AN: Well, hello there. Believe me, this is as much a shock to me as it is to you, but I went and drank a lot of whisky and decided to sort out my hard drive. I found this shit, and wasn't consumed by anxiety and guilt when I opened it. So, I decided to publish the unrevised chapters I had saved on my computer.

Practical notes: I make no guarantees regarding grammar, spelling, internal consistency, narrative flow, or cheesiness. This is the rest of the story arc as I wrote them, with very little editing. If you're looking for perfection, don't bother (I mean, why did you read my work in the first place?), but if you were curious as to where this was going, your answer is, in part, here.

I'm doing this for multiple reasons. Over the last 6 months, I've received many heartfelt messages from readers asking for more closure than I gave, as well as several others from people considering adopting the story. In the latter case, feel free to rewrite these chapters, or ask me if you have more questions.

In any case, All these messages inspired me, reminding what kept me going through this absurdly long fic - the indellible support I've gotten from my readers and the sheer amount of valuable feedback given to me. I learned and grew so much while writing this, and I feel like I owe you this much. Another reason is...I'm ok, right now. Career wise, I'm doing pretty good. Got multiple publications, almost finished my PhD, starting to think about settling down. I can do this, right now, without causing problems for myself. So this I'm doing. Lastly, I'm working on the sequel to the novel I just wrote, and I have writers block. I needed to do something else.

So...there it is. Please do enjoy. Or hate it, if you like. This is chapter 8 out of 8. A very happy Christmas to all. I hope that 2022 is a better year than 2021.

Chapter 33: Brave New World

Harry blinked blearily. "M-mum...?"

A woman was standing before him, in front of the fire that always burned brightly in the Room of Hot Chocolate, her form slender, her cheeks rosy, and her hair blazing red. She was wearing a white summer dress covered in sunflowers, and a soft smile graced her face while her emerald green eyes glimmered.

"Come, sweetheart, sit down."

His mother gestured at the plush sofa that sat in front of the fire – the sofa where Tom always sat. She sat down and patted the cushion beside her

Reluctantly, Harry did as he was told, and sat down beside his mother, unable to keep the troubled look off his face. She was exactly as she was in the few photos he had of her, and of the even fewer memories – vibrant and beautiful unlike any other woman he'd ever seen – and something deep inside of him ached at the sight of her. And yet...her eyes, they were wrong, all wrong. Lily Potter's eyes were a unique shade of green, yes, but even rarer was the kindness that burned inside them, evident even through vague memories and faded photographs. But these eyes were not kind; they did not burn. They were cold.

"Tea, love?" the woman asked pleasantly, her voice sweet and soft.

"Um, sure," Harry said slowly, and a moment later, he was holding a teacup in his hands. He warily sniffed the steaming substance, and instantly a delicate fragrance filled his nose; fresh, and soft, and spring-like.

"Jasmine rose."

Harry's eyes widened.

The woman smiled softly at him. "It's good to see you, sweetheart. You've grown so much since I last saw you."

"Who are you?" Harry whispered.

The woman's eyes glimmered amusedly. "Who do you think I am?"

"You're not my mother."

The woman in front of him sighed. "Always the clever one. No, you're right, of course; I'm just borrowing her face. I don't have one of my own, you see, and she really was quite lovely. James Potter was a very lucky man."

"Who are you?" Harry hissed. "And what are you doing in my head?"

"You invited me here, sweetheart, when you found my gifts...all three of them."

Harry paled. "You're..."


Harry could swear that his heart stopped for a moment. "Then the story, that was're real -"

"I am, just like my three Hallows. Well done, by the way – no one has managed unite the three...until now."

"It wasn't that hard," Harry said stiffly.

"No, you're right, that was the easy part."

Harry felt his blood run cold. "What do you mean, the easy part?"

Death smiled sweetly. "Well, I call them gifts, but you's really not like that at all."

Harry frowned nervously. "What do you mean?"

"Everything has a price, sweetheart."

"I don't understand. The Potter family had the Cloak for generations, just like the Gaunts had the Stone. Are you saying that every member of those families had to pay for their Hallow each time it was passed down?"

"Oh, no – you need not pay unless you have become the master of one, which you cannot be unless you have collected all three."

"And what does it mean to master a Hallow?"

