Chapter: Create the Future.
A/N: Chapter title is a play on the quote. "The most reliable way to predict the future is to create it". Here is the Epilogue. It is short, and I will be posting chapter 1 of the sequel a few days from now, merely polishing it up. Enjoy Also a huge thanks to my loyal readers and reviewers who kept me writing when I thought no one cared. If I only write for a single person, it would be enough.
Madame Pomfrey rushed back to the Infirmary once the morning meeting had finished. None of the teachers knew what to think. Several students had come from the third-floor corridor last night, shaken up and sick with worry. They claimed they could not speak of what had occurred until they had all returned. Dumbledore had pressed them, saying it was important. He had been unable to enter the final room last night, feeling as if a tremendous pressure were on the door. Draco had been the one to struggle the words from his lips explaining they were bound not to speak. The sentence had exerted him and his magic and Madame Pomfrey had promptly spelled him to sleep. Dumbledore had been a bit disgruntled by this and so Hermione pressed herself as well, saying the last of their group was Harry Winchester. Another flick of her wand and the Mediwitch sent her to sleep. He had stalked away and it was only then that Pansy had whispered to the Mediwitch that Blaise was hidden under an invisibility cloak. She had not asked questions, ushering that all to the Infirmary. Albus had noticed the absence of Severus and the three Apprentices at the morning meeting, and suspicion clouded his mind. The Headmaster had followed her after the meeting, wishing to inspect all the students once more, but she had blatantly refused, saying it would do them no good to make the children magically ill. He had no sooner stepped out of the Infirmary to try and break through to the final room again when five new bodies appeared in the surrounding beds. It was all the people Albus had been worried about that morning, plus a fifth unexpected student.
"Loony?" Crabbe mumbled out, noticing the shock blond hair. Madame Pomfrey felt her heart constrict. Had no one noticed that the young first year had been missing? Had anyone cared? She thought about calling Albus back, but in the end began to tend to her patients. Casting a quick diagnostic spell over the new comers she found that they were merely asleep and she nodded in approval. She placed a breakfast tray in front of Pansy, who accepted it with a small nod. She had suffered least, merely of sleep deprivation. She then moved onto Blaise, who was kept curtained off. He gave her a charming smile, not made any less sweet by the sharp canines in his mouth. His catlike eyes watched her as she rubbed ointment onto his wrist, where the Devil's Snare sap had affected him.
"Thank you." He told her, and she knew it was for more than just healing him. She gave nod, placing his breakfast. Draco was next and he held his hand out for the bruise cream. She ignored the pink stain to his ears as she rubbed it on his face herself. He did not thank her, and she did not hold it against him. Ron had been bloodied up when he had first arrived, and was now covered in white bandages. His eyes did not leave the Quidditch Monthly he was reading as she redressed his wounds. Both Crabbe and Goyle were unharmed, but she allowed them to stay. Hermione was still in spelled sleep, as every time she awoke she began to panic, worried for her friends. She gently woke her, soothing her slowly.
"Miss Granger, Harry and Luna have arrived to the Infirmary." She told her. Hermione burst into happy tears and finally accepted food. With that done Pomfrey turned to her newcomers. Luna Lovegood had a soft smile on her lips, humming to herself. "Miss Lovegood?" Silver eyes opened to her, happiness shining in them.
"Such a lovely day, isn't it?" Luna asked, sitting up with the Mediwitch's help. A halo of white light seemed to surround the girl, and it gently pushed out, waking the others at her side with loud gasps and frantic motions. She snapped a restraining spell out, rushing over. Severus was glaring daggers at her, but after turning his head to see Sam and the others in the beds near him he did something that shocked the students. He laughed. Not a deriving snicker, or even a startled chuckle, but a full-bodied laugh. Pomfrey released him and he stood, subduing himself.
"I agree, Miss Lovegood." She smiled brightly at him and Ron muttered that he might faint. Severus cast a dark eye to the others, but none had time to fear the man as a sly smile followed.
"Wha? We're safe?" Sam asked as Severus broke the restraining spell on him. Sam sat up, loving the pristine look of the Infirmary. He turned to his brother who was rubbing his wrists as Pomfrey freed him. He strode across the small gap, capturing his older brother in a strong hug. A whimper caught their attention and they turned to Harry, who looked fevered and in pain. Severus spelled away his shirt as Sam closed the curtain. Pomfrey gasped at what she saw.
"I need an oath from you," Severus told her. "Or pay with your memory." He threatened. Pomfrey huffed at him, pushing past to begin her work.
"Honestly Severus. I am a Mediwitch, my practice is my oath." She gently traced the ragged and torn flesh on Harry's back with her wand. Dean was simply watching. He knew he had seen Harry Potter in the cavern, but Harry once again looked like himself, short hair and blue eyes. His skin appeared a shade lighter, and his unobscured face brought out more of Lily's features than James. Dean thought it was merely a trick of the light, but Harry's eyes seemed shaped like his own mother's. Harry slowly pulled his arm across his eyes, as to not mess up Pomfrey's work. Dean however got the message. Harry had lost his contacts in the cavern; his eyes should be green. His hair should have been longer as well. He truly was Harry Winchester at the moment, and the thought filled him with pride. He crouched down next to the bed.
