AN: We have finally reached the end of this story. There is a sequel of sorts coming. "The Time is Right" is composed of much shorter chapters but I hope to see you all there, any way.
Thanks to Yen for editing this for me. She made it far more than I had every thought it might be. Thank you, my friend for all your help.
Raya will work her way through this with her own fine toothed comb, so if it seems to change periodically, well, that means that she has helped remove a snag or a tangle. Any mistakes are all mine.
- Raven, if you are here, you can PM me for the ending. Bye, Childling.
Chapter 16: Home
A week later…
Harry shut the bedroom door behind him and leaned against it. He hated media extravaganzas and that was what the release of the patients had turned into.
Closing his eyes, he ran over the key points from the last week though his head. Kingsley had expedited everything.
First, the Unspeakables had received a department wide dressing down. Kingsley took it upon himself to tell the whole department that Severus Snape was off limits. Macon and his whole division were charged and tried behind closed doors. Harry didn't ask what their sentence was, and he didn't want to know. All he knew was that it was a huge blow to the Potions division.
Before the Unspeakable trial, Nott and Yaxley had been tried before the entire Wizengamot. Those two had taken the opportunity to paint the late Lucius Malfoy's name as black as they could. Harry had stepped in and asked the Wizengamot to take into consideration Draco's assistance in the case and the fact that he was still grieving over his father's death . Not only was the media kept out of the trial, the transcripts were locked up tight as well.
Theodore Nott decided not to disown his father, but he was grateful for the media blackout on the trial. It saved a lot of black marks on his family reputation that he would have to clean up. He had enough to work on since both Yaxley and his father were sent to Azkaban.
Then came the cure. Derrick had run the backup tests, and everything came back correct and safe for use. Snape had walked into the ward at St. Mungo's for the first time, at least in the eyes of the healers, bringing a satchel filled with vials. The healers had watched him warily until Garrick smiled at him. Snape opened up the satchel and started dispensing potions to students he has known from his time as Hogwarts' Headmaster.
It was then that the media unexpectedly arrived.
Harry had stood outside the door while the media tried to get through. For once, he was completely happy that Phillips was there. They guarded each other's back and when it was all over, they nodded to each other and smiled. They both knew they would exchange greetings when they passed each other in the halls of the Ministry.
Rubbing his eyes, Harry sighed. It had been a very, very busy couple of weeks.
"Are you coming? I thought you wanted to take a shower before collapsing?"
Harry opened his eyes and took in the equally tired looking man standing in the doorway that led to the bathroom. "Are you joining me?" he asked without thinking.
Severus trailed his eyes over Harry, taking in the shadows under the green eyes, the droop of his shoulders. "It might be safer."
Harry smiled wearily as he crossed the room. "Good, you can scrub my back." Again, the words were out before he realized what they meant. Despite his exhaustion, his heart started to beat a little faster.
Severus had stepped inside the bathroom. He turned on the shower to check the water temperature. This would be the first time that he would get to see all of Harry. He tried to stop the downward flow of blood; Harry was too tired for anything.
At the sound of running water, Harry started to undress, his mind still hovering between exhaustion and trepidation. He stepped out of his pants and looked inside the bathroom. "Severus."
Already fighting a losing battle with his desires, Severus decided against giving them anymore help. He kept his eyes on the water falling from the shower. "Harry, the water is almost at the right temperature."
Harry raised an eyebrow at how adamant Severus was in not turning around. Squaring his shoulders, he came inside the bathroom and slid a hand down the stiff, clothed back. "Then you're overdressed, don't you think?" He wrapped both arms around Severus' torso and started on the buttons he could reach.
Severus fought back the groan that was trying to erupt as a warm body pressed against his back. When the busy fingers brushed the skin on his chest, he gave up. Spinning about, he pulled Harry into his arms and plundered the mouth that he had been wanting to kiss since morning. One hand swept up, long fingers spearing into unruly dark hair while the other slid downwards, cupping a firm round bottom. He groaned at the feel of bare skin against his palm.
Harry blushed as he pushed back into the hand that felt so good on his bottom and then forward into the body in front of him. Letting out a whine of dissatisfaction, he pulled back. "You're still overdressed."
