Part V: Halloween/Epilogue

He screamed, high, long and tortured. Finally, the door banged open and several Death Eaters stood at the doorway, wands at the ready.

"My Lord, are you all right?" whispered Bellatrix Lestrange.

Voldemort was panting and shaking. Sweat covered his entire body. He quickly checked himself and found that there were no burns, he was still clothed, and his wand was safely in his hand.

"I am fine," he gasped out.

"But – my Lord–"

"Out! All of you!"

Several spells aimed at their feet proved more than a match for their brains, and they quickly darted out of the room.

Voldemort put his head in his hands, discreetly checking the time. It was nearly six in the morning. The sun was rising, casting a deceptively chilly sunshine over the room.

He got up and stumbled to the bathroom. At his foot of his bed, Nagini stirred a little, which was more than she had done when the Ghosts were in the house.

He shivered. That last ghost...he had been so creepy. And coming from a man who looked like a snake, that was downright disturbing.

He splashed water on his face and looked into the mirror.

He fainted dead away when, reflected back at him, were the luminous eyes of the Ghost of Halloween Future.


"And that is why it never pays to be the most evil man on the face of the planet," finished the young woman. The child she was talking to had a thoughtful look on his face. Beside him, his little sister was already fast asleep.

"What happened to Voldemort?"

She smiled, pushing her red hair out of her face. "He never attacked. Instead, he collected back his Horcruxes and destroyed each and every one of them. He then went to the Ministry and turned himself in. He died a few years ago in Azkaban, right next to quite a few of his biggest supporters."

"Oh," said the child. "Did he ever feel sorry for what he had done?"

"Yes," she said. "He spent the last years of his life fighting the Dementors, determined to get every drop of punishment he could from them. In the end, it only took him seven years to die, he was so resistant."

He stared at her in wonder.

"Now, go to sleep. You start Hogwarts tomorrow."

"Aw, Mum!" he whined quietly, not wanting to wake his sister.

"No, you wanted to hear this story before you left and I did so." She scooped up the girl. "See you in the morning."

He sighed. "Night, Mum."

"Good night, Harry."

She carried the child to her own bed and tucked her in before going to bed herself. Her husband was already in bed and reacted when she laid down.

"Hm? Lily?"

"Yes, James?"

"I take it he wanted to hear the story again?"

"Yes. And, of course, Jenny had to hear it too. She went to sleep though, before, the scary parts." She snuggled in close. "Will Sirius and Remus be there tomorrow?"

James chuckled. "Of course, they want to see Harry off. They are his godfather and god-wolf, after all."

"When is Elizabeth due?"

"With any luck, little Jack will be here by October."

"What about Sarah?"

James sighed. "Sirius wants to be a daddy so much. If it's a boy, Sirius wants to call him Regulus, Reggie for short. Dunno if they have a girl name yet."

There was silence.

"James?"

"Hm?"

"Do you really think that happened? Voldemort getting spooked by those ghosts into admitting his guilt and turning himself in?"

"He swore it till his dying day, Sweetheart. Maybe by then he had gone so crazy, his subconscious acted desperately to make things right. Or maybe, deep down inside him, there was still some of Tom Riddle left to make him feel remorse."

"Maybe," she murmured before falling asleep.

James stared out the window at the star-filled sky. No moon to block the view tonight.

He went to sleep as well, grateful for their own second chance.

FINE


So, did it live up to your expectations? Did I throw in a real doozy at the end? Let me know! Review!

And a Happy Halloween to all!

-MM