Epilogue

11 years later

Elaine Lily Potter stood in the entry hallway of her cozy house, fidgeting impatiently with her brand-new robes. Surely she would be late if Mother and Daddy didn't come down the stairs this very instant to take her to school.

She had waited even longer than most future First Years had to start at Hogwarts, because she had begged her father to let her hold off one more year so that she could start Hogwarts with Teddy Lupin.

Her parents had been surprised at her request, considering her love of magic and insatiable curiosity, but had acquiesced after a few months' dogged persistence. Elaine had learned stubbornness from her father and determined patience from her mother, and both those traits came in very handy when she wanted to get her way.

But now, finally, it was happening. She was going to attend Mum and Dad's school, where they had gone to classes for seven years and eventually fallen in love and had her. Of course, she wasn't naïve. She was almost a teenager, after all, and she knew it hadn't gone exactly like that.

There had been an evil wizard back then who had made her parents' lives very difficult, and murdered Dad's parents and her Uncle Fred, who had been Uncle George's twin brother, and played with her when she was a baby. The Dark Lord's most valuable servant, Bellatrix Lestrange, had made a baby with Daddy when he was only 15, even though he hadn't wanted to, but then she'd been angry when Elaine was born, instead of a boy.

Daddy hadn't even known he'd had a daughter until she was dropped off at his door when she was three months old. He had been really happy to see her, though, and gave her to his true love, Mum, and her mum, Gramma, to take care of while he went to fight Voldemort. After he won, he came and finished his last year at Hogwarts with Mum, and then they'd gotten married and brought her to their countryside house and made a family.

So even though Elaine hadn't come into the world the normal way, she felt pretty lucky to have a mum and a dad who loved her, and loads of aunts, uncles, and cousins to play with whenever she wanted. She had occasional problems, of course, from the sudden, painful twinges from her scar she sometimes experienced, to dealing with the alarm and distrust from strangers at her strong physical resemblance to Bellatrix Lestrange. (Though, as her mother had pointed out diplomatically, Bellatrix had been a strikingly pretty woman before she'd gone to Azkaban, so it wasn't exactly an insult that people made the comparison.)

But overall, she decided, life was good. Well, as long as she wasn't too late to board the Hogwarts train and missed school, and have to wait until she was thirteen to start her first year at Hogwarts, alongside Victoire, her ten-year-old cousin.

At long last, Mum appeared at the top of the landing, carrying little Benjamin and leading Autumn by the hand down the stairs. Her little sister was in tears, and threw herself at Elaine as soon as she reached the bottom. "My Lainee go bye-bye," she wailed, big brown eyes looking up at her older sister imploringly.

Elaine winced. She and her parents had kept her leaving a secret from Autumn, to postpone the little girl's tears as long as possible, but it seemed Mum had finally told her. "I'll be back soon, baby girl," she said soothingly, stroking Autumn's curly hair. "For Christmas, in just a few months!"

If anything, Autumn wailed louder. "Forever, Lainee. That's forever and ever!" She sniffled wetly into Elaine's new robes, but she really didn't mind. Her little sister meant the world to her, and she was more important than clothes any day. Plus, Elaine had to agree that she really would be gone for a long time. She had never been away from home for more than a few days, to spend the night with Victoire at Shell Cottage on the coast or to tour Paris for a couple of days with Teddy and his gramma, Ms. Andromeda.

Mum came over and gently disentangled Autumn from her, saying, "I'm going to drop them off at Gramma's house, sweetie, and I'll be right back. Say 'bye to Benny – he's going to be so much bigger when you see him again."

Smiling, Elaine kissed her adorable little brother on the forehead. He giggled and reached out to tug her earring, but she evaded his hands with the long experience of being a girl who had had helped take care of numerous baby siblings and cousins. She hugged Autumn one last time, and promised to write her letters and draw her pretty pictures at least once a week.

Just that quickly, Mum was at the fireplace, shouting, "The Burrow!" for Autumn, before gently pushing her in, then followed with her brother. Elaine grinned, remembering how surprised she had been when she was eight, and Mum had told her she was going to have a little brother or sister. She didn't know anybody who had siblings eight years apart, but Mum had informed her, laughing, that she had been very young when she became Elaine's mum, and had wanted to wait a bit before she had any more, as twenty-three wasn't exactly too old to have children.

There were footsteps on the stairs again, and Elaine turned to see Daddy walking down, a worried expression on his face. He reached for her and spun her around like she was a little girl again, and she couldn't help laughing. She loved being in the air, no matter how she got there. He drew her into a hug, and whispered into her hair, "How about we put off Hogwarts for another year, angel? I'm going to miss you too much to let you go."

She hugged him back tightly. "I'll miss you too, Daddy, but you can come see me whenever you want." She had a sudden image of her Dad coming into her classes and sitting down next to her, of her being the only student in the school who still needed her parents around. "Well, on the weekends," she amended. Daddy was a war hero, and Headmistress McGonagall had known him since he was eleven, so he really could visit Hogwarts whenever he wanted.

He stepped back to look at her, gently tracing the fine white lines on her face. Her eyes went automatically to Daddy's own scar, a jagged lightning bolt on the center of his forehead. He saw her looking, and said slowly, "Sweetie, there are probably going to be some people at Hogwarts who stare at your scars. They stared at mine, too, when I was in school. I suppose they might ask you about Bellatrix Lestrange, too. Usually it will be someone being thoughtless, not truly mean-spirited, so just be prepared, and remember that you are beautiful and intelligent and special."

