Epilogue: Violet's Vengeance
Potter Manor was all set for Christmas Eve. It was a big deal this year, because all of the far-flung, barely related in-laws and grandkids and cousins were coming. Last year, it had only been Lily, James, and Violet, since Harry and Daphne had gone to the Greengrass', and Tom and Ginny had gone to the Weasley's. It had barely been fun! But this year, not only were Harry and Tom and their families coming, but so were Ron and Hermione, Roderick and Tracy, and Draco and Astoria, along with all of their assorted offspring, AND Uncle Sirius and Uncle Remus and Auntie Tonks. The 17-year-old Violet Potter could barely contain her impatience.
"When are they going to get here?" she whined from her upside-down position on the sofa in front of the Floo fireplace. Her mother looked up from where she'd been lighting candles with her wand on the large dining room table. Lily, now fifty-five, was a little rounder, and her hair was turning to grey, but she maintained the smile on her face and the kindness in her eyes.
"I don't know, dear. We said any time around five, so they could come right now, or in half an hour."
Violet groaned. "I wish they'd hurry up. I need to hex Jerome properly now that the Trace is off me. I told you what he did, didn't I?"
"Yes, dear, and it was very wrong of him," Lily replied absently.
Slightly put out by her mother's lack of righteous fury, Violet returned to plotting her revenge. Harry's oldest son, Jerome, was 16, the year below her, and they were both in Ravenclaw. A week and a half previously, directly before the holiday started, Violet had been trying to impress this boy in Slytherin by pretending he didn't exist, when Jerome, the prat bastard, had Vanished the cup in her hand… but not the tea inside. The tea hadn't been hot, but her robes got soaked, and the boy in Slytherin laughed. It was absolutely insufferable. She was in the midst of deciding to use one idea, her other idea, or both, when the fire flared brilliantly green and her oldest brother stepped out of the hearth.
"HARRY!" she squealed, scrambling up from the couch and flinging her arms around his neck. Though he was the better part of twenty years older than her, she and Harry had always been very close. They looked more similar to one another than they did to Tom, with the black hair they had both gotten from their father, though Violet had also gotten his hazel eyes. Harry was 36 now, though he liked to joke that he only looked 35.
"Hello, Vi," Harry said happily, looking down at his little sister. "You look so grown up now. I haven't seen you since before your birthday."
"I know. Thank you so much for the book. I'm already halfway through it."
The fire flared green once more, and Severus and Melody stepped out, Harry's middle two children. Severus, the spitting image of his father, was 15, and in Slytherin. Melody combined her mother's brown hair colour and her father's inescapable untidiness. She was the only one to have gotten her mother's 'mood right eyes', and they were currently bright green with excitement. She was 11, and in Gryffindor.
"Jerome is coming, isn't he?" Violet demanded of her niece and nephew as Harry went over to greet their mother.
"Yes. He just couldn't find his shoe," Melody responded, a little too promptly. She was lying.
"Actually, he sent us before him on purpose so that we could soften you up. He's scared you'll do something for revenge," Severus corrected, a glint of wicked interest in his green eyes.
"And he's exactly right," Violet replied. "He deserves to suffer for his despicable crime."
Melody giggled at the exaggeration, but then the fire was green again, and the object of their conversation stepped out of the flames. "Oh," he said when he saw Violet's expression. Jerome Potter had inherited his mother's dark curly hair, father's lanky build and his grandfather's hazel eyes, just the same as Violet's. They were wide with fear.
She smiled sweetly. "Watch out." She saw him gulp.
"I think I'm going to go find Granddad…" he muttered.
And then the fire was green once more, and Mrs Daphne Potter stepped clear of the mantle, holding baby Cedric. The joke about Cedric was that he had to go to Hufflepuff, like his namesake, because then they'd have the whole set, one child per House. Cedric was still bald, but his eyes were as green as his father's. He was five months old. Lily hurried over, making eager cooing sounds as she reached for her youngest grandchild, who was quickly turned over to his grandma.
