Chapter 3: Endgame

A/N: I know nothing about plastic surgery, so I made it up. Because I'm lazy. Also, I changed my mind; there will be a pairing. But as the author, and thus as God, I have the right to do that. Now, bow to me. *Snicker*

1: The Chamber of Secrets Reopened

2 July, 1996

Harry stood up from his rather ungraceful landing and stared around the dim chamber. He didn't think he'd ever be back here again, after his second year. His time here was limited as he had to visit the plastic surgeon, but he figured he could get what he needed to do over with pretty fast.

After sending the letter to Madam Bones, Harry and Dobby had gone food shopping, spending more money like crazy. Then, while eating his solitary dinner, Harry had settled down to do some serious thinking.

Now that things had settled down, he realized what a gamble sending that letter to Voldemort had been. Voldemort really had no reason to stop hunting him; in fact, he had every reason to blithely ignore Harry's letter and kill him for sending it. Harry's numerous escapes, one right in front of his Death Eaters; the prophecy; the fact that Harry snatched him out of his body; the fact that Harry had gotten the Philosopher's Stone away from him in first year. No matter that all those encounters were setups, either by Voldemort or Dumbledore or both, the fact was that Harry had made Voldemort look foolish or weak, and Voldemort's personality wouldn't allow for that to go on. How could you be a terrible fearful dark lord if a mere schoolchild kept escaping you time and time again?

So yes, Voldemort sending a signed contract was rather too convenient for Harry's liking. Was he up to something? Did he perhaps have a way to shelter him from any fallout a breach in the contract might entail? Did he perhaps get somebody else to sign using his name? Contrary to what Dumbledore had said, there was no way for anyone to forcibly enter anyone into a binding magical contract against their will. Even if you signed somebody's name on it, it wouldn't take effect. Funny thing-all the books on magical contracts suddenly reappeared after the Triwizard Tournament...

Maybe he was hoping to trick Harry into violating the contract somehow, thus rendering his enemy a squib. Harry just didn't know, and it bugged him a bit.

Harry had no answers and vowed to quit worrying about it. He couldn't worry about what he couldn't change. If Voldemort wanted him dead, it didn't really matter. There wasn't much he, Harry, could do in a straight up fight; he just didn't have the knowledge. He would take it one day at a time.

Thinking about Voldemort's seeming acquiescence had brought him to another point: the snapping of his wand. While it had seemed a good idea at the time, Harry wasn't sure doing that was the best thing he could've done. Deciding that he would need to stay in the magical world, at least peripherally, had made him realize it further; he would need a wand, even if he didn't use it all the time. Even if he didn't intend to fight Voldemort, having a tool didn't mean you had to use it.

But he still didn't really want that wand. After signing the contract, he had felt no warmth from it anyway; it no longer worked for him. So he would've had to get a new one, no matter what. But it would have been fun to be a fly on the wall at the Order meeting where his snapped wand was showcased. He would've loved to see the expression on Dumbledore's face.

Having decided that he needed a wand, it then remained to see how he would get it. He couldn't go to Ollivander; Harry would be willing to bet every Galleon in his vault that as soon as Voldemort's brother wand had been sold, the crazy wandmaker had instantly owled Dumbledore to tell him about it. Dumbledore had admitted to that after all. And if Harry Potter came in needing a new one, the same thing would happen. What to do, what to do?

There might be a wand shop in Knockturn Alley, but it was stupid to wander in there without knowing where you were going. Many of the stores and stalls down there weren't marked at all. If you didn't know where you needed to go, you didn't belong there. Knockturn Alley was just that kind of place. Although, come to think of it, Dobby might know; after all, he had been the house-elf of the Malfoys and they had no doubt visited the dingy alleyway many times.

Harry waffled on the Knockturn Alley idea for a while during dinner, but thought better of it. Even if it was less public than Diagon Alley, underworld types still babbled to each other, and if Harry Potter was seen, it would be big news. Given that Mundungus Fletcher was in the order, Harry had no doubt Dumbledore had contacts in the shadier parts of the wizarding world through Fletcher and others like him. Perhaps after his plastic surgery to remove the scar, and perhaps a dye job and crew cut, he would go down there.

It was then that he had a brain wave; the basilisk sitting down in the Chamber of Secrets. From some of his research, Harry knew basilisk parts could be used in potions, armour and of course, wands. If he could go down and harvest the fangs, he could supply them as wand cores, since he had a volatile mixture of phoenix tears and basilisk venom (from the same snake no less) in his blood. The wand would hopefully be an excellent fit. Although, since he wasn't a wandmaker, he was only speculating.

So, here he was, with a few charmed knives Dobby had gotten this morning, while the excitable little elf himself bounced along behind him with a few crates. This was going to be messy.

Indeed it was. The place was just as creepy and dank as Harry remembered. Water oozed into stagnant puddles on the floor, making a hollow plonking sound. The snake statues were covered with lichens, giving the whole place the feel of the inside of a wet, mouldy piece of bread. Salazar Slytherin sure knew how to show people a good time, Harry thought grumpily as his socks got wet.

