A/N: Well this is finally it, guys; the end of A Potion. It's hard to believe, really. I started this so long ago and now it's ending. I hope you all enjoyed this right along with me and thank you for your patience.

Enjoy!

Previously in A Potion:

Ron looked up at the man silently, staring, for the first time ever, straight into his eyes.

Snape looked at him without a word, his expression unreadable. Then, he stood to his full height of billowing, black robes… and stepped to the side.

"Come in, Mr. Weasley."

Chapter 12

It was morning. The sky was a bright, cerulean blue with wisps of clouds scattered about its never-ending stretch of existence. The Hogwarts castle looked as majestic as ever, towering into the air, a home to many people, and a protective parent to all who stood inside it. It had seen much, including both the beginning and the end of Lord Voldemort; a vicious man that had tormented many and lost, numerous times, to one boy: Harry Potter.

Said boy was currently locked in the Gryffindor bathrooms, alone, and staring into a mirror with a countenance mixed of relief… and bitterness.

Harry frowned and brushed his bangs aside with his hand, exposing the thing that had had haunted his life and brought him fame at the same time. The lighting bolt scar was still as jagged and ominous as it had ever been, but a bit of its foreboding had been lost after the battle with Tom Riddle. At the man's end, Harry's scar had faded, ever so slightly, and now it was nothing more than a prying reminder of the past. It looked like ink that had almost washed off, but not quite.

Harry sighed, a hint of a jaded chuckle within the depths of his chest. Of course it wouldn't disappear. His life, like the scar, was meant to be tainted for all eternity. It had been his destiny since the day Voldemort had come to Godric's Hollow and killed two innocent people and failed to kill a mere baby. That baby grew into a life of dried, faded blood. That blood would never wash free completely. The dead would never be forgotten; the killers never forgiven.

It was as if Hell had cooled to a summer's day. The heat was still obvious and uncomfortable, but just enough to make you sweat. It would always be that way. Harry had come to terms with the fact that life couldn't just return to normal now that Voldemort was dead. It wasn't that simple. Those of his generation and the ones before him would never forget the horrors that they had seen or the pain they had felt. That dull ache would never leave their hearts, and it wasn't supposed to. If they lost that pain, history was bound to repeat itself.

Harry knew one day it would repeat itself.

He also knew, however, that Voldemort was finally gone. That was enough to help the scar fade. Even if it was just a little. Even if there were still going to be many trials now that it was, essentially, over. Even if there was still a hard future ahead. There was a future. That was what was important. He now knew he had a future. He didn't have to wonder if tomorrow he would die or lose another person he cared dearly for. They all had a future now. No matter how difficult it was going to be, it was there.

Just like the remains of his scar and his memories.

Harry jumped away from the sink as he heard a loud crack in the bathroom behind him. He jerked around quickly to face the intruder who had just apparated into his privacy, his raven hair falling over the lighting bolt softly. Dobby stood there, meek and earnest as ever, looking up at Harry in a reverent silence.

"Dobby?" Harry asked, trying to calm his pounding heart from the surprise of the intrusion.

"Hello Mister Harry Potter, sir," Dobby piped up happily when Harry said his name. "I is coming to tell… to give you a message for Harry Potter, sir. It is important, it is."

"What is it?" Harry replied warily, leaning back against the sink.

"Dumblydore he wants to see you, Sir," Dobby answered dutifully, straightening his little back a bit. "He sent Dobby especially, he did. He said I'd be perfect to tell Harry Potter. And here I is, telling Harry Potter to please go to the Headmaster's office. He is wanting to see you urgently, Harry potter sir."

"Dumbledore wants to see me?" Harry repeated to himself. He didn't want to go, really. He knew what the old man would want to discuss. Voldemort, of course. Harry didn't want to discuss that. He wasn't ready. It had only been a few days since the whole thing, but he knew he couldn't refuse to go, so he nodded to Dobby and smiled a bit. "Ok, thank you, Dobby."

"I is happy to be of service Mister Harry Potter!" Dobby bowed so low his long nose poked at the tile of the floor. "And I must be telling you the password, it is being Treacle Tart sir." Dobby bowed once more and disappeared with another crack from the room.

