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When They Were Here by shadowycorner
Chapter 1 : Words Left Unspoken
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 29

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Disclaimer: I own nothing. All the characters and settings belong to Jo Rowling. Except the tree, ahem. The tree is mine.

Author's Note: Firstly I need to thank a few people for helping me with this. Thanks to Gubby (GubraithianFire), Lyn (Lyn Midnight) and Blaire (Beyond the Veil) who saw the first excerpts and encouraged me to go on. Thank you Shauna (Shauna Zombie) for checking it over. Thanks to everyone who helped. It means the world to me. :)
This story is dedicated to Em.

Happy Halloween everyone! Oh and I'll be beside myself with joy if, at the end, you review. :)

When They Were Here

.boys discovered as winter melts
All three of us scowl at you as you drag us up the steep hill covered with three feet of snow. The sun is somewhat peeking through the clouds and Remus complains he’ll get sun burnt because of the way it reflects into his tired face. This year for the first time we finally have the luck and chance to have him with us for the Holidays, so we don’t tease him though that remark really deserved a snowball straight into the face.

Peter abruptly trips over his own feet, grabbing onto your scarf in one last attempt to keep his balance, but you both fall headfirst into the snow. Remus catches up and we both laugh at the two of you, staggering up and wiping the snow off your shoulders, muttering curses under your breath. Where’s your humor, boys?

Christmas is over and tonight we are leaving back to Hogwarts, back home. And even though we could’ve easily shared the warmth of your fireplace, munching on some delicious cupcakes from your mother, you had to stubbornly insist on dragging us up here to the tree. I know what’s coming. You’ll have another one of those dramatic, heart-felt speeches about friendship and Marauder spirit, for which you need an extraordinary place, like this harassed tree sketching in front of us for instance.

Charming the snowballs to chase me and Remus around, you grab Peter by the jacket and race us to the tree. We run after you, and I hear my lungs aching from the laughter coming out, from the coldness coming in. We’re childish, little boys again, and I love it. Lately our days are devoid of the playfulness and ease to which we were so used to.

Reaching the tree, leaving Peter down on his knees few feet behind you, trying to regain his breath, you touch the tree trunk and yell in triumph. You win a race with your friends, you are the best one from us, and not only in racing, but none of us speak about this truth.

“Come on, you pansies! My grandmother would run faster than that, Moony, and you’re supposed to be all muscled and strong,” you call in a coach-like voice and sit down into the snow happily, absurdly reminding me of that eleven year old idiot that tried to hex me on the train and later changed my life.

Scoffing, Remus sits down by Peter and I join, and we all form a circle under this bare tree, our arses freezing over because you like to be theatrical.

For a second I look up between the naked branches, bending under the wind and it intimidates me with its strength. Sometimes it looks ready to fall on us, but you reassure us the hidden root is too strong to allow that.

“Go on, dearies, I’ll give you a moment before you regain that breath of yours and dispose of the very painful stitch in your lovely sides.”

Of course you never fail to be ridiculous, but despite ourselves, we all laugh.

“Very well, now…” Peter begins, sitting up and wiping the sweat off his brow. “What exactly are we here for?”

Now you go all wide eyed and act scandalized that we have the audacity to not know and share your enthusiasm. “We’re here to seal our pact, forever and until the end!” you exclaim and get up on your knees, your hands fisted in the pose of a warrior. Remus rolls his eyes, but he’s still smiling.

“Haven’t we done that on numerous occasions?” he asks.

“Of course we have, but in Hogwarts. We’re not in Hogwarts now, you toe rags. That’s why it is symbolic. Soon we are to leave and never return as students, soon all the protection from Dumbledore will be gone and we’ll be out there in the world alone and on our own.” All of a sudden, and quite surprisingly, the tone of your voice changes as you sit down and take up a more serious manner. “You know how dark it’s getting out there. I just…I just want to make sure that leaving Hogwarts won’t mean our parting as well.”

“Don’t be stupid, Prongs. Of course we will stay friends,” Remus says, but we both see the shadow of a fear in his eyes that his statement might not become true.
“No,” you disagree, just as you always do when someone contradicts something you say. “I’ve seen many people be great buddies in school and become estranged once they left.”

“You know it’s different with us,” Peter says with a smile, glancing sympathetically at Remus and then at each of us in turn. You smile, slowly but surely, and the weak sun glazes over your glasses with a sparkle. Now you turn to me. Yeah, I know, I haven’t said anything up until now, which all three of you find surprising since I rather enjoy rambling and ranting incessantly.

