ChapterSeventeen

There were cheers of triumph echoing through the forest, but Harry and Severus didn't hear it. They were both too overwhelmed by what had just occurred to pay any attention to their surroundings. Severus rushed to his lover's side and clutched him tightly.

"It's over," he said as much to assure himself as Harry. "It is finally over."

"Yes, it is," Harry smiled into Severus' chest. "Can we leave now?"

"Of course," Severus said as he helped Harry to his feet. "We'll go back to Hogwarts and-."

"No," Harry said as he shook his head. "No, I want to leave. I want to just go away. Disappear. We have done our duty, and I want to go away now."

"Anything you want," Severus smiled at his young lover. "Anything at all." With that, Harry dropped the wards around the clearing and the two men apparated away into the night.

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Over the coming weeks, many things in the wizarding world changed. True to his word, Albus Dumbledore stepped down from his position as headmaster of Hogwarts and went into retirement. Cornelius Fudge was voted out of office once the people realized just how incompetent he had been all along, leaving their safety in the hands of others. Both men disappeared into obscurity. They weren't alone; the Daily Prophet printed articles almost daily about the Boy-Who-Defeated-Voldemort and his mysterious disappearance.

Harry and Severus did not disappear completely. No, there were still things they needed to do. For instance, Harry decided that the Brotherhood should continue to monitor the actions of the more radical and fanatical members of society. It wouldn't do to have another Dark Lord rise to replace the last. But Harry stepped down from the daily operations, only stepping in when called upon for help. Instead, he appointed Sirius and Remus to act in his stead. Five years later, Ron Weasley, who had fought alongside his brother Bill, would take up the mantle of leadership when Remus decided he and his mate should retire. For many generations, the Brotherhood was the society that maintained the peace. But in those first weeks following the war Remus and Sirius held the group together and efficiently cleaned up their world after the war.

There were lists of those who died printed in the papers, and Harry and Severus read them all carefully. Amazingly few people were actually killed in the last battle. At least from the victors. The Death Eaters had not fared as well. When Voldemort was swallowed up by the earth, his followers who still bore the Dark Mark were all killed. The magical link between Voldemort and their Dark Marks was their undoing. Those who had decided to follow Harry were spared, as their Marks had been removed.

All of the young Slytherins and the Weasley twins made it through the battle, protected as they were in their secret bunker, but their efforts had made a huge difference in how the battle had gone. Without them, many more would have died. After the war, Fred and George opened a shop in Diagon Alley, backed financially by Draco Malfoy. The front of the shop sold pranks and jokes. The back room was reserved for items more destructive in nature. They were very selective to whom they sold their wares, but they were instrumental in several Brotherhood victories in the years that followed.

All of the Weasleys survived, though Charlie had a permanent limp and Percy lost his hearing, but they were all able to move on with their lives. Everyone seemed to settle into the peaceful life that the end to the war brought about.

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"It has been six years, Harry," Sirius said as he took a seat on the chaise lounge next to his godson. They were on the veranda, enjoying the afternoon sunshine and the view of the Mediterranean while Remus and Severus were making lunch. "Are you ever going to get around to telling us?"

"Tell you what?" Harry asked lazily, not bothering to open his eyes. He had almost dozed off when Sirius had spoken.

"About the vision!" Sirius huffed.

"What vision?" Harry asked and finally peeked at his godfather. Just then, Remus and Severus joined them, carrying trays of sandwiches and cold beer. "What vision, he asks!"

"It has been driving him crazy since the war," Remus chuckled at his lover's frustration as he sat down and picked up a beer. "The vision you had before the last battle, Harry. Did you ever figure out who the three figures were?"

"Yeah, and what did it mean?" Sirius asked.

Harry smiled at Severus, who had heard the story not long after they had moved to Greece. It had been very hard to share, even with Severus, back then, but time had a way of easing all pain.