The basilisk looked roughly the same as it had when he'd last seen it; it might've only died an hour ago. Not having really stopped to look at it before, Harry marvelled at it. Sixty feet long from nose to tail, nearly five feet thick, it lay on the floor of the chamber looking like the world's ugliest and biggest garden hose.

I fought that thing when I was twelve? How foolishly Gryffindor I was. And, I saved a Weasley, Harry sneered at himself. Why the hell didn't I just throw the diary at the snake's mouth instead of nearly killing myself on it?

Shaking off his self-castigating thoughts, Harry debated for a moment. All he really needed here was a couple of fangs. He could bring the goblins back down here to harvest the rest of it. Providing the goblins with a source of thousands and thousands of Galleons could only win him points. Not to mention save him from getting all dirty and bloody for nothing.

"Change of plan, Dobby," Harry said, his voice echoing hollowly in the vast space. "I'm only going to collect a couple of fangs then we're going to the surgeon."

"Whatever Master Harry wants," Dobby squeaked from behind him.

Harry looked around for the fang that had stuck into his arm when he was last down here, but didn't spot it anywhere. Maybe Rabid Fangirl Number One, AKA Ginevra Weasley, took it as a keepsake. He didn't remember seeing her with it, but he was hardly in a state to be Mr. Observant at the time.

Shrugging, Harry removed a charmed knife and, carefully, oh so carefully, extracted a few fangs. They made wet sticky sounds, like plucking the bones out of a chicken, and the stench of the basilisk's mouth was horrendous. The fangs were gigantic, nearly as long as his forearm. Harry carefully set them in one of Dobby's crates. "OK, Dobby, can you clean this crap off me?"

Dobby snapped his fingers and most of the muck came off Harry's shirt. "I guess even basilisk spit is magic resistant," Harry griped, before gingerly taking Dobby's hand and allowing the elf to pop them out of there.

Arriving back at the house at the outskirts of Hogsmeade, Harry immediately took off his shirt and dashed into the bathroom. He needed to get this junk off.

After nearly half an hour of frantic scrubbing, the green blood was finally off his hands and forearms. It was a good thing too; it had eaten straight through his protective dragon hide gloves. How the hell do people harvest these things, Harry thought to himself, after stepping out of the shower. I liked that damn shirt too, sigh.

Now I know I've spent too much time by myself, if I'm thinking the word sigh instead of sighing.

Snorting, Harry left the bathroom, and put on his new suit. It was time to visit the plastic surgeon, to remove the last vestiges of Harry Potter.

# # #

Three hours later found Harry back at his house, a small bandage over his forehead where the scar had once been. Removing it had been pretty simple; remove a small patch of skin from his left forearm, cut out the scar on his forehead and graft the new skin onto it. A simple salve from the apothecary would re-grow the skin on both areas, leaving no marks.

Both areas stung a bit, rather like a scrape on a knee, but nothing too terrible. The worst part was the smell of the cream, it reminded him of wet socks and stale tomato sauce that had been sitting in the sun for a while.

"Dobby, do you have the salve?"

"Right here, Master Harry, sir," Dobby answered, bouncing into view with a small jar.

Harry gingerly peeled off the bandages and opened the jar, rubbing the noxious-smelling cream into the raw looking scabs. A cool, soothing feeling spread through the areas and new skin began to grow.

"Ah, that's better," Harry sighed, leaning back into his chair and doing his best to ignore the wreaking cream.. It had been a long tiring day, and Harry felt himself dozing off. There was time enough to take care of the rest of the cosmetic things tomorrow.

# # #

Harry awoke the next morning feeling much better. The salve had done its magic and he couldn't feel a thing.

Wandering into the bathroom, yawning and scratching, Harry checked himself out in the mirror. A large grin spread across his face. There was absolutely no evidence at all that a scar had once marred his pristine forehead. This meant he could cut his hair short and get rid of his fringe at last. And after getting those contacts later today, he could go anywhere and not be recognized, without a glamour charm.

"I'm free!" he hollered joyfully, bouncing in his excitement. "Free!"

Perhaps his reaction was a little extreme, but Harry had always been defined by his scar, rather than who he was, and he was glad to get rid of it. It felt like a huge burden had been removed with the flick of the surgeon's knife. Now he could be whatever he wanted, free of any expectations.

After showering, Harry sauntered downstairs, light of heart and step, to find Dobby busily humming and cooking breakfast. "Good morning, Dobby," Harry said, sliding up to the cable and pouring coffee.

"Good morning, Master Harry, Sir," Dobby said, magicking a plate of eggs and bacon and toast in front of him. "Did Master Harry sleep well?"

"Like a rock," Harry replied around a mouthful of eggs. "Listen, Dobby, do you know Knockturn Alley pretty well?"

Dobby's ears drooped a little. "Dobby is knowing it, Sir, from bad masters. Master Harry should not be going there, Sir."

"I agree," Harry said. "But I need to go there to have a new wand fashioned. Even if I didn't snap it, my old one didn't work for me anymore."

"Dobby understands. There is being a shop that is selling custom wands. Dobby's old master was buying one for young Master Draco to be studying with out of school."

