A/N: To , who had a few questions, but couldn't be bothered to get an account so I could address his queries. First, all of your questions are answered in the last chapter, if you read it carefully. Daphne was thrown from Harry and into a shop from the force of an explosion by a spectating Death Eater.
Also, Voldemort appears as smoke because that's what I wanted, Don't like it, sorry. But you may have also noted that Voldemort is trying to focus on keeping himself together. You may or may not have notice that Voldemort is hurt, Why? Because of what happened the last time he tried to kill Harry.
As for How Voldemort shot of six spells when their wands were locked…. I said right before he fired the spells that he broke the connection! He even said something about not letting that happen again! Now, while you have a point about how I should do two or three passes, Yeah, you're right, I probably should. But before you go off half cocked, maybe read it a bit closer. Thanks for reading, and taking time to voice your opinion. I know it's sounds like I'm perturbed, but I do value every opinion, good or bad.
And to the person who said this came too fast….Sorry, but I always intended this to happen. Sometimes war breaks out without a build up.
Sirius Black was enjoying a quiet day at home. To hell with that. He was bored out of his mind. He hated to admit it, but he actually missed being a fugitive. At least then he was moving, hiding, trying to keep one step ahead. Now he just sat around his home. Oh sure, he visited people, but it was just idle chatting and speculation. No one really wanted to make plans or move forward with their ideas until the war was over. It was infuriating.
At least when his godson was home he could help train the boy. But now Harry was at school, and here Sirius was, just staring into the fire, listening to his beard grow. Thinking about Harry brought up sp much guilt and doubt within the former Azkaban prisoner. If he had been able to reign in his damned anger, he never would have been locked away, unable to watch over his godson. Perhaps if he had been free, he could have prevented a lot of Harry's pain at the hands of his Aunt and Uncle. Perhaps he could have prepared him better than he had been.
Sirius felt truly awful for how much the boy had been made to go through, and yet, he could not be prouder of the son of his long lost friends. Harry was more of a man than any other human being Sirius had ever met. Strong, kind hearted, courageous and forgiving. Harry had overcome so much in his young life, and still had one last confrontation before he could finally have a chance for peace and a shot at the kind of life most people took for granted.
Sirius hated himself for even thinking it, but he wished that Voldemort would just attack already. All this waiting and anticipating was becoming too much for the old marauder. His days were so empty and he was getting sick of thinking. He wanted to act, to fight, to feel the rush as he took on an army…
Sirius frowned as he pulled himself out of his chair running a hand through his long dark hair with frustration. Perhaps he needed a change of scenery. He didn't want to go too far away, as he might be needed, but he really to get the hell out of this house, if only for a bit.
As he began to think of places he might go, the fire roared to life and turned green. Just visible in the emerald flames was the face of his lifelong friend, Remus Lupin, looking horrorstruck.
"Remus old man. How are you? Fancy joining me for lunch?" Sirius smiled, a little to eagerly. He shuddered inwardly as he realized how desperate he sounded.
"We need you in Hogsmeade now. The Death Eaters have attacked. I'm told Harry's fighting Voldemort now. Come to the Hog's head."
"Out of the way Remus, I'm coming now." Sirius launched out of his chair, whipping his wand out of it's holster on his wrist as he lunged for the fireplace, his earlier self pity forgotten in an instant. A moment later he was stumbling out of the floo and into Remus. The Hogs Head was full of people, some of which were already storming out of the pub and into battle. Sirius could already hear the shouts and explosions.
"Where's Harry?" Sirius asked.
"You'll never get to him lad." Mad Eye Moody said, stumping over. "I need you and Remus with me, We're going to thin out their numbers. From what we can tell, they weren't expecting kids to fight back. My guess is Potter inspired them."
"The Aurors are on their way." Aberforth Dumbledore shouted, stomping down the stairs. "I'd say that those kids could do with a bit of help."
"We'll send any we find this way." Moody said quickly. "In the meantime, we need to cut down their numbers. The more of them we take out, the better."
"Half the town is fighting." Aberforth said, waving his wand to prepare for any wounded. "They weren't expecting any sort of resistance at all."
"Right." Moody snarled. "You two Marauders are with me."
Sirius and Remus flanked the old Auror as he hobbled out into the street. Sirius's eyes widened as he got his first glimpse of the battle. There were Death Eaters everywhere, but very few people were running away. There was smoke rising from several large fires, and Sirius could see that more than a few homes had been demolished, and yet, it wasn't as bad as he thought it would have been.
"What the hell?" Sirius asked as he followed Remus and Moody.
"From what we've heard, Voldemort called out Harry, and he came out to meet Voldemort. It shocked everyone into silence. No one could believe Harry would be so bold. They had only just started fighting when someone ambushed the reserves on the other side of town. Then all hell broke loose." Remus said rather proudly.
"You can have a nice chat later." Moody barked. "We need to prevent those bastard getting into the forest and getting the Acromantulas or any other manner of beast helping."
"Strange they don't have giants or…" Sirius began. Remus cut him off.
"Greyback is here, and so is his pack."
"Any sign of Peter?" Sirius asked hopefully.
Remus just shrugged.
"On the left boys!" Moody shouted, and Sirius felt a rush of adrenaline as he raised his wand and engaged his first Death Eater.
For the next thirty minutes, Remus, Moody and Sirius fought alongside several residents of Hogsmeade and a few junior Aurors against a seemingly never ending wave of Death Eaters and to their displeasure, Acromantulas. The Death Eaters had gotten their reinforcements, but it wasn't exactly working out for them. The spiders were clearly hungrier than they were loyal and kept running off with any fallen bodies they could get a hold of. Fortunately, it seemed to be mostly Death Eaters who were falling prey.
Arthur Weasley and his eldest, Bill soon arrived. Nymphdora Tonks arrived along with four or five senior Aurors. It wasn't long before they managed to secure the area, and with the spiders quite happy with their meals, there wasn't a strong concern the spiders would return.
"Can't leave you alone for a minute, can I?" Tonks asked, grabbing Remus by the collar and kissing him.
"Can you two control yourselves until we can find out in my godson is alright?" Sirius asked impatiently.
"I think we should start trying to help anyone trapped or hurt." Bill suggested. "Professor Sprout said they were trying to get the younger kids back to the school."
Alright." Moody said, already starting towards the center of town. "You lot start looking for survivors, Sirius, you and I have a few more Death Eaters to have a word with."
"Ha ha, now you're talking!"
"How's your leg?' Neville asked, panting heavily as he looked at Ginny. Both were covered in dirt and minor cuts. Neville's left arm hung limply at his side, having taken a bone breaker hex. He was just thankful it had only been his arm. If he hadn't tripped over himself, he might have taken the hex to his skull.
"I'll be fine." Ginny winced, trying to look at her leg without feeling sick. Her left leg had been burned very badly, and Ginny swore it was still burning inside. The pain was almost unbearable and the smell coming from the wound was making her stomach turn. It was also bleeding which was rather odd.
"We can't stay here." Neville said looking around the ruined building that had once been Scrivenshafts. "I think we should try and get back to the castle. I don't know how much more we can do in the condition we're in."
"What about Harry and Daphne and the others?" Ginny asked, looking horrified.
"I wish I had an answer. The Death Eaters are protecting the center of town really hard. Hopefully they were all smart enough to head back to Hogwarts, and let's face it, there's nothing we can do to help Harry anymore than we have. The Aurors are her now, and you and I… Gin, we've got to get help. That leg's bad, and my arm is useless."
"But…" Ginny started.
"Gin, I know." Neville looked into her eyes hard. "I know. I want to help him. I want to know what's going on, but…"
There was a bright flash and the ground shook, bringing more of the building down around them. Neville grabbed his girlfriend and wrapped himself around her protectively. Debris fell all around them, and Neville received a knock on the head by a heavy piece of wood. Blood poured from the wound, and his vision blurred. His stomach rolled, and his breakfast came out all over Ginny's front.
"Neville!" Ginny shrieked as he rolled onto his back panting for air.
The earth rolled again, and this time Ginny covered Neville, though only a little bit more debris fell on them. She raised herself up and tried to look at his head. His hair was becoming matted with blood, and his eyes were staring up completely unfocused..
"Nev? Neville, babe, can you hear me?" Ginny said trying to keep the panic out of her voice.
"Everything's moving." Neville murmured. Ginny didn't know what she should do here. Neville tried to sit up, but Ginny pushed back down.
"Just rest a minute." She whispered.
"I'm fine, Gin." Neville said, but his eyes were still unfocused.
"No you're not, and if you don't rest a minute, you won't be." Ginny said pushing on his chest to keep him down. "I need to find help."
"Your leg." Neville said weakly. "Ginny I'm fine, I just took a bump to the head."
"And threw up all over me. My god, you can't even focus." Ginny argued.
"Well well well."
Ginny turned, and felt her whole body go cold. There were three of them. They black robes were torn, and dirty. Two of them still wore the masks of Death Eaters, while the one in front, the leader, had a short trimmed beard and cold dark eyes. He was smiling at Ginny as he sauntered in. He smiled at her, and Ginny felt a wave of nausea when she saw his rotten blackened teeth.
Ginny's stomach rolled as she smelled the foul stench coming off the leader.
"What's a pretty young thing like you doing here?" The leader asked. Ginny inched back, the pain in her leg shooting all through her body, making her wince. "Oh, and you have a little friend."
"Stay away from her." Neville said sitting up. His head spun with the effort and he blinked a lot, trying to stop himself from retching again. "I swear I'll kill you.
"You hear that boys?" The leader laughed. "He's going to kill us?"
The other's laughed raucously and the leader turned back.
"Hey… I know you. You're Longbottom. Oh, Rudolphus would love to meet you. Not as pleased as he would be if you were that Greengrass bitch, but beggars can't be choosers, can they?" The leader laughed.
"Come on Mulciber, let's grab 'em." One of the masked men laughed. "They'll make nice sport for when the Dark Lord finishes with the Potter whelp."
"I'm taking the bitch." The other Death Eater said as he strode forward and grabbed Ginny by her hair, dragging her kicking and screaming to her feet.
"Ardeopenitus." Neville said, waving his wand. The spell passed harmlessly past the three Death Eaters and they all roared with laughter. And that was all the distraction Ginny needed.
Ginny stabbed her wand right into the eyehole of the Death Eater's mask who was holding her. He released her immediately and Ginny wrenched her wand out of his eye socket before kicking him in the groin and dropping to the ground. She fired three bone breakers at the other two, hitting the second masked man in the head.
His head exploded with the force of the spell and showered them all with brain, skull and blood. Neville also fired spells, though his aim was quite bad given his condition. However, it provided enough of a distraction for Ginny to take both of the live Death Eaters down for good.
Ginny didn't dare breath as Mulciber fell at last, his neck pouring blood from the severing hex she'd cast. Relative silence fell over them as they stared at the three dead men. Neville's head had cleared and he turned to look at Ginny who was breathing heavily as she looked ready to throw up herself. She was on her hands and knees, simply trying not to pass out.
The two looked up, readying themselves for another fight as they heard voices coming closer. There was a flash and a heavy thud just outside the doorway. Ginny put herself between Neville and the door, all the while, Neville was trying to get between Ginny and whatever was coming for them.
Arthur Weasley's face shone with relief as he saw his only daughter, still alive. He ran inside the broken down building and embraced her tightly. She winced with pain as her burned leg was bumped.
"Dad, I'm ok." Ginny said, though she felt immense relief at seeing her father. "We're ok. But I think Neville might need to get looked over, He got hit in the head really bad, and his arm…"
"Ginny' was hit in the leg by something that burn her." Neville replied quickly, getting to his feet. He wobbled, but Arthur quickly reached out and grabbed the youth.
"We'll get you both to the castle." Arthur said.
"Not until this is over." Ginny said firmly. "I'm not going anywhere until this is finished."
"Ginny, you've done enough." Arthur said firmly. "Your mother's going to have kittens when she finds out."
"No!" Arthur said quickly. "You've done enough. The Aurors are here, and the Order, and half the village. It's nearly over."
Ginny saw Remus Lupin and she felt more relief. The former Defense teacher had slipped inside and was now checking over Neville.
"That arm doesn't look too good." Remus said. "We'll get you up to the castle and Madam Pomfrey will fix you up."
"But Harry…" Neville tried to argue.
Remus looked over to Arthur who gave a grim look and Remus nodded. Neither man knew how the battle was going because no one could get close. Everything hinged on the outcome of that battle, and nearly every hope rested on Harry's shoulders.
Harry's wand flashed again and Voldemort conjured a shield which absorbed the spell. The most vile wizard in a century was gasping for breath and had stopped dodging Harry's spells. The duel had already lasted far longer than it should have, and so far, he'd barely managed to hurt the boy.
Harry was leaning heavily on his right leg, as Voldemort had cut his leg. He was also certain that he may have suffered a slight concussion. But he was still standing and that was something.
He was also breathing hard, but he felt that so long as he didn't get to cocky, or make any major mistakes, there was a chance. A chance he could win this fight. In his head, all the advice Sirius, Dumbledore, Flitwick, and even Snape were echoing. Harry had done his best to press the attack, and keep Voldemort on the defensive, but Voldemort was a very skilled wizard. It was taking nearly everything Harry had to stay upright and dodge Voldemort's spells. He had decided that if he kept moving, he wouldn't have to use a shield spell, and use more offensive hexes and curses.
A plan had begun forming in Harry's head. He thought if he could get his and Voldemort's wands to lock again, he could use second wand and end this once and for all. Harry knew what spells he wanted to use, but Voldemort was being most uncooperative.
The problem was, Voldemort was afraid of what could happen if their wands locked. Clearly Voldemort remembered how his own magic had turned against him the night he'd been revived. And he'd nearly lost his mind when their wands had connected earlier. Harry guessed that the dark wizard didn't wish Harry to escape.
"You're getting tired, Potter." Voldemort taunted. Harry shook his head.
"I'm not the only one." Harry replied.
"Why won't you just die?" Voldemort shouted angrily.
"You ever think that you had it wrong all this time?" Harry posed the question. "That maybe it wasn't you who was meant to kill me and that's why you've been unable to do it? And maybe you're not as all powerful as you think?"
"Or that perhaps maybe you're no longer immortal?"
Both Harry and Voldemort turned to see Severus Snape. Behind him the battle was coming to an end. There were only a handful of Death Eaters that Harry could see now, and he wondered just how many were dead.
He then wondered what had become of Daphne, and if she was still alive.
"Focus now." He told himself. "You can't lose your focus now, or you'll be dead."
"It's over, milord." Snape said, though he didn't sound subservient. In fact he sounded down right ferocious. Harry turned back to Voldemort, feeling very confused as he saw Voldemort staring at Snape.
"Master," Snape said, his voice dripping with venom that seemed to confuse Voldemort. "Use your power, and see into my mind. You need to know what has happened. Look into my mind and see your downfall."
Voldemort stood stunned by his servant's request before narrowing his eyes a bit and staring into Snape's eyes. A second later, Voldemort reeled with horror and rage.
"You can see it, can't you." Snape said his voice rising. "I've let my Occlumency shields down so you could see the truth. They're gone. All of them. Dumbledore found them all and destroyed them except your pet. I killed her moments ago. You're mortal now."
Voldemort's face twisted from one of confusion to one of purest rage. Snape simply smiled superiorly.
"You…" Voldemort said, his voice cold and shocked. "My most trusted… you dare betray me?"
"You betrayed me." Snape snarled. "I begged you. I begged you not to kill her."
Snape's wand was raised high at his former master. Voldemort was still standing in awe of his servants boldness, while Harry could only watch in confusion.
"You…" Voldemort began screaming, his wand flashing as Snape moved as well, firing hex after hex after hex. Harry could only watch in astonishment. He knew that Snape was supposed to be on the good side, though he'd always had his doubts. He had always thought that given the choice, Snape would simply rejoin Voldemort, and laugh as his master tortured Harry. Never in his wildest dreams could he have ever pictured Snape fighting against Voldemort.
Something in Harry's brain screamed at him to act.
Reaching into his right sleeve, Harry took out his second wand and took a deep breath. He had practiced fighting with two wands, but he had wanted it to be a surprise for Voldemort. But he was getting tired, and he wanted this to be over.
As Harry dropped into a fighting stance he realized that this was it. This was the end. All his questions could wait. All of his worries could wait. Everything had been leading him to this and Harry knew in his heart of hearts that the war was about to end, one way or another.
Harry lunged, firing off spells from both wands. The first hit Voldemort, who'd forgotten about Harry, and a large chunk of flesh and bone was ripped away from the Dark Lord's shoulder. Voldemort shrieked in rage, and Harry smiled inwardly. This was what he'd been hoping for. Anger clouded your judgment, and made you act rashly.
Voldemort was like a crazed animal now. He fired spells wildly, which Harry easily dodged, as Voldemort wasn't even aiming. He was simply pouring power into his hexes, which was Voldemort's second mistake.
The Dark Lord knew that he only had one real threat. Snape was a master duelist and his knowledge of spells was only surpassed by Voldemort's own. However, The Dark Lord didn't have the time nor did he have the patience for dragging the fight out. His duel with Potter had made him tired. It was taking a great effort to prevent his body from falling apart completely. Ever since he'd attempted to kill Potter a year ago, his body had begun to decay, and there was no other explanation for it.
It was why Voldemort was not using the killing curse on the boy now. The first time, he'd lost his body in a flash. Were it not for his Horcruxes, he would have surely died that night. The second time, the boy had fought back and their wands had locked. That night, specters of past victims had emerged from his wand and protected the boy, allowing him to escape. And the last time Voldemort had tried to eliminate the boy, he had thought for sure he'd done it until the spell rebounded, just as it had done the very first time they had met. He was sure that the reason he'd not lost his body for a second time was that he'd used Potter's blood to resurrect himself. Now however, there was nothing keeping him here. If he didn't finish this, he would be killed, and Voldemort feared nothing, except his own death.
Voldemort began attacking, giving neither Snape nor Harry a chance to press the advantage. Snape was keeping the fight close while Potter stayed his distance making it much harder to hit him with anything. Voldemort countered as much as he could, but he felt weaker and weaker, his magical core was being drained due to the amount of power he was using to keep his body from falling apart and the power he was pushing into his spell work. It was then he saw Potter now had two wands. He sneered. As if a second wand was going to be of any help to the boy. He was going to die. Slowly. Right after Snape.
