Completed: (6/1/05) 1:56 AM
Posted: (6/1/05) 11:00 PM
Title: Black Dresses
Rating: PG-13/T – for the sake of death issues and slight adult references.
Disclaimer: Wow...I'm not sure I even want to claim the plot to this one. It's definitely one of my more, er, different, compositions.
A/N: Mer gave me the urge to write a Remus-death fic, and while he ended up being already dead in it…ah well. It's not in my usual style and for that my defense is that it was written from 1-2 in the morning my time. Still, I ought not to judge it until it's read by others. Then I can hear the insults from everyone else, lol.
Enjoy! (I think...)
Everyone was dressed in black. Freshly pressed robes and polished shoes, they looked like tiny little dolls set up on a stage. The dolls stood stiffly wooden around the hole in the ground opened like the mouth of hell in the tiny back hamlet of the forest, yawning wide and angry and just waiting to swallow up the long black box the dolls lowered into it. Everything was black.
The dolls. The Hole. And the long black box.
The clearing reeked of decaying leaves and decaying else and was positively heavy with heat and muggy in the Indian summer humidity that got caught and festered in the thick tree canopy above their heads that nearly blocked out all the sunshine. It was black here too – all black, always.
His kind wasn't allowed in the public wizarding cemeteries like his friends had been, and she had refused to allow them to put him in the evil, cold ground behind Grimmauld. Here at least he could smell the trees, taste the dirt. But it wasn't right – this false ceremony, this playacted tragedy. They said it was dangerous for all of them to come, but it was a lie, a farce. It was wrong. Only as many dolls as could be fisted into two childish hands had been set down to act out the minor scene in the greater play.
She stood at his mouth of hell with her feet stuck in the muddy ground. Stuck in a black dress that was meant to serve as a sign of her mourning; now, only a joke set among the silent onlookers who dared to add their faded ebonies to the display. She was physically sick. Wind-blown cheeks vivid with rage.
Harry had begun to cry when they lowered the black box into the monstrous cavity in the earth. Like carrions to the carcass the dolls had converged in a black wave upon the openly weeping boy vomiting up false sympathies and falser condolences. She wanted to slap him, shake him, throw him down into the foul mud; screaming, screaming. The tears he shed were one of expectance – more lines in the disgusting game they continued to play.
Only she felt the loss. She would not cry because a loss so great could only bring emptiness to those it touched. Tears were a mockery, a reaction by the black-pressed people who tasted the mere shadow of the tragedy and couldn't grasp anything worse; gagged on the bitter taste. She was angry, vengeful, hateful. How dare they make claim to sadness, to depression, when they had no comprehension of the pain they should have felt. That she felt.
She hated them for pretending.
The mud was cool, the air stifling. The black dress scratched her flushed skin as it stirred in the wind. Someone was saying something. Garbage. She didn't listen. She stared down into that roaring mouth, the cacophony of screams and wind that tunneled up out of it like it was the doorway of hell itself, and she screamed silently back. Wondered if one more step and she'd fall into death.
Would he catch her?
The singing was wrong. She wanted them to stop; wanted them all to leave. There were not enough people. There were too many people. They weren't the right people. She wanted to be alone. She wanted to die. The long black box was all wrong. The black dresses were wrong. Everything was wrong and she was physically sick. Standing in the mud.
A wavering flame above her wand. A flick and the mouth swallowed it. Another and another. The dolls changed their masks – screaming and shouting as the long black box went up in smoke and orange fire. Werewolf remains were rare and dangerous. He'd said it was the only way. Tiny fists on her back. Beating. Beating. Tears and angry words pounding into her back as Harry raged at the burning sight. Her eyes were filled with fire. The dolls pulled their youngest member away oozing dismay, despair, depression.
Hands pulled at her. They were hard and plastic and unfeeling. They were fake. They were the wrong hands. She fought them off, knees sinking into the cool, cool mud as she kneeled over the mouth. Heat searing her cheeks, dress hem brushing over lips and teeth, the flames like welcoming arms – like arms held open in passion-filled nights – beckoned her down into their embrace. Passionate fire.
They left her there – the pretending hands – content to wallow like deprecating pigs in their pretentious sorrow and heartache. Their feelings were nothing more than elaborate card houses. She could see through them. She could see through the orange; through the long black box.
This whole thing was wrong. He deserved better. He deserved right.
No tears. Never tears and never 'til the day she died. Anger and emptiness were her bricks and mortar. Wall of pain. She hated because there should have been others. There had been others; their own mouths had swallowed them. They'd had no dolls to wail fake farewells. But she was alone in her realness. His only person amid the sea of pretenders with their polished shoes and polished faces.
She knelt in the mud. The only person who loved him.
The only person.
His only love.
She covered his ashes herself. The others long gone when the fires refused to die. Each mound of dirt by her hands. The clearing was hot; the mud cool. She was covered in it. His ashes in the mud and the mud on her. She worked til it was finished, making no promises save one.
There was someone here who truly loved you when they tried to bury you out of sight.
When it was done and the smell of death and rot long accustomed smells, she stood – unpolished, and empty. With her dress no longer black, her cheeks no longer flushed, but her eyes still burning. Fire burning. She stood dirty and unkempt at the edge of his closed up mouth of hell.
And wished she would have let it swallow her.