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Published: 07/20/2005
Updated: 01/05/2008
Words: 204,297
Chapters: 22
Hits: 56,754

Harry Potter and the Soul of the Hero


Story Summary:
The Boy Who Lived has survived Sword and Defiance, but his fight has only just begun. Power enough to destroy Existence is growing in more than one source, and the War for Creation will burn all worlds. Beings of higher power, both Light and Dark, battle for dominance and caught in the middle is Harry Potter. But Harry has his own war to fight - against the Dark Lord - and humanity must unite if he is to win. We have reached the end, and change is coming, whether it be for good or ill. Harry must gamble again with everything on the line, even if it means damning his soul to an eternity of darkness... will he pay that price to save those he loves, or will he tear down Creation itself to destroy his enemies?

Chapter 15 - We'll Die Standing

Chapter Summary:
Hope was a dream Harry could not afford, but maybe one he deserved. Just because he couldn't see it in himself, does not mean that others cannot see it in him.

Harry Potter and the Soul of the Hero

Chapter 15 - We'll Die Standing

In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours.


July 23rd

"It's Harry's birthday soon, his seventeenth," Ginny said, sitting with Ron and Hermione at the breakfast table on that warm Australian morning. She absently swirled the last dregs of her soggy cornflakes around the bowl, and thought about the upcoming event.

Technically it was his one hundredth and eighteenth birthday. He looked seventeen but had the memories of a life one hundred and eighteen years long. But that was a lot of candles on a cake, so seventeen it would be.

"We should make an effort to do something nice," Hermione said carefully.

Ron snorted. "He probably won't even remember it's his birthday unless we remind him. He worries about too much, I reckon."

Ginny smiled sadly. "Just the salvation of Time and Creation, Ron, just that...."

Ron blinked. "Oh yeah... that. Well, we'll do something cool then for his birthday so he can forget about that."

Hermione smiled and squeezed Ron's shoulder. "The question is - what? What's exciting and fun for a man who's travelled across all of time and space battling monsters and saving worlds?"

"Anything normal," Ginny said, having been giving it a lot of thought. "Truly great men dream of the normal life they have been denied. I read that somewhere."

"Balloons and sparklers then," Hermione grinned. "And a huge cake!"

Ron pushed away his empty plate, scraped clean of food, and leaned back in his chair with a sigh. On his lap was the book on military tactics that Harry had given him to study. It was fascinating stuff and he just simply understood most of it. Even Hermione got confused in parts, but to Ron the tactics and battle plans clicked in his head.

It was a lot like chess.

"It'll probably be just us four then - if we count Ethan.... but we can make something happen, I think."

"We'll talk about it later," Ginny said, standing up. "Harry wanted us to work on powering crystals today, so we should do that."


Perth, Western Australia

As Ron, Hermione and Ginny were plotting his birthday surprise, Harry was walking casually down a glittering Muggle street in the city of Perth, on the western coast of Australia.

High rise buildings covered in tinted black glass rose high above him on either side, as crowds of people swelled by on either side - completely oblivious to who and what he was. Dressed in a simple pair of jeans and a transfigured black shirt, Harry blended in almost seamlessly with the crowds.

Hands in pockets, Harry's eyes constantly scanned his surroundings for signs of danger and anything at all out of place. This city was just like the hundreds of others he had visited across time. Cars streamed by - as well as buses and bikes - and the sidewalks were full of people either shopping, heading to work, leaving work, and otherwise living out their small and relatively content lives in blissful ignorance to the wave of nightmares that was about to crash onto the world.

A street vendor tried to sell him a greasy hotdog that may or may not have been meat. Harry ignored the man and carried on slowly down the street. He was just a kid, probably skived the day off school - nothing more.

His scar was burning quite terribly today. Since he got up three hours ago the cursed lightning bolt had felt like a white hot branding iron pressing into his skull. He, of course, showed no outward sign of the pain, but it was increasingly uncomfortable and could only mean disaster.

Voldemort was reaching out to him through the link, he felt that much, and battering down the defences around his mind - trying hard to wash away who he was, why he was... the Dark Lord was toying with him from his throne lost in a pocket of time at Slytherin Fortress. It was a measure of the strength of the curse link that it could punch through a barrier separating millenniums to plague him so now.

