Hi everyone :)
(Weeping can be heard through a closed door with a sign hanging from it)
"The author is currently too weepy to provide an adequate introduction so she wrote this sign beforehand to thank reviewers and hope that you all enjoy this final chapter. Thank you."
5th March 1996: Afternoon
Harry laughed joyously as George made a rather witty remark to what they previously been talking about. So much time had passed, at least a couple of hours, since the twins had arrived at Hogwarts but it seemed like a mere few minutes to Harry. After explaining all the unpleasant things, the conversation between the young men had almost instantly turned onto more cheerful things and they had been laughing together ever since. The group of teenagers were in the school's kitchen, sitting on either side of a table with Fred and George on one side and Harry and Draco on the other, enjoying each others company and the sweet food which had been provided by the house-elves.
"Oh, that reminds me," Fred said to his brother's comment as he reached inside his robes. "Thought you might be interested in seeing this." He grinned as he pulled a rolled up piece of parchment and held it out to the white haired young man.
"What is it?" Harry inquired curiously even as he accepted it and began to unfurl it.
"We've just been to see our accountant." George said simply with an absolutely electric grin.
Harry gave the twins a somewhat bemused expression as he finished off revealing the script on the paper. A few moments was spent looking over the neat writing before his jaw dropped. He gasped in shock before looking up to the Weasley brothers, his eyes wide with disbelief. "This isn't true..." He accused in a breathy tone.
"It's completely, one hundred percent accurate." Fred assured the white haired young man with a broad grin.
"And this is only twenty percent of the over-all profits so far?" The young saviour asked, completely astounded.
"Yep." George confirmed cheerfully. "We're gonna pay off Mum and Dad's mortgage and then spend the rest on more equipment to make products in a more productive way. Then, we're gonna think about expanding, maybe getting another shop."
"If you've got plans for it then maybe you should keep the money, I never gave you the Tournament winnings just so I could have a cut of the profits." Harry told them as Draco took the parchment out of his loose grip to look over himself.
"Only you would give away so much money not once but twice." Fred said with a shake of his head.
"We want you to have it," George insisted, "now more than ever."
"I can't believe you've had so much success already." Harry murmured before giving a smile. "I bet your mum isn't complaining now."
"She's insanely proud." Fred answered and it was clear that he was pleased beyond belief that that was the case.
"Fit to burst I'd say." George agreed, looking just as chuffed.
"I don't blame her." Draco said as he looked up from the parchment and raised his eyebrows at the twins. "You're sure this is all profit?" The red haired teenagers nodded. "I'd say it was impossible if it wasn't for the fact this is an official document from Gringotts. I suppose congratulations are in order."
"Congratulations from Draco Malfoy?" Fred gasped with mock disbelief. "This truly is the best day ever."
"We must go and spread the joy!" George insisted in a loud, over-dramatic voice as he stood from his chair abruptly. "Quick, to Gryffindor Tower!"
"You guys go ahead." Harry told the twins with a smile as Fred rose from his seat as well. "Draco and I will follow on."
"You sure? We can wait." Fred offered.
Harry shook his head. "No, don't, getting me all the way up to Gryffindor Tower is going to be a very slow process and if you stuck with us I'd feel as though I had to hurry along for your sakes. You two go ahead and race up there and be the centre of attention, we'll be with you in about ten minutes."
"All right, we'll see you up there." Fred agreed as he turned to go.
George hesitated a moment as his twin began to head out of the kitchen. He glanced to where Harry was still seated, the to his brother and then back to Harry again. Then, apparently, he made up his mind and lurched towards Harry and wrapped his arms around him. "I'm so glad you're back." The red haired young man said before quickly pulling back and hurrying after his brother.
Harry and Draco watched him go before glancing to each other. "Well that was rather unexpected." The white haired young man admitted.
"Nice to know he cares I supposed." Draco grunted as he stood. "Could've at least asked before he threw himself at you though."
"You seemed to be all right with it earlier." Harry noted as he accepted Draco's help and allowed himself to eased onto his feet.
