Title: The Hand of Fate
Fandom: Harry Potter
Word Count: 5,608
Warnings: Minor character death (not nice people)
Summary: “When the Hand of Fate is moved to act, none shall stand in the way, or perish.”
Authors Note: I generally don’t like attributing power to fate or destiny, it seems to me to be an avenue for people to avoid taking responsibility for the things they do or don’t do. But this idea popped into my head, and I liked it too much not to write it. Also, this is told from Harry’s POV. There are things he doesn’t know, which is why I haven’t included them in the story.
“When the Hand of Fate is moved to act, none shall stand in the way, or perish.”
Hermione had once tried to tell Harry that there was a logic to everything, that for magic to exist within the universe, it must follow same the universal laws as the muggle world. That in the end, everything made sense.
Harry never quite knew how to explain to his friend that he thought she was wrong. He didn’t have the language, didn’t have research to support his ideas. All he had was his intuitive understanding and the feel of magic.
In the years following graduation from Hogwarts, Hermione worked her way up through the Ministry. While she fell short of becoming the Minister for Magic, she rose higher than any muggleborn had before her. Her tenure as the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement oversaw the complete restructure of magical policing in Britain.
As Head, Hermione systematically dismantled the legal structure that favoured a pure-blood agenda, re-working it into something equitable. Her reforms were heralded worldwide as ground-breaking. After fifteen years of hard work, she was recruited into the ICW. For the remainder of her life, Hermione was a world-renowned expert in modern magical law enforcement.
Harry, on the other hand, was gradually lured into the Department of Mysteries. It started out with a request for him to help magically test some new rune arrays that had been developed for a revolutionary type of broom, one that could fly by itself.
As seeker for Puddlemere United, Harry was often asked to test out new brooms so readily assented. The runes caught his interest, and before long he was discussing the applications of a combined runic and pictographic language and what that would mean for magic dispersal.
He’d tried discussing it with Hermione but gave up when he realised that her experience of runes was completely different to his own. Sirius understood better, but runology wasn’t his area of interest.
The thing about magic is that it isn’t constrained by logic.
Certain results can be obtained by following specific logical steps, but a logical-minded person would never be able to plumb the deepest wells of magic.
While magic often appears to follow certain rules, those rules aren’t based on a single foundation. Magic changes and adapts, flows into different shapes and spaces. What is right and true and fact in one century may, three centuries later, be considered impossible; a story to entertain children and nothing more.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard, for instance, were based on factual happenings. They were romanticised and sanitised; slanted this way and that by bias and prejudice, but each one held a kernel of history—even if that kernel had undergone several transfigurations.
Scholars of magic, those who had devoted their lives into delving its most profound mysteries, could agree on only two absolute truths.
The first truth, and the easiest one to accept, was that nothing was impossible.
The second truth was this: to hinder a Hand of Fate was to invite your own destruction.
Harry had more experience with the second one than most. He’d seen it. Technically, seven full years of Hogwarts students had seen it. But it was unlikely that more than few of them understood the significance of the moment as Harry did.
Luna had. Fred and George had. If there were others, Harry didn’t know.
4 September 1995, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
The day after Harry’s first detention with Umbridge, he had Divination first thing. Since he hadn’t had any time the night before to get his homework done, he skipped breakfast so he could scribble some made-up dreams in his dream diary. His hand still ached, and he was dreading the rest of his detentions.
Divination passed in the usual manner. After talking over what some of the symbolism meant, Professor Trelawney put the class to work finding interpretations for each other’s dreams. They were instructed to hand in one example each at the end of the period.
Harry and Ron did their usual combination of guesswork and making things up, and then wrote down the more lurid of their imaginings. Harry was packed up first, so he went to hand their parchments in while Ron got himself sorted out.
“Thank you, Mr Potter.” Professor Trelawney peered at him, squinting a bit. She blinked, and her eyes sharpened. When next she spoke, her voice had lost a lot of the dreamy quality. “By Mopsus’ knobby staff, Mr Potter, what happened?”
“What?” Harry responded, surprised. He held out the parchment. “I mean, nothing, Professor. I think.”