"Do you know where it is?"

Dobby nodded eagerly. "Dobby can be showing you, Sir."

Just then, an owl tapped at the window. Hedwig glared at it from atop the cupboard and turned her back, giving a distinctly huffing sound. Owls, especially Hedwig, were rather territorial.

"What's this now?" Harry muttered, opening the window and allowing the arrogant looking owl to fly in. Unfurling the scroll attached to its leg, Harry fed the owl a slice of bacon before it hooted once and flew out the window.

Mr. Potter:

I received your letter yesterday, and we have taken the appropriate actions. Arthur, Molly, Ronald and Ginevra Weasley, along with Remus Lupin are all currently in custody of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Questioning will take place this afternoon, the third of July, in Courtroom Ten. The allegations you have made are serious enough that a full meeting of the Wizengamot has been called.

Incidentally, I do not know if you have heard, but Cornelius Fudge has been removed from office. I have been voted to take his place as Interim Minister, and Gawain Robards is now head of DMLE. He is quite a capable administrator, and has my full confidence in his new office. Any further information on this or any related legal questions may be addressed to him.

With hopes of seeing you this afternoon,

Amelia Susan Bones

Interim Minister for Magic

Huh, Harry thought, folding the scroll back up. Well, she always did have a thing for justice. Harry was surprised, though, that his letter had been acted upon so promptly. Maybe not everyone in the Ministry was corrupt.

He decided to attend the trial. He wanted to know if he was right about the Weasleys and Remus being complicit in the hiding of Pettigrew. Even though he had thought of this only last night, he still found it hard to believe. But with everyone turning on him, it wasn't hard to imagine that he would be thinking about things a little more closely, spotting inconsistencies and incongruities in the various stories he had been told.

But perhaps going to the hearing would a mistake. Dumbledore was sure to be present and itching like mad to get him back under his crooked nose. But he wouldn't dare try anything in the middle of the Wizengamot, would he? Would he? Was he that desperate?

Wild schemes for getting Dumbledore out of his hair began to fire off in his mind. Perhaps he could send another letter to the Daily Prophet (boy, he sure was getting really into letters, wasn't he?) insinuating that due to the more than usual interest Dumbledore took in his life that maybe he, Dumbledore, had a thing for young boys. Harry's snickered to himself. That would sure be hilarious. Yeah, he thought idly, and maybe Draco Malfoy is secretly a Veela and lusting after me all this time. And Voldemort's attempts at killing me were merely suppressed sexual tension. He felt the bile rise in his throat as his mind sent up a creepy image-that snake like face, lowering down to kiss him with its nonexistent lips...

Shuddering horribly, Harry banished those images from his mind. Bad, very baaaad! Don't go there!

Proving that he was a Gryffindor, Harry decided to go to the hearing, consequences be damned. He really wanted to know if he was correct about the Weasleys knowingly sheltering Pettigrew. And about Remus and where his true loyalties lay.

2: The Hearing

3 July, 1996

Severus Snape Apparated with a soft pop to the Ministry atrium. Stalking quickly to his assigned spot, he sneered at a couple of passing flunkies, who ran in terror. Snape smirked and set up a Disillusionment field next to the lifts. Leaning back against the wall, he crossed his arms and waited.

Dumbledore had stuck him with this sad duty: Potter catching. As if Snape didn't have anything better to do today, than stand here watching for one attention seeking brat. Besides, Potter wouldn't be so stupid as to come here, when he knew that Dumbledore was looking for him. Even the Gryffindor golden boy wasn't that dumb, right?

Although Snape wouldn't be surprised if he was; Potter had a great knack for sticking his nose into situations where it shouldn't be, he thought with a sneer. Nevertheless, even he wouldn't be dumb enough to come strolling in here-

Snape's left eyebrow rose. Well, well, well, looks like I was wrong, he thought. He almost didn't recognize the blond boy walking confidently through the Ministry. If it wasn't for the fact that he had spent a great deal of time observing Potter over the past five years, he wouldn't have recognized him at all. The only thing that gave him away was the fact that his left foot did a peculiar twitching motion on every alternate step and the distinctive scar on his left arm from the Horntail last year.

Well, well, well, Mr. Potter. We are in trouble, thought Snape gleefully.

Checking carefully to ensure nobody was watching, Snape sent a stunner quickly followed by a summoning charm. When Potter's body arrived, Snape marvelled at it for a moment. No scar, no glasses, brown eyes. What a change. Then he shook himself and slapped a portkey on him and watched as he disappeared in a bright flash of colour.

# # #

Meanwhile, back down in Courtroom Ten, Arthur, Molly, Ginevra and Ronald Weasley had been set up in chained chairs with one-way silencing charms placed around them. Sound could come in, but no sound would leave the boxes. The silencing charm would be removed only one chair at a time to avoid the defendants influencing each other's testimony. The members of the Wizengamot had filed up to the benches at the front of the room, minus Amelia Bones, who had been called away to deal with an unexpected American delegation. The buzz of conversation died out as a man with a lion-like mop of hair settled at the central seat. Off to one side, an elegant looking man in dark blue robes sat at a table with a dragon hide briefcase, looking attentively up at the Wizengamot over steepeled fingers.

