Author's Note: Is there any such thing as a nice cliffhanger? Personally I think that they are all mean, I do them to keep you on your toes. In screw-up news, I made Harry a Sophomore for Quidditch, when of course he was a Senior, I have no clue what I was thinking there. I am quoting the Prophecy verbatim in this chapter, and it's probably time that in this, my 75th chapter of Harry Potter fanfction in the last 33 months, I say that JKR owns all of this, and I worship at her feet. Is that what I'm supposed to say? Well she wrote the Prophecy text that appears early on here, so let me credit her there, I'm pretty sure that it's the first multiple sentence passage I've borrowed from canon.
Sunday June 28, 1998, Continued
Voldemort smiled at the use of his given name, only Harry and Dumbledore had used it in years, and one of them was now dead.
"I guess I should thank you for not showing up yesterday." That elicited something resembling a smile.
"I wanted you to have your day. Besides, I knew that you would be here today." Any idiot could have predicted that though, so Harry didn't give him a lot of credit for the deduction.
"So this is it eh? Just you and me."
"I see no reason for further carnage."
"Agreed. Except for one, tiny bit of it. I'll make you a deal. I'll tell you the full contents of the Prophecy right now, before we fight, in exchange for Peter Pettigrew's dead body right next to you." It had always been in the back of Harry's mind to offer this if he and his enemy ever came face to face, Voldemort was not big on taking prisoners, so this was the only way he would find it out.
Voldemort thought about that for a long five seconds as the crowd held it's collective breath.
"You have yourself a deal Harry." He pulled out his wand, which made Harry do the same. The bad man took a second to focus as he put the wand to a spot on his right forearm.
"He's coming, obviously he can't Apparate this close."
"Fair enough, I have some time. Interesting that you would wait until after I graduated to do this."
"Not really if one thinks about it. Anyone can torture a child, it takes a master to destroy someone as powerful as you are. I was cheated out of killing Dumbledore, I won't be cheated out of this."
"So it's to be just you and me then eh? No Death Eaters, no Aurors?"
"No Harry, this is just between us. A final reckoning."
"Not very Slytherin of you really, I would have thought a stealth assault would be called for."
"Not everything in life relates to a Hogwarts House Harry." This was said in a slightly condescending way, and Harry was equal to the task.
"Your minion seems to be taking his time."
"The wards extend quite a ways out, and the rat does not fly." Well he did, as he was about to prove.
"Speaking of wards, how did you get past them?"
"I walked through them, there are no anti-Dark wards up." He looked up at the sky, and saw a figure in the distance.
"Here he is. Am I to do the dirty work myself? Or would you like to add to your kill total?"
"I think you should do it, he is your man after all." Harry knew that he needed every bit of his magical energy if he was to win what was about to come, and couldn't waste time killing Wormtail if the bad man was willing to do it for him.
Pettigrew arrived on his broom, he was hidden in Hogsmeade waiting for a sign anyway. He showed some surprise that Harry was still alive, he thought it would be done by now.
Voldemort's reflexes weren't half bad either, and Pettigrew had no time to react before the curse hit him, and he died, falling to the ground in a proverbial heap.
"Not quite yet. Serundo!" His wand was pointed at Pettigrew's silver hand, and the Slicing Charm cut it off nicely. Voldemort did nothing, but he was smiling inside. Death warrant or not, he knew that he had been one of Harry's tutors over the years. This was a man worth killing.
The wee man popped in, not knowing that anything rank was going down. He looked at Voldemort and gulped, but otherwise said nothing more than:
"Please take the silver hand and present it to Amos Diggory, with my compliments."
Anyone else but Voldemort standing next to Harry, and Dobby would have told his boss where he could stick that hand.
But here he just nodded and gingerly picked up the silver hand, and then popped away. Amos and his wife had heard all of this because of the microphones, and so were somewhat prepared for the 'gift'. They said nothing though, just watching. But Amos refused to let go of that hand for the rest of the 'ceremony', he finally had his vengeance for Cedric.
"So Harry, I have held up my end of the deal, much to your surprise."
"Yes you did. And here you are:"
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches. Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies. And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have the power the Dark Lord knows not. And either must die at the hands of the other, for neither can live while the other survives." It was burned into Harry's memory, since it was the paragraph of words that had manipulated his life for almost 17 years.
Hearing the Prophecy answered a lot of questions for a lot of people in the stands, and even Voldemort was dumbstruck for a moment.
"You know that if you had only Stunned my mother, you could have killed me. I would be dead, and you would probably be ruling the world by now. All because you couldn't slake your killing thirst."
"They were my enemies Harry, they needed to die, period." No sympathy there, not a lick. But the logic of it did make a lot of people smile, if only in their minds.
"Why them and not the Longbottoms? That stupid Prophecy applies to Neville as much as it does to me, at least before you marked me." Neville was 100 meters away, and no one wanted to hear the bad man's answer more than he did, not that there wound up being much to it.
"Snape never mentioned them as a possibility, he wanted your father dead so that he could have your mother as part of the spoils."
"Yet you didn't do that." He somehow kept his revulsion down, he would rather have his mother dead than be Snape's plaything.
"I take no chances. Tell me Harry, do you believe in the Prophecy? Do you believe that you have a power I know not?"
"I expect that you're about to find out one way or the other." Which everyone took to be 'no'.
"Fair enough. Now is there anything else you want to chat about before I kill you?"
"No thank you I'm fine. Are we agreeing to any rules or limits? I would certainly want no interference from anyone on either side." Yet again bringing that up, and Tom was getting rather tired of it.
"Any interference from my side rather negates me waiting for you to graduate now doesn't it? That said, I can speak for my people, whereas I rather doubt you do for Scrimgeour." His people, aside from the bleeding corpse of Peter Pettigrew, were nowhere in anyone's eyesight.
"That's just the chance you'll have to take isn't it? What's life without a little risk. They won't interfere as long as you target me and me alone." He hoped.
"Agreed. Shall we agree to 10 paces?"
"Sounds fair, but I won't turn my back as I walk them off." Both of them just smiled tightly.
"Starting now." They each began backing away, there would be no last offer from either of them to see the 'light' or the 'dark' and switch sides.
They reached their positions, and it was now time for last words, perhaps famous ones.
Harry's own wand flashed up, the fastest he had ever drawn:
But Voldemort wasn't standing there, he had teleported a meter to the left. At the astonished look on Harry's face:
"You didn't really think it would be that easy, did you Harry?" Perhaps trying to goad Harry into doing something rash. Not yet though, as Harry replied ironically:
"You know for a second there, yeah, I kinda did." Quentin Tarantino would have been so proud, as Harry was still trying to process his enemy being able to, in effect, Apparate on Hogwarts' grounds. Apparition and Teleportation were slightly different, but Harry knew that for all his studying, he couldn't match that talent.
"Shall we try again?"
"Of course, but you must be tired from your exertions." And that was Harry's sweaty little ace in the hole, that Voldemort was a very old man who couldn't possibly have the stamina of his nearly 18 year old, very athletic, self. Tom Riddle was no idiot, and he sussed this out right away.
"If that is what you are banking your hopes on, this will be easier than I….."
He was cut off by Harry's left hand whipping up and planting a Repulsar right in his sternum. The impact of it staggered him back, but the shot was done so quickly that it didn't have the power in it to knock him down. He still teleported another meter to his left, missing the Stunner that Harry sent in it's wake.
Harry's reaction time was quicker than Tom had though, and another Stunner grazed him on the arm as Harry only slightly misjudged on the fly. It didn't knock him out, but spun him around right into a Harry Repulsar that nailed him right in the throat. He started coughing and then teleported another meter away, this time to the right……directly into a Petrificus Totalus, Harry having guessed right on the pattern of movement.
