A/N: All good things must come to an end. More notes at the end. Let me thank the illustrious J.K. Rowling for the Potterverse and allowing us all to recreate it in our minds in various ways. She owns all rights to it. I'm just playing in her sandbox.75. The Leaving Feast
Minerva looked out over the Great Hall, decorated in Gryffindor red and gold, and pondered the changes that had taken place over the past year. Many of those changes were attributable to Harry Potter-Black and his father, Sirius. Changes had also begun in the wizarding world and most were for the better. While the loss of Albus Dumbledore was great, in some respects it had been overdue. Only after his absence had it been realized that he was one of the major stumbling blocks to that change.
She then turned to the staff table and thought of the changes that had occurred so far and those that would be happening at the end of this school year, if the letter she had received that morning was any indication. Charity Burbage was becoming a formidable deputy. Her demeanor was far different from Minerva's but she had rapidly gained the confidence of both the students and the Board of Governors. The changes to the curriculum she was spearheading were desperately needed and long overdue. She had a bright future ahead of her in leading the school to become what it had once been.
Further down to her right sat Remus Lupin. With him returning next year, the apparent curse on the DADA position had finally been lifted. The consensus among the students was that he was the best DADA professor they had had. While his course was being revamped, Remus had been eagerly involved in its evolution. He was also becoming an admirable Head of House. He was personable and approachable, something that could, truthfully, not be said for herself. While there had been trepidation about having a werewolf at the school, the safety precautions that had been put in place had quelled those concerns. The improvements in the Wolfsbane potion had also helped tremendously.
Next to Remus sat Filius Flitwick. He had been at the school almost as long as she had. He had taken the changes in stride and had been eagerly involved in them. Ravenclaw had always been a house she hadn't had to worry much about. He and Remus were planning to start a real dueling club the next year; nothing fake as that idiot Lockhart had tried the previous year.
Further down the table sat Rolanda Hooch and Aurora Sinistra. Both were formidable witches in their own right. Rolanda had taken the gift of the new brooms to heart and was rebuilding the flying curriculum. She was also working towards establishing an obstacle course. She was looking forward to expanding the sports program for both organized and intramural sports. Aurora was heavily involved in the creation of the new Astronomy classroom. She and Filius had been working on the charming of it. They had tested this out in the Room of Requirement and found it more than met the requirements. There would be times during the year they would actually go up to the astronomy tower so that the students didn't grow complacent.
To her left was Pomona Sprout. She was as reliable as her Hufflepuffs. Over the summer she would be adding another, smaller, greenhouse to her collection. She would be using this for research primarily, but it could also be used by those students, such as Neville Longbottom, who were gifted in Herbology and wanted to do research of their own. She would be adding the new plants she'd gathered at Potter Manor in this space as well.
Then there was Severus Snape. A more dour man, she'd never met although he had mellowed a slight bit this year. She attributed that to the portrait of Lily Potter. James had visited her several times over the year and had passed along what little he had heard of their conversations. Severus had never been the type to be a teacher, but had been kept there as part of both Dumbledore's and Voldemort's many schemes. His work on the Wolfsbane potion had rekindled his love of research.
Finishing out the remainder of the Staff Table were Bathsheda Babbling, Hagrid and, surprisingly, Sybill Trelawney. Bathsheda would have more students next year, thanks to both the Career and Course Fairs they'd held. With more student knowing what the course entailed as well as what they could do with them, there was an increase in enrollment. With the addition of Warding as a subject at NEWT level, it boosted her course as well. While Sybill would have students for at least two more years, there would be no more incoming classes unless the talent was detected. While Luna Lovegood was suspected to have seer traits, the young Ravenclaw had shown no interest in taking the class when Filius had asked her. Sybill would be allowed to remain in the castle if she desired. She had few skills that were usable outside of Hogwarts. Even Saul Croaker could find no place for her in the Department of Mysteries. Hagrid was, well, Hagrid. While a bit disappointed in losing his full-time professorship, he was still Keeper of the Keys and Grounds and would still be the Groundskeeper. In addition, he would be picking up both Transfiguration and Charms classes to assist him in learning those key courses that had been denied him when he had been expelled. The Ministry had also asked him to help them with their relations with both the Centaurs and the Acromantula.
Minerva rose and took her place at the lectern. It was now time to say goodbye to this school term.
