A warning first: this story's rated M for a reason. It's not violent for violence's sake (for the most part) or especially graphic (again, for the most part) but I didn't write this to be a nice story through-and-through. If you're easily offended/disgusted (or triggered) you might want to save yourself the trouble and look elsewhere.
I do not own Harry Potter, nor any of the characters you recognise. I make no profit from writing this. These facts remain true throughout this fic, and I will work on the presumption that everyone is aware of these facts from this point out as these are the established operating procedures of this site.
One last thing, when Hogwarts comes into play everyone's two years older but in the same year as before. So, 1st years are 13/14, second years 14/15, third years 15/16, and so on. It shouldn't be too tricky to follow, i just needed the protagonist at a minimum of 16 for the past events to have happened (and Fourth Year is the turning point in the HP universe, in my mind). Plus, if I can avoid a realistic telling of 14y/o schoolchildren, why wouldn't I?
All that being said, I hope you enjoy Dead Man Walking.
Harry Potter's breath came in uncertain gasps, as his knees hit the scorched earth below. The palm of his left hand was pressed against his abdomen, trying to hold in the organs that would surely escape.
He knew the futility of such an attempt. All he was doing was choosing to die from the loss of blood, instead. But his instincts remained. In a fight between logic and panic, there was one sure victor.
Harry wanted to tilt his head. He wanted to see the stars one last time, the one good thing that had come from the war was that they up there for all to see, before his vision faded entirely. But he couldn't; what was wrong with him, he did not know, but he couldn't move. One of the curses he had taken had been the cause, most likely; he didn't believe that his spine had taken any damage, and his concussion was minor, when held relative to the injuries Harry had overcome in the past. The trickle of blood from his temple was thin, and he would probably survive it even if he did not have magic to aid him in recovery.
Of course, the scar would never form.
Harry had trouble discerning the blood of his torso from the warm liquid that was being pumped through the space of his missing fingers. His hand, or what remained of it, was slick and painful. But that pain was fading, along with everything else.
The earth was turning black, as darkness crept into Harry's vision. The earth, previously burning hot, gave no sensation. His foot, lopped off at the ankle, no longer gave him any pain. It gave nothing, in fact, as the numbness crept higher.
Harry struggled to pull in another breath, as his limbs turned cold. He wondered, in his last moments, which spell had killed him. He could not even tell how he was dying, exactly; there were too many things sapping at his life.
He dearly hoped it was not Riddle's. He felt the illness of that even now, as it tried to consume him; had he been able to see it, his blood would have been dark as the night sky above them… above him.
Hopefully one of the lesser Death Eaters got him. Hopefully he or she had felt a moment of wondrous pride as their dark curse struck the Defiant One, or whatever the newest title was that they had dubbed Harry Potter, before they were consumed by agony as Harry reached their master.
Somewhere near Harry, Riddle's head lay still. Several metres from the matching body body, as his blood watered the dead earth. That blood carried a spell born of the conflict Harry had waged on the enemy forces nearly a year before; the last, great sacrifice of the resistance. He had lied to them, but they had seen through his halfhearted deception. Had known that the fight had been impossible to win; the objective had not been to win, it had been to prepare for today. They had gone into the fight knowing they would die in the same way as Harry had never intended to live past this fight; he had known ever since the last of those he loved had died that this was the best chance he had to rid the world of Death Eaters. And he believed that, without them, he had no reason to live on.
What remained of the Mundanes would rebuild, they always did, and Muggle Borns would eventually rebuild the Magical world. It didn't matter, in the grand scheme, that the war had ended this way. Harry knew that.
He wished he wasn't dying, though. Almost as much as he wished he could have achieved this years ago, so that the world wouldn't be so ravaged.
Maybe this wouldn't be it. Maybe he would go to some kind of afterlife; everyone else seemed to believe such a thing existed.
Harry didn't know if he wanted anything more, to be honest. Eternal rest seemed a far more appealing option, to him. An eternity of nothingness, where he would be incapable of thoughts, rather than living forever with all he had done.
The Boy Who Lived felt his grip on consciousness loosen, as the cold spread further. He was dying quickly now; there was nothing to do but accept it, as much as he wanted to crawl back from his grave once again. There was nothing keeping him here, and so the reaper would accept him this time around. He wouldn't get another free pass.
Harry found himself unable to take another breath.
He wished he could see the stars one last time.
Darkness consumed him, and with it came nothingness.
For a time.