Disclaimer: All your base are belong to us. Apart from that, not much else are belong to us at all, including the Harry Potter franchise. Also, no Weasleys were harmed during the making of this story.
2019 foreword: This angry little piece of literary reckoning was written all the way back in 2007, right after I finished reading the freshly published Deathly Hallows and that delightful epilogue. Which was almost twelve years ago. Beg your pardon? Twelve years, you say? These numbers don't even make any sense anymore. Math was a mistake. Who started that nonsense?
In any case, it was the very first piece of English-language Harry Potter fan fiction I ever wrote, after originally playing around with the material in my native tongue, German, a couple of years earlier, which even back then (having read the first four books in German prior to switching to the original English versions) ended up feeling wildly unnatural in the setting.
I frankly haven't dared to take a look at it since 2011, when I first uploaded it here, which is why the realization that people occasionally still click on it makes me a bit queasy. Were I more acutely aware of the indubitably exceptional quality of the writing encountered below, I probably couldn't sleep again before pulling a frantic all-nighter of a revision rampage.
Therefore, in a weird way, I'm actually quite proud of myself for being able to just leave it here in the public eye like that, in its true vintage state. Take that, George Lucas! Indeed, it takes... well, I'm not sure exactly what it takes... maybe some special brand of ultra-slick devil-may-care attitude, maybe laziness... but boy do I have it in spades!
It could really use a bit of an overhaul though, innit?
(I just tweaked the punctuation in the final paragraph. Damn it!)
One Big Happy Weasley Family
19 years later…
Autumn couldn't have arrived faster that year. The morning of the first of September was as cold and grey as Harry felt deep inside, but the Potters – a.k.a. The One Big Happy Weasley Family Division One – walked chatting and laughing across the dirty road towards the great, old station. The fumes of car exhausts, making the children cough and hold their breath, polluted the once fresh air. Two cages, which barely offered enough room to their inhabitants – two owls with hanging wings and empty eyes –, rattled on top of the laden trolleys the parents were pushing ahead. The red-headed girl trailed tearfully behind her brothers, clutching her father's arm.
"What is it, Lily or Ginny… Molly or Minerva, or whatever we called you?" asked Harry wearily.
"My name is Lily Luna, dad!" the child said somewhat exasperated, as if it weren't the first time she had to remind her father of her name.
"Whatever," Harry said indifferently.
The One Big Happy Weasley Family Division One reached the barrier between platforms nine and ten. Harry didn't take any notice of his two sons resuming their argument they had started in the car.
"I won't! I won't be in Hufflepuff!" said the younger one desperately.
"James Remus Rubeus, give it a rest!" said a side-character named Ginny.
"I only said he should be," James replied, grinning at his younger brother. "With a name as stupid as his he should definitely be there. Wasn't it supposed to be the house for morons?"
But the boy caught his mother's eye and fell silent. The Potters approached the barrier while James already ran towards it, vanishing just a second later in the seemingly solid wall.
"You'll write to me, won't you?" the younger son asked his parents immediately, daring so only in the absence of his intimidating brother. "Dad?"
Harry, woken from his apathy by a sudden pain in his left leg, looked up from the ground and, after catching a hard look from Ginny, down upon his son.
"What?" he asked as if awakening from a deep slumber.
Ginny shook her head disapprovingly, bowed down to her son and said in a sweet voice: "Every single day, my little Albybaby."
"Mom, don't call me like that," said the little Albus, nervously looking around; making sure no one had overheard this.
"Let's just get going, shall we?" said Harry unnerved and pushed the trolley along with his son towards the wall. He somewhat wished he would just vanish within the barrier, never to return to this world again; one of his many wishes that would never come true.
Once on platform nine and three-quarters they saw Ron and Hermione with their children, a.k.a. The One Big Happy Weasley Family Divison Two. While James tried to bind Albus to the front of the Hogwarts express, Harry absent-mindedly watched Hermione and Ron bickering about something, as always. Nineteen years, he thought, in which – surprisingly – nothing had changed at all. They approached and greeted them.
