ANs: The following are actually two versions of the same story, the first being the version I pruned down for GS100, and the second the original, 'full' version, which I prefer. The title comes from the soundtrack to 'Howl's Moving Castle.'
Cave of Mind (100)
It's disconcerting to awaken staring at your own corpse. To watch it carted off for burial. Disturbing to discover you can't follow; you can't leave the place where you died.
But terror is seeing your murderer lunge for you, experiencing utter hopelessness: you'll never realize life without Voldemort. And, just before dying, knowing you're a ghost. The instant you awaken, it will all happen again.
Wait. An unknown spirit. A wizened scrap of a witch. "Severus," she said, and he recognized her youthful voice. "It's over. Time to go home." He took Hermione's hand and they walked together into eternity.
Cave of Mind (full)
It was disconcerting, to say the least, to wake up staring at your own dead body. To watch it lie there, then be picked up and carted off for burial. It was even more disconcerting to realise that you couldn't follow. That, in fact, you couldn't leave the six walls of the room in which you'd died.
But the worst of it was seeing your murderer lunging at you, feeling all the terror and despair of that moment, the utter hopelessness when you realized you'd never see a world without Voldemort. And then, just before you died, to know that you were a ghost. And that, as soon as you awoke, it would happen all over again.
But wait. Here was another ghost, one who didn't belong. A wizened scrap of an old woman. "Severus," she said, and he recognized her youthful voice. "It's over. It's time to go home." He took Hermione's hand and they walked together into eternity.
originally scribed: 6/9/08