Author's Note: The product, largely, of reading the third passage of Eliot's 'East Coker' over and over again for three weeks, and being very awake at two-thirty in the morning. It's beginning to become rather personal to me and various current situations, and I wish I could have included some more of the 'I said to my soul, be still, and let the darkness come upon you / Which shall be the darkness of God As, in a theatre / The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed' bit, but it didn't come out organically in the story I was attempting to tell. In my fifth passage, by the way, I attempted to hint at some of Remus' mindset in wanting to break ties with Tonks—silly, noble, clueless Remus.
The Silent Funeral
by Vintage Blue
O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,
The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant...
And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral,
Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury.
- T.S. Eliot, 'East Coker', Four Quartets
The world is so fragile, and she's tired of fragility: she wants to be vibrant, explode. She is tired of still-smallness, of wait-without-hope, wait-without-thought, wait-without-love. (O dark, she thinks. Dark dark dark. They all go into the dark.)
She wants to illuminate, explode. The world is shroud-laced; she craves sunlight, moonlight, lamplight, dawn. (Dark, dark, dark.)
O, she thinks. O, dark. And the stillness-silence-gone-gone-gone swallows her when she sleeps.
(Sirius, we need your laughter.)
He is watching the firelight, but his head will never clear, he thinks; he feels the world crushing down on his senses like an iron curtain, and there are curtains flapping, falling in the corners of his mind; curtains crashing over everything past and everything present and everything in-between.
Wait-without-hope, he tells himself, but he does not know what it is that he is waiting for.
(O dark, o dark: the vacant into the vacant. There is a vacancy roaring itself through him, and he is staggered by his own brittleness.)
I have never been to a funeral, she says.
It isn't a funeral, he says. There isn't anything to bury.
(Dark dark dark.
She wants to explode.)
He watches her coming up the hill, wind-blown, shadow-eyed; long black skirts and long black hair in long black braids, and it suits her, and it doesn't suit her, and he's never seen her look quite like this: he's never seen her look quite so Black. Her eyes are grey and the curve of her neck is aristocratic, and she says, I didn't do it on purpose; it came this way. Except for the braids, she says. Sirius used to tug on my braids.
He knows, and he takes her hand, and they watch the wind and the beginnings of rain and the sun dipping down towards dark. Maybe we should say something, she says.
Maybe, he says, but he can't find any words.
And the stillness, and the stillness.
And the stillness shall be—
She clutches his hand, and they are both shaking, and she isn't pretending to be cold. (Illuminate, she thinks. Illuminate, explode.) Just now she is afraid of the world ending; o light, light, dawnlight, morninglight, starlight, sun—
Be still. Be still.
She shuts her eyes.
They listen to the wind and the end of the wind, and curtains rise and fall-flutter-fall in the corners and hallways of their minds. Wait-without-hope, he thinks. Wait-without-love, wait-without-thought. There is yet faith.
He thinks, wait for the sun.
(O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark. James-Lily-Sirius, he thinks, and there are many names he doesn't know, and Peter is a harsh jangle, but these three toll in his mind like funereal bells, and the world is slipping away from him, and he clutches Dora's hand for fear she will slip, too, vacantly into the vacant.)
She touches his arm with her free hand, and in their minds they fumble awkwardly for the beginnings of silent goodbyes, because there are no words, there are no words for this. (Wait. Be still.)
So, she says, and her face is wet. So.
And they go hand-in-hand from the hilltop to wait for the sun.
(Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing)