A battle to the end; but who really wins? Parting words.

A/N: I own nothing this is all J.K.R.'s, what a brilliant mind she has.

Chapter Twenty-Five – And Life Goes On

Harry Potter looked out over the ocean and felt at peace. Here he would die, but here he would live on. No one had ever attempted what Harry was about to do. This day's story would no doubt be told for generations to come, at least if everything went as planned.

Harry knew she was there before she spoke. His best friend had come to take him back, but he would never be going back. Harry breathed out heavily. "Don't even try Hermione," Harry said as he turned around to face the witch who still held the glowing stone that had brought her to him and that would soon bring the Order and Aurors, but Harry wasn't worried about them. They were practically standing on top of Slytherin Manor, it just couldn't be seen. But Harry could see it and soon they would see him. Voldemort would see him.

"Harry please stop this, come back with me. The Aurors are prepared to kill you," wind lashed at her hair and carried her shaky voice loudly across the grassy clearing.

"I'm already dead Hermione, I just don't know yet," Harry whispered, "Please leave. I don't want you to get hurt; I don't want to hurt you."

Hermione leveled her wand on him. "I'll stop you myself if I have to, Harry!"

Harry suddenly threw a curse at Hermione's feet and she jumped to the side with her eyes wide, as the curse sizzled the ground. "I said leave!" Harry threw another curse at her, missing intentionally, and another.

"Harry wait, stop, I'm trying to help you!" Hermione cried, but still kept her wand pointed at him, she was too brave for her own good.

"Why Hermione, I don't need help! Besides, I think you've helped enough. Do you really think the Aurors and the Order will have time to locate me before Voldemort does?" Harry forced himself to laughed at Hermione's surprised face. "Oh yes Hermione, I know about the tracking charm that you tagged me with. How could I not, you were so obvious about it. Do you really think I'm that dumb?" Harry laughed again as he mocked his friend. It pained him to be doing this, but little spells weren't going to scare her off. "Crucio!" Harry threw the unforgivable curse at her effortlessly, but she dodged, not that Harry had been aiming to hit her. Even if it had, it probably wouldn't have worked, he didn't have enough hate necessary, and he didn't want to hurt her.

"Harry please stop! Don't make me curse you!" Hermione screamed as she dodged another of Harry's off aimed curses.

Harry stopped throwing spells and started laughing, what he really wanted to do was cry. "Curse me, with what, the Leg Locker Hex? Oh, better yet the Tickle-Me Jinx. Or maybe you'll just disarm me with Expelliarmus!" Harry aimed this spell, Hermione was knocked off her feet, and her wand soared into Harry's hand with his silent summoning charm. "I'm sorry Hermione, really I am, but I can't go back, and you have to get out of here now!"

There were over a dozen 'pops' from the area as Aurors and Order members Apparated into Harry's line of sight. Harry threw Hermione's wand back to her and slowly backed away, not out of fear, but to lure them closer, so Hermione was being covered by them. The Death Eaters were on their way. He just prayed his friend would have enough sense to stay out of the way. Harry watched every wand that turned on him, and paced back and forth like a cornered tiger. Harry's senses and mark alerted him and he moved quickly to avoid a curse from behind that shot over the head of one of the Aurors.

Harry spun around with a maddening glint in his eyes. "Lucius, here to kill me again; haven't you learned anything? You can't kill me!" Harry raised a very strong shield as he shouted this, it wouldn't do for him to get killed before Voldemort arrived.

Harry ran as curses started flying in his direction. The Auror's and the Order's less powerful, nearly pathetic, spells bounced off his shield as he dodged the Killing Curses and Cruciatus Curses thrown at him from the Death Eaters. If he didn't know better, he'd think that the two sides were working together for the common good of getting rid of him, that wasn't exactly what he'd planned.

Harry threw his own volley of curses, the more powerful Merlin style at the Death Eaters, and the stunners and disarming charms at the Aurors and the Order. Harry sent a Petrifaction Charm at Hermione who was trying to stun him while being blocked by the Order. She dodged and then revived Tonks who had been hit instead. She really was a remarkable witch.

Harry tumbled and rolled to avoid another bout of Cruciatus from Lucius Malfoy, at the same time, he took out two more Death Eaters, bringing his count to nine that were either unconscious or dead. He landed on his feet several yards to his right, leaving the area between the two sides open and the cliffs to his back, not a good position.

