There comes a time for every Harry/Hermione shipper when they write a story like this one, so here is mine. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all associated characters and places are owned by JK Rowling and not me. I do this for the fun of it.
How Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Should Have Ended
Harry staggered down the steps from the Headmaster's office in a daze. He had to die. He could not believe it. He did not want to believe it.
But it made so much sense. His being a Horcrux explained everything; the Parseltongue, the visions…
So after all that… after everything that he had been through, it all came down to this; he, Harry, had to die. It was the only way for Voldemort to be killed.
Harry had never really dreamt of a future, never allowed himself to ponder what he might do with his life once the war was over, and yet now, knowing that he had to die, knowing that he had no future, he felt strangely hollow.
And it hurt.
Harry's feet had carried him to the top of the Grand Staircase, and it was here that he came to a sudden stop. He hadn't wanted to see anyone, as he knew that doing so would make walking to his death even harder, but she was there, at the foot of the stairs, waiting for him; a worried expression on her face as she looked up at him.
Feeling almost numb now, Harry made his way down the steps to face his best friend.
"Harry?" she asked worriedly.
"It's me, Hermione." he replied "Me. I'm a Horcrux."
Tears began welling up in her brown eyes "No." she cried softly "No. Not you too."
Harry felt his own eyes fill with tears too as he took in her distraught expression. She had already lost one of her best friends tonight; Ron had stupidly run off after Crabbe and Goyle in the Room of Requirement and gotten himself hit with a killing curse before the fiend-fire storm had ripped through the pace. Making their escape together on a broom, in a position not too different from their flight on Buckbeak the Hippogriff in their third year, Harry and Hermione had avenged Ron's death. Together they had aimed their wands at Crabbe and Goyle and in two explosion hexes; they ended the lives of the dim-witted duo. Then, as they flew from the room, they caught sight of Draco Malfoy and Blaise Zabini scrambling up a towering mountain of junk in a desperate attempt to flee the flames. Both had called out to Harry and Hermione for help, but Harry just willed the broom forward and soon they were out of the room, destroyed diadem in hand. There had only been seconds to grieve before Fred and Percy had come into the room duelling two Death Eaters. Harry and Hermione moved to help them out and just managed to get shields up when an explosion hex brought a ton of stonework down on them. All four of them had gotten away safely.
But the loss of Ron cut them deep, and now Harry was having to ask Hermione to accept the fact that she now had to lose him too.
"Are you going to him?" she asked.
"I'll go with you."
"No." he replied instantly "You have to stay. The snake will still have to die, and you're the only one who knows."
Finally letting the tears flow freely, Hermione broke down into sobs and threw her arms around his neck, crying into his shoulder. Harry wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. He savoured every second of it, not only because it was the last time he'd be able to do this, but also because he knew that the moment they let go of each other would be the moment that he would leave.
Movement near them grabbed their attention, and they both turned to see Oliver Wood and Neville Longbottom moving through the Entrance Hall, carrying between them, Harry noticed to his horror, the body of Colin Creevey. That was another friend dead.
Neville noticed them and paused.
"Harry? Hermione? What's wrong?"
"Harry has to die." Hermione answered before Harry could open his mouth.
Neville and Oliver were both so shocked by this that they nearly dropped Colin.
"What?" demanded Oliver.
"Look," said Harry "there's a reason for this… see, there are things that have to be destroyed before Voldemort can die, and I'm one of them."
"No." said Neville "No, there must be a mistake. You've got it wrong."
Harry shook his head.
"Harry." said Hermione "Harry, if you've got to die, come into the Great Hall. People have a right to know."
Harry wanted to object loudly to that, to tell her that seeing everyone would make it harder for him to go, but one look at her face told him that that was exactly what she wanted. She wanted to change his mind.
"Hermione, putting it off won't do any good. My hour's almost up already. The sooner I go, the sooner Voldemort can be killed."
"Just come with us, Harry." said Oliver "It's better that you tell them, rather than them hear some lie from him later."
"Harry, all those people in that hall have fought for you so that you can bring Voldemort down" said Neville "They've got a right to know the truth."
