Loss and love, chapter two.


Disclaimer: Okay just your usual disclaimer. Harry don't belong to me. He belongs to a single mum who just happens to be the richest woman in Britain, and also has made one of the bigg3est jumps in pay in history (she went from $496 AUS a week, to earning around that much a second, on some of her better days!)

Oh well, On with the story!

Dawn broke, golden and new. The sun peeked itself over the horizon, it's merry rays gently touching the delicate droplets of water on the moor. The light diffused in the fog that rose up, tendrils stretching up to greet the day.

The light shone through the cracked glass of the bedroom window. The light fell upon the face of a sleeping woman, whose dark circles under her eyes were even more pronounced than ever. Her brown hair framed her weary face, which was pale and withdrawn.

But she had not looked like this before. Once upon a time, she had been a real beauty, her eyes not dull from the hells which she had endured. Her face had been full, her dark brown eyes lively. There had been a time when her skin had been perfect. Now, it was covered in scars, remanants of the hell from which she had fought, tooth and claw. Her hands were callused and earth worn, not as supple as they had once been.

He sighed from where he watched her. She had suffered so much. But there had been almost nothing that he could have done to stop her.

Sighing, he turned away, and went back down into their cramped kitchen. He pulled out pans, and put on the coffee. He knew that she soon would wake, after smelling the bacon cooking. He winced as he turned the wrong way for a pan, sending a searing pain along his side. He shrugged it off,

"Good morning!" came a yawn from the door. Harry turned round to see Hermionie standing in the doorway, her hair tousled, "So what's for breakfast?" "Your favorite. Bacon, eggs and sausages." Harry said, leaning over, and placing a kiss on her head. "And why is that, Mr. Potter?" she said sleepily. He sighed, turning back to the bacon, "Because it's Dumbledore's wake today. At the leaky cauldron. We have to be there at twelve-thirty."

Immediately, Hermionie snapped to full consciousness, "Now you tell me! We'd better move soon if we're going to get there in time!" "Well, can we at least have some breakfast first?" Harry said plaintively. Hermionie laughed.

It took a while for them to get there by muggle means. There was no way that they could risk magic. Voldemort was keeping too much of a vigil for them. As they sat in a traffic jam on the motorway, both were reflecting on what was awaiting them.

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Together, they walked along a crowded street in the middle of London. As they came around the corner, they spotted a dingy pub between a glitzy record shop, which proclaimed it's twenty-fifth anniversary in bright, illuminated letters, and a tired old bookshop. They darted through the crowd, and into the pub, under the sign that was looking even more worn than ever; and into the Leaky Cauldron.

At a table over in the corner sat the party; Minerva McGonnogal, Hagrid and Madame Maxime, Remus Lupin, "Mad-eye" Moody, and a large portion of the Weasly family. Bill had his wife Fleur with him, and she was looking a lot worse for wear. Her hair wasn't as silvery as it had been when Harry had first met her well over seven years ago. Over in the corner sat Tonks, her hair a mass of ebony curls around her face. And there, sitting next to her was Sirius.

Harry and Hermionie took their seats next to Ron, who gave them a fleeting smile before Sirius stood up. "Today," he began, "We are here to honor the 160 years of life of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. We all knew the man, some of us better than others. But that doesn't matter. "We all knew that Dumbledore has done enough to satisfy ten lifetimes within the period that was his lifetime. He was a person who would help out anyone. He believed that it didn't matter what you past was. It was what you did in the future that was important.

"So I ask you all to raise your glasses now, to the memory of a great man, who gave his life in the fight for what he believed in. TO ALBUS!!!" He shouted.

"TO ALBUS!!!" the entire bar roared back. Everyone had lifted their glasses in salute. Even tom, the wrinkled old barman raised a rather hastily filled glass.

Taking a deep breath, Sirius sat back down next to Tonks, who looked at him in concern, "What's up Sirius?" She asked in concern. "I was just thinking about how crazy this is. I was dead, and here I am, saying the obituary of one of the main witnesses of my death!" he chuckled dryly, "Don't you think that that's ironic?" Rather nervously, Harry spoke, "What was it like when...-when you died?" Sirius took in a deep, shuddering breath, "I can't begin to describe it. But it was rather a shock to my system. When I stumbled through that veil, it was like being born in reverse. Everything seemed to go in slo3w motion.

After that, I was in this strange....place. There was nothing but fog. But still I saw people wandering everywhere, lost and searching. It was rather frightening. And then I just happened to see Lilly and James. When they finally saw me, they came over. I just didn't want to understand it. They tried to get through to me. But I just couldn't take it. It seemed like an eternity there, with every second seeming to last for a lifetime. And then, just as I felt that I was ready to resign myself to that kind of.....existence? No, wrong word.... I was pulled back. It felt like I was turned inside out, and then outside in. It was crazy. And then I found myself in the glare of that...thing." He finally finished his tale. "So how about Dumbledore?" Hermionie finally said in a unusually high voice. "I think that he'll be grateful for being there. And your parents, harry, said that they were proud of you, whatever has come to pass for you. They wished that they could see you. They really did....."

The rest of the evening passed in idle chit-chat, with all present consuming copious amounts of drink, trying to numb the pains which they were all feeling.

Not that it did much good.