Draco Malfoy had finished repairing the damned wardrobe at last and now he was readying himself for what he had to do next.. He had spent months using different spells to reconnect the wardrobe hidden in the Room of Requirement in order to create the doorway for his master and other Death Eaters to enter the castle unnoticed. It had taken far longer than his master wished, and much of Draco's well being. He'd lived in that room for to long, missing classes, and meals. Draco barely looked like himself anymore. He was thin and his eyes had dark purple circles under them. His normally sleek hair was greasy and limp. But it didn't matter to Draco. Soon, he'd have everything he wished for. He had only to finish the mission his master had given him.
Tonight was the night. Draco was going to call forth his master and kill Albus Dumbledore. Draco figured that Dumbledore would be so focused on fighting the Dark Lord, that Draco could easily kill the old headmaster without having to fight him at all. But luck it seemed, was with him.
As he made his way to the Room of Requirement, he heard the Headmaster's voice along with Harry Potter's. Draco had hidden himself behind a suit of armor where he could spy on the duo as they passed him in the hall, unaware of Draco's proximity. , and was startled to see them conjuring the Room of Requirement. Draco knew this was his opportunity. If he could capture Potter and then kill Dumbledore, he'd be able to call forth his master, and have Potter right there for his master. He would be rewarded beyond imagining. Both of the Dark Lord's enemies delivered to him. Perhaps he would surpass his Aunt Bellatrix as the Dark Lord's favorite.
Draco timed it perfectly. He waited until both Harry and Dumbledore had entered the room and slipped inside just as the door began to shut. He immediately went to his right and ducked behind a pile of broken chairs that were stacked up ten feet high. There he waited for his next opportunity.
He watched in curiosity as Dumbledore waved his wand and thousands of books soared from all over the room and began stacking themselves. Draco tried to listen to the conversation between Harry and Dumbledore, but the noise of junk being tussled about made it impossible to understand what the two were speaking about. So Draco had to wait.
Draco held his wand in his hand, keeping it raised, just waiting for his opportunity to strike. He wasn't sure if he could kill Dumbledore and incarcerate Potter before Potter reacted. As much as he was loathe to admit it, Draco knew that Potter was much faster than he was, though Draco knew he could hurt Potter far more than Potter dared attempt. Potter was far too noble to use anything worse than a stunner.
Draco was beginning to convince himself that he was covered perfectly, and it would take Potter at least a few seconds before he figured out where Draco was hidden. But then Dumbledore sent Harry down an aisle in search of something, while the old headmaster began walking down another.
Draco couldn't believe his luck as he waited a moment before following the Headmaster, who was heading in the direction of the wardrobe which Draco's master would soon be called through. Draco kept his distance and walked silently, watching as Dumbledore waved his wand and a mess of broken wands hovered up in the air and were sent somewhere deeper in the room.
Dumbledore continued on, seemingly unaware he was being followed until he came to the clearing where Draco had been hiding. The Wardrobe was in the center of a cleared circle. There was a table and a chair with a rusted candle holder where Draco had read books trying to figure out how to repair the broken cabinet. There was also a pile of cloth and clothing that Draco had fashioned into a bed where he'd slept many, many nights.
Draco knew he was likely not going to get a better shot. Keeping his wand high and ready, he came out into the open as Dumbledore was inspecting the wardrobe.
"Good evening Draco." Dumbledore said evenly. The headmaster turned slowly to face Draco, and expectant smirk on his face. Malfoy wasted no time in disarming Dumbledore, who didn't even attempt to fight. Draco was to focused on his goal to realize that Dumbledore hadn't even attempted to protect himself, or that he'd known Draco was there at all.
"I was wondering when you would show yourself. So this is where you have been hiding. May I ask what it is you've been doing in here?" Dumbledore asked politely.
"Preparing." Draco said softly.
"Preparing?" Dumbledore asked, arching an eyebrow.
"Preparing for my Lord to come start his rule." Draco said quickly.
"He means to rule from Hogwarts then." Dumbledore frowned.
"It's his birthright. He's the sole remaining heir of Salazar Slytherin. And once I'm finished with you, then I'll call him. I'll be rewarded and given a place at his side." Draco sneered. He was unaware that somewhere in the Room, Harry was now calling out to Dumbledore. Malfoy was unaware that Dumbledore had cast two spells before he'd addressed Draco. A privacy spell, and a protective barrier. They were essentially alone.