Professor Trelawney stared in horror at the reddened patch on his hand. Harry realised that she was looking at where, “I must not tell lies,” had been cut, over and over again, into his skin. He pulled his hand back, trying to hide it.
Trelawney’s eyes flashed. “Mr Potter, show me your hand,” she commanded, sounding more authoritative than he’d ever known her to be. When he slowly extended his hand again, she stared at it for several long moments. “What caused this?”
Harry gulped. “Professor Umbridge had me write lines in detention.”
Trelawney reached out a trembling hand. “May I?”
Harry realised that she was asking his permission to touch his hand. Uncertain, but not knowing what else to do, he nodded.
The professor’s touch was gentle, cool against the inflamed skin. It was also quick; she pulled back as though she had been burnt. “I see,” she said. “Go.”
Harry was only too happy to get out of there.
“What was all that about?” Ron asked when Harry joined him on the other side of the trap door.
Harry shook his head. “I have no idea,” he said honestly.
“Barmy, that one,” Ron pronounced, before changing the subject.
Harry might have forgotten about that strange interlude if it wasn’t for what happened at lunch.
The everyday hubbub was interrupted by the doors to the great hall slamming open dramatically. The last time the doors had been slammed opened like that had been when Barty Crouch Jnr, disguised as Mad-Eye Moody, had arrived during the opening feast the previous year.
This time, it was Professor Trelawney who entered. She looked much less dotty than usual, although she was wearing her usual shawl and multitude of jewellery. She should have looked ridiculous. Instead, she looked slightly terrifying.
She strode forward to stand in front of the staff table.
“Can we help you, Sybill?” Professor Dumbledore asked, looking highly entertained.
Professor Trelawney ignored him. Her glare, amplified by the thick glass of her spectacles, was focused on Umbridge. Harry could feel magic building in the air but had no idea what it meant, or why it was happening.
“Hem, hem,” Umbridge gave the little throat-clearing cough she liked to use so much. “Was there something I can help you with?”
Trelawney was trembling as she raised her wand. Maybe it was that no one considered her to be a threat in any way, but the entire school just sat there as their Divination teacher slashed her wand in one swift motion, crying, “Diffindo!”
Umbridge had an expression of shock on her face as her head slowly toppled from her body, falling backwards onto the floor.
Trelawney lowered her wand, swaying. “For crimes most heinous, I have condemned Dolores Jane Umbridge to death, and carried out the sentence.” Then she fainted. The magic that had been building relaxed. Harry felt himself breathing easier.
There was a beat of silence before Madame Pomfrey leapt to her feet, her wand appearing in her hand. She started towards the larger part of what was left of Umbridge and would have cast if Professor Sinistra had not risen and grabbed her wrist, deflecting the spell to splash against the enchanted ceiling.
“Let me go! There may be something I can do!” Pomfrey insisted, struggling to get free.
“No,” Sinistra replied. “To impede a Hand of Fate is to court disaster.”
“That’s a myth!” Pomfrey objected.
“No,” Dumbledore said softly, looking old and tired all of a sudden. “It’s not.” He stood, gathering the attention of everyone present. “We have all had a big shock. These events must be investigated. In the meantime, prefects, please escort your housemates back to your common rooms. Lunch will be provided to you there. Classes are cancelled until further notice.”
They spent the rest of the day shut up in their common rooms.
Hermione tried her best to get everyone to spend the time concentrating on homework. The rest of Gryffindor ignored her, more interested gossiping about what had happened, speculating about what Umbridge had done.
Parvati and Lavender were whispering together excitedly. Ron and Dean thought the whole thing was hilarious. Seamus laughed with them, although it seemed to Harry that he didn’t find it as funny as his dormmates.
When anyone asked her opinion, Hermione just sniffed and pointedly went back to her Transfiguration homework.
Harry rubbed his hand and kept quiet.
At curfew, McGonagall held a meeting in the Gryffindor common room. She told the gathered students that the ‘unfortunate matter’ had been resolved and that they were to go about the next day as usual.
The majority of the house appeared to accept that as all the information they were going to get. Hermione’s hand waved urgently in the air, but McGonagall ignored her, instructing them all to get a good night’s sleep before leaving.
Hermione was furious. “How is that any kind of explanation? Madame Umbridge was murdered right in front of us, by one of our teachers!”
