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This Ends Today by Singularity
Chapter 1 : Perspectives
 
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"Harry Potter is dead.  He was killed as he ran away, trying to save himself while you lay down your lives for him.  We bring you his body as proof that your hero is gone."



*          *          *


Mrs. Weasley inhaled sharply as the voice reverberated through the castle.  

No!  He can’t be gone.  I’ve already lost one son, shouldn’t that be enough?  She felt Arthur’s arm settle around her shoulders, pulling her close.  Turning, she buried her face into his chest and sobbed in despair.  That poor boy had been through so much, yet was still so good and kind and brave.  He didn’t deserve the hell he had been through.  He deserved to see this finished, to have a life beyond the shadow that had always followed him, but now he never would. 

“I f-failed them, Arthur.  I’m their mother! I was supposed to p-protect them!” 

It didn’t matter that Harry wasn’t really her son, didn’t matter that she hadn't even met him until he was eleven and only saw him during the holidays.  At some point over the years, he had evolved from Ron’s friend to Ron’s brother.  He had become an honorary Weasley, and that made him her son.   

Arthur stroked her hair gently as he answered, the threat of tears thickening his voice. “You know our children, Molly.  They never would have forgiven you if you’d tried to stop them from being here.  They’re good kids, brave kids, and they wanted to be here to end this because that’s the most important thing.  There’ll be time to mourn, love, but right now, we have to finish this; that’s what Harry and F-Fred would have wanted.”

Tears streamed down her face as the feeling of loss overwhelmed her.  She couldn’t go on, it was impossible.  Too much had been lost.  But more will be lost if you don’t fight, she thought. 

Taking a deep, shuddering breath, Molly struggled to gain control of herself.  The only way to protect her remaining children was to end this, to defeat Voldemort and every last one of his followers.  Arthur was right: the time for mourning would come, but for now, she had to be strong for the ones she had lost and for the ones who remained. 

She stepped out of her husband’s arms, wiping her eyes harshly with the back of her hand. Voldemort and his Death Eaters don’t realise what they’ve started, she thought fiercely, but they will.  Oh, how they will.  She cleared her throat, swallowing down the last of her sobs, and met her Arthur’s eyes.  She took strength from his look of grim determination that she was sure mirrored her own.  “Let’s go,” she muttered, and the two of them linked hands and strode briskly out of the castle. 

This ends today.

 

*          *          *

 
Ron stopped in his tracks, his breath catching in his throat.  That can’t be true. Harry can’t be dead.  He felt Hermione shudder next to him, and he reached over to grab her hand.  It’s a trick, that’s all it is.  Voldemort’s lying, he has to be.  Still, Ron began to move, pulling Hermione after him.  The two of them raced for the doorway, allowing themselves to be swept up by the mass of others also making their way outside.  They spilled out onto the castle grounds at the front of the crowd.  And there was Harry, cradled gently in Hagrid’s arms, looking tiny and helpless in death. 

Ron screamed in disbelief, his shouts mingling with countless others, until an enchantment fell over the crowd and everything fell silent.  He hardly even noticed; his entire world was spinning.  It had to be a mistake. Harry was invincible!  He had defeated Voldemort more times than Ron could count.  There was no way that Harry could be dead, he was the bloody boy who lived!  He was one of the strongest, bravest, and most powerful wizards Ron had ever met.  He closed his eyes, willing it all to be untrue, hoping that somehow he had mis-seen the sight before him.

He opened them moments later when he felt someone take his free hand.  Ginny stood next to him, and the pain on her face told him he hadn’t been mistaken.  Looking up, everything was the same as before, except he no longer saw the boy who lived.  Instead, he saw Harry, his best mate.  The boy who had shared his candy on their first trip on the Hogwarts Express, the boy Ron had shared his family with every summer since.  He wasn't some perfect hero, he was Harry.  Harry, who was rubbish at chess, but a brilliant flyer; who made up the answers to his Divination homework, and taught them Defence Against the Dark Arts; who was loyal to a fault, but still forgave Ron for abandoning him.  Harry, his best mate, his brother.

