Disclaimers: The characters do not belong to me, no matter how hard I wish. *sighs* To actually own Harry and Draco... XDDD Well, that would be the day, wouldn't it? Arrg!! *wishes very, very hard*

As an early warning: this story is going to contain plenty of angst. This story only contains angst... and romance. And maybe a little bit of humor- but it's all overshadowed by angst. Just so you know. Draco/Harry, Harry/Draco. Don't you love slash? ^__^ And to think, it's kinda multiple Harry-Draco... purely for the angst factor. LOL

Vigilae Mortuorum
Chapter 1: Welcome Home

Where has my heart gone?
An uneven trade for the real world...
I want to go back to
Believing in everything and knowing nothing at all...

-Evanescence, "Fields of Innocence"

From the epilogue of Into the Cold Fire:

"You were gone for nearly two months." Draco explained, a hand sneaking to brush a strand of hair away from Harry's eyes. Sharp, grey eyes stared deep into his soul. "Granger found you two days ago, lying sprawled next to where Hogwarts used to be… we were so scared when you had disappeared… thought that you were dead." Pain crept into those eyes. "But it was even worse for a moment when we found you… we thought it was proof of your death. Your corpse."

"But I'm here." Harry murmured, trying to ease the pain away from those eyes that he loved so much.

"Yes." Draco managed a sad smile. "We found out you were only unconscious… and sent for the doctors." He leaned to brush a kiss above Harry's brow. "You're alive… you're okay." It sounded almost as if Draco were trying to convince himself of that.

Harry closed his eyes again, enjoying the warmth of Draco close to him. "You wouldn't believe what happened to me, Drake… I was somewhere else. In another universe." His eyes opened again, this time full of wonder as he stared at the person whom he loved so much. "My parents were alive there. Hogwarts was still standing… Voldemort was there as well, but he wasn't the threat that he is here. Everything was so beautiful, so wonderful…"

"It sounds like heaven…" Draco muttered, his eyes distant as he stared at Harry.

"It wasn't." Harry said. He sat up in his bed, muscles protesting every step of the way. But he kept his gaze locked into those silver eyes. "I missed you."

If it were possible, Draco's eyes grew even sadder. "You came back from that place… for me?"

Harry bit his bottom lip, wondering if he should answer. But he settled for a nod, "I told you a long time ago… that I couldn't live without you."

Draco drew Harry into an awkward embrace. "But you shouldn't have said that… you shouldn't have come back…"

Harry grew worried. "What are you talking about?"

Draco breathed in the scent of Harry's hair, willing himself to calm down enough to let Harry understand. It wouldn't do to get hysterical when he knew that Harry wouldn't take the information well. He had to remain in control… so that he could help Harry understand.

"I mean… that I'm dying."

The truth was, Voldemort had died. Died when his magic was ripped from him so violently when Harry twisted both water and fire to form a new power. It was through Voldemort that the universal rip was created, and where Harry was drawn into that rip because of his mother's wish to see him.

But Voldemort didn't die immediately. No, the heavens couldn't be so merciful. Seeing that he was to be defeated, he set a final curse onto those who fought him, to make sure that they would suffer as well, to make sure that he would go down in history as the greatest Dark Wizard of all.

He cursed those who had fought in the Final Battle a slow and painful death, and cursed the world so that every witch and wizard alive would not be able to have children, and that no muggle would ever give birth to children with magic.

He had cursed the world to end the lines of witches and wizards, to end all belief in magic.

Normally, he wouldn't have the strength to do that. There was no spell powerful enough to cause the downfall of the entire wizarding world. But emotions had a strong play in any spell, and the depth of his hate couldn't be denied. The pain and torment in his own soul added to the hate and fiery determination to take revenge to those who had created this pain gave him the power to curse the world.

He died immediately after the curse, his last gift to the world.

It was a month later before people started feeling its affects.

Trying to rebuild their destroyed world, a temporary version of St. Mungo's was sudden crowded with witches and wizards in unease, all complaining about how they would get hot flashes… a few moments that they wouldn't remember afterward, where they loose their ability to walk or to comprehend what people were saying. They were all people who had been active in the fight against Voldemort and survive. None of them dared mention the curse that Voldemort had spoken of, because the fear was too tangible when they barely thought of it.

A few days later the symptoms became worse- hot flashes and temporary memory losses became minutes of pain. Utter pain that left a person gasping and with tears in their eyes. There would be people who would suddenly collapse in the middle of a conversation, or start screaming in their sleep.

A week after that… people started dying. Not everyone, and not all at once. But others started whispers… whispers of the curse that had been bestowed onto those who had fought bravely for the Light. Whispers that the Dark Lord had destroyed the future of the Wizarding World… destroyed their futures.

