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This is the last chapter—essentially the epilogue—of Their Phoenix. Thank you for reading and reviewing.

Severus was astonished to find both Harry and Draco pressed against him when they had completed their Apparition into the garden. He would have thought that Draco, more reserved as he had always been, would have balked at kissing in front of their neighbors. And Harry, with his shyness around the public, had his own reasons for preferring the privacy of their home.

But nevertheless, two mouths pressed and scraped against his, fighting for place. Then Draco stepped neatly aside and let Harry have it. Harry made a soft surprised noise and reached up to twine one hand in Severus's hair, as if he assumed that he would have to struggle for balance if he was to kiss him alone.

Severus gave Draco a deep pulse through the bond to convey his thanks, and tangled his hands in Harry's hair in return. It rustled and scraped against his fingers, and he remembered wondering what it would feel like.

He had known that for so long now that his former questions seemed odd. Harry's hair felt like Harry's hair.

He pressed his tongue into Harry's mouth, knocked Harry's tongue aside, and asserted his right to kiss him the way he liked. Harry moaned and began to scratch and scrape at Severus's scalp with his nails. Severus shuddered and pinned him against the nearest wall. This would be easier if he had the assurance they weren't about to immediately fall over.

Harry grumbled and pushed back with his tongue. Amused, Severus let it into his mouth and twined his tongue underneath it. The taste flowed down his throat differently when he touched it that way. Harry's shudders and desperate gasps, however, seemed no different.

"I wish I could drown you the way you drown me," Harry whispered, pulling back from the kiss once. His cheeks were flushed so dark it looked as if he had a tan on his face alone. Severus pulled on his hair and watched his eyes cross against the impulse to close.

"I cannot promise to lean back and let you do what you will with me," Severus murmured. "However, your giving yourself to me will result in pleasure at least as great as you are experiencing right now. I can promise you that, Harry."

Harry stared at him with an open mouth and a dangling tongue, as if he didn't know what to do with it when he wasn't kissing Severus. The thought pleased Severus immensely. Then Harry slung an arm around Severus's neck and leaned against him.

"If that's the case," he said, "what are we waiting for?"


Draco watched in deep contentment as Severus laid Harry down on the bed and then hovered above him, eyes anxious and watchful. Harry shoved himself up on his elbows and grinned at Severus.

"I'm not going to break because I suffer a few hard blows," he said, "contrary to popular opinion. I promise, Severus."

Severus gave him a hungry look, not moving. Draco watched the smile drop from Harry's face. He reached up and put a hand over Severus's cheekbone, as if he liked the sharp edge of it. Severus's face was less haggard than it had been a year ago, Draco thought, but it would still never be called full or round.

"I'll let you know if I'm in pain," Harry said, "if I need to stop, if you're hurting me. You don't need to distrust me, Severus, or fear for me." He paused, head tilted. Draco couldn't feel what traveled along the bond between them, but he could feel a mixture of subdued lust and concern from Severus. Harry probably felt the same things, because his brow furrowed and he shook his head.

"I promise," he said.

Those seemed to be the last words necessary to reassure Severus. He lunged forwards and captured Harry's mouth beneath his, pinning Harry flat to the sheets. Harry grabbed his shoulder with one hand and flung out the other, towards Draco, across the bed. Draco accepted the invitation that it represented and clasped it.

He knew that he would have little part in this scene. This lovemaking between Harry and Severus had been too long in coming. They needed to concentrate on each other. Harry needed to learn the unique pleasure that came from having someone else inside him. Severus needed to see that someone besides Draco could be his lover and care about him.

Draco didn't care. He had had his shining moment, and he knew the praises of his bondmates had been sincere. He no longer thought that attention paid to Harry deprived him of something.

Besides, he had the bonds, and with them, he could never be alone. He felt Harry's eagerness and caution and Severus's lust as easily as if they originated from his own blood.

Harry squeezed Draco's hand and pulled him close. Draco went, crawling on his knees across the bed. He glanced sideways to Severus, but Severus, who was biting at Harry's throat, causing Harry to close his eyes and give soft panting cries, gave no sign that he had noticed him.

So Draco drew his wand and quietly enlarged the bed, then Summoned the lubricant from the nearest drawer. He knew that, once Severus began, he would not want to be stopped by such small and unimportant things such as the temptation to fall off the side of the furniture.

