Chapter 20 : The Final Act
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Cho Chang sat listening to the Lee show in her parents furniture store. A few people were milling around out front in the non-magical portion. Her responsibility was usually the charmed part which you had to be a Witch or Wizard to see and/or enter. Her Mother had 'ripped her a new one' as her boyfriend Dean Thomas liked saying after (intentionally) losing the order Hannah and Neville placed. 'If you weren't my daughter you would be fired' her Mother yelled when she got home. The order for two bedroom sets and accompanying extras amounted to 10,000 galleons or more than two months sales. She didn't want to hurt her parents, she was just mad. Her boyfriend Dean had been hurt 'for no reason' as he put it by Neville's cousin who looked even bigger than Ron with his sun tanned complexion. So she slid it into a drawer, forgetting to place the order with the supplier but keeping it just in case.
She usually listened to Lee's show since they attended Hogwarts together. He was one year ahead of her and announced Quidditch Matches. She was the seeker for Ravenclaw and in her final match for the House Cup Ginny beat her to the snitch ensuring their victory. She also beat her to Harry. They had dated for a short time when the DA first began, but her heartbreak over Cedric Diggory's death prevented them from having much of a relationship. At the same time Ginny was dating Dean Thomas which also ended badly. They both had this in common when they started seeing each other that year, but were pulled apart when she graduated and he had one more year. Owls went weekly between them, Dean steadfastly saying she was the one for him. Her friends at school told her otherwise, telling her he was actively looking for 'dates' as he described them. Cho did not believe her friends, thinking them jealous she had such a good looking, charming boyfriend.
But a part of her still wondered what if she had been able to stay with Harry then. 'Would it be me, not Ginny on the radio with him?' She laughed at Rita Skeeter, and applauded Hermione's genius. That was until the quill went to work.
"Please don't find that part" she whispered, adjusting the purple scarf she perpetually wore since that fateful meeting with Rita back in June. Dean had gotten a promotion at his parents restaurant to Maitre D', and was feeling very confident. He talked her into contacting Rita and they met after the restaurant closed one night.
"So tell me why should I believe you?" Rita asked after listening to what they said, the quick quotes quill scratching away.
"Because of our relationship with the both of them" Cho replied. "Harry has a birthmark on his .. well ... his left backside. How else would I know that?"
Rita was smart, but not that smart. If she was then she might have figured out that Dean being Harry's roommate might have seen it in the shower. Instead she smiled and shook their hands saying "You have a deal." Money passed between them and their relationship began. Weekly meetings took place over the summer as Rita's project continued. She encouraged them to 'embellish" their stories, hypothesizing on the relationship between Hermione and Harry, and Ginny and Hermione who were painted to be feuding over Harry. Ron was a toy for Hermione to play with, and the same for Ginny with Harry. Another story line called for Ginny to be using Harry, ready to throw him away as soon as someone better came along.
Cho listened intently when Lee said the quill was scribbling away, hoping her name did not come up. She never saw the finished copy, Rita always having excuses like 'It's not ready yet' or 'my publisher is proofreading it right now'. When Harry mentioned page 245, and what Ron screamed she knew she and Dean were in trouble. As fast as she could she ran up the back stairs to the roof. She heard the crowd, and with her seekers eyes and saw someone dressed in multi colored clothes being taken away. Closing her eyes she began to transform.
* * *
"Welcome back to the 'Lee' show everyone! I am your host Lee Jordan and I want to apologize for the extra long delay. We decided to hit the loo during the break and you know what when happens-one person goes and then everybody has to. Now that we've gotten that out of our system I promise no further interruptions. We are back to our listeners. So Harry about those marriage proposals ... "
"Lee unless they are for you Harry is taken" Ginny joked.
"You heard it from the Lady folks. Don't bother, he's taken. And Harry you are very lucky. Ginny has been like a little Sister to me too."
"Thank you Lee. Nothing will keep us apart ever again. I have traveled too far for that to happen."
"Traveled Harry what do you mean? Can you share something with us today? I know you hinted about you telling your story at a later date."
"Lee you know how turbulent my life has been. And up until now it has never been totally mine. Your listeners are aware of all the labels placed on me over the years. 'The Boy Who Lived', 'The Chosen One', and many others I have been saddled with. Very, very few people have cared about me. Harry Potter. The ones surrounding us here have, along with the DA and the Hogwarts Professors. Now that this part of my life has ended I am forced to think 'what comes next'? That was one of the reasons why no one has seen me the last several months, along with recovering from what I experienced this last year."
"Harry we all saw you disappear that night after Voldemort's ultimatum. Do you feel comfortable telling us some of it? I understand if it is too painful."
