"Take a look around you, Potter," a voice whispered close to Harry's ear, and he shuddered at the way the sibilant voice caressed the words, a satisfied note underscoring the fact that Harry was helpless. His shield had weakened until his opponent's overpowered Petrificus Totalus had been able to shatter it and strike him, leaving him unable to move in the middle of the battlefield and at the mercy of his mortal enemy.

Unable to move anything but his eyes, Harry was forced to take in the view that faced him – that of the destroyed Hogwarts grounds, and of the people he had failed. A cold hand gripped at his heart when he spotted red hair, the head severed from the body, Ron's empty eyes staring in his direction. Next to him lay a girl with bushy hair, tears leaking from her eyes as she stared at the severed head of her lover, and by the huge diagonal gash along her torso Harry knew that she would not be alive much longer.

It was the worst sort of torture, he decided, to see his closest friends dead and dying and being unable to react in any way – he wanted to scream, to cry, to run to them and heal Hermione although he knew it was too late, to kill the people who had done this to them, to close his eyes and shut out the sight. And yet, bound by the Petrificus Totalus, he was unable to do anything but avert his eyes, finding other horrors waiting for him.

Tonks, two werewolves feasting on her flesh where she had fallen beside Remus, who was almost unrecognizable due to all the scratches the enemy werewolves had inflicted on him. Hagrid, who was roaring at the group of Death Eaters surrounding him – and Harry wondered how he had managed to survive that long with only a broken wand to defend himself with –the crumpled bodies of several Hogwarts students at his feet.

Harry's eyes moved towards the castle, a sinking feeling in his gut as he realized that their last stronghold would now be under Voldemort's control, that they had failed to protect the students. The Order had vowed that no matter what came, the students would remain safe – and that promise too had been broken, as so many others before it. He had lost count of the people he had failed, of the deaths that weighed on his conscience, of the injuries others had suffered because of him, and he wondered whether he shouldn't have handed himself in years before, giving the rule of Britain over to Voldemort but sparing countless lives. Now Voldemort would rule anyway, and so many had died, so for what had he fought?

With near poetic timing Voldemort moved into his line of sight, drinking in Harry's hopeless expression with visible glee. The sick smile on the reptilian face pulled unpleasantly at the gashes that disfigured his visage, but Harry couldn't summon up any satisfaction at the damage he had managed to inflict on his opponent. It all seemed so pointless now.

"Yesss…" Voldemort hissed, leaning in until his face blocked out the view of anything else. Harry wished he could pull back, but his body wouldn't obey him. "It has taken far too long to put that look of complete despair on your face, but I find the wait was more than worth it," the Dark Lord whispered, one long finger reaching out to caress Harry's cheek. "The Order has fallen," he continued, still talking in that almost gentle tone, "All your friends are dead, and Hogwarts is mine. Tell me, Potter," he leaned closer still, until Harry could feel his breath against his face. "How does it feel, knowing that you were their only hope, and you let them down?"

Anguish washed through him, and he knew that Voldemort had seen it in his eyes, for the man threw back his head and laughed, the sound cutting through the cold November air. In that moment Harry wished more than ever that he could end the bastard's life, break free of the spell that held him captive and kill the sadist with his bare hands if necessary.

He had never managed to do more than very rudimentary wandless magic, however, and the spell held, leaving him incapable of acting as Voldemort's laughter faded to chuckles, the red eyes watching him with mirth.

"I am almost tempted to keep you for a while, Potter," the man spoke, "but we wouldn't want any remaining rebels to get any ideas…" Raising his wand, he sketched a mocking bow. "Goodbye, Harry Potter."

Then a flash of nauseating puce light sped towards him, throwing him backwards with the power of the spell, and the last thing Harry saw was Voldemort's grinning face before everything went black.