Harry Potter and the Wardrobe
Disclaimer: See chapter 1. Reviews are welcomed, flames are not.
Chapter 14: Epilogue: One Year Later
Harry entered the long term Spell Damage Ward at St. Mungos. Sirius was whistling as he finished his packing, celebrating his discharge. Harry paused in the doorway to study his godfather.
It had been a long, tiring year. The healers had done a good job of rebuilding Sirius' physical body. However, Azkaban and the Veil had taken a terrible toll on the wizard's mental stability. The mind healers had done what they could to mend his shattered mind but Harry knew that Sirius would never fully recover from his ordeals.
Sirius slung the travel bag over his shoulder as he turned. "Hey pup!"
"Ready to leave? You'll love my place," Harry said, giving his godfather a warm hug.
Over the course of the past year, since Harry had rescued Sirius from the Veil, he had visited him daily at St. Mungos. He had regaled Sirius with tales of his new home and how peaceful and quiet it was in the country. When he spoke of peace and tranquility he could see hunger and pain in Sirius' eyes.
Of course, Harry shared the manor house with Severus Snape. An idea which didn't thrill Sirius at all. However, in the end, Sirius came to terms with the idea that he would be sharing living space with Snape.
"So," Sirius asked as they left. "is Minerva still trying to get you and Snape to return to Hogwarts?"
Harry laughed as they walked to the apparation point within the hospital. "She tries, but Severus and I are quite happy at the manor house."
Sirius gave a snort. "I still can't believe you're living with the greasy git!"
"Sirius! You promised!" Harry admonished with a long-suffering grin.
They apparated to a long, tree lined drive leading up to a quaint summer manor house in the countryside. Before them stood an old stone manor house nestled among aged oaks and maples. The wards accepted them with a welcoming calm.
Harry showed Sirius the room where he would be staying and left him to unpack. It hadn't taken much to convince the old marauder to stay with Harry in the country. Sirius needed a lot of fresh air and breathing room after being confined for so long.
"So the mutt is all settled in?" came a rich baritone voice.
Harry smiled and turned to Severus, who was leaning against the study door jam with a mug of tea in his hand. "Hey! You promised!" Harry gave a childish pout.
Severus raised an eyebrow. The man had lost most of his sallow and unhealthy complexion. Aunt Flo and Harry were always after him to eat and his body was no longer rail thin. Harry had encouraged him to create an herb garden for potion ingredients and the time he spent in the sun tending his herbs was giving Severus a healthy glow.
"Anything happen after I left today?" Harry asked as both of them went into the study to check their mail.
Severus went to his desk and leafed through his stack of papers. "Minerva wrote that Albus tried once again to escape from the care home she placed him in. He claimed that he was out of lemon drops and only wanted to kip to the store in Hogsmeade to get a fresh supply. He gave his guards quite a race for a senile old wizard." Severus' muted chuckle followed.
Harry laughed and shook his head. After he had rescued Sirius, Albus tried to claim that Harry had gone dark, that he, Albus Dumbledore, was the only one that could return Harry and Sirius back to the 'Light.' However, that did not go as well as the old wizard had hoped.
After Harry's passionate statements in the Atrium, the wizarding community saw Albus Dumbledore for what he truly was – a tired old wizard that should've been put out to pasture years ago. Of course, Albus fought against this perception, tooth and nail but in the end all he managed was to convince them he was senile and in need of care.
Minerva McGonagall was awarded custody and she found a quiet retreat slash care home not far from Hogwarts that had high walls and well built orderlies as well as equally strong wards. Albus, who's magic seemed to have faded, was constantly trying to escape. His favorite excuse was to get more lemon drops which he claimed he was constantly out of.
No one was really fooled, as old friends and a few Order members kept him well supplied. The truth of the matter was Albus wanted to return to his 'position' at Hogwarts, despite the fact that the castle had rejected him as headmaster more than a year ago.
Hogwarts wanted Harry as headmaster, but Harry quietly convinced her that he wasn't ready and had duties to perform elsewhere first. The castle grudgingly accepted and chose Minerva as headmistress pro tem until Harry was free.
