A/N: Yet another plot bunny that threatened to drive me insane until it was written. This is Harry's POV, shortly after the final battle, and he is dealing with severe survivor's guilt. WARNING: He deals with cutting, so if that's a sensitive topic for you, you shouldn't read this story.
"Marks of Death"
You sit in the silent Hospital Wing, dark but for the moonlight beaming through the windows. It's cold, and you sit there on your bed, shivering. But the temperature isn't the only reason you tremble. The guilt has gotten to you, buried itself deep into that hole in your heart, the hole that you've had for sixteen years. The hole that Sirius had filled for such a short time. The hole that Mrs. Weasley tried to seal shut with her fierce hugs. But it's still gaping open, letting poisonous guilt and hurt trickle in.
Guilt has taken control of your brain, too. The faces of the dead flash before your eyes. You know why they all died, and the knowledge tears up your insides, leaving them to rot. They all died because of you.
The guilt is eating at you, consuming you. You realize vaguely that your breathing has sped up, you're making little gasping noises. You reach for your wand, lying there on the bedside table. You have to concentrate on something else to stop yourself from drowning.
All of a sudden, it comes to you. The door to escape. You know exactly what you want to do.
'Diffindo,' you think. You watch as the blood wells up, trickling down your wrist. The cut is neither shallow nor fatal. You don't want to die when you've just been given the chance to truly live. It's hard to believe that it's been a week since you finally destroyed the monster that tried to destroy you. But the cut does what you intended it to – you can already feel yourself calming down.
You seal it back up with a minor Healing Charm, normally used to paper cuts and the like. The cut is mended, but it will leave a mark, yet another scar. But you don't worry about scars anymore, you've accumulated so many over the years.
The faces are still flashing through your mind. You look down at the faint pink line, and think, 'Dad.'
'Diffindo. Resarcio. Mum'
'Diffindo. Resarcio. Cedric.'
'Diffindo. Resarcio. Sirius.'
'Diffindo. Resarcio. Frank Bryce.'
'Diffindo. Resarcio. Frank Longbottom.'
'Diffindo. Resarcio. Alice Longbottom.'
You know they technically didn't die for you – they're still incarcerated in St. Mungo's - but they might as well have.
'Diffindo. Resarcio. Albus Dumbledore.
'Diffindo. Resarcio. Mad-Eye Moody.'
'Diffindo. Resarcio. Percy Weasley.'
You just weren't quick enough. Again.
'Diffindo. Resarcio. Jillian Granger.'
You were able to get Hermione and her father out. But you couldn't reach her mum.
'Diffindo. Resarcio. Vernon Dursley.'
'Diffindo. Resarcio. Petunia Dursley.'
'Diffindo. Resarcio. Dudley Dursley.'
The Death Eaters attacked the Dursley house on your seventeenth birthday, not two hours after you left.
'Diffindo. Resarcio. Lucy Palmer.'
An innocent child in the wrong place at the wrong time.
You stop and look up at the sound of your name. Ginny is sitting up in her bed across from yours, her hair shining in the moonlight. You say nothing as she gets up from her bed and makes her way to yours.
She takes your wand away and replaces it with her small, warm hand. She stares at the fourteen pink, slightly swollen lines in a row on the underside of your left arm.
She says nothing, and you hate to see the tears welling up in her eyes. "I had to," you whisper hoarsely.
She nods silently. She knows. She knows what it's like to feel guilt raging through you like an inferno. She has her own scars, pale white, barely visible against her porcelain skin.
You can still feel your own guilt. Fourteen just wasn't enough. But you know she won't let you continue, so you grip her in a tight hug, hoping that squeezing her will squeeze the pain away.
She moves up onto the bed with you, and you both lay down under the covers, still embracing tightly.
She whispers, "It's going to be okay, Harry." You hold her even closer, tears prickling at the corners of your eyes. You try to hold them in but the guilt is pressing down on your chest like a massive boulder, and you can't breathe again. "Just let it go," she says. And finally you do. Sobs wrack your body, making your tender ribs burn. You try to muffle the sound in her hair, you don't want Pomfrey coming in, or anyone else to wake up. You hate that you're crying, hate that she's a witness to your weakness.
You finally run out of tears to cry, and she wipes them away with her fingers. She says nothing, and you both fall asleep in each other's arms to the sound of the other's breathing.