Chapter Fifty-Five: Epilogue
The Manor was a new construction. Built on a site that the locals claimed was a battlefield, the two wizards had overseen every step of its creation, from the foundations to the final wards that locked the world gates in places on the far edge of the property.
The local village had been eradicated in the Great Storms ten years prior. No one had known how the inhabitants had died. New tenants had been encouraged to move in, restarting the flagging fishing trade that had once been that area's lifeblood. As long as none of the locals wandered up to the Manor's grounds, Manor and village all lived in harmony.
The world had seen a great many changes. Heroes battled with ancient foes, some creating new legends as they borrowed modern technology in their battles. The spectacular sight of Beowulf taking down Grindel with a machine gun and sword had created a host of new stories – as well as entire fields of study in some universities.
Magic was everywhere. More people were born with magic than without. A host of new gods and goddesses had been inducted into pantheons the world over. Seers, Dreamers and Pathfinders were popping up every year in each round of children born.
The Manor on the bluff was the only school for the children born with those talents. Owned by the hermit Harry Potter and the politician Draco Malfoy, the two men had offered their home as a school the moment the Zabini family had finished its construction.
The modern heroes of their time had all gone in many directions – even most of the regular world knew their names by that point. Blaise Zabini, owner of one of the premiere construction companies that specialized in creating the old protections for homes and businesses had quadrupled as people all over the world bid for their time and efforts.
Neville Longbottom-Zabini had begun his own bio-magical industry with the innovative advances he had created for the combined magical and non-magical medical fields. He was a respected authority on all things plant related as well as a high priest to the following of Rosmerta. It was said that the goddess herself blessed all of his endeavors, even the ones she did not understand.
Draco Malfoy was a celebrity in both worlds, the only dragon animagus known to history. The change had prompted one or two ancient heroes – one St. George in particular – to attempt a duel with the wizard. All challengers had been met with refusal and a hefty threat from one triple goddess of battle, the Morrigan.
Severus Snape had won the Order of Merlin, First Class just after the Great Storms, a medal awarded to him by a stern-faced Minister Scrimgeour. The next elections had seen the Minister stepping down from the position, allowing a fresh-faced Colin Mercer to take his place as the youngest Minister ever, as well as the canniest leader the wizarding world had ever had. Ten years into the position had Colin defending the position twice and winning both elections by landslides. His chief of staff, Hermione Granger, had held the position since his second year in office, after she had graduated from Hogwarts and laid her parents to rest. Many bodies had not been found in the wreckage of the Great Storms, so each country had put together giant memorial gardens for all the survivors' families to come and mourn for those they had lost.
Minerva McGonagall was still Headmistress of Hogwarts. Severus Snape, the premiere Potions Master in Europe, was her Deputy, a position many heard him mutter about. The position of Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, however, still eluded him.
Lucius Malfoy had retired from politics and the governors' board after his son's graduation. He went to take a more hands on approach to running the Daily Prophet. He had expanded the number of papers he owned every year, branching out to different countries and, as of the ten-year anniversary of the Great Storms, even into the non-magical communities.
Pansy Parkinson had gone on to become the most celebrated design-witch in both magical and non-magical worlds. Millionaires vied for her time and bookings. She made money hand over fist, and, ten years later with two children, she refused to marry, laughing in the face of propriety as she shared a house with her long time friend Millicent and Millicent's non-magical husband, Tom.
Of the Black Family, Sirius Black had gone into the Ministry, fighting for children's rights. He sponsored many of the orphanages that had been created, after so many parents had died in the Great Storms. He was named, at one point, the nominal head of Britain's child services after Sirius had taken a look at the countries' archaic laws and gone to court to change them all. His husband, Remus Lupin-Black, became an ambassador to the werewolf clans found living in central Asia and North America. Bill Black was still the head of Gringott's Archeological Department and was married to Fleur Delacour-Black with two children and a the third on the way. The Blacks had appealed several times to the courts to regain custody of Harry Potter. Every time the courts had denied their petitions. Harry Potter never spoke, publicly, about the attempts, but rumor said that there had been a vicious row at the Black Manor after the last petition. Potter never appeared in public with Sirius Black or his family, but other rumors said that a fledgling correspondence had been taken up between the two over the years.
Ginny Black had gone on to study in both magical and non-magical universities. She returned to Hogwarts seven years after graduating and stole the Defense Against the Dark Arts position from under Professor Snape's nose. Three years in and the curse had yet to take her from the position, much to Snape's disappointment, or so it was said.
Sasha and Seamus had married right out of Hogwarts. She had gone to university and went on to earn her degrees in physics. The advances she had brought to the field with her combination of arithmancy and magical knowledge were still being explored. Seamus went to university as well, earning his degrees in chemistry and creating the first ever liquor that tasted like tea, but held all the punch of a bottle of rum.
As for Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived – he never returned for his formal seventh year at Hogwarts, creating quite the stir in several worlds. He chose to be home-schooled instead, staying at Hogwarts with Professor Snape, but in his own suite of rooms, well away from the general student body. After school he had virtually disappeared, causing many to gossip that he had gone mad and killed himself. Those rumors were laid to rest when he and Draco Malfoy joined themselves in marriage in the middle of the Temple to All Gods, surrounded by more denizens of the Otherworld than theirs. Their retreat to their isolated Manor in Ireland had become the stuff of legend, prompting several books and a few movies from the struggling Hollywood industry.
As for Harry, himself, he never recovered full strength of mind. He could never return to the wild mass of people who wished for him to tour and sign autographs. Their Manor was under tight wards, so none could find the place. Many knew the general area, but none had found the actual house for all their trying. After several complaints lodged by the villagers of the town just beyond their grounds, both muggle and wizarding governments had issued a plea for people to leave the pair alone. A giant fit of anger by Draco Malfoy in his animagus form had lent to most leaving the pair in peace – or risk death by dragon fire. The Black family was also barred from the grounds – but more for their safety than Harry's. Harry wasn't quite sure what Draco or Severus would do to his former guardians, but he doubted it would be pleasant. The halting letters he sent to both Sirius and Remus were enough, for now. Ginny sent him weekly updates from her teaching position, asking for his opinion on certain subjects. He was happy to help her when he could.
The secluded specialty school had been Harry's idea, his project from seventh year out. He had wandered the Otherworld after graduation with Rasheed and Draco, finding other Dreamers and learning the things Pythia had not had the time to teach them. When children had started to be born with the gifts, Harry had opened the Manor as a sanctuary, knowing the children would need the seclusion until they could master the mental wards Harry and Draco could teach them.
Harry had just finished a class, letting the handful of children run off to play when he felt the presence at his back. He turned on his bench and smiled.
"I thought I saw you," he said. "Flying out over the water again? You'll make the fishermen angry."
"I went north," Draco's lazy smile matched the wild tumble of silver-blond hair. He strolled up to Harry and bent down for a kiss, leaning further and further until he straddled the narrow waist on the hard bench.
Harry pushed him away with a laugh. "There are kids about," he said.
"All the more education for them, then," Draco brushed the back of his fingers against Harry's cheek.
"The Morrigan is coming for supper and Gwyn is bring Erin," Harry caught Draco's hand and held it close. "Hel sends her regards and Balder wants to visit after Beltane."
"Drat and damn," Draco smiled down at him. "No time to play, then?"
"Well…" Harry grinned. "Supper is a few hours off."
"Have I told you how much I love that mind of yours, Harry Potter-Malfoy?"
"Come on," Draco clambered off the bench and dragged Harry to his feet. "Let me prove it to you. Repeatedly."
Their laughter trailed them all the way to the house.