5 Years Later
It was a beautiful summer morning at Hogwarts. The grounds were looking extra pristine with wedding decorations set up all over. The castle looked like it was in as good shape as it had ever been. Nearly any signs that a battle had been fought here were not to be seen. The only thing that reminded people of the now famous 'Hogwarts Battle' was the lone memorial erected near the lake with all the names of those who had perished fighting for freedom along with a brief summary of the events that had occurred. Of course, that day would also be taught at Hogwarts for generations in History of Magic and in the newly revised edition of Hogwarts: A History. That wasn't counting the scores of books that were still being written on the subject, and on Harry Potter's role in the battle. Feeling content as he ever was, Harry looked at his watch and, after straightening his robes, realized he'd better get a move on.
'And if there be anyone here who objects to these two being married…let him speak now or forever hold his peace.'
Harry smiled as he looked at Susan. He couldn't believe this day had finally come. He would have never believed it, but couldn't be happier. Susan returned the look before putting a hand to her stomach. She was five months pregnant expecting triplets. Ron had laughed uproariously saying that he deserved a large loving family. Harry couldn't have agreed more. Grabbing the hand of his wife, Harry turned back in his seat to look up at the wedding couple.
Laughing to himself, he watched Hermione and Draco exchanged 'I do's'.
Thinking back on how this day arrived, Harry remembered that after the battle, it took Draco nearly two years to convince Hermione to go out with him. She had refused, but finally Draco pulled out his guilty card saying he had saved her life twice in the past and that maybe he deserves at least one date. Besides, hadn't he proven himself over the years since they'd become allies. Finally she relented, and it took another six months before she went out with him again. After that, it was typical drama as they were on again, off again, would they or wouldn't they, type of relationship. But after Hermione, Susan, Ginny, and Luna had a long talk together, things between them went fairly quickly after that.
Returning his attention to the ceremony, Harry noticed how beautiful Hermione looked. Her green-silver hair stood out in contrast to her white wedding dress. Hermione had a scar that ran from the end of her left eye an inch or two down her cheek from the battle, that she worried about, but nobody gave it a second thought, seeing it as much a part of her now as her hair was.
Shacklebolt took out his wand an cast a golden arch before it dissipated on them, making them both glow white.
"Take out your wands please." Shack instructed them and together they touched the tips of their wands and they disappeared in a bright flash before it receded.
"I give you Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy!" Shacklebolt said to the grinning faces and clapping of the audience. Susan looked over to make sure their three year old daughter was doing okay, but Uncle Hagrid loved the little girl to death, and she adored him playing with his beard while bouncing on his knee. Turning back, Susan clapped as the couple laughed from the rice being shot out from wands in the audience while Dobby made sure the reception was ready to start.
"So Harry…" Ron said with his wife Luna sitting next to him. Luna and Ron got married a couple years ago and had a nine-month old son named Gideon, after Molly's uncle. The names Arthur and Percy were taken by Bill and Charlie. Bill's first child, born in the middle of the final battle, was a boy named Fabian, and the second they named Percy. At the moment, Bill was still working for Gringotts helping to restore relations between the two societies.
Once the Professional Quidditch Leagues started up again, Ron tried out for the Chudley Cannons, but his heart just wasn't in it anymore. Madam Hooch had been killed during the battle, so McGonagall offered Ron the position of flying instructor and Quidditch coach. Ron jumped at the chance of showing off his skills and bragging of his school Quidditch matches to a new generation of kids each year. Luna's father finally passed away a year ago from injuries sustained in the battle, and Luna kept the Quibbler going from their home on a quarterly issue basis while living in Hogsmeade. Ron and Luna were currently trying for a second baby.
Tonks and Charlie, who got married a month after the battle ended, named their son Arthur. He and Fabian were currently running around the dance floor with Tonks trying to keep up. Due to her services to the school and her leadership in the battle, Tonks was given the position of Head of Magical Law Enforcement. Charlie was also able to take a position under the Department of Control and Regulation of Magical Creatures. Once Arthur was born, Tonks resigned her position to take care of him full time. She currently held their newborn son Ted, two months old.
"So Harry…have you and Suz picked out any names yet?" Ron asked.
"Ron, they're not naming one of their kids after you! Why don't you name your next son after yourself?" Ginny scolded him from behind while limping slightly to the table to sit down. Neville held both of their dinner plates.
