A/N) And here we are for the Epilogue. The Epilogue I was unsure of posting, I hope it is okay...
For information regarding new projects, see the end of the chapter. :)
Epilogue: Twenty-One Years Later
Platform Nine and Three-Quarters was always busy at this time of year: autumn was here, and the first day of the new Hogwarts school year had dawned. Magical folk and Muggle parents with magic off-spring crowded onto the station platform to bid their farewells to their sons and daughters.
Harry Potter stood on the platform, his right hand around his wife's waist, his intense green eyes watching as his eldest son, James, stood amongst his crowd of friends, laughing and joking, clearly quite popular with them all. As he watched, a group of young girls walked past the group, and thirteen year old James looked over his shoulder, ran a hand through his unkempt hair and grinned at one of the girls, who shyly smiled in return.
"Just like his grandfather," said a voice from being Harry. "I always knew he'd take after him."
Harry chuckled. "Only because you are a bad influence on him," he grinned as he turned to see Sirius approaching.
Sirius was accompanied by his wife, a Muggle teacher named Abbie and their two sons, Regulus and Simon. Named after his uncle, Sirius had wanted to honour his younger brother's memory. After the war, Sirius had attempted to recover his sibling's body, having asked Kreacher to take him to the cave where Regulus had died, however he had been unsuccessful, unable to give his baby brother a proper burial. It had been when his first son had been born that Sirius had decided to name him after his brother.
Regulus was the same age as James, about to start his third year at Hogwarts, and both were trouble-makers. Having grown up together they were virtually inseparable (and Sirius had done his best to corrupt them to the way of the Marauder from an early age). Simon Black, on the other hand, was only eight years old, too young to begin his education at Hogwarts, but a far more serious version of his father.
Sirius and Abbie's lives had entangled quite accidently when her first child from a previous marriage had received a Hogwarts letter. At the end of the war, Sirius had taken up two positions in the Ministry: in addition to his job as an Auror, he had taken up a temporary post in the Liaisons of Muggles office where he had helped introduce Muggle-borns to the magical world. One of his clients had been Leanne Morgan, the then eleven year old daughter of Abbie. She and Sirius had hit it off quire well, Sirius had even escorted Abbie and Leanne to Diagon Alley. Their relationship had quickly blossomed and Sirius had slowly mellowed on eventually asking her out (though Harry and Remus did have to push him before he did sum up the courage to do so). The rest was history as you say...
A small hand tugged on Harry's robes. "Why can't I go, daddy?"
Harry smiled down at his nine year old daughter who so resembled her mother, Ginny. Their own romance had recommenced shortly after the end of the war, lasting through the rest of their school years. Since then Harry and Ginny had gone from strength to strength, marrying two years after Sirius had done (who had tied the knot in late 1998).
"You're too young, Lils, but it won't be long till you go."
"Two years," she sniffed sadly. "Al's going now!"
Harry's second son, Albus, stood beside him, looking nervous; his own black hair flat and tidy on his head.
"It is three years till I go, and Reg's been there for two years already! You'll be there a year before me!" piped up Simon, pouting. He would be the last of the current generation within their extended family to start Hogwarts.
At this Lily seemed to cheer up. "I guess I can wait two years..."
Sirius chuckled watching the exchange. He had aged well in the intervening years since the war however speckles of grey were beginning to appear in the roots of his hair. Laughter lines filled his face, something that had lacked from his face when Harry had first met him over twenty years ago. "I bet Moony is glad Teddy no longer has to go to Hogwarts. The chaos of this morning..."
Regulus groaned, covering his face with his hands, his long black hair falling over his palms. "Oh, dad, did you have to bring that up?"
Sirius grinned. "Of course I did. I'm a Marauder, remember?"
"Ugh! Why, why do I let myself fall for his tricks? He does this to embarrass me, I'm sure."
"You know your father is just having a bit of fun," smiled Abbie. "He misses his prank buddy when you're not at home."
"Oooo, what did Sirius do?" James was back, grinning broadly.
Regulus threw a dirty look at his father. "I'll tell you on the train."
James turned towards his own younger brother. "So, you might be in Slytherin, right, Al?"
"Shut up, James!" replied Albus.
James laughed. "There's nothing wrong with being in that house! I mean Reg's namesake was in Slytherin and he turned out alright, didn't he? And your namesake too! Slytherin's aren't too bad...just some are!"
"James..." Harry's voice was soft but there was a warning tone that caused James to shrink back.
"Sorry, dad," cowed James.
"I think I see Ron and Hermione..." interrupted Sirius. He turned to Regulus. "Why don't you take your trunk and put it in your compartment. James' is already on there."
"Sure," Regulus pushed his trunk trolley forward motioning for James to show him to the carriage he had picked out for them.
"I guess James teasing Al about Slytherin has been ongoing for a while now?" whispered Sirius in his godson's ear.
Harry nodded. His face broke out in a big grin as a familiar group of four people emerged from the mist that surrounded the carriages.
Ron and Hermione stood by the second to last carriage of the train, talking quietly to their two children. Their eldest, Rose, was about to enter her first year. She was already wearing her brand new Hogwarts robes.
"Hi," said Albus, glad to see her.
"Did you walk from Grimmauld Place?" Ron asked Harry.
