Harry stared up at the burrow with a sad smile as his sweating palm gripped the bunch of flowers he'd picked up. It had been a little over a year since he'd actually showed up for one of Molly's Sunday dinners. It had been too awkward, too bitter and the empty silences had nearly destroyed him, but Snape was right, in his own way he was hiding behind all his paperwork and missions. This was his family, they had fought a war with him and they deserved better than to be ignored. Taking a deep breath he crossed the final distance to the door and lifted his hand to knock. However the door swung open before he could and he was drawn into a Molly hug before he knew what to do.
"I was wondering when you'd build up the nerve to come in!" She said her eyes suspiciously wet as she pulled away slightly. "Oh well, let me get a look at you!" She said cupping his cheeks before tisking lightly. "Too thin by far but we'll fix that won't we!" She said beaming up at him. Harry nearly choked as the feeling of being loved overwhelmed him.
"Now Molly let the boy breath!" Arthur said grinning widely as Harry was tugged into the kitchen. Arthur Weasley looked just as Harry could remember as he tinkered idly with the muggle tv remote on the table. Harry felt his smile widen as he glanced around. Same old burrow, barely standing on it's last leg, filled to the brim with homey things.
"Oh Arthur must you work at the table! Clear it away for heavens sake! And get Charlie up will you? George will be here any moment and- oh how lovely Harry!" She said flitting about for a vase as Harry wordlessly handed her the flowers a small smile on his lips.
This was what he was protecting.
This feeling of home, the burrow was the only place he ever felt it, the feeling of belonging. He sat down at the table and Arthur gave him a long look a small peaceful smile on his lips. His hair had thinned and was gray now instead of shocking red now that he looked, and he'd gained some weight, but he was the same and Harry immediately felt calm even in the hustle and bustle of Molly Weasley's kitchen.
"Sorted yourself out then?" Arthur said calmly. Harry's smile faltered a bit and he stared into the tea cup that appeared in front of him.
"I hope so." He said mildly. Arthur smiled and shared a tired look with him.
"Welcome home son." He said before turning back to the remote. Harry felt oddly brittle even as the words warmed him.
"I'm sorry." He whispered. A hush fell over the kitchen quite suddenly and Harry winced as he was suddenly boxed over the ears.
"I'll have none of that Harry James Potter, it wasn't your fault! For heavens sakes!" She said tossing up her hands as Harry amusedly rubbed his ears. Arthur let out a full bellied chuckle before gathering up his mess and standing.
"Harry, you've been a part of this family since the day you first walked into our kitchen did you really think that a bit of drama would keep you from your spot at the dinner table?" He said with a pointed look.
"But Ron…" Harry trailed off painfully and a second hush fell as pots and pans froze mid air.
"Ron died a hero Harry James Potter; I don't ever want you to make his sacrifice less than it was by assuming that you weren't worth it." Molly said seriously. Harry jumped as arms wound around his shoulders and the scent of cologne.
"Oh dear, has my estranged sexy younger brother returned?" A deep voice said slightly gruffly. Harry fought the urge to squirm.
"Charles Weasley you release Harry this instant! None of your shenanigans in my kitchen!" Molly said waving a spatula at her son threateningly. Charlie chuckled deeply before pulling away and holding his hands up in surrender.
"Alright, alright I'll be good! It's his fault for being so cute! How's a guy supposed to ignore that sort of vulnerability?" he said winking at Harry who couldn't help but blush. Charlie was just as handsome as he could remember, his hair had grown out and down his back in copper ringlets and the dangerous look he'd once frequented had turned to something more edgy and refined his tee shirts and jeans replaced with chic dress shirts and trendy trousers.
"That's right mum!" Harry said grinning. "Tell him to stop bothering me at work too! Ever since the dragons rights act was stuck under our noses he's been buggering about my office- ow!" Harry winced as his hand was smacked by a spatula.
"Language Harry!" Molly scolded before turning back to her cooking. "And you know poor Hermione has been working so hard on that project Harry! Treat it with respect for her sake at least!" Harry winced. He couldn't remember the last time he'd talked with Hermione, after Ron…it had been too hard to look her in the eye. But he couldn't help but want to stick up for her, the Weasley's had adopted her but treated her with a certain amount of pity that he knew she resented. It was always 'poor Hermione' this or that as though the word 'poor' had replaced her first name and Hermione had turned into her last name.
