Disclaimer I do not own Harry Potter and everything recognisable belongs to J K Rowling. Also this story is inspired by 'A Shattered Prophesy' by Project Dark Overlord.
Hiya! Thanks so much for your wonderful, wonderful reviews. I really don't know how to express my gratitude. This is my Xmas gift to all of you! The last chappie of Darkness Within. The epilogue. Merry Xmas and Enjoy!
Chapter Sixty Five
The evening was pleasantly warm and the sound of laughter was ringing in the air. The large room was filled with people, all dressed up for the occasion. The Minister was enjoying himself immensely as he stopped and made conversation with many of the occupants of the room.
James sighed heavily as he looked away from the Minister's beaming face. He stood in one corner of the room, trying to melt into the background. 'If one more person comes up to me and congratulates me, I swear to Merlin…' he thought irately to himself. Sirius joined him in the corner of the room and smiled weakly at his friend.
"Not having fun?" he asked with a cheeky look in his eyes.
James smiled back as he dropped his head wearily.
"I knew it was going to be like this, but, I just can't seem to control my annoyance at this whole thing." He answered.
"Most of the people here don't even know what really happened and I don't think they even want to know. They're too caught up with their stupid celebrations to even stop for a second and ask how it happened!" he continued.
Sirius didn't say anything. He knew that there was going to be tension in the air when he was first told about the celebration Minister Fudge was holding, that they had to be a part of. He gave his friend an understanding look and turned his gaze away. He knew that deep down, James was just as happy at Voldemort's death as the rest of the wizarding world. But he couldn't quite join in the celebrations because, mostly, it reminded him of how close he came to losing Harry. It really was a miracle that Harry had survived. If he hadn't come into his full power when he did, he would have been dead as soon as Voldemort's Markeline curse hit him.
Sirius was still left a little confused as to what had exactly happened. He knew that once a Witch or Wizard turned seventeen, they would 'come into their power' in the sense that they would receive their full magical powers. He remembered when he had come into his powers. He felt a tingle spread through his body. His fingertips buzzed and he had felt the magical energy crackle around him. It was the best feeling in the world. It died down after the first two minutes.
With Harry, it was different. Dumbledore had explained that Harry had learned to use his powers as an instinct from a very early age. It was part of Voldemort's training. Harry was able to manipulate his magical core better than most wizards. It was because of this that Harry survived.
When he turned seventeen and his magical powers came into full power, his instinct took over and his magic performed whatever it had to in order to survive. Firstly it blocked Voldemort's curse from hitting him. It then healed him as Harry was dangerously close to death. Harry had managed to heal himself, something that most wizards couldn't do. Dumbledore had told them that he didn't think Harry would ever be able to do that again. It was one of those things that had to be done subconsciously. If attempted again while in full awareness, it would most probably not work.
Sirius looked around the room, full of laughing people. He spotted Lily, deep in conversation with Alice and Molly. He could see that she looked just as uncomfortable with the whole party as he and James felt. Remus was being bombarded with questions about the battle by a group of nosy people. Sirius sighed heavily; it had been three weeks since that fateful battle that had ended the war. Sirius found that the general public came after them and asked them questions as opposed to trying to talk with Harry. He was grateful about that. The last thing Harry needed was people trying to get him to talk about that. Whatever had happened, the wizarding world was still afraid of Harry. His coming of age was witnessed by the people of Hogsmeade. He had killed Voldemort in front of everyone and had done so without brandishing a wand at him. While everyone was eternally grateful for what Harry had done, they also recognised the raw power Harry held. It was something that most took as a warning sign to stay away. They wouldn't be annoying him any time soon.
Sirius scanned the room again. Where was his godson? He had not seen him since arriving at this godforsaken place!
"Harry still here?" Sirius asked, looking at James again.
James nodded his head stiffly and looked at Sirius with sad eyes.
"I really wish he didn't have to come. I'm so angry at myself for forcing him. He shouldn't have to deal with this." James said glumly.
Sirius patted James sympathetically on the shoulder.
"It wasn't your decision mate, Harry knows that. He knows that Fudge would make a huge deal about him not coming. After all, tonight is supposed to be about Harry defeating Voldemort." Sirius consoled his friend.
James still wished Harry didn't have to deal with this. After everything his son went through, this was the last thing he needed.
At the other end of the room were two glass doors. They led to a fancy looking balcony. It was a warm night, but no one was outside. They were all inside drinking and rejoicing the fall of the darkest wizard of their time. All, except one. Harry stood, leaning against the balcony. His emerald eyes were staring ahead of him, at nothing specific. The warm air ruffled his dark locks and Harry tiredly ran a hand through his hair. His fingers brushed his scar and Harry stopped to gently trace the lightening bolt shaped scar. His scar had not hurt. It had not hurt once since that day. Harry knew it sounded crazy but it felt strange that it didn't hurt anymore. Even at times, when Voldemort wasn't feeling any particular emotions, Harry would still fell a slight twinge in his scar. He had learnt to block that pain out. Now his head felt strangely empty without that pain.
