Moon: Okay, this is the last chapter of Trouble! I liked this story a lot, I hope you did to. I'm sorry if this seems haphazard, but I honestly didn't want to drag it out with another 'Dumbledore explains in great detail why he's a horrible person', because those scenes have been done to death and are a little tedious, because you've seen them before. And honestly, this covers all my bases. I do not own Harry Potter.
Chapter 19: Vindicated, Healed and Epologue
Harry sat back in his chair, exhaling, watching the scene in front of him when someone came up behind him. "Hey Trouble."
He turned his head and looked in surprise. "Carrie, Pierce, Miranda, Katelyn, Justin, Alex. How'd you guys get here?"
"I remembered the way in," Carrie said.
"Kingsley Shakabolt was so kind as to point us here. It can't be added to the list of offences because most wizards consider it due course, but Dumbledore tried to have us Obliviated and moved away from you." Miranda explained.
"What?" Harry exclaimed angrily. "When did that happen?"
"When you were having your latest interview with Skeeter." Pierce chipped in helpfully. "Lucky for us, Kingsley thought the Aurors he bribed her were acting out of line. Our memory of the incident was removed for a little, but he decided that if Dumbledore was going down that they should mention it."
There were no small amount of murmurs as the group of muggles politely edged their way into places around Harry and his friends. There were some murmurs of recognition as people who had read Skeeter's articles made the connection between them and the Juvenile friends Harry had mentioned in the press.
"I can't believe it, the lives of people saved by Rita Skeeter." Tracy laughed. "My mum will get a good laugh over that."
"We figured we should be here to see the fallout of this mess. Anybody who thinks the Dursleys were decent guardians needs therapy as much as some of us do," At this Alex threw a pointed look at Katelyn, who giggled shamelessly.
Astoria smiled back at the muggles until Samantha was done administering the truth potion to Dumbledore.
"Albus Dumbledore, are all the allegations directed at you true?"
"They are not all entirely accurate. I was merely doing what I had to do in the name of the Greater Good."
There was a loud murmuring passing through the crowd at this. Harry shot a confused look at Blaise and Tracy, who were suddenly sitting rigid in their chairs. "What?"
Tracy was doing her best to glare a hole through the glass and spells to where Dumbledore's head was. She said something in German that Harry was willing to bet would've earned her a lecture from Mrs. Weasley.
Blaise filled in for her. "That phrase, the Greater Good, was the slogan of the Dark Lord that came before Voldemort – Gellert Grindelwald. He was a terror across Europe, but the people who suffered the most from his attacks were the German wizards."
He glanced at Tracy, who nodded curtly without looking at him. Then he added, "Tracy's grandmother was captured by some of his men during that time...well, she didn't meet a gentle end."
Dean was glaring at the man he once respected as well, "Dumbledore was the one who defeated him in the end, after a violent battle. Why would he use that phrase now? He's more familiar than anyone with its history."
"How, exactly, does the Greater Good pertain to anything that has occurred to Harry Potter and the students of Hogwarts?" Samantha enquired dryly.
"The final destruction of Lord Voldemort." Albus responded.
There was silence in the courtroom as everyone digested this.
"Go on," Samantha responded icily.
"The Dark Lord created Horcruxes," Albus continued calmly, as if he was just instructing students on a mistake they made in class instead of speaking to a prosecutor. "Seven of them, to be exact. The last one, however, was not one he had intended to make. Harry himself."
Silence. Then a woman screamed, and the exhausted Aurors were forced to regain control of the courtroom once again. Harry vaguely heard one of the aurors muttering that she better be getting a pay raise for today, but he hardly registered it through his shock.
"Horcrux?" Carrie muttered in confusion.
Slowly, Harry raised his hand to his forehead, touching the scar that had been given to him the day his parents died. In the moment, the skin seemed to pulse beneath his fingers – then there was a sharp prick and a distant cry of fury.
"Harry!" Ginny cried. Harry had doubled over in his seat.
"It's fine," He said through his teeth, "...I need to hear the rest of this."
"When Voldemort killed Lily Potter and the curse backfired, part of his soul became attached to the first living thing it could touch – Harry himself."
"Wait," Samantha interrupted, "You said earlier that Harry was given protection by his mother; part of this protection was what you used to raise the Blood Wards. This could apparently burn Voldemort's body beyond repair, and yet doesn't protect him from a piece of his soul?"
Dumbledore paused and then blinked. Laughter rang through the hallway, causing his ears to turn a little red. "Ah – nevertheless, there is no way to destroy Horcruxes without hurting Harry. And there was no way to destroy Voldemort without his final Horcrux gone. The only way he will be destroyed is that he must kill Harry."
Tonks would later be found talking to the female auror – Hestia Jones, Harry would learn her name was – about how they were going to ask Amelia for compensation for how trying and ultimately traumatizing controlling the crowds were. Hestia had ended up covered in food from some of the upturned dinner trays that people had thrown around, and the pretty woman appreciated that even less then getting hexed several times.
