It was still hard. Merlin it was so hard.
There were times he wanted to just go back to his old life. He missed his friends, he missed his life, he missed everything. Even with all the fighting and pain he had gone through, he had found happiness in the end. He loved the life he had made for himself. This life, his new life was almost too perfect. There was still death—Sirius' parents, Neville's father—Peter had been temporarily paralyzed from the Hogwarts battle and now had a permanent limp that he needed his cane. Abraxas also had been injured along with Bella and Alice, but their injuries had been fixed with skele-grow.
But Harry himself, this new Harry's life had gone almost perfectly. Both parents alive and well, loving and doting grandparents, friends he grew up with and knew since they could crawl, good grades. Not excellent like Hermione and Draco's, but good enough, never failing with all the distractions of Voldemort over his shoulder. Star of the Quidditch team, and even plenty of boyfriends that he had—either serious or just some fun—before he ended them.
It was just...a lot. His friends were alright, they were his friends and he loved them, but they weren't his. They didn't experience the second war of Voldemort, so they didn't experience the death and pain that they went through. They kept mentioning things that he didn't know about and he had to play along. And it was almost as if Ron was a completely different person. Where his Ron grew loved in a full family, but also overlooked sometimes and caused rough patches between them, this Ron was the orphan taken in and would always treasure family over fame and money. He rarely got jealous unless it came to a new boy showing a fancy to Hermione. Though one thing never changed, he still couldn't really notice anything past his stomach.
His parents he didn't know. Emily, his sister, he didn't know. Peter, Alice, Fenrir, Sirius. It just all became so much some days that he just had to lock himself away from everyone and everything.
But he pushed along like he did every other time. He became a substitute teacher for Remus, for when he took off a week for the full moon. Even though he was one with his wolf, it still hurt for his body to change from human to animal, so he needed time to heal, not to mention be with the pack and his mates. Harry's other time was spent building up his store in Hogsmeade so he was close to the school. It was just a small store that he was calling Fire Back that held books on defense and wards and protection, and Harry would offer his services as a consultant. Albus had apparently opened an account and put all his money from his teaching back in 1976 and it being untouched for twenty-seven years had left him a nice sum of money.
Looking up, he gave his mother a smile. "Hey mum. What are you doing here?"
"It was a half day today."
The Ministry had decided to open a primary school for kids before they get to Hogwarts, also a way to introduce muggleborns to magic earlier. It taught a mixture between muggle studies and wizarding; like math and science along with introductions to potions and charms. His mother taught introduction to charms and wanting to get to know his mother, Harry had watched her teach one day. She was an excellent teacher. She handled her students with enough discipline that they knew to behave yet enough fun to keep them interested.
"I'm sure they liked that."
"Yes." Harry turned back to a certain wall that was being stubborn. It was the last wall he needed to finish before he started to carve his runes into the walls for protections. Then he could bring in the carpet and the furniture, followed by the books. "Harry, I want to talk about Pierson."
Harry barely stopped his spell in time before he damaged the wall. "I…I didn't know that you knew."
"You didn't think I'd notice how my son looks exactly like my sixth year defense professor? Or how you appeared injured and bloody where I saw my professor last? Or how about after you showed up, you haven't been the same? That you only really are yourself around Remus, the same person Professor Pierson was close to back then?"
Lowering his wand along with his head, he took a deep breath. Of course his mother would figure it out. She was smart, observant, and like she said, his mother. She would know if he was different from before. He was surprised that it took her this long to say anything though. He asked her why she never said anything before now.
"I thought I'd give you time, to mourn the children you lost, mourn whatever you needed to. I also thought you'd tell me eventually." He heard her approached and stiffened when her hands came down on his shoulders. "Why didn't you come to me? I'm your mother."
"Because you're not!" he screamed as he ripped away from her touch and finally faced her. Quickly looking away when he saw the hurt in her eyes. "I mean…you are my mother, but I don't…I don't know you."
"…What did you do Harry?"
"I saved your life, that's what I fucking did! You died in my previous life, alright?! You and dad, you died when I was one. I never knew you other than your pictures and what people told me. Hell, I thought you died in a car accident until I went to Hogwarts." At her frown, though her eyes were still wide with surprise, he nodded. "Yeah, I went to go live with your sister and her…disgusting excuse of a husband," he sneered, "and they never told me I was a wizard and that you two got blown up in a car accident. There is no Emily! There is no Peter, no Sirius, no Remus until later, in which I only have them for a few years before I lose them too." He refused to tell his mother what the previous Peter did, even in his anger. "Fenrir is a monster that parents tell their children to avoid, Hogwarts is a nightmare with my life constantly on the line. Hermione's parents are gone with no memory of their daughter, never to be found. Merlin, Frank and Alice are vegetables that don't know their son, crucioed until their minds are gone!"
