Scion of Gryffindor
48 - Post Voldemort
Harry / Tonks ship
It came as no surprise to him that he immediately regretted it.
He felt a bone-deep ache throughout his entire body, with sharper, tender spots on one ankle and his upper chest.
On the positive side, he was on a bed, a warm hand was gently holding his, and he smelled Nim's favorite perfume.
Moving slowly and using only his left hand, he fumbled around for his glasses and slipped them on. It was indeed Nymphadora at his bedside, sleeping upright in a chair. Based on that, he knew it had been at least half a day and that he was safe.
On the heels of that thought was the realization that he had actually done it. Voldemort was dead, he and Nim were both still alive, and he could now live the life he wanted. If he had felt capable, he would have jumped out of the bed to do a jig.
With a few cautious movements, Harry catalogued his condition in more detail. His ankle and chest had the tight feeling of still-healing tissues, and overall he felt very sore and totally exhausted. He knew that he should feel jubilant but was instead feeling somewhat detached.
For all that, he knew he was fortunate. It is not every day that you defeat a dark lord and live to tell the tale, after all. One was bound to come through such a thing a little the worse for wear.
His movements had apparently awakened Nim, for she stirred and opened her eyes. A smile blossomed. "Hey," she said.
"Hey," he croaked before letting out a cough.
Twisting around in her chair toward a small table, she prepared a glass of water for him.
After a few sips and swishing the water around his mouth, he gingerly leaned back until he was resting on the pillows again. Even that small effort had exhausted him. "What happened?" he asked in a whisper.
"First, I know you got Malfoy, and what's left of Voldemort's body was found. Did anything else happen that I should know about?"
"Yeah, Grandfather -" Harry's face crumpled as it came crashing down on him that he had lost yet another member of his family.
Nim's voice was sad, "We suspected as much; he hasn't been seen since. We can have some sort of memorial for him after we're out of here."
Harry took a few deep breaths to regain control. "Yeah, a memorial sounds good.
"The short version of the fight is that Grandfather saved me. I was dueling Riddle, but I couldn't crack his shield. I really wish you'd been there to help; maybe together we could've got him. Anyway, nothing I tried was enough.
"Grandfather showed up at the last moment, and Riddle turned to duel him for a while. I ran him through with the sword just as he finished an exorcism spell. Grandfather said he'd fulfilled the reason he'd stayed, so he was crossing over anyway." Harry took another breath and locked the grief away to deal with later. "What happened after I blacked out? I saw figures running towards me but don't remember anything after that."
She accepted the change of subject. "Dobby is far sneakier that you suspected. He knew that the ministry was already doing things and couldn't help us immediately. Instead he went to Remus at dawn or so. Remus gave Poppy quite a fight, but she convinced him that he wasn't in any condition to go running off to your rescue, so he did the next best thing: He contacted Auror Drake.
"Chris went to Bones and told her that he wanted to help and that he had more forces at his disposal. The timing must've worked out because she had just got your message. After she gave him the location and password, he got volunteers from the Potter Labor Pool. Nearly scared the over watch aurors out of their britches, I heard, and then they stormed the place."
Harry snorted at the irony. "I felt someone trip one of my Alarm Wards. Thought it was more deez, so I was trying to find a window to escape through."
She laughed. "Nope, just a rescue squad of werewolves. Once they secured the place, Chris called the aurors in. They brought the Portkey Ward down during their investigation. My Portkey sent me to the Keep right on time. Mum reversed your transfiguration and sent me here immediately. We're in St. Mungo's, if you haven't figured that out already."
Harry nodded. "So how are you? And me?"
She frowned and looked down at herself in annoyance.
Harry followed her gaze and saw her left leg was wrapped in some sort of livid purple material. He laughed, though his chest rebelled at it.
She blinked at him, looking hurt.
"Let me guess," he said, hand on his sore chest. "You insisted on that color, didn't you?"
She looked blankly at him. "Huh?"
"Muggle kids get to pick the color of their cast if they have a broken bone," Harry explained.
She looked down at her leg again. "That is something I'd choose, isn't it?" She grinned up at him. "Naw, it comes this way. Something about the poultice in it. Healer says it's at least another day until all the damage is fixed." She frowned. "I'm not allowed to morph until then. Well, I can do the hair and face, but it's easier to remember if I don't do anything."
Harry nodded. "I’m not complaining, but I'd wondered why you didn't change when you woke up."
Still looking disgruntled, she nodded. "Yeah, healer's orders. It wasn't any fun to morph to my base form after I woke up, I can tell you. All those bones sticking out while I'm trying to change shape." She shuddered, and Harry felt ill just considering it.
"Anyway, other than the leg, I'm okay. They revived me from the stasis without a problem. You on the other hand have been unconscious for a day and a half since I woke up."
"Really? I was hurt that badly?"
"No, but you were magically exhausted. The healers kept you asleep so you could get your energy back up. Besides, on the advice of Madam Pomfrey, it was easier to heal your wounds when you were unconscious. Something about not being able to keep you in bed."
Harry tried not to grin. "I'll be sure to properly thank her next time I see her."
She rolled her eyes. "I know you're finding it secretly funny. Anyway, Chris moved you here as fast as he safely could and called in more aurors to take care of the prisoners, investigate the scene, and all that. Bones showed up right quick, so everything was taken care of properly. The Portkeys we put on them made 'em easier to find. I don't know why they didn't find me."
"You were hidden better. Remember how many fallen branches were in that yard?"
She laughed. "Pretty good, Potter, pretty good.
"Anyway, the aurors found the bushes and tunnel easily enough once they went outside. They already sent that tunnel back to the Unspeakables.
"The Daily Prophet heard about all the raids and arrests. They're asking a lot of questions about Voldemort that nobody's able to answer, since you're the only one who knows, and you've been unconscious."
She paused to think. "You know, maybe Poppy made her suggestion to spare you all the hoopla."
"In that case, maybe I will properly thank her next time I see her."
"Funny. As I was saying, all Bones and Abbott will say is that you did indeed kill Voldemort. Aunt Cissy tells me that I and especially you have been invited to so many parties and awards ceremonies that she's had to place a notice in the Prophet that you're still incapacitated and can't attend anything."
Harry looked around the small room. Aside from the squashy chair that Nim was in and a table containing his wand and armor, it was bare. "I imagine Dumbledore, Abbott, the Prophet, and most of the magical world wants to come in here and demand some answers. How'd you manage to keep me out of their claws?"
She smiled widely. "Remember that it was a bunch of werewolves that rescued you? Well, it seems that they feel indebted to you for giving them a way out of poverty that didn't involve becoming a criminal. Add to that Remus being something of an unofficial leader and Bones and Chris Drake's vocal backing . . . Well, you've had two werewolf guards for your room since you got in here."
Harry laughed. "Nice to have some guardian wolves."
She nodded. "And nobody but nobody wants to cross them. There are a couple auror guards on the floor, too, but it's the werewolves everyone is afraid of."
"That's sad, but not all that surprising."
She shrugged and continued. "At his insistence, Remus was moved here from the Hogwarts Infirmary. He's next door. So, are you ready to see your healer?"
Harry sighed. "I suppose. Once I'm sprung, I just want to go home and sleep."
Nim waved her wand at the door, and it sprang open. A man several years older than she poked his head in. Upon seeing Harry, he broke into a smile. "Ah, he's awake!" He advanced and stuck out his hand. "Good afternoon, sir. I'm Rob Drake."
Harry leaned forward and took his hand for a moment before falling back on his bed. "Auror Drake's brother?"
Drake nodded. "That's me. On behalf of all of us, I want to thank you for everything you've done."
Harry nodded. He was uncomfortable with the praise but knew that it had just begun.
"So, what can I do for you?" Drake went on.
Nim spoke up, "Could you find Healer McKinney?"
Drake inclined his head in acknowledgement and left, gently shutting the door.
Nim leaned over to give Harry a quick kiss before she struggled to her feet, quietly cursing the protective wrapping on her leg. She grabbed a familiar serpent-headed cane before hobbling toward the door. "Oh, you might be amused to know that Rob seems to have a crush on Remus if the looks and growls are anything to go by." She turned at the door to see Harry's bemused grin. "I'll leave you to enjoy the visit with your healer. If McKinney allows it, the press gets you after that. I'll come back in and rescue you in two hours. Bye."
She was through the door before he gathered himself enough to shout, "Nim!"
Her laughter was the only response.