"Lee painful doesn't begin to describe that awful night. You saw the Great Hall. All the bodies. Fred, Colin, Remus, the list goes on. Madam Pomprey going in three directions at once. I knew this could not go on, and once I got some additional information I knew what I had to do."
"Folks the silence is deafening. We are all holding our breaths. Judging by everyone's faces, this is the first time Harry has discussed this. Harry please continue."
"We learned Voldemort and his Army were coming, and had to get to Hogwarts immediately. There was a particular item he was searching for and we knew we needed to beat him to it. We did, but that did not matter because he was here anyway. As you know the attack began and we suffered damaging losses. A break occurred and he made his ultimatum. It was during this I learned more about our situation and knew what I must do."
"Harry we heard. We all did. Pansy Parkinson wanted to betray you but the Headmistress refused. Typical Slytherin, only looking out for yourself."
"Actually Lee one of them is different, and we all owe everything to her. Minister I wish to go on record concerning her and her actions that night. We owe everything to Narcissa Malfoy."
"NARCISSA MALFOY? DRACO'S MOTHER? Are you serious Harry? What could she have possibly done?" yelled Lee.
"Lee I'm sure your listeners are wondering the same. How could the Mother of my worst enemy at school Draco Malfoy be so important? It's because she is a Mother, that's why."
"Harry you have lost me, and I'm sure all our listeners."
"I can see why Lee. Minister is this being broadcast in Azkaban as I requested?"
"It is Harry. I thought maybe you wanted the Death Eaters to know you are indeed alive, and all their plans have failed."
"Thank you Minister. That was one reason. The other is Narcissa I plan on being there at your trial next week to testify on your behalf."
"Folks we are looking at Harry like he has grown an extra head or two. 'Are you crazy?' was just heard from the street. Harry what could this woman have possibly done to deserve this?"
"Everything. That night I realized something. No matter what we did this would never end. So I did what all of you did not want me to. I went out there to face him. Just me, no one else. I know many of you would have come if I had asked, but I knew that would not help. So I stood there and let him kill me."
"HARRY YOU DID WHAT??? Listeners I don't know if you can hear anything at this time. Harry is holding up his hands asking for us to be quiet. Harry whenever you're ready."
"Thank you Lee. When I was a baby my parents were killed because of me. There was a prophesy which said 'Neither can live while the other survives'. Tom took that to mean he needed to kill me, so he tried and failed. My Mother's sacrifice, her giving up her own life, prevented him from succeeding. It killed his body at the time, and the next few years he spent attempting to come back.
When I walked into the forest I did not expect to live. I hoped my sacrifice for all of you would give you the strength to fight on, and Neville I have never been prouder than the way you stood up to him. The strength and the courage shown inspired me.
But as I was saying. Tom tried to kill me, and failed ... "
"Harry how can that be? You said your Mother died for you? Who was there this time? You said no one" Lee pointed out. "Listeners I see Harry looking at Ginny who is nodding yes. They have gotten up and are approaching the window. Ginny has unbuttoned Harry's shirt and the crowd has gasped. What is it? Harry is turning around and ... Harry that can't be! Ladies and gentlemen Harry Potter has an identical scar on his chest to the famous one on his forehead. This one is probably six inches long. Harry how can you survive again?"
"Because of love. When my Mother gave her own life for me the magic was so powerful it shielded me from Tom, with a magic so strong nothing could penetrate it. That night I did not think I would survive. I was just as willing to die as she was. The love I had in my heart prevented me from dying, and in turn helped in the final confrontation. Did you notice how Tom's curses were not as powerful?"
"Yes. At the time we thought you were dead, but wondered why Voldemort wasn't wiping us all out. This makes more sense now. But what about Narcissa Malfoy?"
"In a minute Lee. When Tom hit me with the killing curse, I was prepared to die. My thoughts were of all of you, and you surviving. But one person in particular I wanted to live. The person who means everything to me. She is what I was thinking of when it happened, and her love for me is what drew me back."
"Harry this is incredible. But where did you go? Some people say you see a bright light. What was it like?"
"It is difficult to explain. Suffice it to say that I was given a choice, for maybe the first time in my life. To return and fight, or to pass on to ... to I don't know where. I won't deny Lee it was tempting. To see my parents again, my Godfather Sirius Black, the Lupins, but in the end I knew I needed to return. Voldemort was still alive, so my goal of defeating him was not done. And I wished to return to this beautiful woman who is patiently holding my hand while I ramble."
"Harry I have waited my whole life for you. A few more minutes will not hurt."
"Thank you Ginny. You see why I love her so much? But let me finish. I awoke in the same clearing in the forest. Hagrid was forced to carry me back to the Castle. Before he did Narcissa Malfoy was sent to see if I was dead. She knew I wasn't, and lied to Tom in order to return to the Castle and search for her Son."
