30 Years Later
"...and you've got interviews for your new aide today, Mr. Potter, beginning at noon, so just a few minutes."
"Thank you, Matilda," Harry said, reaching over to pick up his quill. "And how are you doing? Not still having morning sickness, I hope."
"Oh, no, that ended long ago," Matilda said, waving a hand. "I'm anxious to get the little bugger out, though - I'm starting to wonder if he's actually a bludger -"
"When is your last day again?"
"Two weeks, sir." She checked her clipboard. "I should go back to my desk so that I can greet your first aide candidate. Miss Reed, American girl, I screened her myself - very sharp - I think you'll like her."
"Brilliant," Harry said as he drew out a sheet of parchment for taking notes. "Thank you, Matilda. Go ahead and bring her back when she gets here."
Trying not to scrawl, he dated the top of the sheet in the trademark blue ink of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Detecting who was handling the sheet, the parchment sprouted his letterhead - "HARRY JAMES POTTER, ORDER OF MERLIN, FIRST CLASS, CHIEF COMMANDER, DEPARTMENT OF MAGICAL LAW ENFORCEMENT." He thought it looked a little ostentatious, himself, but Matilda insisted that he needed to be an authoritative figure and that meant all the trappings to go along with it. His aide had been a godsend, really, ever since he had been promoted from Head Auror four years ago. He was sad to have to replace her.
"Right this way," he could hear her say, no doubt directing this Miss Reed to his office. A glass orb on his desk glowed, letting him know that he had another visitor checking in for him at the front desk of the Ministry, and his attention was on it as the young woman first walked into the room.
"Good afternoon," he said, standing, taking his eyes away from the orb and reaching out a hand. His eyes took her in and he froze, words fleeing his mind.
"Good afternoon, sir," the young woman said, shaking his hand. "I'm Lillian Reed. It's good to meet you at last." Her eyes narrowed slightly. "Is something the matter?"
"No," Harry said, trying to hide his astonishment. "No, you just...remind me of someone."
There was absolutely no mistaking that reddish-brown hair, the slight angle to the eyes, the way the nose curved or the way she carried herself just so, every movement an expression of grace.
"Someone you like, I hope," Lillian said in a slightly nervous, joking tone.
Harry nodded. "Very much," he managed to say, "Though I haven't seen her in a very long time. Seems almost like...another life."
"You may have known my mother at school," Lillian offered. "My foster parents told me that one of my parents was British, and that I was born here, though they didn't know much else."
"It's very possible," Harry said, trying to calm his gibbering brain. He took a quiet, steadying breath. "So what brings you to Britain? I understand you were raised in America."
"Looking for ancestry information, actually," Lillian responded. "But I don't have a lot to go on. Most of the birth records were lost in that explosion a few years ago."
Harry nodded. "Quite a few important things were lost in that explosion. I remember it well." He pushed his glasses up with one finger and picked up his quill, the original shock finally beginning to wear off. "Please, tell me about yourself. And details - I'd like to hear details..."
Harry's eyes flicked to the parchment in the black frame at the corner of the desk. In Matilda's precise hand, silver letters began to appear: "Your husband is here to see you." He glanced at the clock; it was a quarter of one. He turned his eyes back to the young woman sitting in front of his desk; she was straightening her bottle-green robes anxiously.
"Lillian," he said, the name feeling oddly familiar on his tongue, "it has been a pleasure meeting you. You can expect my owl in a few days' time." On the parchment in the frame, he scribbled "send him in."
Lillian's face brightened. "Thank you, sir." She smiled impishly as she turned to go, looking over her shoulder. "Out of curiosity, what might I expect it to say?"
Harry grinned, suppressing a laugh as he stood up to open the door for her. She always had tried to worm surprises out of him. "Let's just say that you are a strong contender for the position."
There was another smile like a sunbeam. "Have a good afternoon, sir."
"You as well," he said, opening the door. He could see Neville striding toward him from down the hall in his waiting room, but he stopped and stared in open astonishment as Lillian passed him.
"Did you see..." he asked as he approached, eyes wide, glancing back every few moments. "She's -"
"Lily. I know." Harry watched her turn a corner and then she was out of sight. "Even the name."
"Odd, isn't it, how these little coincidences happen," a voice behind Harry said mildly. Harry turned slightly.
"Professor," he said to the portrait, nodding once in greeting. The portrait of Dumbledore responded in kind.
"Professor Longbottom," Dumbledore said, turning slightly to face Neville, "How do you think the new Charms professor is going to hold up? Very young, but quite brilliant - I saw her interviews. What was her name again?"
Neville licked his lips. "Clarke, I believe. Miss Daisy Clarke." Harry spun from the portrait to look at Neville. Neville nodded solemnly. "That's what I came to tell you about. I thought I was going mad..." he glanced down the hallway where Lillian had disappeared moments before. "Not so much now."