"Come one Gin, having your best friend name their child after you, that's an honor, but naming your own son after you, well…that's just embarrassing."
Ginny indeed felt a slight twinge in lower leg whenever she took a step, but said she was used to it. While Ron decided against professional quidditch, Ginny excelled at it. She was rookie of the year as a chaser on the Holyhead Harpies. As she didn't have to walk while playing, she said she always felt free while flying, something Harry could relate to. She and Neville put off getting married for a while, but soon felt that time was passing them by too quickly, especially after watching Harry and Ron get married, that and the fact that Molly was constantly giving her grief. She and Neville were finally married a little less than a year ago. Neville found his niche as Madam Sprout's apprentice and teaching assistant at Hogwarts. Since she said she was getting ready to retire, she wanted to teach Neville her trade during her last two years of teaching before leaving. Neville was to start as the official Professor of Herbology that fall, with he and Ginny living in Hogsmeade not too far from Ron and Luna…but not too close either.
"Come on Gin, Ron is a great name…it's strong, respectable, inspires people…"
"Well, we aren't naming our child after him that's for sure." Neville said with a sly smile.
Susan and Luna got wide smiles of hope.
"Giiiinnnnn…." Susan said to Ginny's own growing smile.
"We're having a baby!" She exclaimed. Susan and Luna jumped in squeals and gave her a hug. She was only a couple months along, but the yells of her friends got Hermione's attention and wandered over from the crowd of well-wishers and jumped just as excitedly as the other girls when hearing the news.
Ron and Harry congratulated Neville and started offering him baby advice, making Neville start to turn green with fear. He relaxed a little after realizing they were just giving him a hard time.
Once the music started up, Harry took his wife in his hand and danced slowly. Watching Daphne and Ted dance together, he delved back into more memories. Ted had been heartbroken with Hannah's death. When Hannah's body had been taken to the hospital wing, Madam Pomfrey performed a mercy killing on her, saying that leaving her like this-alive but soulless and catatonic was inhumane. Daphne had been there to support Ted, giving him a shoulder to cry on and slowly romance bloomed between them. Ted felt guilty for a while, thinking that he was somehow betraying Hannah's memory, but slowly things worked out. They were recently engaged and planned to be married either at Christmas or next spring…they were still deciding. Bets were being placed on Christmas amongst Harry and his friends.
Blaise was another story altogether. After the war, she traveled and was gone for quite a while. She always kept in touch, but Harry suspected she was trying to find herself and her place in the world. She surprised everyone by returning after three years and stating that she was back for good. She was currently single, but rumor had it was that she and Victor Krum had been writing exclusively for the last couple years, and when she returned, he was the first one she visited. The other bet going was how soon it was before those started dating exclusively. He was warmed in his heart to see Victor finally happy as those two mingled amongst the guests.
"Daddy, can I have some cake? Uncle Hagre says I have to ask you first, but Faben and Artee are having some!" Harry and Susan looked down to see their three year old daughter-Elizabeth James Potter, dancing on the heels of her feet and staring at the cake being cut and handed out by Fred and George.
"The smiles those two are sporting appear a bit too big, in my opinion." Susan commented.
"They wouldn't dare, not at Hermione's wedding. She'd skin them alive." Harry said.
"Mommy can I?" Little Lizzie whined when her dad didn't answer her right away.
"Okay, but bring it here first before you eat it, Fred and George might have charmed it to turn you into a snail."
"Aww, cool! Fwed, Gorge, Mommy says you can turn me into a snail!" Lizzie said excitedly and ran off to the desert table.
"No, wait, Lizzie, I didn't…urggg!" Susan ran after her daughter knowing the twins just might humor the girl.
Fred and George's joke shop took off like a rocket after the war. Everyone needed a laugh, and they capitalized on it. They were such a success because they would advertise their products on themselves. If people saw they were harmless where the owners were not hurt, then everyone and anyone could use them. Besides, it showed good business that they could take a joke when being a victim. Harry endorsing them certainly didn't hurt either. Angelina had died in the war, causing Fred to immerse himself in his work, but slowly was brought out if by George saying he wasn't living. Fred was currently single and wasn't really looking. Harry could still see the pain on his face when the war or Angelina's name was brought up. George was single too, but was playing the field and had no desire to settle down anytime soon. Molly was pulling her hair out about those two, but was usually diverted by the twins reminding her that she hadn't seen her grandkids enough.
