius how to manage his estates. However, a new kink had shown up in the thread: Hermione Granger.
He and Luna were friends with Hermione, thanks to her being housemates with Luna (Cousin Draco's cousin), best friends with Draco, and claimed goddaughter of Cousin Narcissa. She also was great at finding out just the right book when you were in a bind.
She had entered into a long-distance relationship during their fourth-year. It was mostly innocent. It lasted until mid-fifth year but ended amicably (Draco had expressed relief: He didn't want to have to make good on the threats he and the Weasleys had made on her behalf – Victor Krum had fangirls that would have killed him afterwards.)
Hermione had then gotten into a relationship with Terry Boot. It was mostly good, but Terry soon started being overly controlling. Terry had plans where whoever he married would stay at home and he had tried to get Hermione to fit into that mold.
Hermione did not take that well.
After the breakup (and after Terry had spent a few days in the hospital wing), Hermione had decided that she would concentrate on her studies. At the beginning of Seventh Year, however, Luna got it into her head that she would make a great third member of their relationship.
Luna did not immediately tell Harry of her idea. No. She was much sneakier. She wrote to Cousin Narcissa.
Luna's argument was that she wanted to help to rekindle the House of Peverell. Her family had long been interested in the Deathly Hallows. Harry got the cloak from Sirius when he started Hogwarts (Sirius having gotten it back from Dumbledore) and had found, to his shock, that he also owned the second item: The Resurrection Stone. When he claimed his inheritance, there was a letter detailing the Stone, its uses and dangers, and exactly why he was its owner (Peverell family heirloom, recovered in 1982). It also detailed the ownership of the Elder Wand and explained Dumbledore's plan for its power to end when he died.
The letter had warned him that if Dumbledore lost it, it would be his job to defeat whoever took Dumbledore down to keep it from greedy hands. Harry was just fine with Dumbledore's plan – he had no interest in such a dreadful sounding moniker as "The Master of Death" and fervently prayed that the old man would die peacefully in his sleep.
At Christmastime, Luna had invited the Malfoys and the Grangers to the Rookery. She had also invited Sirius and Harry. She then dropped the bombshell and calmly argued as to why Hermione should be contracted to Harry for the Potter Family, leaving her to be contracted with Harry for the Peverell family.
Hermione had been incredulous but had not blown up because it was obvious that he himself was just learning of the plan. Hermione knew Luna and knew that it was simply not worth it to get angry with her: Luna had her ideas and no amount of emotion would sway her. Logic would, according to Luna, but that was yet to be proven (Luna could out-logic anyone, regardless of her flighty-seeming nature).
And so, finally, Hermione had agreed to give it a try. Narcissa had agreed to negotiate the contract the summer after Hogwarts if all parties were amenable. Hermione had learned that contracts in the Wizarding world dealt with the delineation of family magic, thus preventing a daughter being taken advantage of and a rival house from claiming esoteric magicks in that way.
The three had become closer over the last sixth months and finally, last night, they had moved forward. Both girls were beautiful in repose.
Finally, he cautiously woke the two up. Neither one was unhappy in the light of a new day, and he felt a bit of relief. The three took advantage of the facilities created by the room and made their way out of their room inside the Room.
The three made their way out. In the biggest area (where the party had happened the night before) the room was freshly cleaned and the house elves had performed as he had asked and provided breakfast right there (no need to face the Great Hall with a possible hangover).
Soon, they were joined by various other couples making their way from the other smaller rooms that Neville had envisioned (for some reason, Neville was the best at manipulating the room and had been tasked with its organization).
Neville himself soon joined him with Hannah, his soon-to-be betrothed. The two Hufflepuffs had been close for years, but neither family felt the need to rush a contract.
Draco and Ginny also joined them. Ginny looked smug – she often did as she had Draco kind of wrapped around her finger. Draco was quite confident in himself, but was happy to let Ginny control the relationship – less arguments that way and Ginny was far less controlling than her mother (as Draco had once explained to Harry). Draco had no problem with the idea of a strong wife.
Soon a few more couples arrived. Pansy and Terry made their own way out. Pansy had finally reconciled with Ginny and promised not to interfere. It took a few months but Ginny had finally warmed to her. Terry, who had finally apologized for his attitudes and mistakes, had found a good match in Pansy. She had no interest in working and Terry's idea of being the working part of a marriage was quite acceptable to her.
Her family had warmed to the idea of a Muggleborn husband for their daughter when they had learned that Muggleborns were far less choosy about keeping a family name going. Terry was perfectly willing to become a Parkinson so that the family name wouldn't die out.
Tracy Davis emerged with her boyfriend, Justin Finch-Fletchly. Both families had titles (hers in the Magical world and his in the Muggle) and neither came from families that had any other priority than pushing their family's positions forward.
Another couple where the boy was going to be taking the girl's name was the last to join them: Ron soon-to-be-Greengrass-Weasley and Daphne were the final couple. Ron, being the sixth son, was in no danger of having to continue the Weasley line himself – there were far too many brothers for that to be a problem. And so the Greengrass family had negotiated generously with the Weasleys for Ron to allow Daphne to continue their line. Ron, who had been quite nervous at first and prone to making a few gaffes, had finally learned how not to piss off his betrothed. She had finally dropped her ice-woman persona as she no longer had to worry about a wizard taking advantage of her to steal her family line.
The two were remarkably happy with each other. Daphne was fine with Ron wanting to play Quiddich and Ron was fine with the idea of Daphne managing the Greengrass interests. She had been training for it since she was a child and had been unhappy that whomever she married might demand control. Ron had been taught as a young boy (by both his mother and Draco's) that women could be just as or more intelligent than the men and he didn't need to control everything. He was marrying a woman who was brilliant with business and who was supportive of his pursuits.
The group had a very nice final meal together, and prepared to leave Hogwarts for the last time and face the world.
Severus Snape sat within his office after the train had left, drinking a firewhisky, enjoying the quiet.
He was a popular and influential wizard within his positions. His students and the Slytherin Alumni held him up as the perfect Slytherin and all respected his skills as a potions-master.
He only had to provide perhaps one object lesson every three years to demonstrate exactly what happened when a student deliberately mishandled potions or tried to corrupt the brewing. That one lesson seemed to permeate out and he hadn't had to do it in four years as of the moment.
The Gryffindors were as brash as always, but no longer seemed to target the Slytherins. They targeted every house, even their own, and the pranks of this generation were far less destructive than those he had experienced (and, if he was honest with himself, had partaken of himself – the Marauders weren't the only guilty party there). They were in good fun and had been treated as such.
Bullying was almost non-existent. That was a lesson that was taught early every year and held.
There had been one sour note: His son, Mercurius, Slytherin that he was, was also a prankster. He employed much more cunning and guile than the Marauders ever did but still, a prankster he remained. So much so that Potter had ceded him the status of Prankster-in-Residence that Potter himself had become regent for when the Weasley Twins graduated. Potter himself only played minor pranks, but held status as the inheritor of the Marauders.
It was all Black's fault. Black had deliberately involved himself with his family and taught Mercer "the Joys of Pranking." Severus smirked as he considered his revenge: Severus had taken the role of teaching Black's own son the idea of cunning and ambition. If he had his way, Black's son would become a Slytherin. He didn't take it too far (Draco had taught him that) but little James Black definitely was encouraged by "Uncle Sevvy." (Severus still cursed Black on occasion for that particular moniker.)
All in all, he finally acknowledged that the entrance of Harry Potter, the Lone Traveler, had led to a far, far better world than the Traveler himself had described.
If he raised his glass in tribute to a Potter, no one would ever have to know. He would never breathe a word of it.