Hey everyone! I'm sorry to say that this chapter/epilogue is the end of Behind Closed Eyes. This was my first fanfic, and I have to say that I absolutely loved the experience of writing and getting feedback from readers! You guys have been great, and I ask that everyone please review this epilogue b/c it's your last chance (and I really wanna know what you think)! Anyway, sorry I didn't get this posted last week. But, I actually completely rewrote the whole thing after I'd finished my first draft! Well, anyways, I'll let ya'll get to writing. And again, thanks so so so so so much! I've got some story ideas turning over in my mind that you might just see on fanfic one day:)
Epilogue - Chapter 45
THE DAILY PROPHET
Harry Potter Duels With You-Know-Who
Last night, May, Friday the 28, history was made. Hope was renewed. Lives were lost. Last night, Harry Potter, the young wizard who has been dubbed such names as, The Boy Who Lived and The Chosen One, discovered the location of and fought in a duel with You-Know-Who.
On May 28, Harry Potter traveled by broom to a small island in the North Sea. He claims to have had a dream in which the voice of his dead mother, Lily Potter (murdered by You-Know-Who), told him the location of his arch nemesis.
The island of Fohr, of the Northern Frisian Islands to the North of Germany, is a small island of approximately thirty-two square miles. The Muggle population is a mere 4500, while the Wizarding population was recorded at 0. Fohr is the only known inhabitation of Wemics, magical liontaurs with astounding earth-magic abilities. Wemics inhabit the Northeastern forests of the island, and the Muggles actually avoid these forests for fear of legendary hauntings.
Overall, Muggles could not ask for a more quiet and peaceful town, primarily made up of fishermen and sailors. Yet these Muggles, along with the majority of the Wizarding World, are oblivious to the fact that this island is the location of the mysterious Slytherin School of Magic, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's locality. Yes. After nearly a year of wizarding authorities searching for You-Know-Who and his followers, Harry Potter found them in one heroic night.
Many in the Wizarding World have had their suspicions about the so-called, Slytherin School of Magic. Minister of Magic, Amelia Bones once suggested Bellatrix Lestrange, known Death Eater and escapee of Azkaban, to be the Headmistress. Many students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry did not return for this school year, and were instead enrolled in the new and unanticipated school. Yet until now no one knew its whereabouts or any relevant information of the establishment.
The four hundred forty miles separating Hogwarts from Fohr was not enough to deter Potter from secretly leaving school to confront You-Know-Who. He flew the long course by broomstick, arriving to the island tired but not daunted, where he was immediately confronted by Death Eater Antonin Dolohov and Hogwart's student Vincent Crabbe. Potter was left with no choice but to defend his life until the death of the two men.
Dolohov had a history of dark magic use and illegal acts against wizards and witches. Crabbe, however, was simply a Hogwarts student in the House of Slytherin. It is believed that Crabbe, along with students Draco Malfoy and Gregory Goyle, left Hogwarts and followed Potter to the island. These three Hogwarts students are now known to have been spies for You-Know-Who.
After dueling with Dolohov and Crabbe, Potter reportedly located a large castle, which he discovered to be the Slytherin School of Magic.
The Slytherin School was conceptualized and founded by You-Know-Who, himself. The school was created, not only as a hideout for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and his Death Eaters, but also as a school of the Dark Arts for students supporting the man they call their Dark Lord.
Potter's presence outside the castle was soon detected. Astonishingly, Potter's Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, had followed him to the island. Fortunately for the duo, the Slytherin School students had already left for their homes on holiday. Nonetheless, the two were soon surrounded by You-Know-Who's followers.
A massive duel reportedly ensued, in which Dumbledore was severely injured. At that moment, You-Know-Who, himself, confronted Potter for a one-on-one battle. Little details are known of the actual duel, yet somehow Potter was able to intimidate You-Know-Who and his Death Eaters into fleeing the scene.
Potter and his injured Headmaster were able to return to Hogwarts after their adventure. They immediately contacted Five-Wand Auror, Alastor Moody, who then contacted the London and Scotland Auror Departments. Moody and Hogwarts' faculty member, Severus Snape, accompanied the LAD and SAD to the island for a post-incident inspection.
