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Scarlet mud

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My lily feet are soiled with mud,
With scarlet mud which tells a tale
Of hope that was, of guilt that was,
Of love that shall not yet avail;
The Convent Threshold, Christina Rossetti

Tom Riddle didn't start off as a senseless murderer; he was a young child once. An orphan in fact. Tom used to be an innocent little boy who dreamt not of pain and suffering and control, but of toys and sweets and family. An orphan who longed for knowledge, not for the power it afforded him, but for the simple love of knowledge.

When he was reborn, he looked so very different, no longer like his disgusting muggle father or slut of a mother. Bloodless skin made him look like an Inferi, not like Tom Riddle or any of those Gaunts who'd dared to disgrace the heirship the great Salazar Slytherin had gifted them with.

Harry wondered if Voldermort would make a show of him like he always had done, or if he would simply kill the teen. He'd decided when the announcement had been made, no one else was allowed to die for him, and he wasn't going to let any more innocent people die in vain attempts to protect him.

Harry no longer feared death. He never really had, all the times he'd faced death before, his body had been running on adrenaline, he'd known he'd be lucky enough to survive. Now, now he knew he was meant to die. He was walking towards his own death. The mud was stained red. Scarlet like the tie he'd worn with pride for so many days and months, so many years. Not nearly enough to others.

Scarlet with blood, of enemy and friend alike. This mud, it contained the story of his final battle. Harry smiled sadly as he realised how similar the Dark and Light sides were. Both led by powerful wizards determined their beliefs were the right path for the magical world. Both sides longed for freedom for their children and heirs. There were traitors and prisoners. Everyone battling would feel guilt for this war, for killing and letting others be killed.

Everyone at Hogwarts that day was there for love. It was only half-formed love, confused and mis-shapened by the guilt and bloodshed. But they'd all come to fight for a better world, to defend those they loved.

Harry was leaving to die for those he loved, for those he hated and those who refused to fight for themselves. Hopefully he wouldn't fail. His blood wouldn't join the scarlet mud. And nor would anymore innocents blood.

Harry's shoes and jeans were soiled with the mud. The scarlet mud which told the tale, not of his sacrifice, but of others.

What it represented would never be forgotten.