 Ron suddenly felt tears burning behind his eyes as the loss hit him like a stunner to the chest.  He couldn’t have lost another brother, not so soon after the first. 

The feeling of loss was soon overtaken by an overwhelming surge of anger building within him.  Voldemort did this. Voldemort had murdered Harry, and was now proclaiming to everyone that he was a coward who had died in an attempt to run away.   Ron knew that would never be the case.  Harry ran from nothing.  In fact, Ron should’ve known this was coming.  If Harry thought there was the slightest possibility that he could end this, that he could save lives by sacrificing his own, he would do just that.  He did just that.

Voldemort was talking again, more mockery and lies.  It wasn't right.  His best mate was dead, murdered, and now the killers were standing around mocking him.  Ron wouldn’t stand for that. Harry deserved better and Ron wouldn’t sit back while anyone dishonoured his memory. 

Blinking back his tears and pushing against the enchantment with all of his strength, he called out, “He beat you!” Hundreds of other voices joined in, and the spell was broken.  Ron’s eyes met Voldemort’s dark slits for an instant.

This ends today.

 
*                      *                      *

 
He held the boy gently in his trembling arms, trying his best not to jostle him, although he knew deep down that it didn’t matter.  Harry had gone to where nothing could hurt him any longer.  Hagrid’s brief flash of anger at the sight of the centaurs had been spent and, once again, tears slid down his massive face, but he did nothing to stop them.  Harry deserved these tears.  He deserved to be mourned, and Hagrid would mourn him. 

As he walked slowly back to the castle, Hagrid couldn’t help but think back to the last time he had held this boy in his arms, sixteen years ago, as he scooped him from the remains of his family’s ruined home.  That time, Harry had somehow defeated Voldemort’s curse and Hagrid had arrived to take him to safety.  This time, there was nothing left.  Hagrid could feel the hopelessness wash over him.  He had tried to stop Harry¸ but it was no use.  He had been forced to sit and watch as Voldemort killed him, straining against his own bindings and willing Harry to somehow escape again. But he didn’t.  He didn’t even try.  He just walked straight into Voldemort’s grasp and offered himself up. 

Hagrid knew those images would haunt his dreams.  He would never forget the look of acceptance on Harry’s face when he stepped into the clearing.  Harry had known what he was doing, known the cost, but he did it anyway. 

Hagrid stopped at Voldemort’s command, lurching slightly in surprise as the spell took hold.  He could feel that flame of rage begin to burn again as he listened to Voldemort spout lies about how Harry had died.  He tried to protest, but found he couldn’t make a sound. 

If I somehow survive this, I’ll tell ‘em what yeh did, Harry. Tell ‘em how brave yeh were.  I won’t let ‘em forget yeh.  I’ll make sure they all know, even if I don’ understand it.

It seemed hopeless.  Harry was gone, the defenders of Hogwarts were outnumbered, Voldemort had the upper hand, but it wasn’t over, not yet, and he wasn’t giving up until it was.  Though he had tears in his eyes, his face was determined.

This ends today. 

 

*                      *                      *

 

Voldemort’s words sent a shiver down Hermione’s spine.  It couldn’t be.  Harry couldn’t be dead.  Ron grasped her hand and pulled her along behind him, but she didn’t pay attention to where he was taking her.  If Harry was really gone, nothing else mattered. 

He was the closest she’d ever had to a brother, one of the first friends she’d ever made, and one of the best people she’d ever known.  He always put others first.  If he thought there was anything he could do to save innocent lives, he would do it, even at the expense of himself.  How could she have ever doubted that?  How could she have taken her eyes off of him?  How could she not have seen this coming?

Ron had pulled her to the front of the crowd, and a scream tore from her throat at the sight of Harry’s body, limp and lifeless in Hagrid’s arms.  She gripped Ron’s hand tighter, desperately seeking strength from the best friend she had remaining.  How would they go on without him?   The tears coursed down her face, but she made no motion to stifle them.  

It was her fault.  If she had realised he was missing sooner, maybe she could have stopped him or gone with him, helped some how.  She had promised to never leave his side, but she had failed again, as she had so often in the past.  So many times he was left to face dangers alone, despite her best efforts.  And now this. 