“Executed,” Marina Hengle, sixth-year prefect, corrected disapprovingly. “We all heard the Professor.”
Hermione’s mouth dropped open. “You can’t just go around executing anyone you want! There would be anarchy!” She folded her arms and glared at Marina. “We should at least have been told what is to happen to Trelawney.”
“Professor Trelawney,” Ron reminded her gleefully.
Hermione sniffed. “She won’t be a professor much longer; not that she was much of one to start with.”
“Professor Trelawney didn’t do anything wrong,” Parvati disagreed. “You just don’t like her because you were pants at Divination.”
“Didn’t do anything wrong?” Hermione shrieked. “Have you all gone mad? She killed someone!”
“Yeah, but it was that toad, Umbridge,” Ron said with a shrug. “Doubt anyone’s going to mind all that much.”
No one disagreed with him. Hermione looked like she was about to blow a fuse.
“I’m confused,” Harry admitted. “I don’t know why no one seems concerned.”
Parvati rolled her eyes. “Professor Trelawney is a registered Hand of Fate. Why do you think we’re so honoured to be learning from her?”
“Divination is a load of utter rubbish!” Hermione yelled. “Professor McGonagall agrees with me!”
“Divination is just as valid a branch of magic as Arithmancy,” Lavender said heatedly. The murmur of the growing crowd around them indicated general approval. “The only real difference is that, unlike Arithmancy, you need a gift to truly succeed at Divination.”
“What is a Hand of Magic?” Harry intervened before Hermione could respond. “I’ve never heard of it before.”
“It’s old magic,” Marina informed him. “I’m not sure exactly how it’s determined. Trelawney’s registration was listed as pending for years, but last year it was ratified by the ICW. There was a debate about it in the papers.”
Hermione scoffed. “There was not! I read the paper every day!”
“It wasn’t reported in the Prophet,” Neville told her. “There was a big article in The Wizarding World News, as well as smaller pieces in the French and German daily papers.”
Hermione’s already agitated appearance flushed a deep red. “I’ve had enough of this nonsense!” she declared. “I’ll talk to Professor McGonagall about it tomorrow. Goodnight!” She turned on her heel and stomped off to the staircase. They could hear her loud, angry-sounding footfalls fading as she went.
“We should all be heading to bed,” Marina agreed. “C’mon, people. Get a move on.”
The fifth-year boys’ dorm was quieter than usual as they got changed.
“I still don’t know what the deal is with a Hand of Fate,” Harry complained to Ron.
“It’s old magic, innit,” Ron replied like that should be enough to explain it.
“A Hand of Fate can act outside local law,” Neville said softly. “It’s an internationally recognised title. Unfortunately, we may never know what the investigation turns up.”
Harry thought about that as he got into bed and pulled his curtains. If the professor’s actions had been because of what had happened in his detention, he was quite happy that it should be kept quiet.
Hermione was not going to like it.
Breakfast the next morning was even louder and more boisterous than usual. If anyone’s spirits were dampened by witnessing Umbridge’s death, there was no sign of it.
Professor Trelawney was there, huddled in her chair between Hagrid and Madame Pince. Hagrid appeared to be trying to cheer her up. The rest of the staff were carrying on as usual, although careful observation showed that they were all on edge—even Dumbledore.
For the second day in a row, a meal was interrupted by the hall doors being slammed open. Everyone fell silent as Minister Fudge strode in, dressed in his usual pinstripe and with his lime-green bowler set firmly on his head. He was flanked on either side by red-robed Aurors, with three more Aurors following close behind.
Fudge looked furious. “Where is she?” he demanded. “Where are you hiding her? I demand that you hand her over to the Ministry at once!”
Professor Trelawney shrank back in her seat. The movement must have attracted Fudge’s attention because his gaze narrowed in on her immediately.
“There she is! Aurors, I demand that you arrest her at once!”
The red-robed figures on either side of Fudge drew their wands and started forward. Trelawney shrank even further.
“Before you do anything you might later regret,” Dumbledore said gravely, “I must make sure that everyone here is aware that Sybill Trelawney is registered with the ICW as a Hand of Fate.”
