Harry Potter slipped his arm around Ginny's waist, and sighed blissfully. Everything seemed perfect just then. Voldemort was finally defeated, his best friends were getting married, and he had his wonderful girlfriend, Ginny, beside him, whom he was going to propose to after she graduated from Hogwarts next year. He had never felt happier in his whole life.
Ron and Hermione both smiled at their best friend, who was grinning the whole time. It brought them joy to see him actually happy, for he hadn't smiled properly since their third year at Hogwarts.
"Remus visiting tonight?" asked Ron, munching on a cookie.
"How can he? It's pouring rain outside, Ron."
"Well, Harry, it's a thing called Apparition," his best friend replied sarcastically. "I think you've lived long enough in the Wizarding world to know that."
"Remus is still recovering from the last battle, Ron," scolded Ginny. "He was lucky he survived. I was so afraid that he'd die."
"Lupin would never die, Gin. He's got too much willpower to survive, and Voldemort can never take that away from him."
Ron had gotten into the habit of saying "Voldemort" instead of "You-Know-Who".
"So, what're you girls making for us tonight?" queried Harry, changing the subject. The less they talked about the war, the better.
"You mean, what are you guys going to make for us tonight?" paraphrased Ginny.
"We don't know how to cook!" exclaimed Ron in outrage. "It's the women's job, not us men. We're supposed to care for the family."
"Ron, there's magic," said Hermione, rolling her eyes. "You can do anything with your wand. Now get to work you two. We women will rest today while you two feed us instead of vice versa."
"We have good-paying jobs—"
"As do I," his girlfriend interrupted. "I'm an Auror like you and Harry."
Ron looked at Harry helplessly. "Guess it's up to us then, Harry."
Harry shrugged, and followed his friend to the kitchen. They took out the thick cookbook of Mrs. Weasley's, and proceeded to look in it for a good, simple recipe. They didn't want to admit to the girls that they had no experience whatsoever with cooking. After all, it was just like potion brewing, and Merlin knew they failed that.
Half an hour later, it turned out that they were even worse than the two young men thought they were. Harry and Ron were covered in flour from head-to-toe, and the kitchen was an absolute mess. The girls had come into the kitchen to see what progress they had made, and left the kitchen laughing their heads off along with the two men. After all, they couldn't trust a man to do the cooking…it just wasn't their nature. Harry and Ron were taught how to fight through the world, not cook.
The doorbell rang. Harry looked quizzically over at his friends and girlfriend, and opened the door. In front of him was Remus Lupin, along with three other women he did not know.
"Remus," he greeted warmly, "what a surprise. What brings you here on such a horrendous night as this?"
"Business," was the succinct reply.
"Well, come on in. We've got dinner all ready. Who're these three lovely women?"
Remus smiled. "This is Arabella Figg, Jennifer Dean, and Violet Walker. Girls, this is Harry Potter. I do believe you know him."
There was an audible gasp from the women as one of them, a curly-headed brunette, fainted. The two others, a blonde and a dark-haired woman, hurriedly revived the brunette with their wands.
"Fans, I presume?" questioned Harry, raising his eyebrow at the scene.
Remus shook his head.
"Not fans, Harry. These three women were your mother's old school friends."
There was a silence that followed. Ginny, Ron, and Hermione, who had come to see what the commotion was, looked at the graying man with shock.
"Nice to meet you, then," said Harry in an awkward voice. "Er—I guess you know who I am."
The young woman who had fainted smiled at him. "I'm Arabella Figg," she whispered. "I'm the daughter of the Mrs. Figg you know, I believe."
"Ah, yes, Mrs. Figg. A very hearty woman, I must say."
"Jennifer Dean," said the blonde brightly.
"Violet Walker," said the last woman quietly.
"Bella, Jenny, and Vi came to the old Order headquarters at Sirius' house today," began Remus. "I was frankly surprised, since I hadn't seen them since the day of your parents' deaths. They explained that they had fled to the States after everything fell apart, when Lily and James died and Sirius had been sent to Azkaban. They have now returned, Harry, after they heard of Sirius' innocence and your defeat of Voldemort."
"Sirius…" said Harry softly. "He would've loved that, seeing his name cleared. If only he was with us tonight, eh, Remus?"
"That would have been wonderful, yes, Harry. Now, these women have something they wish to say to you."