It would normally have taken him but a moment to remove Severus' shirt, but his fingers fumbled, clumsy with the knowledge that that dark gaze was taking in his naked body. He paused with his fingers resting on the simple belt buckle and looked up, searching Severus' eyes. "Do you choose to do this, Severus?"
Looking back into those questioning green eyes, Severus knew this would not end until one of them was inside the other. The exhaustion that had enveloped Harry earlier was gone, momentarily replaced with a quiet eagerness. He felt the same way and caressed Harry's flushed cheek before dropping his hand to the fingers on his belt.
With a smile, he brushed them away and slowly undid his belt. "I do. Are you choosing to do this, Harry?"
Slipping the trouser button free of its hole, Harry pushed the zipper down. "I do."
Severus' smile broadened, almost mirroring the one on Harry's face. He pushed his trousers down and they dropped to the floor, pooling at his ankles. His pants soon followed and he stepped out of them. All the while, he let his eyes rove over the beautiful, aroused man who was watching him, aware that he was being appraised in turn.
Harry felt his pulse race even faster as he took in the sight before him. "Beautiful," he breathed, his eyes roaming all over that tall, lean form, particularly the parts he hadn't yet seen.
Leaning forward, he wrapped his arms around Severus' neck and kissed him, pulling their bodies against each other. The hitching of Severus' breath mirrored Harry's as their bodies met, skin to skin, no longer any barriers between them.
Slowly, the sound of falling water slowly claimed Severus' attention. 'I am not doing this in the shower. Not yet.' Releasing one arm, he reached behind him and found the tap, turning off the water.
When he heard a whine, he placed a finger over Harry's lips. "Our first time is not going to be in the shower." He nudged them out into their room. "I want to enjoy you without water getting in the way."
Heat flared in Harry as he thought of being enjoyed by Severus. He knew this was going to be the best and possibly the most awkward time together since the moment he had walked in the front door almost a month ago.
Severus watched as desire brightened the already bright green eyes. For a moment, memories from his past surfaced, memories of times witnessed, but thankfully not shared. This was not going to be anything like those carnal, mindless, lust driven was going to be special and perfect for both of him and Harry. 'The Dark Lord never did make me participate. He didn't know why I was reluctant to participate in those evenings, especially when Lucius and Bellatrix asked, but he somehow knew that that would be the breaking point for me. That it would shatter the principles he suspected I had, drive me away from him and his cause. Instead, he had me watch as the others rutted for his entertainment and their pleasure. He hoped that it would draw a reaction out of me, so that I would want to join. It never did, but I had plenty of fuel for my dreams when they started. And I did learn enough to have an idea how to go about this without causing either one of us unnecessary pain.'
Harry caught the distant look in Severus' eyes and wondered where his mind had drifted off too. Reaching out, he let his hand slide from Severus' shoulder to his hand, marveling at the muscle definition in that long limb.
Harry's touch brought Severus back to the present, the concern in those green eyes prompting him to act. Tangling his fingers with Harry's, he pulled him into a passionate kiss before guiding him backwards towards their bed.
Sinking onto the mattress, Harry watched the dark eyes darken even further. He was grateful that they were now completely focused on him. The intensity of the gaze made it feel as if Severus was already touching him and the erection that had wilted a bit on their way to the bed sprang back to life.
Severus let his gaze run over the lightly tanned skin that was set off by the dark blue sheets, making it look like Harry was floating in a sea of black. He resisted the urge to just cover that wonderful form with his own. He wanted to see his fill of Harry first and did, letting his eyes trace the breadth of those shoulders and down the well developed chest to the trail of black hair that led down to the stiff length that was tempting him to touch it and kiss it. His eyes lingered where his hands wanted to touch for a long moment, taking in the resultant twitching with faint smirk before continuing downward. Harry's thighs and legs were well toned, showing that he led a very active life.
Harry let his eyes devour Severus in turn, taking in the muscles that were built from all the work the man did in the garden and the lab. He let his eyes trace over the scars that littered the wiry chest, lingering on the flat brown nipples before going lower. The long and proud erection caught Harry's gaze and held it. He blushed even more, but still managed a smile when it pulsed and rose a little higher.
To one side, a large scar caught his attention. It started at the top of Severus' left hip and curved its way to the inside of his thigh. Feeling his breath catch in his throat, Harry sat up and reached out, trailing his index finger along the path of the scar. The tip of his finger did not cover over the breadth of the shiny smooth patch of pearly white tissue.
