Summery- The point of building a house of cards is to see it reach the sky before it tumbles into ruin. Sometimes all you need is a little motivation and a touch of fate to do what you always wished to do. Harry gets some startling news and decides that its time to put his life into order. Armed only with a voice in his head that sounds remarkably like Tom Riddle, and a 'To Do' list Harry sets out to set the pieces in place.

Incudes sadness, determination, betrayal by one thought an angel and love by one thought a demon. A bittersweet story that shows you how love, in all its purity, can solve almost anything, that some things last through life, death and whatever the hell follows afterwards- that the point of the cards is not to fall, but to touch the sky...

Parings- Hermione/Ron and (if you really, really squint) implied Ginny/Draco. No pairings for Harry and the two listed are simply background pairings. Harry is the main character- his pov and all

Warnings- Spoilers for all but the latest book. This is Harry's sixth year.

A/N- Hurrah! Last chapter! And to celebrate, its my longest one yet! Yayness! (No, that isn't a real word. I can make them up if i want to, darn it!) I hope you've all enjoyed reading this story. I don't mean to sound clich'ed but I enjoyed writing it! Please enjoy it and remember to read and review! A special thanks goes out to all that did-- you made this story worth while! Thank you!

-Nat rulz

Love's the most powerful thing there is
More powerful than any word
For love, it is a feeling
Not something to be heard
It hides inside the deepest heart
It coils there like a beast
It slumbers until one comes along
On which the thing will feast
Love can save a weeping man
And heal the unseen scars
It can trap you out of sight
Or erode all of your bars
It can be the cause of death

It can even cause a war
But fighting and blood and hate
Well, that's not what love's for
Love's a feeling, a knowing ache
That can both cause and end your strife
It holds such power in its hands
That it can even save your life.

Chapter Eight: The Power of Love

It was Thursday.

Harry tried not to think of the fact that he only had a little over a day to live. Fawkes and Emerald were wonders at distracting him but there was one thing on his list that he had yet to do

Write his letters

He couldn't write everyone a letter. It would take away the significance of receiving one. He had already written a will and that was where he would acknowledge anyone he didn't write a letter to. A letter was more intimate, more touching.

They could keep a letter.

In the end he chose to only write four.

To Severus, his father in everything but name. His mentor, the one who was there for him. The one who had done something no one else had done and offered him a home.

To Dumbledore, his mentor and protector. The one he had always counted on in times of strife. The one who had been there and supported him no matter what.

To Hermione, his sister, his kindred spirit. The one who stuck by him and lectured him. The one who was honest and caring and mothering and the one who had always been willing to share her vast array of knowledge

To Ron, his brother and first ever friend. The one who had stuck by him in thick and in thin. The one who had wavered slightly but who had always, in the end, returned by his side. The one who joked with him and played with him and kicked his ass in chess.

He had never done anything with all his heart and soul as much as he had written these letters. A strong sealing and anchoring charm insured that the intended parties would not be able to open them until he lost consciousness, where the thread between him and the spell keeping the envelopes shut would snap and the letters would open. It took him the better part of the day to write them.

Now all he had to do was deliver them.

To my dearest Hermione

Harry found his first target finally alone in the library reading up on what appeared to be Transfiguration

"Hey Hermione" Harry said casually

"Hey Harry" She replied absently, turning a page

"Could I please have your attention for a moment?" Harry requested, amused

"Sure" She agreed, reluctantly looking away from the book.

For a moment Harry only studied her. She had grown into a beautiful woman. Her hair had grown out of the frizzy-ness slightly; she was curvy in all the right places having a well-shaped figure and intelligent brown eyes. Harry thought her very beautiful indeed and if she had been his type and had he not thought of her as a sister, Ron would have been in a lot of trouble.

"Harry?" Hermione said, interrupting his musing and looking at him curiously. "What are you doing?"