"Are we the first here then?" Daphne inquired of her sister-in-law, straightening her robes.
"Yes. It's quarter past though, so everyone else should be here soon."
"That'll be nice. I haven't seen Astoria since Mum's birthday party three months ago."
"Is your brother coming tonight?"
"No, Dwight will be with our parents since he was out of the country last year. Also he wants to show off his new girlfriend."
Violet laughed. "That sounds reasonable to me. I wish I had a new boyfriend so show off…" she said wistfully, thinking of her horrid embarrassment.
"Still no luck in that arena?" the older woman asked sympathetically.
"I'm Harry Potter's little sister! If that's not enough to scare boys off, nothing ever will be."
"Well, I'm his only daughter." Melody had wandered back and overheard the last comment. "What does that mean for me?"
"You're a lost cause, I'm afraid," Daphne said affectionately. Violet chuckled at the girl's dramatically hopeless expression.
Attention in the room turned back to the fire as Floo powder brought a new arrival: Ariana Potter, Tom and Ginny's eldest daughter.
"Hey!" she shouted. "Everyone's coming as soon we find Lizzy because she didn't hear when Hide-and-Seek ended an hour ago."
Tom and Ginny had four daughters, once and for all ending the 'male child' tradition of the Weasley family. Ariana was the oldest, and had inherited her father's red-ish brown hair and her mother's brown eyes. She was a little bossy for a 10-year-old, but given what her younger sisters were like, most people forgave her. Lilac and Daisy Potter were twins, and looked exactly as Weasleys should: loads of red hair and freckles, though they had their father's hazel eyes. As Tom frequently complained (though he loved his daughters more than anything in the world), his 8 year old twins were Fred and George reincarnated as girls. Violet thought he must have gotten a lot more respect for Mrs Weasley since they were born. And last, there was Elizabeth, who was five, quiet, fiercely red-headed and green-eyed.
After giving her announcement, Ariana wandered off to look for her one female Potter cousin, Melody, who was currently giving their granddad an earnest description of her first semester at Hogwarts.
So when the green flames appeared again not two minutes after Ariana's arrival, they were not expecting Roderick and Tracey Black to step out of the fireplace, closely followed by their two sons. Samath and Nicholas Black immediately moved away, looking for peers. Samath was 15, the same age as Severus, and also in Slytherin. He had the same white blond hair as his father, and his mother's blue-turquoise eyes. Nicholas, his 11 year old brother, had slightly darker hair and his father's grey eyes, along with his wicked sense of humor. He was in Ravenclaw.
Harry and Daphne, meanwhile, moved forward eagerly to greet their friends.
By way of greeting, Roderick bowed low and kissed Daphne's hand. "My lady," he began, "your loveliness grows with every passing instant. Come, let us flee these dreary day-to-day trials like your beautiful children and affectionate husband and spend the rest of our days slightly intoxicated and fighting bitterly on some sunny beach somewhere." She laughed, perfectly aware that he was teasing.
"Roderick, Tracey, it's wonderful to see you. How are you and the boys?"
Violet privately mourned the fact that there were no girls of her generation: the next oldest girl in the family was Melody, and while the girl was sweet, she was still, well, eleven. She watched as Samath greeted Severus, and Nicholas joined Melody and Ariana with James.
"—don't care if she put Randy Roger's Hundred-Year Bubble Blowing Gum in your hair, Lilac, you shouldn't have cut it all off!"
"Daddeeee, I'm Daisy! And I didn't cut it all off, look!" Violet turned around just in time to see the eight-year old girl pull a tangled lock of hair out of the neck of her jumper and stretch it as far from her head as it would go, which was about fifteen centimeters. The rest of her head was a hodge-podge of rough scissors cuts and scruffy, uneven orange hair. Violet must have missed the burst of green light that would have alerted her to the arrival of her other brother and his twins. If there was one thing to be said of Daisy and Lilac, it was that they veritably worshiped their father. Right then, one each hung from his arms, Daisy with her home-style haircut, and Lilac with blue ink all over her face and fingers. Merlin wanted to know how that happened.
