A/N:hello, everyone, here I am again, with the final chapter!
I'M TRULY, TRULY SORRY FOR MAKING YOU WAIT THIS LONG, BUT TODAY I HAD A NASTY EXHAUSTING PSYCHOLOGY EXAMINATION AND HAD TO STUDY LIKE HELL! Forgive me, please!?!
Toby Haine:you wrote your email address changed, but you only wrote "toby1984dude2002", and no "@hotmail.com" or "@yahoo.com", so I had no idea what the actual address was. I promise to read your fic as soon as I can, be patient, please! Yes, my fic was also poorly reviewed at first – for chapter one I got 13 reviews, and that was more than I expected, but then the catastrophe of 11th Sept came, and I happened to upload chapter 2 that day, so no wonder that no one read it. Later I started to get more and more reviews, especially after Draco and Dudley's conspiracy. So have faith and keep writing! Btw, how do you that your fic will have 33 chapters? I had no idea how long my fic would be when I started to write it – actually I only wanted to write 5-6 chapters! Anyway, we can talk in mails if you want to, just send me a mail or tell me your exact email-address.
Mage:what exactly did you mean by "W"? Would you expand on it?
Hermione/Nina/Ginny: Hungarian children in the primary and high school get winter holidays (two weeks), but university and college students (like me) have their exams from 20th December to the end of January.
Jazzofborg: Lily will still be a baby (1-2 year old) in the sequel.
moonys*gal:no, I haven't been to Egypt, but have read lots of books about Egyptian mythology and watched many documentary films on Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel on this topic. I think that Egypt is a fascinating country.
Lionheart Eternal: as I have told quite a lot of times, I'm working on a sequel, and I promise there will be H/G stuff in there :-)
Waldomier: read my reply to Lionheart Eternal right above you.
AniMourner: I admit I had to look up the names of the three stars in the Orion belt, but I guess that's all the research I made. The sequel is going to be about… *people waiting with bated breath*… Harry Potter! What a surprise!!! (No, actually I don't want to reveal anything about the plot – let it be a surprise!)
darkhaven:finally decided to read it? Um, do you mean you were trying to persuade yourself for a long time NOT TO read it? Just wondering…
Jade Tsukinomoto:the name 'Gumercindo Heriberto' comes from a Brazilian soap opera, called 'Terra nostra'. It's about Italians settlers who came to Brazil after the abolition of slavery. There was a Brazil planter called Gumercindo, and there was a Brazil policeman called Heriberto. Mara Jade? Yes, she's really cool! I was jumping for joy when I read that she married Luke and when I got to know that they were about to have a baby I got so excited that I couldn't sleep all night!
Hazel Harman:of course NO ONE can be as good a writer as J.K.R.! She's simply the best! My idol!
obi_ewan_maul_loverand Anna: thanks for wishing me good luck with my exams – I need it! I have already had some of them, but I'll have to do marketing, German, economy, European Union Studies and International Relations and Institutions (pretty dull subjects, believe me).
Rodi:no, there won't be 2000 reviews, but I expect at least 1700 (which is also an extreme amount, isn't it? When I started writing this fic I was expecting to get about five reviews per chapter, so I was hoping to get about 150-160 when all 34 chapters were uploaded. And now I have ten times more:-)
veronik:yes, only one person could be brought back. I guess I mentioned it back in chapter 21 when Harry first sees the torch.
jeanineDR23: when I read "lo mejor que he leido en much tiempo", I had no idea what it meant, so I phoned my best friend who speaks Spanish and asked her, and I got very happy about the meaning! My favourite HP book is The goblet of fire. Yours?
teacherchez: no, I'm no witch at all :-) No idea how to do magic!
X_Tow_Naga: you asked about Harry saving Wormtail's life in the real books. Well, in HP and the prisoner of Azkaban Sirius and Lupin want to kill Wormtail, but Harry doesn't let them, he says: "You can't kill him… We'll take him up to the castle. We'll hand him over to the Dementors. He can go to Azkaban… just don't kill him." later he tells Peter: "I'm not doing this for you. I'm doing it because I don't reckon my dad would've wanted his best friends to become killers – just for you." To your questions: Wormtail didn't get to the entrance faster than Harry. He only followed Harry. No, Draco didn't get into legal trouble, because not many people know about him giving the potion to Dudley. About Neville's dream: there was NO dead Ginny in it!!!
megan:the sequel doesn't have a fixed title yet, but one thing is sure: it will have "the greatest" in it. If you want me I'll email you when it is ready and I start uploading, okay?
zzxm: you asked how I sent my mom a howler. Well, on harrypotter.warnerbros.com you can find howlers – click on Diagon Alley, there you'll find them. The coolest IMHO is "You're as ugly as a troll!" LOL. I know Imogen's fics and have recommended them to people myself.
Amy: Oliver Wood is played by Sean Biggerstaff.
Amen: read my answer to veronik.
lady nagini: I HAVE printed it out, of course!
CrAZyCoW:no, he didn't have any trouble getting back – as you'll see in this chapter.
speaker_of_the_dead: you are right about floo powder, but if it cannot be used at Hogwarts, then how did Bill, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, the Krums, the Delacours, etc. get there? Did they just apparated to Hogsmeade then walked up to the castle? *possible, though* Anyway, I actually WANTED the characters to use floo powder. And Rowling NEVER wrote that you couldn't use floo powder at Hogwarts, she only wrote that apparating was impossible. Why the kids got transported by the Hogwarts Express instead of floo? Well, maybe it would have been dangerous if a thousand students shouted "Hogwarts" into the flames at the same time, they could have stuck in the floo-traffic-jam!
griff girl:was it Toby Haine who recommended my fic to you? Just wondering…
Michael Kirner: of course I'll email you about the sequel, if you give me your email-address :-)
Da Golden Snitch: I'll read your fic as soon as I can, I promise, but nowadays I have so much to study that I fear I'm going mad!!! About Episode II: of course I'll watch it, at least… three or four times.
