Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter (I've been forgetting to put these on the last couple of chapters, so I'd just like to emphasize it)
A/N: I'm so sorry it took this long! I know I said it wouldn't, and it did, and I'm a horrible person. But hey, I'm back, and I haven't given up on this fic yet. I re-read the whole thing, and oh my God, did you guys put up with a lot of spelling mistakes. How many times did I actually spell "haunting" "haughting"? I also said "Muhahaha" a lot. I don't do that so much anymore.
Hopefully some of you reviewers are still here! I don't blame you if you've abandoned me though! But if you're still here, guess what? It's almost finished. I know, it took forever. But almost there!
Who's got/read the 7th HP book? raises hand I can't believe the series is over! It's the end of an era.
What else… I think someone reviewed and talked about them crying a lot. Which is totally true, they're always crying. But I'm justifying it as teenage angst coupled with confusing feelings, low self-esteem, and, of course, the fact that they're at war and Harry has just run off alone to track down the Dark Lord.
Also, I think someone asked why Harry just didn't kill Voldie when He was all rigid… well I'd like to say it was because he's all moral and whatnot, but I actually just didn't think of that. Oh well, at least it's more dramatic now. And fits into the plot.
Also, a very important question at the end of this chapter for all you readers. I need your opinion or this fic might never end, so don't forget to read it!
Woo lots to say! Okay, finally, the 23rd chapter of Pure.
Chapter 23: The End of the War
Draco was shaking.
It was not the shaking that came from a cold day, or a cool wind. Neither was it the shaking that came from crying, a type that Draco, over the last few weeks, had become accustomed to. But no, it was not the type of shaking that came from sobbing.
This shaking came purely from fear- from the terrible, helpless feeling of anticipation.
And it was, as Draco sat in Dumbledore's office for the second time, flanked by Ron and Hermione on either side, all he felt was this horrible dread that racked his body. And so, he shook.
On his left side, Hermione seemed to be experiencing a similar feeling of fear- however, in contrast Draco, she sat completely rigid, her eyes glued firmly on the wall in front of them, where a picture of an old headmaster hung. The man in the frame stared back, evidently under the impression that he and the girl were in engaged in some kind of staring contest.
On his right sat Ron, neither shaking nor rigid. He fidgeted slightly, casting annoyed and curious glances at Draco, and constantly tried to catch Hermione's set eyes. He probably was, Draco thought was some exasperation, completely oblivious to why the three were called there.
To the stiff Hermione and the trembling Draco, the reason had been clear since the moment the headmaster and woken them up and rushed them to his office, still in his bedclothes.
After insisting that they sit down, Dumbledore hurried from the room, leaving the pajama-clad teenagers to wait in trepidation, and, in Ron's case, slight ignorance, until he returned.
At that moment, the door to Dumbledore's office flew open with a BANG, causing all three of them to jump and turn quickly, and the headmaster in the painting gave a small, triumphant yell as Hermione's eyes swiveled to where the current headmaster stood.
Dumbledore's appearance alone confirmed what both Hermione and Draco had already known. He was flushed, his glasses slightly askew. His hair was flying in random directions like thin, grey wire, and his bedclothes were ruffled. On his feet was a singular woolen sock.
The headmaster walked to his chair, smoothing his clothing and hair as he went. When he sat down, he had regained some of his regal atmosphere. But his eyes remained a giveaway- they were wild beneath his half-moon spectacles, their normal twinkle disappeared, given way to a pained, frenzied look.
"Hermione. Draco. Ronald," he said, meeting each person's gaze with his own as he said their name, "I'm sure you're all very aware of why I have called you here."
Hermione and Draco gave small nods, while Ron sat staring at the headmaster, still looking somewhat confused.
"Sometime last night I was awoken by a very pained scream from the dungeons," he continued, and Draco gave a slight nod. He had heard the agonized yell too, but did not know the owner of it. Hermione and Ron only watched the headmaster- high in Gryffindor tower, they hadn't heard a thing.
"When I reached the source of the shout, I found Professor Snape on the floor of his office, in, I assure you, very much pain." At this both Hermione and Draco's eyebrows shot up; Ron gave a strangled snort. "He was clutching his hand to his chest. When I examined it, it was very clear where the pain was coming from—his Dark Mark had turned a bright red and was twisting angrily— when I attempted to touch it, I was burned."
The students stared at the headmaster as he paused. Hermione's hand was resting slightly away from her mouth, and Draco's lips were pressed into a thin line. Ron's eyebrows were furrowed together in deep thought as he tried to realize exactly what that meant.
"Students," Dumbledore continued, "the Dark Lord has fallen."
