A/N: I had planned an epilogue where Hermione et al subtly took over Magical Britain, but it proved too much trouble to write. So I copped out and wrote fluff. Sorry. Insulin injections will be provided for diabetic readers.
3 December 1999
"Evan?" asked Neville Longbottom, his gaze firmly on the bottle of cold butterbeer in his hands.
They were sitting at a metal table in the middle of the spacious Longbottom gardens. This part of the garden was kept under permanent climate charms that kept away the winter cold.
Evan Sprongfoot, formerly Harry Potter, did not look anything like his former self. The scar that had cursed his life had disappeared when Voldemort kicked the bucket. He wore blue-tinted contact lenses and used a daily alopecial Charm to stay bald. This by itself would probably have been enough, but Hermione - once she had stopped lapsing into uncontrollable giggling fits at his appearance - had dragged him off to Muggle cosmetic surgery to alter his nose, chin, and ears. They had considered more magical means of altering his appearance, but opted not to as that would be vulnerable to revealing spells.
Changing his physical appearance was merely the start. Since Fidelius Charms could be performed on abstract items of information (the location of a building was an item of information), they had placed the knowledge that Evan Sprongfoot was Harry Potter under one, with Harry as Secret Keeper.
Harry had wanted Hermione to be Secret Keeper, but she had refused. It was important to keep the secret until he died, and she might die before him ("What if I get knocked down by a Muggle bus, Harry? Or blown up by televangelist terrorists? Or choke on a Marie biscuit?").
Instead, she was the Secret Keeper of a second Fidelius Charm that protected the information that Harry Potter was actually alive and living happily somewhere on the planet. This allowed her to reassure Harry's acquaintances that he wasn't really dead, without having to reveal where he actually was. Besides, the phrasing of the information suggested that he was in living in some out-of-the-way boondocks in Patagonia or Iowa instead of central London.
Neville had, at an Order meeting a month prior, casually offered Harry the chance to come to Chez Longbottom and get his hands dirty if he ever felt like it. The chubby wizard had been pleasantly surprised when his former classmate had one day turned up in T-shirt and shorts, wanting to get to work. It had proved most therapeutic, and they had spent several hours working in a companionable silence doing mindless manual work and chatting during drinks breaks.
"Yes, Neville?" replied Evan, reaching for his head before remembering there wasn't any hair on it to run his hand through. Kingsley Shacklebolt, who would know, said it could take some months for that habit to fade away.
"May I say something that you could get quite upset or angry with me for?"
Harry cocked his head and looked at his dorm-mate of seven years. The idea of Neville angering Harry seemed odd. His curiosity was definitely in the dead-cat range now.
"I will listen, Neville. You don't need to be scared of me - I'm not Hermione. I won't transfigure you into a goldfish and leave you to suffocate on the ground."
Neville winced. Draco Malfoy, who had been in Mark-less exile in New Zealand, had returned to Britain a week ago to take revenge for his father's demise. Since Harry Potter was 'dead', Draco had named Hermione as his target and confronted her one night outside Hogsmeade. Her response had been most singular, as was her resulting lecture to Harry ("You see, Harry, that is how you kill a Malfoy. Turning someone into an animal only receives a fine, and besides, there weren't any witnesses.")
"I'm more worried about getting you upset than angry," clarified Neville. "Do you promise not to run away?"
"You have my permission to cast a Body Bind on me if I do."
"Ah, er, I'm sure that won't be necessary," said the St Mungo's Herbologist. "I just wondered where you were going to live with, now that everything is over."
"I haven't really thought about it," replied Harry, wondering what Neville was getting at.
"I wanted to suggest that you move in with Hermione." While Harry choked on his butterbeer, Neville continued. "You've both lost people close to you, and ... look Harry, she needs you, and she'll never admit it."
Harry thought for a while, and then nodded. "Alright. I'll ask her."
"Oh good," replied Neville, sounding very relieved. "But it's important that she thinks she's helping you. So tell her that you need her to help you recover from everything."
Evan nodded again, before standing up and walking to the greenhouse.
Behind him, Neville smirked.
15 January 2000
Hermione sat at the breakfast table reading a Muggle newspaper, while Harry made bacon and eggs. She had been surprised when Harry asked her shortly before Christmas if she was willing to move in with him to an apartment in London. She had been reluctant at first, but when he said he needed her, she had immediately agreed.
Dean Thomas, who worked for an agency specializing in Magically outfitted Muggle apartments (in other words, abodes with both electricity and Floo connections) while he maintained an artistic night job, had been most helpful in finding a place for them.
It had been good for them both. She had started to pick up clues about a topic she had long been curious about, namely what Harry's life had been like with the Dursleys. On the rare occasions that he wished to watch the telly, he would look at her first, as if asking for permission. He never asked to put anything on their joint grocery lists and never bought anything not on the lists. She made plans to visit Privet Drive soon - Legilimancy was only illegal when performed on wizards, not muggles. She was Slytherin enough to take advantage of prejudiced laws on the rare occasion that there were in her favour.
