The future stretches ahead of them, but there are a few loose threads to be picked up and tied off.
“Now what?”, indeed.
#### THE DAILY PROPHET ###
!!! VOLDEMORT VANQUISHED !!!
!!! Wizarding World Rejoices !!!
! Harry Potter fulfills Prophesy !
!!! Howarts scene of epic battle !!!
The following day, headlines in the Daily Prophet screamed the news throughout the Wizarding World. Promises that first hand accounts of the battle, with all of the details, were forthcoming, insured sales of future issues. Rita Skeeter, however, was having an apoplectic fit for being denied permission to come on the school grounds, much less be granted ‘exclusive rights’ to Harry’s story. She was placated, somewhat, by the announcement that there would be a press release and she would get the first copy, with a personal note from Harry.
The Ministry was also clamoring for Harry and the others to come and give statements to the Wizangamoth. The Headmaster politely informed them that the students were studying for their end of year exams and the Fifth and Seventh years were also busy getting ready for their O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s. He reassured them that Harry and company would, in good time, come to London and the Ministry.
Life at Hogwarts had, remarkably, settled right back into its routines. The absence of Millicent and Tracie was the only difference of note. But Pansy’s re-appearance more than made up for that loss.
The students, who had been uninvolved with the battle, had been briefed by Dumbledore about what had occurred during the night and many were genuinely surprised they had slept through all the commotion. They were happy, though, that the D.A. were able to overcome the Death Eaters with as few injuries as there were: cuts bruises, burns, scraps and Michael’s broken arm were about the extent of it.
The worst injuries to the Death Eaters came at the hands of the House-elves and consisted of several dozen goose-eggs inflicted by well placed blows from their Beater Bats. Also, a few cases of skin irritation and hair loss from duct tape removal needed medical attention.
Fenrir, Peter Pettigrew and Voldemort were the only casualties. Peter’s family were notified and c came to claim his body. They were astonished to find that a letter from Harry Potter accompanied it, explaining how their son had sacrificed himself to honor his Wizard’s debt, along with Harry’s assurance that Peter would be given due credit for his actions down in the Chamber, when Harry went to address the Wizangamot after the end of the school year.
The Death Eaters were back in Azkaban, under double guard. Their trials were to be held after testimony from those involved in the battle was heard. It was almost a certainty that the most violent and dangerous ones would receive either a death sentence or the “Dementor’s Kiss”, while the rest would be long term, indeed lifelong, residents of Azkaban.
At Greystone Manor, the garden was in full bloom and Frank Longbottom was in his element, puttering around, spade in hand, weeding, cultivating, watering, transplanting and moving pots out of the conservatory onto the patios. He hummed most of the time, stopping to smile at his wife when she wandered by, pushing one or more of the babies – or Po - in a pram, down the garden paths, accompanied by Winky or Dobby.
Penny and Artemus worked with the Longbottoms on their speech therapy on rainy days and all of the housemates could see a vast improvement, especially when it was explained to them that Voldemort was dead and Neville had captured Bella. Frank and Alice had exchanged looks at that news and Frank had visibly swelled with pride, while Alice nodded and smiled.
Augusta Longbottom had relinquished her duties, as Potions Professor and Head of Slytherin House, in favor of Severus, who went down to his dungeon classroom every day, returning to his ‘extended’ family at dinnertime. Gran remained at Greystone Manor, alternately helping with the children and trying her hand at baking in the kitchen, cupcakes being her specialty. The two weeks before exams passed and, too quickly, it was time for the end of year feast.
The Great Hall was flying banners from all four houses, the House Cup competition being declared, by unanimous vote, a four way tie for that year. Extra tables and chairs had been placed around the room to accommodate the special guests who would be attending; including all of the Weasleys, everyone from Greystone Manor, Katie Bell and Angelina Johnson, Mad-eye, Tonks and Kingsley. Hagrid had built a table and chair for Grawp, which was in the corner. Rita Skeeter and Luna’s father would be there as representatives of the press and the Minister for Magic was going to make a special presentation.
