Epilogue – A Business Matter
Tuesday, 7 May 2002
"I cannot emphasise how important this meeting today will be." Jonathan Damien looked round at the other occupants of the meeting room. There were a lot of worried faces, and with good reason.
Jonathan had been Managing Director of Gunnings Plc. for nearly two years now and this was the biggest challenge he had faced in his time with the firm.
"So, what can you tell us about this man?" asked the Head of Marketing.
"Not a great deal," Jonathan admitted. "Apparently he's been quietly buying up shares in Gunnings for some time. It was only last month that his holdings started to exceed fifty-one per cent and trigger the takeover. I understand he made a very generous offer to the remaining shareholders and they nearly ripped his arm off accepting it."
"I must say, I've never heard of him before," the Financial Controller admitted.
"Very few people have," Jonathan agreed. "Apparently, the man is a bit of a globetrotter. He was born in the UK, but currently lives in the south of France. He lived in Japan for a while, too. His legal representative described
him as young, handsome and incredibly rich. From what I've dug up, he has major holdings in dozens of firms all over the world. As I said, he seems to spend most of his time at his large mansion near Toulon, and I gather he has some French heritage. Unsurprising with a name like that, I suppose."
"You mean he's a bloody frog?" growled the Head of Distribution. Every person in the room turned and glared at the man. Jonathan had to resist the urge to leap up and slap the fat idiot around the head.
"Dursley, if I hear you use that kind of language again you will be out the door before you know what hits you!" Jonathan yelled.
The fat man mumbled something that may have been an apology and stared at the tabletop.
"The last thing we want to do is upset Mr Flamel," Jonathan insisted. "He holds the very future of Gunnings in his hands. It is literally make or break time! We have to impress him during his visit here this afternoon."
"Have we any idea what his plans are for the company?" Marketing asked.
"It looks like it could go one of two ways. Mr Flamel has a history of good investments and he's turned a number of failing business around. It's rumoured that he may be prepared to invest in the new automated production line we so desperately need," Jonathan explained.
"But that's wonderful!" the Head of Sales exclaimed. "If we can get the automated line installed we can expand and diversify. We'll have the chance to break into the East European market at last!"
"Absolutely," Jonathan agreed. "It would make a huge difference to this business. But as I said, that's only one option. I have been warned by a friend on the local planning council that there have been some enquiries about building a luxury housing development on this very site."
"What!" a number of voices shouted.
"Oh, yes" Jonathan said grimly. "And from what I gather, the council will look at any such application favourably."
"But why? We're a good local employer," the Head of Production objected.
"Oh, use your head, man!" the Financial Controlled snapped. "We employ half the numbers we did ten years ago, and if we go automated that trend will continue. And just think how much a major housing estate would be worth this close to London! The Government is screaming at councils to redevelop Brown Field sites and we have a lot of land here we don't use."
"So that's the choices?" Marketing summed up. "Investment and expansion or asset-stripping and closure?"
"Yes, pretty much," Jonathan agreed. "So it is imperative we make a good impression today. Got that Dursley?"
"Yes," the fat man snapped, sounding just like a spoilt child who had just been told he couldn't have anymore sweets.
"Good. Right, everyone head back to your departments and prepare for the visit at two o'clock. I want this place running like clockwork by then!"
The meeting broke up with most people practically sprinting back to their workplaces. Jonathan slumped back in his chair; he had the feeling this was going to be a very long day.
Four hours later
Jonathan stood by the front door and watched as the Aston Martin Vantage pulled up in front of the building. He was a little surprised that Mr Flamel drove himself, but Jonathan supposed that Gunning's new owner was a young man and, besides, if he had a car like that he'd want to drive it all the time as well.
Flamel got out and reached back into the car for his suit jacket. He then walked round to the passenger side and opened the door. Jonathan got a tantalising glimpse of a shapely, tanned leg before his view was obscured. The solicitor had said Flamel and his wife travelled everywhere together.
