OK.hehe, I love how it fits with the ship. Sorry about that. This piece is one of my long shorts, and I'm actually quite proud of it. I was reading through a discussion thread for the couple in this fic and one of the questions was what would one do if the other died, and this sprang forth.

AN: You are responsible for what you read, you can hit the back button at any time. It's right up there in the top left corner.

Disclamer: I sadly do not own any bit of the HP universe, it belongs to JK Rowling and her associates.

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The inside of the pub was dark and smoky. It was busy, with friends and happy patrons, with the exception of one man at the end of the bar. He picked up the glass with the warm, brown liquid swirling in it, lifted it to his lips and downed it in one gulp. "Another drink please!" he called out.

The barkeep turned to look at the pitiful man at the end of the bar. "Haven't you had enough?" he asked, of the man who couldn't be much over twenty. The barkeep couldn't help but think that the young man was trying to get himself killed.

"Nothing will be enough," he managed darkly, he wanted it to go away, all of it to just go away. "Another please."

"This is your last one; after this you're done," the barkeep warned him, pouring a final glass of Ogden's Firewhisky, hoping he'd done the right thing.

Oliver looked down, and the golden brown liquid reminded him of her hair at night. It never shone gold then, it was darker and deeper, and just as pretty. His Katie.

There was nothing he wouldn't give to see her again, but that wasn't going to happen anytime soon.

~*~

It had been another long day for the Puddlemere United team. The practices were long and hard. People were pushed to their limits, just like Oliver liked it. He had always believed that you played to win, and practiced to be good enough to do so.

He never complained about it, never thought less of the action. While others complained about it, he relished the practice. He had made first string a year ago. Two years after joining the team, they'd moved him up to starting keeper, and they were doing brilliantly this year. They had a chance to make it to the Quidditch World Cup.

He lived and breathed quidditch. It was his life. But there was one other thing in his life that could rival quidditch, and that was Katie. His Katie.

Bright eyed and energetic, Katie was the light in his life. She was smart, and an even better quidditch player. They had met in Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. While he'd seen her around her first year, and noticed that she hung out with his roommate's younger brothers, it's when she'd gained a place on the house quidditch team her second year, the same year he was placed as team captain.

From then on, Oliver saw her everyday after that. He drove his team hard and long, and while none of them were as appreciative of it as they should have been, it drove then to win in the house cup Oliver's last year. And in four years of working with her, he never really saw Katie for who she was.

It wasn't until a year after he had left school, the summer before Katie was to return to school for her last year, that he began to see. He'd run her down on Diagon Alley, and had insisted on buying her an ice cream to make up for it. And that day, looking into her eyes, he'd seen something he never had before.

They began a tentative relationship, and it had blossomed. Three years later, and they were living together. Katie had taken over Madam Hooch's old job after an injury playing quidditch professionally. She honestly loved her job at Hogwarts, and, to her surprise and his, loved the kids.

Oliver was brought out of his thoughts by a hand clapped down on his shoulder. When is this? It seems very indefinite. "Hey Wood, you going to come and have some fun with us tonight?" Captain and Seeker, James MacPherson of the Puddlemere United team asked.

Oliver shot his friend a glance and a warm smile. "Thanks MacPherson, but I've already got plans." While he always enjoyed time spent with the team, he had more fun spending time with Katie.

MacPherson simply sent Oliver a sly glance. "With that girl of yours?"

"Katie," Oliver corrected. MacPherson was such a ladies man, Oliver didn't believe he knew how to settle down. "Yeah."

"You could bring her along you know," MacPherson said, sitting down next to Oliver.

Oliver simply shook his head. "Not for this," he took out a little black box and opened it for his captain and good friend to see.

His friend could only gape at the ring that lay inside the soft velvet folds. "Merlin, Oliver! That's a rock." It was an impressive diamond cut stone set in platinum, and charmed to fit the owner when it was slipped on.

Oliver looked at it once again. "Only the best for my Katie," he murmured before shutting it and shoving it back in his pocket.

MacPherson laughed as he stood and collected his things. "So there won't be any late night partying with us after this?" he asked jovially.

Oliver laughed as well. "Only if she wants to join, and she will on occasion."

"Good to know. Well, I'll see you Monday, Wood," MacPherson said finally, before apperating for home.