"Harry, we're sorry we couldn't be there for you," said Arabella quietly. "I was so distraught that night when Lily and James died. I thought Sirius, who was my husband, had betrayed my best friends, so I changed my name from Arabella Figg Black to simply Arabella Figg again. I lived a lie and told every man I dated afterwards that I was single, even though I was married to an Azkaban convict. My heart soared when I heard that Sirius was innocent, but it cried when I heard that he had died two years ago."
"You were married to Sirius." It was more of a statement than a question.
"Yes, I was. We had been dating ever since we were kids at Hogwarts. Sure, we had more falling-outs than any other Hogwarts couple, and we've gone our separate ways before, but we've always loved each other. Now that he's—he's—" She couldn't say it.
"I feel awful about it as well," said the blonde sadly. "Harry, if only we could have taken you in instead of letting those horrid Muggle relatives do it. I remember Lily's sister, Petunia, very well, and living with her family would not be what I call enjoyment. Do you forgive us?"
"There's nothing to forgive," replied Harry smoothly. "It wasn't your fault that I was sent to the Dursley's. Professor Dumbledore would have sent me there anyway, because he had enclosed protection around the area of my relatives. Besides, I would have done the same thing if I were in your position. Thinking that one of your friends betrayed two of your other friends would cause anyone to try and run away from the past."
"Very wise boy, aren't you? You're just like Lily, Harry."
He looked at Jennifer with some surprise. "You're the first one to actually say that. Most say that I'm like my dad."
"That you are as well, Harry," spoke up Violet, "but you have more of your mother in you. You may look exactly like James, but you have your mother in you."
"Thanks." He smiled. "I've been waiting for someone to say that I'm more like my mom than my dad."
"I hope you aren't ashamed of your father, Harry," said Remus gently. "He was a good person."
"Remus, everyone says that! Why don't they understand that my dad was a bully at school, who hexed people for fun? I even felt bad for Snape at that pensieve scene I saw in my fifth year, and that's certainly saying something."
"Harry, if it wasn't for your father, who knew what could have happened to you and your mother," put in Arabella. "Lily was my best friend at Hogwarts, and James was my friend. We all felt their losses very much."
"However," said Jennifer lightly, "it wasn't all depressing at Hogwarts. We had some great times together, hadn't we, guys?"
"Ah, yes, good times, Jen, good times."
Harry watched Remus give Jennifer a tender look, and he looked at his guardian curiously. That was when he decided to do a little prying and ask Remus subtly about how he came to know the three women.
"So, you guys all dated each other at Hogwarts?" he asked casually.
"Lily and James, Sirius and I, Remus and Jennifer, and Violet and Jackson Bradley," announced Arabella proudly.
There was a loud chorus of "Remus and Jennifer!" and "Jackson Bradley!" that followed.
Remus blushed. "Arabella…" he warned.
"Whoops, must've let that slip. Sorry, Remus."
"You went out with Jackson Bradley?" asked Hermione to Violet incredulously.
She nodded. "Yeah. We—ended our relationship when I fled to the States. Is he—married?"
"He had been re-recruited back to the Order a few years back," supplied Remus. "Jack and Ellyn Bedson, that woman who used to work alongside Jenny at the Ministry, had married. They have two kids now."
Violet bit her lip, and looked away. She had hoped that Jackson was still unmarried and free, so they could reestablish their relationship and get married. However, it wasn't likely that he would be free after she ended their relationship. Jackson was handsome, clever, and kind, and women had run after him at school and after. There was no way he could have not gotten another girlfriend after her.
"I'm sorry, Vi," said Jennifer sadly, hugging her friend. "I know how much you still love him."
"I shouldn't have left Britain," said Violet determinedly, looking over at Harry and his friends. "I was a coward. I couldn't face the facts that my one of my friends murdered my two best friends. I didn't want anyone to know that I had been friends with Sirius Black, now a murderer and sent to Azkaban. I left behind my family, my boyfriend, and some of the best years of my life here, and I return, only to find everything I ever loved lost."
"You never did like Ellyn, did you?" said Remus.
"Well, I expected Jackson to marry right after we broke up, anyway. It's not surprising to me that he married Ellyn. She was always a big flirt with him, always trying to cozy up to him. Ellyn must have snagged Jack with some of her moves, I expect."
"We don't really like Mrs. Bradley," admitted Ron brazenly. "She's way too conceited and haughty. Did you hear her the other day? She was too afraid to spoil her complexion. I do wonder why Mr. Bradley ever married her sometimes. She's awfully spoiled."
"Jack probably just married her out of good will. Has he ever mentioned me at all?"
