It Only Hurts When I Breathe
by
The Bell and the Black Dragon

I've finally sought revenge, Sirius. For my mother and father. For you. For Cedric, for Ron, Tonks, and Ginny and for... for all the others who had died by his hands. The nightmare is finally over.

He's dead.

Interesting how things - unexpected as it seems - work out in such a morbid fashion. One would pride us on our ability to wield wands, and how magic performed through them held such deep effects on a human's body, that a mere two words could kill. No one actually thought to discuss how this could happen... well, it is not as if I would even try fathoming it.

I am most thankful that I'm immune to such a curse, yet the feel of it burns on my skin like nothing else I've ever faced. I was unprepared for the ultimate pain and destruction, unprepared for the feelings of hatred that ran unleashed through my veins…

I don't understand it now, and I'm not all that sure I want to. Some things are still best left untouched. The final battle took place in front of the entire school, even the Minister of Magic was there watching, but neither I nor Voldemort were aware of it. All we could see in our large blackened fighting arena was each other.

They were like spectators; they could do nothing to stop it, or to help. It was like a pensive, but they saw what was happening at that very moment. Some who saw may have nightmares even still for the things they saw, nightmares of my screams cutting through the night, sharper than any blade, nightmares of Voldemort's cries of pain. Inhuman, torturous moans were emitted from the both of us, as we forced ourselves up from the ground to battle once again, and I remember looking up and thinking that I was looking into the eyes of hell.

But to think that Voldemort was too also immune to the killing curse... he and I really are so similar to one another that it has scared me at times. I honestly doubted myself, after what I saw in my nightly dreams, who could blame me? But then again, he died under Salazar Slytherin's dagger…

How ironic.

Some forces unknown to the two of us held the Death Eaters in shimmering shields. They couldn't Apparate or run away either. I didn't know how, but I knew that I had done it. That I had put a shield around them. And later gone to the slaughtering rampage between two matched opponents, two men filled with the same hatred of one another, the same... the same power.

Dumbledore was a spectator also, unable to help in the last battle… though not for a lack of trying. If I could have seen him, he would be filled with his ancient power, emanating so strongly it pushed others away, eyes focused, muttering non-stop... but I saw nothing. It was just he and I.

The dagger spoke but even it could not tell the outcome... even it could not tell the fate surrounding us... our fate was unknown. The prophecy stated nothing of who would win or lose. The dagger could do no such thing either. The battle waged on till light became dark. The dagger had only been in the battle within the last twenty minutes, oh, but those were such painful, agonizing minutes.

I was already heavily injured by then. I hadn't been able to dodge all of his attacks, and was probably hit by more or less all of them. Unable to stand up, I was, and then Nagini had come and bitten me. Later the giant serpent was dead, but in my leg it had left the present of three fangs, each half a foot long. How I survived the poison I'll never know, but on that day both Voldemort and myself learned of powers neither of us knew we had, and the wizarding world never dared think existed.

My vision was blurry, and my glasses were broken, and I had been hit with the Cruciatus curse repeatedly,. Blood spewed from the ground, covering us. Onlookers would not be able to tell how much blood came from of the other… odd that Voldemort, a man such as he, if a man at all… still bled red…

But despite injuries, adrenaline pumped in, and despite the chaotic scenes, sweating and exhaustion, all I could see and hear was Voldemort and the hatred pumping through my veins.

At one point he had summoned Dementors on me, and I had once again fallen to the ground, unable to move for a while, just lying there, and listening to the nights that changed my life forever, screaming in agony. The scar on my forehead, marking me as one who would never have a normal life bled profusely and ached increasing pain with intensity of my memories.

Than I summoned a Patronus. Seeing those memories made me nearly incapable, but I thought about what I would have if I survived this encounter… and the brilliant white and silver stag erupted from my wand ensuring safety from the Dementors. After that I was placed under the Cruciatus curse, and after that I was subjected to the Imperius curse once again. The last didn't hold for long, but no matter how much experience you gain with the Cruciatus curse, every time on mutters, "Crucio!" the pain starts anew.

At one point Priori Incantatem took place, and once again the same thing happened. I forced that wand beam into Voldemort's wand. He had definitely gotten stronger, beads of perspiration running down both mine and Voldemort's faces as we concentrated. There were more murders added to the list, and it hurt to see the faces of my past friends and loves before me, cheering me on, but I held on – I wanted to see them. I felt I owed it to them to let them see I was winning, that they would be avenged.

I was nearing my parent's eruptions from the wand, but before that… I saw Sirius. It was the saddest and happiest moment of my life... almost like when I was adopted by... wait... how would he feel about that? As if reading my thoughts, he let out a bark-like laugh, one that I had grown accustomed to, and had lost memory, but it filled me with inner warmth stronger than I could believe.

"Harry... Harry. It's good seein' ya!"