"Now that we all present, let us begin," the wild haired man said, settling a sheaf of parchment in front of him, "Interrogatory hearing on the third of July, into questions regarding the possible harbouring of a dangerous fugitive, one Peter Augustus Pettigrew, by Arthur Weasley and Molly Prewett Weasley. Interrogators, Rufus Scrimgeour, head of the Aurors, and Gawain Robards, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Council for the defence; Samuel L. Hall, of Hall, Hall, and Diggle ... Court scribe, Penelope Clearwater."

There was a pause as the scribe finished and turned over a new page of parchment.

Scrimgeour beckoned and a man in sombre gray robes stepped forward. "Remove the silencing charm from Arthur Weasley."

With a flick of his wand, the charm was dropped. Scrimgeour stared unblinkingly at Arthur, who stared confusedly back.

"Your name is Arthur Jonathan Weasley, of Ottery St. Catchpole?"

"Yes."

"You understand why you are here?"

"Not really, but I am eager to help," Arthur answered, attempting an ingratiating smile. Nobody smiled back.

"You are here," answered Scrimgeour, "because questions have been raised as to why you allowed an Animagus masquerading as a man to dwell in your home for thirteen years. We find that very suspicious, and we have decided to investigate the matter."

There was a pause as Arthur looked flabbergasted, but before he could say anything, Robards spoke up. He was an austere looking man with tiny spectacles perched on a thin blade of a nose. "Let us administer the Veritaserum now, if you please. I haven't got all day," he snapped.

Silently, the bailiff stalked forward and held up a tiny bottle. "Open wide, Weasley," he said, uncorking the bottle.

Arthur did so, still looking stunned. The bailiff administered the required three drops and stepped back to his shadowed corner.

There was a pause, while the potion took effect. Arthur's eyes glazed over slightly and he sagged in his chained chair.

"What is your name?" Robards asked.

"Arthur Jonathan Weasley," droned Arthur.

"Were you aware of the fact that the rat in your home was Peter Pettigrew?"

"Yes."

A murmur of voices broke out. Scrimgeour banged his gavel on the bench until silence reigned once more. "Were you ever a supporter of the wizard who styles himself Lord Voldemort?"

"Never."

"Who else was aware of the identity of the rat as Peter Pettigrew?"

"Just Molly and myself.."

More murmuring, which Scrimgeour didn't bother silencing this time, "No more questions," he said, nodding at Samuel Hall.

Hall rose from the table and ambled slowly to stand in front of the witness stand. He sent a sardonic glance at the gathered Wizengamot then turned to face Arthur.

"When did you first become aware of the identity of Peter Pettigrew?" he asked in a cultured voice.

"July of 1982," Arthur said in a monotone.

Hall's only reaction was a slight lifting of the eyebrow. This is what happens when you don't get to question the clients before hand, he thought grumpily. He had attended Cambridge Law School, unlike most of the pureblood solicitors out there. He had been trying forever, it seemed, to bring Muggle law practices to wizarding firms, but he wasn't getting anywhere.

Sighing inwardly, he brought his mind back to the questioning. "Please tell us of the circumstances in which you became aware of Pettigrew's identity."

"It was July of 1982," Arthur recited. "Molly had come downstairs to find a man in our kitchen, fallen asleep on the table. I was just behind her and stunned him. After tying him to a chair and removing his wand, I revived him. He told us that he was Peter Pettigrew and that he had managed to escape when Sirius Black blew up the street. He was afraid other Death Eaters might be looking for him, as a friend of the Potter's, so he sought sanctuary."

"So you elected to keep him as a rat instead of possibly turning him in to the DMLE for protection?" Hall asked. It sounded pretty weak to him, but without what he knew now, he supposed the story sort of made sense. But only sort of.

"Yes," Arthur said.

"Why?"

"He said he was afraid the news that he had survived would leak out and the remaining Death Eaters would go back to hunting for him," Arthur said.

"Did you think to try and get some Veritaserum to verify his story?"

"Yes. However, it is a restricted potion and I didn't want to answer questions as to why I needed it."

Did anyone else ever become aware that the rat was Pettigrew, to your knowledge?"

"Fred and George, but we memory charmed them," Arthur droned. "They had seen him on the map with Percy and came to us about it, wanting to go to Dumbledore."

Hall nodded at the bench. "Defence rests. It appears that the Weasleys thought they were doing a good deed by hiding Mr. Pettigrew. However-"

Before he could continue, the door banged open and a Killing Curse slammed into Arthur Weasley, who slumped, instantly dead, followed by another one, which hit his wife. Nearly two dozen Death Eaters stormed into the courtroom, flinging curses like confeti. The place erupted into instant chaos.

3: The End

Harry woke up and stirred, only to find that he was bound, hand and foot, to a chair. Glancing around, he recognized the room as the same one he and Ron had shared last summer at Grimmauld Place. "What the hell?" he muttered through cracked lips.

