For Evelyn: gone, but never forgotten. I hope you like it, darling. I know he's one of your favourite characters.
And for Alex: we all miss you, every day.
She woke up, rubbing her eyes, a little surprised to find herself lying on the floor. She sat up, and then scrambled to her feet. She shouldn't be here. She had died, she knew that. What she didn't know was why she didn't seem to be dead.
Or was she? There was no longer any pain, and before there had been so, so much. She had almost drowned in it, and it had taken so much to stop it from overwhelming her.
She felt something tickle her shoulder and pulled it around in front of her. Hair. Long, thick, red hair, just like she'd had before the cancer, before the chemo, before the whole world turned upside-down. There was only one explanation for that.
She wandered along, trying to work out where she was. it was quiet and spotless, devoid of people or noise or anything at all, apart from her, and a tall, thin figure walking towards her.
When he reached her, she was surprised (but not really) to find that she knew him.
"Professor Dumbledore," she said, staring at him.
"The very same." He smiled at her, peering over his glasses.
"Evelyn, yes, I know. It's very nice to meet you, my dear."
Evelyn smiled at him. "I knew you were real; you had to be."
"Of course I am real," Dumbledore said, proffering his arm. "Now, let us walk."
Evelyn took his arm and they walked along in silence for a while, until Evelyn asked, "Where are we?"
"Well, I am not completely certain. I believe that is up to you. It is, as they - and I - say, your party."
She laughed out loud, remembering the last time he had said exactly that.
"That's the thing," she said. "It looks, to me, just like it looked to Harry: like King's Cross train station, but cleaner, and without any trains or people."
"Yes, I was expecting that. I couldn't be sure, but I did expect it."
"Does everyone come here, then?"
"Not everyone. Only those who believe."
"And my family, my friends," she asked. "Will I see them again?"
"You will, one day. Some may even come here first," he said.
He didn't say anything else, and Evelyn stayed silent too. They walked along to the end of the platform, where a sleek, scarlet train waited, billowing smoke. Evelyn didn't know how she had missed it before.
"Do I...board the train?" she asked, turning to face Dumbledore. He nodded and pulled his arm away from hers.
Evelyn nodded as well, and turned back to the train, climbing aboard. She leaned out of the window, waving, wishing to thank him; but Professor Dumbledore was gone.
The train was empty, apart from Evelyn and one other girl, sat in the very first compartment. She was bent over a pad of paper, scribbling furiously. Evelyn sat down opposite her, and she looked up.
"I'm Alex," she said, holding out her hand. Evelyn shook it and introduced herself. The two girls smiled at each other, both feeling that they were going to get along; and they settled back in their chairs, talking quietly, as the train pulled out of the station.
I've never met anyone who had cancer. I don't know what it does, what it feels like. I can only guess, and that's what I'm doing here. I'm sorry if I upset anyone with what I've written - I don't like to shy away from the truth. It only makes it hurt more.
Ev, Alex: we love you and we miss you, more than I know how to say. I how you know that; and I hope that you're happy, wherever you are.