TEAM DRAGON ENTRY: Mimiheart "Troublesome Transition" Title: Troublesome Transition Author: mimiheart Team: Dragon Genres: Postwar, Canon Prompt: Infidelity Rating: NC-17 Warnings/Kinks: *Character Death, BDSM if you squint really hard and turn your head sideways* Word Count: ~5500 Summary: Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome. ~Isaac Asimov Author's Note: Thank you to my wonderful teammates! Special thanks to beta and Capitan joanwilder. Thank you to the mods who put this on and put up with a bunch. You are the best!!!
"I won't do it!"
"Severus, please. You really are the best man for the job."
"I've spent the last seven years looking out for him. I've done my time. I've done everything asked of me. Now I can finally have some peace. I won't do it. You can't make me."
"Really, you sound like a two-year-old."
"His parents can't. He's too close to Sirius. Remus and Tonks are, well, busy with each other. Please. He needs you. It's only a few more years. A drop in the scheme of the eternity you have."
Severus set his jaw. "Albus Dumbledore, I have done everything you have asked of me. I killed for you. I killed you. I'm finally free, for the first time in my life..."
"For the first time in my death, then, and you want me to be the boy's what? Guardian Angel? I have no reason to. My debts are paid, have been paid tenfold."
Another cough came from somewhere to their left. "Excuse me."
"Ah, Harry, we were just talking about you." Dumbledore turned to the newcomer.
"Yes, Severus was just agreeing to be your guide."
"Don't argue, you know you were going to agree." He addressed Harry again, "You've left a piece of yourself here. Most people when they die, die. You, my boy, could never do anything the way anyone else does, though."
"Why him?" Harry practically spat.
"Because he knows you better than anyone else, I think. And if I'm not mistaken, you've come to understand him a bit better than you did before."
Severus had his arms crossed in front of his chest and was glaring at Dumbledore. "I still haven't agreed."
A woman walked over to them and placed a hand on Severus's shoulder. "Please. For me."
He looked into her eyes and sighed.
"Mum?" Harry queried.
"Harry, I am so incredibly proud of you."
"Then why can't you stay instead of him?"
"It's complicated. I'm not allowed. Not until you're really here." She touched his cheek and brushed the hair off his face. She turned to Severus again. "Please."
He clenched his teeth. "Of course, Lily. Of course."
She threw her arms around him, gave him a smile and a small laugh, gave Harry a wave, then disappeared.
Dumbledore clapped his hands together. "Wonderful, it's all settled. Take care, my boys."
And Harry and Severus were alone.
Harry let out a small chuckle.
"May I ask what is so amusing, Mr. Potter?"
"I just never thought that I'd be in heaven, not dead, with you."
"I assure you, this is not heaven."
"Yeah, I don't suppose you'd end up stuck with me if this were heaven."
"Correct. This is simply the realm of the dead. Or part of it. Death, much like life, is what you make of it."
"Your eloquence astounds me," Severus snarled.
"Well, what did you want me to say? I'm sorry you're stuck with me, I didn't choose it. It's only until I really die, right?"
"Yes, Potter, it's only until your entire soul and your body die."
"See, that's not so bad."
"I'm glad you see it that way." Severus swirled his robes and stalked off as far from Harry as he dared. He ignored the muffled "thank you" that came from behind his back.
"You're late." Severus glared at the not-dead teenager in front of him.
"How can I be late? Aren't we in the 'realm of the dead'?"
"You should have been here a few hours ago. I won't say you need to split your time evenly, but you can't stay up late... your soul needs its time here too."
"Oh. I was too excited to sleep."
"If you don't spend enough time here, your soul will fade from existence. Then you won't be a part of either realm."
"Aren't you going to ask what I'm excited about?"
"Why are you under the impression I care?"
"Because you have to."
"No, I don't. I'm here to guide you and keep you out of trouble. I'm not here to care."
Harry's face fell.
