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Harry stepped out of the dark portal and as soon as he got his bearings he realized where he was. He was standing at the shore of the lake. The same shore where Voldemort had come when he had grabbed his arm that day to stop him from vanishing. The place had felt special that day. Harry was certain that this place held some special meaning for Voldemort. The fact that Voldemort had arranged Rabastan's funeral here spoke volumes of how much Voldemort had begun to care for him.
About a hundred chairs had been set out in rows and almost all of them had been filled. An aisle ran down the centre of them and there was a low marble table standing at the front. Harry searched the crowd for Voldemort but he wasn't here yet. People were whispering to each other and the sound grated on Harry's nerves.
Steeling himself Harry made his way through the aisle towards the front row and all conversations came to a halt as he felt every gaze in the vicinity zero in on him. And then the murmurs started and Harry could clearly hear what the people were saying about him…Jinxed…That was the keyword of every conversation. It wasn't wrong though. He brought death and destruction to the people who cared about him or the people he cared about. Maybe if Rabastan had just been another death eater then he would still be alive.
The sun shone brilliantly and the virescent colour of the day under its glare was offensively bright and cheerful. It was as if they conspired to show him how the world would go on without Rabastan. It shouldn't. Everything should be as grey and foggy as his emotions. it should be cold and damp with silent air. But the birds still sang and the flowers still bloomed. He walked through the aisle like a silhouette of himself, wishing he really was as insubstantial as the shadows so that his insides might not feel so mangled. As he reached the front row, the tears he had been holding back threatened to flow once more. He had loved Rabastan and hadn't gotten a chance to tell him that. Now he was gone and a light had been extinguished forever in his heart.
Harry saw very clearly as he sat there under the hot sun how people who cared about him had stood in front of him one by one, his mother, his father, his godfather, and finally Rabastan, all of them determined to protect him. He would not let anybody else stand between him and death. He would not allow death to steal anyone else from him…anyone else…no…he only had one person left that he cared about…he wished he didn't but he couldn't stop. He had nothing left to lose but Voldemort and he would be damned if he ever let that happen. He wouldn't lose Voldemort…No matter what. That man might be immortal but disaster always found a playing field when it came to him and love…love seemed to draw sick twisted pleasure tearing at him. His grip tightened on his sword and he gritted his teeth. He was going to make death pay...he was going make it pay for every loved one it had taken from him. He was going to make it regret ever crossing him.
Voldemort appeared and a coffin materialized in front of him on the marble table. The coffin gleamed in the bright sunlight. It was expertly crafted and looked like it had been built with love to be the final resting place of one who had been so adored. It's faux-gold handles and polished sheen made it look all the more beautiful. Voldemort's back was straight but Harry could feel the grief he exuded and it broke his heart and made it all the more difficult for him to hold back his tears. He rose to his feet and came to stand beside the coffin. The lid had been removed and Harry looked down at the black silk cushioned interiors and the body that rested atop them.
Harry had to bite the inside of his cheek to hold back the cry that threatened to escape his lips. Rabastan…No…This wasn't Rabastan…This was just his body. He repeated that in his head over and over again as he took in Rabastan's pale cheeks, his sleeked back hair, his colourless lips and his closed eyes,
"You didn't let anyone else touch him, did you?"
Voldemort shook his head imperceptibly without taking his eyes away from the coffin and Harry nodded his approval. A death eater rushed forward and whispered something in Voldemort's ear. Voldemort tipped his head in acknowledgement and dismissed the death eater with a wave of his hand. He finally turned to face him and Harry saw straight through Voldemort's stoic expressions and impassive face to the sorrow that he held inside,
"Take a seat, Harry. The funeral service shall commence shortly."
Voldemort proceeded towards the seats and Harry stared at his back for a moment. Voldemort had barely acknowledged him and that didn't sit well with him one bit. Did Voldemort blame him for Rabastan's death too? Well, if anything, he should blame Voldemort for letting Bella live. If he had just killed her then they wouldn't be here. He was wrong of course. Nothing could have stopped the inevitable from happening. He was always meant to be devastated. Even if Voldemort had killed Bella…something else would have happened…Fate always conspired to ruin him and it would have found another way to take Rabastan away from him.
