Friday, May 3, 2013


To begin with, I feel extremely sad that the Harry Potter saga has finally ended. But of course, it’s a good thing that it also means the end of Lord Voldemort.

Hah! What a story! JK Rowling, you are the best!

These words uttered by Dumbledore resonated deep within me: "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

I had to read Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows three times before I understood the book properly. It really made me wonder about the kind of research that must have gone into it before the author could come up with this book. Simply amazing! What a tale she weaves!

Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione are quite lost without Dumbledore to guide them. They have decided not to go back to Hogwarts for their seventh year but to seek the horcruxes and destroy them ultimately making the destruction of Lord Voldemort possible.

Hermione has wiped out the memories from her parents and made them move to Australia so that they are not targeted by Voldemort’s minions. In the meanwhile, the ghoul at the Weasleys’ home has been transformed to resemble Ron and is supposed to suffer from a contagious disease. Better still, Hermione has had a small handbag bewitched to hold everything they would need if they had to stay in hiding for a long period – books, clothes, tent, polyjuice potion, essence of dittany and loads more.

They escape from right under the nose of the death-eaters at Bill & Fleur’s wedding and find refuge at No. 12, Grimmauld Place. Soon, Kreacher, the house-elf, turns quite loyal to his new master, Harry. The three of them have a secure home to live in with three square meals cooked by a loving Kreacher as they make plans to find the horcruxes.

But they are forced to go on the run when the death-eaters find their hideout. Things turn horrible when Ron gets frustrated as things are moving too slowly for his liking. He just ups and leaves.

The story takes a number of twists and turns with the highlights being the trio’s visit to the Ministry of Magic where they help a number of witches and wizards escape; breaking into Gringotts with the help of Griphook, the goblin; flying away on a dragon, escaping Nagini; and getting away from Voldemort and his henchmen at the nick of the moment – not once, but many times.

Finally, they land up at Hogwarts and the war begins. Who will survive? Lord Voldemort or Harry Potter? Of course, we would all just love it if things happened quite smoothly and Tom Riddle died. But is it possible for things to happen that easily?

No, Harry has to die to ensure that his enemy dies too. Isn’t that a shocker? Well, that’s what the seventh book is all about.

Then there is Severus Snape. Is he what he appears to be? Does he belong to Voldemort or is he Dumbledore’s man through and through? JK Rowling has woven an incredible tale that makes one begging for more.

After I had read the seventh book 6 times, my sister sent me a short story by Bruce T Forbes – three stories, in fact. These are about the characters from the Harry Potter series. They are cute! The last one is something like a sequel and is extremely touching. I could not help as the tears rolled down my eyes while reading the story. I have shared the last story on this blog for you to read. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Click Here to download (free) Harry Potter Short Stories by Bruce T Forbes.

Below is the third short story copy-pasted from the downloaded PDF.

Harry Potter and the Morning After: My Ending to the Final Book
By Bruce T Forbes

Ms. Rowling didn't even give us a memorial service for the death of our friends! And by the end of the last book they are our friends! So here you go …

HARRY POTTER WAS DREAMING. Although Voldemort and the Death Eaters had just been beaten and he thought this would be the first night for a very long time that he might dream happy dreams, he wasn't. He felt his body being constricted; absolutely no room to move and barely enough to breath. He couldn't feel Nagini the boa constrictor moving but it was the same feeling. He felt panic rising and was ready to scream… … when suddenly he was awake.

“Morning, Harry, dear.” Molly Weasley was lying beside him on top of the covers of his bed, high atop Hogwarts in the Gryffindor dormitory tower. A snore made him turn his head and he saw Arthur Weasley fast asleep on his other side. So it wasn't a snake; just a very crowded bed. A quick look around told him that all five beds in the room were full of Weasleys – Charley, Bill and Fleur, Percy, George, Ron, and Ginny, and also fast asleep with the family was Hermione. He immediately felt Fred's absence.

“Mrs. Wesley,” Harry said out loud, “What…?”

“Professor McGonagall let us in last night. You disappeared from the great hall and no one knew where you'd gone. The whole school was searching the castle until that lovely Lovegood girl suggested you'd be in bed. 'After all, Harry's the sensible sort,' she said. Don't blame you; after all you've been though.” She smiled. "You've been asleep since yesterday Noon. You missed Charlie's dragons; they had to return… "

"Where's Neville and… "

"Neville's in a guest room with his grandmother; didn't want to leave her alone. Seamus and Dean are with their families as well."

Harry tried to pull the sheet and blankets over his chest as he sat up. “Not to be rude, but I haven't anything on. I didn't have any pajamas… ”

“Then you just stay under the blankets and we'll serve breakfast.”

