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Nothing Wrong with Being Different

Chapter Text

A young boy, 13 years old, with light brown hair, and soft grey eyes, smiled from ear to ear as he entered the Great Hall once again.

The tall boy gazed up at the ceiling to see the familiar sight of thousands and thousands of lit candles floating above, and on the tables laid glittering golden plates and goblets. But soon he turned his attention to a small stool, set in front of the professors' table of which he knew the first years would be sitting in very soon to be sorted into their houses.

Cedric remembered putting on the sorting hat like it was yesterday. He had been slightly embarrassed, because it was a rather shabby hat, and he didn't want to look ridiculous. Thinking back on it, Cedric felt silly for even caring. He remembered it speaking in his ear for quite some time.

Before going to Hogwarts, he had wanted to be in Gryffindor. Admittedly, being in the house of the courageous and daring seemed much more appealing than any of the others. When he was sorted into Hufflepuff, however, although somewhat disappointed, an unmistakable sense of pride had spread through his body. Because he knew that Hufflepuff was, after all, generally the "best" house. As far as being nice was concerned at least. But now he realized that staying true to his house's traits took a different kind of bravery. Being loyal and dedicated all of the time was difficult, but being Cedric, he was going to prove it was possible. "You will do great things for Hufflepuff," the sorting hat had said to him.

As soon as the former students had all taken their seats, the great doors flung open, and Cedric peered over the heads of his fellow classmates to get a glimpse of the new students. He couldn't help but grin when he saw the look of awe on all of their faces. He supposed he had probably looked like that.

Professor McGonagall ushered them to the front of the hall, and quickly explained to them, "When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted."

They all shifted around nervously, shuffling their feet and clinging to their robes with sweaty hands.

"Abbott, Hannah!" A pink-faced girl walked forward and took a seat, then shakily placed the hat on her head. After a moment, it shouted, "HUFFLEPUFF!"

Cedric and his table cheered loudly as she went down to sit with them. Several more names were called; Boot, Terry, being the first Ravenclaw, Brown, Lavender, going to Gryffindor, and the first Slytherin, Bulstrode, Millicent.

"Finch-Fletchley, Justin!" A lanky brown haired boy made his way to the seat, and cringed as the hat was placed on his head.

"HUFFLEPUFF!" it shouted almost immediately. The boy hurried down the steps and ran over to his new house table. He smiled with delight as he was patted on the back by older students and he settled in a seat next to Cedric.

Smiling at the boy, who still looked slightly nervous, he introduced himself, "Hey, I'm Cedric. Cedric Diggory." He held out his hand and Justin Finch-Fletchley shook it firmly.

"Nice to meet you, Cedric."

A few more names were called, before all of a sudden, there was silence. Professor McGonagall had stopped calling names, and probably determining how she could say the next one drawing the least attention, took a deep breath and called, "Potter, Harry!"

Suddenly, the room broke into whispers as a small, skinny boy with jet-black hair, brilliant green eyes, and round glasses walked up to the stool.

Cedric lifted himself off his seat a little to get a better look. That was... he couldn't believe it. He would be going to school with Harry Potter? He noticed that the boy seemed especially nervous as the hat whispered things in his ear. But then, after about a minute, it yelled, "Better be, GRYFFINDOR!"

Cedric almost felt slightly disappointed. If someone like the boy that made You Know Who disappear was in Hufflepuff, that would show the other houses. The whole of Gryffindor House, however, were on their feet cheering, and he watched as they embraced him. In Hufflepuff or not, it was still cool he got to go to Hogwarts with Harry Potter. That would be definitely be something to tell his dad.

~~~

News had broken out that Harry Potter, a first year mind you, was the new Gryffindor Seeker. Cedric's jaw had dropped when he heard. No first years had played in the Seeker position for the past hundred years.

"Wh... you're saying he's playing Seeker?!"

Finch-Fletchley nodded with an awed expression himself.

He couldn't help being a little jealous. He was the Seeker for Hufflepuff, but had only just achieved that position this year. He turned away from Justin and sighed quietly, trying not to show his envy.

But Cedric didn't pretend to be impressed when he saw Potter at the Quidditch match between Slytherin and Gryffindor. He was— very.

The boy must've spotted the Snitch, and put on a spurt of speed, clearly a better flyer than Higgs. And he had been on a broom for, what, two and a half months? Out of nowhere Marcus Flint knocked Harry of course, and he watched as Potter held on for dear life. Cedric scowled.

When Lee Jordan commented, "All right, all right. Flint nearly kills the Gryffindor Seeker, which could happen to anyone, I'm sure, so a penal...." he laughed.

So far this game, his eyes had only been on Harry— his envy fading away as he watched in amazement. He admit, Harry Potter was already better than him on a broom. And his flying was stunning to look at.

But all at once, his broom gave a lurch, and Cedric thought for a moment that Potter might fall off. No one else seemed to be noticing as it suddenly went berserk, and Harry clang on tightly, as it seemed to be out of his control.

Then Cedric gasped, as did the rest of the crowd. His broom had rolled around and the small boy was hanging on with one hand as Fred and George circled beneath.

Cedric began to feel very anxious, and started panicking... What if he falls? What would happen?! At this height? He would probably... Well, Cedric preferred not to think about what would happen. It was only after all of these thoughts had been through his head that he wondered why he cared so much.

After a good five anxious minutes, Harry could finally clamber back onto his broom, and started racing towards the ground. Cedric watched him land on all fours, and then the Gryffindor Seeker looked as though he were about to be sick. But instead of his breakfast, something small, gold, and round came out of his mouth, and Harry Potter immediately held it up high, shouting, "I got the snitch!"

He looked so happy, and proud, and was grinning so widely that Cedric could see his smile from high up in the stands, and he couldn't help but feel incredibly glad for him. He cheered loudly. A first year had just won a Quidditch game for Gryffindor against Slytherin. That was incredible! He doubted they'd be forgetting that soon.

The rest of the year went by, and Cedric and the rest of his house constantly heard rumors about Harry and his two best friends, Ron and Hermione. The three of them had supposedly killed Professor Quirrel, who was supposedly bad, and had gone through a series of obstacles set up by teachers to do so. Cedric didn't quite understand any of this, and didn't know how close to the truth it was, but he knew it to be somewhat along the lines of accurate, and it only kept increasing his already high opinion of Harry Potter.

Chapter Text

In Cedric's fourth year, a series of strange events began to occur. It started with the writing on the wall.

THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR BEWARE.

And standing there next to it— Harry Potter and his two best friends. It was hard to miss the fact that he always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As he was now.

Cedric felt slightly bad for them as they stood there with desperate faces next to the blood-red writing. It seemed obvious that they hadn't done it, but like always, there they were, caught in the act.

The message on the wall and the petrification of Mrs. Norris had put the school in a tense mood, but when the students found out Colin Creevey was petrified, they went into panic.

Harry Potter was suddenly feared by many of the students. Cedric couldn't understand why. The incident with Filch's cat was by coincidence, plus he had been placed in Gryffindor, and was also not a pure-blood. Not only that, but he just didn't seem like the type of guy to go petrifying people and cats.

~~~

Professor Snape's cold voice echoed throughout the Great Hall.

"How about Malfoy and Potter?" he asked, but more so insisted.

"Excellent idea!"

The two second years were hustled into the spotlight by Professors Lockhart and Snape, and both were whispered something. The Slytherin boy smirked as he stepped forward.

"Scared, Potter?"

"You wish," Harry replied with an intense and brave look in his eyes. Cedric grinned, wishing he could look that fearless when he dueled.

He didn't show it, but he really hoped Harry embarrassed Malfoy. Even being a fourth year Hufflepuff, he had grown accustomed to hearing the Slytherin brag about his father.

All of the students watched anxiously as they advanced on each other.

"Serpensortia!" Malfoy yelled.

Cedric's eyes widened, and several people around him gasped as a cobra slithered toward the center of the room, and the surrounding students stumbled backward in terror— a few screamed.

"Don't worry, I'll get rid of it!" Lockhart shouted. However, his attempt to make the snake disappear only caused it to fly ten feet in the air and fall back down, hissing angrily. It suddenly turned on Justin, and his expression changed to fear. It's fangs were exposed, and it looked ready to strike, when a second hissing voice started to speak. The snake swiveled around to face Harry Potter. The 12 year old was speaking to it... parseltongue.

Cedric Diggory gulped, and Ernie Macmillan leaned into him, whispering in a shaky voice, "Hey... Ced? Is he a..."

The snake turned back on Justin, and hissed. In a quick black flash, it was gone. And Harry was... grinning?

"What're you playing at?" Justin asked, looking scared and angry, before he stormed away.

There was no doubt... Harry Potter was the heir of Slytherin.

Ron Weasley grabbed his friend's robes and pulled him away with Hermione. The three students left the Great Hall in silence, everyone watching from behind.

~~~

Cedric Diggory stood, leaning against one of the walls in the library, head buried in a book; but actually he listened to Ernie Macmillan, Hannah Abbott, and a few other Hufflepuffs sitting close together in a circle, blather on about their suspicions.

"Aren't you all supposed to be in herbology?" he finally asked, getting tired of them.

A stout boy turned around and replied, "We already know everything."

Ernie, at least, knowing this was a dumb answer, added, "This is important, Cedric. We're dealing with a Dark Wizard. We need to protect ourselves."

He raised his eyebrows but then sighed and went back to "reading" his book.

As he listened to them, he only became more frightened. They were only repeating the reasons Cedric had thought Harry Potter was the heir, and unfortunately, they made perfect sense.

"That's probably why You-Know-Who wanted to kill him in the first place. Didn't want another Dark Lord competing with him. I wonder what other powers Potter's been hiding?"

Someone cleared their throat loudly, causing them all to look up from their circle. Cedric could feel the colour slowly draining from his own face. It was Harry Potter. And he looked mad.

"Hello," he said shortly, "I'm looking for Justin-Finch Fletchley."

His worst fears had been confirmed, and clearly, everyone else's.

"What do you want with him?" said Ernie, voice quavering.

"I wanted to tell him what really happened with that snake at the Dueling Club."

"We were all there. We saw what happened."

"Then you noticed that after I spoke to it, the snake backed off?"

"All I saw, was you speaking parseltongue and chasing the snake toward Justin."

"I didn't chase it at him! It didn't even touch him!" His voice was shaking.

"It was a very near miss. And in case you're getting ideas, I might tell you that you can trace my family back through nine generations of witches and warlocks and my blood's as pure as anyone's so—"

"I don't care what sort of blood you've got! Why would I want to attack Muggle-borns?"

"I've heard you hate those Muggles you live with."

"It's not possible to live with the Dursleys and not hate them! I'd like to see you try it," Harry growled as he stormed out of the library.

After a few moments of silence, Hannah Abbott said, "Merlin's beard. That was scary."

"What if he heard us say where we told Justin to hide?"

"He doesn't know the password."

"But when Justin comes out—"

"Would you quit it?" Cedric interrupted, glaring at them. They all looked up at him, surprised.

"You heard what he said," Cedric continued as he put his book back on a shelf. "He told the snake to back off. Harry Potter was put in Gryffindor. He wouldn't have been if he had Slytherin blood."

"You're saying you believe him?" Ernie said.

"Yeah," he responded firmly and walked away. But he had lied. He didn't believe Harry Potter. He was actually very, very, worried.

Cedric turned a corner, but when he heard them say his name again he turned back around and sat on the other side of the bookshelf that separated him from the group of second years.

"What's going on with him?"

"Did any of you notice he's always cheering for Potter at the Quidditch games? Only Potter."

"Any of you see him stare at the Gryffindor table a lot?" Hannah added with a trace of amusement in her voice.

"If Cedric wasn't straight, I'd think he fancies Harry. That's why he believes him."

When he heard this, he scowled. He didn't fancy Harry! That was absurd. He ran his fingers through his soft brown hair and marched off, feeling very bitter.

Chapter Text

"Cedric! I have your letters from school!" yelled a voice from the kitchen. Dazedly rubbing his eyes, Cedric sat up in bed, yawned, and stretched out his back before he heard the clatter of something hitting the floor in another room.

Amos Diggory's footsteps neared his bedroom door, and he came in saying, "You have one more this year. Odd thing. Let's see you become prefect, right?" and he chuckled.

Cedric, however, gulped and gave his dad a nervous smile. Cedric was always expected to be the best, and because of this, an immense amount of pressure was always put on his shoulder; especially as one of the more popular Hufflepuffs, he did have a reputation to consider as so. He didn't want to be that super smart nerdy kid— every teacher's favorite student, but he was (in a very charming way) so it would still mean a lot to him if he was chosen as prefect.

His hands trembled as he opened the letter.

Dear Mr. Cedric Diggory,
  Due to previous academic achievements and behavior, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has appointed you, Cedric Diggory, Hufflepuff House Prefect. We trust you will hold this position honorary and a privilege to have. Thank you for your constant cooperation and hard work.
Pomona Sprout
Albus Dumbledore

~~~

The second day back at school, during Cedric's first charms class, he had already decided that this year, he was going to be an even better student. Intent on being a good example for his house, he was not going to get distracted as he usually did in years prior.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw one of the Ravenclaws in his class point towards the window.

Don't get distracted, he told himself, now only half listening to Professor Flitwick.

Someone gasped, and another "Ooo"-ed.

Focus.

A few more students made surprised sounds.

Cedric leaned his head against his left hand, blocking his vision and hearing in that direction. But when Professor Flitwick suddenly stopped talking and looked out the window, and his eyes lit up, Cedric did too.

Their charms professor waddled over to it, peering outside.

This, they all figured, gave them permission to do so as well, so the class dashed over and Cedric could now see, it was... Harry Potter? Riding on the back of some sort of winged horse with an eagle looking head. His arms were outstretched and he was flying close enough to the castle that his wide smile was visible. He could even be heard from inside, shouting, and all of the fifth years broke into grins. Harry reached down to hug it's neck as the creature soared, parallel to the curve of the castle, around it, and for a brief moment he disappeared, before coming back into view again.

His messy black hair was only getting messier in the wind, and his robes trailed behind also; Cedric couldn't deny that Harry Potter looked extremely perfect. Like he belonged in the air, which made sense, him being such an amazing seeker. But perfect as in... attractive? Yeah, very attractive. Cedric's face reddened, and he began to feel tingly sensation in the pit of his stomach.

Once they saw Harry recede into the forest, the class went back to their seats.

"That was a sight! Not every day you see Harry Potter riding on hippogriffs. Beautiful things!" exclaimed their professor.

It was obvious that he meant the hippogriffs, but Cedric's face once again turned a bright shade of pink, because he couldn't help but think, that Harry Potter was beau... he was being an idiot, but, that didn't mean he fancied him. It just meant... he was nice looking. Girls always told other girls they were pretty or cute. Couldn't boys be the same?

~~~

Several months later, one night after dinner, Cedric was walking alone down a corridor after making sure all of his house mates went back to their common room.

Looking down at his feet, he turned a corner and bumped into someone.

"Sorry, I wasn't paying attention," said a voice. Cedric's eyes widened and he jerked his head up, and there in front of him was a short boy with bright green eyes and jet-black hair, and on his forehead, a lightning shaped scar.

"No, neither was I," Cedric responded, suddenly getting sweaty. "Er... what are you doing? Shouldn't you be in-"

"I was going to Hagrid's." Harry said, holding his breath. He hoped this prefect wouldn't ask why, for he had no particular reason other than just to visit.

"Oh. Right. Ok, well, um... bye. I guess," Cedric stuttered, wearing an awkward grin.

"You're not going to tell anyone?"

"Anyone what?"

Harry was puzzled, "That I was out? Past hours?"

"Well I'm sure you have a reason, he replied, slowly regaining his control enough to offer up a charming smile, before he turned to walk away.

"Thanks," the Gryffindor boy called.

And as Cedric strode along he grinned uncontrollably, for now maybe Potter would pay attention to him.

Chapter Text

The weather prior to Gryffindor's quidditch match against Slytherin had put the team in a sour mood. However, with how much they'd been practicing due to Oliver's insistence, they were confident they would win tomorrow anyway.

But, their confidence evaporated when Wood announced bitterly that they would be playing Hufflepuff, due to the Slytherin Seeker's injuries.

"There's nothing wrong with Malfoy's arm!" Harry shouted.

Wood had an expression that made him look as if he was about to curse someone when he said, "They've got a new Captain and Seeker, Cedric Diggory—"

He was unable to finish, because Angelina, Alicia, and Katie suddenly giggled.

"What?" said Wood, irritatedly.

"He's that tall, good-looking one, isn't he?"

Harry groaned, but only loud enough for Fred to hear. Being told they were now playing a different team had already created an intense feeling of anxiety in the pit of his stomach. And now all of the girls on their team would be going easy on Hufflepuff just because of their stupid captain, whoever he was.


"I don't know why you're worried, Oliver, Hufflepuff is a pushover. Last time we played them, Harry caught the Snitch in about five minutes, remember?" Fred said, attempting to lighten the mood, although failing.

When Oliver started shouting, Harry's nerves really began to kick in. He hadn't seen the new Hufflepuff team play, and he had learned never to underestimate his opponents. If Oliver was this angry, he figured he should probably be worried. Though really— it was still Hufflepuff.

"Diggory's put a very strong side together! He's an excellent Seeker!" their captain exclaimed, face red from yelling.

~~~

During breakfast, Harry barely ate. He had gotten up early, solely for that purpose, and also to meet with the team, but he found that his stomach was too unsettled to digest any food without making him feel sick.

"Potter," said a voice from behind. Harry turned, and immediately recognized the Hufflepuff Captain and Seeker, Cedric Diggory, as the prefect that had let him go to Hagrid's after hours earlier in the year.

"Yeah?"

"Wanted to say good luck today. Not that you need it— you're a brilliant player."

Harry felt his cheeks heat up under Diggory's gaze. He had never been good at receiving compliments.

"Er... thanks," he said awkwardly. "You too."

Diggory smiled at him, looking oddly pleased with himself before he nodded and walked away back towards the Hufflepuff table.

Harry would normally get suspicious of something like this, but he was too anxious to think of anything besides the increasing shaking he was doing.

~~~

By the time they were walking out onto the field, Harry's confidence had taken over his nerves, and he decided to focus on the team approaching from the opposite side.

The Hufflepuffs were wearing canary yellow robes, and there was Diggory, their Captain, leading them with an admirable expression of fierce yet dignified competitiveness painted on his face.

When he and Oliver met in the middle, Harry almost laughed at the difference in their expressions. Wood was tense and bitter looking, while Diggory had such a genuine smile, it almost looked as though he wanted to give him a hug.

~~~

When they all rose into the air, it was not a few minutes later in which Cedric felt completely drenched from the relentless rain pouring down. A sudden bolt of lightning erupted out of the sky not far from him, causing him to drop a few feet. However, his back felt scorched, and he barely processed as Wood called a time out; there was rising pain in his side, and he found he couldn't straighten his back properly.

When Cedric looked over to the Gryffindor team, he noticed Harry looking completely dreadful as well. His robes clung to his body, and his messy hair hung in front of his eyes in strands.

Even from a distance away, Harry's flushed cheeks were noticeable, and Cedric found the sight painfully adorable.

Unfortunately, they were only down for about a minute before they all had to fly again. But not believing his luck, as soon as he was up the Snitch zoomed right in front of him. He whipped past Harry Potter, who was looking around wildly, and then who began to tail him.

With his hand outstretched, less than a foot from the Snitch, Cedric suddenly felt a strange coldness come over him. It was as if he could never be happy again, and he suddenly remembered getting the letter saying he wouldn't come back. He was dead. His brother, Thomas.

But as he felt this, he unintentionally lowered his hand, which happened to fall onto the golden ball, which he frantically grasped. The cold feelings receded, but remained cold, and Cedric could hardly process the fact that he'd just won them the Quidditch game.

He turned around immediately to face his house in the stands, but instead his gaze was directed to Harry Potter, who had just fallen off his broom, and was plummeting down into at least a hundred dementors. Cedric's eyes widened, and he raced to the ground after him.

Harry was lying on the grass when he landed next to his lifeless body. Professor McGonagall, Dumbledore, Madam Pomfrey, and a crowd of students and other teachers raced out onto the field.

Most of the Slytherins were either snickering or whispering, but the Gryffindors all looked extremely worried, and even most of the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs.

"Congratulations, Mr. Diggory," Professor McGonagall spoke, but hardly seeming to know what she was uttering as she bent down over her student.

"Wh... we didn't win, did we?" he asked, shocked.

"Yes, Diggory, you won."

"But is he alright?!" Cedric croaked.

Madam Pomfrey leaned over Harry before looking back up at Dumbledore. Cedric noticed the headmaster furiously casting a spell which was expelling the dementors from the area.

Hermione was in tears, and his best friend, Ron, looked frightened to death.

"Mr. Potter is alive," Madam Pomfrey spoke, relieved, "but he may very well soon not be! Whoever sent these horrors here is foolish indeed!"

"I can't agree more, Poppy," Dumbledore scowled, briskly walking back over.

"But, there must be a rule against this. Surely this is unfair; it wasn't his fault he fell—" Cedric started.

"No, Diggory. You won. Fair and square," Oliver said glumly.

Cedric pursed his lips as he watched Harry being carried away on a stretcher.

"Could we get a rematch?" Cedric asked.

"I'm afraid not," McGonagall replied bitterly.

~~~

In the hospital wing, Cedric was laying in a bed, the pain not having left his side.

"That was a right nasty strike, Ced. Are you sure you're all right?" Ernie Macmillan asked.

"I'm fine. I can't believe we won..." he mumbled quietly, looking over to the Gryffindor team standing around Harry. Suddenly, the third year looked over to him, giving a small nod, and on his face was a mixed expression— disappointment and anger, but also while looking like he was trying to smile in thanks.

"I know! That was fantastic, Ced! I don't remember last when Hufflepuff won against Gryffindor!" Zacharias Smith said, taking his comment in the wrong way.

However, Herbert Fleet followed his gaze and said, "Cedric, even Wood admits we won, stop being so nice."

~~~

He wouldn't even admit it to himself, but Cedric had been trying to find a reason to talk to Harry Potter after the match, and visiting him in the hospital seemed a bit much for an almost stranger.

However, it was not much longer after the incident with the dementors, that one day during lunch he found a reason to.

There was a ruckus at the Gryffindor table, and several other houses were looking over, curious. A lot of, "whoa!"-ing occurred, and other surprised gasps.

And when other Hufflepuffs started walking over to see what was going on, Cedric didn't think it weird for himself to. What he did see shocked him. Sitting in front of Harry was a Firebolt!

"Wow, Potter!" he found himself saying out loud before he realized he was speaking. "Congratulations! That's one superb broom! On that, you'll be unbeatable..."

And the Gryffindor Seeker turned to smile at him, replying, "thanks!"

And even though Cedric knew that the smile on his face was not directed at him, but just the excitement of getting a Firebolt, he still felt privileged to receive it.

Chapter Text

"—with Arthur Weasley."

Cedric's head darted up. His dad had been speaking about the World Cup for at least ten minutes straight, and he'd started to zone out. But Arthur Weasley was...
"He's that redheaded man, right?"

"Correct."

"Will his sons be there?"

"Well I'd assume so. Why, do you know them?"

Cedric grinned. Arthur Weasley's son, if he wasn't mistaken, was Ronald, Harry Potter's best friend. And if he was lucky, the Weasleys would've invited him to the World Cup.

"Not really."

"Hmm. Well, nevermind. All your stuff together for tomorrow then, Ced?" his father asked.

"Er... no. Not yet."

Cedric raced to his bedroom to pack. He couldn't believe his luck. Out of all the people, his dad was sharing the portkey with Arthur Weasley.

~~~

And sure enough, much to delight, Harry Potter was with the Weasleys.

As they approached, his stomach began to flutter slightly, which made him only more nervous still.

Cedric forced himself to stare at Mr. Weasley, trying to look relaxed and cool when he felt Harry's gaze settle on him.

"And this strapping young lad must be Cedric, am I right?"

He blushed a little, and said "Hi," politely, shaking his hand. Cedric took the opportunity to look around at them all, letting his gaze rest on Harry a few seconds longer than the rest of the group. His heart lifted when he saw that unlike Fred and George, the fourth year was smiling back at him, also unlike his best friend, who was looking away sourly but mumbled a hello in return.

As they started to walk, Cedric, not knowing any of the Gryffindors, decided to fall into step beside the adults. Mr. Weasley and his dad were having an enthusiastic conversation over something Ministry related, and after the first interruption from his father, they constantly changed topic, however Cedric wasn't actually listening until he heard his dad say, "Merlin's beard. Harry? Harry Potter?" and turn around.

"Er — yeah," came the awkward response.

And then of course his father said, "Ced's talked about you of course. Told us..."; his cheeks felt very, very hot.

~~~

"You beat Harry Potter!"

When Mr. Diggory said this, Harry looked away. How was he supposed to reply to that? Cedric looked embarrassed to say the least.

Good, said a voice inside Harry's head. At least his son is mature.

"Harry fell off his broom, Dad. I told you... it was an accident...." But at that remark, he suddenly appreciated the Hufflepuff captain. Even if they had won last year. Diggory had tried to ask for a rematch, which was probably more than what anyone else would do, and Harry felt bad for all of the Gryffindor hate they had gotten just for winning one game. It's not as if it lasted. Ravenclaw demolished them.

~~~

"... but the best man won, I'm sure Harry'd say the same, wouldn't you, eh? One falls off his broom, one stays on, you don't need to be a genius to tell which one's the better flier!"

Cedric gaped at his dad in shock. Did he really just say that? He was sure his face was by now at least the color of a ripe tomato. Cedric opened his mouth to argue but for Arthur's save of the comment. And now Harry looked just as extremely uncomfortable as he felt, and Cedric shot him an apologetic glance, but the Gryffindor student wasn't looking anywhere but at his shoes.

Once they had all reached the portkey, a dirty and scuffed up old boot, his father ordered, "Alright, everybody grab hold. On three." So all of them took hold of the boot, except for Harry, who was looking utterly perplexed.

"Harry!" Mr. Weasley yelled.

And so he, not thinking twice, threw his hand onto Cedric's and grasped it hard, causing Cedric to flinch and start reddening for what felt like the hundredth time that day. A few moments later, all of the Weasley children, Granger, and Harry were sprawled on the ground, as Mr. Weasley, his dad and himself landed smoothly upon the damp ground.

Quickly taking the opportunity to make any sort of contact before anyone else helped him up, he walked over to Harry and offered his hand.

Perhaps because he was wondering why he wasn't helping up any of the girls up instead, Harry looked around for a brief second to see Ginny and Hermione still on the ground, and Cedric realized his mistake right away. He silently cursed himself for being so rude but forgot it when caught off guard, he heard a friendly voice say, "Thanks," and he felt his hand being pulled by Harry, who was smiling slightly and staring at Cedric with appreciative eyes.

He hoisted him up and nodded, but immediately turned and walked ahead so the younger student wouldn't notice how bright red his face was.

Chapter Text

"Only a week away!" they heard Ernie Macmillan squeal, eyes gleaming with excitement. "I wonder if Cedric knows? Think I'll go and tell him..."

"Cedric?" said Ron blankly.

"Diggory," Harry answered so quickly Hermione tossed him a strange glance. "He must be entering the tournament."

"That idiot, Hogwarts champion?" Harry looked up at Ron with slight frustration, but before he could say anything, Hermione did it for him.

"He's not an idiot. You just don't like him because he beat Gryffindor at Quidditch."

When he tried to ask for a rematch, Harry added unnecessarily in his mind.

As the Friday drew nearer when the champions would be announced, more and more people were talking about their house's contenders.

And as he was all the Hufflepuffs were talking about in class, Cedric Diggory had acquired a nickname amongst the Gryffindors: Pretty-Boy Diggory.

"I really hope you get it, Angelina!" Hermione said, smiling at her.

"Yeah, better you than Pretty-Boy Diggory." Seamus added.

Harry didn't really care about any of their comments against him at first, but after a while, he began to find them unfair. Personally, he thought Cedric Diggory just to be a kind, brave, and honest person that took fairness really seriously, and although he couldn't say he knew him at all, the prefect hardly seemed to care what he looked like, and in this case, his good looks were his downfall. It's not as though he could help being extremely attractive.

The Friday finally came, and all of Hogwarts waited anxiously to find out who their school champion would be. Victor Krum from Durmstrang, and Fleur Delacour from Beauxbatons were already chosen.

Harry could see the Hufflepuff table, and he actually was beginning to hope it would be Cedric, just out of sympathy for their house, who could finally get some recognition for once when Dumbledore cleared his throat and announced, "The Hogwarts champion is Cedric Diggory!"

"No!" Ron said loudly, and for the first time defending him, Harry shouted over the cheering, "Shut up, Ron!" as he clapped, smiling.

Ron shot him a confused and annoyed glare. Harry appeared to be the only Gryffindor boy clapping, but he ignored this and continued. But then all of the applause stopped very abruptly when the Goblet began emitting red sparks again, and a fourth slip of paper shot out of it.

The Great Hall was silent as Dumbledore stared at the torn bit of parchment. Then headmaster cleared his throat and called, "Harry Potter!"

~~~

Suddenly there were footsteps, and before them stood a very nervous boy, with a famous lightning scar. Cedric lifted his head a little higher, staring at him curiously, and Harry's wide eyes were looking back.

"Harry! Harry!" a crowd of professors ran down the steps, and when Harry Potter turned around they cornered him against a wall.

Wait. He was a... triwizard champion?

Cedric looked at Bagman nonplussed, then to Harry, and back to Bagman, not quite believing his ears. He couldn't make up his mind to be furious, because of course the one time Hufflepuff was recognized, Gryffindor had to take it away, or excited, because now it would be impossible for Harry not to notice him. But at the moment, his anger was overwhelming any thoughts of reasons he'd have to approach him more often.

~~~

"So," said Cedric, trying to smile as they walked out of the chamber together, "We're playing against each other again!"

"I s'pose," said Harry lamely.

The walk to the doorway was one of frantic brainstorming for Cedric as he tried to think of what to say.

"So... tell me..." he said finally as they reached the entrance hall, which was now lit only by torches. "How did you get your name in?"

"I didn't," said Harry, staring up at him with annoyance and desperation. "I didn't put it in. I was telling the truth."

"Ah... okay," said Cedric.

~~~

So Cedric didn't believe him either. At least Ron would be there.

