Harry Potter and the Guardians of Power
Usual Disclaimers apply, folks – They belong to J.K. Rowling but I like to twist the plots and play with their minds, but all in fun, so if you recognize it, it isn't mine!
AN: Please read and review and thanks especially to those of you who have reviewed every chapter and added this story to your favorites list. Author's profile was updated on 12/04/05.
AN: I apparently didn't make it clear enough in the last chapter; that the gerbils did indeed die. So for the many who wondered here is the relevant sentence: 'With a huge flash and a shudder that rocked the foundations of the castle, all of the magic and the life force of every death eater alive, both marked and unmarked, including the gerbils, and the ones still unknown and uncaught rebounded, seeking to support the Lord Voldemort as he had engineered their dark marks to do if he was mortally wounded.' –Chapter 29
Chapter 30: Aftermath and Beginnings
Severus had been convinced to spend one more night in the infirmary; after all, he wouldn't have been leaving any way with Harry still recovering, so he might as well be comfortable in his bed next to his son. Albus had settled down in the bed on the other side of Harry, even though he had been discharged three days previously. He knew he wasn't leaving.
The castle would be returning to normal the next afternoon; at least the rest of the students would be returning on a special Hogwarts Express run. The Ministry hadn't released the full details of the battle in the Great Hall, the students had all been sleeping, so the news had been somewhat contained to allow the repairs and the dispensation of the newly orphaned students to be handled as quickly and quietly as possible, but all that would end with the Welcoming Feast Madame Bones had planned for the next evening.
Severus opened his eyes reluctantly the next morning. The weak winter sun shining directly in his eyes let him know he was in the blasted infirmary again. It took a minute for him to realize that he was no longer the one injured, he had been healed yesterday; the still injured one was Harry, his Harry. He rolled onto his right side and opened his eyes to check on the boy he knew was in the next bed; only to find green eyes watching him back. He sat up suddenly and leapt out of bed and over the few feet to his son's side in one fluid motion. He heard a deep chuckle and realized that Harry wasn't the only one who had been watching him sleep. Albus' blue eyes were twinkling a mile a minute at him, as he sat on the edge of the bed on the left side of Harry's.
A sarcastic voice drew his attention to the end of the beds where Madame Pomfrey stood, hands on hips, lips pursed, trying very hard not to laugh, "Now that your father is awake, can you please take the third dose of the healing potion now, Mr. Potter-Snape Dumbledore?"
Harry looked at the matron, spluttering, "But I'm fine, Madame Pomfrey, I've already been healed haven't I?"
"I'll be the judge of that young man. And I want you to take the third dose regardless, your magic levels are higher than anyone else I have ever read, but they are not as high as they were just last month."
"But…" Severus and Albus both started laughing and both told him he might just as well be quiet and drink his potion if he wanted to be released any time soon. Severus then informed him, "You now have a father and a grandfather who can make you stay in the infirmary. You've never had parents before so you could argue with Poppy, but not with Albus and definitely not with ME!"
Harry just shrugged and held out a hand for the vial that Poppy had in her hand. He looked shyly at the two men and shrugged, "I guess it's still worth it. I wouldn't give the two of you up just for that." The two men smiled at the teen and each patted a shoulder before leaving with Poppy to discuss Harry's health out of his hearing.
After the three were sitting comfortably in Poppy's office, Severus asked, "So, how is he truthfully?"
"It's the most amazing potion I have ever come across. I have two healers from St. Mungo's coming this afternoon who would like to test you and your son, and then see a sample of the potion if they may, Severus?" At his nod of acquiescence she continued, "His magical levels were certainly adequate last night, now they are almost back to his normal level. Physically he is healed; he will be weak for a while, so no over exertion, and certainly no dueling like I have seen all three of you doing!" She glared at both Albus and Severus, "But he should be okay to begin normal activities, what am I saying, he never has done 'normal' activities, now has he? Does he have any classes to attend, Albus, or is he completely done with them now?"
