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The End by CrystalClear
Chapter 1 : The End
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 61


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Author’s Note:
This is just one rendition of the final battle. I try to cover all bases, but obviously I don’t cover every character’s fate. Just the main ones. I spent a lot of time writing this – and it is very, very long – so please be kind and considerate and review if you read. Even if you don’t like it, still review. Just let me know why you didn’t like it and how I could possibly improve it – I’m a huge fan of constructive criticism. Thank you, and enjoy! (WARNING: Sixth Year Spoilers).


Disclaimer: If you really think I own Harry Potter, I’ll let you continue to believe that because then you’re a complete dimwit and deserve no less. I mean, really now…would I be writing on this site – FOR FREE! – if I owned Harry Potter? Um, no…I’d be doing something better with my time, say, spending my fortune or writing the next Harry Potter book. Speaking of, I really should get back to writing my original novel…but I keep getting distracted as wondrous Harry Potter story ideas come to taunt and torment me until I put them into words *blushes madly* Silly me…





The End
A Depiction of the Final Battle
A one-shot by CrystalClear







The End.

One realizes something in the End. When the lights go out and time seems to stop. When everything starts to go in slow motion and people’s faces blot out to nothing but blobs. When voices meld together into meaningless noise. When the world starts to spin, a whirlpool of intermixed light and dark. When noise is blotted out entirely until all you can hear is your raspy breath, gradually slowing, growing more labored. When all you can hear is the beat of your heart in your ears, the whish of blood through your veins. When the world goes completely dark.

One realizes something in the End.

One realizes that it is not the End at all. That there is no End. That one always goes on in memory or lore. That the End is not the worst thing that can happen to a person. That the End is not something to be feared.

That the End is peaceful.

But that the End is so painful to the ones left behind. That perhaps it is better to have reached the End than to have been left behind when your friends, your family, everyone you love, has gone.

The End devours, leaves nothing behind, but at least it is painless.

The End. People fear it, although they don’t know why. It’s something about the mystery, the dark unknown, of it all. The complete and utter devoid of being. The lack…of anything.

The End. For most people, it’s the end of the line – all there is. The last stop before the great abyss.

The End. Of time, of life, of being. The End. Of hope, of dreams, of love. The End.

The End. We’ve always feared it. It’s always frightened us.

In the End, we always try to flee rather than face it. Like cowards. Like beggars.

Like fools.

One realizes something in the End. It is the End. But it’s also not. There’s nothing and something. It’s painless, yet it causes more pain than one can ever possibly imagine.

The End.

What does it mean?

The End.

What does it bring?

…..

…..

No one knows.

*****

Ginny Weasley sobbed into Harry Potter’s shoulder, twisting her hands in his shirt so that it stretched out and wrinkled, rumpled and damp with the runoff of her salty tears. Her nails tore through his shirt, slightly ripping it at the hem of the neck, as she pulled. Her normally flawless porcelain skin was grimy, two salty wet clean trails twisting down her cheeks like snakes. Her vivid red hair was splayed around her shoulders, knotted and unkempt. She looked as if she hadn’t slept in days.

“Promise you won’t go,” she whispered hoarsely between hiccupping sobs. She sniffed and wiped escaped snot from her nose. “Promise me.” She hung to the man – or was he still a boy? – in front of her like he was her last tie to sanity. Her clench on his shirt was so tight her bony knuckles were white at the tip and her hands were turning a bright and alarming color of crimson. A purplish-red hue that signaled a congregation of blood.

Harry turned away, as if he couldn’t bear to look at her in such a state. “It’s for the best,” he snapped at her and tried to throw her off, but she would not loosen her clasp on his shirt. Harry pulled and pulled but Ginny would not give way, her eyes red and bloodshot, overflowing with tears…mad. Eventually Harry pulled so hard there was a loud ripping sound as his shirt split right down the middle. Without a moment’s hesitation, he took the opportunity to flee toward the door.

But Ginny was much too quick for him. She leapt forward, tackling him and dragging his long, lean form down to the ground. She pinned him to the floor, straddling his chest and holding his wrists down with her chapped and bleeding hands. Harry struggled, but Ginny seemed to have been possessed with strength previously unknown to her, strength brought on by desperation and fear. She lowered her mouth till it was next to Harry’s ear. “Let me come with you. I can save you. My love can save you. Just like your parents’. I promise.”

Harry grunted and heaved, throwing Ginny off of him with one swift stroke. She rolled across the floor and her head cracked against the footboard of her twin bed. “My parents are dead, Ginny. I don’t want that for you,” he whispered hoarsely. She looked around the sixth years girls’ dorm. It was a mess, papers and clothes and broken furniture scattered throughout the room. It looked as if a tornado had hit.

Ginny looked up at Harry, her eyes pleading. He stood directly above her, and she held out a pale hand to him. But Harry just turned away, shaking his head. “I’ll never forgive you!” Ginny called after his retreating back, one last scream of desperation and despair. Harry did not stop.

“I HATE YOU!” Ginny screamed after him. “I HOPE YOU DIE OUT THERE!!!” Her voice echoed throughout the room, and Ginny’s eyes widened in horror.I can’t believe I said that, she thought to herself, twisting a lock of hair worriedly around a finger. She looked up at Harry, to see him staring at her sadly. A lone tear wandered unsteadily down his cheek, as if it was lost and didn’t know what to do or where to go. Then, a wipe across the cheek later, it was gone and Harry’s face was dry and vacant, as if there had never been a tear to begin with.