"Ah so the prodigal son returns." A soft voice said from behind him. Harry turned and smiled faintly at George who was smiling faintly at him even as his mother rushed towards him and enveloped him in a hug fussing over him. There was a hollowness there though, the way George was leaning slightly to the left made Harry envision a mirror image leaning towards his left.
"Ello big brother." Harry greeted softly.
"Ello little brother." George said a faint trace of amusement in his darkened eyes as he came around to sit next to him dropping a fond kiss to the top of his head.
"Oi how come he gets smooches?" Charlie said grinning slightly.
"Because I'm cute." Harry said with a grin.
"He has a point Charlie, besides, if I kissed you I might just get kissed back and that's just wrong." George said with a slight shudder.
"Oh shut it! You knot the only one that gets smooches from me is Har-bear over here." He said with a wink. Harry blushed brightly.
"Yes but that was Christmas, and there was if I remember correctly an inordinate amount of liquor involved." George said with a sly half-grin. Harry buried his face in his hands and groaned.
"Oi! You saying he wouldn't kiss me if I was sober?" Charlie said a glint in his eyes that warned Harry to stop the conversation.
"Molly do you need any help?" He said standing. Coward.
"Oh no you don't-" Harry gasped as his wrist was captured and yanked drawing him across the table as Charlie proceeded to wipe any thoughts he might have had from his mind. He groaned quietly…it had been so long…
"It's always hot when you do that." George said smugly from where he sat.
"Char-what?! Charles Weasley you let Harry go this instant! Ginny will be here any minute and-"
"Oh I'm here mum." Ginny's voice was like ice water poured over him and Harry gasped jerking back sharply well aware of how flushed he was. "I've been here for a while actually, not that anyone noticed." She said leaning against the door frame her arms crossed her expression frozen. Silence fell over the kitchen and Harry stared at her not knowing what to do or say.
"Awkward…" George said unhelpfully.
"Ginny! Oh sweety I didn't see you there! How's work?" Molly said taking over nervously. Ginny evaded her embrace and slipped into a chair her gaze like ice.
"Thankfully faggot free now that Malfoy's gone." She said with a sneer.
"Ginny!" Molly said aghast. Harry winced.
"Thanks for that by the way Hart." She said snidely. Harry winced again. "Heard that neither Malfoy's been seen for a while actually, off licking their wounds somewhere no doubt. Break another marriage Harry? Or did you finally off the old death eater?" Harry glared up at her fully ready to argue for Draco's sake until he caught sight of her eyes. Harry stood abruptly.
"Excuse me." He said quietly before striding out of the room and through the door leading to the garden. He took several deep breaths to calm himself and tried to ignore the sounds of yelling that followed him.
"This was a bad idea." He said aloud as he rubbed his forehead in frustration. Screw Snape- he should leave. "A very bad idea." He repeated with a nod he couldn't deal with that, no, no there probably wasn't even a that to deal with! Ha! What had he been thinking! He started to walk away, to apparate back to his apartment-
A strong arm wound around his waist and pulled him flush against a firm body.
"Oh no you don't, not when I've finally managed to get an appointment with the ever so busy head Auror." Charlie said quietly from behind him.
"I should leave." Harry said persistently.
"Leave now and you'll break mum and dad." Charlie said calmly. Harry stiffened before falling lax he would break them anyway if he was right.
"I really shouldn't have come." He said shaking his head.
"Really Harry? Ducking out cuz' of old bitter Gingin?" Charlie said calmly. Harry let out a ragged breath if only Charlie knew what he'd seen in her eyes. That hatred, that burn the look of someone entirely willing and capable of hurting others.
"What does she want from me?" He begged. "I tried Charlie, I tried for me, for her, for Ron- Merlin did I try! I gave her everything I could but it wasn't enough!" He said slumping forward slightly.
"Oh you did more than that Hart, you gave her nearly all your money after the divorce, suffered through her rants and taunts, forgave her when she cast the Crucio on you- yes I do know about that. You've given her more than your fair share and we all know it. You did the flowers and chocolates, you were as sweet as anything, the perfect dream man, but Hart you can't change that women aren't right for you and you can't run every time she cuts into you." Charlie said resting his chin on Harry's shoulder. Harry sighed softly it was so wrong that this felt so right. "Come back Harry; come back to us- to me." Harry's breath caught in his throat and he felt his throat grow dry. How was he supposed to say no when the man's kiss lingered on his lips? When Charlie insistently returned to him determined to love him no matter what.
