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"Now, here you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!" Through the Looking Glass

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—Of cabbages—and kings—And why the sea is boiling hot—And whether pigs have wings." Lewis Carroll.

"Glancing Through The Glass"—

by. Howl

"Where are you going Harry?" Hermione asks, peering over the rim of her book that was sitting perilously close to a pile of scrambled eggs.

"Just for a walk," Harry smiles slightly, a crooked smile that creates an easy essence.

"Well don't be late for class," Hermione says predictably. It was what she says every morning, after she asks the same question—it is routine. A good routine.

Harry nods and walks away, calmly nodding to those who greet him like old friends, but not really seeing their faces. He just nods now, he doesn't care. Maybe one day he will—but he didn't think so.

Silently Harry's two friends watch him walk off into the distance, a slight trick to his step from the accident over the summer, before glancing tensely at each other.

"Where do you think he goes off to every morning?" Ron asks his bushy-haired friend, who just shrugs sadly as she gently closes her book.

"Something I feel he has to do on his own, I don't know what though. Hopefully he'll stay out of trouble, right?" Hermione asks, still staring at the spot that her friend had vanished.

"Hmmm, I guess," Ron turns back to his eggs. "I'll see if I can figure anything out during Potions."

"If Snape catches you writing those…" she shakes her head sadly and flips the book back open. "It's your detention." She sighs quietly

9-8-7

Imagine a man sitting on a bench, staring up at the cloudy sky.

See an older man walk over, glancing curiously between the man and the sky.

Hear him ask: Oh, why, oh why do you stare so at nothing but clouds?

Watch the man look over and see his image flicker into a mere boy.

Listen to his response: Because I have nothing better to do.

Watch him study the old man closely and ask: Do you?

Visualize the world turning slant on its heels, everything turning a bloody red, and see as all the levels of Hell arise to the surface.

Hear the old man ask now: Oh my, oh my, what to do now.

Watch the man who's a boy stand up from the bench and stretch a bone-cracking stretch, and glance at the old man one last time.

Read his response, as silent at the wind: We tilt the world back up. Why?

--Because we have nothing better to do.

6-5-4

Potions.

It was unbearable, as usual. Nothing ever changes from the tedious-hell of potions, to the fact that Satan's in Hell, to Voldemort's eye color, to the fact that Elvis had just gone home. Nothing every changes.

Harry looks around, almost bored. His potion brews dauntingly before him, but he cares, as usual, not. The Professor will give him nothing for his work, nothing but an 'A', and that was just because of Dumbledore's interference.

Ron leans over hurriedly, scribbling away discreetly at a piece of parchment. It was their link to sanity in the unbearable dungeon, where they were the only Gryffindors, and the rest were Slytherins. Dumbledore had no sense at times—or Snape really was just morbid.

Moving his gaze, Harry settles on watching Blaise and Draco, laughing at their own joke, smiling a slightly tight smile that comes on either side—no matter good or bad. It was war.

He blinks slowly, and the scene before him changes. He wants to look away, to not see, but he can't help it. His fascination is hooked.

Draco slaps Blaise's hand, giving a brief five-high for good luck before he turns to the Quidditch field.

"Ready?" Blaise asks, broom hooked beneath his leg. He glances around at the other Slytherin players and they nod. He's coach, it's good to be coach.

"Of course," they all finally respond, seeing his demanding look. He smiles, a large smile, and with a wave, he signals them all onto the field. A roar goes up, boos and cheers alike, the strongest boos from that of Gryffindors. They sneer at the lions—they care not.

Madam Hooch nods at Blaise as they line up, and all eyes turn to the Ravenclaw entrance. Waiting eagerly for the game. Draco gives Blaise a wink—this is an easy game. Heart pounding from excitement, he turns his head back to the Quidditch entrance, and tightens his grip eagerly when he sees a flicker of their opponents' shadow.

Then they fly out, all in order, perfectly in line, and they turn to face the team, still in single file. Blaise glances at him, curious, while Draco snorts in annoyance. This antic was ridiculous his snort indicates, let's get on with the game.

Silence has befallen the crowd, all staring wide-eyed at the Ravenclaw team in wonder. Then they move in unison, their eyes overcast, gloom and doom written in them, and with outstretched arms they raise their wands, all in single file, and perfectly immobile.

Murmurs break out and Blaise draws himself up as Draco flies to his side.

"What's this?" Madam Hooch demands, but it was too late.

It's always too late when it comes to war, and to Voldemort.

The Ravenclaws shout, all in unison, all in monotone, the one curse that no one ever expected to be shouted, and green blares around the field.

