Disclaimer – Nothing is mine. Damn.
Chapter 11 - Yours
'Ready Rhys?' Snape murmured and Harry swallowed heavily. Snape glanced at those around them, all but two looking very worse for wear. Clasped tightly in Harry's left hand was a bloody hessian sack and in his right was Snape's hand. Hermione was clutching at Bill's arm, her eyes closed as she tried to rid herself of the images she had seen over the last hours and David's arm was tightly around the dreadfully pale Draco's shoulders both to keep him upright and to guide him into a building he couldn't see.
As one, they all murmured the address and number twelve Grimmauld Place whooshed into existence before them. Harry led them towards the door and the house, instantly recognising him as its owner after Sirius' will named him so, quickly unlocked and opened the door allowing them immediate access.
Snape held him back as one by one they filed almost silently into the hallway. Bill led them through several corridors to the large room where they knew most of the Order of the Phoenix would be meeting tonight.
Dumbledore looked up, halting mid-sentence as Bill walked in. Most in the room did the same and only Arthur Weasley's hand on his wife's arm, done at the expression on his son's face, stopped her from leaping off the chair to greet him. 'Bill, what are you doing here?' he asked curiously. 'I thought you were in Cairo.' Bill didn't answer, just tugged the still trembling Hermione into the room after him.
'Hermione, where the hell have you been?' Ron snapped, leaping off his chair and stalking across the room. Bill raised his wand and pointed it at his brother, instantly stopping him where he stood.
'Sit down, Ron.' He said quietly. Shocked looks crossed the faces of many in the room at the hard tone in Bill's voice but Ron did listen and return to his seat. Not that any really noticed as David, his arm still around Draco's shoulders was the next through the door.
'You!' Dumbledore hissed. 'Where are Harry and Severus? I demand their whereabouts immediately. And what is Mr Malfoy doing here?'
'He's here as a guest in my house, Professor.' Harry said quietly as together with Snape they too finally joined the others in the room; those who weren't quite stunned into silence at their appearance letting out sharp gasps at the scars on Harry's face and his milky white eyes.
Dumbledore's eyes flicked to Moody. 'Arrest them.' He snapped to the old Auror.
'Don't bother.' Harry sighed, lifting his hand and tossing the hessian sack onto the table where it slid down to rest before the headmaster, leaving an ominous red trail. 'It's over.'
Dumbledore stared between the sack and Harry for several moments. 'It that...?'
'Open it.' Harry said coldly and Dumbledore lifted trembling hands to work the single knot. It took him a few minutes and during that time most finally noticed the filthy, bruised and blood covered appearances of four of the six people who had joined them.
Eventually the headmaster got the sack open tipped its contents out onto the table causing a number of screams to ring out around the room. Harry closed his eyes and waited for silence. 'Mother of Merlin.' Dumbledore breathed. 'How...?'
'The Prophecy was not wrong, Professor. The Prophecy was never wrong. You were.' Harry's voice was glacial.
Dumbledore's eyes narrowed and his eyes glinted angrily. 'How can you be sure he's dead? What of his spirit?'
At Harry's gentle murmur the potions master released his hand and Harry lifted it to his forehead, pushing his hair out of the way. It was plainly obvious to all that while the scars for the incident with his Uncle remained, the lightning bolt scar, the one that had caused him more pain that any other, was clearly missing.
'And the Dark Mark?' Dumbledore said haughtily.
Snape suppressed a grin but chanced a glance at David as he lifted his left sleeve to show a completely unblemished forearm.
Dumbledore stared at the arm for a few moments before nodding curtly. 'Fine, you are free to go, Harry but Severus still has charges to answer for.'
Harry shifted closer to the potions master.
'What charges?' Snape asked sarcastically.
'Kidnapping a student and removing him from the safety of school grounds.'
'Excuse me?' Snape cried incredulously. 'You wanted to let the Dark Lord execute him in the middle of Diagon Alley!'
'Severus.' Dumbledore said warningly.
'Professor.' Harry broke in, his hands clearly shaking. 'The charges will never stand. One, I wasn't a student. You had clearly seen to that. And two, he didn't remove me from anywhere, I went with him willingly when I realised just how much danger I was in. Why can't you just admit what you did was wrong?'
A single tear ran from Harry's sightless eyes and Dumbledore's face softened. 'Harry, my boy.'
Dumbledore got no further into that sentence before the large bust of a Phoenix that was sitting in the middle of the table exploded into millions of pieces showering those around it even as they threw up their arms to protect their faces. The air in the room positively crackled with raw magic.
