Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe belongs to JK Rowling, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Warner Bros and some other high falutin' companies. Me, I'm just a PR professional. I don't profess to own - and would never dream of making any money off - JKR's wonderful world. However, its her sandbox and she's left the gate unlatched so we can go in and play a bit. Which, I've done.
Chapter Eighty Seven - A REAL Epilogue
Susan and Ernie's wedding was as beautiful as she wanted. Even the weather was on her side. Ernie was real 'antsy' until he took one look at her. Then he was as still as a statue.
His Best Man, Wayne Hopkins, had to physically reach out and turn him as Susan came up and stood alongside him. That made the friends snicker. He even had to be prompted by the jab of a finger to the small of his back, by Wayne, to answer the obligatory questions. Thankfully, it didn't upset Susan in the slightest.
Six weeks later and it was Neville and Hannah's turn. This time Harry, as Best Man, didn't need to prompt the sandy haired young man as he - the recently inducted Lord Longbottom - appeared almost eager to get on with it.
Late the next morning, Harry received a rather irate floo call from Hannah. Someone - and Harry blamed his godfather - had written on young Lord Longbottom's stomach the words 'The Wand of Destiny' with an arrow pointing down to his 'wedding tackle'. And no amount of magic could remove it.
Harry had to tell her he thought it was Mercurochrome, a muggle anti-bacterial solution that sinks into the skin staining it, and that it would fade away over a couple of days. Then he blocked access to Hannah through the Potter Manor floo for the next week - just in case.
Harry and Daphne were finally able to get the legislation banning the sale of muggle enchanted devices overturned, and had their shop up and running within Diagon Alley within a week. Ernie was their first employee and loved the work.
They were very careful with what they were selling, so items like refrigerators, televisions, muggle radios, and similar were allowed. These devices all operated as if they were connected to electricity. No item was sold that would not pass casual inspection within a muggle household.
After working to get the business operational for five years, Harry studied for his Mastery in DADA while Daphne did the same for Ancient Runes. Then Harry moved on to a Mastery in Charms.
Eventually, he took over the DADA Professorship at Hogwarts, but demanded and got permission to link the floo in his office to his office in Potter Manor. It was a secure connection.
Saturday, 14th June 2008 - Potter Manor
The young man stepped out of the fireplace into the parlour to be greeted by a green-eyed, blonde haired toddler running from the room, screaming while a small boy of about six or seven chased after her.
"Prim!" the boy called to the toddler, "Prim! Stop!"
As the young man grinned after the two kids he turned back to be prepared to catch the clearly very pregnant blonde haired lady stepping through with her arms full of a toddler of her own.
Banishing the veil she had covering the child's face the young man made sure the lady and himself were cleared of soot.
"And just what are you grinning about, Neville Francis?" asked the blonde haired lady.
"Young Sirius chasing his baby sister out of here, my love," he chuckled as he took the toddler from his wife's arms.
"No!" whined the toddler. "Down, daddy; down!"
"Alright, Franklin," said Neville, lowering the child to the floor. With the child standing on it's own two feet Neville pointed to a doorway and said, "Sirius and Primrose went that way."
"Thank you, daddy," said the child, Harfang, before it ran out through the same door.
Turning back to his wife, Neville smiled and asked, "You know where they'll be, don't you?"
"Kitchen," said Hannah. "Harry'll be annoying his house elves by cooking."
Neville grinned back and escorted his wife through to the kitchen.
Entering, they saw that they were nearly the last to arrive. Harry was working at the oven talking with Colin, while Daphne was sitting at the large dining table talking to Susan, Tracey, Tonks and Astoria.
"Hi folks," said Neville as Hannah went over to the other ladies.
"Nev!" said Harry, turning to look. "Butterbeers and ales are in the fridge. Help yourself. Hi Hannah!"
"Harry," greeted Hannah as she sat with the others.
As Neville walked over to see what delights Harry was whipping up and opening the fridge to pull out an ale, he asked Harry, "Where's Remus and Blaise?"
"Out the back with Sirius senior," said Harry. "They're trying to teach Teddy how to fly a broom."
"Well, if Sirius is here, where's his wife, Connie?" asked Neville.
"She'll be along in a little while," replied Colin, as Harry was checking the contents of the oven.
