A reminder: "Harry Casts a Curse" is not my first AU story to begin with the Goblet of Fire spitting out Harry's name as the fourth Triwizard Champion. My story "The Boy Who Planned" has another twist on how that frightening and unfair event could play out.
What Happened Then?
Thursday, 3rd November, 7 p.m
Fourteen hours before the start of the Wizengamot session
At the home of Auror Catullus Slughorn
Dolores, unbelievably for her, was dressed in black, not pink, when Auror Slughorn answered his door. When the off-duty Auror saw who his visitor was, he immediately stepped outside and shut his door.
"What do you want, Umbridge?" he hissed.
"I want to know if Bones has anything sneaky planned for tomorrow's Wizengamot session, that Minister Fudge and I haven't been told about."
Auror Slughorn bit his lip. "There is, but we all promised not to tell anyone. Especially you and Fudge."
"And I promised not to tell Bones and your wife about your playtime with those Muggle teenage girls. But if you don't turn chatty, I will."
Slughorn was silent, clearly struggling with himself, then he spoke: "The Lady Boss will be holding a surprise trial for Sirius Black, tomorrow morning. He was unhurt by the Curse, so maybe he isn't a Death Eater after all."
"Why is she giving him a new trial now?"
"She's giving him a first trial. Back in '81, looks like he was sent straight to Azkaban without a trial."
"What evidence will she present, for or against?"
"He insists on Veritaserum, I heard. I was shocked." Shocked because Sirius Black was a Pureblood, and Purebloods never were made to take Veritaserum. "He wants to show pensieve memories too. And it seems none of the dunderheads checked his wand back in '81; the Lady Boss was the first Auror to PI his wand."
Dolores silently made plans for a few seconds, then she said to Auror Slughorn, "You won't see me tomorrow. When I enter Courtroom Ten, I'll be Disillusioned. Don't stop me from getting in, and don't go looking for me."
Five minutes later
The Ministry of Magic building, Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Auror Division, Evidence Room
"Hem-hem," Dolores said to the Auror Second Class, "I'm told you have the wand of Sirius Black in evidence. I demand to see it."
"Not happening, ma'am, sorry," the young woman replied. " It's big-time against procedure. The Lady Boss will have me reassigned to Azkaban before midnight if I do that."
Dolores puffed up. "Do you know who I am? I could have your job!"
The Auror-woman shrugged. "The Lady Boss says you can't make a written order to fire an Auror without her countersigning the order. She implied that there are certain people in the Ministry whose termination orders she'll always refuse to countersign." Left unstated: You and Fudge top the Lady Boss's shitlist.
Dolores thought, I don't have time to argue with an insubordinate underling. She whipped out her wand and pointed it at the young woman. One Imperius later, and Dolores had Sirius Black's wand tucked inside her belt.
The next morning
Friday, 4th November, 8:57 a.m
Three minutes before the start of the Wizengamot session
Courtroom Ten, the Ministry of Magic
Dolores Umbridge was bored. She was Disillusioned, so nobody could see her, and she was standing in a corner, so nobody would bump into her. But now she was realising that she did not have Cornelius—or anyone else, either—to talk to.
She looked around the chamber. So many empty seats, she thought angrily. Those chairs' seat-holders were dead because of that halfblood, Harry Potter. And what had those dead Purebloods done to deserve their fate? Nothing! All they had done was to teach blood-traitors, halfbloods, mudbloods and Muggles that they did not deserve to live.
Dolores envied the dead Death Eaters. They were martyrs to an idea: Pureblood superiority. She would have gladly joined them, she would have gladly done anything to earn her own Dark Mark, had she been good enough for Voldemort. But she was not good enough for the Dark Lord.
Dolores's secret shame was that her father was a mudblood. Michael Umbridge had been a janitor in the Ministry of Magic building—until his daughter had forced his retirement. Michael Umbridge never had wanted anything more than to be a janitor (and honestly, had been unable to do anything more). Anyone who ever had spent five minutes talking to Michael Umbridge would become completely convinced that Purebloods were better wizards and that mudbloods were worthless.
In the meantime, Dolores Umbridge was a halfblood; and except for Severus Snape, the Dark Lord did not want halfbloods, only Purebloods. Never had Dolores felt such disappointment.
Meanwhile, so Harry Potter had killed the Purebloods who knew that they were superior to lesser bloods? Harry Potter would pay—oh, he would pay. But first, Harry Potter's godfather would suffer a nasty fate, as all blood-traitors deserved.
