Author's Note: Yes I killed off Luna, and that took quite a few people by surprise, though it really shouldn't have. I'll admit that I didn't telegraph it, but it's still very much in character for my 'anything goes' strategy for this story. I've acknowledged before that I never really knew what to do with Luna, and I would have found something except that I just flat out ran out of time. This will be a 305,000 word story (written in six and a half months), and I just didn't have time to flesh out characters the way I would have if I had given myself longer, with an earlier starting time. For those who complain that I kill off too many canon characters: grow up, there's been a reason for every one of the deaths, and there are plenty of characters left to write about if I had wanted to write a sequel (which I don't). Thirty-seven students, four teachers, and Dumbledore died on the light side, to almost 500 Death Eaters and three dozen each of giants and trolls…….if anything I made the Hogwarts losses too light.
The cliffhanger? Well part of it is that I had a rough time getting Chapter 34 finished on time, and part of it was that I wanted people to have a reason to read this chapter, which is mostly aftermath and epilogue. I haven't gone to the cliffhanger well that many times, and I liked it as an ending point to the chapter.
Monday, June 1st, 1997 (continued)
AVADA KEDAVRA! AVADA KEDAVRA!
The killing curses hit each other, and what transpired next was something that had long been talked about within Harry's circle, but had never been seen by anyone besides the two antagonists:
The fact that the two wands were brothers was well known…….especially to Harry and Voldemort, neither of whom would have looked surprised if there hadn't been such expressions of rank hatred on their faces. The remaining Death Eaters were quickly subdued……..and before anyone could stop them (even if they had wanted to), the goblins felt free to butcher all the live ones except for Percy and Peter Pettigrew. The trophy-hungering goblins, however, were the only ones not paying full attention to the final duel.
The circle appeared, and even in such a relatively confined space (the hallway), it seemed to be huge……..and like the time in the graveyard, past victims of the wands came floating out of them……starting with Luna, and seeing her almost broke Harry's spirit right there. She looked a little confused at what was happening, but her brain took over.
"So that is what happened………you can do it Harry, you can win." She floated past him and continued on toward Voldemort, and while what she whispered to him would always remain unknown, the expression on his face was very telling.
Dumbledore was next to come out of Voldemort's wand, and the old man seemed more at peace in death than he had seemed in life this past year.
"You are ready now Harry, end this once and for all." He moved on as well, smiling gently at the awestruck crowd that was constantly jockeying for a better view. Other students came out of Voldemort's wand as well, and they circled the two as the others did.
Harry's wand had claimed more than it's share of victims this day, and the Death Eaters he had killed came out of his wand, and whispered their own words of encouragement to Voldemort, while hissing vile threats and promises to Harry, mostly on what they would do to him once he reached the afterlife……and they assured him it would be soon.
It was not long before a familiar face came out of Harry's wand…….that of Severus Snape, which drew a sharp intake of breath from everyone who could see……even those who knew how he had died. He looked at Harry with a strangely smug smile (strangely, considering he was dead and all).
"Die Potter, die slowly."
Harry was focusing all his energy on keeping the connection going……….he wanted to see his mother and father come out, like the last time. It did not take too long either, Voldemort apparently had not been too busy in the killing business over the last two years, and right after Cedric, James and Lily Potter streamed out of the bad man's wand just a couple of minutes into the connection…….and though this is what he had longed to see, it was more than Harry could bear and he started weeping……….but somehow managed to keep himself under control long enough to put his left hand in his robes and whip out Snape's wand………..but not before his foe saw this and had a counter of his own: Dumbledore's wand. Out they both whipped, and the scene from three minutes ago repeated itself.
AVADA KEDAVRA! AVADA KEDAVRA!
And you know the funny thing that happened? Priori Incantatem……….the relationship between Snape and Dumbledore had another of its complexities revealed, as their wands were brothers as well. This development rocked both of them hard, as Voldemort had not expected Harry to be using that particular wand………..and Harry just couldn't believe it period.
Death Eaters crawled out of Dumbledore's wand, as before, and they joined the procession that was still circling around Harry and Voldemort, though surprisingly there weren't that many of them, and none from before this day, as the permanently retired Headmaster had not killed anyone in years before this (he had done millions of spells since, so Grindewald did not come out)……….but what shattered every Weasley (even Percy) in the room………..