Harry sighed heavily and dropped his had away from his forehead. He couldn't believe that he was gone. Voldemort was really gone and it was he, Harry, who was responsible for that. Harry didn't remember what had happened after he passed out that day. He had woken up two days later and found himself in St Mungos. Damien was being treated for his broken bones and many of the Aurors were recovering there as well.
Harry knew that everyone meant well, but he couldn't help close up every time anyone would bring up the final battle. He didn't want to think about what happened, how it happened. He didn't want to remember how Voldemort's eyes had looked at him with disbelief as the flames engulfed him.
Harry shut his eyes and tried to let out a slow breath. He knew that memory would haunt him for the rest of his life. Dumbledore had tried to talk to him, but Harry had just shut him out like he normally did. He didn't want to hear anything else about the damn prophesy!
His mind wandered to what had happened earlier today. Draco had left to join his mum. He had come over to see Harry before he left. At first the two friends didn't quite know what to say or do. They had stood silently while waiting for the other to say something. Harry had never thought it was possible for Draco to go against Voldemort for his sake. He had never given Draco that much credit. He had always thought of Draco to be an opportunist who wouldn't risk his neck for anyone. It had touched him deeply that Draco had risked so much to save him. He had reluctantly said his goodbyes. Draco gave Harry a quick embrace just before leaving.
"If and when this all falls apart, you know where to find me." Draco whispered in his ear before letting him go and walking away.
Harry had just smiled in response. He should have known that Draco would make a last attempt to make Harry come with him. Harry had watched as Draco apparated away with Snape, he watched as his childhood friend, his first true friend, left to start a new life somewhere else.
Harry had heard no news about Lucius Malfoy. The blond Death Eater had not come to Hogsmeade. He had apparated away from Riddle Manor and had disappeared. There was a small number of Death Eaters that had run away from the battle scene. The Ministry was searching for them but Harry knew that the search would be called of sooner or later. No one really cared anymore. Voldemort was gone and everything else seemed less important in comparison to that.
Harry felt the guilt tear into him every time someone said Voldemort's name. He knew that Voldemort had meant to kill Damien. He would have killed him next, but still, Harry couldn't help feel guilty. He had never thought he could have destroyed him. He knew that he had destroyed Voldemort just like he had destroyed the Horcruxes.
Voldemort had ordered Harry to be tortured for almost twenty four hours. He had hurt him when he was only a child. He had taken everything away from him, but after all that, Harry still couldn't bear to hurt him. But when Harry thought that Voldemort had taken away his brother, he had wanted nothing else but to completely destroy him. It wasn't an accident. Harry had momentarily wanted to destroy Voldemort. It was that moment of pure rage and anger that had reached into Voldemort and had ripped apart the last remaining piece of his soul. The darkness within him had truly won. It had taken over him and had killed the man he had once vowed to protect. Harry shook his head as he heard the laughter ring from the room behind him. They were all praising him for getting rid of the Dark Lord, when they had no idea how much darkness was inside him. Harry forcefully shut out these thoughts. It would do nothing but make matters worse if he let himself think like that. He was not like Voldemort! He was not like him!
Harry forced his thoughts towards his parents. He was grateful of one thing. His parents and friends hadn't brought up anything about Voldemort. They didn't ask him how he was, or how he felt about everything that had happened. They treated him like they would normal. His mum had made him eat nearly everything in sight when he came home from hospital, and to a certain extent, that was pretty normal for her.
Harry heard footsteps behind him and prepared to snap at whoever was approaching him. He turned around with a scowl already on his face. His features relaxed when he saw the four familiar faces, smiling at him. Harry had slipped out to get some air. He should have known that the four would follow him soon enough.
"This has to be the most mundane party I've ever been to!" Ron commented as he came to stand next to Harry.
Harry smiled as he knew that, secretly Ron was enjoying himself. He was only saying that because he could see how bored Harry was.
"The food's not bad though." Damien said as he propped himself to sit on top of the balcony.
Harry didn't say anything but took the moment to observe his younger brother. Damien was fully aware of how close he came to dying. His breastbone had cracked and several of his ribs had broken when the killing curse had impacted with him. That small, black stoned pendant around his neck had taken the curse into itself but hadn't been able to protect Damien from the brutal force of the dark curse.
Damien still had the pendant around his neck, even though he had been told that it was useless now. The Layhoo Jisteen was destroyed once the killing curse impacted with it. You could still see the green mist swirling within the black stone.
Damien had refused to part with it. He told his parents that he didn't care if the stone no longer protected him. It was his first Christmas gift from his brother and he wasn't going to take it off.
Harry broke out of his thoughts to look at Hermione. He could see that all four of them were looking at him with understanding in their eyes. They all knew that Harry would rather be anywhere else than here, celebrating the demise of the Dark Lord.
Harry wasn't going to lie to them. He never had, so why should he do so now?
"I just want tonight to end. I don't know why I let dad drag me here in the first place." Harry answered as he stuck his hands into the pockets of his robes. At least his parents hadn't insisted he wore fancy robes.
"You're not the only one who doesn't want to be here. It looks like mum and dad are having a terrible time." Damien said with a smirk.
