This ends the story. To all you dear readers, reviewers (some of you have reviewed every chapter; thanks again), favouriteers, followers, thank you. Thank you for staying with this story and for reading it and leaving your very valued responses. This story is whatever it is because of you, and we could never thank you enough for your participation.
The aftermath of the new House of Potter was disconcerting at best. There was little to do against him when, as Harry had said, he owned much of their world. His share wasn't truly the largest, but when taken out, it was enough to crash the Magical Economy and send it into a state of depression and inflation by the cascade effect of having no means to produce anything more. As such, the demands, which made him the most benevolent person to ever be even whispered of as a Dark Lord, were met.
The tenets were simple - no blood-based bigotry, pure meritocracy, no discrimination against magical races, and a policy of technomantic advancement. He had to have something to benefit him otherwise he would just be a not-Dark Lord. That wouldn't do.
On a personal level, though, Harry knew he would be overstaying his welcome there. He didn't think he would be accepted by his peers. And given the fact that he had exhorted them to actually take a stand against oppression, it would be rather hypocritical of him to want to be accepted. So he left to take his exams to cover for his three missed years, and ended up being a regular student in a regular school.
He never would have believed that his wish of being "Just Harry" would be fulfilled in the regular world. He attended school, made it to the school football team as a defender, and went on to achieve the required scores to get into electrical engineering at the Imperial College, London, while simultaneously being tutored in magic. He lived with Sirius and Amelia and their children – the twins James Edgar (who took the Bones name) and Regulus Arcturus, another son Procyon Aries and daughter Juliet Cassiopeia – because he was Sirius' kid, and Sirius was lapping up every moment where he was required to be the proud father to his godson.
As for the Black name, both Marlene and Sirius knew that they just couldn't be married. As agreed, Marlene met Amelia three months after the birth of the twins in early 1995. She predictably threw a fit. Marlene allowed her to rage, before simply informing her that she was the Dr. McCraig who had helped Sirius (he only needed to see her till about a month before the birth of the twins, going so far as to give her an oath that they had no other relation except as a doctor and a patient and probably friends. It did not please Amelia much, but it was irrefutable proof. Sirius still had to sleep on the couch for a week. Dogs find that very comfortable.
Marlene's objective was in fact much in line with Amelia's. She had a great friend at the College where she was a visiting lecturer, and she wished for there to be a possibility for more Dr. Michael Rogers. She wanted to be free of the contract with Sirius, and so needed help from the legal department and possibly the Department of Mysteries to get around it.
It was Percy, now an associate with the Tonks-Greengrass-Doge firm, who found the loophole in their contract. They were contracted to be the birth parents to the male Heir Black. As someone conversant with the medical field and with the laws related to the procedure, she suggested surrogacy. Initially very sceptical about it all, Amelia eventually accepted it, becoming the altruistic gestational surrogate mother to Procyon Aries – because the Heir of Black had to have a poncy name.
On the work front, things were a bit more difficult for her due to her relation with Harry. He was still considered to be somewhat of a Dark Lord, though not fully because all his actions were entirely within the ambit of law. She persevered. As such, it became boring. Fearing for their livelihoods, after the initial, failed, three month long boycott of all suppliers supported by the Houses of Potter, Gryffindor and Slytherin (which led to immediate inflation as they then had to look outside Britain leading to increased prices), it was termed stupid to be involved in the sort of movement that opposed the new policy. Her work reduced to checking up on probable criminal elements and countering petty crime and the sort.
Eventually, getting bored to tears, she replaced Remus – the Lord Lupin – as the defence teacher at Hogwarts.
He in turn, travelled the world in his role as the functional chief of the James and Lily Potter Institute for Research on Lycanthropy (JLPIRL). He met Patricia Ruther again when the Alice Longbottom Health Centre and Research Institute (previously named after James and Lily) collaborated over research about the degree of genetic lycanthropic traits passed on to offspring. They did get married, and though their first daughter, Anna, wasn't Teddy, she loved 'Hawwy' a lot. He spoiled her silly, and she had him wrapped around her little finger. It was the same with little Lily Amelia, named after the two women who had made Remus feel accepted, along with their husbands.
Dumbledore had a hard time coming to grips with the post-Voldemort world. He felt particularly responsible for Harry going dark. That phase lasted a full six-months, a period of time during which he saw the changes he had once dismissed as a utopian vision actually start in pockets. By the end of the full year, he could see that the change wasn't bad at all.
