Author: ladyaltair

Rating: G

Warnings: DH spoilers...but honestly, what are you doing browsing fanfic if you haven't read DH? Seriously...

Disclaimer: No, of course I don't own. Everything rightly belongs to JKR, but she has been generous enough to let us play in her sandbox.

Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime,
Therefore, we are saved by hope.
Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history;
Therefore, we are saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone.
Therefore, we are saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own;
Therefore, we are saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.

Reinhold Niebuhr

He does not know how long he sits there after Harry has gone, the only sound echoing through the emptiness is the pitiful wail of the maimed infant beneath the seat on the other side of the station. And then there are footsteps.

He cannot look at her. He knows who walks so softly across King's Cross Station, and he is too ashamed.

She sits down beside him for a very long time, ever-silent, until he wishes she would speak because he is too afraid to begin and so terrified he will break down into tears.

When she rises again, without a single word, his heart stops. He still cannot summon the courage to speak and so he sits in agony, listening as her footsteps retreat across the station, and then stop.

She returns only a moment later, and it is the soft pad of her bare feet against the pavement, the quiet creak of the seat under her weight, and the soft sound of her voice that make him realize that the child's wailing has ceased.

It is then he looks over. She has the baby cradled against her chest and she is singing softly to it, a soft tune that he recognizes as the lullaby Aberforth sang to her when she would scream in the night, tormented by things none of them could understand. When Aberforth sang to her, and when he lay awake in his bed, cross with her, for what sort of work could he ever do if he never slept through the night?

He drowns in remembered guilt.

She places her young, warm hand is on his gnarled one, for he is still aged. And he looks at her face for the first time and she is beautiful, a peace and understanding in her eyes that she never before possessed.

"It's called forgiveness, Albus," Ariana says simply. She takes his hand in hers and leads him onto the train, the baby quiet and content.

And they go on.