"He has, once or twice," said Remus thoughtfully. "He's told me that he still loves you, Vi. He respects Ellyn, but he'd never feel the same way about another woman again after you. However, like you said, Jack married Ellyn anyway, just because she seemed to like him so much. You know how soft-hearted the guy gets when people want something out of him."
"I know it all too well, Remus." Violet smiled. "We can still be friends, though. I don't mind; it was my fault, anyway."
"Enough of this," said Arabella loudly. "This is too depressing. Anyway, Harry, about us when we were kids at Hogwarts—"
"Please, no, Bella." Remus groaned.
"Oh, yes, do tell," agreed Ron eagerly. He wanted to know what secrets Remus had been hiding from them for all those years.
"As I was saying, Lily and James hated each other the moment they met. At least, that's what the rest of us got out of it. Your parents, Harry, had agreed to several things when they were younger. They first agreed to the fact that they would hate each other for eternity. Then, they agreed to be friends. Lastly, they had agreed to be lovers and never let anything part them. Funny, how things change over time."
"Why did they hate each other, anyway?" said Harry, wrinkling his nose. "I never did get a reason out of that question."
Arabella looked thoughtful, and turned to her two best friends. "I always though it was because they liked each other too much."
"Well, James was a bit arrogant up until sixth year," admitted Jennifer.
"A bit?" said Remus, snorting.
"All right, a lot. However, I never did get why James hated Lily at first as well. Everyone was always so fond of her, especially the teachers. Only he and the Slytherins didn't like her, but the latter didn't like any of us Gryffindors anyway. Mind you, Lily was stuck-up at school, too, so maybe that was the reason."
"It all goes back to egoism, then," explained Arabella, looking back to Harry. "I can't say much of that for your mother, but she was a bit frigid at times with rules and all."
"Like someone else we know," put in Ginny, glancing over at Hermione.
Harry grinned, and then his countenance faded into sadness once more. He was sorry that he looked down so at his father. Arabella was right; without his father, his mother and him would've been goners. James Potter might've been an arrogant twit in most of his Hogwarts days, but he would've been a wonderful father to Harry if he had lived. Tears threatened to fall from his green eyes as Harry hastily wiped them away for fear of embarrassment. He didn't want to cry now, not in front of his mother's best friends and Remus.
He looked over at the wall, where there was a large picture of his parents and their friends. Lily was standing there smiling, with baby Harry in her arms, and James had a long, gangly arm around her shoulders, grinning proudly at his young son. Sirius was standing between James and Remus, a bony hand on each of his friends' shoulders. Arabella, Jennifer, and Violet were kneeling on the grass below them, their arms linked together and countenances joyous. Peter had not been present for the picture, of which Harry was thankful for, and Jackson had taken it before everything all fell apart.
Even though Harry didn't know his parents at all, he felt their presence just then, along with Sirius. A warm feeling spread through his body as he looked through the window and into the night sky.
"Lily and James," murmured Violet, sighing heavily. A frown crossed her delicate features, as her dark brown eyes surveyed the sky along with Harry. "Do you think I can—visit Jackson tomorrow?"
"Of course," replied Hermione warmly. "He'd probably love to see you again. Who knows, maybe he'll leave Mrs. Bradley for you as well."
"Hermione!" exclaimed Ron, breaking Harry's thoughts in the process. "Just the very thought of it! Mrs. Bradley would surely kill herself if that happened."
"I don't care about Jackson loving me," concluded Violet, shaking her head at Ron's behavior. "I just want to see him again, and have those old feelings come over to me once more. My feelings for him are very latent right now, since I haven't seen him or thought of him for years. I want to feel that sense of warmth and strength whenever he's near me. He can stay with Ellyn for all I care, but I just want to see and feel Jackson, my old love, once more."
Ginny sniffled, bring a handkerchief to her eyes. She always had a soft heart, despite her famous Weasley temper. It wasn't hard to make her cry; even the simplest things brought tears to her eyes. She glanced over at her boyfriend, and saw that he looked as if he were going to cry as well. Ginny knew that this was because the memories of his parents and Sirius had come over him again.
She gave a small laugh, despite herself. She had thought in her fourth year that she was over that little crush on Harry. However, in her fifth year, she discovered that it was still there. How much they had been through to get together! It was almost hilarious, thinking upon those events that brought Ginny and Harry's reunion.
"What's so funny?" demanded Ron.
