Chapter 25: The Legacy of the Scar

June 5th

On a hill overlooking the country south of Hogwarts castle, Ron stands in expectation. Other students just getting out from various final exams are playing or chattering away about summer plans, but he waits patiently, unmoved until he is rewarded for his lookout. It has been a couple hours, but he hardly notices… he watches and waits until Harry returns to Hogwarts.

Finally he spots a wizard apparate in front of the school gates and he rushes down to meet him. Given permission to open the gate for Harry from Headmistress McGonagall, Ron soon has the entrance open in a flash; they shake hands earnestly and begin to walk back towards the school.

"So, how did it go?" Ron asks guardedly.

"It was tough Ron. I made a promise to him, so I did what I had to do, but, in the end, Slytherin was still a good man."

"How did you do it?"

"I'll tell you when we get to Hagrid's hut." They made their way over to Hagrid's where Hermione was also waiting with Worthwhile settled on her shoulders. When she saw Harry come through the door, she ran to him and embraced him tightly. He held her close before she pulled away to look at him.

"How are you doing?" she asked worriedly.

"I think I will be okay. He died peacefully."

Just then, Hagrid walked through the door and, in an instant, he spotted Harry.

"Harry!" Hagrid hugged Harry before pulling out a kettle and beginning to quickly make tea. "Did I miss anythin'?"

"No, Hagrid," Harry replied. "I was just about to start. I arrived at the cave early in the morning and, of course, he was there alone, but brimming with hope upon my arrival. I had never seen anything like it. It had been so many months since I first talked with him, but he was assured I would come back. We talked for a long while about various things: our battle, his life and his friendships before he was imprisoned, what he wanted to leave the world before he passed on, what he wanted me to do with the various objects of his that we still have. He insisted on not being moved, but instead asked that his body be allowed to stay."

"So, then you did it?" Ron asked.

Harry nodded. "I released his horcrux from the jar and it went back to him and his soul reunited; however, once it did, he instantly began to age even more increasingly. We said our goodbyes and I put him into a deep sleep. In minutes, his pain was gone and the aging of his body eventually led to his death. I witnessed it so that it could finally be finished."

"It was a brave thing you did, Harry," Hagrid told him consolingly.

"Thank you Hagrid. It needed to be done. With his final resting, this chapter of history finally comes to a real conclusion. Hopefully, it will bring an end to such bitter and divisive arguments about heritage and bloodline as well."

"We can only hope," Hermione sighed.

"I didn't come out of it empty-handed, though," Harry said with a devilish smile on his face. He pulled out a roll of parchment and waved it proudly in front of everyone in the room. "I asked him for complete directions on how to make another orb. I had gotten so used to the staff as opposed to a wand… I couldn't help myself."

"Didn't you tell us it took him a really long time?" Hermione queried.

"Twenty years to be exact, but talking with him about various potions, spells, and incantations needed, it should only take me a year or so. In his time, much of what he needed wasn't available to him, especially the incantations. However, once he had them, he would complete the new steps – it just took him time. He gave me the entirety of what was needed so, I think I'm going to do it and then donate the magical directions to the Ministry of Magic Department of Mysteries afterwards. Do any of you want one made as well?"

Ron and Hermione shook their heads and they looked to Hagrid.

"I don't even use a wand! What are you lookin' at me for?"

"Hagrid, isn't it about time you start using magic again, especially since you are a professor at this school?"

"I don' know. I was thinkin' about it."

"Here, Hagrid," Hermione said, pulling out her old wand. "Try this. Our friendship might make this a perfectly suitable wand for you." Hagrid took the wand from Hermione and it instantly sent red sparks lightly into the air.

"Well, I'll be…" Hagrid said wonderingly.

"Well that's great!" Ron beamed. "But yeah, sorry Harry. I'm rather fond of not having to look after a big, long stick as opposed to a wand you can pocket away, or, in my case, holster." Hermione nodded in agreement.

