(Mostly) Happily Ever After
Thursday, 24th November, 1994, dinnertime
By dinnertime, Hogwarts's fake DADA teacher had been identified as (the now twice-dead) Barty Crouch, Jr, and the Weasley twins had found the real Alastor Moody. With the crisis over, and with Harry vindicated, Harry returned to school.
Headmistress McGonagall gave a short speech telling the students that "Harry Potter absolutely did not put his own name into the Goblet of Fire—vanish that thought from your mind. Barty Crouch, Junior put Mr Potter's name in." Hermione suggested that Harry demonstrate with Expecto Patronum that he had not lost his magic after forfeiting the task; the Great Hall applauded his corporeal stag-patronus.
Harry made a point to walk up to, and then to shake hands with, Cedric, Fleur and Viktor; then Harry laughingly yelled, "I'm officially retired from the Triwizard Tournament!"
Harry then sat down to eat—or tried to. Daphne, Tracey, Millicent, Vincent and Gregory from Slytherin, Susan and Hannah from Hufflepuff, Luna from Ravenclaw, and half of Gryffindor came up to Harry and welcomed him back.
This brouhaha was nothing, of course, compared to the next morning, when the Daily Prophet reported that Harry Potter had killed the Dark Lord—for the second time!
During the First-Task Massacre, Voldemort lost his magic; then the Protean Charm in the Dark Mark sucked both the magic and the life-force out of every Death Eater in Wizarding Britain. Some of the Death Eaters had put a glamour on their left forearms, to hide their Dark Mark—but when they lost their magic, their glamours failed. Every Death Eater, whether he or she was a quill-pusher in the Ministry of Magic or was a strutting Head of House in the Wizengamot, died being revealed as a Death Eater.
After the First-Task Massacre, the Ministry of Magic had many dead bodies to haul away, which showed the Dark Mark on every left forearm.
Cornelius Fudge, so people decided, either was so clueless as to be unaware of the complete Death Eater infiltration of the government, or was so selfish as to allow it, so long as his vaults were filled.
In any case, Cornelius Fudge was out as Minister of Magic, and Cyrus Greengrass was in, two days after the First-Task Massacre.
For some of the Pureblood houses, the First-Task Massacre was a mere inconvenience. Instead of the fathers of Gregory Goyle, Vincent Crabbe and Pansy Parkinson ruling as Lords of their respective Houses, now each heir(ess)'s mother assumed the title of Regent till the heir(ess) turned seventeen.
But for House Malfoy, the Massacre was a disaster: All the Purebloods who could have claimed Lucius Malfoy's title, because they were closely related to him, died at the same time that Lucius Malfoy died. Eventually Narcissa Malfoy was named Malfoy Regent, and the Malfoy Heiress ring was passed to the fifteen-year-old great-great-granddaughter of Ramses Malfoy: Hermione Jean Dagworth-Granger-Malfoy. Needless to say, the first conversation between Narcissa and Hermione was awkward.
(The first conversation between Narcissa and the Doctors Granger was even more awkward.)
The day after Cyrus Greengrass became Minister of Magic, Sirius Black was put on trial, charged with the offences that he had been sent to Azkaban for (minus the murder of Peter Pettigrew, plus the charge of being an unregistered animagus). Sirius was acquitted on all charges except for the animagus charge, and fined fifty galleons. Sirius Black then was awarded G143 000 in restitution. The "Kiss on sight" order against Sirius had been dropped when Greengrass had become Minister, after persuasion by Amelia Bones.
The next day
Friday, 25th November, 1994
The day after Harry returned to Hogwarts, he sent Prisoner Dumbledore a letter. Besides a torn-out front page from the Daily Prophet—which included a photograph of Harry, the Sword of Gryffindor and Babymort's corpse—Harry included a note.
"Headmistress McGonagall, unlike you, did not hoard Tom Riddle's diary. Instead, she turned the diary over to the Unspeakables on 1st November. By 24th November, the Unspeakables had destroyed all six horcruxes and had led me straight to magicless Tom Riddle. Note that in the newspaper, I, now dubbed 'The Boy Who Outsmarted Voldemort,' had much public praise for the Unspeakables, whilst you were not mentioned at all. The reason you were unmentioned is simple: The Unspeakables helped me; you did nothing but hinder me. Also, note that the Dark Lord is dead, but I didn't need to sacrifice my life for the supposed Greater Good, in order for Tom's death to happen. I am so glad you are out of my life!"