Ginny opened her mouth to apologize, to tell him that she loved him, but she found that she couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t…do anything. So Harry and his sad eyes turned away from her and walked away without a word.

The door to the dormitory slammed shut, and Ginny rediscovered motion. She threw herself up from the ground, dragging herself to her feet then to the door, and hurled all her weight at the door. All it did was rattled on its hinges, not giving way the slightest bit. Ginny threw her weight at the door again, and again, and again, and again…to no avail. All she managed was an aching and bruised side.

Ginny dropped to her knees, scrabbling on her knees to find her wand, but she couldn’t find it amongst the overturned furniture and the mess of clothes, parchment, blood, and sweat. After ten minutes spent searching with no outcome, Ginny heard the blow of a horn. The sound floated through the air, strong, brazen, and deep. A tear sparkled at the corner of one of Ginny’s eyes.

The final battle had begun.

And she was stuck in the Gryffindor sixth years’ dormitory.

Alone and sickeningly safe.

Ginny struck the ground with her fist and a sharp crack sounded through the air. Ginny swore.

Her hand had broken.

*****

Neville Longbottom straightened his shoulders. His heart was going a million miles a minute and he was literally shaking from all the fear that coursed through his body. I’m not ready for this, he realized with a jolt as he heard the horn sound from outside the castle walls. I’m not a fighter. I’m not a hero.

The horn sounded again. It sent a jolt up his spine and made his legs feel like jelly, so much so that he could swear that someone had just put a jelly legs curse on him from behind his back. He was sweating profusely along his lip and under his arms. Neville swept his robes back and drew his wand out of his robe pocket with shaking hands. He stared at the thin pole of wood as if it was a foreign object, one that could suddenly grow fangs and gobble him whole.

Neville’s body stiffened and he whirled around as he heard footsteps behind him. His heart calmed down – but only slightly – when he saw that it was just Professor McGonagall. Her hair was swept up in a severe bun as always, but her faced looked older, heavier lined, stressed and frightened. He saw the fear glinting in her eyes and felt slightly better – if McGonagall was frightened, that means that it was okay that he felt petrified enough to wet his pants. However, this fear – so rational, so real, so palpable – caused Neville’s heart to sink.

They would not win this battle.

McGonagall crossed the room and laid a hand on Neville’s shaking shoulder, pressing down on it with a steady hand until his shaking stopped. She tried to smile, but it only looked painful, tight and forced. Neville tried to smile back, but feared that the result was even more dismal than the professor’s.

“It is time,” McGonagall whispered throatily. She eyed Neville with pride. Then, as if she knew what he was thinking, she whispered sadly as an afterthought, “We don’t need to win this battle, only give Harry the opportunity he needs to get to Voldemort. Keep his followers preoccupied.” She smiled thinly. “You will do well, young man. You are ready.”

Neville followed McGonagall out of the hall, his adrenaline – and fear – kicking back into full throttle. He didn’t feel ready. In fact, he felt as if he might faint any minute…or vomit…or perhaps…

“McGonagall?” Neville questioned in a quivering voice.

She smiled at him, more genuinely this time. “Be brave,” she whispered strongly. She took a step out of the castle to the sound of terrified screams and an ocean of red. Countless numbers of bodies already littered the grounds of Hogwarts. She turned back to Neville, laid a strong hand on his shoulder, squeezed, then hurried off into the midst of the battle.

Neville stared at the mess before him and steadied himself with a deep breath. Tears swam across his vision. You can do this, you can do this. You can do this…

Suddenly, a small hand was squeezing his hand tightly. A pretty blonde with a vacant expression stared up at him. She smiled. “I believe in you,” she whispered softly and gave him one more squeeze of her hand before passing him and disappearing into the ocean of blood.

Neville breath caught in his chest and he wiped his tears away with the back of his hand. Then he took a deep steadying breath. I can do this, he thought boldly to himself before following in the footsteps of Luna Lovegood.

*****

Hermione’s breath caught in her chest as she wandered aimlessly, fruitlessly, and desperately round and round the castle looking and looking for someone she knew deep in her heart she would not find. But still, her feet would not stop walking, her mind would not stop whirring, her heart would not stop hoping, as stupid as it all was.

She burst into the Slytherin Common Room, heading straight to the seventh years’ boys dormitory. She crossed straight across the room – which looked uncannily neat and untouched in comparison with the rest of the castle – to the twin bed of a certain blond-haired ferret she knew. She sat down on the green and silver covers and curled her feet up under her. She reached out a hand and fingered the snake head situated at the top of one of the bedposts. It leered back at her with vacant, empty eye sockets that sent a chill up her spine.

Suddenly, far in the distance, a horn sounded, clear as a bell but deep as a bass. Hermione straightened her shoulders and shivered, closing her eyes momentarily as she steeled herself for battle. She waited for a few more minutes, hoping desperately, fruitlessly, and stupidly that her ferret would come back to her, if just to say goodbye. Or I’m sorry.

But no one came.