“Headmaster, is the Minister going to make some big deal speech and embarrass us, Harry especially?” asked Ron, as they walked down the stairs to the Great Hall.
“Well, I imagine he’ll want to do something, speech wise, to mark the occasion,” replied Dumbledore. “I think, however, he does realize he’d be…what is that marvelous Muggle expression?…ah, yes, ‘preaching to the choir’, if he goes on about what happened, so hopefully it won’t take too long.”
“We could do a memory charm on him, so he’d just sit there with a silly smile on his face, eat his dinner and go home,” Ron suggested hopefully.
“As tempting as that idea is, Mister Weasley, it wouldn’t be proper; Rufus was denied his moment of glory when the news was spread about Voldemort’s death, of being unable to publicly thank Harry and everyone involved in the battle. So, we really should let him get on with it, don’t you think?”
Ron heaved a sigh. “I suppose; nothing for it, actually.”
“Precisely. Ah, here come your parents. Arthur! Molly! Welcome back.”
Dumbledore stood as the remnants of the dessert course disappeared.
“Good evening, everyone, and a special hello to all of our guests, especially our Minister for Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour.”
Polite applause greeted the Minister, who stood and acknowledged the crowd with a jaunty wave of his hand.
“Also with us today, are Miss Rita Skeeter of the Daily Prophet and Xenophilius Lovegood of the Quibbler.”
More clapping and then the audience waited for the Headmaster to begin.
“I never thought I’d be saying these words, but, they are very appropriate… this is one school year I am bloody thankful is finished!”
Everyone burst into laughter and cheers. Dumbledore raised his hand and everyone quieted down.
“Having said what I feel is an almost unanimously shared sentiment, I also realize that this means another class of students will be leaving us, to either continue their studies or make their way to their future lives in the Wizarding World. We wish them good fortune and good luck. So, let us raise our goblets and toast those among us who are leaving Hogwarts.”
Everyone stood and lifted their cups.
“To our graduates!”
“TO OUR GRADUATES!” roared the students and guests.
Everyone sat back down as Dumbledore continued, “Excellent! And now the Minister for Magic has a few thoughts he’d like to share with us. Rufus?”
Rufus Scrimgeour stood and walked to the podium, where he stood, looking out at the sea of faces.
“Being Minister for Magic, I am, from time to time, expected to make long winded speeches. This is not one of those occasions.” That statement was greeted with a smattering of applause and ensuing giggles as he arched an eyebrow. “I see you share my own sentiments about that part of my job. So, I’ll cut right to the chase. If it weren’t for those of you, assembled here, who participated in the defense of this school and the defeat of Lord Voldemort, the rest of us, myself included, would certainly not be here at all.
“I know I speak for the entire Wizarding World when I say thank you. As inadequate as those two words sound, they speak volumes as to the high regard in which you are all held by your fellow Witches and Wizards. Frankly, there aren’t enough words to express our gratitude, but I think we’ve come up with something that will convey our feelings. Percy?”
Percy Weasley stood and lifting a large box off of the table in front of him, brought it to the podium. He stood, holding it on his arms, facing the Minister. Rufus lifted the lid and then turned to address the students.
“I know some of you are too young to have been included in the training for the defense of your school, but you knew of the existence of the D.A. and therefore, your good thoughts and support of the members helped boost their confidence, knowing you were cheering for them. Therefore, you are all to receive a special Hogwarts badge, to wear in future, commemorating the fact that you were here at Hogwarts, supporting the D.A.’s efforts.”
Rufus held up the medal; it was a bar, with the individual House colors, the Hogwarts shield suspended below.
“Wear it proudly.”
The younger students applauded loudly, not having any idea they would be recognized for any contribution to the battle, at all.
“Now, I have several presentations to make, to those who risked their lives defending this school and, if truth be told, the entire Wizarding World. First, but, not the least by any means, the House-elves of Hogwarts. Headmaster?”
“Yes, Headmaster, sir?”
