Chapter 58 The Return of It All
Okay, I was going to do a few more chapters, but over the last few days, I wrote and deleted quite a few. So, instead of taking a yearlong break to see if somehow something comes to mind, here is the final chapter for this story. I hope you enjoy.
Later that day, when everyone was busy getting ready for the Ball, Harry snuck in the castle and went to the Room of Requirements. He had an idea that he wanted to pull off tonight, so it would be a good Christmas surprise.
He called the Room up and went through the door. He looked at the headway they had all made. A good eighteenth of the room was cleared out, but there was so much left to do. He wasn't here for that though. He wanted clothes and shoes. He made his way to the center of the room, lifted both his hands and said in a demanding voice, "Clothes and shoes here." He then made a grabbing motion and pulled his hands to the floor, to indicate where he wanted them to land.
Cloth and leather flew to the area. Piles all around him crashed and trunks overturned as their contents escaped their confinement. Cloaks, coats, hats, bonnets, scarves, gloves, dresses, skirts, petticoats, shirts, trousers, even a few underclothes all gathered in a pile. Leather shoes, ankle boots, regular boots and even riding boots soon joined them in a separate pile. Some were in good shape, some were torn and worn. Most of them were moth bitten.
Harry then took out his wand for precision, and pointed at the clothes pile and said, "Mend and repair. Clean, sort and fold."
Holes mended, cloth thickened, and tears came together. Buttons and clasps tightened, and laces strengthened. They all flew around as dirt and insect eggs came off and stains disappeared, and then they folded themselves into stacks. Soon enough he had huge stacks of pristine clothes sitting in front of him. He then did the same for the shoes and had a good pile of shiny brand-new footwear to go with them. About 75% of all the clothes were pure wool, and 95% of the footwear was real leather. Most of this stuff would cost a fortune nowadays. Especially the women's formal dresses and cloaks. He made sure that all jewels and pearls were removed, they wouldn't be needed, and could cause troubled for anyone trying to sell them. He might need them in the future.
He had a thought that some of them might be charmed, so he did a quick cleansing, making sure they were all now just plain clothes and shoes. Last thing he needed was for some poor shmuck to be uncontrollably dancing in the streets.
He wondered if he should make them more modern, but then chuckled at the thought that so many people in the Greater London area would be decked in such old-fashioned articles. So, he left them, but made sure to spell them with a few anti-greed and anti-theft charms. It wouldn't do to have them go to the recipient, only for them to be stolen. Besides, even the summer stuff from years-gone-by were warm enough to survive the winter, if they layered. He did wonder if he should leave a chart, so people would know how to put some of this shite on, but then chuckled again at the vision of seeing them try. He could see it now, a huge poster board of step-by-step instructions on how to tie an ascot.
Shaking his head at the thought, Harry created a TARDIS bag and stuffed it all in there. He shrunk some empty trunks and added them to the bag. It didn't matter if they were repaired, he was going to transfigure them anyway. As quietly as he came, he left. He had a lot to do this night and couldn't waste time. He would have snuck a peek at Luna, but decided that it would be a bit stalkerish, so he left.
He went to the Shack and grabbed Sirius and Remus. They already knew the plan and were more than willing to help. Like thieves in the night the three traveled around London and set up the Christmas surprise for the homeless. Each bin had a small compulsion charm on them, so only the needy would find them.
Even with all his memories slowly returning, he never forgot his week on the streets. How cold he had been, the hunger he suffered. He remembered all the thoughtless, and sometimes cruel people that didn't look twice at the misfortunate. He was going to do what he could to help. He'd keep half of the clothes and shoes, and all the jewel and pearls, and would give the sturdier half away. The half he was going to keep would go into Remus' shop and hopefully fund the bins for coming years.
Next year he was going to do something about food, this year all he could do was make sure the waste tip of the Leaky Cauldron could be found. And add a few mild stasis charms to restaurant bins. The charms would only keep the food fresher for a day or two, but in the long run it would help.
He remembered his deal with Tylor and was happy that that income would help as well.
All-in-all it would be a good Christmas.
While Harry and his cohorts were doing that, Luna stood waiting for Neville to pick her up. She looked lovely in her light blue gauzy gown, with real fairies to give it sparkle. The other girls in her room had been jealous that she could talk them into it and had tried to demand she do the same for them. That's when the bullying ward set off and Murphy banned them from the Ball. Luna didn't really care, she was looking forward to a night of dancing and eating. The nargles had long since left her alone, and she was sure it had something to do with the necklace Harry had given back to her. Ever since he had, she felt a calming peace on her. Only in dire situations did she react overly emotional. Like when he was kidnapped. Still, tonight wasn't the night to think on this. She was going to enjoy herself, and then let Harry know how the night went tomorrow.