Hermione drew herself up from the bed and forced her feet to start walking up toward the front doors of Hogwarts. She had a battle to fight.

While everyone else gathered last minute assurances and said “I love you’s” to those closest to them, Hermione walked alone, staring vacantly in front of her, and steeled herself for the battle to come.

*****

Harry stole away from Ginny, hearing her banging relentlessly away at the door to the sixth year girls’ dormitory all the way down the stairs. Tears sparkled bright and unshed in his eyes, and he tried his hardest to push them away. But it was so difficult it nearly killed him. Ginny’s last words just kept echoing through his head.

“I HATE YOU!” she had screamed, her eyes glittering brightly with tears. “I HOPE YOU DIE OUT THERE!”

Harry shook himself off. He knew she didn’t mean it. He knew she loved him irrevocably, with her entire heart. He knew that she just didn’t understand why he had to leave her, why he had to keep her safe. Didn’t understand that if he lost her, he would finally lose it and could not be held accountable for his actions. He didn’t know what he would do if she died, and he did not want to have to find out.

She was his last tie to sanity, what was keeping him from tumbling into the black abyss of chaos and madness.

It’s for the best, he desperately reassured himself as he crossed the Gryffindor Common Room, then started down one of the many flights of stairs down to the front doors of Hogwarts. He took a deep breath and shook his head clear. It’s for the best.

He had to focus on the battle at hand…if he was going to live. For himself. For Ron. For Hermione. For the wizarding world.

But especially for Ginny.

Harry came in sight of the front doors of Hogwarts. They were hanging wide open on their hinges, broken and battered. They looked as if they had been brutally blasted open with a strong spell and were barely holding on. Harry looked past the two great doors into the mess that laid beyond. From where he stood, he could smell the stench of blood, of sweat, of hate, and – most of all – of fear. He could hear strings of curses – both magical and not – as they flew through the air and could hear the labored breathing of those who killed and the screams of those who were killed, who fell to the ground, lifeless, never to move again.

Harry could feel adrenaline course through him, brought on by the intense hatred that coursed through his body. Voldemort did this, all this. The pain, the death, the misery – and most of all the hatred, the fear…oh God, there was so much hatred hanging dank in the air. Harry felt he might suffocate in it all.

He shivered. It was all too much, too soon, much too soon. Too much depended on him. He wasn’t ready.

He hadn’t even found the last horcrux yet.

Harry neared the two great doors and pulled his crooked, slim wooden wand from his pocket. It looked so frail, so small, so weak in the evening dusk. Harry took a deep breath and started forward.

A boy – or was he a man? – with bright red hair and a face full of freckles stepped out of the shadows. He cleared his throat and linked eyes with Harry. He gave a half-smile and a shrug. “Shall we?” he asked, cocking an eyebrow high on his forehead.

Harry almost laughed, the relief was so welcome. The tension, the fear, coursing through his body lessened, if only for a second. “We shall,” he whispered back and clasped forearms with his best mate.

Then they both strode forward to meet their destiny.

*****

Hermione rushed forward into the heat of the battle. Flashes of bodies whirled around her, making her feel dizzy, and the sharp, acidic smell of blood, sweat, and fear clogged up her nose, making her head feel light. She held her wand erect before her with a shaking fist.

She looked around for someone, anyone, she knew, but she saw no one. Just vaguely recognizable students from various houses and complete strangers, frighteningly few in number compared with the vast number of hooded creatures with white leering masks that seemed to surround her.

Hermione saw one such creature come at her from the corner of one eye and whirled around to send a beam of green light straight at it. It slumped to the ground, its hood falling back, and its mask evaporated from its face, revealing Vincent Crabbe’s pudgy face. Another identity-less hooded creature lunged at her, murder in his barely-visible eyes, and Hermione barely whipped her wand around in time to send him toppling to the ground in a flash of blinding bright green light. His hood, too, fell off and his mask evaporated in a puff, revealing the vacant eyes of Gregory Goyle. He toppled on top of his friend, his arms sprawled awkwardly, his legs twisted under him. Hermione felt sickened, but forced herself to turn away.

She gasped as she looked straight into angry dark brown eyes. Then a hand was covering her mouth and nose and she was turned around, the back of her head drawn to the chest of someone tall and strong. Hermione tried to scream, but all that came out was a muffled choking sound. “Mrrphhhgggg.” Then a wand was jutted deep into her throat, digging deep into her jugular and causing her to whimper and tears to well in her eyes. Then the hot breath of her captor was on her neck, tickling her ear.

“I’m disappointed,” her captor breathed, her voice feminine, but at the same time strong and cold as frozen diamonds. Hermione’s blood simmered, then boiled, as she recognized the voice. “You go down just as easy as your filthy muggle parents, mudblood.” Hatred flowed through Hermione’s body so strongly that she felt as if she would explode with it all. She shook, no longer from fear, but from anger.

Hermione tried to pull away from her captor, but the arms holding her only tightened, the nails on the hand holding her arms twisted behind her back digging into her wrists. The wand jutted deeper into her throat, and Hermione felt as if her neck was on fire. She bit down on the fingers of her captor, causing her captor to swear and pull her hand hastily away from Hermione’s mouth.

Hermione screamed as loud as she could and with all her strength as if her life depended on it.