"She should have just finished her shift at Saint Mungo's and will have gone to pick James junior up from her mother's," replied Harry over his shoulder.
Neville heard a squeal at the table and turned to look. Hannah was excitedly hugging a blushing Daphne.
"Hi Daph," he said. "What's going on?"
Tracey answered with a gleeful smirk, "That messy-haired best friend of yours got Daphne pregnant again. Twins!"
A gobsmacked Neville spun back to Harry, who had turned around with a pleased grin on his face, and exclaimed, "Harry, mate! Congratulations!" And shook his hand.
A loud ding was heard signalling the front door had opened as someone came in.
Harry looked up for a moment and said, "That'll be Hermione and Justin."
"Where is everyone?" they heard Hermione call.
"Auntie 'Miny - Uncle Jus'! They're in the kitchen!" called the voice of Sirius junior, Harry and Daphne's oldest.
A few moments later, a hesitant Hermione entered with Justin right behind. The first thing the girls noticed was the baby bulge Hermione was sporting.
With the squeal of glee from all the witches Hermione was dragged over to the table. "How long?" "Do you know what sex it is yet?" "When's it due?"
Harry took one long look and turned to Neville, "Neville! Get. My. Shovel!"
"Now - Harry," said Justin backing up a little.
Hermione's head snapped around to glare at Harry from where she was conversing with Astoria. "Harry James Potter! You leave my husband alone! We're married! I'm sure you know what was going to happen sooner or later."
Harry impudently grinned back. "So," he said. "I see you've taken serious what was poked at you in fun."
"Harry!" exclaimed Daphne. "You stop that, this instant; or, it's the couch for you!"
Both Neville and Colin were chuckling away.
Harry turned to Justin and grinned. "Congrats, Jus'. Ale and butterbeers are in the fridge. Help yourself."
"Errr - thanks," said Justin, going to the fridge. "Are we the last to arrive?"
"Yep," replied Harry. "Blaise, Sirius and Remus are out back teaching James junior how to fly a broom. The other 'carpet commandoes' are running around here somewhere. And Ernie's running the shop. How goes the research?"
"Good," he replied, pleased to have been asked. "I think we're really on to something. I don't think we're ready to make an announcement of it any time soon, though. But - it's promising."
"Good to hear," said Harry. "A permanent cure for lycanthropy will go a long way to helping Neville, Sirius, Cygnus, Susan, Hermione and I to stop the bigotry directed towards those who suffer from that accursed affliction."
"You still don't have the votes?" asked Tracey, from where she was listening.
"No, but we're close," replied Neville.
Saturday, 16th June 2018 - 'New' Dagworth-Granger Manor
The Potters arrived at New Dagworth-Granger Manor 'muggle style'. That is, they arrived by car.
Walking to the front door, Harry was about to knock when Dobby opened the door for them.
"Dobs!" exclaimed Harry, "Good to see you!"
"And you, sir!" grinned the little elf. "Master and Mistress are in the parlour with their other guests."
"Unca Hawwy!" said a little bushy-haired missile who flew into Harry's legs - the younger version of a grapple-hug - as he tried to step inside.
"Oof!" he exclaimed, looking down to pick the little four year old up. "Hello Gwen," he softly said to her, Hermione and Justin's youngest, giving her a cuddle.
"Mummy's in da parlour with Auntie Stori, Auntie Twacey, Auntie Connie, Auntie Tonks, Auntie Loona, Auntie Susan, Auntie Hannah..."
As the little girl rattled off the names, Harry carried her into the parlour. He was followed by Daphne and his brood of five.
"Daddy's outside with Unca Padfoo, Unca Moony, Unca Colnin, Unca Nev, Unca Blaise, Unca..." continued the little girl.
"Gwen!" said Hermione, interrupting her youngest. "Uncle Harry knows their names. Now let him go, so he can say hello to his friends."
Harry put the girl down as she said, "Okay, Mummy." Then she turned to look up at Harry and, with the almost exact expression Hermione got when she was trying to be stern, said, "You go play with your fwiends, Unca Hawwy. The ladies are talking in here."
With a snort, he replied, "Yes, my Lady. This humble servant thanks you for your permission to depart your presence." And bowed low.