She remembered the day seven years ago when they’d first become friends, when Harry and Ron had rescued her from that troll.  Harry, not knowing much magic, had instead thrown himself on the troll's back in an effort to save her.  Despite the circumstances, she found herself smiling slightly at the memory.  Even at eleven, he had been so brave and noble.  Foolish too, of course, and a relatively terrible student with a proclivity for moodiness and getting into trouble - but he had a good heart, and he was a good friend. 

Her smile faded as quickly as it had come.  It was over.  Harry was gone.  They had lost. 

Hermione’s shoulders slumped in defeat, but Ron squeezed her hand.  She heard him break through the enchantment, yelling defiantly back at Voldemort, and a surge of pride and strength flowed through her as the crowd began to roar along with him.  Ron wasn’t giving up, none of them were, so she couldn’t give up either.  This wasn’t over; Harry would want her to keep fighting, so she would.  The three of them had come so far together, come through so much; it was time it was finished.

She pulled out her wand and added her own voice to the tumultuous cries of the crowd.

This ends today.

 
*                      *                      *

 
With the headmaster missing in action, not to mention a traitorous git, Professor McGonagall was acting headmistress, and as such, was standing guard outside the castle, waiting for the inevitable moment when Voldemort and his followers would return and the battle would recommence. 

That was the official version, at least.  In all honesty, she couldn’t bear to spend any more time in the Great Hall walking amongst the bodies of her students, friends, and colleagues.  She was a teacher.  It was her job to keep her students safe, yet there was a line of them lying motionless on the ground, arranged though they were sleeping. 

She had removed herself from the Hall before her tears betrayed her.  Strength was what was needed now.  The others—students, teachers, and order members alike—were looking to her, and she would not let them down.  So she held her ground as the company of Death Eaters approached.  Knowing that Voldemort had a flair for the dramatic, she wasn’t at all surprised when his magically amplified voice cut through the air once again.  His words, however, stole any remaining hope she had been harbouring. 

Not Harry.  She clutched her chest as a choked scream of disbelief was wrenched from her throat.  As a professor, she knew she shouldn’t have favourites, but it was impossible not to, and it was impossible for Harry not to be one of them.  Aside from being a brilliant Quidditch player, he was a Gryffindor through and through: brave to the point of foolishness, fiercely loyal, and committed to justice and goodness. 

But he was also a child.  He never should’ve had to deal with all of this.  He had carried the world on his shoulders for years.  Even she had put all of her hope, all of her faith into Harry.  She had forgotten that he was just a seventeen year old boy, forgotten that he was far too young to bear such a burden.  She remembered only that Albus had placed his own hopes in him, had told them all that Harry was their best chance. 

Now, their best chance, their last chance, was gone.  But more than that, Harry was gone.  She had been there the night he was left on the Dursley’s front step and could well imagine how terrible the years that followed must have been for him.  Still, he had arrived at Hogwarts untarnished with his mother’s good heart and his father’s dedication to his friends.  Everything else notwithstanding, the world had just lost a good person, and that was a tragedy in itself. 

Yet Voldemort went on, spouting lies that no one who had ever met Harry could possibly believe.  Harry was gone, and their last hope had died with him, but that didn’t mean they would go down without a fight.  She pulled her out her wand and slyly manoeuvred herself until she was squarely in front of the doors to the castle.  She would defend Hogwarts to her last and take down as many Death Eaters as possible while she was at it.

This ends today.

 

*                      *                      *

 
Ginny felt a surge of anger as Voldemort spoke.  If Harry really is dead, I’ll kill him, she thought to herself, barely realising the ridiculousness of her words.

She tore from the castle onto the grounds, but stopped short upon hearing Professor McGonagall cry out.  Her yell was followed by anguished shouts from Ron and Hermione, and Ginny knew instantly that Voldemort hadn’t been lying.  Nothing but the truth of his statement could have elicited those sounds, yet she had to see for herself. 

