AN: Well this it. Don't forget to review and let me know if you can see where the sequel will be going.
Harry looked around. The ruins of the Chamber of Secrets hadn't changed since the last time he had almost died in it. He tucked the sword under his belt concealed within the folds of his robes. This was it. The end.
Harry touched his scar. Voldemort.
He waited. Surely it wouldn't take Voldemort that long to come, especially since he had not gone back to the compound as he was expected to. His breathing echoed throughout the chamber. With a sweep of his hand, he lit the torches around the cavern. Harry was nervous now.
Are you ready to die, Harry?
"Harry, what are you doing here?" said Voldemort.
Harry sighed with relief. Voldemort had come and he had also apparated behind Harry.
"Why did you lie to me?" said Harry, keeping his eyes on the floor.
"I never lied to you, Harry," said Voldemort sounding surprised.
"You said we were fixing the Ministry."
"Which you did, Harry," said Voldemort. "Very well."
"Harry, do you really think those fools could maintain the level of equality, the chain of command that you have established?" said Voldemort.
"Yes," said Harry trying to sound convincing.
"Harry," said Voldemort patiently. "The wizards usurped of their power will not stand idly by while they are replaced. And the new administration is not going to simply return said jurisdiction to them. Someone must retain order."
"Which is where you come in," said Harry, still not looking at Voldemort. He had hoped in some bizarre way that Voldemort had changed. That he did have another way.
"Precisely," said Voldemort. Harry could hear the smirk in his tone. "I told you that. It is what I do."
"And I have to do what I have to do," said Harry breathlessly.
"You don't, Harry," said Voldemort. "You know I will always protect you and those you care about, regardless of what happens now. You need not worry about anything anymore. I will insure you are always happy."
God those words hurt.
"It's wrong," said Harry softly.
"Why?" snapped Voldemort. "Why is it wrong to be happy?"
"I can't be happy at the expense of others."
"Why not?" Voldemort demanded. It was clear he was displeased with Harry's attitude. "It didn't bother anyone else to plan your life for you with little regard for your happiness."
That statement hit Harry in the chest.
"Haven't I done everything in my power to please you – make you happy?" said Voldemort.
Harry was still staring at the ground, his heart thundering in his chest. "Yes," he said hollowly.
"And you have pleased me – made me very proud," said Voldemort, his tone triumphant. "So enough. Stop your worrying and come home with me. I have work to do."
Harry mentally shook himself. Why did he talk to him? Voldemort always messed up his mind – always had Harry's emotions in turmoil. He had a headache now too.
"It has to end, Voldemort," said Harry, getting a grip on the hilt of the sword.
Voldemort sighed. "I see," said Voldemort. "The prophesy. The noble sacrifice. Can you kill me, Harry? Are you ready to die?"
"You know I must," said Harry.
Voldemort floored Harry by laughing. "And you chose the Chamber of Secrets to kill me in?" said Voldemort. "How very," Harry heard that chuckle, "Prophetic."
"Yes," said Harry, wondering why Voldemort sounded so nonplussed.
"Harry," said Voldemort. "Did you know that the power it would take right now to destroy me – and you - would likely destroy the school?"
Harry hadn't thought of that. But then he hadn't planned on using magic anyway. "Would it?" said Harry.
"Oh, yes," said Voldemort. "Would you do that, my son? Destroy the only place both of us found refuge as children?"
Harry took a deep breath, maneuvering the sword before him.
"No, father. I wouldn't," said Harry.
"Then what's your point, my boy?"
"That I have to do it the old fashion way."
Harry turned, lifted the sword and plunged the blade into Voldemort's chest. "I won't let anyone else die for me," said Harry. Harry's eyes met that red gaze. "I'm sorry, father."
"Very good, Harry," said Voldemort. "You figured it out."
Voldemort fell to his knees before Harry. Harry still had a grip on the sword. He lowered to his knees too.
"Do it, Voldemort," said Harry.
"I am unarmed, Harry."
"You don't need a weapon," said Harry. "You have your touch."
"No, Harry, I won't."
Harry pulled the sword out of Voldemort's chest. Voldemort hit the marble floor, his blood spilling over the floor. Harry leaned over him. "You have to," said Harry.
"No, Harry, I don't," said Voldemort. "I want you to live. I told you how much you have pleased me. I don't want you to die. With you lives my teachings, my memory, my power. No, Harry, I concede my life so you may live."
"NO!" shouted Harry. "I have to die."
