Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction using the characters created by J. K. Rowling. The rights to the characters remain in the hands of Miss Rowling and her publishers, Bloomsbury Books and Scholastic Press.

The Janus Order

Chapter 11

When Madame Pomfrey entered the ward, she found Harry not in his bed but sitting on a wooden chair by the window. He had it angled to where he could watch the rising sun whose first rays were only now peeking over the mountains. She walked over to him. Harry slowly turned his head to her as she approached.

"Good morning," he said quietly.

"How do you feel?" Madame Pomfrey asked as she sat a potion on the window sill.

Harry looked confused. "I'm not sure. Everything is strange at the moment."

The nurse knelt beside him. She felt his forehead, checked his pulse, and examined his eyes. She nodded her satisfaction with the quick examination.

"Let's see if we can't break the question down into manageable parts, shall we?" Madame Pomfrey said as she stood. "How do you feel physically?"

Harry closed his eyes as if he turned them inward and was assessing each part of his body, system by system.

"Somewhat stiff and more then a little sore but no sharp or major pains anywhere," he finally answered as he reopened his eyes.

"That's good but I'll do a more complete physical later this morning if you are up to it," Madame Pomfrey replied. "How are you otherwise?"

Harry looked back at the rising sun. "The prophecy said that neither Voldemort nor I could truly live while the other remained alive. I truly wished that there had been a third way. I didn't want to die and I didn't want to kill him."

The nurse placed a gentle hand on the eleven year old boy's shoulder. "Voldemort was like a rabid weasel who would have continued to bring death and sorrow to the world. Some things in life just have to be done. I'm sorry that the task fell to a boy but it may have been that you were the only one capable of ridding the world of his terror."

"I was," Harry said simply.

Madame Pomfrey retrieved the potion. "Drink this down, please."

Harry obeyed without complaint although the potion was bitter.

"Would you like a cheering charm?" She asked.

Harry gave her a small smile. "I'm sad but not depressed or thinking about suicide. I would like breakfast if I am allowed to eat."

"That's a good sign," Madame Pomfrey said happily. "I'll have one sent up soon."

"Ma'am, what day is this?" he asked as the nurse turned to leave.

"It's the eighth of June, dear," she answered. "You've been in that bed for four days."

Harry's only comment was to raise an eyebrow.

Professors McGonagall and Snape and a pudgy man clutching a lime green bowler hat accompanied Dumbledore into the hospital wing. They found Hermione sitting on Harry's bed feeding him the last of his lunch.

"Good Afternoon, Professors," Hermione gushed as she removed the tray to a nearby table

"Poppy led me to believe that you were feeling fairly well today," Dumbledore said frowning.

"I'm fine, sir," Harry reassured him. "It's just that if I was gonna eat, I had to let her hand feed me."

The headmaster chuckled knowingly "Harry, let me introduce you to Cornelius Fudge, the British Minister for Magic."

"How do you do, young man," Mister Fudge asked as he shook Harry's hand. "If what Dumbledore says is true, then we are again in your debt."

"If?" Hermione asked pointedly.

"Well, ah, you see," Mister Fudge mumbled.

"Minister, let me introduce Hermione Granger," Dumbledore said. "She is the brightest witch in the first form and a witness to the events of the fourth."

Hermione nodded curtly to the Minister but remained quiet.

Dumbledore held up a small blue vial. "Harry, this contains veritaserm. It is the most powerful truth serum ever concocted. I am very sorry but I must ask you to drink this and answer some questions for us."

"What?" Hermione exploded but Harry quickly reached a calming hand out to her.

"I understand, sir," Harry said. "You need to be certain."

"Certain of what?" Hermione asked.

"Certain that I am still Harry and not Voldemort," Harry answered. "It's a real concern that they have to put to pasture."

Harry took the offered vial and drank down the entire bottle in a single gulp.

"Potter, you only needed a sip of the veritaserum," Professor Snape said. "Now I have to make another solution."

"I'm sorry, Professor Snape," Harry replied. "An overdose isn't dangerous, is it?"

"No but you'll be answering all questions truthfully for the next three days," the potions master said.

"I always try to tell the truth," Harry said.

Snape grinned wickedly. "Lad, there is a vast difference between telling the truth and answering truthfully."

"How long before it takes effect?" Hermione asked with a gleam in her eye

"He's probably under its influence by now," Snape replied.

"Harry, do you truly love me?" She asked impishly.

"I truly love you, Hermione," Harry said looking her straight in the eye. "I'm gonna marry you someday."

