SPECIAL MESSAGE TO FFN READERS (4 NOVEMBER): I've been having a problem with FFN's email notifications. The problem began on 10 October. I posted "Lucius Malfoy, Would-Be Murderer" Chapter 15 and the oneshot "Another Harry Potter Pun" during the problem period, so some FFN readers might not have received notifications about those two chapters. Anyway, whilst FFN failed to fix its problem with Yahoo Mail and Gmail, I've held off posting Chapter 16, on both FFN and AO3. Twenty-five days later, FFN still hasn't fixed its problem, but I've switched my on-file email address at FFN from blah-blah AT (Yahoo Mail) to the free email that my ISP offers (and that up till now, I've never used). The problem seems to be fixed. Sorry for the inconvenience, FFN readers.
After Dumbledore Drops Dead, Part 2
Not quite nine months later: Saturday, 31 July 1993
At Potter Manor in Wales
The joint Neville/Harry "They're thirteen!" birthday bash
Just like last year, the party hosts were Regent Augusta Longbottom and Lord Sirius Black. Other adults there: Remus Lupin, Enyd Miller (now Enyd Lupin) and Ophelia Burke. Also attending the birthday bash: Amelia Bones-Black, also known as Lady Black. Lady Black was just beginning to show.
As for the children, the same children had been invited this year as last year. Again this year, Draco Malfoy had been invited but did not come. Dean Thomas and Justin Finch-Fletchley attended the birthday bash, but this year, they attended the party not as Hogwarts students but as MMA Twelves—and they came to the party with tales to tell to their former schoolmates. Sally-Anne Perks also had transferred to MMA; but unlike Dean and Justin, she was too shy to talk at the birthday bash about her MMA experiences.
Ron Weasley was assumed to be coming, because the party had free food; but Weasley was running late.
This year, the Hogwarts boys and the seven MMA boys were a bit taller than last year, and their voices were a bit deeper (though some of the boy voices cracked.) This year, every girl at the party had at least "bumps" on her chest.
Potter Manor now had the "Faraday-Cage Room," in which was found a working computer (and peripherals), a compact-disc player for music, a colour television and a telephone. Most of the magical-raised students and adults had never seen any of these. Lord Black, who acted as tour guide, said he was proud of the fact that he could operate the CD player, the television and the telephone; but only Hermione fully understood the mysteries-box that was the computer.
Speaking of Hermione, when she first saw her owl-post friends Su Li and Daphne Greengrass, she squealed and gave each of them an Hermy-hug. Daphne looked startled by this.
Whilst Hermione happily was chatting with her two Hogwarts friends, Harry led the ten other MMA Twelves to Potter Manor's portraits-room.
Only Sally-Anne, Dean and Justin, being former Hogwarts students, had seen talking portraits before; the other MMA students were startled.
Harry explained what the first-generation magical children were seeing: "Each portrait has a more powerful version of the enchantment that's on the teaching-photographs at school, but now the portraits' enchantments give orphan-me my family back! Sort of."
Harry gestured towards a young-looking portrait-couple. The man's brown hair was messy in the same way Harry's hair was. Harry said, "These are my grandparents, Charlus and Dorea Potter. They died before I was born; but thanks to magical portraits, I can talk with them. And I do, at least once a week."
At this point, Harry introduced the MMA students to his portrait-grandparents. Portrait-Dorea, whose living self had been a Black until she had married, gently rebuked Harry for breaking the etiquette rule about the order of introductions—but she did it with a loving voice and gentle smile.
"Wow, magical AI," said MMA student John. "This is brilliant."
"What about your parents?" MMA student Martina asked Harry. "Did your parents not get portraits painted before they, erm, passed on?"
"Their portrait is painted, but it's in my Heirlooms vault. I can't bring it here till I'm seventeen, but the goblins let me visit it any—"
Neville ran into the portraits-room. "Harry, you've a problem. Ron is here, but he brought his sister Ginny. They both insist on talking to you."
"I think I'd prefer Lucius Malfoy," Harry replied, following Neville out.
A minute later, by the birthday-bash food table
The girl, just like Ron, the Twins and Percy, had red hair. Harry had seen her the three times this last year that he and Hermione had eaten Saturday lunch at the Gryffindor table, followed by two of this last year's three Gryffindor Quidditch games; but Harry had never spoken to the girl herself.
Now Harry thought, So this is Ginevra Weasley, the girl whom Dumbledore tried to betroth me to marry? Hermione looks smarter, and Hermione's hair has more character.
Meanwhile, Ron's sister was holding a tray that had biscuits on it. Any bystander would expect the ginger-haired girl to unload the tray to add to the food on the table; but no, all the biscuits remained on her tray. The girl's back straightened when she saw Harry.
"About time you got here," Ron said to Harry. "Mum baked these biscuits just for you, mate. Try some."
"Not happening," Harry said. "I invited you, Ronald—though not for much longer—but I didn't invite her. She's a trespasser. Both of you will walk through the Floo right now or I call the Aurors."
"What?" Ron yelled. "Ginny came here just to give you some home-baked biscuits that our mum made, and you're throwing her out? You're humiliating my sister in front of all the kids at school, plus the mudbloods? You think you're better than us, Potter?"
Harry laughed scornfully. "Oh please. Draco Malfoy is better than you, Ronald, and I have history with Draco."
The girl said, "Please, before you make us leave, try some biscuits? Mum baked these just for you. They're really delicious." She pushed the tray towards Harry.
Harry's left hand slowly reached for a biscuit. The eyes of both Ron Weasley and his sister watched Harry's hand move.
The Potter Heir ring, the Malfoy Heir ring and the Black Heir ring all agreed: those biscuits had been potioned.
Harry pulled his hand back. Then Harry said to Ron, "You eat a biscuit first, mate. It's not that I don't trust you—bugger this, I don't trust you. Eat."
Ron's face looked panicked for an instant. "No! Erm, Mum baked them for you. Mum would whack me with her spoon if I ate any."
" 'Pig' is turning down food?" Harry said with fake surprise.
Then Harry Sonorus'd himself and called out, "WICKED STEPMOTHER AMELIA, MAY I BORROW YOU FOR A MINUTE? QUIETUS."
Ron looked angry now. The girl looked ready to flee.
When Amelia walked up, she was accompanied by Hermione. Amelia's clothing said I am Sirius Black's new wife, but Amelia's expression said I am the Director of the DMLE, and the shit just turned serious.
"What's up, Harry?" Amelia asked, in a flat voice.
Harry said, "First of all, Neville and I didn't invite Ron Weasley's sister here, yet here she is. Secondly, both Ron and his sister are pushing me to eat these biscuits. Thirdly, Ron Weasley refused to eat a biscuit; Susan will faint in shock when you tell her this. Fourthly, pass your rings close to the biscuits, and find out if your rings agree with mine."
The ginger-haired girl looked nervous as Amelia moved her left hand slowly over the biscuits. Harry saw the Bones Regent ring, then the Lady Black ring, appear on Amelia's hand, before both rings seemingly disappeared.
Amelia said to Harry, "I suggest you lock down your Floo right now, so these two can't warn Molly Weasley what's about to hit her." Harry called for Greyclay to make it so.
Harry looked at the redheaded girl and said, "Ginevra Molly Weasley, I think you should know: the supposed betrothal contract between you and me? It had two worthless signatures, so I let Hermione tear it up two years ago."
Harry saw Hermione grin savagely at the ginger-haired bint—who still was holding a tray of biscuits, even as the girl and Ron now were being surrounded by Aurors.
Watching all this play out, Pansy Parkinson felt frustrated. What the blood-traitor bint had tried to do today, Pansy had planned to try in a few years—when Potter's guard would be down. But now, thanks to Ginevra Weasley, Potter would be wary of every unmarried witch in Britain except Granger, from today to the day he married his mudblood girlfriend.
As soon as Arthur Weasley heard that his wife Molly had been arrested, and why, he flooed to Saint Mungo's for an OPCC&I scan. When the results of the scan were told to Arthur—"Your mind has been potioned for decades"—Arthur, standing in an examination room in Saint Mungo's, drew his wand and spoke a divorce declaration against Molly.
Immediately Arthur's magic was 75-percent bound. He was unworried—within a week, he knew he would get his magic back.
Six days later: Friday, 6 August 1993
During the weekly Wizengamot session in the Ministry
The Chief Warlock upheld the divorce declaration on 31 July 1993 by Arthur Weasley against his ex-wife, Marion Guinevere Prewett (Molly). Arthur was able to prove that the only reason that he had married Molly was that she had love-potioned him, beginning in their Hogwarts years; this proof of love-potioning gave Arthur grounds for divorce.
As a result of the upheld divorce declaration, Arthur's 75-percent magical binding was lifted, whilst Molly's magic was 75-percent bound. Then, to make a bad day for Molly worse, she was put on trial for Line Theft (Arthur Weasley) and for Attempted Line Theft (Harry Potter).
Molly Prewett was given life in Azkaban, in the medium-security wing. "Life in Azkaban" meant she would not leave the prison alive.
As for Ron and Ginny Weasley, no official punishment befell them.
But beginning 1 September 1993, both Weasleys were shunned by all of the Hogwarts students. These Hogwarts students did not understand Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, but they respected the couple, and the students disapproved of Ron and Ginny trying to break up Harry and Hermione.
Nine months later: June 1994
Over several days, Percy Weasley sat his NEWTs. He blew them away.
Life was great for Percy in another way: He was finishing up a year of being Head Boy, with Penelope Clearwater being Head Girl. The two of them were not as discreet as they thought they were, judging by the Twins' knowing smirks. Thankfully, Penelope had been "on the potion" since fourth year.
Percy had been studious since first year, but beginning with Penelope's admiration in third year, Percy's library research had been boosted to the next level. After a year of this, the Twins had called fourth-year Percy "the Ravenclaw in Red"; Penelope had kissed Percy on the cheek when she had heard this.
In Percy's zeal to read library books, he had stumbled upon many "interesting" bits of knowledge. Percy himself had not abused anyone at Hogwarts with this knowledge, but most of this exotic knowledge he had passed on to the Twins. The Twins thought their next-older brother was the best brother ever!
Percy honestly had tried to please his mother (before she had been sent to prison), by going after a Ministry job where Percy could be both brave and clever. But whilst Aurors were brave and Unspeakables were clever, no Ministry position required both traits.
When Percy had been forced to choose, it had come down to the fact that Mum wanted Percy to be any sort of Ministry worker, Penelope admired "Percy the brave and clever hero," and Penelope was much prettier than Mum and did not yell. Sorry, Mum! After further thought, Percy had decided to be a curse-breaker like his older brother Bill.
Percy had begun a secret correspondence with Bill, beginning Percy's fourth year. At the beginning of Percy's seventh year, nervous Percy had written to his father and had announced his plans to become a curse-breaker, not a Ministry worker. Dad had written back, "I'm proud of you, son"; Mum had been in no position to state her loud opinion.
After Percy sat his NEWTs, Percy did something else rebellious: he married Penelope Clearwater, despite Molly Weasley's loud disapproval of her third son dating a Muggle-born.
(Molly was in prison when Percy and Penelope actually married.)
Two months later: Wednesday, 10 August 1994
In Diagon Alley
Hermione was sitting at an outdoor table at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour, at the very shop where she and Harry had met almost four years ago.
Back on that long-ago day, Hermione had been so excited to go to Hogwarts; these days, someone could not pay Hermione to attend school in that castle.
To make this point explicit, today Hermione was wearing an orange/white "MMA" t-shirt, along with a denim skirt and cork wedgies; she was dressed militant nonmagical.
Whilst Hermione was giving a rare thought to Hogwarts, Harry was inside, buying ice creams for both of them. A blond boy who was Hermione's age, walked by Fortescue's tables. Normally Hermione could be expected to barely know the boy, because he was an Hogwarts student but not in Gryffindor; but Hermione knew a few things about this boy—
His name was Draco Malfoy. Right after Draco's father had tried to kill Harry, ickle Draco had demanded that Harry give the brat his father's cane.
Now Draco looked Hermione in the eyes and sneered, "Does Potter know why you're with him? Does he know that you're a mudblood gold digger who is only slightly more powerful than a Squib?"
"Right, right," Hermione said sarcastically. "I'm a first-generation witch, therefore I can barely manage a Lumos, whilst any Pureblood can Summon one of the tables in the Great Hall."
"Pretty much, yeah," Draco sneered.
Hermione said, "Can you Summon one of the tables in the Great Hall?"
"No, but my magical power still is growing."
Hermione now asked, "You can't Summon an 150-feet table, but what about an anvil? Before the Emrys Scale was invented, the way to determine which of two wizards was magically stronger was an Anvil-Summoning Tug-Of-War. The problem for me is, you might not have learnt Accio, the Summoning Charm, yet. I know Hogwarts teaches slower than MMA, but I don't remember how slow."
Draco snarled, "Of course I know the Summoning Charm. My mother taught it to me when I was twelve. I don't need to go to a school to learn magic, unlike you mudbloods."
"Well then, son of Lucius Malfoy, prove your Pureblood superiority. Let's step away from this table into the street and do the Anvil-Summoning Tug-Of-War right here, right now. Or are you just another Inbred with a loud mouth and a limp wand?"
Just then, Harry walked out of the shop, carrying two dishes of ice cream. He glanced at Hermione, then Draco, and asked, "What's going on?"
Hermione said, "You remember Draco, don't you? I believe you've met his father. Draco was just telling me that I'm a gold digger who is with you only for your money, and since I'm a mud-witch, I can barely do magic. Since dear Draco is a Pureblood, it goes without saying that he's magically strong, and certainly he's magically stronger than moi. I suggested we settle these questions with an Anvil-Summoning Tug-Of-War in the street. We were just about to do this when you walked out."
Draco said, "It's against the rules to do one of those at Hogwarts."
Hermione smiled. "Now we know why you weren't Sorted into Gryffindor. I think you're scared of being publicly humiliated by a first-generation MMA witch, so you're making excuses. Draco dear, just wait till your mother hears about this."
"Fine! But don't cry when you're the one humiliated, Granger!"
Hermione left her table to "borrow" an Auror—in this case, Master Auror Nigel Grenwick. Grenwick beckoned Draco out into the middle of the cobblestone street, then Grenwick conjured an anvil on the cobblestones. As soon as the anvil appeared, a crowd began to form.
Grenwick said, "Miss Granger, stand twenty feet west of the anvil, facing the anvil. Mr Malfoy, stand twenty feet east of the anvil, facing the anvil."
When both teenagers were in position, Grenwick said, "Both of you, draw your wands but point them skyward. When I say 'One-two-three-Go,' point your wand at the anvil and try to Summon it. If your wand moves before I say 'Go," you forfeit. When the anvil is within three feet of one of you, or is closer to one of you when I say 'Stop,' that magical is the winner. When I say 'Stop,' both of you snap your wands skyward and stop trying to Summon the anvil. Any questions?"
Neither teen had questions. Hermione thought that Draco looked worried, though he also was still sneering.
Grenwick said, "One, two, three," pause, "go!"
"Accio anvil!" Hermione and Draco yelled in unison, whilst both wands pointed at the anvil.
The anvil immediately shot up in the air, but then just as quickly stopped rising. Now Hermione's wand-hand, the anvil and Draco's wand-hand formed a straight line.
The anvil began to move towards Hermione.
"NO!" yelled Draco. Now he gripped his wand two-handed.
The anvil's motion slowed a smidgen, but the anvil still moved towards Hermione.
"Merlin," said an onlooker, "the Muggle-born is beating Malfoy."
"SHE'S CHEATING SOMEHOW!" Draco now yelled.
Nobody in the crowd said "I agree, she's cheating."
Grenwick let the Tug-Of-War drag out, as the anvil slowly moved closer and closer to Hermione.
"COME BACK HERE!" Draco yelled. A minute later, he yelled it again.
When the anvil was close enough to Hermione that she could have kicked it, Grenwick yelled, "STOP! WINNER OF THE ANVIL-SUMMONING TUG-OF-WAR: MISS GRANGER."
"BUGGER!" yelled Draco.
Hermione's and Draco's wands went skyward, and the anvil dropped onto the cobblestones with a clunk.
Some in the crowd cheered or applauded. Some in the crowd cursed Hermione. She saw galleons change hands.
"Malfoy is the male Dark Lady Kitten," someone jeered.
(Back in May 1990, an unemployed blood-purity bigot named Dolores Umbridge had declared herself to be the Dark Lady Kitten, then had declared, "Hem-hem, I will continue Lord Voldemort's fight!" The first time she had battled Aurors to the death—along with exactly two minions—the result had not been whatever she had expected. Back in her Hogwarts days, Umbridge had earnt only an Acceptable on her DADA OWL, and had taken no NEWT-level DADA classes; but in May 1990, she had fought Aurors who had spent three years in the Auror Academy. Not to mention, Umbridge had had the most abrasive personality of any magical person since Herpo the Foul. Director Bones never did find out which Auror had Killing-Cursed the Dark Lady Kitten with an hidden second wand, during the Kitten's first encounter with Aurors. Since 1990, the term Dark Lady Kitten meant someone who tries to project an image of I am evil, so fear me, but the person is stupid and inept.)
Meanwhile, Master Auror Grenwick had vanished the anvil he had conjured. He deeply bowed to Hermione, then walked away.
At the same time, Draco was slinking away.
Harry walked up. "Mr Fortescue put our ice creams under a Stasis Charm so they won't melt. I'm so proud of you, Hermione. How do you feel?"
Hermione smiled at Harry. "That felt good."
Hermione felt even better the next day. The Granger-Malfoy Anvil-Summoning Tug-Of-War had been written up in the Daily Prophet. The tone of the story was: Harry Potter defeats Malfoy the father; Harry Potter's girlfriend defeats Malfoy the son.
The story also noted that what "everybody knows," that Muggle-borns are magically weak, had big-time been proven wrong.
Almost two months later: Monday, 3 October 1994
In Headmistress Norwood's office, MMA
As Hermione walked in, she said respectfully, "Thank you for agreeing to see me, Headmistress."
Hermione's respect was not faked; she genuinely respected Mersey Norwood, as well as the office Norwood held. Miss Norwood had founded MMA in 1960, and had had to talk to Queen Elizabeth in order to get the Wizengamot off her back.
Now Headmistress Norwood asked Hermione, "What can I help you with today, Miss Granger?"
Hermione noticed that the Headmistress had a manila folder on her desk, the tab of which said "GRANGER, HERMIONE J." Good, the Headmistress already knew some of what Hermione would talk about.
Hermione took a calming breath and began—
"In my nonmagical classes, I'm finished. Seven levels done, then I sat six A-levels, not only three; theoretically, I could walk into Oxford or Cambridge tomorrow."
"Impressive," Norwood said, "and doubly so, considering that you did all this in three years and one month."
Hermione blushed. "The computers here are a godsend if you know how to use them."
Then Hermione resumed her tale: "In magical classes, I completed fifth-level in all of them, sat my OWLs in all of them, did well on the OWLs—"
"—Outstandings or Outstanding-Plusses across the board," Norcross clarified.
"—so now I have wand rights for the rest of my life. I began sixth-level in all my magical classes, then completed them. I went into seventh-level for all my magical classes except DADA, then completed them, then requested and sat the matching NEWT exams. Today I start seventh-level DADA."
The headmistress said, "So you're only one class and one NEWT away from finishing here, and at age fourteen. Impressive. Correction—you just turned fifteen."
Hermione smiled, pleased that the Headmistress had not only pulled her folder but had at least flipped through it.
Hermione said, "Meanwhile, Harry isn't matching my speed, but he's doing well. He'll finish all his courses and levels here, plus OWLs and NEWTs, and GCSEs and A-levels, when he's sixteen, sometime during the 1996-97 school year. Two years and however-many months from now."
"A good, solid rate of progress," the Headmistress commented. Neither witch mentioned that this was average for MMA students who had started here as Elevens.
Hermione said, "Here's my problem: Even if I take seventh-level DADA at Hogwarts speed"—twelve calendar months—"I'll be gone from here a year, maybe two years, before Harry is. I don't want to be sitting alone in my parents' house, or be feeding ducks in a park, whilst Harry is attending seventh-level classes here alone. What can be done?"
Headmistress Norwood smiled. "Are you aware that Mr Stanwick"—the Computer Literacy teacher—"has been begging me for two years to find him an assistant? An assistant who can tutor students in seventh-level Computer Literacy and who knows that magic is real? It's easier to find bikinis on offer in the Orkney Islands," which is always cold.
Hermione said, "I agree that seventh-level Computer Literacy is a challenge. DOS Assembler certainly is not easy to master."
"Yet you mastered it, and Mr Stanwick"—the headmistress patted Hermione's manila folder—"was effusive in his praise. Actually, all your teachers here have nothing but praise for you. For your academics of course, but they also praise your social skills."
Hermione shrugged. "Harry Potter is an important person in Wizarding Britain, even though this fact seems absurd to me and to everyone else at MMA. To the robed people, Harry is the Boy Who Lived"—Hermione scowled at the title—"and the future Lord Potter and Lord Malfoy. One day I'll marry Harry, and the daughter of dentists will become Lady Potter. Talking to people comes no easier for me than broom-flying does, but I've made myself learn both. For Harry. There's also the fact that everyone wants to talk to Harry. Even people who don't know he's Quite Important, want to talk to him, because he doesn't put on airs and he listens. Since I'm always standing two feet away from Harry, some of the people who talk to Harry, talk to me too. I've learnt how to talk back."
The Headmistress said, "I'm impressed. Why don't I hire you as the Computer Literacy assistant, hours to be determined today or tomorrow, at fifteen pounds an hour? Or three galleons an hour, if you have a vault. This way, even after you sit your last NEWT this year, you can see Harry every day till he sits his last NEWT. Or A-level."
"Make it twenty pounds or four galleons," Hermione said. Her father had told her once, "Never accept anyone's first offer."
The student-witch and the Headmistress-witch split the difference, settling on seventeen pounds fifty per hour. Both Hermione and Headmistress Norwood were smiling genuine smiles when Hermione walked out of the office.
Not quite two years, ten months later: Thursday, 31 July 1997
The Neville/Harry "They're seventeen!" birthday bash is held at Potter Manor in Wales
The birthday bash was hosted for the first time by the birthday boys themselves, Regent Longbottom and Lord Potter-Malfoy-Slytherin-Gaunt. Dowager Augusta Longbottom and Lord Sirius Black were downgraded to "party consultants."
Neville, Harry and Hermione each had something to celebrate this day—
Neville had turned seventeen yesterday. He now was a legal adult in the wizarding world.
Harry turned seventeen today. He now was a legal adult in the wizarding world.
Hermione had become a legal adult in the wizarding world almost a year ago, and was within two months of becoming a legal adult in Nonmagical Britain. But now she was celebrating because at midnight tonight, she would be the published author of Dark Lords: Tom M Riddle and Albus P Dumbledore.
Hermione's book bulged with groundbreaking research, but the book told the readers little about the two dark lords' deaths.
Hermione told readers that "Lord Voldemort" had died in 1990, not 1981. Hermione admitted to not knowing where, how, or exactly when Voldemort had died, only that the Department of Mysteries and the goblins were sure he was dead. Hermione's last chapter about Riddle ended with—
"Gringotts credits Harry James Potter, the nine-year-old half-blood who was already famous for surviving Riddle's 1981 Killing Curse, with the true death in 1990 of the half-blood Riddle. In 1990, Potter destroyed the foul magic that was keeping Riddle alive. (I'm sorry, readers, but I shall not tell you what exactly the foul magic was, or exactly how Potter destroyed it.) As a result of Potter destroying Riddle's foul magic, both Magic and Gringotts declare that Potter is Lord Gaunt and Lord Slytherin by Right of Conquest. Where were the Purebloods in 1981 and 1990, whilst an half-blood boy battled an half-blood Dark Lord? Some of the Purebloods, all now dead, had been marked like cattle and had been played for fools."
Hermione did not mention that Harry Potter also was Lord Gaunt and Lord Slytherin by blood, since he was the last wizard alive in both House lines; Harry Potter's mother Lily Evans, one-time first-generation witch and one-time "Gryffindor princess," had descended from the Squib son of Cobrana Gaunt Yaxley. Nor did Hermione mention in her book that both Lily and her son could speak to snakes.
As for Dark Lord Dumbledore, Hermione skived off describing how he had died; she did not write so much as an hint that Harry Potter had killed Dumbledore.
Back to the "They're seventeen!" birthday bash
Harry's Black Heir Primary ring that he had donned on 31 July 1991, had been downgraded to a Black Heir Secondary ring in 1994. The Black Heir Primary ring would be given to three-year-old Rigel Black when he turned eleven.
Adult magicals Remus Lupin, Enyd Lupin, Ophelia Burke and Amelia Bones-Black again attended this year's birthday bash as guests.
Draco Malfoy did not attend this party because he had not been invited to any of the Neville/Harry birthday bashes after 1994. Ron Weasley did not attend this party because he had not been invited after 1993.
This year, Luna Lovegood was invited to the birthday bash, even though she was not an agemate of Neville or Harry. From the moment she arrived, Luna wore a mysterious smile, as though she knew a secret.
Also newly invited to this birthday bash: Dan and Emma Granger, and Florean Fortescue. (Needless to say, the ice cream served at the party was fantastic.) All three Tonkses came to the birthday bash by special invitation, though Andromeda and Nymphadora had had to request time off from work.
One other adult who never before had been invited to a Neville/Harry birthday bash, was invited to the 1997 version. Harry personally had handed the written invitation to Narcissa Black Malfoy.
Every witch there under twenty-five—and this included Luna, Tonks, Hermione and MMA witches Sally-Anne, Martina, Marybeth and Pamela—kissed Harry on the cheek. The cheek-kissers also included Pansy Parkinson, who had decided sometime after July 1993 that she "stirred the potion anticlockwise."
As for Neville, almost every teenaged witch there kissed him on the cheek—except that Hannah Abbott, Susan Bones and Daphne Greengrass kissed Neville on the lips. Luna murmured something in Neville's ear that made the young man's face go scarlet.
Narcissa Malfoy, clearly nervous, asked to speak to Harry in private. Harry agreed, but told Narcissa that Hermione would come with Harry and would be listening (and maybe advising).
Narcissa smiled sadly at Hermione and said, "Lucius and I had a relationship like yours, at the start."
The three walked up next to a rose bush; Harry put up a Silencing Charm.
Narcissa said, "Lord Potter, today you also became Lord Malfoy, by Right of Conquest. I am Lucius's widow; Draco is Lucius's son. Where do we stand with you? Do you plan to disown Draco, or have you done so already?"
Harry replied, "Narcissa, you I'm fine with. Ever since you forgave House Crabbe and House Goyle their debts against House Malfoy, I've thought of you favourably. This morning I told Slicesword to continue your Widow Stipend unchanged, just as I promised you, six years ago today. In fact, I told Slicesword to boost your Widow Stipend by six hundred galleons a year; I won't shame you at whatever parties you attend. Also, you may live in Malfoy Manor till the day you die."
"Thank you," Narcissa said, whilst she dropped a curtsey. "And Draco?"
"Contrary to threats I've made through the years, I didn't disown him today. Nor do I plan to in the future, unless Draco does something colossally offensive. The day Lucius Malfoy walked into my relatives' house, Draco believed that one day he would be Lord Malfoy and Lord Black; but today Draco knows that he'll never be either one. Today he knows he has no higher social status than some kid going through the Auror Academy. For Draco, this is punishment enough."
Harry took down the Silencing Charm, then much-relieved Narcissa rejoined the party.
Sirius transfigured a squirrel into a female sheep—complete with a pink bow sticking-charmed between her ears, and a collar that read "EWE."
To Harry's surprise, the transfigured sheep could talk. She walked up to Harry and Hermione and said, "Harry, you should marry Ginny Weasley and become an Auror. Hermione, you should marry Ron Weasley, become an housewife and never talk to Harry. Harry, you should name your second son Albus Severus, and should send him to Hogwarts in 2017."
"Eww, EWE," Harry and Hermione both said.
Then Harry yelled, "SIRIUS, GET YOUR ARSE OVER HERE AND TURN THIS TALKING SHEEP BACK INTO A BLOODY SQUIRREL. IF YOU DON'T, HERMIONE AND I SHALL TRANSFIGURE YOU INTO A TOY-POODLE BITCH."
An hour later, Daphne Greengrass walked up to her friend Hermione, and up to Harry next to Hermione. Daphne told Hermione, "We signed the betrothal contracts five minutes ago."
Hermione replied, " 'We' being...?"
Daphne replied, "Officially, Hannah will be Neville's wife, I'll be the first concubine and Susan will be the second concubine. Thus the Greengrass and Bones lines will continue. We'll marry next July, after all three of us have sat our NEWTs."
Harry said, "I understand only half of what you just said."
Hermione explained: "Neville, being an Head of House, is entitled to a wife and one concubine. Theoretically he can bond with a second concubine, or a third, or a twenty-eighth, but those extra concubines are acknowledged, and their children are legitimate, only with the wife's permission. With the order set at 'Daphne is first concubine,' it was Susan, not Daphne, with whom Neville needed Hannah's permission to bond."
Daphne took over the explanation: "Susan and Hannah have been friends since toddlerhood, so Hannah's permission was easy to get. Hannah didn't want Susan to die being a spinster and House Bones to go extinct. But a concubine agreement doesn't only mean that Susan will shag Neville when Hannah 'has an headache,' it means that the sons that Neville sire by Susan won't be named Longbottom, they'll be named Bones. That's a deal-breaker for most wizards, even if Susan does have the chest to make Veelas sob. Neville is an exceptional man."
"You love him," Hermione said.
"I do," Daphne agreed. "And it's all because of you, Harry Potter."
"How do you figure that?" confused Harry asked.
"You know we heirs and heiresses went to parties at each other's houses, starting when we were small children, right?"
Harry and Hermione nodded.
Daphne continued, "I met Neville when I was five and he was five, and back then, he was scared of his own shadow. Of course, if you ever saw how his grandmother treated him, you know why. Augusta the Bitch always gave the impression that instead of spending time with Neville, she'd rather be spreading dragon-dung fertiliser bare-handed. Anyway, at age five, Neville didn't impress me."
Hermione prompted, "Then Harry...?"
"Harry, you befriended Neville—not because he was Heir Longbottom, but because he was Neville, a boy. When you took him into the Muggle world where he knew nothing so you had to explain everything, you explained it all, and patiently. You, Harry Potter, made Neville Longbottom feel, for the first time in his life, respected and made him feel like someone, you, wanted to spend time with him. You boosted his confidence even before your uncles arm-twisted Augusta the Bitch to buy Neville the wand he should have had from the start. By the by, after Neville got that new wand, suddenly he was almost Merlin—he strutted. So Neville has been confident since he was eleven, and confident Neville is sexy; but he also is kind, and I'll fight any bint with a wand who tries to seduce Neville. Except Hannah and Susan."
Hermione asked Daphne, "Are you okay with the foursome you're making? No little girl dreams of growing up to be some man's concubine."
"No Muggle-raised girl dreams this," Daphne corrected. "When I was ten years old, and it looked likely that I'd never have a little brother, Dad, Mum and I had a long talk. But to answer your question: I'd an hundred times rather be Neville Longbottom's concubine than Sam Flint's wife, believe me."
Then Daphne said to Harry, "You're the Head of House Potter and Head of House Malfoy. You're entitled to two wives and two concubines. I'm willing to bet if you Sonorus'd yourself at this party and said, 'I need three young women besides Hermione to volunteer to shag me for the rest of their lives,' you'd get so many volunteers, they'd form a queue round Potter Manor."
Then Daphne added with a smirk, "Even Pansy Parkinson would volunteer to marry you, provided you took a bisexual witch as concubine."
Harry shook his head. "Actually, I'm also Lord Gaunt and Lord Slytherin, by Right of Conquest." Harry showed Daphne the rings; her jaw dropped. "Tomorrow I plan to declare Houses Malfoy, Gaunt and Slytherin extinct, so there goes the second, third and fourth wife and the second, third and fourth concubine. Nor will there be a first concubine. Hermione will get all my sperm, and she'll make all my children."
Hermione's voice was a purr: "And we'll have a fine time making those children, even if I don't have the chest to make Veelas sob."
From the beginning of the party, Sirius had been going round to the party guests, telling them, "We've got something special planned at 9.30. You'll want to stay to see it."
At 9.25, nobody who did not know what to expect, noticed when Sirius walked into Potter Manor. The party guests who noticed him walk out of Potter Manor, wondered who was the aqua-dressed witch who was walking next to him.
(Though actually, the only way that party guests could tell that the new arrival was dressed all in aqua was that Sirius had his wand lit. The sun had set almost half an hour earlier, and the outdoor light had faded.)
The woman whom Sirius was escorting was Velmaline Denkley, the Registrar. Augusta Longbottom looked at her in confusion, clearly wondering, What is the Ministry's chief recordkeeper doing here?
Sirius led Ms Denkley to a place on the lawn where Remus just had conjured a gazebo. Unasked, Harry and Hermione joined Sirius and Ms Denkley under the gazebo. Smiling Harry and smiling Hermione faced the partygoers.
Sirius Sonorus'd himself and said to the curious party guests, "Harry and Hermione got their entire magical education at Manchester Magical Academy, where things work differently than at Hogwarts. At MMA, the student doesn't sit his OWLs all at once, he requests his OWLs one at a time, and he sits his OWLs one at a time. Same with NEWTs: the MMA student sits NEWTs one at a time.
"Harry here sat his last NEWT and his last A-level almost a year ago. Hermione the genius sat her last NEWT and her last A-level two years ago. These two are done with their schooling, except for Muggle university, and today they're both adults in the magical world. You know what this means?"
"They can get married!" a girl's voice blurted out.
Sirius replied, "Standing next to me is Ms Velmaline Denkley, the head magical at the Ministry's Department of Records. By a remarkable coincidence, she's legally empowered to marry Harry and Hermione. Quietus."
Throughout the crowd, Sirius, Remus, Dan and Emma Granger, Luna Lovegood and Florean Fortescue—all of whom had been present on the day that Harry and Hermione had met—now were smiling.
Harry and Hermione moved to stand in front of Ms Denkley and facing her. Ms Denkley pulled a parchment out of her robes and began to read it aloud, by the light from Sirius's wand. (By now, Ms Denkley would not have been able to read the parchment otherwise, because the outdoor light was almost full dark.)
Harry and Hermione each happened to have a ring in his/her pocket. The couple exchanged rings when Ms Denkley told them to.
A few minutes after the beginning of the stripped-down wedding ceremony, Ms Denkley said, "I now pronounce you husband and wife. Wizard, kiss your witch."
Sirius said, "Nox." The four people under the gazebo were plunged into almost-darkness.
In the almost-darkness, Harry and Hermione found each other; in the almost-darkness, Harry's and Hermione's lips found each other.
The kissing newlyweds glowed as brightly as the full moon.
A fortnight later (Thursday, 14 August 1997)
Harry Potter and his bride returned to Wizarding Britain from their honeymoon in Los Angeles, California, USA. They then discovered that Lord Marcus Flint had been saying in the Daily Prophet that Harry Potter was a "half-blood weakling." Flint also was claiming that Harry was "guilty of two counts of Line Theft," for claiming the Lord Gaunt and Lord Slytherin titles when Harry had not won them in a face-to-face duel against Voldemort.
Harry laughed, scornfully, then went on wizarding radio and challenged Flint to an Anvil-Summoning Tug-of-War, letting Flint choose the place and time. Flint accepted the challenge by "the coward, who is clearly scared of hurting himself in a true magical duel." Flint chose the place and time for the Tug-of-War as the next day, Friday, at 8am in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic. Flint timed the Tug-of-War to be an hour before the weekly session of the Wizengamot.
The next morning (Friday, 15 August 1997)
On Friday, with live coverage on wizarding radio, Minister for Magic Cyrus Greengrass refereed the Anvil-Summoning Tug-of-War. The anvil did not merely drift towards Harry, the anvil all but rocketed towards Harry.
Flint demanded a do-over, claiming that Potter somehow had cheated. Harry scornfully allowed it, and let two Unspeakables examine him. The second time Harry and Flint fought the Tug-of-War, Harry had to dodge the anvil, it was moving so fast.
That day, it was Flint, the Pureblood, who was publicly proven to be the magical weakling (and who was proven to be a sore loser). Also that day, more traces of the Dark Lord Voldemort were vanquished.
An hour later, at 9am, elsewhere in the Ministry building
Harry attended the weekly session of the Wizengamot, and claimed his seats as Lord Potter, Lord Malfoy, Lord Gaunt and Lord Slytherin.
At the end of Harry's maiden speech in the Wizengamot, Harry informed the seat-holders that he had declared House Malfoy, House Gaunt and House Slytherin to be extinct. Then Harry said, "There will never be another Lord Malfoy after me, another Lord Gaunt after me. There will never be another Lord Slytherin after me. My first-generation magical wife Hermione is the last Lady Slytherin."
Harry earnt glares because of his last sentence. He shrugged off the angry looks.
One week later (Friday, 22 August 1997)
Harry had brought his 1981 Nissan Skyline out of stasis and was legally driving it. After returning from the honeymoon, Harry had paid a driving school to put him through an accelerated driving course. (Hermione already had her driving license.) Then Harry had applied for a driving license of his own, just like anyone else in Wales.
The thought of cheating on his driving test, by mind-whammying the examiner, never had occurred to Harry during his test.
The day that Harry legally could drive the car, he drove the Skyline to an auto body shop and paid serious pounds to paint the red car Harry-eyes green. Harry evaded questions at the shop about why a sixteen-year-old car looked (and smelled) new.
The sixteen-year-old green car still had that "new car smell" when newlyweds Harry and Hermione christened the back seat.
Eleven years later: in 2008
Wizengamot seat-holder Harry and his authoress wife Hermione completed the dragging of Wizarding Britain into the twenty-first century.
Lord Black, Regent Neville Longbottom, Lady Bones and Lord Cedric Diggory voted with Harry 100 percent of the time, and Lady Greengrass (who was theoretically "Grey") voted with Harry 95 percent of the time. Many other seat-holders voted along with Harry, either because they liked him—he was known to be unpretentious and incorruptible—or because Hermione's books had persuaded these seat-holders that Harry's views were on the right side of history.
Another eleven years later: in 2019
An American Squib, who did not know he was magical, "discovered" magic and revealed the existence of magic and of the magical world to the nonmagical world. Had this happened in 1997, this would have been a disaster for Wizarding Britain. Instead, in the 2019 in which Harry and Hermione had been active and speaking out in Wizarding Britain for twenty-two years, all that happened after the "Magic is real!" revelation was that Harry and Hermione became regular interviewees on BBC News.
Forty-six years later: in 2065
Hermione was diagnosed with uterine cancer. With virulent uterine cancer.
Amongst magicals, only first-gens contracted cancer. Had Hermione contracted cancer in the 1990s, when Saint Mungo's barely could be bothered to treat Muggle-borns, Hermione would have died from her illness. But in 1999, Enyd Miller-Lupin had invented a potion that, when drunk during three consecutive new moons, cured any cancer.
In 2065, Enyd Miller-Lupin herself brewed the three doses of potion, and sold them at cost to Hermione.
By Yule 2065, Hermione's uterus and her surrounding lady-parts were completely healed and were pain-free. Harry and Hermione celebrated by—well, the reader probably can imagine.
Twenty-five years later: Tuesday, 18 April 2090
Both Harry and Hermione were 109 years old now—elderly but not infirm. They had dozens of descendants—children, grandchildren—on down to eight great-great-great-grandchildren.
All the descendants who ever had been older than eleven had attended Hogwarts. This was partly because none of Harry's and Hermione's descendants were Squibs, but also because, with all of the descendants being magically raised, none of the descendants were eligible to attend MMA. But whilst none of Harry's and Hermione's descendants could attend school on the MMA campus, many of them had taken MMA correspondence courses in nonmagical subjects, with Harry's and Hermione's encouragement. Because of the descendants' total lack of prejudice against MMA, many descendants had married MMA graduates with the elderly couple's encouragement.
(Whenever one or more descendants was in a particular Hogwarts year, Harry and Hermione, the following summer, threw a party for the descendant and his or her agemates. Not only were all the descendant's Hogwarts agemates invited, but also the MMA agemates were invited. In 2026, a Pureblood Heir Primary, formerly in Slytherin, married an MMA girl whom he had met six years earlier at a Potter party; it was a scandal to those who still cared about such things.)
Today old Hermione said to old Harry, "Do you know what today is?"
He stopped to think. "It's not your birthday, and it's not the annivirthday. I give up. A Potter Packster's birthday?"
"It's Holly Juliet Potter-O'Hara's birthday, yes, but that isn't what I was thinking of. An hundred years ago today, Lucius Malfoy murdered the Dursleys and tried to murder you, and your life changed."
"Huh, you're right. Time flies."
"Do you feel any interest in visiting the Dursleys' graves in Surrey today?"
"Not hardly! I've never wanted to visit my dead relatives' graves anytime during the past hundred years; why would I want to visit those monsters now? I prefer to spend time with my true family." Harry gestured towards a wall that was covered with framed magical photographs of various Potter descendants. Potter Manor now had many such walls.
Hermione said to Harry, "You deserve a true family." After these words, the old man and old woman snogged like teenagers.