Harry grimaced slightly. Neville had a point, and so did Oliver, not that he wanted to admit that. Once again he looked into Hermione's face, and nearly melted at the pleading look she was giving him.
Harry closed his eyes, breathed out slowly, and then nodded once.
Inside the hall, many eyes turned to the look at Harry and Hermione as Neville and Oliver carried Colin off to the side. Walking amongst the dead and the wounded, they saw Lavender Brown, bleeding profusely from the wounds inflicted upon her by the notorious Werewolf Fenrir Greyback, whose death Hermione had personally seen to. They saw the body of Nigel Wolpert, another underage student who had snuck back in to fight. Professor Babbling, the Ancient Runes teacher, also lay dead, covered in a sheet that Professor Trelawney and Padma Patil had pulled over her after their attempts to save her life had failed.
Hermione's grip on Harry's arm tightened slightly when they saw Remus and Tonks, lying together on the floor amongst the other casualties of battle.
"Do we know who killed them yet?" Harry asked.
Hermione gave a nod "Kingsley said he saw Dolohov get Remus, and Tonks was last seen alive duelling Bellatrix."
Antonin Dolohov and Bellatrix Lestrange. Something within Harry changed at that moment, his resolve to see this war ended strengthened.
He pulled himself away from Hermione, and for a moment he was afraid he'd run off to face Voldemort, but Harry just made his way up to the far end of the hall, climbing the steps to the raised platform where the staff table usually sat.
He cleared his throat loudly and then shouted over the noise in the hall "Can I have your attention, please?"
Almost instantly, everyone stopped what they were doing, and turned to face him. Silence hung in the air as they all awaited his announcement.
"Okay, I was asked by Dumbledore, when he was alive, to not reveal this to anyone, but given the circumstances…" he trailed off, his eyes passing over those gathered, seeing many faces that he knew, and many more that he did not. They had all fought when he had asked; they had all battled hard to give him time. They deserved to know.
"Voldemort survived death in 1981 because he used a form of dark magic that anchored pieces of his soul to the plane of existence. This past year, I have been searching for these anchors and destroying them. Two were destroyed here tonight, and there are two more left. One is his snake, Nagini. One killing curse and she'll die. The other is… is me."
A loud murmur broke out across the hall as people turned to discuss this revelation with each other. Looking across the group again, Harry saw many faces still looking up at him, some with a look of shock, others with horror. McGonagall looked white as a sheet, Cho looked green, Neville looked resigned, Fred and George were exchanging horrified looks with Lee, Angelina and Alicia, Katie was shaking her head in denial, and Seamus and Dean looked like they might forget to use their wands against the next Death Eater they encountered and instead use their fists.
Molly had her head in her hands, crying as Arthur tried to offer comforts, though he too looked ready to break down. Ginny… well Ginny was discussing this new revelation with Michael Corner as they held hands. This was no new thing to Harry; he had seen his ex cuddled up with Corner in broom cupboards on the Marauder's map several times in the past months.
And there was Hermione, standing in the middle of it all. She looked so sad, and yet she was smiling at him encouragingly. She was proud of him; Harry could see that much in her eyes, despite the tears.
"So," said Harry loudly, bringing their attention back to him "I have to die. Voldemort will be the one to do this. It has to be this way."
"You're not going to walk down to the Forbidden Forest and confront him, are you?" asked Cho in a horrified voice.
"No." replied Harry "He is going to come here."
Once again the crowd began to exchange looks, but Harry continued.
"I am going to make him come here, and I will stand before him and allow him to kill me, but on one condition: that all of you are behind me."
Several people really began to panic at this.
"This will be necessary" Harry continued "because the moment that I fall, all of you will fight back."
Again all conversation stopped and all eyes were on him. He had their complete and undivided attention.
"Once I die, you must all act fast. Hit the snake with the killing curse. Then anyone can kill Voldemort. Once I die, I want you to send wave after wave of killing curses into Voldemort's ranks. Throw down every Death Eater, Werewolf, Snatcher and Giant that he still has in his command. Do not show them any mercy."
