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SIYE Time:22:00 on 21st October 2018


The Seventh Horcrux
By melindaleo

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Category: Post-HBP, Buried Gems
Characters:All
Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Fluff
Warnings: Death, Violence
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 860
Summary: The hunt for the Horcruxes begins. Harry has to decide who to trust as he moves closer to fulfilling his destiny. Will he be able to find and destroy all the Horcruxes? And at what price? Will he be able to find the strength within himself "the Power the Dark Lord Knows Not" in order to succeed in vanquishing Voldemort? And, can he do it and still get the girl? Join Harry and his faithful friends on their quest to finally defeat a Dark Lord.
Hitcount: Story Total: 202949; Chapter Total: 10603
Awards: View Trophy Room






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Disclaimer: I own nothing; it all belongs to J.K.Rowling. I’m just borrowing the characters to play with for a while. This is for pleasure only, no profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.



Chapter Thirty-Four


Epilogue



The September sun shone brightly over the rolling meadow that lay behind the Burrow. Harry leisurely walked across a well-used path, inhaling the crisp autumn scents and pointing out the changing colors of the leaves to the infant he carried in his arms. It had been a little over four years since Voldemort’s defeat, and Harry still hadn’t got over the wonder of being able to go outside alone, unhindered and without fear of constant attack.


Ginny often teased him about his continued habit of keeping his wand in his back pocket or within easy reach at all times. Even four years later, she still had to be careful not to startle him when entering a room. All in all, though, he was finally becoming comfortable in his own skin. He could even tolerate the reporters who, after four years, still asked for his opinion on current events.


He’d gone back to school that first autumn after Voldemort’s demise. He, Ron, Hermione and Ginny had had their carefree year – well, carefree for all save Hermione, who fretted continuously over the upcoming NEWTs. Harry had done well on his exams despite Hermione’s predictions of doom and gloom as a result of his deplorable revising habits. He acknowledged that he could have been a better student, but at the time, he was having too much fun to worry about it. He’d already had a lifetime of worry.


When they’d finished school, he and Ron had immediately joined the Ministry and began their Auror training. After everything they’d done during the war, they were able to complete their education in two years rather than three, and they’d begun work straightaway.


At first, they’d been assigned separate partners. Their Academy instructor had insisted that rookies needed to be paired with older, more experienced veterans. That had lasted for about three months before their transfer papers arrived, signed by none other than Kingsley Shacklebolt. Kingsley had insisted that strict adherence to the Ministry’s old policies was what had got them all into trouble in the first place. If something worked – don’t fix it. Ron and Harry had been partnered ever since.


Hermione had gone into training to become a Healer. She’d only recently finished her schooling and was apprenticing under a fully-qualified Healer at St. Mungo’s. Ginny had gone to work at the Ministry for the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad. Her training had only taken a year, so she was actually the first of the four to get out and work, earning her own wages.


After the war had ended, there had been a mad rush of weddings and babies. Mrs. Weasley said it had happened after the first war, too. People just wanted to celebrate the good things in life. The first of Harry’s friends to get married had been Neville Longbottom, of all people. He and Susan Bones had both worked in the Apothecary in Diagon Alley after Hogwarts had closed, and romance blossomed soon after.


Seamus Finnegan and Demelza Robbins were next, followed by Lavender Brown and Oliver Wood. Oddly enough, it was this spate of weddings and all of their friends marrying young that turned Hermione off the idea. Although Ron would have married her right out of school, Hermione wanted to wait until the furor over the end of the war had died down. She didn’t want to be accused of having it influence her decision.


Harry’d had no such qualms. He had asked Ginny to marry him on the Hogwarts grounds during their last day at the castle. She’d accepted, and they were married only a few months later on the first of September. That day had always been one that Harry had counted down to reach, so he wanted something to always mark the significance. He was proud to say that September the first had dramatically changed his life for the better on two separate occasions.


He’d thought he and Ginny would have a small wedding right at the Burrow surrounded by the Weasley family and a few close friends. Mrs. Weasley and the Wizarding world had other ideas. They’d ended up getting married at Hogwarts in a morning ceremony before the students had arrived.


Harry had gritted his teeth and borne the fussing and fawning because he knew he was the one who won in the end. He got to be married to Ginny, and he’d never regretted that decision. Using the money Sirius had left him, they’d bought a very private, secluded bit of land not too far from Ottery St. Catchpole – but not too close, either. They’d built their own house – one with plenty of land for a Quidditch pitch, decorated and furnished the house together, and four months ago, their son, James Harry Potter had been born.


Harry chuckled, remembering how desperately Ginny had wanted a son. Weasleys always had sons, but her brothers liked to tease her that since she was the girl, she’d have girls. Of course, that only made Ginny determined to prove them wrong. Harry had watched her stick her nose in the air, and her eyes narrowed with that ‘I-can-do-anything-you-can-do’ attitude that he loved so much about her. He knew that technically the sex of the baby was determined by him, but he’d never doubt Ginny’s will. He was certain that their next child would be a girl simply so Ginny could prove to her brothers that she could also do what they couldn’t.


Harry didn’t care. He was just happy to see his family growing rather than shrinking for a change. He’d told Ginny he didn’t care if they had two children or twenty, he just wanted James to have a sibling so he’d never be alone. Ginny had stroked his cheek fondly while insisting it wouldn’t be twenty.


Although Ginny had bought the very best pram – according to Mothering Witches – Harry still preferred carrying his son when they went for a stroll. They had plenty of money to live comfortably, but Ginny was still a rather frugal girl. Frugal about everything – except when it came to her son, that is. For him, nothing but the best would do – and Ginny was convinced he needed everything they advertised. Every time she read one of those endless Wizarding parenting magazines, she’d fret that she was somehow doing something wrong because James didn’t have some new-fangled contraption.


Harry really didn’t care what she bought, or whether they ever used it, as long as it made Ginny happy. She’d given him the best gift in the world, and each day he was surprised to learn something new about his little miracle. He might have missed doing all those father and son things as a child, but he’d be damned certain he got to do them as a father. He’d dressed the little tyke in gray track suit pants with a red hooded sweatshirt and brought him outside for a bit of fresh air. The Burrow felt rather stuffy with all the chattering ladies inside.


The reason for all the chattering ladies was the long-awaited, approaching nuptials of Ron and Hermione. They were due to marry the following day in a Muggle church near Hermione’s family home. Harry and Ginny were standing up as witnesses, and it was their job to get the bride and groom to the church on time.


Harry thought he had the easy end of that deal. Ron had been ready for this moment for ages – it was Hermione who was the nervous wreck. Poor Ginny really had her hands full there. Hermione had been throwing wobblies over inane little details for weeks. She’d always been a bit mental, and Harry thought weddings made all women go mad.


"See, that’s the shed where your grandmother keeps all your uncles’ old brooms. Your mum used to nick them when they weren’t looking," he told James as they walked past the shed behind the Burrow.


The baby was far more interested in chewing on the collar of Harry’s shirt, but Harry really didn’t mind. His son had the same bright green eyes as he did, but his untidy mop of hair was rust-colored rather than either red or black. Harry liked to say he was the perfect mixture of both parents.


He ran the pad of his thumb over his son’s soft cheek, marveling at how someone so small could have him so completely wrapped around such a tiny little finger. It had been that way from the moment James had arrived in the world.


"Harry!" Bill called, trotting to catch up to him. Bill carried his giggling, now three-year-old son, Claude, on his shoulders. Fleur was due to give birth to their second child any day.


Hermione swore it would be just like Fleur to deliver on Hermione’s wedding day, but Fleur was still the picture of calm serenity. Harry fondly remembered Ginny’s pregnancy and how the two of them had been so overwhelmed by each new development, however small. Perhaps having a second one was easier since you had experience behind you?


"Mum said you were out here with James. The tension in that kitchen is unreal," Bill said, slowing his pace to walk with Harry.


"Hey, Bill. Hey, Claude," Harry said, reaching up to ruffle his nephew’s hair.


His nephew.


He had a nephew – two of them, actually. The fact he was part of a big and loving family still amazed him sometimes.


"Bonjour, Unca Harry," Claude said, beaming.


"It’s still rough in there, huh?" Harry asked, jerking his head toward the house.


"Hermione is having a meltdown because George told her he forgot to arrange coverage for the shop tomorrow, so he has to work. Of course, everyone knows he’s just taking the mickey out of her, but Hermione had the screaming abdabs, anyway," Bill said, shaking his head.


"She’s just nervous," Harry replied.


"Yeah. You’d know something about that, eh, mate?" Bill asked, gently knocking Harry’s shoulder with his own.


Harry grinned sheepishly. He’d been a basket case before his own wedding. He’d been convinced right up until the moment he spoke his vows that something would happen to snatch it all away.


