The Fat Lady Is Singing
Hermione stared up at the canopy of her bed in the seventh year dorm, unable to go to sleep on her final night at Hogwarts, because her mind kept going over the fact that her life seemed to have come full circle today. She had arrived at Hogwarts with no friends and she was leaving Hogwarts with no real friends. Oh she had acquaintances, which was a vast improvement on what she had before, but no real friends. Her relationship with Ron had ended that afternoon as they were discussing their plans for life after Hogwarts. There were a lot of factors responsible for it's demise; the strain of trying to deal with what they had done to Harry, even though Ron wouldn't admit they were at fault for some of it, the fact that they had very differing views about what was important in life, and she finally admitted at least to herself, the fact that Harry was not there to act as a buffer between them. Last year they had held together because of what they saw as Harry's betrayal of the Light and everything it stood for, but once that righteous anger had been shown to have no real foundation, the rest of the pillars holding Ron's and Hermione's friendship together had begun to crumble as well. She finally acknowledged that she had no one to blame but herself for the destruction of the bonds that had made her friends with Harry and Ron the night they had saved her from the Troll. True Harry had been more responsible for her being saved than Ron, but they had still come to rescue her and that had been the beginning. She had thought it would last forever, especially given all they had gone through but that had been a childish dream.
As Hermione rolled over and closed her eyes, determined to get some sleep, she breathed a sigh of relief that there had been no more problems between Harry and the other students at school. While she was bound by her vow to stay away from him, it was apparent that the other Gryffindors had finally figured out that if they left Potter alone their lives and the lives of their fellow students would be a lot more peaceful. That peace had been essential given the fifth and seventh year students in all the houses had been getting ready for their OWLs and NEWTs. They didn't have time to make an issue of the fact that Potter still hadn't and clearly never would forgive them for what they had done the previous year and the other Gryffindors had simply followed their lead.
The fact that Potter was not going on a rampage though didn't mean that everything was all sweetness and light at Hogwarts. Rumour had it that Malfoy was still a ferret and would probably remain so for quite some time to come, even though Potter had made it quite clear in April what he would have to do to regain human form, when he had been confronted by an angry Pansy Parkinson, who was furious that her future husband was still a ferret.
Opinion on whether or not Malfoy deserved to be condemned to live life as a ferret was mixed. Most of the Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors, no matter what year they were in, were enjoying the idea of Malfoy having to spend the remainder of his life as a ferret, given they didn't think he would ever admit he was wrong for what he tried to do to Potter. Most Ravenclaws and Slytherins felt that it was wrong of Potter to expect Malfoy to make such a concession. They all knew Malfoy would never admit he was wrong about anything, even if the truth came up and slapped him on the face.
And Luna Lovegood was acting even loonier, if that were possible. For the past month she had been going on about how the Knocklebots were going to help her become the mother of Neville's child before the end of the year and that she and Neville's grandmother would be raising it. Hermione and everyone else in the school has ignored her claim though given that Luna was widely known to be a few knuts short of a galleon.
One thing Hermione was fairly certain of though was that after tomorrow, she might never see Harry ever again, unless it was by accident. He had made it quite clear during the school year that he held the wizarding world in contempt for its habit of making judgements without all the facts and as he called it their willingness to be led like sheep by those at the Ministry, who were clearly idiots. Hermione had been very annoyed at his blanket condemnation of the wizarding world. A lot of witches and wizards were not willing to be led around like sheep. The problem was they were in the minority and unable to make themselves heard by those in power. The realisation of that fact and the part she had played in it, still brought a stab of pain to Hermione whenever she thought about how she had treated her first real friend, not to mention how she at least for a while, had proven herself to be one of the sheep.
As Hermione began to doze off, her last thought before wandering into dreams of what her life would be like after tomorrow was a prayer that Harry had no more surprises left as parting gifts for them.
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As the students of the four houses were enjoying their final breakfast at Hogwarts, watched over by all the teachers and the Headmaster, Hermione noticed that Harry wasn't among them. Where was he?
