Go the Distance
I have often dreamed, of a far off place
Where a hero's welcome, would be waiting for me
Where the crowds will cheer, when they see my face
And a voice keeps saying, this is where I'm meant to be
It is over.
Voldemort is finally dead at my feet. After years of battle my task is over. The Darkest wizard in history will kill no more.
And now, I can't help but ask myself the question... Has the price paid to get here been too much?
The dreaded memories rush through my mind and my body starts trembling with grief. Bitter bile rises up in my mouth and I take a shaky breath to calm myself.
Yes, the price paid has been too much, far too much. Because I have paid with everything that meant anything to me.
After Dumbledore died the war escalated into total viciousness. Death Eaters roamed freely, killing without fear. They had the backing of the most powerful wizard in the world. Who would dare challenge them?
The Order had been picked off one by one. The Death Eaters had tortured each one of them for hours. The women had been brutally raped, every last bit of their dignity shredded to nothing before they were allowed to die.
Voldemort had wanted to make a statement, and he made it. No one defied the Dark Lord without paying the consequences.
I could do nothing but watch helplessly. Until I tracked and destroyed the Horcruxes I couldn't kill him. Not that I could match Voldemort's power anyway.
The day I found Remus' corpse was the day I nearly broke down. He had been poisoned with silver. It had been injected into his blood little by little. The lethal substance had eaten away at him slowly, giving him the most painful death possible.
It was his eyes... they had been open, and in them was reflected never-ending pain and horror.
I had tracked Wormtail down. Yes, I knew it was him, and the sniveling coward had admitted it at the end.
It had been too tempting to go the same route as the Death Eaters and inflict torture on him. Murderous rage had been flowing through every inch of me. I wanted revenge. Nothing but torturing the rat to the most painful death would satisfy me.
I still remember Ginny's words from then like they were spoken right now. "Torturing him would make you no better than him, Harry," she had said.
I didn't want to listen to her, and so I had pulled my wand and cast the Cruciatus curse on the bastard.
But she had been right, and I had known it deep in my heart.
The curse had no effect on Wormtail. Like before, I just couldn't cast it.
I tried again and again, tears of helpless rage flowing down my cheek when the curse just refused to work. I finally threw my wand away and punched the rat instead, feeling the satisfaction of his nose breaking under my fist.
I remember crying all through that night, being held gently in Ginny's arms.
I'll be there someday, I can go the distance
I will find my way, if I can be strong
I know ev'ry mile, will be worth my while
When I go the distance, I'll be right where I belong
The search for the Horcruxes had been long and painful. It had taken /years/. Years in which hundreds of people died. Amongst them - the Weasleys.
Molly, Arthur, Bill, Charlie, Fred, George... and Percy. They had fallen defending the Burrow from Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Never before in the history of wizardkind had such bravery been seen as during that fight.
'The Battle of Ottery St. Catchpole,' as it had begun to be called, had gone down in history books.
The Weasleys had died... but the seven defenders had taken fifty Death Eaters with them. Fred and George had done the most damage. They had spent a lot of time and effort inventing deadly pranks to use on the Death Eaters in case they were ever attacked... and it had showed.
In the end Voldemort himself killed them. Nobody else had been able to bring down the deadly duo.
Down an unknown road, to embrace my fate
Though that road may wander, it will lead me to you
And a thousand years, would be worth the wait
It might take a lifetime, but somehow I'll see it through
By that time I turned nineteen...
In the winter of that year I married Ginny Weasley. We both knew that the war could kill any one of us, if not both. We weren't ready to keep our lives on hold anymore. We had decided we would take what we could, when we could. We would live each day as if it were our last.
The few months we had together were the happiest I had ever known. I loved her, more than I ever believed it was possible to love someone. Every moment spent with her had been magical. What made it even more amazing was that she loved me equally.
Me! Harry Potter! Imagine /that/. It was difficult to believe at times. It was almost unreal how happy we were.
It was when we had gone to destroy the Hufflepuff Cup that we were ambushed.
They had jumped us suddenly, Lucius Malfoy and ten others.
We had done a good job of holding them off and had been getting ready to apparate away when it had happened. She had been hit by a powerful Reducto curse by Lucius Malfoy.
