A/N: I normally write for the anime/manga categories, so this is a twist for me. It's a futurefic, and I thought of writing it after considering the myriad purposes for leaving a portrait behind you in the wizarding world. Forgive me for any mistakes.

Disclaimer: Nothing owned, nothing earned. Entertainment purposes only. Thanks!

Arrested Motion

By: Rae

-A "Harry Potter" Fanfic-

Long ago, before magic could capture the essence of a person's personality in portrait form, Muggle painters came up with ways of capturing a person's likeness in portrait form. These paintings, as they were called, captured many things, places, items, settings, people. People sitting, standing, crouching, singing, talking, laughing, crying. Faces.

Muggle painters were reviled in the wizarding world. They were seen, quite frankly, as inferior because of their lack of magic. Much the way the rest of magic society viewed anyone with magic. It was normal, to some degree, to expect that those never experiencing the lack of magic could possibly know what pains the Muggle world went through to advance to the point it had. Nor could a magical person understand how incredibly advanced the Muggles truly were.

Yet, one particular magical being seemed to understand perfectly. And while no one really took notice of the person's understanding of such a fact, there was evidence, incontrovertible evidence, of such understanding. And this evidence graced Hogwarts with a pure and unrivaled sense of mystery that, on one particularly gloomy night, a certain student decided to investigate.

"Where are we going?" Marcus asked from his place in the doorway, glancing at his friend with narrowed green eyes.

The friend, a good half a foot shorter than him, grinned up at him in a peculiar way, before answering, "To look at one of the portraits I saw the other night while patrolling. I wanted to get a better look at it when no one else was around."

Marcus glared at Wren but said nothing as she led him out of the Gryffindor common room into the halls. The portrait guarding their door swung shut behind them, revealing the Fat Lady in deep sleep. She seemed undisturbed at their leaving, but both knew she would complain when they woke her to return to the room.

Following the dark haired girl before him, Marcus ran a hand through his light-brown hair, smoothing it back into place before giving a perturbed sigh. "You've seen most of the portraits here already, Wren. Why do we have to go mooning over another one?"

Blue eyes narrowed at him as she turned partially in the hallway, feet still moving forward, "Because this one is different. And I thought you understood about the portraits!" Her accusing tone caused him to look down slightly in shame, but he raised his head a moment later as they continued their trek to the stairs.

"You've talked to your parents; isn't that enough?" His voice, quiet and calm, was intended to be soothing, but it only served to further agitate his friend.

Rubbing the prefect badge on her robes, she picked up her pace slightly to increase the distance between them. "I haven't talked to them." Her voice was strained, quiet, but extremely tense, and Marcus immediately recognized his mistake.

Putting a hand on her shoulder, he squeezed lightly, hoping to comfort her. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that," he said, looking at her drooped shoulders and frustrated stance. Her features were pinched, and he didn't know how to comfort her. "I just don't understand why you are so preoccupied with portraits. They're not alive."

It was the wrong thing to say.

Turning on her friend, Wren wrenched herself out of his grip and nearly yelled, "You think I don't know that? I know they're not alive, Marcus! My parents are dead, and I can only talk to their freaking portrait!"

Shushing her, he glanced apologetically at some of the now-awake figures looking curiously at the pair from the walls. "I know, I know," he murmured, voice low. He pulled her into a light embrace, but she ignored him, pulling away to stalk forward again, stepping onto the stairs the moment they stopped moving.

The two walked in silence now, Marcus following dutifully behind her, eyes locked on her small form. He considered his dear friend and wanted desperately to comfort her, to remove the pain from her form, to do anything but sit back and watch her waste away.

He considered the portrait she was referencing in silence, saddened again by the death of her parents. It was a freak accident, Ministry officials said, and nothing could have been done to prevent it. Both her parents had been involved in working with dangerous magical creatures, and both of them felt that most creatures were unfairly treated by wizard kind. When they responded to reports that dragons had been seen in northern England, the two immediately apparated to the area, ready to assist in the capture and return of the dragons to safe environments.

Wren didn't have the chance to say goodbye to her parents because they apparated too close to the area of the dragon sightings. Or perhaps the dragons had since moved. Whatever the case, when they arrived, it was only to face the blaze of not one but three enraged Hungarian Horntails. They didn't stand a chance, having not even a moment to prepare before the blast hit them. Marcus knew that his aunt and uncle were incinerated in moments, leaving nothing but ashes for their heartbroken daughter.