A homeless man was lying against the side of a boarded up shop, his ragged hat before him holding a few coins that kind pedestrians had dropped in out of pity for the scraggly bearded fellow. Most just walked on by as if he wasn't there, and to them he wasn't. Just part of the scenery, a part of the city - as normal as the skyscrapers and cars. They ignored it.

Digging into his pocket, Harry removed a layer of bills from the vast amount of cash he had stored in the magically expanded fabric, and casually dropped $10,000 Australian dollars into the man's hat. He didn't stop, just kept walking and smiled only slightly when he heard the man gasp and burst into tears of joy.

Looking at the street signs, Harry saw the one he needed and turned down onto Hay Street. It was a long street that pretty much cut right through the centre of the city. He was heading towards a bookstore that he had found in the phonebook. A specialist bookstore - one that dealt in rarely sought after texts.

Boffins, it was called, and Harry kept a careful eye out for it now. He had passed a small restaurant, an accounting firm, a coffee house and a McDonald's before he spotted the green letters atop of a white background that caught the light of the morning in a curving script which pleased the eye.


Harry stumbled on the sidewalk before he reached it however, as his scar sent a sharp bolt of crippling pain throughout his entire body. He didn't scream, but it was a damn near thing.

Holding his head, his vision swayed and for a moment everything grew dark and he saw an all too familiar pair of narrowed crimson eyes. They were searching for him, seeking him out - Harry stared right back into those eyes with all the hate and anger he could muster.

To anyone that looked at him then, it would have seemed as if he was glaring at a piece of old chewing gum stuck to the sidewalk.

Laughter rang out in his mind - cold and bitter - before the darkness faded to light and he was back on the street outside the bookstore. Swatting at his head angrily, Harry shook away the dizziness and entered the shop. Voldemort wanted to play games did he.... well, Harry had been playing this game a lot longer than Riddle had....

Rows and shelves of neat and organised books disappeared around the corner of the store and up a winding polished wood staircase framed with stainless steel that led to yet more rows of books on the second floor, and eventually to the third and final floor of specialist books.

A few customers perused the clean shelves, flipping pages in a particular text or enjoying a cup of coffee at the circular reading tables.

Casting a cursory glance at the books nearby, Harry saw subjects such as Aviation, Information Technology, Creative Writing, and Physics. Not what he needed, so he approached the Muggle at the register. She had a computer so maybe she could search for him.

As he approached her, Harry felt a vague sense of familiarity. She was blonde, lithe and just by looking at her creased frown as she read a thick book behind the counter, he could tell she probably spent more time in books than she did in the real world. Harry, for some reason, knew how that felt and admired it.

But still, despite all of that, he still felt as if he knew her. She smiled warmly when he approached, put her book down and asked politely, "How can I help you?"

Attached to her blouse on the collar was a white nametag, and upon that was written the woman's name. Sarah... it struck another cord in Harry's memory. He knew this woman from somewhere and somewhen.

It was Ethan that recognised her first. Sarah, he said. Sarah Wingfield. A woman who came with you in the early days - who died in a dark creature attack. She was a nurse, in the world where Allarius attacked you in force. She saved your life once - spraying a vampire with a fire extinguisher when you were too weakened to attack.

Harry remembered - Ah, he remembered. Sarah Wingfield the blonde nurse he had allowed to come with him across universes. Here she was now - not the one he had known, but her just the same.

"How can I help you?" Sarah asked.

Harry blinked and dragged himself out of painful thoughts and bitter memory. "I... I need a book on ancient Egyptian... fairytales," Harry said, somewhat lamely. Fate weaved an odd pattern, even when he thought he was beyond it things that were and was that had affected his life found a way of resurfacing in the battle torn webbing of Existence.

Sarah Wingfield was one such oddity. There were no coincidences in the grand plan, the Great Game - she was here to help him yet again.

"Oh, that's an obscure one," Sarah smiled and began to type quickly on the keyboard before her. Harry could see the computer screen flicker and change but it was meaningless to him. "But I like a challenge. Search will probably take a few minutes...."

"I'm happy to wait," he said, not unkindly.