Six days later
Thursday, 1st December, 1994, afternoon
Viktor Krum walked up to Hermione and said, "I have request. Please, you help? Is about Yule Ball."
Hermione was displeased, and she let a frown show. "I'm not going to the Yule Ball. I'm returning home for the Christmas holidays. If I were attending the Yule Ball, it would be with Harry Potter. Sorry."
Viktor said, "No, not you understand. I'm sorry, not my English is good. You with the Harry Potter—I know, whole school know. But I have the problem. The girls, they look to me, and they see the"—Viktor flexed both biceps, and deepened his voice—"famous Viktor Krum." Back in his regular voice, he said, "The girls do not see I, the Viktor Krum who plays on my dog. You see the Harry Potter, not 'The Boy Is Living.' Please, you help I find the Hogwarts girl for the Yule Ball, who not sees the"—Viktor flexed both biceps again.
Hermione nodded. "Ah, I understand. You don't want to go to the Yule Ball with a fangirl." Hermione explained the term.
Viktor nodded, looking relieved. "Yes, you understand. No fangirl!"
Hermione thought, Scratch Ginny Weasley, then.
Hermione said, "Dobby!"
Pop. Harry's house-elf Dobby appeared, just as eager to serve "Miss Miney" as to serve Harry.
Hermione wrote two identical notes, which she asked Dobby to deliver to Susan Bones and to Daphne Greengrass: "Come to the library as quickly as you can get here. I have someone I want you to meet. —Hermione."
Both Susan and Daphne arrived at the library within ten minutes. Both girls arrived looking quite curious.
Hermione made the introductions. Then Viktor, Daphne and Susan walked out of the library together.
3½ weeks later
Sunday, 25th December, 1994
At the Granger house
Two years out of three, on Christmas Day, Dan and Emma Granger hosted their relatives at their home for dinner. This year, Emma let it slip that not only would Hermione be home, but so would Hermione's much-mentioned, never-met friend Harry.
This year, the dentists' relatives discovered that the Grangers' Christmas gathering had two minor mysteries with it.
The first minor mystery was why Dan Granger had done something different this year. He had hired/rented a wooden dance floor for the sitting room, and he had hired a uni student to play compact-disk tracks. Except when Harry and Hermione were eating family dinner, those two teens spent all evening dancing.
The other mystery this year was Hermione's strange ring. Her last name started with a G, and Harry's last name started with a P, so why was Hermione wearing a ring with an M on it?
However, one of Hermione's relatives solved both mysteries—in a surprising way. After dinner, and before the teens resumed their dancing, Hermione's Granny Connie led the teens, plus Connie's daughter Emma, into an empty bedroom.
Granny Connie tapped Hermione's Heiress Malfoy ring. "Since I was little, my father's name has been Stephen Moffitt. But when he was your age, his name was"—Granny Connie's voice dropped to a whisper—"Stefanus Malfoy."
Harry, Hermione and Emma all stared at the old woman in surprise.
Granny Connie said to Hermione, "My grandfather, Ramses Malfoy, attended the same boarding school in Scotland that you two are going to, am I right?"
Hermione nodded, too shocked to speak.
Granny Connie said, "I've wondered since I was a tiny child, what having magic is like."
Harry and Hermione shared a glance. Hermione answered, "Doing magic is wonderful. But many magical people are berks."
Granny Connie laughed, then she looked at Harry. "Considering everything that's happened to you in the last two months, I certainly understand why you didn't want to stay at school for the Yule Ball." Harry and Hermione shared surprised looks again.
Then Granny Connie looked at Hermione. "And if Harry won't stay for the Yule Ball, no way do you stay."
"You are so right," Hermione agreed. "Harry and I recently spent twenty-four days apart, and it almost killed me. I won't do it again."