Severus rolled his eyes "Fine, why are you excited?" It ended up sounding more like a statement than a question.
"I got into the Auror program! They're letting me train to become an Auror!"
"I wasn't aware you had sat your NEWTs."
"I didn't. I guess they figured the whole 'being on run from Voldemort and eventually killing him' thing was enough."
"So once again, precious Potter doesn't have the rules apply to him."
"It's not like that. I think what I've been through this past year is worth a hundred NEWTs."
"Have you ever taken NEWTs?"
"Then how would you know what a hundred would be like?"
"Hermione's my friend; that gives me some idea. Have you ever spent a year on the run from the ministry and Voldemort, and then killed him?"
"Don't be absurd."
He gave him a cheeky grin. "See, we're even."
"If it was so difficult, why don't you sit the exams just to find out how well you would have done?"
"No need. I've already been accepted into the program I want."
Severus let out a long-suffering sigh.
"What? It's true!"
"And your friends?"
"The Ministry is guaranteeing them the career of their choice. Hermione wants to go to university, but Ron still doesn't know yet."
"Leave it to Weasley to not know what he wants in life."
"Hey! He's my best friend, and I wouldn't have made it through the last year without him."
"Mr. Potter, he left you alone for part of it," Severus growled.
"It doesn't matter, he was there when I needed him. And my name's Harry! It wouldn't kill you to use it."
"There's as much a chance of that as you naming your son after me. And in case you didn't notice, I'm already dead."
Harry stomped away. "So much for us being friends," he muttered.
"Mr. Potter, I'm not your friend. And I'm never going to be. I am here to guide you. That is all."
Harry threw himself cross-legged on the ground and didn't make conversation for the rest of the night, much to Severus's relief.
"I know, I know, I'm late."
"Mr. Potter, I have explained to you time and time again what will happen if you do not spend time here."
"You make it sound like I stay awake just to avoid coming here."
Severus raised an eyebrow.
"I'm sorry, okay? I got sidetracked. I'm going to be an Auror officially in a few weeks, and we all went out tonight to celebrate."
"You're celebrating that you will become Aurors? Dare I ask why you aren't waiting until you do become Aurors?"
"Well, that's only part of it. I also proposed to Ginny today, and she said YES!"
"Wonderful, when is the big day?"
"Since when have you cared what is going on in my life?"
"I don't. I'm attempting to make small talk."
"Of course not, Severus." Harry grinned at Severus's wince at his name. "You've spent every night with me for three years. You don't care a bit."
"Of course I don't. I merely tolerate your presence more than I did three years ago."
"You could call me Harry, you know."
"I know I'm capable of calling you that. I will not, however."
Harry smiled. "I don't care. Nothing you can do will ruin my mood tonight. I'm getting married!"
"So you decided to grace me with your presence, finally." Snape glanced at the newly arrived Harry.
"What? I went to bed on time tonight!"
"Have you considered redecorating? This void is getting dull."
"I can do that?"
"Who else did you think would?"
"I didn't think..."
"Of course not, you never think."
"I'm not fifteen anymore!"
Harry rolled his eyes. "What was this about decorating?"
"Well, if you're getting married, your wife will eventually join you here, right?"
"Do you think she wants to live in nothing for eternity?"
"No. I don't particularly fancy it myself."
"Then do something about it!"
A small garden appeared to their right.
Harry shrugged. "It was the first thing that came to mind. I suppose you would prefer...." A dungeon appeared around them, with the garden growing in the middle.
"Well, what should I put?"
"Your dream house, Hogwarts, Grimmauld Place."
"Do you have to stay here when I'm not here? What would you like?"
"No, Mr. Potter, I have my own place, as it were. I'm only tied here when you are."
"Sorry about that." Harry actually looked ashamed.
"Don't be, I have resigned myself to my fate."
"Well, what does yours look like?"
"Watching to make sure you don't fade yourself out of existence."