"I take it you have planned this out very carefully. You have know exactly what you intend to do." Dumbledore asked politely.
"I've been working right under your nose, and you haven't had a clue." Draco snipped
"Oh, but I did. I have known since before the school year started that you have been Lord Voldemort's newest inductee. I was informed the night you were branded, in fact. In fact, I believe that I am for more aware of what you have been up to than you believe. I know that you have avoided Professor Snape's offers to help you…"
"He was trying to steal my glory. Didn't you know? Snape's been spying on you for the Dark Lord." Draco snapped.
"I am afraid it is you who are mistaken, Draco. Professor Snape is indeed a spy, but he spies for me. It was he who told me about your being marked. It was he who told me of your mission to kill me. It was Professor Snape who warned me of your growing knowledge of the Dark Arts, no doubt taught to you by your dear Aunt Bellatrix. It was on my order that Professor Snape offered to help you. It was my hope that you could be turned from your path, and brought back into the light." Dumbledore smiled hopefully, though it didn't reach his blue eyes.
"I have no desire to become some weakling defender of the light. I want real power, and "My lord will give it to me." Draco smiled malevolently.
"Yes. I can see that you are truly lost, and that you truly have no wish to save your soul." Dumbledore sighed. "You have made your plans. however, things didn't go to plan though, did they?" Dumbledore asked. "You very nearly killed a classmate."
"You're talking about Bones." Draco sneered. "I wish she had died. It would have given me a bit more favor. No, her friends had to interfere, and don't think I don't know that it was Snape who fixed her up. I'm not stupid. I know that's why you were teaching Defense before the holiday. You wanted him to figure out what the thing was cursed with so he could save her life."
"And the mead that killed Professor Slughorn?" Dumbledore asked. "Clearly you were behind that as well. I had no idea you had problems with the late professor."
"That was meant for you as well. He was buying a Christmas gift for you. I was in the Three Broomsticks when he made the purchase. But the fat load just couldn't part with it. He did it to himself." Draco said, his tone becoming more triumphant.
"And so, here we are. May I ask what happens next?" Dumbledore asked.
"After I kill you, I summon my Lord, and he kills Potter. Then the new world order begins." Draco smiled. "Goodbye, Dumbledore. Avada Kedavra!"
Draco felt a surge of triumph course through his veins as he stared at the fallen leader of the light. The so-called greatest wizard of the age. Now a husk upon the floor, his face forever frozen in that arrogant look of superiority he always had. Draco rolled up his sleeve, preparing to call forth his master when he heard the shout of rage. Turning, Draco was shocked to find Potter standing behind him, his wand leveled.
"Potter!" Draco sneered and then smiled as he turned to look at the wardrobe. "You're just in time to meet your fate."
Draco looked towards the wardrobe and pressed the tip of his wand to his forearm, grimacing in pain. But it was nothing compared to having his wand hand blown apart, which is exactly what happened next.
Harry had hesitated only the barest fraction of a moment before he realized what Draco had done. He fired off his spell and winced as he watched Draco's right hand explode in a shower of bone and blood. Draco fell to his knees in agonizing pain, holding the now bloody stump of what used to be his hand to his chest.
"You bastard!" Draco shouted in rage at Harry who looked surprised at what he'd done.
"Shut your mouth you sick fucking bastard!" Harry shouted back, the anger returning to his eyes having gotten over his shock. He noticed Draco turning to look at the wardrobe anxiously, and Harry, thanks in part he knew, to Felix Felicious, realized that it was more than just a wardrobe. It meant something to Draco and that could not be good. Malfoy had said that Lord Voldemort would be coming, and now, the Malfoy scion was watching the cabinet with unveiled excitement.
"I'm going to love watching him kill you, Potter!" Draco snarled.
"REDUCTO!" Harry shouted.
It was quite simply the most powerful blasting hex Harry had ever conjured. The cabinet exploded, sending hunks of wood in every direction. Harry held up his hands to protect his face.
