A/N: WARNING. EXTREME SPOILERS. DO NOT READ FIRST IF BEGINNING THIS STORY.
Voldemort stood, unbeknownst to Harry and Neville as the former tried to help the latter stand. He raised his wand, the incantation all too familiar to his reptilian lips. Looking over Harry's shoulder, Neville's eyes widened as he saw the Dark Lord rise from the ashes.
"Harry!" he cried.
Making a split second decision, Neville flipped them so his back was facing Voldemort and now it was Harry that saw the perverse creature aiming his wand at them.
The burst of energy knocked the pair off their feet and slammed them into the floor. The dead weight of Neville rested heavily on Harry and the man with green eyes pushed him off and stood to his feet. Voldemort had fallen to his knees, his magic drained from as a result of Neville's wish.
The Dark Lord smiled with his blood stained teeth, finally accomplishing what he set in motion nearly twenty years ago.
"The prophecy was true!" he triumphantly yelled.
"It was," Harry coldly agreed, "But it didn't say anything about you being immortal."
Summoning the memory of his dead parents and all the people who laid at his feet to reach this point, Harry pointed his wand at Voldemort and uttered the Killing Curse one last time.
A/N: This was the one of several - and let me emphasize several - endings I had written for OBWL. In the end, I thought it was too a little too hammy and, honestly, too much of a happy ending for the story. Sure, Neville was redeemed and Harry got to kill Voldemort, but all stories end that way. Some may argue that this ending was better, and it might be, but it didn't feel right when I was writing the story. Everything wrapped up too nicely and all the previous deaths (and there were a lot) meant that Harry was justified in sacrificing even his friends just to kill one person and that's never the story I wanted to tell.
To me, Harry was always a flawed character that couldn't get over his need for revenge. It consumed him and the only thing that kept him tempered was Hermione. Of course, she had the problem of overlooking everyone's flaws, especially Neville's, and it cost her both of them in the end. For those asking in the epilogue - yes, Neville ended up telling Hermione that it was he who killed Harry and that's what drove Hermione to exile and the last straw for Neville.
Originally, I also had a Dramoine pairing in the works, but I thought everyone falling for Hermione was just a little too cliché and, honestly, Draco's storyline took a mind of its own after Chapter 10. He became a rather special project for me - trying to create a mix of someone devastated and rather disturbed by the lost of his mother and the lost of his father in horrific situations, but still fighting for the good side. How do I keep a character so driven to darkness to fight with Harry? The answer was easy once Harry lost his parents too and I feel that Harry always understood what Draco was thinking since they both suffered losses at the hands of Voldemort. It allowed Harry to overlook Draco's excessive killings of unarmed Death Eaters once the Dark Tower rose.
The Dark Tower was influenced just a little bit by Stephen King's version but nothing more than appearance and namesake. I never wanted to fully explain the Dark Tower because it was more of an omniscient presence of Voldemort's control and his need to control. It was more of a manifestation of Voldemort's extended powers that went beyond just the Wizarding world. What's the fun in just ruling Wizards when you can rule the Muggles as well? Of course, there were several large scale problems when trying to explain how Muggles would react to the Dark Tower and their introduction of wizards and witches, but in the end, I couldn't write it within the story to have it make sense.
Instead, the characters of Thorn (RIP) and Samson were small windows into what the Muggles thought. There were Muggles that succumbed to Voldemort (Mixers), but also a strong contingent that recognized he was an evil force and wanted to take him down. I had a chapter written between Chapter 24 (Meet Captain Potter) and 25 (The Golden Trio) just to zip around the Muggle world and get their reactions, but in the long run, it meant nothing to the end as it was always a story centered around Harry, Neville, and the gang.
Addressing future!Harry (who I'll call James for simplicity's sake):
I know some people are still frustrated by what could easily be seen as jumping the shark by having James be Harry's father (How can you be your own father?), but I really wanted to have an explanation for the Tower and for why Neville was the BWL instead of Harry that didn't involve creating a whole separate story. So, yes, there is an AU within an AU, but here's a quick timeline in case you're still confused.
-First AU (James' world)
Voldemort resurrects the Dark Tower and wins decisive battles against the Order and the wizarding and Muggle world are decimated. In a last ditch effort, James travels back in time to try and control a single event instead of well, killing Voldemort. There is a little bit of a plot contrivance, I admit, but isn't there always when dealing with time travel? His thought process is that it creates a different parallel that he can observe and at least try to change to his benefit.
-Second AU (Harry's world)
This is the AU created when James ordered baby Harry to kill his parents in a ritual that gave him more power. Thinking that Harry would need to match Voldemort's sheer power in order to put him in a position to defeat Voldemort, James also gave his own magic to Harry once Voldemort killed him. James' spell is also tied to his death so once he dies, Harry gets the magical power of his parents and his future self.
I understand. It makes zero sense.
There were other questions as to why Lily's sacrifice didn't result in a protection against Voldemort, but Voldemort didn't end up trying to kill Harry as Harry responded with his newfound power. There were also specifics to Lily's protection in HP canon (he had to stay with the Dursleys) that I thought were null and void once Harry decided to gallivant across England killing Death Eaters.
For those wondering why they couldn't just simply Apparate everywhere, its mentioned several times that the Dark Tower has a built in Anti-Apparition radius that cuts up anyone that tries to do so. That's why Harry and the gang use brooms and Portkeys all the time. Since a Portkey has to have a destination point, they also couldn't just Portkey their way into positions near the Tower as they would have had to plant it there in the first place, hence the long train ride.
Luna is a bit of a lost thread (Chapter 15 , The Main Event is the last time you see her) as I didn't know what to do with her after she let the Death Eaters in. It's a bit OOC for her to fall so easily for holding her father hostage, but I imagined she cared very much for him and without making friends with Harry and co., she was a bit more lonely and isolated from help. I like to think she helped out with the Ministry's Army, but in my mind, she probably hid away with her father once the War started.
For those asking what happened to the Dursleys, they made it out okay. There was a bit of a Fallout feel to that section of the story and I admit it meandered sometimes. I think that was my least favorite section of the story, splitting them up over and over again as they searched for the Horcruxes. I understood now why JKR had to write all those tent scenes.
There are several LOST references (love that show) but I never intended to make Harry/Hermione/Neville to a Jake/Kate/Sawyer triangle. Each triangle had different dynamics and Hermione never truly fell for Neville like Kate fell for Sawyer. I think Hermione had mixed feelings and just couldn't commit herself to Neville because of the darkness within him. In canon, Harry could keep out Voldemort due to his connections (I think Remus helped especially), but Neville didn't have as much family as he did and when the trio was effectively split apart, Neville really went down the drain (Chapter 29, Voldemort's Ultimatum).
If you have anymore questions that I didn't cover in this, feel free to ask, but I had a lot of questions that I didn't just want to leave unresolved for anyone and tried to hit as many points as I could.
Thanks again so much for reading, reviewing, and sticking with this story with all the delays and what not.