"Blue." He whispered. Harry's mouth opened slightly in shock. Dean chuckled, kissing the boy on the forehead.
"What in Merlin's name, happened?" Pomfrey asked. She had fixed the ragged edges, but the slits on the boy's back refused to stay bound shut. Harry sat up, clinking filling the small space. He looked down, seeing Rowena's gem on a black chain around his neck, shrunk down to the size of a quarter. Dean sighed, placing a hand on Harry's head.
"Guess the truth can't be hidden forever." Severus looked ready to hex the man. Sam placed a hand on his arm, letting the spy know that it was not as it seemed. "Harry is mine and Cas' biological son. Cas' is an angel, and it seems that Harry is too." The witch's flabbergasted look made Harry laugh. He could feel his wings sprout once more, but they did not feel nearly as big as they had in the hazy memory of the cavern. Guessing by the fact that no one seemed to notice, Harry surmised that they were not visible to the others. He was excited to show Cas.
"Where's Papa?" Dean's smile turned tight lipped.
"I'm sure he's at home worried sick." Harry retracted his wings and the slits closed up on their own. He pulled the sapphire necklace off his neck, snapping the chain. It returned to normal size. It began to glow spectacularly, rising up from his hands. Madame Pomphrey looked to it in awe.
"Oh, Headmaster! How great to see you!" Hermione called out, though her voice was shrill. Harry shook his head in amazement of Hermione. Harry gestured to the others to quit crowding him. Albus pulled back the curtain, smiling at the boy.
"Mr. Winchester. How glad we are to see you returned." He said with a grandfatherly tone. "Now that you have returned, we may find exactly what occurred in Ravenclaw Caverns." Luna skipped towards the bed, finished with her talk with the others. She placed her hands on the Gem and pulled it to her.
"Where to?" she asked Harry. Harry shrugged, as Rowena Ravenclaw had not given him direct instructions. Luna merely nodded, leaving with the gem. Albus didn't bother to interfere. He could always banish the gem again, but now the time was ripe to expose the Winchesters as Dark Lord sympathizers. Harry gently folded his hands into his lap. His friends had proven their unwavering loyalty in not exposing them before he had arrived. He would not throw them under the bus. Natural blue eyes looked at Dumbledore, knowing that the old man was asking him rather than the adults because he thought Harry would slip.
"I saw Harry Potter." He said bluntly. His friends had the sense to not gasp aloud. Albus was suddenly leaning forward, eyes desperate. Harry internally smirked, knowing that he had the upper hand. "Ghostie had been acting up in the dorms, and Ron and I went downstairs to find…" Harry's eyes widened. "Oh no Neville!" he struggled to get up from the bed. "Potter had just petrified him when I got down from the dorm. Ghostie's barking had Hermione rushing downstairs and then Potter bolted. We had to follow him! We didn't know it was Potter, we thought someone had attacked a student!" Albus placed a hand on Harry's shoulder.
"I'm sure that the Prefects will find Neville when they all awake and he will be fine." Pomfrey frowned at this. "Please, continue." Harry brought up a hand to his head as if it ached him, but he was trying to think of a way to explain the Slytherin presence. "We didn't see Potter in the hall at all, but we still ran in that direction. We crashed into the Slytherins. They had been chasing Potter too, saying he took something from Pansy. She had run to the boys and they agreed to help her. Draco had cast some footprint glowy thing to follow Potter to the tower." He lied, remembering practicing the spell with Draco over the summer. "I told him to cast it again and we followed it to the third floor. Mrs. Norris was hissing at him and then I saw that it was him! It was Harry Potter! He was surprised that we found him, and even more surprised when Blaise stunned Mrs. Norris and told Potter to give back the music box. He said he had to go stop V-v-Voldemort. I told him we would help." Harry began to fake cry, though Albus was in too much of a tangled thought train to notice they were not real. "I didn't want Harry Potter to get hurt! I didn't meant o break the rules, but he needed us, there were so many rooms!"
"Rest child, I will not fault you for entering the third floor." Harry nodded sadly. Severus was impressed with the boy and his black eyes glittered with approval. Harry took a breath.
"He had taken more than Pansy's box though. He had already been in the dungeons, stealing a bezoar from the Potions room."
"What?" Severus snarled for added effect. Albus merely held up a hand to calm him, eyes still riveted on Harry.