"Good" Harry answered.
He had been blackmailed by his mum and dad into coming here. He knew how it would look if Harry didn't go to the party that was supposedly been thrown in his honour. Harry couldn't care less, but he knew that his dad would have to deal with all sort of trouble. He had let his momentary guilt overtake him and had agreed to come along. Now, he wished he had not bothered, regardless of the consequences.
"You really don't want to be here, do you?" Damien asked as he surveyed his brother.
Harry didn't answer. The answer was obvious.
Damien climbed back off the balcony and stood in front of his brother. He took out something small from his pocket and held it up for Harry to see. Harry watched confusedly as Damien held up a miniature version of his Nimbus 3000.
Before Harry could ask what he was doing, Damien looked down at the broomstick and ran his hand over it. Before Harry's eyes, the broomstick grew to its normal size. Damien stood holding the broomstick in his hand, a wide smile on his face.
"You're not the only Potter who can do wandless magic." He said as Harry looked at him in amazement.
Hermione nearly had tears of joy and pride in her eyes.
Damien handed Harry the broom. Harry took it and looked at it with a confused expression.
"If you don't want to be here, then you shouldn't" Ron explained.
It seemed that the four of them had planned this beforehand. Harry looked at his brother in shock.
"Damy, I don't think that would a good idea…" Harry started but was cut off by Damien.
"Tonight's your night. You should do what you want to do." He said with a smile.
Harry looked affectionately at his brother. He stared at the broom again. The idea of flying away from here, from all of these people and enjoying tonight his way was too appealing. He looked back up at Damien, a last thought creeping in his mind.
"What about dad? He'll get really annoyed with you." Harry asked.
"I've gotten into plenty of trouble for you. What's one more time?" Damien said with a smirk firmly in place.
Harry gave him a smirk back and let go of the broom, letting it hover in mid air. He mounted the broom effortlessly and steered it to hover above the balcony. He looked back at the group and focused his emerald eyes on the red haired girl in the black dress. He came in a little closer and looked directly at her. He had not really spoken to Ginny after coming back. Ginny had, like always, given Harry his space. She had not harassed him about the kiss they shared in Riddle Manor or asked about where their relationship was going.
Ginny smiled warmly at Harry as he hovered near the end of the balcony, looking intently at her.
"So, do you want to come with me now, or would you rather I come back to rescue you later on in the night" Harry asked, a cheeky glint in his bright green eyes.
Ginny seemed thrown by the question but recovered quickly. She crossed her arms over her chest and gave Harry an equally cheeky look.
"Well, if I come with you just like that, without any drama happening, won't that be too normal for us?"
Harry leant forward and held out his hand. Ginny took it, her heart hammering at her insides. She settled behind him, arms wrapped around his waist.
"When it comes to us, Ginny, nothing is ever normal." Harry said with a smile on his face.
Damien and Hermione looked ecstatic with Harry and Ginny, finally being open with one another. Ron smiled as he saw the look of happiness spread on his sister's face.
The fact that Harry wanted to spend time with Ginny and had referred to them as 'us' was as close as Harry was ever going to come to saying that he loved Ginny. Harry placed one hand over Ginny's and gave it a small squeeze.
"Just make sure you come home before sunrise. Otherwise, dad will have sent out another search party" Damien said as Harry prepared to take off.
Harry only smiled back and then gave them a last look filled with gratitude, before taking off, into the night sky.
The three teens watched them for a moment before making their way back inside. Damien turned around and stopped in his tracks as he saw his dad standing at the balcony doors.
James didn't look angry though. In fact, he looked the exact opposite. His hazel eyes were fixed on Harry's form, flying higher and higher into the sky and a smile graced his lips. Damien relaxed as he saw his dad look over at him with a smile.
Damien walked over to him and smiled as his dad put an arm over his shoulder.
"I never had a brother. Padfoot and Moony were the closest things I had. I know that they would have done that for me." James said as he kissed the top of Damien's head.
Damien relaxed and looked up at his father.
"Dad, Harry will get over this. He'll be alright, won't he?" he asked quietly.
James knew that Damien was referring to Harry's guilt at killing Voldemort and his refusal to open up and talk about it. James looked up into the sky, focusing on the small dot that was Harry.
"It'll take time and it won't be easy, but I think Harry will be just fine." James said with a comforting smile.
He led Damien inside; preparing himself for the tantrum the Minister was going to throw at losing his guest of honour. He couldn't care less though. All that mattered was that Harry was happy. James made a silent promise to himself that from now on, no matter what happened, Harry would always come first.
He closed the doors leading to the balcony and smiled deeply as the sound of Harry and Ginny laughing, echoed through the air.
Well...I guess that's it. (sob) I can't thank you all enough. All of you gave me the inspiration I needed to complete this. It's my first fic and I had no idea what to do at times, but your kind words really helped me. You guys rock!! I hope everyone has a wonderful, magic filled Xmas and a great new year.
P.S. I haven't decided whether or not I'm doing a sequel, so please head over to the forum and tell me what you think. If you think there should be a sequel, then please give me your views on what it should contain. Cheers!!