See chapter 1 for notes, disclaimer, and everything…
IMPORTANT NOTE: I'm reposting this because I like things to be clear and clean, but this is the last of Drusilla Dax (congratulations on the silence).
Cedric knew how much Severus loved Harry, and the older student asked his Potions master to help him bind himself to Harry with an Unbreakable Vow. Severus knew that it would be a good thing for Harry; therefore he agreed to teach Cedric the spell. Fleur and Viktor were bound to Severus, but once they'd understood how serious the situation was, they agreed to repeat the spell and be bound to Cedric, who was bound to Harry.
Cedric, who was a member of Dumbledore's Brigade, suggested that they all take an Unbreakable Vow for their own security. All the Hufflepuffs in their third year and above joined the Brigade; most of the Ravenclaws and Gryffindors followed suit, as well as a good number of Slytherins. The students felt that there was something odd in the air, and they didn't want to be powerless. In the end, it was Kelly Gibbs who used her gift to determine who could be trusted and welcomed into the Brigade.
After the first task of the tournament, where the champions had to face dragons, students from the guest schools joined the younger resistance, thus transforming the Brigade into the International Gathering against the Darkness - the IGAD.
A few professors noticed that the students were all a bit tired - and that they were working harder than usual - but they never imagined that their students were training hard and sharing spells that were specialties of their respective regions. Kelly had made friends in her native country, and they sent her books and parchments to help her in her fight. Hermione and a few other Ravenclaws were travelling with their parents during the holidays, and they'd made friends in many countries. The secret IGAD began to spread steadily.
In the middle of all that, one tradition of the tournament allowed the students to rest a bit and enjoy themselves: a ball was organized.
The Yule Ball was a real success.
There were a few couples that were a given: Kelly and Draco, Ron and Hermione, Harry and Ginny, Cedric and the Ravenclaw Cho Chang. But a few couples came as a surprise: Pansy invited Blaise and Neville, Crabbe and Goyle went together - and bravely told the few who'd criticized them that they were Purebloods, and not bigoted like Muggles; in fact, considering Riddle's madness and bigotry, it was borderline foolish to come out when they did - however, Hermione pointed out that they had the right to have fun like anyone else, especially if it were to be their last free Yule, should Riddle win, in spite of all the measures taken against him.
During the ball, Minerva and Severus played a game. They made a ball of mistletoe float in the air and chase Remus and Tonks - the one who'd made them kiss the most won. The young couple retreated to a quiet part of the castle to enjoy a nice evening without magic above them.
The ball was the last quiet time before the end of the war, but all the soldiers deserved a treat.
The four champions kept working together to prepare themselves for the second task.
Crouch was so focussed on the ritual to give Riddle his body, and on the final trap for Harry that he didn't see that the champions were not exactly competing against each other.
For the last task, the champions had to find their way through a magical maze and find the trophy that would determine the winner.
Viktor and Fleur had to call for help after just a few minutes, and Cedric would have had to do the same if Harry hadn't come to his rescue. Both boys walked towards the centre of the maze where the trophy was.
'What do you say we take it together?' Harry suggested.
'What do you say we check it's not a trap?' Cedric answered with a wide smile.
'Got a point, Mate!' Harry conceded, blushing.
Cedric was about to cast a spell when Mrs Crouch stunned him. She pointed her wand at Harry and made him walk toward the trophy.
'My son is going to live forever now. He needs you. Take the trophy,' the demented witch ordered.
Kelly's cat, Serena, distracted the witch. Harry was ready to stun her, but she was slightly faster than him. Harry's spell hit her just as the trophy, that was a concealed Portkey, hit him and transported him to the garden of the Riddle estate. Serena found herself all alone, but the brave cat ran to her mistress and was able to guide Dumbledore, his staff, and his guests to Cedric and Mrs Crouch.
Cedric was freed, and the witch arrested.
There was no sign of the fake Crouch Sr around, and Moody found the real one in the cellar of the Crouches residence. The real Crouch said that his son had planned to start harbouring the Dark Lord's soul that very night.
Kelly, who'd stayed in the centre of the maze, suddenly took Severus's hand, and she warned her professor that Harry was coming back. At first, Severus only saw the trophy, but then he spotted Harry's Animagus form wrapped around one of the trophy's handles; he placed himself strategically between Harry and the others, and whispered Harry to transform back. No one saw anything odd, which delighted Severus.
'I have news,' Harry declared.
The Macnairs' first born had been killed, and Riddle's soul was inside Crouch's body, where only Crouch's memories and knowledge survived.
The war had started again.