"Awake at last, Mr. Potter," came a sneering voice which Harry recognized instantly.

"Ah, Snivellus," Harry said amiably, doing his best not to show that his head was spinning. "Lovely to see you again."

Snape backhanded Harry hard. Harry barely moved with the blow. Scrawny old Snape had nothing on the fists of Vernon Dursley. "If you ever call me that again, I will render you into potion ingredients," he hissed venomously, spots of colour burning high on his cheekbones.

"Aw, Snivellus, I never knew you cared," Harry simpered, blowing a kiss at Snape. "Now why don't you be a good little lapdog and let me go."

Snape snarled and pulled his wand and sent a cutting hex at Harry, who rolled to the side. The chair he was on splintered, allowing him to break free of the ropes tying him to it.

"Now now, Snivelly, that's no way to treat a house guest," Harry scolded, waggling his finger annoyingly at Snape, looking eerily like Lockhart. "What would Dumbledore say if he knew you were hexing his precious golden boy, eh?"

"Dumbledore isn't here, Potter, and I can do what I like," Snape growled, brandishing his wand at Harry and sending more ropes out of it, which he dodged. "Besides, he has instructed us to use any force to get you here," he sneered nastily.

"Tut tut," Harry said, dancing aside as yet another vicious looking curse shot out of Snape's wand. "The esteemed leader of the light finally shows his true colours, authorizing deadly force against a teenager. I wonder what the Prophet would pay to get their hands on this little meeting of ours. Can't you see the headlines?" He paused and looked dreamy for a moment. "Death Eater Professor Attacks Boy-Who-Lived! Albus Dumbledore endorses! Want to take bets on how long your-" he snickered and made air quotes "-teaching career lasts after that?"

"Your press cuttings will end here, because you won't remember anything that happened since the end of school," Snape sneered. "You have achieved levels of arrogance even your father could not match."

Harry pretended to wipe away a tear. "Why, my dear Professor, I do believe that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me." He sniffled. "Gets me right here, it does," he said, tapping his heart.

Before Snape could answer, he hissed through clenched teeth, dropped his wand and clutched his left forearm. Voldemort was calling him.

"Tsk tsk, Professor," Harry said, shaking his head in mock sadness. "You are so pathetic that you don't know how to do anything without somebody like Dumbledore or Moldyshorts to do your thinking for you. So sad," he said, shaking his head again.

Snape growled, actually growled at Harry, and sent a very nasty grey spell at him. Harry stepped aside and let it hit the bedpost, which melted like candy in the oven. "I will deal with you, Potter, mark my words," he hissed, before spinning and sweeping out of the room, locking the door behind him with a sharp click.

Harry sighed. I wonder how he recognized me, he thought, flopping down on the bed. Oh well, I knew it was a risk, going to the Ministry. He at least took solace in the knowledge that nobody else had recognized him at all before Snape. He had Flooed to the Leaky Cauldron and sat in plain sight at the bar, and nobody gave him a second look. It was really sad that the only thing anybody ever paid attention to was a facial disfigurement.

A knock sounded at the door. "Harry, is that you in there?"

"Tonks?" Harry said, a little surprised, as he got up and headed for the door.

"Yeah, it's me. Mind if I come in?"

"Not at all," Harry muttered. "Not like I have a choice," he added under his breath.

Tonks came in, looking as pink and spiky as usual. "Wotcher, Harry," she said brightly. "You know, if you didn't want company, you really shouldn't be here," she added cheekily, winking at him.

Harry snorted. You couldn't help but like Tonks. "And how is She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named today?" he asked dryly.

Tonks chortled, her nose lengthening and her hair dropping to just below her waist. "I like that, She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named," she said, changing her eyes to red and glaring at Harry. The effect was ruined by her winning smile though.

"Crikey, Harry, you look different," she said, just noticing for the first time. "No glasses, no scar ... it's like you're a new person."

"I feel like one," he said. "All my life in the wizarding world I've been identified with that stupid bloody scar. I got tired of it and had it removed yesterday."

"I understand, Harry," Tonks said, suddenly serious. "Being a metamorphmagus has been how people defined me as well. But enough of that depressing stuff; we need to get you out of here."

"But I thought you were an Order member, aren't you going to send me straight to Dumbledore so he can go crawling through my mind before Obliviating me?"

"Merlin no, Harry. I'm on your side, now come on, let's go."

"I don't believe you," Harry said flatly.

Tonks sighed. "Guess I can't blame you." She screwed up her face in disgust, making it look like a corkscrew, before pulling out her wand slowly. "I, Nymphadora Tonks, do swear on my magic that I mean no harm to Harry Potter and that I am not here under Albus Dumbledore's orders," she said. Her wand flashed, sealing the oath.

"There, happy now? I hate my name," she griped, glaring at Harry with her face still screwed up.

Harry laughed in spite of himself. "Thanks, Tonks. I believe you now. Let's go to my house and we can talk."

"You have a house? Blimey, but you have been busy, haven't you?"

"I sure have. The goblins helped me buy a house in Hogsmeade, right under Dumbledork's nose."

