A/N: First fanfic, so please read and review; constructive criticism will be muchly appreciated. I have no idea how this will turn out.
Disclaimer: Alas, I do not own Harry Potter.
I am told that you are on top of the knoll behind the church, at the edge of the town. I know instantly which mount it is: the lone hill that had been perfect for fooling around during the long, hot summer days.
I set off at once; I know the way. I find it almost immediately. Here the cobblestone path ends and I start up the hill. The weeds have invaded the earth up here; what is left of the grass is dense, dark, and overgrown. My feet feel an aching familiarity; this is the ground they stepped on, a hundred years back, chasing you through a carpet of soft, shaggy plants.
Nearing the top, I spot it for the first time, standing over the greenery: square, faded white; it is hard to miss.
My breath catches in my throat as it looms nearer, close enough that I can read the slanted inscription carved delicately into the gray-flecked stone:
1978 – 1997
Beloved son, cousin, and friend
I sink down in front of the gravestone, because it doesn't feel right standing above it; I feel too commanding.
Here you are.
"Hello, Fergus," I try to say. The words turn into a sob.
It's hard to believe that you are here. It's hard to believe that you are under this very soil, lying so still. You're never still. You're always running about, crashing up and down the stairs, juggling with a football, mercilessly popping up and dunking the cousins when all they longed for was a peaceful swim.
I reach a hand out and lightly trace the letters of your name, tears blurring the sight of the oft-heard word that shaped my childhood.
Did I ever tell you how much I love you, Fergus?
I was always telling you that I hated you. We fought over everything, remember? More often than not, when we were younger, I'd take refuge in my room, crying, after a well-developed prank you pulled on me. Worse was when we got into physical fights; it would take about four adults to pull us off of each other, yeah? We would even argue over who had more lemonade when your mum poured us glasses on a hot day.
I remember how you would grab me in the tightest headlock and threaten to never let go, and how I would choke out every single curse at you that I'd ever heard in my entire life, including the odd-sounding Gaelic phrases Uncle Ciaran would mutter when he didn't know we were still in the room.
I didn't think of anything then, except that you must be the most infuriating cousin a person could ever have.
I can't even recall the last words I said to you.
Darkness is slowly spreading, darkening the green hills in the distance and casting shadows over your grave. The eerie dusk brings back memories of horror stories you used to scare me with – banshees wailing in the blackness and wild pookas appearing, unseen, in a swirl of foggy mist. Remember, Fergus?
Perhaps I'll wait here, in this dimming light, for the weeds to grow over me, to take me in as a part of the hill, to make me one with this old haunt of childhood memories.
Perhaps I'll wait here to die with you, and then I can tell you that I love you…