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The spell wasn't sophisticated or particularly pithy, nor was its caster, but it was powerful, and everyone agreed its essence was the thing they needed. Well. Harry wasn't so sure, but he trusted Ron, and Hermione certainly wouldn't agree to anything Ron proposed unless she'd already thoroughly trampled its flaws.

Finding Voldemort was never a problem. The red-eyed bastard was hanging about in Cornwall, openly torturing Muggles and decorating the locale with pieces of them. Inferi were common as well; already, they'd seen the risen corpses of Scrimgeour and Arthur Weasley

Oh Merlin, Ron whimpered, is that dad? Is that my dad?
Get it away, said Ginny, he isn't ours any longer, so fucking hex it. Do it, Harry!
And Harry did it, killed Arthur Weasley for a second time and later he killed Ginny after she was dead too

and Flitwick, which had been almost more terrible than the rest, tiny Flitwick still in his teaching robes, because who had time for white tombs and shrouds any longer?

But this was their newest effort. This was something that, if they were right about Harry's particular strengths and Voldemort's weaknesses, should make it all stop. End the war. Kill Voldemort, at long last.

The Horcruxes were a good start, they'd learned, but killing off even the fragment of Voldemort left in its original flesh was trickier than finding the locket Regulus Black stole; more difficult than finally, finally, crushing the power out of Ravenclaw's sodding living sink of magical learning, the Grimoire.

Wormtail, a human cockroach much more than a rat, brought Harry before his master so eagerly. Grinning, proud of his capture, and Harry was grateful he'd finally learned to block. Maybe, just maybe, he could give Voldemort enough of his mind to satisfy and he wouldn't search all the way to the bottom, all the way to the truth.

Harry saw the spell ripple out of his own mouth, coruscations of energy and intent. It was almost pretty, in a brutal sort of way, triggered by a word


and comprised of every wish, every dream Harry ever had of his future in a free world. It rattled the walls, and killed Wormtail so quickly – Lucius Malfoy and Draco too – that even Voldemort was briefly unable to react to the outpouring of Harry's essence.

As Voldemort wavered and failed to exist, Harry saw the string-of-pearls pulses of magic turning pink, then darker, and understood why they'd developed this idea in the privacy of their shared bed, his two best friends. There were things they loved better than the Boy-Who-Lived.