"Charlie…" He turned intending to reject him again, intending to push him away again, but Charlie's lips caught his before he could even breathe right. Hot, silken, skilled forming against his sweetly and slowly opening him like it or not and matter-of-factly, coaxing him. Harry forgot how to say no, forgot why he should say no, and in the end he couldn't say no. Not when Charlie had always fascinated him, not when Charlie had been there to hold him when Draco couldn't he gasped softly when Charlie bit his lower lip a spike of electricity rushing through him.
"I won't let go Harry Potter." He whispered quietly against his mouth kissing away his rebuttals. "Tuesday at six I will be in your office." He whispered turning Harry around easily. "I will cause havoc if you aren't ready to go." He whispered brushing their lips together gently.
"Charlie…" It hurt Harry to do to say, but he wasn't wiling to hurt Charlie, wasn't willing to make the man suffer because he was twisted enough to love a man who couldn't even remember what he looked like.
"Hush, we'll have Chinese." Charlie said softly. "And I'll make love to you the way you should be made love to." He whispered. "And I'll not let go Harry, even if you think you love someone else, by the end of it I'll make certain that mine is the only name you can remember and only because you've screamed it so many times that you couldn't possibly forget it." Charlie demanded. Harry shivered as large hands settled on his hips and pulled him closer. Harry whimpered at the answering hardness.
"I don't want to hurt you Charlie." He whispered.
"I don't give a damn." Charlie said easily a smile curling across his lips.
"But Ginny-" Charlie kissed him again.
"-has no authority over who you love Harry." Charlie said forcefully.
"Is a spoilt prat who cares more about his public face than about the man who left his wife for him, Harry I'm taking you to dinner, like it or not." Charlie said smiling slightly his gold eyes filled with amusement. Harry couldn't stand to look at them any more, he leaned forward and buried his face into the broad chest happy only when firm arms were surrounding him.
"You're too good for me Charlie." Harry whispered sadly.
"Why don't you let me worry about that hmm?" Charlie said smiling as he pressed a kiss to the top of his head. Harry smiled slightly.
"Smug bastard aren't you?" Harry teased lightly.
"Hush now love you know you like me smug." Charlie said tightening his hold briefly before pulling away and surveying him with calm happy eyes. "Come inside Potter you've got to meet my parents." He said with a wink. Harry let out a startled laugh before nodding slowly.
"Promise to protect me from your evil sister?" He said softly his heart jerking a bit at the possible truth of those words. Charlie puffed his chest out.
"Consider yourself protected Hart." Charlie said valiantly.
"Tch, masochist." Harry said shaking his head idly as he pulled away.
"Sadist actually, but you'll find out about that later." Charlie said with a wink as he held out his arm expectantly. Harry snorted but grabbed hold of it anyway.
"You'd better not let any of my men see this; they'll never respect me again." He said leaning into the arm.
"Never!" Charlie said before opening the door and gesturing him in. Harry took a deep breath before stepping back into the warmth of the burrow. Ginny was sitting silently her eyes ablaze as she glared at him before darting away, but Harry was distracted immediately by the newest addition to the table.
"Mione!" He said happily. He hadn't realized how much he missed her, or how much he'd lost her. She was too thin, a mere slip of the woman she had once been her eyes were tired and wounded when they landed on him.
"Oh Harry!" She said meeting him half way and sinking into his arms. "Merlin but I've missed you Harry." She whispered brokenly. Harry frowned at how small she seemed then, he'd assumed that she was doing better, that she would do better without him. But apparently she wasn't, she was barely hanging on.
"What happened Mione?" He whispered as he pulled away. She trembled as she looked at him and shook her head.
"Nothing Harry, I'm fine I'm just…tired. Very, very tired." She said resting against him.
"Nothing my arse! When's the last time you ate?" He demanded pulling away sharply. Hermione's lower lip wobbled and she shook her head.
"It doesn't matter Harry, as long as you're here." She said shaking her head. Harry then had a frightening thought. Had he done this to her? He turned his gaze to Molly who simply shook her head and dabbed her eyes lightly. Harry held her tighter still unsurprised when she began to tremble falling apart even as he held her. He noticed vaguely when Ginny let out an annoyed sound and strode from the room and felt anger towards her perhaps for the first time before brushing it away and returning his attention to Hermione who he recognized was just barely keeping it together. Harry sighed deeply.
Sunday dinner huh?
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Harry helped Hermione through the floo and halted at the sight that met him. Daphne Malfoy- nee Greengrass had a bloodied Draco Malfoy at wand point. Harry snorted.
