Harry did not want to go back to Hogwarts. He spent the better part of the evening trying to convince Ginny to simply run away with him. Ginny had smiled at him and shook her head.
"Harry, a lot of people are worried about you. They need to see for themselves that you are fine. And they want to celebrate with you. You did a great thing, love."
He sighed. "And I wouldn't mind if it was just our friends, but you know Dumbledore will be there. The castle will have released him by now and he will probably be spitting mad."
Ginny placed her hand on his cheek. "There is nothing he can do to us, love, and he has no reason to try anymore. Voldemort is dead, and your destiny is fulfilled. Even Dumbledore will have to admit that."
Harry snorted. "I somehow can't imagine that man admitting defeat so easily."
"Have faith, Harry. All will be well."
"How can you know?"
"Because your guardian angels told me so." He looked at her curiously. "Let me show you; come into my mind."
Confused, Harry nonetheless cast the spell and entered her mind. She felt him flinch in shock as he watched the final confrontation, and his response to her feelings as she watched him collapse. Then shock overwhelmed him as he saw those he had been able to free and heard their final messages. When Harry pulled out of her mind, he buried his head in her neck, his arms tight around her as he sobbed.
"We really did save them, didn't we?" He asked quietly. It was as if he would not allow himself to believe until he saw it with his own eyes. He needed this to realise that, despite the many that had died in the war, he was still able to do an immense amount of good.
She smiled. "Yes, love, we did." She continued to hold him as he cried, and her heart nearly burst at the love he held for children he had never even met.
Dobby and Winky brought them back to Hogwarts midmorning the next day. They appeared in the Great Hall and were astonished to find it full to the brim, despite the time of day. The entire room went silent and every eye turned to them.
It was a grating and harsh voice that broke the silence. "Harry Potter." Harry turned, startled, to realise that the Bloody Barron was speaking to him. He did not think the ghost could talk.
"Sir?" Harry's eyes went wide as a steady trickle of ghosts moved forward to stand before him. Most were staring at him with wide eyes, and several appeared to be crying ghostly tears.
"We bring a message to you, Loved One." Harry gulped audibly at the name. It meant a great deal to him, and it was the first time in his life he was proud to bear a title of any kind. "All is well, and you have the thanks of more than you can imagine. Your family will watch over you in life, and prepare the welcome you deserve in death. They are many, Loved One, and they will never forget your sacrifice for them."
Harry blinked furiously. "Thank you." The idea of a large family that loved him enough to watch over him was overwhelming to him, for he had always been alone in the world and still had trouble accepting that he no longer was. Ginny slipped her hand into his and squeezed softly. The Barron gave a deep bow before turning and floating away, followed by the other ghosts, many of whom echoed his bow. Harry looked down at Ginny, and she smiled at the emotion swimming in his eyes.
"Your family loves you, Harry."
He gave her a blinding smile, before looking up at the staring crowd. He gulped nervously. His eyes shot to the Head Table, and he blinked in confusion at the empty centre chair. Then he shook his head and focused on the other empty chair, whose occupant he cared much more about. His head turned as he looked around the room, searching. His gaze came to rest on a man who was standing by his side, staring at him. The two men stood and looked at each other for several long minutes before the elder gave a startled cry and drew Harry into his embrace. Shocked, it took a moment before Harry returned it.
"Thank you," Severus whispered hoarsely in his ear.
"And, you," Harry answered back. "I could not have done that without your help, Severus."
They pulled apart, and Harry was amused as the Potion's Master quickly slipped back into his usual demeanour. He had a feeling that Severus felt uncomfortable displaying such emotion in front of the occupants of the room.
Harry's eyes shot once more to the Head Table. "Where is...?"
Severus chuckled slightly. "Gone. He resigned last night and left immediately."
Harry whipped around and stared at the man in shock. "He did?"
"Yes. He looked utterly defeated. Said he almost destroyed the world because of his own pride, and could not bear to face you. He said your glory deserved not to be tainted by him."
Harry didn't know how to respond to that, and so remained quiet.
