Sorry it's taken me so long to update anything, but I got hooked on the idea of finally writing the epilogue for this and had to go through the story from the beginning because I had lost track of it. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: (Twists out of a constraining white jacket) I made a deal, I profess that I do not own Harry Potter and They let me go. They will let me claim this twisted plot and the pranks within it though.
It had been nearly a year since Harry and Voldemort had last come face to face, and neither had been idle. Harry had been gathering together his force, his training of the DA in his fifth year having been a big help, and persuading the ministry to work with him instead of trying to thwart him. All the while his family and lover had stood behind him, encouraging him to continue when even his friends and teachers thought he was reaching to high. Voldemort had also stepped up the training of his minions, swelling his ranks with humans and creatures alike as he rebuilt his base of power to be even stronger. Then, a few days ago, Voldemort had sent out his challenge: their armies to meet upon neutral territory in a week's time to settle things once and for all. It had not been something any of them were inclined to do, but in the end Harry had accepted in hopes of sparing their world of the impending destruction should their two opposing forces continue to meet as they had in the past—neither side wanted to preside over a wasteland should they win. It had been up to Harry to decide the place. The field surrounding Stonehenge had proved to be the most neutral territory and was also protected with ancient wards that actually set the wizarding field apart from the muggle world into another realm. As another plus, the hallowed and ancient ground there would not allow for either side to set up traps of any sort the battle would be straight forward and the winner undisputed. This battle would decide it all.
"Nervous?" Severus stood at Harry's side as they waited, reaching up to pull a blonde tress—they were still trying to figure out why Harry's hair changed back to black when he was transformed—of hair out of Harry's eyes and secure it back for his young love.
Harry snorted softly, capturing Severus' hand in his own as he tried for sarcasm, "We're merely about to face down Voldemort and his troops and decide the fate of the wizarding world as we know it; using a power that we know will work in theory, but haven't been able to test in fear that it might only work once or have horrible repercussions; and I might possibly die today. No, I'm not nervous whatsoever."
"Good," Severus said, daring to admit things because he knew that only Harry and the rest of the Malfoy family could hear him, "because I am utterly terrified and acting like a Gryffindor by staying here instead of hiding like the self-preserving Slytherin I am."
Lucius gazed over at his adopted son and long-time friend, dropping a reassuring hand on Harry's shoulder even though he too doubted their ability to come out of the impending battle unscathed, "we've worked hard, we're as prepared as we'll ever be, and we have things that Voldemort will never know. Whatever happens today, we'll stand strong together, and if we do die at least we won't have to face your mother's wrath for drugging her so she couldn't fight today."
Harry clenched his wand tighter, one of the plans was to invoke priori incantatem today, and managed a weak smile "thanks dad. I don't think I would have ever made it to this day if you, mom, and Dray hadn't been there for me."
"We're still here for you," Draco spoke up from his father's other side, "we will be to the end. We're Malfoy's. And while we're being honest with each other, Merlin I think that's a first, I'm too scared to even piss myself."
The four males let out a short bark of laughter that they couldn't suppress even given the direness of their situation, shared a long look and gripped hands tightly to convey the emotions they could not express as openly as they would have liked before they turned to face out towards the direction they knew Voldemort would approach.
… … … … …
"Crucio!" The curse hit Harry hard, he had been unprepared for Voldemort to show his hand this early in the battle, but he didn't allow a cry of pain to slip from him as he painstakingly threw off the curse.
"Tom," Harry's teeth were gritted as he suffered through a few more seconds of muscle spasms, suddenly thankful he had been separated from his family earlier on in the battle, "I see you've decided to slither from beneath your newest rock."
"Even when in pain you remain insolent," Voldemort's face twisted up into a sneer, "one would think you would have learned your lesson by now."
Harry gave a short bark of laughter, "and you think you are going to be the one to teach me that lesson. I think not."
"I will have you groveling at my feet and whimpering for death, Potter," Voldemort shouted, "I will be the triumphant one."
"That's where you're wrong," Harry's voice was filled with sorrow for some inexplicable reason, "fate is already stacked against you and your perversions. You may kill me here today on this field of battle, but I will just be sent back again to finish you off because even Satan wishes to see your soul destroyed. Neither of us was meant to exist in this world, but because of a mother's love the universal balance was altered. Perhaps it will be some comfort to you to know that when you die, I will as well. It will be a hallow victory for the both of us."
For an instant fear was plain in Voldemort's eyes before he closed his emotion off and sneered, "I won't buy your lies Potter, because if you were telling the truth your friends and family wouldn't have let you come to the battlefield, they would be trying to find some way to lock me away and strip me of my power instead of allowing you to try and kill me."
Harry said nothing and Voldemort's eyes widened in realization, "unless, if you are speaking the truth, you didn't tell them this juicy little morsel."
The brief flare of pain in Harry's eyes told Voldemort the truth of the matter and ice gripped the heart of the Dark Lord, but he wasn't about to go down without a fight. He would win here today and keep repelling Potter, keep killing the brat, until he discovered the final key that was keeping him from immortality, then there would be no way Potter could win and it would be satisfying to kill the brazen child numerous times. He would also enjoy destroying everything the child cared about, starting with the traitor Severus.
"I'm going to enjoy being able to kill you repeatedly," Voldemort brought his wand up sharply into correct dueling posture and Harry realized with a sinking heart that there would be no priori incantatem to invoke, "and I'll make sure that the screams of your loved ones as they are sent to Hell serenade you as you die."
"I won't let that happen," Harry stood proud and defiant even as he revised his plan of attack, "incendio!"