As if in answer to her thought the doors to the Great Hall slammed open with a thud and Harry walked in dressed in the robes that proclaimed him the head of three houses.
The silence in the Great Hall was almost deafening and the students looked at each other worriedly. Even though he didn't have his staff with him this time, they were all wondering who had managed to piss Potter off now.
Hermione heard Ron muttering beside her. "Stupid git. Always has to make a grand entrance."
"Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, former Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, you and I have a piece of business to conclude before I take my leave of you." Harry looked very solemn and not the least bit angry. "As Head of the House of Potter I call you to face long overdue justice for breaking a magically binding contract."
Dumbledore paled and his eyes lost their twinkle as the students gasped at the accusation. "I'm afraid I don't know what magical contract you are referring to, Mr. Potter. I have a number of them to deal with every day, but none of the ones I have dealt with recently have involved you or the House of Potter in any way."
"The contract I am referring to was not a recent one." Harry countered. "Were you not the executor of my parent's wills?"
"I was." Dumbledore remained seated at the high table, giving the appearance of having nothing to worry about. "Perhaps we should discuss this matter privately, Mr. Potter. I am certain you do not want your personal business spread all over the wizarding world before nightfall."
"My life has never been a private matter as far as the wizarding world is concerned. They've poked their noses into every aspect of my life, except where you managed to keep them out, so why should that stop now. You only want privacy because you don't want them to know what you did." Harry retorted. "Merlin forbid that the wizarding world should ever think of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore as anything less than the guardian of light and an honourable man."
"Mr. Potter, how dare you accuse the Headmaster of doing something so dishonourable as not honouring a magically binding contract?" McGonagall demanded. "He has never been less than honourable in all of his dealings."
"Oh really," Harry drawled, sounding like Malfoy for a moment. "Do you know the entire contents of my parent's wills, Professor McGonagall? Or do you just know what they left you?"
"No, I don't know everything contained in their wills, but I have no reason to doubt Dumbledore's honour." She retorted.
"Well, then you have no right tot take me to task because unlike you, I do know the entire contents of my parent's wills, including the provisions for guardianship." Harry countered looking at Dumbledore. "Have you forgotten our conversation in Ollivander's shop, Professor McGonagall?"
McGonagall and the students looked back and forth between Potter and Dumbledore wondering what was going on. McGonagall remembered Harry accusing Dumbledore of violating the terms of his parent's wills the day she had taken him to Diagon Alley, but since he hadn't done anything about it she thought the matter had been settled. Breaking a magically binding contract was a very serious thing. A person could lose their magic or their life, depending on the terms of the contract.
"Harry, this is really a matter we should discuss in private." Dumbledore made one more try even though he knew the students would assume the worst, but given they didn't know what part of the will had been violated, he might be able to come up with an explanation that would satisfy them and their families. Given that Harry hadn't come charging in here the way he had when Ginny had attacked Luna Lovegood, they might assume it was a minor breach, that he wanted resolved publicly.
"I did not give you the right to be so familiar with me Dumbledore." Harry countered. "And neither of us is going anywhere… at least not yet. Did you think I would not find out what you had done? Or maybe you thought I would forgive and forget it because your ignoring the instructions in my parent's wills was for the Greater Good?"
"Harry," Colin Creevy spoke up from his seat at the Gryffindor table when it became evident that Harry and the Headmaster were going to engage in a staring contest until something broke the stalemate. "Just how did the Headmaster violate your parent's wills?"
"My parent's wills contained a list of those they considered suitable guardians for me if my Godfather Sirius Black was not available to take care of me." Harry answered his question without taking his eyes off the Headmaster. "Their list also contained one exception. They stated quite clearly that under no circumstances was I ever to be placed in the custody of Petunia Evans Dursley or her husband Vernon Dursley at any time or for any reason. Their wills said that even Voldemort was a better choice for guardian than Aunt Petunia, given how she loathed magic. And yet knowing that, Dumbledore went against my parents stated wishes and placed me in that hellhole."