"And Severus and Lucius?"
His breath hitched. "They were mine. They were…were my husbands. They were the fathers of m-my…my children." His knees gave out and he would have collapsed on the floor, but his mother caught him, having inched closer and closer to him without him noticing in his ranting. He was cradled in her arms as her fingers ran through his hair and it was such a flashback to the time in his office that he almost got whiplash. He tried to pull back as his tears fell, he was used to shutting himself away when he cried, but Lily held on and spoke soothing words. It wasn't long before Harry gave in and went limp in her hold, just letting her comfort him.
It was nice, he decided after some time being rocked back and forth.
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
"It's alright Harry. I'll overlook your language," Harry chuckled as he wiped his nose, still rocking back and forth with his mother, "but I understand. You've changed so much."
"I don't know what to do sometimes," he admitted. It was just so much change that sometimes he wanted to give up.
"Well, you went through all of this to make things better, why not try to get to know everyone?"
"I am mum." He straightened and they moved to sit next to each other against the wall. "I hang out with my friends, I visit Uncle Peter and Aunt Alice, even visit grandma and grandpa sometimes, but it's just…"
"Well yeah. But it's not just that. They start talking about things that they did with me and I don't have those memories. Like the other day when I was visiting the joke shop, Draco was there and convinced me to go shopping with him. We were walking around, shopping, bickering, having fun, something I get the feeling is a common thing."
"That's good," she said.
"Yeah. Until I remembered that it wasn't always like that with my Draco. My Draco and I hated each other from first year and all the way through school. I…I really hurt Draco our sixth year. But we came to a truce afterwards and finally became friends that this Draco and I are now."
"Harry, that's good."
"I know," he snapped before running his hands through his wild hair to try and calm down. "I almost killed him." He looked at Lily. "I almost killed him our sixth year, and so when I have a good time with him, sometimes I look at him and see him on the bathroom floor, blood spreading across his chest. Only, it never happened here. Here I don't know what Draco and I did our sixth year. I don't know what kind of trouble we got into, I don't know what we did when we weren't doing homework or practicing for Quidditch. And even if someone, Draco, told me, it would just be me listening to a story. I didn't experience it, I don't know what I felt at that moment, I can't look back on that moment and smile or cry or be pissed."
"Sorry. I don't know what grades I got in school without asking Grandpa Albus to see the records, but I can't remember getting them. I don't have the memories of studying, if I pulled all nighters, the satisfaction of passing what I studied hard for. I don't have the memories in my favorite class. I just…don't remember. I don't have the memories from this life to remember, like when Emily was born and watching her grow. I mean, was I horrible to her growing up, did I fear she would take away your attention, did she ever get picked on and I had to stand up for her? Did I ever threaten a boy that came too close to her or take time off from traveling to spy on her first date? If I did, did I do it by myself or did I have someone come with me like Sirius or Remus or even Ron? I don't know."
They sat in silence after that and Harry picked at his jeans. He was trying, Merlin he was trying. It was just so hard.
"I'm proud of you Harry."
Looking at his mother, he frowned. "You are?" At her nod he asked why.
"Because you changed so much, even when knowing the consequences, even watching and feeling the consequences, you still pushed through."
"I'm a soldier."
"You're a hero. You could have stopped at any time, not many would do that, even soldiers. The moment you noticed a difference that affected you, you could have stopped. But you didn't." She reached and brushed his hair back from his eyes. "You saved I don't know how many lives and not by just killing Voldemort. You brought the werewolves to our side which had the Ministry notice them in a different light, seeing them and other creatures as human beings that deserve rights and not animals. There are no more hunters. Even with the way people view dark and light magic now, rules were put in place to protect all wizards. No longer are you thrown away into Azkaban or given the kiss just because of a spell you use, but the purpose, not to mention that everyone gets a trial with veritaserum. I am so proud of you Harry."
Biting his lip, he nodded and turned his face into the hand that cupped his cheek. "Thanks, mum."
"About Severus and Lucius."
"You don't even know what I was going to say."
"That I should tell them who I am."
"…Apparently you do know what I was going to say."
He gave her a smile before shaking his head. "No. I don't want them wanting me because of the possible lingering crush they had on Professor Pierson."
"I don't understand then why you can't just go for them again."
