There are many casualties in war; a simple and agonizing fact. Everyone knew that they had a high chance of death when they fought, but they didn't let that stop them. They had to save who they could.
For him, the cost of victory was everyone he had ever loved—and he wasn't sure it was worth it.
The first to die was Hermione, her brown hair dyed auburn with her blood when she saved a younger student; after her was his sister, Ginny's cry of pain still ringing in his ears; the twins were next, Fred being buried under rubble, George killed by a bright green flash when he let his guard down at the sight of his dead twin.
His parents died together, pushing a small group of students out of the way of falling debris; Percy died fighting side by side with Bill and Charlie, the three brothers ambushed and killed by a horde of Death Eaters, a colourful scene that would be burned into his memory until his dying day.
Harry had to sacrifice himself, a part of Voldemort's soul within him; Neville took that final blow, killing the dark lord with the same sword that had killed Nagini. A poisonous green spell had stopped the boy before he could revel in his victory.
He saw Lavender's body sprawled out, mauled by a werewolf, and the Creevey brothers lying together surrounded by dozens of Death Eater bodies, the brothers' last effort of an explosion of magic.
And lastly, Severus Snape, lying with his eyes open, his lips curling into a half smile; the last expression he had before he died.
When the war was over, the wizarding world rejoiced. Every street was covered in confetti, every home was filled with joy.
Well, almost every home.
Ronald Weasley locked himself in his dead lover's house, the Burrow having been burned to the ground before the beginning of the last fight.
Usually, he would be found in the library, only leaving the room to use the bathroom. A small cot that was sat next to the wall of the library was where he would sleep, a tactic he used because it was harder to be snuck upon.
One wouldn't really recognize him for the boy he used to be, his blue eyes had become dull and lifeless, his hair limp, and his skin sallow.
No one saw this, of course, save his personal mediwizard, who was the only person allowed on the land else a panic attack would overtake Ron—an outcome that would likely kill him.
"Weasley, you've got to eat," Draco Malfoy spoke, struggling to get his patient to eat.
Draco had been assigned as Ron's personal mediwizard soon after his basic training was over, right around the time the boy's panic attacks started to come in larger scales. He wouldn't be as far into his practical training if it hadn't been for the other boy, but that was only a thin silver lining in this monstrosity of a life.
Draco lifted the fruit plate from that morning, barely picked on, and left a plate of toast and soup, his patient unable to eat heavy meals. Ron's stomach hadn't had a full meal since he left the Burrow before the war, and Draco feared how his stomach would react if anything heavy was eaten before Ron was ready.
Ron was sitting at his desk with yet another of Severus' books sitting before him. Draco sighed, turning to leave the room; there was nothing he could do to get Ron to eat.
It took Ron almost ten years to get through the entire library in Severus' house—in his house.
Draco had already started a family; his little girl and his newborn son waiting for him at home. Ron was still mute, still in a trance-like state with the only determination in him being the completion of reading Severus' entire collection of books.
He didn't allow anyone in his home, nobody but Draco, and no one would have wanted to go inside with him even if Ron wouldn't panic. Ron had gone nowhere. Not forward, not backward. He just sat there in silence, picking at his food, and reading every book he could reach. No one could figure out why. The people who had known Ron before the war knew he hated reading and staying put.
But there was nothing Draco could do to get the man to open up, to say anything.
Which was why it had come as such a surprise when the man suddenly spoke.
"I found it," Ron's words were so low, Draco almost thought he imagined them. The man couldn't have meant that.
"Ron?" Draco had stopped, the plate of food almost falling to the floor, barely being caught.
"I can save them all," Ron spoke louder, his eyes reading a passage over and over. Draco did drop the plate when Ron stood suddenly, the book in his tight grip as he shot out of the room to the adjacent and unused potions room.
"Ron," Draco rushed after him, everything going black once he crossed the threshold.
Draco groaned as he woke. An unknown amount of time had passed while he was unconscious. He looked up to see Ron standing before a glowing, potion-filled cauldron, his features looking even sicklier than before.
"Ron, what are you doing?" Draco couldn't help but ask as he stood, one hand on his back—he must have been slumped in a bad position.
"I'm going to save them, all of them," Ron stated, his gaze not leaving the glowing substance. Draco had a bad feeling about this. Something was going to go wrong.
Before he could stop Ron, a ladle was lifted to the redhead's lips, and he was gone.
Draco didn't know how he was going to explain this to his superiors.
Ron looked on in horror, his lover, Severus Snape, was standing across the way, his body showing signs of exhaustion; deep-set eyes, a bleeding lip, hands shaking.
"Don't do it!" Ron yelled out, Severus turning his eyes to glance at him, Ron's heart broke at the defeat in them. They were on opposite sides of the war and by all rights, Ron was supposed to kill him, was supposed to get rid of all dangers. But he couldn't, he didn't think Severus wanted to be this way, he believed in him, trusted him.
He didn't care that Severus was a death eater, didn't care that it was considered wrong to be dating him, what with him being Ron's professor and being the right-hand man to the most dangerous wizard alive.
Ron turned when he heard the screams, and Hermione's lifeless corpse stared at him, Ginny's face burned off only meters away from her, his parents crushed together on the other side of the courtyard, the lifeless bodies of his brothers dropped to the ground like puppets whose strings were cut.
Ron heard Severus curse, drawing his attention back to the older man, his wand held up to protect himself. Ron flinched when Severus uttered a spell, his eyes clenching shut when a green light left the wand.
But the deadly magic didn't hit him; it flew past his shoulder, hitting a Death Eater that had been sneaking up on Ron. Ron looked up and grinned at Severus, who smirked back, before being forced off his feet by a bright green curse.