Sarah continued to type, her fingers blazing across the keys, and occasionally smiled up at him. Once she wore a bemused frown, as if she had recognised him for a moment, but then she shook her head and said, "What's your interest in this subject? Most kids your age prefer surfing to four thousand year old fairytales."

Harry shrugged, and for the first time noticed the small pin attached to Sarah's collar. It was metal but it was fashioned in the shape of a white rose. A green stem and a shiny silver bud, reflecting the beam lights overhead and glinting into Harry's eyes.

"Curiosity," Harry replied. "I like that rose pin - where'd you get it?"

Sarah blinked and looked down to her collar. "What this....? The rose... I got this... I..." She looked up at him, frowning now. "I don't remember where I got this," she said, chuckling. "Isn't that odd?"

Harry shook his head. "Not to me," he whispered, just as the computer went beep!

"Ah, here we go," Sarah said, tapping a few more keys. "We have three books that match your criteria. None of them are specifically fairytales. One is mythology which I suppose amounts to the same thing. Another is a few short stories about how the pyramids were built, and the last details the belief in Ra, the Sun God... I think the mythology one is probably your best bet. Here, I'll show you where to find it."

"Thank you," Harry said, rubbing his scar absently. The pain in it hadn't lessened any yet, but now it ignited and rippled across his head and down his neck. It felt like a deep and powerful electric shock. Again, he almost fell... but the counter was there to steady him.

Be ready, Ethan warned. I think he may be testing the scar link to find you, and attack.

I know, Harry replied with a tired sadness. God, do I know....

"Excuse me," Sarah said as he followed her. She had been glancing at him out of the corner of her eye and now seemed to have spotted something. "But you look awfully familiar. Have we met before?"

"Possibly," he answered. "I've done a lot of travelling in my time - we may have crossed paths before now."

Crossed threads in the web of Time, of Space, died another life and walked another dream.

Sarah reached up onto a shelf within the ancient history section, scanning the titles there before pulling down a thick colourful book about as heavy as a truck. Harry quickly took it off her, as she stumbled under its weight.

"Thanks," she breathed. "Of course it'd be the heaviest book in the store."

Harry smiled. "I'll take it," he said.

"You're really into this old folklore stuff then?"

"Passing interest really," he shrugged.

Back at the register, Sarah scanned the book and Harry paid three hundred and fifty dollars for it. For lack of a bag strong enough to carry it in, Harry just carried it underarm and said goodbye to a woman that, for some reason, was fated to help him in small ways now and then.

Perhaps there was some connection with her he was just not seeing, but if it was important then that was just too bad. He was too tired these days to care about these small quirks of Fate, these linked threads in his life. He exited the store without another glance at Sarah Wingfield, and left her alive this time.

Down the road Harry sat down at one of the tables of a restaurant he had passed earlier in the sun. It was a cloudless day, and the sun was high in the eastern sky as he dropped the heavy mythology book on the intricately patterned white table. It only took a minute for a serving waiter to arrive, and he ordered a large coffee, black, and a piece of chocolate cake.

Scar still burning, Harry ran his fingers across the cover before flipping right back to the index on page three thousand and twenty seven;

Ancient Egyptian Mythology

A Comprehensive Study of a Great People.

Dr. Simon Allen; BSC; PHD.

The index was alphabetical and Harry quickly flicked through to 'D' and almost immediately found the word he was looking for.

Darkslayer - p1605

Hermione's mother had set him on this path now. She had given him the knowledge he needed to find what could possibly be the biggest secret of his life - and the salvation of time and space. The Hand of God, she had said, and didn't remember much more beyond that. Her studies were nineteen years ago, and she hadn't majored in these Egyptian fairytales... but it had been enough.

Hand of God... Angered the demons... blocked the Sun and fought the darkness... an orphan boy... hero of the people.... Vague and incomplete sentences were all Mrs Granger could recall.

His cake and coffee arrived and, as his scar bit at his mind, Harry turned to page 1605 and read what could have been the most important story ever written. An almost surreal calm descended over the Boy Who Lived as his eyes darted from word to word, line to line... time stretched around him and everything else ceased to matter.

