The Burrow itself reflected the utter gloominess of the family it housed. Nothing was gurgling merrily on the stove. There was a fine layer of dust covering seldom-touched surfaces. The entire atmosphere was grey, dreary...heartbroken.
They stood in the doorway, staring past the couch to the woman hunched over a cup of Firewhiskey, her eyes empty.
“Molly, love. Minerva is here to see you.”
She didn’t move.
Minerva turned to Arthur, briefly squeezing his shoulder. “I can take it from here.”
Arthur nodded in assent and left the two.
Minerva stepped into the den, taking the seat across from Molly. Gazing into her gaunt face, she demanded, “Pour me a glass.”
Molly remained unmoving, statued.
Minerva’s eyes narrowed. “Molly, I told you to pour me a glass.”
“Now,” Minerva hissed. “You need to move. You need to feel.”
Dolefully, Molly obliged.
Minerva smiled tightly. “That’s better.” She sank back into the cushions, taking slight sips of her drink.
Ages seemed to pass. Minerva was waiting, ever patient. Molly must be the one to speak first. And so help her, she was not leaving until the woman did.
Finally, with a raspy whisper, Molly said, “Fred died.”
Minerva’s eyes filled with sympathy. “Yes, he did.”
Molly gazed up at her, great torment in her eyes. “Fred died. And all I can think about is me.”
Minerva set her glass down, leaning forward. “What do you mean, Molly?”
She gulped, wiping her face with a hand. “I killed Bellatrix. I’m a murderer. I am no better than she.”
Minerva’s mouth opened slightly in shock. She had not expected this. She leaned back once more, musing. Looking at the ceiling, she began to speak.
“Molly, we were integrated into a society in which we were thrust into a war. We may not have been born into it, as my students and your children were, but we did grow up with it. And somewhere through those ages, it became a part of us, the hard part. The unyielding matter within us that has made us brave and strong.”
She scooted forward, placing her hand on the other woman’s cheek, making her look up. “Molly, Harry may have been chosen, but we were begotten. We were created to be soldiers, and like every good soldier, out of Voldemort’s ashes, we shall rise.”
Molly wrenched her cheek away. “I took a life, Minerva. How could I not feel awful about it?”
“We were only doing our duty to survive, as was she. We were made to protect. We killed because we had to. We had no other choice but to shield our own.”
Molly stared at her. “I stripped her of life. I had no right to do so, no matter the cause.”
Minerva sighed. “Don’t you understand? Yes, we all killed, but they fought to conquer...we fought to preserve. And what is more noble in this world than preserving what is good?”
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