Fawkes watched from a tree in the Forest, just outside the Hogwarts boundaries, as dusk began to overtake the school grounds. He had felt compelled to stand a silent vigil out of sight through the funeral, but once this day was ended, he would depart wizarding Britain, never to return.

The students had left on the Hogwarts Express shortly after the funeral, and the foreign dignitaries and Ministry officials had not lingered long after offering their official expressions of sympathy to the Acting Headmistress and Aberforth Dumbledore at the reception. Those faculty who customarily summered elsewhere had also departed.

Now the Castle was quiet, and largely dark. One of the few lights was that shining from the Headmistress's tower suite. Then it too dimmed, as if the occupant had left the Tower. A few minutes later a lone figure emerged from a side door and moved across the grounds towards the white marble tomb.

Every sound in the Forest ceased as the notes of The Last Post echoed across the grounds, the bagpipes filling the very air with mourning. The phoenix felt tears roll down his beak, but knew that the piper's grief was one wound he was powerless to heal.

Fine