"Welcome home, Tom!" Lily called from across the room where she was bouncing a very happy baby Cedric on her hip. "Hello, my darling girls."
"Hello, Grandma!" they chorused. Tom lifted a hand to wave to her, dragging Lilac up in the air as he did so, eliciting excited squeals.
"Is Mummy still looking for Lizzy?" Ariana asked her father in an amusingly business-like tone.
"Yes, love, but she can use magic now that the rest of us are out of the house. They'll be along soon."
"Li, it's Sam and Sev!" Daisy cried, releasing her father to point enthusiastically at their two older cousins. "We want piggybacks!" they screeched in chorus, scrambling over the couch in their hurry to get to the boys. Samath and Severus, who Violet had overheard comparing notes on attractive girls in their year, groaned and crouched to accept their burdens.
The dining room was filling up by now: all of the Potter families were present except Ginny and Lizzy, and all of the Black clan sans their 'serious' patriarch (Violet never got tired of that pun).
The fire blazed green yet again, and Hermione Weasley stepped out of the flames, holding the hand of her seven-year-old son, Hugo.
"Hello Hermione! Happy Christmas!" Tom called, strolling over to offer her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"Tom, it's lovely to see you. How have you been?"
"Oh, alright. Digging my own grave looking after the Weasley twins, part two." He chuckled. "And how have you been, young sir?" he asked, bending down to be at Hugo's level.
"Okay," the boy mumbled shyly. "I got a rat. I call him Rat."
"A rat called Rat! Well, good for you!" Tom stood up hurriedly. "How's work?" he asked Hermione.
"Not bad. Have you been reading in the Prophet about the goblins' rights riots in Wales? The Head of my Department sent me out there for three weeks last month to mediate between them and local lawmakers, but…" Violet tuned her out. Hermione was a wonderful, intelligent person, but she could get to be a little much. Ron and their daughter, Rose, joined them soon after. Rose was nine, and showed every sign of being just as bookish as her mother. Case in point, she carried a thick tome under her arm even now, though Violet couldn't read the title. She settled quietly in a chair in the corner and began to read.
Daisy and Lilac had persuaded Samath and Severus to have piggyback races back and forth across the large dining room, and their screams echoed across the assembled families. Daphne and Hermione had fallen into conversation about something involving having centaur representatives in the Ministry. Melody and Nicholas were now engaged in talking Harry's ear off about their first semester at Hogwarts and what they liked and who they hated, and all related topics. She had seen neither hide nor hair of Jerome since he had 'gone off to find his granddad', and she suspected him of secretly stuffing his face in the adjacent kitchen, and that Tipsy was doubtless thrilled with him. Tom and Ron were comparing notes on their kids, from what snatches Violet could hear. Ron was laughing at Tom for having a new set of twins to deal with, since he had grown up with the original duo.
Next to arrive were Astoria and Scorpius Malfoy, with Draco bringing up the reluctant rear. Daphne and Astoria greeted each other happily and Astoria was eager to see her newest nephew, but Draco had no allies in this territory, not even his biological brother, and he maintained his distance. Sensing his father's reticence, 9-year-old Scorpius made no effort to mingle either, and eventually worked his way around the wall to settle near to Rose, who paid him no mind whatsoever. Violet noticed with amusement that Ron and Draco kept shooting dirty looks at each other, as if each blamed the other for their children's close proximity.
"HAPPY CHRISTMAS, EVERYBODY!" Violet spun about, her face breaking into an enormous grin at the sight of Uncle Sirius, Uncle Remus, and Auntie Tonks, who had all Apparated into the far corner of the hall rather than using the Floo Network. There was a great kerfuffle as everyone rushed to be the first to greet the new arrivals. Violet wound up squashed between James and Daisy and Lilac, all of whom were greeted before she was.
