You Just Don't Know It
Now it's time for some drama, whee. I'm returning to my original genre. :D *huggles dramatic angst (heh, redundancy much?)*
He watched her with utmost vigilance in almost reverent silence, the dark eyes that glittered with apparent misery a sharp contrast against his pale features—features that were twisted in evident agony.
The woman that he watched did not see him, though, for he chose to remain shrouded by the darkness that surrounded them both. To her eyes, he was nothing more than an ephemeral shadow drifting past her beneath the full moon.
She sat dejectedly on the ground, her legs dipping into the smooth crystalline lake, her fingers moving silently along that grass that grew around her. Silvery tears fell unheeded down her cheeks, briefly catching a reflection of the moonbeams before they shattered the surface of the water below her.
It was like an unspoken war between the two, a war neither one knew they were waging. She sat there, unmoving as she wept quietly, and he stood there, unmoving as he watched soundlessly. Neither one wanted to break the fragile silence that stretched between them.
But finally, the implicit battle between the two ended when he stepped out of the tree's shadows, the moonlight casting an almost unholy, unsettling silver glow upon his otherwise dark-colored eyes. He treaded across the ground, the only sign of his movement the gentle zephyr that began to blow; the only indication of his presence the soft rustle of the grass beneath his feet. He gracefully leapt a short distance over the water in order to sit upon a large, smooth rock directly across the woman.
For a time, she completely ignored him, then she looked up, seemingly straight at him, but her eyes were strangely blank, nothing more than an endless void of total emptiness. It was as if she saw nothing at all.
"Why did you leave me?" she asked softly, her voice coming out strangled and almost imperceptible through her tears.
"I never left," he answered in a voice just as inaudible, just as pained. She ignored his protesting answer as she went on.
"You swore you'd come back," she whispered, almost angrily jerking the ring—their wedding ring—from her finger. "You broke your promise."
"I am back," he responded. "I'm right here, why aren't you—"
The girl stood up, her eyes now a maelstrom of conflicting emotions—lamenting sorrow, irrepressible anger, questioning doubt—as she clutched the ring between trembling fingers.
"You lied to me," she murmured as she vehemently shook her head.
"What?" He demanded, getting up as well, his empty arguments filling the spring-night's air. "What are you talking about? I'm right here! I never left!"
"You lied to me!" she screamed, her eyes flashing with an emotion he failed to identify. Anger? Bitterness? Sorrow? "You never came back, damn you!"
He watched, now in absolute confusion, as she feverishly hurled the ring across the lake.
He reached up to catch it; sighed in relief as he saw that it was going to fall right into his palm.
His eyes narrowed in confusion as it passed straight through his hand.
And then he knew. And then he remembered.
To her, he never did return from the war he had left her for. And all it took were the words Avada Kedavra spoken from Lord Voldemort's lips.
"Hermione!" he yelled as he saw her turning around and running away, her sobs echoing in the still, unmoving night. He immediately stopped himself, though—he now knew that it was futile. She wouldn't be able to hear him, anyway.
He leapt up, and allowed the currents of the wind to carry him as he followed her.
He followed her into a modestly built, elegantly crafted house—the home he had built for her, glancing behind his shoulder in astonishment as he passed right through the wooden door. He still couldn't quite believe he no longer belonged in the world of the living.
He looked on, unmoving, as Hermione was immediately met by a small throng of mourners. Among the people in the crowd he could see Harry, his parents and his siblings and a few of his other friends.
With a sigh that went unnoticed, unheard, he moved his attention to the rest of the room, where a great multitude of people still were packed together, a majority of them in tears.
He drew in a sharp, surprised breath as he saw himself, his own body, his very corpse upon a funeral pyre. The bier was carved of polished marble the color of obsidian, and he was dressed in simple clothes—immaculate white robes free of any stains or creases or anything of the sort, and—he chuckled softly despite his sorrow—fuzzy blue slippers that he had loved wearing. Not a single wound, bruise, or cut marred his freckled skin.
By the time he had looked back on Hermione, the number of people had greatly decreased, and only Harry was left beside her, holding her close to him as she cried. He could tell, though, that both of them were valiantly trying to hold back their tears as they walked forward, towards where he lay.
Hermione looked like she was about to weep again as she passed by his carcass as she gently ran her fingers over his now-chilly hand, but a comforting whisper from Harry helped her force them back.
The tears were for later, she decided firmly, for now people had to hear of her husband's valiant sacrifice.
She and Harry both stepped up to a tiny, makeshift podium. Each one cast their respective spells to make their voices louder before they began to talk. The ghost thought it was pretty useless, though, since everyone had suddenly hushed up, as if in waiting anticipation.
"F-five days ago, the Dark Lord died." She began in a trembling voice, her knuckles white from holding Harry's hand so tight. "Only a small number of people know what truly happened on that day. Among those people are H-Harry and I.