Snape had so far avoided three killing curses from the Dark Lord. He was now trying to keep himself between Harry and the Dark Lord. He wanted to be the one to kill Voldemort. He wanted to make his former master pay for his betrayal, and for killing the one person in the whole world who'd ever cared for him. Lily Evans.
His wand moved faster than he'd ever managed before His mind had never been so focused. Snape's righteous anger flared as he cast one of his most favorite spells, Sectumsempra. A large gash opened on the front of Voldemort's chest who was no longer trying to shield himself. The Dark Lord roared and his wand flashed. Snape swatted and shielded himself, but the tide had turned and Snape found himself backing up.
There was a flash so bright that Snape had to shield his eyes, as did Voldemort. Harry had gotten sick of Snape blocking his way. He'd cast a powerful lumos spell, and shot it toward the two combatants, momentarily blinding them. Voldemort turned, firing at Harry, who was banished by Snape. Voldemort flicked his wand and lit Snape's robes on fire. Snape scrambled back, and tripped over his burning robes. He rolled on the dirt as Voldemort stalked towards him.
"I wish I had the time to properly teach you what it means to betray me. Goodbye, Severus."
Snape's eyes widened as Voldemort's eyes grew wide with unbridled ecstasy, his wand tip glowing green. And then, the Dark Lord was gone.
Harry got to his knees, and saw that Snape was on the ground, his robes smoking. Voldemort was stalking the Defense teacher as if he were prey, his wand lifting, it's tip beginning to glow the unmistakable green of the killing curse. Without thinking, Harry brought both his wands up and sent a curse. He pushed every ounce of power he could into the spell, both his wands lighting with a deep purple light. Harry's arms actually recoiled with the force of the spells.
The spells impacted Voldemort in the ribs ripping open his flesh, shattering bone and organs, and sent him tumbling head over heels. Snape was quickly getting to his feet, shaking off his robe, which smoldered on the ground. Harry also got to his feet and raced forward, his wands ready, a curse ready on his lips.
Voldemort was only getting to his hands and knees when Snape and Harry got to him. Voldemort sneered as he managed to get himself upright. He glowered at his enemies, wobbling slightly on his feet.
"You think I am beaten?"
Blood was pouring out of several very bad wounds, his robes dark with it. The dark Lord's breathing was little more the rattling gasps. His blackened face was smeared with dirt and blood. He clutched his wand tightly as he stared at the two men. Enemies come together with a similar goal standing shoulder to shoulder.
"You think a boy and a coward have managed to defeat the Greatest wizard of…"
"Oh shut up!" Harry scowled. He flicked his wand at Voldemort. To his great surprise, Voldemort moved and conjured a shield. Snape grabbed Harry and pulled him back, which proved to be his final act.
Voldemort stabbed his wand forward. It was already glowing, and the killing curse flashed. Snape's body was blown back into Harry knocking him to the ground. Harry was trapped under Snape's corpse, and Voldemort, limping, bleeding, and gasping came striding forward looking quite triumphant.
Harry's eyes flashed as he saw every face he knew had been killed because of Voldemort. His Mother. His Father. Cederic Diggory. Then the faces of his friends and images of what would happen to them.
"Foedus Dolor Infinitus!" Harry shouted, raising both his wands. Voldemort was hit directly in the chin. The Dark Lord was lifted in the air and came crashing down a few feet away. The village of Hogsmeade echoed with the shrieks of pain as he writhed on the ground from the effects of the curse.
The screams served as a strange signal, and fighting stopped almost at once, nearly every set of eyes turning towards the center of town.
It took a bit of effort, but Harry managed to get himself free from out from under Snape's body, and went to see what had become of his enemy. Has he walked, he saw Voldemort's wand lying on the ground, and stooped to pick it up, stuffing it into his pocket.
Daphne had told him of the infinite pain spell, a curse that would cause the victim to suffer never ending pain through their body for the rest of their lives. So far as Harry knew, there was no counter curse. But, Harry was certain the spell should not make the victim writhe like Voldemort was currently. It was almost as if Voldemort was suffering under a thousand Cruciatus curses. The only thing Harry could think was that he had used two wands, and had been thinking of Daphne at the time, afraid he wouldn't get to see her anymore.
As evil as Voldemort was, Harry didn't wish to extend the man's suffering. Even though he deserved it and more, Harry wasn't that kind of man, and knew that he never would be. Harry took a deep breath as he aimed his wands and cast a Reducto at Voldemort's head, before igniting the man's body on fire. Harry wanted there to be nothing left. He didn't want anything that might be used to resurrect the man again.
The corpse burned brightly and then a shockwave blasted outward from the body, and Harry was knocked to the ground once again. He was really getting tired of landing on his butt.
As he got to his feet, he began noticing something. The constant white noise of battle that had been ever present for so long was now conspicuous in its absence. He began to look around and could see that the Death Eaters that remained had all fallen to their knees, gripping their arms. It was strange. And then an idea popped into Harry's head.
The Dark Marks. Each and everyone of them were gripping their arms where the Dark Mark had been tattooed. Harry wondered if the Dark Mark was actually tied to Voldemort's soul. He remembered Snape saying that his mark had grown more vibrant as the Dark Lord grew in strength.
Harry turned and knelt by Snape's body, grabbing the man's left arm and pushing up the sleeve. The Dark Mark was gone, but Snape's arm looked melted, burned. Harry thought he may understand. The Dark Marks were something akin to Horcruxes. They had been tied to Voldemort's soul, and now that it was gone, the Dark Marks burned away.
And then something else occurred to Harry. The war was over. It was actually over. He had won. He had won and had lived through it. He was alive and he now had a future with…
"Daphne." Harry's eyes went wide as he began to scan the village.
"Daphne." He said louder, turning about. Everywhere he looked he saw faces staring back in awe, pride and worship. People were coming forward, cheering and laughing. Hands reached out for him, grasping his hand and shaking it. There were women crying with joy, trying to embrace him, but Harry tried to keep them back. There was only one person he wanted to embrace right now.
Harry turned, but it wasn't Daphne running towards him. It was Sirius who grabbed him and embraced him hard.
"You did it kid, You fucking did it!" Sirius said, releasing Harry and holding his head to stare in his eyes. He felt immense pride and relief as he stood there looking his godson over. Harry was bloody, and caked in dirt, but overall, he looked fine.
