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Disclaimer JKR gets the credit – characters, settings, etc. is all hers. Anything you recognize is probably not mine. The Goulds are mine though.

I’m sorry, but this is really it. It’s really more of an epilogue, so I won’t even call it chapter 19. But before you read it, just let me say a few things real quick. Thanks so much to all of you for sticking with me through this fic. Thanks for reviewing and telling me what to improve on and how much you liked it – it really kept my spirits up and kept it getting better. You can’t even begin to imagine how glad I am that I have you guys to count on – that you’ll read and review and just support me. I’m really going to miss that. Now that I’m done with SG, I’ll see if I can check out some of your guys’s stuff too, or maybe get around to writing something else… we’ll see. But for now, enjoy.

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Epilogue: Understanding

Ginny turned another page of the photo album, smiling. She reached for her cup of tea and took a sip, leaning back into the couch’s pillows. Her eyes scanned over the pictures, watching the waving and smiling figures happily.

She vaguely heard the door of the house opening, and along with that came the sounds of her husband and children’s laughter. She’d asked him to pick the kids up from Ron and Hermione’s on his way home from work. She smiled, setting down her cup of tea and laying the book aside.

She heard Harry telling the kids to take off their shoes and leave their jackets, and a few seconds later, there were footsteps in the hall.

“Mummy!” cried the excited voice of seven-year-old Emmy Potter. The little girl came bursting into the living room and wrapped her arms around her mother’s waist.

“Hello, Emmy,” Ginny said to her daughter, kissing the top of her head. “Where’s Peter?”

“With Daddy,” Emmy replied, letting go of her mother. “Guess what, Mummy? Guess what?”

“What?” Ginny asked eagerly, sitting down beside her daughter on the couch.

The little girl was bouncing with excitement. “Uncle Ronnie told me to ask you if we could all help him plan a surprise birthday party for Aunt Mione!”

“Ooh, that would be wonderful!” Ginny exclaimed. “What did you tell him?”

“I said I’d ask you, and thanks for offering,” replied Emmy proudly.

“Good job,” Ginny replied as Harry and five-year-old Peter appeared in the doorway.

“Hello, Peter,” she said, scooping up her son and giving him a big hug. She leaned over and kissed Harry on the cheek as he left for the kitchen.

“Mummy!” he cried happily. “Guess what Tom and Mandy and Emmy and I did today?” he asked, eyes shining.

“Well, I don’t know, why don’t you tell me?” Ginny asked, grinning.

She relaxed into the couch as her children sat on either side of her, telling her excitedly what they’d done at their cousins’ house that day and what Aunt Mione had made for dinner. Before long, Harry returned with a tray of cookies and two glasses of milk floating along beside him. He set these on the coffee table and the kids immediately attacked their dessert.

“And how was your day, dear?” asked Ginny, giving Harry a light kiss on the lips before he took a bite of cookie.

“Fine,” he replied with a smile, wiping some stray crumbs from his mouth. “They haven’t got anything on Greyback yet, although Remus is working extremely hard. I think another few days should crack it. We’re pretty sure there’s another group of five or so Death Eaters out there with him, but since last week, they’ve calmed down a lot,” he told her.

“What exactly did happen last week? I only caught what the Daily Prophet said, and you know how they’re not the most reliable source,” she said with a smirk.

“What ‘till the kids are in bed,” he told her, giving her a peck on the cheek.

She smiled and turned to look at their kids. Emmy, with long Weasley hair and Harry’s green eyes, looked somewhat like Harry’s mother had, and Ginny knew that Harry loved her for it. Peter had inherited the Potter hair – jet black and untamable. He had Ginny’s nose and freckles and hazel eyes. Harry had insisted on naming their first son after Peter Pettigrew, although Ginny still didn’t fully understand why.

The two of them ate a few more cookies and finished their drinks. Emmy turned to look at her mother, yawning. “Are we gonna visit Remmy and Tonks tomorrow?” she asked eagerly. She had been bugging her parents for a week now, ever since Harry had mentioned it.

“We’ll ask,” Harry said with a smile. “I think Remus is ready now.”

“Are you sure a week is enough – ”

“Yeah, Gin,” he replied. “He was fine in the office today.”

She nodded, smiling. Harry cleared up the table as Ginny took her children’s hands and led them upstairs to their bedrooms. “Emmy, d’you want to brush your teeth while I get Peter ready for bed?” she asked her daughter.

Emmy nodded happily and skipped off into the bathroom. “C’mon, Peter,” Ginny said, leading him to his room, which was decorated with Quidditch posters.


Half an hour later, she retreated down the stairs quietly and turned off the light in the hallway. The kids were tired, and both of them were already asleep. She slipped into the living room, where she joined Harry on the couch. He was looking through the photo album that she’d discarded earlier. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders as she sat down. She rested her head against his shoulder and looked at the pictures as well, a peaceful smile on her lips.

