Harry has defeated Voldemort and saved all the people he cares for, so why do they all hate him? More importantly, what will he do about it? Most chapters of this story will be PG-13 but some w...
Chapter One: Where it all Ends
Harry Potter, the savior of the Wizarding World, The Chosen One, The Boy Who Lived, the man who single-handedly destroyed the most evil dark wizard in recorded history, sat alone at the top of the Astronomy Tower of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry wondering where it had all gone wrong. He was supposed to fight and defeat Voldemort. He was fated by a prophecy, made before he was even conceived, to be the beacon of light that all the world looked to. So, why was it that now, when he had finally accomplished his destiny, he was so all alone? He had managed to save the entire world, he had saved his friends and their families, so why did they revile him for doing it?
He sat there, on the very spot where Albus Dumbledore had leaned while confronting Draco Malfoy and then Snape, and pondered. That night, he had vowed that no one else would die for him, that no one else would sacrifice themselves so that he could live to fight another day. He had watched Dumbledore be propelled over the edge of this very wall by Snape's Killing Curse and vowed that it was the last death, or at least the last death on the side of light. Maybe that is where it all began.
That summer he had finally begun the quest to destroy Voldemort. Ron and Hermione had gone with him because there was no way that he could go down his ordained path alone, but he had pushed Ginny Weasley aside. By breaking up with her he had tried to ensure her safety, or at least increase it.
The first stop on that road had been Godric's Hollow, the destroyed home of his parents, the site where Voldemort had chosen Harry to be his destruction. The site of his parents' graves had further galvanized his resolve to end the fight as quickly as possible and by any means necessary. They had left the ruins of the Potters' cottage and returned to Grimmauld Place, Sirius's childhood home and the former headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. Initially cautious, as the Fidelis Charm that Dumbledore had used to hide the building had died along with him, the trio was relieved to see that the Death Eaters had yet to invade the building. Most likely they were too busy celebrating the death of the only man Voldemort ever feared to mop up the details like destroying the childhood home of one of his followers. This was a mistake. A big mistake. One that directly led to Voldemort's final destruction.
The first thing Hermione did when they realized the house was still safe, at least for the moment, was to recast the Fidelis Charm, this time using herself as the Secret-Keeper. The house, their home base, once again hidden from invasion, from both Voldemort and the remnants of the Order of the Phoenix, they began to research where the remaining Horcruxes could be hidden, and who the mysterious R.A.B. could be. It didn't take long before they found out. It was Ron, surprisingly, who saw it first. Bored from a day of poring over long forgotten books looking for he had no clue what, he had started looking at the old, moth-eaten Black family tapestry. He easily found the scorch mark where Sirius Orion Black's name had once been then stared gob-smacked at the tapestry for a good minute before breaking into almost hysterical laughter. Hermione had to slap him to get enough of his attention so she could ask what he was laughing at. His response, simply pointing his finger at the bottom edge of the tapestry, caused them both to lean forward and squint to read: Regelus Antares Black, Sirius's younger brother who had become a Death Eater only to be killed by Voldemort himself when he tried to back out.
"No, it couldn't be," Hermione stammered.
"But it is," Ron answered.
"No" was all Harry could say.
"Yes" was Ron's easy response. "You remember two summers ago? When we were cleaning out some of the rooms here? We found a heavy silver locket in one of the cabinets that nobody could open?"
"You don't think?" Hermione said. "They would have had to have hidden it better than that!"
"But they didn't hide it, Hermione," Ron reasoned. "Regelus must have nicked it from that cave and barely had time to make it back here before You-know-who sniffed him out. He likely didn't have time to destroy it, or even really hide it before he was killed. Afterwards, his mother, the daft old bat, likely just tossed it in the cabinet with the rest of the family's rubbish."
Harry began to snicker. "Imagine, a piece of Voldemort's soul treated like bric-a-brac."
"But where is it now? Still in the cabinet?"
"No," Hermione said, "we took it and tossed it into a bag with the rest of the rubbish Sirius was getting rid of."
Harry snarled, "If Mundungus Fletcher sold it I'll personally break him out of Azkaban and wring his scrawny neck!"
"Maybe we got lucky and it never left the house?" Hermione asked hopefully. "Kreacher!" she called with no response. "Oh, Kreacher!"
Harry bellowed at the top of his lungs, "KREACHER! YOU WORTHLESS SACK OF MUCK! GET YOUR ARSE IN HERE RIGHT NOW!"
A second later there was a loud crack as the elderly house elf appeared before them bowing low enough to scrape his nose on the dusty floor. "Master has called Kreacher?" he said aloud then added in a not-quite-soft-enough mutter, "the vile blood traitor has summoned poor Kreacher to further humiliate him and his wonderful Mistress."
Ignoring him for the moment, Harry commanded, "Kreacher, did you take the silver locket that Sirius removed from the curio cabinet two summers ago? Where is it?"
Kreacher bowed even lower and began to back away from the trio. "Kreacher has taken nothing that wasn't being thrown away. Kreacher wants only to have a keepsake of his former glorious family."
Hermione got down on one knee to be closer to the elf's eye level. "Kreacher, please, we won't hurt you. We only want to see the locket. It's not a Black heirloom at all so why would you want to keep it."