Harry had simply sat still while the chaos erupted around him; his muggle friends were shouting while Ginny and Astoria had death grips on his hands. Daphne and Tracy had formed a protective ring around him to stop anything from happening.
"He simply had to be ready," Dumbledore went on when he could finally be heard again. "His aunt and uncle's house was the safest place he could live, and he would not grow up indulged and spoiled like he may have if raised by a wizard. When he came to Hogwarts, I would guide him through his tasks until his final job was done."
Harry expected more noise. He really did. But there was simply a silence, a long, crushing silence where everyone was glaring at Dumbledore.
"Madam Bones?" Samantha asked simply. "May we adjust the record?"
"Yes, of course," Amelia said coldly.
"Add to the list of charges, 'conspiracy to murder a minor'." Samantha said. "What is the word of the Jury?"
"GUILTY." Many voices boomed at once, trying to be heard over each other.
"Take him away," Amelia said simply.
Harry felt a hand on his shoulder. Thinking it was Carrie, he tried to shrug it off. And then a warm sensation took hold, driving away the nausea that had threatened to overwhelm him a second ago.
He looked over his shoulder to see Carol Winchester standing behind him, her ethereal eyes burning gold with intensity.
"I can save you," She said simply.
It was a very chaotic room, considering how quiet and cold it was.
Sirius, Andromeda, Remus, Tonks and Samantha had all followed Harry and Carol back to the Manor. Andromeda kept asking who Carol was, Sirius kept demanding to know what the hell was going on, Remus looked remorseful, angry, and confused all at once, Samantha and Tonks were both looking tired, cranky, angry and just frustrated.
The kids were the other problem. Harry's girls had wanted to sit with him, but Carol had gently explained that she needed to be alone. Both Ginny and Astoria were sitting in front of the door, trying to set it on fire through sheer anger and worry. Daphne was pacing. Tracy occasionally summoned boxes that she promptly obliterated with a blasting curse. Dean and Blaise were sitting awkwardly to the side, watching the spectacle with an equal measure of worry and nervousness.
Harry's muggle friends were doing little better. Carrie was pacing and cursing everyone above the age of thirty under her breath, Pierce was fidgeting with his coat, Miranda was picking up various objects and crying with worry intermediately, Katelyn was playing with her lighter and staring at the very much wooden floor, Alex was taking turns between staring at the wizards and making sure Katelyn didn't combusted anything in her current mood, while Justin just looked horribly out of place.
In the time they were waiting, there was some ice breaking and hasty introductions. Sirius and Samantha had hugged, through the current events somewhat spoiled their reunion. Remus apologized for not believing in Sirius's innocence, Sirius apologized for thinking he had been the spy in the past. Andromeda had introduced Tonks to Remus, who despite having a very trying day blushed hotly when they shook hands.
Dean then awkwardly introduced Sirius to the muggles. Carrie cracked a grin when he offered to take her under his wing, i.e away from her birth family. Pierce and Miranda asked Remus questions about werewolves to try and pass the time.
Katelyn just asked about anti-fire charms.
It would have been an interesting conversation, had the talkers not been distracted.
Finally Samantha exploded, "Damn that old bastard! This should have happened years ago," She jerked a thumb towards the room.
Carrie stopped her pacing and looked at the older woman. "Wait, what? What do you mean, 'should have happened years ago'?"
Samantha glanced among the muggles and said, "The Winchesters are a quiet family surrounded by myth and suspicion. Charles Potter approached the family after saving their youngest child during the war on Voldemort. They have a family power – healing magic comes to them as naturally as breathing."
"That's amazing," Tonks said.
"It comes with a price," Samantha responded seriously. "If Carol succeeds in what she intends to do – remove the Horcrux and burn it to cinders without any incidents – both she and Harry will be in a magical coma."
"For how long?" Sirius asked tensely.
"Three months, again, if nothing goes wrong." Samantha responded.
"And if something does go wrong?" Astoria asked, her voice hard.
"Then Carol will likely die, and Harry potentially fused or taken over by the Horcrux." Samantha responded tersely. "It's his only option, and it's not an entirely safe one, but Horcruxes being what they are, you have to take a chance – unless you'd rather we just went with Dumbledore's route."
A shiver went through the room.
"He'll be okay," Ginny murmured. "He's got to be."
Harry and Carol
Harry was standing in the confines of his mind. He knew this.
It was a ruined city. It had clearly been first bombed, and then burned, and there was very little left standing.
There were light footsteps on the ground, and Harry turned to see Carol walking towards him. She was wearing a flower-painted dress.
"Harry," She said softly. "I found it."
Harry didn't have to ask what 'it' was. His forehead had felt like someone was trying to split his skill with an axe when Carol had touched his scar. That was it. The last Horcrux. The one inside him, the last remenant of the man who had killed his parents.
