AN: Thanks again for the reviews, the favs, the following, etc... This story now comes to an end with this final chapter. Hopefully I have wrapped up all of the loose ends from the previous chapters. Again, this was based on a novel idea I came up with many months ago (as with most of my stories I try to take a unique perspective to some aspect of the Harry Potter world). It was a difficult story at time with the time travel issues and trying to use a logical approach to a non-logical fictional concept. Hopefully you have all enjoyed this story (a short one in comparison to several of the stories which I have already published).
25 June 1995
Headlines in the Daily Prophet
Harry Potter wins Triwizard Tournament!
The Boy Who Lived is now the Boy Who Triumphed. 14 year old Harry Potter, who's name was mysteriously entered into the Triwizard Tournament has come out victorious. While the facts around the actual events in the third and final task are still being investigated, what we do know is that the last two remaining champions in the competition were Hogwarts' own Cedric Diggory and the ever astounding Harry Potter. Apparently young Mister Diggory had been injured during his attempt to navigate the maze, and he even admits that he only made it as far as he did in the competition due to help from his young competitor. Mister Potter, who is only a Fourth Year student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, overcame a dragon in the first task, rescued not one, but two hostages in the second task, and outlasted three 17 year old students in the final task.
For more on the tournament, turn to page 3!
For more on the young Harry Potter, turn to page 9!
He Who Must Be Named, Returns and is Defeated Again!
Yes, you read that correctly. This has been confirmed by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Head Auror, Gawain Robards, attested to the findings in an obscure graveyard in Little Hangleton. At the end of the Triwizard Tournament, the new champion, Harry Potter was apparently whisked away to this mysterious graveyard. While the details surrounding his abduction are still being discerned, what we have learned is chilling at first, but reassuring in the end.
The Triwizard cup had apparently been turned into a port-key by one of the Dark Lord's followers who was attempting to return him to his bodily form. This unknown Death Eater was working in concert with Lord Selwyn, who was previously tried as a Death Eater in 1981 after the original defeat of He Who Must Not Be Named by the then infant Harry Potter on Halloween night.
However, the ritual to bring back the Dark Lord was interrupted as Harry Potter's guardian, Lord Sirius Black, and one of the professors at Hogwarts, Dr. AC O'Malley, were suspicious of interference in the tournament and managed to track the young champion to the scene of the ritual. The two brave men then saved young Harry from a sure death at the hands of the newly incarnated dark wizard. However, before he was subdued, the Dark Lord managed to summon many of his supporters to come to his side. The Aurors also arrived on the scene and managed to capture or incapacitate the Death Eaters. The Dark Lord, himself, was killed by two Unspeakables who had arrived at the scene. The Department of Mysteries could not be reached for comment on this incident.
Amelia Bones, Director of the DMLE, made the public statement last night at an impromptu new conference to let everyone in magical Britain know that we are all safe from the scourge that was He Who Must Not Be Named and his attempt to return to power.
For more on the battle with the Death Eaters, see page 5!
For more on the DMLE and the Aurors, see page 11!
For more on Sirius Black, see page 4!
For more on Dr. AC O'Malley, see page 12!
Death Eaters Rounded Up After Botched Ritual
A number of wizards who had been exonerated for the work with He Who Must Not Be Named after his defeat in 1981 were found to have gathered for his support yesterday evening. They no longer have the excuse of being placed under the imperius curse to defend their behaviour. Those who were arrested included Vincent Crabbe, Sr., Erich Avery Sr, Erich Avery Jr, Walden Macnair, Jeremiah Jugson, Albert Runcorn, Theodious Yaxley, George Goyle, Silas Selwyn, and Thorfinn Rowle. Several of those individuals had used the defence of previously being imperiused to serve the Dark Lord. There were several casualties during the fighting between the gathered Death Eaters and the Aurors who arrived to rescue the young Harry Potter; most notably Alecto and Amycus Carrow, Bartholomew Gibbon, Alfonse Nott, and Samuel Rosier, Sr were among those who did not survive their encounters with the Aurors.
For more on the battle with the Death Eaters, see page 2!
Lucius Malfoy tossed his copy of the Daily Prophet on the table in front of him and went back to eating his breakfast. His wife raised a perfectly trimmed eyebrow at his actions.
"Something unsettling in the news today?" she asked.
"The fools were unable to see that their path was one of foolishness," he stated bitterly. Then he looked up at his wife and smiled slightly. "At least I had the foresight to avoid the call last night, despite the pain that it caused."
Narcissa smiled slightly. "You said that the young professor, Dr. O'Malley, had indicated that things would be changing, and you actually listened to that man. Frankly, Lucius, I am a little surprised by your actions of late."
Lucius leaned back in his chair and he grasped his cane with his left hand. "You know how I take advantage of the special family ward in the head of this cane that warns me of whom I can trust when I meat with them and whom I cannot trust. The handle always cooled slightly when I spoke with him, indicating that he was trustworthy. As opposed to anytime I met with any of the men who were arrested last night, or even with Fudge himself, as the handle would warm to my touch, telling me that they were not to be trusted."
Narcissa nodded in response to her husband's words.
Then Lucius continued, "He did, however, recommend that I contact the Greengrass family about a potential betrothal contract between their youngest daughter and our Draco."
"You hadn't mentioned that before," remarked Narcissa. "The younger daughter? Don't they have a daughter Draco's age?"
Lucius nodded, "Yes, but apparently there is already a contract being negotiated for her."
Narcissa frowned, "But you just read that Alfonse Nott was killed last night."
Lucius shook his head. "While I am aware he had been pressuring Cyrus for a contract, that is not the one that I was referencing." Seeing the questioning look on his wife's face, he continued after a slight sigh. "It seems that your cousin and his increasing fame is going to be presenting a proposal to Cyrus on behalf of his godson, the one and only Harry Potter, the Boy Who Triumphed," he added with a snort.
