The surge of energy that exploded in his chest was not the last thing he felt. Surely, he knew he was dying but he least expected it to be as such. As though time had momentarily slowed down, he felt every part of him returning, and the feeling of being complete was something he had long forgotten.
As the glare in his eyes finally faded away, he found himself standing in a clearing. There was a stream with glistening waters, and a fresh smell lingered in the air. Walking towards the stream, he saw his reflection and to his sudden disgust, he wanted to look away. He was hideous, even to himself.
Turning away from the stream, he saw a girl, seated under a tree. Her dark hair fell over her shoulders, and her perfectly fair complexion was softly glowing. This was certainly not reality.
As she stood up, his heart skipped a beat. The simple white dress she wore made her more beautiful than he could remember. Oh, how he missed her so much and the goodness of her heart.
“Tom? Is that you?” she asked, as she started walking towards him.
“I-” Tom quickly turned away. Inevitably staring into his reflection in the stream again. And it was in the water that he saw the change. His face was reshaping, regrowing and he was soon staring at his younger self. He was the boy who still had his soul intact, as well as everything else before dark magic had infested his very being.
“It is you,” Joanna said softly, looking into the water’s reflection.
“How? Is this heaven?” Tom immediately laughed at his own ridiculous questions. “Who am I kidding? You’re not even real.”
“What makes you so certain?” Joanna asked.
Turning to her, Tom took her hands and said, “Because, I don’t deserve it.”
“And yet here you are. I suggest you make the most out of this moment,” Joanna replied, as she led him to a stroll down stream.
“I feel oddly different. Is this how people feel when they die?”
“I don’t know. How different do you feel?”
“That’s because, you’re you again. Every part of you is finally home.”
Tom decided not to think about his feelings too much, God knows how long he had in such paradise. He did have a thousand questions though, like why did he not feel angry at the Potter boy for not dying, and why was he not at all upset that his lifetime plan failed again. Limbo was a very odd place, he concluded.
“You know, I’m kinda glad Harry Potter existed,” Joanna broke the silence.
Stopping in her tracks, she sat on a big rock by the stream and waved for him to follow after.
“Why? He destroyed me twice,” Tom replied immediately.
“And he saved you once,” Joanna responded as quickly as he did.
Joanna pulled up her white dress above her knees before dipping her feet into the stream. He had not noticed she was barefooted, until he saw that he was too.
“Think about it. After everything you have done, how is it possible for you to remember who I am?”
“I cared for you, that’s why I remembered.”
“And that part that cared for me lived in the boy. The very night you attempted to kill him, but instead lost part of your soul to him, was the same night he became the protector of the part that made you feel.”
“So when I attempted to kill him again, I killed my only human part? How does that even make sense Joanna?”
“You look at things too narrowly, Tom. Every time Harry destroyed one of your Horcruxes, that part of your soul returned to you. The pain you feel, was not really death; it was the pain of being you again. When you released Harry of the soul he was guarding, it returned to you as well. And when Nagini died, she gave up the last piece.”
“So, I became human again, and weak?”
“Humans are not weak; it is where you choose to get your strength from. Tom, you chose an unwisely path.”
“So, I have Harry to thank for, for being human again. The boy who ruined me is now my savior?” There was a pinch of anger in his tone, even though his anger could not fully grow.
“Harry never ruined you, you ruined you. He saved you from a state far worse than this.”
Tom did not respond. There were truth in her words and blaming someone else for how his life ended was not going to help him now. He silently wondered if there was a way he could turn back time and relive his life. He would have done so many things differently to spare him the regret he was feeling now.
Deep in his thoughts, he did not realize Joanna had reached for his hand until she laid a gentle kiss on top of it.
“Stop thinking so much,” Joanna said softly.
“I can’t help it, I…” Tom trailed off as he looked at Joanna.
Tom did not know how long he was looking at her until he noticed the trees and sky behind her starting to fade into white.
“Joanna, what’s happening?” Tom asked, as his surroundings started to dissolve.
Joanna gave a weak smile in reply, as she held on to his hand tightly. Tom had suspected that such bliss would not last forever, but he hoped it would have given him more time.
As the only world he knew of was slowly disappearing into a plain shade, Tom knew this was his last chance to do something right.
“Joanna,” Tom said, pausing as he took both her hands, “I love you.”
And then white was all there was.
The series has officially ended. Here’s a final drawing, as a token of remembrance!
If you want to download this picture, head on to my Facebook page. It will be up for download 🙂
I hope you enjoyed the series! And thank you for journeying it with me.