It took Riddle months to reconstitute his ranks. He'd lost followers, like Bellatrix; others had decided to leave the ranks of the Death Eaters - Severus had been the first, followed by the Malfoys, the Crabbes and the Goyles, and Karkaroff, as well.
However, power-crazed people were easy to find, and Riddle had decades of experience, and with the ruse of using the not-unpleasant body of a young Death Eater, finding new followers wasn't too difficult.
What Riddle really needed was to find a way to lure Harry somewhere to duel the boy, who would turn sixteen in only a few months.
Riddle came up with a plan that was daring - and that caused his downfall.
Information was gathered, a sort of commando sent, and Nana Mallard was abducted as she was having a quiet lunch with Ollivander in a Muggle restaurant in London.
A raven informed Harry that Mrs Mallard would be exchanged for him in the heart of the Forbidden Forest near Hogwarts.
Riddle couldn't have picked a worse location for himself.
There were many creatures in there, who wanted nothing more than a piece of him.
At the appointed time, Harry arrived with his entire extended family, Moody's Aurors, the Order of the Phoenix, the school staff, a few extra NCIS and FBI agents (including the retired Fornell, and Eppes and his new team), a couple of Voodoo priests, Master Ichi; Kitty, Kreacher, Dobby and all the Hogwarts house-elves, the Centaurs and a horde of unicorns.
Riddle and his followers knew they were in trouble when the entire population of Hogsmeade, and all the students of Hogwarts surrounded them, too.
'Now, you're in trouble, Boy,' Nana Mallard declared with a smirk.
'You are an old fool, Squib,' Riddle spat.
Mrs Mallard slapped him and said, 'The trolls who educated you did a pitiful job.'
Riddle tried to curse her and began to say the Cruciatus curse when Harry, who knew the secrets of his wand, cast a simple spell at the Dark wizard. The two wands, which shared a core that prevented them from fighting each other, locked together.
'I believe in you, Harry,' Luna said loud and clear, her trust adding magic to Harry's side.
Soon, Harry's friends, bound by the same Vow and the same ideal, repeated Luna's words, and Harry's strength grew with the love of his friends and family.
Severus placed himself right behind Harry and sent him thoughts of love, telling him how proud he was.
Then, the echo of Riddle's latest victims joined the battlefield. When Lily and James became visible, Harry - even though he was really young and just about to sit for his O. - found the strength within himself to do his best to end that fight here and there.
Riddle had to stop his spell and move slightly. It was all Mrs Mallard needed to punch him; as he recovered from the surprising attack, Leila used one of her native spells to transport Mrs Mallard to the safety of the Order ranks, while Ziva summoned Riddle's wand.
As Riddle summoned the wand of a Death Eater, Dumbledore swapped his wand with Harry's. The Elder Wand should protect Harry in the impending fight.
'I must kill you, Harry,' Riddle declared.
Absolutely all of them turned towards the one who had spoken - Shannon Gibbs.
'The Prophecy says that one of you has to die,' she explained. 'And Prophecies can change and alter.'
'What do you think you can do, pitiful Muggle?' Riddle inquired.
Shannon aimed the Sig Sauer that Mike had agreed to lend her and shot as she said, 'I can help.'
She'd aimed for the head, but a Protection spell made the bullet enter Riddle's right shoulder. That would slow him down, but not stop him.
Light and Dark started fighting - the Dark side was losing within a few minutes, notably thanks to Kitty and Kreacher.
The wounded Riddle was focussing on Harry, and he pushed him towards a quieter area of the forest, or so he thought.
Harry had to back against a huge tree as Riddle walked towards him.
'All alone, Potter. Just you and me, and now I can end what I started the night I killed your parents,' Riddle declared.
'NO WAY IN HELL!'
Ginny was a petite witch, but she was louder than even her mother when she was yelling at the twins.
'My! Another witch ready to die for you,' Riddle said.
'I'm not going to die,' Ginny said.
'Why?' Riddle inquired, pretending to be interested.
'Because Kitty, you know, the adorable elf whose son you murdered? Because she taught me how to deal with you,' Ginny explained coldly.
'What can you do, little girl?' Riddle asked, almost laughing.
'Like Lily, Kitty, Nana, Shannon, Kelly, Abby, and like all his Protectors, I can defend Harry,' she said. She took a deep breath, knowing that Kitty had given her the last clue to transform into her Animagus form, and she said the spell.
Riddle blinked repeatedly and licked his lips several times when he found himself face to face with a small dragon.
