Harry has to make a sacrifice to protect his friends and family. What is it and will he do it?
RAVEN OF THE BATTLE: ALTERNATE ENDING
Hermione sighed as she skimmed through the rows of used books. She was bored. Ron was in London on a job for the Aurors, and she had decided to use her time alone to find herself some new books. So far, she hadn't really found anything. She guessed that after all these years in the Wizarding World, Muggle bookstores didn't really hold a lot of interest for her anymore.
Life had been hard for her since the final battle six years ago. She hadn't been able to get past Harry's death. It was hard to accept that Harry had willing chose to die in order to save theirs. She was filled with guilt, thinking that she should've died in his place. She frowned as she remembered the chaos the Wizarding World had been in when they found out about Harry Potter's sacrifice. Minister Fudge had done a large expose on it, putting a personal spin on it to make it look like Harry had sacrificed himself for the Minister.
There was outrage from Harry's friends and family and they had demanded a retraction of the article. There was no way that they were going to let Harry's sacrifice be used as a publicity stunt for the Minister. Fudge had refused, and Harry's friends were angry. Mysteriously, after that, photos had appeared on the desk of the Daily Prophet's Chief Editor that showed the Minister having a meeting with several Death Eaters, including one Lucius Malfoy. There had been enough suspicion cast on the Minister that he forced to step down. When asked where the photos had come from, the Chief Editor had shrugged and said that a large raven had delivered them.
Those who had been on the battlefield and had seen Harry and the Goddess smirked. They knew where the photos had come from and they had given their thanks to Goddess.
The years passed and there was relative peace. With no Dark Lord, and no Death Eaters, the Witches and Wizards were no longer afraid. There was a sudden influx of marriages and the birth rate shot up. The Wizarding World seemed to be making up for those who had died in war.
Hermione and Ron had finally stopped dancing around and made it official two years after the war ended. Their first son was born a year later, and true to their word, they named the little redheaded boy, Harry. What amazed them were the bright emerald green eyes that he had. No one in either family had green eyes and color reminded them of Harry. Ron had said it was a blessing from Harry or the Goddess, and Hermione, usually the skeptic, had to agree.
Dumbledore had died three years after the war. He lasted long enough to see young Harry Sirius born before passing on. Even to the end, the Headmaster had been cheerful, his eyes twinkling. His funeral had been huge as Witches and Wizards from all over came to say their goodbyes. Ron joked that now that the Headmaster was gone, he would be bothering Harry with his manipulations. Hermione smiled fondly as she remembered the image that had passed through her mind at the comment. She could just imagine Harry rolling his eyes at the Headmaster's antics, a fond look in his eyes. She hoped that they were together. The Headmaster hadn't been the same since Harry died.
Ron had become an Auror, and Hermione had found a place with a research company that developed new Potions. She was one of the few students who Snape had taught to make the Wolfsbane potion and it was in great demand since the Werewolf laws were repealed. A werewolf could now marry, have kids, and hold a job. The werewolves had the same rights as every other Witch or Wizard. The only condition is that they had to take the Wolfsbane potion. Lupin Labs were created to market and deliver the Wolfsbane potion at a reasonable price. Thanks to Harry, Remus had inherited enough money that when the laws were done away with, he was able to start the company. Not only did they make the Wolfsbane, they were looking for a cure as well. It hadn't been found yet, but they were making tremendous strides in potions that helped with the pain of transformation and the after effects. Remus was doing better than he had in years.
Hermione was brought out of her thoughts by something hitting her legs. She looked down and grinned when she saw a three-year-old boy sitting on the floor. She squatted down to check him out. "I'm sorry," she said. "I didn't see where you were going."
The little boy looked up at her and Hermione gasped. The little boy's bright green eyes twinkled as he grinned up at her merrily. It was impossible. Harry was dead. Yet, here was a little boy with Harry's eyes and his messy black hair. If she looked hard enough, she could see Harry in this boy. The nose and chin was all Harry.
"Hewo," the little boy said cheerfully.
