Disclaimer: I own something.
A/N: Sorry to disappoint all you Samantha-haters... I'm not quite ready to break my habit of keeping all good people alive through the whole story. I just said somebody'd be AK'd... I never said that they died.
The two things that did NOT happen are:
Remy ensures that Samantha will not die of her illness, and
Sirius pulls a prank.
Oh, and in case you didn't notice, this is the epilogue. As in, the last piece of this story. I said I'd finish this, didn't I?
An excited voice rose from the side of one of the Infirmary beds. "She moved!" Remy announced, his eyes never leaving the motionless body that lay on the bed. "I'm sure she did!"
Hermione rushed immediately to his side, her eyes also locked at the small body, waiting for seeing the reported sign of life to be repeated. Severus didn't move from his place, but allowed his eyes to flicker momentarily away from the equally lifeless body he was staring at.
Then, the Slytherin's calm mask was also broken as he, too, exclaimed, "He's moving also!" There was such relief in his voice that it seemed impossible for a man as calm and controlled as he usually was.
Hermione watched in fascination as both father and son stared down at the two no-more-comatoses. She couldn't help but feel almost envious about the attention they were getting -- and only by getting almost killed! She'd fought with the Death Eaters, then finally managed to creep into Voldemort's lair along with several Aurors, only to meet the sight of three wizards each crying over a lifeless body.
Fortunately, none of the three was dead -- although at the moment they'd been as good as. As Voldemort had used a wand not his own, the Killing Curses had been just weak enough not to accomplish the death of the victim, though it hadn't been much short of that. Even Remus, although badly injured, had been alive.
Now they all, Sirius, Samantha, and Remus, had lain in a coma for almost three weeks. During that time, the remaining members of the so-called destroying party hadn't left their side for more than they were forced to, each lost in their own kind of self-blaming and guilt. Severus blamed himself because Sirius had tried to protect him, Remy because Samantha had been there because of him, and Kingsley because he'd personally hurt Remus to destroy Voldemort's spirit. Madam Pomfrey, Benjamin, Hermione, and, occasionally, Harry had kept an eye on them as well as on the patients, making sure that the three wizards at least ate something while wallowing in their self-loath.
By the looks of it, two of the injured were now waking up. However, there were no other signs of life in Remus than the steady rise and fall of his chest -- and even that faltered occasionally. That was the reason why Madam Pomfrey had cast an alarm spell on him in case he stopped breathing.
At the exactly same moment, Sirius and Samantha slowly opened their eyes. And, at the exactly same moment, Severus and Remy lost all signs of worry on their faces and started their ranting.
"You bloody fool," hissed Severus at his husband, "you bloody, fucking, stupid fool. What the hell were you thinking? Or are all you bloody Gryffindors incapable of such a thing? I would kill you myself if I wouldn't get Poppy at my neck for that! I swear, you are the most insufferable, unthoughtful git in this whole wide world! Did it even occur to you how I would feel when you did that? I hate you, Sirius Anthony Snape, I hate you with all my heart --"
"You stupid, arrogant little idiot!" spat Remy with an icy glare. "I told you to stay somewhere safe, didn't I? But no, little miss Green can't do as she's instructed, she can't do anything sensible, she just has to rush ahead and almost get herself killed without accomplishing anything. What could you have even done? Other than getting yourself tortured and killed, of course? You're a bloody idiot, Samantha, and I just don't know what keeps me from killing you myself, as you clearly don't care whether you live or die --"
And on and on they went. Hermione allowed this to continue, exchanging glances full of silent amusement with both patients. Then, when she thought the Snapes had got enough fumes out of their systems, she said mildly, directing her words to Sirius and Samantha, "And this is the way a born Snape says 'I have been sitting on your bedside for the last three weeks and I love you with all my heart.'"
This silenced both Severus and Remy rather effectively, while both patients chuckled tiredly. Sirius looked merely amused, while a slight blush coloured Samantha's cheeks.
"Just how are we alive, though?" asked Sirius then. "I mean, the bastard did use Avada Kedarva on me, at least. I don't know what exactly happened to you, Samantha, but I don't think it was anything good."
"Voldemort did use the Killing Curse on you both, yes," Severus said, now a lot calmer than before. "However, as he mistakenly assumed Remy was using his old wand and thus got a new wand for himself, he was not exactly as powerful as usually. Had he used his full magical strength, there's no doubt you would both be dead by now. Not wanting to waste his power, though, he used only as much as was needed to kill you. He forgot, however, that with a borrowed wand, he should have used more power than usually. Therefore, he didn't manage to take you out for good."
"Well, that's a relief," Sirius sighed. "So he's gone for good now, right? Remy, Remus and Kingsley managed to do their jobs?" As he saw the grim expression of the others, he frowned. "What's wrong?"
"Remus is wrong," Remy said with a sigh, though his was definitely not because of relief. "Voldemort tried to possess his body. Kingsley managed to stop that by pressing the talisman against him, indeed destroying Voldemort. However, the silver of the talisman burned Remus pretty badly." He glanced at the nearby bed, biting his lip. "It's been three weeks now... He hasn't shown any signs of waking up."
At this news, Sirius and Samantha both fell silent.
"Well?" asked Kingsley irritably from Madam Pomfrey. "Even Sirius and Samantha are now up and about, and they were hit by Voldemort's Killing Curse! What's wrong with Remus? Why won't he wake up?"
The mediwitch shook her head slowly. "I won't lie to you, Kingsley," she said softly. "I'm certain the talisman's powers didn't harm Remus's soul -- at least not permanently. But as you know, the silver indeed damaged him -- that's the reason he's in a coma. I'm concerned about the possibility that the silver might have damaged his brains very badly even in such a short time, as the talisman was pressed over his heart and could have entered his blood stream. Although there are seemingly no bodily reactions to it, we have no way of knowing what his mental state will be once he wakes up -- if he does."