"Don't tell me that this professor O'Malley suggested that to Sirius as well," commented Narcissa, her eyes narrowing as she considered the information she was learning.
Lucius merely shrugged his shoulders in response.
"I met him once," observed Narcissa, "he seemed, familiar, yes, that's the word I was looking for. He did seem somewhat familiar."
"I suppose I should be grateful, not that the Death Eaters were either captured or killed last night, but that I was not among them," added Lucius thoughtfully. After a pause he added, "Our world is changing, whether we like it or not. Blood status may not be so important going forward, but that does not mean that neither me nor my son will not have a say on how it is shaped going forward."
"With a potential alliance with the House of Greengrass, and then leading to a possible future formal alliance with House Black and House Potter," added Narcissa, "that would lead to a formidable power block, regardless of whether or not blood purity mattered."
Lucius considered the new developments and his wife's words, then he smiled, "I do so like being on the winning team."
26 June 1995
A tall man with dark silk robes and wavy long greying hair made his way to the front entrance way of the grand manor.
"Sure beats Grimmauld Place," muttered the man. "The outside looks almost as impressive as my new manor in the country," he added as he paused to take in the grandeur of the house. "But it's just not quite my style."
As he finished speaking to himself, the front door opened and a house elf stepped out onto the landing. "Will the Lord Black be entering the home so I can make an announcement or is he going to be standing outside all day admiring the architecture?"
Sirius let out a deep roar of a laugh. "A house elf with an attitude? And apparently not a mean one like Kreacher, how marvellous."
The house elf narrowed its large bulbous eyes at the wizard standing below the steps. "I can hear you, these large ears do work," he said, then continued, "and I did have a distant cousin who worked for the House of Black, who went by the name of Kreacher."
Sirius smiled at the elf, "It seems the snarky nature runs in the family then."
Ignoring the comment from Sirius, the house elf inquired, "Do you plan on keeping Master Greengrass waiting much longer?"
"No, no, not at all," replied Sirius. Then with a wave of his hand he added, "So, lead on MacDuff!"
"The name is Tomas," corrected the house elf with a sniff as he turned to enter the house. "You may follow me, or not."
The house elf then headed into the foyer, with Sirius walking quickly to catch up the small creature. He then followed him right into the main sitting room.
"The lord of this house will see you, shortly," commented Tomas before disappearing.
Sirius paced around the room, looking at various family portraits that were clearly done over the past several generations. He started to wonder if he was making a mistake showing up here to speak with Cyrus Greengrass on Harry's behalf. It went against everything that Sirius believed was right and proper, which meant that it was most likely considered right and proper within the magical world.
Sirius heard a slight cough from behind him and spun around on his heal to come face to face with the lord of the house. Cyrus Greengrass cut an intimidating figure, standing at just over six foot tall, broad shoulders, and a well tailored robe of black with green highlights, made of the finest cloth.
"Ah, Cyrus, er Lord Greengrass, it is so good of you to allow me to come meet with you this day," Sirius said, fumbling over proper pure-blood etiquette.
"Cut the charade, Sirius," said Cyrus with a stern look on his face. "You're not fooling anyone when you try to put on the airs of a pure-blooded aristocrat!"
Sirius took half a step back and swallowed hard, hoping he hadn't messed everything up already.
Cyrus' face then broke into a big grin as he stepped closer, "Got you there, Sirius! The look on your face was priceless!" He then reached out and shook Sirius' hand vigorously. "It is good to see you again. After all of the pranks you pulled on everyone back in school, it was so good to actually get one over on you! Even if it was only a small one."
Sirius started to relax as he realised that Cyrus was having him on when he first arrived. "It is good to see you, too," he replied tentatively.
"I know, I know, we really didn't know each other very well back in our school days, and I may have been one of the only ones in Slytherin who actually enjoyed your pranks," added Cyrus.
"You never seem to quite fit in there," recalled Sirius.
"Well, not in some ways, but definitely in others," countered Cyrus. "You know, actually cunning, not mean spirited, actually having ambition, not arrogance. Besides, I knew your brother, he was a good kid, although perhaps a bit misguided back then."
"Actually, I heard he eventually repented of his ways, and tried to betray the Dark Wanker, and that was why he was killed," stated Sirius.
"You know, I am not at all surprised to hear that," said Cyrus with a nod, who then waved for Sirius to follow him into his study.
The two men sat down and Cyrus offered Sirius a shot of whiskey, "This is the good stuff, Scotch whiskey, muggle made, over 100 years old, not that Ogden's crap."
Sirius raised an eyebrow and accepted the small glass. "Muggle whiskey? How irresponsible of you! I'm already taking a liking to you, Cyrus."
"So, Lord Black," Cyrus said, changing to a slightly more formal tone, "why don't you tell me just why you are here?"
"Ah yes, why am I here? That would have something to do with your daughter, Daphne, and my godson, Harry, Harry Potter," Sirius said by way of explanation. "It seems that the kids have been getting along quite well, and do spend a fair amount of time together."
"So I gathered, considering what happened with the second event in the Triwizard fiasco," said Cyrus. "Oh, and congratulations on Harry's victory in that damned tournament; and also on your success with those Death Eaters at the end. So, it would seem that you haven't lost your touch as an Auror then."
"Apparently not," said Sirius, avoiding saying anything about being prepared ahead of time due to knowledge from the future. "So, as I was saying, the kids, they do get along well, and while I am not much for tradition, personally, there may be certain advantages for both of them, Daphne and Harry, and for our families, if we were to make some sort of agreement, or alliance, or whatever." His words seemed to die in his mouth as he had a hard time actually stating the phrase betrothal contract.
Cyrus tried to still his features, then he burst out laughing. "You really are bad at pure-blood formalities and traditions, Black, really bad."
"Are you going to make this any easier on me?" asked Sirius.
"No, why would I? This is entertaining enough as it is," said Cyrus with a large grin.
Sirius rolled his eyes, then he downed the rest of the whiskey that was in his glass. "Fine, have it your way," he begrudgingly continued. "Lord Greengrass, I propose that we enter into a betrothal contract between your daughter, Daphne Greengrass, and my godson, Harry Potter, heir to the Potter family and heir to the Black family."
Cyrus leaned back and stared at the man across from him. "You actually managed to say all of that and it didn't kill you. Well done, Sirius, or should I say, Lord Black, well done. So, to save you some worry, if we can hash out a few agreeable terms the answer will be yes. Daphne has caught wind of this proposal and I have been given permission to proceed, under the strong direction that traditional Black family requirements in a betrothal contract are not to be included."
"Under one condition," countered Sirius. Upon seeing a questioned response on Cyrus' face, Sirius continued. "That no one outside of our immediate families know the details of the agreement. Because after all, everyone will assume that we have entered into a traditional Black family betrothal contract."
"I think I am fine with that," Cyrus said with a smile. "You do have a little Slytherin in you yet, despite everything you have done publicly to deny it."
Sirius then pulled out a satchel, and then he withdrew a large document, that looked to be at least 50 pages of parchment thick. He then let the document land on Lord Greengrass' desk with a loud thud.
"And what is that, precisely?" asked Cyrus.
"That, my friend, is the typical Black family betrothal contract, complete with grounds for terminating the bride for various reasons, demands of spousal purity on the part of the wife, oaths to support pure-blood idiocy; you know, all the usual crap."
Cyrus frowned as he stared at the document. Then Sirius continued, "If you're having trouble falling asleep, or better yet, if you want to have nightmares, read that before you go to bed sometime." Then he reached back into the satchel and pulled out a document that was only a couple of pages thick. "This is the basics that I think we need to include. And we can discuss whether we need to add anything or take anything out. Despite what the Daily Prophet used to say about me, I can be quite reasonable. Just don't tell anyone else, please."
Cyrus seemed to be relieved as he picked up the contract proposal. He skimmed through the paragraphs that outlined details such as both young people could choose to back out before the wedding without any adverse actions, that both would be allowed to work if they so wished, that there is an alliance formed between the three houses, Black, Potter and Greengrass.
Sirius then added as he noticed Cyrus was nearly done reading the articles, "Oh, there is an option about designating heirs for each of the three houses, so if the kids want to do that, then it will be up to them."
"So, my daughter marries into House Black and House Potter, and she could possibly have an heir for the Greengrass family, and my family is formally aligned with two of the most respected and powerful families in all of magical Britain," observed Cyrus as he looked through the document once again.
"Yes, basically, that's it," agreed Sirius.
Cyrus narrowed his eyes at Sirius and his tone became much more intense. "So, what exactly do you get out of this, Lord Black?"
Sirius laughed at the question. "Me? What do I get? I get to help make my godson happy. I get an ally out of your family, and perhaps most importantly, I get to thumb my nose at pure-blood tradition and many people will have no idea what I have done."
"So, part of this is for the kids, and part of this is just a prank? You're unbelievable, Lord Black," stated Cyrus.
"Of course," agreed Sirius triumphantly. "But wait, what is your answer?"
Cyrus rubbed his chin dramatically before finally replying with a chuckle, "If the young ones want this, I will sign it. Besides, it keeps Nott off of my back, forever."
"Well, Alfonse Nott is off everyone's back forever, is he not," stated Sirius with a laugh.
Cyrus smiled as he grabbed the bottle of whiskey. "This may be a long day yet, as we still have this whole bottle to finish!"
"And what about telling the kiddos?" asked Sirius as he handed Cyrus his glass.
"They still have a few years of school yet, there's no rush to finalise it," he said as he filled both glasses with the whiskey. Then he looked back at his new ally, "But as long as everyone knows this is happening, that may satisfy both of us for a little while."
Sirius happily took his now refilled glass. "I'll drink to that!"
Theodore Nott had been called home to help prepare for the funeral for his father. The Nott family had been rising in stature among the pure-blood elite within the magical society. Up until the night that Alfonse Nott was found dead when he went to Voldemort's side to assist him with his planned return to power.
However, in light of the growing public opinion against pure-blood supremacy and in the clear final defeat of the Dark Lord Voldemort, the Nott family had seen their reputation drop faster than a house elf could apparate around their mansion.
Theodore was in a sour mood, and he was working on plans for getting revenge on any whom he saw as responsible for his father's death and his family's declining reputation. His mother noticed his dour look.
"What has you so upset? It's not like you actually spent much time with your father over the time when you were in school," observed his mother. "You didn't seem to want to have any interaction with him when you were home on break."
"That's not the point," he grumbled.
"Then what exactly is the point?" she asked.
"It's not fair! It's not fair that we're losing all of the advantages we have had!" he complained. "It's not fair that Potter and Malfoy and Greengrass come out looking so good! I thought father promised me what ever girl I wanted, and I wanted Greengrass!"
"Demanding a woman who has no interest in you will never bring you happiness," chastised his mother. "You'd be better off learning to live with the change in our world. The Dark Lord is gone, the blood-purist movement is ended with the defeat and capture of the remainder of his followers the other night. You will have to learn to live with this new world, or you will find yourself in a lot of trouble, or you will just have leave here."
Theodore was shocked to hear these words from his mother. "But," he began to protest.
"That's enough out of you," she snapped at him. "If you had been older, you probably would have followed him to that damned graveyard and ended up either dead or in Azkaban. Why? To follow someone who lied to everyone all along? Did you not even read the papers? They have proof that the Dark Lord wasn't even a pure-blood. He was just using people to get power for himself. It's time you grow up young man and realise nothing will be handed to you ever again. Not with the name Nott!"
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry still had 1 more week for exams . However, the rumours surrounding a purported betrothal between Harry Potter, the Boy Who Triumphed, and Daphne Greengrass, spread almost as soon as Sirius Black left the Greengrass Manor. Neither Lord Black or Lord Greengrass would admit to know anything about how the information was leaked to the general public, but it did not take long before articles in various publications were announcing the proposed union.
Harry Potter was a little bemused by all of the sudden attention. He had already been warned by his godfather that there would be discussions about a possible betrothal contract, and Sirius had been careful to explain to Harry the various reasons why this may be a good thing for Harry. He also reassured Harry that if he did not want to pursue this, then he would put a stop to it all immediately, and Sirius made it clear that he would expect the same right of refusal to be given to Daphne as well.
Daphne's initial reaction to the rumours were just that, she assumed that it was just simply speculation, or conjecture, or someone trying to prank her. But she did receive a message from her mother warning her about the proposed betrothal contact and reassuring her that Daphne would definitely have the opportunity to refuse this if she so desired, as that was one of Lord Black's stipulations.
Hermione Granger, however, was appalled when she heard the rumours. She confronted Harry and Daphne as they were studying for exams one afternoon; or more correctly, Harry was helping Daphne prepare for her exams as he was exempt from them after having competed in the TriWizard tournament.
"That is so barbaric!" exclaimed Hermione. "How can you treat a friend of yours this way?"
Harry wasn't sure how to respond, by Daphne was quick with a reply. "First of all, you do not know what you are speaking about, as our customs include betrothal contracts, and they are not viewed as barbaric per se in out society. Granted, some of them from certain families have had certain, shall we say, restrictive and potentially punitive clauses, but that is only in some of them."
"I've heard stories of what the Black family includes in their betrothal contracts," protested Hermione.
"Stories, and possible fabrications," pointed out Daphne. "And now that your bring this up, Harry has done nothing to treat me poorly, in fact, since you seem to be insisting on knowing details, we both have the right to refuse the contract, which is highly unusual in magical betrothal contracts, and that, Hermione, is not public information about the proposed contract between Harry's godfather and my father."
"But, wait, did you say that the contract is not even between the two of you? That makes it sound even worse," complained Hermione.
"Many cultures have arranged marriages," argued Daphne. "And in our society, being the eldest daughter to a pure-blood family with no male heirs, well, that makes it difficult to negotiate anything that would be beneficial to my family."
"But that still sounds barbaric," argued Hermione.
Harry put a hand on Hermione's shoulder in order to calm her down. "Hermione, you're one of my first and best friends. Please, just trust us on this. In muggle society, is it not customary for a young man to ask permission of a young woman's father in order to marry her? What if the father said okay, but only under certain circumstances? Does that make the couple love each other any less?"
"But, but," Hermione stuttered as she tried to come up with another argument.
Daphne spoke more softly to the apparently confused Hermione. "Granger, remember that no one is forcing anyone to do anything at this point. And, it may also be true that this arrangement is protecting me from other arrangements that would be both hurtful and dangerous, on many levels. Just relax, and trust us on this, okay."
Hermione bit her lip and nodded that she understood. "But some things in this magical world just don't make sense," she said as she turned to leave them to their studying.
The next day, the Daily Prophet ran an article on the two men who helped defeat the resurrected Dark Lord. The front page of the paper once again focused on Dr. AC O'Malley and Lord Sirius Black, an unlikely duo to come together and work on their own in order to defeat the newly resurrected He Who Must Not Be Named (the newspaper continued to refuse to print the name Lord Voldemort or even use the name Tom Riddle, despite the previous article giving the former Dark Lord's family history).
A picture of the two men standing together near the graveyard was published with the article. The reporter had tried to convey just how and why these two teamed up to work together and why they went to the graveyard in the first place. There was no mention of the horcruxes in the article.
Sitting back in his study at the new Black Manor house, Sirius Black looked at the article and scoffed. "Me, a hero? I do not think that they know me very well," he muttered to himself and then tossed away the paper.
AC O'Malley had glanced at the article and was grateful that not too many questions had been asked. There was the usual why were you there, what were you expecting, and what did you plan to do, sorts of questions. For AC it was simply handled by Sirius being worried about his godson and tracking him when he disappeared from the maze. The reporter didn't bother to ask how Sirius and AC had tracked Harry, as it was easily assumed that magic was used to do this. The reporter also did not ask too many questions about how He Who Must Not Be Named was defeated, as the story was sensational enough with recounting that there was a battle, the Aurors showed up as well as a couple of Unspeakables, and the dark wizard and his followers were soundly defeated. That was enough of a story for the writer, and the Daily Prophet felt it was enough of a story for their readers.
AC O'Malley was not exactly pleased to have to put up with all of the added publicity after Tom Riddle had been defeated. He was surprised that the newspaper and other media outlets in magical Britain accepted the truth of Tom Riddle's background so readily. He wondered how much of the changes in their world's view towards muggle born and half-blood witches and wizards came from his continued teachings on the topics, not only to his students, but to the general public as well. He never wanted to become a celebrity, but simply the instrument of change in the magical world, and he had always hoped that he would be able to stay in the background as he did so. But, to his frustration, the various articles were putting a much bigger spotlight on him than he had hoped for. Sure, he understood that his lectures and talks and the papers he published would bring him some attention, but his goal was always to focus that attention on the changes that needed to be made, and not on himself.
As AC glanced at the latest copy of the Daily Prophet, he shook his head and placed it on the side of his desk when he was startled by a knock on his door. "Come in," he called out to who ever had shown up unannounced. The students were taking exams at this time, and they were not his history of magic exams, so he was fairly certain it was not a student on the other side of the door.
AC looked up to see a woman with a fair complexion and bright blue-green eyes step through the door. He initially thought that she looked familiar, and tried to place where he might know her from.
Madam Astrea Faucons stepped in to his office, wearing a simple red robe with black lace trim. AC wondered if this woman was a little over dressed for making a random visit to the office of a simple history magic professor.
"Hello, AC," came the soft voice of the woman, a voice that seemed strangely familiar to the AC.
AC blinked slightly, and coughed, "Excuse me, madam, but do I even know you?"
"We did meet, once, in Diagon Alley," she said slowly. "Apparently we collided recently as I was on my way back to my potions shop. Faucons' Potions Extraordinaire."
"I think I do recall that day," he said trying to place her voice. "My apologies for not paying better attention to where I was going."
Astrea Faucons walked towards his desk, smiled as she approached the desk, and then leaned forward.
AC could not take his eyes off of this woman, and as she leaned forward he felt flushed as he realised he was not able to take his eyes off of her bosom which her dress robes did little to hide. As she leaned forward towards him, a pendant fell forward from between her cleavage.
The light hitting the silvery pendant caught his eye and drew them to focus on the jewellery, and then he noticed the letters A, G and M linked together artistically. Linked in just the same way he had designed a pendant for his wife years ago, before their son was born.
He blinked once again then his eyes shot up to meet hers.
"Astoria?" he cried out, tears welling up in the corners of his eyes.
Her face turned to a broad smile. "But of course, you couldn't hide from me forever, you know."
AC was stunned and confused and elated all at once. He felt a certain nausea grow in his stomach as his emotions went wild as his mind tried to comprehend what was happening. "But how? Where's Daphne? How did this happen?"
Astoria straightened herself up and looked back at her husband whom she had not seen nor spoken to for several years. "Daphne came to save me from Nott's thugs. She escaped from him when she redesigned the time travel device after you came back here. She even made it portable. And Daphne told me that you had come back in time."
AC stood up from behind his desk and made his way around to engulf her in a bearhug. He hid his face in her shoulder, smelling the perfume scents in her hair. After a minute in silence he leaned back to look her in the eyes once again.
"But how could you be here? You had died three years before I left to come back here," he stated, feeling confused about the entire situation, "and now everything has changed."
Astoria moved to sit down in one of the two chairs facing his desk, and pulled AC by the hand to sit down with her in the chair next to hers. "Daphne left from the timeline that you two were in when you left, the same timeline where I supposedly died a few years before you made your move to change history. Time is apparently linear, or at least it is after possible divergence points. Or that was Daphne's theory anyway. So, she managed to travel back to the night your old friend Theo sent his thugs after me in order to teach you a lesson." She paused for a moment and a tear formed in her eye, then she looked back at AC. "I only presume that she met the fate that we thought I had suffered."
AC tried shaking the confusion out of his head as he tired to understand all of the ramifications of the various jumps through time that had been made. "Unless it was always Daphne who was killed that night and you never did die," suggested AC.
"I guess we'll never know," came the sad reply from Astoria.
After an awkward minute in silence, Astoria looked up at AC and gave him a crooked smile. "So what is this I heard about you and Madam Rosmerta?"
AC blushed slightly. He stammered a moment before finally responding clearly, "Nothing happened, really, and besides, in my defence, I thought that you had died, in the future from now, well, in my past. And, the whole reason I came back was to protect you, so that we could be together."
Astoria relented and smiled at him, allowing him to relax a little. "It seems to be working so far. I also recall that Daphne said she made you make her a promise."
AC nodded, relieved to be off the hook about his friendship with Rosmerta. "About that, well, she did not want to end up with Nott again, and that is pretty much a given, or should be by now. And her secret crush just may end up with her."
Astoria looked at him with narrowed eyes. "What did you do now?"
AC smiled a little more broadly as he replied, "I was a Slytherin for a reason, even if I didn't show it that much when I was student. Certain parties may well have already arranged for a betrothal contract, a much better one as far as your sister is concerned."
Astoria smiled at his statement. Then she frowned at him as she changed the subject, "Could you have made it any more obvious as to who you are, Dr. AC O'Malley? I think once I finally saw your name it was all too obvious."
AC shrugged his shoulders, "It's not like anyone is looking for me to be two people at the same time. By the way, when did you arrive back in time?"
Astoria relaxed as she began her reply. "About 1988. And I had no idea who you were or where you were at the time. And I needed a way to support myself."
AC nodded as he observed, "So you opened a potions shop."
Astoria laughed at the comment, "Actually, I travelled to France, worked as an apprentice for a couple of years, before moving back here, to England."
"But you shouldn't need to have apprenticed," argued AC.
Astoria sighed a little, "I had no identification, no money and no name that I could use. What else could I have done? You had no idea I could even possibly come back in time."
AC stood up and pulled her up to him as he embraced her tenderly. "Do me a favour, Tori."
She looked up into his eyes as she asked, "What is that?"
"Never leave me again."
3 July 1995
Headlines in the Daily Prophet
Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has died
Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, O.M. (First Class), Grand Sorc., D. Wiz., X.J.(sorc.), S. of Mag.Q., passed away yesterday due to complications from a magical malady. The renowned sorcerer is known for his years as both a professor of transfiguration at Hogwarts and then for many years as the school's headmaster. He served both as the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards.
Dumbledore received the Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorcery, for his defeat of Gellert Grindelwald after the great wizarding war that consumed much of Europe. He soon after that success was appointed as the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He worked hard in the battle against He Who Must Not Be Named during the British Magical War in the 1970s that came to an end when the young Harry Potter mysteriously defeated him as an infant on October 31, 1981.
He is survived by a brother, Aberforth Dumbledore, proprietor of the Hogshead Inn in the village of Hogsmeade.
For more on Albus Dumbledore, see page 15!
Wizengamot votes No Confidence in Ouster of Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge
After the stunning news revelation that throughout his administration, the Minister for Magic received numerous bribes from those who have been finally proven without a doubt to be supporters of He Who Must Not Be Named, the Wizengamot met in an emergency meeting and did not take long to pronounce their verdict.
The Dowager Longbottom was most outspoken when she declared, "Only an evil man would willingly associate himself with the supporters of that dark wizard, V(_), and by taking their money he compromised the Ministry, he compromised our safety, and he compromised our young people!"
Ver few individuals even dared to speak in favour of the now disgraced former minister. One such individual was Lucius Malfoy, whose own name was dragged into the controversy when it was revealed that he had surreptitiously supported the former minister Fudge. "Our former Chief Warlock, Albus Dumbledore, may he rest in peace, was fond of stating that people deserved a second chance. Perhaps the minister was trying to make sure we stayed at peace, considering the tumultuous years of the previous administration and all of the fighting that had been happening in the past."
The Director of the DMLE, Madam Amelia Bones, was unavailable for comment on this issue, but her office relayed that they are vigorously investigating all information regarding any and all Ministry employees who may have improperly been receiving funds form any source.
For more on the Minister of Magic, see page 3!
Minister For Magic Cornelius Fudge was bribed by Death Eaters for Years!
The DMLE has released evidence that is being presented to the entire Wizengamot that shows for the entirety of his administration, Cornelius Fudge has willingly been accepting bribes from many Death Eaters. With the recent capture and demise of many of He Who Must Not Be Named's most ardent supporters, the opportunity for a financial accounting of those individuals personal records revealed that over the years there were many gifts and large sums of moneys paid to the now ousted Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge. (See related article on vote of no confidence on this page.)
The DMLE released this information due to the concern of a national safety issue for all of magical Britain. There became a clear and consistent pattern of payoffs and bribes, many of which were timed near scheduled meetings and important votes over the past several years.
Notable individuals who were recently arrested or incapacitated last week at the graveyard resurrection of He Who Must Not Be Named include the Notts, the Carrows, the Macnairs, and the Selwyn families.
Lucius Malfoy, who was acquitted of charges of being a Death Eater in early 1982 when he plead the defence of having been imperiused, was also found to have donated numerous times to Mister Fudge's personal accounts. However, there does not appear to be any further evidence of his being a Death Eater, as opposed to many of his familiar associates, as he was not present at the attacks at the graveyard in Little Hangleton when the ritual to return He Who Must Not Be Named to a bodily form occurred last week at the conclusion of the Triwizard Tournament. Lord Malfoy claimed upon questioning by reporters that he only was trying to make sure that the leader of our government was not wanting for anything, stating that he was ashamed at how little the Ministry of Magic paid its penultimate leader.
For more on the DMLE investigation, see page 2!
For more on Lucius Malfoy, see page 16!
The numerous events that had occurred at the end of June and into the beginning of July rocked the magical world in Britain. Their government was being reshaped, the acclaimed leader of the light had died, and the notorious leader of the dark, Tom Riddle, or known to the magical people of Britain as Lord Voldemort, or more simply as He Who Must Not Be Named, had been resurrected and then defeated, along with a number of his followers who had shown themselves to the public where they really stood.
The magical community while in shock, quickly resolved to supporting the more notable workers int he ministry, particularly Madam Bones and the leaders within the DMLE. The Wizengamot vowed to have a new Minister for Magic appointed within a week, and as the head of the DMLE Madam Bones was given the title of the interim Minister for Magic. She made it clear that she did not seek this position, but that she would gladly hold it only as a temporary measure until a proper and fitting candidate was installed as Minister for Magic in the very near future. One of the first things that she began to do as the interim minister was to begin an investigation into all of the various departments within the ministry. This covered all the departments, excluding the Department of Mysteries, where any sort of investigation was immediately rebuffed. Amelia Bones was at least grateful that she knew Saul Croaker quite well and was not feeling that there was any sort of cover up, but that the Department of Mysteries had long been essentially self governed.
It did not take long before various departments were discovered to have Death Eater sympathisers or blood supremacists working within the departments, many of those individuals with high ranking positions.
Lucius Malfoy essentially retired from the public view, although he did participate in the Wizengamot, as he was a member. However, he was no longer seen trying to be friendly with the Minster for Magic or any other leaders within the magical government, and it was rare that he or his wife were seen at public galas after that initial summer and what was for Lucius, an unusual occurrence of having significant amount of bad publicity follow him.
Dolores Umbridge, who had been appointed as the undersecretary to the Minister for Magic, was outed as a blood-purist. It was soon discovered she had been keeping secret files on anyone whom she thought was a muggle born or a muggle lover and was using these files to black mail other employees within the ministry. She chose to retire from any sort of public service, rather than face a public trial for her actions which she realised was unlikely to end well for her. She grew to increasingly resent Harry Potter, for in her little mind, he was the sole individual responsible for the changes in their world leading to the ouster of Cornelius Fudge, the disgrace of the blood purists, and the lauding of the works of such people as Albus Dumbledore. Years later, she would be found dead in her small home, with pink writing found all over her belongings, with one phrase repeated over and over again: "Harry Potter is a bad little boy."
Once the investigation into Cornelius Fudge's administration was complete, it was made clear that he had been little more than a puppet for the former blood supremacists, and many of the Death Eater supporters were now in disgrace and ousted from their positions within the ministry.
Amos Diggory was elected Minister for Magic, and Madam Bones returned to simply being the director of the DMLE. He was cheered universally my witches and wizards when he spoke about the importance of maintaining traditions within their world, but also about the importance of strengthening their economy and their safety by working with the muggles around them. He pointed out that there were not enough magicals in Britain to support an economy that was operating as an island cut of from the muggle world. He also promised to help improve the transition of muggle born witches and wizards into their society so that they would want to stay as productive members of the magical world and not feel the need to try and change everything that was different from the muggle world they grew up, which lead to more support from all corners of the magical world.
Harry Potter and his friends returned for their fifth year at Hogwarts. The staff had changed a little, considering that the famous headmaster had died shortly after Tom Riddle was defeated, and the potions master, head of Slytherin house, had retired over the summer.
At the opening feast, the newly appointed headmistress, Minerva McGonagall, announced that there was now a new potions professor, Astrea Faucons. The woman in questions stood up briefly and received a loud round of applause from everyone in the Great Hall.
