Title: Returning
Author: Jay
Warnings: Deathly Hallows spoilers, AU, non-epilogue compliant
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or anything regarding the Fandom.
Author's Note: This was based off of a music video I saw. Also, not revealing the pairing so there.

So take me and save me and change me and then make me and embrace me and then brave my heart for you. No, no, 'cause I can't go on without you and it's time for something never knowing.
-Never Knew by The Rocket Summer

Returning

It had been months since the war ended, but Harry Potter still knew that the fight wasn't over. Death Eaters were being rounded up, the help of Lucius Malfoy something nobody expected. Graves were being dug, families were being mourned, and the wizarding world was picking up the pieces. It was a slow process, but one Harry threw his entire body into.

The one thing that didn't shock him was the sudden friendship with Draco. For a while, Harry knew that he could get along with the blond if opportunity gave him a choice. The close proximity of the elder Malfoy helped matters. Harry felt he could tell Draco more, the things he never told Ron or Hermione. The desire to, sometimes, stray into the Dark. The desire for other men (one in particular, though Harry never told him who). The desire to hide away where nobody could find him. Draco understood; Harry appreciated it.

Ginny approached him three months after the struck the final blow for the Dark Lord, asking if it was "safe enough" to be together. Encourages by Ron and nearly the entire population, Harry agreed and the two soon became engaged. The recovery process took a back seat to the wedding being planned. Harry tried to get back into the process, but every time he tried, Mrs. Weasley had "just one more thing, dear" to ask about.

Two months after that, Harry was starting to feel the pressure again. He wanted to help rebuild Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. He wanted to track down the few remaining Death Eaters. He wanted to properly bury Sirius (and Snape). He wanted… he wanted so much he couldn't have. Ginny's life was taking him away from what he wanted and Harry had no idea how to stop it now that it had started.

"I don't know if I can take it anymore," he told Draco over their weekly dinner. "Between the planning and Ginny's want for me to love her…"

"She doesn't know you're gay?"

Harry snorted, tossing his fork back on the plate. "Nobody but you and him."

"I think you should tell me who he is." Draco leaned forward, resting a hand on top of Harry's own. "Maybe I could help you get back to him."

"It doesn't matter. He's dead." Harry took his hand away, standing from the table. "He's dead and I'm here, about to marry a girl that doesn't really love me. She's infatuated and just can't realize it." He frowned at Draco's growing smirk. "What?"

"I didn't realize you could use such big words."

"Oh you… shut up, Malfoy."

Draco shook his head before dabbing his mouth with his napkin. "All right, Potter. Then tell her you're gay. Or in love with someone else."

"I can't do that to Mrs. Weasley."

"Then disappear."

Harry stared at Draco for a long moment before shaking his head. "I can't do that. Too many people need me."

"They're not getting attention now," Draco pointed out. "How much attention are you going to give them once Weasley manages to get pregnant with your kid?"

"You can stop seeing the other side of this now."

"Can't help it. Nobody else around you will."

Draco had a point, but Harry didn't want to notice it. "Forget it. I'm going to go home."

Draco let the other boy go, a small smile on his face. He glanced out the window, letting a sign escape through his lips. "You left too soon," he murmured into the air after Harry left. "Harry still needs you."

Outside the window, an owl hooted and then flew off into the night.

Two nights later, the same owl perched upon a tree outside of Harry's bedroom window, a letter tied to its claw. Harry himself lay on the bed, Ginny curled around his side. They had moved in together early, as Mrs. Weasley wanted them to be comfortable. Harry was anything but comfortable. He knew he had to start somewhere, though. Ginny deserved happiness while he? He deserved nothing.

He didn't notice the owl until he got up to use the loo. He didn't recognize it, but that had become normal. There were so many different ministry owls coming by lately, asking him to verify some fact or another. Holding up a finger to tell the bird he would be right back, Harry went turned the bathroom light and went inside.

The bird kept watch on the door until the dark-haired teen walked out again. He flew to the window just in time for Harry to open it and landed on the teen's shoulder. Harry stroked the bird's feathers a moment before untying the letter. The own nipped at his ear before taking flight, disappearing into the morning sky.

The letter, then, probably wasn't important. Still Harry didn't want to slide back into the bed where he knew Ginny would be waiting. Taking a seat by the window, using the moonlight to read, he opened the delicate parchment. Elegant, familiar handwriting met his gaze.

Harry, it read, I do not remember if you recall the few nights you spent with me before the war. If you do and you receive this letter, then I am waiting. The Forbidden Forrest holds many secrets beyond the sight of the half-breed's pets. The password, I am sure you know. Find me if you remember. Ignore this if you do not.

There had been no signature, but Harry didn't need one to know exactly who it was from. He remembered exactly who wrote to him. He remembered the nights stolen, the tears shed (mostly on his part), the feeling of flesh beneath his finger tips. There was no way that he could forgot something like that. Something that he yearned for, something he wanted since it stopped.

Harry didn't need to think anymore. He left everything behind, save his wand and his invisibility cloak. After making sure he had them, he apparated as close as he possibly could to Hogwarts grounds. He ignored the castle, however, moving into the forest as quickly as possible.

It took him the rest of the night and well into the next day to find where he was going. Harry had circled the grounds of where Hagrid kept his spiders several times before moving deeper in, walking over pathways unmarked. The fear of getting lost never came up, as his heart told him that he was going the right way. How he could not be going the right way?

He was starting to get hungry when he noticed that he was passing the same bush for the third time. Staring at the bush, he tilted his head to the side and smiled softly. It looked like a cauldron, turned on it's side from this angle. It fit and he knew this was where he said the password. The one he knew.

"Look at me."

The world shimmered around Harry and, where trees once stood now sat a small cottage. It was simple, decorated only with white paint outlined by brown shutters. A garden stood to the side, fenced in from whatever creature might find its way through the wards. Smoke was coming out of a chimney, causing the black-haired teen to smile.

"When this is over," his lover once said, "I want a simple cottage. No magic, just you… and a fire."

Now it seemed that they would both get what they wanted. Each other and comfort. Harry's footsteps quickened as he approached the cottage. Before he hit the porch, the front door swung open. The tall form of Severus Snape stood framed in the doorway, leaning heavily on the wood. Some scars were visible on his face, but Harry barely noticed them.

"Severus," he whispered, running up the last few steps. "Severus, I'm home." He didn't care how the man survived the snake attack. He didn't care that he would probably never see his friends again. All that he cared about was this, and how it made him feel.

"Welcome home," Severus murmured, wrapping his arms around Harry's body. "Come. We have much to speak about."

Draco Malfoy would swear until he died that he never knew the whereabouts of Harry or why he left.