This is what he read;

The following story appeared in Ancient Egypt at about 3000BC, and formed what could have been the basis for many of today's great religions. It speaks of a man - a man who became a hero all across the land for fighting the darkness that had blinded the Sun God, Ra, who we know from previous pages was considered to be the Creator of life and the universe.

This Darkslayer, as he became known, was raised to be the Right Hand of God and to serve his Lord for all eternity, as translated from hieroglyphics discovered underneath the sands at Cairo in 1925. An alternate translation suggestions that this man was not human, and was in fact Ra Himself destroying the Evil that had crippled Him.

Either translation is prone to error and, at this point in time, nothing further has been uncovered to settle this dispute over the Darkslayer origin, a dispute which has raged quite fiercely among the elite of the academic community for decades.

It is my belief that the Darkslayer was indeed human, and it is that translation which is written below.

What followed next was a story not written in the conventional text, but put together from the dozens of pictograms - hieroglyphics - used by the people of the time, and translated into English. As such, it didn't flow too smoothly....

Ra was blinded by a great wave of Darkness, casting all lands into suffering and despair... A man rose to fight the Darkness that bound Ra, the Sun, and although he was a poor orphan, he had a will of strength harder than any of the Gods...

He crossed many worlds and fought many dangers, spawned by that same Evil which held his beloved Creator... the man became known as the Darkslayer, for he wielded powers of the Sun - was graced with gifts by Ra to free Him... and the legions of the Destroyers, of Evil, were cast back into the abyss under his rage....

A hero to the people, the Darkslayer climbed twilight to fight some unimaginable final battle before the captive Sun, and free Ra from his prison and return Light to the lands... and hope.

For this battle the Darkslayer commanded the souls of the dead, calling them to fight from the Underworld which was broken without Ra's Light. An army of humans... strengthened by the convictions of the Darkslayer also fought their own battle in the Great Desert, against demons and worse....

The Darkslayer fought across the stream of time, in the vastness of a great boundary that separated all of the worlds Ra had created. He fought with the fury of his people, of humans, and in time came to battle the heart of Evil, on the Plains of Twilight.

A battle that shook the heavens and almost undid all of Ra's creation was fought then, and the Darkslayer came close to death himself. For Ra was weakened from holding His creation together, and time with everything in it slipped through the hands of the Darkslayer....

His swords, twin blades of blue fire, smote the sky and called down a rain of fiery destruction upon the beast that had imprisoned Ra and stolen the Light. It shattered the worlds, burnt away the fabric upon which Ra had painted his Universes, and the End was upon the people...

All hope had faded now, the Darkslayer stood finally before Ra's captor and he was bereft of power... of the strength to carry on. He dreamt of nothing now but his lost love, and the normal life he had forsaken for this...

He was only human, after all.

Battle scarred and at the end of his life, the Darkslayer had no strength left, for Ra had not seen this End. His quest now rested on the edge of his sword...


Underneath the pyramids this story covered several walls and took many years to translate. It was incomplete when it was discovered in 1925 - the wall was half chiselled and painted, as if some great cataclysm had stopped work on this tale before it could be finished. Many believe it was the Ten Plagues of Egypt, others that the story itself was never finished.

Experts have agreed that it was a great Seer who transcribed this story onto the walls beneath Cairo, but further information on this aspect of the lost society has so far eluded even the most adventurous explorers. One would hope that in the future a completed telling of this story may be found.

The coffee was lukewarm when Harry finally looked up from the book, his eyes misty and deeply troubled. This story, this tale of a man called the Darkslayer, had been written five thousand years ago in a far away corner of the world... by a Seer. A Seer could interpret visions of the future, glimpses of what could be.

Did it mean what he thought it meant....

I'd put my money on what you're thinking, Ethan whispered. It makes too much sense not to be true...

But if it is.... Harry whispered, if it is!

If it is then you were born to fight a Holy Crusade against Evil itself and free the bindings that have somehow ensnared the God that supposedly created everything. His own Creation is supposed to save him from something that He may or may not have created. Evil....

Had a powerful Seer in Egypt witnessed his life five thousand years ago? Was this story not so much a story, as a prophecy of his life up to this point? That rung with too much truth to be ignored.

