Somes vel Spiritus III
She moaned – not in pain, or disappointment or anything like that – but because she just did, because it was natural. She kept what must have been her eyes tightly shut, clamped her teeth together and moaned again.
She felt as though she were the air: light, innocent, free. She felt almost as though she had no body, but was just soul, just there but not there at all. But she was uncomfortably aware that her naked body was there, and was resting contentedly on a sort of cool, hard surface that was very familiar, yet couldn’t be placed.
She didn’t move: instead, she tried to remember what had happened, why she felt this way – this strange, unearthly, miraculous way.
Hogwarts. Her memory of the castle was fogged and tampered – she remembered… people. Lots of witches, lots of wizards… gathering… for a… a….
She jumped, sitting upright, eyes snapping open. The light fog stung her eyes, but she didn’t notice.
The Battle, the Final Battle – of course it was. How could it not be with that atmosphere – that tension – that feeling and air?
Was it all over? Was she in hospital, or in a secret room at Hogwarts? Had Remus put her in this special place to keep her out of harms way? She felt a small, suppressed surge of anger and appreciation towards her husband’s thoughtfulness. Thankful that he had saved her, of course, but she was angry that he had let her miss out on the action.
Blinking dumbly, she decided absentmindedly that she must find out where she was, so that she could find Remus – and Teddy. Sweet, beautiful Teddy.
Sluggishly, she fumbled with her jelly like hands and pushed herself off of what seemed to be the floor. A slight flush spread across her cheeks as she glanced around quickly for any sign of a pair of robes or clothes to cover herself with.
As the desperate thought crossed her mind, the fog like mist that surrounded her seemed to fade away slightly: and there, in front of her, she saw what looked like a simple, gold mirror, the frame beautiful and unpretentious, hung on a white wall and there, just on the floor below it, a pair of simple black robes.
She hurried forwards as quickly as she could – stumbling slightly – and gathered up the robes in her pale hands. Clumsily, she hauled them over her head. A small smile graced her lips as the hem skimmed on the floor. Still smiling, she looked up into the mirror.
Her heart shaped face, twinkling blue eyes, short, shocking pink hair… nothing looked out of the ordinary where her normal looks were concerned.
Suddenly, her pink hair disappeared and was replaced with a long, shimmering sheen of fair blonde hair that finished around her waist – her nose caved in…
She started as she looked at herself. She hadn’t of even thought of changing herself – then why did she metamorphose? She wasn’t meant to just randomly change her appearance – only babies, toddlers, did that, because they were new to it, they weren’t in control…
A high pitched, horrible, screeching wailing abruptly pierced through the air. She staggered from the shock, looking around frantically, trying to find the source.
The fog had her surrounded: she couldn’t see further than three feet. But was it fog? It looked dense – but felt soft and silky. It also had a strange, transparent quantity to it – but it was almost opaque.
She was still peering around frantically, fervent to find the source of the wailing – to help the creature - when a dark, shadowy figure walked through the strange fog. She froze, hand thrusting into her pocket.
She was unarmed.
She bit her lip so hard that it should’ve drawn blood: she shifted her feet and raised her fists into an attacking stance – finally, those stupid Muggle combat lessons they had taught her in the Auror training may just come in handy…
As the figure grew closer and closer, she faltered, lowering her hands. They looked familiar…
Finally, the figure broke through the fog, and she saw his appearance for the first time – his belly, rotund and protruding, filled out slightly over his Muggle jeans; his hair, short, croppy, fair and balding; his tall but stunt build…
“Daddy?” she gasped, dropping entirely, stumbling forwards. She stopped immediately and stepped back.
The man before her smiled softly and nodded, clasping his hands in front of his round belly.
“But – no – you’re…” she stammered, shaking her head quickly, tears rising in her eyes. Her hand, trembling, reached for her mouth, fingers curled in. A brittle gasp rattled from her lips. “No…”
The smile faded from his face.
“I’m sorry, love,” he whispered, stepping backwards. The fog covered him slightly.