He lay back and brought his face as close to Harry's as he could, so that he could watch the lovely, dazed way his eyes fluttered, and the way his mouth opened in a cry that seemed to come from the depths of his being when Severus bit down on his collarbone.

And that was nothing compared to what happened when Severus began to undress him.


Severus peeled the robes away from Harry with less care than he wanted to use. He would have liked to go slowly. He would have liked to show Harry that he was worshipped, cherished, coddled. He would have liked to erase the memory of the treatment that Harry had endured from Muggles and wizards alike with gentle movements of his hands.

But his desire overpowered him, and his joy, at the thought that Harry was finally, finally ready and had been the one to make the decision to proceed this far, urged him to go faster. Harry was naked almost before he realized it, save for his pants. Severus reached for them.

Harry stopped him with a hand on his elbow. His smile was coy, almost intolerably so. He had kiss-swollen lips and eyelids that might as well have been swollen, drooping as they were above eyes that looked larger than usual. "Let me do this," he whispered.

Severus could have been stone for all the power that he had to move after that. Harry knew that, too, from the way his smile widened. But as he rose to his knees and began to strip his pants off his hips, Severus found he did not mind. That was the first time in his life. People mocking him or humiliating him was a trigger he could not erase, connected to too many memories.

But Harry only wanted Severus to watch him as he pulled the pants down slowly, revealing inch after inch of bare, flushed, sweaty skin, and then his bobbing cock. Severus had seen it all before. Still, he followed every scrape of the young man's thumbs, every languid motion of his hips, every twitch of his balls, as though he was watching some unique and newborn work of art.

Harry lifted his head, his nostrils quivering. Severus caught a glimpse of Draco behind him, watching with brightening eyes and tilted head.

He has never been admired in that way before, Severus thought. Or at least not in a way that would let him think the motive behind the admiration was honest. Draco knows it as well as I do.

So Severus gave him more of that admiration. He bent towards Harry and let the scent of his skin drift into his nose, and let his eyes widen so that Harry would see every flash and flicker of his dilated pupils.

Harry shuddered like a nervous horse and leaned forwards so that he could flick his tongue against the skin of Severus's left palm.

Severus's patience broke again.

Draco scrambled out of the way just in time as Severus pinned Harry to the bed and lay down over him so that their erections came as close together as possible when Severus was still wearing clothes. Harry shuddered, a yearning motion that had carefully concealed fear in it if any fear at all, and stretched up so that he could whisper into Severus's ear. "Are you ever going to take those robes off?"

"I will take them off now," Severus said, and he moved all in one smooth sweep back from Harry, who gasped at the sudden wash of cool air over skin that had been heated and shifted as if he wanted to sit up. "Provided that you lie still and do not move. If you do, then I will leave this room."

Harry froze, quivering. He could tell through the bonds that Severus did not truly mean it, but Severus thought he would be unwilling to risk it happening. He nodded quickly, once, and then settled back on the bed. "How do you want me?" he whispered, letting his hands sprawl above his head. "Like this?"

"That will do," Severus said, with difficulty, because the gesture echoed several fantasies he had had about Harry in that position, bound in that position. "Now. Hold still."

Harry nodded wildly, his eyes fixed on Severus's body.

Severus took off his robes with delicate precision, rather than slowness. He did not think that slowness would affect Harry at this point; he had already had more than enough of that. But watching the way that Severus never missed a button and folded his clothes neatly without looking at them, never taking his eyes from Harry, made him twitch. When Severus pulled his trousers down with the same unconcern that he would have used corking a Calming Draught, Harry gave a tiny cry and pushed his cock towards Severus as if he imagined that was the way to get his want satisfied.

"Hold. Still." Severus snarled the words, and saw the way that Harry turned and stared at him. The bond trembled with wariness, dividing and opening up unsuspected wings like a butterfly, and Severus wondered for a moment if he had gone too far and Harry was reconsidering his trust in him.

Then Harry swallowed and said in a shaky voice, "It's only because I want you so much."

"I know that," Severus said as he undid his pants, "but that is no reason for undignified behavior."

Harry's laugh was desperate. "If you don't get over here soon, then you'll see some behavior so undignified you'll never forget it."

Severus was not a cruel man to his bondmates. This was the edge of desire he had been looking for. Harry had never surrendered to lust so completely before, had never seemed to forget about the fact that he was actually having sex in his longing to have it. Now he was a pile of nerves and limbs and aching.

Severus went to him.


