The Cares Not Taken
Getting What You Deserve
Splits from Be Careful around Chapter 75. Enjoy!
Peering out his bedroom window, the young man swore bitterly. "Got themselves caught," he said, turning away. "Damn fools."
"What do we do?" inquired the girl sitting on his bed.
"I don't know that there's anything we can do." Moodily, the boy toed off his shoes. "Not unless we can take out a whole houseful of Dark wizards by ourselves."
"Does it make a difference that it's your house?" she persisted. "And is there a reason you're taking off your socks?"
"Taking off—am I?" He looked down. "I am. Why am I?"
"I don't know. I'm not you."
"Yes, but I am me, and I don't know!" A bare foot touched the floorboards, then another. "What were you just saying?"
"Does it make a difference that this is your house?" She stood up in a fluid motion, stretching her back. "Can't you do things with it?"
"Do things…" He hammered the heel of one hand into his forehead. "Of course. Of course. But that only solves one problem, unless I can stay out of sight and just send you—they'll never believe I want to help them…unless…" A sudden, wicked grin spread across his face. "Got it. You up for some playacting?"
"Always." She smiled in return. "Are you going to borrow a face again?"
"Hey, it worked last time. Now we'll only get one shot at this, so we'll have to be perfect. Here's our story…"
Harry Potter fought to keep his feet as the Snatcher who had control of him manhandled him up the front walk of Malfoy Manor towards the imposing house. He could hear stumbling steps behind him, and knew they belonged to Ron, Hermione, and Ginny, and that one of the other Snatchers was carrying the silver sword of Gryffindor Ginny had brought with her when she escaped from Hogwarts. The worst had happened—they'd been caught by the Death Eaters.
And the only reason they haven't called Voldemort already is that they're not sure who we are. Harry grimaced with the pain of the Stinging Spell Hermione had used to disguise him. Well, that and none of them are high-ranking enough to wear the Dark Mark. But Malfoy's got it—both of them, father and son, and possibly Mrs. Malfoy does too—and they could all three identify us if they tried.
"Bring them in," said a woman's haughty voice from nearby. Harry squinted and made out the features of Narcissa Malfoy, standing beside the door to her home. "Draco is upstairs in his bedroom. Wormtail!"
The small, rat-faced man farther back in the hall gave a nervous jump at being addressed.
"Go fetch him down. Tell him to bring the Lovegood girl with him. If he does not know them, she may."
Luna's here? And a prisoner? Harry felt his heart sink even further. I thought she was safe…she sent those messages, she's been on Potterwatch, she even sent us a Horcrux…this doesn't make any sense…
Wormtail scuttled away up the stairs, and Harry and his friends were bullied into a side room, where two figures turned from their conversation beside the fireplace. Ron stiffened, Ginny hissed between her teeth, and Hermione emitted a slight moan as Bellatrix Lestrange started towards them, her mad smile coming into evidence.
"Well, well," the Death Eater witch purred, laughing in her throat through the words. "The little Mudblood returns—and brings her friends with her! A pair of blood traitors, and who is this?" She prowled around Harry, inspecting him from every angle. "Could it be? Is it possible? Has Harry Potter decided to grace us with his presence at last?"
"Which wand is his?" Lucius Malfoy demanded of one Snatcher, to Harry's right. "Quickly, man. Don't dally. Give it here. The Dark Lord was very precise—he must be captured with his wand for the full amount of the reward…"
Harry shifted slightly, feeling the movement of the mokeskin pouch against his chest. Among other things, it contained the two halves of his holly wand, which had been hit by Ron's Cutting Charm in Godric's Hollow. He knew the inherent magic of the pouch would stop anyone emptying it against his will, but had to stifle a snigger as he imagined the Death Eaters' response should they manage it anyway. An old letter? A used Snitch? A fragment of mirror? What is this garbage?