Snape wrapped an arm around Harry's shoulders and pulled him back against a firm chest, his other hand landing on Harry's hip as he bent his head and murmured softly into the young man's ear. Harry closed his eyes and swallowed heavily, nodding as he listen to the whispered words and struggled to regain control of his emotions.
Eventually, as the air, settled Snape raised his head, his expression clearly daring any in the room to say a word. 'He did tell you not to call him that, Albus.'
Dumbledore's became icy.
'Professor, please. I've done everything you asked of me.' Harry whispered plaintively, several more tears rolling down his face. 'I've done more than you asked of me and look at me. I just want one thing. I need one thing. Don't you realise just how much I've lost? Can't you see that?'
'What does he want?' Ron whispered loudly to Fred who was sitting next to him. Both the twins shrugged; an action that was repeated by several of those around them.
Dumbledore continued staring at Harry in silence until Harry closed his eyes and turned away, his expression broken in a way none in the room had ever seen before. 'I guess not.' He whispered, allowing the potions master to guide him towards the door.
'Harry.' Dumbledore called out, coming around the table towards the young man. Dumbledore stopped before him taking in his appearance and his expression, and his mind quickly flashed back to the diminutive child who had taken on Voldemort when he was eleven, the defiant twelve year old that had stood up to Lucius Malfoy. The boy who had stood up to be counted and challenged again and again. There was no trace of that boy in the abused and dejected young man standing before him, and that was mostly because of him.
'Harry.' Dumbledore said again. 'I...I am truly sorry.' The headmaster's voice was sincere and those around them heard Snape let out what only could have been a sigh of relief.
The sightless eyes widened and filled with tears once again. 'Thank you.' Harry breathed.
Dumbledore offered the young man a smile he couldn't see and patted his shoulder.
'Come on, brat. A bath, food and sleep, in that order.' Snape murmured, his voice softer than any had ever heard it. The potions master looked up into the elderly wizard's eyes, seeing the regret lingering in the bright blue orbs, nodding in response before propelling Harry forward. 'We'll stay here, Rhys, you can tell them all what happened in the morning. You need to rest. We all need to rest.'
Harry nodded and allowed himself to be gently pushed from the room. David and Bill watched them go before exchanging a look and nodding. 'Hermione, why don't you go and find a room for Draco and yourself and get some rest. Call Dobby if you need anything. I imagine he's arrived here by now.' Bill told her.
Hermione stared at him for a moment, reading his expression correctly, before releasing his arm and taking Draco's before tugging him gently from the room.
'She's not going anywhere with that Death Eater.' Ron bellowed leaping off his chair once again. Both Bill and David's wand were out once again but it was Draco who caught everyone's attention. He had stopped in the doorway, his face deathly pale, his teeth clenched tightly together, unmoving.
'Draco, don't listen to him. He's an idiot.' Hermione whispered. 'We know who you really are. It doesn't matter what others think. Rhys will never forget what you've done.'
Draco nodded sharply and Hermione continued to pull him from the room as Bill spun on his brother. 'You ignorant little shit.' He snapped. 'He killed his own father today. He's lost everything and you still call him names. Stop being such a child, Ron, and grow the hell up.'
Bill only finished his rant when David grasped his arm tightly. 'I think we should tell you exactly what happened.' The tall man said calmly. 'I don't want Rhys having to talk about it tomorrow. Not yet; not for a long while.'
'Neither do I.' Bill added allowing the older man to close the door and push him down in a spare seat. He finally looked around the room, taking in his family, Lupin, Moody, and various members of the Order. Nearly all were there. It seemed as if a big plan of attack had been underway, just as Harry had thought. In the corner, beside the Weasley twins, was Neville Longbottom whose expression continued to flicker between relief and confusion. He understood the significance of the head of Lord Voldemort in the hessian sack on the table, but attitude of Bill and the others, and their flat out refusal to call Harry by his given name was confusing, as was the seemingly tender potions master.
'I assume you picked Miss Granger up from Hogwarts several days ago.' Dumbledore eyed Bill carefully.
Bill shook his head. 'Hogsmeade actually.' He corrected. 'We spent the last few days building anti Portkey and anti-apparition wards with runes. She really is quite brilliant' He added thoughtfully. 'This morning we all apparated back to London and onto Wiltshire. Draco had been in contact with Rhys.'
'Who the hell is Rhys?' Ron burst out, clearly unhinged at everything that had happened.
Bill glared at his brother.
'If you cannot control yourself you will be asked to leave, Mr Weasley.' Dumbledore warned, nodding his head for Bill to continue.
'Draco had given him the coordinates of the edges of the Manor's wards and together we placed the runes and brought up the extra wards. Draco must have been waiting for a signal as Rhys sent up a single white spark. It may have looked like a shooting star but Draco appeared at the manor gates minutes later, his hand containing a enormous dagger that he handed to Rhys.'