Severus looked in curiosity at his father, "No," Albus began, "He is done with his classes, the DADA tests have been waived; there was really no point in testing him on something the entire wizarding world already knows that he can do. He only has Divination, History of Magic, and Care of Magical Creatures left to be tested on and he can take those at any point later that he likes, he can even wait and take them with the seventh years at the end of term. I know he doesn't ever plan on doing anything with those subjects after all."
He reached over and patted Severus on the knee, "The Dueling and Defense guild deemed his duels with us and then the defeat of Voldemort as sufficient to grant him a Masters, then he had the Masters in Potions, and a third Masters in Transfiguration. He passed his O.W.L.'s and N.E.W.T.'s in Charms, Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, Muggle Studies, Healing, Astronomy, and Herbology. So Severus, you may tell your son that he received ten O's out of ten in his O.W.L.'s and N.E.W.T.'s and has been awarded three Master's in Dueling and Defense, Transfiguration, and Potions.""The last three subjects he can be tested on later, and Madame Bones has been convinced by Madame Marchbanks that it is perfectly acceptable for him to combine his O.W.L.'s and his N.E.W.T.'s into the same test. And you might sound him out about becoming the new DADA teacher next year; I know you really don't want the position no matter what the rumors keep saying!"
Severus smiled at his father, "I know, but the rumors kept persisting, I guess because Tom would have loved to have me teach that subject so he thought if the death eater parents kept telling their children that, you would eventually give me the position. I admit I enjoy a good duel as well as you do, but I enjoy solving puzzles in potions and finding the one in twenty students who can really appreciate potions much more."
"Particularly now that I don't have that vile beast feeding me anger and hatred twenty four hours a day. And Eric has agreed to teach all the beginning years next fall, so I will split classes between intuitive and scientific brewers. I will have two classes for each year from each house, fifth through seventh, with Eric teaching all the first through fourth years." He turned from Albus to the healer, "Poppy, may I take my son out of the hospital before the feast tonight if I promise to keep him in our quarters and quiet for the next few days?"
"Certainly Severus, I have just never had a parent or anywhere else for Mr. Potter, er… Mr. Potter-Snape Dumbledore to go to when he was injured. Everyone else I could send home to recover for a few days, but I'd be burned willingly at the stake before I would send him home to those blasted Muggles he lived with!"
Severus looked at her with a fierce glare, "Do you mean to tell me you knew what those despicable excuses for humans did to him and you never told anyone?" He was getting irate quickly.
"No, Severus, calm down, I never knew for certain fact, and unlike Muggle laws my hands were tied. When I asked Harry about it after the first time he talked in his sleep and then always flinched when I woke him up, he forbid me to ever tell anyone. By wizarding law, I could not tell. I know Muggle laws say a teacher or doctor must report even a suspicion of child abuse; wizarding law is exactly opposite. But now that Voldemort and his followers are gone, I will be working very hard to change those laws, believe me!"
Albus patted the arm of his irate Medi Witch and gave a meaningful glance over his glasses at his son before excusing himself to go check on the state of the castle before the students and visitors arrived later that afternoon. Severus calmed down and looked at Poppy, "Be sure to let me know anything I can do to assist you in your fight, Poppy, I hate to think how many other children go through what Harry did without having anyone to turn to. Thank you for caring for my son." He actually patted her on the shoulder before leaving her office to return and share the results of his testing with his son.
The healers from St. Mungo's that afternoon were very interested in purchasing any vials of the new healing potion that the two could brew; now or in the future. Severus explained that they could purchase the seven vials that remained, but that any others would have to wait until they had finished brewing all of the werewolves' cure that they were commissioned by the ministry to brew. Luckily Eric had been able to successfully continue with the brewing under the watchful eye of Salazar's portrait. He had even managed to begin the next brewing, so they would have the 259 doses ready for the next full moon on the 14th.
The two witches were disappointed, but very happy that they had seven vials to use on their most critical magical exhaustion patients. Harry didn't tell them he wanted to try to develop something for Neville's parents next so their healing potion might be a while before being brewed on a regular basis. Plus the cost of the individual ingredients hadn't been determined. They didn't know how much phoenix eggshell was worth or if the sacred nesting area still existed in their own time. They hadn't yet managed time to even visit the 'Lake of the Innocents'.