She knew that they would come together soon, and if she had it her way, they would stay together.
She left the dorm; her clothes didn't change as many people feared they would. They had spelled it so that the clothes would remain on this night. It would be too cruel to have the students, who probably spent a good deal of money on their formalwear, clothes not be the dream dresses, or suits, they wanted. Tomorrow, however, was a different story. She giggled at the false sense of security most would have, only to find themselves decked in 1800's styled clothing in the morning.
Neville met her and held out his elbow. "My lady, will you allow me to escort you to the ball?" he asked with a wide grin. He was wearing the plain black robes, he and Harry had bought, though the trim was silver, and his suit was a dark grey. The shirt he wore was a light blue, and his tie was a thin striped silver and black. He looked very refined.
"Of course, good sir," she stated taking his arm.
"You look like a vision tonight. Harry is one lucky guy," the sandy-haired wizard said as they walked the summer scene. Everyone looked marvelous against the natural backgrounds. He knew the twins and Hermione had danced their way down the hall from the Gryffindor dorm. It was brilliant and made a lot of people smile to see their antics.
"Why, yes, yes he is. He has friends such as you," she came back with, a smirk on her face.
"Well, I guess that makes him double lucky," he stated, sniffing the air like the pureblood he was.
They laughed together and continued to the Great Hall, where they proceeded to a table that already had the other three seated.
"Hey, guys, doesn't everything look great?" Neville asked, looking at the decorations the staff had added to the already wintery wonderland. Everything was done in white and powered blue. The tables were scattered throughout the hall and shimmering like they were covered in fairy dust.
"Yes, they did a great job matching it with the scenery. I wonder how long Professor Flitwick spent trying to see what we did to the walls," Hermione stated thoughtfully.
"I hear it was the better part of the day, then Murphy had him help the rest get ready for now. I don't think he's gotten close yet," Fred said smugly. He was quite proud at what they had accomplished.
"Yeah, I saw him try, unsuccessfully mind you, to undo an unused corridor," George stated, just as smugly as his brother.
"I almost feel sorry for him," Luna added. "He will work for a very long time trying to find charms that are not there. However, I feel that he will crack it eventually, once he remembers his heritage."
"Oh yeah, Harry did mention that the goblins did the same type of magic. I wonder if they ever did anything like this," Hermione added, thinking hard on all she knew of goblin culture. Which, giving her lessons from Binns, wasn't much.
'Nah, too frivolous. Can you imagine what Snape's reaction would have been," George asked with huge grin.
"One million points from Gryffindor for making everyone happy," Fred mimicked, making them all laugh.
"Let's not worry about stuffy old teachers, and just enjoy the evening," Luna said dreamily.
And that's what they did, until McGonagall came.
After a stealthy night of charity, Harry sat and meditated, he was talking with his crew over what had happened a few nights ago. The end of Voldy had made him feel content. It was one less thing to worry about. Dumbledore couldn't bother him, Voldy was gone, now all he had to do was remember his childhood. He now remembered his Hogwarts years, all his friends, all his enemies. It tickled him that he hated Malfoy as much then as now. Ron was a big disappointment, now that he could remember the friendship shared. He wasn't going back to that, not after the confrontations they had had. No, Ron was a memory now.
The crew had been putting that off giving him his younger childhood years for some time, but he felt he was ready.
He appeared on the deck of the Enterprise and sat in his chair. "Data," he said, turning to the android, "hit me with the rest of my memories."
"I am unsure if that is wise," Data said, looking at his 'creator'. "I have seen these memories, and knowing what I do about human physiology, I feel they may be detrimental to your health. It is part of my makeup to prevent that."
"Are they really that bad? I mean, was a horribly abused?" the teen asked, he had a feeling that was true, but had hoped that it wasn't.
"While I would not call it horrible, the abuse you suffered was sever emotional trauma. If you remember now, your personality might change. Perhaps instead of remembering you might like to view a few scenes on the viewscreen? That would make it from a third person point of view and not be a traumatic," the android suggested.
"I feel this would be the logical solution. I too think that you should not 'remember' these years of your life," Spook added his two cents in.
"Okay, let me see a few and I'll judge from there," Harry said, turning to the viewscreen.
Scene after scene played out and all Harry could think was 'that poor kid' only to remember that was him. He agreed with the crew not to fully remember these things. And he concluded that he would never set eyes on the Dursleys again.