Harry smiled and took her hands

"Admiring the beautiful witch you have become" He said warmly causing Hermione to smile and blush lightly "You are brilliant and radiant and if I had a sister I would want her to be exactly like you"

Hermione seemed flattered but confused by his words

"You know you mean the world to me, don't you?" Harry asked her seriously and Hermione nodded, appearing uncertain

"Yes, of course" She said sounding as though she wanted to know the reason behind this conversation

Harry pulled out his friendship charm and fiddled with it

"I meant what I said Hermione." He said as he took out the letter and handed it over. Hermione immediately tried to open it only to find that she couldn't. She looked at him, puzzled

"It'll open when the time is right" Harry assured her "Just promise me, and this is very important Hermione, promise me that you'll carry it with you until it opens. No matter what. Don't put it down"

Hermione seemed puzzled but nodded and slipped the letter into her pocket. Satisfied, Harry stood

"Don't mention this to anyone" He told her then, in spur of the moment, bent down and brushed his lips against hers in a chaste, platonic kiss

"I wish you love and happiness till the end of your days," He said as he pulled away, putting some magic in those words that would gift her with luck. He walked from the library leaving a startled Hermione who suddenly found the Transfiguration text to be quite unimportant and uninteresting.

She raised a hand to her lips.

To my dearest Ron

Harry found his second target in their dorm searching around his trunk for something that was obviously being quite stubborn about being found

"What you doing Ron?" Harry asked curiously

"Looking for my Potions text. We have it next and I can't find it" Ron cried, sounding frustrated "You seen it?"

"Accio Potions Text" Harry said lazily and a rather battered text book shot out from out of under the bed and into his hand where he then handed it to a blushing Ron

"Thanks" He mumbled

"You're my best mate Ron" Harry said, "I couldn't wish for a better brother and friend. You mean the world to me and I hope your happy with 'Mione in the future"

Ron lifted a brow

"You right mate?" he asked

"I'm fine" Harry said, slightly exasperated "I just want you to know how much you mean to me"

"Course I know" Ron insisted "I feel the same way"

"Good" Harry said bluntly as he handed over the letter. Ron, too, tried to open it and frowned when he couldn't

"It will open at the right time" Harry told him "But promise me you'll carry it everywhere Ron. I'm serious. Never let it go until it opens"

"I promise" Ron said, sounding puzzled. Harry nodded his satisfaction

"Tell no one of this" Harry cautioned and when Ron nodded he stepped towards him and captured him in a fierce hug before he turned around and calmly left the room

A rather shocked Ron gazed blankly after him

My dearest Severus

"Class dismissed"

Harry wondered if his father always dismissed the class in exactly the same way. He stayed behind, waiting once more for the class to be deserted before he approached him

"Father" He greeted, still unused to the word

"Harry" Severus replied, looking up from his desk "What can I do for you?"

Harry didn't know what to say. He and Severus understood each other so well that perhaps he didn't have to say anything. He wouldn't have to tell Severus the letter would open when it was time. Severus would know. He didn't need to tell him to carry it always. Severus would. He wouldn't have to express how much he cared, admired and maybe even loved him. Severus could tell.

Instead he simply placed the letter on his new father's desk, leaned over the space and pulled Severus in a warm embrace. Severus stiffened in surprise and, after a moment of awkwardness, returned the hug, no doubt utterly bewildered

"Thank you" Harry said simply. He stepped back and left the room leaving a thoroughly perplexed Severus Snape behind him.

Severus pocketed the letter

My dearest Albus

Out of all his targets the Headmaster was the easiest to approach. He simply walked up the Head Table at the end of dinner, handed him the letter told him to open it 'after the event', gave him a brief hug and left

Albus Dumbledore looked rather puzzled staring after him.

Even the best fall down

It was Friday. Harry had never felt so exhausted. He was rather relieved he had the excuse of a 'fever' because his friends were gracing him with worried looks that his letter episode had probably not helped to corrode.

The timing was uncertain so Harry threw everything he had into living. He smiled, he laughed, he joked, he was absolutely and truly happy.

If anyone noticed that he was acting brighter than usual they decided not to comment on it.

As the day passed Harry could actually feel the seed draining his power. It took all his concentration not to stumble as he walked and his body and mind felt as if they had not rested properly in months. Harry desperately wanted to lie down but knew for a fact that it would bring death on faster and though he accepted it he refused to go down to something Voldemort created without a fight.

At midday he was reaching the end of his reserves and, during the walk to the Great Hall after Defense Against the Dark Arts, his friends noticed just how bad it was.

