Disclaimer: Don't own anything.

The lyrics in this fic are from the song 'Shine On' by Jet. It's a beautiful, powerful song, and I highly recommend listening to it. Full credit to them for the lyrics.

Of Pain and Eternity

It was late evening in the small village of Godric's Hollow. The streets had long since emptied of children as families sat down together to eat dinner by the glow from their fireplaces. The pretty, tidy gardens swayed gently under a breeze that brought with it the teasing promise of the heat of summer.

Set apart from the small, peaceful cottages was a larger cottage. It had been built in the very place where, years and years before, a terrible, dark occurrence had happened. The exact details of it were uncertain to the rest of the villagers, but whispers of that dark time still lingered in the inhabitants' memories.

On a bright and sunny morning, well on a year ago now, the villagers had woken to find the cottage, beautiful and well built, situated on the stretch of land they had not gone near in years. It had been a mystery, as the building of such a structure would surely have taken more than one night to complete, and it had certainly not been there the day before. Yet, there it stood.

Only a few days later, two young men had arrived in the small village. Eccentric in appearance, they had raised the curiosity of the locals. Upon conversing with them, the elder, wiser folks of the village had declared them perfectly friendly and normal. The village relaxed. They needed not for those dark times to return. The pair announced they would be living in the village, and moved into the large cottage. The villagers' earnest warnings about the mysterious cottage had fallen on deaf ears – the two men had simply dismissed their fears, assuring them all they were not afraid of a house.

The first week had been tense, but when nothing seemed to happen, the villagers slowly relaxed. The two did not give their names, but were always pleasant when called upon by their nearest neighbours. Thus, they, and the house they lived in, became a mystery to the villagers – where they had come from, and who they were, was always a popular topic of discussion in the local pub at night.

It had been March in the current year when one of the men, the dark-haired one, was seen returning to the cottage one afternoon, noticeably alone. This puzzled the villagers, for they wondered where his companion, the handsome blonde, could be. Enquiries were shot down, and while the dark-haired man was always perfectly polite when called upon, there was no doubt he desired for solitude. So they allowed him it.

This night, in the quiet of the village, was the evening of April 22nd, a month to the day of the dark-haired man's solitary return. As the night progressed and the stars overhead slowly brightened as their surrounding blankets of sky darkened, a small pop sounded in a dark group of trees nearby the larger cottage.

A serious looking man emerged from the trees, dusting himself. He wore long, well-tailored robes. His hair was auburn coloured and neatly trimmed, and his eyes were a sombre shade of darkened hazel. Adjusting his robes and ensuring the package he carried was in order, the man surveyed his location. Assured that no one seemed to be around, he hurried over the soft grass, approaching the large cottage.

He deftly stepped over the low gate that marked the beginning of a path, which he followed past slightly overgrown gardens to the wooden front steps. The door was made of a rich, dark wood, and there was a brass knocker shaped like a lion's head in the centre of it.

The man reached out and knocked smartly, one, two, three times. He waited.

The door opened, releasing a gust of warm air. A young man stood in the doorway, looking barely more than twenty years of age. He wore loose black pants and a baggy grey t-shirt. His handsome features seemed to be made even more so by the vague lighting coming from the flickering torches in the room within, illuminating dark, messy hair and brilliantly green eyes, which were framed by a simple pair of black glasses. There was something empty about him, however, something that just made it seem like he was not entirely there.

He smiled politely at the stranger, weariness and strain evident on his face. "Yes? Can I help you?"

"Good evening, sir." The other man said, his voice business-like. "Are you Harry James Potter of Godric's Hollow?"

"Yes, I am." Harry answered, frowning slightly at the serious appearance of this stranger. "And who might you be?"

"Augustus Brown, from the Last Wills and Testimony Office of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement." He responded promptly, bowing his head slightly.

Harry frowned some more at this. "I see. And what brings you here to my home, Mr Brown?"

"I have matters of importance to discuss with you." Came the answer. Augustus shifted the package in his arms, and looked expectantly at Harry. "Can I be so rude as to come in?"

"Oh! Yes, of course." Harry said quickly, and he stepped aside to allow Augustus in. He closed the door behind him, and then looked around vaguely for a moment.

