Title: The Seven Wonders of the World
Rating: This is R – Do Not Read if you are NOT mature enough.
WARNING: Slash. No like no read…honestly, if you haven't gotten it by now, I'm afraid there's little hope for you…
Summary: A Harry balancing between misery and all-consuming rage, and an (for now) unsympathetic Draco go looking for a mysterious artefact for Dumbledore, hidden somewhere in one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World. But they're not the only ones looking for it.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything you may recognise.
Author's Note: Here's the epilogue, far later than it should have been, but the Haven fans were screaming for blood, so that got my preference. I'm trying to balance things as best as I can, and I hope you're still enjoying this, and sticking around for the sequel. I apologise in advance for the cliffhanger…it just fit. grins Enjoy!
Usually Immaculate Aristocrat:Hey you, thanks for your review. Here' s the epilogue, but it's more of a cliffhanger than anything else…I've got to keep everyone hooked for the sequel, of course! Hope you enjoy grins
Yuki Kurai:Yea, he had to. But he doesn't really realise that yet! Thanks for your review.
Eadon:Thank you, as always, for your loyal reviewing. I'm trying so hard to repay the favour, with all of my reviewers, but it's just impossible. I hope however, that you're doing great (I'm confident that you are) and that you're going to enjoy this chapter! Love you!
CuriousDreamWeaver:Hey, again, apologies for the long wait of the epilogue, but the Haven fans were threatening with serious bodily damage swallows More self-pity on Harry's end…life HAS been rather unfair to him grins but hopefully it'll work out in the sequel.
Flammy:NO! I don't mind you writing in capitals grins It's always attention grabbing, and I'm glad you think my story is good, I wasn't saying it was wrong or anything! I love your reviews!! They always inspire me to work faster, even though that isn't as fast as you'd probably like. Hope you enjoy.
Nemati:Love your stories as well. Thanks for your review, and I look fwd to hearing from you!
Pandora-Black:Thanks bunches for your review, and I'm glad you liked it!
Meggplant:I'm quite opposed to cliffhangers, but they're such a lovely way to grab the attention, so I understand why people use them! Thanks for liking this story as well, and I hope to see you for the sequel?
Ranma Higurashi:Thanks for your review! Enjoy!
Bobette:Nope, not the end, this is…well, there's a sequel. And another after that. grins
Alas a Cornucopia of Love:Very interesting name! Thanks for reviewing!
EdenMalfoy017:Hey, thanks for reviewing, and your positive criticism; that's what I like to see. I tried my best to work on what you said, making the lines easier to understand, and not putting Draco's action immediately behind something Harry says. Hope you notice the difference, and it helps grins Thanks!
Wyccegurl:There is nothing that I hate more than a Mary Sue, which is why I try to avoid writing OC, especially females, but here it was sort of impossible to avoid. I'm glad you felt Hermione didn't become a problem, and I hope you stick around for the sequel! Cheers!
HonEySky:My 200th reviewer!! Much obliged! Hope you enjoy the epilogue!
REVIEW: You people inspire me. It's appreciated. But if you don't…there's not much I can do, eh?
Chapter Twenty: Epilogue
It had been a week. Out of principle, Harry had not been allowed to leave the infirmary, something that he was very displeased about, but that he hadn't been vocal about. In fact, he hadn't been very eager to speak at all.
His eyes were empty, and his new found markings only enhanced the image of a lone hero, currently perched upon a bed, with exhaustion radiating from him in steady waves. In his mind, Harry was listening to the old cowboy theme song, and envisioning himself riding away across the prairie…into the blazing sunset. Wasn't that how it went?
"Harry?" Harry stared out of the window, not acknowledging the voice.
"Harry, I've…brought you your homework?"
A small sigh escaped Harry's lips, and he gave Ron a feeble smile.
"Hermione still doesn't want to see me?"
Ron looked heartbroken.
"It's not that she doesn't want to see you…it just, this…the war suddenly came very close. It became personal for her. She needs to sort things out."
"It's been personal all my life." Harry sneered back, before letting his head drop in his hands.
"Sorry, I'm not mad at you. I'm just frustrated."
Ron nodded and perched himself on the edge of Harry's bed.
"Has…has he visited?"
Harry looked towards the window again.
"I don't know. If he has, I haven't noticed."
Ron nodded before placing a hand on Harry's shoulder.
Harry turned blank eyes towards his best friend.
"I don't know what happened out there," Ron said "but when McGonagall came back, she said you looked better than she'd ever seen you. A bit like the old Harry –"
"The old Harry is DEAD" Harry snarled, but more towards himself than anything.
"Meet the new Harry - he kills people, it's what he was 'born' to do." The self-loathing in that voice made Ron's toes curl.
"Harry, come on mate…don't be like this!" Ron's voice was pleading "I'm sure Dumbledore…"
"Dumbledore!" Harry spat "Dumbledore sent me on this errand like the good little mercenary I am. I don't fucking want to talk to him again. EVER. It's his fault Siri is dead, it's his fault Hermione and…" Harry broke off, knowing he was being irrational.
"He said some time away from Hogwarts would do me good. See what it got me? Worse than where I started." Harry flinched in pain and turned his eyes towards the window.