Draco rolled back to the edge of the enlarged bed as Severus grasped Harry and started to search for a pillow with his free hand. Amusingly, neither of them seemed to have noticed the bed's increased size yet.

Draco moved forwards after a moment of watching Severus grope and flail about. He knew that Severus wanted the pillow to prop up Harry's arse and keep it there while he entered Harry for the first time, but Draco had a better solution.

He drew Harry's head into his lap and bent down to kiss his brow where the scar had been, eyes on Severus's face.

For a moment, Severus stared at him, as if he had no idea who Draco was or why he was forcing himself into such an intimate situation. Draco felt a flash of pain, but no sooner had it shuddered through him than Severus reached out and laid the part of his left forearm marked with the phoenix against Draco's cheek. As always, the skin was warmer than it should have been, and the touch calmed Draco.

"Thank you," Severus said, words deep with meaning that Draco could not have explained given fifty years to do it in.

He nodded, heart and throat full, and then looked down to meet Harry's wondering eyes. Harry smiled up at him. The phoenixes entwined along his arms, partial though they were, glowed with a light like that of conjoined suns.

"Thank you," he whispered in turn.

Draco caressed his hair, and then nodded at the tube that lay on the edge of the bed. "I brought you the oil," he said.

"You do think of everything." Severus's hand swept through Draco's hair in response, and he picked up the tube and spread shimmering lubricant on his fingers. His eyes had gone back to Harry, and Draco saw a feeling in them that he had never seen. The bond was overspread with it, too, a shimmering rainbow that darted and faded and came together and shattered again like the colors that formed when a spray of water from the Aguamenti Charm traveled across a beam of sunlight.

Draco could not resent it. As he had told Harry, if it was impossible to imagine them becoming lovers without Severus, it was impossible to imagine himself and Severus now without Harry. He was the object of Severus's desire at the moment, and the object of Draco's desire at others. He was the one who had decided to overcome his objections and fears in order to give Draco a precious birthday gift. He was the one who made peace between them when they were both contentious, whipping each other up into storms because their souls were too alike. He was their Gryffindor, their impulsive one, their Harry.

Their phoenix.

Draco kept his intense, greedy, loving eyes on Harry's face as Severus slid a finger inside him for the first time. He would not want to miss the expressions that were about to cross that face for the world, remembering his own first time.


Harry stiffened when he felt the finger creeping into him. It was covered with oil, and Severus was gentle, sliding it back and forth until Harry relaxed a bit before he continued the even slower slide forwards.

But it was the thought and not the sensation that occupied Harry's mind most at the moment. He was actually letting someone inside his body.

It wasn't the same thing as being inside someone else's body, although he would have said that both Ginny and Draco were generous in ways that he didn't deserve when they let him have sex with them. That was heat and tightness, but Harry had been able to get used to that and watch his partner's face. As he had told Severus, it was a controllable pleasure.

He could tell already that this wasn't going to be controllable, simply because it was like nothing he had experienced before and he had no idea how to respond to it.

A high, nervous whine escaped his throat. Severus's finger stopped moving, and Harry gulped and looked up. He would hate to see disappointment or anger on Severus's face, when Harry had made such a dramatic pronouncement of his readiness for this kind of sex.

There was amusement and understanding in Severus's eyes, and the bond between them turned sea-blue, so that Harry for a moment, in the haze of his relief, actually seemed to look at Severus through seawater. Severus's finger worked forwards again, stroking slowly and smoothly, loosening the constricted clench of muscle. Harry swallowed audibly and spread his legs.

"You are well?" Severus asked, his voice soft and heavy with meaning. "You do not need more time to recover from this?"

"Recover from what?" Harry asked, flinging all the challenge he could into his voice. "You haven't done anything to me yet."

Severus bent for another kiss, his face intent. That intensity didn't forewarn Harry of the way that a second finger joined the first, though it really should have. He gritted his teeth and tilted his head back, breathing noisily through his nose.

"It's all right," Draco whispered, his hand coming down again and stroking Harry's forehead in a hypnotic rhythm.

"I know that," Harry said, but gasped at the end of the words. Severus's fingers had sunk in deeper than he had known was possible for fingers to go. He thought about how much deeper his cock would go and shuddered with anxiety—

And anticipation.

Yes, that was the bloody emotion curling through him now, anticipation so keen that it made his back teeth hurt. He wanted Severus's cock inside him, more now that he knew what a few fingers were like than he had ever wanted it before. That made no sense, because of course a cock was thicker than fingers and would feel stranger and would hurt more.