The Aurors came to an immediate halt. “Ah,” the one on the left, a man with a long ponytail turned to Fudge. “I’m afraid that Ministry regulations are clear, Minister. She’s not to be arrested.”
Fudge puffed up angrily. “I don’t care what the regulations say, Williamson, I am the Minister, and I want her arrested!”
“Sorry, sir.” Williamson and his companion holstered their wands, and all five Aurors retreated to the doors, leaving Fudge standing there alone.
“Come now, Cornelius,” Dumbledore entreated, “this is not the time or the place. If you like, you may bring your retinue and join me in my office? We can discuss matters there.”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Fudge responded, incensed. “I’ll just have to do it myself! Sybill Trelawney, I’m arresting y—” His eyes rolled up, and he collapsed to the ground.
Harry glanced over to Madame Pomfrey. She was staring at the tablecloth in front of her, lips firmly pressed together. She made no move to go to the Minister’s assistance.
Dumbledore sighed. “Please take Minister Fudge to St Mungo’s,” he instructed Auror Williamson. “You should also spread the word amongst your colleagues. We wouldn’t want there to be any further…accidents.”
“No, Professor,” one of the Aurors agreed, attaching a small badge to Fudge’s motionless form and then poking it with his wand. Minister Fudge disappeared with a pop. “We’ll just see ourselves out.” The doors closed behind them.
“As you were,” Dumbledore said to the silent hall, before turning to Professor Sinistra on his left. “Have you tried the bacon this morning?”
Slowly the usual noise of breakfast being eaten resumed. The staff were once again acting as if nothing was amiss.
Hermione looked like she was about to blow a gasket. “This. Is. Ridiculous!”
“This isn’t the time,” Harry murmured to her. He poked thoughtfully at his bacon. “Is it strange that I wish Percy were still here? He’d probably be delighted to explain it all.”
“I’m going to the library as soon as we’re done with Potions,” Hermione growled, stabbing a cooked tomato with her fork.
Unfortunately for Hermione, the only information to be found in the library discussed the Hand of Fate as an old myth. She threw up her hands in disgust and announced that she was going to talk to McGonagall that evening. Harry looked for her in the common room that night, but she was nowhere to be found.
When Harry found Hermione alone in the library the next morning and asked how it went, she refused to say anything other than, “The whole thing is ridiculous, and I refuse to talk about it.”
Luna approached them and offered to explain.
Hermione rudely declined. “I’ve got better things to do than listen to one nutter explain away another nutter’s criminal actions,” she announced. “Besides, I’ve got to go. Ancient Runes starts in ten minutes.” She left them standing together.
Harry winced. “Sorry about that,” he muttered. “She’s a bit on edge, what with everything that’s been going on.”
Luna turned her slightly unfocused gaze on Harry. “Don’t feel responsible,” she said gently. “None of it was your fault. Not what Umbridge did, nor what Professor Trelawney did.” She hesitated for a moment. “Not what Hermione said.”
“I shouldn’t let her be so mean to you,” Harry replied.
Luna shrugged. “Her actions are her own. She’s a lot nicer to me than a lot of people are.”
That didn’t make Harry feel any better. He tried to change the subject. “I was wondering if you could help me. You see, I wanted to get Professor Trelawney something to say thank you. Regardless of her reasons, if she hadn’t, uh, executed Umbridge, I would have had two more weeks of writing lines with that horrid black quill. Do you have any idea what I could get her?”
Harry described the black quill, and how it had cut words into his hand, how it had seemed to be writing in his blood.
For the first time since he’d met her, Luna’s gaze cleared. She looked horrified. “A blood quill? You were doing lines with a blood quill?” Her eyes felt like they were boring into his soul.
Harry gulped. “I take it that’s bad?”
Luna took a deep breath, expelling it noisily. “Umbridge deserved to die,” she stated. “A blood quill is sometimes called a contract quill. When you use it, it’s like a low-level oath. What did she have you write?”
“‘I must not tell lies,’” Harry replied.
Luna nodded. “Writing that with a blood quill…each time you wrote it, it’s like you made an oath on your magic. It won’t stop you from being able to tell lies, but from now on, every time you tell a lie, your magic will be tainted slightly. Most wizards and witches won’t notice a difference, but magical creatures will be able to see your oath-breaking in your aura.”
