Django returned to Peverell Manor, leaving behind a very frustrated headmaster. He briefly considered the possibility that he may have been a little too harsh with his former teacher and mentor, and then he quickly discarded that notion. He stepped through the floo and looked around, wondering where he would find Hildie. He stopped abruptly as he realised that everything seemed to be just too quiet. Then suddenly there came a barrage of red and blue curses streaming towards him from his left. He immediately ducked and rolled to his right behind a couch that burst into flames from a fireball curse.
Django quickly erected a shield spell as he tried to determine just who was attacking him. He scanned the wards on the house and the property but everything seemed to be intact. Another series of spells hit his shield and he rolled this time to his right and he cast a series of stunners.
Django heard a thud on the floor after the last stunner he cast and stood up to look. He received an overpowered stinging hex to his chest and a glare from Hildie as he saw a large sack of potatoes lying on the floor.
"What the bloody hell is this all about?" he exclaimed as he stared in disbelief at his wife.
Hildie smirked at her husband. "I don't know whether to be delighted that I bested the great Harry Potter with a bag of potatoes and fooled him into being set up where I could have stunned him or killed him, or whether I should be totally irate with you."
Django was confused for a moment.
"I just heard on the news about how you led a group of Aurors to Azkaban and fought, what was it, twenty Death Eaters and dozens of dementors," she commented, not bothering to hide the anger from her voice.
"That sounds about right," he responded.
"What the bloody hell were you thinking" she demanded.
"That maybe I could help them out," came a weak reply.
"That you could just run off and do something like that, without me?" she snapped back.
"Well, the issue kind of, sort of, just suddenly came up," he said defensively.
"You and your saving people thing!" Hildie then stepped forward and then she engulfed him in a hug. "I hate that when you go and leave me behind and you do things like that. Don't you ever leave me behind when you run off like that."
"Yes, dear," came his quiet reply as he returned the hug.
Hildie stepped back from the hug and wiped away her tears quickly. "Oh, Sirius sent us a message, he's planning to have a dinner with a group of friends, for Harry and Daphne, sometime next week."
Django raised an eyebrow. "The last time Sirius planned to entertain he sure made a splash on the magical world."
Hildie smiled, "He assures me he is planning nothing so extravagant this time around."
"I found him just like this, he has been mumbling over and over," commented the potions professor.
"Can you make out what he is saying, Severus?" replied the deputy headmistress.
"The best I can tell, is it is a long list of names," answered Snape, "but it doesn't make any sense. I can barely discern some of them. Some of them are current students, some of them are former students, some of them are professors. But it is increasingly hard to tell."
"How so?" asked the head of Gryffindor house.
"It seems he has been like this for days," the head of Slytherin house explained. "He hasn't been seen for nearly a week. I doubt he has had anything to eat or drink. His mouth is parched. The words are harder to understand through his chapped and dry lips."
Minerva shook her head in sadness and frustration. She looked around the room. She noticed the many small silver gadgets and instruments that had been lining one shelf for many years that were all smashed and broken. "Do you have any idea who destroyed his instruments?"
"I noticed that too, Minerva," replied the potions professor. "I did perform a few spells to determine what happened, and I do believe that the headmaster himself destroyed the instruments. There is no signs of any another spells being cast in this room in the past week."
"My word," she said as she put a hand to her mouth, and just stared at the man she had worked with for so long.
"Madam Pomfrey has been summoned, she should be here shortly," added Professor Snape.
Just a moment after those words, the school healer arrived and stopped short as she walked up next to the two professors. "What seems to be the trouble…"
She never finished her sentence as she stared at the babbling headmaster in front of her. She listened for a moment and then turned to look at the two professors. "What happened?"
"That's what we were hoping you would be able to tell us," commented Minerva
Poppy gathered her wits and quickly moved to cast a few diagnostic spells. The whole time the headmaster continued to ignore the presence of anyone else in the room. The school nurse stood up and had a stunned expression after she finished her initial examination.
"Well, Madam Pomfrey," demanded Snape, "what is it that you have discovered? Is he under some sort of dark spell? Did someone curse the headmaster?"
