A/N: I'll open by saying 'No, I'm not dead' and 'sorry this took me so long!' I won't bother to explain why it took me forever to finally finish this, but I do hope you all enjoy reading this final part. I have tried my best to at least answer everything I felt important but know that I have decided to leave a few things open-ended. Anyway, here it is :D
Part 34: Epilogue
The day Harry Potter had died had finally arrived. It was a long time in coming but Severus had decided, if he were to ever reveal the truth to anyone, it would be on this day when it had all been undone. And so, Severus allowed himself to reminisce as he waited for his visitor. . . .
The days following Voldemort's demise had been chaotic and surreal, and for Severus it was even more so. The instant Voldemort's end had finally and irreparably come, Severus' dark mark had vanished in a brief flash of pain, but the wave of shocked relief was quickly replaced with trepidation and worry.
What exactly had happened? Had anyone died in bringing Voldemort down? Was everyone he knew alright?
The answers came that very hour from Madam Bones and through Dumbledore's pensieve in his office.
Yaxley, one of the two remaining loyal Death Eaters at the time, had infiltrated Ministry security and adjusted the wards around the Minister's office. The spell on Fudge made this very easy, allowing Yaxley's manipulations to appear as false alarms that Fudge had allegedly caused until the wards had been shaped to Voldemort's specifications. Looking back, Bones wanted to kick herself.
As for Voldemort's end, Nicholas had kindly provided his memory of the event. Viewed by Madam Bones, a handful of Order members and a few professors, the memory left them all stunned and utterly amazed.
"How is this possible, Albus?" Minerva asked breathlessly as they stared down at the corpse of Voldemort — the memory frozen in that moment. "That Rite . . . Potter shouldn't. . . . How?"
"I believe Harry has his magic block to thank," Dumbledore whispered. "When he took the Cruciatus meant for Nicholas, it fulfilled the Rite's willing sacrifice condition. When this happened, the magic needed to activate the protection was sought and found when Voldemort attempted to kill Nicholas. However, instead of using all of Harry's magic like it normally would have — taking his life as a result — it struck his block. This halted the drain and saved Harry's life, as well as his magic behind the block."
"'His magic behind the block'? So does that mean his magic that had been in front of the block . . . ?" Madam Bones began.
"Is gone," Dumbledore supplied.
"I daresay the loss of all of his magic would have been worth this," Moody grunted, eyeing the pathetic, shriveled form at his feet.
Severus pulled himself back from the memory, not caring to recall how Sirius had practically leapt down Mad-eye's throat at his words, not apprechiating the old auror's callousness.
As much as Severus would have preferred Harry to have come out of the war totally unscathed, he also knew that the Harry of his future, as well as the present, would have agreed with Moody. Both of them — future Harry and current Harry — had been willing to do whatever was necessary to end Voldemort, and both of them had done it.
The total sacrifice of the first had enabled the willing sacrifice of the second to occur and succeed, providing a far brighter future than Severus had imagined and could ever have hoped for.
Severus closed his eyes, once again counting all of the blessings and fortunate happenings at and after the demise of the Dark Lord.
All of Voldemort's followers had either turned traitor or been killed and those who had turned soon received amnesty from the Ministry — though Severus questioned the wisdom of that action. Severus didn't want Lucius or the others kissed of course, but they had still done things that they should have answered for. However, he supposed, some would argue it was best in this instance to just let things go and look to the future.
The Malfoys and other families of former Death Eaters rose up in society. Where the end of the first war had left them under the scrutiny of many Light families and mistrusted by those with half a brain, they were now greatly respected and, by some, practically revered. Under different circumstances this would have horrified Severus, but his relationship with them, as well as their sons' interactions with Harry, put him at ease. It didn't mean he wouldn't forever keep an eye on them however — whether or not he actually felt it was still necessary.
The world was different, or at least the Wizarding World. The Ministry had shed some of its bigotry and had gained some common sense, as hard as that is to believe. Oddly enough, much of it was because of Lucius Malfoy. Who knew the man could actually do some good if he wasn't focusing so much on gaining power? Though, Severus was sure, the blond's productive redirection was due to his family's debt to Harry who, for the past few years, had taken a firm stance against corruption.
Severus couldn't help but marvel at Harry's impact on the Wizarding World, even now. Ever since Harry had reentered it people gravitated to his side, eager to support and help him in any way they could. Mr. Lee, the representative from Vietnam and former werewolf, kept his promise and provided support and information whenever he could. Aage Brown, the representative from Ethiopia, helped him with any international medical studies and Mr. Walter McCaffrey, the first adult werewolf cured, had become a successful businessman and provided funds and industrial support for Harry's projects and programs. As time went on, more and more people gave their support and Severus was sure the list of names could now fill at least a few dozen feet of parchment.