Harry started to get an idea of just how bad this might be. “Is there anything I can do about it?”
“You haven’t gone through your first magical maturation yet, so you need to get your magic cleansed as soon as possible,” Luna urged him. “Are you still on good terms with Fleur Delacour? The Beauxbatons’ champion? Write to her. Tell her about the detentions, and that you need a cleansing. The Veela Enclave does the best magical cleansing in the world. If she can’t or won’t help you, then…I suppose you could always try Gringotts. Just keep in mind that they’ll do their best to use the opportunity to empty your vaults for you.”
“Thank you,” Harry said gratefully. “I’ll do that. But now I’m thinking I need something even nicer for the professor.”
Luna tilted her head to one side. “You could see if the Potter vaults have any sun-blessed moonstone. It’s rare and expensive, but it helps with the blibbering humdingers.” As she spoke, her eyes lost that penetrating focus, her usual dreamy expression returning.
Harry blinked. “My vault only has money in it,” he said hesitantly.
“You should speak to your dog-friend,” she suggested. “He’ll know what to do.” With that final comment, she drifted away, humming quietly to herself.
Harry sighed. Looked like it was time for another midnight floo call. Hopefully, Sirius would be able to help him.
Sirius had known what to do. Firstly, he’d endorsed Luna’s suggestion that he should contact Fleur, “Right away, pup, do you hear me? Merlin’s saggy ball-sack, what was that old man thinking? A blood quill? In a school? The idea of it! I’ve a good mind to find wherever they buried that toad bitch so that I can piss on her grave!”
When Harry had related Luna’s recommendation of sun-blessed moonstone for Professor Trelawney, Sirius had agreed with that too. “Sounds like she’s uncommonly intelligent, that girl. Is she pretty? Make sure you clean your teeth before talking to her, your mum once told me that there’s nothing more off-putting in a bloke than bad hygiene.”
He’d been surprised that Harry didn’t know more about the Potter vaults, promising to rectify that error over the winter break, “I’ll make sure everything is ship-shape. Not that I’ve got much else to occupy my time, so I might as well be as useful as possible.”
He’d sent Harry a letter that he was instructed to copy word for word and send to Gringotts, asking for the use of the Potter hecatolite set, to be used in fulfilment of a debt.
A beautiful carved box holding nine pieces of glittering stone jewellery arrived two days later; Harry took it with him to his next Divination class. Several students had dropped out, so the classes were smaller than they had been. Professor Trelawney seemed more distracted than she used to be, the smell of sherry was more potent, and she didn’t meet people’s eyes.
Harry waited until everyone had left before approaching her, box in hand.
“Uh, Professor?” Harry waited until she acknowledged him. “I don’t know if anyone’s said it, but thank you. For stopping Umbridge, I mean.”
Trelawney hesitated, then nodded.
Harry plunged on. “Luna explained to me what the quill was, what it was doing. I didn’t know. Umbridge was going to make me use it again and again. You saved me from that.” He swallowed past the lump in his throat. “I’m not used to people saving me. So, thank you.”
He offered her the carved wooden box. She took it with a wondering look on her face. It was the same expression Harry imagined might have been on his face that first Christmas at Hogwarts when he realised that Ron’s mum had knitted a jumper just for him.
Harry took a deep breath and recited the lines that Sirius had said he should say. “In appreciation of the service you have done the Potter family, I ask that you accept the use, in your lifetime, of these items.”
Sirius had explained to Harry that he wouldn’t be able to gift the set to the professor outright, but that he could offer her the loan of it for the remainder of her lifetime. It would return to the Potter Vaults upon her death.
Professor Trelawney opened the box with shaking hands. Inside, the polished moonstone glittered in the dim light of the Divination classroom. Her eyes filled with tears. “Oh.”
“Luna said that you’d like it,” Harry said, hoping that he hadn’t somehow mucked it up.
The professor carefully lifted one of the bracelets out and slid it onto her wrist. “Oh. That’s. Thank you, Mr Potter.” She shuddered, then reached for the other one.