"You've miraculously come back from the dead, most people are entitled to one hug."
"You're not hugging anyone whose last name is Potter." The Veela muttered as he made his mate link their arms so he continue to help him walk.
Harry wondered for a moment whether he should inform the blonde that he had already received hugs from his siblings but quickly decided against it. Talking with Draco at that moment was like walking a tight-rope; the smallest of mistakes, just one wrong word, would no doubt be enough to tip him over the edge and make his Luna Veela side come out with a vengeance and the white haired young man didn't want the stress of that, not on a day which was supposed to be such a happy time.
In a comfortable quiet, Harry and Draco made their way out of the kitchen and through various corridors, on the way up to Gryffindor Tower which seemed as unreachable as the tip of Mount Everist at that moment for the Gryffindor. Still, he made no complaint and simply continued, eternally grateful for the fact that the Slytherin beside him seemed quite happy to not only crawl along at a snail's pace but also didn't seem to mind to support quite a lot of Harry's weight whenever his balance wobbled and he was forced to rely on Draco to keep him up.
After about five minutes of walking extremely slowly, Harry caught sight of a figure up ahead and, after a moment of squinting to try and make out who it was, he recognised them and a happy smile broke out across his face. "Hello Remus." He greeted the older man as he got close enough to hear.
"Harry, Malfoy." Remus said as he reached them and came to a stop just in front, smiling to Harry and giving Draco a polite nod.
"Lupin." The blonde returned in a neutral though not impolite manner.
"How are you feeling today Harry?" The kind man inquired, turning his attention back onto the white haired teenager.
"I'm great thanks, though I think it's got more to do with getting to see everyone again rather than physically feeling any better." Harry answered with a bright smile.
"Yes, I hear you have had a busy day what with meeting with Dumbledore and Fred and George already. Would you be willing to see some others or do you feel in need of a rest?"
"When you say others, I don't suppose you mean Potters do you?" Harry sighed, knowing what was coming.
"James called Lily last night as soon as it was confirmed you were quite fine and she arrived literally moments later. I've managed to persuade them to give you some time to adjust to being back so far but now they are getting rather impatient."
"They gave up the right to get impatient when they dumped Harry in that alleyway." Draco muttered but was ignored by the other two.
"Will you see them?" Remus asked Harry gently in a tone which was rather pleading.
Harry sighed lightly and nodded. Yes, all right, I suppose so."
Draco gave a disgruntled grunt at that but Remus seemed beyond pleased with the answer and he smile brightly to the white haired young man. "Shall we go now then? I believe they're waiting in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom."
Without further ado, the three males started forwards again, heading towards the DADA classroom. Harry and Remus made light conversation between themselves as they walked along while Draco remained silent, having no desire to pretend to be polite and not willing to anger his recently returned mate by making snide remarks. After several minutes of walking at a slow pace to allow for the white haired saviour's condition, the three reached the classroom. Remus opened the door for the two teenagers and they shuffled in leisurely.
The first thing that Harry and Draco saw was the entire Potter family gathered in the middle of the room, joined by Sirius Black. However, seconds after noticing that, Harry's attention was drawn to the fact that the horrible feeling he always felt usually when he entered the room was absent which was a definite relief. However, he wasn't able to relish it for long before Lily Potter gave a small squeak which sounded rather like a choked back sob. Covering her mouth with her hand, she looked to her oldest child with a sort of longing which the white haired young man recognised easily. It was more than obvious what she wanted, it was written all over her face and screamed in her body language and Harry didn't have the heart to turn her down. So, with a sigh, he pulled his arm away from Draco and opened his arms to her in a silent invitation. Lily immediately took it and rushed towards him, wrapping her arms around him and holding on tight.
"I thought I would never see you again." She breathed in a tear-filled voice right next to his ear.
Harry heard Draco give a snort at that and immediately sent him a warning glare to stop him from going further. Draco's eyes flickered onto his mate's face before he looked away again."I'm gonna wait outside." He grumbled as he promptly left the room.
When the blonde Veela was gone, Harry replied to his birth-mother's statement, patting her back in a comforting manner as he spoke. "Yes, well, to be truthful, for a little while I didn't think I'd see anyone ever again either." Lily released him then and took a step back, dabbing at her eyes with a hankie just as Violet launched herself into his arms next which unsteadied him more than usual due to his weakened state but he managed to keep his balance and keep them both standing. "I do believe you got your hug last night." He told his younger sister lightly.
"I'm going to hug you at least once every day from now on so you might as well get used to it." The girl mumbled into his chest.
Harry smiled at that and gently patted his sister's head before turning his head to look at his younger brother. "Want another one?" He teased, knowing exactly what the boy would think of that. Predictably, John blushed, scowled and looked away, stubbornly not passing comment. Harry only laughed at that reaction before turning to James. "You don't strike me as the hugging type." Was the only thing he said.
"A handshake will do me." James said with a smile as he held out his hand. Harry kept one arm around Violet and held the other one out, taking his birth-father's hand and shaking it. "Glad to have you back where you belong."
"So am I." Harry smiled back. The smile lessened until it had almost disappeared when he looked to Sirius. "Black." He said neutrally.
"Snape." Sirius grunted and was obviously holding back from saying something else if the disgruntled look on his face was anything to go by.
Harry merely ignored the behaviour, partly because the opinion of Sirius Black meant nothing to him but mostly because Violet chose that moment to give him a rather hard squeeze. "I've missed you so much." She told him as she released some of the pressure.
"I've missed you too, and you John." The white haired young smiled over to his younger brother. And it was true, he had missed everyone, including his bratty younger brother.
"We were wondering Harry," Lily said then, sounding rather unsure of herself. "Whether you would be willing to spend a week or so with us sometime soon. Dumbledore told us you won't be going back to classes for a while at least and we want to get to know you better before something else happens."
"If something else happens." Violet quickly corrected her mum.
"That's a very kind offer for you to make but I'm afraid I'm going to have to decline again. I'll have a lot of catching up to do with Father and Uncle Lucius and I wouldn't be surprised if Draco insists on bonding sooner rather than later." He paused for a moment and studied the disappointed faces of his entire biological family. "But, later, one day, I would love to come to stay with you."
"Really?" Lily asked with a small gasp, her tone implying that she thought that the answer was too good to be true.
"Life is too short to hold grudges." Harry replied to that simply before the classroom door opening caught all their attentions. There, in the doorway, stood an apparently normal, calm Draco but Harry knew better and he could tell that the blonde was holding something in. "What is it?" He asked carefully.
"Sev's just made it past the journalists." Draco answered and Harry felt his heart soar.
"He's here?" He gasped happily as he left his sister and hurried over rather feebly to the Veela.
"Yeah, c'mon, we'll catch him before Dumbledore can." The blonde said as he pulled his mate over to him and put the young man's arm over his shoulders to help him walk faster. As they left the classroom, he sent a triumphant smirk over his shoulder towards the Potters, satisfied with Harry's reaction and proving to them all that they would never be as important to Harry than Severus, Lucius and himself.
Harry and Draco hurried through the school as fast as Harry's weakened state would allow which, with the promise of seeing his father again, was surprisingly fast. The white haired young man ignored the fatigue he felt and the burn of a stitch that was starting to form on his right hand side and just kept moving forwards, fuelled by determination and very little else. And then, all of a sudden when the sight of the imposing figure of Severus came into view coming through the front entrance of the school, it was all worth it. A smile immediately lit up the saviour's face and he broke away from the blonde, making the last few metres towards the man on his own.
"Father!" Harry gushed happily as he all but hobbled over to the man, half throwing himself and half collapsing into the man's arms.
Severus didn't say anything, he just held Harry tight, one arm around the saviour's back while the other was angled up so that he could bury one of his hands in the long strands of white hair, cupping the back of the young man's head. His face was pressed tightly against the side of his son's head where he frequently stiffened his lips is a kiss. Harry had both of his hands around his father's waist, his hands fisting the material of his shirt on his back, his head buried against the crook of the pale column which was the Potion Master's neck.
