(1/25): I have come back to you a swinging man

A sea of black spills across the Hogwarts grounds, bleached white dotting it like upturned flowers made of bone. It oozes like tar, smothering all signs of life beneath it.

Behind it, a creature of unnatural height and thinness follows, eyes of garnet fire, skin as pale as the moon that lights its path. Harry's scar gives a dull throb that intensifies as if an avalanche of cleavers has been set off, and he's at the bottom.

Those that are left huddle in the towers, watching the last sweep of the battle begin. Pathetic. Harry thinks. They look to their last hope, a child of sixteen who could be twelve in body, with Avada eyes as old as death itself.

Fools. Harry thinks. Or he would if he could think past the jackhammer in his skull.

He knows he has no chance against this crimson-eyed snake monster, but refuses to bow before it either. He hopes death will come quickly.

His scar is burning so fiercely that he puts a numbing charm on his entire head to keep from fainting, and one of the side effect is a floating detached sort of feeling that leaves his emotions rather dulled too.

Death's Army swarms the castle, and the inhabitants can hear their demand for entrance. When blasting the door off the hinges doesn't work, they resort to removing the bricks around the frame.

One by one the stone come down, and Hogwarts screams, groaning and creaking this way and that. She weeps in agony as she is pulled apart, piece by ancient piece. The grind of stone on stone makes them all cringe.

But at last the doors fall inward with a harsh scraping creak and then a loud resounding crash. Everything is silent, and dust filters up from the cracks in the stone floor. Harry watches grimly, and can't help but be reminded of the graveyard when the dust of Riddle's bones had filtered up from beneath him where he sat bound to that goddamn gravestone.

Harry smiles, and maybe it's just a little to hysterical, because everyone around him gives him rather horrified looks. Hermione squeezes his hand, because she's the only one close enough to see the tears that accompany it.

Harry wonders if she expects him to save them too.

He sure hopes not, because if he wasn't even able to save Ron, how is he suppose to save the world?

The stone dust settles in his nose, and his eyes, and his mouth. He sneezes, splattering phlegm all over his scuffed muddy boots. Merlin, what kind of a Savior is he? Harry's eyes water, but now it's from the ancient stone dust. He wonders if he could be allergic to Hogwarts and not know it after living in her for six years. Another wild insane smile stretches his lips across his face, and now even Hermione looks worried. Harry carefully releases her hand, and walks towards he door. The only thing that's keeping the shadows out. The tension is too much, what are they doing just sitting here, anyway? It's not like the Death Eaters aren't going to find them if they huddle like cowards.

As Harry opens the door, he waits for someone to stop him. To shout, "Potter! What in Merlin's name do you think your doing? Get back in here!" Or even "What are you, stupid?" But all he sees are their grim looks of hope.

They seriously think he can save them. Just a little too short, too scrawny, too boney, boy. He doesn't even shave yet. And what is he going to do? Stupefy Voldemort to death? He can't cast an Unforgivable to save his life. Now he giggles, because that's what he's trying to do: save his skin and the rest of the thirty-two surviving Order/Professor/Student population.

Harry shrugs. He doesn't even know why he should bother. Dumbledore didn't expect, or want him to walk away from the Last Battle alive, and it's not like he really has much to save. Even if he does some how magically pull it off, what does he have to look forward to, anyway? A world full of hypocrites and back stabbing liars, which isn't much better than what Voldemort's offering.

They had already destroyed the ring, the diary, Hufflepuff's cup, Slytherin's locket, Ravenclaw's wand, and all that was left was Nagini.

Or so he had been led to believe.

Harry rubbed his scar, wondering if throwing himself off the next battlement would even matter. Except, "...and either must die at the hand of the other..." And Harry wonders if he would even be able to off himself that way. Probably not.

Because he has a chunk of Voldemort's soul inside of him with all its perks: the ability to speak Parseltongue, among other things.

Things that the first Horcrux, Riddle's Diary, also had.

The final ingredient for a Horcrux was a sacrifice of some sort.

Such as his mother's.

The numbness still clogs his brain, but he can tell that Voldemort is close. He ascends the last stair of the tower, his shoes silently touching the stone floor. He hears rushed footsteps, and pushed himself behind a suit of armor when a Death Eater glides by.

The second one that strides past, isn't so oblivious. A curtain of black hair flows down over her shoulders. A long fingered hand with even longer talon like fingernails removes the mask from her face as she spots Harry.

