Epilogue – The Miracle Child
A joyful but exhausted Harry stepped from the hospital room, reflecting that he had never thought that he would be in this situation again. The walls of St. Mungo's were as stark and bare as ever, but they held a hint of home and happiness for Harry, though it had been some time since he had last been here.
He was greeted by Hermione, who stepped toward him and bussed his cheek with an affectionate kiss and a smile, before she turned her attention to the bundle he held in his arms.
"May I?" she asked with a brilliant smile.
"Of course, my dear," Harry replied, placing the precious child in her arms.
"So this is the newest member of our family," she said, while cooing at the child she held in her arms. "Simply beautiful."
She turned her attention back to him, and with a playful grin said, "Just a bit of a surprise, wasn't it?"
"You're telling me," was Harry's sincere reply. "I didn't expect another one, not after what she told me all those years ago."
"I think everyone is waiting to see this little one. But I'd like to see my sister before we go."
Nodding, Harry opened the door to the room and entered in after his wife. Fleur lay there with heavy-lidded eyes, as well she might. It had not been an easy birth, after all, ands she was not as young as she once was. Her almost ethereal beauty had not faded one iota, though, as she appeared as youthful and attractive as she ever had. And of course to Harry her stunning beauty was only enhanced by the fact that she had that new mother look, having just given birth to his seventh child.
As for Hermione, Harry could almost swear that Fleur's Veela magic was rubbing off on her. Harry had always had a much greater opinion of Hermione's beauty that Hermione had herself, but she could not argue when he told her that other than the changes to her appearance brought about by maturity, she had kept her youthful looks even now, well into her thirties. It was not unusual as magic seemed to retard the aging process significantly, but in the case of his two wives, he found that it was much more pronounced than even with other witches.
"Hello Fleur," Hermione said, looking down lovingly on her sister.
Fleur opened her eyes and smiled at them both. "Hermione," she greeted before she once again closed her eyes, in equal parts contentment and exhaustion, Harry thought. She really had struggled mightily to bring this one into the world, and her Veela nature had not help matters at all. The birthing process had been significantly easier for Hermione, than it had been for Fleur—Hermione's longest labor had been twelve hours—her first—and the subsequent deliveries had all been much quicker. By contrast, Fleur had always taken longer, and the difficulty Veela had in conceiving seemed to extend to giving birth as well. Or at least it had in Fleur's case.
"Your baby is beautiful," Hermione said, holding up her precious package where Fleur could see.
"Of course," Fleur replied with a hint of smugness. "It's against the rules of magic for Veela babies to be anything less."
It was an old joke between them, but Harry and Hermione still chuckled. As a point of fact, Hermione's children had all been beautiful as well, though Harry would readily admit that he was not exactly an impartial judge. Of course, anyone who knew either of the women would have no trouble telling their children apart—Fleur's were all blond and beautiful like she herself, while Hermione's were more of a mix of their parents, though tending to be dark in coloring.
"We'll be back in a while," Hermione said, noting that Fleur was drifting on the edge of sleep. "I think there are quite a few people who want to see this one."
Fleur simply waved her hand sleepily. "You can come back when it's feeding time. Until then I just want to sleep."
Grinning, Hermione moved to the entrance of the room, while Harry looked fondly down at his wife and kissed her forehead. "Sleep, my love. We'll be back later."
With that, Harry turned and left the room. He looked back once to see Fleur snuggled deeper under the blankets, and he was certain that she was asleep once again before the door even closed behind them.
"I think all of magical England is here to see this child," Hermione murmured to him as they walked down toward the waiting room.
"That might be a slight exaggeration," Harry replied.
"'Slight' being the optimum term," Hermione replied with a laugh.