Oliver gladly apperated back to the small flat he shared with Katie in Hogsmeade. She was one of the few teachers who did not live within the castle. He looked around and took note of the fact that she wasn't back yet. It was only slightly odd that she wasn't home yet, but that was alright.

He looked to the clock, Hospital Wing. One of her players must have gotten hurt. It was the reason she was usually late.

"Oliver?"

Oliver turned towards the fireplace where the voice had come from and saw clearly his mother's face outlined in the flames. "Mum. What do you want?" he asked rather exasperatedly, putting his stuff down. Emiline Wood had the worst timing.

"Would you mind coming over here, love?" she asked him, her voice oddly strained. Oliver turned to look at her then, and caught a bit of apprehension in her eyes.

Gods, he only hoped it wasn't important. "Mum, Katie and I have a date in a half an hour, do I have to?" he knew he was practically whining, but he didn't care. Tonight was important, and he didn't need one of his mother's crisises.

Instantly her face fell even further, with tears and an overwhelming sadness. "Oh, sweetheart. You haven't heard." That tone. Oliver knew that tone. It was the same one she used to tell him that the family cat had died when he returned home from Hogwarts his first year, not to mention to tell him of his father's death the year before that.

Every hair on his body now seemed to be on end. There was so much going on, in the world, but the rise of Voldemort didn't stop quidditch. "Haven't heard what?" he asked nervously, dreading the possibilities.

He saw his mother look down, and he knew she was playing with her fingers as she always did when nervous. "I'd prefer to tell you once you're here." She said, not really looking at him. Merlin, there were few people that mattered to him, but those who did.

"You're frightening me," Oliver could barely recognize his own voice. Shaky and terrified, he sounded way too much like the young, frightened, boy who'd lost his father at ten.

"Please Oliver!" his mother implored and he found he couldn't say no. Something was big, and she needed to tell him.

He nodded his consent. "Alright."

He went over to the desk and wrote a small note so Katie would know where he had gone. It was with shaky hands that he took the pot of floo powder down and gathered some in his hand. He stepped inside the fireplace and threw the powder down, shouting "Woods' Hole."

Within moments he was back inside his childhood home. Before he could get his bearings back he felt a pair of arms wind around his neck. "OH Ollie," his sister's voice cried in his ear.

"Give him a minute Becca, he doesn't know," his mother's voice was calm and rational, as opposed to his 32-year-old sister who was clearly a mess. Becca backed away, eyeing him carefully with her sad eyes all the while.

He moved so that he could see them both. "Doesn't know what?" he asked carefully, knowing he didn't want to hear this.

"There was an attack on Hogwarts today." His mother's voice was tentative, not like she wasn't sure about what she was saying, but that she wasn't sure she should be saying it.

Realization hit him in an instant, but he didn't want to face it; he wasn't willing to. "No!" It came out a whispered denial, but forceful all the same. He didn't want to believe it, to hear it. This wasn't happening; it wasn't. He backed away from his mother and sister as if they were the plague.

"Katie was trying to protect her students," his mother told him, the words and she didn't make it were understood between the two of them "I'm so sorry, Oliver." She wanted to reach out, but he sunk into a chair across from her.

He couldn't think about it; it didn't seem to connect. The fact that she was gone didn't even register in his brain. He felt nothing. He was numb. "Did.did her students make it?" he asked, needing to know if her sacrifice had been worth it.

His mother simply nodded, seemingly hundreds of tears in her eyes. "Yes, she did a marvelous job," she told her son, wishing she could save him from this pain.

"Have you heard from the Bells'?" he asked, his voice hollow and empty. He could only think of what needed to be done, not what he felt. He'd heard somewhere that when a person is feeling more pain than they know what to do with, whatever allows them to feel that pain shuts down, causing them to feel nothing at all. He now knew what that feeling was.

Emiline shook her head. "No, not yet. We figured you should do that," she said softly.

Oliver nodded, feeling very stiff and wooden. "Yeah, yeah I should."

He stood slowly, and headed over to the fireplace, and took down a handful of floo powder for contact instead of travel. Within moments he was inside the Bells living room fireplace. "Mrs. Bell," he called out softly, seeing her, head in hands on one of the couches.

At the voice her head shot up. She saw the young man, who now looked much older then the last time she'd seen him, two days before. "Oh Oliver! How are you holding up, love?"