"Are you alright Harry? It's the virus isn't it? Do you need help?" Hermione offered

"I need to get to the Great Hall" Harry said, his voice sounding weak even to him. He stumbled again and, if not for Ron, he would have fallen

"I think you better go to the Hospital Wing mate," Ron said uncertainly but Harry stubbornly shook his head

"The Great Hall" He persisted

Seeming very reluctant, Hermione and Ron helped him to the Great Hall. As soon as Dumbledore saw them he rushed forward to meet them in the center and drew Harry towards him

"Harry" Dumbledore cried, sounding more urgent than anyone had ever heard him and causing Severus to rise and walk over "Harry, you have to fight it! As much as you can child! If you out last Tom it might weaken the connection"

Harry shook his head with an eerily calm smile

"No Albus" He whispered, but everyone in the now silent hall heard him "He has done a lot to try and strengthen it."

"Hush child" Dumbledore said quietly.

Harry suddenly cried out, scar bursting in absolute agony and he slumped forward into the Headmaster's arms

"Voldemort's gone," Harry said causing whispers to break out "It shouldn't be much longer now. He was more affected than me"

"You did it Harry" Dumbledore said proudly, a single tear escaping his eye "You beat him. I am so, so proud of you"

Harry smiled and looked from a saddened Dumbledore, to a worried Severus, to a confused Ron and a fearful Hermione

"Take care of them for me Albus" Harry said, voice clear with this command "Look after my family"

Harry tried desperately to fight it but he found himself sinking into a black oblivion and distantly he felt his body fall forwards only to be caught be gentle hands.

Dumbledore lifted Harry gently, holding him as though he would break at the slightest tremor. A fierce, determined glint was in his eyes and he knew that, although Harry would be in a coma for only a couple of hours, there was still the chance he could save him

Even in his determination he knew how slim the chance was

He turned to the whispering hall

"Lord Voldemort id dead" He called, silencing it immediately "For the present that is all you need to know. I shall keep you updated"

With that he swept urgently from the room Ron, Hermione and Severus only just having the sense to follow blindly behind him

The hall broke out in chaos

A letter from the heart

Dumbledore placed Harry gently on the hospital bed and only vaguely noticed Severus, Hermione and Ron gathering around him. Severus looked quite agitated

"Sir? What's wrong with Harry?" Hermione whispered

Dumbledore closed his eyes, as though in physical pain

"I suggest" He whispered, gaze never leaving Harry's face "That now would be the time to read those letters"

They looked surprised but everyone, including Dumbledore, retracted their letter from Harry and read

Dumbledore's Letter:

My Dearest Albus,

I pondered for a long time how I could possible say everything I needed to in a simple letter but I feel I must. Words can be quite powerful and if I must die I would rather you have something to remember me by.

You were always there Albus. I know, at times, you blame yourself for the troubles I have faced. My relatives, Voldemort, the constant dangers at the school. I wish you to know that I do not blame you. You did what you think was best and that is enough. I've never had someone look after my personal interest before. You might not have succeeded in everything but humans rarely do and you, my dearest headmaster, are simply human at the end of the day.

So rather than blame you for everything, I thank you for it. Because of all the good things in my life and even all the bad things (perhaps especially the bad things) have made me into the man I am today- though I am quite certain you shall always refer to me as 'child' and 'boy'

I want you to know that, in some ways, I am yours. You saved me time and time again Albus. You released me from myself and let me know that it's okay to be who I am. Yes, I am a Gryffindor. Yes, I am a Slytherin. Yes, I am proud and stubborn and brave and sly. Yes I am so very much like a certain Tom Marvello Riddle, and that's okay. We all have our strengths. We all have our faults

Even you

Your (I'm going to be presumptuous and say 'favorite') student,

Harry James Potter-Snape

Ron's Letter:

My dearest Ron,

I'm sure your rather puzzled right about now so I will not waste words. I am dying. Perhaps, since you are reading this, I have already passed on.

Isn't odd, friend of mine, how it was you that sat with me on our very first ride in the Hogwarts express? I wonder how different our fate might have been had you chosen another compartment.

You were always there for me Ron, you were my first ever friend. Though we had our fights and our arguments, no matter what was happening or what others were saying about me you always stuck by my side at the end of the day.

I know you'll miss me Ron. Or at least I hope so. I don't fear dying so I hope you can learn to accept it. I had warning, which is more than I can say for a lot of people. It has been both a blessing and a curse. I have tied up all my loose ends. I hope you can learn to enjoy life without me. I'll always be with you Ron. Live for me.

I feel obliged to give you some brotherly advice and I may as well be clichéd about it. Life is like a game of chess. Think and study the patterns before you move- a pawn may be the difference between failure and victory.

