Chapter of a Lost Future
Summary: Sequel to A Second Chance. Diablos and the gang are back, this time for a last painful fight against a Dumbledore from a time when war the least of people's problems.
Warnings: Evil!Dumbledore, Gryffindor-bashing, siding with Voldemort-fic, time-travelling mentioned, violence and so on.
Plus you probably need to read A Second Chance to understand what's the hell's going on.
Disclaimers: I don't own Harry Potter, but Diablos is kinda my own character. I morphed him into my own character. Plus I do own Salerna, his adoring wife Cissi, Orator and a few others.
The final chapter! The end of it all!
Warnings: Mentioning of a bit of gore (nothing much and not detailed) and suggestions of... what should I call it? Talking that mentions molesting someone against their will? I'll go with that one. Not much of that either, just warning you so you're aware of it.
Things were finally coming together, and soon he could make the first move. He would get rid of those annoying Death Eaters, this time's Voldemort and then finish the time-travellers off. Maybe he would kill Harry in front of Diablos, just to make him loose control.
Dumbledore grinned at the thought, then grimaced as the movement jarred his wound. That damn devil had cut so deep the eye hadn't been able to be saved. He would make the man pay for making the great Albus Dumbledore loose an eye.
Soon it was all going to be over for them.
Ron had been going around smirking at them lately. Harry was getting annoyed at that. Ron Weasley always looked so sour, how come he now looked all happy and dandy? That was just plain wrong. He was up to something. Or he knew something they didn't know.
"He's grinning again," Draco said darkly. "It's really pissing me off."
"It's pissing us all off," Hermione said with a sigh. "Ignore him."
"It's not easy to ignore him when he seems to skip class to just come and grin at me," the blonde said. "And when I ask him what the fuck his problem is, he just says I'm gonna be finished soon. I nearly whack him every time!"
"You shouldn't go around and think of hitting other people," Padma said and poked at her beef at the plate. She was reading a book that was propped up against her goblet. "You should just hex them instead."
"Yeah, I would if I could."
"You can," Harry pointed out.
"Not without getting into trouble."
"That's true," the raven-haired teen admitted. "As Hermione said, try to ignore him."
"I'm trying. He's just so good at pissing me off."
"He's good at pissing us all off," Harry said. "Just keep your guard up. He shouldn't be able to do much while in school."
But it wouldn't be Ron Weasley who did anything in the end.
Something was stirring. Diablos nearly rolled his eyes when he thought that cliché sentence but he couldn't really describe it any one other way. Or maybe 'Dumbledore is planning some devilish shit again' would fit better. Although that usually was used when describing him and the dark side. The dark side.
Diablos just about scoffed before reminding himself he was in the classroom and his students were just a few feet away working on their projects. Better keep anything negative in even if they were used to his temper. Hearing him mutter to himself wasn't news either. Having him glaring at the wall was something the students faced almost every day. Some days they wondered if he really was a woman in hiding with all his mood swings. He promised to do a joint-class with Salerna and a big test at the same time if they didn't behave. They shut up after that.
The man focused back on his papers. It was for the final exams and he was checking the questions one last time to see that they could be understood. He wasn't always good at forming sentences that sounded logical in someone else's brain than his own. He had had training over the years but it slipped his mind sometimes.
He looked up and saw one of the female students look at him.
"Yes?" he answered.
"There's an owl outside the window."
Diablos turned to look. "Oh." He rose up and walked over to the window to let the owl in. "Thank you, Arielle."
The owl hopped onto his arm and held out a foot where a letter was attached. He removed it and the owl moved over to his shoulder, telling him she wasn't moving until she had a reply to go with. He shrugged and sat down, unfolding the letter.
Sorry to use an owl you didn't recognize. I took the first best one. I didn't dare use the mirror at this point.
Dumbledore is planning something. I don't know what yet, but he's gathering his forces around the manor. We need to plan an attack on the manor. We don't know the insides very well, but we have mapped out every stone on the outside.
Should I stay and watch further? Tonks will report as soon as she could.
Diablos frowned. He didn't like when Dumbledore was planning something that had to do with gathering his forces. That could mean anything. He took out a scrap of parchment and scribbled down:
Continue watching until tomorrow evening. Come to the manor then. We'll await Tonks' report if you haven't received it before you leave.