"Help," he whined into the empty room with a resigned sigh.
Days later, with the recently released Remus and Tonks flanking him, Harry entered the spectator area of the auror academy's dueling chamber. Because this was the finals of the Hogwarts Dueling Tournament, the seating area had been expanded several times and now contained all of Hogwarts' student body, a large public gallery, and a strong contingent from the ministry.
He moved toward a spot with the senior Gryffindors, but Flitwick waved him toward some empty seats among the teachers. When Harry looked dubiously at the seats, McGonagall repeated the invitation. Giving in, Harry gingerly took a seat amongst his former professors. Remus was warmly welcomed by those near him, but Nim looked as uncomfortable as Harry.
Snape, to Harry's disgust, was also present, though he ignored the newcomers.
McGonagall said, "Relax, Harry. We won't bite."
Shack leaned forward from the row behind him. "Indeed not. We'll leave that to Dora."
A startled moment of silence was broken by Flitwick, who broke into surprisingly deep laughter.
Harry caught the smirk on Nim's face before he shook his head in resignation and relaxed.
Amelia Bones stood at the podium in front of the spectator seating and announced, "Thank you all for coming to the finals of the student dueling tournament!"
Once the applause trailed off, Bones smiled and said, "Once we at the ministry learned of this tournament, we asked to host the championship rounds, which Headmaster Dumbledore graciously allowed.
"Both Minister Abbott and I are gratified at the large turnout, especially among the general public.
"For the senior students, I'd like to take this moment to inform you of a new program that will be starting this coming summer. It's a pre-auror training camp, for lack of a better description. We'll give the participants a taste of auror training. It's intended especially for those who may be looking at the Auror Corps as a possible career after graduation, and all who attend will have an opportunity to hone their skills and learn a few new ones. More information will be available later."
Harry could see a fair amount of interest being expressed by many of his classmates.
Apparently satisfied with the reaction her words had generated, Bones continued, "But enough of that; we're here to finish the tournament. Professor Shacklebolt has told me that the past weeks have whittled down the field to eight competitors." She looked down at a parchment in front of her. "Miss Katie Bell is a seventh year Gryffindor. Miss Cho Chang is a seventh year Ravenclaw and this year's Head Girl. Miss Hermione Granger is a sixth year Gryffindor and the introductory information says that she will be taking over a new position next academic year, that of a Roving Security Prefect. Baron Neville Longbottom is a sixth year Gryffindor. Miss Padma Patil is a sixth year Ravenclaw and next year's Head Girl. Miss Ginny Weasley is the youngest competitor to make it this far and is a fifth year Gryffindor. Ron Weasley is a sixth year Gryffindor. And Lynda Yates is a seventh year Slytherin."
Bones paused as more cheers went up; there was a particularly loud group of redheads in the public gallery, Harry noted with amusement.
"Our referee for these duels will be Dueling Master and Senior Auror Dueling Instructor Mike Banks. Lots were drawn earlier for the order of competition. Our first duel this morning will be Miss Chang versus Baron Longbottom."
As the two competitors stepped to the dueling platform, Kingsley leaned over to Harry and whispered, "I saw your training in all of these kids, Harry. Thank you for that." In a louder voice, he asked, "How have you been?"
The conversation flowed around the group, touching on the Death Eaters only long enough for Harry to assure those around him that everyone he had captured was indeed in prison and awaiting trial or sentencing.
At one point, McGonagall asked Harry what his plans were. After a moment's thought, he admitted to being interested in teaching and eventually the Headmaster's position. "Though not for quite a few years yet. I still have to do my N.E.W.T.s!"
Nim tried to hide in Harry's shadow, surprising all who knew her. She merely answered the questions directed at her, and indicated that she had been offered her old auror position again but that she had not made a decision. A sideways glance at Harry caused raised eyebrows and smirks from Kingsley, Remus, Minerva, and Sprout.
Hagrid gave a booming laugh. "Careful there, 'Arry. I think she's got 'er eye on a differen' job!"
Harry refused to be visibly embarrassed by the implications, instead smiling and throwing a wink at the suddenly flustered Tonks.
Remus easily conversed with the professors around him, though he and Snape did their level best to ignore each other. When asked, he said simply that he would help Harry finish his education and then perhaps take over the Potter Labor Pool.
