Chapter 23: Epilogue
Harry took a deep breath and grinned at his friends. "Ready?"
"We were ready ten minutes ago," the other Harry said, pretending to look at a watch he didn't have.
"Okay, okay," Harry said. "Right."
"Are you going to do it or am I?" the other Harry asked.
Hermione elbowed him in the stomach and he cringed. "Thanks," he said sarcastically.
Harry placed one hand on the castle wall and, taking a deep breath (at which point the other Harry whispered, "Why's he so nervous? Hasn't he done this before?) and pressed against the stone wall, yelling a charm. Magic flowed through his hand touching the wall and out his other had, into Ron's, who added his own magic and then transferred the flow to Remus, who, after adding his own, transferred it to Sirius, who transferred it to Hermione, who transferred it to the other Harry, who then transferred it to the stone wall. They formed something of a semicircle with the wall as the diameter.
"Easy as pie," the other Harry said. "The founders themselves couldn't have done it better."
The friends grinned. "I'm starved," Sirius said. "Let's go eat. Does Hogwarts still have house elves?"
Harry saw Hermione's mouth tighten and grinned. "Fully paid house elves."
The other Harry rolled his eyes, looking bored.
"Do we get to sit at the teachers' table?" Ron asked. "If you remember, I was the only one of the trio who didn't get to eat up there at the Yule Ball."
Harry grinned. He had been doing that a lot lately with his friends. "Sorry to disappoint you, but the enchantments on the plates that made ordering easy are gone. We have to go to the kitchens first."
"I bet we can fix that," Ron said. "Let's do it. It should be fun."
"I'm game," Sirius said. "What about you, Moony?"
"Even if I disapproved," Remus said with a grin. "I'm getting too old to argue."
Sirius let out a bark like laugh. "Stop it, Moony! Now you're making me feel old!"
At that moment Grander came down the hall. He stopped when he saw everyone together and hesitated but Harry called him forward.
"Hey, everyone. This is Roger Grander--"
"If you have any sympathy you'll call me Grander," Grander muttered.
"Grander, this is Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, my...er...other self I suppose- -"
"Striking resemblance," Grander said with a grin as he shook the other Harry's hand.
"Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger."
Grander shook each of their hands in turn and paused when he got to Hermione. "It's an honor to meet you in person," he muttered.
Hermione glanced at Harry in confusion. Harry grinned and mouthed, "Tell you later".
"Harry," Grander said, turning to him. "The Headmistress requires your presence in her office."
Harry groaned. "Bloody hell, Grander! Couldn't you have told the old crone I was dead?" Grander grinned half heartedly.
"Now this woman I must meet," Sirius said, grinning at Remus.
"As your old teacher, Harry," Remus said with a grin. "I cannot let you say such things about the Headmistress without comment."
"And your comment is?" Harry pressed.
Remus smiled. "I will reserve judgment."
"Lead the way," Harry said to Grander.
They went down the hall. As they were passing the Great Hall, little Elizabeth Wently and her parents came out. Lianna tried to move her daughter as quickly as possible away from them but Elizabeth watched them over her shoulder and Wayne held back for a moment before following.
"Who is that little girl?" Ron asked.
"Is that her father?" Remus wanted to know.
Harry grinned at them. "The little girl's name is Elizabeth Wently. Wayne is her foster parent. Elizabeth is the only remaining (as far as I know) Weasley descendant."
Ron stopped dead in his tracks. Even Grander looked at Harry oddly. "How did you know that?"
"Come now, Ron," Harry said with yet another grin. "You should know by now that I'm incredibly smart."
The other Harry snorted. He shrugged when they looked at him. "Sounds like me," he said.
"And the foster father?" Remus pressed. "Who is he?"
"That would be the descendant of the Lupin family," Harry said with a nod. "Dunno if he's the last. I just know he is."
"And who's my descendant?" Sirius asked. Harry hesitated. Sirius winced. "Okay, I'm ready."
"He's the guy with the stump arm," Harry explained. "He's the Death Eater."
"Typical," Sirius said with a sad smile. "I had to get the bloody Death Eater."
"What about me?" Hermione asked. Harry hesitated again, with a glance at Grander.
"Hermione," Harry said, "You've already met yours."
"What do you mean?" Hermione asked, though she too was looking at Grander.
"He means Roger here," the other Harry said without tact.
Grander grinned sheepishly at her before sending a look to the other Harry. "Grander, Miss. Not Roger."
"Grander, Granger," Remus said. "Makes sense."
"I thought so," Harry said shrugging. "Plus other things, the filthy bookworm." He said the last part in mock anger.
Both Grander and Hermione scowled at him. That got Sirius laughing the rest of the way to the Headmistress's office.
When they arrived, Grander knocked politely on the door.
"This isn't where Dumbledore's office used to be," Ron said, looking around the hall.
"Long story," Harry said. He took a deep breath and pushed open the door when he heard Chiden's voice say, "Come in."
"Why hello, Headmistress Chiden," Harry said in a 'genuinely' polite voice as he entered. "Nice day isn't it? I pray I find you well?"
Chiden glared at him. Then she looked at the others in the room. "Who are they and why are they here? I didn't ask for them."
"I've forgotten my manners," Harry said in his phony polite voice. "This is Ron--"
"I don't care who they are," Chiden snapped. Remus's eyebrows were raised and Sirius was looking at the woman with open dislike. "I just want them out of here."
"Well, if I did that," Harry said. "They wouldn't have anywhere to go."
"Another bunch of refugees?" Chiden asked. "Listen, Voldemort's dead! You can go home now! We don't want you here!"