Till today his smirking face haunts me.
I had not known how bad her injuries were, and Ginny never let me know. She had fought the Death Eaters as hard as any of us, hiding the nature of her injury till we were finally able to escape. The curse had hit her ribs and they had shattered, puncturing her lungs. By the time the healers got to her she had been too far gone.
I had held her in my arms as she took her last breath. And it had felt like I died with her. Maybe I did...
She had looked at me one last time, her eyes full of love. "I love you, Harry Potter."
And the only thing I could think was. 'Then don't leave me. Please don't leave me.'
And I won't look back, I can go the distance
And I'll stay on track, no, I won't accept defeat
It's an uphill slope, but I won't lose hope
Till I go the distance, and my journey is complete
I had cried for days, either Ron or Hermione holding me. I cried till there were no more tears left. I was empty, totally empty. There was nothing more to live for. Nothing left to fight for.
Till today I don't know why I continued on. All I wanted to do was to kill myself. Kill myself so I could finally join her, and my parents, and Sirius, all my loved ones.
Hermione left me next. Killed by none other than Draco Malfoy, who stabbed her in the back in a skirmish we had with the Death Eaters.
He had finally got one over the 'Mudblood.'
He didn't last long enough to enjoy it though. An enraged Ron Weasley had beaten him to death with his bare fists.
Ron had become very quiet after Hermione's death. Not that I talked much either. But Ron had always been someone who could never keep quiet. I remember the arguments he and Hermione used to have... and I used to pray that they would shut up.
I would give anything to hear them fight just once more.
Hermione had always been one who kept me and Ron headed in the right direction. We were the 'doers', she had always been the thinker. Without her we had been left crippled and directionless.
But by then there was pretty much nothing left to do. The Horcruxes had been destroyed.
All that had been left to do was kill Voldemort.
Piece of cake.
But to look beyond the glory is the hardest part
For a hero's strength is measured by his heart
Like a shooting star, I will go the distance
I will search the world, I will face its' harms
I don't care how far, I can go the distance
Till I find my hero's welcome, waiting in your arms
I will search the world, I will face it's harms
Till I find my hero's welcome, waiting in your arms
I can't feel anything anymore, my whole body is numb. I can't help but think that this is a good thing. Lying on the cold ground with your body ripped up and bleeding is bloody painful.
I can't hear anything either. Everything is so quiet. Where is everybody? Are they all dead? I hadn't being paying attention to the battle around me so I have no idea.
As I lie here I can't help wondering whether I'm dying. I'd heard many people saying that some people just know that it's their time.
I don't feel any such thing.
Ever since Ginny died I wanted to join her. But now that I might be dying I suddenly felt very scared.
How could I show my face to them? What answer could I possibly give for why I'd failed them all?
Would they ever forgive me? The hundreds that died because I was too weak to save them... would they ever understand?
And would they accept me?
I had spent half my life locked in a cupboard under the stairs, praying for a saviour... and the other half with the knowledge that I was the saviour... That I was supposed to save the world.
All my life I had wished for a home, where I would be accepted, would be loved. But how could I ever have a home? All those that would have made it a home are dead.
Ever since Ginny died I had been dreaming of this day. The moment when I would meet her again, meet my parents, Sirius, Remus, Dumbledore, Hermione, the Weasleys, Tonks, Kingsley...
But what if it had all been for nothing? What if they hated me? Had my journey been for nothing? The thought terrified me more than I can express.
Please, if there is a God, if you can hear me, please show me some mercy. Please forgive me.
I can't see anything. My senses are going one by one. Is it time? I shut my eyes tightly. I don't think I want to see what happens now.
Suddenly I feel bright light shining behind my eyelids. The intensity of it is almost painful.
And then I hear it. The sound that makes my very soul sing with joy. Phoenix song!
At first it seems to be coming from far away and then I hear it louder and louder, till it feels like my whole body is vibrating with the sound.
Fawkes? Is he back? I hadn't seen him since Dumbledore's death. Is he here to heal me?
The light gets brighter and brighter till I can't stand it. My eyes are closed and yet it's blinding in its intensity.
I feel many pair of hands gently lifting me up. What the hell is happening? Are the mediwizards here?
