Word Count: 1134
Disclaimer: Don’t own, only play with.
Genre: romance, AU (written as if Half-Blood Prince hadn't happened).
Summary: Down the rows, past long dead names, and through fallen friends and enemies, she walks towards a small, unassuming marker located near the very back wall.
Notes: This was written about ten months ago (possibly longer) for a competition. I cleaned it up a bit and am posting it. Unbetaed as well.
Footsteps crunch against ground blanketed in snow and ice. A blinding, serene scene is painted in the weak sunlight – a world of white, reminding the walker of purity, which is a concept long forgotten within the ideals of childhood. Across the grounds, sounds of secret trysts are heard; muttered whispers and other once scandalous noises that now hold nothing but nostalgia.
Once upon a time, the walker had been one of those clandestine lovers, though there had never been anything inappropriate acted in this sacred space. They had both felt this was a special place, a moment of simple happiness, to be shared, and to leash unruly emotions here would be reprehensible at best. There would be time to share wayward emotions, but not here; here was where the dead were honored.
Down the rows, past long dead names, and through fallen friends and enemies, she walks towards a small, unassuming marker located near the very back wall. Noting the lack of thought in placing him in a more worthy location (as she does every year), reminding herself to have him moved closer to his family. This place – she refuses to use the term cemetery, such a final word – should not be about false pride but in remembrance of those died, who fought for what they believed in to the bitter end.
Kneeling and feeling the cold, welcoming it, she says a prayer. She knows this world doesn't believe in such faith based ideals, but for her, this is right. She prays for the lost and living alike, just as every other year. There can be no communication without aid, and she stopped believing in magical, instant solutions. Magic would be an easy fix to link the gap of life and death, but this is too important, too personal. Magic is something necessary, to bridge two worlds; this visit is about something else. Of remembering.
"There should be ruins around us, you know. There shouldn't be first years playing, shouldn't be students worrying about exams, shouldn't be activity near the lake and the Giant Squid creating ripples along the surface. This should all be blackened stone and collapsing roofs. Instead life has continued on, taking in the loss without pausing. If our generation is a bit smaller, well, that's all right; the next will make up for it." The wind dances across skin and hair, whipping unruly curls, chapping lips, and forcing her to shiver.
"Since you've died, I've given up on so many things. You had to be the hero, to prove yourself to those that deemed you unworthy. And look at where it got you. A corner lot away from your siblings and family. Brilliant tactic." Sighing, she traces the name. "I did understand, still do in some ways, but I miss you. Remember our first date? The bookshop down the lane from The Three Broomsticks? Gone now, but I can still recall the eager look on your face at finding that book for your mum, the one on how to feed a large family on a small budget. All the time you two wasted over something as imbecilic as a position. Oh, I know, you had other underlying reasons, but you did love her as much as she loved you. She misses you. There are times when I see her at work with this wistful, broken look. Especially when the new Minister walks by, as if the position is still respectable, as if the government is now a personal affront; to still be standing after all she's lost. She lost you, along with her husband, Bill, and close friends. That doesn't count those she lost the first time our worlds went to war.
"I still haven't seriously dated. There really hasn't been any need. The two or three blind dates I've been on have ended disastrous. They remind me of the scene we heard happened to Cho after Cedric's death, blubbering and inability to move past. Remember our talks of children? One each because more would be entirely to chaotic, never to have the names start with a P. I chose Emma, and you picked the atrocious name of Strahan. Now I'm lucky if I manage to keep a plant alive. I feel as if going through the motions is all that keeps me functioning like a human, gifted or not; it's a struggle to not fall into a bleak despair like so many survivors I know, that you knew once upon a time. I blame you for that, you know. It's only fair since you stole my future, my happily ever after, in that insatiable need for recognition. Of course it's Voldemort's fault too, and all that need for glory, but I did worry from time to time that you would be like him with same personal vanity, to be better than those around you. I never told you, not even in this conversations. Perhaps I am healing, after all.
"I have all these dreams and wishes that are dashed because of your selfish needs. I don't think you never looked at mine much, at least in those last several years. In the beginning, in the years at school, you were perfectly gentlemanly, but after? I never really counted once you broke from your family, did I? That seems to be the Weasley way, doesn't it? To lose focus on those that matter for some materialistic, petty, or equally emotionally stunted reason. There are days when I truly despise you, and it’s happening more and more frequently. I suppose I must be getting over you then. It's only taken major heartbreak and five years.
"I guess my time to speak is up. I suspect you'll have an unlikely visitor or two in a bit. Or so I was told, which is why our time is cut short this year. I see someone walking in the distance, red hair glimmering against the gray sky. So I'll say Happy Valentine's to you and be done with it."
With that, she rose slowly, dusting off the slush off lavender robes, before walking the same route back to the archway that had been built after Voldemort’s fall. Like so many people do during war, Percy and she had married in an effort to avoid being alone, or having to think about the fact they might die, as well as love and for the sake of happy memories. It had been a barely started marriage – a mere nine months – but one they hadn't taken lightly until he thrown it away and left her to pick the razor-edged pieces that still make her heart bleed on daily basis, especially February 14th; the day Penelope lost her husband, happily ever after, and miscarried an unknown child.
Just a broken down palace where a grand mansion once stood.