Cornelius Fudge sat contentedly behind his large desk, a self-satisfied smile on his face. The news had just been confirmed that Vol... He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had been defeated. The reports were sketchy about what had actually happened, however. Dumbledore was nowhere to be found, Harry Potter appeared to have fallen off the face of the planet, and the only thing he had been able to get out of Minerva McGonagall was that Harry Potter, with the help of Ginny Weasley, had defeated the Dark Lord yesterday. She refused to say anything else on the matter. His letter to the Potter boy had been returned unopened, and owls directed to the Weasley girl refused to even take off. To Cornelius, all of this meant that no one would interfere with what he presented as news.
His junior secretary, young Percy Weasley, was currently preparing an article about Cornelius' personal involvement in the final battle. He assured the people that he had personally guaranteed You-Know-Who could never return again. He also assured them that their young hero, though gravely injured, was being nurtured back to health at his direction. He denied the involvement of any other non-Ministry individuals. (If it got out a fifteen year old girl was the only one standing by the side of the Boy Who Lived during the final battle, Cornelius would be ruined. He was counting on the fact that the girl's parents would not want her involvement known. If that didn't work, he could always threaten Arthur Weasley to keep quiet. The man had too many children to not be concerned about losing his job.) Cornelius was quite happy with this story. He knew that the Potter boy despised the media attention, so he was quite willing to take it all upon himself. Potter would probably even thank him.
A knock came on his door and he smiled. "Come in," he called. That must be young Percy. The lad certainly was prompt.
The door opened and the young man in question came in. Cornelius' smile fell as he noted the strange look on the lad's face and the distinct smell of burnt parchment lingering about his person.
"Um, sir? About that statement you wanted..."
"It was, uh... it was destroyed."
"What? By whom?"
The lad looked nervously behind him, and the door to the office was thrown open against the wall while the most ridiculous looking house elf marched in without a care in the world. Cornelius had never seen an elf put on such airs before. It was downright disgraceful. He made a note to put in a complaint to the House Elf Subjugation Committee. If elves were behaving in such ways, something more needed to be done.
"Minister sir will not publish such lies, sir."
Cornelius spluttered in anger. "And just who do you think you are to challenge me?" A house elf had the nerve to stand up to him. He was the Minister for Merlin's sake. The elf must be sick in the head; that was the only explanation.
"Mys Master and Mistress sents me to stop yous telling lieses. Mistress had Master Harry prepares his own statement for the paper, and he tellses the real story. There ares many peoples who knows the truth and wes not let you tell lies."
Cornelius sneered. "You cannot stop me, elf." Of course, the elf seemed to be claiming he belonged to Harry Potter, though Cornelius had no idea who this Mistress was, and Potter certainly would have the political power to do whatever he wished. But Cornelius would never admit this.
The strange elf smiled. "Master says you would say that. He tells Dobby to asks you if yous really want to publicly challenge his story. They will tells the story as theys wish, and tomorrow my Master will visits you to discuss hows wes need to fix our world. Master Harry is confident yous will make the right choiceses."
Without waiting for a reply, the little elf snapped his fingers and disappeared. Cornelius sank back into his seat. Maybe things were not going to go as he had thought. It seemed that Harry Potter was not going to stay in the shadows as he had done in the past. Cornelius began to wonder just what the boy would demand of him, as he would have little choice but to do anything asked of him.
HARRY POTTER SPEAKS OUT, YOU-KNOW-WHO DEFEATED
We at the Daily Prophet are pleased to present a letter from the Boy Who Lived himself. His sensational story needs no further commentary:
Dear Witches and Wizards of England,
For years my youth and inherent desire to stay out of the spotlight have prompted me to allow others to tell my stories. Even when what was printed was so ridiculous as to claim some knowledge of what happened when I myself was the only witness, I let it pass. It was easier for me to ignore the lies than tell the truth. Not knowing how to, I did not fought back against the slander and libel that was printed about me, and made very little effort to make sure the truth was out there for the public to consume. But I will no longer allow others to tell a story that is rightfully mine to share, and mine alone.
And so, I am going to personally tell you that the wizard styling himself Lord Voldemort is gone.
So that you will not be led astray by those seeking to capitalise on your confusion, I am going to start at the very beginning.
Tom Marvolo Riddle was born to Merope Gaunt, one of the few last surviving heirs of Salazar Slytherin, just over seventy years ago. His father, who had abandoned his mother before he was born, was a Muggle known as Tom Riddle. Merope Gaunt died immediately after naming his son. Young Tom grew up in a Muggle orphanage in London, and quickly discovered that he was oddly different from the other children there. He could do things, and often used this to terrorise the children. He could often be found whispering to snakes in the garden, and was nearly impossible to lie to. The fiercely independent Tom was barely surprised to learn that he was a wizard, and soon headed off to Hogwarts, where he excelled. He did well at school, culminating in his achievement of the Head Boyship. But there were other achievements that were hidden. During his time at school he found the legendary Chamber of Secrets and released the feared Monster of Slytherin, leading to the murder of a young girl and the false expulsion of another student. It was during his school years that he sought his revenge by murdering his father and grandparents. Finally free from all connections to the Muggle father who never wanted him, Tom Riddle fashioned a new name by rearranging the letters of his own to say I am Lord Voldemort.
After Voldemort's departure from Hogwarts he travelled far and wide around the world, learning many dangerous and evil forms of magic. He experimented to such a degree that he no longer resembled the handsome boy he had once been. In fact, he barely even looked human. And then he came back to England in the 70s and began his bid for total domination.
It was in 1976 that Voldemort began the use of his most despicable ritual. He ordered the capture and repeated raping of a young pureblood virgin. Once she was pregnant he tore the foetus from her womb and used its blood in a ceremony to stop his own death. The child's soul was sacrificed in his place. Six times, once a year, he performed this ritual, ruining the lives of six young girls and their families forever. Then, he was told by one of his spies of a prophecy that had been made to Albus Dumbledore. Voldemort was only aware of the first two lines, which was to be his downfall.
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…. Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not…, and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives…. The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…. And his power will be hidden from the world, none to know of it until the beginning of the end…. He will be lead to greatness by one whose love for him is old and strong… The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… with his guide he will prevail, without he will fall lower than any before him have gone… The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies….
There were two children born that satisfied the first condition, but Voldemort chose to go after the half-blood, like himself, instead of the pureblood. And, after more than a year of running, the betrayal by one of their best friends led Voldemort to my parents' home on Halloween of 1981. There he killed my father and proceeded on his way to kill me. Granting the wish of one of his servants, he offered my mother the chance to live if she would simply step aside and watch me die. But Lily Potter stood between me and Voldemort, and it was her death that cast the most powerful protection on earth over me, causing Voldemort's killing curse to rebound on him. His protections in place, it did no more than strip his soul from his body, and so he fled.
It was here that those who thought themselves wise beyond compare began to meddle in my life. I was taken and placed with my maternal aunt, and spent ten years living as a slave and having my spirit and body beaten down until there was little fight left in me. Unlike Riddle, I didn't believe it when I was told I was a wizard, for it was hard for me to imagine that there could be anything special about me. And then I was thrust into the wizarding world and discovered I was famous for something I barely remembered. Thus began my series of adventures.
During my first year at Hogwarts, myself and my two best friends were responsible for saving the Philosopher's Stone from Voldemort. Second year the Chamber of Secrets was opened once more, and while the entire school thought wrongly that I had opened it, I followed Riddle's spirit down into the Chamber and fought alone against Slytherin's basilisk to save another of my friends who had been tricked. Third year, the world hid from me the identity of my own wrongfully-accused godfather, and the very creatures sent to protect me from him turned on me instead. It was only pure chance and sheer idiocy that allowed me drive off the more than one hundred Dementors that attacked me. In my fourth year, my name was entered as a contestant in the Triwizard Tournament against my will. Forced to compete against those with three years more magical training than me, it was only pure luck that I escaped with my life. But win I did, only to been stolen away, forced to watch a friend die, and then have my blood stolen to resurrect Voldemort. That was the first night I duelled against him. When I came back, none would believe my story, and I was declared a deluded idiot. My character was attacked for the entire summer, and then, when I protected myself and my Muggle cousin from a pair of Dementors sent after me by the Minister's Senior Undersecretary, I was nearly expelled after being tried by the full Wizengamot.