Severus' breath caught in turn as fire raced through him, a result of that tentative touch on sensitive skin. It took a moment to see the question that was in Harry's eyes, and he didn't process it until it was asked out loud.
"What happened?" Harry asked, breathing in the rich, musky scent from Severus' arousal, just inches away. His eyes flicked to that temptation before returning to the scar. He really wanted to know what happened. Who had hurt Severus so badly?
Severus groaned as Harry's warm breath brushed the head of his cock. Grabbing onto his control tightly, he answered the question, his voice more clipped than usual. "A cauldron exploded when I was doing my Mastery. That was the incentive to learn how to cast a protective shield quickly."
Harry felt his eyes widen. No wonder Severus was so hard on Neville. Leaning forward, he tentatively touched his lips to the scar just where it touched the top of the hip bone. When a sharp inhalation sounded above him, he started placing small kisses down the length of the scar before licking his way back to the top.
"Har-rry." Severus felt his knees weaken as a mix of pleasure and mortification ran through him. That scar was a reminder of a time he had failed, a time when he had made a stupid mistake, but Harry was treating it as if it was an earned battle scar. Then he felt the silky hair drift over his cock and shuddered.
Feeling the shiver, Harry glanced up. One look told him that the other man was only on his feet out of sheer will. Catching the glittering black gaze, he let a slow, gentle smile curve his lips. "Join me?" He scooted back onto the bed, making room.
Severus' knees sank onto the mattress. He reached out a hand to touch Harry, fingers drifting over soft skin just above the knee, trailing up Harry's thigh and heading inward to the area he was desperate to know the texture of. Threading his fingers through the dark, slightly curly mass, he marveled at its silky feel, softer than his own, trying to ignore the small flames sparking from his fingertips, igniting fires throughout his body.
"Careful... don't know... how long I will last...if you touch me." Harry's words come out in pants, forced past the moans that were trying to escape.
Savoring the breathy words, Severus sank down next to him, head propped on one fist. He wanted to see Harry's face when he lost control. He brushed his fingertips against the base of Harry's cock and slid them under it, into the narrow space between length and sac.
Severus smiled as green eyes flew open in surprise.
"Shall we see if you can?"
"Severus..." Whatever Harry was going to say was cut off with an almost violent tremble.
Keeping a close watch on Harry's expression, Severus trailed kisses over his cheek until he came to his lips. At the same time, he pulled his fingers firmly up the underside of the warm length from root to tip.
Harry gasped into Severus' mouth, caught between his kisses and his touch. Reaching up, he fumbled about, desperate to caress some part of Severus, to return some of the pleasure that he was feeling. His hand slipped around a long turgid shaft that ended with a wet tip and his eyes widened.
Severus shuddered and groaned into Harry's mouth as a calloused hand wrapped about him, stroking tentatively at first but with growing confidence. He wrapped his own fingers around Harry's shaft in retaliation, fisting it with enough pressure to cause the skin to slide over the muscles underneath it.
Gasping at the feelings coursing through him, Harry released Severus' cock and cupped the balls that were just behind it. "Not sure ... " He couldn't fight the moan that erupted from him as he pushed up into that talented hand. "I don't want to come yet."
Severus trailed his lips downwards and nipped at a taut nipple and then soothed his tongue over it. Harry's reaction was immediate, fingernails digging into Severus' scalp while the ones cupped around his balls tightened. Pure ecstasy coursed through him, threatening to make Severus come. 'Not yet. Not this soon.'
Harry realized his eyes were closed again, and he wasn't sure when they had drifted that way. Opening them, he could see the shivers running through Severus' frame. He released his grip on the warm comfortable weight that was resting in his palm and slipped his fingers behind them instead. He knew it felt good when he pressed there on himself, and he was curious to know how Severus would react.
Harry smiled as Severus' head dropped onto his shoulder, those thin lips pressed against his neck, hot and rapid breaths brushing across his skin. The smile stopped as his lips formed an 'o' of surprise. Severus was copying him, strong fingers pressing into him and sliding up to stroke his balls before moving back down again. Excitement unlike he had ever experienced shot up Harry's spine and he shivered, losing track of what his hands were doing.