Wait, the mirror. It was from Sirius's two-way mirror set, and I thought I saw someone looking at me through it once back at Privet Drive…
But the blue eye might have been a figment of his imagination, and his hands were bound, and there were four Snatchers and three Death Eaters watching his every move. With Draco Malfoy's arrival, the odds would go to a full two-to-one, with everyone on the other side armed and Harry and his friends wandless. It didn't seem possible for the situation to get any worse.
And then the lights went out.
Narcissa Malfoy screamed at the sudden darkness, and again as her wand was torn from her hand. From somewhere else in the room, she heard her sister's shriek of wrath as the same thing happened to her, and her husband's indignant shout. Red flashes lit the scene for too brief an instant to be consciously seen, but left images behind in their wake—
Flash. Bella collapsing to the floor, along with the stinking werewolf who headed the Snatchers.
Flash. Two more of the Snatchers falling. Lucius was staring open-mouthed at the doorway to the room. Potter, if it was him, and his friends were turning to do the same.
Flash. The last Snatcher went down, and Lucius's figure was briefly outlined in white light as what looked like an Impediment Jinx hit him. The spellcasters stood at the doorway, one the Lovegood girl—but how had she gained a wand?—and the other—
Draco? But why—
The magical candles on the chandelier all flickered back into life at once. Luna Lovegood darted into the room and began to cut her friends' bonds, murmuring to them in a voice too low for Narcissa to hear. Her companion pushed a fallen Snatcher aside with one bare foot and entered more slowly, looking around with a distinct air of hauteur. "So," he said, his voice crisp and disdainful. "This is the home of the famous Malfoys."
He was not Draco, though Narcissa could understand how she had made the mistake. This boy had her son's height and slender build, and she had not been able to see, in the instants of light, his broader and more plebeian features, or the mid-brown curls which surrounded them. In the hand not holding his wand, he carried a wooden cage, in which huddled a rat with a silver paw.
Wormtail. There is no hope of rescue then—not that there was much before, but having one person free and with a wand would be better than none, no matter who that person was…
"Yes, this is Malfoy Manor." Lucius had regained his power of speech, if not his ability to move quickly, and was regarding the boy with the same amount of distrust and dislike the boy was bestowing on him. "And who might you be?"
A cold smile flashed across the boy's face and was gone. "Call me Reflection. It's as good a name as any."
"You're the one who's been on Potterwatch," said Ginny Weasley, straightening up from one of the Snatchers' sides with a handful of wands. "The one who's going to marry Luna."
"Yes indeed." A far more genuine smile lingered on the boy's face this time. "Though I'm still amazed she'll have me."
"Spare me lovers' platitudes," Lucius muttered.
"Not used to them?" Reflection snapped, his wand coming up to cover Lucius. "No, you wouldn't be. I doubt you've ever loved anyone in your life. Except your worthless self."
Narcissa found her eyes drawn to the wand, though Lucius, his mouth opening and shutting like a baby bird begging for food, should have been a more amusing study. Why was her mind so sure that the wand was—
She stiffened in shock. "Where did you get that?" she demanded, pointing to it.
"What, this?" Reflection waggled the wand. "Why do you ask?"
"Because that is my son's! That is Draco's! Take your hands off it at once!"
"Oh, was that your son?" The boy pulled a mock-pitying face. "Poor little fellow. Wasn't good for much, was he?"
Red and black bands shot across Narcissa's vision. "What are you saying?" she heard herself ask, in a voice that did not sound like her own.
"Well, if he couldn't even block a simple Vanishing Charm—"
Hermione whirled at the hoarse cry of fury. Narcissa Malfoy was charging at the brown-haired boy who'd called himself Reflection, her hands held like claws, her face anguished and terrible. Reflection stepped aside and caught her around the waist as she passed, lowering her deftly to her knees. She struck at him, but he dodged and spun his wand skillfully around her hands, cocooning them in rope. "I don't want to hurt you," he said, stepping away. "Just stay there and you'll be all right."