"Seal the doors!" Amelia Bones now ordered, as Chief Witch Pro Tem. Magical chains appeared on all the doors, stopping anyone outside Courtroom Ten from coming in. But Dolores already was in—Ha!
Speaking of blood-traitors, Dolores thought, doesn't Bones realise how ridiculous she looks with a monocle for only one eye, instead of being sensible and wearing glasses for both eyes?
(Dolores, now sneering at Amelia Bones's appearance, chose to overlook the fact that she herself was mocked for wearing head-to-toe pink—and only pink, always.)
It was strange for Dolores now to watch the beginning of a Wizengamot session from a corner of the floor, instead of sitting in the padded leather chair that was next to Cornelius's chair. Cornelius looked absolutely panicked now, with his political future looking doomed and with his attack-dog Senior Undersecretary (seemingly) not being in the chamber with him.
Don't worry, Cornelius, Dolores thought. As soon as the Aurors bring Black in, your worries will be over.
The Wizengamot's first order of business was to choose a new Chief Warlock, after the mudblood-lover Dumbledore had been cursed to death. Happily for Dolores, the Wizengamot did not waste much time on speeches of "Albus Dumbledore was a great wizard, and he will be missed."
After the election of Cyrus Greengrass as Chief Warlock
By now, Disillusioned Dolores had walked from the corner where she had been standing, over to the double doors where prisoners were escorted into the courtroom-slash-chamber. When Sirius Black walked past her, she was standing to his right. She dropped Black's wand into the right pocket of his robes. Black blinked, but did not plunge a handcuffed hand into his pocket.
Then the four Aurors plus Lord Black (and Disillusioned Dolores) walked to the chains-chair. Madam Bones said, "Aurors, release Lord Black's magic-suppressing handcuffs, then step back. Let Lord Black sit in the chains-chair without your 'assistance.' "
Dolores startled. She thought, "Lord" Black?
But in the meantime, Dolores was delighted by this unexpected boost to her plans.
Still Disillusioned, Dolores moved behind the chains-chair and Sirius Black. Her plan was to Imperius Black from behind, then to whisper-order him to fire the Killing Curse at Cornelius and miss, then to order Black to Avada Kedavra Amelia Bones and not miss.
Dolores cackled (in her mind). Just for trying to kill Fudge, Black would be sent through the Veil within the hour, whilst nobody would vote No Confidence against a Minister for Magic who just had survived an assassination attempt. Certainly it was unlikely that the Wizengamot would vote to remove Cornelius when the most qualified replacement-Minister would be dead.
This left only the Potter brat to deal with. The boy would not be a problem, Dolores decided, after he met two "rogue" Dementors.
Sirius Black by now had sat down in the chains-chair, as Bones had watched her one-time boyfriend. Unusually, when Black had sat in the chains-chair, the chains had not bound his arms and legs.
Which was perfect for Dolores's plans.
Now Disillusioned Dolores stepped forward to where she was right behind the chains-chair, drew her wand, then leant forward so she could murmur in Black's ear without anyone else hearing her.
A red flash came from somewhere in the chamber, then Dolores lost consciousness.
Earlier, at 8:46 a.m
Courtroom Ten, the Ministry of Magic
Amelia Bones watched half-visible Dolores Umbridge sneak into Courtroom Ten. Umbridge was half-visible to Amelia because the Pink Toad was invisible to Amelia's naked eye; but to Amelia's monocle-covered eye, the Toad was glowing softly red.
For twenty-five minutes after Umbridge sneaked into Courtroom Ten, she stood in a corner where nobody bumped into her. Amelia let the Pink Toad do as she pleased—for now.
Just before Sirius Black was to be brought into the courtroom, Umbridge moved over to the entrance doors for the holding cells. Amelia drew her wand—if Umbridge harmed Amelia's former boyfriend, it would be the last thing that the Pink Toad ever would do.
But the wand in the Pink Toad's hand turned out to be not her own wand, but Sirius's. When Sirius walked past Umbridge, the Pink Toad dropped his wand into his pocket.
Sirius made eye-contact with Amelia then. He pointedly looked down to his pocket that now had a wand in it, before returning his gaze to Amelia. Somebody gave me a wand. What do I do with it?
Amelia gave her head a tiny shake; meaning Do nothing. Let events play out.
Right after Sirius sat down in the chains-chair, Umbridge moved up close behind him. As Disillusioned Umbridge drew her wand, she leant forward to speak into Sirius's ear.
