Now, though, she knew their truth. The real fairy tales, not those told to her by her mother when she couldn’t sleep as a child, but the ones in the Muggle book Hermione had brought to Hogwarts with her years ago. She found her prince, had him for a few fleeting moments, could still taste him on her lips, but then he was gone. Off to fight his battles, to defeat evil, to make the world a safe place. She knew, in her heart, he’d come back for her. She understood his quest, after all, and supported him without hesitation or reservation.
Every day, she kept living, learning, and waiting. She received letters from him, from Ron, from Hermione. The War continued, more people dying, but they were making progress. In the back corner of her mind, she began to build a beautiful cottage with an iron fence and a puppy, white so he wouldn’t think of Padfoot, and at least three children, because he deserved a large family. He deserved happiness and a happily ever after.
Unfortunately, the real fairy tales didn’t have happy endings. They had broken bodies lying on the sodden earth, blood covering pale skin, glasses shattered on the ground, green eyes unseeing as they stared at the cool night sky. They had hard marble statues with sharp splashes of black commemorating the life of the boy who died to save them all. They had broken hearts, souls that felt as if they would never quite be whole again, and strength that had to be found somewhere just to keep living because he had, after all, died to give everyone a happy ending. He just didn’t realize that his death meant she’d never live happily ever after.