A seventeen year old Harry Potter glanced around at the ruins of the Hufflepuff House – his house. Where once it had been vibrant and full of students, now only a handful remained in a dimly lit, battle-damaged shell of what the room had once been.
Being Sorted into Hufflepuff House all those years ago had felt like a blessing. Being part of Hufflepuff was more than just sharing classes, it was like being part of a family. Everyone helped out with everything, so it was no surprise when Harry had attempted to confront Snape at the end of his first year that the entire Hufflepuff House turned out to support him. That it turned out Quirrell was the one after the Philosopher's Stone would be the least of their worries.
That fateful night Harry had turned to the rest of his House and asked the question, "Does anyone know how to play chess?"
There had been much shuffling of feet and looking at everyone but Harry. Truthfully Gobstones had been the preferred pastime in the Hufflepuff Common Room for many years, and few even had ever played chess. Despite this, due to their loyal nature as many Hufflepuffs as possible insisted on taking the places of other chess pieces.
"I want to be a queen!" Justin Finch-Fletchley had cried, perhaps revealing more about himself than he intended to.
Harry had briefly wondered if the enchanted chess set would be as violent as regular wizard's chess, before an opposing pawn smashed Sally-Anne Perks's head in with a club and tossed her lifeless corpse off the board.
Several failed chess games later Professor Quirrell had emerged tossing the stone idly in his hand. He paused briefly to survey all the broken Hufflepuff bodies, before shrugging and walking straight out of the room to deliver the Philosopher's Stone to his Dark Master.
It had been the first series of deaths in Hufflepuff House during Harry's time, but he felt the experience helped everyone draw closer as a group. It had helped steel them during their second year when Ginny Weasley became possessed by a teenaged Tom Riddle's diary and Justin Finch-Fletchley was eaten by the Basilisk. Harry and the rest of his housemates arrived at the Chamber of Secrets too late to save Ginny, but just in time to be confronted by the newly incarnated Tom Riddle. In the ensuing fight several brave Hufflepuffs lost their lives, but despite Tom Riddle's escape the Basilisk was slain.
Around that time the original Voldemort cracked the secret behind the Elixir of Life. Now he too was immortal, and using the other properties of the Philosopher's Stone made himself a new body that was ten-feet tall and made of fourteen carat gold.
The simultaneous existence of the newly dubbed Lord Goldemort and Young Tom Riddle had had even Dumbledore stumped for a while, before the confirmation that Voldemort had indeed made six Horcruxes. Harry and his beloved housemates had spent years tracking down the rest of the Horcruxes. Hufflepuffs were known as particularly good finders, but despite successfully locating each Horcrux with relative ease their attempts to destroy them had all proved disastrous.
Shaking his head to bring himself back to the present day, Harry turned to address his housemates.
"Okay, so now there are six Lord Voldemorts," Harry said. "It seems bad, but we have come up with a plan. Although they are all the same person, they won't work together at all. If we can lure them all into one place, there's a chance they might destroy each other."
"This is a pretty flimsy plan," said Susan Bones, who along with Hannah Abbott was one of the last surviving Hufflepuffs in Harry's year. "How will you lure them all together? And what if one of the You-Know-Who's doesn't die?"
"Fortunately all of the Voldemorts are quite keen on murdering me," Harry said. "And frankly one Voldemort is better than six."
"We're with you, Harry!" the ever faithful Cedric Diggory assured him. Cedric had been by Harry's side through every battle they had fought against Voldemort, despite losing his wand arm in the chess match, or being blinded by Fawkes during a misguided attempt to help them fight the basilisk, or the hideous scarring he suffered at the hands of the dragon during the Triwizard Tournament, or having both his legs taken off at the knees during the assault on Diagon Alley.
"So, with that in mind, I've added some of my hair to the last of the Polyjuice Potion Hermione Granger made us, so some of you can impersonate me and lead the Voldemorts to the Entrance Hall," Harry announced.
