For the Usual Fee, Plus Expenses
A/N Here it is, the last little bit. Hopefully everyone will recognize the setting. I have changed a few things, but since I'm writing this, I can do that. I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has read, reviewed or otherwise acknowledged this story's existence. I appreciate you taking time out of your lives to consider my work. As always, I don't own BTVS or the works of JK Rowling, otherwise my bank account would be a lot bigger. Enjoy.
FOR THE USUAL FEE, PLUS EXPENSES
Platform 9 ¾
Harry watched his youngest cross the platform and enter the Hogwart’s Express for the first time; it was an odd feeling, having his youngest going off to school. It was almost surreal, how was he old enough to have three children in school, that wasn’t possible, was it? He looked down at Ginny and smiled, their children had turned out well, and Harry figured that was mostly due to Ginny and not himself, although he knew that she would dispute that. He turned back towards the train and saw another couple sending their child off, it was a little girl with frizzy, fly away red hair, the realization of who it was hit Harry. It hit him harder than he thought it would. He watched as Ron and Hermione watched their little girl get onto the Express.
It felt like a lifetime since he talked to them, but in actuality he knew exactly how long it had been; ever since the “Incident”. Everyone knew that Amelia Bones had been wanting control of the Council, it was simply that no one believed she was foolish enough to try something. But she had and the Aurors had attacked, the Council had been ready. They had summoned creatures out of nightmare. It wasn’t a battle, it was a slaughter. After everything was cleaned up and the survivors healed, Harry had gone to talk with his two friends. He had wondered what they were thinking; they had wondered how he could be so disloyal. It had not ended well.
He felt Ginny’s arm tighten around his waist, she had seen who he had. They both watched as the two slowly made their way down the platform and towards the exit. Harry sighed with the realization that some bridges stayed burnt.
He gave a curt smile and nod to Draco as he passed. Harry knew that Draco had been considering throwing his lot in with the Ministry when they were planning the assault on the Council and Harry had warned him off. Remarkably, Draco had actually listened to his “hated rival” and kept himself, his family and their friends out of the fray. Which of course meant that after all was said and done, the pureblood families were now back working for the Ministry, but that was alright with Harry because age had mellowed Draco a great deal and while they weren’t friends, they weren’t enemies either.
He could see Dawn and Neville getting on up near the Locomotive. Neville was now the Herbology professor and Dawn taught Muggle Studies, which she was working hard to rename, but the Board of Governors were still a conservative lot so it was slow going. Harry remembered the sorrow he felt when Neville told him that they couldn’t have children. It had been a tremendous blow to the young couple, but they had weathered it with the help of family and friends. They had made up for it by practically taking the entire student body at Hogwarts under their wing and creating a feeling of home for those who needed it.
Back the other way, Harry could see Gabrielle and William Diggory, their son was a second year Hufflepuff and had already shown a skill beyond his years, much like his uncle. Great things were expected. Behind them, Harry could make out Alexander and Fleur, still very much in love while at the same time they were probably two of the most feared people in England, perhaps the world. Harry found it amusing that the crowd seemed to be giving them a wide berth, but what would you expect for “The Executioner and White Death”. Fleur hated her nickname with a passion, claiming that there were much better things to compare her to than a carnivorous fish. Alexander didn’t care much for his either, saying it made him sound like a second rate comic book villain; but the demon community were all for the purple metaphor so the names stuck, much to the chagrin of the two they had been bestowed upon. Their son was at Salem Academy and was planning to guard the active Hellmouth in Darwin Australia once he graduated. Their daughter could have gone to either Salem or Hogwarts, but she was aiming herself for Oxford, claiming that she wanted to learn a lot more about the world than just magic; her mother was teaching her that. Harry smiled; he knew how little Andrea Joyce could be a force of nature when she wanted to be. Ginny often wondered if the girl might not be a slayer, or at least some kind of half slayer, but the girl was just strong willed, much like her many aunts.
Together Harry and Ginny made their way through the crowds towards their friends. They had planned on going out tonight for dinner. There, Harry was going to surprise them by offering Fleur her old job back; after all he was the head of the DMLE and he could hire anyone he darned well pleased as his deputy. Harry knew that everyone had expected Kingsley to take over when his exile was over, but surprisingly the man had stayed in America, joined the Council and had been guarding the Hellmouth there. He had then chosen to stay in America even after that Hellmouth went dormant. There was speculation that his decision to join the council was the trigger that caused Amelia Bones to throw caution to the wind and do what she had done; but in the end only Amelia knew why she had done what she had, and she was unavailable for comment now. Harry honestly didn’t know if Fleur would take the job or not, but he had hopes that she would. Harry was hoping that Fleur would turn out to be what they wanted all those years ago, a bridge between their two worlds.