"Not your fate, your place," Harry ground out.
Severus closed his eyes, the walls around them were now covered in shelves of books, and they were quite a bit taller than they were before. The garden changed into a dark green leather sofa, and Muggle lamps sat on either side of the sofa. A low table appeared in front of the sofa, tea and biscuits arranged neatly on a tray sat on the center of it. The ceiling had stained glass tiles in it, letting multi-colored beams of light fall on the books around them. There was a rich burgundy carpet covering the floor.
"Hermione would love this! I didn't know you could manipulate my place."
"Miss Granger, I admit, would like to be surrounded by books. And I shouldn't have been able to. Generally only soul mates can manipulate each other's environments in the realm of the dead. I can only assume since I am bound to you until your true death that I have some of the same abilities."
"Oh. So you died, and surrounded yourself with books? There wasn't anything else you'd have rather had?"
"In my life, I found precious little time to simply sit back and read. Though if you don't change this to your liking, I would not mind the chance to read each night as well as during the day."
"Do you ever visit anyone? Can you?"
"I can. I rarely do. Albus stops by for tea sometimes. And your mother, she and I have made a -- peace -- in death that we hadn't had in life since we were children."
"Not my father?"
"Not a chance."
Harry's green eyes met his. "Do you really hate him that much?"
Severus thought about it for a minute. "I don't hate him anymore. I simply will never be able to tolerate being in the same room with him. We cause too much pain to each other. I love your mother, and he took her from me. I don't suppose that's something you will ever understand."
"I guess it is. It would be like Malfoy marrying Ginny instead of me. Though I think there's a slightly less chance of that happening than what happened with Mum."
"That's an understatement."
Harry looked around. "I like it. Maybe there's a book here that would be interesting."
Severus looked around and walked towards one of the shelves. "Try this. I think you can relate to some of Dickens's characters."
Severus jumped up and ran to Harry when he arrived in what Harry called "their library". "What are you doing here so early?"
"I don't know. I was chasing Polzy Pumpledore, he's a wannabe-Dark Lord. Tonks was with me. I don't really know what happened after that. Ginny's gonna kill me, we're getting married this weekend."
"You were probably knocked unconscious."
"I gathered that. I figured things would be different if I had really died. I mean, you wouldn't be here, for one."
"Ow!" Harry clutched his stomach.
"Mr. Potter, you're dead; you can't feel pain here."
"Yes, I can," Harry panted.
Severus went to Harry's side as he slunk to the ground.
"What hurts, and how?"
"Everything. I feel like I'm being ripped in two," he managed to gasp out.
Severus pulled a blanket out of thin air and covered Harry with it, maneuvering them to the sofa with Harry's head on his lap.
"Mr. Potter, how do you normally awaken?" He unconsciously brushed the hair from Harry's face.
Harry groaned. "Dunno... just in the morning."
"Has no one woken you in the last three years?"
"No. Sleep alone."
"I think you are being awoken in life, rather forcefully. It's forcing your soul back into your body."
"Just rest. They can't force it if your soul isn't ready. It's painful, but you can manage, I'm sure."
Harry blinked pain-filled eyes at him. "Don't leave me."
"Mr. Potter, I have no where else to be." Severus's hand continued to pet Harry's hair of its own accord until Harry went back to the world of the living.
Harry was back at his usual time.
"I never want to do that again," he said.
"How are you feeling?"
"Careful, I might start to think you care."
"I was merely curious. This is new territory, no one has split their life between the two realms."
"Well, my body's a wreck. We're postponing the wedding until I'm able to walk. I may spend more time here than before for the next few days. I told them not to wake me up again, though. At least not through artificial means. That's what happened; they used a potion to force me awake. I don't think it would have been the same if it had been someone shaking me awake."
"For, you know, taking care of me."
"I assure you, I wasn't doing anything outside of my duties as your guide."
Harry smirked. "Of course not, Severus."