"Have you seen Daphne?" Harry asked, pulling Sirius off him.
"No, but I'm sure…"
"DAPHNE!" Harry shouted, turning to look for his blonde haired, blue eyed angel.
"DAPHNE!" Harry shouted again. He needed to see her. To hold her. A panic began to creep up his spine. What if she hadn't made it? He didn't think he could bear it. He shouted and shouted for Daphne, praying she was alright.
And then she was there. Dirty, bloodied, and limping with Hermione and Tracey on either side of her, helping her forward. Harry's heart soared and he sprinted to her, engulfing her in his arms, stumbling a bit and falling down with a very relieved and tired looking Daphne in his arms. All at once, the stress of everything he'd done and seen washed over him in a wave of relief as Daphne pressed her lips to his at last.
"You beat him." She said softly. "I never doubted you would."
"I love you." Harry smiled, kissing her deeply, hands fisting in her hair. He stared deeply into his eyes as his heart pounded in his chest. She was sighing as she stared back. She looked so tired, and yet, so relieved. She bent and captured his lips, opening her mouth to allow Harry to deepen their kiss.
It would be written of later as being the kiss that heralded a new era of peace and love for the wizarding world.
"I was sure that he was about kill me." Daphne said with a weary sigh. She was currently lying in a bed in the Hospital wing at Hogwarts. Her wounds hadn't been severe enough to have her sent to St. Mungo's like so many others, but Madam Pomfrey had let it be known that she would not be leaving her care for some time. Harry was sitting in a chair next to her, both his hands wrapped around hers. His wounds had not yet been treated as there were people far worse off than he was.
"So how…" Harry began to ask but Daphne gave him the faintest of smiles.
"Tracey." She said simply. "She and Hermione found me, and Tracey hit him with a piercing hex, right in his leg. She said she was aiming for his head, but thought she might have been shaking too much. As soon as I saw that he'd fallen, I scrambled up on top of him and began punching him."
Harry had seen her hands. Her knuckles had been bruised and bloodied, and he had never felt prouder of her than when she told him the reason.
"He shoved me off of him then, and tried hexing Hermione and Tracey. Hermione managed a shield, but whatever he used shattered it, but I guess it wasn't strong enough to hurt her to badly. Tracey managed to find cover. Draco I guess forgot about me. I was able to get my wand back, and then I… I used the same curse that I did on his Aunt in the Department of Mysteries."
"It's alright." Harry said softly. "He would have killed you. He almost did."
"I know." Daphne said, tears in her eyes. "All I could think of before Tracey and Hermione found me was you. I was so afraid, Harry. I thought for sure that I wouldn't get to be with you anymore, that I'd failed you."
"But you didn't." Harry smiled gently. "Funny thing is that I had something similar happen. I thought that he had won, but I thought of you, and I just wasn't ready to leave you, and I used that curse you told me about. The eternal pain curse. It saved me. You saved me."
"I think maybe we saved each other." Daphne whispered.
Madam Pomfrey was there now, looking very tired now. She had been treating all sorts of wounds and it was taking a lot out of her. Harry felt sympathetic to her, but she had a strange smile on her face as she looked on him.
"I can take a look at you now, if you'll come with me."
"I'm really ok…"
"Mister Potter, how many times must we have this argument?" Pomfrey looked at him, a playful scowl on her face.
"You'd better go." Daphne suggested. "I don't think she's above hexing you to get you to cooperate."
"A very intelligent young woman, Mister Potter, I would listen to her, were I you."
Harry's head fell as a smile played at his lips. He stood, and bent down to kiss Daphne gently. "I'll be back." He whispered. He turned to go when Daphne asked him…
Harry turned, looking confused.
"In your pocket.
Harry reached back and felt the wand he had stuffed there just before he had ended the war once and for all. Voldemort's bone white wand.
"It's his. I took it and shoved it into my pocket. I guess I forgot about it." Harry said, pulling the wand out and staring at it with disgust.
"What do you intend to do with it?" Madam Pomfrey asked, a slight quiver in her voice.
Harry looked at the matron, and then to Daphne who looked a bit apprehensive as well. His face broke into a wide smile as he snapped the wand in his hands. He heard Pomfrey give a soft sigh, and Daphne laughed lightly.
"I'll burn it later tonight." Harry said as he turned to follow Madam Pomfrey.
The body count had been high. Of the two hundred and fifty Death Eaters who had followed their master to Hogsmeade, only around eighty remained, all awaiting trial in Azkaban. The Ministry had decided that all who were found guilty were to be executed. They would all be sent through the Veil.
Of the nearly thousand residents of Hogsmeade around a hundred adults and twenty five children lost their lives. Seventy five Hogwarts students also died, fighting against the Death Eaters. One hundred children who would never grow up. Never fall in love. Never have children of their own.
The Daily Prophet reported on barely anything else save the funerals for those who had fought. There was a very long article on both Albus Dumbledore, and a few days later, an article about Severus Snape appeared. Harry couldn't explain why, but he felt the need to save that article. He had never cared for the former potions professor, but the man had given his life to save Harry's. It left Harry with a million questions that no one could answer. Until the letter arrived.
Harry was sitting down for breakfast in the Great Hall. Daphne was still in the hospital wing, but Tracey and Hermione were there, and greeted him with smiles. Harry had noticed the two girls had gotten very close since the war ended, and Daphne explained it all to him. Harry was quite happy for the two girls, and out of respect, said nothing to either of them. If and when they wished to talk about their relationship, he'd listen.
Ron had only returned to school a few days ago, once the Lavender's prognosis turned for the better. Ron was still visiting her every afternoon with permission from the new Headmistress, but he was not staying with her all the time now.
Neville and Ginny were both still in the hospital wing, but they were both due to be released in the next two or three days.