Then her captor’s fist smashed into her cheekbone and Hermione found herself on the ground, spitting out blood and teeth, adding to the ocean of red. Then a booted foot, made of iron – or so it felt – smashed into Hermione’s side so hard that her vision failed for a moment, vanishing into a world of white, then black.

Hermione vomited.

Then a high pitched scream pierced through the night, and Hermione felt a chill travel all the way up her spine. She hesitantly looked toward the source of the scream, her vision hazy, and looked straight into the vacant, very dead eyes of her captor Bellatrix Lestrange.

“That was for my parents,” a shaky voice whispered above. Hermione looked up into Neville’s stark white face. His body was shaking so badly he dropped his wand to the floor. Tears flowed down his cheeks. Then he dropped to the ground, tearing away at Bella’s dead body, beating down on her with all the anger, hatred, and fear that had consumed him.

Hermione pulled him away from the body. He struggled against her until Bella’s body was out of his sight, then collapsed against Hermione’s warm body and cried into her chest. She held him tight, silent tears coursing down her cheeks as well, until Neville was all cried out.

“Thank you,” she whispered softly. “You saved my life.”

Neville didn’t respond, just trembled.

*****

Ginny collapsed against the door that separated her from being with Harry, her fingertips raw and bloody. Her body ached from throwing her weight against the door for what had seemed like hours. Her head dropped into her hands, and she swore quite creatively.

She pushed herself up from the floor and began to pace the length of the room. Her eyes dragged over the mess again and again, sliding across the walls, the floorboards, the windows that would not break or open – there was some spell holding them closed, that much she knew – and the ceiling, but no idea came to her. Her mind was dull, dead, and empty.

Angry, Ginny kicked her bedpost, crying out in anguish as she heard a sharp crack from her toe. Her entire leg flared with the pain, jolts of red-hot agony burning through the length of her leg. The dull, throbbing pain in her hand lessened in compare. Her head felt suddenly dizzy and Ginny slapped her face hard in anger and frustration. She was so stupid. Stupid! Hurting herself wouldn’t help anyone. It would just hurt her, keep her from fighting if she ever got free.

Ginny pushed herself up from the floor and slipped on something, barely catching herself before she toppled to the floor. She looked down to see her wand lying on the floor. Her eyes lit up and a genuine smile, tight in light of her pain, flashed for a second across her face. She leaned down and picked it up gingerly, as if she feared it might be an illusion created by the desperation of her deluded mind. But it felt incredibly real and solid in her clenched fist. A thrill ran through Ginny’s body and she gave a silly sort of hop, only stopping when pain flared up in her toe because of the effort. But even her pain could not squelch Ginny’s momentary thrill of energy; it was because of the action that caused her pain that her wand was even here in her hand in the first place – it must have rolled out from under her bunk, or out from under the covers.

Ginny swallowed hard as she stood before the door, which still seemed incredibly large, substantial, and barring. “Alohamora!” she whispered fiercely, and the door swung slowly open. Ginny slipped out the door and hurried down the stairs, heading toward the sound of screams and the smell of blood.

*****

Harry was breathing heavily through his mouth, his nose – broken by a flying fist – completely clogged by dried blood. He wiped away sweat that was dripping into his eyes, making it frighteningly difficult to see what was happening. He circled Voldemort, who was staring at him through blood-red slits of eyes, his face shockingly pale. His long dark robe swirled around his feet as he circled Harry, making him appear broad-shouldered, tall and fierce. Harry felt exceedingly small and weak in comparison, but he swallowed his fear and forced himself to hold his ground, determined to defeat this Dark Lord who was responsible for so much ill, so much pain – either that, or die trying.

Voldemort hissed under his breath and a jet of bright green light flew at lightning speed toward Harry, who barely dodged it in time. He felt the hairs on the base of his neck ripple as disturbed air from the spell, which passed only millimeters away from his flesh, blew across his skin. His heart lodged itself in his throat. Harry threw himself behind a mound of fallen bodies, knee deep in their blood. He jerked as bile rose in his throat and he had to struggle to keep it from pouring out his mouth. His vision wavered.

“You can’t keep hiding from me forever,” Voldemort sneered from outside Harry’s field of vision. His voice was light and nasal and sent chills up Harry’s spine. “And you can’t beat me. So why not just give up now? I may be kind enough to make your death painless.” Voldemort gave a high laugh that sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Harry shut his eyes tight and tried not to listen, to acknowledge that Voldemort spoke the truth. What was he thinking? A seventeen-year-old boy, an all-around average wizard, nothing special – that’s what he was. And what was Voldemort? A tyrannical and fearsome force that had been terrorizing the world since before Harry had been born. Harry stuffed the heels of his hands into his eyes, making himself see stars. He could not beat the Dark wizard. It was folly. It was insane!

“I can’t do it,” Harry realized, whispering so softly he barely heard himself speak. “I’m not strong enough.” A tear ran down Harry’s cheek and he thought of all those fighting for the cause, against the tyrannical and evil wizard who now hunted him down relentlessly and without mercy. “I’m sorry,” he whispered to all of them. “I’m sorry I’m not strong enough.”

