It was a long overdue happiness which descended over the Hog kingdom after the defeat of the Dark Lord Riddle. Trade was resumed with Mugglewood, people were relieved of the cruel taxes, and the Azka prisoners were freed at last.
Remus Lupin, who had been badly injured in the final battle but had recovered remarkably well, was there when the Azka cell doors were opened and the prisoners were led out into the light, and he embraced his old friend Sirius with a smile that seemed to wipe away the horrors of the last 16 years. The two decided to settle down together in a cabin deep in the Forbidding Forest, both having seen enough hardship for a lifetime, ready for real peace and happiness.
Neville Longbottom was knighted and received a title for his heroic efforts in the Battle of Hogswarth, and his grandmother would live out the rest of her life in affluency, proud beyond measure of her grandson.
And what of our quartet of heroes, you say?
It was hard for Hermione to come to terms with her true heritage. The letter from her mother had explained why they had chosen to leave Hermione behind, as she seemed the most independent, and why they had believed that she would be kept safe and protected, no matter what might happen to them. She would never forget the years she had spent with no identity, and how she had had to carve one out for herself, but she was none the less deeply thankful for the miracle she had been granted, to find she had a twin brother who was alive, and whom she loved dearly.
After the battle, Ron and Ginny returned to their family in Hogsmeade village, where their mother embraced them and there were many tears all around. After a while of red-headed hugging, Ron coughed slightly and asked Harry and Hermione (who had been waiting nervously outside) to enter, and introduced his girlfriend proudly, while Ginny took Harry's hand and explained that she, too, had fallen in love.
The two couples were soon married. Harry and Ginny decided to remain at Hogswarth castle for a while as King Albus' guests. Albus invited Ginny's family to stay with them too, giving her the time to finally acquaint herself with them while Harry helped oversee the restoration of the kingdom. Ron and Hermione moved to Godricshollow to rebuild the estate, and Hagrid followed them, happy to finally be freed from his forest confinement. Months passed, but when news reached the castle that Hermione was with child, Harry and Ginny decided to leave Hogswarth, to return to Godricshollow as well. There the two couples lived there for a number of years, and Remus Rubeus was soon joined by little sister Annabella, and eventually Ron and Hermione's third and final child, James. However, one day Harry received a letter from King Albus.
'Dear Harry,' the letter read, 'I hope I find you well. After years of strenuous work, I have restored my kingdom to its pre-Dark Lord days, as I am sure you will appreciate. However, I am an old man, Harry, and as much as I love my kingdom, I am afraid there is something else which draws me away. Having seen you and your beautiful wife together, I imagine you can put yourself in my place, Harry, and this is why I am writing to you.
I wish to return to the land which I left behind when I returned here from my travels. I feel that every day here is a day less I will have left to spend there, and I do not want to find one day that it is too late for me to go back.
I must also remind you Harry that I am an aging man, and that I cannot claim to have produced an heir for the throne. Therefore, and because of everything you and your family have done for the kingdom, I humbly ask that you, Harry, take the crown, and make the kingdom your own.
My best to your wife and sister (and of course young Ronald),
King Albus IV'
So Harry and Ginny set forth for Hogswarth castle. However, they missed their brother and sister and the joyful sound of children laughing, and Ron and Hermione were missing their siblings too. So Harry and Hermione decided to leave the estate in the hands of Hagrid and his wife Maxime, which allowed Ron and Hermione to join Harry and Ginny once more.
Harry was crowned the King of Hog, with Ginny as his queen, and Harry of Hog would later be heralded as the fairest, most noble ruler the kingdom had ever had. Harry and Ginny reigned for many, many joyful years, living in the castle with Ron, Hermione and their children. And eventually, Harry and Ginny had two children of their own: twins; a daughter they named Lily Lavender, in honour of the two bravest women they had ever known, and a son they named Godric, in honour of the place of Harry's birth.
It would be Godric who would eventually inherit the ruby-encrusted sword, immortalising its legacy and changing the world forever.
A/N: It has been four years. Four years with no updates, but today, January 5th 2011, I have done what I thought was impossible and finished the story at last! In that time I've gone through a Bachelor's degree, and forgotten all about how to write fiction... but this, this fic, it needed to be finished. I would think about it all the time, with a pain in my gut that told me that no matter how crap it would be, it needed to be DONE. The occasional messages I received in my inbox telling me the story had been added to someone's favourite list helped too, each one got me a bit closer to overcoming the block in my head which told me it was too late, that I'd waited too long. It was a difficult story to finish, one of those which seemed simple and straight forward but which kept branching out because it was so interesting, but at one point I just had a complete "wtf-there's-too-much-story" meltdown... I hope you have found the story enjoyable as a whole, and that the payoff moments felt payoffy enough. Thank you for reading, and if you've been reading since the beginning, well, WOW. I would have given up on me, but thank you if you didn't. I wish you all the best, and thank you for reading this story. It was amazing to write, in both decades.