DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
AUTHOR NOTE: Many thanks to, Niamh for betaing this for me. This was written for Nocturnus33 as part of the Lovedraughts LJ ficathon. This is NOT the epilogue to, At Any Moment.
It is often said, when one looks back upon that thing known as life, that it is the odd little things; which of themselves mean nothing, that when joined together complete the circle of remembrance and therefore of collected knowledge.
My life has been thus, for without knowing it, I became enamoured of the idea of power, and power as a tool is an idea that has led me astray far too many times than I can count. It also led me to the notion that what one makes of one's life is far more the sum of individual remembrances than might otherwise appear as one lives. I have lived and I have loved – though of course I would argue that such did not occur in equal measure. I at least would like to think they have been of equal importance.
How melancholic of me to drone on! If one such as I, known the length and breadth of the Wizarding world as a person of defined tastes and one not eager to suffer fools, can pen such irrelevant thoughts, then the truth of the story here within might just prove more interesting. I should be forgiven my prattling as I am not used to such contrivances and as such any whimsy in remembering just how I came to this point is entirely relevant. I would love to contort the truth and say simply that I knew intimately that my life was never destined to be paved with simplicity, but that in turn suggests a grandiose notion that I was so much more than many would choose to label me.
Perhaps it is better to just say that life is a strange conundrum and all things considered, a stranger one to experience. My beloved would be the first to agree with me and though now absent from my life, I only hope to see that one soul burnished and naked to my own particular knowledge...soon. It's poor comfort to know that of the two of us, she went first, but all in all I have my recollections and my own sentiments to guide me. She would think me foolish to grieve, but that doesn't make it any easier not to do so. I just remember...everything, and the whole simplicity of her love comes crashing about me like waves tossing flotsam in a turbulent sea.
Love is that one constant feeling and though absent now in the physical sense, it hurts all the more for what should have been; and yet what it became was well its equal.
How maudlin I have become, but I did promise to record this trifle and I cannot cease to do so simply because remembering leaves me numb and unable to handle the power of my own recollection.
How strange that I feel the need to write this down when I always swore I would never do anything quite so whimsical ever again. She who was my partner for nigh on one hundred years would agree with the sentiment, but she alone would be the first to tell me that the Fates often ordain strange behaviour. I can only assume that such strange behaviour as I am about to start exhibiting means that I have need to unburden myself to an inanimate object. I've done that before too. All I can say is that I felt the need to write this down, though why is a complete mystery. I should just do what I need to do and be done with it.
It is as it was all those years ago when I first received this odd looking journal. It was one of those times of great stress when subterfuge could have been all too quickly brought to heel by the strength and evil wielded by one deranged wand, but it was not to be. How strange to think that without this journal I would have never known my gift, never have seen the end of a bloody and protracted struggle, and never known the joy that life – for so long merely an existence - gave me unreservedly. She gave me my life over again.
It just goes to show that even I can learn, though countless of my students may have chosen to disagree. More fool they.
Strangely enough, I'm not even quite sure why I'm writing now. Oh, I could so easily say that it is because of her, but then most of the good of my life I directly equated to her, she who was my light, my love and my own personal foil in this great game of life. We fought over some of the silliest things and then at other times agreed – almost to spite the other. But I do her ill credit. She was her own person just as I am my own person and though I say we fought, it was all in jest, though many who watched our mentally verbose battles thought us poorly matched.
She brought out the best in me and made me see the best of what my life had to offer, and yet I have difficulty remembering a time when I didn't feel her close to me. How droll of me, and I can hear her laughing from beyond the great divide.
The greatest and most significant divide...that between the living and the dead.
I've never been what could be considered a person who was comfortable around groups of people and yet the paradox is that I was indeed a teacher. When she came into my life at its very lowest ebb she made me see that I could be so much more, and that to use teaching as a crutch was merely to allow my fears to rule me.
