I didn't want to come here, to be honest. When I think of you, I think of your Gryffindor scarf in those vibrant colors and that loud cheer you would have at Quidditch games, the way you snaked your arms around my neck to kiss me. I can't reconcile that, not really, with the whole serenity of this place. You were always active, always moving. I don't understand how you can be resting, even now.

I think that's why I liked you so much, really. I was one of the active, restless ones in Gryffindor, and later in the Order, and so were you. We could have taken the world by storm, if you gave us a few years. We hardly ever slept. I don't like to think you'll be sleeping forever now.

But I feel I owed it to you, just to be here to see you off to wherever it is you're supposed to go. It's strange, that with all the death I've been through I still don't really have a clear picture of what happens next. But you, you always believed there was something more. I think that made you happier in life, even if all that happens after death is just decay.

You're unbelievably still, and I think that bothers me more than anything else.

God, these people are so unbearable. Not James and Remus and Peter and Lily, obviously, but everyone else. Even the ones that are generally all right, like Emmeline and Frank and Gideon, are just so solemn. Their solemnity, all that respect in their eyes, just makes me feel even worse for wanting to get pissed after all this is over.

I remember the first time you got drunk, you blacked out. You were even drunker than I was, that's how I remember. I was laughing and so were you and all that seems too far away now, when there are people crying all around me and wiping their eyes with handkerchiefs, which I've always thought makes it worse, makes their eyes redder. I'm not crying.

Lily's handkerchief is blue, the color your eyes would turn sometimes, when you were mad at me. Well, I guess it turned that color when you were mad in general, but usually the recipient of your anger was me. That was a common occurrence, and I guess it was for good reason. I'm sorry that I couldn't be the boyfriend you wanted, I really am. I wasn't then, but looking at your coffin, I guess I am now. I'm here for you, even though it's too late.

Lily's started to cry. She actually doesn't look all that bad when she cries, I've noticed; I guess she's blessed that way. James has his arm around her the way you used to put your arms around me, not that I needed much comforting, or that you did, for that matter. Even at funerals, we were the self-sufficient ones, weren't we? We didn't need anyone. We never cried, and if we did, we made sure that no one saw.

I wonder who killed you. One of the Death Eaters, I know, maybe even Voldemort himself. You died well, if it's any consolation. I mean, some people have had pretty shitty deaths, you know? Like my brother, he just disappeared, no trace left of him. We all know what happened to him, obviously, since normally people just don't up and vanish. But your way is better. You get glory, even though you're gone. That's the way to do it, right?

Is that any consolation?

I'm sorry, I'm shit at comforting people, you've always known that. Besides, I don't even know if you can hear me from wherever you are, if you're somewhere at all.

Have you ever noticed the way the start of a speech starts out all strong and clear and attention-catching, and then in the middle it just kind of lags?

Emmeline is talking, and I feel so guilty for not paying attention to her, but here I am, letting my mind wander. I guess that I have for the whole service, but now I'm not even remotely paying attention to the speaker. She started out talking about this time when you ate so many Chocolate Frogs that you were sick for the rest of the day, which was a pretty funny story, but then it got all sentimental, just like everything else.

You would have hated it.

Oh, she's finished speaking, finally. I wonder how long she's been done, and I just haven't noticed. Nobody else is getting up to say anything else. James is shooting me a pointed glance, like I should, like it's my responsibility. But what would I say? Thanks for the shags, Marlene, really they were fantastic?

Bet your remaining family members would really appreciate that.

Do you miss me?

I mean, you probably don't. There's no reason to, is there? I was an arse, and I treated you like shit. I wasn't there for you when you needed me to be; I overheard you describing it to Lily once at Hogwarts as not being at the same place at the same time. And I think that's always been true, for us. Ironically, it's true even now, but in a far more literal way.

But there was something that kept you coming back, and I never really knew what it was. Why you tortured yourself day after day, year after year. Maybe it was because you thought you could change me, but I don't think so, because you weren't stupid. Maybe you liked the fun, too.