"NOOO!" Draco screamed, getting to his feet and rushing Harry, who slipped to Draco's left, turning his wand on Draco. Draco crashed to the floor having lost his balance and rolled to his knees to find Harry practically standing over him.
"Give me a single reason to let you continue living Malfoy. I watched you kill Dumbledore. I know that you were behind what happened to Susan. You're a Death Eater. So honestly, I would love to hear why I should let you live." Harry said, his eyes narrowed, his wand aimed right between Draco's eyes.
Draco Malfoy had faced Harry many times over the years, but never in his memory had he seen the look of cold fury in Potter's eyes. Malfoy had also never once felt real fear when ever he'd faced Potter. But up until this moment, there had never been a serious threat of Potter doing any sort of real damage to the Malfoy scion. There had been taunts, threats, and the occasional spell traded. But Draco had never ever been seriously hurt. Now here he was lying on the ground with his arm bleeding badly, his hand completely gone. But Draco didn't think that Potter could actually bring himself to kill anyone.
"Potter, listen to me…" Draco held up his hand, still holding the stump of his wand hand close to his chest. Draco tossed Dumbledore's wand to Harry to show that he was unarmed now.
"Listen to me, Potter. You have no idea…"
"I don't want to hear excuses Draco." Harry said coldly. "I just saw you murder the Headmaster. I know you're the one who tried to kill Susan. You're dangerous, and I'm not going to let you hurt anyone else. Ever!"
"Madam Rosemerta gave it to her…" Draco said quickly.
"You were doing it!" Harry shouted. "You played the puppet master, I know you did. How did you do it? Come on Draco, they say confession is good for the soul. The longer you talk…"
"The longer I live?" Draco asked. He shook his head and got to his feet. "Go to hell Potter. One day soon, The Dark Lord will find you, and he's going to make you suffer in ways you can never imagine. Maybe he'll make you watch as he kills Granger, or Weasley. Or maybe, you'll have to watch helplessly as he allows his faithful to have their way with Bones before they kill her."
Harry closed the gap and shoved his wand into Draco's neck, shaking with rage as he stared into the steel grey eyes of Malfoy.
"You can't do it Potter." Draco smiled mockingly. His face was ashen now at the loss of blood from his wrist. You can't kill me, you're too damn noble to lower yourself to take someone's life."
"You think so?" Harry asked.
"I know it. You and your fucking Gryffindor nobility. You're the white knight Potter. The fucking Gryffindor Golden Boy. You don't scare me, Potter. I know that you're not going to kill me."
"Diffindo." Harry whispered.
Draco's eyes went wide with shock as his throat opened up and blood spilled down the front of his robes. He grabbed onto Harry's robes, His eyes wide with terrified shock that Harry had actually just slit his throat open. As he felt his life begin slipping away, he tried to plead for Harry to save him, but Potter simply stared coldly at his rival.
And then Harry did something that shocked even himself. He healed the cut on Draco's throat, and kicked the boy to the ground.
"You're right Malfoy, I'm no murderer Draco." Harry said flatly. "Unless I'm pushed. I just wanted you to know that I could have killed you right here, right now. But I think I'd rather se you kissed by the dementors. I want you to wish in that last moment before the dementor lowers its hood and takes your soul, that I had killed you."
Harry stepped away from Draco and turned to Dumbledore. His heart broke at the sight of the fallen Headmaster. For all his flaws, Harry still respected the man. Harry had had so few role models in his life. And even though Dumbledore had made more than a handful of mistakes in regards to Harry's life, He was still a good man, and had not deserved to be murdered.
Harry then noticed the Sword of Gryffindor sticking out of Dumbledore's robes, and went to grab it. Harry still had to destroy the horcrux. He had to finish what the headmaster had started. Harry turned and walked back to where the barrier where he had dropped the Diadem of Ravenclaw. He stared at the horcrux for a long moment, allowing his anger to build. He raised the sword and reminding himself of how truly evil Lord Voldemort was, Harry slashed the great sword down and sliced right through the old battered tiara.
There was another explosion of energy and a loud blood curdling scream, just as there had been in the headmaster's office, and Harry was thrown back, landing in a heap next to the body of Dumbledore.