"Parked all right, then?" Ron asked Harry. "I did. Hermione didn't believe I could pass a Muggle driving test. Thought I'd have to hex the examiner."
"Which you did," Hermione said coldly. "And I could as well have parked the car myself."
"Oh, really? You are way too stressed out to drive a car," Ron responded, then turned to Harry, who was rubbing his forehead. "The children are just too much for her, man."
"I wouldn't be so exhausted if you would take care of the children yourself for once!" Hermione spat through gritted teeth.
Before Ron could retort anything, his attention was taken by a silver-blond haired man who strode past them nearby.
"Malfoy," Ron greeted him sternly.
Draco looked at them and nodded curtly, then his gaze locked with Ginny's and he said with a smirk: "Hey, Ginny," and with that disappeared in the crowd.
Ginny blushed and looked away, busying herself with taking the luggage of her children to the train. Harry watched all this with utter indifference, though he had suspected for a long time now that there was something going on behind his back. Not that he cared. He was again disturbed in his daydream, this time by Ron.
"Hey, mate. Say, did I lend you my copy of How to keep charming a witch throughout the marriage?" he asked in a low voice. "I can't seem to find it and don't recall where I could've put it."
"Why would I have it?" asked Harry, showing no interest in the subject at all. He hated those books, though he had never read them.
"You are married, right?"
"I'm afraid so."
"Well, I for my part could really use it right now. There's some stuff I don't remember in every detail and… I'm kinda lost right now. You know, with Hermione. Sometimes it's just as bad as those seven years before I found Twelve fail-save ways to charm witches and became… well, more like… you," Ron explained his tragic situation.
"Isn't it good to be yourself again for once?" asked Harry.
"Yeah, one would think," Ron replied. "But Hermione doesn't seem to share that opinion. At least not at as long as we're talking about me being myself."
"Yet she hasn't been herself in about twenty-one years…" whispered Harry more to himself. Luckily, in that very moment Ron's attention was again taken by someone else who approached and greeted them happily, yet with a dreamy voice.
"Hey, guys," said Luna. "How is my one big happy Weasley family?"
While Harry seemed to sink into his hands again, Ron smiled at her und shook her hand, of which she wouldn't let go for a second too long.
"We are…" began Ron, then stopped and thought for a moment. "Well, one big happy Weasley family, right?"
"Yes you are!" confirmed Luna cheerfully. "And I would've loved so much to be a part of it."
"You could still marry George or Percy, you know?"
"That's actually a great idea. If we go on like that, we could have Hogwarts full of a single, one big happy Weasley family one day," said Luna full of excitement. "Or even the whole wizarding world. Wouldn't that be cool? There would only be muggles and Weasleys!"
At that point, Harry couldn't take it anymore. He didn't care to excuse himself and instead just walked away from the group and flung himself onto an empty, red wooden bench. He looked around. The whole platform was full of people – happy people. Excited children, taking their luggage on to the train, and parents – half laughing, half weeping, but happy nevertheless – waving their kids goodbye. Why couldn't Harry be one of them? What had gone wrong? Why was there always this feeling that something was missing from his life? He felt like there had been a time when he'd had it right in front of him, but somehow, somewhere in time he had apparently lost it. Perhaps during the same time he had lost his purpose in life. The day he had fulfilled his destiny to triumph over Voldemort, something had been taken from him. Everything.
In this moment a warm, caring voice disrupted his silent reverie and someone sat down beside him.
"Hey, you," said Hermione.
Harry just smiled faintly at her, then turned his gaze back to the ground.
"Talk to me," she said and waited a few moments, then laid her hand tenderly on his shoulder. "Please, don't shut yourself out. You know I can sense that something is bothering you. Very much, I dare say."