"I am curious, though. You said you had never been woken up because you sleep alone. You mean you haven't slept with Miss Weasley, even though you two are to be married?"
Harry frowned. "Why would I have slept with her?"
"Surely your friends have talked about sex."
"Well, I think Ron and Hermione have, but it seems rather messy, I can't imagine doing it for any reason other than having kids. I've never really spoken to anyone about it." Harry's ears blushed bright red.
"Miss Weasley may be content to wait until her wedding night, which is a rarity in and of itself, but surely you were planning on sleeping with her then."
"I dunno, I guess I never really thought about it. It's not really any of your business anyhow." The attack was half-hearted at best, and the frown on Harry's face never really left.
"You're right," said Harry as he slumped onto the couch.
"I know," Snape replied, raising an eyebrow.
"You don't even know what I'm talking about!"
"I don't have to. I'm never wrong."
"Look, I'm serious! I'm in trouble."
"With what, exactly?"
"You know, Ginny. And erm... well, you know."
"Sex. You should be able to say it before you get married."
"It's just, I've never... I don't know! I just don't know what to do, and I'm sure to mess it up."
"It isn't that difficult, Mr. Potter. You put tab 'a' into slot 'b'. If you're really concerned, talk to Mr. Weasley about it. He's sure to have some tips. Or ask Miss Granger, maybe she can recommend a book."
"Are there any?" Harry looked around wildly at all the shelves.
"Not that I've placed here."
"Oh." His face fell.
"Surely you've done some exploration."
Harry blushed. "Not really. I was busy with Voldemort before, and now I don't really dream, just come here. And I couldn't have done anything in a dorm full of boys. And the Dursleys would have chopped off my hands if I had tried it there. So, outside of a wank in the shower, I haven't really tried anything."
"And how long is it until your wedding?"
"Two weeks, now."
Severus walked up to Harry and delicately pulled his chin up so their eyes could meet.
"I can help you."
Harry let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. "Thank you, Severus."
"First, you will cease using that name. Do you know what it is you are asking of me?"
Harry shook his head.
"I will start tonight. I will show you the pleasures your body can give. Before your wedding, I will show you how to give pleasure to another. If nothing else, it will be a nice change of pace."
Harry shivered slightly.
Severus stood behind Harry and brushed his chest through his shirt. Harry jumped in response.
Harry took a deep breath.
Harry took another.
"I won't hurt you. At least not unless you ask me to, but I think that's a more advanced lesson."
"People like being hurt?"
"You mean the thought of being bound, gagged, and whipped doesn't hold appeal for you?"
Harry looked incredulously at Severus, and ignored the slight twitch in his cock. "I can't imagine that with Ginny."
"You may have a point." Severus grinned crookedly at Harry. "I believe we have gone away from the subject. You need to relax. I will not hurt you, tonight. If you prefer, I won't even touch you."
"Oh. Okay, then."
"Take your trousers off."
Harry blushed even deeper, but complied.
"Now, gently stroke your penis."
Harry did, and was somewhat surprised to see it harden and rise, given the circumstances.
"Now, grasp it firmer."
It twitched in his palm, jumping at the contact. Harry closed his eyes.
"Hold out your hand."
He obeyed, opening his eyes as Severus poured some warmed oil into his palm.
"Trust me. Use that on your penis, as you just were. Fondle your testicles as well."
Harry didn't even realize when he started thrusting into his hand. And he certainly didn't notice Severus doing the same thing on the other side of the couch. Harry gasped out his release, and was overwhelmed at the feeling. He panted and let his head drop back, a goofy smile on his face. Every time he moved he felt a little jolt in his cock.
"That was... wow," he sighed.
Harry looked down at himself. "I was right though, it is messy. Here I can just," he blinked and the mess disappeared, "but I can't do that in life."
"Don't worry about it, Mr. Potter." Harry turned to see Severus with more color in his cheeks than ever before. "Use a wet cloth, the clean up can be just as much fun."