"Father..." Harry whispered in an adoring tone, closing his eyes in relaxation.
"My son..." Severus' voice rumbled quietly in reply as a slight dampness rolled down Harry's cheek, a tear which didn't come from his own green eyes.
5th March 1996: Evening
A peaceful smile decorated Harry's expression from where he was cuddled up beside his father in the man's quarters which he had promptly reclaimed upon his return. At least an hour had passed since they had first settled in that position and Draco had left them in favour of tracking down Lucius to bring him back and also to give the father and son some time to themselves to talk. Except neither of them had spoken for the past hour, instead just being comfortable in their silence. Harry's explanations of what happened would come later when the elation of his return had faded. As for Severus explaining anything...Well, there wasn't really much for him to explain. He had thought he had lost his only son and so had completely fallen to pieces, something which Harry planned on scolding him for later on as well.
A sudden crackle came from the fire as a spark shot up before falling back to the other flames from which it originally came just as the sound of the portrait swinging away came, meaning that someone was entering the room. Then, with the softly spoken "Harry" from the voice of Draco, Harry sat up just enough to look over the top of the sofa in order to look at the Slytherin. However, upon seeing the Veela and also seeing the blonde man accompanying him, he struggled to sit up properly and then stand. He eventually managed to get up and then quickly hurried over to where Draco and Lucius were standing together just in front of the portrait hole.
"Uncle Lucius!" Harry gushed happily as he forced his tired limbs to hurry over to him.
Lucius closed the last few steps between them and swept the younger man up in his arms, holding him close. "Thank Merlin you're alive." He whispered.
"And thank Merlin you've finally come back." Harry whispered so neither of the other two Slytherins could over-hear. "You're making up with Father, right now."
"Haryon, I hardly think..." Lucius began to protest but the white haired young man was having none of it. He pulled away from their embrace and went back over to the sofa, taking Severus' hands and making him get up onto his feet, (though he didn't really make the man do anything as he was far too weak to actually be able to pull him to his feet on his own).
"I think that whatever it was that went wrong between the two of you has gone on for long enough." Harry said firmly but with a smile as he led Severus further forward, closer to the eldest blonde. When the two men were facing each other, Harry released the Potion Master's hands and moved over to the blonde Veela who was watching everything with great amusement. "C'mon Draco," Harry murmured quietly as he took the Veela's hand and began to lead him over to the open portrait hole. "I think Father and Uncle Lucius could do with some time alone together."
Grinning from ear to ear, the two young men silently left the room, allowing the two older men the privacy to settle their argument and make up.
Harry and Draco, with nowhere specific to go then, simply wandered the corridors of the school for a while, simply enjoying each others company and just appreciating being close again. Without words the Luna Veela seemed to sense when his mate was tiring as he abruptly brought them to a stop just as Harry was thinking about asking if they could stop momentarily so he could rest. The place they happened to come to stop was right in front of the entrance into the school. The doors were wide open allowing them to see outside where the sky was just about turning and orangey-pink as the sun began its slow decent below the horizon.
They remained quiet, just listening to the breeze and the occasional bird call until, rather suddenly and without any prior warning that it was coming, Draco spoke in a murmured, completely calm and relaxed voice: "Shall we have the wedding this summer?"
"Of course." Harry replied calmly despite the beaming smiling white spread itself across his face, his eyes never straying from the scene before them.
The white haired young man felt the blonde shift slightly next to him then and he finally turned his attention away from the world outside and looked curiously to see what the Slytherin was up to. Draco was looking down at him with a gentle smile and a gaze filled with adoration and love. Harry returned his smile happily before leaning up enough to connect their lips in a soft, brief kiss. When they separated, the Gryffindor relaxed against the Slytherin's side again, resting his head against the other's shoulder. He felt a kiss being pressed to the top of his head and then a cheek coming to rest on the spot before they both fell into stillness.
They remained like that for countless minutes, simply staring out at the world, each with an arm around the other. Eventually though, their steady peace came to an end with a call of Harry's name from a familiar voice. The teenager in question looked over his shoulder at the sound and saw Hermione hurrying over to them. "Hi." He greeted her with a smile, making Draco turn so that he could look at the younger girl without having to continuously look over his shoulder.
"There you both are." Hermione said by way of greeting, sounding curiously relieved. "Fred and George said you were going to come up to the tower but you never turned up. We were all wondering what happened, there've been people looking around for ages."
"Oh, sorry, I was down in the dungeons, Father came back." Harry told her cheerfully.
"Really? Oh Harry, that's great news! Why aren't you still with him though?" She inquired curiously.
"My Father just got back, they're making up." Draco answered sounding rather disturbed by that thought.
"Oh, I see." Hermione mumbled with a blush before she quickly changed the subject. "If you've got nothing else to do then, do you want to come up? I'm sure everyone will love to see you again."
"What do you think Draco? Up to tolerating a whole room full of Gryffindors?" The white haired teenager asked the Slytherin with a teasing grin.
"If I must." The Veela sighed reluctantly but the small smirk on his lips revealed that he knew it wasn't going to be too much of a hardship as Harry would doubt make it worth his while at a later date.
A bright smile lit Harry's face up at the agreement and he gave the blonde's waist a squeeze before turning to Hermione."Lead the way then.
5th March 1996: Night
The day was almost over and, outside, the last few rays of light were sinking behind the horizon. Not that Harry, Draco, Severus or Lucius were aware of the world outside the Potion Master's personal rooms. They had stayed in there all afternoon and all evening and now, as the sun was setting and night was settling in, the high emotions of the day were starting to take their toll on them all and each one was rather exhausted. That being the case, it was unsurprising that three of the four men were now asleep.
Harry smiled to himself as he revelled in being surrounded by his family. All four of them were snuggled onto one three-seat sofa: Draco was in the left-hand corner, an arm curled around Harry's waist and his head leaning against the back of the sofa; Harry was slouched back against the Veela with his legs spread out across Severus and Lucius who took up the rest of the sofa, leaning on each other in their sleep. So Harry was left awake with the three sleeping Slytherins and he was perfectly fine with that. It was peaceful, it was calm and it was wonderful just to be able to be around them all again.
The horrible part of Harry's life was over now, there was no more Voldemort and so there was no more threat to any of them. It had been a hard life for him so far but it had been made so much easier due to the support of the Slytherins who had found him as a baby, abandoned and alone, and had welcomed him into their family with open arms and warm hearts. Finally, he could have a normal life, a peaceful life with his father, his godfather and his mate. He looked to them all and allowed his eyes to close happily, secure in the knowledge that he was surrounded by his family, the people who meant the most to him in the world.
End of Family Means More Than Blood.
And there we have it. 1 year and 23 days publishing time, (God knows how much time from my life has been spent on it in all) 1468 reviews, 310701 hits, 86 c2s, 380 favs and 506 alerts later and we're at the end. This is by far my longest and most successful story and I want to thank each and every one of you who has read it, regardless of whether you've bothered to review or not. Knowing that I'm writing something that people really enjoy makes me so very happy :)
And so now what? Several of you have already asked me this question in your reviews and I've put of telling any of you so I don't have to write the same thing out several hundred times lol. Now though, I will be only too happy to share my future plans. First, I'm gonna take a break, (though most likely not a very long one), then I have a one-shot I want to post, (woo for one-shots!) then I'm gonna take another little break, (this one may turn out to be longer if I decide to wait for DH to come out before I start posting again) and then after that I have another multi-chapter piece which, although it's fully finished yet, isn't even a quarter of the length of this but I still rather like it myself. The title is still undecided but just look out for my pen-name popping up next to a story :)
I can delay no longer, the time for the final goodbye has arrived. Once again, thank you every who has, and those who still will, read this story. Take care everyone and I hope to see some of you again in my future projects.
Hugs, love and many kisses