Abby Matthews: very wise of you not to go on a hunger strike, because by the time I posted this you could have starved to death! Standing ovation??? *thanks a lot, that was nice*
Okay, and now – I'd like to say thanks to:
J.K. Rowling, for writing Harry Potter – without her I wouldn't have been able to write this fic.
my dear mother, who was the best beta reader one could get! Thank you so much, mom!
to all of my readers, especially to the most faithful ones (7 being my fave number, I consider those "most faithful" who have written at least 7 reviews and have read the story at least to chapter 30 – they are the following, in alphabetical order): 2Coolio, Alexander Pheonix, Amen, Anna, Angel Solo, Anigurl88, Apple-pie, Ariana Black, Atalanta Zora, Aya-Chan, Basilisk, Blondie in Disguise, Chicory Tee, Cindy Moon, Creamy Mimi, Dragon Singer, D2, goodbooks3989, Gurlie409, HarryPotterCC1, Hermioneqc, Hermione Gulliver, Hermione/Nina/Ginny, Hermione Potter, Hobbit_Feet, HP Blonde Crazy Chick, HPgoldySnitch, Ilovelinkinpark222, Jennaration, JoeBob1379, Juliana Black, K-K, Lady Lupin, Lemondrop2000, Little Witch, Lucretia, Mandi, Meatball Head, Mikey, Myr_halcyon, Nefertiri, Nikkianna, Nutmeg, obi_ewan_maul_lover, Padme Skywalker, pandarwin, PepsiAngel, princesswitch, Pudandinging, Rab, Rodi, Rose, Shaun Wilson, Slitherins R Sexy, Super saya Jin-Gotan, Tayla Riddle, Teacherchez, Thorn, VeRyWiLdWitcH, Waldomier, X_Tow_Naga, Zenon Lee, zzxm.
Thank you all for reading and reviewing!
And now, to the last chapter! – this might be the funniest of all (maybe even too funny - in an annoying or childish way -, but I wanted to give you a very cheerful ending and make up for all the sad stuff.)
Wedding at Christmas
"Finishing a book is just like you took
a child out in the yard and shot it."
"Harry still hasn't returned…It's… it's time to bury her." Arthur placed his hands on Molly's shoulders.
His wife nodded, just standing there, before the bier, weary eyes fixed on her only daughter's chalk-white face.
Ginny was still beautiful, even in death. Her long, dark eyelashes cast shadows on her almost translucent skin.
Molly still couldn't believe that those delicate chocolate brown eyes would never again glint mischievously, those cherry-coloured lips would never smile at her again… but she didn't cry – her tears had ebbed.
"Make it be a small, quiet funeral. My baby Ginny wouldn't want huge crowds swarming around." Mrs. Weasly turned to her husband.
"That won't be easy." Dumbledore cut in. "All of your friends, and many others would want to come… whole England… the whole wizarding world knows what happened…"
"I don't care. Don't let them come." Molly's voice was pleading.
"Dear…" Mr. Weasley was about to bring her to her senses when Harry apparated next to them.
"Harry!" Arthur gasped.
"Harry, dear!" Molly yelped, clasping her hands. "What happened? Where have you been?"
The boy didn't answer, just rushed to the corpse of his lover, holding and eerie, green flame in his bare hands.
"What the…?" Molly interjected, but Arthur hushed her with a wave of his hand.
"Ssssh! Look!" he whispered.
The Weasley parents stared at the boy and their dead daughter – Harry extended his right hand with the flame over Ginny's chest. Molly held her breath as the green flames turned into a small brand of fire, disappearing into Ginny's body, while Harry backed away a couple of feet.
For a moment the girl's body seemed to be on fire, green sparks bouncing and dancing around it, accompanied by a strange, sizzling noise.
"Oh, Arthur, what…"
"Sssh!" Mr. Weasley lifted his index finger to his mouth.
"But…" Molly protested, then her eyes widened in shock as the sizzling and sparkling suddenly came to an end. She grabbed her husband's arm, a horrified stare on her face. Arthur's expression mirrored hers, when abruptly a voice broke the silence:
"Harry… he couldn't kill you… could he?"
The Weasley parents dashed to the bier to see a deadly pale, but living Virginia Weasley trying to sit up, opening her emerald green eyes.
"Oh, my God!" Molly jumped to her daughter, gathering her into an over-enthusiastic hug.
"Molly, Molly, you are stifling her!" Arthur yelled with tears of joy in his eyes, and joined them in the embrace.
Only seconds later the rest of the family burst into the room, followed by Hermione, Sirius, and Lupin.
"GINNY!" all of them yelled in unison and the family-members flung themselves on the embracing trio's necks. The cheering group looked exactly like a huge, many-legged, many-armed centipede. (Hagrid would have liked it!)
When the heap of madly whooping people finally got off Ginny, the girl let out a relieved sigh. "My, you were heavy!"
The room's walls shuddered from the erupting laughter of the family and friends, who had been mourning only minutes earlier.
