It was easy to find her. She and Fawkes were singing in perfect, sorrowful harmony as they flew above the lake. The sound echoed all the way to the village.
Not wanting to interrupt, Charlie did not call out to her. Instead, he sat gingerly down at the edge of the lake, and listened to the beautiful lament resonating around him; through him. It didn't take long for tears to form in his eyes.
After almost a half an hour, Charlie looked up to see one of the beautiful birds drifting towards him. He stood as the bird landed at the shore, and opened his arms as his fiancée stumbled into his waiting arms, crying hysterically.
'Shh…' he hushed gently, lowering her down to the ground. 'I'm here, Elizabeth, I'm here…'
'Gone,' she gasped through her tears, 'he's gone.'
'I'm sorry, love… if I could bring him back I would-'
'Not him – not Albus. Severus. He's gone. He… he's left.'
Charlie could think of nothing to say. Severus… Snape? Images of the hook nosed professor flashed through his mind, the final one of his black eyes full of contempt as he murdered the greatest wizard of the age.
'No!' Elizabeth shrieked, reading his mind. 'No!' She jumped away and strode across the lawn.
'Elizabeth, I –'
'It's not what you think! You just don't understand! He is a good man!'
'He killed Dumbledore, Elizabeth,' Charlie said patiently, walking over to her and trying to encircle her in his arms once more.
'No! You just don't understand, Charlie, you just don't understand! He – he had to! He told me.' She began pacing, and stopped abruptly to look out over the lake.
'Who told you?' He stood behind her, and rubbed her shoulders gently, trying to coax her eyes away from Dumbledore's resting place.
'Albus did… Severus didn't, so don't even get that in your mind, Charlie… I had to confront Severus about everything. He wanted me to hate him… he wanted me to stop loving him. But I can't, Charlie… I won't…' She turned at her final words, and fell silent as she wrapped her arms around Charlie's waist.
He smiled into her hair, kissed her forehead, and muttered, 'If you do, he wins?'She snorted through her sobs, and sighed, 'Yeah…'