"Yeah, you always sensed that," he said.
She gave him a warm smile and Harry took a deep breath.
"You know…" he began slowly, not sure how he was supposed to express this. "I mean, did you ever have the feeling that something… went wrong in your life?"
She nodded thoughtfully, watching him closely.
"It's just that I think that somehow the most important thing of it all is… missing. I don't even know what it is, but I still miss it. And I can't really live happily without it. I just know it. And I also know that I will never obtain it. It's just gone… I've lost it. And that… well, that breaks me. I will never really rejoice – I just know it. Life offers happiness, it really does. But not to me. Not to me, Hermione."
"Harry…" Hermione whispered sadly, softly caressing his back with her hand.
"It's like someone else is controlling your life, you know?" Harry continued. "Like god, or the universe or whatever. If it's a god, then I don't really like him."
"I know, Harry. I know," said Hermione with a tear running down her cheek. "It's like some weird person who doesn't know what's good for us is steering us through our lives. I felt like that ever since we were in Hogwarts. Well, it started later, near the end of our time there, I think. All those strange, even completely insane things kept happening to us. Remember those birds I tried to kill Ron with? How silly was that? Sometimes I didn't even feel like myself anymore – a stranger to myself. Like… Hermione Stranger."
At this, they both shared a laugh, way too fast overtaken by sorrow again.
"I know," said Harry in a low voice. "And now we're here."
He watched Ginny helping the kids on to the Hogwarts express and Ron chatting animatedly with Luna.
"How did we get here? How did this happen?" asked Hermione with desperation in her voice.
Then Harry gently turned her face to his and wiped away her tears with a soft motion of his thumb. For a moment, both of them stared into each other's eyes in complete silence, taking notice of nothing around them.
"You've never read Twelve fail-save ways to charm witches, did you?" asked Hermione suddenly.
"Uhm… no! I think the whole idea of it is rather vulgar," Harry replied, quite confused.
"Fascinating," Hermione breathed, watching him like the most unbelievable miracle in the world.
Harry couldn't help but smile upon seeing the expression on her face.
"You are the sweetest thing, Hermione. The most beautiful soul in this whole damn world," he told her with all honesty, feeling something inexplicable in his heart and making her turn red and look away.
He then felt disturbed in his peace and, turning his eyes away from Hermione, noticed Ginny standing right in front of him. While heart and soul froze again, something else woke inside him. Something connected neither to heart nor to soul, only controlling the middle part of his body; the beast in his chest. Ginny seemed to feel the same and said to Harry in a seducing voice: "Let's just get rid of the children, shall we?"
Harry stood up and, with a last glance at Hermione, walked back to the others, noticing his youngest son was not yet on the train.
"Love is such a beautiful thing," said Hermione, and Ginny smiled at her.
And with that she followed Harry, leaving a wistful Hermione behind.
Harry reached his son and dragged him to the nearest open door, but little Albus whirled around before they reached it and looked at him expectantly.
"Dad?" he asked. "What if I am in Hufflepuff?"
"Albus Severus Aberforth Sirius Godric Dudley," Harry said quietly, so that nobody else could hear them. "You were named after a bunch of guys I once knew, of whom no one was ever in Hufflepuff, but whose names, once combined and given to a single person, give reason enough to commit suicide."
His son looked at him rather agitated.
"Well…" Harry said, clearing his throat, "One of them was a really great man who loved my mom so much I can't even describe it with words. They just don't do it justice, you know? He gave everything for her. He lived and ultimately died for her. She was his reason to breath."
"That sounds like true love," said the little boy impressed.
"Yes," answered Harry. "Yes, it really was. Much more than what your mom and I share, which is really nothing more than sexual tension. Now that I think about it, that seems to be the foundation of every relationship I've seen in my life. Makes me wonder about my parents, too. We live in a strange world, son."
Harry was silent for a moment, deep in thought, not noticing the reaction of his youngest son.
