Episode 24: Until the End

For more information, visit The Alliance of Destiny: A Virtual TV Series.

Written and Directed by Humaira K and Gill P

Guest starring

Shiri Appleby as Anastasia Darcy
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy
Colin Firth as Alexander Darcy
Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbeldore
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Elizabeth Hurley as Natasha Darcy
Gemma Jones as Poppy Pomfrey
Keira Knightley as Meliza Masterson
Carson Kressley as Himself
Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom
Mia Maestro as Nadia Santos
James Marsters as Spike
Monica Potter as Otrere
Alan Rickman as Severus Snape
Jai Rodriguez as Himself
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers

They landed with a thump within the Great Hall, the day was about to break and everyone was pretty exhausted. The ones that were less wounded helped carry the ones who were unconscious from the battle to the hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey was not pleased.

“Really, why do you have to go on these gallivanting missions to get hurt? Put them down in a free bed, none of you are to leave this wing until I’ve said so, grab a bed and prepare to get comfortable,” said Madam Pomfrey sternly, going over to Neville who was the most severely weakened by the ceremony.

“I know what you’re doing, I see it all too clear/I only taste the saline when I kiss away your tears/You really had me going, wishing on a star/But the black holes that surround you are heavier by far/I believed in your confusion, you were so completely torn/Well it must have been that yesterday was the day that I was born/There’s not much to examine, there’s nothing left to hide/ You really can’t be serious if you have to ask me why/I say goodbye…”

Harry lay down on a spare bed next to Anastasia and closed his eyes. Six years of fighting and it was over, he didn’t doubt Voldemort would come back, but he was gone in the immediate sense. Harry felt an immense burden being lifted from him as he took a lung full of air and let it out slowly.

Anastasia was staring at him pensively, Harry looked at her bruised and bloodied form.

“You faced Bellatrix,” said Harry, his voice was still weak.

“Yes,” said Anastasia as if she was talking about the weather. “I’m not the monster, she is. I think it’s sad that even she can’t say Voldemort’s name, even though she’s his follower. That somehow makes me feel better,” Anastasia turned to look at him with a smile.

Just then Alexander and Natasha burst into the hospital wing. Natasha’s hair was wild as she looked with crazed eyes at the casualties. Spotting Anastasia, they both rushed over and hugged her.

“Oh God, we were so worried! Where were you?!” screamed Natasha. Alex hugged her more fiercely and then glared at her.

“Oh, just banishing Lord Voldemort. Why? Did I miss dinner?” asked Anastasia innocently.

“You what?!” asked Natasha hysterically.

“Oh yes, see there was a prophecy and then a vision, and then Harry nearly killed himself unknowingly, and I stopped him, and then I tagged along to Stonehenge, then of course you have the big battle and me kicking Bellatrix Lestrange’s ass. So, how was your evening?” asked Anastasia with a wicked grin.

“What on earth made you do this?! Wait…Bellatrix Lestrange? The woman who tortured you on Valentine’s Day?” said Alex in realisation.

“Uh huh, you really have to thank Xander for teaching me how to fight, the stupid witch couldn’t do anything without her wand, and then Buffy broke it,” said Anastasia bursting into hysterical giggles.

“So, is Voldemort gone?” asked Natasha in a whisper.

“No, he’s banished but not gone,” said Anastasia glancing at Harry.

The Darcys looked over at the frail form of the Boy Who Lived.

“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, nice to meet you again,” rasped out Harry’s voice.

“Harry, are you OK?” asked Natasha going over to his bedside.

“No Mrs. Darcy, but I will be,” said Harry truthfully.

“Anastasia, if you ever do something like that again…” Alex started as he squeezed her hand.

“Dad, I had to face the monster. I can’t keep hiding forever. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but believe me when I say I can take care of myself,” said Anastasia silencing him.

“But…” started Alex.

Natasha stopped him as she came back to Anastasia’s side. “We love you sweetheart and we were worried. I don’t have to like what you do, but it makes me feel better that you can take care of yourself. Just try not to land in the hospital wing too often, Madam Pomfrey tends to get annoyed,” she said with a smile.

“‘Cause I am barely breathing, And I can’t find the air/I don’t know who I’m kidding, imagining you care/And I could stand here waiting, a fool for another day/But I don’t suppose it’s worth the price, worth the price/The price that I would pay.”

“I can vouch for that,” said Harry’s voice from her other side.

