A/N - Welcome to the first installment of The Alphabet Series! I'm making this my summer project, so expect oneshots from "canon" pieces and crazy alternate universes ahead!
A for Anguish
(George Weasley isn't the only one to lose a sibling.)
Dennis Creevey holds his mother's hand when his brother is laid to rest in the little cemetery near their house. There have been offers to bury Colin with the other victims of the Battle on Hogwarts at the Memorial in Hogsmeade, but his parents want to be able to visit their son's grave and Muggles can't see Hogwarts.
Harry Potter might be the "Savior of the Wizarding World", but Dennis can't help but hate him, just a little bit, because it's his fault that Colin is dead. He wants his older brother back, healthy and alive and here with Dennis, ready to finish his last year of school and become a nature photographer like he always wanted.
Dennis wishes, sometimes, Colin had not convinced their parents to let him leave that night, because then his big brother would still be alive. He misses Colin, who was never mean or cruel even when he could have been, and told him all he knew about astronomy and photography and football and later, Harry Potter – who defeated the darkest wizard in half a century when he was only a baby and became Colin's personal hero. Colin, who sent them all magical sweets from school and dozens upon dozens of pictures of his friends, and who showed Dennis around the school in his first few weeks in the huge castle and didn't make fun of him when he got lost or fell in the lake.
Colin, who had a knack for running headfirst into trouble. Colin, who wanted to travel the world and promised to send him thousands of postcards when he finally did. Colin, who kissed Demelza Robbins underneath the mistletoe and snuck Dennis into Hogsmeade for the first D.A. meeting and who was terrified of snakes and who could balance a basketball on one finger and who used to sing terribly in the shower. Colin, whose camera saved him from almost certain death more times than Dennis could count.
Later, when their mother has gone to lie in bed and stare blankly at the ceiling, and their father to the bottle of whiskey in the liquor cabinet, Dennis pushes open the door to Colin's bedroom. There shouldn't be anything in here but messy shelves and the bed Mum refuses to make, but his camera is sitting on the desk. Dennis can't bear to look at it; too many times he has seen Colin's pale fingers curled around the edges of their grandfather's old Nikon, waiting to capture the moments of other people's lives that seemed to fascinate him so.
There's probably still a roll of film in there even now, but Dennis won't be the one to take it out. He leaves his brother's room and shuts the door behind him.
Padma and Parvati weren't like most twins. They didn't share everything, for one thing. Well…they shared some things, but not everything. Hairbrushes, for example. Parvati always liked harder bristles. At home, their sock drawer was usually a joint affair, but the underwear drawer was strictly off-limits and separated by a thin piece of cardboard…even if Parvati did like some of the colorful, lacy things Padma would buy during Hogsmeade weekends.
They weren't always together, either. Even before Hogwarts, Parvati was always happier flouncing through the park with Pansy than sitting still and learning how to make tandori and samosas with Padma and their mother. Padma wasn't there when she had her first sign of magic (making dried flowers in a vase at the Parkinson's bloom), Padma wasn't there when she got her first detention (slapping Pansy in the middle of the library for what she said about Lavender), and Padma definitely wasn't there the first time Parvati kissed a boy (Martin-the-Frenchman, roughly a week after the Yule Ball).
But despite all that, despite all the differences they had between them, she thinks that she should have felt at least something when Padma died. Isn't that what is supposed to happen when twins are separated? When a twin's other half dies, they feel some sort of sharp stab of pain in their abdomen, a sudden sting in their hands or hearts or shoulders, the ghost of an ache that lets them know that their special, twin-ly bond is no more – doesn't that happen?
Or is that mystical connection only for twins that actually liked one another, like Fred and George Weasley?
Her parents and Padma are laid out together on a slab of marble before her in the Great Hall, just three amongst the so many others who have given their lives today. She stands as well as she can beside them until Dean appears at her side. He wraps an arm around her shoulders and she leans against him, grimy and dirty and more tired than she's ever felt in her life, but thankful for his steady, solid weight all the same. Parvati has no idea what she should be feeling. Dean seems to be expecting her to cry, and keeps rubbing her back in a soft, soothing motion, but all she can think about is how her sister is dead and her parents are dead and how she felt absolutely nothing at the moment Antonin Dolohov struck her family down.
She wishes she could have felt something. At least that, however small it might have been, might have made this emptiness inside her easier to bear.
Eleanora Diggory loved her brother.
Of course at first, she absolutely hated him. She hated him with everything she had in her five-year-old heart, and she had never even seen him. The day after he was born their grandmother took her to the hospital where her parents were to meet him, and Eleanora dragged her feet and whined and moaned the entire way. She didn't want a brother – she didn't want some little brat taking her parents away from her – and she was absolutely sure that with one look at his stupid little face, her grandmother would agree and convince her parents to leave St. Mungo's without the dumb new baby.
But then her father sat her down in a chair in her mother's hospital room and put him in her arms, and all the loathing she'd built up over nine long months dissolved in an instant.