Now they were wondering what to do with their lives. They knew what others wanted them to do - stay in the wizarding world and drag it into the 21st century. Or, as she had said multiple times, into the 20th century since it was still living in the 17th. Right now though, Harry was spending his time in a semi-depressive funk, devoting his life to sleeping and cooking.
"Evan," she asked carefully, once he had brought two plates of breakfast to the table. "I'm worried about you. You're spending too much time in bed. Why don't you go out and fly or something?"
Harry yawned. "Do you think I could add four broomsticks to my bed and do both at the same time?"
"Why don't you go and play professional Quidditch? The Fidelius Charm should protect your identity, even if you fly like Harry Potter."
"You think? But what if I'm good at it?"
"If you become famous as Evan Sprongfoot, it would be due to your own talent, not something that your mum did."
"Hmmm. That is true, but ..."
"I hear the Cannons need a new Seeker, and they have tryouts tomorrow."
"It's the Cannons, Evan..."
Damn the Ron trump card, thought Evan Sprongfoot.
13 March 2000
Daily Prophet: Chudley Cannons win three matches in a row!
In an event not seen for eighty six years, the most famous losers in British Quidditch have won three matches in succession. The primary reason for this is their new Seeker, Evan Sprongfoot, a Muggleborn wizard who recently moved to the country from overseas and clearly has incredible raw talent.
"My parents were Muggle teachers who worked on a remote Polynesian island," said Evan to this reporter. "We never received a Hogwarts letter. Wizards really ought to investigate Muggle methods of communication - they work better than owls."
Meanwhile, it is rumoured that the team are on the verge of being taken over by new management with much spare cash. The prospective owners have allegedly approached several players in other teams, including Harpies Chaser Angelina Johnson and Puddlemere Keeper Oliver "Crazy Wall" Wood, much to the consternation of other managers.
18 March 2000
Daily Prophet: Chudley Cannons bought out by Weasley's Wizard Wheezes - Team renamed Weasley Cannons - All players to have hair dyed red
"I wish Ron was here to see this," Hermione sniffed.
Evan nodded and patted her hand, before turning to the twins.
"We are absolutely not using using that as our logo."
"But it's so appropriate, Evan!"
"I am not wearing robes with a logo that has a toilet seat on it!"
"But the initials of the Cannons are W.C.!" argued George. "It's critical for the natural Feng Shui of the Universe for them to be inside a toilet seat!"
"But you're not going to stop with the robes! Next thing you'll want is the logo tattoed on my head!"
"Oooh!" said the twins together.
"Brilliant idea, Evan!" continued Fred. "We'll modify the team rules especially for you!"
"All players will have their hair dyed red," opined George, "or, if they have no hair to dye, have the team logo prominently displayed on their noggins."
Hermione giggled. Evan looked so cute when wearing a look of horror.
21 July 2002
"Neville's wedding was very nice."
"Sure was. I told you Susan had good taste."
"In men or wedding gowns?"
There was silence as Hermione drove home from the wedding at the Bones residence in Hemel Hempstead. Both of them found Muggle transportation very relaxing.
"Aren't you going to get a girlfriend, Evan?"
"I've had lots of girlfriends!"
"I meant a steady one, Seeker Boy."
"Say, what happened to that Rob guy?"
"Don't try to change the subject. And if you must know, Rob and I broke up."
"Ah. Sorry about that."
"May I ask why you broke up?"
"You still have a question of mine to answer."
"My answer's too complicated, Professor Granger. I can't word it myself. So we may as well entertain ourselves listening to your answer."
"Hmph," snorted the Hogwarts History Professor. "You do understand that my providing this answer will under no account be indicative of your having won this argument."
"Of course not. I promise not to gloat."
"Evan! You've never kept that particular promise before."
"You've never learnt to stop taking it."
"We're really off topic now, aren't we?"
"I won't dignify that with a response, Prof."
"Git. If you must know, Rob was getting too close."
"Too close? I thought sex was pretty close."
"Come off it, Evan, I didn't mean physically close. Besides, even we've had sex."
"Bloody good sex it was, too."
"Careful, Mr Sprongfoot..."
"Ooops. Bloody good sex it is, too."
"Stop thinking with your nether regions, you Snitch grabbing fanatic."
"Good one there. Just one letter off."
"Incorrigible groin-brained gutter-dwelling cretin".
"You're a regular Thesaurus Rex, you are."
"Go kiss a skrewt, Sprongfoot. Now, where was I?"
"Honestly, Professor Granger, if you can't remember what you said, get a transcription quill for all our conversations so that you can look it up!"
"You know, that's not a bad idea."
"Merlin. The woman thinks her words are so important that she will kill innocent trees to preserve them for posterity."
"And don't you forget it. Besides, I remember now. I was talking about how I couldn't get too emotionally close to my previous boyfriends."
"You mean when they ask you questions deeper than 'what's your favorite colour' or 'what's your favorite aftershave'?"
"Perfume, in my case. But yes, that stuff. I mean I don't want to tell them what I went through as a bucktoothed brat before Hogwarts, do I?"
"Yeah, know what you mean. I keep having to invent tales of my childhood, it's like bloody Divination all over again!"
