Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: Disregard HBP.
A solitary figure stood in the graveyard, his robes moving slightly in the wind, though he seemed not to notice. His eyes were focused on the headstones that surrounded him. All of these people had died, in part, because of him. Because he had lived and he had been the one. He wished Professor Trelawney's predictions had come true, any one of them. It sure would save him the pain he felt now, and knew he would until he died.
Another roaming figure entered the yard, glancing about quickly before coming to rest on the lone man in the middle of this death. He walked over slowly, hoping not to startle him. There used to be a time when he wouldn't have cared, but it was different now. Strange how grief often brings opposites together, he mused.
"Harry." His voice was quiet, but although he knew the young man before him had heard, he hadn't answered. Moving to stand beside him, he spoke. "What are you thinking?"
The voice that answered him was solemn and gravelly. "It's all my fault." It was a simple statement, but held so much power.
Harry made a sweeping gesture with his arm, covering the expanse of the graveyard. "This. All of this."
His companion sighed. "It was their choice, just as it was mine. You may have led them, but they joined you freely. They wanted to be free as much as you or I."
"Yes, but if I hadn't survived, if I wasn't the Boy Who Lived, they wouldn't have been led to this."
"In one aspect, no they wouldn't have, but in others, they would have ended up the same way. He was rising too far, you merely made him stumble, and eventually fall."
"I let them down. All of them. I let Dumbledore down, I let Ron down, I let Collin down. All of them were counting on me, now look at them. Look at where they are."
"In heaven. I've heard it's a nice place. Look, if you had let them down, we would be dead right now, that you can be sure of. He didn't allow anyone to live, except you. Even in the end, you would have been killed."
"You just don't get it, do you? You don't get it." His anger was rising. He couldn't believe that this man, out of all, didn't understand.
"I do, but I don't. You helped free not only the wizarding world, but the muggle one as well. Think of the lives you saved."
"Think of the ones that were lost. Those were much more dear to me."
"Bloody hell, Harry! You're even more stubborn than I. Have you ever seen Dumbledore's portrait in the Headmistress' office? Have you ever seen how he smiles when someone mentions your name? He is proud. He is proud to have helped raise such a man. He was near his time anyway, as he once told me. He is glad to have given his life for such a noble cause. The others as well. All those pictures Creevey took of them, they all smile at the mention of your name. I've heard them talk. They are proud to have fought beside you. Don't you ever think otherwise."
Harry laughed bitterly. "I never thought that I'd be having this conversation with you, of all people. Never thought that you'd be answering me this way." He paused, his breath catching. "I don't care anymore," he whispered. "I haven't cared about you and I, Slytherin and Gryffindor, for a long time. None of it seemed to matter once we were at war with a common enemy. It never mattered, did it?" He turned to face his old companion.
"No, it never did, though we made it seem like it did," Severus answered. "It was foolish of me to torture you so, but I was thinking of you as your father and his friends. I never got a chance to say sorry to the others, but I'm saying it to you, now. I'm sorry and thank you." He paused. "My God, I'm turning into an old fool."
Harry laughed truly at this. "No, you're merely aging wisely."
"Merely aging wisely," Severus echoed. "I'll go with it."
Turning from the graves, the two headed back towards the castle and the festivities that awaited, both a little more at peace with themselves. Both a little less bitter and both a little bit wiser for it.