"It's finished." Harry said wearily as he sat up. He could feel the euphoria of the luck potion wearing off, and sighed. Harry didn't feel that he'd been lucky at all. He'd seen Dumbledore killed right in front of him and had been unable to save him. Harry turned to look at Dumbledore's body, and slowly and reverently shut the old man's eyes.
"I'm sorry, sir." He whispered.. He looked at the old man's body and felt his eyes sting with sad tears. Harry realized that he would need to find Professor McGonagall or another teacher and he would have to tell them what had happened in here tonight. Harry suddenly felt like he had the night Cedric died, and he felt his throat close with the overwhelming emotions.
Harry turned and found Malfoy rising to his knees, Dumbledore's wand in his good hand. His face far more pale than ever, and his steel grey eyes were murderous slits.
"You should have killed me when you had the chance." Draco grimaced. His voice was raw and hoarse, like he was suffering a bad sore throat. "Avada…"
"Reducto!" Harry snapped, and Draco's eyes went wide with horror as his chest was blown apart. Harry could only stare in utter disbelief as Draco Malfoy fell forward in a pool of gore, and died.
It wasn't until the next afternoon that classes were canceled and the students were assembled in the Great Hall where they were informed of Professor Dumbledore's passing. The students were not made aware of the cause of the headmaster's passing, and were simply told that it had been peaceful.
Professor McGonagall announced that she would be acting Headmistress for the remainder of the year, with Professor Flitwick standing in as Deputy Headmaster.
The students were then informed that Draco Malfoy's body had been discovered in a secret room, and that he had died of malnutrition and magical exhaustion. These reasons did not seem to appease the students, and soon rumors were flying about the real cause of Draco's death, and the strange coincidence that both he and the Headmaster died in the same night. The most believable rumor that surfaced was that Draco and Dumbledore had dueled and killed each other. Though many scoffed at the notion, it was the least ridiculous story that was circulating.
A precious few people knew the truth of the events that had taken place in the Room of Requirement the previous night, and they were now assembled in the Headmistress' office. Professor McGonagall, who seemed reluctant to sit in the chair of her predecessor. Amelia Bones, who'd been called to the school the night before to investigate and question the lone witness. Professor Snape, who'd been the first teacher whom Harry Potter had found and brought back to the Room of Requirement to help, and Harry himself, who had been at the center of the events.
"Please have a seat Potter." McGonagall smiled weakly to Harry who had only just arrived. Her eyes looked puffy, and Harry wondered if she'd been crying. Madam Bones turned and gave a sympathetic nod to Harry who responded in kind. Professor Snape stood near the back of the office looking for all the world as if he were lost. Harry had never seen this particular man looking so pathetic and wondered just how badly he'd been affected by the passing of Albus Dumbledore.
Harry was afraid he was going to have to repeat everything he'd told these three the night before. He wasn't sure if he could do it again, it had been most exhaustive. He had eventually given copies of his memories of the night's events for them to study at their leisure, and was finally allowed to go to the Hospital wing where he was given dreamless sleeping potion for the night.
"Mister Potter, I've asked you here because we have some learned a great deal of things during the course of the day, and felt that you should be made aware of these things, as they affect you a great deal. The most important being that Professor Snape was informed earlier today through certain contacts that You-Know-Who has vanished."
Harry looked up suddenly interested. He glanced at Amelia and Snape, both who nodded that what he was being told was in fact true.
"Vanished?" Harry asked skeptically.
"I am told that the Dark Lord had stepped through the sister cabinet in Borgin and Burke's last evening when Draco summoned him. The plan was for the Dark Lord to enter the school after Dumbledore had been dealt with by Young Malfoy, and drag you before the entirety of the student body where he would kill you once and for all." Snape said flatly. "Our best guess is that when you destroyed the cabinet, the Dark Lord and those who had entered with him became trapped, much as Montague did the year previously."
"Professor Snape informed me of the whereabouts of the other cabinet, and I dispatched several Aurors to confiscate it this morning. It was destroyed." Amelia picked up the story from there. "Our hope is that Lord Voldemort will be trapped there indefinitely."
"So Voldemort can't return?" Harry asked hopefully.
"We can't say for sure." Snape said evenly, staring out the window. "The Dark Lord has a wealth of power at his command. He may yet find his way back to our world."