"But… how? HOW?" Fred yelled. "You were dead! How can you be alive again?"
"That is exactly what I'm interested in, either." Dumbledore added.
"The Green Flame Torch." Harry replied.
"The what?" George asked.
"There is a torch… in Egypt… it can bring back the dead, but only if used by a Parselmouth." the boy explained. "It's quite a long story, though. Let me tell it later."
Dumbledore nodded with an enigmatic smile. *So it really exist… not just a legend.*
Percy elbowed his way to Ginny. "Sis, I'm so sorry for having been angry with you!" he said with Bambi eyes.
"Oh, Perce… I was never mad at you." Ginny stood up, walking past the crowd – to Harry, who had witnessed the family's outburst staying in the background.
Everyone fell silent – they knew that no one had the right to spoil this sacred moment between the two people who loved each other enough to be ready to sacrifice themselves so that the other one could live.
"Harry…" Ginny whispered, her emerald green eyes sparkling with happiness.
"Ginny…" he muttered, tears obscuring his vision. He couldn't believe that he actually had his love back… at first he didn't even perceive the change of Ginny's eye colour, which was due to the Green Flame Torch.
"I love you." she said.
"And I love you back." he caught her lips with his, pulling her into his arms, holding her close, as if he never wanted to let her go.
The twins started to snigger, Ron stepped to Hermione, taking hold of her hand, and Fleur bent her head on Bill's shoulder, while Molly burst into tears.
Sirius, Lupin and Dumbledore were smiling silently, Albus' face revealing how proud he was of both Harry and Ginny.
"Hey… enough of this, guys!" George patted Harry on the shoulder.
"Huh?" the boy let go of Ginny's lips and turned as red as the setting sun.
"Spare that for the wedding!" Fred grinned. "'Cause there will be a wedding, right?"
"Of course." Harry nodded. "As soon as possible."
"If you have waited this long, could you wait until Christmas?" Dumbledore interjected.
"Why?" Harry raised an eyebrow.
"Because back in last November I promised my students a Yule ball combined with a wedding." Albus smiled. "And I'd like to keep my word."
"Does that mean… does that mean that you'll come back, Professor Dumbledore?" Hermione's face lit up.
"Yes, Ms. Granger… I'm afraid you'll have to put up with such a crazy boss." his eyes glinted impishly. "The Ministry yesterday sent me an owl – they need me again…"
"Hey, Snapey won't be deputy-headmaster any longer!" Ron yelled with glee.
"And won't be Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher anymore, either." Dumbledore smirked. "We will be happy to have Remus back."
Lupin smiled. "I'll be glad to continue teaching."
"Cool!" George shouted. "All's well that ends well! What about a nice party now?"
"Great idea! I'm taking my Filibuster fireworks!" Fred added. "May I invite the Gryffindors, the Ravenclaws and the Hufflepuffs?"
"The Gryffindors… the Ravenclaws… and the Hufflepuffs?" Molly blanched. "How many people?"
"'bout six-hundred…" George shrugged with an angelic-innocent expression.
"Cool! I'll meet the costs!" Harry yelled. "I've won five thousand galleons at the Moon Run, after all…Don't start the party without me!"
"Why? Where are you going?" his fiancee asked.
"To India… I left my things there… and a little friend, too."
As Harry disapparated, an owl flew into the house with the daily post.
"Look! An article on Stonehenge!" Bill read out. "UFO activity mystifies Muggles at Stonehenge."
"What? What's UFO?" Ron asked.
"Unidentified Flying Object." Hermione explained. "Muggles use this expression for alien visitors from other planets."
"But… what UFOs appeared at Stonehenge?" Fred cut in.
"No UFOs." Dumbledore smiled. "But I think I know what they meant…"
"What?" Molly Weasley asked.
"Well, um, I guess Sirius was a bit over-enthusiastic when restoring Stonehenge's original state… he accidentally put all the stones back to their places where they had been millennia ago, when the whole building was built."
"And the Muggles think it was done by Martians?" George laughed.
"It seems so." Albus nodded.
"Bless them… they are so blind when magic is concerned…" Arthur grinned.
* * * * *
The Hogwarts parks and castle were covered with glittering snow and the lake with thick ice that reflected the small lights of the million stars above. The night was silent – outside.
But inside, the greatest Christmas party took place that the old castle had ever seen.
Not only streamers of holly and mistletoe were hanging from the star-lit ceiling of the Great Hall, but ribbons and huge garlands of white and pink flowers, too. Abu, the monkey used the garlands as climbing ropes.
As the evening's guest stars, the Weird Sisters started to play the rap version of the bridal march, six people entered the room: three women dressed in white escorted by three men: Ginny Weasely led by Arthur, Hermione led by Sirius and Millicent Bulstrode led by (!) Professor Snape.
They stepped to three young men, standing in tuxedos before Dumbledore.
The headmaster opened his arms:
"My friends! I am so happy to see you all standing here with faces radiating joy and love! I have to tell you that this is the evening I've been waiting for sixty years – since the day I got the authorisation from the Ministry to marry couples. Up till now I haven't had the chance to live with this right, but today… Don't worry, I'm not about to have a long speech, because I'm aware how hungry everyone is… So, let's get down to it…" he flashed the crowd with a huge smile. "As you all know we are here to witness the moment as these six people enter the holy bind of matrimony…" he turned left, "Harry, Ronald, Dudley, do you want Virginia, Hermione and Millicent to be your wives, companies and aides throughout your lives?"