"Let me tell you something life taught me: when you finally get to know some girls, the one you share everything with; you have that special connection, that deep inseparable bond with; the one you care about most and the one who's always there for you, never leaving your side – she'll be like a sister to you. The one you want to have sex with – that will be your wife. So, don't listen to your heart, my son, but always listen to that little chestburster of yours."
His son, completely deranged by now, started crying.
"Well, let's just get on the train then, shall we?" said Harry and hastily scurried his son towards the door, closing it behind him.
The train started moving and all those remaining on the platform stepped back, waving and shouting goodbyes. Students were leaning out the windows, returning the gestures. The train moved faster and faster while the parents kept waving and smiling, Harry somewhere between them. Watching his kids glide away from him, he realized he would have to spend the whole time until Christmas alone with Ginny and the rather absurd idea of jumping onto the train right now crawled into his mind.
The last trace of steam evaporated in the autumn air. The train rounded a corner and vanished from sight. Harry's hand was still raised, if in farewell or in the attempt to hold on to the train he did not know himself.
"He'll be all right, I guess," murmured Ginny.
As Harry heard Hermione and Ron arguing behind him again, he lowered his hand absent-mindedly and touched the lightning scar on his forehead. He sure had a headache, but it had nothing to do with that scar.
"Of course he will," he said. "He's the one who's leaving."
The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. Yes, his heart ached. There was this deep longing in his soul for something he couldn't put a name on. He felt empty and unfulfilled; his life seemed like a total waste of time. But at least his scar didn't hurt. All was well, right?
~ The End ~
The place where I tell you what that thing you likely already knew meant
• One Big Happy Alien Annotation: The term chestburster is, of course, a reference to the Alien movies and H.R. Giger's irresistibly charming creation, wherein over the course of the xenomorph's life cycle the chestburster is the embryo that gets implanted inside the chosen host's chest cavity by the facehugger, before it rather inconveniently comes bursting out of it once it has grown to a certain size. Hence the rather straightforward moniker.
Growing up as an avid fan of the Alien movie mythos, primarily based on the exceptional first two entries, this was honestly the first thing that came to my mind when I encountered that weird beast in his chest in the books, and it became my personal, unapologetically spiteful metaphor for what the alleged love between Harry and his flawless soul mate groupie is all about. Besides the obvious Oedipus complex, that is. I dare presume I understand what Miss Rowling was going for with that thoracic creature of Harry's, but I found it about as elegant a descriptor as a throbbing sensation in his boxers. Behold, the pantsburster!
Super Special 2019 Note: In response to a commendably observant, anonymous New Year's reviewer, I wish to emphasize that this story is most assuredly not intended to be viewed as a genuine meditation on the nature of love, or anything else for that matter. It's an unapologetically cynical parody that sets out to drag virtually every single aspect of the epilogue through literary mud. Including the weather and the traffic, if I remember correctly. It's not to be mistaken for a user's manual and you should definitely not try this at home! Very little in here is supposed to be taken seriously, except for the underlying sentiment that the canonical epilogue is, for several reasons, a travesty. One might even go so far as to declare One Big Happy Weasley Family a travesty of a travesty.
Within the context of a more serious narrative framework I would never see Harry sullying the memory of his parents like that and questioning the substance of their relationship, the depth of their affection for him and one another, while simultaneously idolizing the unconvincingly written outcast who never got over his high school crush and spent the greater part of his last seven years making the life of her son as miserable as possible. Snape unquestionably has his qualities as a fictional character and the late, great Alan Rickman naturally elevated him with his usual aptitude, but his overall character arc was probably not the most plausible plot ever conceived. More importantly, however, I do in no way see Harry actively shipping his mother and our dear Snivellus sitting in a tree. Unless, perhaps, if it's the Whomping Willow. Furthermore, he would never name one of his children Albus Severus. Please, Miss Rowling, please! This is child abuse!