Harry Potter and the Isle of Mists

Disclaimer: I can only hope to attain the creative brilliance of J. K Rowling.

AN: This story is AU after OOTP.

Epilogue: All's Well That Ends Well

Harry fell for what seemed like forever. Wind shrieked at his ears. He was being buffeted in the face with a cloak, but he hadn't had on a cloak. He seemed to have left his stomach on the hilltop.

His heart couldn't help but be exultant. They had done it. Voldemort was gone – or would be as soon as they hit bottom. He couldn't regret his death overmuch, though he would miss Hermione.

The ground seemed to be rushing up to him with terrible speed. He closed his eyes.

Distantly a voice rang in his mind.

Arresto Momentum!

The first thing Harry was truly cognizant of was that he desperately wanted a sip of water. Without opening his eyes, he tried to take inventory. He ached all over, but nothing appeared to be irreparably damaged or agonizingly painful.

Arresto Momentum.

Someone had stopped him…or at least slowed him down, the dull discomfort in all his joints reminded him. It was like the time he'd fallen off of his broom because the Dementors came to the Quidditch game.

He was on a bed, he could tell that much. And it was daylight beyond his eyelids; he could feel the brightness of it pressing in on him almost physically.

Then he heard a shriek of joy.

"He's awake!" It was Hermione.

"Er, how do you figure, Hermione?" Ron.

Did you think I wouldn't notice? Her reproving voice rang like music in his mind, and he couldn't stop a smile from overspreading his face, as he slowly blinked his eyes open.

"You really have to ask, Ron?" he said, in a scratchy voice, and then stopped, looking with surprise at his surroundings. He was in the hospital wing at Hogwarts. "How'd we get here?" he blurted.

Hermione and Ron exchanged glances and grinned.

"Harry, do you really think that you could destroy Voldemort, as well as wield the Claviomnis, and Dumbledore wouldn't be able to tell on one of his little magical devices – regardless of where in the world we were?" Hermione's voice was strangely jocular. Harry wasn't sure he'd ever heard it so lilting and musical.

You've never been free before, either, she said softly, just for him, and he stared at her, as if stunned.

Free? He'd never thought about it before. He'd been thrown into the wizarding world, almost simultaneously finding out about his symbolic importance to these people, and had later found out that his importance wasn't symbolic at all, but actual. He'd never known life in this world without it.

Without it… without danger, without constant mortal peril, without the stress and pressure of people's expectations…without the certainty of impending death…

"It's over?" he said, phrasing it like a question, even though it really wasn't one. Hermione's eyes were shining. She nodded, her lips pressed together tightly. He shifted in the bed, swearing under his breath at the growing twinge of pain.

"I feel like I've – "

"Fallen off a mountain?" Ron supplied, with a grin. "Everyone's meeting in Dumbledore's office. I'll go tell them you're up." He shambled out the door, and after watching him go, his eyes turned back toward his love.

"It is hard to fathom, isn't it?" she agreed, correctly reading his mood, without reading his mind.

"I can't believe it," Harry admitted, rubbing at a sore spot at the back of his neck. "I remember feeling the power of the Claviomnis, and trying to – trying to enhance it, I guess. Voldemort leapt at me – he must have known what was happening, and then we fell. What happened?"

"I feel like I died a thousand times in that one instant before you went over the cliff," Hermione said softly, her eyes clouded with the memory. "I ran to the edge. The Death Eaters were all still gaping at the spot where you'd both been. None of them even tried to stop me. I cast Arresto…"

"You saved me," Harry interrupted, laying on hand over hers on the mattress. Hermione shook her head.

"I missed," she said. "Ron and Ginny managed to slow you down enough so that your injuries weren't terribly dangerous. If you hadn't fallen in precisely that direction, where they were gathered – " She shuddered, as if she did not even want to think of it.

"And Voldemort?" Harry queried.

"He was dead before he hit the ground. By the time, they'd finished fussing over you, and come to check on you, there was nothing left but some dessicated bones, his cloak, and his wand. Malfoy snapped it."

"But you?" Harry realized suddenly, his eyes growing wide with alarm. "You were up there with the Death Eaters. How did you get away?"

"I thought about Apparating," Hermione answered. "But I wasn't sure I'd be able to with you – with you out of commission. And I didn't like the thought of all of them getting away, so I – so I – "

"So you…?" Harry prodded.

"I tried one of those wide-band Stun fields, like we sent out to Slytherin and his men. It didn't last very long at all, but it was long enough for me to Stun and restrain them individually." Harry gaped at her.