"Hello," Hermione replied, her mind racing with thoughts and possibilities.
"Ronald James Potter, you get your skinny little butt back here," a woman's voice yelled.
Hermione felt faint. It couldn't be, but the name of the little boy was another clue to the possibility that Harry was alive. But how?
"I'm sorry, mummy," Ronald said, looking sad.
A tall redheaded woman had walked up to them and looked down at the little boy, her face impatient before glancing at Hermione. "I'm so sorry for my son. I hope he didn't hurt you," she said, concerned.
Hermione shook her head and the woman looked down at little boy, her expression stern. "What did I tell you about running around the store?" she demanded, her brown eyes twinkling with kindness and laughter.
"Ummm...not to?" Ronald questioned cutely.
The woman sighed and shook her head with fond exasperation. "Wait until your father gets back from lunch. I can't chase after you and mind the store. If you can't behave, then I'm just going to have to drop you off at Nana's house."
"Nooo," Ronald wailed. "I be good. I stay wif you." His eyes filled with tears and his little chin trembled.
"Oh, don't you cry. Fine, but if I have to tell you one more time, then no more. You'll stay at Nana's house and like it," she said.
Ronald nodded his head eagerly and raced towards his mother, throwing his arms around her legs. "Tank you, mummy," he said, his eyes wide with innocence.
"God," she moaned. "I'm such a sucker. You're father gives me the same look."
Hermione watched the little boy and realized that the look he was giving his mother was all Harry as well. She swallowed hard and was about to approach the woman when she heard an unmistakable voice.
"What has my little Ronnie done now?" a male voice asked jovially.
"Daddy," Ronald cried and ran towards the man who was walking towards them.
Hermione whimpered as she watched Harry Potter pick up his son and throw him in the air. There he was, her best friend -- a man who was supposed to be dead for the last six years. How was this possible? They had all seen him disappear. Was it all a ruse? Did he use the opportunity to disappear from the Wizarding World? If so, then why stay in Britain? Why not go somewhere where he couldn't be found? These thoughts raced through her head as she stared at her best friend. The years had been good to him. His green eyes twinkled with humor and warmth, and his hair had grown to mid back. He had filled out, his shoulders broader than they were six years ago. He grew a couple of more inches and he was built. All in all, he looked good.
"So, what did he do?" Harry asked the redheaded woman.
"Husband, dear, your son is a menace," she said sweetly. "He was running around the shop again. He wasn't watching where he was going and bumped into this nice lady. Luckily, she didn't seem too concerned with it."
Harry grinned. "Were you being a little demon again?" he asked the boy.
Ronald shook his head. "No, daddy, I be a perfect angel," he replied innocently.
Harry snorted. "I bet. Did you at least apologize to the lady?" Harry demanded.
"Nooo," Ronald said softly.
"Well, don't you think you should?"
Ronald sighed dramatically and looked over at a frozen Hermione. "I sorry," he said.
Hermione didn't respond. She just kept staring at Harry. The redheaded woman frowned at her. "Miss? Are you all right?" she asked.
Harry looked around his wife and his eyes widened with shock and joy. "Hermione!" he cried out. He passed his son over to his wife, walked over to Hermione, and hugged her. That seemed to break Hermione out of her frozen state as she pulled back and smacked Harry across the face.
The woman gasped with outrage and Harry blinked, looking sheepish. "Yeah, I guess I kinda deserve that."
"HARRY JAMES POTTER! Why are you alive? I thought you were dead! Everyone thought you were dead. What the hell is going on? I saw you and Morrigan disappear and now suddenly, you're here, alive. I demand to know what's going on!" Hermione hollered, her face flushed with anger.
Harry looked at her fondly. "That's my girl," he said with a grin.
Hermione gaped at him before screeching with rage. "I'm warning you..." she began only to trail off when Harry laughed, picked her up and swung her around. He put her down, a crazy grin on his face. "I've been waiting for you. I mean, I opened this bookstore five years ago in hopes that you would stumble across it. It took you forever," he stated indignantly.