"Is it alright if we talk in the kitchen?" he asked his visitor.

Augustus bowed. "Lead the way."

Harry led him into a small, cosy kitchen, with an old-fashioned looking stove and oven along one wall, and a reasonably sized wooden table taking up most of another. A fire crackled merrily in a hearth beside several cupboards, and several windows on the opposite wall allowed a pretty view of the village under the stars outside.

"Sit down." Harry said politely, gesturing to the chairs neatly tucked in around the table. "Would you like anything to drink?"

"Tea would be fine, thank you." Augustus took a seat facing the window. "Honey, no sugar."

Harry busied himself in the kitchen, putting water on to boil and then making two cups of tea for himself and Augustus. He handed one of the cups to his visitor, keeping the other for himself, and sat down at the chair closest to Augustus. He looked at him questioningly.

"Well, I suppose you're wondering what this is all about." Augustus said, placing the package on the table and neatly folding his hands in front of him.

Harry nodded, and Augustus continued.

"As I told you, I am from the Last Wills and Testimony Office." He said. "It is my job to travel around the country, delivering to wizards the conditions and customs of their loved ones' last wills and testimonies."

Harry visibly froze, his cup of tea halfway to his lips.

Augustus' eyes were not without sympathy as they surveyed him. "Did you know one Draco Lucius Malfoy?"

Harry unfroze as quickly as he had frozen in the first place. He set the cup down, and folded his hands into his lap, trying to meet the hazel gaze as dead on as he could. Try as he might, however, his voice still shook when he spoke.

"Yes, I did know him." Harry said softly.

Augustus looked at him for a moment longer, and then looked away again, clearing his throat. "What was your relationship with Mr Malfoy?"

"We were…" and here Harry faltered again. Dammit, not now, not in company, he chastened himself. "We were lovers, we were partners, we were…" Everything. Harry broke off, unable to continue.

Augustus nodded once, pulling out a scroll of parchment, quill and ink, and making a quick note. He left the quill sitting in the inkpot and folded his hands once more on the table.

"I will say now, Mr Potter, that I am truly, terribly sorry for your loss."

"Thank you." Harry said numbly, as he had so many times in the last month or so.

"Now, to business." Augustus pulled the package towards him. "On behalf of the Department I must apologize for the delay that has been experienced in delivering this to you. Naturally, after the events, we were overwhelmed."

Harry nodded as Augustus continued. "As it is, it is my duty to present to you the items that were found in storage among Mr Malfoy's other possessions which were stated to be given to you upon his demise in his last will and testament."

He produced his wand and lightly tapped the top of the package, opening it smoothly. He reached inside and pulled out a small object.

"This," he handed Harry the thing. Harry breathed deep, fighting for control, before he looked at it.

It was a ring, a beautiful silver ring. Emeralds and diamonds were embedded within it, and a tiny serpent was engraved around the outside. The jewels sparkled in the light coming from the nearby fireplace. Harry felt tears pooling, struggling to be free, but he held them back.

He quietly placed the ring on the table, and looked up to see Augustus watching him with concern.

"Are you alright, Mr Potter?" he asked.

Harry waved a hand. "Fine, fine."

Augustus looked at him doubtfully for a moment more, but reached once more into the package, producing another object, which he handed to Harry.

It was another package, wrapped in pretty red paper with an elegant silver ribbon. It was rectangular, and seemed to be flat, as well as being reasonably small, no longer than the length of Harry's hand. It joined the ring on the table.

Augustus produced the final object, a plain envelope on which was written Harry's name in Draco's elegant, simple handwriting.

"That was all that was found." Augustus said, flicking his wand and causing the now empty package to disappear.

Harry nodded. He stood. "Shall I show you the way out?"

Augustus stood as well. "Yes, that would be best."

Harry led the Ministry official back to the front door, and then turned to face him.

"Thank you for bringing me those things." Harry said softly. "I appreciate it."

"It's my job, Mr Potter." Augustus replied, but he softened nonetheless. "But, you're welcome."

He offered his hand and Harry took it, and they shook.

"Also, before I leave, I just wish to express my own personal gratitude for everything you did towards the defeat of You-Know-Who." Augustus said, his voice quiet and respectful. "You have the whole wizarding world in your debt."