With each piece that she put on, she seemed to relax a bit more. When she was done, she looked subtly different. When she smiled at Harry, she met his eyes, no longer looking scattered or worried.
“You have no idea how much help these are, Mr Potter. Thank you.”
Harry nodded and turned to go. He was nearly at the trapdoor when a thought had him turning back. “Professor…what is a Hand of Fate?”
Trelawney sighed. “It’s a blessing and a burden, Mr Potter. Old magic.”
Harry scowled, before remembering that he was talking to a professor. “Everyone keeps saying that, but no one will explain what they mean.”
“That’s because it’s hard to put into words. Like magic. Tell me, Mr Potter, what does your magic feel like to you?”
Harry thought about that. “Well, like magic. It kind of…” he struggled to find words to describe it. “It just is.”
Professor Trelawney nodded. “The simplest concepts are often the hardest to convey. To be a Hand of Fate is…we lack control of our lives, of our very minds. The more often it manifests, the worse we get Many of us end up paupers, unable to adhere enough to reality to be successful. Others end up as pets to powerful people. These,” she touched the first bracelet she’d put on with reverent fingers, “help bring order to the chaos of a mind touched by fate.”
Harry thought of Luna and of the scattered way she often spoke. He wondered if she was a Hand of Fate as well. He wanted to ask, but something held him back. An innate feeling that it would be terribly rude. “Thanks for explaining, Professor. And thanks again, for, you know…that thing with Umbridge.”
Trelawney shook her head. “I owed you at least that much, Mr Potter. As the Instrument most affected by my words, it’s my duty to do all I can to protect you.”
Harry blinked. “What?”
Trelawney blinked back at him. “The prophecy, Mr Potter, the one that spoke of the defeat of the Dark Lord. I spoke it to Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape. It was the catalyst that led to you becoming an Instrument of Fate.”
Harry’s mouth dropped open. “What?”
Following that discussion, Harry had another late-night floo call with Sirius. Things snowballed from there. Harry insisted on being informed, threatening to emigrate to France if he learned of any more vital secrets, about him, being kept from him.
A discussion with Fleur’s mother, Apolline, resulted in Sirius receiving a trial in France under the auspices of the ICW. He was found not guilty. Records of his trial were sent to the British Ministry of Magic, where Madam Amelia Bones, acting as interim Minister upon the death of the previous Minister and his Senior Undersecretary, accepted them without contest.
Sirius was free.
When Harry discovered that Dumbledore could have arranged this for Sirius at any time, his trust in his mentor was irreparably damaged.
Sirius arranged a meeting between Harry and Minister Bones, where Harry shared his memory of what had happened at the graveyard during the final task.
Minister Bones took immediate, decisive action. First the Department Heads, then their deputies, then every other member of the Ministry was questioned under veritaserum about their loyalties. The results had Minister Bones declaring a state of emergency in Wizarding Britain.
By the end of Harry’s fifth year, the resurgence of Voldemort’s blood war—still in its infancy—had been crushed. With his followers dwindling and an ICW Task Force on the hunt for him, Voldemort eventually revealed himself, attacking Harry during the March Hogsmeade weekend.
“Come fight me, Potter!” Voldemort demanded. “Fight me, one on one! Your wand against mine! I give you my word that I won’t target your little friends if they stay out of it!”
Harry wasn’t sure if Voldemort’s word was worth all that much, but there was no point in sending his friends to pointless deaths. “Stay out of it,” he instructed them. “Try and get everyone to safety, and if I fall…well, at that point, he’ll be fair game.”
Ron, Hermione, Neville and Luna had all been told the words of the prophecy. They knew what he meant.
Harry turned to Voldemort. “None of my friends will draw a wand,” he promised. “This will be between us.”
Having discussed duelling tactics with Fleur’s father, Matthias Delacour, Harry didn’t bother getting out his wand and throwing spells. Instead, he dodged everything Voldemort threw at him. He used all of the agility that Dudley’s Harry-hunting had trained in him, and Quidditch had honed, getting closer and closer to the mad wizard.
Neville saw what he was doing and tried to use his own body to give Harry cover, but a blasting hex in his direction sent him flying. “Stay back!” Harry yelled, hoping that Neville wasn’t hurt badly.
