Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Chapter 2: So, What Now?

by DemonicDragoness

. . .

Malfoy Manor

. . .

With almost excruciating slowness Tom Riddle felt himself waking. My mind has never felt so aware, he thought. It's as though an oppressive cloud had been befuddling me for years.

Tom thought back on his actions, and wanted to smack himself. How could he have done all that? His goals had been total segregation from Muggles, not domination! Better quality education, with both light and dark magic being taught to those with the appropriate blood type! Not preying on light wizards and terrorizing children! And the binding of magic of muggleborns, because of their magic-less blood! Not going so far as to kill them!

"Quaero furvus magus!" A buzzing sound was heard, and then a sheet of parchment popped into existence over Tom's head. He snatched it out of the air.

"All these dark rituals… I may be dark-blooded, but still, this amount is dangerous… there it is, the very first one. An extremely old insanity ward, made to mimic the Fwooper's call."

He checked the date on the curse. "It hit me in my Hogwarts years. It was most likely the day I went into Salazar Slytherin's personal study for the first time… Perhaps the muggle blood I had then set it off…" I remember that day. There were two portraits in that study. One was fervently talking about blood supremacy; the other was looking at the first with something akin to disgust. The latter tried to tell me about the ward, but I was listening to the former. I remember how incredible that first portrait seemed—His arguments all appeared to make perfect sense. Of course, they were based off the truth, but now I see it was twisted. Then there was the fiasco with the Basilisk. I changed my name… 'Flight of Death,' how idiotic! I might have just put a sign about my neck saying 'I'm afraid of Death'. Death Eaters, I don't even recall what made me name my followers that. I wastefully killed so many wizards, who would be needed so as not to become too inbred. Damn it, all that shit done because of slight insanity! he thought. But, no use crying over it now. Shouldn't Pot—No, Cain be around here?

Tom looked around, and spotted the boy sleeping a little ways away. The ritual candles had all burnt out, and the room was very dark. He scooped Cain up and carried him out of the room and up the hidden passageway to the nursery. In the light of the room he was able to make out the child's new features. Though he had kept his former father's nose, his mouth was rather like how Tom remembered his own had been, and while his face was still chubby with baby fat, he could tell it was structured differently than before. Then Cain's eyes fluttered open, and Tom gasped. They were like twin pieces of icy green jade, so unlike the warm emerald they had been, even if they were both shades of the same color. The particular hue was haunting and beautiful, and a passage of a book about King Arthur came back to the elder Riddle.

"Morgana, they say, had 'eyes of frost green, with brows high and arched, nose thin and cheeks lean'"

Salazar Slytherin was said to have been a descendent of Morgan le Fay, a.k.a Morgana. Had Cain inherited her green eyes?

Tom also noticed that the baby's black hair was no longer messy and had lightened somewhat to a dark, rich brown. A shade that Tom knew was Slytherin's hair color as well.

"Excellent," approved Tom. All in all, Cain looked nothing like Harry Potter, and everything like a handsome pureblood prince.

"Fah-der?" asked Cain.

"Yes, I'm your father. And you are my son."

. . .

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

. . .

"He's dead?!" screamed Ginny. Tears ran down her and Hermione's cheeks. Ron looked lost and forlorn. Neville was snuffling and appeared brokenhearted. Luna frowned, eyes sad, an expression that she hadn't worn since her mother died.

"Most likely."

"Most likely? What do you mean?" inquired Luna

"The device you saw stops spinning in cases when a person called Harry Potter ceases to exist in this world. Other possibilities are that he is insane and no longer thinks of himself as Harry, he has been turned into some type of magical creature, he has been sent to an alternate dimension, has been kissed by a dementor, or his name has changed somehow." Dumbledore rubbed his temples, and for once looked very much all of one-hundred-fifteen years old. "Death is much more likely, and in some cases, preferable, than the other possible happenings."

. . .

Malfoy Manor

. . .