The Hufflepuffs had all followed Harry out of blind loyalty up until this point, but now even they were exchanging weary glances.
"This sounds like a sure-fire way to get killed," Susan declared.
"Bagsy not it!" Hannah Abbot called out.
"You can't bagsy not it," Susan protested.
"Uh-uh, I think I just did."
"Nuh-uh!" Harry briefly left the two girls to their argument, confident at least one of them would make the right choice in the end. In the meantime he was distracted by the appearance of Ginny Weasley in front of him.
"I volunteer," she said, helpfully raising a hand.
"No, Ginny, you're too young," Harry said, and this was more than true. Having been trapped in the diary Ginny had become a pen pal of sorts to Harry, who spent many long nights writing to her. However, despite their closeness Ginny had somehow managed to cajole Zacharias Smith into writing in the diary as well, and managed to con him into swapping places with her. Despite the feeling he was growing weary of death finding the body of Zacharias Smith in their own dorm room had horrified Harry. But even more horrifying was to discover that trapped in the diary Ginny had not aged a day and was still an eleven year old girl. Despite her attempts to convince Harry that mentally she was sixteen he was still pretty shaken up by the whole ordeal and doing his best to avoid Ginny when he could.
Eventually five "volunteers" for Harry duty were found, including Susan Bones herself and Cho Chang, Cedric's girlfriend and honorary Hufflepuff, who continued to ponder her life choices with every crippling injury that her boyfriend received. Soon Harry was stood in front of five identical versions of himself.
Ginny turned to one of the nearest Harry's (possibly Cho) and loudly asked how big Harry's penis was.
"Don't answer that – NOBODY ANSWER THAT!" Harry snapped. "We only have one hour until the potion wears off, so hurry up and find your Voldemorts. Remember the Entrance Hall is the only place big enough for them to fight it out.
It went without saying that this was basically a suicide mission. Harry took Cedric to one side.
"Remember, Cedric, once the fighting starts it'll be on you to kill the snake," Harry said. Nagini was the last of the Horcruxes the Hufflepuffs had not touched, and Harry was keen not to make any more Voldemorts. He could think of no one better suited to the job than Cedric, who despite a great many injuries had so far proved unkillable.
"Leave it to me, Harry," Cedric agreed, pulling from it's place on his back the Battleaxe of Helga Hufflepuff. He looked almost comical, wielding a great axe with one arm, two mismatched conjured legs, an eyepatch over one eye and Mad Eye Moody's magic eye in the other (a souvenir of the imposter Moody's failed attempt to drown the Triwizard Champions during the Second Task). But Harry had no doubt Cedric would be up to the challenge.
Once out of the Hufflepuff Common Room Harry went his own way, leaving the other Harry's to seek out their own Voldemorts however they saw fit. Since Dumbledore had tried on Voldemort's ring Horcrux and become possessed by the spirit of the Dark Lord Hogwarts castle had been a bit of a free for all with various Dark Lords attempting to seize power at various times. Dumblemort, as Harry had taken to calling him, still claimed the Headmaster's Office as his own, and despite numerous attempts from faculty and indeed other Evil Sorcerers to remove him from his position he remained entrenched, with the remaining Order of the Phoenix members answering to his beck and call including a perplexed Severus Snape, who had no idea what side he was supposed to be on now.
Harry had chosen the easiest piece of Voldemort's soul to find himself, but it would perhaps prove the most difficult to lure out of its current position. He was counting on that Dumblemort would take the bait of the final Deathly Hallow he didn't control – Harry's Invisibility Cloak.
Unfortunately Ginny had ignored all attempts telling her to stay in the Common Room and had followed close behind him.
"Harry, are we going to Dumbledore's Office? I've never been in there," she said, dashing to catch up with him.
"We're not going anywhere. You're going back to the Hufflepuff Common Room," Harry said.
"But I don't know the password."
