The Sugar Quill
Author: Estella  Story: Changing Perspectives  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer - Everything belongs to J.K. Rowling.

A/N - Thanks very much to Zsenya for great beta-reading!

 

 

 

Seamus Finnigan lay flat on his back with his hands linked beneath his head, deep in thought. His gaze was fixed on the ceiling visible through the hole above his four-poster. A stray thought occurred to him and his eyes slid in the direction of Ron's bed as he listened for breathing or movement, but there was no sound - Ron was off with who knows who in who knows where doing who knows what. But that's not true, he conceded. Ron was with Harry. He had to be. He hadn't seen Ron or Hermione since it had happened.

Seamus rolled onto his side and pulled his knees up. A second later he moved onto his stomach. Still not satisfied, he flipped back onto his back and stared upwards again.

He had been lying in bed for over an hour and he was feeling nowhere near drowsy. Rather, it seemed, he couldn't stop remembering the events of the evening. A fellow student had died - Died. No one in the Finnigan family had died that he could remember. Of course that was excluding the family members on his mother's side who had been murdered during You-Know-Who's reign of horror - his mother rarely spoke of the grandparents Seamus had never met, or the aunt he couldn't remember. When Seamus was younger, he would sometimes come upon his mother sitting still as a statue in a chair on the porch - or near the fireplace or at the kitchen table, it didn't matter. She would seem to be looking off into the distance and seeing images no one else could see. He would quietly watch until he couldn't stand the haunted look on her face any longer. His soft footsteps would fall on deaf ears as he approached in a cautious manner, and he would reach out and gently touch her hair - sandy-colored like his own. She would turn, startled, before the ghosts in her eyes faded away and she smiled at him as her hand grasped his reassuringly.

It shamed Seamus to admit it, but he wanted his mum with him now. He loved his father, but his dad was a Muggle and would not understand the things that had happened tonight. But even Seamus had to admit that his mother - a witch - might very well not understand them either.

In his minds eye he could see Harry and Cedric appearing out of thin air before dropping like stones to the ground - Cedric face-up and Harry face-down. He remembered the universal gasp that had preceded the screams as people leapt to their feet - some standing stock-still with gaping mouths, others stumbling or hurtling down onto the Quidditch pitch.

Harry and Cedric had not moved as the mass of figures swarmed around their prone bodies and blocked them from view. Then, a new cry had come: "He's dead!" "He's dead!" "Cedric Diggory! Dead!"

Seamus and the rest of the Gryffindor fourth years had been sitting near Hermione, Ron, and the other Weasleys. He'd instinctively grabbed Lavender's hand before fighting his way out of the stands - Dean, Parvati and Neville had followed. He had only caught a glimpse of Ron and Hermione's white, horrified faces before he had lost sight of them and he and the others found themselves surrounded by people either screaming, sobbing, yelling for an explanation of what the hell was going on, or doing all three. It was utter chaos.

Seamus and the others were had been jolted every which way as they craned their necks for a glimpse of Harry. Seamus suddenly had suddenly seen Dumbledore's silvery head emerge above the hysterical students and he had pushed closer with the thought that Harry would be with him, and sure enough - he had been. Dumbledore had been literally holding him upright - he appeared incapable of standing, and his head had been hanging down. Seamus had quickly turned, grabbed at Lavender's shoulder, and shouted to the others, "I see him!" but when he looked back, Harry was gone.