"Well... see you then," the Hufflepuff said quietly. Harry stood still, listening to his footsteps die away. He didn't know what to think right now. His thoughts were all scrambled in his head, and unfortunately, Harry knew he was about to get a lot of hate from Hufflepuff. He had known as soon as he saw the faces of the three other champions down in the trophy room what was coming, but if Diggory had believed him, maybe the rest of Hufflepuff would've too.

~~~

Cedric sighed as he walked down the stairs. He had wished Harry would tell him the truth. Just admit he had put his name in. He was upset, but could understand wanting glory, yet the fact that Potter lied to him made him feel worse. Doesn't he know I'm not like all those other prats? Well... no, he doesn't know me at all... He huffed and stuffed his hands deep into his pockets.

~~~

Every time they passed in the corridors Harry would feel a sharp pang of jealousy. All of the girls were in love with Diggory and why shouldn't they be? He was handsome, nice, tall, a prefect, and seemed to have a certain confidence about him that must of been inherited. Around him, Harry felt very insecure. Diggory looked so much more the part of a champion. He wasn't a short, lanky, hated boy with hair that never lay flat; he was perfect. Really... perfect. And not once since the champions were chosen had Harry seen him alone.

What was started by the Slytherins immediately became a hit. Badges, that would read, Support Cedric Diggory and then switch to say, Potter Stinks. Every Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and quite a few Gryffindors who were especially mad at Harry for either not telling them he entered, or because he always got the attention, wore these. The only ones who didn't were Harry's best friends (though Ron's choosing to ignore him was much worse), Cedric himself, and Cho. If Cho was wearing one, Harry would just be downright depressed. It was she that made him have any reason to feel happy at all.

Harry felt especially awful when even Cedric's wand was in better condition than his own, which he had quickly begun trying to clean with his robes before it was weighed.

As the first task drew nearer, Harry paid attention to the other champions a lot, to see how they were reacting the nerves. Fleur's eyes were always constantly wide from studying, Krum seemed oblivious to the fact he was in a competition at all, but Cedric looked extremely relaxed. And either blinded by the glory of having recognition for the first time in a century or because of pure stupidity, none of his housemates seemed at all worried. And all of them seemed to think Cedric wasn't either. However, Harry knew better. He could see it in his eyes whenever he looked long enough. The prefect was putting on a brave face; whenever he turned away, there was a panic in his expression that wasn't there before.

"Cedric!"

That voice... he shot upright so fast his head was dizzy from the abrupt change of position. There, walking towards him was Harry Potter. He hadn't expected Harry to talk to him at all, seeing as he himself was the reason everyone was mad at the Gryffindor student.

"Yeah?" he asked, completely caught off guard.

"Can I have a word?" he asked impatiently.

"Uh.. alright."

He stood up, and followed Harry behind a bush, while one of his group shouted, "You stink, Potter!" He turned around and chuckled out of habit, but once he was out of view of his friends, his face turned serious.

"Dragons. That's the first task." Cedric blinked before opening his mouth slightly.

"Come on, Ced!" a voice said from behind.

"Whh... you're serious?"

"They've got one for each of us." Trying to get his brain to catch up to his ears, Cedric stuttered, "And... Fleur and Krum... do they...?"

"Karkaraff and Madame Maxime were both there. I'm sure they've told them."

"How did you..."

"Never mind."

Almost with an accusatory look, as if he was lying, Cedric asked, "But why are you telling me?"

Surprised by this question, Harry stumbled, "Well, it's only fair, isn't it? Everyone else knows." Suddenly, Professor Moody walked over to them causing Harry to sigh and nod a good bye. As he began to walk away, Cedric put a hand on his arm and said awkwardly, "Uh... listen. I've asked them not to wear the badges."

"No, don't worry about it," he interrupted, though there was bitterness in his voice.

And he walked away. For the first time, Cedric believed Harry was telling the truth about not putting his name in the goblet. If he actually truly cared about competing, he wouldn't of tipped him off about the dragons. And thinking this, Cedric suddenly felt extremely guilty. His friends and he had been complete gits to a fourth year that hadn't asked for any of this. The whole school had for that matter, even Ronald Weasley, his best friend.

"God, I'm so sorry, Harry," he whispered.

Chapter Text

Cedric, grinning proudly, bounded up to his dormitory with excitement. He had just asked Cho to the Yule Ball, and she had said yes. And the fact that he was so happy was proof enough that he didn't fancy Harry. He was going to the ball with Cho, and Harry would see him with someone else, and perhaps be jealous, and what the hell was he thinking...

~~~

"Um... Cedric?" said a familar voice, interrupting his muddled thoughts at breakfast the next morning.

"Oh, hey Cho," he said with a charming smile.

"Hi."

"How are..."

"Listen," she interrupted again, "I just thought you should know, Harry asked me to the ball yesterday."

"Wh..what?"

"Oh, no, Cedric, I didn't... I didn't say I'd go with him," she said, although her regret was very obvious.

Cedric didn't actually care if she regretted not saying yes. He was just angry. At her. Because Harry asked her. What was so great about Cho that made Harry ask her? And then immediately after this thought, waves of guilt swept through him. She was pretty, kind, and funny, and who was he to get jealous of Cho when he was the one going with her to the ball?

So now I'm gay again, he thought lamely. But it's not like Harry'd ever fancy me... he's straight. Not only that, but also, he had a very strong feeling that he had just ruined any chance of the friendship that had started to form between them. I've just stolen his crush! Cedric didn't believe he was being too hopeful when he thought Harry had been warming up to him.

"Um... Cedric?" Cho started.

"If you want to go with Harry, it's fine." That was probably a really stupid thing to say, but it was also the only way that Harry would forgive him. And if he was truly honest, as guilty as it made him feel, he cared slightly more about Potter's friendship than going out with Cho.

"How could you say something like that?" she said, looking affronted. "I wouldn't of said yes to you if I fancied someone else."

"Yeah, sorry... yeah." Well, there went any good feelings Harry had toward him. And sure enough, on the way to his first class, Cedric ran into the one person he was trying to avoid after quickly turning a corner.

"Potter! Sorry... didn't see you."

"Really?" Harry asked in a calm voice, but with anger blazing in his eyes.

"I um..."

"Have fun at the ball tomorrow," he continued moodily. "Lucky you've already got someone. I might as well not even go. Right then. Er... bye."

Cedric watched Harry hurry down the corridor, feeling so much guilt that he could be swallowed in it. He felt like the worst person in the world.

~~~

Cedric looked at himself in the mirror. Tall, black flowing robes, wavy chestnut hair, a charming smile. He looked good. He wasn't going to lie, Cedric usually thought he looked pretty good. But seeing his reflection right now was only deflating.

Really, what was going for him. He looked good. Was that all he had to offer? Harry on the other hand... he was handsome, brave, endearingly stubborn, charming in a vague oblivious way, and he was so selfless it was almost insane. Harry was perfect. Really just perfect.

Cho and Cedric arrived at the Yule Ball together, hand in hand, performing a sappy exchange of compliments. And though Cedric would (guiltily) rather be with someone else tonight, Cho did look very stunning, and it wasn't difficult to think of nice things to say. Her dress was a silvery gold, and hugged her in all the right places. Her hair was pulled back, but a few loose strands were hanging delicately in front of her eyes, and her cheeks were a shade of soft pink. Cedric really hoped that that was makeup, because he didn't want to have that effect on her. That would just make things harder.

For a while they stood in the corner with their friends, smiling or saying something to each other every so often, but also glancing at the staircase every few seconds. But what they didn't know was that they were waiting for the same person to arrive.

"Are you looking for someone, Cedric?" Cho asked, finally noticing she wasn't the only one looking up constantly.

"Sorry?" he asked, turning towards her. "Oh, no. I was just um... sorry."

She shook her head with a grin, before going back to looking at the stairway, as did he.

At the slight intake of breath coming from Cho to his right, Cedric's eyes darted towards the entrance and there he was. Harry Potter in crisp black robes with neatly combed hair (for the first time). His outfit gave the impression that he was actually rather tall, while a scowl was sitting on his face. In general, he seemed a lot older. Cedric swore he saw Harry glare his way before turning at his date's nudge.

~~~

Harry watched as Ron and Hermione stood up to leave, but after the danger of them yelling had passed he continued to stare at Cho as she danced with Cedric. If he had only been a little bit sooner. Harry was sure she would've said yes.

His mouth was feeling very dry, so he stood up, which took every ounce of strength he had, and walked slowly over to the drinks. Clear and reddish juice bounced around in his cup, which Harry was finding interesting enough to glare at before someone called his name.

"Hi," said Cedric. Harry scowled in response before nodding.

"Cedric," he mumbled back and turned away.

"Wait, Harry!" Cedric reached out a hand and placed it on his shoulder, turning him around.

"What?" the other champion snarled.

"I'm sorry. I... I didn't know you wanted to go with her... and, I wouldn't of asked Cho if I knew." A bit surprised by this fact, Harry stumbled, but quickly returned to his pissed self.

"It's fine. No point in apologizing now anyway."

"I..." but before he could say another word, Potter had vanished.

"Harry," came a high-pitched, shaky voice.

"And where have you been?" came another, lower, but more girly. Harry looked up to see Hermione glaring at him, fire in her eyes, and Ron at the top of the stairs, panicked.

"Never mind!" she screamed. "Off to bed, both of you!" Already in a bad mood because Diggory was trying to be a stupid polite guy as always, Harry turned his head towards her in half confusion, half annoyance, but walked past to join his best friend who mumbled, "They get scary when they're older."

"Ron! You spoiled... EVERYTHING!"

Chapter Text

He was with Cho. He was always with Cho. Between classes and on the weekends, whenever Harry passed Cedric in the hallways, they were hand in hand, or she was leaning up to kiss his cheek, or he had his arm around her shoulders. Harry hated him more and more by the hour.

"Something on your mind?"

Harry started, and looked at Hermione who was giving him a calculating glare of concern. "Harry," she said firmly. "You'll tell me if anything's wrong?"

He nodded absentmindedly. Cho and Cedric were walking by again. Why was it that when all he wanted to do was forget them both, it didn't seem possible to avoid them. Apparently Hermione noticed because she followed his gaze and said, "Oh. This is about Cho, isn't it?" He opened his mouth to speak but paused when Cedric caught his eye and smiled guiltily, before letting go of Cho's hand to rub the back of his neck.

And for some bizarre reason, Harry had the stupid idea he'd done it out of guilt— let go of her hand that is. And for some stranger reason, he almost appreciated that.

~~~

About a week before the second task, Harry began to panic. He was nowhere closer to cracking that egg now than he was when the task had been assigned. And Hermione bringing it up all the time wasn't helping in the slightest.

"Potter!" a new voice yelled from down the corridor, interrupting their conversation.

Harry looked around at the source before rolling his eyes. Hermione sighed and closed hers.

"I'll see you," she said, and hurried away.

Harry started heading in the opposite direction when the voice called his name again, "Potter!"

"Cedric," he acknowledged with his back turned.

"How... how are you?"

Harry whipped around abruptly and looked at him, searchingly. It was strange to see the confident and loved seventeen year old suddenly looking very nervous and flushed. And also, he didn't understand why Cedric was asking how he was considering all the misery the prefect had put him through.

"Spectacular," Harry said with obvious sarcasm and confusion. Cedric sighed and looked down to his feet, before glancing back up. It seemed he was having a lot of trouble looking him in the eye.

"Look, I realize I never really thanked you properly for tipping me off about those dragons."

"Forget about it. I'm sure you would've done the same for me," Harry said dismissively, turning away.

"Exactly." He was now grinning proudly. "You know the prefect's bathroom on the fifth floor?"

At this, the Harry opened his mouth to reply, but ended up nodding. His neck was starting to get uncomfortably sweaty. But then Cedric leaned in to his left ear so that Harry could feel his breath. He smelled really good. Harry ignored the goosebumps he was getting. "It's not a bad place for a bath."

"Er..." If he was implying what Harry thought he was implying then—

"Just take your egg and mull things over in the hot water."