"Easy, it's No please, no please stop, you're killing me," Harry said. He stopped suddenly in the corridor and turned to Ginny. "It was, er, Professor Sprout's last words. She was killed midway through changing the password."
"That's awful, how did she die?"
"How sad. So do you have a girlfriend then?"
"It's just you and Hannah seem pretty close, and I just want to know that there's nothing going on and you're just friends."
"Listen Ginny, you're sweet, but you're also eleven. Please stop this awkward pursuit thing, you know the whole thing makes me very uncomfortable."
"You and me are made for each other, Harry, and I've always been a Chaser anyway."
"If you're going to insist on following me to certain death at least do it quietly. We're almost there."
The gargoyle outside the Headmaster's Office was slightly singed but so far no one had managed to breach it. Dumblemort had retained his stranglehold on Hogwarts by continuing to occupy the Office, but Harry suspected his passwords would be as week as ever.
"Fainting Fancies?" he tried. "Chocolate Frogs? Exploding Éclairs? Barfing Biscuits? Ginny, don't just stand there, think of something sweet."
"Harry's eyes," she breathed. The aforementioned eyes rolled deep into the back of their owner's head.
To Harry's horror Diarrhoea Doughnuts was the correct answer, and the gargoyle moved aside.
"Stay here," Harry told her. Naturally Ginny didn't listen at all and followed him up the winding staircase to Dumbledore's office. Once inside they were faced with not only Dumblemort but the remainder of the Order of the Phoenix, all hoodwinked by Dumblemort's spell. Dumblemort sat behind the desk as he had done before his possession, starring straight at Harry as he entered the room. The only differences were the blackened hand that bore Marvolo's Ring, and the once baby blue eyes now glowed red.
"Ah, Harry, I was wondering if you would find your way here. Perhaps you have at last come to realise that no one can resist the might of Lord Voldemort and surrender yourself to me?" Dumblemort asked. Snape and McGonagall both flanked the Headmaster's desk, leering at him intently, waiting for the order to strike.
"Actually I've come to tell you your time at Hogwarts is at an end," Harry said. "You will never be able to kill me, due to the protections my mother placed on me." Dumblemort gave an uncharacteristic hiss at this. "Furthermore you shall never be the Master of Death while I possess the Invisibility Cloak. And one last thing, FURNUNCULUS!"
The Pimple Jinx was hardly life threatening, but Harry had little hope of dealing any real damage to a wizard of Dumblemort's power anyway. Hopefully it would enrage him and his followers enough to pursue him. He turned in the same moment and grabbed Ginny's hand, shouting "Quick, to the Entrance Hall!" as he left and making sure with the other hand that the Invisibility Cloak flapped tantalisingly behind him. Pulling Ginny as fast as he good he dashed down the stairs and along the corridor, not daring to look to see they were being followed.
He took a slightly longer route to the Entrance Hall than he normally would, hoping to lose them. They would hopefully head to the Entrance Hall regardless.
Once well clear of the office he permitted Ginny a chance to stop and catch her breath.
They didn't have long though before they heard footsteps coming from the other direction.
"Quick, under here," Harry gasped, throwing the Invisibility Cloak over Ginny. He stepped away from her with his wand raised, ready to fend off the attacker, but it turned out to be Hannah.
"Oh, Harry," she wailed, stopping just short of where he stood. "Susan's dead."
There was an unspoken moment between them when they realised that this meant they were the last Hufflepuff survivors in their year. Tears were streaking down Hannah's face, and Harry blinked back a few of his own.
"It's was Hermione – she's right behind me. We better get moving."
"I'm afraid it's too late for that, Abbott," said Hermione Granger's voice, but the figure that stepped out of the shadows was not Hermione Granger – not anymore. She was both beautiful and terrible to behold, and the Diadem of Ravenclaw crowned her now perfect brown locks. A pair of glowing red eyes completed the new look.