"They belong to you now," Death explained, smile still fixed in place, "To any others, the Cloak of Invisibility will be no more than a piece of fine cloth, the Resurrection Stone will be little more than a precious gem, and the Elder Wand a mere stick. They now answer to you and you alone."

Harry nodded slowly. "And...what price must I pay?"

Death's smile widened. "So glad you asked, love. You must pay one price for each Hallow -"

"Even though I united them?"

"Well, I'd say that I don't make the rules, but I kind of do."

Harry grimaced.

"Now as I was saying, each hallow has a price."

"And on what is this price based?"


"So what you're saying is...the prices are completely arbitrary."

"I suppose you could say that. They are worth nothing to me."

"Then why are you making me pay for them?"

"Everything has a price, sweetheart."

Harry grimaced again, more than a little put off; he was confused about a lot of things, at the moment, but the one thing he was very sure of was that this entity was messing with him. "...fine. What are they, then - the prices?"

"You already paid for the Cloak," Death began.

Harry was a little alarmed at that. "What did I pay?"

"Do you remember how you got here, sweetheart?"

Harry blinked. "No, actually don't." He remembered going down to Hogsmeade for lunch, but after that...

"No, I suppose you wouldn't. Now, there's no nice way of saying this...but you killed yourself."

Harry's eyes widened drastically. "What?"

Death's smile appeared to be sympathetic now. "Yes, I know it must be a shock."


"That's not particularly important – you'll remember later. Suffice it to say that it was for the best, and that trust me, you did yourself a favour. Death has a certain...cleansing effect."

"But I'm dead."

"No, you're not. At least, you won't be, in a few minutes. Do you understand what the price for the Cloak is, now?"


"Your mortality."

"...sorry, what?"

"You can't die, love," Death clarified. "Or rather - you can't remain dead."

"No, I know what mortality is, but how is that a price? Immortality is a gift itself, isn't it?"

Death smiled mysteriously. "Is it? I suppose only time will tell."

Harry shifted uncomfortably. "Fine. What's the price for the Stone, then? I'm assuming I pay in the same order that I found each Hallow in."

Death's smile widened again. "Indeed. Now, the Stone is more interesting. For the Cloak, it was easy; I've always wondered how Ignotus would have reacted had I refused to take his soul, in the end. He was quite ready to die, you see – he welcomed it. For the Stone...I admit, I was puzzled at first, but I must say, Harry, you have inspired me."

Harry could feel dread creeping up inside of him. "I inspired you?"

Death nodded happily. "You have a beautiful mind, Harry. So delightfully twisted. You have the most...unique ways of both indulging and tormenting yourself, always caught up in the ghosts of your past."


"You're welcome."

"So...the price of the Stone?"

"Your sanity."

Harry went very cold, at that. "My...sanity?"

"Some of it, at least. You see, every time you kill someone - or someone dies for you - they will never leave you. They will always be by your side, haunting your every step - and as a result, they can never pass on. They will live in torment, bound to this mortal world, every day of their deaths and slowly diminish in front of your eyes."

Harry stared at her, horrified. "So my mum, and my dad…."

"Will rest no longer."

"Please don't," he said quietly, pleadingly, "They haven't done anything - they don't deserve this...they have nothing to do with this!"

Death shook its head in what seemed like some kind of disappointment. "But they have something to do with you, and you're the one paying the price...nothing happens in isolation, sweetheart - all causes have effects...and sometimes the effects wrap back around to the causes."

"But...but…" Harry tried weakly, but truth be told, he had nothing to say to that.

"You chose this."

"But I didn't!" Harry said angrily, "I didn't choose any of this - the Prophecy, the Hallows, they all just fell in my lap. Sure, I want Voldemort's master soul dead or out of my way, and I want - need - the Hallows to defeat him - not to mention, if I want to avoid Tom forcing me to create a Horcrux - but I never knew it would cost me anything!"

Death smiled coldly. "Then you're a fool."

Harry opened his mouth to argue, but no words game out, at first.

"Perhaps I am," he said quietly, "And what's the price for the Wand?"

Here, Death's smile grew into a grin that looked incredibly wrong on Lily Potter's face. " for me to know, and you to find out."

Harry looked at Death, alarmed. "You're not going to tell me?"