Harry regarded his wife with an affectionate look. The promise he had made to them both had been largely fulfilled, he thought, and neither of his wives was more important to him than the other. He loved the both, protectively and fiercely, and though there were certainly times when one or the other was more on his mind, he was always careful to make sure that they both felt loved at all times. They had settled into a comfortable life, and though it could not be said that they never had disagreements, the dynamic between them generally ensured that the one not involved in whatever dispute arose served as a sort of a peacemaker between the two who disagreed. It had worked for them for twenty years now, and Harry could not imagine it any other way.
The first and largest dispute had been how the marriages should take place. And of course, it would not be Hermione and Fleur if they had not taken opposing positions, Fleur insisting that Hermione should marry first because of her long friendship with Harry, while Hermione had countered that Fleur should clearly go first, as she was the first to come to a formal understanding with Harry. It was not surprising that each stubbornly held to their positions, and each was certain that they were correct. Now, many years later, that first colossal spat had become a part of Potter family lore, though they laughed about it now.
Luckily, Harry had been able to come up with a solution. He had suggested that they get married in the same ceremony, which meant that they would have only one wedding day. Of course this did not solve the issue of who would say their vows first, but when neither would give up their position, Harry had finally resolved the final issue by flipping a galleon. In the end, Hermione got her way and Fleur said her vows first.
And the children had certainly come, such that the Potter line was now a safe from extinction, outside of some dire catastrophe. Fleur, regardless of the fact that she had difficulty conceiving, had actually born the first Potter child—a girl, of course—who had been named after her grandmother, Angelique. Then had come two of Hermione's children—Lily Marie and James, the long awaited heir. Fleur had then borne another child in her late twenties, another girl they had named Celeste, and Hermione had finally had two more sons, Daniel and David. Harry had thought to name the final two boys after his godfather, and honorary godfather, but Sirius and Remus had both laughingly told him they would not countenance his saddling his young children with their unusual names. Thus, the boys' middle names were in honor of their grandfather's closest friends, rather than their first names.
After David's birth, the Potters had thought that their family was complete; Hermione had declared that she was finished after David's birth, having borne three male heirs to the Potter name, and Fleur, though she would have liked to have more children, had not been able to conceive after Celeste's birth. They had many times joked of the fact that it would be nice for Fleur to have one more—the symmetry was rather nice, after all—but none of them had expected it to happen. Thus, it had come as a shock when Fleur, almost a decade after her last pregnancy, had announced that she was once again pregnant.
The Potters stepped into the waiting room, Hermione proudly carrying her sister's child, and those there all crowded around to look at the newest Potter child. Their extended family had indeed grown to the point where it almost seemed as though half the country was there, Harry thought affectionately. The Weasleys, of course, were just like family, and Molly and Arthur considered Harry's children as the same as their own grandchildren. And Molly, though she still tended a little toward being overprotective and stubborn, was very good with the children, instinctively knowing exactly what to do to soothe bruised shins and dry tears which were inevitably shed. Arthur was as jovial as ever, and he loved his grandchildren unreservedly. They were both a large part of the Potters' lives.
Ron was present, of course, with his wife, though their young children—two of them—were at home with the nanny. Ron's story still brought a smile to Harry's face. He had remained single for many years after the final battle at Hogwarts, though he had dated extensively. The first relationship had been with Lavender Brown, though that had ended rather spectacularly even before the end of their sixth year. Being uncommonly philosophical, Ron had moved on, enjoying his single and near-celebrity status, while he continued to play the field. He had never become an Auror; rather he had gone into business with the twins, providing sound strategic decision making to the twins' business, where they concentrated on product design and creation. On a business trip to America, Ron had met a young and fiery woman by the name of Jackie Crosby, and had instantly fallen in love with her. Jackie was much like Ron was—unafraid to share her opinion, brash, and outspoken, with the same tendency to sometimes stick her foot in her mouth by speaking before she had thought the matter through. But she was genuine and kind, and obviously adored Ron, and she had been welcomed into his extended family with open arms. Harry was thrilled—she really was the perfect woman for Ron, and though Ron had never said as much, Harry was certain that Jackie had finally been able to exorcize the ghost of Ron's abortive attempt at a relationship with Hermione.
Of the other Weasleys, Charlie and Percy were not present—Charlie was still living in Romania with his beloved dragons and was still single, while Percy was a diplomat for the Ministry stationed in Canada. He was still a little stuck up and self important, but he had mellowed to the point where he was not a complete stick in the mud. And Bill was also present, though it was only good fortune as he was often away, working as a curse breaker in far off lands. His wife, however, had come as a complete shock to those who knew them, for she was none other than the former Daphne Greengrass. Daphne and Harry had spoken soon after the battle, and though Harry had begun to get indications of Daphne's waning interest in him, he had been relieved when she had informed him that she had no intention of becoming a third wife. Instead, she had gained several masteries after her Hogwarts schooling, and had gone to work for Gringotts, in their Wizarding financial department. It had been she who had supervised the setting up of liaisons between Gringotts and a large Muggle bank, and now offered Muggle style investments, whereas before they had been simply a place to store gold. In the process Daphne had amassed a large fortune, and she and Bill did quite well for themselves, though they rarely settled down in one place. They also had two children—a boy and a girl—who travelled with them and were schooled by Daphne, with the assistance of several travelling tutors.
Of the twins, well they had become rather wealthy with their joke shop business, which now had outlets in many locations around the world. George had married Angelina almost right out of Hogwarts, and the two of them were doing their best to emulate their parents, having produced eight children. George was obviously very happy with his large family, and he positively doted on them, dividing his time between them and his business.
Fred's journey through life, however, had more closely resembled Ron's than George's. It had been assumed that Fred would marry Alicia out of Hogwarts, but though they remained friends, they had both declared that there simply was no spark between them. And so Fred had remained single for a number of years, living with his married brother and playing the doting uncle to George's children, but never marrying himself. In fact, he had never even had so much as a girlfriend. It had seemed like Charlie would not be the only Weasley to remain single.
It had therefore come as a shock when he had started dating Fleur's little sister Gabrielle shortly after her twentieth birthday, followed by an engagement and marriage less than a year later. With his marriage, Harry's family and the Weasleys were tied even closer together, and Fred and Gabrielle had produced two children—both girls—to add to the growing brood of grandchildren.
And as for Ginny, well she had also ended up in a multiple marriage, only not with Harry as she had originally desired. Luna and Neville had married a year after Hogwarts, but it had been only six months after that when Ginny had also married Neville. Harry had not been precisely surprised—he had known that Ginny was close to both Neville and Luna—but he had never really considered the fact that Neville had been in the same position as Harry, as the last of the Longbottoms. He also had three sons—two through Ginny and one with Luna—to go with Luna's daughter, having perpetuated his line quite nicely. Their families were close as well, with their children often staying at one another's homes, and being in the same years and houses at Hogwarts.
Sirius had married Hestia Jones and produced four children to once again revive the house of Black, while Remus had married Dora Tonks, producing three. Both were well recovered from the scars of the past, and formed an important part of Harry's extended family. And though Sirius would always carry with them the remembrance of his time in Azkaban, and Remus would never be free of the curse of lycanthropy, they had both been able to move past their personal demons and enjoy their lives with their spouses and children.
As the family all gathered around the newest addition, Harry watched happily, knowing that his family was safe and would be well in the years to come. Voldemort's defeat had largely seen the end of the fanatical Pureblood bloc, as the most virulent bigots had been part of Voldemort's forces. There were still Purebloods who looked down on others, but they were much smaller in number and seemed to be somewhat of a dying breed. As much of Malfoy's ilk had been wiped out or sent to Azkaban, those Purebloods who were still adamant in their own superiority had found a much smaller pool of those of like mind, meaning that there were also fewer choices for their children in marriage. Some had stuck to their beliefs, but the greater number of their children had decided that their parents' beliefs paled in comparison to their own desire to form a good marriage, and many had looked outside their class for marriage partners. It was a slow go, but the dwindling Pureblood numbers, coupled with the education and reforms brought about by Madam Bones, were slowly changing the landscape in Wizarding Britain.