Tonks smiled, "Smart thinking there, Harry. Hide in plain sight."

Harry nodded. "Let's go, and you can tell me what's been happening, Dobby!"

With a pop, the little elf appeared, wearing another motley collection of clothes. Today it was bright purple trousers and a brown jumper with orange stripes. "You is calling, Master Harry?"

"Yeah, take me and Tonks home please, Dobby."

Before Tonks could object, Dobby snatched both her and Harry's hand and popped away, just before the door banged open to admit a furious Albus Dumbledore. Snape had sent a message that Potter had been captured, and then had to go and respond to Voldemort's call. But Potter was gone, and Dumbledore was too late ... Again. It was time to enlist Ministry aid in bringing him back into custody-for his own protection, of course. Longbottom might be his ace in the hole, but he still wanted the primary child of prophecy under control.

Turning, Dumbledore stormed back into the empty kitchen and headed for the fireplace. "Ministry of Magic," he said, and was spun away.

Dumbledore came out in the Ministry atrium to find a full scale battle raging. Nearly three dozen Death Eaters were battling half a dozen Aurors and miscellaneous Ministry personnel, Killing Curses and other dark spells flying lightning fast.

Dumbledore was caught off guard for only a moment, before the Elder Wand was whipping into action. A long rope of flame shot out and snared Dolohov, yanking him off his feet with a scream. Dolohov flew backwards and slammed into the base of the recently repaired fountain of Magical Brethren, effectively putting him out of the fight. Dumbledore whirled, just in time to avoid an organ shredding curse sent at him by a madly cackling Bellatrix Lestrange. Spinning on his foot, he sent golden ropes flying out of his wand to ensnare her, while ducking to avoid a blood boiling curse from Rodolphus Lestrange. Snatching a quick glimpse around the atrium, Dumbledore didn't see Voldemort anywhere. This was his way; send his followers to weaken a target, sweeping in afterward to complete the devastation.

"Dumbledore!" came a shout from across the atrium. Sure enough, it was Voldemort.

"How nice of you to join us today, Dumbledore, the day on which I make my final bid for power and succeed. With Potter out of the way, nothing will stand before me now."

"You will not win, Tom," Dumbledore said, advancing across the rubble-strewn atrium.

"So confident, Dumbledore, you, who have driven away the prophesied child, the only hope of defeating me, think you can win against me?"

"There is one other child of prophecy, Tom," Dumbledore said, cracking a fire whip at Voldemort who stepped away from it.

Voldemort cackled, "Longbottom? He is nearly a squib," he responded, sending a bone vanishing curse at Dumbledore, who dodged it, returning a stunning spell.

"Nevertheless, if Harry will not fight you, Mr. Longbottom certainly will," said Dumbledore, sending an icicle spear at Voldemort.

Voldemort stepped aside and snarled, "Avada Kedavra," sending a green killing curse at Dumbledore. Dumbledore realized just in time that there was no Fawkes to take the curse for him, and stepped aside, letting the curse shatter one of the golden grills in front of the lifts. The Death Eaters abandoned the Aurors and started congregating in on Dumbledore. Smirking, Voldemort stepped back and started throwing Killing Curses left and right like sweets at a birthday party.

Caught unawares and too slow to react, Aurors and other personnel started dropping like flies.

Meanwhile, Dumbledore was fighting five Death Eaters at once. They had started using a cascading spell effect, two of them would fire two spells, step back, letting two more come and fire two more spells in a never ending torrent. There were always two or more Death Eaters firing at Dumbledore simultaneously, not giving him a chance to do anything but shield. It was a devastating tactic, rather like cover fire with never-ending machine guns. Even with the Elder Wand, Dumbledore was losing ground, and losing fast. It was time to turn the tables.

Ducking under another green Killing Curse, Dumbledore Apparated behind his attackers and sent more golden ropes from his wand, which wrapped them up in a package like a side of beef. He summoned their wands and slipped them in his pocket. It was time that he do what Harry was supposed to do: disembody Voldemort again. Much as he hated to, he had to use the Killing Curse to do it.

Turning, Dumbledore ducked a flaying curse and advanced toward Voldemort. "It is time we end this, Tom," Dumbledore said gently. "There has been enough killing."

"The killing is your fault, Dumbledore. All you had to do was surrender," Voldemort sneered, sending a sickly yellow Cruciatus Curse at him, which he dodged. More Aurors had joined the fighting, occupying the other Death Eaters, who gave up attacking Dumbledore to meet them.

"You started this war, Tom, all because you had an unhappy childhood," Dumbledore said sorrowfully. "And now, it is time it ended." Dredging up all the memories of the lives Voldemort had taken, all the families torn asunder, all the orphans, Dumbledore jabbed his wand at Voldemort and murmured: "Avada Kedavra."

Eyes widening, Voldemort didn't move in time to duck the green curse. For the second time in a row, he was yanked out of his body. But this time, something different happened.