When asked for details of the search Moody replied, "We enlisted a few Wemics to help us search the grounds, castle, and caves. After Potter's attack, You-Know-Who and his Death Eaters apparated inside the castle. Some had already escaped, but many were captured by the LAD and SAD and sent to the UK Ministry of Magic. There they will be registered, profiled, and sent to Azkaban."
Severus Snape gave the names of those captured: Gregory Goyle Sr., Gregory Goyle Jr., Deimos Jugson, Vulcan Mulciber, Rastaban Lestrange, and Lucius Malfoy. Some, however, were unaccounted for: Bellatrix Lestrange, Draco Malfoy, Peter Pettigrew, Augustus Rookwood, and You-Know-Who.
After the inspection of the LAD and SAD, the German Chancellor of Magic, Ludwig von Bremen, was notified of the activity on the island of Fohr. Bremen was fully cooperative with the United Kingdom's Ministry of Magic. By decree of the UK and German Ministries, the castle, concealed by the Fidelius Charm, will undergo a routine demolition after being properly searched by Ministry Officials from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
The school crest or blazon, as discovered on a collection of school robes found inside the castle, is a silver serpent on a green field. This crest is identical to that of the Slytherin blazon at Hogwarts. Throughout the castle there can also be found various sculptures and engravings of snakes, dark wizards of the past, and the Dark Mark.
Gentleman Wizards and Lady Witches, hold onto your hopes of brighter days and an end to this war. In the coming days remember that the darkest wizard of all time fled from a duel with sixteen-year old, Harry Potter.
Story by Natalie Pry
Dumbledore laid the paper down atop his large wooden desk and smoothed out the creases to look at the picture once more. In front of a jagged outcropping of rocks, Alastor and Severus were standing amid ten uniformed Aurors. None of them were waving or even smiling, but there was a young Auror in the back row looking all about the picture with wide and awestruck eyes.
Perhaps Miss Pry had received her slightly slanted version of the truth from that young man. Perhaps not. Perhaps it best that the Wizarding World did not know that Harry had left Hogwarts, not because of a dream, but because of a kidnapped friend…a student.
"How did this happen, Fawkes?" Dumbledore asked with a sigh, looking up from the photograph and peering at his pet perched quietly on its stand.
The bird twisted its head from one side to the other, its round and glossy black eyes staring. Dumbledore reached up to stroke the neck of his feathered friend, but jerked his arm away when he felt the stinging pain in his shoulder. He flexed his fingers and laid his hand in his lap. If he hadn't been in his animagus form, he wouldn't be sitting in his warm office, the fire roaring. How would things have turned out if he hadn't been injured? Would Voldemort have still escaped?
Dumbledore stood from his leather armchair, circled his desk, and began pacing the floor. Alastor had informed him of the details once he had regained consciousness from the Hydra bite. Dumbledore paced his way over to his black cabinet and opened it to reveal a rune-covered, shallow stone basin. Removing his wand, Dumbledore lightly touched the tip of it to the silvery swirls lighting the contents of the Pensieve. Within seconds, a miniature Alastor arose and began to speak excitedly:
"Albus, Whitman thinks it was fate, Shacklebolt says luck…I don't know what the hell it was…but I know that just before Voldemort and those Death Eaters apparated, we got the Portkey to working. It took us to a spot on the other side of that river. There was no fog, we saw the end of the battle…if you can call it a battle. I don't know what you call a bunch of advanced dark wizards shooting curses at a young boy and not leaving one mark…Harry had a green aura about him, and he'd managed to form a shield around Granger and the Weasley kids. But just before this massive radial blast erupted from the boy, every one of those damned cods apparated. I sent Shacklebolt and Whitman to gathering you and the kids and getting you out of there. They took you straight to Pomfrey. I, on the other hand, stayed with the LAD and SAD…and Severus, of course. Severus and I agreed that he should just stay back and watch, so the Death Eaters would think he was still playing a role and spying on us. But the rest of us…hah…well, Albus, I must admit I enjoyed ransacking that bloody place..."