Harry rubbed his forehead in preparation for the conversation to come. It would definitely be a serious one. He knew that much. Harry hadn't discussed the battle with anyone since it had happened. In fact, he'd barely spoken to anyone at all. Harry knew his silence had a root, but he'd hardly admitted to himself what it was. He didn't want to admit it. He refused to think about it; about him.

Pushing himself from the sink and scratching his neck, Harry walked resolutely out of the dormitory.

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Severus sat in the bathroom of his personal chambers, his left sleeve pulled to his elbow and his curtain of silky black hair hanging around his tired face as he stared at the evil tattoo that had tarnished his skin and caused him so much pain. As soon as Voldemort had been no more, he'd felt a tearing pain at his arm, but it was hours before he'd had the courage to merely pull up his sleeve and look down. The Dark Mark had faded considerably, now just a dark blemish upon his pale skin. It was almost as if it had washed off, not completely, but enough to look as if it was only a bad memory, nothing more.

The first few days, the skin around it had been red and angry, but it had gotten used to the adjustment, just as he was beginning to swallow the idea that the Dark Lord was truly gone for good this time. It was almost a taunting thought. Was he really dead? After all this time… after all the years… was it finally over? It was hard to believe and Severus found himself replaying the fateful night over and over in his mind. He'd seen him disappear. He'd heard him scream. The scream still echoed in the back of his mind like it was still happening in a world far away.

Severus knew it didn't all stop here. That much was obvious. It was foolish to believe that with one death it could be all good and done with. Things didn't work that way. Severus had lived long enough to recognize troubling times. After all, his entire life had been troubled and it always would be.

The fact that he still bore the faded Dark Mark was enough of a warning to him about the future. He was an ex-Death Eater, and no matter how much he had done for Dumbledore and the Order, the fact that he had once followed the most evil man of the planet would not change. The Ministry of Magic would undoubtedly be in such a joyous celebration of the death of Voldemort that they'd want to set an impression on the Wizarding World. There would be Death Eater captures left and right now that the Aurors no longer feared the snake-like villain who led them. It was only a matter of time before they came knocking on Hogwarts's doors. Dumbledore would defend him, he knew he would, but it wouldn't be a friendly debacle, for sure.

Severus shook his head and ran a finger along the outline of the mark, shivering as he remembered a time when Harry had done the exact same thing. He used to do it all the time when they talked. The boy would lay on his chest and trace every detailed line, one by one, completely unabashed by the fact that the mark was one of pure evil.

Severus jerked his sleeve down roughly and pushed the memory of the raven-haired Gryffindor from his mind. It was best not to think about him.

Those words echoed in his mind still. Some stupid potion…

He didn't have to ask to know what that meant. It was the reason why Harry's interest had been so sudden and obvious. None of it had been real. Severus found himself squeezing his forearm tightly and he grudgingly loosened his grip. Ron Weasley had come to talk to him the night previously. He had to admit he had been genuinely surprised. He couldn't possibly turn the conversation down. Severus wanted to know how Harry was. He couldn't help it. It was on his mind constantly, even if he didn't admit it.

Weasley had explained a lot. He had told Severus about Lavender Brown's potion. He had told him about how become panicked and desolate Harry had become when Severus had shown up in tatters and how Harry had gone with him without a second thought into hiding. He'd defended Harry through and through, a truly loyal friend. Even though he knew what had happened now, Severus wanted to hear it from Harry, not from anyone else. Somehow, though, Severus knew that Harry wouldn't come to him.

This was ridiculous. He'd hidden in his chambers since the incident. He'd been acting like a complete coward. The grip on his forearm tightened again. Severus Snape was not a coward. He shouldn't be acting like one. Severus closed his eyes, his forehead wrinkled in thought. He couldn't keep on hiding. He had to do something. The pain wouldn't stop even if he talked to Harry, but at least he'd know what Harry thought. At least he'd be able to talk to him one more time…

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Harry squirmed in his chair uncomfortably, refusing to look at the Headmaster and instead focusing on Fawkes, who was eyeing him sadly.

"Harry," Dumbledore said slowly and softly, "I won't force you to look at me, but I'd much rather talk to your face."

Harry immediately felt ashamed of himself. It wasn't as if Dumbledore had done anything wrong. Turning to face the wise old wizard, Harry looked at his twinkling blue eyes in silence. Dumbledore watched him from behind his half-moon spectacles with a sort of pitying sympathy. He knew what Harry was going to through, and he hated the fact that Harry was in so much pain immensely.

