A/N: Thanks to all of you for all the reviews. Happy Valentine's Day to you and Virtual Harry kisses to all you! I can't do a personal response to each of you today because my A/N is so long but since this is the last chapter for quite awhile I will email you answers to questions you may have. If you want an answer be sure you have a valid email address.

So for the sequel: The majority speaks and I have to say I know I would have gone that way also. Lucius will just cast a spell (and yes Snape will be the one to break it), it will lead to Draco becoming a bit of a wild child for a chapter or two as he tries to deal with what he thinks has happened. For all of you who actually wanted Voldemort to do it, I'm sorry I just can't do it to Draco and definitely not to Harry but I encourage (and dare you) all or any of you to write your own chapter (if you want to use the basis of this story and take it from there you are welcome too).

For those of you who think Draco will just be a victim again, do not worry, Draco will so something very brave and self sacrificing which (despite what he thinks was done to him) will eventually help him gain a sense of self as someone other than a Malfoy and of course bring him closer to Snape as he realizes that love has no restrictions and they share something dark.

Harry will be tortured by Voldemort and receive a serious injury as a result, which is a set back for him on one hand yet will eventually prove to be a gift on the other. He will for a short time be forced to rely on others for help. He will recover from this injury but it will take a number of chapters and a period of adjustment. When he does however he will be much stronger and confident.

There will be lots of angst for Snape (and of course Minerva, Albus and Remus) when both boys disappear and then return in serious condition. One physically, one emotionally.

And for those of you who guessed correctly, YES it's feisty, clumsy, wild TONKS I've been thinking off for Snape, he's far too controlled and serious and Tonks will no doubt aggravate him to no end, just think of the fun (in between all the usual angst of course) she will have with him as she slowly wears him down.

This story will continue likely in April, although with summer coming it will be at a much slower pace than this was earlier on. Updates every two weeks or so. Thanks so much for reading! _____________________________________________________________ __

Chapter 65 – moving forward

Snape sat behind his desk when Harry knocked and entered. He greeted Snape quietly. He would rather not have had an occlumency lesson today. He had dreamt about Sirius last night and had felt angry and depressed all day. He ran his hand through his already mussed up hair and sat down at the desk across from Snape. Snape's eyes narrowed at him suspiciously as he quickly dropped his gaze to stare at the desk.

"Out with it Potter!" Snape grumbled then softened his tone. "Something is obviously bothering you."

Harry didn't want to talk about this again with Snape. He knew Snape hadn't cared for Sirius and wouldn't understand that he couldn't seem to let him go. "Let's just get into the occlumency lesson." Harry glared at him.

"No, Harry" Was Snape's reply. "We've made that mistake everytime and it hasn't gotten us far. You need to tell me what's bothering you."

Irritation rose in Harry. "You know what's bothering me! Sirius death, Cedric's death, my parent's death, the prophecy! My destiny!' Al the usual stuff. Talking about it doesn't help, I'm all talked out." Harry shouted at him in frustration his eyes flashing, his face becoming flushed in anger.

"Did you have a nightmare, is this what is causing your outburst?" Snape asked calmly but pertinently.

He took a deep breath feeling furious that Snape would keep badgering him. He stayed quiet. He heard the chair creak as Snape got up and came over to him.

"I thought we had reached a point where we could at least carry on a civil conversation?"

A grain of guilt entered Harry's conscience as he remembered Snape's occlumency memories yesterday.

"Sirius." He replied in a voice barely above a whisper. He glanced up at him for a moment.

"I see. Am I to understand the pain of his death has not started to fade a bit?" Snape asked. The anguish in Harry's eyes made the breath catch in his throat for a moment.

Harry stared at his hands again then murmured. "Sometimes I feel fine and then other times I...." He stopped for a minute to take a breath. "I still miss him so much." He paused again. "I keep thinking with this war I will lose more people I care about and I don't think I could stand losing anyone else."