The couple made their way over to the main entrance and Jonathan got his first good look at the pair. Mr Flamel was an impressive young man. He was tall and extremely handsome. His long jet-black hair was tied back into a ponytail and he wore what appeared to be an extremely expensive suit, which fitted his lean frame perfectly. His wife was small, almost petite, but very beautiful. Her fiery red hair was extremely striking, as was her curvy figure, which filled out her designer dress wonderfully. The pair moved with a confidence that screamed power, money and influence. The Flamels clearly looked like they should be hanging round some swanky hotel in Paris, not a dreary industrial estate in Surrey.
"Mr Flamel? I'm Jonathan Damien," he said hurrying forward and offering his hand. "I'm very pleased to meet you."
"Likewise, Jonathan, and please call me Harry," the man replied, shaking Jonathan's hand firmly. "This is my lovely wife Ginevra"
"Very pleased to meet you, Jonathan," Ginevra said shaking his hand in turn. He could detect a faint French accent in both their voices.
"Please come this way," Jonathan urged, guiding them into the building. "We have a full tour of our facilities lined up and I'm sure you'll be impressed. Firstly, we have all of the management team here so if I make a few introductions…"
"YOU!" a voice cried out making Jonathan jump. "You FREAK! What are you doing here? I'll finish you off once and for all!"
To Jonathan's amazement, Vernon Dursley lunged forward and tried to grab Harry Flamel by the throat. Fortunately, Mr Flamel appeared to know how to look after himself and twisted out of the fat man's grasp. He then grabbed Dursley by the arm, bent it backwards, and slammed the man's face directly into the wall. Dursley collapsed onto the floor.
"WHAT IZ ZE MEANING OF ZIS!" screamed Ginevra Flamel, whose accent seemed to become more pronounced when she was stressed. "Ow dare zis fat pig attack my 'usband!"
"It's alright, my dear," Harry Flamel assured her. "I'm sure it was just a case of mistaken identity, wasn't it?"
By now Jonathan's brain had unfrozen. "DURSLEY! What the HELL are you doing!" he screamed at the fallen man.
Dursley lay on the floor looking about him in confusion. "But I… he looks just like… I'm sure he…"
"Mr Dursley?" Harry Flamel addressed him. "May I ask who you thought I was? I don't recall ever meeting you before."
Dursley appeared to have just realised what he had done. He turned bright red and awkwardly climbed to his feet. "I'm very sorry… I thought you… you look just like… I was sure…"
"I am so, so sorry, Mr Flamel!" Jonathan said in a distraught voice. "I don't know what Dursley was thinking. I assure you he'll be sacked immediately!"
Dursley went pale.
"Non, I am intrigued as to who Mr Dursley thought I was. Maybe I have a twin?" Flamel joked. Everyone laughed in a sycophantic way. "Would it be possible for me and him to have a little chat in private?"
"Of course! Come this way," Jonathan agreed. He grabbed Dursley by the arm and shoved him into the nearest reception room. Mr and Mrs Flamel followed him in, closing the door behind them.
Dursley stood looking like a naughty schoolboy about to be given the cane. He shuffled his feet and stared at the floor.
"I am so very sorry, Mr Flamel," he started to explain. "You see you look so much like a relative of mine, but now I think about it, you never could have been him. He was a useless waster who sponged off my family for years. You, obviously, are a man of wealth and taste. How I mistook you for that freakish little brat I have no idea."
"Oi, fatso! Watch what you're saying about my husband!"
Vernon looked up and saw it was Mrs Flamel who had spoken. But instead of her having a French accent, she had spoken with a soft West Country accent. She also was pointing a black stick directly at his head. In horror, he realised it was a wand.
"It is you!" he gasped in shock.
"Hello, Vernon," Harry greeted him. "Long time no see. My wife Ginny here has been dying to meet you. She said something about gutting you like a fish and hanging your entrails out for the birds to peck on."
"Oh, no, Harry," the pretty girl corrected him. "That was last week's idea. This week I want to cut off his genitals and feed them to some rats in front of him."
"Sorry," Harry apologised. "You just have so many good ideas I can't keep track of them all."
"What are you doing here?" Vernon shouted.
"Didn't they tell you? I'm the new owner of Gunnings Plc. You see, it turns out that I'm filthy, stinking rich. I mean, loaded!" Harry explained smugly. "I found some loose change down the back of the sofa recently and thought it would be fun to buy the firm you work for."