The moment of distraction worked though, getting Harry almost close enough. There was only one hairy moment. Voldemort chained a killing curse on the end of another blasting curse, and for a heartbeat, it looked like Harry wasn’t going to able to dodge out of the way in time. He twisted frantically, a cold shiver running over his body. The next second Harry had achieved his goal.
Right up next to Voldemort, he released his wand from his holster and in one practised move, used the same spell that his Divination professor had used to such effect. “Diffindo!” He put all the magical power he could muster behind the slash of his wand.
There was no time for Voldemort to shield, and although he tried to dodge, he wasn’t as skilled at that as Harry was. Instead of his head rolling off his shoulders, Voldemort ended up neatly bisected, the cut slicing diagonally through his torso. His wand arm remained connected to the bulk of his body, while the other arm ended up with his head.
Harry stood there, breathing hard. He wondered idly if he should thank Dudley for all those years of early training.
Moments later he was being hugged from all sides as his friends rushed to reassure themselves he was okay. “You should be dead!” Hermione gasped out. “He hit you with a killing curse, you should be dead!”
Ron was squeezing him hard enough to make his ribs creak. “I thought he’d killed you! I thought…”
Luna’s eyes were shining, and Neville, covered in blood, looked exhilarated.
Fred and George were dancing around like maniacs, chanting, “You did it! Harry did it!”
Harry felt better than he could ever remember.
The ‘pop’ of someone apparating in signalled Sirius’ appearance. Then it sounded like the inside of a popcorn pot as the ICW Task Force, followed by the Ministry Aurors, arrived on the scene.
Harry closed his eyes and smiled. Maybe next year he’d finally get to concentrate on school.
In the summer break between fifth and sixth year, Dumbledore had sadly informed Harry and Sirius that Voldemort was still around, that Harry hadn’t finished him off because he’d created horcruxes.
Harry asked Bill Weasley, a curse-breaker, what he thought.
Bill explained that multiple horcruxes didn’t work that way. Only the first one created—the one that held half the creator’s soul—could be used to restore a witch or wizard to life. After that, they were more like wizarding portraits. Artefacts imbued with personality, a snapshot image of the creator at the time it was created, but no more.
The diary had already been destroyed at the time of Voldemort’s recent death, and Bill firmly believed that he was now gone.
Sirius wanted to be sure and sent a query to the Department of Mysteries. The Unspeakables corroborated Bill’s explanation, adding that they could confirm without a doubt that Tom Marvolo Riddle, aka Lord Voldemort, had indeed shuffled off this mortal coil.
Harry passed that information to Dumbledore then ignored him forthwith.
In Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts, the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher didn’t try to hurt or kill him even once. It was amazing.
In his seventh year, Harry was scouted by several Quidditch teams to play professionally. Ron wanted him to go with the Cannons, and Sirius pushed him towards the Prides. Harry eventually signed with Puddlemere United, which was both his father’s preferred team and also where Oliver Wood played.
Ron and Sirius had both pouted. Oliver had been thrilled.
Hermione had told him that Quidditch was a game, not a career, but that as soon as he wanted to settle down to real life, she’d be ready to help.
Harry stayed with Puddlemere United for five years, the last three of which he dated Oliver. That relationship didn’t survive Harry quitting to join the Unspeakables, but they’d both known that it was more about friendship, convenience, and trust, than a grand passion. They remained good friends.
Two and a half years after he joined the Department of Mysteries, Harry and Luna got married. It was a small ceremony, held at Raven Rock, otherwise known as Black Castle. Luna wore the sun-blessed moonstone necklace he’d given her as soon as he’d had full access to the Potter vaults.
Luna invited her father, Neville his wife Susan Bones, and Daphne Greengrass. Harry invited Sirius, Ron, Hermione, and Sybill Trelawney.
Neville, Susan, and Daphne were too polite to say anything. Both Ron and Hermione drew Harry aside and questioned him on why he’d invited their old Divination teacher.
Harry just shrugged. “She was the only teacher I had that ever put herself out to help me,” he told them, and then refused to say anything more.
Luna and Sirius, the two most important people in his life, already knew. Neville could probably guess but knew what it was like to desire privacy.
Harry was happy with that.
All was well.