The Final Chapter
Summary: After the final battle, the Boy Who Lived is transported back into his 11 year old body, just prior to receiving his Hogwarts Letter. Sound like every re-do fic you've ever read? It is, except for one minor detail; the Boy Who Lived is named Neville Longbottom!
Disclaimer: Is this really necessary? I don't own any of the Harry Potter Characters or settings.
Pairings: Neville/?, Harry/Hermione.
AUTHORS NOTES: First off, sorry about the long delay, I appreciate your patience. Secondly; I hate to admit it, but, I've basically lost interest in this story, because I made the mistake of making everything too easy for our heroes, and, although I had a vague idea of throwing a monkey wrench into the works, I just don't have the desire to put the work into into developing an OC adversary. Rather than just leave yet another one of my stories unfinished, I'll be wrapping this one up with this epilogue. Thanks for following along, and I'm glad so many of you seemed to enjoy the story. Finally, I'll admit to a major screw-up last chapter with the locations of several of the horcruxes. Irealize that several of them weren't in Death Eater houses, but Ijust neglected to write out how they located the rest of them.
EPILOGUE: Hogwarts Leaving Feast June 1998 Various POVs
The applause had just died down as Neville moved toward the podium set up in front of the Staff Table. The Head Boy nodded his thanks toward Professor Dumbledore before turning toward the students.
Neville smiled as he looked out over the graduating class. He couldn't help but think of the differences between his old world and this one.
In his old world, only a bare handful of the students who were sorted with him survived until graduation; this time, every single student was graduating, even Malfoy and his bookends, who, surprisingly, were not as dense as they seemed. Without the influence and protection of Lucius, Malfoy turned out to be a halfway decent person. He still was full of himself, but he wasn't a bully or a thug, which was a vast improvement. In fact, the only thing Neville had against the younger Malfoy was the fact that he was dating Ginny Weasley. But even that was only a mild pain, because the Ginny who showed up his second year was not the vibrant girl he had fallen in love with, but was a shy girl who couldn't string three words together if Harry was in the same room.
He had tried to befriend her, hoping that she would grow into the girl he loved, but, eventually realized that he had changed far too much to be able to relate to the girl, and, with a small twinge of regret, he let her go to find her own path in life. He would probably always love 'his Ginny', but finally accepted that his Ginny had died on the Hogwarts lawn during the final battle.
He would have expected Ron to have afit about his sister dating a Slytherin, except for the fact that Ron was sitting with Pansy Parkinson, although, judging by the size of the ring Neville saw on her finger, she would be a Weasley before the end of Summer.
He would probably still be hurting about losing Ginny if he hadn't met a cousin of Sirius's over the Christmas Holidays, a very attractive, but exceptionally clumsy Auror who insisted he call her Tonks. They hit it off quite well and, even though she was a few years older then him physically, they were close enough mentally to be able to enjoy each others company. Neville was looking forward to meeting with her after the feast for a private celebration. He had surprised her by actually taking her up on her offer to use her ability to look like someone else. He didn't do it very often, but the two of them enjoyed it as a change of pace.
That was another positive change from his old world; with Voldemort permanently dead, and the rest of his followers put through the Veil, the tension in the school had dropped to almost nothing. It had gotten to the point that most students didn't even eat at their House tables, preferring to eat with their friends in other houses. There was still a fierce rivalry between Slytherin and Gryffindor; but it was mostly confined to the Quidditch Pitch, the cup alternated between Minerva and Aurora Sinestra's Offices.
Looking away from Malfoy, he saw Susan Bones, with her Aunt Amelia, the former Minister of Magic. Amelia had done an amazing job in tracking down the remnants of Voldemort's followers, but stepped down from the Minister's Office after a little less than a year, preferring to go back to the DMLE. The new Minister was actually Florean Fortiscue, and he was generally considered to be doing an excellent job. The fact that he came from outside the Ministry seemed to be working in his favor, at least according to what Dumbledore had told them. It seemed that he had the Wizengamot in an uproar most of the time as he forced through multiple reforms, but, with strong support from Albus and Amelia most of them passed, and quite a few laws had been struck from the books, especially those about werewolves and other species that were looked down on by the Old Guard. Fortunately, the Old Guard was just that, old, and they were gradually being replaced by younger members, who were more open to the Minister's ideas.
Shaking his head slightly, he cleared his throat and began to speak
Albus Dumbledore relaxed in his chair as he listened to Neville give the traditional Head Boy speech. He had expected Harry and Hermione, as this years Head Students to be the ones to give the speech, but, they had asked Neville do to the honors. In a way, it made sense, because, although the three of them were the undisputed leaders of the school, Neville was far more outgoing and comfortable speaking in front of large groups.
Thinking of the other members of the Golden Trio, Albus looked toward the back of the room where Harry and Hermione were sitting, with Padma Patil sitting between them. He knew he was old fashioned, but it still slightly bothered him to see the three of them in a relationship, but, they seemed happy together, so he wasn't too worried about it. He knew that Harry, with the Wealth he had inherited from his parents, as well as what he stood to inherit from Sirius, would have no problem supporting two wives, although he got the impression that Padma would be Hermione's wife more than Harry's.