"He is not under any sort of spell," she answered simply. "The muggles would describe this as a near catatonic state. He is in some type of shock. He must have suffered some sort of severe emotional or psychological trauma or a severe shock to his magical core. How long has he been here like this? I would imagine it has been days or maybe even close to a week. He's dehydrated. Clearly he needs fluids."
"Is he going to be okay?" asked a very worried McGonagall.
Poppy shook her head, "I have no idea if he will be able to recover from this, because I have no idea what set him off." She turned back to look at Dumbledore and then she looked back at the two professors. "Is he reciting a list of names? Do you know who they are and why he's doing this?"
Snape and McGonagall shook their heads. Poppy shrugged her shoulders, and then called for a couple of house elves. She then quickly explained that she needed them to get the headmaster to the infirmary as quickly as possible and place him in the first gurney, then she would join them there and begin to try and treat his condition.
"What do we tell the others?" asked Snape.
Poppy raised an eyebrow. "Tell them that the headmaster is gravely ill," and then after a moment to think further, "and if I haven't made any progress by the morning we will have to transfer him to St. Mungo's."
A Parting of Ways
When Sirius finally arrived in the room, the guests had been making small talk for over twenty minutes. The Greengrasses had already met the Delacours and Django and Hildie had been speaking quietly with everyone.
Sirius strode to the front of the room and the manner in which he was carrying himself would have easily drawn the attention of a large crowd, as he finally seemed to be getting the gist of what it meant to be Lord Black. Noting that all the eyes were upon him, he began his little impromptu speech. "Family and friends, for that is what you all are to me, I am so happy you could be here today. Last summer I announced to all that young Harry, Lord Potter, is my rightful heir to become Lord Black. After the events of the past year, events which have been at times traumatic, at times fantastic, and at times simply amazing, I would like to declare that Harry James Potter is fully emancipated in the eyes of magical England, and his emancipation papers have been duly filed both with Gringotts and with the ministry. He has been forced to compete with wizards and witches in a tournament that was meant to only allow those who are of age to enter, therefore magic itself must have already declared Harry to be of age." Sirius paused for a moment and then looked at Harry. "To one of the finest young men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, Harry James Potter!"
Those who were gathered all joined in with cheers. Daphne blushed as she stood beside him and cautiously reached out to take his hand in hers.
As the cheers subsided, Sirius continued. "Now I invited you all over for dinner, so you all could get to know one another. I hope that Harry could look to all of you as friends and family. That he could look to you for support and direction and encouragement. He will soon be given my title as Lord Black, because I will not be here to act as Lord Black. I have decided that I have something very important that I need to do. I must leave and go search for the young woman I love." He bowed his head slightly towards Django and Hildie. "The last I knew this fair woman headed off to train at a mythical school in the Himalayas, and I'm not even sure where the bloody hell that is, so I have quite the adventure in front of me. So, without further ado, I must bid you all farewell, the new Lord Black will be your host for the rest of the evening, and I shall soon be departing."
There was a silence in the room as everyone was shocked by the news. Harry was speechless. Sirius was about to leave for the Himalayas, and Harry briefly wondered what he was going to do. Then Sirius knelt down and called him over to him and embraced him in a hug.
"What am I to do when you're gone? What about school? What about the manor?" Harry asked when he hugged Sirius.
"Now pup, that's entirely up to you," he said with a large grin. "You're emancipated, you're an adult. You are Lord Potter, and now you will also be Lord Black. No one can make you go back to Hogwarts. You already were offered the chance to change schools and go to Beauxbatons. You could tell the entire magical world to bugger themselves and quit school. You could hire a private tutor and be home schooled, you could transfer to any magical school in the world. Hell, you could probably walk up to the ministry's department of education, sit down and take your O.W.L.s and your N.E.W.T.s and pass them all with Os right now with everything you've learned. But now, I'm about to go and do the first serious thing in my life, so wish me luck, and hopefully I'll see you soon, but I have no idea what soon means when it comes to trying to find a woman who's hiding out in a battle magic school in the middle of the largest mountains on earth. But remember, as far as I know, there are currently no dark wizards or evil minions after you anymore. Django helped out with that in his own way. So, for the first time since before you were born there is no longer some ridiculous prophecy hanging over your head. Relax, have fun, enjoy life."
Sirius then turned to face the young lady who had been standing next to his godson, "And all I ask of you, Miss Greengrass, is that you help this young man find ways to relax, unwind and have fun."