Hermione blinked rapidly, her mind drawing a blank. Huh?
"You don't know how good it is to finally see you after so long," Harry said happily. He turned to his wife, a happy grin on his face. "This is Hermione. I told you about her and Ron."
The redhead's outraged expression disappeared and she looked at Hermione with interest. "Really? Finally?"
Harry nodded and glanced at Hermione, who was still gaping at him. Hermione shook hear head and sighed. It figures that even six years of being dead, Harry could still confound her. "Could you tell me what's going on?" she whined.
"Er...right. Explanations," Harry said brightly. He turned back to his wife, a sly grin on his face. "How about we close up shop early and go home? We can talk there. Oh, Hermione, this is my wife Rosalyn."
Rosalyn held out her hand for Hermione to shake and Hermione grabbed it. "Pleasure to finally meet you," the redhead said.
Hermione nodded and Rosalyn walked away. She looked at Harry, who was playing with his son and wondered what was going on. "Harry, how? How did you survive?" she asked.
"I'll tell you when we get to my house. It's quite a story," Harry replied.
"What about your wife? Does she know about you?"
Harry laughed. "Rosalyn dedicated herself to Morrigan ten years ago. She is her Priestess, I guess you would call her. So, yes, she knows about me."
Rosalyn walked back over to them and smiled. "Everything is locked up. We can leave whenever you want."
Harry nodded and turned to walk out of the shop. Hermione followed and they all got into a small car. Just as Harry pulled away from the curb, Hermione noticed the name of the bookstore, Raven Wings. Hermione shook her head, amused that she hadn't noticed it before. After Harry died, she had gotten her hands on everything she could that pertained to Morrigan, the Goddess of Death, War, and Prophecy or of Battle, Strife, and Death, depending on which book one read. Her symbol was the crow or a raven. After what happened to Voldemort, she had realized that the Goddess had used her creatures to carry Voldemort to her. She got a chill every time she saw a crow or a raven and made sure that she never hurt one, just in case. She had never believed in the old Gods and Goddesses, but after seeing Morrigan with her own eyes, she could no longer disbelieve.
Harry pulled up to a nice two-story house in the suburbs of London. It was a pale yellow house with a fenced in back yard. There was a black lab running along the fence, his body wiggling with excitement. Harry helped Ronald out of the car and the little boy took off towards the dog. "Snuffles," he yelled excitedly.
Hermione arched an eyebrow at Harry and he blushed. "Well, what else was I going to call him?"
Hermione snorted and followed Harry and Rosalyn up the walkway and into the house. Ronald came in a few seconds later, talking excitedly. A longhaired Persian cat came sauntering into the room, meowing. Harry leaned down and petted the it. "Hey, Minnie. Did you have a good day?"
"Minnie?" Hermione asked, amused.
Harry grinned. "I thought it was appropriate. I've had her for almost six years now."
Hermione nodded, again reminded of how long Harry had been gone. She looked around the front room curiously and noticed the warm red walls. It only worked because of the high vaulted ceilings and the large windows that let in natural light. There were pictures on the walls, hanging over the neutral sofa and couches. There was a large screen TV. sitting in the corner, and a stereo next to it.
"Would anyone like some tea?" Rosalyn asked.
Hermione nodded. "Please."
Rosalyn smiled and headed towards the kitchen. "Take a seat, would you, Hermione. I have to settle Ronnie in his room. If I don't, he'll be running in and out, distracting us," Harry explained.
Harry left the room and Hermione sat on the couch. She leaned back, closing her eyes, her mind racing with what she had learned so far. Harry was alive, he was married, he had a son, and he was living in Muggle London. Why? Why didn't he let anyone know that he was still alive? For six years, his closest friends mourned his death, unable to reconcile the fact that Harry had sacrificed himself for them and all along, he had been alive. Hermione sighed and opened her eyes when she heard a noise.
Rosalyn walked into the room and set a tray down on the table. She poured Hermione a cup. "CrÃ¨me? Sugar? Lemon?" she asked.
