In this story, Harry returns to Hogwarts twenty years after the Battle of Hogwarts. He takes a trip down memory lane and teaches his son a lesson that he had to learn many years ago.
There are a couple of references to my other story, "The Wake of A New Beginning," but if you haven't read that story, it shouldn't be a problem trying to keep up with this story.
I came up with this after rereading book seven and my other story. And in getting ready for the final chapter in the movie series!
I hope you enjoy reading this!
It had been twenty years to the day. The day when Harry Potter defeated Lord Voldemort for the last and final time.
Harry stepped out of the castle, walked down the familiar steps, passed by Hagrid's cottage and continued on to the memorials that had been erected to a secluded area of the grounds twenty years ago. He briefly glanced back at the castle and smiled.
Hogwarts stood magnificently against the dusky backdrop. Its turrets stood high, casting shadows over the grounds. The stone walls faintly shone in the fading sunlight.
It was everything Harry could remember. His first home, the first place he had ever felt like he had friends, the first place where he felt like he truly belonged.
He remembered fighting the troll with his two best friends, Ron and Hermione, way back in first year. They still laughed about it to this day. He thought about fighting through obstacles, with Ron and Hermione at his side, of course, to get to the Philosopher's Stone. He laughed aloud, thinking about the toilet that Fred and George had sent him when he was lying in the hospital bed, recovering from his fight with Voldemort and Professor Quirrell.
Harry glanced at the Whomping Willow, still in its movements, and grinned at the memory of him and Ron crashing Ron's parents' Ford Anglia into it. He had been so afraid that he would get expelled that night, especially since Muggles had seen them. Still staring at the Willow, Harry looked down at its bark.
Since he was so far away, he couldn't really see it, but Harry thought he could see the small knot at the base of the tree. The knot that forced the Willow to freeze, allowing a werewolf to hide within its passageways that led to the Shrieking Shack. He smiled thinking about Sirius Black, his godfather, and Remus Lupin, his favorite teacher. The Shrieking Shack was where he had found another family. He had learned the truth behind his parents' death and believed, for about a half hour, that he would be living with his father's best friend.
Harry turned from the sight and continued his way down to the grounds. Harry visited Hogwarts often, but did so less and less with his children attending Hogwarts. He knew they didn't want him breathing down their necks at every chance he got.
But today...today was a special day. It was the twentieth anniversary of Lord Voldemort's death.
And Harry knew that he had to be back at Hogwarts for this.
Ron and Hermione were there, also, but they were eating dinner with the kids. Ginny, likewise, was also there, with the children, along with a number of other people who fought on this day. Professor McGonagall, the current headmistress, allowed for a vast number of people to visit Hogwarts because of the twentieth anniversary. She knew, probably more than anyone else, how important it was for people to remember the past in order to make a better future. She even arranged for a short memorial ceremony to be held in the morning.
But tonight Harry wanted to be alone.
Professor McGonagall, ever perceptive and loyal, requested that nobody visit the memorials until morning. She had given Harry the smallest of smiles and the briefest of winks and knew that she meant for Harry to be alone on the grounds, amongst the memorials.
Harry thought about McGonagall for a bit. Though she was no longer his teacher, she was headmistress of kids, he still refused to call her anything less than Professor. Even when she urged him to call her Minerva, Harry never thought it gave her the full respect she deserved. He thought back to that fateful night and McGonagall helped him defend the school like nothing before. She didn't ask any questions, didn't demand answers; she simply stood behind him against the most fearsome wizard of all time.
An arrow came whizzing past Harry's head. He suddenly stopped and looked around, toward the Forbidden Forest, from where it came.
A couple of centaurs stuck out their heads, Rone and Magorian. They bowed their heads at Harry and briefly saluted him with their hands. Harry nodded in return, silently wondering where Firenze was. With a swish of their tails, the centaurs turned on their heels and cantered into the Forest.
He stared after them for a few moments. Harry had not been back in the Forest since Voldemort "killed" him.
After a few more strides across the grounds, Harry finally came to a stop. He looked up at the memorial that had been placed on the grounds at his request.
The names shone brighter than ever and Harry smiled, knowing that the efforts of the all of the people on this memorial had not been in vain.
His eyes lingered on the names of Remus and Nymphadora Lupin. He hoped with all of his heart that he had done well by them. That he had helped raise Teddy Lupin in a way that made the two of them proud.
He stared at Sirius Black's name for a long time. Harry remembered when he thought he could kill Sirius Black. When he wanted to kill Sirius Black. And now, all he wanted was for Sirius Black to return to him. He never wanted Sirius to prematurely leave this earth. Even after all this time, he still felt as though it was his fault that Sirius had died. If he had only not fallen asleep during his exam, if only he practiced Occlumency, if only he didn't have a 'saving people' thing, as Hermione had said. Then maybe Sirius would have been alive. Maybe he would have stayed alive.
But Harry knew that no matter what he did, it didn't really matter. Sirius probably would have fought to death during the Battle of Hogwarts or he would've been involved in another accident, maybe. Harry just wished that he had gotten a little bit more time with Sirius. After the battle, Harry moved into Sirius' old house, Number 12 Grimmauld Place. He enlisted the help of Ron, Hermione, and Kreacher to make it fit for living. He kept Sirius' old room exactly how it was, but put almost all of Regulus' things and other Black family heirlooms in storage. Last summer, James had asked if it was all right if he moved into Sirius' old room. Harry believed that James wanted to feel close to him and to his grandfather and Harry permitted it. It was a good thing the old house had plenty of room because of the growth of his family. He also invited Teddy Lupin to stay over as much as he wanted to.
Tears filled his eyes when he looked at Fred Weasley's name. Though most of the Weasley family had found a way to celebrate Fred's life every time they thought of him, thinking about Fred still brought tears to Harry's eyes. Seeing George without his twin still brought tears to his eyes. Of course, he would never admit that out loud, not even to Ginny, but Harry found that it was still weird seeing George without Fred. Even after all this time, he wasn't used to the sight of just one of them. He never forgot that it was Fred and George who gave Harry the Marauders' Map. It was still dead useful and Harry used it sometimes to check on James and Albus. When Ginny found out about it, she scolded him and hid the map, but he and Ron found it in the end. Ron wanted to make sure that Rosie was staying away from Scorpius and the two of them checked it on occasion to make sure their kids were doing fine. Hermione brought up the idea of passing it down to James, but Harry brushed it off. He was surprised that Hermione would even suggest such a thing since it was the Marauders' Map that helped conceal a lot of the wrongdoing that Harry and his friends would do. But she tried to convince Harry that James would have wanted something that belonged to his grandfather, his namesake, and the Marauders' Map is just that. Besides, she told Harry that she knew he would be highly disappointed in his son if James never found any of the secret passageways out of Hogwarts. Again, Harry was surprised at this. First, he noticed that she used almost the exact wording that his godfather used to him so many years ago. And second, it was almost as if she were condoning the type of wrongdoing that James would do. In the end, Harry and Hermione agreed that James can receive the Map when he's older, fifth year Hermione said, seventh year Harry said, so that it wouldn't tempt him too much.
Harry grinned at the memory and continued to read down the names. He glanced down at the bottom where the name Tom Marvolo Riddle was written, along with his many supporters. He stared at Bellatrix Lestrange's name and remembered with a jolt in his heart, how much he hated her. The hate toward Bellatrix dissipated slightly through the years, but hearing and seeing the name still brought back bad memories of Sirius' death. And how he was responsible for it.
Through the years, as he became Head of the Auror Department, Harry has tried to see into the mind of an evil wizard. He tried to be understanding from where they were coming from. He remembered feeling a little bit sorry for Voldemort, actually Tom Riddle, after he found out that Riddle was born of a loveless marriage and his mother pretty much chose to die rather than take care of him.
He looked at Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody's name. In his training to become an Auror, Harry tried to follow Moody's lead. He heard stories about Moody and wanted to bring the evil wizards to justice in the most humane way possible. He spent a great deal of time with Kingsley Shacklebolt, the longtime Minister of Magic and a former Auror, learning from him.
Two tears ran down Harry's face as he looked upon Dobby's name. Dobby, a free elf who saved and cared for Harry much more than he deserved. He thought about receiving the official warning from the Ministry and shook his head at the memory of the first time he met Dobby. He had thought that Dobby was the most irritating and infuriating creature ever. Not to mention, weird. And then he thought about Dobby using his magic to seal the barrier to platform 9 and Three Quarters and his Bludger that nearly killed Harry. But, in the end, Harry knew that Dobby was only trying to protect him. And through everything that he had been through, he wished desperately that Dobby was still here. He had never, never wanted the house-elf to die for him. But that is how it ended. By a knife from none other than Bellatrix Lestrange. He was glad, however, that Dobby's resting place was in the most beautiful place possible, nearby Shell Cottage, where his brother-in-law, Bill and his wife, Fleur lived with their children. He had last visited Dobby just the previous week and had lain a single sock on it, one that was blue and covered with fish. It reminded Harry of the time during the Triwizard Tournament, when Dobby helped Harry with the second task by giving him gillyweed.