"But Harry," exclaimed Alicia "Won't that be bringing us down to their level?"
"Perhaps." replied Harry "But I know for a fact that Yaxley was stunned at least three times in this battle, and yet he keeps getting back up to kill some more."
Harry made his way over to Remus and Tonks "These two were killed by Antonin Dolohov and Bellatrix Lestrange. Bellatrix was captured at the end of the last war and thrown in Azkaban. She broke out and has been on a killing spree ever since. Dolohov was also chucked in Azkaban at the end of the last war. He got out and went on a killing spree. He was captured again at the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and chucked in Azkaban again. He got out again, and went on another killing spree."
He pulled his eyes away from Remus and Tonks "How many people have been killed because Bellatrix, Dolohov and others kept escaping Azkaban? How many lives could have been saved if the Ministry had just ordered them to receive the Dementor's kiss the first time around?"
"If I'm going to walk up to Voldemort and face my death, I need to know that you will not allow the Death Eaters the same chances that they've had in the past. Despite what Dumbledore believed, there is no redemption for any of them; they're well past that point. They must all be destroyed, or else they'll regroup in a few years' time and this whole mess will start again."
He looked out at them all again "Promise me." he pleaded.
Slowly, one by one, everyone nodded.
Feeling like there was a massive lump in his throat, Harry stepped down and began making his way towards the door, a task made a lot more difficult by every woman insisting on giving him a hug and every man grasping his hand in a firm shake.
At the door, Harry came across a familiar face.
"Good luck, Harry Potter."
Harry smiled and pulled her into a hug "Take care of yourself Luna."
She smiled brightly "Don't be so sad Harry. The Wrackspurts around your head are saying that everything will be fine."
That actually drew a chuckle out of Harry and he pulled her in for another hug before stepping out of the hall. It was of no surprise to him that Hermione followed. She came up to him and grasped his hand as he led the way up the stairs.
They did not stop until they reached the top of the Astronomy tower, or at least what was left of it. The Astronomy tower, like every other structure within Hogwarts had received much battle damage.
Harry drew his wand and pointed it to his throat "Sonorous."
The spell magnified his voice, allowing it to be heard a large distance away.
"Tom Riddle, it is you who has acted like a coward tonight. I have not allowed my friends to die for me; I have been amongst them, fighting alongside them. I have incapacitated and killed many of your followers. Why not ask the Malfoy's, Crabbe and Goyle where their sons are? I was there to see your pet Werewolf Fenrir Greyback thrown to his death. I was there to see your Dementors driven from battle. I killed Avery myself, strangling him in chains, tortured Amycus Carrow and smashed Selwyn's head open like a coconut when I blasted him across the Courtyard. It is not I who has been hiding, it is you. You lingered inside the Boathouse, allowing your followers to die for you rather than face me yourself. If you so desire to kill me yourself, come and find me in the Viaduct Courtyard.
"To the followers of the Dark Lord, I now speak to you. Your master is not what he claims to be. He claims that he will grant you power, but he lies. Lord Voldemort shares his power with no one. Did you notice that when he took over the Ministry, it was not a proud, Dark Mark wearing Death Eater that he entrusted to run things, but a weak-minded fool under the Imperius Curse? In fact the only Death Eater appointed a strong position within the Ministry when it fell to Voldemort's control was Yaxley, who became the head of the DMLE. The rest of you are still running around like lap-dogs, expected to answer to Voldemort's every whim.
"Tonight, you have committed the greatest of atrocities by attacking a school filled with children, many of whom were your own. This is your final folly. When Voldemort was removed from power before, the Ministry went easy on you, but this time you have removed all of those who would show sympathy to you. There is no more Barty Crouch Sr. or Amelia Bones who would have been satisfied to send you to Azkaban. There is no Albus Dumbledore, who would speak in your defence like he did Severus Snape. And there is no Cornelius Fudge, who could be bribed into giving you a pardon. No one now will sympathise with your claims of being under the Imperius Curse.
"It is I who will decide on your ultimate fates and for your actions here tonight, I will see to it that everyone wearing Voldemort's brand will be executed."
"Tom, come and face me, or forever be remembered for being the coward that you are."
