Chapter 1 : Your Twinkling Stars
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September 1st, 1998
Last night, I didn’t sleep. I just sat on the very edge of my bed and thought about you. I miss you, Colin, more than I ever thought I would. I need you to come back- to be here for me again- like you always were. Oh, why’d you have to go back to Hogwarts that day earlier this year? Why couldn’t you have just stayed at home with me? Sure, the waiting for word was terrible, but it was made worse when you went off to join the fight! Mum was a mess; crying and screaming at me to go and get you back. Dad was deathly still and kept muttering things like ‘will they come for us here?’ And ‘gotta go; gotta get out of this blasted country’. The one time he moved was to stride over to me- I was sitting at the kitchen table, at the head- and grab me by my shirt. He asked why I was too cowardly to be fighting. He wanted to know if I cared that you were probably dying.
Colin, it was horrible. When that man, Kingsley Shacklebolt, came to the door, it was like everything froze. Mum stopped sobbing. Dad stopped mumbling. I just stared. He put a hand on Mum’s shoulder, and she stared up at him. Her face was pale and streaked with tears. His dark face was scrunched up, like this was the hardest thing he’d ever been made to do. This is what he told her:
‘Mrs. Creevey, I’m not going to apologize. I’m not going to assure you that it’ll be okay, or tell you to forget and move on. Colin Creevey will be sorely missed. Did he ever show you his photographs? They were brilliant, ma’am. Colin’s bright face lit up the grounds of Hogwarts. He didn’t ever seem to be sad. Mrs. Creevey, I didn’t know your son, and I won’t pretend. I won’t tarnish his beautiful memory in that way.’
Here he paused, turning to Dad. Dad looked like he’d been made to stand in a storm and happened to be hit by lightning; his mouth was slightly open; his eyes were glazed over. Mister Shacklebolt had left him in complete and utter awe.
‘Mr. Creevy, your son was a hard worker. He found the light in all the little things. He knew Harry Potter, who has saved us all tonight. Colin always did what he thought was right. He was one of the bravest young lads I ever had the pleasure of meeting. Sir, he was an angel. He couldn’t bear waiting behind for a result, yet being so close. He had to do something. Colin did not die in vain. The war tonight has been won; the Dark Lord has been vanquished. Colin sacrificed himself willingly, and he is just as much a savior as Mister Potter.’
At last, Kingsley Shacklebolt turned to me, and I was shocked to see tears glistening around the edges of his eyes. We both took a deep breath, and his rumbling, comforting voice washed over me.
‘Dennis, you won’t forget your brother.’
‘He died tonight fighting for you and your parents. He died fighting for Hogwarts and freedom. Dennis, your brother is a hero.’
I know you are, Colin.
‘Dennis, he was laid out in the Great Hall, beside his friends, beneath the twinkling stars he has now joined.’
Are you there, Colin? It’s me.
‘My dear boy, everyone applauded. We all turned our wands to the sky and sent off their spirits. We all appreciate their lives to the fullest possible extent, and though none of us can bring them back, still we wish.
I do! I wish.
‘Many tonight will grieve their loved ones. Others will drown themselves in work and drink. Some will try to forget.’
I won’t forget you, Colin. I promise.
‘But Dennis, remember that your brother loved you. Remember all the happy things, and don’t lose yourself in sorrow. Colin made his choice; now you must make yours. Would Colin have wanted you to remember him mournfully?’
Do you want me to? I could, if that’s what you want…
‘Or, would he want you to go back to Hogwarts in the fall and make the best of yourself? Would he want you to study the best you can? In a few years, Dennis, when you’ve graduated, would your brother want you to make the best of yourself and your abilities? Will he want- from his vantage point amongst the stars- to watch you impact lives in a positive way? Dennis Creevey.’
Here he stopped, staring straight at me. Every crevice in his rapidly aging face held another emotion, another memory. He’s never going to forget you, nor any of the others who shared your fate, so how can I? He’s going to go on and change the Wizarding world for the better. I resolved that night to not waste my life away. Of course, I know I’m still going to make rotten choices sometimes- I’m a teenager, after all- but those choices won’t rule me. Every single time I falter, I’m going to get right back up and picture you, like I did last night. I’m going to live, Colin. I promise I won’t waste my life, when yours was taken from me.
Colin, today I rode the Hogwarts Express back to school. I sat with Ginny Weasley and the rest of your- our- friends. Remember Ginny? She was your friend, more than mine. She was in your year. I wouldn’t have known her, except for you.
Nobody said anything the whole ride there. I’m pretty sure the entire train was silent. Remembering. Everyone in our compartment stared at each other. We all made eye contact at some point and held it for infinity. We’ve all suffered losses. At some point, someone took my hand. I stretched out my other hand, and we all ended up linked like that. A circle. Physically bonded, if only for a few minutes. A tremor passed through the train, and it glided to a halt, making us all waver slightly.
Letting go was beyond hard. One by one, our friends left the compartment, leaving their sorrow within it. It was some sort of unspoken agreement to not let our grief cast a shadow on this year of school. Ginny and I were the last to remain. She looked right at me, just as Kingsley had that dreadful night, and sighed. Her brown eyes were filled with pain as she stood up and walked to the door. She opened it and walked outside, turning back to face me.
”Dennis,” she told me, just a few hours ago, “I lost my brother, too. And I can’t just go back to normal. I can’t just leave his memory behind in this little room. I can’t just forget him. I can’t do that to him. And I don’t think you can, either.”
I stayed silent.
“Can… can we make a pact? A pact that we’ll always remember? That no matter what, we’ll stick together, and we’ll keep them close to us, Fred and Colin?” She was crying by then, and looked so lost.
Ever so slowly, I, too, stood. I walked right up close to her, and gently removed her hand from where it clenched the door. Her hand was so cold, Colin!
DISCLAIMER: Anything you recognize? Yeah, it's not mine.
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