I said it quickly, worrying that you would not feel the same. My heart was pumping exceptionally fast. But, for some strange reason, my instincts were telling me to swallow my fears. I knew that I had to tell you.
'I love you.'
You looked at me blankly and I held my breath. Before you could reply, I was rushed out of the Great Hall to prepare for the last challenge of the tournament. You did not say it back to me. You never had the opportunity. It was as though from that moment on, fate was against me.
I saw in the stands of the Quidditch pitch on that morning. Clasping the gift that I had bought you for Christmas- a tiny Snitch necklace. As I worked my way through the maze, my thoughts were consumed by you and my parents. Harry beat me to the cup. But Harry was a noble young man and insisted that I held the cup with him.
I thought glorious thoughts about how everyone from Hogwarts would cheer over the win for the school. No more “Team Potter” and “Team Diggory”, only “Team Hogwarts”. As I touched the cup I felt as though someone had used a hook to pull me somewhere. Then, I was in a graveyard. It was cold and damp. Before I could comprehend the danger that Harry and I were both in, a flash of green light was shot in my direction. I was killed by Lord Voldemort.
It did not hurt although the sensation was not entirely pleasant. My body was no longer in use and I was left as a soul. I was weightless and unsubstantial, yet the breeze blowing did not affect me. I felt a peace that I had never felt before, and I was totally ignorant to the events taking place around my lifeless body.
The scene slowly dissolved around me and I was in a large, yet unnaturally white field by a small lake. I could see a small, white sailboat on the horizon. It reminded me of when my Father and I made a paper sailboat at the lake at the end of our garden in my childhood.
I knelt down at the edge of the water source. The water was perfectly clear. In it I saw the events after my death unfolding. I saw how your heart broke on seeing my body. I saw my parents break down with you. It made me sad to see it. It was something that you did not deserve to experience. You were a gentle soul and I am sorry for making you come face to face with death in the way you did. It was cruel. I wanted to let you know that somehow, against all odds, I was okay.
I remained there, watching over you. The place that I was seemed to have no concept of time, and I was still watching down on you through the pool of water when you finally said you loved me. You were by the tree that we had spent so much time sitting underneath. When you said it, I put my hand into the water without thinking, as though to reach out to you.
I wanted to run my fingers through your blonde curls, to kiss you, and make the pain leave you. As my hand plunged the pleasant, warm water, your necklace sensed me. The tiny Snitch flickered to life. I smiled to myself in satisfaction. I had found a way to let you know that I was with you.
I watched you turn into a beautiful woman. The sailboat now seemed slightly larger, but it was still on the horizon, so I continued to watch over you. Your hair darkened slightly, to a darker blonde and you grew taller. Yet, you were still as clumsy as the day that you literally fell into my life on the Hogwarts Express.
As you grew into this stunning woman, I longed to be with you once more. Kissing as we had kissed at the Yule Ball. I sensed you felt the same, and I watched over you, willing you to sense that I still loved you and willing for you to sense that I was ok. I had never truly left you. At your darkest hour, I think you were aware. The Snitch on your necklace often flickered when I watched over you through the pool of water, and you would smile.
It saddened me when you began to move on. You fell for Anders, and I could tell you were happy. But I was selfish. I could see the love in your eyes for him, and I often thought that the expression you often gave him should have been for me. But deep down I knew that I had to let you move on. If you were happy with another person, then so be it. As long as you were happy. I knew you still thought of me. You knew I was watching over you.
I was watching when you passed your Herbology NEWT. You had been worried about failing it. You thought that it would be a disgrace to your memory if you failed. But you needed not to worry. The boat on the lake was once again larger, and I began to wonder whether it was waiting for me to move on...
You began to fly with your friends. They were surprised by how well you flew, and you even gained enough confidence in flying to try for the position of Gryffindor chaser. You did not get a place, but you were proud of yourself. I was proud of you, too.
People began to whisper about you. Some people branded you as “damaged goods” but you never let it get you down. You knew I wouldn’t want you to feel that way. You knew I wouldn’t want it to get to you, and I watched you with pride as you defended yourself.
As you fought in the Battle of Hogwarts, I smiled down at you once more. You fought passionately and I wished I was there fighting next to you. When you were cornered by the Death Eaters, you accepted the fact that you would die. I begged you to fight back, hitting the water in desperation. I wanted you here with me, but I didn’t want to see your life cut short. I knew that my love for you meant that I shouldn’t want you to perish. The snitch, still around your neck after all of this time, flickered. It seemed to make you alert, and you fought back.
You survived, and for that, I’m so proud of you. You lost someone else close to you. Fred Weasley passed on, like me, and I saw your heart break once more. I did not see Fred by my river. I was sure he would be elsewhere. By now I was sure that the boat was waiting to take me “on” in my own time. But I was not quite ready to leave you. The deaths made you more determined to pursue life. In memory of the people you had loved and lost.
You were never lonely, and I hope you knew that. I never once stopped watching over you. Even as you moved on in life. Even as you married and had a child, I kept watch over you, for even over the years; I had never stopped loving you. I don’t think you ever forgot me, either, as even on your wedding day, the snitch remained at your neck.
Your young daughter was just like you. Just as beautiful, just as clumsy. I watched over her, too. For you. As your daughter became a young woman, you took her to my grave.
This surprised me. I was surprised that even though you had a fully grown daughter, and a husband, that I knew you loved dearly, I was still significant to you. For the first time in years, the snitch flickered. It was becoming old, and starting to fall apart, but you kept it around your neck.
Rachel Jane Alexander, even after my death, I have not stopped loving you. I have not yet gone on. I have been waiting here for you, so that when you arrive, in your own time I will be here to leave with you. We will move on together.
But only if you want me to.
If you do not want me, I will move on alone, knowing that I have done what you want, and that you will be happy. For, even now, when your hair has began to grey and wrinkles are scattered delicately across your face, I still love you as much as I ever have.
Whilst the sailboat is now almost at the waters edge, I know that I still have a little longer to wait before I can board it. I will always be there for you, no matter what.
A/N: Hi there! This story was written as part of TenthWeasleyWriter's Cedric Diggory challenge, and the characters of Rachel Alexander and Anders were inspired by her novel, Leaping Obstacles (under the penname TenthWeasley) which I'd heartily encourage you to read in order to fully understand some of the references. :)