Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling, Warner Brothers and its various publishers own Harry Potter. No money is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.

A/N: Thanks to everybody who reviewed! I've loved reading them. This is the final chapter.

Chapter 37
The Journey Home

The sun broke over the hills, promising a beautiful day. A light fog had lifted off the lake and stretched over the grounds, bathing Harry's running path in a pale mist. The air felt fresh and cool on his face.

Even though the term was over, and they'd all be boarding the Hogwarts Express after breakfast, Harry felt like he had to take his last chance to run over the familiar paths around the lake with Aurora circling overhead and swooping down to fly along with him. After his time spent trapped in the cave and then held captive by Madam Pomfrey in the infirmary, running made him feel free.

Besides, today was the day he planned to strike out on his own. He'd thought about it ever since the night he'd woken in the infirmary. Dumbledore's insistence that Harry return to live with the Dursleys while Lupin was off on a mysterious mission for the Order helped Harry make up his mind. He had a small window of opportunity while the Death Eaters thought he had died in that cave, but it wouldn't last.

Someone on the other side was bound to start thinking that Draco Malfoy was a little too good at playing Harry Potter to be believed. Then they'd start looking more carefully at that collapsed hillside in Wales. Eventually, the Death Eaters would become suspicious -- especially as Harry continued to resume his normal life.

He laughed to himself at the thought of his life ever being considered "normal." But he had returned to classes, taken his exams, and even caught the Snitch to win the Quidditch final against Hufflepuff.

Harry could seize this chance to launch a surprise offensive Voldemort and his followers, but he knew that Dumbledore would never agree, and neither would his friends. At the very least they might insist on coming with him, and he didn't want any of them in harm's way. He had to figure out a way to let them know without giving them a chance to follow.

Climbing back up to the sixth year boys' dorm, Harry mused briefly that soon the sign on the door would say 'seventh years' whether he returned to school or not. In ordinary times, he'd have one more year before leaving school to find his way in the world, but these weren't ordinary times. Voldemort had already taken out his frustration at failing to overtake Hogwarts by attacking elsewhere.

When he'd left for his morning run, his roommates had mostly been snoring behind their bed hangings. Now, returning after a quick shower, Harry hurried inside to find pandemonium in the form of Neville Longbottom. Clothes and curious looking plants were spread around the room on every available surface.

"What's going on?" Harry asked Ron under his breath.

Pausing on his way to the door, Ron's lips twitched as he said, "Neville's packing."

Looking very distressed, Neville looked over at them sharply. Ron escaped to the showers, leaving Harry to face Neville alone.

Dancing on his feet slightly, Neville said, "Professor Sprout gave me a special trunk to take some of my experimental plants home for the summer, but…they don't all fit."

He waved his arm wildly at the mess. At first glance it appeared that Neville's clothes were strewn everywhere, but on closer examination, there did appear to be several exotic looking plants in the room underneath.

"Don't some of these plants belong to Luna?" Harry asked, recognizing a few of the odder specimens.

"They are. I offered to help her out." Neville seemed a bit flustered as he tried to explain. "She's touring the Alps with her father -- something about high altitude garden gnomes. She'll be there all summer, and I thought…well...she'll want to know how her plants are doing. So if I'm taking care of her plants, she'll want to write to me."

Still lounging in his four poster bed, Seamus raised his eyebrows and said, "You should just ask her out, mate. Save yourself a whole lot of bother."

Silently agreeing with Seamus, Harry finished dressing. Even after months and months of working together on their Greenhouse projects, Neville hadn't yet worked up the nerve to tell Luna how he felt.

Neville walked over to a large, broad-leafed plant and tried unsuccessfully to pull free the tee shirt it had clamped between its prickly leaves.

"Some of them aren't very cooperative," he said.

"Hey…that's mine!" Seamus shouted at him, climbing out from behind his curtains just in time to hear a loud ripping noise.

Harry concentrated on finding his own clothes, turning away to hide his mirth as Neville mumbled his apology and Seamus grumbled about his shirt. He was glad that he'd done most of his packing the night before -- especially since the invasion of Neville's plants -- but he wanted to be sure he hadn't left anything behind. He was looking under the bed when Dean came in the room.

All Harry could see was his feet, but he heard him loud and clear.