"Harry…" Dumbledore began.
"I told you, you do not have the right to use my name. I am Lord Potter to you." Harry interrupted him.
"Very well, Lord Potter," Dumbledore said placatingly. "While I will admit I knew that your parents didn't want you placed with the Dursleys it was necessary to keep you safe. Remember what I told you at the end of your fifth year, after Sirius was killed at the Ministry. The protection your mother placed on you required you be placed with your mother's blood kin to work. Petunia and her son Dudley were the only ones you could be placed with to keep you alive, until the time came for you to fulfil the prophecy. I am fairly certain your parents would have understood and I'm certain you understand now why I had to ignore their wishes with regard to your placement. They kept you safe."
"Well you were wrong, not once but twice." Harry countered. "I had a goblin ward master check out Privet Drive this past month. And while he admits there were blood wards there, which is Dark magic by the way according to the Ministry, he told me they collapsed due to lack of power to maintain them nearly fourteen years ago. Your claim that even though my Aunt took me in grudgingly was enough to provide the protection was wrong. They collapsed within a year after I was placed there and you knew it. There were other wards placed there afterwards that were also detected by the goblins and I was told that my magic had been powering them. No wonder I sometimes had problems making spells work right, given that you tied my magic into the wards that were protecting those wastes of space I laughingly call my family. Do you remember what else you told me that night? About when I arrived at Hogwarts that first night?"
"Yes," Dumbledore didn't elaborate. He could see the looks of shock and disgust on some of the faces in the Great Hall. He knew was going to have a lot of explaining to do later on.
"You didn't place me with the Dursley's for my protection. You placed me there so you could mould your weapon to defeat Voldemort without getting your own hands dirty." Harry told the room at large. "According to your own words, which I remember very well thanks to the Dementors, 'five years ago you arrived at Hogwarts, neither as happy or as well nourished as I would have liked, but you were alive. You were not a pampered prince but as normal a little boy as I could have hoped for under the circumstances. Thus far my plan was working well.' I was not a normal little boy, unless it is considered normal in the wizarding world for a child to be treated as a slave from the time they are four years of age. Forced to watch as my cousin is showered with love and all the things that go along with it, while I am called a freak, starved, worked nearly to death, beaten for things that were not my fault, and not even knowing my own name until I went to school, and that only happened because they couldn't hide the fact I lived there. If they could have, I don't think I would have gone to school either."
"You were safe there." Dumbledore insisted. "That was the most important thing. I tried to make up for the rest while you were here. It had to be done that way you had to understand suffering to be able to overcome it. And you are overcoming it. You will be a great asset to the Wizarding world because of all you have gone through."
"I hate to tell you this Dumbledork, but today is the last anyone in the wizarding world will see of me, except for a few that I have unfinished business with. Your plan to make me the saviour of the wizarding world because of its own stupidity, has failed as well. I know you hoped that I would forgive all those who wronged me last year, but that won't happen until the sun is a burnt out cinder in the sky and we all are dead, and maybe not even then." Harry disagreed. "You are condemned out of your own mouth. You have admitted to knowingly breaking the contract."
"Your parents would have understood why I did what I did." Dumbledore insisted.
"But they aren't the ones you have to answer to, I am." Harry reminded him. "I am the one who suffered the most because you felt you had the right to play God with my life. I am the one who spent almost a year of my life in hell, because you thought you had failed to correctly mould your weapon and it was going to turn on you so you wanted it put away before it had the chance to. I am just grateful you didn't choose to steal from me in addition to your other crimes. I've spent most of this year thinking about what I was going to do and making sure it could be done, especially since I didn't want to harm Fawkes. I don't hold him responsible for your actions, though I do have to wonder why he never left you, once you started committing acts that meant you were no longer on the side of Light."