The reaction was immediate- Hermione gave a small squeak, and clapped her hand firmly over her mouth, her eyes squeezed shut tightly. Draco bit his lip hard, a million different thoughts and emotions running through him- How? When? What had become of the Death Eaters? What would happen now, to everyone? When would the students be notified? Did this mean the war was over? And, most importantly, What had become of Harry? Ron, finally understanding, gave a sharp shout of victory and pumped his fist into the air.
It was after this quick reaction, however, that all three students realized the tone that Dumbledore had delivered the news in. Contrary to how they had always imagined, his voice was solemn, serious. He did not join in on the small celebration, but instead, peered over his glasses at them, waiting for them to settle. It was, as they realized this, that Hermione's eyes flew back open, Draco clenched his fists and as his final thought burned in his mind, and Ron's second grunt of victory became strangled, before sliding back into his throat altogether.
"And Harry?" Draco finally asked, after the silence that reigned again threatened to drive him out of his mind, "What happened to Harry?"
For the first time since they had known him, Dumbledore did not meet their eyes. Instead he gazed down at the glazed, polished wood of his desk, and took a slow, sad breath.
"The ministry and I believe Harry's death came instantaneously after the Dark Lord's," he whispered, his voice small and sad. "The official decision is that it was Harry that took down Voldemort, however, it seems the due to strain that came on Harry when this death arrived, his own life was taken."
The three students sat silently before the headmaster. Hermione was no longer rigid— she had slumped over, and was staring weakly at the painting of the headmaster again, who had also sunk weakly onto his armchair. Draco was no longer shaking, but sat numb and silent, his worst fear confirmed— Harry was gone.
Only Ron spoke, his voice soft and unsure, "But- I don't understand," he said. "What do you mean— the strain?"
"A part of Harry has always been attached to the Dark Lord, Mr. Weasley," Dumbledore answered. "A part of Voldemort became a part of Harry that night his parents died. I had always suspected—but never—" he trailed off shortly, and then resumed his explanation. "When the curse hit Voldemort, the part connecting Voldemort to Harry was, in theory, hit too. Although Harry was not hit fully by the curse, we believe the strain that this put on him was enough to end his life."
Draco was trembling again. Harry—dead. He wanted nothing more than to run from the room, from the castle, into the woods. He wanted this to end, for everything to end. He wanted to be with Harry.
"Where is he?" Draco asked, suddenly. "His body. Where is Harry's body?"
Dumbledore sighed. "It seems to have been destroyed in the blast," he said. "We did, however, recover this." He held up a small, sharp silver knife, with thorns wrapped around the hilt.
Draco gave a quick, sharp gasp, and Dumbledore nodded. "The dagger given to him by Sirius," he said, mainly to the other two, who looked slightly confused.
"He wouldn't have left without it," Draco whispered, Hermione and Ron's expressions coming to mirror his own as they realized what this meant.
"What about the Death Eaters?" Hermione asked, her voice small.
"Many of them were found around the scene, dead." Dumbledore answered. "It has been decided that they died from the same pain Professor Snape was experiencing last night. In fact, if he had not been rushed immediately to the hospital wing, he could have met the same fate. Others, we believe, have gone into hiding, much like last time."
Silence settled once again as the news set in. Harry, dead. Voldemort, destroyed. Death Eaters, finished. The war, over. If it had not been for the first piece of news, today would have been a happy day. As it was, the day the war ended would never be known as anything other than the day Harry Potter died.
Dumbledore dismissed them, finally. His advice was to go back to their common rooms and wait for morning, when the news, both good and bad, would be delivered to the rest of the school.
Standing in the small landing after the spiral staircase, the door to the headmaster's office shut firmly behind them, the three students were silent, unmoving, as realization crashed upon them.
Draco let out a scream of rage, turning to Ron unexpectedly. He grabbed the front of his shirt by his hands, and lifted the lanky boy off his feet with ease, slamming him onto the rough, jagged stone walls behind him.
"This is your fault!" He screamed, letting the boy fall to his feet and then slamming his fists into him, causing the redhead to double over in pain. "This is all your fucking fault!"
Behind him, Hermione let out a small scream, and launched herself on Draco, pulling vainly at his hands and back to get him to stop.
Draco continued, the girl's efforts going unnoticed. "He left because of you!" He screamed, pain and hatred ripping through his voice. He fists were pink and raw, and he continued to slam them into every part of Ron he could—bruises and blood were becoming apparent. "He left because you didn't care! He thought as long as he defeated him, everything would be fine. Well he did, didn't he? He fucking did! Is everything fine? Is it!"
Ron was moaning something that sounded like a mixture of pain and words. He was spitting out blood, his clothes ripped, his right eye swollen, his lip broken. Behind Draco, Hermione was crying.
"He left because of you," Draco whispered, finally running out. "He's dead because of you."
His fists slowed and Ron fell to the floor in a heap, moaning and mumbling and crying.
