A/N: So I'm finally here…the end of my first longer multi-chapter story. The end of my very first Fan Fic story ever! Wow! Crazy. It's kinda bizarre to think that this journey is over. Again, I'm sorry it took me so long update this last chapter, but I had a really hard time finding the right way to end this. I really went back and forth with the ending. I've started and scraped several different versions before posting this one. For some reason the inspiration hit me after I posted the newest chapter for "Into the Darkness I Go." I really thought that it wouldn't come to me...but it did. I like the ending...I hope you all like it too.
Thank you so much to all the amazing people who have reviewed, fav'd, and followed this story on it's journey from a simple one-shot into this multi-chaptered diddy. You are all amazing. Seriously. I feel like I have grown so much as a writer as a result of crafting this story and from all the feedback and comments you guys have sent my way.
I really, really, really hope you guys like the ending. I hope it's not too much of a letdown/ debbie downer. Lol.
Again (And I know I've said it like 300 hundred times), thank you, thank you, thank you.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Things that sound familiar are not mine, they belong to JK, WB, and all those other lucky so and sos who get a cut. Lol.
Just a Kiss
Chapter 8: The End of All things
Harry walked through the rubble that was once the main staircase. Bodies littered the ground. Like morose spring flowers, they popped up here and there. They didn't matter.
Blood pooled on the ground and splattered against the wall, Harry knew that they belonged to friend and foe alike, but he didn't care.
Nothing mattered but killing Voldemort. And he would. He had promised Sev. And he would keep his promise, no matter what the cost.
Each step drove him closer to his goal, to his eventual release. He burned with the fires of retribution. He was on a mission. He would be the Angel of Death, striking with terrible anger and righteous fury against those who had hurt him.
He would smite Tom.
He would make him bleed, make him suffer unspeakably.
If anyone were to look inside of his mind, Harry knew they would see that his sanity had been shattered beyond all repair. Sev had been his whole world. They weren't given enough time! It had been too short, much too brief to end the way it had. They were supposed to have months, years, decades, a lifetime together. Not a day and a night.
A day and a night, that's all that they had shared.
All the time they had wasted fighting and stabling each other with viciousness, misunderstanding the other's motives. . All the time they had been enemies served as a bitter reminder to Harry that they had squandered what could have been. To have been allowed only a night and a day to finally realize that they were meant for each other, to have that time gifted then yanked away was too cruel by far. To be given a glimpse of peace, of true happiness, to finally connect with one's soul mate, only to be separated was more heinous than the most powerful Unforgiveable.
Each passing moment, Harry knew that he would that much closer to being with Sev. Each breath, that much nearer to the man he loved more than life. When it was done then…then…..he could let go.
A sea of people and creatures alike filled the space between what was once the entrance to Hogwarts hallowed walls and the bridge. No one looked happy, Death Eater and rebel alike. The war had taken its toll on everyone; no one had been spared. Everywhere Harry looked, he saw sunken, skeletal faces, but he didn't care. Harry turned his attention to the one who had taken away his whole world.
"HARRY POTTER IS DEAD!"
Voldemort, smug in his triumph, declared proudly before the Death Eater and resistance fighters assembled. He thought he had won, thought he had beaten them, him. Harry waited in the shadows for the right moment to take action. He barely noticed the shrieking wails from Ginny Weasley or the murmurs or the tears. Harry was singularly focused on only one man.
"Who will be the first to come bow at my feet? Who will be the first to put their faith in me? Harry Potter is gone, forever. Submit, bend to my will or perish."
Slowly, Neville limped forward.
Many tried whispering to him, trying desperately to get him to return to the group. Finally, the tall boy stopped and stood half way between Voldemort and the safety of the Castle clutching the battered Shorting Hat.
Thin lips curled into a sneer before speaking. "What is your name boy?"
"Neville. Neville Longbottom." Voldemort laughed and like trained puppies, his minions laughed in response.
"Longbottom. Not the best of the rebels, I suppose you'll have your uses. So Neville, are you ready to pledge yourself to me," the evil man asked.
With immense courage Neville spoke. "I will never bow down before you. If Harry can't kill you…" Neville reached into the hat and drew the Sword of Gryffindor, "I'll do it!"
"TOM," Harry bellowed. He couldn't let Neville take his prize. Every eye snapped towards him. "I think you missed old man!"
Chaos erupted. People ran left and right. Harry flew down the stairs, pushed Neville out of the way, flinging every hex, jinx, and curse he had ever learned.
Voldemort sprang into action, screaming at the sight of the resurrected boy. "No, it's impossible. I killed you! I KILLED YOU!"
Harry manically laughed as they battled. "I guess we are too much alike Tom. You died, I died. We just can't seem to stay dead."
