Ghosts dance in the flame of the candle.
Hermione sits on the large window seat on the fourth floor of the castle near the old Charms classroom. Her chin rests on her knees and she stares at the candlelight. She won't be disturbed here, not in the darker parts of the castle that usually remain unexplored in favor of classrooms that have more privacy for intimate interludes. She likes this seat and has since she found it during her first year. It's private and she needs to be alone right now.
It's only been a few days yet it feels like years. This is the first chance she's had to get away, to have privacy, to grieve for what was lost. No one knows of their friendship, of the conversations that filled lonely hours in the library, of the evenings of comfortable silence as they shared this seat, of the hesitant kisses that became more urgent, of the shy touches and whispers of a possible future.
It seems inappropriate to cry for him. Cedric was never one for mourning, having a thirst for life that was infectious. He'd want to be remembered with smiles and happiness, not tears and sadness. For him, she tries not to cry. It's selfish to mourn for what she's lost, in a way, but she can't stop the tears when she lies awake at night and remembers. Here, though, she can think of him and smile. She stares at the candlelight and sees him so easily in her mind.
He smiles and holds out his hand, dancing with her beneath the stars until they're laughing at how silly they are being. He argues with her, cheeks flushed and eyes alive, insisting that she's wrong with a stubbornness that results in a sheepish smile when he finds that she's right. He looks at her in a way no other boy ever has, seeing her as more than just a know-it-all with bad hair, and smiles as if he's found a hidden treasure. He touches her, a soft brush of fingers against warm skin, gentle as if he's touching fragile glass. He kisses her, clumsy and wet until it becomes tender with an underlying passion she's too young to really understand.
Memories run through her mind like a slide show. Silent tears fall down her face, but she smiles as she remembers him, as she remembers Cedric, and each memory is cherished as she celebrates his life. Hermione knows that she was fortunate to know him because there will never be anyone else quite like Cedric Diggory.
She stares at the flame and sees the ghosts dancing, watching the flickering warmth until she loses herself in its glow. She can almost feel his fingers trace the curve of her jaw, can almost hear his voice whispering that she's beautiful, can almost feel the soft fullness of his lips against hers. He'll never leave her, not as long as she remembers him, and that knowledge allows her to grieve for what was lost when he died.
Cedric is gone but he'll never be forgotten. He was special, unlike anyone she'll ever know, and she misses him. She thinks of him and remembers his grin and his laugh, remembers his touch and his kiss, remembers how much he loved life and how he appreciated every moment of every day that he lived. There will be no mourning for a life that was lost, she decides as she cries silently. Instead, there will be smiles and tears for a life that lived as fully as possible, memories of a handsome caring boy whose light went out far too early.
She smiles as she watches the flame dance and feels him all around her. She was lucky to have him in her life, to know him and to love him, to be loved by him. For a brief time, she knew what it was like to touch the sun and that's something that she'll never forget.