I can't even open my eyes to make sure because of the thrice damned light. And then I remember... it doesn't matter. I'm blind. But then why can I see the light?
The phoenix song reached its highest note, the purity and beauty of it leaving me stunned.
I suddenly got the shock of my life. I am flying. I can still feel the hands holding me up, but the rush of wind around me can only mean one thing.
I open my eyes slowly, afraid of what I might see.
Whatever I expected to see, it isn't this.
Seven ethereal beings are flying beside me, their hands holding me up. They are made entirely of light. The purest light. The beauty of their forms is indescribable, leaving me staring at them in awe. Nothing mortal could ever be so beautiful, so untainted, not even unicorns. They each have massive white wings which flap noiselessly, propelling us upwards at incredible speed.
They all look at me, wide smiles on their noble faces. The smiles are so reassuring, so full of joy, that it is impossible to feel any fear. Their faces hold all the wisdom of the ages but they do not look old at all.
I feel light, full of energy. I have never felt like this, so free, so content, so unburdened. I feel like I can do anything, feel like I can soar across the skies like a bird.
Suddenly I begin to hear music. Unearthly beautiful music. It makes me feel even more free. A fierce joy fills me and I feel like bursting out into song.
The angels around me, (for I can come up with no other name for them) suddenly begin to sing to the music. Their language is one that I cannot recognize, but somehow I understand what they are singing.
They are singing the tale of my life.
I listen to them as they sing, their voices echoing across the skies. I could never have imagined that any voice could be so magical, so clear and pure.
Flying through the clouds, higher and higher, and I know not where our journey will end. But it does not matter. If the journey is so beautiful the destination can only be better.
We are passing through a large cloud when there is a sudden flash of light which nearly blinds me, forcing me to close my eyes. I feel a brief warmth run through my body, as if we are passing through some barrier and then it is over.
I feel myself being gently set on the ground but I am too disoriented to notice my surroundings.
I slowly get up and look around curiously. In front of me is a set of massive golden gates that are so tall that they disappear into the sky. The entire surface is beautifully carved into hundreds of panels, each panel telling a different story.
I had once seen a picture of a pair of gates carved by Ghiberti in my pre-Hogwarts days. They had been called 'the gates to heaven' by the Italians, and I couldn't have agreed more, they were magnificent. But as I looked at the stunning carvings before me I knew that nothing could compare to this.
I don't know how long I stared at the gates, entranced by their beauty, but I suddenly started to wonder what could possibly be behind them. I turn around slowly and look at the Angels, my eyes asking the silent question.
They smiled at me as one, nudging me to walk towards the gate.
I hesitantly walk forward, and as I do the gates slowly open. A massive wave of sound can be heard from beyond and I again wonder what is in store for me.
The gates open wider and I catch a glimpse of a gigantic Hall, stretching further than the eye can see. A golden carpet is rolled out through the center of the Hall. (Perhaps for me to walk on?) On either side of the carpet there are millions of gathered people. Hundreds of millions.
I am stunned. Why are they all here? Am I to be judged before such a big crowd?
I notice a few faces amongst the crowd. Famous faces, faces of people long dead. They are all smiling at me.
As I walk forward hesitantly, rose petals fall out of the sky and before my path. And then the strangest thing happened. They all bowed to me. All of them.
I feel utterly lost. Are they bowing to me? But why? What did I do to deserve this respect?
A deep voice rings through my being. "It is because you do not expect it, Harry. That's what makes you special."
I slowly walk forward, feeling completely awed and as insignificant as an ant. I do not know where to look, everything is so magnificent. I still feel a bit stunned at the totally unexpected way that I am being welcomed.
And then I see them. All my loved ones, standing before me.
They are all smiling proudly at me, tears in their eyes.
My parents, Sirius, Remus, Dumbledore, Hermione, Ron, Molly, Arthur, and my Ginny. My beautiful wife.
I am numb with joy. Tears fall down my face as I am hugged fiercely from all sides.
And the only thing I can think of is that I am finally home. My journey is over.
A/N - This was an immensely intense thing to write. I hope you like it.
** The song is by Michael Bolton, It is from the Disney film, Hercules. I do not own it and I have not sung it or written it. I have just borrowed it to set the mood.
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