Draco and Blaise are hit, each by a single flare, and with rolling eyes, so only the white can be seen, they fall from their brooms, raining down amongst the others, and thwack the ground sickeningly.

Their hands, once having slapped a high-five, curl atop one another, cold and lifeless…

Chaos has broken free—like always…

"Mate," Ron mutters, breaking Harry's thoughts, snapping him into reality. Blinking in surprise, vanishing and shoving the illusion—for what else could it be?—into the back of his mind, he lifts up his hand, allowing Ron to slide the parchment under.

Their savior of from insanity.

3-2-1

Why do we bother showing up?

Because we have to—something about school rules.

I miss 'Mione being in this class with us.

Snape did it on purpose, you know it.

Of course. You alright there? You seemed a bit off a minute ago.

Fine, Ron, fine.

You sure, something maybe to do with this morning bothering you?

Hardly.

What is this Potion supposed to be?

Bat stew—next ingredient? A piece of Snape's hair.

Sick, I'm not touching that. If it's even touchable. You're hand might just slide off.

Grip hard then.

Favoring the feeling of the sun, I'll reframe from such a task. We'll just fail this one potion.

Some Gryffindors we are.

Bravery: Knowing when to act without the nasty repercussions.

Heroism: Not knowing Bravery.

Courage: Lighting fire to your arse, just to run head first into battle.

Solider: Everyone.

Everyone: Smarter then Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs, Slytherins…

Students: Not smart whatsoever.

School: Teaching students to be everyone.

Enemies: Fools with too much time to think.

Add on to Enemies—not everyone, not students.

What?

What what?

What are Villains then?

I do not know.

9-8-7

"Where are you going?" Hermione asks, it's habitual now.

"For a walk," Harry informs her, smiling and nodding, but weary of the routine.

"Don't be late for class," she sighs and Harry nods.

He's gone, again.

"We're loosing him," she breaths to Ron, who is messing with a miniature chessboard.

"We've been loosing him for a long time," Ron says sadly as he glances up. Not at Harry's retreating form, but at Hermione. "Since the first day the troll attacked and he started his hero-ing life. We've been loosing him for a long time."

"Will we ever get him back?" Hermione asks.

"I'm afraid too," Ron mutters.

"Why?"

"I'm afraid of what we'll get back."

6-5-4

Visualize someone without hope, without love, without understanding.

See him stand, strong, tall, determined.

Read his confusion.

What's he determined to do?

Watch as a man walks over, joins the man at his side, and stares straight ahead with him.

Imagine what they see.

What do they see?

Hear the man speak: You're stalling, my, my, my, you're stalling.

Glance to the side with the man standing tall and confusedly determined, considering the man at his side.

Listen to his response: 'Tis all I've been doing, all I've been doing my life.

Picture the man look at the confused man and see it all flicker. The man becomes a boy, once again. Always a boy he becomes.

Read the man's lips: When will you stop?

Watch the man who's a boy look ahead once more, toward the blood red sky of the rising morning.

The reply is written in the sky, the red dawn, read it: When it's impossible to stall any longer—someday soon.

3-2-1

"Who do you write to Mr. Potter?" a voice asked curtly from the shadows as Harry sent off the school owl with the letter. Turning, the boy looks at the lean form of his Potions Master.

"Someone you least expect," he responds.

"Why don't you try me then?" Professor Snape asks, his voice underlying a threat.

"Lord Voldemort," Harry informs, relishing in the flinch of the usually unbreakable man.

"Games in the midst of war are not funny, Mr. Potter," Snape snarls. "Ten points for your cheek, and a detention with Filch for your stupidity in making such a suggestion."

"As you wish, Professor," Harry says, not bite to his response. Just indifference—or was it uncaring?

He walks forward, to walk pass the man, and get to class. Hermione warns him every morning, it wouldn't do for him to be late.

Snape stops him, by clearing his throat, what a funny man Harry realizes.

Backs to each other, staring in opposite direction, they speak.

"Why do you leave your notes behind Mr. Potter? Do you think I enjoy reading yours and Mr. Weasley's scribbles? Especially when they take place in my class."

"Never said I left them behind for your enjoyment." Harry informs quietly and Snape sighs. Somehow he expected that.

"Does Mr. Weasley know you leave them behind, Potter?" he continues and Harry shrugs.

"If he does, he makes no comment." Harry steps forward, getting ready to leave. "Please take only five points for the notes, Professor, Gryffindor doesn't deserve to be in the negative, no matter your bias."

"You don't make the decision, Mr. Potter," Snape snaps. "You have no say, you are but a boy and a student."

