Title: The Fourth Step

Characters: Harry Potter and Daphne Greengrass.

Notes: This is going to be a collection of various, unrelated, 500-word AUs where Harry died in the Battle of Hogwarts, and left someone behind. I'll definitely take suggestions, and I sincerely hope you enjoy!

A ghost, a shadow. A whisper in the night so silent now; no sound of heavy breathing, no rustling of the blankets where he slept on those nights he could get away.

Those nights she lived for.

There's still a steady pace of footsteps going up the stairs, still the noise of someone tripping on the fourth step, because it is slightly raised and he never got the hang of it. Never will now.

Because he is a ghost, a shadow, a whisper, a boy who didn't live.

"Harry," she calls quietly, as not to wake the other occupants of the room who will sleep long through the night now; now that there is no Dark Lord to fear, or worship, or whatever side they chose to fight on in the end.

There is no Dark Lord, and no Harry. Somehow, they see it as a fair trade. She disagrees.

"Don't leave me," she murmurs, so silently she is almost sure that she only thought it. Harry wouldn't hear her either way, but it's a comfort, a small part of her thinks. A very, very small part.

She lies still as the darkness shifts around her, and the green curtains whisper slightly, ghosting over her bed.

The bed dips and a ghostly hand runs across her cheek, trying to be comforting but it feels as though it's freezing her soul.

Frozen lips hover over her cheekbones, kissing them softly, and she whimpers. There's a clatter and she imagines broken, only half-intact glasses falling to the floor.

She raises her hand and comes in contact with messy hair that feels like silk under her fingers.

She ignores the dark, damp wetness gathering on her palm, following gently down her arm, and she strokes his bleeding forehead. It's cold.

"Daphne," she imagines him whispering, the fingers of one hand caught in her own blonde hair and the fingers of the other clutching at her nightshirt. "Save me, Daphne."

Harry looks at her, his green eyes so very wide in death, and Daphne screams. And screams. And screams.

"Daphne! DAPHNE!" Pansy shouts through the heavy green curtains, and Daphne sits up, still screaming. "It was just a dream, Daphne!"

"Right," she chokes, her throat dry and her fingers shaking. "Right."

Pansy opens the hangings and leans over her, dark hair falling into her face untidily. Daphne looks up at her with red-rimmed eyes.

"I don't know what you're screaming about anyway," Pansy continues, sitting down on the bed, making it dip. Daphne holds back a sob. "I mean, the Dark Lord is defeated! Sure, us pureblood families aren't held in quite so much esteem, but we get by. It's better than getting put in Azkaban, which would have surely happened if the "Chosen One" had lived."

Pansy scoffs and laughs cruelly, and goes back down to the Slytherin common room, jumping over the fourth step.

Daphne finally starts to cry.