CHAPTER TWENTY:Gains and Losses

Harry hadn't had to lie in the corridor for more than a few minutes before Ron and Neville found and freed him. But it was enough time for Draco and Pansy to get well clear. They'd gone to check on Hermione and Luna, finding them slightly bruised and even more embarrassed but basically unharmed.

Harry and Hermione sat with Rose and Scorpius in what was usually the office of the Head of Slytherin. Slughorn had taken on the role himself until a replacement for Melinda, or rather Pansy, could be found, so for the moment it was vacant. They explained to the two teenagers everything that had happened in the last year and how it had led to the breakout from Azkaban.

"What'll happen with my dad now?"Scorpius asked.

"The Auror Department will issue a full alert for him, your grandparents and the other escapees,"Harry replied. "But a lot of Voldemort's followers went to ground after his fall. If they don't draw attention to themselves, they may well escape capture."

"Do you wish you'd gone with them?"Rose asked.

Scorpius took her hand and smiled. "No,"he replied but he turned his attention back to Harry. "Mr. Potter, can I ask you something?"

"Of course, Scorpius."

"Professor Havelock or whoever she was… Do you think my dad loves her?"

Harry thought for a moment. "No,"he said at last. "But I think she loves him. I think that's why she did all this. And she's got him now." He gave a slight smile. "Stuck with Pansy Parkinson. He may well end up wishing he was back in Azkaban."

Scorpius didn't smile back. "I'd better get back to class,"he decided.

"I'll catch up with you!"Rose called after him. She waited until Scorpius had gone before turning back to Harry and Hermione. "Can I ask your about something?"

"Of course,"Hermione answered. "What is it?"

"Do you think Scorpius' parents loved each other? It's just, hearing the way his mother talks about his father… It's hard to imagine."

"I think they did up to a point,"Harry replied. "You can't really be with someone that long without loving them a bit. The problem with these pureblood families who only marry each other is they haven't really got a lot of people to choose from."

Rose considered this. "I think people should be allowed to marry the person they love,"she decided. Harry wasn't sure if he'd imagined it, but he thought he saw her gaze flick from him to Hermione, just for a second.

"Like you and Scorpius?"Hermione asked teasingly.

Rose blushed slightly but otherwise her expression betrayed nothing. "Yeah, right. Can you imagine how Dad would react if that happened?"

"He'd rant and rave and say it was the worst day in the family's history,"Harry agreed. "And then he'd go to the wedding and be as proud of you as any father has ever been."

To his surprise, Rose threw her arms around him and hugged him. "Thanks for bringing him back,"she said quietly. Then she hugged a stunned Hermione as well. "I love you, Mum,"she added before rushing out.

Harry and Hermione stood and smiled at each other for a moment. Then Hermione's expression became worried. "Do you think we really have seen the last of the Malfoys and the others?"

"I almost hope we have,"Harry replied. "But I can't help feeling they're going to resurface, sooner or later."

It was the first weekend of the summer holidays and the sun was shining. Harry looked around the makeshift dressing room at the rest of the team, all of them holding their brooms at the ready. "It's only five-a-side so no Bludgers,"he told them. "That means Hermione's in goal, Albus can be Seeker and James, Lily and I are the Chasers. Okay?" They all nodded in agreement. "Go, Team Potter!"

The five of them mounted their brooms, ran out of the dressing room and flew up to the pitch where Team Weasley was waiting: Ron, Parvati, Rose, Hugo and Scorpius, the latter spending the first part of his holidays with Rose as a return for her visit at Easter.

Harry and Ron both aimed their wands at the box on the ground and it sprang open, releasing the quaffle and the snitch. While Albus and Hugo, the other Seeker, both made dives for the latter, Harry flew for the quaffle and managed to catch it, throwing it to Lily. She threw it back to him as he zipped past Scorpius and Parvati and threw it to James. He received the return pass and hurled the ball at the goal but Ron, acting as goalkeeper, caught it easily and threw it to Rose. She looked for a moment as though she wasn't sure what to do with it.

"Over here, Rose!"Parvati called. Rose threw the ball. James dived to intercept but only managed to get the barest of touches to the ball that knocked it into the path of Scorpius, who shot towards goal.

Harry almost closed his eyes. Scorpius was one of the most experienced players on the pitch, Hermione one of the least. She didn't stand a chance.

Scorpius threw the ball. Hermione took a deep breath, shot up in the right direction…and the ball thudded into her chest. Almost on instinct, she wrapped her arms around it and caught it. James, Albus and Lily went wild. They shot over to Hermione and hugged her. Then, to Harry's astonishment and delight, Rose and Hugo gave a cheer just as loud as his own children and flew to congratulate their mother, the game forgotten, until she disappeared beneath the people trying to hug her.

Parvati slipped an arm round Ron's shoulder and they smiled at each other. Harry looked at Scorpius and they smiled too, glad to see the people they loved enjoying themselves.

Whatever would come, would come. Harry had learnt that a long time ago. But for the moment, this makeshift family that he'd managed to acquire were all happy.

My thanks to everyone who's followed and supported this fiction. All comments on the conclusion and the fiction as a whole welcome.