Happiness Is A Warm Gun
by Victoria P.

Harry ignored the screams coming from the chamber below. He had to, or he wouldn't be able to finish the job.

He couldn't look down, couldn't watch as Ron writhed in agony from the Cruciatus, and Hermione lay so still he thought she might be dead.

Hand over hand, he silently climbed down the rope, while Voldemort laughed shrilly, wand extended as he cursed Ron.

The other duels were over; bodies littered the wide parquet floor. Shacklebolt was dead and Tonks a gibbering mess at the hands of her dear Aunt Bellatrix. Remus had killed Wormtail before being knocked unconscious by Lucius Malfoy, and Fred and George were about somewhere, stupefied or dead. Harry wasn't sure.

They'd staged a full frontal assault on Malfoy Manor, a risky gambit, considering it was all a decoy, designed to keep Voldemort's attention away from Harry, sneaked in earlier by Dobby and hoping the disillusionment charm would hold while he scuttled down the rope, their last hope cold and heavy in the waistband of his jeans.

Amazingly enough, he had Dudley to thank for the idea.

The Death Eaters might not have been able to touch him while he lived with the Dursleys, but his mother's spell offered his relatives no such protection. As he and Remus had picked over the devastation at number four, Privet Drive after the Death Eaters had finished, he'd seen the melted plastic of Dudley's old supersoaker, the one he'd terrorized the neighborhood with every summer since he'd got it.

While Dung's connections didn't extend into the Muggle world, Arabella Figg's did, and two days later, Harry cradled the Sig Sauer nine millimeter in his trembling hands.

He landed quietly -- not that they'd notice him in all the confusion -- trainers wrapped in felt to muffle sound completely, and drew the Invisibility Cloak over his head.

Five feet, then four, then three, Voldemort still laughing at Ron's pain, Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange watching with varying degrees of disdain (him) and pleasure (her), while Harry crept up on them on silent cat's feet.

He thought of his parents, of Sirius, Cedric, Neville and Ginny. Dumbledore. McGonagall. Hagrid. Hundreds more. All dead in this crazy quest of Voldemort's to live forever.

He could smell the dry, sour rot wafting off Voldemort's ashy skin now, and he pulled the gun out of his trousers.

Throwing off the Cloak, he pressed the muzzle to the back of Voldemort's snakelike skull.

"I hear you like to eat death," Harry said conversationally, his voice flat and cold. "I thought you might enjoy this."

He pulled the trigger once, twice, three times, hand and arm numb from the recoil. Not stopping until Voldemort's skull and brain were splattered against the floor, the walls. Lucius Malfoy wore blood and grey matter on his black satin robes and silver blond hair, his face twisted in horror and rage.

Without thought, Harry swung his arm around and shot him in the chest before he could raise his wand. He didn't need to be a good shot at this range, just needed a steady hand and a steel will, both of which had been his from birth.

Bellatrix launched a stunning spell at him and he dodged it by a hair's breadth; it hit Lucius, already on his way down, in the head. Probably made his death easier than Harry would have wished, but in the end, dead was dead, and that was what mattered.

The fifth and sixth bullets had Bellatrix's name on them, and Harry pulled the trigger quickly, squeezing off shots like some muscle-bound meathead in the Muggle action movies Dudley had loved.

She jerked back and fell, unable to lift her wand arm, curses falling worthlessly from her lips.

Harry's hand tightened on the gun; he was tempted to lift its smoking muzzle to his own temple, but he saw Ron dragging himself to Hermione's side, frantically searching with mouth and fingers for a pulse, a breath, a sign of life.

And Harry knew that he would have to live, because either way, Ron needed him.

He made his way over to them, sighing in relief when he found Remus's pulse, then tenderly brushing Tonks's black hair off her forehead as she sobbed.

"So that's it then," he said, dropping to the floor to place a hand on Ron's shaking shoulder. Ron had pulled Hermione into his lap, and up close, Harry could see her chest rise and fall with shallow breaths.

"Yeah," Ron said, wrapping his free arm around Harry, who could feel him shaking with pain and fear and relief. "Good shooting."

"Thanks, I guess."

He realized the gun was still clutched tightly in his hand, and dropped it to the floor. He wouldn't be needing it anymore.


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