“Tykey, please ask all of the House-elves to come here, now.”
“Yes, Headmaster, sir.”
“Winky, Dobby, Lolly, I believe you are included, please step forward,” Dumbledore instructed them.
The three House-elves came around the end of the staff table and stood, waiting silently. A few seconds later, ‘POP’, every House-elf in Hogwarts appeared in the Great Hall, looking at the Headmaster for further instructions. Albus pointed to the Minister for Magic, who cleared his throat.
“On be half of the Wizarding public in general, and the Ministry for Magic in particular, we would like to bestow this medal to you all; for your outstanding service and bravery, in the defense of Hogwarts and the defeat of the Wizard know as Lord Voldemort. You did an admirable job and we wish to sincerely thank you for everything you did, as a group and,” he looked at Dobby, Winky and Lolly, “as individuals.”
The entire audience of Witches and Wizards and one Muggle jumped to their feet and applauded wildly. The House-elves were overwhelmed; crying and smiling and hugging each other. The Minister lifted a small box from the one Percy was holding and motioning Dobby forward, handed it to him.
“Dobby, could you do the honors and see that these are handed out?”
“Yes, Minister, sir.”
Rufus opened the box and removing one of the medals, he fitted it over Dobby’s head, to hang on his chest. Dobby looked down at the shiny Hogwarts crest suspended from a rainbow colored ribbon, and then he shook the Minister’s hand and took the box. Turning to look at Harry Potter, he grinned.
‘POP’ The House-elves all disappeared.
“I think the next two awards are of special interest, because they are for two individuals who didn’t really need to lift a finger, or a talon, to help defend Hogwarts. That they did, speaks volumes as to the way in which creatures are regarded, and treated, by the staff and students of this school. I speak of Buckbeak, the hippogriff and Grawp, Rubius Hagrid’s half-brother.
“Buckbeak was, I’m told, falsely accused of attacking a student at one time.”
Not a few of the students turned and smiled at Draco, who blushed and ducked his head.
“And giants aren’t exactly on the best of terms with our world. However, both Buckbeak and Grawp joined in the capture of the giants who were advancing toward the school, without hesitation and, I’m happy to say, suffering no harm to themselves, helped bring that threat to a halt.
“Buckbeak is, as we speak, enjoying a special meal out in his paddock, but I see Grawp is here with us.”
The Minister levitated at large crate that had been sitting by the wall, over to Grawp’s table, where he settled it in front of the giant.
“Grawp, on behalf of the Wizarding World, we would like you to have this gift, to show our appreciation and so you can remember this occasion. Please open it and show everyone.”
Grawp looked at Hagrid, who urged him to open the crate. Tearing off the top, Grawp reached inside and pulled out a huge pewter tankard with his name on one side and the Hogwarts crest on the other. He smiled and lifted it up to show everyone. The students laughed and clapped, and with a wave of his wand, the Minister filled it with pumpkin juice. Grawp drink s few gulps and then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
“GOOD. GRAWP SAY THANK YOU. GRAWP LIKE. GEN! SEE GRAWP NAME!” he pointed, showing off his gift.
“Yes, Grawp, I see! That’s a splendid tankard!” replied Gwen, lifting her own to toast her friend.
“Good idea, Doctor Jones,” said the Minister. “To Grawp!”
“TO GRAWP!” everyone chorused, lifting their drinks.
“Speaking of Doctor Jones,” continued the Minister. “I need to say a few words regarding the Muggle among us.” He turned and winked at Gwen. “Most outrageous, having a Muggle here at Hogwarts, but then, I’ve heard she needs watching, on occasion and shouldn’t’ be left to her own devices.”
“Here, here!” Remus raised his glass.
“Remus!” Gwen swatted him on the arm.
“Now, now, I didn’t mean to start trouble! I was merely referring to your, and your step-Mother’s infamous use of Muggle equipment to thwart magic and in your case, a certain werewolf. How you managed to get your equipment to work here at Hogwarts, I haven’t been told, in detail, but I’m sure it will be of interest to our Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office. Isn’t that correct, Arthur?”