At that there was a cracking sound and a dozen house elves appeared, led by Kreacher, all carrying various heavily-laden trays of breakfast foods. Everyone in the room woke for the smell of breakfast.

“It's nearly Noon, but none of us have eaten anything sensible since before the battle,” explained Mrs.Weasley.

“An owl has brought Master Potter a package,” began Kreacher, holding a long, thin package up for Harry to take.

Kreacher smiled wickedly. "An owl from Malfoy Manor."

“It looks like a wand,” Harry said as he took the offering.

Mister Weasley smiled. “Before the Malfoys left I cornered Lucius and informed him that since you had beaten Voldemort, then Voldemort's wand now belonged to you. It'll go nice with Draco's wand. It's no secret Voldemort had been headquartered at the Malfoy estate, so I told him that if it didn't arrive today a number of us would come looking for it.” At this everyone in the room but Mrs.Weasley snickered - it was obvious who the 'number of us' would have been. "So, there's your own wand's twin… "

“You used his name, Mister Weasley," Harry whispered. "You said 'Voldemort'. Three times!"

Arthur smiled. “I could get used to it.”

“Mrs. Weasley,” Harry began, “I… I'm sorry. It's all my fault. Fred… ”

Mrs. Weasley faced the boy head-on, bringing up the handle end of her wand and touching it to the boy's chin. “Get one thing straight Harry, dear: if you try to take blame for anything that's happened to this family then you'll wish the Death Eaters got hold of you instead of me! None of this is your fault, and if you try to make it so then the stories the boys have told you about my temper will pale in comparison to what I'll do to you!” She took a breath and smiled, her familiar, motherly face returning. “Are we clear on that subject, Dear?”

“Yes, Ma'am,” Harry said slowly, remembering how the woman had taken on Belletrix the day before. “But Fred… I mean…”

Mrs. Weasley's faced softened to what Harry always imagined a 'mommy' face to look like. “Yes, boy; I'm hurting inside more than you can imagine, and I suspect you are, too.” The two of them were sitting up by now, and Mrs. Weasley pulled Harry close; he'd never been held like this before. “I've spent most of yesterday and last night crying, and when it's time for you to cry I will be here for you.”

“Thanks,” Harry said quietly. “But I don't feel…”

“When you do, Harry; when you do.”

“Please, Harry Potter, Sir,” one of the house elves in the back of the group spoke up – it was Winky, recognizable by the pink skirt she wore in her disgrace of having been set free. “Dobby has not come home for weeks and weeks. Are you knowing where he is?”

Ron and Hermione gasped – no one had told the house elves!

Harry tried to move his covers, which he was able to do as soon as Mrs. Weasley stood up and handed him his trousers and all the women in the room looked away so he could slip them on. He knelt as Winky approached, Hermione taking the tray from Winky and setting it on the bed.

“Please Harry Potter, does you know where our Dobby has gone?”

“Winky, I am so sorry,” Harry began, but his voice choked.

Winky's ears dropped sadly. “Is our Dobby not coming home, then?”

“No, Winky. He died saving seven of us from Voldemort. I'm so sorry.”

Winky tried very hard to be brave, and Harry saw in her face the pretended courage he himself was trying to show. He knelt all the way to the floor and took her in his arms as she began to wail, and he held her tight as she cried loudly.

“Told you my Master is a great Wizard,” Kreacher whispered to the other house elves. “He even cares for one who is shamed.”

THAT AFTERNOON, FAMILY MEMBERS OF THOSE who gave their lives in defense of the school assembled in the Great Hall. The house elves were there to mourn for Dobby, many of them having earlier Apparated in turns to visit the quiet grave that a wizard had dug by hand to honor the brave house elf, ooh'ing and awe'ing that he even made the headstone exactly as Dobby would like to have been remembered. Some of the parents present were the first Muggles to have entered Hogwarts, and Acting Headmistress McGonagall went out of her way to make them feel welcome and secure.

“Mister Potter,” McGonagall called out as the doors to the hall closed and locked themselves so the meeting could be held in private, “Please come forward.” Harry stood and started towards her, and Ron and Hermione stood and walked with him.

“I'm sorry, I only called for Mister Potter.”

All three stopped, the looks on their faces and the way they took each other's elbows speaking far louder than words.

“You're right, of course. After seven years why even attempt to break you up now?” One of the staff members moved to get two more chairs, and the three sat themselves next to McGonagall in front of the owl-shaped podium.

Just as the three of them took their seats and McGonagall opened her mouth to begin, the huge double doors to the Great Hall that supposedly locked themselves opened of their own accord, and the professor knew they wouldn't do that unless they had a very good reason.