"I assume you have at least kissed Miss Weasley."
Harry felt the heat rise to his cheeks. "Of course!"
"Good, now that you've seen what your body can do, let's put it to practical use."
'Um, I may be a bit naive, but your bits are like mine. And I'm pretty sure Ginny's aren't."
"No, they aren't. But there are certain erogenous zones on both men and women. And certain things that both are certain to like."
Severus grabbed Harry and pulled him close. He grabbed the back of Harry's hair pulling it as he kissed him. Harry melted into the embrace. He jumped back slightly when he felt a hardness pressing into him.
"Sshhh, remember I told you I wouldn't hurt you."
Severus slowly removed his robes, while Harry sat nervously on the couch. He reached touched Harry's cheek before removing Harry's clothes, too. He started them in another long kiss. This time, he pinched Harry's nipples gently. He broke the deep kiss they were in, and started leaving smaller kisses along Harry's jaw line. When he got to Harry's ear, Harry was writhing beneath him.
Harry couldn't decide if it felt good or it tickled. When Severus started nibbling on his earlobe, he had no doubts. The long fingers pinching his nipples distracted him from thinking about any possible tickling. His cock was jutting against Severus's and nothing mattered to him but this incredible pleasure. "Please. Please. Please," he chanted.
"What do you want, Mr. Potter? Hmmm?" he hummed into Harry's neck.
"Please. I don't know..."
Severus took a nipple in his mouth, worrying it between his teeth. He swiftly descended on the other one. Harry was beyond incoherent. "Mr. Potter, the nipples and ear, as you have seen, are good places to start."
Harry groaned. "Severusssss..." he whined.
Severus let out a low chuckle before going further down Harry's body. He licked Harry's inner thighs, right first, then left. He kissed his way towards the center of the V formed by Harry's legs. Harry was tossing his head back and forth, and Severus smirked, knowing Harry wouldn't last long. He swiped his tongue across Harry's perineum, over his balls, and up his cock. Harry cried out, and started to thrust desperately into the air. Severus pushed Harry's hips down. He licked the tip of Harry's cock, swallowing the beaded fluid there. This time, when Harry thrust, Severus let him, swallowing him whole.
Severus reached down and grabbed the base of his own prick, trying to take care of himself as much as Harry. Harry came with a shout at Severus's movement, and Severus swallowed each string of come as he showered the sofa and Harry's legs with his own spunk. His arms gave out on him, and he fell bonelessly to Harry's side.
"Don't talk. Just rest."
Harry had an incredibly goofy grin on his face.
"How did it go?" Severus asked nonchalantly.
"I was aware of that. I figured if something bad had happened, you wouldn't be grinning like an idiot. How did making love to your new wife go?"
"Your lessons were very, educational." He smiled.
Severus stalked over to the bookshelves, unnervingly calm.
"What? What'd I do?"
"I've spent the last two weeks showing you about sex... and all you can say is that it was educational?"
"Well, you spent five years teaching me Potions, and I never said anything even remotely positive about that. What's wrong?"
Severus grabbed a book off the shelf, conjured an overstuffed velvet chair, and sat in it.
"Severus, I'm sorry. I am. I thought... I don't know. I thought it was just sex. I mean, you knew I was getting married. I didn't think you cared!"
Severus didn't answer. I don't, he thought.
"Look, I said I'm sorry; what more do you want?" Harry had started every night for the last month the same way.
"Mr. Potter, forget it!"
"Ha! Got you to talk."
"Only to stop your incessant whinging."
Harry walked over to him, and in an uncharacteristically forward move, pushed their lips together. "I care about you, too."
"Mr. Potter, in case it has escaped your notice, you are married. And not to me."
"Ginny doesn't have to know. I can love more than one person, right?"
"You don't sound so sure."
"But you care about me! I know you do."
"I believe I told you before, I will never care about you."
