A/N: The story's over after this brief glimpse into the future. Thanks for all the support over the years. I appreciate it.
The Slytherin Reformation
E: Seventeen Years Later
He didn't think he was that late.
That was his thought right before he nearly stumbled out of the Nott's fireplace.
Harry was able to hold onto that little hope when he dusted himself off and looked around to see the foyer was empty.
Nott Manor looked and felt far different than it had during Harry's first visit the summer before his third year. It was genial and warm. Theo and Hermione had successfully made it into their own home over the years.
Harry had only taken a few steps away from the fireplace and was leaving the foyer when the fireplace behind him roared to life, tall green flames flashed before Theodore Nott smoothly stepped out. Barely glancing at Harry when he walked past him, before saying. "You're late."
"And what was that?" Harry gestured to his friend and then to the fireplace which seemed like enough evidence to show that he was in fact not late.
Theo stopped and smiled, "I had to return to Hogwarts," He banished the soot from his robes, "The perils of my profession."
"Professor Nott," Harry shook his head. Still finding it difficult to grasp that his best friend was a teacher at their school. It felt like they had just graduated last summer. But it's been years, the humbling reminder of time rolled over his idle thoughts. "So, everyone else is here?"
"Yeah," Theo gestured for him to follow though it was unneeded since Harry knew this house as well as Theo and Hermione by now. "Susan's still in Berlin for her job and Luna's on safari in South America," He paused, "Or was it South Asia? I'll have to reread her letter." He then turned back to Harry, "Which means you're not only late, but you're the last to arrive."
Harry groaned, knowing what that meant. The two friends were walking down a narrow corridor that would lead to the main sitting room where he imagined the others were all waiting for them. The walls were covered with an assortment of magical and muggle photographs, Harry remembered an earlier visit where this hallway was filled with portraits of previous Lord Notts. They were a condescending bunch. He could hardly forget their mutterings or sneers, from the few visits Harry had made before Theo redecorated the manor after inheriting it from his father who had unexpectedly passed away during their fifth year.
The moving magical photographs were easy to catch the eye especially since Harry saw his own face in many of them looking back at him. Recognizing the moments when they were captured: the one from their seventh year with him wearing his Head Boy badge with Daphne wearing her Head Girl badge. Tracey was wedged between them, arms around both, grinning, her Quidditch captain badge pinned proudly to her Slytherin robes.
Another of Harry, Theo, and Neville outside The Hog's Head, the three deciding to boldly explore the tavern back in their fourth year. One of him, Daphne, Theo, and Tracey in the Slytherin common room, but they weren't smiling or waving at the camera. This had been taken when they were busy studying for their O.W.L.S back in their fifth year.
He walked past a smiling Hermione and Theo, the photo taken from their wedding. In another, Harry and Daphne were paired with the happy bride and groom. The next he noticed was one of Tracey, Luna, Susan, Hermione, and Daphne, the girls had it taken in the entrance hall right before the Yule Ball in their fourth year. They were all in their best dresses, smiling, and excited for the dancing to start.
One of him, Theo, Tracey, and Daphne with the quidditch cup between them after winning it again in their sixth year. Another of Theo on his first day as a professor with Hermione at his side, proudly smiling. There were countless others that never failed not to make him smile, fondling remembering the moments that were so vividly captured. As well as nonmoving muggle photographs of Hermione's family, including of her growing up, and new ones with her and her parents over the years since Hogwarts with Theo in some as well. The Grangers could also be seen in some of the moving photographs of their daughter's wedding.
"In here," Theo stopped at a door near the end of the corridor, opening it to show his study was as messy as the last time Harry had come over. He stepped inside with his friend closing the door behind him.
"Are you just trying to make me more late?" Harry joked while he watched Theo go over to his desk which was covered in stacks of parchments while the other end had a pile of books that looked perilously close from falling. There were also two picture frames, one on each side of his desk though they faced Theo's side, Harry still knew what the pictures were. One was of Theo and Hermione dancing at their wedding, and the other was a group picture of them that was taken in their seventh year.
"Late is late," Theo reminded him, "and last is last. You know nothing can save you now."
"The arrival of Susan or Luna could," he pointed out, but he knew his cause was hopeless. By the rules they had made and agreed to, the last one to arrive at their gatherings had to pay for the entire meal. Harry had the good sense to remember to bring some money in case his trepidation had proved correct. "I thought we were meeting at Neville's."
"No, we switched with him," Theo sat in the comfortable, high back chair behind his desk, his briefcase in his lap. He looked up at what he was doing, "Did you actually go there?"
