A Different Halloween
Now for the final chapter.
Barty couldn't help but gaze over the happy, smiling faces that filled the great hall, he really couldn't wait to be part of the Hogwarts family. The minister had in his possession items that should make some of those smiles even bigger. Minerva had contacted the parents of all those first year involved in today's incident, to ensure them their children were perfectly safe and invite them all along to dinner if they so wished. Thanks to all the quidditch visitors, Hogwarts was getting well used to dealing with guests. After first getting Minerva's permission, Barty made his way to the podium to address the entire hall.
"Good evening everyone, if I could please have your attention for just a few moments? I promise to keep this short and sweet. As the entire school now knows, Hogwarts had an unwelcome visitor earlier today. The former headmaster of this wonderful establishment made the mistake of thinking Hogwarts was still the same school from when he was in charge, a mistake that will see him locked up for the rest of his life."
This drew a loud cheer from everyone in the hall.
"I have been privileged to witness the changes that have slowly but surely returned Hogwarts once more to her rightful place, as the premier magical school in the world."
The cheering this time was louder and lasted longer.
"I can't think of any other magical school where a group of first years could take down the country's most wanted criminal, and it's those same group of first years I would like to honour tonight."
The cheering this time could have been heard in Hogsmead.
Minerva joined him at the podium and began calling her students out one at a time by house. When she got to both guests, the headmistress got another surprise. All the Slytherin prefects stood and asked to be heard.
"Headmistress, there can't be many people in the hall who would bet against Miss Lovegood joining her friends here in Slytherin after the sorting feast this September. Our house would like to offer an honouree membership to Mr Dudley Dursley, before Gryffindor House get around to thinking of it."
This drew a mixture of cheers and laughter at the good-natured jibe against the house of the lions. That Slytherin had just invited a muggle to join their ranks might have been a shock to the adults in the hall, the students found it rather easy to accept.
Minerva knew she had to play this calmly and by the book, even though her insides were doing the dashing white sergeant from joy at her students' casual acceptance of this momentous situation. "I have absolutely no objections, but the final say must rest with the Head of Slytherin and Mr Dursley."
Sirius was on his feet within seconds. "Do I want the full set in Slytherin? Hell yes!"
All eyes now shifted to Dudley for his answer, it wasn't a hard decision for him to make. "I would be honoured and delighted to accept membership of the best house in Hogwarts. Sorry Dad!"
Slytherin house was now on its feet and applauding their newest member, while the other three houses were laughing at the different reactions coming from the staff table. Sirius was still on his feet, applauding with the rest of his house, while James was sitting with his arms crossed and a pout on his face.
While his public demeanour played to Dudley's joke, inside James Potter was probably more delighted than Minerva. He had even more reasons to be. Just over a decade ago, he had made a promise to raise his two sons in a way that one of them being a wizard wouldn't ruin their relationship as they got older. One glance was all that was needed to see the tears of happiness slowly escaping from his wife's wonderfully expressive emerald eyes. Their boys truly were brothers, brothers that wouldn't suffer the fate of their respective mothers.
Barty was delighted that once more he was able to witness history being made. Like Minerva though, the Minister of Magic was happy to underplay the event. Neither wanted to draw attention to just how big a deal this actually was. That the youth of their society could come this far merely a decade after their parents were fighting a civil war over blood issues was astonishing, it also made him more determined than ever to work in the castle. He was really delighted though to be able to reward these children tonight, further enhancing the positive message Hogwarts was now pioneering and projecting to the rest of the country.
"When these brave young souls took a positive and pro-active response to today's intrusion, I'm sure that the prospect of rewards didn't even enter their minds. Nevertheless, there was rather a large price on Dumbledore's head."
This now had the entire hall hanging on Barty's every word. "The ministry were so delighted with the actions of these brave young people standing before us that they even increased that reward."
Barty knew he now had the entire hall eating out the palm of his hand, he let the silence drag on for a moment before revealing the good news. "The original reward was one hundred thousand galleons, but we didn't think that was enough. Each of the eighteen youngsters involved will receive a ministry bank draft for the sum of...Ten Thousand Galleons."
The cheering now rattled the rafters as the minister of magic shook each of the children's hand before handing them what was a small fortune.
They were soon joined by eighteen sets of very proud parents and guardians, Hermione made straight for her father. "Dad, I want to pay for the screen I destroyed."
"Hermione love, it was just a prototype that would eventually have been replaced. You don't have to..."
"Yes dad, I do. Let me pay for the new screen then? It would become Hogwarts property and stay here after the trial period ended."
