Don’t Ask Me Why I Like Him…

Everyone had left already. The Triwizard Tournament was over. Potter had gotten the prize. The foreign guests had already departed, as had most of the Hogwart’s students. Zacharias Smith sat alone in his common room. Luckily, his parents didn’t live far from Hogsmede and would be arriving to get him in a few hours. He never rode the train.

For the first time he was thankful. It gave him time alone to think. He was seated in a high backed chair near a chessboard.

He stared at the black, velvet covered chair in the corner near the fireplace. That was where Cedric always sat. Where he would never sit again.

This wasn’t a new thought. Cedric was already due to go on. He would have left today anyway, going out into the real world.

However, Cedric wasn’t going out into the real world. In fact, he would be going nowhere else ever again, unless you counted his entombment.

Cedric had pointed him out to the other Quidditch players his first year. They had encouraged him to try out for the team. No one in his family had ever been good at sports, let alone at flying. They were all accountants and barristers. Muggles, every last one. Except for him and now he was alone.

His mother had been reluctant to let him come, however, after a short meeting with the Headmistress, she had changed her mind.

He had come to Hogwarts after all, and to his great relief had made friends easily, something he had never done before.

Then the team happened. Cedric took him under his wing and showed him the ropes, showed him Hogwarts, showed him the potential that lay before him.

Nothing lay before Cedric now.

Zacharias felt a tear trickle down one of his cheeks, but he didn’t wipe it away. No one was here now. No one would know.

“I always wanted to tell you.” Zacharias whispered. “But I knew it would never happen. I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I’m sorry.”

He didn’t even know what he was sorry for.

“I loved you,” he whispered, closing his eyes tight and letting the tears pour down his cheeks, “I didn’t mean to, but you were so… you.”

He got to his feet and paced.

“I don’t know what happened. Dumbledore says You-Know-Who is back, but I don’t think that could be. I wish you were here.”

He sat down in ‘Cedric’s chair’ and smelled the fabric. It faintly smelled like the scent he used before dinner every evening. Zacharias knew the scent wouldn’t last for long. Would the elves know if he snuck upstairs and nicked Cedric’s pillowcase? Would that be too morose? Would that be pathetic?

Probably pathetic, Zacharias surmised.

He died without pain,” a hollow voicebehind him said sadly.

Zacharias twisted to see the Fat Friar looking at him sadly.

“That’s- good to know,” Zacharias said, quickly wiping his face.

It is always hard when a friend passes on and you must remain,” the friar continued.

Zacharias nodded. The friar must have been saying goodbye to people for centuries.

Well, if you need someone to speak to…”

“I will call on you,” Zacharias reassured the ghost. The Fat Friar faded out of sight with a weak smile on his face.

Zacharias settled back into the chair.

The year was over, Cedric was dead, and the only witness was Harry Potter, who was pretty dodgy to begin with.

“I’ll find out what happened, Ced. If I can only do one thing, it will be that.”