"No, Harry." Voldemort's voice was weak now. "I have conceded. You will live. I want my son to live."
"NO!" shouted Harry again, panicking now. He had to die or Voldemort would rise again to terrorize the wizarding world. "Voldemort! Voldemort!" said Harry, staring at the bleeding form of his nemesis.
Harry was shaking. He couldn't fail now.
"You were wrong, Harry," said Voldemort. Harry leaned closer to hear. "I will die for you."
This isn't happening. Harry's brain went into overload. "I have to die too."
"Why do you argue with me?"
Harry looked at Voldemort's hand and picked it up.
"No, Harry," said Voldemort very weakly.
Harry stared at him. With a deep breath, Harry pressed the hand onto his scar. Screaming, Harry fell to the floor, but he held on to the hand.
Together, their power was immeasurable – so was the pain. The last thing Harry heard was, "Stubborn."
"My God, there's so much blood."
"Hermione, don't come in here," Sirius shouted.
"Well Voldemort's dead," said Remus. "How's Harry?"
"I can't tell," said Sirius, sounding hoarse. "He's warm to the touch but I can't find a pulse."
"Ron," called Remus.
Harry heard Rowan's fluttering wings as if she had settled on his chest and heard her song. Harry felt numb though. He hadn't felt Sirius touching him and he didn't feel Rowan's tears falling on him.
Was he dead? He should be. Then why could he hear them?
"Harry, you idiot," said Ron. "Why didn't you take me?"
Sorry, Ron. Thought Harry.
"NOOOO," definitely Hermione.
"I told you not to come in here!" said Sirius.
But it was too late. Hermione was sobbing.
"Oh, Ron," said Hermione.
"We don't know that he's dead yet, Hermione," said Ron. "Will you have some hope, damn it. We still have to face my sister."
Remorse settled over Harry. More than remorse – regret, sorrow, bitterness.
Harry's note to Ginger had been brief. He just simply didn't know what to tell her so he had simply wrote: Harry loves Ginger.
He could still hear everything as they moved him to the hospital wing but he couldn't see or speak. Harry didn't even know if his eyes were open.
A flurry of voices floated around him. Some he recognized, some he didn't.
Harry's heart lightened. Draco.
Harry, can you hear me?
Yes! Yes, I can hear you.
"Nothing," said Draco.
Harry? Where are you, you moron?
DRACO, I CAN HEAR YOU!
"I'm sorry," said Draco sadly. "I don't hear anything."
But I can hear you. Harry tried to scream it. Draco didn't reply.
"It was his choice to make, Draco," said Dumbledore. "All of you. Harry did what he had to do."
A hand was placed to his chest.
heir will live."
Trelawney. Harry lost all hope. He was a goner.
Harry woke up and found he couldn't move. He opened his eyes. At least he could see. He looked down at his hands. He was tied to the bed. Why? He glanced around. It wasn't the hospital wing of Hogwarts. He was in a private room, pure white – stark, sanitary – with very little furnishings.
Turning his hands, he unbound his hands and feet from the bed with the command. He shifted to test his body for pain. It was minimal, so Harry sat up. The room was dim and empty except for him.
He tested his legs by standing on them. They held him up so he moved to a cabinet where he found his clothes. While he was dressing, he noticed the clipboard on the table by his bed and picked it up.
Symptoms: Massive Blood loss, Trauma and shockPrognosis: Death, brain death, insanity
No wonder he was tied up. They thought he'd be crazy if he ever woke up.
Harry stopped to think. Was he crazy?
He didn't feel crazy. He was a little weak but he didn't feel any worse than all the other times Voldemort had tortured him. Truth be told, Harry figured he'd probably be better off nuts. Harry had to smile.
He had lived. Voldemort was dead and Harry had lived.
Harry frowned. How the hell did that happen. Harry should be dead. But Voldemort had wanted Harry to live.
Harry smirked. Even in death, Voldemort got Harry to do want he wanted. Harry could almost here Voldemort's voice.
Always the cynic, my Harry.
Harry pushed it out of his mind. He was free now. He could have a life, a home, a family. It was that last thought that had Harry moving. He checked the rest of the room to see if anything else was his, then he apparated to La Casa Black.
Harry heard laughing from the dining room. He stood in the hall way, just inside the door. Harry heard Sirius and a couple of the Weasleys. They were talking about Charlie. His dragon training. Harry listened for a few more minutes.
After more teasing and a few more laughs, Harry apparated to his room and laid down. He was tired and a feeling of abandonment hit him. They left him laying in a hospital bed, tied up. Did anyone still care?
