Chapter 1 : The Hollow Men
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author's note Enjoy! It's kind of a prequel to my new fic coming out, but not tied into the plot.
Her fingers were intertwined with his, and she smiled.
"Don't worry!" she exclaimed, laughing. "I'll be fine." They were two young people at the border of opportunity, who, in the space of a few years, had overcome more than others might have done in the space of a lifetime. But it was not something to be proud of. His youth had been destroyed, his life all but disappearing, until he had known - until he had been as sure as he was that the sun would rise come the next day - that she would be there. That she would be a part of his life and that she would survive with him, through all that they could go together and that the world might throw at them, just for laughs.
And so, at the edge of opportunity, he remembered her strength and her will and her want to live. He let her hand go, and smiled slightly.
"I know you will," he answered.
But she wasn't, and he stood before her grave with a lost expression. How could someone so strong, so sure of herself be there one minute, then gone the next? It sickened him, this power that some people had to simply deduct a person from the world as if they were nothing more than a plum to be picked off of a tree. And it enraged him that some people took pleasure in it.
It wasn't raining. It was a cold, windy day, but he stood in formal attire to watch as the casket was lowered into the ground, slowly, gingerly. He was sure she would have preferred a bold thud instead of this - this delicacy. Beside him, her brother looked on with his mouth set in a grim line. Fury snapping in his eyes, he wondered whether or not he was to blame for this.
He didn't know how it had happened. How she had so simply vanished from the world. The words of T.S. Eliot thundered in his head.
"This is how the world ends. Not with a bang but with a whimper."
He would have preferred a bang. Anything to ground him, to anchor him to what seemed to him to be a swiftly fleeting world. She hated the softness of some situations. She had preferred the bang. So had he.
Clods of earth fell on top of the sleek coffin, and her mother burst anew into fresh sobs. His fists clenched inside his pockets, and once again he cursed the cruelty of the world. The one sound that no one should hear. Earth on the coffin. Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust. The one sound that meant that the person they were there mourning for was gone forever. It didn't only mean it - it asserted it, like snide sorrow parading around the fact that it was indeed among them. Look here, it would say. I'm better than all of you.
A spasm of muscle twitched in his cheek, but he ignored it as he felt his nails dig into the palm of his hands and form red crescent moons. It was too dry a day to cry. The priest, a small wizard whose eyes glazed over as he read the sermon, he thought, should not have been there. He didn't know her, and yet he extolled her virtues as though she had been his very own daughter.
"Ginevra Weasley. A kind, courteous girl whose fiery disposition often led us to believe that her heart may triumph over her head."
Damn right it did. But she would have wept with laughter had she heard such a droning eulogy about herself. He endured the torture a little bit longer, then stayed at her grave once everyone had decided to leave. Ron embraced him, and his mother, and though it looked as though she was about to burst into tears yet again, she smiled strongly at him. So like her daughter. Strong.
Strength was never enough.
He stood in front of the grave, his eyes bleary as the sky above him changed from pale blue to orange to black. What had he to live for, if not her? Death seemed a good option now. His heart beat against his ribcage, straining to be heard. He wanted to be near her - he needed it. It wasn't an option. He would refuse to leave. This was his home now.
His fingers traced the outline of her name on the slab of granite they had used as a marker for her place of rest. It was only until someone died that good things were said of them. His fists clenched again and furiously he pounded the earth until his knuckles were raw and brown, oblivious to his surroundings and to the fact that he was desecrating her tomb. A drop of rain fell from the sky and hit his cheek, and, a wry smile tugging at his lips, tears coursed down his eyes to join it. Saline and pristine, they cleansed his face, they washed him clear.
His desire would not leave. He rose, slowly, fingering the knife he always kept in his pocket. It would be so easy. Like falling asleep. His wry smile turned into raw laughter, and turning, he started to walk away. He looked once over his shoulder, just to see if she was still there.
She was, and suddenly, with a burning, desperate desire, he found he could not leave.
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