"Aguamenti!" Voldemort countered easily, "is that the best you can do? Crucio!"
Harry fell into a routine of dodging and counterattacking, occasionally throwing out an offensive spell or two as he slowly maneuvered Voldemort into position near the altar stone in the middle of the sacred henge. The moment they entered the henge, the sounds of battle taking place on the field behind them faded into a muted roar, but Voldemort was too caught up in his bloodlust to notice or care. It had almost been too easy, would have been all too easy if Harry didn't know the cost he was about to pay for this as he allowed himself to near the end of his personal power reserves; with the power he was about to invoke it wouldn't do for his own magic to interfere.
Voldemort clearly had a fondness for this curse, but this time Harry didn't dodge and the curse drove him to his knees.
"Now I will kill you, Potter," Voldemort was clearly feeling triumphant and underestimated the forces that had granted Harry a second chance at life, "and all your friends will watch as their hope and savior dies. Don't worry, they will meet their end shortly."
Out of the corner of his eye Harry could see as his core group, the group the prophecy had spoken of, gathered around the outside of the stone sentinels that formed Stonehenge. Behind them, the battle between light and dark was still continuing, but these people had come to bear witness to the deciding duel that would seal all their fates. Harry wished they had done as he had asked and stayed away, his duty was hard enough as it was.
"Lord God, watch over my soul and allow me peace at your side," Harry began the plea that would bring about the destruction of Voldemort.
Immediately a warmth spread through Harry, filling him with a glowing power, forcing his wings to burst forth and his hair to darken to the black he had been born with. Seeing the transformation begin, Voldemort raised his wand.
Harry continued, unworried, "Queen Titania, lend me the strength of your people to restore the balance."
"Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Void!"
Power flared throughout the circle of ancient standing stones, tore through Harry's body, consuming both him and Voldemort. This was what he had been made for, this power is what he had been made to call, but it was also a one way ticket for only a true-born immortal could survive this type of power. Voldemort began to scream, tried to fight the power, and from beyond the power, Harry could hear yelling. In his heart Harry knew it was Severus, calling for him, realizing what he had done, but the power was too great for him to lift his head enough so that he might say farewell. Harry didn't think it had hurt this bad, not when he had died the first time; that had actually been peaceful and relatively painless. A flash of green cut through the maelstrom of power, a green Harry knew all too well. It was karma, déjà vu, and Harry welcomed the respite it would give him from the pain. His only regret was not being able to die comfortably in Severus' arms.
"Severus," he whispered as the sickly green light of Voldemort's killing curse was upon him, "I love you."
… … … … …
As Harry came out of the darkness, he knew immediately that his soul had not ascended and wondered if perhaps Lucifer had decided to take him up on his words about spending eternity in hell if it meant Voldemort was dead. But no, that wasn't right either, his soul still felt heavy and encumbered as if still bound within flesh. Mortal flesh—
In a flash Harry's eyes were open and he immediately regretted it as he was assaulted by white. White walls, white curtains, white light, and the pervading smell of antiseptic herbs and potions. It was a place that Harry knew well, but didn't know why he was here. He should be dead.
"Surprisingly, you have been given a third chance at life," the voice came from Harry's left and he slowly turned his head to come face-to-face with a visage that was too handsome to be true.
"Michael," Harry acknowledged the Arch-angel, "what are you doing here? What is going on?"
Michael smiled slightly and brushed a blond tress of hair away from Harry's face much as a father would a child, "even with Voldemort gone, the balance of power did not return. Tatiana evidently has taken a liking to you and your mate there and would not even the flows of power out until you were given back into life's arms. It was the least we could do after all you were ready to sacrifice to bring peace upon the world."
"So I'm truly going to be allowed to live out my life?" Harry couldn't believe this was happening.
"Yes, little one, you will be," Michael stood and spread his wings to leave, "but everything has a price. The greater powers will be lost to you, though you will still be a powerful wizard in your own right and might retain a few quirks of magic. I will, of course, keep a watchful eye out over you and will be near at hand should you ever need to call."
Harry bowed his head in thanks, "goodbye Michael. I am sure we will meet again."
Michael laughed, "I know we will, for there is still a place amongst us for you."
Upon a shaft of light, Michael disappeared and Harry became aware that not all in the hospital wing was white. Severus was slumped over in a chair, apparently in an exhausted sleep from the look of the dark rings about his eyes. Almost hesitantly, not quite sure if he was ready to believe he was still alive despite the fact that Michael had assured him it was so, Harry ran a hair through Severus' hair. With a start, the potions master jerked awake, black eyes peering into green.
"You're awake," Severus' voice was soft, disbelieving, "I thought you had died, that you wouldn't wake."
Harry turned his eyes down, "I did die, it was the only way to destroy Voldemort, but I was allowed to come back yet again."
"Don't you ever do anything so foolish ever again!" Rage and tears warred within Severus, and in the end he settled for clutching Harry to him.
"It's alright," Harry soothed, stroking his hands through Severus' hair and along his back, "it's over. We're free. I'll be allowed to finish out this mortal life in peace with you before we're called home. My life is tied to yours, now and forever. I love you."
"I love you as well," Severus pulled back to kiss Harry tenderly, "but if you ever do anything so bone-headedly Gryffindor ever again I will kill you myself."
"I can live with that," Harry smiled and laid his head against Severus' warm chest, allowing sleepy contentment to wash over him; the rest of the word could wait, he was perfectly happy right where he was.
Posted and Finished On: January 26, 2006