That was when he had watched the most horrible scene he'd ever witnessed. The crowd had seemed to part as a hoarse cry came from someone, and that someone had turned out to be Mr. Diggory. Dumbledore had suddenly appeared there and was seizing him by the shoulders, speaking rapidly. Abruptly, Mr. Diggory had wrenched free and staggered upon Cedric's body, which was now visible. There had been an endless moment of silence before Mr. Diggory had given a long, keening wail. Mrs. Diggory, who had been hurrying after her husband, pushed past him, her face frozen. She had stopped dead, seeming to sway on her feet. Seamus had been afraid that she would faint, and so, it seemed, had been Dumbledore, for he made a grab for her. She had pushed away almost violently before sinking to her knees by Cedric's side. Her face had slowly lost its frozen look and twisted, her mouth silently working . . . A low, agonized groan had emerged from her and she reached out and gently lifted Cedric's head off the ground. She had cradled it to her breast and rocked - back and forth, over and over as she made peculiar choked sounds, her tears falling down onto Cedric's still face. Mr. Diggory had stood behind her - or rather, had tried to stand, as he had kept doubling over, sobbing, "My son! Oh please, no, no! My son!"

Seamus shuddered at the memory and felt sick. He'd never seen anything like that before - never - and he fervently hoped he'd never see anything like that ever again.

Some teachers - including Professors Flitwick and Sinistra - had then hurried to round up students, some of who were crying nearly as hard as Mr. Diggory. Cho had gone past, supported bodily by a large group of her friends. Before heading back to the school with the other stunned Gryffindors, Seamus had looked back and seen Professor Sprout kneeling on the ground and speaking softly with Mr. and Mrs. Diggory. Dumbledore was nowhere to be seen.

Any conversation they might have had was cut off once they reached the school. The amplified voice of Professor Vector was ordering all students to their dormitories "IMMEDIATELY". Therefore, Seamus and everyone else were forced to separate amidst mass confusion and some hysteria.

On the way up the stairs to the boys' dormitory, Dean asked Seamus, "Are you sure you saw him?"

"Yeah, Dumbledore had him."

"I saw him too," Neville said. He looked extremely shaken.

When the boys had reached their dormitory, very little was said. Neville had been silent as he had climbed the stairs. He had immediately crawled into his bed before sliding his bed-hangings closed. They had nothing to say and everything to say; with so little information they hadn't known how to put their confused thoughts into clumsy sentences, much less coherent ones.

Now it was finally quiet and Seamus felt caged not only within the dormitory, but within his swirling thoughts - some of which were based on fact, but most on wild speculation.

Seamus sighed and sat up. He pulled aside his hangings and peered out. Neville was completely silent, but Seamus could tell that he was awake. He heard a rustling sound come from another bed before those hangings parted and Dean's face appeared.

"Can't sleep?" he asked.

"Hardly," Seamus replied.

Both boys looked at the floor before their eyes moved as one to Harry's bed. Seamus swallowed and looked away.

When Dean spoke, he voiced exactly what had been plaguing Seamus, and that which no one had yet touched upon.

"What happened? What in hell happened?"

Seamus felt an odd sense of relief at Dean's question - he wanted to interact with another person rather than the bizarre thoughts in his head.

"I don't know," he said. The boys were quiet for a moment. Then Seamus looked up and spoke slowly.

"D'you remember when Harry's name came out of the Goblet of Fire?"

Dean nodded, giving him a curious look.

Seamus continued, "D'you remember what Harry had to say about it?"

Dean gave him an odd look. "No, it was crazy that night. What are you getting at?"

Seamus wiped a hand over his mouth and glanced over at Neville's bed. When he spoke his voice was low.

"He said he didn't put his name in. I'd completely forgotten about it until tonight. And you're right - it was crazy that night, but I remember him saying he didn't do it."

Dean's eyes were wide. "Then who're you saying did it, and what does that have to do with what happened?" he asked in a slightly raised voice, and he almost looked as though he didn't want his questions answered.

"He thinks that whoever put his name in had something to do with tonight," said a new voice, and Dean and Seamus jumped, startled, as Neville swung his hangings open and looked at them both. He was pale.

"That's it, isn't it?" he whispered, looking at Seamus.

Seamus slowly nodded. "Maybe," he whispered back.

There was a short moment of silence that was broken by a derisive snort from Dean. He looked highly uncomfortable.