Arthur Weasley nodded and blushed; he knew the Minister was, in fact, well aware of his tampering with Gwen’s equipment to help it function properly in spite of the charms in place at the school.
“Be that as it may, the Ministry would like to bestow a special award to Doctor Jones, in appreciation for her efforts and for putting her own life in danger in order to save others. So, if you would come forward,” he motioned to Gwen and then turned and retrieved a small box out of the one Percy held.
Gwen came around the table and walked up to the Minister with a quizzical look on her face. He held up a silver ribbon, from which was dangling a medal emblazoned with the symbol of St. Mungo’s on the front and the Hogwarts crest on the back.
“To Doctor Gwendolyn Jones, I bestow the Order of St. Mungo, first class, giving you all of the privileges that entails; including professional entry at St. Mungo’s in London and access to all of our Magical medical knowledge for your continued research, started by your father, Dr. Christopher Jones.”
The Minister turned and saluted Christopher, who was watching from a nearby frame. Gwen turned also and waved to her Father, who smiled and waved back. Cheers greeted Gwen’s acceptance of her medal and she received a big hug from Anna and a kiss from Remus, as she returned to her seat.
“Next, I want to call forward the adults who helped defend Hogwarts. Let me see.” The Minister produced a scroll, from which he read the names, in alphabetical order. “Katie Bell, Narcissa Black, Penelope Clearwater, Augusta Longbottom, Argus Filch, Filius Flitwick, Rubius Hagrid, Angelina Johnson, Remus Lupin, Minerva McGonagall, Mad-eye Moody, Artemus Pye, Madam Pomfrey, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Anna Snape, Severus Snape, Pomona Sprout, Nymphadora Tonks, Arthur Weasley, Bill Weasley, Fleur Weasley, Fred Weasley, George Weasley, Molly Weasley and Percy Weasley.”
“Let me assist you, Rufus,” said Dumbledore, as he came up and relieved Percy of the large box he’d been holding, so he could be with his family. Taking the medals one by one, from the box, Albus handed them to the Minister, who hung the Order of Merlin – First Class around the neck of each person standing on the front of the dais. After the awards were bestowed to the entire group, the students jumped to their feet and cheered wildly.
When the applause died down, Percy resumed his duties and the Minister turned to face the students.
“Now, for the real heroes, in my estimation, the D.A. Would you come forward, please.”
The students who had taken part in the battle stood and came forward, lining up across the front of the room. They were surprised to see Dumbledore had remained standing next to The Minister.
“You all are receiving three awards, today, a Special Service to the School award from Professor Dumbledore and a newly instituted Order of Merlin, made especially for this occasion, and your own Defense of Hogwarts medal. So, Headmaster, if you’d begin.” Rufus bowed out of the way and let the Headmaster step forward.
“Thank you, Minister. Let’s start with Slytherin House, as they were the newest members of the D.A. Silvia Goodnite, Daphne Greengrass, Draco Malfoy, Theodore Nott, and Blaize Zabini.
Then the Minister pinned on the two awards from the Ministry of Magic and the Slytherins lined up at the other end of the staff table.
“Hufflepuff House, next, please: Hannah Abbott, Susan Bones, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Ernie Macmillian and Zacharias Smith.
“Ravenclaw House: Terry Boot, Michael Corner, Anthony Goldstein, Luna Lovegood and Padma Patil.
“Gryffindor House: Lavender Brown, Colin Creevey, Dennis Creevey, Seamus Finnegan, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, Pavarti Patil, Harry Potter, Dean Thomas, Ginny Weasley and Ronald Weasley.”
They all stood there, looking at their medals, hearing the applause and then with wide grins, returning it, clapping and shouting, both to the other students and to the gathered adults. When the noise settled down and they returned to their chairs, Percy put the box on the table and took his seat.
