Harry looked up at the place he known as home for almost a decade of his life.
Hogwarts lay in ruin, the bell tower laying strewn in piles around the courtyard, battlements and pillars broken, towers toppled.
It was all over.
Inside, people reunited; healers treated wounds of the flesh, loved ones treated the wounds of the heart. The dead lay in the side hall, their own loved ones crying themselves to sleep by their side.
Fred, Lavender, Colin Creevey, Tonks, Lupin... They had all given their lives to save him.
Fred would never crack another joke with George; Lavender would never be able to tell Seamus she fancied him; Colin would never have his first girlfriend, or develop the film left in his camera.
Tonks and Lupin would never be able to watch their son board the Hogwarts Express...
It was when he thought of Tonks and Lupin that Harry broke down.
He had seen them, eyes closed, reaching out for each other even in death.
For the first time in a long while...
Harry Potter cried.
He let his tears fall for all the people that had died.
The innocent first years that had been tortured at the hands of the Carrows.
The equally innocent second years that had been caught in the crossfire and now lay dead in the second hall.
The parents that would be picking up the bodies of their children tomorrow...
The parents that never would.
Harry cried for his own parents, for the hope they had given him in the forest.
He cried for Sirius. The only person in the world that knew exactly how he felt.
Harry cried for Dumbledore, and all the things Dumbledore hadn't been able to tell him.
He cried in happiness that the Weasleys hadn't all died. He wouldn't be able to live with himself if any more of them had been killed, he could barely live with the guilt of having caused Fred's death.
He cried for Hedwig. He missed her so much... There had never been an owl more perfect, or intelligent as her.
He let out a choked sob when he thought of Dobby; of Dobby's grave at shell cottage. Yet another death on his hands. He had freed the little elf, now because of him, Poor, brave Dobby was dead.
With an another sob, Harry thought of Cedric. Cedric had been the first person to die because of him.
After that year, nothing had ever gotten better. Just more and more people began to die on his behalf.
God, they had almost killed Hermione. Bellatrix had nearly killed her...
Harry didn't know what he would have done if Ron and/or Hermione died. He would probably chuck himself off a cliff. They had both given up so much for him...
How many times had it been now, that they had all escaped death by a hair? been so close to dying that all it would have taken was a sidestep to the right?
It hadn't always been this way...
As Harry stood, staring at the ruined castle through vision blurred by tears, the realization hit him like a lightning bolt.
It was over.
It was all over.
They could live again, carefree... Just like when they were eleven. Before the darkness came.
It was too late to save their childhoods, Voldemort and their age had taken care of that. They would never enjoy Hogwarts as innocent students again.
Harry shook with the force of his sobs, unable to see through the tears. He had never cried like this, to hard that the anguish and pain forced him down on his knees.
Never before, had he felt this incomplete, the pangs of longing and loneliness pratically tearing him apart... He had always relied on the fact that he would go back to Hogwarts next year, that there would be another year of safety and friendship.
Now, that all seemed like a distant memory.
As Harry Potter stood wiping the tears, he pushed all the feelings out of his mind. A realization swept over him.
He wasn't a little boy anymore. Sometime through the horrible events that had plagued him over the years, he had turned into a man. And now, as a man, he had to let go.
His time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...
It was time to go home.