Rated M for character death, suicide, angst, etc.

All rights for Harry Potter go to JRK. "Invictus" is a poem by William Ernest Henley.

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

"You killed your dogfather Potter, not me, not Bellatrix, but you!" Snape's words echo dully in my mind. By now, he has made it to Dumbledore's office, which is likely still in shambles from my anger. Silently I slip into the shadows, thankful for the cloaking of night. It would not do for me to encounter someone now, someone who would try to deter me from my path. Even if they try, my soul will not be conquered, and I will do what I must. Having gotten far enough away from the great hall, where everyone is assembled for dinner, I choose an empty classroom at random, locking the door behind me. It would not do to be found before the time is right.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Despite the abhorrent circumstances – Sirius' fall into the veil, the prophecy of Voldemort's demise, Snape's cutting words – I am yet to shed a tear. Perhaps because I know it will all be over soon, perhaps something is wrong with me, I know not. It is no longer important. With one hand I push bloody hair out of my eyes, stained from the constant flow at my scar, and with the other I withdraw a knife. Head held high with pride, I slash the blade across my arms, watching the crimson flow with a strange detachment. Pain is curiously absent as I dip one finger into my blood and prove that I am more that just a prophecy, more than just a weapon, more than just the Boy-Who-Lived.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

Across the castle, Snape surveyed the Headmasters office. Nothing seemed to have survived Potter's fury, the room destroyed both physically and magically. "Your office looks like hell, Albus." Snape remarked. "Indeed," Dumbledore agreed, shaking his head with resignation. "It has become a place of Harry's wrath, and his tears." Just before the old man could offer tea, a cloudy glass sphere, one of the few unbroken items in the room, turned a shady gray. Albus stared at it in horror, lunging to his feet. "Harry is in trouble." The elderly man started, his voice shaking from too many years dealing with the menace of Voldemort. Quickly, Albus muttered under his breath, before informing Snape "He is one the second floor, in what was once Minerva's classroom, back when you were a student. Snape strode out, unafraid of what he might find, and missed the cloudy globe darkening. "I fear you will be too late" Albus whispered to himself.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,...

Task completed, I eased down onto my back, lying on the cool stones of the castle floor. Vaguely, I tried to imagine the the tall, narrow gates of heaven, as they are so often described. Surely there is no place for me there, not with the long list of things I have done wrong, of punishments I deserve. It matters not, as long as I am no longer here. Gone, I can no longer hurt anyone, no longer bring death, not be the 'savior'. The wizarding world will find a better savior, someone old and wise, like Dumbledore, brave and committed, like Ron, or cunning and skilled, like Snape. The prophecy was wrong, and no one else will die because of it. Dimly, I notice the door fly open, the harsh sound of my locking spells being broken, and a mutter swear. My line of sight is filled with Snape, I think, but it is becoming hard to tell. Already the edges of my vision is becoming dark around the edges, my hearing is sluggish, like I am underwater, and my skin is cold. Snape sends a patronus, asking for help, I guess, but he is too late. With my final drop of energy, I manage to point towards the wall and mutter, "look." My effort seems sufficient as the last thing I see is Snape following my finger.

Snape struggles to stem the bleeding the muggle way, as magic will not work – it reads off intent, and as Harry is intent to die, healing is not possible. As quickly as possible, I send a patronus to Poppy, knowing that there is little she can do, but unable to simply sit here and wait for Potter to die. "Hold on, just hold on" Snape tells the boy, but he seems not to hear. Suddenly, the boys hand moves, pointing at something, and the Professor manages to hear a whisper of "look." As directed, he looks to the wall, frozen in horror at the words written there. He is still unmoving when Poppy and Albus burst through the door, crying out at the sight of the Potions Master, sitting still in a pool of blood, cradling the dead body of his childhood enemies son in his arms. Despite being at least five minutes too late, Poppy rushed to the boy, trying desperately to make the boy swallow Blood-replenisher and Healing potions. Finally accepting that they are too late, Poppy dissolved into tears, the Headmaster crumbling to his knees. "What brought this on," Dumbledore whispered. "I knew he was upset about Sirius, but surely not suicidal. Silently, Snape mirrored Harry's last action and pointed to the wall. Written in the child's blood were the words:

"'I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.'

Find a new savior

-HP"