But Voldemort broke through it in less than a second, getting away just as the Repulsar slammed into his shoulder. Tom then Disillusioned himself to buy some time. The lad was faster and more reactive than he remembered from the Malfoy trial, maybe that American school taught him a few tricks after all.
The crowd was just sitting there wondering why the hell Harry wasn't using anything more powerful than a Stunner, yet at the same time joining Riddle in admiring his fire-rate and reaction times. At no point during the fight would there be any cheers or boos, or anything in between.
Harry just knew that he had barely used any energy, while also giving Voldemort some moments of pause.
A blue light passed right next to his left ear, and he rolled in that direction, while Voldemort's next shot went to his right.
Fire poured out of Harry's wand and he did a sweep with it, catching Voldemort's robes on fire at the bottom edge. He quit the fire and decided that it was time he showed off his Black Library studying. He pointed at the ground in front of him.
The spell ripped blades of grass up from the ground and hovered them in the air.
The blades of grass were changed into actual blades, and Harry's wand whipped them toward where Voldemort was now Illusioned and taking aim at him, going a bit slower because he wanted the sure shot. The blades tore through Riddles abdomen and out the other end.
The first blood had been spilled.
It was nothing like a geyser, just a lot of drops really, but that was enough to galvanize the bad man into action, as he threw both of his hands forward:
Rocks just appeared in mid-air and shot toward Harry even faster than the blades had gone the other way. He barely had time to throw up a solid shield and he could feel the rocks slamming into it with a force that backed him up a few paces. He put the shield down only to see that Voldemort was gone again. Harry was getting tired of this tactic, and tried some taunting, not his usual thing.
"Come out Tom! If I'm too fast just say so, I'll slow down for you!" Anything to stop the teleporting.
And then it hit him.
An Explosion Hex right to the back, harder than anything he had ever experienced, and he had had Travis and Drew fire point blank at him from a meter away during drills and tutoring.
But Harry was wearing the vest.
So the Hex did not do its intended damage, but it did have the effect of slamming him fact first into the ground, breaking his nose.
Voldemort was now the one that couldn't believe it. He didn't know about the vest, and a two meter shot with the kind of force he had put into it should have turned Harry's spine into powder.
Harry just managed to twist away as the Killing Curse slammed into the ground where his head would have been. It did dig a hole about a foot deep, which would prove to be significant later.
But now Tom had the advantage, and he pressed it, shooting out rapid fire Dark Curses that rained down on Harry's position like hail.
Harry managed to dodge most of them, and used both his wand and Tom's old wand to conjure up multiple shields to protect himself. The shields, used in concert like that, would, in theory, deflect anything short of Cruciatus or Avada Kedavra, and could only be done with two wands that mated with the user, as these two did with Harry.
But at the cost of weakening Harry a lot more quickly than if he just dodged away. It also had the negative effect of not allowing Harry to shoot off any spells. He fervently hoped, when he had a microsecond to think, that this rope-a-dope strategy would pay off.
In the crowd, the graduates and faculty had moved to a spot underneath the stands, wanting to get out of the line of fire. In the Gryffindor section of the stands, Ginny, as usual, wanted to intervene, but this time it was Bill who prevented her.
"We can't Ginny, Harry has to settle this on his own."
"Oh please, what's more important, some stupid code, or killing Voldemort?"
"Ginny, if you go in there firing curses, Harry's just going to assume it's a Death Eater coming to help Voldemort, and he'll take you out without a second thought, just so that he can protect his rear flank. He doesn't need any distractions right now."
That was the crux of it, no pun intended, and the sole reason why Sophie hadn't charged down there yet. She remembered what Fred had said to her after the Lycan invasion, about Harry needing to focus on fighting and not having to worry about protecting a loved one. She just leaned forward, wand out just in case, and prayed. Ginny had one last salvo though.
"If you're wrong Bill, I'll never forgive you."
"If I'm wrong Ginny, we'll all be dead by the end of the day." And Bill firmly believed that.
Back to the action at hand:
Harry managed to get back to his feet, all the while either dodging or deflecting Voldemort's salvos, but he was getting weaker by the second……well both of them were, and that was the real wild card here: Who had more endurance? Was it the 17 year old kid, who had graduated from magical school less than 20 hours earlier? Or was it the old man, who had fought just two battles in the last 17 years, at the Malfoy trial and the Riddle Manor debacle. Killing Bella's assassin or Peter Pettigrew didn't really count.
Tom walked slowly toward Harry, the magical power now making him glow a little bit as he kept up the assault. He was not using Avada Kedavra at all, saving it for the final blow. But he knew that in order to get to a final blow, he had to weaken Harry's defenses, which he now realized were considerable.
There was no more taunting, no more pithy quotes, no sounds but the occasional uttering of spells and the grunts of pain and exertion. Harry Potter and Tom Riddle would never speak again.
At least not out loud, as Voldemort, sensing an opportunity, eased off slightly on his wand attack, and started using his brain.
As in Legilimency.
He opened up a long dormant connection, and started pushing.
Harry was about two seconds away from doing something very rash when he felt the entry into his mind. This was not the Harry of Hogwarts, who was easy prey to mind tricks by Snape, Voldemort, or even Dumbledore. This was the Harry who had done at least 10 minutes of Occlumency every day for the past two years.
But all that meant was that it was not easy for Voldemort to waltz in, it did not mean that he couldn't at all. And his first trick was an oldie but goodie.
Well, good if you were Voldemort anyway. He used the deaths of James and Lily, the last solid memory he had before his 'exile' from the known world.
And Harry could hear it and see it, just like a DVD in his mind.
"Lily! Get Harry and run!"
"Out of the way woman!"
"No Prophecy will defeat me Harry Potter. Die. Avada Kedavra!"
The memory cut off of course, since we all know what happened afterward. But Voldemort hit the repeat button, and it played again, and again, and again. The intent was to drive Harry mad, or at the very least distract him. Voldemort was not a student of human nature really, barely being human himself. But he was a student of Harry Potter, and knew from Snape that Harry wanted more than anything to know about his parents. Even about their deaths.
So he kept pushing, hoping that Harry would not want to break away, that he would want to see this memory.
Harry did want to see it, he wanted explanations to the flashes he had seen for the last 16 plus years of his life. But it only proved to give him resolve, as he closed the distance, physically, between the two. He herded the memory into a corner of his mind, all the while hoping that Tom was concentrating so much on offense, that he would be a little lax with defense.
And he was, so Harry opened up another door in his mind, the one that led to his 'defeat' of Voldemort at the Malfoy trial.
Voldemort, in the rare times when he spoke of it to Bella or Wormtail, preferred to call it a strategic retreat after a tactical victory. He had the lingo down.
But it was a defeat in his mind, and now Harry reversed the flow and shoved that little episode right back into him. He began chanting in his mind.
"How do you like it Tom!? That was yet another time that I beat you!" But only the two of them could hear it, their collective lips were not moving.
The crowd was now transfixed as the spells and curses had stopped flowing. A few of them had brought omnioculars, wanting to see the expressions on their kids' faces when they got their diplomas and handshakes, and those few could see that it was now a battle of wills, as well as a battle of magic, as both Harry and Tom were now going at it on another plane.
But not for long, as Harry wrenched free and loosed:
The Explosion Hex landed a little off, right on Voldemort's left shoulder, and he was now weak enough that even that direct hit did not knock the bad man down.
It did make a bit of a bone/muscle mess on Tom's insides, and before teleporting away, he pointed his wand, Harry had gotten his off arm, at the wound:
"Mediculo Reparo." It was the same spell that Harry had used to fix his knee at Salem, and then he was gone again.
Meanwhile Harry was shaking his head, trying very hard to get his parents' voices out of there, while gasping for breath. He had taken a lot out of Voldemort, but at best it had been a draw.