Once he had changed clothes and Cain had gone back to sleep (though this time non-magically), Tom conjured a mirror and inspected his own features. He looked very much as he had as a child: jet-black hair, pale skin, a tall, thin body. There were alterations: he thought his ears might be a bit different, his hair could have been a tad coarser, and of course he looked older, with small wrinkles here and there. However, he had only one large change, a pair of silver-gray eyes that replaced the red, and before then, black eyes he had owned. He knew those grey eyes; the portraits of Salazar Slytherin had ones exactly like them. Tom was filled with awe.

A house-elf popped in and bowed low.

"Master's master, sir, a man be waiting in the room with the big chair, sir."

"Do you know who he is, elf?"

"Drooky is being sorry sir, Drooky doesn't know who the man be. He looks like a bat, sir, though."

"Ah, Severus then. You are dismissed." Tom gestured to Tinky, who was in the corner of the nursery creating a den so as to always be in the room.

"Tell me when he wakes."

"Yes, Master's master, sir!"

-

Severus Snape had been a triple agent for Dumbledore for many years. Understandably he was very attentive whenever he was in Death Eater territory. So when strong anti-portkey wards sprung up around the Dark Lord's throne hall, he felt it, and was uneasy. When he felt something far subtler enclose the room, his uneasiness grew, especially since he had never felt a ward quite like that one. But when the Dark Lord himself swept in, clad in his black, hooded robes, he forced his panic deep into his mind and bowed low.

"Get up, Severus, and come closer to me." The voice that spoke was different from Voldemort's. What was going on here? Despite his misgivings, he moved closer, until his master nodded for him to stop.

"Look into my eyes," the man hissed, but it didn't have the same inhuman quality as before. When Severus obeyed, he was startled to see silver-grey where he had once seen bloody red. Without warning (though Snape had suspected the reason behind the order and had reinforced his mental barriers) the Dark Lord (or the possible imposter) plunged into his mind. This time he completely ignored the 'upper' memories and feelings that masked the spy's true thoughts and dug deep. Soon he hit the double-agent's last defense, a mental shield like a fortress wall. He shaped his attack like a muggle drill and started boring a hole through it. Out in the real world Severus screamed in pain; it was beyond Cruciatus, and the spy had never felt so violated. After many agonizing moments the Dark Lord finally punched through.

"I should have known. You are a traitor and a spy. Now what shall I do with you?

Severus knew he wouldn't escape. Despair clawed at him. "Phoenix tears," he breathed, not daring to hope. A tug formed behind his navel. Would his emergency portkey work?

"I planned for that, Severus. You won't escape." Indeed, the yank was soon joined by another, pulling in the opposite direction. They fought in a mockery of a tug-o'-war, using what felt like his intestines for rope. The man clenched his teeth in pain. Many moments passed, as the ward-punching power of the portkey and the specialized anti-portkey ward conflicted, until finally the battle was won. He lurched, but remained in his master's throne hall. Hopelessness engulfed him.

"Do you realize, Severus, that had I discovered your treachery before today, you would have most certainly been killed? That I would have tortured you to the brink of insanity, carve the word 'traitor' into your flesh, and display you to the world? Now, however, I realize you still have uses." He smirked. "You will send a patronus to Dumbledore saying that you have been found out and are being pursued by Death Eaters, and that this will be the last time you will be able to send a message. Say you helped Potter try to escape, but he was caught by me and we destroyed each other. Don't try to put a hidden message in it, because I'll know, and you won't like the consequences." Despite his quivering limbs, Snape reluctantly raised his wand and cast the charm. A silver doe erupted from the tip of it. He told it its message (every word heard by Voldemort), and it nodded and glided away.

"It's no wonder I never saw your patronus. It is very much like Lily Potter's. With her lovely green eyes and long red hair, I can't blame you for falling in love with her."

"You know nothing about love, you bastard," whispered Severus, his voice hoarse and shaky. He braced himself for the oncoming Crucio. It never hit.

"Perhaps not," said Tom conversationally. "Dumbledore certainly never thought so. But then, how could I, having never been loved? Come here, Severus." He stumbled closer to his master. Voldemort grabbed his left arm, pushing up the sleeve, and pressed a finger to his Dark Mark, thinking of only a few of his servants. Severus winced as it burned into his arm. His muscles spasmed, and he collapsed, unconscious. Tom levitated him to a corner.

