Chapter 13 – Diaspora
From the penseive memories of Harry James Potter, submitted for evidence:
The first thing Harry noticed was the smell and feel of soft grasses, the sound of birds in far off trees and the warmth of the soft lap his head rested upon. Someone was running their fingers through his hair and it felt nice.
"When I open my eyes, there better be an angel running her fingers through my hair."
"Will I do, in a pinch, Harry?"
Harry knew that voice, "Lav? Lavender Brown?"
He opened his eyes and saw the blue eyes and broad smile of Gryffindor's most gregarious student.
"You're alive! I thought you were…oh."
"It's okay Harry, you can say it. After all, death is just a state of mind."
"I guess that means I'm dead too?"
"Um, Lavender, it's a yes or no question."
"Maybe just a little…"
"Oh come on Lav, you can't be just a little bit dead, that's like being a little bit pregnant."
"Okay, thing is, you've got a choice to make. And I can't help you either way, it has to be your decision."
"A choice?" Harry asked.
"Yes, you can choose to go back or stay"
"Can you tell me where we are?"
"Oh yes, these are the Elysian Fields, everyone passes through here sooner or later."
"If I decide to stay, what happens to everyone back, you know, back there."
"Life will go on. Your wives will grieve; Luna may or may not recover from the shock of seeing you kill yourself."
Harry heard the unmistakable sound of reprimand in Lavender's voice.
"And your son and two daughters will grow up never knowing their father."
"So Luna and Padma?"
"Hermione and Padma, Luna will miscarry, something about falling off a broom from the shock of you killing yourself."
"Or you can go back, finish what you started, and live a long and productive life. But it's your call; I didn't say anything to try to convince you one way or another, right?"
"Okay." Harry agreed. "I want to go back, can I go now?"
"Whew! Good choice, Harry, better than you could have known."
"How so, why do you sound so relieved?"
"Well, remember that anchoring ritual you performed?"
"It would have trapped you're spirit, your ghost, on the Earthy Plane until all your children had passed over."
"But I only anchored to my wives."
"No, you anchored to your pregnant wives."
"Does that mean we'll all be ghosts until all our children pass over?"
"No, once you're back you can all agree to modify the anchor any way you'd like."
"Um, how much time has passed since I, ah, attempted suicide?"
"Oh, that's the fun thing about time here, it doesn't really exist. Well not in the way we normally think of time as like, a clock ticking or days and nights and seasons…"
"Lav! The point? I'm trying to save my babies here!"
"Oh, you can go back to the very instant you, um, had your little accident."
"Great, I want to go back now!"
"Remember Arresto momentum, the Headmaster used that one on you in third year, it lets you down nice and easy, okay?"
He stood in front of the Lord Mayor's house, Riddle was face-down in the snow. – Harry spun, sensing Luna somewhere behind him, and shouted "Arresto momentum!"
It was his other wife, Hermione. "Oh shite, I'm never gonna hear the end of this, am I?"
Harry cast a broad spell to cancel the disillusionment on Luna and saw her lying not three feet away from where he stood. He fell to his knees, pulled her limp form to his chest, and began to cry.
He hadn't cried since he was a baby – it had been the only way he could beat the Dursleys. If they could make him cry, it meant they'd won, if he didn't cry, they didn't win.
He'd cried in impotent rage when Cedric was murdered.
He hadn't cried in grief when Cedric died, or Sirius, or Lavender or Ron or Dumbledore, but here sitting on the frozen ground holding Luna, grief, bottled away for years, came rushing out – he grieved for his entire abused life, for his loved ones lost.
And he prayed.
He touched that invisible means of support we cleave to as human beings, to that which makes us spiritual beings.
God, YAWEH, Goddess, whatever name you call It, the Source and the Guide.
"Please, please don't be dead; don't let my babies be dead, please oh please."
Luna stirred, "Ha-Harry?"
He sniffed and nodded.
Harry turned just in time to see Voldemort's reptilian head disappear into a fine red mist.
The headless corpse stood for just a moment, a vicious-looking knife raised high, ready to strike.