But it was the way that Harry felt. He licked his lips and shifted his head in Draco's lap, wondering if that would distract attention from the way his cock was dripping small, clear drops on his belly.

"It is all right to anticipate what I will do to you," Severus whispered to him, as the fingers moved apart from each other, stretching and twisting. Harry shuddered again. It was strange to think of a place that had always been so closed-off within his body straining open to the air. It was even stranger to think of why this was happening. "I would be disappointed if you thought it would be exactly like any other experience you have had."

"I want it," Harry whispered. He twisted his hips at Severus, who responded with a maddening smile and another curling of his fingers.

"And I will say when you can have it."

So he made Harry wait for more agonizing minutes—agonizing in mind and not in body, because either the care he used or the oil Draco had chosen deadened most of the pain—as Harry's body adjusted and craved more, and as Draco stroked his hair and whispered, and as Severus watched him with a sphinx-like expression. Harry wriggled and panted, and nothing he did convinced Severus to hurry up. He looked as if he would be content to wait until the end of the world.

Only the bond argued otherwise. The heartbeats of lust darkened the blue that Harry had started seeing through to red, and the red became almost the shade of Severus's swollen cock. Harry looked down at it whenever he started to lose his faith that Severus really wanted him. It was the only thing that made him sure that this teasing had to come to an end sometime.

It didn't come to an end before Harry started feeling empty, which made him flush. Yes, all right, he was about to have something inside his body, but he didn't know that he could actually start craving it. He hadn't known that Severus's fingers would start seeming as if they weren't enough, and that he would need Severus's cock, instead of simply wanting it.

That was something people could feel, maybe, but it wasn't a feeling Harry associated with himself. He wanted to close his eyes and die of embarrassment.

"I enjoy that you are feeling this," Severus whispered to him, because of course he had picked up all the thoughts through the bond the moment that Harry started having them.

What else could he do after that but keep his eyes up and stare up at Severus, whose eyes glittered and revealed more of himself than they ever had before? Harry knew that he wouldn't be betrayed now. Vulnerability answered vulnerability. They could trust each other because they had the power to hurt each other.

Harry didn't think, now, that he could ever have found this contentment or this level of security with anyone else.

It became like a dance, the intricate tangle of all their movements: Severus's fingers penetrating him; Draco's hands touching his hair and head and occasionally dipping down beneath Harry's neck and between his own knees to touch his own cock; Harry's breathing and the involuntary spreading of his legs. It went on until Harry became almost content to let it be the experience of the evening and let it take the place of anything else that could have happened.

Then Severus raised the material of the bed beneath his arse with a word and said, "I want you."

"And I want you," Harry answered, because he had the impression that Severus was waiting for him to say something. He raised his arse, his face flushing all over again. He didn't know he had that much blood left in his body.

"Truly," Severus whispered, "you have nothing except pleasure to fear."

He lifted Harry's legs over his shoulders.

Harry shivered. Then he stiffened in spite of himself when Severus began to slide inside his body. This was the experience he had feared most, because Severus was aiming at his prostate and he had no escape from it, no way that he could flee into his head the way he used to at the Dursleys.

But why should you want to? Draco whispered to him, stroking his skin and stroking and stroking and stroking. This is only pleasure, or will be.

Harry gasped. Severus had rocked forwards into him while he was trying to think of a way to answer Draco's thought—he had the feeling that he would have to use different words than he had used to explain his fear to Severus—and now Severus's cock was more or less fully within Harry. Harry had no angle to look down and judge distances from.

He tensed. There was someone with him, within him, so close that he couldn't be fled from—

And then Harry looked up and realized, as if for the first time, that it was Severus.

And he no longer wished to escape.


Tightness and heat.

That was to be expected, but what Severus hadn't expected was how the sensation of tightness and heat would translate from the physical end of the encounter to the mental and emotional one.

He felt enclosed by the bond between him and Harry, so filled was it with fluttering emotions like the fluttering muscles around him, the shining red and pink emotions of Harry's lust and fear and anger at himself like the colors of flesh. Severus let his head drop forwards, nearly overwhelmed. The pleasure was sharp and doubly sweet—no, triply, because one side of it was the sensation that he was receiving from Harry. The rest of it came from penetrating Harry's body and penetrating Harry's mind.

