from darkness comes light

She isn't as talkative as she usually is. Normally she'd walk right up to me and start prattling off about the strange dream she had last night, her hair bouncing against her shoulders vibrantly. But now she walks into the room as silently as she ever could've, takes a seat next to me, and pulls a cup of tea toward herself. Her hair hangs flaccidly around her thin shoulders.

It worries me beyond belief. She's such a vivacious and energetic thing, but now… she's quiet; she takes to herself; she's always over in a secluded corner. I try to strike up conversation, but she merely gives me a despondent smile and shakes her head.

I don't know what to do. She won't talk to me; she won't tell me what's wrong. I can see the pain and frustration in her eyes, but still she says nothing. I bring her a cup of tea in the afternoon, she takes it and mutters a thanks, and returns to staring into the fireplace, it's shimmering red coals capturing her attention like I never could.

I've tried to speak to the others about her, but they merely chuckle and shake their heads, saying I have to figure this one out on my own.

What have I to figure out? Something's wrong, but she won't tell me. The others know. How do they know? Why do they know? What do they know? I don't have the answers… but she does. And she refuses to give them to me.

She still comes down to eat for dinner. She still takes her usual place next to me. But her incessant chatter that usually fills my ears is gone. And I miss it. I miss her.

At one time I had grabbed a book and headed off to the drawing room to read, only to find her crying heavily onto Arthur's shoulder. It scared me. I turned and fled, afraid of those tears, and the emotions they held. Emotions calling out to me, to my heart, to the emotions in me. I have never seen her cry but that day.

One can only assume what the tears were from. I'm sure she remembers the day as I do, so vivid and fresh in my mind. But where she has lost a cousin, there have I lost a brother. I can see it like I can see the tears rolling down her pale cheeks, the image of his graceful-even-in-death descent, his body arching through the veil. It is seared in my mind, a constant reminder of who I am, just as the scars this body holds.

The pain had started deep within me, ripping at me like the monster in me never could, a burning, tearing, undying hatred for the world, and for me. But I have always been the solid ground, and will always be. I always held the level head, the calm exterior, the resolved demeanor, and I must continue on in such a manner. My heart on fire, I held Harry back, when I myself wished to do as he wished, and save the last person I had of my fractured past. And so my world melted away like an old cauldron, the bottom eaten away by years of use, the potion left in my heart spilling over in a way I could never have imagined.

But as I saw her lying there on the floor, unconscious, Moody dragging himself over to her, I knew there were still things left living for. I knew that no matter how fractured and splintered my life may lie around me, my once happy life shattered like a glass no person could fix, there would still be reason to live. There was still reason to mop up my emotions and repair my broken heart, to learn to live again like I thought I never could.

There was a reason to go on: To protect those whom I cared for like I was never able to. I couldn't save James, I couldn't save Lily, and I couldn't save Sirius. But maybe, just maybe, I can save her.

It almost seems as if she's avoiding me. She still sits by me and follows me around the house like a lost puppy, but she speaks only when spoken to, and never answers any questions more inquisitive than: "What's Molly making for dinner?"

I wish I could understand what she's thinking, but I'm not so rude as to pry. I understand the need for privacy better than anyone could, and I can only respect her wishes. But sometimes I feel my tongue unsticking itself from the roof of my mouth, and I find myself prepared to open my mouth and ask her what her problem is and why she won't speak to me.

But I hold my tongue. As much as it hurts me to see her so, I know she needs to work this out alone. I did, and I am, and I will. One day it won't hurt quite so bad, but that day has yet to come, and won't come for a long time. Late at night, after a hard days' work, sometimes I do all I can to pull my own wand away from my temple. Sometimes it feels as if death is the only escape from this crumbling life.

But as I've learned, tears can answer all prayers, can comfort all pain, can numb the soul. I can feel the pain ebbing away only when fresh tears pour unchecked from my eyes. Only then can I truly know the extent of my own pain and sorrow. Only then can I truly know the wound will never fully heal; it is torn open with each fond memory, each regretted tear.

The drawing room has a large fireplace, filled with crackling logs and dancing flames. I often sit on the moth-eaten couch placed in front of it, my body warming but my heart still cold. As I watch the flames jump and the burning logs spit, I feel a darkness — an immense sadness — overtaking me. Sirius Black sat here naught but seven days ago.