“What can I say, James,” I hear myself saying, “you know that I’ll never become…estranged from the three of you.”

After this statement you all eye me apprehensively, and I feel a muscle twitch in my neck and the unnerving feeling in my gut. I hate when you do that. I know, so I do have a dark family that even after disowning me keeps pushing me into doing, what to them seems the right thing, and that is joining the Dark Side. The very fact that you’re actually worried I would let them kidnap or kill me insults me. But I don’t blame you. 

Turning away, you regain that solemn expression once more and continue, thankfully dismissing the subject of the clouded future of Sirius Black. “What I want to say is that it’s really out there…war. And so I just want to make sure that once we plunge in and fight, we won’t lose each other on the way. You’re all aware of what you are to me, and I just want to say that I’ll do everything to protect you, just as I know each one of you will do for me.”

As you say this out loud, not knowing whether it is just a noble request of your heart or a desperate plead to ensure we will stay together, you stop talking. Silence falls over us and only now I note the snow that began to fall in great thick puffs. It appears to emit a speech of its own, being the grand witness to this sacred special conversation, which I think you had in plan the entire holiday.

I would put both my hands into fire to say that as we are here and listen to you, the always balanced and collected James Potter, speak so strongly and vulnerably at the same time, I know we are all willing to die for you. Because that is essentially what might arrive at the end. Dying is becoming something we all should get accustomed to, even more to the possibility of losing our own life. And if I am to lose my life because of my best friend, and not only you, but Remus the werewolf and Peter the rat as well, I think it would be a gorgeous death.

Peter is looking deeply moved by all this, and I see the image of false safety on his face, because he knows he needs us to protect him and that we will. Remus always surprises me with that depth of his sad, sad eyes that glow whenever he realizes again and again that he has us. And your hazel eyes are dancing behind your glasses, and your mood is so ever-changing, swapping the fear with determination to vanquish that fear constantly.

And I…I still sit here with my hands on my knees, feeling the cool snowflakes tangle into my hair and land on my skin. I can hardly see my friends through the soft curtain, but I, just like the rest of you, feel special because of this friendship and this bond, because of what he have and all that we are willing to promise and sacrifice.

Now you want us to do that old thing with placing our hands together like when we created the map and each speak a sealing promise. And so we obey you, reaching our shaking hands forward as you say, “Through hell and back, with wands up and blasting, we solemnly swear not only to be up to no good, but to stick bloody together even when Snivellus takes over the world and keeps on smelling worse than all of our socks combined, which is damn saying something.”

Snorting with simultaneous laughter, we repeat, the silly ridiculous words rolling of our tongues with true solemnity and meaning more than they sound. Because we know that even if you like histrionic settings and melodramatic events, you’re not one to waste fancy words none of us would understand anyway.

And even though those speeches are getting rather old and cliché, I can’t help loving them and wanting to believe them when you speak.

Everyone thinks you’re my best friend, but when my eyes fall on Remus and Peter, I love them just as much (though I would never admit that I, in fact, ‘love’ them). You three are all I have and I cannot bear to ever lose you. You’re what no girl or prank or anything could provide, and that is the feeling of home I get wherever you are.

Ridding of the drama at last, we all stand up and issue what might be the last snowball fight in our lifetime. This laughter will forever ring in my ears, your smiles will forever pierce through my heart, my unspoken words will forever haunt me if I never get the courage to say them out loud. Right now I just don’t want to break these jolly moments of frolic in the poor and would-be pathetic imitation of James the fighter before the war that’s ahead of us. But please, hear me out and don’t you ever walk out on me, for that would be the end of me. Never, please never, leave me. I don’t know how things will end, but I recklessly dare to believe we will last and never part. Because we’re stronger than that, stronger than the cracked branches of this withered tree, stronger than the snow that so easily melts under the sun. You are my friends, my life and my world. You’re the earth to my tree. And together we’re the hidden roots that make even the weakest strong.

.taste heaven perfectly

It’s hard, walking up here, to the place I used to love, with all the weight we carry as we trudge up this little mountain of ours. There is the tree; I can already see its topmost branches touch the sky and soon the horizon comes into view, dancing before my eyes as you suddenly take off my glasses, surprising me.

Looking down at you, my heart always skips a beat when I realize you really are with me now. Wiping the smudge off it, because you never forget to tell me off for never cleaning them properly, you place them onto my nose and your lovely features come back into sharpness.

