Chapter Twenty

Harry looked longingly around his worn down living room, a small smile on the corner of his mouth. He was saying good bye to his home. He touched the horn pendant around his neck, Draco had insisted it return to him, he needed it now.

Draco stood before him, a content smile on his face. He was the strong one now, the pillar holding the two of them together. Harry could not tear his eyes from the man that meant the world to him. For the first time in as long as he could remember, Harry felt truly happy, there was something for him to look forward to, and he knew Draco felt the same way, he was beautiful to the blond man.

To the outside world, these two boys were cold, cruel and unfeeling, and they were probably right. But to each other, they were everything, and that's all that mattered.

They shared all these feelings between their gaze, no words were needed. The moment shifted and they both knew it was time to go.

Harry was dressed in his black dragon hide clothing, his holster and scabbard strapped to his hips. Draco could feel the air crackle, as it usually did around Harry, his intense magic surrounding the raven haired boy at all times.

Harry ran his fingers gently along the hilt of the sword and the butt of the gun, his eyes closed. A single tear ran down his cheek. His fingers trembled as he reached down to the buckles that held them on. Undoing the fastening he held the sword up in front of him, studying it. It was with great hesitation that he gently placed it on the coffee table, looking away as he placed the gun down beside it.

"I just realized... I don't need them... not today." Fear and apprehension passed over Harry's face, the first time Draco had ever seen that expression on Harry.

Draco stepped close to Harry and gripped his hands tight in his. "I'll be with you the whole time. I'm not leaving you. Just a little longer and we'll finally be free."

Harry nodded. He shut his eyes again and took a deep breath in. Upon exhaling, the spark in the air vanished, the powerful magic in the air disappearing along with the intense gaze that was always present in Harry's eyes. "I won't need the shields anymore either." He shivered slightly. "It feels strange without them, it's been so long, I feel so vulnerable."

Draco didn't have words to respond. He stepped closer to Harry, wrapping his arms around his chest, resting his head on his shoulder.

"Let's go." Harry whispered, tightening his own grip on Draco. "I'll apparate us." He pulled back and stared deeply into Draco's stormy grey eyes. "See you on the other side..." Harry spoke heavily, in what may certainly have been the boy's final moment alone together on this earth.

He apparated the both of them away with a crack.

All over the wizarding world, something was happening. Those loyal to Harry, or Harry as he once had been, loyal to Dumbledore, former members of the DA, of the Order of the Phoenix, all received the same startling vision. They had to go to Hogwarts, they were compelled to. Something important was going to happen there, something that would change the very course of their world's future. Some ignored the summons, but most didn't, eager to witness any sliver of hope that would bring their world out of these dark times.

Harry and Draco arrived first, in the small clearing, the meadow where everyone's life had changed all those years ago. Harry stood on the exact spot where he had been proclaimed dead nearly five years ago. The location brought up more emotion inside him than he thought it would, and it took immense strength and a comforting word from Draco, for him to suppress it. He wouldn't show weakness to Voldemort, not now, not ever.

He could sense others in the forest all around him, his message had worked, they had come. The world would need someone good to lead them once both he and Voldemort were gone, he knew there would be someone in the crowd willing to take up the task. He smiled inside but kept his face stony. He could feel another presence, Death Eaters. Voldemort would not be far behind.

He did not have to wait long. Moments later, dark black clouds began circulating overhead, a bitter wind pushing mist around the clearing. A figure appeared in the midst of it all, Voldemort, floating to the ground, his gossamer robes billowing out around him. His feet touched the ground and he took a few steps towards Harry, choosing to lessen the gap between them. He made it a sign that he was in control of the situation, not Harry. His Death Eaters emerged from the forest, standing in formation behind him. There weren't as many as Harry thought, his numbers were down, Harry had killed most of the higher ranking Eaters, they were losing their edge.

Harry could feel the others in the forest, the ones on his side, emerge as well. This, he was not expecting, he couldn't risk them. He called upon the magic inside him, the magic he thought he had finally put to rest, and pushed it outwards from himself, creating a barrier between himself and the people behind him. They didn't need to be part of this.

"Hello Tom." Harry spoke calmly, nodding his head slightly towards Voldemort.

"Haven't you given up yet, Harry?" Voldemort mocked, taking another step towards the Boy Who Lived.

"No." Harry smiled, peace written across his face. This seemed to intrigue Voldemort, he had not seen this side of Harry before. "I should thank you, Tom. My resolve has never been stronger. Today is truly the end, Tom. Have a look around you, this is the last you will see of the world." Harry stepped towards him, spreading his arms, gesturing to everything around him.

