Dearest Forsaken :: Hogwarts :: Dirk, Daisy, and Lily
He knew days before it happened that the funeral was an eventuality. The man whom so many had come to rely on, to trust - it was only natural that people would want to say goodbye. Dirk just wasn’t sure that he was one of those people.
The coded message came by owl a few days prior to the chosen date, just as he knew it would. In the firewhiskey-fueled haze he’d spent the better part of the last week living in, the young man had considered sending the message back to its sender unopened and continuing his avoidance of any form of responsibility. He’d successfully shirked his work duties for the week and managed to avoid most Order members, save for a few awkward run ins here and there. Although he knew logically that this trend could not continue indefinitely, that at some point he’d have to emerge from his cycle of hangovers and inebriation to become a productive member of society once again, Dirk wasn’t ready to do it yet. He’d read the letter and decoded it, scribbling the particulars down bitterly before shredding the letter and sending the owl away, falling asleep once more under the pounding of his aching head.
He awoke late the next morning, clear-headed for the first time since the battle had ended. Vision once more keen and thoughts no longer addled by the presence of Ogden’s flowing through his blood, the guilt hit him like a sledgehammer to the chest. It wasn’t simply that he’d ignored his duties, at work and to the Order. That alone would have been bad enough. The thought that he’d left his friends behind in a time of need, even for a week, seemed so drastically out of character that he could scarcely believe that he allowed it to happen. Although he knew the pain that awaited him at Hogwarts, Dirk also knew that there was no more running from it. It was time to stand and be counted on the only side he’d ever considered remotely worthy of his dedication.
The sun still hadn’t crested over the familiar hills surrounding Hogsmeade when Dirk appeared next to the Hog’s Head with a gentle pop. He couldn’t be sure he was the first to arrive, but all Order members attending the service were to use the passage through the portrait in the basement, a path he knew had been well worn by some of his classmates during the duller moments in their school tenure. With his wand as his only light, Dirk descended into the unlocked establishment’s basement and crept through the dingy corridor, emerging inside the familiar castle on the other side. His neck craned immediately upwards, as it did so often during his school years, drawn towards the bewitched ceilings as he walked silently through the Great Hall. If the ceiling was any indication, the sky outside was slowly beginning to lighten, dark clouds beginning to be burnt off by the autumn sun. He wondered briefly if this was a sort of sign of better things to come, that the dark before the dawn had finally passed. The thought seemed silly as soon as it had formed, but still - it was nice to feel some minute form of hope on such a dark day.
If Dirk had been given a long list of tasks to choose from, debriefing the professors he’d long held in high regard and trying to maintain order amongst the students as they were marched towards Hogsmeade under careful guard would rank extremely low. Each tear he was unable to stop from falling, each question that drilled in just how alone everyone felt without Him guiding them - it took Dirk everything he had in him to remember the palette of orange and yellows breaking through the greys and blacks on the Great Hall ceiling. He’d spent the last week drowning, only now finding his stoke and gaining breath; he wouldn’t allow himself or others to feel that alone if he could help it. Still, the same three words continued to ring in his ears, long after the last student had passed through the Entrance Hall’s doors:
“He’s really gone.”
Dirk knew that Lily and Daisy had also been assigned to the same task and he found himself peering through the throngs of students, searching for a glimpse of either of the two young women. As the last of the professors glided back into the Great Hall, assisting with the preparations for the ceremony, Dirk sighed deeply and sunk down against the cold stone wall in the Entrance Hall. Coming to a seat against the base of one of the columns, staring up at the army of golems carved into the stone opposite, he heard the sound of familiar voices. “Have to say, I’m rather happy to see you both,” Dirk said with a weak smile, looking up to watch Daisy and Lily approach. He’d spent a week avoiding any form of contact with this people, unsure if he was ever planning on seeing them again. Yet as they came closer, a small sense of comfort seemed to grow, as if to confirm his decision. Dirk’s eyes were drawn to the windows above him as sunlight had begun to stream into the castle, the low morning light casting long shadows “Seems like it’ll be a nice day outside. Shame we couldn’t have the ceremony on the grounds,” he said wistfully, his vision still upturned. “Safety and all though, I know. How’s everyone?” he asked, although he knew full well what the answer was.