"And Lady Violet," was her uncle's reaction to her when they finally came face to face. He bowed low, favouring his left leg, as ever.
"Lord Sirius," she replied, grinning as she ducked a curtsy. This had been their game ever since she was a little girl. He had used to give her shoulder rides and pretend to be a Hippogriff while she went on grand adventures where she beat giants and dragons (but didn't kill them because that was wrong) and sometimes even went into the Muggle world, if she was feeling particularly brave that day, which always made her mother laught.
"How's life now that you're seventeen, darling?" he asked as she happily looped her arm through his.
"Wonderful," she said conspiratorially, and proceeded to entrust him with her diabolical revenge scheme against Jerome. Sirius laughed heartily and congratulated her concocting a very entertaining plot.
Just then, Ginny stepped clear of the Floo-greened fire, holding her youngest daughter in her arms. "Evening, all," she called by way of general greeting before making a bee-line for her husband and murmuring at length into his ear. Violet kept a loose eye on them, since they looked like an interesting scene developing. When Ginny was done explaining whatever she was explaining, Tom chuckled and took Lizzy in his arms, where she wrapped her arms and legs around him like she was mimicking the giant squid. The poor thing looked like she'd been crying. She barely heard Tom explaining to Ron that Lizzie had just lost a tooth, and had been giving it a funeral under her bed, which was why no one had been able to find her.
"Isn't Teddy here?" she heard Daphne asking Tonks as they passed by her and Sirius.
"No, he wanted to stay with Bill and Fleur. I think he has a rather heavy crush on Victoire, but since I'm his mum I'm not allowed to say anything about it." Daphne laughed.
Daisy and Lilac stole Sirius' attention soon after that, and he left Violet near the sofa to go chase the girls around in his dog form. Jerome reappeared (from the kitchen, as she had suspected) and quickly fell into conversation with Samath and Severus. Violet heard snatches about OWLs, and how they were so easy that they shouldn't even study at all, but then an incensed Hermione cut in and began what sounded like the start of a very long lecture on the importance of good grades. Violet smirked. Astoria, Daphne (Cedric again on her hip) and Tracey were gathered in a corner, talking about Ministry stuff, as far as Violet could tell. Draco skulked in a corner, clearly ill at ease. Remus and James had taken up positions near the dining table and were laughing kindly over something the over-serious Hugo had said to them. Violet wished Teddy had come. He was about her age, and though he was in Gryffindor, they got along well. It was difficult sometimes to differentiate generational gaps in their weird extended family, so though Violet was technically the aunt of Harry and Tom's kids, she had been raised like their cousin. She just wished she had a good girlfriend to keep her company.
"Supper!" Lily sang out across the assembled families.
There was a general rush towards the table as everyone jockeyed for their particular favorite seat. With nearly thirty people to fit, the various needs of the younger children, and the adults' desire to talk amongst themselves, there was a lot of politicking going on before everyone was settled. Violet wound up on the far end from the adults, sitting with Lizzy kitty-corner on her left and Severus on her right. Lizzy didn't so much as look at her for the whole beginning of the meal, and Severus had Samath on his other side, so they spent the whole time talking to each other. That was alright though. It meant she had plenty of space to enact her revenge on Jerome, who was on the other side of Samath. And enact it she did.
She waited till he was taking seconds on stuffing till discretely pulling her wand from her sleeve and giving it a careful flick under the table. The food disappeared from his plate. He looked puzzled and pulled the serving platter towards himself again. Again he loaded his plate, and again it vanished. Visibly frustrated, he piled more and more and more on, as each successive helping dissipated into thin air. By this time, most of their end of the table had stopped conversing and focused their attention on the unfolding phenomenon.
