Final author responses at the end:
Chapter Twenty-Four: A Home for Magic
They received an official invitation from the Governor of Caldos to visit within the week.
They chartered a small atmosphere-capable starship paid for by the newly established Reparation Fund, and began the trip. Caldos was only 200 light years from Earth, so it was a leisurely flight of three days on the luxuriously appointed starship. Beverly agreed to come with them for no other reason than to see her old home.
The moment Harry walked down the ramp of the small ship to meet the governor, he knew. The sky overhead was almost the perfect shade of blue, with a few clouds hanging over a low, ancient range of mountains. The air was crisp and clean in a way that Earth could not quite emulate any more.
He received a little jolt when he stepped onto the surface of the world itself. As the governor approached, he put his hand against the soil and felt…something.
Was it magic? Was it simply the living pulse of the planet? It was Harry's first time setting foot on a world other than Earth, and he wasn't sure what to expect. But everything just felt…right.
"Mr. Potter," the Governor said, "my name is Stewart Finnegan. Welcome to Caldos."
"I knew a Finnegan once," Harry said. "He was a good friend."
"We try Finnegan's do try," Governor Finnegan said. "I hope you don't mind walking—we're a small community and try to preserve resources for emergencies. No transporters, and we're close enough not to bother with a ground car."
Harry liked the man immediately. "It's a beautiful morning, Governor. I would love to walk with you."
The governor nodded, and then noticed Beverly. "Beverly Howard, ye God, woman, you're still beautiful!"
"And you're still a prat," Beverly said with a warm smile as the two embraced.
"Are you a part of this magic nonsense too?"
She ginned. "Harry has taught me a hex that can make mucus bats crawl out of your nose. Would you like me to demonstrate for you?"
The man laughed at what he thought was a joke, but Beverly was not laughing. "What, you're serious?"
"The bat-bogey hex," Harry said. "I've taught it to everyone in my life. It's a very effective way to distract someone who means you harm. Put enough power into it, it can also cause damage."
"So you're saying that all this about witches and wizards is real? I thought O'Malley was having me on as an excuse to get Beverly home for a visit."
"No, it's real," Harry said. "And so was my request. There is an entire world in stasis on Earth, and I very much want to let that world live again."
Finnegan nodded, his brows furrowed in thought. "Let's go talk over a pint or two, and see what we come up with."
* * *
That afternoon they took the chartered ship to the eastern continent and did several flyovers. "We seeded it as part of the terraforming, of course," Finnegan explained as they spotted a large flock of feral, rough-looking sheep bounding over a the side of a mountain into a large valley.
"Most of the successful species have adapted in various ways. The sheep produce a heavier wool and are a little leaner. The wolves are a bit faster. There are a few bears, some wild cattle. Many different species of birds. The planting of Terran fauna has actually been very successful. The world was still relatively lifeless when we arrived due to an extinction-level impact even a few thousand years ago. You can still see the crater from orbit. It's as large as Scotland on the mother world. But the atmosphere shifted back to within a few points of Earth norm from before the Industrial Revolution, and we fight to keep it that way."
Behind Harry, he heard Katherine whisper, "It's so beautiful."
Without looking, he reached back and took her hand. "Governor Finnegan, this is exactly what we would need."
"We're talking about a rather large undertaking, establishing a new colony," the Governor pointed out.
"And you would be compensated by magic," Harry said. "The portal to Earth would be available to your people as well as ours. We could establish trade agreements for potions or other magical items that could be useful to your people, including magical labor. It would take a while since we would not have very many people at all, at least not at first. But over time we would grow, and we would happily contribute to and be a part of your community if you would have us."
They eventually landed on the shores of a large lake located at the base of a newer mountain range. In the distance, Harry could just make out the shimmering tides of the ocean. The air was the purest he had ever tasted. Clouds boiled on the tip of the mountains, threatening an early snow.
His heart beat in his chest from the power of the vision in his head. He felt five hands resting on his back; felt five warm, loving bodies pressed against him. "Can you see a school here?" he whispered.
"We can see it," Susan answered.
"Through your eyes, almost," Naomi said. "A great, brilliant castle filled with magic and love."
"We'll be your first students," Diana said.
"And your first teachers," Mary added.
"And the mothers of your next students," Katherine finished.