Amelia thought, I bet that the Toad plans to Imperius Sirius, to some evil end. Sod that!
Amelia already had her wand in her hand, prepared for nastiness. Now Amelia fired a Stunner at Disillusioned Umbridge. The half-visible Pink Toad bonelessly dropped.
Sometime after Dolores was Stupefyed
"Rennervate," Dolores heard in a dream.
After the usual five seconds of confusion that followed Dolores being revived from the Stupefy spell, she discovered that she was sitting in a chains-chair—and discovered that her body was visible.
Sirius Black no longer was sitting (unchained) in a chains-chair; now Black was sitting in the visitors' gallery, next to Potter, and the two of them were talking with each other. Clearly Dolores had been Stupefyed for at least twenty minutes.
"Release me!" Dolores demanded of the room.
"I think not," said the blood-traitor, Amelia Bones. "Dolores Jane Umbridge, you are under arrest for bearing a wand without permission, during a Wizengamot session."
Dolores now was worried. Not about the "crime" itself—at worst, she would have to pay a fifty-galleon fine—but because she now legally could be questioned.
Indeed, Bones announced, "Miss Umbridge now will be questioned using Veritaserum."
"No she won't!" yelled Cornelius. "She's a Pureblood, so she may be given Veritaserum only with her permission." Cornelius looked smug.
Then Amelia Bones, one-time Hufflepuff, smiled an evil grin that reminded Dolores of Lucius Malfoy. Bones said, "You are misinformed, Minister Fudge. Miss Umbridge is a halfblood. Her father is the Muggle-born Michael Umbridge—isn't this right, Miss Umbridge? Your Muggle-born father worked in Building Sanitation in this very building till he was 'encouraged' to retire, so my reports say."
Cornelius looked at Dolores in anger; he hated to be publicly embarrassed. Then he said, "I withdraw my objection to Miss Umbridge being truth-potioned."
With those words, the game was over. Dolores tried to fight the three drops of Veritaserum being put on her tongue, but she was unsuccessful. Once potioned, she told her questioners everything—and she was asked many questions by many seat-holders. She talked about the murders she had committed in order to eliminate rivals for her job promotions, she talked about the murders she had planned to commit today, and she talked about her planned murder of Harry Potter, by means of Dementors, when a good opportunity arose.
After Dolores's questioners finally went silent, she was given the Veritaserum antidote. Once she was no longer potion-affected, she had to sit there in the chains-chair, magically silenced. Whilst she sat in the shameful chains-chair, unable to walk away and unable to speak up for herself, the Wizengamot voted on her guilt or innocence on the various charges, then the seat-holders voted on her sentence. As if there is any doubt what my sentence will be, once I myself told the seat-holders what I'd planned for Potter.
Augusta Longbottom, an aunt of one of Dolores's murder victims, was awarded Dolores's wand as Dolores scowled at the old bint. Then Dolores, who still was held captive in her chains-chair, watched in horror as a Dementor brought its face close to hers.
Immediately after Umbridge was Kissed, Amelia Bones sacked Auror Slughorn, who had helped Umbridge sneak into Courtroom Ten whilst Disillusioned.
Then the attention of Chief Warlock Greengrass, and everyone else in the chamber, turned to this important question: What should be done with incompetent and corrupt Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge?
Cornelius Fudge lasted only five minutes after Dolores Umbridge was executed, but he got off comparatively lightly. After the seat-holders' votes were tallied, Fudge was unemployed, but he was healthy and he was alive—which was more than could be said for Umbridge.
Before this morning's eventful Wizengamot session, it had been a coin-flip whether the Wizengamot would elect Amelia Bones or Amos Diggory as the next Minister for Magic. But after Amelia caught and stopped Umbridge without anyone being hurt, Bones won the election for Minister by a fat margin.
The Wizengamot tried to vote for Harry receiving an Order of Merlin First Class, because of Harry's Curse killing You-Know-Who. But Harry stood up in the chamber and politely declined the honour.
In a normal house in Little Whinging, Surrey
It was Friday night, and Vernon was looking forwards to a relaxing weekend.
The three Dursleys just had sat down to begin a delicious dinner, of takeaway fish and chips, when Vernon heard the locks on the front door loudly click unlocked.
Vernon's first thought was Burglars! The thought never occurred to him that his freak nephew might have unlocked the front doors with completely legal brass keys.
Vernon jumped up from the kitchen table and ran to the front door—just in time to see the front door be opened.
