Disclaimer: Harry Potter et al belongs to JK Rowling.

Rating: PG (for mentions of death)

Author Note: This is something a little different from me, so whilst feedback is always appreciated this time it would be really appreciated, espeically if it's 'please don't write like that again'.

Absence of Light

His mother is cold, a sculpture carved in ice with pale perfection. A single fingertip pressed warm against her face and she might start to melt. Best not to risk it; he likes that she's beautiful.

She can't bring warmth, but she brings the light. The tip of her wand ignites the candles decorating the centre of the dining room table, an act she will allow no House Elf to perform. She spells candles to follow him about the garden, as he follows the peacocks, in the evening when the sun begins to sink. She makes the Lumos Lamps of his room glow to chase away the terror of the night and charms stars on the ceiling that dance through his soaring dreams.

His mother is morning light, light that shines through the cold glass of a window. Clear. Transparent. She illuminates. From her come no demands of purpose, but explanations and reasons and a silence that allows you to think through the faults of what you just said.

It is easy to forget in the days at school, between the morning post and the night, that he misses her. Here is light and a life outside home and illumination that does not come from her.

Yet night at Hogwarts is spent under the lake where ghostly green filters through enchanted windows to dance up and down the walls. Green is not light, but something that accompanies the darkness of death, a sharp flash of it cutting jagged across a last breath. The fingers of night dark still stroke down his spine.

That dark creeps into the day the older he gets, followed by the people of the night world.

When they talk, backed by the vague presence of him from home who always demands, they slide images into his mind of his cold mother thawing into cold death. He thinks maybe he won't listen to them, but best not to risk it; he likes that she's beautiful.

They quietly talk at him in dimly lit rooms, in shadowed alleyways and abandoned places. Eyes peer at him, holes that pull. Black eyes that question him but give no answers and dark eyes that hint at madness and dimmed eyes that scream obedience.

Red eyes, but colour is not light. Colour is the absence of light, cloth over a bird cage and curtains keeping out the day.

They drag him down to live in the night, with their demands and their voices and their eyes, and with the presence from home whom he loves too. He loves them both. He will not fail.

It is night and he cannot see stars, charmed or real.

But don't worry, mother, he's not afraid of the dark.