The sad thing about this is that it could be both James and Harry. Think about it. That's what I'm trying to get across. Poor Potters. We really do ask too much of them.
The thing that no one seems to realize anymore is that you were human, too. Even your best friends, who seemed so outraged when the world begs you to be their savior, had this image of you as an impenetrable fortress, the only one who can be said savior and will be it.
They've lost sight of the frightened eleven year old that almost cried after his first class with the horrid Potions master.
Sometimes, late at night, you lay in your bed and wished with all your heart that you'd never come to Hogwarts. You wanted to run home, curl into a ball on your bed, and never see the light of day again.
You were the Hero of Hogwarts because you were the natural choice, a born leader. You were strong yet lovable, someone whom everyone else could look up to and not envy, because after all, who wants the whole world on his or her shoulders?
You were eleven and just arriving at Hogwarts, and you immediately hit it off with your best friends. And you thought, this is it. Life's starting.
And start it did. You had so much fun, those first few years. There were bad times, of course, and times when you were terribly frightened and just wanted to run away from it all, but even then you knew that you had to bear responsibility that running away wouldn't solve anything.
You did what you had to do. And you had help with the especially difficult things. That's what people forget.
Then you fell in love. It was beautiful, at first. You said nothing to her about it, but love you did. And then there was a fight for her and you fought more fiercely than you've ever fought for anything. In the end, you even won.
She was redheaded and beautiful, with dancing eyes and a laughing smile. And you loved nothing more than to gather her in your arms and gently kiss her lips. She loved nothing more than for you to gather her into your arms and kiss her, too.
But then he came and threatened everything that you'd worked so hard for. He threatened her and her family, he threatened your best friends, and he threatened the lives of all the Muggleborn students. At first you didn't understand the gravity of it, brushed it off, but you soon realized just how serious it all was.
And then he attacked your house. Not your home, because Hogwarts was your home, but your house. And everyone in it was killed. Everyone. There was nothing left of it but a small pile of ashes.
People began to see you as especially strong when that happened. When you didn't break. She admired you and wanted you to cry for them, because she thought it would do you good, but you knew that crying didn't help the situation any.
You began to fight him. It was so fierce, from that moment on, almost as fierce as the fight for your girlfriend had been. You put everything you had into that battle, everything, and nothing would stop you from coming out the victor.
You know that you lost yourself in the fighting. That was the intention, at first. But what you didn't expect was for everyone else to lose you, too.
They saw you as a hero. At first, you'll admit, you liked it. It made you feel powerful and strong. But then the responsibility came. It was slow, in the beginning. A little first year was crying in the hallway and would only be soothed when you talked to her and promised that you'd fight for her family. That you wouldn't let them get hurt.
It was the first promise that you ever broke. But it wouldn't be the last.
Nothing was turning out the way you expected it to. You were supposed to go to Hogwarts and life was supposed to be perfect. You weren't supposed to become the person everyone adored, and you certainly weren't supposed to have to fight the Dark Lord. You were the one who was supposed to hide behind the real savior's skirts.
You only wished you still could.
After that, the older students needed you, too. You were their confidante and friend, someone who they could look up to. Someone that wasn't so unreachable as Dumbledore, or McGonagall. Someone they could love on a level equal to their own.
Soon you even had the teacher's fooled into thinking you were the messiah. They gave you extra training and worked hard to make sure you passed all your classes with flying colors.
You graduated Hogwarts. You married the redhead that you so loved, and were reasonably happy with her. But she couldn't make all the responsibilities go away, or all of the pressures dissipate. You started to fall apart, although she tried so hard to keep you together.
Your marriage fell apart. You fought to keep it going strong, but you had put too much into the other fights, into winning her and then winning against him, that there just wasn't enough left in you to fight for this, too.
You still lived in the same home and slept in the same bed, but you both knew that the marriage was dead. You still loved her, with all your heart you did. The problem was that your heart had grown so small, so tattered and broken with the fight, that there just wasn't enough of it to hold the amount of love she needed.
She still loved you, too. But she loved the man you used to be, and she could never love the legend. The legend in his own time; rumored to be good and kind, with a charming smile and a gentle laugh. Who was made to be a god, someone above all the rest.
She could never love that man. She loved the boy with the sullen temper and the incorrigible hair and glasses. She loved the boy who wasn't perfect, who was dismal in Potions but excelled in transfiguration. Whose favorite drink was pumpkin juice and favorite food was mashed potatoes.
You did defeat him, in your own way. He disappeared for a long while, and everyone thought he was gone for good this time. But you knew better.
Your death was noble, as was expected. You died for your wife and child, and almost took your murderer down with you. You died and the world cried for you, mourned your death.
Mourned your liberation. Because that was what death was, for you. Liberation. You would have named your daughter that, if you'd had one. It seemed fitting.
In the end, you knew you'd led a wasted life. The beginning, no, that was not. But the end…the end was gone. It was worthless.
The thing that no one seems to remember is that you were a person once. That you loved and laughed and cried. They don't remember how the first time you realized what you were and what you were supposed to become, you ran into the bathroom and threw up all over the floor.
They will never realize that you died as who you are: not the legend, going down fearlessly. Your hands were clammy and your legs shook. But you did what you had to do, because that was who you were. And you died the way you died the day you were told that you were the savior of the world: a scared little boy with the world on your shoulders.
You died, and your soul went out kicking and screaming because it was not ready to go. It wanted another chance at life, a chance to fix everything.
And then she arrived at the train station, the one that would lead you to wherever dead souls go, and her cheeks were tearstained but her smile was genuine. And everything that the world had done to you disappeared and you became the boy she had loved.
And you knew, in that moment, when you took her in her arms for the first time that you could remember and she cried because she knew that you were back, that if you could not live a better life, your death would be the best one imaginable.