Once Harry had regained enough magical control to use his parcelmagic again — as the Rite had completely shattered his block — he had returned to doing what he did best. Healing. And so, before he graduated from Hogwarts and even before he started his apprenticeship under Dumbledore in his fourth year, Harry had stepped out and continued from where his appearance at the International Confederation of Wizards had left off. He started out small, ironically doing what the letter from Fudge had suggested he do with St Mungos, but it didn't take long before it had branched beyond Britain.
But before that, Harry had had to adjust to how the world now viewed him.
Unsurprisingly, the news of the Dark Lord's demise spread quickly, including, despite Bones' efforts, Harry's part in it.
It was like Halloween, 1981, all over again — only ten times worse.
Obliviators had their hands full for weeks, but that was the least of it.
Harry was no longer simply known as 'the-boy-who-lived', but also 'the-child-of-life' and 'the-life-keeper', among others. Severus had to admit though, one was quite amusing (thanks to Dumbledore pointing it out), and even Harry found it rather hilarious.
Despite his wish that the Wizarding World would stop thinking up these ridiculous titles to call Harry, he had to admit he liked this one. Severus wondered what they would say if they knew about the sweet. Would they apologize for calling him a tiny, edible lifebuoy?
Severus shook himself, just as he heard a knock at his door.
With a small smile he snapped his fingers, signaling to his house elf, Mittens, to get the living room ready while he went to answer the front door.
Most would think he'd be nervous now that this moment had come, but all he was feeling was the anticipation of a huge weight being lifted from him. He had kept this secret for a long time and he had been ready to share it for nearly just as long, but now was finally the time.
He opened the door.
Harry walked up the quiet stone path with, as always, Coral around his wrist.
She was undeniably a veteran at assisting Harry in Healing now, and (if others could understand her) was as knowledgable as any good medi-witch. She was adored by all the workers at St. Mungos and shamelessly enjoyed their praises (to which Harry ruthlessly teased her for).
The last few years had been exceptionally good to him, and, being 19 years old, he was looking forward to truly building it with someone.
Harry smiled softly, his thoughts going to his delightful (albeit oddball) girlfriend, Luna Lovegood.
She had just started an apprenticeship with someone rumored to be a former Unspeakable (who could neither confirm nor deny the allegation), and she was hoping to make strides in the field of selfless magic to use in a new field: Sustained Healing. After learning about organ donors in the muggle world, Luna was confident they could take that amazing gift a step further. The possibilities were astounding and Harry felt nothing but pride for her and the progress she was making; however, he hoped she would be willing to take a different step soon, with him.
Harry's plan was to ask the big question soon, perhaps in the coming month if he got up the courage.
He was already envisioning their life together, and it was glorious. . . .
He and Luna cooking dinner while watching their two or three children happily playing in the backyard with Dobby and Coral.
Harry shook himself as the front porch came into view.
Dobby was doing well, still proudly wearing his uniform and serving Harry with as much gusto as ever in the new home Harry had acquired about a year before.
Although the Flamels were willing to have Harry continue living with them, as their property was more than big enough, Harry felt it time to step out on his own at the arguably young age of 18. With his healing work he could easily support himself and had long ago become indepentant; besides, his desire to impress Luna was more than enough to cause him to focus on making a life after Hogwarts.
Now nineteen, Harry was the Head of Healing at the Center of World Health (CWH), an organization the ICW had created soon after he had finished his medi-wizard training at St. Mungos (which occurred at the tender age of 15 while apprenticing under Dumbledore). Understanding the need for international cooperation to discover cures and treatments for muggle and magical illnesses, conditions, and injuries, the CWH was born and given to the care of Harry who had proven that the incurable was not so incurable after all.
After the death of Voldemort, Harry's learning really took flight, partly due to being able to take electives, which were Ancient Runes and Care of Magical Creatures (not to mention no longer needing to worry about war and death). He had been tempted to take Arithmancy instead of Care of Magical Creatures, but Nicholas had said he'd be more than happy to teach it to him over the summers alongside Alchemy, which he ended up doing.
As for Hogwarts and her professors, things continued as they always had, save for a few things of note. Madam Pomfrey now offered an introductory medi-witch/wizard course on the weekends and Professor Lupin (with the help of Professor Flitwick) started up a Wizard Duel Tournament that they organized once a term.
Harry smiled to himself, thinking of the former werewolf and his parents' other old friends.