Voldemort had appeared on Harry's left, the shot landed right in his side, and even though the dragon hide vest stopped any explosions, the ripple of the impact broke every rib that Harry had on that side and he hit the deck again, but again had the presence of mind to twist away, as a Killing Curse just hit the edge of his jeans. Harry had no idea what a glancing blow of Avada Kedavra would do, and did dare find out the hard way.
Dradalo transformed the air in front of him into a toxic fume, and the following spell was his most powerful wind spell. Harry had officially crossed the line into Dark Magic as Voldemort immediately started choking, wasting precious seconds of his advantage as Harry didn't follow up, instead using his energy to get to his feet.
Not a good idea as it turned out, as his ribs were just killing him. He had already sustained some bruised kidneys from the first Abrumpere, and he unsteadily pointed his wand at his ribs:
"Mediculo Reparo." He wasn't into as much as he could have been, but at least the ribs were now merely cracked and not broken, and he could now breathe again without wanting to commit suicide. He was still swaying on his feet a little bit, and even Bill was now regretting his stance about not interfering.
Riddle got rid of the fumes quickly enough, though he had to use a second, more powerful Charm to get rid of it. He strode toward Harry and raised both his wand, obtained from a Russian dealer, and his left hand as he prepared to finish Harry off once and for all.
"AVADA KEDAVRA! AVADA KEDAVRA!"
Harry was ready, and loosed the same:
"AVADA KEDAVRA! AVADA KEDAVRA!"
There was no mating of the wands this time, so no Priori Incantatem. The curses did collide in mid-air though, and the shock force planted Harry back into the ground, while spinning Voldemort around. The Killing Curses shot straight into the air from their collision, and looked like a massive fireworks show. Head Obliviator Steven Redgrave was in the crowd, it was tradition for former Head Boys and Head Girls to attend graduation ceremonies, and he knew that he and his people would probably be busy after all of this was over, if Harry won. He figured everyone in Scotland within a 50 kilometer radius must have seen that. And as protected as Hogwarts was, that was still a load of people.
It was a skin melting curse that Harry had tried in the Lycan invasion, and it hit Voldemort on the back of the head, and the crowd had the unique experience of listening to the bad man howling.
And it was not from triumph.
Just proof that no matter how powerful you are, having the skin taken off of the back of your head is still going to hurt like hell. Harry was emboldened by the success of it, and advanced another meter as he tried it again.
He went to the well too many times though, as Voldemort blocked it with a sweeping motion of his wand, while his other hand was all bloody from the back of his head.
Harry let loose a series of half powered Repulsars, to just put Voldemort on the defensive a little bit. He still wasn't shooting very powerfully, but all his shots were at least on target. Riddle was batting them away, while making his own plans for his next offensive. He was wearing down too, though he did not yet have Harry's physical injuries. He was about launch his counter-attack when Harry abruptly, and violently, shifted the tone:
It was the long talked about, much speculated about, never before used spell that turned water into wine. The body is mostly made up of water, and the spell hit Voldemort dead in the stomach. He instantly felt a burning sensation in that organ and it quickly spread throughout that area of the body, turning much of it into wine.
Though you wouldn't want to drink it.
He quickly flipped an Earthquake Spell at Harry's feet, slamming him to the ground yet again, and frantically began muttering counter-curses at his body, trying to stop, if not reverse, the effects of the curse. Tom Riddle was something of a reader himself, but he had never read the particular text, by Rolf Barnes-Sturgis, that Harry had gotten the curse from.
Harry was almost down for the count, as his head had cracked right onto the ground, and the Hogwarts pitch was not laden with Cushioning Charms as it's counterparts in America were. He again used the medical repairing spell for what he thought had to be a cracked skull, and now there was little of him from the waist up that was not in total agony, though he was hazily wondering why Voldemort would not try to cripple the legs of someone as fast as he was. But he wasn't complaining, not that he had the energy to do it anyway.
Meanwhile the bad man finally managed to stop the spread of the Wine Curse, but his stomach was now pretty much gone, and he would need at the very least a battery of Potions to heal it, if not a stomach transplant, a dicey procedure at best given who the patient would be. As the Mel Gibson character in Payback would say in a few months, it was not easy for a criminal in this world to get quality health care, and it was no different for magicals.
In all Harry's spell had worked on 15 percent of Voldemort's body, all in the torso area. Not bad for a curse that could not exactly be field tested ahead of time. Voldemort was weakened by a lot more than 15 percent though, double that at the very least.
But now the bad man was pissed, and he let loose a burst of pure magic at Harry that the lad just barely managed to duck. He then pointed his wand at Harry
And in an instant he poured all of his hate and anger directly into Harry's mind, so quickly that our boy could barely react in time. He tried his best to fight off memories of Voldemort's last two dozen kills and tortures. He tried so hard to push the thoughts from his mind, but all it was doing was draining him more, and strengthening his enemy. He was nearing the end of his rope, as he whipped off:
It was curse that turned disintegrated any bone that it came into contact with, instantly. It was the very definition of a Dark Curse, since there was no immediate counter to it, only a potential repair job later if the one cursed lived through the experience. It hit Voldemort a better than glancing blow on his orbital socket, and now the bad man was half blind, as the bones supporting his left eye were no longer in place, and the force of the curse ripped loose the tendons and such that connected the eye to the brain. It could be repaired with Skele-Gro and a decent doctor, but only if Riddle won the fight.
His concentration was equal to the task though, and aside from a scream of pain, he only barely let up the mental assault on Harry, who was getting increasingly desperate.
Harry let fly another Dark Curse, one that would instantly boil the blood within a six inch radius of impact. It hit Voldemort on his right arm and his bicep was instantly on fire. He was forced to drop his wand, as his hand involuntarily opened from the pain. Harry was ready for this:
It flew into his hand, and he somehow found the physical strength to snap it. Riddle didn't really need a wand, at least not totally, but every little bit helped. And everyone watching was now getting the idea of what Harry was trying to do here:
He was tearing Voldemort to pieces, bit by bit.
No one knew that better than the bad man himself, and he intensified his mental assault, or at least he tried to. But his own body pain, from his head, stomach and spleen, his arm……well it was a wee bit distracting, and Harry did not let up in his attacks.
A taste of Riddle's own medicine, and Harry's accuracy was not diminishing as his own strength was steadily ebbing. He nailed Voldemort in the right hip, and this finally knocked him down, as there were now several hairline fractures in his hip.
That was Voldemort, and his accuracy was not half bad either, as he fired from his spot on the ground, catching Harry right in the chest. The chest that was protected by the vest.
Harry, somehow, had the presence of mind to act as though it was hitting him full force, even though the curse was only getting him with about 40 percent effectiveness. The mind games had mostly stopped, and Harry had never been more exhausted in his days, as the Cruciatus slowly sucked the life out of him, though he was still readying his next attack. He put everything he had into his next effort.
"Accio Right Ear!"
Voldemort, creepily enough, did not have a nose of course. Now he was down an ear as the microphones picked up it ripping off and flying into Harry, who was making no effort to catch it.
The Cruiciatus was still going on though, if a little muted, as blood started leaking out of the side of the bad man's head. He had already lost a lot of blood with the boiling, and from his eye and other places, and this did not help. Now the Cruciatus was hitting Harry at about 25 percent, or roughly what Warrick could do if he was going full throttle on the curse. Voldemort stopped it though, and instead used his left hand:
In Defense class back in Fourth Year, the fake Moody had told Harry and company that the lot of them could fire the Killing Curse at him all at once and he probably wouldn't get more than a nose bleed. It all depended on power and focus, and Voldemort's power and focus were ebbing like a swift tide at present.
But his Killing Curse still slammed right into Harry's sternum.
Or what was his sternum underneath the vest. Dobby had put an extra layer in front of the heart when he had made it for Harry, and the later ones for Fred and George.