She'd taken off work at St. Mungo's and sat in the audience with their parents at the Third Task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, beaming and proud and cheering as loud as she could for her baby brother. They waited for hours for Cedric to return triumphant, waited and watched for him to emerge from the hedge maze with the Tri-Wizard Cup held triumphantly over his head. But when he returns, carried in the arms of a screaming boy of fourteen, Cedric looks like less like the dashing, daring boy she's loved and more like a cheap wax imitation. His eyes are wide open – it sickens her to know that he must have seen his death coming – when Harry Potter brings him back through the maze and she cries over his body in the Hospital Wing while Amos and Fiona Diggory speak to the Gryffindor in the Headmaster's Office. He can't be dead, not Cedric, but he is cold and lifeless under her fingers as Madam Pomfrey moves to pull the sheet over his head.
She knows that they'll turn him into a martyr, maybe, all those historians and novelists and Rita Skeeters-to-be. He'll go down in the history books as the spark that started the Second War, a proud Hogwarts student in over his head, the first death in a list of far too many. All the future will know is a name and a face, something flat and factual. Cedric Diggory will cease to be a man – a boy, a son, a brother – and he'll be turned into a saint with a spotless halo; a man made of Hufflepuff black and gold instead of flesh and blood.
But they'll never know how scared he was of thunderstorms when he was younger, or how he liked coffee more than tea, or how scared he was to fly a broom for the first time. They'll never know how he got the scar on his left knee, or how short a temper he had, or how terrible he was at Transfiguration. They'll never know just how handsome he really was when he smiled.
But Eleanora Diggory knows all these things, and she can't help but wonder if the real tragedy of the situation is that no one else will.
Audrey Davies doesn't realize that she's alone until three days after the Battle of Hogwarts.
She is so caught up in the aftereffects Harry Potter's defeat of Lord Voldemort – the celebrations, the burial arrangements, the reclamation of the Ministry – that she doesn't fully comprehend that she is, in effect, the last of the Davies family until she goes back to the empty flat in Puddlemere. She expected the silence, expected that the only greeting she would get would be from his rather hungry cat, but nothing prepares her for just how empty everything feels.
Even in the three drab and dreary rooms that made up her existence for the past year, Audrey can still feel her brother in the walls around her; but his presence, once so lively, has dulled to almost nonexistence in only the few short days since she has been gone. She sees him everywhere and it makes her heart hurt all over again, like it's being squeezed in a vice on a workman's bench, but it isn't the same.
She falls into the bed and holds his pillow tightly to her chest, tears falling from her eyes and into fabric that still smells like her brother. When she calms down, she tries to think about how everything will be when she goes home, when she can come out of hiding and her dad can go back to teaching and her mum can –
Her parents. Oh God, her parents.
Her parents are still under the Memory Charm Roger put on them, and for the first time, it dawns on Audrey that she has absolutely no idea as to where they are.
She leaps from the bed and races through the apartment like a whirlwind, searching frantically for the smallest hint of a sign as to where Roger sent their parents. . Audrey goes through every scrap of paper she can find and struggles her hardest to remember anything that he said that might have been an allusion to where they were – Greece, maybe? Her mother always wanted to go to Greece – or that might have held some kind of meaning to them – her parents honeymooned in Hawaii – but as hard as she tries, Audrey can't think of a single thing that could be an answer to where her parents are.
She wants to cry until there's nothing left. She wants to break every dish in the damn apartment. She wants to be the bratty baby sister again and throw a tantrum that would rival any toddler's. She wants her Dad to hold her and Roger to tease her and for everything to justgo back to the way it was before – before the hiding, before the war, hell, even before her Hogwarts letter. But most of all, she wants her Mum.
She loves her brother – she'll always love her brother – but she isn't sure that she will ever be able to forgive him for this.
George can't help but be more than a little annoyed at everyone's fussing. Just because Fred is dead, it doesn't mean that George is going to something stupid like off himself.
But Fred is dead. And George has never been alone like this before. Sure, they didn't do everything together – Angelina, for one, was all Fred in the same way that Alicia was all George – but they've been lumped together for so long that it seems far too strange not to hear the extra name before his own. Fred and George, or Fredandgeorge, usually said in one quick breath. Now it's just George and. Georgeand. George and the sad, empty spaces on parchment and in his family's hearts where his brother used to be.
But what no one seems to understand is that even though Fred is gone, even though everything feels lopsided and loopy without another body there to counterbalance his weight, George is surprisingly serene. He doesn't cry as often as he used to, he doesn't moan like the ghoul in the attic, and he doesn't turn to the bottle or the noose or the razorblade like everyone seems to expect him to. Even when Angelina comes to him, when she makes the mistake that everyone somehow predicted would happen, he stays as straight and steady as he has since the day after they buried Fred.
There are moments – that day at the Triple-W with Percy, and when he and Angelina named their children, and after Joey had his first magical outburst – where George catches himself wallowing, catches himself staring at Fred's photograph for far too long, catches himself feeling like he is going to overflow with the grief he has bubbling inside his body. But as time goes on, those moments become fewer and farther between; disappearing in the troubles and trivialities of his daily life until there's almost nothing left. He knows that his family thinks he's lying when he laughs and jokes and smiles on his birthday. He knows that they all think he's burying his misery under false happiness, and that one day everything he's suppressing inside will fall apart and he'll crack into pieces from the strain, but George can't help but shake his head at the thought.
He is fine because he knows that one day, he and Fred will be together again, and some day George will get to see the other side, too. They'll be together forever and he can't help but laugh at what havoc they'll wreak then.