Harry filled his plate, anxious to finished breakfast so he could see Daphne before classes. She was getting better, and like Harry had been so many times before, was itching to get out of there. Harry and Ron began chatting idly about the possibility of a pickup game of Quidditch that weekend, when the large brown owl landed before him, presenting an official looking letter. Harry took it, expecting another invitation to attend some sort of award ceremony from the Ministry. Minister Scrimgeour was most anxious to get Harry to come and speak before the Wizengamot, or the press and accept the Order of Merlin First Class. Harry wasn't interested. He just wanted to be left alone at last. Daphne and her parents had spoken to him a few days ago, and suggested that it would be a good idea for him to accept the award. Sirius also felt it was a good idea. They had all convinced him to finally accept Scrimgeour's invitation, but he refused to attend anything until Daphne was well enough to attend with him.
Harry opened the letter and was immediately stunned by the contents.
Dear Mr. Potter,
This letter is to inform you that you are the sole beneficiary of Severus Snape. His will was read yesterday, and as per the instructions, the contents of the Snape vault has been added to the Potter vault, and you inherit the house at Spinner's end. Mr. Snape's instructions were most explicit, and as such, we were not to inform you until his wishes had been carried out. His final wish was for us to send you the enclosed envelope.
May your gold ever flow,
Harry stared wide eyed at the envelope which was addressed to him in the somewhat tight sloppy scrawl he'd seen on so many of his potion essays. He couldn't believe what he'd just read. Snape had named him the sole beneficiary of all of his estate. Snape, the man who'd hated him, belittled him, spent every waking moment to mentally abuse and torture him, all because of a lifelong grudge the man had held against Harry's father.
"You alright mate?" Ron asked. Harry slipped the letter from Gringotts to his redheaded friend as he kept staring at the envelope.
"Ron." Hermione sighed exasperatedly. Ron's answer was to pass the letter to her.
"Holy shit." Hermione hissed after she finished, making Tracey and Ron laugh. Harry barely chuckled.
"Well, go on!" Tracey urged. "Find out what he had to say to you after everything."
Harry slipped his finger under the seal and opened the letter, his heart beating hard, unsure of what he wanted to see, or what he expected to see.
I know that I have been most unreasonable and even rude to you. As you know, your father and I hated each other, and for years, whenever I looked at you, all I saw was the smug face of my school rival. I saw this because I dare not look you in the eye and see your mother, my friend, staring back at me.
You see, I am the reason your mother and father were killed. I was the one who heard a part of the prophecy and told Voldemort. When I learned it was you he intended to kill, I went and begged Dumbledore to protect your family.
You see, when I was at school, I had only one friend. Your mother. We met a year before we came to Hogwarts, and as we grew up, I grew to love Lily. But, in our fifth year, my hatred of your father got the better of me, and after a particularly bad prank, wherein you mother tried to help me, I turned on her. In my anger, I insulted the one friend I had, and she, already becoming fed up with my choices, turned her back on me. I never forgave myself.
In our final year, your mother and father began dating, and I joined the Death Eaters. I joined because I refused to let myself accept that I had turned Lily against me, and chose to blame your father. It wasn't until after she was killed that I realized everything that had happened between Lily and I was my fault.
My hate turned inward. You were a constant reminder of my failure, and I took it all out on you.
In the last year, I have seen you mature, and though I am loathe to admit it, even now, you are more your mother's son than I ever truly cared to admit. I knew it for certain the moment I had heard of you relationship with miss Greengrass. To forgive a betrayal, no matter the cause, so immense, is truly inspiring. I have observed you and miss Greengrass, and I saw all that I could have had had I the will to grow up.
You have become a man that deserves to be respect, Harry, and I wish to pass on one piece of advice to you. Live. Live your life, and forget all of your anger and hatred. Do as I could not, and be free of my burdens.
With my sincerest and most heartfelt apologies,
Harry felt tears in his eyes. He couldn't believe it. After everything, Snape had been… Words failed Harry as he folded the letter and slipped it into his robes.
"What did it say?" Hermione asked curiously. Harry simply smiled at her. He knew that she was dying to know what was in the letter, but somehow, he just couldn't share it with her. He doubted he ever could. It seemed to be a private conversation between himself and his now most influential teacher. Harry knew that he would never have liked the man, but now…he was bursting with respect for him, and it was a very strange sensation.
"I'm going to go see Daphne." Harry said, getting up from his seat, leaving his friends staring in wonder after him.
"You ok?" Harry asked, handing Daphne a drink. She smiled her thanks and nodded.
"A bit tired." She replied. "That whole thing was really long."
They sat at a small table as far away from the crowd as they could. The ceremony had actually been better than Harry had expected. He hadn't had to give a speech, and he wasn't the only one to receive an award, though he got the most applause when he had accepted his. Now people were dancing and talking, and Both HArry and Daphne were rather surprised that people were being respectful enough to leave the two alone.
"Have I told you how stunning you look tonight?" Harry smiled, making Daphne giggle lightly.
"You don't have to keep paying me compliments." She smiled. "I'm already yours."
She smiled wider as he bent forwards and kissed her. Harry had no idea what he was in for later that night, and she was practically shaking with anticipation. She'd been waiting for too long in her humble opinion.
"I just like reminding you of how fond I am of you." Harry said as he pulled away.
"I will never get tired of hearing that."
"Do you want to dance some more?" Harry asked.
"Actually, I think I'd rather go home." Daphne smiled.
"Oh…Alright." Harry said, looking a bit disappointed.
"My parents said I could spend the rest of the Easter holiday with you, and I have everything I need." Daphne said smiling pointedly as she shook her black clutch. Harry raised an eyebrow and she smirked.
"Well, we should say goodbye to everyone." Harry said, getting up and offering his hand to her.
"I rather think they'll understand." Daphne said, leading him out of the hall and towards the floos. "We have a few things to do tonight, and they are far more important to me than those stupid awards. And as this is the first opportunity for us to be alone, I'm going to take advantage of it."
"What are you talking about?" Harry asked, rather flummoxed.
"Have I told you tonight how irresistible you look tonight?" Daphne replied before throwing a handful of floo powder into the fireplace and stepped into the green flames and called out Harry's home as he destination.
Harry followed her through and stumbled out of the fireplace, momentarily amazed he hadn't landed on his face. He wasn't given long to wonder about it as Daphne had him in her arms and her lips pressed against his. She was guiding him down the stairs and into his bedroom, where she tossed her clutch down, and slipped out of her high heeled pumps. Her hands slipped from around his neck and began to unbutton his shirt.
It wasn't very long before Harry and Daphne managed to get all of their clothes off and slipped into bed. Their passion built into a fevered pitch as they kissed, touched and explored each other far more than they ever had before.