"Just a tad bit of crÃ¨me, please."
Rosalyn poured in some crÃ¨me, stirred it, and handed the cup to Hermione. She took it and sipped some of the hot beverage. She looked up when she heard footsteps and saw that Harry walked into the room. Rosalyn made him a cup of tea and Harry sat on the couch next to Hermione.
Hermione put her cup down, turned towards Harry, and glared. "Tell me what's going on!" she demanded.
Harry chuckled. "When Morrigan came to me to offer me the power to defeat Voldemort, I accepted the fact that I was giving my life for all of yours. To me, it was an acceptable sacrifice. She told me that I would have to give my life and I said yes. After we left the battlefield, I found myself outside Rosalyn's house. As I said before, she had dedicated herself to Morrigan ten years ago, so Morrigan left me with her. I was amazed to be alive and I asked her why. The Goddess told me that she never meant to kill me. The life I had to give up was my magical life, not my actual life. I could no longer live in the Wizarding World. She instructed me to never contact any of you. To all of you, I was dead," he explained.
"Then how come I found you now?" Hermione asked confused.
Harry grinned. "She said that I couldn't contact you, but she never said that you couldn't contact me. I opened up a bookstore in hopes that someday you might come here and check it out since I knew that your parents had moved to London during our seventh year. It took you long enough," he teased.
Hermione shook her head, amused. "This is great. You can come back to the Wizarding World now!" she said excitedly. "Everyone would love to know that you're alive."
Harry's happy expression disappeared and he frowned. He shook his head. "No, Hermione, I can't."
"What do you mean you can't? You can't just stay here. There are people who would want to know that you're alive. You're the Wizarding World's hero," Hermione said stridently.
"I have a life here, a wife that I love, a son that I adore and I job that completes me. My bargain with Morrigan still stands. I gave my life up for yours. It doesn't matter if you found me, that hasn't changed," Harry told her.
Hermione frowned belligerently. "What if I told the Daily Prophet there you're alive?" she snapped.
Harry sighed. "One, you would never do that knowing how I feel about the stupid newspaper. Two, Morrigan wouldn't allow it. You don't think it was just coincidence that you found your way to my shop, do you? How many times have you been in London over the years, on the very same street and you just now found my bookstore? Morrigan allowed you to find me. It was time for you to find me."
"But what about Ron, the Weasleys, and Remus? What about them? I can't leave here knowing that you're alive and never tell them. It's not right!" Hermione cried.
Harry reached over and pulled Hermione into a hug. "Morrigan has no problem with letting my family know about me now, but beyond that, you won't be able to tell anyone. She never meant to keep me away from those that I loved forever. You can tell Ron. Hell, I expect you to. In fact, I demand that you do. I've missed all of you for so long. It was hard, Hermione. I knew that you believed that I was dead, but I wasn't. Without Rosalyn, I don't know what I would've done. It was just so hard. I was so alone," he whispered.
"Oh Harry," Hermione said softly and hugged him. They hugged for a while before Harry pulled back.
Harry looked at her seriously. "There's something else that is keeping me away from the Wizarding World."
"Oh?" Hermione asked, curious. "What is it?"
Harry's face filled with pain. "I no longer have magic. I'm a squib. When I destroyed the Death Eaters' magical cores, I also destroyed mine in the process. That's another reason the Wizarding World can never know that I'm alive. There would be some retaliation from those whose families I affected and I have nothing to protect my family with."
Hermione was shocked. Harry was no longer a Wizard. The Wizarding World's Savior was a squib. She could only imagine the chaos that would bring if they ever found out, plus the revenge the Death Eaters' families could inflict upon him and his family. Harry was right. The Wizarding World could never know.
"All right, Harry. I understand. As much as it pains me, I won't tell anyone that you're alive except for your closest friends." Hermione sighed and looked at her watch. "I need to go though. I have to find Ron and let him know. Oh, and Remus. Then I have to inform the Weasleys. Oh dear, there is just so much to do," she said fretfully.
