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A Deathday To Remember
By Dianne

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Category: Post-HBP
Genres: Angst, Drama, General
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: G
Reviews: 1
Summary: Home is where you hang your hat, but when there is something wrong with the hook you hang it on, perhaps there's something wrong with the home as well... This story is a one shot.
Hitcount: Story Total: 3783

Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.

Author's Notes:
hope you enjoy. I wrote it a year ago or more.


Harry Potter lay in St Mungo’s bitterly recounting his final duel with Voldemort. He had emerged victorious over the Dark Lord but had failed to destroy the last Horcrux. He had nearly died in the battle.

Ginny Weasley sat by his bedside. She and Harry had reconciled only because she had had the wisdom to let him figure out what Dumbledore had been saying all along. That love was the power the Dark Lord knew not. During Harry’s darkest times, she, Ron and Hermione had been his strength as though their bonds were predestined from their first meeting.

"I failed...I failed them all, my parents, Cedric, Sirius, Dumbledore..." Harry said, voice barely audible.

"It was my fault, Harry. You were right, I shouldn’t have been there. If Voldemort hadn’t bated you by grabbing me, you wouldn’t have taken his provocation to fight before you were ready. Before we got the last Horcrux..." Ginny said miserably. "Now we’re right back where we started all those years ago. He’s still out there somewhere, bodiless but plotting to come back."

Ginny felt miserable. She had only learned of the Horcrux after Harry had cried out in his sleep during his many nightmares at the Burrow. She had waited patiently for the moment that she knew all along would come, the moment where Harry would finally accept that he could not endure his journey alone. Harry’s furtive glances at her, the times when his demeanor would say, ‘I want to be alone,’ followed by, ‘for now,’ had been hard to endure. She knew the mixed messages had not been his fault and he had chosen to spend whatever time they had left to be together, whether it be five minutes or fifty years.

With the fact that one Horcrux remained, everyone knew it would be just a matter of time until the Dark Lord rose yet again.

"Stop it, you two. There’s still a way of destroying the last Horcrux. There has to be," Hermione stated, her puffy red eyes looking up from a heavy book she was frantically thumbing through.

Harry had hoped one day to return to Hogwarts, the only home he’d ever known. He and his friends had spent the last year and a half hunting for Horcrux and Severus Snape to avenge Dumbledore. The school had been closed for nearly a year and a half now.

As Harry tried to hide his tears by turning over in his bed to face the window, his shaking shoulders betrayed him and Ginny placed her hand on his back. He did not feel worthy of her touch.

There was a faint moon outside, almost full. In just two days, it would be Halloween. A bat flew outside the window, disappearing quickly from sight and Harry silently cursed it, thinking of the bat-like Potions Master who had killed Dumbledore.

Harry’s mind drifted to his vision in the Pensieve and the memories of Snape’s miserable home life. Snape’s home in adulthood had been dreary as well and he could well imagine how much more comfortable Hogwarts must have seemed to the man.

Hogwarts, refuge to Severus Snape, Harry Potter, and Tom Riddle. The one place in all the world to find solace...

Harry suddenly sat bolt upright, uttering something unintelligible and trying to get out of bed.

Ron leapt to his feet, pushing him back down. Voldemort had done serious damage to Harry’s chest and he still suffered from a severe concussion.

"Harry, mate, lay down! What are you doing?" Ron asked, voice laced with concern.

"I know what the last Horcrux is," Harry said miserably, still trying to rise.

Everyone’s eyebrows shot up and they figured it was Harry’s pain medication talking.

"It’’s Hogwarts. It’s what Dumbledore said. The Horcrux would be things of prestige, things of sentiment, and Voldemort had very little sentiment. Hogwarts was his home. He wanted to come back and if it couldn’t be to bend young minds as a teacher, it would be later when he came to claim his soul. I saw in Dumbledore’s Pensieve; a moment after he’d met with Riddle when Riddle had asked for a job, that there was a moment when the Pensieve had appeared strange to me, almost like a missing moment of memory, but Dumbledore didn’t seem perturbed by it so I let it go. Riddle must have done it then...made Hogwarts his Horcrux. I wonder who he killed to make that one..." Harry trailed off wildly.