Standing in the doorway was two wizards who looked as if they'd just stepped out of the Australian outback, a Muggle man and woman standing between them and looking very bewildered. Before either wizard could say "G'Day" however, Hermione screamed and shot down the aisle at full speed and threw herself into her father's and mother's arms. I needn't tell you that there were tears.

"About eighteen hours ago they acted as if they'd just woke up," one of the Australian wizards explained as Professor McGonagall reached the emotional reunion. "Right in the middle of something called a 'root canal'." He shook his head. "Poor bloke they were working on!" He paused a moment. "Anyway, we got wind of their story when the police came on the scene - their receptionist is a cute little witch, y'see; tipped us off as soon as she heard the word 'Hogwarts'. We figured you might know what to do about them."

"Yes; I think we do, as you can see. Thank you so very much," McGonagall whispered while Hermione exclaimed that there was so much for her parents to catch up on.

"You've a hole in your castle; you know that, don't you?"

"It's been a long few days," McGonagall explained quietly.

"Me and m' mate here are good with reconstruction; wouldn't mind helpin' a bit while we're here." Both of the Aussies whipped out their wands as if ready to go to work right then and there.

"Thank you. Please, come in and have a seat."

McGonagall led the two visitors in to the Great Hall and quietly explained to the audience what Hermione had done the summer previous to protect her parents from Voldemort's wrath - she had erased all memory of herself from her own parents' minds, changed their identities, and given them the sudden need to move to Australia. When the girl finally brought her parents forward the entire audience stood in silent respect - touching the hearts of all three Grangers.

Professor McGonagall sat the Grangers next to Arthur Weasley - they knew each other from conversations about muggle artifacts while school shopping - and then she led Hermione back to the head of the room where the Professor recited to the assembly the history of Tom Riddle up to the time that Harry, Ron, and Hermione started their first term at Hogwarts.

Then she invited the three to tell the story of their years of schooling and fighting Voldemort, adding in things and asking leading questions to get the three to further tell a particular story. "Yes, you didn't know I knew that," the professor said more than once as the three looked shocked at what she did know about their escapades. "I wouldn't be a very good Head of House if I didn't keep an eye and ear to my students, would I?" Although it was in fact a somber meeting, there was murmurs of laughter in appropriate places. “He did what?” Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were heard to murmur more than once, and the Creeveys were easily recognizable by their blush when stories of their son's photo-taking was mentioned.

It wasn't until Harry retold the story of watching Voldemort being brought back to life the night of the final Tri-Wizard competition that Harry noticed that in the third row and surrounded by a wizard and witch guard sat Vernon, Petunia, and Dudley Dursley, all three with wide-eyed looks of astonishment and very pale faces.

When it was finally over, Professor McGonagall stood. “I know there are many of you who would like to come up and speak to Mister Potter, Mister Weasley, and Miss Granger. Please remember they been through much and need time for their own healing. Perhaps we can all show our appreciation to them now?”

The room came to their feet, thunderously applauding Harry, Ron, and Hermione, tears mixed with smiles. Not to be held back, Molly Weasley and Mrs. Granger made her way together to the front and took Ron, Harry, and Hermione in their arms. The doors opened, announcing the end of the meeting, and Professor McGonagall took Harry from Mrs. Weasley and led him to where his aunt and uncle still sat.

“Harry,” Dudley said slowly as he stood to face his cousin, “You really did all that? That was the truth? All of it?”

“Yeah, all of it.” Harry didn't know what else to say.

Uncle Vernon stood, Harry recognizing that the man was speechless. For the first time ever his uncle extended his hand and actually shook Harry's hand as if he were a fellow Man. There were no words exchanged, but the gesture was loud and clear to one versed in the murky mysteries of male communication. Aunt Petunia's mouth tried to work as she too stood, but nothing would come out. She finally leaned over just far enough and gave him the briefest of kisses and then managed to say “I'm so sorry, Harry.”

“Dursley?! Is that you?” They all turned to see Mr. Creevey stepping up to the little family reunion. “You're Harry's uncle?” Mr. Creevey smiled a big, proud grin. “How could you keep such an awesome secret? You have to be the proudest man on earth! That must be why you've disappeared this past year - under magical protection, no doubt?"

“Creevey?” Vernon managed to whisper slowly. Creevey, you see, was Vernon's assistant at the office.

“Excuse me,” Harry mumbled, and he fled the scene.

An hour after the family meeting ended the entire school quietly joined those already in the Great Hall. Also joining the students were their families and all those who had rushed to the defense of the school during the Great Attack - which meant that nearly all of Hogsmeade was there along with many, many others who had Apparated to the village and marched on the school with the villagers. There were many wounded among them, and they bore their injuries with quiet dignity.