Harry laughed. "I'm sure you'll do just fine."
Hermione nodded and stood up. Her mind was racing with things that she needed to do. It would be better if she just called a family meeting so she could tell them all at one time. She frowned and looked at Harry. "You know, you're going to have a sudden influx of redheads after this, don't you?"
"Yeah," Harry snickered.
"Ron is going to be demanding to see you as soon as the words are out of my mouth. You might want to watch out for him. No doubt, he'll punch you or something. Of course, if I bring little Harry with me. He'll temper Ron's reaction," Hermione mused.
"Harry?" the messy haired man asked.
"Our son," Hermione told him shyly. "You told us to name a child after you so we did."
Harry looked delighted. "You two got married?" he exclaimed. "That's great! And a son! Wow. Ronnie will have someone to play with. Oh, I can't wait to meet him."
"I can't wait to introduce him to you either. I need to go. I'll see you later, all right?"
Harry nodded and Hermione apparated out of the house.
Hermione walked around the Burrow nervously. It had been a day since she saw Harry. It was killing her to restrain herself from letting everyone know as soon as she got back, but it took a while for the family to get together. She knew that Ron was going to be mad that she hadn't told him yesterday, but she only wanted to tell this once.
The floo activated and Remus stumbled out of it. He saw her and gave her a sheepish look. "What's going on?" he asked.
"Not yet. We have to wait for George, and then I'll tell you."
Remus nodded and walked into the kitchen where Ron and Arthur were talking. Hermione fidgeted nervously. The floo activated again and Hermione sighed with relief as George came through.
"Hey, sis," George greeted and kissed her on the cheek. "What's going on? There's only a family meeting when something huge is going on."
Hermione smiled wanly. "I'll tell you in a minute. Come on, you're the last one I was waiting for."
They walked towards the living room and Molly called for the family to gather around. Hermione sat on the small couch, her gaze absent as thoughts flowed through her mind.
"All right, Mione, tell us what's going on. You barely slept last night and you refused to tell me what was bothering you. So spill," Ron demanded.
"I went to a bookstore yesterday in London. While I was browsing through the sections, a little boy bumped into me. I looked down at him and to my surprise he looked like Harry," she said.
There were gasps and exclamations of shock. "Harry's dead," Remus reminded her gently.
"I knew that, but this little boy has the same messy hair and the bright green eyes that used to belong to Harry. It was like looking into the eyes of little Harry and big Harry. They were Harry's eyes. I was stunned. Then a woman came over, begging her apologies for her little son, whose name was Ronald James Potter."
"No!" Ron exclaimed adamantly. "Harry is dead. We all saw it."
Hermione shook her head. "We never saw him die. We saw him disappear with the Goddess. He's alive. He's married to pretty redhead and has a son. He runs a bookstore in London called Raven Wings. I saw him, I talked to him, and I smacked him for not telling us that he was alive. Harry is not dead."
The room erupted into chaos. Molly burst into tears and Arthur tried to console her. Remus looked stunned, his face pale. George and Fred were swearing and laughing at the same time, and Ron, well Ron was stunned.
"How?" Ron whispered.
"When the Goddess asked him to sacrifice his life for us, she didn't mean his actual life. Apparently, she meant his life in the Wizarding World. He wasn't allowed to contact us to let us know that he had actually survived. He has been living in London all these years."
"If the Goddess didn't want Harry to contact us, then how did you find Harry? Doesn't that count as contact?" George asked.
Hermione smiled and shook her head. "No, Harry couldn't contact us, but we could contact him."
"We didn't even know he was alive!" Ron exploded. "How in the hell could we contact him!"
"He knows that. It was part of the sacrifice. If I hadn't decided to go into that bookstore today, who knows how long it would've been until I next went to London. That is one of the reasons why he opened a bookstore in London. He hoped that I might visit. He knew that my parents moved to London in our last year at Hogwarts. Imagine, it could've been years until we even knew."
Remus smirked. "He knows you well, doesn't he?" he asked.
