Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of J. K. Rowling. This story was written for fun, not profit.

Coda

~~

She kisses you first. That's important now, although not as important as it will be later. It isn't tender or particularly loving, but there is a raw desperation in it that you understand. Maybe that's why you kiss her back. Or maybe it's because you love her anyway, and there is a dark spot that whispers of sacrifice and death, and of deserving this one good thing.

You tangle your fingers in her hair and she burrows against you. Dimly you are aware that she is crying so hard that she fumbles the buttons of your shirt. When you reluctantly pull away long enough to help her, she shakes her head frantically and clings to you. She is not in her right mind, but that's fine because neither are you and you won't be for a long time.

She missed your mouth the first time, but she still kissed you first. It counts. It has to.

You trip over toys as you stumble upstairs. As you move past the girls' room, she bites her knuckle to muffle a noise that could be a sob or a moan. By that point you've both left clothes scattered in the hall and you'll have to go and get them later, before the nebulous They stop by to talk about benefits and wills and so terribly sorry, good man, such promise.

The lights stay off. She doesn't have to tell you that, any more than she has to tell you that her eyes are closed or that no, she's not okay. You hold her and wonder which one of you is shaking harder. The dark part of you whispers and coaxes, because she's part of the story just like you are and this is the way it works in once upon a time. Hero gets the girl. She kissed you first. The world will make it count, even if you can't.

You stop thinking before you hate yourself. Instead you hold her closer, and look away when the name she cries isn't yours.