Lord and Lady Greengrass, Django and Hildie, as well as the Delacours were all present in the back of the room when Sirius gave his little impromptu speech to Harry. They had also kept their distance when Harry went to up to have his more intimate moment with his godfather.
Then Sirius stood up and added a surprise bombshell to the announcement. "Now, I know this all may seem sudden to you, and being the Marauder that I am, about the only way that I can see this working, is I will be leaving…now!"
Sirius started to head for the door, when Django finally called out, "Do you have any idea where you are going, what you are trying to do?"
Sirius paused for a moment, looked down at his feet and then back up at Django. His eyes almost twinkled liked Dumbledore's for a brief moment. Then finally he answered. "Of course not, that's what makes this madness so much fun. I'm a Marauder, I make up over half of what I do as I go along. James and Remus planned things out." He started towards the door again. As he pulled it open he called back over his shoulder, "I'll see ya when I see ya!"
Hildie muttered under her breath, "You do realise that he's probably just going to get himself killed."
Django nodded, "Except for one thing, that's Sirius Black, things may end up going to hell in a hand basket but somehow he'll end up on his feet, or his paws."
"Do you think he'll really find Jasmine?" asked Hildie.
Django considered the question very briefly and then answered, "Yes, I'm pretty sure he will. Now whether or not he'll survive the first meeting is another question entirely. But then again, that man did survive a dozen years in Azkaban."
Harry was trying to suppress any tears as his godfather, his first real family had just left. Then one of the house elves came forward. "Dinner is ready for all of you, in the main dining room."
The group that remained behind as they had watched in shock as Sirius Black had just announced he was setting off for the Himalayas now made their own brief journey to the dining room. In a stunned silence they took their seats at the table. Once seated, the food began to appear, not unlike at Hogwarts.
Django and Hildie spoke as everyone was beginning to enjoy their meals. "I don't want you to feel like you're being abandoned Harry, but you already knew that Hildie and I would be moving to our home in the Caribbean soon. But we can easily travel back to our manor house here. And we can arrange that our house there is connected via international floo to both the Pevensie Manor and the Potter Manor."
Both Monsieur Delacour and Lord Greengrass were surprised to hear about such connections being able to be made. But neither one of them voiced their concerns in front of young Harry during the dinner conversation.
Harry tried to control his emotions, especially in front of Daphne and her parents.
"You have been through a lot," commented Hildie, "is there anything in particular that you need from any of us? From Django or myself? From the Greengrasses or even the Delacours?"
Harry was still feeling a little shocked at the sudden change in events.
Lord Greengrass decided to pick up the conversation. "Have you decided what you plan to do yet about school? We have all heard about your various adventures over the years at Hogwarts, and especially this last year at Hogwarts what with the tournament an all. Once again we would like to thank you for everything that you have done, for our daughter and for our society, with defeating the Dark Lord, again. But it would not be surprising and it would be most understandable if you were to decide that you would not be returning to Hogwarts come September."
Daphne reached under the table and squeezed Harry's hand in a show of support.
"Thank you, Lord Greengrass," commented Harry, feeling embarrassed from all of the attention he had been receiving.
"Please, Harry, call me Jonathan," corrected Daphne's father.
Harry blushed slightly as he had never had an adult insist that he use their first name like that before.
"And Harry," added Monsieur Delacour, "please feel free to call me Sebastian. And as I have said before, you are welcome to transfer to Beauxbatons, but I have seen how important your friends are to you, so I will not be surprised if you do not choose to finish you education in France."
Harry nodded his head as he simply replied "Thank you," to Monsieur Delacour.
Daphne's mother, Isabella, chimed in with support for Harry. "You have proven yourself time and again Harry. Both in your magical strength, and in your concern and compassion for others. You have definitely earned your emancipation, in my opinion."
Even Jonathan Greengrass was surprised by such a strong comment of support from his wife, as was Hildie.
Soon everyone had finished their meal, and the house elf had reappeared. "We will clear the dishes and we will have dessert for you shortly."
Harry took the opportunity to stand up and take a walk out onto the deck by the back gardens. He soon found Daphne at his side.
"Have you made up your mind yet about what you're going to do next year for school?" she asked tentatively.
