A/N: To all of those who have waited almost a year for the conclusion, I say…I'm not worth it. But I'm so thankful. My computer came down with a horrifying virus, and has just been repaired. But everything was cleared out, including my fanfic files. So, I now have a new e-mail: and I am up and running. I hope you guys enjoy the last chapter of "Life Goes On." And I'm working on a futuristic piece to come soon. Again, so sorry, and to those who wanted the extra bits of Ch. 30, I'm sad to say they are gone forever. Just…use your imaginations, eh?
It was the day. This was it. No turning back. Soon he would be facing the one man who could destroy him. The one man who held all the cards. Either Harry himself would die or he would murder today. Kill. Kill another human being. True, not much of a human being, but he would still take a life today. And he had no idea how that would come about. How on earth does one kill another living, breathing thing? "The same way you kill a cockroach," Harry thought to himself. That was what Voldemort was: a cockroach.
"Harry," said a soft voice in the hollow of his neck, making him shiver, "Harry, you're hurting me."
Harry realized that it was still night. Day had not yet come, and he was crushing Ginny. He rolled off of her, and stared down, in disbelief. How could something so beautiful belong to him?
"What are you thinking?" Ginny asked.
"That I'm the luckiest man in the world who could die tomorrow."
"Don't talk like that, Harry," Ginny said softly, "Don't you dare."
"Ginny, we have to face--"
"Face reality! I know! Don't you think I know?"
Harry tried to pull Ginny down as she sat up in bed.
"Harry, could we just not think about it? Please…just not now. This was really special, you know?"
"I know," whispered Harry, "I know, I'm sorry. Just…lie back down."
As Harry pulled Ginny back into bed, he thought to himself that tomorrow would come soon enough. When that happened, he would have to prepare for what could be the last day of his life. But for now, he would be with the woman he loved. For now, he could have that much.
Ron was asleep…snoring. Hermione lay on his chest unable to move. Not because of the paralyzing fear of losing Harry and perhaps Ron or Ginny along the way. No, that terror wasn't keeping her still. Ron's arm was around her, tight as a band of steel. In between the thoughts of what spells to use against Voldemort and how to kill Nagini were thoughts of paranoia about Mr. and Mrs. Weasley coming home. Oh, what would they say? She soothed herself with plans of Apparition at the first sign of their homecoming. Plus, the door was locked. Breathing a sigh of relief, she managed a chuckle. Ron was honestly asleep.
"Ron," Hermione whispered, kissing his ear as she spoke into it, "Ron."
"Hmm," Ron made a sleepy noise and rolled over, pinning Hermione beneath him.
"Oh! Ronald!" Hermione giggled and gasped. Sure, Ron was tall and lean, but he still weighed a lot more than she did.
Ron, without opening his eyes said, "Hermione, I've only been sleeping for an hour. Could you please shut up?"
With that, he covered her mouth with his. One thing led to another and half an hour later, both teens were wide awake.
"It's today, Ron," Hermione said.
"Yeah, I know, Hermione."
"How can Harry face Voldemort? He's not ready!"
"Hermione, do you really think that any sort of class he could take would prepare him for this? I think it's going to come down to hand-to-hand anyway. I mean, if they use their wands on each other, they go all wonky, don't they?"
"Oh, Ron, I'm sure Voldemort has tortured Olivander into fixing that problem somehow."
Ron shrugged, lifting Hermione off of his chest with the movement.
"Listen, the sun's coming up, Ron. We should get up before your parents get home."
He watched as Hermione got up and put her clothes on. He smiled.
"Come on, Ron!" Hermione said, impatiently, "What are you smiling at?"
"Oh," Hermione said, flushing, "Well, stop, ok? There's so much to be done!"
"Right," Ron nodded, and got up, "You go wake Ginny. I'll get Harry."
"Ok," Hermione said.
"Wait," called Ron, catching her at the door, "Remember whenever we would come close to making any sort of progress with each other, and we would get all nervous and polite?"
"Yes," said Hermione, "What's your point?"
"I'm over that," Ron said, holding her face in his hands and kissing her, "Nice waking up with you, Granger."
With that, he strode ahead of her, leaving her shaking her head and laughing.
Harry jolted out of bed when he heard the doorknob turn. "Your mum!" he whispered to Ginny, who was stirring beside him.
"Ginny," came Hermione's voice through the door, "Why did you lock the door?"
"Coming," Ginny replied through a yawn. She pulled on a robe and made her way to the door.
"No, Ginny!" Harry hissed, "Don't let her see me!" He dove into his clothes just as Ginny opened the door.
"Ginny," Hermione said as she strolled into the room, "What on earth possessed you to lock the door…Oh! Umm! Harry."
Harry gave a feeble wave.
Hermione seemed to be thinking. "You'd better hurry up and get downstairs, Harry. Ron's on his way to wake you right now."