Harry then fell to his knees and screamed out as pain exploded in his scar. It was what he had been waiting for, but he was as always totally unprepared for it. The projection of the Dark Lord appeared before him and everything went silent throughout the clearing. Harry shot his head up from his hands, blood trickled from his scar into his eyes but Harry just wiped it away. "I did everything you wanted; I betrayed all those who trusted me, everyone I ever loved. Why won't you leave me alone?" Harry screamed at the projection, but underneath his façade, he was calm and his mind was working furiously to break the connection with Voldemort, he could not be connected with him when he used the pendant.

"Because Potter, a prophecy demands that I destroy you before you can destroy me. Lucius stop playing around and kill him!" Voldemort demanded.

"Why don't you kill me yourself?" Harry yelled as he just managed to jumped to the side as the Killing Curse flew through the projection of Voldemort. It whizzed past his ear, a little too close for comfort. He was going to die, but it would be by his own terms. Harry backed away towards the edge of the cliff, so close to the edge that disturbed dirt and rock fell under his feet into the churning ocean far below. Harry looked down into the dark waters just as his mind finally found the link. 'Thank you,' Harry thought, as his head snapped up and a smile came to his lips, a genuine smile. It was finally going to be over; Dumbledore could do the rest.

Harry sent a pulse of pure magic through the link and it snapped, permanently. Harry fell back down to his knees and grasped his hand around the pendant that hung from his neck. The image of Voldemort faded and then there was a crack and the real Voldemort appeared in the place of the projection.

"What did you do!" demanded the Dark Lord as he raised his wand at Harry.

"Hardly anything compared to what I'm going to do!" Harry screamed and pulled the pendant from his neck. He didn't have to concentrate hard, but he did have a moment of hesitation. This was going to kill him, he knew it and he excepted it, but deep down he still didn't want to die.

Harry grabbed hold of his own pure magic and pushed it into the power of the pendant. The pendant left his hand and then a beam of clear purple shot out of both sides of it. One connected to him and the other connected to Voldemort. That was the easy part and Harry was already shaking with the effort of keeping Voldemort from breaking the connection.

He took a deep breath in as an invisible hand grabbed hold of Voldemort's power and Harry yanked it back within himself, like pulling on a rope. Harry felt more then saw the pure magic rush at him from the beam. It hit him and he felt it absorb into him, but then something happened that was unexpected, very unexpected, and Harry nearly broke the connection himself. Along with taking Voldemort's pure magic, it also took part of Voldemort, the part of Voldemort that was still human, and it slammed into Harry without any warning. Harry staggered to his feet, overwhelmed with pain and surprise etched into his face. Harry looked Voldemort straight in the eyes, but Tom Riddle no longer existed there, as he felt himself dying inside. The only thing left was a darkness, worse then what had controlled Harry.

A calm came over him as the rest of the pure magic Tom Riddle ever possessed bonded with him. Harry's voice was barely above a whisper, but he spoke his words forcefully. "We're dead now Tom, we killed each other." Harry wasn't speaking to the Dark Lord in front of him.

Voldemort fell to his knees. "What did you do? What did you do!" he screamed. Voldemort's voice held fear as he raised his wand at Harry.

Harry looked back towards the ocean. And then panic clutched at him. Harry took in his last breath with fear in his eyes. "I don't want to die," Harry breathed for the last time and fell, but nothing caught him and all air left his lungs. Darkness claimed him far before his body plunged into the icy ocean far below.

One voice rang throughout the clearing and that was Hermione's cry. It had been ten minutes since Harry had fallen over the cliff, ten minutes since the world had lost a Hero and ten minutes since Hermione had lost her best friend in the world. Voldemort and all the Death Eaters had vanished. Not that Hermione had noticed, nor did she notice that Voldemort hadn't Apparated on his own; but she would, much later. Now though, Hermione stood in the same spot that she had been in ten minutes ago, Tonks still by her side.

Many had rushed to the edge of the cliff as soon as the Death Eaters had disappeared, but none saw the boy who once lived as he had already been swept under the dark water's surface. Tonks stifled a cry as Kingsley nodded his head, Harry Potter was gone.

Hermione fell to her knees then, and tears came to her eyes. Now she understood why Harry had wanted her to go. Hermione looked up to Tonks. "He knew, he knew what he was doing, he knew he was going to die," Hermione broke down in sobs then tears streaming down her face. Harry was really gone, her best friend was really gone. She didn't need the long hours of searching for him that would follow, nor the confirmation from Gringotts, twenty-four hours later, to know this. Life for her would never be the same.