"So she had an ulterior motive then Harry? Not to help you?"
"She may have Lee. At the time all she wanted was her son. I'm sure she knew the Prophesy of my killing Tom, so that may have entered in."
"All this is so fascinating Harry. But what surprises me and I'm sure our listeners is you're surviving the killing curse again."
"Another part of the prophesy Lee was this: 'He will have power the Dark Lord knows not'. That power is love. Tom Riddle did not love anyone but himself. To him it was a useless emotion for those too weak to stand on their own. As we saw here at Hogwarts last year it was the power of love which gave those the courage to resist his followers. And here in the final battle it was what united us and gave us the strength to fight."
"Harry this is all so amazing. I can't wait to see what else you have to say once the Quibbler returns. In our time remaining shall we try to get in as many questions as possible from our listeners? Another one writes 'Harry I want to marry you too. I can share Ginny ..."
"I'm sorry I can't" Harry replied, to the laughter of Ginny.
"All right maybe we can start skipping those. I know this summer there were hundreds of proposals. Ron and Neville got their fair share. Can the owls who are carrying those please fly over here? Thank you for that. I see it is going on 6 o'clock, so we have to wrap this up soon. While we are waiting Harry do you have anything to say?"
"Yes Lee I do. To all those who came to that final horrible battle I say thank you. Without your sacrifice and your help none of us would be standing here today."
"Harry I agree. Shall we say goodbye to everyone down in the street? Folks Harry and Ginny are standing along the wall, waving at the crowd below. Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley are on their left, and Hannah Abbott and Neville Longbottom are on their right. I must say today was incredible for me, and I hope it was for you too. This is Lee Jordan signing off for today, August 11th, 199 ... . HEY WHAT THE !!!"
Static filled the air for a second as the sound of the microphone tipping over was heard. Sounds of screaming carried out over the airwaves and then a loud thump. "FOLKS WE ARE BACK ON THE AIR, OR I GUESS WE NEVER LEFT DID WE !! I'll try to compose myself to tell you what happened. As I said the three couples were waving goodbye to the people congregated below us. I felt something fly by me, knocking me and my microphone over. A big owl, the one I saw earlier with the black feathers all over its head and back, swooped across and attacked Harry and Ginny. I'm not sure which one she was after, but it failed. What I saw I cannot explain. All three couples were engrossed in the action outside. Somehow, and I'm not exactly sure how, both their wands began to glow and pulled them away from the wall and back in my direction. A jet of golden light erupted from both wands, freezing the giant bird in place. Chains then came out of their wands, tightly binding the bird while it floated in front of us. As we speak it remains there, Harry and Ginny still pointing their wands at it. Let's listen in."
"Is everyone all right?" asked the Minister.
"I think so. Who ever heard of an owl doing that?" wondered Ron.
"Maybe it was specially trained to attack Harry if she ever saw him" speculated Hermione.
"That could be. Look at the claws! They must be six inches long!" added Hannah.
"Sweetheart what do the colors remind you of?" Ginny wondered to Harry.
"Listeners Harry Potter is walking around the big bird and looking at its markings. He is seeing a large owl probably three feet tall, which is a little taller than average I believe. The top of its head is covered in black feathers, and now that I can see the back of it they run at least halfway down. It has a normal owl's face with one exception. Above its eyes are wavy purple lines. Extremely unusual for an owl. I've never seen one with purple on it before. I wonder where it came from? There isn't any note attached to its leg. Harry is smiling now, but this is the saddest smile I have ever seen folks. He and Ginny are standing side by side again and discussing something. They seem to agree."
"Homorphus" Ginny and Harry shouted together.
"Unbelievable !! The owl isn't really an owl !! A bright blue jet of light has bathed the owl and it is slowly transforming. It is becoming ... no I can't believe it. Cho Chang, one of the DA members! How can this be??"
"Harry Cho was our friend. Why would she want to hurt you?" wondered Neville.
"It may have been Ginny she was after. Remember she and Harry dated when the DA first began, but because she and Cedric were so close she never got over her loss of him. The night we came in, she wanted to help Harry but Ginny suggested Luna instead. Then she wanted our assignments, not the ones we asked her to do. Put it all together and jealousy may be behind it" Ron summarized.
"One thing more. Remember when Susan told me she saw Cho and Dean together? That makes two people who hated you both. Look at her forehead-it says sneak, just like when Marietta Edgecombe betrayed us fifth year. That's your answer Minister. It bet if you check Dean's forehead it will be the same" Hannah stated.
