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After by HeyMrsPotter
Chapter 1: One.
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A/N - A warning before you start reading, this story is centered around the death of a child and the effects of PTSD. Please don't read on if you might be affected by either. :)
Six months after.
They say time heals all pain. They lie.
Time changes pain. Time makes pain smaller, less all-consuming. Only temporarily though, because there is always a something. Somethings can tear great holes in a small pain and make it big again.
Today’s something was a Hogwarts tie. Lost and then found again behind the dust covered cabinet. Found by the nosey neighbour who demanded she come in. Insisted that she didn’t mind bringing you food (that mostly went in the bin) or cleaning for you. Carelessly waved it in front of your face. Yellow and black stripes taunting you, reminding you that he is still gone.
You lash out at Mrs Abbott, as always. She returns the following week, as always. The cycle repeats.
Three months after.
She has gone now, too. Not dead. Not dead like he is. Just gone.
“I can’t take this anymore, Amos!” Elaine yells at you as you look through, not at, her. “You just sit there and stare. You’re not even grieving for our son. You’re just empty. I can’t be around you like this, it’s too hard.”
She is wrong. You do grieve. You grieve in the night once the effects of her sleeping potion have set in. You grieve when the nightmares wake you up on the rare nights that sleep comes to you.
You run through the maze, shouting his name, hearing his screams in response. A cloaked figure appears at every sharp turn you take. It laughs and it taunts you. ‘Dead Cedric, dead Cedric!’
You desperately try to ignore it and you shout louder still for your only son, but the taunting only gets louder too.
An eternity passes in the hedges that rise higher than your eyes can see. Finally you see him. His face is contorted and twisted in agony as he writhes on the grass. The dark figure is at his feet, pointing his wand at your boy and laughing manically. You push forward, running harder than ever before, every muscle in your body is screaming and burning with each step. You are close, so close, when the maze begins to move, the walls closing in ahead of you narrowing the gap through which Cedric lies.
You don’t hear the words, but you see the flash of green light through the minuscule gap that ends your son’s life.
You wake up sweating as much as you were in the dream.
You do grieve.
It is difficult to say which nights you find more difficult. The nightmare is terrifying and deceiving; it makes you think that you can save him after all, only to tear the hope away as quickly as it was given. You refuse to take the sleeping potions your wife so heavily depends on, because you know they will bring the nightmare with them.
The other nights, you lie awake. Alone now that Elaine has gone. You play back memories in your head.
Cedric’s first steps.
Cedric receiving his Hogwarts letter.
Cedric buying his first wand.
Cedric writing to you to tell you they’re hosting the Triwizard Tournament, asking for your advice about entering. You replying, insisting that he does it.
‘Forcing him to do it?’ the wicked voice in your head asks. You don’t argue with it, because you know it is right. You wanted to brag at the ministry that your son was the Triwizard champion. You wanted to wave a picture in their face that showed him holding the trophy. You made him enter the tournament that ended in his death.
Your fault, your fault, your fault.
Twelve hours after.
The tears keep falling as though they will never stop. They fall as you sit by Harry Potter’s bedside. Harry Potter, who came out of the maze alive. Who has no parents that would have grieved for him if he had died and Cedric had lived.
No. You mustn’t think like that.
You listen to Harry telling you of the moment the life left your only child. And there was so much life to leave him. Seventeen is no age to die. Seventeen. The number is loaded with possibilities; of a career and a family, of loving and breathing.
There was no breath left in him now. You saw that for yourself when you ran from the stands, desperate to find out if he or Harry had won the tournament. You saw Harry being pulled away by the Auror, Moody. Dumbledore hadn’t been quick enough to stop you from seeing Cedric’s pale lifeless body, as cold as the chill that ran down your spine.
Sixty minutes after.
Dead. Dead. DEAD.
You are sitting in Dumbledore’s office. You are sitting and Cedric is dead. Cedric is dead and you have been told to sit. And so you sit, wringing your cold hands in your lap. The rest of your body is warm, the fire crackling to your left has seen to that, but your hands are ice. They have been ice since you touched Cedric’s expressionless, lifeless face.
You are helpless. You can do nothing to bring Cedric back, nothing to ease the crushing weight on your chest, and nothing to comfort the woman sobbing in the chair next to you. You held her for a while, closed your eyes and felt the tears fall from your face, dampening her rough woollen cardigan.
The door clicks open and you don’t even bother to look up. Purple robes sweep past you and a chair scrapes on the floor.
“Amos, Elaine…” the calm voice you recognise as Dumbledore’s speaks.
He tells you how your son died. Feeds you some odd story of a Death Eater in disguise working at Hogwarts. Explains that Voldemort has returned and he is the one responsible for you no longer being a father. You listen but do not understand. You don’t even flinch at the news, nor the name.
Dumbledore speaks in barely above a whisper. His words always seemed so wise when you were in school; you believed everything he told you without question. Now, you know differently, because he was telling you that things would eventually get better, that you and Elaine would be okay. You leap from your chair.
“NO!” you hear yourself shouting. “IT WON’T! HOW WILL IT EVER BE OKAY WHEN OUR SON IS DEAD, DUMBLEDORE?!”
The old man looks kindly at you over his spectacles, as though you haven’t just shouted at him. He tries to offer you comfort but the look in his eyes tells you that even he does not believe the words that come.
“Time heals all pain.”
Hello! Thank you for reading. And thank you to Amanda for all of her help with this. I'd love to know your thoughts so please leave a review!