"Good evening students. We have again reached the end of another school year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry…"
Percy Weasley reflected on the past ten months and was surprised at the changes he had undergone. At the end of his sixth year, he'd been sure he would be working somewhere at the Ministry upon graduation. His application had already been submitted and he'd had some interest. The Ministry was a totally different place under Amelia Bones' leadership and he felt it would have been a rewarding experience. That was before the discovery of the Founders' Library. With that discovery, more options had opened up to him and he was happy with his change in plans.
Professor Newell was responsible for his change in fortune. While quite knowledgeable in magical history, his abilities in archival restoration were what had fascinated Percy most. Having access to documents as old as Hogwarts itself was something he couldn't pass up. Perhaps it would lead to him succeeding either the Professor or Madam Pince at the conclusion of his apprenticeship; perhaps it would lead elsewhere. At least he knew he had more options than just the Ministry.
Remus Lupin was also a bit pensive at the moment. He didn't know when he had accepted Albus' offer to teach that it would lead to the numerous changes in his life. He had the last remaining of his schoolboy chums back in his life as well as the son of another; something he'd never thought he'd have a year ago. He had the opportunity to help rebuild the curriculum of Hogwarts to what it had been even before he was a student. The new courses were just the beginning. Their planned travels over the summer would give him the opportunity to visit at least one other magical school to get more information on their curriculum.
Also on his list of tasks for the holiday was to spend more time with the Potter portfolio and make recommendations for any changes. Even with Sirius' adoption of Harry, he had asked his friend to continue in the role James and Lily had set for him in managing the Potter estate until Harry was old enough to do so himself. Some of that training would begin this summer.
He would continue to work with Severus to validate the changes to the Wolfsbane potion. The last transformation had been almost a non-issue compared to just six months ago. Dirk Cresswell was still trying to wrest him away from Hogwarts to head the Werewolf Liaison Office, and he kept refusing. He would consult with the committee appointed to review the laws regarding magical beings to revamp the werewolf laws to improve their lives too.
Severus Snape was attending his final Leaving Feast. He had tendered his resignation that morning. His future plans were still somewhat of a shock to himself. He had planned to open up his own potions shop as well as continue his research. While the Wolfsbane potion was one of the primary items in Lily Potter's journal, she had left quite a few others in various stages of completion which she wanted him to pursue.
The offer he received at the end of May surprised him. Sirius Black made him an offer that would allow him to pursue his dreams while still maintaining a steady income. Severus would be the Head Potions Master for the experimental Wolfsbane Fund while still allowing him to pursue his own experiments. Black was currently outfitting one of the empty Potter properties into a proper potions laboratory with a small retail counter in front. Severus would need help if the Fund grew to the extent projected. For the summer, he would be taking on the Weasley twins as assistants. While they focused their attentions on pranks, they were really exceptional Potions and Charms students. There would be a room portioned off for them to manufacture their products to meet their current demands. During the ten days needed to produce the Wolfsbane, they would assist him as he needed.
The summer break would give him time to establish himself and determine what he would really need to make his business successful. He felt he would need at least a part-time Herbologist to manage the two greenhouses at Potter Manor that held the aconite and Devil's Claw among others. Black had agreed to fund that position and was working with Pomona Sprout to identify a qualified candidate. For the moment, Neville Longbottom would assist under her guidance. "Gods! I'm surrounding myself with Gryffindors!" he thought.
While he still had his old family house in Spinner's End, he had decided to move on. There were quarters available above his shop that were comfortable, but he felt he deserved something better. He was even more surprised when he'd contacted the goblins about his accounts to find out he was the heir to the Prince family. Another thing Dumbledore had meddled in. Once he'd settled his new account manager down, assuring him that he had not ignored his messages all those years, he'd found he had a very suitable country home in Northamptonshire. One of his first acts after leaving Hogwarts would be to contact a muggle real estate salesperson to sell Spinner's End. He had three elves at the Prince estate who had already packed everything up and moved it to his new home, with the exception of his potions laboratory. Once he had done that and removed all of the wards, it would look like any other muggle home in the neighborhood. For the first time in his life, Severus Snape actually had a life worth looking forward to.
At the Gryffindor table, the Weasley twins were also contemplating their new fortunes. While working for the former "greasy bat of the dungeons" would have made any other Hogwarts student cringe, they were looking forward to it. For all of his demeaning words and actions, Professor Snape was a genius when it came to potions. No one had ever questioned why they got so many detentions with him, so no one knew that Snape had been providing supervision for some of their more interesting brews. While they'd never actually brewed any of their pranking items in the dungeons, he'd been more than helpful in explaining why certain ingredients wouldn't work together or would cause certain reactions. They would miss some of the excursions Harry had invited them on – they were allowed one week in July to spend on a true vacation. Plus, there was the Quidditch World Cup to attend just before school started in the fall. They would be done with the August Wolfsbane production so they would be allowed to attend with the rest of their family. On top of that, Sirius Black had offered to share some of the pranking knowledge of the original Marauders.
Harry was happy with his new life. He didn't have to worry about going back to Privet Drive as he had the past two years. He now had a father as well as an assembled family of the Weasleys, the Grangers, Remus Lupin, the Tonks and even Narcissa and Draco Malfoy. It was a strange family, for sure, but it was HIS family. They all loved him for being just 'Harry' and not The-Boy-Who-Lived or the Freak or any other name. He was just Harry.
The summer ahead would be busy! The first two weeks home were going to be crowded with lessons. The mornings would be spent at Longbottom Manor learning wizarding culture, etiquette and other social graces required of a Head of House. The afternoons would be spent with Sirius and Remus learning about managing his estate as well as some about the Black estate. He would also take the advanced Latin course with Hermione in the afternoons. Evenings were for his own enjoyment, but he knew Sirius would plan some evenings out to the cinema or other entertainment. Mrs. Weasley made Sirius promise that they would have Sunday lunch at the Burrow each week.
Sirius had blocked out the first two weeks of July for travel. They would be spending a week in a place called "Disney World" and the rest of the time in other places in America. They were still working on exactly where. Remus and Sirius were going to spend two days at Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, so Harry would have to decide whether to go with them or go along with the Grangers to New York. Ron was going with them as was Neville, the twins, Ginny and Tonks (Dora). The twins would only go as far as Florida before they would portkey back to England. The only other thing still to be decided was whether they would go by muggle transportation or portkey.
Remus would also tutor him in advanced DADA with Sirius substituting when necessary. While there would be a lot of studying over the summer, Harry was looking forward to it. He would finally be learning more about the world he had been born into but denied for so long. He was also going to help Neville in the greenhouses. Tizzy was going to teach them about some of the plants in the first three greenhouses so they could help him harvest some of those that were to become potions ingredients. Professor Sprout would come once a month to harvest the aconite and Devil's Claw for the wolfsbane until someone was hired for that job.
On top of all of that, he had the Quidditch World Cup to look forward to right before he came back for his fourth year! There was still a lot of planning to be done for that trip, but he'd get to see some first rate quidditch. Sirius had promised to take him to a couple of professional games too. It would be a full summer!
In London, Sirius Black was preparing for his son's return from Hogwarts. He'd had Harry's room cleaned up as well as notified Cassie at Potter Manor that they would be over for the day next Saturday. While he had quite a bit of academic and practical things lined up for Harry, he was also making sure there would be time for fun, especially time to fly! Weekends would be for fun. He knew there would always be a pick-up quidditch game at the Weasleys on Sunday, but he wanted to spend time with Harry doing other things besides talking about estate management and Wizengamot procedures. He had already received invitations for summer garden parties from several members of the Wizengamot, some of which he'd declined as they'd be out of the country, but he would need to talk to Harry about some of the others. He would meet up with the Grangers at King's Cross Station tomorrow so he could take them through the barrier to meet the Hogwarts Express. It had been a year of change for Sirius as well.
The Hogwarts Express left Hogsmeade Station promptly at eleven o'clock on June eleventh filled with students happy to be finished with another year of school. The atmosphere was joyful with students flitting between carriages. Harry's compartment hosted Hermione, Ron and Neville with Dean, Seamus, Susan Bones, Hanna Abbott, Oliver Wood and several others passing through at some point. Harry let Ron talk him in to playing a couple of games of chess with him before relinquishing his position to Draco. That match lasted nearly two hours as the two tried to out-maneuver each other. In the end, Ron finally won.
Harry let out a contented sigh. This had been an amazing year. He had friends; he had family; he had a life that he was enjoying. So, this is what it meant to be "normal."
A/N: I can't thank you all enough for the reviews and PMs I've received throughout this journey! When I first had this idea about 18 months ago, I never dreamed it would turn into this. I've learned a lot along the way. I've met some really great people through your reviews, waiting eagerly for reviews from those who were regular readers. Will there be more? I don't know. I know there won't be a continuation of this story into fourth year. I have an idea flitting around for a short spin-off, but I don't know if it will get written. For now, I'm going to sit back and be happy reading others' works. It's been an experience!