"Thank you." Harry said politely, feeling as he usually did the stirrings of bone-deep agony in his stomach at this. "Good evening to you, Mr Brown."

"Good evening, Mr Potter." Augustus inclined his head, and then opened the door and stepped out onto the path. He Disapparated halfway along.

Harry shut the front door and then leaned against it, palms pressed flat against the wood, desperate for an anchor.

"Not You-Know Who, Voldemort." He murmured to the empty house. "Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself."

Smiling a little ruefully as the long-held words came floating back into his memory, he walked the rooms of the cottage back to the kitchen, where his cup of tea still sat, waiting.

He sat down with a sigh, holding the mug gingerly in his hands, enjoying the feeling of warmth it brought to his cold hands. Then again, his entire body had felt colder since that night.

He shivered, looking down at the objects on the table. The ring, the package, the envelope. Lined up neatly, all awaiting his attention.

He considered the ring first. It was beautiful, exquisitely made, and the sight of it caused Harry to recall the warmth and comfort of a long ago conversation in front of the fire in the Gryffindor common room.

"Who's to say I'm not going to marry you one day?" Draco challenged, grinning playfully at him as they snuggled together on the lounge.

"Wizarding law for one." Harry retorted, laughing. "Same-sex marriage isn't legal, you know that."

"Perhaps not, but couples of the same sex can still have bonding ceremonies." Draco pointed out, absently playing with Harry's hair. "And that's as good as a marriage. It basically constitutes the same thing."

"What, down to the dress and everything?" Harry grinned.

Draco hit him. "No, you twat." He said affectionately. "It does involve rings, though. And vows, of course."

"Rings, huh?" Harry pondered, re-adjusting so his head was lying on Draco's shoulder. "Where are we going to get bonding rings from?"

"I know exactly what yours will look like." Draco said smugly.

"You do, do you?" Harry said, laughing as he turned his head to look at Draco. "That's a bit obsessive, don't you think, to have that planned?"

"I have everything planned." Draco smiled. "What ring you'll wear, what kind of house we'll live in, how many kids we'll adopt…"

"Kids?" Harry said, startled. "Merlin, Draco, we're only teenagers. The war hasn't even properly started yet. Everything's uncertain. How can you realistically have those plans?"

"Because." Draco shrugged. "The war doesn't matter to me. It'll come, it'll go. All I know is that I love you, and we're going to spend the rest of our lives together."

Harry smiled, affection filling his eyes. "I love you too, and I love that you think that way."

"I have to, Harry." Draco said, a serious expression crossing his handsome features. "I don't think I'd be able to live if I didn't."

Harry shook himself, coming back to present day. It was no good remembering things like that. That time in his life, those beautiful, magical days, were long gone. He couldn't return to them.

After graduating from school in the summer of 1997, Draco had joined Harry's quest to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge Harry's pleas to keep himself safe. They had travelled all over the world, interviewing, searching, and staying in hotel room after hotel room, all under the strict security of the Order and the Ministry. Every few months they had returned to England, to file reports for the Order and go to the Burrow in order to soothe Molly Weasley's fears for their safety.

That entire business had been a testimony to their relationship, in particular the determined, pure love Draco had for Harry, which had existed even when their relationship had started in their 6th year at school. Harry had always felt overwhelmed by it, having never experienced that kind of true, unconditional love before.

The years following school were marked with more than just Horcrux searching, of course. There had been battles for the control of Hogsmeade, the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts respectively. Each time Draco and Harry came back to help fight, and each time they survived the battle. The war had brought casualties, however. Minerva McGonagall had died in a brave defence of several frightened villagers during the Hogmeade battle. Percy Weasley had also perished during the battle at the Ministry of Magic, along with Kingsley Shacklebot and the Charms professor, Filius Flitwick.

The Hogwarts battle had resulted in a great deal of casualties, especially among Harry and Draco's former yearmates. Dean Thomas had died, as well as Susan Bones, Justin Finch-Fletchley and Theodore Nott. Several people had sustained life-affecting injuries, which would stay with them forever.

