Disclaimer – I solemnly swear that JKR owns everything Harry Potter. Whether or not I am up to no good with her characters is for you to decide.
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Chapter 31 – Wants, Needs and Regrets
Saturday, 24 June 1995
Hogwarts Quidditch Pitch, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Jumping from a height of ten feet is never a good idea. Jumping from a height of ten feet with a pair of large boards strapped to your feet was only ever going to end in disaster. Harry intended on landing with his knees bent and rolling with the momentum. But he didn't take into account his footwear. There was no way that he was going to roll, instead, the boards tangled together and he ended up faceplanting.
Everything hurt, but especially his right ankle from which he'd heard a suspiciously ominous crack when he landed, and his nose and tongue, which he'd bitten when his jaw hit the ground.
Ah good. Help's coming, he absently thought as he heard the stampede of feet getting louder.
"Harry? Are you alright? What were you thinking, jumping from there?' Sirius asked.
"Let me through, let me through," a second voice demanded.
A tingling sensation washed over his body before he was gently levitated, rolled over so that he was face up and laid back on the ground.
Madam Pomfrey's wand was a blur as she waved it about it. A wiggling and a slight crack in his nose fixed that injury. A golden glow encompassed his ankle and he sighed in relief. Numerous other, smaller injuries were similarly wiped away.
"Here, Harry, you might need these," Sirius said, handing him his glasses.
"Thanks," he said, putting them back on.
"You understand that by exiting the maze, you forfeit the Third Task and the TriWizard Tournament, don't you, Mister Potter?" Bartemius Crouch asked with a frown.
Harry pushed himself up so that he was leaning on his elbows instead of lying flat on his back.
"Yep. It's bloody dangerous in there," Harry stated.
"That was the point, you know," Ludo Bagman stated. "To challenge the Champions and to test their mettle."
"Mister Potter, David Fowl, reporter for The Daily Prophet," a short stocky man introduced himself, a piece of parchment and quill floating alongside his head. "Can you tell us what happened inside the maze? What challenges you faced that forced you to exit in such a dramatic fashion?"
"First you have to remember that I never wanted to be in the Tournament in the first place," Harry replied. "And I never considered myself a Champion. The three still in there are true Champions. Not to mention the fact that, with my lack of magical education, I was never going to be a serious competitor."
"One could argue that point, Mister Potter," Fowl replied. "Regardless of your scores, you did successfully complete the previous two Tasks."
"Sheer dumb luck," Harry replied with a shake of his head. "I never expected to complete them, thus, I never tried; my only goal was to 'put on a bit of a show for the audience'."
"And tonight?" Fowl asked.
"My goal for tonight was to walk into the maze and to take a seat until it was over," he stated.
"You never intended to even try?" an incredulous Crouch asked.
"Nope," Harry replied happily. "Unfortunately, the maze had other ideas. The hedge grabbed me and dragged me deeper into the maze before closing up passageways that I assume prevented me from getting back to the start again. So, since I couldn't go through it or around it, I found a way to go over the maze."
As he had been saying all of that, Harry had been undoing and discarding his 'hedge-shoes'.
"Where did you get the materials to make that, Mister Potter?" Crouch asked.
"The hedge of course," he replied. "A few twigs and a whole bunch of spells."
Finally, he was able to stand, gingerly at first as he tested his ankle, but Madam Pomfrey's spells had done the trick and he was quickly bouncing on it to test it out, a smile on his face.
"So, what's been happening out here?" Harry asked.
"Nothing much. Pretty boring, really. At least until you popped up and began walking about on top of the maze," Sirius shrugged.
Harry shook his head. "Whoever came up with these Tasks are idiots. One underwater and one hidden behind a ten-foot hedge. Not exactly conducive to being a spectator event."
Harry attempted to follow Sirius back towards the stands where he'd been sitting, but was prevented from doing so by both Crouch and Bagman, who insisted that he remain close to the small stage that had been set up not far from the Champion's tent.
The next half hour passed in boredom for Harry. There was nothing to see or do. He tried to find Daphne in the stands, but in the crowds of hundreds or thousands, that was impossible. Not that here would have been the best place for them to have some privacy to talk about what had happened moments before the Task had begun.
Finally, a brief flash of light in the middle of the stage heralded the arrival of the second person out of the maze. And this one was clutching a trophy in their hand.