"I'm sorry," he moaned, his voice obscured by blood and tears, "I'm so sorry."
Draco fell in front of him, shaking again. Hermione made her way to the two, still crying, and sat between them, silently cleaning up Ron. Then she turned to Draco, her heart breaking for the boy who lay curled on his side, in a slight fetal position, his whole world broken.
"No," she whispered, but her voice couldn't be heard above Ron's wrenching sobs and Draco's moaning, "He died because of me."
It was raining.
The drops came down on Draco, but, despite holding no umbrella, he barely noticed them. The wind blew harshly, whipping his black coat around his ankles. His pale skin burned pink, but he made no move to button his jacket or flip up his collar. If anyone was to look onto the scene, they would have been struck by how handsome the boy was, the black of his high-collared trench coat contrasting his fair skin, his hands tucked in dark leather gloves and pushed deeply into his pockets, his blonde hair blowing about his face and neck, his face slightly flushed, lips parted, silver-blue eyes shining. But on a closer look, they would have seen the boy's handsome features shadowed by sadness.
He stood on a fresh mount of dirt, slightly redder than the ground around it, and raised slightly higher. The mound stopped abruptly at a tall, marble headstone. It was one of two—this one was placed at the entrance to the forest, where Harry was last seen. The other would be placed in Godric's Hollow, next to his parent's. Draco stared at the words carved into it.
Harry James Potter
July 30, 1980 – October 17, 1996
The Boy Who Lived To Save Us All
The boy who lived to save us all. Draco felt numb.
"I'm coming back, Draco." The words stung him. He hadn't believed he was going to, not then, not ever. But now that he was gone, everything was different. Everything was finite. There could be no more hoping, no more wishing, no more believing that Harry was still out there, somewhere, that he would come back and everything would be okay, finally.
Curious eyes peered at him. The school had been told of Harry's death the morning after he had. Draco remembered it, the sudden, elated joy for the end of the war. Dumbledore's words ran through Draco's mind,
Students, I'm very pleased to announce that the Dark Lord has, at long last, been defeated.
The hall had burst into shouts, whoops of victory. Somewhere in the mist of it Draco had made out the Weasely twins singing their own "Ode to Lord Voldie". Hands slapped backs, friends embraced, relatives rejoiced together. The shouts finally died down, and Dumbledore's voice rose again, this time in the same solemn tone that he had used in his office.
And I'm very sorry to announce that Harry Potter has fallen with him.
There were shouts of shock, remorse. Strangled sobs. The twin's singing stopped abruptly, he heard several students from various houses cry out "no!" and "it isn't true!" Eyes swiveled around to Ron and Hermione, who sat, staring at the table, crying. And then they found him, looking straight ahead, unwilling to meet their gazes. Then he stood up and left the Great Hall.
The funeral was immense. Dumbledore had to put an expanding charm on the Great Hall to fit everyone. Witches and Wizards came from all over, whether they had known Harry personally or not. Draco saw shop owners from Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, students and professors from other schools, parents and small children. All the Weasleys, parents included, huddled around Ron and Hermione, crying profusely. Draco recognized some of the people who sat with them— Mad-eyed Moody, Remus Lupin, and a girl with oddly styled bright blue hair. Everyone had come to say goodbye to boy who had ended the war.
Draco didn't know how long he had stood in front of the tombstone. From some feet away, he could see Hermione and Ron holding hands, gazing at him sadly. Draco had heard the rumor that two Muggles, baring a striking resemblance to the girl, had been found bound, tortured, but alive, in the cave where Voldemort was defeated. But, though it was suspicious that Hermione had been called back to Dumbledore's office shortly before the funeral, nothing had been confirmed, and the girl seemed to be remaining at Hogwarts.
The rest of the funeral-goers had long since made their way back into the Great Hall, where a feast was being served. As he stood there, Hermione and Ron made their way silently up the hill and disappeared into the castle.
"I believe in you."
I believe in you. It was the last thing Draco had ever said to him. And he had believed in him. Not a lot of good it did, Draco thought, at the present moment. He was hit with overwhelming sadness that he never told Harry how he felt about him. In retrospect, he supposed he had thought he'd have another chance to tell him. It seemed foolish, really. There was the man he loved—really, truly loved, standing in front of him, holding him, kissing him, and about to leave him, and he couldn't say it.
He blinked at the grave in front of him. Then he stretched out his hand, ran his long fingers over the name, and whispered,
"I love you, Harry James Potter."
He was startled by the voice behind him; he had assumed everyone was back in the castle. A fresh wave of humiliation and annoyance swept over him. This wasn't exactly a way he wanted to be seen— eyes full of tears that threatened to fall, completely shaken and destroyed, and professing his love to a gravestone.
"What did you just say?"
