Hi everyone :)
It's here people, the last chapter of our little story. It's been about five months I think since I started this and I never once had to delay an update. How sweet is that? I'm rather proud of the fact that I managed to keep constant, weekly updates, even throwing in the odd, extra Sunday post as well :)
Okay, I'm going to leave the majority of the talking for the end of this chapter. And, I am aware of how short this chapter is and I apologise for it but I didn't want to get bogged down in emotion and stuff because that just gets really repetitive after a while. But, despite the length, I hope you still enjoy it :)
Ugh, it feels like I've got my head in a vice...But I'm in a bed that smells exactly like Draco and that means I'm awake in a bed that Draco uses and that surely can't be a bad thing, right? It means I'm alive which in turn means I didn't die...Hah, I didn't die! In your face Voldemort! I didn't die...But now I can feel him in my head...That's a little disturbing to say the least. It's something I'm going to have to get used to though so there's little use in complaining about it. At least he's not being any bother at the moment; from what I can tell, he's just as exhausted as I am and probably doesn't yet have the strength to fight back or even speak to me. The book said it takes longer for the absorbed Essence to recover than the absorber which is something to be thankful for.
I best get out of bed and find a mirror to inspect the damage done. I've got to have a couple dozen bruises at least; it certainly feels like I do, that one where I landed on my shoulder sure hurts enough, and then there's that bit in the book about taking on some of the other's features. At least I still have a nose and I'm not bald, I can tell that much already at least. Just have to open my eyes...Agh, bright light! Shut them! Shut them!...Ouch, that stung. Okay, let's re-phrase that; first I have to inch open my eyes slowly in order to not blind myself.
Slowly, squint first...That's right. That's not so bad. Just stay like this for a little while...Now try opening them a bit more...Ooo, no, too much there, that stung again. Merlin, this is frustrating. Little bit more...Okay, that'll have to do, I can't be bothered with this anymore. I'm still pretty much squinting but I can see enough to try and find my glasses, which I see have been thoughtfully left for me in the bedside table by someone, probably Draco. Right, now I have to get up and check myself out in the full-length mirror I know is over in the corners. Have to carefully get onto my feet, ignore that twinge in my hip just now, pause to let the head rush fade, one more second to make sure I'm not going to collapse or pass out the second I try to step forward...And we're good. I'm actually rather glad the curtains are already open now; I'm not sure I could manage to make a detour over to them.
Ugh, my legs are all weak and wobbly, like I've been sitting down for too long...Well, I guess I kinda have, I'm just not sure how long exactly. Alright, here we are at the mirror and...Oh, dear Merlin, my left eye's red! Oh wow, that looks so weird...I've got one green eye and I've got one red eye and I'm a Hell of a lot paler than I was before. My skin looks a lot like Draco's now, makes me look creepy with the dark hair as well, kinda like a vampire. Thankfully, I do, indeed, still have all my hair and my nose is still firmly on my face. It's just my left eye and the colour of my skin, but that's still more than enough thank you very much. It makes me look so much different from before. Good thing I've never really been into my looks or I might be really disappointed at the moment. Or really pleased if I was into the whole vampire/mysterious dark stranger look. As it is I'm just a little sad; Voldemort's part of me now, I can't deny it and it's plain for everyone to see.
I wonder how the Wizarding world's reacted to mine and Voldemort's sudden appearance, (which was quickly followed by his defeat thank you very much)? I bet it's all over the papers; I'll probably be swamped by journalists the moment I step outside. That won't be for a while however, I can assure you of that. I've never been one for liking the press and stardom and all that and feeling half dead isn't going to help the situation. No, I can't see me leaving Malfoy Manor for a long time. If I had my way, I'd never leave the manor but I know Draco and everyone else won't let me do that.
Let's check out the damage on my body. I'm in a pair of Draco's pyjamas again so there's no need to take the shirt of. Just have to raise my not-hurting arm and pull the shoulder down...Eww...That is the biggest, ugliest bruise I've ever seen and it's taking up basically my entire right shoulder. That's doesn't look nice at all. I must be really heavy if landing on my shoulder like I did turned it this sickly shade of purple and yellow. Uck, I can't look at it anymore or I think I might be sick.
Hmm, Draco knows I'm awake, I just felt a rush of nervous anticipation through our bond. No doubt he'll be in here within the next couple of minutes. I hope he's not too disappointed or freaked out with my new appearance. True, he's probably already aware of the pale skin and the bruising but he'll be able to see my eyes now...
"Harry!" Draco gasps as I see him suddenly burst into the room through the reflection in the mirror, sounding and looking at me frantically.