"But the Horcruxes are destroyed, so he can't use them to comeback, right?" Harry asked, his eagerness growing.
"One remains." Snape said sadly.
"But I thought Harry destroyed the last one last night." Amelia asked confused.
"Potter destroyed the last inanimate one. One more remains within the Dark Lord's familiar, Nagini. But it shall be dealt with in short order." Snape said. "Dumbledore tasked me with destroying it, and I'm taking that as his final wish. I will not rest until the damnable thing is destroyed."
"So what does this all mean?" Harry asked clearly confused.
"The war is over, Harry." McGonagall sighed. "Before it truly began, you helped end the conflict and rid us of He-Who-Must-…
"Voldemort." Harry said quickly. "If he's truly gone, there don't feed his legend."
"Very wise Harry." Amelia nodded.
"What about his followers?" Harry asked, turning to Amelia. "Should I be worried that they might come after me?
"We know the identity of his inner circle, and we will use all our resources to find and capture them." Amelia ensured the others. "I have arranged to have Lucius Malfoy and a few others brought to the Ministry for questioning. Those who cooperate will remain alive in Azkaban, those who do not will be administered the Dementor's kiss. This is at the request of the Minister of Magic. He wants this whole thing put to rest as quickly as possible."
"It appears that Minister Scrimgeour is much more open minded about the ways to deal with terrorists." McGonagall gave an approving nod.
Harry looked at the three adults in the room, two of whom were looking back at him.
"Professor Snape?" Harry said, rising to his feet. "Is it really over? I mean, do you think Lord Voldemort might actually find a way to come back?"
Snape appeared slightly stunned at the respectful way in which Potter had addressed him. Then he realized that it might have be due to all that had been revealed to the boy. Snape hated that his secrets had been revealed, and yet, he could not say he was displeased with how things had changed between himself and his rival's son.
"I do Potter. However, we have a few factors to consider. The first being that with his Horcruxes gone…" Snape turned to face the room at large. "He will be mortal upon his return. Also, given what happened to Montague during his time within the vanishing cabinet, it stands to reason that the Dark Lord will also experience the same things. A lack of nourishment for one. When he is once again normal, his body will crave for what all of our bodies need. Food, water and the like. The second factor in which we should consider is time. His body will succumb to the ravages of time, just as we all must. If enough time passes, it stands to reason that he might actually die on his own. And finally, I have no doubt that he will exhaust himself magically trying to find a way out. Without the means to replenish his core, he may kill himself quicker."
"How likely do you think that is?" McGonagall asked, looking more hopeful that Harry.
Snape actually shrugged. "I have no idea."
"So…" Harry looked around again. "What should we do?"
There was silence between them all for a long time.
Everyone turned to look at the portrait of Professor Dumbledore that was now upon the wall. Harry thought that he resembled the Dumbledore he'd first laid eyes on in his first year, though it would have been hard for most other people to tell the difference. He was seated in a chair that looked much like the high back chair that was sitting behind the headmaster's desk. He was smiling down upon them all with that kind, grandfatherly smile he always used to wear, his eyes twinkling merrily, even in a painting.
"You must go on living as if there is no threat to you or the world." He said. "Live each and every day of your life to its fullest. You have been given a gift, and it would be a shame if you wasted it preparing for a threat that may never arise."
"Professor, I'm sorry that I couldn't…"
"Harry, I refuse to allow you to finish that thought. You were no to blame, nor will I allow you to shoulder the blame for things that were beyond your control. You have shoulder such guilt and pain, and now it is time for you to release that, and move on. Just as Sirius would have been distressed to know you were not living your life, so shall I be."
"Yes sir." Harry smiled, a tear falling down his cheek.
"Now, I believe that you should start by going to spend time with your friends Harry." Dumbledore smiled.
Harry turned to look at Amelia, who nodded and smiled.
"Off you go, Potter." McGonagall said.
Harry didn't have to be told twice, and quickly went to find Susan and the others, leaving three adults and a multitude of portraits smiling, including Professor Snape, though his looked more like a grimace than a smile.
No one could have pictured a more beautiful day or setting for a wedding. The sun was high and bright, but it was the perfect temperature, thanks to the light breeze blowing from the east.