It was the only thing that saved Harry's life, as the force of the curse was dissipated just enough that Harry was still alive after being hit with it.
But just barely. He slumped to the ground, and for whatever reason Voldemort had aimed his follow up shot as if his first would have left Harry standing.
And it passed right over Harry's head, missing his hair by a half inch. A hit on the top of the head would have killed our boy once and for all. It was the last Killing Curse of the duel for either man, as neither had enough juice left to throw one.
Harry, from a sitting position.
"Accio Left Ear!" He had no energy left for Dark Curses, or so it seemed to the crowd, as another ear soon hit him on the chest. More blood poured out of Voldemort as they were both on the ground now. For his part Harry could not conceive of ever standing on his feet again as:
He would have loved to say that he was aiming for that particular spot, but he would be lying, as it hit Riddle where his nose would have been.
If he had a nose that is.
More facial bones cracked, and now the entire left side of his face was now pretty much gone. The two were only 10 feet away from each other now as Harry took as steady an aim as possible and used his new reliable.
The steady aim was to hit Voldemort in the other eye, and it worked. It pulsed right into the visual organ and damaged it beyond immediate repair. The bad man was now blind.
Harry managed to roll himself away from his position, so that if his enemy tried a blind shot, it would not get him. He knew that just because Voldemort didn't have ears anymore, that didn't mean he was totally deaf, but he was counting on a decent amount of ringing still to be there, so as to mask Harry's own movements.
Sure enough, a bolt of something came out of Voldmort's left hand, going right through where Harry had been. Our boy gathered up some strength, and again took careful aim:
It landed again on the left side, in the upper chest area, and only with a few seconds time and great effort could Voldemort heal himself. But not before he lost another half liter of blood, as enough boiled before it could be stopped.
While he was stopping it, Harry shot off a spread of four Pulse spells that ripped into Riddle's damaged abdomen, further shredding what was left of his organs. Harry somehow got to his feet and raised his wands, aiming one at Riddle's femoral artery, and the other at his jugular.
Purple light shot out of his wands as Harry fell back to the ground. He was done, as he hoped that his last plan worked.
It did. The water into wine spells landed right where they should, and the force of the spells, combined with what they were supposed to do anyway, did the trick. The spells spread quickly throughout his body, and Voldemort no longer had the energy to stop it. He collapsed on his back as his body turned into fermented grape, and within a few seconds, he was dead.
The crowed was starting to murmur a bit, mostly in shock. Voldemort lay on the ground, not moving. Nothing came out of his body, no spirit seemed to be floating away, as it had the last time. No one had seen the end the last time, aside from Harry, and no amount of Legilemency had dug that out of him since, his thoughts at that age were so unformed that it was a miracle he ever remembered the flash of light and being taken out of their on Sirius' motorbike.
Harry managed to get to his feet one last time, and staggered over to the body, his entire body crying out for him to just lay down and die himself. He had thought that he knew what pain and exhaustion felt like, but alas no. This was a new level. He knelt by the body and carefully checked for a pulse.
There was none.
The crowd had recovered now, as Rufus waited for Harry's signal, or what he hoped would be a signal.
And he got his wish, as Harry feebly raised his right hand and made a twirling motion with his wand, using most of the energy that he had left. Rufus immediately put his own wand to his throat.
"Everyone is to stay in their seats until further notice. All Aurors and Dark Force Defense League members are to do a sweep of the grounds to make sure that there are no Death Eaters present, unless I designate you other duties. Any Death Eaters that you do come across, kill them without hesitation. The giant brigade is ordered to go back to the castle and allow only students and faculty back inside. Go now." He motioned to Remus and McGonagall, without Sonorus, and they came over.
"Make sure Harry is surrounded by Weasleys and his American friends, wands drawn, I don't want to take the chance that there might be a sleeper agent somewhere in here. As weak as he is right now, a Tickling Charm might finish him off. Do it now."
Any thoughts that Remus had, and he did have them, of Rufus finishing off Harry in private were now rendered wrong. Remus walked over to the Gryffindor stands and frantically motioned for the gang and company to get down there. He didn't have to do this with Sophie, who had Reiko levitate her down the moment Harry made the twirling motion. McGonagall conjured up a ladder, and gang members and Weasleys began streaming down it, trying hard to look at the pure white faces of the Hogwarts leaders.
Sophie raced over to Harry, who was still on his knees trying very hard to keep from passing out. It wasn't that he was worried about looking weak, he was more worried about not waking up if he let himself go.
"Oh Harry." She didn't yell it, she just knelt behind him and wrapped her arms around his torso, getting more frightened by the second at his ragged breathing. He was so out of it that he didn't even notice her squeezing his cracked ribs.
"Just rest baby, just rest. It's over now, it's all over. You don't have to do anything else."
"I'm so tired." She had never heard his voice sound so dead, and forgot for a moment that the mic's around the Pitch were picking all of this up for the crowd's consumption.
"You can't be tired Harry, you have to play Quidditch tomorrow." That did not get the chuckle that she was hoping for, and that spiked her worry even further, since that was the kind of joke that Harry loved. He just leaned back against her, allowing himself to be held.
"I don't know if I could have gone on any longer."
"I think that was the idea Harry, you were taken to your limit, but you did it. You killed him. Your parents are avenged, just like you wanted." The others had come up by now, all of them part of his circle. They didn't seem to know what to do really, though they obeyed Rufus in that all of their wands were drawn. Travis knelt on the other side of the body, having taken the time to mute the microphones that could pick up any conversation around the immediate area. He checked the pulse as well, and found nothing, mentally marveling at the destruction that Harry had visited upon this body, and how much Tom Riddle had been able to take before giving in. He looked at the twins.
"I suppose that it's way too much to hope that you use muggle gasoline or lighter fluid in any of your pranks?" Fred answered.
"We have some gasoline in the shop, yeah. Why?"
"Have Dobby get some, we need to completely destroy this body here and now. No stray hairs left, no chance for anyone to do anything with the remains."
The twins, and everyone else in hearing range, thought that this sounded like a splendid idea, and Dobby was duly summoned, and then dispatched on his errand. He brought back a pair of liter plastic containers, which Travis judged to be more than enough. First he knelt in front of Harry.
"Harry, I'm not stupid enough to ask if you're okay, but you need to get up. Not just to get out of the way of the pyre we're about to start here, but because you need to realize that you are alive right now. You won my friend. You went from The Boy Who Lived to The Man Who Conquered, and nobody in this Pitch is more proud of you than I am."
"Thank you, but I just don't have the energy to move right now." Just saying that seemed to take most of what he had left, and his eyes were starting to close a little.
"Well that's what magic is for. C'mon, let's do some levitating people." Arthur, Molly, and Fleur all waved their wands, and Harry slowly rose up from the ground. The three of them backed him away as Travis and George doused the body with the gasoline. The smell, not one that a few of them had ever smelled before, was very, very strong, and even Travis was looking like he wanted to hold his nose. He looked around for a moment, as Rufus seemed to be coming over to watch. Incendio would do the trick, but Travis chose another path. He conjured up a matchbook, and motioned for the Weasley parents to bring Harry over.
"I believe you should be the one to do this Harry, you've more than earned it."
Travis stuck a match in a way that lit up the entire pack. He gingerly handed it to Harry, who found enough strength to throw it on to the body from a few feet away. Sophie helped a bit with the arm motion, and:
The bad man's body lit up like a roman candle, and an awestruck crowd watched it burn for the next 10 minutes, until it was nothing more than ashes.
There wasn't much conversation going on, as most people were watching for a ghost to rise out of the body. But none did, and the relative silence was broken only by some of the Hogwarts faculty walking over. Hagrid was among them, and the twins took it upon themselves to give him a warning.
"Don't so much as touch him Hagrid. You've proven that you're no friend to him." They were not going to take the slightest chance here, and who knows what Hagrid might be dim enough to try.