"YOUR TRIWIZARD CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, VIKTOR KRUM OF DURMSTRANG INSTITUTE OF MAGIC!" Bagman's enchanted voice boomed across the stadium.
The crowd erupted in cheers and applause loud enough to deafen. Over it all, a steady thump and deep bass chant could be heard coming from the Bulgarian section of the crowd. By the time it finally stopped some ten minutes later, the remaining two Champions had been retrieved.
Then Harry was made to wait through the presentation ceremony and the many boring speeches from the politicians who all seemed to think that having a captive audience meant that it was the perfect time to do some politicking. The trophy was officially presented to Viktor, along with a bag that looked far too small to hold one thousand galleons, but Harry chalked that up to the wonders of magic. There were photos of Viktor; photos of all the Champions together; and dozens of others that left spots dancing in Harry's eyes.
Finally, Headmaster Dumbledore said the words that Harry had been longing to hear.
"I now declare the TriWizard Tournament of nineteen ninety-four and nineteen ninety-five to be finished!"
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Saturday, 24 June 1995
Headmaster's Office, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
A low grumble, far too low for anyone to make out the words, emanated from Harry as he travelled the spiral staircase up the Headmaster's Office.
This was not where he wanted to be. He wanted to find Daphne. He wanted to finish his conversation with Charlie Weasley and Alexander Vellios. Fortunately, they'd been accommodating when Professor McGonagall had interrupted them just after they'd made introductions to say that Headmaster Dumbledore needed a word with Harry. They'd been able to make plans to meet the next day, at least. And more than anything, Harry wanted to just find his bed and crawl into it; it'd been a long, long day.
"Come in, Harry," Dumbledore called after he'd knocked.
Tiredly, Harry entered and trudged across the room to sit in front of one of the chairs in front of the Headmaster's desk.
"Lemon drop?" Dumbledore asked, holding out a small bowl.
"No, thank you," Harry replied.
"Firstly, let me congratulate you on getting through the TriWizard Tournament," Dumbledore said. "It is truly an achievement, considering your very limited magical education."
"Thank you, Sir," Harry replied.
"I think that I would be correct in assuming that you're wondering why I asked you here?" At Harry's nod, he continued. "Before I answer that, can I ask if you have signed the contract with the Dragon Reserves yet?"
Harry's eyes narrowed slightly. So, this was to be a last-ditch effort to recruit him as a student of Hogwarts, was it?
"No, Sir, we have plans to meet tomorrow to discuss the offer," Harry replied.
"Good, good," Dumbledore replied. "There is still time, then, for me to offer you some information that may assist you in making the wisest choice for your future."
"What information?" Harry asked suspiciously.
"Tell me, Harry, what do you know about the circumstances of your parent's death?"
Harry started at the random change of topic.
"Not much. They were killed by Voldemort, who then tried to kill me. But the spell backfired, killing him instead and left me with this scar," he replied, reaching up to touch his famous lightning bolt.
"Basic, but concise," Dumbledore stated. "However, it is Voldemort's reasoning behind the attack that I think is the most important at this time."
"His reasons?" Harry echoed, before shaking his head. "From what Sirius said, my parents had been fighting against Voldemort, even duelling and escaping him a couple of times; that couldn't have been good for his reputation."
"While that in and of itself would ordinarily have been enough for Voldemort, there was another reason," Dumbledore replied.
"What reason is that?" Harry asked.
"You see, Harry, before you were born, there was a prophecy made about a child that would have the power to vanquish Lord Voldemort," Dumbledore stated.
"A prophecy?" Harry asked incredulously. "Seriously? A prophecy? Everyone I've talked to has said that Divination is a … a, what was it Hermione called it," suddenly he snapped his fingers, "that's right, a woolly subject."
"To most, it is, Harry. But to those few who have the gift, it is something else," Dumbledore replied. "And the person who made this prophecy does have the gift."
"Okay, so there was a prophecy made," Harry said slowly. "What does it say."
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies..."
As Dumbledore finished speaking, Harry sat back in his chair, staring at the man. His mind was whirling, trying to understand. Finally, he gave up with a shake of his head.
"What does it mean?" Harry asked.
"Quite simply, that a child born at the end of July, as you are Harry, whose parents have defied him three times, as yours did, would have an unknown power to vanquish Voldemort and that that child and only that child could do so," Dumbledore explained.