Harry gave him a half-smirk before giving him another harsh kiss. "We'll see."
"Happy anniversary, Severus." Harry bent down and kissed Severus's cheek.
"Mr. Potter, what are you talking about?"
"Well, in two weeks, Ginny and I will have been married five years. I figure that makes this our anniversary."
"You're abominably cheerful today."
"I'm going to be a dad soon. And we met with the Healer today, and she said that Ginny is doing wonderfully and everything is perfect."
"Lovely, I'm sure."
"I'm a bit worried about when she goes into labor. I'm notoriously hard to wake."
"You will be here every night."
Harry placed another kiss on his cheek. "As long as Ginny cooperates and has the baby in the morning. I don't think staying up all night one night will be the end of me."
"I don't want you to risk it."
Harry grinned. "See, you do care."
"Congratulate me." Harry was practically bouncing.
"Congratulations, Mr. Potter."
"You can call me Harry. And aren't you going to ask why?"
"No to both."
"James Sirius Potter was born at noon today."
"Of all the names you could have chosen, 'James Sirius'?"
"I know you don't like them, but they are my father and godfather."
"And Ginny's not going to be up to do any... celebrating... for a while." Harry lowered himself onto Severus's lap.
"Just don't..." kiss "blame me..." kiss "when he turns out to be a troublemaker."
"Of course not, Severus."
"You will call me Harry now."
"Oh? What makes you say that, Mr. Potter?"
"Because I've named my son after you!"
"Ah, so you and your wife are taking after the Weasley side and having a child a year?"
"Well, we've only had two. And she agreed that 'Albus Severus' was a perfectly respectable wizarding name."
"You felt the need to curse the child with the name 'Albus Severus'? Dear Merlin, what did he do to deserve that?"
"Well, I did want to name him after you. By saying that he's named after two of the best headmasters Hogwarts has had, I can do that. Besides, Ron joked about you rolling in your grave because of it. And I know exactly how much you roll."
"Why would you want him to be named after me?"
"Because you said, and I'm paraphrasing, that there was as much chance of you calling me Harry as there was for me to name my son after you. Well, my son is named after you. So you can call me Harry." Harry started to unbutton Severus's robes.
"Mr. Potter, I know your English comprehension has never been high, but saying that there's as much chance of something happening doesn't mean that if that thing happens the other will occur." He hissed as Harry tweaked a nipple.
"I know. But I will get you to call me Harry, eventually." He nipped lightly at the nipple, and they forgot whatever the discussion was about.
"It's a girl!" Harry wrapped his arms around Severus's body.
"Glad it was this one. I can't imagine having a girl named after me."
"Well, we were thinking of 'Severina' but decided against it."
Severus glared at him.
"The newest addition to the Potter family is 'Lily Luna'. And she's absolutely beautiful."
"I doubt it. All newborn babies look like Winston Churchill."
"Lily doesn't. She's perfect."
"We'll see. You already have two toddlers, I can't imagine adding a third child to the mix. What was it you said to me the other day? You came home to find your wife crying and sitting in the middle of the kitchen, covered in flour paste with the two boys laughing how it was snowing inside?"
"Well, she was nine months pregnant. She was bound to break down at some point."
"Which is why you shipped them off to your in-law's for the rest of the week."
"We needed a little break."
"Multiply that by three with this one."
"Of course, Severus." Harry chuckled as he nuzzled Severus's neck.
"What's going on? You haven't been this early since right after you became an Auror." Severus rushed worriedly to Harry's side.
"Dragon pox. The kids have dragon pox, and decided to share."
"Damn. Getting it as an adult is dangerous. Why weren't they quarantined?"
"The Healers didn't tell me until I got the fever. It's rare that adults haven't had it. They forgot I was Muggle-raised. Hermione took a vacation to the States as soon as she found out about the outbreak. It's harmless for the kids...." Harry let out a sob.