It was a good thing Harry's ribs were fully healed or the hugs from Ginny and Hermione would have broken them again. The welcome back from Ron, Neville, and the twins was less physical, but no less exuberant and welcoming. They had all been invited to spend the afternoon waiting for the other students to arrive in the sitting room with Harry. And Harry had reluctantly told them the story of the battle, and that he had received ten O's in the ten subjects that he had been tested on.
Hermione looked outraged and determined to study even harder. She wasn't going to be beaten in her studies by Harry, until Harry pointed out that he had been tested in several subjects that she hadn't even studied, like Healing so there was no way she was going to get as many O's as he had, it wasn't possible. She got an odd, calculating look on her face, and then finally sighed and accepted the inevitable.
Ron finally convinced Harry to play a game of chess against him and was startled when Harry almost beat him. It was the closest game he had played in years and shook him up. "Wicked, mate, I'm going to have to brush up on my strategies if I play you, or you just might win next time." Ron admitted; gobsmacked.
The Great Hall looked almost like normal, except the odd feeling if you looked up and noticed that the ceiling wasn't enchanted any more. The house tables had been removed and the room had been magically expanded to hold a large number of round tables, each seating ten people. The students were all escorted by house elves to the back two rows of tables while the front two rows were filled with visitors and dignitaries. Harry had started to sit with Ron, Ginny and Hermione when he was gently led by the arm up to the head table. He felt his face start to turn red as he was seated between his father and his grandfather right in the middle of the long table. Many of the students looked at him strangely, since they had been struck with the calming spells before the battle, only a few remembered that he had not been in the Chamber of Secrets with the other sleeping students.
Madame Bones stood from her position on the other side of Dumbledore while Professor McGonagall gently rapped the side of her goblet for silence. The almost 1,500 people in the room quieted and turned to look at the head table.
"May I have your attention; gentle witches and wizards, honored guests, family and friends. We are here tonight to announce the most wonderful news ever. The dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, was defeated a week ago, right here in the Great Hall of Hogwarts! He and all of his followers are dead, and steps have been successfully taken to insure that he will not return, ever again!" She had had to stop many times in those two simple sentences to let the crowd quiet down again to be heard even with a sonorous charm.
She looked over the crowd, nodding especially at the two tables in the front that had a representative group of goblins, centaurs, vampires, werewolves, and even Dobby the house elf. "I am pleased to announce that a coalition of magical beings has begun to go through the wizarding laws and is currently revising or even discarding a great many of the more archaic or discriminatory ones."
"I have one more announcement, and then I will leave you to enjoy a most excellent feast." She turned and gestured for the three Dumbledores to stand. "It has been my great pleasure to know Albus Dumbledore since he was my transfiguration teacher and then my Headmaster when I attended Hogwarts. And now I am happy to announce that he has formally adopted Lord Severus Snape-Dumbledore, and his son, High Lord Harry James Potter-Snape Dumbledore!"
There was stunned silence at her announcement. Many of the students had remarked on the changed attitude of Snape and Potter, but no one had suspected that the man had adopted Potter, and then Dumbledore had adopted them both. The silence was filled with a deafening roar as the adults started clapping soundly, followed by the thunder of feet as the students started stomping and cheering with abandon.
Madame Bones finally gave up trying to quiet the crowd and just nodded to Dobby who gave the signal to the waiting elves in the kitchen to just serve the feast. Huge platters and bowls of delicious food appeared in the middle of each large table and the students finally settled down to the serious task of eating, still talking amongst themselves about all that had been announced.
By the time the final dessert had been picked over and enjoyed, the group was sated enough to listen once more, and Madame Bones stood once again. "For those of you who did not witness the final battle in the Great Hall, we would not be here today without the tremendous effort put forth by three great wizards." She went on to tell the story of the battle and how Voldemort had been finally defeated. She told of the heroic efforts of the defenders, how the Great Hall had been damaged, the mortal peril of Severus and Harry, how the magical community, human and non human had rallied to rebuild and reinforce the castle, and finally how Voldemort had died and been encased in solid granite for eternity. She also told how he had tied all of his followers to him, so that the moment that he died, they also perished.