Ginny didn't want to find herself in Severus's place and have to live her life without Harry - she was young, but she'd been in love with Harry even before they met. She took a deep breath and felt the fire of her anger spread in her lungs. When it was too strong, she opened her mouth and the magical fire dealt with Riddle.
Kitty joined Ginny and Harry and told them to go back to the others. Ginny grabbed Harry's uniform and threw him on her back; she opened her wings, and flew to help the rest of the family. When the Death Eaters who were still fighting saw Harry on a dragon, they surrendered.
Riddle was still burning when Kitty asked Aragog, the giant spider who was a friend of Hagrid's, if the younger spiders would like to eat him. One minute later, there was not a bone to be found.
While the Aurors were shipping the Death Eaters straight to Azkaban to interrogate them in order to know where the Aurors could capture the remaining minions who'd stayed back, Ginny was stuck in dragon form.
Minerva, Abby and Sirius tried to help her, but it was only when Harry transformed into a snake and guided her back to human form that she made it.
Harry announced that Riddle had been dealt with, and with a cheeky grin, he apologized for needing to be registered at the Ministry as an Animagus alongside Ginny.
'That's my boy,' Sirius said with a chuckle.
'Okay, he's your boy, but we're so proud of him,' Sirius added.
Severus beamed quietly.
'Let's go back to the castle, we need to celebrate,' Dumbledore declared.
'We must start studying for our exams!' Hermione exclaimed.
Ron pecked her cheek and said, 'Tomorrow, 'Mione, tomorrow.'
She agreed that a few hours of quiet, free from stress, would be most welcome - and Master Ichi told her that it was for the best... and the Secretary to Education promised that they'd all get an Outstanding mark in Defence, which made her very happy.
Quiet - real quiet - settled over the British Isles.
The kids, however, stayed in touch with their foreign friends even after the end of the war; the adults were convinced that they'd change the face of the world in a few years.
Things didn't change overnight, but they did change.
Minister Fudge was tired of being a politician, and Sirius Todd thought that replacing the Minister for Magic would be the best way to pass the laws that he thought would improve education in the country.
Minister Todd was quite popular, and with the help of the Muggle Prime Minister, he changed the system and created a brand new magical Department that worked with volunteer civil servants and magical citizens who agreed to show magic to magical children born to Muggle families. After a few years, the system was widened to include au pair certified wizards and witches who stayed with Muggle families who wanted their children to get used to their future world.
Sirius and Kate gave Mark twin sisters, Jane and Emma, who might turn out to be even more inventive than the renowned Weasley twins. Kreacher was delighted to take care of the Todds - and he took care of his own daughter when Kitty, with whom he'd started a gentle relationship, was too busy herself.
Harry had been the one to suggest that the baby elf be named Lily. As a free elf, she'd be very powerful, but there was so much love around her that there was no risk of her turning Dark.
Soon after the end of the war, there were two weddings.
First, DiNozzo married Ziva; the ladies at NCIS had agreed on a schedule for their pregnancies (which the men never questioned - wisely), and Ziva gave birth to a baby wizard a year after Abby had a baby witch.
Anna Gibbs would be the first witch to go to Morticia Addams' Academy for Witches, but since it was so close to NCIS, it became the agents' favourite school for their little witches. The wizards were sent to a brand new school - a school founded by Fornell and his wife.
The second wedding, a few weeks after the DiNozzos, was for Remus and Nymphadora. Abby performed the ceremony - and reminded Remus that he'd lost a bet and that Abby would be the one to choose their first-born's name. Fortunately, Nymphadora Lupin liked "Ted" a lot. Abby became Ted's godmother and Harry his godfather.
A strange consequence of the war in England was that Alan O'Neill found an unusual companion.
When Kitty had called Fornell and Don Eppes to tell them their help would be needed, Eppes's younger brother had insisted on coming to help with the strategic aspect of the war. Charlie and his wife Amita had stayed with Alan. Amita was quite a special lady, and she'd encouraged Charlie and Alan to date - and more. Now, the Eppeses were living with Alan; Charlie and Amita were teaching in London, and Alan was taking care of their cluster's little princess, Dharma.
Amita and Alan were not the least interested in each other, but they were a family, and Amita insisted on the fact that Alan was Dharma's other Dad. They were a very happy cluster.
Kingsley Shacklebolt moved in a flat next to their house when Dharma made one of her cuddly toys float to her when she was barely two. Dharma grew up thinking that Kingsley was her uncle, and Amita encouraged it; they were a happy, unconventional family, and the Muggle lady of the house was happy to have a wizard around to balance her two Squibs. From time to time, Alan invited his old friend Severus to come and play with their daughter, which Severus absolutely loved.