A large magical tent had been erected, and people were taking their seats, talking excitedly about the pending nuptials. Most of the attendees were only barely out of their teens, some of which were still attending Hogwarts, and could not believe that they had even received an invitation.
Molly Weasley was taking a last look at the arrangements before taking her own seat. She had been flattered when she'd been asked to cater the event and had spent the better part of the week preparing dishes. She would have done it for free, but the couple had insisted that they pay for all the ingredients, and a more than generous fee, which they had insisted Molly accept. She had tried to protest, but her husband, Arthur, had accepted for her.
"Ginny, I think that's enough. I don't think we can improve this anymore." Molly sighed, holding her shaking hands tightly to her bosom.
"It's hard to perfect perfection, mum." The eighteen year old Weasley girl smiled as she wrapped an arm around her mother's shoulder. "I'm sure they will be pleased."
"That's very sweet of you dear." Molly smiled.
"Mrs. Weasley?" Alicia Spinnett said softly. "We're almost ready. You should really take your seats now."
"Oh, thank you." Mrs. Weasley smiled as she and her daughter turned to follow the former Gryffindor chaser out into the afternoon sun. "You've done a marvelous job, if you don't mind my saying."
"I'd like to think so." Alicia smiled. "It's given me a lot of good ideas for when Fred and I finally tie the knot."
"Let me know if he doesn't propose soon, and I'll have a few words with him." Molly wink conspiratorially. Both Ginny and Alicia giggled heartily.
"Ah, there you are Molly." Mr. Weasley smiled, rising from his seat and taking his wife's hand and sitting back down. "I just saw him. He's quite a bundle of nerves."
"Oh the poor dear." Molly smiled.
"Well, they haven't seen each other in a year." Ginny pointed out from behind her mother and father. "How would you be if the first time you two were seeing each other after that long was at your own wedding?"
"I think we got him all calmed down." Fred Weasley smiled as he and his twin George took seats. George was escorting his fiancé, Angelina Johnson, who greeted the other Weasley's in turn.
"What did you do?" Molly Weasley hissed, and both twins held up their hands in surrender but were saved from explanations by Angelina.
"They just talked with him. Bill's still in there right now. He's going to be fine." She smiled, and kissed George's cheek. "They both behaved themselves."
"I should hope so." Molly said with an air of finality.
Ah, there they are." Mr. Weasley smiled as he waved a hand. Two more redheaded men and a very stunning looking blonde woman who appeared to be eight months pregnant came and joined them.
"Oh Fleur dear, you should really get off your feet." Molly said, brushing the seat next to her off so her first Daughter in law could take a seat.
"Zank you Mon Mere." Fleur Weasley smiled and eased herself into the seat.
"Has he calmed down?" Mr. Weasley asked Bill, his eldest son. Both Bill and Charlie Weasley nodded heartily.
"Just convinced him it was another game of quidditch and that it was no big deal." Charlie smirked.
"Any chance we might be attending another wedding soon?" Molly asked slyly. Charlie simply shook his head and smacked his forehead loudly.
"Any chance you'll get off my back about it?" He asked.
"Sure." Ginny remarked. "Just as soon as you bring home a suitable girl."
The other Weasley's laughed at Charlie's discomfort.
There was a swell of music and a thin elderly wizard approached the front of the assembled where he turned to face everyone with a huge smile on his face. He adjusted his spectacles slightly and smoothed the front of his robes and then turned to nod at a young man who approached the front of the dais where the man stood.
Harry Potter still had the unruly black hair of his youth and the emerald green eyes, though his famous lightning bolt scar had fade considerably over the last two and a half years. He was still thin, though he looked far more muscular than he had ever been in his school days.
He was dressed in the formal dress robes of the Auror Corp which he had just graduated from. He stood straight and proud, beaming at the far end of the tent. Music began to play and every head turned as Hermione Granger began walking down the aisle with her escort, Neville Longbottom. Both were smiling back At Harry, who was now bouncing a bit where he stood.
From near the back of the tent came a loud honking sound as Rubeus Hagrid blew his nose and a tablecloth sized handkerchief.
When they reached the front of the tent, Hermione hugged Harry tightly and kissed his cheek before heading to her place. Neville clasped his long time friend's hand and congratulated Harry.
