Epilogue

Author's Note: The reference to Guinevere and Lancelot is partly inspired by Arabella's 'Hermione, Queen of Witches' series over at the Sugar Quill. I heartily recommend you read Arabella's works, as they are just sensational.

At first, the wizarding world was on tenterhooks. People saw the outright assault on Hogsmeade as just one more step in the long fight against Voldemort and his forces. However, no more attacks were reported in the Daily Prophet for the remainder of the school year. As Ron remarked a month after the attack, it was as though Voldemort didn't have anyone who could heal his battered army.

*

Hermione and Ron were soon bickering again. Ron argued that Hermione's Patronus was inspired by his own. Hermione said that it had more likely been inspired by her love of medieval legends, especially those of Guinevere and Lancelot, when she was a child. They eventually agreed to discuss the matter in private. By the lake. Alone.

*

A very subdued Draco Malfoy cringed whenever he passed a Gryffindor in the corridor. His father had been held by the Ministry of Magic, and was rumoured to be awaiting the trial that would surely send him to Azkaban.

*

Madam Rosmerta appeared, to great acclaim, for dinner one night shortly before exams. Harry presented her with a Hagrid-sized bunch of flowers, on behalf of himself and the other students.

"It's a wholly inadequate thank-you," he said. "Especially as you helped protect me most of all. I suspect there'll be plenty of us coming down to the Three Broomsticks once you reopen to say thanks in person."

*

Ron, Hermione and Harry sat their O.W.Ls and the general feeling was that they'd all done well, although their results wouldn't be known until well into the summer holidays. Hermione was, of course, worried about her performance. She didn't seem to mind so much this year, though, instead smiling happily as she lay by the shore of the lake, her head resting against Ron's chest.

The remainder of the Gryffindor Quidditch team had sat their N.E.W.Ts, as had Lee Jordan. Fred was heard to remark that neither he nor George would have qualified to work for themselves with the scores which they felt that they had achieved.

"It's a good job we know the people who run the company," he told Hermione cheerfully at breakfast on the day that their exams finished.

*

Eventually, even Fred and George came to admit that Ginny and Harry were good for one another. The two seemed to bring out sides to each others personalities that had never before been evident. Of course, this wasn't always a good thing. The farewell Quidditch practise on the penultimate day of term saw Harry and Ron revenge themselves on their older teammates for the pondwater trick. Ginny had helped the two of them hide specially treated Filibusters fireworks in the twigs of the departing Gryffindor's brooms, and when the engorged rockets went off, the five players were sent soaring off in opposite directions. George in particular had a struggle to escape punishment when he crash-landed in one of Professor Sprout's herb gardens.

*

Because of the valiant efforts put forth by students of all houses during the battle, Dumbledore announced that all four houses had drawn for the House Cup, a first in the thousand and more years of Hogwarts history.

"Let us remember those who have fallen," the Headmaster said. "Let their sacrifice be remembered, their lives celebrated, and their cause taken on by all those who are prepared to fight evil where-so-ever it may reign."

Harry found his eyes drawn to the Slytherin table. He watched Draco Malfoy give a half-hearted sneer at Dumbledore's words, but even he seemed to be somewhat apprehensive of what lay ahead.

*

The train ride back to Kings Cross was almost as uneventful as it could possibly have been. Hermione smiled at Ron as he paced their compartment in the carriage, saying that he almost wanted something to happen. Harry smiled too, but he knew that he was only a short time away from having to return to Privet Drive, and who knew how long before he saw his friends again.

Ron got his wish. Half an hour out from Kings Cross, a large barn owl appeared by the window. Ginny got up to let him in, and the owl swooped down to land by Harry, who took the message from his leg and stroked the bird gently on the beak. It hooted softly, and took off again, soaring out through the window

"I don't believe it!" Harry gasped, reading the note through a second time. Wordlessly, he handed it to Ron to read.

"Dear Mr Potter… aunt, uncle and cousin going to health farm (Ha!)… entire period of holidays… stay at Weasleys!?! Harry, you're gonna stay with us all summer!"

Ginny squealed in joy, and enveloped Harry in a huge hug. She only let go when Harry started to gasp for air, and then only reluctantly. They grinned massively at one another, unable to believe their luck.

"One thing, though," Ron said, suddenly serious. "Let's get one thing clear, straight from the start, before you get any funny ideas. You're sleeping in my room, all right? No one else's. Mine."

Then Ron found out what it was like to be hit with a Cheering Charm and a Jelly Legs Jinx at the same time.

The End