Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize is mine. Lyric on the top is from Titanic/Celine Dion, the world is JK Rowling's, quote on the bottom is Robert Frost's.
Love can touch us one time and last for a lifetime.
She was sparkling.
She was just one of those people who glittered and shone with just a smile. One beautiful, glorious smile, and he was hooked.
Iridescent, that’s what she was.
He only ever hoped that if he stood near her he could catch a little of the essence of her, hoped that it would shine on him and transform him, even just a small bit.
She was glorious, and he was hers.
She grins at him one day, and his heart begins to pound erratically in his chest.
Thump thump thump.
“How would you like to see something extraordinary?”
I’m looking at one now, he silently thinks. “Okay,” he immediately agrees.
“Come here,” she directs, and she takes his hand in hers and he can’t help that his stomach - oh, his stomach - feels as though he has a thousand little newts scampering around.
She pulls him out on the grounds, past the courtyard where the others are busy studying. She is confident as she leads him to the edge of the forest.
She bends down. “Look,” she whispers, pointing.
He follows where her finger leads, and sees a small sprout of a flower.
“It’s a phoenix flower,” she says.
It is wilting, a pale pink bud, wrinkled and scrunched as it stands on a weak stem.
It does not seem extraordinary to him, but he waits patiently for her to explain.
“Watch,” she says, and with a long careful finger, she gently pushes it to the ground, so the stem breaks in two, a soft and sticky green liquid oozing out.
At first, he is confused as to why she would bring him here only to destroy that which she was showing him.
And then -
Slowly, he watches in amazement as the liquid is sucked back in, until he can no longer see where the stem broke. The flower begins to stand up again from the forest floor, stretching out as if to reach the sky.
Each of the wrinkled petals drops off into the dirt, and he watches in wonder as new petals begin to form right in front of his eyes, until suddenly, the old, wrinkled flower has become new.
Now stretching tall and proud, a healthy green, its petals are fresh and dewy pink, cupping together, not as if it had never been broken, but as if it had never died at all.
She strokes a perfect petal, then turns to look at him, a smile on her face.
“Well?” is all she says.
Hesitating, he reaches out to touch it as well, hand trembling. It is soft and cool to touch, like velvet.
“Oh,” he says, and she understands.
Their flower is shown to the Herbology professor, who sings the praises of her while he watches with a secret smile back.
It is a rare flower, he learns, one that doesn’t grow easily in Britain. But once it grows, it doesn’t die, instead being reborn, like a phoenix, shedding its petals and growing new ones time after time.
An enchanted flower: one of promise and hope and stability.
She is given a sprout to keep. He watches as she gently packs it into soil in a ceramic pot and takes it back to their common room to grow.
“I’ll put it on my windowsill,” she explains before going up the stairs. “As a reminder.”
Of what, he is not sure yet.
Everything she touches is extraordinary.
Everything she breathes on is brightened.
So when she takes his hand and they walk together, her head nuzzled into the crook of his neck, he knows that he is lucky.
She gets a job in the Apothecary in Diagon Alley.
Sometimes, he pops in and visits during lunch break, watching her cheerfully chop up ingredients and put them into labeled jars.
She laughs often, and when she laughs, he can’t help but smile, too.
At night, he holds her in his arms as they drift away to sleep.
Even in sleep, she is luminescent.
He listens to the sound of her steady breathing, in and out and in and out, and it lulls him away to worlds that exist merely in dreams.
After all, with her, he has learned that anything is possible.
A small cutting of phoenix flower sits on their bedroom window, soaking up the sun, dying and living at the same time.
He is at work, about to take lunch break when the call comes in.
The urgent alarm rings shrilly, blaring as a voice calls for all available reporters to report to the office immediately.
A mouth full of sandwich - roast beef, his favorite and made by her - he asks what’s happened.
Didn’t you hear? the others want to know. An attack in Diagon Alley.
And like that, his heart stops as fear holds it in its vice-like grasp.
He Apparates there as quickly as he can.
Bright lights are flashing and he can’t tell who is firing what. Aurors and Death Eaters mixed up together, spells being shot relentlessly.
He can’t tell who is good and who is bad; they’re all killing.
He is torn - to do his job or to save her?
It’s her, of course, that he chooses in the end. It always has been.
The Apothecary lies in ruins.
He doesn’t care, he doesn’t care, he doesn’t care because she’s alive, she has to be alive, she must be alive.
