The air was filled with a sort of heavy quiet that seemed to weigh a million pounds on my shoulders. My eyes burned from tears cried and sleep lost, but I blinked as little as possible. There were too many images branded into my mind that I didn’t want to see. I was terrified to ever sleep again after all of this.
I wanted it to be over. How would I be able to go on with my life like nothing was wrong? The red hair splayed on the cracked marble ground kept flashing through my mind. I felt like someone had ripped out my heart. I was experiencing the most unusual sensation of painful numbness. There was the aching pain in my chest that felt physical, but I felt so withdrawn from everyone. I wanted to cry, but the tears didn’t seem to be coming.
It was silent as people trickled into the Burrow for hours, coming and leaving as they pleased. Words spoken were few and far in between. No one knew what to say. I didn’t think there were words that could make it better. All of us, we didn’t know what to feel. Should we be happy that the war was over, or sad of all the loss that had taken to win it?
There’d been a single letter, waiting. It was in an envelope and written on crisp white parchment. It was addressed to me, and as soon as I’d read my name, neatly printed on the envelope, I knew who it was from. She had taken the time to write me a letter sometime during all of this. I almost wanted to laugh, but I knew that if I did, it would grow hysterical and then I’d start crying. And I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to stop crying once I started. Maybe I should laugh. Anything would be better than this emotionlessness that I’d unintentionally picked up.
I wondered what was going to happen next. I wanted to know how the world would possibly be able to go on after all of this. It seemed unlikely. I didn’t think that it was possible. But I knew it was. The world would continue to go on, and people would continue to live. There were so many people who had no idea that there was a war that had been going on. Why should time stop now?
It had been addressed to me, but I’d read it to everyone who was left. They were silent and awe-struck and horrified at what the words illustrated. My voice flowed smoothly from my mouth, quiet and low but somehow filling up the entire room that we were all gathered in as I read. Everyone was entranced. There was just so much that I didn’t understand.
Dearest, Darling Lucy,
My, my, my, how far we’ve come from the days when Dom and I were eight and you were two and we built our secret fort. Back then, the most important thing that we handled was Dom’s first crush on Lysander. I would say I miss that time, and, in a way I do, but I also believe that the fact that we’ve aged and matured so much is so important. Everyone must learn to handle loss and gain in their lives, Luce, and we just happened to be lucky enough to be trained early.
I felt like I should laugh there. Rose was trying to bring humor into the situation, but even she didn’t seem to be able to succeed in it this time. And then, the thought of Rose failing at something as small as this seemed funny. Maybe I had some damage done to my head area. And what is she talking about lucky? I would rather live my entire life without experiencing loss. I could feel the loneliness slowly starting to creep in.
I don’t really know where to start. I could start with Hogwarts, my first year, the things that went through my head. Being popular was everything to me, Lucy, and I was strangely good at it. I had a knack for making people want to serve under me, making people think they needed to. It’s an unusual knack, I’ll admit, but it was helpful to get to the top of the ladder fast. And I did. We all know that. But what we don’t know is the horrors that came with being the person everyone thought they wanted to be.
Hugo’s death. It is clearly more important than the loss of my friendship with Indigo that drove her mad and to the dark side, and I’m almost scared of jumping right into it, but I’m running out of time. His death is my fault. You remember, I was seventeen years old, beginning my abnormally long prime of power. There was some sort of prophesy made about me, detailing in what I can see and power that I have.
Voldemort heard it. You remember that party on New Years? I’d disappeared from the pub. Everyone assumed I’d gone with a guy. I’m not blaming them at all. My record spoke for itself. But I hadn’t gone with a guy. I’d been kidnapped by Voldemort himself, and he dragged me to the Shrieking Shack.
As stupid as I was then, I wasn’t easily bought, and he began getting frustrated. I kept refusing his offer of ultimate power, refusing to join his side. He had trapped me, put some sort of spell on me, and began engraving the Dark Mark onto my skin forcefully. That’s why I always wear long sleeve shirts, you know.
Dark magic should never be forced. It’s twisted and messed up enough when people perform it voluntarily, but when it is forced upon someone, it’s deadly. Hugo had heard my scream, having been taking a walk and contemplating life as he so often did. Dearest Hugo had barged in there, took one look at the blood seeping from the half-completed Dark Mark that was about to take over my brain completely and threw himself in front of me.
