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Chapter 1 : Comfort
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They kept trying to order him around.
“Dennis, you need to sleep.”
“Wake up, Dennis.”
“Drink the water, Dennis.”
He took it all without complaining, silently following orders. After all, they were his parents, and it wasn’t like he thought himself to be in a fit state to contend with their commands, much less boss himself around. Until one order.
“Dennis, get in the car.”
“Why?” he asked, the first time he’d questioned his parents.
“We’re taking you out,” Dad said, gently telling a half-truth. Mum rolled her eyes and told him the full truth.
“We’re taking you to see a shrink,” she said. The very way she said it suggested that she was against the idea and Dennis recoiled.
“I don’t need to see a shrink,” he said quietly. He did everything quietly these days.
“We’re worried about you,” Bob Creevey told his son. “I think it’ll help you to see a psychologist.”
“Help our savings down the drain, you mean,” Mum muttered, but she didn’t protest when Dad shepherded his son out of the house and into the car.
Dennis tried his best to help Dr Miller in her job, he really did. He answered her questions honestly, or at least he answered them as long as they weren’t too invasive. She told him there were some questions that he would need to answer at the start of ever session, and he nodded thinking it wouldn’t be too bad. But then she asked him ridiculous things like “how are you feeling?” and wrote answers down onto a sheaf of notes piled messily on her desk, and he decided that the whole establishment is stupid.
“On a scale of one to ten, rate your level of emotional turmoil today,” she said. There was a short pause.
“Blue,” Dennis said. “Or maybe green. Not red.” The shrink looked slightly confused, but continued asking him questions.
“Have you felt out of the ordinary in terms of mental or emotional health?”
He decided he wouldn’t talk to her. “America,” he said seriously. She frowned again.
“Dennis, please, I know these are cookie-cutter questions but they’re standard and we need to get them out of the way before moving on to our session.”
He wanted to tell her that there was no we involved in any of this, that as far as he was concerned she was talking to a wall, but he just stayed quiet.
He didn’t open his mouth for the rest of that session, or the others.
“Look, do you think you can talk to him? I think it’d mean a lot to him coming from someone like you.” The woman in front of Dr Miller shifted slightly.
“I can try,” she said. “I don’t know what I can do, but I can try.”
He went to his brother’s grave every week. The people who had died in the Battle of Hogwarts had been buried on Hogwarts ground, and anyone, student of not, was free to visit the cemetery if they so wished. This week, he’d brought a camera lens with him. He would never forgive the person in charge of burials, he decided. Who could have the heartlessness to bury Colin without a camera?
“Dennis Creevey?” a soft voice behind him asked. Dennis turned around to see a woman he recognised from his History of Magic lessons, which focused more on the Second Wizarding War and recent history than goblin rebellions, something his year was profoundly grateful for.
“Hello,” he said, expecting her to move onto her own grave to mourn, but she sat down next to him with a soft smile. She wondered what she could say to him if he asked her any questions about why she was here. Your psychologist asked me to talk to you probably wasn’t something he wanted to hear. “Your brother?” she asked, gesturing to the gravestone in front of him. He nodded.
And then suddenly he felt as though that was so insignificant and small compared to her, because the woman in front of him had lost her family and her husband and her daughter and her son-in-law and who knew what else.
“What made you hold on?” he asked her suddenly, bluntly. She didn’t answer for a long while, because she didn’t know what she could say to this boy in front of her, so close to breaking.
When she opened her mouth, he found that she was telling him her story. “When I was little,” she started slowly, “I loved my sisters. They were so different from each other but so happy, and they loved me and I loved them.”
Dennis nodded. He knew from classes, but didn’t really mind hearing it again. It was different with her telling it.
“And then I married Ted, and I lost my family because Ted was a Muggle-born. I would be a liar if I said I didn’t mind, but Ted was there and he helped me, and I was happy. And then I had Nymphadora, and I thought I would die of joy.” Her voice quavered as she allowed herself to remember her loving husband, her little girl. “And then the Second Wizarding War started, and Ted was killed on the run. Then the Battle of Hogwarts, and my daughter and my son-in-law were killed, and the most terrible thing in this world is when a mother has to outlive her baby.” She smiled sadly and took a breath. “So what made me hold on. I kept going because of Teddy, but not just him,” and then she was certain of what she wanted to say to Dennis Creevey. “Dennis, listen to me. Okay? Promise you’ll listen to me.”
She leaned forward earnestly, taking his young hand in her lined one as he nodded.
“I’ll listen,” he promised.
“I kept going because – because, there are some things in life that you think will kill you. I thought that losing Ted would kill me. I thought that I would die when they told me Nymphadora’d been killed by my own sister. But I was wrong, and you are wrong,” she said with a startling viciousness, “because no matter what you live through, you can keep on living.” There was a tear making its way down her face. “Whatever limits you set yourself can be broken so many times.”
Dennis was crying then, turning away from Andromeda Black and her words which hurt more than knives. He heard her take a deep breath and compose herself.
“Next time you think of your brother, think of me. Think of how I lost sisters and parents and my husband and my daughter and my son-in-law and think that you are strong enough to live through this.” She stood to go. On impulse, she turned around and pressed her lips to Dennis’ forehead as he cried. “Don’t follow your brother into the grave, Dennis.”
She walked away towards the graves of her loved ones.
He stood up, and made a promise.
He would hold on.
A/N – Now I’m just so sad thinking of what Andromeda had to go through during the war. :( Gah.
This was written for the House Cup 2014, Event Three, Prompt Two - Write about overcoming adversity to remember that fear and darkness are short-lived. Without the A/N, this is 1,176 words according to Microsoft Word.
So, what did you guys think of Dennis? Andromeda? If you could feed the little grey box your thoughts I would be so grateful! ♥
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