"Told you she'd be pissed." He said as he lifted Hermione's bags. She was ill, very ill though he had yet to know the cause of it. He would get to the bottom of it though it was just a matter of time.
"Hello Potter." The lady said with a lift of her chin.
"Harry damn it do something, you're the bloody head Auror!" Draco hissed. Harry glanced at him and shook his head idly. He couldn't believe that Draco was still here, all they did was snipe at each other, all they were capable of was hurting eachother.
"Section 3321-679 In the event of altercations between pureblood family or spouse Aurors are required to do nothing unless the altercation becomes fatal. Daphne, try not to kill him." He said with a nod at her before guiding Hermione around the two. Draco stared up at him in part betrayal and part understanding.
"Of course not Potter." She said with a tilt of her head in his direction. She could care less that Draco was less than loyal to her, she did care that rumors had begun to spread.
"You-you traitor!" Draco cried out behind him though it was a weak effort and they both knew it.
"You were the one that trapped her inside the wards Draco, wards that you were supposed to be in when they went up might I add." Harry said blandly. He was tired of hurting; he was tired of being jealous of what Draco had with his wife. A glance in the direction of the small bump growing in her middle was all it took to keep his resolve firm. The thought of what lay in his own future kept him from fighting for what they had, he needed Draco to be safe, and safe was as far away from him as possible.
"I had to see you!" Draco hissed. Harry halted in front of the door and turned to Draco his eyes calm and cold.
"You chose your wife Draco, I'm tired of your pussyfooting around. I loved you but we both know that it won't work so I'm going to be the one to end it and I'm sorry Draco." He said quietly his voice becoming rough. "I'm truly sorry." He said raggedly. "But it's over, it's been over since the day I arrested your father." He said brokenly. He couldn't…he just couldn't, not if what he saw today- he all but flinched away from the memory. Draco stared at him for a moment his gray eyes brimming with tears and a sort of knowledge and relief that made Harry's heart squeeze.
"You're right Hart, it's over, it's been over for a while now, long before my father though, I had my chance with you but I blew it. I thought I could have a wife and have you even when you told me it wouldn't work that way I just wish…I wish things could have been different." He said quietly as tears fell from his eyes. Harry hesitated his hand on the door knob his heart aching.
"Me too." He said softly. "Me too." He said before pushing the door open and inviting Hermione into her new room. "But they can't." He whispered.
That night Draco took his things and left. He went to his family, to his wife, to the riches and the opulence that he was used to and Harry sat by the fire with Hermione healing a friendship that had been left open and stagnant for too long. They talked of war, of school, of memories, they laughed and cried together and fell asleep as they once had in the Gryffindor common room at Hogwarts.
Until the alarms began to sound and Harry's peace was shattered.
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Charlie was there in the Auror's department at six that teusday, Harry however was not. If Charlie hadn't been to Harry's office before he would have believed that it was usually in as much disarray as it was at the moment. Maps on every wall pins with tags, on the desk file after file strewn about in as organized a manner Harry could probably have managed. Charlie settled in with a sigh knowing that it was quite possible that he and Harry wouldn't get their date considering all the raids he was dealing with. At the very least though he could probably convince the little bugger to eat and sleep a few hours even if there was very little romancing about it. Charlie smiled as he slipped around the desk and noted the picture on the very corner of the desk, a family portrait taking so very long ago…they all looked so happy…
With a mischievous smirk he decided to snoop around a bit, to learn more about the man he'd fallen quite hard over. He hoped that he would find a few secret vices, perhaps Harry secretly enjoyed chocolate? He sniggered at the thought before breaking through the wards on the desk and rifling through them. Aha! Just as he's suspected there was a rather large bag of sweets in one of the drawers behind several files- good sweets too, the expensive kind. He sneered then realizing that they were ones that Malfoy must have bought for Harry. With a lift of his chin he tugged the bag free and dropped the candy into the trash can-
His eyes caught on a familiar shock of red hair, the very edge of a photo sticking up from the depths of a manila folder. With a frown he pulled it out and flipped it open.
His face paled as the blood rushed out of it and his eyes widened.
It just wasn't- No! NO!
He quick stashed the file back into the depths of the drawer and closed it re-warding the entire desk as he stumbled back away from it. There had to be some sort of mistake…
But then he looked, really looked at the images of the people strewn across Harry's desk.
They looked disturbingly familiar.