"Hermione doesn’t like when she can’t control everything. Despite knowing exactly what’s going to happen tomorrow, it’s never happened to her, so she’s nervous. She’ll pull it together, she always does," Harry said fondly.


"How’s Ron?" Bill asked. "I haven’t seen him."


"Fred and Charlie took him out to get a pint, hence the reason there are so many witches in there," Harry replied.


"And George," said Bill. "He’s the sole male presence in the kitchen, and even he is looking rather overwhelmed."


"George is in charge of Loki, and I’ve got James, so we couldn’t go to the pub. Charlie said it was only bachelor blokes allowed, anyway," Harry said, chuckling. It took a lot to overwhelm either George or Fred, so Harry was just as happy to be outside with James.


George and Shannon had been married right around the same time as Harry and Ginny, and their son, Loki was just over a year old. Fred and Iris were still together, but it was a constant on-again, off-again kind of relationship. Charlie usually arrived for family functions with a beautiful witch on his arm – but it was generally a different witch each time. It drove Mrs. Weasley spare.


"Merlin, I hope they don’t get Ron pissed. That’s all he needs to completely send Hermione over the edge," Bill said, shaking his head. His expression belied his words, however. Harry suspected that he really did hope Fred and Charlie got Ron pissed.


Harry snorted. "Hopefully they’ve practiced their Sobriety Charms."


"If not, I’m certain Mum will sort them all out – she certainly had to take care of you after your stag night," Bill said, laughing fondly.


Harry scowled at the memory. "You lot left me outside wearing nothing but my pants!"


"It’s your fault for getting so pissed. The Savior of the Wizarding World and all – you should be able to handle your Firewhisky better than that," Bill said.


"Everyone has their flaws," Harry said, disgruntled. "It’s not as if it’s Ron’s real stag night, anyway. We took care of that last weekend. Fred and Charlie just needed to get away from all those hens."


He scowled at the ‘Savior of the Wizarding World’ comment. He still hated the vast number of titles that were used when referring to him. The anniversary of the date when Voldemort had fallen had been proclaimed as Potter’s Day and was celebrated the way Muggles celebrated Bonfire Night. Harry usually tried to escape the festivities by taking a seaside holiday during that time each year.


This past Potter’s Day, Fred and George had invented t-shirts depicting Voldemort’s downfall. They’d been unable to sell it, however, because Harry’s image refused to remain in the shot.


"Heh, Charlie’s always run when the witches start to cluster, but I think Fred is closer to wanting George’s lifestyle than he’s ready to admit," Bill said sagely.


James shifted his attention from Harry’s collar then reached out and grabbed his glasses, making cooing noises all the while. It took Harry a moment to pry them out of the baby’s little fingers and readjust them on his face. When he did, the world was distorted through a hodgepodge of smeared fingerprints. Harry quickly cast a spell to clean them.


"Papa, you promised to fly! Take me! Take me!" Claude said, tugging on Bill’s hair to regain his attention.


"Ah, a promise is a promise," Bill said, smiling and disengaging his ponytail from his son’s tight grasp. "Care to join us?"


Harry shook his head ruefully. "I promised Ginny not until his first birthday," he said, regretting that vow more and more. "We’re going to continue our stroll."


Harry hoisted James more securely on his shoulder and walked along the fence surrounding the Burrow’s property. The crisp October wind caused James to shiver and cuddle closer to his dad. His little eyes widened when the wind gusted in his face, and Harry laughed out loud at the shocked expression.


James’s first Halloween was approaching, and Harry wanted to make it special. He knew the baby was really too little to appreciate it, but Harry was enjoying experiencing all the childhood things he’d missed through his son.


He’d been so terrified when he’d first learned that he was going to be a father. What did he know about raising babies? He’d certainly had no experience to base anything on. If he’d thought Ginny would be a great source of information, he was sadly mistaken. Ginny was the baby of her family, and she was nearly as clueless as he was about what to do.


After several long and calming conversations with both Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, they had relaxed – a little. Harry still worried about how he’d handle it when it came time to discipline his son. He certainly didn’t want to do anything to follow Uncle Vernon’s example. He’d begun paying much more attention to how Mr. Weasley interacted with his sons, and closely watching Bill and George and how they related to theirs.


Between Ginny and him, they’d figure it all out together. They always did. Perhaps, if Ron and Hermione were quicker to start their own family than they had been about getting married, they could all conquer the battle of parenthood together, as well.


Lost as he was in his own thoughts, he was surprised to stumble across Hermione outside in the chilly air. She was leaning on the fence far from the house, her face turned toward the wind so it whipped her hair about wildly.


