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Odds and Ends - an explanation from the Author
Unbetaed, incomplete, and still fan-fiction.
Odds and Ends – explanations from the author
A bit about Ever After – when I originally sat down to write the story that became The Letters of Summer I was in a particularly trying time in my life. For a variety of reasons I wanted to write a good long chaptered story, and decided that fan fiction would be a good sandbox in which I could determine if I still had my storytelling knack. TLOS, per the original outline, should have ended at the end of the chapter entitled “Cooking with Harry.” For those of you without encyclopaedic recall of the story, it’s this scene:
Ginny stopped as they entered the herb garden. Harry stood still. She was still holding his hand, but she was facing him now, until she dipped her head, resting it again on his chest. She shivered slightly, then looked up, staring into his eyes. “You said you’d like to get to know me better,” she said softly.
“Yeah, I did.”
“I’d like that,” she said, “I’d like that a lot.” She gave him a brief hug before she peeled away to dart into The Burrow’s kitchen door.
But, by the time I reached that point in the story, I had a number of bits and bobs of plot that needed to be resolved, so on I went for two long chapters before I could draw TLOS to a close.
By then I’d grown fond of my characters, including the OCs that I’d fashioned and my own not-so-faithful clones of JKR’s characters, and I had plot lines that I wanted to resolve, but I didn’t want to write another 200k word long story. I also wanted to write other types of stories. So, I left the H-G sandbox and wrote a slew of other stories. I also continued the TLOS arc in Stories from Sixth (and Seventh) Year. In SFSY I introduced yet more OCs and tried different methods of storytelling – my goal in SFSY is that each chapter could be a stand-alone short story – most of them work that way, a few don’t. When HPDH was given a release date, I summoned my waning desire to write fanfic and finished SFSY with a chapter that was markedly different from the others – some people liked it, some people didn’t.
The Letters of Summer is a coming of age story – which is fine and good, but after writing about moody teenagers for several hundreds of thousands of words, I wanted to write a different story – a story still using the TLOS characters and settings that was an adult story – where the characters are living with issues that are common to those in their 40’s and 50’s. I’d given hints throughout my H-G phase of writing that I was going to write a story where TLOS Harry ended up with TLOS Hermione.
I have little sympathy for the shipping wars. People who shell out their own money to archive fan fiction on the web are entitled to set criteria for what they publish. The Harmonians look at my large body of H-G fiction and sneer that I’m somehow defective. The Canonistas look at my non-H-G stories and declare that I’m a damned heretic. I just wanted to write stories – and I think that both sides of that argument were taking themselves way too seriously – it’s supposed to be fun, right?
So, I put Ever After on ice as I decided that I was going to get out of the fan fiction business – my family needed my attention more than my readers did. Notwithstanding my retirement, I still poked at the story in my idle moments. Then I got asked to contribute a story for a charity fund raising auction – and rather than writing a one-shot, I tried to distil the essence of Ever After, writing the bare bones. I wrote five chapters for Brad (who won the auction) and had a sixth chapter partially written when my personal flash drive went kaput, zorching the story along with 3.5 GB of other data.
So, what happens next in Ever After? Here’s a synopsis: the planned chapter to follow Bumps in the Road was titled Guess who’s coming to dinner?
This chapter opens with a discussion between Hr’t and Hermione, explaining why she passed out when smooching her beloved. It seems that Hermione is a bit of a natural Occulmens as a side effect of how her brain works. This has stood her in good stead up to now, except at that particular moment she was run down from being sick for a week, and she really, really wanted to be with Harry, which had the effect of bringing her natural shields down – and a variation on the feedback effect that Harry and Ginny had in TLOS.
Harry and Hermione have an interesting discussion thereafter. Harry explains that the answer is not installing Snow Dragon magic inside of Hermione (she’s too old for that to work) but instead to learn how to control the feedback. Hermione has rather mixed feelings about this, as she doesn’t want to pass out again, but the feeling of intimacy inherent in the feedback loop is very intense, and Hermione, at this point in her life, really wants intense.
Various odds and ends fill up the chapter until the end scene, which has a joint Potter/Weasley family meal during the Easter Break – Rose & Hugo Weasley are in attendance, along with James, Sirius and Lily Potter (in this universe it’s Sirius and Lily that are twins, unlike Deathly Hallows epilogue). Up until this point, the Potter and Weasley children have not learned that their respective parents are courting each other. Hermione finally learns the Potter secret for making a really good soup stock, and at dinner time manages to end up with a bay leaf in her soup bowl. Rose, channelling her father, starts up a round of “kiss the cook!” (a peculiar custom, in which the discoverer of a bay leaf in the soup is obliged to kiss the cook). Hermione gives in to the chant and, hitching up her skirts, straddles Harry and gives him a rather thorough kiss. The chapter ends with Lily saying to Hugo “Blimey, I think they’ve done that before.”
A few chapters later, there’s an adventure scene in which Hermione is kidnapped. H’rt rescues her, but does so in a manner that everyone thinks that Hermione has rescued herself. Word goes out in certain circles that she still has that old mojo, so if you want to live to collect your pension, you don’t mess with that particular witch.