He sought out Minerva – she no longer lived in the castle, instead choosing her home in Surrey with her family – and through her, Harry. He hadn't known what to say, except for another apology. He found himself instantly forgiven. Harry was happy being Harry Potter in the normal world with his loving family, instead of Harry Potter in the magical world.
It was just after the TriWizard, which had become the Tri-School Olympiad and something that Hogwarts propelled by the Hermione Granger, the Daphne Greengrass and the Luna Lovegood had won. He remembered his promise to the boy and offered to teach him again. He received a conditional agreement – Dumbledore would in no way ask Harry to return to the magical world beyond House Business. In truth, the old man couldn't find it in himself to take away the newly gained happiness of the boy.
"I only believe that it would be better to conduct the instruction at Hogwarts. I have often felt that the school misses you."
"She mightn't. I do visit my girlfriend and my other friends, you know," Harry replied. "I don't think you want to know how happy Hermione was when I told her it was my idea to change the Tournament format."
Dumbledore could do no more than laugh.
When he died a decade later in the new millennium, he had lived a most fulfilling ten years during which he wrote a new book on the complete Transfiguration Theory, another on Enchanting with Harry, a memoir, gained a new relative in the new Heiress Dumbledore, Amanda Martin, saw the birth of the SGDG (Slytherin Gryffindor Dagworth-Granger, because Electricity Boards must have acronyms) Electric Company, the new form of courier services, the death of Portkeys and the Floo Network as they were replaced by the Potter-Bluewater Transport, and saw the birth of the new University of Magic which was opened by Heir Greengrass to augment the new professions. He was buried at Hogwarts, dying a happy and revered teacher.
Hermione on her part was at first not happy with Harry's decision to leave. Nor were Neville, Luna, Ron or any of the other friends. However, within the first month after Voldemort's death, they saw how their friend was viewed, and couldn't dispute it. When he turned up every two or three days, assisted by Peeves and Headless Nick, though, the storm in the teacup was quelled.
That meant study time with Hermione, with appropriate rewards. She helped him with the magical subjects in exchange for her teaching her to be an animagus and helping her with her non-magical subjects. She turned into a cat first by the end of the fourth year, with a bushy brown coat and a bushy brown long tail which had Crookshanks perving on her. She made sure to never transform when the half-Kneazle was around. It was late in her fifth year while she was attempting her second transformation (the tigress) when she found out about the charm he used while teaching her and Luna. When she turned 17, she made him drop the charm.
It turned out she was quite brainy, and bookish and as expected, privately adventurous. She would very lazily dress as she enjoyed the nervousness, the deer-in-the-headlights look warring with sheer desire. Their relationship had progressed enough without ever going all the way and she was happy with that, but she loved to tease him. She also made the 'mistakes' many times.
Onto more serious matters though, she asked to see his memories; all of them. He showed her them all without reservation. She passed no judgement, instead opting to kiss him. Then, together, they threw away those last dregs of his last life. He forgot it all. She didn't. That came out in various ways. They never had an amorous fumble in a broom closet, and she never shouted when in anger. She instead would wait, calm down and explain, never assuming he would know what had earned her ire. He learnt to remember the reasons and try to explain beforehand or avoid those things. He was a challenge, and she happily accepted it.
His pet peeve, the magical world still discounting women, endeared him more. When she became Lady Dagworth-Granger, he was present, endorsing her with all his houses. When she kicked Roger Davies where it hurt most for inappropriate conduct, he cheered her on. When she became a healer before joining the research wing of the Longbottom Institute, he was there to be her patient, and then her liaison with his contacts.
They could not make a law dictating personal behaviour beyond emotional, mental and physical abuse, so the only option was by promoting her indirectly and showing pride in her achievements to become an example. It was no hardship, particularly when youngsters actually looked up to him as their world changed. It soon went up to acknowledging her contribution openly in the Wizengamot, or deferring to her on some things. They never spoke it, but by 2001, they were the 'Golden Couple' in spite of many in the older generation – the remnants of the Death Eater and conservative families considering him a Dark Lord.