He smiled at her reassuringly and kissed her on the forehead. "You're going to have an incredible time at Hogwarts. "

She definitely hoped so, considering that she hated it when people stared at her. It had happened often when she was little, before many people knew she was the Chosen One's daughter, and still did occasionally. She knew the faint designs that covered every inch of her body were strange, but like Daddy said, they were just a part of her, and she certainly couldn't help being related to an evil woman. She hoped the attention didn't last long, though. Teddy and Victoire and all her extended family members never gave her scars so much as a second glance, but when she had gone to France with Teddy a few years ago, for instance, Ms. Andromeda had had to put a Glamour charm on her after she had started crying as the third person stopped in the middle of the street to goggle at her.

She would ignore the stares calmly, like an adult, and wait for them to subside, she decided. That was all there was to it. She wouldn't let them ruin Hogwarts for her.

"Harry? Elaine? Are you ready to go?" Mum stepped back out of the fireplace, long red hair swaying as she hurried over to her husband and eldest daughter. "Mum was out at Fred's grave, so we had to go find her before I could leave the kids," she explained to Elaine's dad, levitating Elaine's school trunk out into the entrance hall. She turned to Elaine with a warm smile. "Ready, love?"

Elaine nodded and took her mother's hand as she Apparated them onto the Hogwarts train station. The platform was noisy and crowded with students hefting heavy trunks and parents bidding goodbye to their students. Elaine quickly spotted Teddy in the crowd, and a grin lit up his thin face as he made his way over to her, his grandmother in tow. His hair, she noted, was orange and spiky today.

"Hey," she said, trying to sound coolly aloof. She fought the urge to take hold of her Daddy's hand.

He smirked. "Hey yourself. Ready to find a seat?"

She nodded and took a deep breath. This was goodbye – if not forever, than for a few months at least, not counting her parents visiting her at Hogwarts.

Mum was crying and making no effort to hide her tears as she hugged Elaine tightly. Her mum's slim, freckled hands reached out to softly tug her hair, as she had done since Elaine was a child. "I love you so much, sweetie. No matter where you're Sorted, we'll be proud of you."

Elaine blinked back her own tears and hugged her mother fiercely. Her mum might not have had her like she'd had Autumn and Benjamin, but she had changed her messy nappies and sung her to sleep while Daddy was off fighting the Dark Lord, and if that didn't make her a mother, then Elaine didn't know what would.

Then her daddy was standing in front of her, looking pained and uncertain for the first time that Elaine could remember. Harry Potter was a distinguished war hero, a Senior Auror, an accomplished Quidditch player, and a proud husband and father. And now he looked like a child who had been told there would be no Christmas ever again.

"Elaine-" he began, his voice cracking. "Elaine, you know Mum and I will always be here for you. No matter what. You Owl me if you need anything, and I'll Apparate up to Hogsmeade immediately, no matter what I'm doing. Okay?" He stepped forward to take her in his arms, so she ended up nodding into his broad chest. "Love you, angel," he said into her hair. "The light of my life."

She reluctantly stepped back as the Hogwarts warning whistle sounded. Teddy was just stepping out of his grandmother's embrace, an uncharacteristically warm expression on her face as she stared down at her grandson. He reached for his trunk, fending off his grandmother's attempts to help him with it, and turned to Elaine. "Ready to board?"

She looked up at Mum and Dad, their arms around each other's waists. Dad's piercing green eyes were misty, and Mum's lower lip trembled. She was going to miss them both so much. Fighting the urge to run back into their arms, Elaine grabbed her own trunk and dragged it toward the Hogwarts Express, her best friend Teddy Lupin at her side.


Well, what do we have here? A voice was suddenly whispering in Elaine's, ear from everywhere and nowhere. A small jolt of surprise, then - Another Potter? So soon? She could feel her memories being rifled through, being the flower girl at Mum and Dad's wedding, visiting curse specialists at St. Mungo's, holding her baby sister for the first time.

I see, it said finally, somehow sounding a little sad. Well, the question, my dear, is where on earth to put you? You're a clever, clever girl, no doubt about that. Stubborn, determined, aware of your past but not afraid of it. Ready to take on the world, I should say. You are truly very courageous, but tell me, are you ready to be braver than you've ever had to be?

Elaine hadn't realized she had any choice in the matter. I will be as brave as I can be, she promised. Does that mean I'll be in Gryffindor?

Not for you, dear girl. I have wanted to do this for so long, but your father was the last person who could have done it, and he wanted Gryffindor so badly. It's time to bring the black sheep back into the fold. Be true to yourself, and enjoy your years in "SLYTHERIN!"

Taking off the Sorting Hat, Elaine smiled at Teddy, seated at the Hufflepuff table, and went to join her new Housemates. It was going to be a good year.

FIN


Not to toot my own horn, but I'm pleased with how this ended. Thanks for everyone encouraging me to continue this; the second chapter and the epilogue never would have happened without you guys. And yes, this is definitely it. I am not up to writing seven years of Elaine at Hogwarts or anything, plus it would probably be pretty boring.

Let me know your honest opinion please! Thank you!