I have lost a husband to the war and a son to this plague. I do not hold much hope for my continued existence. Either one of these damnations could take me at any time.
Lucius died at the hands of the Aurors. He died like the warrior he always saw himself as. My son died in my arms. He died whimpering and crying in the coma that comes at the end of the pestilence. It is a hard thing to out live the ones you love. It is unthinkable to out live your child.
We all saw the war coming. It was foretold long before it started. The birth of the Potter child made all of that assured. What we did not see was the disease that was unleashed in its wake. It started so slowly no one noticed. A headache. A pain in the joints. Fever. Then the delusions. The stupor followed. Not long after that death. A few had it. Then many. Soon both sides of the conflict were dying in hundreds each day.
No one can tell you why it started. One side tells you that it comes from the Muggles. Their filthy ways have polluted our world. The other side tells you it is a spell that Lord Voldemort has cast. I do not discount the idea; the Dark Lord has his methods. Both deny having any part in starting it. They spend their days accusing each other while thousands die.
The healers were no help. They tried all their magic and potions to no avail. Some have even gone to the Muggle doctors in hope of finding a cure. What a waste that was. The Muggle doctors and their little pills and potions were useless. Their machines that look inside of us only show the disease and no cure for it.
We have to take our dead to the plague pits and cast them in with the others who have died. The death tenders make sure there is fresh lye shoveled over the corpses each morning to keep the stench from permeating through the town. All must go there. The disease is too dangerous to bury your dead in family plots on your own land.
I made Draco's shroud myself. I did not want any of the house-elves to touch his body until it was time for him to be taken. I do not think I would have allowed Lucius to touch him. It was his battle and his war that stole my child from me. But is that not always the way of things? It is the men who chose the havoc that will be and it is the women who must deal with it.
I looked at Draco's face for the last time. In death all pain had left him. He looked like the sweet little boy who I kissed goodnight in his bed each night for years. He was the son who showed nothing but promise for a bright future. I had looked forward to seeing him find the right girl and start his own family. I would have liked to been a grandmother to many. Now those chances are gone.
I sewed the shroud shut. I cried in private for a long time.
I prepared myself. As soon as it was dark the house-elves and I brought Draco's body to the pit. I remained calm. It is never a proper thing to allow your servants to see you emotional. My inner self was torn. All that I ever was lived in my child. All of that was gone.
There is a glow from fires that surround the pit. Some of the survivors remain behind to mourn their loved ones they have lost. Many do not see the reason for leaving and returning to their homes. It is as if they are willing themselves to die here. Many do.
The house-elves and I had made our way to the edge of the pit. I would not look in. The horror that was there would have been too much for me. I touched the body of my child one more time. I could feel the outline of his face through the fabric. I turned away quickly and told the house-elves to do what we had come for. I looked away and shut my eyes. I wanted to become deaf. I heard the sound of the body as it went over the side of the pit to join the mass of corpses that were heaped at the bottom.
When I opened my eyes, I saw a silhouette of someone crying over the body of a plague victim. A young woman. Something made me walk to her. Maybe I just wanted to comfort someone. Maybe I wanted some comfort back.
I was shocked to see who it was. Hermione Granger. I remembered her from before the war. Part of that little group that Potter belonged to. She hated my son and made his life miserable in many ways. Now she stood in front of me sobbing. The wretched little Mudblood deserved this misery was the first thought that came to mind.
When I stood in front of her I could see that the war had not been kind to her. Scars were prominent on her left cheek and she was emaciated. She was dressed in little more than rags. Through her tears she recognized me and started to control herself. She had regained some of her composure and most of her insolence in a matter of seconds.
She was the same age as my son. They had gone to the same school. They had some of the same classes together. She was still alive. Yet she was here for the same reason I was. She was here to bury the dead.
I knelt down to the body on the ground between us. I looked up at her and saw the pain in her face again. I opened the shroud slightly and saw who it was. Ron Weasley, another one of Draco's classmates. I looked at her and saw the tears in her eyes.
She told me the others had deserted her as soon as they had made it this close to the pit. She never said who the others were but I surmised their identities. They ran in fear of the disease that was just over the rim, as if it were some monster waiting for them. She was left alone to mourn the Weasley boy and to get his body to the pit. Both had proved to be too much for her.
I commanded the house-elves to do the duty one last time that night. This time it was Hermione who could not watch as the body was thrown over the edge. She was shivering as she cried and without a second thought I held her. We stood together as one for a long time united in our losses and in our sadness.
I have thought about her the past few days. She is the same age as my son was. She may have a chance yet to live a full life if the war or the plague does not kill her. She had the same pain in her as I did that night. The emotions are the same are they not? Whether you are a Muggle or a Pure-blood, it does not make any difference. The pain is the same for both of us. It is too bad I had to learn this now. I know it is too late. The pain in my joints and the fever tell me that.