Oh. The egg. Even so... that was a very weird way to get the point across. Harry watched him walk away, embarrassed by his own reaction. Why would he think that's what Cedric meant? But it did come out strange.

~~~

Harry shot out of the water and landed on the dock, coughing and choking, his wand in a tight grasp.

Someone yelled for a blanket, and it was draped over Harry gently before Hermione, Fleur and her sister collided with him.

It took most of the morning for the crowd to clear away, but after a while, the last few people were gathering their things and heading back to the main grounds.

As Cedric was pulling his shirt back over his head, he heard someone speak right behind him that made him tense before turning around.

"Um, Cedric. I wanted to say thanks."

Cedric looked down, perplexed. Although he didn't know him that well, he could figure that Harry was stubborn, and it was quite obvious he was jealous that he wasn't the one holding Cho's hand, so it was a wonder Harry was talking to him at all. Additionally, she was the girl he just rescued, but if Harry wasn't a Triwizard Champion, Cedric knew it wouldn've been him.

If Harry wasn't a Champion, he'd have to rescue him. Cedric was so lucky he was competing too, to spare him the embarrassment of the "someone you'll sorely miss" being a complete stranger to him.

But he wasn't going to lie and pretend he didn't care for Cho. He did, probably as Harry cared for Hermione. She was the only girl he knew liked him not just because of his looks.

"What?" Cedric asked, when he realized he'd gotten lost in thought.

"Er... In the task... you... you must've told them that I..."

"You would've won," Cedric finished helpfully.

Harry glanced away, embarrassed. He didn't want to appear to think too highly of himself, but he would've won. He just wanted to save his other friends too.

"Er... yes."

Cedric smiled warmly. "That was quite... noble. Wanting to save Granger also. And then saving someone you didn't even know."

Harry blushed. "I was just doing what—"

"Krum wouldn't of done it."

"You would've."

"Maybe. But I didn't take the song seriously. I just leave what I can't do to other people. I thought Dumbledore wouldn't have let anyone die, but still. You did the right thing."

After a moment of awkward silence Harry said, "I'm sorry, Cedric. I was just... angry I guess. Earlier."

When he looked blank, Harry added, "About the ball."

"Oh. It's alright, Potter. I understand."

Harry looked away again and mumbled, "Yeah."

"I suppose you've seen me holding her hand in the hall—"

Harry tried not to cringe.

"I really don't like her like that. Seriously."

"What?"

"I felt bad."

"Wh.."

"She got the wrong idea, when I asked her to the ball. I only needed someone to go with, and she's the only friend of mine that sees me for me— who's a girl. Not just, "Pretty Boy Diggory, like you Gryffindors," he chuckled.

Harry reddened again out of guilt.

"So... she wants to hold your hand, then."

"I... um," Cedric realized his mistake, but was extremely relieved when Harry said, "Well that makes me feel better," but smiled and added, "I'm over it, Cedric."

"You... really?" Cedric was beaming, and Harry looked at him with raised eyebrows. It was as if the only thing he wanted in the world was for Harry to be his friend.

"Er... yeah."

Cedric blushed at his own enthusiasm.

"Well, I'll see you around, then?" Harry said, and Cedric nodded.

"Yeah, definitely, Potter."

Chapter Text

Cedric leaned out of the chamber, and looked around. "Harry, come on, they're waiting for you!" Looking utterly perplexed, he walked towards him, and Cedric grinned. And the smile Harry gave when he saw Mrs. Weasley and her son made him a thousand times more handsome.
Suddenly, he saw them coming his way, and his heart started to beat faster. He put his hand on his dad's shoulder, hoping to distract him, yet when the Weasleys and Harry passed, Amos Diggory chanted, "There you are, are you?"
"Dad..."
"Bet you're not feeling quite as full of yourself now Cedric's caught you up on points, are you?"
"What?" said Harry.
"Ignore him. He's been angry ever since Rita Skeeter's article about the Triwizard Tournament — you know, when she made out you were the only Hogwarts champion."
"Didn't bother to correct her, though, did he?" Cedric felt a pang of hurt as Harry left, sad that he hadn't seen a nice side of his dad, both times he had met him. "Still ... you'll show him, Ced. Beaten him once before, haven't you?"
"Rita Skeeter goes out of her way to cause trouble, Amos! I would have thought you'd know that, working at the Ministry!" Mrs. Weasley said, following Harry.
"Dad, leave him alone. He's had to go through a lot."
Out of the corner of his eye, he thought he saw Harry look back towards him.
"Oh, and you're friends with that boy, now, are you?"
"Yeah, I am!"
"Good gracious. And what is it I get for sticking up for you?"
"Amos," his mother started.

"Mr. Cedric Diggory and Mr. Harry Potter, both of Hogwarts School!" He liked the way their names sounded together. He accidentally flushed and smiled, hoping no one noticed from the stands. "So ... on my whistle, Harry and Cedric!" Again he blushed.
After a short blast, they ran into the maze together.
At the first fork, Harry looked at him, and Cedric looked back. "See you," he said, and took the left, while Cedric went right.
After a time, having just battled a Blast-Ended Skrewt, he bumped into Harry again. "Hagrid's Blast-Ended Skrewts! They're enormous! I only just got away!"
He dived onto another path and hurried off.
As he ran down it, he heard footsteps coming from behind. Turning around, Krum had his wand pointed straight at him, and a surreal, devilish look in his eyes.
"What are you doing? He yelled. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" And in a split second, Cedric felt searing pain in every part of his body. He was screaming so loud he couldn't hear when Harry burned a hole in the hedge and yelled "Stupefy!", hitting Krum in the back. Cedric was whimpering still with his hands over his face when the boy ran over to him and said, "Are you all right?" And then Harry was holding his arm, as if just to reassure him, and just his touch was enough to rid of some of the pain.
"Yeah, Yeah... I don't believe it... he crept up behind me... I heard him, I turned around, and he had his wand on me..." Cedric finally stood, taking Harry's hand with sweaty fingers, and he slightly smiled when the younger student put his hand back on his arm to support his still shaking body.
"I can't believe this... I thought he was all right."
"So did I," Cedric agreed without agreeing whatsoever. Harry had always seemed to think of Krum as better, being a well-known Quidditch seeker.
"Did you hear Fleur scream earlier?"
"Yeah. You don't think Krum got her too?"
"I don't know."
"Should we leave him here?" Cedric muttered under his breath.
"No. I reckon we should send up red sparks. Someone'll come and collect him... otherwise, he'll probably be eaten by a skrewt."
"He's deserve it," Cedric said, almost offended that the fact his own life had been in danger had not been enough for Harry to want to leave Krum in the maze. After sending up sparks, he mumbled, "Well... I s'pose we'd better go on...."
Green eyes stared up at him for a moment in confusion. "What?"
Cedric gazed back.
"Oh... yeah... right..."
He thought he saw disappointment in Harry's eyes, as if he didn't want to go back to competing with him. Cedric didn't want to either, he never had. But to see it in Harry's eyes made it more of an agreement. Something they both didn't want to do anymore but had to.
In silence, they walked up the pathway, and soon turned separate ways again.

He was struck for a moment with excitement, but quickly recovering, immediately began running towards the gleaming blue cup. Suddenly, a voice behind stopped him, "Cedric! On your left!"
As he hurled around a gigantic thing, he tripped in his haste and his wand flew out of his hand. A huge spider was on top of him now, when Harry's voice distracted it from him and the creature quickly changed it's prey. Grabbing his wand, Cedric ran to where the spider was lifting Harry in the air with it's pincers, as he yelled "Stupefy!" and heard the other student yelling the same. Using the disarming spell, Harry fell twelve feet to the ground, where he crumbled, and the two boys used a combined stunning spell to finish it off. A tangle of hairy legs blocking the path now. "Harry! You all right? Did it fall on you?"
He heard an out of breath reply of, "No." The younger boy tried to stand, clawing at the hedge for support, as he said, "Take it, then. Go on, take it. You're there."
Cedric felt a pang of guilt in his heart. He wanted it so bad... for his father. But instead he stood there. Staring at Harry, who was still panting and gasping for breath. Harry, who shouldn't of had to go through any of this in the first place. He took a deep breath, and mustering up all of his nobility and liking towards the Gryffindor, he spoke, not listening to his own words for fear of what he was actually saying. "You take it. You should win. That's twice you've saved my neck in here."
Harry glared at him in anger. "That's not how it's supposed to work. The one who reaches the cup first gets the points. That's you. I'm telling you, I'm not going to win any races on this leg."
Mustering up even more of his Hufflepuffness, Cedric responded firmly, "No."
Irritation flared in Harry's eyes. "Stop being noble. Just take it, then we can get out of here."
"You told me about the dragons.I would've gone down in the first task if you hadn't told me what was coming."
"I had help on that too." Harry snapped, "You helped me with the egg — we're square."
Cedric took in another steadying breath and admit, "I had help on the egg in the first place."
"We're still square."
"You should've got more points on the second task. You stayed behind to get all the hostages. I should've done that. Now yelling, Harry shouted, "I was the only one who was thick enough to take that song seriously! Just take the cup!"
"No," said Cedric, more firm. Against all of his desires, he walked towards Harry. "Go on." Harry was now completely wiped of anger, but instead full of shock.
After a moment of silence, the fourteen year old spoke, "Both of us."
"What?"
"We'll take it at the same time. It's still a Hogwarts victory. We'll tie for it."
Cedric stared at him. "You — you sure?"
"Yeah. Yeah... we've helped each other out, haven't we? We both got here. Let's just take it together."
The fact that it was Harry who was proposing this was overwhelming him with happiness. "You're on. Come here." Grabbing Harry's arm below the shoulder, he walked the younger student to the cup, relishing in the closeness of their bodies as he did so. At the cup, they both placed a hand over a handle, but suddenly a last spur of thoughts ran through Cedric's mind. His dad, who had always been awful to Harry, as with everyone else. All his friends, and the other houses. Including Harry's own, Gryffindor. All those people that had wanted Cedric to win, and suddenly a surge of last second rebellion shot through him. He couldn't win. Harry had to. To show everyone how wrong they had been. Harry deserved it.
"On three, right?" The younger boy said. "One — two — three —" he grabbed a handle, but Cedric stood back.

Harry sat in a bed; his whole body was aching, but he couldn't get one thing off his mind. If Cedric had gone with him to the graveyard... he would be dead. And it would be all Harry's fault.
Dumbledore constantly visiting had helped, but of what Harry had heard from Hermione and Ron, no one believed in Voldemort's return.

A few days after the event, Cedric Diggory dropped by.
His hands were stuffed deep in his pockets, and he appeared sweaty and uncomfortable. Harry also, was immediately tense. This was the boy that would've died, had he just not been so noble.
"Hi, Harry."
"Hey, Cedric."
"How are you?"
"Well I'm not exactly great, but not bad either."
Cedric smiled and flushed.
"I'm sorry you had to face... him."
"You... you're saying you believe me?!"
"Of course I believe you. The Ministry's putting out lies. They're just afraid."
"Doesn't your dad work there?"
Cedric shifted, "Uh, yeah he does."
"Oh. Well... thanks."
"I can't imagine what you went through. I should have..."
"No."
There was a moment of silence, that soon began to grow very awkward.
"Er..."
"Well, I'll see you later, Harry."
"Oh. Bye."
Cedric almost darted out of the room, causing Harry to grin in confusion.

Chapter Text

Harry, Ron and Hermione picked a vacant cabin near the back of the train, which Neville soon joined them in.
"It's kinda sad. Isn't it? Leaving Hogwarts. It always is."
The three looked at him, but then Hermione quietly agreed, "Yes."
"What are you going to do with the winnings, Harry?" Ron asked.
"I dunno." Harry, now that he had it, didn't even really want it. He hardly thought he should be worrying about that when Voldemort was back."
"I suppose I should give it to Cedric..."
"WHAT?!" Ron looked disgusted and completely shocked.
"Well, it wasn't mine to win."
"Harry, I know you feel guilty for what... what could've happened to him, but it was his decision to let you have it, and,"
"He deserved it, Hermione. When was the last time Hufflepuff won anything? What, a century ago?"
"But he thought you should."
"Well, I thought he should too! He was supposed to take it with me,"
"And if he did, he would've died, Harry," she whispered.
'He would have died. Had he just taken it with him. And it would be all his fault. All... his... fault.'
Neville started, "You alright, Ha..."
"Hi."
They all looked up, and Cedric Diggory was standing at their door, grinning.
Ron groaned, causing Hermione to knock him in the ribs. Cedric, however, smiled at this.
Suddenly, he looked down nervously and said, "Can I have a word, Harry?"
"Why?" Ron asked.
"Yeah, sure," Harry said, following him out.
"How... how've you been?"
"Okay, I guess."
"Uh... I want to apologize."
Harry was confused, "For what?"
"Everything. This year... it was probably really hard for you... and I didn't believe you. About not entering your name in the tournament. I do now."
"Oh... that?"
"That's not it. The thing with Cho, the badges, the third task... I should've gone with you. I feel terrible."
"You feel terrible?"
"If we had just taken it together... we could've,"
"Cedric, I don't mean to be rude, but he would've killed you! He couldn't kill me, because, well, I... I don't know."
Cedric did not look at all offended. Instead, he still looked completely guilty.
Harry thought it was very strange that what he himself felt so bad about, Cedric felt bad for the opposite reason.
"If you had gone with me... I'd never forgive myself. Sorry."
Again, Cedric did not look at all offended, but his cheeks were turning bright pink, and it looked as though he were trying to hide a smile. Harry ignored this, and instead continued, "I... I think you should have my Galleons."
The prefect's head darted up, "What?!"
"You deserve it."
"Huh? No... Harry, I could never,"
"I don't want it."
"But, I,"
"I really don't. I'd never spend it."
"Er,"
"Just take it, Cedric. I'm giving it to you. Seriously. It would make me happy."
"Are you fooling with me?"
"No. Hold on."
Harry went back into the cabin where Ron, Hermione, and Neville were sitting."
"Um... what are you doing?" Hermione asked.
"I'm giving him my Galleons."
Cedric stood in the door way, still looking puzzled and suspicious.
"Why would you give him..." Ron once again started, to be interrupted by Cedric who said, "Do you know how much this is? I can't take it! That's more than my father makes in a..."
Suddenly, the redhead frowned and looked away.
"I mean... don't you want to spend it on something?"
"I don't need it. I promise, I really want you to have it, Cedric."
Suddenly, the older student's face was so bright and his smile was so warm, it made Harry feel so good inside, he couldn't help but smile himself.
He handed a chest to the seventeen year old, which he took hesitantly.
Cedric slowly opened it, and once he looked inside, he immediately lunged forward and gave Harry a hug. The fourteen year old actually laughed at this, and hugged him back. Cedric reluctantly pulled away, having not believed Harry had just given him 1,000 Galleons, and, he had just hugged Harry!
"Thanks, Potter."
Harry nodded.
He stopped in the doorway, and turned around saying, "I'll see you next year."
"See you, Cedric."

Harry sat back down by the window, and rested his head on his arm.
"You did the right thing, I guess," Ron said. All three of them looked at him puzzled.
"Yes. He's probably in love with you now," Hermione joked.

 

When Cedric got back to his own cabin, Zacharias Smith, Herbert Fleet, and Ernie Macmillan were waiting, chatting about something excitedly.
"Hey, Ced!"
"Hi."
"What's that you've got in your hands?"
"Nothing."
Smith grabbed the box and opened it, but instantly gasped.
"Wh.."
"What is it?" Ernie asked.
When he looked inside, his eyes widened.
"Did... did Harry give this to you?"
"Er... yeah."
"I'm surprised you took it."
"Well, I didn't want to! He made me," Cedric said, grinning.
"Bet you're in love with him now," Macmillan said, but secretly meant it.
The prefect glared at him but his cheeks reddening got in the way of his angry cover and caused Fleet to say, "Does Ced have a crush on the famous Harry Potter? Isn't that sweet."
"I do not," he said sternly.
The three boys laughed and he rolled his eyes.
"Too bad you won't get to see him for three months." Zacharias Smith added.
It wouldn't of made Cedric be much embarrassed, except for the fact that he was just thinking exactly that.
"You know I'm not like that."
"We were only joking, Ced. Stop taking everything so seriously. Now I really think you're gay." Herbert Fleet raised his eyebrows and smirked.

Chapter Text

Cedric spent most nights thinking of ways to get to know Harry better in his last year. What he now fully accepted as a true crush was completely impossible. How could he get someone that fancied girls to like him? That was a risky dream.
Cedric smiled. If people knew what he was thinking... 'I, Cedric Diggory am having trouble getting someone to like me.' Not that he meant to brag, but he had always been quite good at that sort of thing.

Entering the Great Hall, filled with it's classic floating candles and glistening goblets, night sky and four long tables, made Cedric grin brightly. He was so happy to be back at Hogwarts, and he didn't care how much homework he was about to get, or having Professor Snape, but he was definitely happy to be back. Plus, coming back to Hogwarts meant coming back to friends and dorm mates... and Harry Potter.

On the third day back, in the middle of a joke, a streak of jet-black hair nudged between a redhead and a brunette caught the seventh year's attention.
"Yes?" Smith said, waiting for a punch-line.
"Hey, Potter!"
The now fifteen year old turned around.
Immediately, Cedric noticed a huge difference. The mop of hair that Harry had last year was now neatly trimmed and made him look several years older, he had grown about a foot so Cedric wasn't looking down at him anymore, his face was a little less round and more grown up, and something in his eyes had changed. Whether maturity or anger Cedric couldn't tell. Overall... Harry was a lot more... hot.
The prefect didn't notice as he walked towards the Gryffindor the raised eyebrows from his friends standing behind him, or Ronald Weasley rolling his eyes and dragging Hermione away.
"Hey, Cedric. Good summer?"
"Uh, yeah. Yeah. How've you been?"
The boy shrugged.
"Hey, Ced! We'll wait for you in the dorms!" Ernie Macmillan yelled, smiling teasingly.
The tall Hufflepuff turned slightly red, but Harry was oblivious to them and Cedric's cheeks.
By mistake, Harry brought his hand out of his pocket to push up his glasses, but his fingers never reached them, for after seeing Cedric's gaze redirect, and the eighteen year old frown, he shot his hand away, yet the Seeker reflexes of Diggory were too good. He grabbed Harry's arm and yanked up his sleeve.
"What is this?"
"It's nothing."
"Did someone do this to you, Harry?"
"No, Cedric, I said it's nothing. Really."
Harry jerked his hand away but Cedric grasped it tighter, and inspected it.
"I must not tell lies? Is that what it says?"
Harry looked into his eyes, trying to get out of this but finally gave up and nodded.
"What happened?"
"It really doesn't matter."
"Come on Harry, tell me. I won't say anything."
He sighed.
"Fine. But you can't. I was in detention with Professor Umbridge, and she gave me a quill to write with, and it etches whatever you write on your hand."
"What!"
"Cedric! You said you won't tell! I know. Just... it's fine." Harry jerked his hand away.
"Harry, you have to tell Dumbledore! She can't do that!"
"He's got other things to worry about."
"What about that one of his professors is a monster?"
"I can't let her have her way. She wants me to be angry. But I won't."
Cedric looked shocked, as though that was the stupidest thing he'd ever heard.
"Are all Gryffindors like you?"
Harry grinned slightly. "I suppose. I don't know."
"Well, I would tell someone. But... if you really don't want to, then, have it your way."
"Yeah. Thanks."
"I should probably go. I'll er, see you around, Potter!"
Harry nodded goodbye politely, and walked away in an unusually good mood.

Chapter Text

A somewhat short boy of 15 with dark brown hair, and bright blue eyes stood outside, talking excitedly with Ron, Harry, and Dean about Quidditch. The breeze was cool and harsh, but it tickled their skin and made their cheeks pink, though it was barely Winter.
"See yer, Harry! Bye Ron!" Seamus Finnigan said, leaving ahead of Dean Thomas, who soon followed after him.

"...Potter. He won't stop staring! I'm telling you!"
Seamus heard the voices of Ernie Macmillan and Justin Finch-Fletchley behind a tree. Curious as to why they were talking about Harry, he moved a safe distance away and listened from behind a bush.
"But Ced's not gay Ernie, he went out with Cho."
"Yeah, but he told me he only did it not to hurt her feelings. Whenever we mention him he turns red."
"Well he always says hi, but they were both in the Triwizard Tournament. It's not like they could ignore each other after that. Besides... Cedric just isn't... he couldn't be..."
"He is. You should see the glares he gives me when..."
Seamus didn't realize his mouth was hanging slightly open, and his eyes were wide. An eighteen year old prefect that all the girls were in love with? Liking Harry Potter? This was bloody hilarious! Pretty-boy Diggory! Seriously?
Seamus' first instinct was to tell his dorm mates, but he didn't want to spread a rumor that might not be true. He would just have to find out for sure.

Smiling, Cedric opened his satchel, taking out an unfinished essay. He still couldn't find it in him to be stressed about all the things he had to do, when there was a Harry Potter constantly on his mind.
"Hey, Diggory!"
Cedric immediately looked up from where he was sitting on a bench, expecting to see Harry, because the Hufflepuffs called him by his first name always, but not... this other Gryffindor student he thought was in Harry's year.
"Yes?" he said, nonplussed.
"Hi, uh, my name's Seamus Finnigan."
"Um, pleasure!" Cedric said, shaking his hand.
"Yeah, listen. I just want ter apologize, because o' last year."
"I'm sorry?"
"Well, you were in the Tournament. And, Gryffindors were pretty rude to you." Seamus knew how ridiculous his false reason for talking to Cedric must've sounded, but what other excuse was there?
"Oh. Well, um, thanks."
"Harry's the only one who didn't like it."
Noticing how Cedric's ears began to get red, and the prefect shifted uncomfortably, Finnigan continued.
"He'd always tell us not to call you things. Get so bloody mad. (This,
of course, was a lie) But Harry was right. We shouldn't er called you bad names."
"Uh... Potter... so he'd get... mad?"
"Yeah. Seemed to take a likin' to you after a while."
Cedric desperately tried to hide the smile wanting to appear on his face, and the blush in his cheeks, but he could not, and failed miserably.
Seamus Finnigan said, "Well, bye then," and left. He felt slightly bad for seeing how excited the Hufflepuff had gotten, when it wasn't really the truth. To be honest, he just thought that Harry thought of him as a friend, not even a good one, and definitely nothing more.
However, judging by the embarrassment on the older boy's face, if Cedric wasn't gay, than he had some issues about taking praise and talking to people in general.
Somehow, Finnigan didn't see that popular git as being an awkward person normally.

Chapter Text

Seamus Finnigan bumped into Fred and George Weasley later that night in the common room.
"Hey, get this," he whispered, leaning in to them. "Pretty-boy Diggory's gay."
"No... really? How'd you find out?" George asked.
"He likes Harry."
Fred let out a chortle, causing several people to turn and look at him curiously.
"Seriously? Gulping Gargoyles!" George said.
"I know he's a real Pretty-boy... but I didn't actually know he was gay..."
Seamus nodded, holding back a laugh.
"He fancies Harry?"
"I think so, I mean, he got a right shade of magenta when I talked about him. Plus, Macmillan and Finch-Fletchley are pretty sure he does."
"Merlin's Beard."
"You thinking what I'm thinking, Freddie?"
"You bet I am."
"What're you goin' to do?" Seamus asked.
"Might be time to pay that petty prefect a visit."

"Hey, Diggory!" Cedric once again turned around, hoping to see Harry, but not at all expecting to see Fred and George Weasley. As to why Gryffindor students were suddenly so interested in him now was beyond him.
"Hi..."
"You seen Harry lately?"
"Harry... Harry Potter?"
The twins raised their eyebrows and shot a sideways glance at each other.
"Why yes. I do believe he's the only Harry I'd be talking about," George said, grinning slyly.
Trying to keep a straight and cool face, Cedric looked to his left nervously before he said, "Well, I don't know what makes you think I'd know where he is."
"Don't you? You see Diggory..." Fred said as he walked behind the Hufflepuff and put a hand on his shoulder, "We know things. And, frankly, I'd like to tell you, you're going about this whole romantic situation the wrong way."
Cedric's eyes widened and he opened his mouth to speak, but no sound came out.
"I... I don't know what you're talking about, Weasley, but I am perfectly fine, and don't need any help from you. Not that there's anything to help with," the prefect said, completely flustered as he hurried away.
The two brothers smirked before they too, left.

In the middle of an intense Quidditch conversation with Ron and Seamus at supper, Harry looked at the Weasley twins when they called his name, deeply annoyed.
"Hey, Harry!"
"We were talking to Pretty-Boy Diggory..." Fred continued.
"And he seems to have a bit of a thing for you," George concluded.
Harry gazed at them blankly before furrowing his eyebrows and saying, "What?"
The twins nodded, grinning, and Harry groaned, already irritated because of Malfoy saying something rude to Hermione earlier. He rolled his eyes and turned back to his friends; he didn't have time to play along with their jokes. He had a ton of homework to stress about.
However, Draco Malfoy happened to hear this as he had walked past unnoticed, and he said, "Does he now?" before smirking and leaving.
"Great. Brilliant. He's going to tell the whole school a dumb lie now," Harry snarled.
"No, no, Harry. Not a lie."
The fifth year glared at them.
"Pretty-boy Diggory? Fancy you?" Ron started with a disgusted voice.
"He doesn't. They're just being stupid."

Chapter Text

Cedric woke up the next morning, feeling very rested and relaxed. He had finished all his homework the previous night, and wouldn't have to worry about any of it over the weekend. However, the one thing that he wasn't feeling great about was the Weasleys. And that other boy... Finnigan. He had a lurking feeling in his stomach that it was no coincidence they happened to come up to him within two days and mention Harry Potter. But Fred and George especially... they definitely knew. He gulped thinking about what Harry would do if he found out. But they wouldn't tell him, right? Knowing Fred and George, that was wishful thinking.
When he and his group of friends entered the Great Hall for breakfast, they made their way to the Hufflepuff table, just barely sitting down before they were approached by a squad of Slytherins. Besides always referring to the Hufflepuffs as dingbats and leftovers, the Slytherin House had never focused any of their attention on them, except for last year when they all rooted for Cedric Diggory, just so they didn't have to root for Harry to win the Triwizard Tournament.
"Hey, Diggory!" Malfoy said, "Word got around you fancy Harry Potter?
Nope. This was worse. All of Cedric's friends, and the whole Gryffindor table, had their eyes on him. Frantically trying to stop the blush crawling up his face, and the urge to see what Harry's expression was, panicking, he started cooly, "And where'd you get that idea from?"
Ernie and Justin raised their eyebrows, but the rest of Hufflepuff and Gryffindor House looked mad and defensive.
"Please. What a load of rubbish," Hannah said.
"Yeah," came several replies from a few of the Hufflepuffs.
"Just look at his cheeks, they're the color of Umbridge's robes!" Malfoy said, causing the Slytherins to laugh.
"I don't fancy him, I'm not gay!" Cedric argued, getting redder.
Suddenly Harry spoke up, "Running out of stupid things to say, are you, Malfoy?"
"Shut your mouth, Potter."
"No. You shut yours and go back to where you came from. Nobody thinks you're smart with your lies and dumb rumors," Herbert Fleet said, scowling.
"Why would you like him of all people, Diggory? He's not even cute. Or funny. Or smart," Pansy Parkinson stated, crossing her arms matter-of-factly.
Hermione finally spoke up, "Harry is all of those things, and even if he wasn't, who's talking?"
Cedric couldn't of said it better.
"Shut up, Mudblood!" Parkinson yelled.
Cedric watched Potter's bushy haired friend sink back in her chair.
"Don't you dare call her that!" Ron Weasley shouted, pulling out his wand.
She smirked.
"Just do us all a favor and if you do go around kissing, keep it private. None us want to see fags," Malfoy said.
Cedric looked down to his lap at his interlocked fingers, not knowing what to say. He had never been more embarrassed.
The Slytherins then walked away.
After a few moments of silence from both tables, Zacharias Smith put a hand on his shoulder and whispered, "Ced?" but the prefect stood up, grabbed his bag, and stuffed his hands in his pockets as he walked away, his robe floating behind him. As he left the hall, everyone watched him silently.

On the way to their next class, Harry was eyed curiously by students passing by.
"I can't believe Fred and George... why'd they have to say that out loud?" Harry said in a heated voice.
Hermione frowned.
"I mean, I've already got enough to deal with, and they just needed to add one more lie about me onto the mix."
"I don't think they meant for Malfoy to hear it, mate."
Harry looked away angrily.
"Hey! Hey, Harry! Hiya! Hey!" Colin Creevey was running up to the three of them, with his brother trailing behind.
"What is it Colin?" Ron asked blankly.
"Are you really gay Harry? Does Cedric really like you? That's something! Wow! I've never met a queer person before!"
Harry's eyes narrowed slowly. "Shut up, Colin. Harry's not and neither is Cedric," Hermione scolded. Ron and Harry gaped at her in surprise.
"Alright. Sorry, well... bye then."
"And now I'll have to put up with this."

Later, after supper, Cedric pulled Harry away while the rest of their houses went back to their dorms.
"I'm really not that way, Harry. I'm sorry you already have enough to deal with. And I've only made..."
"It's fine. It's not your fault. It was Fred and George."
"Yeah... anyway. I'll uh, see you around."
Harry was about to respond but noticed a look of... (was it disappointment or shame...) on Cedric's face. And when the prefect met Harry's eyes he turned bright red and hurried away.

In bed that night the Gryffindor couldn't sleep, even without Ron snoring for once. He couldn't help but wonder if Cedric Diggory really did fancy him. It didn't help when he thought about how awkward the prefect was around him, unlike his normal, popular self. And the fact he was always blushing now that Harry thought about it... refused to take the Triwizard Cup, wanted a rematch on that Quidditch game, hugged him (but that was all understandable wasn't it?), let him go to Hagrid's past hours, and the way he would try to chat every time they saw one another, even just in passing. And more than Ernie Macmillan or Justin Finch-Fletchley had ever come up to him. For some reason this really disturbed Harry. He didn't like the idea of being liked by a guy at all. It almost made him angry.
‘Well he might not fancy me. I'm just being stupid.’

The next morning at breakfast Cedric Diggory shot Harry a quick glance. Unfortunately, the fifteen year old happened to see him, and Cedric quickly looked away, embarrassed. Harry frowned and looked down at his plate. A look didn't mean anything. It couldn't.

Chapter Text

"Hey, er... Ernie?" Harry approached Macmillan and Finch-Fletchley, knowing that at least Ernie Macmillan should know if Cedric really did fancy him.
"What's up, Harry?"
"I was just... wondering... I thought you might know... Cedric's been acting really weird... around me. He... he doesn't actually fancy me does he?"
The two Hufflepuff boys looked at each other and frowned.
"Why?" Justin asked.
"Why? Well it happens to be on my mind at the moment considering recent events," Harry replied irritably.
"Listen... we're pretty sure he does, but,"
Harry frowned, causing Ernie to change his words.
"but he might not. Ced's not really that type of guy... I don't think."
"But he's always completely shut down around you," Finch-Fletchley added, causing him a glare from Macmillan.
"You're asking us because you don't want him to, aren't you?"
He nodded.
"Just... don't go avoiding him now, just because he might be gay and all, and fancy you."
"Right. Thanks," Harry mumbled, and walked away disappointedly.
The thought... it bothered him for some reason. Why did Cedric have to fancy him? Why couldn't he just like him? As a friend? Harry cursed under his breath.

"Hey, Ron."
The redhead looked up from where he was sitting on his bed, immersed in a Quidditch book.
"Yeah?"
"You know that stuff about Cedric Diggory being queer? And fancying me?"
"Yeah."
"He does."
"What?"
Earlier that day, a quick exchange with a completely flushed Cedric had proven this.
"He's gay."
Harry's friend looked slightly disgusted by this and also confused.
"I don't know what to do, Ron. I can't just ignore him now,"
"Well you should. If anyone finds out that he fancies you, you're life will only be more miserable."
"Spectacular. Is this just the goal of everyone this year? To make me miserable?! They're all doing pretty great jobs at it!"
"Yeah, sorry mate."

Walking to herbology, the three Gryffindor friends passed a cluster of Hufflepuffs, who had all, due to recent events, clung protectively to their Cedric Diggory.
When the tall prefect gave a nod of hello to Harry, the black-haired student looked away and continued talking to Hermione.
Puzzled and hurt, Cedric frowned and looked away embarrassed, not understanding.

It was a few days of hallway passings and complete dis-acknowledgement before the eighteen year old could not stand it anymore, because by then he had literally walked up to Harry Potter and the boy had ignored him.
"Harry, what is it? Why are you ignoring me? I get that you don't want people to get the wrong idea, but you could at least pretend that I exist!" He raised his voice in frustration.
"You just, just had to make my life more difficult, right? Like everyone else?"
"What?! I wouldn't..."
"Yes, Cedric. I know that you are...never mind."
Suddenly the prefect's voice melted away, and his confidence turned to complete fear.
"No... Harry, no, I don't... I'm not," Cedric's face was a completely different shade, and his eyes were wide in embarrassment and worry.
Before he could process the humiliation, he glanced up, and the boy that he... something, had vanished, and he was left on the steps, staring at no one.

Chapter Text

Cedric Diggory lay awake, listening to the soft snore of Zacharias Smith, as he stared out the window into a rainy, dead night.
Harry knew. Knew what he was, and hated him because of it. His eyes moistened, and for the first time since his brother's death, Cedric cried.
Tears squeezed out of his eyes, and ran down his cheeks, leaving his pillow damp to the point where his hair also got wet.
He sniffed silently, and tried to stop. He didn't want to cry. Eighteen year olds weren't supposed to cry over boys they liked, but the tears kept coming, and a voice inside his head was ringing, 'you are horrible, because you are queer. Harry hates you, because you are gay, and he will never be your friend again.'
The next day didn't help. In Defense Against the Dark Arts, Professor Umbridge, who was usually very oblivious of him, stopped him after class. When he was exiting, he heard her shrill voice call his name, "Mr. Diggory! Eh hem! Mr. Diggory!" he turned around and walked back toward her desk.
"Yes, Professor?"
"It has come to my attention... you fancy... Harry Potter?" she was smiling sweetly.
"Um, no. That's just a rumor."
