Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me, alas and alack.

She stays away from the students most days. Their bright faces give her a pang. Just as depressing are the ones who aren't happy, because she knows it only gets worse as you go on.

Their minor dramas amuse her at times. They see love as something that can cure everything and everyone. Of course their fool of a headmaster spouts his grandiose ideas about the power of love to anyone who will listen.

She wants to tell them what love really is. That it's pain and tears and blood and disgust. Disgust at the things you're willing to say to cause the one you supposedly love every bit of pain possible.

Their love spats are laughable affairs. He could scream at her for hours, with her never backing down an inch. And afterward, the wounds would just start to heal when one or the other would begin to tear new chunks out of them.

But, she muses as she floats through the halls, silent as ever, at least they had had electricity. Children today talked about sparks, but they had been more like a housefire.

Maybe it was for the best that real love with all of its pain wasn't readily available for these students. Maybe the shallow sort was easier to take. Sure you didn't feel as much, but on the positive side, you didn't feel as much.

She idly wondered how things would have turned out if they hadn't felt so deeply for each other back then. Would things be different? Would they have lived to a ripe old age and had children and grandchildren?

Or would that strange mixture of love and hate still have gotten them in the end? She doubted it. After all, it's hard to kill someone over lukewarm feelings. No one dies in the shallow end of the pool. That's where it's safe.

For a moment, she sees the life she could have led, the safer choice. She yearns to turn back the clock, to flee from the deep end which sucked her down to the safety of the shore.

She glides into the Great Hall to the surprise of the shocked and recently sorted first years and takes her seat at the Ravenclaw table, and then glances toward his spot in Slytherin.

She makes eye contact. No, she is suddenly clear on this as she locks eyes with his grim countenance, which lightens for just a second when he sees her. No, she wouldn't have changed it for all the grandchildren in the world. Screw safe. She'd take death after life than living death any day.