Hi everyone! So, this is it! The end of my first fanfiction, after nearly a year and 500 pages. I want to take this opportunity to thank my amazing reviewers. Some of them had followed me since the very first chapter and believed in the potential of this story. It is thanks to them, and thanks to the others that joined them later on and cheered me on, that this story was able to continue for this long. As I have mentioned in the previous AN, I would like to give back to those who supported me. Therefore, if you have a scene that happens in the 17 years gap between the last chapter and the epilogue you'd like to witness, please ask and I will do my best to write it for you in an outtake. Outtakes will be posted separately from this story, partly because it wouldn't follow a set narrative order and would be more one glimpse of the characters here and there in their life and partly because I want to keep this to be officially completed and to leave it up to the readers if they want to see more of the story, or not.
Also, as some of you might know from my review replies, I am currently working on my second fanfiction, which will be a time-travel HPLV/TMR slash, non-dark Harry, no one-bashing with a premise I have never seen yet in another story (if you have, please tell me). I am still working out the plot, as I have a few ideas and I'm not sure how to blend them in correctly, but the first chapter will be out soon, so be sure to keep an eye out of it ;)
Guest reviews reply:
Luc: I think you will be satisfied with the fluffiness of this epilogue, but I just wrote the cheesiest, fluffiest outtake ever after reading your review. It should be up soon and I think you'd enjoy it ^^
Cherrie-san: I think people like to give Harry the Master of Death power so that both him and Marvolo are immortal in different ways. One reviewer made me notice that my Harry was kinda stuck as a mortal now. I've made another outtake about sort of that subject. I like Outtakes. There are really fun to write :P
Warning: Fluffiness :P
Epilogue: 17 years later, Slytherin Fortress
She crouched among the high grass, looking at her prize intently. The golden Locket, so precious to the Supreme Leader of the World, lied on a red cushion in the middle of the room. A lazy guardian kept watch, but it was not enough to deter her from her epic quest.
She, the best spy and agent of the Muggle Government, would secure the precious piece of jewellery. Rumours said that it was the source of the Supreme Leader's immortality and the Muggles wanted that gift for themselves. She had been tasked with this perilous mission.
Keeping a close watch on the guard, she circled until she was facing their back and slowly emerged from the thick foliage in which she was hiding. She narrowly dodged the traps on the floor as she jumped with agility from one couch to another, occasionally even resorting to venture on dangerous tables to keep away from the ground. She was a daring Muggle.
She glanced at the guard again, who was now sleeping soundly in the sun. What a pathetic protection they offered. They would get their head chopped off if the Supreme Leader heard of it; that was for sure! But it worked well for her purpose.
The prize was but a few meters away. She looked down, evaluating the distance between the couch on which she was perched and the podium where laid the Locket.
She could make it. She wasn't the best Muggle spy ever for no reason.
Brow furrowed in concentration, muscles tensed and ready, eyes darting around, always evaluating the situation and a tongue peeking out of her mouth just because, she jumped.
And painfully hit her head on the podium. And fell on the ground noisily. And made Nagini wake up with a bolt and hiss at her to be more careful. She had failed and damn, but it hurt so bad!
Her eyes started to water in frustration. She had nearly done it this time! Why did her missions always fail at some point? She rubbed her painful forehead and couldn't help the small sob that she produced.
"Aw, Meredith, did you hurt yourself doing one of your games again?" asked her dad, picking her up and placing her in his hip.
"Humph! You're becoming too big for me," he commented wistfully as he did so.
"Dad! I'm not big! I'm tall! And it's not a game! It's serious! I'm the best Muggle spy ever and I'm going to steal Father's precious gift and become as powerful as he is!" she protested.
He looked at her, evaluating. She added puppy eyes to help convince him.
"You know, it would work better if you didn't tell him that every time you see him. And, sweetheart, you are not a Muggle. You had your first bout of Accidental Magic when you were barely one year old. I told you about it, remember?" he said in that patient voice of his.
Of course she remembered. It was her favourite bedtime story. She had startled both of her parents by summoning her milk bottle while they were too busy talking to each other to notice that she was hungry. And after that, she found it so funny that she begun summoning all her plush toys until she summoned her rattle and it hit her on the head painfully. And she had stopped summoning stuff after that. Temporarily.
"I know, Dad, but it's so much more fun to play the villain!" she protested again.