After the news came, Wren moved into his house for the remainder of the summer. She walked about the house in a melancholy daze, inwardly grieving but showing no outward signs of it. He and his brother tried to draw her out, but she would have none of it, choosing to cut herself off from them and their parents. Indeed, she was angry and hurt and confused, but the swirl of emotions only made her more powerful and more apt to lash out.

It wasn't until the letter came that something changed in Wren. Marcus and his family went with her to the reading of the will, and they heard that her parents left her a portrait. He wasn't sure she needed to visit a portrait, but Wren insisted, walking into her family's home with determined steps, even as she turned her face from happy family pictures. Marcus followed her into the family library, where she pulled the cords on the new curtains surrounding what they knew to be a recently installed portrait.

His face went ashen as he looked into the smiling eyes of his aunt. She grinned down at him for a moment before turning somber eyes to her daughter. He looked to his uncle, who had a steady expression of paternal comfort on his face, and Marcus wondered how Wren could stand there and face them, knowing their bodies had been turned to dust.

"Hello darling," Genna said from the portrait, looking at the fixed carriage of her daughter. Tears gathered in the portrait's eyes, but she refused to let them fall. "I'm so sorry, dear. I'm so sorry we couldn't tell you goodbye."

At this, Wren's stern demeanor cracked a bit, and she glanced down at her feet for a moment. Then Frank spoke.

"We love you so much, pumpkin," he said, his voice cracking. Marcus watched as his uncle, a man who he always admired, began to cry. "We didn't want to leave you this way."

Before they could continue, Wren suddenly glared up at the portrait and yelled, "Why? Why did you leave me? Why did you leave me alone when I needed you?!"

Marcus put a hand on her shoulder then, too, and she shrugged it off. "I don't know, Wren," Genne replied, openly crying and holding her husband's hand in hers. "I don't know why we left. I'm so sorry."

Wren's eyes pooled with unshed tears, the first she'd shown since their deaths were announced. "Why? Why are you here? Why did you leave a portrait when you know..." Her voice broke off in a sob as she turned and clung to Marcus, holding onto him tighter than he could ever remember being held.

The two stood there for a few minutes, her sobs the only thing breaking the silence. Marcus rubbed her back soothingly and glanced up at the figures in the portrait occasionally, seeing that Frank and Genna were holding one another as well. Finally Wren composed herself a little and pulled away, refusing to look him in the eye but turning determinedly to face her parents.

Before she could speak, Frank said, "We wanted some part of us to remain with you because we love you, Wren. We wanted to be able to watch over you, to give you advice when you need it, to comfort you when you're sad, to be there for you, even if it's only from a portrait. We had hoped the unveiling of this portrait would never come, but we knew it was always a possibility."

That was when Marcus began to take in the signs of their age. It was quite obvious that this portrait had been painted years before. In fact, he realized, it looked quite a bit like his aunt and uncle had when they celebrated the recent Hogwarts letter of their daughter shortly after Wren's eleventh birthday.

He mulled over this insight as the two continued to speak to their distraught daughter, but it was Wren's voice that caught his attention. "If this is true, then I won't ever come back here again. I don't want to see you, and I certainly don't need a portrait to remind me of my dead parents." Her voice was colder than he'd ever heard it, and he stared in shock at the flashing blue eyes of his friend.

"Marcus," Genna said, catching his attention and addressing him for the first time. "Could you leave us alone with Wren for a few minutes?"

He nodded mutely, still surprised by her outburst. Then, without a word, he turned and fled the room that was nearly quivering with the emotion of the girl who seemed so completely broken.

That had been months ago, and Marcus reflected dimly, as they descended another set of stairs, it was odd how changed Wren was when she emerged from the library an hour later. His parents were busy gathering items from her room to take back to their house, but he saw the strange glint in her eyes. As the weeks passed, however, he determined that things had settled down as she calmed considerably, crying over her parents occasionally but generally trying to move on with her life.

It wasn't until they arrived back at Hogwarts that he remembered the determined glint he'd seen in her eyes, and that was mainly because she became obsessed with something he hadn't expected: the art of Hogwarts, more specifically, the portraits. At first he wondered if her parents were visiting her through the portraits, but she denied it when he asked. However, he caught her looking at the walls more and more often, not talking to the portraits, but seemingly searching for something.