More months later…
Closing on a year…
His shop was a surprising success. Nothing like Fred and George's shop since his wasn't so large and pulled so much kids in, but he had a surprising large amount of parents that come in with requests for warding books and new parents looking for ways to keep their newborns safe. Even charming jewelry that would protect them. He even was called to consult some things for aurors after he was recommended from his first customer. Albus of all people.
He got closer to his friends and though he didn't have the memories that they had, he made his own memories with them, with his biological grandparents and even with all his honorary aunts and uncles. It was slow going, but he was making a life for himself in his new life.
Harry closed the shop for the day and made his way through the floo and to the Leaky Cauldron. He would save his paperwork and stocking for early tomorrow. He was so hungry he could eat a hippogriff. Heading to a restaurant that wasn't in his old life, but he had tried and loved in the new, he started to make his way to a table when he saw a certain pair in the corner.
Like when he thought of them, his heart skipped and ached, even more looking at them. And not being able to act as if he hadn't seen them as they had just offered him a wave, he waved back and made his way over. They exchanged greetings and Harry soon found himself sitting with them for dinner. He didn't know how it happened, but he was sure it had to do with how much he missed them.
"How have you been Harry? Seems like we haven't seen you, well spoken to you, in such a long time."
"Ah, yeah, yes," he cleared his throat. "It's been a while."
"How are you?"
"I'm well, thank you."
Both men stared at him and he could see the confusion, no doubt his manner was throwing them. He learned that not even this him was the best with authority and always spoke his mind. But he couldn't help it. When he was really, really nervous he fell back with proper speaking.
"Well, how has business been?" Lucius asked after ordering a bottle of wine.
"Good," he nodded. He chuckled. "There was actually someone who came in the other day and tried to find out if there was a way to permanently protect his penis because apparently he forgets to do certain spells in the heat of the moment and has gotten his wife pregnant for the fifth time now."
Severus snorted and shook his head, sipping his wine while Lucius asked, "And what did you do?"
"Recommended to either get a vasectomy or leave the poor woman alone."
"He said no way was he staying out of his woman and that he wasn't about to cut off his boys."
Lucius actually almost spit out his wine he was so surprised and Severus laughed. He laughed. The sound was so rich and missed that Harry soaked it in, along with Lucius' laugh. He watched them, listened to the as the dinner passed and he wondered what was wrong with him.
He spent so long away from them, depriving himself of their presence. And though they weren't the same, they didn't experience years of servitude to Voldemort, he could still find his happiness in them. Why not? And if they weren't for him any longer…he could learn to move on. He's done that so far.
"Thank you for the dinner. I had fun," he told them sincerely after Lucius wouldn't allow him to pay for his own meal. Still stubborn.
"I have to admit I've missed seeing you."
"Sometimes I almost expect to come home and hear you and Draco making so much noise."
Oh yeah, that's right. This could cause a problem, and this time not with Draco, but with them. Before it was just courting them and then telling Draco. Now, Severus was never his professor but the second father to Draco since he was born. Narcissa and Lucius still married but they ended their marriage the same day Draco married Fred and George and Severus became Draco's legal second father. They watched Harry grow up alongside their son, saw him without his diaper, even changed it a few times according to his mother. If that wasn't embarrassing enough. No, this was going to be a challenge.
But he was stubborn as well and always up for a challenge.
So once they left the restaurant, and they walked Harry to the Leaky Cauldron so he could use the floo, he turned to them and gave them a smile. "Thank you again. Maybe you two can stop by the shop instead of just once for the opening."
"Of course," they nodded.
With that, Harry stepped closer to Lucius and reached up to press a kiss to his cheek, very close to his mouth. Merlin he smelled the same, so good. Ignoring the man's shocked look, he stepped over to Severus and did the same, even allowed himself to let his fingers thread gently through the ends of his hair that was sitting at his shoulders. Stepping back, he gave them another grin and stepped through the floo.
He'd made his choice. Time to make his future.
A/N: That's it. It's over.
I have to say I'm sad to see this end, though who knows. ;) There may be a sequel in the future.
But I want to thank EVERYONE for your alerts, favorites, reviews, and above all else, your patience to those who stuck with this story from the very beginning since it's taken me over a year to finally finish this. It's all meant a lot to me, all the way down to just the passing reader that gave this a chance and still enjoyed it even if they didn't set an alert or review as a guest. Or even the passing reader who didn't like it, but still gave it a chance.
I'm glad you've all read this and enjoyed it.
On a side note, I've opened a poll for what HP fic I should do next. Right now I'm working on a new NCIS fic, but after that I'm gonna work on the next HP fic. So go ahead and vote. Summaries of stories are on profile.