Harry sighed slightly, "I've narrowed down my options a little already."
Daphne slid her hand into his, entwining their fingers. "I, for one, hope you choose to stay, to return to Hogwarts that is."
Harry smiles at her. "Of course I'll stay here at Hogwarts, it's where my friends are, it's where my girlfriend is," he added.
Daphne shifted a little uneasily. "But what about that French girl, that Veela?"
Harry could tell that this was something that was bothering Daphne, and he was happy that she had at least managed to bring it up. "Fleur? She's a friend, sure, but that's all it is. Her family feels they owe me something because I saved her life, I helped her out, and because I saved her sister. Maybe someday we can visit them in France. We can visit them. Not just me, but you and I. They're good people, decent people. I like them a lot. And yes, Fleur is pretty, she's part Veela. But remember there is something she will never be."
Daphne looked up into Harry's eyes, "What's that?"
"She'll never be you, and she'll never be my girlfriend," Harry added with a smile.
Daphne returned the smile and embraced Harry in a tight hug. "I'm sorry I ever doubted you, I'll try to never let that happen again."
Harry held her tight and whispered into her ear, "As long as the headmaster has learned to keep out of your head, I think we'll do just fine," replied Harry with a grin.
After a few minutes they returned to the dining room and joined the others for dessert. "Strawberries and cream!" announced Gabrielle.
Isabelle whispered to Jonathan, "I think that they may have decided where they will be going to school in the fall."
Jonathan simply nodded in agreement.
Somewhere in the Himalayas
A large black dog made its way up a mountain pass, and came to rest in a clearing. It took a few hesitant steps, sniffed the ground in front of it and stiffened. Then the large animal slowly looked around and began to back up. Then several flashes of light seemed to appear out of nowhere. The dog, however, reacted quickly, and rolled to its left. It disappeared in cloud of grey mist. In its place a man with grey robes and greying hair and a straggly grey beard appeared with a wand in his hand. A protective shield appeared in front of him which deflected several more spells and then he rolled immediately to his right, casting several spells as he did so.
Suddenly he found himself bound with thin but strong ropes as a half dozen wizards or witches appeared in light grey robes that helped them blend into the rocky background.
Silently they surrounded the man but they did not point their wands at him. "I am looking for the School of Battle Magic. I am looking for Jasmine Potter, or Greengrass, I am looking for a witch named Jasmine."
His question was met with silence. After several tense minutes an older wizard with long white hair stepped forward. "It is unusual for one so old to seek our school. You shall be tested. If you survive, we shall see if there is a place for you. Do not give your name. We do not use names. You may or may not find who or what you are looking for. I do not know a Jasmine. As I said, we do not ask for names. If this person you seek is at the school, and you survive, you may meet them yet. As far as your name goes, we will give you one if you pass the qualifying test." He then turned to the others who had bound the trespasser. "You may release him. If he does not follow you peacefully, throw him off the edge of the cliff."
Sirius silently wondered if his magic would help him survive such an event. He figured that it would, but he didn't want to find out. He was relieved that he was being brought to the school. He would at least have a chance to find Jasmine.
Neville and Hermione Longbottom were getting their family together to travel for the holidays. The twins, James and Frank would be starting at Hogwarts next year, and they were excited to be spending the upcoming holiday season with their good friends, the Potters. They had heard of the mysterious friends, the Pevensies, and they would be going to their island home in the Caribbean. Their younger sister, Emma, was looking forward to the trip as well, as her closest young friends were the four Potters. Growing up together with summers spent between Longbottom Manor and Potter Manor was always exciting. But the young Longbottoms had grown very accustomed to Hogwarts, with their father teaching herbology at the school and their mother teaching Muggle Studies in addition to Ancient Runes.
Once Hermione had the trunks packed for the three children they all gathered by the floo. Neville shrunk their trunks and kissed Hermione. "We'll have a great time with Harry and Daphne and their kids. We haven't seen Django and Hildie in years. This should be a wonderful time. Even you should be able to relax over the holidays!"
Hermione bit her lip slightly, "Are you sure we won't be imposing on them? It has been a long time since we've seen Django. What if Hildie doesn't want to be bothered by so many little children running around? Are you sure they will have enough room for all of us?"