Soon the members of the team who had gone to the Department of Mysteries arrived. They arranged themselves into a semi-circle before their lord, eyeing his new features by the corners of their eyes. Tom stroked his wand, a rare pleased expression crossing his face.

"My faithful servents," he began silkily, "I have grand news. The threat of Harry Potter is forever destroyed. The path to our goals is clear. I have a plan that will certainly crush our foes… all we need now is a bit of patience. Before I explain it, though, I would like to introduce someone. Or should I say, re-introduce."

Pop!

"Master's master, sir, he is being awake!" squeaked Tinky. The Death Eaters were taken aback. What was a house-elf doing here?

"Ah, what excellent timing. Bring him down to me."

"Yes, master's master, sir!" Quite suddenly Cain appeared and floated gently in front of him. The child looked completely confused; he still clutched his stuffed stag and was still rumpled with sleep. Then he spotted Tom and smiled.

"Fah-der!" He stretched his arms toward the man, who pulled him into his arms. The others—minus Lucius and Pettigrew—gasped.

"Harry Potter fell into the Basin of Time, and as a result, he is no longer a threat. I realized that it would be far more beneficial to make the infant Potter into my heir. He is now my son by blood-adoption." He narrowed his eyes. "You all will treat him with utmost respect, as he is also your master."

Nagini slithered up from her spot beneath his throne. §Master, he smells of power.§

§Of course. He is of powerful blood.§

"My lord, may I ask a question?" said Rodolphus. Tom turned his attention back to his followers.

"You may."

"What is his name?"

"I have named him Cain Riddle. You, however, will refer to him as 'young lord', or 'young master'." He brushed a stray lock of hair from his face. "Let's move on. I need time to prepare my son for a war. If it is raging while he is being raised, he will not get the training he requires. But, if I were to stall it for a while… If we were to call a hiatus on our attacks for a decade or two, then when the Ministry is weak and off guard, attack full force, we will most certainly win. The light will believe me truly immortal. We will have more time to gain forces, to train our young, and build ourselves to what we were before my downfall nearly fifteen years ago. All of you here are young, in twenty years you will still be in your prime. We will be invincible." The Death Eaters mulled over his plan. While it would be frustrating to have to wait, it seemed nearly perfect.

"My lord, what of the Order of the Phoenix? They know you have returned," said Lucius. Tom explained what had happened with Severus.

"Will you kill him now, Master?" asked Bellatrix. "I would love to see him scream." She smirked at the spy's limp form.

"No. He still has his uses." Tom hissed. She was certainly unbalanced. Perhaps he could arrange for an accident…

He continued to lay out his plan. "You all will spread the word that there are to be no attacks unless I say so. The knowledge that my heir was Harry Potter is strictly classified, and his existence is to be limited to those whom I decide are trustworthy. Those of you in public, I want you to lightly hint of my supposed destruction. Those of you who are on the run…"

. . .

Hogwart School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

. . .

Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Neville, and Luna all walked back to their rooms, still feeling like they were in a living nightmare. As squibs, they couldn't attend Hogwarts, and so they were packing up to leave for home a few days earlier than their wizard and witch peers.

Hermione didn't know what she was going to tell her parents. They knew next to nothing about her adventures at Hogwarts, and the real dangers she had faced. It had taken her so long to convince them to let her go to the wizarding school. Now, five years behind her muggle year-mates, how would she succeed in life?

Ron and Ginny were absolutely horrified. Being a squib was a shameful thing among wizards. There were very few occupations in the Wizarding World where magic was not required, and all were extremely low-paying work. Filch's was probably among the best. Likely they would have to get jobs as muggles. How they wished they had taken muggle studies!