"I'm actually hungry for some dessert myself." Harry said eyeing the desert table his daughter had just ran to. Walking over, he saw Remus visiting with McGonagall and Flitwick.
"Harry, I was just telling Remus here how much we miss him." Flitwick said.
Remus was allowed to keep teaching History of Magic, but due to health reasons, had to quit. He had given the revelation that due to his injuries in the war that he was slowly dying. He had been hit with a multiple silver arrows in his arm and chest that went into his bloodstream. While he had gotten the arrows out, the arrow tips had unknowingly broken off, remaining inside him and slowly poisoning him. It was just recently discovered because they all assumed his health issues were related to his monthly transformations, but when they saw the real reason, too much silver was in his system and he couldn't handle it. He announced it at the recent end of the school year to his closest friends and said that he'd likely last for another three or four months. That was two months ago. Arrangements were already being made, although an official statement hadn't been announced yet to the community at large. This was probably going to be one of his last public events.
"We all will miss you." McGonagall stated emphatically.
"I wish you'd let me call in a specialist, money isn't an object." Harry said.
He'd been trying to convince Remus that a cure might still be possible, but after Remus witnessed all his best friends from school perish during Voldemort's height of power, and seeing more of them die in the last battle, Remus said that he was ready to move on.
Harry heaved a sigh before nodding his head. "Okay, I'll floo over to Grimmauld in a couple days and we'll catch up."
Remus smiled. "I'd like that."
Finding his wife eating an extra-large piece of cake with Lizzie, Harry sat down next to them while wiping the cake off his daughter's cheeks.
"Shacklebolt just told me that he received a request for an additional three people for when I'm on maternity leave." Susan commented.
"I'm not surprised, without you, they'll need just that many to keep up."
When Shacklebolt was appointed as new Minister of Magic, he quickly sought out and offered jobs to Hermione and Susan as Unspeakables in the Department of Mysteries. While Susan and Hermione were not ready to reveal how she and Harry had joined souls, Susan did agree to help research other areas that they were working on and she had been rising through the ranks ever since. Susan currently was the assistant to Director Andrews, who had fled the country when the Ministry was sacked by Voldemort.
Susan was happy to rotate around to different areas when help was needed. She only worked part time, but director Andrews said she was invaluable.
Hermione, on the other hand, refused Shacklebolt's offer, saying she didn't want to deal with Ministry politics, red tape, and so forth. Instead, she fell back on her first love of Transfiguration, and McGonagall had been more than pleased to give Hermione her old spot at the school. Harry suspected Hermione just wanted to have the Hogwarts library within reach when she needed something.
Draco started up his own Flying Broomstick company currently found in the new and improved Diagon Alley and his latest model was currently being tested by Ginny. If successful, Ginny had agreed to use it next season as its official sponsor. However, since she became pregnant, they got one of her teammates to do it for her since Ginny would be taking the year off from quidditch. She would still endorse it through ads and such. Funny enough, the broomstick was called 'Little Red', the nickname Draco had given Ginny. One time, Harry asked Draco why he called her 'Little Red' instead of 'Little Ginger?" Malfoy laughed saying simply that it annoys Ginny to no end not calling her ginger.
"Oh, did I tell you. Dudley sent a letter to me the other day; his wife just had the baby. A boy… named him Jared."
"Oh, that's wonderful." Susan said. "Did he send pictures?"
"No, but he said he will soon. Oh and get this, the baby kept changing its hair and eye color!" Harry said laughing.
"No way! Dudley's baby is a wizard, and a Metamorphmagus?" Susan gave a howl of laughter. "How are Vernon and Petunia going to take that?"
"Dunno, but we'll be seeing him at the platform each year, not to mention seeing Jared at Hogwarts someday. I haven't told Tonks yet, but she'll be ecstatic."
"I'm sure." Susan said.
Waiting for the line to thin out, Harry and the rest went over to officially congratulate Hermione and Draco. After giving her a long hug, of which Malfoy made a comment about wanting his wife back, they pulled apart.
"I can't believe this day arrived." Harry said grinning ear to ear.
"That makes two of us." Hermione responded. "But, it's been a long time coming."
"No kidding, took me forever to get you to agree to go out with me…but it was worth the wait." Malfoy wisely finished, while Hermione gave him a brilliant smile.