He'd watched the boy with his friends, silent and unwavering, as if someone had snatched his soul right from him. He felt that he had a duty to help restore Harry's soul, but he wasn't so proud to deny that he couldn't possibly do it all for the teen.

Dumbledore could only do so much for Harry, he knew that, but he still wanted to try and somehow make him feel even an iota better. Out of everyone, Harry deserved to be the happiest. Yet, he was more morose than everyone combined.

It wasn't right.

Harry sighed far too deeply and gave a half smile to the Headmaster. Dumbledore repressed a frown and spoke. "Harry, my boy," he began, making sure to keep eye contact. "I will not pretend to understand everything you are going through. I am not you, and therefore I will not act as if I were. Tell me. Give an old man the simple pleasure of your thoughts. I am here to help you."

"I know that," Harry said, looking away at the gadgets and trinkets that whirred all around the room. "I just… I don't even know what I think." He slouched a bit in his chair.

"It must be a relief that Voldemort is out of your life, Harry," Dumbledore pressed gently, clasping his fingers together. "Yet, it must also be somewhat unreal to you. I know it is for me. Do you find that you wish for him to be alive still? Just for the sake of the life you've known for so long?"

Harry closed his eyes and fought back tears. Dumbledore's question had hit him hard… because it was true. He had, for some brief moment, wished that he hadn't succeeded. Sometimes he wished that he had died instead. "Is it wrong?" Harry asked quietly, trying not to sob it out.

Dumbledore paused for a moment, choosing his words carefully. "No Harry," he said sadly. "It's not wrong. Even in his evil, he was your life. He controlled every aspect of everything you held dear, with the power to take it away at any moment he pleased. Now that he no longer has that power, all of that control over your life has been unceremoniously handed to you."

"I don't know what to do!" Harry exclaimed, his voice cracking and face heating. "I just… He's always been around the corner. All I've done is prepare for him. Everything… and now it's over and I- I just don't know what to do. I feel like I-" Harry sobbed out loud and felt a traitorous tear roll down his cheek. "I don't even know..." He buried his face in his hands, embarrassed and ashamed that he felt this way. "I'm supposed to be relieved," he moaned into his palms. "I'm supposed to be happy. I am happy, but-"

"Where in the rulebook is that written?" Dumbledore interjected. "Where does it say you have to be happy just because he's dead? If you were happy, I'd be even more concerned. Even the bad parts of our lives are still part of us. After years of the same thing, you become accustomed to what you have, be it wonderful or terrible. In your case, I feel the utmost regret to say, you had terrible things to handle. I wish with everything I have that I could have taken it all off your shoulders, Harry, but I couldn't. You had it all, right there on your back. You do not know how to stand tall anymore, now that the weight's gone."

"No, I don't!" Harry cried. "I want to, I do! Everyone's celebrating and I just can't feel the same way they do. I tried. I tried so hard, but is it over? Is it really over? I just can't believe it. I don't know what to do with myself." Harry couldn't believe he was ranting like this, he felt humiliation and immense relief at the same time. He was saying everything that had been repeating over and over in his mind since it had all happened. The thoughts that had plagued him were spilling out of his mouth, and it felt good.

"You don't have to do anything," Dumbledore said calmly, relieved to see the boy getting these thoughts off his chest. They weren't the kind that you should keep inside. "Nothing is required of you, Harry. There is no norm or "right" way to act. You need to handle this how you feel it is right to. Voldemort is dead. You have to come to accept that on your own terms."

"I…" Harry looked at a loss of what to say. Wasn't it wrong to, in a way, mourn your enemy? Wasn't it horrible to feel lost at Voldemort's death?

As if reading Harry's thoughts, Dumbledore spoke again. "As I've said before, it is perfectly normal for you to feel the way you do. You've finally stepped on to the next part of your life. It's one of the biggest changes you will ever have to handle. That is a hard thing to comprehend."

"I'm happy he's gone," Harry said after a moment, wringing his hands. "I just don't believe it. I don't believe it can really be over, just like that. It doesn't seem right."

"Would any ending have seemed right?" Dumbledore asked seriously, placing his clasped hands under his bearded chin. "No matter how it happened, it would have been an equal shock; equally unbelievable. It's all you've ever known."

Harry nodded slightly. "What do I do now?" He stared up at Dumbledore with a look of confused hope.