Hagrid didn't quite know what to say, but he certainly understood two drawn Weasley wands pointed at him, so he stood in the back of the pack as the other teachers quietly walked up to Harry and thanked him for what he had done. Rufus then came over and stood with his protégé.
"Well Harry, you did it. You did it and there's no one else that could have. That was some display."
"Thank you sir."
"I believe it's well past time that you called me Rufus."
"Thanks sir." It was a weak joke, but an internally worried Minister would take what he could get here. He gingerly patted Harry on the shoulder, and turned to the Headmaster.
"Now Remus, I believe that we came here to honor the graduates. I think we should do so."
None of the people surrounding Harry had thought for a moment that the ceremony would be back on, and a few of them would lightly chuckle.
But a cursory glance at Rufus' face showed that he wasn't kidding. Remus had no real problem with it, with one caveat.
"Shouldn't we wait for the Aurors to come back first?" A lot of nods in the group around them, even from some Americans, but Rufus was shaking his head, not nodding it.
"They'll report something when they have something to report, we need to do something to occupy ourselves until then." He put his wand to his throat and addressed the crowd.
"If you all will take your seats, we will continue with what the dead man so rudely interrupted. Graduates, please re-take your places, and if the faculty will do the same, we can get underway." He took the wand off and addressed everyone around him.
"Hermione, Ron, Neville, please go back to your places. Sophie, if you and your people would get Harry up to the stands. Do it as discreetly as possible, we don't want people to think that he's helpless. Helpless people are very tempting to the weak in any society, we don't want that here."
So everyone took their places again, and Harry was levitated up to the Gryffindor stands so that he could get back to his seat. He had recovered enough that he could sit up on his own……but he was magically toast for the next couple of hours. That's why Sophie on one side and Bill on the other, along with the twins behind, barely heard the next 30 minutes. They were busy looking for threats, and Dobby and Winky were on patrol as well, not having to be asked to do this duty either.
It was a hesitant ceremony as it turned out. Remus had quite forgotten what he wanted to say, and made up something less eloquent as he went along. Lisa Turpin, as Valedictorian, had written down her speech in advance. But she was no orator, and the crowd still be in a semi-state of shock sure didn't help matters. Still, she was calm and poised, and would start her adult life at the Auror Academy the next day, joined by Terry Boot and Michael Corner, an all Ravenclaw group this year among the British inductees.
The graduates were then introduced in alphabetical order. Hermione was first of the DOM's, and she got a thunderous cheer from the Americans and Weasleys, so much so that her own parents were slightly taken aback and barely got to yell at all. It certainly wasn't tradition at Hogwarts, polite applause being the norm.
But the ones doing the cheering couldn't have cared less. A burden had been lifted from them, not as large as the one now taken off Harry's shoulders, but it was a large one all the same. Hermione was part of their extended family, and she was their outlet.
Neville followed a few names later, and Ron was next to last, only ahead of Blaise Zabini, he of the Slytherin room by himself and over half a dozen stepfathers to boot. None of the three looked excited or proud until the deafening cheer for Hermione, which was repeated for the two men as well. That seemed to pick them up a bit, and all of them smiled as they shook the hands of Remus, McGonagall, and Rufus.
After the festivities, muted though they were, were over, the gang and folk retired to The Burrow for a planned party. It was kind of a preview to the Ron/Hermione wedding, as a lot of the same people would be returning in four weeks time for that event. Harry somehow managed to stay awake the entire time, but it was a struggle. Sophie didn't leave his side but one time, for bathroom necessities, and the twins made a point of being around him as much as possible too. When Sophie went to do her business, Fred plopped down beside his partner.
"So you see Junior, you can fight without us right next to you."
"Don't ever let me do it again." Along with his Snapple he was chugging down a battery of potions prescribed for him by Madam Pomfrey.
"You won't ever have to little brother, it's over now."
"Yeah, besides, you don't know how hard it was for Fred and I not to jump down there and take aim at his back."
"I'm glad you didn't, strange as that is to say now."
"It's not, and you said it best to the git himself: It had to be one on one."
"I hope Mum and Dad are proud up there. It took a long time, but I got revenge for them." Arthur had come up, and answered instead of his sons.
"They are Harry, but you make them proud every day, Voldemort be damned."
"Thanks Arthur, I appreciate that."
"Well I am biased, but it's still the truth. Don't you worry my boy, life is going to be a lot easier for you from now on."
Over the next week Rufus personally led the hunt for the remaining Death Eater holdouts, after publishing an open letter in The Daily Prophet offering a conditional amnesty for those who were willing to turn themselves in. Conditional that is, upon signing an oath of allegiance and admitting to past crimes and the promise not to commit any more of them. A decent financial penalty was assessed as well, forfeiture of up to 50 percent of the vaults, in whatever country they might be in.
Surprisingly this did work on some of them, as roughly 45 of the estimated 110 remaining Death Eaters came in and did the deed. This further allowed The Ministry to piece together the full roster, and Rufus would quietly tell Travis that he wished Harry might have turned over Wormtail before letting Voldemort kill him. Travis' response that he didn't think that the bad man would have agreed to that went right over his boss' head, but Rufus would say nothing to Harry about it, or let it get out via other means. A like number of Death Eaters were hunted down and killed, a lot of them were found based on information given by the parolees. Unfortunately none made it to trial, Rufus feeling that the amnesty offer was good enough, and anyone not taking it was too die-hard to let live.
Ultimately, 102 of them were accounted for in some way, dead or pardoned, and Rufus felt that he could live with the eight who had not been, since none of them were considered to be worthwhile rallying points for future generations of Death Eaters. Only Draco Malfoy could be such a person, and he had volunteered, without being asked, to sign new oaths whenever The Minister wished it of him. He liked the idea of a peaceful life with just Quidditch and other leisurely pursuits on his plate. The pardons and amnesties were somewhat controversial, but placed so many conditions on the those affected that no one of any importance complained, at least not very loudly.
Harry would sleep 18 hours a day for the next two weeks, an almost self-induced coma, as he slowly recharged. He did not feel up to Apparating or even using portkeys, so English National Team manager John Terry was ushered over to The Hollow for a personal explanation of why Harry would have to bow out of his National Team helping. Terry took one look at how tired Harry still looked, after a week of 18 hour naps, and speculated that the lad might not play all year, let alone this month. He didn't say this out loud of course, merely telling Harry that all he had to do was shout if he needed anything.
But he would be proven wrong. New York Dragons training camp opened on August 12 and Harry was right there, having done little other than rest and attend the wedding event of the summer, that of Ron and Hermione Weasley.
Hermione Weasley, it really does not roll of the tongue very easily, but the wedding was lovely and the bride was beautiful.
The wedding was one week before the Quidditch World Cup final game between Bulgaria and China, the former having eliminated The United States, Wales, and England along the way. Viktor Krum would get to hold the World Cup high this time, celebrating a 190-140 victory, his Chasers now just good enough to buy him time to get the Snitch. Harry listened on the WWN from The Hollow, though he would have gone down to Brazil and watched in person if England and Angelina had won their semi-final over Krum and Associates.
Over the next 12 months, things would come to a new kind of normal. A normal world without Voldemort or the specter of him hanging over everything.
Harry took his two classes per semester, English and Biology in the first, American History and Basic Algebra in the second, in no great hurry to get his degree, and had a fun time mixing his studies with his job with his personal life. He remained a Dark Force Defense League member, but with Rufus' tacit permission, only attended the meetings that were held at Hogwarts, the AQA playing on Sundays for the most part. The Charlottesville Houses were nicknamed Calvin, and Hobbes, respectively, with Harry and Sophie living in Hobbes. The floo and tunnel systems ensured that everyone was in and out of each house on a regular basis, though Calvin House was reserved for muggle guests, Hobbes House having most of the magical toys and accoutrements. Rachel Kessler was persuaded to make UVA her choice for college, and was scheduled to move into the spare bedroom come Fall, joining newcomers Ginny, who would be going to school part-time, and Luna, who would just be commuting to and from The Quibbler.