Beside them, the governor and Beverly stepped up even with them. Harry started describing Hogwarts to the governor. How the heart stone was nearly all that remained the school. But he also talked about his first sight of Hogwarts as a child, crossing the lake as a child. Of quidditch and libraries and friends long since lost, but never forgotten.
"We have the library," he finished. "All the knowledge of ten thousand years of magic is waiting for us."
"And there would be no secrecy?" the governor said.
"Never," Harry said. "That was the one weakness of my old world. Biases and prejudices from the religious persecutions of our people carried through the years into hate and bigotry. But those days are gone forever. The new witches and wizards will be born in a world of science and reason. We will make sure they know that magic does not make them better than any other people, simply different. And we will welcome those differences." His voice caught. "I can see it. Merpeople in the lake. We'll grow a forest over there—a few charms on seedlings and we can have a new forest for the centaurs and other forest dwelling creatures. A preserve for the dragons, and enough wild life to support them. It will be everything we could have hoped for."
"I admit it's a grand vision you have, Mr. Potter," Finnegan said. "A grand vision." He grinned. "This Finnegan you knew, Mr. Potter, back in your day—his name wouldn't happened to have been Sean, would it?"
Harry shook his head. "His name was Seamus. It was his son who was named Sean. Sean McGonagall Finnegan. The middle name was from our Transfiguration Professor, whom we all adored."
The governor laughed wildly. "We take our geneology a bit more serious here than we should. When O'Malley told me you were from the twentieth century, I went and checked what family I had from that time in the line. Sean M. Finnegan, son of Seamus Finnegan, is my many times great grandfather."
"Sean was a squib," Harry said, wide eyed with delight. "That's why Green missed him. Sean ended up marrying a beautiful muggle girl with hair as red as Diana's here. He left the magical world entirely—gave up everything out of his love for her. It was one of the few mixed marriages I knew of that worked. Who knows, Mr. Finnegan, there might be some magic in your family still."
"I suppose we'll have to find out," Finnegan said. He held out a hand, which Harry took. "Mr. Potter, it would be the honor both of Caldos Colony and me personally to have you become a part of our world. We'll have the immigration forms drafted and ready for you by the time we get back."
Harry fought very hard not to cry.
* * *
(Five Years Later)
Amanda Tyler sighed as her teacher droned on. The Teacher was Andorian, and her left antenna kept twitching toward the door. Amanda lost all track of the lesson as she became absorbed in that strange twitching.
Suddenly the door slid open and a counselor's aide stepped in.
"Amanda Tyler?" Madam Sh'rek said. "You're wanted in the counselor's office."
Amanda gathered her PADD and satchel and walked after the aide. She hesitated at the door of the administrative section when she saw her parents. "Mum, dad? What are you doing here?"
"I'm not sure," her mother admitted.
Just then the counselor arrived. "Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Tyler. Amanda. Thank you all for coming. We were contacted by the Caldos Embassy regarding a rather unique educational opportunity for Amanda we thought you might be interested in. Please, come back with us."
They went into a maze of offices and conference rooms until they reached the last one. Amanda's steps faltered once again when she saw a face made familiar by exposure on the info nets. Young, handsome, powerful. Green eyes gazed at her over a welcoming smile.
"Harry Potter," she whispered.
"Hello, Amanda," the wizard said. "Mr. and Mrs. Tyler, my name is Harry Potter, headmaster for the Hogwarts School of Magic. I've come to talk to you today about Amanda. You see, she is a witch, and we would like to invite her to Hogwarts to study magic."
"A witch?" Amanda asked. She felt weak at the knees.
"Trin Gna's hair turned purple last week," Harry said as he motioned for the stunned family to sleep. "Right after she tried to pick a fight with you. Week before that, you were running to try and catch the rail when you tripped. Next thing you knew, you were on the tram."
"How did you…?" Amanda began.
"We have a treaty with the Terran Parliament and the Federation Council to allow us to monitor acts of magic and contact those who exhibit accidental magic. We are then authorized to contact you through your educational institution to offer you the chance to come to Hogwarts."
Amanda found it hard to breath. "Magic…" she whispered.
"When I was a boy, I was running from some bullies," Harry confessed with a twinkle in those bright green eyes. "I suddenly found myself on top of the school. It's a magical skill known as apparition—a form of self-teleportation. You'll learn how to apparate when you are seventeen since there is some risk."