Red and green whizzed through the air, colouring the sky with sick fireworks. Harry jumped and rolled, nimbly avoiding getting hit. Never had Harry been more alert, more determined. He had made a pledge, he had made a vow and he was going to make the man pay for what he had done!
Minutes that felt like hours, which felt like seconds passed as they circled one another. Harry could tell that if they continued to fling spells at each other, it would take forever to land the killing blow. Then an idea stuck him. Harry surprised the snake-faced man with a swift punch to the face. Wizards thought only in terms of spells, never in the physical and Harry used that to his advantage. Using the momentary lapse in concentration as a result of the physical assault Harry yelled, " Expellliarmus!"
The Elder Wand soared through the air, moving directly towards Harry's out-stretched hand. Once it landed, Harry felt the surge of power move through his veins. Oh, this wand was his, it answered his call and right then he knew what he wanted to do. "Crucio! Crucio! Crucio!"
Harry smiled as his enemy writhed in pain on the ground. It wasn't enough; Harry needed him to suffer more. He thought it would be fitting to use one of his lover's spells. "Sectumsempra!"
Blood gushed from the stump that was once the Dark Lord's right arm. A screeching wail echoed off the broken columns stopping all other fighting in its track. Dozens of eyes looked on as Harry savored his revenge.
With another flick of his wand, Harry lopped off the left arm…then the legs. He watched with a serene detachment as the pool of blood became a lake, then an ocean. It wasn't enough, it would never be enough. How could it? Sev was gone.
He made his way over to the stump of a man. "I'm going to kill you now Tom. I'm going to pull your heart out and let you watch as it takes it's final beat." Harry pressed his wand to the man's chest, cutting, making a seam. Once he finished, Harry reached in and grabbed the shriveled, black organ. He held it right to Voldemort's face as he gaped at it in shock, utter shock of his complete defeat.
"Good by Tom," Harry whispered before his whole world went black.
18 years later…
Harry stilled as he looked into brilliant onyx coloured eyes.
He knew his son hated hearing it, but it was the truth: he had his father's eyes.
Never a day went by that he wasn't struck by melancholy at the sight. The long raven colored hair, the tall lithe body, and wicked sense of humor were so reminiscent of his lover and constantly reminded him of what he lost. Everyday, he awoke in Severus' bed in the dungeons at Hogwarts or the small house at Spinner's End from dreams of his one night of pure happiness and sobbed. His bed was cold. His body felt hollow. His arms ached at the emptiness.
The years had only heightened the sense of loss. With each passing day it had only seem to make it sharper, more acute. Nothing had dulled the pain, not friends, not books, not flying, not work, nothing. The only thing that pulled him from the abyss, got him through the day was to look into the face of their son, as he was now even though it pained him greatly, and recommit himself to the task of being a single parent.
It had come as such a shock to find himself pregnant after the Battle of Hogwarts. When he finally became conscious in the makeshift infirmary, worried faces had surrounded him. It was unheard of. Men did not get pregnant, even in the wizarding world. Many thought that somehow The Dark Lord had managed to transfer a piece of his soul into Harry in the form of a fetus. They wanted him to get rid of it to insure that Voldemort wasn't reborn. But Harry knew it wasn't a piece of Tom, it was Sev's gift to him: a reason to keep living. The man was as slick and crafty in death as he had been in life. He knew that Harry would never end his life when he had a duty to perform.
It had been a long journey over the past eighteen years. Secluding himself from the wizarding world at large, Harry had remained single. He never married or dated again, much to the dismay of many. They had thought it foolish to keep the child, to not return to active society, but Harry's heart wouldn't let him. There had been well meaning friends who tried to pair him off at dinners and other assorted gatherings, but how could anything compare to the perfection he had found? Many thought it was ridiculous for him to pine so for the former Death Eater, but slowly those who had once been close to him understood that he could not be swayed and let him be.
The only other thing that kept him going, besides their son, was his quest to see that Severus was given his due. The masses had been staunch in their refusal to accept that "Severus Snape: Death Eater" was on the side of the light. It had been a struggle to get Severus' name cleared in the eyes of the world, but after eighteen years he had done it. Which was why they were standing outside the Ministry's Memorial Museum this very moment. Severus was finally being honored as the hero that he was, and as such, receiving an Order of Merlin, first class, posthumously. Harry was going to except it in his honor.
He had set foot inside of the building only once before to except his own Order of Merlin the year after the war ended. He had suffered through the pomp and circumstance in the press and the cocktail hour before the ceremony began, but when he had walked through the exhibits and saw no mention of his lover's sacrifice, he refused his award in his speech, stating that until Severus received one he would accept no honors.
"Dad, you okay?"
At the sound of his son's voice, Harry was jolted back to reality. "Yes. Sorry, it's just a bit overwhelming to be here. I just...I guess I never really thought this day would ever come."