Taking a bite of his cake, Harry chuckled as he realised that of all the places in Existence that he imagined this life altering revelation to be, it wasn't here. His scar was still burning, but then a moment later it stopped as if it had never been - the pain simply vanished and in its place a seeping cold numbed the inflammation in his mind.

Harry sighed with relief and then tore out the pages of the mythology book that he had just read. Folding them and placing them in his pocket he stood up, dropping coins onto the table for the cake and coffee. He left the book and turned away from the restaurant back onto the sidewalk.

A few steps later and Harry hit the ground hard as an explosion suddenly ripped through the centre of the road and the traffic, tossing half a dozen cars and a bus like feather light rag dolls out in a large booming radius. The flames from the initial explosion spread fast - they were purple - and grew into a swirling monolith of heat and energy.

Cars and debris flew over Harry and then once again screams of the dying reached his ears. It was a sound he knew all too well.

A sound that was soon drowned out by the rush of fire and crashing, twisting metal. Dozens of people died as a large city bus spun into the side of a skyscraper, shattering the mass of glass and skidding across the building's foyer, wiping out those not quick enough to dodge the wall of metal.

The purple tower of fire roared high up into the sky, a mile high into the sky and enveloped half of the street. It swirled and grew, twisting metal and flesh into its being. Tendrils of thick purple fire lashed out from its base and whipped through concrete and cars, people and trees alike.

Harry rolled fast off the sidewalk and over the curb onto the road. Had he stayed where he was he would have been trampled by the seething mass of humanity that was now fleeing, desperate to survive. Basic instinct had took over - run, and run hard.

"Potter...." a silky smooth voice seemed to reverberate up and down the vast column of fire, and Harry didn't hesitate to respond to that.

Standing on his own two feet, he moved like the wind, dodging the flaying tentacles that seemed to sense him and hone in on his position. Jumping over flaming wreckage and already a burning corpse or two, Harry dived back and forth under the whiplashes of the purple fire.

The purple fire creation grew and more and more tendrils of destruction sprung from it, until it resembled a towering rod marred with hundreds of thin blazing tentacles that whipped around it as fast as the eye could see - tearing into the high rise buildings, shattering so much glass that it rained a blizzard of the sharp fragments.

And still the purple flames grew.

Voldemort, he growled, not needing the renewed burning in his scar to know that the Dark Lord had conjured this monstrosity somehow.


He's not here, Ethan whispered. Look fast, stay alive!

Large chunks of concrete, of building, rained down with the glass and Harry was a blur in between them as he pushed himself to his limit in avoiding the dangerous shower of debris. A moment later and his palms blazed with all the fury of his power. He cast a dome shield around himself and took a diving run at the base of the purple tower of fire.

Entire buildings in this city had been gutted and hundreds had died as Harry, shielded by his strength, jumped into the thick flames of the fire and was immediately shrouded in the purple heat. The force of the magic propelled him up through the tower, through the monolith of fire at a tremendous speed until he was expelled nearly six thousand feet above the city at the tip of the furious blaze.

Unburnt and yet smoking slightly, Harry growled and spun in the air, calling both of his swords into his hands. His palms already shone with his ethereal power, and when he clasped his hands around the sword handles that same power raced up the length of the blades - a blue power....

My fury, he thought.

Still spinning high in the sky, Harry turned now with purpose and beheld the still growing and writhing purple bane that Voldemort had conjured somehow - with the power Harry had had torn from him. More of those deadly tendrils struck at him and he heard insane laughter in his mind and wasn't sure if it was his or Voldemort's.

It may have been both.

Swinging the blades expertly despite the wind buffeting him and the gravity that was now bearing down upon him, Harry cut through three of the tendrils, fusing his blue power over and into the now cauterised wounds inflicted on the flexible shafts of purple flame.

The tentacles affected by his blue power seemed to scream, shudder and then explode in a star of sharp fiery fragments that rocketed through the air in all directions. Harry spun and avoided the worst of them, but from the three separate explosions dozens of shards flew so he was bound to be hit. One cut through the fabric of his jeans and embedded itself deep in his leg. The heat of it burnt the wound closed and there was no bleeding.

It burnt and hurt amazingly though.