Without a word you lead me on, to the place from where my first real memory is, of an insignificant picnic with my parents, of the ride on my first broomstick, of all the letters written to you that were never sent. If you dug up the earth, maybe you could find them, crumpled and dirty, stained by the soil and gnawed at by worms. It’s the place where the Marauders made the most important promise yet.

Slowly, we reach it and you lean against the bark, staring up at the sky, the sun rays dancing across your pale cheeks through the leaves above us. The winter is still there in your eyes, but slowly the ice is getting thin. They’re green, your eyes, and somehow you perfectly blend in with the glorious nature. Everyone always seems to make a point of how green they are; and I never come to appreciate it as much as today.

“So…what are we going to do?” you ask, biting on your lip and casting your eyes behind me on the meadow that lay under the hill. The serious tone of your voice gets to me in a scary way.

Knowing what you mean, I avoid the answer and pull you down into the grass spontaneously where the first colt’s feet sprung a few days ago. You emit the softest chuckle and leave all the heaviness and gravity to linger in the air. I hug you close to me and you don’t fight, just lay effortlessly in my arms, completing every dream I ever had. Winding an arm around you, I touch your belly and know it is only my imagination when I feel the movement, for it is too soon.

I know what you’re asking, because I am asking myself the very same thing. In this dark time, which the weather mocks so today, lingers the decision above us, whether to have a child or not.

"We might die," you say with a hollow voice. "Tomorrow, today, anytime."

Yes, we might.

And so my mind wanders, with you and with the sun burning shyly, though getting the knack of it with every new day of the spring. How nice, how wonderful all this is. Can there be a better place? A more magical and ethereal spot on this entire world? I doubt it, and I know you doubt it too. I know you love this just as I do; I know you love me just as I love you. It’s a two-way situation, isn’t it? And this is no practice, no rehearsal, just pure fantasies spilling out and dreams daring to come true, desires playing their fair share of a role just as well. We are getting lost, and we never return, perhaps, but what if it’s worth it? My love, my love, my love. It never ended for me. Not even after you sent me away and didn’t believe in those things I said. Not even after the worlds clashed and darkness poured all over our lives like ink devours a spotless parchment.

I remember it clearly, when you sat on the windowsill and gazed on the open grounds touching the sky far, far away, dreaming to be the lovely, damp soil forming your life and future, while you just waited for destiny to fulfil your own path. Walk it, live it, love it, hate it, you uttered in a secluded place one night. It wasn’t very romantic as far as I can remember. It smelled horribly of old socks and time’s slow, relentless decay. So how come it was lovely beyond my senses to comprehend? Those are the little questions we ask and never bother to answer. Why? Because those are the answers that are quite unnecessary. You want answers for everything. Try to let go and plunge into the unknown, plunge into life questioning, unaware, purely blank, just like me, and then you find out miracles.

So let’s walk this road of ours and take him along. I am nothing more than a little, tin soldier with one leg missing, living an adventure, thrown into the world outside in a whirl.

And one day I might be back with you, only to be thrown into fire, the flames engulfing me completely, stripping me of clothes and skin, and somehow, even though I asked you to, I never wish to look at you for one last time, only to let out a scream of horror. There you are, and you’re plunging in, so willingly, questioning and unaware, only for me.

Is there anything more beautiful and terrifying?

You are the ballerina willing to jump into fire for me. And for that I love you and hate myself. And now I hear myself saying, “To hell with war, Lily. To hell with the world and its entire wickedness. I want to have him.”

I know you’re smiling and now you’re up, kneeling by the tree trunk, taking a rock off the ground. I hand you my wand, but you just push it away and dig into the bark, hesitantly at first, as if not wanting to hurt it.

Watching you with fascination, I’m bemused at all the arbitrary things you come up with. You now turn to me, done and accomplished with your work and you’re positively beaming. Leaning forward, I place my arm on your shoulder and read:

“Forever alive for you, baby.”

And I laugh with you, even though I have no idea what exactly you’re trying to convey, lately you’ve been so much more imaginative than I. With a flick of my wand I add a very tiny L&J under it, so the tree would remember it was us and no one else.

And suddenly I feel healed. I feel healed from the darkness and desperation, from the terrifying uncertainty and fear gnawing at my heart.

“Funny how suddenly and fast the flowers pop out,” you point out, fingering one colt’s foot. I take it and put it behind your ear, my fingers lingering upon your skin.

I adore your simple beauty.