A tall man with black hair and a 1970s moustache walked in, followed by a woman with grey hair and with glasses covering only one of her eyes. Behind those two were four men who each were wearing red ankle-length dresses.
All six of the intruders were carrying magic wands.
After the six adult freaks walked into Vernon's house like they had every right to be there, in walked the black-haired, green-eyed teenager whom Vernon hated. Harry, at least, was not holding a wand.
Vernon yelled, "You freaks get out of my house! You've no business here!"
The freak replied, "Actually, it's my house. My mother bought it and let her sister live in it rent-free. Great show of gratitude, Vernon and Petunia."
Vernon thought, Bollocks! He was never supposed to find this out.
Meanwhile, the grey-haired freak lady with the half-glasses asked, "Where are Petunia and Dudley?"
The freak replied, "I don't hear the telly, so they're in the kitchen."
"Lead us there, Harry," she said.
Vernon roared, "You freaks aren't going anywhere in this house. You're leaving!"
The freak grinned at Vernon. "Please lay a hand on me, Uncle Vernon, in front of five magical police."
The black-haired man with the moustache said, "You're blocking our way, fatso. Get moving." He pointed his wand at Vernon and said "Expello." Suddenly it felt like a boxing bag slammed into Vernon; he was knocked backwards into the kitchen, and the front of his body hurt.
In the kitchen, Petunia and Dudley had heard the yelling, and now they looked scared.
The freak lady with the half-glasses said, "Vernon Dursley, Petunia Dursley and Dudley Dursley, you are under arrest—"
Vernon yelled, "Now see here!"
One of the men in a long red dress waved his wand, and though Vernon still was yelling, no sound came out. Vernon's freak nephew laughed at him.
"—for multiple counts of assault on a wizard child, namely Harry James Potter. Vernon Dursley and Petunia Dursley, you also are under arrest for the neglect and abuse of a wizard child, namely Harry James Potter."
"What does this mean?" Petunia asked quietly.
The black-haired man with the moustache replied, "It means that in a week or two, you'll be tried in a wizard court, then you'll be sent to Azkaban, the wizards' prison"—Petunia moaned—"which makes the worst Muggle prison seem like a Caribbean holiday resort. Because you fucked with the boy who killed Voldemort, expect that you'll be in Azkaban long enough that you'll die there."
Petunia threw her arms round Dudley. "You can't send Dudley to that horrid place! He's just a baby!"
The woman with the half-glasses said, "Actually, any convicted criminal over the age of eleven can be sent to Azkaban, if the victim requests it."
Silence fell in the kitchen. Six magical people, and three Dursleys, all looked at Harry.
Dudley looked like he was about to cry. "Please, Harry, don't—"
Harry held up a hand. "Remind me, Big D, how many times I begged you, Piers and that lot, 'Please don't' or 'Please stop.' Now remind me, how many times you then stopped beating on me when I asked you to. Hm?"
Then the freak added, "Cheer up, Dudley, you'll get a much lighter sentence than your parents will. Not that it'll help you any. Expect to die in magical prison, all three of you."
Petunia glared at the freak. "It's unfair if we die in a freak prison! We don't deserve this!"
The freak pointed his finger at her. "You hit a seven-year-old boy, your sister's son, with a frying pan. You hit me hard enough to cause a concussion." Next, the freak pointed to Dudley. "You, Piers, and the other two beat me in the park with bricks, when I was ten. You stopped only when you complained that your arm was getting tired." The freak pointed at Vernon. "You've brought me close to death nearly a hundred times." Then the freak looked at all three Dursleys. "Each of you tried to kill me at least once; and if not for my accidental-magic healing, each of you would've killed me and you'd be a murderer now. So when the magical prison kills you, it's what you deserve."
Harry watched as Madam Bones and the four Aurors Portkeyed away with the three handcuffed Dursleys.
This left Harry and Sirius in the kitchen. The two wizards now were standing next to the table that had on it, three clean plates, clean flatware, and a paper sack that was filled with enough fish and chips to feed all the fourth-year Gryffindor boys (except for Ron).
Harry said to Sirius with a grin, "It would be stealing to eat food that Uncle Vernon has paid for."
Sirius grinned back. "It would be wrong of us. Shameful."
Harry pointed towards the refrigerator. "The malt vinegar is inside there. Let's eat!"