Neville leaned forward and silenced his wife with a kiss. After a moment he let her go and quietly spoke while the children giggled at the sight in front of them. "Harry said it would be fine, there is plenty of room. Besides, Django invited us all. If Django says there is room, I for one am not about to doubt him of all people."
Hermione finally relaxes into the embrace of her husband. "I suppose you're right." Then she turned to the children, "Did you all remember to pack bathing suits and warm clothes? It will be sunny and warm where we're going with Uncle Harry and Aunt Daphne."
"Yes, mum, we know," replied James, "you've already reminded us like a million times."
"Yeah," added Frank, "let's get going so we can go see Orion and Charlus!"
Emma then added "I wanna see Jasmine and Isabella!"
Hermione smiled at her daughter and took her by the hand. "Now you two follow you father through the floo to Potter Manor and we'll come right behind you.
Harry and Daphne Potter awaited the arrival of their friends as they were all going to use the international floo connection that would take them directly from Potter Manor to the villa in the Caribbean. The Longbottoms had already been coached that the travel time via the floo connection would take several minutes, so as not to worry their children. The Potter children had done it several times before, usually with the aide of either their parents or one of the house elves. However, to avoid any conflicts with Hermione, they decided it would be easier if the adults each escorted James, Frank and Emma, as well as the youngest Potter, Isabella, named after her grandmother. The older three, Jasmine, Orion, and Charlus, were old enough to make the trip on their own, but they would be doing so holding hands.
Soon, the two families arrived in the Caribbean sun and they were quickly greeted by a Django and Hildie. Hermione made a quick mental note thinking that they didn't look hardly any older than when she last saw them fifteen years ago. Harry and Daphne quickly made introductions to the Longbottoms, and it was soon evident that the Potter children had visited with the Pevensies on a few occasions. House elves quickly helped get everyone's trunks settled and the families were quickly gathered in the main room of the large villa. The view of small bay below them was beautiful as the clear blue water and small sandy beach looked like something out of magazine photo display or a movie.
Neville couldn't hide his amazement at the scenery around them, and Harry nudged him out of his shock. "You better get used to it, mate, we'll be here for two weeks."
Hermione was also taken in by the beauty around them. She turned to Hildie as she asked, "What can you tell us about the island?"
"Well, for starters, there is not really any magical population to speak of, basically we are the only witches and wizards here. There are a number of small communities, the locals speak English. There isn't much of a tourism industry here, but we do have our own private beach down below in our secluded cove. Our property is warded, so no one bothers us. We can do some sightseeing around the island if you would like. There are some nice hikes, beautiful views, a very pretty waterfall we can go see. If you want, we can even visit some of the other islands," she added. Then she turned to Neville, "Of course you can explore our property if you want to look for rare plants, we have no idea if you would actually find anything useful or not."
Neville's eyes lit up at the thought of possibly finding some exotic tropical plants while he was here.
Hermione squeezed his arm gently, "Remember, honey, we are on vacation."
Neville grinned at her as he replied, "Says my wife who has an entire trunk filled with books hidden inside her own trunk. Don't think I didn't notice you try to hide it there when we were packing."
Harry teased them both, "We invited you here for the holidays, not to get caught up on work!"
Django joined in, "If I find either of you working too hard, I'll have the house elves hide your books, but since this is a rare opportunity for you Neville, I won't complain if you do take some time to look for plants, as long as you make sure to take time to have fun with Hermione and the kids."
Django then turned to Harry, "So how are things with you? How's school?"
"Well, Hogwarts does find it rather unusual to have a DADA professor who won't live at the school, but I insisted when I accepted the position that I would only do so with the condition that I could stay at home with Daphne and the kids. Now with Jasmine and Orion already at school, I think they actually feel more comfortable not having dad there to watch over them all the time, and Daphne prefers to have me home at night." Then he turned to Hermione. "Even you remember how much trouble I could get into at Hogwarts, no matter how much I tried to avoid it. I wouldn't be surprised if trouble would still find a way to follow me even as a professor." Turning back to Django and Hildie he added, "I used that as part of my reasoning with McGonagall when she first asked me to return as a professor."
Hildie smiled at his answer. "I hear that Minerva plans on retiring as Headmistress soon, any ideas who the school plans on hiring as her replacement?"