It goes without saying that that observation was not well received. I railed at her, called a 'stupid little girl' and sought to remove her from conscious thought. I now know that you had other plans, and though I could fool myself into the thought that I let her presence waft from conscious thought, it was my unconscious; with more than a little prodding from you, that made me see just how much a fool I was.
Sentience is extremely overrated in this instance, Arcanus. I liked it little then, but as I am more aware and even more humbled by the largesse of your gift, I can forgive one for the other. It is I who owes you the debt, though you will of course tell me it is long since paid. Still, I cannot but wonder why I was chosen all those years ago, and whether or not the trite explanation you offered at the time was merely designed to stop me from pursuing a line of argument you did not wish to reveal.
It all the more makes me feel all the more a fool, but then as soon as I was branded with the mark of evil – I was that fool, forever forced to bear a macabre tattoo of stupidity. And how I paid for that one moment...over and over again. Even after the war, still I paid for my rash act of youthful indiscretion. I was forever labelled as not quite trustworthy, but even then she still loved me and still treated me so wonderfully.
I miss her so...
I'm becoming maudlin and introspective again. I need Hermione back again to tell me to stop being a 'morose idiot.' Or if she was feeling so inclined she could have always fallen back on, 'you stupid, stubborn, self indulgent bastard!'
I used to fall back to correcting her grammar – 'too many S words, my dear. Anyone would have thought you'd learnt to read in a pigpen, rather than the finest Wizarding School in the British Isles.' Otherwise I took each word and disseminated the mindset. She never did learn to swear properly...well at least not creatively at any rate. One can only string so many four-letter words together in rapid succession without looking like an imbecile, and she was never that idiot. She would huff and tell me to go to hell, whereupon I would tell her that I'd already been to hell and that I preferred to stay right where I was.
I remember one instance in the Great Hall where we'd continued our debate in open forum. I hope never to receive a tongue-lashing like that from anyone again. Hermione thought it funny and used it to tease me mercilessly for days afterwards, threatening to set Minerva McGonagall on me if the mood or discussion looked likely to be lost on her part. She need never have worried. I was too enamoured of my beloved to ever strike her with a foul word; nor anything else, and she knew it too.
I miss her so...
I miss her laughter, her passion, her tenacity and her seemingly endless compassion. She made me a better man and I told her so every morning before we rose. She in turn would slap me on the chest playfully and tell me to stop being a, 'dark bastard.
She was altogether too fond of calling me a bastard, and given my family background, it just might have been preferable to have no discernible past to eradicate. I did, however, lay claim to a legitimate birth, which is about all I could really claim from my family. Though I never thought of that...of my family as 'happy', I had no real family to act as a comparison, and so I was a test subject if you will.
I am diverging from my task and I do not have her close by to tell me I'm waffling and that I should just stop being my usual verbose self, and tell the tale I need to tell.
I miss her far more than I ever believed possible. I want to be with her...wherever that is, but she would be most put out if I did something as silly as 'unstoppering death.' Actually, 'put out' would be a mild turn of phrase – she'd be extremely pissed off! Could I, would I blame her if she chose such an avenue? From where I'm sitting now...I'm not sure, but in my heart of hearts my failure to remove that one flask from my storage cupboard answers the question without further need to continue that line of thought.
I miss her so...
I've written that before, but I don't care. It is the simple unvarnished truth and I'm not at all sure that the odd tingle down my spine as I think of her, isn't Hermione attempting to defeat the barrier between us to smack me. I wish she would...I wish she could.
I should of course say that though it seems as though she smacked or slapped at me often, it was with a frivolity I could never muster...and it was never serious. I knew if I got a light hearted slap that she'd fallen back on the time honoured defence of one who knew she'd lost the argument but couldn't bear to call it quits. She knew I knew and that made it all the more fun to take her hand, kiss her palm and then thoroughly chastise her by means of an in-depth and mutually beneficent snog.