The gang was laughing and having a good time. The dinner had been superb, with each picking what they wanted to eat. They had danced with each other and some of the others from all schools. The twins had taken Hermione and put their practice to the test. The whole school had stopped to watch them tango. It was a sight that many would remember for coming years. A platter of dessert was served, for each table, between the changing of the bands. They were sitting to eat when a voice made them all groan.
"Miss Granger, I believe I made it quite clear that two dates were not allowed at this function," McGonagall said stiffly. She peered at the group with a disdain.
"I read the rules, few that they are, and nowhere in there does it say that I cannot have two escorts," Hermione replied, glaring at her once loved teacher. She had no idea why McGonagall's attitude changed, she was sure that it had something to do with Harry, but she could not quite put her finger on what. However, it was this woman's treatment of her friend that shattered her image of authority. She now knew that respect was earn, whereas before she gave it blindly.
"I made the ruling as the Deputy Headmistress," was the scathing comeback.
"Yes, but I went over your head and asked the Headmaster," Hermione returned, nodding to the man who was headed their way. "He said as long as we behaved, he had no problem with us coming together. He thought it was funny for the twins to have one date. After all, they do everything together."
Murphy joined them at that moment. "What is going on here, Minerva?" he said softly. "We have guests and I don't think you are making a good example."
"I was merely telling the children that they violated, one of my decrees. I did not know they had talked to you," the older woman said defensively. She hated the fact that this man seemed to stop her reinforcing control over the students. He had told her she was too strict with them and that it was damaging to the young minds to have someone constantly demanding obedience. Why, in her day, no student would have sassed her as Miss Granger had just done.
"Yes, well, now you know that I gave my blessing, so move along and do try and enjoy your evening," the Headmaster stated firmly.
McGonagall sniffed and left the Hall. She was going to go and see Albus this evening in hopes that he had somehow cleared his name. perhaps she might not return. It would serve them right to not have a Transfiguration Teacher in the coming quarter. She would offer her friend shelter, and hopefully get him back to the former glory he once had. Little did she know, that Dumbledore had fallen into a deep depression. He felt he had spent his entire life on a fool's quest. She would never get him out of it, and they would live miserably for quite some time.
"Oh dear, the nargles have gotten her. Goodbye, Professor McGonagall," Luna stated dreamily, giving a small wave to the retreating woman.
"Whatever do you mean?" Murphy asked, at a lose as to why this flighty student would say such a thing.
"You might want to look for a new teacher," was all she would reply.
"I'll put out some feelers," the man said, the smiled at the gang. "Enjoy the rest of your evening." He then turned and went to his seat.
"Do you really think she going to leave? I mean, she's been here for decades," Hermione asked, part of her hoping it was true, the other part groaning at the lose of a wonderful instructor. One thing that could always be said about Minerva McGonagall, she was an excellent teacher.
"Yes," was the succinct answer.
"Oh bother, now we can only hope that someone just a brilliant will take her place," the bushy-haired girl sighed.
"Oh, I think you'll like him," Luna predicted.
"Let's stop talking school and eat our afters," Fred stated, not really caring who taught what.
"Yeah, then more dancing. We look good, if I do say so myself," George said, buffing his nails against his shirt.
"Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.," Neville joined in, actually happy to see McGonagall leave. She never impressed him, not catching on that his wand didn't work for him, and she always made him fell like a squib for not getting spells done. No, he was glad to see her go.
They ate their pudding and then tore up the floor when The Weird Sisters started to play.
It was three in the morning when a shadow escaped the castle. He poofed himself to a deserted street in London. He knew this street quite well, he spent every Christmas here. Quietly he snuck into the building and went up the stairs. There were few people about, it being so early in the morning, but he was invisible, so it didn't matter. He went in to a very familiar room and looked at the two people on the beds.
Memory after memory of all the Christmases he had spent talking to these two people. Never once did they answer. This time he was determined that they would. He pushed the beds together and placed his hands, one on each head, and said in a clear voice, "Heal." He pushed his magic into his parents and envisioned them whole again.
It took several minutes, but eyelids started to flutter, and mouths twitched. The two people started to move, slowly at first then a bit faster, until they both sat up at the same time.
"Neville," they shouted, looking frantically around the room for their baby.
"I'm here," he said, tears running down his face, "I'm here, Mum, Dad."