Turning, he kissed Daphne on her cheek, and cheekily asked, "May I, my Lady?"
Daphne rolled her eyes and said, "Get. And take this lot with you. No doubt they're out there on their brooms."
Harry grinned to her and turned to his kids. "Okay, team Potter; let's go show them how to fly, shall we?" He looked at the smiling faces of Sirius 'SJ' junior, Primrose, the twins - Charlus and Hadrian, and the youngest, Monica - which kept his promise to his mother-in-law.
The six of them headed out the back as Harry pulled the half-dozen shrunken Lightning Bolt brooms out of his pocket.
"Professor Potter!" exclaimed Wendell; Justin and Hermione's third.
"Now, Wendell," said Harry. "We're not in school. You already know you can call me Harry during the summer."
"Yes, Sir," said the boy. "But, Mum disagrees with you."
"And you don't want to upset your Mum," said Harry.
The boy grinned back and said, "No, sir."
"Smart lad," said Harry.
"Hey, pup!" called Sirius. "The kids are just about to form teams for lightning Quidditch. Get your litter up in the air!"
Not needing any further encouragement, the five kids took to the air on their brooms.
Walking over to see his godfather, Harry smiled and said, "It's good to see you, you old dog."
Sunday, 1st September, many, many decades later - Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Sitting in his hoverchair atop the Astronomy tower, Headmaster Harry Potter looked out across the grounds of Hogwarts and watched as the sun set over the mountains on the other side of Black Lake.
He heard a slight cough from behind and a voice he knew so well, "Headmaster? The train will be arriving soon."
The Hogwarts Express, now a sleek crimson coloured 'maglev' - magical levitation - train shot along so fast that the train ride now only took a little over three hours to make it's journey from New Kings Cross Station to Hogsmeade.
"Thank you, Gwen," said Harry.
Harry turned his chair to look into the lined face of his Deputy, Professor Gwendolyn Zabini nee Finch-Fletchley. 'How much she looks like her late mother, Hermione,' he thought with a mental sigh.
"I shall be down shortly," he said. "I wish to see the train arrive."
'Yes, Headmaster," replied Gwen, looking back.
Though a nasty curse to the back had robbed him of the use of his legs during his Unspeakable days, Harry never let it bother him, too much. He sighed once, grumbled a bit, and got to work on developing a 'wheelchair' that could hover, was powered off the users inherent magic, and could be moved by little more than intent alone. It was the most current advanced version of that, now developed by Potter Enchantments' R & D section, than he sat upon this night.
Gwen looked over and saw, no matter the Headmaster's advanced age, he still sat with his back straight and proud; his hair, still messy, but now completely white; clean-shaven - because, Daphne preferred him that way; and, wearing frameless and armless spectacles for his far-sightedness, affixed to his face only by the bridge of his nose and the use of microscopic runes.
"Have I told you, lately, how much you mean to me?" he asked her.
With a fond smile, the old witch replied, "All the time, Headmaster. All the time."
"Good," he said. "One can never be told enough how much their service is appreciated."
Gwen made a slight bow, before she turned and descended the stairs back into the castle. At the bottom she turned back, smiled fondly at where she knew the Headmaster's chair to be, and said to herself, "You're such a good man, Unca Hawwy."
As she had descended the stairs, Harry silently turned his chair back to the view over the edge of the lake to the station and thought about his life. His children all grown, children of their own, and their children's children. He thought of his late wife Daphne, dead these past few years - quite a few, now - and yearned to once more feel her lips upon his. Their love for one another never diminished. He still held it in his heart even now.
Of his friends, only Neville still survived. He'd retired as Chief Warlock a few years ago and was happy working in his little greenhouse in the solarium one of his grandsons had built onto the back of Longbottom Hall for him. Hannah had passed, even before Daphne.
He'd passed on all his Lordships a long time ago; when he wanted to devote his time fully to being a Headmaster. Sirius James 'SJ' was now Lord Potter; Primrose Isabel 'Pip' married Neville's oldest, Franklin - yet again, the close alliance between Potter and Longbottom shone through - and was now Lady Longbottom; the twins, Charlus Harfang and Hadrian Cygnus, were Lord Gryffindor and Lord Slytherin respectively; and Monica - his precious baby - married Daniel Finch-Fletchley, Hermione and Justin's second child.
