And here is the epilogue for you all.
Thank you all for reading along and sharing this journey with me.
Of course, there are many more stories to follow, and as requested by a few, I have updated my profile here, so do go and have a read.
Well, this is it for Whispers of a Raven, but do go and check out When the Roses Bloom Again.
On my website, it is up to chapter 14, and available for all to read.
"Live the life you have earned, Peverell. We will meet again when it is your time."
Those had been the final words the cloaked figure had offered Harry the same night he had defeated Tom and ridden the world of his final Horcrux.
Harry knew that he would not see the figure again, and he had not since, nor would he until he breathed his last.
He was relieved mostly, but he had become oddly fond of his strange companion over the years they had convened, but it was time to move on, to finally experience a semblance of normality.
Not peace, mind, not for some time yet.
Any notion of that Harry had hoped for once the war had concluded had been short-lived. The following months after the Dark Lord had been vanquished were a flurry of activity.
It had begun with Bagnold's insistence to hold the trials for the captured Death Eaters immediately. For weeks the Wizengamot presided over these, and Harry found himself juggling his time between his duties as Lord Peverell and his duties to the Falcons.
As it had been the first time around, many of those that found themselves being prosecuted defended themselves by claiming that they had been placed under the Imperius Curse, that they were not acting of their own accord.
It may have worked before, but with his considerable influence, Harry had led the charge to see all accused questioned under Veritaserum.
Claims of being under the dreaded curse soon ceased, and all but only a few who had proven to be unwitting allies of the Dark Lord were sent to Azkaban for varying terms, several of those sentences being handed to other Lords and Ladies that had once sat amongst the members of the Wizengamot.
They had been stripped of their titles and replaced with other members of the family where possible, or their seats held in trust for their children for when they came of age.
Millicent Bagnold had been rather ruthless with how she wished that 'traitors against Britain', as she dubbed them, should be punished.
Those remaining on the Wizengamot were not inclined to disagree with her suggestions.
The affair became very one-sided.
Those that had sided with Tom were punished harshly, some fined to a point where they were left almost penniless, others imprisoned for the rest of their days, and even a few sentenced to death for their transgressions against the country, all in the name of sending a strong message to any other that harboured the idea of attempting to subjugate wizarding Britain.
Britain would bend to none.
Harry cared not for what happened to those that had sided with the Dark Lord. As far as he was concerned, they had reaped what they had sown, but he would not pretend that he was not filled with a sense of relief when it was all over, and the rest of the legwork would fall to the Ministry to handle.
He had grown weary of war, tired of fighting, and was done with this stage of his life.
Voldemort was dead, and that was all that mattered to him, and although that only added to the mystery surrounding him, the revelation that Narcissa yet lived all but cemented the family name as one of utter intrigue.
Questions were of course asked. Too many had witnessed the event for what happened to be denied.
The world knew that Narcissa had been murdered, but here she was, appearing with Harry and their daughter in public as though she had merely been away a short while.
Wizarding Britain as a whole speculated how this had come to pass, but with neither Harry nor Narcissa speaking, no answers were forthcoming.
Eventually, the subject was dropped, though Narcissa was now also looked upon with something akin to what Harry had endured his entire life; a walking miracle that defied the belief of what magic could do.
One simply did not survive the killing curse, and one did not bring back the dead.
Both were beyond the realm of possibility to those that did not understand the magic that Harry wielded, the relationship with Death that he shared.
Narcissa coped with the scrutiny, with the strange looks, and the questions asked of her, and even returned to St Mungo's where she continued with the job she loved, while Harry went back to playing quidditch where he had quickly become the most sought-after commodity in the game.
After a first exemplary season with the Falcons, the other teams were desperate to sign him, to lure him into wearing their colours for the upcoming campaign.
With his showing in Britain and Bulgaria over the past year, he had garnered much interest, and not just from the other local teams.
Coaches from North and South America alike had made inquiries, even more from Europe, and some offers coming in from as far as Australia, but the Falcons were not budging.
Even with such ludicrous sums on the table, they would not be selling Harry. No amount of gold would have them part with him, and as Titus said when he pulled Harry aside to discuss the situation with him; Harry would bring the team and Harry himself much more gold by staying.
When it was made abundantly clear there would be no more negotiations, the endorsements came flooding in.
Every broom company wanted Harry to represent them on the field, every Quidditch equipment supplier wanted him to advocate for the wares, and even the brands not associated with the sport wanted their piece of the action.
Harry had known that Quidditch was a lucrative trade in the wizarding world, but he had never known just how willing companies were to part with their money for what he had only ever seen as a source of enjoyment.
In truth, the attention he received was rather overwhelming, but as he always had with how his life had been, he took it in his stride and hid away when it became too much.
Throughout this rather daunting period, it had been Narcissa he had turned to. The woman had been his rock, had made it all the more bearable, and when the new season had started, he remained with the Falcons, just with several more benefits that he would not even pretend to understand.
