"It's for the greater good," he says. The wind stirs the curls that sit at the back of his neck and he bends his head down, baring still more of the line of his skin under his collar, and you want to reach out and touch it, run your fingers along the taut pressure of his muscles and sinews, but he doesn't like to be touched. Not really.

You nod, instead, and say, "It's really a question of responsibility, isn't it? If we have power, we're obligated to use it wisely."

He smiles at that, his blue eyes glinting in the way they can when he squints and considers something that pleased him. "Responsibility," he repeats. "Exactly."

. . . . . . . . . .

You tell people later that he had a way about him. He had a charm, you'll say, and they'll look at you with dismay and confusion because most of them never saw it. They saw the way his mouth curled in contempt when people couldn't keep up with how his mind skipped and jumped from one thing to the next. They saw him turn away from their struggles to learn magic that had bored him for years, casual dismissal in his eyes. They didn't see the way he could light up a room.

They didn't see the way he looked at you.

Not often enough. Never often enough. But he did. And so when they ask you how could you not know when he'd been kicked out of Durmstrang, a school tolerant of almost anything, you just say again that he had a charm.

"Zealots do," you'll say, as if in apology.

As if you don't miss him so much it burns.

. . . . . . . . . .

Judas kills himself. You've read the Muggle stories. He takes his 30 pieces of silver, betrays his friend, and then hangs himself. Dante puts him in their devil's mouth, eternally frozen, always consumed by evil because of that betrayal.

You don't flatter yourself yours ranks quite that high. You'd been separate for years, after all, when it finally happens. You fight, you bury the sister you can never be sure who killed, and he flees and takes with him his smiles and his passion and his power and you? You let him go, wand limp and useless in your hand as he goes. He becomes your hair-shirt.

He was your very close friend, wasn't he, people ask and turn the words into a sly nudge with their tone. They think they know what it was like to stand in his presence and be the one he loved. They think they know what it was like to stand in his presence and see your sister fall to the ground. They think they know so many things and you? You don't know any of them.

"What does the world get from you locking yourself away to care for a sick girl?" he'd asked. "You said it yourself. You have power and so you have a responsibility to use it. You can use it with me."

But you don't. You bury your sister and let him go until you can't anymore.

He looks up when you appear, a welcoming smile on his face. He's happy to see you and your stomach churns and your heart clenches because you want to be coming home the way he thinks you are. Instead, you attack. You have, you tell yourself, a responsibility.

Judas kills himself, but you don't. You betray and you trap and you tell yourself it was for the greater good as they lead him away and then you do nothing but go on living.

You think, sometimes, that Judas had it easier.