Author's note: So I have little words left. For ages I believed I would never finish this story, but here it is. I present to you the very last chapter of When His World Turns Over. I know it is WAY overdue, but I wanted to continue for those people who stuck to the story since whenever and who have (repeatedly) asked me to please finish.
Thank you all for your reviews, criticism and positive feedback. You have helped me evolve my writing skills and I am far from where I wish to be one day, but I am way closer than when I started six (6!) years ago.
Please enjoy this last chapter.
And of course, Happy Birthday Harry!
With love, Juud
26. The next great adventure
His surrounding was dark, not cold. He was comfortable yet felt excruciating pain. He dared not breathe, for moving a single muscle could kill him from the pain. Short and slow breaths already hurt and he almost believed that not breathing at all would help him out. There was absolutely nothing. Perhaps he could… yes, Harry thought, I feel something. He dared twitching his fingers, even if just a bit. He lay on something soft. It felt reassuring: he could not hear a thing; he could not see a thing; there was nothing to smell… but at least his sense of touch still worked. This was both a blessing and a curse. His victory of feeling with his fingers hurt and hurt bad. It went from bad to worse and more painful into a painful heat that made his mind go blank. His insides seemed to be burning up, as if he was a shell and his soul prickled, screamed to get out. Out of the burning, pinching and darkness that was his body.
Minutes passed by and he still did not know what was going on. He had no idea of his surroundings. Harry pushed his fingers into the soft material under him. What had happened?
Small fragments of memories flashed into his mind. He remembered Voldemort and fighting and Urahara and…
He had released his Bankai.
"Bankai, Light of the Bearer."
A screech erupted from the hilt of his zanpakutou. The blade caught fire; fire that changed from red to blue and green and back to red. The flames found their way to the hilt, Harry's hands and finally Harry's entire body. He was surrounded by flames. They grew fiercer and larger with every passing second. Upon reaching its highest point, the fire shrieked again and then started to deform: out of the highest flames raised the head of a bird. It was crying and its large tears fell down onto Harry, which softened the pain from his injuries. The flames formed into the body of a large bird and remained in this shape. By the time the bird had released Harry and took his place beside him, he screeched one last time and then waited for an order.
"A phoenix?" Voldemort said, seeming taken aback. He quickly found his aggressive posture again and then grimaced. "A phoenix. I see. Dumbledore's man through and through, after all this time."
"Always," Harry replied.
He had not been harmed by the bird's fire, but his body had partly healed. He could stand without falling down.
He remembered this. He remembered he was able to release Keishu's Bankai for the first time. Harry was not sure if it was a replica of Fawkes or not: he had never seen other phoenixes and could not compare.
His body still hurt. It felt as if it was splitting into two, and taking its easy time to do so. Harry wanted to cry out from pain, but he could not open his mouth, he could not make a sound. He could still only move his fingers.
"What do you want from me?" Harry asked Voldemort. He felt strong now that Keishu was there with him. The Keishu that represented him, Harry, and not the Keishu that represented the Voldemort inside of him. "I am dead in your world, you won."
"You are mistaken, boy," Voldemort spat. "As long as you are conscious in any world, I have not defeated you."
"I have powers unknown to you," Harry threated, "You dare taking me on? With that little petty army you have left?"
Voldemort smiled confidently. "Do not underestimate me, Harry. I myself have developed ways to be certain of your kill."
"Enlighten me," Harry mocked.
"Snape!" Voldemort commanded.
Someone was pulling his arm. Harry wanted to open his eyes, to plead for mercy, but he couldn't. He heard voices but could not distinguish what they were saying. The pain in his head was so bad he wanted nothing but to die from it. He begged anyone that was listening to make it stop.
He felt something puncture his arm and a warm liquid entered his body. It felt rather soothing, it diminished the pain. If only a little bit.
The liquid spread through his entire body and Harry was able to release some tension he had built up. His mind was no longer screaming for death but for awakening. Yet as Harry realized this, he fell away into a shallow slumber.
"This magic will penetrate your body, Harry," Voldemort said, triumph on his face. "Enlighten him, Snape."
Snape stood there watching Lord Voldemort, but hesitated before reaching into his pockets. He drew out a small bottle holding a red substance. "This," Snape started, "is your blood, Potter."
"My blood?" Harry asked. "Is that the blood you found in the chamber of secrets?"
"Doesn't matter," Voldemort replied. "You might be more interested in what it does, Harry."
Harry remained silent. He did not know what to expect and knowing Voldemort and his Horcrux-story, Harry was prepared for the worst.
"When someone drinks this," Snape started explaining in his arrogant fashion, "that person shall be linked to the body this blood belongs to."
"Ugh that's gross," Harry replied, making a face. "Why would you drink that?"