I turn from the mirror to look at him and I see and feel the surprise, no doubt because he's seen my newly coloured eye. "It's not that bad is it?" I ask quietly, nervously, and I'm not even going to try and deny that fact I'm scared: I'm scared this will be too much for him; I'm scared of being left alone; I'm scared about what's going to happen when Voldemort recovers inside me; I'm just scared about the future in general.
"Oh my Harry." Draco breathes, hurrying forwards to me and clutching me in his arms securely. I bring my good arm around him tightly, burying my face into his chest. I feel waves of reassuring love and relief coming through our bond and I cling to it like he's my last life-line; in a way, he is. When Voldemort does recover, it will be through Draco's constant support that I'll stay grounded and be able to fight him off. "It's not bad at all. It's a true testiment to your courage and strength, and you're beautiful. You've always been beautiful and you're still the most beautiful, glorious person I will ever meet in any life I lead."
"You have to say that; you're my soul-mate. Even if I turned into an exact Voldemort look-alike you'd still think I was beautiful. It's everyone else: the Weasleys; Remus and Sirius; the entire Wizarding population, what will they think of me? What if they can't accept it? What if I'm too much of a reminder?" I can't stop the tears that well up in my eyes at the thought of being so alone but I blink them back stubbornly; I've just defeated one of the darkest wizards ever, I am not going to cry over something as trivial as the opinions of other people.
"No matter what happens, I'll never leave your side. Even if everyone else turns their back on you, I'll always stay. You'll always have me." Draco whispers to me gently and that breaks my control; the tears start to fall. I don't know if he's aware that's exactly what he said to me during Second Year but I remember all too well. This is all too much: all these memories; knowing that Draco really will always be there for me; the fear about what's to come in the future, it's all too much, I can't hold back my tears, not anymore. I sob pathetically into his shirt; I only hope it's not a particularly expensive shirt. "Shh, it's all right Harry, it's going to be all right." He soothes me gently, rocking me to and fro and it's surprisingly calming but maybe that's just because Draco's the one comforting me.
"How long has it been?" I manage to ask with a sniff at the end as I cling to the hem of his robes tightly.
"About a three and a half days." Draco's warm voice answers and helps to calm me a little more as does the hand which is combing through my hair slowly.
"You're not in Azkaban so I guess you didn't get into too much trouble for that Cruciatus you cast." I check with a weak laugh.
"Well, after a couple of dozen witness statements saying that if I hadn't cast it when I did then you probably would've been killed, they pretty much had to pardon me." He explains as he chuckles a little.
"Does everyone know what really happened?" It may sound a bit vague but Draco knows what I'm talking about; does everyone in the Wizarding world know that Voldemort is actually inside me now rather than actually dead?
"Yes. His body's being kept at a secret, secure location where he'll be kept alive without disruption."
So they do know. I suppose considering my usual luck that should've been obvious really. Sigh.
A possessed teacher, a basilisk, a fully grown werewolf and the Dark Lord Voldemort himself. I've faced each of those at some point in both of my lives and they were, understandably, rather scary times. However, none of them were half as frightening as what I'm about to do now.
Draco's standing right by my side, just as he's always promised, my hand in his tightly, our fingers laced together securey. We've stopped in front of the closed doors which lead into the living room of the manor. Behind these closed doors are my friends an family and I'm about to see them for the first time with the new looks. My eyes are probably still a bit puffy from my marathon crying session I've just finished, though because I had a cuddle with Draco for quite a while, thus giving myself plenty of time to calm down, they're not as puffy as they could be. It's probably noticeable that I have been crying but I shouldn't think it's noticeable enough to provoke questions straight away.
"So, uh, Draco?" I murmur quietly, looking down at the floor. "Who exactly is in there?"
"Ron and Hermione with their kid, Ginny, Remus and Sirius." He lists just as quietly, probably so the others don't hear us and greet us before we're/I'm completely ready for them. "Contessa and my mother are still asleep from the sleeping draught I slipped them both last night. Neither had slept since it happened and they need the rest if only to give me a break from Contessa's hysterics and mother's nagging." Hmm, Contessa, that's not surprising, and I don't suppose Narcissa's nagging is either. She's always concerned for Draco, even when there's no reason to be but this time, she has a point; it doesn't look like he's had much sleep either. "I could go in there first and ask a few of them to wait in another room so it's not too over-whelming for you." He offers gently, pulling me from my thoughts.
"No, no it's all right. I might as well get it all over and done with in one go." I reason, taking in a deep breath.
"All right, if that's what you want. Ready to go in then?"