"Is this school dangerous?" Amanda's mother asked.
"It's fully accredited by the Federation Council on Education, and as such we take every effort to ensure safety. Of course, magic presents unique challenges and also unique cures. For instance, it's not unusual for first time apparators to actually splinch, or to lose, a part of their own body. For instance, you may actually lose your whole leg. With science, the reattachment of a limb is a difficult, painful procedure and is not always possible. With magic, it is done in a minute. And the witch or wizard's own magic gives them a limited protection until they are restored. You'll learn to fly an enchanted broomstick. It's not unusual for first and second years to fall, even from great heights. Fortunately, witches and wizards tend to bounce. I remember a friend of mine in first year fell fifty feet with nothing more damaged than a broken arm. Didn't have any other bruise on his body, and the break was mended by that evening."
"This is hard to believe," Mr. Tyler said.
"I understand," Harry said. "And that's why we offer a tour to prospective students and parents."
"On another planet?" Mrs. Tyler said. "We can't afford…"
"We have established a magical portal that affords instantaneous travel between our worlds," Harry said. "It's the promise of future such portals that allows you to come to Hogwarts at no charge. The Federation pays for all tuition and expense, and in return we provide magic."
"How many students are there?" Mrs. Tyler asked.
"At present about two hundred," Harry said. "Our oldest students are fifth years."
"And your teaching staff?"
Harry grinned. "Myself and my wives, who are themselves the equivalent of seventh years, for magic. We also have a staff of six certified teachers specializing in traditional sciences and social sciences for accreditation purposes and will be adding more very soon. The goal of Hogwarts is not to remove Amanda entirely from the non-magical world, but to make her a part of both. Are you interested in seeing the castle?"
"Now?" Mr. Tyler asked.
"Mum," Amanda said, "I'd like to see it."
Her parents gave a hesitant glance at each other before they finally agreed.
"Well then, let's start with a simple introduction to the art of apparating," Harry said. "Everyone hold hands, please."
"What are you doing?" Mr. Tyler asked.
"We're in Liverpool," Harry said. "The portal is in Geneva. So I'm going to apparate us to Geneva. Think of it as a magical transporter. Amanda will probably recognize the feeling." Harry winked at the girl, and by the time the wink was done, they were standing in another city. A black arch rose before them covered in strange symbols, with an unearthly, shimmering surface.
"I find the easiest way to cross the portal for the first time is holding hands," Harry said.
"Why is that?" Mrs. Tyler asked.
"Because it looks really scary," Harry admitted. "Couldn't be helped—the arch required a certain mix of iron, blood and basalt. With the runes, it looks quite formidable."
"Blood?" Mrs. Tyler blanched.
"My own, I assure you," Harry said. "Come along, now!" Still holding Amanda's hand, he led them through the portal before they had time to truly object.
The transition was instantaneous.
"Wow," Amanda breathed.
They stood on a different world. In the distance she could see a line of large oak trees rising up along the side of a mountain, turning eventually to conifers before they petered out entirely. The horizon was simply stunning as the sun rose slowly over a distant pristine sea.
"How…?" Mrs. Tyler said.
Harry smiled and then turned them to the mountains, and the fairy tale castle that rose along its foothills.
"Welcome to Hogwarts School of Magic," Harry said. "The premier and only, school for magic in the Federation."
As if on cue, the Tylers cowered as a huge shadow flew over their heads with a resounding roar. They looked up as a great red-scaled dragon flew over the school, behind herded away by twenty people on brooms shooting green hexes with their wands. The dragon roared in irritation and disappeared down the mountain.
"That's Snarky," Harry explained. "She's our oldest dragon. We revived her from stasis here, which was a huge mistake since she keeps trying to come back to nest. Fortunately, she's actually a relatively friendly dragon, so we don't have to hurt her."
Amanda's parents looked horrified, but Amanda was almost thrumming with excitement. "Will I be able to ride a broom stick like that?"
Harry smiled down at her. "I have a trainer inside you can try now, if your parents allow. Make no mistake, Amanda, you are one of us. You are a witch, and judging from your accidental magic you have a great deal of potential. And we would love you to join us here."
"I'd love it too," Amanda said, ensorcelled before she even stepped foot into the castle.