"What – is going – on!" Jerome finally shouted, throwing his fork down onto his plate, which was, of course, empty.
"I wish I knew," Violet replied sweetly.
His eyes slowly rose to meet hers. Samath and Severus were sniggering into their napkins. Daisy and Lilac were gazing at them, identical mouths hanging open in identical O's. She raised her brows.
"DAD!" Jerome shouted to the other end of the table, without taking his eyes off her. "Violet's being amazing!" He clapped his hand over his mouth, looking horrified. Most of the adults burst out laughing.
"I'm glad you're getting along down there," Harry called back, chortling. Roderick and Sirius were both laughing so hard their faces were turning red.
"She's using magic on me," he said cautiously, waiting to see if his words would be twisted.
"I am not," she protested, the picture of wounded pride. "It's not my fault if you've finally come to your senses about how 'amazing' I am."
"I haven't come to my senses! You're incredible!" He used both hands to cover his mouth this time.
"HA!" exploded out of Nicholas. Jerome glared at him, but didn't dare open his mouth.
"Oh, Jerome, thank you so much. I know we've had our differences before, but I'm so glad we're on such good terms now," Violet said pleasantly, spooning mashed potatoes onto her plate.
"I didn't mean incredible!" he objected hotly. "I meant unbelievable! No, fantastic! No, wonderful! Grah! Marvelous! Delightful! Brilliant! Perfect! UGLY! FAT! GROTESQUE!" Several of the mothers gasped. "No!" he shouted in panic. "I didn't mean that either! No, wait! It was her! I meant evil! She's doing something! Grandma, she's doing something!"
By this time, Roderick, Sirius and Nicholas were gasping for breath and tears were running down their faces from laughing so hard, demonstrating once and for all that that Black sense of humor was a tough gene to beat. Daisy and Lilac were shrieking with childish glee, and Violet's parents and brothers were all mute with mirth. Samath and Severus were propping each other up so they wouldn't fall out of their chairs as they laughed. She considered herself a success.
"You vile bitch," he muttered from across the table, glaring at her furiously. His jaw dropped open as the table fell dead silent. "Why didn't you censor me that time!?" he demanded, horrified, as Daphne audibly drew breath to reprimand him. Violet couldn't contain it anymore and burst out laughing herself.
The table settled down again for dessert, though Melody and Nicholas tried to replicate Violet's food Vanishing act. All that resulted was that Sev's tart became a whole apple on a small pile of flour and sugar in a puddle of water before lighting on fire. Tracey and Daphne made them both give him half of theirs.
Tom, Ginny, Ron and Hermione volunteered to clean the dishes afterwards (probably as an excuse to get away from their kids for a bit), and the rest of the party dispersed around the room to pick up conversations were they'd been left off.
Violet was nursing a punch cup by the fire when she felt a light tug on her elbow. When she turned around, she saw her oldest brother, her dad, her two uncles, and Roderick clustered behind her. They all looked like first years about to get on the Hogwarts Express for the first time.
"Hello," she said, for lack of any better inspiration.
"How did you do it?" Harry asked eagerly.
"The voice thing! On Jerome!" Roderick prompted excitedly.
"Oh!" She smiled, amused. "I wasn't sure it would work at all, actually. It's a thing I've been working on with Professor McGonagall. It's sort of like very theoretical Transfiguration. Instead of changing a physical thing, you're changing the meaning of words. When we all heard Jerome saying 'wonderful' or 'perfect' or what have you, he really actually was saying 'evil' or 'terrible'. It's terrifically finicky, and it only lasts for as long as a word is said, but McGonagall thinks the implications could be momentous."
"Why, that's incredible!" Remus exclaimed. "Is that new in the NEWT curriculum?"
"No, I don' think so. Professor McGonagall says I may have made it up. I only perfected it three weeks ago."
"James, you've got a genius on your hands!" Sirius said proudly, clapping his friend on the shoulder. "Lady Violet, I doff my cap to you." He took off an imaginary hat and bowed deeply.
