Running Backwards Chapter Seven (2015-12-27)

I woke up with a jerk, and almost startled sideways off of my bed. The room was still unfamiliar and thus disorienting in the dark.
Despite being underground, the Hufflepuff dorm ceilings were supposed to be lit following the school’s circadian pattern. Meaning that there was no reason for me to be awake.

I wasn’t one to awaken easily in the night, despite being in a new location, and so I sat up to search for the reason.

Our room was fairly large, understandable since it did have to house four adolescent boys and their inevitable mess, but still small enough to feel cozy. As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I spotted Farold and Arthur’s prone bodies across the room. Besides Farold’s mild whistling snore, which I had accustomed myself to early on in the night, neither of them were the cause of my conscious state.

In the bed beside mine, a blanket cocoon curled further in on itself, and a muffled cry made its way over to my ears.

Ah. Cedric.

I dithered, unsure whether or not I should go over or leave him alone. I didn’t want to embarrass him by causing a fuss, especially since we didn’t know each other all that well, but he was my friend and I remembered being eleven and being homesick. Even if I had the maturity of a previous life, the first time around I didn’t, and I remembered my own bouts of loneliness. By day, they had seemed silly, but the nights made it hurt more.

Another muffled cry made the decision for me.

I padded over on silent feet to Cedric’s bed and laid a hand on his shoulder, “Cedric?” I murmured.

His shaking form stiffened, even though he shouldn’t have been able to feel my touch through the blanket cocoon. The tawny brown of his hair popped out and his face freed itself soon after, “Sorry, sorry,” he half-sobbed, pressing his damp face into the pillow, still trying to stop the flow of his tears, “I didn’t mean to wake you up.”

“It’s okay, Cedric,” I assured him and sat down in the empty space left by the curve of his body. Petting his hair would be far too forward, even if it did look remarkably fluffy, so I kept my hand on his shoulder in a hopefully soothing manner, “It’s okay,” I repeated inanely.

“I don’t know why–this is stupid–I’m sorry. I shouldn’t,” he stammered, but his breathing calmed and his tears stopped and he didn’t make any moves to push me away, so I assumed I was doing something correct.

I hesitated to speak, the only thing on my tongue was yet another rendition of ‘it’s okay’–which was practically useless. “It’s okay to miss your parents,” I said, which was at least more substantial than before, “But you don’t have to feel alone,” which was much better.

“I’m here for you and so are Arthur and Farold and Stephanie. And the rest of the Hufflepuffs will be, too,” I continued, voice becoming less certain, before I gathered myself to reaffirm, “You can cry, there’s nothing wrong with that. And if you need me, I’ll be here.”

I gave a wobbly, helpless smile, which Cedric returned.

Several hours later, in the morning proper, Arthur woke up to find the two of us in symmetric blanket cocoons on Cedric’s bed.

~

A/N: … who are you @cheloneuniverse? What is your methodology for going through my posts? Chronological? By fandom? Do you follow the trail of tags into the rabbit hole?

Well, anyway, thanks for reminding me of this series. And I’m glad you enjoy my writing 🙂

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