Some scoffed at the idea, but most panicked- knowing that if everyone in the wizarding world died and there were no more with magic to be born- they're entire civilization would be forgotten.

This had started a movement to try and tell muggles about the wizarding world… that ended in near disaster. So select few were told… magic items were given to close friends and family who would live on, and memories were being written down. Many were donating money to build a muggle library for wizarding books, and museums of magical items that would not open until the fall of the wizarding world. Manuscripts and instructions were written for items that contained its own magic, and anything with Dark Magic was burned. The world did not have enough time to mourn for those who were dying, because they were trying to figure out a way for their memory to live on.

If the people who fought so hard were going to die… they weren't going to be forgotten.

Magic would not disappear as long as there are those who believe in it, people murmured.

So while death rates grew higher, those across the world grew more determined. They would not lose to Voldemort, would not ever give up hope as long as there was something to believe in.

The war was over, and they had won… and lost.

"Stop it." Harry muttered quietly as he felt Draco wrap his arms around the raven-haired boy.

It had been a day since Harry had woken up in his own world, where nothing was as he remembered it. The two of them were currently staying in a small muggle village with Hermione and her parents. Hermione had been searching for a counter curse ever since the day of Voldemort's defeat, although she didn't have a clue where to start. The muggles were had all been informed that there were young scientists from the government whom wished to find a cure for some dangerous disease.

They had been given a small house, and provided with food and a limited amount of money from the replaced Ministry of Magic… but even the Ministry was falling apart. It was all they could do to organize searches for the counter-curse and preparations of what would happen a generation later. Harry had been surprised that people took the news of the curse as calmly as they had… he had expected there to be chaos and disorder, enough that people would be panicking and in desperation.

But instead, it was almost as if everything had someone understood that they were going to die a long time ago.

"Stop what?" Draco whispered quietly into Harry's ear, lifting the baby hairs from his neck.

Harry closed his eyes painfully, a hitch stuck in his throat as he remembered the words that Draco had told him when he had first come back home. "Stop pretending that everything's okay."

Draco let out a small sigh before turning his eyes to the window that Harry had been staring out of earlier. "I'm not pretending that everything's alright. I thought we talked about it."

"We talked about what happened after I disappeared… not anything else."

"Only because you didn't want to listen."

Harry turned in the embrace to glare fiercely at Draco. "I always listen. Of course I wanted to listen to what you say!"

"I didn't mean it that way." Draco tried to placate the other boy, holding Harry tighter. He knew that Harry had been tense for the last few days, not knowing what to do with himself, not knowing how he could help. And the fact that he had been unconsciously avoiding Draco, afraid the blonde boy would be unable to handle any stress.

Of course, Draco thought the idea was ridiculous, but he had humored Harry for the first few days anyway. Now he was getting sick and tired and the careful manner in which he was treated, and he refused to be treated like that again.

"I meant," he tried to explain, "that you listen to me… but you don't really take it to heart." Then he paused, and chuckled slightly. "That didn't sound much better, did it?"

Harry let a hand rest on Draco's face and smiled. "No, it didn't. But I think I understand what you're talking about."

"You should." Draco smiled slyly.

Harry just shook his head at Draco's antics, and leaned back into the embrace. His eyes remained wide open as he heard Draco sigh and nuzzle his hair gently. After a few minutes of the relaxed position, Draco spoke up again, his voice soft.

"How are you?"

There was a quirk of Harry's lips as he leaned against Draco's neck. "Shouldn't I be the one asking you that?"

"Oh, but you already know how I am." Before Harry could protest, he continued, "Evil, devious, charming, handsome…"

Harry chuckled. "You flatter yourself too much."

"Then how do you see me?"

"Charming, handsome, devious, evil…" Amusement and mischief glinted in Harry's eyes, only amplified by his large glasses. The raven-haired boy smiled as Draco laughed, obviously amused by what Harry had said.

"Is that supposed to go in order?" Draco asked, inclining his head to press his forehead against Harry's.

Harry snorted. "If it were supposed to be in order, I'd have followed what you said exactly."

"Yes, as opposed to you." Draco mocked with a smile. "You… goody-two-shoes."

"Can't think up an insult worse than that?"

"Shut up, you. I can think up plenty of insults… but then you'd hex me and I don't want you to move right now."

Harry chuckled, a hand clutching at Draco's shirt. They were both wearing muggle clothing so that they wouldn't stand out in the muggle village, just a small domestic town with a few streets and minimum people. "What am I going to do with you?"

Draco leered as Harry said that, then moved away slightly as the other boy tried to swat him.

"Oh, I can think of many things…"

"Pervert." Harry murmured as he leaned in for a kiss. Draco chortled into the kiss, and made Harry roll his eyes.