Hermione looked flabbergast. "Excuse me, Headmistress," she said, pushing her way to the front. "But I don't think we've done anything to you and I certainly don't appreciate you treating us like we're a bunch of trash running away to save our own skins--which we're not! And even if we were, that would be better than joining Voldemort, wouldn't it?"
"What she said," said the other Harry, an angry look on his face. Harry looked at him oddly and the angry expression changed to a smirk as Chiden's eyes landed on him.
"Cloning yourself now? I though you didn't approve of all this technology!" Chiden snapped.
Harry sighed. "Another useless attempt to explain away something that you don't understand. Did you know that if you actually listened for a change, you might learn something?"
Chiden waved his words away with one hand. "I didn't call you here for another row--"
"I'm shocked," Harry said sarcastically.
Chiden glared at him but continued. "I just think that you should know, the Minister of Magic, originally the senior under secretary to Minister Crocker, God rest his soul," Harry felt a jolt of sadness at the thought of where Crocker's soul was now, "Has informed me that it is time for me to step down." Suddenly Harry was listening hard. Where was this going?
"She has also stated," she continued. "That you are to have the position once I have left. As I cannot go against the Minister's command, I saw it best to tell you now so that you may prepare. I will leave at the end of the school year. You are dismissed."
Harry didn't know what to say. He was to become Headmaster? That was crazy! And yet...
Hermione tapped him on the shoulder and motioned that they should go. He nodded.
When they were outside, Sirius let out a long whistle. "Some people have all the luck! They want you as Headmaster? You're only 16!"
Harry scowled. "I'll have you know that I'm much older than 16 and that it is my body alone that appears 16. I'm more like 50 something."
"50!" Sirius said, sounding outraged. "50! Why did you only live until 50?"
Harry's scowl did not lessen. "I don't know how long I lived. I don't remember dying!"
"Well that's good," Hermione said reasonably. "I would hate to go through life knowing how I died."
"Did you know that if a random person heard you say that," Ron said thoughtfully. "They would have no idea what you were talking about?"
Hermione scowled at him. "But we know what I'm talking about!"
Remus put a hand to his forehead in mock exasperation. "Here we go again!"
Harry laughed. "Are you guys going to stick around long enough to help me finish the charms on the castle?"
"Sure," Sirius said shrugging. "Don't see why not."
"Great!" Harry said enthusiastically. "Then you can help me with my classes too!"
"You have classes?" Ron groaned. Everyone laughed.
Harry knew that his time with his friends was finally winding down to a close, but that didn't make their leaving any easier when the day arrived.
The castle's stone walls were alive again with magic and spells and all the computers and technology had been efficiently removed. They were standing outside on the grounds on the recently errected Quidditch pitch. Normally it had a score or so of students outside flying around on their brooms (Harry would have to see what he could do about the laws against his favorite sport), but today it was empty. Harry had ensured that it would be so by placing a repelling charm on it.
He looked at his friends with no little measure of sadness in his eyes, knowing that he would never see them again for as long as he lived--though in all honesty, he did not know how long that would be with the new, coming- back-to-life development.
While the other Harry worked on the portal, Harry said good bye to his friends.
Hermione had tears shining in her eyes as she gave him a good-bye hug. "You'll be okay, won't you? You won't go mad being by yourself?"
Harry shrugged uncomfortably. "I'm not by myself really. I have Grander, after all. And, apparently, a new teaching position." Hermione nodded.
"Well, I certainly don't want to see you go mad," Sirius said, obviously attempting to make it look at though the good-bye meant nothing. "I mean, after all, you've been my godson ever since you were born!"
Harry grinned. "I won't go mad. Promise."
"And don't let those Ministry guys push you around," Ron added. "Seems to me that those Ministry members have too much control over Hogwarts. You'll need to beat that out of them, of course."
"Of course," Harry said, matter-of-factly.
"Make sure those kids get plenty of education," Remus said. "I hate the thought of those computers back at Hogwarts."
Harry nodded. He tried and failed to swallow the lump that was rising in his throat.
"You'll tell Grander good-bye for me, won't you?" Hermione asked. She had spent a great deal of her time here with the man, telling the eager listener all the stories she could remember from Hogwarts, from Harry's saving Sirius to the embarrassing valentine Harry had received his third year from Ron's younger sister. She seemed as eager as Grander to ensure the stories weren't lost forever (though Harry had made it perfectly clear that should some of those stories ever be known to the general pubic, he would hold Grander personally accountable. Grander had just grinned, adding nothing anything to Harry's sense of security).
"I'll tell him," Harry assured her.
"And say good-bye to Elizabeth as well," Ron said with a grin. He sent a smug look to Hermione. "At the rate that kid's going, she's going to know more magic than you did when you went to Hogwarts."
"And how could she not, learning under Harry?" Hermione said defiantly. "My heir never had a chance."
"Say good-bye to Wayne for me," Remus said. He had not spoken often to the foster parent, but clearly something about Wayne's lineage and his lack of werewolf status had made Remus rather protective over him.
"Oh, and make sure you beat my descendant mercilessly," Sirius said with a grin. "Until he's black and blue all over."
"Sirius!" Hermione said in surprise.
"Lived with that bloody type my entire life," Sirius said, shrugging. "My only regret is that I couldn't do it myself. Besides," he said, his face showing some anger. "If he brought Voldemort back, it's his own bloody fault!"
"He is not your only descendant," Harry said to stop Sirius anger. "And you can rest assured that I will find your true heir as fast as I can."
"There's something I haven't figured out about all this yet," said the other Harry suddenly, coming to stand next to everyone. "If the descendant was required to bring the person from the past, how did I get here?"
"Oh?" Harry said in surprise. "I thought you had figured that out already."
The other Harry scowled at his obvious ignorance on the subject. "I just haven't had enough time, is all."
Harry smiled. "Hannah."