"Wait until you see Ginny this morning," he said, to Seamus. "She's wearing one of those things with the thin little straps – wha…what? Oh…"

With that last, Harry pulled his head out from under the bed. Seamus and Neville both grimaced and went back to sorting out their belongings.

"Er…this is um…didn't see you there," Dean said, looking chagrined. "Don't suppose we could just pretend I didn't say that?"

Harry knew he was scowling at his roommate, but he couldn't seem to help himself. He tried to tell himself that it couldn't be helped. Seamus and Dean were always talking about the various girls at Hogwarts, especially their…er…physical attributes. Ginny was a very pretty girl. Other blokes were bound to notice her. It just reminded him that they wouldn't be able to see much of each other for a while.

Hands up in surrender, Dean said, "I didn't mean…"

"Didn't mean what?" Ron asked, walking in rubbing his neck with a towel. "Hey, Harry…you should hurry up. Ginny's waiting for you right outside."

His scowl turning to a small grin, Harry dropped the lid of his trunk and quickly shrunk it to fit in his pocket. Ignoring Dean completely, he muttered his thanks to Ron, grabbed Hedwig's empty cage and headed toward the door.

Dean gave a small sigh of relief as the door closed.

The moment Harry was in the hall he forgot all about his roommates. Ginny was indeed standing innocently outside the door, leaning against the wall. She was wearing a soft blue sundress with tiny little straps. Her Hogwarts robe hung over her arm.

Her hair was down and slightly curled at the ends. She seemed to be all polished and poised. No wonder Dean had taken notice.

"You look…nice," Harry said, wishing he could think of a better compliment.

Sighing, Ginny said, "Well…now that the final exams are finished some of the girls decided to have fun last night." She flipped her hair behind her shoulder. "You know how Lavender can be."

Harry pulled her into his arms to kiss her good morning,thenled her toward the stairs. "We have to get to breakfast. I'm starving."

Ginny chattered about the latest news from Lavender and Parvati on the way down the moving staircases. Preoccupied with his plans, Harry only half listened, but Ginny didn't seem to notice. The two of them reached the Entrance Hall quickly.

Ginny gave him a thoughtful look and sighed. "I'm going to miss you," she said. "I can't believe I'm actually dreading summer. It's usually my favorite season. It won't be any fun until Dad rescues you from the Dursleys."

Two grubby looking Hufflepuffs elbowed past them in the crowded Entrance Hall as they chased each other into breakfast. Harry was glad of the interruption. He still didn't know how to tell Ginny that he wasn't planning on going to the Dursleys. He'd owled them this morning, telling them that he'd made other plans for the summer. Hedwig was supposed to deliver a message to them and then head for the Burrow. She'd be safe with the Weasleys.

Hermione was already at breakfast, strangely enough sitting with Hannah Abbott. They greeted Ginny and Harry pleasantly and then went back to conversing rather heatedly about leaving Hogwarts. Hannah and some others had petitioned the school governors to keep the school open over the summer, but the petition hadn't changed anyone's opinion. They'd refused to break with tradition.

Harry and Ginny exchanged looks and settled into their seats, sitting side by side across from Hermione and Hannah.

"I think we should do something. We'd be much safer staying here." Hannah's voice squeaked on the last syllable.

Harry decided to stay out of their argument and focused instead on putting eggs and bacon on his plate, pretending that he hadn't seen Hermione's pleading look. Clearly she wanted his help calming Hannah down, but Harry couldn't think of anything that might help. Instead, he poured a mug of tea for Ginny, fixing it just the way he knew she liked it.

She gave him the sly grin of appreciation that she gave him every morning as he handed over her tea. He'd missed this little morning ritual. Sometimes he thought it was the little things in the day--moments of familiarity like handing Ginny her tea--that made him feel connected to his friends. Maybe Hannah had a point. They should all stay here. At least then they could be together every day.

"We'll have to face the world sometime, Hannah," Hermione said, always the reasonable one. "No use postponing it."

Crumpling her copy of the Daily Prophet which had a big article on the front page detailing the latest Death Eater attacks, Hannah made a huffing noise. "I suppose you agree with her, Harry."

With a glance toward Ginny who was staring happily into her tea mug, Harry said, "Not entirely…I see your point. We have a safe haven at Hogwarts."

Hermione seemed like she was about to say something, but Harry beat her to it. "But…" he said, drawing out the word. "We aren't meant to hide here out of fear. Won't you be glad to see your family, Hannah? Besides, Hogwarts is only as safe as we make it."