Several broom riders shouted, "Expeliarmus!"
The body flew back away from Harry and Luna.
There was no releasing of a soul fragment, no mist or shadow, there were no more soul fragments to release.
"I thought you were dead." Luna said.
"No, just getting rid of that last pesky horcrux."
"Oh, well, that's okay then."
"And here we thought I was the one who had to kill Riddle." Harry said.
"Well, we are bonded, after all," Luna observed, "You know the song, 'a man shall leave his mother, and a woman leave her home, they shall travel on to where the two shall be as one'.
"Or maybe it's because I'm carrying our babies?"
"Are you, they, all of you okay?"
Luna smiled, "Just fine, Harry."
Just then frizzy brown hair covered their faces as a brunette missile collided with them both.
"Harry, Luna, are you hurt? Harry! Harry, you cast a killing curse, and then it hit you and you; but you're not dead, but he wasn't either and then Luna fell, but you caught her and he was going to and then Luna! You killed Voldemort!"
"One of these days, sis, you're going to have to tell me how you do that."
"Get all that out without taking a breath."
Harry smirked, "Great breath control on this girl, oh yeah."
The rest of the flyers became visible and began collecting wands.
"I want to see my solicitor, I know my rights, I was imperioused!"
Harry frowned, "Can you get up, love?"
Luna nodded and let Harry and Hermione help her to her feet.
"Let's do a quick count, how many of you were imperioused?"
Every death eater hand went up.
"I thought so." Harry said, "So you won't mind testifying under veritaserum?"
"You can't make us take veritaserum, we have the right to not incriminate ourselves!"
Harry smiled most unpleasantly, "If you were criminals, then that would be true, but guess what? Your dark lord declared war on Britain, and under the articles of war that makes you enemy combatants, which means we can use any means necessary to extract information from you in the interests of national security.
"You don't want veritaserum? Fine, we'll just crucio you until you're ready to tell us the whole truth."
Harry smiled a predatory smile, "I'll bet I can get some of the family members of death eater victims to conduct the interviews."
The eleven death eaters didn't need white masks at that point, as all the blood had rushed to their feet. Their faces were quite naturally white.
Harry ordered the DA members to bind the death eater's hands behind them and then marched them in a single file back through Hogsmeade on the way to Hogwarts.
As the prisoners were led away, Hermione transfigured Tom Riddle's body into a book, ironically, into a diary. She then placed it in a sack pulled from a rubbish bin. The witch held the sack well away from her body as she joined those guarding the prisoners.
The residents of Hogsmeade jeered and taunted the bound death eaters; Harry could barely contain his disgust. There must have been two hundred people lining the streets, with more on the way, and they had been beaten and cowed by two dozen men in black hoods and masks.
Then the sound of explosions and the sight and smell of smoke told them that the day's fighting wasn't quite over.
Harry counted out six Defense Association fighters, "You stay with the prisoners, if they speak, silencio them, if they move stun them, if they give you any trouble at all, kill them. Understood?"
The guards nodded then turned their grim faces to the prisoners. All of whom quailed under the scrutiny.
"Dragon Squadron, mount up, go, go, go!"
They flew up and over the rooftops of Hogsmeade making a beeline for the castle.
From the air Harry could see that Phoenix Squadron had done its job, there was a wide firebreak of felled and cleared trees cut in an arc behind the death eater positions, the forest nearest Hogwarts was blazing.
Death eaters who had tried to cross the firebreak had been felled by thick-shafted centaur arrows. The rest were firing lethal curses at the battlements but they were leaderless. And most of the curses fell short of the mark.
Harry placed a sonorous on his throat, "This is Commander Potter of the Defense Association! Your dark lord is dead. I offer you these terms, lay down your wands and come out with your hands up and I promise you'll get fair trials."
A bright green light flashed his way, which he easily avoided.
"Dragon Squadron, on me!"
The cruciform formation flew low and fast over the trees for its strafing run. No one broke formation as the "Dragon" veered left or right to avoid the hottest spots in the burning forest. Blasting, cutting, and burning curses flew from a dozen wands to devastating effect.
