Title: In the end You Emerge
Second in the 'Unending Love' series.
Fandom:
Harry Potter
Pairing: Severus Snape x Harry Potter
Genre: A dollop of Angst and a drop of Romance
Word Count: 1,535
Disclaimer: I'd buy the copyright if I were richer than the woman who owns Harry Potter universe.
Warning: Deathly Hallows spoilers. You have been warned.
Proceeds from the end of 'As I Stare On and On Into the Past'. Upon his triumph, Harry let his tears fall.

"Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it's age old pain,
It's ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star, piercing the darkness of time.
You become an image of what is remembered forever
."
Unending Love (line 6-10)– Rabindranath Tagore

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The world erupted in a chorus of elated cheers and cries of triumph. Arms held him in tearful gratefulness, relief and sheer happiness. Hands seized his clothes, trying to make any contact possible between them, trying to send their warm gratefulness and happiness for finally ridding the world of the nightmare that threatened to throw them all into the darkness. Those who lost loved ones to the war smiled through their tears, happy that the sacrifices of the deceased had not been in vain. They had won the war.

Harry Potter came back from death and defeated Lord Voldemort.

Severus limped to where the exultant cry came from, determined to find out what on earth had happened. He was sure he heard someone shout 'Harry!' and 'He's alive!' while he was trying to drown himself in grief and self pity, cursing the phrase 'for the greater good' with every shaky breath he took. The small journey towards the Great Hall seemed to take forever, and Severus grew more anxious by each step he took. Dumbledore never mentioned anything about Harry surviving, and he knew the deceased Headmaster was right about Harry being Voldemort's unintentionally-made Horcrux. If Harry survived, wouldn't a piece of Voldemort's too?

Gripping one hinge of the badly scratched door that opened to the Great Hall, Severus looked up and blinked in confusion as the noise promptly died out. The people that formed a circle in the middle of the hall drew back with a small chorused gasp, keeping a small distance from the young man standing in the middle of the gathering crowd. Severus' heart constricted in his chest as he was granted the view of the tousled black hair that he would recognise anywhere. What he did not expect was the tears that were running down the young man's face. Harry's green eyes were clamped shut in a futile effort of trying to stop himself from crying.

Shoulders slumped in exhaustion, Harry choked back a sob as the crowd watched agape. The grip he had on both his wand and The Elder Wand loosened. Ron and Hermione shared a look of understanding as they let McGonagall took a few steps forward towards Harry and put gentle reassuring hand on his shoulder.

"Let go, Mr. Potter. Just let it go," she whispered softly but with firm reassurance.

It was but a minute later that two wands fell to the floor with a resounding clatter as Harry finally let his feelings win over his resolve. Years of suppressed grief and sadness manifested themselves in each sob that wrecked his body. He cried for his parents whose death gave him a chance to live. He cried for Sirius who died before the world learned of his innocence and great loyalty for his best friend. He cried for Remus, for Tonks, for Fred Weasley, for Collin Crevey, for Dobby, and for all lives that were lost. He cried for Tom Riddle who could have been different if perchance he was given a different childhood. He cried for Severus who had had to endure so much pain for years. He cried for Albus Dumbledore who sacrificed his life for the greater good he believed in. And he cried for himself and his lost childhood, and he cried all the tears he could not shed for fear of losing the courage he needed to defeat Lord Voldemort.

Harry was too lost in his tears that he did not notice the crowd parted to make way for a person they did not expect to see in the Great Hall. Harry did not notice Severus limping his way towards him. His nerves were still recovering from the numbness resulting from the venom of an extremely poisonous snake. It would take a while for him to be able to walk steadily on his feet again, but Severus was not complaining. He was only amazed that no one seemed to make any move to hex him into oblivion. He could only assume that Harry had told them of his true allegiance. As Severus knelt before the crying saviour, he saw Ron flashed him a knowing smile.