Molly, Arthur, and Remus came out of Snape's wand
"Hang on Harry dear, you can do it."
"It's yours my boy, end it."
"We're so proud of you Harry, finish it."
With hearing all that, and seeing the ghostly forms of so many of his loved ones, Harry lost what little composure he had left:
"I hate you Voldemort! I will kill you if it takes my last breath! I hate you!" The walls began to shake slightly as the magical energy poured out of Harry, and though he was not using Sonorus, his words echoed in the hallway as if he had been using it. He focused all his pain, his rage, and his power on forcing his killing curses forward………and slowly forward they did go, the two were only separated by five meters to begin with and the gap was closing inexorably. Molly and Arthur had somehow stopped inside the circle, and were gazing fondly on their children, so many of whom had saved the light side from destruction this day…….and all of whom were crying uncontrollably.
Voldemort didn't know whether to crap or go blind at this point, even he had not known about Snape's and Dumbledore's wands being brothers like this, and he thought that he knew everything there was to know about his former henchman. He watched the spells coming toward him, saw that he was truly alone and surely defeated………..and decided that plan C was going to have to be used……..at least Potter would die because of it:
He wrenched free of the double wand mating (which cased the ghosts to all instantly disappear) and somehow avoided getting hit with Harry's two killing curses………..he then dropped his own wand on the ground and reached into his robes for another weapon and pulled it out:
It was a 9 millimeter Baretta pistol.
Harry was already halfway through another round of Avada Kedavra when he saw the gun come out, he immediately stopped speaking the spell and began his focus on what to do next:
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Three shots fired off in quick succession, but hitting nothing but the wall at the end of the hallway, as Harry Apparated himself just perfectly, directly behind Voldemort. He quickly dropped his wands and drew his fighting knives…………and plunged them right into his enemy's back as hard as he could, forcing him to drop Dumbledore's wand and his handgun to the floor. There was a loud gasp from Voldemort as the knives penetrated his lungs, and Harry yelled out right in his ear:
"I bet you didn't know that power did you?" With that, he withdrew the knives from Voldemort's back, and plunged them into his neck, killing him immediately…………but Harry held them in there, screaming:
"For mum, for dad, Luna, Molly, Arthur, Sirius, Remus, Dumbledore, Cedric………." He kept repeating these names as he pushed as hard as he could, and though in his mind he knew his foe was gone, he couldn't bring himself to let go.
Neville and Ron were standing next to each other, transfixed, and each wondered if they should do something here, or just allow Harry to let it go in whatever fashion he needed………….but they could see Harry cracking now under the strain, as the anguish and grief poured out of him, and without looking at each other they walked over to their best friend and talked him down very gently.
"Harry, c'mon mate, it's done now, let go Harry."
"Harry, please stop now, you've won, you did what you had to, it's over."
They kept repeating this very softly, and soon Harry stopped his screaming and pulled his knives out of Voldemort, who slumped down on the floor, very dead. Bill walked over and checked the body, and no one saw any spirits or ghosts come out of it……….so the deed was now done.
Neville and Ron very carefully each took a knife out of Harry's hand and put their arms around him, holding on to him as he stood there, cried out, but too tired to move. He looked over and saw Peter Pettigrew tied up against the wall, but while this, in theory, was now the death he most wanted in the world, he couldn't bring himself to care right now……..and Pettigrew was more than smart enough to keep his mouth shut and not provoke anything. Likewise Percy was silent, his gamble had not paid off, and he knew that he had picked the losing side. Harry tried to feel hate for his unofficial brother, but he was so tired right now, magically, mentally, physically, and most of all: emotionally. He had been tired before, but never this tired. Here was the moment he had dreamed about for years, killing Voldemort, but all he could think about was how he just didn't care about anything anymore.
He looked down on the ground by his feet, and saw Voldemort's pistol……..the one he had broken the code with, something only one wizard (Grindewald) had done in over 400 years. This was so like evil, and so like Voldemort. He stared at the gun and thought of how quick it would be, how convenient……….and who would care about a code if he was gone? His wands were not in hand, they had been picked up by the twins for safekeeping………but his right hand was flexing, almost like he wanted to feel it in his hand………….and the gun started to vibrate a little, it started to move…….like it too wanted Harry to grasp it……….