And we did have fun together, didn't we? The shagging, yeah, but other stuff as well. That one time when we went to the Three Broomsticks and kept levitating Remus's mug, while I'd borrowed James's Invisibility Cloak?

We really had something, some of the time, didn't we?

Maybe you don't miss me, but I'd like to think you at least miss those times.

Someone else is speaking. There've been a few speakers since Emmeline, actually. And in comparison, her speech wasn't all that bad. Now Frank's speech, that was bad. Damn, I never knew that something involving war and blood and sacrifice could be that fucking boring.

I didn't just think that, did I?

If I had said that to you and this was someone else's funeral, you probably would have smacked me for it later, once we were alone. Not just because Frank is one of your best friends. Was, I mean. I forget, sometimes. I imagine it'll get better in time, but it's kind of hard to remember sometimes now. It's just…so hard to picture you still.

I have this photograph of you, with your hair blowing fifty different directions in the wind. You're laughing, naturally. You never went for the whole model-like scowling at the camera type of thing. I remember I liked that about you. You weren't afraid to be yourself, and if everyone else didn't like you – well, that was fine by you. If they didn't like who you were, they could just go fuck themselves. Wasn't that how you put it?

When you first knew me, I was trying to be the perfect Black son and failing miserably. And I'm myself now, but unlike you there are certain things that I hide - like that for two weeks after I ran away, I could hardly sleep because I was wondering if Mother was having diarrhea the way she always does when she's upset or Father was wandering around in that aimless way of his, whether Regulus was crying every night into his pillow.

I guess those aren't the most flattering images of them, but I was still thinking of them and I didn't want to, but more than that I didn't want anyone to know it.

You always saw through that, though. You could always tell. I guess I'm not a very good actor, am I?

And sometimes – this is the worst part – I would kind of fake my attention to you. Like, if James and Lily and you and I were on a double date, it would be so damn awkward when James was practically caressing Lily's hand. We never did that sentimental shit; it was just fucking for us, plain and simple. For me, at least. Some of the time at least, you wanted more, I know that. And those times, I would take your hand, too, just so I seemed like less of an arsehole than I actually was.

You know that I'm only telling you this because you're dead, right?

The funeral's over, and they're lowering your body into the ground. I guess that's kind of a blessing; you won't get turned into an Inferius or something like that. That would suck balls, wouldn't it?

Damn, I'm making light at a funeral. At your funeral. Seriously, someone should kick me out. Maybe I'm not saying anything, but I'm pretty fucking sure that these thoughts aren't adding to the peaceful aura or whatever.

God, Marlene, just stop looking so still. It's really the only thing I notice, the one thing that I'm fixated on. Just move a little, okay? Wave to me or something. I promise, if you just smile or grin then it'll all be okay. Then all of my inappropriate thoughts would be forgiven, since I would run up and hug you and that emotion would be sweet and public and you'd love me for it.

Come on, they're putting the top on your coffin. It's your last chance. Don't get buried alive, okay? That would really be a downer, yeah? Say something. Tell them to stop. Move around. Do something.


Your cousin is thanking me for coming. I don't even know her name, even though I met her at some reunion that you dragged me to as your date. That helps, to think you used me sometimes just like I used you. Makes me feel a little better about being a git.

She asks if I miss you a lot; she wants someone to share her misery. How can I tell her that even though you called me your boyfriend and I called you my girlfriend, I fucked other girls and you fucked other guys and we acted like we didn't care? I can tell that's not what she wants to hear.

She wants me to say that I loved you dearly (I'm not even sure if I believe in love) and that I miss you (I might, eventually, it just hasn't sunk in yet) and that I'll remain celibate for the rest of my life in memory of you (already untrue).

But it's what she wants to hear, I can tell. She has that expectant look on her face; it's a cliché that misery loves company, but a true one. She wants me to wallow with her.

