January 1st, 1997
He was standing on the edge of the cliff, looking down at the crashing waves of the ocean. The cold air swept by him and made his hair blow every which way, and there were a few snow flakes falling from the stormy sky. His clothes flapped around his body and one of his hands was clutching at the angel pendant on his chest. It was more than 100 feet down from where he was standing, but he tried to get as close to the edge as possible.
It was the first time he had ever seen the ocean and it was a glorious sight. On the horizon was a never ending stretch of water, seemingly disappearing off the edge of the earth. The sky ran along with it, giving it such an endless appearance that it took his breath away.
The frothing sea rolled and turned and roared and it was such a glorious thing that he couldn't keep his heart steady. The tall grass on the cliff was waving around his ankles, tickling his legs and rustling with the breeze. The trees that grew on the sides of the cliff bent and swayed and hovered over the ocean, as if looking down on it as well. He breathed through his nose and lifted his hands up into the air. If he concentrated hard enough to the wind and the sound of the ocean, it almost felt as if he was flying.
'I'm finally here, Mum,' Harry thought to himself as he closed his eyes and brought his hands down to hold the angel gently, rubbing it with his thumb. It had been a week since he and Draco decided to run away. The city-life was no longer their life; they had made that decision together. Harry couldn't stay there anymore; it was suffocating him, killing him.
"Won't you change your mind, Harry?" Hermione asked him with tears in her eyes. They were standing at the city limits, snow falling all around them and the early morning sun rising behind them. "I don't want you to leave."
"I don't want to leave you either, Hermione," Harry said. "But this place, I can't stay here anymore. There are too many memories, I need a new start."
Hermione's chin trembled but she nodded her head in understanding. He reached out and grabbed her chin with his hand, wiping a few tears away with his thumb.
"I got something for you," Harry told her. She looked up at him, tears brimming in her eyes. He dug in his pocket and pulled something out. He had looked all over the place for it, shopping at every shop until he found the right one. He grabbed Hermione's hand and placed a small silver ring on her finger.
"It's a promise ring," Harry said, "My promise to you that we'll always be friends." Hermione looked at the ring: on it was a little heart and the words "Always with you" etched into it.
"Oh, Harry!" Hermione wailed and threw herself onto Harry. She sobbed into his neck and squeezed him tight. He returned the favor vigorously, never wanting to let her go. But after a minute or two of crying and hugging, they had to part. Hermione backed away, looking at the ring while her body shook.
Harry turned to Ron, who was standing by his and Hermione's bicycles. He was looking rather down as well.
"Are you sure we can take your truck, Ron?" Harry asked him. He turned to look at Draco, who was leaning against Ron's truck, staring off into the sunrise. Ron had picked them up early that morning, before the sun had risen, loaded his and Hermione's bikes in the back and drove them to the edge of the city. That's where they had stopped to say their last goodbyes.
"Yeah, take the old hunk of junk. I think it's about time I get a new one. But I'll have a time of it trying to explain to my mum where my car went."
"Thanks, Mate," Harry said and reached out to shake Ron's hand. Ron took it shook it lightly before bringing Harry into a bone-crushing hug. "Take care, will you?" he whispered in his ear. Harry nodded and smiled into his shoulder.
"Now get going," Ron said as they broke apart. Harry nodded and ran over to the passenger side of the truck and opened the door.
"Let's go, Draco," Harry said, not wanting to leave but not wanting to linger either. The sooner they left the better.
"Bye Draco," Ron waved. Draco turned to the red-head and nodded his head before opening the driver's side and sliding in. The truck rumbled as the ignition started and they pulled out onto the road leading to the freeway. Harry turned around in his seat and watched as Hermione and Ron became smaller and smaller. He couldn't help the tears the leaked from his eyes.
"Goodbye," he whispered before turning around and looking straight ahead.
They drove as far as they could, only making stops when it was needed. They headed straight for the mountains and into them. It had been so glorious when they were out of sight of the city; it was like a great weight had lifted from their shoulders.
"You ready to get going again?" Draco asked. Harry turned from the ocean and looked at the blond boy. He was leaning against the truck, smoking a cigarette. He looked so beautiful, gray eyes sparkling with life Harry had never seen before. He nodded and headed over to him; before he could walk over to his side, Draco grabbed his arm and pulled him into a loving kiss. With the ocean singing in the background and the snow falling into their hair, it had to be their best kiss yet.
Once they were back on the road, Harry looked down and opened the locket Hermione had given him. Inside was her picture and he knew he'd look at it often over the next years. He hadn't wanted to leave her behind but he knew she'd be fine. She'd continue dancing, complete school, go off to some university and make something of herself. Yes, she'd be just fine.
The Granger's would miss him for awhile but they'd invest themselves in their two real children, the memory of Harry eventually fading into the background.
As for Draco and Harry…well, Draco hadn't said much about when he left his home. All Harry knew was that Draco had grabbed his hidden stash of money and walked out the door. It left Harry to wonder if he and his father had their goodbyes or not. Draco and his father had a dark past together and it wasn't always easy to forgive; he was sure that deep down, they loved each other on some level. But to Draco, it hadn't been worth the effort.
And dancing? Well, he'd continue it; in the future, he could see himself dancing somewhere by the ocean with Draco watching him in the background. Yes, dancing with the waves and the seagulls, the sand between his toes and the salty ocean spray in his hair.
Heart fluttering and stomach bubbling with excitement, Harry turned his head to the other and watched as the boy concentrated on the road in front of him. Whatever it was that was in store for them, they'd just meet it head on. The truck had half a tank of petrol, the money in their pockets was diminishing by the day and everything they owned was miles behind them. They didn't know where they were going, exactly, or what they'd do when they got there but right now that wasn't very important.
With the mountains on their right, the ocean on their left, and the curving road ahead of them, he couldn't help but feel that this was their destiny.
They were free at last.
Author's Note: Seven months, 31 chapters and 180,000 words and it's finally over. I think I might cry. I'm going to miss you guys a lot. Please, read my new story OR add me to myspace. I want to keep in touch! My myspace info is in my profile. For everyone who read the first version, did you think this one was better or worse? Thank you so much to everyone who read and double thank you to all my reviewers. Kisses.