Dumbledore stood back from the Pensieve and tapped the edge of his basin, sending the tiny Alastor back into the silvery mist. Though he had reviewed Alastor's words numerous times, he couldn't stay seated behind his desk long before he found himself walking over to his black cabinet amid his bookshelves. There was little else to do while he waited for Harry to regain consciousness from the blast…except reread the Daily Prophet article. But the half-truth of the story only mildly bothered Dumbledore, making him antsier for Harry's arrival.
It had been over twenty-four hours now, and Poppy had sent word just moments earlier that Harry had awoken. Dumbledore had sent a copy of the Prophet article to the infirmary for Harry to read, along with an order to send Harry straight to his office when he was able.
Just as Dumbledore was about to review some of his memories of the night at Fohr, there was a soft knocking at his office door.
"Come in, Harry." He called, closing the black cabinet doors and making his way to his desk. As he rounded his desk and took his seat, the door creaked open, and Harry emerged.
He was wearing school robes, his hair was clean, and his few scratches and scrapes appeared to be healing. Although he was a bit pale, he looked well. Dumbledore offered him a small smile and nodded toward one of the chairs opposite him.
"Take a seat, please, Harry." Dumbledore said, "I believe we have much to discuss."
Harry nodded a bit solemnly, and mumbled, "Yes, sir."
"Did you read the article I sent you?"
"I'm sorry about the…fabrication." Dumbledore said, sincerely. "Alastor nor Severus gave any false information to the reporter. I believe one of the young Aurors from the LAD or SAD must have given an interview."
"It's alright." Harry said with a shrug. "Hermione, Ron, and Ginny read it with me in the infirmary. I think Hermione was glad that she wasn't included in the story."
"I understand." Dumbledore replied with a nod.
"And, I was just glad to see that you weren't…" Harry paused, with a worried look on his face, "…well, dead.
Dumbledore couldn't help a small chuckle, "Well, Harry, I appreciate your concern. Luckily I had the healing powers of a phoenix in my blood at the time of the bite."
"Yeah, that's what Hermione reckoned allowed you to survive." Harry replied with a nod before his face suddenly fell, "I just…."
"I just wish they hadn't made me out to be this big hero." Harry said, looking to the floor. "I'm no braver than Ron or Hermione or Ginny. I may be a bit stronger, but I've had more training. And…and the magic burst on the island…that wasn't heroics…"
"No?" Dumbledore prompted.
"No." Harry said, with a shake of his head, "Voldemort was going to kill her…kill Ginny. I saw the fear in her eyes and…and I felt as if I weren't only seeing Ginny, but my mum, too…that must have been the look Voldemort saw in my mother's eyes before he killed her. Once I realized that…I…I almost lost control."
"Almost?" Dumbledore found himself resisting the urge to lean forward like a schoolboy to listen to the tale. This, of course, was new to his ears.
"Well, I could feel the power welling up inside of me, but I was afraid if I just started blasting Voldemort, he would somehow get to Ginny. So…I created a shield from my powers and covered her, Ron, Hermione, and myself. Then, Voldemort and the Death Eaters started shooting curses at me. Once I saw that I had control of my power, I decided to use the shield's energy to form a radial blast. I could see Voldemort taking steps back from me…I knew I had to act fast…so I did…but then that's all I remember."
"Harry, I don't know what you consider a hero to be." Dumbledore began, "I, myself, think a hero is different for everyone. But regardless, you left the security of Hogwarts to help one of your friends. You showed true courage and bravery, and I thank you."
Harry looked up with a slightly surprised expression. "Sir, I…I actually expected you would be furious at me for leaving."
"Oh, I was." Dumbledore replied in honesty. "At first, I was quite angry. But I realized you had done what your heart told you, and…well, I can't hold that against you."
Dumbledore saw a semblance of a smile on Harry's lips for a brief moment…before a darkness fell over his countenance like a storm cloud.
"Harry…" Dumbledore began, but Harry stopped him with a desperate look in his eyes.
"I didn't kill him. Voldemort is still alive." Harry exclaimed, his voice growing slightly with each word, "I have the ability. I know that now. Yet the bastard is still out there somewhere…" Harry fretfully ran his hand through his hair as he ended.
