– EPILOGUE –
Tying Up Loose Ends
The Great Hall, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Saturday, 1st August, 1998
Harry stood up, turning round as he adjusted his trousers. Sitting in an armchair for a long period of time made your underwear cut into places he really didn't want to discuss. "So... does anyone have any questions?"
Nearly every person thrust up a hand, several of them shouting questions.
"Silence!" Dumbledore bellowed again, making the people in the hall settle instantly. "I still love doing that." He said smugly, winking at Harry and Hermione.
"Actually," Hermione said, standing up, grabbing the notebook and heading back to the podium. The chairs vanished silently. "there is something. Percy Weasley said he was writing up a list of charges against us. I think we should get those out of the way, really."
Percy stood up, flicking his wand to duplicate the notes twice. Walking to the front of the hall, he passed a copy to Minister Shacklebolt, another copy to Hermione at the podium and retreated back to his seat. She quickly flicked through the pages of notes.
"Impressive, Percy." She said after a moment, passing the notes across to Harry. "Have you ever considered a career as a fiction writer?"
Percy blushed. "Those are all valid charges. The Ministry will have no choice but to act."
Kingsley stood up, mounting the stage in two strides. "Actually, I don't think we will." He said, staring imperiously at Harry. He quickly took a pen from Hermione scribbling through the notes. "You can't charge them for anything that Dumbledore cast at the Dursleys... The conversation about pureblood bigotry is also irrelevant..." He looked up. "Are you serious? You want to bring Harry and Hermione Potter up on charges because they didn't register their marriage?" He glanced at the notes. "Sorry, let me rephrase that; you want to have the marriage dissolved because it wasn't approved by the Ministry?"
"Yes." Percy said stiffly.
Hermione flicked the notebook, showing something to Kingsley. "Marriage certificate. That's fine." Kingsley said, scribbling out another line. "Let's see... slander of the Weasleys, no, it's not slander if you present it as an opinion..." He kept scribbling. "False academic records, that was Dumbledore, so no... The Portkeys in the watches was also Dumbledore..."
Another page was shown to Shacklebolt. "He got exemptions?" Nodding, Kingsley kept scribbling. "They were working under tutors, so they didn't break the Restriction on Underage Sorcery..." More scribbles. "Statute of Secrecy wasn't breached. The Grangers knew about the existence of the magical world."
Percy stood up. "These are all valid charges. You are showing bias and favouritism, Minister."
"No, I'm showing a knowledge of the law, Weasley." Shacklebolt said in a no-nonsense tone. "I was an Auror. I know what is and isn't legal." He looked down at the parchment, before looking up. "You want the Potters arrested because they own invisibility cloaks?"
"No." Shacklebolt said, scribbling it out. "They aren't restricted, Weasley. Frowned upon, yes, but not illegal." He kept perusing the list. "Actually, this is one thing that's potentially incriminating." Shacklebolt said to Harry, pointing to one of the items. With a grin, Harry leaned over to Hermione, whispering. She smirked and turned a couple of pages in the book, showing it to Shacklebolt.
"How the hell did you get Ron Weasley to agree to being memory charmed?" He asked in wonder.
"Dumbledore." Harry said. "He told Ron, got him to agree to and sign it, then Obliviated him. We were also authorised, along with Severus and Minerva to perform any and all memory charms on Ron."
In the audience, Molly turned to her son and glared. Ron shrank back, not knowing what to do.
"Huh..." Kingsley quickly went through the list, scribbling long and fast. "That's about half these silly charges removed at once. What about the Time-Turners?"
Another page in the notebook. "Damn... you really were prepared, weren't you?"
"Excuse me, Minister." Percy said, standing up again.
"Family licenses." Shacklebolt said, not bothering to look up. "There were two time-turners in the family vaults, and passes for them. Whoever held the pass could use the Time-Turner. The Potters had the passes, so it's legal." More scribbling. Reading another entry, he looked up. "This is ridiculous, Weasley. Learning Occlumency isn't illegal. Legilimency, yes, but not Occlumency. In fact..." Shacklebolt tore up the parchments, snatching the copies from Hermione's hand and ripping them, then summoning the final copy from Percy. It, too, became confetti. "As the Minister for Magic, I declare the Potters free of any criminal charges, since they haven't actually committed any." He nodded at the pair, before jumping off the stage and sitting down.