He sent the owl on her way and let the note burn to ashes in the palm of his hand. No evidence should be left behind. One of the first lessons he had learned when turning to the Dark side. No evidence to bind you to anything.
As long as you could do that, there wasn't much chance of being caught even if everyone had suspicions of who you were.
Exams for the Hogwarts students were approaching quickly. They started to occupy the library or any free space they could, surrounded by notes, books and endless frustration vibrating in the air.
Harry was quite confident he would do a good job. He had been preparing for months and could work in the same pace like before unlike some of the other students. He still didn't like Ron walking around with that stupid grin of his. Did the redhead ever do any work? Or did he, as Draco had said, skip class just to smirk at them? Harry was getting tempted at hexing him, just once. Maybe take away his mouth for a day or two, or give him an injury that would land him at home ahead of schedule.
Oh, he wanted so much but he didn't want to land himself in detention right before the summer holidays. He had rarely ended up in detention and never for hexing another student. He didn't want to have a letter to Diablos delivered with that fact. The man was enough stressed as it was, he didn't need his nephew to start hexing people at school. He probably wouldn't mind it but Harry didn't really want to do it right at this moment.
Okay so he did, but his mind said no. It was tempting but not worth it in the end. Doing that would lower himself to Weasley's level and he wasn't quite ready to step down so far yet.
Even if it was really, really tempting.
It was done. All the preparations had been done. The wards wouldn't be able to keep them outside. The wards wouldn't be able to keep them inside. They could sneak in, get what they wanted, and sneak out. The plan was perfect. It all was perfect.
Dumbledore would sneak into Hogwarts.
"Final exam done!" Draco said and stretched his arms above his head. He was walking down the hall with Hermione and Harry, the others having bustled off to meet up with the three later.
"I think I got everything right," Hermione said and worried her lip between her teeth as she checked over in her Transfiguration book.
"Come on, you'll get a hundred percent again, or more," the blonde said. "How'd go for you, Harry?"
"I think I did alright," the teen said. "Not a hundred percent-alright but manageable."
"Oh, I can't wait until I can lock the books away!"
"You still have to do homework during the summer," Hermione warned Draco.
"I know, I know, I'm just going to lock them away for a couple of days."
They looked where Harry was looking and suppressed groans of their own. Ron Weasley stood further down the hall, grinning at them. He pushed himself off the wall and said:
"Well, well, well, what do we have here?"
"Shut it and stuff it, weasel," Draco said. "Don't you have anything better to do than show us your ugly teeth?"
"You won't be that stuck-up in a moment."
Before they had time to process that and wonder what the hell he was about a hand clamped over Hermione's mouth, another wrenched Draco's arm behind his back and an arm closing painfully tight around Harry's neck.
Dumbledore's men moved away, Ron smirking evilly. He made sure no one had seen it, the portraits in the hallway been spelled blind momentarily, and then walked down the hall like normal. He finally got back to them. Harry should regret not becoming his friend. They would all regret ever teasing him.
Diablos was putting on a battle-robe when one of the two-way mirrors warmed. It was from Tonks. He frowned and walked up to it, the others preparing as well. The woman's pale face showed up and she spoke quickly:
"I'm in the bathroom, I only got a minute on me."
"What? Are they moving out?"
They had planned to attack the manor in a half-hour but if the Light moved they had to change their plans.
"No, they are not," she said. "I just got word; I'm one of the guards. They have just taken three students from Hogwarts hostage. One of them is Harry."
Diablos went still. A familiar, old rage started to coil in the pit of his stomach. It slowly twisted his insides, and the blue of his eyes was drowned by the red.
"I… see…" he said. "Keep them safe the best you can until we can get to them."
"I'll protect them with my life," she swore. She looked back and swore. "I have to go. They are here."
The mirror went blank. He put it down to the desk, feeling abnormally calm. That wasn't a good sign. It was never good when the rage pushed him to this tranquil state. His fingers stroke the wood and he felt the magic crackle at the surface, coming from the current building in his body.
Odium's voice broke through and Diablos turned his head slowly. The sight that met the man made his swallow.
Diablos' eyes were wild and untamed. The wrath in them made him take a step back before he could stop himself. The magic was edging out but the smile that came out was what frightened Odium the most. Diablos never smiled like that. At least not since…
"That was from Nymphadora," he said and they looked at him. "Dumbledore has just taken Harry and two other students hostage."
