Version: 1.0 (2006); 1.1 (2012)

Chapter 34: Epilogue

Ron and Hermione married on the fourth of July. Dumbledore's death created a small problem, as they had planned for him to marry them as well. To their great surprise, Minister for Magic Amelia Bones, having heard of the problem from Ron's father, volunteered to fill in. While she was not Dumbledore, Ron still felt pretty special as the Minister for Magic rarely officiated at weddings.

Harry was best man for Ron and Ginny was matron of honor for Hermione, though Hermione made them promise not to lose themselves in each other's thoughts on stage. It was a promise they found hard to keep, but somehow they managed to do so.

After they were joined together in matrimony, Ron and Hermione Apparated to the London International Apparation Point to begin their journey to the Canary Islands. They had decided to accept Harry's gift of a secluded honeymoon.

By the time Ron and Hermione returned so he could start practice with The Pride of Portree, Harry and Ginny were feeling pretty good about their career choice. Ginny had had two months to work on her physical conditioning and Coach O'Day was thrilled with her better performance. The Potters used much of their extra time though to help Ron catch up from missing two weeks of practice.

By the third game of the season, both Ron and Ginny were on the starting team too. The team was 2-0 for the season and all the season tickets were already sold out. Everyone from Doug Donovon on down was happy.

Two years later, Harry and Ginny Flooed into the office of the Headmistress of Hogwarts. "Harry, Ginny, I'm so glad to see you, and my, the photos don't do the two of you justice," Minerva told them.

Harry knew he'd matured a little bit since he'd left school, but he thought the time had done more to Ginny. The physical exercise of playing the sport had given her a more solid look, which he found even more attractive and she had matured beautifully into the nineteen year old woman she was now. She seemed to get more beautiful to him every day.

Ginny caught his feelings and smiled at him. "Thank you ma'am, but you did invite us," she pointed out.

"True, true. Have a seat and some tea." McGonagall took them to her little sitting area. "I hope everything is going well for you two, and what I read in the Daily Prophet seems to indicate that it is."

Harry smiled. "For once the newspaper is right."

"Well, I thank you for coming by to see me. As international Quidditch stars, I'm sure you both are very busy."

"I suppose playing on the English team in the Quidditch World cup does make us that," Harry acknowledged. Harry had been starting Seeker and Ginny had been a reserve Chaser, though she had played in the games only a little bit. That Harry had caught the winning Snitch in the finals just made it all that much better for them. Or impossible might have been a better description as they now had to actively disguise themselves when they went out in public.

McGonagall continued to be her charming self, as she continued to speak. "I also hear you're helping out Hermione at the Department of Mysteries in your off time."

It was all Harry could do not to let a change come over his face at hearing that. How did she hear about stuff like that? It was supposed to be super secret, he thought. Fortunately, Ginny was up to answering. "I wouldn't know about that," she plainly said.

"You know how rumors are," the Headmistress said without missing a beat. "Though if it were true, I suppose that would be useful for keeping one's spell skills fresh and readily available."

"I suppose," Ginny continued. "Hermione does tell us that her job does keep her on her toes spell-wise, not to mention that she loves it so much."

"Well, I'm glad for that, and I hope you're keeping your wands from getting dusty. I do want you two to come back here. In fact, Filius was telling me just the other day how much he missed teaching you two."

"Thank you, Professor," Harry told her.

"You may call me Minerva now that you've graduated."

Inclining his head Harry tried again. "Thank you, Minerva. We do miss the special classes. Speaking of which, how are they going?"

"Very well, Harry. It was a brilliant idea and has been going well. We had four students in the program last year and I expect six this coming year." Harry nodded as he thought about that. "Tell me Harry, have you had any more great ideas about Hogwarts lately?"

He smiled at her. He'd known this was coming when the owl brought the invitation to him. "No, Minerva, I'm afraid I haven't given it much thought at all. Between Ginny, work, personal research, and working with the Potter Foundation for Orphans, I haven't had much time to consider schools. Though I suppose that will change when children come along."