Where the Headmaster and staff usually sat there was a silent row of more than fifty simple caskets, each draped with the colors of their house. The stool used for the Sorting Ceremony was among the caskets, bearing a grinning picture of Dobby.

Just before the funeral service was to start there was a noise heard in the entry, and a herd of centaur appeared in the doorway.

“May we enter?” Bane, the tough, blond leader asked quietly.

Professor McGonagall was on her feet and striding the length of the hall before the request was completed. “Welcome, all of you. You honor us with your presence.” And she nodded her head respectfully. Bane saluted Firenze, who still lay on blankets in a corner of the room, his wounds being carefully tended by Hagrid.

“Told you they were real,” Dennis Creevey whispered to his astonished parents as McGonagall led the equine warriors to the great hall, where they of their own accord began to line the walls.

It was obvious who the muggle parents were as they reacted to the herd's entrance into the room, but all was done with great dignity on the part of the humans and the centaurs.

A somber silence finally fell as Acting Headmistress McGonagall stood at the owl-shaped speaker's podium and welcomed the staff, students, families of the Deceased, and other defenders of Hogwart's.

“Two years ago,” the Headmistress began, “we ended our school year in memory of one very brave young man, one Cedric Digory - killed as Tom Riddle came back into his power.” She very deliberately used Voldemort's given name. “Last year it was to honor the greatest wizard to have ever headed this school. And today… ” She paused as her emotions caught in her throat. “Today there are so many. Every one of them had the chance to leave. They could have left when we smuggled the underage students out, some of which, as you know, stubbornly returned for the fight.” A distinct sniffle was heard from all three of the Creeveys, the family of one such underage hero. “Some of these before us were alumni; not even current students.” She looked momentarily to where Remus Lupin and his wife lay silently side by side. “But they came of their own accord because they believed in Freedom. Because of them and those of us who fought beside them, next year's term will end without a memorial service.

“As Professor Dumbledore told more than one student, it is our choices that make us who we are. These who lay before us now made a choice to fight. They made a choice that no one should live in tyranny, terror, or fear. They made a choice that Freedom had to start with them; not with someone else. They made choices that will resound through the history of this school. And so, we are only the first who will honor them."

Professor McGonagall waved her wand, and around the walls of the Great Hall portraits of those being honored appeared, hanging in beautifully-carved frames. Portraits of Cedric Diggory and Professor Dumbledore were included.

“Today's service is for the families, the school, and those who defended the school; I have not even admitted the Ministry as we who fought the fight need a ceremony all our own. The rest of the magical community, however, has been invited to the interment tomorrow morning.

“I have asked each of the heads of the Hogwarts houses to stand and tell something of each of these brave souls.” As Professor McGonagall was the head of Gryffindor, she remained at the head of the room as the two remaining heads of house joined her; one house being without a head. In fact, the only member of that house who had fought the fight was the Head of the House, but he was no longer to be found. Together they went down the line of coffins, each taking their turn at a coffin bearing their house colors, sharing stories both humorous and somber about each student and alumni. As they finished they removed the house colors from the coffin, so by the time the service was done each of the coffins bore only the Hogwarts seal - a silent sign of unity.

The final casket, and the only one to bear the colors of the house no one wanted to name, was that of Severus Snape, and as the heads of the houses approached it Harry stood.

“Please; May I?”

McGonagall nodded and motioned for him to come forward. As she suspected he would do, Harry recited the memories Snape had given the boy while he died, beginning with the man's earliest memories of Lily and Petunia Evans and concluding with the man's death. Aunt Petunia's look told Harry that she remembered the strange boy from the playground of her childhood.

“So you see, he was as much a hero as anyone here.” Harry paused. “I almost don't even hate him anymore. In time I hope to be able to forgive him. If nothing else, for my mother's sake."

Harry looked around the Great Hall. “Next time any of you shun or ridicule a fellow classmate or anyone else for whatever reason, remember Professor Snape. Remember how easily your teasing, your ridicule, your snubbing of a fellow human being can affect their choices. Yes, they still make their choice, but we have to do our best to effect them into making the better choice.”

With the heads of houses nodding, Harry returned to his seat.

McGonagall approached the speaker's podium once more. “Most of the families have given their consent for their loved one to be interred here at Hogwarts. Those who will be taking their child home… ”

“Professor?” It was Mr. Creevey who stood, his wife nodding agreement with something he'd just whispered to her. “We've changed our minds. We'd like Colin to be laid to rest here. With his friends." A single huge tear rolled down the man's cheek as he held the most manly of faces. "It's the right thing… ” A quiet sob stopped him from finishing the sentence.

