Eighty: The End
They landed in a bright open room, surrounded by people. Harry blinked to regain his surroundings, and he realized that they were in the morning room in Christoff's London estate.
Elsa dropped Harry's and Anita's hands, and whirled on the surrounding people. "Fetch the pack leaders!" she shouted, twisting off her robe to reveal her shirt and knee-length skirt. A woman dove for the robe. "Get the brokers on a conference call, and prepare for an emergency meeting of all vampires as soon as the sun sets!"
People ran to do Elsa's bidding, while wererat bodyguards ran into the room. Elsa directed them with a few perfunctory commands, all while Harry and Jason and Anita stood in the room, still holding hands.
"What happened?" Jason asked after a few moments. "Did Harry just get expelled?"
"It is far worse than that," Elsa said, whipping around. Away from Hogwarts, she held herself as a woman, casting off the skin of a child. "Scrimgeour was going to have Harry ostracized from the Wizarding World for his association with the filth of necromancy."
"Hey!" Anita objected. She pushed past Harry and Jason to glare down at Elsa. "It's not—"
But Elsa turned her back on Anita. "The world changed overnight," she said, moving to the head of the table where her people were setting up computers and telephones. "The death of Voldemort will have repercussions across the globe, and we are at the ground zero. Our people, our vampires and our wererats, all others who swear allegiance to Christoff, they are my priority."
"But I have to go back," Harry insisted. "Hermione—"
Elsa stared at Harry. "Harry, you can never go back," she said. "It doesn't matter than you snapped your wand. You killed Voldemort; Scrimgeour was never going to let you walk out of there a hero. Politically, you are too dangerous to let loose!"
Harry's knees went weak, and only Jason's presence at his side kept him on his feet. "But Dumbledore—"
"Albus Dumbledore has a thousand children to keep safe from many dangerous people who no longer have a leader," Elsa interrupted. She waved her hand. "Gerta, escort them to the blue room until we can have them driven to the airport."
"The airport?" Jason said. "Just like that, you're shipping us off?"
Elsa laid her hands flat on the table, and the room instantly went silent. "I am faced with the possibility of civil war," she said, her voice quiet. "You are liabilities, and he
," she pointed at Harry, "is the biggest target! You will go home." She sat down. "Everyone is safer that way."
A short dark-haired woman ushered the three of them resolutely down the hall, past the dozens of people rushing to the morning room. She neatly pushed them inside, then closed the doors behind them.
Harry took a few steps into the room, and stopped dead. "That's my trunk!" he exclaimed. "And my broom and everything! Why does Elsa have this?"
"Looks like she thought this would happen, that you might need to make a run for it," Anita said. She sank onto a nearby sofa and put her elbows on her knees. "What the hell is going on?"
"Voldemort's dead and I can never go back to Hogwarts," Harry said hollowly. "I mean, it was my last year anyway, but…."
Jason came over and pulled at Harry, over to the couch and pushed him down beside Anita. "Just take a minute to breath, okay?"
Harry buried his head against Anita's shoulder, nodding. She hugged him, while Jason pressed against his back. The wolf inside Harry was unhappy, but recognized the comfort of his pack.
"What am I going to do?" Harry asked, his breath hitching.
"You're going to come home with us," Anita said firmly. "You're safer in St. Louis. We'll figure out what to do from there."
"No, I mean…" He let out a breath. "I never thought what I'd do after I killed Voldemort. I don't know what I'm supposed to do next."
"You live," Jason said, his voice rumbling through Harry. "You wake up tomorrow and ever day after that, and that's it. You're alive."
Harry hugged Anita tighter, the panic and pain of the last few months fading slightly. Voldemort was dead, not that it made any difference to anyone who had died before that. His parents, Sirius, Cedric Diggory, Charlie Weasley…
But maybe no one else would die now. Maybe, they could all start living.
Six hours later, they were at the airport, showered and in new clothes, looking nearly respectable. Elsa had somehow managed to acquire Jason and Anita's passports, although she steadfastly refused when Harry asked her to Appartate them directly to St. Louis. Apparently that wasn't the done thing.
"Thanks," Anita had said as the car drove up to the front door of Cristoff's estate.
"Get out of my territory before sunset," Elsa had responded, and slammed the door in their faces.
Now they sat in the airport, waiting for a flight to take them to Chicago, then to St. Louis.
Harry sat slumped, his hands in his oversized hoodie sweatshirt. He had been cold ever since he'd been pulled awake by Dumbledore. Anita was at his side, slurping on a large coffee while Jason read trashy magazines.
"Plane starts boarding in twenty minutes," Anita said, putting her cup down.
"Why am I doing this?" Harry asked, sitting up.
"Because the Minister has it out for you and we can keep you safer in St. Louis?" Jason said, never looking up from his magazine. "It'll be okay, you'll be back some day. That Dumbledore guy, he seems cool, he'll let you know when it's safe to come back."
"I just hope Hermione is okay," Harry mused. "I shouldn't have left her there like that, with all those Aurors."
"She's a smart kid, she'll be fine," Jason said, picking up another magazine. "It's too bad about your wand, though."
Jason looked over his magazine. Anita was frowning at Harry. "Your wand," Jason said, lowering his voice. "You broke your wand and threw it away. A bit of a statement, but kind of permanent."
"Oh," Harry said. "Yeah, no." He reached into the deep pocket on his loose jeans. "That wasn't my wand, that was Voldemort's."
He pulled his own wand out of his pocket, showing Anita and Jason the smooth brown handle.
Jason gaped at him, while Anita just stared. "You make us worry you threw your whole life away, and here you are just playing magic tricks?" Anita demanded. She punched him on the arm.
He slid the wand away and slumped back in his chair. "It was to distract Scrimgeour."
"Distract, hell, that was epic," Jason breathed. "Nathaniel is going to love that one."
Harry sighed, and Anita poked him. "What?"
"It's just…" Harry pushed his glasses up his nose. "Are we going to be okay?" He lowered his voice. "With the horcrux gone, and what you did last night? That's a lot of weird magic all at once."
"I don't know," Anita said, pulling one leg up to her chest. "Honestly, Harry, with my life, I can never tell. But I'll tell you something." She waited until he was looking her in the eye. "You wake up every day and you do the best that you can."
"What about when your best isn't enough?" Harry asked.
Anita put her hand on his wrist. He could see the pink scars on the back of her hand. The gashes from the previous night's magic had already healed without a trace. "Then you throw a bit of your worst in there." She smiled faintly. "Good and bad, it's human nature. The most we can do is to find our balance in the world."
"You're a good person," Harry blurted out.
Anita smiled at him, and squeezed his wrist. "So are you."
"And I'm invisible," Jason muttered from Anita's other side. Anita rolled her eyes at this, and Harry couldn't help chuckling a little, in spite of everything.
Maybe, in one distant day, everything would be okay. Maybe soon, Dumbledore would fix things so Harry could come back to Hogwarts. And until then, Harry would be in St. Louis with his pack, with his grandfather, and his friends. And he'd just have to figure out what to live for now that Voldemort was dead.
Overhead, the loudspeaker announced the boarding for their flight. Jason bounced to his feet while Anita stood slowly. She held to her hand to Harry. "Come on, Harry," she said. "Let's go home."
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