"That was cruel of the Goddess. How could she let Harry live alone? I say we go get him and bring him back!" Ron said adamantly as he stood up from the couch.
Hermione reached up and grabbed Ron's arm, holding him. "Ron, no. You can't bring him back. His life is in London. The Wizarding World can't know that Harry Potter is still alive. He wouldn't be able to defend himself or his family, plus the fact that Morrigan won't allow it. His life in the Wizarding World is over. Accept that."
"What do you mean he wouldn't be able to defend himself?" Arthur asked.
Hermione sighed. "His magical core was destroyed. He's no longer a Wizard."
The room was silent.
"He has no place in the Wizarding World any longer. He knew what he was doing when he destroyed the Death Eaters' cores. But as he said, he thought he was going to die so that sacrifice was worth it," Hermione whispered.
"It doesn't matter," Molly said suddenly. "Harry is still part of our family, a Wizard or not. I refuse to let him sacrifice himself any longer. He is family!"
There was a chorus of agreements. Ron stood up, looked at Hermione, and said grimly, "Take me to him."
Harry hummed as he placed the books on the shelf. He was in a good mood. He had finally seen Hermione after six years. She had finally walked into his bookstore. He knew that before too long, he would be seeing the rest of his family. He had missed them these last six years. It had almost killed him to stay away from them, but he had done it. It was the price he had paid for their lives.
He had been beyond surprised when Morrigan had left him outside of Rosalyn's house with the command to never contact the Wizarding World. It didn't matter too much to Harry since he wasn't very fond of the Wizarding World, but he wanted his friends to know that he was alive. The fact that he had lost magic was still painful, but at the time, he thought he was going to die, so the sacrifice was worth it. It had taken a year before he could get over his depression. In that time, he had fallen for Rosalyn, a Priestess for Morrigan. They finally married and she had Ronnie. He opened Raven Wings and life had been good to him. The only dark spot was that he missed his friends. But now, that was about to change.
There was a jingle as the door to the store opened. "Be right there," he said. He got up from the floor and towards the front of the store. He stopped, his eyes wide as he stared at the tall redhead standing by the window.
"Ron," he breathed.
Ron turned away from the window and looked at him, his face solemn. They stared at each other a few minutes before Ron walked over to him and punched him. Harry took a step back, blinking the tears of pain away and sighed. He was expecting that, but with a lot more yelling.
"Um...ow!" Harry moaned.
Ron grabbed his arms and pulled him into a hug. The redhead was trembling from repressed emotions and Harry held onto him. A moment later, Ron stepped away and glared at him. "If you ever do something like that again, I will hurt you!" he snapped.
Harry laughed delightedly and after a moment, Ron joined in. Harry had his friend back. He looked over Ron's shoulder and saw Hermione, tears in her eyes. He held out his hand, and she ran forward. Together, they hugged, relishing being together once more.
Three days later, Harry found himself at the Burrow, surrounded by family and friends. The reception he had gotten from everyone had overwhelmed him. Molly had burst into tears and hugged him tightly. Arthur had hugged him hard, tears in his eyes. The twins had mocked him and joked around, but Harry could see the joy in their eyes at his return. Bill and Charlie shook his hand, a delighted smile on their faces, and Ginny had squealed then threw herself in his arms.
Remus had stood there, staring at him a moment before pulling him into a hug. Harry sighed as he felt the arms of the man he considered his godfather holding him. He was happy.
The Weasley family had instantly adopted Rosalyn and Ronnie. He grinned as he remembered the instant friendship between Ronnie and Harry. It was as if history was repeating itself. Harry and Ron grinned at each other, tickled pink.
Harry looked around the yard and took in his family; the chaos of screaming kids, the laughing adults, and the sly grins of the twins as they looked at their family. He was truly happy for the first time in his life. He thanked Morrigan for what she had given him, even as he mourned some of what she had taken away. He would miss him magic, but the sacrifice was worth it.
"You're welcome, child," a feminine voice whispered through his mind.
Harry smiled. He was content.
Let me know which ending you liked the best.