"And why would the filthy Mudblood want it then?" the creature asked. Harry had to hold Ron back from throttling the vile beast as Hermione continued to try to reason with it.
Finally fed up with how this was going, Harry drew his wand and called, "Accio Slytherin's Locket!" Within a few seconds the item sailed up from the cellar stairs and flew straight into Harry's waiting hand.
"Give it back to Kreacher!" the elf called while scuttling over to where Harry stood. Harry merely kicked him out of the room as he stared at the locket that had caused the death of his mentor. Hermione looked shocked at Harry's actions and seemed for a moment poised to follow the house elf down into the kitchen to try to comfort it, but in the end she was drawn back to the locket.
And so the quest began. They would alternate searching for the Horcruxes with researching how to destroy them. Hermione combed the library at Hogwarts searching for a light spell that would counter the darkness created by the Horcrux. Harry, on the other hand, concentrated on the Dark tomes that made up the Black Family Library. While reading Dumbledore's private journal, Hermione found the charms that the Headmaster had used to destroy Slytherin's ring. She found that some sort of sacrifice would be needed to break the enchantments that covered the Horcrux and Dumbledore had sacrificed his own hand. Hermione was already reasoning what portion of her or Ron's bodies should be their first offering when Harry made the argument moot. He had called Kreacher and sacrificed him instead. Hermione was shocked but Ron was persuaded by Harry's reasoning that it was an act of justice. Kreacher had lied and that led to Sirius's death. Taking Kreacher's life was simple justice and using that to destroy a Horcrux only made it more apropos.
But that was only the beginning of things. Reasoning that he would have to know the Dark Arts in order to defeat them, Harry dove into the knowledge the Black's had kept. When the group went out to reconnoiter a possible site for another fragment of Voldemort's soul, or to stage a raid on the Death Eaters in conjunction with the Order, Harry's curses became darker and more deadly. Few Death Eaters were left alive to be captured and those that were became sacrifices to destroy the Horcruxes.
People began to avoid him. Even Ron and Hermione, although they never turned their backs on him, became leery when alone with him. Then at last, after four long years of effort, the final battle came. The Order was dueling with what was left of the Death Eaters as Harry sought out Voldemort. Their brother wands again came into play as the two wizards were caged in Phoenix fire and isolated from both enemies and supporters. In the end they had their hands wrapped around each others throats as magic danced like St. Elmo's fire over their bodies. Then in a burst of sickly green light only one remained. Harry Potter stood over the corpse of the man who had murdered his mentor, his godfather, and his parents and laughed.
The entire Wizarding World broke out in celebration at the news. Parties were everywhere and Harry Apparated to the only one he wanted to attend. Lights shone brightly from every window of the Burrow and music and laughter spilled out over the garden. Crowds of people were dancing under a cloud of live twinkling fairies. Through the sea of red-heads Harry sought out the one he was looking for: Ginny. He caught her eye and began to move towards her. She returned his gaze and led him away from the crowd into the pasture where the family's impromptu Quidditch games were held.
"Ginny," Harry said quietly, reaching out to take her hand.
Ginny pulled back and refused to meet his eyes. She spoke quietly, "Harry, first off I'd like to say how grateful I am, we all are really, for what you've done."
"I didn't do..." Harry began but Ginny cut him off.
"No, Harry, you did a lot. More than anyone else did, or could have done really. But that's the problem, you see." Ginny finally looked at him and Harry saw tears about to spill from her eyes. He reached out to her, to comfort her, but she pulled back again. "You've changed Harry. You're not the boy I knew in school. You've grown different."
"Different how?" Harry asked uncertainly.
"You grown darker somehow." Almost panicky, Ginny began to babble, "Not that I think you're Dark, Harry. I don't. But other people... They're talking, Harry, about some of the things you've done."
Harry knew immediately that by other people she meant Hermione and Ron. His eyes swept back to the party, which seemed to have grown quieter as many people looked at the talking couple. He spotted Hermione staring at him but when their gazes met she quickly looked away. Harry turned back towards Ginny.
"So, this means that you don't want to see me anymore?" he asked with the cold chill that filled his stomach creeping into his voice.
"Well, you know that I've been keeping company with Neville for a bit now."
"Yeah, Hermione said that you two were spending a lot of time together but I thought..."
"He's asked me to marry him," Ginny said softly. Harry looked down and for the first time noticed the small diamond ring on her left hand. "And I've said yes."
Harry looked back at the party and saw Neville Longbottom beneath an apple tree, half hidden behind the trunk. Ginny was talking again but Harry couldn't make any of it out. Blood was pounding in his ears and his thoughts were buzzing like angry hornets. Not knowing what else to do, Harry Apparated away.
That had been three months ago, there had been an announcement in the Daily Prophet stating that a small ceremony would be held today at the home of the bride. Harry hadn't been invited, nor even told it was happeninng. He had to read it in the papers right next to the obituaries. He looked out over the deserted Hogwarts grounds not understanding what he had done or how he had become so evil. But he did know what he had to do. Conjuring a quill and inkpot, he penned a short note, only two words, then stepped away. In the morning they would find the note and read the last words of The-Boy-Who-Lived: Forgive me.