"I am not going to," Snape said. He reached out his hand and gave the bottle to Voldemort.
"As if he needs to," Harry yelled. "Your recent body has been built with my blood!"
His body felt heavy and tired, but most of the pain had subsided. He felt hazy in the head, but the slumber seemed to lift, bit by bit. He heard voices again, and he was able to make out a couple of words. "…will be up soon… …not sure if… …his friends… …captain…"
He felt an unexplainable pain in his side, as if he had been cut badly. Then he felt another pinch in his arm. It was a sharp pain, but gone in seconds.
And so was Harry.
"You do not get it, Harry," Voldemort continued. "I should think that you know that we are linked more than just with your blood in my body."
"I…" Harry started angrily, but Voldemort raised his hand and for some reason, Harry decided to fall quiet. He needed to stall Voldemort and come up with an idea to get him out of Soul Society.
"Yes, boy, you have learned of my Horcruxes, haven't you? I believe your friends have figured out that you, Harry, are also carrying my soul. When you did not die so many years ago, I wanted to know why: that veil, that veil is Death itself. So how? How could you survive?"
Harry remained quiet. He saw Snape taking small steps back from Voldemort, he saw shinigami struggling with wizards and witches. He saw Urahara, who was huddled up with Ginny and Hermione. He saw Yoruichi huddled up with Luna, Ron and Neville.
"Because," Voldemort's voice broke Harry's distraction. He focused again. "Because your soul is special, Harry. Your soul carries mine. You were not meant for the afterlife or for, should you wish to, become a ghost. You were meant to protect with your soul."
"I came to Soul Society for another chance, Tom," Harry said. He felt a small shiver of satisfaction through his body when Voldemort's frowned upon hearing his own name. "I left you alone and I had hoped you would leave me alone."
Something warm was covering his hands. It squeezed; it must be someone else's hand. Harry wished he could open his eyes, but they failed him. Perhaps he could make a sound? But despite of his best efforts, Harry could not even breathe louder than before. The contact between hands felt comfortable and he was glad he had something else to hold on to besides the bed sheets.
"You should get Luna and Hermione," he heard someone say. At least now he was able to understand what was said. "Harry's not going to be here much longer."
What? What was going to happen to him, then?
Keishu grew impatient. He let out a cry and spread his wings. But Harry shushed him and went back to face Voldemort.
"Leave you alone?" Voldemort asked. "I shall leave you alone when I have disposed of you."
Realizing just in time that Voldemort was ready to strike a blow, Harry quickly drew his zanpakutou and let his Bankai shield him. The curse hit Keishu, but the flames were too fierce to be affected. The curse had been a red light, Harry noticed. Voldemort must have wanted to do something with him before he would cast the killing curse.
"If I retrieve my soul from yours, Harry," Voldemort sneered, "your soul will fall apart. You shall die."
The second Harry could see again, he saw Voldemort ingest the potion holding his blood.
"Saezuru, Keishu!" Harry yelled. Keishu flew up and shrieked once, twice and then three times. His enormous wings blew a strong, hot wind over the entire field. He then started to sing a melody that was heard by everybody present. Wizards, witches, shinigami and peasants alike took in the song. The Rukongai bystanders who had not fled from fear finally collected their courage and made a run for it. Shinigami breathed in and out and went to stand stronger, taller. The Death Eaters who, only seconds earlier, had the upper hand in battle now cowered down and covered their ears with their hands. Some even collapsed to their knees.
Voldemort had his eyes closed, as he tried to ignore the effects the sound had on him. He was doing well, Harry noticed while grinding his teeth. The song should affect everybody that was battling with the intention to destroy; it would look for the sympathy in a person, and for the guilt. Harry had forgotten how loveless and psychopathic Voldemort was.
"I am not impressed, Harry." Voldemort snarled. "You will have to do better."
Another flash from his wand, white this time. Harry did not recognize it, but he heard Hermione yelp and realized he should Definitely. Not. Get. Hit.
He jumped aside, but too late. The curse had scratched his sides and an intense feeling of being cut hit him. His side began to bleed, the cut grew bigger and bigger. Smaller cuts appeared around the major injury and started to bleed as well. As much as he tried to, Harry could not ignore the pain. He screamed out and dropped his zanpakutou. Upon letting go, the song of the bird stopped and a deafening silence fell over the battlefield.
"Here we are," Harry heard. He was almost sure that was Luna's voice. Thank goodness that she was okay. If she was together with Hermione, it would explain the 'we' and that would mean that she would be okay as well, right?
"I haven't seen any response yet," another voice said. When had Ron entered the room? How long had he been here? "Ginny says she feels his fingers dig her hand sometimes, though."
"I'm not sure," Ginny replied. "It's so shallow that I don't know if he's really doing it or if I really want him to do it so I imagine it."