He stopped there. He didn't want it widely known that any one of the Hogwarts students could lead the Death Eaters through the protection of the torch.

Seeming satisfied with his answer, Hermione gave a smug nod. "See? Harry knows what's what. Life goes on. We must move forward. Make our own choices. We can't let ourselves be ruled by fear."

With that, the conversation moved forward without any further input from Harry, who was more interested in the small hand that had worked its way into his.

Propping an elbow on the table, Ginny leaned toward him. Her hair swung down to curtain her face so that only Harry could see her expression.

"I'll be waiting for you at the Burrow. You must come to stay as soon as you can," she said, conspiratorially.

She knew that Dumbledore had told Harry that he needed to stay with the Dursleys at least until his birthday, but she'd made it clear that she didn't like the idea very much.

Keeping his face close to hers, Harry and she held a whispered and somewhat lopsided conversation. Mostly Ginny wanted to talk about what they might do at the Burrow, picnics by the pond, walks in the woods. The longer she spoke, the guiltier Harry felt. He had to figure out how to tell her that he planned to strike out on his own.

"Hey you two want to watch it." Ron's voice broke in. "There are young, impressionable people trying to eat their breakfast here."

Straightening up, Ginny went back to staring at her tea and Harry lifted his fork and began to pick at his eggs.

"I hope you're not including yourself in that category." Hermione said, looking askance at the huge pile of food on Ron's plate.

"Mm 'ungry," Ron answered with his mouth stuffed full.

"You're eating as though this will be your last decent meal," Ginny said, shooting Harry a furtive look. "Mum won't be happy to hear what you think of her cooking."

Harry wondered briefly what Ginny's parents would think of his decision to become independent. He imagined Mrs. Weasley would be glad that he was at least away from the Dursleys. Still, they'd be upset with him.

Smiling as brother and sister launched into an ever growing list of what their Mum would probably want to do to the other one when they got home, Harry didn't take much notice of their banter. He looked around the Great Hall. The enchanted ceiling showed a solid blue sky. Professor Sinistra and Professor Flitwick were the only teachers at the head table.

Since the attack, Dumbledore and MacGonagall had been busy supervising the reconstruction of Hogwarts' outbuildings, missing many meals in the process.

Rhys had been transferred to St. Mungo's the morning after the attack on Hogwarts. According to Madam Pomfrey, the fencing instructor would eventually make a full recovery, but for now, he had no control over his magic and that made him a danger to himself and anyone who came near him without adequate protection spells. As far as Harry knew, no one had told Rhys about his escape from the cave.

Snape hadn't been seen much outside of the Potions classroom. Presumably, he was too busy in the dungeons.

There hadn't been any talk about Draco Malfoy. As far as the general student population was concerned, Draco had been missing since the Valentine's Day attack in Hogsmeade. Only Harry and a few of his friends knew any different and they were sworn to secrecy.

The Great Hall was only partly full. Breakfast at Hogwarts was always somewhat informal, but Harry noticed with interest that the four houses were intermingled throughout the Great Hall. The Ravenclaws and Huffflepuffs seemed to be scattered throughout the room. Harry definitely recognized some of them sitting with Sophie Moon and Blaise Zabini at the Slytherin table. Neville was the only Gryffindor sitting with the Ravenclaws. It wasn't much, but at least they'd made some inroads toward house unity this year.

Harry's attention drifted to the Slytherin table. Their numbers had been severely depleted before the end of the term. Nott, Crabbe, Goyle and quite a few others had left school before exams. Rumor had it that they weren't planning on returning.

Pansy Parkinson was sitting all by herself, set apart from her classmates by her own choice, Harry imagined. He wondered if she had any idea that Draco Malfoy was being held in the dungeons. Did she know he'd already taken the Dark Mark? Her eyes met his across the room and for a brief moment she looked almost vulnerable. Harry lifted his goblet of juice and tipped it toward her for a moment. She lifted her chin and her usual haughty expression returned. Harry was left wondering where she might fit into the events of the last few months.

The rest of breakfast continued in this contemplative haze, with Harry thinking about his friends and schoolmates. Ginny left with some of her roommates, giggling madly over something that had happened to one of them. He watched her walk away, looking bright and happy, and resolved to wait until the last moment possible to tell her he was leaving.