Remus Lupin had become a surrogate uncle to him soon after he had started his third year at Hogwarts, despite Lupin also being one of his professors. Somehow, it just worked. Sirius Black, however, took a bit longer to build a relationship with, and he never truly fit into the same 'uncle'/mentor category Lupin had risen to. In some ways, it was better this way (to Harry at least), but the sad fact of the matter was that Sirius would never be the father figure he wished he could have become. That is not to say Harry never saw him or didn't become part of his life; on the contrary, he visited quite often during the summers.
At first, Harry wasn't sure about what he should do, but after some prompting from the Flamels, Harry agreed to visit Sirius. He didn't regret it. Sirius became the fun uncle, and though Harry never grew into a prankster, he quickly fell in love with flying and Quidditch thanks to him. This, big surprise, led to Harry joining Hufflepuff's quidditch team in his fourth year and becoming captain in his sixth. What was a surprise was when Neville Longbottom tried out and quickly became Hufflepuff's new keeper.
Harry still vividly remembered Neville's first game. His parents had been able to make it and watched proudly from the stands. Neville had been so nervous that when they took to the skies he left the ground like a first year before he managed to calm his nerves enough to prove why he had become Hufflepuff's new keeper—which was saying something, as they were against Gryffindor and Ronald Weasley (the 'King') was their keeper.
Alice and Frank (Frank especially) loved watching their son play and as time went on they were able to do what all other parents often take for granted, such as looking at marks to giving permission to visit a friends' house. Although late, they were able to experience what they had missed out on for so long—being Neville's mum and dad.
And now, they were looking forward to becoming grandparents.
Neville and Hermione Granger fell in love not long before graduation and married soon after. They were now expecting and, thanks to a muggle invention called an ultrasound machine, knew their child was a boy. Names were still up in the air, but they still had a few months before they had to really decide.
With a happy sigh, Harry stepped onto the porch, stopped in front of the door and knocked.
Before too long, the door opened to reveal his favorite professor.
"Hello, Professor," Harry greeted.
"Hello, Mr. Potter, do come in," Severus said, stepping aside.
Harry entered and removed his simple cloak.
"Mittens will take that for Great-Sir!" Mittens said, eagerly relieving Harry of the garment.
Harry barely managed to hold back a sigh. Severus gave him a sympathetic look.
"I've tried," Severus said softly as Mittens hurried off.
"I have too," Harry returned. "Maybe someday. Thank Merlin for Dobby. He's the only one who doesn't get all—" Harry lifted his hand and wiggled his fingers, expressing what words could not.
"I understand," Severus said with a hidden smile, before glancing at the pensieve on the table in the other room.
"Are you alright, Professor? You seem distracted," Harry said after a moment, seeing as Severus had yet to move.
Severus didn't answer; instead, he motioned for Harry to follow him and led them into the living room where Mittens had set a rather luxorious snack tray. But Harry's eyes were not on the perfectly arranged food, but on the pensieve placed out in the open.
"What's going on?" Harry asked, not sure if he should be concerned.
"I have something to show you. It is a secret I no longer need to keep, at least from you," he said, giving a nod to the pensieve.
The direction was clear, so Harry didn't hesitate as he stepped to the table, trusting his confusion and concern would soon be lifted by explanation.
"I'll wait here," Severus added, before Harry dived into the memory. . . .
Immediately, Harry knew this was not a normal memory. First off, he was in it, but . . . it was not him.
His doppleganger appeared to be about the age he was now, but he wasn't as tall as he was, nor was he as well dressed. In fact, his clothes were in shambles and his health wasn't far behind.
As his double knelt down beside a circle of blood drawn runes, Harry quickly looked around to find the place was completely unfamiliar to him and utterly dilapidated; however, a figure standing in a doorway was recognizable.
"Professor?" Harry whispered in question, mostly to himself.
Memory-Snape of course did not acknowledge him but looked to the kneeling Harry.
"Is it ready?" he asked.
Memory-Harry nodded. "Soon, all of this will be undone and you will be able to make everything right."
"Are you ready?"
"As ready as you are."
"I trust you, Severus," Harry said, stepping back and entering the network of runes drawn on the floor. "If anyone can do this, it's you."
"You have a great deal of confidence in me, Harry, more than I would have ever thought I would receive from you . . . or anyone. I will try not to disappoint, not that you will know if I fail."
"Dumbledore trusted you as much as I do," Harry pointed out. "And you won't fail. You're too stubborn."
"Stubbornness does not always lead to victory."
"Here it will. We are sending your soul back to the time before we began losing. If that's not the embodiment of stubbornness, the refusal to be defeated, I don't know what is."