Fifteen men stumbled out of the forest with their hands raised.
From his hovering broom Harry demanded, "Is this everyone?"
The man in front shook his head, "No, there are about a dozen more back there in a tunnel."
"Bind these like the others and watch em'." Harry ordered his troops, and then turned and flew over the firebreak. He spotted Hagrid, who was talking with the centaur leader Bane.
Hovering over the half-giant and centaurs Harry called out, "Hey, Hagrid, are you friendly with any of the acromantulae, now that Aragog is gone?"
"Yeah, one or two, why?"
"See if they'd like some fresh meat."
Hagrid placed two fingers in his mouth and whistled five shrill blasts.
Three spiders, about the size of Shetland ponies came out. They clicked and whistled.
"They're askin' if we'll let them to feed on the fresh meat."
"Okay by me. There are twelve death eaters trying to dig their way into the castle right now. Imagine, Hagrid, what a dozen of that lot would be doing inside Hogwarts right now."
The half-giant looked grim, then whistled once.
The three giant acromantulae were followed by six more as they found their way unerringly to the tunnel.
Horrified, gurgling screams – the stuff of nightmares – only lasted a moment or two, maybe three.
"I wanna talk to my solicitor…" the first death eater began.
"Shut the fuck up!" Harry bellowed.
"You disgust me! You bathe in the blood and tears of the weak and the frightened, you terrify and humiliate your victims; you rape them and rob them of their dignity before you kill them. And now, after you've been caught, you want the rest of us to play by some fucking rules?"
Harry rounded on the group, "You want some rules? Okay, rule one, if any one of you so much as breathes the words 'solicitor' or 'imperioused' I will fucking feed you to the spiders. Are we clear? Please, please try me on this, I'm begging you!"
No one said anything after that.
Just then a full company of aurors, fifty fresh, battle ready troops portkeyed onto the grounds. Rufus Scrimgeour, Minister of Magic, stood at the front of the formation.
Off to one side a Daily Prophet photographer was snapping photos.
Harry shook his head in disbelief, then took a deep breath, let it out and said, "Minister, we have prisoners here and maybe a dozen more in Hogsmeade."
"And the werewolves." Hermione prompted.
"Oh yeah, and three werewolves sleeping in the Slytherin common room."
Scrimgeour was beyond words, but, being a politician first, he found them.
"Excellent! We'll get this lot to Azkaban straight away."
"I'm afraid not, minister, this is a military matter, and until a representative from Her Majesty's Armed Forces takes over, these are my prisoners to interrogate."
"That's Commander Potter to you, Minister, I have my commission from the Crown, and unless you want to be found guilty of sedition in the court of public opinion, you'll work with me on this."
"But due process…"
Harry didn't let himself blow up again, not in front of the Minister of Magic.
"I promise you, sir, these men will have infinitely more due process than their victims have enjoyed. And as I plan to make all their transcripts a matter of public record, I'd say I've got the moral and legal high ground today."
"Where and when do you want the depositions, Commander?"
"Now would be good, in the great hall. I'd like as many witnesses as you think we can get for pensive recordings as well."
"Oh, and if Rita Skeeter shows up, arrest her."
"On what grounds?"
"She's an unregistered animagus, her form is a particularly hideous beetle."
An hour later the prisoners, twenty-seven in all, were chained together at the Slytherin table.
Professor's Flitwick, McGonagall and Sprout went to the Slytherin common room and each levitated a sleeping wolf back to the great hall. The werewolves would be questioned after moonset in the morning.
Snape and the Slytherins were left behind in the common room, figuratively and literally in the dark.
One by one the death eaters were questioned, first without veritaserum, then with. Everyone got the same questions.
"Are you a death eater?"
"Did you join of your own free will?"
"Have you killed?"
"Have you raped?"
"Are there any other crimes that you have committed as a death eater?"
"Do you know of any death eaters or death eater sympathizers?"
"Who are they?"
"Where are they?"
The depositions took ten hours in all.
Filius Flitwick snapped his fingers and said, "The Slytherins!"