Another few fragments grazed his arms and one scraped across his neck, again leaving a scarred burn that didn't bleed. Harry gritted his teeth as he spiralled through the sky, heading back towards the tip of the monolith of flame, his blades still alight and shining blue.

He ploughed into the fire at great speed, holding his swords before him and tore back down to the earth, eating through the purple fire, destroying it - cutting it in half and wrenching it apart. A blazing blue trail followed him and he sliced the tower of destruction in half, the inertia and resistance of Voldemort's spell slowing his fall.

He felt the Dark's Lord glee turn to silent fury as he landed back on the city street, upon a pile of rubble that had once been a six storey apartment block, and as the column of fire, now rent in two, fell away either side, blue power spreading through it until, like its many tendrils, it exploded into a million jagged fragments.

Harry shielded himself and glared up at the terrible destruction, dozens of fiery hot needles impacting against his unbreakable shield. He knelt on one knee, as a shard of liquid fire was still embedded in his leg. He removed that now, first putting his left hand sword away, and pulling the accursed spike from his flesh.

Screaming from the pain, the wound now bleeding, Harry took a good look around at the destruction that had been caused within five small minutes. A good portion of this city, its tallest buildings, had been destroyed - lashed and broken. There were no screams now, only alarms and distant explosions.

A great cloud of black smoke rose up into the sky above the city, hanging before the sun, and his sword gleamed almost crimson - a blade of blood. A butcher's tool.

"This world is doomed," Harry whispered, no longer standing alone on the pile of shaky rubble. Ethan stood next to him, silent and thoughtful. Beneath their feet hundreds of people lay dead.

"Oh no," Ethan said. "We haven't yet begun to fight, Potter - remember that."

Harry was silent for a long time as the sun faded further with the rising dust cloud, and black smoke from thousands of separate fires littered across the proud and now battle lost city obscured the blue sky.

The Darkslayer sighed then, "Oh... God," he breathed. "I don't see a way out of this one. This'll be the death of us."

Ethan chuckled and turned to face him, his eyes maddening. "Nor do I," he grinned. "And when it happens we'll go down swinging... okay?"

Harry walked forward a few steps, dragging the tip of his sword against the broken stone behind him. This battle could scarcely be called that. It was a brawl between himself and the Dark Lord. The real fight - the one that only one of them would walk away from.... that fight would probably destroy a lot more than half a city.

"Yes, my friend," Harry spoke to Ethan. "In the end we'll die standing tall."

It was then, and it was for the last time, that Harry began to weep.


Weakened, near death, Godric Gryffindor - a Guardian - continued his journey across the vastness of the Boundary. Every second brought him closer to the gateway he could use to enter his old world... closer to Harry Potter.

But he began to fear that he wouldn't make it. So far he had been attacked eight times by Destroyer patrols, and his strength was at an end. He feared he was mortally wounded. Only by escaping briefly into the mortal universes had he survived so far, entering worlds nearby this section of the Boundary.

There had been no sign of any other Guardians, and Gryffindor began to fear that he was the last. No, he knew he couldn't be the last... but one of a few survivors. The Destroyer attack had been swift... vicious... merciless. Small pockets of resistance probably continued across Existence, but there wasn't time to reach them.

Never enough time....

What can Harry Potter do now....? Gryffindor despaired. What can anyone do?

Everything he had believed in and dedicated eternity to had been ravished and torn away. All he had now was hope in a boy that wasn't sane the last time they had met... a boy that was mortal.

The Darkslayer!

It was hope enough.

But of course there was no way that Gryffindor could know that the largest army ever seen was also converging on Harry Potter's world. An army of Destroyers, gathering its strength from all the corners of the Boundary, abandoning the mortal worlds they had conquered to fight the Darkslayer. Bringing all manner of dark creatures from those worlds with them to ravage the final refuge of the Light.

All the pieces were moving now, the Game approaching its end. Whether it would end in fire wasn't now the question... the only question now was how much of Existence wouldn't....


Albus Dumbledore was breathing heavily when he exited the pensieve Harry had sent him and landed back in his chair at Hogwarts. He shook, he shuddered and a single tear streamed down his cheek and into his bushy grey beard.

Dear Merlin, he thought. Harry....