The New York Dragons would win the 1998-99 AQA regular season and playoffs, and win the Pan American Cup as well, a kind of Super League featuring teams from North and Central America. Harry was named the AQA Rookie of the Year and MVP as he caught 12 Snitches and scored 67 goals, splitting his time between Seeker and Chaser as the match-ups dictated. He found that there were no ill effects from his Voldemort battle, other than everyone wanting to talk about it. Warrick started the year as the fourth Beater on the team, but won a starting job with two weeks left in the season. His reward was the team picking up the next two option years on his contract. He and Jonas aped Harry in only taking two classes per semester, and their grades reflected the time that they had to devote to their studies. Jonas too was Rookie of the Year for the National Quodpot League, though he was only able to lead New York three spots up in the standings.
The gang adjusted to UVA quite nicely, and they spoke so glowingly about it that even Ron started thinking about going back to school again, though he quickly realized again that he was ill-prepared for it. He rode the bench for the entire year with Chudley, only getting into four blowouts as the Cannons improved to seventh in the BQL. He got better and better in practice though, and like Warrick, his option years were picked up by a well satisfied Cannons management team. He relished the opportunity to focus on just one thing, and Hermione, the newest Mrs. Weasley, said that she had never seem him look happier. She even seemed to like going to the games, and it was noted favorably that she never even brought a book along to read, in spite of the fact that hubby only got into the four games. Knitting needles and yarn yes, even Winky was wearing some of her creations now.
In November Hollie Baylor would win the Presidency in a walk, throttling, not literally, her two opponents, winning 67 percent of the vote. Mitchell continued on as Head Auror in Milwaukee, content with the fact that his career was now officially stalled, but he did love his job. Reiko and Marie would work for her part-time after her victory as well, with an eye toward permanent jobs upon graduation in 2002.
Marty Coyle would set a Great Lakes record by removing eight players from three games due to Bludger injuries. That broke his own record of five from the year before. By June he was 5'10", 165 pounds, and was now considered the most dangerous teenager in the American Magical education system, even though Cortez finished just second in the Quidditch Cup standings. Rachel and the Little Three would keep the WWW ship in the water at Great Lakes, and to the relief of more than one set of parents, there were no trunk floo incidents that were either reported, or even swept under the rug.
Neville's Associate year at Salem went swimmingly. He and Beau Shupe got along very well, and the other Herbolgy teachers were very generous in their advice on teaching techniques and the like. He and Luna still saw each other most every day in some way, and spent all their weekends joined at the hip, though Luna was careful not to be seen in Salem, nor Neville in Hogwarts.
The NEWT grades came in mid-July for the Great Lakes folk, and late July for the Hogwarts alums. Not all the scores need be named, but Harry got his preferred O's in Charms and Defense, and E's in Muggle Studies, History, and Transfiguration. It wasn't as impressive as the five O's gotten by Hermione, Drew, and Reiko, or the four garnered by Sophie, but he would take it.
Ginny would become Head Girl, due in no small part to Remus hinting that he would veto all of the other candidates. He bluntly told McGonagall that this was small payback for Hermione getting jobbed out of the position the year before, and the Deputy Headmistress didn't really put up a fight about it. Only Flitwick commented, briefly, but that was largely because the other obvious candidate was a Ravenclaw roommate of Luna's. Luna, by the way, would be chosen to lead the D.A., along with Colin Creevey, as Remus' way of honoring her status as the top student in the Class of 1999. The D.A. was now nothing more than a Defense Against the Dark Arts Club, and membership declined somewhat, though all who stayed enjoyed the lessons and tactics put forth by Luna and Colin.
Saturday, July 31, 1999
Midwest Methodist Church, Chicago, Illinois
The ceremony was just an hour away, but Harry was already pacing up a storm. The church was filling up with people already, most of whom were Peter Weir's circle, most of whom had barely known that Peter had a daughter. The Weasleys and company were all very friendly to the Americans, and to a person they stuck to the scripts that Harry and Sophie had written out for them. Even Luna's father held it together long enough to get through everything.
The twins were waiting with him, the other men were acting as greeters and ushers.
"Would you stop pacing Junior? It's giving me a headache." Fred echoed those comments.
"Yeah, they might have to charge you for a new rug if you're not careful."
"Aren't you two both hilarious. At least last night is over."
Flashback to the night before.
It was the rehearsal dinner, held at one of Chicago's finest restaurants, which happened to have as a partner one Michael Steele, who ate out every night and was a connoisseur of fine dining. The guest list were various Weirs, Fontenots, who were Wendy's family, and the Harry/Sophie extended circle. The Brits came in that afternoon en masse, except for the ones already living in the U.S., and Harry had a quick briefing with them.
"I would like you all to meet Duncan and Leslie Weir, who will also be known as Neville's aunt and uncle, due to the miracle of Polyjuice. They're Peter's parents and since he wouldn't invite them, we did. Thank you to Mrs. Longbottom and Algie for the hairs." Both Longbottoms smiled, they had liked the deviousness of it.
The dinner was crowed and conversationally noisy, and to Harry's mounting horror, ever male Brit made a point of going up to Peter and having a one or two minute chat with him. If they made mention of magic, there was no indication of it, but it did seem like a planned thing. Finally he went over to Bill for an explanation.
"What the bloody heck are you people playing at? Do you know what I had to go through to get him Obliviated! I had to threaten to kill the father of the girl I love!"
"Easy there brother, we're just trying to make a point is all."
"A point to who? A guy who is not supposed to know who you people really are? Who his daughter is?"
"We're making the point for Sophie, not him. She's family now, and we want her to know that you're not the only unforgiving type around here."
"By chatting with him like there's nothing wrong?"
"By making sure that she knows that we're looking out for her, that she's our sister now."
Indeed Sophie had noticed, and fully approved. Now more than ever she wanted to whip out her wand, which was back at the hotel in any case, and show her father that she was the one who fate had proved to be worthy of having magical powers, not him. Harry knew that better than anyone, and let Bill know it.
"Just don't goad her into doing something rash. She can do Wandless Magic as well as anyone in the room, and I wouldn't put it past her to try something with him."
"You worry too much Harry."
"Thank God that's all I have to worry about lately, the mind games being performed by my demented family." This last salvo, and it was the last one, brought out the smiles, and Bill just patted Harry on the back and went to rescue Fleur from Ned and Jason, who were fully in thrall to her Veela powers.
The dinner, on the whole, went very smoothly, as Rufus, Travis, and Arthur in particular were familiar enough with muggle life in America to get by. Fred and George managed to convince the muggles that they were the owners of a small but successful toy company. The lot of them talked about jet lag and beat a hasty retreat after dinner, but that was understandable and caused no comments. Indeed Peter told Harry that he liked the lad's family, but was curious about something.
"Now let me understand something though: none of them are your blood relatives, right?"
"Well if you go back to Adam and Eve we're all blood related sir, but no, what I call my 'family' is not what someone here would………well I doubt you would use the term in the same way. I have two blood relatives that I know about, and we're not in touch." He immediately regretted saying that, and hoped that the investigative part of Peter's legal mind wouldn't want to do a background check.
"But you call the Weasley siblings your brothers and sister."
"Well they are, in every way that counts. Except for the red hair, I would look terrible with it."
"And how did you come to know this Rufus person?"
"He spoke at my school when I was younger, I hung back to ask him some questions and we kept in touch. He's been a great mentor to me over the years."