"At the cost of your life. At the cost of you," Future-Severus reminded.
"I will live on, for I will not only be remembered by you, but will be shaped and changed by you. Whatever part of me is lost due to that is no sacrifice. My younger-self could not wish for a better watcher."
Future-Severus smiled softly, his eyes thick with so much emotion it was impossible to identify them, but there were no tears. "A potter, you mean."
Future-Harry stilled at that, but his eyes were content. "Perhaps."
Harry was utterly still, his mind taking all of it in as he began to piece everything together.
Severus was a time traveler.
He had been sent back by his future-self to prevent a terrible future, presumably caused by Lord Voldemort. What had the Professor changed? When exactly had he returned? Did anyone else know? Why was Severus revealing this now?
"Is there anything you want me to tell your younger-self?" Severus asked, pulling Harry's attention back to the man again.
Future-Harry straightened up, though he tilted his head slightly in thought as Harry waited with bated breath. After a moment, Future-Harry nodded to himself with a wicked grin. "I know, tell him I had said this: 'Severus needs a girlfriend. If he has not found someone by the time you turn 19, I implore you, my younger-self, remedy this.'"
"I shouldn't have asked," Severus deadpanned.
Future-Harry snickered, though he soon became serious once more as he said, "It's time."
Severus stepped forward, entering another circle on the floor.
Harry watched in amazement as his former-future-self opened up his hands to reveal intricate markings that went from his fingertips and up his wrists, only to vanish beneath his robes. Although his arms were covered in sleeves, the markings on them soon began to glow so brightly that they simply shined right through the cloth. After a few more seconds, the runes on his back and chest lit up just as brightly. And then the runes on the floor erupted, Severus standing in awe as magic surged forward, instantly encompassing his very being.
The air was so thick Harry was glad he was just an observer and not physically there. He could only imagine how it had actually felt.
Magic was now rippling so heavily the ground itself was wavering as Severus and Future-Harry locked eyes.
"To shape and change," Severus whispered in the last moment, just as Future-Harry began to crumple and all burst white.
And then the memory ended. But it was not over. There was one other thing Severus wanted Harry to see. . . .
He found himself standing by Severus, who was simply standing beside Slug & Jiggers Apothecary, but before Harry could wonder why, he saw them — Hagrid and his much younger-self, the day he had reentered the wizarding world.
Severus smoothly intercepted them. "Good morning, Hagrid."
"Hello, Perfessor," Hagrid said cheerfully. "Was just helpin' 'Arry 'ere ter get his school supplies."
"I see," Severus said. Harry couldn't help but note how his eyes warmly but swiftly glanced at his younger-self.
"Oh! Oh, sorry, 'Arry, this is Perfessor Snape. He's goin' ter be another one of yer perfessors. He's also Head of Slytherin House. Perfessor, this is 'Arry Potter."
His tiny-self promptly threw out his hand. "Hello, Professor Snape."
Harry could still remember how intimidated but eager to please he had been when he had taken Severus' hand, but only in this moment did he realize it had been more than a mere handshake.
It had been the beginning.
"Hello, Mr. Potter."
Harry was jarred out of the pensieve, but he recovered quickly.
Harry turned to find Severus waiting patiently at the far end of the couch. Without a word, he took the seat across from him. For a long time neither of them spoke, but then Harry cleared his throat.
"I guess it's lucky you have a girlfriend now."
"Fiancée," Severus corrected.
Harry smirked, though a question soon surfaced. "Does she know?"
He shook his head, "No, and I doubt she ever will. In fact, if I have it my way, no one else will ever learn of this."
Harry paused for a moment before continuing. "Was she in that future?"
"No, or at least, I had never met her."
"How much has changed?" Harry asked.
"More than I can say, but things today are vastly better than they had turned out originally."
"I can only imagine how the world had been with Voldemort winning."
"When we had decided to try time travel, he had already won months before . . . in Europe anyway."
Harry swallowed thickly at that, before glancing at the snack tray to gather his thoughts.
"Everyone had died, hadn't they?"
"Almost everyone, but that doesn't matter anymore. Things are different and Voldemort is now gone for good."
"Why are you telling me all of this now?" Harry asked, looking back at him.
"I felt it fitting to share my secret with you today as, in the old future, this was the day you sent me back."
Harry smiled, wondering how different he had become because of Snape — but he would not ask that now, for his former-self was right. He could not have wished for a better watcher, or potter. "And I believe it was the best thing I ever . . . had ever, er . . . once upon a time, did."
"Quite," Severus agreed, amused.
