Harry Potter and the Heartlands of Time
Epilogue – Watch Ended
How did it get so late so soon?
Fleur and I were married under an azure sky, fields of golden barley stretching toward the horizon, a soft wind blowing with a hint of promise—
Ha. No. No, no.
Of course we weren't.
We eloped to Vegas and got married in the Little Elvis Chapel just off the main drag. She heavily pregnant, me only just healing from a thousand years of time magic catching up to me all at once. I leaned on my cane, and afterward we drank champagne on ice, breaking my sobriety. The dodgy fellow behind the front desk offered us a party favour, but I'd done my time as a wildman, and had no desire to take one step closer to dying on the toilet.
We wandered, after the wedding, here and there, and not long after Fleur gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
We ignored the world, the repercussions of Voldemort's fall and the Muggle world awakening to the fact of the magical one. Atlantis had a part to play there, I was sure, and Dumbledore—with what time he had left. The world would change, but I'd seen it end in fire enough times to know that it could weather the storm.
Indeed, compared to what I'd died through, this was a mere light drizzle. Fleur and I chose to live in seclusion.
And time… limped on.
You know what's coming, right?
We settled for a time in the Somerset countryside, wanting for nothing and nobody, but Fleur grew restless and sensed in me a fear of the life ahead. I had done the impossible, defeated Voldemort after a millennium of trying, but I was still… well, insane. Still mad. And the prospect of holding that together for the rest of my life…
Fleur asked me to move out. The memories in her head, memories that had torn Voldemort apart, could not be reconciled in a world where I had no purpose. She took our son and headed home to France, sparing me a kiss on the cheek and a hug to hold myself together.
I began mopping up Death Eaters, for lack of anything better to do. I checked in on my friends infrequently, and grew distant from their lives. I felt no real sorrow for that—for so long they had been tools to me, scarcely remembered, and I was as foreign to them as a stranger that spoke a language not just ancient, but alien.
How do you unwind after one thousand years of single-minded resolve? In a sad, pitiful way I felt like I'd lost.
You're past the halfway point now, but there's a whole lot left for you to do…
Maybe I just didn't want to face the truth. A truth I'd known ever since Chronos had first appeared to me in this last life, ever since Saturnia had stabbed me in the side in that distant hotel… what felt like ten years ago now.
All of it—all the challenges, the magic, the path to Atlantis… Every stepping stone that had led me from my first life to the end of this one. Well, there was a method in the madness, wasn't there? Almost a blueprint, if one could read between the lines.
I still had work to do.
There is reward at the end of your journey, Harry. Though the road is long, longer still, you will see rest. And you will have won.
Fleur and I reconciled some years later, though it took a great deal of sacrifice on my part. I had gone into proper seclusion, hermit-in-a-cave seclusion, a time to reflect and to make sure that I had my head on straight… I did my best to compartment away as many hundreds of years of memories as I could, bind them under lock and key in my mind, until I needed them again.
I came to a rough sort of compromise with my own mind. The memories faded, gone but not forgotten, until they would be needed again. In a way, I came back to myself.
When the date struck eight years since my last reset, I celebrated with my family and friends, a small affair, at Hogwarts. I had lived one day longer, seen the calendar change to a day I'd never known. Almost, not quite, but almost… I felt a moment of happiness.
Fleur was buried on her family's estate—our estate, these last fifty years—some one hundred and twenty years after our son was born. I was an old man, in body as well as mind, once more forced to use a cane, and my family was large—larger than I had ever envisioned. Only in my cruelest dreams during the time spent in the loop had I ever hoped to live this long, this well, but that time was at an end.
My granddaughter was in attendance, golden-haired Lily, a woman that would travel back in time on her own, and around her neck hung a family heirloom—a simple cerulean blue gemstone on a silver chain. She had given that to me in the past, though she didn't know it yet, and Lady Time, Fae, had imbued it with Voldemort's last regret.
After everything, after all my friends and loves were buried, I still survived. The world had changed beyond my reckoning, and it was on a crisp winter's day, in the shadow of Hogwarts castle, when I stopped fighting… and let the memories I'd spent years burying out of their prisons.
A thousand years, long suppressed, flooded my mind, and I began the journey back. The long journey back. I took a name I remembered, a name I hadn't thought of in a century or more.
I took a second face for my second name, much like ancient Janus who had built the pathways through Fae and Forget to Lost Atlantis. Janus…the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages… and endings.
I had a feeling we were going to become more than familiar in passing, Janus and me.
With the memories came the madness. It would be some thousands of years before I returned to myself, but the cost of sin was always sin.
And we knew how to deal with that 'round these parts.
Whisky, cigarettes, waistcoats.
You did so well, my boy.
The End of Heartlands of Time
A/N: Well, there you have it. Harry is both Chronos and when he finally makes it back to Atlantis – to Tessa, and what will become Saturnia, he becomes the Great Atlantean Janus, and begins laying the foundations for all the mess that he goes through in Wastelands and this story.
Thank you for reading these stories—I know they didn't always make sense, and took far too long in the telling, but for what's it worth the tale is done. You'll have to forgive me a few loose ends, this has taken me a decade.
All my best,