But it was not to be. Freygang had watched all of this play out, knowing exactly what Harry wanted to do…… and while the lad's purpose had technically been served, he liked the kid, and knew that his father did as well……….so he walked over the gun and pocketed it.
"You don't mind if I take this as souvenir, do you Harry Potter?" He said this matter of factly, and in a normal tone of voice, but it was enough to snap Harry out of his trance, and he shook his head that he didn't mind.
"Good, I have a nice collection of them, though I've never used one myself. You did well young man, you did exactly what you had to do." He shouted something in Gobbledegook and his security force assembled behind him, and they departed the castle. Harry went over to Luna, whose head was being cradled by her father, and knelt down beside them.
"I'm so sorry Luna, I'm so very sorry. I…….." He couldn't finish, and the tears started to flow again. Joe looked over at him and put his arm around his shoulders.
"My little girl was never happier than she was this last year Harry, and that's due to you. She loved you with all of her heart, and what's more she knew that you loved her just as much." With that, he picked up his daughter, and carried her away.
Bill quietly went over to McGonagall and softly said:
"Headmistress, perhaps you should take the castle out of lockdown……….we have some parents to notify. I'll help with that if you would like me too."
"Yes, thank you Bill……….just make sure Harry isn't left alone for one second, I think we all saw what he was about to do with that gun."
"I know……….I guess I can understand it in a way, if I had lost Ashley today…….We won't leave him alone for awhile though." After Bill whispered something to Charlie and the twins, he and McGonagall went up to her office, where they notified the parents of thirty-six students (Luna's father was the only one among the rescuing parents that lost a child) and the families of four professors of the loss of their loved ones. Madam Pomfrey had been doing a little business during this time, but not as much as one would think, since the Death Eaters were using nothing but Avada Kedavra, and the light side likewise were taking only two prisoners (Percy and Pettigrew), thanks to the goblins.
Speaking of the last remains of a 500 person Death Eater force, once the lockdown was over, they were quickly hustled by Kingsley and Biller to the Ministry, and thence on to Azkaban, where they would be safe from any potential rescuers. The Ministry would be cleaning things up for quite awhile, as every department had been hit hard by the raid………..the Aurors were now down to eleven, a small force even with the Death Eaters wiped out. Fudge and Bones both came to Hogwarts to assess the damage, and to grieve over those lost………over 1/3 of the faculty, and over thirteen percent of the overall student body………the floo calls took quite a long time, and parents began streaming in to take charge of their children's bodies…….as well as other parents who just wanted to make sure that their kids were all right. Dinner was obviously cancelled for the evening, and some of the House Elves brought food to the individual Common Rooms, while the rest of the House Elf corps was detailed with cleaning up the wreckage and fixing the front doors……..though the front area where the juice had fired, was ordered by McGonagall not to be touched, as a reminder.
Harry was still numb as he allowed himself to be guided back to Gryffindor by his friends. Charlie went down to the Hospital Wing and procured some Dreamless Sleep Potion for Harry, and once inside his trunk, he accepted the potion without complaint, and proceeded to sleep for the next eighteen hours straight. The girls all went to Ravenclaw, to be with Lisa Turpin (who had lost her boyfriend Terry Boot), and the guys set up a rotating shift of people to watch over Harry, making sure that at least two of them were with him at all times. The first and second year students were retrieved from The Burrow, where Professor Hill had been regaling them with muggle legends and fables, keeping their minds somewhat occupied and distracted. A sixth year in each House was detailed by Neville to tell the youngest years what had happened.
McGonagall walked around later that night to each of the Common Rooms, and announced that classes were cancelled for the next two days, in part to lessen the shock of what had happened, and in part to find some replacement teachers for Defense, Arithmancy, Herbology, and Astronomy. Meals were still served in the Common Rooms on Tuesday and most of Wednesday, as the Great Hall was being readied for a large funeral service that was to take place Wednesday afternoon.
