(Apologies for the Hermione-Ron ending. It was just funny enough to leave this canon-pairing.)

The Greatest Minister for Magic Epilogue

Though it created much noise and furor, the Minister's initiative regarding werewolves, with the help of the Wolfsbane potion released in 1992, was rather a success.

The money that had previously gone into tracking them down was reallocated to registering them and ensuring they were kept apart during the full moon. Anyone willing for follow the program was allowed a certain increase in freedom and a reduction in hiring discrimination – as long as they followed the rules.

Harry Potter's support – one of very few times he used his name recognition personally before he reached his majority – was a very decisive boon for the initiative.

Remus Lupin was hired by Hogwarts and was a visible test cast for "redeemed" werewolves.

Fenrir Greyback was hunted down and destroyed because he was determined to turn or kill as many as possible.

By 1995, a couple more students who were werewolves were allowed to attend Hogwarts. With a faculty member on hand who knew their problems and could anticipate troubles, no hint of any difficulties ever came of it.

Though the Minister found it difficult to swallow at times, his niece (cousin) Ashlee in Muggle Relations did eventually start dating and marry Sirius Black. She turned over the Attaberry Head of House position to her younger brother.

Very little happened to Harry Potter during his time at Hogwarts. He did, as Hogwarts' Champion, help subdue a Mountain troll who had come out of the Forbidden Forest in 1996 – he would later remark that he didn't do much as the wards and the staff did most of the work. He was there because he felt he had to do something.

The Ministry did work to reconstitute the Triwizard Tournament in 1994. The improvements to Hogwarts had impressed the visiting schools. The choosing of the Champions went out without irregularities and Fleur Delacour from Beauxbatons narrowly beat out Cedric Diggory and Victor Krum from the rival schools.

A good time was had by all.

Harry Potter dated a few girls during Hogwarts, but didn't settle down until after he had spent a few years playing Quiddich. After retiring, he had followed in his father's footsteps and had become an Auror. He married Luna Lovegood, daughter of the editor of the Quibbler. Standing with him were his friends Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley, and Draco Malfoy. Standing with Luna were Hermione Weasley-Granger (Ron and she still enjoyed fighting – but mostly for the makeup sex afterword), Ginny Longbottom-Weasley (Harry had been deemed too flighty by Ginny during his fifth year – solid Neville balanced her own wild nature better), and Daphne Greengrass-Weasley (somehow, she had ended up marrying Percy Weasley – it was a shock to all around, except for their fathers who worked together). Cornelius Fudge and his wife were invited to be guests on the groom's side.

Albus Dumbledore had retired from his non-Hogwarts' positions at the end of 1993, citing the success of the Ministry in its current form and the continued good works it was doing without needing his input. That this was just after Walden McNair had been caught, tried, obliviated, and handed over to the Muggles to help clear a number of old cases emphasized Dumbledore's approval of how it was handled.

When the Minister of Magic was up for re-election in 1997, Harry Potter had no hesitation in endorsing the man's re-election. The Minister had freed his godfather, helped his uncle Remus, increased Goblin relations, and done a number of other things that Harry found he could support.

The Minister was quietly happy that his long-term methods of dealing with the boy had borne such fruit.

Cornelius was still Minister when Vernon Dursley's grandson received his invitation to Hogwarts. The Dursleys had been regularly checked up on by the man because he wanted to make certain that none of the problems of the past remained. The couple quite liked the Minister and his no-nonsense attitudes.

By Cornelius Fudge's fourth term, he was seriously considering retirement. His wife was getting on and he decided that 28 years as Minister was enough. He was going to devote his later years to making his wife happy. His chosen successor was Daphne Weasley-Greengrass, who at nearly forty would be one of the youngest Ministers in history. She would be the youngest woman ever to take the post.

To be truthful, the reason he picked Daphne rather than Percy was that Percy was a bit too straight-laced whereas Daphne had the mental flexibility to not be offended by some of the things that she learned when the former Minister brought her to Gringotts to ensure the smooth relations he had would continue.