Hermione smirked at Percy. "Bad luck, Weatherby. Maybe next time." She looked at the crowd. "So, any relevant questions?"
"Actually, I have one." A voice called up from the back. Neville Longbottom stood up, looking every inch the tall, proud warrior that he was. "It's about Professor Lupin."
"Oh?" Remus replied from the mirror.
"Yeah... where were you during the first twelve years of Harry's life?" He asked, with no malice in his voice. "Why weren't you there when he was growing up?"
"A good question, Mr. Longbottom." Remus said with a sigh. "In very basic terms, the Ministry is the cause of that. The Minister at the time, Millicent Bagnold, told me that I, as a 'dangerous dark creature' was not to go anywhere near the Saviour of the Wizarding World. So much so that she ordered a ward set up around Privet Drive that prevented any werewolves, in human or wolf form, from approaching within ten miles."
"That's barbaric!" Neville snapped.
"It gets better." Remus said bitterly. "A second ward was put on me, so that I couldn't write to Harry. Not by Muggle mail or by owl post. I was not allowed to use a telephone at all." He sighed again. "Then, when Harry started at Hogwarts, I asked the Ministry if I could contact him. Again, I was told no. They didn't want the bad press of Harry Potter associating with evil. Fortunately, the ward was broken at the end of his third year by accepting me as I am. However, only he could break that particular set of spells by approaching me first."
Neville nodded, pondering. "Why couldn't one of the other teachers tell Harry about you, then let him contact you? That would get round the restriction, wouldn't it?"
Dumbledore's portrait heaved a great sigh. "Again, Bagnold bespelled us to not promote that course of action. During the meetings we each had with Harry, we told him about his parents and his parents' friends, but we couldn't give any information about their ultimate fates."
"How could the Ministry get away with just bespelling you all?" Neville asked.
"Several areas of government routinely use the technique to prevent state secrets being passed out. The Muggle world uses confidentiality agreements, the penalty for breaking one being imprisonment. The Wizarding world simply makes certain that you can't break it. Everything to do with Harry became a state secret, other than the meaningless information that was printed in the biographies. We simply couldn't tell him." Dumbledore concluded.
"Another reason for me to distrust the Ministry." Harry said sharply. "They robbed me of an uncle while I was growing up." His eyes swivelled towards Percy, who was back to squirming in his seat. "That, I am not prepared to forgive."
"Fortunately, Remus is safe and in a secure location." Hermione said smoothly. "Along with his wife. Andromeda has been notified, and is probably on her way there as we speak."
"Next question?" Harry said, looking out into the crowd, spotting the blonde hair of Rita Skeeter bouncing as she squirmed in her seat. "Yes, Skeeter?
With a blush, Rita spoke up. "I was wondering about the Horcrux that Miss Ginny Weasley was using during her first year. From what you said, it was a plain diary, bought from a Muggle stationer in London."
Hermione was a tiny bit impressed; Skeeter really had been listening. "That's correct. However, the purpose of that Horcrux wasn't his survival. At least, not completely. It was also ego. He wanted the real record of his deeds recorded, and he also wanted the opportunity to do it again. He left the diary in the hands of one of his most trusted lieutenants, Lucius Malfoy."
"For what purpose?" Rita asked.
"As we said, that Horcrux was ego. Riddle was thrilled that he'd managed to pull one over on Dumbledore, and left the diary as a way of showing off. Later on, when he learned more about Horcruxes, he learned that it was a limited process, and couldn't be undone. Apparently, he was livid when he found out Lucius had slipped it to Ginny Weasley and that it had been destroyed."
"May I ask another question?" Skeeter asked politely.
"Suppose." Harry grunted.
"You've actually listed seven Horcruxes." Rita checked her notes. "The diary, the locket, the ring, the cup, the diadem, Nagini and Harry. I thought there were only supposed to be six."
