Live or Let Live

There was a cool breeze that cast itself against the rubble of the stone walls, kicking up dust and pebble alike as it raced through what was once a proud and tall castle, a school of magical learning. Though the darkest evil of the century had fallen on that very morning, there was little cheering. In nearly every part of the ruins there were families, forever fractured by the war, who grieved over those lost to the Death Eaters and their terrible leader.

There was one such part of the castle, seemingly forgotten by all save the one fading soul who lingered there. She was once a pasty young blonde, carefree and giggly, and quite fond of rabbits. Now, however, she lay against the cold ground, hand pressed gingerly against the bite in her right shoulder. Breathing was difficult, even painful, but she held on as a familiar voice carried through the air.

"We'll make it through this," he said reassuringly, and through her tears she could almost see his face. Wand-light and sunrise obscured her vision, but he was beautiful all the same. She smiled feebly, tilting her head just a little. Her blonde hair, normal perfectly curled and clean, lay tangled and dirty. She laughed a little as several strands brushed against the back of her hand. He'd always loved to play with her hair, she twirled it a little in her finger.

With all the strength she could manage, she raised her hand toward his face, crying as pain shot anew through every nerve in her body. Her hand fell to the ground in disheartening failure.

"Hold me." Her lips barely parted as she mumbled the words. For a moment she thought she could feel him coming closer, but the lack of warmth around her chilled, immobile body told her otherwise. "Please," she begged, but he was motionless.

"Fred didn't die for nothing," Ron said, his war-hardened bravery showing itself brilliantly. His voice seemed more distant than he did, as if he had moved away from her. "He was great."

As the last tear fell from her eyes, her vision cleared, and her beloved Ron before her was whisked away with it. She sighed as the realisation of her surroundings began to overtake her. There was little more than a damaged pillar standing before her, a Giant's spear thrown and caught in its grasp. It bore little resemblance to the man to whom the voice belonged.

"He was, Ron, and so where you." As the words came to the tip of her tongue, they left the lips of another. She swallowed thickly, imagining Hermione at his side, where she so longed to be. In her mind's eye, they were hugging and holding hands, and kissing ever so softly. Every stroke of affection she so desperately craved, so desperately wished with aching heart that she could once again enjoy.

There was crying, soft sobs and tearful whimpers, and inside, Lavender wished they were for her. The silver of hope and joy that had begun to burn within her quickly went cold. It became more difficult to breathe, as though Ron himself stood on her chest.

"My sweetheart." Her voice mustered but a whisper. As breath left her lips, a question formed itself within her mind, live or let live? She loved him dearly, but he had another to love him; she had to let him go. It was time to let him live his life without her, but with the one he loved. It would be her quiet sacrifice for a love truer than he had ever known.

As she closed her eyes, she knew she would never open them again.