"I'm sure it will, Harry. So is a family in the near future for you two?" Though the question was addressed to both of them, she looked at Ginny in particular.

"Not at this time," the red headed woman answered. "I'm enjoying my career and we have plenty of time. I would really like to play as a starter in the World Cup. Assuming I do that next time, then I'll think seriously about children."

"When you do, we will have a place for them." McGonagall turned on the charm again. "And you know that children and grandchildren of Professors can come for free don't you? Not a problem for you two, but still a nice benefit, don't you think?"

Harry laughed. "You don't stop trying, do you Minerva?"

"No, Harry, and it would be a crime for me if I do. I suppose everything seems so normal to you, Harry, but you have a natural gift for both teaching and understanding situations. Finding those two talents together is unusual. To find them in someone with a good heart is even rarer and is what would make you such a good Headmaster. While I'm not ready to step down just yet, the position is yours for the asking anytime you want it, Harry. The Board will have no second thoughts about hiring you."

"She is right about you, you know," his wife added, "about your character I mean. I still don't know about living here, but I do understand what she's talking about. After all, I married you for the wonderful person you are."

Harry only shook his head in amazement. "I think that will have to do until your next attempt, Minerva." The Headmistress only smiled at him. "Is Professor Flitwick here today?"

"Yes he should be in his quarters. Do go by and see him. I know he'd be delighted to see you. Andrew is not here or I'd suggest you say hello to him as well. You can use my Floo to return when you wish. The password is Bagpipes." The couple thanked her and went to see their old Charms professor who was so dear to them.

It was spring and Ginny had just finished her sixth season for The Pride of Portree. She walked into Doug Donovon's office; she hadn't needed an appointment, he had an open door policy for all of his players.

"Doug, we need to talk."

"Ginny, come in and have a seat. And before you start in on me again, I'm sorry, but I just can't make the family box any bigger. Even magic has its limitations sometimes," the owner told her.

"Relax, Doug, that's not what I'm here to talk about. Though if it will help you sleep better, we've just bought the box from the family next to us and we're planning on combining them for the extended Potter/Weasley clan."

"Oh, all right. So what did you want to talk about? There are no faster brooms than your Firebolt VII."

She laughed, "You know me so well, don't you? No, since I know you're about to start considering who to make offers to from the schools and otherwise start all the inter-team trading, I'm here to give you notice. We're ready to start a family."

Doug looked at the athletic Ginny Potter, international Quidditch star having just made a starting position on this year's English World Cup team, his number one scoring Chaser, and one of his biggest draws for fans. She was every guy's dream: she was beautiful and she loved Quidditch. "Come on, Ginny, you can't do this to me. Think of the team!"

"I am thinking of the team. That's why I'm telling you now. Look for a good replacement at the schools, trade where you have to. I'd really prefer this past season to be my last one and I'll retire after we finish the World Cup games this summer. If you can show me that you tried your absolute hardest to find a replacement and couldn't, I'll play next year too, but that would definitely be it."

She could see the calculating look on his face and didn't need her Legilimency to know what was going through his mind. "Doug, I mean it when I tell you that you really have to try and I will know if you haven't. Please remember that I'm one of the ones that turned Voldemort into a ball of chalk."

He looked at her intently. "You mean that little gray bit in Harry's paperweight at your house really is a piece of Voldemort's soul?"

"Yep, that's all that left. Harry Vanished the rest. And yes, the wand next to it in the display was Voldemort's too. You also shouldn't forget that the other half of the team that killed Voldemort also wants a family, though he'll continue his job with you."

"Well, that's very nice to hear," the owner responded. "You know, it's too bad you two and your expertise weren't around a couple of years ago when they found those two dead Death Eaters at the stadium."

"You mean the ones with their heads cut off?"

Donovon grimaced as he hadn't wanted to think about the details. "Yeah - those."