Professor McGonagall smiled and nodded with a most tender look on her face that generations of students would not have thought possible. “It appears, then, that all the internments will take place tomorrow morning. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Creevey, and know that you and all the parents of our Heroes will be welcome here at any time, Magic or non-Magic. We will make the arrangements later.

"We will, then, reconvene tomorrow at Sunrise in the entrance hall. Family members who are visiting: please do not hesitate to call upon the students who have been assigned as your hosts for any of your needs – those of you who are new to the magical world I'm sure will have many questions before our memorial proceedings are completed. Supper, then, will be at Eight O'clock, and all who are here are welcome.”

The doors to the great room opened on their own power, and a powerfully-built man in a kilt and traveling cloak stood in the door. He was as red-haired as any Celt could be and looked like a male version of Professor McGonagall except for his youthfulness.

"Grandfather?" the acting head-mistress said, surprised, as she stepped from the podium and towards the door. It was actually her great-grandfather Angus; a member of the
Brotherhood of the Dragons you read about in the first story…

The embrace as she reached the door was tender, and she even shed a tear or two.

"Someone else here to see you, Lassie," Great-grandfather Angus finally whispered, and another man stepped into the light. He too was powerfully built, his raven-black hair pulled back in a braid that fell as far as his waist. Professor McGonagall fell into this man's arms and they embraced and then they kissed. And as they kissed her hair spilled out of his familiar bun and cascaded down her back and turned from grey to red and shimmered in the light. Her figure filled in curves that had not been filled for quite a few years, and wrinkles softened and disappeared, and she was young again. At least for as long as the kiss lasted, which was not a short interval.

"Who? What?" Arthur Weasley asked.

"Well, Jacob of Ely, o' course!" Molly whispered back.

"Oh, of course," Arthur mumbled, not having a clue.

"She really did have a summer romance with a dragon?" Charlie whispered.

"Just not the sort of dragon you thought," Molly grinned at her family's confusion.

"You knew about this?" Arthur asked. "You don't think Fred and George are the only things she and I discussed during all those parent-teacher meetings, do you? And if even one of my children - or you, Harry - whistle or cat-call, I'll silence the lot of you for good!"

A half-dozen Weasley men and a Potter closed their mouths.

"Does love really make you young again?" Davey Creevey asked his mother.

Missus Creevey put an arm around her husband. "If it's the right person it does."

AN HOUR BEFORE SUNRISE THE CASTLE'S RESIDENTS began to trickle down the stairs from the high towers while others trickled up from the lower levels. By the time the entry doors opened to let in the rays of the rising sun the students were ready to fulfil their task as pallbearers. The rest of the school was in fact empty as even the ghosts gathered in the entry and lined the stairs to watch solemnly as each of the caskets were reverently carried through the entry and out the door, led with great dignity by their Headmistress. As each casket left the hall a centaur stepped up to lead the way to the loch's shore, outfitted with full weapons and looking as regal as any warrior could for the funeral of fellow warriors.

It would have taken a blind or heartless person to not see that Professor McGonagall was struggling to hold on to some shred of dignity as she led the procession, but she was a proud woman who would not appear weak for this important role. Just as the woman thought she would collapse, however, the crowd to one side opened, and Bane, the proud, militant centaur, stepped through and stopped in front of the acting headmistress. After silently staring at each other for a moment the warrior who had almost killed another centaur for the sin of giving a human a ride knelt before the woman and motioned backwards towards his equine back.

"May one warrior honor another?" the centaur asked simply.

Aware of Bane's violent revulsion to such an action, McGonagall nearly choked on her tears while with the greatest of dignity she settled herself on his back in a side-saddle position, humbled beyond expression by the honor being shown her. Bane turned with equal dignity and began to lead the procession down to the loch, the headmistress laying a single, dignified hand on his shoulder to steady herself.

In a deliberate act of defiance, short, small Davey Creevy refused to walk behind his brother's casket with his parents but insisted on being a pallbearer, even though it meant he had to raise his arms above his head to help carry his brother's body. He never knew that every time his arms began to give out a witch or wizard respectfully lining the path quietly raised their wand and shot some extra strength his way.

While Fred Weasley was being borne by his brothers and sister, Arthur, Molly, and Fleur walked soberly behind Fred's casket, holding to each other for support. Harry was ahead of them, however, as the caskets were being carried in alphabetical order and he was in his place bearing Remus Lupin – friend, teacher, and the last of his parents' companions – on this last departure from the great castle. Hermione Granger was helping to carry Tonks to her final rest beside her husband of not even a year.