Narcissa lifted her head to look at him. Hermione was unsurprised to see tears forming in the blue eyes, and her voice, when she spoke, was choked. "You have already hurt me more than you could possibly imagine," she said. "If you wish to show true mercy, kill me now."
"No, I don't think so." Reflection turned from her to look at Lucius Malfoy, who stood with shoulders slumped like a beaten man. "You have anything to say?" he inquired.
"How?" Lucius's voice was a whisper, barely audible, and he did not look up. "How did you get into my house, to do this thing?"
"Your house?" Reflection challenged. "You still think this is your house?" He tucked his wand away, set Wormtail's cage on the floor, and held out his hands, palms down, at waist height. "Let's see whose house it really is, old man."
The floor began to shake. Lucius stumbled and fell, as did Ron, behind Hermione. Harry dropped quickly to one knee and caught Ginny around the waist, Luna grabbed onto the doorframe, and Hermione sat down a little harder than she'd intended, staring at Reflection. He stood perfectly still, the center of movement but not moving at all himself…
Things stilled, and the deep rumbling in the distance stopped.
"Your house," mocked Reflection, drawing his wand again. "But did you ever bother to go looking for its magic? Did you ever link yourself to it or learn about it? Did you ever find out that it hates you, you and your whole stinking corrupted family? That it wants to die because of you? No. You didn't." He glared down at the fallen Death Eater, triumph in every line of his body. "I did. And the house accepted me. You know what that means, don't you?"
Slowly, Lucius nodded. "I never…" he began.
"Never what?" Reflection cut him off. "Never went out to play with Muggle girls? Never stopped to think you might have left a little something behind? Never cared for the damage you were doing? God, you're disgusting. Get out." He jerked his head towards the front door. "Wait on the front lawn. Kick a peacock, if you feel like it, but don't go anywhere and don't try anything."
Lucius got to his feet and shuffled towards the door. Against her will, Hermione found herself feeling sorry for the man. If he'd ever cared about anything, it had been his son, and to find out Draco had been killed—more than killed, Vanished, so that there would never even be a body to mourn over—
Though it strikes me that's an awfully convenient story. And with what I thought I knew…
She looked up at Reflection. He was watching his father go, but seemed to become aware of her eyes on him as she held her gaze, and turned to look back at her. A lid dropped over a blue eye in a broad, cheery wink, and then he was beside Narcissa, helping her to her feet. "Do me a favor and haul this lot out to the front, would you all?" he requested over his shoulder. "I'm going to bring the house down before we leave, and I don't want any of them dying that fast."
Hermione picked up her wand from where Ginny had left it beside her, shoved two of the Snatchers together with it, and levitated them both. Harry, his face back to normal, was doing the same, and Ron took the precaution of tying Bellatrix's hands together behind her back before he hoisted her with a "Mobilicorpus." Ginny and Luna seemed to have vanished.
But I think I can hear them. Laughing, up there. Hermione cast a glance at the ceiling, though she knew it would yield her no clues. Did they go upstairs to get something? But what?
No sooner had she dumped her Snatchers onto the grass in front of the house than the answer shot out of a second-story window. Luna sat at the front of a good-sized area rug, two handfuls of fringe firmly clasped in her hands, with Ginny beside her holding a large box in her lap. Both of them were giggling, and Hermione found her own lips curving upwards in response. Ron dropped Bellatrix unceremoniously beside the Snatchers and ran towards the carpet, jumping up onto it as Luna brought it in for a landing.
"This," he said appreciatively, setting down the sword he was holding in his off hand, "looks like fun."
"It is," Reflection agreed, tossing Wormtail's cage to the ground, as Harry let his two Snatchers fall on top of Hermione's. "Just one or two more details, and then we can use it." He turned and pointed his wand at the house. "Avada Kedavra," he said softly.
The collapse reminded Hermione of nothing more than planned demolitions she'd watched on television—the top story fell in on itself first, then the next, and so on until finally the ground floor settled into place almost gently. The earth shook under their feet, but less than she'd thought it would.