The year Harry was reading for his N.E. , there were two big events for the Weasleys. Bill married Fleur Delacour, and the twins started their own business - with Severus's help and funding. They opened a shop in Hogsmeade and sold fun to wizards and witches of all ages; it was a great success.
The children were planning their life after Hogwarts.
Hermione was to become Sirius's assistant. The new Minister for Magic knew that the young Ravenclaw would be invaluable in his Cabinet. Ron had proposed to her, and Sirius would be the one performing the ceremony. Ron wanted a bit of adventure, and he would become Nymphadora's Auror trainee for three years.
The Malfoys had moved back to their Manor right after the end of the war, and Lucius decided to help his cousin Sirius; being on the good side of the Minister was a wise and good political move.
Patrick and Sophie were happy children, and they loved their future sister, Kelly Gibbs. Even Lucius had warmed up to Kelly, and when Narcissa had told him how she'd tricked him into accepting the Muggle-born witch, Lucius admitted that his wife had been right.
Kelly and Draco would become tutors in the US - until they started a family of their own, and then Kelly had agreed to come back to the UK for good and to help in Sirius's new Department for Muggle-born magical children.
Vincent and Gregory were the first to actually tie the knot among their friends. Their parents were surprised, but they didn't veto the bonding.
Things didn't go as smoothly for poor Neville, whose irascible grandmother tried to stop his bonding with Pansy and Blaise. In the end, it was Moody and Mike who convinced the old lady to shut up.
Harry was the last to get married, which was logical since he had to wait for the love of his life to sit for her final exams, one year after he did.
Ollivander was completely reconciled with Victoria Mallard, so much so that he'd asked her if he could take her surname and be Donald's father officially - mother and son had agreed. The best wand-maker of the country was walking on clouds - and he was even happier when Harry announced that he'd like to become his apprentice. The only thing Harry wanted was a quiet life.
With the amount of money and the number of properties that Harry inherited when he came of age, he could have spent his life watching the grass grow, but he wanted to do something nice - and very calm.
Ginny was a very good Slytherin, and she was planning to work for the Ministry and develop the International Gathering against the Darkness officially. There had not been a Magical World War yet, but Ginevra Weasley didn't want a Dark Lord or Lady to threaten her life, her Harry, and - if they were blessed - their children, too.
Gil Grissom visited from time to time; he was among the guests at Harry and Ginny's wedding. The ceremony was moving, and for once, Severus attended the wedding. He'd borrowed the Resurrection Stone and walked with Lily and James by his side all day long. Master Ichi knew what his disciple was doing, and he knew that Severus was ready to hear his conclusion.
'Yes, Master?' Severus asked obediently.
'You must keep learning as much as you can. In your next incarnation, when you meet your sweet flower again, then you will be ready to live with her, then you will be worthy,' Ichi declared.
'But, Master...' Severus's voice trailed off.
'Yes?' the Master asked, a small smile gracing his lips.
'How will I remember?' Severus inquired.
'I thought you said you could stop Death himself. Can't you devise a way to remember everything about your love?' Ichi asked in answer.
Severus had already invented several intricate potions. He might need to spend the rest of this incarnation working on a potion to help him remember, but he would do it, and the next time he was on Earth, he'd look for Lily's next incarnation, and he'd love her for all eternity.
Ginny was the first to spot the ring on Severus's hand, even though he was trying to hide it, thanks to his cuffs. She told Harry, and right after the ceremony Severus found himself in a crushing hug.
Harry no longer was Ducky's ward and Severus's little protégé, but he loved both men dearly, and he told the whole world just how much they meant to him right before Ron and Kelly proceeded to embarrass him with their own speeches.
The party was beautiful, and everybody in Harry's family of the heart was there to see him melt like an idiot in front of his beloved wife.
Harry didn't want to even imagine what his life would have been if "Clothilde", Ducky's car, hadn't had a slight problem when she did. Both Ducky and Harry were quite fond of that faithful car - when their family couldn't find either of them, they knew they had to be in the Burrow's garage, taking care of the engine or something; even Severus developed a fondness for her.
Life without Clothilde's little hiccough would have been so much different.
A few months after Harry and Ginny's wedding, Harry Floo'ed with her to Severus's quarters in Hogwarts. The Head of Slytherin was there, planning the Yule celebrations with Ducky and Remus.
Ginny was shopping in Diagon alley, and she'd slipped on iced cobblestones. Harry was afraid that she might have broken her ankle.