"Oh, good, because I thought when I found this," she pulled out a strip of parchment, on which Cedric had written an apology letter to Harry, and had been in his school bag, "you might be queer. And that, of course, would be strictly inappropriate," she gave a chuckle.
"Wh... How did you get..." he opened his bag, and found the letter missing from it.
Suddenly, students started coming in for her next class. To Cedric's horror, Harry Potter was there, and was watching him suffer in embarrassment.
"I have ways. Mark my words, Mr. Diggory, if I find that you have shown any signs of liking towards that boy," she motioned towards Harry, who froze, "then I will have to give you detention, and... you're a prefect, are you?" She eyed his badge.
Humiliated. "That is correct," he said through clenched teeth, and pursed his lips.
"Well. We'll see about that. Goodbye!" she smiled.
He was raging inside. He wished he could stun her. Hurt her for the embarrassment she just caused him, in front of Harry. He huffed and quickly walked towards the door. He risked a glance at Harry, and to his surprise, saw the fifth year staring down at his desk, looking somewhat guilty. This didn't cheer Cedric up much though; he was now more angry than ashamed as he swung the door open and left, all eyes still on him, with cheeks completely magenta.

Chapter Text

As he walked with Ron, he heard his name shouted by someone. It wasn't hard to guess who. He nodded for Ron to go ahead.
"You sure, Harry?"
"Yeah."
"Hey! Harr... Hey Potter!"
The redhead walked on, and Harry turned around abruptly so that Cedric was slightly taken aback.
"What is it, Cedric?"
"Oh. Uh, are you busy?"
"I suppose not."
"Listen... I need to apologize. I didn't mean for any of this to happen," he was blushing furiously.
"I never wanted to make you uncomfortable... I know you're probably already going through a lot, and I've made it worse..."
"Cedric..."
"I really would just like to be friends. That's all I want. Please."
Harry's guilt returned again and he realized how horriblie it must feel for your crush to avoid you, so he tried to smile and said, "Yeah, okay," however, he was still mad Cedric fancied him. The tall brunette smiled in relief, and spoke, "Well, I... thank you. Bye!" He walked away with a slight hop to his step. Harry watched, trying to decide whether he felt good about making someone happy, or irritated still.
Over the next week, Harry did his best not to ignore the prefect, and nodded at him in the halls, but if it was not for his empathy, he wouldn't choose to. He was not so much angry now as he was uncomfortable.

"Oh... no, Harry.... you really must control yourself. You can't keep on..."
"I know, Hermione," Harry glared at her.
"What is this then, your hundredth detention with her?" Ron said, amused.
"Seriously, Ron! Harry can't keep on getting himself fixed in detention! It isn't,"
"I'll see you guys later. I have to go now," their friend said as he picked up his book bag and headed down a corridor.
Harry scowled as he walked in to the Dark Arts classroom noticing at once a small light visible from under Umbridge's office door. The rest of the room was dark, and he was honestly wondering whether he should just leave. By this point, he didn't care if he got expelled. There was nothing worth staying for now that she was headmaster. As he turned to leave, a familiar voice caused him to halt, and look back.
Cedric's.
Harry quietly walked across the classroom and up the stairs, stopping just outside her door, which was just ajar, giving him just enough room to peer inside.
"Absolutely not! I will not have a... a... a fag representing your house!"
Inside, Cedric Diggory was standing, gaping at her, and Harry could not tell whether he was red from tears, embarrassment, or anger.
"So I am afraid, I must..."
"Professor! You can't... I... Professor Sprout..."
Harry's stomach clenched, and immediately, he regretted every rude thing he had ever said or did towards him. His own selfishness had blinded him towards how bad Cedric must really be feeling.
"Well, I am sorry to say Pomodora is not in charge," she smiled.
Suddenly Cedric's eyes met Harry's and he gasped.
"What?" Umbridge asked venomously sweetly.
"Nothing,"
"Hmph. As I was saying, I am afraid you are no longer qualified to,"
Harry thought of a spell, any spell he could do on her, "Petrificus totalus!" he whispered.
She froze, and fell to her back.
Cedric's mouth opened slightly, and he mumbled a muffled, thanks.
Harry shushed him and held the door open, as he motioned towards Umbridge, as she could still see and hear.
The two boys walked across the classroom silently, but once they were in the corridor, and Cedric had shut the door, Harry looked up at him uncomfortably.
"Well, I guess I better go. Thanks for that, Potter."
"Wait, Cedric!"
The Hufflepuff turned around and flushed. "Yeah?"
"You shouldn't of apologized earlier, about being... er... that way."
Cedric was looking at him expectantly.
"I mean... none of it's your fault. Being... gay. I can't believe she would say that to you."
"Yeah, well... it's not exactly accepted everywhere, is it?" his eyes narrowed, and Harry got a feeling that was directed at him.
As the prefect once again turned to leave Harry stopped him, again.
"Cedric—Wait! I'm sorry... for everything I've done."
The older student was now blushing madly.
"Honestly. You don't deserve this from me."
"Harry, you..."
"And I know I've been a git, but I suppose I was just uncomfortable, you know? I really don't mind now."
Cedric's eyes were smiling, but he was frowning.
"Harry... I know that's not true. I accept your apology, but you will never be comfortable being around me... even if only as a friend."
Harry felt his stomach clench with slight irritation.
"I can be comfortable with you! Seriously!" he argued defensively.
Cedric grinned sheepishly and glanced away, holding his right arm awkwardly with his left hand.
"You know... I should probably tell a teacher you froze Professor Umbridge."
Harry raised his eyebrows. "I don't think that'd do much good. They probably wouldn't care."
Cedric smiled enough to where his perfect white teeth were showing, and he was very red again.
"True."

Chapter Text

"Hey, Diggory! What's gotten you so happy? Potter goin' out with you now? Or has he still not said yes?"
Cedric leered at Malfoy, and growled, "If you don't shut up..."
"What're you going to do Pretty-Boy?"
Cedric was about to respond when someone else did it instead.
"Why don't you bug off, Malfoy?"
The blond haired student whipped around to see Harry Potter, whom Cedric was gaping at.
Draco smiled. "So that is why you're so happy after all," he chuckled. "I'll leave you two to your love making. Not that interested in seeing a couple benders."
He walked away, laughing with Crabbe and Goyle. Harry pulled out his wand and looked to follow them but Cedric's voice behind said, "Drop it."
Harry turned around and stared at Cedric. The tall boy was sitting on a bench by a window, and small specks of light were forking through his hair, causing it to glisten in the golden light of the sun. Harry shook his head as if shooing away a fly, and then walked away.
Cedric quirked an eyebrow and smirked. Harry wouldn't last at this battle for long.

After his friends had made out that he probably really was gay, they stopped talking to him. Only a few Hufflepuff students like Macmillan, Finch-Fletchley, and Herbert Fleet paid Cedric any attention now.

Another day, when most of the fifth and seventh years were outside studying for their OWLs and NEWTs, Harry and Ron were listening to Hermione drabble on about something boring.
Over by a tree, Cedric was helping Ernie and Justin practice charms. After Ernie had successfully conjured a book, Malfoy walked over, followed by Pansy Parkinson, Crabbe, and Goyle. "You cheating on your boyfriend, Cedric?"
The Hufflepuff student glared at him, and then turned back towards Ernie, who suddenly looked very uncomfortable being referred to as a boy's "boyfriend."
"Hey, Potter!"
From the other side of the courtyard, Harry, who had been talking to Ron, looked over.
"Diggory's cheating on you!"
From across the yard he yelled, "Shut up, Malfoy!"
Ron glanced at Harry, then at Cedric, and made an unintended snort.
"You shut it, Ron," Hermione whispered.
"What?"
Turning back towards Cedric, Malfoy shrugged and said, "I guess he just doesn't care."
Cedric was resisting the urge very hard to transfigure him.
"Shame. He's actually being a normal boy for once," Pansy Parkinson stated sadly. "Though, like I've said, I don't know why you'd like him. Personally, I think you could do much better; he's a bit...disturbed if you ask me."
"Let's go Pansy. If we don't leave soon he might... nothing. Never mind. I've had enough of Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors." Draco said, smirking.
"Oh no, Malfoy, go ahead and say it to my face. I'd love to hear it," he said with a charming smile. "Then see what happens," Cedric added finally pulling out his wand.
"C'mon Ced! Don't..." Justin started.
Malfoy frowned slightly.
People had suddenly begun looking at them. Including Harry, who stood up despite Ron's protests and walked over.
"Oi, look Diggory. Your boyfriend's coming over to save you!" Malfoy said, though there was a slight nervous edge in his voice. Cedric took a lot to lose his temper, but Draco knew that once he did, he didn't want to be the one whom he lost it with.
Pointing his wand straighter, as a furious red spread over Cedric's face, he replied, "If you don't walk away right now, I swear you'll..."
"Ced..." Ernie groaned again.
"I'll what?"
Cedric opened his mouth to speak, before scowling and stowing his wand back in his pocket.
"That's what I thought. You couldn't badmouth a fly. Stupid Hufflepuffs." Cedric yanked out his wand again, now looking infuriated.
The two fifth years behind Cedric straightened up and looked to yell, but Harry started, "Shut the hell up, Malfoy! Since when were you in the position to call anyone stupid? Why don't you turn around?"
Crabbe and Goyle, who were standing behind their leader, didn't catch this, and made no change of foul expression.
"You listen to me, Potter! You and your boyfriend may think you're smart, but you are both just disgusting poofs that are an insult to this school!"
A chorus of shouts came from Hermione, Harry, Ron, Cedric, Ernie, and Justin. And the watching students were all staring, open-mouthed at the scene.
"See you later, Potter. Diggory. God, this school's gone to the dogs." Malfoy snarled as he left.
Harry was red now too, and stormed away, as Ron and Hermione ran to keep up.
Herbert Fleet yelled at the crowd, "What are you all looking at?" causing them to disperse.
Cedric sat down by the tree, and Ernie Macmillan did the same.
"We know you really are gay, Ced."
The eighteen year old blushed and looked away.
"I suppose you're the ones that old him."
"Who?"
"Harry."
Ernie's eyes widened, before they narrowed and he admit, "Yeah. Sorry. But he asked!"
"Wh...he asked?" Cedric lifted his head and a visible delight spread across it.
"I...er, don't think he fancied you. But he just..."
"...he just didn't want me to be gay."
There was no response.

Chapter Text

Harry stared out the window. His dorm was empty; Ron was finishing his homework downstairs with Hermione.
He had never felt so alone. Dumbledore was ignoring him, and these nightmares he was having... no one was taking him seriously. He pressed his forehead against the cold glass, and stared down at the lake. The moon was shining on it, causing a white shimmer to lay on the water.
Suddenly, he saw a tall black shape moving by the lake, and then it sat down. Straining his eyes, he saw that it was a man, with brown hair and looked to be wearing a yellow long-sleeved sweatshirt. Cedric.
Harry blinked. He didn't think Cedric to be a person to be out past hours. Or break any rules at all. From the window, Harry watched. For what felt like half an hour, he stood, staring at him, and couldn't stop. The prefect down below was skipping stones on the water, and occasionally would run a hand through his hair.
Harry frowned. He didn't feel angry in the slightest anymore with Cedric. He didn't know how he ever could've. He just felt bad. Very bad. Here was someone whom most people including some of his own house had turned against. A boy who was extremely popular one day, and the next, getting repulsed glances in corridors. A part of Harry wanted to stay annoyed at him. Or at least at himself for not being annoyed Cedric fancied him.
The Hufflepuff by the lake rose to his feet and dusted himself off. He then set up the hill back towards the castle and disappeared from view.
This pattern repeated over the course of the next week. Every night, at sunset, Cedric would go down to the lake, and Harry would watch.

Whenever the two boys would pass in a corridor, despite Ron's foul looks, Harry would always acknowledge the prefect. Giving a nod, smile, or saying, "Hey Cedric."
This small change made the Hufflepuff student's stomach turn. Because despite all the rumors that they were together, Harry kept on doing them.

The next Friday, Harry found himself staring outside again until... there he was. A tall boy came into view and sat down by the tree. For a few moments, he watched. Until a voice behind him said, "Why don't you just go down and talk to him?" Harry jerked around. Neville stood by the door, with a sort of oblivious gaze in his eye. Somehow it reminded him of Luna.
"What?"
"Well, you're always watching. And you seem like you want to."
"I don't, that's— that's ridiculous!" Harry cringed at his own words. They sounded like something Malfoy would say.
"I'm not implying anything, Harry. I just meant, well, even if not for you, I'm sure he'd appreciate it."
Harry glanced back at the window before asking, "How did you even know I've been er... watching?"
"Well, you haven't really noticed when I come in."
He blushed at his distracted behavior.
"It's not because I fancy him you know."
"...Yeah. I know," Neville said with -was that amusement?- in his voice, that made Harry irritated. "But, you didn't have to assure me anyway. I wouldn't care."
As much as he wanted to stay annoyed at Neville for butting in, he couldn't help but smile at the support that came from his dorm mate.

There was a small fear in his mind that Cedric would get the wrong idea, think Harry actually fancied him, but he went against that and left anyway.
"Hey, where you goin' Harry?" Seamus asked, bumping into him in the common room. Ron and Hermione looked over. "Er... I'll tell you later," he spoke, crawling through the portrait hole.

Cedric was staring at the water, smiling softly. As long as he knew he had a chance, he would wait forever for Harry to like him back. He knew that that was just a dream, but he couldn't help but tell himself, that one day, Harry... He heard the faint crunching of footsteps on the dry grass behind him. Turning around slowly, he narrowed his eyes, trying to see better, and his heart leapt out of his chest.
A teenager with green eyes and black hair was walking down the hill, and Cedric held his breath.
"Hey," the fifteen year old said.
"Uh, hey!"
Harry was standing beside the tree where the prefect was sitting, and looked out over the lake.
"Um... what are you... uh, doing here?" Cedric asked.
Harry sat down a few feet away from him and said, slightly embarrassed, "I've been... seeing you come down here at night. I just thought I'd join you. That's okay, right?"
"That's fine with me."
Harry smiled.
There was a moment of awkward silence where they both looked away.
Finally the Gryffindor student started, "I don't really know much about you. Just what the Daily Prophet was saying last year... though I doubt they're accurate."
Cedric blushed. He began, "Well... what do you want to know?"
"I dunno. About your family?"
"Oh. Well... my father is... you've met him already."
"Yeah, I remember," Harry frowned.
"He's er... he's really a great man. He just... gets carried away. Bit of a bragger. He works at the Ministry, and such... my mum just stays at home. She's a great person, to me at least. Likes to explore the world. She was in Gryffindor, like you," he reddened again.
Harry gave a soft nod and grinned.
"What about your parents, are they... I'm such a berk! I'm sorry, Harry, I completely forgot..."
"It's okay, Cedric. Seriously. Most people do."
Cedric glanced down uncomfortably and shook his head.
Trying to change tense silence, Harry asked, "Do you have any siblings?"
At this the Hufflepuff shot his head up but then quickly back down.
"...I do. A brother," there was a raspiness to his voice that didn't belong.
"Are you all right?" Harry said.
The boy turned to face him, and the younger student noticed a watery glaze covering his strong gray eyes.
"I'm fine. Just... he died two years ago."
Harry's mouth opened, but for a while nothing came out. Finally he spoke quietly, "I'm so sorry."
A tear ran down Cedric's cheek and he gulped, looking away, ashamed. Harry didn't know what to do. He sat there, awkwardly watching the tear roll down his chin, and Cedric pulling in his feet to his chest. He wouldn't of known that it was possible for him to look as vulnerable as he did, but in this moment, Harry felt deeply sorry for him.
Doing the only thing he could think of, Harry scooted over to him and put his arm around Cedric's shoulders. It wasn't as strange as he expected it to feel. Under his hand, he felt the boy's breathing hitch, but then relax.
"What was his name?"
"Thomas."

Cedric could remember his older brother very well. They would fight a lot. And disagree. But they would also sneak out and have fun. Laugh and talk about things their parents wouldn't understand. He had brown hair and green eyes like Harry's, and he was five years older than Cedric. As he was remembering this, he suddenly realized Harry had placed his arm around him, and he momentarily forgot to breathe. Slowly, he relaxed, or tried to, but it was useless.
The younger boy was pressed into his side, and his raven hair was tickling Cedric's cheek. He smelled incredibly wonderful... it was like a poison. His mind blurred from his dead brother to dirty awful thoughts. He wanted this. For Harry to hold him tightly... what would his bare skin feel like? His breath. The taller student began to fantasize. 'Stop! He's only hugging you because you're supposed to be crying. About Thomas.' Another tear rolled down from his eye. 'That's better. Shut it!' He yelled inside his head.
Harry slowly drew away, noting the disappointed expression on Cedric's face. For the first time, it didn't bother him that Cedric fancied him. In fact, he could feel a tingle of pride at it, but suddenly, he cringed. He shouldn't be happy about that, because if he was happy that meant...
The Hufflepuff prefect wiped his face with his sleeve and chuckled quietly. "Sorry I'm crying. I must look pretty stupid."
Harry's thoughts vanished and he said, "No, it's fine. I'd probably cry too." After another moment of silence, he added, "People feel bad for me, cause of my parents. But, it's not the same as losing someone you grew up with. I can't miss someone I didn't know... I can wish for them though."
Cedric looked at him with slight surprise. "Who did you grow up with then?" he asked.
"My aunt and uncle."
"And what are they like?"
Harry smirked. "They're fantastic. My cousin also. Very pleasant family."
Cedric couldn't tell whether Harry was being sarcastic or not, until he started describing them.
"Before I knew I was a wizard, they had me sleeping under the stairwell. I remember my cousin jumping on the steps every morning to wake me up and shake the ceiling. And my Aunt Petunia, spying on the neighbors from the window. And my Uncle..." Harry snorted, rolling his eyes. "Of course now they're afraid of me cause I can use magic. Not that I mind though. They hate me, I hate them."
Cedric blinked.
Harry, suddenly realizing he'd been blabbering, flushed.
"So... these people... how... how can anyone not like you?" Cedric asked genuinely, which made an uncontrollable smile spread on Harry's face. He had definitely not meant to say that.
"I know, right?" Harry joked. "You know, actually this last summer, Dudley said I had been saying your name in my sleep," Harry's eyes widened. How was that going to sound to the boy that fancied him? "I meant... er, cause the graveyard and stuff happened last year...and... you know, if you had gone with me, then... yeah."
Cedric was biting his bottom lip, trying to stop the grin and blush on his face.
He managed a "Hmm" in reply.
"Yeah... well. Anyway. Ron and Hermione are expecting me soon."
"Oh, okay."
"See you, Cedric," he said, standing up.
"Bye-Hey Harry!"
"Yes?"
"Thanks...for coming here."
"Not a problem."
Only that was the reason it was.

Chapter Text

For a few days, Harry didn't go back down to the lake. He only continued to watch from his comforting dorm above, away from Cedric. Whenever someone entered the room he would quickly dart away, earning him some odd looks.
On the fourth night since his trip down to the lake, Harry sorted his thoughts. Though he tried, he could not ignore the fact that fifth and seventh years were not usually this close of friends. Especially between houses. Although he used the tournament as an excuse, it wasn't enough. He eventually accepted the fact that Cedric was a good friend. But that was it. He never felt tingly around him as with Cho, and he never blushed around him either. As long as that stayed the same, there was nothing to worry about. If Cedric fancied him, great. Harry couldn't change that. But it wasn't an excuse to be rude like he was before.
Satisfied with his explanation for their "not at all strange" relationship, Harry smiled, and slowly drifted off to sleep.

The next day, on the way to History of Magic, Harry and Ron passed Cedric and Fleet in the hall.
"Hey, Harry,"
Ron clenched his teeth, but when his friend responded in a perfectly normal tone, "Hi, Cedric. How're you?" he furrowed his eyebrows in annoyance.
"Spectacular. Just had potions."
Harry smirked knowingly and the two Gryffindor students walked on.
"Er... when exactly did he become your friend again?" Ron asked.
"What's it matter?"
"You haven't... you're not... you know, queer, right?"
Harry felt irritation spark, and replied, "No, I'm not gay, Ron. And if he is it doesn't concern me."
"Well... except for the fact he fancies you, mate."
"I don't like him, Ron! Too bad for him, but if he's fine just being my friend, I'm fine with him being gay."
"Fine then."
Harry gave Ron one last glare and then looked forward.
The next night, Harry left the dorms a second time to go down to the lake. This time, he was here before Cedric, and when the seventh year saw him, his eyes lit up.
"Harry! You're back-"
The young teenager nodded and half smiled.
"How was your day?" Cedric asked, conversationally.
"It was okay. You?"
About to accidentally say, "better now", Cedric only closed his mouth tight and shrugged.
For a moment he stood awkwardly, but finally sat down beside him.
"Professor Umbridge was going to stop me being a prefect, but today Dumbledore convinced her to let me continue."
"That's great!"
Because it was a Saturday, Cedric was wearing dark jeans and a v-neck sweatshirt. Harry thought it was a good look for him. Immediately he shoved the idea away. Although he was now fine with the Hufflepuff student, Harry didn't want any thoughts of his own to turn himself queer. No matter how normal they were.
"How are your classes going, Harry?"
"Ok, I guess. Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts are worse though."
"Let's hope that jinx gets Umbridge out by the end of the year."
"Yeah. Let's hope so," the fifteen year old said in agreement.
The two boys shot a glance at one another but then quickly looked away in opposite directions.
"It's a shame she threw you off the Gryffindor team."
Harry's eyes narrowed as he responded sourly, "yeah."
"You're the best one."
Harry's cheeks reddened slightly, and Cedric smiled proudly at his accomplishment. Seeing someone like Harry blush made his stomach flutter silly.
"I'm not the best one."
"Come on, of course you are. I've been jealous since I saw you fly as a first year!" The Hufflepuff boy now blushed. He didn't want Harry to know he's been crushing on him since Harry's first Quidditch game.
"That long, huh?"
Cedric got the feeling that he wasn't referring to him being jealous, but rather fancying him.
"Uh,"
"Well, thanks!"
"No problem?—by the way, how come you haven't been eating with your friends in the Great Hall?"
Harry pursed his lips and stared at his feet in front of him for a few seconds before starting, "I don't know. They just don't know what it's like..."
"What what's like?"
The younger student looked at his warm gray eyes, and frowned. Although he completely trusted Cedric, he didn't feel that he was enough of a friend to tell. Nor that he had the right to know. He had only ever told things like this to Ron and Hermione. Then again, it's not like they were taking him seriously at the moment anyways.
"Don't tell anyone, okay?"
"Yeah."
"Well... er, I'm taking occlumency with Snape because I've been having nightmares... where I share Voldemort's, sorry, I mean You-Know-Who's, thoughts and feelings. When I have them I get these urges to hurt people. When Ron's dad was injured, I was in the dream as a snake, as if I were the one attacking him. And right after I had it, I wanted to kill Dumbledore..."
Cedric's jaw fell open slightly as he looked in shock.
"You don't have to worry though. I won't attack you."
"No, I'm not... worried," Cedric said with a weak voice.
"I just... feel so angry all the time."
The older boy pitied him for the first time that year. He had been thinking if anyone should be pitied, it should be himself. He now saw how wrong he was.
"Are you angry right now?"
Harry was honestly surprised to find that he wasn't.
"Er...no."
Cedric smiled before he said, "I'm sorry you have to go through that. You're stronger than us all, just by being who you are."
"I'm really not."
"Yes. You are."
"Don't think so.."
"Of course."
"Nope."
"Harry!" Cedric said, laughing, and the Griffindor fifth year started to laugh too.
The Hufflepuff prefect ran his fingers through his hair causing a few lose bangs to fall to his forehead.
Harry, watching, began to think he was actually sort of... he stopped the thought.

Walking back to the common room, Harry sighed. He tried to think about Cho. They would be going to Hogsmeade tomorrow, Valentine's Day. For some reason, he was sort of dreading it. As much as he thought he fancied Cho, he was freaking out over what they would have to talk about, and where they would go. He began to think about Cedric, the thought stemming naturally because he used to be Cho's boyfriend.
All of a sudden, he went back to the night before the holidays, to Cho's kiss under the mistletoe... and imagined it was Cedric he was kissing. 'What am I thinking?!' Yet instead of pushing the idea away, he continued to imagine it. An entirely new and slightly disturbing message came to his brain. 'We actually look sort of good together.'
It hit him randomly, and he was unprepared. Harry closed his eyes and took a deep breath. The idea of kissing Cedric didn't bother him as much as he wanted it to. He also knew that if anything, he definitely liked Cedric. As a friend... 'Dammit!'
This was too much for Harry right now. He was just very confused, and as he reached the portrait leading to the Gryffindor common room, his mind was filling with all the memories of Cedric he had, meanwhile trying to remember what he felt like in each of them. Most of the time he had been with Cedric he had been happy, except for when that prat was dating Cho and took her to the ball. But what Harry was now struggling to figure out, was who he had been jealous of.
Entering the warm room, he settled on the claim that as long as he was friends with the older boy, he might as well enjoy it. These events would unravel themselves, and in the end, what could he do to stop them?

Chapter Text

"Harry, Ron and I...we're a bit concerned. You've been acting very strange lately."
"What d'you mean?" he asked Hermione.
She frowned. "It's only that... you've been ignoring us lately. Wandering off at night to... you won't tell us where, always talking to yourself... please. We want to help!" She elbowed Ron.
"Uh, yeah! What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing's wrong with me."
"But there is something wrong. You're just hiding it from us."
"Come on, Harry. We're your two best mates. Do you think you can't tell us anything?"
"Listen, I really appreciate the concern, but I have to deal with this problem myself," and with that, he left to head down to the Black Lake. He really didn't know what he felt... there was only one way to find out. But did he even have the courage to try it?

When he saw Cedric by the water he breathed out heavily. He really was sort of hot, Harry had to admit. He ran a few fingers through his recently trimmed hair and smiled back when the older boy noticed him. There was the slightest of a tingle in his stomach, but he didn't realize how bad it was until Cedric said, "Hello, what's up?" and suddenly Harry couldn't think straight.
"Up?"
Cedric gazed at him in curiosity for a moment before opening his mouth, only to be interrupted by Harry.
"I mean, er... nothing really. Usual."
"Dreams any better?"
"No."
"Sorry to hear."

Cedric had gotten used to the fact that Harry and him were probably never going to happen, so he learned to act normal, just as if they were perfectly "comfortable with each other" friends. But it didn't help if Harry wasn't going to contribute to the conversation. He wasn't used to Harry being any more awkward than the normal fifteen year old boy he usually was.
"I've noticed Weasley and Granger fighting a lot."
The Gryffindor student scowled before saying, "Yeah. That's not going to change any time soon."
"I'm sorry."
"Well, at least you don't know them well enough to join in and make me even more miserable."
Cedric accepted the statement as an, "at least I have you," cause that's how he liked to hear it.
"Yeah."
They sat in silence, a few times the prefect would say something to fill in the gaps, but sooner than he wanted, Harry left, with an awkward, "I'll see you later."
"You're going?"
Harry blushed at the disappointment in Cedric's voice, and it made him feel glad for some reason that he wanted him to stay.
But, he left and hurried back to the common room.

"What took you so long, Harry?" Ron said looking up from his essay. Hermione frowned.
"I wasn't gone long."
"Harry, why can't you tell us?" she begged.
"I just can't! Okay? I really am sorry!" He felt a pang of guilt hit his heart. It's not that he didn't want his friends to know he might possibly but very well not possibly sort of somewhat like Cedric, more than normal at least, but he didn't know how Ron would take it. Hermione glared at him. Her eyes bearing into his, searching, but he turned away. Harry leaned his head against the cold glass window, Hermione and Ron still staring at him expectantly.
"Harry... you know we won't judge you for anything," she said softly, joining him by the window.
"Yeah."
Cedric stirred down below, and they both noticed when he moved out from under the tree.
Hermione furrowed her eyebrows, and shot a sideways glance at Harry, of which he ignored.
"Harry...?"
"No. Goodnight," he stated, cutting off her suspicion, though responding with a lie, and he headed up to the dorm.

Harry spent the next week with sleepless nights. For two reasons: for one, his nightmares about Voldemort, and second, his mind was fighting a constant war, about Cedric Diggory.
It was a while before he went to the lake again; he didn't want to until his mind had been made, and all too soon, he stepped out of the portrait hole, mind set, and headed down.

Cedric kept on looking up hopefully, but ended up looking back down every time. Harry wasn't coming. This would make the twelfth day in a row. About to stand, he heard a rustling noise and there he was. Harry Potter walking towards him.
Straight away, Cedric noticed something off. He had a fearful look in his bright green eyes, his lips were pursed tightly... his eyebrows were furrowed.
"Harry?" he asked with reflected concern in his eyes. "Are you okay?"
It took a moment for Harry to respond, but finally he stuttered, "No, yeah. I'm fine, I'm.."
Harry stared into his friendly grey eyes. He couldn't do this. But it was the only way for him to find out if he really was, well, what Cedric was. It wasn't that far. Just two feet. Cedric was sitting on his knees watching his every move, and the Gryffindor student did the same. He faced the prefect and sat on his knees too.

Cedric didn't know what to think. There was a hesitant determination in the Gryffindor student's expression. In the most unnoticeable of movements, he thought Harry was shifting closer, as he began to see increasingly more detail on the younger boy's lips, which he was staring at. Harry leaned in slightly, but seeming to think better of it, pulled back. Cedric's mind was blank. The last time someone had been this close to his face, Cho was about to kiss him. Harry once again leaned forward, but this time, their soft lips met. An immediate dizziness filled Cedric's brain. It was barely a kiss at first, as Harry seemed nervous, so Cedric didn't push forward or hold back. He was even more so shocked when Harry turned his head sideways to kiss him better as he closed his eyes. The prefect's eyes widened, however, as he began to relish the sensation. He was breathing so fast, his heart felt it would beat out of his chest. Harry's lips were so smooth, and warm, and felt incredibly wonderful. But after a few of the best seconds of their lives, Harry reluctantly pulled back, his cheeks furiously red.
"I, um..." and then he stood up, brushing off his robes, and said "I'll... catch you later."
The Hufflepuff student watched Harry leave, his head still spinning, and his chest and stomach burning from happiness.
Harry couldn't help but grin from ear to ear. Had he really just kissed Cedric Diggory?!

Chapter Text

Well. He had definitely enjoyed it. So, it was for sure now. Harry Potter was gay, and he did have a big crush on Cedric Diggory.

"Have you been seeing Cho? Is that where you've been going?" asked a very curious Hermione.
"No," Harry said, smirking.
"Well what has you all happy all 'a sudden?" Ron said.
"This is cruel, Harry! To be all secretive and depressed and then immediately become happy! -and not tell us anything!" Their bushy-haired friend was exasperated, as anything she didn't understand was irritating. Though... she did have some clue...
"Well, I'm sorry! But do I have to tell you everything?"
"Yes!" they shouted in unison.
Hermione felt in necessary to add: "Unless of course Dumbledore tells you not to."
Ron rolled his eyes.

At breakfast the next morning, Cedric couldn't help but look at the Gryffindor table constantly, which went noticed by Ernie Macmillan. "Hey, Ced, what you looking at?"
"I think it's who, Ern," said Herbert Fleet.
"Shut up," Cedric said, joining in, but not taking his eyes off the boy sitting at the other table. His two friends laughed. Harry finally looked up once, and when their eyes met, Harry gave a sheepish smile and looked away.
Herbert elbowed Cedric in the ribs, causing him to look away from the younger teenager and scowl. "That hurt, you know."
"Don't go lookin too long. People'r startin' to notice."
Indeed, a few other Hufflepuff students were gazing at him curiously, so he reddened and looked away.
"Right. Okay."
"Fancy to tell us what got him all chummy with you again?" Ernie asked, seeing Harry flash a glance at their table.
"Will you shut up? People can hear you," Cedric whispered.
The two laughed again.
"Scared to be found out? Not like that hasn't happened already, Ced."
"To me, yeah. But not to him."
"What? —been found out?"
"Uh... yers," he mumbled quietly."
"Do you mean to tell me... Harry Potter is gay?!"
"Hey! Haven't I told you to shut the hell up?"
Macmillan shrugged.
"And no, I did not mean to tell you Harry was gay, so don't go saying anything."
Herbert and Ernie both stared in awe at him, while a small side-grin formed on Cedric's handsome face, almost making him look sly, but ruined by his pink-tinted cheeks.
On the way to herbology, once again Harry was in the middle of defending his secrecy to Ron and Hermione until they turned a corner and walked into Cedric, Herbert Fleet, and another Hufflepuff seventh year.
"Oh, er, sorry! Hi!" Harry quickly said in a jumble of words.
"Hi," Cedric responded quietly with a smile.
"Um, see you," Harry said once again very quickly with an uncontrollable grin he tried to hide by walking past them all, leaving his two friends to run and catch up to him, and the three Hufflepuff students standing behind.

"Hey, wait, you're going again?" Ron said, looking up from a paper.
"Yeah."
"What? No! It's after hours and you have to stop breaking the rules!" Hermione shouted.
"Well then, by all means, follow me," Harry replied slipping the invisibility cloak over himself.
"You.. you can't just... uh!" Hermiome crossed her arms and stared at the portrait hole scowling, until she saw it open and close behind.

"Hi, Cedric," he said in a nervous voice.
The older student whipped around and stood up, grinning broadly.
"Harry!"
"Miss me much?"
Cedric blushed and mumbled, "Possibly..."