I returned to Hogwarts for my fifth year to find a toad had been installed to watch over me. I escaped from her detentions with the words I must not tell lies permanently engraved on the back of my hand after hours and hours of being forced to use a Blood Quill. Desperate to learn how defend myself, my friends and I started an illegal club to learn Defence. Then we watched as teacher after teacher was attacked and driven away from the school. This culminated in an incident where Umbridge very nearly cast the Cruciatus on me to get me to talk, then almost got me and a friend killed by a heard of angry centaurs. But that was not the worst thing that happened that year.
Since my first year, I had often experienced pains in the curse scar on my forehead. I had learned that it would give me advanced warning when Voldemort was near, or when he was feeling any particularly strong emotion. Several times over the years I even dreamed through his eyes. These dreams had even helped me to save the life of a dear friend. Unfortunately, Voldemort learned of the connection and began to use it to his advantage. He sent a false vision to me of my godfather, Sirius Black, being tortured. Desperate to save the life of the only family I had left, myself and five friends rushed to the Ministry. What we found there, however, was a trap. Voldemort wished to hear the entire prophecy and only he or I could remove it from its shelf. His Death Eaters were waiting as soon as I did. What followed was a fiercely fought battle in which all of my friends were injured. We were only saved when several of our friends arrived to help in the fight. Then I had to watch as Bellatrix Lestrange sent my godfather through the Veil of Death. Enraged, I chased after her, intent on claiming vengeance.
Instead, I was drawn into another battle with Voldemort. Headmaster Dumbledore arrived in enough time to save my life, as I was woefully unprepared for the battle. It was that night, just after the death of my godfather, that I was finally told about the prophecy. Unfortunately, I was not told the entire thing. Again, those older and wiser than me thought they knew best, and sought to control me. It was the next day that the tide of the war changed. A dear friend helped me to find a tiny piece of freedom and control over my life. Once returned to the dark hole that was my aunt's home, I used this freedom and found the truth. My mother had left a letter for me that told me the truth, and my father had left me the key to my power.
On that day last June, Godric Gryffindor's wand finally chose a new master in me, his last descendant, and shortly thereafter it bound me in Fidelis Amor Vinculum to Ginevra Weasley. Neither of us was aware of this at the time. But, unknowingly, Ginny immediately stepped into her role as my guide. With her encouragement and the help of my new wand, I trained hard and learned much magic. I also fell in love. It was until August that we learned we had been bound, after an incident where I was forcefully fed a love potion to pull me away from her. We suspect that I had been fed them since I was thirteen.
Thus began my two part battle. At school, I fought against the control others wished to exert over me, and fought to not be separated from my wife. And when I could, I snuck out and fought against Voldemort in disguise, wielding the sword and wand of my noble ancestor. I trained my wife, and soon she joined me in my fight, helping me and encouraging me in everything. And, with the help of Godric's wand, I sought a permanent solution to Voldemort. It was the knowledge left behind in the wand that allowed me to learn of the ritual Voldemort had returned to using following his resurrection. Needing information, I sought the help of Severus Snape, who had long been a spy against Voldemort. At his own peril, he sought out and found the identity of each of the seven girls who had their lives stolen from them. Then, with the brilliance of my friend Hermione Granger, I was able to create a counter ritual that would not only force Voldemort's spirit to the darkest abyss, but would also pull back the souls of those seven lost children. I had promised my wife that we would save them.
