Worst Day

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Story Notes:
It’s a lovely spring day in early May. There’s a gentle breeze rustling the leaves in the trees overhead, and Arthur can smell a faint trace of roses in the air from nearby landscaping. His seat is uncomfortable, a simple wooden chair with a hard back, and he feels guilty for thinking of his own discomfort. It’s something to focus on, though, and he needs that if he’s going to make it through today.

He hasn’t reached the age of fifty-two without experiencing a variety of days. There’ve been good days, bad days, mediocre days, and great days. However, he can’t remember a day worse than today. It’s taking more strength than he has, but he’s doing his best to be a solid rock for Molly and the children. If he breaks, they’ll let fear and uncertainty control their lives, and he can’t let that happen. So, he thinks about the roses and the feel of the warm sunshine on his face while he shifts in his chair and holds Molly against his chest.

Her tears soak through his shirt, and she’s sobbing in between short gasps of breath despite telling him before they left the house that she couldn’t let the children see her cry. Ginny is wiping tears from her face and the boys are staring ahead with a mixture of expressions that range from grief to vengeful. The latter worries him the most because he knows he can’t do this again. Memories randomly flash through his mind (a little pink face grinning up at him, a laugh that seems to haunt the quiet halls of the Burrow, gleeful squeals as a pudgy arms hold him tight while they fly above the river, a determined face years later that tells him not to worry before setting off for another battle), and they easily replace the one he wants to forget.

He rubs Molly’s back lightly as she cries, offering as much comfort as possible. There’s nothing he can say to make this better, no words that will bring a smile to her pretty face or distract her from this loss. He feels helpless in so many ways, but he’s got to be strong because he refuses to see another of his children lying lifelessly in a box. The worst thing in the world for a parent, after all, is having to bury their child.