"Hermione?" Harry asked, taking several tentative steps toward her.


One never knew how Hermione would take an interruption these days. She was the epitome of a frantic bride. He was surprised, therefore, when she turned toward him with a tear-streaked face.


"Hermione! What’s wrong?" he asked.


James must have sensed his distress for he shifted in Harry’s arms and began to fuss.


"Oh, Harry! Everything’s changing," Hermione said, sniffling.


"What’s changing, Hermione?" Harry asked, grinning while bouncing James slightly on his shoulder to settle him.


"It’ll all be so different, and things are so nice the way they are. I don’t want that to be ruined," she said, sniffling.


Harry blinked, baffled. He knew it was mostly nerves – combined with Hermione’s utter dislike of feeling out of control, but he was afraid that whatever he said would be wrong. He also knew he had to try.


"Hermione, it’s going to be all right," Harry said, wrapping his free arm around her and hugging her close.


"Oh! That’s easy for you to say!" Hermione said, crossing her arms across her chest.


"It is easy for me to say," Harry replied, chuckling, "because I’ve been where you are. And who was the one who talked me down? Who was the only one who calmed me on my wedding day?"


"I was," Hermione said, a tiny smile playing on her lips. "Well, Ginny did, too, once the ceremony started."


"Right – as Ron will for you once you’re standing with each other. Before that, though, I was panic-stricken. You were the one who made me see that I was getting exactly what I’d always wanted. And you were right. Now, today, it’s your turn. You and Ron have waited a long time for this day, Hermione," Harry said smiling.


Hermione sniffled again and wiped a tear from the corner of her eye. James began cooing again while sucking on his fist.


"My mum and I used to talk about my wedding when I was a little girl. The reason I agreed to do this the Muggle way was to make some of her dreams come true, as well. We’ve drifted so far since I went away to Hogwarts," Hermione said.


"Hagrid told me after seven years at Hogwarts, I wouldn’t recognize myself," Harry said. "That was certainly true."


"Oh, Harry! For me, too. I sometimes feel like a complete stranger when I do normal, Muggle things with my parents. I belong to this world, now," Hermione said.


"You belong to both, because your upbringing there helped to shape you into the person you are today. It’s all connected – it took me a long time to figure that out. If things didn’t happen the way they did, I might never have befriended or even met all of you. Everything happens for a reason, and change can be good," Harry said, shrugging.


"When did you get so wise?" Hermione asked, giggling as she gently nudged his shoulder with her own.


"I had a friend who was a great influence on me when I was younger," Harry replied, nudging her back. "Big, bushy hair, kind of a know-it-all. You might have known her."


"Oh, ho. Very funny," Hermione said, swatting him gently and gaining James’ attention.


"She grew into quite a beauty," Harry said, smiling.


Hermione’s eyes flew open wide and for a moment Harry feared she was going to start crying again, but James saved him by reaching out and grabbing a fistful of Hermione’s hair. He tugged, trying to bring it into his mouth.


"Uh, oh," Harry said, "hang on. He does this to Ginny all the time."


"Ouch!" Hermione said, although she was laughing.


"Little bugger has a knack for tangling his fingers in there," Harry said, desperately trying to free Hermione from his son’s tight grasp. The baby squealed with pleasure.


"Harry!" Hermione chided. "You can’t use that kind of language in front of your son! What’s the matter with you?"


"He can’t talk yet, Hermione," Harry said, laughing. "He knew the tone of my voice was friendly."


"Oh? And what will you tell Ginny when she has to write in his baby book that his first word was ‘bugger?’" Hermione asked.


Harry chuckled. "I’ll tell her it was Ron’s fault."


Hermione shook her head, laughing. "You two will never change."


"See! That’s a good thing. When I came out here you didn’t like change," Harry said, beaming.


"I love you, Harry," she said, throwing her arms around him and hugging both him and James.


James squawked in protest, causing Hermione to release them.


"I love you, too, James," she said.


"There you all are," Ginny said, smiling as she strode across the meadow to greet them. The fading sunlight shone off her hair, making it glow with an ethereal beauty. Harry had never got over his fascination with her hair – and he didn’t think he ever would.


"I’ve been looking everywhere for you," she said, wrapping a hand-knit baby blanket around James and taking him from Harry’s arms.


Harry frowned slightly. The one thing that always disappointed him about visiting the Burrow was that there was always a pair of hands eager to take the baby away.


