Title: Every Night I Wait
Pairing: Harry/Cedric, Cedric's POV
Disclaimer: Yeah, right; because the person who owns the series would ever write anything like this.
Summary: Every morning he smiles, and every night I wait.
Warnings: Allusions to abuse, and some mental scarring.
Author's Note: So, to make you guys feel a little better about the wait between chapters of "A Lack of Color", i'll post this instead. i want to finish the next chapter by Friday, but don't hold your breath.
Every morning he greets me with a smile.
After that, we go about our day: we see friends, we eat meals, we make love. Some days are more complicated, or force us apart for hours at a time. But more often than not, every night we end up back in bed together.
And every night I wait.
He usually tosses and turns for nearly half an hour before sleep finally takes him. And those are the good nights. On the bad ones it's closer to an hour, maybe longer. At first he's in the fetal position, curled in a ball with his arms clutched protectively to his chest. It takes another hour for him to relax, unclench, and stretch his body across the mattress. He's calm for a little while, almost peaceful. Then, inevitably, it starts.
It's gradual at first. You wouldn't even notice it if you hadn't watched it a hundred times like me. A shadow of emotion washes over his face, causing his brow to crease slightly. Then there's the low moan, sounding deep in his throat. The first one is so soft it barely registers, but then there it is again. And again. Rapidly rising in frequency and pitch. He's rocking a bit now, shaking almost. Gasping wails and stuttering words. That's when I go to work.
It took a while to figure out exactly what needed to be done. Some things came harder than others. I learned the hard way that trying a soothing "shhh" only made him more agitated and earned myself a black eye in the process. At first I was stunned, and couldn't understand why such a simple, comforting expression would provoke a reaction like that. Then I started to think about him. The one who caused this. What would he have said to quiet the little boy, the one who he...
So shushing was out. Same with touching him, in any fashion, anywhere below the navel, though that quickly became obvious once I figured the reason for my black eye. Instead I wrap my arms gently around his chest and press my lips close to his ear.
"Hey, hey, hey," I whisper softly. "Hey, hey, hey. It's me. I'm here. He can't hurt you. I'm here."
Over and over I say it until, slowly, he calms down. On the good nights. On the bad ones, the ones where he's been up too late tossing and turning, thinking, there's almost nothing I can do to pacify him. Not until he wakes up screaming, scrambling to get away. He doesn't hit anymore, and a part of me considers that progress. I hold my sobbing mess tightly, and I tell him everything's going to be all right. He's with me now, and I'll never let anyone hurt him again.
And I won't. I can't. After everything I put him through, prancing around with that dark haired girl while he watched and waited and watched and waited. It's nowhere near the hell he went through at home— no, not home; that place he used to live. This was home now. I was his home. And he was mine.
It sounds worse than it is really, all things considered. I'm sure you're reading this and feeling some amount of pity, for him, or for me. You shouldn't. For me, anyway. Maybe some of you are wondering why I stay. I'm too young, you're saying, too young to put so much weight on myself, to let myself be brought down by someone so emotionally fragile. I guess some of you aren't reading closely enough.
Every morning he greets me with a smile.
And that's enough.
After all that we've been through, that he's been through, that I can still be lucky enough to wake up next to his smiling face every morning. My beautiful boy, whose smile is like the sun. I would do anything he asked me to, anything at all, yet he asks for nothing. Nothing, that is, until he's asleep.
"Make him stop," he pleads softly. "Make him stop." The same broken question, time and time again.
It's a small price to pay to keep the sunshine in my life.
And so every night I wait.
End Notes: All right, to be honest, this isn't really a Harry/Cedric fanfic. I've been working on my own original series since I was twelve and this came to me as a fanfic (yes, fanfic) for that series. While I was writing it, I realized that it could pass for H/C, and I did want to share it with ya'll. So I specifically omitted some details specific to my series (the boys' names, which I was pretty much doing anyway, and the identity of the dark haired girl, and the identity of the abuser)so I could put it up. I really hope you enjoyed it.