He must be holding it in place.
Lucius watched his house crumble with dull-eyed apathy, as though he had already experienced the ultimate in pain. Narcissa observed it all through slits of hatred, and Reflection wore something like an expression of regret. "I'm sorry it couldn't be better for you," he said quietly as the last beam fell. "Sleep well."
Luna smiled as she watched the tension go out of her love. It's working, it's all working…just a little longer, and we'll be safe forever…
"Did you say that to my child as well?" Narcissa hissed. "Did you apologize for his death, did you mouth words of sorrow as you murdered him?"
"I murdered no one," said Draco in a bored tone, which sounded to Luna exactly like the voice he'd used for most of his life. She wondered a little that his mother hadn't noticed, but perhaps she was too caught up in the lie that her son was dead to notice that he was standing in front of her. "I'll explain once we're airborne."
"We?" Narcissa frowned.
"Yes, we. You're coming with us." Draco looked around at Luna's friends. "If that's all right with you?"
"It's your carpet," said Harry. "Just as long as she's not going to call You-Know-Who down on us."
"I'll be sure to keep her Mark covered," Draco answered. "But since we're on the subject…" He aimed his wand at his father. "You can go ahead and press yours."
Lucius laughed, a dry, painful sound. "Why not? What more can the Dark Lord do to me than has already been done?"
He pulled back his left sleeve and laid his finger on the skull-and-snake, and Luna heard Harry suck in a breath. Don't worry, she willed him. You won't have to hurt much longer. I know exactly what to do.
"Excellent." Draco twitched his wand once, and Lucius fell to the ground as red light flashed around him. "Just for the sake of fairness." He conjured ropes, binding his father's hands as Bellatrix was bound, then turned to the carpet. "After you, ma'am," he said to Narcissa, politely waving her forward.
Narcissa turned her head away pointedly, staring into the night sky. Draco sighed. "Look, you can either get on by yourself or I can put you there," he said, motioning Harry and Hermione aboard. "It's your choice."
There was no movement from the Malfoy matriarch.
"Fine, then." A swish and flick, and Narcissa rose into the air, her body stiff with disapproval. Draco floated her onto the right middle seat, directly behind Luna, and took the right rear for himself. Ron was already sitting in the left middle seat, and Harry and Hermione were crowded across the rear of the carpet, Hermione in the center, next to Draco.
How sweet. They look just like Ray and Neenie…well, they should, but they look like they fit together, even being who they are…
Luna brought herself regretfully out of the pleasant thoughts—she would have loved to spend a few hours exploring the ramifications, but they had to get away from here before Voldemort arrived—and smiled at her friends. "Everyone ready to go?" she asked.
Eager nods greeted her.
"Then hold on!" She grasped the fringe tightly again and pulled it upwards, pushing forward at the same time as Lady Danger had showed her, and the carpet lifted off from the lawn and began to climb.
"Fickle little blood-traitor," Narcissa said in a low voice as Luna steered the carpet through the thick layer of cloud that had accumulated over the Manor. "Not two nights ago, you were singing love songs to my son, and now you seem equally happy to help his murderer…"
"You heard us?" Luna craned her neck around to look at her love's mother. "I thought we had put up Silencing Charms."
"They failed." Narcissa imbued the word with incredible venom. "I came to investigate the sound, and stayed to listen to you make your music. If I had known you were planning his death…"
"No one's dead," said Draco with a sigh. "Luna, love, can you put this thing on auto yet?"
"Just a moment." Luna pushed the carpet a little more and felt it respond.
"No one is dead?" Narcissa repeated, turning slowly to face her disguised son. "When you told me yourself you had attacked my Draco with a charm he was unable to block?"
"I didn't tell you that, not really." Draco rolled his shoulders, careful not to bump into Hermione, who was watching him carefully. "I said, and I quote, 'if he couldn't even block a Vanishing Charm—' at which point you attacked me. If you'd let me finish—"
"Why should I, when the end is so apparent?" Narcissa snapped as the carpet shot out of the clouds. "You killed him, you destroyed him, and stole his wand to strike down all he held dear!"
Luna drew her own wand, aimed it at the weave of the carpet, and whispered their destination, then let go of the fringe and turned her whole body to watch the unfolding drama, as Ginny already had. Ron was edging away from Narcissa, careful of the edge of the carpet, though Luna could have told him the Safety Charms wouldn't let him fall, and Harry was watching with a guarded expression, as though he weren't sure who to believe.
"If you really think your son held his father dear, you didn't know him at all!" Draco snapped back. "He hated him, and well he should have! How would you feel about someone whose choice had predetermined where your life would go, without any consideration for what kind of person you were or whether you were any good at what they wanted you to do?"
"How dare you!" cried Narcissa. "Lucius never forced Draco into anything!"
"Not overtly, no." Draco glared at his mother. "Not with the Imperius Curse, not with threats or violence. Only by bringing m—him up to think—oh, damn." His shoulders drooped at Narcissa's sharp intake of breath. The slip had obviously not gone unnoticed.
She deserved to know anyway. Luna sent Draco a reassuring smile. Courage, love—she will be so happy to know you are alive that she will forgive you nearly anything…
Ginny shivered at Narcissa's tone, as cold as the air around them. "First you kill him, now you pretend to be him? To speak with his voice? How dare you!"
"I dare because it's true," Reflection said wearily. "I'm not pretending anything. I really am Draco. I was pretending earlier, though if you think about it I never actually said anything that wasn't true, Mother—"
"Do not presume to call me that!"
"Why not? It's who you are!" Reflection shook his head, a motion more of impatience than to say no to anything. "Look, I know you don't believe me. I wouldn't believe me if I were you. So go on, ask me something, anything you like. Anything you think only the real Draco would remember. If I don't know it, I'll have a reason why not."
"I have no doubt." But Narcissa's certainty was shaken, and she was eyeing the strange boy on the back of the carpet with a bit more hope than she had before. "Very well. What was your babyhood nickname? What did I call you, when you sneaked away from Dobby and invaded my private time?"
Reflection blanched, the reaction visible even in the moonlight. "Dear God, Mother—"
"You said anything," Narcissa interrupted, her tone holding a hint of sardonic laughter. "Will you go back on your word?"
"No, but—out loud?"
"In front of everyone?"
Reflection gulped. "You're sure you wouldn't prefer me to jump off this thing instead?"
"Say it," Narcissa commanded.
"All right. Fine." Reflection cast one hopeless glance around at Hermione, Harry, Ron, and Ginny. "What you used to call me when I was a baby. Here goes." He shut his eyes and swallowed again. "It was…Co-co."
Ron let out a laugh that sounded like an Erumpent getting ready to charge, and Hermione clapped both hands over her mouth. Harry was shaking his head, a smile growing on his face, and Ginny found herself giggling even more helplessly than she had as she and Luna ran upstairs to fetch the carpet. Co-co. God, that's so wrong…
Draco, as he must be, moaned and hid his face in his hands. "This started out as such a good day, too," he said through his fingers.
Luna drew her wand and cut the ropes holding Narcissa's hands. The older witch smiled a thank-you over her shoulder, then turned back and clasped her son in her arms. "You are alive," she murmured. "That makes it still a good day in my reckoning."
"Yeah." Draco hugged his mother back, tentatively at first, then more tightly as she didn't let go. "Sorry to scare you, but I wanted to make sure they wouldn't come looking for me. Not that they'd find me—I've got somewhere to go they don't know a thing about, and I'll be off there just as soon as I finish a couple last things. You're welcome to come if you like. I think you'd enjoy it."
"Perhaps I will."
"Good." Draco cast a poisonous glance at Ron, who was red-faced and wheezing from the exertion of laughing. "Lay off, Weasley, or I'll see if I can't get you throwing up slugs again…"
"We're just all relieved," said Hermione, regarding Draco curiously. "How did you decide what you'd look like disguised? You almost look like—"
"You?" Draco looked up at Ginny and held out his hands, and she passed back the box she was holding. "Here." He deposited it in Hermione's lap. "My journal of this past year. All the answers you could possibly want, and quite a few you probably don't."
"The only answer I want is, why?" said Harry, speaking for the first time since they'd left Malfoy Manor.
"Why what?" Draco craned his neck to see his former rival. "Why wear a disguise? Why write a journal? Why help you?"
"That's the one I was thinking of. The last one."
Draco shrugged. "Why be loyal to people who purposely set me up to fail? All they ever gave me was pain. I'm just repaying them in kind."
"Yes, but your own father? My sister?" Narcissa interjected. "Really, Draco."
"Yes, really, Mother," Draco retorted. "Everything I said about him goes double for her. They're both mad if they think they'll ever get anything out of their precious Dark Lord except torture and death."
"But to leave them there to suffer it—"
"You want to rescue them?" Draco fumbled within his robes and withdrew a sheaf of wands, holding one out to Narcissa after a brief examination. "Fine. When we land, you can go get them. Just make sure they can't hurt anybody, all right?"
"Oh, I shall." Narcissa slid her wand away, smiling to herself. "I have an idea already for how it should be done."
"What was that you were carrying when you came in?" Ginny asked Draco. "The animal in the cage?"
"What, you didn't recognize him?" Draco grinned. "That was your brother's former pet rat. You want him back?" He looked over at Ron. "Mother can pick him up on her way out if you do—I just dropped him beside his friends, the cage is Unbreakable so he can't get away…"
"Nah," said Ron, shaking his head. "Leave him. Whatever he gets, he'll deserve. Where are we going, anyway?"
"My house," said Luna from beside Ginny. "No one should be there, but the Floo will still work. We can get to Hogwarts from there."
"Why are we going to Hogwarts?" Harry asked.
"Because that's where the last Horcrux is," Draco answered. "And because I think you need to talk to Snape."
Harry's eyes narrowed. "You know an awful lot, Malfoy," he said. "How were you finding this stuff out?"
Draco tapped the box in Hermione's lap. "Read 'em and weep, Potter—oy!" Harry had reached across and, with one swift movement, snatched the wands out of Draco's other hand. "Gimme those back!"
"Still don't trust me? I'm hurt."
"Fine. Be hurt." Harry sorted through the wands, balancing each in his hand, until he seemed to come to a decision. Taking Ginny's wand from his inside pocket, he passed it up to Ron, then put the others away, leaving out the one he'd chosen. Ron gave Ginny back her wand, and she slid it into her pocket with an internal sigh of relief.
"Figures," Draco grumbled, looking at the wand Harry had picked out. "That's mine."
"So take it back." Harry performed a few experimental waves with the wand. "I dare you."
Luna caught Draco's attention and shook her head urgently, and Draco subsided. "Don't really need it now anyway," he mumbled, but the look in his eye was enough to make Ginny glad she wasn't on the receiving side. Harry didn't seem to be bothered.
Probably because he can see the end of the war, and he's just so happy about that he could care less about everything else.
Come to think of it, she was happy about it herself. It would be nice to stop living in a tent and tiptoeing around certain words and topics.
And Harry will finally be all mine, without any stupid You-Know-Who to get in the way…
Yes, this carpet could definitely not get where it was going fast enough.
From the afterword of The Malfoy Papers (unexpurgated edition):
I have to admit I wasn't sure how my mum and my mother would take to each other (try saying that five times fast!) but after a little awkwardness to start out with, they seem to have decided to be friends. Mother's taken over the London townhouse, since Mum moved in with her new husband at Hogwarts as soon as they got married, which was pretty much the day we arrived. Incidentally, the look on said husband's face when we made that last jump between the worlds was everything I'd hoped it would be. I think he still believed I was delusional right up until that moment, no matter that Dumbledore's portrait had backed me up all the way.
Luna and I got married on my eighteenth birthday, just like we'd planned, and we're living at Fidelus Manor for the time being. I am a member of the family, after all, and it's not like they're overcrowded! We'll get our own place eventually, probably whenever we start trying for kids of our own, but for the moment it's nice to have the company. Luna Floos back and forth to Hogwarts for her seventh year, though she says she's not too worried about N.E.W.T.s after surviving the war. I didn't bother, since I'm on a different career track these days.
Mother actually fits into the otherworld pretty well. Once she realized that people around here were far more interested in her conversational skills than in her blood status, we were off and running, and I'm starting to think I get more of my sense of humor from her than I ever realized. When she's not making the social round, she's got a couple of little pets to amuse her. Sugar gliders, a mixed pair, Bela (male) and Lucy (female). And before you ask, no, I don't know where she got them. Mostly because, very much on purpose, I haven't asked. She Apparated away from Luna's dad's house when we got there and met us at Hogwarts with them already in their little cage, that's all I know for sure. Really, it's all I want to know.
As for the dementors…would you believe what it needed to generate the magic that's going to keep them contained was three couples getting married? Or two getting married—Mum and Snape, and Luna and I—and one, shall we say, getting cozy, Mother hasn't bothered to take any permanent legal steps (I'm not sure she can, I'd have to look up wizarding law about the status of a marriage in which one spouse has been transfigured into the other one's pet) but I'm not an idiot, Vince Crabbe's dad didn't just happen to be having breakfast in her kitchen the other morning when I dropped by to return that book I borrowed…
Ah well. I handled one maternal figure getting married, I can damn well handle the other one shacking up. And the three different set-ups among us—Snape and Mum as a wizard from my home world and a witch from here, Mother and Oddy Crabbe (and no, that's not a value judgment, thank you very much, it's short for Odysseus, though it fits him pretty well in any case) the other way around, and Luna and I both from our home world but living here full-time—that, and the happiness we've all found, most of us when we thought we never would, seems to have affected the flow of magic in this world significantly. So the dementors are no longer a problem.
On the subject of soul-destroying monsters and their downfalls, may I just say, well done, Hermione. Thinking to Polyjuice yourself into my darling Auntie Bella and Weasley into my so-esteemed father, since you knew they wouldn't be around when Voldemort called up the Death Eaters to fight (and you just happened to have their wands available for your own use), and then the two of you volunteering to check Harry's "dead" body out there in the Forest—very nice, very nice indeed. I'm sure they approve of your sneakiness, or would if there were room for anything except cuteness in their fluffy little heads. Well, cuteness and the other things male and female animals get up to together. Which leads me right back to the place I didn't want to be, so let's get off that topic.
Though really, there's not much else to cover. We arrived safely here, you lot finished the war over there…we did indeed get that popcorn party together to watch my will being read, and everyone's faces were just as good as I thought they'd be…Luna and Starwing are currently hip-deep in wedding planning (Starwing's wedding, that is, Luna'd better not have any further plans in that direction!), which means Ray and I are staying strictly out of the way…Mum's been badgering Snape into redecorating his quarters, you can hardly tell you're in the dungeons anymore…and Neenie's almost positive she can get one scroll through the worlds to her counterpart, but she doesn't want to try anything bigger than that. So I'd better wrap up.
Given that I started this whole thing off with "Once upon a time", I think another famous phrase might be called for here, except I'd rather not tempt fate too far. So instead, how about this: And we all, as much as is in our various natures, are going to do our best to live happily ever after. Break a leg with that on your side of the worlds as well.
Oh yes, and Happy New Year.
Friday, 1 January, 1999
And there it is, the ending of Ways Be Careful Will Not End that you never got in the original posting. I hope it meets with your approval. More Surpassing Danger is in the way, I promise, it's just being slow at the moment…
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