Her dad sighed and had an indulgent smile.
"You're your father's child through and through, even if you bear my last name."
"Father said I was the child of both of yous, no matter what!" she parroted.
Her dad smiled again, this time more softly.
"He said that? Hmm... your father is right, you know. No matter what, you'll always be our little princess."
"He also said I was a lion-snake, because I was courageous and cunning at the same time!" she said proudly.
"Well, he certainly knows how to boost your ego. Wait a few years and you'll have trouble going through doorframes just like he has."
"He doesn't have trouble with anything! Ever! Because he's so powerful, you know!" she defended her father's honour.
Her dad snorted.
"No wonder he's so proud of you if you keep flattering him like that," he teased.
That made her think of something important, so she became very serious.
"Dad, why does Father not like Caelum that much? Is it because he never plays with me and studies all the time? Or because he has a girlfriend?" she asked with a sad pout.
Her father put her on the ground and kneeled down to look her straight in the eye. He was always very serious when he did that and usually it meant that he would tell her grown-up stuff, so she focused really hard on listening to what he would say.
"Your brother is the Slytherin heir. Your father is really proud of him, but there is a lot of pressure on his shoulders. Caelum tries really hard to please everybody and show them that he is mature and powerful, despite his young age. As for his girlfriend, do you mean Carina Malfoy?" She nodded in answer. "Well, Carina is a few years older than him and is helping him with his load of responsibility. It's too early to say whether they are really interested in each other, but your father and I have discussed it, and we would be fine if that happened. The Malfoys are old friends of ours."
Sometimes, grownups were silly. Her dad had said it was too early to tell, but to her, it was obvious that both her brother and that blond girl were interested in each other. She had even seen them kiss the other day when she was playing Muggle spy!
She didn't know why Caelum would be interested in her. Uncle Draco was a lot more beautiful and his son was quite close to her age...She blushed at the thought of the nice boy who had given her flowers last time he'd seen her.
"So I'll tell him he should play with you more often and take study breaks, but don't go pester him for it, alright? Wait until he's ready," concluded her dad.
Shoot! She had missed part of the important talk! And now her dad had already gotten back up and started to walk away!
"Daddddd?" she called, to keep him there a bit longer as she caught up to him.
"Yeeeeeeeesss?" he answered in the same intonation. Sometimes, her dad was silly like that.
"When is Father coming back from France again?" she asked.
Her dad sighed again. He sighed a lot more when Father wasn't there, she had noticed.
"He's busy negotiating a treaty of peace with Germany. He should be back soon."
"Why didn't we go with him? I love going to the big house in Paris!"
"Because this time, it's just boring old people talking about war and other grown-up things. You'd have been bored in a second if you'd gone there. Even I am bored sometimes in those reunions," he confessed.
"Even you?" she exclaimed, surprised.
"Yes, even me, but you know..." he started, only to hear a wail come from the nursery and stopped on track.
"Alright, your little brother has woken up and he seems cranky. Do you want to come with me to see what he wants?" he asked.
Her dad was always busy with that crying baby those days. She didn't see why he was even there. She was fine with just one brother! At least, he could have been a girl and then she'd have a sister to play with, but nooo, he just had to be a boy.
"No, I don't want to see William," she said, spitting his name disdainfully.
Her dad lifted an eyebrow at her. Not an eyebrow! That meant she was in trouble! Thankfully, the little monster shouted again and he left with only a warning that they would talk later and to wait there for him.
She had just started to be bored when she heard the Floo activate behind her. She spun around just in time to see her father exit.
"Father!" she said with a large grin, launching herself at him. He chuckled in answer and patted her head. She loved how deep his voice was when he chuckled or laughed, but he didn't laugh that often, unless it was when he made her dad turn red.
"What a welcome! Did you miss me, my little lion-snake?" said her father, lifting her up on his hip and messing her hair up.
"Fatherrrr! Don't mess my hair up, pleaseee. It took Carina ages to make it look ok!"
"You'll wish all your life that you inherited my hair instead of Harry's lion mane, you'll see," he said with a teasing smile. "So, Miss Malfoy is here today, then?" he asked with a knowing smirk.
"Yeah, but she didn't even want to play with me today. And she went to Caelum's rooms and they have been studying alllll day. But you know what?" she said, leaning to her father's ear to whisper the question.