In another chapter we have Hermione having a long chat with Father Martin. Hermione was raised as an agnostic by two parents who’d abandoned the faith of their respective families (dad was Jewish, mom was a lapsed Catholic). Realizing that if she’s going to be Harry’s wife, she needs to come to grips with Harry’s religion, she rings up the good priest. Father Martin has a long chat with Hermione, trying to engage her own beliefs. After a long exposition, he asks the direct question “Hermione, what do you believe?” Hermione is caught short by the question, and says the first thing that comes to mind: “I believe in Harry.”
Several chapters follow, dealing with teaching at Hogwarts, marriage counselling, discussions between Harry and his children, Hermione and her children, and Hermione with Harry’s children.
A chapter follows dealing with wedding planning for a second wedding in later life.
A few chapters follow, examining the reaction of Wizarding England to their relationship, which becomes public – needless to say, the relationship provides a lot of grist for the tabloid mill.
Hermione keeps her composure through it all until the reception after the wedding, where she has a major panic attack and locks herself in the bathroom at the church. Neville convinces the guests that Harry and Hermione have left for their honeymoon, which encourages the guests to wind up the reception. Harry sweet-talks Hermione out of her panic, and the newlyweds spend the night at Harry’s house (everyone else thinking that Harry and Hermione are in the Mediterranean for their honeymoon – a bit of Longbottom orchestrated misdirection.)
Hermione takes a Sabbatical year from Hogwarts.
After the Sabbatical, Harry and Hermione have a press conference, having been convinced by Neville and Luna that a real interview would quash some of the vile and contradictory rumours that continue to fly through the tabloids. The story ends with the following scene:
My anticipation of facing a press conference was only slightly better than Marie Antoinette facing the guillotine, or maybe Harry facing the dragon during the first task of the Triwizard Tournament. We’d reserved a ballroom in a hotel in Penzance for the event – there was a lottery in place to provide slots for one hundred questions. We didn’t know the questions in advance, and frankly, I was surprised at the banality of some of them. Yes, Harry had a better than average grasp of who was favoured in the English Quidditch Cup, but three questions on the relative merits of the bench for the Tornados versus the Harpies? What were these people thinking?
Some of the questions were just plain boring, but very predictable.
“Mrs. Potter!” a slim man said, stepping up to the microphone. “Will Garrison from the Rockville Rocket – will you be going back to teaching this fall?”
“Yes,” I answered, tallying in my head that this was question number ninety-seven.
“So you’re not pregnant?” Will asked, his face incredulous. Evidently he’d already had a story ready to go with what he expected was the answer.
“I don’t believe that you had another question allotted,” I answered with a mischievous smile. I squeezed Harry’s hand and looked at him. A dozen cameras clicked as one. “No, I’m not pregnant. Harry and I love our grown children, and if more come our way, that would be marvellous, but I for one am not particularly eager to get back to nappies and middle of the night feedings right now.”
Harry took the next three questions, and I was mouthing the words I was going to say to close the conference.
We’d made it, we’d run the gauntlet and now we could return to our lives again.
“Mrs. Potter?” a short woman asked, pulling the microphone down so it would point towards her mouth.
I looked at Harry, who nodded. Apparently I’d miscounted. I hate it when that happens.
“Emily Grebasch, Church Times – do you have a favourite bible verse?”
Other than the sound of one shutter clicking, there was a robust silent in the hall. Thinking quickly, I put an answer together.
“Yes, Emily, I do,” I answered. “The Gospel of John, chapter two, verses nine and ten.”
I let the silence resume as many of the reporters turn to face Miss Grebasch for an explanation. Miss Grebasch arched an eyebrow and looked at me for elaboration.
Explaining things was like teaching, so I was comfortably back in my element.
“In this chapter of the Gospel, Jesus attends a wedding in the town of Cana, and when the wine runs out, he quietly turns water into wine. The steward calls to the bridegroom and says something to the effect of ‘everyone serves good wine at first, and then when the people have drunk freely, brings out the cheap wine.’”
I allow a storyteller’s silence and then continue.
“’But you have saved the best for last.’” I then turn again to look at Harry and smile at him.
Miss Grebasch began the applause, which quickly became rather loud.
Standing up, I pulled Harry to his feet and walking hand in hand, we walked out of the room to the tumult of shouted questions and the snicking of camera shutters.
My life has been full and I am rich in family and friends, but as good as my life has been until now, I expect that the rest will be better; chaotic and unexpected for sure (I am married to Harry Potter, after all) but I do believe that the best has been saved for last.
So, thanks to Jeconais, for the excellent fiction archive that is funded entirely from his own pocket.
Thanks to my thoughtful readers who have corresponded with me over the years.
Lastly, thanks to JKR for graciously allowing thousands of scibblers to play with her settings and characters.
It’s a small world, we’ll probably see each other again.
Ever After Copyright © 2010 – all rights reserved – Kokopelli20878@gmail.com