Then a voice was in Harry’s head and hot, putrid breath was running over his ear. “As touching as this is…” a voice sneered, and Harry jumped back to stare into Voldemort’s blood-red slits of eyes. They were hard, no mercy to be found within them. Voldemort strode toward Harry and pinned him against the rock behind him, jutted his wand deep into his neck, causing him to wince slightly. “And so the end of Harry Potter comes at last,” he breathed and opened his mouth, the killing curse on his lips.

The suddenly a figure with vivid red hair crashed into Voldemort’s side, tearing him down to the ground. Ron Weasley tried to hold the monster down, but he wasn’t strong enough and Voldemort quickly flung him off of him with one great push, and soon Ron was writhing on the floor, covering himself with the blood of those who had fallen around him, victim to the Cruciatus curse. His screams cut through the frigid air like shattering glass and laughter bubbled in Voldemort’s throat as he watched the gangly boy twist and scream.

“That’s what you get for being friends with Harry Potter,” he hissed like a snake, his red eyes flashing dangerously. He lifted the curse, leaving Ron gasping for air, and a sick, twisted sort of smile snaked its way across his face. He leered at the twitching redhead and lifted his wand once more, the killing words one more on his lips, this time intended for the meddlesome fool. Harry Potter could come later.

Voldemort was so preoccupied, he didn’t hear Harry scramble for his fallen wand. Didn’t see him pick it up gingerly and sneak up behind him. Didn’t hear his ragged breaths as he held the wand out, pointed at Voldemort’s back. Didn’t see the gleam of victory in Harry’s eye. Not until the words “Avada Kedavra” were echoing through his head and everything turned green.

*****

Harry backed away and watched Voldemort’s body fall to the ground, motionless, clearly dead, nothing more than a corpse. His legs twisted beneath him, his head rolled sickly, his arms torqued beneath him at odd angles. He no longer looked fearsome, terrifying, or tyrannical. He no longer looked murderous, dangerous, or frightening. He merely looked defeated and dead – very dead.

Harry stepped away from the corpse, breathing heavily, fresh blood dripping down his nose. He smiled, causing his lip to split open, a wound from earlier in the battle, but didn’t care. Relief rolled over him like fog, clouding his senses, putting him off guard, making him feel warm inside. People were all around him, cheering, pulling him into their arms, and all Harry could do was grin stupidly. He couldn’t see who was around them, couldn’t hear what they said…he was just giddy, giddy with relief.

Voldemort was finally dead.

Suddenly, Harry screamed. His body felt as if it was on fire, agony burning its way through his bones, searing his flesh. His collapsed to the ground, kicking and lashing out at anyone who tried to approach him, writhing on the ground, digging his nails deep into the bloody soil, and biting at himself, any part of himself that he could reach, to try to distract himself from the awful burning.

Then a voice was in his head, tearing away at his mind. It screamed through his head, and Harry covered his ears to try to keep it out or at least to lower its intensity, but it did no good. It would not be driven away, would not be stifled.

You’re mine.

The cold voice echoed through his head, followed by a shrill, harsh laugh that brought tears to his eyes. For Harry recognized the voice, the laugh, the persona.

Voldemort.

Voldemort was inside him, inside his head…occupying him.

Controlling him.

How could this be?

Get up! the voice demanded, and Harry, with horror, watched as if on the sidelines as his body obeyed. Another harsh laugh filled his ears and a tear slid down his cheek.

Stop! Please! Harry begged silently. I’ll do anything…anything but this.

Voldemort’s laugh bubbled in his mind. Not today, weakling. Today mummy and daddy aren’t here to save you…

Another tear wound its way down Harry’s pale and grimy face, the last action over which he had control.

He thought of the prophecy. Dumbledore’s voice sounded through his head as if he had heard it just yesterday…telling him that he had heard the prophecy, that he knew what it said. Harry remembered the shadowy figure of Sibyll Trelawney, rising up from Dumbledore’s Pensieve, her voice harsh and hoarse…

“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies…and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not…and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives…the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…” she had said, then had vanished, swirling back deep into the Pensieve, to the far depths of Dumbledore’s memory…

So this is what she meant, Harry thought hazily to himself. I thought quite different…

Voldemort chuckled in his head, then turned Harry’s head toward the closest approaching wizard, Nymphadora Tonks. She had a look of concern on her face and was brushing her currently violet hair behind her ears.

Kill her.

Harry fought it, struggled, but he felt his wand arm raise anyways. Stop it, stop it!, he screamed internally. Stop it!

But his wand arm raised anyway, as though it had a mind of its own. His eyes shone red in the moonlight.

“Avada Kedavra!”

*****

Ron gaped and watched in horror as his best friend in the world raised his wand arm, his eyes dead, hard and cruel, and sent the killing curse at Tonks. Her eyes opened wide, as if in great surprise, and she slumped down to the ground where she stood, her mouth open forever in a gape, her eyes vacant, staring and glassy. Empty.

A hoarse scream burst through the air. Remus Lupin dropped beside Tonks’ dead and cold body, reached down and took her limp hand. His eyes shone bright with tears. He looked up at Harry, who stared at him through hard, red eyes. Lupin frowned, eying him sadly.

“He’s been taken,” was all he said before he was dead beside Tonks in a flash of bright green light.

He held onto her hand even in death.

