oh what a tangled web we weave

(the desire and the spasm)

She dreams in color, and of morning light. Of sunrise and companionship and contentment. Of long nights and late mornings and hot coffee by the fireplace.

She doesn't want to dream of this, of better days, because she doesn't want to remember better days - they ache. But thinking of those things, of prettier mornings, of days when curling up beside him made her feel safe - this is everything to her.

She startles awake, to cold rain and an empty bed, and pulls her crying son to her chest.Morning, she thinks, maybe he'll be back by morning.

(the potency and the existence)

Once, he swims far out into the lake, and doesn't go back. His brother has been sorted and accepted into Slytherin, and he can't pretend he isn't disappointed. He had truly thought Regulus would grow out of the family's ideals.

But he hasn't. Sirius closes his eyes and lets all the air seep out of his lungs, sinking slowly into the water. A cool, greenish-blue haze overtakes his mind, and he thinks about drowning. About simply never coming back up.

He opens his eyes to see the rippling sky, pale and shadowy and far away, and swims for the surface.

(the essence and the descent)

She doesn't know why, but there's a moment, a fraction of a second between her last word and her last breath, where she sees her sister's face. Andromeda comes to mind, and for one instant, she thinks that her sister is going to get an awful letter this morning or afternoon. Bella was never a mother, could never fathom the way other women doted on screaming babies, but there's a moment of utter empathy for her lost sister, right before she dies.

On her lips is an apology, but instead of trying to speak, she simply lets in the black.

(falls the shadow)

Teddy refuses to visit his parents' graves on the 20th anniversary of their deaths, preferring instead to celebrate with everyone else.

Later, however, after everyone has gone to bed or, in some cases, passed out on the floor before reaching their rooms (that would be James), Teddy sneaks out and goes to the cemetery. Instead of going to any specific grave, he stands at the gate and watches the stars. It's a beautiful night.

"I won't be coming anymore," he whispers to no one. "You understand, right? I've got to..."

He trails off, and never gives a reason for staying away.

(for thine is the kingdom)

The first day the store is re-opened, George stands behind the counter, grinning with false cheer, selling his products like always. And every now and then, someone comes in who hasn't yet heard or never knew or doesn't care, and asks him where his other half is. And always, George says the same thing.

"Oh, Fred? He's sick, you know. It's a wonder I haven't come down with it myself, considering how much time we spend together. He'll be back soon, though, don't worry."

After a while, though, word gets around, and people stop asking. George pretends not to notice.

(for thine is)

He loves her, he tells himself, and he isn't lying. It's just... He loved them too, and foolishly believed that - by some miracle - his love for his friends might protect them.

He knows better now, knows that simply loving someone doesn't make them invincible. So he can't stay with her and the baby because he can't protect them, and they both deserve someone who can love them enough to save them, the way Lily loved Harry. Remus wonders, every moment - if he were faced with the same situation as Lily, what would he do?

He can't answer.

(life is)

She holds her grandson close, as though she can absorb his warmth and somehow reanimate her daughter. If only for a moment, if only for one second, if only for long enough to tell Dora how proud she was of her. As if her grandson can bring his mother back. As if he can even know what a mother is.

A tiny, irrational, Black part of her wants to throw him from her, to scream at him and curse him and hate him and blame him for what's happened.

Instead, she lets the rain outside lull Teddy Lupin to sleep.

(for thine is the)

It's like some sort of armor, an impenetrable weight on his chest - it protects him, yes, and gives him a place to hide - but it also confines him, holds him down and drags him under. Each night he spends in his own little flat, staring at the pictures of his family, torn apart and taped together again a thousand times; each day he spends in the Ministry, carefully avoiding his father's eyes so he doesn't accidentally run home; each moment he spends with his nose in another mindless file - his armor grows that much heavier.

And Percy doesn't know for how much longer he can stand.

(this is the way the world ends)

Long after the battle is over and dawn has broken, when everyone goes to any place they can hide, anywhere that they can cry or sleep or stare blindly at the walls, Bill stands in the Great Hall, staring up.

It's lovely, really, even moreso than before - because now the illusion is tempered with the real sky beyond. Light filters through the holes and the cracks and lands on the faces of the not-yet-buried-or-taken-home dead. It's perfect, almost, the way it strikes Fred's face or Tonks's closed eyes - they almost look like they're sleeping.

Bill does not cry.

(this is the way the world ends)

Remus stands at the door of the Great Hall one morning, and watches carefully the way Harry and his friends all laugh together. There's Hermione, the Remus of them, no doubt reprimanding Ron. And Ron, the Sirius, who has no doubt made an inappropriate joke. And then Harry, the James of his group, grinning like nothing in the world could ever bother him.

There is no Peter among Harry's friends, and this seems both absolutely right and terribly wrong to Remus.

He closes his eyes and burns the image into his mind before taking his place at the staff table.

(this is the way the world ends)

What could - the rubble mostly misses Fred but hits everyone equally, and several of them have bruises.

What could - Fred jumps out of the way. Maybe he tackles Ron or Percy in his haste to get out from under the wall.

What could - the rubble hits him, but not hard. Fred covers his head and dodges the worst of it, and comes out with nothing more than a nasty lump.

What does - a heavy rock strikes his neck, right beneath his head, severs the spinal cord in an instant, and not even magic can save him.

(not with a bang but)

This is not what he foresaw in the crystal ball. This is not the future he intended. A slimy hand clamps around his ankle, dragging him forward and down and he abandons rationality for blind panic, shrieking to Kreacher to get away from here even while every instinct within him is screaming for help. But the time for self-preservation has passed.

He feels betrayed, like whatever God granted his Divination teacher the gift of foresight didn't tell her this.

The water closes in. He screams once, water gargling down his throat and into his lungs, and then all is silent.

(with a whimper)

At the age of seven, Teddy decided that his mother wasn't really dead, that she simply rearranged her features, changed her hair color and her name, and disappeared before anything could happen to her. It didn't matter that this contradicted everything he had been told about her, because it meant that she was out there somewhere, waiting for him to find her.

Every time he sees someone with oddly colored hair, his heart beats a little faster. It's stupid and it's heartbreaking and it's wonderful.

In this way, he keeps his mother alive, and never lets her go.