“NO!” she shrieked, falling forwards and outstretching her hands in mid air. She tripped over her feet and fell forwards: he caught her wrists quickly, his skin cold against hers. “Don’t – go - ”
“I’m not,” he muttered. She didn’t straighten, but stayed hunched, his hands on her wrists supporting her, her head dropped from her shoulders. Gently, he lowered her so that she was kneeling on the floor.
He knelt opposite her, watching her with sad patience as she curled up in a ball like she did when she was a young girl. She pressed her forehead into her knees and wrapped her arms around her legs, crying silently, rocking back and forth. His lips curved downwards as her hair shot backwards into her head and changed into a vivid turquoise colour.
She moaned softly. A single tear dropped out of Ted Tonks’ eye as the sound of his daughter in agony hit his ears.
She didn’t answer, but kept her forehead pressed against her knees, her eyes hidden from her father. It was all flooding back to her.
Staying at Mum’s with Teddy – the worry and fear and anguish of the unknown had crippled her heart, like it was doing now… hurrying into the bathroom after a quick goodbye to Teddy, scribbling a note on toilet paper, climbing out of the window and Disapparating... sprinting through Hogsmeade, oblivious to all the Curfews… thundering through Hog’s Head, running head first into Order members who she didn’t remember in her rush... running so fast up the damp tunnel that her heart exploded in her chest from pain, both physical and mental… searching everywhere – everywhere for Remus, not finding him, not seeing him, getting pulled into so many battles, so many duels, so many fights… Aunt Bellatrix, screaming at her about something like disgracing the family, humiliating her… Bellatrix, face red with anger, flashing curse after curse after curse… herself, dancing and stumbling and deflecting the lethal curses clumsily, getting few in between… then, slipping up… falling…
She never found Remus.
She screamed, her high, inhumane scream mixing in with the wail, the noise echoing around them, amplifying.
Nothing mattered. Nothing. Her world had stopped spinning. Her life had stopped living. Her body had stopped breathing. Her heart had stopped caring.
But it hadn’t – if her heart had stopped beating, stopped caring, then why was she screaming with grief? Why was she feeling this callous, agonising feeling as though her heart was being ripped into pieces? As though her limbs were being pulled slowly from her body, as though her muscles were slowly being stretched and ripped, as though her bones were slowly being crunched and broken? Why did she feel this horrible, brutal feeling like her heart was being drained, drained of all blood, all fluids, all feeling? If she was dead, why did she still hurt? If she was dead, why did she still feel?
If she was dead, why was she still living?
She lost were her screams stopped and the creatures began. Eventually, her voice broke and her screams subsided to hoarse, brittle shrieks.
She fell silent, damp forehead pressed into her knees so hard it hurt. Her eyes and cheeks stung, her throat throbbed. Her heart was still being wrenched, dragged, pulled apart. She shut her eyes and breathed.
Sniffing, she raised her head slowly. Mousy brown strands of hair fell into her eyes: she screamed, pushing her hair backwards, wrenching the strands from her skull. They turned into a pale reddish auburn.
Her red eyes finally saw her father: he was sitting, cross legged, crying in front of her. He wanted so desperately to hold his daughter in his weighty arms, to comfort her, to tell her it will get better, not now, but someday – but he couldn’t. He was scared that, if he touched her, it would be too much. She would scream and lose control.
“Daddy,” she whispered hoarsely, crawling forwards. She curled up into his arms like she was a toddler again, and he was her protector, her walls, “I’m sorry…” she swallowed painfully, wrapping her arms tightly around his bulky torso, burying her head into his chest.
“It’s okay,” he soothed, his voice breaking, “It’s not your fault… at all…”
“Of course it is. I was selfish. I l-left Teddy – l-left R-R-Remus…” sobs stopped her again: overcame her. Ted held her in his arms, crying into her shoulder as she did into his chest.
They cried silently forever, the only noise breaking through the silence the horrible screeching of the creature.
