Title: A Hero's Tale

Character: Harry Potter.

Summary: Harry said, "Here's my life - take it or leave it." And they took it; they took it all, because they couldn't let him live knowing there was a better world out there for him, with a change of a name and transfiguration spell. He was supposed to be their hero. One-shot.

Notes: Gah. I've been in tragic-story-mode recently, and that is a dangerous mode for me to be in. (Almost as bad as my super-fluffy-slash mode which leads to Squeacher poems.) Review?

He was supposed to be the hero.

It was all that was asked of him, but tomorrow they will wonder; maybe they should've put their faith in someone else.

He was supposed to be the saviour.

A sacrifice of his life wasn't much to pay, was it? To save the hundreds of lives of innocents and children - of course, it didn't matter that he was an innocent child too. No; because he was the Boy-Who-Lived. He wasn't supposed to be the Boy-Who-Almost-Lived.

He was supposed to be the banisher.

That was all they wanted; a world free of Voldemort, Tom Riddle, You-Know-Who and The Dark Lord. It wasn't too much to ask, was it?

He was supposed to be worshipped. And he was. He will be.

He didn't even ask for that, and for that, they're thankful. The Chosen One was, and is, worshipped above no other because he was chosen to do this. He had no choice in the matter.

He was supposed to be the martyr.

So, maybe he wasn't perfect. Maybe he wore glasses and had a temper and wasn't the brightest Lumos in the school, but he was as close to perfect as anyone was going to get. He was supposed to go down fighting like the martyr he should've been.

He was supposed to be their hero.

He loved them all - that much was obvious. The Boy-Who-Almost-Conquered-The-Dark-Lord who did everything out of love, and despite love.

So he fought, and he fought bravely. But he lost, and he lost like a coward.

He was never going to be the Boy-Who-Lived-And-Lived-Again, because everybody has to die, right? Well, not Harry. Harry was supposed to live. He wasn't the Boy-Who-Died. Although now, maybe he is.

Harry wasn't afraid. He knew, even if nobody else did, that he would have to die. He wasn't afraid of Death. But he was petrified, terrified, for his friends. Because he spent the whole life that his mother died trying to save wondering when they would give up on him.

It's funny, because he gave up first.

He was supposed to love everybody equally - he could have his side-kicks, yes, because all the superheroes do. But he wasn't allowed to fall in love.

He was the hero who died because he couldn't do it anymore. He had never had a proper life to begin with, so what did it matter? They only asked for him to give his life, and that's what he did.

What they don't condone is that it was all about Ron&Hermione&Ginny, and he wasn't allowed that. He was supposed to go down fighting for everyone.

It isn't just that; he cared about Sirius&Remus&Dumbledore&Tonks more than he did the little mortals who went down fighting for him.

How could Harry say he would die to save Colin Creevey, just as quickly as he would die to save Molly Weasley? Who would say that Harry would fight for Rita Skeeter even over a measly house elf that used to go by the name of Dobby?

No one. And no one would expect them to, because Harry was not the perfect hero, and they have accepted it now.

They didn't die for him. They know. They all died for the greater good, because they died to help the defeat of Voldemort, not for Harry. They knew what was for the best, and they died for their troubles.

But he was still their hero.

Harry said, "Here's my life - take it or leave it."

And they took it; they took it all, because how could they let him live knowing there was a better world out there for him, with a change of a name and transfiguration spell?

He was supposed to be their hero.

His fate was a ploy - he was never going to live. But he was supposed to go down fighting. That was the plan, the plan written since that night in October. It was Law. But they can't punish him now, because by tomorrow he'll be dead and gone and buried by next Tuesday.

There'll be a big ceremony, they think.

To commiserate the death of the Boy-Who-Lived.

Everybody will cry because, even though they've never met the man, they know more about him than he probably ever did, so they deserve to be there anyway. People will dab their tears away and say to their weeping children, "It's okay. He knew it would happen like this. You're okay," as though they are words of comfort.

Because it will not be okay. Heroes aren't supposed to die at the end of the story; main characters live to see the epilogue.

And how could anyone be okay knowing that, sometimes, fairytales don't come true?

The reality is that the world is an angry, angry place and nobody worth dying for is truly alive anyway. They're selfish, and they're greedy, and they're cruel, but they know no better.

The Chosen One was supposed to die for all these sad, angry people because they deserve his love. Don't they?

No; they do not.

The words on his grave will say "Never be afraid," because it means so many things.

Never be afraid of death. Never be afraid for people who just aren't worth it. Never be afraid to love.

And some people will, because they loved him and he can't be never afraid anymore, and they'll love and they'll love until their hearts implode with the impact, for him, because he can't.

Their hero did what was asked of him, and died, but not for them. Never for them.

On the 31st July, 1997, they'll find a note lying by a marred body. On the 31st July, 1997, they'll find the final piece of evidence of who murdered the Boy-Who-Lived.

Dear Friends, Enemies, and Whomever It May Concern,

I was supposed to be the hero. Too bad, I suppose, that I'm going to fail miserably. There is nothing left for me to do, now, but wait, and die for you.

This is my life - take it or leave it.

I love you.

He couldn't have known, that at that very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country, all over the world, will be holding up their glasses, and saying in hushed voices, "To Harry Potter - the boy who almost lived."

It'll be reported that the last words Harry Potter ever said, or wrote, were not Goodbye, or I'm Sorry, or even, I Hate You. Harry Potter's last words were I Love You.

For all they know, he was talking to Ron, and Hermione, and Ginny, and his parents, and whomever else it might've concerned. Or maybe, they' get their wish, and he meant it to everybody who let him die.

They ate him up and spat him out, and used him and used him until there is nothing left but a dried-up heart and a body that used to harbour a soul.

After all, what good is a hero that can think for himself?