Keep our friendship chain Ron. Remember what it means.

Your friend for all eternity

Harry James Potter-Snape

P.S. Hurt Hermione and I'll be forced to haunt you.

Hermione's Letter:

My dearest Hermione,

No doubt your rather curious right about know so I shall be lenient and explain. I am dying. When Voldemort took over my body in the Ministry of Magic he left a seed in my mind. Although he did not complete the spell the seed still slowly drained me of my life and energy.

On the brighter side Voldemort accidentally infected himself as well. Not to mention I left my own seed by mistake. You won't have to put up with him any longer.

You are my sister, Hermione, you are my kindred spirit, you have never wavered on our path together and I thank you for that. I want you to know that I love you, heart and soul. I know you have been worried about me and you need not be so. After all that I have done I should hope very much I make it to heaven- or wherever death leads you.

Thank you for everything my Hermione. My friend. Please treasure our friendship charm and honor the single word that will, now, never again be revealed.

Your friend for all eternity,

Harry James Potter-Snape

Severus' Letter:

My dearest Severus,

I'm afraid I have been unbearably selfish. I had not intended for us to bond so intimately. Not when I knew what was coming. I am dying, Severus. Suffice to say that it's all Voldemort's fault

When you asked to adopt me I almost cried. In both happiness and despair. For how could you know? How could you know how fleeting a thing it would be? Surely, had you known, you would have decided against it. And you no doubt wonder why I let you do it

Because I craved a family. Because I wanted someone to mourn me. Because I loved you and I was selfish enough to want the honor of being named your son.

How the walls do crumble. I think we can both detest to that. We were both the salvation and destruction of the other.

I want you to know that I am more proud than I can honestly hope to express to be named your son. You are the father I never had and had we had more time on this earth together I am positive I would have died for you and you for me

I've never really had a parent before, but you were the closest I got

I am yours father. Until the sun dies, until the sky falls, until hell does freeze. Forever and always. Through life, through death and whatever the hell follows afterwards

For eternity

Your loving and devoted only son,

Harry James Potter-Snape

No one spoke for several moments

"I," Severus said firmly "Refuse to let my only son die"

Severus' proclamation seemed to shock everyone out of his or her private reverie over his or her letter

"I have no intention of letting that happen" Dumbledore said firmly "But even I cannot do it alone"

"I'll help" Hermione said immediately, silent tears streaking down her cheeks

"Me too" Ron said stubbornly, voice faltering slightly

Severus merely nodded, silently pledging his assistance

"It is very difficult" Dumbledore warned, "The only way to save him is to break the connection he has with Voldemort"

"But… isn't Voldemort dead? How can he be connected to a corpse?" Hermione inquired

"The connection goes beyond that" Dumbledore explained, "It connects the two body, mind and soul. When Voldemort was but a spirit Harry still held the connection and he currently holds that to Voldemort's soul. No doubt Voldemort's soul has found itself stranded on limbo, not able to move on with such a vital connection tethering it to the earth and yet no way to return"

"But… cutting something that strong might be fatal" Hermione said hesitantly and Dumbledore nodded sadly

"It has a very high percentage of killing him, yes, but lower than the chance he has of survival should we not. It's his only chance and I'm afraid we shall have to risk it"

"There has never existed such a connection," Severus pointed out, frowning heavily with worry "What spell could we possibly cast to break it?"

"None exists" Dumbledore admitted, "There will be no book, spell, potion or anything else to break something that has never even existed. Even ones that serve to break love and blood bonds would not help us in the least since we have a rather short time limit. It would have taken years to manipulate them. Harry's only known of his upcoming demise for two months"

They stared at him

"So what the bloody hell are we supposed to do?" Ron cried, impatient as always. For once Hermione did not reprimand him for his language

"The only thing that can break the connection is love," Dumbledore said bluntly

They all blinked

"Love?" Ron asked pessimistically

"The connection is forged from hate" Dumbledore persisted "if we bombard it with love it may break under the pressure. Voldemort was repeatedly scolded by it and there is no reason why the connection should be any different"

"So how exactly do we do that?" Severus asked, arching a brow

"No idea really" Dumbledore admitted "But a combined spell of declaration of power might do it"