"Why do you think they were here at the stadium? And just who do you think took care of them since they were found dead, not killed in a fight with security? Come on ..."

"What? You mean they were after you two?"

"Right in one, Doug. Sometimes old grudges take a long time to die, though those two didn't. It wasn't fair actually, Harry got them both with a single powerful cutting spell and didn't leave me anything to do," she almost seemed to pout.

An image of a bloodthirsty woman briefly flicked through Donovon's mind; he'd never thought of her as an Auror type of person. "You two killed them? Why didn't you say something? They never determined who did it."

"No need, the deed was done and Harry thought you didn't need the publicity of two of your star players mixed up in something like that. Nor did we want the scrutiny of the press, even if the whole thing was in self-defense. They attacked and we reacted - decisively."

"I see. I do appreciate your thinking that through and do agree with you. It'll be our little secret. I suppose I'm just so amazed to find this out and to see this other side to you two after knowing you for six years."

"Oh come on, Doug." Ginny sounded amazed at his denseness. "You know we play a game that can get us killed in the worst of accidents and has already put each of us in the hospital several times over our career. You know we killed Voldemort while we were still teenagers and at least the highlights of most of our other encounters with Voldemort and his Death Eaters have been in the papers. No, you can't meet most of the Death Eaters I've run into because they're thankfully dead. In fact, I don't think we've walked away from a live Death Eater since I was fifteen, and that was only because the teachers were there and I couldn't get away with making them disappear. If all that doesn't paint a picture of two people who live life on the edge and who get mixed up in the rougher side of life at times, then who or what do you think we are?" She paused but he didn't say anything as he was still trying to absorb it all.

"Now, I will admit that trying to start a family will make us a little more like the average couple. We'll stop focusing on the times for fun for just the two of us and we'll start focusing on raising children. But we are who we are because of the choices we've made. Now, I'll see you in a few months on the 19th of May at our first team pre-season practice, which I hope will be my last. Please try to find a new Chaser. You don't want to lie to me, Doug." She laughed at his sour expression as she got up and left.

Doug swallowed hard as he considered what used to be a rather quiet girl of seventeen who had been merely an aggressive flyer, and was now a self-assured woman of almost twenty-three and a no-holds barred flyer. He had never lied to any of his players, and he sure wasn't going to start now - especially after hearing about the couple's exploits. He got up from his desk and went to find O'Day. The coach was not going to be thrilled to hear this news, though they both knew it was bound to happen some day. He wondered if he could talk her into an office job dealing with PR where her famous name could still help the team.

Ginny had just turned thirty last week. She'd also just given birth to her fifth child a few hours earlier. She was nursing him now while she and Harry were discussing a name for him. They'd had a boy who looked just like Harry, twin girls that looked much like her - which thrilled her mum, another boy that looked a lot like Harry, and finally this little boy that had red hair and she guessed would look a lot like one of her brothers as he seemed to take after the Weasley side.

She wasn't completely sure if this was their final child or not, but five children in seven years seem like enough to her. Then she looked over at Harry and saw him just watching her and totally ignoring the new baby. Those green eyes of his mesmerized her as they always had. Though she couldn't have what she really wanted, she wanted him anyway. He smiled and ran his hand over the side of her face pulling back a stray lock of her long red hair and put it behind her ear. She knew she had to look like a mess, but Harry didn't look like he cared. She loved him so.

Harry Apparated to the gates of Hogwarts. He could have Flooed to the Headmistress' office, but it was a nice spring day and he wanted to enjoy the walk on the grounds. The giant squid was still there, sunning the tips of his tentacles today. In the distance he could see an older Madam Hooch working on advanced flying lessons with some firsties.

As he came in through the front door, he was met with the sounds of many students. Knowing it was lunch time, he headed for the Great Hall. He was a bit early, but lunch at Hogwarts sounded good for some reason, and he knew he wouldn't be denied.