You are my flower, because healing is like when flowers grow. You're in pain, emotional pain, and you honestly don't see a way how to end the sorrow, and then one day, you're okay, you feel so new and alive and good that it's impossible. I guess it's the same way with flowers, because you are outside and walk along the green grass and when you wake up the next day, on your way to work or to a shop you suddenly notice hundreds of yellow spots in between the masses of green. And they're there just like that, without any sign of being there yesterday. I think that's like magic. True natural magic.

So no matter what, Lils, you heal me and we are both healed and we will be good parents.

We’re in this war and we fight for peace as it takes another piece of us, but we’re not alone in this darkness.

. beloved, gaze in thine own heart

Millions of pale and insignificant memories fall through me as I lay under that forsaken tree and gaze up into the sun through the wicked branches. I hate that tree, because on its branches sits my heartbreak, and even though it’s not tangible, if I shut my eyes only slightly I can almost see it. Even though I know it’s only the light cracking, I see it there, crawling around the sturdy tree trunk like poisonous ivy.

Perhaps I am the last person to remember this place. This ordinary place that meant so much to five people, from which one with his decision might’ve as well come to this meadow and cut it down, burying it and forever pretending it never even existed.

Its delicate green leaves whisper to me as they rustle in the wind, they tell me of all my mistakes; they tell me of my misgivings and false judgements. I feel they blame me. And it hurts like fire burns, but it’s nothing compared to how you blame me and still are willing to forgive.

Raising my head, I keep looking and looking, the little cross from your father sparkles densely, and your chest is rising and falling, and I tell myself God judge me oh judge me still. Sometimes it seems lightning is so close and wind brings the downpour. I wonder will you take me into the warmth of your cloak? And if I sit alone, having disappointed again and with no more fortune to help me, will you still be there to show me my lucky star? Go and claim her, I’m here, standing guard and waiting, you’ll say?

And so I want to ask, Dora, will you do it for me?

“I’m an old fool and I don’t want to disappoint you like I’ve done so many times before,” I suddenly say. There is a lot to talk about today. Dumbledore is gone; the war has begun and taken the first victims. And here we are, you brave, I a coward.

I want to ask where your eyes went when you chose me. But I really want to ask, will you do it for me? Will you stay when all of them are gone and when all my friends forget my name, for all the crimes I have committed?

Will you still pull me with you into the grass? As we are now, laying peacefully, each fighting our own battles, and in silence, we stubbornly wait to see who will speak first.

I have always been weak and never spoke when perhaps I should’ve. All my doubts and fears were always bottled up inside of me, and usually I came to a lucky end without having to go through the difficult path of facing my demons in the open. Open battlefields were never my thing. I marvelled in secrecy, as much as I hated it all my life. However, there was James, Sirius and even Peter to do it for me. And so I grew accustomed to them saving me and pulling me up when I fell down on my goddamned knees. Then, years later, now that they’re dead and I am alone, I have no one to do it for me.

A thought crosses my mind, whether to voice my thoughts and speak the words that are piercing through me, fighting desperately to be spoken. But Marauders don’t waste words, they never did. And we don’t need too many promises, for they’re overrated and hardly mean anything. One doesn’t have to make a promise in order to reach fulfilment of an unspoken wish.

Suddenly you calmly tell a horrible lie, “For your years you are beautiful, and there’s still everything in front of you.”

Something about promises uttered and resolutions made under this tree makes their essence sealed, perhaps. This pathetic tree is a witness and a judge. I can feel how it judges me, but that’s why I brought you here in the first place. Even though hating it, I want it to judge me and point me into the direction of my secret redemption.

We’re so quiet, you don’t even hold my hand, and it’s what I wanted – having you as far away from me as possible. Though slowly I realize how much I miss the warmth of your hand and how the gap between us scares me.

Looking up over my head, I spot something carved on the tree trunk. Furrowing my eyebrows I sit up, your eyes following me.

Upon seeing the carving, tears well up in my eyes as a dry sob escapes my lips. It doesn’t even surprise me, but the sudden nostalgia washes over me as I remember them, my friends, and the simple lines in the bark remind me of the loss still etched deeply in my heart.

My heartbreak watches me ever so intently.

An odd shiver suddenly rushes through my body as you embrace me from behind. Turning around I wrap my arms around you because that’s the only thing I can do.

That’s why all of them came here before us, the legends of our world, all with their restless thoughts. That’s why four young boys sat here in the snow one Christmas. That’s why James and Lily came here to make their most important decision. That’s why we are here, seeking each other.