PMP had always intended to gift a screen to the school for allowing them to test their system here but Dan could see this was something his daughter really wanted to do. Hermione had been ashamed of her behaviour that morning and this was her own personal way of atoning for it. "Okay, but you better believe there will be a large staff discount involved."
Lavender had been struck dumb with tonight's events but that could never last for long. Hearing Hermione talking to her father suddenly gave the bubbly Gryffindor an idea of what her first purchase should be from her new wealth. "Pav, this means we can buy those new communication mirrors. We'll be able to keep in touch during the holidays."
Dean on the other hand new exactly what he would like to spend some of this money on. "I'm keeping mine for when the lightsabers go on sale, that was just awesome Dudley."
This was met with total agreement from the rest of the students and led to a request from Barty. "I've heard about these toys but never actually seen one, would you mind?"
Dudley unclipped it from his belt and activated the now iconic toy.
Dean's dad couldn't help himself, he was a bit of a Star Wars geek that was almost salivating at the thought of having his own lightsaber. ""Excuse me for asking, but I thought Dudley here was non magical like me. Does this mean I could buy a lightsaber?"
James decided to put this issue to bed once and for all. "Sorry Mr Thomas, and everyone else, but PMP will not be mass producing lightsabers."
The groans of disappointment that greeted this announcement forced James to explain his decision. "We built these for the kids as prototypes, basically just to see if it could be done. The beam that you see is a controlled variation of a shield spell, interwoven with a stinging hex. You'll see a small hole in the bottom, this is for a wand to cast a specific spell to recharge the storage crystal inside. All this is pretty simple." The stares this generated indicated that, while this might be 'simple' for PMP, they thought this was pretty impressive stuff.
"The real problem was complying with the statue of secrecy, we couldn't have these falling into unsuspecting non magical's hands."
Dudley knew what was expected of him and closed down the beam before handing it over to Dean's dad. The reverence that he accepted the lightsaber with was soon replaced by disappointment as pressing the activate button produced no results. Dean was met by the same lack of results, as was the minister before James offered an explanation. "The device has an in-built system that will recognise the hand that wields it, this one is set to work for Dudley and no one else. This device protects our secrets but basically prevents mass production."
Barty didn't make it to be Minister of Magic by being stupid so had a question. "I can appreciate the need for something like that but don't you face the same problems with your mirror systems?"
Xeno was never one to miss a marketing opportunity. "Well, if you read this week's issue of the Quibbler, all will be explained. We have a full review of the items, including an entire article highlighting the unique security code for each set and a simple step-by-step guide on how to tie the mirrors to their users."
James was well used to their friend by now and just continued from where Xeno had left off. "The mirrors our kids have operate by voice recognition and a password to unlock the device. Charming mirrors to interact with their user have been available in our society for about as long as magical portraits. We didn't have to reinvent the wheel, just find new uses for it."
Dudley once more lit his lightsaber, just to show that it would still work with him. Dean's dad consoled himself with the fact that, at least he'd seen one working. "That really is a pity, you could have ended up a millionaire selling these."
This drew a deep chuckle from Barty. "Mr Thomas, Lord Potter and Lord Black are already millionaires, many times over."
This floored the London bus driver, his son was being taught by two millionaire Lords, and their wives.
That there would be no lightsabers had dented the mood, it was time to fix that. Susan had a quick glance toward Harry, his nod was all she needed. "Dean, would you, Lavender, Parvati, and Seamus like to spend some of the Christmas holidays with us at Potter Manor? All the first year Slytherins will be there too."
This silenced the entire group until Luna chipped in. "Oh please come, we'll have a great time. Our parents usually arrange things like a trip to the local panto, a fairground visit and there's always a football match in there somewhere."
When the rest of the Slytherins offered encouragement too, their minds were made-up. Having all the parents there meant that arrangements were quickly made, and they even picked-up a Ravenclaw stowaway. James and Lily did everything in their power to keep Harry and Dudley close, they weren't about to separate a set of twins over the holidays.
As the group of first year Slytherins made their way back to their table, they discovered Ron Weasley in their path. It was deja vu except for the hair colour as he zeroed in on Dudley, Ron's hand though was empty as he offered it for shaking.
"What you did today was brilliant, and I can now claim you practiced the move that brought down Dumbledore on me. Thanks."
It was a bemused Dudley who shook the happy Hufflepuff's hand. As they got back to their table though, he couldn't help commenting on what just happened. "Okay, was it just me or did anyone else think that was weird?"
Susan, as usual, was first with her answer. "Oh I'm with you Dud, definitely weird. Then again, he's a pureblood - they're all weird!"
That Susan Bones was from one of the most respected pureblood families in Britain helped her housemates see the joke. That Neville, whose pedigree was every bit as impeachable as Susan's, provided a tagline got the rest of them laughing. "Well, all the ones that we know are anyway."
It was a Minister of Magic in a reflective mood that shared his usual small dram with Minerva in her office later that night.
"I thought you'd be happier Barty, are you reconsidering your decision to leave the ministry?"
"Oh Merlin no, I hope to be out of there for the New Year. Catching Dumbledore just reopened a few old wounds I thought had healed long ago Minerva. I personally hold Dumbledore almost as responsible for my son's untimely death as Voldemort."
Minerva had no intention of defending Dumbledore, just easing Barty's pain. "I taught Barty junior too, and I never noticed anything untoward. I can't help feeling we failed an entire generation..."
"No Minerva, there is certainly enough blame for my son's death to go around but I can't see any of it stopping at your door. I carry my own mountain of guilt over this, a father who was so wrapped up in his career that he couldn't see what was happening in his own house. No, my grudge against Dumbledore is a lot more specific and goes much deeper than him being Headmaster of Hogwarts at the time."
Now that he'd said this much, Barty had to take it further. "Dumbledore knew that my son had joined the death eaters, he got the information from Snape. Did he have a quiet word with me about this? No, he kept quiet about it and then used this information to try and blackmail me into releasing Snape before his boy could be questioned. Dumbledore came to me with his 'proposal' on the same day my son took his own life."
Minerva's gasp of horror was the only sound to be heard, Barty's gaze was locked onto the glass of amber liquid in his hand.
"You have no idea how many nights I've spent torturing myself, wondering whether I could have saved Barty if Dumbledore had come to me earlier? He had all this vital information but reckoned no one other than Albus bloody Dumbledore should know about it, I can't help wondering how many lives were ruined by his inactions."
Barty needed a sip of his single malt before he could continue. "I also couldn't help wondering what fate would have befallen those children who I rewarded earlier if Dumbledore's plans hadn't been thwarted. Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom would certainly have faired differently, and I just couldn't see Dudley Dursley being invited to join Slytherin if Dumbledore had still been headmaster."
The Minister of Magic felt the comforting touch of the Headmistress as Minerva gently ran her hand along his arm. "Thankfully Barty, that is something we will never know. I only hope that Dumbledore now pays for his actions."
"The healers were all certain it was his long period of self-imposed isolation that's responsible for his now diminished mental awareness. Since all of his crimes were committed before this period, I intend to push for Azkaban to be his new home for the remainder of his life. That he was caught on Hogwarts grounds should certainly help my case, most of the Wizengamot have family currently enrolled here. He's going down Minerva, and he's going down for good."
Harry was currently going down to their common room. Lying in bed while unable to sleep was not a recommended way to spend the night. His whole demeanour changed when he spotted Hermione already sitting on their favourite sofa, both clearly felt better the instant he joined her.
"I guess you couldn't sleep either?"
"Oh Harry, every time I closed my eyes, I kept seeing that old man crash into the greenhouse. It doesn't matter how many times I tell myself that he was a criminal who wanted to harm you, my mind just sees a decrepit old man that we nearly killed."
"I know Hermione, my mind is playing the exact same tricks on me. That's what brought me down here, though I would have come much sooner had I known you were waiting on me."
Both were now wrapped comfortingly in each other's arms, the calming effect was almost instantaneous . This saw Harry bemoaning their current situation. "I can't wait to get home, sleeping this far from you is pure torture. The thought of spending another six and a half years like this is making me reconsider staying in Hogwarts."
"There is a way we could shorten that time, apart from asking our head of house to get a bigger sofa in here."
Harry was now really interested in what Hermione was going to say next, she didn't disappoint. "There is a suite of rooms set aside for the head girl and boy. Providing we both got those positions, that would take a year off our time."
Harry thought this was a great idea but could see a downside. "If I spent a year living with you, I could never go back to being apart again."
Hermione of course had an answer for that too. "Well then, we'll just have to get married when we leave Hogwarts."
Harry kissed his betrothed to show his enthusiastic support for that idea. "I had to promise your dad we would wait until we left school, the following day works for me."
With their minds now focused on pleasanter things, both were soon sleeping soundly.
They hadn't been asleep long when Dudley came down with a blanket from Harry's bed, spreading it over the couple as they snuggled in together. He found himself joined by Luna and Susan, armed with another blanket that they'd removed from Hermione's now unoccupied four poster.
Susan draped this one over them too while speaking barely above a whisper. "These two were always going to end up down here tonight. Well I'm going back to bed, I intend to continue dreaming about what I'm going to spend all that money on."
She whispered goodnight to Dudley and Luna before heading back up to the dorm. Luna slipped her hand into Dudley's. "I never got the chance to say thanks for today, you came running to my rescue again."
"You don't have to say thanks Luna, it's me who should be saying sorry. It was my harebrained scheme that got you captured in the first place. If anything had happened to you..."
Dudley couldn't find any more words to continue, so Luna squeezed his hand in understanding and kissed his cheek in thanks. Even with just the light coming from the dying embers of the fire, she could see Dudley blush as her lips brushed his cheek. "If it wasn't for your idea, people would have been hurt today. It also had an unexpected bonus too, I'll be able to pay for my end of the flat we'll all share while going to university."
"You know you don't have to do that?"
"I know but I had always intended to, this way I won't have to ask mum and dad for it. I agree with Hermione in that we should try to stand on our own two feet. Well, in their case, stand as a couple."
"That's something I agree with too." Calling on all his courage, Dudley bent down and kissed Luna on the cheek. The double meaning in Dudley's words, combined with the kiss, had Luna practically walking on air as she headed in the direction of the first year girl's dorm. Both went to their bed's very happy, though neither of them thought they would be falling asleep anytime soon.
While the Prophet had totally buried Dudley's involvement with the demise of Voldemort, Xeno had no such compunctions concerning Dumbledore's downfall. That this time the lad's actions had many witnesses also ended any chance that it would remain secret. Dumbledore once more attempting to break into Hogwarts could have spelt trouble for the headmistress, him being taken down by a muggle with a toy killed those worries stone dead.
The Quibbler was pushing the story from the angle that Dudley's actions allowed others to then take care of magical Britain's most wanted criminal, there was no mention that those 'others' were Harry and Hermione. Again, there were many witnesses to this act but the minister spreading the reward amongst all of the first year involved diverted unwanted attention away from just how powerful the young betrothed couple actually were. The first years were featured as the undoubted heroes of the piece, containing Dumbledore until the staff got there.
Under veritaserum, he had revealed the location of his Glengarry bolt hole. There the aurors soon discovered his memoirs, and they made very interesting reading. Here was every wrongdoing by one of the most magically and politically powerful figures of the last century, all written by his own hand. That his book also contained page after page where he attempted to justify each and every one of these despicable actions ensured that the name Dumbledore would forever be associated with its own brand of infamy.
His claim that Barty murdered his own son was met with derision, especially since Dumbledore freely admitted attempting to blackmail the man on the day his son committed suicide. That this was the same day Dumbledore attempted to murder Severus Snape, while Snape was recovering in a ministry cell, focused the investigation elsewhere. Here was a man who cast an unforgivable curse on an auror to escape capture that night.
Barty Crouch being universally regarded as the best Minister of Magic in living memory saw no investigation heading in his direction. Barty had made no secret of the fact that he badly wanted Dumbledore caught, and these attempted blackmail revelations was explanation enough for the people who mattered. They well remembered just how crazy the ministry had been for the few days after Voldemort's downfall, and that Barty had been in the ministry when his son died. There could be no doubt that most of the credit for destroying the death eaters hung squarely on the shoulders of the man who'd just announced he was resigning as minister. The phrase 'job done' was enough of an epitaph on his time as Minister of Magic.
After Dumbledore was sentenced to life in Azkaban, Barty's last act as minister was to authorise the publishing of Dumbledore's book. Dumbledore was now about to find one of his greatest wishes coming true. He would be delighted to know this very personal labour of love was an instant best-seller, all the profits going to St Mungo's would seriously piss him off though. With his last act as minister, Barty was ensuring that no one person would ever weld that much power again. His advice to the minister elect was to make every prospective ministry employee read the book, and any that didn't throw up should be rejected out of hand. Amelia promised to at least consider it.
It was a couple of happy parents who watched their brood head for Hogsmead to catch the express to London. Dan and Emma, with of course Dudley and Luna, would be waiting on them there. The family would all be back home in Crawley tonight and then set off for Potter Manor tomorrow. They would spend Christmas together before their children's Slytherin and Gryffindor friends arrived to spend a few days with them.