Each of these losses had been grievous to the wizarding world, and Harry felt personally responsible for each of them. Whenever this feeling came to the surface, however, Draco had been there, holding him while he mourned, soothing him when he lashed out in guilt and grief. He was Harry's rock, always helping him to keep going with a reminder that some things are bigger than yourself, and accepting such things is necessary.

The waterfall of tears waiting to fall finally broke when Harry remembered a time, in the early winter of 1998. Harry had expressed to Draco his old, underlying wish to one day live in the village where Harry had lived with his parents as a baby before Voldemort attacked. It was only a whim, a far-off dream more than anything, but Draco had been determined upon hearing it that it should be made a reality. And it was – by the beginning of spring the following year, arrangements had been made for a house to be built at the very site where Lily and James Potter had once happily lived with their only son.

A team of workers from the Ministry, following Draco's instructions, had gone to the village in the middle of the night during that March and had built the new cottage using magic. Draco broke the news to Harry the very next night of the existence of a house in Godric's Hollow, waiting for them to inhabit it. They had arrived in the village a few days later.

Harry knew he would never forget that first night in the house, with Draco showing him every detail of their new home, and the passion Harry had shown him in the bedroom later that night.

Harry's head buried into his hands, his shoulders shaking with repressed sobs. It all hurt so much to remember, and yet now this reminder of Draco had arrived and was sitting right there on the table, the memories wouldn't stop.

Their birthdays, spent the previous summer right here in the house, where they had given each other pendants for presents. Harry idly fingered the smooth lines of the snake that hung around his neck, thinking of Draco's lion pendant, which had still been around his neck the day of the funeral a month ago.

The day Harry had told Draco, in a fit of excitement, that he knew what the final Horcrux was, and the responding shine in Draco's eyes at the news.

The time they had invited Ron and Hermione over, and the foursome had spent a wonderful evening sitting around this very table, reminiscing about their days at school and the years that had followed.

Thinking of his best friends brought to life yet another twinge of guilt in his stomach. He had not seen Ron Weasley or Hermione Granger since the funeral, something which deeply troubled him but he could not help. He just was not ready to face the world yet.

Trying to regain his composure, Harry eyed the newspaper nearby on the table, which bore a headline that happily screamed 'Harry Potter: A Recluse?' Harry knew the wizarding world probably wanted to know where he was, considering he had disappeared from the public eye not long after the final battle. But he wanted to be here; in the home they had created together. He needed the memories, as much as they hurt him.

The final battle. The event blurred in Harry's mind now, although it had only occurred in late February, a mere two months prior. He remembered the pain. He remembered the screaming. He remembered seeing people, beautiful, bright with youth, obliterated by curses shot from the seemingly endless army of advancing hooded black figures. He remembered seeing people he loved dying. He remembered Dumbledore's awe-inspiring power before he had been brought down, and the subsequent peace that had settled upon those gentle features as a result.

However, there was one thing he remembered most of all. The scene lived so clearly in Harry's mind, replaying itself to him again and again.

Voldemort's eyes shone an even brighter red in the reflection from the curses being shot every which way all around them. Pale, spidery hands, and a cruel mouth which opened to emit a cold, high laugh.

"So we meet again, Harry, at last." Came the hiss. "I have heard rumours of your doings since you left school all those years ago. So, you have found and destroyed all my horcruxes."

"Yes." Harry stated. His wand was trained on Voldemort, his hand steady.

"I admit myself surprised when I found out." Voldemort said. "It is clear I underestimated you, it seems."

"An unwise decision on your behalf, yes." Harry said.

"I see Dumbledore has trained you well." He sneered, gesturing across the battlefield, to the endless bodies that lay there. "Pity he could not train himself in the same manner."

"Don't you dare speak ill of Dumbledore, you bastard." Harry snarled, taking a step forward threateningly.

"Such temper." Voldemort tutted. "I hear things from my right hand man, Lucius, about you and his son. Dare I ask if they are true?"

"Yes, they are," Harry raised his chin proudly. "I love him, and he loves me. That is something you will never comprehend."

"Perhaps not." Voldemort admitted. "But love is a weakness, boy. It has no match for power, for the darkness. Surely you have realised that, by now." He gestured again to the sea of fallen bodies. "Love did not protect them, did it?"

