MUSIC OF THE NIGHT (T; Romance/ Drama/ Mystery; HP/SS)

Warnings: see Prologue.

Additional: No Beta. All typos are my keyboard's fault.

Disclaimer: see Prologue

A/N: The EPILOGUE. It has been one amazing journey of music, mystery and magic I hope you enjoy the last hurrah for Music Of the Night as much as I did writing it. I'm still open to feedback and suggestions. You'll never know when a new tale would sprout from my convoluted mind. -C.

Note: The time jump in this fast forwards to end of term… around late May 2004.

LEGEND:

"Dialogue/ speech" 'Thoughts'Notes/ flashback "Singing"

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Music of the Night

By C.M. Oliver

©2013

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EPILOGUE: The Maestro's Reprise

"The Quidditch Cup looks great in my office!" Hermione gushed. "Ooh… thanks Harry!"

"It does not," said Draco, looking quite put-out. Harry smirked.

"I won fair and square, Malfoy. Give it up!" Draco rolled his eyes and shrugged. "I suppose you'll be wanting that ticket to Tahiti now –"

"On second thought," Harry began, smiling. "Could you make it two? I swear you won't have to give me a Christmas present this year."

"Two?" Hermione's eyes shone. "Are you ever going to introduce your mystery man to us, Harry?"She asked. "Will you ever tell us anything about Erik Andrews other than his name?" Harry grinned.

"If I did, then he wouldn't be a mystery anymore, would he?"

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It was the last day of term. The students have already departed via Hogwarts Express. Harry was packing his trunk when he heard a knock on his 'door'. Quickly, he disabled the security. "Come in!" He yelled as he closed the lid of his trunk and made his way towards his outer office. There, he was met by a smiling Minerva McGonagall.

"Off to Tahiti then?"

Harry nodded. "I'll bring you back a straw hat, I promise."

"I'd rather have my Potions Master back after the summer break," the Headmistress told him. "I would hate to have to scour Europe for a replacement." Harry smiled.

"You'll have him back, Minerva, that's a promise." The young professor said. "I'm just taking a much-needed break, but I will be back after summer. I heard Hagrid is retiring from his CoMC duties and I would want to take over if you'd consider –"

"Wait!" Minerva exclaimed. "I cannot allow you to do that, Harry! I just mentioned that I needed you back as Potions Master! You promised –"

"I'm aware of what I have stated, Headmistress," Harry chuckled good-naturedly. "I said you'll have your Potions master back after summer –"

"But –"

"He'll be back, Minerva," promised Harry, his eyes twinkling merrily. "I will bring him back even if it means that I have to drag him all the way from the sandy beaches of Tahiti back to these dungeons."

Minerva's eyes widened as her hands flew up to her mouth. "You –you mean –"

Harry winked. "You'll have your Potions Master back. You'll have a new CoMC Professor too. Now all we need is to get Binns exorcised and replaced –Erik thinks so too."

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Harry was caressing the keys of the grand piano, a peppy little melody coming out of his efforts, when he was joined by another presence in the room. The emerald-eyed man smiled. "Minerva was here earlier. I told her I'm taking over Hagrid's post. She agreed."

"Indeed?" A smooth baritone asked, sounding surprised. "But who will teach Potions? Not another incompetent fool, I hope?" Harry rolled his eyes.

"Geez, thanks for your confidence in my abilities, love. Really." The young man then smirked. "My replacement is most certainly not incompetent, but her is a fool, that's for sure."

"Who is this? Do I know this person?"

Harry grinned. "He's only the youngest to have ever become a Potions Master in the history of the whole wide world." He paused to take in the shocked expression that graced his lover's face. "You."

"Me? What –No –" Severus shook his head. "Harry! What made you think that I would want –"

"Why not?" Harry challenged him. "Potions made you happy, Hogwarts, even teaching, I could tell… And besides, we've talked about this. You promised me that you would take your life back –you told me you would –"

"For you, Harry," Severus reiterated. "You, not them. To the world, Severus Snape is dead! How will a dead man teach? I do not wish to have the Prophet pry into my life these past five years. You may have successfully cleared my name, but can you imagine the ruckus this will all create? And what if they learn of our liaison? Do you want to be dragged further down by your association with me? I do love Potions, and even teaching those dunderheads to an extent –but it just isn't worth it. I'm contented with my life right now –"

"What life?' Harry asked him crossing his arms over his chest with a huff. "Who was the one who told me that a life in the shadows was not a life at all?"

"Harry –"

"And who says you have to be a dead man?"

"Would you want me to be Erik Andrews to everyone you know?" Severus sighed heavily. "Would you want to live that lie, deceiving all your friends? It's better this way. If I exist in the shadows, only to you –I have all I ever need, Harry." He drew closer and enveloped the younger man in a hug. Harry pushed him away with an exhale. Severus ran his fingers through his ebony locks. "Life would be easier if I never returned –as Erik or as Severus."

"It would not be 'life' at all without you in it, would it?" Harry said in a quiet voice. "And since when did I care for what was easy? Severus, Phantom, Erik –it never mattered to me, Past, Present, Future… it's you, it has always been you. Do you know what I want, Severus?" His bright green eyes shamelessly stared at its fathomless obsidian counterpart. "I want to share all of that with you without having to hide. I want to bring you back to the light, away from the darkness you have liberated me from yourself. I want you to have the same choice you gave me all those months ago."

"Harry –"

"And whatever it is that you choose, know –" Harry took his beloved's hands in his and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Know that you no longer belong to the shadows, not to the dark, not to the solitude, not to the night –but to me." Harry gently pressed his lips against Severus'. "We have two months in Tahiti. Let's make the most out of it. After that. You can decide on what you really want."