She admonished the students to be aware and understanding of their fellow students, many of whom had lost one or even two parents, and of the many who had lost aunts, uncles, siblings or others that they cared deeply about. She did emphasize that every follower of Voldemort had died; no one left was guilty and should not be shunned or mistreated because a family member had followed the dark wizard.
She was concluding her long but riveting speech when she had the Dumbledores stand once more, "Headmaster, Lord Snape-Dumbledore, High Lord Potter-Snape Dumbledore, I am pleased to award you each with the Order of Merlin, First Class for your selfless efforts on behalf of the magical community in defeating the dark wizard, Tom Morvolo Riddle, also known as Lord Voldemort!" She placed a large gold medallion around each of their necks and kissed them on the cheek.
The evening continued as those present were waved to stand and the tables disappeared to be replaced with a large open area surrounded by chairs for comfortable conversations. After half an hour of congratulations and conversations, the students were sent back to their common rooms where the celebrations continued well into the early morning.
Severus had brought Harry back to their quarters almost immediately after the presentation of the medals. His son was very tired and overwhelmed by the whole evening. Let Albus take care of all that political garbage, he would much rather sit on a sofa in front of the fire and talk quietly to his son as the boy lay with his head on his lap. Harry was only conscious of the deep, silky voice softly speaking of nothing important as the warmth of the fire and the comfort of the long, delicate fingers of his father' hand stroked his hair and scalp as he let awareness drift away into deep peaceful sleep. He never even noticed when his father floated him down the hall and tucked him into his bed, snuggling into the warmth of the heating charm the man had placed on his sheets and duvet.
It was a good thing the students had been brought back on a Friday; because they were just barely settled down enough to begin classes on Monday morning. Harry and Severus waited until the students were all in classes to re-charm the ceiling in the Great Hall, showing Albus how it was done, while little Professor Flitwick took detailed notes to add to the instructions for future headmasters, should the situation ever arise again.
Since the full moon fell on February 14th this year, the Valentine's Ball was postponed until the 15th allowing Harry to attend both. He, Albus, and Severus had apperated to the Ministry to the holding cells where 259 excited and very grateful werewolves, including 81 children were cured of the curse as the full moon rose.
The Daily Prophet the next day had a special edition showing the ceremonial burning of the documents registering all those previously afflicted as they were officially proclaimed cured, and full citizens with all rights and privileges. They didn't show the excited faces as nine of those cured received delayed acceptance letters to Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. They would be tutored throughout the rest of the spring and
summer to allow them to join their age mates in the fall.
A back page of the next day's Prophet announced the marriages of 27 couples as Minister Bones herself performed the massive ceremony. Thirty-two announcements of adoption were also listed. Madame Bones admitted to Albus that it had been some of the happiest weeks of her life and thanked the three again. She also told them, the flood of owls had been diverted from Hogwarts and the parchments for the three of them would be checked and then delivered privately so they wouldn't be inundated at every meal in the Great Hall.
Harry had worked up enough courage to invite Ginny Weasley as his date to the Valentine's Day ball. After an uneventful afternoon exploring Hogsmeade and environs, he had dressed in his beautiful robes that Rowena had given him for Christmas in the past and stood at the bottom of the dormitory stairs in the Gryffindor common room, just as apprehensive and anxious as all of his fellow boys waiting for the girls to come down.
Harry was speechless as Ginny stepped down the stairs, luckily one of the first girls to appear. She was wearing beautiful emerald green dress robes that fit her and showed off her just developing curves to perfection. Her long red hair had been tamed and piled on the top of her head with long ringlets artfully arranged down the back. He had never noticed the sparkling golden highlights in her hair before.
He resisted the urge to just run his fingers through her flaming tresses as he stepped forward, holding out a wrist corsage of white lilies and red baby roses. She held out her left wrist for him to attach it, he was so thankful that Severus had given him his arm to practice on, laughing at his son the whole time.