"No, I don't think I will. Not yet."

Harry was seized by a sudden wave of fear; and already seized by the horror of the price of the first two Hallows, this tipped him over the edge into despair and panic. "I don't want them."


"I don't want to owe you anything. Especially if you won't tell me what it is."

Death's grin did not leave its face. "It's too late for that, sweetheart."

"What do you mean, too late?"

"You've mastered the Hallows. You searched them out, and took them as your own. You found all three and you wanted them. They're yours now, and now you must pay the price."

"I don't get a choice!?"

"You don't."

Harry was breathing heavily now. " do I know when I've paid it, then?"

"Three years," Death said, "In three years I will come to collect."

"Can't you give me anything? Any clue about what you'll take?" Harry asked frantically.

Death's smile faded slightly. "Before three years have sure that you have accomplished all you wanted to accomplish. Be sure that your foes are dead, that your friends are safe, and the world is as you want it to be. And remember...that you asked for this, master."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Harry whispered.

Death's smile had completely slipped away, now, and Harry's vision began to blur.

"It means that you are a fool, Harry Potter -"

The room was going dark, and Death's voice had faded to little more than a whisper.

"- and you will lose everything."

Harry woke up screaming.

His entire body was in pain, a burning pain right down to the bones, and he began to panic as all the memories rushed into his head.

The Death Eaters.

The portkey.

Sirius's death.

The horcrux.

The fiendfyre.


The Hallows.

Their price.

"No no no no no no no no…"

"Harry, Harry! Calm down!"

He felt a warm hand on his shoulder, and stopped crying out. Slowly, he opened his eyes...and nearly started screaming again.

There were people standing around the bed he found himself lying in. People that should be dead.

Immediately he picked out his mother, his father, and Sirius, all looking down at him with sad, concerned countenances, but the others took a little longer to recognize. There was a figure in dark robes with a bald head and skin burnt to a crisp - Quirrell - and beside him...was that Robert? Oh god, it was...his skin, it was gnawed on, ripped at, bleeding profusely.

But just before he screamed again, he remembered Death's words. This was his second price. And the first…

He looked over at Theo, who was staring at him with wide eyes and a hand on his shoulder. "What...what happened?"

Theo was pale and his eyes were sunken. It looked like he hadn't slept in days. "You…" His voice broke. " burned yourself alive."

Harry's mouth fell open.

"I - I'm sorry...I just….I can't believe you woke up. You've had a pulse for days, but…"

"No, it's ok," Harry said faintly, "Better to hear it straight."

Theo coughed out an incredulous laugh, before his face fell again.

"What happened, Theo?"

Theo took a shuddering breath. "You...I think you saw something...I think...Voldemort did something -"

"He pulled me inside his mind…" Harry whispered. "And made me watch."

"He made you watch what?"

"He made me watch him kill Sirius."

Theo gasped. "Then Sirius is really…?"

"Dead," Harry croaked out.

"Harry...I'm sorry."

Harry just nodded.

Theo was silent for a moment. "You took this ring off your finger - it was invisible before you took it off - and said something about...a...a horcrux. And then you lit the whole place up!" Theo said, voice suddenly furious. "You bloody lit yourself on fire!"

Harry's eyes widened. "Were - were you hurt?"

"What? No! You pushed me out of the way - but Harry, you lit yourself on fire! Fiendfyre!"

"It...was an accident," Harry whispered.

"You cast accident," Theo stated incredulously.

Harry said nothing.

Theo shook his head. "You burnt yourself alive. You didn't scream - I, I had to put out the fire with that spell you taught me…."

"And then?" Harry asked quietly.

"You were just...lying there. Still. And you skin...I checked your pulse. You were...gone," Theo choked out.

"...and then?"

"And then...your skin, it started to heal - the burns disappeared, right in front of my eyes. Slowly...but then...they were gone, and you were back. At least your pulse was."

Harry nodded slowly. "I see."

"I see? I see? That's all you have to say? You were dead. You were screaming about something called a horcrux, you lit whatever that is on fire with one of the deadliest spells known to wizardkind, then you caught fire, then you burned to death, and then your wounds all healed and you came back to life! What the fuck, Harry!?"

"I - I'm sorry, I don't know what to say."

"An explanation would be nice."