It would still be forty-two hours before the wizarding populace of Britain would hear of what Harry had done, and minutes after that, the world. But it was only twenty-four before Gringotts sent out the official signed letter to Albus Dumbledore. It was Harry's will and confirmation of death. That was when the Headmaster and the Minister finally called off the search. Harry Potter was dead and there was nothing more they could do for the boy who was forced to be a man, far too early.

Dumbledore sat at his desk, an old, tired man with a broken spirit. He stared at nothing as the people settled in around him. He hadn't been there when Harry died, he and Luminous had gotten there moments too late to try and save him. He wasn't positive that they could have, but he still wished that he could have had the opportunity to try.

All the relative people were called to the Headmaster's office, the rest of the school was still at a very solemn feast, a feast that would start the real story of Harry Potter. It started as whispers, but soon grew. Eight young Death Eaters confirmed it, and the news spread like wildfire. Voldemort, the Dark Lord, was completely incapacitated, he couldn't even do a simple summoning spell and his Death Eaters were turning away from him left and right. No one feared him anymore. Not that five students, and the entire staff of Hogwarts would hear about this until later that night.

Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Neville, and Luna were all sitting next to each other in the Headmaster's office. All of the Weasley's were sitting around them as were Order members and the staff of Hogwarts, even Snape was there.

Dumbledore finally focused on everyone and then he noticed that Luminous stood against the wall by the fireplace, having just come in. In front of Dumbledore was a pensive, not just any pensive, Harry's. He looked around at everyone before he spoke in calm but broken voice. "This afternoon, Gringotts confirmed Harry's death," Dumbledore spoke quietly and there were several quiet sobs from those who had still held onto hope. "Harry managed to make out a will, I'm not entirely certain how. It was sent here to be read and all of you were requested to be here. But before I read it, Harry left us a message." Dumbledore waved his hand over the pensive and Harry floated out of it slowly, to stand next to the pensive.

The small clone of Harry took in a deep breath and looked around the room as if he was actually there looking at everyone. He cleared his throat and began.

"To most of you, my death and actions leading up to it, will come as a shock, I'm sure. But to some of you, it was just a matter of waiting. I knew I was going to die the second I defied Lord Voldemort, I just didn't know when or how. If I am correct and my plan worked, Voldemort should be powerless, or at least near to it. Professor Dumbledore knows of the specifics of how I accomplished this. But mainly what I did was I took Voldemort's pure magic and absorbed it into myself, all of it. He shouldn't even be able to cast a simple Accio, I pretty much made him into a squib, if he has that much magic left. Please someone make sure of this, I don't want my death to be for nothing.

"I am sorry that I had to leave all of you. I never wanted to, but fate demanded my death and I couldn't turn away from it. I got this pensive this summer. At first, I thought the bloody thing was broken, as it wouldn't store memories, at least anything, I wanted it to store; it was very frustrating. Then I realized what it was for, it wasn't to store my memories at all, but parts of myself. So I took the parts that I wanted everyone to remember most. Please don't remember me from my actions. I did some terrible things and I won't deny that. But it wasn't me, the real me, who did those things.

"Anyways, Professor Dumbledore should have my written will, which will include what I am about to say in more detail, but I wanted you all to hear it from me. First off, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Remus, Fred, George, Neville and Luna, I have left you each a letter. In that letter there is a bank invoice detailing what each of you will receive from my vault at Gringotts. Apparently, and Ron don't get a big head, between my father and my grandfather, I am one of the richest people in Britain. I had several other vaults that I didn't even know about, each worth millions of Galleons. You'll probably wonder what has happened to most of it, as only a small, yet rather large portion, will be given to all of you, which is non-negotiable, you can do with it what you want, but you have to take it. I'm having the rest donated to charities, as well as for research for the Department of Mysteries and Saint Mungo's Hospital, some is also going to Hogwarts."

The Projection of Harry pause here and looked up as if looking at Dumbledore. Everyone was silent while Dumbledore passed letters around to everyone mentioned. Dumbledore then went back to his desk and sat down. Harry continued after that.

"Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, the two of you were the parents I never had. You welcomed me into your home and into your lives as if I was one of your own, and I will always appreciate and love you as if I was your son. You and your family never treated me like I was the boy who lived, but as an actual person and I am grateful for that. Do not be two shocked at what you see on your invoice, remember that some of this was Sirius' as well. You deserve all of it and more. Do with it what you wish, but use it well.

