A/N: I know I'm a bit slower than I said with this, but it's here now. Missing moment from my last Padma chapter, the last of sixth year, but can be read independently. It's Dumbledore's funeral through Terry Boot's POV.
Three of the Foursome
She should be here. That single thought is all Terry can focus on (because it's true, and because if he doesn't, he'd have to focus on the even worse facts that he's attending a bloody funeral today, and that Anthony looks like he hasn't closed his eyes all night, and that he's not sure if his school might be closing now since their Headmaster is dead and what the hell is going to happen with the world without Dumbledore, the only one You-Know-Who supposedly ever feared?).
So, Terry focuses on the fact that Padma has already been taken home by her parents, the morning after it happened. And how much that sucks. Because they need her. Of course, Terry always needs her, but more than ever today.
They are boys. They are close friends, yes, and they've seen each other in pretty shitty states. But they're boys. They're not good at the touchy-feely crap that girls do with each other, comforting and being there for each other and whatever it is that they do. They're here, all three of them, and they're together. But they're boys. They don't talk about it. Not really. Now that Terry thinks about it, neither of them has mentioned Dumbledore's name since it happened. Mostly, they've kept the conversation to safe subjects, like Quidditch. Or the current game of Gobstones they've been playing. More than that, they've not talked at all. There's not much to say, when you're not mentioning the one thing on all of their minds.
They're boys and they're not talking about it and they don't know how to handle a day like this. They need Padma. Even before he started going out with her, she was a vital part of their dynamic. She has always been the one who keeps them floating in situations when the boys don't know how to act. She was always the one who took the initiative and hugged whoever needed it, or admitted to being afraid of stuff, so that the others could talk about it without actually having to use the words that they were scared shitless too.
They need Padma. She'd talk about it. She always needs to talk about everything, reason it through. Terry does too, with the big stuff, like this. He's pretty sure they all do. They are Ravenclaws, after all. But someone has to start, and she's not here and they don't know how to do that without her.
They're in their dormitory, waiting. No point of going down to the common room when it's not to meet up with Padma, or Cho for that matter, but she's gone home too. (Terry wouldn't say it to Michael, who obviously misses her like hell, but Terry's actually glad. He's sure her hysterical presence would have done more damage than good. That's what's so good about Padma. She's a girl, who talks about stuff and admits to being worried, but she doesn't get as insanely frantic as Cho does. He would personally never be able to deal with that on a daily basis. Frankly, he admires Michael for his patience – again, though, he keeps this to himself.)
Lisa and Mandy have gone too. Not that they would have come out of their dormitory bubble much otherwise, he's sure. Even Mandy, who used to be so outgoing and fun has become more isolated with all this war stuff going on. She's scared, obviously, but who the hell isn't? Terry still doesn't think it makes anything better to just shut off from the world and not do anything about it. That being said, he seriously doubts that either of those two girls will return after the summer (if there even is a Hogwarts to return to by then, that is).
Really, he's not sure why he stays himself. He didn't know Dumbledore. It sucks that he died, yes, but what difference does it make that he's here, paying his respects or whatever? None, really. But it feels like the right thing to do, anyway. Plus, Michael and Anthony never even mentioned leaving as an option. They've chosen a side. They were in Dumbledore's Army. They stay. They'll fight (even if the thought of that still seems like an insane very, very abstract idea that you toy with in class to make the work seem not quite so pointless).
It's Michael who speaks up. It almost always is. "So, this sucks," he states, blowing out a bit of air into the silence. His tone is nowhere near its usual lightness.
Anthony shakes himself, obviously having been lost deep in his thoughts. He simply nods. Terry looks away, not sure if Anthony's lack of words comes from lack of trust in his own voice.
"Yep," Terry agrees after a beat that's just a little too long. "That it does."
"I've never been to one of these," Michael continues, somewhat bluntly, his gaze out the window. Apparently, he's decided it's time for them to talk about it. Terry's not really sure whether to feel relieved or not. Even if he hated the pressing silence, this might be more risky.
"Just my great grandfather's." Terry is careful to keep his voice level and untouched. He doesn't even remember it. He's as lost as Michael as to how this is going to go down, how he's supposed to act, and how he might react. "Ages ago. I was 'bout five, I think."
Automatically, they turn to Anthony, who still hasn't opened his mouth. He doesn't look at them, but obviously senses their questioning gazes. His voice oddly harsh, he speaks. "I have. My grandma's. I was ten and it was – " he trails off, shaking his head as though to gather himself. "It wasn't fun."
Neither of them knows how to respond to this. It's too obvious that this funeral thing is going to be all the more horrible for Anthony, since it'll bring back memories of his dead grandmother. But Padma's not here, to say something, or simply take his hand. She's the one who does that stuff. Michael and Terry, they leave Anthony's words ringing in the air, the pain of them cutting into their own hearts, but they say nothing.
Until, finally. "We'd better get going." It's Anthony. His face set, he stands up, looking almost defiant in his determination to do this, to get through this.
Even if it's still kind of early, neither of them protests. They simply nod, following him out the door. They don't speak, all the way down to the grounds. They walk together, but they don't speak.
They don't speak while they sit there in the too bright sunlight, too early, watching the rest of the students fill up the chairs, trying not to notice the wetness on some girls' cheeks, or the tenseness in the boys (Harry in particular looks like he's walking to the bloody gallows or something – Terry would point this out to the others, if it had been funny, at all, but it's not, and he stays silent). He doesn't comment when he sees Lovegood and Neville looking like an old married couple with her helping him into his seat (this would be funny if the circumstances weren't what they are and if it wasn't for the fact that Neville was injured in some battle that they should've helped with, but didn't). He definitely doesn't snigger when he hears Hagrid blow his nose with the noise of a bloody trumpet. It's not funny at all, and opening his mouth right then, or even looking at the rigid form of Anthony to his left, would be dangerous.
He's not sure if he wishes Padma was here, so that he'd have her hand to hold, her touches to make him feel less alone with all this. Or if, maybe, her tears would have just made keeping himself detached even harder.
He's not alone, but he can't look at them. The second it's over, Anthony rises, starting to walk briskly towards the castle. Sharing a short worried glance, Michael and Terry follow him at a small distance, still not saying a word.
When they sit alone in a compartment at the unusually empty Hogwarts Express, after Anthony has spent a bit too long locked in a bathroom, they play Gobstones. At first, they do it in silence. Slowly, they start to comment the game, mocking the others' tactics, gloating when they win. Both Terry and Michael breathe out in relief when Anthony actually smirks as they let him beat them just so smoothly that he doesn't notice.
They don't talk about it. But they're there, and they're together.