Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or anything else belonging to JK Rowling. Everything but the plot belongs to her and her publishers alone. I am not earning any type of profit on this. No copyright infringement is intended.

Note: If you have read my other pieces... this is definitely different from the rest.

The Price of Light

The three of them were sitting before the fire, in the empty scarlet-and-gold common room, when he told them about his plan.

It was October. Hermione looked out the window, deep in thought, her mind riddled with confusion and worry. It was a full moon outside, and the leaves were flying in small circles in the wind. Most of the trees were bare, and the windows were rattling, ever so slightly.

Ron was at a loss for words. "B-but, Harry ..." He stared blankly at the carpet, his brow furrowed. "This makes no sense. There's absolutely no logic to it - I mean, I-I just don't understand why you would do something like this! Something so - I don't know, hasty!" Ron's eyes didn't leave the floor, but he shook his head and his hands wildly as he spoke.

Hermione turned back to the fire. "He's right," she said softly, as she leaned towards Harry. "Are you positive you've thought this through?"

"Of course he's not thought it through!" Ron glared at her. His voice was quickly rising. "Think about what he's just said, Hermione, think!"

"I am, Ron! I'm just trying to put myself into Harry's shoes, you ought to try it sometime!"

"Me? Are you - me? Excuse me, but I'd like to remind you that I was the one that was actually there for him this entire time! Oh, I don't know - only around, let's see - the past seven years! And what about you? What have you done for Harry? You've gotten his bloody homework done on time!"

"I've done more than that, thank you!" Hermione's cheeks were getting hot. There was a slight burning behind her eyes as she stared angrily at Ron, who was sitting on Harry's other side. Harry himself hadn't spoken a single word.

Ron's eyes narrowed. "Like what? Get his Firebolt taken away? Make Rita Skeeter write about his supposed romance with you while you pranced off with Vicky, and Harry had to sit around being stared at by every person who was within two feet of a copy of the Daily Prophet? Yes, Hermione. You've done a lot for Harry, I do believe he should be thanking you quite graciously right about now -"

Hermione scoffed and shook her head. "I can't believe that after all -"

"SHUT UP!" Harry's chest was heaving as he looked up for the first time. "Honestly, just - shut up, the both of you! That's not what any of this is about, so just STOP IT!"

By now, Hermione's eyes were filling up quickly, but she looked away from her two best friends defiantly. Ron's ears had turned back to their normal colour as he lowered his head.

"We know, Harry," Ron offered. "We're just ... confused. There's just so much ... you know ..."

"So much you could be doing after all of this is over and done with," Hermione finished, still glancing at the windows.

"No," said Harry. "We don't even know if there will be an 'over and done with', and I'm not going to take any chances. Rather me, than the rest of the world."

"Yes, Harry, but-"

"No!" Harry stood up from his armchair and began to pace. "I've ... I've made up my mind. What's done is done."

"Harry, this is ridiculous. I don't understand why you would want to give up! To just want to … die."

The candles in the common room were blown, the fire began to burn out, and footsteps echoed in the two staircases leading to the dormitories.

The sky had turned from the deep blue of night to bright red, to match the colour of the soaking ground. Women and children hiding in their homes in the nearby wizarding villages prayed at their bedsides and cried for their husbands and fathers. The Ministry decided to let the Muggles remain oblivious until absolutely necessary; those on the battlefield figured it would be in every newspaper by morning.

The days left were wearing thin, as were the soldiers with their wands and intellect for swords and shields.

Lord Voldemort smiled a black and malicious smile. His red eyes glinted, and his thin hand raised a long, worn-out bit of wood. He was yearning for this victory. The victory before all victories. Harry Potter would be gone. The prophecy would be broken. The Boy Who Lived could no longer save himself, let alone the world.

Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger stood by their friend until they knew it was time.

Harry stepped forward and raised his wand as far as his injured arm would let him. His tears were scarlet, like common room banners, the blood on the ground and up in the sky, and the red in His eyes.

This has nothing to do with wanting to die.