Chapter 1 : Linger
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Her breath escapes her mouth in small, white puffs. She lets her eyes travel to the dementors that stand guard on either side of her and she wishes yet again that she had her wand. But they've taken it from her, to inspect it, they said, and she knows that she won't be getting it back soon. So she focuses on the small clouds of her breath that float in front of her in a little patch of fog.
She remembers a time when she was a child no older than nine, before she knew about witches and wizards, or Hogwarts, or the Ministry of Magic. Her dark hair was cut short then, and it fell just past her ears. Her fringe constantly grew into her eyes, and her mum would push it back with bows and hairbands in all different colors. She can see their house in her mind's eye, and pictures it at Christmas, when it was covered in snow. Their Christmas tree was visible through the frosted window panes, and a wreath hung on the front door. She ran through the snow with her sister, her breath making tiny clouds in the air in front of her just like it does as she sits, waiting. She doesn't think she could ever be that happy now.
The feeling of the hard bench she is sitting on and the cold wall behind her bring her back to the present. She has never been to this part of the Ministry, and thinks that she would have gotten lost if she hadn't been escorted. She wonders for the thousandth time where her husband is. He had said that he would be there for her. He had promised. She sighs and reminds herself that sometimes he can't always leave work when he would like to, and she tries to be patient.
Her pale hands shake, and she looks to where they are folded in her lap, clutching a handkerchief that is embroidered with her initials. She is so cold, and wishes she could warm up, but the presence of the dementors make this impossible. She refolds her hands, just for something to do, and her eye is drawn to the tiny sparkle of her wedding ring.
Their wedding had been in the summer, all those years ago. Before her father had died and when her sister was still healthy. She remembers her dress, the one her mother and grandmother had made, with its long train and lace veil. She can see the cloth covered buttons running down the back, and her neat white shoes sitting out, ready for her to put on. Her hair was long then, far past her shoulders, and her fringe had long since grown out. it had been braided and pinned before her veil was tucked in place with a silver comb. When she had walked down the aisle, and had seen him standing there waiting for her, she had smiled more than she ever had before. Remembering one of her happiest days, there is a moment where the dementors do not touch her, and she feels warmth.
She stands on shaking legs, and walks slowly to the chamber where her trial is to take place. She risks a glance behind her, but Reg is not there. Turning back to face the door, she squares her shoulders as best she can and walks forward. They'll see that she is really a witch. They have to. The dementors guide her along the dim corridor. Her breath escapes her mouth in small, white puffs.