Speaking of Sirius, he glanced down the table at his Defense Instructor, who was leaned over saying something to Remus, who was in his third year of teaching Magical Creatures, Hagrid having gone back to France with Madame Maxime after the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Although he was sorry to lose Hagrid, Albus was happier with another result of the tournament; Cedric Diggory was crowned the Champion, and took a job as the Assistant Professor for Transfiguration, allowing Minerva more time as Assistant Headmistress, soon to be Headmistress; as he had already announced his retirement as of the end of this school year. It was time for him to reconnect with what was left of his family and prepare himself for the Next Great Adventure.
Albus knew he had a lot of mistakes to answer for, but, he felt that he had made up for them over the past six years. It was only a few days after the meeting that set all the changes in motion that they destroyed the Horcrux that was in Harry's scar. It was painful for Harry, but it hurt Albus almost as much to see him suffer. Fortunately, the scar was the last Horcrux to be destroyed, and, after the Unspeakables tracked down the Voldemort Wraith in Albania, Albus Harry Neville and Hermione went to the Ministry, and, while Neville and Hermione waited outside, he and Harry went into the Execution Chamber and Harry banished the wraith through the Veil, fulfilling the prophecy. It was only when Voldemort was completely gone that Albus made sure that Harry never had to see the Dursley's again. He had hesitated, because, even though he knew how unhappy Harry was there, and with reason, he still hoped there was a way to transfer the blood protections to another location. He knew that the minute he informed Petunia that Harry would not be returning, the protections would fail, and he wanted to do as much as he could before confronting her. Fortunately, with all the Death Eaters and supporters gone, the protection was no longer needed, and he went to Privet Drive.
Although he was sorely tempted to hex the three of them into oblivion, he controlled himself during the brief unpleasant time he spent in their home. When he heard a few years later that the three of them had died in a house fire, along with Vernon's sister, he really couldn't find it inside himself to feel sorry for them.
Harry had moved in with Sirius at the end of his second year, after spending the previous Summer with Neville at his home. Harry still spent a great deal of time at Longbottom Manor, where Augusta had adopted Harry and Hermione as pseudo-grandchildren, and taught the three of them the traditions of the Wizarding World, as well as keeping them up to date on what had been changing, so they would be able to move easily in the world after graduation. Although, from what Neville had said, none of them had the heart to tell his Grandmother that the three of them were even more aware of the changes, considering how many of them that had instigated, she seemed to honestly enjoy teaching them, and they didn't mind getting another persons perspective on the changes.
Of course, they all got a different sort of education from Sirius and Remus, and Albus still winced at the memory of some of the pranks that three of them, as well as the Weasley Twins, pulled on the school. Poppy told him she still has nightmares of the singing and dancing bedpans!
Hearing the applause, Albus realized that Neville was finishing his speech, and pulled himself back to the present. Joining in the applause, Albus climbed to his feet to give his own remarks. As Neville made it back to his seat; where he was joined by his friends, Albus said, “Thank You Mister Longbottom. Now, before we tuck in to the delicious meal that has been prepared for us, I'd just like to say a few words, Nitwit!Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!” and took his seat as a wave of laughter broke in the Hall.
Harry woke early the next morning, and smiled as he looked down at the bushy hair spread across his chest. Obviously Hermione had decided during the night that his chest made an excellent pillow. He wasn't exactly surprised, it seemed to happen on a regular basis. Turning his head, he could make out Padma spooned up behind Hermione, resting her head on Hermione's shoulder. He chuckled quietly, no matter what position they were in when they went to sleep, the seemed to migrate to this position somewhere in the night.
Harry still had to pinch himself sometimes, to convince himself he wasn't dreaming. That didn't happen very much anymore, but in the beginning it happened a lot. It wasn't until Fourth Year, when Dumbledore took him aside and told him that the Dursley's had died, that the last of the fear he would have to go back there faded away. Looking back, Harry realized that the day he lost that fear was the second or third best day of his life, even better than the day that he learned he was a Wizard. Of course, he didn't even have to think about the best day, that was the day that Hermione told him she loved him, and he told her the same. That day was closely followed by his 16th Birthday, when the two of them made love for the first time. Of course, as wonderful as that day was, it also caused Hermione a great deal of emotional pain.
Harry may have been more mature than the average 16 year old, but that didn't mean he was any more observant, or had any more insight into the female of the species than any man, any where. He could tell that Hermione and Padma were very good friends, and he was happy for her. He knew that, although he wasn't stupid by any means, he wasn't on Hermione's level of intelligence, and he figured that Padma filled her need for conversation. It wasn't until the week after his birthday that she finally told him what had been bothering her.
Simply put, she realized that she was in love with Padma, and Padma had told Hermione that she loved her as well. Harry was worried at first, that it meant that Hermione didn't love him, but, after talking it out, he referred her to one of her own favorite books “Time Enough For Love” and she realized that she had love enough for two people in her life. Of course, the awkward part was when Hermione suggested that he and Padma date, to see if they were compatible as well, because Hermione wanted both of them in her life, and, with her mission to change the world, the Wizarding World's feelings about women loving each other was the least of her concerns. Fortunately for all of them, Harry and Padma found that they did like each other, and that developed into a relationship almost as strong as the one that Hermione shared with each of them. Of course, the memory of first time the three of them were all together would enable Harry to fuel a corporal Patronus even one hundred years later!
Realizing that it was still early in the morning, Harry closed his eyes and fell back to sleep. Life was good.
The End – So Long and Thanks for All the Fish!