With a flick of his wand, Harry cancelled the spell and turned to Hermione. Once again she had tears in her eyes.
"It has to be this way." he said as he made his way over to the stairs leading down from the tower.
"I know." she replied "But that doesn't stop it from hurting."
Harry wrapped an arm around her shoulders and together they headed back towards the Entrance Hall.
When they got there, Hermione voiced a question that had been eating at the back of her mind.
"Harry, what about those who really are under the Imperius Curse?"
Harry thought for a moment before calling out "Dobby, Winky, Kreacher."
Three distinct pops announced the arrivals of the three House Elves who ever took direct orders from Harry.
"Yes, Harry Potter?" the three chorused.
Harry smiled at them, though noticed with a pang of guilt that Dobby's upper arm was still wrapped in a bandage, where it had been stabbed by a knife thrown by Bellatrix Lestrange during their escape from Malfoy Manor.
"Can you three recognise when Wizards and Witches are under the Imperius Curse?" he asked.
All three nodded.
"Well, Voldemort's coming, and we're going to have one final fight. I need you and as many other House Elves as you can gather to pop into the Death Eaters' ranks and take any Imperiused witch or wizard to safety, okay?"
"And any prisoners as well." added Hermione.
"Of course, whatever master and mistress wish." intoned the three elves in perfect unison before popping away.
Harry gave Hermione a look. He expected her to be furious with him for wanting to put the House Elves in danger.
"Well it's like you said," explained Hermione "It has to be this way."
Harry gave her a small smile and a nod.
Neville came up to them.
Slowly, as a large group, the surviving defenders of Hogwarts made their way out of the Great Hall, through the Entrance Hall and out onto the steps of the Viaduct Courtyard, Harry, Hermione and Neville pushing their way to the front.
There, coming across the viaduct on the other side of the courtyard was Lord Voldemort himself, his snake Nagini still inside a protective sphere floating alongside him. Behind him were his followers; Death Eaters, imperiused witches and wizards, and what remained of the Snatchers. A couple of Dementors glided along too, though they seemed wary. They obviously remembered the patronus charms that were used against them before. Bringing up the rear were two hulking Giants, the last of at least twelve that had been present for the start of the battle.
And there, in amongst them, wrapped in thick ropes and held at wand point was Hagrid. Well at least the Acromantula hadn't killed him.
Voldemort came to a stop twenty feet from Harry, and his followers spread out behind him.
The Dark Lord stood facing those who dared to defy him, his evil red eyes sweeping across their weary faces, until at last they came to rest on Harry.
"Surrender yourself to me, Harry Potter, and I will spare your friend." he gestured to Hagrid.
"Hiding behind a prisoner now Tom?" asked Harry "And I'm not armed, in case you hadn't noticed."
Voldemort's eyes seemed to glow with fury. With a terrible shout of fury, he swung his wand around and sent a curse at Hagrid. But Hagrid wasn't there. Instead Voldemort's curse slammed into Mulciber, throwing him backwards into Travers and Nott.
Just as suddenly as he had disappeared, Hagrid reappeared, though now he stood amongst the ranks of those who defended Hogwarts.
Suddenly there was a loud and rapid succession of popping sounds as first Pius Thicknesse, then Stan Shunpike, and at least thirty other witches and wizards all vanished. Voldemort looked around in surprise, and then narrowed his eyes on Harry in anger.
Harry smirked "House Elves, Tom. Such a pity you pure-blood elitists choose to abuse them rather than actually use them, they're so helpful."
Voldemort glared at him before changing the subject back to their reason for meeting like this.
"So, Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, any last words?"
Harry took three steps forward, and held his hands out to the side slightly "Take your best shot."
Voldemort raised his wand, a look of complete fury on his face.
In his last moment, Harry thought of Hermione, his best friend, who still stood loyally with him, even now.
Then there was a flash of green, and everything was gone.
Harry opened his eyes slightly and looked around. Everything was white. He pushed himself up, looked around, realising that he was in a state of undress he sought something with which to cover himself. Quickly he spotted a soft white robe, folded neatly on top of a stone bench. He grabbed it and pulled it on before hearing something. It sounded weak and feeble, like something taking its last breaths.
