The Games They Play
Twenty Years Later
Twenty years on, and the magical world hadn't only changed but flourished dramatically. The population had tripled in that time, without a war, Lucius Malfoy had been coined a 'peace Minister' and nobody so much as thought of Lucius as anything other than a good man, a wonderful Minister and the Malfoy name? It was no longer sneered at, derided or blacklisted. Everyone wanted to accept the Malfoy's where they go, everyone wants them to shop at their stores, and not just for their money.
Minister Malfoy had not only bought up land left right and centre, but made it so that they had multiple magical areas where Muggles couldn't encroach on them. He'd bought up all the acres of land in Little Hangleton and its' surrounding areas. Everything had been demolished, including the Gaunt shack. Flats and houses were built, within five years it had gone from a building site to a thriving community, with shops, a quidditch field, which housed junior Quidditch competitions, there was a whole slew of new junior broomsticks – which had been Draco's idea and he'd financed it – which had made him very rich on his own without needing his parents. Ronald Weasley actually coached one of the teams, when he wasn't off on the Chess circuit, nobody had beaten his number one spot in a decade.
Ronald during that year at Hogwarts…panicking and failing his classes, having never worked for his grade before in his life, when Blake pulled him up by his bootstraps and drummed into him that work was required to do well. That all his brothers had done the same thing. That just because he was a Weasley didn't mean he couldn't find a career that suited him. Luckily, Blake knew Ronald well, and was able to prod him in a career direction he would be happy in. Commenting idly how much was made in the chess circuit if you're good enough. He'd met and married Trisha O'Connell now Weasley, a fellow chess enthusiast. To say Hermione had been horrified and stunned when she learned the news was putting it lightly.
Hermione? Hermione's magic was released from the binding cuffs' two years into her sentence. Which afforded her a little more protection from the Dementors that she hadn't had before. After that, one year later she emerged from Azkaban having served her sentence, in time to see Ginevra Weasley to be escorted in. Gone was the vivacious girl, in place a subdued version of her with her hair cropped short.
Eventually Ginevra's own sentence was done, Azkaban had not been easy for her. She still hadn't recovered to this day, Molly spent every day looking after her daughter, refusing to even contemplate putting her in St. Mungo's. It was as if Ginny had gone so far inside of herself to protect herself, that she refused to come out. She would never have children, never marry, all she could do was follow basic orders. There were rare days when she actually spoke, but they were few and far between.
Bill and Charlie ran their own business and dragon sanctuaries. They'd taken a chance on themselves, borrowing money from the twins to see if they could make it work, and after a few years everything had taken off. Bill worked independently and became his own boss. Running a Ward crafting business, working all around the world, or sending his teams. Charlie ran his own sanctuaries for Dragons giving them the best possible care. The Weasley children no longer wore hand-me-down robes and were very well off. The Burrow? Had been torn down after a lovely house was built in its place, with enough room for the grandchildren to stay the night. The only stipulation they asked for was that Molly and Ginny were never left alone with them. Arthur had listened to his children, and had very strictly enforced it. His relationship with his kids were better than ever, and he was stronger for it. He had retired, when the children weren't about, he spent most of his time tinkering with his Muggle stuff, which now was mostly in the basement. In fact, he had accidentally made quite a few gadgets that work in the magical world, and made more money than he'd ever be able to spend. He was able to spoil his children – and grandchildren – the way he had always wanted to. He'd already made a will that his money would be split evenly between all his children, should he and Molly die, Ginny's care in future was well ordered so that she had the care she needed. He was still her father and felt the need to do what he could.
As for Percy? Percy did indeed marry Penelope, and had two children, and he did indeed, become the head of the Department of magical cooperation. Politics fit Percy like a glove, his hard work and dedication had been seen by those in positions of power and they had helped him get his dream job. In those years, he had given Britain many allies that had refused to ally with the UK in all the years they'd been trying. Lucius had been impressed, which said a lot, since Lucius had not thought much of the Weasleys at all. It had been the beginning of a wonderful working relationship.