"Yes, this is true," and Harry leaves, not caring if he was dismissed or not. Snape watches him go before pinching the bridge of his nose.

"Five points to Gryffindor, Mr. Potter, for continuing to live in the midst of a war." Then he turns and ties his letter to the school owl before swooping out.

9-8-7

Harry watches the first years at the base of the late playing tag, thumping and knocking into each other carelessly, laughing and joking to the days end. Ron and Hermione sit on either side of him, oblivious to his observing.

Slowly, blinking his emerald eyes, he allows the scene to change, like always.

"We're going to Hogwarts, and we're going to go far big brother, right?" a girl asks, smiling largely at her twin, who nods in agreement.

"We'll become great, we'll make money, and we'll buy mom a nice home with maids to do all the work." He declares and the girl nods heartily in agreement.

"Deal," she thrusts out her hand.

"Deal," he takes it and shakes it vigorously.

"Big brother, big brother!" she is looking around panicking. The bank is overflowed, bodies jostle and bump into each other. She has lost sight of her brother.

Then five, loud gun shots echo off, and everyone falls silent, turning on their heels to find the source of the noise. She turns with them, frightened, and squeaks a bit at the scene.

Death Eaters.

They stand in the entrance, four altogether, the ones on the ends with guns, and the ones in the middle with wands. They wear masks, but their thirst for blood is evident in their eyes.

"We do not want your money," the one in the middle declares.

"We just want to have a little fun."

All hell breaks loose.

"Big brother!" she screams again, running through the panicking people, groping her pocket for her wand, but finding it seems harder then finding her brother. She shoves through the masses of people, all of whom are running and screaming, while green, red, blue, and purple lights flare all around.

Guns blare off occasionally.

Voldemort has found muggle technology apparently.

She finally finds him, he huddled over a woman, attempting to keep the blood in her stomach with his hands. She has been shot.

"Big brother!" she screams and races over. He looks over relieved then his face pales. He takes his hands off of the stomach, waving wildly, and she frowns as she runs. Someone's behind her?

Confusion mingles her brow as she turns and looks over her shoulder. One of the ones with a gun is looking at her, a glint in the eyes. Realization hits her cold and her knees buckle.

She doesn't hear the gun fire, but the brother does. He's hollering horror, and tears break his face as his sister falls. She gasps from the burning cold that penetrates her heart, she dies seconds later, her face blank, but her eyes full of everything.

Screaming out profanity, her brother leaps up, but he doesn't live long. He had already been shot, and the next bullet sends him flying.

But we're wizards, he thinks. We're supposed to die by magic.

Not muggle guns.

By magic…

Voldemort doesn't play fair.

"Harry, mate," Ron says quietly, nudging his ribs. Starting, Harry glances over and his friend jerks his head up at the man standing over him. Looking over, he finds it to be Professor Snape.

"Headmaster wishes to speak to you," he informs coldly, in irritated impatience at having taken so much time to gather his attention. Inclining his head in acknowledgement, he bids goodbye to his friends, and follows Snape into the cool corridors of Hogwarts.

They walk in silence. It's for the best.

Once in the Headmaster's office, Harry finds himself instantly snapped with a twinkling look that is a damnation in itself.

"Lemon drop?' Dumbledore offers. Why does he bother, no one ever takes them. Snape refuses, of course. He sighs inwardly. One day he would like someone to…he moves the can to Harry, but he has no hope.

Why did other people not like the sourly sweet goodness?

"Harry?" he prompts as he finds the boy staring at the candy. Sigh. Why does he bother?

Harry shrugs indifferently and reaches forward, taking the candy. Dumbledore blinks in surprise and Snape studies Harry with a bit of respect. Not many can surprise the man. He'd give the old man a heart attack though, if he took a candy.

"To business then," Dumbledore states as Harry doesn't eat the candy, but instead pockets it.

"Is it about the illusions?" Harry asked, quietly. Dumbledore nods and Snape stiffens. He fails at nothing, and yet… "You can't find a potion to stop them." It is not a question.

"No," Dumbledore sighs. "I wish I could help you dear boy, really."

"It's all right, I've gotten use to them by now."

"Do Ron and Hermione know?" A mere shake of the head is his only response. "Take a seat then—tell me of the ones as of late. Severus, you too." He conjures tea, and Harry scowls inwardly. It really wasn't a tea-time sort of discussion, but alas…

6-5-4

I think he's watching us.

Who cares?

I don't feel up for a detention.

I don't feel up for one either, shall we keep writing?

Just to remain sane.

Sanity: A figment of our imagination.

