Chapter 25: Epilogue
Saturday, October, 19, 1996
The debris from the remains of the recent battle was being cleared. Madam Pomfrey and healers from St. Mungo's were assessing all of the survivors who had not already been removed by the Aurors to custody at the DMLE headquarters.
Professor McGonagall and the remaining faculty were looking over the carnage and the few students who were present for the final battle. Minerva had tears in her eyes as she saw two of her favourite students' bodies lying lifeless while others were in small groups comforting each other.
Amelia Bones arrived and was receiving an update on the conditions of the survivors and the individuals who had died. She quickly dispatched Aurors to contact the parents of Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.
An obviously distressed Professor McGonagall asked the head of the DMLE what would be told to the press.
Amelia raised an eyebrow behind her monocled eye, "Of course we will tell them the truth. Even about Miss Granger, Minerva. But the whole truth will be told, including the use of the dark item to effectively possess her and turn her against her friends. And we will tell the story of all of those whose actions contributed to the defeat of Voldemort and his followers. Our society has not been served well by the lies spread by this current administration."
She then turned to one of the Aurors. "Do you have a list of all of the Death Eaters who died here?"
Kingsley Shacklebolt stepped forward and answered her, "That we do ma'am. Of course, Tom Riddle, the self named Lord Voldemort was killed, and we have his body as proof to any of his former allies. Then there was Bellatrix Lestrange, who was apparently fighting against the Death Eaters, and then there was Rabastan and Roldolphus Lestrange, Anton Dolohov , Alecto and Amicus Carrow, and a man who was only known by the name of Scabior. In addition to the Death Eaters who were either captured or killed at Diagon Alley earlier, I think that the threat which they have posed is most likely quite thoroughly neutralised."
"Let's hope that you are right, Auror Shacklebolt," replied Madam Bones, "for all of our sakes."
Elsewhere in the room Harry was sitting on the floor, leaning against Daphne Greengrass, who was holding him in her arms. He turned and looked at her, as he thoughtfully commented, "So, you and Tracey have really been working to help us and foil Malfoy since last night?"
The girl who had previously been known as the Ice Queen of Slytherin smiled at him. "Well, yeah, we have. We never liked Malfoy, and he was getting so worked up about something we figured we should do whatever was needed to try and stop his nefarious plans."
"You do know that he turned against Riddle and told me some of what was going on," stated Harry in way that was almost a question. "Last I saw him, he said he was planning on leaving before Voldemort had him killed. I don't know what happened to him after that."
About twenty meters away were Neville Longbottom and Tracey Davis. They were sitting next to each other, but they were not embracing or even holding hands. Neville had a bandage placed on his leg for an injury he received during the battle. He looked over at the place where Hermione's body was covered by a sheet that one of the healers at conjured.
"I can't believe she did that, that she attacked Harry and helped Voldemort," he said, not holding back a tear that was forming in his eyes.
Tracey looked at him and was moved by the sight of the formerly timid student who had proven himself to be brave and strong today. "You loved her, didn't you?" she asked.
Neville wiped away the tear with his wrist and then looked at Tracey. "Well, I kind of had a crush on her for the past couple of years. She'll never know. But she had her eyes on Ron for some reason." Neville turned and looked at the other body hidden by a sheet. "I can't believe that he's gone too."
Tracey leaned over and kissed Neville squarely on his mouth. After a moment of surprise he pulled back and looked at her. He noticed her eyes were bright and she had a huge smile on her face.
"What was that for?" he wondered aloud.
"That's thanking you," she answered. "Thanking you for staying my hand when I confronted Hermione."
Then she leaned in and kissed him again. This time she was met with less resistance, but soon he pulled away one more.
"And that was for?" he asked, feeling a little bewildered.
"That was thanking you for everything you did to help save us all," she added, still smiling broadly.
"Oh," was all Neville managed to say before he was caught up in another searing kiss. He let this kiss last longer and after a minute he pulled away slowly, and once again he questioned her motivation for attacking him with her lips.
"That one? That was because I wanted to and the others seemed to be so much fun." Then she put her arms around his neck and pulled him in for another big kiss.
Harry and Daphne were staring at their friends who were now actively snogging.
Saturday, 9 PM
Most of the Weasley family had gathered at home after hearing the news of Ron's death and the defeat of Voldemort. Upon arriving at the family home they soon learned of Ginny's condition. She had multiple scars that had not been responding to the various healing draughts and she was still weak, lying in bed. But the one thing that shocked her brothers the most was the presence of one Draco Malfoy, sitting on the floor by her side, refusing to leave as he kept a constant vigil over the young woman whom he had rescued from his own house.