The smile promised murder, blood splattering onto the earth and bowels ripped out of their warm cocoon.
When the cloth fell away from Harry's eyes he was staring right at Dumbledore.
Admittedly, another Dumbledore he remembered but he saw it was the old man. The Dumbledore from Diablos' time. Said man grinned down at them.
"Now when I have you here," he said, "Diablos will act irrational. You know, I can handle him when he is like that. It's when he's calm I can't get my head around him."
He crouched down in front of Harry who moved back. He met wall and felt Draco's arm press into his own. Their hands found each other's. He sought Hermione's, caught hers and she squeezed hard.
"He has been a thorn in my side for a long time," Dumbledore continued. "When he first came to Hogwarts, when he officially bore the name Harry Potter, I had such great expectations of him. To think he was nothing like I wanted him to be. He was… a disappointment."
"You're just pissed off he didn't let you control him," Harry spat. "You're nothing but an old man with crazy ambitions."
Dumbledore wrenched his head back, the roots of the teen's hair shrieking at the painful tug.
"I changed my mind," he hissed. "I thought of killing you first. But now I'll kill him, I'll drag his dead body in here and I'll let people have fun with him. Or maybe I should leave him alive, just barely, and have my way with him."
Harry's blood drained from his veins. He had heard little of the war in Diablos' time, but if to have your way with someone in a war sounded the way he thought it would be, he knew he wouldn't like it.
"We'll kill every single one of them," Dumbledore growled. "They'll all die at our hands. Yes, I will leave him alive. We'll kill him with what happens afterwards. What do you think?"
"You sick fuck!" Harry screamed and spit him in the face. "Don't you dare fucking touch him!"
"Oh, I will touch him. And you will look."
He banged the teen's head into the wall and walked away.
"Harry?" Draco managed.
"Oh, Harry," Hermione got out and hugged him. The blonde's head landed heavily on Harry's shoulder and he groaned.
"What's wrong?" the raven-haired teen asked, tears falling from his eyes without him noticing. He felt sick. Just the thought of someone touching Diablos in a way the man wouldn't like made Harry want to puke.
"My arm…" Draco got out.
The girl caught sight of the arm, and Harry started to feel rage boil. It was a messy break, the bone stuck out of Draco's skin and the blonde was paler than usual. Harry moved on him, gently so that it wouldn't jar the arm and Draco buried his head into Harry's neck, tears falling slowly.
"I want my dad," Draco whispered. "I want him to come. I want dad."
"They will come," Hermione said, sounding strangely out of breath. She was trying to hold her tears at bay. Her hair was messier than usual but for once she didn't even spare it a moment. She strokes the teen's cheek, rubbed at the neck to ease Draco's pain. "They will come here. There's no way they'll leave us here."
The doors to the room banged open. For the first time Harry had a look around where they were. It was rather large, almost like a grand hall, with high in roof but barren walls. There was barely any furniture in there and any sounds made echoed horribly.
Dumbledore was back. Harry held Draco closer, trying to shield him. Then behind the man came a woman with violent pink hair.
"This is your guard. Any funny business and she'll Crucio you."
Hermione's lips quivered. Harry wished he had his wand but also knew he had left it by his bed this morning. Draco's and Hermione's were apparently taken.
Dumbledore laughed, it bounced off the walls and it made Harry sick and wishing he could ram a knife through his chest. He could see one of the eyes were missing and wanted to rip out the other one.
The former headmaster slammed the doors shut. The woman waited a few moments, the only sound Draco's harsh breathing and then she cast a spell. Harry recognized it as a privacy charm. She then stalked up to them and kneeled down. Hermione was ready to lash out when the woman took the broken arm gently and examined it.
"My name's Tonks," she said and looked up at their faces. Draco looked up as well; he recognized that name vaguely. Her eyes turned to the blonde teen. "My mother's name is Andromeda, Draco. Your mother's sister."
He turned to stare at her. Tonks grinned.
"Wotcher," she stated. "Alrightie. I'm in charge of taking you out of her. Diablos' been notified by me that you're here."
"Wha… wait," Hermione stammered. "You're… you're not with him?"
"With that fart? Merlin, no!" She removed Harry's slack arm from her cousin's shoulder and got him up on his feet. "I'm going to pull the bone back into place. Harry, Hermione, I need you to steady him."