No one spoke for some time and when all eyes turned to Hermione, the look on her face indicated that she at least found Harry’s theory plausible, but horrible.

"We have to destroy Hogwarts before Voldemort finds a way back!" Harry exclaimed, not waiting for Hermione to dash off to a library or for Ron to name a thousand reasons why this theory could not be true.

"Harry, Hogwarts is unplottable. Somehow in my heart I know you’re right. I can feel it. Even Tom’s memory in the Chamber Of Secrets projected how very at home he was at Hogwarts. How can we find it?" Ginny gave a shudder remembering her ordeal from her first year at Hogwarts.

Harry had been given the portrait of Dumbledore that had hung in his office after his death when the school had closed. He had never had the nerve to look at it. Grief had always been too near for him to behold those trusting blue eyes. Now however, as soon as Ginny had handed it to him upon his urgent request, he tore off the brown paper wrapping and beheld the likeness of Dumbledore.

Harry’s hands shook trepidation of what he needed to ask the portrait. He cursed himself for his cowardice. He turned the portrait over.

"Hello Harry. I wondered when you would finally unwrap me and we could have little talk.

A lump rose in Harry’s throat. He would have loved to have spent hours recounting the stories of the destruction of each Horcrux and Voldemort himself, but now, he had to ask a very blunt question.

"Sir, could Hogwarts be a Horcrux? Please tell me it isn’t possible," Harry said quickly, holding his breath while he waited for an answer.

Dumbledore stared gravely from his frame. The reunion was not what he’d hoped for, the one where he would finally tell Harry the tale of how his hand had been damaged, the one where he would finally tell Harry that he loved him. He’d meant to do it in life, but now, even in death, it would have to wait.

"I’m afraid so, Harry," Dumbledore said with great sadness, only now realizing that Tom had paid more than just a business visit when he’d asked for a job all those years ago. The real reason why Dumbledore had been the only wizard that Voldemort ever feared, was because it was Dumbledore who protected the school which housed his very soul. Voldemort must have been supremely confident to have ordered such a drastic hit.

"Sir, can you tell us how to destroy Hogwarts?" Harry asked, wincing as he stood, amid the protests of his friends.

"Alas, had I not been entombed on the grounds of Hogwarts, I would not be able to find the unplottable school myself, but as my body rests there, I can return you."

Harry gave an involuntary grunt of pain as he dressed. Ginny knew he had to destroy the last Horcrux himself. He would not heal anyway with this unfinished business but there was a good chance that he would die leaving the hospital before he was healed. The look in his eyes indicated his determination to see this through and Ron took Harry’s arm over his shoulder to help him dress.

Harry quickly laid back down, covering up to hide his clothing as a Healer came in to check on him and give him his potions. She waited until she was satisfied that he’d swallowed it so he’d had no choice but to comply. He became drowsy as he watched the Healer leave, informing him in a cheery voice that when he was well, there were people waiting to congratulate him on killing Voldemort. No one understood but he and his friends that the world remained under the same false sense of security that it had done when Voldemort was thought to have been defeated the first time.

As soon as the door to Harry’s room closed, Hermione took everyone by Sidealong Apparition to the location Dumbledore had indicated, and when they arrived by his directions, they looked to see only the white tomb of Dumbledore shining out like a beacon in what appeared to be an empty clearing. It was apparent the Anti-Apparition wards no longer held. There was a man in a cloak sitting upon the tomb as they approached.

The voice that came from beneath the cloak, shocked and repulsed them all. Harry drew his wand and shot a curse toward the man upon whose tomb he had killed. Snape merely laughed.