Harry said to Granny Connie, "Ma'am, even though you and I just have met, I wish to invite you to join the Grangers with me at Potter Manor tomorrow, Boxing Day. Not only will it mean you eat a big meal that you didn't have to cook, not only will it mean you spend more time with your daughter and granddaughter, but you will get to see Hermione do magic. She's really amazing with the spells she knows."
Hermione smiled at Granny Connie and said, "Also, you can see Harry fly on a broom. Honestly, he's in a class by himself."
Harry said, "You'll also get to meet my godfather, Sirius Black." Granny Connie's eyes widened; she recognised the name. Harry continued, "Sirius is a right nutter, but in a good way. His girlfriend Amelia will be there too—Amelia is the head of the magical police—along with Amelia's niece Susan."
Hermione said to her grandmother, "Susan will have tales of the Yule Ball to share. Right now she's at the Ball with Viktor Krum."
Two days later
Tuesday, 27th December, 1994
Yesterday, Harry had hosted Hermione, her parents and her grandmother for Boxing Day dinner. That gathering had been intended to be fun and relaxing; but today's meeting was intended to be serious.
Now sitting around the big table in Potter Manor's dining room were Hermione Granger, Sirius Black, Narcissa Malfoy, Andromeda Tonks, Ted Tonks and Nymphadora Tonks. Harry was sitting at the head of the table.
Harry said, "There are two things the seven of us need to discuss. The first purpose of this gathering is for Miss Granger to better learn how to be Lady Malfoy. The second purpose is to reconcile Narcissa with Andromeda, who are estranged."
Five faces looked back at Harry with patient expressions; Narcissa Malfoy's face showed a plastic smile.
Harry continued, "Each of you knows all the others here, at least a bit, but I'm going to ignore this fact and introduce everyone. First person to be introduced: me, Harry Potter. I've been Heir Potter since 31st October, 1981—you all know that story. Then on Halloween of this year, the Goblet of Fire spit out my name, even though I'm only fourteen, and a mob of adults with important job titles all told me that I had to take part in the Triwizard Tournament. What they didn't realise was that, by insisting I had to take part in a Tournament of adult wizards and witches, they made me become magically an adult. Well, Heir Potter plus emancipation equals Lord Potter."
Sirius slapped Harry on the back. "So now you're a grand chap, a Lord Head of House, at age fourteen. Brilliant."
Harry smirked, then said, "On my right is Sirius Black. He's my godfather, and he's the person I ask when I have a question about the Pureblood world." Harry glanced at Narcissa.
Harry continued, "Sirius also is Head of House Black, and all of us except for Hermione and Ted are part of the Black family by blood. Dorea Black was my grandmother. At the moment, I'm Heir Black, but that doesn't mean much."
"How can you say this?" Narcissa challenged. "To be the future Lord Black is an important title in our world."
Harry gave Narcissa a lopsided grin. "Because Sirius here is talking about betrothal to Amelia Bones. I expect a mob of little Blacks running about, in the years to come."
Narcissa nodded in understanding; Harry continued—
"On my left is Hermione Granger. She's a Muggle-born. She's a genius—she's a sure bet to be Head Girl in our seventh year. She annoys some Purebloods in our year"—Harry glanced at Narcissa—"because she does better in the classroom than all the Purebloods do. Hermione is my girlfriend—I haven't asked her to marry me yet, but be sure that in a few years, I will."
Hermione grinned at Harry and said, "When you ask me to marry you, be sure I'll say yes!"
Harry grinned back at Hermione, then turned his head to again address the entire table. "Hermione is Heiress Dagworth-Granger by lineage, and is also Heiress Malfoy, because everyone who was more directly related to the late Lucius Malfoy also died in the First-Task Massacre."
Tonks grinned at her Aunt Narcissa and whistled. "I'll bet lots of Purebloods went spare when they learnt that Harry Potter's Muggle-born girlfriend is the future Lady Malfoy."
Hermione answered, "Actually, the Purebloods aren't too pleased about me being the future Lady Dagworth-Granger either. They'd much prefer that Magic had given Pansy Parkinson the Dagworth-Granger Heiress ring. C'est la vie."