"Fred and George, my brothers in mischief. Take this money, the Marauders Map and Sirius' map of Grimmauld Place, and start a franchise. The directions for making the maps is all there with your invoice. Sirius' map can be found in Sirius' closet, the password is Kreacher, don't ask, and Professor Dumbledore has the Marauder's Map. They'll make excellent products for your joke shop and it is my hope that they will drive the staff of Hogwarts mad. The two of you have always brought a smile to my face and you allowed me access to places in the castle that even you wouldn't believe. Keep up with the jokes, everyone needs to laugh once and a while.

"Remus, the day that you had nearly died, I realized for the first time how much you meant to me. You weren't just my father's friend, or my professor anymore, you were my friend. There were things my father never told you or even Sirius I suspect. One of those things was that of him being the Heir of Merlin. I don't know how far in the books he got before they left him, but I got far enough to find a few useful things. Unfortunately, I was not able to pass this knowledge on, but Professor Snape now has in his possession a potions book. It was the only one Merlin ever made. There is, on page 93, a potion, a cure for Lycanthropy. I don't know if it works, but if you and Professor Snape work together, you may be able to build the cure. You now have a huge amount of funding, all you have to do is put your differences aside for a little while. I love you Remus and I hope everything works out well for you.

"Ron and Hermione, the two of you were my best friends and were like a brother and sister to me. You have always been there when I need you, even when I didn't know that I needed you. We have had so many adventure and gone through so much, but this year has been horrible for all of us and I apologize for that. I do not deserve your friendship but I am grateful for it. Memories of the two of you helped bring me back out the dark magic, it helped me fight something that had complete control over me. I don't think that I would have ever come back if it hadn't been for your friendship. I love you both and I will miss you so much.

"Ginny, my real words to you are in your letter, those are for you only. You are the only one who really knows what I've been going through. Though, I doubt that anyone really sees that. Your life was changed by Tom Riddle, just as mine was. You were also made to do things that you did not want to do but had no control of. Don't let everyone treat you like you are a shadow, you are meant to do great things in this world. Do what you have always done and look past the darkness and see what is really there. You did that for me, you trusted me, and for that, I will always trust you. I love you Ginny Weasley and I always will.

"Neville and Luna, I'm giving you this money because you followed me to the Department of Ministries even not knowing what you were getting yourselves into. You were great friends and I'll miss our times together. Luna in your letter you will find details about what I did to bring down Voldemort and reasons and such, you are welcome to print the first article in the quibbler. I want the truth out there, and I know I won't get it with the Prophet, which will be finding themselves horribly under funded soon as my business accounts will no longer be giving them money. Neville I was glad that you were there when I woke up in the hospital wing, I was not ready to see anyone else. Don't let anyone ever tell you that you are not brave or smart, you are all of the above. I have shared a dorm with you for so long and I have seen you grow into someone that I know your parents would be proud of. I hope one day a cure can be found for them as you deserve, more then anyone, to have them in your life.

"Professor McGonagall, what I said about giving up on becoming a Metamorphmagus was not an entire truth. I wanted more then anything to follow in my father's footsteps and become an Animagus, but it wasn't meant to be. However, I didn't give up solely because of that. I knew I was going to die as far back as Christmas and I didn't see the need to continue on with it. However, I did and I managed to be able to change my face and hair by that weeks end. I wasn't able to change my eye color, but given more time, I probably would have mastered that as well. Thanks for telling me not to give up and thanks for believing in me. I'm sure I would have made a great Auror.

"Snape, Professor Snape, I know we never got along, but I have to apologize to you. I could have gotten you killed and I'm sorry for that. Yes, I do and can feel guilt, but do not mistake that for pity. You and my father never got along, and understand why, I really do, but you took that out on me for no reason. I will not lie to you, I hated you, more then anyone, but what I said to you this summer wasn't called for and I deserved what you did to me. Though I was fairly much absorbed in dark magic, I do remember what you told Voldemort before he Obliviate you. You said that you would always remain loyal to Albus Dumbledore even though it could have gotten you killed, and that is what makes me trust you. I just hope that everyone sees that same trust. Please work with Remus, if you can make the cure work, you may just become the most famous potions master in the word. I'm sure you'd like that. By the way, I haven't forgotten your threat to me about when I found out about Professor Friedens. As I'm already gone and I don't think much worse can be done to me, I feel as if I shouldn't keep this secret anymore, I just can't. Professor Lyndira Friedens I think you should call yourself Professor Lyndira Snape… oh how dreary that sounds, on second thought keep your name, I'm sure everyone doesn't need two Professor Snape's running around Hogwarts, that might scare the students a little too much.