"I wish I could have known him."
Harry walked over and wrapped his arms around his boy. His grown up boy. "I know. I wish you could have known him too. He was a difficult, sarcastic, snarky git, but he was unfailingly loyal. He was so incredibly intelligent. I know that if he could have stayed he would have, he loved me that much." Harry wiped away the tears that trailed down his cheeks. " He would have loved you as much as I do. I know he does. You were his gift to me. I know he would be so proud of you making the Potions Mastery program."
"That seems so little compared to what he did, what you did. He was almost my age when he became a spy. I could only hope to be that brave."
"I know that if a crisis arose, you would follow in his footsteps. He was such a brave man. The bravest I've ever known. You are a part of him, I know you would honor him well."
"You are too Dad."
Harry turned. "I'm what?"
Harry shook his head. "I never had a choice. I had to do it. It was prophecy. From the moment I was born, I had been pushed down that road. He made a choice. He didn't have to turn spy or spend half his life protecting me, protecting the world as a whole."
Turning towards the door to the ballroom, Harry smoothed his dress robes and reached for his son's hand. " I think that takes more courage than I ever had. "
The night had gone off without a hitch. He had expected one or two naysayers to put a damper on the evening, but surprisingly none emerged. All the remaining Order of the Phoenix members had attended. Harry thought it was more for his sake than any real affinity for his lover, but he took it. His relationships with Ron and Hermione had never recovered, but he was glad that they had come. He had never forgiven them, no matter how they tried. He was officially their eldest's godfather, but he had not been by or visited since the night in the infirmary. It just wasn't in him to be that forgiving.
After convincing his son that he would be fine alone for the evening, Harry flooed back to Spinner's End and prepared himself. All of his affairs were in order. There had been a great deal to get accomplished over the past week. He had visited the solicitor that afternoon to make sure everything had been transferred into his son's name. His son, Brian Severus Potter-Snape was now the head of four family lines: The Potter's, The Snape's, The Prince's, and The Black's and all of the properties, vaults, and magical items that those lines included. He had never raised his boy with the knowledge that they were extremely wealthy, choosing instead to live simply in Sev's childhood home.
After leaving the office, he had written a note in an attempt to explain why. It had been hard to adequately explain his actions. He knew that no one, not even his son, would ever really understand what he had suffered these past eighteen years. Living everyday without the man he loved was worse than any torture that he had suffered under Voldemort. He felt empty, incomplete, lost. If it hadn't been for their son, Harry would have left this world long ago. He had tried to be a good father to Brian, tried to love him with what love he had left to give. He hoped that his boy didn't feel cheated. He hoped that one day he would know the kind of love that he and his father had found in each other.
Maybe then He'll forgive me for what I'm going to do.
He reached for the portrait of his lover that sat on the end table by Sev's old leather chair and loving stroked the scowling face. Once the owl from the Ministry arrived, notifying him about Severus' award, he knew. He knew that he had finally reached the end. That he could finally let go and be with the man he loved. Cradling the frame in his arms, Harry breathed a sigh. He was ready to go. With an iron will and a sense of peace that he hadn't felt in almost twenty years, Harry whispered the spell.
At first nothing happened.
Then he felt...
He felt his chest get tight…
His legs felt unsteady, weak…..
Harry had to steady himself to sit down.
His eyes felt heavy….
Harry turned to the sound of his name. It was a voice that he had longed to hear everyday for eighteen years.
'Harry. You head strong boy.' A velvet voice chided.
Harry's breath caught in his throat. The gateway was open and there before him was his Severus looking as beautiful as he remembered: long black and silver robes, raven hair, long elegant fingers. Harry ached to touch him. To kiss him.
"Sev, I couldn't wait any longer. I've waited long enough and I couldn't stand it a moment longer. Eighteen years was too much It hurt too much." Harry ran his hand through his salt and pepper coloured locks. " I love you. I needed you."
Onyx colored eyes filled with compassion and love looked back at him. ' It's all right Harry. I asked that you live and you did. Our son is beautiful Harry. You have helped him become such a wonderful person. You've done what you could, all that I could have wished for you. My beautiful boy, come to me. Take my hand love.'
Severus reached out to his lover. Slowly, Harry placed his small hand in Sev's and wept as he felt the first tendrils of true happiness wrap around him. Harry dimly was aware of the sensation of his body falling away as strong arms enfolded him. He buried his face into Severus' robes. He had missed that smell. The scent that had haunted his dreams: flaxseed, rosemary, and something darker. Something inherently Severus.
'Kiss me. Please, kiss me. I've waited so long.'
Just as it had been in the beginning, it was tender and right and pure.
The gateway closed and finally, Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived was at peace.