Harry nodded, impressed. "Yes. The reason was simple; Voldemort wanted six Horcruxes. Nagini was going to be number six back in 1981. However, when his killing curse rebounded, the piece of soul he'd removed was sucked into me and he fled. When he was re-embodied back in '95, he thought he was one short, so he made Nagini into a Horcrux then. He only ever had six in existence at any moment. By the time he turned Nagini into a Horcrux, I'd destroyed the diary in the Chamber of Secrets."
Rita nodded and sat down. A voice from the back of the Hall shouted a question that almost everyone wanted answering. "What's the truth about Arianna Dumbledore?" Hermione squinted and saw Aberforth Dumbledore stood there, nodding slightly. He'd told them the tale after they'd left Hogwarts after defeating Voldemort.
With a sigh, Harry leaned on the podium. "That's a personal tale, and I think we need Albus'-"
"It's fine." Dumbledore's portrait interrupted warily. "Go ahead. It's better that they know, simply so they'll leave it alone."
Hermione continued. "In the chapter of Rita's book called 'The Greater Good', it stated that Dumbledore was planning to go on a Grand Tour, apparently a rite of passage in those days. After completing Hogwarts, the graduate would go and gain experience, before choosing their career. Albus and his friend Elphias Doge were staying in the Leaky Cauldron, when a letter arrived, informing Albus that Kendra had passed on. In the book, it insinuates that Kendra's health was a fabrication."
"My mother had cancer. At least, that's what they call it these days. Back then, it was described as a tumour. It was in her brain, and it was incurable." Dumbledore spoke up. "She knew the end was coming. Unfortunately, we didn't know when that end would come. She slipped on a wet floor and banged her head, which caused the tumour to rupture. She died, almost instantly."
"In the book," Hermione said, "Albus immediately returned to Godric's Hollow, where Aberforth, his brother, was staying. And Arianna. His sister."
Dumbledore said nothing.
"Since Albus was the eldest, he became the Head of House Dumbledore. According to 'The Greater Good', Aberforth was always running rampant throughout Godric's Hollow, causing trouble and strife."
"Which was, frankly, bollocks." Dumbledore said firmly. "My brother was a good man. Always has been, always will be."
Hermione chuckled, before sobering. "Now, according to the book, Albus wasn't back in Godric's Hollow to care for his sister, but to continue her imprisonment. People were asking questions like; 'Arianna Dumbledore? Never heard of her. Who's she?' and 'Why do we never see her?' Which were good questions, if bloody nosy.
"Now, myself and Harry have spoken to Albus about this when we received his portrait, and also to Aberforth." Hermione said. "We know the truth and have, with their permission, been allowed to reveal this to you. So please, don't leap to conclusions. Wait until you hear everything before you judge him.
"The chapter stated that whenever anyone asked about Arianna, the Dumbledores would reply that she was 'frail' and 'delicate'. And it's true; she was. However, they didn't want to come out and tell people exactly why. It was something that people wouldn't understand.
"After Albus returned to Godric's Hollow, Grindelwald was expelled from Durmstrang, and returned to his great-Aunt, Bathilda Bagshot. Bagshot introduced Albus to Gellert, and the two boys, both incredibly bright and magically gifted, became great friends. Why shouldn't they? Gellert never revealed that he'd been expelled from Durmstrang. Instead, he was just that charming nephew of Bathilda's.
"One thing from that chapter..." Hermione trailed off as Harry reached into his attaché case, pulling out a shrunken book, which he rapidly re-expanded, flicked open to the right page, and passed to Hermione. Her eyes scanned the text for a moment, searching for the letter. "Right.
"Before I go any further, I'd like to ask Professor Dumbledore a personal question." She glanced over her shoulder. "Sir?"
"Ask away, Mrs. Potter."
"What happened to your father?"
"Ah." Dumbledore nodded slowly. "My father, Percival Dumbledore, was a pureblood. More importantly, he later developed blood purity issues. As I stated earlier, my mother was a Muggleborn, and later on, he began to be repulsed by her. He was caught Muggle-hunting and was arrested. To my knowledge, he died in Azkaban." He saw the odd looks. "I have never believed in Muggle-hunting. To me, is it barbarism, and I will not tolerate it. As far as I was concerned, my father was dead the instant I found out about it. Mother was nearly broken by finding out she was married to a monster."
Hermione nodded. "So, a Dumbledore was a blood-head. People speculated that the younger Dumbledores would also inherit that trait. They didn't." She developed a half-smile. "I remember once overhearing Draco Malfoy complaining about Dumbledore being the champion of Muggle-Lovers and Mudbloods. Apart from the crude language, it was pretty much accurate. So, Albus was the champion." She held up the book. "Then Rita told us about this letter.
"'Gellert, your point about Wizard dominance being for the Muggles' own good, this, I think, is the crucial point. Yes, we have been given power and yes, that power gives us the right to rule, but it also gives us responsibilities over the ruled. We must stress this point, it will be the foundation stone upon which we build. Where we are opposed, as we surely will be, this must be the basis of all our counterarguments. We seize control for the greater good. And from this it follows that where we meet resistance, we must use only the force that is necessary and no more. This was your mistake at Durmstrang! But I do not complain, because if you had not been expelled, we would never have met!'" Hermione looked at Skeeter. "Do you still maintain that this letter is genuine?"
Skeeter nodded unconsciously. "That was the information I received from Bathilda Bagshot."
"Of course." Hermione nodded. "You're a failure as an investigative journalist because you don't research anything enough. You were given a piece of parchment and ran with it. You didn't check to see if it was Dumbledore's handwriting, you didn't check with Grindelwald to see if it was true or not... No, you just made an assumption and printed it."
Harry cleared his throat. He'd been silent for quite a while, considering that interrupting Hermione during a conversation about books was a sure-fire way of getting a punch in the mummy-daddy button. Ron could attest to that from personal experience. "Grindelwald and Dumbledore had only been friends for two months when a tragedy of unparalleled proportions happened." He kept silently, placing a hand on Hermione's arm discretely.
"My sister died." Dumbledore said quietly. "Arianna... the best of us..."
"How?" A voice shouted from the audience.
Dumbledore looked up, tears in his eyes. "Why don't you ask Rita Skeeter?" He said bitterly. "She seems to know everything."
Skeeter sank lower in her chair, staring at her shoes intently.
"Well, since Rita's not telling the truth, I shall have to." Dumbledore said, not bothering to wipe the tear stains from his cheeks. "Approximately ten years ago, the Muggles released a film called 'Rain Man', in which they explore an illness called autism. It's... it's a curious affliction."
Hermione leaned forward. "I shall give a brief explanation. Autism is basically a mental condition. An autistic person, depending on the severity of the illness, has social interaction difficulties. In the most extreme cases, they aren't able to communicate with anyone. They are effectively trapped in their own head. Now, Arianna wasn't that severe, but she had learning difficulties that couldn't be overcome. She was a witch, yes, but she could never be trained. Quite simply, her brain wouldn't be capable of processing it."
"However," Harry continued, "Arianna could read perfectly well, and she had an eidetic memory. Every fact she was exposed to was permanently stored in her brain. She could recite every book she'd read, word for word. She was brilliant at math, which meant that she could design spells using Arithmancy. She could design ward schemes, but could never implement them. She never learned how to focus her magic into a wand.
"She wasn't a squib, but she wasn't physically capable of being a witch, and wasn't capable of living by herself. She had no idea how to cook, clean, bathe or even dress herself. The reason the Dumbledores hid the existence of Arianna was very simple."
"She couldn't relate to anyone." Albus' portrait spoke up. "If a stranger came to the house and tried to speak to Arianna, she would scream herself hoarse. Strangers terrified her beyond belief. She had her own little world set up, and anything that disrupted that little world was treated with fear and loathing. As such, my mother volunteered to stay with Arianna at all times, since Arianna knew her and trusted her. Since we knew that mother wouldn't be alive too much longer, myself and Aberforth spent more and more time back at home, allowing Kendra to assimilate us into her world."
People were fascinated. The rumours and speculation had been running rampant for over a year about what happened with the Lost Dumbledore. To hear it being so... well, normal wasn't exactly the word, but it was certainly understandable. The respect for Dumbledore, which had dropped to records lows, began to climb.