Walking through the double doors of the Great Hall, he started to get a few stares. By the time he was halfway to the teacher's table, every eye in the room was on him and the talking had changed to whispers. He wasn't in disguise and his face was known by everyone in the Wizarding World who didn't live under a rock, and many of those knew him too. A smiling McGonagall was waiting for him at the head table. "May I join you for lunch, Headmistress?" he politely asked.

"Anytime, Harry. Andrew is running late today, so why don't you sit here next to me. I'm sure he'll understand." Harry smiled since he knew she wanted him to take Andrew's place full time. Chicken was on the menu for today; he enjoyed it and the pleasant conversation of the teachers there asking him how he was doing.

After lunch, he and McGonagall slowly walked to her office. In the corridor on the fifth floor, they rounded a corner just in time to see what looked like a sixth year Slytherin about to pound a third year Ravenclaw. Without even thinking, Harry soundlessly and wandlessly flicked his hand and a shield materialized between the two. The bigger boy punched the shield before he realized what had happened, crying out he clutched at his hand. The little Ravenclaw looked up to see what teacher had saved him when he saw Harry Potter smiling down at him.

"I'm glad to see you haven't lost your reflexes, Harry," the Headmistress told him. "Run along to class, Mr. Cooper, I shall deal with Mr. Timberlake." The third year just nodded his thanks and literally ran away. She could only imagine the story that would be circulating by the end of the day about how he'd been saved from certain death by the famous Harry Potter.

"Mr. Timberlake, I think ten detentions and the loss of fifty points will be a start for your behavior. If I find out that you've done this a third time, I doubt you will finish your schooling here. Am I clear?!" She fixed the boy with her sternest stare which almost caused him to wilt as he nodded. "Very well then, go see the nurse about your hand and let that be another lesson to you." The boy walked to the hospital as quickly as he could.

In her office, she offered Harry some tea before they sat down. "Well Harry, if I've counted correctly, you've just finished your fourteenth season, and according to what I read in the papers, unless someone is completely daft, you'll make the English World Cup team for the fourth time this year. Are you still enjoying playing professional Quidditch?"

He chuckled at her usual tactic of coming straight to the point. "I am, though I'll tell you something else if you can keep a secret," he told her conspiratorially.

"Oh, I love secrets," she told him with a smile. She was hoping it was the answer she'd been waiting for.

"This will be my last World Cup series, and in fact, the World Cup games will be the last time to play professionally. You'll see it in the papers soon."

"Really? Well that's going to give you a lot of free time, Harry. What do you plan to do with it? If you lack ideas, I'm sure I could help out."

Harry laughed. "Minerva, one thing I've liked about you is your straightforwardness, even when you're trying not to be." She only smiled at him as she knew he meant it as a compliment. "Actually, I was glad to get your invitation for a chat when our season ended. Ginny was telling me how quiet the house is with only five children and that maybe we needed another six or seven hundred more to liven things up a bit."

McGonagall was about to burst with joy on the inside. "Well, now, I'll have to send her something as a thank you for telling you that."

"Letting us send them all here for a weekend would make her happier," he told her with a smile.

Now she laughed. "That could be arranged and would be a small price to pay to get you here, Harry."

"With two great house-elves, she really doesn't have it that bad. So exactly what did you have in mind Minerva?"

"Andrew is ready to retire, and has been for a couple of years, so I'd like you to take his place as teacher, Head of Gryffindor, and Deputy Headmaster. I have Charms filled for the moment, though the teacher who took Filius' place after his death probably won't be here for more than a couple of years. Still, I can easily find a position for Ginny if she'd like. For example, Madam Hooch is finding it harder to keep up with teaching flying. That would be a spot with a small time requirement and almost no planning."

"I see. You seem to have this all worked out for us."

"Oh yes. I've even managed to get our largest teacher suite vacant with a small one beside it. Your children and main living quarters could be in the big one, while your and Ginny's bedroom and private study areas could be in the small one. All we need to do is put a door between them. Dobby and Winky along with their children would be welcome too." Minerva looked at him to see what he thought about her plans.

