Author's Notes: Ahh, the first in the 'Shattered' series. And what exactly is the 'Shattered' series, you ask? Well, I'll tell you, if you ask nicely.
Honestly, didn't your parents teach you manners?
Anyway, I'll forgive your rudeness and tell you anyway: the 'Shattered' series explores how different people take the death of close friends/relatives. The after-affects of war, if you will. This particular piece is looking at Colin Creevey and Padma Patil.
"There is no such thing as day without night, joy without pain, or success without loss, but that will never make it easier for the heart." - Phoenix Sworn
"I thought I'd find you out here." A weak smile passed over Colin's face as he stared out over the expanse of the lake. He shrugged. I tried again. "Are you hungry? There is still some food left from dinner." He shook his head and looked down at his hands, which were draped over his legs. He rested his chin between his knees. Beside him lay his camera, shattered and glittering in the sun.
He gave his head a little shake to get the hair out of his eyes. "Why are you out here, Padma?" He asked me, still not tearing his eyes away from the glittering water. "You should be inside." A small breeze tickled my skin and I saw the hair on Colin's arms rise but he didn't seem to notice. "You should go in," he repeated.
"You're the one without your cloak," I pointed out.
"I'm fine," he replied instantly. His voice was devoid of feeling, and I knew that he was lying. I felt a stab of sorrow and suddenly wanted my sister back more than anything on the planet.
I shook my head and felt tears gather in my eyes. "No, you're not," I argued softly. "You're not fine." He finally dragged his eyes from the lake and turned slowly to face me. His eyes were blank.
"Padma. I'm fine."
"And this?" I gestured toward the broken camera. "You did this when Dennis was still around, did you?"
He winced. "This has nothing to do with Dennis!" He snapped. "I'm just sick of photography, all right? I have enough photos to last me a lifetime, and—"
"And so you just decided to break the camera, rather than sell it? Or give it away? Thought it was best if you shattered the last remaining thing that reminded you of your brother?" My questions were biting and harsh, but he needed to hear them. He needed someone to ask.
He glared at me. "Damnit, Padma! I just got angry, okay? I didn't need the stupid thing, and I was angry so I broke it!"
I softened. "Angry at what?" I asked gently, placing a hand on his arm. "You-Know-Who? Dumbledore? Yourself?"
A defeated sigh escaped him. I saw his breath drift down and gently dance along the grass. "No," he said. "I was just…angry. And say Voldemort." I winced and he snorted in annoyance.
"I can't, Colin."
"Why not? It's just a name." He paused. "…Would Parvati want you to be afraid of a name?"
I took a sharp breath and looked away. "Well, Parvati isn't around anymore to care, now is she?" I spat, turning away and focusing my eyes on the mountains. They rose above me and the water and the school, solidly standing as though they hadn't been shaken only a few months before, as though they hadn't witnessed slaughter and tears and victory. They were tinted blue but tainted red as the sun slid into the earth behind them, the sky lit brilliantly with its fire.
I turn back to find Colin looking at me sadly. "Padma," he said gently. "Padma, she might not be alive."
I felt a sob well up in my chest. I hadn't spoken to anyone about it, I hadn't mentioned it, and had turned the conversation away when others tried to. "So might Dennis," I pointed out. "They were…taken…together."
Colin shook his head. "Definitely Dennis," he told me quietly. "Dennis was too young to survive something like that. He was too weak. And sick…he was always sick." He chuckled and shook his head.
I shut my eyes slowly. "Don't say that," I whispered. "If you give up hope then I have to, too. And I can't do that, yet." He turned to me questioningly. "I can't, Colin," I told him in a broken voice. "I can't accept that Parvati…that she's probably…Everyone else says…but I just…" I looked down at the ground, and the blades of grass were blurred. "She would have looked out for the younger children, Colin. She would have been one of the first to go, her…her and Hermione both." I sniffed. "She was braver than anyone else thought she was," I murmured. Flashes of her face and memories of her smiling, and laughing, and painting my nails shot through my head. "She didn't show it, but she was. She loved…she loved children. She would die for one."