"It hasn't really sunk in yet," he told her honestly. "I just heard." He still could not recognize his own voice. He wondered how anyone else could.

"Oh you poor dear. Come over."

How was it that the woman could think of him above herself? "I wouldn't want to intrude, Mrs. Bell," he protested quickly. He didn't need to be there and to be reminded of Katie at every turn. Their house screamed Katie. She was.had been the youngest member of the Bell family, and the only girl.

"It's Mary, and you know that you're practically family," Mary told him, needing to be close to one of the main contacts with her daughter she had left. "As is your mother and sister. I'll see you in a few hmm, we all need to stick together in times like these," she said, sounding better than she felt.

Oliver quickly pulled away from the fireplace and turned back to his family. "I."

"Go," his mother said, waiving him on. "We'll be there in a little while."

Once again he managed to grab some floo powder and made it to the Bells' home. Within moments Mary Bell's arms were around him. "Oliver."

"Mary," he said, pulling back to look at her. She looked so much like Katie with those big eyes and the long golden brown hair.

"Oh, you don't have to hold it in for me."

"I honestly can't feel anything," he said, as he pulled further away and began to turn and pace. "That's why I didn't want to come, I mean I." he trailed off as he saw the first thing that truly penetrated the numbness. "Oh, God!" he cried out brokenly.

Right up there on the mantle was a picture of Katie and him. He was in his Puddlemere robes, she was in the robes she wore to teach in. The picture showed him picking Katie up and swinging her in a circle, before settling her down and kissing her. Then they both faced the camera: smiling, laughing, and waving. Tears finally burned his eyes.

"We put that up a few days ago," Mary told him softly. "It seemed fitting." And it did. As far as Mary Bell was concerned it fit in with all the pictures. It was also how she wanted to remember her daughter.

Oliver's gaze was focused firmly on the floor. "I'd understand if you didn't want it up there any more."

Mary simply shook her head. "No, no it's going to stay there. She is-was," she corrected herself, voice hitching, "never as happy in all her life."

"Mary."

"I don't want to hear it. She made you a part of this family Oliver, and we'll always love you." If Oliver only knew how much she treasured him. He was, in Mary's mind, her third son, but she could already see the distance gathering in those once young and bright eyes.

"Oliver," a gruff voice sounded behind Oliver, but the voice was older and more tired then he had remembered.

He turned and saw the older man. "Mr. Bell."

"They've asked us to identify her," Patrick Bell told not only his wife, but Oliver as well. "I think it's more for our own peace of mind than anything else. Would you like to come too?" he said, realizing that Oliver didn't understand that he was considered family.

He wanted to say no so badly. What he wouldn't have given to say no, but that wasn't an option. He needed to see this through. "Sure." He managed, he didn't know how, considering his throat was practically shut tight.

"They've asked us to apperate to the station, and that they'll send a carriage for us there."

"Alright." Mary said, picking up a few stray things around the house before turning to her husband. "Let's get going."

They went and it was beyond excruciating for Oliver. The carriage ride was filled with strained silence. The Bells held hands, while Oliver was left with no support, and just a vision of the grounds. In the dusk, he could see where the pitch was, where he and Katie had spent much of their time together. He couldn't be at Hogwarts and not see her.

Professor McGonagall met their carriage. "Mr. and Mrs. Bell. Mr. Wood," she said nodding towards them. "Follow me." And with that she turned on her heal and headed off into the castle.

They were lead through all too familiar hallways, and up to the hospital wing. Madam Pomfry was running around the hospital wing, helping the students that were just injured. There were the beds in the back that were simply covered with white sheets that she didn't go near. She only looked up at them sadly, with tears in her eyes.

Dumbledore seemingly appeared out of nowhere. "I know how difficult this must be for all of you. Katie was an excellent student and excellent teacher. I must tell you that Voldemort has been killed and that there are aurors out there finding the Death Eaters that have not been captured or killed already. Justice will be done. And she died bravely. I know that doesn't seem like much, but it is something. Many turned in this time, or moved away. Katie stood tall."

Dumbledore stopped in front of one of the beds and pulled back a sheet. Oliver stood in shock. She still looked amazingly like Katie. Despite the horrid pallor that had taken over her body, he half expected her to sit up and smile at them all creepy. He could hear her words in his ears. "I love you Ol, until forever."