"Harry, what is ability without opportunity?" Dumbledore asked softly. Harry's eyes went wide.
"But I had the opportunity! He was right there!" Harry exclaimed, gesturing before him with his hand, "If I'd just acted sooner…or…"
"Harry, he chose to run." Dumbledore began, "Something I've only known him to do when faced with one other wizard, but he was face to face with you, and he chose to run."
"Good choice in my opinion!" Headmaster Everard exclaimed unexpectedly from his frame on the wall. Dumbledore looked up to the sallow-faced wizard with the short black whiskers on his chin. A few other portraits murmured their accord.
"Perchance." Dumbledore said thoughtfully before returning his gaze to Harry, who was looking at Everard with a raised eyebrow, "But then again…he saved himself by running. And what sort of life does that leave him to lead?"
Harry looked at Dumbledore with furrowed brows, "What do you mean?" He asked. "What sort of life is it?"
Dumbledore inclined his head to one side. Harry's features were not childlike anymore, yet his eyes somehow held some boyhood innocence. As he looked into the boy's eyes, Dumbledore gave a deliberately shrewd smile. There was really no doubt in his mind what the outcome of the prophecy would be one day.
"What I mean, Harry," Dumbledore began, "Is that Voldemort is now simply living…to die another day."
Ron looked around the vast chamber of the Great Hall with a completely surreal feeling moving about in his stomach. From the two huge wooden doors allowing the entrance of student after student…to the High Table full of faculty…to the starry ceiling and floating candles over each table, Ron felt as though he would soon wake up from a dream. Had it already been three days since Ron and Harry had left Hogwarts for the island of Fohr? Was Hermione really sitting beside him on the wooden benches of the Gryffindor House table, her hand in his?
After the blast from Harry, all four teenagers had been sent into mild comas. Oddly enough, they awoke within minutes of each other…two days after the incident. Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were allowed to rest in the quiet of the infirmary, along with Tonks and Lupin, still healing from their injuries, but Harry was immediately summoned to Dumbledore's office…not surprisingly…
After Harry returned to the infirmary from his talk with Dumbledore, he informed everyone of their talk. Ron wasn't surprised that Dumbledore had decided to end the school year early this term. Word traveled fast, as it always did in the Wizarding World, and The Daily Prophet article had already provoked mixed feelings of fear and hope throughout the students, and apparently, their parents.
Dumbledore was receiving owl after owl from parent after parent. Some wanted their children to be sent home, for fear that Voldemort and his Death Eaters would be on their way to wherever Harry Potter was. Others wanted their children home for fear that there were more Voldemort spies within the walls of Hogwarts. And still others wanted their children home due to anger at Dumbledore for allowing multiple students to sneak out of Hogwarts undetected.
From what Harry had said, Dumbledore didn't seem too upset about sending the students home early. Harry said their Headmaster actually seemed eager to be done with it so that he and the Order could begin future plans. Canceled exams spread a layer of relief over Ron as canceled Quidditch finals spread a layer of disappointment. Although, to Ron's delight, word had been sent to the house elves to fix the end of terms feast early. They were, of course, only too happy to oblige. The tables, however, weren't full of mouth-watering morsels yet, and the small meal of vegetable soup Madam Pomfrey had supplied them with upon waking had not even begun to cease the growling of Ron's stomach. But, Dumbledore first had to give his term-closing speech.
Ron suddenly heard a rumbling of a stomach, but it wasn't his own. He turned to Hermione, who had grabbed her stomach with one hand. She looked up at him and smiled shyly, clad in a light pink sweater, jeans, and a new Gryffindor robe, with little more than a few scratches on her beautifully clean face. Her hair was washed and falling around her shoulders in thick brown curls.