Voldemort killed him. He died instantly, and by then, people were already coming, having heard the screams and the yelling and the banging. Voldemort left without finishing my Dark Mark.
That is why Callie’s Dark Handprint is so strong.
There was an odd feeling rising up in me. How could she have kept this all a secret from me? I thought we told each other everything. And I’d known that there were things that Rose hid from us all, but to keep something this big hidden? It was Hugo. Hugo Weasley. I felt like he’d just died all over again. But again, his actions seemed incredibly predictable for him. That boy was loyal to the end, and unfortunately, someone challenged that. And he ended up dead.
Are you getting bored yet or are you amazed at everything I kept from you? I promise, Luce, I didn’t keep it from you because I thought you too young or unimportant, I didn’t want to scar you with it. But I’m dead now, and it’s time people know the truth.
The things I see. You know enough about this for it to not be as surprising, but I want to explain it to you a little better because it ties in with the next horror. When I was born, the prophesy that had been set kicked in, making me smarter, faster, more mature, and giving me that ‘must be served’ attitude, giving me power. In return, I was dyslexic, and I was tied with death. I’d known my end for years. But, being young and innocent then, the little reflex in my brain had not been activated yet. When I killed that poor person when I was eight, I triggered the reflex and tied myself with Death. It is in fact what gives me the power to see lingering spirits, do wandless magic, and such.
When I killed that poor person, I’d done it out of self defense and preservation of Dom and you. He’d been lurking in the forest –I’m not sure if you remember, you were so young –and he’d attacked. Dom had been grabbed, and defense had just set in. I don’t even know exactly what happened, but next I knew, he was dead.
Dementors are described as creatures that begin in times of horror and pain and sorrow. There is no firm know-how of real Dementors come to be, and I cannot give it to you. But there is also an ancient curse. If your life is taken from you inhumanely, and not just being murdered, but unreasonably, your soul is suspended in a limbo. The only way this happens is when someone falls through the veil in the Department of Mysteries. Sirius Black is the most famous in our family for that fate to be decided of. He fell through the veil and his soul was suspended in a haunting, painful limbo. This act is so inhumane, that the soul becomes blackened and shrouded in Dark.
This person then becomes a fractured form of a Dementor.
There is, however, a way to save this person, and it is a Charm. It is very hard to explain, but basically, it is so pure and full of light that the person’s soul is fixed and they can return to the earth as a human being again, with nothing but memories of Dementors left. If you’ll take the time to notice, it also managed to shatter the veil in the Department of Mysteries. There will never again be a fractured Dementor. The people that I fixed, they will be able to continue living their lives as though time had paused.
I know you’re reading this aloud, Luce, and I must tell you, and everyone else, I know not what is to come next. That is beyond my time, and it will be, always, beyond my control. But I want you to know, that where ever I end up when I die, whether it’s heaven or the alternative, I will find a way to watch over you all. The Elite I created so long ago, it’s finished. There is no such thing as a group of people who are better than everyone else, and it was wrong for me to try and create one.
I want you all to know that I’ll miss you terribly. But this isn’t so much as a ‘goodbye’, it’s more of a ‘see you later’. Because I will, I’ll be waiting with Uncle Harry and dad and Molly and Lily and Lorcan and James and everyone else for you guys to come when it’s right. It’s finally, actually, over.
And here, I stopped reading aloud after my eyes had caught sight of the next line before I spoke it. The silence was ringing after my voice quieted and I removed my eyes from the room, lowering them back onto the parchment. A beat passed before I wordlessly left the den and made my way to the bedroom in a trance.
Now, Luce, I want you to stop reading aloud. This is for your eyes only, and once you are done, I wish you to burn it like every other letter I’ve ever sent.
I wondered if Rose could see me right now. Curled up into a ball on her bed, a single floating candle giving barely enough light to read her concerns. Callie. Scorpius. Me. It was almost expected. There were tears running down my face and I wanted desperately to cry out. There was no one to talk to. Rose wouldn’t be able to tell me what was going to come next anymore. The feeling of loneliness was stronger than I’d have imagined.
This was a long letter, but it is also the last one I will be able to send you and everyone else. Lives were taken for too long with the war that lasted three generations. The peace that will settle over the Wizarding world as you rebuild and finish mourning will be surreal. Savor it. There is so much left to say, but I won’t speak it. Part of life is figuring out how to deal with things, how to work through the unknown, how to love and how to forgive. You lot all have so much time to figure this all out, and now I’m leaving you to do so.
