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It was Hogwarts, but it was not. It was the Burrow, and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, and Lily and James’s house in Godric’s Hollow and the Lovegood’s house. It was a mash of all Harry’s favorite places, and all his friend’s houses. It stood on rolling meadows of space, the forbidden forest on one side, with the lake and the Quidditch pitch, on the other there were streams and waterfalls and mountains. Things seemed to morph and disappear as you wanted them too, the giant squid lifted a tentacle to wave, Buckbeak the hippogriff took flight, the forbidden forest grew larger and the streams swelled to rivers with bridges. The house elves were skipping quickly ahead because they had the freedom that they wanted, they all filed into a tiny yellow door on one side of the castle.

Harry opened a different door and found himself in the kitchen of the Burrow. Harry could smell treacle tart and a thirty year old Mrs Weasley was stirring a pot on the cooker with no wand, just jets of lavender light from her fingertips. A twenty year old Mr Weasley was flying a model aeroplane and Harry could see a plumber’s manual on his chair. Mrs Weasley turned from feeding a baby with a gingery fuzz of hair and saw Harry,

“Hello dear,” she said, quite unsurprised. “Treacle tart? I’ve just put a nice apple crumble in if you’d rather,” It was as if Harry had come to stay for the holidays. Harry realized he’d come to stay forever. He grinned and took a slice of treacle tart. A door on the far end of the kitchen opened and Ron burst out chanting a version of Weasley is our King:
“I took Granger’s King,
I took Granger’s King,
I didn’t let her bloody win,
I took Granger’s King.”

Hermione stormed out after him muttering to herself,

“Always let him win...Always goes to his head...Let him have my King...Don’t even like chess,”

“Alright guys?” said Harry nonchalantly,

“HARRY!” they cried and threw themselves on him.

Two more plates of treacle tart appeared at the table and Ron and Hermione threw themselves into a seat. They all tucked in happily, chatting a little and feeding baby Dumbledore pieces of tart. A stormy young girl with flaming red hair threw herself through the door, trailing a toy broomstick behind her.

“MUM, tell Fred and George to stop trying to-“began Ginny kicking her boots off and flinging herself into the chair next to Ron, she looked up,

 “HARRY!” she screamed jumping to her feet and growing up to his age.

“Never that excited to see me...” muttered Ron, a hint of jealousy in his voice. Hermione kicked him.

“Wotcher Gin,” said Harry, wrapping his arms around her, lifting her up and tenderly kissing her with the anticipation that they hadn’t felt in years. They felt as if they had marriage, kids and happily ever after to look forward to, they were young again.

Baby Albus made a noise that sounded like he was being sick, Ron chortled and Harry begrudgingly placed Ginny on her feet again. Fred, George, Sirius and Remus crashed into the kitchen from upstairs.

“Wotcher Harry!” they hollered.

“You’d think...” began Sirius,

“That with all the perfection around here...” said George,

“All the control...” continued Remus,

“None of the controversy...” said Fred,

“That there’d be no room for trouble?” said a deep voice that was hidden behind them,

“Exactly!” the four chorused.

“Mischief managed is it?” said the James, stepping out from behind Remus, a hand subconsciously reaching up to ruffle his hair. He was, indeed, the spitting image of Harry.

“Dad?” whispered Harry, the others watched on, spellbound. Harry shrunk to a toddler and leapt into his father’s arms. James held Harry with the support he’d dreamed of for a hundred and sixteen years. A beautiful woman  walked wordlessly down the twisting staircase, up which Harry longed to explore, her hair was a deep auburn and her eyes, well she had Harry’s eyes. She took her child from James and spun him around, kissing his cheeks feverishly. When she placed him down Harry grew into a teenager,

“Gross, Mum,” he said, wiping lipstick off his face and blushing. Lily grinned and turned to Mrs Weasley,

“Molly, anything I can do to help?”

“Course not, you know I love doing it or I wouldn’t be,” Mrs Weasley smiled fondly “Super will be three seconds if you’re hungry,” Harry felt his stomach growl in response. “Would you call the others?” Mrs Weasley asked kindly. Lily stepped outside and hit a large gong, the noise wasn’t unpleasant but it was so loud several birds flew out of the bushes. Harry flinched a little.

“Sorry dear, it’s all that will rouse them. Shall we eat in the dining hall?” They all nodded and trooped through to a large room, Harry found himself holding baby Dumbledore. It was all a bit surreal. The room was the Hogwart’s dining room, but with one huge circular table. There were candles floating over the head of each place, the house elves scurried and lit them, no one had asked them to, they just liked doing it. The sky was dark and lit with a hanging constellation, Canis Major, the brightest star was Sirius, the Dog Star. Sirius Black glanced up at it and grinned,

“Bet none of you have a star,” he said, smugly.

