"Well?" said Harry.
"I got the job!" Ginny grinned.
"Brilliant interview," said Luna, "I thought it was time The Quibblerbranched out into more general Quidditch coverage. Ginny will do an excellent job."
"Dinner at the Leaky on us," Harry nodded.
"Of course," Luna noted as the friends Apparated there, "there are some features Daddy and his friends will keep investigating. Funding the Heliopaths has really depleted the resources of the Italian league, it's a pity. You'd think after the Tornadoes scandal they'd have learned, don't you?"
"I suppose," said Harry, even-handedly.
"With your kids the way they are you'll know how to edit my articles," Ginny smiled. "I still can't believe you two, raising half a Quidditch team!"
"Half?" Harry blinked.
"Well, Lysander says he's more of an announcer."
"Takes after his mum," Harry laughed.
Luna blushed. "I'm glad we have four kids—that the kids have each other. Better than being alone."
Harry opened his mouth to speak but then just nodded.
Being the savior of the wizarding world had its perks. When a young woman, perhaps a few years older than Harry, greeted him with a warm embrace in the middle of Diagon Alley—well, he took it in stride. With his wand within reach, to be sure, but she seemed mostly grateful to see him. And if she held on a few seconds longer than would be expected—well—things hadn't ended poorly with Ginny by any means, but he didn't mind. At first. Or at second.
By third, however, things were getting a little strange. "Er—excuse me—but—h-have we met?"
"Of course we have! Er, sorry, I haven't—this is ninety-eight? Been a rough week at work."
"Ninety-eight what?" He blinked, recognizing the voice. "Luna, what've you done to your hair? Are you feeling all right?"
"Oh. Yes. Sorry. I suppose I should get back to the Ministry."
"I haven't seen you for a while, you're—you're sure everything's okay?"
"Oh, of course," she smiled. "Don't worry, I'll have much more time to spend with you soon. I promise."
Xenophilius didn't hear about the battle until it was too late. Harry didn't know whether how much of his house had been rebuilt—certainly a Floo Network attachment under the circumstances would have been impossible.
Some small mercy, the borrowed time. To try and think of something to say.
You were right about the diadem. I'm sorry.
You were right about the Hallows. I—
He could go back to get it. Sneak out under the Cloak, he knew where it was, more or less. If he trusted himself to put it back again.
Since he didn't, he made his way instead to the seventh-floor hallway. Even if its contents had been burned away, the room had to still be there.
I need something. Not even another miracle, after today, but a—a body to carry back,anything—
All he found was a small silver door that would not open.
(Much later, it was Xenophilius who wrote him owls about love and memory.)
"I think we ought to get married in a Muggle church," Luna mentioned offhandedly.
Harry blinked. "Are you sure?"
"Oh, yes. That way your cousin and his family can come."
Harry raised his eyebrows.
"You hadn't planned on inviting them?"
"No! I mean, I didn't know you had—that's a good idea, they'll be more comfortable."
"I know there will be some other friends. And their kids, so we'll want somewhere rather large."
"Right. But we don't—don't want all the wizarding world to come. That's a good idea, having it in the Muggle world."
"Yes. My father can sell pictures to the press, that should be enough."
She rattled off a few other ideas for the ceremony, and they all sounded, well, surprisingly tasteful. "Are you sure this is what you want?" he had to ask.
"Okay—what, what about, the cake?"
"Cake?" She raised her eyebrows. "For the last five years the major icing suppliers have been in league with archconservative house-elves to supply mind-altering substances. No, I think we'll be safe with some nice cookies, don't you?"
"Right," Harry smiled. "This'llbe a proper wedding."
"What are we going to do?" Hermione repeated for what felt like the twelfth time since midnight. No one had slept.
"Like I said the last dozen times, we're going to keep fighting," Ron snapped.
"We can't. Not without Harry."
"We'll—we'll find a way."
"We can't," said Hermione with a sharp hiss.
"Well—er—we'll, we'll talk to N-to people, and—"
"Are you going on about the prophecy?" Luna cut in.
Hermione glanced at Ron. "I wasn't aware—"
"Harry didn't keep any secrets from me. I don't think you ought to, either."
Hermione blinked. "Yes. Well. But."
"We keep going," said Luna. "Maybe we can't fight. But we keep going."
Hermione opened her mouth, but Ron raised one hand. "Yes. Any immediate ideas as to where?"
"Well," Luna said after a moment's reflection, "I've heard Sweden is far out of the way."
"Er—do you have a minute?"
"I was thinking, about names."
"For this one," Harry nodded. "If it's a girl, I—would you want to name it after your mum? As well as mine, maybe, we could have first and middle names."
Luna took a moment before speaking. "You wouldn't mind, having "Lily" just be her middle name?"
"If that was what you wanted, I think I'd be all right with it."
She closed her eyes and thought. ""Lily" is a lovely name. I think that would be a good middle name, yes."
"Right. So. We'll name her after your mum, then—"
"Oh, I'd rather not."
"You—you don't want to?"
"She'll learn all about her family, of course, those still here and those who've gone on. But my mum isn't coming back, I think it'd be a bit silly to give her the same name."
"Well, of course it wouldn't be her trying to come back, it'd be just, you know, naming it after her. In honor of her."
"I know," shrugged Luna, "but still, I'd just as well give her a new name."
"Have you thought about any?"
"A few. Cordelia, maybe. Or Joy or Ebony or Diana. There are lots. But we have time."
"Diana Lily," Harry repeated. "I guess we do."
"I don't want to go to school."
"Al," Harry sighed, "you'll have a lot of fun. You'll make friends, it'll be good to have people your own age around."
"I have friends, I write owls to Roxy and Brian and everyone."
"Yes, but it'll be good to talk to people. You'll see."
"But what about Ozzie? You promise you'll take care of him?"
"We will," Luna interrupted, "we got a whole new bag of Flobberworms to eat, he'll be fine."
"And you promise you'll write?"
"Of course we will. We'll send you lots of pictures, too."
"I don't want pictures," Albus crossed his arms, "I want to go back to Sweden and everywhere with you."
"You will this summer. Remember?"
"Yeah, but that's next year."
"It'll go by fast," said Harry, "watch."
They reached the platform and Albus gawked. "All those kids are going to Hogwarts?"
"Yes," said Luna, "you should go introduce yourself, start making friends."
"I don't know..."
"Here, here's Professor Longbottom," waved Harry, "come say hello."
"Hullo there, Albus!" Neville grinned. "Come on, this way."
"Are you sure we're doing the right thing?" Luna whispered as they left the station. "He won't be used to staying in one place."
"Give him a year to see how he likes it," shrugged Harry, "if it's horrible we'll talk it over again. But even you liked Hogwarts, remember?"
She nodded. "It's a nice place to call home."