Severus Snape was brought to the Great Hall and arrested for having a dark mark. His crimes were numerous, but, since turning evidence on Voldemort's followers sixteen years before, none of his more recent crimes were enough to qualify him for a stay in Chez Azkaban.
However they were more than sufficient to get him sacked.
"Leave now, Mister Snape." McGonagall ordered, "Your belongings will be sent to Spinner's End."
Snape began to protest, but McGonagall wouldn't have it, "Leave now or I will have you charged with criminal trespass, and that will put you in Azkaban."
The ex-professor turned to his least favorite ex-student, "Potter…"
Harry raised his hand, "We saw you, in the dungeon, putting yourself between the werewolves and your students, that's the only reason the Potter family is not declaring vendetta against you. You should go now, before I'm forced to do something I won't regret."
With one last swirl of his black robes Severus Snape left the building.
Harry bent down to whisper something in Professor Flitwick's ear. The diminutive man nodded and cast a spell.
Rita Skeeter fell from a height of fifteen feet. Luckily, for her, she didn't break any bones, but her left wrist and ankle were both badly sprained.
"Minister," Harry asked, "What is the penalty for not registering your animagus form?"
"A thousand galleons and six months in Azkaban."
Scrimgeour leaned over to Harry and whispered, "I don't think there's a judge she doesn't have some kind of dirt on. She knows where all the skeletons are closeted."
Then he looked back at Rita and added, "Oh, and, of course, the loss of any and all press credentials and accesses."
"Did you get all that, Miz Skeeter?" Harry asked. "These tribunals are public record, you put any kind of spin on them other than the unvarnished truth, and you'll have to find wherever ex-professor Snape is going for career advice."
Skeeter scrambled out of the great hall as fast as her painful limbs would allow.
End penseive recording
Luna sighed, over the past few days Harry had been glorified for the final defeat of Tom Riddle, then vilified for the use of an unforgivable, but since the only person he'd used it on had been himself, Riddle having been deemed a 'dark magic construct,' that furor died down quickly.
Now Harry was the "Chosen One" again, and the "Man Who Triumphed!"
Ministry employees who had been Dark Lord sympathizers and enablers were ratted out by the very death eaters they were supporting – chief among them the Senior Undersecretary for the Minister of Magic, Dolores Umbridge.
She was sacked, then arrested for crimes including, but not limited to illegal use of a contract quill, also known as a blood quill, abuse of power and willful endangerment of under aged children, not the least of whom had been Harry Potter himself. When several witnesses, including Millicent Bulstrode, testified that the Minister's right-hand-witch had actually sent dementors after Harry the previous year, she was given the choice, life in Azkaban or the Archway and Veil.
She chose the life sentence.
Six months later she would be found hanging in her own cell.
Draco Malfoy disappeared from Britain altogether. Someone had bound his magic, leaving him less than a squib, and then had him thrown him into Diepkloof Prison near Johannesburg where he was serving time as a serial child-rapist.
He was young and good looking, despite only having one arm and the sex starved inmates, over half of whom were HIV positive, rode him like a freight train.
One inmate got a bit carried away and what was once a proud heir to a pureblood family found his final resting place in an unmarked grave just outside Diepkloof's main gate.
Back in Britain, just in time for Ostara, a large crowd gathered. The Ministry spared no expense re-constructing the stadium that had last been used for the Quidditch World Cup three years before.
It seemed all Magical Britain was there, and those who couldn't be were glued to the Wizarding Wireless Network.
Rumor had it that the ministry was going to declare a national holiday in honor of Harry Potter."
It was well known that Harry and the three Missus Potters were all going to receive Orders of Merlin, along with Potter's Commandos and the two flying squadrons that had been formed on that fateful day.
The Defense Association was now a ministry sponsored military force, the 'Minutemen of Magical Britain.'
All who fought on that cold, February morning would receive special recognition.
The podium and stage set up mid-field was replicated on large screens at the north and south ends of the stadium so that there wasn't a bad seat in the house.
The stadium lights dimmed as the spectators continued to trickle in.
Rufus Scrimgeour stepped up to the podium to begin the honors.