"Just think, Vernon," Ginny added. "If you'd actually been nice to Harry all those years, you could have shared that wealth. He could have made you a millionaire ten times over and not even scratched what he owns!"
"And what I own now is your pathetic, fat arse!" Harry said with any pretence of humour gone. "Your life is about to take something of a downward turn. You see, I'm going to tell Jonathan out there that I don't think you should be fired, but I do think a demotion is in order."
"And that's just the start!" Ginny chipped in. "Don't think that shrew of a wife or that disgusting tub of lard you call a son will avoid punishment, either. We've got plans for them, as well. Harry is now one of the most powerful and respected wizards in the world. He could do anything he wanted to you! Anything! And let me tell you, from this point on your life will be hell!"
"You can't do this!" Vernon shouted. "I have rights! I'll report both of you!"
"To whom?" Harry asked. "The police? They'd either laugh at you or arrest you for wasting their time! The Ministry of Magic? Even if you can figure out a way, they'd be more likely to throw you in prison for abusing a wizard."
"That Professor chap," Vernon shouted in triumph. "I'll tell him! Dimpledore, or whatever his name was!"
"You'll have a hard time, fatso," Ginny laughed. "Professor Dumbledore contracted a serious case of dead. He's unavailable to read your correspondence at this time, I'm afraid."
"But… this was all years ago!" Vernon objected. "We never wanted you in the first place! We looked after you though, took you in and fed you!"
"You half-starved him and tried to kill him!" Ginny roared. She stepped forward and rammed her wand under Vernon's chin. "And nobody, I mean nobody, hurts the man I love and gets away with it!"
"So you see how it's going to be, Uncle," Harry said pleasantly. "Good bye, Vernon. We'll be seeing you soon. Very soon"
"Au revoir, fatty," Ginny chirped, her French accent mysteriously reappearing.
Vernon turned and with a stunned look on his face shuffled out of the room, meekly closing the door behind him. With a wide grin, Harry scooped Ginny up into his arms and kissed her soundly.
"Oh, that felt sooo good!" he exclaimed.
"So what do we do next? Hit their house with that charm that turns all their food rotten? Magically back-up all their plumbing? No, the Flatulence Hex! Let's do that one!" she said laughing.
"Actually, I know what I want to do first," Harry told her. Without warning he grabbed the bottom of her skirt and pulled it up. Then, grabbing her backside he dumped her onto the nearby table.
"Harry!" she exclaimed. "What are you doing? The entire management team of Gunnings is just outside the door!"
"So what?" Harry asked while slowly pulling her knickers off. "I own this bloody company and if I want to screw my wife on one of their conference tables then they can wait until I'm bloody well finished!"
"Well, when you put is like that…" Ginny began to unzip his trousers.
After leaving the interview room, Vernon didn't bother to return to work. He expected he'd be moving desks pretty soon anyway. Probably to the caretaker's cupboard or the security guards' hut. Ignoring the inquiring looks of his colleagues, he stomped out of the front door and headed towards the car park. He had to go home and give Petunia the bad news. He climbed into his car and started the engine.
Why had he allowed that brat to be taken in all those years ago? Better yet, why hadn't he finished him off that day when he nearly flattened the whole street with his freakish magic?
For the first time in years, Vernon thought back to that fateful day back in 1990 when he'd thumped the boy for dropping a plate. What a stupid thing to get upset about, a bloody plate!
Of course, the really ironic thing, he thought as he backed his car out of the parking space, was that he'd always hated the pattern on the plate Harry had dropped. He should have rewarded the boy for breaking it!
Laughing bitterly, he headed for home.
And that's all folks!
I've very deliberately not gone into too much detail about Harry and Ginny's life after the battle. I'll leave you to speculate about whether Ginny forgave her family, or if Harry did take up his seat on the Wizengamot. As far as I'm concerned this story is now quite finished and really doesn't require a sequel. Harry and Ginny are very happy, and that's where I'm going to leave them.
A massively huge thanks to Tom and Arnel for their hard work throughout the story. Thank you both; you've been brilliant! And I would also like to thank all of you who left a review.
Right, I'm off to have a celebratory pint of cider and write something without bloody Horcruxes in it. I do hate those things…