Of course, it took us months to discover this method, and in the meantime Voldemort was already sending out men to find and capture the next girl, so Ginny and I stopped four separate hunting parties, decimating Voldemort's forces in the process. Then Professor Snape accepted the fifth attempt in a desperate effort to help us. In a staged battle at Hogwarts, planned carefully by my best friend Ron Weasley, the students took out the remaining Death Eaters and I, disguised as Professor Snape, took my wife into Voldemort's lair.
The ritual worked, and my wife, for I was unconscious by this point, can testify to the fact that all seven children were set free.
It is now our duty to make sure that such evil can never happen again. We need to stop it while it festers and before it attacks our children again. We cannot sit back complacently and allow evil to control our lives. The magical people of England are strong, and we can protect ourselves if only we refuse to live in fear. Fear does nothing but hinder us; courage is standing in the face of that fear and acting for the salvation of our friends and family. I hope that you will take the courageous example of your children, who fought for and protected their school, to heart. Even the weakest among us can make a difference in the fight against evil. May it never overcome us again.
The days that followed would become legend in the wizarding world. The people stormed the Ministry, emboldened by Harry's words, demanding reforms so that they would never fall victim again. Fudge was forced to sign off on most of the reforms before he was voted out of office and a much more open-minded Minister was voted in. Hermione took the opportunity to overturn many of the restrictions on various creatures, and for the first time in Ministerial history various creatures were invited to be active participants in the Departments that governed their affairs.
Harry and Ginny spent the summer at their own home, hidden away from the world and enjoying their peace and quiet. They only left for weekly visits to the Burrow, though they had visitors often. Harry refused to turn away family. After much debate, they finally decided to go back to Hogwarts in the fall, but Harry wrote McGonagall and asked for their own rooms. He was through with being separated from his wife. After he graduated, he returned for another year and spent his time reading a good portion of the library while Ginny finished her last year. His experiments that year were legendary, and the Ministry routinely sent representatives from various departments to confer with him and watch him work. It was during this last year that a letter came. Harry refused to open it, but made no objection when Ginny did.
Dear Harry and Ginny,
Words cannot express my horror and disgust at what I have done to you both. In my zeal to fix things my own way, I almost condemned you both, and the world along with you, to a horrible fate. I know there is little chance that you can forgive me, but I wish you to know that I have at last seen the great error of my ways. You have my sincerest apologies.
If you should ever need for anything, I am at your disposal.
Harry stared stonily at the wall as she read the letter aloud, and gave no sign of wanting to answer it, but Ginny took pity on Dumbledore. She wrote a quick note that she was grateful for his words. She was honest in saying that she didn't think Harry would ever bring himself to speak to Dumbledore again, but she suggested that Dumbledore might commit his vast amounts of knowledge to paper for future generations. Knowledge, after all, was meant to be shared.
She and Harry never spoke of that letter again.
The twenty-two year old Harry Potter stepped out the back door of his home, beaming as he carefully held the little bundle in his arms. Silence descended on the large crowd that was gathered in the yard as they all turned to him. Several small children scampered forward and pulled eagerly on his pant legs to get a good look. He let them.
"This is my son, James Sirius Potter." A loud cheer went up throughout the yard, and Harry laughed happily.
"How's Ginny?" Came a call from one of the many red-headed men scattered throughout the crowd.
Harry's smile grew even bigger. "Brilliant. She turned me green for stealing her wand during the labour, but she's forgiven me now. She's resting."