“There are two more ‘awards’ to be given, and we would be remiss if we were to not acknowledge these individuals, who put their lives on the line, more than once, more than we might ever know, come to that, to help bring about the downfall of Lord Voldemort. I speak of Professor Severus Snape and Harry Potter.”
Harry looked embarrassed and Severus looked properly gob-smacked. Ginny squeezed Harry’s arm and Anna sought and held Severus hand under the staff table.
“Severus Snape has, for years, been in grave danger, even though his activities here at Hogwarts seemed to be that of any teacher. He has, in fact, been a spy, in constant peril of his life and most recently, thought dead at Voldemort’s hand. He was, by his own admission, lucky to have survived that little incident, but in spite of having to stay in hiding, worked tirelessly behind the scenes, to help ready the defenses of this school. When the time came, he was right in the thick of the fighting and was there to witness the death of Lord Voldemort.
“The Wizarding world owes a debt of gratitude to Severus Snape, but I know he would be loath to be singled out more than I am doing at this moment. There will, however, be a Proclamation released, declaring Severus Snape to be Professor Emeritus of Potions at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, with the status, and I might add salary raise, that comes with that position. The last Professor Emeritus was, in fact, Albus Dumbledore, so Severus, my boy, you are in good company!”
The Minister walked over and shook his hand as Severus stood and acknowledged the honor bestowed on him and the applause of those gathered in the Great Hall.
“Thank you, Minister.”
“Ah, a man of few words…you’d make a good Minister of Magic….maybe…someday...after I retire, eh?” Rufus winked at him.
Anna laughed, but Severus shook his head. “No, thank you.”
“Which brings us to…Harry Potter. Harry, you never asked for this…fame, this… responsibility, this…notoriety; in truth, this burden that you have carried on your young shoulders for the last seven years. But in the end, you proved to be a true Gryffindor and a credit to your parent’s memory. You did it, my boy and we all owe our lives to you.”
There was cheering and then the Minister held up his hand for silence.
“What should we, what could we give you, to show our gratitude and thanks for all you have gone through, suffered and overcome to be here today. The Ministry has decided to give you…nothing.”
There were a few gasps but the Minister continued, “We have consulted with Professor Dumbledore and he suggested that, besides the medals you have received alongside your mates, that you would want nothing more, nothing special, just a little peace and quiet, to get on with your life as you see fit. So, Harry Potter, on behalf of the Ministry of Magic, we give you a simple, heartfelt ‘Thank You’. Have a good life…and stay out of trouble, won’t you?”
Harry stood, a big grin on his face and walked forward to shake hands with the Minister and Professor Dumbledore, as everyone rose to their feet to cheer and applaud one last time.
Anna leaned forward and stage whispered, “What are you going to do now, Harry?”
“Go give my statement at the Ministry of Magic, I suppose, but when I get that over with, I think I’ll take a vacation, a true gap year, before I decide about what I’ll do in the future, Anna.”
“Sounds like a plan to me!”
“Yes, Missy Cissa?” The elderly House-elf came into the living room, bowing.
“Is everything ready?”
“Yes, Miss, the House-elves from Hogwarts is finished with the cleaning and the painting and the fixing up you is ordered. I is so happy to see members of the House of Black living here again, Miss.”
“Well, Draco will only be staying here until his Manor is finished, Kreacher, but Harry is going to be here for some time, maybe years.”
“Yes, Miss, and I is going to be a good House-elf for Master Harry, Miss, even if he isn’t a Black. He revenged the House of Black and the deaths of Master Regulus and Master Sirius and saved your life and that of Master Draco, so I is going to do my duty, Miss. I is proud again, to have the house looking right again.”
“That’s very commendable, Kreacher. If we could only get Aunt Walburga to accept all that’s happened, so she’d stop screaming, but Missy Gwen’s thought of something and I hope she gets here before Harry arrives home.”
As if on cue, the front door knocker sounded, and Aunt Walburga was off, again, screaming and ranting about the blood traitors in her family and the strangers in her house. When Cissa arrived in the hallway, she stopped in her tracks as she watched Gwen and Remus carry in several long boxes and one large, thin, paper covered parcel. Yanking the velvet curtains closed, Cissa turned to see what they had with them.