"Yes, I do." Harry replied, giving his bride a bright smile.
"Me too." Ron smiled at Hermione.
"Ditto." Dudley added, still too touched by the grace of life that let him be here now. Being a Muggle he had been forbidden by McGonagall to enter Hogwarts, but given the circumstances and Dumbledore's huge heart… he was here, getting married along with his ever-so-hated cousin, whom – however strange it may sound – he didn't hate anymore.
"Wonderful!" Dumbledore said. "And now… do you, Virginia, Hermione and Millicent freely bind yourselves to Harry, Ronald and Dudley to be their companies, partners and aides all the days of your lives?"
"I do." Ginny beamed, her green eyes shining brightly.
"I do, too." Hermione answered solemnly.
"You bet." Millicent smirked.
"Excellent! And now…" the headmaster waved his wand, conjuring six golden rings. "The rings are a symbol of your love, unbroken and shining… " he watched them put the rings on one another's fingers. "Now, that you have exchanged vows and rings, I pronounce you husbands and wives. You may kiss your brides."
Harry's lips descended on Ginny's, so did Ron's on Hermione's and Dudley's on Millicent's.
Molly Weasley sniffed, wiping her joyous tears. "Oh, Arthur… our little Ginny… and Ronniekins!"
"Harry Potter marrying Ginny Wheezy! Oh, what a happy day!" Dobby blew his nose and asked Abu for a dance.
"So touching…" Fleur sighed, holding Lily. "You know, Bill…"
"Yes, honey?" Bill sleeked his two inches long hair (he decided to grow it back to its original length after the unfortunate scalping at Stonehenge.)
"You know… 'aving Lily wiz us until the end of ze school year will be a good practise for me, because your muzzer will eventhually get zat ghandchild she talked abou' last Novembehr."
"What?" Bill's eyes widened. "Honey? You… you?"
"Yes, dear." Fleur kissed him on the cheek. "Lily will 'ave a little cousin."
While the three new couples were kissing, Neville let out a sigh. *I had dreamed about this…* he remembered his dream four years earlier – the dream, in which Ginny had snowflake-crystals glittering in her hair… in which her eyes had the colour green… in which she married Harry.
"Are you all right, dear?" a woman with young face but greyish hair asked, placing her hand on Neville's shoulder.
"Yeah, I'm fine." the boy smiled at her and at the man standing next to her. "Everything happened as it was meant to be."
When Harry finally let go of his wife's inviting lips, his glance met that of Snape.
The Potions teacher seemed to struggle with his facial muscles to remain indifferent, but to no avail – for the first time in his life, Harry saw a true smile appear on Snape's face.
A certain day, five months earlier, came to Harry's mind: the party after Ginny's resurrection. Almost six hundred people were celebrating in the garden of the Burrow when Neville suddenly went as white as a sheet - as though he had seen a ghost. Then he started to run in the direction of two people: a man and a woman. They were standing at the gate with outstretched arms, their eyes glinting in their faces that were framed by greyish hair. They were still young, Harry perceived.
Neville threw his arms around the two people's necks, sobbing and quivering. The woman started to stroke his hair, tears flowing down her cheeks. The man's face expressed utter happiness and pride.
*Could it be?* Harry thought.
Voldemort's death had a tremendous impact on the whole wizarding world – the evil was dead and the evil charms due to his tyranny lost their effects on the still living victims.
Neville got his parents back.
Not much later another form appeared at the gate of the Burrow – a man in black.
Harry gulped, gazing directly into the man's eyes. He knew that Snape came to him.
He put his goblet of butterbeer down and approached the Potions teacher.
It was already dusk, but he still could see the unaccustomed light in the man's black eyes. It was a light he had never seen before.
"Professor?" Harry started. "…what?"
"Let me speak, Potter." Snape waved his hand. "It was hard enough for me to come here, don't make it even more difficult."
Harry raised an eyebrow.
"I've come to say thanks to you." Snape stated.
"Thanks?" the boy gaped. He must be hallucinating.
"Yes." Severus nodded. "You saved my life when Black wanted to kill me. Thank you."
"You don't owe me thanks for it… it was you who helped me first by loosening my bounds at Stonehenge." Harry mumbled. "Um, Professor… would you care to join us in the celebration?"
"…no… thanks." said Snape and disapparated.
Returning to the partying people, Harry mused whether he had only imagined that the professor was hesitating before turning his offer down.
"Dear?" Ginny's voice shook him out of his reveries.
"Huh? Oh, sorry, sweetheart." Harry turned back to his new wife, diverting his attention from the past back into the present.
"Shall we dance?"
Several couples were already swaying on the dance floor, Ron and Hermione, and Dumbledore with Mrs. Figg among them.
While they were dancing, Colin Creevey kept making photos of them, and Peeves started bombarding the dancers with bowls of Christmas pudding.
"Peeves!" McGonagall shouted angrily as she wiped the pink, sticky goo from her hat.
"Take it easy, Minerva." Flitwick laughed and continued whirling her around.
As McGonagall gracefully jumped back to prevent Flitwick's stilts from accidentally tripping her, Peeves – also 'accidentally', dropped one of the three wedding cakes (with five tiers) on McGonagall's head.
"You are going to pay for this, Peeves!" Minerva pointed her wand at the other two cakes, making them whoosh through the ghost's viciously grinning face, landing in Dudley's lap (look, Milli, tarts!).
