Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 272

Harry let the wind sing to him, let it tell him strange tales of faraway lands, and through those unseen colors, he heard:

is somebody there beyond
these heavy aching feet

He was a soldier. He'd been in battle more than once. But it wasn't the thrillyfear and battlerage that bore down on him. It was the weight of everyone's expectations - now lessened, but only somewhat.

People didn't see him. They saw The Chosen One. They saw Harry the Hero.

Well, he'd give them what they wanted, and burn the prophecy to boot. But, all in all, it wasn't what he wanted. What he wanted was to have someone, some place to come home to.

To have someone waiting for him, leaving the light on.

He knew his friends would be charging with him into battle - they were Gryffindors, it would be base treachery to consider them doing aught else. And, assuming they won, he'd feel the swell of good cheer and cameraderie, same as anyone else, he figured.

But that wasn't what he wanted.

At the end of it all, when all the battles were won, Harry just wanted a hug.

Harry wanted someone who'd waited, who'd trusted in him enough to take care of himself, at least. Someone who'd cared enough to wait up and worry. He didn't want parents like Molly and Arthur Weasley, who'd run into battle to protect their kids. He wanted parents that were proud of him, proud enough to trust - and worry.

They might not manage to win this war, Harry knew that, sure as his heart still beat. But just as surely, he knew he wasn't going to get what he wanted, either.

still the road keeps on telling me to go on

Harry's feet ached, sure, and sometimes moving forward was hard. He wasn't deluded enough to want to charge into battle, but... you moved, you followed orders. And you hoped that there was something better beyond the next hill. The next objective, the next goal.

Harry's eyes closed. He wanted to remember this feeling of hopefulness, this idea that there will be something waiting, at the end of it all. In and out he breathed, letting the feeling settle into his creaky bones, his weary muscles, everything. Things would get better. They had to.

Harry felt this way, sure as Sunday, even though his gut told him things would get worse before then.

He had to hold onto this feeling, remind himself of it. Because he couldn't quite quelch the picture in his mind, of one of the witches in his DADA class, dead in his arms, tears flowing down his face.

You do what you can, Harry thought with an unexpected surge of determination. That's all. Can't blame yourself for everything, or you won't go on.

something is pulling me i feel the gravity of it all

Somehow, first year, it hadn't seemed to be such a big deal. Of course, it hadn't been a war then either, just a troll. And a disembodied Dark Lord.

Just.

Harry Potter was going to stand, he told himself firmly. No matter what, no matter who died.

Because there were things worth fighting for.

Idly, grimly, whimsically, he conjured one of Hermione's bluebell flames, letting it dance around the Astronomy tower, letting himself grow still as he watched it dance.

He hadn't resolved anything tonight, but somehow he'd abjured depression. If false hope and lies got him through to the endless beyond, well, at least he'd be there.

You know, after the war.

[a/n: Reviews?

Somehow Harry managed to go from wanting to know the truth, to clinging to hopeful lies. I just write what he's thinking, they aren't my thoughts.

Second chappie today.]