"This is about the time in the conversation where Ron would laugh his head off and Ginny would smack your head."
"It was always those times in conversations. Though Ginny did go overboard with the smackings."
More silence. It was an unsaid fact that their relationships with the Weasleys had been little more than teenage crushes with people they happened to be comfortable with. Ron and Ginny had been people they could have lived with, but not people they couldn't live without. They'd been doing so quite well for the past few years, after all.
"Do you think we've got over them?"
He thought for a while, before deciding that further contemplation might bring up realizations best left unrealized. "Dunno."
"Likewise, Evan. Harry."
"Time to get back to whining about previous relationships, methinks."
Hermione nodded. "They keep trying to understand me!"
"Instead of just understanding you? Or understanding that some things aren't meant to be understood, but withstood?"
"Impressive. We'll make a philosopher out of you yet, Mr Second String Seeker for England."
"I just liked the wordplay. And the Seeker's retiring in a few months, so I'll be Reserve Seeker."
"A poet, then, Mr Reserve Seeker for England. Congratulations, by the way."
"Thanks. It's ridiculous, really. None of my girlfriends ever understand how my best friend and roommate is a girl. What's wrong with them? I mean, all we do is share a bed once a month!"
"Twice a month. And breakfast every other day. And clothes."
"You're the one who steals my shirts. I just steal your socks."
"One day you'll learn to keep track of yours. Anyway, at this rate, we ought to just give up on ever having a relationship with someone else and go out with each other."
"Didn't I suggest this at some point?"
"Yes, but then you met Michelle."
"Ah. Yes. Her. Heh, heh. Sorry about that. I do suffer sometimes from the john-before-brain illness that us twenty-something males are prone to, you know."
"Being male is an illness, Evan - haven't we drilled that into your thick skull already?"
"An incurable disease that you seem to rather enjoy, on occasion. And the occasions occur twice a month, if I heard you right."
"Shut it. Now, are we giving us a shot?"
"I thought I already agreed - I certainly don't see why not."
"But we aren't in love or anything, got it?"
"Certainly not. Just because I can't imagine living the rest of my life with anyone else does not mean I'm in love with you."
"My sentiments exactly. I'm so glad we understand each other, Harry."
"Me too, Hermione."
21 July 2003
The press conference was packed. Professor Hermione Granger, Newblood Witch columnist, Hogwarts History teacher and head of the philanthropic Potter-Black Foundation For Magical Equality, had just announced her engagement. Her fiance, the infamous Weasley Cannons Seeker and England Reserve Seeker, sat next to her. They had answered several questions following their announcement, and were quite tired.
"How long have the two of you been in love?" asked a young blonde who was clearly from Witch Weekly.
"We are not in love," replied Hermione. "We simply cannot stand the thought of living the rest of our lives with anyone else."
The journalists chuckled knowingly, while Evan and Hermione shook their heads. No-one ever understood them.
"Are you looking forward to become Professor Sprongfoot?" asked another journalist.
"Actually," said Evan, answering the question for his mate. "I'm changing my name to Granger. It's slightly easier to write, and causes fewer jokes by Quidditch announcers. And yes, that especially goes for Lee Jordan!"
As the Grangers continued to answer questions, two identical redheads in the back of the room each handed a galleon to a chubby sandy haired wizard.
A/N: Thanks to everyone who read the story this far, especially those who left reviews: galleena, duj, illachi, mathiasgranger, AnnF,tridentwatch, riegert8, femaleprongslet, AlaskaRae03, jabarber69, Mrs C Lupin, BlackPhoenixBlade, leosands, HarryFan, hhrldgtgctzsjkrcspktrc, Nocturnal007, storm tigeress, , tyger cub, Lierian.
Anyone else who leaves a review will receive ten galleons and a bumper sticker with the words "I left a review and all I got was this stupid sticker" in their next life.
Anyone who reads this story in full and leaves no review will be cast with the Maggotus Curse. Do you know what that does? Imagine being eaten alive, from the inside, slowly, painfully, over a matter of days. Imagine wishing you were dying a less painful death, such as being boiled in baby oil, or strung up by your balls (or tongue, if balls are unavailable) hanging over a flaming spit while onlookers throw blunt rocks at your weeping face. Imagine pstibbons never writing again... imagine the absence of a sequel...
The quip about curious dead cats came from the engaging fic "Luna's Hubby" by meteoricshipyards. It's both on this site and ficwad.
May I also say that my favorite all-time fanfic quote from Hermione is by Argonaut57 (The Labyrinth of Amagor, Chapter 12, Fiction Alley) : "Semper in excreta, solo profundem variat", which allegedly means "Always in the shit, only the depth varies."
I obviously do not own the Potter franchise, and while I own this story to the extent that I wouldnt want someone else to post extracts of it on their website unless it appears with my name as author, I certainly do not own the tiny little AU that this ficlet creates.
So if you want to write a sequel or missing scene or draw fan-art, please go ahead - I would especially be interested in seeing a picture of the Snakehead Hat that George Weasley wore at the Potter Killing ceremony.