"No, I haven't heard any names being discussed," answered Harry.
Neville spoke up, "There was a discussion about that at the heads of house meeting the other day Harry, but most of them figured that you wouldn't accept the position as you would still refuse to move to the school."
Harry was surprised by the comment, but then added, "Well, they were right to say that. Besides, it would interfere with Daphne's work at the ministry. They could always bring back Django, he did make quite the impression on everyone the last time he was at the school."
Django paled at the suggestion. "I have no intention on returning to Hogwarts, thank you. Perhaps Hermione or Neville would make a good headmaster for the school. A fresh young perspective would do that school some good I would think. Maybe the current DADA professor should suggest it to the Board of Governors, after all, he has held that position longer than anyone in recent history."
Over the next week the group of friends enjoyed their time together, with sightseeing, playing in the sun and at the beach and sightseeing around the island. After they had a joyous Christmas Holiday with the children, followed by a large feast and more excitement playing in the waves in the secluded bay they spent the next day at sea on a chartered sail boat. By the time they had returned to the villa the children were exhausted.
After the children have all gone to bed that night, Hermione finally asked, "Have you heard anything from Sirius or Jasmine?"
Django and Hildie looked at each other and then turned to the younger adults sitting at the table. Django pulled out a copy of an American newspaper, The Salem Post.
"Take a look at the second section, World News," he stated.
The group all looked over her shoulder as Hermione turned to the appropriate page. Near the top of the Wizard World News section read the headline: "Magical Junta Regime in South Pacific Toppled"
Hermione quickly read the details:
The island nations of the South Pacific are at peace again, and the magical population did not have long to wait for an answer to their fears. Less than two weeks after a magical militarist uprising seized control of the regional magical government of the South Pacific Island Magical Federation, the locals found that they had been freed. Despite the warnings to nearby magical governments to not interfere, swift and decisive action was taken nevertheless. While the group that had taken control of the government did not survive, there was a calling card left behind by the individuals who were responsible for the renewed freedom of the island federation. The calling card of the liberators was clearly found on the scene: a simple business card with the image of a jade stone and the silhouette of a grim.
Hermione looked up from the paper and over at Harry and Daphne. "Could it be? Do you think it's them?"
Neither of her friends answered. Django simply smiled slightly before commenting. "Those who have trained at the school for battle magic do not use their given names when they do missions such as what you just read about. They usually come up with another name for themselves. They may use a term that may be meant to strike fear in others, or it may be used to make others think they have skills which they may or may not have. Or they may simply wish others to think of them as someone other than who they really are."
Neville was curious as to this answer. "What sort of names would such a person use for themselves?"
Django grinned, and then he answered simply, "I have heard stories, now these are simply rumours mind you, of someone who used the term Lord Protector at one time, or even someone who went by the name the Dark Hunter."
Hildie turned away to hide her smile from the others. It had been a long time and much of what they had accomplished had already become fable and legend. They had stayed out of the public eye for many years since Tom Riddle had been defeated and that was just fine with them.
However, Hermione was not about to let the topic drop. "Are you telling me that you are a graduate of that school, too? You were known as the Dark Hunter. When did you go to school there? There are stories of you working as a bounty hunter in the seventies in Australia, in the eighties in America, and then in the nineties in Britain before helping out with taking down Riddle. How old are you?"
Hildie finally turned around and joined the conversation. "Some questions are just nor proper to ask, Hermione, you should know that."
"And some answers you really should not hear," added Django.
Neville was feeling a little braver with questions. "Can you tell us where you are from?"
Django laughed, "I am from England, just as you and Harry are. I had a good friend who helped me so very much, just like Harry has you. In fact, Neville, you remind me so much of him."
Hermione looked at Django and then at her husband. "How come you don't seem to have any friends? You and Hildie seem all alone. The only person you seemed to ever be friendly with was Sirius, and then he up and left shortly after you and Harry defeated Riddle."
"That, my dear, is a very long story," commented Django as he swirled the wine in the glass he held in his hand. "And that is a story that, I am sorry to say, is one that I usually do not share with anyone, and please, do not take offence. Your former headmaster, the late Albus Dumbledore, tried to force the story out of me on more than one occasion. He was never successful in his attempts. However, I did eventually tell him, and I might say as a word of caution, I do believe that hearing my tale is what set off the illness that ultimately proved to be his demise."