Harry and all of the other student leaders were interviewed in depth on Tuesday by Bones, Shacklebolt, and Biller, and their stories taken as a whole gave much clarity to the outsiders as to what had happened. Bones informed Harry that Manuel Zabini had just been elected to lead the Wizengamot, and that the body itself had been in special session almost non-stop since the morning, deciding what to do about the aftermath, and what awards to hand out. Before she left, Bones had a word or two of mild warning for Harry.
"I owe it to you to tell you this Harry, there is some negative rumbling in the Wizengamot about what you did here, exposing all of those kids to the Death Eaters like you did……….now I think you did the right thing myself, and I can guarantee that no charges will be brought against you…….not that any could, since you had the Minister's approval for your use of the killing curse, and Biller knew and approved of the archer defense……..which was incredibly innovative I must say, and probably turned the tide. There are also rumblings from some of the parents of those students who were killed." Harry just looked at her with the same dead eyes with which he had been looking at everyone else since he had woken up a few hours ago (it was now 7:00 pm on Tuesday evening).
"What are you saying Madam Bones, that they might come after me?"
"Well you can probably expect a Howler or ten at the very least……and yes, I think tomorrow you will hear some angry words directed at you………..but do not be troubled by it Harry, like everyone has probably been telling you ad nauseam, you did what you had to do……….and you did it incredibly well. You were the only one in this country that could have rallied your students like you did. Your kids exterminated two or three generations of Death Eaters…….everyone of whom deserved what he or she got."
"What's going to happen to Percy Weasley? And Peter Pettigrew?"
"They will both be questioned when we have more time, though Pettigrew did have a short session last night, and we rounded up all of the Dark sympathizers that he knew about………and he was Voldemort's executive officer, so our thinking is that he knew them all. I will let you know of course when his trial is, we'll make sure we get him on the betrayal of your parents and the framing of Sirius Black……..in addition to his more recent crimes." After a few more minutes, she took her leave, nodding at Charlie, who had been watching and listening with great interest, having taken a leave of absence from the Dragon Preserve. Harry spent the rest of the day talking with his friends, and while he was still sad and hollow seeming, he assured them of one thing:
"Don't worry friends, I'm not going to do anything rash to myself, I've pulled out of that. I have a lot of people up there right now who would not be too happy with me if I came up like that." He spent some quiet time with Lisa, and they comforted each other with kind words and feelings about their departed loved ones. Harry was told by everyone that he was a hero, and while he didn't quite believe it (and never truly would), his guilt over having the blood of thirty-seven students supposedly on his hands began to lessen.
Wednesday, June 3rd, 1997
The funeral service actually did come off without incident, each family with a deceased child had been talked to by someone in the Ministry or the Order about what the entire situation was, and while it did not sit well with many of them still, none of them chose to confront Harry that day………other than the families of Terry Boot and Stephen Cornfoot, the only even halfway close friends of Harry who had died (Luna being so much more than a friend), and the Boots and Cornfoots had no axes to grind with Harry, their sons were leaders in Ravenclaw, and would have been at the forefront of any confrontation that happened at Hogwarts. Biller too made a point of harshly threatening anyone who might have been tempted to put so much as put a tickling charm on Harry, he stressed the point that what happened could have, and probably should have, been much, much worse.
The service was a four hour affair that honored the memories of all forty-two people who had died in the battle. Reminisces lasted for most of this time, not just for Dumbledore, though his took up the most time, but every single student was mentioned as well, stories about how they had loved being witches and wizards, and the pride they took in their school. Harry sat between Joe Lovegood and Jacob Boot as he struggled with whether or not to say something…….and if he said something about one student, would other parents take offense? In the end though, he felt it would be an unforgivable insult if he did not say at least a few words about the kids and teachers who had followed his plan, to their deaths. From memory, he said the name of everyone who had died in the battle, and ended with this:
"Those names will forever be engraved on my memory, and no pensieve will be able to pry them out of there. They gave their lives to protect their friends, to protect us all from evil. I'm sure that I speak for all of my fellow students when I say that I will forever be grateful, and I thank them." Ron then stood up:
"Thank you." Neville and Ginny then did the same, followed by every surviving student in the hall:
There was not a dry eye in the place after that as McGonagall, who had said things about every student and all five of the faculty, stood up one last time.
"I would like to announce that a memorial statue will be built right outside the front doors of Hogwarts, to honor those that fought this day, both the ones who gave their lives, and those that lived." She paused for a moment, and collected herself, and said something that she had been wanting to say to someone, anyone, for the last two days…..and maybe even longer than that:
"And I would like to thank Harry Potter, not only for killing Voldemort and ending years of war within our world, but for his planning and conscientious care in making sure his fellow students had the best possible chance for survival. No one here at Hogwarts has cared about these kids more than he has, and that is why they followed him, to death or otherwise. They did not follow the Boy Who Lived, they followed their friend Harry Potter, and for that I honor him." She sat down, and Manuel Zabini stood up.
"The Wizengamot has been meeting for the last two days in special session, and we have many awards to announce. This may seem like a silly time to do this, hand out awards when such tragedy has occurred, but this is a time to honor the living, as well as the dead. The official handing out of the medals will happen at a ceremony to be determined this summer, but the Wizengamot wanted those honored to know now." He took out a parchment from his robes, and commenced reading:
"For the thirty-seven students and five faculty members who gave their lives on Monday, June 1st, 1997, and as well for the twenty-five members of the Order of the Phoenix who died at the Battle of Hogsmeade and in the Battle of Hogwarts, we award them all with The Order of Merlin, First Class (Posthumously). We further award The Order of Merlin, Second Class, to all of the students, faculty members, and others who fought and risked their lives for a greater cause, with the following exceptions:"
"To Freygang and his force of security goblins from Gringotts, we award them their much deserved Orders of Merlin, Second Class, with special citation. Though their race was not officially involved in our war, they came to help at time of great need for us, and for that we thank them. May this be a harbinger for good relations between wizards and goblins for all time."
"To our thirty-nine student Archer Brigade, made up entirely of second year students, and two first year students, we award them all The Order of Merlin, Second Class, with special citation. This was an all volunteer group that was recruited many months before the invasion, and they knew what they were risking…….and showed astounding courage."
"To Seamus Finnegan and Dean Thomas, we award The Order of Merlin, First Class, for their tireless efforts in properly training the Archer Brigade, as well as their outstanding leadership during the battle."
"To Bill Weasley, head of the Order of the Phoenix, whose organization was vital to the survival of Hogwarts, we award him The Order of Merlin, First Class."
"To Ginevra Weasley, Anthony Goldstein, Justin Finch-Fletchley, and my own son Blaise Zabini, we award The Order of Merlin, First Class, for their leadership of Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin Houses during the battle. Their cool heads and organizational abilities were crucial to the victory."
"Finally, every army needs its overall leaders, ones where the proverbial buck stops. In the army that defended Hogwarts those positions were held by Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, and Neville Longbottom. Their plan and leadership ended the threat of Voldemort forever, and crippled the Dark side of magic for decades. For that, we award the three of them each The Order of Merlin, First Class, with special citation. We salute them, and hope fervently that their services in this regard are never needed again." There was no applause, this was not that kind of thing, but there was a lot of nodding of heads in the crowd. The ceremony ended soon after, and things slowly started getting back to normal………well the normal routine anyway.
June, 1997, Hogwarts.
The rest of the month went by with few interruptions for our players. Temporary teachers were found for Herbology, Astronomy, and Arithmancy for the remainder of the year. The Herbology teacher, an Irish lady named Claire McDougall, was hired for the next year as well, with the understanding made clear by the new teacher that she would go back to her private greenhouse business in one year's time, just in time for Neville to take over. McGonagall, who still taught her classes in addition to organizing the search for new faculty and the preparations for NEWTs and OWLs, decided that it would be best if the Defense slot was not filled for the rest of the month, as the students already have proven to be quite skilled in that area. The sixth year members of the Executive Council provided Defense tutoring for those who needed it, and the examinations went off without a hitch.
The day before his June 10th trial, Percy Weasley was paid a visit by Travis Biller. Percy had told what he knew under Veritaserum questioning, but it was nothing more than what Pettigrew had given them under similar conditions, and quite a bit less. Percy had never, in the five months he was a Death Eater, operated without orders……and since all of his orders were generated by Pettigrew, there was nothing new for him to add. Biller had ordered his people to keep Percy safe, and that he was not to be beaten in any way. The redhead had spent the last nine days contemplating things, and mentally preparing himself for Azkaban…….preparing as best he could anyway, the idea of spending however many years he had left there was not an easy one.