Harry looked under the bench and instantly wished that he hadn't. The thing that lay quivering there, obviously in pain, looked exactly the same as Voldemort had done right before the ritual that brought him back fully to life. It was breathing weakly and every so often let out a pained moan.
"You can't help." said a voice and Harry turned to see Dumbledore standing there, clothed in white robes.
"Harry, what did you do?" asked the aged wizard, causing Harry to frown "Do you have any idea of the damage that you have done?"
"What?" asked Harry, genuinely confused. As far as he could tell, he had done everything right, everything that Dumbledore had asked from him, including dying.
"Harry you condemned all of those people to death today." said Dumbledore with an imploring tone of voice.
A surge of anger surged through Harry. How dare Dumbledore accuse him of such a thing?
"Those people fought by my side against the Death Eaters chose to do so of their own volition. I regret the deaths of Ron, Remus, Tonks and the others, but I did not force them to fight. I am not Tom."
"Not them Harry, the others."
That stumped Harry. What others? Unless…
"The Death Eaters?"
"You ordered their deaths, Harry. That makes you as bad as Tom."
"I got those under the Imperius out of the way." said Harry "The rest follow Tom willingly."
"But they could have been redeemed, Harry. What right do you have to sentence them to death?"
"What right? What right? I'm the one who's been made to clear up the mess that the likes of you and Fudge created. I have every right. Most of them have followed your previous plan of action and served time in Azkaban, and look what good it did them. You think Bellatrix Lestrange is redeemable?"
"Everyone is redeemable." answered Dumbledore.
"Then you're as cracked in the head as she is." Harry snapped.
"And Draco? Did he deserve to die?"
"Draco had seven years' worth of chances at redemption. Tonight he had the choice, to stay out of the way like McGonagall ordered the Slytherins. Instead he chose to confront me in the hopes of earning Tom's favour. His actions cost me one of my best friends, and he paid the price for that."
"He had no chance of redemption with Voldemort's shadow over him."
"What about Ron, Dumbledore? What about Remus and Tonks? What about all the others who died in this stupid war? Where's there second chance?"
"Dolohov was the one who killed Remus. He'd one of the ones we caught in the Department of Mysteries. He escapes Azkaban once, why did the Ministry think that they could hold him a second time? He, and the others caught with him should have had all their memories ripped from their minds and then been tossed through that veil. Voldemort wouldn't have half the influence he had by the time you died had his followers actually been met with any real punishment."
"Well said Harry." said a female voice from behind him.
Harry turned around so quickly that he nearly pulled a muscle in his neck. Standing there was a young woman in her early twenties, with vibrant red hair and his own green eyes.
She smiled at him and moved closer.
"My boy." she said softly "My sweet, brave son. I'm so proud of you." she hugged him.
Harry could not believe it. For the first time in his memory, he was being hugged by his own mother. It was hard to wrap his mind around it.
Dumbledore cleared his throat, and Harry and Lily turned to look at him.
"Oh, you can go Albus." said Lily "If all you are prepared to do is stand there and hurl accusations at my son, then you have no business here."
She grabbed Harry's arm and dragged him away. Harry looked over his shoulder at Dumbledore, who quite clearly wanted to follow them, but was being held back by something.
Deciding to put Dumbledore out of his mind for the moment, Harry asked "Mum, what is that thing?"
He gestured to the feebly being curled up beneath the bench.
"Something that his beyond the help of everyone." replied Lily, not stopping to look at it "It's a part of Voldemort that has been sent here to die."
"It's the Horcrux." said Harry "The one that was in my scar."
"Yes." answered Lily "The one that Voldemort had no idea he made. It is perhaps poetic justice that it was Voldemort himself who destroyed it."
Harry nodded, but then asked "Where are we?"
"That's hard to answer Harry." replied Lily "It's a kind of gateway between life and death. When most people pass through, all they see is a flash of bright light. Very few people actually stop here."
Harry gave another nod and looked around "It kind of looks like King's Cross Station." he observed.