When Ron had first awoken in the hospital bed, he had felt as heavy and unbalanced as a sack of potatoes. He had jumped out of bed, nearly falling over Lupin in the bed next to his. He had been on the verge of screaming 'Where is she!' But then Hermione had emerged from the green privacy curtains around her own bed. It was at that moment that Ron realized it was truly over. They were back at Hogwarts…everyone was safe. Even after he, Hermione, Ginny, and Harry had read the paper to see that Voldemort had not been killed and that Bellatrix, Draco, Pettigrew, and Rookwood were still free…Ron couldn't suppress the light feeling in his heart.
He knew, however, that this wasn't the case with Harry. The fact that he had almost had Voldemort, but failed, was eating away at him like a sickness.
Ron looked up at his friend across from him. He was staring at the top of the table with a dazed look in his eyes. Ginny was staring at him and biting her fingernails worriedly. She wasn't the only one staring at him either. In fact, it would be easier to point out the students in the Great Hall that weren't staring at Harry. And, as Ron looked about at all of their faces, he was pleased to see that nearly all were wearing expressions of awe and appreciation. They were looking at Harry as if looking into the future and seeing an end to the war.
"Come on, Harry…" Ginny coaxed, laying her head on his shoulder with a sigh, "Look on the bright side of things. At least Dumbledore has agreed to let you ditch the Dursleys this summer. You, Ron, and I can play Quidditch until…until our ears bleed!"
"What?" Ron asked, looking at his sister with one eyebrow raised. She rolled her eyes at him, and Ron thought he saw a small smirk cross Harry's face…but it quickly disappeared. Hermione must have seen it too because she decided to jump in on the topic to keep it going.
"I'm so jealous." Hermione began with a slight frown, "You three will be having loads of fun without me."
"Hermione, you'll just be one fireplace away from us. Don't forget." Harry said matter-of-factly.
"I guess that's true." Hermione nodded.
"It is true!" Ron exclaimed, "How much snogging between those two do you think I can stomach before I go mad? Believe me, I'll be flooing over quite frequently."
"Did you hear that, Hermione?" Ginny asked with mock alarm, "Ronald will only visit you when he's tired of us."
"That's not what I meant." Ron retorted with an eye-roll of his own.
"Don't worry." Hermione said, shooting Ron a teasing look, "I know he can't live without me."
"Honestly…am I that see-through?" Ron asked. Hermione chuckled a bit.
"Yes, you are." Ginny answered with a smile.
"Almost as see-through as Neville." Harry said suddenly, a surprised smile lighting his face.
Ron, Hermione, and Ginny all glanced down the table to see Neville sitting beside a girl whose face was hidden behind a copy of a newspaper. His eyes were alight as he talked to the girl with what was, astonishingly but unmistakably, confidence. Just as Ron was about to ask who the girl was, Ginny and Hermione both gasped as Luna's protuberant eyes peeked up at Neville from over the top of her newspaper…which Ron now recognized as the Quibbler.
"Okay, now I've really seen everything." Ginny said, as Luna stood to go to her own table, waving dreamily at Neville as she left.
All four of them had to refrain from looking at one another for fear of bursting out laughing as Neville smiled into space…a look that much resembled the expression Luna wore most of the time. Ron was pleased to see that Harry remembered how to smile. For one, it obviously meant that Harry had some happiness in him still…but…it also gave Ron hope that although the four of them were growing up quickly…no war, no dark wizards, no evil could take away their spirit.
Suddenly, a wave of quiet began to wash over the room, table by table. After a poke on the arm by Hermione, Ron looked up to the front of the room to see Dumbledore standing to speak. There was a brief rustling of students turning on their benches to better see the Headmaster, but then a stony silence fell over the hall.
"Good evening, everyone. Young students of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin, our term is coming to an end. We began this year with fewer students than ever before, and we end with fewer still. Now…after a recent turn of events…we know why our numbers are fewer. In the years before many of you were born and before any of you can remember,Voldemort sought to rule over the hearts of wizards and witches through fear. Unfortunately, in this second war, he has managed to win a throng of new, young followers. Some of which, were living right under our noses all year.
Now…I ask that everyone look around you. Look at your neighbor. Look at your friends. Look at your fellow students of Hogwarts that choose not to follow Voldemort and know that now, more than ever, the things that matter most in life are the people you love. If you know that, than you already know much more than the students that chose to leave this school.