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"What did you do to Harry, Professor?"

Severus arched an eyebrow at the accusation. He was a little surprised when Ronald Weasley asked to see him after class, but he was more surprised at the question he asked. There was no malice in his tone of voice, different from the rash Weasley he was accustomed to. The question was asked in a rather composed manner; it was asked with dripping concern for a friend he held dear. Severus wondered if Harry knew how mature his friend really was despite his occasional childish outburst.

"I assure you, Mr. Weasley, that I did not do anything out of ordinary to your dear Mr. Potter. Whatever it was that brought you to accuse me of such must be intriguing indeed, but I am by no means interested in what your little Gryffindor idiocy has to offer."

Ron's eyes narrowed in defiance. Severus applauded the boy for his guts.

"You know the feelings he harbours for you," Ron stated bluntly. He was not about to fall for the Potions Master mind game. "He used to always talk about you. Of his feelings. And I would tell him how much of a prat he is for loving you, and he would ignore me and go on about how he feels."

If Ron noticed his balled fist, the boy made no move to taunt him about it. Severus resisted the desire to scream for Ron to get the hell out of his office. Instead, he asked his student calmly what his little story had to do with him. "Mr. Potter's infatuation does not concern me, boy."

"Oh, but it does, Professor! I know he went to see you last week, all happy and full of life. When he returned to the Common Room, he was still happy, but he no longer talked about you. It was as if 'someone' erased the memory of his feelings towards you, Professor," Ron spat, putting extra emphasis on the word 'someone'. "You don't fool me, Professor. For all I know, you could have Obliviated him."

No teenager was going to best Severus if he could help it, and most certainly not a Weasley. He fixed his most intimidating glare on Ron and sneered, contempt and distaste fully evident on his face. He gave an internal cheer when he saw the tiny flinch Ron did not manage to hide. "You dare accuse a professor of Obliviating a student in his own office, Mr. Weasley? Fascinating, I must say. I'm sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Weasley, but nothing happened between the insufferable Gryffindor friend of yours and I. If you would just leave me alone this very second, I am willing to forget this conversation ever takes place. If you insist on your little accusation, however, I will not think twice before reporting your assault on my privacy to your Head of House as well as the Headmaster himself."

The suppressed blazing anger in Ron's eyes amused Severus to no end. It was one of the many advantages of being a Professor of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He watched with great satisfaction as Ron spun on his heels and headed for the door, eyebrows arching upwards in a challenging manner when the boy stopped short at the door before slamming it shut.

"He loves you, Snape. I don't know what you're protecting him from this time around, but I hope you know what you're doing."

Nothing more was said between them. Ron slammed the door shut with a loud bang that left the hinge vibrating from the impact, just as Severus expected. Severus did not move for a long time. He stood staring at the door with blank expression, replaying Ron's last words again and again in his head.

Severus released a particularly heavy sigh.

"10 points from Gryffindor for being disrespectful towards a Professor, Mr. Weasley," he said quietly to the empty room. "… and 20 points to Gryffindor for your display of genuine concern and loyalty towards your friend."

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Harry opened his eyes as he felt a warm hand settled tentatively on his shoulder. Through his blurry vision, he could make out the familiar outline of the face of a man he had come to admire. He brought his gaze to the hand on his shoulder, bringing a hand up to pull the man's sleeve to where he knew a mark of death etched revoltingly across the sallow skin. A faint tearful laughter broke free from his throat when he saw no trace of the Dark Mark. Voldemort's mark had disappeared.

"Severus…"

Severus could not help but smile at the sound of his name from Harry's lips. He brushed the fresh trickle of tears on the young man's face with gentle touches of his fingers. Harry's hand lingered where his Dark Mark once was, caressing the skin as if to assure himself that what he was seeing was real.

Neither can live while the other survives.

Voldemort's mark had disappeared. Voldemort was dead and Harry had survived.

The prophecy was fulfilled.