All my love, forever and always, Rose
It was hours later, after the letter was burned and my tears had dried in tracks on my cheeks that Dom found me in the dark room. The door opened and light blinded me for a second before it closed again. Moments later I felt Dom’s arms wrap around me tight, and then we were crying together, tears hot and fast as they flowed from our eyes. We clutched at each other in the darkness, fully aware that we were on our own now. It was a terrifying thought.
(Eight Years Later)
The train station was bustling with life, people crowding around the different trains, entering and leaving, occasionally giving us strange looks at the owl on the trolley. There was an occasional light breeze trickling through the air, but it wasn’t strong enough to keep us cool from the hot sun. The scene in front of me was, as always, eerily familiar, but so different. I wondered if I’d ever get used to it.
“Come on, Aunt Lucy!” Callie exclaimed, shoving her luggage cart though the brick wall on September first. Remus, Timothy and Madeline were already there on the train, according to Callie and her MagiPhone. Jacqueline Anna (Jackie Ann) was also there to see her younger siblings off with her parents. Rose Marie, Dom and Lysander’s first born, Lorcan Louis, their second, Veronica Jaycee (Ronnie), their third, Harriet Blair, their fourth, and James Mason, their fifth were also there, along with Al and Mia’s two kids, Jamie Rose, and Hugo John. And then there was James’s old girlfriend, Mira and the child that she had been pregnant with before the war, their child named Jamie-Lynn Potter who’d come with Dom and Lysander.
Remus, Rose Marie, and Jamie Rose were all in their Seventh Year, Timmy, Madeline, Lorcan Louis, and Hugo Jr. were in their sixth. Callie was entering her fifth year with Ronnie, and Blair, and James was entering his fourth. Jackie Ann was in Healer training and 21 years old. Lynnie was eight, but she was already shaping up to be as amazing as Quidditch as her late father.
I looked around and found that I’d stopped walking and was attracting a lot of attention. Callie seemed to notice too.
“AUNT LUCE!” She yelled indignantly and I shook my head, smiling at her and gesturing for her to go through the portal. She rolled her eyes at me but complied, muttering something about my better being there to see her off.
I shook my head again, laughing lightly and closing my eyes briefly. It was so different. It still seemed like just yesterday that the war was going on. Eight years had passed, and losing Rose hadn’t become anything easier. I didn’t think it ever would. I wouldn’t ever get over it, but I was quite used to it. It still struck me sometimes, where something would happen and I immediately wondered when I’d see Rose next so I could tell her and then I realized that she wasn’t around for me to see anymore.
And then I wondered if she was up there somewhere, watching over us all. I wondered what sort of things she was getting up to, and I wondered if she really was with all the rest of our family that had gone on both before and after the war. Even Sirius had said goodbye after just a few years of living. He’d looked like he aged a hundred years, but Callie often said that he’d died of a broken heart. He didn’t belong here in this world with his best friends’ great grand children, he belonged with his friends. And that was okay.
“Lucy, will you grab Violet? Brianna is acting up.”
I took eighteen-month-old Ettie from him and rolled my eyes as he tried to muffle a screaming six-month-old Brianna. “Jason James! Stop pulling Al’s hair! And for the love of Merlin, Lilliana Rose, don’t trip your brothers when they’re running!” JayJay is six, Albus Harry is five, and Lily is three and they never stop fighting. They were just like the original James, Al and Lily, never once stopping their bickering, but they, just like their aunt and uncles, loved each other unconditionally.
I blinked at them as they paused and considered listening to me. I loved them all more than anything else in the world and I would forever thank Rose for helping me to get them.
I doubt I would ever know how she knew so much, but I guess it might have been some sort of compensation for all of the problems she had, what with her seeing the dead and the fact that she died in her twenties. Maybe fate was trying to make life a little more fair. It didn’t matter too much to me. Maybe Rose would tell me one day. I’d grow old and die and pass on and she would be there, waiting for me like she promised, and she could explain everything.
One could only hope.
“I got her to shut up!”
I laughed at the joyful exclamation and ushered JayJay, Al and Lily through the portal when the Muggles stopped looking at us. We weren’t really that attention-grabbing, were we? Maybe that was a dumb question.