The two were up in a flash and held Draco secure. He was starting to look a little grey and sweaty. Hermione hushed him as Tonks took a hold of the wrist, the other hand steadying his elbow.
"It's alright to make a sound," she said. "No one will notice. They'll think I kicked you or something."
She didn't wait for him to recover; instead with a swift pull the bone snapped back and Draco's legs buckled as he cried out in surprise and pain. Harry held his friend up and Hermione helped, their arms around his waist and torso. Tonks conjured bandages and splinters to keep the arm straight until someone could heal the break. Draco was recovering, the pain manageable but he didn't try moving his fingers too much. He let himself relax into his friends' arms and groggily opened his eyes when he felt the woman tighten the last bandage.
"Alright, let's get the hell out of here," she whispered. "Follow me, and let's hope nothing goes wrong."
Dumbledore felt the wards break. With a soar of rage in his body he was up and the Entrance doors flew open with his magic pressing against them. When he burst out he came to a stop at the sight.
The white mask. Those black robes with the thick sash that was in the same colour as blood. The braided hair. It was all so familiar. The sight of the youngest Dark Lord. The latest Dark Lord. The Dark Lord who had no wish to be one. Diablos. Diablos the devil, the Dark Lord after the fall of Voldemort. Such a nostalgic sight.
But something was missing.
The uncontrollable wrath.
Diablos looked calmed, flanked by Odium and Arsenic, and behind them, Death Eaters and Voldemort of this time. There were two other men as well, one with his face hidden by a hood and the other with white hair and violet eyes. Salerna Maga. Dumbledore was still angry he hadn't managed to kill that man.
"So you have arrived?" the former headmaster said. "You sure you want to attack us with that pitiful army of yours?"
"We can do a lot more than you think," Diablos replied. "But first I wanted to introduce you to someone."
The man with the hood removed it. Dumbledore's face grew livid, quite suddenly, and he howled:
Tom smiled and waved to the former headmaster. He was having way too much fun but couldn't stop his smile. It felt as if his face would split any minute to his fucking grin.
"Who knew our infamous Diablos knew how to make his way to a lost soul and collect it, even when he's in another time?" the man said as he came to stand right behind Diablos. "That shows he's ever evolving unlike you. You're just plain crazy."
The old was getting red-faced. But that was not what the raven-haired man was focusing on.
One of the Aurors on Dumbledore's side had been staring at Salerna for a while now. Diablos had no idea which branch he was in but he was looking too closely at his friend. Magic sparked between his fingers, sending sharp signals up his arm but before he could shoot off anything towards the man his mouth opened.
"Sir!" the Auror called out.
"That white-haired one, he with violet eyes! He's non-human!"
That startled not only Dumbledore's side but also Diablos' side, and some heads turned to stare at him. Diablos looked over at him; he had known Salerna wasn't human for quite some time now. But only because the man had told him. So how the hell did the Auror know? It wasn't like it was seen on him. Except for the hair, might look a bit awkward on a young-looking man like him. Then again, Odium had almost the same shade on his hair but he was a known Undead to Dumbledore's side. Salerna was just, well, slow at aging. Salerna sighed and ran a hand through his hair. He looked over at Diablos helplessly. Diablos shrugged, saying he had to handle this on his own. The man sighed again and said:
"I knew someone would recognize me sooner or later. But it's kind of funny. What's so special about me? I'm non-human, so what?" He spread his arms. "It doesn't make me a monster."
"Freak!" someone screamed. It could have been Molly.
"Now, now," the man said with a grin. "One should be more respectful to your elder." Diablos rolled his eyes; he was having way too much fun to be really upset.
"How old are you?" Dumbledore asked, eyes narrowed.
"Please," Salerna said with his head tilted. "Only three hundred years old. I actually turned that a couple of months ago. Of course, I'm saying I'm turning forty to whoever asks. Wouldn't want anyone to believe I'm an old fart."
Dumbledore stared at the man. Three hundred years old. Over twice his age. And the man looked so young… it was annoying. He was a freak, a monster, a non-human who should not have human rights.
A yelp stopped any further talking. Diablos' eyes widened a fraction behind the mask and then Moody led Tonks forward.
"I found her trying to sneak away with our hostages," he sneered, his wand pressed into her throat.