Narcissa had handled his side of the negotiations, much to his relief, and she was happy. She had merely laughed when Harry balked at the stacks of parchment she had returned home with, but she had taken pity on him and not forced every detail on him.
"You have more money than you will ever be able to spend," she said simply. "All you have to do is play Quidditch."
Narcissa had nodded, kissed him on the cheek, and told him how proud she was.
"You've earned this, Harry."
That had been the end of the conversation, and Harry had done what was asked of him.
Week in and week out, he had trained and played as he always did, and everyone seemed happy. Other than the rest of the teams, of course.
He was halfway through his second season and already the Falcons were being tipped to win the league with Harry yet to concede a snitch.
For once in his life, it felt as though everything was going well, that he was being compensated for the hell he had endured since he had been born.
Even so, the arrival of the England coach, Jack Campbell, during a miserable December morning had been quite the surprise.
"Peverell, get your arse in here, you've got a visitor," Jones called as Harry was readying himself for training.
With a frown, he left the changing rooms and entered the office to be greeted by the sight of the same man Clayton had pointed out during the last game of the previous season.
"Peverell, this is Jack Campbell, the coach of the national team," Jones introduced their guest.
Campbell was tall and broad with it, his greying hair and cropped beard neatly styled. If Harry had to guess, he would have once been a beater and probably a vicious one too.
"Peverell," Campbell acknowledged him, almost pulling Harry's shoulder from the socket as he shook his arm. "I won't waste your time with bollocks, I want you on the team for the world cup next year."
Harry appreciated the candid approach of the man and looked towards Jones for his thoughts on the matter.
"There's no one who does this as well as you, lad," Titus offered. "It's your time, Peverell."
Not once in his life had Harry dreamed that he would represent his country in anything. When he had envisioned himself playing Quidditch, it had always been as nothing more than for leisure, a hobby he would pursue on the weekends with a team like the Harriers.
Just how far had he come?
"This isn't me jumping on the bandwagon," Campbell broke into his thoughts. "I couldn't give a toss who wants to pucker up and kiss your arse. I don't have time for that crap. I want you on the team because you deserve to be there. So, are you in?"
Harry snorted before nodding and offering his hand once more, bracing himself for it to be yanked off.
"Excellent!" Campbell declared. "You'll begin training on Monday with us instead of here, but your duties to the Falcons will be the same. You'll play your matches and train three days a week with them. The other two, you'll be with me."
"I'll see you Monday then," Harry replied.
Campbell offered him a nod and swept from the office.
"Did that just happen?" Harry asked dumbly.
"It did, lad. Now get yourself out there, it's not Monday yet."
That had been the beginning of his new schedule, and his announcement into the national team had sparked a wave of excitement throughout the country. For the first time in many years, people believed England may just win a major trophy.
It put a lot of pressure on Harry, but that was nothing new to him when it came to Quidditch.
His whole playing career had been marred by it from the start; the youngest seeker in over a century to make the house team, a nobody being called up from the lowest league to play in the topflight, and now from only one season of playing professionally, he would have the weight of the nation on his shoulders.
Perhaps he should be feeling more nervous, but he wasn't. Quidditch was the one thing he had consistently been good at, and if anything, the pressure only made him perform better.
"Harry are you home?" the voice of Narcissa pulled him from his thoughts.
"Yeah, I'll be down in a second," he called back.
He had just finished showering after a particularly cold and wet training session. March always proved to be a miserable month in Britain and the weather wouldn't break for at least another month yet.
There would be many more training days like this one.
"How was your day?" he asked as he entered the kitchen.
"Oh, it was wonderful," Narcissa answered sarcastically. "Yet again Mrs Whittaker was in having transfigured her ears into a teapot handle and spout, I was thrown up on twice by a child, and one of the patients on the Janice Thickey ward tried to bite me."
"So, a standard day then?" Harry asked as he began the process of making her some tea.
Narcissa scowled at him but grinned nonetheless as she nodded.
"Oh, and I'm pregnant," she added as an afterthought.
Harry paused, frowning as he tried to decide if he had heard his wife correctly.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"I'm pregnant, Harry," Narcissa sighed.
"Is that such a bad thing?" he asked cautiously.
"No, I just thought you should know."
Harry nodded as he put down the kettle and pulled the woman into his arms.
"You're not happy?"
"I am over the moon," Narcissa assured him, "it just hasn't sunk in yet."
"I see," he replied as he released her and ran towards the back door.
"Harry, no, not the bloody fireworks again!"
Her plea came too late as only a few moments later, the windows shook as a series of explosions sounded and a myriad of colours lit the night sky.
Shaking her head, Narcissa stood at the backdoor and watched the antics of her husband, his childlike cheering bringing a smile to her lips as he celebrated the news that he would be a father again in his own way.
"Will you ever grow up?" she huffed when he was finished.