Draco broke off to retort, "I am sixteen. My mind literally lives in the gutter." He said, borrowing the muggle phrase that Harry had found amusing enough to teach to him. "Besides… anything about you, Harry…"

Harry rolled his eyes again. "Softie."

Draco grinned. "Git."

Harry opened his mouth to retort, but then rethought about it. "I am not going to be pulled into another session of childish name-calling." He said, nodding firmly.

"You're the one who started the name-calling! Besides, don't you miss those days?"

"You mean the days when we were ready to rip each other's throats out?" Harry asked dryly.

"We were as opposite as opposite could get." Draco agreed amiably, pausing as Harry brushes a kiss over his neck. "We still are, actually. The only difference being that now we're in love."


The teasing mood had disappeared as Draco mentioned that, and Harry leaned his head on Draco's shoulder.

"But we are, Harry." Draco said firmly, not intimidated by Harry's hesitance. "We're very much in love."

It was a few seconds later before Harry could nod his agreement.

There was research. Groups of the best witches and wizards the world had to offer sent out to find a counter-curse… to find a cure for whatever predicament that inflicted the wizarding world. Hermione and Draco had been two of those sent out, even though everyone knew that they had fought in the Last Battle… had been one of the few cursed to die that slow, painful death that was so much feared by everyone else.

Ron had followed as well, but then was called back home by his own family, by his mother- who was grief stricken over the death of her husband, and a few of her children as well. As the Weasley family had been active fighters in the war, they also fell under the same curse, and Molly Weasley wanted her son back home for his last days, knowing that she couldn't stand losing him as well.

The former Hogwarts students whom had survived and not been called back home banded together, seeking desperately for a charm that would allow them to battle this curse that plagued them daily. By the minute, the fear grew worse that someone would be on the way to finding a cure and then die with his or her secrets with them. Everyone shared information, the slightest scrap of information or ideas that they had, so that nothing would be held back.

But the problem was- there wasn't much information to be found.

But then, the research had only just begun. There was still much hope for something to be found, even though the entire wizarding world was also preparing for their own downfall at the same time. With each day, there were transitions into the muggle world, there were age-old wizarding families who were just beginning to discover the joys of electricity and muggle appliances. They knew they could not rely on magic for much longer.

And with the people who were suffering in wizarding hospitals, and letters which were being delivered to and from foreign countries each day, the wizarding society was a mess. Letters from leaders from away, from people who just offered to help, bombarded the Ministry of Magic. And so many people who were quitting at the same time, saying that if they only had a handful of weeks left, they wanted to go back home.

There was searches for the use of artifacts, for the use of ancient magic, any spell that would be strong enough to protect the world from its demise. There were small groups of wizards who resented the muggles still, because they were oblivious to the struggles that were just underneath their nose. Because the muggles didn't know of the hardships and tears that people were shedding at the moment because they did not want to see the wizarding world.

Others argued against that. Muggles could not be blamed and used as a scapegoat because, quite frankly, they didn't know about the wizarding society. They didn't even know that magic existed!

And with all the conflict going on in the world, it was a miracle that anything got done at all. The amount of magic that was being used the past two months had been astonding, as wizards and witches continued to find things they had to do last minute.

If people would not be able to use magic after a generation, it was best to put it to good use before everything could be gone, right? There was much hope that Voldemort's curse would never come to pass, but still people were cautious, knowing that not acting was a risk they could not take. Let the elite groups of researchers look for a counter-curse... everyone else would be preparing for what would happen if nothing was found.

But it would only be a matter of time before something was discovered… right?

End chapter 1

Authoress' Rambles: Short, short chapter- but it's just an introduction to what has happened. ^_^ Things will start picking up speed in the next chapter, and it'll most likely be longer. State tests are evil, AP tests are evil, and all tests are evil in general. -_-;; And with the amount of threats that I received for the epilogue of Into the Cold Fire, I figured I had to work on this story despite all the testing. LOL. And my recent obsesstion with Evanescence can be seen from the above. ^^;; There's probably going to be a few lines from other Evanescence songs for all the chapters, since their lyrics are always incredible. ^_^
Quick thanks to all those who reviewed for the epilogue of the last story (since this one continues right where it left off), there were... LOTS of people. O.o;; tdei, OliverLover4Life, *, Fate's Child, Fiery Disposition, smilez, EternalBastet, lollipozz, Rarity88, Jewelclaw Lady of Wind, h/d 4eva, Semmerie, felicia, frizzy, Ophite68, Flamingo, Jekyll, tala, Shinigami06, Jordan, ddz008, Fanny chan, Lily Evans Potter Black Lupin, Carms, momma-dar, Shattered Dreams, ryleeblack, Sheron, Unintentional Nightmare, yumi-no-baka, Black Fire. Whew!