The truth in this basin of memory was terrible, unforgivable... what force could allow something so torturous to occur to the young man.... What God or deity would allow Harry to suffer so?

One that didn't exist!

No, that wasn't right, Albus reminded himself. One could not blame God and not believe in Him at the same time.

Fawkes, sensing his companion's pain, sang softly and sadly - trying his best to strengthen the aging Headmaster's heart and soul.

"I've made some mistakes in my time, Fawkes," Dumbledore managed, his hands still shaking as he glanced with a still growing horror at the silvery memory. "But nothing worse than this...."

Dumbledore recalled the battle of Hogsmeade in March, when Harry had disappeared. If he had made a greater effort to keep the lad at Hogwarts, then none of this would have happened. Harry would still have his youth, would still be mostly whole. He wouldn't have lost his mind in a hellish battle with a demon of pure evil!

Breaking down, Dumbledore held his head in his hands. It had been a trying few days, spent mostly in the pensieve but worsened by reports of Voldemort disturbing yet more corpses from their resting place. This time in France. The Muggle world was petrified, confused and angry.

War was brewing on many fronts.

And Dumbledore now knew that it wasn't his place to lead the magical world against Voldemort. He had been so sure in himself, so sure he could guide Harry... and now that was gone. He had lost his trust. The boy... no, the man, was fighting a battle he had fought for a century - doing it the only way he knew how. And Dumbledore, like everyone else now, was merely a spectator.

Harry was powerful. By God, Harry was powerful. He was also the only thing stopping Voldemort from destroying this world. Tom wouldn't chance his power against Harry's - not in open conflict until he was sure he could win.

And that meant marshalling an army the likes of which the world had never seen. An army of the dead, of Inferi and vampires. Death Eaters and Dementors. A terrible force that would wash away all that was good, and decent.... and pure.

Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, the Darkslayer, the Lord of Twilight... was all that stood between the world and a very dark future.

Dumbledore knew he had made many mistakes trying to control and guide Harry, too many. But maybe now that he knew the truth he could set about righting a few of them. The least he could do would be to throw his support, and Britain's, behind him in the International Community.

He was an unknown entity in the International Confederation. His Rose Banner and the one of Death were still fused into the Seat of Merlin, and that scared the IC as much as the fact that Harry had been in control of Australia for the last few weeks. If he could take over one Ministry with just a handful of men and women, then what was to stop him taking over another one?

He had been declared an enemy of peace in many circles, was fighting for a world that wanted to hang him for protecting them, and had issued that proclamation eight days ago calling for soldiers to join his army in Australia.

That was another thing the Boy Who Lived was doing. He was really the only one who knew what was coming, what Voldemort planned to do, and was fighting back. Everything else would fall if it wasn't for Harry - would have fallen a long time ago.

Reports from the island continent were sketchy at best, as the staff of the Ministry were routinely interrogated with truth serum and spells for links to Death Eaters, but even the lowest estimates put Harry's army at two thousand men and women. The highest even put it at ten thousand people, which was a bit absurd.

Then again, this was Harry Potter. A symbol for the Light and the only one to have ever defeated Lord Voldemort.

The future does not exist....

Dumbledore held the small note Harry had written him and gazed at those words with a renewed understanding. Harry had seen entire worlds fall, fail, die. He knew it could happen here, but that it didn't have to....

Yes, Dumbledore had decided - he would convince Arthur to throw the United Kingdom's support behind Harry, and then renew ties with the young man. Before his birthday on the thirty first, he hoped to be allies with him again. With any luck they could get him back on their side....

Dumbledore rose from his chair and headed over to the fireplace. "Grimmauld Place," he whispered, throwing down a handful of floo powder. The old man disappeared in a blur of green flames.


It was a well known fact to his friends that Harry didn't sleep more than three hours - and that was only on a good night. It wasn't the fact that he wouldn't sleep more than three hours; it was the terrifying fact that he couldn't sleep more than three hours that made Ginny want to cry.

She had healed his leg when he stumbled in earlier that evening, and eventually after much nagging she and Ron and Hermione had squeezed the truth out of him. Voldemort had tried to destroy him - hadn't succeeded, hadn't even come close - but thousands of people had got in the way.