"A what?" Ron asked

"It's a very draining and very powerful spell" Hermione said, obviously awed "All of us would have to, in this case, love Harry with all our heart and soul. The spell should actually force our emotion, magic and some of our life-force into Harry's very being so he becomes overpowered by it. It's only been used three times in history and none of the patients had been dying, nor has the emotion been love. Usually it is only used when someone is grievously drained of energy or darkly cursed and only one person is needed to cast it. Harry not only needs energy and life-force but also needs to have the connection cut- and that connection is no mere dark curse"

Ron seemed to absorb that

"But it could work?" He asked hopefully and Hermione seemed to honestly consider it

"It could" Hermione admitted "But as it's never been used in such a way- it's a little uncertain what the results will be"

"It can hardly turn out any worse" Severus commented simply "And I refuse doing nothing. This is most likely the chance we have"

"Alright everyone" Dumbledore said, for once completely serious "Stand in a circle and place your wand tips on Harry's forehead in a round formation"

Everyone obeyed him, making certain that his or her wand points were touching on Harry's forehead and each tip was connected to the others. Dumbledore studied each person before his gaze settled finally on Severus

"Severus" Dumbledore started then hesitated "You must love Harry to complete the spell. I know you care for him deeply but he has only been your son for two days. This spell is uncertain enough as it is; we have to be very confident of our feelings"

Severus' gaze did not waver

"If there is anyone on this earth I love, it would be this child" He whispered, sounding almost dangerous "I would give my life for him just as I know you would give yours for me. I can do this spell"

Dumbledore studied him for a long moment then nodded

"Very well" He said, "Now I want all of you to close your eyes"

Everyone, including Dumbledore, did so

"Now I want you to picture all the times you have loved Harry. Let it overwhelm you. Let it take you over. Build those feelings up as high as you can"

Dumbledore's voice was a soft whisper, but everyone in the room heard him. There was no doubt that Dumbledore was powerful but his words now seemed drenched with it

"Think of how badly you want him to live, how you would die for him. Think of how you want to purify his body of all evil, how deeply you want to break the connection"

The air was thick with magic and seemed to vibrate from expectation

"Now concentrate on the purity of that and push"

They did

One would think, from the complexity of the spell that it would be long and arduous. One would be wrong

It was quick and subtle and so terrible draining that even as their wands flashed they fell to their knees in exhaustion

Harry wasn't so lucky

Imagine, if you could, a thousand daggers sinking into you flesh. Imagine being held roughly under rising water. Imagine being burned alive by a fire that burned softly enough to make you live for hours. Imagine a thousand transformations from human to werewolf on a single day. Imagine cutting away part of your soul, body and mind with a toothpick. Now times all these reactions by one hundred

You might get something in comparison to the pain that assaulted Harry

His back arching, his fist clenching Harry threw back his head and screamed. And screamed. And screamed.

The power assaulted his body. His scar spit open under the strain. The magic traveled like lightning down the invisible thread. It strained under the pressure of so much magic. Of so much emotion

It snapped

If Harry was screaming before it was nothing compared to the cry he gave now. It was so loud the Slytherin's in the dungeon heard him. It was so loud that the people in Hogsmeade looked, startled, towards the castle. It was so loud that the dead was said to stir in their sleep.

And it kept going

Dumbledore, Hermione, Ron and Severus were covering their ears when, suddenly, it stopped. Harry sank into the bed as though it were quicksand. Severus was at his side in an instant

"Well?" He demanded as Dumbledore stood

"It's broken" Dumbledore said and he checked Harry's pulse "And he's breathing, but barely. He still might not make it. His body has to adjust. Still, the hardest part is over. Its up to Harry now"

Everyone turned his or her gaze to Harry and each had the exact same thought

What on earth was he going through?

Beyond the veil

If Harry had known dying would hurt so bloody much he might have been less easy going about it. It was the most excruciating thing he had ever experienced. So much so that it made Crucio seem merciful in comparison.

Then, as suddenly as it started it stopped

His whole body aching, Harry felt himself drifting into oblivion. He felt like a piece of driftwood, going with the tide of the river all the while being pulled further and further down.

Until, quite suddenly, he stopped. There was no ground he could see (the darkness was so complete he couldn't see his own hands) but his feet rested on something, which Harry thought was peculiar, as, since he had been falling quite rapidly, it should have been impossible to touch down so gently.

"Hello Harry"

Finally fulfilling the promise made those long two moths ago the form of Tom Marvello Riddle stepped gracefully forwards. Harry decided not to try to analyze why he could actually see Tom (as it was so bloody dark) because he knew he would probably not reach a conclusion any time soon.