Severus nipped at the skin that was under his mouth as he felt Harry's breath catch. He almost breathed a sigh of relief when Harry's hand drifted to the inside of his thigh, brushing down to his knee while the other one clutched his shoulder. Raising his head, he looked down at the flush suffusing most of Harry's skin. "Do you like that?"
Harry clutched at Severus' shoulders as he caught his breath. "Yes." His fingers tangled in the hair that was brushing the shoulders. "You seemed to as well."
Sliding one hand to the back of Severus' head, he pulled him down into another kiss. Still kissing, he pushed and toppled the other man onto the bed and then lay down on top of him, pressing their chests together, touching every part of Severus that his hands could reach, neck, shoulder, arms and sides, legs tangling around the muscular pair that were longer than his.
Finally breaking the kiss, Harry sucked in a breath and let his lips ghost across one high cheekbone before trailing down to the prominent collar bones. He then followed the path made by a multitude of marks, some so faint that he never noticed them before. He slid lower and lower as he went, his groans mingling with Severus' as their bodies rubbed against each other. Finally, he ended back at the cauldron scar.
Lifting his eyes, he looked up the long body that he had traveled. Severus' chest was heaving and the small quiet moans that broke through were obviously against his will as crooked teeth were biting into the thin bottom lip, long fingers flexing in the sheets, that stiff cock leaking onto his stomach.
Severus almost felt like he was reliving one of the many dreams he had had in this bed. A small part of his mind was certain that he was going to wake up any moment. He always woke up right about this time. 'But this feels better than any of those dreams.'
Leaning up on his elbows, he looked down at the green eyes peering up at him and willed him to continue. He needed to feel Harry touch him again, to do the one thing that would prove this was not a dream.
Harry was caught in the silent demand shining from the dark eyes. He wasn't sure what Severus wanted him to do, but he knew he should do something. Sliding his fingers up the trembling thighs, he let his fingers trace the defined edges of the muscles that were clenching and releasing under the skin, and then bent down, licking the same path his fingers took.
Sinking back onto the bed, Severus let his eyes drift shut. He lost control of the moan that fought its way up from his chest as Harry's tongue ghosted over the inside of his thigh. Anticipation curled in his stomach as that wet tongue approached his throbbing erection, hair brushing against his skin.
Harry stopped when his nose slid into the thick hair. Breathing in the musky scent, he tilted his head to the side and contemplated that long length just an inch away. 'What would that taste like? Every other part of Severus tastes really good.'
Casting a quick look upwards at Severus' face, Harry smiled at the unmasked expression of pleasure. Moving slightly, he let his closed lips ghost up one side of the hard shaft, enjoying the feel of smooth velvety skin. He stopped just before the head, and trailed back down. This time he let his tongue peek out just a bit to catch the flavor. The groan that slipped out of him blended with the one that burst from Severus.
Moving back up, Harry continued until his parted lips slipped past the ridge and onto the smooth, engorged head, closing over it. A pained sounding groan came from Severus. Darting his tongue out, Harry tasted the liquid glistening on the surface. Wrinkling his nose a bit, he tried to decide if he liked the flavor. 'A bit bitter, but not as bad as a lot of potions I've had to take.'
Smoothing out his expression, he looked up and watched as Severus hitched his breath in and out, mouth open. The anticipation radiating from him was almost palpable. Gathering up his nerve, Harry decided to do this for Severus.
Severus knew he wasn't dreaming now, but he was sure that Harry would stop the moment he started. Not many would choose to orally please their partner. Even as he tried to convince himself he was fine with that, he felt that hot wet orifice around his cock. Breathing heavily, he did his best not to come. Harry's mouth slid back to the tip and moved back down once again, only taking half his length in, but it felt amazingly good.
Harry was pleased to find that the taste wasn't as bad the longer Severus stayed in his mouth. Sucking in his cheeks, he dragged his lips back up to the head.
A shudder ripped through Severus and he knew this had to stop. He did not want to finish in Harry's mouth. Unclenching shaking fingers from the sheets, he reached for the back of Harry's head and helped him slide back down and up one more time before pulling him off.
"My turn," he growled, tumbling Harry onto his back and pinning him down. He kissed those flushed lips, curious to know how Harry would taste like, mixed with his flavor and found himself savoring the result.
Moving further down, he copied Harry's actions from earlier until he was taking that hard shaft in as deep as he could. He relished the flavor that flooded his mouth and the scent that filled his nose.