Perhaps he could reply to her, now. Harry let his mind go to his fingers and now realized that it was Ginny who was holding his hand. He found her hand and gave it a squeeze, as hard as he could. Which was not very hard, but it would have to do for now.
Instantly, he heard a gasp. "I felt him this time! Harry? Harry, can you hear me?"
Yes, Harry's mind screamed. Yes, I can hear you. He wanted to squeeze his fingers again, but his body was so tired and pained that he no longer had the strength. He promised himself to squeeze again the second he felt stronger.
"No, you will not heal him again!" said Voldemort. He released a circle of fiendfyre and cast it around the two of them. The tears that Keishu shed, able to withstand his own heat, evaporated in the heat of the fiendfyre.
"Get up, boy! Fight like the man Dumbledore expected you to be!" Voldemort said, starting to lose his patience. "Defend yourself, defend your friends, but prepare for your death."
Voldemort took big strides to where Harry was. Harry looked at him and said, "hansou, Keishu."
The bird cried out and used his claws to grab Harry by the shoulders. They disappeared in a big fire, only to appear on the other side of the field. Voldemort and Harry were still facing each other, but now on the other sides of the field.
"You coward," spat Voldemort. "You let that bird do all the work. At least your irresponsible father dared to stand up to me!"
"Where is he?" Rukia asked. She had thrown the door open seconds ago. "Where's Harry?"
"He's here," Hermione replied. Seconds later, Harry felt weight put down near his legs as the mattress was adjusted. "Harry?" asked Rukia.
Harry wished she would take his other hand. He was certain he could squeeze her fingers. She had given him lots of strength before.
As if she was able to read his mind, Ginny took his other hand and led it to Rukia, who gratefully took it. "I feel him," she said. "I can feel him hold my hand."
"I think he's close to waking up, now," Ginny said.
His name was yelled from beyond the fiendfyre. He searched and found the source: Ron was waving frantically with his arms. "She cast the spell! Hermione cast the spell!"
Harry knew what this meant: the horcruxes back in the material world must have been destroyed with the spell Hermione had prepared. That left only Harry and Voldemort.
This was not Ron. Annoyed, Harry looked around and now saw Urahara frantically waving his arms. "Don't forget our deal!"
What deal? Harry did not know what he was talking about until he saw the cast away Hougyouku. It was no longer in Voldemort's possession. Urahara's plan had not worked: the stone had rejected Voldemort and not entered it. It would be the answer to anything. The Hougyouku would destroy Voldemort en Voldemort would destroy the Hougyouku.
He then made the connection. It was suddenly and it scared him. Keishu must have realized what Harry had only seconds earlier, because it was eying his wielder curiously.
"Hey! Hey Harry!"
He had finally opened his eyes. It took all of his strength, but his energy level was replenished the second he could see who were with him. Ginny, Luna, Rukia, Hermione, Ron, Neville, and in a faraway corner, Byakuya, Hitsugaya, Urahara and Yoruichi. There were also a couple of Fourth Division workers whom Harry did not recognize.
Rukia bend down and gently tried hugging him. "How the fuck can you still be alive?" she asked. Harry could hear Byakuya cough and Rukia flinch slightly, but she did not turn. "You look like shit."
"Thanks," Harry managed to say.
"Harry," Hermione said, now trying the same awkward hug Rukia had hugged him with. Then followed Luna and Ginny. When Ron walked up to him, Harry grimaced. "You too, mate?"
Ron flushed and reached out his hand. "I hear you can squeeze these quite well."
Both Harry and Ron laughed at this. The dizziness coming from it, though, was only Harry's. He closed his eyes and breathed slowly. "I remember what happened."
Nobody replied. It was painfully quiet in the room. Now that he was paying more attention, Harry noticed that everybody looked at him with the same look in their eyes.
"What do you know that I don't?" he asked slowly. Hermione stepped forward, the look in her eyes deepening. "Harry…" She sat down near his chest and took his hand in both of hers. "Harry, I think it's time we say goodbye now."
"You're leaving again?" he asked. "Just like that?"
Tears were forming in her eyes as she held his hand tighter. "No, Harry. We'll stay a bit longer, to help."
"So why the goodbye?"
She bow her head. "You sacrificed yourself for everyone, Harry. You were immensely brave, but you paid the highest price."
"Who died?" Harry asked. He looked around the room, as if someone had mysteriously disappeared.
The look in her eyes and the tone of her voice. He knew something was up. Then it dawned upon him.
"Will it take me?" Harry yelled. Urahara understood perfectly. "Yes!" he nodded.
Harry took a deep breath and decided to think about it no more. He ran towards the Hougyouku and threw himself onto it. Then, as hard as he could, he jammed it into his stomach.