He shook his head and backed away, backed out of the normally neat office, he nearly ran for the lifts. It all fit…it all made sense. He forgot about his date, forgot about what he wanted, all he could think about was that photograph and what it meant and what it would mean, for him, for them, for all of them.
A breathless sob escaped him.
Oh Merlin poor Harry…
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"Good grief Potter sit down before you fall down." Snape said almost the moment he walked into the church. Harry sighed softly and fell into a chair leaning his head back for a moment. The most recent dark lord had been attacking randomly and without mercy for two weeks now meaning that Harry hadn't gotten more than a few hours of sleep at a time. "I take it this has something to do with the latest terrorist attacks?" Snape said handing him a cup of tea. Harry accepted it gratefully and nodded relaxing as he sipped his tea.
"The things I saw this week would turn any man's stomach sour." Harry admitted shaking his head slowly.
"Yet you came here instead of going home and getting some well deserved rest?" Snape said pointedly. Harry smiled slightly.
"I came to see the children, to remind myself just why I fight, and to see you of course." He said cheekily. Snape snorted.
"No doubt, seeing an ugly old priest is the highlight of your week, Potter I'd get that thick scull of yours checked out." Snape said with a huff. Harry smiled wanly and stared into the tea cup in his hands. That week had been rough, everywhere he turned he'd see another dead body- bodies that looked too familiar to be coincidence. Bodies that looked like Draco or Charlie or Hermione or Molly.
"I could just be paranoid." Harry said quietly. "But it was as if they were targeting me." He croaked. "Mass murders, but the worst of them were people that looked like my family." He whispered.
"Potter, perhaps you should take a break from this." Snape said calmly. Harry shook his head.
"I can't." He whispered. "This is all I know, all I've ever known." He said shaking his head.
"Then maybe it's time to learn something new." Snape said quietly. Harry shook his head.
"You don't understand, maybe if you could remember you would, maybe if you were my Snape but you aren't-"
"Your Snape mister Potter?" Snape said stiffly. Harry shuddered and curled into himself.
"Not like that, we were never like that." He said softly.
"Potter I'm not blind." Snape said suddenly. Harry froze his heart thudding in his chest. "To mourn for someone is perfectly normal; to rejoice when one finds that the person they thought dead is in fact alive is normal. You obsess over me Potter." Snape said his tone clipped.
"I'm chasing ghosts, it doesn't matter." Harry said defensively.
"Are you Potter? Or are you secretly hoping-" Snape didn't get the chance to finish that thought.
What happened next happened in slow motion to Harry. He was aware a split second before it happened of the magical surge in the air and before Snape could even think to finish his sentence Harry was lunging covering the thin body with his own just before the explosion rocketed through the air. The walls of the church imploded and Harry let out a cry as something crashed into his side but he couldn't bother with a shield for himself, not when he knew that his children were in the other room. He sent all of his magic towards that room praying that they remain safe. The moment it was over he was moving his hand going to his emergency locator and calling for backup while his other arm bodily scooped Snape up and his legs moved on their own accord. He moved to the room where he knew the children had their lessons and pushed Snape in checking them all with his eyes for a split second before turning his gaze to the nun.
"Don't let them out of this room, not a single one of them do you hear me?" He gasped.
"Mister Potter you're bleeding!" She said a hand over her mouth.
"Not a single one Anna!" He barked. She whimpered and shrank back but nodded. "You will be safe as long as you stay in this room but do not leave not for a moment." He warned before striding back out of the room and closing the door behind him. He took a deep breath and began chanting placing the strongest wards he knew of over the room. He could hear yelling outside, screams, the smell of curses so dark that they changed the way the very air felt but he ignored it all until he'd poured all that he could into the wards and leaned against the wall tiredly. Harry smiled tiredly as he heard the voice he'd expected to hear casting the most horrifying of curses. He didn't need to see the dark lord, because somehow in the back of his mind he had known who it was, he was just unwilling to believe it.
"Potter let me out blast you!" Snape demanded on the other side of the door. Harry let out a broken laugh.
"Sorry Snape, but I can't, because you were right, I secretly hoped, secretly, even when I knew that the one I loved was dead. But I'm alive, and I have a job to do. I have to save the day or die trying." He said before climbing to his feet. "Don't be afraid children, no matter what I won't let anyone touch this room." He said loudly before turning and walking away.
"POTTER! POTTER!" Harry could hear Snape hollering at him, pounding on the door, but it wouldn't come open until Harry was sure it was safe. He walked through the rubble a tired broken man who knew what he was about to face.