"Oh, thanks for letting us use the villa in Tuscany for our honeymoon." Hermione remembered.
"Anytime, but I should warn you Dobby and Winky insisted they prep it up for your arrival."
Malfoy groaned upon hearing that. "So, the entire place will be nothing but pinks and reds with flowers everywhere?"
"Probably." Harry agreed laughing. "Have fun!"
"Oh, I'm sure we'll be too busy to notice the décor anyway." Hermione added with a smile back to Malfoy.
"Oi, too much…too much." Ron said in jest covering little Gideon's ears.
"He's not even a year old Weasley." Malfoy chided.
"Hey, it's never too early to teach him not to listen to you." Ron replied back with a laugh.
"Anyway," Hermione cut in after giving Susan, Ginny, Neville, Ron, Luna and the rest of the them hugs, "Thank you everyone for being here."
Soon enough, the reception came to an end and the sun started to set. Waving good-bye to Hermione and Draco as they apparated away to their honeymoon, Ron walked up to Harry with Luna holding little Gideon.
"You never did say if you'd chosen names yet for your triplets?"
"We know it's a boy and two girls, so we were thinking 'Lily Luna' for the one girl…"
At that Luna sported a huge grin and felt overwhelmed by the honor. "You're naming her after me? I don't know what to say?"
"You don't have to say anything Luna. You've already said it all with your actions." Susan added. Harry nodded in agreement while continuing to answer Ron, "as for the other girl it'll likely be 'Hermione Amelia' and…'Sirius Ronald' for the boy."
Ron's eyes got wide. "Serious?"
"Sirius." Harry said laughing.
"Yes!" Ronald said pumping a fist in the air.
"We haven't made any final decision yet Ron." Susan added quickly. "We may change our minds to name him Jason." Susan gave Harry a look indicating the discussion wasn't final yet.
Ron got quiet for a moment before extending his arm. "Suz, here, let me help you walk back to the castle, say have you finally decided on a godfather yet…"
Everyone laughed as they all said their goodbyes. Harry looked up to the castle, his only real home. Thinking on lesson plans that he'd have to start up again, Harry realized that the new term was coming up pretty fast.
Once the war was over and all the funerals had ended, Harry took time off and just relaxed with Susan, doing things he never got to do growing up. He went to the movies, took a long vacation, and just enjoyed the simple things in life. He and Susan didn't waste much time and were engaged within three months of the war ending, married six months later. McGonagall had questioned him after announcing their engagement if he still planned on being an auror. Shacklebolt had been trying desperately to get Harry to apply. However, Harry realized that his true joy came in teaching the DA and teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts. He'd had enough of Death Eater's, dark lords, and always looking over his shoulder. No, if he could teach the next generation of kids the right way to do things, then maybe nobody would have to worry about dark lords anymore. Once he told McGonagall his desire to teach, she hired him on the spot and Harry had been teaching there along with Hermione, Neville and Ron ever since.
"Shall we apparate home to Hogsmeade or shall we just walk?" Harry asked Susan.
"It's such a nice evening, let's walk for a little bit. Although, Dobby and Winky might be worried if we're late." Susan added.
"That's okay, I'm sure they'll appreciate the free time before the babies come, after that they're going to be as bad as this little one." Harry joked as he gave Lizzie a tickle while she laughed and squealed. Harry scooped her up and tickled her some more before setting her back down again, noticing for the first time that Lizzie's hair was red at one angle and blonde at another. Raising his eyebrows, he realized that maybe Susan's hair color was now genetic. He idly wondered what the triplet's hair would all look like. He hoped that it was tamer then his own hair which still would stick up at all angles.
Walking slowly across the Hogwarts grounds with the sunset reflecting off of the lake and Lizzie swinging between Harry and Susan's hands, Harry felt the immense rush of love from his wife. Smiling, he returned it happy and content to listen to the laughter of their daughter while feeling the perfect weather of the summer evening. Harry took a moment to glance up toward the graveyard where his parents, Susan's parents and Dumbledore were buried and felt at last peace in his heart.
Reflecting on his and Susan's' parents and the memories of their interaction together caused him to ponder on his and Susan's soul transference and the damage Voldemort did to his soul. He knew that real magic lay within the heart. Real magic, as Harry's own mother had demonstrated, began with unconditional love.
Yes, Harry realized nodding to himself, he was really learning the true worth of the soul.