The world is full of darkness, and it's envelopping us ever so strongly. I am a monster and a human and I'm lost and afraid. So I just ask, will you do it….will you do all this for me?

You kiss away my tears and understand my silence. And for your special silence I am grateful. In this place words are useless. Perhaps I can hope that merely by thinking and meaning them they find a way to your heart and make you forgive me for making you love me too much. And I hope you forgive me for loving you even more.

Your eyes, so full of tender care, are the veil with which I cover my doubts.

We’re back on the ground, now together, listening to the insects cricketing in the tall grass. The leaves are quiet now, the judgement has been made, and there are no more condemning whispers in the listening sky.

Your chest is rising and falling, just like quicksilver on the temperature of our days. And I fear failing again, but your fingers on my face trace my skin softly, each one of them, shaking my ragged heart of all the unrest. Somehow I know…somehow I know you’ll do everything for me. Let me just hope that day will never have to come.

My hate and bitterness for the tree subsides. It is, after all, the only place in which the sun really shines for me. This is our redemption.

.farewell all angels

It’s warm when the sun burns, but the air is fresh. You bend to pick a few wildflowers from the ground, placing one of them into my hair with a smile. An odd place this really is, Godric’s Hollow. You seem to know your way around, though, leading me through rows and rows of little houses, toward what certainly looks like a graveyard.

Sometimes I still fear talking to you in moments like these. There are things I don’t understand, and never will, and I don’t want to pretend to understand.

When the war memorial turns into the statues of James and Lily Potter with baby Harry, I quiver. But your parents are so beautiful, even though there is no life in their faces carved of stone. My heart cracks for you, but you pull me on, passing one grave after another, not letting out a breath.

Their grave is lovely in the saddest way. I feel this is the first time you’re here ever since last Christmas when there was little space and time for peaceful thoughts and silent prayers. You bend down, I follow you without hesitance, and together we kneel there, you so faraway, I so out of place.

I notice your hands are clenched around the flowers, so I slowly take them out of your cold palms and set them on the overgrown stone. Their colours blend perfectly with the fallen leaves.

Everything about your posture shows you still haven’t let go…In some way, I can feel you still blame yourself for all their deaths. For Sirius’s death, for Remus’s death, for the death of James and Lily. You understand death more than anyone, that I know, but the secret life of guilt is ever so elusive.

Ravens pass us overhead. You don’t notice, but I watch them with my eyes, as their black wings are flapping in the light blue sky, mocking my sorrow with their crowing, deepening the gap between us.

I stand up, the cramp in my knees growing more and more uncomfortable. You remain unmoved and I understand that I will never be able to pass over the horrible gap until you let go. No one ever will.

Finally you follow me, a shadow settled over your face.

“Let’s take a walk,” you say. I lean into you affectionately as I hear your voice and know you’re still here.

You look bitter, still very much so. I guess this place really reminds you of all that has been lost, in vain. The atmosphere seems to be thicker over here, the guilt more pressing. I can feel it myself.

“Harry,” I say, stopping under the kissing gate, reaching my hands up to your neck. “Try to let the demons pass. Leave them behind, right here. I know it’s not easy, so if you need time, keep on…gazing into the bitter glass, but only for a little while, okay?”

You arch an eyebrow and my heart swells as I notice that speck of a smile. No wonder, whenever I try to sound solemn I end up sounding either goofy or completely idiotic. I’m more of a simple girl, you know that.

Kissing me briefly, you go on, not uttering another word. We walk for a long time in silence. The country around us is wild and colourful, making the flamboyant whirlwind of colours dance in front of my eyes. For a moment I think the next place you will take me to is your old house, but it doesn’t seem like it.

You seem to be running away momentarily, walking to the edge of the village and taking a dusty road leading uphill toward the woods.

Growing out of breath, you head to a lone tree at the top of the hill. Looking at it, I feel so small, and there between the withering branches I see the ravens again, perhaps burdened with the same restless thoughts as I am. They claw at the wood and the leaves are falling down in circles. Sniffing the wind, they caw loudly, shaking their ragged wings and scaring me to the core.

You don’t mind them, but keep on pulling me there with deliberate force, as if seeing the demons in those simple birds. But I feel all the strength and determination you have…I know you want to conquer the past, I guess you just don’t know how.

I wish I could tell you all this, but there’s no time for speaking, and I really don’t know how.