Several things had hinted to him that this dark lord was not the average dark lord. First was the ability to evade him, he'd thought from the start that he might have a leak, one of his men had turned but he'd scanned all their minds, there was nothing.
But there were little signs.
A look that lasted too long and raised his hackles.
Little things, that became big things when his subconscious mind told him the truth but his heart wouldn't let him believe it. After all, who did he know owed Lucius Malfoy of all people a life debt? And who knew about his liaisons with Draco which had been kept completely private save for the few that knew him well enough.
And then there was Hermione.
The one person whose mind he wouldn't look into no matter what.
Only, he did.
To make sure that she wasn't considering suicide, to prevent her from doing something foolish.
Only it wasn't suicide that she had on her mind, torture, the slowly building kind that happened over the span of several years. But he couldn't believe it, not until he'd seen it with his own eyes. That look, that glimmer of pure darkness that hid within every dark lord's gaze. He'd defeated so many dark lords that he knew immediately how to spot that look.
He just didn't expect to find that the dark lord was in fact a dark Lady.
One that had seen inside the mind of the most brilliant dark lord Harry had ever defeated, one that knew him well- knew him oh so very well.
"Ginny." He said quietly as he stepped out into the battle. A hush fell that was deafening and Harry hid a shiver as the darkly clad figure turned slowly to him.
"Figured me out then huh Harry?" She said dropping the hood from her head. Harry felt his heart turn to stone. He'd never needed to see her face. This was the woman he'd loved, had shared a life with, hopes and dreams, had done everything in his capability to please even when it meant that he didn't enjoy himself at all.
"Why?" Merlin he sounded like a wounded animal.
"You never gave me the time of day after the divorce Harry; you just gave me money to shut me up." She said a sneer on her lips. "I loved you Harry, I love you still, but then you were with Malfoy for fucks sake could you have insulted me further? And then you killed Ron- oh I know everyone says he sacrificed himself but Ron was only there because you were! And you didn't care you didn't bloody well CARE! You just disappeared! Stopped coming to visit, wouldn't even look at me- as if ten years of our lives together meant nothing to you! You cared about work though, so I did the only thing I could think of to get your bloody attention!" She hissed before letting loose a curse. The Aurors collectively took a step back as Harry batted the curse away with his hand. He rarely if ever left his wand where it was and when it did it meant he was serious.
"Ginny you're ill, maybe some of the influence from Voldemort was left inside of you-" It was a pathetic attempt at hope and he knew it even as she cackled at him.
"No Harry, I did it. Not Voldemort, and not any of the other baddies you're in love with, I Ginerva Weasley. I killed, maimed, tortured and destroyed just so that you would fucking LOOK AT ME!" She roared. Harry felt suddenly empty as though everything had been taken out of him in that moment.
"Mister Potter!" Harry's head jerked up as wide blue eyes met his and a small girlish figure ran towards him. He saw Ginny's wand lift and a horrible sinking feeling filled him even as he threw himself in front of the green curse.
"ADAVRA KEDAVRA!" Ginny's voice seemed to come after the curse, Harry could swear he felt it hit before the words left her mouth. He stared at her in horror as she stared at him in shock. "No…NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Ginny screamed stumbling forward. Harry gurgled. He felt hot and then cold he shivered and burned for several long moments before falling to his knees still blocking the child behind him.
"Celia?" He whispered as the curse wracked through his frame painfully. Most people died from it, but not him, he never did. The little girl let out a whimper before winding her arms around his neck.
"I was in the potty and there was a light an-and-and!" She burst into tears clinging to him as he wrapped an arm around her. He winced as he slowly rose tucking the small head of hair under his chin even as his determination filled him. Ginny had fallen her eyes wide and pained.
"You would have been such a good father Harry, we could have been great together can't you see?" She whispered. Harry was cold though and for the first time he took out the one wand he'd sworn never to use.
"You wanted my attention Ginny." He said dangerously. "Well now you have it." He said quietly. "On behalf of the Ministry of Magic you are under arrest." He said coldly before summoning her wand from her hand and binding her. He was done with her, done with ignoring what sat right in front of him.
"Harry- Harry you can't do this-! Look at her Harry! We could adopt her! She looks like us she could be ours Harry! HARRY!" But Harry was already turning around and walking down the small slope. Cilia safely cradled in his arms. He was frozen inside, nothing could melt him now, not when she'd tried to kill one of his children.