Harry felt a bird land on his arm. Rowan started singing. Her song told him I told you I'd wait.
"Thanks, girl," said Harry.
Harry heard the pounding of footsteps on the stairs and heard the door crash open.
"HARRY!" shouted Ron and he practically fell on him. "I heard Rowan sing and I thought... well I knew. Well damn it, Harry."
"Hi, Ron," said Harry without looking up. He felt exhausted all of the sudden.
People were crowding into his room.
Sirius sat on his bed beside him and leaned over him.
"This is still my room, isn't it, Sirius?" said Harry weakly. "I can still stay here can't I?"
"Harry," said Sirius and he seemed to be choking on it. "Of course. This is your home."
Harry sighed. "I didn't much like being tied to the hospital bed," said Harry.
"You were unconscious for four months, Harry," he heard someone say. Could have been Remus, but Harry wasn't sure.
"I'm not crazy," said Harry. He sighed. "I wish I was, but I'm not."
Harry still hadn't opened his eyes. He reached out a hand and someone grabbed it.
"You're home now, Harry," said Hermione, squeezing his hand. "You're going to be just fine."
Harry let himself smile. "You wouldn't let it be any other way, Hermione."
A few weeks later, once Harry had his strength back, he was dragged to a press conference.
"I can't do it," said Harry.
"Harry, you have to address the public," said Sirius.
"Why?" said Sirius incredulously. "You restored order to the wizarding world and defeated the most powerful dark lord of the century. You have to make a statement."
"Sirius," said Harry. "I'm going to be sick."
"Oh stop it, Harry," said Sirius. He pulled a piece of parchment out his robes.
"I'm serious," said Harry. "I'm going to be sick."
"Here," said Sirius, thrusting the parchment into Harry's hand. "Hermione wrote you a speech."
Sirius pushed Harry up to the podium and stepped back. Harry looked at the crowd of people staring back. You will not get sick. Harry unfolded the parchment. He swallowed several times. The knot in his throat wouldn't go away.
"Friends," said Harry. "I use the term friends because within the last few years we have been united as friends against a dark wizard who would vanquish our world as we know it.
"Many have suffered due to his cruelties, many have died. Many of us have lost hope many times. Some of us have lost faith in others. We became a broken society.
We succumbed to the worst. People turned against each other. Trust was forgotten. Even honor was forsaken.
"It took betrayal to re-unite our world. That betrayal," Harry looked up at them, "my betrayal outraged the world so much that you re-united.
"Once you were together again, there was no stopping the strength of the wizards I see before me. I knew then that our society would survive and that our culture would endure. I knew I was only a pawn on a chessboard.
"I checked the King, knowing I had to die. But fate doesn't play by our rules and I lived. Voldemort is dead, the threat to our world is gone.
"But the unification of our world is still present. I see it in all of your faces. The drive to rebuild is there.
"I am still that lone pawn on the chessboard, but I am here if you need me.
"I face you now as the boy who lived. I face you now as the boy who lived again. I face you now as the man who defeated him."
That was the end of Hermoine's speech. Harry swallowed the lump in his throat again. He had to go on.
"Voldemort is dead. I should be too," said Harry. "Fate has a strange way of revealing itself. My destiny is unclear again. But it will get here when it gets here. I guess I'll be ready for it when it comes.
Harry stepped away from the podium. Dead silence met his ears. He felt like he was going to be sick again.
He looked at Sirius and the crowd behind him erupted into applause and shouts. Harry still felt sick. Sirius came forward, wrapped an arm around Harry and turned him back toward the crowd. The crowd went nuts.
It wasn't at all like when he had won the Quidditch cup, or the House cup. Those were memories Harry recalled with ease and with great pride. This seemed like a pill he had to swallow.
They didn't understand that Harry should have died. They couldn't feel Harry's confusion because he was still alive. They didn't feel the fear Harry had that something went wrong in the Chamber of Secrets and that Voldemort would be back.
Harry recalled Hagrid's words. "It'll get here when it gets here."
But nothing happened. Harry had a special ceremony to receive his diploma (he had still been unconscious during the Hogwarts graduation). It was supposed to be private but so many people turned up it became a fiasco.
He took the summer off, spending time with Sirius and Remus. Well mostly Remus, because Sirius found himself a girlfriend and Harry refused to let Sirius ignore her. Harry still had Ron and Hermione, who were still dating.
Ginger was a problem. She wasn't speaking him again.
