Title: An Alternate Ending
Author: Aoife Malfoy
Summary: It could end this way.
Word Count: 1,228
Status: One-Shot, Complete
Disclaimer: Still not JKR in disguise!
Rating: R for violence and language
Warnings: Pre-HBP, angst and character death, also unbetaed so any errors are my own damn fault!

I love you.

He stared at the unfamiliar words in wonder and apprehension as his fist tightened reflexively around the tiny parchment. He honestly didn't know what to do with it. He had never been the recipient of such tenderness and he was at a loss on how to respond. He shook his head. That wasn't true. He knew it in his heart already and it was validated every single minute he spent with the boy. However, he had yet to say the words out loud nor did he think he was ready too. To be honest, he was more than a little surprised at his boyfriend's admission. The boy had always kept his feelings tightly hidden behind a mask and for him to take such overtures was a great indication of the honesty in his words. Letting that warm his heart and strengthen his resolve, he grabbed another piece of parchment and wrote, "Meet me midnight. Our place."

As the school owl flew away with his missive, he strode away and went about the whole afternoon with a smile.

Later that night

He paced nervously as he thought of a hundred different ways to declare his love to his boyfriend and more than once he felt a little bit silly. Honestly, he didn't have to be this nervous! He was sure he was loved already; all he needed to do was reciprocate! It shouldn't be this hard! He admonished himself as he continued to pace, anxiously waiting for his absent lover to appear.

The next day

In a flurry of robes and rumpled hair, he quickly strode to his table, muttering darkly all the way. The stupid git didn't show! How dare he stand him up! There he was nearly chewing on the furniture in his anxiety, waiting for the wanker so that he could confess his feelings and the sodding prat stood him up! He cursed again loudly at nothing in particular and his eyes narrowed as he scanned the hall. When he didn't see the source of his distress, he sat heavily in his seat and glared at everything that came across his line of sight and was only disrupted from this activity when a school owl clipped him upside the head. Growling furiously at yet another injustice heaped upon his head that day, he almost made to strike back at the fleeing bird but was frozen mid-swipe when his eyes caught the newspaper that the insolent messenger had delivered. It can't be! He grabbed the paper and stared at it in shock. It was a lie! The Prophet was known for its deceit! He had halfway convinced himself of this notion when he noticed the rest of the Great Hall. Pandemonium had struck. Everyone was white-faced and solemn. Girls were crying and even the professors looked at a loss on what to do. Even Professor Snape who was known for the use of only one expression on his face which was always of disdain wore something that no one had seen before: fear. It was then that he knew it was true. For he had never known the Potions Master to be anything but bitter yet fearless, even when he was still actively spying for Dumbledore he had never shown that fear. He dropped the rag and forced himself to walk away quickly before the inevitable tears could come, away from the mourning Great Hall, away from the stricken teachers and away from the article that declared his boyfriend to be dead, taken from Hogwarts and tortured within an inch of his life by Voldemort.

He strode briskly, purposely to their place, the room where so many memories of theirs were born. And even when stinging tears blurred his vision, he still kept his pace, a single-minded focus forming clearly in his mind. It might not have been his war to begin with but now he was claiming it. No longer was he running away from what most people deemed as his destiny. He had procrastinated long enough and look at what it had gotten him. He stepped into the room and it quickly gave him what he required. He then walked faster until he reached the gates. He would succeed in where others have failed. For his vengeance was the only thing he had left. His life was forfeit now that the love of his life was dead. He had nothing else left to lose.

Voldemort died the next day.

No one knew how. A missive was sent to the Ministry relaying the location of where his body laid but no signature was affixed to the note. All they could gather from the remains was that Voldemort met his end in a very sticky way. His face was distorted in an expression of unending torment and his body was crushed numerous times over. It seemed he died of torture and something else. His red eyes were as vacant as a victim of the Dementor's Kiss. It seemed that something had shattered his soul. Aurors moved around the corpse with caution and a healthy bit of fear for who would have been powerful enough to slay the darkest wizard in a century? Who had enough magic in their blood to create a fourth Unforgivable?

Through all this, old blue eyes watched in silence. Albus Dumbledore knew what happened, of course, or at the very least had a exceptionally strong inking of it. He had always said that the Dark Lord would fall because of a power he could not understand and it seems like he finally had. For after all what could be more powerful in the world than the purest of hate born from loosing the one you love? Nothing in the world could be stronger. His once famously twinkling azure eyes grew duller still. But at what price did this victory cost? For he knew as surely as he knew anything else in his old age that hate of that power, of that magnitude also destroyed the bearer. And so it was that when he was finally securely ensconced in his bedchambers, Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and lauded most powerful wizard alive, broke down in tears and sobbed fiercely. He cried in relief for the children in his care and for mankind in general. Yet he also wept bitterly for two innocent boys who were destined from birth to change the world even when it had to be with their deaths instead of with their lives.

That night.

He had wandered aimlessly for hours on end after he had killed the murderous bastard. He didn't know where to go from there and so he had taken off on his broom. He almost wept in bittersweet joy when he saw where his wandering had taken him. Of course, he would end up here. He did ever so badly want to go home. He almost ran to the freshly dug grave when he saw it and as he sank to his knees on the cold wet grass, his mind whirled with a hundred thousand different things. Things like I should have told you before, I miss you, Come back to me please, I can't do this without you. But all he said when he finally broke the silence in the graveyard was,

"I love you too, Harry."