"My fellow wizards, witches and guests, as Minister of Magic it gives me great pleasure to be here today to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of those who stood between us and the Dark Lord Voldemort."
The collective gasp in the stadium was followed by thousands of mages nervously chuckling in embarrassment.
"Before we present the awards, Harry Potter…"
The stadium shook as thirty thousand people stood and cheered and applauded their savior. Thousands of cameras flashed, making the stadium resemble nothing more than a gigantic, blazing jewel in the night.
It took several minutes for the din to die down, and Scrimgeour continued, "Harry Potter has asked to be allowed to say a few words."
Harry stood behind the podium and endured another few minutes of adulation. The whole stadium became quiet as he raised his hands, palms outward.
He looked at the table before him where several velvet boxes held Wizarding Britain's highest honor, the Order of Merlin.
Without a word he stepped over to the table and picked up five boxes.
He delivered one box each to Arthur and Molly Weasley, Steven and Victoria Brown, and to the widows and small children of Aurors Stebbins, Welch and Connor.
Each family member accepted the award and a heartfelt embrace from the young man who had come to symbolize the best of the wizarding world.
The crowd sat in stunned silence, the only sound was that of thousands of pages being turned as the audience tried to find where in the program Harry Potter was supposed to be presenting those awards.
Harry returned to the podium, wiping the tears from his face with both hands.
"Five of my friends died that morning, four young men and one girl who should be sitting up here, or better yet, just running amok, enjoying life."
He looked out over the crowd and said in a voice just above a whisper, "Wow, look at all of you. There must be about thirty thousand of you here tonight - and another twenty thousand or so listening in courtesy of the WWN."
He got even quieter, "I just have one question, and you need to think hard before answering."
The crowd sat on the edges of their seats straining to hear.
"Where were you?"
Uncomfortable shuffling ensued.
"Where were you when Tom Riddle lay whimpering on a piss-stained mattress in a filthy orphanage, afraid to sleep because the older boys would bugger him if he did?
"Where were you when an eleven-year-old Tom Riddle needed the love and guidance of a foster parent, or a mentor, or just a friend?
"Left to his own devices, Tom Riddle decided to change the world to suit him, so he made a name for himself – you wanna see?"
Harry did the ascribe charm to spell out in flaming letters TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE, and then anagramized the name to read I AM LORD VOLDEMORT.
Uneasy murmurings from the stands, a few people got up to leave, clearly uncomfortable with the direction tonight's "festivities" were taking.
"Don't leave, people, the best is yet to come."
Harry gestured to the chairs in front of the podium.
"A group of just over a hundred students and teachers defended Hogwarts from attacks by dementors and giants and death eaters, and beat them.
"And as much as I appreciate the efforts of the brave aurors who arrived after the fighting was over – oh, and the reason for that? They were kept waiting for the Minister of Magic to join them so he could have a photo op!"
Everyone returned to their seats, most were glaring at Rufus Scrimgeour.
"Two dozen of us faced Riddle in Hogsmeade, in the middle of the town square, where, apparently, Tom was enjoying the hospitality of the Lord Mayor.
"Of the five hundred residents of Hogsmeade, how many chose to stand up to Riddle and his death eaters?"
Harry made a 'zero' symbol with his thumb and index finger.
"Five hundred wizards and witches, each with wands of their own, were cowed by two dozen men in masks."
More murmurs from the crowd.
"Yes, pathetic isn't it?"
Harry leaned over the podium and looked into the hearts of every man and woman there.
"No more pathetic than fifty thousand of you rolling over and spreading your legs for a handful of terrorists because they were meaner than you!"
"Christ! Don't you people get it? Even as you alternately praised and cursed me, you crawled under your beds and pretended bad things wouldn't happen to you if you just let someone else take charge!"
"Why did I have to be the one to face Riddle?"
From somewhere in the stadium a woman screamed, "Because you were the Chosen One!"
Cheers of consensus followed.
Harry raised his hands again and the crowd quieted.
"I'll let you in on a little secret."
He leaned forward and whispered, "I didn't kill Tom Riddle."