"Then … then isn't the prophecy complete then?" Harry asked. "Voldemort tried to kill me but couldn't. Somehow, and no one seems to know how, I killed Voldemort. That's why I'm famous in the wizarding world."
"That would be true, Harry, if you did, in fact, kill Voldemort that night," Dumbledore stated. "All we know for sure is that Voldemort was defeated. He was not killed or vanquished as the prophecy requires."
"He's not dead?" Harry asked incredulously.
"Alas, no," Dumbledore replied. "It is my belief that he is nothing more than a disembodied spirit at the present time, but he will return and when he does, we must be ready."
"But you don't know for sure?" Harry asked.
"I can assure you that I do."
"How? How can you be sure?" Harry insisted.
"There have been signs and warnings, many of which are hard to see, I will admit, but that does not mean that they're not there. You're just going to have to trust me on this, Harry," Dumbledore replied.
"Why tell me this? Why now?" Harry asked.
"You are the child of the prophecy, Harry," Dumbledore stated. "And it is time that you began to ready yourself to fulfil your destiny. When Voldemort returns, it will be here, in Britain, and you will be needed here."
"Here," Harry replied flatly. "You think I should be here waiting for an evil Dark Lord to return so that I should face him? Didn't that prophecy say something about 'either must die at the hands of the other'?"
"It did, Harry. Only you will have the power to finally vanquish Voldemort."
"Yeah, and that he can do the same to me," Harry replied darkly. "And what's that power supposed to be anyway?"
"The one thing that Voldemort has never known or appreciated. Love," Dumbledore smiled.
Harry stared at the ancient wizard incredulously. Just when he thought the conversation couldn't get any weirder.
"Sorry to break it to you, but I don't swing that way," Harry deadpanned. "And even if I did, what do I know of love? I grew up with the Dursleys!"
"Yes, the family of your mother's sister. That is why I placed you there. The bond between families is truly remarkable," Dumbledore told him.
"Remarkably hateful, yeah, sure," Harry groused.
"I knew when I left you there that I would be consigning you to many dark years, Harry, and yet you have emerged stronger and more capable of love than you know," Dumbledore replied.
The man was an idiot, Harry decided. Placing a baby into an abusive environment and expecting it to come out strong and capable of loving? Harry had a hard enough time simply making friends. Yeah, sure, there was Daphne, but even he wasn't sure what that was. That was why he wanted to talk to her so much, so that he could, hopefully, finally work out what all these weird feeling were that he was constantly trying to understand.
Deciding to leave that topic alone, he changed tacks.
"So, if an evil madman is after me, why leave me untrained? Couldn't you find some way to bring me here sooner so that I'll at least have some chance against him?" he asked.
"I'm afraid that my hands were tied by our laws," Dumbledore replied. "To have removed you from your aunt's home and to bring you here would have been considered as kidnapping. The Tournament presented an opportunity, though. And once I enchanted the cup and ensured that your name came out of it, it was one which I was very glad to see that you took. And once you were here, I did all that I could to further your education and training – I ensured that you had the very best tutors to compliment the outstanding teachers that Hogwarts has and I endeavoured to challenge you through the Tasks of the TriWizard Tournament, although you were less than helpful in that regard."
"WHAT? You're the one who got me into this stupid Tournament in the first place? You could have killed me! You made me walk out to face a dragon! How was I to know that I could talk to her? For all I knew, I was about to be eaten or roasted. And then you endeavoured to challenge me through the rest of the TriWiz?" Harry asked, his eyes narrowed. "You were the one who chose to put Daphne at the bottom of the lake, just to motivate me."
"I was and it succeeded, in however an unorthodox method," Dumbledore replied. "It showed me that you would do whatever you could for those you cared for."
"And I'm guessing that you were behind the hedges forcing me onwards tonight as well?" Harry challenged.
"Correct again, Harry," but this time Dumbledore frowned. "Your early exit from the maze was most displeasing. If you are to be ready to face Voldemort once again, then you must learn to face challenges and overcome them."
"I did," Harry snapped. "The hedges were preventing me from my goal and I found a way to overcome it."
"Regardless, the Tournament is over now and it is imperative that we work towards furthering your education and preparing for Voldemort's return," Dumbledore stated. "I, and Hogwarts, can help you there."
"So can the dragon reserves," Harry countered. "They've offered to continue my education."
"But away from Britain, Harry and that is unacceptable. What would happen if Voldemort was to return while you were still under contract in another county? Countless thousands could very well die while we waited for you to be released from you contract," Dumbledore pointed out.
"You want me to make a decision on a hypothetical maybe?" Harry asked.
"I'm afraid that it is imperative that you do," Dumbledore replied.
Harry could see how the rest of this conversation was going to go. Dumbledore would continue to insist that he remain in Britain, in Hogwarts even, regardless of Harry's personal preferences. The man was a manipulating bastard! He used an ancient artifact to manipulate Harry into choosing his world and had been attempting to pull his strings ever since. And he was still doing it!
All because of a stupid prophecy! Harry knew that he was relatively untrained and if Dumbledore's theory that Voldemort would one day return was true and he was forced to face the Dark Lord, that there was no way that he could survive.
Harry desperately wanted out of the office and out of the castle and away from Dumbledore's influence. The decision that he'd been waffling over had finally been made. All thanks to Dumbledore. But Harry knew that it probably wasn't wise to mention that fact just yet.
"Look. I'm tired and you've given me a lot to think about," he said.
"Very wise, Harry, it is never good to rush into important decisions like this. One must always weigh the options and decide what is the best for the most number of people. Doing what is right instead of what is easy," Dumbledore said, his eyes twinkling over his half-moon spectacles.
With a nod, Harry stood.
"Thank you for the information, Headmaster. Good night."
"Good night, Harry," Dumbledore replied. "We can talk more once your decision has been made about your future education."
Yeah, right, Harry sarcastically thought as he strode towards the door.
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Sunday, 25 June 1995
The Great Hall, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
All through breakfast, Harry tried to work Daphne out and found that he was failing abysmally. The cynical part of his mind told him that that was how it was supposed to be. He was a guy, she was a girl and he'd once heard that the instant a girl even thought a guy was close to figuring her out, she would up and change all the rules and make him start again.
But he'd been stealing glances at her throughout the meal and she gave nothing away. There was no hint of awkwardness or nervousness, no hint whatsoever that anything had happened between them the night before. The conversation was natural with no uncomfortable silences that begged to be filled.
At least on her end.
For him, he felt tongue-tied and clumsy, as though everything screamed out to the world that he was confused and unsure.
Finally, breakfast was over and they rose from the table.
"Uh, Daphne? Could we go somewhere and talk? You know, privately?" Harry asked.
There was only the very briefest of something in her eye which told him that she knew exactly what he was asking.
"Sure, Harry, how about a walk around the lake?" she replied.
"That's be brilliant," Harry replied.
This time, as they walked through the castle and across the grounds, the silence between then seemed uncomfortable, as though the very air around them was thick and heavy.
Their steps took them onto the well-trod path almost unconsciously and Harry could feel his heart start to beat faster, harder, as though it wanted to burst out of his chest in his nervousness.
With a touch on her hand, he stopped her.
"Why'dyoukissmelastnight?" he blurted.
She laughed at him, her smile wide. "Try again, Harry and this time, slow it down so that I have a chance of actually understanding you."
After a deep breath, he repeated his question. "Why'd you kiss me last night?"
She turned from him then and gestured for him to join her as they continued to amble along the pathway.
"Have you decided, Harry? Are you going to sign the contract?" she asked instead of answering his question.
"Yeah, I have and I will," Harry sighed. "I need to."
"And you want to," Daphne added. "But why need?"
"Because I had a meeting with Dumbledore last night and I found out a few things," Harry replied.
"Oh? Such as?" Daphne asked.
"Like he was the one who put my name in the Goblet and that he's been trying to manipulate me, to challenge me, to see what I'm made of and what I can do," Harry replied. "He also told me that Voldemort's not as dead and gone as everyone thinks and that he'll be back one day and because of some stupid prophecy, that apparently, I'm the only one who can vanquish him. Me! An untrained kid defeat a powerful Dark wizard? Oh, and get this, I'm supposed to be able to do it with 'love'!"
Daphne stopped and stared at him, her blue eyes boring into his green ones.
"Dumbledore really told you all that? And he believes it? What does he want you to do?" she asked.
"He wants to have me handy for if and when Voldemort turns up again, not traipsing around the world where I'm of no use to him," Harry spat.
"I see," Daphne replied and gestured for them to start walking again. "And if it wasn't for Dumbledore, what would your decision have been?"
"I don't know, Daph," Harry sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I was leaning towards it, but …"
"You want it," she answered for him. "You love being able to talk to dragons, the things you'll see, the places you'll go; it's an adventure just waiting for you out there, all you have to do is sign on the dotted line. And you'd regret it for the rest of your life if you didn't go."
"I don't know, maybe," Harry conceded. "But it means leaving here and Sirius and Hermione, Susan, Neville and … you."
"You can always come back to us, you know," she pointed out, "once you've done adventuring."
"I guess," Harry replied, not convinced that the passage of time would allow him to come back to the same things, the same people. He'd be different, they'd be different and who knows what would have happened between now and that subjective when.
"And to answer your question, Harry, that's why I kissed you," Daphne told him.
"I don't understand," Harry replied.
"I kissed you for the same reason that you have to go, that if I didn't, I'd always regret it, always wonder what it would have been like. I'm sure that I'll still wonder what might have been. But if you go now, you can come back and who knows," she finished with a shrug.
"I'm glad you did, Daph," Harry told her quietly. "Kiss me, that is. It was nice, I liked it."
"Me too, Harry, me too."
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Sun, 25 June 1995
Harry's Quarters, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
"Nice to finally meetcha properly, Mister Potter," Alexander Vellios, the Head Dragon Handler of the Romanian Dragon Sanctuary said, shaking his hand.
"I'm sorry that we couldn't talk last night," Harry apologised.
Alexander held up a hand. "No need. I understand how these things can be. Now, have you decided what you're gonna do? Are you interested in signing a contract with the Dragon Reserves?"
"That depends, Mister Vellios, what did you decide about the alterations that I asked to be made to the contract?" Harry asked.
"The pay, time off, bonus', all of that, no worries at all," Alexander replied. "As to you completing you're A-levels, you agreed to cover the cost yourself, so that's no worries, providing that it don't impact on your dragon keeper responsibilities."
Harry nodded and smiled.
"Now, as to the length of contract," Alexander replied. "Are you certain that you won't sign on for either the original option – until you finish your NEWTs plus one year? Or even simply until you finish your NEWTs?"
"I don't think that that's a good idea," Harry replied. "That's a long, long time and if either you or I decide that the job isn't a good fit for me, we'd both be stuck. No, I'd much prefer to sign until I get all my OWLs with an option of resigning after that."
Alexander and Charlie shared a long look before Alexander sighed.
"If it wasn't for your parselmouth ability and young Weasley here vouching for you, I'd tell you to get lost. But we haven't had a dragon talker working with the dragons for a very, very long time. So, you've got a deal, Mister Potter. We'll offer the contract from one month from now until you complete all of your OWL examinations with the option of renewal after that."
"Brilliant!" Harry exclaimed.
Alexander pulled a roll of parchment from the inside of his robes and offered it to Harry, who spent the next ten minutes reading it over.
"I just sign at the bottom?" Harry asked.
"Yep," Alexander replied. "Here. Being a contract, you'll need to use a blood quill. Then I'll sign and Weasley'll sign as witness."
Harry took the quill with distaste, remembering the way it stung the last time that he'd used one at Gringotts. Quickly, he signed his name before handing the quill back and spinning the contract around. Once Alexander and Charlie had also signed, the Head Dragon Keeper tapped the scroll, creating a duplicate which he handed to Harry.
"This's your copy and this," he said, pulling out a dragon tooth from his pocket and handing it over, "is a portkey to the reserve. Tap it with your wand and say 'Ramaranth' and it'll bring you straight to us."
"Thanks," Harry replied, smiling at the pass-phrase.
"Right, then. Congratulations, Mister Potter and we'll see you in a month's time," Alexander said, rising and shaking his hand.
"See you, Harry," Charlie said, clapping him on the shoulder. "I look forward to working with you.
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Sun, 25 June 1995
The Grounds, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
It was a small group that moved slowly across the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But no matter how slow they moved, the time came inevitably closer to when one of their number would have to part.
Just inside the wards, only a few metres from the gates and the winged boars that sat upon them, the five stopped.
"You've got everything?" Hermione asked.