“I’ve got a fist!” joked Fred, clenching it mockingly.

Harry laughed and plonked himself between them. He put baby Dumbledore on his lap but to his surprise he crawled off and away. Standing in his own space Dumbledore grew to about 40 and waved at Harry, then walked off to sit somewhere else. Harry shook his head in utter wonderment and then stared out at the faces that lined the massive table. There was the Weasleys, Xeno Lovegood and his wife, Luna and Rolf Scamander, Cedric Diggory and his parents, Colin and Denis Creevy, Dean Thomas, Cho Chang, Neville, Hannah and his parents and grandparents, Seamus Finnegan and his family, Kendra, Percival, Ariana, Aberforth and Albus sat together and Harry looked fondly at the family that could had been, pretty much everyone Harry had ever known and liked was there, laughing and joking, Remus was a little way away from him, sitting with Tonks, Andromeda and Ted, Severus sat with Lily and James who did indeed look like friends. All the teachers of Hogwarts sat, including an almost unrecognizable Minerva McGonagall and a gruff, cheerful Rubeus Hagrid. To Harry’s surprise, Draco, Narcissia and even Lucius Malfoy sat, smiling and chatting like the others. Harry supposed they’d been redeemed; he was in no mood to challenge it.

A steak and kidney pie appeared on a golden platter in front of him, alongside toad-in-the-hole, chicken and ham pie and many other glorious dishes, jugs of ice cold pumpkin juice, frothy Butterbeer, Mead and Firewhiskey materialized next to them.

“Like a huge Room of Requirement,” said Harry, dreamily,

“Wit’out  the five prini’pal ‘ceptions t’Gump's law of el’ment’l transfig’ation,” said Ron cheerily, through a bacon sandwich.

“Is it impossible for you to finish a mouthful for beginning a sentence?” snapped Hermione, wiping bacon spray off her robes.

“Jeez, you two argue like an old married couple,” Harry interjected, winking.

The supper dishes disappeared and were replaced by puddings, jellies, tarts, cakes and pastries, accompanied by custard or cream or ice-cream. Trays carrying mountains of Honeyduke’s best appeared, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Pepper Imps, Chocolate Frogs, Fizzing Whizzbees, Caldron Cakes, Ice Mice, you name it, it was there. Hagrid grabbed a square of his own treacle fudge, obviously not caring for his teeth the way they were. Harry was sure he spied George passing a puking pastille to Percy:

“No, it’s a muggle sweet I swear, They’re called Roundbush Fruits or something,” said Fred, smirking at Harry. Dumbledore took a Sherbet Lemon and winked at Harry across the table. Harry watched his parents split a Caldron Cake, Draco pull a card out of a Chocolate Frog and exclaim audibly,

“Drat, I have four Harry Potters already!” the whole table erupted into laugher. Harry caught his eye and smiled awkwardly. Draco self consciously waved back.

After supper everyone retired to doing whatever they felt like doing. Harry wanted to explore the castle and the Marauders (including Fred and George as honorary members) came along too, Harry tried to drag Ron and Hermione along but they were planning on playing Quidditch with the giant squid. Apparently he was a better keeper than Ron had ever been.

Harry found the castle to be everything he’d hoped for. It was Hogwarts without Filch (who Harry assumed had become a ghost), Hogwarts with drooble plum trees and Nargles and Crumple Horned Snorkacks which Luna, Rolf and Xeno discussed excitedly. Harry ran round with the newly founded Marauders all night: looking for trouble in the forbidden forest; playing violent Quidditch; waging war on Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs and Slytherins;. Harry found himself able to become an animal, a stag like James but with green eyes and different markings, Fred and George became identical monkeys and Remus became a gentle, dreamy wolf.

Albus Dumbledore was just the same here as he was before death. It took Harry a few days to speak to him alone, his time had been taken up with mostly causing trouble, hanging out with Ginny and generally spending days as he used to. Every now and then he was grow up a little and chat maturely to his friends and family but he was usually either James and Lily’s doting young son or a teenage Marauder making havoc. Dumbledore caught him as a 30 year old man, quietly fishing in the lake for no particular reason.

“Hello Harry,” said Dumbledore, commanding the same attention with his gentle tone as he ever had.

“Professer Dumbledore!” said Harry, a little taken aback,

“Call me Albus, dear boy. Heavens you’re as old as I am,” he replied, kindly. “How are you finding after-death?”

“Oh, brilliant. Just brilliant! Better than life!” exclaimed Harry before he could stop himself.

“Yes,” laughed Dumbledore calmly. “We all seem to have found that. Luckily I didn’t tell you the first time you-well...crossed over or you’d have...”

“Topped myself then and there?.

Dumbledore gave a soft chuckle, “Perhaps,” he replied. “How was it? Your, well, for lack of a better word... journey here?”