Severus returned the peck once before pulling away slightly. He looked at his younger partner with something akin to resolve, evident in his dark eyes.

"I do not need two months to know what I want, Harry. I do not even need a heartbeat." Severus gazed lovingly into those lovely orbs. "I know exactly what I want at this very moment –and that- is you. You make me happy. Wherever you will be, that's where you'll find me. And besides, what would happen to you if I wasn't there, eh?" He teased. Harry's eyes sparkled even more.

"So –so you'll go back to Potions? Teaching? With me? After the summer?" he asked excitedly. Severus smirked.

"Who says I left anyway?" Harry laughed.

"Yeah, my older students are wondering if I was somehow imbibing the spirit of the Dungeon Bat while I grade their essays." He shook his head. "And Draco's face when I let it slip to Mione that he had an irrational fear of elephants."

"That was the first time his father took him to the zoo," Severus explained. "I was part of the unwilling tag-alongs. He was five when the large beast came up to him and used it's nose to ruffle his perfectly coifed hair. I believe young Mister Malfoy wet himself out of fear."

"Oh, that is just priceless," chuckled Harry. "He's convinced that I somehow found a diary you left while snooping around."

"As if I'd keep something as frivolous as that." Severus huffed. Harry continued to smile until a thought crossed his mind.

"Hey Sev, who will you be though? I mean, what identity will you present to the world once we get back?" Severus uncharacteristically grinned before planting another kiss on Harry's lips.

"After summer… you'll know..."

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September 1st that following year was as calm and as chilly as the last. It was Harry's second year of teaching, his first as the CoMC Professor. The Sorting had just ended.

"I still think that you're mental," said Draco, who sat next to Harry, a napping six-month old baby boy nestled in his arms. The little boy had inherited the Malfoy blonde, thankfully, but it was a bit more golden. The baby's name was Scorpius Linus Malfoy. His godfather beamed at him, as his father berated the emerald-eyed man. "I mean, who in their right minds would rear those horrible monsters –and teach other people to do so?"

Harry scoffed.

"Buckbeak was nice. You were just an arrogant prat." He declared. The DADA Master rolled his eyes. "And you were a snot-nosed show-off," Draco retorted. "But that does not take away from the fact that you've gone completely mental."

"Ferret."

"Scarhard."

"Death Eater Spawn."

"Freak."

"Dragon Dung."

"Pot-Head."

"BOYS!" A bossy voice interrupted the two former school rivals' good-natured, age-old trade of insults. "Not in front of the students –especially not in front of the baby!"

"Sorry Mione," the two grown men chorused, much like recalcitrant children who have just been reprimanded. Hermione rolled her eyes before taking her sleeping child into her arms. She took her seat at the Staff Table between Harry and her husband.

"I wonder who the Headmistress found as your replacement, Harry? When I asked her, she merely smiled." Hermione gestured towards the middle of the long table, where the witch in question was happily talking to Pomona Sprout. A seat was left empty between the Headmistress' and Harry's. Draco shrugged.

"Whoever it is, I'm pretty sure that it is another incompetent fool. I mean, if there was someone else, I doubt they'd hire Potter here in the first place –"

"Hey, watch it, Ferret," Harry cut him off. "There is no one alive more qualified than me to teach Potions –"

"As I've said," Draco sighed. "Your replacement must be an incompetent fool. So unless the Headmistress had learned the dark ritual of summoning ghosts and had somehow gotten a hold of a human virgin sacrifice to bring back the specter of Uncle Severus –I mean, if Binns' ghost could teach –"

Harry choked rather violently. Draco looked at him curiously while Hermione glared at her husband as she thumped her best friend on the back. "Really, Draco. Everybody knows that it is not even remotely possible –Are you okay, Harry?"

"Y-Yeah," the emerald-eyed man recovered himself and turned to Draco. "A human sacrifice?" The blonde smirked. "Worry not, Potter. I doubt Uncle Severus' ghost would appreciate it much if we used you as an offering."

Harry reddened. But before he could even launch a retort, the doors to the Great hall opened. Everyone stopped whatever they were doing to see who the latecomer was.

The tall figure was heavily cloaked in midnight robes, his face was obscured by the shadow of his hood. He walked into the cavernous room in long, confident strides. When he had finally reached the foot of the Staff Table however, he stopped. And from out of the blue, the figure conjured a single red thorn-less rose in his hand. Upon closer inspection, it appeared to be tied with a black satin ribbon. The cloaked stranger then promptly tossed it to a wide-eyed harry Potter who nevertheless caught it deftly in one hand. Next to him, Hermione was staring at the whole scene, her mouth agape. Draco just looked plain confused.

The rest of the Hall was suddenly abuzz –that was until the Headmistress stood up. She looked to be fighting back a smile as she cleared her throat and addressed the crowd.

"Students, faculty and staff… I would like to introduce to you your Potions Master –"

The tall figure reached for the edges of his hood and lifted it to reveal his identity. The midnight cloak fell to the polished marble floor… then, silence… utter, eerie silence…

Harry leaned back on his seat as the Great Hall collectively held its breath. He allowed a triumphant smile on his lips as he absently toyed with the delicate petals of the blood red flower in his hands…

Now, he knew.

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-END OF STORY-

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A/N: Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience with me, dear reader. Please feel free to take the time to leave a final note regarding your experience in reading this story. I hope to see you in any of my future works. In the mean time, you can keep in touch with me via:

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P.S. Talk to me. I'm a lonely kid.