by alejandra

It killed Zabini, mother and son, first. Next to drop was Snape, then the three Malfoys, then a bunch of men Harry recognized only vaguely.

The black-and-white stuff on the wall swirled around and made him feel a little sick. But he forced himself to watch, because he was the one who'd put them all in that little room. Ron said that Harry should be proud to watch, but Harry felt really uncomfortable with that idea. He shouldn't be proud that he was killing people -- should he?

He glanced around at the other Wizards in the room with him, watching. No one from the press, only people directly involved. Neville should have been there, but he chose to stay home; said he didn't need to be bothered.

Remus, looking tired and skinny and sad; Hermione, solemn; Ron, trying not to grin; Minister Bones, grim; Mr. Weasley, interested. Mr. Weasley said he'd never seen the Vogon used before.

Hermione had looked it up -- only three times in the last seven hundred years had anyone been exposed to the Vogon, and all three of those times were during Goblin wars.

The Goyles were the last to fall, drooling on themselves. Harry kept his eyes open until they stopped twitching, until his eyes started to burn. His mouth was filled with saliva, sour-sweet.

"Breathe through your nose, Harry," whispered Hermione. "It helps."

"I don't --" Harry had to close his mouth. He felt Remus's hand on his shoulder, pushing him down into one of the chairs along the side of the room, the fingers bony and the nails too long.

"Chocolate," Remus murmured.

"I have -- " said Mr. Weasley, and then there was chocolate in Harry's mouth, melting under his tongue, taking away the bitter taste of vomit in the back of his throat.

Hermione crouched at his feet, a hand on his thigh. He looked down at her.

"You okay, Harry?" she said. "It's tough --"

"It's great," said Ron belligerently. "And now they're all dead, those arseholes, those --"

"Mr. Weasley." Minister Bones's voice was reproving. "A tragedy has happened this day, justified it may have been."

"May have been?" repeated Ron. "May have been? They were all Death Eaters! We're way better off without them!"

"Ron, shut up," said Hermione. Her fingernails dug into Harry's thigh as she leaned on him to stand up. Once she was standing (or sitting) she was always fine, but the knee wouldn't ever bend or straighten properly (or easily) ever again. If Harry'd had some Skele-Gro, or knew the right sorts of spells, he'd've been able to fix -- before -- it never would have healed improperly, and he knew it, though Hermione wouldn't ever say anything of the sort to him, would never blame it on him.

"Harry, it's time to go," said Mr. Weasley.

Harry blinked up at the adults around him. Mr. Weasley was walking toward the door. Hermione had her fists clenched and was glaring at Ron. Harry dropped his head down for a moment and took a deep breath, and wished for more chocolate, because just the thought of standing up made him feel dizzy.

"Come on, then, Harry," said Ron, but when Harry lifted his head, Ron was already gone. It was just him and Hermione and the Vogon now, the room full of dead Wizards and Witches, dead because of him.

No, he corrected himself. Dead because they were Death Eaters, because they killed people -- because they killed Dumbledore, and Mrs. Weasley, and Sirius, and all those Muggles who didn't have anything to do with this, and --

"Harry." Hermione touched his arm when he stood, and squeezed his hand, and then walked out in front of him.

He knew that looking at the Vogon through the spelled-glass meant it wouldn't harm him. Dizziness and nausea were the worst effects, although Hermione found mention in one of her books of someone who had died of convulsions after looking at it through a mirror. Harry leaned against the wall and took another deep breath, and then turned around and made himself stare at the Vogon.

It felt like days. It felt like forever. His scar burned hot, like it hadn't burned since he and Neville defeated Voldemort.

He couldn't have been there for too long, because Hermione and Ron were pulling at him, pulling him away, pulling him away from the pile of dead bodies all leaning on each other, away from the terrible white wall with the terrible black designs on it, away from the Vogon and toward the door.

"Only you, Harry," Ron was saying, while Hermione said, "I wish we had some chocolate, or --"

Then they were Apparating, all of them together, at the same time, Hermione and Ron each holding onto Harry firmly, and in the darkness of being between places, Harry felt himself split apart and come back together, over and over until they were in Hermione's flat.

It smelled of bergamot and oranges, and burning wood, cedar, pine. Remus sat on the couch and Mr. Weasley sat in an armchair, and Neville was on the floor playing with Ron and Hermione's daughter Molly, just like when they'd left, just like nothing had changed.

Harry let himself be pushed into a chair, took the cup of hot chocolate Hermione handed to him, and didn't ask why none of them were so affected when he was.

Neville looked up at him. "All right, Harry?" he finally said. His fringe fell into his eyes, covered the scars on his forehead. Harry's hand went involuntarily to his own forehead and his own scar -- it was still aching a little, making his eyes hurt.

"Yeah," said Harry, rubbing at the scar. He took a drink of the chocolate and immediately felt a little better.

"At least it's finally over," said Neville quietly.

"Yeah," said Harry. "I guess."


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