Harry felt a tinge of embarrassment at making him blush, and started, "Cedric, I..." but suddenly, he felt a smooth warmness pressed against lips. The Hufflepuff student was kissing him, but so needily, Harry slightly stumbled back. When he did, their kiss was not broken for how tight the prefect was holding on. Harry's eyes were wide, and he was sure he was about to melt. He could taste the chocolate left on Cedric's lips from dessert earlier that evening, and it made him slowly let his tongue out. When Cedric realized Harry was offering his tongue he let out a moan of surprise. When their mouths opened, and their tongues touched, they both drew away, embarrassed.
Suddenly remembering Harry was two years younger than him, Cedric frowned guiltily until he also noted the fact that he himself had never kissed anyone that long, and Harry was fifteen after all. He smiled, and when he looked over, he could see that Harry was too, with wide eyes and flushed cheeks.
"I'm uh... sorry for forcing that on you..." he started awkwardly.
"No! I mean, er, that's fine. I... enjoyed it."
"Oh," Cedric said, flustered and relieved, "Well, me too."
"I should tell you something," Harry began. "I really do like you. And I sort of have, I think, for a while. I only...uh"
"You were afraid."
"Yeah."
"You're allowed to be afraid, Harry. Even still. And, I know it won't mean much coming from me, but... there's nothing wrong with being different."
For a moment, they said nothing, but only stared into each other's eyes fondly, until Cedric added, "You've always been different, Harry. I mean, you're the boy who lived. You've never been normal."
"Do you think Ron and Hermione, my other friends, do you think they'll care?"
"Maybe at first. But you do have pretty great friends."
"Does this mean we're... a thing now?"
"Only if you want it," Cedric said, breathing hard.
The fifteen year old smiled, and his eyes brightened, as did the Hufflepuff.
"Right. But er, can this be secret though? For now?"
"That's fine with me, Potter."
Harry smirked and said, "Alright then, Diggory."

Chapter Text

At night, Cedric lay in bed, reliving his kiss with Harry. He almost didn't believe that he had done it; after all, it wasn't a month ago when Harry had been avoiding him.

A school owl swooped down at breakfast, delivering a folded sheet of paper to the Hufflepuff table, which Cedric caught above his head. When he opened it, he immediately hid it under the table, due to a peering Justin over his shoulder.
"What's that, Ced?"
"Uh, nothing..." he said, getting up and walking to the entrance. Cedric opened the letter outside the Great Hall.

Meet me by the tree during lunch.
-Harry

He grinned, and stuffed the paper back into his pocket, but instead of returning to breakfast, he left and headed outside. The big doors that were at the front of the school opened as he arrived at them, and in the doorway, was Rita Skeeter, and her camera man.
"Cedric! Oh, just wonderful to see you!" she exclaimed, running up to greet him.
"Uh, hi."
"And how have you been?"
"Fine."
Pulling out her notebook, she asked, "Enjoying the changes being made at Hogwarts this year? How do you like your new headmaster?"
So that was why she was here.
"I guess she's okay. I don't really like how she's running the school."
"Oh? How so?"
"I sort of need to go."
"Well, I suppose I can wait— we shall meet later, Cedric! Then we'll have plenty of time to discuss Harry!" she called.
He had already almost stepped outside, but halted, and turned back around.
"I'm sorry?"
She smiled, along with a wink, and made her way towards him.
"Harry Potter. Yes. Oh, but your secret's safe with me, don't worry."
He stared at her; his mouth had dropped slightly open. But before he could inquire further, she had vanished into the Great Hall.

As said, at lunch, Harry went down to the tree, and Cedric got a familiar warm feeling in his chest.
"Hi, Cedric."
"Hey, Harry."
"Thanks for meeting me here,"
"Yeah, no problem —but, why did you want me to meet you?"
Harry's face turned magenta and he said, "I... just, er... wanted to see you."
"Oh!" Cedric could feel his own cheeks heat up and he grinned sheepishly.
"You seen Rita Skeeter yet?" Harry asked.
"Yeah. Bumped into her this morning actually." Cedric thought about telling how she'd mentioned him, but decided against it. He didn't want to trouble Harry unless he had to.
"Hmph."
"She already bothering you?"
"She came up to me asking about Dumbledore."
"What'd you say?"
"I walked away."
Cedric laughed.
For a moment, they were quiet, just looking out across the water, but then Harry grabbed Cedric's hand and pulled him closer to the tree, so now they weren't visible to anyone looking out of a window.
"Harry..."
"Cedric."
The older student stared into his eyes. Before he had a chance to, Harry was kissing him, holding his neck, and running fingers through his hair. Cedric could do nothing to stop the wild things in his mind, and this time, when Harry's tongue touched Cedric's lips, he opened them and allowed Harry to roam. It seemed their faces were glued together, for they didn't stop until several minutes later, panting and breathing heavily.
"That..." Cedric started, "That was..."
"Brilliant."
He leaned in to kiss Harry softly, and reluctantly pulled away after a few seconds.
"We should probably get back inside. My friends'll be wondering where I am," Harry said with rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes.
"Yeah."
They walked in together, but once inside, smiled at each other and headed in opposite directions.

"And where were you during lunch?" Hermione said.
"I needed a walk."
"Because you don't take enough of those every night."
"S'pose not."
She grunted and left Ron and Harry in the library.
"You can tell me where you've been goin' though, right?"
"No, Ron. If I could tell you, I'd tell Hermione first."
"What? Why?"
Harry shrugged and they stood up, also leaving the library.

"Hey, Cedric," Zacharias Smith said, the next morning. "We're going down to breakfast." Ever since word got out Cedric was gay, Smith had considerably stopped talking to his roommate. He had a foul look on his face.
"Fine. Just —er wait a second."
After a few minutes, Cedric, Herbert, and Zacharias went down to breakfast in silence.

Harry sat down next to Ron, opposite Hermione and Ginny, so he had a good view of the Hufflepuff table. All at once, the owls flew into the hall and dropped mail and newspapers over the tables. Immediately, Ron turned to the Quidditch section of the Daily Prophet and Harry continued eating his breakfast as he stared at Hermione, as she always scanned for important news. But this time, she gasped, and her eyes were wider than Harry had ever seen them. The rest of the hall also broke out into tons of gasps and whispers. And it wasn't till people started pointing, that Harry began to get a sick feeling in his stomach. Not wanting to look and see, he just stared at Cedric, who had just said something funny because his friends were laughing. As an owl delivered his paper, Cedric took a gulp of pumpkin juice while looking at the front page, but when he did, he spewed it all over the table, and stared in horror at the paper, seemingly unable to speak.
Harry gulped, and snatched the Prophet from Ron, turning it over to look, and when he saw it, he had never felt more embarrassed and mortified. In bold letters, was the headline,

HARRY POTTER'S BIG SECRET: Former Hogwarts Champions In Love?

And underneath, was a moving picture of Harry and Cedric from yesterday, while they were kissing, and it was obvious it was with tongue.
"Hey! Steal Hermione's," Ron said, but then his mouth dropped, and he rubbed his eyes. When he looked again, he whispered, "H...Harry?"
The Gryffindor student put his head down in his folded arms. He would prefer fighting a dragon right now.
"Blimey, Harry! You actually did it with Pretty-Boy Diggory!" Seamus stated, smiling.
"Wow. I did not see that coming," Dean added.
Tears were forming in Ginny's eyes. "Oh, come on you guys," Fred started, and George finished, "All they did was snog each other's brains out! No big deal!"
"Wh.. Harry?! What is... when did this...?!" Hermione screeched.
Showered with questions, Harry couldn't remember a time when he had been blushing more. He looked over and saw Cedric in the same horror-struck state too.
"Hello, Potter," said a pleased, cold voice.
"What, Malfoy?!" Harry yelled, not bothering to turn around.
"I see you've got yourself a boyfriend! You been h...,"
"You shut up!"
"Oh? And what if I don't? You going to get Pretty Boy Diggory to come and save you?"
"Don't call him that!"
"Is that what you get to call him?"
"SHUT UP!"
Malfoy smirked and walked away; Harry glared as he did so.
Not even looking at Cedric, the fifteen year old rose from his seat and stormed out of the hall, while everyone watched in awe.

Chapter Text

"Eh hem," an all too familiar viperous voice behind him sounded. Cedric's cheeks lit up as he slowly turned around on the bench to face the new headmaster.
"Yes, Professor?"
"A word, Mr. Diggory? In my office?" He silently groaned, but outwardly nodded as politely as he could muster.
He followed her out of the Great Hall, and as they walked down a corridor, he got more irritated with every new clank of her small, pink high heels.
Cedric could hear the chatting of excited students leaving the hall going to their first classes.
However, as they turned another corner, they found Harry Potter, leaned against a wall, with his arms crossed over his chest, an angry expression on his face. Professor Umbridge stopped abruptly, and put on a girly smug smile. "Well, Potter. I suppose I'll have to deal with your punishment later."
"What? What did he do wrong?" Harry asked. The voices of students grew louder.
"Mr. Diggory is of age, and you are underage. In addition, queerness is not accepted at Hogwarts." A few people rounded the corner, and suddenly stopped, frozen.
"What?!" Harry shouted in rage.
"So, I'm afraid I have no choice but to expel Mr. Diggory for forcing an act of—"
"He didn't FORCE anything on me! If anything it was me that started it!" Cedric reddened at the gasps behind him.
"Mr. Potter! I have...!"
"Harry..." Cedric started, but was taken aback when the younger student yelled, "No! I won't let her! This is wrong and stupid!" Turning on Umbridge, he continued, "And why should it matter who I lov-like!" Harry's face turned scarlet. Cedric felt his dizzy with happiness. Even Umbridge couldn't make him stop smiling. Again, more surprised gasps and whispers behind them.
Professor McGonagall, seeing the situation, seemed to have lost her temper. "Dolores! You may be Headmaster now, but you have no right to expel such a student as Diggory! And when has it ever been a rule that students cannot be different in their preferences?"
"Well sharing their wrong-doings with the whole of Britain is a different story! Setting a horrid example of Hogwarts!" Her plump face was now even more swollen and pink than he thought possible.
"How is that—" McGonagall began, but Harry interrupted, "You think we asked for that to happen? You think we wanted Rita Skeeter to publish that?!"
"Enough! Detention, for both of you! Tomorrow night. Consider yourselves lucky." She glared at Harry, before smiling and addressing, "Minerva."

If Cedric's day was horrible, with everyone already knowing he was most likely gay, he couldn't imagine what it must've been like for Harry. The fifteen year old had enough to deal with from the press, his peers, and not to mention, there was someone named Voldemort that wanted him dead. Cedric didn't get to see much of Harry the next few days, them both somewhat ignoring each other except for sad smiles in the hallways.
Although, he missed being able to just walk up to him without people thinking anything of it. And he knew Harry missed it too. They had just kissed! Come on! And of course Umbridge had to ruin it. Well he wasn't going to let her, or anyone else.
However, the embarrassment had not, in any way, died down. Constantly they were both swarmed by girls, telling them how adorable they were together, or others that would tease, and say hateful things, and laugh. And the ones who made nothing of it, were only Harry's friends (Cedric had to admit, Gryffindor students were pretty supportive people; at least more so than his own house), and Herbert Fleet, Justin Finch-Fletchley, and Ernie Macmillan. And then there were those girls like Cho Chang.
Seeing her made him feel completely guilty for being different. In tears whenever she saw Cedric or Harry, and if not, then downright depressed looking. The girls like her, Cedric secretly thought, were the worst. The ones that made him feel like he was hurting other people by being gay. Which was becoming harder to tell himself he wasn't by the minute.

Chapter Text

Umbridge's mistake. Perhaps it was that she had been so inflamed yesterday she had not realized she had assigned them detention at the same time... Cedric smiled. Detention with Harry would definitely be better than detention by himself. Speaking of which, as he turned the corner, there came Harry.
"Hey," his boyfriend mumbled half-heartedly, but with a grin.
"Hi."
"D'you think she realized..."
"...she gave us detention at the same time?" Cedric concluded accurately.
"Yeah."
Indeed, when they arrived (together) outside her office, her eyes widened slightly in irritation before a controlled smile grew on her face.
"Good evening Mr. Potter, Mr. Diggory... please come in."
At once Cedric's eyes fell on a desk, which on top of lay a black quill. His eyes slowly drifted to Harry's hand, which was still red and scarred.
"As I believe you have already assumed, we are going to be writing lines."
Cedric's hand began prickling, even though he had never used the quill, as she said, "But not you Mr. Potter."
Harry's expression changed, from something of pure hatred, to over-protective.
"You will watch." It seemed she thought having to see Cedric go through what he had would suffice; she was completely right.
"If you think I'm just going to stand here and let you..."
"Incarcerous," she stated simply, causing ropes to form in thin air, binding Harry's legs to the chair he was in front of, forcing him to sit; then repeating the spell to tie his arms down.
"You were saying?"
He scowled sharply, and then mouthed to Cedric, "Don't write anything." Not that it would do much good. He didn't really have a choice. Cedric slowly walked over to the desk and took a seat; then cautiously picked up the quill.
"Now, you will write, 'My being queer is unacceptable,' just until it sinks in."
Harry shouted in protest, "Why does it even matter?!"
"Do you want me to make him write more, Mr. Potter?"
"He shouldn't have to write anything," he mumbled.
"It's okay, Harry," Cedric said. And when the Gryffindor opened his mouth to retort, he shook his head firmly.
With the lightest pressure possible on the parchment, as if it would hurt less, Cedric started to write, 'My being queer is unacceptable.'
Harry watched, and it hurt just as much to see his boyfriend do it as it would for himself.
All he could do was watch. Cedric closed his eyes tightly and he pursed his lips, and the words formed on the back of his right hand, out of his own blood, before it healed. He couldn't bear to see this; over and over his hand was cut, and over and over it healed, until at a point the words were starting to be seen even when he wasn't writing, and his eyes were slightly watery.
"Cedric... stop. Please..." Harry begged.

 

"Hey." a recognizable voice said from behind him at breakfast. He turned his head and smiled at those tired green eyes he rarely got to look into anymore.
"Oh, Ced! It's your boyfriend!" Several of his housemates said (The ones that weren't his friends anymore). Cedric glared, before he mumbled a "Piss off," successfully silencing them, before turning back to Harry, who looked oddly cool and collected.
"Yeah?"
"Can I, er... speak to you for a minute?"
"F'course!" The Hufflepuff seventh year got up and followed him out of the Great Hall into the chamber right outside, trying to ignore all the laughs and remarks coming from all four tables.
For a moment Harry just looked at him with a serious expression. Finally, he spoke. "I want to talk to you."
"Isn't that what... you're doing right now?" Cedric asked.
"No. I mean, yeah. But, I want to... be able to talk to you. Without people bothering us."
"Oh." Cedric frowned and swallowed, eventually saying, "Me too."
"I know Skeeter knows that we've been by the tree... but what are the chances she's just going to sit there waiting for us to go down there and er, kiss? Again."
Cedric grinned, licking his lips unintentionally. He didn't realize he'd done it till he looked down and Harry was looking away, chuckling softly.
Blushing, the older student said, "Yeah... yeah. Let's meet there after dinner, okay?"

"I mean, it's completely not fair! We've already finished our O.W.L.s, we shouldn't have to do anything else!" Ron protested.
Harry blankly agreed. They were sitting by the window, finishing Transfiguration essays for Professor McGonagall. The light shining through was comforting, although barely a little.
They worked in silence for most of the time, until Ron said, "I'm really sorry, mate. About everything that's happening right now."
Harry didn't look up, but instead continued scribbling on his paper.
"And, you know, I probably made you feel worse."
He looked up and gazed at Ron questioningly.
"I mean, cause I sorta kept on bad-mouthing Diggory in front of you. But I really don't thing there's anything wrong with it. Just, I was just a little surprised you know?"
Harry pursed his lips and mumbled, "Yeah."
"How long have you two been.. uh, together?"
"I dunno, two weeks?"
"But... you didn't fancy him all this time, right? Cause that'd make me feel like a complete git."
"No I didn't. I don't think I did. I mean, I didn't act like it, did I?"
Suddenly Harry's eyes widened. Here he was feeling sorry for himself because all these people were talking about him, but he had never really considered that Cedric had already had to go through this. And he had had to go through it alone the first time.
"What is it, Harry?"
Not only that, but Harry had been one of those gits that was against Cedric. And Cedric had fancied him! Harry felt guilty before, but when he actually thought about it he should've felt much worse at the time.

"Hey where you going, Ced?" Herbert called as the prefect took a different route after dinner.
"Probably going to see his boyfriend." Zacharias Smith snarled, glaring at him as if he was gum on the underside of a desk.
Cedric pursed his lips and resisted the urge to stun him, and his eyes narrowed before he walked away.

Down by the willow tree they used to meet at, Cedric waited. His hands were stuffed deep in his pockets, as he stared at the water.
When he heard those familiar footsteps coming from farther up the hill, he smiled and then turned around. All he got to see was a blur of someone before they were thrust at him and Harry's arms were wrapped around him in a hug, his face was buried in Cedric's chest. The older student chuckled in surprise as he wrapped his arms around Harry's back soothingly. "Hey," he mumbled into his dark black hair.
"I'm so sorry, Cedric. I was a git... I didn't even think about how..."
He shivered slightly as he felt Harry's mouth move against his chest. "What are you talking about, Harry?"
Finally drawing away, the younger boy stared at him with sad green eyes and said softly, "Now I understand."
Cedric could already piece together what Harry was talking about, though he asked anyway, "Understand what?"
"After we became... er... you know, I never really looked back and thought about what you must've gone through. And I wasn't any better than the rest of them. I was such a git to you! I can't even believe myself!"
Stopping Harry before he hit himself in the face, which it seemed he was about to do, Cedric grabbed his hands tightly and gazed down into his eyes. "It doesn't matter anymore. You like me now don't you?"
"Of course!"
"Then don't dwell on it, Harry. It will only ruin things."
The prefect pulled him closer to the tree and sat down, nodding for Harry to do the same. Although the Gryffindor was fifteen, in this moment, he looked a lot younger, a lot more vulnerable. Cedric slowly slid his arm around him, rubbing Harry's back in what he hoped to be a comforting way. However, the boy was still frowning, though he slightly leaned into the touch. Cedric took a deep breath, before whispering, "I... I love you."
All at once there was a brilliant smile on Harry's face, and his cheeks were bright red. Eyes shining, he spoke, "I think I love you more Cedric." Grinning at his cheesy line, he couldn't remember ever being happier. Never had he touched anyone like this, or have anyone touch him. Never had he loved anyone like this before... but Harry was different. He was awkward, and funny, and in Cedric's opinion, really hot.
"Nonsense. That's impossible," Cedric replied. The Gryffindor student laughed, and attempted to lean his head on his shoulder, but without thinking, the prefect turned his head quickly before this happened and kissed him. Probably caught by surprise, Harry laughed, or maybe moaned into it, but nonetheless his eyes were twinkling.
Cedric shifted slightly, not breaking away, so he was more in front of him. Feeling Harry's tongue flicker over his lips, slowly, yet anxiously, Cedric opened his mouth and left the boy to explore it. He was well aware of the fact that Harry now had one hand wrapped around his neck, and the other, in his hair. However, he could not find it in him to mind that he was holding onto him rather tightly; instead, it only made him feel happier. Their closeness felt inseparable as now Cedric's tongue made it's way around Harry's mouth. He found that the boy's inability to remain quiet was only making him want more...
Slowly Cedric pulled away. He wouldn't allow his mind to ruin this. They were already passed the innocent level, and he wouldn't let it get any worse. Harry was only a boy (Well not really— he was fifteen after all). And Cedric was barely of age. He shouldn't be doing anything questionable himself.
The two were both breathing hard; Harry lying up against the tree trunk, with a vibrant smile and flushed cheeks, and Cedric the same, only this time he was leaning forward, and his head was rested on Harry's chest.
When he looked up, and met the Gryffindor's gaze, for an unknown reason, they both started laughing.
Harry lunged forward in what Cedric thought would be another deep kiss, but when their lips met, it was the softest and sweetest sensation he had ever felt, and it sent shivers up his spine. It felt more... real, than anything he'd ever experienced. After a few seconds, Harry's lips delicately left his. Looking into Cedric's eyes, he whispered, "I don't care anymore, Cedric. I don't care what they think. As long as you're there."
He felt a surge of warmth in his heart, and responded, grabbing Harry's hands, "You don't have to worry then. I will be."

Chapter Text

When Harry got back to his dorms later that night, Hermione and Ron were there waiting for him. "Harry! Um, how was your evening?" Hermione asked tentatively.
Their best friend made his way to an armchair and collapsed on it, smiling. "It was brilliant."
"Oh, really?"
"Yeah."
"Why?"
Harry looked at her, suddenly turning a bright crimson red. "Er... no... reason."
Ron shifted uncomfortably and cleared his throat.
"I don't mean— it's not like we did anything bad! We just... uh, kissed."
Hermione squealed in delight. "Oh that's so adorable, Harry!"
Simultaneously, both Ron and Harry frowned in disgust at her suddenly girlish behavior.
"Hermione," Ron began, "if you make him sink any farther into that armchair he'll disappear!"
"I think you really fancied him all along," she stated.
"I..."
"And maybe he was the reason you thought you were attracted to Cho! And you wanted him to be jealous! Or are you bisexual maybe?"
"I don't really know I guess."
"Oh, Harry, I'm just so glad you're with him now! He's absolutely perfect!"
He and Ron shared a look as Harry's cheeks flushed pink.

When Ron and Harry walked into their dormitory, Neville, Dean, and Seamus were already there.
"Oy, Harry! What's got your spirits up finally?" Seamus asked.
"Harry's been snogging Diggory," Ron said, smirking.
"Nice one, Harry," Dean added.
"I was not."
"Right."
"Then why's it you're blushing like...?"
"Alright alright. Maybe I was. So what?"
The boys in Harry's dorm laughed, and he felt lucky, unlike Cedric, to have such supportive friends.

"Hey, Harry!" shouted a friendly voice from down the hallway. The tall Hufflepuff ran to catch up with him as Hermione smiled and pulled a confused Ron ahead by his elbow. Harry grinned sheepishly and said, "How are..."
"You'd be fine... uh, walking with me to breakfast?"
Harry furrowed his eyebrows in confusion asking, "Why wouldn't I... oh." The students passing them in the corridor, whispering and laughing made him remember why they had to be secret about this. Although, what they had done last night mattered more than stupid prejudiced students or teachers.
Harry suddenly grabbed Cedric's hand firmly, causing the seventh year's eyes to widen and cheeks to color. It's not like he had any more friends to lose, so walking hand in hand with Harry in public wasn't that embarrassing. Although, a part of Cedric was slightly annoyed at himself for being the "younger" one in the relationship. Harry had led it all. Their first kiss, being the one that apologized, the one that snatched his hand and pulled him down to breakfast.... and Cedric was supposed to be the experienced one, the daring one. Yet here Harry was, holding his hand and smirking slyly. When they reached the entrance to the Great Hall, a pleased female voice turned them around.
"Oh! Harry! What a pleasant surprise!" Harry immediately dropped Cedric's hand and blushed. Rita Skeeter was standing before them, with a quill twirling in her fingers. "So, Cedric, Harry, what dazzling new news from your..."
"No," Cedric stated abruptly.
"Pardon?"
"Just leave us alone! Or just leave him alone at least! Harry has enough he's got to put up with. He doesn't need to deal with you too."
She closed her mouth which had hung slightly open, and a small embarrassed grin appeared on her face. "Well, I apologize for the..." she cleared her throat, "misunderstanding. I suppose we can speak later," she stated with a frown.
Cedric put his hand on Harry's back and nudged him away. Once in the hall, they flashed each other a smile, and took seat at their own house tables. As he ate, Harry couldn't help but notice that in general, the Slytherins really seemed like they couldn't care less if he was gay or not, but were more concerned with teasing about how he was a liar siding with Dumbledore. If they did mention Cedric to him, it was more just remarks that wouldn't be affected by the gender of his boyfriend. Except for Malfoy. The Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs were the ones that really made a big deal, and suddenly Harry realized why. Slytherins, being mostly pure blood, cared about blood status, and discriminated against muggle borns and half bloods. But the other houses, which contained more of the latter two, were raised by at least one muggle. And more muggles were prejudiced against queer people.
Although he didn't think it right to look down upon half bloods or muggles at all, he couldn't help but feel, ever so slightly, that Slytherins were not awful in all ways.

It was early the next morning; the sun was out already, and there was a slight breeze. Perfect weather for Quidditch.
"Come on Diggory! That's the most you got in you? Bet you can't catch up to me!" Harry shouted from a few feet ahead on his broom. "Oh you asked for it, Potter!" Cedric shouted back.
"You're almost as slow as Malfoy!"
Hearing this, Cedric raised his eyebrows and zoomed forward. They were barely a few feet above the ground, and unfortunately, neither of them paid much attention to this fact. Harry's Firebolt hit a rock, causing Cedric to zoom straight into him. For a few moments, they just laid on top of one another, breathing hard, but then simultaneously broke into laughter. It seemed they laid on the pitch for hours, as it was the weekend, and they had all the time in the world. The sun was shining bright, and the early morning smell of grass was soothing to them both, considering the fuss they were constantly getting from everyone. Yet, it ended too soon when a familiar, Slytherin voice sounded through the air. Before they sat up, Harry turned his head to face Cedric's and then rolled his eyes, saying, "He never gets tired of being a filthy prat, does he?"
Cedric stood up and brushed himself off before giving Harry a hand.
"What do you want now?" Cedric said with an irritated tone.
"I see you've finally decided to make your little thing public. Bet you're both so proud you're making everyone in this school sick."
"Take that back, Malfoy." The prefect growled.
"I'm sure Weasley and Chang are fine with this then, too?"
Harry looked away. He hadn't really thought about how Ginny had felt. It's not as if they were ever a thing; he had never fancied her, but he knew she had fancied him. He suddenly felt a small pang of guilt for being oblivious to her feelings.
"They... they don't care," Cedric lied.
"Really? The girl you held hands with in corridors? Who you kissed? Yeah, I'm sure Chang's all for this."
Cedric could feel Harry tense behind him.
He started, "That wasn't real. We were just friends. Or that was what it was to me. Well, regardless of what she thought of me! I didn't fancy her!"
"So you'll kiss her in public but not poor Harry Potter?" Malfoy said with raised eyebrows. If he was trying to make Harry angry, it was working.
Cedric stumbled, "I... it's not..."
"Go on, Diggory! Kiss him right now then, if you are so in love with him." His hesitation was noticed by Malfoy, who grew a smug grin, and Harry, who's eyes he could feel on his back, piercing through him. When Cedric remained rooted to his place Harry frowned. Was he really that ashamed?
"Well, I guess you aren't after all," the blond Slytherin said with sarcastic sympathy towards Harry. "So sorry, Potter. But really. Who in their right mind could possibly fancy someone like..." his voice trailed off, and was replaced by shocked silence. Cedric had marched towards Harry, and kissed him earnestly, only Cedric's eyes were closed, and Harry's were open, gleaming in surprise.

The Gryffindor heard a disgusted gasp come from one of the group, but it only succeeded in making them kiss harder. Anything to make Malfoy uncomfortable. When they pulled apart, Cedric flashed Harry a strangely Slytherin smile, which made him shiver. And when he continued by licking his lips, it just made him melt. The Hufflepuff turned to face them and said, "Keep on dreaming, Malfoy." And he interlocked his fingers with Harry's and led him away, quite pleased with himself.

Chapter Text

After Cedric's little daring thing yesterday, Harry thought he should at least try to approach him in public. In very public. Like the Great Hall. Hermione smiled at him encouragingly before he stood up, and slowly walked over to where Cedric was sitting with his team. Today was Hufflepuff's match against Slytherin, and it was only right for Harry to wish him good luck, though, he was well aware of the eyes following his every movement.
"Hey Harry," Cedric spoke in a casual tone.
"Hi. I uh... good luck today." Harry nodded at some of his teammates. "I hope you win."
"Thanks."
For a minute Harry stood there awkwardly. A few laughs came from the Ravenclaws, and he shot them a foul glare before turning back to Cedric.
"Er... Yeah. Anyways..." The Gryffindor ran a few fingers through his raven hair, at which Cedric grinned. "I'll see you after. Don't mess up Cedric," Harry said with a tease in his voice.
"I'll try not to," the Seeker responded lightheartedly.
"Right. Well... bye." And Harry gave him a silly thumbs up with a nervous smile, before returning to his own table, Ron and Hermione watching him amusedly. When he sat back down, Seamus said, "You two really are great together y'know?" Harry froze and his cheeks turned a light shade of pink as his dorm mate laughed.

He would have to play harder today. This would be the first time Harry'd see him in a Quidditch match, (actually caring about how well he did) not having to play against him. The crowd roared for the Hufflepuff team as they walked on to the field, because no one besides Slytherins wanted Slytherin to win. When the two captains faced each other, Cedric held out his hand, causing the Slytherin captain to flinch. The tall boy clad in green and silver turned to Madam Hooch and said, "I can't shake hands with him! He's been fondling Potter!"
"I have not been..." Cedric started, raising his voice. "I'm not an animal!"
Madam Hooch cleared her throat, and very reluctantly, they shook hands. Both with scowls.

Harry watched in anxiety as the seekers reached for the Snitch, which was in front by a few feet. Somehow, Malfoy ended up ramming Cedric against a pillar, and with an added shove, knocked him off his broom. Immediately Harry stood, with terror-stricken eyes as he watched him fall down to the field.
"Cedric!" He shouted, before blushing at the attention he had just got, but worried nonetheless.
"I'm sure he'll be fine, Harry," Neville said from beside him, putting a hand on his shoulder to sit him back down. "Wasn't that high. At least there're no dementors this time," he added, with a small smile. That didn't make Harry feel any better though, as he allowed himself to be pushed back on to the bench.
For the rest of the game the Gryffindor student sat, rubbing his hands together anxiously. Finally Malfoy caught the Snitch (considering he had no opponents, Harry thought it took a rather long time).
As soon as the match had finished he ran down to the field, and there Malfoy was waiting, him and his stupid smug grin when he said, "So sorry, Potter. Look's like he's dead. However will you manage to please yourself? I'm sure he was a lot better at it." Harry shot his head up with a horrified expression and completely magenta cheeks. He stuttered, "That's... what?! You're disgusting!"
From behind scolded Professor McGonagall, "Mr. Malfoy! That was completely inappropriate!" Snape said calmly, "I will handle this, Professor."
"Surely he deserves some punishment!?"
"Come, Draco," Snape said and led Malfoy away.
"I'm sorry, Potter. Diggory should be fine. Why don't you come to the hospital later? Give him some time to rest."
Cedric was carried away, and Harry watched with pursed lips and furrowed eyebrows. Very similar to how Cedric had once done when Harry was in his third year.

As Madam Pomfrey walked away from his bedside that night, Cedric groaned in frustration. Though he was feeling a bit achy, he didn't see why he couldn't leave. At least if he did so, he wouldn't have to be trapped in this wing, with nothing but his own thoughts scolding him for not winning. His bones were mended, and he could move... if only Harry was here. As if on cue, he heard footsteps coming towards him, but when he looked, there was no one there. As they grew louder, he reached over and grabbed his wand, pointing in the direction of the sound.
"Who's there?" he demanded, sitting up in bed.
Came the reply in whisper, "Watch who you're pointing that at, it's me!" Harry revealed himself from underneath a cloak.
"Harry!"
"Shh!" The Gryffindor quickly cast a silencing charm around them.
"Oh, right. Sorry, but... an invisibility cloak! Where'd you..."
"It was my dad's."
Cedric smiled warmly before patting a spot on his bed.
Harry walked over and sat at the edge before complaining, dark as it was, "I can't even see you. Lumos."
When Harry's wand lit, his lips parted in pleasant surprise, and it was then that Cedric remembered he was shirtless. He tried to stop an implying smile and quirk of his eyebrow from appearing on his face, but couldn't and said, "What're you looking at, Harry?" The boy's eyes flickered up from his bare chest and he responded with a suggestive, "Oh— was I looking?"
Cedric chuckled softly.
"You played great today by the way," Harry said.
"We lost, I fell."
"It's not your fault Malfoy's a bloody git."
Cedric half smiled disappointedly and looked down.
He felt a warm hand on his cheek which made him close his eyes. "Hey. You were fantastic, Cedric."
Under his touch, he slid down farther under the covers on his side and Harry slipped under also to mirror him.
"Harry?"
"Yeah?"
Underneath the covers, Cedric's hand ran up Harry's bare side under his shirt, causing him to shiver at the touch. His fingers began to trace Harry's abs.
"Would you stay with me during the summer?"
"What?" Harry asked in a higher pitched voice.
"Like, at my parents' house? You could sleep in my room; I'm sure my mum would love you... and you'd be away from those awful relatives of yours."
For a few moments Harry just stared at him, not really comprehending what he had just said, distracted by Cedric's warm hands, still running over his skin under his shirt.
"Harry?"
"Sorry, Yes! Absolutely! I mean, if you're sure... I wouldn't want to be a burden to anyone..."
Taking the hint, Cedric added, "My mum can convince my dad to do anything. And if you are a burden to him, too bad. He can deal."
Harry wrapped his arm around Cedric's neck and buried his face in his chest.
"Thank you."

Chapter Text

They had planned out everything by the time the train left the station and was headed back to King's Cross. Cedric had decided against writing a letter to his parents asking if Harry could stay with them, because his father barely knew Harry, and his mother didn't at all. He felt asking in person would convince them better.
