Harry Potter kicked at the edge of his four-poster in Gryffindor Tower and wondered how he got himself into these things. Stuck mere moments from the Final Battle, wondering if he should fight or give up.
On his terribly thin shoulders rested the weight of the entire wizarding world, who expected him to defeat the bane of their existence. Two hopeful hands helped support him from that weight in the forms of Hermione and Ron, his two best friends. Harry would do anything for those two, as they had made his life bearable.
But how could Harry destroy the only person he'd ever loved? If love was even the right word for what Voldemort and he had. Fucking on the side. A moment with no expectations, no hopeful looks, no responsibility. Could he really destroy that stability?
"Harry? They're almost here? Are you ready?" Ron asked from the doorway. Next to him stood Hermione, wand out and terrified. Harry had already tried to convince them to stay in the tower, but they had refused.
Was he ready? Could he choose between his best friends and the lack of expectation?
"Harry? whispered the scared brunette.
"I'm coming," he replied in a voice that didn't shake. He didn't know if he could do this, but for Hermione and Ron...
"Then let's go," said the brave lion with the mane of red. And then he turned to lead the way down the stairs.
Hermione slipped her hand into Harry's and shared the responsibility of bringing up the rear. "We'll win," she said, and Harry wasn't sure who she was trying to reassure.
Ron led them through a sea of red and gold expectation and down to where the people who had taught the three best friends all they knew stood, looking lost and helpless. When Harry walked in, it was as if hope came in with him; all those lost faces lit up like a Christmas tree.
And Harry felt sick.
Hermione squeezed his hand.
Ron looked at the two other Gryffindors, then pushed open the doors and stepped back, leaving Harry to walk out onto the clean steps of his home.
Red eyes stared up at him from a sea of black and white. "You came."
Harry closed his eyes and rose his wand, but the words wouldn't come.
A pale hand rested over Harry's hand and took his wand from unrelenting fingers. Behind him, Harry heard the breath of defeat like a tolling bell.
"Sleep now, sweet Harry. I will protect you."
And Harry closed eyes that he hadn't realised had opened as the sea of black swept past them to destroy everything.
"Sleep forever, my sweet."
Harry only let out one soft gasp as the fingers tightened on his throat, until he hung, limp.
And, slowly, the saviour sunk to the feet of his murderer among the cries of the condemned.