"No, what?" he asked in a conspiratorial tone. Her father was the best for exchanging secrets.
"I was playing spy the other day and I saw them kissing! On the mouth! Disgusting, right?" she confided.
Her father nodded solemnly, a snarky grin on his face now. Ouhhh, that meant he had a genius idea again. She couldn't wait to see what it was!
"What are you two plotting over there?" asked her dad, breaking the mood.
"Well, well, well, what do we have here?" answered her father, looking hungry suddenly.
"Father, you shouldn't look at him that way," she interjected. Her father and her dad turned to look at her in surprise.
"Dad is too bony, I think you'd be still hungry even if you eat him whole," she pointed out logically.
Both of them laughed, but she couldn't tell if they were laughing at her, so she just frowned in answer and wiggled to be let down on the ground.
"We'll just have to test this theory then. Travelling does make me hungry," said her father as his eyes went up and down looking at her dad.
Usually, when he did that, then they'd...ewww...kiss. Like right now.
Really, now, did they have to do that when she was there? Kissing looked disgusting, but her dad had told her that she would want to do it when she was older. She never wanted to, seriously. And most boys were icky. Except for Uncle Draco...and his son.
And then her father put one hand in her dad's hair and the other on his hip and suddenly they were so close that they nearly looked like they were one person. But one very big person.
Maybe kissing was like hugging, but when you had to be so close that even your mouth had to be hugging each other?
And then William schwilliam let out a tiny wail of protest and her dad stopped hugging and turned to the sound.
Her father sighed. At least now she wasn't alone in thinking that the baby was annoying.
This time, the monster calmed down by himself, but her father didn't look so hungry anymore.
"So, how is the new ward coming up?" he asked her dad.
"Well enough, but working with Draco is a bit frustrating sometimes because he just wants to use Potions in every occasion, and you know how I love Potions..."
"Yes, Severus failed to transmit to you the passion of brewing. He has that effect on a lot of people, I am told," answered her father, sounding a bit like he did when he told me I'd understand when I am bigger.
Her dad rolled his eyes.
"Anyway, turns out the Potion did help, but I had to add another twist to the ward composition. I'll show you later, if you want?" he suggested.
"Later, yes, I'd like that. You know, I think your daughter was partly right earlier. One serving of you isn't enough to satisfy my hunger," said her father with a big grin.
"Oh, really, then we will have to remediate to this troublesome situation, won't we?" replied her dad. Why wasn't he protesting? She was pretty sure that if you'd get eaten, you'd die!
While she was pondering the mystery of whether you could live inside the stomach of the person who ate you and what that meant about the food she ate every day, her parents had started making their way to their room.
"Don't eat him completely! I still need him to give me piggy-back rides!" she shouted at them.
She only heard laughter in answer.
"I wasn't joking!" she protested loudly, this time hearing nothing apart from a door closing soundly.
Then she heard a sound coming from the nursery and she decided to go have a look at the little monster.
He was awake, looking around curiously and babbling incoherently.
His big and round dark green eyes locked on hers the second she stepped in and he giggled happily. He was happy to see her. It made her feel guilty for saying that he was a monster, even if she hadn't said it aloud.
She brought a curious hand to his head and caressed the dark fluffy hair, marvelling at how soft it felt. She wondered if he'd have her father's orderly hair like Caelum, or her dad's uncontrollable one like hers.
Her little brother sneezed suddenly, startling her. His blanket had peeled off him with the sneeze. Was it Accidental Magic? Already?
She felt a pang of jealousy at the thought of how much attention that would get him from their parents, but covered him up again with the blanket. It wouldn't do for her to be blamed if he caught a cold, after all.
"For someone who said she didn't like the new baby, you seem awfully nice to him, Sis," commented someone from the doorway.
Caelum was standing there with Carina at his side. The two of them looked about as different as they could. Carina had really pale blond hair that curled around in little waves down to her shoulder whereas Caelum hadn't managed to make his dark brown hair grow longer than his ears. It was regularly falling in his eyes and he had developed sort of a twitch with his head to make them fall to the side again. No matter what they did, his hair always remained the same height. Apparently, it was the same for Dad.
Carina was small like her mother and Caelum was already so tall that he was nearly at the height of their dad. It made him look older, and she guessed that was part of why Carina wasn't too bothered by the age gap.