Lily smiled and led him over to a bench which they sat on "Yes." she replied "It looks different to each person who comes here."
"What does it look like to you?" asked Harry, keen to actually get to know his mum now that he was finally able to talk with her.
"It looks like King's Cross to me as well." answered Lily. At Harry's confused look, she continued "Harry, you are the one passing through here, so this place is one that makes you feel comfortable. The formerly great Headmaster and I are mere guests to this, our preferences don't matter."
"What did it look like to you when you passed through?" asked Harry.
"I've no idea." answered Lily, honestly "I passed through it too fast. For me, my fate was sealed when I die. You, however, have a choice."
"Yes. Thanks to the Horcrux that was within you, the price for your coming here has been paid, but you can still go on, as it were, or you can go back. It's up to you."
"I've got to go back, haven't I?"
"Not 'got to', no. You've told the world what it must do. You've told your friends and allies what must be done to kill Voldemort. That satisfies the prophecy."
"But it said that Voldemort could only be killed by my hand."
"True, but that's only a literal translation. Your friend Hermione Granger once said that Divination is a very woolly discipline and she's right, but only due to human nature. There are many ways to view what a prophecy means, and there is nothing to say that one single view point is correct. Does you giving the order as to how to kill Voldemort not count as being by your hand?"
Harry sat quietly, thinking. He supposed that that made sense.
"Harry, I'm not here to tell you whether it is right or wrong for you to go back and face Voldemort. There is a whole other reason for you to return."
"And what is that?"
Lily tilted her head and smiled at him. He could see that he had inherited more than just his eyes from her, but it also struck him how much she and Ginny looked alike. Thank God that relationship had crashed and burned. He could agree that his mother was beautiful, but the last thing he needed was an Oedipus complex on top of everything else.
"Hermione, of course." Lily answered.
"Oh, yeah," replied Harry "She's already lost one friend…"
"Harry, you need to go to her." said Lily "She's got something very important to tell you, but she vowed to herself to not say anything until the war is over. She needs you to go back to her, Harry."
Harry nodded. For the longest time, Hermione was the best thing in his life. Her friendship certainly seemed to be enough of a reason to go back. Maybe there was also the chance that things might spice up between them again, like they had done in the tent when Ron had temporarily abandoned them.
He felt his cheeks redden. It seemed like his mother had been watching over him all this time. He certainly hoped that she hadn't been watching that.
Suddenly a thought occurred to him "Where's dad?" he asked.
"Oh, he's with Sirius." explained Lily "They're getting reacquainted with Remus by beating up Snape and Wormtail."
"I thought that you liked Snape?" asked Harry.
"He was my friend once. But he ruined it all, first in our last few years of school, and then with how he treated you."
"Snape worked hard to try and save Me." said Harry.
"He worked no harder than any other teacher." replied Lily "And even then it was only if he absolutely had to."
Harry nodded, and then asked "So how come Dad, Sirius and Remus are beating up Snape and Wormtail instead of coming here."
"Only one of us was allowed to come." answered Lily.
Harry frowned "But Dumbledore…"
"Dumbledore pushed his was through without permission. He's going to be in trouble when he goes back."
Lily gave a sigh, and then got to her feet "And speaking of going back, it's time for me to return to the afterlife. And it's time you returned to the land of the living."
She reached out and gave him another hug. Harry savoured it, knowing full well that this was the last time he'd be seeing his mother in a long time.
Finally they seemed to drift beyond each other's grasp and both faded away.
Back in the Viaduct Courtyard, something astonishing had happened. The moment Voldemort's killing curse had impacted Harry, Voldemort himself dropped to the ground. This stunned everyone into a state of shock, but it was Hermione who recovered first.
Harry had died to protect them all. She would not let him down now. She aimed her wand and shot a killing curse at Voldemort's pet snake, which had fallen to the ground because the shield that had surrounded it had disappeared when Voldemort fell. The spell hit, and Nagini vanished in a cloud of black smoke.
