The breeze smelt of salt as it blew in through the windows of the Hogwarts castle. A withered-looking Dumbledore stood facing the forests at his office, gazing with wearied eyes into the vastness that lay before him. His eyes, bordered by white and frail eyelashes, appeared dreary. They longed to sleep after having borne the world for so long. Something was gnawing inside him. He lifted his burnt fingers to caress the wooden edge of the window. This corner had been his refuge all these years, allowing him the solitude he needed during troubled times. Now, he stood there once again, one final time, gaping into the huge void that sprawled ahead.
'Harry would be ready in an hour,' he mused. The journey to the cavern wouldn't be free from perils. Was he right in putting the teenager into such a situation, he reflected dolefully. A pang of guilt seared across his heart that was already heavy with the pain of saying goodbye to this place. It was going to be his final day at the office, he knew it. His heart still ached, though, for Severus. He would have to lay his life for the love he never got.
At that moment, a bird darted across the room and perched upon his shoulder. It nipped him on the ear angrily with its beak, sensing a premonition of things to come.
'It's okay, Fawkes. I have to move on, now', Dumbledore said in a grave voice, stroking its spine in a tender, fatherly manner.
It was getting windy. Not the best weather to fly towards the sea, he reflected. Dumbledore struggled with his beard which flew across to hit Fawkes on its face. It snapped at it, then softened a bit and dropped tears of lamentation.
Dumbledore heaved a sigh, inspected his watch and rose with steely determination. 'Time to set to work, Fawkes. And I hope you'd be a little more polite with the next Headmaster.' He beamed at it one final time before draping his cloak and striding out of the room. The large oak door swung shut behind him and the bird sunk back behind the shadows of the lonely walls.
22nd June, 2016