Harry took a seat beside Voldemort and a man in plain black robes got to his feet and stood now in front of Rabastan's coffin. Harry couldn't hear what he was saying. Odd words floated back to him. "Nobility of spirit" … "greatness of heart" … "Sacrifice" …" Loving brother…" Loyal Death Eater"
Harry replayed his memories of Rabastan in his head and stared up at the sky as tears prickled at the corner of his eyes. The words continued to drone on until the man said something about the beauty of death and Harry lost it… He lost it,
The man stopped speaking and spoke,
Harry rose to his feet and shouted,
"Shut up…Shut up…SHUT UP!"
He stalked towards Rabastan's coffin and spoke in a low, deadly voice,
The man eyed the sword in Harry's eyes and scurried away. Harry turned around and faced the gathering. He spotted Narcissa, Lucius, Draco and several familiar death eaters in the crowd. There was a large number of faces he didn't recognize. Voldemort was staring intently at him…his crimson eyes inquisitive. Harry looked away from him and spoke,
"Who are you mourning? Who exactly are you mourning?"
There was silence...utterly flawless silence…
"Just as I thought. You're mourning Rabastan…the loyal death eater…the perfect soldier…That was all that he was to you lot."
Harry drew in a silent breath and spoke,
"He didn't even want to be a bloody death eater. He didn't want to be one of you. No one asked him about what he aspired to be…No one gave him a damned choice. He was so beautiful…so utterly perfect inside but he spent his life quashing all his beauty and pretended to be someone ugly…someone he wasn't… just so he could fit in with you disgusting people. He was selfless and kind but he hid all that because it was considered weak. He was caring and so full of love but he smothered it all because of your bloody expectations. You killed him every day when he was alive…you locked him up in the coffin of your false beliefs and buried him underneath all your sick and twisted ideologies."
Harry's gaze scanned the faces in the crowd and he noticed tears in almost everyone's eyes… They deserved to cry so much more. Voldemort had visibly paled but he kept his face impassive. His eyes said it all though and Harry was so relieved that he was wearing the sunglasses. He laughed and was glad it sounded unnaturally cold and emotionless,
"I'm not going to give you all the blame though. I didn't treasure him as much as I should have. I guess a lifetime wouldn't have been enough to cherish him…to appreciate how gorgeous he was in mind, body and soul. He worshipped me when I should have worshipped him. Hell, the way he walked in to my life, I should have kissed the earth beneath his feet."
Harry paused and realized his hands were trembling. He forced his free hand into the pocket of his jeans and white knuckled the handle of the sword with his other. He looked straight at Voldemort and spoke,
"I don't blame you either. I loved him…I loved him and that's the reason he's gone. He would have been alive if I didn't. You could have killed Bella but something else would have happened…something else would have become the cause and I would have still lost Rabastan. Because everything that I love tends to get taken away from me…my parents…Sirius and now Rabastan…The man who was standing here a few moments ago was saying something about the beauty of death. Death is not beautiful… It is vicious and vile…evil and cruel…It is a bloody cunt…I saw death when it snatched Rabastan right out of my arms and I will never forget or forgive that moment. I will never forgive death…"
He turned around to face the coffin and pulled his hand out of his pocket to caress Rabastan's cold cheek,
"I hope you can hear me wherever you are. I love you, Rabi…I love you…I love you so much. You were the best, the finest, the one I could rely on no matter what. You filled me with your warmth when I felt so cold. You gave me a friend when I had no one. You gave me love when I didn't deserve it. You always were pure love and you still are. So, haunt me, love, always stay near. Stay in my heart every day that I live…stay with me and give me the strength I need, to do what I want to do… You gave your life to preserve mine…I will not let your sacrifice go in vain…I will never allow death to touch me."
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