* * *

“But I don’t know why Professor Dumbledore could’ve granted you leniency after banishing Voldemort,” Meliza repeated again. “You could’ve begged him, I bet.” Ravenclaw and Gryffindor had just finished their brain-busting Transfiguration final exams a few minutes before and were headed towards the Great Hall for a much-deserved lunch.

“I know. In fact, I think my parents insisted,” Anastasia sighed. “They don’t have much clout with the governors, but it was an unspoken agreement.”

“There’s still a little bit of your taste in my mouth/There’s still a little bit of you laced with my doubt/It’s still a little hard to say what’s going on.”

“You’re beating a dead horse, Meliza. Besides that was almost two months ago. That’s more than enough time to study,” Hermione said loftily. “In fact, I think it’s great that we can still take our final exams. Seventh year is coming up soon. We’ll need all the practice on our exams as we can.”

“Says you,” Ron whined. “My head hurts. Were you guys able to transfigure the beetle into the fountain pen? I think mine still kinda looked like a beetle. You could see the feelers!”

“You too?” Harry asked. “I think mine looked a little more beetle than yours though, Ron.”

“There’s still a little bit of your ghost your witness/There’s still a little bit of your face I haven’t kissed/You step a little closer each day/That I can’t say what’s going on.”

After the successful banishment of Voldemort, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Anastasia fell back into their daily routines as Hogwarts students, which of course, included taking their final exams. Though they had helped in successfully banishing him, they were being treated as any other student. Their professors were equally impressed, but reminded them that sixth year final exams were readily important. The Daily Prophet had a field day for a few weeks afterwards, but it was slowly tapering off.

“What’s next for you guys?” Meliza asked, inching her way towards the Ravenclaw house table.

“I think it’s Herbology,” replied Ron, grimacing.

“Care of Magical Creatures,” Meliza offered. “See ya!”

“Bye Mel!” Hermione, Ron, Harry and Anastasia called after her, as she sat down with her house and began chattering with her friends.

Owls began soaring into the Great Hall, and Harry reached up for his letters and a package.

“Another one from Neville’s gran,” he said, blushing. Mrs. Longbottom had sent them letters everyday (or at least it felt like it), thanking them for saving Neville. But today she had sent the package, addressed to Harry Potter and Friends.

“I’m really sorry about that, Harry,” Neville began. “Once Professor Dumbledore explained what happened to me, she’s been like this.”

“Neville,” Hermione said gently. “She’s just trying to show her appreciation. She loves you and wants the world to know.”

“Oh,” Harry said, as he and Ron ripped through the package. It was a sack full of Galleons.

“Whoa!” Ron gaped. He began counting the gold.

“P.S.,” Hermione read aloud, yanking the letter from Harry’s hands, “I know I could never put a price tag on the life of my grandson, but there is enough Galleons in there for each and every person who ensured that he would live to see another day. I appreciate this greatly, Mr. Potter. Sincerely yours, Mrs. Longbottom.”

“Stones taught me to fly/Love, it taught me to lie/Life, it taught me to die/So it’s not hard to fall/When you float like a cannonball.”

“What should we do with it?” Ron said awestruck.

“Donate it to Friends of Muggles,” Harry replied immediately, glancing at Anastasia. Ron nodded appreciatively, and Hermione grinned.

“Harry…” Anastasia began. “I could never take the money.”

Harry leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. “Think of it as a benevolent donation. To the education of muggle awareness everywhere!”

Anastasia blushed. “If you say so.”

* * *

Exams for the day were over, but before the students could return to their common rooms to study for tomorrow’s exam, they heartily enjoyed dinner. They knew the time for summer holidays was nearly upon them, and that next year would be their last.

“Hey Ana!” said Meliza sidling up to the Gryffindor table, Anastasia was busy chatting with Harry but she smiled at her friends voice.

“You wanna go for a walk after dinner? I could use some fresh air before I hit the books again.”

“Sure!” said Anastasia finishing the last of her dessert, “I’ll catch up with you tomorrow guys.” The others acknowledged her with a nod and Harry went back to eating his pudding in peace.

“Grew up in a small town/And when the rain would fall down/I just stared out my window/Dreaming of what could be/And if I’d end up happy/I would pray (I would pray).”

As they strolled out into the cool night air Meliza breathed in the scent of Hogwarts. “I’m gonna miss this place,” she said sighing.

“Yeah me too, and I’m gonna miss you Mel,” said Anastasia squeezing her hand.

Meliza smiled. “Why don’t we get together over the summer? I’m sure you have plans with Harry but it’d be nice to see you.”