If all went accordingly on Cedric's part, he would pick up Harry from the Dursleys' in two weeks; apparently there was something Dumbledore needed to do with him first. Convince an old professor to return to Hogwarts or something of the sort...
When they had entered the train, Harry smiled at Cedric and headed to a compartment with Ron and Hermione, given the fact that he wouldn't be staying with Ron during the summer like normal. He could see Cedric all he wanted in two weeks, and there was just something special about the way they had always ridden together on the train, that he wouldn't give up. Even for Cedric.
Of course, when Harry had told Ron a week earlier, his friend's eyes went wide, and he continuously protested for an hour, while making Harry feel all the worse, though Hermione understood.
"I promise I'll still come over!" Harry pleaded, though he wasn't so sure.
"Well, yeah, but.... we've always...
"Don't say we've always been with each other over the summer cause we haven't. It's not like Harry's breaking any valuable traditions," Hermione stated. After a very long while, Ron had submit to them.
When they were all seated and headed home, their ginger friend said, "So what is it you're gonna do when you're with this bloke?"
"Er... I'm not sure."
Ron snorted in reply. When Hermione slapped his arm he shrieked, "What was that?"
"Harry has every right to go to Cedric's for ONE summer, would you stop acting like a child?!"
Ron reddened an mumbled a small, "I'm not acting like a child."
Other than that, the ride home was quite enjoyable. The three of them hadn't gotten along like this for a while, and it was a nice change.
All too soon they skidded to a halt, and reluctantly, the three friends got off the train.
"Well, I guess I'll see you, Harry," Ron said.
"Yeah," Harry replied, as he waved at the Weasleys guiltily, though he was quite glad when he saw that they looked— happy for him.
Hermione, however, hugged him and whispered, "Don't do anything stupid, Harry."
To this, he raised an eyebrow, but then broke into a laugh, as did she.
"Bye," she said, before walking away.
Harry turned around to see Cedric getting off, and immediately he started walking towards him with a grin.
The Hufflepuff student smiled back and said, "My parents're over there, Harry. They haven't spotted me yet though."
He nodded, and was about to ask something when Cedric grabbed his wrist and pulled him behind a pillar.
"What—"
"In case they say no."
And the tall student embraced him with his warmth, hugging him so tightly Harry let out a tiny squeal.
"Sorry."
"No, no problem," he said with a smile. "Bye, Cedric." And he reached up placing a hand on Cedric's neck, lowering his face down until their lips were pressed against each other's and their eyes both closed. When they drew away shortly after, Harry repeated, "Bye... Cedric."
"Don't worry, Harry. I'll get them to let you come."
"Okay."
And with that, Cedric vanished, leaving Harry alone, staring at the spot he had been standing.

"There you are, boy!" he heard a horribly familiar voice call out after he had passed back into the muggle version of King's Cross.
"We've been waiting a good long while for you."
Harry just glared at him before saying, "Nice to see you too, Uncle Vernon. Hello, Big D. Aha. Boxing, yet still gaining weight, I see. Remarkable accomplishment."
"Shut up, Harry."
Harry just smirked before walking ahead of them, leading the way out. At least if he was going to be stuck with these people, he could get some amusement out of it.

At night, he dreamt he was sitting on a hillside, and beside him lay Cedric, whose hair was glistening in the sun, while his grey eyes were shimmering.
"Cedric..."
"Yeah, Harry?"
"I love you."
And then Cedric pushed himself up so he was looking down at him with his knees on either side of his legs, and his arms on either side of his shoulders, and he brushed a few strands of black hair out of his eyes, before leaning down, and....

Harry woke up in daylight, sweating, and found he was quite hard. He groaned before turning over, so his head was buried in his pillow, and tried not to imagine Cedric, because that was just... whatever.
When he stepped outside his bedroom, Dudley was coming down the hall, and smirked when he saw Harry. "Miss your boyfriend much? 'Oh, Cedric! Cedric!'"
Harry opened his mouth before decidedly glaring instead, and heading down the stairs, followed by Dudley, who still looked more pleased than he wanted.

For the most part, Harry's time with the Dursleys wasn't awful. He kept to his room, and honestly didn't mind Dudley's teasing. He could easily scare him with his wand, but felt no reason to. It was a few days into his break when a gorgeous brown owl came swooping down to his window. Harry grinned wide, guessing who it was from. When he opened it, it read,

Dear Harry,
I'll be coming in a week right after you get back with Dumbledore. I promise I'll make my dad treat you well or else he's in for it. My mum is really excited to meet you, though! She didn't get to speak with you before the third task. I miss you a lot already, and I know you've been dreaming about me, don't deny it!
Sincerely,
Your most favorite person in the world, Cedric

Chapter Text

"Oh, Amos, why not?"
"Because... that would be... he was Cedric's opponent!"
"Yeah, a year ago!" Cedric shouted.
Amos's face twisted at being yelled at by his son, who was always quiet and obedient.
"I still say no!"
"He gave me— us, all the galleons he won!"
"And?! It was right for him to do so! You deserved to win! Not some— attention-seeking fourth year! Hmph. And look at what he's done! An owl flies down to the window at breakfast with the Prophet, and what do I see? A big picture of him kissing you?! Like I want to see that on my paper when I wake up! Some arrogant little boy that just thinks he can go and kiss my son? And get Rita Skeeter to write about it?"
Cedric stared at his dad in utter shock for being so thick, before his eyes narrowed and he whispered, steadily getting louder, "Harry is NOT an arrogant little boy. And sorry to disappoint you, dad, but your perfect son was the one that kissed him in that article!" Cedric yelled before slamming down his book on the table, startling both his parents as he opened the front door and walked outside, not bothering to shut it behind him.
He headed over to a big tree behind his house, where he sat, propped up against it. He had never really spoken against his father, or at least what he had done was mistaken for modesty. But he decided it felt good. And anyways, he would yell at anyone who talked about Harry like that. As if he was some immature child that just seeked romance and fame.
Cedric couldn't leave him there. At the Dursleys'. He had to get his dad to say yes, because what would Harry think of his family if they didn't want to accept him into their home?
He sat there, staring into the hills in the distance for quite a while. At least his dad wasn't against homosexuals. That would really be bad. He was just against Harry, and Cedric had no idea why.
Standing up to head back inside, he came face to face with his father, who appeared to have been watching him for some time.
Taking a deep breath, Cedric started, "Look, dad, I'm sorry I yelled. But I can't just leave him there. I just don't know why you're so... determined to hate him."
"No, Cedric. I'm sorry. Anyone that you think is fit, must be to deserve my son."
Cedric glanced away uncomfortably before looking back to his dad with a frown. "He's not like what you think he is. He doesn't want any of the attention he gets. I wish you'd just understand that," he mumbled.
Amos Diggory sighed, before gripping his son's shoulder and saying, "He can stay here."
Cedric's eyes widened briefly, before he released a bright smile, and said, "You're sure?"
Amos nodded reluctantly.
"Thanks. Seriously," before he hugged his father tightly, drawing away after a few seconds.
"I'm going to... er, go inside now," Cedric said, managing to contain his excitement quite well.

As they sat around a table eating dinner that night, Cedric's mother, Lauren, spoke up.
"Amos? Have you changed your mind?"
He looked up from his plate and shot a calculating glance towards his expectant son. Then, after a few moments, stated firmly, "Yes. I believe so."
She smiled pleasantly and also focused her stare on Cedric, before starting, "Then perhaps you can tell us a bit about Harry then, hmm? I doubt Rita Skeeter's articles do him justice."
"Yeah," Cedric stated happily, before going off telling them about everything Harry had done while at Hogwarts (the true version), his personality, and his friends, and the circumstances in which he was living in right now.
After he had said just about everything good he could say about Harry Potter, which was quite expansive, while excluding any private information about their relationship, his mother asked very hesitantly, "How did you two realize..." she paused, and Cedric wanted to help her out, but found he couldn't. He didn't think telling the story of how Harry had been against him for a while would leave a very good impression. And his dad was not so forgiving a person.
"Er... it's sort of complicated. I guess it was him in the end, that really started it."
He could see his father out of his peripheral vision give him a glare, that seemed to say, 'I knew it was him,' but Cedric couldn't have that.
"I mean, no, it wasn't him. It was me, I guess. I sort of... I liked him first, for a while."
"How long?" his mother asked, undoubtedly curious as to when her son realized he was gay.
"Since he... uh, came to Hogwarts. I think. My third year. Yeah, so... it was me who, uh, liked him, but then he found out and sort of... it took a while for him to be comfortable around me."
When he saw his dad tense, probably wondering how anyone could be uncomfortable around him, he added immediately, "But you have to understand! If some man fancied you, you don't think you'd be uncomfortable?"
It was silly to see his dad almost turn red, but he continued, "Harry came around. And he felt really bad for ever avoiding me. I forgave him."
Lauren's lips parted as if to speak before she closed them. A few seconds of silence passed before she said, "Well we best start cleaning if he's to arrive in a week."
And Cedric was so grateful. So grateful to have parents like them that accepted someone so many people were against right now, for more than one reason.

Chapter Text

Cedric landed on a vacant side street, tapping his broom and himself over the head with his wand to undue the disillusionment charms he had cast. He looked at his broom again, before deciding that maybe it might look peculiar to see a boy walking around with such a thing, (he wasn't that familiar with what muggles thought normal) so he tapped it again to recast the disillusionment charm, hiding it by a bush. Satisfied, he looked around.
The muggle houses were all in neat rows, tidy, but rather boring looking, he thought. Spotting Harry's house, he smiled. Even without the address, he could tell it was the Dursleys' just by the way Harry had described his Aunt Petunia's obsessively neat ways though. Cedric could immediately guess why he didn't like it there. Their house was the most generic and orderly looking on the street, which did not at all fit Harry's personality.
Walking up to it, he wondered if he should knock, or just climb up the hedge and kidnap Harry from the second floor. He chuckled slightly, before deciding to take an extremely cliche approach. Looking down, a small rock lay at his feet. Picking it up, he smiled at his own cheesiness before throwing it at Harry's window— or the one he guessed was Harry's window, because Hedwig's cage was in front of it.
He watched, holding his breath, as someone opened it, and then broke into a huge grin. The other raised his eyebrows and said, "Really?" to which Cedric shrugged and Harry laughed.
"Come to rescue me, have you?"
"If you wish to be," he replied, looking as charming and prince-like as possible, which was not very hard, because Cedric was already exceptionally charming and handsome.
"I'll be out in a second. Just wait outside."
He nodded as Harry closed his window. However, as much as he wanted to obey Harry's request, he couldn't help but want to meet these Dursleys, if only for seeing their shocked faces. And he was very ready for a laugh if they were anything as described.
Plus, he wanted to annoy Harry, not seriously, but just for fun. Because the idea of an annoyed Harry was sort of attractive... so Cedric knocked. And, to his great amusement, who he figured to be Dudley answered.
"Who are you?" he demanded, confused.
"I'm Harry's boyfriend," he said with a bright smile and abnormally careless expression.
Dudley stared at him open-mouthed for a brief moment, before saying, "You're that poof, Cedric?" with a calculating gaze.
"Well that's a little harsh but yes, that is correct," he answered politely with a smirk.
"And you're Harry's...." he repeated dumbly.
"Yeah."
"So Harry actually did have a boyfriend..." he mumbled in surprise to himself.
"Is that so shocking?"
Dudley looked as if he was about to erupt with laughter, but Cedric's eyes flickered to the top of the stairs, where he saw Harry watching him with an annoyed but fascinated expression.
A short and plump man waddled over from another room, and whom Cedric guessed was Harry's Uncle Vernon. When Harry caught sight of the man he sighed, over-exaggeratedly.
"Hello," Cedric said with an extremely believable smile.
"And who might you be?"
He opened his mouth but Dudley beat him to it.
"The one Harry moans about pretending to have sex with in his sleep."
Cedric's eyes widened and he felt himself redden. He chanced a glance at the stairwell, and at the top, Harry was silently banging his head against the wall repeatedly, until he turned and looked down at him, the brightest shade of pink Cedric had seen him in a long time. He smiled apologetically up at Harry for the embarrassment, while the latter mouthed, "I didn't."
Apparently Vernon had been stunned silent this whole time that it wasn't until he spoke Cedric remembered he was still there. "HARRY POTTER!" he yelled.
Slowly, Harry made his way down the stairs, frantically clearing his face of his blushing, and stuffed his hands in his front pockets.
"Yes?"
"Who is this?!"

Harry, deciding he couldn't possibly let Cedric be the braver one, said, "I thought Dudley just told you. The one I've been pretending to have sex with in my sleep."
Cedric was now gaping at him, though quickly he shut his mouth and attempted to look casual. However, Harry noticed his holding back of a grin.
Uncle Vernon's eyes were nearly out of his head, and his face was swelling purple.
"He's my boyfriend, and,"
"He's your WHAT?!"
"Aaand, I'll be going to his house for the rest of the summer."
The man's face was madly twisted.
"You will not..."
"Oh yeah?" And they all watched him as he went up the stairs, grabbed his trunk, owl, and broom, and then came back down.
"This is rubbish! You!" he shouted, pointing a finger at Cedric, "You will leave at once! And you— Potter! You won't be a poofter when in my house, boy!"
Before Harry could respond, Cedric marched up to Vernon, his hand on his wand.

"Don't you dare call Harry a poof."
Vernon, eyeing Cedric's hand, gave a very tight-lipped smile. "You can't use magic, can you? Because you're.."
"Of age. Exactly. So I can." Cedric said, arching his eyebrows daringly, to which Vernon's face turned even more purple.
"Who'd want to date Harry?" Dudley asked from behind.
"Me. Obviously." Cedric said.
"Right, so as I was saying," began Harry, now smiling widely, "I'll be going to my boyfriend's house for the summer, so, see you next year then?"
Cedric smirked at him, noticing his intentional stress on the word boyfriend, just to freak them out.
Dudley and Uncle Vernon just stared at Harry as he took his trunk and Hedwig, and walked out the front door, gesturing Cedric along.
"Pleasure meeting you."
They continued to scowl at him, so he just closed the door behind him as he left.

"Thanks for saving me," Harry said playfully when they were at the end of the block. "So how are we getting to your house?"
"Got your broom?"
Harry smiled as he held it up, and nodded. Cedric dragged him over to a spot between two houses nearby a bush, where they wouldn't easily be seen, and grabbed his disillusioned broom. He then proceeded to cast the charm over himself, before he said, "Wait— " and he kissed Harry quickly on the cheek before hugging him. "I missed you," he said. Harry's eyes brightened a little, just at the familiar comfort when he replied, "Missed you too, Ceddy." Cedric cringed, raising an eyebrow and grinning down at him.
Harry just smirked and added, "Well are you honestly expecting me to call you Ceeddrric forever? Are we not at the 'nickname' phase yet?"
Cedric then laughed and ran a hand through his hair before saying, "Call me whatever you want. It's cute. Even if it is... Ceddy."
"Fine. I'll think of something else."
Cedric crinkled his eyebrows as he cast a funny look at Harry, before saying, "You are something, Potty."
Harry's eyes widened before he turned on Cedric, trying to hold back a laugh, "Don't call me... that."
"Why not?"
"Because that's Not cute."
Cedric bit his lip to keep from chuckling, as he said, "Well, if your name was only Harr, that would be easier. I have nothing to work with. You, however, can come up with something better than Ceddy. Think on it while we're flying okay, Potty?"
Harry's cheeks turned a darker shade and he scowled at him good-naturedly, before Cedric finally did cast a disillusionment charm over himself. Harry then followed suit.
"Okay, you ready?"
"Yeah," came Harry's voice.
"The sky's pretty clear— shouldn't be too hard to see me. But if you can't, just give a holler."
They kicked off into the air, high above where any muggles could see them, and Harry, though he felt guilty at the thought, was excited to go to Cedric's house this summer for a change.

Chapter Text

They landed in front of a rather beautiful house, surrounded by hills and trees but nothing else.
When they had quickly undone the charms keeping them disillusioned, Harry turned towards Cedric and said, "It's brilliant."
The latter shrugged modestly.

Walking inside, Harry looked around curiously. Their home was pleasant and sunny, with wooden walls and big windows on each one of them. Harry heard shuffling coming from another room before Cedric yelled, "Mu..."
"Cedric!" and a woman ran towards them, a delighted smile plastered across her face.
"Oh, Harry! How was the trip?" she asked.
"Great," he started, overwhelmed by her happiness.
"Cedric's told us all about you of course! I'm so glad I finally get to meet you!" and she pulled him into a tight hug, reminding Harry very much of Mrs. Weasley as he chuckled.
"Give him some room, mum," Cedric said, amused, and she then proceeded to do the same to her son.
"I'm Lauren Diggory, Harry, Cedric's mother."
Taking a better look at her, he noticed her eyes were bright and gray, and her hair was the color of chocolate. She actually much resembled Cedric.
"Great! I'm... well, yeah."
"We're going to take his stuff up to my room, okay?"
"Yeah, sure, go on ahead," Mrs. Diggory said. "I'm making dinner."
Cedric said, when they were walking up the stairs, "She's been looking forward to meeting you for a while."
"I wouldn't of guessed," Harry said, unable to control his grin.
Once they reached the end of the hallway, Cedric stopped in front of a door. Turning to face him, he said, "It's sort of... Hufflepuffy."
Harry raised his eyebrows, before saying, "I don't care."
"Right. Well, um," and he opened it hesitantly.
Upon entering, Harry broke into another smile. He didn't usually like yellow, but with a huge window on the far wall letting sunlight into the room, it all looked quite beautiful. The walls were, of course, bright yellow, and there were Hufflepuff Quidditch flags and banners over his bed, which was also... yellow. It was so bright and joyful, Harry couldn't keep from laughing.
Turning to Cedric who looked slightly scared and curious, he said, "No, it's not... It's spectacular. It's just... so... yellow. I like it."
Cedric chuckled, relieved.
When Harry had calmed down, he looked around again. Over in a corner stood a wooden desk. Harry walked over, noticing all the little frames on it. There was a picture of Cedric and his friends, Herbert Fleet and Zacharias Smith, who wasn't actually his friend anymore. The picture looked a few years old, they were probably fourth years in it. There was another of Harry and Cedric, down by the tree. Cedric's arm was wrapped around Harry's shoulders, and they were both laughing. He was pretty sure Hermione'd taken that. After staring at it for some time, he noticed one more. There was an image of Cedric and an older boy, that looked a lot like him, though with darker hair, and a smirk on his face, almost reminding Harry of Tom Riddle. The older was nudging Cedric in the picture, who was rolling his eyes.
"Hey..." Harry started, picking it up, and still looking down at it. "Is that your brother, Thomas?"
Cedric's smile faltered slightly, while Harry turned around to face him. He nodded.
Trying to give a comforting smile, Harry sighed, before setting it back down. "Sorry."
"You've got nothing to be sorry for, Harry," Cedric said, surprised.
"He looks nice. Like you."
"Oh, I'm much nicer than he was. Thomas was never that obedient. Teased me for being the 'good one,'" Cedric said, now smiling widely, as if lost in a memory.
When Harry grabbed his hands, he twitched, and looked back down.
"You're really Hufflepuff proud, aren't you? But I suppose that'd explain why you're so noble." Harry said, looking around again.
Cedric laughed and said, "I take pride in my house."
"Mm. I can see that," Harry added, going to stand by the window.
After a few moments, Cedric added, "Hufflepuffs aren't just noble. Common stereotype."
"Well, you certainly are," Harry spoke, still gazing outside, which made him unaware that Cedric was slowly inching towards him.
"You know, Harry, badgers can get rather... ferocious," Cedric said with a smirk.
Harry turned back towards Cedric, and reddened when he saw Cedric's hungry expression and that they were considerably closer. In fact, his eyes were filling with so much desire, it was impossible for Harry not to notice.
"Have I ever actually told you how handsome you are?" Cedric asked.
"I... um..." Harry's eyes fluttered closed as he felt Cedric's breath against his lips. And after having been apart from him for (well, it was only two weeks) so long, that familiar sensation of warmness caused him to shiver as Cedric kissed him. Except for this time it was Cedric who was moaning; usually it was the other way around. And hearing him enjoy this so much only made Harry internally melt, as he began to claw at Cedric's shirt.
"I mm.. I missed you," Harry moaned against his lips.
"Did you really?" Cedric said in a pleased voice, muffled by their kissing.
"Cedric!" his mother called from downstairs.
Immediately they split apart, as if caught red-handed, though there was no one there to see their act.
Harry sighed before he started chuckling and ran a hand through his hair.
Cedric smiled, before apologizing and calling back, "Yeah?"
"Your father's home!"
Cedric froze momentarily, before turning back to Harry and saying, "Well, this'll be fun," and he headed downstairs, followed closely behind.

Chapter Text

"Ah, hello, Mr. Potter."
"Hi," Harry said, eyeing him suspiciously.
"Pleasure to have you here. Any friend of Cedric's is a friend of mine, I told him."
Harry smiled appreciatively, because Amos Diggory looked like he was trying at least.
"Thanks. Er, just call me Harry."
"Dinner's ready by the way— salmon tonight," Mrs. Diggory interrupted, walking in from the kitchen.
Harry's stomach growled, but only Cedric seemed to have heard, as his dad was already running towards the food. Cedric nudged him playfully in the shoulder, before saying, "You must be starving, come on," and lead him into a separate dining room.

"So, Harry? What are your muggle relatives like?" Mr. Diggory asked conversationally, "Though I hardly think there's anything you could tell us about yourself that Cedric hasn't already," he looked at his son amusedly, making Harry believe that maybe he really wasn't all that bad after all.
Harry smiled at Cedric before saying, "Well they, they're not too happy I'm a wizard, like my mother. They were hoping I wouldn't ever find out, I think, so they've never really gotten used to..."
"Not too happy you're a... a wizard? That's absurd!" He shouted in disbelief.
"Amos," Mrs. Diggory put a hand on his shoulder.
"So what, they lied to you before Hogwarts?"
"Yeah," Harry said dismissively. "They're afraid of me now, not that I'd ever do anything to them, but it's better they leave me alone. Mostly."
"Well I'm sorry Mr. Potter, Harry, for even being hesitant about you coming in the first place!" he said with a tight smile.
"It's alright, really. I appreciate it— but sorry, where's the bathroom?"
"It's just down the hall, Harry, to the left," Mrs. Diggory said, inclining her head towards a doorway.
"Thanks. 'xcuse me."
"Well?" Cedric asked immediately, after Harry had left.
"Well what?" his father asked, finishing his dinner and setting down his fork.
"What do you think... of him?"
Amos furrowed his eyebrows in deep thought before saying, "He's kind. It was wrong of me, I admit, to think he was full of himself."
"Good," he said stubbornly, while glaring at his father accusingly. "Cedric, your dad is trying," Lauren whispered sternly, though a small grin was forming on the edge of her lips.
"Well, I've got some work to do. Goodnight darling, and Cedric."
They both smiled up at him as he stood, and Cedric was about to do the same when his mother grabbed his wrist and held him down.
"Um... Cedric? Can I ask something real quick?"
"What is it?"
"What are you planning on doing tonight?"
"Sorry?"
She looked away nervously, making Cedric uncomfortable, as he thought he knew where she was heading.
"Well, I'm letting you sleep in the same room..."
He glanced downward to his feet, embarrassed.
"It doesn't mean you two can sleep together though," she stated with a little more of a protective, mother-like tone.
"Mum. Do you really think I'd do something stupid?"
"Cedric... you're older now. I'm sure there've been times you wanted to."
He opened his mouth but she cut him off.
"I'm not saying I don't trust you. I do. But I know you're of age, and I can't do anything about it, but I still think you're too young. And Harry definitely is."
He sighed and repeated, "Mum, I'm not going to do anything stupid."
"What falls under "stupid" to you?"
When he blushed, she glared at him before her gaze softened and she said in a sweeter voice, "He's only fifteen, Cedric. He's only fifteen."
"Please don't think I'd ever do anything to hurt him!"
"Of course I don't think that!"
He thought he heard the creaking of footsteps on the floorboards on the other side of the wall. After a brief moment of silence she said, "Well, I don't know what I could do to keep you apart, so sleep however you decide to sleep but, um, Sleep."
He nodded.
As she walked away, he let out a tired sigh. But before she turned the corner, she paused and looked back at him, with a slight twitch of her lips, as if she was trying not to smile.
"But please remember, Cedric. Your bedroom's over ours."

Chapter Text

Harry rubbed his eyes, before glancing at the one bed in the room. He knew Mrs. Diggory wanted them to get another mattress, but... she did actually say they could sleep together. And that was a much preferred option to Harry.
"How was he today?" Cedric's voice came from the behind him.
"Sorry?" Harry said, turning around.
"My dad."
"Oh. He was fine. I think I judged him too soon at the World Cup."
"Well whatever you thought of him then isn't wrong. He's way too proud, and competitive, but he is a great dad, most times."
Harry smiled. "I honestly thought he'd hate me being here."
"Even if he did I'd force him to like you."
Suddenly, Cedric pulled off his shirt, revealing his muscular build. Harry bit his lip, before looking away, grinning, to give him privacy. It's not that it wasn't okay for him to see a boy undress— he did in his dormitory, but since he was dating Cedric... it might be considered wrong. Or at least, because of the reason he wanted to see him get undressed. But the sound of a zipper being undone made Harry chance a glance, and of course, to his great embarrassment, Cedric seemed to have been watching him to see if he'd turn around and suggestively raised his eyebrows. Harry reddened slightly before facing away again, crossing his arms, and saying, "Can you honestly expect me to help it? You're attractive."
Cedric responded with a breathy laugh, and replied, "Why thank you."
Harry rolled his eyes. After Cedric had pulled up his pyjama bottoms he turned back around, sort of disappointed he had missed... Harry shook his head, clearing away his own perverted thoughts. But underneath those trousers, Cedric wasn't wearing anything...
"Harry?" Cedric said with a kind smile.
"Huh? Oh, nothing."
"Right."
"Nothing!" Harry said, embarrassed.
Cedric turned away, his modesty having caught up with him, and blushed, chuckling. Harry smiled, because Cedric was still adorable with red cheeks. After a moment of comfortable silence, Harry asked hesitantly, "Er... so what's the plan? For sleeping?"
Cedric blushed even more before saying, "Well my mom didn't want... she's sort of okay with it, I mean, I kind of wanted to..."
"I'm fine with that," Harry cut him off with a grin to spare him the embarrassment as he walked over and sat on Cedric's bed.
Cedric's blush cleared away and he raised an eyebrow before saying, "Anxious to sleep with me much?"
Harry bit his lip, licking it after, and then he gave a small side smile as he looked away.
"No..." he said in defense, "I think it's the other way around. I was simply sparing you of asking. And it would be rude to deny you..."
"Well thank you for thinking of me," Cedric said with sarcastic politeness.
"You're welcome."
The older soon joined him, and they both slipped under the covers.

Moonlight streaming in through the window fell on Harry's face. Cedric lay there staring at him for a moment, just enjoying the sight. He realized he had never seen Harry without his glasses, and this shocked him slightly, because it made him look really handsome. He looked great with them on too, but the change was nice.
He could tell Harry wasn't asleep yet, by the way he was breathing, but unexpectedly he felt fingers wrap around his own, and Harry turned on his side to face him, opening his eyes. "I... love you Cedric."
"And I love you, Harry," he said, leaning in to plant a kiss on his forehead.
"I sometimes can't believe how perfect you are..." Harry's voice trailed off and he looked away.
"Oh love, we'll never agree on that."
The fifteen year old smiled. "No, we won't."
For a moment, Harry seemed to wonder whether he should say something else, before he stated quietly, "I need you."
Cedric cocked his head slightly to one side. But, after looking into his hungry eyes, he got the idea.
"Cedric..." Harry's hand ran up his side.
"Yeah?" he replied, his voice slightly cracking, Harry's hand distracting him.
"I need you..." he repeated.
Cedric grinned sheepishly and looked away.
"Harry... we can't do that right now."
The other frowned slightly.
"Don't get me wrong, you don't know how much I want to..." Cedric added, his voice subtly drifting off.
"Yeah, I know."

"So... dreaming about shagging me now, are we?" Cedric asked, referring back to Dudley's comment earlier.
Even in the dark, Harry's face seemed to turn a shade pinker, and he stuttered, "Well that was.... I... I wasn't,"
"Suuure, Harry. But I wouldn't forgive myself if I did anything now, but that doesn't mean we can't still... do this..." Cedric whispered as he leaned in and kissed him deep on the mouth. Harry kissed back desperately, and Cedric could feel his want growing stronger, because Harry's grip on him was tightening. Not that he was going to allow it to come to that, though he really did want it to. Soon they were both so deeply into it, moaning was unavoidable. Oddly it was Harry that had the sense to cast a muffliato charm around them, causing Cedric's lips to feel cold as Harry pulled away to reach his wand.
"Hey, Harry. You know, I don't think it's quite fair I'm shirtless and you aren't."
His boyfriend smirked, before saying, "Of course everything has to be fair with you," and pulled his shirt over his head.
"Much better," Cedric nodded, looking him over. He planted a kiss right underneath Harry's jaw, causing the boy to sigh in pleasure. He licked the spot softly before pushing himself off the bed and straddling Harry, who was now wide eyed and shockingly gorgeous, Cedric noticed, in this vulnerable position. Though that only made him feel guiltier. He placed a hand on his cheek, leaned down, and began to openly kiss Harry's neck, leaving a trail down to his chest.
Having to finally draw away to gasp for breath, he pushed himself back up, looking down at a flustered and pleased Harry, who ran a few fingers through his jet-black hair sheepishly.
"Oh, do that again," Cedric moaned, only causing Harry to chuckle and wrap his arms around his back, pulling Cedric down on top of him, to where their faces were even, so they could kiss. The feeling of their tongues around one another's was so blissfully perfect, and made his mind go so insane, he couldn't control the hardness he felt. And when it happened he couldn't remember, but at some point they fell asleep, Harry wrapped in his arms, his bare back pressed against Cedric's chest comfortably, and they were so warm there together, it seemed nothing in the world was wrong.

Chapter Text

A week later, a small gray owl pecking on the window woke Harry up. He opened his eyes lazily, reached for his glasses, but then found Cedric had gone to the ministry already. Blinking slowly, he vaguely remembered him saying something about the Auror Office from the night before. The owl's pecking harder shook him out of his morning daze, and he looked over.
"Pigwidgeon?" he said with a grin and stumbled out of bed. The owl cooed happily as he opened the window, and hopped inside onto the desk. And tied on it's leg, a letter from Ron.

Hey Harry,
How's your summer been with Cedric? Hermione just got here, and she told me to remind you to ask him about something having to do with applying for some department at the ministry. I don't remember. She'll probably write to you an essay of questions for him anyway. Mum's also told me to tell you to be safe... you know... when you're with him... cause she figured that even if you were told not to, you'd probably sleep together anyway... But just ignore her. She's just being all protective, she is. Also, don't feel bad about Ginny. I think she's over you. It's almost unfair how many blokes are crazy for her, seriously. Anyway, we all sort of miss you here, and I hope you might come over sometime. But I know if I was with a, er, person, than I'd just want to hog them all the time too mate, if you know what I mean. So if he's too clingy, just tell him that Hermione demands to see you, but there's no reason for him to be jealous. Don't forget about Hermione, cause she's worried you might. Not me of course. I tried to tell her, poor girl. Just drop by, she misses you.
-Ron

Harry had a huge smile on his face by the end of reading. Perhaps he should go see them soon, because "Hermione" missed him. He knew Ron was probably still upset he had chosen to stay with Cedric over the Weasleys', and if anything Hermione was probably happy for him. Putting down the letter, he stretched, before heading down the stairs.
"Hello, Mrs. Diggory," he said sleepily. Light was already pouring in through the windows, making the whole room glow a bright yellow.
"Good morning, Harry. How did you sleep?"
"Okay."
"Here, I've made you breakfast, dear, Cedric's gone to the ministry with his father."
"Thank you," he said, sitting down at a table.
She smiled and set a plate in front of him.
"Harry, may I ask you something?"
"Yeah, anything. What is it?"
"Please don't think I'm prying, but Cedric wouldn't tell me anything about you two, and, I'm just curious. It is hard for me not to know... he never told me... I just found out from the Daily Prophet one morning, and in all honesty, thought the whole thing was fake."
Harry looked down at his feet before opening his mouth to speak. "Mrs. Diggory, I was..."
"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."
"No, that's fine." He took a deep breath before saying, "It was Cedric that fancied me first. My friend Seamus suspected, and went to ask him one day, without me knowing. He told a few people and it leaked out. At first we all just thought it was some sort of joke, but then I realized that it wasn't. And then everyone knew. He lost a lot of friends. Probably cause they felt uncomfortable around him."
"Cedric... how could anyone..." she began, but her eyes watered at the idea of her son being hated for who he was.
Harry stopped her. "But when I found out I..." he stopped.
She looked at him with a small smile, most likely expecting to hear something like how Harry was there for him. How he stayed his friend and didn't care if Cedric was gay, because that wasn't important. It shouldn't of been.
"...Harry?"
"I was..." he closed his eyes, "I hated him too."