"I guess that makes sense, although I was hoping you two could help me when I'm making it." They agreed and Harry rolled up the parchment carefully and put it away.

"How come you were gone two days, Harry?" Hagrid asked quizzically. "I thought it would only take one?"

"Well, I also made a visit to Alexandria. I made a visit with the Magistrates of the Royal Library and agreed to help bolster their defenses as my father had done two decades previously… for a price of course."

"What price?"

"The abolishment of the High Mage line. It was extremely unfair for wizards and witches from the Scrimgeour family line to have to serve without choice. The Magistrates couldn't rid the Library of the position altogether, but they decided to make it a position offered to all wizard-kind. The rewards for the service are definitely appealing – it's just not for everyone and I showed them that."

"I can't believe you would do so much for Rhona!" Hermione huffed angrily.

"You can't honestly believe I feel anything for a woman twice as old as me – one who was in love with my own father?"

"No, I suppose not." Hermione still looked bitter and Harry was secretly loving Hermione's jealousy, but he comforted her all the same.

"It just wasn't fair for her to be locked up for twenty years without her approval of anything that was happening to her. Her decisions were made for her and we all know that is something none of us like happening to ourselves. I owed her a lot more than I had ever given her, so I had to do it. Hermione, I'm in love with you and only you. My parents had it like this, too. Snape loved my mother, Rhona loved my father, and Voldemort was jealous of their happiness – I need to know you will trust me as I trust you."

"I'm sorry Harry. Her kissing you just made my blood boil."

"I guess I should have responded quicker," Harry winked at her; she chuckled in spite of herself. "So, did anything interesting happen while I was gone?"

"Actually, yes!" Ron suddenly sat up. "Professor Glascock is gone… vanished. He left a note, saying he had gone to be a Vampire-hunter somewhere in South America! A substitute was sent by the Ministry of Magic to give out the final exams for Defense Against the Dark Arts."

"Voldemort's curse at work again," Harry frowned. "I believe it's about time we put an end to that. Too many of our professors have been punished for it."

"Do you know how?" Worthwhile asked from Hermione's shoulders.

"It was something I asked Slytherin about. I think we might just be able to be rid of it for good."

June 11th

To the elation of both professors and teachers, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were able to finish their final year at Hogwarts and they did it with flare. McGonagall was able to weasel their N.E.W.T. scores early (to Hermione's happiness) and the results were shocking. Harry and Hermione both received perfect scores on every single test they took, the first time in the school's long history that two students in the same year achieved the marvelous feat. Not only that, but Ron received all Outstandings on his tests and his overall score was greater than those of any of his brothers. It was yet another celebration for what was becoming known to everyone as the "Super Three" wizards. In the minds of many, they could do no wrong. Ron, of course, reveled in it while Harry escaped from the public eye whenever he could. Hermione shifted between the two whenever they were surrounded because of their fame.

During their last week of school, they accomplished a lot, however. With Mad-Eye's help along with a few complicated spells in Slytherin's tome, which Harry decided to keep, they were able to banish Voldemort's curse on the Defense Against the Dark Arts position at the school. One more chapter was written in the long history of Hogwarts.

The House Cup, after serious deliberation by the professors of the school, was awarded jointly to all four houses that year and there were very few who weren't happy with the decision. There would always be competition, but all of the students recognized that year that in times of tribulation, it's never the individual who wins, but the group who stands together that causes a resistance to be strong. Instead of the cup going to any particular part of the castle, it stayed in the Great Hall until the next year.

Harry was adamant about restarting the DA, which was received by six times the number of students who had previously been a part of the club. Neville, Luna, Dean, and Seamus took charge in Harry's stead when he was gone and, under McGonagall's approval, the DA became an official club of Hogwarts that remained forever. Students learned to use the Dark Arts practically and safely, as well as how to defend themselves against it. Hogwarts would soon become known as one of the strongest wizarding schools on the planet and many aurors as well as politicians would hail from the school over the years.

As for the others? Their stories are their own. Kindred spirits of Harry's would live on with him, knowing they had witnessed something extraordinary happen in the life of a small boy who grew up to be a man… and the most powerful wizard the world would soon ever know.

Today, however, was young Harry's graduation. The morning arrived with sweet and glorious intentions. The sun kissed the sky with blue tones and shades and clouds danced happily through the light wind in a glorious day usually reserved for kings. Harry woke up and opened his window, breathing in the wonderful air. Hedwig flew onto his arm and nipped his ear affectionately; they looked out at their last day at Hogwarts together. Memories rushed back clearly and the stories that were recalled were too many to count, but Harry would always remember each and every one of them. He spent the day with Ron, Hermione, Neville, Dean, and Seamus, just doing various things they all loved to do and Harry loved every second of it. Finally the afternoon came, and the graduation was a scant few hours away.

Harry showered and dressed. He put on his Ministry Gala attire, except he had found a sharp blue vest in Diagon Alley and decided to wear it instead of his black shirt. After putting on his boots and his long black overcoat, he made his way to the Great Hall for a late lunch. He spotted Ron and took a spot next to him.

"Last day," Harry said. Ron had his face stuffed full of chicken, so he waited for him to finish chewing.

"Yeah... last day," he finally replied.

"Where's Hermione?" Harry asked as he took a slice of pumpkin pie. His stomach didn't feel like it could handle a full meal at that point.

"She asked us to meet her up in the North Tower – she wasn't hungry and said she had to get ready for the graduation."

"So, I was thinking maybe this summer we might do some traveling before we start our apprenticeships with Gyasi." Harry ate his large slice of pie as he threw out the suggestion to Ron. "I had done so much traveling in the last year, but I always ended up seeing a whole lot of nothing."

"That actually sounds like a great idea. I think we could definitely use the rest."

"I'm gonna miss this castle Ron. I mean this is the only real home I've ever known. There was always the Burrow and now I have a house all to myself in Black Manor, not to mention the land in Godric's Hollow. Yet, Hogwarts was the only place that was ever really sacred to me."

"Well, you know what? I think Hogwarts was just different for you. I mean for Hermione and me, it was just school away from home, but you didn't have a home so Hogwarts filled the empty space." Ron plowed through more chicken as he continued. "So, really, you just need to find another replacement. You will always have a home – you just need to make it for yourself. You made Hogwarts your home and now you'll have a chance to make a new one... doesn't matter where it is."

"You're right," Harry chuckled, feeling better. "As long as I have you and Hermione and all my friends close by and I can see them whenever I want, then I won't ever be lonely again, which is what Hogwarts usually protected me from. I guess I didn't think I was ready to move on, but I guess I am."

"Besides, we'll be making regular visits to Hogwarts to help McGonagall when she needs it, right? Who knows? Maybe one day, you will be needed to teach an emergency year of Defense Against the Dark Arts? You will be here all the time and you'll have more time to be here."

"You know, I think I'd like being a teacher. I found I was quite good at it when we first started the DA. Maybe when we're old, we can become Hogwarts teachers one day."

"Oh yeah, sign me up as Professor Ron Weasley of Divination." They laughed and finished their food. Downing his last bite of pumpkin pie, Harry got up and he and Ron went towards the North Tower, discussing their future in various detail as they climbed towards where they were supposed to meet Hermione.

Passing through the doors, they walked in to find Hermione waiting near one of the open apertures and both of their jaws dropped. She was dressed in the beautiful white dress Harry had given her for Christmas. The soft, but brilliantly white gown dropped to just below her knees and it flowed gently in the light breeze that whipped through the tower. Her elbow-length cuffs that were bedecked with the two shimmering blue jewels fit her arms perfectly and the matching boots traveled halfway up her legs, giving her a tad bit more height, but also giving her a passionate, glorious, and even royal feel about her. She was wearing the cape, which fluttered with her dress, the blue trim reflecting the light in a soft glow.

"Hi, Harry," Hermione said softly, looking unsure of herself.

Ron clapped Harry on the back and turned back towards the doors. He suddenly bumped into Luna, who looked very happy to see him. She began to tell him something that was very exciting to her and he listened with an unusually piqued interest as they descended the flight of stairs. Harry, meanwhile, continued to stare at Hermione.

"Hermione, I... I mean I just don't... you look... I mean... wow..." Harry stammered rapidly as he slowly made his way over to Hermione, who was smiling increasingly with every word that came from his mouth. He recovered and shut his mouth for a small second.

"You are so beautiful," he finally told her, gazing into her eyes.

"I figured this was as good a chance as any to wear it," said Hermione softly. Harry came up to her and put his arms on her waist. She leaned against the wall, allowing Harry to admire her.

"I am stunned at how beautiful you are. What happened to the bushy-haired, big-toothed girl I had come to know and love?"

"She disappeared – apparently she ran off with some skinny little kid whose hair was too long for his own good and who had a facial disfigurement on his forehead in the shape of some beastly little lightning bolt."

"Ah, I wondered what happened to him," Harry chuckled. He lightly took a locket of her hair and played with it gently. She took her own hand and placed it on his chest while she looked into Harry's eyes.

"You know, you look quite handsome yourself, Harry. It almost makes me forget I'm dating the most famous wizard in the world."

"Well, there's no more prophesy now… no more Dark Lord. I'm just a normal person, Hermione."

"Not to me..." Hermione looked seriously into Harry's eyes, letting her playful nature melt away. "You are my hero." She leaned forward and kissed him, running a hand through his hair while the other stayed on his chest, wanting never to let go. Suddenly, however, she pulled away slightly, looking flushed and putting her hand to her lips.

"Hey... you taste like pumpkin pie!" she exclaimed, grinning brightly.

Harry smiled at her as he remembered the picture in his room that he had gotten such a short glimpse of. He took her into his arms again and they kissed once more, swept away from everything else that existed, Harry's coat floating gracefully in the wind. ------

The graduation was held on Hogwarts grounds, where a multitude of people were there, waiting for the ceremony to begin. The graduating students wore robes that rather looked like Muggle graduation gowns, but the colors matched the respective houses each student was graduating from. Four students, including Harry and Hermione, graduated with honors and they were distinguished by golden-yellow sashes that hung from their necks. Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat together near the front where the rows of graduating students were also sitting. They each wore their medals from the Prophesy Day celebration – they glimmered magnificently in the sunlight. The Weasley family, along with Hermione's parents, was near the front of the crowd and they cheered as the ceremony began to get under way.

Harry had never been to a Hogwarts graduation, so he wondered what it would be like. Hermione rattled off various attributes that were included every year, but Harry watched with a fascinated interest the new things he saw anyways. Never-ending streamers seemed to prance through the air and around floating balloons that never floated higher into the sky. Ghosts of the castle gathered in one section and cheered and hollered for the graduates-to-be and Harry spotted centaurs near the edge of the forest, watching from afar, but with happy and approving looks on their faces.

Amongst the crowd, Harry spotted several people he was so glad to see had made it. Hagrid waved cheerfully when he caught his eye. Harry remembered the first time he saw the half-giant and he looked forward to many more days with his good friend. He also spotted Lupin, and the smile on his face helped melt away the sad feelings Harry momentarily felt. He was the last of his father's friends, and it felt as though loneliness defined him in ways Harry couldn't help thinking was true; however Tonks came up to Lupin and put her arms around him. Harry was rejuvenated, knowing hope was still found and that his good friend and mentor, Remus Lupin, was finding a new place in life with a new love.

The Weasleys looked very happy. Harry watched them amusedly as Ron waved and they all clamored to take pictures of him or wave back. Charlie, Bill and Fleur, Percy, Fred, George, Ginny, and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley backed their brother and son, Ron, completely, giving him such support that Harry could only dream of. Mrs. Weasley looked at Harry and waved to him also, giving him a reassuringly happy look that reminded Harry that they considered him family too... something he would always accept and appreciate more than most things he would ever come to know. They were his family and he loved them dearly.