* * *
(Nineteen years later)
"Thank you, Madam Ambassador," Harry said again, "but as I have explained before, magic is not a skill that can simply be taught to the Vulcan people, and any attempt to somehow splice magical organs into a Vulcan would be a clear violation of the Eugenics Laws."
"Do you even bother to check if any of our population may have this talent?" Ambassador T'Plienth asked.
"Actually, yes," Harry said.
The ambassador raised a brow.
"The Caldos Accords with the Federation tasked the Wizengamot with monitoring potential magic users in all member worlds as available. Now, we haven't been able to set up scrolls for every planet, but we have established monitors for the largest human colonies and old Federation worlds, including Vulcan. So far, magic as we practice it appears to be a function of homo magicus only."
"But if a Vulcan or other should demonstrate this talent?"
"I would visit them personally with an invitation," Harry said. "The more potential races we could have, the quicker our population will grow. However, what experiments we have done show that the basis for our magic is anaphasic energy."
"Which is dangerous to most sentient species," T'Plienth said with a note of defeat.
"Magic itself is not dangerous to them, but the power by which we access it is," Harry said in a conciliatory tone. "I have been subjected to biases before, Madam Ambassador. That is why I specifically wrote into the Hogwarts charter that no student demonstrating magical talent can be excluded on the basis of race or creed. We have non humans here, but they are magical non-humans. Centaurs, a couple of vampires, two werewolves. We even found an intelligent giant. If one of your people should suddenly develop the ability to wield magic, I would recruit them not just to be a student, but to stay afterward to teach. But I think we both know the likelihood of that happening is low."
T'Plienth nodded, her face smooth despite her disappoint. "Perhaps so. Still, none can deny the benefits you and your people have brought to the Federation. What would be a three day flight back to Vulcan will be accomplished in minutes because of your portals. And your potions are simply remarkable."
"Thank you, Madam." Harry stood and walked her out through the halls. It was a weekend, and the school was bustling with children playing. The school boasted a population of almost six hundred now, with a large staff of teachers both magical and otherwise.
"You know," Harry said as they stepped out onto the lawn, "we do have an opening in our sciences department for a new teacher. I understand that the Vulcan Academy of Science is the most prestigious school in the Federation. If you have some new graduates who are interested teaching, I would be willing to consider their applications."
T'Plienth's brow raised again. "And if they should also study other classes?"
Harry smiled as he walked her to the portal. "Far be it for me as headmaster to dictate what my instructors do on their own time."
"I see," T'Plienth said. "I shall consider that. Thank you for your time, Headmaster."
"And for yours, Madam Ambassador."
A moment later Naomi popped up beside him. "Did she take the bait?"
"I think she did," Harry said. "Now we might find someone willing to fill that blasted position. Who knew it would be so hard to keep science teachers at a school for magic?"
* * *
(One hundred and eighty five years later)
Harry opened his eyes. The room was completely, utterly quiet. Too quiet.
He turned his head, ignoring the constant ache, and saw Diana's silver hair falling away from her face. Her eyes were closed and her lips were turned in a gentle smile. She was not breathing, and her cheek was cold and pale.
"Oh my love," he whispered.
Gently, he pulled his numb arm out from under the last of his wives and looked down at her with sad affection. He knew it was coming—they all did. After two centuries, even the most powerful witches and wizards died.
He stumbled around the bed until he stood by her side and took her in his arms. She was as light as a feather, reduced to skin and bones in her last few months as only her magic kept her alive. The castle was completely asleep, as well it should be. Even as light as she was, his own frail body was barely strong enough to hold her. He did so anyway.
He carried her down the stairs of his suite into the foyer. There, to his surprise, he found a small army of his children and their descendents. Over five hundred people traced their ancestry to him. He and his wives outlived all of their first generation of children, though many of their grandchildren were still alive. They had arrived last night, he knew. Come to be here at the end.
Though they were gathered in the foyer, knowing the end was near, most were asleep. All, save his and Diana's oldest granddaughter, Carey Marie Huff. She sat up when she saw him with her grandmother in his arms, and covered her own lined and aging face in her hands.
Harry smiled at her with love and affection. "It's all right," he told her in a whisper made hollow with generations of lecturing. "She passed gently in her sleep. I made sure there was no pain."
Carey nodded, her eyes glistening. "And you, Papa? Will you pass on now?"