"It was my mum and dad," Harry said quietly, staring at his hand which Severus had clasped in his. Remus and Sirius shared a look that contained all the heartache they still felt over the loss of their friends. "Did you know Mum was pregnant again? I would have had a little sister. Rose. They came to me again right before the battle. They told me we would win. And Rose asked me to fight for them. For her."

"Oh gods," Remus cried and buried his face in Sirius' shoulder. Sirius didn't look like he was taking the news much better. Harry saw the pain and grief that his friends were experiencing and tried to comfort them.

"They are in a peaceful place now," Harry smiled. "I'm not sure what the next life holds, but I know they are happy there. And they would want us to be happy, too. We are happy here, right?"

"More so than I ever thought possible," Severus murmured.

Sirius and Remus gave them both watery smiles. "Yes, we're happy. We have each other, we have you two, and we have this incredibly peaceful place to call home," Sirius said. "I think this is the closest to heaven we can get in this life."

Harry agreed.

That night, Harry thought about how far he had come since meeting Severus. He'd known that night on the street that something incredible was going to take place, but he could never have foreseen just how much his life would change.

He didn't regret his time on the streets; he'd learned so much about the world and people that had been invaluable in the war. But he preferred his life now, surrounded by the ones he loved and content just to be.

Harry had never had another vision of that other world after he watched Voldemort and that other Harry face off. He hadn't seen the outcome, but he knew what happened. His other self had expected to die in the conflict, and so he had. But not before completing the task he'd been called to accomplish. It was his destiny in any world to destroy Voldemort, but only in this one was he allowed to find happiness.

Harry drifted off to sleep in Severus' arms, thankful for the simple blessings in his life.

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Harry dreamed again of that hill. The sun was shining brightly overhead. It was a beautiful spring day with wispy clouds decorating a clear blue sky. The wind was soft and cool, and Harry just smiled at the three figures on the hill as they walked toward him.

"I did as you asked," Harry smiled. "I killed Voldemort."

Rose looked up at Harry and laughed.

"You are a very silly man for being such a great wizard," Rose teased her older brother. "I wasn't talking about Voldemort!"

"Then what did you mean?"

"I said, 'do it for us,'" Rose sighed in the way only little sisters can. "I meant live, you dolt! Live for us. Be happy! Love, be loved!"

"Be nice to your brother," Lily admonished. "He has done very well at achieving that goal, even if he didn't understand at the time."

"We are so proud of you, son," James said. "And we love you. Don't ever forget that."

"I won't," Harry promised, tears making his smile a little watery.

"We have to leave now," Lily said.

"Can't you stay for just a bit longer?" Harry asked, but he knew the answer even before he asked the question. They were already losing substance, becoming translucent. "Will I ever see you again?"

"Perhaps," James smiled. "If you need us, we will always be here."

"Thank you," Harry whispered. "I love you all."

"And we love you," Lily replied even as they faded to almost nothing. "Take care of yourself, and Severus."

"Send our love to Sirius and Remus," James called out as his voice became more distant.

"And watch out for my niece!" Rose shouted just before they disappeared completely.

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Harry sat straight up in bed, tears were still staining his cheeks from the emotions the dream had brought out, but he didn't notice them. A baby? Was that even possible? But a part of him knew it was and that it had already happened. They were going to have a little girl. Harry let the thought settle over him and gave a soft sigh of happiness. He looked down at his lover, still sleeping peacefully and wondered at what his reaction would be to this latest bit of news. Harry ran his hand over his still flat tummy and smiled.

Well, Severus wouldn't believe it until a mediwitch confirmed it, but Harry knew his sister had been right. About more than just the baby. He would live for them, and for himself. He had a life worth living, now that Destiny had turned around for all of them. He would be sure to cherish every moment.

TheEnd


A/N: Well, boys and girls, that's the end. We have our happily ever after of sorts. There is no sequel. You'll just have to imagine what a little girl of Harry and Severus' will look like. I hope you enjoyed the read. Thanks for all the great reviews and support! Jules