Hermoine and Ron had complementary robes of deep blues and the four friends made their way to the Great Hall with all the dignity they could manage. They had to stand and wait to be announced and then to their surprise, they were all led to the first table. The hall had been arranged like the welcoming feast that announced the end of Voldemort, but was decorated tastefully in red, pink, and white for Valentine's. Harry laughed as he remembered all the arguments between his grandfather and every other professor about what exactly was tasteful and what was definitely not! Harry loved his old headmaster dearly, but the man had no taste whatsoever.
Harry and Ginny had been warned that they would be expected to take the dance floor first with the Head Boy and Head Girl, and the prefects and their dates. And Professor McGonagall had been very impressed when she kept the two after dinner one evening and made sure they knew how to dance. Ginny had been dancing with her father and brothers for years and Harry had been tutored by both Helga and Rowena in the past, so they were both proficient with the very stylized and formal dances prevalent in the wizarding world.
The music started, the couples formed the intricate groups and flawlessly performed the first dance. Ginny could feel the heat radiating off of Harry's hand as she took it and bowed formally to him before letting go and reaching for her brother Ron's hand in the next move. 'Could it be did Harry really liked her?' She couldn't catch her breath as she thought that yes; he must feel that way about her. She could feel his eyes on her as she knew Ron had his eyes always on Hermione.
Later that evening, as everyone crowded the dance floor, Severus pointed out his son and Ginny to his father. Albus smiled and then looked quizzically at Severus. Severus leaned over and quietly whispered, "Look at their feet!" Albus started laughing when he noticed that neither one had their feet touching the floor. They were dancing about six inches off the polished stone. Albus found Minerva and graciously took her hand to the dance floor. Now he just had to find someone for Severus he thought before letting the music and the warmth of the woman in his arms overtake him. Now that Tom was gone, he could renew and rebuild the relationship with his friend that it had been much too dangerous to allow to progress in the past.
It was a beautiful spring day during the Easter holidays when an unusual sight appeared in the skies over northern Scotland. A golden griffin and a Peruvian Viper Tooth dragon flew in graceful arcs of power over the clearest, bluest lake anyone had ever seen. If there had been anyone ever there to see it, since the magics but in place ten centuries ago had held it invisible. The waterfall glistened in the morning sun as the two frolicked in the feeling of total freedom.
The last of the registered werewolves had been cured the previous full moon. Harry had completed his last three N.E.W.T.'s and the expected O's had been earned. He was teaching an elective dueling class and was pleased and excited about his students' progress. He was slightly nervous about becoming the primary DADA Professor next term, but his father snidely reminded him that with Quirrell, Lockhart, and Umbridge as his predecessors, he really had little to worry about.
The two magnificent animals landed in a display of raw power, transformed into humans and sat down to enjoy the bountiful picnic Winky had provided. The settled back in satiated comfort and companionably discussed all that had happened in the last few months.
"So, Dad; how serious are you about Ms. Zabini?" Harry looked out of the corner of his eye at his father, pretending to be interested in the panoramic view of the lake and the hills beyond while actually watching his face intently.
"I don't know yet son. We were classmates at Hogwarts. Their family was always neutral in the fight with Tom. I can understand them not being actively in support of the light, after all, as Slytherins that would not have been the smartest thing to do, but there might be something there eventually. I just don't know, for now we are becoming friends. How about you and Ginny?" Severus wasn't pretending to be interested in anything other than his son's face.
Harry felt his face turning red and warm, maybe it hadn't been such a good idea to ask his father about the widow he was dating. He still had troubles sometimes with his father's intense scrutiny. Most people were looking at many things or thinking of other things when they talked to you, but Severus Snape gave his undivided, complete and uncomfortably intense attention to you. It was something Harry only experienced with him, and sometimes Albus when he was trying to use Legilimency on him. "Well, we're friends, but I'm fifteen and she's fourteen, and well…we're…friends. You know…"
Severus smiled and let his son off the hook, "I know son, you do remarkably well at blocking the mind link when you want to, but sometimes you get so overwhelmed with something, you forget. I know exactly how many times you have managed to gather up your Gryffindor courage and kiss the young lady in question."