At long last he looked up at the two names that followed him around everywhere he went. James Potter and Lily Potter. His parents. Since his meeting with them with the Resurrection Stone, he accepted their deaths with more understanding. He realized and knew that they, along with Remus and Sirius, would always be with him, no matter what. They knew what was going on with him and they were there with him every step of the way. On his wedding day, he knew that his father, Sirius, and Remus were standing up at the alter with him, right next to Ron, who was his best man. On the day that James, his first-born, was born, they were waiting alongside Ron and Hermione in the waiting room at St. Mungo's. Or maybe, he had thought at the time, they were with him in the hospital room, coaching Ginny along.
When James was born, the first thing Harry saw was his striking, jet black hair. The same hair that greeted Harry every morning. Already, it stood in all directions. And when his son first opened his eyes, Harry noticed that they were precisely the same shade of brown as Ginny's. He and Ginny had already decided that their first son would be named in honor of Harry's father and godfather and Harry was proud to say that James Sirius Potter was living up to his name. In only his third year at Hogwarts, James has managed to receive a number of detentions, lose a number of house points, and find a way to sneak into the kitchens. Which is why Harry is so hesitant to hand down the Map to his eldest son. He already worries about him enough; he didn't want to think about what would happen if James was loose on Hogsmeade with his friends after hours.
He thought about his middle child, his second son. The first thing he did was open his eyes and stare into his father's eyes. Harry saw green eyes before him, the same green eyes that he shared with his mother and now, his son. He knew then that he had to honor two of the greatest men that he knew and though Albus Severus was still very young, he, too, was living up to his namesakes. He is a very bright, young child. He always questioned everything, wanting to learn more and wanting to know more. He wanted to know how and why things worked and he had a natural affinity toward potions. Harry never forgot that Severus Snape had loved his mother for almost all of his life. He never forgot that Snape had helped keep him alive. He dearly hoped that Snape knew how much he appreciated it, even if they hated each other.
His youngest child had received her mother's striking red hair. It was actually Ginny who suggested that they name their daughter after Harry's mother and Harry who thought of their close friend Luna Lovegood. Harry never forgot that after Sirius' death in their fifth year, he felt like Luna was the only one who understood him. He remembered not being annoyed at her quirky remarks. And, like her brothers, Lily Luna Potter, lived up to her namesakes. While she was not as out there as Luna Lovegood was, Lily had an extremely open mind that accepted any and all types of explanations. She was very kind and compassionate and loved all animals. Harry had a vague memory of Lily unintentionally freeing all of the caged exotic birds at the zoo. It was when she was first coming in to her powers and Lily disliked how the birds were held captive. He smiled at the memory, remembering that it had reminded him of the time he accidently let a boa constrictor loose before he found out he was a wizard.
After a long time, Harry moved away from the memorials and headed further down the Hogwarts' grounds. He stopped when he reached the tombs of Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape.
In the light of moon, the tombs brightly shone; one of sparkling white marble and the other of black.
Harry stood between the two tombs, wanting to say something, but not sure of what to say. At long last, he spoke.
"Dumbledore...Snape...you are the two greatest headmasters of Hogwarts that I have ever known. And two of the most bravest men that I have ever known. I hope that I will continue to live my life bringing honor to your legacies." He addressed Snape more than Dumbledore, for Snape's name was still besmirched by questions of his true loyalties. "I know that you risked your lives when you were alive. I know that it was hard. But please, believe me when I say that it was not in vain." He turned to Snape's tomb. "And...I know in her own special way...that my mother loved you too."
He looked down, wiping tears that had fallen from his eyes during his short speech. He glanced up, hearing the shuffling of feet and whispers around him.
Harry looked up in delight, seeing his family and friends, led by Ron and Hermione, approaching him. He nodded to the two of them and Ginny held the children back, smiling at him, and understanding his need to be with the two people that he had been to hell and back with.
"How you doing, mate?" asked Ron, putting a hand to Harry's back.
Harry nodded. "I'm fine," he replied. "I was just..." he gestured to Dumbledore and Snape's tombs. "Going down memory lane, I guess." He smiled.
Hermione nodded and gave him a hug. "I know we come back every year, but...it all just seems so unreal, doesn't it?"
Ron put his arms around Harry and Hermione and hugged them both close. "Dumbledore and Snape. To two of the best headmasters ever." He snickered a bit. "Imagine me saying that about Snape."
"Ron!" scolded Hermione. "He did a very noble thing."
"I know, I know! I was just saying..."
Harry looked at his wife and nodded her over. She released her hold on her eldest son and he came bounding to his father, uncle, and aunt.