Snape grew thoughtful. In his short life, Harry had never been loved in any way he could remember and he had never loved or felt close to anyone. Finding his godfather who loved and cared for him was like finding a lifeline and for him to lose that lifeline in the way that he did obviously had lasting ramifications. Snape sighed deeply and responded. "You know in order to move forward you are going to have to start to slowly let him go. Let his spirit fly free Harry, don't let the pain consume you."

Harry couldn't believe Snape was talking about flying spirits. It was something he expected from Trelawny but certainly not Snape. Still he listed to his words. Then in a steely voice said. "I know you think it's self pity and maybe it is but don't want to let him go. I don't want to stop thinking about him or remembering him." He stopped to take a shaky inhale of breath. Loki sensing his distress jumped up on his lap. He stated petting him and bent down to bury his face in the cat's soft fur.

"Harry, do you really believe if you stop thinking about him that you'll just forget him? We both know he meant more to you than that. I'm not saying you should stop remembering him, but when you do think of the happy times you shared not what happened at the end. By focusing on the end you are only focusing on the pain."

Harry finally lifted his face, his eyes sparking bright. Snape swallowed heavily. "I want you to think about something for me. I want you to think about the dark lord and everything he has done. Aren't you angry at him? He single handedly killed your parents, he tried to kill you a number of times, he ordered Cedric killed, Padma and Colin, and one of his death eaters killed Black and almost all of your friends. If I were you I'd be furious. Channel that anger Harry. Don't bottle it up, let it build inside of you and release it when we do occlumency." He had stood up half way through his words and beckoned for Harry to rise also. He pointed his wand shouted "Legilimens" as Harry's eyes flashed with fire.

As the spell hit him, Harry saw Voldemorts inhuman red eyes glowing triumphantly, he forced all the power of hatred he felt at the force trying to invade his mind while keeping all the love for those he held dear close inside. Suddenly the pain in his head left and he gasped for air and blinked feeling slightly dizzy. When his vision cleared he stared dumbfounded at Snape who shakily rose gasping to his feet after having being thrown across the room by the force that exuded from Harry.

"Well done Potter." He sat down in a chair breathlessly. "That was excellent progress. How are you feeling?"

Harry's mouth felt dry, his body felt numb all over. Being able to do occlumency, he realized, left one feeling empty and strange. He felt emotionless now as if somehow his mind had been erased. "Empty."

"Excellent, I was hoping you would say that. I always knew this was inside you somewhere. Not many who can do Occlumency can take it to that step. It is one thing to be able to keep others from getting into your head but it is another to make it go blank enough that you can insert whatever it is you want the other person to believe. Empty is exactly how you should be feeling. Now is the time to concentrate on something you would like me to see, if I were to perform legilimens on you. Something not real. Let's give it a try."

Harry tried to think of something just before Snape cast the spell. The only thing he could think of that wasn't real at that moment was Sirius being alive, Sirius having a conversation with him, Sirius supporting him.

Snape ended the spell, his dark eyes wide with disbelief. "That was remarkably well done. If I didn't know better I would think Black was still alive. You can be proud of yourself you have truly mastered occlumency. Congratulations."

Much to Snape's dismay, Harry flinched, his head dropped and his hands came up to cover his face.

Snape's praise hazily registered in his mind when suddenly an overwhelming pressure consumed him, his eyes burned, his throat closed and it exploded in a rush of tears. His hands came up to cover his face as he stood there trying with all his might to suppress the raw gnawing ache that was consuming him.

He could feel Snape's hand on his shoulder but he tore away, stumbling backwards until he hit the wall. He stood there trembling desperately trying to get his overwhelming and unexpected emotions under control.

"Potter. . . Harry try and take some deep breaths. You're OK, you just need to breathe." Snape said to him softly. He didn't know what had caused Harry to be so upset but he was worried that Harry would hyperventilate.

With a groan Harry sank to the floor. He suddenly felt very tired as he crossed his arms and took some deep gulping breaths of air.

Snape sat down across from him his eyes wide and worried. "What just happened here?"

Harry took a raspy deep breath and squeezed his eyes shut tightly.

"You should be proud of yourself, many grown wizards have never been able to master occlumency."

A ragged breath from Harry was his only answer.

Snape reached out again tentatively and put his hand on Harry's head stroking the messy black hair. "Tell me what's wrong."

Harry just looked up at him with resentful eyes before dropping his head in his hands again.

"Talk to me." Snape tried again.

"Leave me alone please." Came Harry's quiet soggy voice.

"I will once you tell me what happened." Snape insisted quietly.

Harry refused to respond, his heart literally ached.

"Is this about Sirius?" Snape probed.

Harry took another deep ragged breath and after another minute he quietly explained. "I should have learned this last year. If I had Sirius wouldn't be dead!"

Snape exhaled loudly. "You don't know that. The dark lord would likely have come up with something else and the result might have been the same."

Harry leapt to his feet "But it wasn't and he's dead!"

Snape stood up also his dark eyes piercing Harrys. "Yes he is dead and you need to accept it and move forward."

The pained look that crossed Harry's face made Snape's gut clench. He stepped closer forcing Harry into his arms. The black haired teen stood there limply as if the reality of the words had sucked all the energy out of him.

"You can't blame yourself forever, anymore than you can change what happened. Conquering occlumency is quite an achievement; I was excited to see it happen, I failed to think how it would make you feel in relation to last year's events. But Harry you know how proud Black is of you, as are the rest of us."

Harry trembled slightly. He stepped back out of Snape's embrace, wiping his face. "Do you think he knows?"

Snape nodded, his dark eyes intent.

Harry sighed finally looking up. "Sorry about all this."

"I understand. I wish it hadn't been so painful for you. The grieving process Harry doesn't disappear in a week, month or even a year, those you study it say it takes three years for the full healing and acceptance to take place. I know you are deeply worried about the prophecy and I know you will forever be affected by the circumstances of your parent's deaths and the events surrounding Cedrics death. But Harry the more time I spend with you the more I start to believe that perhaps you do have a chance at defeating the dark lord."

Harry shook his head. He hated hearing that everyone believed in him so much when all he could think about was losing everyone through his actions. "How exactly am I supposed to defeat him? Can you tell me that? Everyone thinks I can do it but no-one will tell me how!" Anger entered his voice again.

"You know I can't tell you that because I don't know. But the force that can defeat him I believe is somewhere inside of you. I know this is a huge burden but you will one day be free of it. You need to prepare yourself for this fight by following your deepest instinctual drive. That will keep you alive and hopefully those you care about also."

Harry visibly calmed and grew quiet for a few moments. He then looked up at Snape, his eyes serious. "Do you have to keep on being a death eater?"

Snape looked puzzled, thrown by the sudden question. "Yes I do, why are you asking."

Ignoring his question, Harry continued. "Why do have to keep doing it?"

Snape grew uncomfortable under Harry's stare. He looked away. "Because it is my contribution to the light and it is my atonement for things I have done."

"I don't want you to die." Harry explained quietly.

Snape looked back into the earnest eyes. "I don't want you to die either. So I guess Potter we both better stay alive." He responded gruffly.

Harry nodded looking at Snape worriedly.

"Follow your instincts Harry, don't let anything or anyone sway you."

Harry studied the dark eyes that looked at him with a caring warmth and smiled softly, the pain in his heart starting to ease a little bit.

Snape saw the soft smile on Harry's face. He was amazed at what he was feeling. He actually felt proud of Harry. After despising him all these years, he found himself caring deeply about him and wanting to do whatever he needed to in order to keep him healthy, physically and emotionally. He was glad Dumbledore had persuaded him to teach him again. If he hadn't he would never have had this opportunity to end up caring for the green eyed teen. Lily's son. Lily would have been so proud. Proud of both of them.

The thought brought a rare smile to Snape's lips as he looked at Harry. "I'm proud of you Potter, and I'm glad I was the one who taught you occlumency. Now go and have some fun with your friends, classes start tomorrow."

Harry smiled wryly as he headed to the door. Just before he exited he turned and softly said. "I'm glad you did too."

The End (for now until April, when this will be continued either here or as a sequel). I may do little one shots as I experiment at Hermione's romances.