Chapter 1 : All The Way Down
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Disclaimer: Nothing about Harry Potter belongs to me. Unless I'm JK Rowling. But that's only in my dreams.
And you have broken me all the way down
You’ll be the last to see
- All the Way Down, Lyrics by Glen Hansard
Once a place of glittering fascination, the old ballroom was now covered in cobwebs and soot. Music no longer bounced off the walls. Couples no longer twirled and swayed to the beat of the unsaid promises each move meant to the other. The once secret smiles shared between clandestine lovers had now faded into the stone of the walls. The scent of timidly sweet flowers had been carried off by the cold draft that came through the open windows. Along with it came all the promise the years had sworn her. The scents of her past had drifted off to an unknown land where it would wither with the passing of the seasons.
She walked the steps of the Viennese Waltz, both hands held up into the air, toes pointed to the perfect arch. A bow was to her unseen companion. A faint smile, hidden under bowed head and fluttering lashes. A gloved hand stretched, waiting to be taken. She closed her eyes, the dance still breathing throughout her body. Every whisk, every turn. Instinct. She was not afraid of colliding with any other couples, for there were none. She danced without inhibition, without fear.
The nonexistent melody drowned away the silence of the empty space. Within her closed eyes, she could see the room lighting up to its former grandeur. The string quartet appeared near the wide glass windows. Candles lit around her, filling the room with light and warmth. Forgotten scents rushed through the open door, leading to the garden. Promises of old whispered in her ear with the feeling of hot breath on her neck.
“No,” she abruptly opened her eyes and almost stumbled, as her feet froze in mid-motion.
It was the way he said her name. A whisper. A secret. Like the faint starlight in a sultry mid-summer evening.
She was no longer the Minerva of her girlhood. No longer the Minerva that danced.
She had almost forgotten that she was alone. There was no one to whisper in her ear. No one.
After all, the dead couldn’t speak.
And he was as good as dead to her.
Certainly Time would forgive her for crimes passed. Crimes that had eaten her like a fire from within. Burning her flesh. Searing her heart. Pray, Time would take pity on her. The years she spent alone were years spent in penance? Weren’t they enough? Would regret ever be enough for Time to forgive her?
Once the door led the gardens, a haven of honeysuckle and lavender. Gardens once filled with the laughter of intoxicated debutants and fresh suitors. No more. As she walked out of the ballroom of her youth, Mendelssohn’s tune still resonated in her ear. The door closed on the past and the mirrors of memory gathered dust and grime.
It was a moment of weakness that led her there.
A question that didn't even deserve an answer.
No one could answer a what if, even if he could see into the past. Even if she could change a night. Even if he could come back.
The whisper of her voice kissed the wind. “Goodbye Tom.”