Nim watched the tournament intently, making an occasional aside to Harry about ideas for his continued training.
Harry kept only a loose eye on the tournament, keeping track of how his friends were doing. Hermione lost to Neville when she spent all of her time analyzing and not enough time doing. Ron, after confidently strutting up to the stage, had had his head handed to him by Lynda, causing a massive cheer from the Slytherin students. Ginny lost to Katie, though it was clearly a case of age and magical stamina winning the day for the older witch.
When Padma beat Katie with her larger selection of spells, the tournament was down to two contestants, Padma and Neville.
Bones announced a break while the two student competitors recuperated from their previous duels.
Flitwick, resplendent in the bright red formal robes of a Dueling Master, made his way over to Harry. "Lord Gryffindor, how are you enjoying the tournament?"
Harry looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "'Lord Gryffindor' is it, Dueling Master Flitwick?"
Flitwick's lip twitched. "Anyone who defeated Voldemort deserves respect."
Harry sighed. "We were on a first name basis not so long ago. Just because I put down a rabid animal doesn't mean you should treat me any differently."
Snape, studiously not looking at them, uttered a disgusted snort.
Flitwick frowned at Snape, but turned to Harry with his characteristic smile back in place. "Very well, Harry. How are you enjoying the tournament?"
"It's been interesting to watch. Nice to see everyone doing well. I'm especially glad that Neville has finally gotten the confidence to become the great wizard I knew was in there."
Snape gave a louder snort.
Flitwick ignored him. Instead, he looked speculatively at Harry. "Miss Patil is a difficult opponent. Her range of spells is most impressive."
Harry nodded. "True, however I think that Neville can take her so long as he keeps his head."
"Would you care for a friendly wager on that?"
Harry laughed. "Defending the honor of Ravenclaw House, Professor?"
"You're defending your lion, Lord Gryffindor, so it seems only fair," Filius returned cheerfully.
"TouchÃ©," Harry acknowledged with a grin. "Very well. Hmm. How about dinner and drinks at the Three Broomsticks?"
"Done," Flitwick agreed. "And let the best house win."
Harry shook the professor's hand to seal the bet. "Best? Even biased as I am, I can hardly claim that Gryffindor is the best. Each has its own advantages."
"This is becoming nauseating," Snape drawled.
Harry held his tongue, but Tonks saw no reason to do the same. "Then leave," she suggested bluntly. "I'd think you'd be happy to hear the Lord Gryffindor isn't bad mouthing Slytherin House, Snape, but if you can't get past the fact that it's Harry Potter doing so -"
Snape cut her off brusquely. "He is only saying it to look good to the mutton-headed buffoons who lap up his every word."
"Including me?" Filius asked blandly.
There was a tense silence for a few moments before Harry said, "Believe it or not as you will, Snape, but I do have an appreciation for the so-called Slytherin outlook on life. I couldn't have survived this last week without embracing my inner Slytherin."
"I'm well aware you're embracing the Slytherin warming your bed, Potter," he said with a sneer and disgusted look at Tonks. "You don't have to dress it up in pretty words in some feeble attempt to sound clever."
Tonks's hair was a red so bright that Harry almost expected it to burst into flame.
Harry sighed loudly and turned to McGonagall. "Minerva, how's the term been to you and my old House?"
Snape adopted a smug expression, seemingly convinced he had won the argument.
"Give it up, Severus," Professor Sprout suggested curtly.
Snape ignored her.
Minerva's narrow-eyed gaze at Snape shifted to Harry and softened considerably. "Very well, thank you for asking, Harry. I agree with you about Mr. Longbottom, by the by. A few years of proper Defense teachers encouraging him - spotty as that has been - has done wonders for the young man's confidence."
They were all saved from the escalating tension when Bones announced the beginning of the final duel.
Neville and Padma bowed to each other, the referee, and the audience. Wands at the ready, they waited for the signal to begin.
Banks's wand came up, and a sharp crack sounded.
The air between the two combatants immediately lit up in a bright, multi-colored display.
Padma was clearly startled by Neville's all-out attack and tried to dodge or shield herself from his onslaught, but her shield did not survive the relentless barrage. He broke through and then caught her with a Stunning Spell.
"Baron Longbottom wins the duel," the referee announced, blinking.
Neville, breathing heavily, smiled and looked over toward the public gallery.