Voldemort cursed himself for not learning his lesson last time. He was about to drift up through the ceiling to go and start the potion which had returned him to a body two years ago, but before he could, he was viciously yanked in four different directions, before the ephemeral bands of magic and life force tethering him to his Horcruxes snapped and his bits of soul coalesced into one mass. And, before he could try and possess one of his followers through their Dark Marks, the magical backlash of all those bits of soul coming together severed the bonds he had tied himself to his followers with, via the twisted Protean Charm.

The magical backlash of the suddenly severed links slammed into all his followers, rendering them either unconscious or dead, depending on their power level. In short, Lord Voldemort, formerly Tom Marvolo Riddle, was dead, by the hand of Albus Dumbledore. And because he didn't have Harry Potter's magic to leech off of, he was gone for good this time.

Dumbledore watched with amazement as his Killing Curse struck Voldemort. He hadn't really expected it to work for a second time. He was even more amazed as he watched four bits of black mist come in through the wall, wailing pitifully as they rejoined the whole, before even more tendrils shot in from various directions. Then, to his further amazement, the mist disappeared; Voldemort was dead.

He didn't have time to consider why this might be, however. As he was about to turn and head for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, a newly marked Death Eater by the name of Marcus Flint, a staunch supporter of pureblood rights everywhere, saw his lord die. Before he plummeted into unconsciousness, he sent a Killing Curse at Dumbledore's back. The leader of the light and the leader of the dark lay, dead, side by side, in the Ministry atrium. It was a very anticlimactic end to the war, but that is so often how big events begin and end, with small things.

There was a deathly silence in the hall. The polished wooden floor was littered with bodies, bloodstains and smashed statuary. Only a few survivors of the twenty odd fighters were left. Before long, word would spread all over magical Britain. Voldemort was dead, and all his followers with him. A small funeral would be held for Albus Dumbledore, but because of Harry Potter's letter in the Daily Prophet and the investigations it started, not many would mourn his passing. He was charged posthumously with corruption, child neglect, child abuse, child endangerment, and a number of other political crimes. His name would only be a small addendum in the history books, and before long, even that would disappear.

A month or so later, Harry Potter took the title of Lord Black and Lord Potter, where he began to influence the Ministry for a more forward-thinking wizarding world. He hadn't wanted to at first, but Tonks finally managed to persuade him. "You leaving them all behind will make sure that both Dumbledore and Voldemort win, love," she said to him in bed numerous times. "Go in there and clean it up, so that no other children will have to go through what you did."

Finally persuaded, he threw his all into cleaning things up. He achieved a number of remarkable things in his tenure as Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, a title which he held until he died at the age of a hundred and ninety-five. He eventually married Nymphadora Tonks, much to the chagrin of the old Pureblood hangers on, since he was her head of house. Neither of them cared, however, about the bleatings of a bunch of dried up old traditionalists. Mrs. Potter Black gave him four sons, one of whom ascended to be Hogwarts Headmaster. None of his sons were named Albus Severus.

After the death of Arthur and Molly Weasley in the courtroom, Ron and Ginny had managed to escape by fleeing behind the bench and hiding there, since they had no wands. Even if their parents were cleared of harbouring a fugitive, Ron and Ginny had become known as the betrayers of Harry Potter, and, even though Voldemort was dead, they found their lives in magical Britain to be less than stellar.

Remus Lupin committed suicide three years later, after having been cleared of any knowledge that Pettigrew was at the Weasleys and being cleared of suspicion of working for Voldemort, by aiming the Killing Curse at himself. He left no note behind, and nobody missed him at all.

Hermione Granger finished her schooling at Hogwarts. She ended her career there as she started it, friendless, shunned and alone, and promptly disappeared back into the Muggle world. Her dreams of one day becoming Minister of Magic were shattered into kindling. She ended up working at her parents' dental practice as a secretary, and she got the distinct impression that her parents had given her the position very reluctantly. They finally got the story out of her, about her true years at Hogwarts and what she had done, and to say they were displeased with her would be an understatement..

Ronald and Ginevra Weasley also finished their careers at Hogwarts. Ron had tried a relationship with Hermione, but she eventually grew tired of him and, in a shouting match that would be remembered in Gryffindor tower for years, broke up with him.

Fred and George Weasley had stepped up to fill the guardian position for their younger siblings, after the death of their parents. The stigma that had marred Ron and Ginny spilled over on to the twins as well for a while, but Harry publicly told the twins that he didn't hold them responsible for their younger siblings' actions. Ron and Ginny took up residence above the twins' shop, where they became unwilling product testers. For years afterward, they still jumped at loud noises and looked over their shoulder. The twins became known as real party animals and Harry was often over at their flat, partying into the night. Ron was forced to serve as a butler for these events and Ginny made to clean up after them. After all, it was what she wanted, only to be performing these roles for Harry.

Ron never advanced beyond stockboy at the twins' shop. Ginny had tried to become a professional Quidditch player, but her history worked against her, and she was politely turned down. Eventually she had taken up working for the Daily Prophet, as a sports writer, one of the lowest paying jobs there.

Amelia Bones had been voted in as Minister, a position she held for twelve years. She, along with Lord Potter Black had ushered in a new age of prosperity, and she would be one of the most fondly remembered Ministers in history.