I thought with Granger’s help, you would for once be on time, Potter," Snape spat, never flinching though four wands were trained upon his miserable form and he stared into the eyes of the man he had killed in the portrait.

"Lower your wands," commanded Dumbledore, though no one listened.

"Hello Severus," greeted Dumbledore kindly. It appears it is time. Are your affairs in order?"

"Yes, sir. I wish I could ask you if it is all you said it would be. I had my doubts as to whether I would feel your posthumous summons should I ever be of service to you again, but here I am, ready to serve you again."

"As I knew you would be my dear boy."

Harry was burning with anger, feeling that surely the potions he had taken at the hospital were making him hallucinate. How could this be happening! The man had killed Dumbledore and now he stood talking to him like a father.

"I believe Sir Nick’s Deathday Party should be well underway. It would only be courteous to inform his guests that the festivities will be interrupted when the castle comes down," Dumbledore said calmly to his murderer.

Mouths agape, the friends watched as Snape strode forward, calling Sir Nick who appeared immediately as though by command, causing the whole castle to come into its majestic view for what would be the last time.

Before Nick realized what was going on, he greeted them and went into a happy banter, explaining that he was just ready to give his speech at this most memorable Deathday party.

Nick figured that since he’d heard of Voldemort’s defeat, that Harry and his group of friends had returned to school. Nick had known of Snape’s innocence all along it seemed for he looked neither shocked nor surprised to see him. Snape had been hiding out from both sides of the war at Hogwarts for all the time since he had delivered Draco back to his mother who had taken him into hiding, never to be seen again.

"Ah, you have returned for my Deathday party," Nick said, looking visibly choked up for a ghost. "How does this sound for an ice breaker in my speech, which by the way, you are just in time for?"

Nick cleared his throat. "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your heads..." Nick broke of, his happy banter when Harry interrupted to inform him of the terrible set of circumstances that had brought them back to the school.

"You must let me have ten more minutes," Sir Nick begged, not realizing the gravity of the situation. A very kind lady has lent me her head for my first Headless Hunt and there are no rules saying that one must use their own head..."

"Don’t be a fool, Porpington," Snape sneered. "Don’t you see what this means? You are a resident ghost. If your residence is destroyed past even mere ruins, you are allowed to go onto into the next life, or whatever is out there."

Everyone looked at Snape, Harry especially feeling that the man would try to stop them from destroying the school and his master, but Snape had a quiet resolve about him. A peace on his pallid face that they had never seen before.

Dumbledore seemed intent upon making sure that Harry knew why Snape had killed him. Dumbledore had asked Snape to kill him for three reasons. He had felt that Draco Malfoy could still be saved and he did not want him to tarnish his soul by carrying out Voldemort’s orders. Dumbledore also knew he was dying. Whatever had happened to his hand, and he still did not say, was slowly eating away at the rest of his body as well.

The third reason Dumbledore told them all, was so shocking that Harry slumped to the ground, dragging Ron, who had been holding him up, down with him.

"Voldemort wanted something of Gryffindor’s as well, Harry. The note that was delivered from Fawkes to you that I wrote before I died, informing you that I had found and destroyed that particular Horcrux, meant that I had arranged for my own destruction. Once again, I was a fool to think that Voldemort would not use another living thing besides Nagini as a Horcrux. Yes, Harry, another reason Voldemort was afraid of me, was because I was a Horcrux. By killing me, he risked one of his souls, so he must have been quite confident that he would succeed and that Hogwarts was all the soul keeper he needed."

Harry felt sick to his stomach. Hogwarts had been his home. All this time, the one place his mind found peace, it had been tainted by a vile, evil, force.

Harry went through all of the stages of loss at once, but not in the typical order. Denial, certainly. Bartering? Yes, he had done that ever since leaving St Mungo’s. Grief, the biggest of all until his acceptance of what he had to do, and finally anger burst forth.

No one could believe their eyes when Harry stood unaided and stumbled to the nearest part of the castle he could reach. He stood pounding his fists on it, yelling out in anguish all the names of the people he had lost while thinking that these stone walls were some sort of pure, untouchable haven, and all the while, it had played host to the most powerful threat the world had ever known.

Ron grabbed Harry and stopped him from physically punching the walls of the school. Harry’s hands were swollen and bleeding as he asked Dumbledore how to destroy the school.

Dumbledore told them where to find what they needed, but when they reached the Room Of Requirement, they were met by a sight none of them had expected. The stone gargoyles that typically guarded the entrance to the Headmaster’s office stood as silent sentries against their entry no matter what needs they listed or how desperate they sounded.

Harry cried out in frustration. This was hard enough to do without obstacles other than his own reluctance to destroy the only home he’d ever known. It was then that he realized that someone must have moved the guardians to the Room Of Requirement to prevent entry into the castle, not the other way around. This had been how Draco Malfoy had let in the Death Eaters when the castle had been breached.

Everyone shouted possible passwords at the gargoyles who remained perched loyal and unmoving.

Harry’s breathing was ragged from the pain in his scar more than from the pain of his many injuries and magical burnout from having killed Voldemort. He sunk to the floor, muttering nonsensical words. As he made to stand up again, he touched the chin of the gargoyle and drew his hand away in revulsion as something sticky clung to his fingers that came away in long strings. It was Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum and the gargoyles sprang out of the way at Harry’s proclamation of disgust when he’d mentioned the name of the product as more of a cuss than a password.

Dumbledore had told them all the spells it would take to bring the castle down utterly and all of the physical equipment they would need and it all appeared before them.

Fred and George suddenly appeared with a loud pop and stood looking utterly perplexed at having ended up at their old school with boxes of their ‘private stash of explosives’ under their arms. Somehow, explaining the situation to the Weasley twins was not difficult and they sprang into action immediately.

Fred and George were the embodiment of the statement, ‘seize the day,’ and within minutes, they had followed Harry and this unlikely group to the dungeons where the Deathday party was in full swing, Nick sitting on horseback with a headless lady ghost riding side-saddle behind him. He had ridden in the Headless Hunt at last, if only for a few moments. Nick now stood ready to help destroy what for lack of a better name, was his home too.

"You’re going to have to hurry, Potter, some of those ghosts may inform an unwanted element of what is going on. Go and stand behind the gates and I will remain here to make sure the destruction goes unimpeded," Snape ordered without room for back talk.

"No, you can’t stay here. Dumbledore wouldn’t want that," Harry replied, still feeling as though this whole day had been a horrible dream. He would never call Snape friend, but nor did he wish death upon him.

"Did you think Voldemort would let us live if we failed him?" Snape sneered in his old condescending tone from class when someone failed to please him with their potion.

"What..." Harry trailed off, the gravity of Snape’s words hitting him fully.

"Ten minutes from now, the world will be a much better place, one I would like to have seen. I just hope that the scar that the Dark Lord bestowed upon you, does not have the same properties as the one that even now burns upon my forearm," Snape said with genuine inflection.

"What do you mean?" Ginny asked, tears welling in her eyes as Snape ordered her brothers to get Harry out of the castle.

Harry had not mentioned the pain that pain that burned fiercely in his scar since they had arrived, but Ginny would feel him grip her hand more tightly at times, wincing.

Harry stood at the entrance to the Great Hall and quite in contrast to punching the walls that he had done earlier, he stroked his hand against the great pillar, almost as if saying goodbye to his memories and any part of the castle that may still hold some virtue of good.

"Come on Harry," Ginny whispered and she marveled that he didn’t look scared by Snape’s suggestion that he too may suffer the same fate as the Death Eaters Voldemort had marked. Snape had made it clear that he and the other Death Eaters knew that when Voldemort had come back, he had ensured their fidelity by linking his own life with theirs and with the last Horcrux destroyed, so too would their life be over.

Ghosts stood around the outside of the castle, waiting for what would be the greatest destruction they would ever witness, some almost forgetting that because they were already dead they could not be hurt.

Supported by Fred and George, Harry watched Snape close the doors to the school for the last time. He had given an ironic bow and a smile that none of them could say they’d ever seen on his face before.

Harry turned his head, unable to watch, aimed his wand and fired the first blast of flame through the windows of the Great Hall and soon, everyone fired until the castle was filled with the twins’ explosives. Harry choked out the incantations Dumbledore had taught him as smoke filled the air, not seen even in the nearby village of Hogsmeade because of the unplottable enchantment.

Two hours later, the last great beam of the castle came down. The towers lay like broken ribs of a body in utter ruin. Harry sat upon the ground, sweat standing out on his brow as he aimed to pulverize the towers, the only parts of the castle that hadn’t been reduced to sand.

Harry screamed out in agony as Gryffindor Tower was reduced to fine sand as the destructive curse had left his lips. He felt his very leg bones turning to dust within him. He knew now that he was linked to Voldemort as Snape had suggested, but he raised his wand for another strike, gasping in pain.

"No, Harry, no, it’s gone, the castle’s gone. If you do any more, you’ll die. It’s destroyed. We can stop!" Ginny begged him.

Harry looked at Ginny, tears in both their eyes. They both knew what had to be done. Fred and George were hugging Ron and Hermione in grief. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Ginny knelt next to Harry and a horrible stab of cold went through her body when Harry said goodbye to her and aimed his wand once before any of them could stop him and he blew the second to last turret to bits.

Ginny felt Harry’s hand slip from hers where he had clutched his last lifeline on this earth.

"Gah!" Harry screamed, his scar on fire as he fell back into her arms convulsing in pain.

Harry could not move any longer. Ginny leaned toward his face to hear what she feared would be his last words. He begged her to finish it. To finish the destruction until nothing remained of Hogwarts but dust in the wind.

Dumbledore had told Harry that he did not have to take this journey alone. Ginny now knew what she had to do. They all did. Ginny had her chance to prove that she would neither be in the way of his mission nor let him die wondering about her safety and that of his friends and the whole world.

The twins and Ron leaned over Harry, hugging him fiercely and Hermione kissed him tenderly on the forehead, her tears falling freely on his face making lines in the soot. Ginny made Harry promise to try to hold on if he could, and wait for her if he could not.

"Ginny, please let me know that when I go on, you will live and go on in your life. Have those kids you always wanted, the house of your dreams, a career. Let me know that I’m not leaving you for nothing. That at least something will be good. Remember me, but please promise me...look after Ron and make sure he flies with the Canons...take care of..." Harry’s voice tailed off and his eyes rolled back in head.

Ginny knelt beside him begging him to hold on until they could get him back to St Mungo’s, but it was too late. Harry was no longer breathing and the scar that had been a thin line on his forehead now bled openly.

Ginny drew a shuddering breath, voice wracked with grief, but she stood beside her brothers and Hermione and they all aimed at once, sending Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wiazrdry into the history books.

"Harry!" Ginny screamed lowering her shaking arm, dropping her wand, knowing that with the last curse it had performed, she had had a hand in killing the only man she would ever love.

George put a hand on her shoulder saying the only thing that he could think of. "Harry needed you to be able to let go. To love him enough to help him finish this journey, and you did, Ginny. You did."

Sir Nicholas rode up on his horse looking grave. He looked down at Harry’s physical form lying pale on the ground and to his standing opaque form looking shocked and scared behind his huddled friends who were frantically performing spells to try to bring him back.

Harry’s eyes were wide with shock and he wanted to look away from his body on the ground but Sir Nick wouldn’t let him for he knew the battle that Harry was having with himself. A peace had settled upon Harry and though he could see his friends grieving, the ability to feel their pain was diminishing.

"Enervate! Enervate! Damn it, Harry!" screamed Hermione, tears falling unchecked down her face as Ron shook him roughly. But Harry could, or would feel nothing.

Nick spoke aloud so that Harry could hear him and so could his friends.

"I never thought of what I was leaving behind, Harry. I never thought of what going on would mean either. I chose wrong and now I have a chance to go on thanks to you. Chloe here behind me was a Gryffindor too and she is going on with me. Your love is here, Harry. Go to her," Sir Nick begged Harry and if ghosts could cry, Harry was sure Nick would have been.

Harry looked over and saw a proud, erect form walking out of the rubble. Snape was now a ghost, and he carried in his arms his own battered, empty body and placed it beside Dumbledore’s tomb. The portrait of Dumbledore nodded with a small smile of approval as Snape laid his own corpse beside the tomb and spoke so that only Harry and Sir Nick could hear, for his friends did not look up.

"Potter, I will tell them you did well. Don’t waste everything I’ve sacrificed for you by giving up when you can finally have everything some people strive a lifetime to get," Snape told him, but Snape was as elusive in death as he had been in life.

"Wait!" Harry called to Snape, but he was fading from view as was Sir Nick. Sir Nick at least, turned around when Harry called to him.

"I don’t know how to get back," Harry told him. Harry wondered why, if he was dead, there was no one here to meet him. No parents, no Sirius...

"This is the place of decision," Sir Nicholas informed him. "The place where I made the worst decision of my life...death I guess really," Nick corrected. "I was too afraid to go on and I was dead, so I couldn’t go back. I should have gone on, but now, thanks to you, I have an opportunity to go on. You are not dead yet, Harry. Not unless you want to be and even I cannot tell you what will befall you in your choice should you stay here. All I can tell you, is that if I were you, I would go back. I cannot tell you that regret does not exist on either choice you make, but I can tell you that in the living world, it will be all there is for quite some time if you stay here."

The last thing Harry remembered was feeling the peace leave him to be replaced by an agony he had never before endured. He lay on the damp grass gasping as he felt Ginny’s warm hand grasp his reassuringly, and he believed her when she told him he would be alright.

Harry croaked out a raspy goodbye to Sir Nick as he galloped off, proudly replacing the head on his female companion’s body, never to be seen again among the living or the dead. Nick had thanked him for giving him the most memorable Deathday party he had ever had.

When Harry woke up a week later in St Mungo’s, he was surrounded by a sea of red hair. A small body lay beside him, and his hand was entwined with hers. Ginny was sleeping as Mrs Weasley handed Harry his glasses. He looked over at her and noticed that she too had a peace about her that he hadn’t seen in years.

Voldemort had indeed tried to use Ginny to get to Harry, but she had been right in that together, they would defeat him, and so they had, even if she, Harry, Ron, Hermione and the twins had done it slightly backwards and had had to risk everything they loved to do it.

Harry would move into the Burrow in a few weeks when he was released from St Mungo’s, though he now owned Grimmauld Place and a small flat of his own in London. Mrs Weasley had added his face to the family clock in anticipation of his homecoming. It would be a long road to recovery for Harry, but the portrait of Dumbledore would sit for hours as he lay in bed, taking his mind off his pain by regaling him with tales of how his hand been destroyed and his fights to destroy the Horcrux.

Ginny never left Harry’s side, nor did his friends. If regrowing the bones in one arm in his second year had been difficult, reforming bones and tendons in one’s whole body was excruciating. It was all worth it the moment Ginny would smile at him and they would talk about the family they would make together when he was well and the life they would share.

This was the woman for Harry. The one who would give him up to finish what he’d started. He had been a fool to try to push her away before, for had she not been beside him, he honestly didn’t think he could have fulfilled his destiny. She was his destiny.

Harry now knew that home was not wherever you hang you hat, home was where the people that you love and love you back are. Something Tom Riddle had never understood nor tried to strive for. As soon as he was well enough, he would propose to Ginny and they would make a home together.

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