"You're barking. It was just an accident. Something happened in the maze--"

"That caused Harry and Cedric to drop out of thin air outside the maze--" Seamus interrupted loudly.

Dean gave him an incredulous look and scrambled out of his bed to stand so he could gesticulate more expansively.

"I dunno! Yeah! Maybe! All I know is you've got some cracked conspiracy theory going - you sound like Moody!"

Seamus made an exasperated sound and glared at him. "Dean, c'mon! Put it together! Something pretty damn bad happened to them - Diggory's dead! An' I'm not barking - you're barking! Think about it - it's not that wild," he insisted. "This is Harry Potter we're talking about, not just some random kid!"

Dean rolled his eyes and irritably grabbed a miniature football off his nightstand, which he then proceeded to toss from hand to hand.

"Blimey, you need your head examined," he muttered.

Neville said quietly, "I think he's right, Dean."

Dean groaned and irately pitched the little ball back into the region of his pillows. He laughed sarcastically.

"Brilliant, two of my roommates need a psychiatrist. Nutters, both of you! Who'd want to hurt Harry Po--"

And here the blood seemed to drain from his face before he sank back down onto his bed. Neville visibly flinched and Seamus suddenly felt cold inside. They stared at one another until Neville broke the silence.

"Don't think about it," he whispered. "We don't know anything yet, and it's . . ." he hesitated and glanced at his hands. When he raised his eyes they looked very tired.

"Don't think about it," he repeated.

Seamus doubted this was possible, but he nodded anyway. Dean still looked unnerved, but he swallowed and nodded too.

By unspoken agreement, the boys turned and settled back into their respective beds. Over some time, Seamus gradually heard Dean's breathing even out, but he still hadn't heard Neville's snores when he finally fell asleep.

***

Seamus drifted slowly into consciousness, the remains of a strange dream fading away. Briefly, he tried to hang onto the remains of it - something where his three-year-old sister was informing him in an absurdly educated way that, "The time of reckoning is near, so you'll need to remember your boots. Now, come home and take me to get some raspberry-marmalade ice cream!"

Seamus made a snuffling noise into his pillow. He'd never even heard of raspberry-marmalade ice cream. What was Shannon going on about?

Pushing aside echoes of his sister's barely-out-of-baby-hood voice talking knowledgably about boots and non-existent ice cream, he sat up.

At once, the events of the previous evening came flooding back. Instantly wide-awake, he disentangled himself from his sheets and slid out of bed.

Ron's bed hadn't been slept in. Damn, he thought. Walking over to the tall windows over-looking the west lawns, he peered outside.

Looking normal enough, he thought, staring out towards the treetops of the forbidden forest. Judging by the way the fairly low-hanging sun was casting a faint glitter onto the dew-dampened grass he guessed that it had to be close to seven o'clock. The sky had a sharp clarity to it that promised to turn to a brilliant blue. Seamus found himself looking for signs of mayhem, of foreboding, of rumbling thunderheads shielding monstrous beings not fit for little Shannon's eyes - but he found none. It was going to be a beautiful day.

He was just turning to his wardrobe with the thought of going downstairs to nose around a bit when the door opened and Ron walked in.

Seamus studied him carefully. He noted the rumpled robes on his lanky frame, the bloodshot eyes, the extremely weary, pale face.

Ron stopped and looked at him. His face went blank and he looked around as though he didn't quite know what to do with himself.

Seamus stared at him stupidly, all his carefully planned questions flying out of his head. Ron looked . . . terrible - and disturbingly disoriented.

Hovering uncertainly, he waited.

Ron muttered something under his breath Seamus couldn't make out and moved toward his wardrobe. Tossing a distracted look at Seamus he said quietly, "They'll have breakfast soon. You'll be wanting some."

He then swiftly changed clothes and walked out.

Seamus blinked, looked around, and saw a heavy-eyed Neville looking at him.

"Right," he said. "Well. Let's get out of here, shall we?"

Without waiting for a reply, he began to get dressed.

//
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