A Strange Turn of Events

Epilogue

Six months later…

Harry was humming happily under his breath as he hurried down the corridor. All the other students had left Hogwarts for the summer holidays a few days ago and he and Severus would be leaving soon too. The professors had to stay for an extra week, for end of year meetings and other such duties, but Harry didn't mind. He was just so grateful not to have to return to the Dursleys.

So much had changed since that night six months ago, when he and Severus had gone back in time, nine hundred and sixty-four years, Harry thought with a grin. Just as Severus had said, Dumbledore had been enraged over the Blood Quill and had immediately set to work having Umbridge evicted. He'd contacted parents of other students she'd abused and the press, and with all the uproar and fury from the public, Fudge had had no choice but to denounce her and give up any attempt to influence the running of Hogwarts.

Umbridge had quickly been carted away for a trial, and after having seen Dumbledore's rage and power firsthand, Harry thought that Toad Lady was lucky to have gotten off with a ten-year sentence in Azkaban.

And things had only gotten better after that. They'd continued with Occlumency lessons and once Severus had begun truly teaching him, Harry had made amazing progress. He hadn't had a vision from Voldemort in months, not since saving Mr. Weasley's life, in fact. He could completely close his mind to the dark wizard now, and he and Severus were beginning to work on Legilimancy as well. Dumbledore had even mentioned that there might be a way, with the three of them working together, to attack Voldemort's mind and destroy him that way rather than risk an actual confrontation.

But Harry needed to master Legilimancy first. He and Severus were working diligently towards that purpose though. Severus rarely praised him aloud, but Harry had heard him tell Dumbledore that Harry was one of the strongest, most gifted students he'd ever taught and that Severus believed they would be able to defeat Voldemort within a year.

Severus…

He was really the reason that Harry's life was so much better now, the most important one. The tentative new relationship that had begun during their trip to the past had grown strong, first into a close friendship and then into even more.

Harry couldn't keep from smiling as he remembered the evening Severus had told him that he wanted to become his guardian. At first Harry hadn't been able to believe Severus, to believe that anyone could really want him. But when Severus had taken him in his arms and dried his tears, Harry had begun to hope that he had finally found a family.

And he'd given something back to Severus, too, he hoped. Severus had been able to quit spying finally. Harry had hated knowing that he was in danger and sometimes even suffering when he went to those horrible meetings, but Severus had been reluctant to quit. He felt he had to atone for the mistakes he'd made in the past. But then Dumbledore had convinced him that teaching and protecting Harry was an even more valuable contribution and Severus had finally agreed to give up his spying duties.

But Harry thought that he'd given Severus even more. Just the other evening, when his guardian had come in to say good-night, Severus had stroked his fingers through Harry's hair and told him that he'd never been happier than since Harry had come to live with him.

And now they had the whole summer to look forward to. Later that day he and Severus would travel to the cottage on the Yorkshire moors that belonged to them now. Severus had bought it just a few weeks before so that they could have a real home. Dumbledore had placed it under the Fidelous Charm, with Severus as the Secret-Keeper, so it was perfectly safe and Harry could look forward to the best summer he'd ever had. Severus had even agreed to let Ron and Hermione come to visit.

He hadn't agreed to allow Sirius to come by, but Harry was working on that. He wasn't sure if his guardian and his godfather could ever truly get along, but at least for his sake, they were attempting to be civil towards one another, and even if Severus never did want Sirius to come to the cottage, he had agreed that Harry could visit at Grimmauld Place.

"Harry, dear," a voice broke into his thoughts and Harry turned to see a witch in a portrait calling to him. He stared as he recognized Sarah Trelawney-Dumbledore.

"I never knew you were here!" he exclaimed as he hurried over to stand beside her.

"You don't come this way very often, do you?" She smiled.

Well, that was true. Her portrait was in the corridor leading to the Slytherin dungeons and even though he lived with Severus now, Harry usually Flooed back and forth from their rooms. It was sheer chance that he was walking today.

"I've been wanting to speak with you for a while now," Sarah said. "It's good to see you looking so happy, dear."

Harry smiled at her. "Thank you. I am happy now, and it all started because Severus and I went back to your time."

She nodded and lowered her voice conspiratorially. "Oh, I know. I couldn't tell you earlier, but you and Severus were a big part of the reason we called you back."

"Really? I thought it was because your prophecy said that we needed to help bring Salazar back to Hogwarts," Harry said.

"Well, that was part of it," Sarah replied. "And thank you very much for your help. Sal did come back, did you know?"

Harry nodded. He and Severus had read in the history books about how Salazar Slytherin had returned to the school and had reconciled with the other Founders, even that he had become a great defender of Muggle-borns.

Sarah continued, "But there was more. The prophecy foretold of a another threat, a powerful dark wizard who would live a thousand years in the future and cause great destruction unless two former enemies could learn to love one another and work together to defeat him. That's another reason why we called you back. And why we mis-set the portkey, for that matter. We wanted to give the two of you time alone."

Harry tilted his head at her quizzically. "Did you have anything to do with those dreams we had that night?"

Sarah grinned a little slyly. "You're a sharp one, Harry Potter. I cast a spell to make you dream, to be able to see through one another's eyes. Can you forgive me?"

"There's nothing to forgive," Harry told her. "We're happier than we've ever been."

Her eyes filled with tears. "I'm so happy for you, dear."

"Harry!" Severus' voice rang out. "Are you ready to leave?"

Harry turned to see his guardian standing further down the corridor, just outside the doorway to their rooms.

"Yes, I'm coming, Severus!" He called back. He smiled at Sarah. "Thank you. And tell the others 'thank you' too, please."

He turned and hurried down the corridor to join Severus.

The End.