Harry was the first to stand and begin clapping. He was only a moment ahead of McGonagall and the students of Gryffindor House. Quickly or slowly, or in some cases grudgingly, all of the remaining spectators also came to their feet.
Some time later, after most of the spectators had left and the room was dwindling down to merely "crowded", Harry was awaiting his turn to congratulate Neville. He hoped to escape before the Prophet reporter, who was interviewing everyone she could, tried to corner him again.
Shack was telling Harry how his time at Hogwarts had been going when both men's heads snapped around at the suddenly raised voices.
"You were not the one who taught me to duel," Neville stated flatly, glaring at Snape. The former Defense professor was standing in front of the Prophet reporter.
Snape sputtered for a moment. "What? Then who? Was it Quirrell, Umbridge, or that fraud Lockhart? Certainly it couldn't have been the werewolf."
"Professor Lupin was our best official Defense instructor, but I was referring to Harry."
"Don't be ridiculous. Potter couldn't teach a Hufflepuff blind loyalty."
His contemptuous statement generated frosty glares from every Hufflepuff in the room, including Minister Abbot, Amelia Bones, and Professor Sprout.
Cho stepped forward and stated, "Harry taught us far more in the D.A. part time last year than you did in class this year."
Snape just scoffed.
Hermione spoke up from her place among the students talking to Amelia. "We continued the D.A. this year. Due to your appalling teaching methods, we were forced to fend for ourselves. That's why many of us did well in the tournament, not to mention surviving the attack on Hogwarts. Harry's D.A. and protection gave us the opportunity that you denied us."
Snape glared at both girls. "Of course you would come to the defense of the Gryffindor Golden Boy. Much as it nauseates me, I suspect that you fantasize about him as well."
Terry shook his head sadly. "You just don't get it, do you? He taught us. You never actually taught anything in Defense or Potions. We did better reading the book and practicing on our own than listening to you."
Snape's glare had lost none of its venom since losing his position. "Foolish children. You know nothing."
Harry dryly asked, "You were just giving an interview praising their knowledge and taking the credit for it, weren't you?" It was a guess, but it was apparently correct.
"Shut up, fool," Snape snapped back. "I was saying that their dueling was impressive. They're clearly delusional as to who pounded that knowledge into their feeble minds."
Kingsley, still standing near Harry, said, "Give up, Snape. You're making a fool of yourself."
"You have no authority over me, Shacklebolt."
Shack shrugged. "You're right, but that doesn't make what I'm saying any less true." Shacklebolt's even tone carried easily through the otherwise silent room.
"Would you idiots accept my superiority over him if I were to beat your precious savior in a duel? Would that make you all see reason?"
Dumbledore finally entered the conversation. "Severus, please calm yourself."
Snape turned and spat out, "Stay out of this, Albus. It's between me and your Golden Boy, here." He turned and sneered. "How about it, Potter? Up for a duel, or are you still too tired after the Dark Lord was all so mysteriously defeated?"
"Why should I duel you?" Harry asked, refusing to lose his composure.
"Why? Why? So I can prove I'm better, you imbecile, that's why!"
Harry shook his head. "I reject the challenge."
"You cannot refuse. I demand a duel or your honor is forfeit!"
"I have no cause to duel you. I refuse the duel."
"You concede? You acknowledge that you're my inferior?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "No, I'm saying that I refuse to participate in this ridiculous attempt to feed your overblown ego."
Snape, his expression radiating hatred, started to bring his wand up.
He stopped when Nim's wand came level with his eyes. Her seething demeanor was more than enough warning. Shack and Remus also had their wands out. To Amelia and Marcus Abbott's surprise, most of the students were also pointing their wands at Snape.
The former spy slowly returned his wand to its sheath. "Hiding behind your woman and pet werewolf, Potter?" he sneered.
Harry sighed and turned his head, saying, "Congratulations on winning the tournament, Neville. Please owl me over the summer. I think we have several stories to tell each other."
Neville, eyes pulled from the fuming Snape, nodded sharply. "Thank you. I'll do that, Harry."
"Amelia. Minister. Good day." He turned and strode calmly toward the exit. Remus and Tonks fell into flanking positions, keeping their full attention on Snape.