"Oh, Harry... Harry..." Voldemort laughed, his menacing laugh echoing through the open space. His attention shifted to Draco. "It was truly a pity, Draco, that you did not stay by my side. You could have been a great man."

Draco clenched his fists and spoke through gritted teeth. "I chose to stand by a man who deserves my respect, a good man." Harry looked back at him and shook his head, pleading silently with him to stop speaking. He did.

Voldemort laughed again. "Oh, how amusing, the way you take orders from him. Pathetic." he sneered, turning his attention back to Harry. "Then again, it only gives me another reason to kill you, Harry, fucking fag-"

Draco was infuriated. Not one to sit back and be insulted, he dashed forwards, wand extended, rattling off a series of painful, crippling spells.

Harry watched it all play out in slow motion. He couldn't move, he was frozen on the spot. He had never been more terrified in his life, watching Draco rush towards Voldemort. Even if he had tried, there was nothing he could do to stop it now. None of Draco's spells even reached Voldemort before he had responded. Voldemort's bone wand was raised high and a jet of green light shot out of it, engulfing Draco as he ran.

"No!" Harry screamed, his legs unlocking. He ran, stumbling over his feet to reach his fallen lover. Magic exploded through him, throwing all his shields up again in an instant.

Draco lay crumpled on the ground, curled on his side. His face pointed skywards, his soft fringe of blond hair covering his eyes. His arm lay extended, his wand still clutched in his limp fingers.

Harry slowly knelt beside him, his back to Voldemort. A sob ripped trough him as his fingers grazed Draco's still warm skin and traced across his pink lips. "Draco..." He choked out a whisper. He brushed the fringe away from his eyes and locked his gaze onto them. They were empty, devoid of the life and sarcasm and wit and love. He was gone.

His eyes took in every inch of Draco's body as he tried to regain his composure. He caught sight of the dragon pendant hanging out of the collar of his shirt and instinctively reached for the horn at his own neck. He felt a wave of calm come over him. He had more resolve than ever to do what needed to be done. He leaned down and pressed a light kiss on Draco's lips. "I love you..." He whispered.

Something from the crowd, a feeling, drew his gaze upwards, and his eyes caught Hermione's, standing in the crowd, wedged between Ginny and Luna. Her eyes held nothing of the anger that had been there earlier in the day. He knew the look on her face, he'd been around her far too long to not. She had figured it out as well, she knew what he was going to do.

He broke their gaze and turned his back on the crowd, facing Voldemort once again. He hadn't even noticed the volley of spells that had been fired at him while his back had been turned, his shields had been more powerful than ever.

He pushed back his shields one last time, the hardest thing he'd ever had to do, and locked his gaze with Voldemort's. His red eyes bored into Harry's soul, his scar felt like it was nearly splitting in two, but he didn't register the pain. Nothing stood between them anymore.

"Do it." Harry whispered, unblinking. He remained kneeling on the ground, his hand clasped tightly around Draco's. He was getting cold. Voldemort stepped closer but did not respond. "Do it." He repeated, louder this time.

"So eager to die, Harry?" Voldemort mocked. "Finally abandoning your world? Admitting that you can't win? How could I ever deny you that?" He raised his wand again, slowly, methodically.

Harry smirked. He saw Voldemort's lips move, he must be speaking the words. Harry breathed deep one last time. "I am about to die." He whispered to himself, peace flowing through him. He saw the flash of green light before everything went black.

The crowd of those loyal to Harry gasped as their former hero collapsed on top of the body of their former enemy. Their hands gripped together tightly, raven and white hair contrasted starkly in the darkening afternoon.

What shocked them more, was that Voldemort fell at the same moment as Harry, green light enveloping him as well, though nobody had fired a spell. It seemed to almost have originated from inside the Dark Lord.

The Death Eaters struck. As soon as their master had collapsed to the ground they sprung forwards, wands raised. Spells of every type flew through the air, barraging them. But nothing made contact, none of the spells worked, nothing stuck.

Those loyal struck back, sending their own volley of spells. The Eaters could not hold their own, they fell quickly.

Once the chaos had settled, Hermione ran forwards, threw her wand to the ground and knelt by the pair of boys who lay clinging to each other even in death.

Some of the others had gone to check on Voldemort. They all came to the same conclusion instantly.