The next day, at Hogwarts
By now it was known to listeners of Wizarding Wireless Radio, and to readers of the Daily Prophet, that Harry and Hermione were a soul-bonded couple; and that "the new Golden Trio" was made up of Harry and Hermione, and Neville Longbottom.
As for former Golden Trio member Ron Weasley, Susan Bones was quoted as saying that Weasley was "an arsehole," "thick as a brick," "a pig when he eats" and "a continual liar." Susan Bones also implied that if Rita Skeeter quoted Ron Weasley about "anyone whose name starts with 'H'," that Aunt Amelia would arrest Rita Skeeter for libel. Susan concluded, "I thoroughly approve of Harry and Hermione, and they don't need to be defamed by an envious, gluttonous git."
Also at Hogwarts
Heather Tidwell, a Muggle-born aged thirty who was a former Ravenclaw, whom Professor Flitwick claimed had been amazing at both Runes and Potions, now was hired as the new Potions professor by Headmistress McGonagall. Professor Flitwick had championed Tidwell's hiring.
Aurora Sinistra was appointed to be Head of Slytherin.
Remus Lupin was rehired as the DADA professor, with Sirius Black set to act as substitute teacher when Remus's "furry little problem" kicked in. It turned out that with Voldy dead, the "DADA Curse" also was dead.
One month later: Monday, 5th December
At dinner, a house-elf delivered a message to Harry: "Please come to the headmistress's office after dinner. You are not in trouble. You might wish to bring Miss Granger with you. The gargoyle no longer has a password."
After dinner, Harry and Hermione dutifully went to visit Professor McGonagall in her office. As soon as the two teens walked in, Hermione pointed out to Harry what was not there: no painting of Albus Dumbledore hung on the wall.
McGonagall's explanation for the lack: "The Spirit of Hogwarts declared that Albus would not be given a magical painting here in the castle, because of his disgraces as Head. I did not argue."
Harry asked, "Headmistress, why have you asked me here?"
It turned out that Dumbledore had recorded his memory of what might be a Prophecy about Harry, and McGonagall recently had found the memory-phial. Using a pensieve, McGonagall, Harry and Hermione viewed the memory.
Then Harry and Hermione viewed the memory twice more. By then, Hermione had written down the text of the Prophecy—
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 Harry thought about the Prophecy, he realised one obvious explanation for Dumbledore's actions. Harry asked McGonagall, "You said Dumbledore heard this Prophecy before I was born, which was at the end of 1980's seventh month?"
Both McGonagall and Hermione nodded. Both of them looked puzzled about why Harry had asked this question.
Harry yelled, "That poofy-robed, goat-buggering wanker!"
Hermione said, "Language, Harry!" whilst the headmistress said at the same time, "Mr Potter!"
Then Hermione hugged Harry. She said, "Please share your thoughts with us."
Harry said, "Okay, follow me. Whilst the Prophecy was in action, only I could kill Voldy, and only Voldy could kill me. When Lucius Malfoy started to Avada Kedavra me at the end of second year—"
Both Hermione and McGonagall gasped.
"—my murder was prevented by a house-elf. This wasn't luck, this was the Prophecy. Meanwhile, if anyone but me seriously had tried to kill Voldy, he-she would've suffered fatal bad luck. Since Dumbles heard the Prophecy, he knew about the fatal bad luck. Anyway, whilst the Prophecy was active, only I could kill Voldy, but the Prophecy didn't guarantee I'd win."
"Yes. So?" asked Hermione.
"Clearly Dumbledore's plan even before I was born was to sabotage me—to make me starved, to make me hurt, to keep me ignorant, to never train me, to never tell me anything—so that when Voldy and I battled to the death, I'd lose—spectacularly. When Voldy killed me, the Prophecy would be fulfilled, and anyone else who wanted to kill Voldy would no longer need to worry about fatal bad luck. So only after I died did Dumbledore plan to battle Voldy. The next part of Dumbledore's plan was this: When 'the Defeater of Grindelwald' killed Voldy also, Dumbledore would become as famous as Merlin. Of course, for Dumbledore to achieve such fame, I, 'the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord,' would be dead—but oi, it would be for the Greater Good, so why should I complain?"
Hermione nodded. "As soon as your name came out of the Goblet, I didn't think, 'Harry cheated to put his name in.' No, I thought, 'Somehow Voldemort is behind this.' Since the Curse killed the headmaster, I figure Professor Dumbledore realised like me that you were ensnared in a plot of Voldemort's; but then the headmaster let you be selected for the Tournament, because it fit in with his plans."