Shocked, stunned silence.
Harry turned and took Luna's hand, then had her join him at the podium.
"May I present Luna Selene Lovegood Potter, the true hero of the hour."
Luna sat down and Harry faced the crowd again.
As he began to speak the stadium fell silent again.
"So we have fifty-thousand people who are perfectly willing to let a sixteen year old girl save their arses for them as long as they can live safe, comfortable lives.
"Let me explain something.
"Freedom isn't free, never has been, never will be.
"My friends, my brothers and sisters in arms died for you, and now you have a choice; it's a simple choice, really. You can honor their sacrifice by doing what they did, serve your community, serve each other. Volunteer.
"Not everyone can be in the defense force, not everyone needs to be, but you can support those who go out every day to protect and serve you, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, the Defense Force, formerly known as the Defense Association.
"And the schoolyard bully who decides to become the next dark lord or lady will not have such an easy time of it."
Thunderous applause and cheering.
Cries of "Potter for Minister of Magic!"
Scrimgeour, red faced, seethed in his chair.
"One last thing, and then I'll go."
"There will, no doubt, be something of a, ah, restructuring of the Ministry of Magic. Due in no small part to the fact that every department, including the DMLE had either a death eater or a sympathizer highly placed in the organization.
"Nine seats opened as a result of Riddle sympathizers in the Wizengamot – every one an old pureblood family."
Harry shook his head, "And therein we find the true problem – old pureblood families.
"I don't mean that anyone should forsake their heritage. If you're from an old and respected family, that's good. Then again, neither should anyone be ashamed of where they came from. If you're a first generation witch or wizard, be proud of what you've been able to accomplish, learn to appreciate what a gift it is to be magical.
"What matters, or rather, what should matter is competence, combined with a sense of civic responsibility."
He turned to his brunette wife and said, "Hermione Jane Granger Potter is muggleborn, a first generation magic user, and the brightest witch of her, or any age. However, because of her 'blood status,' the best career she can look forward to in Wizarding Britain is a middle management position in some obscure ministry department. Or, God forbid, she could be relegated to the role of housewife and mother. That, my friends, would be a criminal waste of her enormous potential."
"Sweetheart," he said, "we will raise our children, but someday, if there's any justice in this world, I will simply be known as Hermione Potter's husband."
He turned next to Padma and said, "Padmini Patil Potter can trace her magical blood line back, unbroken, for fifty centuries, and yet, in Wizarding Britain, where blood is supposed to be the most important thing she is considered a second class witch because of the hue of her beautiful skin."
He looked out over the crowd, "So what do we have? The overwhelming majority of wizard-centric Britain is complacent, willing to be led by a few blood-purist bigots, and frankly, I don't see any real change on the horizon.
"Therefore, I am going to follow yet another little known but much practiced tradition – I am going to follow my half-blood and first generation magical cousins and get the fuck out of Britain."
He turned to leave and was joined by Luna, Hermione and Padma. As he made his way off the podium Scrimgeour said, "Wait! What about your award, your Order of Merlin?"
Harry stopped long enough to say, "Imagine it's a solid gold suppository."
"Potter, we had a deal!" Scrimgeour hissed.
Harry stopped again and turned, "Yes, we did. I said that as long as I was in Britain you would have my public support." Harry turned and this time didn't stop, neither did he look back.
If he had he would have seen every member of Potter's Commandos, and the whole of the Defense Association, now the Defense Force, also leaving the field.
Luna snuggled into Harry's side and asked, "So, where to?"
He laughed and kissed the top of her head, it's February, in Scotland, were do you think I'd like to go?
"Oh, right, the Caribbean it is."
Three weeks later on the Ile de la Lune
Hermione chided her sister, "Padma, you don't have to stay in that little tent all day!" Then she snuggled back into Harry's embrace on the beach chair, both were well-oiled, tanned, rested and quite naked.
"That's easy for you to say, your skin doesn't go black as sin when it tans."
"Honestly, sis, are you or are you not a witch?" Besides, half the fun is getting oiled up by our green-eyed sex god!"