There are those who walk with open eyes, and those who walk with their eyes closed. It is behind closed eyes where neither good, nor evil, can be seen. So, I tell you all… open your eyes. But open them wide enough to see both good and bad. If you learn to see the world with open eyes, I warn you that you will see evil, so hideous that you will have to look away. But…you will also see good, so beautiful that you cannot look away. And when you see that goodness…when you truly see it…you will also see that no magic has true power over the heart."
At this there was a slow progression of applause. Dumbledore simply bowed his head before clapping his hands together lightly and taking his seat. Immediately warm plates of food appeared on every table. Mountains of bread and pudding, cakes and candies, meats and cheeses... Ron heard another stomach growl, and this time it was definately his.
Neither he, nor anyone else for that matter, hesitated in filling their plates and enjoying their last meal of the term. As they ate, several people from all houses approached Harry and either congratulated him or thanked him for his heroic actions on the island of Fohr. Harry gave Ron multiple apologetic smiles as he modestly accepted their praise. Ron had told Harry earlier that day that it would be best for everyone if they all pretended that the article was completely accurate.
With everyone believing Harry had left the safety of Hogwarts to track downVoldemort, there was definately an overall feeling of hope in the air. And, Ron honestly didn't mind that no one knew of his own heroics. Hermione was safe, and that was all that mattered to him.
Ron glanced over at Hermione to see her biting into a roll. Smiling, he leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. "I love you, Hermione." He whispered in her ear.
She turned to him with a smile and after swallowing her bite of food, mouthed the words, I love you too. They then began to gaze at one another, but were rudely interrupted by four letters falling from the sky. Ron looked up to see a brown school owl flying away from their table.Looking around the room, he saw that several owls were delivering last-minute packages to students.
Returning his gaze to the four letters on the table, Ron saw that one of them bore his name, while the others each held a name of Harry, Ginny, and Hermione. Ron exchanged shrugs with Harry as they each reached for theirs...the girls followed. All four of them ripped into their letters.
"Oh my word..." Hermione breathed.
"I know!" Ginny squealed. "I wasn't expecting the wedding to be so soon!"
Ron read through the wedding invitation from Fred and Angelina, shaking his head. "Um...does everyone else's invitation have The Burrow written beside place of ceremony?"
"That's what mine says." Harry said with a smile. "This'll be great!"
"Yeah," Ron agreed, "As long as The Burrow is not also the place of the honeymoon."
"Oh good grief." Ginny sighed, "Surely not."
"Oh wow!" Hermione exclaimed suddenly. "Did you guys see the picture on the back of the invitations?"
Ron shook his head before snatching his invitation back off the table and turning it over. At first glance, it appeared to be a charming picture of his brother and Angelina, waving and smiling. Fred had even been fitted for a prosthetic arm. Ron was about to ask Hermione why she had 'wow'd'...but then, Fred's prosthetic arm extended to about four feet in length, picked a rose off of a nearby rose bush, and held it out to a smiling Angelina.
Ron covered his mouth with one hand as a laugh bubbled up in his throat. "This summer holiday is looking to be very interesting indeed." He said, wrapping his arm around Hermione's waist after taking a sip of his chilled pumpkin juice.
"I just hope it's a little less interesting than this school year." Hermione said a bit tiredly, resting her head on Ron's shoulder.
"Don't count on it." Ginny said matter-of-factly.
"Why not?" Ron asked with apprehension as Harry eyed her curiously.
She simply shrugged. "Has anything in life been un-interesting since we met Harry?"
Ron chuckled a bit before shrugging as well. "I guess she has a point, mate."He admitted.
A guilty smile spread across Harry's face as Ginny grabbed his chin and turned his face toward hers. She planted a kiss on his lips, turning his guilty smile a bit brighter. Hermione giggled, covering her mouth with one hand. Ron smiled down at her...and somehow...he knew in that moment that the four of them were brought together by destiny...fate...magic...something.
And that something had bound their friendship and love so tightly, nothing could pull it apart.
AUTHOR's FINAL NOTE:
Just wanted to say one more time: Thanks everyone! Please review! I love you guys!