All of this was part of the script, and it was more or less written like that. It had been the spring break projects for the gang, as they turned down invitations to go to Florida or Texas, and hunkered down to figure out cover stories for all of the British people coming over. They didn't need to go muggle beaches when they had Isla de Marauder at their service 24/7/365.25
Back to present day:
Harry didn't stop his pacing though, and the twins just had to get used to it. He wasn't in the least worried about Sophie backing out, so much so that he didn't even have Winky keeping an eye on her. It was as he had told Bill: now he could worry about more mundane things that a bad villain trying to kill him. Finally Drew came in to get them.
"Time to go boys, the organist is warming up."
They hustled after him and took their positions. Drew, Jonas, and Warrick had played an hour long game of poker to decide who got the third slot in the wedding party, and Drew had drawn a nasty straight flush in the end to torpedo Jonas' and Warrick's chances. Marie, Claudia, and Reiko were standing up with Sophie, and they were already in their positions, and ready to go when the organ started, and the ceremony began.
Peter walked his daughter down the aisle. She was wearing the traditional white wedding dress, with a semi-long train. Her hair was pinned up as brides' hair often is, and she didn't dare start trying to figure out heels now, on the most important walk of her life so far.
Well that walk on Harry's first day at Great Lakes proved to be pretty important didn't it? Call it a tie.
Harry was doing so many mind exercises that he was at a Zen-like calm right now, Phi Jackson-esque even. She was not wearing a veil, and he could see her grinning at him as she got to the alter.
The minister, from the church that Peter and Wendy had attended during their 18 months in the city, gave out the usual spiel about marriage being a sacred thing and so on and so forth.
"Harry James Potter, do you take Sophie Natalie Weir to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?"
"I do." No theatrics there, not in front of this crowd.
"Sophie Natalie Weir, do you take Harry James Potter to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold , in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live."
"Yes I do."
"The rings please."
Fred and George had insisted that whomever won the poker game hold the ring, since both of them couldn't hold it together, so Drew took the ring out of his pocket and handed it over. Reiko did the same for the other one, and Harry and Sophie managed the tricky maneuver of putting the rings on simultaneously……..they had practiced. Reverend Smith was impressed, and delivered the coup de grace.
"Then by the powers vested in me, by the state of Illinois, I now pronounce you, man and wife. You may kiss the bride."
Harry took Sophie in his arms and kissed her, and all was well in the world.
In the ensuing years:
Warrick and Reiko Forrester would eventually settle in Boston, where Reiko was elected in 2006 to the Wizard Congress, representing the Tecumseh district. She served for 40 years there, eschewing any run for the Presidency, and took over one of the Charms posts at Salem upon her retirement from political life. Warrick would have a 14 year career in the AQA, all with New York, and was chosen for the 2002 American team that did not qualify for the World Cup, and the 2006 and 2010 teams that did, though both teams lost in the first round. After his playing career he would go to work for the Dragons, retiring after a long career in their front office. Warrick would graduate from Virginia in 2008, never taking more than two classes per semester, but always doing his best at them. They would have, like most magical families, just one child. Karl Nicholas Forrester would grow up to be a much better Quidditch player than his dad was too.
Marty Coyle graduated fifth in the Great Lakes Class of 2004, and winner of the 2004 Great Lakes and four school Olympic titles. He had a 16 year Quidditch career, all with The Chudley Cannons as it turned out, and was named Beater of the Year seven times by The Daily Prophet. He would be a part of the Quidditch breakthrough that Warrick would miss, being on the 2014 team that reached the semi-finals of the Quidditch World Cup, only to fall to England and a certain lad that we are all very fond of. He would never marry; preferring the bachelor life of a stud Quidditch player, nor would he attend college. Marty would pass away at age 34 in a muggle airplane crash, he was asleep and did not know to Apparate away as the plane exploded.
Claudia Cregg and Lee Jordan would ultimately decide that marriage was not something that they were interested in, but despite that they remained a couple for the rest of their lives. Yes, a monogamous one. Claudia would take over as Muggle Studies Professor at Great Lakes upon graduating from UVA, while Lee would continue working for WWW. They would have no children, by design, and due to this fiscally efficient mode of living, they would retire at age 40 and 42 respectively. They would spend the rest of their lives traveling the world with nothing more than a large supply of Harry-bought floo powder and a magical tent, rarely spending more than two or three days in one particular place.
Joanne Murray would remain as Great Lakes Headmistress for another 24 years before returning to Auror Command as a part-time consultant. Her daughter Jessica, a long-time Defense teacher at Salem, would take over for her and continue the Murray reign at Great Lakes, even though Jessica's married name was Miller.
Arthur Weasley would never become Minister of Magic, much to his relief, though he did live to see his son take on the job. He stayed as Wizengamot Chief and Head of the Muggle Office for another 15 years, before quietly retiring to a life of comfort with Molly, and his puttering around with muggle things. He would live to be 140 years old, the same age as Molly.
Bill and Fleur Weasley would stay at Gringotts for the next 20 years, before Bill, anointed by Rufus Scrimgeour as his handpicked candidate, became Minister of Magic, in 2018. He would 'Rule Britannia' for 32 years, with Fleur as his Senior Undersecretary, her having taken British citizenship so that she could be in the line of succession. They would have the requisite seven children of the Weasley scion, six boys and one girl, all of whom would do the name of Weasley proud.
Charlie Weasley did not, to Harry's ever loving irritation, wind up dating Rachel Kessler, who after UVA faded from the gang's circle and was rarely heard from again.. He chose to remain with his dragons for the rest of his working life, and never married. He made frequent, trunk floo assisted, visits with his family over the years, and never truly regretted the lot in life that he had willingly chosen.
Drew Baylor and Marie Ford waited until their graduation from UVA to get married, though they lived as one for the four years they spent in school. They were married three hours after their morning graduation ceremony, only taking that long because brides do need a bit of leading up time. Jed Ford, papa of Marie, would dragoon Drew into the family business and Andrew Mitchell Baylor would eventually become CEO of Ford Allied Industries, owned by his wife. He never would go to the Auror Academy, and his only involvement in politics would be as a member of The Board of Trustees at UVA. Drew and Marie would also have just one child, and their daughter Abby would go on to be the seventh female President of the Magical United States.
Jonas Steele and Ginny Weasley would shock both sides of the family by eloping while on vacation in 2001. Ginny hated the idea of the pomp of a large Weasley wedding, and Jonas didn't need much convincing, so they flooed off to Vegas and were married in one of it's famous wedding chapels. Jonas played 12 years in the NQL before retiring to a life of Steele and Family Investments, where his paychecks got even larger. He joined Ginny there, as a couple of UVA classes convinced her that she had a head for business and she got her degree in Finance, joining Steele and Family right after graduation. Jonas and Ginny would have twins, Molly and Nathanial, and the pair would be just as much trouble as Fred and George ever were.
Neville Longbottom liked life at Salem so much that he declined to replace Sprout at Hogwarts, wanting to see things through at his first job. He would stay at Salem for 40 years teaching Herbology before being asked to fill the Headmaster spot. He would accept, and retire in that job after another 14 years. He was joined by his wife Luna Lovegood, who startled everyone by beginning an American version of The Quibbler, seeded by money from Harry and Sophie. The Explainer, don't ask, proved to be a huge hit in North America, and Luna ran it from Neville's office in Salem, writing most of the articles herself. Their sons Xavier and Roman joined the family business as soon as they graduated from Hogwarts. Xavier taking over The Quibbler, and Roman helping his mother with The Explainer.