Harry chose not to answer but could understand his friend's tone given where Neville's place actually was right now.
A few years back Neville had made a daring purchase of an old muggle zeppelin, how their friend found it, they didn't know. He then spent more money on it and with their help adding charms, protections, spells had turned it into a comfortable floating home. To the outside muggle eye, it would look like the small compartment below the massive airship. Not that they'd see an actual zeppelin if they did spot it. His home was the size of a cottage, with an upstairs, guest rooms and plenty of space when it was his time to host them. It was also flanked by two greenhouses. Neville had traveled the world, studying and collecting all sorts of regular and magical plants and fauna until this past year, where he went to Hogwarts to fill in for Professor Sprout who was taking the year off. Which meant at the moment, Neville's magic airship was parked outside Hogwarts above the Black Lake.
"Why were you there?" Harry wanted to redirect the question away from his mistake and tardiness.
"I had a quick follow up meeting with one of my Slytherins," He answered, flicking his wand, one of the piles of parchment floated off his desk, and zoomed into his open, waiting briefcase.
Harry knew that ever since Theo became a professor at Hogwarts and the Head of Slytherin, that his friend scheduled these little meetings with every Slytherin from first to seventh. To get to know them, or to check up on them. To make sure they're settling in and not being overwhelmed whether it's their first or final year at the school.
It's been so brilliant that Headmistress McGonagall implemented it for the other head of houses, Hermione had said when sharing it with the rest of them, Harry still remembering how proud she had looked at Theo's accomplishment. They all were. He couldn't forget his friend's own struggle with his father when they were at Hogwarts, understanding his friend's intentions with arranging these meetings now that he was the professor to try to help and check in on his students who may be coming from a difficult home environment.
"How was it?" Harry asked lightly, knowing his friend wouldn't divulge his students' secrets since they trusted him. "Do they all say that you're their favorite professor? And how much they love your class?"
"Not as many as I'd hope," Theo smiled, closing his briefcase, "Most don't take my classes after O.W.L.S and I can't blame them, it's hardly needed for most careers." He walked over to the fireplace that was beside his desk. This one and the one in the foyer were directly connected to Hogwarts, allowing Theo to travel from his home to the school. Headmistress McGonagall gave him the freedom of not having to live at Hogwarts like most of the other professors.
"You could always teach another class," Harry pointed out, despite them having this conversation before. His friend stubbornly stayed as Professor of History of Magic even though according to Hermione, he was offered Potions at least once since returning to Hogwarts to teach.
As predicted, Theo waved him off, "I like my class." He put his briefcase down beside the fireplace. "No, Professors Lupin and Black receive all the adoration from the students."
"I'm surprised the school's still standing," Harry joked, but was always pleased to hear good reports from the students about Moony and his godfather. Luckily for them, Harry's article, the school's petition helped lead a groundswell of support that allowed Moony to get his job back as their professor just in time for Harry's fifth year.
And Moony's been there ever since, he thought happily, recalling the other good things that had come to him over the years including getting married, and becoming the new head of Gryffindor when Professor McGonagall succeeded Dumbledore as Headmaster of Hogwarts. His mood sobered at the reminder of Dumbledore's death. However, Harry knew the headmaster did not fear death like Tom had but was ready for it especially since he was leaving behind a world where Tom Riddle could never again pose a threat. His passing had been peaceful, and he became the only headmaster to be buried at Hogwarts.
While Harry had hoped and expected to get Moony back at Hogwarts, his godfather becoming a teacher there had been completely unexpected. The job had started out as a favor for McGonagall to replace her as Professor of Transfiguration after she became the new headmistress of the school. Sirius said he'd do it for a year or two, but it's been over a decade and Professor Padfoot has easily become one of the more popular teachers at Hogwarts. Harry couldn't have been happier for him.
"What about Nev? Do you think he'll stay on after the year if given the opportunity?" Harry asked.
"Why don't you ask him yourself," a new voice joined their conversation, Neville was standing in the now open doorway, "I was sent out to see if you were loud intruders or late guests."
"Harry thought it was at your place," Theo told him, which meant Harry had to finally explain to his two friends his short adventure before getting to Nott Manor. It wasn't an exciting tale, just a series of apparating, and walking and then finally flooing when realizing his mistake.
"But how about it, Nev?" Harry asked after he finished his tale. "Will you stay at Hogwarts?"
"I don't know," he answered honestly, "It's certainly fun, but I'm not sure I'm finished traveling and exploring."
The three friends passed the final pictures of the corridor including one with Tracey in her Holyhead Harpies uniform sharing a bottle of wine with Hermione, both looking a little tipsy, clumsily waving back at them before bursting into laughter.
The sitting room was large and spacious, filled with old, ornate furniture. Tall windows that went from the floor to the ceiling allowed in plenty of light during the day but were currently covered by long green drapes. An ominous pair of chandeliers hung above their heads, each holding more than a hundred candles with each candle nestled inside a skull, some human, and some were goblins. The other parts of the wall were covered with old weapons and artifacts that Theo and Hermione either couldn't remove or chose to leave up. There were still gaps and spaces on the walls where they had been successful in removing stuff but hadn't decided what to replace them with. The gaps showed faded green wallpaper which bore an intricate design that paid homage to the Nott crest.
In the middle of the room sitting around the newest pieces of furniture that didn't look worn and the leather upholstery withered were where the others were waiting for them.
"Finally," Tracey followed up her greeting with a tsking sound.
"Don't listen to Trace," Daphne interrupted her friend's teasing, "She arrived only minutes before you," His wife rose from her seat, face shining. She came forward to kiss him, intending to be brief, but Harry held her for a few additional seconds, earning a wolf whistle, but Daphne didn't object nor look displeased when they broke it.
"I take it you didn't get the note I left behind?"
"Erh," Harry began, feeling even more foolish.
She rolled her eyes, before she took his hand, leading him to the seat beside her, getting closer he noticed the food had already arrived, and it was an impressive spread. He couldn't consider how much this was going to cost him when he caught a whiff of how delicious it all smelled.
"Sorry," he said to her, but she waved him off.
"Just remember when you're late, I still lose." She was still in her healer robes, signaling she had come straight from St. Mungos. Her black hair was tied back into a ponytail, still looking as beautiful as the day he married her.
"Ogling me won't make me forget the cost of this," she caught him staring, "But it makes it easier to forgive," she kissed his cheek. "And I should warn you, Tracey ordered three desserts for herself."
"You got an extra bottle of wine when I was late last time," Tracey pointed out, "And I was only late because I got held up babysitting Reg," she couldn't even sound upset at what it ended up costing her since she had such a soft spot for her younger brother. "Besides, we're forgetting what's important, which is that I wasn't late this time."
"You were late though," Neville pointed out.
"Okay," Tracey amended, "But I wasn't last this time."
"Just wait to give me the bill until after we eat," Harry said, not sure where he wanted to begin. He thanked Hermione who was sitting on his other side, who handed him a plate.
"How was work, Harry?" She asked.
"He can't talk about it," they all chorused before laughing, never not finding this bit amusing. It was a tradition they refused to let die.
Harry took it in stride. "It was good," was all he could usually say. He had settled on the Department of Mysteries while still at Hogwarts and had never looked back. The wonders of magic were sights to behold, and he was lucky enough to study them. Even after all these years, it never ceased to amaze him. He knew his bland answer couldn't do justice to what he was working on. Daphne knew a little more since she was his wife, but he still had to keep the majority of it confidential for various reasons.
"Is that why you're late?" Hermione asked when the laughter subsided.
"How convenient," Tracey grinned, from where she sat across from him. "Late because of your confidential work which you can't share with your closest friends ," pouting at her last words.
"You know he's not going to tell you anything, Trace," Daphne said, tiredly. This was not Tracey's first time trying to learn more about his job.
It never really bothered him, because he knew she was playing, but he didn't have a chance to shut her down gently this time.
"And he shouldn't," Hermione added, who worked in a different department than him, "They're called Unspeakables for a reason."
"Huh," Tracey said, feigning to be puzzling the word out for the first time, "I never thought about that before, thanks Hermione."
"Let's eat," Theo intervened, and they readily agreed.
"Do you really want to be a Weasley?" Daphne teased her friend after Tracey announced, She and Neville were meeting Fred and Lavender for drinks.
After a delicious dinner and a wonderful evening, they were all gathered in the foyer, calling it a night and saying their goodbyes.
"Who said anything about marriage?" Tracey replied incredulously sounding more alarmed by that implication than potentially becoming a Mrs. Weasley. "I'm just having fun," she moved over to say good night to Hermione, "I can't help it, some of my friends gave up on that for a couple rings," she hugged her, "My same friends who now go to sleep at eight." Tracey's chuckle turned into a wince, moving away from a smirking Hermione, to Theo, "Is she always this grumpy past her bedtime?"
Theo wisely didn't answer, just choosing to hug his friend instead. "Just make sure you don't keep Nev out too late," he warned. "Headmistress McGonagall doesn't like her professors tired or hungover when they teach."
"Speaking from experience, Nott?" Daphne asked with a raised eyebrow.
Theo tried to casually shrug off the question, but no one was fooled.
Hermione had no problem with telling the truth. "She frightened him so much with her scolding that he didn't drink for a month."
"Which can be a real trial with some of these students," Theo grumbled with no real venom, "Were we ever that disrespectful?"
"Oh Merlin, Nott, you sound so old."
"Nothing makes you feel older than watching the students grow up in front of your eyes," Like usual, Theodore was unbothered by Daphne's teasing. "One minute their first years, all wide eyes when you show them around the common room and then the next," he snapped his fingers, "They're all panicking fifth years fretting about their upcoming O.W.L.S."
Harry chuckled but didn't have time to put in his own opinion as he hugged Tracey, but he could hear Theo was getting some from Daphne and Neville. "When am I getting my next batch of free tickets?"
"You have more than enough gold to buy tickets, Harry," Tracey said, "But I'll check our schedule, I expect you all," she turned and pointed to everyone, "to be there towards the end of the season."
"We better be meeting at Neville's next time," Harry never got tired of visiting the magic airship. He clapped said friend on the back to say goodnight.
"Is that the only way to make sure you're not late or last?" He replied back.
"It would certainly help," Harry shrugged, watching Tracey and then Neville disappear into the fireplace in a flash of green fire.
"Lunch tomorrow?" Hermione asked when it was their time to say their farewells.
"Of course," Harry answered, who always enjoyed their weekly lunches.
Hermione smiled, before embracing Daphne. Their words were spoken in a hush whisper so they couldn't be overheard.
"Thanks for dinner," Theo elbowed him, grinning, "I haven't eaten so well in a long time." He patted his stomach.
"Yeah, yeah," Harry shook his head. The dinner hadn't turned out to be too expensive, but there was still the matter of his pride, "One of these times it'll be you." He hugged his good friend.
"It's hard to be late when you're married to Hermione," he said proudly, and loud enough for his wife to hear, who took the compliment with a quick smile.
"I wouldn't be so confident, Nott," Daphne seemed to take this as a personal challenge.
Harry could see the gleam in her eyes, and if he was a betting man, then he'd put his money on Theo being stuck with one of the bills in the foreseeable future, glancing at his friend, he noticed some of Theo's confidence wavered as if realizing his mistake. Smiling, Harry took his wife's offered hand, with the other, they gathered the necessary floo powder. Him and Daphne walked into the fireplace together since it was large enough for two. They said the name, but to him it was simply home.
Okay, I'm pretty sure two people can't use the floo at the same time, but I did it anyway. Sorry if that bothers you and no judgment if it does.
Snape left Hogwarts b/c I wanted to slot Theo as the new Slytherin head of house. I like to think Snape left after Dumbledore's death.
Sirius being the Professor of Transfiguration after McGonagall just came to me, and I liked the idea, and considering how smart he was, thought he'd thrive at it. I see him as everyone's favorite teacher, who's part performer and transforms as Padfoot from time to time much to the delight of his students. He also married Olivia, Tracey's mum and they have at least one son, who is mentioned in this chapter.
I don't say who Moony married b/c I left it up to you. A lot of stuff is vague on purpose both for you guys to slot in the details that you like and also b/c I didn't want to get bogged down in. Other examples include not mentioning what they specifically had for dinner (I honestly had writer's block over this before deciding to scrap the dinner details and leave it all up to you) or Hermione's job at the Ministry.
Why does Neville have a magical zeppelin? He referenced airships in the early part of the story thinking how cool they were, in his outdated History of Muggles book. And he's right, they are cool, and a magical one just sounded neat so why not include it?
If you want to believe Harry and Daphne stayed together throughout school you can, but if you want to believe that they broke up and then got back together, you can. I leave it up to you. All I'll say is they've been married for a few years, and don't have kids yet.
The same goes with Neville and Tracey, if you want to believe they end up with who they mention in this epilogue, you can, if you don't, you can too. The only thing I'll say is that they don't end up together. I always saw Tracey and Neville marrying outsiders, and never considered pairing them off.
Yeah, none of the friends having kids may be surprising, but they're all still fairly young, so you can imagine (if you want to) the kids would likely follow after this epilogue.
Thanks for reading, I hope you liked it. If you did it would be wonderful to hear from you, but no pressure.