The voice asked again. It was soft and familiar, but obscured slightly by the howling of the wind. Draco shook his head, some tears falling as he did.
"Nothing. Sorry, but could you just go?" He asked, scowling at the vulnerability in his voice. He didn't want to leave the grave, didn't want to go back into the castle, where eyes would pry and people would try to comfort him. He didn't want to be comforted. Nothing was alright.
He felt a hand tug at his arm gently, and the voice spoke again. "No, I'm not leaving. What did you just say? What are you-" The voice broke off as its owner caught site of what Draco was looking at "Ah…"
Draco felt anger surge inside of him. "Listen," he growled angrily, turning sharply, "I'll be done in a moment if you could just—"
Shove off. The words died in his throat as he spun on his heel, and came level with a pair of very confused emerald eyes.
Harry Potter stood in front of him, looking puzzled and very dirty. His hair was matted with blood and water, cuts and bruises lined his face— dried blood followed the line of a deep, jagged cut down his cheek. Dirt covered his body, making his skin appear one shade darker; it mingled with the blood from the cuts and scrapes that were littered across his arms, chest and legs. His clothes were in tatters, his black shirt ripped open in various places, revealing a long cut across his chest. His pants were torn badly, and both his feet were bare.
For Draco, the world went still. He couldn't move, couldn't breathe, couldn't think. For a moment he considered that he was hallucinating, but Harry's hand still rested on his arm, and he could feel it, the tangible warmth of life flowing through his fingers.
And then things sped up. Draco let out a noise, a cross between a shout, a moan, and a sob, and began pounding his fists into Harry.
Harry let out a strangled noise of surprise, but didn't try to stop him.
"You died!" Draco screamed, the tears he had held at bay throughout the day finally spilling over, running down his face and dripping onto the ground. "You said you would come back and you didn't! You died!" His words were choked, obscured by sobs. His energy began to run out, but he continued hitting Harry's chest weakly. "You died. You died and you left me here alone."
With that he collapsed, Harry catching his wrists and coming with him. Draco's knees hit the grave he stood on with a thud, and he sobbed. Harry, still holding Draco's wrists, pulled the boy into him, wrapping his arms around the trembling body.
"I came back," he whispered. "I didn't die. I came back. I'm right here." His lips found Draco's blindly, and he kissed him, relishing in the familiar warmth. He pulled back, mumbling into golden hair, "I'm right here."
They stayed like that for some time, Harry's face buried in Draco's hair, Draco's head resting on Harry's chest, where he could hear his steadily beating heart, proof that he was, in fact, alive.
"I said 'I love you'," Draco whispered, softly. Harry thought at first that he had imagined them, but he looked down at Draco, and saw silver eyes looking back up into his, scared, relieved, expectant.
For Harry, the world went still. He couldn't move, couldn't breathe, couldn't think. This was what he had been hoping for, had been wanting, but still, he had never expected for it to happen. He'd barely expected to make it out of Voldemort's cave, much less to the castle, but here he was, kneeling with Draco, on top of his gave, no less, and Draco was saying the words he had been longing to hear.
And then the world sped up. And he realized that Draco was still watching him with worried, slightly hopeful eyes, and he said the only words that seemed real, and right.
"I love you too," And as he said it he could feel how much he meant it, feel his heart swell, feel it beat faster, feel happiness and hope and relief. And it struck him then how long it had been since he was able to feel any of that, or anything at all, and he whispered the words again into Draco's hair, just to hear them and feel what they made him feel.
Then silence lapsed between them, and night finally fell, and Harry pulled Draco to his feet, and looked at him, a half-smile on his face.
"Want to go scare the hell out of some people?"
Draco returned the smile, shakily, but both of them knew there was no humor in the situation. Then they trudged back up the hill, through the rain that was beginning to fall again, and into the castle.
A/N: Woo! Long time coming, huh? Well, there it is. No, not the end of the story. Very close, but we've still got a few unanswered questions (if any of you can even remember what they are).
I hope you liked it. It certainly took long enough, so hopefully it was worth it. I hope everyone doesn't hate me too much and will review.
Okay now, this is VERY IMPORTANT, so if you don't read any other part of this note, READ THIS:
Okay, there are different ways I could end this fic, and I'd like you, as my faithful readers/reviewers to tell me exactly what you want me to do:
1. Holy shit. Just end the fic. We've been waiting practically 3 years. I just want this to END!
2. Well, I'd like some more kissing. You've given us a grand total of three kisses in 23 chapters, and I'd like to see a chapter dedicated to kissing. Nothing too serious, you know, but some make-out action.
3. Don't even think about leaving this fic without some hot and heavy Draco-on-Harry action. I'm talking some kissing, hands roaming, sweaty, skin-on-skin action.
Okay review! And vote! Or I'll just do whatever I want to do, and you don't want that, do you?