Ginny screamed his name as she fought her way through the crowd, simultaneously needing to see, and dreading what she would find.  Soon, she was stumbling into place beside Ron and Hermione, who stood, hands linked, with identical expressions of grief and disbelief on their faces.  Then, looking up, she finally saw him.

Harry

Hagrid was lying him on the ground, ever so gently, tears pouring down his massive face and catching in his beard.  She reached out for Ron’s hand, desperately needing something to anchor her to the world. 

Harry was gone.  Never again would he hold her in his arms, or laugh at her jokes.  She would never again look into his brilliant green eyes and coax away the sadness she saw there.  She would never have the chance to tell him that she forgave him for leaving her, that she understood why he had, and that she still loved him, would always love him. Her tears flowed freely as her dreams were ripped from her, one by one. 

She felt, more than heard Ron yell something toward the circle of Death Eaters, and the rest of the crowd screamed with him. 

This isn’t over, she reminded herself, wiping her free hand across her face and steeling her resolve.  Voldemort would pay.  He and his followers would pay for everything they had done.  They had possessed her in her first year, torn apart her family, destroyed Hogwarts, and kidnapped Luna.  They were responsible for the deaths of so many people she had loved and respected: Fred, Colin, Dumbledore, Sirius, Remus, Tonks, Harry

No more.  Ginny wasn’t going to let Voldemort and his Death Eaters destroy anything else she cared about or hurt anyone else that she loved.  She wasn’t that eleven year old girl anymore, the one who had been so easily controlled and manipulated.  This time, she would fight back.  She pulled out her wand and pointed it directly at Voldemort’s chest.  He wasn’t going to get away with any of it, not as long as there was a breath left in her body. 

This ends today.

 


*                      *                      *

 

Draco had tucked himself into a half-collapsed alcove on the third floor while the battle raged.  With his wand missing and attacks coming from both the Hogwarts defenders and the Death Eaters, he didn’t know what else to do.  Even when Voldemort had called for a temporary stop to the battle, Draco had remained hidden.  There was nowhere for him to go, not now.

He had realised long ago that his family was on the wrong side, but they were in too deep.  There was nothing to do but go along with the Dark Lord or be killed.  The only place he fit was with his mother and father.  They understood his position—they were in the same one. 

No matter which side won, there would be no happy ending for the Malfoys, but Draco couldn’t help but hope that Voldemort was defeated.  He’d rather live out the rest of his life in Azkaban than under the thumb of the Dark Lord, not that either option promised an exceptionally long or happy life…

His musings were interrupted when the sound of the Dark Lord’s voice once again filled the castle.  Draco nearly scoffed as he heard the words.  Despite his hatred of Harry, even he didn’t believe that Saint Potter would ever run away and leave others to fight for him.  It was an obvious attempt at a lie, and no one would believe it.  Then the full weight of the Dark Lord’s words struck him.

Dead.  Potter was dead. 

It felt as if a weight had settled into Draco’s stomach as he felt a mix of shock and fear.  Potter couldn’t be dead; nothing could kill him.  He had escaped the Dark Lord on numerous occasions, despite the ridiculous odds against him.  He saved my life, Draco thought dully, realising that he would never have an opportunity to repay that debt.  Not that it matters, he thought dispassionately, without Potter, we’ll all be dead soon anyway.  If The Chosen One’ couldn’t beat him… He couldn’t bring himself to finish that thought. 

From downstairs, it sounded as if the battle had recommenced.  The suspense was nearly killing him.  He wanted to know what was going on, who was winning and, most importantly, if his parents were all right.  His self-preservation was stronger than his curiosity, however, and he stayed crammed in the tiny alcove, praying that the battle wouldn’t reach his corridor and knowing that one way or another:

This ends today.


 


*                      *                      *

 

Neville was exhausted.  He slumped against the wall, trying to catch his breath before he went out to look for more bodies.  How many people have to die? he wondered helplessly. 

He was shaken out of his thoughts by Voldemort’s echoing voice, but the words only heightened Neville’s feeling of devastation.  Harry was dead.

A sick feeling settled in his stomach.  Harry was dead and he had let it happen.  Neville had known something was amiss when he met Harry on the grounds.  He had suspected that Harry was off to do something stupid, but he let him pass.  He had been too tired to think rationally, too drained to do anything but trust that his friend had a plan, trust that he would come back alive as he had so many other times. 

