Hearing the sounds of his children coming through the door, Harry grinned and put his paperwork away. If his ears were correct, they were heading towards his office and…
"Dad!" Lily exclaimed, bursting into the room with James and Albus behind her.
"Hi Lils, how was Aunt Luna's?" Harry asked as his children positively beamed at him. James was practically bouncing up and down and Albus wasn't even looking irritated with him. Something was exciting them…
"She told all sorts of stories like normal," Lily commented.
"She told us the Tale of Three Brothers again!" James said excitedly.
Harry went for the innocently confused look, wondering what his perceptive friend had told his children. "Your mother and I have told you that story many times."
"But Aunt Luna told us about the Deathly Hallows!" Albus finally burst out.
"The Deathly Hallows?" It took all of Harry's self control not to flinch, the image of a dark foreboding forest entering his mind.
All three nodded, looking wound up.
"Why don't you tell me about them?" He suggested after a moment.
"You know the story of the Peverell brothers," Lily began.
James jumped in immediately, "The Deathly Hallows are the three things that Death gave the brothers!"
"The Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Invisibility Cloak," Albus added.
"Aunt Luna says they're real," his daughter's eyes were shining.
"Aunt Luna thinks Crumple-Horned Snorkacks are real," James snorted and Albus tried to hide a snicker. Even Lily laughed a bit at the imaginary creatures.
"People used to believe that Nargles were figments of your Aunt Luna's imagination," Harry suggested with amusement. "But look how she found them! I'd keep an open mind about Crumple-Horned Snorkacks." Harry was firmly of the belief that if the creature existed and it was possible to see it, Luna would find it. He would not eat his words like he had to when Luna had discovered Wrackspurts – though they had a slightly different purpose than Luna had believed and weren't nearly as common as she thought.
Lily, Albus, and James looked a bit disconcerted by that, but James quickly said, "Well, if the Deathly Hallows are real, I'd want the Elder Wand. I mean, it's the unbeatable wand!"
Harry resisted the urge to correct his son and watched as his other children thought about that.
"I'd want the Elder Wand too, but I wouldn't be stupid enough to brag about it and get killed," Lily said, rolling her eyes at the foolish Antioch.
"I think the Resurrection Stone would be nice. There are plenty of people I'd like to meet," Albus added thoughtfully and Harry was struck once more by how similar Albus was to himself, not just in looks but personality too.
"What about the Invisibility Cloak?" Harry asked innocently.
"We've already got one, Dad," James raised his eyebrows at his father, who'd given them the Cloak. "Why would we need another one?"
Harry shrugged and had to bite his tongue to keep from telling his children that they didn't just have an invisibility cloak, they had the Invisibility Cloak.
"I bet we could track down the Elder Wand if we did enough research," James said, his eyes bright with the idea.
"How would we do that?" Lily asked doubtfully.
Ask your father, Harry thought with a mental chuckle.
"Yeah, records must have been lost ages ago; the story is so old," Albus said sadly.
Unable to stand the dejected looks on his children's faces (though they would have probably found a way to research without any of his hints) he said casually, "The Elder Wand has a bloody history."
Three heads snapped his way. He simply grinned benignly at them.
"What do you mean Dad? Do you believe in the Deathly Hallows?" James asked suspiciously.
"Of course I believe in the Hallows," Harry replied matter-of-factly. "Evidence of a powerful wand can be found in the history books. Whether it is a wand that was made by Death himself is debatable, but there have been fights over a supposedly unbeatable wand. It was also called the Deathstick or the Wand of Destiny and you can find it in the midst of the blood in history."
"So there really is an unbeatable wand?" Lily asked in amazement.
"Not unbeatable, otherwise its power would have died out long ago," Harry told them. "If you study wand lore, you know that the wand chooses the wizard. The Elder Wand will only give its allegiance to a wizard or witch who has earned it – one who has overpowered its previous owner. Otherwise, the Elder Wand works just like an ordinary wand."
Harry watched as his children exchanged surprised glances, not expecting him to know so much on the subject.
