The Harry Potter universe and all the characters in it belong to J. K. Rowling. I get nothing out of this except enjoyment.
A/N – I hope readers aren't too disappointed, but there aren't going to be any verbal confrontations with the Weasleys in this chapter. It's basically an epilogue with some reminiscing. Pretty much all fluff and sweetness. You may feel the need to brush your teeth afterward.
It will also not contain an exhaustive account of what happens to everyone, like I've done in some of my other stories. I know it may frustrate some, but you won't even learn the names of all of their kids. (Come up with your own if it makes you feel better.) It's just a few conversations, after all.
25 Years Later
"All right, it's time to get on board now, Rosie."
"Muuum, I keep telling you, it's Rose, not Rosie!"
"Now, sweetheart, I know you're all grown up now, but it's your parents' prerogative to keep calling you that. That's just the way parents are. You can be Rose to all your friends at school."
"What if I get sorted somewhere else besides Gryffindor?"
"Now Rosie … I mean Rose, we've discussed this. There's nothing wrong with being in another house. You would be very well suited for Ravenclaw, for example."
"Then why did you ask the Hat to put you in Gryffindor instead of Ravenclaw?"
"That was an entirely different situation."
"Yeah, it was because you wanted to be in the same house as Dad and you knew that's where he would go."
"Hush! That's a secret."
"Mum, you've told that story to every one of us girls. I think Dad probably knows it by now!"
"Well, you just keep it to yourself. At any rate, you should listen to what the Hat has to say, and if you still think you have to be in Gryffindor, then you can ask. But I really don't think you're going to meet a Harry Potter on the Hogwarts Express, so my situation simply doesn't apply to you."
"Now you just wipe that smirk off your face young lady, and give me a hug."
"There you are! Is my baby girl ready to get on the train?"
"Yes Daddy, I'm all set. My trunk's all stowed and everything."
"So what were you two lovely ladies conspiring about just now?"
"Oh, just about how Mum asked the Sorting Hat to put her in Gryffindor instead of Ravenclaw."
"Rose Potter, now you remember what I told you!"
"That's right, you never did tell me why you wanted to be in Gryffindor so badly."
"You just never mind about that. Today is about Rosie, not me."
"I suppose … oh there's the whistle. One last hug for Daddy, OK?"
"Bye Daddy. I love you. You too, Mum."
"Bye Rosie. Don't forget to write."
Harry and Hermione stood and waved until the train was out of sight, bearing their final child away to begin her Hogwarts experience. When they finished Hermione leaned back into Harry as he wrapped his arms around her.
"I can't believe it … how did the time go by so quickly? Our last daughter is on her way to Hogwarts."
"I know what you mean. It seems like only yesterday that we sent off the first one."
"And scarcely any time at all since we were breaking up childhood squabbles and trying to control outbursts of accidental magic."
"You know, we have the house all to ourselves now. Just like when we first moved in together."
"Oh, and what did you have in mind Mr. Potter? Don't you have to go to work today?"
"You know very well that I don't; I told you I was taking today off."
"Well, imagine that, I'm taking the day off too."
Sharing a pair of knowing looks, they turned and walked slowly back down the platform holding hands. Several of their friends and acquaintances noticed and nudged each other. They're doing it again. Whenever the two of them were together (without their children) they tended to go off into their own world where each one was the only person who existed for the other.
"You know, it's not exactly like when we first moved in together."
"If you'll recall, we had separate bedrooms for the first year."
"That's true – and when we finally decided to move into the same bedroom you were so nervous about telling your mother. But when you did she was surprised we hadn't done it sooner."
"I can't believe it took us so long to figure it out."
"Yeah, it seems like everyone knew before we did."
"Ron and Ginny did for certain. We spent so much time worrying about what their reaction would be when we came back and announced that we were going to share a flat. But instead of the explosion we were expecting it was more like resigned acceptance."
"I think Molly actually took it harder then either of them did."
"Oh my, yes. I'm just glad she finally came around by the time we started having children. I think when I got pregnant she finally accepted that she was never going to have her dream matchups. But it wasn't long after that she was begging us to bring the girls over to visit."
"Still, it was awkward breaking up with them."
"You should talk. You had it easy, since Ginny was away at Hogwarts until Christmas. By the time she came home she'd pretty much sussed it out. She told me later that she knew it was going to happen when you decided to go to Australia with me. It was more awkward for me because Ron was over at our flat almost every day. But after just a week he could tell it was coming."
"You're right. But it wasn't easy for me watching you two together. How many times did I make excuses to leave the room when it looked like you were going to start snogging?"
"Oh Harry, it wasn't that bad! If you'd stayed around you would have noticed that I hardly ever kissed him at all after we came back from Australia. I certainly wouldn't call it snogging. That was probably one of his biggest clues. Actually, that was one factor that made breaking up with both of them a lot easier. Neither of us had really gone past heavy snogging, so there wasn't the kind of uneasiness there would have been if we'd been more intimate."
"That's true. It would have been a lot more difficult to be comfortable around Ginny if I'd gone farther with her. Or to stay close friends with Ron if he and you had. But even when you'd broken up with Ron and I finally ended it with Ginny, we still didn't admit to each other that we were in love for months afterward."
"Yes, we were both quite stubborn about it."
"I was thinking more clueless. Perhaps even incredibly thick."
"Hey, don't blame me. I knew how I felt about you for years. You were the one who didn't realize …"
"I know. I'm sorry …"
"Don't start that again. I've told you plenty of times – it wasn't your fault you'd never experienced any love while you were growing up."
"Not until I met you." Harry stopped in the middle of the station and turned to face her with a smile. Taking her hands in his, he began to sing softly to her.
"There were bells, on the hill, but I never heard them ringing. No I never heard them at all, till there was you."
"Oh Harry, you don't have to start this again." But she smiled and took out her wand to cast a Muffliato charm to ensure that this love ballad was for her ears only.
"There were birds, in the sky, but I never saw them winging. No I never saw them at all, till there was you."
"Honestly, I don't know why I ever let my parents introduce you to show tunes." But her sparkling eyes belied her scolding. She loved it when he sang this song to her, and he knew it.
"And there was music, and there were wonderful roses, they tell me, in sweet fragrant meadows, of dawn and dew."
"You don't have to do the whole thing you know. Let's just jump to the big finish."
"There was love, all around, but I never heard it singing. No I never heard it at all …" Here Hermione joined him in the two part harmony of the last line, her soprano voice rising into the descant while his bass one took the descending scale. "Till there was you."
"I love you."
"I love you too. Let's go home and let me show you just how much."
Some time later Harry lay back and caught his breath, cradling Hermione in his arms as she snuggled against his chest, their naked bodies intertwining after an expression of their love that left them both extremely satisfied.
"You know, today makes me think back to our first trip on the Hogwarts Express."
"Me too. This annoying girl came into our compartment. 'Has anyone seen a toad? Neville's lost his.' "
"Hey, I wasn't that bad … OK, so I was. But … you do know why I did that, right?"
"You mean other than to help Neville find his toad?"
"Well, that too, but mostly I wanted to meet you."
"Really? I had no idea. Actually, I was pretty clueless about everything that day."
"That's for certain. I couldn't believe that scrawny boy with the broken glasses was Harry Potter. You weren't anything like what I was expecting. There was nothing impressive about you at all."
"Hey, I wasn't that bad … erm, well, I suppose I was, actually. But what about you? 'Are you sure that's a real spell? Well, it's not very good is it?'"
"Merlin, I was a bossy little know it all."
"What do you mean – was?"
Hermione raised herself up enough to hit her smirking husband on the arm, then snuggled into his side again.
"We sure were naive back then. Neither of us had any idea what we getting into. Evil professors, giant three headed dogs, a troll – well that one turned out pretty good …" She paused to lean up and give him a kiss.
"So many crazy things. I must say I hope that Rosie's time at Hogwarts won't be quite as exciting as ours was."
"I'm sure she'll be OK. The others have all done just fine."
A period of comfortable silence passed while they simply enjoyed lying in each other's arms.
"I was thinking about what we were talking about earlier. About not realizing how much you meant to me. Fourth year is when it should have happened. I should have asked you to the Yule Ball."
"You really think so?"
"Yeah. Remember, for a long time right before that I wasn't talking to Ron, so it was just the two of us, with you working so hard to help me prepare for the First Task. I'd really grown closer to you. If I'd been just a little bit smarter I'd have figured out I could avoid all the anxiety of asking a girl to the ball by going with you."
"Because you didn't think of me as a girl."
"No, because you were my friend, and I knew I wouldn't have to worry about being embarrassed with you. You'd never laugh at me if I did something stupid. I could trust you."
"Thank you. I'm glad you thought of me that way. But I don't see how that would have brought us together sooner, since we would have just gone as friends."
"Because you looked so incredible that night. I think if I'd spent the whole evening with you, and danced with you, and maybe even gone outside for a walk … well, maybe I'd have figured it out."
"Perhaps. I suppose Ron wouldn't have been as jealous of you as he was of Viktor."
"I'm not so sure about that. He was pretty jealous of me already that year. Once he saw how beautiful you were that night it probably would have started up all over again."
"Oh you. I'm sure I wasn't that stunning."
"I thought you were."
"I love you too. But at least he wouldn't have been able to call me a traitor for dating Viktor. Hmm. So, I suppose I'd still have ended up at the bottom of the lake during the Second Task then?"
"Definitely. Personally, I think you should have been my hostage anyway. You certainly meant more to me than you did to Krum. And even though I might not have admitted it at the time, I certainly would have sorely missed you, probably even more than Ron, that year at least."
"That's sweet. You really know the right things to say, don't you?"
"I meant every word."
Hermione tightened her grip on him in an extra strong hug. Then her forehead crinkled in thought.
"Well, I think I should have done something fifth year."
"Yes. By then I knew I was interested in you but I was too afraid to say anything. And every time I came close to getting up my nerve something happened. The first time I was going to say something was as soon as you arrived at Grimmauld Place."
"I still remember that hug."
"Right, that was the idea. But you were in such a bad mood right then, and we were so concerned with your trial and the possibility that you'd get expelled from Hogwarts that anything else got pushed aside. Then when I thought we were going to be prefects together it seemed like the perfect time."
"Yeah, you were so enthusiastic when you ran into the room. But it turned out it was Ron instead."
"I was so embarrassed! I'd just about kissed you right then and there and then you said it was him and not you and I couldn't think of anything to say."
"I didn't know what to say either. I felt like I had let you down. And everyone else seemed to think it should have been me, too."
"Well, they were right. It should have been you. But as the year went on, with those detentions with Umbridge and your quidditch ban, you were so miserable and in such a bad mood that it just never seemed to be the right time."
"You're right, I was pretty hard to live with. But you never gave up on me. You stuck with me all year." This time it was Harry who tightened his grip around Hermione for a hug, while she nodded firmly.
"And then there was Cho." This drew a wince from Harry. "When you got together with her I saw what kind of girl you were interested in, and knew I could never be like that."
"And thank Merlin for that. I got tired of her in a hurry. I'll never get tired of you."
"Oooh. Good answer Mr. Potter. Trying to get lucky again? I thought I'd worn you out pretty good." Harry responded with a sly grin, and Hermione chuckled in return.
"So, what happened sixth year?"
"Oh. Well, I decided that I wanted a boyfriend and that it was going to be Ron, since by then I'd given up on you."
"And when Hermione Granger makes up her mind about something everyone else get out of the way."
"You're right. I'm sorry you were caught in the crossfire."
"Me? I think Ron still flinches when a flock of birds fly by."
"Very funny. On the other hand, you were lusting after Ginny."
"Um right, I guess that's what you'd have to call it. But I think that was making us both act differently toward each other. With you going after Ron and me obsessing about Ginny we ended up being more distant toward each other, sort of trying to prove to ourselves that our relationship was different than that."
"You're right. And that's the thing I regret most about that year. I'm really glad that finally ended or all that time in the tent would have been even more miserable than it was."
"Me too. I never would have survived that if we hadn't redeveloped our closeness."
There was another pause while he pulled her up for a long heartfelt kiss.
"Mmm. Now, where were we? What that year did too, though, was confirm for me what sort of girl you went for. Both Cho and Ginny were really pretty, with long shiny hair, athletic, and nice petite figures. I had none of those things."
"I can see how you could conclude that, but I think that was more of a coincidence than anything. I mean, I love the way you look. I'm sure you remember my reaction to seeing you in a bikini the first time. And you look just as good now as you ever did."
"Oh, another good one. You're really on a roll today. I'm most definitely going to have to reward you. But I'm sure Ginny would be thrilled to learn that you broke up with her because I filled out the top of a bikini better than she did."
