Poppy looked at the sea of faces in front of her — young faces, some with still-rosy cheeks, but all with eyes closed, never to open again. She searched in vain for any face that might appear unfamiliar, people she hadn't made cuts disappear with a quick spell, or faces she hadn't at least passed by in Hogwarts' crowded hallways.
She knew every face.
It frustrated her that she could do nothing about it. Oh, she knew they did everything they could to protect the school, "they" meaning the teachers and the pro-Potter resistance and the of-age students. But at the end of the day, too many people still died.
Poppy walked further down the Hall, where the bodies of the older generation lay. There were Aurors and Death Eaters — finally some faces she didn't recognise! — and...
She paused in front of sandy brown hair and ragged robes. Remus Lupin. A braver boy she hadn't known, nor a calmer one, who so courageously walked with her to the Whomping Willow every month, accepting his inevitable transformation brought on by the moon.
Poppy didn't reemerge from her thoughts until she realised her feet had taken her to the exact spot that was on her mind. The Whomping Willow wasn't moving, still deactivated from the previous day's events. Curiosity piqued inside her. In all those years of taking Remus to the tree, she had never set foot inside the Shrieking Shack.
Walking a dark tunnel of uneven ground was quite a task for someone getting on with her years, the Lumos Maxima on the tip of her wand notwithstanding. Yet she forged on, determined to reach the other side as if this would give comfort to the lifeless body of the boy who used to walk this path twice a month.
She didn't expect to see what she saw. Another boy, dark hair and skinny and pale, lay as if in an exhausted slumber. A glance from her experienced eyes told her that Severus wasn't merely sleeping, even if there weren't two gaping wounds puncturing his neck. She sighed. So this was war, where boys who once hated each other fought and died, neither side escaping the ultimate Fate.
She dimmed her Lumos in silent respect. No more war, she resolved to herself, though her heart ached in a way that made it sound like a prayer, a plea.
No more war.