Harry nodded. "The reports from all my teachers and tutors," he smiled at that, considering who he was with, "are in my trunk which is safely in my pocket."
"And you won't be alone, will you?" Hermione continued.
He smiled at her. "Stop worrying, Hermione, I'm an adult in case you've forgotten, even if I am younger than the four of you. And, no, I won't be alone. Sirius is meeting me at the Leaky Cauldron and I'll be FLOO-ing straight there from The Three Broomsticks."
"I'll miss you, Harry," Hermione said, flinging herself at him to hug the stuffing out of him.
Once she finally let go, Neville moved forward and clasped his hand.
"Take care of yourself, Harry. Dragons are dangerous, you know," he smiled.
"I'll keep that in mind. Oh, and Nev? Keep an eye out for letters," Harry said. "That goes for all of you, really, but Neville, you'll want to open yours pretty quickly; I'll be sending you a whole bunch of weird and exotic plants that I encounter on my travels."
"Cheers, Harry," Neville beamed. "That means a lot."
Harry pulled a letter from his pocket and handed it to Susan.
"You know that you're supposed to wait until you've gone away before sending me letters, don't you, Harry?" Susan smiled.
"Yeah, but that one's not for you, it's for your aunt. There's some information in there which I think she'll find very interesting," he replied.
"I'll make sure she gets it," Susan promised. "Take care of yourself, Harry and have fun."
She, too gave him a hug before stepping back. In fact, the three of them moved away slightly to give him and Daphne a small bit of privacy.
"Well, I guess that this is it," Harry said, reaching out and capturing her hands in his.
"Yeah, guess so," Daphne replied and Harry could hear that she was only just holding herself together.
"I'm going to miss you most of all, you know," he told her. "I'll write as often as I can."
"You better. And you can be sure that I will, too," she promised.
He leaned forward, then and kissed her. It was long, sweet and filled with everything that neither could say. Eventually they drew apart slightly, their foreheads lightly touching.
"Goodbye, Harry," she whispered.
"No. Not goodbye. It's only farewell for now. We'll see each other again before you know it," Harry told her.
And then, before he could change his mind, he drew away from her, their hands lingering together for as long as possible. Then, with a last wave to Neville, Susan and Hermione, he turned and walked out of the gates of Hogwarts.
A sudden flap and weight on his shoulder announced Hedwig arriving.
"There you are, girl. I was wondering where you were," Harry murmured. "Well, are you ready for our next adventure?"
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A/N – And thus ends Muggle-Raised Champion. I see countless possibilities going forward from this point but without having anything planned out, I'm going to put any potential sequel on hold until sometime in the future.
I must admit to being astonished by the responses I have received about this story. It definitely seemed to polarise a lot of people – many, many loved it and some hated it.
I never quite understood why the fact that Harry's guardian not allowing him to do something was considered so wrong. Apparently, the magicals were supposed to swoop in, do whatever magic they liked and whisk Harry off to Hogwarts. Sounded too much like kidnapping to me and reeked of something only purebloods who thought muggles were utterly beneath them would do.
To those of you who read the story all the way through to the end, who stuck with it even with my absence of many months in the middle, my heartfelt gratitude – you are the people that kept me going to the very end and I dedicate the story to you.
Muggle-Raised Champion has some amazing stats, stats that I never thought was possible from something that I could write. As of this posting, more than 670k people have viewed it; there are over 1,530 reviews; it has been placed in 83 C2s; more than 2,920 people Favourited it; and more than 4,325 people Followed it. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Virtual cookies to each and every one of you who read and loved my story.
To finish with, I thought that I'd answer a question that I know hundreds of you are going to be asking: what of Voldemort? Where was the resurrection? Well, the simple answer is that Voldemort is still somewhere in the depths of Albania (and Albania and Romania aren't that far apart for a sequel to happen grin). If you remember back in chapter 13, Sirius mentioned that Pettigrew was captured; he and the rat were given trials where Sirius was freed and Pettigrew was sentenced to and given a Dementor's Kiss. No Peter equals no one to bring Voldemort back from Albania. I also never even hinted that Voldemort was anywhere near anything happening throughout the story. As to the questions about Ginny and the earlier years, those questions were answered in chapter 15.
For those interested, I'm still working hard at my Cupboard Series as well as something completely different which I'll begin posting in the New Year.
Once again, my thanks for your encouragement and for reading.