“Oh,” Harry’s mind flew back to the conical room and Tom Riddle’s last attack. He had pushed it far away from himself. He found himself looking into Dumbledore’s dazzling eyes. He knew, of course he did.

“I don’t suppose you care to explain why I found myself alone, in a room full of hourglasses? Or why you didn’t escort me from living to dead?” Harry felt a little betrayed,

“Ah, Harry. We’ve enlightened each other so much, the universe allowed your other fans a turn,” his eyes twinkled behind his half-moon spectacles. He continued,

“I knew you’d have visited the Pyramidis Aenigmatis. It is a place where only the most acclaimed wizards can see, the purest, not in the sense of their blood, but their heart and values. Yes, I myself took a trip there,”

“Albus,” Harry said the name awkwardly “I’m not sure I understand. Are we all related to the Peverell brothers?”

“Well, yes. I was as confused as you are to begin with. There must be two rooms in existence, where all the lives of everyone are stored. One for muggles, one for wizards,”

It’s obviously not as simple as that,” he continued, “Magic is finicky. It jumps generations and turns up in the most unusual places. Everyone who has magical ability is descended from the first wizards. The Peverell brothers,”

“But, what about Squibs, and muggleborns?” asked Harry, amazed.

“Muggleborns are children descended from generations of Squibs, where magic has skipped a generation. These Squibs have forgotten about the long ago magic that courses their veins. Squibs are more plentiful that we thought, when they marry Muggles the magic is dilute but it never fades. Muggles are descended from apes and evolved. The Peverells descend from muggles. I don’t know how they became wizards but they did, the universe chose them and gave them objects of rarity and magic. The Deathly Hallows. They married muggles and passed on the ability,”

“So, no one is a pureblood? No one at all?” asked Harry,

“No, there is no wizard alive without a drop of muggle blood in them,”

“Wait, ‘til I tell Malfoy! He’ll wet himself,” exclaimed Harry. Dumbledore gave a fond smile. There was a heavy silence as Harry contemplated how to express his next concern.

“ And...” he began, shakily, “Tom Riddle’s hourglass kind of, connected to mine in the family tree with er...ropes of blood. And then the sand turned black and it threw itself at me,”

Harry felt mental just saying the words. It was all so unbelievable.

“Well, most of us are a little related. You had a strong connection to Riddle, being his Horcrux and a strong blood relative. Even now, as he wallows in Limbo, anything related to him cannot stand you. He would rather destroy himself than see you win, and that is what happened,”

“I, I don’t want to be related to Voldemort,” said Harry childishly.

“It is not our blood that defines us, Harry,”

“Speaking of blood,” Albus continued “How are your family? I hear you have a lovely son, with a delightful name. Don’t you find yourself wondering about the living? I always checked up on you,”

Harry felt a rush of guilt but quickly suppressed it, he hadn’t thought about any of his living family since he’d arrived. What had happened to his children without him? Were they okay?

“How can you view them?” Harry asked quickly.

“I’ll show you,” and with that Dumbledore crossed the lawn to a small hut Harry hadn’t seen before, once again leaving him trailing behind.

The hut was larger inside than outside and smelled faintly of damp. There was a large Pensive –like object in the centre, an ornate stone bowl filled with tumbling white mist. Harry crossed the room swiftly and with a glance at Dumbledore said,

“A Pensive?”

“No, I’ve named it a Quixotic. I just like the word,” replied Dumbledore.

Harry leaned far over the basin and gently lowered his face into it, and saw a scene from the Burrow at Christmas. The family had adopted it as a holiday home for special holidays and gatherings. Harry fondly watched Albus and James fight over the last turkey leg, noticing wrinkles and lines on their middle aged faces he’d never noticed before. He saw his great-great-grandchildren being tricked into eating sprouts and his daughter Lily serving out potatoes. He smiled to himself and watched the children squabbling over presents and the whole family playing an impromptu game of backyard Quidditch. He watched for what felt like hours until the family were asleep and he felt a gentle hand on his back.

Pulling his face out he turned to Dumbledore and quietly thanked him. He looked up at someone he considered the bravest person he knew, looked at his bright blue dancing eyes, half-moon glasses perched on his long crooked nose, the tall thin build, flowing robes, his long silver beard tucked neatly into his belt, and his face, lined with age and wisdom. Feeling it fitting, Harry grew to his full age of 117. Harry had short steel-grey hair, round glasses, a battle worn body and a sharp mind. A face lined with age and wisdom and a scar showing all he’d fought for. Harry felt a flash of fear, he was really dead, he was really old. There were no more secrets to find, no more stories untold. And, as if he knew everything Harry had ever felt, Dumbledore turned to Harry and repeated solemnly,

“Remember Harry, to the well organized mind, death is just the next adventure.”

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