Part 11 – Harry's Epilogue

"I want to know how it ended."

I pause a moment, mentally readying myself for the forthcoming conversation. "Badly. He died."

Draco turns back to me and strangely, in the recesses of my mind, I take note of just how beautiful he is.

"How? When?"

I lean back against the cold stone statue, the dampness beginning to seep into my clothes, and look out over the ghostly landscape.

"We were both nineteen and in our second year of Auror training," I start, sounding robotic to my own ears. "We met when we were seventeen, our professors paired us together. It didn't take long to realise that there was an attraction there. He was funny and kind and brave – I always teased him for being too perfect. I fell in love with him and we planned to spend the rest of our lives together."

I swallow past the lump in my throat and force myself to continue.

"The war suddenly got a lot worse; it looked like we were going to lose, and all the Auror trainees were sent into battle to help out. Dumbledore and the rest of them always kept me apart, knowing that I was to only go in when Voldemort made an appearance. Andrew was always sent in with the others. I hated that he was out of my sight and in danger…"

I close my eyes and continue, the scene playing out in my mind.

"Then one day Dumbledore came to me while Andrew and I were together in the courtyard and told me that it was time. Voldemort had been spotted. Andrew followed me to my room and watched me prepare…"

I grip my wand tightly in my sweaty fist. I was ready.

I turn to see Andrew watching me, his brown eyes glassy with emotion, and still he doesn't say a word.

"Andrew, I…"

I didn't know what to say. It was hard enough for me to watch him go off into battle, but at least I knew that he wasn't up against Voldemort – alone.

"Harry, please let me come with you," he pleads quietly.

"You can't," I answer sadly. "It's my turn to fight."

Andrew nods in understanding, tears dropping from his lashes.

"We hugged each other then, not knowing it would be our last." My voice wavers for the first time and Draco grips my hand tightly.

"I walked into battle with Dumbledore by my side. I fought Voldemort in the midst of that hell and won. Eventually. Dumbledore and Snape were both dead when the dust settled - and so was Andrew. I remember falling to my knees after killing Voldemort and staying there for an eternity then suddenly I could hear screaming. It was Hermione. She had found Andrew…

I drop to my knees for the second time that night and pull Andrew's body into my arms. His heart is still beating faintly, and very very slowly, but he isn't conscious.

"Andrew!" I cry over and over again; shaking him, kissing his lips and cheeks and hair.

Hermione stands over us, watching, her hands over her mouth as tears stream down her cheeks. The others around us are still rounding up the last of the Death Eaters.

"Andrew, please don't leave me…" I whisper into his ear. "It's over now; we can be together and never have to be apart again. Please wake up. Please…"

"Harry, he's…" Hermione chokes out.

I knew full well what she was going to say. I shake my head and continue to rock him.

"We can see the world now Andrew – anywhere you want," I promise.

I can't feel his heartbeat anymore.

"We've got each other and our whole lives ahead of us…"

I feel something twist in my heart - reality sets in - and I let go of him, his body sliding off my lap. I sob uncontrollably over his motionless body, not caring who's watching or what they think.

The love of my life is dead and I knew I would never recover.

"Emptiness settled into my entire being," I explain, hot tears slipping down my chilled cheeks. "I don't remember much of anything after the war. I remember returning to Auror school to finish my training..."

"And testifying for me," Draco interjects quietly.

I open my eyes and turn to him.

"You saved my life that day Harry."

"But I couldn't save his… He snuck out there to watch over me and it got him killed."

Draco pulls me closer and slips his arms around me.

"You didn't know he was there Harry. You couldn't possibly have saved everyone. You killed Voldemort and saved the future of the wizarding world. And you saved my life. With Dumbledore and Snape dead, no one else knew that I was working as a spy – except you."

I smile tearfully into the folds of Draco's soft shirt and slip my arms around him in return.

"Then what happened?" he prompts after a few minutes of silence, allowing me to collect myself.

I take a deep breath and exhale slowly. "I stayed in Auror training for a couple more years-"

"And I followed you there."

I sit up and look into Draco's eyes. "You never told me that," I say in surprise.

He shrugs and looks away. "It was pretty pathetic. And I didn't want you to think I was in love with you because you saved my life."

"That was a part of it though wasn't it?" I ask.

He shrugs again. "Maybe. That might have led me there but it soon turned very real."

"I'm sorry I wasn't the best…boyfriend then."

"Either was I," Draco admits with a smile. "You were my first male partner and…well…"

"It was just about sex," I chuckle. "I wasn't ready for anything emotional and you were a horny gay virgin."

Draco laughs and the sound is strange in such a gloomy and reverent place.

"It's no wonder we had problems."

"In bed?" I ask coyly.

"No, never in that department," Draco smirks.

I smile in remembrance, trying to keep my body from remembering too much.

"Then you cut out and left," Draco says suddenly, seriously.

I look back into his grey eyes and see pain there.

"You didn't even tell me…" he says sadly.

"I know, I'm sorry. We'd broken up – for the twentieth time or something – and you were with someone else-"

"You mean I had a one night stand and Weasley told you that I was in love."

"He didn't say that," I reply instantly. "But he did see you two together and told me that you had moved on. When we broke up you said it was for the last time, that I was screwed up and that you didn't want any part of this anymore."

Draco remains quiet.

I sigh. "Anyway, I did what I did because I didn't think you would care if I left or not."

"Of course I cared Harry," he explodes. "God, I was still so in love with you I thought I'd go mad!"

I stare at the blond in shock.

"And it hasn't faded," he admits quietly, looking down.

I shake my head a little and suddenly become aware of my heart. I'd lost track of its beats and emotions a long time ago – and now it's suddenly there again. Like something dead coming alive once more.

It's the most fantastic feeling in the world.

"Harry?" Draco speaks questioningly.

I blink and come to.

"You have no idea what you've just… What it means to me..." I try to explain haltingly.

Draco smiles, his eyes softening.

I return the smile and, not to be distracted, finish my story as quickly as possible. In Coles notes fashion.

"So I left everything, dated a few other men, quite a few really - trying to run from the past I suppose – and ended up jobless, HIV positive and alone."

"Do you know who…" Draco trails off hesitantly.

"Gave me AIDS?" I finish and Draco nods solemnly. "A man named Ben. He was the longest relationship I had during those years, lasted five months I think. He's the only man I've had unprotected sex with besides you and Andrew. I didn't want to be alone anymore and I thought we could be together even though I didn't love him. Turns out it wasn't enough – for either of us."

"And now you've come full circle," Draco says slowly, letting it all sink in.

"I suppose." I shrug, glancing out over the empty graveyard.

Draco takes my chin in his hand and turns my eyes back to his face.

"I'm not talking about the cemetery Harry," he says sternly. "I'm talking about the life that you weren't ready for at twenty-one, but are now ready for at thirty."

I roll my eyes. "Don't remind me Dray, I feel old enough without you saying it."

"You're the only one I can tolerate calling me that," he says, relaxing. "But I have to admit, I've missed it."

I smile and look back out over the graveyard below. The fog is still swirling in misty clouds and it looks as though it might rain soon.

I take a deep breath and stand up.

This isn't where I belong anymore. The comfort it used to lend me has ended and I need a change of scenery.

Draco stands beside me and hesitantly slips a warm hand into mine.

I turn and without another word, begin to lead him away; away from the Angel and her tears, the graveyard, the bleak loneliness - and out through the front entrance.

The black iron gates clang shut behind us. This is where my story ends for you and begins for me.

My story may not be novel length but I'm going to live it just the same.