"Percy, I'm going to offer you an easy way out of the mess you've made for yourself, and your family. I like your brothers, and I want to spare them the embarrassment of seeing you convicted of murder and treason…….and I want you to be able to atone for your sins. This offer is good for one hour Percy, and will not be repeated……..if you go to trial tomorrow you will face the full force of Azkaban afterward, and there are no Death Eaters left to rescue you. Think about it Percy, I'll be back in an hour." With that, he took a length of rope from his pocket and dropped it at Percy's feet, his eyes then looked upward at the wooden beam at the top……..clearly transmitting his message. Percy just sat on his bunk, not having said a word. He stared at the rope for the next while, and knew what he had to do……….
Travis returned at the appointed time, and the deed was done. Percy's trial need not be held. No one in the Weasley family had any public comment, and none of them attended his burial.
Peter Pettigrew received no such accommodation, and his trial was held on June 11th as scheduled. He was the only witness, and spent the entire day testifying about his Death Eater history. It was an appalling tale, and shed light on many strange occurrences. He was, of course, convicted on all counts (being a Death Eater, using countless Unforgivable Curses, too many murders to count, and the betrayals of Lily and James Potter to Voldemort). Minister Fudge, presiding over the trial, delivered the sentence:
"Peter Morton Pettigrew, you have been convicted on all charges. It has been decided by joint edict of the Wizengamot and the Ministry of Magic that you are simply too dangerous to be allowed to live. We do not want any flashpoints for other potential Dark Wizards, or allow you to be made of as a suffering figure. We hereby sentence you to death, to be carried out by the end of the day……..May God have mercy on your soul………though I doubt he will." Fudge added that last part with a sudden tone of spite.
Peter Pettigrew was executed by the Auror equivalent of a firing squad three hours later. Harry was not present for any of the trial, nor did he say much that night when McGonagall told him of the outcome. He knew that he should care, and on some level wished he had been the one to do the killing……….but he was increasingly becoming bitter about the killing he had already done……….the killing he had really been forced to do, because of Ministry bungling and Dumbledore's own incompetence (or so he believed). Harry would go to his grave doubting the Prophecy that had changed his life, and while he wound up (overall) with a very happy life, he still bore the scars, both on his forehead, and in his soul, for the rest of his days.
Summer brought some changes in the Hogwarts firmament. Professor Flitwick accepted the post of Deputy Headmaster without complaint, particularly after the other professors made a quiet plea for him to do so. Cho Chang, after not being drafted by the British Professoinal Quidditch League, accepted McGonagall's offer of the Defense post, having scored the top NEWT grade in her class, just edging out Jack Sloper. McGonagall had gone through the motions of offering the job to Harry, but as she expected, he turned her down flat (though politely). New professors were also found for Transfiguration (Alaina Newton, a 1989 graduate of Ravenclaw), Astronomy (Thomas Scheckter, a 1991 graduate of Hufflepuff), and Arithmancy (Linda Edelman, a 1987 graduate of Ravenclaw)………in addition to the temporary hire of Claire McDougall. Neville accepted the future offer of the Herbology position, and devoted his summer to advanced reading and essay writing. Since none of the new hires were Gryffindor alums, the Headmistress had little choice but to offer the post of Head of Gryffindor House to Professor Hill of Muggle Studies.
Harry took his promised visit to the Maple Leaf School of Magic in late July, just before his birthday. He was starting to finally pull out of his depression, with the help of some long, one-sided, talks with Luna at her gravesite in Ottery St. Catchpole. He decided not to work at WWW during the summer, as he did not want to be out in public too much………though he could not quite put his finger on why really. He had gotten a couple of Howlers from parents of his killed schoolmates, but only those two. He got a few more from cranks whose business in life seemed to be criticizing others, and who probably sent out half a dozen Howlers a day (indeed, he told some of the names to Fudge and was assured that the he got them from those people too).
