A/N: This just sort of coalesced in my brain last night and clamored to be written so I obliged. It's about some characters I invented who went to Hogwarts with the Marauders and Lily. AJ Willis and Holly Macalister are mine, but Davey Gudgeon belongs to JK Rowling. Unfortunately.
The house shook. The airplane seemed to be taking an eternity to fly over. And the young man trembled in the corner of the dark room, afraid. A few moments passed. The man shook his head. Paranoia, that's what it was. It was a plane, for goodness' sake. You-Know-Who didn't use planes.
He reached for the box on the desk in front of him. Time to put in those pesky contacts. It wasn't his fault the stupid glasses had broken and now he had to where these dumb contacts. They were such a pain to put in every morning.
A bang on the door made him jump, dropping the box. They're here for me. The thought blinked in the blank, numb space that had become his mind. Another bang and harsh voices he didn't recognize came through the wood. An invisible spell blasted the door free and there stood three hooded figures. Death Eaters.
The first one was on him in an instant, her wand pointed straight at his head. "Do you know where they are?" she asked, pleasantly. He shook his head, looking up at her face. It was a blur with two dark splotches that might have been eyes. "DO NOT LIE!" she shrieked suddenly. "You are their best friend—who else would they make secret keeper but you?!"
She dropped to his eye level. "You know where they are," she informed him, "and you are going to tell us. And if you don't, I will hurt you." She spoke as though explaining a game to a very small child: "Here's how it works: I hurt you, you answer my question, and I stop. Got that? It's really quite simple.
"I know you don't like being hurt. You were such a baby about pain back in school; I hope that is still the case because it'll make this go quicker, won't it?"
In an instant she was back on her feet, wand directed at his body again. "Crucio!" she screamed.
Pain. Like a thousand needles being jammed into his every pore. Like lightening running
up and down his bones. Utter, mind numbing, horrendous, impossible pain. She was right. He didn't like pain. He liked comfort: things that were soft or smooth or nice or sweet. He liked being happy.
He was screaming. I could tell her. He realized. I could. Just an address, so small. This would stop, she's right, it would all stop, stop… Maybe he would have. It would have been easy to betray them, so easy. Maybe. But.
Memories flashed though his brain: Sitting in the train compartment for the first time, alone. And hadn't the door been pulled back and a little shrimp of a boy had stuck his head in and said, 'C-c-can I s-sit here?' And the scrawny boy had grown into a tall young man. He liked music: he would hum it all day and tap with his fingers. The same fingers that he chewed as a regular habit. And he liked mushrooms and staplers and Muggle video games. And he had an adorable little brother. And…and strawberries, something about the smell of strawberries…
Just as suddenly as it had begun, it stopped. She towered above him, blowing imaginary smoke off the end of her wand. "Well?" she asked.
"No," was his whispered answer.
"He's being difficult," she stated plaintively, addressing her two companions. They snorted. In an instant she turned back to him. "Tell me," she ordered and with a flash the pain returned.
And-and Holly. Nice, sweet, kind Holly. Who always knew just what to say or do. So happy to be in Ravenclaw. Glad to help, to hug, to laugh. Baking cookies. 'There's batter in your hair, silly.' Sticky, wet, salty…blood in his mouth. He must've bit his tongue.
Twitching, screaming, his back arching…strawberries. She'd always used that funny strawberry shampoo. He would have laughed if he could. He'd never made that connection before. Why else would Davey have liked the smell so much? Her hair smelled like strawberries…he'd never realized…just one more connection in an infinite series of them…
Together. Jokes and laughing. That stupid thing about…what had it even been about? Lazy summer days. Piled on a bed, a jumble of legs on knees and heads on stomachs, watching a horror movie. And he would never forget that look on Holly's face as she watched Davey leaving the station that one day…
"I loved her," he whispered to the floor.
"What?" she asked, as though hoping he was giving in. But he didn't answer. He wasn't talking to her.
"I loved her…still do. I love them both…I—"
Talking on the grounds. Fighting in the common room. He was always in the middle, one on each side. They would sulk and cry (and never let the other one know). He was the mediator. He pulled them back together every time. 'I like you both (translation: I love you guys to pieces) why can't you trust my judgment?' When what he meant (but never said) was 'You love each other so much. Why can't you see that?'
It stopped. He was lying, face on the floor, blood pooled by his mouth. "This is your last chance," the woman informed him. I am going to die. He found that for the first time in his life the realization didn't scare or sadden him.
Late night discussion, cross-legged on the bed, in low serious voices. 'There can be heroes. There is goodness. We need to do this…we need to do the right thing.'
Tears. And love. Always love. More than the word itself can express.
He would die. And they would live.