The final nemesis to Harry personally, had been Draco Malfoy. The blond Slytherin had been his pampered and spoiled self to the end, seemingly convinced that his perceived status and name would gain him forgiveness for his crimes. But as he was known to have cast at least two unforgivables, he was quickly found guilty and sentenced to life in Azkaban. But his odyssey had not ended there. Several years after his arrival in Azkaban, Draco had been part of an uprising in the Wizarding prison, and though the rebellion had been put down quickly, Draco had been one of the few unlucky ones to have been kissed by a Dementor. His soul having left his body, the husk left behind had lasted another couple of months before it gave up the ghost, ending the Malfoy line in England. It was a fitting end, Harry thought, and he was certain that very few mourned the Malfoys' passing.
Hogwarts itself had changed also in the intervening years, with the decline of the vocal minority who had controlled so much. There was now a real History teacher in residence—Binns had been left in his classroom, to drone on about goblin rebellions to an empty room—and the other curriculums such as Muggle Studies had been modernized. The other major change was that Severus Snape was no longer in residence, terrorizing Gryffindors and teaching potions rather poorly.
Not twenty-four hours after the Dark Lord's defeat, Snape had shown up in Dumbledore's office and informed him that as Voldemort had been defeated, his vows had been satisfied. After a brief discussion with Dumbledore, he had left Hogwarts never to return. In fact, he was never seen in Britain again, and though Harry did not know what had become of him, he assumed that Snape had found a home elsewhere in the world, and he become somewhat content. Though the man's actions had ultimately led to the death of Lily and James Potter, Harry recognized that Snape could not have known what events he was setting in motion when he told Voldemort of the prophecy, and he was able to wish the man contentment in his life, though he conversely never wished to lay eyes on him again.
And as for Dumbledore, though he was now more than one hundred and thirty years of age, he was still hale, though certainly not as mobile as he once was. Dumbledore had resigned from Hogwarts after Harry had graduated, making way for Professor McGonagall to take over as Headmistress. He had then gained an introduction from Remus to the Society in Egypt, and had joined, happily immersing himself in the protection and studying of ancient magics in an effort to design counters for some of the worst. Such was his fame, that the society had immediately offered to make him their leader, but Dumbledore, having served as Headmaster and a leader in British Wizarding society for many years, declined, stating that he wanted nothing more than to just research and study. Harry saw him a time or two every year, and though the ancient wizard was truly beginning to show his great age, Harry was certain he would continue to work for the good of all wizard-kind until he finally gave up the ghost.
As he was standing there watching his family, Harry noticed Jean-Sebastian break away from the group. His father-in-law approached and slapped him on the back, saying, "Well done, Harry. He's a beautiful child."
"That he is," Harry replied, looking at his son who was currently situated in Elizabeth Granger's arms. "I still can hardly believe that he's Fleur's son."
"You do realize that this is almost unprecedented?" Jean-Sebastian told him. "Not only do Veela rarely conceive after they turn thirty, but they very rarely give birth to boys."
"Yes, he's a miracle child indeed."
Turning, Harry eyed his father-in-law. Jean-Sebastian had retired from his position as Ambassador soon after Harry's graduation, and was now content to manage his family's fortune, play with his grandchildren, and join his sons-in-law in trying to make the world a better place. He was still a handsome man in his fifties, tall and intimidating at times, with a piercing gaze which belied his gentle demeanor and understated joy in life. Apolline, who had become as dear to him as his own mother, was still beautiful, even though she was as old as her husband.
But Harry had always known that in the back of Jean-Sebastian's mind there was a lingering regret. And Harry now had the ability to return the favor that his father-in-law had gave to him all those years ago.