"Little Hawrry," she coos, and Harry stares back into her heavy lidded eyes, and damns the numbing spell now. All that he feels is a mere spark of what he had felt before. Not even enough to care. Definitely not enough to hate.

If he was shit at casting Unforgivables before, he's dead meat now.

"Bellatrix." Harry replies, more weary than anything. She smiles, and Harry can see every one of her damn teeth. He wonders if that's what he looked like back up in the tower. No wonder they had all looked horrified.

She beckons to him, and Harry steps out of his hiding place. Harry waits for more taunting, more mocking baby talk, but none comes. Instead she turns on her heel and walks away, robe swishing behind her.

Harry almost laughs now, does she really expect him to follow her to his doom?


And Harry realizes he won't disappoint her, because he finds himself doing just that.

They walk through the halls, and the Death Eaters part like a black sea, and their bone masks are stoic, blank, and foreboding. He expects jeers and taunts, but still none come.

He sees Malfoy's blond hair, and cold grey eyes stare out at him from behind the sockets of Death's skull that he covers his face with. (And does it really matter which one?) They are chilly and Harry smiles at him.

He's been smiling more today than he has in the past two years. He wonders if this is a good thing.

Bellatrix pushes open the oak doors and sure enough, Voldemort is sitting in the seat that Dumbledore used to occupy, looking for all the world as through it is a throne.

Harry thinks he might look a little better from here. More meat on his evil snaky bones. He approaches, and the muddy fog wears thin, trying to register the splitting pain in his forehead. Harry stands, wand held loosely in one hand, and now Voldemort is only a few inches away. Harry has to crane his neck to meet the garnet eyes, because he's still so small and the Dark Lord is not.

Voldemort reaches out and plucks the wand from Harry's hand, and Harry smiles again, because he thinks he knows what is coming next. The snake man doesn't snap it like Harry thought he might, but slips it into his pocket.

And now the spidery fingers reach from underneath the robe, and lift to cradle his head in a mockery of a caress.

His hands are cold, and Harry thinks he can feel scales like those on a snake's underbelly. One finger moves to twirl a strand of his grimy raven hair.

"Harry Potter, you have no idea what joy the sight of you brings me." Still the spell holds strong, so it doesn't matter. He can't even dredge up enough fire to care that all of his friends will be brutally tortured and killed. Hermione might be raped, McGonagall made into violin strings. Nagini's black length circles them, and Voldemort leans in and whispers in his ear. "So close, you had but one more to go. You have failed."

Harry can't help but wonder if his dry reptilian breath smells like blood.

An arm snakes around his back, and Harry gives up trying to look Voldemort in the eye. He's a good two feet taller than him, and Harry doesn't really want to die with a crick in his neck.

He finds himself staring at soft black voluminous robes, and the heavy weight of his charmed dagger presses against his heart, and he knows this is his last chance at victory. Instead he leans in and smothers his face in the robes wrapping his own arms around the abnormally thin thing in front of him.

Voldemort stiffens, obviously not expecting this reaction. Probably wondering what kind of plot this is. The tears that glinted in Harry's eyes earlier now fall and the boy savior sobs dry body wracking gasps. He can't do this anymore, they all want him to kill, but even killing a Dark Lord that has brutally taken the lives of hundreds of thousands is still murder. And Harry's not a murderer, and never will be.

"Please, please," He cries, not really knowing what he is pleading for. He clutches the Dark Lord's robe for dear life. Voldemort cradles Harry against him. His robes are made of some kind of fine material that soothes his cheeks. He can hear the slow thump of Voldemort's heart beneath his ear.

"Why are you crying, child? Do you beg for the lives of your friends?" Harry shakes his head. He knows no begging or pleading of any sort would be able to save them. "For your own life?" Harry shakes his head harder. "Ah, of course not. You beg for your death." Harry pauses, but Voldemort knows him better than he knows himself, and Harry doesn't even need to nod. "Lovely, sweet, beautiful child. This is something I will gladly grant you." The 13 inches of yew makes an appearance. Harry tries to ignore it as it's cool tip is pressed against his temple. "Avada Kedavra."

The loud rush of sound and green green light, and for a few blissful seconds, Harry is sure he is dead at long last. He feels like he's floating, but forgets that he had already felt this way due to the damn numbing spell. He thinks he might see a bright light, maybe his parents waiting for him with Sirius and Ron.