Harry went silent for a moment before intoning in a solemn voice, "I, Lord Harry James Potter, call upon magic to witness my plea as the one most harmed by the actions of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore when he deliberately broke the terms of my parent's wills, I do hereby request the following punishment for him. That he have no more magic than a squib, or enough to insure that Fawkes is not harmed, but no matter how much magic you leave him with that he no longer have the power, influence, or ability to harm another as he has harmed me. If you find me plea just, so let it be done."
"You can't do that, Mr. Potter!" McGonagall protested. "Albus Dumbledore has always done the very best for the people of the wizarding world, even when it cost him dearly to do so."
Potter had a broad grin on his face as he once again contradicted her. "Actually Dumbledork brought this down on his own head. If he hadn't felt compelled to meddle last June in a vain effort to try and get me to forgive those in the wizarding world who wronged me, none of the events of this past year would've happened. You see I originally just planned to find somewhere in the non-magical world to live out the rest of my life. If Dumbledork hadn't interfered with that plan, Snape might still be a teacher here. Umbridge would probably still be scheming right along side Fudge in the very corrupt Ministry. Ron would still be a prefect and his sister the psycho stalker would still be walking the halls of Hogwarts, jumping anything that was wearing pants. And last but not least Draco Malfoy would not have become a ferret when I returned his spell to him."
Harry glanced around the Great Hall that was still as silent as a tomb as the students and teachers listened intently. He was willing to bet that a number of people would be buying pensieves over the next few days if they didn't have one just to make sure this was reported correctly. "I know for a fact that if Dumbledore were to retain his magic, and I were stupid enough to ever trust him again, then I would quickly find myself once again as the puppet dancing on his strings… for the Greater Good of course."
"You're wrong." Everyone heard Ron Weasley shout from his position at the Gryffindor table. "You are too ungrateful a git to realise when someone is trying to help you and let them."
"Ah we hear from the sole remaining weasel at the school, thought not for much longer. I'm not surprised you would speak up for your master, given he paid you to befriend me during my first year and to make sure I chose Gryffindor, instead of Slytherin when I was being sorted." As the students in the Hall gasped at the news that Potter might have been in Slytherin and that Ron Weasley had been paid to make sure he chose Gryffindor, Harry continued, "I do hope you were well paid for your actions, because I think you are going to have trouble getting a job, now that you are out of school given you did so poorly in your classes, even with Hermione's help."
There were some snickers from around the room as he said this, because many knew that for all his bluster, Ron Weasley really was little more than muscle. He might be lucky enough to be a low level auror, but they doubted that he had the skill for his true desire to play Quidditch for the Chuddley Cannons.
"My business within this school is completed and Dumbledore, your final attempt at manipulating me has failed. I do not intend to be the saviour of the wizarding world once again, because the purebloods don't realise that they have condemned the British magical people to a slow but certain death, because of bigoted policies designed to keep the purebloods in power and the muggle-borns on the outside and inbreeding. The wizarding world can go hang for all I care." With that, Harry Potter vanished from the Great Hall.
As the Great Hall exploded with noise, McGonagall felt the link for the wards surrounding Hogwarts settle into her magical core declaring her the Headmistress. Dumbledore was now without the majority of his magic. It was a sad day for the magical world.
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Dantes walked into a very noisy Great Hall and headed for the head table where the teachers and Headmaster were seated. From the expression on the ancient wizard's face, Dumbledore had apparently received a shock a short time ago and hadn't had a chance to recover.
Well, Dantes thought to himself, I hope he can take another one, because I would hate to go down in history as the wizard who gave Dumbledore a heart attack.
As the students realised there was a stranger at the head table, silence again fell over the room like a wave. Those closest to the head table wanted to hear what was being said by this stranger given that it was rare to have visitors in the morning on the last day at Hogwarts.
"Good morning Headmaster." Dantes greeted the elder wizard.
Dumbledore looked at him a moment before replying. "Greetings, Lord Dantes, but unfortunately as of this morning, I am no longer the Headmaster. If you need to discuss school matters, I believe you will need to speak to Headmistress McGonagall."
