Epilogue: In which you have to suffer through the tying of loose ends.
"Remus! It's happened!" hollered Tonks. She was inside of their house on 47 Stewart Lane, 47208462, L. Remus was in the back yard, having some iced tea with Lily, James and Sirius who had stopped by on their way to James' match. (He was going to play The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World…and they were quite good.)
"What's happened, dear?" called Remus.
"They've gotten together! They've gotten together!"
"That's lovely. Now why don't you come outside and join us, dear?"
Remus and Tonks adored each other. They adored Death. Tonks had joined an acting troupe, Remus had joined STEFAN with Lily, as had Cedric. The one thing that the Lupins regretted was leaving their infant son behind—something with which both Lily and James could identify.
After they had died, Lily had spent many hours with Tonks, watching Teddy. She found it oddly therapeutic to watch someone else's kid obsessively. It made the transition into not watching Harry all the time much easier. As Fred Weasley had pointed out, Harry was getting to that stage where he would feel most uncomfortable if his parents were watching him constantly—and they would probably feel uncomfortable watching him. But Teddy was safe territory (at least until now) because he was young and sweet and his time with Harry was usually very brotherly. Of course, now that Teddy and Victoire appeared to have gotten together, it would be time to wean Tonks, but Lily was pretty sure that she could figure out a way to do it. Tonks was not nearly as big a basket case as she was.
"They are together?" asked Sirius when Tonks came out and joined them, "You're sure?"
"Positive," said Tonks. "Little James saw them snogging on the train. Teddy had come to see them—or maybe just her—off to Hogwarts."
"Our son really is doing quite well, isn't he? First he gets that job at Ollivanders, then he goes out with the girl he likes," smiled Remus, sipping his iced tea.
"He had a good role model," said James, puffing out his chest proudly.
"Yes, he did," agreed Remus.
"Although hopefully he won't name his kids the way your son did. James Sirius was all well and good, as was Lily Luna, but Albus Severus?" demanded Sirius, leaning back in his chair.
"Oh, come on now. You get along all right now," sniffed Lily.
"Get along. Exactly. It doesn't mean I like the bloke. And I certainly don't understand how or why he seems to be in love with Melanie. I mean, she likes gay men, for heavens sake. Does he pretend she's a—"
"Don't finish that thought, Sirius, or you will be feeding yourself for a month," threatened Lily. It was a threat that indeed had power now that James was as good a cook as Lily. Marlene was thrilled with his progress, and had stopped teaching him lest his skills rival her own.
Sirius clamped his mouth shut, not daring to face a month of his own cooking, no matter how confused he was by Snape's choice in a first girlfriend.
Snape and Melanie had sat next to each other the night that he had died, and as far as anyone knew, that was how it had all gotten started. Don't look at me like that, reader. I hate introducing characters just so that other characters can have happy endings as much as you hate reading about them, but Melanie and Snape genuinely got along. She was also different enough from Lily that he wouldn't be reminded constantly of the love he wished he had had. And he was a tortured soul—something that appealed to Melanie quite as much as gay men. They were living together somewhere in the Vegan section of Death, although Snape would nip out every now and then for a steak, usually at 210 rue Colbert. His friendship with Lily could never be fully repaired, so long as Lily stayed with James, but they did their best to be open to one another. It was much easier when the men of the house were off at quidditch, or performing unspeakable acts of tomfoolery.
Being with Snape certainly did not diminish Melanie's participation in the Flimbert Society. Indeed, she was as an active participant as ever, and was thrilled with Ariana's information that her brother was, in fact, gay. They did not discuss his possible Flimbert moments, however. They thought that might be a little too personal for Ariana, who shared his apartment. Cassandra was glad that Melanie had Snape. She did not feel as though Melanie's presence was too much of an intrusion on her friendship with Ariana when Melanie had someone else to go home to.
Regulus and his girlfriend Salem came over for tea every now and then (he was more prompt when she was around), but, on the whole, led his own Death rather separately from his brother. But he enjoyed most heartily being able to chat with his brother in a light-hearted fashion, something they had never been able to do in Life. Sometimes Cedric came with them. He found it much nicer to be in the Potter's presence now that he had gotten over his love for Cho, not that Harry saw her on a regular basis anyway.
Benjy's second wife died and was able to take control of Silas, Gideon became a division leader in the DQL (something that James aspired to do as well) and Fabian's flamenco skills were unparalleled in their circle of friends—which was not that difficulty, actually, considering that he was the only one who knew how to flamenco.
Tom Riddle Sr. divorced Merope Gaunt—who joined the Flimbert Society, incidentally—and did his best to forget about his misfortunes in life. He was unable to, however, and ended up trying to off himself, yet again, using the age-old toaster-in-the-bathtub routine. He failed and he provided Bob Larkin with a great deal of entertainment while the latter fixed the former's toaster.
"Yoohoo!" called someone from out front.
"We're out back, dad," called James. Archibald and Helen Potter walked into the back yard.
"Don't you have to go in a moment?" asked Archibald, "Warm-up should begin soon."
"I know, dad, I know," smiled James, "I'm just enjoying myself a bit before I go. I can be a few minutes late. I will still beat Cordelia."
"My, how times have changed," said Helen, "James willing to be late to a quidditch function? What have you done to my son, Lily?"
"He did that all on his own," smiled Lily. She kissed James.
"Like I said, I will still beat Cordelia, and we never start until we are all there, so what's the big deal?"
"You wouldn't get it…" said Sirius.
"Nope. You just have to accept that we see a change in you, James Potter."
James glared at them. "I hate you all. And I'm leaving."
James didn't hate them all. Far from it. He loved his wife more than ever. She was the paragon of all that good in his life. She was love. She was understanding. She was humor. She was willing to smack him upside the head in the way that he both adored and abhorred. She entertained him endlessly, whether in her fights with The Wall (which was just as much an ass as ever), or in her willingness to recite Shakespeare with him, or in their strange, argumentative foreplay. He loved her, and would never stop.
And Sirius was his brother. Their "bromance" was never to end. And Remus was like a close cousin. And Tonks was a lovely young lady. And even Snape was better than he had been before (loath as James was to admit it) because he wasn't the black hole of doom in Lily and James' relationship anymore. They could talk about him without fear of it destroying them—something for which James was extremely grateful.
He waved goodbye to everyone and searched for the nearest lift. Finding it, he checked to make sure Maya wasn't inside. He still avoided her like the plague, and always ran into her when he was late and she was in the lift he needed to take. She wasn't inside and he took the Elevator to A.
They really should find a way to tell the living more about Death, thought James, There is no need for them to be scared of it. They should look forward to it—not that they should all go offing themselves to get here sooner. But, as inevitable things go, this could really be a lot worse.
AN: Well folks....that's it. We here at 142staircases can't even begin to thank you for getting this far in our fic. Thank you for all the extremely kind reviews. Cracking the 100s is a big deal in Harry Potter fandom and it really means a lot to us. For all of you who discover this in a month, a year, ten years etc, feel free to review anyway. We do respond to them (unless they are anonymous...then we just nod and smile) and would be glad to field your questions and what-have-you.
Also, now that you have finished this 24 chapter thing...and you have NO idea what you want to read...you can either check out our stuff, or you can go to our favorite stories page/favorite authors page. We are quite selective in what we pick, and we do care a lot about the stories that we like, so we encourage you to check them out.
Pax et amor
(God we are nerds)
P.S. HBP movie: Hysterical.