I couldn't believe it. I really couldn't. My first time seeing the him in years, and I've missed him so terribly... and he tells me its good to see me? Then I smile. Its pure Sirius. He wouldn't want me to be sad. And he knows what's out there, waiting fore me when I get out of this.

A father.

And he's happy for me. As he realizes I understand this, he claps a hand on my shoulder – one that felt very real, and I reveled in it – and whispered that he would always love me. My eyes filled with tears that I would never let spill as I whispered the words back to the show of my godfather.

I wouldn't let the tears fall…but I would get revenge for the necessity of them. Sirius disappeared and I felt filled with a slight understanding. This had to be done. We couldn't lose. If we did... it was all over. Everyone else would feel the pain I felt. Others would lose parents. Next time it would be someone else's Ron that went missing, someone else's Ginny…

When my parents came out, every word they spoke to me they said as one. They spoke in my mothers light tenor, and my fathers deep baritone. Seconds after, Voldemort succeeded in breaking the connection and a dagger came to my hand, from seemingly no prior existence… My parents disappeared, having begun fading already.

When that dagger appeared in my hand, the serpent in the blade had spoken. It hadn't been in Parseltongue, but in human speech. A voice… no, two voices that resounded continuously in my head…

"You must defeat him, for us, for the other countless lives on the line. You," the voices said,'' are destined to fight him, on behalf of the magical and muggle world. It is up to you to save both worlds from the destruction. We know you can do it! Avenge us, and the countless others who loved you as we did…'' they had said, the deep baritone and light tenor melding into one voice. They were nowhere to be seen, but this voice, these voices in my head…

They melded into one voice, one that had sounded so... right. I can't explain it, but both of them knew when and where Voldemort would attack, and warned me continuously... The man told me of where I would be attacked, and the woman brought me closer to the murderer's side.

It was as simple as that.

Strange, it was. Two voices working ever together, one to attack, and the other to defend, they warned, but it was rare I got out of the way in time, and when I did I was grateful... I too worked with the voices sounding in my head, and in my head only. I took their knowledge and put in into action where they could not... in the living world. I took their knowledge and put it where it most needed to be... with the heir of Slytherin.

It was as simple as that.

Some forces unknown to the two of us had held the Death Eaters who wanted to attack back. Somehow we both knew, Voldemort and I, that it was him creating the shields, neither of us could understand the force that drove us, but on that day we both discovered secret powers we never knew we had, and powers the entire wizarding world never knew existed. No one hex could go pass through the mysterious, shimmering shields.

They couldn't Apparate or run away either. Something kept them from doing that too. Voldemort sent me a strong stunning spell that had me fallen to my knees, just barely blocking it… but I was still conscious. My back arched in pain. It hurt so badly that I just wanted to lie down and die. But it wasn't over yet.

I was delivered the killing curse.

Strangely, I never died. The curse wasn't rebounded this time; in fact, the curse went nowhere near Voldemort – until I used it on him.

I think that was the moment that everyone watching realized how deep this hatred ran between us, that even I would use the killing curse. They finally realized both would go the limit. I had always fought in self-defense, but no, this time I wanted him dead, Voldemort, and murderer of my mother, of my father, of the family I had gained and lost. The green light of the killing curse ran straight into my body, tearing my body from inside out.

But never making me die.

Never making him die.

But the scream I let out then was the one people would hear in their dreams for years to come. It chilled the hearts of everyone in the there, drew their blood cold, and many cry, and also cry knowing they could do nothing but watch in horror as I faced the impossible alone. And listen as once again Voldemort spoke these words, the words that would drive me to anger beyond my reckoning...

''And now you face me like a man, once again Harry... straight-backed and proud the way your father died.''

And it may have been this that caused me to raise his wand and shoot out of it fire – not normal fire – no, this great ball of flames was black, deep as the eyes of the Potions Master, and just as fathomless, just as deathly cold. This fire pained Voldemort's flesh more than anything in the world could have. I would know –after having this placed on me Voldemort, I had realized how effective it was… how effective it was to make the one it was placed upon scream the last remnants of his soul into hell.

It was at this time when the voices sounded once more, telling me to kill him while he stood, stunned at the fact I still stood with him again... Somehow, my body acted against my will, kicking his wand out of hand before he could do anything, and my left hand, the one that held the dagger flicked in an eerie yet precise manner, causing the dagger to embed itself in Voldemort's chest, much to the surprise of Voldemort and myself.

Then, as if possessed, I walked over to Voldemort, hissing in the same mixed voices that had sounded in my head. These were the words that I hissed out, the ones that had been uttered through my mouth, that made my own blood turn cold. Not to mention what it was about to do to him.

"lá figmentral Dementori Kiss."