The figures fade, and he screams, attempting to claw his way back to the light.

He's slammed back into his body so hard that he collapses, and Voldemort drops on top of him. There's nothing but searing pain, cleaving his brain open. His head is on fire, and everything is a pulsing red. He writhes on the ground, thrashing and convulsing. Faint shouts meet his ears, but they don't register.

A pit of vipers squirm in his stomach, in his very blood.

Bloody foam bubbles from his mouth, and there's a presence pressing in, and it feels like his lungs are collapsing. It feels as though molten steel has been injected into every pour, and Harry screams, Voldemort echoing the sound above him.

His soul is being shredded, and there's suddenly not enough space. Harry has never been claustrophobic, even after living in a cupboard for the good part of ten years, but now the fear closes in from all sides. He lashes out at his surroundings, his blunt fingernails coming in contact with Voldemort's body.

His hands rip into skin and cloth, and with inhuman strength his fingers burst through Voldemort's stomach, digging franticly for something in his chest cavity. Something scalds his flesh, and he scrapes his arms on the sharp bones of Voldemort's rib cage. For a second Harry thinks he might feel a slick pulsing muscle, but all his fingers contact is ash.

Everything goes black.

The huddled group of refuges watches in amazement as the Death Eaters scatter from the castle, no longer looking like a flood of destruction, but a swarm of fleeing black insects. Hermione weeps for joy, and she knows Harry has done it. She burst through the door, and her feet pound down the stairs, the rest not far behind her.

She knows he never believed in himself, but she had faith in him.

She sprints to the Great Hall, her feet seeming to know the way. The oak doors are left flung open, and a single figure lies in the middle of the hall, spread eagle and covered in--

Hermione kneels next to him, and gingerly wipes a few bits of the grey stuff off him.

Covered in soot.

She brushes as much of the stuff off of him as she possibly can, but it stirs and sifts up into her nose, making her sneeze. She presses her fingers against his throat, and feels a faint erratic pulse. She cries with relief, and thanks the Gods that Madam Pomfrey made it through the war as the nurse bustles up next to her, tutting and levitating Harry's limp body carefully towards the hospital wing.

Surprisingly enough, everything is still intact, and she sets his body gently down on a bed, his robes trailing black ash on the sheets. She shoos everyone out, and Hermione bites her fingernails with anxiety.

They've lost so much, so many, that Hermione doesn't know what she'll do if she should be without Harry. Ron, Sirius, Dumbledore, Lavender, Fred, George, Mrs. Weasley, Neville, her parents-- Hermione chokes, and forces herself to stop. Thinking about it doesn't do any good, and she needs to be calm and logical right now. For Harry.

Dean, looking rather haggard, approaches. He lost his mother Hermione remembers. Gruesome details claw their way out over her memory, images in the Prophet of her strung up by ropes running under her spine from the tree in their back yard. A juniper, Hermione thinks, and shakes her head. Dean's eyes are red rimmed and bloodshot with dark heavy bags under them. Hermione gives him a rather watery smile, and he holds open his arms. She runs to him, sobbing into his torn robes, and he rocks her gently. He smells like mud, sweat, and filth, but she doesn't care. In turn, he doesn't seem to care that she's smeared with ashes that could very well be the last of Voldemort.

They sink down to the ground, and he holds her against his chest, seeming to take strength from being able to comfort her. After her tears dry, and her eyes crust over with salt and other things, she drifts in and out of a fitful sleep.

After what seems like days, but cannot have been more than a few hours, Madame Pomfrey allows them in. The rest have left to contact family, or various other things. Only Hermione and Dean are left waiting.

They drag sore bodies off the ground, blinking rapidly at the too bright hospital wing. It seems blasphemous that this part of the castle should remain pristine when the rest is pitted with scars of war.

Harry is sitting up in bed, a bandage wrapped around his forehead. The soot has been magicked away, but his robes are still rather grimy. His skin is strangely transparent, and seems to glow faintly with a pulsing inner power. The bleached sheets give him the illusion of having a bit of color in his paper thin skin, but Hermione can see his tiny blue veins from a metre away.

She wonders where his glasses have gone, and when he looks up from his careful study of his thin hands, Hermione gasps. His eyes are no longer the vibrant green they use to be, now they're muddy brown. She carefully sits down next to him on the bed, and takes one of his hands in hers. She wonders if it's possible to lose that much weight in just a few hours, because she know his hands weren't quite this thin before.