Hermione laughed and kissed Harry on the tip of his nose. "He's all yours, Headmaster."

"Apparently not," Dumbledore said archly. He then cleared his throat. "Are you Lord Voldemort at one time known as Tom Riddle?"

"No, I'm Harry James Potter," Harry answered directly. "Lord Voldemort died when I took his knowledge, power, and life force from him. Since he no longer had a body or a soul, there was nothing left of him."

"You have Voldemort's knowledge and power now?" Dumbledore asked worriedly.

Harry took a deep breath and slowly exhaled it. "Yes," he said. "But what allowed me to defeat the Dark Lord will be the same thing that will prevent me from becoming the next Dark Lord."

"What is that, young Mr. Potter?" Minister Fudge asked.

"Love, sir."

"Love," the Minister said incredulously.

"Love, sir," Harry replied again. "When Lord Voldemort charged into me, he found that I wasn't there to fight him but to forgive him. My capacity to forgive was greater then his ability to hate. He was trapped by love and could not escape. He poured his darkness into me until there was nothing left of him and then I let the darkness go because I had no use for it."

Fudge silently appealed to Dumbledore for an explanation. The old man stroked his long white beard and smiled.

"I would not have ever thought about victory through surrender, conquest by love," he said. "Harry, you are a far better man now at eleven then I have managed to become in the long, long decades of my life. Cornelius, you can make your public announcement that Lord Voldemort is truly and forever gone from us."

"There won't be a sober witch or wizard in Britain by sundown," McGonagall said somewhat disapprovingly.

"Damned if I'm not going to the Three Broomsticks and hoist a couple myself," Professor Snape cried out happily. "I can finally have a peaceful life!"

"Well, young man," Cornelius Fudge said buoyantly. "I think that the Order of Merlin, First Class is too little of an award but that's the highest we have. Oh, I have got to get back to London and fast."

He rushed from the room bursting with anticipation of telling the world of the incredible news that the dark cloud that they had lived under for so long was over. Professor Snape gave Harry's shoulder a quick squeeze then followed the Minister out of the infirmary.

"Madame Pomfrey said that I had to stay here until one more examination was done," Harry said. "Was this that examination?"

"Yes, Harry, it was," Dumbledore said. "Again, I'm sorry that it had to be done."

"I guess many things have to be done that we rather not do," Harry said. "Hermione, you brought some clothes for me to wear?"

Hermione reached under the bed and retrieved Harry's book bag and a pair of boots. "Wand, Trousers and what not are in the bag and there is this little charm I need to teach you. Your boots were more then a bit fragrant."

"Thanks," Harry said. He took the clothes from her and vanished into the lavatory.

Professor McGonagall watched until the door was shut. "You know where my apartment is, Hermione?"

"Yes, Professor. Why?"

"Just in case you feel the need to chat," she said enigmatically. She left without another word. Dumbledore was close behind her.

Harry and Hermione walked slowly along the banks of the lake. The rays of the warm sun glistened like tiny jewels on the tips of the waves. The grounds were grounded with students since there were no classes but Harry found a secluded spot. He wanted privacy for Hermione when he told her what he must.

"Another eight wicker sofas," Hermione teased as Harry retrieved his wand from his back pocket.

"I was thinking of a marble bench, actually," Harry replied.

Unlike his last effort, Harry created only the one bench that he was trying for. It was of white marble with the faintest hint of rose colouring to it. It had a slight curve which allowed two people to sit side by side yet easily look into one another's eyes.

"Okay, Harry say what has been bothering you since we left the hospital wing," Hermione said as they sat down.

Looking sadder then Hermione had ever seen him; Harry took hold of her hands. "In a few days when I leave here I won't be back."

Hermione was bewildered. A dozen different questions rushed to her tongue. She asked the simplest one. "Why?"

"I have the knowledge and ability of a wizard who had been studying magic for over fifty years," Harry explained. "I now know the entire curriculum of Hogwarts and far, far more. Much of it useless to me since its only purpose is evil but most of it is adaptable to the sort of life I wish to lead."

"You said that you loved me," Hermione wailed.

"I do," Harry replied. "Hermione, you chased me down through multiple dimensions. Can a few years and a mere ocean keep us apart?"

Hermione tried to articulate what she wanted to say. She failed. Instead she fell into his arms and cried. Harry hugged her and cried with her.

The next time he cried was when he was nineteen and was slipping a simple silver band on Hermione's finger with their families, friends, and the mountains of Alberta as witnesses.