He toured the campus and go to know the teachers there over his three day visit……..and the other teachers could instantly see that Madam Bonner was wooing him for the Defense job. Robert Cochran, who one teacher had told Harry was privately counting down the days until he could retire, sat with Harry for a long talk about the job, and what it was like to be a full-time teacher. All of the faculty had read accounts of the battles of June 1st, and fully understood that the Harry Potter in front of them was a changed young man.
In the end though, after a long walk around parts of Toronto, and some soul searching inside of himself, Harry went to Madam Bonner with his decision:
"Madam Bonner, I will accept the Defense job for next year……….on one condition."
"I would like to transfer and finish my schooling here. I need a fresh start ma'am……….I need a change of scenery and a chance to not have to see all of those reminders at Hogwarts……….they're like needles poking me and I can't make them stop……….I think if I'm here they won't be so bad."
This rather caught Madam Bonner by surprise, but the condition was nothing that couldn't easily be done. She did have one question though:
"What about your friends? Won't you miss them?" Harry had thought about that, but there were always the trunks, in theory he could see them every day if he wanted to………and none of them would be shocked by this, Fred and George had each made a point before his trip of telling him to make sure to come back and say goodbye before he moved.
"They can visit as much as they want, but I think my future needs to be here………or at least, not there. I want to be Harry Potter, seventh year student, not Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, the defender of the light, the savior of Hogwarts……….those are nice in theory, but in practice………they leave a lot to be desired."
"I can imagine Harry, I can imagine. Of course your condition is acceptable, I'll notify the rest of the faculty as soon as you have told your people back in Britain."
"Thank you ma'am, I'll pack up there and be back here for the start of term here."
And so he did, Harry wound up his affairs in Great Britain by mid-August and moved into a hotel in Toronto for the duration of the summer……….he would never spend another night in Great Britain again.
1997-98 School year:
Harry's move to Canada was not a great secret, but word had not widely leaked until the Welcoming Feast, when everyone noticed the person missing from his spot next to Neville and Ron. Much discussion happened on why he moved, and Ron got a week of detentions when one Hufflepuff fourth year openly scoffed about Harry's cowardice. The idiot's teeth grew back, but his nose was always a little off-center for the rest of his life. Hermione Granger and Blaise Zabini were named Head Girl and Head Boy, and Ron was named Gryffindor's Quidditch Captain. His House won the Quidditch Cup that year, with Ginny as Seeker (she had won the Governor's Award for Defense on her OWLs), catching all three Golden Snitches. The new teachers worked out fine, and Hogwarts had its most peaceful year in quite awhile. Harry saw his friends several times a week, though he refused to set foot in Hogwarts Castle at any point.
In May of 1998, the Hands Across the Water Quidditch Game was held again, this time in Toronto……..and the result was quite different, as Maple Leaf won the game 250-230, despite Ginny getting the Snitch. The difference was made by Harry, who scored eighteen goals as a Chaser and thoroughly flummoxed Ron in goal. After the game, McGonagall again renewed her offer of the Defense job (even though Cho was doing fine), but was turned down. For the first time, Harry told her about his impending job at Maple Leaf, but thanked her for the consideration. McGonagall and Shepherd (the other chaperone) both noticed a calmness in Harry that they found striking. He was smiling easily and seemed to be quite popular with his fellow students………..but this time for all the right reasons. He wished them well as they left Maple Leaf, but he knew it might be the last time he ever saw them………..
In the ensuing years:
Ron Weasley was drafted number seven overall in the 1998 Quiddtich Draft……and by the Chudley Cannons no less. He married Susan the day after graduation, and wound up with a fifteen year professional Quidditch career, though he was never able to make the World Cup team for England. Ron and Susan had two daughters, named Molly and Lily, and settled into a happy married life. Ron never had to use his wand in anger again, and he spent his off season time visiting his friends wherever they might be.
Neville Longbottom took over the post of Herbology teacher at Hogwarts, and held it for almost ninety years, eventually becoming Head of Gryffindor House as well. He and Tracey split up soon after graduation, she not wanting to live her life in Hogwarts, and though he dated sporadically, Neville would never marry. He would tell the story of the battle if prodded sufficiently, but students learned not to ask too often. He passed away, in the middle of a staff meeting no less, at the age of 105, all of Hogwarts and Britain mourned.