"Dad, what else do you know about the Hallows?" Albus questioned curiously.
Harry debated for a moment about what he should tell them. "The Elder Wand was supposedly owned by a Dark Wizard by the name of Grindelwald more than fifty years ago. The Resurrection Stone belonged to Cadmus and as it was passed down the generations, it was made into a ring. The Invisibility Cloak is unique because while other invisibility cloaks will tear or fade over time, this Cloak can be passed from down generation to generation and stay with Ignotus's descendents. Many of those who seek the Hallows see this as the weakest Hallow since they can turn themselves invisible well enough without the Cloak; but the true greatness of the Cloak is that you can protect others. The rare person who can unite all three Hallows is said to become the Master of Death."
Harry gazed calmly at his children who were staring back at him in astonishment. James actually had his jaw dropped and Albus's eyes were so wide that Harry was almost worried they'd pop out. Lily was moving her mouth, trying to comment, but she seemed unable to find her voice.
"How do you know all about the Hallows?" She finally managed to ask.
"Voldemort was interested in the Elder Wand," Harry responded after a couple moments of hesitation. "Luna's father told me the legend and I learned quite a bit about them towards the end of the war."
"Voldemort searched for the Elder Wand?" Albus shivered. "That would have been scary if he'd gotten it."
"Oh, he got it alright," Harry said, ignoring the gasps of his children. "But he never gained its allegiance."
"Who had its allegiance?" James asked.
Harry paused for dramatic effect before smirking, "Me."
"You?" The three chorused in shock.
"Me." He confirmed.
"Wait, back up," Albus shook his head. "How did you get the Elder Wand's allegiance?"
Harry frowned, flashing back to the wand's history. He debated with himself for a few moments before deciding that they were old enough to know a bit of the story. Albus should learn the truth about his namesakes' deaths, though he'd spare them the details. Severus's death still gave him nightmares sometimes.
"I said that the wand was owned by Grindelwald," Harry said quietly while his kids paid rapt attention. "Grindelwald was defeated many years ago in a famous duel. He was defeated by Albus Dumbledore."
Albus let out a quick gasp, but Harry simply continued.
"Albus kept the wand for many years and extraordinarily few people if any knew that he had it. He had taken the wand not for personal benefit but to keep the wand from being used to hurt others. He planned to die without being defeated which would take away the special powers of the wand. But the summer before his death, he was doing something that would help defeat Voldemort and he fell into a trap. It damaged his hand beyond repair and despite potions to stop the curse; he was told that he'd only live for a year or so. He did not tell anyone this and tried to act like nothing was wrong.
"Albus knew that he was going to die. He wanted to make sure that his plan to die without being defeated was still intact, but there was someone at school who had been instructed by Voldemort to kill Albus. It was a student and Albus knew about the plot; he didn't want the boy to fail and be punished by Voldemort, but he didn't want the boy to succeed and damage his soul. So he made a deal with Severus. Severus reluctantly agreed to kill Albus when the time came."
Harry felt horrible, seeing the vaguely sickened look on Albus's face. Harry had to admit that he'd feel sick hearing this too if he were Albus. Bravely, he plunged on.
"The night of Albus's death, I came back from a mission with him. He was weakened and he told me to get Severus and to keep the Invisibility Cloak around me. We were on the Astronomy Tower and as I rushed off, the door burst open. In his split second of defense, Dumbledore immobilized me and the intruder Disarmed him. The intruder was Draco Malfoy."
Albus gasped, recognizing his best friend's father's name. He knew that he'd been a Death Eater – that was why people found it so odd for his son and Harry Potter's son to be friends – but he hadn't realized that he was so dedicated.
Seeing the look on Albus's face, Harry quickly added, "Draco was acting under orders from Voldemort so that Voldemort wouldn't destroy his family. Looking back now, I feel less anger and more pity. Either way, Draco had Albus Disarmed and they talked. Albus offered protection and Draco almost took it. But then some Death Eaters hurried up through the door. Severus was there among the others. Albus said please and Severus killed him."