I feel my heart churning and boiling at the thought of a night fifteen years ago; a cold room, a florescent moon, a pile of rubble, the unjust spill of innocent blood. Darkness creeps into the corners of my eyes, and I see the silver flash and the flying rubble, the Muggle bodies and Sirius standing there, finally all alone.

I might not have been there, but I knew. My transfiguration was exceptionally painful that night. I refused to be awoken for three days, and when I did, I wish I had never woken up.

The dying embers of the fire still crackle and glow, but the drawing room grows colder by the moment. The room itself seems to be sapping me of any hope or light I had within me, leaving nothing but an empty shell. Death does this. Death has an affect, as dementors do, draining me of all the good memories, leaving only coldness and despair, emptiness and cruel, taunting memories. It leaves me wanting nothing but to leave this world and join them.

But then she enters the room. The fire spits and sputters, as if appalled by merely her presence. The light flickers across her face, drawn and tight. She has the face of a Black. It always amazes me more and more the resemblances between her and her cousin; the same high cheekbones, hollowed cheeks, twinkling eyes, pale skin, lovely features. Sometimes I see his bitter humor in her; they try to make themselves seem invincible. It makes me miss him all the more.

She shuffles across the room to the couch, her tiny feet still finding the edge of the rug and disappearing from underneath her. She crumples to the floor. I rush to assist her and pull her up to me on the couch. She turns to the dying fire without a thank you, but I ignore it. She's resentful right now, just like I am, full of bitterness, anger, regret, pain, sorrow….

She turns her head toward me. Her sheet of black hair streams in front of her face. She doesn't bother to brush it from her vision, so I do it for her. Her dark eyes shine out at me, glistening in the dying firelight. Tears threaten to spill, not only from her eyes, but also from mine.

We both miss him beyond words, beyond description. She has her ways of showing it, and I have mine. She wears his dark head of hair, her fair skin stretched white across her face. She doesn't speak, she doesn't smile; she only hides herself away. I cannot hide my pain behind a mask as she does; I am open for all to analyze, as I know they are doing. Instead I busy myself with things: doing extra chores around the house for Molly, reading through books like wildfire, running errands for the Order every day. But mostly I hide in my room and cry.

I cry and cry for Sirius, and when I think I couldn't possibly cry anymore, I cry for James and I cry for Lily. Then I cry for Peter, the tears burning my eyes and cheeks with anger. And then I cry for Harry, the only one who knows a fraction of what I'm feeling. He may not have known his parents like I knew them, personally, but he knows them like only a son could know. And then I cry myself to sleep.

I wake in the early hours of the morning, truly drained of tears. And then I sit in my room, feet tucked under my legs, staring out the window, watching the rundown world outside of number 12 Grimmauld Place despondently. I fidget on the edge of my bed, folding the comforter over the blankets. I crawl back into my made bed, desperate for sleep, but finding none.

The last of the embers hisses and burns down, leaving us in a moonlit darkness. We both blink back our tears, unwilling to show the other our pain, despite the pressing blacks and grays of our hearts. She is strong, stronger than she thinks she is, but weak when it comes to the heart. I fear I am the same. The love and joy that once filled my life has finally been extinguished in a cold, black sheet of suffocating death.

Her eyes flash to me in the closing darkness; I can feel them on my face, burning into my eyes, into my mind. She wishes to speak.

Her three little words startle me. I do not understand them. What do you mean? I say. I'm right here, how could you miss me?

I'm different, she tells me. I hide in my room and never speak. I never smile. I'm hiding myself away from people… from her.

Her words stab me like ice. I can feel the anger and hurt rubbing against my throat, wishing for release. I hold all emotion back and swallow with difficulty.

There's something you need to remember, she tells me, hot tears beginning to leak from the corners of her reddening eyes and down her pale cheeks. Out of the darkness and trials of life comes a light that will brighten your world. You just have to wait for it.

I can feel the acidic tears running down my face. She brushes them away with a delicate hand and buries her tear-stained face in my shoulder. I stroke her dark hair and together we cry.

Perhaps the light in my life isn't so dim after all.

FIN

Author's Notes: -tears- I love this piece. Took me ages to write, too. Now if you would be so kind as to review...

--alisa