Anastasia shook her hand, “No plans with Harry yet. Why don’t you come to stay with me? I’ll owl you and you can see just how mad my mum is!”

Meliza looked at Anastasia in concern, “How were your parents about the whole banishing thing?”

“Trying not to reach out/But when I’d try to speak out/Felt like no one could hear me/Wanted to belong here/But something felt so wrong here/So I pray (I would pray)/I could breakaway.”

“Scared, angry, confused but they were proud I kicked Bellatrix’s arse,” said Anastasia triumphantly. “I nearly got the lecture off my dad, but surprisingly my mum told me that if I had to go out to do this, I might as well minimise my hospital stays and she was glad I could take of myself.”

Meliza was shocked. “Wow!”

Anastasia nodded, “I know! I just sat there stunned for a moment and then I hugged her and said thank you.”

Meliza smiled, “My dad did sort of got mad when he found out, but he said he’s got one tough kid in Oliver, it can’t hurt to have two.”

“So, will you come?” asked Anastasia.

“Sure, but I’ll have to ask my dad. And you’ll have to come stay over with me too. I’m sure dad will have a play on while you’re there and Muggle London really is quiet nice,” said Meliza.

“Meliza,” said a voice behind her.

She stiffened and Anastasia squeezed her hand. Turning around she said, “Draco.”

“How are you?” he said arrogantly.

“Well. You?”

“Good.”

“I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly/I’ll do what it takes til’ I touch the sky/I’ll make a wish/Take a chance/Make a change/And breakaway.”

“Good.”

“Out of the darkness and into the sun/But I won’t forget all the ones that I loved/I’ll take a risk/Take a chance/Make a change/And breakaway.”

With that Draco walked off leaving a stunned Meliza in his wake.

* * *

“I guess this is goodbye then,” Buffy said, trying to hold back her tears as she hugged Dawn tightly.

“Au revoir,” Dawn replied from beneath Buffy’s death grip.

“That’s right,” Willow said. “Until we meet again.”

“Looking in your eyes I see a paradise/This world that I found is too good to be true/Standing here beside you, want so much to give you/This love in my heart that I’m feeling for you.”

Dawn, Willow and Kennedy decided that there was nothing left in Brazil for them and booked their flight for their new home in Hawaii. Spike and Wesley would be returning to L.A. together. Xander had decided to stay (some thought on Otrere’s insistence).

“I wish you could come with us,” Dawn said hopefully.

“I know,” Buffy said, finally pulling away. “But they need me here. I think I’ll stick around a little longer, but I will visit.”

“You better!” Dawn replied, leaning in for another hug.

“Have a safe trip,” Sydney said to Spike politely.

“Of course. Where’s Wesley?” he asked, looking around.

Wesley appeared suddenly. “I’m… not going.”

Everyone stopped to look at him.

“I think I’m needed here more, if that’s all right with you,” he said, glancing at each of his hosts in turn.

“Fine with me,” Angel said.

“Me too,” Sydney offered. “But me and Nadia better get going. Professor Dumbledore wanted to speak with us. He was very adamant that Nadia not book a flight out with you to L.A.”

“Me three,” Buffy replied with a grin.

“Let ’em say we’re crazy, I don’t care ’bout that/Put your hand in my hand baby, don’t ever look back/Let the world around us just fall apart/Baby, we can make it if we’re heart to heart.”

“We’ll walk you to the train,” Harry offered, pointing to himself, Ron, and Hermione. Dumbledore had spoken to the train conductor of the Hogwarts Express. It was his way of saying Thank You for all their hard work.

“Locomotor luggage,” they said, aiming their wands at everyone’s luggage. Every piece lifted from the air with ease and levitated in front of them.

“I’m going miss that,” Willow said reminiscing already. “Using a wand to control my magic.”

“Why don’t we meet up over the summer?” Hermione asked. “I can take you around Diagon Alley. Every witch needs a wand.”

“I think I’ll take you up on that,” Willow said warmly.

The goodbyes in Hogsmeade were short and sweet.

“I can’t believe Wesley’s staying,” Hermione muttered, half to herself, half to Ron, as they waved the train goodbye.

“What?” Ron asked.

“Wesley. He’s staying. That means I can owl him properly without arousing suspicion. I don’t know how they take owls in America,” Hermione said with an almost girlish giggle.

“They react just fine,” Ron said shortly.

“Ron?” Hermione said, comprehension coming over her face. “Are you jealous?”

“No!” he said with such force that made Hermione think otherwise.