The twins had not only opened five different shops in the UK magical districts, but had gone international. Dozens upon dozens of stores worldwide, some doing better than others…but all thriving. The twins had wanted to be able to bring as much as Harry did into their marriage. As always, when the twins wanted something, they made it work for them. Harry had become one of the youngest Healers in the world, and surprisingly did not begin working at St. Mungo's. Instead he opened his own doctors surgery, and helped those most in need.
They all thanked Merlin that Ginny hadn't screwed it up for them. The bet Severus and Blake had made regarding Ron blurting out what had happened? Was null and void, Arthur Weasley had used the family magic to make sure Ron couldn't speak of family matters to anyone that wasn't family.
There was only one building that hadn't been demolished to make way for anything. Riddle mansion hadn't been changed, except for the garden being completely overturned, and a playground placed inside, it had been turned into primary school. Blake had wanted to ensure that children of all ages got an education, so that nobody was ignorant when they finally came to Hogwarts. Lucius had reluctantly agreed, and thus new plans were born.
Everyone – even squibs – were welcomed to Hangleton M Primary school, the M stood for magical naturally, but to the outside world? Hangleton was an exclusive boarding school, very difficult to get into. Literally impossible for anyone Mundane, they wouldn't get through the wards. To them, the place has literally just fell off the map.
Children from the age of six to ten attended primary school, wizards and witches, whether they were Muggle-born or Pureblood. There they learned Runes, Latin, arts, to use a quill, English, maths, potions, drawing, music and a whole slew of classes including history and Quidditch. Then they went to Hogwarts and begun their real magical education. Nobody was ever left behind to struggle at Hogwarts. They were all at the same place, which nobody could deny had been very useful, the grading at Hogwarts this past decade had never been higher.
The twins may have gone international, but they always, always made time for their family and husband. Only working part-time in the same shop, they always had. The twins naturally wanted a small-ish family having grown up with a big one. Harry though, Harry wanted a big family, and as much as the twins would have been content with two…ultimately gave Harry his greatest wish. A big family.
Five children kind of big, three boys two girls, one set of twins. With more cousins to play with than absolutely necessary. With five grandfathers and a grandmother, Severus, Blake, Sirius, Remus and Arthur, and of course, Molly they were spoiled rotten but Harry had seen personally what being spoiled could do so made sure only special occasions, the rest of the time the kids had to earn their money, with chores and the like. Troy Gideon, Asher 'Ash' Severus, Liam Arthur, Danielle 'Dany' Lillian and their youngest Blake Luna, named after her 'grandfather'. Blake had just graduated from Hangleton M Primary school and would be joining the rest of her siblings at Hogwarts after the holidays.
As like always, everyone had been there to see her 'graduate' all her extended family, just as they had been there for the rest of her siblings. Except of course, her 'Aunt Ginny' who stayed behind, she never left the house. Never did much of anything actually.
All the children had been birthed via the same surrogate. Alicia Spinnet. She'd been compensated very heavily for the four births, although after she gave birth to the twins…she'd seriously contemplated not doing it again. However, the money was well worth it. It would see her starting her adult life and her job without any debt whatsoever as a lawyer.
Angelina Johnson had been a serious contender, but instead Sirius had used her for the birth of his and Remus' second child. She hadn't offered again afterwards, having found love of her own and wishing for a child of her own. Sirius had wanted both children to be close in age, and both Phoenix and Aurora were only a few years apart. Phoenix was very protective of his sister, even now, and had chased away quite a few suitors, which made Sirius pout because he wanted in on the fun.
Sirius worked at Hangleton M School, as the quidditch instructor, or flying instructor, depending on the day. Remus however, taught history, their days made it possible so that there was always someone at home with the children. They did not use House-elves to babysit their children, not like the Black's had done for generations.
Phoenix Black became the heir of the Black estate, Blake had made sure of it, also ensuring that he became the Head of the Black estate when he was seventeen. He was very level headed like his father Remus. Plus, Phoenix actually rather liked politics, and often looked up to Percy while spending time with his kids.
As for Harry, he was blood adopted by Severus becoming Harry James Potter-Snape until his marriage to the twins. Becoming Harry James Potter-Snape-Weasley. Four estates that he would eventually pass to his children, the twins would naturally take on the same estate, as normal for that type of situation. This naturally would only happen when Blake and Severus passed, which neither were about to do any time soon.