Harry flushed even darker, "Oh, Merlin just let me die right now!" Severus threw back his head and indulged in one of his infrequent deep laughs. He took pity on the boy, and patting him on the knee; changed back into his dragon and led the way up the mountain to find the sacred phoenix nesting ground.
Two days later, in a massive ceremony held in the Grand Ballroom at the Ministry of Magic, Harry sat in the middle of the table waiting for the embarrassing introductions to be over. His father and grandfather sat next to him, dressed in their finest dress robes, waiting for Harry to be announced. Professor McGonagall looked younger and happier than Harry had ever seen her as she sat between the two men, dressed in formal robes of green silk, the gold medallion of her Master's of Transfiguration hanging on a golden band around her neck. Albus had his Dueling and Defense medal as well as his Transfiguration medallion hanging on their bands, and Severus' green band for Potions and red band for Dueling and Defense showing sharply against his green and silver robes. As the acknowledged Heir of Slytherin, he had the family crest of Slytherin on his left chest and the new combined Snape-Dumbledore crest on his right.
Harry's silk robes of purple had so many crests that he knew he would be explaining them all night. The primary crest had the Hogwarts Founders' personal crest with the crimson and gold phoenix that represented Merlin on his left breast, the combined Potter-Snape Dumbledore crest on his right. He thought the new crest of the Potter phoenix, the Snape serpent, and the Dumbledore griffin was quite striking, but was glad he didn't have to wear it very often.
Finally, he was called to stand in front of the old wizard that had conducted his potions testing. Harry finally knew that his name was Master Baddock and that he was the head of the Potions Guild which is why Severus had been so surprised to see him conducting Harry's test.
Master Baddock began, "I am pleased to introduce the youngest ever member of the Potion's Master's Guild. He has earned his place among us by developing a miraculous cure for the werewolves' curse, called 'Lupin's Cure', collaborating in the development of the newest and most powerful healing potion, called 'The Phoenix' Blessing' and I am pleased to announce for the first time tonight, a new cure for those suffering from prolonged exposure to the cruciatis curse, 'Neville's Gift'. I am proud to introduce his father, Lord Snape-Dumbledore to present the badge of potion's master to his son."
Severus stood and walked proudly up to stand beside his son. He had Harry bow his head slightly and placed the green band with the pure silver medallion against the boy's chest. He reached for him and hugged him with a soft kiss on his cheek and his black eyes glistening suspiciously, he whispered into Harry's ear, "I could never be prouder of you, Harry. Nothing has or ever will make me happier than to call you son. I love you." He released Harry and shook his hand before returning to his seat once more.
Albus took the podium and twinkled at the audience, "I am so proud of the young man before you. At the age of just fifteen, he has overcome more obstacles and stood steadfast in defending his beliefs that many grown wizards would not have been capable of. To gain his title of Dueling Master, he defeated his father, Dueling Master Severus Snape, Dueling Masters Filius Flitwick, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, and aurors Kingsley Shacklebolt, and Nymphadora Tonks. He also defeated me, and of course, last, but definitely not least…Lord Voldemort!" The group broke into very loud but polite applause.
"It is my great pleasure to present to you the youngest ever Master of Dueling and Defense, my grandson, Harry James Potter-Snape Dumbledore." Harry had to bow again for his grandfather to place the crimson band with the gold medallion around his neck to hang with his potion's medallion. Dumbledore hugged his grandson, twinkling eyes with a single tear of joy escaping, "I love you Harry, you make me happier than I ever imagined that I could ever be. Thank you for giving us the freedom to be happy and secure. I love you." He drew back, shook Harry's hand, clasping it firmly in both of his, and returned to his seat.
