Beginning of Interlude: Boundaries
Boundaries – noun; 1, something that indicates bounds or limits; 2, (Mathematics) the collection of all points of a given set having the property that every neighborhood of each point contains points in the set and in the complement of the set; 3, (Cricket) a hit in which the ball reaches or crosses the boundary line of the field on one or more bounces, counting four runs for the batsman
"The boundaries which divide life from death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where one ends, and the other begins?"
– Edgar Alan Poe
The sound of footsteps echoed in the silence of the once-empty Hospital Wing. The air felt far colder than it should have for an early June night; that could be attributed to the window left slightly ajar by Madame Pomfrey. A slight wind crept in and blew past the ring of lit candles set by the nearest bed, the soft light flickering against the darkness. He had paused upon seeing the candles, but nonetheless slowly approached the mattress, carefully, almost guiltily, stopping by the bedside.
In one hand he held a drawstring bag, the bulges in the fabric hinting that it had been filled to bursting; he placed it by the empty pillow which headed the covering sheets, hiding the remains underneath. Despite the blanketing, the outlines of the deceased still creased the sheets, the bones visible with an uncanny clarity. The man lowered his head, bangs falling to cover his face, staring without seeing what was once Ginerva Weasley.
But the world still continued around him: the wind rustled against the cotton sheets of the numerous other beds, playing with the remaining flames that hadn't been put out with its cool touch; wax slowly dripped down to the ground, silently pooling in their placeholders; the old castle groaned in despair, stone shifting in desolation while pipes rattled in dismay. One hand came to rest on the edge of the bed, unconsciously clenching and relaxing, mussing up the sheets as it moved.
Time lost meaning as he stood there, ages passing in seconds before he whispered, "It's like nozink has changed… I'm sorry." His head bowed further as he continued: "Wiz zis," he grasped the lip of the bag, loosening the opening, "I could reschtore your appearance. Vould you vant zat, Ginny?"
He lifted his head and met the pearly gaze of a young girl across the bed, her once fiery hair now the pale silver of the moon. She gazed back at him and time seemed to slow again, before dipping her head into a nod. Forgiving; accepting. With measured movements, the bag was lain across the sheets and a paper was pulled out from within his jacket, topping off the pile. Bringing his hands together, as though in prayer, he gently touched his fingertips to the runes of the circle. In response, crimson electricity sprang to life, tearing through the bag to retrieve the contents hidden within. For once, the harsh light seemed less vicious and more depressed, mimicking the user's own feelings.
In moments, the undamaged body of Ginny Weasley lay atop the bed, dressed in a simple lace dress, already prepared for the wake and funeral that was no doubt awaiting her. The soft white cloth cut off below the knees and was delicately wrapped over her shoulders, as innocent as the girl it enveloped. Long red hair pooled out beneath her, while the candlelight afforded the illusion of blood beneath her pale cheeks. If one did not know the truth, did not feel the cold flesh beneath their fingers, they would believe she was simply sleeping, ready to wake once called.
The paper, which rested on the stomach of the lifeless form, was fed to the nearest candle.
"Rest in peace."
He looked up, but the girl had gone. A small scuffle came from behind the closed doors of the wing and he smiled tightly, turning on the spot and Disapparating moments before a loud click came from the entrance and the doors opened, revealing twin rows of empty beds.
The compartment door was slowly slid open revealing the downcast professor; he lifted his head, noting each member as they sheepishly, hesitantly entered, taking their places on the seats. As one, the others turned their attention onto the blond and Molly schooled a smile onto her face, not wanting Edward to believe he was to blame. Despite her best efforts, it was forced. Fake.
"I vanted to apologize." His head hung low, not meeting their gazes, and his hands lay uniform at his sides. Somehow, he gave the impression of a defeated dog that awaited punishment by its master. Ed paused, realizing what he was doing, and looked up again to face them. "Vor what happened."
Molly immediately tried to rectify the situation, stating, "But it's not–"
"It is," he interrupted, eyes boring holes into the protesting mother. She immediately backed down, and he continued, "I could have dome more to protect her, but I didn't. I vailed." He paused and licked his lips, struggling to find the words he so wished to tell the family. "But you schouldn't have had to suaver vor zat, so I did vat I could. I made her a new body, so zat you could at leascht bury a young girl, not somezink unrecognizable."
Silence reigned in the compartment as the Weasleys attempted to digest the newfound information. They looked to each other, contemplating. Percy was the first to stand and he looked his teacher in the eye. Edward unconsciously braced himself, more than expecting a fist to fly for crossing unspoken boundaries. People did not like having their loved one's remains toyed with, and restoration was not an exception.
His flinch was insuppressible as the hand neared him, but rather than move to strike, Percy laid his hand on the blonde's shoulder: "Thank you. For everything."
Ed's eyes closed, acceptance draining all the tension from his body.
Beta-ed by Pokeshadow55.
Author's Note: This has been requested and mostly written by Kuroki-keropi, who had requested the scenes to be included. Hopefully this tides you all over until Arc Three begins. Happy holidays~