"That's right, Gryffindor," Snape ground out with palpable hatred. "Scurry away instead of facing me like a true wiz-"
His continuing rant was lost behind the closing door.
Severus Snape never got the duel he wanted. He spent the remainder of his life brewing potions for the darker of the pure-blood families, eventually dying an angry, bitter, and minor footnote to the history of Harry Potter and Tom Riddle.
After Harry passed his N.E.W.T. exams, he proposed to Nim. She responded by dragging him onto a muggle airplane, flying them to Las Vegas in the United States, and getting married within an hour of landing. Andy and Cissy were not amused. Ted later, and very privately, told Nim that her method was probably a good idea, though he was not entirely pleased with her actions either. The Potter-Gryffindor-Blacks had three children, one to inherit each of the three family names.
Nim went back to work for the D.M.L.E., eventually becoming a senior instructor at the auror academy.
Dumbledore and Harry reconciled their strained relationship to some degree. They never became close, but they were at least cordial. Dumbledore never pushed for more than that, recognizing that he was the primary cause of the original problem.
When Laura turned eleven, Shack quit teaching (having broken the curse on the position) and returned to the Auror Corps. He retired seventy years later as Director of the D.M.L.E.
Harry took over the vacant D.A.D.A. professorship, moving up to Head of Gryffindor House a few years later when Dumbledore retired and Minerva took his position. Despite his initial guess that he would want to become Headmaster, Harry found the administrative side of academia too tedious and left after ten years of teaching when his eldest child began attending Hogwarts.
Harry stayed active in the Wizengamot but left the political maneuvering to Andy, Cissy, and their political allies. Neville and Hannah Longbottom, Padma Patil, Hermione Granger-Entwhistle, and the unlikely team of Percy Weasley and Blaise Zabini worked together with Harry's family to create a large power block that eventually broke the pureblood supremacist stranglehold on wizarding politics.
Neville was elected Minister of Magic, succeeding his father-in-law, and stayed in that position for thirty years. He was the second minister in a row to rule for decades and still be popular when he left public office. His successor, a muggleborn named Jessica Hale, served even longer.
Remus took over the Potter Labor Pool, making it the leading company in its field. There were rumors of a romantic attachment for him, but nothing was ever made public.
With the wild success of his first business ventures, Harry ended up providing start-up money for dozens of businesses across the magical U.K., breaking the pure-blood lock on most of the magical economy. Laura Shacklebolt went on to produce magical musical instruments, Lavender Brown started a cosmetics line, and Ginny Weasley started a fashion magazine that rivaled Teen Witch Weekly. All these and more owed their start to P.G.B. Investment Company.
More would-be dark lords tried to make a go of it in England, but Amelia and then Kingsley led the aurors in dismantling the rising movements before they became serious problems. Equal rights for muggleborns and steadily increasing rights for goblins, werewolves, house-elves, centaurs, vampires, veela, and all the other sentient species eventually spelled the doom of any movement based on pureblood elitism or racism.
At the age of two-hundred and eleven and surrounded by his large family, Lord-Baron Harry Potter-Gryffindor-Black died peacefully in his bed two minutes after his wife had started her next great adventure.
And that, everyone, is the end of this tale. No sequels here.
Due to how long I've been working on this one story (over 2 years!?), I've had a number of betas. I wish to give a heart-felt "Thank you!" to Dale, Cami, and Harold. [ beta note: You’re welcome! ] Without you three, this story would have been even less comprehensible than it is.
I wrote this story as something of an experiment. My previous stories I wrote completely before posting any of them. This time, I posted as I went. The two biggest benefits were getting encouragement while still writing and being able to integrate suggestions. I thank you, readers and reviewers, for all the constructive criticism, praise, and suggestions you have given me over the past two years.
Unfortunately, the downside was bigger, at least in my view. There were many things I couldn't go back and fix after the fact. Nim really should have had some friends pre-Harry that floated in and out (or even went on a double-date with Harry and Nim), O.W.L. results weren't ever mentioned, Nim and Harry should have had a serious fight somewhere along the line, there should have been more news of deez attacks, I was originally planning on doing more with the adult Patils and the clique that Harry suddenly finds himself part of, and the list goes on.
Don't get me wrong. It was fun and even educational. I just don't think I'm ever going to do a "post as I write" again. I'll write, polish, and beta before I post next time.
Thanks for reading.