When Neville took his place, everyone turned again to watch as Hannah Abbott was escorted by Ron Weasley. There was a very audible gasp from Lavender Brown as she watched Ron walking Hannah down the aisle. Ron and Lavender's break up had been legendary by Hogwarts standard, and they had been apart for almost the entirety of their seventh year. However a few people were aware that the couple was reconciling. Both of them had realized that their lives were better when they were together.
Ron gave Lavender a meaningful wink as he passed the blonde Gryffindor, which Lavender returned.
Hannah grasped Harry tightly as she kissed his cheek. "I am so happy for you two, I just wanted you to know that I couldn't in a million years picture anyone better for her than you."
Before Harry could respond, Hannah was taking her place. Ron took Harry's hand, and then suddenly pulled his best friend close and hugged him hard, surprising Harry with this sudden outburst of emotion.
Ron quickly took his place, wiping frantically at his eyes, making more than a few people chuckle, and Hagrid blow his nose again.
Next came Remus Lupin, who was escorting the Aunt of the bride, Amelia Bones. Amelia couldn't have looked more pleased as the werewolf walked her to her seat. She kept her eyes locked on Harry's, prouder of him than she could have ever expressed. Not only had he graduated with the first full class of new Aurors the Ministry had seen in a decade, but he had been the top of his class. She had been keeping a very close eye on his progress, as she had personally recommended him for the advance program. He had not disappointed her.
Both Remus and Amelia shook hands with Harry, and then hugged him before they went to their seats. Amelia did not sit, but turned to look at the end of the tent, and the entirety of the congregation rose as one to watch as Susan Bones entered the tent looking more beautiful than anyone could have ever imagined.
Her red hair was done in a very elegant knot that had taken Hannah three hours to get right. She wore a tasteful, yet elegant pair of earrings with a matching necklace, each containing emeralds. Her dress hugged her top before blossoming out at her waist.
Susan was already tearing up as she approached the dais where her betrothed stood waiting looking quite emotional himself. When Harry offered his hand to Susan as she drew close enough, more than a handful of whimpers could be heard as people tried to hold in their sobs.
Hannah took the flowers Susan had held and she and Harry took the two step to stand before the wizard who would be officiating the ceremony.
As Harry and Susan took their vows, the air was filled with the unmistakable sound of phoenix song. It filled every heart with warmth and joy. Harry could not look away from Susan as he spoke the words he'd spent seven months perfecting for this moment. Susan only barely made it through her own vows having to stop three times to prevent herself from breaking down completely.
When the wizard finally allowed the couple to kiss, A giant explosion rocked the tent as an amazing display of Weasley fireworks was sent into the air. Fred and George high-fived each other as Harry and Susan turned to face their guests and were officially introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Potter.
As Harry took Susan into his arms for their first official dance, he couldn't help think of how strange his life had been. When he was a child, he had never known love. It had been a strange concept to him. It truly wasn't until the betrothal contract surfaced that he was given a real chance to understand this strange and powerful emotion. He had been told that his greatest power was his ability to love. Harry had not understood what that had meant until the moment he saw Susan coming down the aisle towards and realized that it had been love that had saved his life. Love had been the reason he would have risked his life to stop a terrorist hell bent on destroying the world.
As Harry looked around the room at other couples joining them on the dance floor, he began to fully understand the real power love held. Ron and Lavender had broken up, but their love for each other was so strong that it could not let them move on without each other.
Love had been cruel to Hermione, but she had needed that cruelty to understand that there were more important things in life than study and grades. It had also taken a muggle boy by the name of Leon, Hermione had met at University. The boy she danced with looked completely flabbergasted by the people and the shows of magic he was witnessing, though he was clearly enjoying himself. It was love that had kept Hannah and Neville together through some very trying times. Through Neville's grandmother's passing and his ascension to Lord Longbottom, or Hannah's family's implosion had they questioned their own relationship. They had simply gritted their teeth and sought solace in each other.
Here, on this day where his friends and family had come to celebrate love, did Harry think that he was truly beginning to understand just how strong a magic Love truly was. Two years later when Susan gave birth to their first child, a girl they named Lily Amelia that Harry fully understood how powerful Love really was.
Dumbledore had been right all along.
And that's that.