"Wow, you have worked it all out. Well, that's the immediate future; what were your plans for later, as you've never bothered concealing I should be in the golden chair one day," he asked.

She was reeling him in, she thought. "Oh, I'm thinking about three or maybe four years. I'd like to finish up a thing or two before I leave. That should also give you time to get fully versed in all that's going on here, though I should warn you that I'll let you pretty much run the school my last year to complete your training. Dumbledore did that for me the last few months of his last year. My only regret was that he didn't do it for a longer period, but I don't think he realized the extent of his health problems until late in the year."

Harry nodded. "Very well, I'll talk with Ginny and see what she says."

"That's fine Harry. In fact, why don't you bring the family back in a week and a half. The second round of Quidditch games will start then and Gryffindor is looking good this year. They'll be playing Slytherin. You two could come root them on, I'm sure the team would enjoy the boost of having you two there to cheer for them. I'm also quite sure I can find a few seventh year girls who'd love to watch your children for you," she told him slyly.

He laughed, "Oh you're good Minerva. All right, we'll see you Saturday after next."

"With a good answer for me?"

"I'll only promise to have an answer."

"Good enough, Harry," she told him as he got up to Floo home.

"Harry, you're about to finish your third year as Deputy Headmaster so I suspect you have good feel for the students that are there now. But tell us why you think your new programs are the right thing to do?" Blaise Zabini, the newest member of the Hogwarts Board of Governors, looked at him steadily, though Harry could tell his former classmate supported him.

"Blaise, members of the Board," Harry was doing his best to look sincere as he addressed them. "I believe my new more career-oriented classes will be helpful to the students who are not research oriented to be more prepared for a job. I've talked with a number of employers in the Wizarding World over the last six months and they all tell me the same thing, many times using the same exact words. A Hogwarts education is considered to be an outstanding achievement, but for many of our students, there are a number of spells and other bits of magic they have to learn on the job. The employers would like us to help them, and I think we can. By the time the students reach the seventh year, they should have an idea of what they'd like to do, and these optional courses can help them. Please note, they will not replace the normal curriculum, they are a supplement in the same way our advanced courses are a supplement."

"I believe the advanced courses, which you spearheaded while still a student, would be considered a success by all," Blaise pointed out. There were murmurs of agreement all around the table. "I wished I'd had the opportunity while I was there. Mr. Chairman? I'd like to make a motion. I'd like to propose that Professor Potter be promoted to Headmaster at the end of this term; and secondly, that all of his proposals be allowed to go forward. I like his vision for the school and the students." The motion was seconded.

"All in favor?" The room was filled with "Ayes"; "Opposed?" there were none. "Very well, congratulations on your new position, Professor Potter. We look forward to seeing your fine work for many years to come," the head of the Board told him.

"Thank you, Chairman Graham. I look forward to serving the students and the Board. I hope everyone has a good evening and a safe trip home." Harry left the room, but as they were in the castle, he didn't have to go far to find his present home.

In his quarters he found Minerva talking with Ginny. As he walked through the door, the two women looked up at him expectedly. "So Ginny, how do you think the kids will react to having their dad be the Headmaster?"

She smoothly got up and gave him a hug for congratulations. "Actually, probably a lot better than if you'd been one of their teachers." He laughed.

"Congratulations, Harry," Minerva nodded to him. "Of course, there was never any doubt in my mind. You have basically been running the school all year long anyway and your proposals for the new classes are well thought out and needed."

"Thank you, especially for your recommendation. It should be very interesting next year as all the changes go into effect," he said. "The most unusual change is that it seems strange to think of myself as the Headmaster of Hogwarts." As he was about to go on, a light flashed in front of him then he heard the flapping of wings and finally a weight settled on his shoulder.