She giggled. "Why thank you, Lord Sirius." Conversation took form around her, most of it centered on the magic she had introduced to them all. Violet was able to drift away after a short while, enjoying the ebb and flow of everyone talking around her.
Harry, Roderick, James, Sirius and Remus were clustered in an excited knot where she'd left them by the fireplace, still discussing magical theory. Hermione, Tom, Ron and Ginny were still in the kitchen, leaving their kids unsupervised and running amok in the dining room. Rose and Scorpius were back in the corner, where Rose was flipping through her book explaining it to the young Malfoy. Violet noticed with abundant amusement that Draco kept shooting them apprehensive looks, as if some Weasley-ness might rub off on his son, even while he carried on a somewhat stilted conversation with his cousin Tonks. Meanwhile, Lilac and Daisy had pilfered someone's wand, and were busy trying to do something with Lilac's hair. Violet (after checking that it wasn't her wand) decided Child Management was outside of her jurisdiction and became blind to their actions. Samath and Severus were muttering to each other in a shadowy corner, and a mild Sensory Enhancement charm plus some pretty good lip reading told her they were back on the subject of girls. Yes, Stephanie Farago from Hufflepuff had amazing tits. Everyone knew that. Boring! Melody and Nicholas were begging Daphne to become a raven for them, which she firmly declined to do. Astoria (with Cedric on her hip) and Tracey alternately egged each side on, laughing merrily. Ariana, Lizzy and Hugo were pestering Jerome to explain some of his choicer words from dinner (actually, Ariana was chastening him for them), which he stoutly refused to do. Violet saw his face was rather red.
It was a nice scene, she decided. Not necessarily a simple one, and at times a very chaotic one, but she couldn't think of a single way to improve it. Her parents and brothers and their friends had seen and experienced horrific things in the last Great War with Voldemort. She herself had been born during it. And because of all of the things they had done, they were able to be alive now, to have children and friends, and laugh at gags and eat good food. It was sixteen years since the final fall of the Dark Lord. Life had been able to return to its normal crazy self.
I cannot say how intensely grateful fire1 and I are to you all for sticking with us through this whole thing. We know the outlines aren't to everyone's taste, but the support and understanding so many of you have shown has been truly heartwarming. It's incredible to think that the first chapters went up all the way back in March. It has been a truly wild ride, and I wish I could individually thank the thousands of you who have followed, faved, and reviewed the story over the months. I wish I should show you all the excited texts I sent fire1 as the story got more and more popular. If I remember right, we got 6 or so followers on the very first day and I just about fainted. ^^; But really, it's been so amazing to go on this journey with everyone, and even though I couldn't write the whole thing out fully, I hope this epilogue brings at least some closure.
But if you think we didn't come up with a bunch of crazy alternate endings, you would be wrong. What about the plain sad ending where Harry just dies? What about the so bad/sad it's funny version where he gets with Kelly Middlebrow? I have got pages and pages of notes, and you should feel lucky this is what we went with xD
So... what now? Well, for the moment, I'm going to go back through this and fix typos, misspelled words, smaller issues I've come to realize don't work, etc. Aside from that, I'm going to keep putting Champion up (chapters are posted on Tuesdays, and the last chapter will go up on New Year's Eve if I've done my math right!). I think some of the strongest elements of this fic are done well there too, especially character development and descriptions, so if you've enjoyed that here, I really encourage you to take a look at Champion. After that, I'm going to be dabbling with some Avatar: the Last Airbender ideas I've had kicking around, but those are going to be WAY smaller-scale than this project. As for future HP projects, fire1 and I have two main ideas, both of which are different takes on the Wrong Child Who Lived trope, but those are so far in the future I'm not even sure I want to get anyone's hopes up by saying what they are yet.
All characters are owned by JK Rowling, Warner Bros, etc.
E.I. signing out, with love and gratitude