In spite of the pain, Ginny was merry because her beloved husband had brought her where his dads were, not to the hospital.
Ducky examined her gladly.
'Sprained ankle, my Sweet,' Ducky announced. He turned to Severus and asked, 'Would you have a potion to help her?'
Severus, who was sitting on the armrest of Ginny's chair, was about to stand up when she grabbed his hand.
'Ginny?' Severus asked.
'I... er... I think you should check if I can take that potion first,' she mumbled, blushing.
'Gin?' Harry said, lost.
'I slipped on the ice because I felt dizzy, so I'm wondering if...' her voice trailed off.
Ducky couldn't cast the spell, Harry was blinking, and Severus was gaping. Remus, who'd learnt the spell to diagnose pregnancy, cast it on Ginny.
'Congratulations, Mrs Potter!' Remus said joyfully.
Severus was so surprised that all he could think of saying was, 'I don't have any harmless potion for pregnant witches.'
'I guess we'll have to go to St Mungo's after all,' Harry said, beaming. He kissed Ginny and said, 'We're going to have a baby!'
Ginny giggled with glee, her ankle almost forgotten.
Harry gathered Ginny in his arms again and waltzed to the fireplace. 'Dads, don't tell the others just yet, I want to be there to see their faces,' Harry said.
Severus and Ducky nodded, still a bit stunned.
Harry and Ginny disappeared in bright green flames, and then Remus chuckled.
'Ducky, Sev, congratulations gentlemen, you're going to be grandfathers!' Remus said.
Severus didn't protest at the nickname this time.
'We'll be uncles for this baby,' Ducky protested.
Remus went to hug both men, and he looked at Ducky as he snorted, 'Yeah, right! And I'm a goblin! Ginny and Harry don't care about DNA. You're going to be that kid's grandfathers - both of you.'
'Gibbs and Mr Palmer are going to hate me, but I'm going to retire. I want to be here to see the next generation of Potters,' Ducky said.
Severus hugged his father. 'I'll be happy to have you here all year round, Dad,' he said.
'Next Yule is going to be even better than this one!' Remus said.
'I predict a gigantic tree in the Great Hall with all the kids we'll have at the Yule party,' Severus said.
Before Harry came back with a healed Ginny, Abby and Kelly Apparated to the UK and Floo'ed to Hogwarts to ask the three men if their respective visions were true. They'd both seen something powerful and happy, but since it concerned members of their family, it wasn't completely clear.
The Weasleys were all ecstatic, but it was nothing compared to all the Mallards.
Ginny decided that Ducky would be the one to help her during the delivery - and Harry and Severus would hold her.
A few weeks before the delivery of their baby, whose gender they'd decided to keep a surprise, Severus told his son and daughter that he'd invented a potion that would help Ginny. All the ladies around Severus begged him to share the potion with them, and the Sciutos sold the recipe in Severus's name to the same lab, half-Muggle, half-magical, that was selling the potion had had restored Nana Mallard's brain cells.
Severus only wanted his daughter not to be in pain, and it worked beautifully.
On a bright morning of mid-July, Ginny gave birth to a boy. Fawkes arrived a few minutes later, and it was the signal Albus sent to say that the child was in the Hogwarts' Register.
Ginny felt no pain, but she was dreadfully tired.
Their son was in Harry's arms as he sat next to his wife.
Tears of happiness were rolling down the cheeks of Harry and his two dads.
'You should go introduce him to the rest of the family, Darling,' Severus said, knowing that the family was waiting in the Burrow's parlour - and that the room was about to explode in spite of Kitty's magic on the walls.
'I want Draco and Kitty to be his godparents,' Ginny declared.
'Anything you want, Love,' Harry said, mesmerized by his son.
'You'll have to take my mum and Dada Ducky and Dada Sev with you when you introduce him,' Ginny said to tease both men.
It was the first time she'd dared to call them that, but the names would stick.
'We'll go when you're asleep, Love,' Harry told her.
'M'kay,' she said softly, beginning to drift off to sleep.
'Did you choose a name?' Ducky inquired.
'Yep! Our first-born is Sevald James Leroy Potter,' Harry said.
'Sevald? Why did you create such a name?' Ducky and Severus asked at the same time.
'Because I wanted to show you both how much I love you. James Potter is my father, Uncle Jethro is my Muggle role-model, and you two... you're both my dads,' Harry explained as he blushed more than an overripe tomato.
Just before falling asleep, Ginny added something that made their unusual family melt with happiness - and laugh heartily at the same time, 'And because there was no way I'd have agreed to call our baby Donerus.'