"He'll never learn," Harry laughed going to his desk on the other side of the study. His mood dampened as he saw the stack of mail waiting for him. "I see that the ICW wants me to give a talk on the Deep Magic again."
Severus shrugged. "What do you expect when you wave your hand and things happen?"
Harry laughed again as he waded through the requests for his time. It had taken three months to convince the Ministry that Harry didn't need to return to Hogwarts to complete his education after Voldemort's defeat. He, thanks to Merlin's tutelage, had a mastery in all the subjects they could possibly test him in.
He watched as Severus sneered, wading through the orders for potions. Harry still couldn't believe that they had formed a familial bond after having hated each other for so many years.
Last Fall, Harry did as he had promised Severus during the reading of Miss Susan's will.
The welcoming feast was in full swing when Harry, along with Professor Snape, walked into the Great Hall. Minerva looked up and smiled at the pair. She had been named Headmistress before the fall term started. She knew that Harry was trying to cope with the Ministry and Severus had tendered his resignation after the fall of Voldemort, so it came as a bit of a surprise to see them enter the Great Hall.
They walked to the front of the head table where Harry turne and spoke. He spoke of his father and the other Marauders and what they had done to a young Severus Snape. Harry spoke of what their vicious bullying had cost the young Slytherin. He went on to explain how this cruelty was the reason why the potions master had been so hard on Harry as a child. He had expected the same arrogance from the son that had received from the father.
Then Harry spoke of forgiveness and how it was earned, not by mere words, but by putting words into action. When Harry had finished, he went over to the man and raised his hand in friendship. "I know I am not my father and I never wanted to wrong you like he did. Can you accept an apology from the son of the man who so cruelly wronged you? I know that if my father was standing here, he would not only ask forgiveness but also thank you for protecting his only child the best way you knew how."
Severus not only accepted the hand shake but pulled Harry into a fierce hug. Something that many would never have believed possible. After that day, Harry and Severus became a true family.
"Harry?" Sirius asked from the doorway, breaking into Harry's thoughts.
"Come in, Siri. We are just going over the mail," Harry beckoned as he threw an official-looking letter into the fire. "Severus, how's the Longbottom Cure coming?" Harry asked as Sirius sat in an easy chair by the fire.
Severus looked up from his mail. "They are slowly becoming aware of their surroundings. Frank recognized his mother the other day."
"Wonderful!" Harry beamed.
Over the next few weeks, Sirius adjusted to life at the manor. Aunt Flo had already accepted him, and tried to feed him everytime he turned around. Sirius made more than one comment about her channeling Molly Weasley.
Severus spent his time, like he always did, between his lab and the study. The potions master had started up his own catalog service and was in high demand for his superior potions.
Harry was in and out of the manor. He was trying to get the British Magical community ready to go into the upcoming 21st century. It was slow going as they wanted to maintain the status quo. The pure bloods dug in, dragging their heels until Harry let loose his famous Potter temper. He spent several long boring hours at the Wizengamot haranguing the hide bound idiots and showing them just why it wasn't wise to ignore the world outside their wards.
The first to go were all the laws against so-called dark creatures. Then, next to be dealt with was Dolores Umbridge. After the fall of Cornelius Fudge, she was campaigning strongly for minister.
One day Harry asked, in an open session where Dolores was extolling her qualifications, what the penalty was for using a dark object on a minor. He went on to explain what had happened to many students during detention with her while she was a Defense Professor at Hogwarts. The woman's only defense was that she had done it for the 'greater good' and that she had been allowed to use whatever means needed to silence Potter's lies about the Dark Lord.
The members of the Wizengamot were appalled at the amount of damage she had done to students during her tenure at Hogwarts.
Harry then went on to promote a more balanced government. He convinced the new Minister to declare all positions within the Ministry to be filled on merit alone.
He stressed that the days of blood prejudice must be over. He proved using birth rate as well as magical versus squib ratio that the Wizarding World would breed itself out of existence. He stated that within two hundred year or less there would be no pure bloods.