Harry was instantly swarmed by a large mass of females all wanting to look at the babe in his arms. He basked in the attention that was all centred around his small son; a son who would never want for love or family. In addition to the large contingent of Weasleys present in his yard, there were several other families as well. It still warmed Harry's heart when he thought of how his family had grown, and how they had all settled close by. Severus was lurking in the corner, trying to pretend that he wasn't having fun. Harry rolled his eyes at the man; no one believed his gloomy attitude anymore. Fleur's mother and sister were both here, frequent visitors in their home. Gabrielle had been quite happy to learn that Harry was now her adopted brother, and was enjoying driving him to pull his hair out with all her new boyfriends. Pappa Kriege was standing in the back of the crowd, pretending to be gruff but secretly enjoying all the attention. Harry had a sneaking suspicion that he was going to dote on baby James nearly as much as Grammy Ricci, who was currently cooing at the baby. There were three dark-skinned children running around, constantly evading their harried mother. Harry had not even known that Adamma had a sister until she had shown up with her children. Her husband had been killed in tribal fighting and she had no other family to go to for help. Harry had built her a home next door to his own, and delighted in being the favourite uncle to all three children. Nanni Tatari was sitting in a chair on the porch under a large blanket. She had been sick for the last two months and Harry was worried that she wasn't going to last much longer. He was glad that she had gotten to meet his son, and he made a note to go over and let her hold him some. It would make her smile. Susan Boot née Bones was here with her husband Terry and their small daughter. She had been a great help during Ginny's pregnancy, having just gone through one herself. Susan had declared Harry her cousin and taken it upon herself to show him exactly what that entailed. Harry let her, secretly knowing that she missed her family as much as he missed his. Leidolf Thygesen was standing with his arm wrapped around Katie Bell. They had met the first time Leidolf came to visit and hit it off immediately. Leidolf never left after his second visit. Now they had a little flat in London and often came to dinner. Ginny had been right that Leidolf would fit in perfectly with her brothers. He and Charlie got into heaps of trouble before Katie finally calmed him down.
His family was large and rowdy and quite perfect. He looked down at the babe in his arms. Or it would be when James had a couple more siblings. He wondered how soon he could talk Ginny into trying for another one.
Better not mention it for a few weeks. She might turn him green again.
Harry James Potter, aged 192, smiled as he watched his large and unusual family file out of his room. Only James, who was in the chair by his side, knew why he had asked them all to leave. He was watching his father sadly, a resigned expression on his face.
"Are you sure you have to do this?"
Harry just looked calmly at his oldest son. "You know the power of that wand. It served its purpose and I can't risk someone else using it for something they shouldn't."
"But, Dad... all that power, wasted. What if we..."
"You know we can't do that. The entire world knows I have Godric Gryffindor's wand. You know they'll come after it. Goodness, there have already been three attempts and I'm not even dead yet."
James sighed. "Very well. Do you have everything you need?"
"Yes, son. I love you."
"Love you, too, Dad. Say hello to mother for me."
Harry smiled brilliantly. "I can't wait to see her again."
James shook his head, it had only been three months since she had died and James was convinced his father only waited that long because he wanted to finish working on his last project. "You two always were such saps over each other."
Harry rolled his eyes. "You're the exact same way about Amanda, and you know it."
James merely shrugged before leaning over and kissing his father's forehead. "I'll leave you alone, then."
"Thank you, James." Harry watched as his oldest son hobbled out of the room. James really was getting on in years. Just as he was about to open the door, Harry stopped him. "And James?"
"I'm leaving my holly wand behind. Just in case, you know."
James stared at his father's amused green eyes, understanding lighting his own brown eyes. "Sure, Dad."
James quietly left the room, and when the door was shut it glowed briefly blue. Harry waited a few moments before picking up the two wands on his bedside table. He held them both tightly in his hand and closed his eyes. Ginny was waiting for him.
When James Sirius Potter returned an hour later, his father was laying peacefully on the bed, a smile on his face. There was only one wand gripped in his hand. Carefully, James picked it up. He knew, without being told, that it was his responsibility to protect Harry's Legacy now that Godric's was gone.
One day, it might save the world.
A/N: Well, it's done. I really did enjoy writing this story; I consider it my first good one. And it certainly helped me get better as a writer (at least I think so...). Please let me know your thoughts, and thank you so much for reading and enjoying.
For those who read my other stories, I'm now going to focus most of my attention on Elemental Harry and my new Harry/Daphne story that just posted, Harry Potter and the Siren's Song. This new story is very different, aside from the pairing. It is also significantly more mature than any of my other stories have been. I'm also currently working on revising War Against Voldemort, as I am not happy with it at present. It will, however, be finished.