Sorry this chapter isn't longer. I'm actually attempting not to vanish again so whatever I can get out counts I suppose! I know some of you are confused, and if you're REALLY confused, go ahead and message me. I'm a confusing writer, I'm aware, so what might make sense to me might make zero sense to you, and I'm perfectly willing to explain it to you and hear what might make it more conceivable, and to just talk to you in general.

If anyone has a tumblr also, I've been holed up there lately, reblogging like a lunatic and art-ing, and if I fall behind again, you're welcome to spam the hell out of me there to get me back on track. I'll definitely notice.

My name on there is wemustneverever, I believe.

And thanks so much for everyone who is still actually reading this, I understand that it's been forever, and I actually didn't even want to continue with it. But then I saw all your fantastic reviews and saw how they had persevered even for the time that I was gone, and that is absolutely amazing. So I can't leave you guys hanging.

I have to remember how I had always meant for this story to end though! It's been too long and I've forgotten. EEEEEh, maybe I'll just make up a new ending! It'll be okay. Here's to hoping I make it to the end at all! Bravo you guys, you are the fire in my hot air balloon~


Chapter Nineteen


He wasn't even mad anymore.

Well, maybe he was still a little mad.

But not at those kids.

Well, maybe a little.

But not at them personally.

Well… Maybe…

Either way, he couldn't help but to feel some satisfaction when Harry Potter's eyes caught his presence and the boy immediately looked as if he had seen a ghost. He was truly terrified, and it was truly hilarious.

He considered sticking his tongue out at the poor kid, but he wasn't sure if that was too obnoxious or not obnoxious enough. How one was to act after their alleged resurrection from the dead was a tough thing to work out, he was pretty sure you should make a scene after something that important, but things weren't the same anymore. On top of that, he was undercover or something along those lines, and fuck was that going to be boring.

As he watched, Harry eventually got over his initial shock and turned to his friends, words creeping slowly and cautiously from his mouth. Edward looked toward the other two, laughing and carefree, completely unprepared to know that he continued to exist in this world, and remembered his short time with the threesome. His time spent with Harry had ignited a spark within him that had seemed lost. Harry Potter's apparent predicament - and his stubborn selfishness - had made him very angry and spiteful, but also reminded him of his own plight, and his own obdurate attitude. It may have seemed like all was lost, but Edward was stubborn too, and he had sacrificed more than this "Boy Who Lived". He may hate Harry, but that was mostly because of how much he reminded Edward of himself.

There was no one he hated more than that.

His time with Hermione was something of a completely different nature, something foreign. He'd even have to say they had been… Friends, perhaps. He and Ron may have even been in their own way too. He felt silly thinking about it at all, but he had found relief and comfort with the children, a common interest. And the combination of this alien and young camaraderie with the reminder of his sacrifice had broke him out of the depression he was at risk of sinking into. Even now he couldn't believe how little he had tried. Every moment he had accepted his fate was a moment Alphonse had to endure his mistake. Every moment was another wasted breath. Another second stolen from the life of the one person he loved with all of his soul.

He'd sacrifice his life in a moment if it had any worth.

He hated this.

His mood turned sour, he looked away from the trio, no longer interested in their stupid concern. They would see him and they would act however they acted, and if for some reason it compromised his plan, he would have to set it straight.

The sorting ceremony proceeded without event, besides the general distaste at Umbridge and Edward's arrival at the school and the Sorting Hat's ominous song. Edward watched as the strange going on's and all around ridiculousness happened around him, not responding to anyone that chanced conversation.

Harry stared at Edward, watching his every move, and trying hard not to look away when the man turned his gaze on him in return. It was strange how the simple change of scenery and attitude had altered Edward's entire appearance turn around completely. When they had first met he had looked like a young boy, frail and swamped in his borrowed sweater that was two sizes too big for him. Even when he had first spoken, as he became harsh and intimidating as he fought the man in the alley, he had seemed older, and harsher, but not like this. Now, his face had changed, his entire attitude, and with the change he seemed to grow, to reach as far as the ceiling and beyond. He seemed huge, adult, a different person. He was alive again but different. How had this happened? Was it even the same person really? Or had he really been replaced?

"He looks like a different person," Ron vocalized his thoughts on the matter, and Harry nodded in agreement. Hermione didn't respond, she seemed conflicted, unsure of what to think about what was happening right now, in this room.

And no one else knew.

"How can Dumbledore not say anything to him? Does he know, is he a part of this?" Ron murmured, looking to Harry for the answer.

Harry didn't have the answer.

"I don't know…" he responded, "I have no idea."

Once more the piercing gold eyes of the boy who had stayed with them for the summer fell upon them, but his face revealed nothing. If anything his expression became more apathetic, his mouth relaxed and straight, his jaw held easy and his hands lying neatly upon the table in front of him, one reaching for his goblet. The only thing that revealed he was anything but disinterested was the intensity of his stare, Harry felt like it was boring a hole into his skull, and he shut his eyes without thinking. A few moments of darkness and he felt less overwhelmed, more in control, and could open them again.

It was alarming when he opened them again only to see that those golden eyes had turned sinisterly smug in the seconds he had stopped looking. Harry felt extremely uncomfortable.

Everything about this unsettling beginning of the year screamed that it would be another year of misadventures. This time, however, they seemed twice as serious. Cedric had died last year, but he hadn't risen from the grave. Things from last year would haunt him forever, but this was different, this was supernatural, something that shouldn't be occurring even in a world of magic. This was wrong.

What was this?

Yes, the sorting ceremony proceeded without event, except for the general distaste and the ominous warnings and the fact that there was a man back from the dead sitting at the high front table. But only a few of the people in the Great Hall knew of this fact, and while it haunted them - all except Edward, being the man in question - it didn't phase the other students at all. But as the children all filed out of the hall, the new students screaming and yelling and chattering in excitement and confusion, and the teachers followed after them to try to herd them into their proper places, and the older students quickly made their own way to their dormitories, attempting to ignore the rush, there was one disturbance that no one but Dumbledore had seen. And as presence of the man back from the dead turned it's back and prepared to make it's way from the room, Dumbledore watched with quiet dread, as a candle swayed. There, in the ceiling of the Great Hall, hardly noticeable, a single candle swayed, and as he watched, without warning, it plummeted from the sky, hitting the ground with a wet smack, the wax crumbling and the flame instantly extinguished.

"...or we'll crumble from within," he whispered, looking long and hard at the candle. his shock a heavy ball in the pit of his stomach. He had dealt with all the bad omens of the coming year with grace, but this, this he could not fathom. This was different.