100 reviews. WOW. Thank you so much, and thanks to all my followers and reviewers. I'm so incredibly sorry for the late update and how short it is, but depression is a bitch, folks. Here's hoping it never happens to you.
Harry approached the tomb with an anxiety bordering on panic. The tomb stood starkly in the morning sun, its white marble gleaming. It seemed too calm, too silent for what had occurred here previously. As he got closer to the tomb, Harry could see numerous cracks running from the top of the tomb to the bottom, someone had clearly split it open-
Then he remembered, though he'd hardly wanted to again-the vision he'd had of Voldemort defiling Dumbledore's resting place, of breaking open the coffin without a moment's hesitation, cruelly snatching away the wand inside. Harry's fear quickly became fury.
How had they not-how long had it-had no one SEEN?!
His mind had already raced miles ahead of him before he could take a breath to calm down. Well, I'll certainly be telling McGonagall about this when I get back-this needs to be sealed permanently! What if Death Eaters got into it?
Harry stopped this line of questioning with a shudder. He had to get this done, and soon, before he lost his nerve. Steadying himself with another breath, he resumed his walk to the tomb. As he got close enough to see the face of his mentor Harry could already see that his eyes, even in death, remained open.
Harry bit his lip with a frown. He would have to-yes, he supposed it would be easier to do this quickly, put down the wand and run-
What was he, a coward? What was so difficult about this encounter with death? He had faced it before (well, his own death, so that was different) and had come out with a better understanding of his own mortality. Harry shut his eyes. He hadn't fully coped with death- after all, he'd actually died, and that was something that took awhile to get over, if you ever did, he thought. It was one thing to die and see what maybe happened after, but it was another to believe it. What if it truly had only been happening in his head, and Dumbledore had only been a figment of his imagination, finally figuring things out during his hazy post-Avada Kedavra state? What if there was nothing after?
That made Harry tremble.
But what about the Resurrection Stone? Hadn't those people been real? His parents, Snape...
He just wished...that there was someone who could give him answers, someone like-
But Dumbledore was gone.
Harry cast his gaze over the open tomb. Tears fell from his eyes, fast and hot, but he wiped them away with the back of his sleeve. He felt the Elder Wand inside it and pulled it out in a fluid motion, like a sword...
He'd pulled Gryffindor's sword out of the Sorting Hat in the chamber...he'd been so afraid...
Fawkes could only have come to someone loyal to his master...
Harry placed the wand next to Dumbledore, covered it with the man's hand. He forced himself to look into his former Headmaster's eyes.
He knelt and, clenching his jaw all the while, gently closed the unseeing blue eyes.
Standing, Harry took a final long look at the body of the man who had done so much for him. Who had been like a grandfather to him. Who had manipulated everything behind the scenes, readying Harry for the War ahead. Sure, he'd been flawed, but he was only human. Harry thought he might never fully get over the things Dumbledore knew and never told him, but he was willing to put aside those things now, to do one final duty by his Headmaster.
Harry turned and began walking back to the castle.
What was that Scrimgeour had said to him in sixth year? It felt like a lifetime ago...
"Dumbledore's man, through and through, aren't you Potter?"
A corner of Harry's mouth quirked up.
"Yeah, I am."
He glanced back at the tomb. It was bathed in the embers of the late morning sun and the tomb shone all the brighter for it.
Indeed he was.
Note-A PM of encouragement is always welcome and makes me smile. (hint hint ;) And don't forget to review-you will receive thanks from both I and Crookshanks, who is really missing being in the story.