People all around him called out his name and rushed over. The fiendfyre, however, stopped them, rendering them useless. Which was perfect, because Harry did not need to be saved this time. He would not survive on luck this time, nor on skill or help.
It all came down to his dedication, now.
"How long do I have left?" Harry asked. He could guess the answer. "We're saying goodbye now, aren't we?"
This proved to be too much for Hermione. She let go of her tears and started sobbing out loud. She threw herself on Harry and clutched onto his robed. "You have always been my best brother friend, Harry. I will miss you so much. I'll think of you every day."
"We'll be here, Harry," Ron said, putting a hand on Hermione's shoulder. She sat up again and wiped her face on her sleeve. "You won't be alone ever again for the rest of your life."
"Too soon, Ron," Ginny spat. But when she looked away, Ron eyed Harry, who grinned up at him. Then Harry looked for Rukia, who was surprisingly seeking comfort in Byakuya, who in his turn looked extremely uncomfortable. Harry called out her name and she slowly made her way towards him.
"I don't know what to say to you," she said, averting eye contact.
"That's okay," Harry said. "I know all you wish to say. Come lay with me?"
Rukia obliged and took her place on the mattress. She buried her face in Harry's robes. She lay there for a minute before she looked up again. "Tell Hisana-neesan I miss her?"
"Will do," Harry replied. "I'll also tell her you're now strong enough to beat the crap out of that husband of hers."
Rukia's eyes widened and she shook her head. "I could never even beat Nii-sama when he takes it easy during training!"
"But Hisana needn't know that, right?" Harry grinned. "Hey, do me a favor, will you?"
"Anything," she replied.
"Thank that Kurosaki-boy for me, okay? For taking care of you when both Byakuya and I were unable to."
She looked at him and then nodded.
"Your division will be taken care of," Byakuya said. "I shall continue to train your men. Captain Hitsugaya has agreed to take over your paperwork. We shall find a new captain as soon as possible."
"You senseless git, how thick of a bloke are you?" Ron said to him, surprised. Hitsugaya stifled a laugh. "Let us leave, Captain Kuchiki. We are no longer needed."
Byakuya shot a filthy glare towards Ron, but decided to leave anyway. He did not say another thing to Harry. "Potter," Hitsugaya said, standing in the doorway. He hesitated for a bit. "You were quite something." He made a bow and then left the room.
"We shall leave too," Urahara said, after a period of being suspiciously quiet. He eyed Yoruichi, who nodded.
"Wait," Harry said. "Why did the Hougyouku reject Voldemort?"
"It searches for a strong soul," Urahara replied. "His was all broken. As is yours, now." He turned around. "Harry-san, until we meet again."
"Bye," Harry replied.
It was quite once again. Then Luna broke the silence. "Have you thought about your last words yet? My mum's were 'Luna? What are you doing here?' She stopped paying attention to her new spell and then… you know what happened."
Harry raised his eyebrow. "What do you suggest?"
"If you could tell us one last thing, what would it be?" Neville asked.
"If?" Harry tried jokingly. Nobody laughed.
"You'll die, insolent fool," Voldemort said, looking at Harry. "What will this accomplish?"
"We're connected, aren't we? So if something happens to you, it will happen to me. That works both ways, Tom!"
"No!" Voldemort said, realizing what Harry's plan was. "No!"
But it was too late. Harry felt the Hougyouku shiver and search for the core of his souls. When it found the connection, it attached itself to it. It was silent for a few seconds, until Harry started to cry out in pain.
He heard groans of pain from the other side of the field. He knew he had won.
Voldemort would die.
Harry smiled and closed his eyes. He felt tears gathering in his eyes, but he felt too tired to even cry anymore.
The room was now quiet and only filled with the people he cared about most. It was over, the war had ended. Harry let go of any hand he felt holding him and stretched out his muscles. Upon relaxing them again, he felt tiredness wash over his entire physique. He thought one last time of the person who taught him better than to fear dying.
"Death is just the next great adventure," Harry muttered.
It was beyond anything he had ever felt before. He felt lighter than ever, his last remaining worries were now lifted from his shoulders. He could not even remember what fear felt like. Rukia would be okay, now that he promised her to look after Hisana. His division would manage with the help of Hitsugaya and Byakuya; they would find another captain.
Harry smiled and closed his eyes, taking in the last he could hear. He heard Hermione's sobbed 'bye Harry', he heard Ron's 'good-bye, pal.' He heard Luna's last warning to look out for imprinter's leeches in the afterlife, and he heard Neville's softly uttered 'thank you'.
It was bliss. He felt no pain, his body and soul felt right again. His own. And he didn't have to share them with anyone.
He could no longer see, he could no longer hear. Everything went dark, he could not even feel his body anymore.
There it was. They had won.
They were okay.
It was time to let go.