His children were looking horrified, but Harry took a deep breath and continued. "No one knew the significance of Albus's wand, but we buried it with him in his tomb. When I was seventeen and your aunt, uncle, and I were away from school on our mission – no James I won't tell you what it was until you're older – Voldemort was looking for the Elder Wand. He traced it all the way to Dumbledore, broke into the tomb, and stole the wand.
"Meanwhile, your aunt, uncle, and I had been taken captive by Death Eaters." Harry paused as his children gasped, never having heard that part of the story. He didn't want to tell much of this part, but he had to tell them about how he beat Draco. "We were taken to Malfoy Manor; Voldemort had set up headquarters there as a way of disgracing the Malfoys for failure. Your aunt was in trouble and your uncle and I fought to get up to her. When we got to her, she was threatened and we were forced to drop our wands. One of the Death Eaters made Draco pick them up. Miraculously, your aunt, uncle, and I managed to escape. We had no wands, so I ran up to Draco and pulled the three wands in his hand from him. When we got to safety, we all had to use different wands – your aunt and uncle's had been left at the manor and mine had been broken for a while. I used Draco's wand and your aunt and uncle used the other two that I'd grabbed. We continued our fight which eventually led us to the Battle of Hogwarts.
"Voldemort was, to reiterate, the owner of the Elder Wand. But he was unhappy because the wand was not giving him the power boost that he'd been expecting. He came to the conclusion that while he may physically own it, he had not earned its allegiance. He got the idea that since Severus had killed Albus, he would gain the power if Severus was out of the equation. He killed him."
Harry shut his eyes, shuddering at the mental images that assaulted his brain. When he opened his eyes, his children were staring at him, worried and appalled by the intricate plots in the war.
"I had…" a talk with the deceased Headmaster, Harry thought to himself before saying aloud, "some interesting revelations right before the final confrontation occurred. When Voldemort bragged about the wand, I told him that he was wrong. He said that he had brought about the death of Albus Dumbledore and was now the master of the wand. But I told him how Severus and Albus had made their bargain and that Albus intended to die undefeated. Voldemort took that to mean that he still had the power of the wand since he stole it from the owner's tomb. But he was wrong.
"The master of the Elder Wand was the person who'd Disarmed Albus, who'd beaten him that night. The master of the Elder Wand was Draco Malfoy. And since I'd overpowered Draco weeks ago and stolen his wand from him, I was the master of the Elder Wand. I remain the master of the Elder Wand to this day." Harry ended, staring silently at his shell-shocked children.
"That's the Elder Wand?" James finally said, pointing to the wand sticking out of the holster on Harry's hip. "The Elder Wand is the wand that I'd try to steal when I was younger so I could do magic?"
"No, it's not," Harry grinned. "I used the Elder Wand and its unusual power to repair my old wand, which was impossible to do with other wands. After that, I put it in a place that I refuse to reveal."
"Bloody hell," James whispered, but in the aftermath of the story, Harry couldn't bring himself to scold his son for language. Besides, the boy was sixteen and heaven knows how bad Ron had been at that age…
"Well, we don't need to research the wand anymore," Lily said weakly.
"Know where the Invisibility Cloak is too, Dad?" Albus asked with a small smile, probably trying to lighten up the room after such a story.
Harry simply grinned.
"You do?" James asked in amazement, picking up on Harry's amused look.
Harry simply raised his eyebrows. Lily and James were eagerly awaiting an answer when Albus groaned and said, "You've got to be kidding me," before pulling the Invisibility Cloak out.
Lily and James stared at the Cloak then back at their father.
"It was passed down by Grandpa James to you and from you to us," James said quietly. "Most of the charms would have worn off by now… Dad!" He exclaimed, seeming a bit upset that Harry had never told them.
"The Potters are the last living descendents of Ignotus Peverell," Harry said simply in explanation.
"Don't tell me you know where the Resurrection Stone is as well," Albus said warily.
"Not exactly, but I know the general area where it can be found," Harry replied, hiding his quick flashbacks with an almost cheery tone, simply to throw his children off.
"How'd you find it?" Lily asked eagerly.