Harry stepped before his oldest living granddaughter, who herself was over a century and a half, and kissed her forehead. "Without my wives, I am nothing. With them, I am everything. The bonds that kept my soul in this body are all but gone. But don't worry, they are waiting for me, Carey. All of them, those I have lived these last centuries with, and those who I loved before them. I can feel them all, calling to me. And I long to be with them."
"We will miss you," Carey said.
"But not for long, my love. In time, we will welcome you all with us. And in the meantime, I leave the school in your hands. You will be headmistress now, and I know you will do a good job."
"I love you, Papa," Carey said.
"And I love you," Harry told her. "And all your siblings and cousins. No man could ever ask for a better family. Please don't wake the others."
"I won't, Papa," Carey whispered.
Harry nodded and continued out of the foyer with the last of his wives cradled in his arms. Carey said nothing as she collapsed back to her conjured seat, weeping. She looked up and saw many eyes on her as the other grandchildren of her generation, and the great grandchildren after herd, heard what had happened. They simply stared at her in acceptance of their patriarch's wishes.
Harry walked his wife through the broad corridors until he came to the center of the castle. Pristine white stone walls opened before him, and he stepped into a room of pure blackness. In the center, a beam of light emerged, growing broader and stronger as he approached, until he stood before a circular pool of viscous pink fluid. From the shadows across from him a new figure emerged—a figure with brunette hair and a beautiful, matronly body. Eyes that shifted color looked across the pool at him with affection and love.
"Beloved," Hogwarts whispered.
"Hello, Hogwarts," Harry said fondly. He knew he was crying, but they were not tears of grief. "She's moved on. I'm ready now as well."
Hogwarts stepped into the pool and Harry followed, moving into the thick but warm and soothing solution that was the living heart stone of the castle with Diana still cradled in his arms.
"I love you so much, Hogwarts," he said. "As much as my wives."
"And I love you as well," the embodiment of the castle's magic said as she placed her warm hands on his ancient, withered cheeks. "You have fulfilled your destiny, Harry. Through you, magic has survived and grown strong. Because of you, the stars are a better place. And for you, all those you have ever loved are now waiting. Come, Harry, and rest at last."
Harry let the warmth of her touch fill him as he closed his eyes. "So beautiful," he whispered.
He saw a flash of brilliant white, accompanied by phoenix song. Then a voice so pure and familiar, Harry's heart broke from joy.
"We've been waiting for you, Harry," Hermione whispered to him. "All of us. Welcome home."
"I am home," Harry said as he cried in joy. "I am home at last."
Author's Responses and Comments
First, and foremost, I need to give a profound thank you to JuniorMintJulep for her Star Trek expertise and beta reading skills. Aside from being a very talented writer herself (all nST movie), she also gave a very good editing of this story. I am in her debt.
When I wrote this, I went in remembering another semi-sequel I did. The last one, I was deeply proud of it and profoundly disappointed when it simply did not attract many reviews. So because this story had a similar disconnect from the original, I did not get my hopes up on reviews and reception. That was double true because this was what I would call a "soft" story. It was not action-oriented by any means. So for me to have received as many reviews as it did is a true honor. So, thank you all for your reviews and comments.
Q: Sequel sequel sequel...
A: There will not be a direct sequel. What I am working on takes the horcrux idea to its extreme conclusion, with Harry waking up eons into the future--in the middle of the Star Wars galaxy. 200 pages so far, with good progress and solid ideas to finish. I am concentrating on Bonds of Blood and Last Jedi, but it's coming.
Q: I DON'TKNOW IF YOU READ REVIEWS BUT IF SO KNOW THAT YOU HAVE A TRUE DEDICATED READER AND HAVE BEEN ADDED TO MY C2
A: Not question, but a kind comment. Thank you.
Q: Question though, how does Harry know that anything of Hogwarts survived? I don't recall them ever actually visiting the grounds. Did it happen off screen, and if so why?
A: They did visit. Once, when he was reborn from the heartstone (the first two or three chapters) and then when they returned in the chapter before he visited the museum.
Q: A magical portal to another world... I shall dub thee a Stargate.
A: There is most definitely a similarity. ;)
Well, that's it for another Darth Marrs fic. Thanks again for all the great reviews and comments. I do have forums up for anyone who wishes to comment or debate anything. In the meantime, I have Bonds of Blood and Last Jedi to keep me busy.
Good bye for now!