Harry said, "Hermione will become Head of two Houses, twenty-one months from now. Hermione and Narcissa are putting their heads together so that Hermione will learn what she needs to know, in what little time she has."
Narcissa chose her words carefully: "Whilst teaching Miss Granger, I have come across fewer problems than I expected. The information I present is new to Miss Granger, but she shows a zeal to learn it."
Harry laughed. "That's nothing new!"
Then Harry got serious again. "Okay, finishing up. Narcissa Black Malfoy is a Black daughter, and is the mother of Draco Malfoy and the widow of Lucius Malfoy—both of whom are well known to Hermione and me. Narcissa is Regent Malfoy, till Hermione comes of age."
Narcissa gave Harry a stately nod. "Lord Potter, I have a question for you, but I shall wait till you've finished all the introductions first."
Harry nodded to Narcissa, then turned to look at Ted Tonks. "Ted Tonks is, like Hermione, a Muggle-born. Ted also is my law-wizard. It was Ted's advice to give an Oath that I had not put my name in, not merely to say those words aloud. Ted, Hermione and I think that this Oath is the main reason that Voldemort, not I, lost all magic when I forfeited the First Task. Also, Ted advised me to absolutely not participate in any Task. This is why I skived off the Yule Ball two days ago, on the off-chance that Magic would consider attending the Yule Ball to be participating in a Task."
Now Harry's eyes went to the woman who was holding hands with Ted Tonks. "Andromeda Black Tonks, I don't know much about you, except that you're a Healer at Saint Mungo's; and you were in Slytherin but you married a Muggle-born. This has to be one of the most courageous things I've ever heard of, for a Slytherin."
Harry caught Andromeda and Narcissa exchanging looks.
Meanwhile, Sirius was saying, "Andi got kicked out of the Black family for marrying Ted. But I fixed that."
Now grinning Harry looked at his metamorphmagus cousin. "She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named—cough—Nymphadora—cough—Tonks is here for no particular reason, but I invited her because she's one of my favourite people, who also happens to be a cousin of mine."
Tonks's face now was just as pink as her hair. "Hermione, do me a favour and kiss him on the cheek, would you please?" Then Tonks snarled, "After you slap him on the arm for calling me that name!"
As Hermione dutifully slapped Harry's arm and kissed his cheek, Harry looked at Narcissa and asked, "You had something you wanted to say to me?"
Narcissa looked nervous as she said, "I ask this not because I wish to start an argument, but so I better can teach Miss Granger: What do you think of Lucius and Draco?"
Tonks whistled. Harry and Hermione shared a look, as Harry rubbed the back of his head.
Harry thought, Gryffindors charge ahead. "Lucius and Draco Malfoy were both angry, hateful, snobbish people. Both were bullies. Lucius was a cheater; Draco was a coward. By the time I was Sorted, I'd had two encounters with Draco and I'd decided that I quite disliked him; then I'd watched as the Sorting Hat took one second to decide that Draco was a Slytherin. The Hat wanted to put me in Slytherin, but because of Draco, I told the Hat, 'Not Slytherin, not Slytherin!' Thankfully, the Hat then put me in the same House as Hermione."
Tonks whistled again. "Wow, I knew Cousin Draco was a wanker. But you changed your Sorting because of him?"
"I did." Then Harry's eyes bored into Narcissa's. "But this idea that cowardly Draco and cheating Lucius are somehow better people than Hermione in any way, just because their family was magical for however-many generations, whilst Hermione is the first magical in her family in four generations? The very idea is mad, mad, mad. My big problem with the wizarding world is that so many of you believe this ridiculous idea."
Narcissa went statue-still for ten seconds. Then she said stiffly, "I see. Thank you for answering honestly."
Narcissa took a deep, calming breath and looked at Ted Tonks. "Lord Potter said, minutes ago, that we are gathered here to educate Miss Granger how better to be Lady Malfoy; and to reconcile my sister and me. Now, I have two questions for you, Mr Tonks, and I believe my asking you these questions, and your answering, will accomplish both purposes—
"What is it like to be a Muggle-born? How is your life different than being a Black daughter?"