"I'm tired Ron. Don't take it personally, but I have to get some sleep if I have to battle through a conversation with Dumbledore tomorrow, and do research on these markings and research on…"
Ron watched as his friend looked unbearably small in between all that white and suddenly felt compelled to take him into his arms.
"Harry…no matter what it all means, I'm never going to stop being here for you…you won't have to be alone, no matter what."
Harry smiled up at him sadly.
"What if I don't save one of your family in a crossfire? What if I get even more fame because of these markings? Will you stick by me then?"
Ron flinched, but didn't pull back and Harry looked apologetic.
"I NEED to know Ron. I need to know, have to trust that somewhere is there covering my back…I need your full support, behind me, one hundred percent…because it's not child's play anymore."
The lone hero wiped his eyes.
"There's a war coming. And I cannot afford to be ill-prepared."
Ron stood up from the bed, and clasped Harry's hand to his chest.
"Brothers-in-arms, Harry. I'm not going to give up on you."
A small smile flitted across Harry's face.
"Thanks, Ron. I needed to hear that."
Ron nodded, and left, and Harry lay still in his bed, his hands reaching up every so often to trace across his forehead, where the thorns weren't sticking out, but he knew they were there anyway, and if he imagined real hard, he could feel them, tearing at his fingers as he passed them.
"Do you ever wish things could've been different?"
A voice broke through Harry's reverie, and he looked up to see Draco staring at his forehead. A cynical smile broke through.
"Story of my fucking life." Harry answered, eyes wary.
Draco murmured non-commitionally and walked towards the window, leaning against it.
"You're blocking my view." Harry said quietly, and Draco smirked.
"Aren't I a much better view?"
Harry stared at him long and hard.
"What did you hope to achieve by coming here?"
The blonde shrugged.
"I don't know, closure?"
Harry repressed a flinch, and if possible, his face closed off even more.
"Have you found it?"
Draco sauntered closer, perching himself on the edge of the bed, lifting a hand and smoothing his thumb over Harry's cheek.
"No" he whispered, before pulling Harry's head towards his. Harry's eyes fluttered closed as their lips touched, and something broke inside him. He pushed Draco away.
"There is nothing for you here, Malfoy."
Draco reared back at the use of his last name, stung.
"Some things are irretrievable. Killing someone…takes something away from you. Steals a part of you…" Harry shivered.
"I always thought you were the lower one, even if you came from a pureblood family…" he laughed tonelessly. "Isn't it funny how things change?"
"What do you mean?" Draco looked confused and hurt and Harry's eyes glazed over.
"When you…you…assaulted me, I was sure you didn't deserve me, mind you, I was sure it was some sort of trick to bring me down…again. But I've come to realise, it's the other way around. I…don't deserve you. And why would you want to be in company of a murderer…?"
Draco looked troubled, but then his face contorted into fury.
"Stop being such a self-righteous prick. You're so deep in self-pity you don't see anything…not even if it's right in front of you."
"And I suppose you want me to see you?" Harry sneered.
"I'm here, aren't I? I don't see Granger rushing to your aid."
"Shut the fuck up" Harry growled, and lunged at Draco half-heartedly. Draco dodged him easily and grabbed his wrists, pulling Harry flush against his body. Then he kissed him, furiously, and Harry felt Draco's heart beating against his ribcage, echoing the sound of his own.
"You can't deny that, Harry. You can't!" There was something akin to desperation in Draco's voice, and Harry stared at him in wonder.
"Why is this so important to you?"
Draco stared at Harry, releasing him abruptly.
"Because I've never felt like putting myself on the line for anything…except now." He avoided Harry's eyes, but couldn't miss the quiet sobs as Harry's small frame was wracked with grief.
"Harry? Harry…what's wrong? Don't cry…please…"
Harry looked at him through his tears, holding out his hands, and Draco couldn't do anything except accept the small, frail boy into his arms.
"I'm such a freak. Look at me - just look…why does stuff always happen to me? Why? I don't ask for it, I don't even want it…I just want to be normal."
Draco rocked him backwards and forwards, watching as the boy who had been strong their entire trip fell to pieces in front of him.
"Harry" he murmured. "Har, please don't cry…please." His thumb grazed over the falling tears, catching them one by one.
"I don't…I can't do this alone." Harry finally whispered, his face buried in Draco's neck. Draco used his hand to tilt Harry's face towards him.
Draco stayed and tucked Harry in before leaving, but not without throwing a last glance at the door.
Harry opened his eyes as soon as Draco left his bed, staring at nothing, thinking of everything. He held his hands out in front of him, and felt like throwing up. Murderer's hands, that's what they were. How could they ever hold anybody? How could they ever hold the fate of the wizarding world?
He got out of bed and padded through the room towards the bathroom, looking at the mirror. He didn't recognise the face staring back at him, and he wondered where it had all gone so horribly, horribly wrong.
Raising his fist, he brought it towards the mirror, intent on smashing it, but before he could touch it, the mirror shattered to pieces and his hand was flung up to defend his face instead. However, nothing touched him. The shards flew around and should've cut into him…but they didn't.
Unhappily, Harry caught sight of his fractured face in a piece near his feet. The two things he registered before the dark closed in on him, were Hermione's shocked face looking at him from the doorway and the thought that there was yet another thing that distinguished Harry from the rest.