He was welcome here. He was not the intruder he had been when they practiced Occlumency in Harry's schooldays. Nor yet was he peering into Harry's mind to confirm some disastrous theory about physical abuse.

He was inside Harry.

It was more overwhelming than the beat of his heart.

He looked up, and found Harry's face melted and softened. That, as much as the fact that he could literally no longer keep still, encouraged Severus to snap his hips forwards.

Harry tensed, and let his mouth fall open dumbly.

And then he spread his arms out, drooping over Draco's knees, and tilted his head back until the firelight shone on his throat, and whispered in rapture, "More."

Severus had known that moment would come, and still it went straight to his heart like a gift. He was moving faster and thrusting harder before he had rationally considered whether he wanted to fulfill Harry's request. After all, Harry had never been through this before. He might think he knew what he wanted, but he might also not really know—

The force of Harry's stare, and the half-contempt in it, destroyed Severus's rationalizations. He nodded and settled into the rhythm of his body rather than trying to fight it, never taking his eyes from Harry. He still caught glimpses of Draco, of his swaying hair and his brilliant smile, but Draco seemed content to cradle Harry and ride Severus's thrusts as though he were part of both their bodies.

The pleasure was spinning through Severus, extending out arms of wind and rain, ravaging him like a storm. Harry's pleasure, his choked and hushed gasps, surrounded him, and Severus vibrated to their chords. He heard his skin slapping Harry's, somewhere down at the bottom of the well, and the creaking of the bed, and the way that Harry lifted and lowered himself, pushing back as best he could, his face a study in wonder.

But no single sound could dominate him. The moment he heard one, it was replaced by another. And the same thing happened with sights, and smells, which had never happened when he had to use his nose in separating Potions ingredients. Severus closed his eyes at last, to try and gain some control over the spinning that had invaded him.

I don't get to have any control left, Harry whispered down the bond into his mind. Why should you get to?

He squeezed down with his inner muscles, and Severus cried out in distress and triumph both at once as he came. He hadn't felt his orgasm building up, or he hadn't managed to separate it from everything else, but now it was there, spraying through him, spraying out of him, white and gold and black somersaulting in front of his eyes. He had never felt so good, especially because Harry's enjoyment was all around him at the same time.

He caught himself with his arms before he could fall forwards, and heard Draco gasping and stuttering. He was coming without a touch, Severus thought as he forced his eyes open, or maybe from the way that Harry's hair and head had continually rubbed against his erection as Severus pushed into him.

He was in time to see Harry coming untouched, as well.

Harry's eyes screwed shut. His head fell back; his orgasm had deprived him of strength in his neck, Severus found himself thinking. He wailed, but the wail got cut off halfway through and degenerated into a sob. His belly was soaked as his cock spasmed, and Severus reached down and traced the vein along the shaft with a finger so that he could coax Harry along. Harry shook more urgently.

When it was done, Severus bent down and kissed him. Draco joined the kiss, his mouth sucking and greedy. Harry lay still, eyes shut, recovering, until one of his hands crept up and cupped around the back of Severus's neck, tilting his head so that Harry could whisper into his ear without moving.

"I already want you inside me again," Harry breathed.

Harry's words were enough for Severus to decide that this latest encounter had been a success.


Harry could not believe how calm he felt. Yes, this was a tense moment, and everyone around him was muttering and checking watches and making up excuses to whisper to each other. But the tension remained outside him. He was confident that he could live with whoever became Minister.

Shacklebolt was gone. The Muggleborns who had followed Huxley had tried to put their own candidate forwards, but withdrawn her a few weeks later. Harry knew that the pure-blood candidates, even if they earned enough votes to become Minister, would receive bitter opposition from Muggleborns and wouldn't be able to exercise the power of a despot in the way that Kingsley had tried to do.

"Are you all right, Harry?" Hermione whispered in his ear. "You've been staring off into space and smiling for several minutes now."

Harry turned to smile at her. He could see her well, since they were on the field near Hogsmeade, the one where Harry had held several of his meetings to court the pure-bloods and get to know them. It was a beautiful day, two days before his birthday, the sun glowing through a haze that had dropped a little rain this morning but was already melting. The people around them added too much heat to the proceedings, but that was why Harry had made sure to cast a Cooling Charm before they left the house. He and Draco were doing more practical things like that for their personal comfort now, since Severus had insisted that they do so and taught them the spells.