Suddenly, I couldn't look at him. "Maybe she died for Dennis."
"Don't." I looked up, surprised, at Colin's angry face. "Don't blame Dennis if Parvati is dead!"
"Well, maybe it was his fault!" The words were pouring out of me before I could stop them. "Why didn't they come back, Colin? Huh? Why did the Death Eaters choose Parvati and Dennis? They weren't important, damnit! Hermione, I understand, and even Cho, but—"
"I don't know!" Colin yelled.
"—Parvati never hurt anyone! She wasn't close to Harry Potter and she wasn't even that close to Hermione, but she would have died for her, and maybe she did, and if Hermione lived but Parvati died then I don't know what I'll do because Parvati deserves to be alive! But maybe she's not, Colin! Maybe she's dead!"
The word echoed, wrapping around us like a thick blanket. It was the first time I had ever said it out loud. "Maybe she's dead," I repeated.
Colin turned his body toward me, his eyes filled with emotion and sorrow. "Maybe she's not," he whispered. "Maybe…maybe she and Dennis and Hermione and the rest of them…maybe they all lived. Maybe they're just in a prison somewhere." His voice was thick, as though he had to force the words out.
"Everyone else came back," I murmured. "They found everyone except them; bodies, living persons…but nothing from her group. Why my sister?" I hated to admit it, but I wished it on anyone else, if only I could have Parvati back. I wished it on my best friend, that my sister could be standing next to me alive and well.
The blonde boy shrugged. "Why Dennis?" He asked. "I don't…know. I don't know." He paused. "But…Dennis…" He hesitated. "Dennis is dead." I looked up.
"You don't know that," I disagreed sharply.
"Yes, I do," he returned. "Dumbledore…Dumbledore said that the Aurors found…they found his…" he gestured helplessly.
They found his body.
"I only found out…just this morning and I didn't want to…believe it. I'm not supposed to…tell anyone. Especially not…"
I felt pity shoot through me, accompanied by sudden panic. "How…was he…alone?"
Colin shut his eyes and shook his head. "He was…in a mass grave," he murmured. "With…Hermione…and…Cho…and…"
My blood froze. "And…Parvati." I completed for him. "Oh, God." I felt sick. Bile rose up in my throat and I turned away to hurl onto the grass. The mess was pink, and I found myself thinking, Pink was Parvati's favourite colour. Colin put a hand on my arm, but I wrenched it away. I stood.
He was in a mass grave with Hermione and Cho and Parvati. Parvati was in a mass grave with Dennis. She was in a grave. She's dead. She's dead. She's dead.
My sister is dead. My twin is dead. My best friend is dead. Dead. Dead. I looked down at my hands and found that they were shaking. My brain rattled around in my head and suddenly all I could see was Parvati. Eleven, sitting beneath the sorting hat, the rim covering her eyes. Twelve, her legs propped up on my desk as I tried to study. Thirteen, reading Witch Weekly and confessing that she had a crush on Dean Thomas. Fourteen, her hair up in curls and looking stunning in her Yule Ball gown. Fifteen, laughing because my shirt was on inside out and backwards. Sixteen, "Dean asked me out!". Seventeen, screams from the Great Hall. I rushed in and she was shielding a first year. The Death Eater shot a Stupefy at her and she crumbled to the ground. The masked man apparated her away as Ginny held me back, although I kicked and screamed as I tried to get to her. "She's gone, Padma," she said softly, her voice choked. "She's gone."
I found myself suddenly wrapped up in Colin's arms. He was shaking as well, and tears were coursing down his cheeks. Tears for Dennis, and Parvati, and all the others. Tears for war and tears for victory.
The rain started down, splashing violently onto Colin's shattered camera.