Harry had witnessed thousands of deaths today - very possibly the only survivor in a tormented and twisted use of magic that had torn apart a city on the western coast of this country. He had been understandably upset, more so than she expected from what she knew of him now.

But then maybe it had finally begun to add up for Harry.... maybe all the pain had cracked his soul and resolve and now the terror was seeping out and hurting him.

His nightmares were truly awful - beyond understanding - and it was that which only allowed him a few hours of tortured sleep a night. Ginny seriously wondered if Harry was the most abused human in all of time. How can something as simple as buying a book turn into a massacre?

Voldemort was the answer to that.

It was early in the morning, one or two o'clock, and Harry and Ginny were half asleep together on the large sofa that looked out upon the sea in his sitting room. Only now it was dark, and a severe thunderstorm that had appeared out of nowhere was lashing the window with sheets of rain. Very frequently, a fork of lightning lit up the cloudy sky and the choppy ocean. The thunder was near deafening.

Ginny lay down on half the sofa, her legs stretched out onto the coffee table, and Harry lay down restlessly with his head in her lap. She gently ran her hands through his hair, the both of them drifting in and out of troubled sleep.

They had been like that for a few hours now - silently finding calm in each other's company. Harry was tired, Ginny knew, terribly tired. All the weight of everything he had fought and carried was grinding him into the dirt, everything he had to fight without rest.

She recalled getting out of bed three hours ago and finding Harry awake, unsurprisingly, by the window nearby watching the storm.

Ginny didn't know why she awoke suddenly in the night, but when she did she felt awful. All ragged and stretched and ultimately bereft of warmth. It was cold when she got out of bed, so she pulled on her robe over her pyjamas and put on a pair of socks and slippers.

Thunder and rain pounded down upon the house. It was so loud, she thought.

Stepping out of her room into the large sitting room, she saw his silhouette against the distant window, marked only briefly in a flash of powerful lightning. It was Harry, she knew instinctively, and he wasn't okay.

He'd been distant when he came back earlier that evening, and all the fight seemed to have drained out of him. He was pale and shivering, his eyes red with tears, and he was soaked through to the bone. He had added a few new scars to the collection somehow - one on his neck, a few on his arms and another in his leg.

She, Ron, and Hermione, had healed him as best they could, spoken to him and made him eat, and then he had fallen asleep. They had gone to bed soon after, weary from the magical exhaustion of powering crystals all day, and had assumed Harry would sleep through the night.

And so, it was only a moment later, that Ginny found Harry alone on the floor by the window, his arms wrapped around his legs....

Ginny's heart broke at the sight of him. He was rocking back and forth on his heels. The pain etched into his face was enough to rattle the strongest heart. He wanted to wail, to scream... Harry wanted to die, and was fighting those urges with every fibre of his being.

For lack of another else to do, Ginny had gotten down onto the floor with him and just held him as he thrashed and finally let it all out. He was battling with himself, obviously furious at showing what he thought was a weakness, and feeling relieved that some of the burden was falling away.

After some time, Ginny had managed to walk him over to the sofa...

And they were there now. Harry was dozing, frowning even in his sleep, and mumbling incoherently as Ginny ran her hand through his hair soothingly. She loved him, she did, and anything that tried to get in their way could burn for all she cared right now. He was tired, she knew, tired of it all.

"Great men should dream of normal lives...." she whispered. "Not of monsters."

Harry stirred. "...did you say something?" he croaked.

"Go back to sleep, Harry," she said. He was still frowning, hadn't opened his eyes, but he nodded and nestled back down into the sofa. His breathing was shallow, his muscular arms scarred, but he seemed to be sleeping now.

What did the future hold for them? She didn't know, didn't think any force across all of Existence knew how this would end.

Ginny did know though, as she gazed down lovingly at Harry, stroking his hair, that he shouldn't die. Not after all he had fought for... it wouldn't be fair for him to die. What kind of justice was that?

No, Harry should not die... or... or... A single thought swam across Ginny's mind and she held the Boy Who Lived close, snuggling down until they were near inseparable.


At the very least, Harry shouldn't die alone.


Thanks, once again, for reading and hopefully reviewing. Peace, folks. joe