Neville was dreading returning to his grandmother. She'd scold him that he was a failure, a blot on the Longbottom family tree, and nothing like her precious, perfect Frank, the Auror, the war hero. What would his parents think if they were sane? Would they turn away in shame? Would they yell at him for being so foolish? Or maybe, just maybe they would understand, sympathize, hug him and kiss him and not care if he had magic or not, because he was their son. Neville hastily wiped away the tears that threatened to fall.

Luna knew her father would simply be glad she was alive. Her mother's death had somewhat unhinged him, though he had already been eccentric. Perhaps she could still be a reporter, or help him with the magazine design. Her dreams of being a famous magizoologist like Newt Scammander were done for. Everyone knew a Crumple-horned Snorkack wouldn't be caught dead next to a non-magical being.

Hermione opened her truck and reached into her pocket for her wand. She had just opened her mouth to make her belongings pack when she felt something strange. Though she had never realized it, right before she said a spell her magic would flow to her hand in preparation. Now her hand felt numb and empty. Her wand, which had always comforted her like a sort of security blanket, felt dead in her hand, as though it were just any piece of wood. Now the realization struck her hard. She would never, never feel her magic coursing through her again. It was gone. Gone! Forever! A sob escaped her, and another. Soon she was crying hard, and before she could wake her roommates, she collapsed on her bed, burying her face in her pillow. A hand squeezed her shoulder gently. She looked up.

"Ginny?" she asked. Her friend was shaking slightly, and her eyes were as red rimmed. Hermione though she probably looked the same.

"I figured you might want company…" Ginny trailed off uncertainly. Hermione's heart wretched. How could she be so selfish, thinking her situation was bad! At least she would have the ability to near-seamlessly go back to being muggle. Ginny had always been around magic. She must be taking everything much harder! Hermione pulled her into a hug. They cried together.

"I wish Harry were here," whispered Ginny. Hermione sniffed, and then a wave of self-disgust filled her. Here she was, drowning in self-pity, and her friend was dead! As dead as the magic that used to flow in her, as dead as the life she could have had!

"I'll miss him so much," she said in a choked voice.

"At least—at least h-he's not bl-blaming himself. If he'd—If he'd have lived, h-he would b-be taking it h-harder than us."

"Yes, he always blamed hi-himself. I hope h-he's ha-happy now." She hiccupped. "We mu-must for strong for him!"

"Yes. We'll—we'll be strong! For Harry!"

"For Harry!" Hermione repeated after Ginny, and wiped her eyes. "Now... let's get packing. Tomorrow is going to be a long day."

. . .

Malfoy Manor

. . .

Tom smiled down at his son. Cain had fallen asleep in his arms as he directed his followers and had stayed asleep as he returned to the nursery. He gently placed him in his crib, then changed the 'settings' on the ceiling until it appeared to be a night sky with tiny sparkling stars and a full moon. Another spell caused gently music to play from nowhere. Then he left to deal with Snape.

When he reached the man, he was still unconscious. Tom cast spell after spell on Snape, snapping loyalty oaths and compulsions cast by Dumbledore, fixing his nervous system from the effects of mind penetration and Cruciatus, healing old scars, spell damage, and even his badly healed nose. Then he re-woke the him. Snape's eyes opened, and before he could even attempt occlumency, Tom was in and working on his mind. The injuries he had put him though in the legilimency were painstakingly fixed. Important information on the Order of the Phoenix was carefully harvested. Mental damage caused by abuse and isolation was reversed as much as was possible by magic. After he was done, he stupefied him.

Then Tom summoned an elf and told it to bring some vials of blood from a collection that he had accumulated over the years. If his plan was to work, Snape would have to look completely different. He chanted several parsel spells over him, blending a few drops of different vials, and poured the combined blood down Severus' throat. It was a type of blood magic that would shift his features like polyjuice. Only Tom could remove it, and it was undetectable by any means. Its downside was that it was incredible painful. He spelled him into a numb sleep. Immediately, Snape's skin began to bubble like a boiling cauldron, and he started to change. Deathly pale skin now had a pink cast, black hair became brilliant blonde, and large nose became smaller and rather thin. He had always been rather tall, but now he would tower. Snape's shoulders broadened slightly, his jaw line became angular, and his cheekbones could cut.

