They were silent at the grave together, just the two of them alone as all the others had gone with the appearance of rain. The fresh dirt turned to mud just before her feet and she stared at it, stared as the earth transformed before her eyes.

She could hear him come nearer, and felt the pressure on her shoulder where he placed his hand. She shrugged it off, and he withdrew his touch.

"There was this thing he used to do," she suddenly found herself saying, not even sure if she'd consciously decided to speak—her voice was cool and even as she half-shouted over the fall of rain, "when it was dark, or raining, or when I was just about to sleep. You never would've approved of it but I loved it—as much as I hated it I loved it. He used to get close to my ear, or sneak up behind me, and he'd whisper "Voldemort" so softly—and you, of all people, know how I react to that name. Well, he'd say it, and I'd always scream or shake and he'd laugh and take my hand and apologize a dozen times and swear on his life that he'd never do it again. But he always did it. He always liked to startle me—I don't know why." Her eyes were tight on the stone, her eyes tracing and retracing the engraved letters.

"I don't know why I told you that," she added in a quieter voice, pulling away once more as he tried to comfort her.

"Would you like some tea, Minerva?" he finally asked above the din of rainfall. "Please, come back with me to Hogwarts. You can't stand out here in the rain like this, you'll catch your death. You can come back to my office with me and we'll have something hot to drink."

"Thank you, Albus, but no thank you." Finally she turned away, for the first time in hours, and her face was hard, so hard, her eyes set and lips a thin line. He found it hard to meet those eyes. "I should get going and pack. I'd like to have my room back at the castle, if that's all right."

"Of course it is." He tried to infuse the words with warmth, and more importantly love, but she wasn't receptive at all, just staring at him with those steel hard eyes.

She knew he was waiting for her to break down, to cry. But she had already done that, a lifetime of tears in two lonely days, the kind of broken-down sobbing that she had so hoped to avoid all her life. But it was done, and her heart was sealed. All she had to do anymore was survive.