Bill Weasley put the Order of Phoenix back into mothballs where it belonged, and never had to reactivate it, though he remained it's titular head for the rest of his life. In the 2003 election, in what was considered a mild upset, he dethroned Cornelius Fudge and became the youngest Minister of Magic in British history, at the ripe young age of thirty-five. He and Ashley would have just one child, a boy……..Arthur Harry Weasley. His living namesake would be his godfather, and would have him over to visit every summer. Bill would serve four terms as Minister, before voluntarily retiring and accepting a post on Gringott's Board of Directors. During his time in office, relations with the goblins reached a new level of cooperation and civility, and would remain so long after he retired.
Hermione Granger, who had been in Gryffindor A during the battle and had fought very well, wanted to continue her schooling and enrolled at Oxford, breaking up with Colin in the process, as the younger man wanted only to be a true-blue wizard. There, in her final year, she met James McNally, a muggle from Edinburgh. They fell in love and got married, and aside from the occasional trip back to her alma mater, and the use of some spells at home every day, Hermione Granger McNally went back to being a muggle. She would have two sons and a daughter, and none of the three would wind up being magical. Hermione eventually became a respected professor at Oxford, specializing in ancient legends and folklore. She and Harry had their promised lunch after Voldemort was killed, and they kept in touch for the rest of their lives, with a visit every few years.
Fred and George Weasley wound up selling Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes in the fall of 1999 to Zonko's, for a full 1/3 of the new company, as well as significant upfront money. They married Angelina and Alicia……but sadly had no children with either. They speculated that they may have prank experimented on themselves a time too many. Both twins were devoted to their legion of nieces and nephews though, and were the most popular uncles one could imagine.
After Bill and Ashley's wedding, Charlie Weasley began courting Katie Bell and they got married in the summer of 1999. They had a lot of floo travel in the first few years, as Charlie worked with his beloved dragons in Romania, while Katie played Quidditch for Puddlemere United for six years. After Katie retired from Quidditch, they would have a son and a daughter, Harry Arthur (reversed on purpose) and Luna Molly.
Ginny Weasley and Anthony Goldstein would stay together for another year before splitting up, with Ginny heading to America after her graduation. She declined to go for a professional Quidditch career, and instead tried her hand at becoming an actress. She never reached true stardom, but had a very healthy career on stage in New York City. She would marry three times, and eventually found happiness with Guy Statham, a fellow actor and closet wizard who she met while doing a play. Their children would be magical of course, and she made sure to send them to The Maple Leaf School of Magic. Anthony would marry Lisa Turpin, and after a long talk with Joe Lovegood, they both went to work for The Quibbler, eventually buying Joe out so that he could write his beloved muggle novels……..which he did, putting two of them on the American bestseller lists, though none of his work dealt with magic.
Harry started his new job the moment after his graduation, spending his summer preparing lesson plans. He did journey to Brazil for the 1998 World Cup Finals, and spent a fun two weeks there with Ron and Neville, the Trio back together again. Two years later, he started dating a 1999 graduate of Maple Leaf named Shannon Rohrbach, who had just been hired as the new Charms teacher at her alma mater. They spent a lot of time together that summer, Harry's first romance since Luna, and fell in love. They were married that Christmas of 2000 in a nice ceremony at Maple Leaf, with a large contingent of Hogwarts alumni attending. He never lost his love of Quiddtich though, and was an instigator in the formation of countless pickup games. He got so into it that he made a 'for the hell of it' try for the 2002 Canadian World Cup team, and made the team as a Chaser, the only non-professional player to make the squad (and which required him to become a Canadian citizen)………and on a rain swept field in upstate New York in July 2002, Harry scored eleven goals in the World Cup Finals against France, with his old exhibition foe Seth Bullock grabbing the Snitch for Canada's first ever Quiddtich World Cup Championship. They were cheered on by, among many others, Harry's wife Shannon, and their children, twin boys Ronald Frederick and Neville George Potter. They would have three more children over the years, William Charles, Ginevra Lily, and James Sirius. Harry would return to Britain now and again for weddings and funerals, but as stated before, he would never spend the night there for the rest of his life. Harry Potter died of old age on September 30, 2143, at the ripe old age of 163, surrounded by his loved ones and totally at peace with the man he had become.