Okay kids, this is the last (and VERY LATE) chapter. There are sexy things and character deaths (which I hope you've been expecting) so now you can't say I didn't warn you.
Ron threw himself into bed just after one in the morning.
His feet were throbbing and his eyes stung from focusing for so long.
He was hardly scared for the battle. He was ready for that.
It was the waiting that he hated. They knew that the attack would come around mid-day though they would have no warning other than the Death Eaters being called. That would give them fifteen minutes to move the students to the safe areas and get outside to stand guard and defend the castle.
His stomach knotted. He was not scared for himself or for the battle. He was terrified of seeing Hermione hurt. That was the only thing truly upsetting him.
Since he met her, he had thought her beautiful. Her smile took his heart. In everything she did he found things to love. He laughed a little at how long it had taken them to realize it. He knew it was mostly his fault. Ron suspected it was his fear of the feelings and, maybe, his fear of hurting her that kept him from just asking her out.
The lion folded his hands under his head, smiled, and stared at the ceiling. It was horribly quiet. He was used to the strange nighttime noises of a boy's dorm but now, with his own prefect's suite, it was just him. He could not hear Neville snore or Seamus and Dean argue or Harry's bed creak as he climbed out for some midnight sneaking around. There was no Trevor croaking from under the bed, no empty cages by the window, fewer clothes thrown everywhere.
Then, suddenly, he heard the door opening. He sat up and rolled out of view, crouching behind the bed and waiting for the person to walk into view.
Around the corner appeared Hermione.
She had on pajama shorts and one of Ron's old sweaters that his mum made him for Christmas.
"Hermione?" He popped up. She gasped, startled and then laughed nervously.
"What are you doing here?" He asked in concern.
"Nothing," she answered quickly. "I just wanted to see you. That's all."
He half-smiled, "We were just in the War Room for four hours."
"Oh," she blushed, "Right."
He sat back down on his bed and motioned her over.
"I like that sweater, where did you get it?"
"Just stole it from some loser," she teased and sat down next to him. He wrapped one of his long arms around her and pulled her into him.
They lay together in quiet and felt their heartbeats reach the same, calm pace.
She looked up and kissed him.
Ron, in response, held her closer.
They kissed for a long few minutes before the brown-haired girl pulled away.
"Ron, you know that I love you."
"I know," he assured her.
"And I know we're going to get married when all this is through but…if anything should happen…" she seemed slow to find her words, "I don't want to regret anything."
He kissed her forehead, "What could you have to regret?"
"Not," she paused, "Being with you."
"Oh," he realized what she meant. "I don't want you to do anything unless it's what you want. Hermione, I love you and if you want to wait, I don't mind, I never have. There's no reason to rush just because you think something might happen."
She sat up and bit her lip. "No, I want to."
"Are you sure?"
Hermione climbed over him, placing one leg on either side of the lion and leaning down to kiss him. It happened quickly, that they were farther than they had ever been before.
Hermione put her small hands on his chest and, as he rolled her over so he was above her, they stopped kissing for a moment and looked one another in the eye.
"You are the most important person in the world, to me," Ron said seriously. "I never want to hurt you."
"I know," she smiled and kissed him, "Go on."
They closed their eyes and kissed and became more deeply connected than Ron realized was possible. She did not cry or whimper or seem at all in pain, which eased Ron's worry. He left a small mark on the crook of her neck and she smiled at him, amused by the gesture.
When it was over they stretched out, side-by-side, and melted into one another. It felt as if they were one person with the same heartbeat and breath. His wide hands wrapped around hers, and they locked fingers. She kissed his nose and he laughed, kissing hers back.
It was not long before they were asleep and had forgotten the war at hand.
Draco sat at his desk, finishing a letter to his mother. Harry was on rounds, making sure everything and everyone was tucked away for the night.
The blonde had written to his father and Severus already, and to Pansy, Theo, Ron and Hermione, Blaise and Harry too. He knew that he was not writing anything shocking or revealing but he wanted to give them all something to remember him by. It was selfish and a bit silly but he could think of nothing else to help them with their closure.
He sealed them up and cast spells for them to arrive with their addressees upon his death.
Then he sat back and sipped his wine and looked at the ceiling.
His favorite songs were playing on repeat out of the charmed music player. His room was warm, and he was wearing a pair of Harry's pajama pants because they were flannel and comforting.
After a moment the door opened and said lion walked in.
"Hey," he threw off his cloak and set his wand on the bedside table and then walked up behind the blonde.
"Hey," he answered. "How did it go?"
"Fine," Harry put his hands on the other boy's shoulders, "How are you?"
"Good," he leaned down and kissed him softly. "I need a bagel, want one?"
"I never say no to bagels," Draco stood with excitement and Harry placed the order to the house elves. They appeared just a moment later.
The boys sat on the bed and ate while chatting casually about their favorite flavor combination. It was meaningless.
When they were done Draco sat up on his knees and took Harry's hand.
"I have a favor to ask of you."
"Anything," Harry smiled, not sure what was coming.
"I want to spend tonight with you," Draco avoided saying 'my last night' because he knew it would only serve to upset the lion.
"You are," he smiled, pleased to have already fulfilled the request.
"No," Draco smiled too, "I want to be with you."
Harry took a moment to realize what he meant.
"Oh!" He paused, "If you're sure, I'm willing to do anything for you."
"Of course," Harry leaned towards him, "You are the most important person to me, Draco. I love you. I will do anything to make you happy."
"I love you too," Draco smiled and leaned in, kissing him on the lips.
Harry responded, kissing him too and leaning back, gently pulling the blonde on top of him. They spent a long moment kissing before Draco worked up the nerve to pull off the other boy's shirt. Harry let him, breaking the kiss only long enough to remove the shirt. He pushed his hands under the hem of Draco's shirt, feeling the expanses of pale skin. His back arched, pushing against Harry and relishing the electric spark of skin on skin.
Harry slowly lifted the other boy's shirt off entirely. Lips drifted from lips to necks, to chests to stomachs. Hands slid over hands and arms, into hair, onto the buckles of belts and then, slowly, undid them. With some nervousness, they lost more clothing until nothing separated them.
Draco opened his eyes and smiled. "Do it."
Harry rolled him over and kissed the back of his neck. He reached down and prepared Draco, relaxing him to make it easier.
The blonde was ready, he wanted this, and he wanted Harry.
There was a slow motion and it was in. Both boys sighed partially in relief and partially in pleasure. Harry began to move, slowly at first, in and out.
Draco allowed for it and took as much pleasure in it as Harry did. They worked their way into a frenzied pace, moving as one and reaching a peak with little effort. Draco closed his eye and gasped as every nerve lit with the feeling of Harry inside him.
The lion grunted, delivering one final thrust before they both came, shocked and fulfilled.
Harry pulled out, tired, and threw himself down next to Draco, panting for a moment. The blonde extended himself out, sighing and content.
"I love you," Harry kissed his temple.
Draco smiled, "I love you too."
Morning rose bright, and wholly unlike the day that lay ahead.
Draco woke in Harry's arms. He looked up and smiled, laying a gentle kiss on the hero's chest. Harry woke and smiled.
"Morning," he leaned over and kissed Draco's forehead.
"And the same to you," he rolled over, unfolding his arms to stretch them out over the bed.
Harry laughed. Draco's arm lay over his chest. It was warm and soft and reminded him of everything he was about to lose.
A thunder roused them immediately.
"Already?" Harry leaped up and pulled on his clothes. Draco did the same and grabbed their wands from the nightstand. The alarm rang through the school and there was a commotion to be heard in the other room of the suite. The boys rushed down just in time to see Blaise and Pansy leap down the last stair and rush forward.
"It's time," Draco shouted, putting his other arm through the hole of Harry's old shirt. It was loose on him but comfortable and aloud him to move freely.
The four ran out and through the common room, aware of the students filing to where they needed to be, but mostly focused on getting to the field out front. Draco ran through a list of spells and curses and defenses. He tried to steady his stomach and keep from letting his knees go weak.
They arrived on the field, Hermione and Ron just a half step behind them and the teachers ahead of them.
"Ready?" Snape looked over his shoulder at his godson and felt an iron weight fill his chest. He walked to the boy and stood at his side.
In the tower, Narcissa pressed her hand against the window and looked down in terror as the scene unfolded. Lucius was among the ranks of the light, just feet from Severus and Draco. They stood, ready and in formation as the forest exploded with darkness.
Pale gold light brushed over them as dementors and Death Eaters in black smoke and robes rushed forward like water escaped from a dam. Aurors and students and teachers sent out defenses, curses and spells, downing the first wave of enemies.
Red, blue, green, white and all colors jetted everywhere, filling the air with shining light and wisps of smoke. Bodies littered the ground. A powerful hex hit a wall and shattered it. Dust and stones flew everywhere, showering the troops and enemies.
Draco stood in the dust and rubble. He knew something was off, a slight charge to the air unlike normal. He felt an imminent ending.
"Harry," he yelled. Bright green snapped to him, trained to his voice.
The lion ran to him, looking concerned. Draco pulling him behind a failing wall so they could hear. The battle roared around them, wizard against wizard, werewolf on troll and auror against Death Eater. It was chaos but Harry could tell the Light was winning, inch by inch, and the number of crumpled men in black was rising. He stood before his white haired prince and the battle seemed to die away, muffled behind the wall and his own focus on his lover.
"I'm so sorry this has to be now," Draco said and Harry knew what was happening but he shook his head, trying to stop it from being said, from becoming real.
"No, no," Draco held the lion's head still, smiling though he was choking on tears, "If we knew this would happen today, I would have said it last night but now, now it has to happen." The wall swayed slightly under the force of spells and failing magic. Harry looked up at it but Draco held him steady, making eye contact so constant and strong that Harry could feel his own tears welling.
"This could be your only chance, love, and you need to take it. We knew, we both knew, how it would end. It has to end this way, I have to die. I cannot be the reason he rises again and more people die or are ruined." He took a step, loosening his grip on the handsome face he had grown to love.
"Please, Harry, be strong and be good. Kiss me one last time and go on with your life. I need you." Draco was crying openly, something Harry could never have imagined seeing.
He put his arms around Draco and pulled him close, resting his lips on Draco's and feeling the warmth of his body and the smoothness of his cheeks one last time. He inhaled the scent of him, knowing it would linger for a lifetime. Harry pulled away and looked into the iron eyes.
"Kill me, Harry."
"I can't, Draco, I can't."
The heir just looked at him, "You have to."
Draco took another step back and just waited. He stood inside a ring of runes carved into the earth.
Harry raised his wand and uttered the spell Hermione created.
"Finite Vida," a nebulous lavender smoke slithered from his wand tip and circled the blonde.
"I love you, Draco," Harry said and watched the blonde inhale deeply.
"I love you too, Harry," he smiled just a little and fell to the earth, lids closing over gray eyes that clouded with death.
He ripped his eyes from the body and turned away. He walked around the wall, back into the battle.
The volume went up, thundering like hell in his ears but all he saw was Voldemort, hovering over his followers and weakened by the loss of his last horcrux.
Harry went to him, ignoring the spells that blazed towards him. They never hit though he knew some of them should have. Voldemort turned to him and laughed, unaware of his compromised situation.
"You'll never win, Harry, just give up."
The lion looked at him, "You are the only shard of your soul left, Tom."
The dark wizard held eye contact for a half second before breaking away to scan the battlefield, probably for Draco.
"Impossible. You would never harm my precious Draco."
"He's dead, Tom, and so are you," Harry raised his wand and yelled out the spell he always feared. The Dark Lord screamed as the green light hit. An explosion, like glass shattering, followed and specks of gold and black flew out. Harry covered his face with his arms and felt the pieces slice up his exposed flesh. He gritted his teeth and looked up when he knew it was done. Everything had stopped.
Death Eaters fell to the ground, screaming and clutching their Dark Marks. Aurors detained them quickly, taking advantage of the situation. Werewolves became humans, dementors became wisps of black smoke and it was as though they were never there.
Harry stood still for a moment and then turned back to the wall. He ran back and saw Draco lying where he fell, unharmed. Harry ignored the people asking his help and calling for mediwizards.
He sat down and pulled his dragon into his arms and sat, hugging the other boy close and crying. It felt so needless, he could have killed the Dark Lord without forfeiting Draco's life, and it could have worked. He rocked back and forth and cried and murmured words of love and regret.
Hermione, Ron, Blaise and Pansy stood a little ways off, stopping anyone from approaching. None of these people needed to see the hero like that.
Blaise rested his head on Pansy's and sighed heavily. Narcissa had to be notified. Lucius was on the field somewhere and so was Severus.
Pansy assured the Nubian she would find them and off she went, searching for her professor and godfather. She found them both under a tree, attending to the minor wounds of younger aurors.
"You two should come." She said, "There's something you should see."
Lucius nodded and followed Snape to the wall where they both looked around silently. The older Malfoy just nodded and turned away, "I understand."
Snape returned to the little group too, "If there is anything we can do, just tell us."
"Someone has to tell Narcissa," Pansy said and hoped they could do it for her.
"You may tell her, old friend," Lucius said to the darker man, "She will need you more."
"Thank-you," Severus said and meant it, recognition from Lucius was a relief.
Blaise watched the men return to their duties and knew that their stoic faces were show and sorrows were being saved for private times; Snape with Narcissa and Lucius…perhaps for never.
Pansy returned to his side and held his hand. "I miss him already."
"I do too, Pans, damn it but I do too," Blaise agreed.
Harry took a step from behind the wall, pale Draco in his arms, and he began to walk towards the lake, still crystal clear and smooth in the face of the battle.
"Harry, where are you going?" Hermione ran to his side but he did not seem to see her. "Harry?"
"I can't go on, not without him." Harry continued to walk and reached the edge of the lake. He took a step in and the icy cold reached into his skin, his muscles and his bones. He ignored the pain and kept going until he could not touch the bottom anymore.
They watched in a mixture of awe and disbelief as he kissed Draco and sank below the glass surface.
"Harry!" Hermione screamed and made a break for the water but Ron grabbed her.
"No, Hermione, no," he locked his arms around her waist and dragged her back, away from the edge. "This is between Harry, Draco and the end of things. He needs this and you know it, he needs to end it."
"What are you saying?" she turned her horror and rage to him, "Let him kill himself?"
"Yes," Ron yelled back, "He'll never be happy without Draco, we both know that. Let him do this now, let him go in peace. Don't make him hang around for a year or two or five and suffer because he's alone and without the person he loves. If you died I would go with you, you know that. Let Harry have this, let him go."
She gasped and buried her face in his shoulder, crying because she knew it was true.
The lake rippled and lay silent, still and seemed as if nothing had happened.
No one ever asked what happened to the body of their hero.
No one ever had to.
The letter to Harry remained, unopened, on his pillow.
Inside was a slip of parchment, and on it were the words, "You're the most beautiful part of this world."