'What was the dagger for?' Fred piped up, instantly cringing as several in the room glared at his interruption.
'What happened next?' Dumbledore said encouragingly.
'Draco and Rhys stared at each other for several minutes before Rhys spoke. He asked him why.' Bill murmured. 'Draco said that a year or so ago someone had given him some very good advice. He said that the person had told him that making a choice is easy, it is living with it afterwards that is hard. Rhys asked him if he could truly live with the choice he had made and Draco replied that it was the only one he could live with. Rhys had smiled then and we guessed it had been him who had said that to Draco in the first place.'
'Sirius.' Lupin said suddenly causing most in the room to look at him in confusion. 'After Sirius died,' he went on in explanation. 'After the debacle at the Ministry he said the same thing to me. That his decision to go the Ministry when he thought he was saving Sirius was the easiest one he had ever made. It was living with the decision afterwards, after Sirius had died, that he couldn't live with.'
'Go on.' Dumbledore urged, all in the room on the edge of their seats waiting to hear what happened next.
'Draco led us all through the gates and towards the house, he pulled out an invisibility cloak and gave it to Hermione. I already had the one from Rhys'. The house was silent; too silent and then we came to the first floor.'
'Draco, my dear son. I would never have taken you for a traitor.' Lucius Malfoy drawled silkily. Hermione and Bill, both under the cloaks crept quietly over to a corner, wanting to stay out of the way, and began chanting to strengthen the wards they had placed. They knew what was at stake and none of the three before them was leaving. It was at that point that almost two dozen Death Eaters poured out of a nearby room and arrayed around the Dark Lord.
'Oh bollocks.' Draco swore moving to step back until Harry's hand closed over his wrist.
'I'll keep you safe, Draco.' Harry murmured stepping forward. He recognised the auras of nearly all there. The Lestranges, Crabbes, Goyles, Wormtail, even Pansy Parkinson and her parents.
Tom Riddle snorted having heard Harry's promise. 'Safe, Potter.' He hissed. 'You can't even keep yourself safe. Look at you.'
Harry raised a scarred eyebrow. 'I wish I could, Tom, but as you can see I'm at disadvantage.'
Riddle's eyes flared. 'Do not call me that, Potter.' He hissed angrily.
Harry just smiled contemptuously.
'You're a fool, Potter. You've enlisted the help of a band of traitors, every one of which will leave you at the merest threat.'
Harry felt Snape stiffen beside him and surreptitiously squeezed his hand. 'They are my friends, Tom, something of which you have no idea; and there is more to loyalty than fear, something you will never learn.'
'Enough of this.' Lucius Malfoy snapped raising his wand at his son. Riddle looked almost surprised at the man's outburst. 'Come here, Draco. Come here now and prove your worth. You will be punished of course for letting such vermin in, but you will live; something I vow will not happen should you disobey me now.'
Draco looked stricken and Harry could feel the fear rolling off him. 'Draco, go to your father.' He whispered softly. 'It's so much easier for me with you safe behind all the action.'
Draco stared into the sightless green eyes and nodded, squeezing Harry's hand out of sight of his father to show he understood what Harry meant. Lucius glared at his only son as he stepped out from behind Harry and crossed the room to stand behind his father. Lucius smirked triumphantly back at Harry even though the Boy-Who-Lived couldn't see it.
'See, Potter. Your traitorous friends are leaving you already. How about you, Severus, my faithful potions master. Are you going to come crawling back too?' Riddle hissed.
Snape glanced down at Harry. 'I think not.' He murmured. Harry smirked at him.
Riddle snarled at the older man. 'Fine, are you ready then?'
'You're giving me notice?' Harry asked, surprise clearly visible in his voice.
'Avada Kedavra.' Riddle spat.
'I didn't think so.' Harry muttered, shoving Snape out of the way as he ducked.
For the next seven hours they duelled, roaming throughout the enormous house like a perverted game of hide and seek. Once Harry had been caught alone in the dining room by Wormtail and the Lestranges but David came to his rescue. Hermione and Bill stayed hidden, crawling under a table in an effort not to get found; Bill even managing to take out several Death Eaters without giving their position away. An hour into the battle he actually managed to summon the runes until they were touching the house so that no one could even get a door or window open. They took turns holding the spell, chanting for hours on end until finally, just as the sun was setting, Harry met back up with Snape and David in the entrance hall.
'How many left?' Harry was breathing heavily, his left shoulder hanging at a painful looking angle as blood dripped from his fingers. The haunted look in his eyes had Snape wondering just what had happened since he had lost him for the third time a little over an hour ago as they split up in the dungeons.