"No." Harry said, his breathing shallow. "But it made their lives worthwhile, it gave them a reason to fight, a noble cause to die for."

"Noble?" Voldemort laughed again, cold and high. "Surely you do not believe such things. Where is your love, then, boy, where is the younger Malfoy?"

Harry winced inwardly – he didn't know where Draco was, indeed, if Draco was even alive still. "He is out there." He responded bravely, gesturing to the fighting taking place all around them. "He is fighting, and he is winning, because he has true love in his heart, and your minions have nothing but hatred."

"How very touching." Voldemort sneered. "But how we digress. Let's see, then, if that old fool has taught you enough to duel with me."

They had duelled, for hours on end it seemed to Harry, firing spell after spell at each other, always coming out equally matched. An unexpected Crucio had rendered Harry onto the ground, screaming in pain as the curse worked its effects on him.

Voldemort pointed his wand, a maniacal gleam in his eyes as his lips went to form the words of the Killing Curse…

There was a shout, and then a body, diving in front of him, a blinding flash of green light, and finally a resonating thud.

The Crucio ended, allowing Harry to move and see who it was who had taken that fatal blow.

White blonde hair, blank grey eyes.

Pain and hatred unlike any Harry had ever known before erupted within Harry, and his magic along with it. Not even bothering with his wand, he dove at Voldemort, green flame on his hands and the Killing Curse spilling from his lips…

And then, with a deafening scream, it was over.

Harry's sobs filled the entire cottage, the ring clutched in his hand as he cried into the table. They were going to be bonded. They were going to adopt children and raise them, right here in this house, in a world devoid of darkness. That was how it was meant to have happened. That was how it should have happened. Not this. Never this. In all Draco's plans, he had never figured his own death into them.

Draco had been duelling several death eaters at once, not far from where Harry had been confronting Voldemort. He heard Harry's screams and ran to help. He saw what was going to happen, and according to later eyewitness, with no hesitation at all had leapt to protect Harry from death, ending his own life in the process.

Harry opened his hand, revealing the ring, and stared hard at the engraving of the snake. "I didn't ask you to do it." He whispered, his voice filled with pain. "I never wanted you to get hurt because of me. I didn't ask for you to die so I could live."

The one thing, out of all of it really, that made Harry even more sad was that he would never get a chance to actually tell Draco those things. And he needed to; he did, so badly it was insane.

He ran a finger over the ring. There was no doubt in his mind that this was the bonding ring Draco had been planning for all these years. Perhaps he had even had it made after that conversation in their seventh year, and stored it away for after the war. It screamed of them, together, their relationship. The snake was for Draco, and for Harry's ability to speak to snakes. The emeralds represented Harry, as they were like his eyes, and the diamonds represented Draco as they were cold and icy, but beautiful.

His attention turned to the other items he had been given by Augustus. He supposed he should open the package before the envelope. He pulled the pretty red thing towards him and undid the ribbon, blinking through the tears that still insisted on falling. Ribbon untied, he cast Diffindo on the paper with his wand, watching as a perfectly straight cut formed, dividing the paper in two. He pushed the two sides out of the way, and then froze, staring with wide eyes at the object wrapped within.

It was a photo frame, silver and beautiful. Harry could tell it was expensive just by looking at it. However, what was in the frame caught his attention more securely. It was a wizarding photograph of him and Draco. Harry realised immediately that it was taken in Paris, as they were on the Eiffel Tower. He remembered that day very clearly – they had gone to Paris for their three-year anniversary. They had been lucky enough to find a fellow wizard there who had consented to take the photo of the pair.

Harry leaned in, so close to the photo his nose was practically touching it. As he watched, photo-Draco put his arms around photo-Harry, placing a chaste kiss on the latter's cheek. Photo-Harry smiled, looking completely content, leaning back into the embrace. They waved enthusiastically.

Harry studied Draco's face, seeing the smiling grey eyes, soft blonde hair, and delicately handsome features. He gave a quiet sob, pushing the tears out of his eyes. He hadn't seen that face in so long. Seeing it again made him realise how much he missed it.