"Take her in, round up who you can for questioning." He bit out. "Oh, and tell the Minister I quit." He added for good measure. He climbed back through the rubble and hushed Celia calming her with soft words and petting her hair gently until he reached the one room that was still standing and slowly began to lower the wards. He knew he was about to collapse but he wouldn't even think of it until Celia was safe. As he opened the doors he could hear soft whimpering and fifty wide eyes looked up at him in fear and terror.
"Oh praise the lord mister Potter!" Anna said from where she was crouched down beside Snape. Harry felt his heart sink as he saw the man white a sheet twitching on the ground. "He collapsed! I don't know what happened! We could hear a woman screaming and then he just fell over and-" She sobbed helplessly and Harry reached into his pocket pressing his wand to the small dial that called for the field mediwizards and then another that would call his family. Harry grasped the large wooden table and used the last of his energy to transform it into a portkey.
"Everyone grab hold really tightly okay?" He instructed. The children nodded appearing terrified and did as they were told. Anna glanced at him questioningly and he shook his head. "Just don't let go, I'll take care of Snape." He said firmly. Anna nodded and reluctantly grabbed hold of the table. "Home." Harry said activating the portkey. Briefly he saw their looks of surprise before they disappeared in a whirl probably landing terrified in the bright green of the burrow where their hungry stomachs would be filled until they could eat no more. Molly would have a hay day with this.
"Potter…you're bleeding." Snape's strangled voice caught his attention. Dark eyes were staring up at him in agony, there was so much pain there that it made Harry want to weep.
"I'm sorry Snape…it looks as though I've turned your world topsy turvy again haven't I?" He whispered tears rolling down his cheeks. Snape was silent for a moment save the labored breathing.
"Ginny…your ex-wife I presume?" Severus said after several moments. Harry let out choked laughter.
"Brilliant wasn't she?" He said quietly.
"Only you would marry a woman capable of becoming a dark lord." Snape said wearily. Harry let out a broken laugh and carefully began to slid his fingers through Snape's hair.
"Potter?" Snape said frowning.
"How long?" Harry asked tiredly. "How long have you remembered who I am?" He whispered tiredly.
"What gave me away?" Snape said with raised brows.
"You stopped asking me to tell you what happened and…and you didn't look as happy any more." He said softly.
"I'd been remembering bits and pieces for a while though I wasn't about to let Lucius Malfoy of all people know that. I didn't remember you though, not until you walked through the doors and looked at me." He said resting his eyes. Harry could hear the yells from beyond the walls, could feel magic as the area was being cleansed of any lingering dark magic.
"My mothers' eyes." He said softly, sadly.
"No in fact, that's what struck me, was that they were no longer her eyes. Her eyes had never looked so weary and broken. They were yours Potter and they had only gotten older since the last time I saw you." Harry nodded slowly.
"You're different though." Harry said softly.
"I am. I spent the majority of the last ten years war free and surrounded by innocence." He said softly.
"Until I came." Harry whispered knowingly.
"You always did seem to bring chaos with you no matter where you went or what you did." Snape said smiling thinly. Harry leaned his head back against the wall and felt tears slide down his cheeks.
"You won't have to worry about that again Snape." He whispered his hand falling lax and slipping to the ground beside him. Snape was silent for a moment.
"Why did you send the children away Potter?" Snape said quietly.
"I didn't want to stain their innocence any further than I already have." Harry said tiredly.
"Their innocence Potter?" Snape said cracking an eye open. The single dark eye widened as it looked up at him and Harry found the strength to smile faintly. "You're dying." He whispered. Harry smiled and coughed lightly ignoring the red that spilled from his mouth as he did so.
"I took the killing curse for Celia." Harry said faintly. "I took the explosion for you." He whispered. "And I've exhausted my magic to save the world. My magic can't heal me any more." He said shaking his head slowly. "Charlie will be furious." He whispered. "I never did go on that date with him." He said smiling faintly. "I stood him up." He managed.
"You didn't bring food with you when you came earlier- you always bring food." Severus frowned. "You know this would happen." He added. Harry nodded.
"I kicked Draco out, stood Charlie up, visited my family for the last time before exposing their daughter as a dark lady, and came here to die- they'll hate me when they figure it all out." He said roughly.
"They won't be able to figure out if you are a hero or a villain." Severus said with a tired snort. Harry let out a wet chuckle.
"I'm neither, just another martyr." Harry said tiredly. "They'll forget about me soon, they'll have more important things to worry about…" He trailed of dizzily and his head tilted forward as black spots danced across his eyes.
"What do you mean?" Snape asked distantly. He could feel Snape sitting up. "Potter?" Harry blinked slowly as the familiar voice echoed in his mind. "Potter!" Snape cried out. Harry met dark eyes and felt for a moment as though they were the only thing in the world. His hand reached up of it's own violation and cupped the pale cheek. Freedom had done Snape well.
"Look at me…" He whispered remembering those words as the words that had haunted him so.
"Potter-Potter you colossal idiot I've been looking at you all along!" Snape cried out but Harry felt his vision fade away. He'd just wanted to die in these arms. He'd sent the world away, everyone, so that he could die here in peace. To be free from it all, all his sins, all his pains- free.
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A speck, just the smallest dot of black scurried across the walls of the hospital unnoticed, it scurried and climbed, scurried and climbed, slid down the threads of its silk and scurried again. Through air vents, through walls and pipes alike until he scurried, scurried out of the hospital and in an instant became a man, shadowed by the wall. With a crack he apparated unnoticed by all. He strode through the chaos of the ministry, unnoticed by all and found a shadowy corner to change in again before scurry, scurrying through pipes and walls and vents. Eventually he came upon his destination and sliding down on his silk landed in a graceful human kneel.
"He is in a healing coma my lord." The man said bowing his head.
"I thought for certain he would die this time." The figure said smirking slightly. The sound of a book snapping shut filled the room and the kneeling figure flinched slightly. "And what of Ginny?"
"Sentenced to receive the Dementors kiss." The figure said carefully.
"Hmm, poor girl gave herself away didn't she? She had such vigor for her work. Though I must say she made Potter an interesting study. For a moment I thought his sheer stubbornness would keep him from accepting what she was doing. I thought that he might actually turn a blind eye to her actions." The dark lord said smiling thinly.
"If he wakes, do you intend to recruit him?" the figure asked.
"Of course not. Potter's broken now, he'll be even worse off when he wakes and finds her dead."
"She wasn't his most precious though." The figure said with a frown.
"Oh I know that, I didn't want it to be personal, saying 'my ex-wife was capable of becoming a dark lady' is one thing, the death of someone he loves on a deeper level- well, that's what killed the last few dark lords isn't it?" The dark lord said with a thin smile.
"I suppose so my lord." The man said a half smirk of his own.
"Very good." The dark lord said in clear dismissal cracking open the book cradled in pale hands.
"My lord." The man said bowing deeply before shifting and scurrying backup the nearly invisible thread. The man hummed as the sounds of several clocks chimed and whirred as the hour changed.
"Hickory dickory dock, the hero fell from the clock, his time was short but how he talked! Hickory dickory dock…sleep well Harry Potter, destroyer of lives." The dark lord hummed idly.
Deep in the bowls of the hospital Harry Potter shivered in his coma startling friends and family alike into hope and then despair. A shadow whose face was tortured to see Charlie Weasley, young, handsome and so very in love with the young man in the bed, slipped his wand into his cloak with a tired sigh.
"Are you sure this is what you want Severus?" Arthur asked in a whisper. He looked older than Severus could ever remember seeing him an his ever present half-smile was missing.
"He will never be happy if he remembers me. I've done a more horrible thing than I could imagine in dying, I won't do it again, but I'm little more than a squib and the children need taking care of." Severus said with a sigh.
"He'll notice, you can't erase the most important person in your life without noticing that something is wrong." He said softly, almost as though he knew.
"Tell him that he asked that certain information was erased from him, to protect the wizarding world, but only if he asks. If that doesn't work tell him that only the person who obliviated him could tell him why they did so. If he wants to come find me I won't stop him, but I want him to have a chance at happiness." He said quietly.
"You are a great man Severus, Harry was always saying so." Arthur said softly. "I just never knew how great." He said smiling a thin smile and patting him on the back. Severus watched the man return to his broken family and his eyes strayed to the man lying on the bed.
"Am I truly? Oh Arthur if you only knew." He said drinking in the sight of the man who he knew would come to haunt his dreams for years to come. Shakily he pulled a small vial that seemed to glow as he held it up and gazed at it. "You will never die Harry Potter, not if I have any say in it." He whispered caressing the vial with a trembling thumb before snatching the vial back into his pocket and turning sharply. He strode away from Harry Potter for what he believed would be the very last time.
As I mentioned earlier, my writing a second part to this will depend on how many people liked it, even if you feel like you have little else to say, send me a review that says 'I liked it' and I will be happy, I just want to see if I should continue this story or move my attention to other stories.