sixty-seven

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"DEATH BY YOUR HANDS, I think, would be the preferable way to go." He closed his eyes, resigned. "It wouldn't be done by a heart full of hate. It wouldn't be done by someone tainted with evil."

"Okay, no. Sorry, but I still hate you. Seriously. Fuck you," she interjected. "Also, I literally walked into the room covered in blood, so I'm not sure where the idea that I'm not 'tainted with evil' came from."

He glared at her. "Yes, and I still hate you, too, by the way. But it's not—it's not the same type of hate as it was ten minutes ago, is it? As it was a few years ago?"

Snottily, she turned her nose up. "You have Regulus to thank for that."

Harry looked incredibly close to fainting.

"I'm sorry, what?"

"As this revelation overwhelms you, I would like you to remember that you got Sirius; Regulus is mine. If you even think of trying to take him from me, I'll . . . damn, it's kind of hard to come up with a threat other than 'I'll kill you', which doesn't really work anymore considering, y'know. . ."

Harry kept blinking at her, as if expecting her to burst into laughter and declare her words a joke. Yet, in spite of her childish words, her face was sincere. He wiped a hand down his face, before slapping his cheeks lightly as if in an attempt to pull himself out of a stupor. There was no stupor to pull himself from.

"Your words are implying that Regulus is alive," he said, still a step behind in the conversation. "That couldn't possibly be true."

"All that's dead does not remain dead," she said, "and all that is alive does not remain alive."

He kept staring at her. "You're fucking with me."

"Go try and find him in the afterlife then, for all I care." She unsheathed her dagger. "I'll be laughing down at you."

"I'm sorry? You think I'm going to hell? I'm sacrificing myself for everyone, and you think I'm going to hell?"

She rolled her eyes and pounced at him. His back crashed against Dumbledore's shelves laden with trinkets and books, and multiple crashed to the floor. There was a blade at his throat. He was stunned into silence.

"That's better," she said. "You're much more tolerable when you shut up."

The outside had turned quiet. They had entered an armistice, just a little while before Celestia had found Harry. Voldemort needed her and he needed Harry. He made the decree for Celestia to come to his side, and for Harry to be handed over. It had been hell in her head for a bit with the way Theo had reacted. She had managed to calm him down eventually.

Closing his eyes, Harry slumped against the shelves behind him, surrendering to her completely. She adjusted her dagger on her neck and frowned, then sighed. "I miss Theo."

"Why does holding a dagger to my throat remind you of Nott?" he asked, incredulous.

"Why are you always so full of questions?"

"Why are you such a freak?"

"Okay," she cheered. "Time to die!"

She twisted her wrist, ready to strike.

"No!" barked Harry.

She gave him a deadpan look. "I'm going to have to kill you at some point, Potter. You're just prolonging your suffering by waiting."

"I didn't even get to finish what I was saying earlier before you interjected with your absurd objections!" He pushed away her hand, and she surprisingly let him. "I'd like to die by your hands. I need to die by You-Know-Who's."

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