Harry Potter quite obviously belongs to JK Rowling and her publishers. I should also point out that much of this tales themes (and its title) are from or based on the song "The Good In Me Is Dead" by Martyn Joseph. (A link to the lyrics is at the end of the story).
I sit at the water's edge, the ground beneath me is littered with debris, detritus, remnants of the previous twenty-four hours, hardly the most comfortable of places to sit, but I couldn't give a damn about comfort. Before me the lake is grey and lifeless, reflecting the dead sky above; the giant squid's body, along with all the other denizens of the waters, lies dead and rotting on the far shore. The stench of decay is beginning to seep into everything and I suppose I'll need to shower later, not that I really care. All this is a result of Voldemort's parting-shot as he lay dying, each breath shallower than the last. Whilst I was fighting not to slide into the abyss with him, the bastard – and I feel justified in calling him that - pulled one last trick, ripping away at the surrounding magic and destroying it.
It's not just the lake that's flat and lifeless; the whole area is still… bleak… dead… The shouts and cries of the previous evening mere echoes – memories, I wish I didn't have – but which threaten to drown me.
Still, the world turns and I shiver as the sky darkens and I pull my blanket, my cover - this blanket that has kept me warm at night for the last seven years in Gryffindor tower – tight around me in a futile attempt to find some comfort, but instead I sit alone, waiting. I'm not sure I could move if I tried.
Waiting for what's left.
Hermione my friend, my best friend's widow, a sister in many more ways than her legal status officially gives her, as well as a true friend in so many more ways. And Molly, the nearest thing to a mother I've ever known. We two, her only 'children' left. The two wars against Voldemort have wiped out her entire 'blood' family and still she has love to spare…I only wish I was worth it.
The rain comes without warning, or perhaps it was there all along and I didn't notice? I'm not really taking much notice and what's left of my mind seems to be elsewhere, drifting vaguely; within seconds I'm soaked to the bone by the downpour and strong winds which have swept in and whip through what remains of my tattered clothing. They should sting as they assault my body, but I don't feel it, I can sense nothing anymore.
What is there left to feel?
And I do not care. Why should I? Caring only hurt like hell and made me wide open to more of His attacks.
I just sit here numbly waiting, wanting to be left alone.
But I can't help remembering.
When the magic fell, so did the protective wards surrounding what was left of the school, and they started to arrive. Most on foot and confused, their magic having been ripped from them; dozens seem to have been unfortunate enough to have been caught by the ripples of Tom's final act. Those that were fortunate enough to be elsewhere this night were finally able to do the impossible and Apparate onto what's left of Hogwarts' grounds. And so I find myself hiding here, hoping that the stench from the rotting corpses will keep them away, but knowing full well that they will find me. Because they will be looking, of course.
Merlin, I hope that they leave me alone; if Rita pushes that bloody Quick Quotes Quill under my nose again I swear I'll break her head, because I couldn't care less any more. Even the threat of expulsion is pointless… I have no magic left and anyway, after some of the things I've done tonight – I'm afraid the good in me is dead.
And it's all Tom's fault.
Tom Marvolo Riddle, a man whose mere existence has soiled this world. My world. Over time my family, my friends, people I've never even met, have fought that man… that thing… and perished. Their images surge like fire through my bloody scar and fall like grains of sand at my feet.
Seventeen years ago now, amid lies and treachery, he took my parents while their village was asleep; he put his fucking half-blood wand to their heads. And ended more than just their lives. And I was too young to remember… Too young to weep.
Just because I didn't remember doesn't mean I didn't grieve… I heard their voices every time a Dementor got close; the desperation as Dad tried to get Mum to take me and run… Did she know it was the last time she'd see him alive? I remember the anguish, the pleading as she begged for my life... Was I worth it, Mum, where ever you are now? Have you seen what I've done?
Oh Merlin! What have I done…?
How I wish Albus had continued to hide me from the truth, was still here to shield me from the pain I feel now. I've lost so much.
Ron, my friend, my brother, as I learnt in the days following, was lured alone to the Shrieking Shack by Malfoy and his goons. He would have stood a chance if Crabbe and Goyle hadn't struck him on the head with their beaters-bats as soon as he emerged from the tunnel under the Whomping Willow. Like most people, they dramatically underestimated my friend, he may have been weakened but he didn't go down. His battle lasted just short of an hour and raged all over the abandoned property, during which time he managed to stun Flint, Nott, Zabini, Crabbe and Goyle.