After Ron had sopped the last possible dregs of yolk from his plate with increasingly small corners of toast, he, Harry and Hermione walked down to the Hogwarts Express. Harry kept a pace behind his friends, content to listen to the two of them discussing whether the Chudley Cannons had any chance next season. Although she was bravely holding up her side -- mostly with encouraging nods and uh-hunh's -- Harry knew it was a labor of love on Hermione's part that she even tolerated this topic of conversation.

They stepped up onto the platform, dodging some younger students. Up ahead, Harry caught sight of Hagrid herding a group of first years onto the train. Harry smiled.

"Find a compartment near the back. I'll meet you there," Harry said, handing Hedwig's empty cage to Ron.

He walked up behind Hagrid, wondering why the giant was wearing his big, heavy coat in the bright sunshine.

"Planning a trip somewhere north?" he asked, pulling on Hagrid's furry lapel.

"Harry! I was 'oping I'd have a chance to see you off today." Hagrid pulled him into one of his trademark bear-sized hugs. "You'll be all right with 'em Muggles? I reckon if yeh need anythin', you just 'ave to give us a shout."

"I'll be all right, Hagrid. Don't worry about me." Harry shrugged. It wouldn't do to tell Hagrid he had no plans to return to the Dursleys. He might try to stop him. "And you'll keep track of things here at Hogwarts?"

"Keepin' the keys got a lot easier when yeh made the place disappear." Hagrid chucked his fist against Harry's shoulder. "Yeh just be careful. 'em Muggles aren't the only thing to be worryin' about out there in the world. But don' be forgettin' that we're all in this together. Yeh can call on any one of us if you find yourself in a tight spot."

Just then another group of first years clamored onto the platform. Hagrid chuckled, and patted Harry on the shoulder.

"Well, I best be about me duties. Plenty to keep me busy what with all the reconstruction," he said. "Yeh 'ave a good trip back now."

Nodding, Harry held back a flinch at the accidental pounding. "I will," he said. "Good bye, Hagrid."

He climbed into the train as Hagrid turned his attention to the first years who were beginning to swerve towards the sweets trolley being loaded two cars down. Harry watched Hagrid turn the tide of students with one sweep of his long arm, and laughed before walking down the carriage.

Hagrid was right of course, Harry didn't have to face the world alone. It reminded him of the year before, when some of the Order members greeted the Dursleys at the station with him. Professor Moody had even threatened them on his behalf. None of them were likely to approve of himgoing offon his own, but he knew he could count on them for help, should he need it. And come the end of July, they'd have no say in the matter anyway. He'd be an adult wizard.

Harry found Ron in a compartment with Neville who had brought two of his plant-laden trunks with him. There was a faint odor of jungle already filling the air.

Ron was sitting by an open window, looking a little put out. "Hermione's already taking a turn up and down the train to make sure things are in order. Auditioning early for that Head Girl badge, I expect."

"Like there's any contest for the position." Harry nodded in sympathy.

The door opened and Luna and Ginny joined them. As the train left the station, Ron left to find Hermione. Luna was soon involved in a deep discussion with Neville about the Broad-Leafed Snap Dragon. Harry presumed that was the plant that had eaten Seamus' shirt earlier that morning.

Ginny was soon asleep against his shoulder with a copy of the Quibbler opened across her lap. Harry pushed a lock of her silky red hair behind her ear and settled back to watch the familiar landscape pass by. As they moved away from the station, the blazingly blue sky became overcast. Eventually a light rain started splattering against the glass.

The torch spell had driven back the attack. For the moment the forces of darkness had scattered, but Harry knew that the most he'd done was protect Hogwarts – and who knew how long that protection would last. The rest of the Wizarding world was still vulnerable, and there wasn't any way to use a torch to protect them everywhere. The only lasting protection would be for him to face Voldemort—in all likelihood an enraged Voldemort -- to fulfill the prophecy.

It began to rain harder, drops smearing the train window, but the world beyond the train sped peacefully past. Would there be other days like this? Peaceful, uneventful days, spent in the company of the people who mattered most to him. He settled an arm more closely around Ginny's shoulder, and let his eyelids droop.

Harry must have dozed off, for he was startled awake by the arrival of Ron and Hermione.

"You didn't have to get in between them, Ron." Hermione sounded quite annoyed.