After her initial relief that he was all right, she staunchly maintained that Harry should have taken her with them to the compound. But Harry believed that he had done the right thing, as did Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.
So he and Ginger were apart until one of them gave up their resolve. Harry would be damned if it would be him. Even Voldemort would have conceded to Harry's stubbornness. Harry was convinced that she would come around though.
So Harry spent a lot of time with Remus, who was always around because he insisted that he couldn't seriously consider anyone to date.
"No one deserves to have to deal with what I am, Harry," said Remus.
"No," insisted Remus. "I can't thrust that on anyone. I know you of all people know what it's like to realize how dangerous it is for people to care about you."
Harry had opened his mouth to argue, then closed it again. "Stubborn," said Harry.
Remus stayed the summer though. He had his own room at La Cassa Black and Harry who had enlisted Hermione's aid, was focused on getting Remus a love interest.
Harry had to give up on that idea too, because Remus and Sirius figured out what he was doing.
Remus cornered Harry one day looking hurt. "Are you trying to get rid of me, Harry," he said.
Harry had stammered pathetically. "No. I-I'm s-sorry. I-I j-just – well-"
Remus laughed at him then he handed him a letter. "You got an owl from the Ministry," said Remus.
Harry opened it hesitantly. He looked with shock at the parchment.
"What is it?" said Remus.
"It's a formal invitation to join the Ministry," said Harry with disbelief. "Listing several positions to choose from."
"What's wrong with that," said Remus. "Why so surprised? You have to do something with your life now."
"I can't join the Ministry," said Harry.
"Why not?" said Remus. "Your father was in the Ministry and you're the one who fixed it."
Harry smirked at him. "Exactly," said Harry. "Don't you think it would seem – well arrogant," was the only word Harry could think of, "if I joined after I told them how to reconstruct it."
Remus ruffled his hair. "Modest," said Remus.
Modesty, a noble attribute.
Harry still couldn't get Voldemort out of his head. He guessed he'd have to live with it.
You are as a part of me as I am a part of you.
Harry sighed but they were both distracted as two owls flew in the window. One was Hedwig, which Harry guessed was a reply to the note he had sent to Hermione, the other was an ordinary barn owl Harry didn't recognize.
Harry took the letter of the barn owl first.
Dear Mr. Potter,
You are hereby invited to team try-outs for the Professional Quidditch teams. In your case, try-outs are strictly a formality as the administration has already heard of your talent on the Quidditch field.
Trial times and dates for all of the teams are listed below.
We look forward to watching you fly.
AdministratorInternational Quidditch League
Harry looked up at Remus, his eyes wide with excitement.
"There you go, Harry," said Remus. "Perfect for you. With your talent you'll be more famous than Viktor Krum."
Harry's excitement deflated. Did he want more fame than he already had? Harry didn't think he could bear it.
He pulled off Hermione's note and opened it.
I don't know what you're worried about. I'm sure there are tons of stuff you could do. I think you should write a book. I'll help you if you want. Who's more qualified to write about what really happened all those years when you were fighting Voldemort than you? Lockhardt wrote all his books taking all the credit for himself. Just think how famous you'd be when everyone knows you really did all the things you claim.
Harry cringed and looked up at Remus.
"Just what I need," muttered Harry. "More fame."
Remus laughed. "Well, it's just a thought," said Remus. "You can always do that later. What else does she have to say?"
Ron's already decided to go into the Ministry. Harry had known that. But when your father is Minister, I guess you don't have much choice. Although I heard they can't get Charlie away from his dragons and Bill won't leave Gringotts.
As for me, I've already been accepted to Gryffindore University. I've decide to teach Arithmancy. It was always my favorite subject.
There's another option for you, Harry. Hogwarts always seems to need a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. I think you're qualified.
I'll be visiting the Weasley's at the end of the month so I'll see you then.
Harry looked up at Remus again. "That's it," said Harry.
"What's it?" said Remus.
"I could teach," said Harry as if he was daft for not thinking of it before.
"You could," said Remus.
"What? Don't you think I'm qualified?" said Harry.
Remus smirked at him. "I know you are," said Remus. "But would you want to? It would be reliving the nightmare, Harry. Think about it."
Harry did think about it and the more he thought the more convinced he got.
Sirius' opinion ran with Remus' that it would be too painful.
"More painful than Voldemort touching my scar?" scoffed Harry.
"What about all the emotional manipulation he put you through, Harry?" argued Sirius. "Are you willing, ready, to open up your memories to a bunch of students who only know you as Harry Potter, the boy who lived and the man who killed Voldemort?"