Harry shook his head. "Change of plan. We Flooed to the Ministry from Godric's Hollow, then walked to the station."
"What did you do, Sirius?" asked Hermione, folding her arms, eying him suspiciously.
"Me?" Sirius looked offended. "I did nothing!"
"Sure you didn't!" Regulus had returned, accompanied by James. "He pranked me." A wicked grin formed across his face. "Besides, I can go to Hogsmeade this term. I can get my revenge at Christmas. James has promised to help!"
"Oh boy," groaned Sirius.
"Reap what you sow!" laughed Harry. He was used to his godfather's antics. He did love embarrassing his kids. With the Weasley twins, Sirius and James and Regulus, Christmas was usually a hectic time, especially when a prank war erupts straight after the main course.
"Ah, but Reg, I have time to plan too..." replied Sirius, waggling his eyebrows. "Unlike you, I won't have school work or Quidditch to get in the way of planning pranks..."
"I will never know how you can put up with him!" said Hermione to Abbie, who was giggling behind her hand.
"He has his ways of getting around me," she returned.
"I did not need to know that!" Ron mimed being ill.
"Make sure Hermione doesn't ask next time then!" laughed Harry. "After years of getting this answer, I would have thought..." he trailed off, seeing Hermione's glare.
"Ah, conflict, I love it," joked Sirius, looking at his watch. "Anyway, the train is about to leave..."
Ginny moved away from Harry and pulled her eldest son into a hug, whispering into his ear, while Harry knelt by Albus. His godfather and his wife moved off to the side to speak to Regulus while Ron and Hermione helped Rose place her trunk into the compartment that James and Regulus had picked out to sit in.
"Bye, Al, don't forget Hagrid has invited you to tea next Friday. Don't mess with Peeves. Don't duel anyone till you're learned how. And don't let either James or Reg wind you up."
"What if I'm in Slytherin?" whispered Albus. He seemed almost afraid of that prospect.
"Albus Severus," he said quietly so that no one else could hear, "you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew." For Harry had thought Severus Snape was a brave man, especially one that had betrayed the Dark Lord for years. He had promised to honour Snape and he had done so in naming his son after him.
"But just say –"
"-then Slytherin House will have gained an excellent student, won't it? It doesn't matter to us, Al. But if it matters to you, you'll be able to choose Gryffindor over Slytherin, The Sorting Hat takes your choice into account."
"Really?" Albus looked incredulous.
"It did for me," smiled Harry, "and for Sirius too. He's never told anyone about this, only me. He didn't want to be in Slytherin and he chose not to be. That's two people you know who had their choices put into account."
There was wonder in his son's face, excitement at the prospect that he had the choice, to decide for himself what house he wanted to be in. Harry pulled his son into a hug. "Go on, it is time to go."
Albus rushed onto the carriage where James, Regulus and Rose all stood waving to their parents.
The Hogwarts Express let off a great jet of steam and the red train began to move away. Harry walked alongside it, watching his son's thin face, already ablaze with excitement. He kept on smiling and waving, watching as his son glided away from him.
Someone stepped up beside him.
"He'll be alright," he told him.
"Besides," continued Sirius, "he is a Potter. Potter's are always alright."
Harry turned to face his godfather, the man that had been there for him ever since he had been thirteen years old. "If you say so."
"Well, you were alright, weren't you?"
Harry smiled. "Yeah, I was. Albus' will be fine. Just like I was." He stood amongst his family and friends, watching until the train rounded the corner and disappeared from view. Then he walked away, perfectly fine, his life as perfect as it could be.
Please let me know what you think!
It feels really strange to have finished this story. When I stopped writing it back in 2007 I never once considered that I would actually come back to it and finish it. I am glad to have been proved wrong! It has been an incredible journey writing this story.
A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has reviewed, read this story throughout the years I have been writing this.
A few of you asked me what I would be writing next. I have a project I am working on, which is currently titled: Chosen By Fate. Like this story, 'Chosen By Fate' is another AU story but starting way back in James Potter and Lily Evan's seventh year at Hogwarts, in which Voldemort gains complete control of the Wizarding World in 1977. The first half of the story focuses on James, Lily, Sirius, Remus and Peter and the take-over of the wizarding world by Voldemort and the formation of a resistance to stand against him. The second half of the story focuses on Harry, Ron, Hermione and the rest of their generation, growing up in a world ruled by terror and anarchy, trained to fight back. A better way to describe this story is that it is an AU of the entire Harry Potter series.
It is a massive project to embark on, split into twelve parts (currently), the first part having been finished, and I don't know whether I'll finish the entire story. I am hesitant to post this story without finishing it completely, partly because I will be starting University in April and will be embarking upon a very intensive course. I will probably have no time to write fic, and since it is a three year course, there could be long updates in between, as I would concentrate more on Uni work then fic.
However, I would still be writing, when I could. If people would like me to post Chosen By Fate then I am willing to do so, but it won't be until I've completed at least another two parts in the narrative. Please let me know if you would like me to post this story, but bear in mind updates could be quite apart. I am hope to have written parts 2 and 3 by the end of February, and if people would like to see this story, let me know, and I'll probably begin posting it beginning of March. :)
Thank you to everyone.
Until the next story (?)!