Sorry for the long wait between now and when I last posted, I am not enterily happy with this but no matter how many times I typed it out and changed it I wasn't satisfied so in the end I decided to just post it as is. I hope it won't make you scoff before swiftly unfavoriting it ;)
This is the last of this story! it is my longest story to date and I wanted to say thanks to everyone who stuck it out! you guys are wonderful!
ok here it is (oh and PLEASE review!) enjoy
Epilogue: history repeats…well, almost.
"... the vintage of history is forever repeating ~ same old vines, same old wines!"
― E.A. Bucchianeri, Faust: My Soul Be Damned for the World Vol. 2
250 years later
A harsh unforgiving wind pulled mercilessly at all who dared to have ventured outside on this cold December's night, but Harry no longer noticed such things. He found it interesting that as the years trickled by (sometimes in a slow drip other times as a gush) that he could no longer clearly recall what it felt like to be cowed by the elements that he had been so vulnerable to as a human.
The same elements that had played a small but vital part in what occurred so long ago and still brought him here year after year in his own private pilgrimage to pay his respects. Draco mocked him mercilessly for being still holding onto his sentimental Gryffindor side, but he took no offense as he knew that Draco had secretly started to do the same thing himself, only with a different destination in mind. Zyren never mentioned either of their trips but you could see from the look he got in his red eyes at times that he understood the importance of such 'trivial sentimentalities'- of course neither of his stubborn, pratish mates would ever admit to such things.
He shook his head, smiling to himself-something that Leonor pointed out he often did when thinking, talking or more often than not, complaining about his mates…okay so yes, he was still a soft hearted fool; but as long as it was more heavily weighted on the first part of that adjective he didn't truly mind.
The forest's thick moss silenced his graceful steps as he walked slowly but surely deeper and deeper into the dark treed forest. So, much had changed in the mortal world, and yet nothing had. Having visited this spot…the place that had basically changed his whole life when Leonor found him, year after year (well….every decade in mortal years, but every year in the shadow realm) had given him a chance to discreetly sate his curiosity on the comings and goings of both the muggle and wizarding world.
While he couldn't really have expected much differently from either population, it seemed as though each race in its own way was doomed to continue making the same mistakes and fighting the same wars over and over again (sure the wars were fought and started by different sides, had different victors and their 'peaceful times' were governed by ever changing governments with different laws, but when it all came down to it….it was the same old struggles and triumphs). It was rather disheartening to learn how very little one's actions actually made a difference in the long run.
He had at first been shocked and appalled to find out that Dumbledore's world was just as awful as Voldemort's vision had been…sure during the forty years that Dumbledore, the order and the light side had been truly in charge after Voldemort's defeat, the in your face violence and fighting had ceased—but the prejudice blossomed and spread like wildfire. Suddenly being a dark witch or wizard, or heaven forbid a dark creature was the equivalent to being the new 'mudblood.'
Those who bore the stigma were just as suppressed and isolated from their roots as the light side would have been had Voldemort succeeded—imprisonment without trials were more common then naught. Of course after almost half a decade of strict subjugation of their beliefs and culture, the dark side and many of the magical creatures (both light and dark) had banded together to fight back, resulting in another two decade long war, victory going to the dark. Who in turn promptly forgot that the creatures had essentially been the reason they won and tried to stab them in the back…and on it goes.
Always one side winning, followed by a few years to decades of tense peace followed by another uprising of the wronged and yet another war. After a century of watching it happen, Harry had ceased to care about what he could now only see as trivial disputes and senseless slaughters between mortals; magical or not. When he had been here last year—or perhaps he should think in mortal terms for the time he was in this domain- so last decade, they had been on the cusp of another war. This one old and familiar—fear of magical folks against muggles, though Harry did think that perhaps they had reason this time; for as fast as muggle technology had advanced, thanks to a muggleborn dark witch Helie Gaudz, wizards own protection against detection had also advanced.
But someone having some dispute with the witch (likely because she was a muggleborn who dared to practice dark magic—though from which side the resentment came from was unknown), in their typical bout of genius had been slaughtered her and her notes burned. Yes, great forward thinkers these magical folks were. So yes, it was true that the magical did have reason to fear that they would soon be found by the muggles. Well, in Harry's opinion it served them right…their own prejudiced thinking and violent actions had led to this problem and Harry had become quite the fan of the 'you reap what you sow' philosophy.