"So?" said Ginny.
Harry and Hermione shared a look.
"Really, Gin, if you want me to survive to face Voldemort, you have to make sure your brother doesn't kill me before the sun's all the way up."
Ginny snorted, "Oh, honestly. All right. Once again, we'll leave my poor buffoon of a brother in the dark. Go on."
She tilted her face up for a kiss, which Harry provided before scurrying down the stairs.
Ginny cast a long glance at Hermione, "I noticed you didn't come back last night."
Hermione nodded, beaming, "Yeah. I got busy."
"Ok, so first things first: we survive today so that we can share stories tomorrow, ok?"
"Sounds great," said Hermione, smiling, "Come on. It's not like they can get anything done when we're not there."
So the two women walked arm in arm to meet the men waiting in the kitchen.
Just as breakfast was ready and they all four stared at the food that they could not seem to eat, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley followed by Tonks, McGonagall, Bill, and Fleur popped out of the fire.
It was immediately evident that something was very, very wrong. Tonks was pale and seemed to have lost control of her legs. Bill was carrying her. Fleur had tears in her eyes as did Mrs. Weasley. McGonagall seemed to be barely holding herself together. Mr. Weasley followed the group in, looking grim.
"What is it?" Harry said, standing up and moving to help Bill to place Tonks in a seat. "What happened?"
The adults in the room seemed to stare blankly at him, not hearing anything that Harry was saying.
Just then, the door opened and who should walk in, but Hagrid.
"We lost them, Professor," Hagrid addressed McGonagall.
"Lost who?" Ginny said.
"Hagrid, what's going on?" Hermione said.
"Where's Lupin?" asked Ron.
Harry looked around, realizing that Ron was right. Lupin was nowhere to be seen. A cold, slimy feeling of dread filled Harry's lungs.
"Hagrid," Harry pleaded, "Mrs. Weasley, Mr. Weasley," Harry looked at a Tonks who seemed not to hear a word anyone around her was saying, "Please. Someone tell me what happened to Moony."
"Harry, ye see, we set out ter inspect the place where…where 'You-Know-Who' is supposed ter be today. We meant to kill that wretch o' a snake, y'know. But…but…"
Hagrid erupted in tears, unable to finish the account.
"BUT WHAT?" Harry yelled, suspecting that he knew the end of the tale.
"Well, we caught the snake," Professor McGonagall said, "I transfigured it into a rubber hose."
"But just as we thought we'd entered undetected, we were…we were attacked," Mr. Weasley said thinly.
"Attacked?" said Harry
"Death Eaters," Hermione whispered.
"Yes, Hermione, Death Eaters," Mr. Weasley said, "I took the hose put it in my robes, but the Death Eaters had seen what we'd done. So Minerva conjured another hose and threw it back as a decoy."
"Remus…he…he didn't realize what we'd done," Mrs. Weasley whimpered.
Mr. Weasley took her in his arms to quiet her.
"And what happened?" Harry said softly. No one answered him, "I asked 'WHAT HAPPENED?'"
His shouts seemed to reverberate in the small kitchen and he felt Ron and Hermione recoil behind him. Ginny moved to stand next to him.
"Where is Lupin?" she asked in a slightly shaky voice.
"He's dead," a voice croaked. It was Tonks, but it was a voice Harry had never heard out of her before, "He went back for the decoy, and when he realized it was a fake…it was too late. I don't even know which one of them killed him. I don't even know who it was."
Tonks broke down into harsh, choking tears as Harry struggled to right himself in a world turned upside down.
"But…we did kill Pettigrew," Mr. Weasley said.
"I think it was he who killed Remus," McGonagall said, "At least to the best of my recollection. And I didn't stop to think. I cursed him and he fell down a stairwell. I heard his neck break."
Harry's world was spinning. Lupin was dead. So was Wormtail.
"That's it, then," He whispered, "All of the Marauders. They're all gone."
His last link to his parents, to Sirius, was gone.
"He was it. The only one who knew them the way Sirius did. And he's gone. This has to end. Now. No more sudden attacks. No more untimely deaths. Let's go. Let's go now."
Harry felt an anger begin to burn inside of him. He was ready to face Voldemort, and he would win. He had no doubt looking at the crumpled Tonks and the forlorn Mrs. Weasley that he would avenge Moony's death. Looking at Ginny by his side and at Ron clutching Hermione as she cried, he knew he would win so that he and his friends could build a future. For the safety of those he loved, he would win. Or, as they all feared, he would die trying.
A/N: I haven't determined yet if this is where I'll end it. I'm not sure people are even reading, and I'm not sure if I could write the Final Battle. I mean, I know I've taken liberties with Ms. Rowling's work, but I feel as though that would be just stepping completely outside the box for me. So, review and let me know if A: you're reading and B: If you want me to write the Final Battle. Let me know, and thanks for reading.