"Fleur and Shannon are talking with Mum about Auntie Muriel’s tiara, Hermione. You’d best get up there if you don’t want to find it incorporated into that pretty veil of yours," Ginny said, one corner of her mouth quirking wryly.


"Oh, no. I’d better hurry back in there. Thanks, Harry," Hermione said, hurrying back toward the house.


"Hello, gorgeous," Harry said, leaning over and kissing his wife on the cheek.


Ginny frowned slightly looking down at her faded jeans and bulky jumper. "I might not be gorgeous today, but I will be tomorrow," she said. "I can’t believe that dress finally fits me. I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to get into it in time."


"You look gorgeous now. You always look gorgeous," Harry said, leaning over and kissing her again. He knew from experience that he was talking to deaf ears, but as far as he was concerned, she was the most gorgeous creature on her earth – along with their son, of course.


"Where have you been?" Ginny asked holding James in the air. She giggled when he grabbed for her nose. "You’ve been gone for ages."


"I showed James the Quidditch pitch," Harry said.


"You didn’t take him up on a broom, did you, Harry?" she asked, narrowing her eyes.


"I didn’t! You can ask Bill. We took a long walk around the woods and examined all the colors. James threw my glasses on the ground three times," Harry said, listing their adventures.


"Why don’t you just Charm them to stay on?" Ginny asked, laughing.


"That would ruin his game," Harry said, shocked she would suggest such a thing.


Ginny smiled fondly, leaning over to kiss him properly. James again voiced his disapproval of being caught in the middle.


"We should head inside. Mum is just about to serve dinner, and it’s getting chilly out here. Mum’s arranged for the three kids to stay in the nursery tonight, so they’ll all be here in the morning for Gabrielle."


Mrs. Weasley had converted Percy’s old room into a nursery for her visiting grandchildren. She’d said it was a way to remind herself that life went on.


"Gabrielle is really going to be okay watching all three of them?" Harry asked, feeling slightly panicked. Fleur’s sister had offered to mind the Weasley grandchildren while they attended the wedding, but it would be the first time Harry and Ginny had left James with anyone besides family.


"She won’t be alone," Ginny said bracingly. "She’s bringing a friend, and the two of them will be fine."


"Is Ron back yet?" Harry asked.


"Oh, no. I don’t expect to see him for hours. Hermione is spending the night at her parents’ house, and Fleur looked ready to go to bed when I was inside. Hermione will kill her if she goes into labor tonight," Ginny said, laughing.


"So, a quiet evening at home, then?" Harry asked, waggling his eyebrows.


"Hmm," Ginny replied, her eyes twinkling mischievously. "I’m certain we’ll come up with something to do."


Harry grinned, wrapping his arm around his wife. "Come on, Mrs. Potter. I’m suddenly exhausted. I think we’ll have to retire early."


"Right! As if my parents won’t see right through that, Harry. They’ll know you want to have your wicked way with me," Ginny said, scoffing.


"Er, Ginny. I think they’ve figured that out already. After all, you’re holding the evidence in your arms," Harry said, tickling James under his chin. The baby squealed with delight before beginning to fuss at Ginny’s sweater.


"Sorry, love, but it looks like your son wants to have his way with me first," Ginny said, laughing. "Let me feed him, then we’ll have our own dinner before putting him down for the night."


"All right," Harry said, pouting.


Ginny laughed, nudging him gently. "Then we can go home and engage in those other activities."


The monster in Harry’s chest perked up its head and roared.



**--**--



The morning of the wedding dawned cloudy and gray with a very light sheen of moisture in the air. Although it was typical English weather, Luna had informed Hermione that it meant the Fertility Goddess was smiling upon her. Added to the stress Hermione was already feeling, plus the fact she was marrying a Weasley, and Hermione was in a right panic.


Ginny had Apparated over to the Grangers’ in order to calm Hermione, while Harry went to the Burrow to make certain Ron was straightened out. He’d found the groom hunched over a toilet with a full-blown hangover. Fred and Charlie had succeeded in their mission.


Harry begged a clucking Mrs. Weasley for a remedy – she never could resist when he used his ‘puppy-dog eyes,’ as Ginny called them. After Ron had showered, dressed and eaten a massive breakfast, the two Apparated to the secure location that Hermione had arranged for magical guests. They still had plenty of time, so they took a stroll along the street, peering in various Muggle windows as they did.


"So, are you feeling better?" Harry asked, smirking. Ron had lost the green tinge to his skin, but now, only an hour before the ceremony, he was finally beginning to look nervous. Leave it to Ron to wait until the last minute.