Surprising Colin and Astoria both, he passed on the title of Lord Greengrass to their eldest son, Harrison, named after him. Harry the younger was so overcome by the gesture he couldn't even bring himself to thank his uncle for almost a week. Harry the senior thought it was one of his greatest pranks. It was also his last. As Colin and 'Tori' lived at Greengrass Estate at the time, he thought it was most wise of him to hand it to the man. Once he'd brushed the 'cobwebs' off the title, he'd quickly made the name Greengrass again one of power within the Wizengamot.
He sat there thinking about them all. What they, especially his school friends, had gone through. And thought back all those many years about the time he'd spent in this very castle as a student with them.
Remus had passed first. Though Justin and Hermione's people finally managed to find a cure for lycanthropy, the long years of monthly transformations had taken a toll on his body. He died quite young for a magical, about fifteen years later. Of course, then went Wendell and Monica; non-mags. Their passing had a profound impact on them all. Then Gran. Both Neville and Harry were gutted, but their wives pulled them both through it.
Sirius held on for quite a while. The love of his wife, children and friends helped him through the loss of his close childhood friend. But, when the time came, he went willingly onto his next great adventure surrounded by all those who loved him and could make it to visit with him in his last remaining hours. He even seemed to be looking forward to it. "The Marauders will be reunited," he smiled. Cygnus, Isabel and Aunt Amelia all passed within a few years of each other.
Then they had quite a few years before they lost other loved ones. But, then they all started to pass. Barely a month seemed to go by before other friends and acquaintances 'moved on'. Eventually, only he and Neville remained.
He sighed in remembrance. He missed them all.
Snapping out of his maudlin thoughts, he looked back to Hogsmeade. With the mountains in the way, twilight was quite short. The stars were all out and twinkling, so early.
He was looking at the heavens and trying to remember what the stars were all called again. He'd lost his perfect memory quite some time ago. Now he knew what it was like to forget.
He was tired. He closed his eyes to rest for a moment while he awaited the train. One memory he never forgot - would never forget - was the scent of his wife. He could even smell it now.
"Had enough yet?" he heard, just as he felt his chair gently settle to the ground. It shouldn't have done that. It was powered off his magic and remained hovering as long as he sat upon it, after all. And was similar to the magic used in the maglev train. He idly thought that might have been a problem.
He opened his eyes to see a vision. His wife was leaning with her bum against the rail of the tower, smiling. Her legs crossed at the ankles and her arms folded across her chest. She looked as she did when she was about twenty one.
"Daph?" he asked, a little confused.
"I asked if you'd had enough yet?" she asked, uncrossing her legs and dropping her arms to her side as she stood up straight.
"It's time?" he asked.
"Yes, sweetheart," she replied, gliding over to stand next to him.
"I wanted to see the train arrive," he sighed.
She smiled and pointed. "Look," she said.
He looked to Hogsmeade just as he saw the Express arrive in all its glory. "Ah!" he said. "Beautiful, isn't it?"
"Yes," she wistfully replied. "Our greatest invention."
They both watched the train for a few moments, just as students started to alight from it's carriages.
"Come on," she said. "Everyone's waiting."
"Yes. Of course," he said, and stood up, taking a half step forward. Nothing hurt, now. No aches or pains.
He turned about and saw his body sitting in the chair; his eyes were closed and he had that silly half-crooked smile on his lips.
"Minister Black is going to be most put out I chose today to up and die on her," said Harry. "She was supposed to be heading for that ICW conference for Heads of Government in Nice in three days."
He turned his head and took one more look at the students disembarking.
"She'll survive," said Daphne with a light chuckle.
Turning to his wife, he kissed her and asked, "Where to?"
"Home," she said, holding her hand out to take his. "I'm here to guide you home."
"Excellent," he said.
Hold his wife's hand, he felt himself lift and begin to ascend.
"I've missed you," he quietly said.
"And I, you, my darling," she replied.
"Do you still love me?" he cheekily asked.
"Then, now and for eternity," she replied with a smile.
As he was surrounded by a bright light he heard his godfather, in his animagus form, happily barking his head off in welcome.