Neville sunk to the ground in despair, his remaining strength drained from him as surely as if a dementor had just passed by.  If Harry was gone, it was over.  He was ‘The Chosen One,’ the only one who could defeat Voldemort, and he had failed, failed because Neville had allowed him to fail.  Tears started to fill his eyes and he huddled against the wall, mourning his friend and lamenting their defeat. 

It was over.  There was nothing to do but wait for death to claim him as it had so many of his friends. 

No, Neville thought, shaking himself out of his stupor and rising resolutely to his feet.  This isn't over yet.  So, Harry was gone; he had been gone all year and that hadn’t stopped Dumbledore’s Army from fighting.  There would be time to mourn his friend later, but for now there was still work to do.

He remembered what he had told Harry earlier that evening: that when one person stands and fights, it gives everyone else hope, gives them the strength to stand as well.  He remembered everyone he had ever known who had stood up to Voldemort:  Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna, his other friends in the D.A., his professors, his gran, his parents.  Hope isn’t dead, I just need to wake it up, Neville thought to himself as he marched with grim determination out of the castle and to the place where the crowd gathered.  Harry said to kill the snake, and I will, even if it’s the last thing I do.    

Taking a deep breath, he drew his wand and, with a shout, charged through the crowd and straight towards Voldemort and his snake.

This ends today.

 
*                      *                      *

 
Luna listened intently to Voldemort’s voice, stepping away from the spot where she stood with Professor Flitwick and several other students, discussing tactics for when the battle resumed. 

She thought part of Voldemort's statement was a lie.  From what she knew of Harry, he always ran toward trouble, not away from it.   And after all the trouble he had gone to, to ensure that she and the others made it safely out of Malfoy Manor, she couldn’t imagine him ever trying to save himself at the expense of anyone else.  No, it was clear that at least part of Voldemort’s statement was a lie. 

The group she had been talking with made their way quickly out of the castle, and she followed along, still trying to decipher whether there had been any truth to Voldemort’s statement at all.  It was true that he was known to be a liar.  He had also been wrong on more than one occasion, and he seemed notoriously bad at trying to kill Harry.  Still, his tone had certainly suggested that he at least believed Harry to be dead, and the reaction of the crowd led her to think that they believed he was dead, but she needed to see for herself.

As she threaded her way delicately through the mass of people, Luna wondered briefly if this is what the others referred to as ‘wishful thinking.’  Perhaps she only doubted what everyone else believed because she didn’t want it to be true.  It wasn’t like her to need to see something in order to believe it, after all, but she continued to press on.  Harry was one of the few friends she had ever made, and when one has as few friends as she did, one must treasure every one of them. He had always been kind to her, even when it was clear he didn’t believe what she was saying.  He wasn’t cruel like Ronald could be, he didn’t scoff like Hermione sometimes did; he seemed to understand her more than most people since he had been an outcast, too.

When she made it far enough through the crowd that she could see what was going on, she focused her attention on Harry.  At first glance, he did appear to be dead, but Luna knew better than to trust initial appearances.  She wished she had her Spectrespecs.  Harry had always attracted a large number of wrackspurts, and it was well known that wrackspurts do not stay around long after their host dies.  Instead, she stared at him intently, searching for any signs of life that could remain. 

Was it her imagination or had his eyelids just flickered?  Yes, it certainly seemed they had, and if she watched closely, she thought she could see his chest rising and falling, ever so slightly.  She felt a smile begin to stretch across her face.  Harry was alive.  He was just pretending, for some reason.  He would fight again, they all would, and one way or another, this would soon be over.  She pulled out her wand and gripped it firmly in her hand, preparing herself to fight alongside her friends, and to face whatever would come next.

This ends today.

 
































"Harry Potter is dead.  He was killed as he ran away, trying to save himself while you lay down your lives for him.  We bring you his body as proof that your hero is gone."

--page 728, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (U.S. edition)

 

“He beat you!”

--page 730, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (U.S. edition)




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