Her biggest moment came a few days after their engagement when she met Lily and James. By this time, she already knew the dark history of the house she was marrying into. Still, it had taken a lot to not be scared. Harry had had it easier; her parents were living and had known him well, with David joining Harry on the sailboat training and with the cars. She was particularly scared when Lily took her aside to grill her. She quite forgot that she would be talking to a woman actually her age. She ended up making a close friend.
Luna who first interned with Magicomm, the communications company was held in similarly high regard by Harry.
She found it incredibly difficult to date in Hogwarts. Having the two killers of Voldemort as older brothers was too daunting for anyone who knew her. Somehow, whenever she was on a date, a loveable grim-like pup used to guard her. When Michael Corner blushingly tried to once take her to the place of clandestine chats for Hogwarts students, he found the dog chasing after him. Obviously Luna hexed the pup. So from the next time, she found a huge bear ambling about, thankfully, when Zacharias Smith thought to have some fun. That was good.
Giving dating up as a bad job, she turned to the notes Harry had left her, managing to design a complete live transmission system with Bathsheba Babbling and patented it. She launched several channels – news, entertainment, and the like. It was when she was setting up the magical version of the animal planet in 2003 when she met Rolf Scamander, grandson of the Newt Scamander and a recent Hogwarts alumnus. They set up more than the channel.
Rolf Scamander was generally considered the unluckiest bloke in the magical world, given the people who got to threaten him, very subtly on Luna's behalf. He found out it wasn't as bad as it could have been. He knew though that his children, Lorcan and Lysander, were going to be the most terrifying hellions. They had Fred, George, Harry, Neville, Sirius, James, Regulus and Procyon as role-models. The poor man had remained largely inconspicuous through his time at Hogwarts, but had mentally resigned himself to getting complaints every week.
In 2008, they did manage to prove the existence of the Snorcacks, barely two years after finding a way to make ectoplasmic creatures visible to the naked eye.
Neville, interestingly, chose to join Hermione in the Research Institute. His record Herbology, Care and Potions scores and the follow-up Mastery courses, made him a perfect candidate. Apart from his businesses, and the biweekly football, there was nothing to divert him from his ambition of curing his parents. The process is ongoing. He never asked Susan, hung up on Cedric as she was, out. The French TriWizard Champion found the quietly authoritative, fairly good-looking co-defeater of Voldemort interesting. To Fleur Delacour, the quiet, funny, clever young man, who knew to handle his new fame and yet keep his beloved friends close was infinitely more interesting.
Susan chose a different route. As an actress, musician and writer, she was the most visible of the lot. It led her to eventually bridge the magical-non-magical divide.
The Weasleys moved up fairly high as they worked hard on their new businesses. Ron was the first to marry when he had an accident with Tracey Davis of all people, while he played the part of a rake, earning Harry's ire. The added responsibility matured him faster. He had half a million Galleons of his own, though he never played for the Cannons. He managed the business side of the signature restaurant, "Molly's" with great determination. It had been the making of Ron Weasley, and it was something Molly Weasley was eternally grateful. The Twins had their shop, and Percy had become a valued member of the firm. Ginny was playing for the Wimbourne Wasps after a record transfer from the Holyhead Harpies. It was a better time for them than they had known before.
It was on the 4th of May, 2002 that Harry finally proposed. They were at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, watching on as Freddie Ljunberg hammered in one from 25 yards. The celebratory kiss was followed by him going down on bended knee in that cramped space. People thought that he slipped and fell. Hermione's happy squeal was lost in the stadium. As was her whisper, "We are going to find a room tonight. I have waited long enough!"
He could only grin. It persisted till the end of the game as they watched the Arsenal number 8 get caught and interrupted in his victory jig by a reporter.
Neville, standing beside Harry, and having just been asked to be the best man for the wedding of Hadrian James Potter to Hermione Jean Dagworth-Granger, of Hadrian James Slytherin to Hermione Granger, daughter of House Greengrass, and of Hadrian James Gryffindor to Hermione Granger, daughter of House Dearborn, thereby neatly circumventing the law of plural marriages which was being heavily debated, asked his friend, "How does it feel?"
He just looked around and in the stands just directly in line with him, he saw a doppelganger of the woman he called a grandmother. She grinned, winked, and vanished from sight. He knew he'd be visited in his dreams soon.
In tandem with the man-of-the-match, Harry replied, "It's fuckin' excellent!"