"What if she decides not to do this, Harry?" he asked.


"She won’t," Harry replied, smiling.


"How do you know?" Ron asked, sounding both irritated and hopeful at the same time.


"How long have you known Hermione, Ron? You – of all people – should know how hard it is to change her mind once she has it set on something," Harry replied easily.


Ron snorted. "Too right." After a few minutes walking in amiable silence, he added, "We’re really going to do this."


"It’s been a long time coming," Harry said.


"Hey! After Hermione marries me, we’ll all be family – for real," Ron said, appearing startled by the thought.


"You’re just now working that out?" Harry asked, raising an eyebrow.


"Shut it," Ron said, elbowing Harry in the gut. "Who would have ever thought when we all met on the Hogwarts Express all those years ago that we’d one day end up as One Big Happy Weasley Family?"


"Not me," Harry said, grinning. "I was just happy to find someone who would sit with me."


Ron snorted. "It’ll be good to see everyone – even Malfoy said he was coming."


After school, Draco had finally managed to get his family funds restored to him. Although they never Owled each other to arrange a get together, when they ran into one another at a pub, they’d always share a pint. Draco had gone abroad the previous year after becoming frustrated with the amount of distrust the Malfoy name still instilled in Wizarding Britain.


"You invited him then?" Harry asked, raising his eyebrow.


"Well, it was Hermione’s idea," Ron grumbled.


Harry grinned. They’d formed a grudging respect, but Ron would never call Draco a mate. Harry supposed he wouldn’t, either.


"I heard he’s been going out with Daphne Greengrass," Harry said.


"Yeah. He’s bringing her as his date," Ron replied. "She was never as bad as some of the others, but I never trusted her."


"What Slytherin did you trust?" Harry asked.


"Same could be asked of you! I sent Snape a wedding invitation, too," Ron said, barely controlling his grin. "He didn’t respond."


Harry chuckled. Ron had spent the past four years cheerfully sending any news related to Harry or their lives to their old Potions’ master in Azkaban. He even made annual visits on Potter’s Day to ensure the surly man would get all the details of the celebratory events.


Snape had been sentenced to life in Azkaban, though Ron said his disposition was really no different than it had been at Hogwarts. The only thing that did seem to crack Snape’s surly indifference was news of Harry’s success. Ron’d said he’d nearly had kittens when he’d learned Harry had been awarded the Order of Merlin.


"Maybe you should stop and pay him a visit before you leave on your honeymoon," Harry said, grinning. "Ask him for a Potency-Increasing Potion or something. You and Hermione have some catching up to do."


Ron shoved Harry’s shoulder, causing him to stumble. Harry turned and sucker punched Ron in the gut as the two friends laughed, continuously strolling down the street. Perhaps it was grayness of the day causing them to hurry or just the excitement of the pending nuptials, but they passed a Muggle newsstand without casting a second glance at the headline…



Mysterious Deaths in Surry



Late last evening on a quiet street in Surry, a gruesome discovery was made. Vernon and Petunia Dursley were found dead in their home. Both victims were found seated at their kitchen table, but a source close to the investigation tells us no cause of death is readily apparent. Both victims had been in relatively good health, although Mr. Dursley suffered from high blood pressure and a dangerous cholesterol level. Still, this wouldn’t explain how both victims died at the same time with no obvious sign of foul play.


The doors to their house on Privet Drive remained locked, and there was no sign of forced entry. The Dursleys are survived by one son, Dudley, who was unavailable for comment, although one neighbor claimed to have seen him in the area on the day of his parents’ mysterious deaths. The source tells this reporter that the strangest thing about the case is the expression of terror on both victims’ faces. The source claimed it was as if they’d been frightened to death…




A/N: Heh, there it is, folks! The end. Finis. It’s such a bittersweet feeling to reach the end. Thanks so much for all the incredible support. You’ve been amazing, and I really appreciate all the kind words, encouragement, support and trinket nods. I was so sure that by the time I finished this piece, we’d have begun the countdown to book 7. Sigh, but that doesn’t seem close just yet.


While I have no sequel planned, I’ve obviously left myself some playing room ;) I think it’s more likely you’ll see a oneshot from time to time details some of Harry and Ginny’s trials and tribulations as they build their new life together.


As always, thanks to my stellar beta team. Sherylyn, you’ve been a joy and someone I’d call friend even if we’re not working on a project. Kedme, Dianne, and GhostWriter, too, I think we’ll email and HP gossip for years to come. I hope so, anyway. Thanks so much!


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