"You single-handedly took out over two dozen Death Eaters?" He asked, remembering the overwhelming numbers that had been on the ruined foundation of Gryffindor's castle.

"It almost wiped me out," Hermione said, trying to downplay her role. "I barely finished before I passed out. I woke up here, just like you did, a few days ago." She nodded over toward the adjacent bed.

"How long have I been out?"

"Nearly a week. Dumbledore said your magical expenditures were enormous."

"But the Claviomnis!" Harry protested. "It wasn't me. It was Ginny, Luna, Ron, and – "

"We weren't strong enough," Ron said, reappearing in the door, with a whole slew of people. "Dunno if some of us were doubting, or what." He rolled his eyes, clearly thinking of Malfoy, "But it was your magic that did it, that put the final step in place and made it all possible."

Dumbledore was the first one at Harry's bedside, patting Harry's shoulder gently, with a twinkle in his blue eyes that rivaled the sun on the water at Avalon.

"Thank you for finding us, sir," Harry managed, feeling words to be somewhat inadequate.

"Thank you for saving our world, Harry," Dumbledore replied. "Your ingenuity and your unity with your classmates has accomplished what many thought could never be done."

"I couldn't have done it without them," Harry offered humbly. "Even Malfoy proved that he – what's going to happen to him?" He changed tack, as the thought occurred to him.

"He's going to be well looked after," Dumbledore said. "Professor Snape has offered to take him in, though he may not be able to remain in Slytherin House. There is precedence for a re-Sorting, should that become necessary."

"Where is he?" Harry wondered, his eyes scanning the group present. There was Lupin and Tonks, all the Weasleys, McGonagall, and Luna, but neither Malfoy nor Snape were present.

"He's at the Ministry," Dumbledore said, with a hint of regret in his tone. "He'll likely be 'encouraged' to testify against both his mother and his father. Your friends here have already given their statements, and young Mr. Malfoy will not go to prison, though there is still the matter of the Dark Mark on his arm…"

"Voldemort forced him to take it. He didn't want to!" Harry protested, even as part of him was amazed – and a little aghast – that he was standing up for Malfoy.

"Shall I notify a Ministry official to come take his statement, Albus?" Professor McGonagall asked, her eyebrows raised in question.

"That would probably be wise, Minerva," Dumbledore said thoughtfully, looking back to Harry. "You have more influence than you know. Especially now."

Harry felt his face fall, at the thought of what awaited him: press conferences, news coverage, interviews, reporters stalking him, mundane details of his life plastered to glossy magazine covers. He looked woefully at Hermione.

I never will be free, will I? Not really, he sighed. I'll understand if you don't want to deal with the insanity. It's going to be worse now than it ever was before.

Don't be ridiculous, Harry! Hermione sniffed in the pragmatic way that he'd come to know and cherish. I'd read all about you before I even saw you on the Express, remember? I knew what I was signing on to when I became your friend. I've never been more proud of you or loved you more than I do right now, and I certainly don't intend to quit now, just when the journey's really beginning!

To his dismay, Harry felt his eyes flood with tears, and he clamped his fingers around her hand tightly. She raised her other hand, and ran her fingers softly through his disheveled hair. It was like they were the only two people in the room, and Dumbledore must have made some wordless gesture, for when they came out of their reverie, they were the only two people present, save for the venerable Headmaster himself.

"I'd also like to speak to the two of you about – about your relationship," Dumbledore began, evidently choosing his words carefully. "I suspect that is something you would rather discuss in private." Harry and Hermione both nodded their agreement. "It is unusual, but not unheard of, to have students still at Hogwarts with your… social status. There are arrangements that can be made, I'm sure, to the satisfaction of everyone concerned."

"Excuse me, sir," Harry interrupted. "But what social status are you talking about?" Dumbledore's eyebrows soared in surprise.

"About your marriage to Miss Granger, Harry," he answered. Harry was sure that the shock in Hermione's face only mirrored his own, but a tendril of jubilation began to snake up from somewhere. He wasn't sure if it was from him or her, or both.

"But we're not married. I just told Lord Gryffindor that, so we wouldn't be separated in the keep. I told you this already," Hermione explained, with the air of one repeating herself.

"Indeed, you may not have known it, but you were already married before you entered the tower room and were sent back by the Time Turner," Dumbledore said. He opened a large, black leather-bound book with an official-looking Ministry crest stamped in gold on the front. Pages toward the end were blank, but most of them appeared to be filled with a spidery black script, detailing information in neat lists and columns.