Fred and George would remain much as they were, life really would not change very much. They and their brides would spend the rest of their days in The Hollow, which had plenty of room for the six kids, three per couple, that they would eventually have. The twins would slowly expand WWW until Zonkos had no choice but to offer them a lucrative buyout, with a consulting clause. It had taken seven years to wear their competitors down, but the WWW Three would gain 1/3 of the new company, and Harry would be their American spokesperson, all the while managing the American school selling operations in his limited free time. The twins spent the rest of their working lives creating pranks and planned mayhem. It was a lot of fun for them. Angelina Weasley would retire from Quidditch in 2012, having set the BQL's career scoring record. Alicia Weasley would never rise higher than a reporter at The Daily Prophet, but she had no real ambition to do so. Raising three kids and putting up with George made sure of that.
Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks would break up within a year of the final battle. Remus began devoting more and more of his time to his job, and tests confirmed that his early Lycanthropy denied him the ability to father children. So he slowly drove Tonks away, and he would never marry or have another meaningful romantic relationship ever again. He would proclaim himself content though, and not have any regrets. He would stay as Hogwarts Headmaster until his death in 2043, his Lycanthropy now allowing him to hit triple digits on the age meter as most magicals were capable of.
Rufus Scrimgeour would rule magical Britain with a velvet glove for many years after the defeat of Voldemort, only retiring when he felt like it, not due to election loss or lack of confidence from the public. It was ironic in that Tonks would become his companion after her breakup with Remus, though the two would never officially marry. Rufus would have his first child at age 60, and was quite the doting father. He passed on his mantel to Bill afterward with no regrets, and was hailed as the finest Minister in many a decade.
Travis Biller would continue to serve as the Head of the DMLE through the rest of Rufus' administration and all of Bill's as well. He had no interest in the top job and never put his name forward as a candidate. He and Rebecca would have one more child, another girl, Katrina, joining her two years older sister Maya. Katrina would go on to marry P.J. Weasley, Bill and Fleur's eldest son, while Maya Biller would carry on Rebecca's tradition with the Holyhead Harpies, playing Keeper for them and for Scotland.
Draco Malfoy played 10 years in the BQL for the Tornados before getting tired of the work and retiring to a life of leisure at Malfoy Manor. He would never marry, but a string of mistresses ensured that he was never lonely. He and Harry resumed their Quidditch rivalry at National Team practices, and only when Harry played Chaser was Draco able to be on the first team. Narcissa Malfoy was rarely seen around Diagon Alley or Knockturn Alley for the remainder of her days, but she caused no trouble.
Ron Weasley played an astonishing 23 years for the Cannons, the last five as a player-manager. He only started about half the games over the course of his career, being second string in the first few and last few years of his amazing run, but eventually he became the face of the Cannons and stayed with team as manager or scout for the rest of his working life, having never taken a college class. He would pass away before his time, at age 102. Hermione would graduate at the top of the UVA Class of 2002 and go on to get her PhD in Socioeconomics at Oxford. She would become a respected Professor there and remain on the faculty until her retirement from muggle life in her 60's. Sadly, Hermione and Ron would have no children. A childhood automobile accident had damaged her childbearing organs just enough that it was not medically safe for her to conceive. She had not known about the complications until a doctor told her when she was 22, and by then it was too late for magic to correct the problem. They would be devoted to each other though, and were everyone's favorite aunt and uncle.
Harry and Sophie Potter settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin after college, though Harry would continue to play for New York for his entire AQA career. Sophie would decide, somewhat to most of the gang's surprise, to enter the American Auror Academy upon graduation from UVA. She had gotten a high O on her Defense NEWT, and she wanted to teach Defense if an opening came up. It did at Great Lakes in 2010, and Sophie Potter would join her alma mater, replacing the retired Tom Ripley. Harry would play for 18 years in the AQA, before a final season with Ron and Marty with the Cannons. He would lead England to victory in the 2014 Quidditch World Cup as Captain and lead Chaser, England's first Cup win in over 50 years. After retirement, Harry would join his wife on the Great Lakes staff as the junior Defense teacher, all the while maintaining the Fun Scholarship Program, as well as many other charitable endeavors. Harry and Sophie would have three children, Andy, Lily, and James, but tragedy would strike them early on as Andy died in a car accident at age 11, just a week before he was start school at Salem. The four remaining Potters became closer than ever. James Potter would marry Abby Baylor and become First Husband of the magical United States, while Lily would eventually become the companion of Bill's daughter Molly.
There was never again a sighting of Voldemort.
Sunday, September 30, 2083
8:40 pm GMT
The Headmaster of Hogwarts went on his nightly walk of the castle. He made a point of touching all of the floors, as well as a complete circuit of the Library on his constitutionals. He entered the still dusty old room and sighed, a bit out of breath. The Librarian noticed him, as did every student in the room of course, and came walking over.
"You look tired Harry, you even have another grey hair."
"Why thank you Hermione, you still look like the 11 year old you were on the day we met." He was rewarded with her grin, and a squeeze of his elbow.
"When I barged into your compartment looking for Trevor the toad." They shared a smile, this was some of the same banter that they had shared for the last 40 years, when Harry had taken his job only on the condition that his second oldest friend came with him.
"I can still close my eyes and see that day."
"How is Sophie feeling?"
"She still has the flu, or that's what she claims anyway. I'm going to ask Jessie to look in on her when I get down to the Infirmary." Jessie Potter Longbottom was his granddaughter, and was the school's doctor.
"She's had the flu quite a lot lately, perhaps a muggle physician should be summoned."
"She insists that she's fine, and that she will be ready to teach her eager Defense students tomorrow."
"And that's the end of it I guess." Said almost with a wink.
"Like you didn't rule Ron with a rod of iron." Ron's death the previous year had been hard on all of them, and Hermione still kept his closet the way he had left it. It had been a long battle for Ron, a long time to die of Matrich's Disease, which slowly eroded the body's nervous system.
"Yes, but Ron needed that, he always did. He was rather forgotten about in that house you know, growing up."
"Yes I know, I miss him too." He quickly changed the subject before he started tearing up, something he was prone to doing lately when the subject of Ron came up. They talked more mundane things for a few moments, before a young First Year came over to ask Hermione a few questions. Harry took his leave and went on with his patrol.
Harry made his last sweep of the dungeons, where Professor Charles Shepherd III, Snape's replacement's grandson, was in charge of his old House, and keeping the Shepherd hold on the Potions' position, now at 87 years and counting. He chatted with young Shepherd for a moment, and then went to check on Sophie. Maybe he would Stun her or something, to get a muggle doctor to take a look at her. He had threatened to do that more than once, but she always chuckled and said that even he was not that brave.
He got back to the Headmaster's quarters and saw that she was still asleep. He sat on the edge of the bed and looked at her, still a vision after 84 years of marriage and an extra two as a couple before that. She looked so peaceful laying there that it took Harry a full minute to realize that she was no longer breathing. It took another minute for him to work up the courage to check her pulse, which turned out to be nonexistent. He had only been gone an hour, sometimes thing are that quick, even for a slow moving 103 year old man. A single tear rolled down his face as he crawled into bed, wanting to hold her one last time.
He squeezed as tightly as he could as the tears came flowing, his body convulsing slightly with his sobs. The light of his life was leaking out with them as he closed his eyes for the last time.
Hermione would find them in the morning, all of Hogwarts and the magical world would mourn.
A brief but unspecified time later:
Harry found himself walking along a white corridor, there seemed to be no beginning and no end. And then all of the sudden, a door appeared. Seeing no other alternative, he opened it without knocking and walked through. What he saw would have probably killed him from the shock, if he hadn't already been dead.
He saw Sophie, his beloved Sophie, sitting on a couch, talking with James and Lily. Sirius and Remus were at the bar having an argument of some kind, while Sophie's and Harry's son Andy was whipping up what smelled like chocolate milkshakes.
Sophie leapt up from her seat and ran over to hug him, she looked like she was 25 years old, and so did he for that matter.
"Well hello there lazy bones. I've been here ten minutes already, what took you so long?"
Harry needed a minute to collect himself, but when he did:
"What can I say, I just can't live without you."
And I Thank You