"I was just remembering how Harry and I got together," she responded, shaking with laughter now.
Harry's eyes tore away from the window as he chuckled as well. "Ah, yes, that was quite some event, wasn't it?"
"Do tell," offered Jennifer. "I love to hear these things."
"It's the wackiest and most messed-up love story ever," said Ginny, shaking her head, "but it's still ours."
"In Ginny's fifth year, my sixth," began Harry, "and I didn't have a girlfriend at that point. In fact, I had only been with one girl, Cho Chang, and that was only for one year. Anyway, I began to notice little Ginny Weasley, the little sister of my best friend and a part of my favorite family. I wasn't the only one who noticed her, certainly. Ginny had grown very pretty at age fifteen, with her flaming red hair softening a little and her gorgeous hazel eyes. However, I was terrified at what Ron might think, since it was his little sister we were talking about. So I kept it quiet. I didn't know that Ginny also had her eye on me, either, and neither of us made it especially obvious of our feelings, so no one suspected a thing."
"That's when Hermione stepped into the whole mess," continued Ginny. "She's always noticed things that normal people don't pay attention to. She offered to help Harry and me, though we didn't know of each other's plans with Hermione. So Hermione had told us individually what to do, and we were confident of her advice, not knowing that we'd confront each other and that we'd admit our true feelings to each other."
"I remember now!" exclaimed Ron, laughing loudly. "Oh, man, it was so entertaining, watching you two telling each other your feelings, and then Ginny running off because she thought Harry was playing some sick joke on her."
"You know," remarked Hermione dryly. "I don't remember you thinking it amusing at all, Ronald Weasley, when it actually took place. You were shaking your finger at Harry and shouting all sorts of obscenities, thinking it was his fault."
"I did not! You're lying."
"I never lie."
"Oh, Merlin, you two sound just like Lily and James did," groaned Remus. "They used to argue about the stupidest things all the time, it was really quite interesting to watch."
"Yes," confirmed Arabella. "They once argued because James couldn't find his favorite shirt, and he had made a stupid remark about 'it was the women's job to look after the clothes', and he and Lily got into this big argument."
Harry looked over at his two best friends, who had both turned beet red. Maybe those two were like his parents, but he'd never know. He also didn't want to mope around and think wistfully about how it would've been if Voldemort didn't exist. No, it was better this way for his parents and Sirius to be dead. Who knew what would've happened if Voldemort did not start his reign of terror that had destroyed so many lives. Harry learned to get over the deaths of the victims of Voldemort and move on with life. Sure, he had been more than bitter in his fifth year, but with the help of his friends and replacement family (namely, the Order of the Phoenix), he had learned to appreciate life as it was and not become hardened and bitter of spirit because of everything he had lost.
He smiled at his current guardian, Remus. Remus had taught Harry well. He had been his favorite Defense Against the Dark Arts back at Hogwarts, not to mention one of his father's best friends. Remus was so wise beyond his age, and held so much philosophy for Harry whenever the latter felt as though the world would end. Harry did often wonder where Remus learned all of what he said. Perhaps it was through experience, since Remus did have a painful and tough life as well. However, nothing ever broke his spirit.
Harry realized, then, that nothing broke his parents' or Sirius' spirits either. He had heard from Remus, and now his mother's best friends, that James Potter was a special person. He wasn't just some random man in the crowd with a wife and a child—no, he was different. James had been the top Auror in the Ministry after going through his training for three years, and he and Lily had saved millions of lives, though losing their own in process.
"Your father was the best friend I ever had, Harry."
Weren't those the words spoken by Sirius himself before his death? Maybe James Potter hadn't been so bad. Maybe Harry had been too harsh on judging his father, and too lenient on Snape at that time. After all, Snape was a suspicious person, though he had forgiven his greasy-haired, hook-nosed Potions master long ago. Snape was now dead, having fought gallantly for the Order's sake.
Harry ran a hand through his untidy black hair, just as James had done more than twenty years ago. A painful pang went through his heart as he repeated the word: James. It sounded so surreal, like a whisper from the past. His parents had a better childhood than him, because it was before Voldemort and the pain. He couldn't blame his father for being the way he was back at Hogwarts. The Potters had always been rich, and James Potter had always been coddled ever since he was born. He had never experienced any pain or unfairness, because everyone in the Wizarding world had looked up to his family with awe and respect.
