Author's notes at end of chapter.
Chapter 18: Epilogue
As Harry, along with his friends and family, made their way towards his home, three other men were all traveling to different locations. Each of them had played a part in the events of the past year, and each had done it for different reasons. Now as things were winding down from the chaos of the past few weeks, they all had time to think about what they would do next, and how Harry Potter would play a part in those plans.
Albus Dumbledore was currently on his way to a meeting with the Minister of Magic. He had been summoned to try and explain what had lead to the deaths of two of his professors. That would be no easy task considering he only had a vague idea of what had occurred in the third floor corridor. After all his careful planning, Harry and his friends had managed to not only find the stone and defeat Voldemort, but Harry's accursed guardian had also managed to prevent him from rushing in at the last moment to save Harry.
"That would have made Harry rely on me more," Albus thought as he arrived at the Ministry. "Instead I find myself trapped in my own office until after it's all over."
Dumbledore was still furious that he had been trapped in his own office for so long. Not even Fawkes had been able to leave the room, and it was supposed to be impossible to stop a phoenix. When it was all said and done, Quirrell was dead, although that had been expected, but so was Severus. His one and only spy inside Voldemort's inner circle was gone, and Dumbledore did not hold any hope of finding another one.
"I must find a way to make Harry rely on my more," fumed the old man. "Everything depends on it."
As Albus was reaching the door to the Minister's office, several hundred miles away, a sickly looking black cat was limping across an empty lot in Ipswitch. If anyone looked at the cat they would think it was ill, and they would not be far off, but what ailed this poor creature was the spirit of a man that refused to die. Voldemort had found the poor animal in Hogsmeade, and had forced it to carry him as quickly as possible from the sight of his most recent defeat.
It had taken the poor animal several days to get this far, every step bringing it one step closer to death, and Voldemort had little hope that creature would make it much further. Not that it mattered to the Dark Lord because as soon as they reached Felixstowe, he would transfer to a rat on one of the ships docked there and make his way off this damned island and back to the relative safety of France, and eventually the dark forests of Albania. There he would hide once more until he was able to formulate a plan that would allow him to return to power. He would have no problem finding bodies to inhabit as he formulated his strategy.
"Then I will have my revenge on Harry Potter, and the man that prevented me from getting my hands on the stone," thought Voldemort as he pushed his dyeing host to start moving again. "I just need to find a rat, and I will be on my way to power again."
Even further away, literally a world away, another man waited for his most recent journey to reach its conclusion. As the long white boat he was riding in finally came to rest against the white stone pier, the captain jumped out gracefully to tie the boat off. The captain, a young woman of exceptional beauty, went about her duties quickly and efficiently as her passengers gathered their things and prepared to disembark. An older man and his wife were talking together in whispers as the captain watched with a secretive smile on her face. She thought they looked as if they were truly in love with one another, and that could not be a bad thing.
As the man and his wife of many years stepped off the boat, the remaining two passengers stayed behind. One of them seemed to be sleeping, the sunlight making him look peaceful and relaxed. The other man, neither young nor old, sat near the sleeping man and waited for his companion to wake up. After server minutes, the sleeping man finally opened his eyes and stretched. He looked around, seeming rather surprised by his current location.
"Finally decided to rejoin the living?" chuckled the other man. "I was starting to think you would sleep forever."
"I was asleep?" asked the confused man. "For how long?"
"Oh, just long enough for us to get here," replied the first man. "Now that you're awake, we can head up to the castle. We have much to talk about, you and I."
The formerly sleeping man looked up at the castle in the distance. The white stone structure looked more like something out of a child's fairytale than anything he had ever seen before. The white towers were impossibly delicate, shining in the sunlight. Not designed for war, it was a work of magnificent art.
"Where is this place?"
"Oh, just a little place I like to call home," answered Mr. Knight, standing and stretching after his long journey. "It has many names, but I like to call it Avalon."
The other man, his eyes looking rather wild, swallowed hard at these words. "Am I dead then?"
Mr. Knight chuckled as he stepped out of the boat. "Not exactly, but I'll explain all of that in time. For now we have to get you settled, and then we have to talk with Nicholas."
"But why am I here?"
"We have a great deal of work to do, if we are to help Harry defeat Voldemort," replied Mr. Knight with a smile. "Work that I think you are perfectly suited to help me with, Severus."
AN: Oh dear… that was a very short final chapter. It's almost as if I'm just teasing you. Well, maybe I am. Whatever the case may be, I want you all to know how much I appreciate you reading this story.
I'll be taking a little time off to work on an original project, and on a story dealing with another beloved series. After that is done, I'll be returning to work on the next story in this series. The next title will be, Harry Potter and Slytherin's Secret. I'm not going to tell you a lot about it right now since as I want it all to be a surprise.
Once again, I want to thank my lovely and talented betas, C & M, for all their hard work. Without them, I doubt this story would be anywhere near as good as it is.
So, for now, I will bid you a fond farewell.