“You first,” He murmured in my ear, cradling Brianna gently. I smiled at him faintly and let Ettie walk, her tiny hand clutching my hand tightly, through the portal as well.
Once the smoke cleared, I saw the huge huddle of Weasleys, Potters, Scamanders, and everyone else that was somehow twisted in the huge family, along with a few friends. Callie had JayJay, Al, and Lily hanging off of her, but she seemed in her element, merely talking to Ronnie about some guy she thought was ‘to die for bod’.
I guess I’d never gotten around to using phrases as such, and apparently it was American. Sonny probably taught Callie that. But I got the gist of the meaning and I knew Callie’s dad was going to have a fit if she kept her interest in boys so obvious.
Callie, dearest Callie, Rose’s most prized possession, had grown into the single most beautiful teenage girl I’d ever seen. Of course, with her parents, that was only to be expected, but I still smiled knowingly when she turned all the heads in the room just by being there. That was a trait both her parents had possessed.
Her platinum curls hung in loose ringlets down her back, usually straightened, and her mesmerizing big brown eyes were lined with dark lashes and just a swipe of eyeliner. Her lips were full and pink, and she was gorgeous. She looked a lot like her mother, but the beauty that shone through was contributed by her father as well. The unique mixes of everything, it wasn’t easy to see why Callie has already had tons of boyfriends. But she was as sweet as a dove and had the voice of a songbird as well.
I knew Rose was proud of her daughter. I made sure that Callie knew it too. I didn’t quite know how I was so sure of this, but it was one of those things that I could just feel. And there wasn’t a single reason why Rose wouldn’t be proud of her daughter.
“Callie, no boys,” Scorpius warned his daughter, wincing when she just laughed at him and fluttered her fingers at him in goodbye, hopping on the train after Ronnie and Blair after disentangling JayJay, Al and Lily from her frame. I noticed there were two boys carrying her trunk on board and snickered wickedly as she winked at me, the sound of my laughter blocked out by the long, loud, sharp pitch of the train whistle. It slowly began moving and all the young-ins that weren’t going to Hogwarts yet, including Al and Mia’s two younger children, Nicholas (ten) and Alexandra (eight), and Dom and Lysander’s youngest, William Charles (eight), along with JayJay, Al, Lily, Ettie, and Brianna, and Hugo and Janie’s three kids, Jordan Ronald (nine), Yasmin Olivia (seven) and Louis Richard (six), Louis and Tally’s two, Harry James (seven) and Victorie Dom (Tori) (five) were whining about not being able to go, and being left by their older cousins/siblings.
Right after the war, there had been some concern about the Weasley and Potter lines dying off. Al was the sole surviving Potter Heir, and I always marveled at how that line seemed to go up and down with the amounts of people in it. There were significantly more Weasleys around, but the numbers were still small. But now, looking at all of the children bearing names of those of us who had perished in the war, and those children who didn’t have special names because their parents just wanted to move on from the horrors, I seriously doubted that would ever be a concern again. There were plenty of children with Weasley blood flowing in their veins, regardless of the last name they had. That was enough, I suppose.
As the train slowly grew smaller in the distance, picking up speed steadily, I noticed that Nick was cradling Brianna and Lexi and Charlie each had one of Ettie’s hands, I relaxed. None of them would let anything happen to any other. Our entire family was incredibly tight-knight. Our children were spared no details of the war that lasted three generations. They knew that they had to value and cherish those they loved.
I couldn’t see the speck of scarlet anymore and I felt the panic rising in my throat again. I don’t think I’d ever not worry about Callie. It was a different kind of worry than that of what I had for my own children. I loved them, but I knew they would be okay in life. The war was over. There wasn’t anything to fear other than meager school drama.
But this worry for Callie. This consuming, terrifying worry that something would happen to her and she would be gone. This worry that something would happen to the last piece of Rose that I had to hold on to. Callie was enough like her mother that sometimes I would forget that it was Rose’s daughter I was talking to and not Rose herself.
I couldn’t help it. I missed my cousin. Every day. She’d had such a prominent role on my life for so long and even now, eight years after her death, I missed her.
A pair of arms encircled my waist. The panic slowly started to recede, but I was far from okay. Maybe Callie could be homeschooled for the next two years. I think that would be okay.