"Tonks, I have to say and don't take this too horribly, as I noticed everyone else as well. By the way, Moody you make a great statue of Armor. I knew you were there the entire time. At first, I hated every minute of it. But soon, especially towards the end, I came to appreciate it. I was happy in knowing that there was always someone there for me even if I wasn't supposed to know that you were there. I've been afraid for so long and you helped me chase that fear away. I came to except my fate. Having someone there watching over me, even if it was to make sure I wasn't turning dark, helped me stay on track. I would have given up a long time ago otherwise. Oh and I'm sorry about the Dobby thing, I hope he didn't do anything too harsh, it seemed like a good way to get rid of you at the time.

"Hagrid, I know we haven't seen much of each other this year, but that was because I was afraid of what you'd think of me, of what I've become. You introduced me to the magical world where I found a home, family, and friends, something I never had at the Dursley's. I count you as part of my family Hagrid, dragon eggs, three headed dogs, and all. You were the person that I felt as if I could tell anything to and it made me so sad and angry that I couldn't tell you everything that was going on. I wanted to, but fear held me back. I promised myself fear would never hold me back again and that is why I had to stop Voldemort. And I just hope that I did.

"Luminous, Minister Friedens, when we first met, you looked at me as if you had so much hope and trust in me. I know you think I betrayed you and I did the second I read from Slytherin's Diary, but after that I wasn't myself and Merlin's Diaries knew that. I don't know when the last time you checked the chamber was, but you'll notice several volumes gone. Merlin's diaries came back to me in late March, it was how I was able to give the Potions Diary to Professor Snape. I am the Heir of Merlin for a reason. The books made sure I was worthy and then they gave me the last Diary. No one has been able to read it in hundreds of years and there's no wonder, Merlin was a Parseltongue, do you believe that? The book was waiting for someone that could speak the language and not be evil to reveal itself to. There is a five-page letter from Merlin in the book and then there is Merlin's wish. He saw long ago that Muggles and Wizards would be separated and that all magical beings would be put beneath the Wizard. Merlin's wish was for all life to become equal. Muggles, Wizards, Centaurs, Elves, everyone. We are all made of the same magic, life force, it's what holds us together and binds each other at the route of everything. We all have it, and it lives on, even after we die.

"Professor Dumbledore, the only thing I have to say to you is I'm sorry. I'm sorry for lying to you. I'm sorry for not coming to you. I'm sorry for not trusting you. You have always tried to protect me and you have always believed in me. I'm sorry I let you down and I hope you can forgive me. There was one good thing that I got from the Heir's book before it was destroyed. I found out how I survived the Killing Curse. We all assumed it was my mother's love and in part, it was. My parents found out how to harness phoenix song, I'm not quite sure how they did it, the books description was very vague, but apparently because of my parents' spell or what not, I am able to call on it by reflex. I found some information on this in a box in Sirius' closet. I would like you to use the information my parents and I left behind, and try and figure out a way to harness phoenix song. If it can be called upon at will, then there will be a way to block the Killing Curse, a form of magic that should never have been invented in the first place.

"There is one more thing I ask of you. There are a number of students in Hogwarts that possess the Dark Mark. I got to know these students very well and most of them are just lost and need someone to care. It may not seem so but these students are just kids looking out for their own futures. They were raised to believe a certain way and were led to believe that that way was right. Don't blame them for following in their parents' footstep, we all do eventually. If you can find a way to remove the Dark Mark do it and let these kids get on with their lives. With the exception of Voldemort's initiation, most of them have never done anything wrong.

"I know none of this will compensate for me not being in your lives anymore and I really wish I was there. Hogwarts was my home and you were all like the family I never had, and I'll miss you all very much. But eventually you'll all get on without me, at least, that is my hope that you will. Please live life like I never could, for life will go on, whether or not you are part of it."

With that, Harry Potter's image faded and silence ensued. Quiet cries came from various people around the room, but no one spoke, they didn't need to. No words could convey how they all felt.

They were all there for another hour, comforting each other, saying kind words about the boy who once lived, a boy who gave up everything to see the people he loved survive. An unjust ultimate sacrifice, some may say. But others, like Hermione Granger, Ginny and Ron Weasley, and Albus Dumbledore would remind them that death is only the beginning; the beginning of a new life and an even greater adventure.

A/N: The end, just seems so typical so that's why I have a sequel planned, Harry Potter and the Time of the Lost. Don't forget to review, it is the last chapter after all. :)