"Nothing like Severus at all. Perfect. Now to let him rest until faze to of my plan…"

. . .

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

. . .

Dumbledore looked up as a silvery doe glided through the walls of Hogwarts and landed gracefully in front of him. What was it doing here? The last person he had seen with that sort of Patronus was Lily Potter, and she was long dead. He was considerably startled when he heard it talk with Severus Snape's deep voice (and had a slight flash of guilt, he hadn't though Severus still loved Lily), but listened attentively as it relayed its message. When it was done, he smiled thinly, a sad, bittersweet gesture, and pushed a button under his desk to signal an emergency Order meeting. On his way to the floo, he grabbed a vial of Calming Draught. A bit in the tea would help everyone when they heard his news.

. . .

Malfoy Manor

. . .

When Severus awoke, he at first thought that he had died and perhaps gone to a peaceful afterlife. After all, he had never felt so very healthy and alive in his time on earth, nor ever had sheets of cream-colored Egyptian cotton, or emerald green silk hangings on his four poster bed. As he looked around his room, he noted an archway covered by a green-trimmed cream door curtain that presumably led to a bathroom, small decorations in silver, cream, or green, cream walls, and green carpeting and trim. There were no windows, and, startlingly, there was no door. This finally tipped Severus off on his actual status: prisoner.

When he though about this, he realized he really wasn't that surprised. The room was far too good to be true. He wondered what was going to happen to him. Suddenly there was soft pop and his master appeared. A horrible thought entered his mind. Had Voldemort healed him only to torture him all over again? Was this the penitence of his sins? Being tortured and healed, over and over again, until his last breath?

"No, Severus, that is not my plan," said the Dark Lord. Had he used legilimency? Severus checked his shields and nearly groaned aloud in dismay when he found them totally ruined. He tried to reconstruct, but found himself unable put up even the most flimsy mental barrier.

"I do apologize for having so utterly damaged you occlumency skills, but, as you no doubt realized, I was feeling rather unforgiving at the moment. Your abilities will return to you in time, most likely in three to four years."

"Will I live so long?" Snape asked bitterly.

"Most certainly. I did say I have uses for you. Or rather, I have uses for one Flavius Felicianus."

"Flavius Felicianus? Who is…" Severus caught sight of the Dark Lord's smirk, and a lock of his hair chose that moment to swing in front of his face. Ever so slowly, as though not quite believing his eyes, Snape reached and took the lock in his hands and inspected its new, bright shade.

"I truly hope this is not permanent."

Voldemort's smirk widened. Then Snape's mind connected the new hair and the name. "Oh, gods, I did go to hell after all. Am I going to have to answer to a name that means "golden" and another meaning "happy" for the rest of my life, or is this just some cruel joke you came up with?"

"Both, Flavius, both, though when I'm finally Emperor of the Magical World, I might allow you to go back to your old appearance. Fortunately for you, that should only be in about twenty or so years. Besides, doesn't "happy" sound so much better than the "stern"? But first, however, 'Severus Snape' has to die to the outside world. Follow me."

Not knowing what else to do, Severus followed his master down the halls of Malfoy Manor. After many twists and turns, they arrived at a heavy, solid metal door. Voldemort ran a finger down a groove in its surface, which briefly turned golden before the door opened. The room inside was tiny, and completely unremarkable besides that one wall had a doorway covered by a fluttering ivory veil.

"Through there is an alternate dimension pocket. You've heard of multiple-compartment trunks, I'm sure? This works in nearly the same way. Through this door, there is a space equivalent to the size of Malfoy Manor. I mostly use it to store my collection of rare books and items, but there is also a potions lab, a greenhouse full of rare plants, and a fitness room, as well as an entire set of living quarters. A house elf has been assigned to prepare your food. You will be allowed your wand if I see good behavior. These will be your lodgings for the next three years. After that, depending on your conduct, I will assign you to a task."

"You mentioned dying?"