'Just Riddle, Lucius and Narcissa as far as I can count.' David offered as Snape healed Harry's shoulder ignoring the gash of his own above his right eye.
'What of Bellatrix?' Snape asked.
Harry shook his head. 'No. David got her.'
'Dead.' Draco said dully, joining them from the next room.
'Draco, you were supposed to stay with your father.' Harry said quietly.
'He sent me to find you.'
'Because it's over, Potter. That's why.' Came the sibilant hiss from the Dark Lord who stood atop the stairs behind them.
Harry turned to stare at them. Snape, David and Harry all looked as if they'd battled at Waterloo themselves whereas Riddle and the Malfoys looked a fresh as ever. It was in that instant Harry realised they had hidden in the hopes of the other Death Eaters tiring Harry out at the very least. It was this that made him realise that there were indeed no Death Eaters left. 'You're right about that, Tom. So why don't you stop hiding in that secret room under the dining room floor and duel me like a man.'
Draco's surprised look couldn't be faked and Lucius wondered how Harry knew about the secret room. He didn't have time to question though as Riddle swept down the stairs in front of them.
'Do not call me a coward, boy.' Riddle snapped.
'Do not call me boy.' Harry snapped back.
'Draco, come here.' Lucius commanded.
Draco looked at Snape and Harry before looking back at his father. 'No.' he said softly.
Lucius' mouth dropped open; a rather unbecoming look on the normally aristocratic man. 'I beg your pardon?' He gaped.
'No.' Draco said again, more firmly this time. Riddle was watching the exchange with amusement and raised his wand.
'Enough of this, Lucius. Face it, your spawn is a traitor to his blood and his name. Avada Kedavra.' The green light sped across the room faster than a stunned Draco could dodge but not fast enough to stop Harry from stepping in front of it.
'No.' Snape gasped as the killing curse threw Harry back into Draco's arms and knocked them both to the floor. Harry's eyes however never left the Dark Lord as once again, just like almost seventeen years before the curse rebounded. This time the link between them remained; a visible green strand of light from Tom's wand to Harry's scar even as he lay half sprawled on the floor.
Harry knew he couldn't break it; he knew only one thing would kill the monster across the room. He reached out to grasp Draco's hand, the blond holding tightly in response. 'I love them, Tom.' Harry whispered. At the words both Snape and David hurried to his side, David grasping his other hand as Snape lifted both teenagers to their feet. Harry could feel Hermione and Bill, having crept into the room, come up beside him and grasp his arms. Somehow they all knew what he was doing, even Draco.
He was using his most powerful weapon.
Against the one person it could destroy.
Harry continued murmuring even as Snape's arms came around his waist. The green light brightened until all but Harry closed his eyes. He felt Snape's lips land behind his ear, the firm chest behind him and the strong arms around his waist. He felt David's and Bill's unwavering loyalty and Hermione's depth of feeling and even the ever blossoming respect and admiration from Draco and gathered it altogether before throwing it down the link with a primal scream. He didn't wait to see what happened, wrenching out of the other's arms and all but flying across the room as he drew the dagger Draco had given him. The shriveled soul in the Dark Lord exploded moments before Harry took off his head with a single swing of the monstrous dagger, splattering Harry with blood and gore.
Lucius and Narcissa could only stare in horror as the head of their master rolled across the floor, hitting the leg of the sideboard and stopping, the red eyes dull and staring, mouth forever open in shock.
Harry staggered sideways, clearly drained from the spell, his breath coming in heavy gasps as he struggled to remain upright. Snape rushed over just in time to catch him before he fell but this had given Lucius time to regain his wits and raise his wand.
'You jumped up little half-blood!' Lucius raged. But that was as far as he got before the end of a sword protruded sharply out the front of his chest. Lucius glanced down in shock, his grey eyes wide before he gagged and coughed causing blood to trickle down his chin as he dropped to his knees; a terrified but defiant Draco now visible standing behind him, his hands still around the hilt of David's sword.
'Draco!' Narcissa gave a horrified shriek. 'You ungrateful.'
'Stupefy.' Harry gasped out before he finally faded away.
The five still conscious looked at the bloodbath around them in silence. 'We need to call the Aurors.' Bill said quietly as he and Hermione shed their invisibility cloaks.
'The wards?' Snape asked hoarsely; Harry wrapped tightly in his arms.
'They're down now.' Hermione confirmed.
'I'll call them.' David offered moving towards the fireplace. Snape stood up and lifted Harry onto a sofa that was immediately conjured by Bill. Draco and Hermione stood by, both trembling in shock as Snape moved to pick a flower out of a vase on the sideboard and transfigure it into a large hessian sack.