He pondered this and questioned what she could be looking for. Now that they were wandering the halls again, he only hoped she'd found what she was looking for. It had been months, and the obsession seemed quite unhealthy to him. Marcus's train of thought broke when he ran into Wren, who had stopped suddenly in the hall. Coming to himself, he realized they were quite near the dungeons and the Slytherin common room. In fact, he noted, they were just down the hall from the old quarters of the potions master Snape, long dead but most famous occupant of these particular parts.

Glancing at his friend, he noticed that Wren wasn't looking at him but instead had her eyes clamped on a frame. He took in the excitement in her gaze and looked at it, immediately surprised by what he was seeing.

The frame was medium-sized, and it appeared normal enough until one looked at the frame's occupant. In the dark halls, the wide eyes of the person gazing out were a stark contrast to the closed ones and occasional snores of the portraits around her. No motion came from within the frame; instead, the brown-haired woman or girl, it was hard to tell, stared hard at the viewer, eyes seeming to follow from every angle.

She stood in front of a small wooded area, her legs bent slightly, as though about to spring forward, straight out of the frame. Her left hand drooped to her side, clutching a bouquet of wilted daisies, one of which was frozen in mid-fall, precariously hanging somewhere between the bouquet and the rocky ground. Her right hand covered her abdomen, on which she wore a white dress that was disheveled and ripped in places. A red smear stretched out from underneath her hand, and blood covered her fingers.

He looked behind her and saw the once innocent-looking wood again, a trail coming out of it with bloody footprints leading to the place where she stood. Marcus saw that her feet were bare and bleeding on the rocks where she perched, and he looked up to her face to see an expression he couldn't quite fathom.

Pale, pink lips open, she looked ready to cry out, but as he gazed into her eyes, he couldn't say if she was scared or at peace. The dark depths confused him, and he couldn't escape the feeling that there was more to this portrait than he saw. The swirling black clouds above her head added to his feeling of dread, and he looked away from the portrait, unwilling to question anything yet.

Instead, Marcus focused on the portraits around the one that so disturbed him, looking to his right, to the portrait of a sleeping nobleman who appeared to be perpetually adjusting his cravatte in his sleep. Then he looked further and saw the next portrait, where five goblins slept, all seated at a table with their heads on their crossed arms, piles of gold between them. Back, past the nobleman and frozen girl, to the left, he saw a group of Hogwarts students, resting in one of the common rooms. Further, he saw a portrait of two house elves, cleaning what appeared to be a bedroom incessantly, muttering too quietly for him to hear them.

"She's beautiful." The quiet words spoken by the girl next to him broke his concentration, and he stared in shock at Wren.

"What are you talking about?" He asked, incredulous. "She's petrified! Why hasn't someone done something about her? She needs help!"

"Actually," a voice from behind them made them both jump, "she's not petrified, and nothing can be done about her painting."

Marcus and Wren turned to face another portrait, this one with three figures in it. Before they could speak, the one who first spoke suddenly said, voice sharp, "Would you stop that?! You've cleaned it already; leave it alone!"

Marcus raised a brow at this, but it was one of the other figures who reprimanded, "Why don't you leave them alone, Hermione? Must you always do this? I thought spew was over and done with!"

Glaring at the red-headed young man next to her, Marcus and Wren heard the frizzy-haired brunette growl, "If I've told you once, I've told you a million times it's S.P.E.W., Ronald! And I don't care if it's over; they're driving me batty with their continual cleaning! Can't Headmaster Bones do something about them? Move them or something?"

"Relax, Hermione," Harry, the only obvious one in the portrait, soothed, putting a hand on the portrait's shoulder.

"Um, excuse me," Marcus finally interrupted when he felt the conversation had died down enough, "but what do you mean she's not petrified?" He nodded over his shoulder towards the portrait in question and gave them an appraising glance.

The three stopped their bickering and looked at the students before them. Hermione glanced at the prefect badges the two wore and narrowed her eyes. "Shouldn't you two be setting a better example for the students? Honestly, awake and wandering the halls after curfew. And prefects to boot!"

"Hermione," the stern tone from Ron caused the witch to shut her mouth and give her portrait-mate a glare.

Wren stared in silence at the three before her; she and Marcus knew exactly who they were, as if someone in the wizarding world could be oblivious to the Golden Trio who defeated Voldemort. Everyone knew the legends of the three who were much more then friends but were, in fact, family by all rights, and Wren had always admired them.

Hermione noticed the stare of the girl in front of her and relented, smiling softly at the pair. "She's not petrified because she's not a magical portrait. She's a Muggle painting." Her soft voice floated in the air and awoke a slew of questions in Marcus, who had never been to a museum, nor indeed, seen many Muggle paintings.

"But why would someone paint something like that? Especially if she can't get away from whatever it is that's attacked her! I mean," he paused here, obviously struggling to find words for his feelings, "it's barbaric!"

Hermione sighed a bit before replying, "No, it's not. Imagine if you didn't have the ability to capture the personality of a person into a magical portrait. How else would you portray the character and story of a person? How else could you capture their life so that all would remember them?"

Wren answered the portrait before Marcus could speak. "You couldn't. It's not possible. They'd just be forgotten," she said quietly, eyes turning sad and looking unhappy at such a revelation.

"So why would you paint a picture like that then?" Hermione pressed, Ron and Harry watching the two before them with steady gazes.

"To remember, I guess," Marcus said. "But why would you want to remember something so gruesome?" He looked back at the portrait, at the stringy brown hair that cascaded down around the girl's face, uneven and obviously chopped in places. Her eyes still seemed somewhat haunted or confident, he couldn't decide.

"A long time ago, Muggle painters were hired by wizards to paint portraits of those famous wizards who many wanted to remember," Hermione responded, beginning a story that Marcus knew was important. "Back then, wizards had not developed the ability to imbue a painting with the occupant's personality, nor indeed, how to make it move and talk and interact with people. So wizards framed and kept the portraits for their history and wrote stories of the greatness of the wizards in those frames."

Taking a breath, she continued, "It is said that wizards do not understand the subtlety of Muggle art, and I tend to agree. The original wizard portraits were just that: paintings of heads with no emotion behind them, no movement to imply any kind of character, and no real expressions to indicate disposition. Wizards believed that Muggles who painted anything but those stern figures were full of romantic notions that showed, once again, their obvious lack of intelligence and magical ability. They, in essence, looked down on Muggle art, calling it crude and primeval."

"After wizards learned the art of charming portraits to reflect personality and motion, they had no need of their Muggle painters and trained other wizards to capture the images in paint on canvas, quite content to ignore the art of those they felt less human than themselves," Hermione breathed quietly, nostrils flared in indignation but voice soft to keep other portraits from awakening. "It's ironic, really, that wizards, who paint portraits like the one we're in, felt more advanced than Muggles simply because they could charm their portraits into faking life. What's even more sad is the fact that they didn't understand the sheer genius of a painting that has neither magic nor motion but remains arrested, caught in the moment, unable to move into another moment."

Wren interrupted her recitation then. "Because they wanted to beat death."

Hermione laughed softly, looking at the girl before her, "Yes. That's exactly it. When I was a student, I came here often, looking at this painting," she continued. Marcus's eyes widened at that. "You see, this painting was put in during my fifth year. Professor Dumbledore had it put here, and I saw it one evening on my way back from a talk with Professor Snape."

Marcus flinched at the names and wondered how she could mention them both in the same sentence. It appeared to him that Ron was wondering the same thing as the red-headed figure was glaring at her and clenching his fists.

"When I stopped to look at it, I noticed immediately that it was a Muggle painting, and that's what surprised me," she continued, a hand placed calmingly on Ron's closed hand. "But the headmaster was on his way to visit Professor Snape, and he stopped to talk with me about it. That's when we discussed his choice of paintings, and I learned that he fancied Muggle art."

"That's not surprising," Harry spoke up, and he grinned out at the two in the hallway. "Dumbledore always did enjoy making a statement anyway."

Hermione smiled at him and nodded, saying, "Yes, and he thought it appropriate to put a Muggle painting down here, in the dungeons near Slytherin common room. I think he was hoping one of them would notice and question him about it... or at least question their own values because of it. But no one else really got it. Not even Harry and Ron when I first showed them."

The two boys nodded in agreement, and Hermione continued, "But you see, the reason this painting is here is so that people would recognize that Muggles have an understanding of life that wizards seem to find hard to grasp. This painting is still, unable to be set free from her fate, and quite silent. She cannot call out for help except with the expression in her eyes, but even her eyes remain a true mystery. I see equal measures of fear and peace in them, and it always fascinated me."

Wren glanced back at the painting and then pointed out, "But she can't tell us what happened or why. Isn't that important? Shouldn't she have a voice?"

Hermione grinned at this, ignoring the patented groans of the young men beside her, sure signs that she was about to come to her point. "She does have a voice. And, in a way, it's a much more powerful voice than any wizard portrait could ever have."

She jabbed Ron with her elbow when he muttered something that sounded suspiciously like "except stupid Mrs. Black... what a complete cow." Arching an eyebrow and raising her voice slightly, she maintained, "Her voice is so strong that you either can't look away from her or you are forced to look away. You are either captivated or appalled. You feel her pain and wonder how she got into this situation, and yet you know that she's not thinking about the pain. She's thinking about getting away, going somewhere to die in peace, getting to some safe place."

Marcus stared in surprise at Hermione as he asked, "How'd you get all that from just one painting? You don't even get to see what's in the forest! And you don't know where she's going either."

"Is that really necessary?" Wren asked him, looking at the girl in the painting. And Marcus turned once more, to look at the painting and decide for himself.

The hallway fell silent as the five onlookers gazed at the painting of the unfortunate Muggle girl, coming from the wooded area with an expression so intense that it seemed to radiate out of the painting. Her eyes seemed fathomless, but Marcus began to notice something in their depths that spoke to him of her need to keep some part of her life secret. It seemed she was begging the viewer not to question her haphazard state of dress, the blood pouring from her side, or the forest behind her.

She seemed determined, Marcus decided as he looked at her. Determined not to let the past control her, determined to move forward, determined to stay alive long enough to get past whatever was behind her. And that made him pause. Why did she not look afraid? Why did she not seem overwhelmed with what had happened to her? And how could she face death so bravely, so resolutely?

"You see," came Hermione's voice from behind him, "the secret to understanding the Muggle portrait is to understand that Muggles face their mortality. Wizards ignore it, hide from it, avoid it, and try to find alternatives. Wizards created charmed portraits because it gave them a sense of immortality; it made them feel more secure about dying. They believed that a charmed portrait could keep them alive in ways that Muggles could not, and they found a sense of superiority in assuming that their portraits were much more expressive than those of Muggles."

Marcus turned back to her and asked, "So why do you not believe that's true?"

Hermione smiled sadly at him and replied, "When you look at her, do you not get the feeling that she has no need to be remembered, no desire to live on?" He glanced back at the portrait for a few minutes before turning to nod. "And when you look at portraits of wizards, do you not see the struggle to stay alive, even in mortality?" Again he nodded. "Wizards forgot one crucial thing when they began to charm portraits." Wren turned now, to look at the portrait of the Golden Trio again. "Muggles paint pictures of nameless people who can do nothing about their pictures because they recognize that in giving a person a painting, they are creating a likeness, an image, but nothing close to the real thing. Wizards are blind."

Marcus was frustrated. He wanted more than that. "What do you mean exactly?"

Wren sighed next to him, but he wouldn't look at her. Hermione locked eyes with him as she answered, "You can charm a portrait, but you can't paint a soul. Death wrenches that from you, and no portrait can ever bring back the soul of the person within."

Feeling completely turned off by that answer, Marcus turned and took Wren's arm, pulling he along as he stormed up the hallway toward the stairs, not looking back at the three in the portrait or at the desolate woman stuck in the painting. Wren didn't resist, but she was unnervingly quiet the entire trip.

"Do you think that means your parents just didn't want to die?" He asked savagely, feeling the need to lash out. "Is that why they had a portrait made? So they'd never really have to leave?"

Wren stopped walking, and he let her, dropping her arm and turning to face her. "No," she answered him quietly. "I don't think that at all. But they weren't ready to die. They had no idea they were going to die that day, did they?"

He shook his head, afraid to speak as tears gathered in her eyes.

"That's right," she said, nodding to herself. "They didn't know, and they didn't want to leave me. It's what Mother said all along. She told me..." She trailed off, trembling now. Taking a breath to steady herself, she started again, "She told me the portrait wasn't going to last. They charmed it to stop moving after I allow it, and she wants me to do that. They never wanted a portrait in the first place, but they wanted one for me."

Marcus was shocked. This last bit had come out in a rushed, quiet voice, but he caught it all the same. How could they do something like that? Why didn't they want their portrait to stay in motion forever? It was natural, normal... his thoughts paused as he recalled what Hermione had said. No portrait can ever bring back the soul of the person within.

Wren began walking again, and Marcus walked beside her silently, still considering what Hermione had said. Suddenly he heard Wren saying, "I think I'll let them go. I think I'll take the charm off the portrait when we get back home. Mum told me how to do it; all I have to do is say goodbye."

With a smile he hadn't seen since before her parents' death, Wren looped her arm through his and gave a huge yawn that surprised her friend. He glanced at her, afraid she'd truly lost it, but what he saw in his eyes gave him pause. She was genuinely smiling and happy for the first time in months, and Marcus realized she had finally gotten past her grief. His heart filled with joy at the thought that she would be all right, and he smiled back at her.

"Come on, Marc," she said, using the nickname she'd given him when they were kids. "Let's go to bed. We don't want ole' Filch to catch us, do we?" She asked, referencing the ghost that continued to patrol the school, long after the man's death.

Stepping away from him, she grinned mischievously and said, "Besides, you don't want to set a bad example for the younger students, do you? You're a prefect, Marcus Potter! I can't believe you'd be out of bed at this hour! Honestly, do you want a detention?" Winking at his flabbergasted face, she turned and ran back to Gryffindor Tower, Marcus chasing after her.

Down in the dungeons, a new figure walked into the portrait of the perpetually cleaning house elves, shooing them away. "Do you think she'll be all right?" Hermione asked the figure from her place across the hall. Her eyes were troubled, and her brow was creased with worry.

Genna sat carefully in the high-backed chair in the room and smiled at Hermione. "Yes," she answered. "I think she'll finally be all right. She finally figured it out, and I don't think Frank and I will be necessary for her anymore."

Hermione sighed and smiled softly as Harry and Ron embraced her happily. "Good," she said. "Good. I'm so glad. She's been so sad, and we wanted her to understand why you all would do such a thing. I'm glad she has Marcus; he's been a good friend to her."

Harry interjected, "Yeah, and you can tell she's a Weasley. She's got that look, ya know?"

Ron looked at his friend in puzzlement, "What do you mean, Harry?"

Harry grinned and replied, "You know, the look that says she's too stubborn to do what's good for her? It's no wonder poor Marcus looks so tired; he has to run all over the place with the girl to keep her out of trouble. Now that sounds familiar."

Before Ron could respond, Hermione quickly said, "Yes, it does. It's what I did with you two all during school. You'd think I was some sort of mother hen the way I had to keep you two from getting too beat up on all the time."

She smirked at their simultaneous outbursts of anger and then turned to hug Harry and kiss him on the cheek before kissing Ron on the lips. "Don't be angry, honey," she said, smirking at him. "We all know the truth hurts."

Genna was chuckling from her place across the hall, watching her ancestors banter. Her great-great-grandmother was still as much of a spitfire as she had ever been; though Genna knew her Aunt Ginny Potter to be even more of a spitfire, what with her famous Bat Bogey hexes and Weasley temper.

The four talked a while longer before Genna decided it was time to get back home to Frank. Before saying goodbye, she looked at Hermione and said, "Thank you again for telling her about the portraits. I don't think I could have explained it quite like you did. Now she knows that while she'll never have us back, she also has to move on. She can't keep coming back to a portrait that has only the shadow of a soul. Thank you, Hermione."

"Don't mention it, Genna," Hermione responded, smiling back at the woman who was her descendent. "I had to help someone else make the same realization many years ago." Her gaze took in a gently smiling Harry as she said, "But one realizes that death is not so scary when you know there's someone waiting for you on the other side. Wren will figure that out, too."

Genna thanked them once again before making her way back to the portrait in the small home she and her husband had owned. Back in the Gryffindor common room a different scene was playing out.

Looking into the fire, Wren spoke softly, almost to herself, "I love you, Mum. I love you, Dad. I'll miss you, but I have to keep living now. And I think I'll be all right. I've got Marcus, Drake, and the Potters to keep me company. And all my friends at school, too. I wish you were here, but I know you love me. I think that's finally enough."

So saying, the girl turned to the stairs and made her way up to bed, falling into the first peaceful sleep she'd had since hearing of their deaths. And from his place in the corner of the room, Marcus Potter removed the invisibility cloak he'd inherited from his father and smiled softly at the place where she'd been. Things were finally going to be okay.

-The End-

A/N: I find myself fascinated by the fact that charmed portraits last centuries longer than their counterparts, and I wanted to explore one dimension of why this might be so. The added benefits of students, namely the descendants of the Golden Trio, talking with both the Trio and dead parents in portrait-form adds a bit of a unique twist in a way. In any event, as this is my first foray into the Harry Potter world of fanfics, please be kind. I accept criticism and don't mind it in the least, but I would also accept any positive comments as well.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the story, and please feel free to leave a review.