It had been only a few weeks ago when they had found the Horcrux in the Room of Requirement. Hufflepuff's numbers had by this stage greatly dwindled, and at Harry's suggestion they invited two Gryffindors into the fold – Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. They'd always gotten along well with Harry, but not so much with each other. Indeed almost as soon as the crown touched Hermione's head she had turned to Ron, wand in hand, and declared "This is for saying I didn't have any friends!" Harry still hadn't had the heart to tell Ginny that her brother was now a blood stained smear across the seventh floor corridor.
"Hannah Abbott, oh how I've waited for this day," Voldemione drawled. "You always thought you were so wonderful, with your good looks and your charming personality and your perfect hair. Well, now I have the power of the greatest sorcerer in the world combined with the genius of the brightest witch of her age and NOW I HAVE THE PERFECT HAIR!"
"Hermione, please," Harry said.
"NO! Now I will be the prettiest witch in the year and all the boys will love me." Her wand spun around to point at Harry, and her wild eyes met his. "You will love me."
"Oh, please tell me that isn't what this is about," Harry begged.
"It's what it's always been about. Don't you understand, Harry? My intellect left me feeling so desperately lonely surrounded by the baboons in Gryffindor." Harry cast a glance to where Ginny had stood before, wondering if she had had the common sense to flee. Not likely – she was probably stood behind him preparing to grab hold of his arse.
"But you, Harry, my sweet, sweet boy," Voldemione continued, her voice growing soft. "You were so kind to me. You showed me that my intelligence was not something to be scorned, but that it made me someone worth keeping around."
"Hermione," Harry said. "That wasn't why I hung out with you. I hung with you because we're friends. If you just take the crown off."
"That's sweet, but a lie, Harry," Voldemione said. "Now with the crown I am far smarter than I have ever been. Once I rule the Wizarding World, Harry, and purge it of witches like Abbott, there will be a new age of learning and peace in Magical Britain."
"Rule the Wizarding World? I think not, Miss Granger," Dumblemort called out. He was marching down the corridor from which Harry had come, the Order hot on his heels. "Why, you are merely the brightest witch of your age. I on the other hand am the sum of the two greatest sorcerers to have ever lived. There will be no stopping me, I'm afraid."
"An out of touch old fool," Voldemione hissed. "What match is a frail old vessel that's already half dead," she gestured to Dumblemort's blackened hand, "compared to the youth, and vigour and beauty," she ran a hand over her own ample curves, "of the smartest and loveliest witch Hogwarts will ever see."
"It is strange, then," Snape drawled. "That despite your loveliness you still seem unable to attract any followers. What is the problem, Miss Granger? Don't you have any friends?"
Voldemione's nostrils flared. Harry reached out and grabbed Hannah's arm, taking a big step out of the path of Voldemione's glare. Her eyes were fixed on Snape, who had thrown his head back in laughter.
"That is the final straw, Professor." She spat the last word, and Harry was momentarily impressed that even enraged she used Snape's proper title. "I'm afraid the joke is on you, now, Avada Kedavra!"
"Severus," Dumblemort gasped. "My most loyal follower – how dare you, you silly little girl!"
Dumblemort and Voldemione whipped their wands and began their battle, giving Harry and Hannah the chance to dash away, hand in hand. They didn't stop until the sounds of the duel were well behind them.
"Harry, what are we going to do?" Hannah sobbed.
"We stick to the plan," Harry said. "We know that the Voldemorts can't co-exist. They'll fight the same way if they are all in the same place. Whoever wins between Voldemione and Dumblemort will find their way to the Entrance Hall, I'm sure of it."
"Harry, I can't go on. All of our friends are dead. Harry, I don't want to die."
"We won't, Hannah," Harry lied. "Stay with me. Stay with me and I'll keep you safe."
"I'd stay with you anyway, Harry. There's something I need to tell you."
"Not now, Hannah, there's someone coming. Let's go, quickly now."
"But Harry, I need to tell you I've always-."
