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March 7, 2013

Ashley's bed looked warm and inviting, though dust covered the room. She saw her wand on her bedside table, pulled it out and quickly vanished away the dust. Ashley did not head toward her bed, but toward the darkest corner. She sat on the familiar black rug and fingered the soft material. She had to think tonight. She could sleep in tomorrow.

Ashley's mind whirled. She was cured... she was back home... she felt as if she had been brought back from the dead. But even after a year and a half, her mind always came back to the fight. She knew Lily wouldn't like it, which is why she had left so abruptly after blurting out what had been on her mind from the second she was cured. But she didn't fight only for herself... she fought for Lyndsay too. Ashley was startled by the tears that suddenly sprang in her eyes. She still grieved for her, after all this time.

Ashley was drawn to the sense of danger, to the thrill of the fight, to the flying sparks of wand against wand, wizard against wizard. But what kind of future waited for her now? She supposed it was good the war was over... but she felt as if everything had been swept away from her. Her place in the Order was basically gone... and did they even care about her at all? They hadn't even visited her, except for Kinsel. Bitterness rose in her throat, but she pushed it away. They had been banded together for a cause, nothing more. Why should she feel so betrayed?

Ashley's family back in the Muggle world... would she ever see them again? No one had probably told them anything. What must they think of her now? Her stepfather had threatened to disown her if she willingly put herself in danger. Would he have stayed true to his word?

She even missed Hogwarts, because it was a place that was dear and familiar to her. Would she never set foot in that grand castle again?

All she had was Lily. And Lily didn't think the way she did, especially about war and fighting. Lily had a guy. It might not be serious now, but Ashley knew that Lily had always wanted a boy to love her. One thing could lead to another easily, and if she got married... Ashley didn't know how she would cope with that. Lily had been in the working world for over a year and a half now... she had a guy, and had probably made some friends. Other than Lily, Ashley had no one.

But Lily hadn't abandoned her. She had stuck by Ashley's side, using her paycheck to buy potion ingredients to cure her sick friend. Lily could have been swept away by normal friends, normal girls, and Ashley could have been forgotten, left alone in her world of darkness and confusion. Ashley realized that, while she may have little to lose, she also had everything to gain. She had been cured; she could pursue her dream of becoming an Auror, she could make her own money and help out with the rent and food. And maybe, if she was lucky, she could maybe find a guy of her own someday.

Her thoughts flew back to Lyndsay. She would never have that chance. And no matter how much Ashley thought about her and longed for her, she was never coming back. She wouldn't have been afraid to fight, and had she lived, she probably would have fought beside Ashley in every battle.

Ashley shook her head. If Lyndsay had lived, she probably wouldn't have become such good friends with Lily. She could never trade Lily's friendship with Lyndsay's, or the other way around.

Fatigue suddenly swamped her. Instead of going over to her bed, Ashley lied on the black rug. Even though she was glad to return to the light of living once more, she still sought comfort in the darkness. A lone tear rolled down Ashley's cheek as she drifted into sleep, dreaming of what had been lost and what could still be found.