Upon closer study, she notices that his hair is unnaturally tame for someone who just went through hell and back, and that his eyes aren't really brown but a perfect mixture of green and red flecks.

"What happened to you, Harry?" She asks with a fearful whisper. One corner of his mouth lifts in a smirk so unlike Harry, that Hermione recoils.

"'Mione," He rolls the nickname about on his tongue, as though tasting it. Hermione shivers, because his voice is so much smoother than it was before, and she knows with a blooming panic what has happened. Her hand inches towards her concealed wand, but he catches her wrist with long white fingers.

"Dean," He nods to the dark skinned boy, and Hermione wants to scream at him to run and get help, but her tongue seems frozen to the top of her mouth. Dean just looks relieved, and doesn't seem to notice anything is wrong.

"Glad to see you made it, mate."

"Likewise. Would you mind if I had a moment alone with 'Mione, Dean?" Dean looks rather relieved.

"No problem, see you tomorrow?"

"Of course. Goodnight, Dean."

"'Night, Harry." A swish of robes and Dean leaves to shower and clean up, a warm bed waiting for him.

Harry smiles a rather wicked cold smile, and Hermione attempts to scramble away, only to be held fast.

"'Mione, dear, what could possibly be the matter?" Her eyes are comically wide, showing whites all the way around the iris. Harry chuckles in amusement. Her skin is pasty, and she trembles uncontrollably now. Harry leans in and brushed his lips against her ear. "Don't worry, little Mudblood, I'm not going to hurt you." She shivers.

"W- what have you done to Harry?" And innocent expression drops over Harry's face.

"I'm not sure I know what your talking about, 'Mione, dear."

"Don't call me that, you monster! Where is Harry?" Harry has the audacity to look hurt.

"You wound me, dear heart. I just saved all of you from the evil Dark Lord," Harry says in a mocking tone, tightening his grip about her wrist until she whimpers in pain, "and this is how your greet your savior? With accusations and terror?" His eyes flash, and Hermione renews her attempts to get away, cowering in fear. "Pathetic." He spits.

"Mister Potter! Unhand her this instant!" Madam Pomfrey marches over, looking flustered and angry while holding a tray with an assortment of potions and gruel. Harry drops Hermione's wrist, and smiles sheepishly at her. She scrambles off the bed as fast as she can, tripping over her robes in her haste to get away.

Turning mud colored eyes towards the mediwitch, Harry pouts, attempting to look innocent. She tuts at him, setting the tray down on his lap, and pushing a spoon into his hand. "I know that you have been effected by all of this Mister Potter, but that gives you no reason to treat your friends badly. I want you to eat that, and then take all of these potions. I'm sure you'll feel more like yourself in the morning."

Harry gives her what he hopes is a reassuring smile, but obviously isn't because she continues to stand there looking at him disapprovingly. He glowers at her darkly, but takes the spoon in his hand and shovels some of the gooey nutritious shit into his mouth. She seems satisfied, and leaves him to go help others. As soon as she's out of sight, he spits the shit on the floor, and carefully dumps the potions into his ruined boots beside the bed. The potions are sludgy enough that with any luck, the house elves will mistake them for filth of some kind.

Harry lays back, feeling satisfied as well as exhausted, and snuggles (as much as is possible on the godforsaken hospital bedding) down, preparing for sleep. Thoughts churn in his brain, confused mixed memories and feelings.

Sleep is a long time in coming.

Hermione sits sobbing a few corridors down from the hospital wing, backed as far into a nook as is humanly possible.

"Miss Granger, what--" Hermione looks up, blood shot eyes and tear streaked cheeks. Professor McGonagall stops, seeing her looking so tormented.

"Miss Granger, would you please follow me?" She says, much more gently, her perpetually harsh face softening just a bit. Hermione sniffs, attempting to put on a brave front, after all she just survived one of the biggest wars of the millennia.

She hopes.

She follows the Headmistress to her office, which is now disorientatingly where Dumbledore's use to be. She's so caught up in her horrified thoughts that she doesn't hear the password, or even really notice the spiraling stairs. She's still dazed as she sits in a wooden chair facing McGonagall's desk.

"What is troubling you so, Miss Granger?" Hermione wants to scream. She wonders what kind of a sick question that is.