Three others held the three teens. Lucius' face paled seeing the pain in his son's face and the sadistic expression on the man's face as he twisted the broken arm. Draco gasped and he began to hyperventilate.
"See here?" Dumbledore said. "I got something you want. If you attack, I'll kill them. Give yourself up nicely, and I'll give them a pain free death."
"You've forgotten something," Diablos said.
"And what's that?"
"We don't have our ward-breaker here with us. Nor his uncontrollable twin brothers from either time."
Dumbledore looked up and four Weasleys, two sets of twins, dumped their load onto the crowd. Potions and various other little trinkets fell down and people began to scream.
Diablos charged. Moody threw Tonks aside and shot off the first spell. Odium blocked it, leaving Diablos' way free. Tom was right behind the man. The Death Eaters followed Voldemort as he set off as well.
Harry, Hermione and Draco had been shuffled to the walls of the castle, guarded by one man. Harry and Hermione didn't care about that, they just set Draco's arm straight and Harry shielded his friend with his own body. The blonde had begun to shake from the shock and only half sentences came out of his mouth.
The sound of blade meeting blade came to Harry's ears and he turned to look.
His uncle was twisting, robes flying, perfect moves on uneven and unknown ground, holding his guard up against Dumbledore himself. The man may be old but he sure was strong. He moved almost as fast as Diablos and used only one sword. The other held his wand while Diablos was using swords alone. Or maybe there was magic involved, Harry knew his uncle could fight with swords and still do spells.
The air was filled with spells and sounds. The man guarding them was starting to stray further and further away from them, leaving them unprotected. Harry might manage a wandless shield but not for long and not against the spells used.
Then salvation came in the form of Tom and Lucius. The blonde fell to his knees and took his son. Draco hugged his father's neck tightly and Lucius picked him up. Tom hauled the two teens up and they snuck away along the wall.
The children were safe. Diablos whirled around one last time, now facing Dumbledore and held out his swords. The magic built up, buzzing along his nerves and muscles. The old man stopped as well.
"What are you waiting for?" Dumbledore snarled. The battle went on around them.
"You said once you wanted to see the real me," Diablos said. "No limits, no masks… just me and the raw Ancient Wizard blood flowing in my veins."
He had said it once. Diablos had never showed him. He had showed a portion, the portion of madness and insanity, the short-fused magic with explosive powers… but not the frightening, not the bone-chillingly power. Dumbledore wanted to see it. If it truly existed. To see that it was not just a stupid myth, a legend, a story told over the years so much it had been diluted with too many details.
Diablos smiled. He removed the mask and threw it aside. This had been the last time he would wear it. Now it could shatter for all he cared. Undoing the sash he slid the heavy black robes off him, leaving him in a tight, black top and leather pants with knee-high metal boots.
"I should warn you," he said with a grin. "This might make you piss your pants."
Harry felt it the moment it released. Everyone felt it. A different sort of magic. A magic older than their bodies and minds. He turned around.
Diablos tilted his head back, smiling widely as the confined magic was released. Blackness poured out around him, surrounding him, becoming a part of him, twisting shadows in the air. It was heavy and intoxicating. Not perhaps the strongest Dumbledore had felt but far more seductive. It wasn't the crazy energy normally resting around Diablos when he released. This was the real thing.
Blood made thick strands down his cheeks from his eyes, the eyes turning to a darker red. His pupils almost vanished in the depths. Diablos felt his breathing was heavy but didn't mind. It was a lulling heaviness. It was nothing like the crazy outbursts he had had when the anger got the better of him, no rage creeping up on him and making him dig his nails into his skin. Nothing but a sense of control, of deep control, and he felt a gentle smile come up on his face. He didn't mind. Everything felt great.
For a long time, magic had controlled him. Even in this time. It was few time he had done a full release, and this was the first time among a lot of people. He hoped he could keep the control. For now, it seemed impossible to loose it but you never knew in a battle.
Dumbledore took a step back as Diablos looked down again.
"What have you done?" the old man asked. All madness seemed to have escaped him, leaving him looking older than ever and so helpless. Maybe he knew it was the end. Maybe he faked it. Or he didn't notice he was doing it.