They had gotten together in their 6th year, nearly four years ago, under unusual circumstances. After the events of 5th year, they had called a truce with each other. War had been brewing, even back then, and continuing on with the childish feud of old seemed foolish. Thankfully, the rest of the school seemed to support this philosophy once their truce became public knowledge. For about a month afterwards they managed to exchange friendly acknowledgements in the halls and during classes.

Harry had innocently been returning to the common room from the library one evening in October, only to stumble upon an extremely drunk Draco Malfoy halfway along the fifth floor corridor. Things, as they did, led to one another, and by the end of that same month the two were together.

Harry choked back a sob now, watching as photo-Harry began shivering, and photo-Draco promptly untied his long, velvety looking black scarf and secured it around photo-Harry's neck. The pair kissed again, causing Harry's own lips to tingle in memory of what those lips had felt like against them.

He had removed all photos that had been scattered throughout the house immediately after returning home from the funeral. It had just been too hard to see them every day. But this, this photo from Draco, had been specifically brought to Harry as a last living request.

Harry turned his eyes from the frame to the third and final object that had been brought to him by Augustus Brown – the envelope, addressed to him, sitting innocently against the dark wood of the table, completely unremarkable. Perhaps solace, of some kind, would be found within that simple little envelope.

Desperate, Harry reached out and picked it up. There was his name, written in the style he knew so well, in a beautiful, glowing silver that reminded him immediately of Draco's eyes.

'Keep it together,' he ordered himself, pulling out his wand and tapping the back of the envelope, which opened at once. Hands shaking slightly, he pulled out the parchment within it, unfolded it and spread it on the table, beside the ring and the frame and the now empty envelope.

The parchment wasn't your average parchment. Stamped on top of the page was the Malfoy seal, something that was only used by the heir to the Malfoy line. The page was covered in Draco's beautiful, elegant writing, glowing an even brighter silver from the crackling flames in the fireplace.

Heart pounding, Harry began to read.

My Harry,

If you are reading this, it means that what I feared would come to pass has, and I am no longer with you on the Earth. I sincerely hope you never read these words, but I must write them anyway.

I've been planning, since we were about seventeen actually, that if the time came, in that final battle, where my life was needed to save yours, I would give it. I guess you're angry now, asking how dare I think I could do that, because you never asked me to do such a thing. I know you, Harry, face it. That's what you're thinking.

I know you'll hold that guilt with you, and I suppose it's insufficient for me to tell you my death was not your fault. My death was caused by love, Harry. I love you, more than you'll ever realise. I would willingly die a million of the most painful deaths if it meant you continuing to live.

We have the most wonderful, beautiful and rarest of things, Harry. Someone whom we truly love, and who truly loves us in return. I know you'll move on, but you'll never move on completely. It's a terrible, tragic thing for our love to end in this way, but it doesn't have to. We're too strong to allow things like death to get in the way.

You have a beauty that you rarely let other people see. I feel honoured to have been witness to it for so many years. Don't hide that beauty away, Harry. Don't let it be buried in grief. Cry for me, but not for too long. The world may be saved, but it will always need someone as beautiful as you are among it.

I can hear you now, moving around downstairs. You're making my favourite dinner tonight. I feel so far away from you, and yet so close. I really hope you don't ever have to read this. I don't want to leave you, but I know when the time comes, I'll gladly do it, just to save you.

I made you your bonding ring, you know. I remember you teasing me about it back in seventh year. I've had the design in my mind ever since. I only got around to having it made the other day, when you told me you knew what the final Horcrux was. That was a signal to me that this war is finally starting in earnest. If we make it through, I'm planning to propose to you on your birthday. If not, I'll list it in my will to ensure it gets sent to you. I don't ask you to wear it, or even carry it with you. Just keep it in your possession, and remember.

I'm also planning to put that photo – you know that photo, love? The one of us in Paris – into the frame I bought, and sending that to storage to await its destiny. Well, obviously if you're reading this, you've received it and have probably opened it by now. I chose this because I believe it is one of the happiest memories I have of us, and I know that evening meant so much to you as well. I don't want you to forget that. I don't want you to repress your memories of what we were.

Well, I don't really know what else to write. I don't have words to express how much I love you. I'll always be with you. I'll always watch over you. I want you to live, Harry. You are my strength, my rock, my air, my life.