"Exactly," Harry said. "He let me be set up to die. This is why I cast the Curse. It was obvious when my name was called that Voldemort was trying to kill me, for the fifth time. Yet the headmaster of my school was allowing Voldemort's plot to go forwards, whilst not one bloody Hogwarts professor spoke up and said, 'This tournament is deadly, so we can't let a fourteen-year-old be in it.' "
Harry glared at McGonagall. "Or did you think I cheated, because this was what Ron was saying, so I deserved to die? Or did you sit there and not question any of the bloody twaddle the headmaster spoke, because it was the great Albus Dumbledore saying it? What happened to your duty as a professor to protect students? Your duty was forgotten—or was it ignored by everyone at the High Table, for the Greater Good? This was why I made the oath on my magic and my life, this was why I cast the Curse, because only five students, and no professors, were on my side!"
Harry took a deep breath, as Hermione gave him a fierce hug. Meanwhile, McGonagall was saying nothing. To Harry, McGonagall looked guilt-ridden.
Harry spoke quietly: "Now Dumbledore is dead, and his reputation is ruined. Good."
At Headmistress McGonagall's suggestion, Harry and Hermione went to the Ministry of Magic building, to the Hall of Prophecies, to see if Dumbledore's memory had been turned into a prophecy-sphere. Indeed, such a sphere had been made, but now it looked smoky-black—which meant that the prophecy had been fulfilled. Harry took Hermione's hand as they walked out of the Hall of Prophecies; Harry felt joyous.
7.4 months later
Monday, 17th July 1995
Amelia Bones, the Minister for Magic, and Lord Sirius Black married.
Hermione was the only non-Hufflepuff bridesmaid.
Sirius had a spectacularly foolish idea: He appointed Remus Lupin, Fred Weasley and George Weasley as three of his ushers/groomsmen. As a result, the wedding was reported in the Daily Prophet, for all the wrong reasons; Amelia was annoyed.
The (Second) Triwizard Tournament of 1994-1995
The First Task (24th November 1994): Three Snitches were released into the air. The Champions each were required to Summon a broom from the judges' box and to capture a Snitch. Instead, Fleur transformed into a firebird and skipped Summoning a broom; she captured her Snitch first.
The Second Task (24th February 1995): The Champions had to swim from the diving platform, at one end of the Black Lake, to a buoy at the opposite end of the lake. Use of a broom was banned, some part of the Champion's body was required to always be in the water, and the buoy could not be Summoned or otherwise moved. Viktor transfigured himself into a half-shark and outswam the other two, and so won this Task.
The Third Task (24th June 1995): Viktor and Fleur entered the hedges-maze first, but Cedric had the idea of burning through the hedge-walls. As a result, all three Champions reached the Cup at the same time, causing a three-way tie. No Champion was hurt during this Task.
Harry and Hermione watched all three Tasks from the Gryffindor part of the spectators' seats.
Neville and Ron
Beginning on Halloween night in 1994, Harry Potter's closest male friend was Neville Longbottom. This friendship lasted for as long as both Harry and Neville were alive. Often they jokingly referred to each other as "Elder Brother" and "Younger Brother," because Neville was one day older than Harry.
From Halloween of 1994 through June of 1998, Hannah Abbott and Susan Bones got into a bidding war for the attentions of Neville Longbottom, whilst Daphne Greengrass watched him wistfully. Rumours said that Neville spent much time in broom cupboards.
Ron Weasley left Hogwarts in June of 1999, a year after his former yearmates. He sat two NEWTs, earning an A in Charms and an EE in DADA. He never married, and spent the rest of his life living with his parents.
Harry and Hermione
For Harry and Hermione, the rest of fourth year was boring, except for watching the Tasks.
Harry and Hermione had a boring fifth year—until it came time for Harry and Hermione, and their yearmates, to sit their OWLs. Hermione was not bored, sitting her OWLs.
Harry and Hermione had a boring sixth year.
Harry and Hermione had a boring seventh year—until it came time for Harry and Hermione, and their yearmates, to sit their NEWTs. Hermione was not bored, sitting her NEWTs.
In June of 1998, Harry and Hermione married, and they never were bored again.
Neither were the Potter children ever bored. They were often embarrassed by the romantic antics of their parents, yes, and were often scandalised by those same parents—but never were the children bored.
On the 1st of September in 2017, Harry and Hermione stood on Platform 9¾ and gave each other a lingering kiss where anyone could see. Their children face-palmed.