He once again shook himself from his thoughts, coming back to this forest always made him way to open to long bouts of maudlin reflection. He stopped in the overgrown patch of forest where Leonor had found him broken and ready to die, and simply pondered how different things could have been.
Instead of learning what it was to truly have a father, instead of mending fences and acquiring the friendship of the snarky but loyal Severus, instead of ever having had the chance to enjoy Kiran's warm manner and friendly smiles, and worse; instead of discovering what it meant to truly be loved and to love; discovering how completely frustrating and yet undeniably perfect it was to be mated to two such strong headed and willed mates such as Draco and Zyren…he would have had nothing.
He would have either faded into blackness—never having truly lived his life before ending it or on a rare chance he would have been found brought back to fight in a war he had never wanted to be a part of, for people who did nothing but expected everything… only to be discarded in the end. Yes….he would forever be thankful to Leonor for his whim to bring Harry with him.
A low pained whimper drew his eyes to a thorny patch of brambles and pine.
No! Seriously? Would his life truly be this ironic? As he cautiously made his way over to where he could make out a slumped figure (cautious for the figure—he himself had no fear of being in danger, but it was best not to startle whomever that lump of clothing and flesh belonged to) he wondered if Fate would ever get tired of pulling his strings.
As he drew closer he could tell that the pained, labored breathing belonged to a small child—matted blond hair, pale face streaked with dirt and dark brown eyes muddied with pain, he calculated the child…no, girl could not be much older than six or seven.
Despite his best effort's Harry felt his heart constrict at the sight of this suffering child….even if he hadn't found her here, in a circumstance that so eerily reminded him of his own happenings so long ago, he would have been unable to close off his heart to this. It was the reason he had always kept his distance from anyone when he came back to this realm….eternally soft, Draco would call him.
The little girl stared up at him blearily, more conscious then Harry had originally credited her with, "Are you an angel?" she asked her tone pained but the curiosity still present.
"No, I'm afraid I am not….what is your name child? Where are your parents?" Harry asked, all too aware of how creepy that question could have been taken. Great all he needed was a freaking lollipop and he could audition for creepy pedo guy. Ookay…..not the point at the moment- back to the situation in front of him.
"Dead" the girl answered her voice sounding far-off and detached.
Well that certainly didn't answer a whole lot, "Why are you hurt and out here in the cold? Who is supposed to be looking after you?" Harry asked again, not willing to kill or leave the child in this condition. Maybe she got lost? Someone was frantically looking for her?
"I ran away….my-my uncle is not a nice man" the girl wheezed out, making Harry far more concerned about her current state of wellbeing, although her words brought yet another swoop to his gut. Fate was truly cruel…this child was so, so similar and yet so different from the little boy he had once been.
"Is there anyone else to care for you?" Harry asked although in his gut he knew the answer to that. He knew what he was going to do….it was the same feeling or knowing he had relied on time and again, the itch telling him to go to the mortal realm all those years ago, the same one that had saved his life year after year while being mortal. He would not question it…it had never led him wrong.
"No" the little girl stated plainly.
"Would you like to come with me back to my home?" Harry asked (unlike Leonor, he thought the whole kidnapping first, asking permission later, was not the proper way of doing things).
The girl didn't hesitate, "Ok" she agreed softly, "my name is Lily"
Harry was once again struck by the oddity of fate, coincidence and time….but he didn't hesitate to lean over and pick up the girl, cradling her carefully as he prepared to apparate back to the Shadow Realm's entrance.
He was not overly worried about either of his mates reactions, they had been talking about adopting a child (or heir—Draco's words) for a while now (he was never more thankful to the law changes Kiran had instigated since Draco's near death—it was now legal to bring a mortal into the realm if they were one's mate or if you made a vow to eventually 'turn one' as an heir). He somehow knew that being here and finding this child here tonight was no coincidence, it was meant to happen.
"Ok Lily, my name is Harry….just hang in there, we are going home"
And Harry knew the truth in his words….
As cruel as fate could be, she gave rewards just as often as she gave punishments and trials; hopefully this small broken child could find what Harry had once found in this gift.
More than just love, acceptance and a home- but the time to appreciate it.
Harry looked down at the small girl in his arms and for once he knew without a doubt everything would be alright. Fate and time were for once on his side.
THE END (Whoot whoot!)