"Food fight!" Seamus yelled, grabbing a juicy watermelon, sending it into a group of Slytherins. Fred and George joined in with a bowl of orange juice (aimed at Malfoy).
Draco, who didn't have his two sidekicks guarding him around, returned the favour by sending some peppermint humbugs at the twins, who jumped away from the 'missile', so that it hit professor Dumbledore. The headmaster made a swish with his wand, and with a broad smile on his face, he rewarded the originator of the peppermint humbugs with a nice, smelly onion-sauce.
Soon chaos broke out.
Sirius got bombarded with broccoli, Dobby's new maroon jumper got soaked with butterbeer and Hermione's veil got littered with salad.
Harry needed to wipe ketchup from his glasses, while Snape was cleaning his hair that got some Dijon mustard on it. (This was the first time that anyone had seen him clean his hair!)
About ten minutes later professor Dumbledore performed an all-cleaning charm, making littered food and spilt drinks disappear – to most students' greatest regret.
When they got cleaned, Harry, Ginny, Hermione and Ron sat down to a table, panting.
Hermione adjusted her veil (that had no salad on it anymore), reaching for a glass of cool champagne.
"If only my parents could be here!" she sighed. "But no, they had to go to that stupid International Dentists' Congress to Tasmania! Oh, well, this is still the most beautiful day of my life." she asserted, giving her husband a lingering kiss.
"The most beautiful day of your life, is it? Because you married me," Ron grinned. "or because of the food fight?"
"That, too." she smirked.
"Is there anything else?" Ginny asked.
"Yup." Hermione nodded. "Last week was Rita Skeeter's trial. Her being an illegal animagus was revealed by an anonymous reader of the Daily Prophet. Her sentence was four months in Azkaban and she mustn't write any articles in the rest of her life."
"An anonymous reader?" Harry raised an eyebrow.
"Uh-huh." Hermione winked. Before Harry could ask her whether that anonymous reader had been Hermione, Dudley (with macaroni hanging from his cowlicks) and his wife (with chocolate-smeared face) sat down to them.
"How could I ever thank you for this, Harry?" Dudley asked.
"For what?" his cousin swallowed some champagne.
"For making me acquainted with Milli." Dudley beamed, and put an arm around his wife.
"It is not me whom you must thank." Harry pointed out. "She came to Privet Drive, after all."
"Yes." Millicent nodded. "At that time I didn't assume that the 'most mischievous guy' whom I'd marry was not you, Harry, but Dudley."
"How came that you fell in love with each other?" Ginny inquired.
"Well… we've been sending owls to each other since last Xmas." Millicent blushed.
"Oh, I remember! Dudley gave you a present!" Hermione commented.
"Exactly." Millicent nodded. "This crystal." she pointed at the pendant hanging from her necklace. "I was angry with him at first… you know, Snape taking 200 points from Slytherin… but then I realised that he loved me… we started to exchange mails, and… everything else came…"
"How did Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon react on your relationship?" Harry wanted to know.
"Well… I didn't dare tell them until October… unfortunately Aunt Marge was still 'visiting' us…" Dudley shrugged. "She was so surprised, that she had to sit down – right on Ripper. Poor dog… but he was old, after all… Dad started to howl that he'd disown me and I'd be deprived of succession… and Mom was so shocked that we feared that she might lose the baby."
"Baby?" Harry spat out the champagne. "Another Dursley child?"
"Yeah." Dudley nodded. "He is due any time now."
"You must be very happy about having a sibling, aren't you, Dudley?" Ginny asked.
"Sure." Dudley nodded and left the table with Millicent to look for more sweets.
"Oh, no, look…" Ron spoke up, "Malfoy…"
Draco stepped to their table.
"You won't spoil my good mood, Malfoy." Ron crossed his arms.
"Shut up, Weasel, I haven't come to talk to you."
"Then what do you want? Out with it and leave, 'cause you are tainting the air." Hermione asserted with a scowl.
"I want to have a word, Potter." Draco answered.
"Nothing can spoil my happiness now, not even you, Malfoy." Harry stood up. "C'mon, let's go outside."
"What the hell does that scum want from Harry?" Ginny frowned.
"No idea." Hermione shook her head. "Bad enough for Harry having to spend another year together with this filthy… if I were Dumbledore, I wouldn't have let Malfoy come back and finish his studies."
"Neither would I." Ron agreed. "It's his fault that Harry has to repeat the seventh year."
"It's not that bad…" Ginny grinned. "He's at the same class as me…"
"I bet you've been enjoying this school year so far." Ron chuckled.
Ginny turned red and giggled into her goblet.
"Are you two still using the prefect's bathroom?" Ron asked.
"Nay." Ginny shook her head, blushing even more. "We don't want to 'entertain' Moaning Myrtle…"
"Where, then?" her brother pressed.
Now it was Hermione's turn to blush.
"You know something." Ron perceived. "Tell me!"
"You are too curious, dear." his wife pointed out.
"Ginny?" Ron turned to his sister, waiting for an explanation.
"The arithmancy classroom." Ginny admitted, avoiding Ron's stare.
Her brother looked shocked. "WHAT??? Hermione!!! You are letting them do it in your classroom???"
"Ah, don't worry, Ron. It's safe from Peeves and with a nice Quietus charm they can make themselves unnoticeable."
"Geez, I don't believe it… you were acting as their accomplice!"
Hermione chuckled. "Yeah, I was."
"I wonder what Draco could be telling Harry right now." Ginny said, just to talk about something less embarrassing, when Hagrid stepped to them.