"Miss Abbott I received an owl myself while this was happening. You are correct about Mr. Thomas. We will be investigating them both for assault and attempted murder. Maybe Miss Skeeter is behind this also? Either way the Veritaserum will tell us more" answered the Minister.
"Listeners the potion 'Veritaserum' acts to force the drinker to tell the truth. We will know who is behind this, rest assured."
"Harry do you remember at the DA meetings how Cho likes to be barefoot? She said her balance was better. Look at her feet, and her hands!" replied Hermione.
"Listeners let's move by Harry and ... yes I can see what Hermione is referring to. Cho's fingers and toes have nails which are impossibly long, and are covered with some type of green substance. Poison perhaps? Minister she doesn't look very good right now. Do you have anyone who can take her to St. Mungo's?"
"Lee my Aurors will be here momentarily. You may be right about poison because Mr. Thomas is in St. Mungo's also."
"Harry this is all so tragic! Why would she get like this?" wondered Ginny as she hugged him, afraid this would take him back to his perpetual blaming himself.
"Miss Weasley you did not see Miss Chang after Cedric Diggory's death. She was devastated. It surprised me when she wanted to get close to Mr. Potter. I can see why their relationship failed. I hope she can get the help she needs" sadly said the Headmistress.
"Folks two Aurors have taken Miss Chang away. Down on the street I can see Cho's Mother. Yes, go to St. Mungo's. They took her there. Harry I'm sorry this marred what was a very eventful day for all of us."
"Lee this is tragic. I really hope she makes it. And you are correct this has been very eventful. Is the clock on your desk accurate?"
"Yes it is. 6:17. My goodness folks we have been doing this for over 6 hours! My how time flies. Any last thoughts anyone? Yes Harry? Listeners I can see Harry is holding Ginny and wants to say a few things."
"Ginny I love you. I think a part of me always has. I can never thank you enough for what you have done for me. It was your love which I felt when I faced Tom in the forest, and it was you who brought me back on my Birthday."
"On your Birthday? Harry what else happened?"
"Not now Lee. Harry I love you too. You know I have ever since I could talk. But it is the real Harry Potter, not the Chosen One, who I want to spend the rest of my life with."
"So do I Ginny. That's why I want to tell you again what I said three months ago. I promise you Ginevra Molly Weasley, here in front of our two best friends who are also our family that I will never lie or keep things from you again. I love you."
"And Harry James Potter I also promise in front of our friends and family that I will never lie to you or keep things from you. I love you too."
"My loyal listeners this is absolutely incredible!!! That sounds like a marriage proposal to me! And it is !!!! Harry has dropped down on one knee and pulled a box out of his pocket! He has opened it and look how it sparkles!! Ginny has extended her hand and Harry has slid it onto her finger. Now she has taken out another ring and placed it on Harry's!!
Something else has taken place folks. Harry and Ginny have kissed, and as they did their two wands have touched bathing them in a golden glow. I see golden cords coming out of their wands, connecting their hearts. How beautiful this is!! Where is my camera? The Creevy's gave me one and ... here it is. Harry, Ginny please turn around. Neville Longbottom has just handed Ginny a bouquet of Lilies. How appropriate. Smile everyone! Harry that ring you gave Ginny. Was that your Mother's?"
"Yes Lee it is. I wanted to put it on her hand before but I couldn't. I had to wait until now. Or to be more accurate, after 6:17 which is the exact time Ginny was born. Now the Ministry or anyone else will cannot say our marriages are not recognizable."
"Harry why would they say that? As you said you are both of age now."
"Because Lee when Harry and I spoke those words the first time on the second of May I was only sixteen. He did not think he was proposing and neither did I. We learned afterwards what it was. In our hearts we were married, and I think it was what allowed me to help him when he needed me. Is that right Professor?"
"Mrs. Potter I think you would give Miss Granger a run for her money" Albus answered. "Yes it was the magic you two shared that day which formed the bond between you. It created essentially a bridge for you to cross to find Harry and to safely return. More about this I cannot say Mr. Jordan."
"Headmaster my head is spinning right now, as I'm sure out listeners are too. I don't think we need to pry into their personal lives any further. As Harry told us close to seven hours ago he hasn't had a private life. Anything and everything has been public knowledge right down to his favorite dessert, and I for one think it is time to stop. So as much as it pains me to say it I am not going to ask you or Mrs. Potter - and folks you should see the smile on Ginny's face when I said that - to come back onto my show. If you wish to come and visit on or off the air you will be welcome, but we all need to leave you two alone. Besides you are on your honeymoon aren't you. Harry where are you going to take her? Sorry old habits die hard. This is Lee Jordan signing off, wishing only the best for Harry and Ginny Potter."