Hermione nodded. "Arianna was delicate. We know that. It was her death that led to Dumbledore becoming the champion. Grindelwald came to see Albus at their home in Godric's Hollow. When Albus realised that Grindelwald was a pureblood fanatic, they began to duel. Aberforth was there and he began to help his brother. Arianna was one of the very first victims of Gellert Grindelwald.
"Both Aberforth and Albus were horrified and terrified. Their little sister, their defenceless little sister, had been killed by a man they called friend. Grindelwald fled that night, retreating to Germany, where he got involved with the Socialists, and became the primary magical advisor to Hitler. He kept launching sneak attacks on Albus, though, and eventually managed to kill his wife and children. It was that action that made Dumbledore confront Grindelwald, capturing him and sentencing him to life in prison in Nurmengard. Grindelwald's motto was 'the greater good'. In a twist of irony, Dumbledore had that logo put on the gates of the prison."
Harry looked about the hall. "Any more questions about that? Or can we leave the private life of the Dumbledores private?"
"How do you know this?" Rita asked.
"They told us." Harry said shortly.
"I have a question." Minerva said. "I've not seen you since you left the Great Hall after the final battle. How did you manage to get hold of the portraits?"
Harry smiled. "The portraits of my parents and Sirius were at Gringotts. They were painted just before their deaths. Sirius kept copying his memories into a Pensieve, so that his portrait could be updated. I found those at Grimmauld Place when we went there after the wedding."
"What about the Headmaster portraits?"
"Copies." Hermione said. "Specially ordered copies, for our exclusive use. They arrived in the mail from the artists directly."
"Do you remember us telling you about Severus passing me his entire collection of memories?" Harry asked suddenly. He didn't wait for a response. "We put those memories directly into the portrait. As such, it remembers everything. Same for Padfoot's. Professor Dumbledore had a percentage of his memories extracted, but he thought he'd have more time. It contains the more recent memories, but the rest is just the portrait. Same for my parents."
"What happened at Gringotts?" Arthur asked. "Considering that the last we heard of your tale, they were trying to kill you..."
Harry smirked. "Funny story..."
Flashback: Gringotts Bank, Diagon Alley, London
Monday, 20th July, 1998
Flashback: Gringotts Bank, Diagon Alley, London
The instant Harry and Hermione Potter stepped into Gringotts, a large number of armed guards approached, brandishing their weapons. Harry rolled his eyes, putting his hands up. "I seek an audience with Master Ragnok, under Convention 15 of the Shadow Proclamation."
The goblins stood still, holding their weapons, while a single goblin ran down a corridor. Almost ten minutes later, a snappily dressed goblin stepped forward. "I am Master Ragnok. You have a lot of nerve showing your face in Gringotts, Harry Potter."
"Yes, I do." Harry said. "However, you have a lot of nerve attempting to attack me. I bring one of your staff up on charges of being an oath-breaker."
The goblins hissed, bringing their weapons to bear. Ragnok raised his hand, stopping the guards, before he stepped closer. "Speak quickly, human."
"Griphook, after we rescued him from the Malfoy dungeons, agreed to work with us. We made an agreement; he would help us break into Gringotts to remove a Horcrux, and we would give him the Sword of Gryffindor after we'd destroyed all of Voldemort's Horcruxes. As soon as we got into the vault, Griphook ran, taking the sword with him. He broke our oath."
Ragnok nodded slowly. "I see. Griphook!" The last word was a roar, calling Griphook to come and explain. The instant he turned up, the two began speaking quickly in Gobbledygook.
Almost two minutes of constant chatter later, Ragnok backhanded Griphook viciously. "Kill him." He snapped. The guards lunged forward, a truly impressive number of blades stabbing into Griphook. With a sigh, Ragnok turned to Harry.
"We have failed you as a people, Harry Potter. We made a deal with you, and we broke it."
"You did." Harry said mercilessly.
"What do you require of us?"
"My money will be removed from this institution." Harry said firmly. "You have proven to be incapable of protecting my interests."
"You can't do that!" Ragnok snapped. "You will remove almost two millions galleons in liquid assets, not to mention priceless antiques."
"Yes." Harry said. "As I stated, you cannot be trusted."
Ragnok snarled. "You push your luck, wizard!"