For the first time in their conversation, the Headmaster smiled. The twinkle in his eyes seemed restored and he let his hands sink back down to his desk. "You live, Harry," he said simply, "You finally live your life."

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Draco Malfoy was outside of the castle, leaning against a dew-covered stone wall and staring out at the grounds. The world seemed to be misted over with the morning dew, like the clouds had fallen. It left a white haze all around him and a comfortable cold in the air. He was standing under an outer archway. His white-blonder hair wasn't slicked back today. He hadn't felt like fixing it. It was a small, but liberating choice. He felt like he had ripped away from his father just a bit more, but how much more can you fall back from someone who is dead?

Draco's gray eyes looked left, then right, and finally down at the stone pathway under his feet. His father was dead and so was the man who had controlled him.

At last.

Draco was free of the shackles of his family. No longer would he be pressed to join the Dark. No longer would he be looked upon in disgust when he opposed a plan to foil Dumbledore. No longer did he have to play the role of the slimy, muggle-hating Slytherin. And he still had his dignity. Draco smoothed off his robes by reflex and glanced back up into the mist.

It would be difficult, though, after all of these years, to change so dramatically. Even though he now had the option, Draco knew he would still end up honoring his father, however unwillingly, with the traits from his childhood. He had been raised to be the hateful boy he'd become. No matter how much it disgusted him that he was like his father, he was, in part.

But… he was not his father. That was what mattered.

He'd made the right choice. Though Draco had strong and lustful ambition, he did not desire to be controlled or controlling like his father had been. Lucius Malfoy had controlled him. He had shaped the his character.

Draco was told that he looked like his father. This morning, he had noticed the resemblance. He'd looked into the mirror and not seen himself, but Lucius. He didn't like that; not at all.

He'd killed the man, and now his ghost was haunting him right on his face. It wasn't fair. Draco had thought when he killed him that he'd be gone once and for all, but it didn't work that way, apparently. The big, lunky idiots that followed him everywhere reminded him too, but it wasn't their fault. Their parents had been Death Eaters too, and Draco understood how it was, living with someone who killed and then came home to wash the blood off their hands.

Draco felt like the blood was on him because it had been on his father. He felt as though he was somehow responsible for the actions of the dead. Would he become his father? Would he become such a greedy, evil man? It made him sick to think it was a possibility, and maybe that sickness was proof that, no, he wouldn't be his father. Yet, he had killed someone. Not only had he killed someone… he had killed his own blood.

He knew the man would have done the same to him, but that didn't make any difference. He was guilty of murder, and so was Potter. Even more unbelievable was the fact that Potter had actually defeated the Dark Lord.

Draco knew it would happen one day. At least, he hoped it would. Everyone had put their faith in the green-eyed teen. In that respect, Draco felt sorry for him. He always had. He knew how difficult it was to have expectations burdened upon you. It was his entire life; expectations. The need to accomplish something great. Neither of the two boys had asked for what everyone else wanted for them, but they all wanted it anyway. They had no choice.

Draco had made a choice. He could no longer live bound by the shackles of the Malfoy family. His mother had done nothing to defend him the nights when Lucius had "reprimanded" him for refusing to take the Dark Mark. He could remember the agony of the Cruciatus curse vividly. It was a wonder he lasted so long, but he was strong. Draco knew he was strong, but not nearly as strong as Potter, who had been through twice as much as he had been.

Mostly, he had envied Harry more than anything. He'd somehow always manage to come out on top and defeat everything in his path. Draco had watched in a bemused jealousy all those years, not willing to show his admiration and envy. It was that pride, that wretched Malfoy pride, that had kept him from ever approaching the Gryffindor. Reputation. That's what his father had taught him. Draco wanted to help Potter, but instead he was forced, both by his father's word and his own foolish stubbornness, to watch by the sidelines.

If he'd made apparent his desire to help Potter, his father would most likely have killed him for such a betrayal. He'd tried to fake loyalties, he truly had, but he saw his father's growing suspicion, and he knew the moment that he drew his wand alongside Weasley and Granger that he couldn't go back.

Draco was sick of pretending and living from the rules set for him. It was time to set his own path. As he stepped away from the wall and back into the castle, Draco sighed inwardly and opened his eyes just a little bit wider. He let his fingers feel his blonde hair slowly and walked into the castle.