"Me? I was an innocent bystander. It was that annoying Hufflepuff bloke," Ron said, not bothering to keep his voice down either. "He's been hoping for a chance like this ever since the Quidditch final."

Straightening up and stretching, Harry realized that both of his friends were dripping wet. Standing face to face, hands on hips, they were in full blown bickering mode. Harry thought it was sort of endearing. He was going to miss this.

"Water fight?" Ginny asked, folding her copy of the Quibbler and reaching for her rucksack to put it away. She and Harry exchanged amused looks.

"Grrrr…" Hermione said.

"Oh…very elegantly phrased," Ron said, clearly trying to hold back a smile. "We were simply doing our prefect duties and restraining some rather exuberant students who were hosing each other down. I may have had to retaliate with a few water charms of my own…in the line of duty."

"Exuberant, Ron?" Hermione said, tilting her head. "Do you even know what exuberant means?"

"Well…that's what you called them." Ron shook his wet hair, spraying Hermione deliberately. "Anyway, it doesn't matter. I know a good drying spell."

Hermione relented as Ron pulled her in for a quick kiss.

"Ron!" she said, pulling away and taking her wand out to utter a brisk drying charm.

Hermione wasn't one for public displays, but they could all tell she'd forgiven Ron for taking part in the water fight. With everyone smiling and relaxed, it didn't seem like the right time for Harry to tell them his news, but he had run out of time. They would soon arrive at King's Cross. At least they were all assembled. He couldn't put it off any longer.

Reluctantly, he reached in his pocket and fingered the summons stone, calling Aurora to his side. She arrived in a flash. Harry looked around the compartment. Neville seemed shocked, Luna, curious, but Ron and Hermione's expressions quickly showed they understood what he was planning. Ginny's eyes brightened with tears, but she didn't say anything. He could tell that she knew what was on his mind, too.

"I have to go. It may be a mistake, but I have to do something. People are being killed, every day there are new reports. I'm supposed to find a way to put an end to it so…I have to go."

Hermione spoke first. "We can't say we didn't see this coming, Harry."

Ron nodded his agreement. "Whatever you have to do, we're in it with you. You don't have to go it alone."

"That's just it, Ron," Ginny said, before Harry had a chance to respond. "He does."

"Here I was worried that I wouldn't be able to explain," Harry said, holding his hands up in resignation. "I can see that you've all figured this out. I…I can't go back to the Dursleys as if nothing has happened. I've had my fill of waiting around…it makes me feel trapped and helpless. There's no way for me to sit there, protected and safe, while the rest of the Wizarding world suffers."

"What will you do?" Hermione asked, spreading her hands. "I mean…do you have a plan? They are going to come after you. Where will you go?"

"If I'm a target, at least I can be a moving one," Harry said with a small smile. Ginny was the only one who tried to smile back.

Looking around at their expectant faces, Harry cast a silencing charm on the compartment before continuing. "I trust every one of you, but it's safer for you, and safer for me, if you don't know where I am. The time seems right. The Death Eaters think I'm Draco Malfoy…and they'll kill me on sight for betraying their Dark Lord. If they find out that I'm the real Harry Potter, and that I survived the cave…I'm not sure I'll be any better off."

Harry went on to describe some of his plans for searching out and sabotaging the Death Eaters. To their credit, no one tried to talk him out of it. Neville vowed to help Harry any way that he could. Luna told him that her latest tarot reading had warned her that she was going to be part of a great adventure soon. Ron and Hermione repeated their determination to come with him, finally getting Harry to promise to contact them regularly. Ginny stayed silent, her eyes never leaving Harry's face.

"It isn't goodbye. I'll keep in touch," Harry said.

Harry startled as he felt the train begin to slow. "The Dursleys aren't expecting me. I sent them a message with Hedwig. She should be waiting for you at the Burrow. Would you take care of her for me…at least until I can find a way to be there myself?"

He lifted the empty cage up to Ginny. She took it from him with a sigh. Holding her close for a moment, he whispered in her ear, "I'm sorry there's no chance for a proper goodbye, but it won't be for long. I'll come to you at the Burrow. Use your mirror. Keep it secret."

A screech from the train wheels drowned out his words, but he could tell from her grin that she took his meaning. The train was stopping. Through the window, Harry could see the usual bedlam on the platform at King's Cross. Parents and friends craned their necks to find familiar faces among the crowd of students that had begun to disembark.

