"I have brewed my dreams
like tea in a mason jar
set out at morning.
They do not need to be sweetened."
"We can mend it, Lavender, don't cry."
Parvati's voice is soft. Her best friend's hand is warm on hers and Lavender clings to it in one hand and in the other, she clings to the shirt (not just the shirt, but her favorite shirt) that Amycus grabbed with his big, beefy claw and ripped in two pieces.
They had been enjoying a rare day of sunshine on a Saturday, lurking in the West Courtyard, hushed laughter and careful smiles. And then Amycus and Alecto had burst out of the door behind them and Lavender (and everyone else) had taken off running (because she is brave, not stupid), and Amycus took a generous fistful of her shift (her very, very favorite) and the fabric ripped with the most sickening sound.
(Later, Lavender will compare it to the delicate crunch of her collarbone under Greyback's teeth, and still she will mourn silk and lace.)
Hannah and Neville are holding hands and for one-two-three-four heartbeats, Ginny cannot breathe.
Then she sucks in too much oxygen and her chest aches and she almost (almost!) whishes she hadn't, that she had just died, right there in the middle of the Room of Requirement, nothing more than a boy-hero's almost, forever sixteen.
(That's a little dark and dramatic, even for her, though, and Ginny whispers a thanks that she's still got the crimson to draw breath.)
But she does wish that she could hold Harry's hand, if only once more.
Something about the steady, sure weight, the way his fingers stretched hers, that's what she misses. She misses Harry, sure, but she also misses being with Harry, being his girlfriend, knowing someone cared enough to say "that's mine, keep your grubby paws off."
(Sometimes Ginny dreams that he's there and she doesn't so much miss him when she wakes up as she does that firm, reassuring squeeze of fingers that, somehow, tells her everything will be okay.)
Neville kisses Hannah's cheek and they both turn pink and Ginny's chest aches.
(Later, Harry will wrap his arm around her and for all that it will be that much sweeter, Ginny's tears will be for the bitter months without him.)
Anthony Goldstein turns the loveliest shade of pink when Morag scolds him for "reckless, obnoxious, self-sacrificing behavior worthy of Godric Gryffindor himself" even as she dabs at his two black eyes and his swollen nose and busted lip.
"Honestly, Tony," Morag berates, summoning some ice. "You're a Ravenclaw for a good reason. Leave the heroics up to the Gryffindors, eh?"
But then Tony mumbles something about "defending her honor" and Morag just kind of fades.
He looks up at her and reads the grief in her eyes, but before he can get a syllable out, Morag only sighs.
"I'm not sure I have any honor left to defend," she mumbles quietly.
(It's all running down Tony's face in red rivers.)
And he'll protest, he'll say that she's still got so much left to defend and he'll be damned if some inbred bully is going to tear her down. Morag will only shake her head.
(Later, she will give Tony all the pieces of her honor she has left, dressed in white and smiling. She will cry tears for the pieces forever lost in a castle on a lake.)
Alecto tears her pretty drawings up into pieces, and hits what remains with a good Incendio. The ash rains down around Padma, sticking in her hair, but the tears don't come until Alecto holds another up for the class and mocks it.
The words cut deeper than any curse and Padma can feel those words like brands on her soul.
"Who do you think you are?"
She cries over her pretty little pieces of art, sheds tears over the burned strokes of ink and shapes. They were such lovely things, such lovely things she made, but now they're nothing more than ash.
(Parvati promises revenge, but Padma only wants her artwork back.)
Padma tries to draw more pictures, but her inspiration has run as dry as ashes. She has no more left to draw, not now.
(Later, she will pick up quill and parchment again, and will draw beautiful, terrible things in abstract that go for millions of galleons, but Padma will cry for the pretty pieces of innocence that burned.)
The greenhouses burn to the ground overnight one night and the next morning, Hannah can hear Professor Sprout before she sees her.
(The woman has been all but a surrogate mother to her. Ever since Professor Sprout's words tore her down, she's done all she can to build her back up.)
She's making this awful, terrible keening noise that makes Hannah's teeth ache. She and Susan run to see what has their Head of House in such a state and they face the ashes in silence.
(Hannah has no words. Even years later, when someone will ask her about her experience at Hogwarts that year, she will inevitably stumble upon that moment and her words will desert her.)
Susan (kind, gentle Susan) kneels next to Professor Sprout to comfort her, but Hannah is rooted to the spot.
Eventually, she forces herself to take steps forward, to move, to tend to Professor Sprout, and it is later (after Professor Sprout is in the capable hands of Madame Pomfrey), that Hannah cries.
Neville tries to comfort her, saying he'll replant it all himself, if he has to, will build the greenhouses back up from the ground with his bare hands, but Hannah mourns the things that will never grow again.
(Later, Hannah will stand in their garden with her husband and she will adore all the colors of spring around her, and her tears will be for the flowers, burned to ash.)
AN: The bit of poetry at the top comes from Night of the Grizzly, which is a posthumous anthology of poetry from a local poet, Michael Burns. The poem is entitled "I Started to Say" and it gives me chills every time.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with "sun tea," it is tea made by putting water in a mason jar, adding a few tea bags, and setting it out in the summer sun until it's the desired strength. It is, typically, a very strong tea that is served unsweetened.
I am kind of pleased with how this piece turned out. Let me know what you think, and leave your thoughts when you go. And, as ever, thank you.