A/N: Hah. I was going to wait a few days to publish this chapter, but if I have something written, I can't resist publishing it.
I've been working on this project for just over two years, now, and it's been a huge part of my life for those two years. This fic is now almost as long as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I started it on a college-scouting roadtrip with my family from Seattle to San Francisco in 2009—I think I started it somewhere around Portland. I thought was going to be something like 50k words- Now I'm finishing it on a family road trip to the Southwest, and I'm publishing this somewhere around Zion Canyon. This fic has kept me sane through my senior year of high school, the rough parts of my freshman year of college, and three painful family vacations—I have discovered that I write best when I'm miserable, so sorry about that section between about…chapter 45 and 60 where I was only publishing once a month and the plot got super slow. (Matt told me something to the effect of, "Break up with that boyfriend of yours, move to Wyoming, wait until you're terribly lonely, and then write. We'll have none of this 'I'm so happy in college.' It's been terrible for your writing."). Anyway, technically I could write two sequels to this, but I need to move on with my life to some original writing. I've got about three novels all planned out and I haven't been able to start any of them, and now I will.
But! Stay tuned—I may occasionally put up oneshot short stories that take place between the end of Shiny and Blue and the epilogue. They will be tacked on the end of this fic as new chapters (starting with 73).
Anyway, I've loved seeing all of your reviews, and making all of the friends I have through this community. I hope you enjoy this epilogue, and I will now officially be answering any direct questions you ask in reviews (and if I don't answer them, it's probably because I've thought it's a great question and am making a short story about it or something).
And just so you know, this is where I always planned to end Shiny and Blue. I'm not ending it because I have other things to do or don't have time or something; I'm ending it because it's done.
For now, please enjoy the end of Shiny and Blue.
It was a clear night on the Second of May in 1998, and an Unspeakable was sneaking back into work. "Unspeakables," of course were the names given to those who worked in the Department of Mysteries. Nobody really knew if it was a job title or a nickname, and the Unspeakables themselves never clarified it. In fact, they weren't allowed to talk about work at all, except to other Unspeakables.
Because of this rule, sneaking back into work was a very dangerous thing to do for an Unspeakable. Lord Voldemort had seized complete control of the Ministry of Magic and there were orders to kill anyone found there after hours without a satisfactory explanation, and an Unspeakable could provide no explanation whatsoever.
Little did this Unspeakable know, he was not any in danger of Voldemort at all. He didn't know this, of course, but at that very moment, Voldemort and all of his followers were in the Forbidden Forest of Hogwarts, and Harry Potter would kill the Dark Lord before the sun rose.
This particular Unspeakable was named Bob Roberts. His friends called him Bob-Bob, but at work he was Unspeakable Bob. He was thirty two and a half, blond, and he was going back to the Department of Mysteries that night to finish some paperwork about time turners. The famous Harry Potter and his friends had smashed all of the time turners two years ago, and when Unspeakable Bob got a new work partner a year later, the two of them started rebuilding the collection. Recently, he and his partner Mr. Fox had been working on a new line of time turners. These ones could take you back years—but nobody had tested it yet and nobody ever would if he didn't finish his grant request paperwork in time.
He and his partner had been lucky. They had a wealthy, unnamed benefactor who gave them as much money they needed for their project, plus the frequent bonuses that were big enough to buy Unspeakable Bob, his wife, and their two-year-old daughter a new house. It was turning into a dream job.
So Unspeakable Bob snuck into the Ministry of Magic and made his way as quietly as possible to his office, which was on the same floor as the Department of Mysteries, but not inside the spinning room with the thirt—twelve doors.
He unlocked his door and snuck into his office, smiling to himself when he got inside safely. He sat down and took out the grant request and a quill. He was a quarter the way down the form on the front page when he heard a whooshing and a thud in the hallway.
Bob froze, and he strained his ears to hear through the blood rushing in his head. If he was caught…
Whoever was in the hall was walking, limping, dragging himself.
Bob sorely regretted not locking his door as the noise drew nearer, but then there was another whooshing noise and the shuffling stopped and then there was a voice.
"Shit. Will you just give it up, please? He's going to be fine."
It was his partner, Mr. Fox!
Mr. Fox was a strange man. He was a clean-shaven older man with a great thick matt of salt and pepper hair that stuck up in all directions, and startling green eyes behind round glasses. Despite looking like he was maybe sixty, he spoke with the same slang as the seventeen year olds and walked with as much energy and spring as a twenty-year-old marathon runner.
Working with Mr. Fox was very interesting; he seemed to know everything, but he was interested in the strangest things. For example, he spent his first week in the Department asking questions about the spinning room, of all things. Why were there twelve doors? Did they ever add any? How was it made? The spinning room was probably the least interesting thing in the entire Department, though Unspeakable Bob.
But Mr. Fox certainly got his work done, and more. Bob had never actually seen Mr. Fox do any magic, but the work the old man accomplished when Bob wasn't there was impressive and copious.
Mr. Fox didn't talk much, and Unspeakable Bob had never gotten him to come out for a pint after work or anything. The man gave off vibes of someone who was always thinking of something else—something sad, and recently, his health had been declining. Ever since the beginning of March, Mr. Fox had looked paler and paler.
And though it was obvious right now that Mr. Fox though he was speaking to somebody out in the hallway, there was no response. Unspeakable Bob had become concerned recently that Mr. Fox's mind was going; he had started to catch the old man muttering to himself.
He must have sleep-walked here, thought Unspeakable Bob. I should get him home before we're both killed.
Unspeakable Bob stood up and went to the door. He cracked the door open just an inch and peered out.
Mr. Fox was outside his door, and he looked awful. His normally fluffy gray hair was matted and stuck to his face with sweat. His sparkling green eyes were circled with sunken dark skin; he looked like he could be eighty, and sick, at that. He was hunched over, carrying a bag that looked much too heavy for him. Unspeakable Bob was about to open the door all the way and offer to help carry the bag when Mr. Fox spoke again.
"Archimedes, don't make me do this. I respect you and what you're trying to do, but—"
He broke off coughing, hacking, wheezing so much he almost collapsed.
Unspeakable Bob looked out where Mr. Fox's imaginary conversation partner was and—
There was a giant, coal black bird with at least a six food wingspan hovering in the middle of the hall. Black flames licked the air around him like he was at the edge of some demonic portal.
And he looked pissed.
He snapped his beak, and beat his wings, and probably could have shot fire out of his mean, rolling eyes.
Mr. Fox's face hardened into a look of determination. He looked to summon all of the strength he had left, and ran at the bird, dove, and tackled it square on. But before ether of them hit the floor, they vanished in a whirl of orange flame.
For a few seconds, the only sound was Unspeakable Bob's racing heart, but then the air in front of the office burst into flames again, and Mr. Fox was there when the flames subsided. The bird seemed to have gone, so Unspeakable Bob took the opportunity to burst through the door and—
"Mr. Fox! Are you alright? What was that bird? You were on fire! What happened? What are you doing here?"
"Bob!—You shouldn't be here. Go home—" He acted like he was trying to sound angry and stern, but he broke down into a coughing fit that ruined the effect.
"Let me get that bag for you," said Bob.
"No!" He coughed again and started hauling himself down the hall towards the spinning room. "No, thank you. If you knew how difficult it was for me to get some of the stuff in here, you would understand why I don't want to let go of it."
"You should be resting, Sir. I don't think you're well."
Mr. Fox actually laughed. "I will be quite well very soon, thank you. You should go home."
"But, Sir, I'm here to finish the grant paperwork."
"The paperwork? We won't need a grant. The turner works. Get your pay. It's in your drawer, and then go home to your family." Unspeakable Bob would later discover, in that drawer, a key to a small vault with enough money to support him and his family for the rest of his life.
"What? But I can't leave you here, Mr. Fox."
Mr. Fox sighed. "I suppose you might be useful. You may stay on one condition."
Unspeakable Bob doubted that Mr. Fox was in any position to enforce this condition and he was a little insulted by being called "useful," but he nodded anyway.
"You must do everything I say. If I tell you to hide, you will do so. If I tell you to flee, you will obey. If I tell you to leave me and save yourself, you will do as I tell you?"
Unspeakable Bob nodded. "Fine."
"Good. Please open that door." He gestured with a hand to the door of the spinning room, and by the way he pointed, his arm looked like it weighed a thousand pounds.
Bob hurried to the door and opened it for Mr. Fox. The moment both of them were inside, the room started spinning. Mr. Fox doubled over like he was going to be sick. When the room stopped spinning, he reached into his bag, pulled out a small square pad of smooth yellow paper, and threw it to Bob.
"Open a door, and if I say so, put a sticky-note on it and then close it."
Bob assumed that a sticky-note was one of the pieces of paper in the stack he held in his hand. He opened the door in front of him. It was the Chamber of the Dias.
"Ok. Put a sticky note."
Bob pulled off a sticky note and put it on the door.
"Good. Close the door, please."
Bob closed the door and the room began to spin again, but this time, there was a slight blur of yellow in the blue light.
They repeated this process twice more, and on the third door, they found the Time Room where both of them worked.
"Hold the door open, please."
Mr. Fox shuffled into the Time Room and over to his desk. Bob tried to see what he was doing, but he had turned his back. He seemed to be tucking something else into his bag. Later he would find out that Mr. Fox had stolen their project, the giant time turner.
He shuffled back out again. "Sticky note, please."
Bob put a sticky note on the door and closed it again.
The room spun for a moment or two, and Mr. Fox looked more and more like he could keel over and die.
"Now," said Mr. Fox, straitening up as best he could. "I want you to count the doors for me, please."
"Um…There are twelve," frowned Bob. Everybody knew that.
"No…Count them. Point to each door and count off."
Feeling a little silly, Unspeakable Bob pointed to the first door. "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, um…er." He stopped for a moment, somehow losing track, and then started again. "… Nine—"
"You can stop, thanks."