"I am sorry to hear that." Dantes sounded as if he really meant it. "My visit here today is to inform you that as of the end of this school year there will be a change in the governance of this school. I as the heir of Rowena Ravenclaw am taking Hogwarts back from the people of wizarding Britain…"
"You can't do that!" Hermione shouted from her position near the head of the Gryffindor table.
Dantes turned to face the Gryffindor table and the person who had interrupted him. "And why can't I, Miss…"
"Hermione Granger." She got to her feet determined to challenge him. "And you can't take Hogwarts away from the control of the people of magical Britain, because of the charter one of your ancestors signed, along with the other Founder's heirs that ceded control to the people of Wizarding Britain in perpetuity."
"Ah yes, that charter." Dantes smile if anything grew even wider. "You are very knowledgeable. Why are you not in Ravenclaw house?"
"Because the Sorting Hat felt I was a better fit for Gryffindor." Hermione told him and then demanded. "Don't change the subject! You have no right to take control of the school according to the charter. It says so in Hogwarts a History."
"Ah yes that biased and inaccurate book." Dantes nodded. "Actually, it is the Charter mentioned in that book that gives me the right to take control of the school back."
Hermione looked as if she wanted to slap him for daring to call one of her favourite books biased and inaccurate, but before she could say anything further, McGonagall asked, "How does the Charter give you control?"
"I'm sure you are very familiar with legal loopholes." At McGonagall's nod Dantes continued, "Well the Founder's Heirs were fairly intelligent and put a well disguised one in the Charter, hoping it would never be needed. Basically the Charter states that Hogwarts will remain under the control of the people of magical Britain, or its chosen representatives, only so long as the government has no part in teaching the children at Hogwarts without the Headmaster or Headmistress' approval and even then there needed to be a very good reason as to why. No laws forcing said employee upon the school. The charter didn't cover former government employees only active ones, such as Delores Umbridge. She remained Undersecretary to the Minister while she was teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts and while she was pretending to be Headmistress."
"If you don't mind, I think we need to discuss this matter in private, Lord Dantes." McGonagall got to her feet. "Also if you don't mind, I would like Dumbledore to accompany us because I would like his input as well."
"It doesn't bother me." Dantes shrugged and waited for Headmistress McGonagall and the former Headmaster to lead the way.
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Once they were all seated in what used to be Dumbledore's office, with Fawkes perched on Dumbledore's rather bony knees, McGonagall asked. "What is your real reason for taking control of the school?"
"Because I can," Dantes told her. "I have done some checking over the school records for the past one hundred years and did you know that the schools of magical Europe have fallen way behind their counterparts in other countries, like China, Japan, Australia, and America, just to name a few. Hogwarts has the lowest scores of all three of the major magical schools and that has got to change. My ancestor founded this school along with others to provide the best magical education available to young witches and wizards, but that standard has been lost. I intend to get it back."
"And how do you intend to do that?" Dumbledore wanted to know.
"The school will be shut down until I can redesign the curriculum and get teachers who are the very best in their professions to teach them. Some of the old courses will be brought back so that the children can understand all sides of magic; light, dark, and grey. This school will not reopen until I have teachers and courses I feel will not shame this school. Also there will be non-magical classes taught here as well, because the non-magical world, no matter how much witches and wizards may want to believe otherwise is slowly encroaching on us and we must be able to deal with them as equals and not as backwards idiots." The expression on Dantes' face was grim.
"You are just going to close the school with no warning, what about the teachers who have devoted their lives to teaching here?" McGonagall asked when she finally recovered from the shock of this young man telling her he considered her work substandard.
"All teachers will have the option to try for new teaching positions, once I have the curriculum decided. If they meet the standards I want they will be given first preference over any others since they have a history with this school." Dantes assured her, but then he said. "If they are not capable, I will not be hiring them back."
"You do realise you will be driving good teachers away." Dumbledore pointed out. "There is no need to do a wholesale change. It is far better to do it gradually."