“W-What is that?” she whispered, raising her heavy head and peering around the fog. “The screaming.”
Gingerly, she disentangled herself hesitantly and stood up, peering through the blurred fog. She forcefully pushed back the brown strands that fell into her eyes with more brutality than needed; several broken strands fluttered to the floor.
Glancing behind her to check that her father was still there, she stepped uncertainly forwards towards the screaming – towards her ‘Body’. The misty fog parted, and she continued, walking on a dark burgundy wooden flooring, walking beside a white wall on which blurred photographs where hanging from every so often.
Suddenly, she saw it.
She gasped horribly, her throat rubbing on sandpaper as she did so.
The thing – her Body - was a red, raw infant. One with skinny, flailing wrists; scarred, ruby red swollen skin; bright blue eyes; a voice that screeched and screamed and yelled…
“That’s – th-that’s me?” she whispered, horrified, crouching down, squinting at the horrible creature.
“Then – what am I?”
“I don’t understand,” she whispered, turning slowly away from her Body and facing her solemn father, “How is there two of me?”
“There isn’t. There is one part of you: your Soul. You,” he said patiently, gesturing to her, “And there is the thing your Soul inhabits, the thing your Soul uses to live and function: your Body,” he pointed to the screaming child.
She nodded slowly, looking from her Body to her Soul.
“Is that why – the Dementor’s Kiss is the worst?” she whispered quietly after several minutes of thinking, “Because everything else takes your Body – but that takes your Soul?”
She thought of all the prisoners in Azkaban, all the people in history – Muggles, witches, wizards – who had suffered from the Dementor’s Kiss.
She suddenly wondered if it would be preferred. A quick break. The pain and anguish she was feeling, it was inhuman. If her Soul was destroyed quickly… she wouldn’t have time to feel regret, agony, self hatred, the immense pain of the thought of leaving behind Remus and Teddy…
“Would it be so bad?” she whispered out loud, searching the ground, “To not feel this – this… ”
“Would it be so bad, to just cease existing? Would it be so bad to not have a chance to carry on? Would it be so bad to not go On, to just Stop? Would it be so bad?”
“No, it wouldn’t,” she murmured, pushing a hand through her hair. It had shortened.
“Yes, it would,” her father continued, shaking his head, “It’s the easy - the cheaters way out.”
She fell silent, tears sliding silently down her face.
“What do I do?”
He didn’t respond, but was lost in thought, staring at the floor.
“Where do I go now?” she said louder, wiping the moisture from her face with her sleeve.
“Either Back, or On.”
“Back. As a Soul, as a ghost. To live forever, trapped on earth.”
She swallowed, thinking about going Back. Seeing Teddy. Seeing Remus. Protecting them forever – nothing could kill her.
“On,” he said simply, looking up at her.
“On,” he repeated, a small smile pulling in the corner of his mouth.
She nodded, falling silent, thinking.
“I know what you want to do,” he whispered quietly, frowning sadly, face sober. She didn’t reply, “Don’t go Back, love.”
“But – Teddy – Remus - !”
“Only people who have regrets go back.”
Regrets – regretting leaving Mum and Teddy; regretting putting her life in danger whenever Remus was probably fine; regretting pushing him all throughout last year, placing him in more pressure than ever; regretting making him feel regret…
She looked up slowly, tears brimming her eyes. “How – how do you go – On?”
As if to answer her, two broomsticks fell lightly from the ceiling and hovered above the floor.
“So. What are you going to do?”
She choked out a small, forced, humourless laugh and stepped forwards, picking up her broom.
“What else can I do?” she whispered.
Ted laughed, blinking the tears out of his eyes and stepping forwards. He picked up his own broomstick.
“By the way, love. Where are we?”
She looked around, the fog having completely disappeared from everywhere but above them.
“Home,” Nymphadora Tonks smiled bitterly, before mounting her broomstick and flying up into the beyond with her father, before flying On.
a/n: the next one - possibly fred - should be up when i finish it. (: