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As we begin to rise, Voldemort fires again.

Harry and I rise and Voldemort fires again, but we simply rise again.

Furious, Voldemort steps forward and points the wand only inches from our foreheads, seething. I glance behind, my vision spinning. Nothing is behind us. Only a void beyond the blasted battlement. Only sky and a great fall. I turn back to Voldemort.

"You were right." Voldemort's eyes glitter curiously. My eyes drift to the wand in Voldemort's hand. "When you told Professor Snape it was failing you. It will always fail you."

"It belongs to me! I killed Snape!"

Harry begins taunting him. "But what if the wand never belonged to him? What if the wand's allegiance was to someone else?"

Voldemort stares at him. Confused. And suddenly, in this moment, it is Harry and I, beaten and bloody, who seem in control. I smile, then press even closer, my voice quiet, vaguely taunting.

"Come on, Tom. Let's end this the way we started it..." Harry and I grab Voldemort's cloak in both hands. "Together."

Then we fall back, bulling the three of us down into the void.

Harry, Voldemort, and I plummet, twisting crazily, when suddenly a crack fills the sky and we apparate into a plume. Entwined, morphing monstrously in and out of each another, a single screaming beast one minute, adversaries the next, hurtling downward, toward the courtyard below.

We stop fighting for a moment, peering upwards at the plume above. As it streams to the ground, another crack fills the sky and Harry, Voldemort, and I burst apart as we meet the ground, rolling onto our feet facing one another across the courtyard.

Chests heaving, Harry and I stare at him, then
Voldemort's eyes shift. I follow, watching the Elder Wand roll to a rest.

"We told you." Harry starts.

"It's useless to you." I smirk.

Just then, Ron and Hermione burst into our view, followed by Nagini. Nagini rises, ready to strike. Harry and I turn, wands in hand, but we're too late.

Ron reaches out and takes Hermione's hand. Voldemort grabs the Elder Wand. Nagini's head drops toward Ron and Hermione, Harry and I watch in horror.

Then Neville, appearing out of nowhere, steps into the breach, sword in hand, and with one mighty swing severs Naginis head.

Voldemort freezes, watching Nagini's body thrash madly for a time before going still. The great snake's head tumbles and then, as it comes to a rest, Voldemort bellows in pain. Then turns, firing on Harry and I.

Instinctively, we raise our wands, countering, and the Elder Wand sails from Voldemort's hand, turning end-over-end, the spell ricocheting back on him.

He stands, utterly still for a moment, his eyes on Harry and I, then drops. Dead.

A light breeze blows over the damaged grounds.

I lower my wand and look to Harry. He meets my gaze and we engulf each other in a hug.

"We did it, Mia. We did it. It's all over now."

"How will we manage without someone trying to kill us every year?" I look up at him with a smirk.

"I'm sure we'll figure it out." He sighs. We stand there in each other's arms, enjoying the victory, the peace, for as long as we can.

Eventually we find our way back in the castle, walking down a corridor. All we want to do is make sure everyone is alright.

Quiet now. Everyone's here, some huddled together in small groups, nursing their wounds. There are no tears, just quiet laughter and low conversation. Harry and I stand at the top of the Hall, surveying it all, then begin to walk.

The Weasleys huddle together, Ginny's head resting on her mother's shoulder, her eyes distant. Fred tries his best to comfort his family.

The Malfoys sit in the shadows, avoiding eye contact. Dracos eyes meet mine and he sends a nod my way. I return it with a smile. It's funny how our friendship blossomed, but I am grateful for it.

McGonagall steps into the aisle, gives us a hug, lightly touching our faces, then turns away, eyes glistening.

Aberforth and Oliver Wood sit around goblets of something strong. Aberforth gives him a stoic nod.

Dean and Seamus laugh together at a table.

Filch communes with Mrs. Norris.

Flitwick and Sprout sit quietly, dazed.

Neville sits wearily, the Sword of Gryffindor still clutched limply in his hand. Luna sits down beside him, close and smiles.

And then I look up and see Hagrid filling the aisle. Tears in his eyes. He steps forward, wraps Harry and I in his massive arms. I wince, then Hagrid releases us, cuffs us on the arm and hobbles away, blowing his nose in a giant handkerchief. Harry and I watch him go, then turn and see our best friends.

Hermione and Ron stand by the doorway, watching us.

The four of us walk together, then stop, looking back at the battered castle in the distance.

"Not exactly leaving the place better than we found it, are we?" Ron says.

"Can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs." Ron gives Hermione a screwy look. She shakes her head wearily, frowns. "Something my mum used to say." I study her, absently playing my fingers over the Elder Wand. She looks over, nods to it. "Why didn't it work for him? The Elder wand."

"Because it answers to another." As Harry says this, Ron and Hermione study him. "When he killed Snape, he thought the wand would become his. But the thing is... it never belonged to Snape."

Harry turns to me, watching me fiddle with the wand in the light, eyeing its brutish surface.

"It was Draco who disarmed Dumbledore that night on the Astronomy Tower. From that moment on, the wand answered to him. Until the other night..." I begin to say then look at Harry. "...when I disarmed Draco. At Malfoy Manor."

"But that means..." Ron begins. I look down at the wand in my hands and nod.

"It answers to me."

Harry and Hermione stare at me. Ron stares at the wand.

"What do you reckon we should do with it?" Ron asks.

"We?" Hermione scoffs.

"I'm just saying. That's the Elder Wand! It's the most powerful bloody wand in the world! With that, we could, we could..." Hermione raises her hand and Ron stops, sees that her eyes are fixed on me. I stare at the wand, my concentration total. She studies my face for a long moment, and then, as if coming to understand something, begins to nod.

I glance to Harry, telling by the look in his eyes, he has the same idea. As I peer down at my hands, Harry, Ron, and Hermione do as well, watching as I take the ends of the wand and break it in two.

Ron stares, stunned. Hermione smiles. I turn to Harry and hand him one of the pieces. We then pitch it over the edge of the viaduct. For a moment, the four of us stand in silence, as if words would bring the bridge crashing down.

Finally, Harry glances off at the ruins of the castle, smoldering in the distance. "Well, it wasn't boring, was it?"

"It was a lot of things..." I start. "But boring was not one of them."

Ron turns, ready with a reply, but whatever words were there are gone before he can utter them.

We all stare into the distance, giving ourselves over to the silence. Then, tentatively, tenderly, fingers reach out, Hermione's, and brush Ron and Harry's. Harry then takes his other hand in mine. I look over, seeing that their eyes are closed, as if they were committing the moment to memory. Rons eyes stay open, watching the two along with me.

Ron and I glance briefly at one another and then look off and, like them, close our eyes.

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