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The Puppet

The Battle is over...and I am weary.
I sit here in this shell of a building, hiding in silence and darkness, huddled in a damp corner, stubbornly shivering. The cold from the stone floor has penetrated my bones but I refuse to even cast a simple warming spell. I refuse to make it easy for them, why should I willingly catch the eyes of those that hunt me ?

All around, winners and losers now tally their losses, while friends mourn and console one another. But I shall remain unconsoled.
Our world breaths a tentative sigh of relief, but there shall be no respite for the likes of me.

Voldemort is dead and there are those that despise me.
Dumbledore is dead and there are those that despise me.
For once, both sides united in a common hatred.

One a Master of Light, one a Master of Darkness and yet both Mastered over me. So different and similar, both powerful, cunning wizards equally ambitious in achieving their goals and at times...equally ruthless.
For each was willing to use and manipulate all tools at their disposal, no matter how beaten and misshapen those tools became.

And so I was forced to perform, to dance delicately between them, gliding from one partner to another, led along like some naïve débutante, while melodies of guilt, redemption, fear and pain, played subtly in the background.
Sometimes my own weakness disgusts me.

And all the while the opaque layers of lies continued to build and build, until the actual truth became so obscured that it was difficult at times to remember who's side I was on, the lines became so blurred, my world was a permanent shade of gray.

But now the strings have been cut, the puppet is finally free. It has been so long since I've tasted freewill, at last my life, such as it is, can be about me.

Eventually, I allow a self-mocking snort to escape.
Who am I trying to kid ?
I'll never be free of them.
One has marked my flesh.
One has marked my soul.
Constant reminders that I shall never crawl free from their shadows.

And so I feel empty now, hollow and adrift, for there is nothing left to anchor me to this world.
I feel alone and unsure of what the future holds.
Upon reflection, my choices look grim...a traitor's death or the torment of Azkaban and for that, I feel wronged and persecuted through ignorance.
But most importantly...I feel.

For too long I have been dead on the inside and death on the outside.
I wore Death's mask even when it couldn't be seen. I wrapped myself in night's dark shade and shunned the light. My robes became my living shroud, black as my eyes, black as my heart.
And all the while my forgotten true self crumbled inside under the crushing agony of loneliness. Pain constricted my chest, it tore at my heart, it burned in my throat and I screamed a silent scream while wrapping myself in this Potions Master's persona.

A persona which shall now be my undoing, for none will believe my actions were not of my own volition, none will believe I was carrying out my true Master's final wishes, none will believe I was coerced into killing the last living soul that I truly loved, for none will believe me capable of love.

Even as I sit here now, blowing warm breath into chilled cupped hands, in this desolate ruination of a house, his pleading words haunt my thoughts. I would gouge them from my mind with my bare hands if I could, but relief shall not be granted so easily.

Who would have thought such a warm and gentle voice could be capable of such a cruel command. I remember clearly how those softly whispered words invaded my mind, like the brutal caress of a cruciatus. There are more things 'unforgivable' in this world than curses.

And now the memory of my reluctant action burns more fiercely than any other, more vivid than the many heinous acts I have been forced to commit in my world of murky gray. I have broken bones, battered souls and inflicted unspeakable curses, yet all pale into comparison.

Dejected, I look to the sky, past the scorched beams and exposed rafters.
It grows increasingly dark as night's curtain drags itself eagerly across the heavens. The stars are few, obscured as they are by heavy, moisture laden clouds and I feel the temperature drop further, as an icy wind trespasses through shattered window panes.
Inevitably the rain begins to fall and I pull my robes tightly around me. Large droplets seep into my lank, greasy hair and trickle down my face.

I do not care, they shall hide my traitorous tears....tears none would believe me capable of.

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