“What in the world is all of this?”
“If we can’t get her to shut up and we can’t get her off the wall, we decided to let her hang there and yell her fool head off. But, we don’t have to listen, so, we’re going to put her in a sound-proof box!” Gwen was grinning from ear to ear even as Remus was shaking his head.
“This should be instructive, in the very least,” remarked Cissa, as she sat on the bottom step, watching Gwen ripping open boxes and tearing off paper labels.
“Watch and learn, honey, watch and learn!”
“Mother said in her letter that Kreacher has changed, since he heard the news of your ‘avenging’ the Family name and the deaths of Regulus and Sirius Black.”
“Avenging? I didn’t avenge anybody! I just…oh, sod it, if he’s behaving and doing his job without the mumbling and nasty remarks, I really don’t care how it happened.”
Draco and Harry were walking down the sidewalk of Grimmauld Place, having seen Ginny and Pansy home. Well, home being a relative term, as the Weasleys were staying in Anna’s house on Harley Street, for the time being and Pansy was staying with them, having no close relatives she cared to live with.
The four young people had taken a two week trip to a little chateau in the south of France that Draco’s family owned. They had spent countless hours on the beach, exploring the surrounding countryside, stopping at little village inns to eat and buying gifts at the local markets to take home. They were tanned, happy and relaxed, and actually looking forward to their futures for the first time in their lives.
They’d heard from Ron and Hermione, who had flown out to visit her parents. Ron had survived his first, and he swore, only, flight on a Muggle jet. Until he realized it was too far a distance to Apparate home. Resigned to his fate, he and Hermione traveled with Hermione’s parents on their rounds to the outpost clinics and had a wonderful vacation. They’d be back in two days and would meet up with everyone then.
“I think you should throw a house-warming party, Potter. Be a proper host and man about town!” declared Draco, as they mounted the steps to 13 Grimmauld Place.
“This house isn’t in fit shape for a party, Draco, it’ll take months just to dust…it.” Harry stopped in the doorway, shook his head, stepped back outside and checked the number over the door, before re-entering and closing the door behind him. “Am I in the right place?” Harry looked around, astonished.
Gone were the black drapes and the moldy carpet. The woodwork and floors had been stripped of the old varnish and were glowing with a soft, warm golden oak tone. Above the wainscoting the walls and ceiling were a pale oyster white. The old carpet had been replaced with a beautiful oriental patterned runner and the drapes were a pearly grey shot through with green threads. Slytherin colors, to be sure, but it looked just perfect.
“Welcome home, Harry,” declared Narcissa, smiling at him from the bottom step. “I hope you don’t mind if I had Kreacher and some of the Hogwarts House-elves tidy up a bit.”
“Tidy up? If this is tiding up, I’d hate to watch them in action for a full scale scrub down!” declared Draco, looking around. “What do you think, Harry?”
“I’m gob-smacked. But, truthfully, I was dreading having to try and get this place ship-shape. Didn’t know where to start, come to that. I kept remembering what a job of it we had just making it habitable that one Christmas. Thank you, Cissa!” Harry came over and gave her a big hug. “It’s bloody marvelous!”
“Well, I hope you like what I did with the rest of it, then. I tried to not be too ‘Slytherin’ with the décor, but just enough to keep Kreacher happy and not overwhelm you. Hello, Draco, darling, have a good time?” She offered her cheek for a kiss.
“Hello, Mother, and yes, we had a glorious time. I showed them the whole territory and we spent a bundle at the markets, too. I picked up some great furniture for the new Manor and it will be shipped next month.”
“Oh, how wonderful! Have you finished deciding about the floorplans?”
“Yes, we four sat there in the evenings, working out details. The girls were a big help about closets and bathrooms and the kitchen design. Who knew it was all that important to have a light in a closet? Or enough counter space in a kitchen?”