"Look at it this way," said Harry. "I should have died that day. But I didn't. What path would destiny want me to live bad enough that it kept me alive? Not to go on to glory playing quidditch or more fame by writing a book. And I can't sit around all day living off the Gryffindor inheritance. I'm supposed to teach, pass on my experiences so if anything happens again, the world will be ready."
"Well, it's your decision, Harry," said Sirius. "If you think you can handle it, then I'm with you."
Harry smiled with excitement and gratitude. He hugged Sirius. "Thanks, Sirius," said Harry. "I know I'm right on this one. I'll be a good teacher, you'll see. And I bet I last longer than a year at Hogwarts."
Harry raced up to his room to get started. He made a formal request to enter Gryffindor University and sent Hedwig with it then he held up his arm for Rowan.
Rowan looked deep into Harry's eyes. Her song told him that she agreed with him and Harry smiled at her. "I know, girl," said Harry. "Go and tell Ginger what I've decided." Rowan nestled under Harry's chin a moment then took off for Hogwarts.
School had started a week ago and Ginger had one more year. Harry had started using Rowan to send her messages because Ginger could understand Rowan also. Just as Harry was Rowan's wizard, he guessed Rowan considered Ginger her witch as well. Even if Ginger still wasn't speaking to Harry and never wrote back to him.
Harry leaned on his windowsill looking out over the yard. He could just make out the top of the Weasley's chimney over the trees. He'd go over and tell Ron and Mrs. Weasley later. Mrs. Weasley would be pleased.
It was then that Harry noticed the Eagle owl flying toward his window. He stepped aside to let the Malfoy's owl in and quickly took the note from it's leg. Draco's handwriting was easily recognized.
Harry hadn't seen or heard from him since the trials began. The telepathy was gone. Hermione speculated that since it was somehow linked to Voldemort, the ability (or gift as it were) simply died with him.
Opening the note, Harry read:
Well thanks to you and Dumbledore I've been cleared of all charges. I still can't believe my father got away. Our house is searched regularly and my mother has to account for every Knut we spend to insure it isn't going to him.
My father is no fool though so I doubt they'll find him. I can't help missing him, regardless of what he's done to me – and you – and I often hear my mother crying at night. I guess we have to move on now.
I saw your little speech. I was impressed although I can bet Granger wrote it for you. You ruined it by looking as if you were going to throw up through it, pathetic Gryffindor moron that you are.
Harry laughed at that.
I'm continuing my education at Slytherin University but I'm not sure what I'll pursue yet. Mum would like me to go into politics but I haven't decided. It seems weird that we are all faced with such mundane decisions now after everything we've been through. You especially.
I guess that's life.
Write when you can or if you need me. Try not to get yourself killed – although you're pretty good at that now.
PS: Leave it to you to wear your Hogwarts uniform to die in. The white shirt was ironically fitting though. With all the blood it was very dramatic – in a tragic sort of way.
Harry couldn't help laughing again. He wrote a quick note, telling Draco what he had decided to do and attached it to the owl's leg. The owl bobbed it's head once then flew out the window.
Smiling, Harry watched it until it was out of sight, his thoughts returning to Hogwarts.
He looked at his watch and couldn't help himself. Commentary.
Mr. Padfoot knows Harry's determination and does indeed think he will make a fine teacher.
Mr. Moony agrees with Mr. Padfoot and would like to add that his year of teaching at Hogwarts was one of the best years of his life.
Mr. Prongs thinks his son should've joined a Quidditch team but will probably find more fulfillment teaching.
Harry had to laugh. He guessed his father was as bad as himself when it came to Quidditch.
One more message flashed across the watch.
Mr. Wormtail thinks with Master Harry's powers his options are many but he also knows that Harry Potter teaching about the Dark Lord would please the master very much.
Harry had to laugh again. That was certainly true. Voldemort loved to gloat and he certainly would love it if Harry went on and on about all Voldemort's endeavors.
Harry sighed as he looked out the window again. A light breeze ruffled his untidy hair. He had a plan now.
He would learn how to teach and hopefully get a position at Hogwarts. He would marry Ginger (if she ever came around and stopped being so stubborn) and have lots of kids to play quidditch with. He'd build them a grand house near Sirius and the Weasley's (he got the impression that Mrs. Weasley would be annoyed if they lived too far away) and he'd have something he always wanted.
A life that wasn't a nightmare.
The End ??
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