The Wizarding World would look back on Harry Potter and the time he lived as the years of mighty change. His friends, family, and mentors would be seen as heroic giants marching alongside and behind a selfless king. Suffice it to say, he was fondly remembered well beyond the following centuries.
Harry and Luna married a few months after he had learned of Severus' time travel. Harry kept Severus' secret, though strangely (or perhaps not so strangely) Luna hinted that she knew. Severus didn't seem to mind at all.
Soon after, though not immediately after, they had a daughter, Lilan, closely followed by a rather big surprise—triplets, two of whom were identical twin boys, Julian and Ramses. The third was another girl, Morissa. Lilan followed in her father's footsteps and became a magnificent healer, being named 'The Restorer', whereas the triplets stretched into a bit of everything, becoming 'the Three Masters'. They were all parselmouths.
Harry became known as 'The Mage of Life', while Luna became 'the Lady of Restoration', thanks to her work in sacrificial magic and organ donations.
Harry and Luna's best friends, Neville and Hermione, had a part in history as well, helping to shape the Center of World Health and assisting in many of Harry's projects. Neville focused in Alchemy and Herbology, while Hermione became the queen of research and invention, teaming up with Luna to meld imagination and logic to create unparalleled solutions. The two couples were often compared to the founders of Hogwarts, but the fruits of their labors went well beyond the bounds of a nation.
As for Harry's two other most well-known friends, they made their impacts on history as well.
After working his way up the ranks as an Auror, Gregory Goyle became the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. He became more renown than Mad-Eye Moody. He had two children, one who he named after Vincent.
Draco became Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot after holding many other political positions, including a Govenor of Hogwarts as his father had been. He had seven children, one named after his father and another after Severus Snape. He helped fund many of Harry's projects, as well as promote and share them with the Wizarding World.
Coral, wanting a family of her own, laid a nest with a handsome but stern serpent who insisted on sticking around well after the offspring had hatched—which was why Coral liked him to begin with. The Potters were happy to welcome more serpents into their home.
Dobby excitedly served the Potters for the rest of his life and was survived by a son and daughter-house elf had with a she-elf Luna rescued not long after marrying Harry. They were named Wiglet and Meebles.
In regard to Harry's mentors, though they did not shine as brightly in history, they were not forgotten either.
According to philosophers centuries in the future, the Flamels' most notable contribution to the world had been their care of Harry. They imparted something into Harry he had never been privileged with in his early years or in the original timeline. True parental love and guidance — to be loved unconditionally and disciplined appropriately. Along with Alchemy, Arithmancy and a load of other things, the Flamels had shown Harry how to be a good parent. Not a perfect one, as that is impossible, but a good one. With their model, Harry (with Luna) had gone on to raise four magnificent individuals who in turn continued his work, directly impacting the next five generations of the wizarding world. And so, a couple who had been unable to have children of their own had been able to leave an undying legacy anyway. The philosopher's stone paled in comparison.
Albus Dumbledore, the greatest Headmaster of Hogwarts in the 20th and 21st centuries, would be seen by historians as one of the most influential wizards in the second millennium. After Voldemort's death, he slowly but systematically relinquished the numerous positions he held, taking on a more advisory role as he helped establish procedures and official (and 'unofficial') codes of ethics that would help shape and vastly improve the way the wizarding society was governed. A decade later, and clearly no longer a single 'ray of light', Dumbledore was finally able to do what he had always dreamed of doing — fully step out of the limelight and partake in the finer things of life. Welcomed into the Potter family as a kind of honorary grandfather, he reveled in spoiling Harry's children and, around the same time, was thrilled to hold Severus' only son. And so, when his time finally came, after many more years, Dumbledore passed away in his sleep, ancient but content.
As for Severus Snape, the man who was responsible for all that had come to pass, he married a beautiful woman just a few years younger than himself not long before Harry married Luna. They only had one child and named him Theseus Harrison Snape. Severus never said so, but 'Harrison' was in honor of the Harry he had known and in thanks to the Harry he now knew.
The world would never know of the immense sacrifice Severus had given and witnessed. They would never know of the future they would have died or been enslaved in, but they did know he was the man who helped shape Harry into the man they all revered. They knew him as the Great Potions Master, the Brave Slytherin, and the Wise Headmaster — and for Severus that was more than enough. He didn't care or need to be remembered by the world. He had done what he had intended to do — to Shape and Change the future.
A/N: Well, it is done. Thanks so much for reading and to those who have reviewed. Your thoughts, fears, and honest critiques helped me and my muse a great deal. It has been a fun ride, and though I will miss writing for this story, I won't lie, it is also a relief that it is finally finished. Thanks again ^^