I love you. Goodbye, my Harry.


Harry knew well the stages of grief. He had gone through them many times in his life, after all. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. He'd gone through and around that cycle so many times, for so many people. Cedric, Sirius. The people he knew and loved growing up that died during the war. Teachers, like McGonagall, Flitwick and Dumbledore.


He stared blankly at the parchment in front of him, his hands placed on either side of it. His entire body shook, with love, guilt, and overwhelming sadness.

He had never thought it physically possible to miss someone or want to see someone as much as he wanted to see his Draco at that moment. It was a weird feeling, like being at the bottom of a deep, dark hole, and not being able to see the light above his head, knowing he couldn't climb out. Draco used to be the one who pulled him out. Draco was dead. He should probably get himself accustomed to the hole.

Wild green eyes, brimming with tears, shot to the photo. There he was. There was that face, that hair, those eyes, that smile, he knew and loved. He was there. Right there. Harry could touch his image, but the image wasn't him. It wasn't his smooth, beautiful hands, or strong arms, or the sleek lines of his stomach. It was a mirage, an impression, of what the real Draco had been.

He would do anything to get him back.

The room felt too hot, all of a sudden. The entire world shrunk, because it just wasn't big enough to hold this pain. There wasn't enough.

Harry stood suddenly, knocking back his chair with a clatter. He walked, with long and purposeful stride, out of the kitchen. He walked through every room, feeling like everywhere he looked, he saw the ghost of a scene from their short-lived time together in this house.

"Harry, come look! I worked out how to light the damn thing."

"Love, no matter how tired I am, I can always summon the energy to make love to you. You should know that by now. I'll meet you upstairs, shall I?"

"Harry, I told you a million times to buy my shampoo while you were out, and now I have to use yours, and it smells weird…"


The entrance, the lounge room, the study, the bedroom, the bathroom. He passed through each, dazedly wondering at the effect of the trigger that the letter had been. He hadn't seen or remembered or felt this before. The house had been empty and silent for a month. Tonight, it was speaking to him. Forcing him to remember.

He walked out the back door, looking up to the endless stars that stretched forever above his head as he moved past the gardens that hadn't been tended to for a very long time.

"You said you'd be with me forever!" Harry screamed suddenly, the words echoing up, up into those stars to mingle with them. They faded quickly, leaving him with a silence so profound it knocked him to his knees.

"I didn't ask you to!" Harry yelled half-heartedly, tears streaming down his cheeks, on his knees in the backyard of their house. "We were meant to be forever!"

We still will be. Harry could hear his love's voice if he tried. Our love will be forever, because it will never die. It lives on in you.

Delirious, knowing he was hallucinating, Harry stood and stumbled back inside, all the way through the house and back to the kitchen, where he pulled his previously occupied chair upright and then collapsed into it.

He stared at the photo again with wild eyes, staring so hard at that face that he thought he might explode.

"I love you." He whispered brokenly, tears falling freely onto the table. "Why wasn't that enough of a reason?"

It was the reason.

Harry clutched his head in his hands, curled over on the seat. This was too much.

He looked back up and re-read the letter again, trying to understand the words through the grey haze his world had become. Angrily, he pushed the parchment away. It fluttered slowly downwards, landing upside down on the simple wooden floorboards.

He tiredly reached down to pick it up, and froze when he noticed more writing, emerald green this time, on the back of the parchment.

Gingerly, he picked it up and brought it back to the table. The lines of green flickered and swayed as his eyes filled. The words were written carefully, neatly, as though Draco had pored every bit of his love and care for Harry into their writing.

Unable to do much else, Harry began to read.

Please don't cry
You know I'm leaving here tonight
Before I go I want you to know
There will always be a light
And if the moon had to run away
And all the stars didn't want to play
Don't waste the sun on a rainy day
The wind will soon blow it all away, yeah

So many times I'd planned
To be much more than who I am
And if I let you down I will follow you 'round
Until you understand
That if the moon had to run away
And all the stars didn't want to play
Don't waste the sun on a rainy day
The wind will soon blow it all away, yeah

When the days don't feel the same
Don't feel the cold or wind or rain
Everything will be okay
We will meet again one day
I will shine on
For everyone

So please don't cry
Although I leave you here this night
Where I go, how far I don't know
I will always be your light
And if the moon had to run away
And all the stars didn't want to play
Don't waste the sun on a rainy day
The wind will soon blow it all away, yeah

When the days don't seem the same
Don't feel the cold or wind or rain
Everything will be okay
We will meet again one day
I will shine on
For everyone
Shine on
For everyone

When the stars don't look the same
Don't feel the cold or wind or rain
Everything will be okay
We will meet again one day
I will shine on
For everyone
Shine on
For everyone

I love you, Harry.