Daphne was loving the feel of Harry's excitement pressing into her abdomen as she kissed his neck and listened to his softest of moans and hisses. She knew she was ready, but was putting off the moment until she thought she wouldn't be able to stand it. She could feel her own excitement, hot and sticky between her legs, and was trembling as she began to reach down between them and take Harry's manhood in her hand and slowly place it at the entrance to her center.
Harry raised up a bit as he felt her maneuvering him, and looked deep into her eyes.
"If you even think of asking me if I'm sure, I will put a stinging hex on each of your cheeks, and I don't mean the ones on your face." Daphne said sternly. "I have wanted to have you make love to me since my birthday. It's been all I could do not to drag you to the Room of Requirement or the Prefects Bathroom and ravish you. I love you Harry. I love you more than I could express in mere words, and I want to be with you. Right here, right now. Please, for the love of….ooooooohhhhhhh."
Harry slowly sank into her and Daphne's eyes rolled into the back of her head. She felt the resistance which Harry pushed through, and she hissed slightly. She wrapped her legs around him when he started to pull out and fixed him with a hard look, which made him freeze.
"Again." She whispered, and Harry complied. She gave another long low moan of pleasure as he sank ever deeper into her. She grabbed his head and kissed him as he began a slow steady rhythm and softly began rolling her hips in time with his soft thrusts.
It was unlike anything she had felt before. He had used his fingers on her, but it wasn't like this. The feeling that was building in the pit of her stomach was indescribable. And then, Harry angled himself differently, and he rubbed against her slightly differently and in sent shockwaves of pleasure through her entire body. Her toes curled, and the muscles in her thighs quivered.
Again." She panted in his ear, and Harry complied, and again the sparks. Over and over she felt this wondrous sensation, as Harry's breathing became heavier, and they began to sweat from the heat of it. Daphne kicked off their blankets and held him ever tighter to her, urging him on with her frantic whispers and moans.
And then, his body tensed and he gave a soft grunt, and a squeak of surprise. She could feel him erupting inside of her, and then her body tensed and the feeling that had been building within her stomach exploded. She cried out, and gripped his shoulders as her body spasmed and writhed under him.
It took several minutes before either of them could speak. Slowly Daphne untangled herself from her lover, allowing him to roll off of her, and wrap his arms around her. They lay cuddled together, attempting to catch their breath. Harry continued kissing her temple, sighing most contentedly.
"That was…" Harry tried, but words failed him.
"I know why I waited." Daphne said, still panting. "But I'm an idiot for waiting. We could have e doing that for a couple of months now."
Harry response was soft laughter, which Daphne found more than a bit contagious. She turned herself a bit so she was facing Harry. She kissed him deeply, her hands running up and down his naked spine, making him shiver slightly. She broke the kiss and looked into his eyes.
"So, do you think we could try that again?" She asked, rather shyly.
"Anytime you'd like." He replied, kissing her.
"How about now?"
Harry's love for formal events had not gotten more accommodating in the last year. He hated them just as much as he had hated the Yule Ball. The only thing he did like about them was that Daphne got really done up. His girlfriend lived for these things, only because she loved dressing up. Harry thought that if she had her way, she'd get dressed up everyday, not that he had any argument against it.
She had really gone all out today though. He barely listened to the speeches as he was so enamored with his girlfriend, who knew he was staring at her from across the hall. He knew that she knew, because she was smiling.
She loved that he still couldn't help stare at her even after all this time, and hoped that he would continue to stare like that for many years to come. Especially if what she had heard turned out to be true.
"You've got to stop smiling like that." Tracey said from beside her. "You're only fueling his fire."
"Kind of the point." Daphne replied.
Tracey only shook her head. She then glanced around, her good humor dieing a bit.
"This is so strange."
"You've been saying that all day." Daphne replied. "You'd better get used to it. It's happening no matter what. We're graduating."
"I know, I know. That isn't what's so strange. I mean, it is, but… don't you feel a bit odd. I mean, we're the smallest graduating class in Hogwarts history. Last year was small, but our year is the smallest. We lost the most." Tracey said softly.
Daphne looked around now and sighed as well. It was true. She remembered their class had always been the smallest, which she knew to be a result of the first war against Voldemort. The class behind hers had easily twice the number of students as her before the final battle, and each year after had been bigger. People hadn't had children often during the first war, and many other's had been killed. When Harry defeated Voldemort the first time, people began having families again. So no matter what, her graduating class was always going to be small, but now it was on record as being the absolute smallest in history.
Of the Slytherins, there was only herself, Tracey, Millicent Bulstrode and Blaise Zabini. Four of the original ten.
The Gryffindors had lost two. Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnegan. Daphne looked to Parvati Patil, who was smiling, though it didn't touch her eyes. The girl had never been the same since the battle. Her face had been scarred, but everyone had been scarred in one way or another. No, Parvati had become rather withdrawn, almost as if she'd lost someone very close to her. No one knew what the reason was, and Parvati refused to talk about that day.
The Hufflepuffs had only four surviving members in their year. Susan Bones, Hannah Abbott, Zacharias Smith and Justin Finch-Fletchley. Oddly, Zacharias had become a sort of Pariah. Daphne had heard the stories of the boy screaming like a girl and running away, abandoning younger kids to be killed. He spent a lot of time on his own, and barely anyone in his house spoke to him.
The Ravenclaws had suffered only two losses. Only Kevin Entwhistle, who'd died protecting three younger students, and Su Li, who had suffered a great deal at the hands of Death Eaters who'd turned out to be recent graduates of Hogwarts, barely a year out of school.
Daphne sighed. She imagined that graduation was supposed to be a happy event, yet, as she sat waiting for the moment she would step up onto the stage and accept her qualification, she was reminded of all her class had suffered, and of those whom she would never have the chance to get to know. She turned to look at Harry, who had a questioning look in his eyes. Clearly he had seen her smile fade. She gave him a grateful look and shook her head. She could tell he wasn't pleased, but he could do nothing at the moment.
The Ceremony was long, especially as there was a moment of remembrance for those who had given their lives. Daphne got a bit choked up as the names were listed off. Though she did feel a flash of rage when Draco Malfoy's name was called out. In her humble opinion, Draco should have been removed from the registry for his crimes.