At last we stop with the sun on our backs, and I look into your eyes and see the darkness never quite left them, but honey, it is over now. Reaching for your hand, I squeeze it, but get no response back as your eyes glaze over the horizon wildly and up and down the tree. Suddenly you go rigid, your eyes sharpening through the glasses on a spot on the trunk of a tree. I follow your gaze and my own heart forgets to beat steadily.

“Forever alive for you, baby,” I read softly.

Your eyes overflow with tears, but with me you don’t have to be ashamed or tough or anything, just you, in your bare existence that which I love so dearly. My thoughts stop.

“They were here…they were really here, thinking of me,” you croak, sitting down and leaning your back against the tree trunk. I gaze into your tender eyes and still remain silent. “I know what you think, but…it’s not easy. There’s still so much. Months have passed and I am happy, and fine. I feel the time for happiness has finally come, but something holds me back.”

“It’s the memory of them, Harry.”

Shaking your head, you look at me determinedly, convinced that once again you’re the only one who knows what’s going on. I scowl at your stubbornness. “No, you see, I know what death is. I know it’s inevitable and I have been further than anyone to understand it, but when it comes to them…I will never understand. I will never be able to accept that-“

“But you have to!” I cut in impatiently, losing my nerve. I am not the one to give proper advice, Hermione’s the one to do that. I’m scared and nervous, because I fear I will never be able to help you, because I don’t know how. So desperately, I try. “When…when they were here, they left you a message that speaks clearly for everything. Forever alive, Harry, they’re forever alive. And you know it. Don’t fight it anymore.”

“I just…I feel so different, so different from all of you. No, listen to me,” you say quickly when you notice my almost exasperated sigh. “Just…try to understand this. I’ve seen so much and felt so much. Sometimes I feel like I won’t be able to live a normal life. There’s been too much chaos, all the time…”

“But there’s always been enough love, friends and strength, Harry. You are different because of what you’ve been through, but that doesn’t mean your life from now on will be any less beautiful than that of others. Precisely because what you’re like…I’m sure it will be very, very beautiful. I-I will try and help you with that. Harry, I love you, you know? For all you are, for the way how…different you make my world.”

Ah, love confessions…they never were my thing. But I want you to understand, too. I want you to understand just how much I’m willing to give you.

“After the war, there is no such thing as a normal life, Ginny. My parents, Sirius, Remus, Moody, Tonks and so many others…those who have experienced the war at its centre, there’s not really a way out of it.”

“War is over. I know you don’t remember a proper life out of it, but…I don’t know how to explain this to you.”

Falling silent, you look away again, but then you chuckle slightly. “Try some other quirky metaphor, perhaps?”

Laughing, I feel the warmth return to the tips of my fingers as you take my hand. Looking to the ground, you stroke my skin softly. “Help me let go.”

I was worried about this. Gulping down my breath, my eyes dart to your scar.

Am I capable of that?

Leaning forward, I rest my head against your chest and listen to your heartbeat. You kiss me on the top of my forehead and suddenly I know nothing more is needed. “This is it, Harry. This is the life you’ve been dreaming of. I’m real and so is this moment. It won’t be the last and…Harry, dammit, I don’t know how to do this.” Sitting up, I take your face into my hands and kiss you on the lips. “Today is a goodbye, a definite goodbye. A goodbye to the past, a goodbye to all those ghosts still haunting your dreams and life, okay? Okay?”

I look at you desperately, knowing this is my last chance. Therefore I can’t possibly describe how the happiness inside of me feels when you nod and smile. You were always a fighter, whether you fought in war or in peace. That’s why I love you so much.

“Okay,” you whisper hoarsely and I reward you with my glowing smile; one that’s only meant for you.

Standing up, we slowly leave that lonely shade under the tree and leave the carving behind. The leaves rustle under our feet and the rest of them are falling slowly as the ravens break their silence.

And as we give farewell to all angels, as you kiss me through laughter of joy, the ravens take off symbolically, and the branches sigh with relief. Ghosts and memories of the past take off just as well, finally free in a way, freeing you, freeing me, freeing our love and freeing all that is to come.

The tree now watches us ever so silently, unmoving in the imperceptible breeze as we walk away. I feel so much lighter now that we’re descending the green hill. It’s as if we really have left all our burdens over by the tree. No matter, though, the tree is a thing of the past, and so are our burdens.

I refuse to look at it, but I don’t mind when you turn your head for one last time. We’re leaving it behind, just like we’re leaving them behind, but we will never forget they were here.

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