An Easy Sleep
by Niu

It's like punching a wall, expecting to hear, if not the sound of cracking bones, then at least some kind of painful thud and finding that your hand has gone right through. Which, of course, is what it can do now.

You should be glad that it didn't hit, didn't splinter, didn't make your arm shudder and your eyes weep. Your reaction is wrong, it's not normal, not the prescribed human emotion to be annoyed and disappointed. You'd like to punch it again as punishment for not connecting the first time but you don't think you can take another disappointment.

It's been a lifetime of those.

Year after year expecting the inevitable but never having it delivered.

You should be lost and lonely, afraid of what happens next. You should be sad to have left them all and downright devastated at what you have left them with. You remember that prophecy so clearly that you can almost see Trelawney there with you (perhaps she is there, perhaps they've got her too or perhaps this is what happens when a prohpecy is fulfilled) but she fades and then there is Dumbledore.

He's looking down at your body and there are tears in his eyes but they're not falling.

Hermione is curled over you, her hair, sleek with magic, hiding her dry cheeks.

Ron doesn't pretend. He looks at the expression on your face and he sighs.

None of them ought to be so relieved. They ought to remember about He- Who-Must-Not-Be-Named but he seems far away now and you can't blame them for being glad that this much, at least, is over.

You were never a prefect. You were never Head Boy. You never even re- joined the Quidditch team after the ban was lifted. You never joined the Order; you went it alone. You shouldered only the responsabilities that you had to and you know you shouldn't be glad that this is how it ended.

But that's all you can feel.

They too will fall soon and, now you think about it, it probably won't be a bad thing. You know your perspective is dangerously small but the bigger picture doesn't seem to matter. After all, the bigger picture doesn't get much bigger than death.

'In death, we are free.'

That's a quote you recognise although you can't place it. You always thought it was a daft thing to say; that death could only limit you, could only stop you doing the things you wanted to do and seeing the things you wanted to see. But you get it now. It might well stop you from doing those things but the point is:

You don't want to do them anymore; you haven't for a long time.


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