"Not really." Harry said, smiling smugly at the goblin. "Suppose I was to mention, just in passing to a few of my friends, what the goblins have done? How long will it take for every witch and wizard to remove their gold from Gringotts? How can you be bankers when you don't have any money?"
With another snarl, Ragnok nodded. "Very well. We will allow you access to your vaults to remove the contents. What else?"
"The Sword of Gryffindor is to remain the property of Hogwarts. I know your customs regarding treasures, and you're wrong. If an item is purchased, then it belongs to that person. If they choose to pass it on, they shall."
"Accepted for the sword." Ragnok said grudgingly. "We will see with regards to other items."
Harry shrugged. He had no intention of buying anything from the goblins again. "Those are my requests at this time. However, I submit that the goblin nation as a whole owes me a life-debt. If I hadn't killed Voldemort, he would have had your entire race exterminated."
Gnashing his teeth, Ragnok nodded. "Very well. We owe you a boon."
"You do. I have nothing else to request at the present time, but I will call on you if I need anything."
Harry conjured a pair of large multi-compartment trunks. "Come on, Hermione. Let's go and clean out the Potter vaults."
"Gringotts isn't the only bank in the magical world." Harry said. "The Swiss have a really good setup in Zurich. We now bank there."
Harry realised that he'd just told people the goblins were untrustworthy, but he didn't really care. It was the goblins' own damn fault for betraying him in the first place.
"What about the Mudblood's parents?" An anonymous voice called up. Hermione's wand flashed, casting a Levicorpus on the speaker. Blaise Zabini rose into the air, dangling by his ankle.
"I'm sorry." Harry said in a voice of mock-sweetness. "I must have misheard you. I believe you called my wife a 'Mudblood'? Considering I said at the beginning that anyone who speaks badly of my wife will face my wrath, I must conclude that you're truly stupid, Zabini. More to the point, you don't exactly learn, do you? I heard the comments you made earlier, you know."
Kingsley, knowing that this would quickly get out of hand, clicked his fingers at the Aurors sat near the back. They rushed forward, trying to grab Blaise, but Hermione released the spell, letting him fall head-first onto the floor. Fortunately, he wasn't high-up enough to cause serious injury, but he'd be out cold for a while, and have a horrendous headache for days. "Aurors, that man is to spend the next seven days in a holding cell for racial abuse. No medical treatment, prisoner rations."
A Portkey was placed on the unconscious Zabini, whisking him away.
"Thank you, Minister." Hermione said sweetly. "Perhaps it would be a good idea for all racial slurs to receive the same treatment."
"I'll see what I can do." Shacklebolt said noncommittally.
"We already told you." Hermione said. "My parents... are safe and sound, back at home and under a Fidelius. They were never attacked, and they enjoyed the year in Australia, but they're glad to be home. Next question?"
Skeeter stood up, glancing at her notes. "Two other things, if I could." She waited for a nod. "You mentioned several times the name of 'Peverell'. From what I understand, they're an extinct family. How do they relate to this tale?"
"Ah, the heart of the matter." Harry said. "In basic terms, the three brothers of the tale are the Peverells. They were the first wielders of the Deathly Hallows. Antioch, the first master of the Elder Wand, Cadmus, the possessor of the Resurrection Stone, and Ignotus, the man who held the cloak. The Hallows are ancient, predating almost anything. The Potters were descendants of Ignotus, and thus held the Cloak of True Invisibility. The Gaunts, who were also the Heirs of Slytherin, were the last descendants of Cadmus Peverell. Antioch never had children, since the silly bugger got himself killed before he could."
"Are you the Master of Death?" Rita asked, making everyone stop and stare. Even the portraits were silent.
Harry nodded gravely. "I am not just the Master of Death, Miss Skeeter. I'm the Last Master of Death. I have carried out Dumbledore's last task. I have forever destroyed the Deathly Hallows."
"What?" Percy leapt to his feet. "How dare you? Those items should have been presented to the Department of Mysteries for study!"
"As the Master of Death," Harry said in an icy tone, "all three items were, either by inheritance for the cloak from my father, a gift of the stone from Dumbledore and defeating Draco Malfoy for wand, mine. I was the true owner, and could thus determine their fate. Besides, it was necessary. The Elder Wand is gone. The stone melted and destroyed. The power of the Hallows is no more."