Not quite two months later
Thursday, 24th February, 1995
The Second Task
Harry and Hermione sat in the stands and watched the three Champions carry out the Task. Also watching, whilst sitting in the cold wind: Cho Chang, Susan Bones and Fleur Delacour's eight-year-old sister Gabrielle.
The three Champions were charged with each "rescuing" a mannequin that looked just like someone they loved—or at least, like someone with whom they had gone to the Yule Ball.
Fleur was injured by grindylows, and so was not able to "rescue" her sister's mannequin. But since Gabrielle was never in danger, Fleur was merely annoyed by her failure, not frantic.
Harry, in the Gryffindor spectator stands, leant over and murmured to Hermione, "I wonder if it would have been mannequins that the Champions had to rescue, if Dumbledore still were headmaster."
Four months later
Friday, 24th June, 1995
The Third Task
None of the three Champions were Imperiused. None of the three Champions needed to fire red sparks as an emergency signal. Cedric Diggory was not first to the Cup (that honour went to Viktor Krum), but Cedric did not die hearing the words "Kill the spare" either.
Fifteen days later
Saturday, 8th July, 1995, 1 p.m.
One week after end-of-term for Harry, Hermione and Susan
Sirius Black married Amelia Bones in the Ministry of Magic's Large Meeting Room.
The wedding invitations that had been sent out, showed the "Jolly Roger" reversed: a grinning black skull above crossed black femurs, on a white background; the text underneath said "THE BLACK-BONES WEDDING."
After Sirius and Amelia spoke their wedding vows, Harry, Hermione, Remus and Susan jointly conjured a huge, floating, fireworks-shooting sign that said "Kiss on sight."
2½ months later
Monday, 25th September, 1995, around midnight
In a small flat in Surrey Public Flats Complex 17
Dudley woke up from a nightmare—a nightmare about his cousin Harry.
In the dream, Dudley aged fifteen, Piers, and the rest of Dudley's old gang chased fifteen-year-old Harry into the park near Dudley's house. The gang's intention was to beat up Harry. But then Harry turned to face the bigger boys. Dream-Harry didn't look scared, he didn't look defiant—instead, Harry wore a cruel smile.
Harry pulled out his wand—Piers made a mocking comment about "fighting with a chopstick"—and pointed his wand to the side. Pop. A big, transparent-purple box appeared on the grass; then pop!—teenage boys appeared inside the box. These arriving teen boys were holding wands like Harry's, and they were dressed like the long-bearded headmaster at Harry's school. Now the purple box disappeared. Dudley and his friends already were outnumbered, by Harry and the wizard-boys, but then the witches showed up. Teenage girls who all wore pointy hats, flew into the park on straw broomsticks, and these girls landed between the wizard-boys and Harry.
Harry still was smiling cruelly and still was holding his wand. "Friends," he said to the wizard-boys and to the witches, "this is my cousin and his mates. They like to hurt people who can't hurt them back."
A teen witch with blue hair and bright-purple eyes (and brilliant boobies) cackled, whilst she floated on her broomstick. Looking at Dudley, she said, "Isn't this amazing. I also like to hurt people who can't hurt me back."
So saying, the witch thrust her free hand (the hand that wasn't gripping her broomstick) at Dudley. Suddenly Dudley felt like he was being punched all over his body by dozens of invisible fists.
"Any limits on what we do?" a wizard-boy asked Harry.
Harry's cruel smile got bigger. "The other boys deserve pain"—suddenly Piers and the rest of Dudley's gang were screaming. "But my fat whale of a cousin deserves to die."
Then all the wizard-boys pointed their wands at Dudley, whilst all the witches each thrust out a hand towards Dudley. "Die!" they all yelled.
That's when Dudley woke up, his heart racing.
Dudley now was a student at Stonewall High. His first day there, bigger kids had shoved his head in a toilet. The bullying by bigger boys continued after the first day; half the students at Stonewall now called Dudley "Fat Boy." Stonewall's teachers—who all looked at Dudley with disgust—did nothing to stop Dudley's pain and shaming. A teacher at Stonewall hinted that the teachers at Smeltings were relieved that Dudley was gone.