"Oh…" Padma came out of the screened-in holiday tent and unrolled a beach mat next to her spouses.
The wizard groaned and got out of his comfortable lounger, then dropped to his knees next to Padma to begin covering her with oil, he was thorough and meticulous, and didn't leave one square millimeter of skin unoiled. Then, just to be sure he re-applied oil to those parts that might need a bit more.
Padma was on the brink, seconds away from ravaging Harry, when Luna came running out of the house carrying a shopping bag, followed closely by Myrtle, "We got a floo call from the Longbottoms, and guess what?"
Harry, Hermione and Padma all said, under their breaths, "Pansy's pregnant."
"Pansy's in the club!"
Hermione, "Honestly, that's news? Mambo Lune cast the fertility charm herself and then those two didn't come out of their bungalow for a solid week."
Harry smirked, "I'm just glad they remembered the silencing charm after the first night, who knew Neville and Pansy would be so vocal?"
"Or foul-mouthed?" Myrtle added.
"Oh, and Minister Shacklebolt has declared a state of emergency."
"Seems nearly every muggle-born witch and wizard in Britain has left the country, most have gone to Canada, some to Bermuda and quite a few to New Zealand."
Myrtle added, "Pansy said the magical population of New Zealand has doubled in just two weeks."
"Oh, I almost forgot! Neville sent us this."
Luna reached into the bag and pulled out a large jar filled with what looked like tightly packed seaweed.
Harry's eyes lit up, "Is that?"
"Yep, gillyweed – enough to carry us through the whole summer even if we use it every day!"
Padma, Hermione and Harry smiled and, along with Luna, each took a handful of the rubbery plant, before running into the clear Caribbean waters heading for the reef. Myrtle giggled and followed.
She loved to watch.
I'll leave the rest of this chapter to your fevered imaginations…
…or perhaps I'll write an epilogue, wherein the Caribbean's Steamin'.
Thus endeth the tale.
By a show of hands, how many of you remember this story began life as a simple one-shot, a way of looking at Luna's personality differently.
That's what I thought, almost no one.
After the twenty first message insisting "You have to write more on this!" I capitulated and began the multi-chapter version that I've ended here.
So could you say this is a thirteen chapter one-shot?
About halfway through the story I got the feeling that I was falling deeper and deeper into clicheland, not that that's bad, some cliches are good. For example, I love a well done do-over story – see the works of DrT and Clell and S'Tarkan and Kinsfire for some wonderful examples. But I wanted to do something different.
That's when I got the a) brilliant or b) terrible or c) both a and b idea to roll the ruthless dice.
That wasn't my biggest mistake, no, gentle readers, my biggest mistake was in letting my readers know I was going to let two characters die based on a roll of the dice.
Holy Shite Batman!
You could make a book out of the reviews, some very negative, some positive but most supportive as in "hey mate, I might not like where you're goin' with this one, but it's your story in the end."
The numbers came up five and six, Ron and Lavender.
If the numbers had come up one and two, Harry and Luna, would I still have allowed them to die?
I would have hated it, but I was ready to do whatever based on a single roll of the dice.
As it happens, Harry gets his happy ending, yay!
All three wives are still among the living, and enjoying every minute of it as only those who have laid their lives on the line will truly understand.
Right about now I imagine a pod of dolphins are watching our quartet and thinking, "Kewl, we gotta try that!"
As much as I love and respect Jo KR, all hail the beautiful creator, I have to say I didn't care for the canon works after OotP. My biggest peeve?
Nearly two decades after the fall of Voldemort, you look around Wizarding Britain and nothing has changed!
Blood prejudices are still an issue, and a MARKED death eater is on platform 9 ¾ seeing his own sprog off.
You can almost hear the "Approach of the Shark" music in the background as the next generation's Dark Lord is nurtured.
I'm all for forgiveness, but that little shite Draco better have thrown himself on a grenade to earn it.
All I can say is thank God and the Goddess for fanfiction – where some really good writers get it right!
With patience and encouragement I hope to join their ranks someday.
Brightest Blessings and Merry Partings,