Chapter 1 : They're going to die, you know
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They’re going to die, you know. Both of them. You’re going to get them killed. Their blood will be on your hands and it will be all your fault. Why did you ever let them come along? Why didn’t you leave in the dead of night, go it alone? You’re the one that matters after all, the prophecy made that quite clear. So why did you do it? Why did you drag them along on this wild goose chase? Because you needed them. Because you didn’t want to go out alone. You wanted them to come, even though you knew it would lead to their deaths. Even though you knew they would never return to their families. Selfish…
You listen in the darkness. The wind howls through the trees and rustles the canvas of the tent above you, drowning out all other sound. A lull in the storm allows you to hear Hermione’s deep even breathing, seemingly loud in the sudden silence, though no where near the volume of Ron's familiar snores. These sounds trigger memories of others: hushed conversations, peals of laughter. You try not to imagine those sounds being cut off, silenced forever.
What kind of a leader are you? You don’t even know what you’re doing, do you? You have no idea where you’re going or what you’re going to do once you get there. You can’t even destroy the horcrux you already have, what are you going to do if you find more? They never would have followed you if they knew what this would be like. If they had realized how clueless you were, they would’ve stayed home. They would have been safe, away from you, away from all of this. You lied to them. You let them believe you had a chance to succeed, but there is no success. You will fail. Failure…
You watch the shadows flickering against the canvas roof, seeing shapes and images that cannot really be there. Closing your eyes only serves to make the images more vivid; the detail heightened against the black backdrop of your eyelids. At least with your eyes open, there is a sliver of light. Hermione has taken to leaving one of her flames burning in a jar all night. With all you’ve gone through, you’re beginning to fear the dark. Fear that the darkness is taking over.
Yes, they’re going to die, and it’s going to be your fault. Your fault, just like your parents. Do you think Voldemort would have ever gone after them if it wasn’t for you? If you hadn’t been born, they’d still be alive. Sirius too. He never would have spent twelve years in Azkaban if you had never been born. He would be alive and well and happy if it weren’t for you. You ruined his life, and then you stole what was left. And Cedric? Your stupid false nobility got him killed. If you had just taken the cup when he offered it, he would still be alive. But no, he took the cup at your suggestion and now he’s dead. You killed him too. And Dumbledore, the most powerful wizard of the age, and you stood back and watched him die. Didn’t raise a hand to stop it. How could you? How could you kill so many and still move forward? Murderer…
You feel the press of cold metal upon your chest, not warmed in the slightest by your body temperature. You pull the blanket up higher, shivering from a sudden chill that seems to emulate from the locket itself. You must be imagining it, but it seems like there is a tiny metallic heart inside, beating in perfect unison with your own. Lub-dub…lub-dub…
And what will the Weasleys say when you see them again? You took their son away. You abused their hospitality, staying in their home and offering nothing in return. You didn’t even trust them with your secrets. How will they forget that? How could they forgive your lack of faith in them? And when you fail, what will become of them who have allowed their lives to intertwine so fully with your own? Will they survive? And if they do, will they ever be able to even look at you again? Will they be able to stay in the same room with you once they know everything you’ve done? Ginny will never love you again, if indeed, she ever loved you at all. You abandoned her, walked out of her life, yet you expect her to wait? She will have moved on, found someone better. Someone stronger, and braver, and smarter than you. Pathetic…
It smells faintly of flowers in the tent, and it reminds you of her, of stolen, happier moments. You’re a little surprised you hadn’t noticed before now, but you remember vaguely being impressed by the beauty of the forest Hermione had Apparated you to earlier today. It seems like it was a lifetime ago. You inhale again and the smell is gone.
Voldemort will win, you know. What hope have you really? Dumbledore is dead, and he’s the only one who had a chance at defeating him. Who’s going to stop him now, you? A worthless seventeen year old wizard and his two pathetic friends? Is that really the best you have to offer? This war is as good as over, and you’re on the losing side. There is no hope. You can’t win. He’s too powerful, and you’re weak. Hopeless…
You can taste bile beginning to rise in your throat. You don’t know why you are even bothering to follow Dumbledore’s plans. They will never work. You don't even understand what you need to do or how to do any of it. The world is doomed and has been ever since you were born. You did this. It’s your fault.
“Harry?” you hear Hermione’s voice coming as if from a million miles away, and it pulls you out of the darkness in your mind. You force your eyes to focus on her face, and see that her brow is creased and crinkled in concern. “It’s your turn to keep watch.”
You nod and sit up, rolling off your bunk. The cold metal of the locket rests against your chest and you could swear once again you feel a tiny metallic heart beating in rhythm with your own.
Hermione places a hand on your arm to stop you. It's a welcome warmth amongst the chill that has permeated your entirety. “You haven’t slept at all, have you?” It’s hardly even a question. She sighs heavily and continues. “I’ll take the locket; it’s nearly my turn anyway. I’ll take your watch as well.”
You hesitate momentarily, needing to exert slightly more effort than is normal to raise your arms and unhitch the clasp, releasing the locket from your own neck. As soon as Hermione takes possession, a weight is lifted off your shoulders. The room seems brighter, somehow. Meeting her eyes, you notice they're a bit duller than usual, her shoulders more slumped, her posture, defeated. You feel a twinge of guilt for putting your best friend through that, but you couldn’t take it any longer.
“Get some sleep, Harry,” she mutters before turning away.
You climb back onto the bed and, without the weight of the locket, your eyes close instantly and you feel yourself drifting away.
We’re still alive, at least for today. The locket, the cup, the snake, something of Gryffindor or Ravenclaw’s…
A/N: So if you’ve ever read anything by me, you’ll know that this is quite…different? I think I channelled my 13 year old angsty self when writing this. It was an interesting exercise in stream of consciousness writing and second person perspective; though I’m not sure I was completely successful in either regard.
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