Title: Inheritance – Chapter LXVII – Epilogue.
Author: Woodland Goddess.
Everyone stared. And Harry knew why. Because he had come back from the dead, something that nobody had ever done in the history of the wizarding world. Voldemort did not count. His soul had still been living, even if convoluted by evil, and torn asunder by the many pains that had affected him and the many murders he had committed. But Harry did not have any eyes for any of them. The only person that mattered to him in that moment was the man sitting beside him, gazing at him with open wonder and love, his silver eyes surrounded by puffy reddened skin.
It was entirely obvious that Lucius had been weeping. Lucius had been weeping for him, because he had lost him. Harry felt a smile pulling at the corner of his lips, and seeing this Lucius rose from his seat, like a drugged thing, still rather unable to believe that the impossible had happened at all. Harry was still finding it hard to believe. He had died, and now he was back, and he was...he was...... 'Holy Mother of Godric Gryffindor, I'm pregnant!' Harry exclaimed, beaming. 'Lucius, we're pregnant!'
Harry threw himself off the Gryffindor table, and in to his mate's arms with a loud wet squelch, toppling the two of them Lucius was so caught off guard. But Lucius did wrap his arms around him tightly, securely. Harry had never felt so grateful of his mate's arms, as he did in that moment. Harry buried his face in Lucius' robes, clutching the man tightly, every inch of his body tingling with the desperate need and love he felt for Lucius, along with the realisation that Lucius felt the same way about him in return.
The fact that Harry was moving in his arms seemed to bring life back in to the older wizard, and then his hands were sliding all over him, and Harry knew that he was seeking to be sure that it was real, that Harry had really come back to him, that he was alive and whole and here. Harry understood, of course, he understood. He knew. Lucius' hands found his face, and they cupped his cheeks tenderly, lifting his face so that their eyes could meet, and they did, and it was as if the world around them had vanished in to nothingness. All that existed were the two of them. All that mattered was that they were together again.
They were whole.
Lucius' eyes filmed over with tears, and then they were spilling down his cheeks, leaving hot tracks. 'Harry,' he sobbed, and then he pulled him in to the tenderest kiss Harry had ever been pulled in to, and yet it had such an edge of desperation to it. Harry responded eagerly, and instantaneously, wrapping his arms around Lucius' neck, hands gripping his sopping wet platinum blonde hair. A shiver ran through him then, but it had absolutely nothing to do with pleasure, and everything to do with the fact that he saw soaking wet, being clutched in the arms of another person who was soaking wet.
Harry pulled back from Lucius' kiss with a sheepish smile, a faint blush coming to his cheeks. It was in that moment, as they parted, that Harry heard it. Joyous cheering. Harry looked around. The people who had been visiting dead bodies, who had been mourning, were now cheering, loudly, happy that he was alive. The next thing Harry knew he was being engulfed by a pair of motherly arms, and pressed against a large bosom. He recognised both the arms and the bosom immediately.
Mrs Weasley, the woman who had been like a mother to him since they had first met. She was sobbing like he had never heard her sob before, not even when he had walked in on her facing her Boggart at Grimmauld Place. She squeezed him tightly, and Harry was almost afraid his children would be hurt from the pressure, for Mrs Weasley was shorter than he was. 'Mrs Weasley, please, babies,' Harry panted, struggling. She released him immediately.
She stared at him for a moment, and then she squealed as all females did when met with the knowledge of babies. 'I'm going to be a grandmother. Oh, Harry, dear, that's wonderful, wonderful! Arthur, we're going to be Grandparents!' Harry found himself squealing in glee as she squealed a second time, and then Harry was being pulled in to several new pairs of arms. All the Weasleys. Hermione. Luna. Kingsley. McGonagall. Flitwick. Sprout. Hagrid. Vittorio. Moony, who licked his cheek tenderly, almost apologetically. Draco. Severus.
There were several pairs of arms missing. Harry looked around, desperate to find those who were missing. They were not there. Harry broke free from the group, his eyes frantic. 'Dora? Mad-eye? Hestia? Victoire? Émile? Where are you? Answer me!' Harry shouted. 'Answer me, please,' Harry whispered, his voice beginning to break. 'Please.' Tears filmed over his eyes, and he did not cringe away when he felt arms encircle him lovingly, but tightly.