"Real power doesn't come from anger or rage," Diablos said and the shadows twisted along the ground, connecting with his legs and arms and hair. "Nor is it the same for everyone. I am merely showing my real power. My own, and no one else's. I will use it to end your life today, Albus."
He stretched up a hand to the sky and the shadows shot up, spread around them and the light of the day began to vanish from the ground. Dumbledore regained himself.
"Kill them!" he screamed.
Diablos was in front of him, having moved without them noticing and grabbed the front of his robes, throwing him aside. Dumbledore screamed as he hit the ground, rolled over a few times before getting to his feet. He directed his wand towards Diablos but the man shifted to the side as the spell ran past him, twisting and then shooting away a blackness, a shadow. Dumbledore moved away but it caught his ankle, causing him to fall and then he was screaming at the pain revolting inside of his body, spreading from where his ankle was caught. It was agony.
Diablos walked forward.
"There are few spells used in this form," he said. "It's all natural. The shadows are like a poison of agony and despair that we put upon people. It's maddening pain you can't stop. Once infested inside the body, it never leaves."
"What I'm saying," the younger man said as he crouched down carefully next to Dumbledore, "it'll kill you so slowly you'll be begging for death before the end."
"Why… didn't you use this before?" The pain was getting harder to stand but it wasn't in his body yet. It was just that damn shadow wrapped around his ankle. If he got that one away, then he could fight again.
"I couldn't control it this well before," Diablos said. "The only one I ever have put this power under is James. You see, the shadows' effect change depending on how I want them to be. I manipulate them. For you, it's pain and agony and all kinds of things you don't want happening."
"And for James?"
"Think of it as a warm blanket wrapping you up at night," the man murmured. "He had nightmares the summer after I finished school. Just subtly I let my powers lull him to a calm sleep. However, I won't do it with you."
He rose up and the pain increased. Dumbledore couldn't focus on the others fighting anymore. He was moving erratically on the ground and Diablos was smiling again. It was sickening, and it made him feel fear. Dumbledore shouldn't feel fear. He hated fear. Yet he was terrified.
The shadows twisted. Dumbledore screamed and one of the shadows wound around his arm. With one great pull, with the other shadow holding him down, his left arm was ripped off.
Once Dumbledore started screaming Arsenic and Odium looked up. Blood moved with the arm in a great arc in the air for a moment before gravity pulled it down. Diablos was barely visible. The shadows began to creep up on the screaming old man and they both felt satisfaction deep in their cores. It was nearing the end.
Finally it was nearing the end.
Harry had seen the first limb detach from Dumbledore. Then he had turned his head away. Hermione had hugged him tightly and Draco was held up by his father. Lucius held the arm steady; he didn't know how to heal and it was making him angry and frustrated that his son was in pain and he couldn't do anything about it.
The fight was starting to ebb out. Dumbledore's screams echoed around them. Finally the voice was cut short. The silence afterwards was deafening. Then Harry removed Hermione, had Tom take her and started walking towards his uncle.
As he walked he ignored the fallen bodies and the blood. But he was changing clothes and shoes, and he might puke. He was not cut out for fighting like this. He wondered if Diablos had been in the beginning.
The shadows reared up, then fell and vanished into thin air and when Diablos turned to face him, he looked like normal. Except for a new sort of peace in his red-blue eyes. For the first time in a long time Harry could see the blue colour clearly. The blue meant things were fine.
It meant things would turn out just fine.
Draco was asleep in the couch, his father sitting crouched next to his son's head and stroke back the pale hair. His arm was healed and now bandaged to stabilize it a little while he was sleeping. Diablos had healed the break in a matter of minutes after they had left behind the ruined manor and its dead people.
Diablos himself was in one of the armchairs, barely awake. His powers had drained him. Harry had asked why. He hadn't used it that way ever a hundred percent so his body hadn't adjusted to the sheer stress of it.
The manor held the normal occupants along with Voldemort, the Lestranges, the Malfoys and Salerna had collected Cissi and Ginny. There had been some sort of celebration earlier but now many were tired after a trying day. Hermione had fallen asleep in an armchair; she would be going to her parents the next day. Odium had made sure to send owls to the trio's friends to assure them Harry, Hermione and Draco was all fine.
Harry couldn't believe it was over. It had been one hell of a year. He rested his head against Diablos' legs and relished in the peace.
It was all over.