"It'll be all over the Daily Prophet tomorrow. Harry Potter disappears off the Hogwarts Express," Ron said, shaking his head as he pulled luggage off the overhead rack. "But you let us worry about all that. I reckon that's the least of your problems now."

"You know where to find us, Harry," Hermione said, her forehead knitted together with concern. The others echoed her sentiment.

While everyone else busied themselves with their trunks, Ginny threw her arms around Harry's neck and hugged him fiercely before releasing him. Then with a quick nod, she grabbed her bag and turned to go.

Harry Disapparated with Aurora before anyone had left the compartment. The beautiful clearing in Hart Fell would be a safer place than the Dursley's home had ever been. The weather was perfect, just as it had been at Hogwarts. Blue sky and lush green forests surrounded him. Aurora sang a familiar sweet tune as she flew toward her nest.

This would be his refuge, as it had once been Merlin's. No one could find him here because the only living being who had been around when the ancient wizard cast his torch spell was the phoenix. Harry was sure now that she had once belonged to Owain, Merlin's trusted apprentice.

But Harry knew that he was no Merlin, or even an Owain. He was still woefully ignorant of the dark forces arrayed against him. It seemed to him that it no longer mattered if he was prepared enough or powerful enough. Time was running out. It was certain that it was down to him to defeat the most evil wizard of the century. He didn't have the luxury of waiting until he'd mastered more knowledge or gained more experience. He'd have to rely on courage.

He sat down to wait for the sun to set. It wouldn't be much longer. Then he could Apparate to the Burrow to see Ginny. It would be safe as long as he visited in secret. After all they'd been through together, he wasn't going to stop seeing her. His friends — his family really, would be there as well, welcoming him to their home in a way that the Dursleys never had.

Thinking about the Dursleys reminded him of all those years he'd spent, feeling unwanted and unlovable. His friends — especially Ginny — made him feel just the opposite and there wasn't any force in the world that could make him push them away. He knew how fragile life could be.

Maybe someday he would make this his home. Looking around the beautiful clearing, he imagined a small cottage like the ones he'd seen in Hogsmeade with a flagstone path leading through overgrown flowerbeds in the front garden and windows glowing with light in the gathering dusk.

For now, Hart Fell would be his retreat, but the bright days here would never be enough until he knew he could share them with his friends. And, to his way of thinking, the dark days were going to vastly outnumber the bright ones until he found a way to succeed.

The End

A/N: Notes to reviewers:

pyrobabe7713, wackafrazzalicious, Preston78, CaityH, Nimbirosa, GryffRavHuffSlythendor, ali, kaiserzacc, SouthernBelle, tramp3834, murdrax, Lady of Masbolle, johnmenefee21, SillyGillie, RyougaZell, Rozie, Thee-Unknown-Factor, Ennui-EAF, rdprice29, david, Madoleine Tolkein , eyes of sky, xxxoliviaxxx, sarah , Kazanoe, MarinePotterfan, Silver Warrior, josh, icaro, HP fan 1111, reader, KandiG, devourer18, applesollie, Lady of the Dragon, tIgErPrN06, Gorav1, R-Krulle, imgonnadie, xarafu, Tori, DragonOverlord, Goyana, donkeykong27, Jeefus, Rkhiara, Silver Warrior, SillyGillie, dumbledoreluver, Ugly Duckling, Jessa 7, Jack-A-Roe, Demosthenes:

Thanks for your reviews! You have all been generous and kind. I would write individual responses, but I probably would never get this posted. I apologize if I've left anyone out. Thanks for having faith that I wouldn't abandon the story. I finished writing this story in June, but it was badly in need of revision, especially this chapter, so I missed the opportunity to post it before the HBP made it alternate universe. Thanks for reviewing anyway! Some of you have been writing reviews all along and I want to express my appreciation. It was very thoughtful of you. And the reviews really did help motivate me.

Ted M. Hammett: Despite the fact that the Myrddin story leaves the final fight against Voldemort to the future, I don't plan a sequel because the story is now alternate universe. I would rather look at some of the new and interesting plot possibilities introduced by the HBP. Thanks for writing a review!

Seal1: Thanks for the sympathy. That's exactly why I've found it so difficult to proofread these last few chapters. The hardest part was deleting phrases that I had already written that now sounded too reminiscent of things JKR wrote a thousand times better in the HBP. Thanks for writing!