Title: A New Life
Ratings/Warnings: Character death
Word Count: 420
Favourite thing about January: A certain bamf television event...
A/N: No, not really
She stares at the veil before her, insubstantial yet so completely, utterly final. One step and she will be leaving everything behind to start a new life. One step and she will return her to her familiar home, and yet it will be so very different now.
"Please don't go," her mother begs. Her father extends his hand, imploring her to stay, but she cannot. She must go back.
"I'm sorry," she murmurs. "I'm sorry for everything."
Her mother--so strong, so proud--nods with tears in her eyes. "I know, dear. I know you are. But it's over now. You do not need to go back."
"I cannot stay here," she replies, equally strong and proud. She is her mother's daughter, after all.
"Why?" demands her father. "You are not thinking this through. Once you cross back, you cannot return. You will be lost to us forever."
She swallows but nods. "I understand. But I must go back. I am not ready to die." It is half the truth, for she craves knowledge and it cannot be had there, with them. But she also cannot face her mother after what she has done, and she refuses to stay with him. He stabbed her in the heart; why would she stay? She has another to return to.
"I'm sorry," she says once more. "But it's what I want. It is for the best."
Her mother breaks down and sobs, but she knows. She knows that her daughter is stubborn and willful and cannot be changed. She knows this is the end and turns to her husband, unable to bear it. He encircles his wife with comforting arms and nods at his daughter.
"Then go," he says, his voice breaking. "Go and be content, my child. You will be missed."
She does not say goodbye, but turns to the veil with a small smile upon her lips. Her heart, though no longer beating, still feels as if it is racing in excitement as she walks toward her destiny. She steps through the shimmering barrier, and finds Godwyn Gryffindor waiting for her.
"Welcome back, Helena."
She takes his hand, and they drift away, to roam the castle together forever. They do not see the blood-stained spirit who follows, a set of chains hanging from his hands in penance, his black eyes filled with envy and grief.
He, too, is beginning a new life now--a life of penance and sorrow for the death of the woman he loved but would never love him back.