He paws through the rubble relentlessly, calling her name until his voice is hoarse.
A place that once was vibrant is now in shambles. Diagon Alley is filled with the sense of despair, other voices joining his as they search for their loved ones.
Keening noises as the dead are discovered, tears of joy as they are reunited - they are only in the background for him.
He is searching for her. He will find her. He must.
The world cannot exist without her. Life cannot continue on without her.
He doesn’t know what he’ll do if she’s gone.
Why hasn’t the world stopped yet?
But to him, it has.
He searches through the debris, determined to find her if it’s the last thing he does.
He does not cry, because she’s not dead. She can’t be dead.
She is soul and heart and spirit and without her, who is he?
He needs her. He always has.
Hands join his, pulling away the stones and bricks that once held a business together, stones and bricks that now cover her body.
He loses track of the time. He cannot tell you how many seconds or minutes or hours it takes, only that it happens after what seems to be an eternity.
He cannot tell you how many stones he has shifted or how many times he has bitten his tongue to stop himself from breaking down, only that it was many.
But there, underneath the something-th brick - perhaps 346, or 751 - is her.
Her eyes are closed. A fresh wound is blossoming on her temple, dark red blood staining her skin.
A Healer rushes over, takes her body from him, tells him to Apparate to St. Mungo’s.
He does, in a daze.
It is crowded and noisy and loud in the hospital, with a thousand families all in the waiting room, hoping, praying, waiting that theirs will be the lucky one, that their loved one will be the patient to make it to another day.
They wait for news, good or bad: they wait for closure.
He is squished into a corner of a bench, pressed up close to a woman who is clutching her son tightly, rocking back and forth, eyes closed as she mutters inaudibly to herself.
For a moment, their eyes meet, and a similar sort of desperation is mirrored in them. They say nothing, but that single glance means a thousand words.
He holds her hands once more. They are ice, brittle and cold.
“I love you,” she breathes. “I always have, you know.”
He rests his forehead on hers for a brief moment.
“I know,” he whispers. “I always have, too.”
Her eyes close, and they do not open again.
He is lost now.
They print a causality list at work.
She is just a name, in the end; a name in the newspaper. She is the person between Lang, Michelle and Murdock, Ryan.
Lang, Michelle, 30 years old; Lawrence, Grace, 20 years old; Murdock, Ryan, 25 years old; it reads under the heading of CASUALTIES IN ATTACK.
Just a name, in the end.
There is no obituary; there are too many dead.
It says nothing about her smiles, her laughs, the way she could make anyone feel at home. It says nothing about who she was and how he loved her.
All it says, in the end, is Lawrence, Grace, 20 years old.
There was so much more.
There is a life, a reason, a legacy, a person behind those five words.
But in the end, all she is remembered by is Lawrence, Grace, 20 years old.
He cannot decide whether to throw her things away or to hold on to them.
He cannot lose the last things that he owns of her, things that have her scent and memories of her.
Yet every time he looks at them, her death hits him again, just as hard as it originally had.
So he avoids it, choosing to spend his evenings in the bar instead. If he does not look at it, it’s almost as if it doesn’t exist.
But the flower on the windowsill continues to bloom and die, bloom and die, unnoticed by him.
At some point, he decides enough is enough.
Placing the empty mug of Firewhiskey on the counter, he pushes some change over to Tom and stands up.
Perhaps it’s the Firewhiskey running through him, hot and fiery and heavy, like liquid courage, or perhaps it’s something he’s been unconsciously thinking, only to now have it brought out, but for whatever reason, he decides that he needs to do something.
People, he decides, should not die unknown anymore.
There is a friend of a friend from school, he remembers, who had rumours following him about his plans for life after school.
People said that he was joining some group, something that was fighting back. He had distanced himself at the time.
It is worth a shot.
He is a man with a mission.
For the first time since she died, he feels like there is something to live for again.
Not much - but enough, just enough, so he can get through each day without being completely wasted.
Oh, it takes time to find this friend of a friend, to convince him of what he wants to do - but time, suddenly, is the one thing he has too much of.
They need people.
A war is raging, people are dying - oh, he knows that - and they need people.
He will do it.
“Are you sure?” Frank asks him.
He nods. “Of course.”
He has never been surer of anything in his life, except for that one fact that still echoes in his heart - that he loved her.