I arrived just in time to see that coward Malfoy strike him down from behind. He never saw it coming and I screamed his name as his legs crumpled under him. Even as he fell to the earth, I was diving to my left to avoid Malfoy's curse. I had to constantly keep on the move to avoid curse after curse that Malfoy kept throwing at me. He had me on the back-foot from the start - the arrogant little ferret - and he pressed his advantage hard, but I knew if I kept out of the way, he had no stamina. All I had to do was keep moving and wait for my chance and the tide would turn.
I glanced to Ron's lifeless body and my resolve was hardened, I would avenge him. I had been training with the Unspeakables for months by that point and some of the things they had taught me were, well unspeakable, and Malfoy was about to find out just how slow and painful I could make them.
I should have remembered another lesson though, the one about keeping your emotions away from the battle-field. Whilst I was happily contemplating Draco's demise I failed look where I was going and I went sprawling over Nott's prone body. I hear an audible snap as I put my wand arm out to break my fall, my relief at seeing my wand still intact lasts only as long as it takes me to try and move my arm; the pain from my broken wrist is almost enough to cause me to pass out.
Malfoy was quick to take his advantage and he pointed his wand towards my chest. I could see the little shit stepping carefully around the wreckage strewn around the floor and coming closer, the better to gloat and watch the life wiped from my eyes.
"So, Potter," he wheezed. He was trying to hide it, but I could tell he was struggling, panting with the effort. "Tell me, how it feels knowing that your Weasel friend is dead and you will soon be joining him? What do you think my father will get me as a reward?"
I ignored his taunts and tried to get to my feet, but as I did he closed the rest of the distance and kicked me in the chest. I groaned as I heard some ribs crack.
"Not so fast, Potter, I'd hate for this to miss."
With that he lowered his wand to once again point towards me and licked his lips, opening his mouth to throw his curse.
I'm surprised to see Malfoy's lifeless body fall forwards, and I looked round confused to find out who I owed my life to, just in time to see Ron's arm droop back to the floor and a look of grim satisfaction on his face as his eyes closed for the final time.
I pulled myself painfully to my knees and dragged myself across to him I'm almost pleased he can't see me in this state, it would only upset him, but then the truth of why he can't see me rises up to choke me and I collapse at his side. With what remains of my strength, I push his hair out of his eyes – he never did let Hermione trim it after all - and press my lips to his dirty hair. I'm so sorry Ron, so very sorry. Do you regret that first day on the train now? If only I had known then what I learned at fifteen.
Ginny, my beloved wife, is in these hills now, all alone. That bastard didn't even give me the chance to say goodbye before he collapsed the cave onto her. We had been together less than a year, a year in which she became more important to me than I ever thought it would be possible for one person to be.
On that night which would have been Sirius' birthday, she had taken me to his cave and there we grieved and laughed over his memory. It was as I emerged from the cave and turned to watch her follow me – I loved to watch her as much as possible – that he struck, laughing as he Apparated away. All I could do was watch; I didn't even have time to warn her as the roof collapsed. The first rock seemed to stop inches above her and for a moment I thought she might escape, but then time started again and she gasped out in shock as it struck her back.
That was where Hermione found me, hands bleeding and raw trying to clear away the boulders, trying to get to her. It was only later, back at the castle that I realised my fingernails are missing, torn from my fingers as I desperately clawed ant the unforgiving rocks. I'll be forever grateful to her for not trying to stop me. Still torn apart by her own grief she just knelt down next to me without a word and proceeded to help try and move the impossible. And she stayed there for hours until I eventually gave up and fell against her, my tears flowing.
"How did you know?"
"He Portkeyed Wormtail's remains into the Great Hall, it seems the traitor had one last task to do."
"Hermione?" Even in my anguished state, I could tell she was struggling to tell me one more thing, something distressing.
"It was burnt into his chest Harry… And Harry he was still breathing." I find it hard to feel any remorse for the traitorous little rat. The traitor who was responsible for my parents death, ruined what was left of Sirius' life and left Remus to die in agony after burying his silver hand into my mentors side, deserved all he got. I prayed he died in pain.
