Chapter 16: Epilogue
During the course of their partnership, Neville realised that Cassie was special in a number of unusual ways. She was exceptionally perceptive and appeared to be able to predict the future almost as well as Luna. At the Highclere Castle conference it was suggested to him that it might be worth investigating Cassie's immediate ancestry. He helped Sid to do this. He discovered that she carried at least three eighths wizarding blood. Since her little brother had the same family tree, this qualified him for a wizarding education at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft.
Following their engagement on Watership Down, the couple started planning their future. Cassie left the café in Hampstead and took up a waitressing job at a restaurant in Bristol, so that she could spend as much time as possible with her darling Sid. Since marriage was now a certainty, the couple rented a flat in Ashton Vale and moved in together. By coincidence, this flat was next door to the one rented by the Ministry of Magic for Luna. This was a marvellous outcome, as Sid, Cassie, Neville and Luna were now a quartet of intimate friends. They felt that living in close proximity really enhanced their quality of life.
Now that Sid and Cassie were committed to each other, there was no need for any animosity between Cassie and Michelle. The last of the 'ice' between them was finally dispersed at a dinner party in the flat occupied by Neville and Luna. After the meal, the men and women went into separate huddles. Luna persuaded Michelle and Cassie that there was no point in nursing their differences, especially now that there was no reason for Cassie to be jealous of Michelle. Both had found their ideal partners, as had Luna, and had no reason to look elsewhere. Cassie and Michelle once again became firm and loyal friends. Cassie was also in need of a good female friend, as Katie, her clinic roommate and very best friend had moved away to London to obtain promotion in her career.
An interesting piece of news about Katie was that Maxxie Oliver had met her in London, and was now living with her. The couple had visited Pete's Café the week before Cassie went with Neville to the Highclere Castle conference. When she came to serve them, she asked how they came to meet, and wished them well.
In due course Sid married his Cassie in St Mary Redcliffe Church in Bristol. They not only invited their own family and friends from the Bristol area, but also included some of the wizarding friends of Neville and Luna. They were included as Sid and Cassie had already been invited to Neville's wedding at Shell Cottage a few weeks later.
Sid invited Tony to be his best man, and Michelle was the chief bridesmaid. She preferred that title to 'Matron of Honour', which to her seemed a bit frumpish. Sid and Cassie had performed the same roles when Tony married Michelle at the same church a few weeks earlier. Also invited was Adam from New York, who had played a vital part in consoling Cassie when she had arrived back in New York, totally distraught, after breaking up with Sid. Among Cassie's other wedding guests were Maxxie Oliver and Katie, Cassie's old roommate at the eating disorder clinic. They had met each other in London and had become a couple. At the reception, Maxxie and Katie announced that they too were now engaged, much to the surprise of nearly everyone present.
The next wedding to happen was that of Neville and Luna at the rebuilt Shell Cottage. For the next three years, they would be living next door to Sid and Cassie. As they were such good friends, they often spent evenings together and shared meals. Cassie, having taken Sid's job after his promotion to Administrative Officer, was now working in the same office as the other three. Sid, the only complete muggle among the four friends, learnt a lot about the ways of witches and wizards. He came to appreciate the good features of magic, and did not raise any objections when Cassie's little brother went to Hogwarts for his secondary education. For the time being, for Sid and Cassie, life seemed good.
Nothing lasts for ever, however. At Hogwarts, Pomona Sprout became due for retirement, and Neville was to be her replacement as Professor of Herbology. He had kept abreast of his specialist subject during his time as a Ministry of Magic auror, so he was still qualified. This meant that Neville and Luna would have to move five hundred miles North and would no longer be close neighbours of Sid and Cassie. However, every cloud has a silver lining. At Neville's wedding, Michelle had a long and deep conversation with Hermione Weasley and formed the basis of a strong friendship. It helped that Ron got on well with both Sid and Tony. After Neville and Luna left for Hogwarts, Ron and Hermione were nominated as their replacements. Since Luna was still a liaison officer with the Ministry of Magic now based in the Hogwarts office, she still had to visit her former colleagues in Bristol at relatively frequent intervals. When she apparated down from Scotland, Neville often came with her, and if time permitted, Sid, Cassie, Ron, Hermione, Tony, Michelle, Neville and Luna went out together for a meal. These occasions of togetherness were particularly joyful as the group comprised four couples, who were very good friends with each other, and all four boys knew deep down that they had met and married their 'ideal girl'.
As, once again, life seemed settled for at least the foreseeable future, Sid and Cassie could begin to think about the next generation. In Scotland, Neville and Luna were thinking along the same lines. In due time, Luna had a pair of non-identical twins. She named them Lorca and Lysander. Not long afterwards Cassie gave birth to a daughter, and named her Hermia. About a year afterwards, Hermione's child, Rose, was born. The arrival of these four children within a matter of about six months made Michelle feel 'broody'. A couple of years later, her daughter came in to the world. She was named Cassandra Elizabeth in respect for two young ladies who had helped to keep Tony on an even keel when his life seemed to be drifting out of control following his accident with a bus; Cassie, who had given him sage advice when her Sid was dating Michelle, and, of course, his sister, Effy.