Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Sacrifice


by ShadeDancer 1 review

One-shot. Harry has defeated Voldemort, but there is always a cost.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Angst - Characters: Harry - Published: 2006-01-18 - Updated: 2006-01-19 - 1397 words - Complete

I swear by all that is unholy, that this is a one-shot and will remain so. The song is Empty Chairs at Empty Tables from Les Miserables. I heard it this morning and realized how perfect it would be for a HP fanfic and couldn't get it out of my head until I wrote this.


/Disclaimer/: I own neither Harry Potter nor the song Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.


The halls of Hogwart's echoed emptily as Harry walked through them, lank hair hiding the pain-glazed eyes in his bowed head. He had done it, had finally fulfilled his destiny and relieved the world of the suffering pushed upon them by Voldemort. There had been a price, though, there always was. The blood upon the battlefield was barely cold, still steamed in the winter air in many places, and yet outside rejoicing was going on. Harry couldn't stand it and had fled into the silence of the school.

There's a grief that can't be spoken.
There's a pain goes on and on.
Empty chairs at empty tables,
Now my friends are dead and gone.

Hermione had stood at his side throughout, protecting him from curses with her very being so that he could take on Voldemort. Ron hadn't made it that far, had died and been buried a week before the final battle had come to a head. It had been a beautiful service, or so everyone had said, Harry hadn't been able to see anything other than Ron's vacant stare before him as he failed to staunch the blood flowing from the wound in the red-head's chest. Without conscious thought, Harry's feet had taken him to the room that had been dubbed the war-room when they had still been filled with hope of victory. They hadn't contemplated the cost, it hadn't seemed to matter at the time.

Here they talked of revolution.
Here it was they lit the flame.
Here they sang about tomorrow'
And tomorrow never came.

Windows graced the room, enchanted so that each overlooked a different section of Hogwart's grounds. In this room they had sat and talked strategy and spoke of what the world would be like when Voldemort was gone. So many things had happened in this room; tears and laughter, fights and reconciliation. The corner to the right of the door had been his, his and Hermione's. Sinking down onto the overstuffed loveseat he could almost imagine she was curled up against him, head resting on his chest as the poured over a book together. He had proposed to her in this very spot.

From the table in the corner
They could see a world reborn
And they rose with voices ringing
I can hear them now!
The very words that they had sung
Became their last communion
On the lonely barricade at dawn.

A single tear dripped from his anguished eye, running down his cheek to catch at the corner of his lip and fill his mouth with the salt of grief. It hadn't been supposed to turn out like this. He was the one the prophecy spoke of; he was the one who was supposed to be the hero. The others should not have been the ones to die, that had been his job if it had been anyone's. Unfortunately, it seemed that the luck of a hero had held true, or perhaps it should be considered a misfortune seeing how he wanted to do anything but live in that moment. His every dream for the future had evaporated in the instant Hermione had stabbed herself. She had been able to fight Voldemort's imperious curse enough that she could stop herself from stabbing him, but not enough that she could break the murderous impulse that enthralled her. She had turned that impulse inward, driving the knife meant for him into her own body so that he could finish his job and destroy Voldemort. The man had stolen everything from him.

Oh my friends, my friends forgive me
That I live and you are gone.
There's a grief that can't be spoken.
There's a pain goes on and on.

Tears kept pouring from Harry's eyes, unchecked, and he pressed his hands against his face as if to block out everything. Albus, Minerva, Mad-eye, the Weasley's, Neville, Luna...their faces flashed before him even as he tried to drive them from his mind, tried to make them faceless corpses so that he didn't go insane, but they persisted. More faces. Ron, Ginny, Draco, Severus. Faster and faster they flashed before his eyes and Harry cried out, the cry of a wounded animal dying of grief. It was Hermione in front of him now, hair floating in a soft cloud about her shoulders, a smile on her face as she held out a beckoning hand to him. Next to her floated the phantom images of their twin children. He hadn't even known she had been pregnant until Voldemort had taunted him with it after he had ripped through Hermione's occlumency shields and gleaned the information. She should never have been on the battlefield in her condition, and that had been why she had hid her pregnancy. She had wanted to be at his side, hadn't wanted to abandon him even though it cost her life and the life of their unborn children.

Phantom faces at the window.
Phantom shadows on the floor.
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will meet no more.

It had all been for nothing in Harry's eyes, the cost too high for him to pay, and he wanted nothing more than to sink down into his grief and never emerge. But of course he wasn't going to be allowed this even after all he had given up and lost as his solitude was intruded upon.

"Order of Merlin, First class!" The Minister was unusually jovial and Harry would have killed him could he have mustered the strength. "Congratulations, my boy, congratulations. Couldn't have handled this nasty affair any better myself."

Harry suddenly found that yes, he did have the strength to kill the Minister, he didn't fear the retribution that would follow, but Fawkes entrance stopped him. The phoenix was just as dejected as he was, tail drooping and fiery sheen lost, his trill only a melancholy echo of his once magnificent song. Harry let Fawkes land on his shoulder and gently stroked the bird's sorrowful head, they made a pair the two of them. Both had lost their world.

"Well, I'll be leaving you," perhaps the Minister had sensed how close he had come to dying, but his next words made this doubtful, "much work to do. Speeches to make and a celebration to plan. You will, of course, be a guest of honor. I'll see to your invitation personally, don't forget to bring a guest."

Harry's head dropped once more, fresh tears burning where the old ones had dried in his anger at the Minister.

Oh my friends, my friends, don't ask me
What your sacrifice was for.
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will sing no more.

"Oh, Hermione," Harry's grief-stricken voice was cracked and broken from shouting spells for hours upon end, "what was it all for? Why did I have to lose you so that they could all go on with their lives? They don't deserve your sacrifice. None of them do. What was this all for?"

Fawkes let loose a mournful trill, he too had nothing left to live for, was already fading and would soon leave Harry as well. Fawkes had only come to say goodbye to him. Harry didn't want to be left alone, didn't want to stay in this unworthy world.

"Take me with you, Fawkes, please!" Harry begged the feverish phoenix.

Harry could see understanding in the wise eyes as Fawkes built up the last of his strength to engulf them both in flames from which neither could come back from, Harry's emotions and remnants of power rushing up to help the failing phoenix.

"Hermione..." Harry whispered, his voice almost inaudible as he became one with his magic and Fawkes' flames, "I'm coming Hermione..."

Then, they were both flying free, nothing left of their bodies for either to return to, nothing but ashes to be scattered upon the wind.

Oh my friends, my friends, don't ask me
What your sacrifice was for...
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