I look at her, and I think of you. You have the same eyes, and the same ears. I wonder what you would have wanted. I think you would have wanted me to comfort her in whatever way I could, right? You could mess around and take the piss out of people, but when it came to the important things you were polite and made the right decisions.

I can't say the same for myself.

Still, I look at this cousin that looks like you and doesn't look like you and tell her that I loved you and I'll always miss you. I leave out the celibacy part. I'm not about to outright lie.

Are you okay, people are asking me. I never know how to respond.

If I say that I am, then people think that I'm a callous arse.

If I say that I'm not, then people will start to give me pitying looks, and that's worse than thinking I'm an arse.

Instead, I just say that I don't know, which is the truth. I don't think there are words, really, for how I feel right now. To tell the truth, I feel disconnected. Sometimes I forget that you're dead. Sometimes, like when I think about the death of the majority of your family, I'm glad you are, so that you don't have to deal with that. It's always easier to escape than to deal with your problems, trust me.

Or wait. Am I glad you're dead because that means I don't have to be the one supporting you?

God, that's a scary thought. It's even scarier because it might be true.

It's all over. Everyone's gone, even your cousin, who organized it. Actually, that's a lie. It was kind of a collaborative effort, you know, of the whole Order, though your cousin got the credit. Having had an entire branch of her family killed, we thought she deserved it. But we all wanted to have a part in it; we all thought you were amazing.

You were, you know. I always knew that, even during those first couple years at Hogwarts when I didn't really know you, since even though you were a pure-blood, you weren't exactly my family's type of pure-blood; your family history didn't go back to the Middle Ages and you didn't care about blood purity, which was a far worse offense than the first.

You could have done so much. It's unfair that so much potential has been wasted. I mean, I know a lot of things aren't fair. This war, it isn't fair. But this is the worst.

You were never supposed to die. I mean, I'm sure that Dorcas Meadowes didn't really deserve to die either, but she was older and a little bit stuffy. You, though, you were one of us. You, me, James, Lily, Remus, Peter - we were supposed to survive this and be able to tell our kids all about the heroic shit that we did, and the risks we took, and that we survived against all odds (except we wouldn't have really, because the odds were always in our favor, they had to be).

We were supposed to be the glorious ones, the heroes that were immortalized forever, but still got to enjoy their triumph.

If anyone had died, you probably would have been the last person that I would have expected. Maybe that's why this is so hard to deal with.

I'm standing over the ground where you're buried. It looks separate from all of the lush green grass surrounding it, different. I kind of want it to stay that way – distinctive, so in case I ever forget this precise spot I'll be able to find it again – but I also think you might just want to become one with the earth. Oh, fuck. I don't know what you'd want.

I've been standing here an hour, all alone.

All right, I miss you, okay? I miss talking to you and shagging you and dancing with you and listening to you tell jokes. I miss that strong vanilla-like smell that you always had, the way you leaned in slightly when you were reading a good book. Damn it, I miss you and maybe I always will.

If I miss you enough, will you come back?

I've gone from sounding like an arse to sounding like I'm a little kid. I don't think that's an improvement.

I promise you, I'm going to keep on fighting. For you and for all the people that have died in this war. I don't want to end up missing more people. I want there to be an end to this war.

It started out as a glory hunt, didn't it? Either that or a way to hurt my family. That's what you told me, way back when I joined the Order at the beginning after James suggested it, and I got mad at you for saying it mostly because it was true. But it's changed now, evolved. Seeing death firsthand, it stopped being about glory and started being about fighting for the right. I think you realized that, because you never brought it up again.

And now it's less about glory than it ever was before. I want revenge for you and for all of the other corpses rotting in this graveyard, forced to lie still for eternity. If it weren't for the Death Eaters, they'd still be moving. You'd still be moving.

I should probably get going. James and Peter and Remus will probably be stopping by my place soon, wanting to make sure I'm all right. And I am, you know. I am.

Good-bye, Marlene.