"No, not when we have another little one on the way!" he denied, his eyes sparkling in the moonlight.
Narcissa glared at him good-naturedly.
"We're having another baby," she whispered, the excitement beginning to creep in.
August 3rd, 1980
It was odd looking upon a child that was what he had once been. Down to the emerald eyes, the little boy belonging to James and Lily was everything he was as a babe.
He had perhaps thought that with the war over the two would be in no hurry to become parents, but it seemed that some things were destined to remain the same, and as the little boy yawned in his arms, Harry couldn't help but smile.
The magic of the baby was so familiar, an understandable observation because his own magic had been just what emanated from the boy; warm, protective, passionate.
Alas, his had lost the warmth so many years prior, and in its place was the coldness he had grown used to, but the feel of the former was not an unwelcome one.
In truth, it was nice to be reminded of what he had been and what he had grown to become.
"What did you name him?" Narcissa asked, watching her husband, understanding that this must be difficult for him.
"Well, erm," James replied, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly, "we decided, only if it is alright with you, to name him Harry."
Her husband's eyes snapped towards two nervous Potters, a smirk adorning his features.
"Why?" he asked.
"It just felt right," he answered sincerely. "You've helped me with Quidditch, helped me with my auror training, and you're the closest thing to family I have that isn't my parents."
Harry nodded his understanding.
"Then I am honoured," he replied.
James breathed a sigh of relief and accepted his son that Harry handed back.
The difficulty for the Peverell lord did not lay in the fact that they this little boy was either a variant of him or a sibling of sorts, it was that despite everything, they thought so much of Harry that they would name their son after him.
Even after winning the world cup for England almost two years prior, it was this that tested his ability to not let his emotions get the better of him.
"Thank you, Lord Peverell," Lily broke in, offering him a grateful smile.
He had seen photos of them in the album he still possessed that Hagrid had gifted him for Christmas during his first year at Hogwarts, but the smiles they wore here in this moment warmed him more than any picture could, and though they would never know just who he was, Harry would always be proud to call James and Lily Potter his mother and father.
It had been almost five years since Abraxus had bid farewell to his wife thanks to the favour gifted to him by Harry Peverell, five years that he had waited for the silver-lining promised by Ilse to emerge, and yet, nothing had been forthcoming.
Lucius had shown no improvement during the interim, his condition remaining as it had since Abraxus had him removed from St Mungo's and placed under the care of a private healer.
Still, he ranted and raved about ravens and Death when he was at his worst and spent his days mumbling about the Dark Lord and his success to come during his calmer moments.
The man had not spoken a lucid sentence in years and was unlikely to. As a father, Abraxus could not face looking upon what his son had become, could not bear to see his once intelligent boy reduced to a babbling fool, but there was no helping him.
Experts from across the magical world had been drafted in to investigate his condition and all had left, scratching their heads, having been baffled by what ailed him.
If truth be told, Abraxus had long given up hope that anything could be done for Lucius. The best he could do for the man was ensure he was comfortable, fed and cared for as best as his healer could manage.
Abraxus frowned as he was pulled from his thoughts by the chiming of the floo network.
"Auror Robards," he greeted the Head Auror with a sigh. "Is it time for another search of my home already?"
"Not today, Lord Malfoy," the man answered. "Something rather unexpected has come up. I think you should come through."
"What is it?" Abraxus asked curiously.
"I'd much rather not discuss through the floo. I would say it is a private matter that you will not wish to be overheard."
Abraxus nodded as he stood from his seat.
"I'll come through now," he sighed.
Robards head vanished from the fireplace, though the flames remained green and Abraxus released a deep breath, wondering what would require his attention so urgently.
Stepping through the fire and into the Head Auror's office, he was greeted by the sight of the man himself and a woman he did not recognise.
"Thank you for coming, Lord Malfoy," Robards said. "I wouldn't call upon you unless it was necessary."
"What is this all about?" Abraxus demanded irritably.
Robards sighed as he shook his head, gesturing for the woman to speak.
"Lord Malfoy, my name is Mafalda Hopkirk, I work in the Office for the Misuse of Magic."
What on earth could this woman want with him.
"A few days ago, we were notified of some unusual activity in Taunton. Upon investigating, we were led to a child that was residing in an orphanage there," Hopkirk explained apprehensively. "I think you should meet him. I'm sure you will see why we asked you here."
The woman left the room and returned a few moments later with a small boy dressed in tatty muggle clothing and clinging on to a toy train, but it was neither of these that held the attention of the Malfoy patriarch, it was his long blonde hair, high cheekbones and blue eyes.
This boy was undoubtedly a Malfoy.
"Lord Malfoy?" Hopkirk intruded on his thoughts.
Abraxus shook himself as he approached the small child whose eyes widened as he did so.
"What's your name, boy?" he asked quietly.
"Alexander Carling, sir," he answered nervously. "Are you g-going to send me away?"
"Send you away?" Abraxus pressed.
"For blowing up my room. I didn't mean to do it, it just, happened," the boy explained lamely.
"No, Alex, no one is going to send you away. You're not in any trouble," Hopkirk comforted. "Why don't I take you to get some lunch? You must be hungry."
The boy nodded, accepting the offered hand from the woman and waved at Abraxus as he was taken from the room.
"What happened to his mother?" the Malfoy patriarch asked.
"She died during childbirth," Robards explained, "and the boy has been in the care of the muggles since."
Abraxus nodded his understanding.
There was only one way this boy could have been born, his mind drifting to all that was revealed to him by Peverell that fateful night at St Mungo's.
He was a product of Lucius's misdeeds, to put it lightly, and though the thought of his son conducting himself in such a way sickened Abraxus, that was neither here nor there.
"Silver-lining indeed," he muttered, the parting words of his wife echoing in his thoughts. "What will happen to him?"
"The orphanage will not take him back so I imagine alternative arrangements will have to be made. We thought that you should be made aware for the future fallout. Anyone that sees him when he eventually goes to Hogwarts will know he is a Malfoy."
"They will," Abraxus agreed.
The boy looked just like Lucius had at that age.
"I am sorry to put this on you," Robards offered. "With everything you've dealt with, I know this is not what you need."
Abraxus waved him off, his mind still focused on the final conversation he had shared with his wife.
Was this what she had been referring to?
She couldn't possibly have meant a recovery for Lucius that only became less and less likely the more time that passed.
Regardless of his origins, this boy was his grandson, despite what Lucius had done to bring him into this world, he was still of his blood.
What happened to his mother was not the boy's fault, and an orphanage was no place for a Malfoy, even if he was conceived in such a horrific manner.
"Does he know who he is, or what he is?"
Robards shook his head.
"We have told him nothing and will obliviate him when a new home has been found."
"No," Abraxus denied. "You will do no such thing. I would like to speak with him."
"To what end?" Robards asked with a frown.
"My reasons are my own," Abraxus returned. "I do not intend to cause harm or upset to him. I'm sure you will be present to ensure that doesn't happen."
Robards nodded and released a deep sigh.
"Mafalda would have taken him to the canteen. Would you like me to have them brought back?"
"Let's not deny him his meal," Abraxus decided. "We will join them."
"Are you sure about that? People will see," Robards pointed out.
"People will know who he is one day, and I will not have my house brought into further disrepute. It is not fair on the boy either that he should be denied knowing who he is."
The Head Auror was taken aback by the response but gestured for the Malfoy lord to follow him.
When they did reach the canteen, it was almost full, and the little boy that was seated with the redheaded Hopkirk had garnered quite the interest by the Ministry workers.
As Abraxus approached, Alex was giggling at something another auror was saying, the same tinkering laughter Lucius once expressed.
With little thought, Abraxus took a seat opposite the boy who eyed him curiously as he poured himself a cup of coffee.
"How old are you, Alex?"
"I'm five, sir."
"Five? Well, you're not such a small boy anymore, are you?"
Alex shook his head.
"I'm the best reader at the home, better than even the older kids," he said proudly.
"You like to read?"
The boy nodded excitedly.
"I like reading about King Arthur and his Knights, and all about Narnia."
"You're a bright young man," Abraxus praised before taking a sip of his coffee. "Has anyone told you who I am?"
Alex shook his head and Abraxus offered him a smile.
"My name is Abraxus Malfoy, I'm your grandfather."
The boy eyed him with utter disbelief and Robards shook his head.
"Lord Malfoy, you shouldn't tell him that, it will only…"
Abraxus cut him off with a wave of his hand.
"It will do nothing," he countered. "The boy will be coming with me, if he wants to, of course?"
"With you?" Robards questioned, his own disbelief outweighing that of the speechless Alex.
"Where else should he be if not with family?" Abraxus returned.
"No, I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just surprised," Robards explained.
Abraxus ignored the man in favour of turning his attention back to the dumbfounded boy.
"Are you really my grandfather?" Alex asked after a moment.
"Then why was I sent to the orphanage?" the boy asked sadly.
Abraxus offered him a sympathetic smile.
"I didn't know about you until today, Alex, but I can promise that you won't be going back there or to any other orphanage. If you'd like, you can come with me, and you will have a real home."
"Is my father there too?"
How could he explain Lucius's condition to the boy?
He couldn't. Alex was too young to understand the complexity of that issue.
"Your father is not a well man, not very well at all, but you will have me to look after you," he promised.
"I'd like that, sir," he replied. "Would I have my own room?"
"You will," he confirmed, the bright smile of the boy warming him.
He didn't know how he would make it work, but he would give it his all. If this was the silver-lining his wife had spoken of, he would absolutely take it.
Alex may not be a pureblood, the circumstances of his birth something he should never learn, but he was a Malfoy, and through him, the line would continue.
"Alright, Ilse, it came good," he thought to himself.
His wife had always been right, why would that have changed even in death?
July 31st, 2013
The corners of the image she held had become rather dog-eared over the past decade from how much she looked upon it. It had been just over ten years that Harry had come and gone once more, ten years, and yet, she still missed him and wondered just how he was doing.
If the photo of him, his wife, and his daughter was anything to go by, Hermione knew at the very least, that Harry was happy.
"Hermione?" Viktor's voice broke into her thoughts.
He had gotten better at saying her name over the years, but there would always be a slight twang to his accent.
She had grown fond of it in truth.
"He would have been thirty-three today," she sighed.
Viktor smiled at the photo when she showed him.
He had seen it several times over the years, but it always elicited the same reaction.
"He was good man," he declared the same way he always did when Harry was discussed. "You still miss him, da?"
"A part of me always will, but I know that he is happy, wherever he is."
"Da," Viktor commented wrapping an arm around her shoulder. "Would you like to go and visit him?"
"It is his birthday," Viktor pointed out. "I can arrange a portkey, and you can tell the children all about the wonderful man that 'Arry Potter was."
"I'd really like that," Hermione said gratefully.
Viktor smiled and kissed her on the brow before exiting the room and shouting for their children in his native tongue.
They had three in all, two boys that took after their father and a girl that shared the same bushy hair as her mother.
Living in Bulgaria, they knew little of the war she had endured in Britain, but they would learn of it today, and her eldest son would know why he had been given Harry as his middle name.
He had questioned it once or twice already, but he had been too young to understand.
Now at almost nine-years-old, maybe he was ready?
Regardless, they would all be going to England, a journey she had made alone a few times since leaving, to pay tribute to a hero they did not know existed; her forever friend.
"Ten years, Moony," Sirius sighed as he stood before the monument that had been erected for Harry next to his parent's graves in Godric's Hollow.
"I know, Padfoot," Remus comforted. "I miss him too."
Sirius nodded sadly as he placed his palm on the base of the statue. It had been commissioned by Kingsley when he had taken up the post of Minister of Magic, something that had been approved unanimously by the Wizengamot, along with a post-humous Order of Merlin First Class.
Harry would have hated it, but he wasn't here to protest, and for many now and for generations to come, he would remain their hero.
"Is it sad that I still hope that he may one day come back?"
Remus shook his head.
"No, I hope for the same. Even if it is so that James and Lily don't kill us when it's our turn."
Sirius gave his friend a watery chuckle.
"They'll do that anyway."
Remus nodded, a frown marring his features as he took in a small group of people walking towards them.
"Is that Hermione?" he asked in disbelief.
None had seen the woman since the night she left Grimmauld Place before the fall of the Dark Lord.
"It bloody is," Sirius declared, "and she's got a trio of sprogs with her."
"I would rather you didn't refer to my children as sprogs, Sirius," Hermione chastised as she wrapped her arms around the man before doing the same to the werewolf.
"I see you took Harry's advice," Remus said approvingly.
"He wasn't always a reckless prat," she giggled.
"No, but he had his moments," Sirius broke in with a smirk. "Anyway, what brings you here?"
Hermione gave the man a sad smile as she nodded to the statue.
Towering above them was the figure of her best friend with his raven companion perched on his shoulders.
"I thought it was about time they learned just who he was," she explained, gesturing to her children.
"Well, I hope the rest of your day is free," Sirius snorted, "he's not the simplest of people to understand."
"No, he isn't," Hermione agreed. "Maybe I should start from the beginning when we first met on the train? Then I can tell you about the time he shoved his wand up a troll's nose."
Her children looked to be a mixture of horrified and excited by the impending tale.
Hermione, Sirius, and Remus could only wish that it didn't seem to end in utter misery for them, but if what Harry had told them was true, they all knew he was out there somewhere, happy and thriving in his own little world.
For all the promises given that she would soon stop feeling what she did for Harry, it had never truly faded. Even now after thirteen years, Narcissa Malfoy still thought of him the same way, still longed for him, and even dreamed of him from time to time.
Watching how Harry's life develop into what it was should perhaps bring a sense of sadness to her, and though her longing only grew, it did not. In her loneliness of post-war Britain, it brought her a small amount of joy, even if it was not her own.
She was not so lonely that she did not have anything to occupy her time. Lord Greengrass had been good to her, had allowed her to bond with her grandson, and she had even looked after Scorpius when Astoria had taken up the potions Professor role at Hogwarts.
Severus had been sent to Azkaban for his part in the war, despite his assisting Harry when it mattered.
He had served five years and vanished upon his release, and Astoria had filled in for him during the interim, a position made permanent when Snape left.
But those days had long passed. Her grandson was now a student himself, though he always came to visit during the holidays and often spent weeks at a time with his grandmother during the summer.
Narcissa came to live for this. The boy was sweet, bright, and caring, everything his father was not.
Thoughts of Draco only filled Narcissa with disappointment and disgust.
Both her son and Lucius had been harshly punished by the Ministry when the extent of their transgressions came to light, and both would never leave Azkaban.
Scorpius had asked after his father, and though Narcissa, Astoria, nor Lord Greengrass had divulged all they knew, the students of Hogwarts had not been so reluctant to share just what a monster Draco was.
It had been difficult for her grandson to accept, but he eventually had. Even when Draco had written to him during the previous summer, Scorpius had thrown the missive in the fire, not wanting to be associated with the man that had sired him.
Despite it all, her grandson was growing into a fine boy, and one she was proud of.
The same could be said of what she witnessed of Harry's life. Dreams they may be, but Narcissa knew enough of the magic that still bonded her to him that they were merely not fabrications of her mind.
Harry had defeated the Dark Lord, was raising a family of his own, and was still as mysterious and well-loved as ever by wizarding Britain, and beyond.
His daughter Helena was growing to be a beautiful woman, and the three sons that followed were just like him.
She wished she could meet them, could see Harry just one more time, but it was not to be.
No, she would have to be content with what glimpses she was granted into the life he now lived and be at peace and content with what she saw.
She may never stop longing for him, and if truth be told, she did not wish to.
For as brief as it had been, she had felt loved for the first time in her life and she would not trade the feeling for anything.
July 31st, 1992
He had enjoyed the peace the last decade and a half had brought him, had spent the past years playing Quidditch, raising his family, and finding joy in the simple things life could bring.
What he lived now was a far cry from the hell his childhood had been and the war-torn Britain he had come to know during his late teenage years. Sometimes, he even forgot what it felt like to have lived life on the run and hunted day in and day out.
Much of it now felt like a distant memory, a series of bad dreams he had endured but finally woken up from, and oddly, he found that he missed.
Perhaps he would never become entirely accustomed to peace, that there would always be that part of him that was on edge, that even craved conflict.
He knew that he should not feel this way, but at heart, he had become a warrior, and that was something that would never fade.
Instead of giving into the urges to seek a fight, he channelled his energy into Quidditch, into his wife and children.
So long as he had them, there was no need to fight.
He stayed ready, however, spending hours a week in the basement training. Why? He didn't know himself.
Maybe it had become so ingrained into him that he could not break the habit, or perhaps he simply did not wish to. It was as much a part of him as being a father, a husband, and Quidditch player, though the latter he was no longer sure about.
The thought creased his brow.
He had played fifteen seasons with the Falcons, losing only one of those when much of the team was replaced in one go. Jones had not made that mistake again, opting to change one or two players a season at most.
Harry was now the only one that remained from when he began at the Falcons.
Some had moved on to other teams, and some had simply retired when they were no longer playing at their best.
Since Collins had left eleven years ago, Harry had taken over the captaincy, a position he still held.
With the national team, he had led them to four world cup wins, the other seekers simply unable to compete with him. He was widely regarded as the best, something he proved time and time again with his performances, but now, there was nothing else to prove, nothing to keep him pushing himself as there had once been.
The Peverell vault was overflowing with gold, he had won more trophies and accolades than he could count, and slowly but surely, he was getting older. He would soon be past his prime and he did not wish to go out as he had seen many others do before him; old, and with the reputation they may once have had tarnished by subpar performances in their final years.
"Thinking about where you're going to put this year's trophies?" the voice of his wife broke into his thoughts.
She often made the same joke whenever Harry was in his trophy room. Sometimes he came here because he wanted to enjoy his accomplishments, and others because he just couldn't believe it was all real.
Nonetheless, he shook his head.
"I'm done," he said simply.
"You're done?" Narcissa asked disbelievingly.
"I don't want to do this anymore. Play Quidditch," he clarified. "I did say when I no longer enjoyed it so much that I would stop. I want to stop now, Cissy."
"Then stop," she urged as she wrapped her arms around his neck. "You have given them fifteen years, Harry. It's up to you to decide when you have nothing left to give."
Harry offered her a grateful smile.
"I'm still going to play the next world cup. It would be a shame to leave it at four."
Narcissa rolled her eyes at him.
"Does this mean I will have my husband to myself now?"
Harry grimaced as he shook his head.
"Not exactly," he sighed. "Albus has already offered me the defence position."
"Offered or did you ask for it?"
Harry frowned thoughtfully.
"I don't know. You can never be sure when dealing with the git. I might have asked, or he might have offered. Either way, I'm starting back in September."
"And this is what you want?"
"It is. I've been thinking about it a lot over the past few years."
"I know," Narcissa mumbled. "I know you better than I think you know yourself, Harry."
"Are you upset with me?"
"Why would I be?"
"Well, I did say we would have more time together when I was finished with Quidditch," he pointed out.
"And we will," Narcissa replied. "You will be coming home, and we will still have the holidays together. I have my own work to keep me busy, Harry. It may not seem it, but you are only thirty-seven. We will have many years together when we are both done with what we love. You will just have to make it up to me then."