Whatever Hannah needed to tell Harry he'd never know, he grabbed her arm and pulled her after him. They didn't stop running until they reached the Entrance Hall.
"Hello?" Harry called out once they arrived.
"Harry! This is our chance to hide, don't ruin it," Hannah scolded him.
"Don't worry, there's no one here," Harry assured her. He was quickly proved wrong, however, when a perfect copy of his own body was blasted out of the door to the Great Hall and landed squarely in the middle of the Entrance Hall. From inside the Great Hall the form of Ernie Macmillan emerged.
"Ah, Harry, old sport," Erniemort said jovially, the Locket of Slytherin hanging around his neck. He looked down at the corpse that had now reverted to the form of Cho Chang. "Something told me it was too easy. Guess I should have trusted my instincts."
Erniemort and Harry's eyes met. Now Erniemort's eyes were red, but once they had been the brown eyes of his best friend, before he had put the Locket on during their search of Number Twelve Grimmauld Place and he had murdered Harry's Godfather, Sirius Black. The Locket had been the first Horcrux they had found back in Harry's fifth year, and their first encounter with the strange way they seemed to possess their victims.
In the present Erniemort pointed his wand at Harry. "I wonder if I am strong enough yet to overcome your mother's protection. Well, there's only one way to know."
"Not so fast," a voice boomed from the great door of the Entrance Hall, which was suddenly thrown open. The great, glittering form of Lord Goldemort stood in the doorway, his Death Eaters cowered behind his immensity. "He is mine."
"I think not." Another voice, that of Young Tom Riddle emerged from the dungeons. He was still every bit as handsome as the day he stepped out of the diary. Following behind were a good chunk of the Slytherin students.
"If anyone will have Harry, it'll be me," Voldemione called, descending the staircase. Her lip was slightly bruised, but other than that she seemed unharmed. Dumblemort came down the stairs slightly after her, with even fewer Order members than before following behind him.
"If anyone gets the boy, it's me!" a last voice roared. Emerging from a room off to the side was Uncle Vernonmort. Unsure how to destroy the Horcruxes, Harry had mistakenly left the Cup of Helga Hufflepuff lying around Number Four Privet Drive when Uncle Vernon had sat on it. Lodged deep in Uncle Vernon's anus with no way of escape, the fragment of Voldemort's soul had no choice but to inhabit the body of a Muggle.
"Here we are, all the pieces of my soul," Goldemort hissed, stepping into the Entrance Hall. Harry noticed now that faithful Nagini was coiled up around Goldemort's great frame, it's head hanging lazily from his shoulders. He scanned around the room hoping to spot Cedric, ready to fight.
"I don't know how Potter woke you from your slumber, or how he managed to combine you with some of his own friends," Goldemort continued. "But only I can live forever. One way or another I must return you to your Horcruxes."
"Who put you in charge?" Uncle Vernonmort asked, to a general murmur of agreement from the other four Voldemorts. "Clearly I am the superior Voldemort, for I alone possess the intimate knowledge of Harry Potter's childhood to destroy him."
"Fool!" Dumblemort declared. "Your lack of magic renders you useless. Only I have the knowledge to destroy Harry Potter."
"Your knowledge of Harry Potter is out of date, old man," Erniemort shouted. "I'm Harry's best friend."
"Harry Potter is under the protection of his mother's sacrifice, he can't be killed by us no matter how strong we become," Voldemione insisted.
"Speak for yourself," Young Tom Riddle chimed in. "I am the greatest sorcerer in the world, and with the youth and charm that only a Young Tom Riddle in his prime has, I alone shall be the Lord Voldemort of the future." He struck a rather odd sort of ballerina-esque pose. The Slytherin's blinked stupidly behind him.
"You are all fools," Goldemort said. "If you will not return to your Horcruxes then I have no choice but to make you. Death Eaters – seize them!"
"Death Eaters, listen to me," Young Tom Riddle implored them. "There is no need to follow this lumbering dinosaur, when you can follow the Lord Voldemort of the future!"