“And we can build this dream together, standing strong forever/Nothing’s gonna stop us now/And if this world runs out of lovers, we’ll still have each other/Nothing’s gonna stop us, nothing’s gonna stop us now.”

“Let’s go,” Harry said jovially, ignoring the conversation between his two best friends. He had a hard enough time dealing with the fact that he maybe sorta kinda didn’t kinda did have a girlfriend in Anastasia. He was going to keep his nose out of other people’s love lives. “Professor Sprout is waiting for us.”

* * *

A loud roar was emanating from the Great Hall, exams were over, bags were packed and it was the Farewell Feast.

Dumbledore clapped his hand for silence and the roar turned into a deathly silence. Dumbledore looked down at them all fondly.

“Alas, the end of another year, an eventful one at that. Voldemort has been banished for now, but I urge you not to think he will not come back.”

All eyes had turned to Harry who ignored everyone and kept staring at Dumbledore, Anastasia squeezed his hand from underneath the table and he was grateful.

“I would first of all like to say thank you to the Fab Five and Mrs. Darcy for organising the fashion show,” said Dumbledore and cheers erupted through the hall. Natasha and the Fab Five got up and bowed, Natasha’a cheeks were red from all the attention and Alexander kissed his wife’s cheek, prompting cat calls as Anastasia tried to bury her head in her hands. Her parents were so embarrassing at times.

As the cheering died down he said, “Next I would like to thank Miss Buffy Summers, Angel, Miss Sydney Bristow, Mr. Harry Potter, Miss Hermione Granger, Mr. Ronald Weasley, Miss Anastasia Darcy, Miss Meliza Masterson, Mr. Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, Mr. Xander Harris, Miss Willow Rosenburg and Otrere who have kept this school safe thought the year and who gave up their time and put their lives in danger against Voldemort.”

The cheering was even louder as the named Alliance members stood up and bowed.

“Strength comes in many forms as does evil, so I advise you all to trust your instincts in this uncertain time. The road is long and hard, but those who can survive it are truly the best among us,” he said sitting down. “Thank you.”

After the feast had died down, everyone milled around the grounds. No one wanted to leave, but the Fab Five were ready to go.

Anastasia fiercely hugged Carson. “Thank you. For everything. You opened my eyes,” she said referring to her mother.

“Anytime sweetie, I might drop in on you guys sometime this summer but it doesn’t seem likely. We’ve been inundated with offers from the wizarding world as well as keeping up with our show,” explained Carson.

“How about if I find you a nice hot gay man? Will you come then?” asked Anastasia teasingly.

Carson winked, “I’ll be there in a flash!”

As the other Fab Five chatted to the Alliance, Carson came up to Alex and Natasha. Hugging them both he said, “And don’t you two leave it too long to come visit me, your daughter has somehow swindled me into visiting you.”

Alex laughed, “Really? Well, I’m delighted! I’ve just got to ask Thom something.” leaving the two friends alone.

“Here we are again,” said Natasha laughing nervously.

“Yeah,” said Carson.

“How exactly did Anastasia persuade you to come visit?” asked Natasha curiously.

“She promised me a hot gay man,” said Carson

“As if you’re short of offers!” scoffed Natasha

“Not short on offers, just haven’t found the One like you did,” said Carson.

“Maybe I’ll help Anastasia. Just don’t leave it too long. Come stay for a while Carson this summer, I’ll owl you. I’d like to get to know my best friend again,” she said softly.

“Me too,” he said hugging her fiercely.

After they had let go, they smiled and joined the others. The Fab Five had Apparated in to Hogwarts and would Apparate out.

“It was so nice meeting you Professor,” said Jai shaking Severus’ hand enthusiastically.

“I can’t say the feeling is mutual, but it was pleasant that you were here,” said Severus stiffly.

“Syd, if you ever come to our neck of the woods….” started Jai

“I’ll be sure to call you,” finished Syd with a smile and a kiss to the cheek, “I still can’t believe I met the Fab Five!”

Jai laughed, “And bring Severus!”

Severus started to say something but one squeeze from Sydney’s hand stopped him.

Finally when all the goodbyes were said Carson ushered Harry away, “One piece of advice. Anastasia’s a great girl, just be careful with her. Take it slow Harry. You both have a lot of healing to do, so let her heal you and help heal her.”

With that, he and the rest of the Fab Five made their way away from Hogwarts and disappeared into Hogsmeade.

* * *

“For your protection, and your sister’s, we ask that you do not try to find her,” Dumbledore explained softly.