This seemed to bring the other defenders out of their stupor, for suddenly a wave of bright green killing curses sailed from the tips of their wands and began slamming into the Death Eater ranks, dropping them like flies. Neville got Bellatrix, knocking her off of the stone she had chosen to stand on to better gloat at the crowd.
Luna's spell slammed into Narcissa, whilst Mr Weasley got Lucius. Dolohov, Rookwood and Macnair were also amongst the first to be thrown down.
The Death Eaters merely stood stock still as through struck dumb, unsure about what to do. Their opponents never fought back like this, and the Death Eaters always relied on numbers and the unforgivable curses to defeat their opponents rather than possess any real skill with a wand.
Wave after wave of killing curses slammed into the Death Eater ranks, killing each and every single one of them. Even the two giants were felled, and a patronus from Cho sent the Dementors fleeing.
It was to this that Voldemort regained consciousness. He stood, looking apoplectic with rage, and began blocking every single killing curse sent his way.
Suddenly the wave of spells against him stopped and he began to laugh, presuming that they had stopped out of fear. But he was wrong.
"Tom." said a voice behind him.
Voldemort spun around, and his eyes widened in shock as the sight of Harry Potter, standing up, alive and well.
"Goodbye." said Harry "Avada Kedavra."
Voldemort attempted to block the spell, but it was of no use. No one had bothered to figure it out yet, but the Elder Wand actually belonged to Harry, and could not be used to block his curse. The spell hit the Dark Lord squarely in the chest and he dropped to the ground, before breaking up and vanishing as dust in the wind.
Harry stood, breathing hard. His eyes scanned the crowd and he saw Hermione standing amongst them.
He gave a weary smile and announced "It's done."
A massive cheer went up from the crowd, and Harry quickly found himself in real danger of dying of suffocation due to the large and spontaneous group hug that he found himself in the middle of. He received so many congratulatory pats on the back that he was fairly certain that he would be bruised for a month, and more girls snogged him than he cared to count.
He sent a querying look at Cho when she did this, and she told him in a whisper "Just getting one in while I can. Won't be long before you're off the market for good."
Harry was genuinely confused by that, until Hermione found her way into his arms. The knowing smile that Cho gave him made him understand what she had meant. She was under the impression that it was only a matter of time before he and Hermione got together, and apparently all the other girls were too, which was why they had taken the chance to get a snog with The Man Who Conquered before there was an official girlfriend to content with.
Harry looked into Hermione's eyes and decided that having her as his girlfriend actually sounded like a spectacular idea.
Thankfully Hermione had shared the same sentiments as Harry, and by that evening, they had been a couple. And now, nineteen years later, they sat in the Great Hall of Hogwarts watching the new first years being sorted. Harry had been an Auror for five years, but had decided that he had had enough of chasing the bad guys all the time and so instead took up the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts. Thankfully the curse seemed to have been broken, as he had been there for fourteen years now and was still going strong. He was also now the Head of Gryffindor house.
Hermione was a newer addition to the staff, today being her first day as the new Muggle Studies Professor. Before now she had worked in the Department for Creature Awareness and Care within the Ministry, which had received a complete overhaul following the war.
Finally the name that both Potters had been awaiting was called.
Lily Potter, Harry and Hermione's youngest child made her way up to the stool and sat down. Seconds after it was placed on her head, the Sorting Hat shouted loudly "Gryffindor!"
A loud chorus of cheers went up from Gryffindor table, but none there cheered more loudly than Lily's two brothers, James and Sirius, and the twins, Rose and Holly.
Harry and Hermione had to set an example and merely contain themselves to clapping politely.
Soon the sorting was over, and the feast began. As everyone began to tuck in, Harry reached out and arm and pulled his wife to his side.
With a smile on her face, Hermione said quietly so that she couldn't be overheard "Later."
Harry grinned and held Hermione closer. He had a great job, he had five great kids, he had a gorgeous wife, the scumbags who used to make the world a horrible place were gone, his scar had not hurt him for nineteen years, and he was on a promise for tonight.
All was well.
A/N: There. A better ending all around, don't you agree? Sorry I left Remus and Tonks' deaths in, but there had to be meaningful deaths to convince Harry to take the actions that he does.