There was a stunned silence floating around them. But not just from Mrs. Diggory. Harry was shocked by his own words, how he could've ever hated Cedric.
"I hated him for fancying me because I didn't want to like him. I think I knew somewhere that I did, and I was... I couldn't take that feeling. I didn't want to be queer. I even asked him why he just had to make my life more difficult, I just ignored him!"
Harry wasn't aware anymore of the woman standing a few feet away from him, with wide eyes and an open mouth. He was only aware of his horrible self, whom he wanted to keep yelling at. He wanted to cry— Cedric had forgiven him. Why?
Cedric had fancied him, and had continued to even while Harry was being more than a git to him. And that only made him feel worse at the moment.
Suddenly he felt himself wrapped in someone's arms. Lauren Diggory whispered, "Oh, Harry," and she pulled away a few seconds later. He glanced outside, blinking back moisture in his eyes rapidly, until he thought it was safe to look back at her.
"I'm sorry," he said softly. "I feel really..."
"I'm sure you feel bad, dear, but you shouldn't anymore. You were just uncomfortable. I can understand that."
"But I never should've treated him like that. He didn't, doesn't, deserve it from me or anyone else."
"And neither do you. Regret the past, Harry, and you'll never be happy. You may of been uncomfortable then, but you're in the same position as he is now. You can go through it together this time. Don't leave him alone again, Harry, when he wants you there with him."
She then smiled, quite normally, and made to leave the room, before saying, "By the way, on Thursday, I was thinking you and Cedric could go up to London, and pick me up a few things."
"Sure, that sounds great."
"Thank you. Cedric should be home before lunch," she said, finally leaving.

Chapter Text

With a book bag slung over his shoulder, Cedric walked out of a bookstore, followed closely behind by Harry.
"She made us come all the way here for a book," Cedric acknowledged, disbelievingly.
"It was only an hour train ride."
"Was that it?"
"You fell asleep," Harry said, a small smile forming on his face, recalling the way Cedric had been lying on his lap, softly snoring.
"Mmm."
"She probably just thought we could go and do something while we're here..."
"Want to get ice cream?" Cedric asked, looking in another direction.
"What?" Harry followed his gaze and there on the end of the block was a small ice cream store. He chuckled before saying, "Sure, why not?"

When they walked inside, a pretty girl behind the counter said, "Hi!" quite enthusiastically. Cedric smiled back. "What can I get for you?" she asked, batting her eyelashes at Cedric. He could see Harry narrow his eyes from his peripheral vision.
"Chocolate, thanks. You, Harry?" Her dreamy gaze broke as she turned towards the latter with a polite smile. "Er, same."
She glanced back towards Cedric with pink tinted cheeks before scooping and handing them two chocolate. Harry rolled his eyes.
"I'm Amelia," she said all a sudden, blushing more at her outburst. "What are your names?"
Cedric looked down, sighing, yet still with a charming smile, and faced her again. "I'm Cedric Diggory, and this is—" he thought for a moment, "my boyfriend, Harry."
Her eyes widened before her face somewhat fell with embarrassment. "Oh, you're... oh."
But then, an irritably girlish giggle escaped her mouth, and she asked excitedly, "How did you meet?"
"We go to school together, in Scotland."
"That's so sweet."
Harry couldn't help but smile as she, like every other girl, found them adorable.
"Sorry, I just... sorry," she said. "Well it was nice meeting you!"
"You too," Cedric stated kindly before they paid and quickly left.
When outside, Cedric whispered, "A little protective of me, eh?"
Harry responded with a smirk, "Well, someone as handsome as you needs protection. No one is allowed to steal you from me."
"As if I would ever allow that to happen."
"Good."
Cedric laughed at his firm manner and grabbed Harry's hand before saying, "Ah, why I love you."
The street was almost deserted– almost, but not completely. A fact Harry failed to notice when he quickly scanned their surroundings before reaching up to kiss Cedric.
"Mmm, you taste like chocolate," Harry moaned with a smile. Cedric hummed against his lips, but all of a sudden, they heard someone catcalling, and jerked apart.
"Hey pretty-boys!"
Walking towards them from the other end of the street, were four guys around Cedric's age.
"Sorry, did we interrupt play time?" one asked, causing the others to laugh.
Harry tensed, and his eyebrows furrowed, but he took a deep breath and sighed.
"Filthy benders."
"Shut up," Harry warned.
"Oh right, you need quiet."
They were now standing a few feet in front of them, all with smirks.
"Can we help you?" Cedric asked, clenching his teeth. It was then that Harry noticed he was also holding something tight in the inside pocket of his jacket.
"Cedric..." he whispered warily, "they're muggles."
"Oh, no, but I think you'll get off this street right now if you know what's good for you."
"What if we don't?" Cedric asked. Harry would've probably said it himself, except for he was still eyeing where Cedric's hand was wrapped around his wand. Because he had learned to control his anger around muggles from years with the Dursleys.
"You really want to find out, uphill gardener?
Before Harry could shout back, Cedric lunged at him. "You fucking bitch!" And he punched him hard in the stomach, causing the guy to topple over, clutching his sides.
Harry was stunned still. His mouth opened slightly, before he realized and closed it.
"Do any of you bastards have something else to say?!" Cedric yelled, about to go at someone else before they quickly backed away.
"Come on, Alf, let's go..." one said as he put his hand on his friend's shoulder, and they hurried away. The other boy hauled up the guy Cedric had punched, and they followed, sending back disgusted glares and threats.
"Manky poofs!"

Harry glanced at Cedric, still surprised. Although he did look pretty attractive to see so riled up and defensive, it wasn't like him.
"Well you just did that..."
"I know."
"I'm supposed to be the one that gets all irritated easily."
A small smile formed on Cedric's face. "Yeah," he agreed, before adding, "That was one too many times, Harry. I don't... I'm tired of everyone making this a big deal. I just want everyone to leave us alone."
Harry reached over to grab his hand. "I know. And eventually, they will. I promise. But until then, we'll just have to face them, together. And that's alright with me, if you're there."
Cedric pressed his forehead against Harry's lightly, and whispered, "Thank you."
"By the way, you looked totally buff when you punched him."
Harry laughed as Cedric's cheeks lit up and he grinned sheepishly.
"Ah. I'll remember that when I'm trying to impress you."
"You're always impressing me. You're brilliant, you know, Cedric?"

Chapter Text

She set down the letter gently on the hard wooden table, sighing.
"What? What did he say?" Ron asked.
Hermione looked away.
"Just read it yourself."
So Ron took the letter from Harry, and read it over, a frown growing on his face until it started turning into actual anger.
"Harry doesn't deserve this," Hermione stated, matter of factly.
"Those muggle gits would..."
"It's not about them, Ron. It was just one too many times something like this has happened to him."
"Well what are we going to do about it?!"
"...What do you mean?" Hermione said, though a small smile of pride was forming on her face.
"If you think I'm just going to stand by and watch people hurt my best mate, then..."
She had enveloped him in a big hug, stunning him silent.
"What?" he asked when she pulled away.
"You've changed, Ron. Which means others can too. We just have to get the rest of Hogwarts to see him in a better way this year. Especially this year, because he won't have Cedric."
"And what do you have in mind?"
Her eyebrows furrowed in thought, before she grinned widely.
"What?"
"I have an idea!"
"What is it?"
"Oh, right. It's not about that, I um, hold on." Hermione ran into another room and scrambled back with a quill and parchment in her hand.
"I think we should write a letter, to all of our friends."
"...Okay. Uh, about what exactly?"
"I don't know, just, asking them to be there for Harry this year?"
Ron stared at her. Not exactly her best plan...
"Didn't you have another idea?"
"Oh, yes, I did! We should plan something for them!"
"Who?"
"Seriously, Ronald. Harry and Cedric!"
"Oh, right. Like what?"
"A romantic dinner or something!"
"A romantic dinner?" he began to grow uncomfortable. Romantic stuff was not his area of expertise.
"Yes! Harry is going to be positively miserable this year, I know it. There's only so much we can do for him."
"We've always been enough for Harry before..." Ron mumbled, almost sadly.
She grasped his hands in hers before saying, "And we still are. Cedric is not replacing us. He's just... I think Harry needs someone to lean on. He doesn't want to shove that on us, and the same thing with Cedric and his friends. Plus, I don't think you'd be willing to kiss your best friend, just to be enough for him," she stated with a grin, causing Ron to redden.
"Er... right."

Cedric woke up with his arm asleep, most likely because Harry was laying on it, causing him to grin. He looked over at him fondly, satisfying his boredom by watching Harry breathe softly— it was pretty adorable the way his lips parted ever so slightly when he slept, almost tempting Cedric to lean over and kiss him. But that might wake him up, and would therefore be no better than pulling out his arm from underneath Harry's back, which was feeling more tingly by the second. Their legs were all tangled, and Harry was clinging to Cedric's chest, his cheek warm against his bare skin.
After half an hour of laying there with him, Harry's eyes fluttered open sleepily, and he yawned, similar to a puppy, Cedric thought. Harry blinked at him, before sighing, "You did it again, didn't you?"
"Did what?" he asked innocently.
"I'm probably laying on your arm or something," Harry checked and rolled his eyes, as he hoisted himself up and Cedric brought his now completely numb arm back, "and you didn't want to wake me up so you just let me."
"Well, that is quite alright, Harry, because you look even more cute when you're sleeping, if that's even possible."
The Gryffindor smiled shyly before reaching over Cedric to get his glasses off the bedside table, while they both relished the feel of their bare chests pressed up against one another's.
"Should we go down and get breakfast?" Harry asked.
"Yeah."
They both changed, both struggling to not look at each other as they did so.
When Harry caught Cedric staring first, as he was pulling on his trousers, he quirked an eyebrow.
"Sorry, did you want to see?"
Harry teased.
Cedric immediately blushed, but grinned sheepishly and looked away. Harry was definitely a Gryffindor. Even when Cedric was feeling brave, he wouldn't ever dare to ask something like that.
When they got downstairs, they found both Mr. and Mrs. Diggory were out.
"Well I guess this means I have to make breakfast," Cedric whined, similar to how a lazy little boy might, making Harry laugh.
"Do you want help?"
"No, that's okay."
"I'm running to the bathroom then."
Cedric nodded.

When Harry got back and sat down, Cedric was just turning around.
"Toast?" Harry said, grinning.
"Yes."
"Just toast?"
"Aw, I worked really hard, Harry," he joked.
"Sorry. My apologies."
Cedric stood behind him and leaned down, setting a plate in front of him, though, he didn't rise back up. Instead, he nuzzled Harry with his nose, before resting his cheek on top of his soft black hair, and letting his arms relax on his shoulders.
Cedric slowly sat down on his knees, so he was slightly shorter than Harry in the chair, and reached up, placing a hand on his jawline. His thumb trailed over Harry's lips, and the boy closed his eyes before saying with a smile, "So we're doing this now, are we?"
"I'd accept it as a 'thank you for making me breakfast.'"
"Right. The toast. But I'm not complaining," he said as he turned abruptly and leaned down to meet Cedric's mouth.
Seeing Harry's face above him rather than below was actually sort of hot. The force with which the Gryffindor was kissing him was actually shocking, and exhausted his lips. Their tongues met, dancing somewhere between their mouths, until Harry won and began to run his tongue along the inside of Cedric's mouth. A sudden tapping sound coming from the window caused Harry to jump, in the process kicking out one of the chair legs underneath him making it give out, and then he fell forward onto Cedric.
The older laughed, "It's my owl, Harry."
"Your... oh." A blush was crawling up his face.
Cedric untangled himself from Harry and stood, walking over to the window to open it for the brown bird.
"It's from..." he coughed, "er, my dad."
It was actually from Hermione, but seeing as it was addressed to Cedric, he figured it might be about Harry.
"Isn't your dad just at work?"
"Sorry, yeah. It's for my dad, from someone I don't know."
"Hmm."

In the evening, while Harry was downstairs, talking with Mrs. Diggory, Cedric sat on his bed and opened the letter.

Dear Cedric,
I hope your summer has been fun with Harry, it's going to be hard for him when you're not there. So I was wondering when you get time off from work during the year?
Sincerely,
Hermione

Chapter Text

They were outside. A dry breeze was blowing through his hair; he closed his eyes and leaned back against the tree. Grazing his cheek, a light brown mop of soft hair, that was Cedric's.
"I'm going to miss you, Harry."
There was tranquil silence.
"I'm going to miss you too," he responded quietly after a while. "...we're going to be fine, right?" Harry asked.
"What do you mean?"
"This whole distance thing. It's not going to get in the way?"
Cedric sat up a bit so he was eye level with Harry, before he pressed his forehead into his and breathed, "As long as we don't want it to, it won't. Because I'll do anything to be with you."
"Why... why are you so, perfect?"
"Because I have you. Anyone would be. I just got lucky. But I am definitely not perfect."
There was another brief silence, where Harry just thought about how he would manage all of the hate, all the laughing girls, all of the people without Cedric there to go through it with him. Being the Boy Who Lived was enough. But then there was this. He wouldn't get to see him at breakfast, or in the halls, or after dinner down by the lake. He wouldn't get to kiss him for a semester, which wasn't the worst part, but it was still pretty awful. And to add on to that, Harry's eyes were tearing up. Which was great. Cedric was turning him soft.
"Are you crying, Harry?" he said with a small smile.
"Barely. It's your fault," he defended weakly.
"I am terribly sorry. I rather like seeing you cry over me though."
"You're about to make me stop crying, saying that," he grinned.
Cedric whispered, "Harry, don't worry about anything. Nothing could get in the way of this. And if other students are bugging you, I'll find a way to apparate into Hogwarts to give them a slap in the face."
Harry laughed. "It's more likely I'd do that. Except for that one time this summer. That was brilliant. So, I won't see you till winter, right?"
"Yeah. But... I might get them to let me leave early one day and go to a Quidditch game."
Harry smiled. "I'd like that."

-King's Cross-
Cedric glanced over. Hermione and Ron were standing with the other Weasleys. It was Ron who caught his eye, and his face lit up as he nudged Hermione. They ran over quickly.
"Cedric!" she shouted, giving him an unexpected hug. His eyes widened before he smiled and chuckled. Ron awkwardly shook his hand. "How are you? Where's Harry? It's so nice to see you!"
"...Sorry? Oh, he's talking to uh, Dean?" he said, glancing at the other Gryffindor. "Harry!" Ron yelled this time, causing the two to turn around at the familiar voice. "Ron, Hermione!" Harry hugged them both.
"Oh, Harry, we missed you so much!" she exclaimed.
"Yeah, I missed you too."
"Well, we can catch up on the train. You should say goodbye to him."
He nodded, slightly downcast.
Cedric slowly walked over. "I hope to see you again soon," Hermione said. He smiled.
After Harry's two friends disappeared onto the train, Cedric turned towards him. "Well, I guess this is..."
"Hold on, Harry!" came a woman's voice. Cedric rolled his eyes as his mother rushed over to them. Followed closely behind by Mrs. Weasley and further behind by Mr. Diggory.
"Harry, dear!" Molly exclaimed, pulling him into a Hagrid-like, rib-cracking hug.
"Hi," he gasped.
"And you must be Cedric," she said, a wide smile on her face as she embraced him in a hug of his own. "We missed you this summer, Harry! Though, I can't say I don't understand."
Harry smiled somewhat guiltily.
"He really was spectacular, we hope you'll come again, Harry. Maybe next summer?" Mrs. Diggory suggested, yet Mrs. Weasley added, "You're welcome to stay at the Burrow as always, dear."
"Thanks, Mrs. Weasley. Maybe I should decide a little later in the year, though?" he said to both of them.
"Right, of course."
"You should board soon. The train will leave in a few minutes. It was wonderful having you," Mrs. Diggory said. Amos now spoke up. "You're a good person, Harry Potter. I'm glad I was proven wrong about you."
"Thanks, Mr. Diggory. I'm glad too."
For a few moments, the group stood quietly, both Cedric and Harry were expecting they'd let them say goodbye to each other. However, none of them seemed to think of that, therefore, Cedric turned to Harry, in front of them all and whispered in his ear, "I love you. Don't let Malfoy get on your nerves. Or anyone else."
"I'll try," Harry said, grinning, but growing redder by the second because of the little audience they had. Not to mention people inside the train were watching them from the windows.
Cedric frowned, "Write to me. Please."
"Every day," Harry partially joked, though he was no longer smiling either.
In a split second, they had both leaned forward and kissed. It was so desperate, but so tender, that it sent chills through them both, and neither could find it in them to care about people watching, until they spilt apart. Mrs. Weasley and Mrs. Diggory both had full smiles on their faces, and everyone on board was either giggling or gasping. The two both smiled themselves and blushed, but then Harry reached up, placing a hand on his cheek and kissed him again.
"Bye, Cedric," he whispered as he drew apart, reaching down to hold his hand for a split second, clenching it tightly in his own, before letting go and disappearing.
"...Bye."
He felt his mother's hand on his shoulder as he watched Harry enter a compartment with Ron and Hermione and sit down by the window. Harry looked him and smiled slightly, waving.
Cedric grinned as he waved back, before putting his hand back in his pocket.
The train was gone.

Chapter Text

Harry stepped off the train with Ron and Hermione, feeling a bit down. Cedric wasn't there. He wasn't going to be there for a whole semester.
"Where's your stupid boyfriend, Potter?" Malfoy snapped.
Harry lunged for him, but was jerked back by Ron's hand around his wrist.
"It's only Malfoy," his friend said as the blond headed prat gave a nasty glare and walked away.
"Harry, come on. We don't want to miss the carriages," Hermione whispered, giving him an uneasy look.
"Fine."

Harry sat with his hand on his cheek in the Great Hall.
"We know you'll miss Cedric, mate, but— it won't be that bad, you know? You survived without him up until last year. Are we really that boring?" Ron asked with a light grin.
Harry smiled a little, and sat up, saying, "No, sorry, I didn't mean to seem..."
Hermione interrupted. "We're here for you, Harry. Whether you'll need us or not. We all are," she inclined her head towards their house mates, who were all watching.
"Come on, don't worry," Seamus said, "If Malfoy'ers givin' you trouble, er anyone else, we'll make sure to get Pretty Boy Diggory down here. He'd probably apparate here in a heartbeat."
Harry blushed a little, not mentioning that Cedric had joked he'd do that if he could.
"You can't apparate into Hogwarts," Hermione noted, none paying attention to her.

The attention he got his first week back was actually more positive than negative. The other Gryffindors were just as equally accepting of him as they had been last year, but the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws seemed to have a change of mind, too.
"Hi, Harry," Cho said to him as they passed in the hall.
Having been lost in thought, his head shot up at his name. "Oh, hi."
"How was your summer with— " she cleared her throat, "erm, Cedric?"
"It was, uh, brilliant, yeah. Yours?"
"Oh, it was alright, thanks. I didn't do much."
He nodded, slowly growing weary of the awkwardness.
"Well..." she started, "nice to see you, Harry. Tell Cedric I said hi then."
"Right, course."
She walked away with a blush.
He didn't know which one of them she still fancied, but she did, seeing as her eyelashes were fluttering while she was talking to him, and the way she said Cedric's name. If she wanted Harry, that was fine. But no one was getting Cedric, other than him.

Ron, Hermione, and Harry were standing outside, it was a beautiful day, the sun was shining brightly on them. Since it was the weekend, there were many students around, sitting on benches, studying, one Ravenclaw couple kissing; Harry tried not to roll his eyes. It should be him and a certain Hufflepuff with bold grey eyes and wonderfully soft hair.
Malfoy stood a distance away from them, sulking near a tree.
"Snape's nasty as ever," Ron said, or rather had been saying. Harry just hadn't been paying attention. "Taking fifteen points from us, just because I got it wrong," he complained.
"He's up to something," Harry mumbled.
"Of course he is, he's Snape!"
"What— no, I meant Malfoy. Why haven't Crabbe and Goyle been with him?
"Seriously, Harry. I don't think Malfoy's planning anything drastic. Just, let's try to stay away from him this year," Hermione's voice came from behind.
"Snape has something to do with it though."
"If you think they're plotting for You Know Who, mate, that's a pretty big accusation."
"I don't know what they're doing. But it's—"
"Harry!" Someone called out to him.
Justin Finch-Fletchley, Ernie Macmillan, and another Hufflepuff boy came up to them.
"Haven't gotten to speak with you yet," Justin started, "How was your summer?"
"With Cedric?" Ernie added under his breath, a smirk on his face.
"It was, uh," a blush was starting to form on his cheeks, "It was great, yeah."
"I bet."
His cheeks grew a shade darker.
"Good to see you, Ron, Hermione," Ernie added. "By the way, this is our friend Alistair Thaxted."
"Nice to meet you," Harry said, shaking his hand.
"Pleasure's all mine, Potter," Thaxted said and smiled. He had short, dark brown hair, soft brown eyes, and a thick Scottish accent. He wasn't half bad looking. Not that Harry was even considering.
"I've been wanting to meet you ever since you came to Hogwarts," he added. "I'm a seventh year."
Harry smiled awkwardly, trying not to look impolite with his dislike of being considered an important "someone to meet."
However, Hermione pushed herself forward and held out her hand. "I'm Hermione Granger, Harry's friend."
Thaxted smiled charmingly before shaking her hand too. Ron eyed him with a piercing glare. Until he said, "I've heard all about you two also, of course," causing his gaze to soften into something more of pride. A pink hue swiftly crept up Hermione's neck.
"Well, I have to go do homework," he said, turning to Justin and Ernie.
"All right, we'll just stay behind."
The older Hufflepuff nodded, before facing the three again.
"I know most of us weren't good to you last year, Potter, but I'd like for us to be friends. I never thought the way we were treating you and Cedric was right, I should've spoken up."
"It's fine," Harry assured. "You didn't have to."
"I should've though," he stated, "I'm glad to meet you, Harry."
'First name basis already?' he thought, but dismissed it. There wasn't anything wrong with that. He was probably just a social guy.
"And you as well, Miss Granger. Weasley."
'Except that he called them by their last names.'
Thaxted nodded politely and hurried away. Ron watched after him before saying, "I don't like him."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Why not, Ron?"
"Well first, he's suspicious."
"And why is that?"
"Cause he was making eyes at Harry!" he exclaimed before mumbling, "And you."
"He was not," she stated.
"He was?" Justin asked.
"I don't think so... he knows Cedric and you are... he's his friend! He wouldn't do that," Ernie confirmed.
"Please, Ron. You're being stupid."

Harry wasn't so sure.

Chapter Text

"Where's Ron?"
"Finishing an essay."
"He could've just done it here with us."
"Hermione thought we'd distract him," Harry responded with a grin.
Ernie, Harry, and Alistair sat in a corner of the library, where they had been for the past half hour, talking.
"She's probably right," Alistair said with a smirk. "Our conversation has been far too interesting to not be a part of."
Ernie smiled, as did Harry. They hadn't really said much at all, but rather thought of things to say to avoid awkward pauses, which they did unsuccessfully.
"How's Cedric?"
Harry looked up, to see a glint of sincere curiosity in Alistair's eyes, which the boy was trying to mask with bored indifference.
"He's, er, well I haven't really talked to him much."
"Why not?" he asked, perking up a bit.
"I dunno, I've just been busy. He's sent me letters though, and I reply when he does."
"Ah."
"So what did you do at his house? Or do you just not want to tell us?" Ernie asked, slyly smiling.
Harry blushed before saying, "We just... played Quidditch and stuff."
They both raised their eyebrows, before Ernie, seeming to enjoy embarrassing him, said, "Did you sleep together?"
"Okay, so we're a bit on the personal side now, but does it matter?"
"Well I hope you were being safe, Harry, you know, because..."
"Yeah, I don't need to know why, thanks," Harry interrupted, face completely red now.
"Just making sure."
Alistair chuckled into his fist.
Suddenly changing the topic, Ernie turned to the seventh year and said, "Hey, Alistair, you wouldn't mind doing my potions assignment for me, right?"
"Not bloody well likely!" he exclaimed with an exaggerated expression of horror on his face. Harry laughed.
"But you're good at potions!"
"Sorry to disappoint you, Ernie, I'm not signing up for extra work when I have enough as it is. Wait till you get to seventh year, then see how you like more homework."
"Well fine then, I guess I better get started on that if I want to finish it. If I'm not at dinner, just tell Justin I'm doing homework."
"Really, you have to make me feel guilty? Fine, I'll do it tonight."
"No, you don't need to do it! Well, if you insist..." Ernie said, fishing through his satchel, eventually pulling out a paper and handing it to Alistair.
"You should learn from Cedric Diggory, right, Harry? He'd never cheat on an assignment. Unlike you– disgrace to Hufflepuff," he mumbled teasingly.
"We can't all be the perfect student!"
Harry smiled in agreement. Cedric was, in absolutely every way, perfect. Perfect student, perfect friend, perfect boyfriend...
"Hey, I think we lost you," Alistair said, touching his arm gently.
"We lost him when you mentioned his boyfriend," Ernie stated.
"No, I was just... yeah." Harry's voice trailed off.
"Yeah?"
"Never mind."

"I know it's not what you meant, Dean, but I'm just saying, Ginny isn't really that... she doesn't like it when you call her a..." Hermione's voice trailed off at the sound of Harry's voice.
Alistair and her friend turned the corner, both with a big grin, and faces red from how hard they had been laughing. Harry wiped his eyes, still chuckling quietly, before he saw Hermione.
"Hey, Granger," Alistair said with a kind smile when he spotted her and Dean.
So he was still calling her Granger, was he? Not that they had really talked before, but, well he called Harry, Harry.
"Hi," she said.
"I'd better go, Harry, you know, cause I'm doing Ernie's work for him."
Harry smirked. "Right. I'll catch you around then."
Alistair placed his hand on Harry's shoulder, squeezing it lightly before nodding and saying, "Bye."
When he had left, Harry looked down at his shoulder and frowned slightly.
"I think you should be careful," came Dean's unexpected voice.
"What do you mean?" Harry asked, looking like he knew exactly what Dean meant.
"He likes you, Harry," Hermione piped in.
"And there are plenty of girls in line for Cedric, and if they see you and Thaxted like that they'll tell him," Dean finished.
"As long as he doesn't do anything, he won't bother me. I mean, he is my friend."
"He probably will do something, Harry. We know you don't fancy him, but he's got a different idea. You can't lead him on," she stated.
"I'm not leading him on! I give Ron hugs sometimes, does that mean I've been leading him on, too?"
"But it's different with Ron, he's been your best friend."
Harry sighed. "I'm not pushing someone away because they might fancy me. I did that to Cedric, and I feel bad every day for it."
"That was because he was gay. This isn't someone who has to deal with that type of rejection, because he already knows you like boys," Dean said, "He's not going to be ashamed of himself if you turn him down."
"Fine, brilliant. But I'm staying his friend until he makes any moves."
Suddenly Ron and Seamus entered the area, both chattering excitedly about a Quidditch team.
"What's going on?" Ron asked.
"Harry's having boy troubles," Dean said with a sly grin. Harry glared back in response.

Chapter Text

Cedric stepped inside his house. Completely empty at the moment, but not for long. He had wanted to move out of his parents' home as soon as he was done with school, and they had given him some money to start. It wasn't far away. A nice, small and comfy home on a hill with all the space he needed right now. And if everything stayed good with Harry, enough space for him too.
Cedric smiled and got lost in thought for a moment. He missed him a lot, but it wouldn't be that long before his break. Well, a couple months, but they would go by in no time.
He realized he had left the door open when an owl came swooping in.
"Hedwig!"
The white bird cooed happily and landed on his shoulder, perching proudly.
"What have you got for me today?" Cedric asked her, pulling off a letter from it's foot. He smiled when he saw who it was from, even though because it was Hedwig, it was obviously from Harry.

Cedric,
I am so glad you've gotten a place. I hope there's room for me there. Not that being cramped up with you would be that bad. Still. And how are your parents? Any news with them? Or you? There's really nothing going on here. But I suppose everyone's been nicer in general. Especially your old friends. Now for the cheesy part (Cedric laughed as he read). I miss you a lot, which you probably know; everything just feels empty without you here. But I can't wait until winter break, and honestly, I think I could kiss you for all of it. I love you, Cedric. I'll write again soon.
-Harry

Cedric put down the letter and smiled happily. What did he do to deserve him? The bravest, cutest, most selfless person in the world? Suddenly another owl flew in, a barn owl. He stared at it as it chirped and landed on his desk. "Who are you from?" he asked, walking over and petting it's head. The letter tied to it's foot was from Zacharias Smith.
He gazed at the name for a minute, before pursing his lips, and deciding he would read it later.

Alistair and Harry were getting on quite well. Harry always had some level of discomfort around him, but he had gotten used to Alistair's flirtatiousness for the most part. Maybe that was just the way he was.
But when Alistair had started teasing Harry, all in good fun, and then, due to Harry's flushed face, found a reason to add to the redness by touching his lips, 'Hey, your lips are dry— want some chapstick?' it had gone almost too far. Because he had been doing things like that for several weeks. Unfortunately, when Alistair had run his finger over Harry's lips, Zacharias Smith had seen, and raised his eyebrows. He turned back around and went the way he came. Harry had been about to say something to Alistair, say that this was a little too much, but he too, had already left with a quick goodbye, no doubt avoiding Harry's incoming warning.

"Smith saw him with me— do you think he'll tell Cedric?"
Ron said, "Well it depends on what he saw you doing I suppose."
"What were you doing?" Hermione asked suspiciously, glaring at him with narrowed eyes.
"I wasn't doing anything!"
"Yes. but what about him?" she said, with piercing eyes.
Harry looked away before, "Nothing bad, he just... I mean he only touched my lips because, well whatever!"
She sighed. Her and Ron both sharing a look.

"Hey, Smith!" he yelled.
Zacharias turned around, and gave Ron a bored glare.
"What?"
"What you saw Thaxted do earlier—"
Zacharias was smirking now.
"You're not telling Cedric, right? Cause it's not Harry who wants it."
"Sure Weasley, and no, I have not told Cedric anything."
Ron eyed him for a moment, before scowling and mumbling, "Bloody git..." and he walked away.

Later that night, Cedric gazed at the letter on his desk. He probably wouldn't want to hear anything Smith had to say. It was most likely some sort of hate letter. But after staring at it for a long time, he sighed and ripped open the envelope.

Cedric,
I hope you are doing well, I've heard you've gotten a place. Though I'm sure he's told you, you'll be glad to know no one is bothering poor Harry this year about being queer. But speaking of Harry, just thought you should know he's been hitting on your old friend Alistair Thaxted. They're pretty close this year- he even let Alistair touch his lips and ruffle his hair once. Just being a good friend and letting you know what he won't dare to. All the best,
-Zacharias Smith

Cedric's mouth was hanging open. He let the letter fall to the floor, but then quickly reached down to pick it up and read it through again. 'Don't trust Zach,' he told himself. But he hadn't lied before... even though he was a git. And why would he even make up a lie about Harry and... Alistair. He didn't believe that Harry would do something like this, 'Maybe he was bored though— maybe you really aren't good enough.' His mind was racing, as a thousand thoughts sprang up in his head. But with each new one, it was seeming more and more possible that Smith was telling the truth.
How could Alistair let this happen? He was his friend! He should of stopped this.
Cedric walked over to his bed and sat down, holding the letter, crushed in his hand. He didn't want to trust Zach, but it wasn't that hard to believe anymore. He was angry now. At Harry, at Alistair, at Smith..." But most of all Harry. Was the letter he just got from him earlier today all a lie? And pretty soon, angry tears were forming in his eyes, that he tried to blink away, but they ended up falling down his now red cheeks. How could Harry do this?

Chapter Text

Harry,
If there's anything you think I should know, tell me. Please. I've heard it from someone else and I don't want to believe it but it's not difficult to. I need to hear it from you.
-Cedric

Dear Cedric,
I'm not sure who told you what, and if it has to do with Alistair, than don't worry about it. If it's something else, than you'll have to fill me in.
Love,
Harry

Cedric stared at the last letter he received. It did have to do with Alistair, and obviously Harry and him were close enough for Harry to realize that someone would think him and Alistair were more than friends. Which is why Harry'd mentioned it in his last letter. But he just told Cedric not to worry about it. That wasn't very comforting. He wanted to know what he shouldn't be worrying about. Cedric was pacing in his living room, before realizing he was probably thinking too much of this. But he had to ask.

Dear Harry,
If nothing's going on between you and Alistair, then why has Zach told me Alistair's touched your lips and ruffled your hair, among other things? Maybe you just get touchy with your friends, I don't know. But I think I would of noticed that particular characteristic of yours by now.
-Cedric

Cedric,
I'm surprised you would think I wouldn't tell you if I started to fancy someone else. Yes, he's touched me, I've touched him. It was nothing like with you. Nothing more than I'd do with Ernie or Ron. You're making too much of this. But besides that, how could you possibly trust Smith more than me?

Cedric was even more angry than before he sent his first letter, because now Harry was frustrated too. The tone of his letter was annoyed, and it was directed at him. But it was directed at him because of Alistair, which made it worse. According to Harry, Alistair did nothing wrong, but Cedric couldn't get past them touching, as if they were great friends already. They'd only just met this year!

"Why you getting so many owls every day now?" Ron asked with his mouth full.
Harry looked up at his friends, stuffing away the letters that he was holding.
"Just... Cedric."
Ron hummed as he opened to the Quidditch section of the Daily Prophet.
They had probably written back and forth twenty more times, and each time with more anger.
Hermione studied his face carefully before saying, "What is it, Harry? What's wrong?"
"Nothing."
"Harry..."
"It's fine. It's nothing."
She looked at him sadly. "Why are you upset?"
"He's just, being over-protective."