There was a knock on the door to the Burrow. Molly was still being held by Arthur as they were all mourning the loss of Ron. Charlie, who had arrived the most recently stood up and answered the door. He was surprised to see Narcissa Malfoy standing there, waiting to be asked to enter.
Arthur looked up and saw who was there. But before he could say anything, the pure blood witch standing there spoke up. "I offer my condolences to your family, Arthur and Molly." The Weasleys who were present all had a collective if silent gasp as they had never recalled this woman using their first names before. "It has been a trying day for many people," she added, "especially for you all with the loss of your son and the injury to your daughter. I do believe that my son is here, based on what I have been told from the ministry. Apparently he managed to escape the wrath of the Dark Lord, much like myself but unlike my husband."
"Well, Lady Malfoy," began Molly standing up and preparing herself to be a gracious hostess, but she was interrupted by the woman standing in her door way.
"It's Narcissa Black," she corrected, "now that my abusive and manipulative husband is gone I can thankfully go back to using a name that I can actually be proud of. Although, I do need to find out who the current Lord Black is so that I can be sure that I am still a member of the Black family."
Eyebrows were raised around the room in response to this statement.
"Very well then, Narcissa," said Molly as she extended an arm to the guest, "I can take you to see your son. He has not left my little Ginevra's side all day. Honestly I was shocked to discover that young Draco was the one to actually save my daughter, but we all have learned that we owe him our thanks and gratitude."
Narcissa nodded politely as she followed Mrs. Weasley to the room where Ginny was recovering with Draco sitting at her side.
No one at Hogwarts seemed to notice as a rat made its way out of the Great Hall and then to the front doors and off into the woods. As the volunteers who were helping to restore the Great Hall were busy working someone came across a silver replica of a hand that was lying in the midst of debris. The seventh year student who had found it was bending over to pick it up when there was a sudden shout from behind them.
"Don't touch that, lassie!" came the gruff voice of Alistor 'Mad-Eye' Moody. "That's cursed, that is. It's a foul creation of none other than the Dark Lord who died here tonight." He then walked up to stand beside her, his wooden leg making a loud clump with every step. He quickly conjured a metal rod and poked the hand with it to see what would happen. The instant the rod touched the hand the hand clasped around it with a vise like grip. The battle scarred Auror let out a sigh and then he turned to face the Hufflepuff girl. "Wouldn't have wanted that to grab on to your hand now would ye?" He then turned around lifting the silver hand in the air with the metal rod and he called over to Kingsley Shacklebolt. "Do you think the Unspeakables would like to have a look at this?"
Amelia Bones was having a tense discussion with a man who was in dark grey robes that obscured his face. No one who was even a few feet away could make out any of the words they were saying, however the man kept pointing over towards where Hermione Granger's body was still lying underneath a sheet. After a few more minutes of animated discussion, the man in the grey cloak walked over to where he had been pointing and with a wave of his hand a similarly dressed man came running up to his side. Without any words spoken between them, the second man pulled out what appeared to be a shiny but black bag that appeared to have wooden handles. The first man made a sweeping motion with his wand, and then the amulet which had been removed from Hermione's ned and cast away to her side floated up into the air. The movement of the man's wand arm made it appear that he was under great stress to move the magical item, but then he finally managed to have the amulet hovering directly over the bag. With a sudden upward motion of his wand, whatever magical connection he was using to control the amulet was broken and the item fell into the open bag.
The two men in the grey cloaks turned and looked over to the head of the DMLE, who responded with a curt nod of her head. Then the two men disappeared without a sound.
Sunday, October 20, 1996
The Daily Prophet
The Boy Who Lived Wins Again!
The headline clearly got the attention of the entire magical world. Students at Hogwarts had arrived for breakfast and they all were reading the magical newspaper, many of them also gawking at Harry Potter and the blonde Slytherin who were sitting together at the Gryffindor table. Harry had only briefly skimmed through the articles, but Neville, who was sitting across from him was reading all of the articles about the previous day's events carefully. After several minutes of silence at the table, Neville finally put the paper down and looked at his friend.
Harry looked up and raised an eyebrow in anticipation of the commentary about the articles that Neville was about to relay.
"So, how did they do this time?" asked Harry. His tone conveyed he did not have much hope for an accurate portrayal of everything that had happened.