As for Severus and Blake? They did not desire to have children of their own. Neither had the patience of the disposition to be parents. Although, it truly would depend on whom you asked. The children they had saved over the years from abusive relations and taken under their wing in until they reached seventeen…they would disagree. They were never officially adopted, with a potion or otherwise. On their seventeenth birthday, when they were officially of age, they received a flat and a vault so that when they left Hogwarts they had somewhere to go, and without fear of losing it without funds which did them until they got a job. Which all of them did, with Blake's tuition all of them ended up with jobs they really liked.
They were happy visiting countries all over the world every summer, all summer. It had become a tradition; Harry and his family would always come for a week or two with them before heading home. Except for the year they visited Egypt, they ended up all staying together for the entire vacation.
The biggest change in the Ministry of magic, was the entire department dedicated to POMED. Protection of Magical Exposure Department, which was filled with squibs and the occasional Half-blood or Pureblood who took years of computing and picked up considerable hacking skills. The entire department had been created using Mundane means, only putting up a few wards, after checking the computers would still work with the protection magic up. They worked day and night, scrubbing anything remotely magical off before anyone could see it.
They had access to all databases, MI5, MI6, FBI, military, and all social networking sites, and they had apps and tracking data for specific keywords. The FBI one was mostly to hunt down any criminals that thought it was a good idea to either hide in Britain or the USA. Hermione Granger was actually working her way up the ranks there, and actually working for it, not presuming that she could just because she was smart. She was still single, lived with her parents making up for her rash actions…but from everyone's understanding…Hermione had come out of Azkaban determined to change her life and not let what happened drag her down entirely. To earn her parent's forgiveness, going to 'normal' college and experiencing the Muggle world again seemed to have done the trick. She'd needed the normality, to routine, she'd also worked part-time, to pay her parents back and naturally begin saving up for her exams. It might have been years later than she should have done…but she'd done it.
Once they tracked down who had put what up, the Muggles were questioned under Veritaserum then Obliviated. With the advancements of the Muggle world…even an idiot of a wizard had realized how precarious the situation could get. Eventually, Lucius had succeeded in getting his own way.
He had significantly much more to lose now than he had in his past. The IVF idea Severus had? Was a massive success, he was singularly responsible for the baby boom that the magical world went through after the potion was publicized after three years of testing. Narcissa had been one of those testers, she'd given birth to the little girl she'd so longed for. Lyra Malfoy. Three years later they had another child, not only had Lucius become a father again, he'd become a grandfather, to Scorpio Malfoy, the child of Draco and Astoria. Perseus Malfoy. Perseus to everyone' surprise had taken after the Black family, and been born with a shocking head of dark hair.
Not only had he become the ultimate family man…he had become the longest running Minister for Magic the magical world had ever seen. In the Muggle world you were only allowed a couple of terms before you had to step down. The Magical world had no such law.
And thus, he was still playing the game.
And playing it so well.
And as Severus and Blake watched with the rest of the family as Blake finally joined her siblings (or the ones still there) off on the Hogwarts express. The press was hounding the Malfoy family, despite the guards keeping the family safe.
There was a subtle smirk on Lucius' face as he nodded in their direction. Basically, inviting them to a drink tonight, which they would accept, gladly.
"Ah, the games they play," Blake said shaking his head wryly.
"It's a good game though, worthwhile," Severus murmured, "I think perhaps this might be my last year as Headmaster."
Blake said nothing, it was entirely Severus' decision, he had dedicated twenty years of his life to the school. So much so that it was number one recognized internationally. It was quite literally the best school in the world. Everyone wanted to attend it.
And for the first time in a long, long time, the dorm rooms were all filled with students, packed even.
"We best head to the school," Blake murmured, "I only have you to myself for ten hours." They always had friends or family coming and intruding on them.
Severus chuckled, "Indeed," he agreed, nodding, wrapping his fingers around Blake's, the married couple Slytherin-Snape's took one last look at Lucius still posing for the camera's before they Apparated away.
His last thought was, 'I don't know how he can play the games they play' he was grateful he did though.
For it allowed him peace, peace and quiet in the likes he had never experienced before.
Aaannnd it only took 5 years in the making to complete ;) one last hurrah guys? Read and Review ;) and thank you all so much for sticking with me through it all!