Harry Potter was at the other side of the huge entryway, headed towards the Great Hall, and Draco met him half way.

"Potter," Draco stated, looking serenely at his rival.

"Malfoy," Harry matched, his expression as blank as the Slytherin's.

They stood like that for a second, quiet and unmoving in front the doors to the Great Hall and staring each other down. Then, on compulsion and at the exact same time, they both reached out a palm… and shook hands.

They kept their hands that way and each squeezed the other's in one last gesture of understanding before they let go, entering the hall and separating to their respective tables.

And once again, life changed, ever so slightly, and the boys smiled secretly to themselves for the swiftest of passing moments, each feeling a bit more set in their own skin.

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Harry sat down next to Ron and Hermione and they turned to him in surprise.

"Hi…" Ron said nervously, not sure if his friend was still on his streak of silence.

Harry turned to the two and smiled. "Hi."

A look of relief and happiness flashed over the other two's faces and they both patted Harry on the back happily.
"Harry, you should eat something," Hermione said, still walking on eggshells just in case Harry would sink back into his silence.

"Yeah, I know," Harry replied. "Listen, guys. I'm sor-"

"Don't be," Ron interrupted.

"We have no idea what you must have felt Harry," Hermione took off of Ron's statement, looking at her friend sympathetically. "After all you have been through, of course you were upset."
"We're here for you, mate," Ron added.

"Always," Hermione agreed.

Harry smiled, a genuine one, and looked down at his empty plate. "Thank you," he said, feeling his face heat up for the thousandth time that week.

"Eat, Harry," Hermione said kindly, gesturing to the food on the table. "Please."

Harry nodded and was about to reach for a spoon of eggs when he heard a voice that set his blood old and his heart beating drums against his ribcage.

"Mister Potter," came the rumbling hiss from behind the trio.

Harry heard hesitance in the voice, but that was only because he knew it so well. Somehow, he couldn't force himself to just turn around. It felt as if his entire body had turned to lead. He looked over at his friends, who looked just as surprised as him. Hermione nodded encouragingly and with a lick of his dry lips, Harry turned and faced Severus.

Harry couldn't muster the courage to look him in the face or even speak, so he settled for staring at the man's black cloak in silence.
"I need to speak to you, Potter," Severus said quickly, looking at the wall and not the cowering student. "Come with me, if you don't mind." Without waiting for a reply, since he probably wasn't capable of standing still any longer, Severus began to walk out of the hall.

"Harry!" Ron urged when the other Gryffindor, his eyes downcast, didn't move to follow. "Go!"

Harry found himself standing and following after the billowing robes ahead of him. They left the hall and Harry caught up to the Professor, walking a foot or two behind him. They walked in an uncomfortable silence, made even more so by the fact that both felt that they should speak. Neither, however, seemed to have their tongue. When they arrived at Severus's personal chambers, the Potions Master entered without a word, and Harry lagged behind in hesitance. This was the interaction, out of all the others, that he dreaded the most and desired more than anything to have. He was torn. He swallowed loudly and with a few wobbly steps, he followed the teacher and closed the door.

Back in the Great Hall, Hermione was pondering the events. She turned to Ron. "Where were you last night?" she asked, looking curiously at the redhead.
Ron choked on his eggs a bit and blushed a deep crimson that matched his hair. "I just thought it was time someone said something is all, 'Mione," Ron stated, turning to his girlfriend.

Hermione's face broke out into a wide smile and she grabbed Ron and hugged him tightly. "Ron, that was a wonderfully brave thing to do."

Ron's eyes widened and then he smiled, hugging her back. "I just hope it worked," he said, "The rest is up to those two now."

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Harry shifted on his feet and stared into the roaring fire of the room with a vengeance. Once again, he found himself avoiding eye contact with someone he was too nervous to face. Severus, however, was watching him wordlessly. They stood in the middle of the living area of Severus's quarters. The comfortable couches were untouched and the heat of the fire seemed more mocking than warm.

Harry frowned and opened his mouth slowly, his eyes never leaving the fireplace. "Why am I here?"

"You know why you're here," came the quick reply.

They weren't looking at each other, but their presences were strong enough to them. They didn't need to, and didn't want to, face each other yet. It made the conversation too real; too grounded. It was easier to keep the quality of disembodiment in the speech, like they were talking to ideas rather than people.

