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#19914
Halloween was always a brilliant affair at the Bucket Bros. Travelling Carnival. The tents were all stripes of orange and black in honour of the occasion. Live bats streamed out of the entrances, the tent poles transfigured to resemble wrought-iron gothic posts with cobwebs snaking up to the top. The Haunted House was now a Haunted Pumpkin, where patrons entered through a hole in the stem, and exited through a bright orange mouth. Gabby’s nails were painted black and orange and placed a fake body on the floor of her dragon Euphème’s enclosure. Little witches and wizards dressed as goblins and hags ran excitedly through the footpaths, their parents running exasperated after them. Everyone was in the spirit of the season.

Gabrielle Dumont tried. For precisely the length of her work day and no more she pasted a spooky smile on her face, drawing in guests with a curl of her brightly-painted fingers. She encouraged screams from the audience as she revealed her bloodthirsty dragon and its recent “victim.” She mock-dueled her bestial partner, ducking just in time to avoid the horntail’s wicked tail as it came crashing down in front of her, behind her, beside her. She placed her head in the dragon’s gaping maw, and tossed half of a cow into the enclosure for Euphème to tear apart to the delight and horror of the audience. For this day and this day only she let the young ones ride Euphème around the park. When her act was over, she supported her fellow carnies by collecting admissions from other shows and chasing unsuspecting carnival-goers in the guise of a banshee, screaming wildly into the night.

For precisely the length of her work day and not a minute more Gabrielle Dumont played the part of a well-rehearsed actor. As soon as the hour hand passed over eleven o’clock, before the last of the guests had even left, Gabrielle bid good night to her fellows and let her guise fall. Her true expression was hard and set, determined on an idea or perhaps place not far from here. She passed a loving hand over the snout of her beloved dragon, kissed her rock-hard scales, and Apparated.

She was not the only one in the graveyard. A mourner looked up some rows away and nodded in greeting. Gabrielle nodded back and moved with the automatic steps of one who has made this heartbreaking pilgrimage many times before. She was not aware of the time that had passed in her crossing, only that she was there. The white marble slab sat before her, unmoving as it always was, its occupants deep beneath the earth as they always were.
In Loving Memory

Of

James Potter • Lilly Potter

Born 27 March 1960 • Born 30 January 1960
Died 31 October 1981 • Died 31 October 1981

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death

There, before the remains of hear dearest friend, the dragon tamer wept. Though she stubbornly remained standing, the tears still ran bitter and hot down her face and onto the indifferent earth below. She didn’t care. It didn’t matter. What mattered was that, fourteen years later, James Potter was still dead. No matter how many tears fell on his grave, he would not rise. Though the one who brought about his demise was once again haunting the earth, James Potter would not do his part to bring back the past. Though his only son was entering the most difficult year of his life yet, though Harry was beset on all sides by enemies and hecklers, antagonized by ministry and media alike, though his only son was being tormented by the worst of the lot, still he remained resolutely and irrevocably dead. James Potter would do nothing to help his son, and Gabrielle Dumont could only do so little. Sirius had a ten-thousand galleon price on his head and could no more march into Hogwarts than reanimate his best mate. Remus was underground, struggling with his own curse, and the damnation of the society that refused to help him. Peter…..

A snarl pulled at Gabrielle’s wet lips. Peter was why James was here. Peter the traitor who sold her mischievous, courageous, just and kind friend to the evilest of wizards, who ran free among the devil’s followers. Peter, the one who fooled her into believing Sirius Black was a convicted murderer, fooled her into blaming James Potter’s best friend for thirteen long years. Peter who was comfortably alive, while James was not.

And there was nothing she could do. Nothing she could do, save for the occasional owl to James’s son, reassuring him that she would always believe him, even when no one else would. She was not his godmother; he hardly knew her and she him. James didn’t give her time to know him. He died, and Harry was gone for ten years. There was little she could do now, and nothing she could do then.

There was nothing she could do then. She didn’t even know until two days later. She was with Bucket Bros., and where Bucket Bros. went she went with them. On October 31 1981 she was entertaining happy revelers in the safety of Berlin. She had no idea the life of one of her greatest friends had just been snuffed out. She had no idea Harry Potter had just become an orphan. She had no idea the house in Godric’s Hollow was now a ruin. She had no idea Sirius was running after Peter with no backup plan in mind. She had no idea how many innocent people Peter murdered while Sirius took the fall. She was entertaining revelers in the safety of Berlin. She only found out two days later. Two days later she received a letter from an unfamiliar owl. She should have died on October 31, but she died two days later.

Over time, her heart repaired itself. She felt her life return. The carnival moved on, and so did she. But James Potter remained at rest. In spite she hoped his eternal rest was fitful. He would not act to help his son, but Gabrielle Dumont would do her part. If Harry Potter said that He Who Must Not Be Named was back, then he was back. James Potter could not spread the word, but she could. She would sway her compatriots, and she would announce his return to the audience even if it got her kicked out of the carnival. Gabrielle was not a member of the Hogwarts Marauders, but she could still spread chaos in his name. Harry Potter would never be without allies.

In the hour, or was it minutes? that she stood there, Gabrielle never uttered a single word. But now, under the full light of the moon Gabrielle pulled a dragon scale from her pocket, one of many Euphème shed, and placed it at the foot of the grave.

“See you next year, James,” she said calmly. Moments later, she was gone.

Wordcount 1165