"Hullo, guys, may I sit down?" he asked with a huge grin.
"Of course." they replied.
"Where's Harry?" the giant looked around.
"Somewhere with Malfoy." Hermione replied.
"Malfoy?" Hagrid grunted. "Can' believe! Yeh know, I think that Dumbledore made a mistake when letting that guy come back… but yeh know, I was almos' sorry fer him when his dad went mad."
"Me too." Ginny nodded. "But Lucius is all right again, isn't he?"
"Yup." Hagrid took a huge gulp of mulled mead. "Yeh know, I wanted ter tell Harry somethin'…" his eyes glinted with joy.
"What?" the other three asked.
"Olymp… she… she said yes!" the giant whispered with a dreamy face.
"Said yes? To what?" Ron gave him a questioning look.
"Ter me proposal!" Hagrid beamed.
"Proposal?" Hermione jumped up to hug him. "Congratulations, Hagrid! This is great!"
"Yes, wonderful, isn't it?" the giant smirked and downed another tankard of mulled mead.
"Great party, huh?" Headless Nick interjected, wearing a badge that indicated that its bearer was member of the Headless Hunt. "All those sweets… they make my mouth water… Pity that I cannot eat! Oh, well, never mind… Marie Antoinette! Wait for me, dear!" and he left, following a pretty headless ghost.
* * * * *
"What do you want to talk to me about?" Harry asked Draco in the corridor, wrinkling his nose. Malfoy still smelled of onion-sauce.
"Well…I… don't think that I'll ever like you, Potter…"
"Never thought you would." Harry shrugged.
"Let me finish." Draco said. "I'll never like you, but… I don't want to spend the next six months, and my whole life arguing with you. I'm tired of it."
Harry blinked. Draco must had gone crazy.
"Don't think that I'm crazy." Malfoy continued, wiping drops of orange juice from his forehead, "I'm just… um… wiser now."
"WISER?" Harry felt an urge to laugh. With orange juice dripping from his hair, Draco looked everything but wise.
"Yeah." the blonde boy nodded. "Father's madness taught me a lot… for example, that everything could go wrong anytime, and you can never be prepared enough…"
"You are planning to murder me this time to get rid of me?" Harry guessed.
Malfoy shook his head. "By saying that you never can be prepared enough I meant that you may get hurt or die anytime, and being hated by someone, or hating someone at that moment… is wrong. Terribly wrong."
"I agree." Harry nodded. "But I still don't get it. What are you driving at?"
Malfoy pursed his lips. "You aren't going to make this easy for me, are you?"
Harry grinned. "Turnabout is fair play. You never made my life easy, either. But… eventually it is you whom I have to thank my happiness."
"Me?" Draco frowned. "Explain!"
"You got Dudley give me that potion that made me lose my memories. I met Lockhart, went to Egypt with him and got to know about the Green Flame Torch that eventually saved Ginny's life. Thanks, Draco."
A smile appeared on Malfoy's sly face. "I didn't intend to make you happy… not at all."
"I never thought you did." Harry replied.
"Anyway," Malfoy carried on, "it's been too long that you and me have been grudging against each other. Time to end it."
"Bury the hatchet?"
Malfoy nodded. "Would you…?"
Harry stretched out his right hand. "'Course I would."
Draco tentatively reached out and shook his hand. "All right… but don't get complacent, Potter." he added with a malicious grin, as if fearing he looked weak for a second. "Slytherin will wipe Gryffindor off the Quidditch pitch next time."
"In your dreams, Malfoy."
* * * * *
"Who the hell invited this git?" Sirius turned to Lupin, pointing at Gilderoy Lockhart, who somehow had managed to avoid the food-bombs and was now surrounded by a dozen of groupies. He was telling them about 'his' unbelievable rescue of Abysmal sun-Amun's daughter, whose carpet happened to go berserk.
"Oh, Gilderoy, you are sooooo courageous!" Parvati sighed.
"And so clever!" Lavender added.
"And so engaged…" Lockhart finished.
"Engaged???" the witches shrieked in terror.
"Yep. I'm gonna marry Anck sun-Amun! Isn't it wonderful?"
"Oh, my, that poor girl!" George whispered to Fred and Charlie who nodded eagerly.
"This git should be forbidden to enter Hogwarts." Percy remarked.
"Exactly, dear." Penelope nodded.
"Since when are Percy and Penny together again?" Ginny asked the twins as she approached with Hermione and Ron.
"Since he managed to do it." Fred chuckled.
"Do it?" Ron raised his eyebrows.
"Uh-huh." George chortled. "Now he is like a new man. You can't recognise him – imagine, he is cheerful!"
"You don't mean it!" Ron yelled.
"But I do!" George replied.
"What's up, guys?" Harry joined in.
"Come, I'll tell you… in private." Ginny grinned.
"Coming, honey." Harry said. "By the way, Ron, thanks for the Christmas present. I haven't had the chance to thank you yet. I loved it – very funny book."
"I'm glad that you liked it" Ron smiled. "Originally I bought it for you for the previous Xmas."
"Yeah, Brother-In-Law." his friend nodded. "Now go, the Arithmancy classroom is waiting for you."
Harry turned red. "You know it…?"
"Ginny told me." Ron winked.
Harry took Ginny by the hand to lead her up into the Arithmancy classroom, when the headmaster called them aside.
The newlyweds exchanged confused looks. They had no idea what Dumbledore could want from them.
