Epilogue

Dear Aunt Petunia,

I just wrote to tell you that I've passed my sixth year exams, and received commendations from my professors that will let me pursue higher studies if I wanted to. I haven't decided yet however, and I have some friends offering me a partnership in their fledgling business, so I've my options.

Anyway, I may not be able to write as often, but my current address allows me to receive mail. And I would love to hear from you. I am doing well, Aunt Petunia. It has been an eventful year, but after my exams things have become quiet, although I remain busy.

I want you to know that I don't blame you for anything. I know I didn't grow up in the best of circumstances, but I don't regret anything, and I hope neither do you. I have been patching things up with Mr. Black, although it is slow going, as we are both too proud.

I would also like to tell you that I am in love, although I will not bore you with the details…

"Harry, why are you hiding in here?" Daniel asked from the attic doorway.

Harry Potter, now officially of age and a Hogwarts graduate, looked up from his letter, almost splashing ink onto the parchment. "Sorry, I just wanted to get this down before the guests arrive."

"Sirius is already here, and he brought someone."

Harry raised his brows. "He's dating someone?"

Daniel laughed. "No, he brought his apprentice. Neville Longbottom, I heard his name was."

"Oh. Neville." Harry rolled his eyes, but he smiled at the prospect of seeing his old friend. "I guess I better get ready," he said, looking down at his scruffy shirt and threadbare jeans.

Daniel walked towards him, cuffing him in the head affectionately. "No guessing about it, mate. You don't want Severus to see you like that, do you?"

Harry couldn't stop the sappy smile from stealing onto his face.

"Oh you've got it bad." The musician teased him.

"Shut up," Harry retorted ineffectively. "Now shoo. I'll be down as soon as I've changed."

He watched until Daniel trudged downstairs. From the open doorway, he could hear the music from the phonograph mingled with the flaring of the floo as each guest arrived. Maybe Severus was one of them. The thought made him hurry into a nicely pressed shirt in emerald green and charcoal slacks, both recent purchases. He slipped on tailored dress robes in the same shade as his pants, and tried to do something with his hair, before giving it up and heading down almost at a run.

"Whoa there, handsome," Fred said. He wrapped his left arm around Harry's neck, while his other hand held a foamy mug. "What's the rush?" They were standing in the hallway, while most of the guests were in the living and dining room.

"Quit it, Fred. You'll wrinkle my shirt." Harry tried to shrug him off.

Fred dramatically clutched his heart. "You wound me. And here I was with such good news for you."

Intrigued in spite of himself, Harry asked. "What is it?"

Fred leaned into his ear. "Just heard from mum. Ronniekins got some girl all duffed up." He giggled.

"A little too early to be this drunk, aren't we, Mr. Weasley? And kindly refrain from draping yourself over Potter." Severus Snape barked at them from the end of the hallway. He looked at Harry so darkly that the young man flushed.

Fred straightened up a bit, immediately looking more sober. "Aw, headmaster, you know I mean nothing by it," he said with a wink. "Just celebratin' is all."

"The newest addition to your family?" Severus raised a perfectly arched brow. "Your brother told me wedding plans were already underway. I must remember to congratulate Miss Granger."

Harry burst out laughing and couldn't stop even when Severus has reached his side.

For the rest of the night, Harry did not leave Severus' side, although he was careful not to press too closely or to tease him overtly.

Their relationship remained a secret for these past few months, although the people who matter to them both already knew. And isn't it weird that Black is one of those? Harry thought to himself as he sighted his former guardian across the room.

"Harry!" Neville bounded towards him. "How has it been, mate?"

Harry smiled as the other man pulled him into a hug. "Congratulations on your N.E.W.Ts, Nev, and on your apprenticeship."

Neville practically hyperventilated. "Yeah, isn't it great? Mr. Black said he might have another apprentice aside from me, but I've yet to meet him. He's already drawn out a sort of curriculum for the next year."

Sirius Black followed his apprentice to stand in front of Harry and Severus. He nodded at the headmaster civilly, before speaking. "If you'll be interested in continuing your sword fighting, Harry, you may join my apprentices. Longbottom here has had rudimentary training, and will probably catch up to you soon."

"You could start a school for the art, I suppose," Severus commented, before asking. "And who else will you be teaching, Black?"

The floo flared and a young man entered. He was dressed in teal robes and had his long blond hair tied back. He spotted them and hesitated before stepping closer.

"Everyone, I assume you know my nephew, Draco Malfoy?" Sirius Black introduced.

Neville's jaw dropped. Harry would have laughed, but he had caught Draco's eye, and they nodded at each other in acknowledgment.

"How have you been, Harry?" Draco spoke in a soft tone.

"Oh, everything's going great," Harry said, smiling, even as he felt the older man beside him bristle in jealousy. He sneaked an arm through Severus', suddenly not caring who saw. "Everything's bloody brilliant."

Master Arugba arrived late, as most of the other guests have started leaving, but Harry greeted him warmly. It had been awhile since they last saw each other. He had been too busy with schoolwork to come to the workshop as often, though they kept in touch.

He immediately noticed that the tiny smith was carrying a long package wrapped in black velvet. "A gift for Harry," Arugba said, handing it to him.

A lump formed in his throat, as he traced the shape of the package. "You didn't have to, Master Arugba. Really," he forced past the lump. He had an idea as to what it contained.

But the smith was insistent. "Harry is adult now, and this is a weapon worthy of him."

And weapon it was indeed. He uncovered the velvet to behold the sword he had forged from stone at the peak of the mountain. It was cleaned and sharpened, and its hilt had been changed, shaped into what seemed like two snakes intertwined. They had emerald eyes.

"That's quite the Slytherin weapon," Draco commented from behind him.

"Shush, Drake." It was Sirius who spoke.

"I-I don't feel right about taking this," Harry began, but Sirius cut him off.

"Does it feel right in your hand?"

Harry nodded reluctantly, turning the sword over in his fist. Its weight and heft fit him like a glove.

"There be obsidian now, adding to the iron," Arugba said as if it was a done deal. "It is holding an edge longer."

He shook his head. "But if I wield it, then I will remember the last person to do so." Quirrell had used it to cut himself and call on his bloodlust. And he had wounded Severus with it.

"Blooded both by friend and foe," Severus mused from behind him. "It helped us defeat him, Harry. And in the end, it is just a weapon. It is the wielder we must fight against, not the sword in his hand."

"And Quirrell's dead," Harry said. It was a sentence he had repeated to himself often, as if he still needed convincing.

"And Quirrell's mere ashes on a mountain top," Severus agreed before bowing gracefully to Master Arugba. "We thank you, sir, for such a gift."

Harry bowed, too, his grip on the sword tightening. He swore he could feel it hum.

The End. Really.

A/N: Hope you liked it. Probably won't have a sequel.