“Indeed, it was an education for you, then?” Cissa regarded her son, eyebrow raised.
“And then some!” Draco laughed.
“Come on then, you two, let me show you around!”
Cissa turned to go up the stairs, but Harry stopped her with a hand on her arm.
“Hold on, something’s not right. Why isn’t old lady Black screaming at us for standing here talking?”
“Oh, she probably is, but we don’t have to worry about her any more, Gwen saw to that!”
Walking over to the draperies, she yanked them open, showing that, indeed, Walburga Black was doing her usual rant and rave, but although Harry could see her mouth moving and her eyes bulging with madness, it was like watching a silent movie; no sound, whatsoever.
Cissa tapped on the Plexiglas box that had been installed over the old ornate frame, effectively sealing in the sound.
“Blimey, it’s just like that practice box Anna put up at Hogwarts, but with no air holes!” Draco said, as he ran his hand over the smooth surface.
“Bloody hell! This is marvelous! Gwen did this?”
“Yes, she stopped in to see how the cleaning was progressing and when old ‘Auntie’ here realized she was a Muggle, well, let’s just say she outdid herself. And you know Gwen wouldn’t take that lightly.” Cissa grinned at Harry.
“I don’t imagine.” Harry shook his head. “Oh, wait, I’d better tell Kreacher I’m back. KREACHER?”
“Yes, Master, you is back, I is hearing you talking. Welcome home, Mister Harry Potter, sir. You is happy with how Kreacher is fixing the house?”
“Very pleased, Kreacher; it’s just wonderful. I’m glad to hear you’re back in form, too. Splendid. How about a couple of sandwiches for Draco and me. We’ll come down to the kitchen to eat as soon as we take a quick tour. Is that alright?” Harry inquired.
“Very good, Master, I will see to it.”
“You don’t have to call…me… or never mind.” Harry shook his head. “I guess I won’t be able to change that old habit of his, will I?
“Probably not, Harry.” Draco clapped a hand on Harry’s shoulder. “Let’s see what Mum’s been up to then, shall we?”
“I restrained myself, Draco, I’ll have you know,” Cissa threw over her shoulder, as she led the way.
The two young men exchanged looks, smiling and shaking their heads, as they followed her up the stairs.
### THE DAILY PROPHET ###
Death Eaters Sentenced
The trial of those followers of the Wizard known as Lord Voldemort who survived the attack and battle at Hogwarts School earlier this year is over. The y have been sentenced by the Wizangamot as listed
These Death Eaters were sentenced to receive the Dementors Kiss for their involvement in the plotting of the attack and their leadership roles during the battle:
The other Death Eaters have received life sentences in Azkaban prison, with no chance for parole.
Six months had passed since Voldemort had met his fate in the Chamber of Secrets, but Ron had been keeping a few secrets of his own. Now, with Christmas coming, he decided the time was right to spring his surprise on the family. It was a week until Christmas Eve, but he had told his brothers and sister what he had planned and they were ready to help with the surprise when he walked into the dining room.
“Mum, Dad, can I show you something?”
“Certainly, son, what is it?” Arthur looked up, albeit a bit reluctantly, from an issue of Popular Mechanics. “What can we help you with?”
“Well, I need you and Mum to come with me.” He turned and walked out of the room.
Molly looked at Arthur and they both stood and followed their youngest son.
“Ronald, what in the world is the matter?” Molly asked as she came into the front hall.
Ron was standing there, holding out their coats.
“Put these on, please.”
“Why? Where are we going?” Arthur asked, as he held Molly’s coat for her, and then shrugged his own on.
“You’ll see,” was all Ron would say.
He lead the way downstairs and out into the tiny garden behind Anna’s house. Taking hold of his parent’s hands, he side-along Apparated them to Otter St. Catchpole, and the lane that led to where the Burrow had once stood.
Looking around in the early winter dusk, Molly and Arthur gasped.
“What are we doing here, Son?” Arthur inquired, a bit of a steely note in his voice.