“So what happened last week?” she asked vaguely after a few minutes of comfortable silence.

“I told you that we sent a search party of seven into the area where Greyback was hiding, right?” he asked, and at her nod, he continued. “Well, they found the Death Eaters, like the Prophet said. Greyback was leading them. There were twelve or so. Seeing as it was a full moon night, the Death Eaters were trying to get Greyback somewhere where he wouldn’t attack. That’s when our search party arrived. Lucky Ron and I weren’t there, Dean just told us everything afterwards,” he said, shivering. “They attacked, and Greyback transformed. I think three Death Eaters were killed and Greyback got Colin Creevey. He’s in the hospital right now,” he finished.

Ginny nodded sadly. She remembered Colin Creevey from school, and he really didn’t deserve that fate. “How is he?” she asked, looking up at Harry.

“He’s going to be fine. Still out of it though – Greyback got him pretty bad. I’m visiting him and the others day after tomorrow – want to come?” he asked.

“Sure,” she answered, smiling back and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Then she leaned her head against his shoulder again and flipped a page in the photo album.

“Oh look – that was us in your sixth year!” she cried, seeing the picture of herself and Harry sitting by the lake, arms around each other and smiling.

Harry laughed. “And look – I still can’t believe Hermione actually took a picture of Ron and Lavender,” he said with a chuckle.

“He’s still mad at her over that,” Ginny replied with a smile, flipping the page. “And there’s – ”

She abruptly stopped talking, staring at the page. “I haven’t looked at this in years,” she whispered, covering the picture with her hand.

Harry’s arm tightened around her. He kissed the top of her head.

“I’m sorry,” she said softly. “I still am. I was being stupid.”

“No, Ginny, it’s all right,” he replied softly, entwining their fingers and gently pulling her hand away.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione were standing in the kitchen of Number 12 Grimmauld Place with a light brown haired, green eyed girl. Next to the picture, Hermione’s neat script proclaimed, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and our new friend Monica Gould.

Ginny felt a lump rising in her throat. “I shouldn’t have done it,” she whispered as she turned her head away from the picture.

“No, Gin,” Harry said softly. “It helped. No matter what you say, it helped. It took my mind off of you, no matter what you think. In sixth year, I was so afraid of going somewhere and – and not coming back. I was so afraid of being killed. I thought you would never be able to live with my death. But then, you – well – died, and I had no problem with going out there anymore. I knew that if I did die, you wouldn’t have to worry. I’d be with you again. And it also made me work harder. I remember how badly I wanted to get rid of Voldemort, to know that he was gone. I can still feel the anger, the horror that I felt in the hospital wing that day. It was as if – as if I’d really had parents and then they were killed all over again in front of me,” he said, his voice changing into a whisper towards the end. “I’ve never wanted anything as much as I did then. I wanted Voldemort gone. And if you hadn’t gone, then I wouldn’t have had that spirit, even though to everyone else it must have seemed like despair. Even to me it seemed like despair. I thought, at first, that nothing would ever be all right again. I gave up for a while. But then I realized that Voldemort was the cause for all of this. It just drove me harder than anything’s ever driven me in my life. So, Ginny, please don’t cry. You did the right thing. No matter how strange and wrong that sounds, you did the right thing.”

By this time she had turned her head to look up at him. Her eyes sparkled with tears still, and she saw that his did as well. “Oh, Harry,” she whispered, leaning into him. “You never told me this. Here I am, horrified by my idiocy for the past – what? Ten or fifteen years now? When you’ve been thankful all this time.”

He half-laughed, giving her a kiss on the cheek. “I’m sorry,” he said softly. “You know, that’s pretty much why I wanted to name our first son Peter,” he said suddenly after a brief silence.

She looked up at him, confused. “What?”

“I was so mad at Peter for betraying my parents and I hated him so much. But – but Ginny, I killed him. I killed him. I’ve never felt so horrified about anything. To take someone’s life, no matter how horrible they are, is just wrong,” he said softly. “And I know he didn’t have to turn out the way he did. There was good left in him, no matter how little. It wasn’t his fault that he turned out the way he did. And I wanted to name my son after the part of Peter that was good, so that, even though I killed him, the memory his good side and what he could have been could live on.”

They were silent for a few moments. Then Ginny leaned her head against Harry’s shoulder again and told him softly, “I never knew how much thought you put into it.”

“It’s funny, isn’t it, the things that you still don’t know after eleven years of marriage?” he asked with a smile.

She chuckled and looked back at the photo album. “Well, now that that’s settled, I think I can like this picture more,” Ginny said, lightly touching the page beside the picture of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Monica. “It is a good picture, after all.”

Harry smiled and turned the page. A loose piece of parchment fluttered out and landed in his lap. He picked it up, and Ginny watched his eyes scan it. He frowned slightly, but then smiled.