A moment of hope, of redemption was crushed by her next words, "I'm sorry, Harry, even that was a trap, as soon as McGonagall touched the body it exploded into flames, she never had a chance…"
As her voice trailed off, she couldn't meet my eyes but she didn't have to say anymore, and it was my turn to hold her as she cried.
Last night the curses came raining, signalling the beginning of the end, I swear I saw her face; she came running across the fields to me. Throughout the long hours, one by one they started to fall, each one another piece torn away from my heart. The pain in my scar indicating his presence and delight was nothing compared to the pain as friends, comrades, succumbed to his forces. Whatever we did, whatever we threw at them, had no noticeable effect. For every Death Eater that fell, it seemed two more took their place.
Her image began to fade away as the aching cloud of pain pushed everything else from my mind. He waited until it was all too much before he appeared, delight at my state pouring off him.
"Well, Potter, the time is close I see, and that fool Dumbledore thought that 'love' was the power I knew not." This last part was spat out "Where has love got you, Potter? It's left you incapable of defending yourself, never mind defeating me!" His derisive laughter was joined by his Death Eaters, who now surrounded us.
"One by one I've taken your friends away, boy, and each time I've weakened you, so now you will die with nothing and nobody to help you."
"I have people," I replied more defiantly than I felt.
"Oh, yes, your precious Weasleys." As he spoke there was movement either side of him, and there was my family, or what remained of it. I was too sickened by their state to notice Molly's absence in that moment.
"Let them be," I implored, falling to my knees. "All you want is me, let us end this now."
"Oh, we will end this now, don't worry, but first I think you should see the moment your defences finally evaporate."
As the remaining male Weasleys were enveloped in blue flames, I fell flat on my face screaming, the noise seemed to come from not only my mouth, but every pore of my being.
What seemed like hours later, but in reality was mere seconds, I opened my eyes to see every Death Eater unconscious and Voldemort writhing in pain; his life-force finally fading away, his breathing becoming more laboured. I started to think it was all over, when suddenly he fixed me a stare with his snake-like eyes.
"You may have beaten me, Potter, but I will win."
I thought he was delirious, but his expression made me nervous. I was too weak to stop him, and I hurt so much I didn't know if I wanted to. I may still have been breathing, but ah, what the hell – everything that was good about me was dead anyway.
"No, Potter, you will spend your life regretting not dying when you should have." His eyes altered and I wondered what he was trying. Still messing with my head, even as he died.
And as his body exploded outwards, the shockwaves carried his remains far and wide, I felt the magic being ripped out of my body. It felt like I had been turned inside out, and then I felt nothing.
And as I sit waiting, not really looking, but staring out over the stagnant putrid waters of the lake, wrapped in my blanket, I'm thinking that Dumbledore was right in the end: it was love that defeated Voldemort. My love. My love for those I cared for burst from my body in the same way as Tom's final act of hatred. But at what cost? All those I cared for – dead. All those Hermione and Molly cared for – dead.
I'm empty, drained and worthless, and I don't care; nothing means anything anymore – not even flying, the first part of this world that felt right to me (not that I can anymore anyway – not with my magic gone ) – nor any of my possessions that lie strewn about behind me.
Not even the single living snow-drop (a flower whose meaning of 'hope in sorrow' should have more meaning to me now), miraculously whole and perfect in all this bloody mess, mere feet from me, stirs anything. Not even the memory of Ginny covered in them as she explained their meaning, laughing as I threw more and more of them over her.
No, I sit here, bruised and filthy, hoping nobody asks me what I dread.
That the good in me is dead.
A/N Many thanks to Baffy and Allie for attempting to beta this cheery little number for me :) and Yoda who enjoyed it far too much to be healthy!
I'm sorry everyone, but this is not a happy fic, everyone did indeed die, and Harry is not in a good place as we leave him. But I choose to believe the good in him can not be dead, if he chooses to dread and therefore care that it is.
The bunny that bit and inspired this story came to me whilst listening to the song The Good in Me is Dead, by Martyn Joseph, anything you recognise in the story after reading the lyrics, belongs to him. The lyrics can be found here.