"Y-you all know that there have only been three people to openly challenge Voldemort, to defy him face-to-face, since his second rise to fame, better known as the Kindred War. Those people were Harry Potter, myself, and—and—" she paused, scrubbed at the tears that began to fall. "—and Ron Weasley. On that day that signified the Dark Lord's downfall, the three of us fought him—I had been rendered unconscious by a powerful spell Voldemort had cast. I…it…everything was left to Harry and Ron." She faltered again, briefly allowed the tears to cascade down her cheeks before she went on. "Lord Voldemort was immensely powerful, and his stamina for magic was…remarkable. He was able to fight both of them…h-he even almost won."
A quiet, but evident murmur went through the large crowd as Hermione plunged on.
The ghost hovered silently a few feet away from her, beside a weeping Ginny Weasley, listening to the story of his own demise.
"Voldemort had raised his wand, had aimed it straight at Harry. He spoke the words that would signify the end of the Kindred War and the start of his reign over both the wizarding and the muggle world…
Avada Kedavra," she whispered, now shaking uncontrollably with the force of the sobs that threatened to overwhelm her. "And R-Ron…he…oh, God. He—" unable to continue, Hermione began to cry. Helplessly, piteously.
Harry wiped away his own tears, and, still holding Hermione close in hopes of pacifying her, he continued for his friend.
"Ron saved my life," he said simply. "Ron saved my life and the lives of many others by giving up his own. He got in the way of the spell and myself. His selfless sacrifice gave me enough time to cast the same spell on Lord Voldemort." Harry bowed his head in silent reverence. Many people followed.
"And so the Dark Lord died. And so the Kindred War, the war that tore apart the wizarding world, ended. And so R-Ron Weasley will, from this day forward, be known as the Last Hero, for it was his heroic sacrifice that ended the war, and he was the last one to die during that war." Harry looked up, at the skies he could not see. "To Ron Weasley, the Last Hero…I'll see you around, buddy." At that, he let go and walked up to his funeral pyre.
With violently trembling hands, Harry placed an old, wrinkled, and obviously overused Chudley Cannons hat upon the unmoving chest. Hermione followed her friend and placed a wand beside the still body, and then leaned down and softly kissed the cold lips. All this was done in reverential silence.
And the spirit bowed his head, mourning all the things he had lost, mourning for his family and friends, mourning everything that he had forgone.
When he had finally looked up, he saw Hermione, now alone, crying loudly as they burned his body. He watched as she got up, and ran out once again. Nobody followed her except for the ghost.
She fell to her knees as the tears overpowered her, beating her fists upon the soft, dewy grass, crying out his name over and over again.
The spirit knelt down in front of her, touched his fingertips to her face in a feeble attempt to wipe her tears away.
"Why?" she cried, wholly unaware of his presence. "Why did you leave me? Why you?"
"I never left, Mione." He answered, but his response went unheard. "Can't you feel me? I'm right here."
He ran his pale fingers over her eyes, traced the delicate line of her jawbone. "Touching you?"
He wound his arms around her shaking form. "Holding you?"
He leaned down and brushed his lips over hers in a whispering, lilting caress. "Kissing you?"
Hermione did not answer.
"I'm still here, Mione. I never left you." He murmured. "You just can't feel me, you just can't see me."
"I never lied to you, I never broke my promise. I'm right here. You just don't know it."
And at that, Ron Weasley, the Last Hero of the Kindred War, bent his head and began to cry.
"How long has it been?
How long has it really been since I drew my last, dying breath?
And why can't I tell? Is it because I am in a place where time is irrelevant?
I remember, as I closed my eyes and allowed the darkness to engulf me, that the last word that escaped my lips was your name, that my last thought was one of you.
I cannot even begin to imagine the agony that my death has caused you, knowing that my death has caused so many of your dreams – and mine as well – to vanish from your vision, like a dying star in the indigo heavens of a winter night.
I can feel your pain, beloved…I can feel how your heart aches for me, how much you want me to somehow reappear before you and take you into my arms and whisper words that would soothe your tormented soul.
But, as much as I want to, I cannot do this. To me-for the time being, at least, you will be unreachable, because you belong in the realm of the living – and I, as a mere shadow of my former self, cannot enter that realm.
But, love, I do have one comfort to offer you…and that is the reassurance that this separation of ours is our final one. Because I am waiting for you, here on the plane of everlasting warmth and eternal peace. And one day, the emptiness that consumes my heart will be filled when I look into the twilight, and see you, standing there, the last beams of light shining upon your skin.
You will smile at me.
I will smile back.
You will walk towards me, and, when you are close enough, you will hear me whisper the words that would soothe your tormented soul.
Then I will take you into my arms and hold you close.
And, together, we will close our eyes and begin to dream."
--Eternus Somnium, by N-chan, on SO.com
Author's Notes: Ah, nothing like a fun little drama/angst to start my day. Belated Merry Christmas, y'all. I hope you enjoyed this fic. Please post your comments, even your flames. :D I duly note all of 'em. [dances around happily] Later days, y'all!Oh, and the little (okay, somewhat long) excerpt is from the rough draft of a story my good friend posted on another site. I thought it was rather fitting. You could tell me what you think of that, too, and I'll pass it on to her, since she likes reviews as much as I do. :D