"Have you given him a name yet?" Jean-Sebastian asked.
"Yes, we've decided to call him Jean-Paul."
Jean-Sebastian turned and smiled at Harry—Jean-Paul had been Jean-Sebastian's father's name, and Harry knew that Jean-Sebastian had always wanted to name a child after his father.
"Thank you, Harry," he said. "That means a lot to me."
"There's more," Harry said. Jean-Sebastian turned and eyed him with a quizzical expression. "His full name will be Jean-Paul Potter Delacour."
Shocked, Jean-Sebastian stared at Harry, clearly not knowing what to say.
"He's your heir, Jean-Sebastian. Fleur and I are in agreement—he will always be a Potter, but we wanted to make sure that your name continues on just as I have been given the chance to carry on my name. Thus, though we will raise him as a Potter, he will have your surname and when he marries his children will bear that name as well. This is our gift to you, a repayment of all you have done for us—for me!—since you entered my life."
Though the older man clearly did not know what to say, tears soon formed at the corner of his eyes and began to stream down his face. He grasped Harry in an unabashed and emotional bear hug. "Thank you, Harry. Thank you for all that you've done for Fleur and for my family. Clearly, I made the right choice to support you that day in the Ministry."
Harry smiled and assured him that it was his pleasure.
His life was complete and could not be better. For Harry, this was family. And nothing was more important.
1. So here we are at the end. I'm awed that I was actually stay with this monster for so long, and humbled at the response it received. I know that at times I have complained about anonymous reviewers, but for the most part the response has been amazingly positive. I thank you all for continuing to follow this.
2. It's been an incredible journey all the way through. I've completed three solo, what I would call major, works in three different universes—Heart and Soul in the Harry Potter universe, Take My Hand in the Star Wars universe, and Acting on Faith in Pride and Prejudice. This one is the longest by far, though to be honest, I think that the other two are better written, tighter stories, though Heart and Soul has gotten a ton more attention. Of course, the length may have had something to do with that...
3. So one of the things that's come up frequently in the reviews, is the question of what I'm going to do in the future. As most readers will be aware, I'm working on a writing career, which I hope will eventually become my primary occupation. (For those of you who don't know, I loathe my job and despise the corporation I work for.) I started with a Pride and Prejudice publication, and I have a couple more which will be published soon, but that's not the extent of my aspirations. My first love always was fantasy fiction, and to that end I am co-authoring a fantasy novel, which will hopefully be complete by some time this spring or summer, and have several other projects either ongoing or waiting in the wings. We will be trying to sell our first attempt to a publisher, so I have no idea when it will be available. If not it will eventually be self published, so it will be available at some point.
The point of this is that in order to focus more fully on publishable works, I'm pretty much leaving fanfiction behind altogether. It's been a fun run and I've learned a lot, but I think I'm ready to take the next step. I do have an unfinished work in progress which deals with Harry and Hermione after Ron leaves them in the tent. I could post what I have of that if there is enough interest, but I will warn you in advance that it will likely never be completed, so if you ask for it to be posted, keep that in mind.
4. I also still intend to finish the clean up of the entire story I started some time ago. Texan Muggle has been a great help with that, going through all the previous chapters I sent him. Once this is posted, I'll go back to where I left off (about chapter 35 or so) and continue on with that. My ultimate intention is to leave this story on the site with no author's notes or anything else left, and with all errors I can find cleaned up. This will likely still take me some months to do. I've had several requests, so when it's complete, I'll post a final announcement in the form of a chapter, and after that, anyone who wants to archive the final version can do so.
5. And last, I'll leave one more plug here. If anyone is interested in hearing about my future endeavors, getting some helpful hints and tips about writing, or just reading a few (hopefully) interesting discussions about various subjects, please check out my new blog, which I'm running in conjunction with Deja Vu, who has become my co-author and partner in crime. Our blog can be found at rowlandandeye dot com. We'd love for you to come and check us out!