*****

Hermione and Neville were quickly awakened from their stupor and forced to split up as hordes and hordes of Death Eaters continued at them. It seemed as if no matter how many Death Eaters fell, no matter how many killing curses they sent out and how many jets of bright green lights they ducked, more and more kept coming, ten to replace one that fell. Soon Hermione lost sight of Neville and was beginning to feel desperate. Dozens of eyes leered at her maliciously as she ducked behind tree after tree, trudging through the intermixed dirt and blood.

She ducked behind a tree to dodge a particularly powerful killing curse and had to bite down on her tongue hard to keep from screaming as she fell on top of Neville’s corpse. His eyes were open, staring at her but not seeing, and a sticky pool of blood was blossoming around his cracked skull. Hermione stumbled away from Neville’s body, retching into some nearby bushes, her vision blurry. She stumbled from tree to tree, leaning against the trunks to keep herself upright.

She ended up far from the battle field, so far the screams were only faint nuisances and the stench of blood had lost its intense coppery smell – it was faint, almost nonexistent. Finally free, Hermione sunk to her knees, trembling. Tears blurred her eyes and flowed silently down her cheeks. She clawed at the dirt with one hand, clasping her other hand tightly over her mouth, and screamed.

Hermione tried to take a deep breath after she was done screaming, but she couldn’t seem to get enough air into her lungs. She tried and tried but she just couldn’t get enough – her vision grew faint and the trees seemed to morph and shift, bending this way and that, wavery and unsteady. Her head pounded like crazy, and she could hear and feel her heart pounding loudly and painfully in her throat.

Thump thump, thump thump, thump thump…

Hermione wrapped her arms around her knees, shaking dangerously. She blinked away tears, shame overcoming her. She had run away, had run away when she was needed most. She had let fear consume her, had left them all to die. Harry, Ron, Ginny…Neville…

Draco.

Loud, wretched sobs tore at Hermione’s chest and she dug her nails deep into her legs, drawing blood. She winced and shuddered from the pain, but dragged her nails downward, lengthening the cuts.

Sticky blood trailed down her legs.

Hermione closed her eyes, shuddering as she forced herself to take a deep breath. She tried to calm herself. Forced herself to concentrate. In, out, in, out…breathe…

Breathe.

Minutes later, finally calm, Hermione opened her eyes.

She almost screamed at what she saw, but she couldn’t seem to scream. Draco’s icy gray eyes looked deep into hers, but she didn’t feel happy to see him. She’d been looking for him all day, had been his lover – secret, of course – for months now, she’d been more intimate with him than she’d ever been with Ron – her boyfriend – and yet she only felt cold.

It took Hermione a while to put her finger on it, but she did eventually. It was because of his eyes. They were still the same silvery-gray, gorgeous…but they were frighteningly – unnaturally – cold. Hard as diamonds, cold as ice.

Flat.

Empty.

Draco raised his wand arm and pressed the tip of the slender pole lightly to the front of her throat. Hermione couldn’t move, just felt dead inside. Dead and…empty.

Hermione stared at the tip of the wand, then looked deep into Draco’s eyes. He stared at her, but he was far away, locked away in some cage in some deep crevice of his mind. This was not Draco standing before her but a Malfoy…a tool of Voldemort.

Hermione grew rigid and, in a flash, yanked the wand from Malfoy’s disturbingly steady hands and broke it clean in two. She threw it deep into the forest, where it became forever lost in the deep mud.

Hermione took a deep breath and threw herself at Malfoy, covering his lips with hers and forcing her tongue into his mouth. It was a passionate kiss, one of desperation, hate, love, finality, confusion, resignation, and everything in between. As if they both knew that it was the last kiss they would ever share.

It didn’t last for very long, only for a moment or two.

Long enough for Malfoy to pull a knife from inside his robe and stick it deep into Hermione’s chest.

Hermione drew away sharply, doubling over in pain, gasping. She wrapped her hands around the hilt of the knife, staring at it as if she couldn’t believe that it was really there in her chest. Dark, sticky blood flowed out from around the gash in her chest, flowing down her body, sinking deep down into the dank mud. Hermione’s breath caught in her chest; it felt as if someone was squeezing her chest with an iron fist, and it was getting harder and harder to breathe…

Hermione lifted her eyes from the knife and looked at Malfoy. He looked like he was in pain, on the verge of tears.

“Always keep a back-up,” he whispered hoarsely, throatily. A lone tear wound its way down his cheek and he wiped it away furiously, as if he was angry with himself for showing such emotion.

Hermione could feel tears sparkling in her own eyes, strangely not from the physical pain wracking her pain, but from the pain of saying goodbye…

“Draco,” she whispered softly and reached out a hand to cup the side of his face lightly. “Draco…”

“I have to go.” Draco pushed himself to his feet, shaking Hermione’s blood from his hands, and hastily began to stumble away. He needed to get away, far away, where he could no longer see Hermione’s beautiful face, where he could no longer smell the coppery stench of her blood as it flowed from her, stealing her life along with it.

But Hermione would not let him go so easily. At least, not without closure…of some kind.

“I think I could have loved you, had things been…different,” Hermione whispered to Draco’s retreating back.