'Severus.' Harry groaned, blinking groggily as he sat up. Snape dropped the sack, his task forgotten and he was across the room on his knees beside the sofa, Hermione and Draco hovering behind him.
'Rhys, Merlin, that was incredible.' Snape breathed, his hands clasping Harry's face and staring into the milky white eyes.
'Sev.' Harry breathed. 'It's over. It's really over.'
Snape's eyes were suspiciously bright. 'Yes Rhys. It's really over.' He murmured leaning forward to kiss the young man soundly. Draco's eyes almost fell out of his head but he was stopped from exclaiming when Hermione clapped a hand over his mouth and shook her head.
'Alright, what's going on here?' The Head Auror was the first out of the fireplace, six more following him quickly behind.
Snape and Harry separated and, with Draco's help, the potions master got Harry to his feet as David explained what had happened throughout the day. The Auror finally nodded and moved over towards Harry and the others as the rest of his men split up to comb the rest of the house.
'Mr Potter, my name is Keiran Podcastle. It seems we owe you an apology. And a big thank you.' He added sheepishly, glancing at the body of the Dark Lord.
Harry shook his head. 'You owe me nothing Mr Podcastle.' He said quietly. 'I had a task to do and now it's finished and I'd like to be left alone please.'
The Auror was stunned at Harry's polite response and could do nothing but nod as Snape quickly summoned the sack and levitated the Dark Lord's head into it before tying it tightly.
'For Albus Dumbledore.' Harry told him as the Auror opened his mouth to question. 'We shall leave the Minister to you.' Harry told him firmly and once again all the man could do was nod as the group headed as one to the door.
'You know everything else.' David finished wearily.
'So Cornelius is aware of what has happened?' Dumbledore questioned.
Bill and David both nodded. 'Yes, now if you don't mind, Albus. It's been an incredibly long day and we need to sleep.'
Dumbledore eyed both men before nodding slowly. 'Very well. This can be continued in the morning.'
They rolled their eyes but stood anyway. 'You staying here?' Bill asked as the two headed towards the door.
David shook his head. 'I vowed I would never spend another night under the same roof with that man and I'm not going to break it now. What about you?'
'I'll stay. I trust Severus will protect Rhys with his life but I would feel better watching over Draco and Hermione myself until things settle down.'
David nodded as they finally opened the door. 'Tell Rhys and Severus I'll be back in the morning to pick them up.' He told the red head as both men left the room without a backwards glance.
'Pick them up? They're leaving again?' Molly Weasley finally managed to get a word out of her stunned mouth.
'Not tonight, Molly. It's very late. We'll talk to them in the morning.' Albus said firmly before sitting back down in his chair and rubbing his eyes tiredly in what was a clear dismissal. Slowly and without a word the room emptied leaving Dumbledore staring at the bloody hessian sack and its sickening contents in silence.
Harry woke up warm but tired. The almost continual pain from his scar that had been present, particularly over the last few weeks had finally gone but the aches and pains from the battle remained. He stretched, groaning softly.
'Just relax.' A silky voice murmured as talented hands landed on his pyjama covered shoulders and began massaging softly.
'Ohhhhh.' Harry groaned again. Snape's hands continued kneading the muscles down Harry's back eventually turning the young man to face him.
'Rhys, do you know what this means?'
Harry gave the older man a wicked grin and lightly trailed a finger down his chest.
'Not that, you insatiable brat. I told you, not till afterwards.' Snape scolded.
Harry pouted. 'It is afterwards.'
'Yes, well. I'd like to see you explain this to Draco or the Weasley's should one of them just walk in.'
Harry snorted. 'I'd just like to see their faces.' He chuckled.
Snape frowned, reaching up to trace the scars. 'Rhys, I can fix the scars, but...I can't...' The potions master trailed off.
Harry shook his head. 'I know, Sev. And I'm fine with it, really. It's taken me so long just to be able to laugh about it. I know I'll never see properly again. I know I'll always be in the dark but it doesn't matter, not anymore, because when your arms are around me, when I feel you beside me it's like everything is alive before my eyes. I can picture you looking at me and the image is so clear it's like...it's like...'
Snape traced Harry's lips with his thumb. 'I understand, Rhys.' Snape whispered before his lips followed his thumb.
'Sev.' Harry breathed as Snape pulled away.
'Come on, brat.' The older man murmured. 'The sooner we get up and you eat, the sooner we leave.'
Harry groaned. 'You going to make me eat until I become the size of a house, aren't you?' He mumbled burying himself further under the covers.
Snape snorted softly. 'Just about.' He agreed mildly, grabbing Harry's arm and throwing him over his shoulder.