June had just turned into July and it was a clear night. Harry wasn't sure where the others were but he was perfectly fine out on the balcony, watching the sky. It still felt a bit unreal that they didn't have to worry about Dumbledore anymore.
They had returned to the school to get their things and Ron hadn't smiled once. He had actually jumped in horror when he spotted Diablos. The man might have glared at him. Harry didn't get a chance to look and Diablos didn't give him a chance to ask.
Life had returned to a relatively normal pace again. Alright, so life was never normal with the Potters but as normal as they could get it.
"You should be asleep, you know."
Harry smiled. "What about you, Dia?"
"I'm a night owl," the man said as he came to stand next to his nephew. He was dressed in a light black robe with the necklace from James on top of it. He rarely took it off nowadays.
"Did you ever think of James as your father?" Harry asked.
"No. Why do you ask?"
They stood quiet for a bit.
"Did Sirius leave a lot of pranks?" the teen asked.
"Too bloody much of it. I had Fred and George seniors place twice the amount in his room."
"Twice the amount won't fit in his room."
"Oh, I'm sure they figured it out. And that Sirius will hate me tomorrow."
"He's the forgiving kind," Harry reassured.
Diablos glanced over at him. The teen shrugged and continued:
"Or at least to some people. I'm sure you're on that list."
The man snorted and crossed his arms. Harry leaned onto the rail and looked out over the grounds, what little he could see. The grapes were soon to be picked and made into wine, or so Dora had decided. He wondered when Diablos would let him taste alcohol. When he was thirty perhaps? Harry might push it to twenty-five but he knew Diablos would prefer that the teen never started drinking.
"What are you thinking about?" Diablos asked.
"Have you ever been in love?"
Diablos took a second look. "Harry, are you having a crush on someone?"
"What? No! I just asked!"
"I do not have a crush!"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I am sure! Now can you answer my question?"
"What, you want to know your old man's sex-life?" Diablos challenged.
Harry blushed and hit him on the arm. "No, I just want to know if you have ever been in love!"
The man chuckled at his outburst and moved away when Harry raised a fist.
"I have never been in love, Harry," he said.
The fist lowered. "You haven't?"
"No, I haven't."
"I've never been able to feel that kind of love," Diablos said with a shrug. "I can love my family and my friends… but not have a lover. Or at least I don't think I can."
"You don't want to?"
"No, not really. I have enough just keeping you guys in line, I don't need a lover on top of that."
Harry groaned. "Only you would make it sound like a burden."
"I'm quite sure Tom and Voldemort would both agree with me."
"And I'm perfectly normal then?" Diablos asked.
Harry flung his hand out and hit his uncle's stomach. Diablos danced further away. Ever since the battle, Diablos had been unusually giddy. His students were scared shitless of him. They jumped every time he started to hum while grading. It was good to build up their nerves he claimed. Due to his grin while saying this Harry didn't believe that was the main reason. He just wanted to scare the shit out of them.
A warm hand landed on Harry's arm and the raven-haired man said:
"Come on. It's time for you to get some rest."
Harry complied this time and let himself be led to his bed. Taking off his shoes he slid down under the sheets; he had been dressed for the night when he went outside.
"You want a goodnight-story?"
"Dad, I'm not a child anymore."
"I know. I'm just asking. James asked for one when you were newborn."
"Look at my face," Diablos said and leaned closer. "Does it look like I'm kidding?"
It didn't look that way.
"But… but surely he just asked that so he could tell it to me!"
"I've never heard him repeat that story to you. So I'm pretty sure it was to himself."
Harry laughed. He flopped down on the bed. "Thanks, but I don't need a goodnight-story tonight."
"Alright. I guess I'll head for bed too."
Diablos turned around in the door. He saw Coran curl up on the pillow next to Harry. The teen was looking at him, his eyes almost glittering in the dark.
"Just… just be here. In case I ever need someone. Or in case I need a goodnight-story." Harry's eyes were dropping fast but the man knew the teen wouldn't sleep until he got an answer.
"I'm sure I'll be hanging around," Diablos said.
And he would.
For as long as Harry wanted him to.
Because that's what parents do.
This is the end of Chapter of a Lost Future, and probably the last time we'll read something about Diablos and Harry and the rest of the gang. I'm not planning a sequel of the sequel. You can imagine what the rest of their lives are like.
I know I am.
Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Until another time,