O how shall I warble myself for the dead one there I loved?
And how shall I deck my song for the large sweet soul that has gone?
And what shall my perfume be for the grave of him I love?
I was in the middle of the first class of the day when Remus Lupin
his head in the door. “Professor?”
I stopped mid-sentence. “Yes, Mr. Lupin?”
“The Headmaster wants to see you right away.”
I looked around; I had a first-year class. “What class are you in
now, Mr. Lupin?”
He looked at the floor. “I – er, I’m just coming back from the
Lupin did look a bit peaky – and the period of the full moon had
ended. Of course. “We’re just covering beetles – would you mind
them?” I hated to ask him to do it after he had been ill, but he was
talented Transfiguration student, and he was very good with the
The offer seemed to be just the thing to cheer him up. He smiled
said, “Of course not, Professor.”
I fixed the first-years with one of my better looks and said,
is Remus Lupin. He will be in charge of the class while I am away.
is a sixth-year and knows much about both beetles and buttons; if
have any questions, ask him. Carry on as usual.” I gave Lupin one of
rare smiles – he was a good young man, in spite of the scrapes he
into with his friends – and left, heading for Albus’s office.
Past the gargoyle, up the stairs, knocking on the door. It opened,
it wasn’t Albus who opened it. It was a Ministry official. “Mrs.
An echo of last night’s chill cast delicate, insidious tendrils
my back. Nobody ever called me Mrs. Dumbledore. And that
“Yes, that’s me,” I said.
“Sit,” the Ministry official said, not unkindly. It was only then
I noticed Albus in the same alcove that I had secreted myself in
night. He came out of the shadows; the look on his face frightened
He was stern, stiff – but not like he was when he was dealing with
It was more like he was fighting for control.
He came and stood beside me, resting a hand on my shoulder. His
grip felt worse than the fingers of that cold chill. He would not
me in the eye.
The Ministry official looked down at some notes and cleared his
“Mrs. Dumbledore, it is my sad duty to inform you that there was an
at your flat in Hogsmeade last night. All those inside were killed
Death Eaters, and the Dark Mark was seen above the building. The
have been identified as Maimonides McGonagall, Demetria McGonagall,
McGonagall, Finn Finnigan, and Theron Dumbledore. On behalf of the
let me extend my condolences.” He proffered a hand.
I wanted to move to lift my hand. I tried. I could not. All I
do was sit. I did not move.
From a distance, I heard Albus say, “Thank you, Perrine. I’d walk
out, but under the circumstances – ”
The Ministry man nodded and said, “Quite understandable.” He
Albus knelt in front of me, put his hands on my shoulders.
I forced an answer. “Yes?”
Blue eyes – like Theron’s – searching, probing until I was awash
a sea of blue. I fell, was falling –
The eyes disengaged as he brought a hand up to them.
He was kneeling in a penitent sort of fashion, head bowed, face
A penitent. What did he have to be sorry for?
His son was dead.
And then I felt it – no more numbness. Those cold tendrils turned
boiling, strangling claws, and a wild, keening wail escaped me, and
sat there on the floor of his office, drowning in a roiling sea of