Harry gasped and tried to thrust his hips up into Severus' mouth. After the first time, he felt strong fingers holding his hips to the bed. "Sev-ver- ver- us."
Severus looked up towards Harry's face and took in the enraptured look covering it. Hearing his name on Harry's lips, panted out like that, almost made him lose the bit of control he had just wrested back. As much as he wanted this to last all night, he knew that they were both reaching their limits. He let his fingers trail over the tightening sac and then down to graze over the tightly puckered muscle that guarded the entrance he desperately want to slide into.
Harry gasped and stilled as a mixture of pleasure and uncertainty coursing through him.
"Harry, it's your choice. Me in you, or you in me?" Severus rasped, watching Harry's face intently.
Harry knew he shouldn't be surprised that Severus offered him a choice, but he still was. He groaned again as Severus' fingers brushed against him, teasing the muscle ring. His answer came out as a pant.
"You... you in me."
What would it feel like to finally be sheathed inside his Harry?
Severus felt his breath catch in his throat at the thought. Using all the practice he had, he held onto his control. He was going to need it to prepare Harry adequately.
"This way, or on your knees?" he asked, his voice husky with need. This question had to be answered now because he was sure that he wasn't going to be able to voice it later.
"I want to see you. I know it will be more uncomfortable this way, but I want to."
Severus' hot gaze scorched over him, making sure that he understood what he was getting into. Then he nodded and gave Harry a passionate kiss that slowly gentled into a promise that he would be taken care of. Ending the kiss, he reached over to the nightstand to pluck up the vial of lubricant he had put there yesterday.
He let his fingers coast up the insides of Harry's thighs. Feeling them tremble under his touch, he paused and looked up to meet the green eyes watching him. "Are you sure? You don't have to."
Harry tried to glare, but knew he had failed miserably. "Severus Snape, don't you dare stop." He locked his eyes on the dark concerned ones. "I want this."
Severus nodded. He dipped a finger in the lube and brushed it over puckered skin, working carefully before slipping inside. He inhaled sharply. The tightness and warmth surrounding his finger felt like heaven.
Harry tried not to squirm when Severus penetrated him. It burned a bit, but at least it wasn't painful. Not yet. When Severus started to move, stroking slowly in and out with each inward stroke penetrating deeper, Harry felt himself relaxing around the finger. Then a second one joined it and he had to force himself not to tense up. The part of his brain that was still coherent reminded him of the book that he had read. Tensing would only make it worse.
Harry felt his breath catch when long fingers wrapped around his flagging length once again. Then they were stroking him in time with the fingers moving in and out of his body and the discomfort receded, leaving behind only pleasure. He lost himself to it, but that changed when Severus added a third finger.
Severus could feel Harry tense up once again. He focused on coaxing the muscles to relax again, ignoring how good it felt to be preparing him.
Soon, Harry was pushing down on those fingers, trying to get them to move faster within him. He moaned out in pleasure and did it again and again, lost in the pleasure coursing through him.
Severus' control snapped to a small, frayed thread as Harry started actively riding his fingers. Working them in as deep as he could, he hoped that Harry was prepared good enough because he knew he could not keep this up any longer. He removed his fingers and moved between the trembling thighs, looking down at Harry and seeing the same determination in those green eyes... the same demand as before. But he could also see trust.
Vowing not to break that trust, Severus positioned himself and slowly pushed past the loosened muscle ring. Closing his eyes, crouching over Harry, he curled his hands into fists on either side of Harry's head as he fought to remain in control, stopping himself from pushing in as far as he could go, a single bead of sweat rolling down his cheek. Slowly, he worked his way into the tight warmth that seemed to be relaxing about him, sheathing him.
He felt fingers trailing over his chest and down his arms. One hand slipped around his hip, holding him for a moment before tugging at him just enough to cause him to move further in. Severus' eyes snapped open, watching as pleasure, not pain, filled that beloved face. Leaning down, he teased a kiss out of Harry, stroking his tongue past those lips and into the warm mouth. Harry rewarded him with a groan and bucked his hips up in a way that pushed more of Severus' length into him.
