A swath of dark hair covered most of the young man's face as he walked into the church that he'd been coming to once a year for the past nineteen years of his life.
He crossed himself as he entered the chapel, and then, without a single bit of hesitation on his part he walked down the aisle towards where the candles burned. This year was different, and his heart was heavier than it usually was.
He picked up the lighting stick and lit up a candle in the back corner, away from the rest. He started to light another, but then drew back, changing his mind. One candle was sufficient for the two of them. A single candle was more than sufficient for the two of them. They were together, now. Truly one for the first time in nineteen years.
He watched with a somewhat strained smile as Father Gregory approached him, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"Patrick…it's good to see you."
"And you, Father."
The priest dropped his head, letting a small smile escape his lips before his brow turned quizzical. "Where is your mother?"
At this question, Patrick's hazel eyes darkened. The cloud that now covered his visage was dark, and it was obvious that something was wrong. Father Gregory watched as Patrick wrung his hands in front of himself, and then he saw a single tear escape the young man's eyes.
"She…she passed away. One year ago."
At this, the Father pulled back, shocked to hear such news. But she had been so young. How on earth could this have happened? He silently crossed himself, sending up a silent prayer, asking that her soul be truly at rest. He then looked back towards Patrick, concern lacing his features.
"How…how did this happen, my son?"
At this question, more than one tear escaped and soon his shoulders were shaking with silent sobs. Father Gregory wrapped an arm around the young man's shoulders, guiding him to a secluded pew in the back of the chapel.
He waited for him to gain some semblance of control, but he knew that it might be a while. Unlike his mother, he had always worn his emotions on his sleeve, and had some trouble controlling them. He was such an open soul, one of the most honest ones that Father Gregory had ever met, and he felt his heart ache at the sight of Patrick crying. He didn't deserve to have his mother taken from him as well; it simply wasn't fair.
Finally, Patrick lifted his eyes, drying them with the back of his hand. "It was murder, Father."
Father Gregory stayed silent, his heart reaching out even more towards Hermione's son. He tightened his grip on Patrick's shoulders, trying to convey his support. The young man's frame shook a little less each time, and he took that as a good sign.
As he started to speak, his voice was low and hushed.
"You know that my father died before I could ever know him, but you don't how exactly how. There was a group that he used to work with where he was a double agent. Both of his, uh, employers thought that he worked for their side…but he only really worked for one. After he left his job, taking down one of his employers...the bad one, obviously…he married my mum, and then they had me. The men who then killed him were some of his previous associates that he'd betrayed. We thought they were gone for good, but they resurfaced about thirteen months ago and…and…"
He couldn't finish his sentence, and instead he leaned over and put his head in his hands. His somewhat slight frame began to shake once more, and Father Gregory found himself at a loss for words. He patted the boy's shoulder and slowly pulled his arm away.
Patrick's voice was barely above a whisper as he spoke once more. "The worst part of it is the fact that they killed her on the same day…right after we left the church."
At that, he lifted his eyes and stared forward to where the single candle burned. It would never become two candles. It would always be one. He would never add another candle, never even think about it or even let the gesture cross his hands.
Father Gregory watched the emotions play across the young man's face.
It shocked him as to how much he could see both of the boy's parents in Patrick. He had his father's dark hair, but his mother's untamable curls. He had his mother's eye color and father's eye shape. His father's nose and his mother's chin. Looking to where Patrick's hands were entwined he recognized his mother's long fingers, but the rest of his body was wiry like his father's.
He was a perfect combination between the two, and the priest couldn't think of any better way for them to be remembered than in their wonderful son. He slowly stood, and Father Gregory watched as he crossed himself once more and then moved down the pew, making his way to the side aisle that remained covered in shadow. The priest didn't dare to follow, and instead watched as Patrick walked away, slipping among the shadows as his own father once had.
There was no denying that he had a haunting beauty to him. He had come a long way.
When he was a baby, he had been a dark angelic figure and he had now turned into a shadowy archangel whose wings had been torn from him, forced to stay tethered to the ground, unable to break free and make his way to join his parents in the heavens.
The doors closed behind him, a dull thud that echoed in an almost morbid way, reminding him of dirt hitting the top of a coffin.
Father Gregory turned his eyes towards the candles at the front. The candle still burned. He had an odd feeling that it would never burn down. That it would continue on until the very cathedral became a relic, a ruin, falling around it, while it would still continue to burn.
Father Gregory sighed as he left the chapel. As he closed the doors behind him he was reminded of another time he'd been given sad news of a death.
He gave one last lingering glance as the doors slid shut.
A single candle burned.
A.N. - This story can also be found on Ashwinder. I must thank gifarlme for the idea to continue this story. I ended up with a wonderful little epilogue piece, and I hope you all enjoy it!