He is taken to see Dumbledore, his old headmaster. He hasn’t seen him since he graduated, of course, but if he goes through with this, he’ll be seeing him much more.
“Why do you want to?” he is asked again.
Because it’s the right thing to do. Because I should have before. Because I need to do something now. Because I can’t let life pass me by.
In the end, he chooses the one that feels the truest.
“No one should have to die unknown,” he says, “no one should have to do that anymore.”
And so begins his new life.
There is fighting. There are long nights. There are moments when he feels as if it is too much, and he wishes that he could go back to his old life, living peacefully in his flat with Grace.
But he cannot, because she is dead.
And he is fighting the reason why she is dead.
He reminds himself of this, and it gets him through the day.
The count of the dead piles up.
There are no more obituaries; only death counts.
He thinks of her often, long after the scent has faded from her old sweaters that he keeps in the closet. She is what makes him get up each morning even as the stakes are higher and the future looks bleaker.
But life goes on, he remembers, every time he looks at her flower, still sitting there on the windowsill.
Life goes on.
The summer of 1981, there is a fight.
All of the Order is called - all those who have not been forced into hiding.
They had received information that the Death Eaters planned to attack Diagon Alley - the Diagon Alley that had just been nursed back to health after the previous attack. To destroy there would destroy a beacon of hope, a promise that things would improve.
He will not let them do it again.
They make a plan: a sneak attack, hopefully to catch them by surprise and stop another massacre of innocents from happening.
He lies in bed the night before.
If there’s anyone up there, he directs his thoughts, don’t let anyone else have to live what I did.
Is there anyone there?
The surprise is successful, but at a cost.
The Death Eaters were more prepared than the Order expected, and a fight ensues.
The attack on Diagon Alley is prevented, but the casualty list on both sides stretches on for ages.
In the Daily Prophet, all that it says is Fenwick, Benjamin, 22 years old. Disappeared in mysterious circumstances.
Nine words to summarize a whole life.
There is not even a body to bury, in the end. Just pieces and bits for the Order to discover.
In the end, all he is given is four words more than Grace.
They avoid his apartment for as long as they can, but finally Marlene goes to clear it out.
She always did have the strongest stomach.
She takes a deep breath before entering, trying to do everything but remember how Benjy was killed.
But this apartment - his house, it is filled with little things that remind her of him. He was a good friend and a hard worker and he gave his life so that others wouldn’t have to.
And now she is stuck, standing here in his living room, trying to muster the courage to do what had to be done.
On the mantel, there is a picture of a woman that she doesn’t recognize. Benjy never had a girlfriend, not for the two years that he was in the Order with her.
But there is a picture of him and a woman, standing with their arms around each other shoulders, laughing and smiling as the woman turns and kisses him on the cheek, over and over again.
He looks happier there, in that frozen moment of time, than he ever did when she knew him. Oh, he never seemed particularly unhappy, but - but there were those moments, when he would stare off into the distance, thinking of something unknown.
They all have those moments.
No one escapes the Order unscathed in some way.
Marlene cleans the place and leaves as quickly as she can. Away from this place that smells of loneliness and loss, a place still shrouded in mystery to her.
She returns back to her own lonely apartment and tries to never think of it again.
In the bedroom, she leaves on the windowsill a single little flower, old and shriveled and pink. She overlooks it in her haste to leave.
If she had stayed for just another moment, she would have seen the stem break, and the petals and the leaves gracefully float to the soil - only to slowly blossom once more.
Life happens. People die, people live. Children are born, grow up, get married. Lives are torn apart by violence and warfare. Lives are rebuilt, one frail, fragile strand at a time. Who decides who lives and survives?
A family is killed all at once. A couple is tortured into insanity. A man is torn into pieces. A husband is murdered. A wife gives up her life.
A baby survives. A child grows up. Time passes.
Some say that in an old, dusty, forgotten apartment tucked away in London, there still stands a flowerpot on a windowsill, with one little phoenix flower, everblooming, over and over again, against the turmoil of the world.
In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life - it goes on. -Robert Frost
A/N: A little bit of angst is always fun, eh? :P Thanks for reading this... I tried to make it as non-depressing as possible, though writing about the first Order tends to make that a little difficult.
I was experimenting with style so hopefully it wasn't a total fail! I had a lot of fun writing this, so it's okay :)
Thanks for reading!
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