The addition of Padma Patil had an unexpected but very welcome effect. Her inclusion led to the other first year Ravenclaws getting to know the group better. Never ones to be left behind in the friendship stakes, the Hufflepuffs took this as their cue to join in as well. Neither Potter could ever remember a year where the new student intake had integrated so well, even the youngest Weasley boy had stopped making such an arse of himself.
The Weasley twins had rushed up to shake James by the hand before heading for the train, their elder brother just marched past with his nose in the air.
Lily was trying not to giggle at the boy's antics as she asked her husband what he'd done to warrant such a snubbing. Percy's glare was like being mauled by a dead flobberworm.
"Oh I put prefect Percy on probation until the end of the year. If I don't see an improvement in his attitude by then, there will be no shiny badge on his robes come September. I want a prefect who can think for themselves and will actually help the younger students, not just quote the Hogwarts rulebook at them. Needless to say, I'm no longer on Percy's Christmas card list."
Lily couldn't hold the attack of the giggles anymore. James just loved the sound she made, which was why he tried to get her giggling as often as possible. His wife though soon wiped the satisfied smirk off his face.
"Speaking of Christmas, I thought we could all go shopping for our gifts tomorrow. That would give us the rest of the holidays to relax - and before you pull a PMP board meeting out of thin air, I should warn you that Aurora is telling Sirius the same."
With that last comment, James knew his fate was sealed. The only thing he could think of that Sirius enjoyed more than shopping for toys would be shopping for toys for his beloved Joy. That, and working on adding a little brother or sister to their family, but they tended to disapprove of couples doing that in Harrods.
Thursday 4th June 1998
Dudley sat there and watched his proud parents as they waited for the ceremony to start, Uncle Dan and Aunt Emma also appeared as pleased as punch. Dudley understood he should be feeling a sense of pride too, but the ring currently burning a hole in his pocket demanded all his attention. Dudley Dursley was bricking it big time.
Harry's hand on his shoulder offered some comfort, but not a lot. His words made sense to the young man but nothing was going to help until the deed was done. "Dudley, do you honestly think there's the slightest chance she's going to say no?"
"Oh, that's cute Harry. Especially since I remember a certain someone shitting themself in case he messed up, and you guys were already betrothed with the date of your wedding already picked."
Harry was chuckling as he thought back to the incident Dudley just reminded him of. "Yes, I wanted to make it perfect for Hermione. I forgot the most important thing though, just by me asking meant it was already perfect for Hermione. Luna's going to flip when she sees that ring, that it comes from you is all that will matter to her. Just don't let one rip when you ask her, that's a definite no-no."
"Thanks for those wonderful words of wisdom oh mighty head boy, just remember your own advice when you've to stand up there and give your speech."
"Hey, could be worse, I could have a best man speech to give on Saturday."
This got a groan out of Dudley, he was left wishing the Slytherin robes he was currently wearing had a hood so he could pull it over his head and hide. "Is this pick on Dudley day?"
Sensing his distress brought a beautiful blonde witch to his aid. Hearing his last comment saw Luna pull no punches. "Nobody better be picking on my boyfriend, you nervous love?"
Dudley's nod of affirmation saw Luna offering her own brand of logic. "The first non magical student to graduate from Hogwarts shouldn't be feeling nervous, sitting four N.E.W.T.'s is a fantastic achievement."
"It's nothing to do with that. I made a promise to your dad that I'm about to break, only by a matter of minutes though but I can't wait any longer." Dudley dropped to one knee on the raised platform containing all the graduating students, a box with a diamond ring was now in his hand. "Luna, would you do me the honour of being my wife?"
Dudley didn't hear his mother's joyous shriek, nor did he see Harry and Hermione bouncing up and down with excitement. His entire attention was focused on the woman he'd loved for years. Time appeared to stand still as he watched her eyes fill with tears, it was the wide smile that suddenly graced her lips that allowed his heart to continue beating.
"I've wanted you to ask me that question since I was about nine, of course I'll marry you!"
Dudley slipped the ring on her finger before rising to kiss his fiancée, this was the signal for the rest of the world to intrude. It was like taking the mute button off as suddenly the noise was incredible and they were surrounded by their friends.
The Hogwarts graduating ceremony was rapidly spiraling toward pandemonium before the headmistress stepped in to regain control. "Mr Dursley, kindly unhand Miss Lovegood and stop interrupting this ceremony. You are all still my students until we finish here today. I knew you lot were trouble the moment I laid eyes on you. My first clue was a Bones being sorted into Slytherin, and things just went downhill from there." Minerva's wide smile was not the rarity it used to be, telling the graduating students - and the large audience that she was joking.