“She’ll be fine,” he murmured into my ear, “She’s too much like Rose to not be.”
“Do you think Rose is watching?” My voice was higher than usual. I was always like this when Callie left, whether it was one night she was to be gone, or a semester. It was almost a selfish worry, but I also was determined to not let Rose down. I would keep her daughter alive to my last dying breath because Rose had done the same for me since the day I was born.
“I know Rose is watching,” Scorpius whispered, tightening his grip around my waist, “And I know that she’s grinning that quirky grin that she rarely used when we were in school because it was lopsided and Queens don’t have lopsided grins.” I smiled at that. She’d always complained that her grin was lopsided. Few ever saw it because her pleasant smile was the one she showed the world.
Scorpius continued in a softer voice, just a breath of air flowing as he spoke. “She’s amazed at the beauty Callie is, and the children that we’ve got, and the children everyone else has.”
It had taken a long time for me to finally accept that Rose had known all along what would happen. I think I was so much like her that it would only make sense that I would fall in love with the same man she did.
Al said that sometimes, two people who’ve lost something get together just so they can keep that memory alive. They understand one another enough. I would be the only woman who wouldn’t ever grow tired of her husband loving another woman who was beyond reach, and he was the only man who would be able to understand exactly what I’d gone through with Rose and losing the person who’d taken care of me for so long. Maybe that was what we did for a while, just holding onto her and comforting each other when needed, but there was no denying the love Scorpius and I had. It was worlds different than the love he and Rose shared. Ours was lighter and easier and one day, when we were all up there, I would thank her for sharing with me the only man she ever loved because I had no idea where I would be without him.
There was a playful breeze dancing around us, picking up leaves and tugging gently at our hair. Ettie and Brianna giggled loudly as it tickled their faces, and I could feel my cousin’s presence. It was, again, one of those things that I had no idea how I knew, but I just did. She was there. I could imagine her clearly, her eyes warm and happy, tears streaming down her cheeks in two perfect tracks. A smile would be pulling at her lips. I could picture her hands clasped in that strange way she always held them in, and I knew that her body would be right there. I wanted to reach out to touch her, to hold her, to hug my cousin, but I was just imaging it all as usual. She may have been there, but there was no way I could touch her or talk to her.
Nevertheless, I tried, just like always. “Hi, Rosie,” I whispered as the train disappeared from view and Scorpius leaned his head on my shoulders, keeping an eye on the kids and talking to Al and Mia and Lysander and Dom and Hugo and Janie and Louis and Tally and Victorie and Teddy and Jackie Ann and her boyfriend, Justin.
There wasn’t a response, but I didn’t expect one.
“Hi Rosie,” I whispered again, as the breeze continued to tug at my hair and ruffle my clothes, caressing my skin and keeping the kids laughing and happy. I wanted more than anything else to see her. Just to hear her voice.
“I miss you. I love you.” I talked to her very often. I knew she was listening, even if I never got a response. Rose was secretive, even in death.
“Hi Rosie,” I whispered once more, my breath floating away from me as the breeze continued, slightly stronger, dragging along leaves in its path and whipping my hair around. I was so immersed in the wind that the conversations going on around me seemed faint. Maybe I was imaging it all, this whole thing, but I was so sure that Rose was there, listening to me.
And, just for a second, I could almost imagine my cousin’s voice sounding from the wind, light and faint but filled with love and happiness and unrepressed emotion.
Just for a second, I almost thought that I heard a response from her.
So, here's the highly anticipated, incredibly cliche ending to this series. I am glad to say that I will never touch this story again. Honest. I am so beyond done with it. It was fun, but...I dunno...
Anyway, I hope you lot liked this final installment, because I've been worrying and fretting about this dang thing for the longest time and it's over and I think I'm going to be hysterical in a week.
Last, I love each and every single one of you, readers and reviewers alike. You're the ones who kept this story going because there were plenty of times I just wanted to give up but I didn't and for that I'm sort of thankful.
I had this huge sappy thing to say but I forgot it and now I'm watching reruns of Gossip Girl and am very sufficiently distracted. So... um...I guess that's it. Thank you so so so so so so infinitely much I love you all and I hope to see you again in a different story if you're still, you know, up to reading more of my work. I can't imagine why you would be, but, to each her/his own. BYEEEEEE!!! <3
Write a Review Vanishing Act: Chapter 28: Epilogue