Severus wrapped Harry in his arms. Harry rarely cried, and Severus hadn't had to comfort him for any reason other than spats with his wife.
"I can't leave them. I know they're loved, but they need me. They need Daddy."
"You'll beat this. You've defeated things much harder than this."
"It's not that I don't love you. I just... it's not my time, yet. Severus, I need to be there for them. I have to!"
"Shush. It'll be fine."
Harry gasped. "Oh no, they're forcing me awake again. Severus."
Severus lifted Harry into his arms, trying to ignore the whimpers.
"Shh, Harry. Whatever happens. I love you."
Harry let out a half-sob, half-laugh. "This is what it takes to get you to call me Harry?" he gasped out.
Severus let out a small laugh. "This is what it takes for me to realize how important you are to me." He petted Harry's head and grasped his hand. "You're going to be okay."
Harry drifted in and out of both realms for days. Severus holding him on one side, Ginny on the other. When his fever finally broke, so did the final barrier between Severus and him. That night, Severus made love to him. Harry said he would never go back to just having sex again.
"You're not going to believe it." Harry had a triumphant smirk on his face.
"Al is in Slytherin."
"How'd you know?"
"I've been saying he was going to end up there for years. You should have given him a different name."
"He's going to do well there, isn't he?"
"Yes, he's going to do well there."
"He's going to be friends with Scorpius Malfoy. Ron is not going to be happy with that."
"Hasn't that rivalry ended?"
"Not really. I've grown out of it, but you know Ron."
"All too well, I'm afraid." Severus let out a long-suffering sigh.
Harry smiled at him. "You'll like Al. I can't wait for you to meet him. I mean, well, I can wait, but you know what I mean."
"What book are we reading, again?"
"I was reading Beowulf to you. You said you understand it better when it's read aloud."
"I said that? Maybe I just like hearing your voice."
"Is that so, Mr. Potter? Maybe you should pay attention."
"I am. I'm paying attention to every. Single. Syllable."
"See that you do. I'll be giving you a test on it next week."
"If I fail, will you give me detention?"
"If I pass, will you?"
Harry's laugh echoed around the room and brought a smile to Severus's face.
"I love it when you play professor."
"I'm not playing. I have to try to not be the professor."
"Don't, I want you to be you."
"Just read to me."
"Of course, bossy brat."
"What's wrong?" Severus asked as Harry came far earlier than usual.
"I've got cancer. They caught it on my yearly physical. It's advanced and very aggressive. The Healers gave me six months at the outside."
Severus pulled Harry into a loose embrace. Harry nuzzled into Severus's shoulder.
"I've betrayed my family."
"When they told me, all I could think was that I would finally be here with you, where I belong."
"No, hear me out. Lily will be graduating in a few weeks. James is taking over Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Al and Scorpius are opening up an Apothecary. They don't need me anymore. And lately when I'm there, I feel like half my soul is missing."
"Harry, you have a wife. What about her?"
"I love her. I do. And maybe what I've done to her isn't fair. But you complete me. She's still relatively young, and she's always been closer with the kids than with me. I just... I don't feel I belong there anymore. It's my time. Besides, they can't do anything for me anyhow."
Severus transformed the room to a rose garden. He made their sofa into a swing and rocked Harry gently on it. "Only soul mates should be able to do that," he echoed a thought that had gone through his head many times over the years.
"I know. We've been drawn to each other for far longer than either of us would like to admit, I think."
"I will be here when you are ready. We will share all that we are for eternity."
"That's really sappy, you know."
"But it's the truth. And when the time comes, you can introduce me to those children I've heard so much about."
Harry grinned at him. "Thank you. Thank you for everything."
"I was able to say goodbye to them." Harry wiped the tears from his face.
Severus took his hand. "You are a wonderful father and friend. And it's not really goodbye. You'll see them soon. It's amazing how fast time goes when you have forever."
Harry smiled at Severus. "Forever?"
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