Harry snorted and held her close to him.
"There is one thing though," Narcissa muttered.
"What?" Harry asked confusedly.
"Are you going to tell the kids, or am I?"
Harry shook his head.
"No, let's leave it as a surprise for them."
Narcissa raised an eyebrow at her husband.
"Then on your head be it, Harry Peverell."
September 3rd, 1992
She straightened her robes and adjusted the prefect badge that adorned the front of them, ready to begin her fifth year of Hogwarts.
As expected, her mother and father made quite the fuss about her being given the position, the latter spending the following day or so telling her how proud he was of her, even going as far to floo her grandmother, grandfather and great-grandparents to tell them the news.
The man never failed to embarrass her, but she loved him dearly.
Of course, she loved her mother also, but the bond she shared with her father was special. Out of the four children, Helena was the only girl, and though she looked like her mother, she took after her father in almost every way.
She had proven to be an excellent flier, excelled with her wand work in Defence, and even acquired a little raven just like Olin before she started her third year.
Kali had simply appeared in her room a little over two years ago and had been with her since.
Helena was proud of her heritage, but the raven's appearance couldn't have come at a worse time.
The whispers of her classmates had only just stopped. For the first two years of her schooling, she was followed by the rumours, the speculation, and intrigue of her peers.
At first, Helena had not understood why.
She had grown up knowing her father was a famous Quidditch player; 'the best seeker England had ever produced,' the media claimed, but the whispers not only pertained to this.
Her father was a hero, the vanquisher of the Dark Lord Voldemort, and it wasn't until she returned home for Christmas during her first year that she had learned this.
Her parents had been very candid with her, had explained the war and the part they played.
Helena had struggled to believe it and didn't for quite some time.
Her father was the sweetest man she knew, and she couldn't imagine him killing anyone, but the tale they told certainly explained the treatment he received from the other Lords, Ladies, and the rest of Britain.
They respected him as much as they were wary of him. They never mentioned the family name in vain, not to her knowledge at the very least.
Still, she couldn't believe the man that had taught her to fly, had been a guest at the tea parties she hosted with her toys as a little girl, and even let her paint his toenails was the same one that killed the Dark Lord.
It only became less believable when she learnt of the war in her second year, and she put the stories she'd heard to the back of her mind.
That was until she had snuck into the basement the following Christmas and saw for herself why her father was so respected for his prowess with his wand.
She knew that he would go down there as he did several times a week before breakfast, and she wanted to surprise him with a scarf she had made him.
What she saw put any doubt she held onto to rest.
She watched as he entered the room and proceeded to lay waste to training dummies and wield magic that she had never even heard of.
The thing she remembered most, however, was his eyes. That had turned as white as Olin's, and as she witnessed what her father was capable of, she could no longer deny the truth.
Harry Peverell would be a terrifying wizard to provoke.
Helena had cried, and her father looked almost guilty for what she had seen, but he had not been angry for her sneaking into a room she had been explicitly instructed to stay away from.
He had taken the time to calm her down and explained parts of his life she didn't know.
It was awful to hear the suffering he had endured, the life he had once lived, but if anything, it only made the girl love him more.
Despite everything, he was still a kind and caring man, one that loved his family, and was loved by all.
For as much as it meant to him, she had told him how proud of him she was, and it had only brought to the two of them closer together.
Her father might be Britain's hero for his feats through Quidditch and ridding them of Voldemort, but he was her hero because of who he was.
"Come, Kali," she whispered as she entered the Great Hall and took her seat at the Slytherin table.
"Will it be this year you agree to go on a date with me?" Marcus Flint asked, grinning as the rest of the Quidditch team chuckled around him.
"Bugger off, Flint," Helena sighed.
The boy frowned and leaned in towards her, flinching as the raven on her shoulder began flapping her wings irritably.
"DEATH!" she shrieked, garnering the attention of the rest of the students.
"If he doesn't get the message," Helena said comfortingly, stroking the bird's feathers.
Flint swallowed deeply and sank back into his seat, eying the raven warily, and the hall fell silent as Dumbledore stood and raised his hands.
"Welcome to you all. I hope your summers were full of fun and adventure. Mr Filch, if you will?"
The cantankerous caretaker opened the door and the new first years filed in to be sorted.
Helena remembered her own sorting, the hat torn between placing her in Gryffindor and Slytherin, the latter eventually winning out.
Sometimes, she wished she had been placed with the lions, if only to avoid people like Marcus Flint.
"Ginevra Weasley," McGonagall eventually called, and a little redhead approached the stool before the hat was placed on her head.
"GRYFFINDOR!" it shouted almost immediately.
The students clapped politely as the girl joined the rest of her siblings at the lion's table, and with the sorting ended, Dumbledore stood once more.
"Just a few notices before we tuck into our feats," he began. "Firstly, the forbidden forest is out of bounds to all students, old and new," he reminded them, his eyes drifting over to the Weasley's.