I could literally see Voldemort's soul torn apart. His mouth and eyes streaked with blood rose into the air of its won volition. He writhed in agony, the screams he let out driving me back to the ground as Voldemort fell, never to rise again.

I forced myself up into a standing position, on a leg gnawed on by a snake, and the other where Voldemort had driven some ancient dagger through my leg. Guess it wasn't as ancient as mine…

I was standing, but I couldn't help it anymore, and just sank back down to my knees on the floor. I was just so tired… I was in so much pain that I had become numb; I had put my all into this fight, and had lost so much blood... I just wanted to rest. To slip into blissful unconsciousness… unawareness...

The voices then urged me to draw back the dagger, which I did, and it was then I realized it was over; with this motion, I had defeated the odds, which had been against me all my life, all of my miserable life.

"You've done well, son. Go to sleep now, sleep, and dream of us."

The two voices, melded into one, said this. It sounded so soothing, and so... achingly familiar that I complied, and simply… fell away. Many worried I had died on the spot, but Madam Pomfrey shone through anyway…

I had many broken and cracked ribs, Madam Pomfrey had a fit trying to fix them, tears running down her face as she ran to me when I had woken, once the pensive-like state had shut down. I still don't know what to call it; I've never seen anything remotely like it, except a pensive.

I had been under the influence of Imperius many times, which left mental aches after the internal fighting, and the aches left on my body from Cruciatus near drove me into unconsciousness again. The killing curse had left me on the ground, and had Voldemort risen again I might have stayed on the ground.

I had used Avada Kedavra on Voldemort, but seeing how it was indeed Voldemort, Fudge didn't press charges. I had captured the Death Eaters with the transparent barrier, landing all of them their own cell in Azkaban and their very own friend, a Dementor. Not to mention one of the hoods peeled back revealed the face of Peter Pettigrew. When I saw that face it was all the teachers could to hold me back, anger working again, adrenaline coursing through me.

Wormtail was sentenced to the Dementor's kiss and a now I imagined the look Sirius would have if he was here. He would probably wave Wormtail off and laugh. "If the Dementors allow mail, why don't you write me sometime?" He could hear Sirius saying it now. As it was… he said it for him. Sirius would have been smiling the smile I had only seen him smile for me – the one that always made him look years younger.

When I saw Cornelius Fudge walk up to where I lay on a stretcher, soaking the white sheets red, pale faced and trembling, I grabbed him by the collar, and spoke to him. I had almost said the words, but paused a moment to enjoy the look of ultimate fear and nervousness that crossed the mans face, than I said these words…

''I told you so.''

I had whispered these words, but so clearly it rang through the silence everyone had dropped to. He had addressed the return of Voldemort with the knowledge of Sirius's death… But he wanted Fudge to know how many deaths he could have prevented by having listened earlier. How much pain.

Later on I would have nightmares of the many people I had been forced to see die, in my sleep and otherwise. People I had been unable to save, people who haunted my dreams for the fun of hearing me scream in my sleep... but now I rest content in the fact that I am still alive, and so are the people who matter to me most.

The best moment of all was when Professor Severus Snape made his way over. He would have glared death at the minister on any other occasion, but all he did was run up to me, and throw his arms around me as I lay upon the stretcher. He was trembling slightly, and I was touched that the thought of my almost certain demise had shaken my step-father so. I had always known he cared, but to just sit there and hold me, tears streaming, unable to speak with relief...

He knew that Snape really did love me. I knew I had made the right choice in saying yes when he nervously asked if I would mind him legally adopting me. They had been growing closer in the war effort, and when Snape had been found out as a spy, he had been horribly damaged. He was all healed now, but it had shaken me to see the man I had never realized I had come to think of as a father in such a state.

Everything is clearer now. People are no longer afraid. They speak Voldemort's name openly, and children run through streets happily, as if just yesterday their parents did you yank them into houses and hide them fearfully.

Dumbledore is taking measures to rid the world of the Dementors, but how you rid the world of a Dementor I do not know, nor do I wish to. I am rather happy now. I teach with a steady position at Hogwarts, and I have afternoon tea with Severus every Saturday.

But still. There are some wounds that don't close. Some pains that will always scar. And I miss you all so terribly… all taken away by one man. One. Yet sadly, I know this is not true.

The prejudice that Voldemort fed on against muggles was there before he was. He just did what many were thinking. I haven't truly killed the evil. And as I walk through the halls I can see the evil waiting to manifest again… it could be in any on person walking by. I'm quite sure the students he attended school with did not know what he would become.

And I wonder how long it will be before another rises, and children are pulled into the house once more, confused and desolate. And the air in my lungs seems scarce all of the sudden… and as I realize this truth for the first time, it hurts to breathe.

x

Hi. This is the author :) This may be the millionth time I have reposted it, due to typos and errors I did not catch before. And I'm there sure will be many more. But please, review and critique, I absolutely love it :)