Disclaimer: I own nothing of the Harry Potter characters.
A/N: Here is the final epilogue of the trilogy. I had thought and even wrote a different ending to the story and although this might not be the popular choice it is as I originally envisioned and wrote.
To all my many readers out there I offer a heartfelt thanks for your kind returns and continued support.
There are many Harry Potters' in many different fictions. Some will thrill and amaze whilst others will tear at the heart. I have and will continue to give different versions in different stories. That said, on with "Half Alive/ Half Dead" and "From the Shadows". I also will be list a new fiction in its entirety soon; titled: "The end was only the beginning".
I am also working on a new fiction of my own that will be available in fall.
My best to all of you!
Chapter Thirty: Epilogue-Phoenix Rising
"Sixty years? Has it really been that long...already?"
His companion snorted her confirmation.
"She's still a beauty, still has that blazing look about her. For awhile there I didn't think she'd ever find it again, but I guess it's true that 'time heals all wounds', eh?"
It was a long time before his companion answered and then it was only in a language that he alone could translate.
"Siss-tha pafff rathhh raaa?"
"I wasn't referring to myself, but yeah,.. I'm fine. Besides, I've got you 'ol girl,.. or are you finally getting tired of me?"
An incredulous snort of flame answered his jest.
"They're cutting the cake... figures Ron would be first in line. Some things never change. I wonder if she bakes as good a cake as her mum did?"
"Why don't you come down and have a piece so you can judge for yourself?" A familiar female voice asked, stepping up alongside him.
He'd heard the faint displacement of air from her apparition moments ago. No one could ever sneak up on him, let alone Fiona.
"Hello Fiona." The new arrival greeted his companion fondly, getting an appreciative snort in return.
Hermione wound her hand through the crook in his arm. "Come home, Harry." She pleaded softly, as she'd done dozens of times before over the years.
Part of him wanted to take her up on her offer, the other part, the better part, knew it wasn't meant to be.
"You know I can't and you know why." He returned softly his hand molding over hers on his forearm, each drawing comfort from the other.
Hermione nodded that she did, though she was clearly crestfallen by that decision. She would never stop asking and he loved her for it.
"You could be down there." Hermione nodded down toward the Burrow's yard where many generations of Weasleys were currently celebrating Ginny's fiftieth wedding anniversary. They were perched on a nearby hill, hidden behind a veil of disillusionment, enjoying the spectacle in anonymity.
For ten years Ginny had mourned and pined for her lost Harry. It had been ten bitter, lonely, agonizing years... for the both of them. Then she had found love again, or more properly, had let herself love again.
"They would be overjoyed to see you." Hermione continued coyly.
Harry snorted at that. "They'd be terrified. I'd scare ten years off Ron that he can ill afford."
"It's not against the rules, is it? I mean if I can know that you're still,.. well- you , then why can't they?" she tried to argue.
It too was an old argument.
Harry sighed as he was running out of ideas on how to appease her and quell said arguments.
"It's a matter of faith, 'Mione." He felt her hand slightly tighten on his forearm conveying her pleasure when he used the affectionate abbreviation of her name.
"It's one thing to believe and it's another to know."
"But even Fiona knows?" Hermione scoffed.
"And who's she going to tell?" Harry shot back pointedly as he was the only parselmouth in existence, and the argument was just that; his continued existence.
Fiona snorted irately at that and burst into the air with a blast of her powerful wings, flying off in a huff.
"Oh, very nice... there goes my ride." Harry grumped.
"Hmmph" Hermione snorted.
"Now you're sounding more like Fi, want to take her place?" Harry chuckled.
"Thanks, but one friend riding me already is quite enough." She shot back without thinking. "Omigod!" Hermione slapped a hand over her face and blushed violently despite her years. "I can't believe I just said that?" she grumbled in mortification.
"Har-Har-Har" Harry was bent over howling in laughter.
"Shut up!" Hermione scolded.
"Got Fi's temperament down too." He commented wiping the tears from his eyes.
Hermione glared at him indignantly, but held back a retort. Instead she sidled up next to him and continued watching the festivities in the Burrow's garden. The youngest of the Weasley children, Fred and Katie's great-grandchild was chasing butterflies, becoming more and more disappointed as she was too small and clumsy to catch them as many of her siblings and cousins had.
Finally the toddler collapsed in frustrated tears, unnoticed by the other children as she was sitting amidst the tall field grass.
Harry smiled gently and magic began to swirl around the two of them caressing Hermione like a warm breeze. He blew out a breath and from their vantage point, Hermione could see that a large blue butterfly floated onto the child's knee.
Tears turned to gasps of wonder.
"That was nice of you." Hermione commented.
Harry just shrugged indifferently.
Hermione glanced over toward her oldest and dearest friend, besides Ron, of course. She was a mature witch, steadily moving into her reclining years. Though she was very strong, magically speaking, she was showing her age. Though, at ninety- four years old; she looked pretty good- thank you very much.
Silvered hair, that Ron professed loving. Her once full hips were getting a tad boney,.. also Ron loved.. obviously so. Gravity was also catching up.. if you know what I mean?
Harry though... Harry looked no more than the thirty-three years old he had been when he'd died in Ginny's arms with his friends around him.