Imagination: A habitual tick of dreamers.

Dreamers: Lairs in the midst of sheets.

Lairs: Those too smart for their own good.

Brains: Bushy-haired friends.

Friends: Always there—pains and lovers.

Pains: Something the body creates on itself. Irony of life—the body's own destruction.

Irony: The Devil's game.

Wit: The Human's defense.

Destruction: Humanity.

Deep mate, deep.

Villains?

Don't know yet, mate, don't know.

Thought so.

Do you want to know?

Knowledge: Pain in the arse.

3-2-1

No one saw it coming, but maybe they should've. Things always happen quickly, but this was so slow in coming that it should've been seen.

No one did though.

Maybe it wasn't meant to be seen. Maybe it was fate.

Maybe it was imagination.

Snape walks through the debris of Hogwarts, the stragglers rising from the destruction, crying and bleeding over the loss of everyone, their loved ones, their enemies, their lives. He pushes pass most of them.

He had to find out what happened.

Dumbledore is crouched over McGonagall's body in the distance, but Snape ignores them. He turns his attention to the horizon instead and sees the one he was looking forward. Walking over quickly, pass the tears and snobs of students and professors alike, he draws up to next to the bedraggled boy.

He's standing over his two best friends, they're alive, but unconscious. They need medical attention, quickly. Snape turns and signals a few healers over. Then turns to the standing boy.

"Are you all right?" he asks, only because Lupin requested that he did. The werewolf couldn't move, both legs were broken.

"It wasn't the final battle," Harry breaths, staring at the distance.

"Did you think it would be?" Snape prods and Harry shrugs in response.

"Possibly, I kind of hoped," Harry suddenly slumps to the side and Snape catches him easily.

"But?" the man prods again and Harry snorts.

"You know me too well," he grumbles.

"But?" Snape continues to press.

"I kind of hoped it wasn't either." Snape nods, he thought so.

"Who do you write the letters to, Mr. Potter?" he asks, not letting go of the boy, still holding him on his feet.

"Voldemort," Harry says sleepily.

"Cheek, Mr. Potter, cheek," and the boy passes out.

Yes, he is just a boy.

9-8-7

"I've got good news, Mr. Potter," McGonagall declares as she walks over. All over students and grown-ups alike are working to rebuild Hogwarts. Houses had united, everyone was working for the same cause.

Rebuilding Hogwarts.

"Voldemort has fallen in love with a muggle and has run off to Hawaii?"

"No," McGonagall blinks slowly.

"Then Voldemort has declares his love of flowers officially and has returned to his old name, Tom Riddle, and is going to become a Florist in France."

"No," another blink.

"He's going to declare Lockheart his lover then? And run away to make new books and lots of children?"

"No," yet again another blink.

Sighing, "Voldemort is actually madly in love with muggles, but doesn't know how to express his feeling properly, so he's just killing them. Yet, in attempt to reconcile, he's going to start a lemonade stand to show he's actually people-friendly."

"No," McGonagall blinks again.

"Professor," Snape suddenly snaps, joining the group officially. "I tire of hearing the boy's whimsical suggestions, stop him now and tell him the news, before The Dark Lord turns into a prostitute."

"I knew it," Harry breaths, grinning and savoring Snape's dark glower.

"The good news is, Mr. Potter," McGonagall informs finally, snapping out of her surprise. "Ron and Hermione will be returning tomorrow, and Remus will be in a week."

Harry grins at this, largely, before he whoops loudly and smacks Neville's hand, who was dancing in the excitement too. They had been at St. Mungos over a month now.

McGonagall and Snape stare at their antics slowly.

He just a boy…

They realize that more then ever now.

6-5-4

Harry is waiting for him when Snape returns to his tent. They've been rebuilding Hogwarts for nearly four months now, it still had a ways to go.

"Potter," Snape acknowledges. A slight truce had been created somewhere along the year, neither knew when, but neither question it. "I expect Headmaster sent you here because of Mrs. Weasley then?"

"Yes sir," Harry responds. Death Eaters grabbed Ginny in Hogsmead, she was now with Voldemort. Harry had to be kept under protection lest he run off to be the hero again.

"Then don't get in my way," Snape snarls as he turns around, making to go into the kitchen and make some tea. Harry doesn't respond, he doesn't have to. There's no reason.

When he comes back, two cups for Harry is a guest, no matter how loathed, and Snape wasn't one to forget manners. Harry breaths a thanks when he takes the cup and he stares ahead, lost in thought.

His illusions had been getting worse, Snape knew this. The boy hardly looked straight at someone, lest he see their fate. Or an illusion of their fate. No one had met the fate he had created in the illusion. Draco and Blaise were perfectly healthy, fighting alongside Voldemort.