Hermione was so shocked by this revelation that she dropped her own glass. Neville was stunned but he quickly cast a spell to clean up the mess that had been created. As she tried to recover from her shock she looked over at Harry and Daphne who seemed completely at ease with the discussion, if only a little uncomfortable with Hermione's questioning. She then turned to her friends. "Do you know the whole story?"
Harry and Daphne looked to Django and Hildie for direction.
"That is up to you to say," commented Django as Hildie slid next to Django to reassure him that she supported him in his answers.
Harry looked down at his feet and shifted slightly before looking back at Hermione and then at Neville. "Back during our fourth year, before we defeated Riddle, I learned the true story behind Django and Hildie. At the time I promised to keep Django's secrets just that, secret."
Hermione seemed to be undone by not knowing the secret. "You mean you knew their secret the while time he was training us back during that year? And you knew his secret too?" she asked of Daphne.
Daphne shook her head. "I only learned Django's secret after we were wed, although Hildie hinted at things back when we were at school."
Hermione felt frustrated that she had not been deemed trustworthy enough to be told the whole truth back then. "Why couldn't you tell me back when we were in school? Was it because you believed I would run off to tell the professors or the headmaster? I kept our training a secret, didn't I? I learned that not all those in authority could be trusted. Was I not a trusted friend?" Hermione was working to hold back tears and Neville sat beside her to comfort her and embrace her in a hug.
"No, Hermione, that's not it at all," commented Harry.
Django stood up and knelt down in front of her. "Hermione, you are one of Harry's first friends, you are Harry's most trusted friend he has ever had. You always were there for him, through every challenge, through every hardship, through every adventure when you were in school. And that means everything to Harry. And to me."
Hermione rubbed the tears out of her eyes. And then she looked at Django as she wondered why it would matter so much to Django. Sure, he had helped Harry defeat Riddle. He had helped Harry by capturing Pettigrew and as a result that led to Sirius being freed. And it seems that he had stayed friends with Harry, but just why he and Hildie were so close to Harry and Daphne just didn't make any sense to her.
Django spoke softly to her. "Will you take an oath, to never speak of this to anyone who is not in this room, other than Sirius or Jasmine, if you happen to somehow run into them at some point."
"They know the truth?" she asked.
Hermione bit her lip and nodded.
"Take the oath on your magic, that you will not reveal to anyone, other than the people in this room, or Sirius Black, or Jasmine, what I am about to share with you," Django spoke softly.
Hermione spoke the oath and raised her wand, without considering that Django did not mention Jasmine's last name.
Django turned to Neville, "You may want to take a seat for this, my young friend."
Neville sat down on the chair next to his wife after casting a charm to expand it so they could sit comfortably together.
Django smiled at them, "I will be happy to answer your questions in a few minutes. But please remember, that I will choose to not answer some questions, and there will be good reasons that I will keep to myself for not answering those questions. Please accept my judgement on those decisions."
The couple nodded in agreement, but were still confused by this statement.
Then with a slow wave of his hand, Django cast a charm to remove his disillusionment charm from his face.
Neville's jaw dropped.
Hermione gasped and put her hand to her mouth, "Oh my, how can this be?"
Django smiled slightly, "It's a long story that begins about twenty years from now…"
AN: and so we come to the end of this tale...
I have several other stories in the works...plus I am working on finishing Dark Lord Potter?
While on my recent vacation a new plot bunny came to mind...for details check out my profile...
I hope you all enjoyed this story, although from some of the reviews, it was clear that not everyone did...Harry's beginnings as the Lord Emperor were too dark for some...to those who have stuck through to the end, thank you for reading, thank you for reviewing, thank you for the encouragement. This story has had some dark moments, but it has had some fun moments to write as well. It has not been as filled with action as much as Moving On was, but it was a different sort of story for me to write.
AN: To the anonymous reviewer who criticises my story for referring to Tom Marvolo Riddle without using the epithet Jr - His father was Tom Riddle. Marvolo was his maternal grandfather's name. Legally Tom Marvolo Riddle is NOT a junior. Using the middle name makes it clear who the character is. Marvolo Gaunt was murdered by his grandson, Tom Marvolo Riddle...