"I don't have anything to say," Harry said slowly, shoving a fist into the pocket of his robes.

"Don't you?" Severus asked, so quietly that Harry could hardly hear him. Severus was gazing into the fire as well, his hands resting lightly on his hips and elbows pointed behind him.

There was silence. Harry knew what he was asking and he knew he owed the man that much. He owed him and explanation. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "A few months ago," he began, pausing to steady his erratic breathing. "I grabbed the wrong drink and took a potion that wasn't intended for me. That same day, just minutes after I took it… I became interested in you. I'd never had the interest before. I'd never thought about you that way; not once. It was just because I grabbed the wrong goblet."

"But you took an antidote, I'm sure," Severus interjected, turning to face the flushed student.

Harry met the other man's gaze and felt his heart stop as he saw the familiar black coal. "Yes, but-"
"Then you weren't always under the influence of the potion," Severus stated, not really knowing what he wanted his point to be.

"No, I wasn't," Harry admitted. "But I'd never had an interest you, Severus. I'd never even batted an eye at you. I hated you!"

Severus frowned deeply. "After the antidote, when the potion was out of your system and you were back to your normal self, did you still hate me?"

Harry looked away, his eyes half-lidded and downcast. "You know I didn't…"

"Then why say that none of it was real?" Severus said, his voice cracking ever so slightly. "Why do that to me? After everything that we had… you weren't under the influence of any blasted potion for that! You were you then. Nothing was controlling you. Nothing was forcing you. Are you telling me that none of that was real?"

"N-no," Harry stammered, biting the inside of his cheek. "No I…" He looked around the room desperately as if trying to find an escape.

"Harry," Severus insisted, waiting for the younger man's eyes to meet his before he continued. "Nothing… none of what we had was fake. It was more real than I can ever really tell you. You're like my air, Harry. I lived off of you. I saw it in your eyes too. I know you felt more than just the after effects of a potion. Don't you tell me that wasn't anything. Don't you dare take that away from me." His fists were clenched at his sides now and his eyes swimming with emotions that he could no longer restrain. He was baring his soul. He was giving Harry a chance to finish him off, and he didn't know why.

"I…" Harry gasped as he pushed back his tears. He clenched his fists into his hair like he was attempting to pull it out. "It wasn't me! I told you, I never even thought of you before, and I never would have if it weren't for that damned potion. It wasn't me!"

"Tell me it wasn't real," Severus said suddenly, his voice firm.

Harry's head shot up and he looked at Severus in shock. "What?" he whispered disbelievingly.

"Tell me that it was all just a dream," Severus said, his eyes not wavering, "Tell me it was all fake and none of it meant anything. Tell me that while looking right into my eyes. Do that, and I'll walk away."

Harry stared at him for a moment, bewildered. He felt his heart jerk and he shook his head slowly. "I can't…"

"Do it, Harry, and it will all be over," Severus pressed, taking a step forward and reaching a hand out, pressing Harry's face upwards by his chin and looking him straight in the eyes.

"Severus, I can't say that. I can't," Harry moaned, feeling a few more tears press their way from behind his eyelids as he saw the fierce determination in the man's dark eyes.

"Do it," Severus repeated.

"No, I-"

"Say it!"

"I won't!"

"Say it, Harry!!!"

"No! I can't do it! I can't say it! You know it's not true!" Harry cried out finally, batting Severus's hand away and letting his tears fall freely.

"Then why?" Severus growled. "Why in the world are you doing this?" He grabbed Harry's shoulders roughly.

"I don't know!" Harry yelled. "I was scared!"

"What the hell are you scared of?" Severus shouted, tightening his vice-like grip on Harry's shoulders. "That I actually cared about you? That maybe it wasn't a fucking potion that made you feel that way for me?"

"Yes!" Harry sobbed. Severus froze, his eyes wide. "Yes, that was it, ok?" Harry was shaking now. "I was terrified because I knew a long time ago that the potion couldn't have possibly made me feel the way I did! I didn't want to feel that way! I didn't want to and I got scared that I had gone so far. I wanted to think it was all just a joke. It would have been so much easier!"

"Easier than what?" Severus asked.

Harry swung glittering emerald eyes upwards and Severus was dazzled by the pure, raw emotion glowing within them.