"It was given to me," Harry replied after a moment's hesitation, "but I didn't know what it was until during the Battle of Hogwarts."
"Did you use it?" Albus asked.
"Once," Harry admitted, thinking of the apparitions who'd given him the courage to do what needed to be done. "My parents came to me with my godfather and Teddy's father."
James, Albus, and Lily were gazing at Harry with awestruck expressions. "What was it like?" James asked.
Harry thought carefully, wanting to give an honest answer. "Heartbreaking," he admitted. "Seeing my parents was so hard and I'd only lost Sirius about two years before that, so I still felt horrible about it." Even today I struggle with that one, Harry thought silently before saying, "And I'd just discovered that I'd lost Remus and Tonks. Seeing Remus made me feel guilty for not ending it earlier. But they reassured me and they helped me do what was necessary."
"They helped you defeat Voldemort?" James asked in surprise.
"They helped me do something that ended up being instrumental in Voldemort's fall and no, I will not explain what I had to do any more than that."
"What happened to the Stone?" Albus was curious.
"I dropped it," Harry admitted casually. "By now I'm sure it's buried underground somewhere."
"You dropped it?" Albus asked incredulously.
"It's better that way," Harry said firmly. "The Stone could drive people mad with despair. It is best to have it away from everyone where it will not be found."
"Wait," Lily suddenly said, and Harry knew that she'd figured it out. "You have the Wand…"
James caught on, "And you gave us the Cloak."
"And you used the Stone," Albus finished, his eyes wide.
"You mastered the Deathly Hallows!" Lily whispered incredulously.
At Harry's nod, James burst out, "You're the Master of Death! You're going to live forever!"
But Harry shook his head. "That's not what Master of Death means. It means that I understand that Death is inevitable and it will happen to me one day. And on that day, Death and I will depart as equals."
"You copied that from the story," Lily accused.
"I did," Harry admitted, "but it's true. Death and I are already acquainted a bit too well. I won't be afraid when the time comes."
"Wow," Albus finally whispered after a few moments of stunned silence. "That's really brave, Dad."
"I was a Gryffindor," Harry retorted cheekily.
The kids let out shaky laughs and Harry rested his hands on the boys' shoulders momentarily before patting Lily on the back. "I'm still the same dad, James, Al, Lily. You just learned a little bit more about me. A little bit more that I'd prefer you not to share with your cousins."
"Not share with our cousins?" Lily asked incredulously. "Do you know how hard that can be? Our cousins are nosy!"
"It's one thing telling my children about my life when they're still probably a bit too young to hear about it; telling my nieces and nephews is a whole other story. I love them dearly, but they'll learn when they're older and we can talk more about the realities of the war. You'll learn more when you're older too, but right now, it would be a bit too much. I already probably told you too much," Harry acknowledged. "But you deserved to know, especially you, Albus."
Albus nodded and James finally asked, "Do you have to worry about owning the Hallows? Do people know?"
"Not a lot of people do," Harry replied. "Only the family knows that the Invisibility Cloak is the one of the stories and I believe that only the family knows that I had the Resurrection Stone briefly in my possession, though they don't know very much about that one; I don't talk about it much. Everyone who was at the Battle of Hogwarts knows that I am the true master of the Elder Wand, but most people don't even know what it is and the others who would have bothered me – the Death Eaters or the power hungry – are in Azkaban thanks to the Aurors or kept out by my wards. I don't go around bragging as Antioch did, so I plan to die without being defeated. Hopefully, I'll succeed."
"So I'm guessing that we can't tell our friends either if the family's out of the loop?" Lily asked casually.
"I'd really prefer if you wouldn't," Harry said seriously. "I'm safer this way and so are you."
The three children nodded, understanding the gravity of the situation.
"Dad, you just always have to do the impossible, don't you?" James grinned before waving and heading towards his room.
Harry chuckled before being hugged by his daughter. "You're the coolest dad ever. Thanks for telling us about that!"
Lily too headed towards her room, bumping Albus with her shoulder as she left the room.
Albus scowled playfully at his sister before looking at his father and adopting a serious expression. "Was that really how my namesakes died?"