Earlier that summer, Severus Snape retired from teaching. He met with Professor McGonagall the week after she had been named the headmistress, the week after Albus Dumbledore had been buried on the school grounds.
"Minerva, I must announce to you, and thus the school, that I cannot continue as the potions professor here," he stated when he walked into her office.
Minerva was startled by the abrupt nature of his pronouncement. "Severus, but why? Is there something wrong?"
Severus Snape paused for a moment before he replied to her. "You must be aware that I bear the Dark Mark, due to my foolish ignorance in my youth. I was provided with protection here, at the discretion of Albus. With the recent events, that being the final defeat of Riddle, and Albus' passing, I no longer need to fear for my life and I no longer need to pretend to be interested in teaching a school full of dunderheads. I no longer need to watch over Lily's son, I no longer need to serve my penance."
Minerva internally was feeling quite mixed emotions. She really did not like Snape's attitudes towards students who weren't in the House of Slytherin, and she definitely did not care for his teaching style, but she could not argue with his skill in brewing potions, even if he was not gifted in sharing his knowledge and skill with others. "I am sorry to hear that, Severus. From your words, I suppose there is nothing I can do or say to make you change you mind."
Severus restrained himself from forming a smile. "You don't need to lie to me, Minerva, I am quite sure you don't want to try and persuade me to change my mind. And you do not need to worry, I have made arrangements for my future."
Minerva took a deep breath and thinned her lips before she replied. "In that case, Severus, may I be the first to wish you well in your future endeavours. And while we are discussing this, is there anyone whom you might suggest for the position as potions professor."
"You could try discussing things with my predecessor, Slughorn, or you could look for newer blood," stated Snape without any emotion. "I understand that there is a new potions mistress in Diagon Alley, and I must say, that she seems quite skilled, even by my standards."
"That is quite the glowing recommendation right there," said McGonagall with a smile. "Does this individual have a name?"
"Madam Faucons," replied the acerbic professor. "I understand she did some training in France."
Minerva nodded appreciatively and then she asked him one more question. "Do you mind sharing with me what your plans will be, the other staff may want to know what you will be doing for your next career?"
"Madam Faucons has actually graciously given me a position at her shop, and she indicated that she may be willing to sell the shop," explained Snape. "I am not certain of her plans, she seemed rather vague when I spoke with her. However, I must say, she did help by creating a potion that managed to slow the spread of the curse that took the headmaster's life. Her work on that potion was apparently more successful than the one I had prepared for Albus."
"You will be missed, Severus," added McGonagall.
"I'll be missed like a bad dream, at least by most of the students," corrected Snape. "I am not unawares of the opinion the majority of the students had of me during my tenure here."
"Well, then, in that case, Severus," concluded McGonagall, "all I can say is that I wish you well, and I do mean that, sincerely."
14 September 1995
The school was getting used to the new professors, and there was a lot less tension amongst the students. The house rivalries had died down to just competitiveness for the house cup and the Quidditch cup, but it had evolved into a much more civil and polite competition. The Slytherins no longer felt the need to prove themselves against the other houses, and they no longer were given carte blanche in their activities by their head of house. The newly appointed head of house, Septima Vector, while being a former Slytherin herself, held no such fanciful notion that her students could and would do wrong. With the loss of the Death Eaters, either to Azkaban or by being killed at the battle of Little Hangleton, or just by leaving the country, as several families had done, had left the house of Salazar a shadow of its former self.
However, there were some students who were not quite so accepting of their new status within Hogwarts or within the greater magical world.
By the second week of classes, Theodore Nott was miserable. His goals for his life were all in shambles. The trophy wife he was expecting to be delivered to him by his father was betrothed to the smug Potter. His father had died in disgrace rushing to the side of the newly resurrected Dark Lord, only to be killed in the ensuing battle that broke out. His families finances were in ruin due to penalties levied by the Ministry of Magic. And all of these changes were due to one person in Theodore's mind, and he would have his revenge on that person.
On Thursday afternoon, of the second week of classes, Theodore finally found his opportunity. Harry Potter was walking down the hallway, without any of his usual friends, be it the mud-blood Granger, the blood traitors Malfoy or Greengrass, or any of the many fools who chose to follow the supposed saviour of their society. In Theodore's mind, Harry Potter wasn't the solution to their world's problems but the cause of all of them. Theodore's hand began to shake a little with the excitement that was welling up within him over his now golden opportunity. He pulled his wand out of his pocket and then stabbed it in the air towards Harry Potter as he called out "Avada Kedavra!"
The bolt of green light shot through the air and whizzed passed Harry's head. Harry had heard some footsteps behind him and he became a little concerned. Once he heard the beginning of the spell being cast he dove for the floor and to his right. As luck would have it for Harry, the bolt of green light went to his left and high, due to the shakiness of Nott's hand.
Harry rolled to his right and had his wand out, grateful for the various training he had received from Sirius, Professor Lupin and others over the years. He began to cast a stunning spell at his attacker.
Nott was so startled by having missed Potter with his spell and then by the crash of rubble from where his spell hit the edge of the hallway up ahead, that he barely had time to jump out of the way from Potter's stunning spell.
The use of a dangerous spell in the hallways of the school set off wards and alarms, notifying the professors of the attack. Harry cast the disarming spell next which managed to remove Theodore Nott's wand from his hand just as Kingsley Shacklebolt, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor arrived. When the Headmistress McGonagall arrived, there was a quick review of the monitoring wards that clearly showed who cast what spells and when.
As they quickly had proof that not only had Theodore attacked Harry from behind, but he also used an unforgivable spell, the DMLE was immediately called to come and deal with the situation.