“You know we never wanted to come back here, Ronald; there are too many bad memories.!” Molly scolded.
“And too many good ones to give up on the old place, too, Mum. Come on.”
He turned and walked away from them, around the corner of the giant hew hedge that had always hidden the Burrow from view of anyone passing on the road. Looking at each other, Molly took Arthur’s hand and they followed him, heads down against the chilly breeze. When they got in the lea of the hedge they looked up and gasped.
The Burrow stood there, looking almost exactly as is had before the Death Eaters attacked. It was sporting a new coat of paint and was, perhaps, not quite so crooked as before, but it was the Burrow. Warm candle light glowed in the windows and smoke was curling from the chimneys.
“When? How? Who?” Arthur sputtered.
“For the last couple of months, with my ‘finders fee’, the best Wizard builder money could buy.” Ron answered, ushering them to the door.
Molly hadn’t said a word, but when she walked into her kitchen and saw all of her family gathered around the table, waiting for her, she broke down and cried, throwing herself onto Ronald’s shoulder.
“Easy, Mum, you’ll drown the poor lad,” said Percy, who was closest to the door, as he hugged his Dad and then pried Molly off of Ron and made her sit down in her chair.
“I don’t understand, son, where did you ever get the money?” Arthur was gazing around, trying to take it all in.
“Well, now, that’s a LONG story, so sit down, Dad and I’ll tell you all about it.”
New Research and Rehabilitation Center
Dedication Ceremony held today
By Rita Skeeter
Yours truly was honored to be on the dais, today, at the dedication and grand opening ceremonies for the Christopher Jones Research and Rehabilitation Center. The former country home of the late Doctor Jones was given to St. Mungo’s by his widow, Mrs. Severus Snape and his daughter, Doctor Gwendolyn Jones.
It is to be used as a rehabilitation center for those Witches and Wizards, treated at St. Mungo’s, who could, in the estimation of the medical staff, benefit from the fresh air and sunshine that was in abundant evidence at the event.
The Grounds and extensive gardens overflowed with Witches and wizards, from all parts of our society, admiring the view of the Irish Sea and touring the house and other buildings.
“There will be laboratory buildings built in the near future and I intend to continue with Father’s research,” Gwen Jones informed me, as we strolled past a huge green house. “Draco Malfoy, one of our Board members, has set up a trust fund to help pay for the construction, which should begin within the month.”
I was astonished to meet Frank and Alice Longbottom, recently released from st. Mungo’s.
“Frank has agreed to be in charge of the greenhouse, and work with patients, helping them learn some gardening skills as part of their therapy. Alice is going to be helping in the daycare center for our employees,” Anna Snape explained, as she introduced me to the couple.
Although quiet spoken, both seemed remarkably happy and were very pleased to see everyone enjoying themselves. It’s hard to believe that they were the victims of some of the most brutal torture ever survived, spending fifteen years in st. Mungo’s in isolation.
“Yes, their recovery is remarkable and we hope to continue with some of the same therapy that proved so beneficial to Frank and Alice,” added Artemus Pye, newly named Head of Staff at the Center. With him, looking radiantly pregnant, was his new wife, the former Narcissa Black.
I also spotted Augusta Longbottom holding court in the gazebo, along with her grandson Neville and his girlfriend Miss Luna Lovegood.
The Weasley clan was in evidence, especially our newly elected Deputy Minister for Magic, Arthur Weasley and his lovely wife, Molly. Their son, Percy is the Chief Administrator for the Center and his wife, Penelope, is the Head Healer.
I chatted for a few minutes with the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Albus Dumbledore, who was in fine spirits, even giving yours truly a kiss on the cheek.
Also on hand was the Potions master of Hogwarts, Severus Snape, and along with his wife, Anna, was greeting everyone and smiling! A rare treat, indeed!
The food was exceptionally well prepared and the company lively. I can’t say enough about how much this new facility has been needed and now that it’s a reality, let’s support their efforts on researching cures for some of the maladies that have been plaguing the Wizarding world for too long.