He froze, suddenly rigid, and turned around. There was a queer look in his gray eyes, indescribable, incomprehensible. Half ice, half fire. Half hatred, half love. Half smug satisfaction, half sick regret. He stared at her for a few beats, just stared, then turned around abruptly and stalked away. Hermione swore she saw him hastily wipe away another tear from the corner of his eye. She was surprised when he spoke, half a dozen steps away from her. “I could have loved you too, I think,” he whispered hoarsely.

Hermione smiled through cracked and broken lips. “Probably.”

Draco turned around and half-smirked, but his heart wasn’t in it. Bright tears shone in his eyes and poured down his cheeks – clean streaks in the grime. Hermione was right; he had been – was – crying. “Maybe.”

Then he turned and walked away. Hermione saw his shoulders shake, saw his clenched fists. Watched as he leaned over a bush and retched, his knuckles white as his nails dug into an overhead tree-branch. Saw the sorrow, the regret, the anger flowing deep below his skin. Sensed his shame at his cowardice. It made her feel better about her own cowardice…they were so alike in so many ways…

It was enough for her.

She smiled through her pain, blood seeping through her stained teeth and onto the ground. She started coughing, writhing on the ground, and knew deep in her heart that she was going to die.

She stopped thrashing and her eyes grew glassy. She stilled and her breathing grew smooth and regular. She was tired of struggling, tired of fighting fate. Instead, she just closed her eyes and let death close in on her. And instead of feeling as if she was drowning, she felt as if she rested free and satisfied in a clear, deep pool of glass.

It was then that she realized that the End was not quite so bad after all.

She would be remembered. She would be missed. If not by others, by Draco.

The only man she could have seen herself loving one day.

Probably…

Maybe…

It was enough for her.

*****


Luna Lovegood was next, followed immediately by Fleur Delacour and Bill Weasley. Jets of green light illuminated their figures before they fell limply to the ground, murdered heartlessly by a young man who looked very much like Harry Potter. A man who looked very much like Harry Potter, but couldn’t be more different. A man who was in truth a monster.

“He’s out of control,” was all Arthur Weasley could get out before he too was struck down.

“Oh, dearie,” was all Molly Weasley could say sadly before she slumped lifeless to the ground, a look of resignation painted onto her face.

Ron Weasley watched with horror as the mad red eyes of his best mate fixed on him. But yet, Ron could not move, could just fix Harry with pleading eyes, hoping desperately that some part of him was still human, that he would have mercy.

But there was no room for mercy in those mad red eyes. They were cold, angry slits of hatred. Harry raised his wand, pointed it directly at Ron’s chest, and Ron clenched his eyes shut tightly, waiting for the End to come. Willingly waiting for Death.

“HARRY!!!” A distinctly feminine voice, distraught but strong, broke through the sounds of the fighting. Ron’s eyes shot open and he saw with horror that his sister was running toward Harry, her eyes shining with tears. She looked over at Voldemort’s limp corpse, then at Harry, standing, breathing…alive. A smile so wide Ron feared it might shatter her broke out onto her face. “OH, HARRY!”

Ron watched in terror, in revulsion, as Harry raised his wand and pointed it straight at Ginny’s heart.

He loved her.

But he was going to murder her.

And all Ron could do was stand there and watch.

*****

Oh, God no…please, anyone, anyone but her…Harry moaned at Voldemort. Please, anyone…anyone…

Voldemort laughed coldly, making Harry feel empty, as if he might shatter and break. Not so lucky, the cold voice sneered, riddled with triumph. It made Harry feel sick.

Kill her.

Harry watched in horror as his wand arm rose without his consent. He desperately felt like shaking, crying – sobbing, actually – but his body would not listen to him. So his eyes stayed cold and detached and his wand hand remained still and calm.

I’m sorry, Ginny, Harry thought silently. Oh, how he wished he could say it aloud. Let her know how much he loved her. That he was sorry. Oh, God, he loved her so much.

I love you, Gin, Harry thought softly. I’ll soon be free of this fleshy prison. I’ll see you in the next life…whatever there is of it.

I’ll find you, I promise.

Kill her now,
Voldemort ordered, and Harry opened his mouth wide and took in a deep breath.

“Avada Kedavra!”

Harry’s mouth opened in surprise as the curse hit him square in the back. He twisted around as he fell. The last thing he saw before he died was Ron, tears running down his cheeks, his wand pointing straight at his best friend.

Harry smiled softly. Thank you, Ron, he thought, wishing that he had the strength – the life – to thank Ron properly. Out loud. Take care of Ginny for me.

Then Harry Potter died.

The great Lord Voldemort died along with him.

The last Horcrux – Harry Potter – was destroyed, and Voldemort’s soul was destroyed along with him.

*****


It hurt Draco Malfoy more than he could ever describe to walk away and let Hermione die alone. His whole being revolted against it, but he closed off his mind from all emotion, forced himself to become cold and unfeeling, a follower of Lord Voldemort and nothing more.

As his father had taught him to do.

Still, a long tear dripped down Draco’s face.

*****

Lucius Malfoy pushed his way out of the brush to stand before his son. His mouth was fixed in a sneer, his gray eyes cold and disapproving. His nose was wrinkled in disgust.

“You love a mudblood.” It was a statement, a fact, not a question.

His son stared back at him, numb and empty. He was tired of fighting, tired of pretending. Tired of hating. “Father…” he started.

But that was as far as he got before he collapsed, dead, in an eerie flash of green light.