"Year after year I stand here and say goodbye to our graduating students, but I can say in all honesty that this group here have been an exceptional bunch. I don't even have to wonder when I will see them again as we are all attending a certain wedding this Saturday. It therefore gives me great pleasure to call on our head girl to perform her last official duties as Miss Granger, and our head boy who of course is also her soon to be husband Mr Potter."
The applause was thunderous as Hermione and Harry came forward to speak, Emma was engrossed in their leaving speech until she noticed her best friend in tears. "Are those happy tears Lily?"
"Oh Emma, I just watched one of my son's get engaged to a wonderful girl and our other gets married on Saturday. I really couldn't be happier but my mind drifted back to our first meeting, all those years ago. I guess it began when I was wishing Petunia could have witnessed her son becoming engaged, or even just seen what a fine young man Dudley has grown into. I started wondering what would have happened if Hermione didn't come over that day in the clinic, we would have spent a very different Halloween if you hadn't invited us back for tea. No matter how many times I say it, I can still never thank you enough for that day."
"Lily, we've been family for years, and this weekend makes it official. Let's have no more talk of needing to thank me, looking up on that stage is all the thanks I'll ever need. All our children have grown up healthy and incredibly happy, what else could a mother possibly want?"
Dan, James and Sirius were sitting behind the ladies, pretending not to be listening to every word. Little James Black was sitting on his father's knee, getting a break from his two adoring elder sisters and revelling in the male company. They had heard the speeches before, Harry and Hermione had practiced them on the family last night. Both were certainly more nervous about this than their wedding at the weekend, that reminded Sirius of a question he wanted to ask.
"So, have we found out any more about this mystery girl Moony's taking as his date to the wedding?"
James shook his head. "All I know is that she's young, beautiful and Lily has promised to hex my bits off if I as much as say anything out of line."
Dan pretty much agreed with James. "Emma may not be able to hex me but her warning was every bit as eye wateringly painful, and you just know the kids love their Uncle Remus."
"Yeah, Joy and Hope threatened not to speak to me. We'll just have to get creative and prank him on the Sunday. I can't believe we all ended up henpecked!"
As the speeches ended, they stood to applaud the outgoing head boy and girl. Their behaviour was pretty outgoing as well as they kissed on stage.
"I don't mind the henpecked bit so much, it's the thought that Lily and I could be grandparents before we hit forty that gives me sleepless nights."
Dan knew they were all looking forward to becoming grandparents, just not for a few years yet. "Those four will all want to finish university before starting a family, my money would be on Frank and Alice having that honour first. I think Pansy is quite taken with the idea of being a housewife for her auror husband, there will be a ring there shortly."
"I always thought he and Susan would get together but it just never came to pass. Watching Susan actually terrifies the life out of me. She's beautiful, wealthy, niece to the minister and, apart from our three, has every boy above fourth year drooling over her. I don't know how Amelia copes, I'm thinking of locking my two girls away until they're at least twenty eight!"
James just couldn't help teasing his friend. "Yes, Merlin forbid they meet the equivalent of a young Sirius Black."
The look of dread on his face had Dan and James quietly laughing at his discomfort. "When I first heard my little girl was forming a bond with a boy, I didn't know what to make of it. Now, I think it's the best thing that ever happened to our family and I'm looking forward to walking her down the aisle. Our Dudley just picked himself one hell of a girl too."
The rest of the family began making their way over and there were congratulatory hugs all round.
Harry stood with his arm around his bride to be, they were taking a last glance at the apartments that had been their home for the last year. "I thought I would miss this place more but I'm ready to go home."
Hermione rested her head on his now broad shoulders. "I've been very happy here, that was easily the best year we spent at Hogwarts."
"Oh I agree, but then I would be happy anywhere as long as I was with you."
"Smooth Potter, very smooth but I know what you mean. Never having to sleep apart from you again is something I'm really looking forward to."
"We've just spent the best part of a year living together love, and I have no intention of being separated ever again. Even if I have to borrow my dad's cloak, I'll be with you every night up to, and including Saturday."
Dudley and Luna entered to find the both of them currently engaged in a deep kiss. "Told you love, Hermione would have all their packing done last night. If you two don't get a move on, we're gonna miss the train."
With one final look around, they left Slytherin and Hogwarts - Oxford University and the rest of their lives beckoned.
A/N Thanks for Reading.