The trial was then set for the end of September, despite his mother's protestations that he was underage and could not be treated as an adult. The response from the Ministry of Magic and the Department of Magical Law Enforcement was clear: Theodore had been shown to use an unforgivable spell and that he had used it to attack a student, unprovoked and from behind. Those were easily established as facts that could not be argued. The trial was short and the verdict was that the young man was guilty of using an unforgivable with intent to kill a fellow student. The votes from those serving on the Wizengamot judiciary panel were unanimous for having the young man's wand snapped and his magic bound, as his actions indicated that he could not be trusted to have access to magic.
The Nott family's magical line was ended in disgrace at that time.
Saul Croaker is meeting with two of his Unspeakables
"Don't tell me you've run off in time again," stated Croaker as he walked into the office of the two youngest Unspeakables.
There came no reply.
"Fine, be that way," he snapped. "But I do need to know, what did you do this time?"
The man in the grey robes replied simply and with another question, "Well, we didn't change the time line, did we?"
Croaker rolled his eyes. "Now how am I supposed to know that? I thought you said that changing the time line causes everyone to change with it."
"But we are the keepers of time," stated the other member of the duo.
"And we were just doing our usual research," added the first.
"Observing historical events, so as to clearly portray them for the public to know and understand what happened," the female voice added.
Croaker shook his head. "Your definition of observation and research, I fear, is different from the definition the rest of this department uses."
The woman replied incredulously, "What? This is the Department of Mysteries. How we define observation and research may be a mystery to everyone else."
Croaker snorted at the quip. "I do not have time for your nonsense. So, what exactly did you do?"
The man answered first. "We confirmed the death of one Madam Rosmerta in the spring of 1995 was caused by Death Eaters, and that her death subsequently helped lead the national reaction against the Death Eaters and the blood-purity movement, and this stabilised the Ministry of Magic and brought peace to the magical society."
Croaker looked skeptical. "Didn't we already know that, or did you change the timeline?"
"We were fairly certain of the facts," the woman added, "and we did not change that timeline at all."
Croaker narrowed his eyes as he looked the two up and down. "Why does your answer disturb me?"
"It shouldn't," argued the man, "as we made our objective clear and we can continue to inform the magical public of the historical events and how we have made progress as a society."
Croaker was still not convinced by the two. "Now what else did you do?"
The two looked at each other for a moment before the woman responded. "We also observed and confirmed the events surrounding the ultimate defeat of the one who was once known as He Who Must Not Be Named."
Croaker shrugged, "Everyone knows him now as Tom Marvolo Riddle."
"Yes, of course," agreed the man. "And we documented the duel between Professor O'Malley, Lord Black, and the reincarnated Riddle and his followers."
Croaker eyed them even more carefully, his suspicion about what had actually happened in their travels growing. "And what did you discover?"
The woman answered, "The events happened essentially as they have bene reported. While it is not clear how Black survived, the fact that he, O'Malley and Potter all returned alive from the graveyard in Little Hangleton continues to be the most surprising and successful battle of the entire war, and that battle decisively ended the blood purist movement when it was made clear that their supposed leader was actually a half-blood, and that he was the product of a muggle and a near squib; and to top it off, he was defeated by a pure-blood, a half-blood and a Professor who was either a Half-blood or a muggle born."
Croaker shook his head. "So, did you or did you not try out any new spells when you went back to observe?"
The man rubbed his face slightly, "Well, there was this one new spell. And it worked quite well."
Croaker stared at the two. "And what exactly does this spell do?"
The woman continued recounting about the spell, "It's the spell designed to absorb magical energy."
"Magical energy? How can that even be possible? Wait, don't answer that," he stated before either one of them spoke. "What kind of magical energy?"
"It can absorb the killing curse," declared the man.
Croaker was becoming irritated. "And how exactly did you determine this?"
"Well, Potter, here, used it to save Black's life," stated the woman.
Croaker shook his head and stared at the two in disbelief. "You stopped someone from dying? You know that is against the time travel rules!"
"They're more like guidelines," stated Potter.
"Besides, we made the guidelines, or rules," stated the woman, "after I created the time travel device."
"Which you created previously," observed Croaker. "You know Greengrass, you are quite difficult yourself."
"Actually, it's Mrs. Potter," corrected Daphne, "and has been for years. But apparently I did create it in a different future, and my sister brought it to me when I was younger, so I still made the device, just at a slightly younger age."
"So, you saved Black's life," commented Croaker, "which tells me that he originally died, and you didn't allow that to happen."
"He does sponsor this department and our research," stated Harry.
"I'm not any more comfortable with your arguments about this, Potter, or with you either, Mrs. Potter," snapped Croaker. "I can tell we're not getting anywhere with that issue tonight. So then, that leaves the professor, as we already know about what happened to you, don't we Potter? And why does no one the true background of that professor? O'Malley, wasn't it?"
Daphne then answered his questions. "First of all, all that is known is that he came from Australia, but his records are sketchy. And second of all, no one really cares at this point. And apparently, no one really knows his background. We've checked in the past, can't find anything helpful about him."
Croaker was still frustrated with the lack of straight answers. "Where is he now, this history professor?"
Harry spoke up in response, "We know that he retired from teaching at Hogwarts in 2000, and apparently he and his new wife, the potions mistress, Faucons was her name I think, disappeared not long after that. They haven't been heard from ever since."
"Do you two have anything to do with their disappearance?" wondered Croaker.
"Absolutely not," replied Daphne. "Besides, he helped arrange for the two of us to be together, as he did assign us a part of a study group together back in our first year at Hogwarts."
Croaker nodded feeling that he was not going to get much more useful information. "And I'm not going to be receiving a report about this tomorrow, am I?"
"You suggested the policy, nothing in writing about time travel, so as to minimise anyone learning about it," explained Harry.
"So, where does that leave us?" asked the director of the Department of Mysteries.
"Well, things may have been imperfect, but they seem to be doing just fine, now," commented Harry. "So, we're not going to be worrying about it."
"Then you're done playing with the past and the future," stated Croaker, hopefully.
"We'll see," replied Daphne, "we'll see."
AN: C'est fini!