"Well, Mr. and Mrs. Potter," Albus began with a smile, "I have good news for you."
"Good news, sir?" Harry asked.
"Yes." Dumbledore nodded. "Since this is an unaccustomed situation, you know, no students have ever got married here yet… so, I discussed it with the staff and they agreed… well, with the exception of Professor Snape, of course."
"Agreed? On what?" Ginny wondered.
"On giving you two a small room just to yourselves."
"What?" the newlyweds gaped.
"I know, I know, it sounds a bit like we deliberately allowed you two to do some rule-breaking, but… you are married, so there's nothing wrong about you two sharing a room, is there?"
Harry and Ginny's glance met, and a wicked grin spread on their faces. "NO! NOTHING AT ALL!" they shook their heads frantically.
"Good." Dumbledore nodded. "I was sure you wouldn't refuse. So… it is a disused room on the ground-floor, right under Professor McGonagall's room." he leaned closer to whisper: "If you would only try and make not too much noise… if you get what I mean…"
Harry stifled a laughter but Ginny couldn't help giggling.
"I got Mr. Filch to tidy that room up a bit… he quarrelled of course, saying that such allowances will plunge the school into immorality, but, between the three of us, who cares what that barmy old codger is saying?"
The newlyweds couldn't help but strongly agree.
"So, the room is cleaned, a double bed is installed, there's only one thing… you have to share that room with the old Hogwarts parchment book."
"Oh, that book!" Harry nodded. "No problem, sir. As long as it doesn't disturb us, we won't disturb it, either."
"Very well then, have fun, kids… um, just one more thing... I would never have expected that the greatest scandal of Hogwarts history would end this well." Dumbledore winked at them and turned to the crowd with a magically magnified voice: "A moment, please! Before the new couples leave somewhere," he gave Harry a meaningful look, "an important part of the wedding ceremony has to be performed… the brides have to throw their bouquets!"
Loud murmur ran down the hall – laughter and excited squeals.
Ginny grinned at Hermione, who stepped to Dumbledore, followed by Millicent.
"An important rule is, "Albus carried on, "that no one may use magic now! Please, ladies, put your wands away and fight down the temptation to shout 'Accio bouquet'!"
The Great Hall burst out laughing.
"Now, on the count of three…" Albus smiled. "One, two, three!"
The brides threw their bouquets, standing with their backs turned on the crowd.
Ginny's bouquet landed in Penelope's hand, making Percy turn ruby red.
Hermione's fell into McGonagall's lap – the professor stared at the bouquet in shock, not even hearing the malicious chortling around her.
Millicent's bouquet swooped through the hall like an arrow, smashing against Fred's forehead. "What the…" Fred cursed, massaging his forehead, when he felt an arm go round his waist.
"I knew it… I just knew it, dearest." Angelina winked at him, while George patted his twin on the back compassionately.
"You poor, poor fellow…"
* * * * *
"Ah, Sybill! How nice to see you here!" Dumbledore greeted the Divination teacher as she entered the Great Hall.
"Oh, yes, Albus…" Trelawney gave him a mysterious look. "I was in my room, deep in my thoughts about death when I felt an urge to have a look at my crystal."
"And what did you see in it?" Dumbledore raised an eyebrow, expecting the most horrendous prediction ever.
"Oh, you won't believe it!" Sybill replied indignantly. "I saw… the future of the Potter-Weasley-Granger family…"
"And? What terrible accident is going to happen to them?" the headmaster looked amused. "Plane crash? Beheading? The Grim?"
"No, no, no." Trelawney said with an extremely suffering expression. "The crystal told me… that they would happily live ever after!"
"Oh, how terrible!" Albus clasped his hands.
Sybill's glance fell upon Ron and Hermione. "By the way, Albus, are the rumours true about the Weasleys' new situation?"
"Very much so." Dumbledore replied.
"I fear I don't know the whole story. Would you be so kind and tell me?"
"Oh, yes, of course." the headmaster smiled. "Centuries and centuries ago the Weasleys were a well-to-do family. During the goblin revolution of 1216… or 1612…?" he leaned closer to whisper: "Please, Sybill, don't mention to Professor Binns that I'm mixing up the years… so, Herold Weasley, - I guess that was his name - the head of the family, buried his treasures in his country estate to keep them safe from the rampaging, plundering goblins. Then Herold fled to Papua New-Guinea… or New Zealand? Never mind. So he fled from a vicious goblin called Harry the Harrier, if my memory serves me well. This goblin allegedly had sworn to kill him. Unfortunately Herold got lost in that far country. Presumably he had been eaten by a lethifold, ((A/N: for reference, see Fantastic Beasts and where to find them)) but it has never been proven." Albus shrugged. "Maybe he just ran off with the neighbour's pretty wife."
Sybill raised her eyebrows in disapproval, but the headmaster carried on. "Since no relatives of Herold knew where he'd hidden their money, they all began to search for it, but never found it. Soon they got into debt, sold their mansion and moved to their country estate, into the village of Ottery St. Catchpole. Since then, the Weasley family had been poor – until the previous summer, when Ron's niffler Wendelin found a huge crate of golden galleons in Molly's cabbage patch." Dumbledore reached out for a glass of pumpkin juice. "Yeah, that's the story of it, Sybill. While the Malfoys sank into poverty, the Weasleys became rich again. Ron got his share of the family heritage and opened a broomstick shop and repairing service in Hogsmead as you might have heard. He repairs all kinds of brooms with all kinds of problems… you know, from broken handles to tricky hurling hexes. In my humble opinion the Weasleys deserved their fortune. I for one, frequently visit Ron in his shop – just to take pleasure in all those beautiful brooms. My favourite is his Rocket 3000."