"Lord Potter." Shacklebolt stood up, eyeing Percy Weasley warily. "As the Minister for Magic, I am making a binding proclamation; you can not be charged for any actions that you have taken in the last seven years. You are free and clear. No Ministry member will ever be able to prosecute you." A wave of magic erupted from Shacklebolt, 'sealing the deal'.
"Cheers, Shack." Harry said appreciatively. He eyed the hall. "So, now you know the truth about my life. Pretty much all of it. There is, however, one last piece of business for us to complete." He eyed the Weasleys. "Ginevra Weasley, I am invoking the life-debt between us. You will never approach either myself or my wife again. You will make no attempt to dose us with a love potion, nor will you request or permit another to do so on your behalf. You will not attempt to communicate with us in any way. Ever. Am I clear?"
Ginny's mouth flapped. "But, Harry... You know I love you." She said, eyeing Hermione balefully. "You know that you were with me."
Above the Potters' heads, the floating message, 'You only 'know' what we wanted you to believe' flashed for the last time, before dissipating. "I was never with you, Ginny. By the time you were convinced we were dating, I was already married to the woman I'd spent almost five years with. There was never anything between us, except in your mind."
"No, you're wrong!" Ginny said tearfully.
"Enough!" Harry snapped. "I have given my terms. If you fail to obey these terms, the life-debt will be breached, and you will die." Not giving her a chance to argue, he sealed the debt. "As I speak, so mote it be!" For a moment, Ginny flashed as her magic accepted the oath for her, making her sit down meekly.
Harry nodded at her, then turned to Ron. "Ronald Weasley, I am invoking the life-debt between us. You will never approach either myself or my wife again. You will make no attempt to dose us with a love potion, nor will you request or permit another to do so on your behalf. You will not attempt to communicate with us in any way. Ever. As I speak, so mote it be!"
Ron flashed as his magic acknowledge the vow. He glared hatefully at Harry, convinced that he'd taken everything from him. Molly pulled him down, not wanting her precious baby boy to breach the oath.
"Arthur Weasley, I am invoking the life-debt between us." Harry said.
Arthur stood, shaking his head. "There is no need, Harry. I'll do whatever you need of me."
"Control your family." Hermione said, then paused. "Actually..." She leaned up to whisper into Harry's ear. He nodded, blinked, then his eyes shot open. Hermione nodded again, then turned to Arthur. "Mr. Weasley, perhaps you should visit St. Mungo's. I just remembered something Mrs. Weasley was telling me in the Leaky Cauldron, back in the summer before my third year. She was telling me and Ginny about a love potion she made when she was younger."
Poppy Pomfrey, who'd been sat with the other faculty, shot up to her feet, near-running across the hall. Her wand flashed expertly as she checked him out. She sighed, and closed her eyes. "I'm sorry, Arthur." She said tenderly. "You test positive... and it's become self-sustaining."
Arthur sagged in his chair. How much of his life was a lie? He didn't notice the Aurors coming to arrest his wife, nor her kicking, screaming and struggling. He didn't notice Ron and Ginny glaring at the Potters, but unable to say anything. He didn't notice Bill, Charlie, Fred and George each wearing identical expressions of shock.
"If there's anything we can do, Mr. Weasley." Harry offered from the stage.
Looking up, a broken man, Arthur nodded gratefully.
Harry glanced at the elder Weasley sons. "I think you'll understand why I won't be marrying your little Princess Ginnykins." They each nodded.
"What are you future plans?" Rita called out, once the action had died down.
"We're going on holiday." Hermione said. "Go and see Remus and Tonks. Be little Teddy's godparents. Spend some time on ourselves. The world will have to get along without us for the time being."
"We've had enough trouble for a lifetime." Harry said, smiling at the crowd.
Daily Prophet – Monday, 31st August, 1998
Daily Prophet – Monday, 31st August, 1998
The World We Live In
By: Rita Skeeter
My dear readers, have you ever had an epiphany? A revelation that leaves you breathless? It makes you question everything you've done in your life, and you realise that you were lacking.