She never told her husband of the deals that the former Minister had made out of sight. With his rather fat back account, Cornelius Fudge deemed that he no longer needed to receive the stipends from those agreements and formally assigned them to Daphne, with the understanding that they were maintained because no goblin-wizard agreement had ever been successful when the goblins weren't forced to give something up. Culturally, they despised those who were too agreeable.

As a result, Daphne Greengrass-Weasley maintained the tough negotiating that her predecessor did when dealing with Gringotts.

The Minister's retirement party was very large and the guest list contained quite a number of famous witches and wizards who got there based on the programs and management of Cornelius Fudge.

Even Albus Dumbledore, retired oh-those-many years ago as Headmaster, appeared at the man's party. Cornelius remembered back in 1998 when Dumbledore had decided to give up his last position of authority.

With Harry Potter graduating and the distinct lack of Dark activity, the Headmaster had decided he no longer needed to shepherd Hogwarts. Only one thing nagged him, and so he had requested the visit by the re-elected Cornelius Fudge.

"Minister. Welcome to Hogwarts. Thank you for taking your time to see me."

The Minister waved it off. "It was no trouble. What can I do for you?"

Dumbledore sighed. "I am contemplating retirement. After forty two years, I think it is time for there to be a change."

The Minister was surprised. "I'm truly sorry to hear this. Hogwarts has been much improved recently. I don't know that such a drastic step is needed."

The Headmaster chuckled. "I won't be disappearing. I still plan to do a term here and there on the Philosophy of Magic that I started after retiring from the Wizengamot, but other than that, I think that Minerva could do a wonderful job as Headmistress."

"Well, you will be missed." The Minister was being sincere. Since removing himself from the Ministry, Dumbledore had been doing a wonderful job at Hogwarts. The test scores bore that out.

"Thank you. There is one item that I need your help on though."


"For the life of me, one item has nagged me for almost seven years: Voldemort." It was a sign of the changed times that Fudge didn't even flinch at the name. "How was he finally defeated? I KNOW there was a prophecy – I originally heard it. I know that Harry Potter was the subject of that prophecy. And I know that Harry Potter had nothing to do with the man's defeat. This was, from what I could ferret out, almost entirely your doing. At first, I thought it was the Department of Mysteries that had done the job. But this didn't, in the end, calculate out. Instead, it was you. So I have to ask: How in Merlin's name did you finish a prophecy for Harry Potter?"

That Dumbledore's face showed such honest irritation and confusion was so amusing that Cornelius Fudge couldn't help himself. He laughed. He laughed long and hard.

Dumbledore's irritation stayed. When the Minister had gotten himself under control, all the Headmaster said was, "Well?"

Looking at Dumbledore, Fudge sighed even as he smiled. "Okay. Considering your long service and knowing you can keep a secret, I'll tell you. You have to bind these portraits to silence on the matter though – I don't want word getting out."

Dumbledore nodded. He ordered the portraits of the past Headmasters and Headmistresses to silence. Once they agreed (they were just as curious), he turned back to Cornelius Fudge.

"Are you familiar with the tale of the Lone Traveler?"

The Headmaster thought about that. "Gertrude Yolanda's Legends and Myths of the Wizarding World."

Fudge nodded.

"I do remember the tale. I have never heard that it was verified as true."

"Well, I am able to report that the tale is true. And I know because on the eve of my election to the post of Minister for Magic, the man appeared before me. His appearance was a surprise. I was just sitting there wondering what my next step should be when this handsome younger man appeared before me using such an unusual method. It wasn't a portkey, or apparition, or floo. He appeared in a blue light, just as the legend said. And, wonder of wonders, he had advice for me.

"There I was, wondering what I should do next, when I was handed a whole heap of things to do and take care of, with no need to bribe, investigate, or read mounds of records. And the first thing that he told me was about Riddle. He did the first few steps, but allowed me to take care of the man's final horcrux and the shade he had become."

