Epilogue

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The air's warm, fragrant

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The air's warm, fragrant. Cherry blossom clinging to the summer branches are sweetening the breeze as it floats around us. The sky is a faultless blue. Birds flap their wings in the trees overhead. For a heartbreaking day, mother nature has brought out its most beautiful view.

We're standing a little way from the crowd - Henry's choice. He's squeezing my hand, and I keep close, feeling him tremble slightly. Trying to hold it together, as we catch the last glimmer of the glassy black box as it's lowered into the ground. Jensen had lived for one more day, the magic that had brought him back fading like ashes in the early hours of a Sunday morning. Sophie's magic had done its job - no one other than me and my friends remembered exactly what had happened. The weird bitings, zombie sightings and dark magic all forgotten. The photos, the videos that had crept online... they were just kids being kids. The strange occurrences were all explained away, as strange occurrences always are. Jensen had died as far as anyone understood, from untreated injuries from the car crash.

There's been so many tears, so much sadness but also stories, lots of happy, smiling memories of Jensen and how he made so many people happy. Hundreds of people had come, so many they couldn't all fit them all in the grand church. So they stood outside and listened as Zara stood in the pulpit and laughed and cried through a story of her and Jensen's clumsy first kiss. Henry told a story of Jensen from when Sophie was in hospital. How he'd sat with Henry in a stuffy hospital hallway for days, weeks as Henry waited for a miracle. A miracle that eventually, against all odds, came.

I'd cried. Fat hot tears had dropped from my cheeks and onto my lap as Jensen's younger brother talked about their last night together. How they talked and played and how much that time meant. I'd wanted to do more, so much more for Jensen, but one night was all I had in my power to give. Guilt and helplessness weighed on my shoulders, and as if he knew Henry wrapped an arm around me, pulled me into him. Whispered soft words of gratitude and comfort, his lips soft against my ear. There was nothing I could do to undo what had happened to Jensen, but it didn't matter. I still felt that somehow I should have done more. But Henry's touch, the certainty of his words - it pulled me from a dark place and back into the present.

Today wasn't about me, it was about Jensen and being there for the person who'd miss Jensen the most, a person I was growing to adore more and more.

As the funeral ends, and people slowly leave, each turning back to look one more time as if they didn't want to face leaving Jensen behind. Their eyes red and swollen, their words soft and subdued. Henry and I stay, the sun beaming down on us. The golden rays broken by the towering tree we stand under.

"Are you OK?" I whisper. The words feel hollow. What do you say to a person who has lost their best friend? A constant in their life since they were a child. He turns to me, glances down with absent eyes. Slowly, he nods and his lips curl into the smallest of smiles.

"No... yes... maybe?" He snorts. "I don't really know how to feel. I don't want to be angry anymore. Jensen would hate that. And I feel like if I let myself feel sad, it won't stop. I'll just tumble lower and lower into it and never climb back up. I want to feel happy that I knew him, that he was my friend, but I'm not sure I'm ready yet."

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