Filius Flitwick stood and levitated himself up onto a quickly conjured platform. "It is my pleasure as the representative Head of the Transfiguration and Charms Guilds to present my colleague and friend, Minerva McGonagall to present the newest and youngest ever member of the Transfiguration Guild, High Lord Potter-Snape Dumbledore." The crowd again clapped as Minerva walked up to Harry and gave him a hug.
"I first met this young man the day he was born. I was with Professor Dumbledore shortly after the devastating deaths of his parents on that fateful Halloween night so many years ago, and I stood by his side when he defeated Lord Voldemort. I have had him as my student for the last five years and I can honestly say I have never had a better or more willing student. He has revolutionized how we teach animagus transfigurations and has helped many of his classmates, and taught even me how to transform into a magical animal. I present to you, my dear friend, Harry, just Harry."
She smiled at him as he had to bend at the knees to allow his former head of house to add the golden band with the gold medallion to the two already hanging there. She pulled him into a hug, tears freely falling as she kissed him on the cheek. "I am so proud of you, Harry; I am so pleased you will be staying with us to teach. I can't think of anyone who could do a better job than you." She pulled back and then instead of shaking his hand as the others had done, she pulled him back for another short hug and then left him to shake hands with Professor Flitwick before he was finally able to return to his seat.
The night before the End of Term feast, Harry felt an uncontrollable urge to leave his friends in the Gryffindor common room and return to his quarters. He walked in to find Fawkes and Carus waiting for him in front of the large portrait holding all four of the Founders. He sat down on the sofa, Carus flew to him and he absent mindedly caressed his familiar, looking expectantly at the four in front of him. To his surprise, Fawkes hovered in front of him and transformed into Merlin. Harry almost dropped Carus in his haste to stand up and hug the mage. He had tears running down his face as he tried to speak. Merlin shushed him and led him back to sit beside him on the sofa, Carus once again on his shoulder.
Merlin laid the boy's head on his shoulder as he began to explain, "Harry, you know that my grandmother was from Atlantis and refused to go under the Fidelius charm when those on the island chose to disappear. That made me a Guardian of Power, and now you are one also. As the bloodlines merged once again in you, the magic made you like me. I did not die, I chose to return throughout history as my animagus form Fawkes whenever I was needed, waiting for your birth. You had come to the past so I knew you would once again, and that I would have to guide you and protect you for that to come to pass. I am so sorry, son that I was unable to interfere with what I knew must come to pass."
"The prophecy that was given before your birth spoke of the power the dark lord knew not. Part of that power was your own, and part of that power was the power of Hogwarts herself. Without Hogwarts you would not have been able to defeat him and survive. And now it is with pride and regret that I place upon you the burden that I myself have born for over 1,200 years. Harry, you will not die for a very long, long time; though you can be killed, you are not immortal. You have the power to ensure that Hogwarts continues into the future, helping mold and train thousands of young minds to choose that which is right and not just what is easy." Merlin touched his finger lightly to Harry's lips to silence the questions.
"I know, son it is too much to take in all at once. And yes, you can find love and have a family, just as I have over the years. You know how to age yourself so that no one will suspect, then you simply disappear for a while before reappearing as someone else. I have had several families over the many years; I have had 123 actual children, including Lily Evans, your mother."
Harry and his grandfather discussed many things that evening, including the responsibilities of being a Guardian of Power and how they protected the balance between light and dark, and allowed the wizarding world to exist. Merlin finally transformed back into Fawkes and flashed back to the headmaster's office to let Harry go to sleep. Merlin had promised many talks in the future and to help Harry to adjust and grow as he needed.
Harry stood on the front steps of the castle and waved his friends and classmates goodbye as they headed out to the thestral drawn carriages to return home for the summer holidays. The last student was finally safely ensconced in the last carriage, and the staff and future staff of Hogwarts was allowed to climb the steps back into the castle. As Harry walked through the doors of the castle he knew that no matter where he lived, no matter how long he lived, Hogwarts would always be home.
AN: There it is folks, no sequel possible, I just skimmed through everything I would have done in the sequel anyway. Now I am madly engrossed in my next story, hopefully totally different from anything you have read yet, though it will feature Severus and Harry, I just love to play with their minds!