Soon after, the students were called up to accept their qualifications. Daphne was cheered on when her name was called, and she paused long enough to shake hands with Headmistress McGonagall and get her picture taken for the Daily Prophet. She along with everyone in attendance cheered loudly when Harry's turn came. Even a year after, he was still the hero, and his distaste for it showed on his face, even as he forced his smile for his picture. Daphne decided she would make him feel a bit better about it later that night. In fact, she was really looking forward to the ceremony to be over. They had been making plans all year, and Daphne couldn't wait to begin their journey. Just the idea of lying on a beach drinking up the sun with Harry at her side was intoxicating. She couldn't wait to see the Caribbean.
But there was something else she was anxious for, if what Tracey had mention was in fact true, and she desperately hoped it was.
When the ceremony was over, the graduating class greeted their families and friends for about an hour before they were taken to a room off of the Great Hall and flooed to a private hall in London for a party.
They had all heard that graduating classes usually remained partying in the hall until the next morning, but as this class was so small, it turned out to be a rather intimate dinner. There was dancing afterwards, but it seemed that after the long and entertaining meal, everyone was ready to leave.
"You'd better take a lot of pictures and bring back lots of gifts." Tracey said hugging Daphne tightly.
"We won't be gone that long." Daphne reminded. "Just a month. You and Hermione will be gone a lot longer. You guys are going all over Europe for god's sake."
"Yeah, but that's really just around the corner. You two are going half a world away." Tracey replied.
"I'm jealous." Lavender sighed as she came over to her girlfriends. "I can't imagine how romantic and amazing a time you'll have."
"Ron said he'd take you." Tracey reminded the blonde who shrugged.
"Yeah he did, but we've got to get the money together. Harry offered, but Ron refused. He's got his pride, and wants to earn his way." Lavender said, looking over her shoulder to where her boyfriend was talking to Neville, Harry and Justin Finch-Fletchley.
"Well, getting signed to the Cannons is a good start." Daphne smiled.
"And he'll probably turn that team around." Hermione said as she joined the girls. "I bet he'll be named captain within a year."
She wrapped her arms around her girlfriend who gave her a soft kiss, making her blush ever so slightly.
"All set for your getaway?" Hermione asked Daphne who nodded excitedly.
"All packed. We're going back to the house and leaving first thing in the morning, though I doubt we'll be able to sleep. I think we'd leave tonight if we could, but the international portkey won't activate until around eight tomorrow morning." Daphne sighed.
"I don't think you'll be too anxious for that after you get home." Tracey smirked knowingly. Hermione looked at her and then groaned.
"Please tell me you didn't tell her." She said releasing Tracey and pinching the bridge of her nose.
"How could I not?" Tracey asked.
"Tracey, babe, that was supposed to be a secret." Hermione scowled.
"What was a secret?" Lavender asked, now very curious.
"Harry's going to…" Tracey began but Hermione put her hand over Tracey's mouth.
"It's no one's business but Harry's and Daphne's.
Lavender didn't need much to piece this puzzle together. She smiled and began practically bouncing up and down and waving her hands frantically. She was squealing as well. Both Hermione and Tracey were giving her rather pointed looks as the boys were now approaching.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Lavender asked Ron, hitting his shoulder.
"Tell you what?" Ron asked, now rubbing his arm.
"About what Harry…"
"What Harry what?"
Harry was standing behind them, and they all turned to look at him rather guiltily. Neville was standing to hiss side, looking a bit guilty as well, as he was sure what was being talked about. He was very grateful that he had not come over earlier.
"Nothing!" Tracey said loudly. She ran over to Harry, hugged him tightly. "Have fun, bring me presents. BYE!"
She grabbed Hermione by the wrist and led her towards the floo. Hermione looked rather upset as she wasn't given a chance to say her good byes. Harry watched them go and while he knew he'd se them again in a month, he still felt a bit angry. He'd have to make Tracey pay for running off with Hermione. He turned his narrowed eyes back to Lavender, who was fidgeting badly. Before he could say anymore, she had lunged at him and hugged him. She whispered a congratulations into his ear and stepped back. She gave significant look to Ron who shook his head and hugged Harry in a manly fashion.
"Come visit me when you get back. I want to hear almost everything when you get back." The redhead said. "And Mum will have kittens if you don't come for dinner."
"You know I will." Harry replied, patting Ron's back.
"Same goes for me." Neville said, clasping Harry's arm, and pulling him in to another manly type hug with a lot of back slapping.
"Send Ginny our love." Harry said. Neville gave Daphne a big hug as well and then went off to say good bye to a few others who were lingering.
"So, have you talked to everyone?' Harry asked as he took Daphne's hand.
"Pretty much." She smiled.
"You ready to head home then?"
Daphne nodded with an expectant smile. Harry led her to the floo and one by one they left their graduation party and returned to Harry's home, a gift from Sirius. It was a nice little house just outside of London. Something to start his life with. Sirius had explained that he had lived there when he'd begun his Auror training after he had graduated. It was a very nice, if not small two bedroom home. "Perfect for a young couple just starting out." Sirius had said.
It was dark until Harry waved his wand, and Daphne gasped. Harry had obviously gotten someone to set up the room. There were candles all over the place and a small table set in the center of the room with two glasses set on it, and a bottle of what she guessed was champagne resting a bucket of ice next to it.
"This is really…" She turned around to say when her breath caught in her throat. She knew it was going to happen. Tracey had told her as much, but she had doubts that Harry would actually do it. Yet there he was before her down on his knee with a small box opened in his hand. There, resting on a bed of green velvet was the most beautiful diamond engagement ring she had ever seen.
"Yes." She said when she found her breath.
"But I haven't…" Harry started. Daphne threw herself at him, kissing him soundly.
"Yes! Yes! A million times yes." She said between kisses.
Harry did eventually get the question out, but by then they had made love twice and finished the bottle of champagne. Daphne grinned when he did ask and snuggled deeper into his arms as she stared at her new ring. To her, a more perfect beginning to life out of Hogwarts could not be imagined. She knew for a fact that she was an extremely lucky young woman, and she also knew that her life with Harry would be blessed in every way. She simply could not wait to find out what it had in store for them..
Finished at last!