We Were Soldiers
By Argenteus Draco

Part One

When people tell me war is glory, I laugh. I laugh and laugh and laugh. Because I know it isn't. I was out there, in the field. I watched people I grew up with die. I fought, and I killed. And I haven't been the same since. I will never be the same. Never. In just a few short hours I changed completely. I went from being The Boy Who Lived to being The Boy Who Killed.

That scares me, that someone can change so dramatically so fast. But I knew that even before I changed. So many people I thought would always be ignorant, snobbish, dark and hate-filled joined our side. They died of course, they were the first. Sons and daughters of Death Eaters, they were considered traitors in the eyes of their own parents, and they were murdered in cold blood before the war itself actually began. They were the first casualties, and that's all they were considered. Not martyrs, not heroes, just casualties of war.

There were heroes, though not in everyone's eyes. Ron Weasley, for instance. Not honored in any way, and yet I know he was a hero. He died to save my life. Ron was my best friend all though school. Everyone always thought of him as the heroes sidekick, when in fact it was the other way around. He was the true hero, willing to give his life for his friends and family. And he did. I wish he hadn't though, because it feels like a waste. I'm dead anyway, inside.

I still have nightmares about that final battle; the battle in which Ron gave his life for mine. Just last night that I awoke in a cold sweat, my wife Jasmyn trying her best to soothe me. I'm ashamed she has to do so, because I know she must have nightmares of her own. She lost people she loved too, and she doesn't even know the truth about what happened to them. I knew a few of them, but since they were mostly younger I was never that well aquatinted with them. Cho Chang was the only Ravenclaw I ever really knew well, besides Jasmyn, and she's dead as well. She killed herself three days after I told her what had happened to her own husband, Terry Boot.

I'd like to be able to tell myself I'm not responsible for that, but I can't. Even though in my mind I know it was Voldemort's fault Terry died, in my heart I know it was my fault Cho had to also. As he was my comrade, it was my duty to tell Terry's family members what had happened to him. But perhaps I could have chosen not to tell Cho exactly how it happened, and just say he died in the line of duty. And yet, she asked what had happened, so perhaps it's best.

Perhaps, everything now is a perhaps. A what if. A Maybe. There are too many of them to count. Perhaps I could have saved Ron if I'd been just a step quicker. What if I'd killed that last Death Eater in the Battle of River Drell who had supplied the information for the final battle. Maybe if as far back as fourth year, things had gone differently, all these people wouldn't be dead now.

Life is full of what ifs and maybes, and we'll never know how they could have turned out. We all make choices, and that's the path we take. We can't turn back and change our course. And even if we could, I wouldn't go back. Because despite all the heartache and pain, I know I fought for a just cause; I and my comrades. And I hope that future generations will remember us when they go to fight. Some of us were martyrs, some of us were heroes, but there was one thing we all were.

We were soldiers.