Harry breath was shaky with tears as he set the paper down, carefully. The words of Draco's song seemed burned into his consciousness, so powerful they were. It was completely clear what the message was.

I don't want you to be sad for me. Move on with your life. It'll be OK. We'll meet again. I love you.

It was a funny thing, the concept of forever. It promised eternity, and more often than not, it delivered pain. Draco had told him forever, and ironically, this time both eternity and pain was delivered in big doses to Harry. But the two separate concepts didn't go together. The pain would not be eternal. The pain was a reaction to losing the one you loved. That love, that thing they'd had, was eternal. Harry, being here, in this house they'd shared, was a living reminder of it. Draco was telling him to keep it alive.

Inspired suddenly, Harry stood, grabbing the parchment. He raced out of the kitchen, through the house and out of the front door to stand on the path, amongst the overgrown gardens. He'd loved gardening. Perhaps he should start it again.

He turned his face to the heavens, silent and solemn above him as they always were, and threw his arms out to the side as though he wanted to embrace the entire sky. Perhaps he was going to embrace the entire sky.

Harry could see, now he tried, the stars shining brightly down upon him. He closed his eyes, feeling Draco's presence all around him in the silvery rays.

The saddest people of all in the world were those who did not live. They stayed in the shadows, watching the world go by, feeling cold and empty things. For the more fortunate of these people, someone would come along, shining so bright as to blind them, and allow them to see past the shadows. Harry's star was Draco.

From the moment you are born to the moment you die, each and every person you meet will leave a mark on your life, whether they were unremarkable and worthy of forgetting, or if they showed you what love was. Harry had been blessed. He knew what love was. Draco had not loved him the way he did, and Draco had not died, for Harry to shut himself away. It was the same thing as all those years ago, in this very village, when Lily Potter had died to save her son. If people loved you enough to sacrifice themselves for you, that said something. That instilled within you a peace among the turmoil.

The stars kept on shining, persistent in their beauty. He pulled the ring from his pocket, studying it. The diamonds gleamed brighter than he had ever thought possible. He put on the ring, feeling a warmth shoot through him that had nothing to do with the breeze.

He would never forget. This was his promise to himself and to his lost love as he stood in the front garden of their home, under the stars. He would force himself to remember. He would be brave and meet the memories head on. He wouldn't let himself forget. To forget a time of your life was to forget yourself. To forget a person who loved you was to forget the meaning of your life.

Sure, he would hurt. He would cry all night for months on end. He would long in a mindless, empty way for that body to be beside him. But he owed it to Draco to keep the memory of them alive.

He would remember a time when he was nineteen, happy, and in love with a boy called Draco.

He wouldn't forget that perfection.

He wouldn't forget their love.

He wouldn't forget Draco.

He would wear the ring that represented all that they were and had been, and he would keep that memory of their love burning inside him, not unlike the fire that burned in the simple little kitchen inside the house.

He fell to the ground and sobbed, tears of pain, of nostalgia, of love.

If any of the villagers had happened to walk past, they would not have seen the dark-haired man on the path. The stars would only reveal the house, the mysterious little cottage, where as far as anyone knew, the blonde and the brunette were together.

The stars shone brighter than they ever had before over the village of Godric's Hollow, over the cottage, over Harry.

They would be together, in heaven and on Earth, forever.

Pain and eternity included.

The End

AN: I am so glad I finished this. I've had the idea and the storyline in my head for months, but I wanted to finish my other stories first.

Thank you very much for reading. I hope it moved you as much as it did me while I was writing it. Please consider reviewing and letting me know what you thought of it. Thanks again.

To pain and eternity, my dears.