"There's a difference between not liking him and letting him get a cold. Imagine the scolding I'd get if I did that. And Father always finds out stuff I do wrong, even when there's no witness. I don't know how he does it," she explained, frustrated.
"He sees it in your mind. When you're older, one of them will teach you to close it. If you have a choice, pick Harry, he's nicer about it," he suggested.
She didn't know why he insisted on calling their parents by their names. When he was talking to them, he said 'Father' and 'Dad', but when he was talking OF them, he'd always use their first names. It was weird, but Dad had said that it was an adolescence thing and that she'd get it later probably.
William let out a small shout to get their attention, but when they turned to him, he only babbled and gurgled.
Carina went to pick him up and to sit in a rocking chair in the back of the room. The baby lifted a hand to play with the blond strands falling close to him while he continued to look around with big eyes.
"I think he wants a story. Would you happen to know any good ones?" asked the elegant Malfoy.
"I can tell about the first time I did Accidental Magic!" she replied enthusiastically.
Caelum groaned in answer.
"You always talk about that. I did Accidental Magic before you and you don't hear me talk about it ten times a day."
"I did it younger!" she protested.
"No, we were about the same age," contradicted Caelum, before turning back to Carina. "Now, I think we should tell him about the time Marvolo saved Harry's life."
"You should call them 'Dad' and 'Father' in your story, or William won't recognise them!" she advised wisely.
"Right. Okay," he agreed to easily, before summoning a few cushions for the two of them to sit down comfortably in front of the rocking chair.
"So, here it goes. Father and Dad, at some point, were in a very dangerous situation. Are you listening, William?"
The baby gurgled in answer, staring at his brother as if he was transfixed.
"Right, so. The bad guys had managed to trap them in the Ministry building and they couldn't use any Magic! And then, Father and Dad had been forced to use Muggle weapons to fight them off but then, it was getting dangerous and the big bad guy Moody who only had one leg and one eye and who looked terrifying, well, he was there, waiting for them. And then, the bad guy was feeding Harry all sorts of lies to make him betray Marvolo and everything and then, Harry..."
"Call him Dad!" interrupted Meredith with a shout.
"Okay, okay, so, when Dad did this very brave thing and threw himself of Father to save his life, but then Father would not let him die, so he pushed him out of the way too and died himself but he was so awesome that he was immortal so he could come back and help Harry get revenge for the attempt on his life, you know. And then, Father found out that the French had conspired against them to kill him, so he started an underground war with France and managed to win it without alerting the Muggles because Father is a genius like that, but then, not everybody is as cunning as that, and because of a Muggle technology called satellites and of cameras that every Muggle carried around that could send instantly pictures to each other, well, the Status of Secrecy kind of just blew up everywhere in the world and we were all faced with the consequences. And then, Father, who was just ready to kill them all for opposing him, was convinced by Dad to cooperate with the rest of the wizards and witches all around the world to set guidelines and divisions of power and territory, but then..."
"Caelummmmm! It was supposed to be a story about our parents, not about the stupid war! And you told it all wrong! You have to start at the beginning, when Dad was still living with the rebels and secretly in love with Father and going to see him at every Victory Day..." she interrupted, starting her own story, unconscious of the two figures in the doorframe.
The taller of the two leaned down and whispered in the ear of his companion:
"So, you were secretly in love with me even back then. How things would have been simpler if I had known at the time."
The smaller snorted lightly.
"Right, you'd have demolished me if you knew then. And, to answer your question, I think I was more fascinated than infatuated."
"Same thing," said the first with a smirk.
"No, Mister, it isn't! Or are you telling me that, after all this time, when you say that you love me, you only mean that I still intrigue you?"
"Brat, you are too sensitive about these things."
"I don't think you can call me a brat when I have brats of my own," the other pointed out.
"Dad!" shouted two voices. He turned to see his two eldest looking at him reproachfully.
"What?" he asked.
"I'm not a brat! I'm fifteen! But Meredith and William are!" accused Caelum.
"I'm not a brat! I'm nine! But William is!" parroted Meredith.
And William, who had no idea what they were talking about, just gave out a happy shout.
The Supreme Leader of the former territories of France, Spain, Italy, Great Britain and Ireland looked at his husband who had moved forward to break the brewing argument between the two siblings and released a contended sigh.
It was good to be home.
Thanks again for your wonderful support, everyone!