"What was that you said about coincidences?" Harry asked, turning back to face the portrait. Dumbledore took off his spectacles to polish them on his robe.
"Why, just a simple observation," he said blandly. "Coincidences are odd enough in themselves, and for two such amazing coincidences to happen at once, why...that almost seems as though someone would have to have a hand in the situation." He carefully placed his spectacles back on his nose. "Not that I'd know anything about that, of course."
"Of course not," Harry said, a smile slowly starting to pull at the corners of his mouth. "Just out of curiosity...you wouldn't happen to know where the actual portrait of Dumbledore is right now, would you?"
"Why, I do believe he's consulting with one of the apothecaries at St. Mungo's," the portrait said, winking. Neville's eyes darted between the portrait and Harry, understanding beginning to slowly dawn on his face. The portrait smiled knowingly at Neville. "Do have a good school year, Professor Longbottom. I'm sure the newest staff member could use a mentor, don't you?" Neville nodded, looking as though words were failing him.
"But how are they here?" Harry asked. "They're not even supposed to exist."
"Well, of course they exist," the portrait said in an amused tone. "They just aren't your daughters. Same souls, different people." He smiled blandly. "Although not too terribly different, as I'm sure you've noticed. Pardon me, good sirs, but here is where I make my goodbyes," the figure said with a hint of finality, beginning to walk out of the frame.
"Why?" Harry blurted before the figure that wasn't quite Dumbledore had left the frame entirely. The figure paused.
"Why?" His eyes twinkled. "Let us just say that deeds are always rewarded, given enough Time."
And he stepped from the portrait without another word.
Harry unconsciously reached behind him for Neville's hand, who just as reflexively took it.
"So you think you'll hire her?" Neville asked in a conversational tone.
"She has some unique qualifications," Harry responded. "And you? Think you're going to take this Professor Clarke under your wing?"
"She'll be like the daughter I never had," Neville said wryly. Harry laughed, was somewhat surprised to find that there were tears in his eyes along with the laughter, and tried to figure out where they were coming from. Neville pulled him close with one arm, reached out to close the office door with the other, and held him, Harry's back to his front.
For the time being, Harry ignored his inbox and the day's appointment sheet. He closed his eyes and settled back against Neville, who shifted to hold him just a little tighter. Their minds were both elsewhere, but their minds were elsewhere together, and somehow, Harry pondered, it seemed as though a balance had been returned to the world.
He felt something odd, then, and reached into the pocket of his robes to pull out the flask of dancing lights. He'd not seen it for years; it had failed to reappear after the night he had defeated Voldemort. Neville made a surprised sound as Harry unstoppered it and the timelines flew from the glass neck to fill the room.
Where the lines had once frayed and dulled, they now simply dimmed, growing faint before disappearing into nothing. There was Harry's, and Neville's, twined around one another like a twist of rope; there was James, their brilliant grown son, twining around another line before fading into the future; and from nowhere seemed to come two other lines that sashayed about Harry and Neville's before settling in as a part of the complex weave that was the rest of their lives.
Harry twisted his neck to look up at Neville and smiled. "Together, then?" he asked as he pulled out his wand. Neville answered Harry's smile with one of his own as he drew his wand as well. In time with each other, they flicked their wands and the lines dissolved into millions of tiny sparks, diamond-bright and shining, before twinkling back into the nothingness that is forever.
And with that, all truly was well.
First of all, I'd like to thank each and every one of you for reading, and I'd especially like to thank everyone who left reviews. I don't write simply to relieve the pressure of not writing, although that's a large part of it; I also write so that I can share with everyone and I love to hear if people are enjoying it, or if something just doesn't seem quite right. If you've never before left a review, leave one now and let me know how I'm doing.
The real purpose of this note, however, is to let you all know that there are several chapters that I wrote for Revisionism that ended up on the cutting room floor. I much prefer to have the Big Damn Kiss and then epilogue, rather than dragging the story on for several more chapters, and I ultimately cut those chapters to go straight to the epilogue. However, I like what happened in the years after Harry and Neville leaving school: where and how exactly James comes into play, what really happened in Bath with the necromancer (which originally was just a throwaway line in chapter 1!), and how Harry and Neville's relationship plays out during their twenties. They just didn't fit with the flow of Revisionism, as Harry and Neville are unaware that they're revising their timelines as they live them, unlike the major theme of the parent story.
After tinkering with these chapters for a while, they ended up morphing into their own story that deserves to not only stand on its own (albiet with unseverable roots in Revisionism), but also be posted. If you enjoyed Revisionism, check out Lost in Revision available now on my author profile.
Again, thank you for reading.