As Remus Lupin's casket reached the doors to the great entry, Harry felt a cold touch on his arm. He turned briefly and saw Myrtle, the ghost who inhabited the girl's bathroom and quite possibly the first of Tom Riddle's many victims, touching his arm. She smiled weakly at Harry as she leaned forward and tried to give him a short little kiss on his cheek. Harry smiled, understanding the great emotion in a ghost trying to make such strong contact with a mortal. She smiled back, their smiles saying everything that needed to be said. Myrtle held up one hand and Harry saw a small shell on a chain.

"From the merpeople," Myrtle whispered in her little-girl voice as she slipped the chain over Harry's neck. "I was flushed into the lake last night and they surrounded me and asked me to deliver this to you." Harry smiled again and was out the door, humbly wearing the gift as Myrtle attempted to take his free elbow and float along beside him towards the final tribute.

As it was a long walk to the loch's shore for those bearing the Fallen, other students walked alongside the path, ready to take over for those whose shoulders and arms gave out in carrying their companions to their final rest. By the time they had reached the shore most every student had helped carry one or more of the caskets.

Harry was trying very hard not to see the many faces of those who had Apparated to Hogsmeade in the early morning hours and made the walk to the school to witness this final rite. (McGonagall had unwaveringly informed the Magical community that Hogwarts would not be a hostel for those attending the services as everyone in the school was mourning and were not fit to be waiting on guests.)

Harry couldn't imagine that there was so many witches and wizards in England. He remembered the crowds at the Quittich World Cup and thought that the crowd today had to be larger. The entire path from the castle to the loch was lined with those who had come, all standing silent and sober as coffin after coffin was carried by.

Many reached out to touch a coffin as it passed, fresh tears coming to their eyes as they whispered the person's name.

The crowd parted as the procession approached, allowing them and their centaur guard access to the monument that had risen around the tomb of Albus Dumbledore - that tomb now stood at the center of a marble semicircle with enough smaller tombs fanning out to accommodate those being interred. The curved boundaries of the semi-circle was huge carved statues of a pair of phoenix birds; their wings acting as walls to make the monument a quiet, private place of meditation and thought.

Bane stood soberly at Professor McGonagall's side, a hand on her shoulder as a sign of support, as she read each name from a scroll - just as she had read them at the Sorting Ceremony for so many years, and one by one caskets were placed in tombs and stone lids put in place and sealed with a simple spell. It was a very solemn ceremony right up until the moment that George Weasley stepped forward to seal the final tomb; the one in which his twin brother Fred was being laid to rest. Those gathered should have been warned when George suddenly hit the ground and covered his head just as the tomb suddenly made loud, embarrassing body sounds and emitted fireworks reminiscent of those that had been let off during Dolores Umbridge's unfortunate reign as Inquisitor.

“George… ” Molly Weasley's voice began threateningly as she picked herself up off the marble paving, not even noticing the applause being generated by those who knew - or knew of – the Weasley twins and their unwavering lust for life.

“No, Molly; no,” began McGonagall as she also lifted herself from the monument floor; “We could hardly have honored one of these boys without one final demonstration, could we? I actually find it somehow quite appropriate.” Molly did not look like she thought it appropriate in any way, but she conceded to the head of the school.

AS THE PUBLIC, STUDENTS AND FACULTY, AND FAMILIES mingled at the end of the ceremony, Harry remained in place next to Remus' and Tonks' tomb (the only joint tomb within the monument), a thousand memories filling his head, both good and bad; happy and sad. His mind was a million miles away as he heard his name called.

It was McGonagall.

“Mister Potter.”

“Professor… ”

“Call me Minerva.”

“I couldn't.”

“You could with practice. You're an adult now; we're a little more equal.” Harry smiled. “I've asked your friends to give us a few moments. Walk with me?”

Minerva took Harry by the arm and led him toward the focus of the monument – the tomb of Albus Dumbledore.

“Professor,” Harry began and caught himself. “I mean, 'Minerva'. This one closest to Professor Dumbledore is just a platform; no tomb.”

“Read the name engraved on it.”

'Cedric Diggory' was engraved on the monument.

“He'd have liked this,” Harry whispered. “And so would his parents.”

Minerva motioned at a flower arrangement and Harry stopped to read – 'In Memory of our Son'.

“Were they here?”

“Yes; they arrived last night and were allowed to stay in the school. They said to give you their best and to please come visit them.”

Suddenly Harry brightened just a little. "We should mount the Tri-Wizard trophy here!"

Minerva's smile was everything a grandmother's smile could convey. "We were hoping you'd want that; his parents would be so proud." She paused. “Oh, and that which was taken from Dumbledore has been replaced. Along with the ring - yes, we sent someone out who found it, and it's safely hidden right along with the wand. I thought you'd like to know.”