Neville Longbottom faired a little better than Ron and Ginny. With the death of Albus Dumbledore, nobody knew of the time release blocks on his magic, and it all came exploding out a week later, rendering him a squib for real and nearly killing those around him, while damaging a lot of property. He soon realized the mistakes of his actions and publicly apologized to Harry, who decided that Neville had given in to peer pressure and provisionally forgave him. It was hard to re earn Harry Potter's trust after losing it.

Neville had gone to work for an apothecary, as a potion ingredient harvester. His travels took him all over the world, where he eventually met his wife, Maribel Mendoza, in Argentina. They settled there, and Neville started up his own apothecary. It was rather ironic that the subject he hated most in school ended up making him a living.

Luna Lovegood graduated Hogwarts and took up as a crypto zoologist, travelling around the world and writing articles for the Quibbler that grew more and more outlandish as her sanity eroded, due to an undiagnosed schizophrenic condition. She eventually died in Africa, torn apart by a lioness when she thought she saw a Crumple-Horned Snorkack sitting in the middle of her cubs.

Most of the members of the Order of the Phoenix were arrested for vigilantism. The only ones who got out of prison time were Nymphadora Tonks, Alastor Moody and Kingsley Shacklebolt, both of whom claimed to be working in their capacity as attach├ęs of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Harry took Tonks and Andromeda back into the Black family and gave them both jobs working for his growing political enterprises, jobs which they both did well. Tonks never let her pregnancies slow her down either.

The body of Voldemort was publicly flung through the Veil of Death in the Department of Mysteries, followed by each and every one of his followers. He, too, ended up being nothing more than a footnote in the history books; the very thing he feared above all others. The founders' artefacts he turned into Horcruxes were never found again, although many still sought after the diadem of Ravenclaw. The Elder Wand's power was broken as its new master, Marcus Flint had died undefeated.

Peace reigned in magical Britain for almost two hundred years. All was well.

Epilogue: Thirteen Years Later

Hermione Jean Granger sighed and wiped yet another small child's nose. "It'll be all right, dear," she said to the little girl, who sniffled mournfully. "It won't hurt and you can get a nice lollipop after you're done, how will that be?"

"Really? Neat," the little girl said, perking up a little. "I wanna go colour now."

"You may do that, dear," Hermione said, handing the girl a colouring book and some crayons.

Hermione sighed again and reflected on her life. Who would've thought that Hermione Granger, brightest witch of her generation, would be reduced to wiping snotty noses and filling out patient forms at her parents' dental practice? That too, a position that she was sure was given to her reluctantly by her parents. Every application she'd turned in had been rejected for one reason or another. She took the Daily Prophet at her house and had watched Harry Potter's astronomical rise through the Ministry and felt very resentful. It should've been her advising him, not Andromeda Tonks. She, Hermione Granger, didn't do anything wrong, so why, oh why did everybody turn on her?

Just then, a man in a sharp Armani suit strode briskly through the door, "I have a notarized letter for a Miss Hermione Granger," he said, consulting a clipboard.

"That's me," Hermione said from behind her desk.

"Here you are, now just sign the form here," the man said, barely looking at her.

Hermione signed the form and was handed a thick creamy parchment envelope. It wasn't until the man was just about to close the door that she recognised him. "Harry?"

Rising quickly, Hermione ran through the office and yanked open the door. Glancing frantically up and down the busy street, she didn't see him anywhere. Wait, there was a limousine, just turning down a side street.

"Harry!" she screamed, racing down the sidewalk, bumping into pedestrians and leaving shouted curses in her wake. "Harry!" But by the time she reached the corner, the limo was out of sight. Standing there, Hermione looked dejected. Head hanging, she trudged slowly back to the dental office and picked up the envelope Harry had handed her.

Inside was an invitation. Hermione felt her eyes well up with tears as she read it.

To all witches and wizards of Great Britain:

It is with great excitement that I, Chief Warlock Harry James Potter Black, do hereby invite you to the inauguration of the first Muggle-born Minister of Magic, Michael Corner. This event marks a crowning achievement in wizarding history, for never before has a Muggle-born held such a prominent position in the Ministry.

The inaugural ball and acceptance speech will take place in the grand Ministry ballroom on October the third at eight PM. Should you desire to attend, please present this invitation in the atrium.

Join us as we bring forth a new era of cooperation, effectiveness and accountability and welcome Michael Corner as the new Minister of Magic.

Signed,

Harry James Potter Black

Chief Warlock

The thing that hurt about this invitation was the fact that, although Harry had delivered it personally, he made absolutely no acknowledgement of her. He, in fact, had pretended not to know her at all. There was no personal postscript; it was just another invitation, like all the others that had undoubtedly gone out. And the thing that hurt most, and the message Harry had undoubtedly been aiming for, was the fact that it could've been her giving the inaugural speech if she hadn't turned on him.

With this final slap in the face from her past life, Hermione Jean Granger put her head on her desk and cried for all that she'd lost. Nobody in the wizarding world would ever hear from her again.

THE END