It was early Christmas morning and Amelia was missing her niece. Susan decided to stay at Hogwarts this year, so Amelia was at a loss as to what to do. She was going through some files, when she ran across the one on Voldemort, or Tom Riddle. She played with the idea for a few minutes then, went to a cabinet and pulled out an ancient typewriter. She was going to tell the world about him. So, perhaps in the future another Dark Lord would not be as feared. The humble starts of this man, to the twisted mind he had become, would warn people not to let fear control them, as they had in the past. Well, that's what she was hoping for anyway.
That same day, Sirius was finishing a letter that would be sealed in his vault. It was spelled only to be opened by Harry, or his descendants, and only after his death. In it he told the whole night Death came, as he remembered it. He begged whoever got the Hallows next destroy them. They would forever be controlled by the deity, and he didn't want that for his family. He spent a few minutes crying over his godson's fate, then buckled up and vowed he'd make Harry's life full of happiness and love.
Coming to his study Christmas day, the diminutive professor spotted a box on his desk. Cautiously he approached it, wand waving to make sure it was harmless. It was. He opened it box and inside was a diadem. It was Rowena's lost diadem. He lifted it up and noted a letter accompanying it. In it the history of the crown, how it was formed, how it was used in ancient times, how it was stolen, twice, and how it as recovered. It warned that it had been modified so that an information dump did not happen. It would only answer simple questions and give only pertinent information. This letter would go side-by-side with the diadem, when it was showcased in the Headmaster's office.
Hermione was in heaven. She and the twins had decided to date. The evening of the ball went so well they came to the conclusion that it might be a good sign that they went well together. It was something she had never dreamed of, and she had Harry to thank for that. If he hadn't opened her eyes to world around her, she would have missed this perfect opportunity. When she met him later, he was going to get a big hug, and a kiss on the cheek for being such a wonderful friend.
She knew Neville's eye was on one of the Hufflepuffs, and she wished him well.
Harry was one happy teen. He now had most of his memories. He had a great girlfriend and good friends. He had a job, and an education. He was set for life. He couldn't help wondering what would have happened if he had never lost his memory and seen through all the false images people showed. Would it have been just as good, or would he have remained the wishy-washy boy he had been.
He shrugged his shoulder, held Luna tighter, laughed a one of the twins jokes and just lived in the moment for now.
In the void, where time and space didn't exist there stood a being of great power. He casually watched the Earth and waited. He was always waiting. Nothing much happened in the void, but today there would be. One second, he stood alone, the next there was a man beside him.
"Whatcha doing?" the man said, tugged the shirt of his Starfleet uniform.
"Waiting," Death said, looking over at the man and realizing that he was no man. "Q," he said, nodding his head.
"Death," the now named Q said with a smile. "What are you waiting for?"
"People to die," the being stated, returning to his vigil.
"I thought they were always dying, humans and such," Q said with a curious tone.
"And yet I must wait for the next one… always."
"Oh, that sounds dreadfully boring. I was wondering what you are going to do with the Potter boy," the man asked, his face mildly perplexed.
"Nothing at the moment, but he may come in useful in time. He has my Hallows, there will be a reason he was chosen," Death explained, turning once more to the nearly-omnipotent man.
"I can see that, humans are very malleable. I have played with them myself from time to time. Still there are a few things I've learned over time, and one of those things is that they liked to be 'asked' to do thing," he said as if he was imparting great wisdom.
"You think I should… ask the Potter boy to do my deeds?" the deity wondered as if this thought never occurred to him.
"Yes, you see, he has my crew in his head. He doesn't realize that they are my crew, but they will make him fight against you if they feel that he is being controlled. You caught them by surprise this time, but it won't happen again. The android remembers, he always remembers. He will tell eventually," Q stated as he looked to the Earth. It was so small compared to the vastness of space, still humans started here, they will finish here. No matter how far they traveled, Earth will always be their home.
"Why do you think these minuscule humans would be able to overcome a god such as I?" Death asked, extremely affronted.
"Oh, they won't win, they hardly ever do, but it is a headache to get one to do what you want without a fight. However, that could be half the fun," Q smirked, remembering all the times Picard and Janeway fought him.
"Does the Continuum know you are here?" the deity inquired, changing the subject.
"No. They stopped telling me what to do some time ago. They did not want me to try and take over again," the man answered with a laugh.
"I will think upon your words. Until then, I must wait," Death said, and then waved a hand to dismiss the man.
"Until later then," Q said, and disappeared.
And here ends the tale. It was a long road getting here, and I hope you enjoyed it.
Remember this was a challenge, so feel free to take it up and do your own. I'd love to read it. Even you guys on AO3. Who knows, could be fun.
I want to thank all those to encouraged me to continue. It helped a lot, your kind words and suggestions. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.