“Thank you. I hope they're never seen again.” He paused.

"And Voldemort? Where's his body… ?"

"Ask me not and I'll lie not."

Harry looked at Minerva's face and knew he'd not ask that question ever again.

“Now, turn yourself around, young man,” and Minerva wheeled Harry around to take in the full impact of the memorial, and for the first time Harry saw that upon the phoenix's windswept wings were hundreds – perhaps thousands – of engraved names.

“Almost like a war memorial,” Harry whispered.

“There's no 'almost' about it; it most certainly is a war memorial. The wings on your left,” and she pointed,” lists the names of all known deaths in the magical world due to Voltemort and the Death Eaters. (And he noticed that Myrtle's name began the entire list just as he heard a little girlish gasp exclamation saying "That's my name!") On the right,” and she motioned there, “are the names of two rather important groups; the only two organized groups who stood up to Evil and fought it. Both generations of the Order of the Phoenix and,” and she turned to face the young man, “'Dumbledore's Army'.”

“What? We didn't do so much… ”

“You most certainly did! You taught a whole new generation to stand their ground and to stand for the Right!”

This was all too much for Harry. He let Minerva guide him to where he could see the names of the Order of the Phoenix engraved on either wing of the one sculptured phoenix-wall, and the names of Dumbledore's Army on the torso of the same bird. He saw that the names of the dead were gold-leafed. He saw the Dursleys standing silently as his aunt touched her sister Lily's name, tears flowing freely down her cheeks. And there was even the faintest sight of Myrtle, barely visible in the bright sunlight, floating near the monument and fingering her name.

“Look – Neville's parents! They've gold-leafed them. But…”

“They'd might as well be dead, Harry. They deserve the honor, don't you think?”

“I do. I really do.”

“Neville was pleased.”

“Where… ?”

“He's gone for a walk with his grandmother – they needed some quiet time together. Now, come this way,” and she steered Harry to where the wings of the two giant birds met and entwined, making a quiet little hollow into which many of the school's house elves were staring in awe and reverence. When Harry got close enough to see between the entwined wings he saw a simple square pedestal, and atop it was…

“Dobby!” exclaimed Harry; “Look! It looks so real!”

And indeed it did look real. The statue stood, its head half-cocked and one hand raised and ready to snap its fingers. In the other hand was a sock, just like the one Harry Potter had put in the diary that was handed to Dobby, awarding him his freedom.

What Harry didn't even comment on - didn't even seem to notice - was that there was a statue of himself next to Dobby, his hand on the house elf's shoulder. Many a house elves saw this as proof of the great wizard's humility.

"Told you my master is a great wizard," Kreacher was whispering; "He didn't even notice the statue of himself."

As Harry stepped up to the statue of his friend and caressed it with a soft hand, the tears came unstopped. He looked up at Minerva but couldn't speak, afraid of the flood that was going to come. She stepped up to the boy quickly and whispered, “May I do something I've wanted to do since the day you arrived here?”

“What's that?” he asked, knowing he wasn't going to be able to hold back the flood.

In answer, Minerva pulled his head to her shoulder and held him. "If I don't do it now, Molly may never give me the chance."

Harry Potter wept, and every house elf who could crowded around him to touch; to comfort.

Minerva finally wept, too.

As Harry and Minerva wiped their faces, someone called for them. “Mister Potter,” the voice called again. They turned and found themselves facing Andromeda Tonks, who was holding her grandchild, little Teddy Lupin. It was Harry's first chance to see the baby that was to be his godson.

“Remus and Nymphadora agreed you were to be Teddy's godfather, and I finally agree with their decision.”

“Thank you,” said Harry.

“I'm old and I don't know if I'm up to caring for a baby.” She smiled a grandmother smile. “It will be interesting.”

Harry turned to Professor McGonagall. “Winky.”

“Aye; I abso-lutely approve.” She cleared her throat and called the house elf's name.
Winky came running from the crowd of departing house elves. “Was I calling?” she asked breathlessly as she stopped in front of Harry and Minerva.

“Winky,” began Harry slowly, “Are you happy here?”

“I is a servant; I is happy.”

“I know of a house that needs a house elf.”

Winky's eyes narrowed. “But I is shamed. No one is wanting me.”

Mrs. Tonks understood what was going on. “Oh! But Minerva – we've never had a house elf. I wouldn't know… ”

“Winky,” and Harry knelt, “This is a house that has never had a house elf. You will need to teach them who house elves are and what they do and how they are to be treated.”

“I is not knowing about this.”