"James. How was your supper?"
"It was great," answered Ron, rubbing his stomach. "The house-elves haven't lost a beat." Hermione hit him in the stomach and Ginny, Rose, and Albus laughed.
"What are you doing out here, Dad?" James asked. He looked at Dumbledore and Snape's tombs. "Being this close kind of gives me the creeps."
"Of what, James?"
Ginny heard the concern in Harry's voice and gestured to Hermione to leave the two alone. The two mothers began telling their children other stories about Hogwarts, with Ron commenting on a few things. They moved further down, closer to the memorials.
James was playing with a rock that he had found on the ground, rubbing it between the bottom of his shoe and the grass. "Dunno..." he answered.
"I just don't like being this close to the tombs, that's all. It makes me think that...I dunno...I'm gonna die soon."
Harry furrowed his brow. "Anything can happen, James, but I don't think you have to fear death. You shouldn't ever have to fear death. Do you fear death?"
James was silent for a bit, still looking down. "Yeah, I guess," he answered in a small voice. "I dunno..."
"Why do you fear death, Son?"
James shrugged, reluctant to answer. "I don't want to die."
"I don't want you to die, either, but-"
"But what?" asked James, his voice rising. "They died, they all died! Your dad, your mum! Sirius Black! Remus Lupin! You said it yourself, that they were the closest thing you had to a family and they died. They all died!" He angrily gestured to the tombs nearby. "Snape! Dumbledore! And you! You were an orphan! Because they all died! What if we become orphans? Me and Albus and Lily! And even Rose and Hugo! What about them!"
He kicked a rock so hard that it landed in the lake. The giant squid gently used its tentacles to push it back out.
"James," began Harry gently. "They died in a war. Your mum and I...your Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione...we're not going anywhere."
"But what if another evil wizard tries to take over the world?"
Harry bit back a smile. "Then, you know, we'll leave it to Dennis Creevey," referring to another Auror in his department.
James pouted at Harry. "I'm serious."
"So am I." He put a hand on James' shoulder. "Listen, James. My parents, Sirius, Remus and Tonks, Snape, Dumbledore...they died in a war. They died to make this world a better place. And trust me, this world is a better place. For you, for your brother, for your sister, for your cousins."
"And if another evil wizard takes over the world..."
"And if another evil wizard takes over the world, then-"
"Then I can fight him off like you did?" said James, hopefully.
Harry furrowed his brow. He held up a hand. "We'll see about that. But James, you do understand, don't you? Your mum and I, we're not going anywhere, I promise you that. We love you, James, and we always will. No matter what you do."
James fell silent, taking everything in. "But what if you die? Not by...an evil wizard, but by something else. What if you die?"
Harry put his hands on both of James' shoulders and bent down to look at his son in his eyes. "Then know that I will be going on the next great adventure."
"Huh?" James looked confused.
"Dumbledore once told me, 'To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.' If I die...then be happy for me, for I can go on the next great adventure. Death is not something to fear, James. When you are ready, it will be there. You just have to welcome it with open arms. Death is as sure as breathing to live is. Do not be afraid of it, James. It is only fearful because it is unknown. Do not pity the dead, James." Harry recalled the same words that Dumbledore had spoken to him in a dreamlike state. "Pity the living and most of all, pity those who live without love. During the war, we stood up and fought because we had something to fight for. But we knew, we knew that there was always a possibility of death. But, if that time had come, we would've been ready to embark on the next great adventure."
James looked more confused, but he didn't say anything.
Harry smiled at his eldest son and stood up straight. "Come on, I want to show you where Aunt Hermione once fought a boggart during our exams and she got points off because she couldn't fight it off." Harry laughed a bit. "It was of Professor McGonagall telling her that she'd failed everything!"
James managed a small smile and allowed his father to lead him away from the tombs. He looked back at it, full of more questions than ever, but decided to think about it on his own and come back and talk to his father about it some more.
But there was one thing that he was sure of: If death looked at him straight in the face and said, "You're coming with me," James was no longer afraid at what was to come. He had many adventures at Hogwarts and he would look forward to more.
Thank you for reading! Please review and let me know what you think!
I couldn't remember how far apart in age Albus and Lily were, so I just left out the younger siblings in the pretext that they were not yet old enough to attend Hogwarts. Let's just say that they were staying with Grandma & Grandad Weasley while Harry and company made an early trip to Hogwarts.
I can't believe the final part of the movie is coming out at the end of this week. It feels so bittersweet. I can't wait to see the end, but with the last part of the movie, it's truly the end of this chapter. Here's to hoping that JKR will revisit Harry and friends in the future!