Harry reached out at the thought of them, and found the bonds glowing with the same untroubled contentment that he was experiencing. Draco's was tinted with blue amusement as he watched the crowd shifting as if they all had to use the loo. Severus's bond was white with analytical intelligence; if danger would erupt when they made the announcement, he was concerned to know the best escape routes and how to collect his bondmates before they could get injured or trampled.

"I'm fine," he answered Hermione. "Just thinking that I want Colben to win, but that it's not the end of the world if she doesn't."

Hermione gave him a sharp glance. "Even though we've spent so much time and money trying to make sure that she gets elected?"

"We spent time," Harry corrected her. "We let other people spend the money."

Hermione stared at the ground, and Harry knew that she was trying to conceal her smile. When she looked up, she said, "I've been doing some more research on accidental magical bonds. I was wondering why the bond had manifested as a phoenix for you and Snape and Malfoy. I mean, it's not as though either of you had a pet phoenix like Dumbledore or was a phoenix Animagus."

Harry cast a curious glance at her. "Well, what did you find?"

"You told me that when you created the bond, you were thinking that Dumbledore would want you to save Snape and Malfoy, right?" Hermione asked. Harry nodded, though from this distance it seemed impossible that he would have thought they were only worth saving for that reason. "Well, Dumbledore's symbol was the phoenix. For you, I mean, not necessarily because that's the symbol he was known by in the wizarding world. You were probably thinking about that, and the accidental bond came about because you wished for it, and it seized that symbol of Dumbledore because you were doing it for him, in a weird way. Plus, it was a good replacement for the Dark Marks, which was something that the bond needed to create, or Voldemort would have gone on drawing strength from them."

Harry nodded slowly. He supposed that made more sense than the only theory that he'd been able to come up with: that the bond was a source of renewal and healing for all of them, and so it only made sense that the symbol of it would be a phoenix.

On the other hand, he thought he liked his theory better.

Are you all right? Draco asked from a distance, probably because he'd felt Harry's confusion and conflict over Hermione's theory. He caressed the back of Harry's mind, the bond between them turning light green with his concern.

And Harry smiled.

Because the "real explanation" for the bond between them mattered less (except perhaps to Hermione) than what the bond meant to them and what they wanted to think about it. So he could go on thinking of the phoenix as a symbol of rebirth, and he could go on loving Draco and Severus without thinking that the origins of the bond—hasty, an accident—somehow diminished what had come from it.

Severus overheard the thought and rumbled in the back of his head. I entirely agree. What we have is more precious than what other people might try to name what we have.

Harry closed his eyes and stood still for a moment, because sometimes he could not believe that he was blessed to have his bondmates with him like this.

Draco laughed softly, and Harry, opening his eyes and turning around, realized that he made his way through the crowd to Harry's side. He wrapped his arm around Harry's waist, nodded to Hermione, and whispered so gently that Harry knew she could not hear them, "Believe it."

Severus stepped up to them from the other side, crowding Hermione away. Harry didn't know if that was deliberate, and so he settled for giving Severus a half-hearted glare. Severus took no notice. He simply wrapped his arm around Harry's shoulders and lowered his head so that his nose slid into Harry's hair. Harry could hear him drawing in a deep, grateful breath.

Harry wrapped his arms around their waists in turn and stood there, his mind and heart trembling with happiness. He sensed Hermione's quiet smile and the way that she removed herself from the scene, but he could not even look up and meet her eyes to thank her.

The announcement a few minutes later, that Estella Colben had won the most votes and was the Minister of Magic for Great Britain, hardly increased his pleasure or his sense of blessing or his deep, quiet delight.

Draco had said something to him the other day about how Harry had been a phoenix for him and Severus, their rebirth for their hearts and their chances in the world. But Harry, when he thought of the way that they had taught him what love was, what lovemaking was, that people he had once hated could become special to him, and what the future would be like, had fought against that definition. It was too exclusive to him.

"We're all each other's phoenixes," he muttered now.

The grip of the arms around him grew tighter. The crowd was madly celebrating or walking away in dejection, laughing or groaning in accordance with their private convictions, but Harry and Draco and Severus stood in the midst of their private, triple-sided happiness and were silent.

Harry did sense one thought, which slid through his mind so smoothly, glittering so brightly, that it might have been Draco's or Severus's—or his own.

What we have won is nothing compared to what we shall win in the future.

And when Harry thought of the possibilities open to them, he had to agree.