Pennies are the sort of thing you can flip into a fountain, and forget about. I remember being a little girl, and my mother taking my sister and me for a trip to see Muggle London, the London she had been born in. I watched my sister as she took a penny from her purse, and drop it into the fountain at Trafalgar Square. “For luck” she said. But I always thought of that penny as me. If someone could get rid of me, perhaps it would improve their luck.
Perhaps their loss wouldn’t be a loss at all. Perhaps as I sunk away into the fountain, to join a million others, lonely and forgotten too, no one would notice. I think that the metaphorical pond is for me. Perhaps if I splashed through the thin veil of water now, I wouldn’t sink and join those lost and forgotten. I would be remembered, this way.
Perhaps I would have my name carved into some cold stone memorial, and someday perhaps a girl like me will run her fingers over my wearing away name, and remember a girl called Penelope Clearwater. Perhaps she realise that people called me Penny, perhaps she will imagine me, short, skinny and with dirty blonde hair that never hung quite right. Or perhaps she will see me as looking like a war hero; tall, strong, and beautiful. Perhaps she will imagine me as being quiet, and shy. Only ever having one boyfriend and that only for the sake of the word.
Perhaps she will see how insecure I was, but I doubt it. If I was her, running my fingers over the name of a woman lost at war, I would see a confident, popular girl, who was happy with her life, so unlike me. She certainly wouldn’t see me the way I was now; hiding behind a stone pillar by the kitchens. She wouldn’t think I was a coward, even though I was. I couldn’t bear to go out there, not to weave through all the dead.
From the corner of my eye I could see a man, lying there, obviously dead. I recognised him: Professor Lupin. I was shocked, in a way I had trusted that some people were just indestructible, and him one of them. Perhaps it was because he was a defence professor, perhaps it was because he was a werewolf. I knew that all my thoughts on war heroes, and giving myself up were stupid. I couldn’t let my name be seen among men, woman, and even creatures that had lost their lives for a cause so noble. It was a cause that I should’ve fought for.
My mother was a Muggle-born, and my sister was a squib. My family was all that the Death Eaters ostracised and hated. And yet me, ever the coward, had run away. I had to do something.
All had become quiet where I stood. I could almost have heard a pin drop. Yet somehow, I knew that if I listened harder, I could’ve heard the bodies falling to the floor, and the sobs of a fighter as a comrade fell.
I couldn’t stand by anymore. I couldn’t let the knowledge of those bodies falling play upon my mind for the rest of my life. I could never live with the knowledge of standing by whilst all those bodies fell to the hard stone floor of the castle.I had to leave. I had to step away from my pillar.
He was crying over a body. A body belonging to a red head. The body of his brother. I recognised him, in a way. He was one of the twins. The ones Percy used to rant about. I wasn’t so ignorant as not to know how much he loved the twins though. I could see it. I loved my sister, however much we argued, however much she blamed me for ‘stealing’ her magic. If I lost her, I don’t know what I would do.
He was crying so hard, I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to interrupt. It was a moment of so much beauty, so much sadness, it deserved to be photographed. Photographed. I was a photographic journalist. I needed to capture it. Had I brought my camera? Yes. I couldn’t see why, at that moment. I hardly remembered taking it. Then, the memories came back to me, it hardly mattered, but somehow I took comfort in mentally working things out. I had come straight from work. Percy had apparated in, told me what was going on, then taken me straight to the battle. I hadn’t had time to leave my camera behind. Snap. The moment had been immortalised.
I would never show it to Percy, it would probably break his heart, but it was beautiful. I could send it to whoever featured the battle. Then again, by the end of this, there would probably be no one left. There was a flash of light behind me. It reminded me of a flash. And then pain began to shoot up my back. Slowly at first, then quicker. If felt something dripping on to my heel, and I stood there. The dripping got faster, until it was an almost constant flow. The liquid was warm, almost like blood. Almost like blood. I hardly felt myself falling, but I heard the splash. I was just a penny, splashing into a fountain.
But I had done my duty. I was not happy to leave my world behind, I was losing everything I loved, I could almost feel everything slipping away. I held my camera close to me, because although slowly I was feeling less and less of myself, I couldn’t let the picture go. It was my last tie to reality I dragged my arms, although they felt now like I had a brass cauldron strapped to each arm, and just clicked. I could hardly see anymore. I didn’t know what I had photographed, or how the photograph had turned out. But I knew that it was my real duty to document it. I gently put the camera down beside me. It was my duty, all done. I could go to sleep. My eyes were so heavy. It was finished.
He ran his hand over her face. It was all over. A strand of curling dark hair fell over her shoulder. He ran his fingers over it, almost laughing at the thought of her going on about how mousy it was. She had never been able to see how beautiful she was. Oh, how he had wanted to make her feel amazing. He wanted her to see how beautiful she was. But now, now he never would.
He bent over, kissing her forehead gently. He hardly knew why. She was dead. She would never feel it. But something pulled him to that one last gesture of love. Her eyes were closed, never again would those blue eyes light up. She was one of the few bodies left out. Perhaps it was because she wasn’t just dead. She obviously hadn’t been hit by Avada Kedavra. She was surrounded by dark, red blood. The skin on the top of her shoulders had gone a strange, white colour, like there all the blood had been drained from inside them.
Carefully, he picked her up; and he nearly gagged. There was a huge gash in her back. Quickly, he used his wand to fix it. It was only surface repair, even if he had charmed the wound away whilst she was still breathing, it wouldn’t have worked. Then he saw a black object beside where she had lain. A camera. It was hers. He recognised it from the many times he had visited her office. He picked it up, slinging the strap around his neck, and began to stride down the stairs, towards the great hall.
She would just be a name someday, a name carved on a great stone monument. And perhaps one day a boy like him would trace his finger over her name, and imagine a woman who was loved so much. A woman who would never be forgotten. A woman that a young man named Percival Weasley could never let go.
Pictures of Final battle emerge! By Ilse Jones, correspondent on the ‘Battle of Hogwarts.’
Atmospheric pictures of one young woman’s final moments have emerged, as donated by her boyfriend, Percival Weasley.
Penelope Clearwater was one of our own. A photographic journalist here at the Daily Prophet. Perhaps she was working when she took these pictures, or perhaps she just needed someone to know about what she and so many others were going through. Seven beautiful pictures have emerged, photographing what we believe to be the last five minutes of Ms. Clearwater’s life. Mr Weasley does not wish the photographs themselves to be disclosed in this article, as he is hoping to publish the photographs as part of a book of her work at a later date. The book will cost only one galleon, and all money will go to the erection of a memorial for the dead of the battle. Other confirmed dead include Colin Creevey, Jane Slighter, and a houself named Winky. Please refer to page four to see a full list of Casualties.
A/N: Beta’d by Nymphie Tonks; Wow, my first try at angst. A wee bit scary there. Anyway, I’d love to know what you all think, and don’t forget about that little box down the page, that’s just waiting to hear your thoughts. ♥
[edited 10/02/12: grammar-y stuff,] [edited 24/04/12: beta'd version]