"It wasn't just that! I fell in love with everything about you."
"I know, but I think that was the final step. We loved each other as friends, and when you add in the physical attraction, it was the complete package."
"Maybe. But I think it was more a matter of finally allowing ourselves to think of each other that way."
"You're right. It was that too. And once those things happened …"
"Yeah. Lights out. We couldn't get enough of each other. Remember the first time we kissed?"
"How could I forget? My heart was pounding so fast I thought I'd pass out. And when we started running our hands all over each other …"
"I wasn't sure I'd be able to stop. I just wanted to carry you into your bedroom right then and there."
"Hmm. Speaking of which, it feels like someone is ready for another round."
"I'm all yours."
After another exhilarating session the pair of lovers found themselves back in the same position, this time breathing somewhat more heavily.
"Pretty good for a couple in their forties, don't you think?"
"I'm certainly not complaining. Quite the magic wand you have there."
"Only because you inspire me. But if this is what the next fifty years is going to be like, bring it on!"
"Well, we will have to go to work most days, so it won't be exactly like this, but that still leaves the evenings that we can enjoy any way we want to, now that we have the house all to ourselves. Except I'm thinking for the next hundred years, at least."
"Works for me."
"Of course, there will be summers when the kids are home, and then before you know it there could be grandchildren running around the place."
"Oh no, I'm not ready for that yet. Jaime just graduated. I still can't believe she's going to be a potions master, of all things. But she isn't even married!"
"That might happen sooner than you think."
"I don't care. I refuse to consider that possibility just yet. But it sounds like you have things all planned out."
"Well, you know me."
"And I wouldn't have you any other way. So, what does my beautiful bookworm have scheduled for the rest of our lives in that master planner of yours?"
"Since you asked so nicely …" Hermione paused and smiled sweetly at Harry, and he responded by kissing her on the nose. "I was thinking that after all the girls are out of Hogwarts we might take those teaching positions they keep offering us."
"That sounds good. We keep saying how tempting that is. What would we teach?"
"Defense Against the Dark Arts for you, of course, or possibly Flying. I was thinking of Arithmancy for me."
"Or Transfiguration, or Charms, or Ancient Runes, or …"
"You know very well you could teach all of those subjects, and more. I didn't even mention Muggle Studies."
"Oh … I suppose. It will just depend on what's available and what they need I guess. But eventually I think it would be nice if you were Headmaster and I was Assistant Headmistress."
"Why not the other way around? You'd make a great Headmistress."
"Because the Headmaster may be the more impressive position, and get all the attention, but the Assistant Headmistress is the one who actually does the day to day work."
"Sound like the story of our lives. You do all the work and I get the credit."
"Oh honestly, Harry, it's not that bad. I'm certainly not complaining. I get plenty of recognition from the people who actually know, and I'm satisfied with that. I actually like working in the background, and you know how much I love doing things together with you."
"Well, it's certainly worked for us so far. We make quite a team. But maybe we could switch off and take turns being Headmaster and Headmistress."
"Perhaps. We'll worry about that when the time comes. The important thing, though, is that we'll be together."
They punctuated that declaration with one more tight hug, and then relaxed again, content in each other's arms. As was often the case, their thoughts while they lay comfortably together mirrored each other's quite closely.
They were more in love than ever, a love which grew with each passing year. They had four incredible daughters, each with a unique blend of their parents' talents and abilities, but all of whom had been brought up in an atmosphere of love and concern for others. Harry and Hermione had no doubt that when the time came to make a tough decision, each would choose to do what was right rather than what was easy.
They had the admiration and respect of the wizarding world, not only for what they had done twenty-five years previously, but also for the way they lived their lives and the accomplishments they had achieved since. They had good and loyal friends who would always be there for them if needed, and for whom the reverse was also true.
No new dark lord had emerged in more than two decades, to a large extent because the two of them had helped select responsible leaders who were ever vigilant, rooting out dark movements before they took hold. Their world was at peace, and was making slow but steady progress toward eliminating at least some of the prejudices that divided the different magical beings and cultures.
Most importantly, they had each other. All was well.
A/N To any teens reading this – yes, your parents still have sex. Deal with it.
On a more serious note, this wraps up my experiment with this style of storytelling. I enjoyed it, and hope you readers did as well. Now, back to work on Notebooks and Letters.