"I mentioned your former persona dying. In that alternate dimension-" he gestured towards the veiled doorway "-you are completely gone from this universe and are, in a way, dead to us. That, at least, is what any tracking charm, monitoring spell, locating ritual, and any other way of finding a person or knowing their status will say. Therefore, if you lovely Order attempts to trace you, they will find nothing but floating letters that say 'Severus Snape est mortuus,' and they won't bother trying to find you again. Of course, I will keep you 'dead' for several years, just in case they are willing try for that long. Don't bother trying to escape. I've placed wards so complex upon the portal that by the time you even touch them, I will have arrived, and if you somehow reach the deeper wards, you will be killed by either the magical backlash of the first wards or the death wards I've placed. That would be rather wasteful of your talents."

Severus winced. Death wards were usually nasty pieces of work, and had ways of making your demise as long and painful as possible. The Ancient Egyptians in particular had rather creative ways of killing people through wards. Images of three headed corpses entered his mind.

"Also warded are the rooms with Dark Marks on them. I suggest you stay well away from these places. Other than that, the house-elf will show you around. With that, I bid you adieu." He swept his arm towards the curtain. Hesitantly, Snape stepped closer.

"Oh, and one last thing-" Tom made a stabbing motion with his wand toward Severus and a vial he took out of his pocket filled with blood. Snape's twisted with outrage. "-I will be needing this. Farwell!" With and ironic wave, he banished the other man into the fluttering doorway.

. . .

Number Twelve Grimmauld Place

. . .

"Albus, are you sure?" McGonagall asked. Her voiced quavered slightly. The rest of the Order was not so composed. Molly Weasley was sobbing in the corner, and others looked shocked, confused, and some even happy.

"Yes, Minerva, I am quite certain. Severus has never lied to me, and my own artifacts have told me that Harry has indeed passed on. But, as sad as we are for Harry's untimely demise, let us celebrate the dawn of a new time where Voldemort has finally left us all! Let us not waste his heroic sacrifice!"

A wail emanated from the corner before Mrs. Weasley left the room. The others hardly noticed as they began to soundly celebrate in a manner that hadn't been seen in fourteen years.

. . .

King's Cross Station

. . .

Hermione stepped off of Hogwarts express, trunk in hand, trying not to think of how this was her last time at this particular station. It had been a lonely ride; Ron, Ginny, Luna, and Neville had gone home by floo. A crumpled bill was clenched in one hand. She would pay for a taxi back to her home.

"Hermy-own-nee!" The voice had a thick Bulgarian accent, but Hermione immediately recognized it.

"Victor?" He rushed forward and embraced her, before self-consciously drawing back. "You've improved your pronunciation of my name! But why are you here?"

"Yes, I haff practiced. I came as soon as I could, vonce I got your letter."

"You came for me?"

"Yes, of course! Those barbarian Death Eaters, they haff stolen… haff stolen that vitch is the most precious to a vizard or vitch. I vill tear them limb from limb!"

"Victor! Please calm down." He took several deep breaths.

"Vell, shall ve be going then?"

"Going where?"

"Vy, of course, I haff not yet asked you. Hermy-own-nee, I vould like to invite you to my home in Bulgaria."

It did not take her long to consider.

"I would love to."

. . .

Longbottom Manor

. . .

Neville moaned from his position on the floor by his fireplace. He could never floo correctly. A hand entered his view, and he gladly took it. Augusta helped her grandson up.

"Gran?" He'd never seen that look in her eyes before. It looked odd on her.

"Neville, child, come here." Nervously, he obeyed. When he was close enough, she scooped him into a hug. "I'm so proud of you, Neville. Fighting Death Eaters and the like. If only the cost wasn't so high."

"Huh?" He was surprised as hell. What happed to the rant he expected on having lost his magic?

"Now, son, did you expect me to yell at you? If there is any good way to lose your magic, it would be fighting for the sake of the Wizarding World. Hell, often whenever Frank went to fight, he came within a hairs-breath of dying, and him a fully trained Auror! It's one of the reasons he and Alice got together; she often was the one to patch him up after missions. Why, they'd both be bursting with pride right now.