"Hey Tom" Harry greeted lightly

Tom seated himself cross-legged on the nothingness that they stood upon looking as casual as ever and, with the simple gesture of a titled head, indicating to Harry to join him. Harry did so, seating as close to Tom as he could get as though, in the darkness, Tom was the light.

Harry found such a notion very odd.

"Am I dead yet?" Harry asked curiously. Tom shock his head, amused

"Not yet" He replied "But your very close."

"Will I get to see my family then?" Harry asked curiously

"No" Tom said bluntly "You don't even get to die"

Harry blinked

"Pardon? Why would you have bothered talking to me if I wasn't?" Harry asked, confused

"Because that would defeat the purpose. Everything happens for a reason Harry. Without the seed, Voldemort would still live, Draco Malfoy would remain an enemy, Hermione and Ron would be forever dancing around the other, Albus would never have been lifted of his guilt, Sirius would have never be proclaimed innocent, Peter would never have been captured, those poor people in the hospital would still be there and you and Severus would not have found each other- would you like me to continue?" Tom asked innocently (a very strange picture)

"There's more?" Harry asked in surprise

"Oh yes" Tom clarified "Lots more. You wouldn't believe how intricately everything is linked together. All the things you have accomplished have affected people all over the world. And none of them would have happened without you're near death. The connection had to be broken in such a way. Otherwise, Voldemort's power would have wreaked havoc on some distant plain. Instead, you body gets to absorb it. Lucky you"

"I've absorbed Voldemort's power?" Harry asked nervously

"Yes. One of the reasons breaking the connection hurt so much. It had to go somewhere. If it had been naturally gained it would have passed on with him but since it was manipulated so much it was no longer tied to his form. Once you train up you'll be more powerful than Dumbledore"

Harry didn't know quite what to say to that

"You can't die Harry" Tom said, as though stating the obvious "You are destined to be the next protector of the world. The earth does, after all, need to be left in the hands of someone and I'm afraid you've been chosen. You're near death put everything in place"

Harry maintained his silence

"Of course" Tom added, as though as an afterthought "It won't be for a good many years yet."

"Are you saying" Harry said slowly "That all this was supposed to happen?"

"Of course" Tom said, "Everything is supposed to happen. There wouldn't be a point to it if there was no point"

Harry blinked, wondering if that made sense

"Only thing to do now is to get you back" Tom said thoughtfully

Harry couldn't help but roll his eyes. Tom caught the motion and glared.

"Shut up and close your eyes" Tom snapped irritably.

With an innocent smile Harry did as he was told. He didn't really see the point though. All Tom had to do was leave and he would have been surrounded by darkness far more complete than the one behind his lashes.

"Now find your center" Tom commanded

"Wow Tom, your great at this" Harry said sarcastically, having no idea how to do such a thing "I know exactly what I'm doing"

He heard Tom grumble impatiently in the background

"Its all instinctive" Tom explained, obviously calming down "Just relax Harry. Let yourself drift. When you find it, you'll know. Trust me"

Eyes still closed Harry abandoned all control and allowed his mind to drift inwards, searching around in his minds eye for something he had never seen but would, apparently, know on sight.

Surprisingly, it wasn't that hard. As difficult as finding the sun in the solar system- in reality one really could compare it to a sun. Except that it was the purest green. Perhaps the most strange and beautiful part about it was that it was streaked with black and, oddly enough, white. Harry had the inkling it should have felt warm and familiar and although it felt inexplicitly right… it seemed odd. As though something were different about it. Since Harry had never seen it before he was puzzled about where such a notion had come from. .

"Its your magical core" Tom's voice sounded very far away as it explained what Harry was seeing "It would feel slightly unusual because you've just absorbed all Voldemort's power, literally changing the essence of your core- something that's supposed to be impossible by the way. What colours do you see?"

"Most of it is a vibrant green" Harry described "but there are traces of white and black"

"Curious" Tom said absently "The green is most likely your main center. It would have been changed by this incident, and is most likely a much more vibrant colour because of Voldemort's power. The white are spots of enlightenment and purity. No one can almost die without changing somehow. The black is, of course, the main part of Voldemort's power. Before you ask it doesn't mean evil. It means mystery, cunning and darkness, which isn't the same thing. You'll never be in any danger of turning Harry, so don't be afraid to use your power. There will be times when you'll have to"

Harry tried to absorb that. Remarkably he wasn't too upset that Voldemort had changed his aura. It seemed right the way it was. As though it were finally complete.