"Horcrux? FINAL horcrux? How many did he make?" Albus' face took on a look of horror.

"Six – his original goal. Six plus one main piece. The problem was, the last one was entirely accidental: Harry Potter's scar. The Traveler took care of that one, as well as most of the others. He was the one who told me of Hagrid and Riddle. He also told me of what would happen if the man was allowed resurrection – it wouldn't have been pretty. And so I did what I had to in order to make certain it never, ever happened. You saw the result."

The Headmaster was astonished. "And you believed him?"

Cornelius chuckled. "He was very persuasive. He told me about Riddle, about McNair, Lockhart, Yaxley, and a few others. He told me about Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew. He warned me against taking bribes and of the remaining Death Eater threat. And finally, he gave me advice on how to deal with it all. There was one, overriding piece of advice which informed the first two years of my term. Do you want to know what it was?"

Dumbledore was looking at the Minister in shock. He recognized each of the names that he had been given and tied them to a number of victories that the Ministry had against corruption and Dark influences. Finally he answered, "Yes."

"Keep Albus Dumbledore as far away from my plans as possible."

Albus was taken aback. "But why?"

The Minister sighed. "Because you, at best, were a very old man who was extremely manipulative. Your plans tended to be overly convoluted and you have the extremely bad habit of keeping all the important information to yourself. He explained that while you were probably the most intelligent and powerful wizard in the world, your inherent arrogance in 'knowing what was right' despite others' disagreement tended to ensure the most painful lives for those whom you had plans for. Ask Harry Potter about his life pre-1990. Ask Sirius Black about his life pre-1990. Ask Severus Snape or Lucius Malfoy or Remus Lupin. Be honest with yourself. Were any of these leading good and happy lives?"

Albus sat back and considered the Minister's words. While he was a 'know-best' he was also, when prodded, remarkably able to view things objectively. And when he did so in this case, his only conclusion had to be …

Albus sighed. "You are right. As much as I dislike what you have said, there is nothing in any of what you said that I can disagree with." He gave a sad chuckle. "Do you remember the first Samhain rites in 1991? The imperfection that we were to write down and cast away?" The Minister nodded. "Mine was 'Arrogance'."

The Minister considered this. Finally, unable to control himself, he let out a small chuckle. The Headmaster's responding chuckle increased it to a laugh. In the end, the two men sat within the Headmaster's office, tears of mirth running down their cheeks.

It was, to be certain, a release for both of them. Albus didn't remember the last time he laughed so long and loudly. Finally, he got control of himself. "Well, I think you did the right thing. Only the path that you have guided the Wizarding government in leads me to the conclusion that I can leave the world in the hands of those currently present. But it still doesn't answer my question."

"Which was?"

"How did you complete a prophecy for Harry Potter?"

Cornelius gave a sheepish smile. "I honestly thought you'd catch on. The name of the Lone Traveler is Harry Potter, from a world where things went to pot. I was, while dealing with Riddle, acting as his hand in this world. Thank Merlin this world is no longer anything like the world he described as his home universe. We have much to be thankful for."

Albus thought about what he had been told and then, finally, sighed. "Yes. I can see now how it was done. Well, for my part, thank you. You've obviously prevented me from making a great many mistakes. I think I have some of Madam Rosmerta's mead. Would you join me in a drink?"

Cornelius chuckled. "I don't think I'll mind. Get out the bottle and cups."

The Headmaster retrieved the bottle and two cups. Opening the bottle, he carefully poured a good amount into each and then restoppered the bottle. Albus raised his glass. "To what do we drink?"

Cornelius considered. He raised his own glass and said, "To Harry Potter, the Lone Traveler." He looked to see Dumbledore's response.

Albus nodded and added, "May he find his own eventual, permanent peace." The two men clicked glasses and drank in the name of the soul described as lost in legend.