"What is this?" Hermione asked, leaning over Harry's legs to see better.

"It's the Ministry record of marriages," Dumbledore replied, tapping one finger on a particular place on the page, near the end. There appeared to be only three or four names following. Harry and Hermione both bent over it curiously.

Harry Potter/Hermione Granger, date marriage registered: 29 August, 1996, place of marriage: Avalon Castle, date consummated: 14 April, 1064.

Hermione felt heat flood her face so emphatically that she was sure she was giving it off in waves. One look at Harry told her that his face was crimson.

"The music…that – that voice…is that when we – ?" Harry stumbled, close to incoherence.

"It said we were bonded…in Avalon," Hermione continued dully.

If you don't want to be… she began. I didn't know it would be for real.

Now you're being ridiculous. I love you. I don't mind this at all – especially if these 'arrangements' mean that you can sleep in my bed all the time.

Honestly! Is that all you think about? Her tone was one of remonstrance, but a smile had started to creep back onto her face. I'm more worried about this being a matter of public record.

Harry looked at her in astonishment. He hadn't thought of that.

How's it going to look, Hermione continued, both of them oblivious that Dumbledore still stood there, in bemusement watching them communicate telepathically, when everyone finds out that we had sex 932 years before we got married?

That's a long time to go without a shag, Harry pointed out in a sage voice, and Hermione skewered him with a glance.

"Is there any way that can be changed? It was one day later – chronologically," Hermione said, trying to speak calmly. "The other just looks odd." Dumbledore smiled at her.

"I've already obtained authorization from the Wizengamot. Given your celebrity, and what is certain to be a life on some level always in the public eye, they've agreed." The Headmaster tapped their entry with his wand, and the date in question shimmered and changed to 30 August 1996.

Harry still felt uncomfortable with anyone knowing the details of his sex life – such as it was.

"Why does that have to be in there at all?" he grumbled childishly.

"It has not been so long ago that arranged marriages were quite common in the Wizarding world," Dumbledore informed them. Hermione was nodding. "They are not unheard of even today. In the past, the registry was quite useful in ascertaining the legitimacy of a marriage or even if paternity ever came into question. Now, it is more a tradition, automatically recorded much like Magical Births and Deaths, since it is such an intimate encounter between two people's magical essences. There is magical output you see, when a bond is made, as you two had in Avalon, and more still when the actual act of – "

"Thank you, Professor," Harry said, cutting him off. He did not want to have this conversation with the Headmaster. He felt Hermione giggle in his mind.

"Yes, I'm sure that Madam Pomfrey will be wanting to examine you thoroughly, now that you've awakened," Dumbledore continued as if he had not been rudely interrupted. "My heartiest congratulations to you both."

I can't believe you interrupted him like that, Harry. Hermione sounded scandalized, but there was laughter in her voice, as Dumbledore left the room.

Do you really want to have 'the talk' with Professor Dumbledore? Harry said grumpily. What could he tell us anyway? Hermione quirked a sardonic eyebrow at him.

One shag, and you think you're that good? Harry gave her a withering look, and pulled her next to him on the bed.

"I love you, Hermione," he said, meaningfully, before his lips covered hers in a searing kiss.

"I love you too," she whispered breathily, before adding, "Do you mind at all?"

"Mind?" he asked incredulously. "I just found out that I'm married to the most wonderful girl that I have an amazing, incredible connection with, and who's my best friend. I'm ecstatic."

She sank into his embrace on his words, and he reclined back onto the bed, tucking her into the crook of his shoulder as he did so.

Freedom… he thought about that word again. Voldemort was gone. He had fulfilled his destiny, and now Hermione – his wife – lay in his arms, bonded to him in every way possible. Ecstatic wasn't even enough of a word to cover how he was feeling.

And somewhere, far away, a castle sat atop a misty mountain in the middle of the ocean, and a joyous chord of music played…

…for the Heir of Gryffindor and his Chosen One.

The End

Okay, well there it is. I'm not sure that I'm terribly happy with this story, but it was the first one I'd ever started, and I didn't have a really clear idea of where exactly I was going with it when I began it. I felt the frustration of this many times, which is why it took me so long to complete. I do feel that my other stories are giant improvements over this one – which is good, I guess – and I just feel very humbled and grateful that so many of you stayed with it for so long.

"Resistance" is probably 4/5 of the way completed, and shameless plug I've got a new one in the works that I'll probably be beginning to post soon. I'm really excited about it, and very curious to see what everyone thinks of it.

Thanks so much for staying for the journey. It's been fun. Hope to see you back someday!