Died yes,... but then reborn in Phoenix Fire. It was not Harry, but Ginny that had brought the Fire that final time, though she had never been aware of having done so. Harry's body perished, but his soul moved on and was taken in and nourished by the phoenix. Years he'd spent healing and learning from the phoenix. Until finally,.. he was reborn, but not as a man,.. but, Phoenix.
It was a difficult concept to grasp and Merlin knows he'd tried to make her understand, but from what she could grasp, the Phoenix are immortal beings tasked with keeping peace and order within the very universe. Though he had vehemently denied it.. she suspected he was an angel. At least the true representation of what the mortal world perceived angels to be.
They were the celestial servants of the light. Those who watched over and aided mortals when and if the light willed it so, but in Harry's case, she had no doubt that it was often a matter of contention whether it was purely Harry's will alone.
The Phoenix Foundation and Knight Watch had grown to epic proportions, spanning the entire globe and because of Harry's dream; the world was a better and far safer place.
But,.. there had been times... Dark and sinister times when the world was at the brink of war only to miraculously right itself and flourish anew.
Draco had often commented that there were occasions in the midst of pitched battled when he and his brother knights had lost all hope only to find a renewed strength and the courage to win through. It was in those times, that Draco had sworn he had felt Harry's presence fighting alongside him.
Harry had never admitted to such when she'd asked him about it. In fact he scoffed indignantly at the notion, giving all credit to his once fellow knights. That it was their own courage and conviction that had seen them through.
Harry Potter's continued existence was the best kept secret in the world. One that she and only a very few select others were privy to.
His existence? What exactly could one claim was his existence? He looked, felt and even smelled like Harry Potter, but he wasn't, at least not wholly. He had once been Harry Potter and although he still responded to the name, he was something else entirely.
He was phoenix: The power of creation incarnate. He was the living embodiment of the light's will. He was love, rebirth and renewal.
At length, Hermione gave up trying to unravel the mystery that was Harry's-existence and simply appreciate the moment.
There had been many such moments over the years and all of them wondrous. He usually never announced his presence, but she could always feel when he was near.
Some of those occasions had been heart breaking, difficult times when she'd been consumed by her grief. They had been times of horrific despair as despite her magical abilities she had been powerless to amend the crisis.
When her daughter Rose had nearly died from a nasty bout of Dragon Pox and the healers had given up hope, she had collapsed in desperate tears only to have a gentle hand lift her up and her spirit soared in the knowledge that everything would be- "fine".
When her mother had died and she had cried long into the night. A light had found her in the darkness and reassured her.
"How's my mum?" she asked curiously, pulling herself from her once despairing thoughts.
She didn't know, as he would never say, but she suspected that he visited many people and many places with many planes of existence. He is after all, Phoenix.
Harry smirked at that question. "Feisty"
Hermione grinned at that, adding. "And Molly?" Molly had passed only a few years back. That had been especially hard for the family as Molly had long lamented her lost seventh son and Harry's name had been upon her dying lips.
It was odd that, but Hermione could have sworn, by the tone of Molly's voice, that she was wondrously acknowledging his unseen presence.
He never admitted to such, but Hermione suspected he was there for Molly when it had mattered most.
Harry sighed wearily. "She thinks I need to eat more." answering her previous question vaguely.
Hermione chuckled. "Do you? I mean,.. do you even eat?"
"When I'm hungry." He answered dead pan, enjoying the way she rolled her eyes.
"Do you visit them often?"
"I'm there right now, at least in part."
"I- I wish I could..?"
"Be like me?"he guessed.
Hermione nodded, sniffling slightly.
"Perhaps you will one day." Harry surmised. "For now, enjoy the moment. The rest will work itself out in time."
Harry paused as if listening to something that only he could hear. With a reluctant sigh he turned toward her and informed her of his eminent departure.
"My time grows short."
"But couldn't you.." she began to whine, but he cut her off.
"My existence is both blessing and a curse, Hermione Granger-Weasley. You know that better than most. Whilst the Phoenix Fire is a wondrous thing it is that terrible as well."
Harry kissed her forehead, gently , reverently and then disappeared like a leaf on the breeze.
She never knew when she would see him again. It could be a day, a month, years or perhaps not even in this life.
He came and went at whim, but somehow; always he found a way to bring comfort and reassurance when it was most sorely needed. She suspected that he was always around, at least in part, watching over and guiding them just as he had after that first time he had supposedly fallen in battle with Voldemort .
Time and again Harry had cheated death. All except for the one time when he had wanted to more than ever before.
But even then, he had and hadn't cheated death. He had transcended it. Through his death he had become the living embodiment of rebirth. Death would never again darken his door.
Harry would go on eternally. His unending existence would be one of duty and self sacrifice, just as his life had been. He would never know what it was to hold his newborn child in his hands, yet he could keenly feel each new life as it was brought into existence.
He might never know the intimate pleasure of physical love and passion, yet he was the very embodiment of love at its purest and most noble form.
He would watch as stars collapsed only to be reborn greater than ever before as new worlds sprang into existence. Civilizations would rise and fall under his watch.
And yet he took the time to gentle a butterfly into the hands of a crying child renewing her faith and sense of wonder.
The Phoenix Fire is as Harry proves, a gift, but one that is both more wondrous and terrible. For a balance must be maintained. To give it must take. A terrible power to be sure, but one that Hermione felt was now wielded in the most capable of hands.
The hands of a Knight.