"Really?" Neville's voice was uncommonly high.

"Yes, child."

"But, Gran, what am I going to do? I can't do magic anymore… Will I have to work in the muggle world?"

"No son of mine will work as a muggle! I've already contacted several prominent Herboligists about taking on an apprentice. With grades like yours, you'll be sure to get chosen right away."

"Gran?" He couldn't believe what he was hearing!

"You don't need a wand to tend to plants, dear."

Only later did he realize she had called him 'son'.

. . .

The Burrow

. . .

Ron and Ginny were sitting at the kitchen table, shoulders slumped, identical expressions of misery on their faces. Mrs. Weasley stumbled out of the fireplace, face blotchy with tears.

"Hi mum," said Ron half-heartedly. She nodded in his direction. She already had a pot of stew half-way ready by the time she realized what was wrong with her children being home.

"What happened?" she asked, her voice dull. Ron and Ginny were stunned at how meek she seemed. Wordlessly Ron passed her an envelope Dumbledore gave them. She read it, her already distraught face becoming even more so as she learned her children's fate. She began to sob and crushed them into a group hug.

"Oh my poor babies. Those awful Death Eaters!" Her eyes adopted a murderous glint. "Are you sure you don't know who did it?" They nodded. "Because if you did, I'd bloody tear them apart!" The two youngest Weasleys were again shocked, not by her bloodlust, but rather at the fact she cursed, right in front of them. She caught sight of the flyers they carried.

"What are those?"

Ron shrugged. He hadn't bothered to read them. He passed them to her.

"Intensive Muggle Studies course? 'For Wizards with jobs that come in constant contact with Muggles or who wish to live peacefully in Muggle towns. One year course for basic, Five years for a Muggle Secondary School diploma, Eight for a Bachelor's degree. Full courses on Muggle History, Mathematics, Literature, Electronics, Science, Home Life, and Popular Culture. Also, for an additional fee, a course for those who wish to teach Muggle Studies at schools. Yearly Fee 20 galleons!'" She then noticed a small, shrunken bag under the papers. She un-shrunk it and gasped when it jingled. A small note was attached.

Dear Molly,

I know you dislike accepting charity, but please consider this a gift from me to your wonderful children. I would like them to use it to pay for any schooling they may need to make a living. Please keep the extra. After all, nothing can repay how the Weasleys accepted young Harry into your hearts and home. I will not take the money back.
Have a lovely summer.

Albus Dumbledore

Hands shaking, she opened the bag. The inside was not filled with bronze, nor silver, but piece upon piece of shining gold. There had to be at least five thousand galleons within its depths. She realized the bag was also expensive, and obviously enchanted to be light and hold much more than your average potato sack. Unable to comprehend the sudden way they had become rich, plus the emotional trauma that she had already gone through, she fainted.

. . .

Lovegood Residence AKA"The Rook"

. . .

Luna bounced unhappily into her house, having just come in from their outdoor fireplace. Her father immediately noticed her distress.

"Dirigible Plum juice, my little gurdyroot?"

"No thanks, Dad."

"Okay, my little Plimpie. Take care not to let the Nargles near!"

"Yes, Dad."

She bounced (still unhappily) upstairs, to her room, and picked up her painting supplies. This, at least, she could still do. She had always preferred painting the muggle way. As she dipped her brush into a pot of emerald paint, she pondered it. Could she, perhaps, make a living this way? Set up a stall in Diagon Alley and paint portraits? She knew people, pure-bloods especially, complained about how no-one painted half-way well anymore, and her paintings did seem rather realistic. All it took to make a proper Wizarding portrait was a drop of the portrait's subject's blood and a few drawn runes. For other paintings she could buy special Wizarding paints to make them move. There had been plenty of squib painters throughout history. She lamented the fact that the Death Eaters had taken Harry's blood. Nevertheless, she carefully drew a pair of bright green eyes. She didn't think Harry would mind her using his portrait to advertise. Her dowry would be more than enough to rent a stall for a few months.

She didn't need a husband, anyway.