Nadia and Sydney were sitting side by side across from Dumbledore in his office. After it had been confirmed that Voldemort was banished from the wizarding world after the destruction of the Books, now plans had to be made. Their first order of business was to hide Nadia away because it would be a matter of time before Voldemort regained access to the wizarding world. Sydney looked at her little sister tearfully, who returned the emotion across from her.

“With all due respect Headmaster, why?” Nadia asked.

“It’s quite simple. Many people wish you harm, or to use you as a weapon against the world. Tom and your mother particularly,” he said gently. “I know your separation will be difficult, but for all parties involved, this is the best course of action.”

“Will we be able to contact each other at all?” asked Sydney.

“Perhaps,” Dumbledore answered. Even behind his kind blue eyes, Sydney could see a sadness that broke her heart even more. “But not for the first few months.”

A knock sounded at the door. It was Tonks and Lupin, ready to whisk Nadia away to a place unknown to Sydney.

“We’re nearly ready Professor,” Lupin reported, smiling warmly at Nadia. She returned a wary smile.

“Excellent,” Dumbledore said business-like. “We’ll leave you two alone for a moment.”

When the door shut behind them, both Sydney and Nadia’s eyes filled with tears. Syd reached out and together they stood, alternately holding each other and crying. The Headmasters of Hogwarts Past teared up in sympathy overhead, except for Phineas Nigellus.

“I can’t believe I found you,” Sydney managed to sob.

“I can’t believe I’m losing you already,” Nadia wept.

Sydney held Nadia at arm’s length by her shoulders. “But Professor Dumbledore is right. I’d rather know you were away from this world and safe, than in danger and in the heart of it.”

“Yes. Yes, you’re right,” conceded Nadia, brushing her tears away.

They giggled sadly.

And when Sydney opened the door to Professor Dumbledore’s office, she was ready for the future, with or without her baby sister.

“I don’t know how you usually induct members into the Alliance, but I think that we should allow Meliza in,” Anastasia began. After the Farewell Feast, the Alliance assembled in the Shrieking Shack. “She’s more than carried her weight, especially during the banishment Voldemort.”

“Anastasia…” Meliza said, blushing.

“Maybe we could come up with some secret initiation,” Buffy said, a lightbulb going off in her head. “Robes, dark of night. We could do that.”

“Initiations: bad,” Angel began. “But maybe we could have a secret handshake?”

“I’m down with that,” Harry said, nodding.

“What’s going on?” Sydney said swinging open the door to the Shack, trying desperately to get her mind off Nadia’s abrupt exit.

“We’re going to have a secret handshake to induct Meliza and Anastasia into the Alliance of Destiny,” Buffy explained.

“Think of it this way: I don’t want anything to do with you guys if my best friend isn’t a part of it,” Anastasia said holding her ground. “It’s both of us or neither of us.”

“Ana!” Meliza blurted out, proud that Anastasia would do that for her.

“Mel is a natural with hand-to-hand,” Xander offered from beside Otrere on the couch. “She learns quick and is always there in a pinch. I think she’d be a great addition.” Xander grinned proudly at Meliza, who returned the sentiment.

“Well, why don’t we take a vote?” Wesley asked. “Show of hands for Anastasia and Meliza joining the Alliance of Destiny…” he said. Everyone raised their hands. “Unanimous.”

Meliza burst into tears, as Anastasia engulfed her in a hug.

* * *

While everyone was congratulation Meliza and Anastasia, Otrere had wandered off outside the Shrieking Shack and was staring up at Hogwarts.

It was nice to be here, she thought. But she couldn’t stay now that she was no longer needed, as the others who had left all kept saying. There’s a whole world out there for her to explore. It was time to find the real Otrere, she decided.

“Save some face, you know you’ve only got one/Change your ways while you’re young/Boy, one day you’ll be a man/Oh girl, he’ll help you understand.”

Sighing she turned around to tell the others of her decision.

“Everyone,” she said loudly. The din stopped as they looked at her with smiles. It would break their hearts to hear what she was about to say but she wasn’t going to let this second chance at life go to waste.

“I am very grateful and thankful that you embraced me as you did when I possessed Buffy’s body,” she started. Buffy smiled knowing what was coming. She and Otrere had a bond and she could tell from how Otrere was choosing her words she was trying to find the best way to say goodbye.

“The fight is over for now, and I feel I am no longer needed here.” Murmurs were starting to float, and Xander was about to say something but Otrere stopped them by putting up her hand for silence. “I would like to, as you have all said at some point and done, explore the world. What was the phrase you used Buffy?”

“Smile like you mean it/Smile like you mean it.”

“Spread your wings,” offered up Buffy.

“That is it. Spread my wings, although I have no wings to spread, just arms. I am grateful for all that you have done for me by bringing me back to my body, but I would just be in the way. I only had one purpose when I was an Amazon, to fight. I feel like I am just repeating history here. I still feel the need to fight, I cannot switch that off as you say. But I would like to explore the world whilst doing it.

“I would still like to keep in touch with you all, because you are family. The only ones I have. And if any of you needs me, I will come. Never doubt that,” finished Otrere.

Surprisingly it was Wesley who came up to her and pulled her into a hug, “I’ll miss you Otrere. Life has been eventful since I’ve come here, but I will miss you. May I suggest a job as a bounty hunter? That way you can explore the world and do good at the same time.”

“And get paid for it,” said Angel. “Although I never was one. I’ll miss you too Otrere.”

Everyone crowded her for a hug. After hugs had been exchanged, only Buffy and Xander were left.

Otrere walked over to Buffy, “Thank you for waking me up.”

“Thanks for letting me rest,” said Buffy softly and they hugged through their tears, “Come back for Christmas?”

“I wouldn’t miss it,” said Otrere smiling.

“Looking back at sunsets on the Eastside/We lost track of the time/Dreams aren’t what they used to be/Some things sat by so carelessly.”

Walking to Xander she started, “Xander…”

“I want to go with you,” blurted out Xander.

“What?” asked Otrere in shock.

“I want to go with you. You need a guide, and it’s been a while since I’ve been on the road,” said Xander with an easy smile.

“What about your Karate class?” asked Otrere worriedly.

“I have the perfect replacement in mind,” said Xander smiling mysteriously.

“Who?”

“They’ll see next term,” he said laughing. Xander turned to the milling group. “Everyone, I’m going with Otrere.”

“What?!” came the collective cry.

“Face it, you guys don’t need me anymore and Otrere needs a guide,” explained Xander.

Walking over to Anastasia he said, “If you need me, now’s the time to say. And if you ever need me, I’m just an e-mail or a phone call away.” He handed her a card with his E-mail address on it.

“Smile like you mean it/Smile like you mean it.”

Anastasia hugged Xander, “Thank you.”

* * *

“Goodbye Sydney! Goodbye Angel! Bye Buffy!” came the yells out of the window of the Hogwarts Express. “Bye Otrere, you too Xander!”

“C’mon, let’s go get some seats,” Harry said, leading the way. They dragged their luggage into a spare compartment, elbowing their way past their schoolmates, and sacked out around, enjoying the last bit of moments together.

“Remember Rio and get down/Like some other DJ, in some other town/Been trying to tell me to hold tight/But I’ve been waiting this whole night/But I’ve been down across the road or two.”

“I can’t believe it’s over,” Anastasia said, sitting beside Harry and resting her head on his shoulder. Harry kissed the top of her head and sighed.

“I can’t believe we have one more year,” Harry said. He was still iffy about his future, which was even more precious, knowing that Voldemort had been banished and could come back.

“Me neither,” Ron added. He gazed out the window, watching the shapes of the elder Alliance members faded into blobs.

“We’re all in this together,” Meliza said seriously. “If I may be so cheesy, just say the word and I’ll be there for you. Every last one of you.” She suspended her hand in midair between them.

“But now I’ve found the velvet sun/That shines on me and you.”

“I second that,” Hermione said, placing her palm on the back of Meliza’s hand.

Ron, Anastasia, and Harry followed and they looked at each other in solidarity.

“Until the end,” Harry said.

“Until the end,” the others echoed. Their hands fell.

A tap sounded at the door. It was Ernie MacMillan, the Hufflepuff prefect. “We’re needed in the front,” he said to Hermione and Ron.

“Oh no!” Hermione said, jumping up.

“Wow, I’m still a prefect?” Ron joked, getting up more slowly and following her.

Meliza stared out the window for a few moments and finally noticed that Harry and Anastasia were making googly eyes at each other. “Get a room,” she complained, rolling her eyes and getting up. “I wonder if Neville’s around. I wanted to talk to him about something. I’ll be back, so don’t be sucking face for too long,” she warned them.

“In the back oh-ho, I can’t crack, we’re on top/It’s just a shimmy and a shake oh-ho, I can’t fake, we’re on top/We’re on top.”

When the door slid closed behind her, Harry looked down at Anastasia and that’s all that needed to be said between the two.

Fade out

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