Unspeakable Bob was thoroughly confused. Clearly Mr. Fox had lost his mind. Bob was about to take matters into his own hands, forcing Mr. Fox to come with him to St. Mungo's, when the air in front of them burst into black flames, and from within the black flames appeared a bird—the same black bird from earlier.
"Damnit. Archimedes, I need him. He'll be fine. Bob, have you ever cast an Unforgivable?"
"W-what? No! Of course not."
"I need you to cast Avada Kedavera at him. Can you do that?"
"He's a phoenix. He'll come back to life in a bit. It'll be fine."
Mr. Fox groaned in frustration. "It's him or us! If it makes you feel better, cast reducto or something! Do it now!"
But the bird dove at Mr. Fox—more specifically at the bag he carried. Before Bob could even lift his wand, it was over. Mr. Fox, with reflexes beyond what Bob thought the old man was capable of, let alone what humans were capable of, had grabbed the long neck of the black phoenix and snapped it. The bird burst into flames and fell in ashes to the floor.
"He'll be up in a while. You need to be gone when he gets better."
"But he's dead!"
"Read some damn phoenix lore, boy! Now, I suppose it's good you're here. I need you to take this."
Mr. Fox reached into his bag once again and pulled out a package. On it was a note. All it said was, "Use it well."
"I need you to give this to Harry Potter's oldest son, James on February 28th in the year 2019. Can you do that?"
"Harry Potter doesn't have a—"
"He will, and he'll name him James. Just…do it."
"And maybe take the baby bird in that pile of ashes outside and put it somewhere nice. That way Archimedes won't try to kill you and your family for associating with me."
"Er…I suppose I should…It's been er…lovely working with you. I'm sure you'll be fine. And if anybody asks about me, you don't have to say you know anything."
"But, Mr. Fox!"
"Oh—and enjoy the festivities tomorrow. Bye!" Mr. Fox actually grinned, and for just a moment, his sickly pale cheeks, sunken eyes, and sheen of sweat didn't look bad at all.
Mr. Fox darted across the room and opened a door...no...vanished into thin air, because there was no…
Bob shook himself. This really was the department of mysteries. He poked through the ashes on the floor and found a little ugly black bird. He gingerly scooped it up, and brought it outside the Ministry. He walked back to Ministry entrance, quite worried about lots of different things, until he was completely distracted by a very short wizard in a top hat hugging him around the middle.
"Rejoice! You-Know-Who's dead!"
Harry sighed in relief, knowing that nothing could penetrate that room—nothing except one very special bowling ball.
The room was not large; it had two doors, was full of shelves, and a strange assortment of objects. He began fishing around in the sack and pulled out several items. First was a large, red egg—his long-sought prize. That was the item he had spent the last decade searching for, and he had almost found it too late. He set the egg down gently, and reached back into the bag.
He pulled out a giant time turner, the one he'd helped Bob Roberts create, and put it on a shelf.
The third object he pulled out was about the size of two fists wrapped in cloth. He crossed the room to the second door, and pulled up a chair in front of it. With no small difficulty, he heaved himself up to stand on the chair, and lifted the item in his hands high above his head to where there was a shelf above the door.
When he pulled the cloth away, a shining blue crystal was left. It had grown from the size of a thumb to the size of two fists over the past forty years, and would grow large enough in the next twenty years to kill a man, if it happened to fall on one.
He sighed. He loved that shade of blue…
And on that thought, he drifted away, fading into nothing.
When he woke up, he seemed to be lying on a cloud. He wasn't wearing anything, but that didn't seem to be a problem. He stood up and looked around.
It was so familiar…and as he remembered it, arches began to form, benches, platforms.
And then somebody called out from behind him through the fading fog, and he turned around.
And there was Albus. Before either of them knew it, they were embracing. "I waited here for you," Albus breathed into Harry's neck. "And to my delight, little seventeen year-old Harry Potter came and visited me before you did, just like you said he would."
Harry smiled. "Thank you for waiting. I missed you."
"And I missed you. Did it all work?"
"I found Fawkes, yeah, and I can tell there's only six sevenths of me here right now. The last piece is still in Hogwarts. I think the bit of phoenix in me will keep it alive even if little Harry is Master of Death now…And Minerva said she'd put the Lighting Broom in the Department as soon as it's released. She said 'yes, but this is the last bloody broom I'm buying for you, Crockett. That Nimbus 2000 nearly cleaned out my vault.' Imagine her face the next time she visits her vault and sees how much gold I sent…"
Albus chuckled. "She will make a good headmistress."
"Yes she will. I'll miss her."
They took a moment to look into each other's eyes, and Harry realized how long a year without Albus had really been.
A whistle blew in the distance.
"So, where do we go now?" Harry asked.
"Well," said Albus "Have you your ticket, Mr. Potter?"
Harry laughed. The two of them clasped hands, grinned at each other, and went to board the train to the next great adventure.
A/N: Thank you so much for reading Shiny and Blue! It's been great writing it! Please let me know what you thought. Yay.