Several attempts were made and foiled to make Harry Supreme Mugwump and each time Harry refused them. He was being heralded as the next Merlin and everyone wanted a piece of him.
Many witches and wizards tried to trap Harry into compromising positions, but Harry always side-stepped them. He wasn't ready to settle down. Molly Weasley was the worse offender. The poor woman so wanted to see Harry with her Ginny. Harry would just smile, shrug and tell her that when he was ready, he would think about marriage.
Of course, Rita Skeeter tried to connect Harry with Severus Snape in the Daily Prophet. Harry just laughed. His only comment was "Severus Snape would be more likely use me for potions ingredients."
It had been a year and six months since Sirius had been recalled from the Veil. In that time, he had become more of a lost soul, wandering the manor like a ghost. Harry's heart ached for his godfather's pain, but he knew that he wasn't the one who could help him.
Christmas should be a joyous time of family and friends. Harry decided to invite everyone, including Minerva and Albus, to a Christmas dinner. He hadn't wanted to invite the old wizard, but Sirius insisted and privately Harry got the feeling that his godfather was up to something.
Aunt Flo and Molly bonded in the kitchen and if the smells coming from that part of the manor were anything to go on, the dinner would be fabulous.
Arthur Weasley cornered Amos and over a few bottles of a local vintage, they discussed just what was the use of a rubber duck.
Sirius tried to get into the spirit of the season and for the most part he was successful. Remus and the twins helped with their talk of pranks and how well the shop was doing but he just couldn't get into it. He knew he wasn't fooling Mooney but it couldn't be helped.
He looked over at his godson who was chatting with Severus Snape. If anyone had told him that those two would be friends, let alone family, he would laugh himself sick. The worse part was even he was coming to enjoy spending time with the greasy git. The man could play a mean game of chess after all.
The dinner was everything that aromas promised. Everyone had stuffed themselves silly. As the party was winding down when Sirius quietly excused himself.
He climbed up the stairs and walked to the small room that housed only one piece of furniture, an ornately carved wardrobe. He knew he would have to wait until the manor was quiet and this room was prefect.
Over the past few months he found himself coming to this room often. There was something peaceful about running his hand over the carvings.
Harry had caught Sirius once, in this room, and explained where the wardrobe had come from. He told him how it had been hand carved by a local carpenter, from an apple tree that had once grown on the estate. Sirius could feel the magic, it almost felt alive.
Sirius stood pondering the carvings. He was finding this world more and more heavy. The healers had done a wonderful job patching him up but they couldn't undo the soul deep damage the dementors and the Veil had caused. He had come to a decision. There was nothing here for him anymore.
Harry was coming into his own. The power the boy wielded was supernatural and he no longer required protection. No, Harry didn't need him anymore. Remus had married and moved on. The Weasley twins were now the designated heirs to the Marauder legacy and would be gifted with all of his pranking journals. No. there was nothing keeping him here.
"Open it, Siri," came Harry's quiet voice.
Sirius turned around but didn't remove his hand from the wardrobe door.
"Go on, Siri. Open it," Harry said softly.
"Why?" Sirius opened the door cautiously. Old fur coats hung inside. Sirius had opened the door before, many times. This time, something, someone, was calling to him as he stepped inside.
Harry knew of Sirius' plans to suicide, however it was better this way. The Deep Magic had shown Harry that Sirius' time on this plane of existence was over and others were waiting for him.
The Christmas party had been Harry's farewell gift to his godfather.
"Say hello to Aslan and my parents for me," he said softly, as Sirius disappeared into the darkness that was once Narnia but lead to Aslan's Country.
Harry gently closed the wardrobe door as tears trickled down his cheeks.
This story is now done. There will be no sequel. We leave that to our readers imaginations. Also, we didn't mean to kill off Sirius but he was so damaged in canon. We just gave him a better ending (we hope) and more peace.
Many thanks for the reviews and wonderful responses. You guys rock!
Frau and I love to banter around "The power the Dark Lord knows not" as it opens so many weird ideas. This story was one of them.
Thanks for reading. Until next time. --GF and the Frau