'Put me down.' Harry shrieked as Snape walked into the bathroom across the hall and dumped Harry into the shower, pyjamas and all, turning on the cold tap and stepping back, a large smirk covering his face.
'Ahhh.' Harry screeched, the sound ringing through the house. 'Bastard.'
Snape reached into the shower and smacked Harry gently. 'No swearing.' He scolded. Harry's milky eyes flashed and he threw a wandless locking charm at the bathroom door before grabbing the older wizard with more strength than belied his skinny frame and yanking him into the shower as well.
Snape open his mouth to yell as Harry covered the potions master's mouth with his own at the same time as turning the hot tap on to warm up the water. Harry shoved him against the wall as his mouth moved down the long pale neck; one hand unbuttoned the older man's robes as the other moved downwards.
'Fuck, Rhys.' Snape gasped as one of Harry's hands found his crotch. Harry moaned softly in response as his tongue laved its ways across Snape's chest.
'Rhys, please.' Snape whispered. 'No, stop.'
Harry pulled away instantly, his breathing heavy. 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry.' He whispered over and over. After three renditions Snape grabbed him and held him close.
'Shhh, no. That's not what I meant.' Snape murmured, gently peeling the wet pyjamas off the Gryffindor before shedding his own clothes. 'You're the most important thing in the world to me Rhys.' He began, picking up the soap and washing the pale scared skin on the body before him. 'And after all we've been through, the time we've waited, I don't want to rush this.'
Harry's hands reached up and felt for the truth in the older man's words, his fingers tracing the planes of Snape's face as the warm water fell over them. 'How strong was that bond supposed to be?' He whispered.
Snape traced the scars down Harry's cheek. 'The bond only strengthened what was already there.'
Harry's sightless eyes widened. 'What?' he breathed.
Snape bent his head and feathered a kiss to Harry's lips. 'I love you, Rhys. I don't know when it started but it was well before the spell. I tried so hard to ignore what I felt for you but you're just such an infuriating, insolent little brat, you cracked every single wall I had until it was just you left standing there.'
'I'm sorry.' Harry whispered.
Snape shook his head. 'Don't be. I've never felt so whole.'
'I love you, Severus.' Harry breathed.
Snape smiled and Harry returned when he felt the emotion. 'I know, I can feel it.' The potion master replied pulling the young man close once again.
It was an hour later as the two headed downstairs, Snape having conjured clothing from scraps of parchment found in their room. The kitchen quieted as they walked in and Harry could sense that only the Weasleys, McGonagall, Hermione and Draco remained.
'Rhys!' Hermione exclaimed leaping off her chair beside Draco and launching herself at Harry. Harry snorted and hugged her tightly.
'Hey Hermione.' He chuckled.
'How are you feeling? Did you sleep alright? Can I get you anything?' Hermione babbled.
Even Snape snorted this time, grasping Harry's shoulders and steering him towards the table as Harry answered. 'Fine, yes, and no, thank you.' He replied with a smirk before sitting in the chair Snape pulled out for him.
Breakfast was a short stilted affair, Molly Weasley seemed to still be too stunned to do anything but cook and everyone else remained silent at a look from the potions master as Harry ate; finishing abruptly the moment Dumbledore walked into the room.
'Good morning, Harry, Severus.' Dumbledore said cheerfully.
'Professor.' Harry replied politely, Snape just nodded his head.
Dumbledore went to the end of the table and sat down, accepting a plate of porridge and drowning it in milk. 'So, Harry, what are your plans? Are you coming back to Hogwarts with Miss Granger and Mr Malfoy.'
Harry's spoon hit his plate with a clang as he felt fear spread from the figure across the table. 'Draco will not be returning to Hogwarts, Professor, unless he wishes to.' Harry said quietly but firmly.
'I beg your pardon?'
'Narcissa was given the Kiss and now Severus is Draco's godfather and his legal guardian, he will decide together with Draco if he wishes to finish his schooling at Hogwarts or somewhere else.' Harry could feel Draco beaming gratefully at him and Severus' proud smirk at his side. 'Hermione, I'm sure will want to see her parents before going back to school.'
'I'll take her.' Bill offered from beside Draco and Harry nodded in thanks before tilting his head slightly and standing up; turning in anticipation.
'Rhys!' A new voice spoke from the doorway and Harry grinned and crossed the half dozen steps to meet the other man in a firm embrace.
'David, how can I ever thank you for all you've done.' He murmured into the man cloth covered shoulder.
'Rhys, if I can save just one person from that man then my life's wish has been fulfilled. I couldn't save my Susan but I could help you, and in turn Severus and everyone else.'
Harry pulled away and smiled brightly.