"The first room, he told Pansy to stay with her box, and draped an invisibility cloak over her. He told Blaise to stay behind in the Devil's snare, since his fire spell was strong. Draco had to stay with the keys because he said that he was good at defensive flying. Ron is a Master of Chess, he beat it really fast! Crabbe and Goyle stayed behind in front of the troll. Hermione and I figured out which potion got through the flames. He sent us both back. But…I went after him. He was so small, and we had found Luna's earring and we were worried about her. I went back in and went to the cavern too. I stayed hidden while Potter taunted Quirrell! I tried to get to Luna but I slipped and Quirrell saw me and tied me up with Potter. He was mad that I ruined his plan and then he did wandless magic!" Harry explained. "The ropes slipped away and then they began to argue, trying to get the Stone from the mirror. Quirrell grabbed me and shoved me in front of the mirror. I…I didn't see the Stone, but Potter winked at me."
"That is when the rest of us appeared." Severus interrupted. "I was shocked to say the least. I planned to bring Potter to you, once the ordeal was over, but it seems he was intent on not being captured." Severus began to overlap memories in his mind, superimposing the vision of when Harry had looked more like Harry Potter over the scene where Harry Winchester had disintegrated Voldemort. He placed the piece of memory of Winchester by the mirror with Luna in as well, so that he would be accounted for. For added effect he pulled Dean's desperate calling of 'Potter' as well. Sure enough a second later he felt Albus enter his mind, seeing the fabricated scene. The Headmaster exited Severus' mind with a pleased smile. He still did not entirely trust the Winchesters, but seeing how powerful Harry Potter had grown was appealing to him. He would let Winchester go, hoping that Potter would come seeking him and the others again. Then he would convince Potter to stay and have the weapon he needed.
"I hope you do not mind me using this memory to inspire the school dear boy." Albus asked Harry. Harry shook his head no, knowing that Severus would have made a good one. "Very well, get some rest, all of you. The End of Year feast will be on Monday, hopefully you can all make it."
"Thank you, Headmaster." Sam said, inclining his head. Dumbledore took his leave, Harry's eyes flashing black as soon as he was gone. Pomfrey gave the family some privacy, going to make sure Neville was brought to her. "Harry are you doing okay? You used a lot of power back in the cavern."
"Yeah, I actually feel great. How…did we get here?" he asked. "The last thing I remember…I'm so sorry." Harry had felt the power radiating off the pillar of white light. It was strong but more importantly destructive.
"You don't need to apologize." Dean told his son. "We just need to keep our heads down and hash this out alright?" Harry nodded. "We should head to America for the summer, or at least part of it. I want to check on everyone. Try to find Cas. Plus, it goes along with our story of having just been visiting London." He turned to Severus. "Can you get two wanted fugitives and a boy who doesn't exist onto a plane?"
"Of course." He sneered. Dean grinned back, though it didn't quite reach his eyes.
LINE BREAK LINE BREAK LINE BREAK
Harry made his way to the feast on his own, his family busy arranging for them to get to America. He gasped in surprise when he saw all the green and silver adorning the Great Hall. Hermione excitedly called him over, having saved him a seat. Dumbledore got up to give his speech, congratulating Slytherin for their win by a mere five points. The Slytherin table burst into cheers, but stilled when the Headmaster raised a hand.
"There are a few last-minute points that I must address however." He said with mirth. His eyes gleamed. "To Neville Longbottom. It takes bravery to stand up for your friends, but to defend all of Gryffindor tower? That truly takes courage. I award you…10 points!" He extended his arms and the banners all changed colors, confetti raining down. Gryffindor erupted into loud cheers. The twins thumped Neville on the back when he turned as red as the banners. The young boy was beaming however, knowing he now had something to tell his Gram. Harry merely smiled serenely, knowing the win meant a lot to Neville. Yes, he would be a Junior Hunter soon enough. "However, Neville did not just defend Gryffindor against any intruder, but the all powerful…Harry Potter!" The memory Severus had created was projected on the front of the Hall. The Hall was chaos, whispers and exaltations sweeping through every table. Harry shook his head slightly when people began to crowd him with questions. Fred and George stepped in, threatening pranks on those who did not back away.
"Thank you." He muttered, happily serving himself when Dumbledore started the feast. Hermione was watching the memory that was on replay carefully. She knew the cover story that Harry had given to the Headmaster, and it would be the only accounting she could give of the events. Inside her mind however, the real memory was still active. She looked between Harry Potter and Harry Winchester. They looked vaguely similar, but Harry couldn't be the Boy Who Lived, could he? No, the memory clearly showed the two together in the same room. Why did Harry lie then about seeing Potter before they got to the third floor? It had to be more than keeping them out of trouble. She stared at the memory longer, ignoring the main star and looking for anything else. There was nothing else to give her any hints.
As she thought on it more that evening, laying in bed an idea came to her. Harry and Potter looked similar, yes, but not identical. Winchester started the same year as Potter was supposed to, and had brought three protectors with him. Winchester had been adamant about going alone to the final chamber. He had broken stone beneath his hand in the key chamber. Maybe, there was some truth about Potter being gone in training, but how did he know the Stone had been in danger? She didn't get much sleep that night, creating and debunking her own theories.
Harry Winchester was a mystery.
END Year One
Year Two- The Serpent under the Innocent Flower. (that's a Macbeth reference)