"When was the last time any course was improved on or changed for a better one without the change being imposed on you from the outside?" Dantes inquired, knowing the answer already. "British magical society is stagnant. There have been no major changes in over one hundred years at least and even then they were only minor changes. If we are to survive as a people changes need to be made and made quickly."
"And when will this occur?" McGonagall wanted to know.
"Today," Dantes told her flatly. "Once the students get on the train the school will close until I think we are ready to reopen. You will need to let the students know, because I doubt I will have all the changes, I want to make, done before September."
"Surely you can see how disruptive this will be to the children's lives, especially those who are second through sixth year." Dumbledore protested. "Why not do a gradual shut down, but don't take in any new first years and then as each year finishes, it will not be replaced, until the second years complete their seventh year? That way their lives are not disrupted and it will give you seven years to complete your plans."
"No." Dantes disagreed. "I have thought this over and it would be far better in the long run for them to be with other children their own age, rather than realising that with each year they are getting fewer and fewer in number. Not to mention the stigma they will feel at knowing they were the last. You have your orders headmistress. Let the students know today before they leave. I have already made arrangements for the parents to be notified by owl post tomorrow."
"What about the house elves, the paintings, and the ghosts?" McGonagall wanted to know.
"The house elves will be staying on. Hagrid will also be asked to stay on and help with the modifications as well as the current maintenance along with Mr Filch. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to upgrade this castle to get it ready for future students and I hope they will help with that. As for the paintings and the ghosts, I have no doubt they are being told right now." Dantes gestured with his thumb toward one of the empty portraits of one of the former Headmasters.
"You do realise that some may choose not to come to this new school of yours?" Dumbledore pointed out.
"That's possible," Dantes shrugged. "But if purebloods and halfbloods won't attend the new Hogwarts, muggle-borns certainly will. And who knows we might even get students from other countries as well."
"Is there anyway we can convince you not to go through with this plan?" Dumbledore was willing to beg if that was what it would take.
"No." Dantes told him. "I am the master of Hogwarts and after today, it will only listen to me."
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On July 31st, a large portion of wizarding Britain received a shock when they opened their morning paper. In big bold type the headline read: Hogwarts Closed! and then underneath it in slightly smaller print Founder Rowena Ravenclaw's Heir Lord Liam Dantes states that Hogwarts will be closed for the foreseeable future.
The article took up the whole front page. It outlined Dantes reason's for closing the school at least for now and how he was able to take control of the school back, given Fudge had violated the terms of the charter ceding control of the school to the people of magical Britain by placing Delores Umbridge into Hogwarts as the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher while she also remained an active Ministry employee. A Ministry legal expert had confirmed that Lord Dantes did indeed have the right to do so because of Fudge's actions, though he lamented the fact that Dantes had chosen to do so. The parents who had children who would've been first years at Hogwarts this year and former students who had no students currently attending were furious at both the Ministry for creating the situation that allowed him to take control of the school back and Dantes for doing it.
At the Ministry, it was discovered that Fudge had not shown up for work that morning, but a quick check of his home showed he was still alive. He was apparently unwilling to step beyond the wards of his house, until the furore died down. The aurors were just glad he had chosen to do so. That meant they weren't wasting manpower trying to protect the idiot.
What passed almost unnoticed that day in the Daily Prophet because of the chaos caused by the news of Hogwarts closing was a small article listing the death of Albus Dumbledore, the former Headmaster of Hogwarts and defeater of Grindelwald. The article had listed his accomplishments and also it listed the fact that the previous month he had been reduced to little better than a Squib for violating the terms of the Potter's wills by placing their son with Lily Potter's sister. The article also claimed that the reason for Dumbledore's rapid decline was he had lost the will to live after all the losses he had suffered through the previous year from the loss of his seat on the Wizengamot to losing his position as Headmaster as well as his spectacular failure at trying to keep Lord Harry Potter in magical Britain.
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On that same July 31st morning, Ginny Weasley suddenly went into labour and at one minute after midnight on August 1st, she gave birth to a son at the Burrow.