Lily Potter. Harry felt another pang, as he closed his eyes, envisioning a beautiful woman with dark red hair and eyes just like his. His mother had been amazing, or so he had been told. She was beautiful, intelligent, and willful, always with a purpose and a reason to live. No wonder why his father had fallen in love with her. They made a wonderful couple.
"I still miss those two," said Violet, laughing through her tears. "Man, remember, those days, Bella, Jen, Remus? I'll treasure them as long as I live. We used to tell those idiots all the time that they were meant to be."
"They'd never believe us either," said Jennifer, rolling her eyes. She, too, was crying. "Sirius too…who knew he'd be subjected to such a fate."
Arabella bit her lip to keep from crying, as she sighed wistfully, looking out of the window. "Yes, who did know? Sirius used to be so playful and so desirable. I remember every girl chasing after him at Hogwarts, yet he had stuck to my side throughout most of his life before he was cantered off to Azkaban for something he didn't do. There's no use moping about it though; he would've hated it to know that I mourned over him. Sirius always did hate people being unhappy, didn't he?"
"He'd always brighten up a dark situation. I found him tactless like that, but now I see his motives for doing such."
Harry stiffened as he felt a comforting hand on his shoulders, and looked up to find Remus, smiling gently at him. He smiled back at his guardian. Yes, Remus was very comforting, and Harry knew he was lucky to have such an adopted parent. Remus always had that gentle way about him that made your heart at peace. There was an aura of wisdom around the graying man as he approached you that made you feel as if everything would be all right. Harry looked over at Jennifer, who was currently staring at Remus with love all written in her eyes. He vaguely wondered if Remus and Jennifer were still going out.
"So you two dated, huh?" Harry had gotten that question out which had been bothering me for a while, and gestured toward Remus and Jennifer.
"Yes," affirmed Remus, his cheeks reddening slightly. "Used to date at Hogwarts. We—broke up after, though."
"So who broke up with who?"
Ginny glared at her boyfriend and nudged him sharply in the ribs, but he paid no heed to her gesture of warning. After all, even though he was prying into someone else's business, he wanted to play matchmaker and bring Remus and Jennifer back together again, and rekindle their latent feelings for each other.
"I broke up with Jennifer a few months after our graduation from Hogwarts," explained Remus placidly.
A silence followed, the air felt very uncomfortable and awkward. Hermione gave a small huff of impatience, as she shook her head sadly at Harry. Ron was sober, picking at his nails and chewing on his lip thoughtfully. Every now and then, he'd steal a hasty glance toward Remus and Jennifer, who were stoically staring at the ceiling and carefully avoiding each other's glances. Ginny was still glaring at her boyfriend in anger. However, Arabella, Violet, and Harry were looking deeply amused and suspiciously mischievous.
Arabella looked around and everyone who was still silent, and threw up her hands in frustration. "Land sakes, Remus, Jennifer, you two make up already! I'm sick of seeing you guys still avoiding each other and thinking that you don't have feelings for each other anymore even though you do. Come on Remus, kiss the girl already. You were the one who started all the pain, after all."
Remus sighed and looked at Jennifer. All those old feelings he had harbored for twenty years came back to him, and he walked swiftly toward her and kissed her. It was like fireworks when it happened, and he felt as though everything would be all right after that.
Harry smiled when this happened. He had grown fond of his mother's best friends in the short time they had stayed, and he wrapped an arm around Ginny when he saw the exchange of affection between Remus and Jennifer. His parents would have wanted this, that was for sure.
"I love you, Jenny," he heard Remus whisper.
"I love you too, Remus."
Harry looked out into the night sky once more, his heart aching with joy and sadness all at once. If only his parents and Sirius could have seen this. An image of his father came to his brain as he saw, for a brief moment, a dark-haired man holding a redhead in his arms, with another dark-haired man grinning in the background. He blinked, and the image was gone. What was wrong with him?
"Goodnight, Mum, Dad, Sirius," he whispered quietly.
For a brief moment, though Harry almost knew that his mind was playing tricks on him, he thought he heard a reply, "Goodnight, Harry."
- - - - -
Disclaimer:I own nothing and J.K. Rowling owns everything.
A/N: Ah! This epilogue wasn't as good as I imagined, but it's decent, I imagine. It was a little shorter than I intended as well, but that's all right. Anyway, I started a new story called This I Swear, which is a Katie/Oliver fic based on Nick Lachey's song, "This I Swear". Anyway, if you're interested, the first chapter is up, and I'll be done with the second chapter very soon.
Thank you so much to all my reviewers (yes, even you flamers)!