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Acquaintances by WitnesstoitAll
Chapter 1 : I.
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 10

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Hello!  This one shot contains an Oliver/Cedric Slash pairing.   Thank you to magicmuggle and LucyLovegood for moral support, and Snitchsnatcher for beta'ing.  I hope you enjoy!

We were just acquaintances.

Somewhere the deep tolling of a bell sounds through the warm afternoon air. The same warm air sears my throat as it reluctantly makes its way into my lungs. The backs of my eyes burn, but no tears leak out. From somewhere nearby, I hear a sardonic chuckle. I glance around quickly; my cheeks burn in an unjustified and momentary fit of rage. Who could possibly be laughing at a time like this?

The June afternoon is adorned in the tangible feeling of grief. The peaceful country lane bordered by knee-high grasses mocked me as I made my way up to the quaint porch of your family’s home. Your home. The shuttered windows and cluttered lawn are as warm and reasonable as you are. No. They are as warm and reasonable as you were. Now you are cold and dead.

This was certainly no time for laughter.

Looking all around me, the sinking truth pulls my heart down into my stomach. No one chuckled. The unsolicited chuckle came from within me. Why? How? Apparently, nothing makes sense anymore. Good people die at the hand of others. Laughter mocks eyes that cannot cry.

Somehow, my feet found your front door of their own accord. My hand, rough and marred from years of catching Quaffles, reaches out and comes to rest on the door knob. I stop. How strange it is that for as long as I knew you and as much time as we spent in one another’s company, I had never been invited here. Even today, the day of your wake, I am still uninvited. I am a stranger in your home.

I do not know what to do. Hanging in a seemingly endless moment I stare at the door knob as though it will supply me with the answers. No answers come. It had been over a year since I shared a proper conversation with you. What am I doing here? The pain I am feeling, the shooting knaves inside my gut, are selfish. Who am I to grieve for you?

We were just acquaintances.

I follow my feet off the porch stoop to the front room winder. Inside the warm room, I see many people. You always were a popular lad. Some sit on the perimeter of the room – chatting and laughing despite their bleary faces. Others pace in and out of the window’s line of sight – nervous wizards with their hands in their pockets and tears under lock and key. You lie in a cherry box in the centre of the room. A middle aged man is hunched over you. His shoulders quake, and his head is buried in his hands. You have, no, you had, the same shoulders.

The same strong shoulders; nearly as broad as my own. Those shoulders caught my attention on the quidditch pitch. Gryffindor played against Hufflepuff. Two quaffles sailed past my head as my eyes followed your nimble movements through the air. You had such confidence in the air. Your team respected you. I hated your success in the sky and amongst your team mates. I rallied my team against your team. All the while, my eyes followed your shoulders through the pitch. Traces of goose bumps broke out across my skin and my heart beat hitched in my chest. I blamed it on the competition.

We were just acquaintances.

The middle aged man’s knees buckle. I imagine that his sobs fill the air in the sitting room. A worn but kind looking woman appears at his side. Her hands gently run over his back. She turns her head to look down at your too-still face. The whites of her eyes are bloodshot, and the tears that run out of them only highlight the arborisation of red lines. It is the clear blue of her irises though that causes my breath to catch in my throat.

You looked at me with the same clear blue colour. In the locker room. Your team intruded on my team’s practice time. I booked it first. You had been rationale and wanted to talk it out. I lost my temper. I hated reasoning through disagreements and had half a mind to curse you, or deck you, whichever occurred first. Then my breath caught in my throat. Your eyes made contact with mine. I could not look away. The then familiar goose bumps broke out on my skin, and my heart threatened to jump out of my throat. These feelings had nothing to do with competition.

We were just acquaintances.

Your parents are both crying over your body. Even in your death, you are loved. I yearn to be there beside them, to share in their grief and love for you. I cannot share my grief with anyone. I do not have a right to grieve. You took away that right over a year ago. No, that right was hers now.

My eyes strain through the window searching for her. I know she is here. Your family loves her. Your parents consider her one of their own. They call her your first love. A burning knife sears through my abdomen. Jealousy leaves behind an ugly taste.

Finally, my eyes find her standing near the front door. Her sleek dark hair hangs lankly in her face, and her almond-shaped eyes mirror the feeling of my own grey eyes. Her hand hovers in the air above the doorknob. I read her thin lips through the window pain. She wants to step out for a bit of fresh air.

Adrenaline floods my system. My heart beats manically in my throat. What would she say to me? I am standing outside your house, peering into your window, making no attempt to enter. What would she say to me? I’m sure that she only knows me from the pitch. As far as she is concerned, I have no reason to hover outside your window. No, she can not know.

We were just acquaintances. 

I know how she is feeling. I imagine her lying in your arms, in the embrace of your broad shoulders. I imagine her smelling your warm musky scent and kissing your too gentle lips. I imagine your clear blue eyes staring hungrily into her dark brown eyes and your hoarse whisper snaking into her ears, telling her what she wants to hear. I imagine the thrill she feels when you growl lustfully against her throat. And I wonder how she’d feel if she knew that each of these images was mine before they were hers.

You and I agreed. It must stay between us. You had your family and friends to make proud. I had my career. Time passed. I was been signed by Puddlemere and you found a proper lover to introduce to your parents. Our sinful lust remained a secret. A secret you took to your death. I will honour that secret. The grief is hers.

We were just acquaintances. 

Her hand is on the door knob now. I have only two options. I can leave now. Pretend that I was never here and that your death did not affect me. Or I can enter the house and allow myself to grieve. Pretend that you were merely a friend from school. I hear the knob turn.

What right have I to grieve, to cry? No, I have no right. We were just acquaintances. It can be as though I was never here. As though I never looked into your soul, held your head against my chest, nor felt your whispered secrets against my ears. I turn away from the window and hastily prepare to apparate. The door opens.
I begin turning in place when I hear her voice.

“Oliver? Is that you? Cedric will be so happy you are here.”

Her words hit me like a bludger. Why would she think that you would be happy to see me? I try to stop, but it is too late. The world is spinning out of focus. Before I leave St. Ottery-Catchpole behind, I hear her voice one more time.

“Cedric talks about you all the time. I, er, I know that he loved you.”

She knew, and it is too late. I can not go back. I will grieve you on my own and leave her to grieve with your family. 

My mantra will carry me through.

We were just acquaintances.

And that is how we will remain – Acquaintances.

Thank you for reading.  Reviews make me smile!

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