I can only nod, my voice suddenly gone. Draco gives my hand a reassuring squeeze and I inch closer to his body. He steps forward, pushing open the doors and pulling me along with him. My blood-pressure has probably just spiked to a dangerous level and my heart is beating at an unbelievably fast pace. I don't want them to see my eye yet; I know it's only delaying the inevitable but I don't want them to see it yet. So, head down and staring at my feet is the way I'm going in.
Everyone's silent inside making the ticking of the grandfather clock in the corner unbearably loud. I can feel everyone's eyes on me and for some odd reason, a part of me really wants to look up and see the others who are in the room. Some form of morbid curiousity no doubt; I just want to see how they react to my one red eye. I have to do it eventually, why not do it now? Get it over and out of the way. Okay then, on the count of three Harry, you're going to lift your head and face your family and friends. You weren't put in Gryffindor for nothing after all. Draco must know about my mental encouragement for myself as he's just squeezed my hand reassuringly. Okay, here we go...One, two, three...
And I'm looking and...Yep, they all seem pretty shocked though no one seems horrified or disgusted and that's always a positive thing. It's not too bad I suppose...Though I am starting to wonder when/if anyone's ever going to talk or move ever again...Okay, now we've moved onto the silence and staring being a little awkward...And now it's just plain creepy...Why isn't anyone saying anything!
"Umm...Hi." ...It's another one of those days where you really just wish sometimes that you'd just kept your mouth shut.
"How are you feeling?" Hermione inquires very quietly and I'm not sure if it's because she doesn't want to wake the baby, (who Ron's holding) or whether she doesn't want to shatter the silence, uncomfortable though it is.
"Compared to the end of our Second Year, I feel great." I answer and that seems to have had the affect I wanted: it's shown them that I'm still me; I still have my dry, somewhat sarcastic, sense of humour; I can still look back on things with good humour; I'm still the same old person I've always been, I just have paler skin and one red eye now.
And with that, remarkably, the ice is broken. Ginny dashes over to me and Draco and pulls me into a tight hug and then it's a free-for-all. Everybody's out of their seats intent on hugging the living day-lights out of me and kissing my cheeks or the top of my head. Usually, this kind of situation would make me feel incredibly awkward and embarassed but I'm too thankful that they're not completely freaked out or intimidated to feel any desire to be embarassed.
As Sirius crushes me in a tight hug and then starts to apologise when I give a yelp of pain, at the back of my mind, I can't help but think about what's to come. I'm still scared for my future. This is not going to be what you'd call an easy life in any way, shape or form. And I'm dreading going outside for the first time, the paparazzi are going to be all over me. Things have definately improved greatly during the past hour or so though.
No matter what the rest of the world thinks of me, whether they accept this new me or shun me, it doesn't matter to me so much anymore because my family have accepted me and, in the end, they're the only ones whose opinions really mean anything to me.
End of Reincarnated.
And we're done! That's the end, no more, fin, owari etc etc. I am aware that there is an idea for a sequel lurking around in here but that, fortunately or unfortunately, (depends on how you look at it) won't ever come into being. Why? One main reason really: I really hate sequels. They're never even half way as good as the originals and are usually/always just cash-ins, (coughSonOfTheMaskcough). True, I wouldn't actually be getting paid for writing a sequel but you all know what I mean :D
Anyways, I hope everyone's enjoyed this little fic. I must admit I've had a lot of fun writing it, it's been a blast. I'm glad that it's over before it had a chance to start to drag for me and my writer's block got too bad. And, it was because of you wonderful, beautiful, huggable reviewers that writer's block never got a decent enough hold on me and for that, I thank you all for your encouraging words and for the pure fact that you were reading this in the first place :) (gigantuan hugs for everyone reading this bit right here).
The final question some might be wondering? What's next? Well, I shall tell you what is next right now as a sneaky little peek :) My next fic will be another Harry Potter one, (duh) and will most probably be titled Family Means More Than Blood, (or something along those lines) and it'll be an entire rewrite of the whole Harry Potter series. I know, I can hear some groans from that but this will be good, I promise! You all know me, I have do do things at least a little differently :D There'll be lots of fluffy Harry and Draco moments, (friendship until they get a bit older and then, naturally, they'll be together as they should be) Lucius will be relatively nicer, (he likes Harry anyway, he's still a mean and snotty to everyone else) there'll be lots of Severitus, (yay for adopted father Snape!) and, maybe the icing on the cake or a big turn off point, one sided Voldemort/Harry. Sound like your kinda thing? Good, I'll see ya there hopefully. Not the sort of thing you read? Give it a try anyway, you might like it :D
Okay, I'm going to finally stop talking again. Thanks once again to everyone for reading this and I'll hopefully see some/all of you again soon. Take care all and have a wonderful day :)