DISCLAIMER: All JK's. Not mine
This was written for a challenge on HPFC forum, but it was so long ago, I can't rtemember what the challenge was called, and I can't find the thread. Basically we picked a number, and were given an object and a quite to use for a pairing challenge. If this was your challenge, let me know and I'll credit you. Warning: Much Fluffiness
Our love can do anything we want it to
It was exactly three hours, and forty-five minutes after the battle for Hogwarts, and the defeat of Voldemort when Justin Finch-Fletchley returned to Hogwarts. His coin had burned out the message of summons while he was standing guard for a small band of muggleborns hiding in southern Wales, his galleon buried in his bedroll. Limping into the great hall, his leg still not fully healed from the Snatcher's shattering curse nearly a fortnight past he was met by a scene of mingled jubilation and despair. Students, teachers and adults lay slumped, in various states of exhaustion on and around the remains of the house tables, and a row of sheeted figures lined the left-hand wall. Sleeping, he supposed. Though with the amount of damage to the building, he was surprised that there weren't any dead-
The sickening realization of the meaning of the shrouds sent him reeling into the stone archway. There must have been at least fifty people-fifty dead people that he had every chance of knowing-lying there. What if…
Half-staggering over to the ghostly line, he began ripping shrouds off faces, barely noticing beyond a first glance the severe damage to the vast majority of them. By the seventh revealed corpse, two pairs of hands caught his arms and jerked him backwards. Stars appeared as his head connected with the hard flagstones.
"What the HELL do you think you're doing?" Forcing his assailants face into focus, he was met with a snarling Weasley. One of the twins that had been a few years above him. Glancing behind him, he was surprised to see the second person was not identical, but Tony Goldstein. "What-"
His eyes alighted on the bodies he had unmasked, actually seeing the faces this time. The other Weasley, Michael, Terry. Wayne, one of his dorm-mates his final expression one of twisted agony. "Oh god."
The full realization of the scale of the battle finally hit him. These were people he knew. People who he had shared classes with, lived with for the last seven years, and they were dead. Dead! Susan.
Forcing himself on all fours, he tried to crawl back, but again Anthony caught him, held him while Weasley re-covered his mirror image. "She's gone, isn't she. Let me see her! I want to see her. LET GO!"
"Justin, wait. Susan's upstairs. Infirmary. Alive."
This time he broke free and raced up the stairs, his injured leg forgotten.
It was beyond imagining, that anyone could do this to a human being. To his beautiful Susan. He ran his fingers through her singed hair, burned away to shoulder length. The burns had continued up the side of her face to claim her right ear and cheekbone in a swirl of blistered flesh. Madam Pomfrey informed him that if she was lucky, she would keep the eye, though the two fingers could not be replaced. He had started to demand why she had not fully fixed her when the seemingly tireless school nurse had collapsed, her face drawn and ashen from so many healing spells in such a short time. He and a battered, but still functioning Dean Thomas heaved her onto a hastily conjured mattress between Susan and a barely-recognizable Finnigan, who appeared to have been put through a meat-grinder. Slumping back down beside the girl he loved, Justin stroked her hand and silently cursed himself for not being there when she needed had him.
He was twelve again. Unable to move, unable to blink, showing no sign of life beyond not being explicitly dead. Beside him, Susan read softly, notes from missed classes, Charms, Potions, Agatha Christie, how had she known his favourite author? She stroked his hair, held his hand, told him stories of the school, of their friends, whispered silently that she was sorry, and that she wished he could hear her. His petrified state had not allowed him to actually hear specific words, but her frequent presence and soothing voice had somehow registered in his mind, and he was pleasantly surprised that summer when he somehow seemed not so far behind in his schoolwork as he had expected.
Fourteen, cheering for Cedric in the first task, wincing as one with his house as their idol, their hero's head was set on fire. Of course, back in the common room, he laughed it off as they feasted on a banquet of treats in celebration. He even let them pass around his golden egg, and Susan and Justin had spent an evening debating what the mysterious clue could be.
His fifteenth birthday, and he managed to actually get out the words he had been trying to say for the past two weeks. Thankfully, no-one else had asked her yet, and he watched with surprising glee as she informed Zach that very afternoon that unfortunately she did already have a date for the Yule Ball.
Fifth year, dueling in the Room of Requirement, back to back in a two on two challenge against Anthony Goldstein and Terry Boot. The rush of adrenalin and the surge of pride as their impeccable teamwork floored "Ravenclaw's finest."
Curled up in an armchair together, finally reading the true story of Cedric's death. When they had finished, Justin had transfigured it to appear as a muggle magazine and left it on the table for anyone who had missed out on a copy.
The summer before sixth year, and the 'official' beginning of their relationship. He had owled Ernie two days later with the news, and received a confused reply of "were you not dating before?"
Writing each other love notes in runes for the other to decode. Owling her for advice on how to dodge his Grandmother's matchmaking. Sneaking out of an Ambassador's dinner to comfort her after her Aunt's funeral. Their last meeting, the morning of September 1st, as she prepared to return to Hogwarts under Death Eater rule, and he to go into hiding along with seven other muggle-borns, all younger than himself, that final fleeting kiss at seventeen minutes past ten outside the gates of King's Cross station. The months of constant fear and anguish, of not knowing how long they could evade capture, or whether their friends and families remained unharmed. And now tonight, the faces of his friends, dead, damaged, their lives forever changed or ended. It was too much. He couldn't breathe. He was falling…
He jerked awake and stared back at the hazel eye facing him. It blinked. Moved. Alive.
Clenching her hand around his at the pain, her lips curled into that crooked smile as she gazed up at him. "Justin. You came."
He was twelve again, only now their roles were reversed. Stroking back her hair, he gently traced the scars that would ever marr her face, a dedication to her courage that in his mind made her more beautiful than ever before.
"I came too late," he replied softly, feeling the trails of wetness trickle down his unmarked cheeks. "I'm sorry, so so sorry."
"You're here now," she replied, wincing at the pull on her face. "I missed you. I love you. But can you still love me now that I am.."
He cupped her face, and turned her face towards him. Softly he pressed his lips over hers, caressing her chin, her neck, her brow. Pulling back slowly, he whispered "More than ever. We are free now, and our love can do anything we want it to." He continued to hold her as she slipped back into that healing sleep, and, content that she was going to be okay, he allowed himself finally to rest.