When Severus found himself completely sheathed, he shuddered and reminded himself to wait, to give Harry a chance to adjust to his penetration. It was hard, he just wanted to begin thrusting already into that tight, tight heat. His breath buffeted Harry's face in heavy pants and his arms shook with the effort of holding back. He forced himself to focus on Harry instead, feeling the trembling fingers drifting over his arms and chest as if trying to sooth his shakes away.
Dragging in a breath, Severus let the mingled, intoxicating scent of their arousal fill him. He rested his weight on one hand and brushed a finger of his other hand down Harry's flushed, damp cheek. When Harry turned his head and sucked that finger into his mouth, Severus took that as the signal to move. He pushed himself deeper still, the delicious friction pulling another groan from him as much as the mouth suckling on his finger. When Harry bucked his hips, Severus rocked forward again.
Slowly building up the depth and speed of those strokes, they helped each other up to where Severus was almost completely out of Harry before thrusting back in.
Green eyes soon met Severus' in a mute plea for more speed. The feel of Severus driving in and out of him was one that was new and indescribable. Words had failed Harry, his breath was coming out in pants and moans. Severus' was about the same and it took him a moment to comprehend the silent plea in those green eyes. Once he understood, he complied, moving with erratic vigor and speed.
It wasn't long before Harry felt the familiar tightening in his body, stronger than it had ever been. 'Tell him. Tell him just how wonderful this feels.' He tried to speak but he could not get his mouth to voice the words, all that escaped his lips was an almost silent whine. As Severus thrust harder, pushing deeper than he had yet, a moan broke through.
Leaning in, Severus teased Harry's lips with a kiss as he continued rocking into him. Sliding a hand between their sweating bodies, he wrapped it around Harry's cock and fisted it in time with his thrusts.
The build up was far, far stronger than Harry ever remembered. He was drowning in heat and friction and sensation, thrust right in the middle of a roaring bonfire compared to the flickering candle typically lit by his own hand. Two more deep thrusts from Severus and Harry shuddered with a deep cry, his orgasm exploding over him.
Severus felt Harry come apart in his arm, coating both their stomachs and chests with his release. The feeling of Harry's satisfied body convulsing around him pushed Severus over the edge. His vision narrowed to just the sated green eyes watching him as he emptied deep inside of Harry, every muscle tightly clenched, back bowed until his forehead was resting on the one below him. His almost silent cry fanned across the still flushed cheeks and lips.
When his arms gave way at last, Severus dropped wearily onto Harry, the day's exhaustion catching up with him. He rested his face next to Harry's smiling one, positive that a sappy smile was gracing his as well as he savored the warmth that was trapped between them. Slowly, his breathing settled down to its normal speed.
Harry lifted heavy arms and wrapped them around Severus to keep him where he was. He could feel the film of sweat cooling on Severus' back and the mess between them. If they didn't move soon, the tiredness that he had ignored earlier would have him falling asleep with Severus still on him and in him. It didn't seem an important enough reason to move.
Severus felt Harry's arms slackening around him and his breath evening out. Pushing himself up, he looked down at his mostly asleep partner. He moved reluctantly, feeling himself slide out before casting a quick clean up spell over the two of them. Then he gently tapped Harry's cheek. "You need to move and get settled in for the night."
Sleepy green eyes cracked open and peered into warm dark ones. Sighing, Harry pushed himself up and pulled the covers back. Wincing just a bit, he pulled on his pajama bottoms.
Severus pulled on his own nightshirt and saw the wince. "Do you need a potion for pain?"
Harry shook his head before he snuggled under the covers. "It's not that bad. If it gets worse, I'll take one in the morning."
Severus got out of bed to retrieved a vial from the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. He set it on the night stand before climbing under the covers and pulling Harry into his arms. Pressing a kiss on the unruly hair, he silently spelled the light off. He smiled into the darkness. "You are not leaving me after this."
Harry shifted slightly, cuddling closer. "Good. Don't want to." Turning slightly, he looked up into the tired, but satisfied face. "You do know that I love you, bond or no bond, right?"
Severus dropped a kiss onto Harry's forehead. "And I love you as well, bond or no bond."
Harry smiled. He pulled Severus into a gentle kiss before settling back down.
Severus shook his head slightly at the simple declaration. He had expected Harry to be more dramatic about it.
Relaxing onto his pillow, he settled as well. Tomorrow they would move Harry' things in and discuss what to do about the flat, but tonight he would savor having his Harry with him and knowing that it was to be forever.