The wizard nodded mutely, lowering his gaze as if in shame. "I understand," he said quietly.
"It was not your fault," said then a quiet voice from behind him. Turning around, Kingsley saw Harry's hazel eyes locked at him. "It was not your fault," the young wizard repeated, "it was only Voldemort's fault."
"I know, Harry," said Kingsley raspily, almost unable to meet the eyes of his lover's son. "But I still cannot help thinking that I could have done otherwise... That maybe I shouldn't have hurt him."
"You shouldn't think like that," said Hermione firmly. Her arm was entangled around Harry's, and she sounded almost strict. "You won't help Remus by bitching at yourself about something you couldn't have helped. You must concentrate on healing him instead. If anybody can help him, it's you."
"I'd like to believe that," the black wizard said with a humourless smirk. "However, I don't know if anybody indeed can help him, least of all me. You heard what Poppy said. If he wakes up -- note that, if he wakes up at all -- he might very well be insane because of the silver."
"Still, it isn't your fault," Harry said determinedly. "If you hadn't done what you did, Voldemort would have possessed him, and then Father would have been as good as dead. Or, rather, worse than dead -- trapped in his own body, completely under Voldemort's control. You would have been the first one he'd been forced to kill. I've no doubt that experience would have broken his mind completely."
"Stop that," sighed Kingsley. "I know what would have happened. It doesn't change the fact that something indeed happened, something bad -- and I caused it directly. I pressed silver against his heart, Harry! It's only by pure luck that I didn't kill him right away with that. He's a werewolf; silver is worse to him than any poison." Sighing again, he continued, "I can't understand how you can treat me so calmly. It is because of me that your father lies on this bed... and might not wake up."
"For the last time, it is not because of you," Harry snapped. "It is solely Voldemort's fault. If you're trying to take the blame, then you're saying that Voldemort isn't to blame. And Father wasn't the only one hurt there, either. Seven Aurors died there, Kingsley. Seven trained Aurors! And three Order members, too. Several were injured. Sirius and Samantha were only yesterday released, and it's been almost a month since that day -- and neither of them is still allowed to participate on any lessons. Madam Pomfrey is afraid --" by this time, the mediwitch had left, leaving them to talk in peace, "that the experience might cause Samantha's weakening to come earlier than it otherwise would have. And it is all because of Voldemort. You sitting here and feeling sorry for yourself isn't going to help anybody, least of all Father!"
"Then what should I do?" snapped Kingsley. "What can I do?"
"Come to teach DADA for one thing," Hermione supplied. "Our substitute teacher is so poor that I doubt even half will pass the end-of-term exams if he continues teaching. It's our fifth year now. I'd like to have a proper teacher so that I will not fail in my OWLs, and you'd be helping Remus at the same time."
"Teach DADA? That's the only thing I can do for him?" Kingsley laughed bitterly. Then he shook his head. "Very well. I doubt I can do much to undo the damage done by a poor substitute in a month, but I can try my best. I need something to concentrate on beside Remus anyway."
"That's right," Harry said. "My father will wake up sooner or later. When that happens, he won't be happy if he finds out that all you've done is just mourning. Do something useful with your time. Make something of your life, for Merlin's sake! You know that Father wouldn't want you to stop living because of him. So, because of him, you have to accept that life goes on. Father will join that life when he's ready."
"I guess you're right." Kingsley sighed. "Or, at least I hope you're right." With that, he rose from the chair on Remus's bedside, the one he had only vacated for some short periods of time for the last month. "It's probably best that I go to talk to Dumbledore now."
"That's right," Harry said, sounding satisfied. "You can visit Father after lessons if you want."
"By the way, Harry?" asked Kingsley then, suddenly realizing something. "Just what are you doing at Hogwarts? I'd think you have more than enough to do in the Ministry at the moment."
"What, me?" Harry blinked innocently. "I just brought my girlfriend to see my father... Oh, and I guess I happen to be the Charms substitute, too. After all, Sirius isn't allowed to teach yet."
Kingsley raised an eyebrow. Then he shook his head. "I hope you're not that bad at teaching as the DADA substitute, then," he muttered. "Though I doubt you even could be, what with your parents."
"Oh, I'm not," laughed Harry. "If I was, Hermione would certainly make sure I knew it."
"Sounds familiar." With that, Kingsley followed them towards the door of Infirmary. Once there, he hesitated and turned around, his gaze landing on Remus's immobile form once again. There was no movement, no signs of life in the werewolf, and that alone almost broke his heart.
Then he drew a deep breath, opened the door, and stepped out into the light and noise of the corridors.
A/N: I thank you all for reading through this whole story!
I realize that the ending of this a)was weird, forgive me, I did my best, and b)kind of asks for a sequel. I do have the general plotline of a possible sequel planned out. However, I am not making any promises. It is very probable that I do write a sequel for this fic, considering that this is the most popular of my stories, but I MAKE NO PROMISES.
...As it is rather probable, though, you might want to hang around... Or tell me that you want an e-mail warning in case I ever decide to actually write that sequel. Don't leave your e-mail address in the review, as those will not show up; give a signed review and make sure your options enable showing your e-mail on your profile page. If you don't have an account, just e-mail me, although I'd prefer a signed review, seeing that my computer has a tendency to lose my e-mails and at the same time those e-mail addresses.
Anyway, in case you enjoyed this, you might also like to look at some of my other fics! Or at least tell me what you liked about this...