"Now, back to getting home" Tom said, as though just remembering why they were doing this in the first place "Concentrate on your magical core. It's tied to your body. Follow the link back"

Surprisingly he didn't have to ask for clarification on what he was supposed to do. There was a thread of power that was connected to the core and had somehow attached itself to him. With a mental hand Harry grasped it. It sent chills up his spine and burned his hands but he refused to let go.

It was a little like climbing up a rope. It contained the same pulling and hand over hand movements that climbing a rope did- it was also just as difficult. He could faintly hear Tom encouragements in the background but it seemed as though he were getting further and further away.

The rope burned him; the darkness collapsed upon him, Tom's voice wavered so very far in the distance and everything seemed to tilt before it simply…

Fell into place.

Return to reality

Harry hurt

That was the first thought that passed through his mind. The fact that he was in a hell of a lot of pain. He struggled mentally as the darkness tried to overwhelm him and, in the end, managed to open his eyes. It seemed they had not bothered removing his glasses because Harry's vision was quite clear

Severus, Dumbledore, Hermione and Ron were all seated around his bed and each and every one of them was fast asleep. They looked so very exhausted that Harry knew they had broken the connection and wondered how they had managed it.

He sat himself up, ignoring the loud protest his body gave to such a tiny movement, and looked at them each in turn, thanking whatever divine powers had given him more time with his family.

Severus began to stir and Harry placed a hand on his

"Father?" He whispered "Wake up"

Severus did so slowly and, when he opened his eyes, Harry found himself pinned by his dark gaze. A second later he was in a strong embrace and clutching back just as tightly

"I'm sorry" Harry whispered, "I'm sorry I didn't tell you"

Severus said nothing for a long moment

"If you ever do anything like this again" He finally growled "I'll kill you myself"

Harry laughed, the sound ringing of pure happiness and causing the rest of his family to awake. He found himself hugged even tighter than before and smiled

"So" He said breaking the silence and the emotion of the moment "What'd I miss?"

And so it ends

Severus' quarters were quiet

On his favourite couch Severus was reading a potions book, his face a mix of relaxation and enjoyment. At his feet sat Harry who was leaning against his father's legs, reading a novel Hermione had recommended and enjoying it immensely. Every time Severus turned the page his hand would lower to run absently through Harry's hair, causing him to lean into the gentle touch.

In front of the fire Ron moved a pawn on the chess plate while Dumbledore studied the board with twinkling eyes and ate from a packet of sherbet lemons that were placed carefully at his side. He moved a queen and Ron frowned in thought

Lying on her stomach just near them lay Hermione who was re-doing her Transfiguration essay and, every now and then, looking to see if Ron had any chances of actually winning the game before turning pack to her parchment

On a table, discarded and wrinkled, a copy of the Daily Prophet lay, it's headline catching anyone's immediate attention by proclaiming 'Boy-Who-Lived Defeats Dark Lord!' and having a full half-paged picture of a smiling Harry Potter

Harry finished another chapter and took the opportunity to study his family. His powers were growing so rapidly that Harry was having trouble controlling them but all of them were helping him to cope with the stress. Tom still inhabited his head and made sarcastic and humours comments anytime anything got too dull for his liking.

As though sensing his thoughtfulness Severus looked down upon him, his eyes asking a silent question more adequately than words ever could: 'Are you alright?'

And Harry, as he looked around the room at his real family that he knew would never desert him, thought that, for the first time in his life, he really, truly was.

And he always would be

The End!

AN: Awww! I'm sorry, but I'm such a sucker for happy endings. They make me sigh. sigh see? lol!. I was going to do a sequel but considering the amount of reviews I got I don't think I will (plus, i'd take ages to write!). I hope you all enjoyed this story (as sappy and sentimental as it was). If you want to read a sad story, try 'Figments Forever', which can be foind on my profile page. I can't believe I've actually finished this story. I rather liked it (but I'm bias, no?) and I'd love to hear your oppinon on it if you can take a moment to review. This story wasn't mine. The poems were. I'll end this with a quote! Got to love quotes so here's one by anonymous...

Quote of the day:

Unremembered, yesterday is extinct
Without yesterday, today has no meaning
Who are you if forgotten?
Who are you but the sum of your memories?