Today, less than a month after the shocking announcements by the Potters at Hogwarts School, the world has changed. I know now that I was lacking.
In my bestseller book, The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, I ran with lies and speculation. I didn't care who I hurt. I tarnished the memory of a good man. A great man. I admit I am under no compulsion to write this article, except my own shame and a magical oath to tell the truth. In my many years reporting for the Daily Prophet, I have taken great delight in slandering, ridiculing and generally destroying the people I wrote about. If I hadn't done that, things would be so much different. The world would have been aware of the return of Lord Voldemort over a year earlier, which could have saved countless lives.
Things have changed in the last month. Interim-Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt has been confirmed as Minister of Magic, and has reprogrammed the magical tag net of Britain to locate every Death Eater. Each of them has been given a hearing with Veritaserum, and appropriate sentence passed.
The following individuals were found guilty of war crimes, and have been sentenced to execution by being passed through the Veil of Death:
Lucius Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe Senior, Vincent Crabbe Junior, Alonzo Goyle, Gregory Goyle, Amycus Carrow, Alecto Carrow, Rastaban LeStrange, Rudolphus LeStrange, Augustus Rockwood, Pius Thicknesse, Gordon Yaxley, Antonin Dolohov and more than sixty other Death Eaters.
Only a few were given the status of 'redeemable', chief among these Narcissa Malfoy, who was sentenced to fifty years in Azkaban prison for her actions in support of Voldemort.
Orders of Merlin, first class, were presented to Remus John Lupin, Nymphadora Lupin, Neville Franklin Longbottom, posthumously to Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, posthumously to Severus Tobias Snape, and finally, of course, to Harry James and Hermione Jane Potter.
Orders of Merlin, second class, were presented to every other member of the fabled Order of the Phoenix and the student organisation known as 'Dumbledore's Army'.
The Daily Prophet wishes Lord and Lady Potter all the best as they enjoy their first proper holiday and time together as husband and wife.
Daily Prophet – Tuesday, 15th September, 1998
Daily Prophet – Tuesday, 15th September, 1998
Destruction of a Pureblood Family?
By: Penelope Clearwater
Today, shock raced throughout the Wizarding World as Arthur Weasley, patriarch of the Ancient Clan of Weasley, separated from his wife of thirty years. During the revelations at Hogwarts School six weeks ago, it was announced that Arthur Weasley has been subjected to Amortentia for nearly 35 years, ever since he was in Hogwarts himself. Utilising a love potion to marry a wizard is highly illegal, and results in prison time at Azkaban. Molly Weasley was then convicted of thirty years in prison, one year for every year of marriage under the potion.
Ronald Bilius and Ginevra Molly were both disowned from the family after it was announced that they had been following in their mother's footsteps, continually attempt to dose Lord and Lady Potter with Amortentia during their mission to rid the world of Lord Voldemort. Neither has returned to Hogwarts to continue their education.
William Weasley has moved to France to spend time with his wife Fleur and prepare for the arrival of their new baby.
Charles Weasley has returned to Romania, taking up a position as Deputy Chief of the Romanian Dragon Preserve.
Frederick and George Weasley have been in negotiations with Lord and Lady Potter regarding the continued operation of Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes. More to come on this story as it happens.
Percival Weasley, the only Weasley son to work for the Ministry, was dismissed from his position by Delores Jane Umbridge after he unveiled plans to reinstitute the Muggleborn Registration Act, for real this time. The proposal had been modified to include those of mixed parentage. Although it wasn't specified in the Act, it was clear that this was an attempt to discredit and remove Lord Harry James Potter from Wizarding society.
Madam Umbridge was quoted as saying, "There has been enough of this foolishness in the Ministry. We stand for all magical beings, half-blood, pureblood, Muggleborn and those others that aren't human. If you possess magic, you deserve the protection of this Ministry, and this sort of racist action will no longer be tolerated here."
"Make love to me, Harry." She rolled over to face her husband. "Let's get to work on baby number one, shall we?"
"My pleasure, love. My pleasure."
As Harry began to make love to his wife, a wave of satisfaction overcame him. All was well. Finally, Harry thought as he pleasured his wife, the world knows the Real Us.