When he saw his first grandchild, Arthur Weasley was glad he had gotten a magical oath out of his medi-wizard friend to not discuss this matter with anyone else and had arranged for him to deliver the baby at the Burrow. While the cap of downy brown hair covering the newborn's head wouldn't indicate who the father was, the emerald green eyes that looked up at Arthur for the first time, could only have one source: Harry Potter. Green eyes were a rarity in the wizarding world and currently the only wizard in magical Britain with them was Harry, even though no one had seen him since his departure from the Great Hall.
Arthur felt a great deal of regret over the fact that he would never ever see this grandchild again. That there would be no pictures of him growing up, or even glimpses of him at a distance. Arthur still remembered how angry Molly had been over the terms of the Life Debt and the fact that the child would have no place in their lives. Arthur had had to invoke a rarely used power of the Head of House to force Molly to accept that this child was lost to them before it had even been born because Ginny had stolen the means to create it.
After confirming with his friend that the child was healthy enough to travel by portkey even though it had been born a bit early and before Ginny or Molly had a chance to see the baby, Arthur Weasley took his grandchild downstairs and went into his office to get the portkey that he had been given to take him and the baby to Harry's location after it was born. He was not going to take any chances that the payment of the Life Debts owed by he and Ginny would be violated by anyone in his family.
Holding the baby carefully but securely in his arms, Arthur made sure they both were in contact with the portkey as he said the activation phrase. "Payment has come due."
He appeared in a darkened room. The fire in the fireplace was providing the only illumination in the room. As he was looking around, the door on the far side of the room opened and with the light behind him Arthur couldn't make out who it was, but assumed it was Harry. A moment later his guess was confirmed when Harry appeared in the firelight.
"Hello Arthur, I take it Ginny has given birth?" Harry stated the obvious.
"A few hours ago," Arthur confirmed. "I just wish this could have been a happier occasion, for both of us."
"So do I, sir, but I never would have been your son-in-law, no matter how much Ginny wanted it." The contempt was not evident in Harry's voice now. "At one time, I would have welcomed your family's presence at the birth of any child I did have, since you were the closest thing to a family I had ever had. I'm just sorry that is no longer true."
"So am I, Harry. I want you to know that I will always think of you as a son, in spite of what happened." Placing a kiss on the downy brown head of his blanket wrapped barely a few hours old grandson, Arthur handed the newborn baby over to his father. "Here is your son, Harry."
"Thank you Arthur." Taking his son in his arms, Harry turned and walked out of the room without another word.
Arthur took hold of the portkey once more and with tears running down his face, he said, "home."
Once he was back in his office, Arthur did as he had been instructed by Harry and threw the portkey in the fireplace. He watched it carefully to make sure it was completely destroyed so that no one could backtrack the location he had been transported to.
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At midday on August 1st, Luna Lovegood walked into Longbottom manor a child in her arms only to be greeted by a house elf.
"How can Nippy help you?" the house elf asked.
"Would you please tell Lady Longbottom, I am here with her great-grandchild." Luna requested. For once she was acting in a practical, matter-of-fact manner.
The house elf nodded and vanished with a pop.
Lady Augusta Longbottom appeared a few minutes later and walked over to Luna a large smile on her face. "You have Neville's child."
"He has a fine son to carry on the Longbottom and Lovegood lines." Luna uncovered the sleeping child's face. The child's head was covered with a cap of fine silvery blond down and the child's eyes opened at the sound of the strange voice. Augusta Longbottom gasped at the beautiful aquamarine eyes her great-grandchild had. "Everything has been properly done to make sure he is legally recognised as my child and Neville's. Even an Inheritance ritual won't show any different."
"Welcome to the family, my dear." Augusta embraced Luna and the baby. "This day has been a long time coming."
(AN: Author watches as the bunnie saunters off into the sunset a smug look on its face. It is quite pleased with all the chaos it has caused in the process of delivering this story. I hope you have enjoyed reading it.)