Harry frowned, fighting off the images a second time. He'd had the story to distract him before, but now… it was hard to hold off the flood of difficult memories.
"Yes, and I'm sorry you were told that way. I probably should have told you on your own so you could ask the questions you wanted to. I'll tell you more when James turns seventeen."
Albus nodded, knowing the significance of the date. Harry had decided that the kids would learn about his involvement in the war in detail when James turned seventeen. This was because in the final year at Hogwarts, part of the curriculum in History of Magic was discussing the Second War, including the Battle of Hogwarts, in great detail. Harry knew that he'd have to tell his son beforehand or risk his son feeling like he had when he learned that Dumbledore had a sister and had lived in Godric's Hollow – like he hadn't known Dumbledore at all and that Dumbledore might not have been all that fond of him after all. And Harry knew that if one of his children knew, the others would know too. He wasn't looking forward to the date, which was only a year away, but he knew it was necessary.
"Can I just ask one thing?" Albus asked, breaking Harry out of his reverie.
"How did you know about Voldemort looking for the Elder Wand if you were captured at the time? And how did you know why he killed Severus?"
"That's two things, Albus," Harry commented quietly.
Albus just stared at his dad, waiting for an answer.
"I could say that I figured it out later with the evidence I had, but that would be lying," Harry said. "I can't say that I'm willing to share how I knew the first one, but as to why he killed Severus," he shivered. "I know because I was there. I heard Voldemort explaining why he had to kill him and then I saw him kill him."
Albus gasped, horrified. "You saw him die?"
"I saw a lot of people die," Harry said gently with only a hint of bitterness in his voice. "I was in a war, Albus. It comes with the territory."
"Why didn't Voldemort attack you then? Or is that when you defeated him?" Albus asked, his curiosity overcoming his wariness of the subject.
"Voldemort didn't attack me because I was hidden. I wasn't able to actually get to where Severus was until he was already dying and Voldemort had left," Harry replied, thinking back to that horrible night and wondering if he would've been able to save Severus somehow. He'd dwelt on that night a lot and decided that it was impossible to save Severus – he would've been killed, as would Ron and Hermione. He would've lived, but Voldemort would have checked for himself whether he was alive or not and figured out a way to destroy him. Yet Harry couldn't keep himself from slightly regretting that he hadn't tried to save the man who'd loved his mother so much to put his life on the line for her son.
"Sorry I made you remember, Dad," Albus said, looking down at his feet.
"Huh?" Harry snapped out of it at his son's words.
Albus looked up. "That's what I meant. I can see that you don't like remembering it. Rose told me it happens with a lot of the people who went through the war. If she asks Uncle Ron or Aunt Hermione about parts of it, they clam up too and get that look in their eyes. I'm sorry if I've upset you, Dad," he apologized again.
Harry shook his head and reached out to hug his son. "I'm fine, Albus. You didn't upset me; there are just some memories that should only be lived through once. But I completely understand your curiosity. You want to know more about the man I named you after." He gave him a brief half-smile. "You'll know the whole story later, I promise – every detail you want."
Albus nodded and returned the hug. "Thanks, Dad. And you were serious about the whole Deathly Hallows thing?"
Harry nodded, wondering where his son was going with that.
"You are so weird, Dad," Albus grinned and rushed off to his room without another word.
"Oi!" Harry called after him, but he chuckled as he sat back down to work on his papers.
Harry supposed that Albus was right, but at least it made for some interesting stories. How many other fathers could tell their children how it was to be the Master of Death?
A/N: Blech ending… Just couldn't figure out how to end it… Ah well. So, in my fit of Next Generation ideas, I just wondered how the Potter children would react if they learned that their father was the Master of Death. Because seriously, how awesome is that? So I had to have the kids figure it out and I couldn't resist some Harry-Albus heart-to-heart chats. Because Albus's namesakes definitely have a tragic (and not well-known) story that would be difficult for Harry to share and for Albus to hear, even simplified as it was in this story. Hope my reactions were realistic! Thanks for reading!