"Harry--" She has to stave of another sob that threatens to choke her speech.

"And what has happened with Mister Potter that is causing you such great distress? The last I heard he was well on his way to full recovery." How can they not see that something is so very wrong with that thing that's calling itself 'Harry'?

"H- He's not himself, Professor. He- I think that- that something dreadful happened to him when he defeated You-Know-Who. He-" She can't hold back a sob now, and the tears are back. McGonagall looks worried but tries to smile in a reassuring manner. "He called me..." She trails off, not being able to finish.

"What did he call you, Miss Granger?" Hermione bows her head forward, limp brown hair filthy from going days without washing falling into her eyes.

"He called me Mudblood." She whispers her voice trembling, and McGonagall gasps, looking torn between disbelief and shock.

"I--" Now the Headmistress is angry, and her cheeks get rather splotchy. "We will get to the bottom of this. I'm sure he's just in shock from his ordeal, he's probably just not thinking clearly." Her lips press together in a thin white line.

"His eyes aren't green anymore, Professor." And now the Headmistress looks troubled. Hermione knows that with truly powerful wizards, their aura is reflected in their eyes. McGonagall seems to know this too.

"What color were they, Miss Granger?" She asks sharply.

"At first, I thought they were muddy brown, but when I looked closer- they were still green just- with red flecks..." McGonagall knows this is more serious than a post-traumatic experience. They quickly depart from her office to contain what is potentially an extremely dangerous situation.

When they reach the hospital wing, Harry is sleeping, caught in a dream thrashing his head back and forth, and moaning in Parseltongue.

Hermione shivers, and so does McGonagall.

Hermione's not able to understand what's being said, but it comes out in what sounds like two distinct timbres.

McGonagall seems to notice this too, because she quickly Stupefies Harry, sending him from sleep into unconsciousness. She checks for herself, prying his eyelids open. When she steps back, it's with a grim face.

"Poppy!" She calls, and quickly binds Harry to the bed while waiting for her to arrive. Hermione stares at her best friend, who looks so thin and pale. His skin still pulses with more magic than any being should contain, and even a few hours after seeing him last, it looks more visibly taunt.

Hermione had studied magical overload for her independent study class fifth year. She knows the effects. She can recite them in her sleep. When too much magical energy is contained in one place for an extended period of time, it eats away at it's surroundings; inevitably deforming or destroying them past recognition.

Harry is becoming a monster before their very eyes.

"Yes, Headmistress?"

"Why was I not informed about the changes in Potter?"

"I- I didn't know they were so very important as to notify you, Minerva. I gave him a few droughts to help with what I thought was most likely just a bad bout of post-traumatic stress syndrome." Hermione grimaces at the strong smell of asphodel and sopohorous that catches her nose, and she glances down to see Harry's filthy boots, and picks one up. It sloshes just a bit too much, and she upturns it on the floor. Sludgy brown and purple goo pours out, making a sickening splat on the worn carpet.

Madam Pomfrey sighs, recognizing the potions she knows she should have watched him take. She takes in the bound figure of her charge, and also knows she has made a gross error in judgment.

"Well then, what do we need to do?"

Harry moans, because his entire body hurts. No, not hurts, because 'hurts' is to weak of a verb. Maybe something like 'maimed', 'mutilated', or 'lacerated-from-the-inside-out' might describe his state of being better. Even his toes are sore.

He wonders what happened.

The first thing he notices is a warm body pressed against his back.

The next is that he's bound to the bed he's laying on.

Shit. What the hell is going on?

My thoughts exactly, Potter.

Now Harry flinches, because he knows that voice, and with absolute certainty who it is coming from.

But how he ended up tied to a bed with Lord Voldemort is beyond him. The last thing he remembers is--

Fuck. Lovely, just fucking lovely. Where are we?

Hogwarts Hospital wing.

What the--

Harry tests the ropes for any give, but knows it's probably futile. If Lord Voldemort cannot remove them, Harry know he probably has absolutely no chance in Hell.

"Ah, Mr. Potter, you're awake I see." Harry growls, recognizing the voice of Madame Pomfrey.

"Let. Me. Up." She mutters a series of charms, and the ropes melt away to release him, but stay attached to the warm body behind him.

He sits up carefully, wincing. He attempts to move away from the bed, but the ache intensifies, and within two metres he's on the floor writhing in agony. The mediwitch supports him, lifting him back onto the bed.