He buried in to the chest that he was pulled against. He knew the arms, the chest, instinctively. Lucius. It did not matter that they were both wet. It did not matter that he was shivering, and freezing, or that desperate and anguished sobs were tearing up out of his throat, his chest, his heart. Some of his family were dead, and he had lived. It was wrong, so wrong. Why could they not be given a second chance at life, just as he had? Was it just because of the first set of twins he would spawn?
He only realised that he had fallen when his knees hit the stone floor painfully, and Lucius came down with him, and they continued to clutch each other tightly, and then Lucius was murmuring to him, lips brushing his ear tenderly. 'I'm sorry, Harry, I'm sorry. I know this is terrible for you, the pain, the agony, of losing part of those you had seen as your family. I know, I know. You were – are my family, Harry, and when you were gone, nothing else mattered to me, nothing, not Severus, not Draco, not anyone. All that mattered was the fact that you were gone, and I was left alive, broken. I love you, so very desperately, and without you I'm sure I would have fallen in to darkness and despair. You are the light within me, and without you, I can't survive.'
Harry flinched, remembering all the terrible things that he had seen of the future that had almost come to pass, and would have, had Sirius not come to him. Harry clung tighter to his husband. 'But our bond is different to those you share with all others. Losing your loved ones hurts, Harry, hurts so bad you think you can't breathe anymore, but life goes on without them, and you find that the pain lessens as time goes by, slowly but surely, but you have to be willingly to let the grief go. Mourn them for a time, and remember them always, but don't let the grief take hold of you so tight that it starts to choke you, please, don't hurt yourself like that, please, please, please.'
Lucius' voice took on a soft pleading tone now, and Harry knew that Lucius was right. He should mourn for them, and remember them always, but he could not let himself drown in the pain of their loss, because he could have lost so much more. Harry nodded, and then Lucius rose to his feet, pulling Harry up with him, and they still clung to each other, and tears still streamed down Harry's cheeks, but they were less desperate now, though they were no less heavy.
Lucius kissed his cheeks tenderly, his lips trembling faintly. Harry gave him a watery smile, and tightened his arms around him for a moment, before pulling back. There was a certain Werewolf he needed to speak to. He moved towards Moony, beckoning with his finger. Moony cocked his head, but followed as Harry moved off to the side. Harry bent down, and brought his lips to Moony's pointy ear. 'Moony, make sure you pester Severus about having cubs. His Master in Potions will come in handy for you.'
Moony yipped, and then licked his cheek happily. Harry smiled. Moony-Remus would make such a good father, and Severus, too. Harry could see Severus as the child carrier, because the monthly transformations put far too much stress on Remus body. Remus would not be a good carrier for a child, because of that stress. Harry kissed the tip of Moony's snout, and straightened. He turned to see the Weasley family looking at him, smiling, but there was also a hint of sadness in their eyes.
Harry understood. He knew. Harry went over to them, and hugged each of them tightly. 'What Percy did, it wasn't any of your faults, don't blame yourselves. It couldn't be helped,' Harry said quietly, but sternly.
'How did you know?' Molly whispered.
Harry smiled. 'Sirius told me. He sent me back.' Harry's face tightened as he remembered why he had been sent back. No one could ever know about any of that. It did not matter now that he was back among them. It would not happen now that he was back. He startled when he felt a tight hand on his shoulder. He looked up in to the baffled face of Severus.
'Black? You saw him? He's your guiding star?'
'Your guiding star. Trelawney predicted that you would return, that you would converse with your guiding star, and that he would give you new life. That was Black?'
'I suppose, yes, he was. He showed me some things, and then he spoke to me, and sent me back, but told me not to do anything reckless, because he won't be able to send me back a second time.'
'It seems that Black has done something intelligent for once,' Severus said, but his soft smile belied the tone he used.
'You have no idea,' Harry said softly, and then he looked down at his abdomen, and he rested his hand against his stomach. His children were growing in there. Lucius' children. Harry smiled. Everything would turn out alright now, and it was all because he had come in to his inheritance last summer........
Okay, the epilogue was short, I know, but, oh, well, get over it.
I'm not sure when I'll next be writing a fic, so people will have to be patient.
Slán. (Irish for Goodbye)
A big thanks to all those people who stuck with this fic from the start to finish, through all the bumps.