"Can we get rid of it?"
"I can give you the strength. But in the end, you will be the one to destroy him. Like the prophecy said." Carol asked.
Harry was too tired to ask what prophecy Carol was referring to; he just nodded and followed her down the twisting, broken streets.
Eventually, they reached Little Whining. In the middle of the street right in front of the entrance to Privet Drive was a black shadow.
The shadow's shape was humaniod, but there its resemblance to a human being ended. It was scarred hideously and covered in dried blood, it was missing an eye and a few fingers. One leg was bent at and unnatural angle, and a long mane of matted, tangled, straggly parody of hair fell down to its ankles. It saw Harry, and snarled in a strangled voice like breaking glass.
Harry glanced at Carol and saw her expression. "You pity him?"
"To an extent." Carol said. "Look at that. That isn't arrogance. That's desperation. I wonder why he ever felt the need to make these things." She gestured to the shade, which snarled again.
Harry sighed. He had thought about that, occasionally. He knew that some criminals started out like him, and then walked further down the path until they could never come back. He was grateful for his friends; without them, he might have gone down that road too.
"We can't turn things back now," He said simply. "But we can end the pain and suffering, right now."
Carol nodded and raised her hands. She opened her mouth, and a long, beautiful note of music rang from it. The Horcrux screamed in pain and tried to lunge for her, but it was caught in a golden web.
Harry raised his hand to one side. The sword of Gryffindor appeared in it, as real as it had when he had summoned it in the Chamber of Secrets. He gripped the handle, ran towards the creature and slashed.
With a final scream, the Horcrux, and Lord Voldemort, were gone.
Harry wasn't sure how long he had been in bed. He woke up, pushing himself up and blinking rapidly. He was still in Potter Manor. Carol, who was lying in bed next to him, also got up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
Then the screaming started.
Harry was promptly assaulted by hugs and kisses and cries of relief from all his friends and his loved ones.
"It's over," Sirius said happily.
Harry smiled up at his godfather, the pain he had kept inside him finally laid to rest. "Yeah. It's over."
Several Years Later
Sorting at Hogwarts was always a fun time for the students and the staff. Minerva McGonagall, the new headmaster of the last few years, watched the new first years walk in with a certain amount of trepidation. She figured she'd need a few painkillers on hand for some of her classes – for the pranks that would undoubtedly happen.
"Black, Emily!" A girl with dark hair, tanned skin and a mischievous smirk ran up to the seat. She flashed a grin at her Headmistress and sat down. The hat was on her head for a moment before shouting, "Gryffindor!" Emily cheered and headed for the read house.
"Black, Regulus!" Emily's brother approached the hat more cautiously, casting the tables a glance before sitting down. "Ravenclaw!" Regulus smiled hopefully before heading to the table of smarts.
"Bones, Marcus!" "Hufflepuff!" A young boy vaulted off the chair and walked over to the cheering yellow table.
"Collins, Diana." A figiting young girl asked, "Ravenclaw!" "Ravenclaw it is, then!"
"Fawkes, Anthony." Tony, as he preferred, said to the hat, "Hufflepuff, please." "Very well. Hufflepuff!"
"Malfoy, Lupa!" A silvery haired girl was put in Gryffindor, to the shock of the onlookers, followed by her brother Scorpious, who was put in Slytherin.
"Longbottom, Danielle!" "Gryffindor!" Danielle waved to her father, who was sitting at the staff table, before heading to her ancestral house.
"Selene, Lovegood-Zabini." "Slytherin!" A dreamy girl walked over to the table of the snakes, her blue eyes following the ghosts.
"Potter, Sirius." Silence filled the hall as a dark-haired young boy, smirking with enthusiasm, approached the hat and put it on his head. "Gryffindor!"
"Potter, Leah," A studious, serious looking young girl with black hair walked up to the hat. "Ravenclaw!"
"Potter, Lily," This girl was bubbly, red-haired and mischievous-looking, the hat was on her head for a bare minute before - "Slytherin!"
"Potter, Angela," A regal-looking blonde girl took the hat on her head and said, "Slytherin, please. Someone has to watch Lily." "Slytherin!"
"Potter, Matthew." "Gryffindor!"
"Potter, James." "Hufflepuff!" James looked laughably mortified when he heard this, but the enthusiastic cheering he got at the Hufflepuff table convinced him to go forward.
"Potter-Winchester, Jace." "Gryffindor!"
And so started the next school year. They proved to be interesting ones, though they would not have a Dark Lord hanging over them.
Haha, those are (some) of the children I'll be using in any Next Generation fics that I write. (it'll be a big cast.) Again, I'm sorry its short, but I've been sick, there are a lot of different story ideas I want to begin in, and I have to tidy these up first. Runaway will be completed next, then I'll deal with the Fourth Wall. Wand Knife and Silence will be a whole lot longer through, it got away from me during development.
Thank you all so much for reading! Review on the way out please!