Harry somehow knew who it was even before he looked up at the bird. "Fawkes?" he asked to be sure. The phoenix leaned down and nipped his ear - hard. Somehow he managed not to cry out, then suddenly it was better, and wet. Understanding came to Harry that the bird had bonded to him, healing the wound that was given.

He looked at the bird, who looked back at him, and Harry heard a voice in his head, "Now that you are Headmaster, I will be with you. I have never had a friend with two hearts, but both you and your mate are true." Harry looked at Ginny and saw a look of astonishment come over her; she'd heard Fawkes too.

McGonagall was simply amazed. "That's incredible! Did you call him, Harry?" Minerva asked.

"No," he softly said, "you can't call a phoenix before bonding, he is your friend or he is not." Then Ginny was even more astonished when Fawkes then jumped and gave one flap of his wings and was on Ginny's shoulder, where he repeated the bonding. No one said a thing for several minutes, during which time Ginny just gazed at the bird and lightly stroked his head. Fawkes didn't say anything else to them at the moment.

McGonagall seemed to shudder at the event she'd just witnessed. Finally she took a deep breath and tried to get back on track. "You know Harry, I think your idea for replacing Binns is both good and sad. I didn't have the heart to do it, but you are correct that the students do need to learn the material and the ghost just isn't up to it."

"I understand Minerva. I suppose it's not as hard on me because I didn't know him when he was alive, but I do know I slept through most of his classes and that's a shame, really."

"I fully agree," Ginny added. "If it were up to me, I'd change it even more and stop teaching History and have everyone do Pensieve lessons for it. That way they'd get the material but wouldn't have to waste the time on it."

"Really? I honestly disagree, Ginny," her husband told her. "Part of the benefit of those classes should be to discuss the events in context as well as how they apply to today, or at least that's what I want the new teacher to do. You can't do interaction like that in Pensieve lessons."

"That is a point," she acknowledged. "Still, I think I'll just stick to Charms; my classes are much more straightforward. Either my students can do the work or they can't."

"You've already charmed me, what else is there for you to do?" he flirted with her.

Minerva started laughing. "Oh you two ... I think I'll go and let you two lovebirds discuss this in your own way. I need to start cleaning out my desk; I've only got three months to do it." As she left, Fawkes hopped and glided to the back of the chair McGonagall had vacated.

When they were alone, Harry growled, "Come here, Professor Potter."

"Now, now, Professor Potter, behave yourself," though she got up anyway and went towards him.

"That's Headmaster Potter to you, woman."

"Well, is that all I am now, just a woman?" she asked coyly as she settled herself onto his lap and into his arms.

She was a few pounds heavier than before their children, but he still thought she was the most beautiful woman in his life. Of course, giving him a family of five wonderful children made her just that much more special. "You know you're the love of my life, Gin."

"For now and forever, Harry ..." she told him as she wrapped her arms around his neck and started kissing him. Again, their love for each other flowed back and forth through their bond, growing in their oneness like so many times before. Only now, there seemed to be a hauntingly beautiful song in the background of their mind.


{ A/N 2006: I want to give a big thank you to Padfoot1981, who started as my beta editor. When we had technical problems, cwarbeck was kind enough to step up and take over helping me get the rest of the story out. So a big thank you to Cel too. I could not have done as well, and the story certainly would not have come out nearly as good, without these two wonderful gals. You two made me look so much better than I am!

I hope everyone enjoyed reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. That's all to this series, though I have some other stories you can check out. :-)

If you have questions or constructive criticism, please post a comment and I'll do my best to answer. I'm not a professional writer, I only write fiction for fun, so I know I can always learn something. - kb.}

{ A/N 2013: That was my first story and I hope no one cringed too hard, other than me. :) Due to some difficult times in my personal life lately, don't expect to see any new stories from me before June at the earliest - unless something pops up in my "Odds and Ends". Editing has been easy despite having no time to write. Now that life is becoming normal again and I'm finding some time to write, I'm sure new stories will pop out eventually. You can watch my bio for a status or set an author alert. }