He turned away in order to give her parents some time alone with her. He had never felt so lost before. He closed his eyes and told himself when he turned around next that her eyes would flutter open, and she'd try and manage a weak smile.

But no.

He felt a hand on his shoulder, but he couldn't make out who the person was. He wasn't capable of thinking. "Oliver, would you like a turn?" It sounded like Mary.

"Sure."

He sat and held her hand tightly in his own, holding on for dear life. After a few moments of just sitting with her, he leaned over her and pressed a kiss on her forehead. "Goodnight, love." he murmured, and then stood and turned.

Her older brothers were there now, Kevin and Justin. Oliver decided he would just go home. He couldn't stay any longer. It would be easier just to leave the rest of them behind to mourn her. The walls of the hospital wing were beginning to close in on him, and the smell of death and pain were overpowering him. Oliver felt like he was trapped and dying.

He took a carriage down to the village and then apparated into his home.

It was in that instant that he broke completely. The flat embodied Katie, her scent lingered in the air from that morning and the days before. Her things were comfortably strewn throughout the room, mingled with his things and things that were theirs. The furniture was arranged how she wanted it too; he hadn't argued when she'd had specific ideas.

He walked into the bedroom, the tears falling down his face and he fell into their bed, burying his head into her pillow, and crying even harder. She was really gone. He half expected her to walk through that door, crawl into bed and kiss him. But what he'd seen today had proved that that would never happen in life ever again.

Oliver kept his head buried in the pillow, his eyes still running with tears that he did not know how to stop. He stayed like that till he managed to drift of into sleep.

~*~

Two days later he was attending her funeral. How wrong was this? They weren't supposed to be putting her body in the ground. She was supposed to be next to him, waking up with her, laughing. But no, at the age of twenty she was gone.

He didn't really remember most of it. He was only focused on the casket. That big white casket that reminded him of angel white. She wasn't an angel, as the minister was trying to tell everyone. Katie was a real person. She was mischievous and fun. She had a temper that was rivaled by few.

He barely heard the condolences of those around him. Percy ended up letting it spill that Oliver had intended to propose, and caused a larger outpouring from everyone, but he wasn't interested. He knew they were trying to help, but he didn't want it.

Instead, once it was over he apperated to a bar, and proceeded to get himself drunk out of his mind. And for the first time in four days he didn't cry himself to sleep that night.

~*~

Oliver only heard snipits of the conversation around him.

"I'm sorry I had to call you Miss, but."

"He's a mess." That was his sister, and man was she curt.

"Merlin Becca, has he been like this often?" That sounded too much like Justin Bell, Katie's eldest brother.

Becca looked at the pitiful sight of her brother before her. He had taken a horrid downward spiral, and he wasn't coming out of it. "He's either playing quidditch or drunk off his ass."

Justin looked across to Becca. "So he's handling things well?" he asked with a small smile.

"Obviously," Becca said darkly.

"Come on," Justin said somewhat amicably, trying to placate an already drunk Oliver. "Time to go home."

He only shook Justin's friendly gestures off with a rude shrug and looking deeper down into the empty glass before him. "I'm enjoying my whisky."

"That's obvious," Becca snapped at Oliver, grabbing hold of his arm, and blistering his ears with her words. "But if you think I'm going to let you sit here and ruin your life, you've got another thing coming."

Oliver tried to shake her off, but it wasn't working. "Lay off Bec, I'm a grown man."

"Yeah," Becca snorted sarcastically as she pulled him backwards off of his stool. "Sure. In some other universe."

They managed to drag him home, and flop him into bed. "Thanks, Just, I'll take care of it from here."

"No problem, Becca," Justin said, laying a hand on the older woman's shoulder. "I was glad to help. Tell Ol, when he's conscious mind you, that the family would like to see him. Especially Mum."

"Don't worry, I will." Her temper was only simmering at the moment. It would take little to make it flash and boil, and then stay there.

Oliver attempted to sit up but the room seemed to spin out of control. "I don't understand why--"

Rebecca Wood was in no mood for her brother's behavior. "You don't understand a lot of things," she snapped at him.

"Leave me alone."

"I've left you alone. For six months I've left you alone." Becca raged at him, unable to deal with this by letting him alone any longer. "We all have. You've thrown yourself into work and liquor, and it's killing you."

"So?" Oliver asked, looking up at her with bleary eyes.