Harry knows he's small for his age, but this is just pathetic.

"What all do you remember, Harry dear?" And her voice is sympathetic, and Harry has the insane urge to strangle her frail neck. As soon as this registers, he turns to glare at the body that he knows is Voldemort.

Only it's not.

It's him.

The same frail stunted body, messy black hair. Even the dull scars peaking through a gap in the back of the hospital gown are the same.

"What the bloody Hell is going on!" When Madame Pomfrey doesn't even bother to chastise him, he knows something is seriously wrong. He checks his own body just to make sure that he's not stuck in some hideously deformed snake thing instead.

He's not.

He can't see Voldemort's face, because the way he's tied, he's facing away from Harry with little to no room to move around.

He doesn't realize he's leaning against the Dark Lord, until he tries to move away again. The ache returns with a vengeance, and he whimpers in unison with the body behind him. Gingerly, Harry places a single finger against his doppelgänger's back, and the pain fades to nothing.

"When You-Know-Who-" There is a snort from behind Harry and a wave of bitter amusement mixed with disgust washes over him, "attempted to curse you, it rebound again. For what ever reason, it forced his soul into your body, merging the both of you into one being." Harry blanches as the memories begin to trickle back. "It took us a week to separate you. We still weren't able to completely isolate your souls into different bodies, and there were some- side effects."

A litany of curses, reaching back twelve generations into the Pomfrey line and a wave of fury stabs at Harry's skull, and he moans because it hurts. It stops abruptly, and the strangest sensation floats across his mind, a wave of comfort/worry/guilt followed by confusion/anger and last glee/delight.

Another wave of fury pounds at his skull like a jackhammer, and Harry collapses against the bed, clutching blindly at the being next to him. He can feel Voldemort's amusement at being able to cause such pain to his enemy, as well as being the only one who can bring it to an end.

Untie me.

Madame Pomfrey seemed frantic, trying to get him to drink this or that, as he thrashed frantically on the bed.

"Release him." Harry whispers when the pain lets up a bit. The mediwitch frowns, she know this is not a good idea, but what else can she do? Harry's begun twitching again, and pink froth is forming at the corners of his lips.

"Finite Incantatem" She whispers fearfully, and the ropes loosen and drop away. Voldemort is up in a flash, red eyes glinting. He's across the room and out the doors before Madame Pomfrey can blink, but a thud lets her know he doesn't get very far.

Harry is screeching, clawing at his skin, and it only take a minute before Voldemort crawls back in, his hospital gown leaving him in a rather undignified state.

Fighting tooth and nail, with a jaw clenched so tightly his teeth grind in a sound worse than the sharpest nails on a chalkboard, the Dark Lord makes his way back to the bed, and wraps his trembling arms about Harry's middle. Identical bodies collapse in a sweaty heap, and green eyes roll back into Harry's skull.

Voldemort scowls so hard that his borrowed face is unrecognizable as human. It's obvious that it pains him to be forced to be near his arch nemesis without choice.

Madame Pomfrey sighs, and sinks down into a chair. She looks tired and worn, but at least she isn't worried about Voldemort getting away now. She doesn't even need to restrain him.

The next time Harry's conscious, his first impression is of somewhere warm and safe. Of course, this doesn't last long, as the next impression is of crimson reptilian eyes that have never been associated with any feeling of security or happiness.

Except that it's his face that smirks at him, even if Voldemort is the one staring out of it.

Harry frantically attempts to scramble away. A frantic push of stick arms and a animal like whimper. The arms (his arms) hold him fast. It isn't possible that he is stronger than Harry; their bodies are identical. Harry's blunt fingernails claw at the doppelgänger's neck, and crimson blossoms, the same shade as the deadly amused eyes that haunt him.

Harry freezes, watching in a horrible sick fascination as the blood pools in the hollow of his collar bone and runs to make a small puddle on the starched sheets. The bleached cloth quickly absorbs the offered liquid like a thirsty sponge.

And suddenly Harry is exhausted again. To tired to fight, to tired to care, to tired to live.

But he goes on living, because even the most powerful wizard in the world can't kill him.

A sob escapes his throat, and he wants to scream. The only thing I ever wanted, and you couldn't even grant me that.

Thin boney arms, his arms, incase him in a bitter warmth. He thinks he might hear a sigh, but his brain is suddenly muddled.

Lovely beautiful child.