“Look,” he said softly, giving it to her. “Remember this?”

Her eyes widened as she read the poem. “Yes…”

One dark lord, a boy yet so young
locked in a war for years to come.
A scar received so long ago,
none before have been just so.
A transfer of powers, the dark lord’s bane
has been revealed: a boy seemingly plain.
But the boy has powers the dark lord knows not,
with terror and sorrow his future is wrought.
The ones he holds dearest will die by his side,
one will be driven for his safety to hide.
The scar on his forehead, like lightning is its glow,
it links to the dark lord, his thoughts does it show.
This link cannot be broken, it will always remain,
it is only this that keeps them both sane.

She turned the paper over, and just like she remembered, she saw the words, Horcrux #7, Harry Potter as she had expected.

“Where did this come from? I thought it had to stay in Dumbledore’s office?” she asked Harry.

“After Voldemort was destroyed I went back to tell his portrait. After that, I could take anything out that I wanted. I took this. I think your mum probably found it while doing the laundry or something and put it in here – I don’t remember seeing it since I put it in my pocket that day.”

She nodded, rereading the poem.

“Hang on – The ones he holds dearest will die by his side, one will be driven for his safety to hide,” Harry said suddenly. “That was talking about you! I never realized that! It was talking about you the entire time! That line’s always confused me and I never understood it before…” Harry’s voice dwindled into a whisper and Ginny chuckled.

“Yeah,” she replied. “At first, I was dead scared that Hermione, at least, would figure it out.”

“Nah, you were too good, Gin,” he said with a grin.

She laughed again. “Harry?” she suddenly asked. “It says that this link cannot be broken, it will always remain. It is only this that keeps them both sane. What does that mean? You really did kill him, didn’t you?”

“Yeah,” he replied, his face serious again. “But he’s still there. In my mind. I guess that’s what the poem means – my scar’s always going to be there, and I guess what I’m linked to, since there’s obviously no Voldemort… I think it’s his memory, or something. Or what I thought of him, or what he always was to me. I dunno,” he replied. “But for the It is only this that keeps them both sane part, I think it’s true – I felt a lot more… I dunno… in control of my life when he was there. I knew where it was going, what I was doing. Without him, I feel somewhat lost, and even though I have a family, a job, a great life, I feel as if something’s missing. I think it’s like what Hermione said back then – I lost a part of me when I killed him,” he finished at a whisper.

Ginny stared at the poem for a while, then looked up at her husband. “You’ve been through too much for a person your age, Harry,” she told him. “Your whole life was built to destroy Voldemort. And you did it. It’s like you already achieved your goal in life or something. We – the rest of us – shoved the responsibility of destroying Voldemort onto you, and now that you’ve done it, it’s… Oh, it’s no use,” she sighed. “I can’t figure out how to put it.”

“It’s like you said – everything I ever did led up to me destroying him. Everything. And after that… I needed to rebuild my life and figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of it, seeing as nothing in the past prepared me for anything beyond destroying him. It’s almost like – ” Here Harry chuckled. “ – everyone expected me to die trying, so they didn’t bother teaching me how to live a life. And if I didn’t have that link – that scar – holding me to the past, I don’t think I’d have been able to make it afterwards. Everything was so unfamiliar at first. I was happy – I never really knew what happy meant until then. I think I would’ve gone insane with happiness if I hadn’t had the past to think on. So the poem was right all along,” he finished. “It links me to Voldemort, and it will forever.”

Ginny smiled up at him. “I’m proud of you, you know that, right?” she asked suddenly.

“Why?” Harry asked, slightly surprised.

“We’ve just talked about almost everything you’ve ever been through, and I can see you’ve come to terms with it all. You accept it, and I can even tell you’re a bit proud. You should be. The world shoved too much responsibility onto you, and you learned to deal with it and live with it.”

He half smiled down at his wife, who was grinning up at him. “You know, when you put it that way, I do deserve to be proud. I’ll even go as far as to say if I had to go back to the beginning, I wouldn’t change a thing about how things went.”

“Not anything? Not your parents’ deaths, Sirius, or even what I did?” she asked softly.

“Nothing,” he repeated firmly. “Things might not have lead up to this moment otherwise. We’ve talked about a lot tonight, Ginny. It hasn’t been easy. But somehow, it’s made me eager for the time when Peter and Emmy will be old enough to understand everything. When we’ll be able to tell them the full story about my parents, about the war, and about you. And no matter what you say, I will repeat it – if you hadn’t gone and done your Monica thing, I would never have gotten enough determination to defeat Voldemort.”

She smiled and opened her mouth to speak.

“And before you try to contradict me again, Ginevra Molly Weasley-Potter, I’d like you to tell me the full story from the beginning so that I can make you see it from my point of view and make you understand that you were only helping by being secretly Ginny.”

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