The twins were always causing problems, but they were at least a source of amusement.
"Mr Filch would also like for me to remind you that a list of banned items can be found attached to his door. This has been updated over the summer holidays."
Once again, his eyes drifted to the twins who were sitting up straight, smiling innocently at the headmaster.
"And finally, Professor Quirrell will not be returning this year. He has decided to seek opportunities elsewhere."
That was a welcome announcement.
The man was incompetent at best, and with her OWLs fast approaching, Helena was hoping for someone who knew what they were doing.
"As such," Dumbledore continued, cutting off the excited whispering that had ensued, "we will be joined this year by a returning Professor. Long before any of you graced these halls, he taught here for a year, and even some of our current staff members."
Helena could not miss the widening eyes of Lily Potter, the current potions Professor at Dumbledore's words.
"You will of course know him more for his reputation on the Quidditch pitch, but I can assure you he is certainly up to the task. Please join me in welcoming back, Professor Peverell."
Stunned silence followed the announcement, the students in a state of disbelief as her father entered the room from the door behind the staff table.
His gaze swept across the breadth of the hall, his eyes flashing white briefly before a cacophony of cheering and applause sounded.
"Did you know about this?" Helena hissed towards her younger brother.
Marius was now starting his third year and was just as shocked as his older sister.
He shook his head.
"I had no idea, but I bet he told Cad and Iggy."
"No, he wouldn't have," Helena sighed. "I bet he only told mother."
"Probably," Marius snorted.
Helena wasn't annoyed that her father would be teaching here, if anything, she was pleased that she would see him more. She missed her parents whilst she was at school, and though her mother would be just as absent, she would relish the extra time with her father.
Catching his gaze, she offered him a smile.
This year would be a good one, she could feel it.
It had been many years since Harry had stood at the front of a classroom, readying to teach a cohort of students Defence Against the Dark Arts,
He had missed this, that he could not deny.
For all the wealth and glory that Quidditch brought, teaching gave him things the sport never could.
To him, there was little more satisfying than watching a student the moment what he was trying to teach registered, or when they cast a spell successfully for the first time.
Perhaps in a few years he would miss playing, but this was certainly not a poor substitute.
"Professor? Does this mean that you've retired from Quidditch?" a fifth-year Hufflepuff asked, pulling him from his thoughts.
"I am no longer playing for the Falcons but will continue with my international duties," he explained.
The students whispered excitedly amongst themselves.
"Da-Professor?" Helena corrected. "What will you be teaching us today?"
Harry gave his daughter a grateful smile.
He did not wish to spend his time answering questions about Quidditch during lesson time, and she had gifted him the perfect opportunity to move on from the subject.
"Well, as it is your OWL year, I will be going over some of the things that should have been covered by your previous professors, that haven't been done so well enough. Today, we will be looking at identifying when an item has been cursed, the spells used to detect curses, and some simple counter measures."
With a wave of his wand, a simple wooden block appeared in front of each student.
"I would not do that, Mr Flint," Harry warned as the Slytherin reached out to touch it. "Each of these have been imbued with a simple curse, nothing lethal, of course, but not something you would want to come into contact with. Your task is to identify the curse, and counter it. I will come around and help any of you that need it. Any questions?"
None were forthcoming, and the class set to work.
Harry nodded to himself, the familiarity of being in the classroom one he had missed, though he found himself nervous for the lesson that would follow this one.
He would be teaching the second year Gryffindors and Slytherins, the very same class he had been a part of so many years ago.
The time with his fifth years was spent assisting them with their work, and before he knew it, the class had come to an end.
"There will be no homework today, but I would recommend practicing your identification spells. Use them around the castle, you'll be surprised by some of the magic you will find at Hogwarts."
Helena gave him a bright smile as she left the room, and it was only a few moments later that the second years filed in.
It was not often that Harry allowed himself to dwell on his former life, but he never forgot it. It was as much a part of him as the one he led here, though much of it seemed like a distant memory now.
Seeing Ron, Hermione, and even the Harry that had been named after him taking their seats along with the rest of the group only caused his mind to drift to his own days at school and what their adventures had resulted in.
The Ron he knew was dead, as were many others in this very room. Hermione had lived and he often thought of her, hoping she had indeed taken his advice to find her happiness.
He liked to think she had, that she married Viktor and was somewhere out there enjoying peace with a family of her own.
If she was, then the sting of loss he felt would be lessened.
Regardless, he had already ensured the fate of the girl in front of him, the little redhead that had been his best friend, and even the boy that looked eerily like him would not live the lives they once had.
They would never know that, of course, but it mattered not.
Harry Peverell had done what was necessary to ensure they would have a chance to live in peace, something he had not been granted until he had taken it for himself.
"DEATH!" Olin shrieked from his perch at the front of the room, startling the students.
"Not, today, old friend," Harry murmured. "Not today."