"I'm leaving," Harry declares firmly.

"I didn't doubt it," Snape responds levelly. "But I'm coming too."

"No, Professor, you stay here," Harry says quietly—no, he pleads quietly.

"Why?" Snape demands.

"Because, I want someone to survive. Someone that might've understood me, but never let on to understanding me," he peers keenly at Snape, who shifts a bit. "Someone to keep my life straight."

"What makes you think you're going to die, Mr. Potter?"

"I never said I would die," Harry snaps. "I'm just looking at all the possibilities."

There's a long moment, Harry stares at Snape, who stares at him.

"Who do you write the letters to?" Snape asks as he settles back, giving into the green-eyed defeat.

"Voldemort," Harry responds and Snape sighs. The boy would never tell him.

"Don't get yourself killed Potter, understand?" Snape snaps. "I really don't want the task of keeping your life straight in the history books."

"Yes sir," Harry declares and a silence falls again.

Later, at midnight, Harry gets up and leaves. Snape watches him silently.

Harry was a man who's just a boy.

Voldemort didn't die. Snape figures Voldemort never would. Ginny survives with a bad concussion, and Harry disappears. Everyone thinks him dead for a week, Ginny is out the whole week, and no one knows the truth.

Then one day, Dumbledore walks into his office, and Harry was sitting there, staring at the ceiling, sucking on the lemon drop that the man had offered him so long ago.

Hugs fly around like mad, rejoicing, and laughter. A party in the halfway finished Great Hall, but Harry never speaks. His week gone, is his week gone.

Something about that demands Harry's privacy, no one pries, not even Dumbledore.

3-2-1

"Where are you going Harry?" Hermione asks, relishing in the fact that she could ask the question once again.

"For a walk, what else?" he smirks at her. She doesn't say anything else, there is no class that day, and Harry walks away.

"I think we lost him completely," Hermione informs, but the smile never fades.

"I'm glad for it," Ron informs, glancing up. "Means he's finally free, I think," Hermione nods in agreement.

Harry walks down the corridor, and turns to the dungeons. Hogwarts is completely done, finally.

He reaches Snape's office without a problem and he knocks on it.

"Enter," Snape calls out and Harry does so. The man stares at him in surprise, before looking away back to the essays he has to grade. "What do you want?" the man demands.

"You once asked who I wrote the letters to," Harry begins. "And I always said Voldemort." Snape looks up, he doesn't flinch at the name.

"And?" he prods and Harry smirks in return.

"I never lied, Professor," he bows his head slightly. "I always wrote to the man, you could ask him if you wanted to. It's what made me realize," he savors the man's shock. Snape knows a lie when he hears one. This wasn't one. "That I'd never win—not yet anyway."

"You are but a boy," Snape says and Harry nods.

"I just wanted you to know, sir, that's all." Harry smirks slightly. "I sent my last letter this morning—I think I really ought to stop conversing with my enemy."

"That is wisest," Snape inclines his head and Harry turns to leave. He still had a long way to go. "Oh and Mr. Potter?" Harry stops but doesn't turn. "Villain: the unwelcome character in one's life. Good day."

Smiling, Harry bids his professor good day too and departures.

9-8-7-it's a cycle, an ongoing cycle. When it ends, it begins again.

Visualize a man who's just a boy standing his ground.

See those that gather behind him, emotions going haywire, determination no longer confusing.

Watch as the blood-red horizon spills over in black ants.

Imagine the man who's a boy straightening to face his fate.

Listen as two figures move forward, standing not behind him, but at his side.

See their love written in their features, and the yearning to protect glistening in their eyes.

Observe as the man who's a boy stares ahead, glaring down at his destiny.

Hear the man who's a boy speak: This is the end.

Catch the whispers of the two at his sides: Finally.

Imagine a scene were two men stand at opposite ends, a blood red horizon outlining them.

See the man who's a monster bow down to the man who's a boy.

See the man who's a boy bow down to the man's who's a monster.

Watch as things are forgotten and new lines are drawn.

Picture everyone fighting for what's right in their perspective.

Visualize the end of the world…

Visualize the beginning…

The End.

Voldemort did indeed receive Harry's letters, and for once the Dark Lord did not know what to do. The only response, however, was silence. He never did respond, and Harry never cared. But if one were taken to looking in Voldemort's dustbin in his study, you would find all of Harry's letter discarded there, and a series of other rumbled parchment, all scribbled on, but then thrown away.

He couldn't respond—no matter how hard he tried.