Holly was lying face down. She heard nothing and felt nothing. She slowly opened her eyes and blinked rapidly for the white light that surrounded her was blinding.
‘Am I in the tunnel now? Is it time to move on?’ Holly thought. She got up and looked around. She was in a large white open area that looked remarkably like the Gryffindor common room but without any furniture. A white mist covered the room making it difficult to see where it ended. The only thing that was with her in the room was a naked child in the corner. It had massive sores and bruises that covered its body. Holly felt an internal force wishing to comfort it but she was terrified of touching it.
“You cannot help it” Holly spun around and saw the figure of Albus Dumbledore walking towards her out of the mist. His movement caused the mist to clear and reveal Harry standing a few feet away from Holly. He had been looking at the fragile creature as well.
“It’s the part of Voldemort that was sent to die here” Dumbledore explained to the twins. He walked towards them and led them away from the creature. Holly gave one last glance to the creature and then followed Dumbledore.
“Professor, where exactly is here?” Harry asked.
Dumbledore stopped and turned around to look at the twins, “It is as they say ‘your party’. Where do you think we are?” He said smiling.
“King’s Cross Station, but without the trains, and much cleaner” Harry replied looking around.
“It looked like the Gryffindor common room sir, but without the furniture” Holly said. Harry gave her a quizzical look and she shrugged her shoulders.
“Ah, interesting, very interesting,” Dumbledore muttered to himself. He looked at Harry, “I expect you realize that you and Voldemort were connected by his soul, the Horcrux he didn’t mean to make.”
“A part of him lives inside me” Harry replied
“Did.” Dumbledore corrected, “He destroyed it himself a few moments ago”
“When he killed me”
Dumbledore chuckled, “My dear boy, this is neither life nor death. It is simply being.”
“I have to go back don’t I” Harry asked, “The snake is still alive and so is Voldemort”
Dumbledore didn’t answer but smiled sadly. “You control your own destiny Harry. Remember, help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who deserve it” He put an arm around Holly and started to turn away, “We’ll be going now Harry”
Holly smiled sadly at Harry and turned to walk with Dumbledore.
“Wait-“ Harry’s voice caused Holly and Dumbledore to turn back. Harry had a mixed look of fear, guilt, sadness, and apprehension on his face. He opened his mouth a few times but failed to say anything.
“Do not pity the dead Harry. Pity the living, and above all, those who live without love” Dumbledore said glancing at the piece of Voldemort that was still curled up in the corner. Holly wasn’t sure if Dumbledore was talking about it or her. Harry looked as confused as she did and met Holly’s eyes one last time. She smiled encouragingly and gave him a small wink. It wasn‘t until she turned around that her face showed the look of fear and anxiousness that she felt. After a few moments, she couldn’t hear anything except the sounds of her and the Headmaster’s footsteps.
Holly and Dumbledore walked through the mist until they came to two small armchairs. Dumbledore sat in one and Holly followed his lead. When she looked at the Headmaster, his electric blue eyes were staring directly into her dark ones.
“You have been courageous my dear” Dumbledore said with a smile, “You’d much rather be on Earth but you chose to die for Harry’s sake, why?”
Holly drew a deep breath, “It just felt like something I had to do. He was so worried after he saw the memories, he didn’t show it but I could tell. Maybe it was a twin thing, I’m not sure. I wanted him to know he wasn’t alone in this.”
Dumbledore nodded like he understood. “A true show of kinship, of love” He said.
“Yes, I suppose so.” Holly said almost to herself. “Sir, I can’t thank you enough for what you did for me with the house and Gryphon, it was a dream come true. Even if our time together was short he meant a lot to me.” “I hope he has a good life” She said almost to herself as an afterthought.
Dumbledore chuckled and waved aside the compliment, “Things have a way of coming back to us”
Dumbledore stood up, “Now, we have to address the topic of your parents”
Holly stood up as well, “What do you mean?” Dumbledore smiled and waved to something behind Holly. She turned around and saw Lily and James Potter walking towards them.
“Ah wonderful, wonderful” Dumbledore said.
“Hello again Holly” Lily said smiling at her. They were the same height, Lily’s green eyes meeting Holly’s blue ones exactly. Holly could only manage a quick smile; the shock of seeing the parents who didn’t want her a second time was too much.
“Don’t you want to greet your parents Holly?” Dumbledore asked.
“No” Holly said bluntly, “And you know why, I know you heard my outburst at the Ball last year”
“Ah yes. I know you have some resentment” Holly scoffed but Dumbledore continued over her, “about your parents but I think you should hear them out”
Holly looked at her ‘parents’ with her arms crossed and a skeptical look on her face.
“Sweetie, we didn’t choose Harry over you, we were forced to.” Lily started.
“Yes, your friends couldn’t have children so you gave up one of yours so they could be parents, I’ve heard it before” Holly replied.
“Actually, you’re wrong” James said gently. Holly starred at him, her eyes prodding him to go on.
“You see, we knew Voldemort wanted to recruit us for a long time, even before we knew we were going to be parents. When we found out we were expecting twins we decided to make an ultimate sacrifice. The decision to send one of our children off to a better world, away from the destruction and hate, was one of the hardest things we ever had to do.” James said.
“We loved you Holly, we loved you enough to let you go.” Lily added, tearing up slightly. “Giving even one of our children a chance to live a happy life was an amazing opportunity. Katrina and Jonathan were some of our oldest friends and agreed to take you as their own. They had flown under Voldemort’s radar as they were both Muggleborn. It saddened us greatly when we learned of their passing.”
James put an arm around Lily’s shoulders, “We didn’t abandon you Holly. We watched you grow as much as we watched Harry. We were there beside you as you went through foster home after foster home and your travels with Arthur Abbott. The choice of keeping Harry rather than you was not intended due to gender or looks. After the birth, both of you were whisked away so fast, we didn’t know the sexes until we were handed back Harry.”
Lily reached a hand towards Holly and tucked a stray hair behind her ear. Holly leaned towards her mother’s hand as if an invisible force guided her to do so. A mother’s touch was the softest in the world and Holly had finally experienced it. Holly put a hand over Lily’s holding it on her cheek.
“I’m so sorry for what I said.” Holly told her parents, tearing welling up. She furiously blinked them back but the pressure was too much. She shut her eyes and let them flow openly. All the hatred and anger that she had held inside for years burst through as sadness; the pain, loneliness, anxiety that she experiences disappeared. Holly felt James and Lily wrap their arms around her to comfort her. Within the embrace Holly whispered three words to her parents. Those simple, yet wonderful three words sealed the bond between them. The jealousy and hatred Holly had felt was replaced by love and understanding.
When the group broke apart Holly turned to see Albus Dumbledore standing beside them smiling and chuckling to himself.
“Thank you” Holly told him sincerely. He just chuckled again and waved it off. Holly looked at her parents again and said, “Thank you both again. There are no words to describe how sorry I am and how much what you did for me means to me”
Lily and James Potter just smiled at Holly and hugged her once more. Holly addressed the three guardian angels for the final time.
“You have made my time on Earth amazing and wonderful. I’ll try to make you all proud.” Holly turned away from the group and walked away, into the white mist.