It's a stupid word, snog, but in this instance it fits so well. A Muggle saying that my beloved was fond of, and who am I to say it wasn't correct. It was certainly fun!
And if after a thorough snogging...things progressed as they were wont to do, well, such was the beauty of my love. She could see in me what I couldn't see in myself. She sought to remind me of it often and we were blessed in so many ways that it's hard to count them up. It seems to debase it somehow as though someone at some time will read this journal like a tally sheet; complete with corrections, and so seek to understand that which both of us never truly understood. We knew we were bound by something greater than ourselves well before we ever made any connection with the missing clue. Another of your gifts, Arcanus, and one that still astounds me.
I had thought to spend my life alone...in atonement.
I miss her so...
Quite a few of our mutual friends argued that our love was a by-product of mutual stress, and that neither of us had any real concept of love. Still others insisted that I must have swayed Hermione, but I sense that they didn't really know her at all if they could formulate such a theory. If I who loved her body and soul could not make her do something against her nature, then why did they suppose she would lower herself to be with me as a pawn? Still others thought it all about sex, but life for us was never that simple and both of us knew we had far more in common than just pleasuring each other's bodies.
It was absurd then and it's all the more absurd now! No one could ever grasp the simple truth – that we were two souls who knew each other so well and so intimately that the need to take our clothes off to prove it ranked low on our list...which is not to say that we didn't enjoy our passion or share our love in that fashion.
The sum of us together was so much more than our intimate expressions of that sum.
I think I need a break, but at every turn in our home I can see her, hear her laughter or her gentle chastisement when I leave clothes and whatnot where I dropped them. I would give my soul to hear her one more time...or feel her flush against me, holding me and assuaging my fears. To see her eyes locked with mine, bare hearts connected to each other with merely a look. It was by far the most intimate connection that we shared, and all of it together formed a whole that I can never replace, nor would I want to do so.
I've just been going through our papers as I felt the need for a break. I'm still sitting on my 'thinker's chair, gifted to me so long ago by Albus, but the desk...the desk was a gift from Hermione. I remember when it was delivered. She bought it for my seventieth birthday, saying quickly and perhaps a bit worriedly that my old desk was full of borer holes and ready to collapse under the weight of parchment and books. She was worried that I would be angry, but how could I have been angry? She knew me so well that I could not have picked a finer nor more comfortably appointed desk. She even charmed the drawers to be bottomless, so that I could cram everything I wanted to keep into the smallest of spaces. She used to joke that I needed to use a splatter proof candle or I'd have devised the perfect pyre – all that combustible material just waiting to go up in smoke, and me along for the ride.
Every time I sit at my desk it reminds me of Hermione. The sharp youth of the oak has been dulled by age, but nevertheless it is wholly delectable and worthy of fond praise. Hermione used to tell visitors that I was fonder of the desk than of her, as it held pride of place in the main study and I did so enjoy rubbing my hand lovingly over its contours. I know I used to give her a wicked grin and depending on the company, I'd make sure to pass the comment that it reminded me of the malleable softness of someone else's contours. Then she'd smack me on the arm all the while flushing the most vibrant crimson.
I miss her so...
I would so love to sit back and allow my rambling thoughts to collect on the parchment by way of a recording quill, but a 'Dicto-Quill' is so impersonal and I want people to know that I wrote this odd ramble. I wonder just how many would be interested to know that the 'bastard of the dungeons' (there's that word again) had a soul and a purpose in his long life, but I know I had those things, all tempered by my beloved...and that's all that's really important. At least I think it's important. I need Hermione to tell me it was important, that our journey together was a grand adventure, and that our love and life was a glorious discovery we found almost by accident following an odd moment in a dungeon corridor.
She can't though, because she is no longer here...she's not living, nor is she a ghost from whom I could seek wise counsel.
I am alone...again. I am staring at a flask I had not thought I would ever need, nor ever want.
I miss her so...
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