"Sirius is dead."

Theo's eyes softened. "I...I know, and I'm sorry, but -"

"The ring," Harry suddenly said, his eyes lighting up, "Was it destroyed?"

Theo looked at him strangely. "The ring was...but the stone in the middle wasn't." He glanced over at the bedside table standing across from where he sat, and Harry's eyes followed; and there was the Resurrection Stone, lying beside the Elder Wand, both alive and well.

Harry's face fell.

"Harry," Theo said softly, "I -"

"And what happened next? Where are we?"

Theo sighed. "We're in the safe house Mr. Winter arranged for us. As far as I can tell, it's somewhere in the Black Forest. I...levitated you into one of the bedrooms and firecalled Mr. Winter. I told him you'd been hurt on the way here, and he sent a healer over. The healer said you were in perfect health and's just been you and I for the last two days….Mr. Winter said the full moon is in three days, and we can floo over to his place then…"

Harry nodded. "Have you slept?"


"You said it's been two days. Have you slept?"

Theo frowned. "No - of course not. Harry, these have been the worst two days of my life - I couldn't sleep."

Harry looked away, eyes planted straight ahead - but they fell on Sirius's form.

'He really does love you, kiddo,' Sirius said.

Harry let out a shuddering sigh. "You should sleep, then."

Theo looked like he was going to protest, but then he also sighed. "Yeah, yeah, I think you're right." He looked at Harry sharply. "But I expect some sort of explanation. If not when I wake up, then...soon."

Harry nodded.


There was no answer.

It was the middle of the night - Theo had been sleeping for four hours, and Harry had been doing nothing but staring at the Resurrection Stone, pointedly away from the five figures standing around his bed.

Harry huffed, still staring at the Stone. "I know you're furious - you have every right to be. But I really need to talk to you. Something happened while I was passed out, and it's crucial to our plans."

He waited for the pain, a voice. Anything, but there was only silence.

But then it came to him, a voice - but not Tom's - echoing inside his head, cold and hollow.

Death has a certain...cleansing effect.

Cogs turned, and Harry's eyes widened. "No," he whispered, "It's not possible."

Throwing the covers off of himself, he rushed out of bed and into the en suite in his room, lighting the Elder Wand with a lumos.

He stared at himself in the mirror...and was horrified by what he saw.

Two green eyes, staring back at him.

Terrified, he stepped back from the mirror.

"No," he whispered. "No, no, no, no….it's not real."

He looked up at the mirror again.

Not a trace of red.

"No...NO!" Furious, he punched his left fist through the mirror, ignoring the loud crashing sound and the pieces of glass slicing through his skin and staring into the shards.

Only green.

"…" He sunk to his knees, and he felt tears running down his face.

'It's for the best,' a soft, sad voice behind him said, which he recognized as Lily Potter's, warm and kind.

"No, no it isn't, it isn't," Harry insisted.

'He can't hurt you anymore, son,' said another sad voice, and he knew it was his father speaking.

"I didn't care about that," Harry cried, "I didn't care about any of that - I need him!"

"Harry? Harry? What happened, who are you talking to?"

Theo burst into his room, and upon seeing Harry's bleeding hand, rushed over and started to pick the glass out. "What happened?" he whispered, worry framing his brown eyes.

'You need to tell him,' he heard Sirius say, causing him to choke and the tears to start falling again.

"I can't tell him," Harry whispered, "He won't understand."

"Harry, who are you talking to?" Theo said, alarmed, looking around the room. "Who won't understand?"

Harry just shook his head, snapping his mouth shut. He couldn't afford to say anymore.

"Harry, I need you to talk to me, what happened? Episkey. Reparo."

Harry felt the wounds on his hand close up, and heard the mirror being put back together, but still said nothing.

Theo sighed. "Ok, let's get you to bed."

Theo helped Harry to his feet and led him over to his bed, watching with concern as Harry, in a zombie-like manner, crawled into bed and pulled the covers over himself.

A moment later, Theo conjured a chair and placed it beside the bed, sitting down.

"What are you doing?" Harry croaked out.

"I'm staying until you fall asleep," Theo said in a tone that Harry didn't have the strength to argue with.

So he simply nodded and squeezed his eyes shut, trying very hard not to think of the lost souls gathered around his bed.