At Stonewall, Dudley had tried to act like a bully himself, but this had not worked out. When a swotty boy in one of Dudley's classes had taunted him—"You're really a pillock sort, aren't you, Fat Boy?"—Dudley had moved up close to the thinner boy and had made threats. But instead of being scared of Dudley, the other boy had laughed in Dudley's face. "Go ahead, Fat Boy, hit me. Then you'll join your dad in prison!"
Here was another reason that in Stonewall, life for Dudley was bugger-all. At Smeltings, everyone had known that Dudley was the boy whose father played golf with the Smeltings headmaster; at Stonewall, Dudley was known as the boy whose father had been sent to prison for twenty years, for £156 000 in tax crimes.
Besides sending Dudley's dad to prison, the Crown had seized everything the Dursleys owned—the car, the house on Privet Drive and the money in savings. Now Mum worked as an assistant in a florist shop; the only way she could make ends meet was because now mother and son lived in a council flat (the neighbours were noisy).
But as bad as things now were for Dudley and his mum, at least they were not much worse. Because Vernon Dursley had "taken his medicine," Harry had kept his promise: None of the Dursleys would go to the magical prison and be exposed to Dementors, every minute of every day. Dudley's relief at knowing this was huge. Azkaban, the magical prison, sounded to Dudley like a real-life horror that was much worse than anything he had ever seen in a film at the cinema.
Almost three years later
Thursday, 2nd July 1998
In a tunnel of the iron mine beneath Gringotts UK
Harry never used his power to order Dumbledore's execution; Harry never sent Gringotts a message to "Axe the wanker's neck."
But what a goblin-steel axe did not do, starvation and exhaustion achieved. Skeleton-thin Dumbledore died in a tunnel of the iron mine, with a miner's pick in his hands and a cold-torch sticky-charmed to his forehead. The goblins immediately vanished Dumbledore's corpse.
Gringotts did not notify Hogwarts or the Daily Prophet of Albus Dumbledore's passing. For Aberforth Dumbledore, Gringotts added a brief written message to his monthly account statement.
Nine days later
Saturday, 11th July 1998
About two weeks after Harry, Hermione and their year-mates sat their NEWTs and finished their seventh year, Harry and Hermione got married—twice.
The first wedding was at Hogwarts, where many weddings had taken place in the past thousand years; but nobody had ever been married exactly where seventeen-year-old Harry and eighteen-year-old Hermione held their wedding: in a girl's lavatory.
Marrying in a girl's loo at Hogwarts? The Purebloods (those who had survived the First-Task Massacre) were scandalised.
Surprisingly, Dowager Narcissa Malfoy defended Lady Hermione Dagworth-Granger-Malfoy's unusual choice of a wedding location. "Harry and Hermione, plus the cast-out Weasley boy, only two months into their first year, battled and defeated a mountain troll in the same bathroom they will be wedded in. Harry and Hermione weren't friends before the troll, but they were friends afterwards. Anyone can get married in the Great Hall, or in a House common room; but for those two, the troll bathroom actually is a more romantic place."
All three Triwizard Tournament Champions were invited to the wedding, and all three Champions attended.
The nonmagical wedding was held at Saint George Church of England in Crawley. A cousin of Hermione's was the Maid of Honour; Daphne, Lavender, Luna, Parvati and Susan were bridesmaids.
Alas, Rigel Black, the two-year-old son of Sirius and Amelia, was too young to be the ring bearer.
At the wedding breakfast (wedding reception) in the Grangers' back garden, a snowy owl swooped down to land on the groom's shoulder, and used its beak to pluck a water beetle out of the bride's hair. Two quick bites and the water beetle was history; then the snowy owl flew away. All the wedding guests talked about the snowy owl; no person—including Harry and Hermione—asked what a water beetle was doing in the bride's hair.
A week later, the Daily Prophet reported that Rita Skeeter was missing, presumed dead.
Meanwhile, Harry and Hermione spent their honeymoon at the "Dumbledore holiday house" in Ibiza. The first two days that the bride and groom were in the house, the Mediterranean weather outside was nearly nonstop rain—the newlyweds never noticed.