Harry also spotted Frank and Alice Longbottom, who looked happy and fresh. They saw Harry and waved to him gratefully. Harry nodded, his heart full of heavy weight at seeing Neville's parents at his graduation.

The ceremony was about to begin, as was signaled by Headmistress McGonagall taking the stage. Everyone took their respective seats as McGonagall took the podium. She wore fine black robes and a large pointy hat that looked very much like what a Headmistress should wear to such an event.

"Good evening," she began evenly. "Tonight, we are gathered to celebrate the wonderful achievements of these students. For seven years, these bright wizards and witches before you toiled and persevered to achieve what many believed was impossible considering the frightful events that took place during the course of their last year. However, most of them pulled through marvelously, making grades that have astonished doubters and giving heed to those who doubted the strength and character of Hogwart's students."

McGonagall continued her speech, but Harry had a hard time concentrating. He noticed that besides Malfoy, both Crabbe and Goyle were not present for the graduation. He felt disappointed, because he had a dark feeling that in many points of his life, he would be facing dark wizards who wanted a part of him and he would have to fight them. What if they were former Hogwarts students? What if he hesitated because of how he felt towards them? Would even the likes of Crabbe and Goyle make him rethink his defense or attack? It was dangerous to even think about.

Harry felt a hand on his leg and he turned to see Hermione looking at him warmly, and Harry felt a little more at ease. That kind of thinking is for another day. Today is for you and your friends… enjoy it.

"And so," McGonagall finished, lifting her voice. "I present to you this year's graduating class of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!" There was a loud applause as one by one, students went up to get their diplomas. Pictures were taken, hugs were given and birds flitted above them, singing merry tunes. The day celebrated the school in its own way, giving recognition of a hard era that only made the school stronger and more resilient to adversity.

After the graduation and visiting with friends and family who wanted to congratulate them, Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat on some nearby chairs and just watched the crowds. Some were leaving while others stopped to look at Dumbledore's tomb. Still others lingered about, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, and meeting and chatting with various people. Harry put his arm around Ron and Hermione put her head on his shoulder… and they watched as their last day of school faded into the evening. They each wondered whether or not another day like that one would ever come again – whether they would ever remember the exact color of the sky the day they knew everything would be okay after so much hardship.

Some things, they knew, were not meant to last, but still, others were and, sitting there on that beautiful day, Harry, Ron, and Hermione knew their friendship had stood the test of time and that it would last forever. Days would come and go, but in themselves, something was created that only they could ever truly define. They were best friends and that was all they ever needed to know.

A group of small children who had been playing on the grass nearby wandered over to where they sat and they looked timidly at Harry and his friends. Finally, one of the smaller boys, a mousy boy with messy hair and an honest look to him, approached Harry. He danced on his feet nervously and constantly looked back at his playmates, who prodded him on.

"Mr. Potter, sir?" he asked hesitantly.

"Yes?" Harry replied, smiling.

"Could you tell us the story of the prophesy?"

Harry looked at Hermione, who smiled warmly at the young children looking at them. He looked at Ron, who grinned and shrugged.

"Alright, sit down," Harry finally said. The children sat down eagerly and quietly stared at Harry with intense interest. Harry looked at their enthusiastic faces and finally began.

"It begins… with a scar."

THE END

Author's Note: I want to thank everyone who followed with me as I wrote and posted this book. It was 11 months of long work and tedious editing, but I did what I set out to do: writing a Book 7 for H/Hr shippers to have and hold. A book for romantics and those who just knew Harry and Hermione were the best ship.

I tried to completely finish the series with the Harmony twist. I might have missed a couple things and I hope readers will tell me (I already addressed why I didn't follow up on Pettigrew's lifedebt), but I think I did the series justice. Harry and Hermione inspired me… I want a love like theirs. Thank you all, once again, and look for me as I continue on in trying to write my own original novel!