"He's not dead..." Hermione whispered, tears running down her face. He was breathing, just barely, his heartbeat faint, nearly non-existent. Voldemort was the same.

Harry woke, blinded by the overwhelming white light all around him. He picked himself up off the floor, or whatever it was that held him up, there was no definition to indicate that there was anything material here. He looked down at himself, holding his hands out in front of him. "What...?" He spoke aloud to himself, noticing something strange. His scars were gone, the raised white lines no longer covering his body, save one of course.

He looked around frantically. "Draco!" He called.

"You're almost there, Harry, just keep moving..." A ghostly voice permeated the air around him.

"Where are you?" He called desperately, frantic to find Draco.

""Just a little longer, Harry, you need to finish this."

Harry nodded resolutely and looked around again, searching for the monster responsible for everything. As he searched, objects began to materialize around him, a setting he could never forget in a million years. It looked exactly as it had that night, when Voldemort had returned.

Harry walked through the graveyard, dense fog floating between the gravestones. Of course it was not real, there was no sound, no cool breeze, not another living soul, save for himself and Him. A bubbling cauldron sat in the middle of it all, Voldemort stood next to it, devoid of robes, naked in the dark, just like Harry.

He was skeletal, pale, pathetic. His arms were wrapped around his corpse-like body as he shivered in the cold of the night that didn't exist for Harry. This was the Voldemort that existed now, an exact replica of the Voldemort that lay almost-dead in the meadow at Hogwarts.

He looked up as Harry approached, but there was no recognition, no soul still existed in that shell of a body.

Each step Harry took forwards, the figure of Voldemort shifted, reverting backwards through time. Each step brought back part of that soul, and Voldemort regained some of the strength that Harry had recalled from previous years. He still did not move.

The passage backwards through time continued, Voldemort still shifting until he took the form of that small baby, writhing, screaming, waiting to be placed in the cauldron. This form caused Harry to stop dead in his tracks, remembering the fear he had felt that night. He pushed that fear aside and continued forwards.

He was close, he could feel something building up inside him, something that told him this was almost over. The grotesque baby morphed into something human, the teenage incarnation of Tom Riddle. Something blinked to life inside this being and he stared at Harry.

This was the complete form of Voldemort as he once was, before separating his soul, before horcruxes. This Voldemort, no, Tom Riddle, was mortal.

Tom raised his wand, smiling widely. He opened his mouth to speak.

Harry's laugh interrupted him. "No." Harry quieted his laughter. "You hold no power here." He held out his hand and Tom's wand flew into it. He snapped it quickly.

Harry continued his movement towards Tom, his face stony and cold. At this shift in his mind, Harry became fully clothed in his black dragon armour, his familiar weapons replaced at his hip.

Every step Harry took forwards, Tom took one step back. He ran out of room, his back colliding with a large gravestone. He stumbled, his feet coming out from underneath him. His head rested only centimetres from his own name. Tom Marvolo Riddle was carved deeply into the stone behind him.

Harry's hand went to the silver and ruby hilt of the Sword of Gryffindor, pulling it slowly out of it's leather scabbard. Tom's eyes widened as he drew closer, darting side to side, trying to find some route of escape. There was none.

Harry crouched low in front of him, their eyes level. His grip tightened on the hilt of the sword, white light engulfing it, its form was changing, morphing into something smaller, more manageable, a ruby encrusted dagger. He leaned forwards, resting one hand on the gravestone behind Tom, his face close to Tom's ear. Harry could feel the fear oozing out of Tom's pores and it made him smile.

"It's been long enough Tom." He whispered in his ear. "You ruined my life. You killed my family. You killed any good part of me that had ever existed. You made me live in fear for most of my life." Harry smirked. "You made me strong, resilient. It's been 22 years since you first tried to kill me, and I suppose this time you succeeded, only now, we're playing by my rules. I may finally be dead," Harry pressed himself closer to Tom, "but I'm fucking taking you with me!"

Harry twisted his body quickly, bringing his fist that clutched the dagger forwards, plunging it deep into Tom's chest. He twisted the blade slightly and pulled his face back, staring coldly, triumphantly into Tom's frightened eyes. He watched as the light began to flicker out of them, as they became dull and lifeless.

Tom choked as he tried to breathe, his lungs gurgling up the blood that slowly filled them, trickling out the side of his mouth. He twitched a while longer before finally falling still, his head nodding forwards, blood still flowing freely from the wound in his chest.

Harry stood and stepped back, leaving the dagger embedded in his enemy's chest. He stared down at the dark haired teen whom he resembled in so many ways. Harry's mind was blank, he had finally done it and wasn't sure how to process the information. Once the situation began to sink in, a large grin appeared on Harry's face.

"I'm ready to go..." He spoke out loud. The scene before him was slowly dissolving, returning to the bright white light. A shadowed figure stood off in the distance, his hand outstretched, beckoning him forwards. Harry had returned to his former state as well, he was again devoid of clothing. "I'm coming." He whispered, beautiful, angelic visions of Draco flooding his mind. He jogged forwards, towards the figure.

A frown soon crossed Harry's features. He felt as though he wasn't moving, something was holding him back, the figure of Draco was not getting any closer, if anything, it was getting farther away. "No..." He whispered. "Let me go! I need-"

"Harry..." He heard Draco's voice whisper to him across the void. "Harry please, stay with me..." The sad voice called.

"Draco, I'm trying! I don't know what- Please!" He screamed into the void, Draco's figure only a pinprick on the horizon. "No! Let me go!" His voice was frantic, pleading. It felt as though there were a dozen pairs of arms holding him, pulling him backwards.

"Harry..." A voice whispered, tears full in their voice. It was not Draco.

The world of white began to fade around him, blackness engulfing him once again.

This time the blackness did not lift, it remained and was joined by the hard, wet ground underneath him, the cold breeze blowing all around him and the faces of people who hovered over top of him.

He felt as though everything inside of him was missing, replaced by the pain of longing, an empty void of nothingness. He couldn't hold back the choking sob that nearly broke him in half, his body trying desperately to convey the abject despair he felt.

Warm arms surrounded him and he felt hot tears drop onto his face. "Oh, Harry." A soft, feminine voice whispered soothingly in his ear, rubbing circles on his back as she held him close to her. It was Hermione. "I didn't know if it would work, but we did it Harry, we brought you back."

Harry thought his body would implode on itself he felt so empty inside. "No." He choked out. He could still feel his body trying to pull him on to the other side, he was trying so hard to let it. It was only Hermione's magic that kept him here, trapped in hell. He pulled himself away from her and collapsed back on Draco's now cold body.

"It's going to be okay, Harry, you're going to be all right." She placed her hand gently on his shoulder.

With a surprising amount of force Harry pushed her off. "No..." He could feel his energy leaving him, he was slipping back into death. He smiled.

Hermione frantically began to whisper spells, trying anything to keep him alive.

"Hermione, stop." He begged, his voice broken and pathetic. "Just let me go..." He choked, sobs overcoming him. "I've done what I had to. Voldemort's gone. Please..." He clutched himself closer to Draco, placing small kisses along his jaw. "I don't want to be here. I don't want to live anymore. Haven't I suffered enough? Let me go... let me have peace."

Hermione shook her head wildly, refusing to let him go, healing light still flowing from her wand. "Harry, no, I have nothing left here without you... I..."

"You have a world to live in. You have a future. I don't... I don't belong here, neither did he. This world is not for us, not anymore. That's why we belong, beyond together. Please, Hermione, let me go. Let me be happy. Let me go to him. He's waiting for me. I don't want to be alone anymore..."

Hermione broke, her tears overwhelming her, turning to choking sobs as she slowly lowered her wand. Ginny was close behind her and wrapped her arms around her shoulders. Ginny took the wand from Hermione's hand and placed it on the ground, the light disappearing from its tip.

"Go, Harry..." Ginny whispered. "We owe you that much. Be happy."

Harry's eyes blurred as he looked up at them one last time. He felt his body become light, he was drifting away. He smiled and burrowed his face into Draco's neck, curling himself around the blond. "Thank you." He whispered with his last breath.

Harry Potter fell still, never to rise again.

The clearing fell deathly silent, all present unable to speak, or breathe, or move. The darkness began to fade as the moon rose slowly over the canopy of trees, breaking their crest and casting soft white light over the pair of unlikely lovers, forever bound together, even in death.

That morning the sun would rise as it always had, the world would continue to turn. Only, that morning, because of the brave raven haired boy, a boy the world had unfairly placed every hope on, a boy the world had broken, a boy whose sanity had been unfairly stolen from him, there would be hope. Hope, because of the blond who lay next to him, the one person who had not given up on him, who had let him be, accepted him when the world turned their back.

That morning, the world would remember the two boys who defeated Voldemort:

The Boy Who Lived, and the man who loved him.

The end.