"So, so? Do you want to die?" she asked, looking at him like she was ready to take his head off. She hadn't been this mad in so long.

Oliver gave off a small laugh. "Maybe I do. Maybe I don't want to live anymore. But I can't kill myself quickly, I'm terrified of doing something like that. But this the slow way, I can do this. Playing, drinking, it's easy."

Becca let out a breath loudly through her nose in a mix between a sigh and a snort. "Life isn't easy, Oliver. We never get that option." She said

"Leave!" he yelled, leaving his head pounding and spinning all at once. "Everyone does," he murmured softly as he fell back down into his pillow. "Everyone."

"You're not dealing with this," Becca screamed at him. Oh why couldn't he have some sense knocked into him? Why must he go around as this dark shadow?

"I have dealt with this," he roared at her, wishing it were true but knowing better.

"Have you?" Becca asked, spitting mad. She headed over to the wardrobe that she knew had been Katie's, pulled open a draw and pulled out a few of the robes that had belonged to Katie. "Her stuff is still in the drawers, all of her things are still arranged as if they're going to be used. She's not coming back, Oliver. She's never coming back."

"You think I don't live with that every day," he was feeling quite sober now, and could feel again, the pain, the tears that he had forced himself not to shed since her funeral. They were pricking at his eyeballs now, hot and demanding, and threatening to spill over. "I lost the most important thing in my life. She left, just like everyone always does."

"You mean like Dad. You think I don't miss him?" Becca's tears were falling now. "You think no one understands what you're going through? I lost Dad too you know, and yeah I may have been twenty to your ten, but I still lost the most important man in my life. Why do you think it's taken me so long to find someone that I care about? And I also lost the closest thing to a sister I've ever had. You are hurting the only people you have left Oliver, and you need to stop it. Find a way to handle this. I'll be back to check on you."

Oliver heard his bedroom door slam, and then heard her mutter something in the other room. She was right. He needed to sort this out for himself.

~*~

He walked across the cold ground, through the headstones, until he found the one he was looking for. He crouched down before it and read the words across it, his fingers moving ahead of his eyes.

Katie Bell Beloved Daughter, Teacher and Friend 1978-1998

It didn't seem to be enough for who she was and what she had been. The words didn't detail the little moments that made her intrinsically Katie. Then again, how could you put that all on a piece of rock when you could hardly keep a hold of it in photographs?

The dates seemed to be all wrong, she should have been older than twenty. There should have been different names up there, such as wife and mother. So depressing! He'd always known that he wanted to marry Katie, it was all about when she would have been in the right place to say yes. Katie hadn't realized she wanted children until she'd begun working at Hogwarts. She'd helped a first year to fly, and had been ecstatic. For her there had been something about helping this one child that made her realize she would have wanted children.

"Hey there, love. It's been awhile, I know. I miss you, Katie, but that isn't an excuse for my behavior. I've been treating everyone horribly, and I haven't come as often as I should have. It took me awhile before I found these, lilacs." He lay the collection of white and purple blossoms right under her name. "They're not all that easy to find in November, but well, they are your favorites. I thought I'd show you this." He pulled out the little velvet box that he hadn't forgotten, but hadn't opened in months. He opened it now, and turned it towards the headstone as if she could see. "I was going to ask you to marry me."

"You did the right thing you know, taking care of those kids," he told her, needing her to know that he meant every word. That he believed she'd done what was best. "I mean, I can't blame you for that. I might miss you like crazy, but you were brave till the end. Fearless Bell," he managed with a laugh, remembering that old nickname that she'd carried through her Hogwarts years. "But you must have been frightened. He's gone now, I mean, Harry did it. But still, I can't imagine what ran through your head."

"I'm going to try to find a way to move on, to be the kind of man you'd want me to be, instead of the pathetic thing I've become," he promised, knowing he would keep it for her. "And don't you dare tell me that I haven't, because I have. I'm honestly disappointed in myself, but I haven't cared. Haven't been able to care without you. I mean before you there was quidditch, and after you there was quidditch. Thats all that I've been able to handle lately. But I'm going to be better. I'm not going to say I'm going to love anyone like I loved you, because that's not possible. I don't know if I can love anyone else."

"I'll be back, but I have some things I need to fix," he told her as he snapped the box shut and lay it among the blossoms. "I love you Katie, until forever."

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