"The pain," Harry whispered throatily, "The pain that I felt, and it only got worse. It hurt so much and I was petrified. I thought if I ran away from you the pain would go away, but it only got worse. Every time I see you it multiplies. It just gets stronger and stronger until I can't feel anything else. All I know is that one feeling and I- I can't deal with it. I can't stand loving you that much." Harry bit his lip. "I love you so much it hurts just to think about you. I love you so much my mind just stops working every time I hear your name. I love you so much it kills me and I can't stand it." Harry finished breathlessly and waited for Severus to reply. When he didn't, he got worried. "Sever-?"

Severus pulled him forward so fast Harry's head went spinning as their lips were crushed together. Harry felt his knees go weak, but Severus held him up desperately as he kissed him with a pent up passion that had been slowly destroying them both. Harry let out a happy sob into the kiss and his arms shot up around Severus's neck.

The Potions Master brought his hands to cup Harry's face lovingly, and he ran the pads of his thumbs along Harry's cheeks, brushing away the semi-dried tears. Harry pulled the man so close to him that he forgot where he ended and Severus began and he opened his mouth to the kiss, letting their tongues dance together like they never had before.

It was the most earnest, powerful kiss they had ever shared. Harry ran his fingers through Severus's smooth, black hair and Severus began to lead him over to the couch, where he laid Harry down as gently as one would a porcelain doll. Only then did they break apart, and it was for the briefest of moments. They stared at each other with every emotion they had ever possessed in their lives, and the love and tender understanding that they shared was palpable. They felt it flowing through their very veins.

"I love you," Severus said, his voice strong and absolute.
"I've never loved anyone else," Harry said, caressing the older man's cheek. Severus closed his eyes and leaned into the touch.

They kissed again, and Harry pulled away. "Severus, I'm so sorry," he said softly.

"All that matters is that you're here," Severus replied. "The past is the past. We all make mistakes. Merlin knows I have. I could never fault you, Harry."

Harry smiled. "Thank you," he said simply.

"All I ever did was love you," Severus answered, running his finger along Harry's bottom lip.
"I know," Harry said, kissing the finger upon his lips. "Thank you."

Severus responded by pressing their lips together once more, softly this time.

At that moment, Harry's soul was gone, and in its place was another soul; the soul of Severus Snape.

And that was exactly the way he wanted it to be.

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Harry placed his elbow on the mahogany table and adjusted his glasses. "Knight to E7," he muttered, watching as the black chess piece waltzed across the board.

Ron, who was sitting across the table from him, grinned and gave a command to his Queen. "Checkmate," he said proudly, puffing his chest out and grinning even wider when the Queen smashed Harry's King into a hundred pieces.
"Bloody hell, Ron," Harry groaned, slumping back in his chair, defeated. "I haven't beat you once."

"I am the master of Wizard Chess, Harry," Ron gloated.

"Oh cut it out, Ronald," Hermione mumbled from the couch of the common room. Her nose was currently buried in an Astronomy book that she seemed to find fascinating. "It's a barbaric game. I don't see why you're proud of being good at it."

Ron pouted over at the bushy-haired girl. "It's not barbaric, Hermione," Ron whined, dragging out her name to annoy her. "Its good fun."

Harry chuckled at Hermione's eye-roll and jumped as he heard thundering footsteps coming from the staircase leading to the girls' dormitories. In moments, Lavender Brown appeared at the bottom of the staircase, smiling brightly and looking positively thrilled.

"Guess what?" she asked happily, looking around at the trio.

"What?" The three chorused, looking to her with curiosity.

Lavender held her hand up for them to see. In her fingers was clasped a small, glass phial. "I found my potion!" she said giddily. "Turns out it wasn't lost after all!"

The three friends stared at her in shock, completely silent.

"What?" Lavender asked nervously. "Was it something I said?"

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THE END

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OMG. It's finally done! I don't know whether or not to jump for joy or cry! This was my first Snarry fanfic ever, and only now have I finally completed it.

I hope I satisfied you all. Haha. Man, this was the hardest chapter to write, knowing it was going to be over and all.

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been loyally reviewing and reading A Potion. I love you all and am very grateful for your patience. Your reviews were what kept me writing this. They were great!

I loved every minute of this.

Don't forget I still have a bunch of others that I'm working on, so it's not as if this is a complete end! XD Please check out Every Part of Me and The Fallen if your craving for Snarry stories still needs to be sated.

Thank you for reading A Potion.