* * * * *
"So, what were the twins sniggering about?" Harry asked his wife as they left the Great Hall.
"Well… you remember what I told you about Percy? About his, um… problem?"
"Well, it's solved."
"Viagra?" Harry grinned.
"What?" Ginny raised an eyebrow.
"Ah, never mind." he smirked. "So, how was it solved?"
"Dunno… but he managed it."
"That's good news." he took her by the hand, leading her down the corridor.
"Yes, and there's another good news in the family."
"Fleur's expecting a baby."
"Oh, great. Bill must be very happy… hopefully it will be a girl… a little veela." Harry opened the door of their cosy little room.
"Oh, how nice, isn't it, Harry?"
"Yeah. Filch made a good job." the boy peered into the room. There were beautiful deep blue curtains on the windows, forget-me-not blue tapestry on the walls (not purple anymore), and a huge bed stood in a corner. In the middle of the room, there was a small dais with the parchment book. Neither Harry nor Ginny bothered to examine it up close – their minds were on something else.
The new husband scooped his wife up and carried her over the curb.
"Welcome to our home sweet home, my dearest." he said, putting a 'Do not disturb' sign on the outside of the door.
Ginny gave him a brilliant smile. "I guess we'll be enjoying our time here, won't we?"
"No doubt that we will." Harry replied. "By the way, where are Hermione and Ron going to spend their wedding-night? In Hermione's bedroom?"
"No." Ginny shook her head, unbuttoning Harry's tuxedo. "In Hogsmeade. You know, in Ron's apartment, above his shop.
"Uh-huh." Harry unfastened Ginny's belt as she started to plant small kisses on his forehead (scar included), nose, lips and neck, while fumbling with Harry's zipper.
He hastily rid her of her dress, playing with her copper tresses and whispering loving words into her ears.
"Don't you think that the guests will be looking for us?" Harry asked between two hot kisses, undoing the clasps of her bra.
"We'll be back before the party ends." she giggled. "Or not…"
"Who's taking care of Lily?"
"Mom and Fleur." Ginny replied, caressing his muscled chest, making him moan with desire.
"It's bad that… oh, dear… ooooh, deeeear… it's bad, that we always need to ask others to take care of our baby." Harry commented with laboured breath, dropping his trousers that he started to feel too tight in certain areas.
"We only have to wait until we end this school-year and move into Sirius' house." Ginny continued pleasuring him. "There we'll always have our daughter and son with us."
Harry blinked. "Our son? You've drunk too much champagne, haven't you, dear? We have only a daughter."
"Yet." she replied with a mischievous grin.
"What'd ya mean?" he looked confused.
"I mean that it seems to be a tradition by us…" Ginny placed her hands on her abdomen.
"A tradition?… What?" Harry swallowed the lump in this throat as understanding slowly dawned on him.
"That we always forget to use protection…"
"Forget????" Harry breathed. "I thought we didn't forget it… did we?"
"We must have… at least once." she saw the half-frightened, half-enraptured expression on her husband's face. "Are you happy? At least a bit?"
"Happy??? No." Harry shook his head. Seeing tears brimming Ginny's eyes, he hastily added: "I'm not happy… I'M DELIGHTED!" With that he lifted her off the ground, whirling her around as though she weighed nothing more than a feather.
"Put me down!" she squealed, pummeling Harry's shoulder's with her fists, giggling. "Put me down you shaggy nitwit!" as he gently let her back onto the floor, she pulled his face down for a kiss. "You scared me, silly." she said, now tears of joy brimming her eyes.
"How could you think that I wouldn't be over-delighted to have another kid, huh?" Harry reached out to wipe her tears. "It'll provide a great opportunity for another scandal…"
"Another scandal?" Ginny furrowed her brow. "But Baby-Boy-Potter won't be born out of wedlock like Lily was…"
"No, he won't." Harry smirked. "But people CAN count, you know."
"Oh, yeah, maybe." Ginny chuckled, pulling Harry down with herself, onto the bed. "But you know what? I don't care for another scandal…"
"Neither do I." Harry grinned and bent down to kiss her again when they heard a strange, sizzling noise.
They looked around to see that the quill on the parchment book had set into motion.
"Let's have a look at it." Harry took Ginny by the hand and led her to the small dais.
They peered into The Hogwarts Parchment book and their eyes widened in surprise.
"I don't believe it!" Harry breathed.
"Does it mean…?" Ginny asked.
"It has to." her young husband replied. "But it's… it's simply too good to be true…"
"It has to be true, though… the magic quill is always right!"
"Yeah…" the wickedest grin Ginny had ever seen, spread on Harry's face. "It has to be true… imagine their faces when they receive the letter in green ink…" he barely could hold back his laughter. "This is… this is the greatest disaster that could happen to them…"
"I almost feel sorry for them." Ginny commented with a malignant smirk.
"Almost." Harry winked at his wife, putting his arm around her. She bent her head on his shoulder, and both of them stared incredulously at the single line that the quill had written:
David Dursley, born 25th December 1998, parents: Vernon and Petunia Dursley
A/N2: okay, that was it. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Whether Sybill's statement "…they would happily live ever after!" will be true or not, you'll find out from the sequel, coming in a couple of months :-)
Thank you once more for reading (and reviewing), bye!