Harry motioned for the baby and Mrs. Tonks gently handed the little bundle to the boy. “Winky, here is a baby whose mother and father were buried here today.”

“Harry Potter is talking of Master Lupin and Mistress Tonks?”

“I am. Do you know how to take care of a baby?”

“Ooooh, Harry Potter is knowing that Winky knows such things!”

Harry smiled. “You can demand that you receive no payment and no days off. Here; see the baby.”

“Oh,” began Mrs. Tonks; “Of course she'd receive a wage. Her own room… ”

“NO!” exclaimed Winky; “I is not a liberated house elf; I is still having self-respect. No wage or room! A box with a clean blanket… !”

Mrs. Tonks was appalled, but her need for a nursemaid overrode her sensibilities. “Winky, I am sure you will be able to teach me what a proper house elf should have and do.”

By now Winky was holding the baby, who was making baby noises, and an angelic smile was working its way across her face.

“I is not sure yet.”

“I'm the baby's godfather, Winky,” Harry said slowly, “I will be able to come and visit you and make sure you are being treated correctly.”

Winky looked from Harry to Mrs. Tonks to Minerva, and then addressed Minerva. “You is not upset that I would leave?”

“Well, I have been considering giving Hogwarts house elves a wage," Minerva lied. "And, I've been wracking my brain what to do when you refuse one.”

“A wage?” Winky was horrified.

“A mandatory wage.”

Winky looked back at Mrs. Tonks. “I is coming with you, Mistress Tonks. You will see I is the best nurse for babies that you are ever knowing.” Winky smiled at the baby. “Please, may I show my new little Master to the others before we leave?” Mrs. Tonks nodded and Winky ran off to show off her new little charge and brag of her new position.

Somewhere where Harry couldn't see him, Dudley Dursley was talking to a centaur: "You mates are for real?! Centaur's are for real?! All my life… "

The Weasleys, Hermione, and the remnants of the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army were all waiting near Dumblore's tomb as Minerva and Harry finally joined them - even Neville and his grandmother had returned to the monument. Molly put a hand on
Harry's face, her quick eyes seeing that there had been tears.

“That's a start, Dear,” she whispered as she patted his cheek.

Just as Arthur cleared his throat to speak, a melodious cry was heard, and from somewhere above them a red and blue bird fluttered in and landed on Fred's tomb. It cocked its head this way and that, crying, until Harry finally exclaimed: “Fawkes?”

"That's a phoenix, Mum, Dad!" Hermione whispered.

The phoenix that was formerly Dumbledore's companion chirped and turned to face Harry, who pushed his way through the crowd and put out a hand to touch the bird, which hopped up onto Harry's outstretched arm, walked its way to his shoulder, and sat comfortably down while making quiet, calming noises, as if settling into a new home. It rubbed its head against Harry's cheek and cried a happy cry.

“Well,” said Ron with a grin, “No more owls for Harry!”

Hermione, however, was crying. Again.

“What?” asked Ron.

“Don't you understand anything, Ron? A phoenix. A new beginning.” She looked up and smiled at Harry. “Welcome to a new beginning, Harry.”

A WEEK LATER HARRY POTTER WALKED DOWN DIAGON ALLEY and opened the door to the newly-reopened 'Ollivanders: Maker of Fine Wands' and stepped in, the door's bell announcing his entrance.

“Good afternoon,” called out a soft voice. “I thought I'd be seeing you soon.” Harry remembered the first time the old man spoke those words to him and smiled. Mr. Ollivander looked healthier and happier than the last time Harry had seen him, and his eyes and smile had their old twinkle back. “Haven't come for a new wand, have you? You've got quite a collection already. I hear the twin is even yours now… ”

“No, Sir; not a new wand. I… I'm looking for a job.”

“Weasley's joke shop not hiring?”

“They hired Ron; something about it being a family business."

Mr. Ollivander grinned. "I doubt there's a Weasley alive who doesn't consider you family, despite your unforgivable lack of red hair. Even old Muriel… "

"I'm hoping for something quiet, actually." Harry admitted. "Not a lot of excitement.”

Mr. Ollivander peered deep into Harry's eyes. “I'm not too good at divination, Mister Potter, but I'm reasonably sure you are not destined for a quiet, peaceful life." He paused, his smile getting even wider. "Destiny has something far more interesting in store for you.” Harry began to speak but the old man held up his hand. “But until said destiny finds you, I am in terrible need of an assistant. Every piece of stock is in the most horrible condition; everything needs dusting and polishing. Shelves need to be resorted and arranged… ”

“I can dust and polish,” offered Harry; "I can learn to arrange shelves."

“The position is yours, then.”

And so, for a time, Harry Potter led a quiet, peaceful life.

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