Neville sighed and the brunette Slytherin witch at his side hugged him slightly to encourage him to speak up about what he had read.
"They got most of the details right. They had a very detailed description of your battling with Riddle, and they even have the history of who he really was. The article even mentions that I killed his familiar, the snake Nagini, but there was nothing in there about the horcruxes you had to destroy."
Harry sighed in relief. "Good, we don't need anyone trying to copy him and make themselves immortal."
Harry received a gentle hug from Daphne as he spoke.
Neville then continued his report, "You're the hero again, Harry. They do list everyone who died. They even went on to describe how your best friend, Hermione, betrayed you and fought against you."
Tracey added as she lifted her head up off of Neville's shoulder, "They even describe Ron's sacrifice and made him out to be brave as well." She then looked at Daphne as she went on to further explain, "There was even a mention of students from other houses working together side by side to help in the battle, showing true school unity. But they didn't mention either one of us by name."
Harry nodded at Tracey comment. "No offence, but you may not want any of the attention that you would receive if they had mentioned you in the paper."
Tracey sighed as she acknowledged Harry's concerns. "You're probably right about that."
Harry then looked to Neville. "Did the articles mention anything else?"
Neville quickly thumbed through the pages again. "A bunch of stuff about Dumbledore and how he must have trained you to be the next greatest wizard who ever lived. Some fluff piece about what a great professor Snape was before he died. An editorial about how all of those books written about you before you came to Hogwarts may have just predicted all of the amazing things you have yet to do in your life."
Daphne's jaw dropped at that comment. "Really?" she asked as she reached to grab the paper from Neville.
Neville pulled the paper away from her as he laughed, "No, that one I just made up."
Harry seemed pensive as he looked at Neville, ignoring the laughter and the joke. Neville became a little more serious and then he put the paper down and looked back at Harry. "No, there is no mention about Bellatrix doing anything to help out."
There was an awkward silence, followed by Neville taking a deep breath and his stating his opinion on that matter. "Look, Harry, I can appreciate that what she did was helpful, hell, it was more than helpful. I know she changed and all that. But her changing led to Hermione's death. And she still is the one who put my parents in St. Mungo's. I don't think I can ever forgive her for that, no matter what she did for you."
Harry looked at his closest remaining friend. "I understand your feelings Nev, really I do. But what she did wasn't just for me. It was for all of us. If she hadn't given me that cup, then I never could have defeated Riddle. And its true that the rest of the magical world will never know what she did for them, because we can't tell them about horcruxes."
The four sat in silence for a moment and then Harry reached up and rubbed his scar. Neville frowned at the action, worried that something was wrong. Harry noted the concern on his friend's face. "It's okay Neville, I was rubbing the scar because it didn't feel like anything today. In fact, it seems smoother, less noticeable to me."
Neville, Tracey and Daphne all smiled at Harry as he seemed truly relieved.
Narcissa Black moved into the Black Summer Home. She eventually became a welcome visitor to the Burrow.
Draco Malfoy eventually asked Harry Potter if he could take the name Black before he asked Ginevra Molly Weasley to marry him. He never went back to Hogwarts to finish his formal schooling. Eventually he went to university and to law school, and worked initially as a barrister in the muggle world before eventually becoming a sports agent for star Quidditch players, including his wife who played for the Holyhead Harpies for many years as one of their chasers.
Pansy Parkinson and Seamus Finnegan were never seen at Hogwarts again after that fateful night. Rumour had it that Seamus and Pansy were involved in black market smuggling, but that they met a tragic end during a business meeting that went south in Belfast, Ireland.
Amelia Bones was eventually elected Minister for Magic when Cornelius Fudge was exposed for his incompetence and his corruption.
Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom remained life long friends after the adventures of October 1996. The details of their lives after the night that Harry defeated Tom Riddle are a story for another day…
AN: I hope everyone enjoyed reading this story, or at least the few people who read it actually enjoyed it. I did receive some anonymous flames about this story, and they were easily deleted. The story is clearly based on the old TV series 24 - with betrayals and plot twists and character death. It was written in less than 30 days as a project for NaNoWriMo 2013. The idea had been floating around in my head for some time so I had a general outline of the plot before I began. Keeping the various story lines straight and making sure people were where they needed to be with each chapter proved to be more challenging than I initially expected as everything happens in such a short period of time. Now I will need to return to my other stories as this endeavor is now complete.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, XavrasWrite a Review