'Yes, David. Your help and hospitality will never be forgotten.' Snape added as he stepped up and placed an arm around Harry's shoulders.
David grinned at them both. 'Don't mention it. Now, are you ready to go?'
'Go where, Harry?' Ron finally spoke, breaking through the silencing and sticking charms the twins had put on him the moment Harry and Snape had walked in. 'Where are you going? Who's going to look after you? The greasy git? You don't think he's actually going to stay now you've killed his master, do you? He's free, he can go wherever he likes.'
Harry had yet to turn around but it was clear from the bright flush on the back of his neck and the rattle of plates and glasses throughout the room that he was upset. Snape moved in front of the Boy-Who-Lived his menacing expression softening as it left Ron and landed on Harry. He gently grasped Harry's chin and tilted his head up.
'Rhys, ignore it. You're a capable young man, you don't need looking after.' He murmured, staring into the milky green eyes. He could see the need clearly visible on the young man's face. 'Do you want them to know?' he asked softly.
'Yes.' Harry whispered.
Snape knew he would probably regret this but he couldn't stop himself as he wound his arms around Harry's waist and pulled him close bending his head and touching his lips to Harry's. The rattle of plates and cups stopped abruptly, only to be replaced by the gasps and yells from the Weasleys and Dumbledore. It seemed as if even after the display the evening before none had realised the true relationship of the potions master and the Boy-Who-Lived.
'Severus, what on earth do you think you're doing?' Dumbledore burst out.
'I told you he'd corrupt that boy, Albus.' McGonagall snapped, glaring at the still kissing pair. Ron, Fred and George had all stood and moved to separate their friend from what was clearly, in their mind at least, an awful situation, only to find Bill, Hermione and Draco standing in their way. David was glowering at the headmaster in undisguised disgust. Snape and Harry pulled away, the potions master placing a final, chaste kiss on Harry's nose before the young man turned around.
'Stop, all of you.' Harry sighed as Snape wrapped both arms around his shoulders. 'First of all, I'm no longer a boy, Professor McGonagall. I haven't been for many years now. You should know that better than most. Secondly, and I know you won't believe me but it's true, Severus didn't corrupt me, in fact he did all but leave me. The feelings we share are strong and will stand the test of both time and ignorance. And lastly, I owe you all nothing. Other than Hermione, Draco, Bill and David I owe nothing to any of you. You gave up on me and threw me away when I needed you most and that can never be erased. I know you already know this, Professor.' Harry's sightless eyes looked to Dumbledore who nodded sagely. 'But I'm leaving forever. I want nothing to do with the wizarding world and I refuse to live in it any longer.'
'But Harry...' Molly trailed off as Harry shook her head.
'I can't be happy here. I'm sorry.' Harry said quietly.
'So you want to just go off and be the blind man where nobody knows you.' Ron said sarcastically.
Hermione gasped and reached out the slap her friend but Harry's hand shot out and grabbed her arm. 'Yes Ron.' He said softly. 'That is exactly what I want.'
Those words stunned most in the room and David took the opportunity to speak. 'You should say your goodbyes, Rhys. You and Severus have a train to catch.' He said quietly.
Harry nodded and turned to Hermione. 'Thank you.' He whispered, hugging her tightly.
'What do you want to do?' Snape asked Draco as Harry shook hands with Dumbledore and the rest of the Weasleys.
Draco glanced at Hermione who nodded. 'Hermione's invited me to spend a few days at her place before going back to Hogwarts.' He said quietly.
'You want to return to the castle?'
Draco nodded. 'It's only for five months. I just want to get my NEWTs finished and then I'd like to come and spend some time with you and Harry, if that's alright?' he added hesitantly.
'It'd be brilliant.' Harry said firmly, having finished his goodbyes and returned to the potions master's side.
'Harry, I...' Draco trailed off nervously.
Harry leaned forward and grasped Draco's arms before hugging him tightly. 'Thank you, Draco. Thank you for having the strength to believe in what was right and for doing all you could to help us. You will always be welcome wherever we may be.'
Draco's eyes suddenly brightened. 'Thank you.'
'Remember if you need anything you know how to find us.' Snape added and Draco nodded.
Finally Harry turned to Bill.
'Don't say anything.' The eldest Weasley said quickly when Harry opened his mouth to speak. Bill held out his hand and waited until Harry took it. 'I will never forget the last two months. Thank you for your trust in me.' He added shaking both Harry and Severus' hands.
'Thank you for your faith in us.' Snape replied softly.
'Come one, come on.' David chimed in. 'If you miss this train, you'll have to wait for tomorrow.'
'Merlin forbid.' Snape shuddered and Harry snorted. 'Come on, brat. Stop snickering and get moving.' The older man scolded fondly.
'I'm going, I'm going.' Harry laughed.
'Harry?' Dumbledore's voice stopped Harry just before he stepped through the doorway; Snape could feel the thin shoulders tense under his hands. 'I wish you all the very best.' The elderly wizard added and Harry let out a gentle sigh.
'Thank you, Professor.' Harry said softly and a minute later they were gone.
'Are you happy, Rhys?' Severus murmured, as Harry shifted in his arms.
The young man turned his head slightly to take in the aura of the older man. It had changed much in the six months since the death of the Dark Lord. The black that seemed to surround it had faded to a gentle grey and the red spark that had been so prevalent before had disappeared completely leaving Harry to joke that if the older man got any mellower he'd fade away and Harry would never be able to find him.
They had caught the train from Kings Cross changing once in Paris and once in Toulouse before arriving in Carcassonne in the south of France; this was one destination they had no wish to apparate to. A car took them out to a small town called Montreal and there they found the house they would call home. At first Harry had been nervous in the large chateau and undulating grounds, but as they spent week after week exploring both the house and the grounds he became more relaxed.
He enjoyed walking by the narrow canal that ran across the rear of the property, listening to the birds call and flitter through the trees. He would sit for hours on the terrace listing to the boats drift past and children in the distance laugh as they played. But his most enjoyable times were when Snape finally extricated himself from their basement lab, where he developed and sold potions by owl catalogue, and joined him for a lazy afternoon picnic on the large chaise lounge at the end of the garden under the weeping willow tree.
Dobby, who had refused to accept clothing of any kind from Harry no matter what he said, would pack a magnificent feast and Harry would drag his lover out into the sunlight. They would spend the afternoon curled together and letting the world pass by as Harry would put it. Snape never admitted it but Harry knew the older man enjoyed these afternoons just as much as he did.
Harry didn't know quite how long these blissful quiet days would last; probably not all that long with Draco and Hermione arriving the next day, he thought wryly; but he would enjoy them while he could.
'Rhys?' Snape asked hesitantly again.
'What? Oh sorry.' Harry murmured sheepishly.
'You looked as if you were miles away.' The potions master observed.
Harry shook his head and smiled. 'No, just wallowing in contentment.'
Snape let out an undignified snort. 'Now, I know you've been hanging around with me too long.' He muttered dryly.
Harry laughed. 'Never.'
Snape bent his head and placed a gentle kiss on Harry's lips. 'Are you looking forward to tomorrow?'
'Yes; even if Draco's still being a git about his wondrous offer from the English Quidditch Team.' Harry rolled his eyes dramatically.
'You're just jealous they didn't offer it to you.' The older man drawled.
Harry snorted. 'Oh, yeah. I can see it now. Harry Potter, blind Seeker.'
'You know you can still beat him with one arm tied around your back.' Snape said fondly.
'Yeah, something Hermione tells him regularly.' Harry retorted smugly.
Snape raised an eyebrow. 'You do realise he'll challenge you one day.'
'It'll never happen.' Harry grinned.
Snape stared at him. 'Excuse me?'
'Draco's too smart for that. He knows that in a stadium full of screaming fans, he'd win every time, but out here, in the quiet, he'd go home red faced and empty handed.' Harry's smug grin returned.
'You're an insufferable brat, you know that don't you?' Snape chuckled pulling him close.
'Yes, but I'm yours and you love me anyway.' Harry snickered cheekily.
'That I do.' Snape agreed. They sat in silence for several minutes before Harry spoke again.
'Can you believe David and Bill have moved in together?' He said happily.
'A lot more easily than my godson and that bushy haired know it all friend of yours getting engaged.' Snape grimaced. 'I thought I raised that boy right you know.' He added ducking as Harry lifted a hand to swat his shoulder.
'You didn't raise him unfortunately, but thank Merlin, Malfoy Idiocy wasn't as genetically catching as I'd first thought and he managed to fight it off anyway. Besides Hermione's good for him; whenever his head starts getting big she just smacks him back down to size again.'
'Ah, so that's where you get it from.'
'Me?' Harry cried. 'I seem to remember your hand meeting my head many times.'
Snape snorted. 'You must have been imagining it.' He scoffed.
Harry laughed. 'Yeah, right. I've got amnesia from you smacking me so many times that I imagined you smacking me. Only you could come up with that.'
Snape smirked. 'Touché'
Harry just snorted softly and shook his head. 'You're an incorrigible bastard, you know that?'
Snape pulled him close and kissed him gently. 'Yes, but I'm yours and you love me anyway.'
'That I do.'
Thank you for reading.