Lucius Malfoy pocketed his wand and stared at his son on the ground. Then he gave a slight shrug and walked away.

*****

Hermione Granger watched in horror as Draco Malfoy collapsed, his head cracking on the ground and lolling about uselessly. He became suddenly utterly and completely still, his eyes staring vacantly in Hermione’s direction. It felt, to her, as if he was burning a hole through her soul.

She reached her hand into her robes, shakily bringing out her wand. It was still intact, still fully functional. Her hand shook so badly as she held it out in front of her, in Lucius Malfoy’s direction, she could barely aim it. But still she uttered the words.

“Avada Kedavra,” she whispered fiercely and watched as Lucius Malfoy slumped dead to the ground.

She had shot him in the back, a very dishonorable thing to do. But Hermione didn’t feel a bit bad about it. He had deserved it. He hadn’t deserved to live.

The cretin had killed his own son. His very own flesh and blood.

No, she didn’t feel bad at all.

Hermione crawled over to Draco and took his hand.

She died snuggled up against his chest, a smile on her face.

I’ll see you soon.

*****

Ginny Weasley let out a loud, hoarse scream as she watched Harry Potter fall to the ground. Her Harry. Her Harry.

Dead.

“YOU SON OF A BITCH, I’M GOING TO MURDER YOU!!!!” she screamed at her brother, stalking toward him and closing her hands around his throat. She tackled him, pinning him to the ground, straddling his chest, her hands still enclosed around his neck.

Ron gasped. “Gin, I can explain!” he stuttered hoarsely, but Ginny just tightened her grip on his throat. He began to thrash and kick against her, but Ginny was strengthened by her hatred and managed to keep him down.

Eventually, Ron stopped struggling. He let out one last breath and his eyes grew distant.

He was dead.

Ginny, his own sister, had killed him.

Ginny dropped sobbing to the ground, burying her face into her brother’s chest. “Why, Ron, why?” she sobbed. “What did they offer that we couldn’t give you?” Her voice was weak, defeated.

“How could you kill your best friend of seven years?”

Ginny pushed herself to her feet and looked around. And endless sea of dead faces – those she loved, those she had befriended, those she hardly knew, complete strangers – leered back at her.

She was the only one left alive.

She dropped to her knees, clasped Harry’s limp hand, and held it to her chest.

She stayed that way for a very long time.

No one came for her.

*****

The End.

One realizes something in the End. When the lights go out and time seems to stop. When everything starts to go in slow motion and people’s faces blot out to nothing but blobs. When voices meld together into meaningless noise. When the world starts to spin, a whirlpool of intermixed light and dark. When noise is blotted out entirely until all you can hear is your raspy breath, gradually slowing, growing more labored. When all you can hear is the beat of your heart in your ears, the whish of blood through your veins. When the world goes completely dark.

One realizes something in the End.

One realizes that it is not the End at all. That there is no End. That one always goes on in memory or lore. That the End is not the worst thing that can happen to a person. That the End is not something to be feared.

That the End is peaceful.

But that the End is so painful to the ones left behind. That perhaps it is better to have reached the End than to have been left behind when your friends, your family, everyone you love, has gone.

The End devours, leaves nothing behind, but at least it is painless.

The End. People fear it, although they don’t know why. It’s something about the mystery, the dark unknown, of it all. The complete and utter devoid of being. The lack…of anything.

The End. For most people, it’s the end of the line – all there is. The last stop before the great abyss.

The End. Of time, of life, of being. The End. Of hope, of dreams, of love. The End.

The End. We’ve always feared it. It’s always frightened us.

In the End, we always try to flee rather than face it. Like cowards. Like beggars.

Like fools.

One realizes something in the End. It is the End. But it’s also not. There’s nothing and something. It’s painless, yet it causes more pain than one can ever possibly imagine.

The End.

What does it mean?

The End.

What does it bring?

…..

…..

No one knows.

Nor will anyone ever know.



*****

Ginny still knelt on the blood-covered ground, clutching Harry’s hand to her chest. She was shaking, her breathing came irregularly.

A sob escaped her lips.

Harry had locked her away because he’d wanted to save her. But she had not been saved.

Harry had only kept her from escaping. Escaping the pain of being the only one left after everyone she’d ever loved, everyone she’d ever known, had died. Escaping the body that held her captive. Escaping life.

Ginny smiled bitterly as she recalled something Dumbledore had told her once. His voice echoed through her head; it wouldn’t go away…

The End is peaceful to those who go, but ever so painful to those who stay. Perhaps it is easier to face the End than to be left behind after everyone has left.

A tear slid down Ginny’s cheek.

She hadn’t realized how true his words were until today.

Ginny took a deep breath and let go of Harry’s limp hand. Then she began to walk back towards Hogwarts, although she couldn’t pinpoint why. There was nothing – no one – there anyway.

Ginny shuddered.

She was the only one left.

She was alone.

She sniffed.

“I hate the End,” she muttered dully.

But nonetheless, she continued to walk.

Going nowhere. Accomplishing nothing.

Just being alone.




Author’s Note: Yes, I know it’s…er…a bit morbid. Please don’t hurt me! Truce? *offers a cookie* As always, please REVIEW! Thank you for reading, and if you liked it, feel free to check out all 13 of my other works…




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