The Death Eaters had stepped forward, but slowed in confusion. They glanced up at Lord Goldemort, wondering just what to make of all these Dark Lords.
"Fine, I'll do it myself," Goldemort said with a sigh. "Avada Kedavra!"
The curse was aimed at Young Tom Riddle, but he quickly pirouetted out of the way. Instead the curse struck Draco Malfoy, who crumpled to the floor.
"My son!" Lucius Malfoy cried from the midst of the Death Eaters. "You monster, you've killed my son!" Lucius charged Lord Goldemort, but he was quickly obliterated. But it was the catalyst needed, and suddenly all around the Entrance Hall spells flew as everyone present made their claim on the right to kill Harry Potter.
Harry Potter wanted nothing to do with the fighting and pulled Hannah into a corner underneath the staircase to watch the devastation.
Bodies flew everywhere as Death Eaters, Order Members and Students clashed, and through the carnage the Voldemorts cut a bloody swathe of destruction. Uncle Vernonmort was the first to fall, struck by a Killing Curse from Lord Goldemort. Never one to waste a piece of his soul, Goldemort ordered Nagini to feast on Uncle Vernonmort's corpse. This at last was Cedric's chance. Hopping on his one remaining conjured leg he decapitated Nagini with the Battleaxe of Hufflepuff before collapsing amongst the pile of bodies himself.
Elsewhere Voldemione finally overthrew Dumblemort, conjuring a flock of birds to peck him to death. Her triumph was short lived as she was set alight by Erniemort. Harry found himself unable to watch as she shrieked for mercy while she was burnt alive. Erniemort then made the mistake of confronting Goldemort, who threw the young man's body against the wall. Erniemort struck with a thud and his mangled body dragged down the wall, leaving a bloody smear behind.
At last it was just Goldemort and Young Tom Riddle. Everyone else in the room was already dead. Young Tom's spells had no effect on the giant gold monster, and in the end Goldemort grabbed hold of Young Tom's head and crushed it like a grape.
Lord Goldemort took a long look around the room, where all his Horcruxes lay destroyed and all their followers lay among the dead. He caught sight of Harry in the corner, with Hannah cowered behind him.
"Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived," he sneered. "Prepare to die."
But his triumph was short lived.
Goldemort exploded into a shower of gold chunks. There stood behind him was Ginny Weasley, the Invisibility Cloak in her hand.
Her eyes were now red.
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me," Harry said.
"I'm afraid so, Harry," Ginnymort said. "Let me take you back, if you will, to the days when you wrote to me in the diary. Then, young Ginny Weasley fell in love with you Harry, but she yearned to escape the diary's grasp. Believing you loved her too, she allowed you to put some of yourself inside her."
"Please stop saying things like that, it's so weird," Harry pleaded.
"And she put some of herself inside you."
"Oh, that's even worse."
"So, she attempted to possess your body," Ginnymort continued. "Imagine the surprise when instead of pulling the soul of Harry Potter into the diary, she pulled a piece of the soul of Lord Voldemort. That's right Harry – the night Voldemort tried to kill you he inadvertently made you into a final Horcrux. But I freed you from that burden, for in the pages of the diary the souls of Ginny Weasley and Lord Voldemort combined, to become me. Speaking of which." She pulled the diary of Tom Riddle from her robes, before setting fire to it. "Just to make sure no one tries to put me back." Looking very satisfied she walked over to Dumbledore's body, helping herself to the Resurrection Stone and the Elder Wand.
"And now I am the Master of Death," she said happily. "Using these Hallows, and the power of Lord Voldemort and the magical ability of the seventh child I shall rule the Wizarding World as the Dark Queen, and you the Boy-Who-Lived shall be my husband – the Man-Who-Lived, I should say. Oh, how wonderful. I can't wait to tell mum!"
With that she raced out of the Entrance Hall. Harry took a few steps after her, and Hannah began to follow behind him. Then suddenly a chandelier fell from the ceiling and crushed Hannah, killing her instantly. Harry sighed, and walked over to where the only other living Hufflepuff remained.
Cedric Diggory's conjured legs had both disappeared. The spells cast by Hermione and Cho had ceased upon their deaths. Now Cedric had found the body of Cho Chang and he clung to her. If he had eyes left there would have been tears, as it was he was only to make a horrible sobbing sound with his mouth.
"I can't do it anymore, Harry," Cedric said. "I don't want to live anymore. I've seen so many die – my friends, my parents, and now the woman I love, the only light left in my life. I was going to propose, you know, once we got through this." He pulled a small box from his robes and revealed a beautiful looking engagement ring.
"I'm so sorry, Cedric," Harry said. "But I have one last job to do. Do you know where the Weasleys live?"
"Ottery St Catchpole, not far from my house," Cedric said. "It's called the Burrow. What are you going to do?"
"I need to kill a little girl," Harry said. "Can I ask one last favour?"
"The ring. Can I have it?"
"I wanted Cho to have it," Cedric lamented. "But if you can do some good with it." He tossed the box to Harry. "Goodbye, Harry Potter. Leave me here. Let me die in peace with Cho."
Harry left Cedric to his final request. He headed up to the Hufflepuff Common Room, where he could use a bit of Floo Powder to get to Cedric's old home.
It was a new day when Harry eventually arrived at the Burrow. He surveyed the house for a moment. It was a very odd shape, but it had some charm about it that Harry couldn't help but find inviting. Ginnymort came out into the yard as Harry approached the house.
"Harry, what are you doing here, my love?" Ginnymort asked.
"I've come to tell you there can't be a wedding," Harry said. Ginnymort's nostrils flared in anger.
"I keep telling you, Harry, we're made for each other!" Ginnymort snarled.
"What I mean is, there can't be a wedding," Harry began, before getting down on one knee. "Without a proposal." Ginnymort suddenly squealed, rushing over to where Harry had drawn forth Cedric's ring.
"Ginny Weasley, will you marry me?" Harry asked.
"Oh, Harry, this is the greatest moment of my life," Ginny shrieked. "Of course I'll marry you."
Harry put the ring on her finger, taking great care not to touch her skin.
"Seal it with a kiss?" Harry asked.
Ginnymort dropped down to her knees to kiss Harry, who wrapped his arms around her head to hold her in place. For a moment it wasn't bad, then suddenly Ginnymort's lips began to burn. She tried to pull away, but her smaller body was no match for Harry's strength, and she squealed and whimpered into Harry's mouth as Lily Potter's protection quickly turned her face and head into dust.
Ginny's body crumbled away, and Harry spat one last mouthful of dust. With a weary sigh he collapsed beside the pile of robes where her body had once been.
Cedric had had the right idea, dying now. It was unlikely now that Magical Britain could ever be returned to what it was. Hogwarts was destroyed, most of its students and all of its teachers now dead. There was no one left to rebuild. Where now would children go to learn magic?
A kindly looking woman emerged from the Burrow.
"Harry, dear," she said. "Are you alright?"
"Mrs Weasley," Harry said. "I'm sorry about your daughter."
"It was for the best, my dear," Mrs Weasley said, looking down forlornly at the remains of Ginny Weasley. "She was not herself. Here, why don't you come inside and have a spot of breakfast?"
Harry nodded and followed her into the Burrow. The rest of the Weasleys were rising for breakfast as well, waking up to the news that the seven Voldemorts had been defeated. Fred and George greeted him like a long lost sibling, and Harry quickly felt welcome there. He told all of them everything that had happened at Hogwarts.
"You've been so brave, Harry," Mrs Weasley told him. "I can't help but wonder if maybe you ought to have been a Gryffindor with our Ron."
"Yeah," Harry agreed. In another life, he thought he could have been very happy here.