Hermione's frown deepened. "You've never thought that was a bad thing before."
"Well... it is! It's annoying. You should think I'd be allowed to touch someone without him getting all worked up!"
"Harry! He's your boyfriend, and from my experience of being around you when you're angry, you just push things away like they're nothing!" Several people were looking at them now, and Ron had put down the paper and started glancing back and forth between them nervously. She continued, "You probably haven't even clearly said to him, there's nothing going on between me and Alistair. Honestly, Harry! Most likely, you've just told him not to worry about it, like it's none of his business! Which would then of course make him even more worried obviously! It is, completely, his business!"
He stared for a few seconds, before blinking and mumbling, "He trusted Zacharias Smith more than me."
"Cedric has more reason to be mad than you."
Harry scowled, before standing up, and walking out of the Great Hall. And of course, who he bumped into down the first corridor, was Alistair.
"Everything alright, Harry?"
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"No you're not," he stated, putting a hand on his shoulder and looking into his eyes. "Is it Cedric?"
Harry sighed, before he nodded carefully.
"Well whatever it is with him, I'm sure it'll sort itself out. I wouldn't worry."
"Yeah..."
Alistair suddenly hugged him, taking Harry by surprise, who chuckled awkwardly before giving in and hugging him back. When they drew apart, Alistair looked flustered and ran some fingers through his dark brown hair.
Harry offered a smile. "I should get on, I have Potions."
"Yeah, okay. Er... bye Harry!"
"Bye."

Harry and Cedric had never even remotely fought before. And it left Harry feeling sad, in pain almost, as he stared at the ceiling that night. And also very frustrated. Because he knew, as much as he didn't want to admit, that he was really the bigger one to blame, for not stopping Alistair. And Harry knew if he were Cedric, he would be very jealous.

Chapter Text

A month had passed since Cedric's last letter. And there was only a month until winter break. Harry was starting to worry. The Weasleys already knew he was, well, should be staying with Cedric during the holidays, but if he wasn't, Ron would make him come to his house, and Harry would have to tell them why he wasn't at Cedric's.
All of a sudden, he felt a deep pang in his heart; he missed him and his letters more than he had missed anyone in his life. Not that he had many opportunities to miss people when he was growing up with the Dursleys. But he hoped with all his heart this was just a passing argument that had gone a little too far. Though he wouldn't admit it to Cedric, Harry had gotten quite aggressive with his language in their last few letters, and had probably pushed him away, which he fully regretted now.
Harry had almost forgotten he was sitting with the Hufflepuffs in the library, when Justin said, "Harry, were you even listening?
"Er, sorry?"
"Has something happened? You've been much more sulky and dazed in the past month," Ernie stated. Harry's eyes fell on Alistair, who gave him a sympathetic look.
"Have I?" he said sarcastically, "No, I think everything's spectacular with me."
"Mmm. Okay then, so obviously not. Why don't you just go write to Cedric? That should take your mind off— whatever your mind's on," Ernie suggested.
Justin's brows furrowed in thought for a moment, before he said, "I think it's Cedric that his mind's on, Ern."
The blond Hufflepuff jerked his head back to Harry. "Did something happen?"
A look of shame covered Harry's face.
"Not really. It's fine."
They gave him a suspicious glare before Ernie said, "I'm hearing more about this later. I have to get to charms now though." Harry was slightly relieved of the free pass from having to explain what was wrong between them, so he nodded, and tried to smile. Justin went along with him.
Which left Alistair.
The dark haired seventh year smiled at him for a moment before saying, "I'm sorry about Cedric."
A brief silence passed, before Harry stated, "Don't be. We were sure to get in a fight eventually."
Alistair put a hand on his shoulder.
"I just don't understand why... I mean, I know I should've been more clear to him, but he still shouldn't of gotten that upset."
"Would it be too intrusive of me to ask what you were arguing about?"
Harry flushed slightly, before saying, "It was about you."
"Sorry?"
"Zacharias Smith saw us do something, and he told Cedric. And he... took it the wrong way."
Alistair twitched, a blush steadily growing on his cheeks, however, he was still keeping his expression masked.
"The wrong way?" he mumbled, seeming lost in thought.
Harry blinked, confused.
"Sorry?"
"Was it— did he take it the wrong way? ....Maybe he didn't mistake anything, Harry," Alistair said, again very quietly.
"What do you mean?" Harry said slowly, though he had already pieced it together in his mind.
Ignoring him, Alistair continued, "Because I think we both know I've only ever meant it like that. And it was no mistake..."
"I don't think..." Harry was cut off, because Alistair had leaned in and was kissing him, not at all holding back. Stunned still, he just let it happen. For a moment, he leaned into it also, forgetting that this was Alistair and not Cedric. But the second later when he remembered, he jerked back.
"What just...what did you-?"
The Hufflepuff was looking away sheepishly, albeit at the same time, with a smirk on his face.
"That felt good," he breathed, before chuckling and running a hand through his hair.
"I have a boyfriend you know! You can't just... do that!"
"Come on, Harry, you've been leading me on. Letting me touch you— are you really that shocked?"
Harry bit his bottom lip. He couldn't really deny the fact that he was probably the one that had let this happen. But he didn't think he had been leading Alistair on...
"And last I heard, Cedric's mad at you."
"Well yeah, but... but he's allowed to be! I mean, it's cause of you in the first place!" he exclaimed.
Alistair frowned. "And how long has it been since he wrote to you? Or you to him? Months?"
Harry felt a pang in his chest. "Only one," he defended.
"Oh, forgive me. Only a whole month. Don't you think if Cedric really cared, he'd of tried to fix this by now?"
"Well no, he wouldn't of because I'm the one that told him not to talk to— I mean, you don't need to know."
"Harry. Listen. I fancy you. Cedric might still, but,"
"Of course he does! That's why he's upset!"
"Okay, but even so, are you really going to last your final two school years without each other? That would be a pretty committed long distance relationship."
"Alistair, look. I'm honestly not positive, but I know that right now, I love Cedric. And I do like you, a lot. You're a great friend, but... I don't fancy you.
Alistair sighed and ran several fingers through his dark brown hair again.
"Okay," he said casually after a few moments.
"Okay?" Harry repeated.
"Yeah. Okay. Well now you know I like you, and, not that I expect you'll end it with Cedric, but, right. Bye I guess."
"Bye..."

"Harry!" Justin and Ernie came running up at breakfast the next morning. Hermione halted a lecture she was giving to Ron, and they looked up at the two Hufflepuffs, including the surrounding Gryffindors.
"Yeah?" Harry asked, hoping they weren't about to mention what happened yesterday, hoping they didn't know.
"You kissed?!"
He closed his eyes and gave a frustrated sigh, before he opened his mouth to speak, but Hermione beat him to it.
"What? Harry!"
"I didn't kiss him, Hermione!"
Ernie relaxed and said, "That's what we thought. He kissed you, then?"
Hermione piped back in, "Even so, I told you this would happen!"
"Blimey, Hermione! Yeah, it did, and it's not the end of the world!"
She quieted.
"He told us in the dormitory, and Zacharias heard cause he was with us, and, well you know..."
"Wait, what?"
"Yeah, and he insisted on telling Cedric because he "had to be a good friend" or something like that.
"No!" Harry shouted, successfully grabbing the attention of everyone in the hall.
But a sudden thought occurred to him.
He stood up and marched over to where Alistair was sitting.
"Did you let him hear on purpose?" Harry asked, scowling.
"What?"
"Smith."
Alistair gave him a bored look.
"I told you he sent a letter to Cedric last time; is that what you were hoping would happen?"
"If he heard, I didn't intend it."
Harry turned his glare on to Zacharias.
"You bloody git," he said, not caring if any of the professors heard, and he rushed out of the hall to write a letter, Ron and Hermione racing after him.

"I'm sorry, Harry. You were just trying to spare his feelings... it was right of you to stay his friend," she said once they were in the Owlery.
But he wasn't listening; Harry was frantically scribbling a letter to Cedric, not really aware of what he was writing, but he had to say something.
After he had tied it to Hedwig's leg, and released her off into the cold morning air, Ron put a hand on his shoulder.
"Hey, mate. It'll be alright. Cedric's good at forgiving."
"Not this time."

Cedric knew this would blow over. Eventually. But he couldn't bring himself to write to him. After all, Harry had said he didn't want him to. There was a knock on the door.
"Cedric, my boy! Nice to see you've..."
"Dad!" he lunged forward and hugged him. Amos Diggory seemed genuinely surprised by this. There weren't many times Cedric had hugged him, usually it was the other way around.
Amos cleared his throat when his son didn't let go for a while.
"Sorry. Uh, I've missed you."
"Well I've missed you too. And so has your mother."
"How is she?" Cedric asked, meanwhile grabbing a chair for his dad.
"Same as when you left, mostly. Just feels like you've gone to Hogwarts again, and you'll soon be back for the holidays," he said with a somewhat sad grin. "But no, my son is training to be an Auror now. We couldn't be prouder."
Cedric smiled, and reddened slightly.
"Thanks."
"What is it Harry wants to do when he's out of school?"
"Harry?" he mumbled. "I... I think he wants to be an Auror too."
"Hmm. Does he even have the grades for it?"
"Yes, I'm sure," Cedric said, rolling his eyes. "He's smart, dad."
"Oh, forgive me, I suppose I've just offended one of your friends again," he chuckled. "But not many are as qualified as you."
Cedric sighed. He was never going to teach his dad modesty.
In through the window, flew the barn owl from before. His eyes narrowed slightly at seeing Smith's handwriting again. He knew he wouldn't like whatever it said.
"Who is this from?" Mr. Diggory said, untying the letter from it's foot.
"It's from Zacharias Smith. He's just trying to make my life miserable."
"Who's trying to make your life miserable?"
"Don't open it. I'll be right back. Just using the bathroom."

To his surprise, when he came back, his dad had left the letter unopened. However, he was standing by the counter, and in his hand, was one of Harry's letters from a month ago. Cedric had forgot to put them away.
"Don't be mad at him..." he finally said, after a few seconds of his father just staring at him blankly.
Amos took a deep breath before saying, "No, I'm not mad at Harry."
Cedric's eyebrows furrowed in shock.
"You said some pretty bad things yourself, actually."
"Wait— you mean, after what he said to me, you're not mad?"
"No."
"But why not?"
"Because, Cedric," he said as he walked forward, "I'm a married man, and I know that people can get angry every once in a while.
Somehow, this made him feel a lot better.
"I can't write to him..."
"Yes, you can."
"I think I should read Smith's letter first. He was the reason I found out in the first place."
"If you want to."

Very afraid of what he might read, Cedric took a deep breath before unfolding the parchment.

Cedric,
This probably will upset you, but you should be informed Harry and Alistair have kissed. If you don't believe me just ask Harry himself, or Ernie. I only told you because-

He didn't read any more of it. It was crumbled in his hand so tightly that the creases in the paper were probably leaving marks on his skin.
"What does it say, Cedric?"
"It says—" his voice trembled before it broke.
Amos grabbed the letter and read it, eyes growing narrower by the second.
"I don't like this Smith kid," he said.
Cedric just nodded while biting his bottom lip tightly, hating how wet his cheeks were getting from tears rolling down them. He had cried so much over Harry, or at least, he considered it too much.
"I know he's not lying," he breathed shakily.
"I am sure this was not Harry's fault. It was Alistair."
"How do you know?" he asked, looking away.
"Because I could see how much Harry was in love with you this summer, and there is no way it evaporated in a few months of you being apart."
He tried to smile. Tried, but failed, and instead buried his face in his dad's shoulder, as if he was a little boy again.
"Oh, Ced," Amos said, patting him on the back.
"Even if it wasn't Harry, he still let it happen..."
"Because he's too nice to push someone away. You would be too, I'm sure."
Cedric didn't respond for a while. He just stared at his hands, interlocking his fingers, and pulling them apart... then repeating the movement. After some time, he whispered, barely audible, "Everything's gone wrong."

Chapter Text

Cedric and his dad both stared at Hedwig, who was waiting impatiently for someone to take the letter from her foot. Finally, after she gave a raspy hoot, he reached forward and untied it, while stroking below her beak, causing Hedwig to coo fondly.
Amos Diggory gave his son a gentle nod, with a smile forming at the edge of his mouth.
"What if..." Cedric started, but shook the thought away, and cautiously unfolded the letter, eyeing it as if it were his boggart.
He began to read, written in very messy handwriting:

Cedric, I know what he told you, but it wasn't me, I swear! Alistair kissed me, and, yeah I led him on probably but I didn't mean to, I couldn't just push him away... And I feel terrible, really. I never meant for it to go that far, I was going to stop him a long time ago, and I just couldn't and well, he kissed me! Please don't think anything came of it, I promise no one could take your place, ever.

The room was suddenly brighter, if only by a little.
"Well?" came his father's voice, shaking him out of a daze.
"He uh... it's fine. We're fine."
Cedric stared at the last sentence, smiling sadly.
Because he knew it wasn't true. He felt a great flood of relief wash over him knowing that Harry wasn't to blame, and it was Thaxted. He shouldn't have thought before that Harry would lie to him... However, Alistair had shown that it was actually quite possible for someone to steal Harry away. And that fact would just have to remain, because if that happened, nothing Cedric could do would change it. But for now, he believed him. The way he wrote, sounded desperate— something Harry had never sounded before. And it brought the tiniest speck of hope, that they could just pretend they had never ignored each other in the first place.
"I take it he apologized?"
"...He didn't have anything to apologize for. He was just being nice to him, like you said."
"You're sure he's not lying?"
"I trust Harry," he whispered with finality.

Harry sat silently at the table in the Great Hall, Ron and Hermione following suit, sharing nervous glances with one another.
To their surprise, an unexpected voice said, "Don't fret, Harry. I'm sure he'll forgive you."
The three looked up to see Colin Creevey sitting across from them, and Dean Thomas eyeing the boy with something akin to amusement, followed by concern as he looked towards Harry.
"Thanks," he muttered, with noticeable sarcasm.
"I mean it! I mean, I don't know Diggory but he seems like the forgiving type."
Ron gave Harry a pointed stare.
"No, you don't understand," he said to them all. "He gets hurt. Easily. And how would you feel if your boyfriend, or, or girlfriend or whatever was snogging someone else?"
"Yeah, but you weren't the one that snogged Thaxted, though," Seamus voiced.
"As long as you told him that," Dean started.
"I did, but..."
"We're not saying he'll forgive you right away, mate. But he will," said Ron, with as soft an expression as possible.
"What's this? Poor Harry Potter, going to go crying to mum now, because you kissed someone else and your boyfriend didn't like it very much?" said another speaker, which caused them all simultaneously to narrow their eyes and face the intruder.
"Can we help you, Malfoy?" Hermione asked, scowling as she said his name.
Harry couldn't help but notice the blond prat was alone again, his two thick bodyguards nowhere in sight.
"No, Granger. Just passing by," he said with a smirk. "There is definitely nothing someone like you could do to help me."
"Just passing by when your table's on the other side of the hall?" Neville piped in.
"Oh, is that where it is? Thank you for pointing me in the right direction, Longbottom."
However, as Malfoy walked along, he did not head to the Slytherin table, but walked out of the hall.
"Foul git," Ron muttered under his breath. Harry, however, wasn't really paying attention to that, but more the fact that Malfoy seemed to have isolated himself from all of the other Slytherins since the start of term.
"He's up to something..."
"Well obviously. He's Malfoy," Ron said as he stuffed some food into his already full mouth.
"No... this is something... different."

Cedric hadn't written back to Harry. It had only been a day since he got the letters, but he felt he should respond soon. He just didn't know what to say.
Walking into the kitchen to grab a glass of water, he quickly eyed the calendar. His lips parted slightly when he saw that Harry's first Quidditch game of the year was in a week— on the first Saturday of November. He remembered saying he would try to come, if he had the day off, which he didn't, but... if he wrote in sick, that could work. This was just too important. After their argument, he felt he had to go.

A week had passed without hearing a word from Cedric. Perhaps one of the longest weeks in Harry's life. And tomorrow was their first Quidditch game of the year, playing Slytherin. It was foolish to hope, probably, that he would come when... well, with what had happened in the past month. Nevertheless, he still hoped.

Cedric stood at the tall black gate, gazing through the bars at Hogwarts. Suddenly he felt a deep desire to be a student again, with all the wonderful drama, stress of keeping good marks, running away from Mrs. Norris before Filch came round the corner, and definitely most of all Harry Potter. Because if he was still a student, there would be no Alistair Thaxted trying to steal him away. Cedric let out something that could be considered a deep growl, as his eyes narrowed thinking about the brown haired Scottish prat.
Hogwarts was really riled up for the Quidditch game; he was one of the first in the stands, sitting between the professors and where he remembered the Hufflepuffs sat, which was decorated with red and gold. And as the stands quickly filled, he got a few giggles, glares, and friendly waves. Ernie Macmillan, Justin Finch-Fletchley, and... Thaxted came on together, laughing about something, until Cedric caught their eye. Ernie smirked and grabbed Justin's forearm, pulling him over. Thaxted bit his bottom lip and looked away before reluctantly, he followed.
"Cedric! Finally decided to show up, have you? Harry's been in a right state since uh..." Ernie paused.
Alistair took that as his cue to leave, and he quietly slipped away.
"Listen, I'm sorry I didn't stop him," Ernie whispered, looking after his friend as he walked away. "I should've and, I just, didn't really believe he would try something like that."
Cedric smiled and gave a nod, before he said, "None of it was your fault, don't feel bad about that. But it's good to see you both, I've missed it here."
He opened his mouth again to speak, but the teams walking out onto the field far below distracted his thought.
At once he could spot Harry, Captain of the Gryffindor team, in his scarlet robes. Looking handsome as ever, not that he could really tell from this high up, but he was sure he did. He seemed a lot taller too, now being around the height of his teammates. The Captains shook hands, and the two teams kicked off the grounds, Harry immediately heading straight above everyone else, soaring over both teams. However, a very unwelcome voice drew both his attention and Cedric's.
"Well, there they go, and I think we're all surprised to see the team that Potter's put together this year. Many thought, given Ronald Weasley's patchy performance last year, that he might be off the team, but of course, a close personal friendship with the Captain does help..."
Cedric glared at Smith, the new commentator, and after half an hour of listening to him bash the Gryffindors, he got up and headed straight for him.
"Hey, Cedric, just leave him!" Justin called from behind, but he didn't listen.
"Of course, Coote isn't really the usual build for a Beater..." he was in the middle of saying, when Cedric reached him and said, "Smith, if you don't shut up right now, you'll be hexed."
The tall blond boy jerked his head toward Cedric's voice, and his eyes widened slightly, before he cleared his throat and looked back out on the field. Some of the professors grinned at Cedric, and Professor Sprout looked as if her child had just come home from the war. He gave her a smile, and walked back over to where he'd been sitting.
Some of the Gryffindor players had looked over to see why Zacharias Smith had stopped mid-sentence, including Harry. When he noticed Cedric, he halted, first looking ashamed of something, but then letting a brilliant smile take over his expression. Cedric smiled back.
Until, Harper collided with Harry, and appeared to be speaking, causing him to draw his attention away from Cedric and face the Slytherin Seeker with a scowl.
Cedric saw it before both of them, crossing his fingers that Harper wouldn't... nope, he saw it first. The Slytherin blur of green and silver raced after the Snitch, followed closely by Harry, who frantically yelled out, "Oi, Harper! How much did Malfoy pay you to come on instead of him?"
Fortunately, Harper stopped, and Harry, in an instinctive dash, zoomed past him and grabbed the golden fluttering ball.
"YES!" He heard him yell out, and Cedric laughed as the rest of the students realized what had happened.
In a mad rush, the crowd emptied onto the field, the Gryffindor team hugging and punching the air. Cedric headed down with Ernie and Justin, finding Hermione along the way.
On the pitch, Harry was looking around with an unwavering smile, and only when he spotted Cedric, did it falter. Somehow, they both knew to run and hug each other, and didn't let go for what felt like eternity, not separating even as the whistling, "awe"-ing and jeering from the Slytherins occurred. And even without kissing, it was the most wonderful feeling in the universe.

Chapter Text

"Harry, party up in common room," Ginny said, motioning her head in the direction of the castle. The Gryffindor team was just leaving the field, as was the rest of the crowd. Only Harry's friends stayed behind. He felt torn. Well not actually that much... he hadn't seen or heard from Cedric in over a month, and so wasn't it obvious he should want to be with him? Though, at least he pretended to look torn.
Seamus smirked and said, "Come on, of course Harry'll want ter be with Diggory..."
Cedric interrupted, "You can go... Harry, I'll get to see you during the holidays, so I'll just, um..."
"No! I mean, I'd much rather be with you," Harry paused, and sighed. "Sorry, didn't mean that either. I just meant..."
Ron helpfully supplied, "You just sorta miss him. Haven't seen each other for almost a semester— we get it," he smiled.
"Yeah... yeah that's what I meant," Harry chuckled awkwardly before offering a shy grin to Cedric, who granted him one back.
"I'll go change then," Harry said smiling, as he quickly hurried away.
Justin, Ernie, and Alistair were just leaving when Cedric, behind them called out, "Hey, Thaxted!"
The tall brown haired boy turned around, putting on an innocently bewildered expression.
"Yeah, Ced?"
Cedric narrowed his eyes slightly at being referred to by his nickname— by Alistair.
"A word?"
"Uh, yeah, okay."
Thaxted nodded to a knowing Justin and Ernie, telling them to go on ahead.
"So," the seventh year started.
"So," Cedric repeated. "So you thought I'd just forgive you? Forget that you kissed Harry?"
"Well you weren't talkin' to him, that much I know. He deserved, deserves better. He deserves to not be ignored for over a month. So I..."
An intense anger swept through Cedric; he had been planning on staying calm and friendly but saying Harry deserved better, did not at all sit well in his mind. In fact, it was a beyond offensive idea, whether it be true or not. Hearing it said aloud was infuriating.
"He des... we were just arguing! That doesn't mean, how can you..."
"Listen Cedric, he already said he still liked you so no need for blowing up. And sorry to say he was dropping me hints. What was I supposed to think?"
"No, you listen Thaxted. Of course Harry deserves better. I mean, no one really is good enough for someone like him, but don't say to me that you'd be a better option."
"Fine, but..."
"And he was only being flirtatious (Cedric almost gagged) because, well, he's a nice guy and couldn't of pushed you away if he wanted to."
Alistair's lips formed a thin line and he nodded slowly.
Suddenly, he felt slightly bad for saying that.
"I'm sorry, even if I wanted to I can't deny from his letters that he did like you... and he still does most likely, but I think you misinterpreted. But even if you didn't, you can't just steal a bloke from his boyfriend," he finished with a small smirk.
The Hufflepuff student sighed, and then said after a while, "I am sorry, Diggory, really. When you two were fighting, I guess I figured that I could... I really fancied him, you know? Just thought I'd see what happened if I tried. I know I shouldn't of done it now. Like I said, I'm sorry. Honestly."
"Hmm. Okay, I guess I believe you," Cedric said, folding his arms across his chest. "But don't you dare kiss him again. Or flirt."
Alistair looked at his feet and smiled, before glancing back upwards and saying, "Yeah, I'll agree to that."
Cedric raised an eyebrow, before the crunch of footsteps on crisp grass from across the field made them turn their heads to see Harry approaching them, looking slightly uneasy.
"I suppose I'll just go then," Alistair mumbled, before walking away.
"What did you say?" Harry asked when he was close enough to Cedric.
"Don't worry about it. Sure you don't want to just go up for a while?"
"Eager to leave?" he responded with a grin.
"Course not. But uh... I'll still be here after dinner you know. So you could..." his eyes flickered in the direction of the lake.
"You wouldn't mind waiting?"
"Knowing I'll get to kiss you all night? Absolutely not."
Harry's cheeks took on a bit brighter shade of red.
"I suppose I should drop in."
"You're the Gryffindor Captain. Go on. You know where I'll be. And by the way Harry, good game. I'd no doubt you'd win."
"Thanks."
Cedric was about to lean in to kiss him, but a finger had stopped his lips.
"Don't think so, Diggory, save it for later. It'll only make it better tonight," he teased, with an even wider grin. Harry's brilliant smile was about the most gorgeous thing Cedric had ever seen. He hadn't realized how much he had missed it the past few months.

Harry arrived in the Gryffindor Common room shortly after his team. Ron, who was standing in the center of the room, to tumultuous cheering and applause, noticed him and hurriedly made his way through the crowd, followed by Hermione.
"Hey, mate! We thought you were going to stay down there with Cedric!" he shouted over the noise.
"Thought I should just make an appearance here first!"
Somehow, Hermione, in a perfectly normal voice, was able to be heard quite clearly: "Are you going back down?"
"After dinner."
"What is he gonna do? Aren't visitors not allowed to stay..." Ron began.
"He's allowed to stay as long as he wants. Just not in certain places; he's waiting by the tree. So I just thought I'd head down after I eat and then we'd...er... yeah."
"You realize, mate, that every time you finish a sentence like that, we can guess what you're implying."
"I'm not implying anything!"
Hermione now, smirked and cleared her throat.
"Ok, fine, think whatever you want," Harry said, "but it's probably not correct."
"I seriously doubt that," Hermione muttered under her breath to Ron.

It was already dark when he heard the distantly familiar sound of footsteps coming up from behind, though still early in the evening.
"Almost strange to be back down here again," Cedric said, "I couldn't remember what it was like with you, sneaking off every night to go down to the lake..."
Harry had kneeled down so that he was sitting across from him on the grass. "I can help you remember then," he whispered, before leaning in and planting a breathtakingly romantic kiss on Cedric's lips. One that contained all of the desperate want from the past few months that they were apart. The sweet delicacy of it caused Cedric to sigh in pleasure, as a particularly cool breeze swept past them. And for several long moments, they didn't separate, but only allowed their mouths to stay practically glued together.
"Cedric," Harry breathed finally, hesitantly pulling his lips away, "I'm sorry."
"What do you have to be sorry for?"
"None of it was your fault. It was mine. I shouldn't of pushed you away, or allowed Alistair to get so comfortable around me. If anything, I should've felt lucky having someone like you who's that protective over me, and,"
"I was bad too, Harry."
"No. Not like me. I didn't..."
"Stop. I'll agree we both said some awful things, but it was all pointless, and at least we know it now. And I'm sure we both regret it a whole lot and all, but it happened. We got into an argument. So all we can do is avoid making those same mistakes in the future, right?"
"Yeah, I suppose."
"I think you should go back up soon, Harry."
"Not when I've only just got here! Come on, can't you just stay overnight? I'll sleep down here with you."
"Shouldn't your party be ending soon?
"They'll be up till one, I'm fine."
"One?" He asked in surprise.
"Well what did you expect? We're Gryffindors, not Hufflepuffs!"
"Oh, I see," Cedric said, rolling his eyes, pretending to take offense.
Harry threw his arm around Cedric's shoulders, and burrowed his head in the crook of his neck.
"Yeah, this is much more cozy than my bed. Don't make me go back up there," Harry whined like a young child.
As Cedric tried to speak, he ended up only moaning as Harry kissed his collarbone.
"God, Harry..."
"Mmm?" Harry hummed in response. "Oh, sorry is this distracting?"
"You know what, fine, you're right. I'd much rather you stay down here.
And somehow, they ended up falling asleep.

"Come on, Ron. You should have done this last night."
"Well he's always come back on his own before!"
"Where would they be... the tree," she muttered, pushing open the castle doors and marching outside, followed by Ron.
"What tree?"
"Do you not listen to anything? The tree by the lake! The one they always used to go to.
"Oh that tree, right." He took a few extra steps to catch up with her. When the tree was in view, Ron moaned, "Oh, come on, Harry."
They were both lying against the trunk, pressed against each other's side. Ron walked forward, and nudged Harry's arm with his foot. "Oi!"
"What..." their friend said groggily.
Ron raised his eyebrows and muttered to Hermione, "He's gone mental, sleeping out here. It's freezing!"
Hermione bent down and shook Harry, who woke with a start, as did Cedric.
"Hermione?" Harry said, panting.
He looked at his boyfriend, who's cheeks had a pink tinge, and then Harry's own turned a sort of scarlet.
"Er... we just... sort of fell asleep."
"We can see that."
"I think I should, uh, probably leave now," said Cedric, smiling. He quickly kissed Harry before standing up.
"I'll see you soon, though."
"O...okay. I'll miss you."
"Winter break. Not that far away. Soon," and he turned and started walking in the direction of the gate."
"Bye!"
"Bye— Hey! Just don't let anyone else kiss you, okay?"
Harry smiled. "Yeah, okay."

Chapter Text

Note clenched tightly in his hand, Harry determinedly set off toward the Owlery. He couldn't actually explain why he felt anxious, but he just did. Maybe because he hadn't sent a letter to Cedric (a kind one at least) in so long, and the idea of doing something so normal for couples was no longer what he was used to. It only added to his guilt over their long argument.
Alistair had actually been fine since the game, giving a friendly nod of acknowledgement in corridors, which Harry was content with. Anything more might of sparked trouble. He supposed Cedric must of (in his firm-but-polite Cedricy way), told him off. Which Harry was also fine with.
His mind was far away from school at the moment, so when he turned a corner and accidentally walked straight into Professor Snape, it took him a while to process.
"Potter," the man said curtly, "as always you seem to have a disregard for anyone or anything around you. What could you possibly be up to at this hour?" his dark eyes flickered down to Harry's hand, and the envelope in his grasp.
"There's still a half hour till I have to be back in..." Harry began, but was interrupted.
"Sending love letters, are we?"
Instinctively he jerked his hand behind his back, not for any particular reason. Snape knew what he was doing, obviously.
"What, does it matter?" he said daringly.
The defense teacher narrowed his eyes ever so slightly.
"Apparently not... as you and the other teachers seem to be indifferent to the scene you've been causing with your moping about, why should it?"
Harry glared up at him.
"Well if you'll excuse me, Professor," he emphasized with bitterness, "I'd like to be there before curfew, so er, I'll be off? Nice chatting with you," and he hurried away, before Snape could deduct any more points from Gryffindor.

Cedric neatly stacked the papers he had been reviewing and placed them in one of the desk drawers. The cold pale light of the office was usually dreary enough to ruin his day, especially in the past month, but after his little day (and accidentally overnight) trip to Hogwarts, he found he couldn't stop smiling.
"What's gotten into you?" his partner, Maisie, said as she walked by with a different stack of papers. She was a tall woman, with short, very blond hair, and square glasses slightly oversized for her face, which fit her enormously geeky personality. As an auror, she was incredible. Although she could be annoyingly talkative, he had begun not to mind so much lately. Somehow, it made him feel oddly optimistic.
"What d'you mean?" he said, smirking as he turned around to grab a quill.
"Sulky Cedric. Where'd he go?"
He raised an eyebrow.
"To Hogwarts."
"Ah. I see," she paused to think for a moment, before opening her mouth again and saying, "Nope, don't see. Why?"
"Quidditch game."
"Oooh, okay. What, is your girlfriend a Beater on the Gryffindor team or something?"
"Well, not quite," he responded with a smile.
"Slytherin? Hmm. Didn't think you'd be that open-minded. Even for a Hufflepuff."
The slight cringe he gave must of been noticeable, because she pouted with exaggeration, and said, "Hey, I was one!"
Cedric raised an eyebrow before his expression changed to one of slight guilt and he said, "Oh, right... sorry if I made a face."
Maisie shrugged it off and said, "So what's the 'not quite?'"
"Boyfriend."
"Oh, really? Boyfriend then. What's he like?"
"Uh," Cedric smirked and cleared his throat, "well he's a Gryffindor, really funny, not that he thinks so; he's really good at Quidditch and Defense Against the Dark Arts— actually he wants to be an Auror. And..."
"That's cool. What year?"
"Sixth."
"Is he good in bed?"
Cedric gave a chortle before his eyebrows furrowed in disbelief at the odd question and said, "What?"
"You know. Is the—" she widened her eyes "—good?"
"Slightly personal there, don't you think?" he said chuckling, though his cheeks were slightly pink.
"Hey, I mean that's important!"
Cedric gave in and said, "Well if you need to know, we don't do that."
"Mmm. Are you being noble again? Wouldn't forgive yourself if you did?"
"For mine and his sakes. Sure, call it being noble."
"Not that I'd know him, I was at least a seventh year in a different house when he got there, but who is he?"
This, Cedric took time to think about. He didn't really no how to respond other than, "Harry Potter."
"What?"
He nodded.
"Seriously?"
"Have you never read the Prophet?"
She scoffed, "I'm offended you would think I did."
"...Right."
"But wow. The Harry Potter? I would think anyone else was lying, but you couldn't be..."
"And I'm not."
"How'd that happen?"
"It took a while."
"So you lured him in, hmm?"
Cedric ran a few fingers through his hair and smiled at his accomplishment. He hadn't really thought much on how long it had taken for Harry to fancy him— even notice him. He got some pride out of that.
"Yeah, I guess I did."

Chapter Text

 Cedric cheerfully watched the Hogwarts train pull into the station, and as he did so, he could see the happy expressions of students peering out of their compartment windows, ready to spend time with their families for winter break. Thinking this caused him to feel warm inside. It was as if Cedric was Harry's family. Or at least, (hopefully) would be when he got out of Hogwarts.
 Behind him, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley strode out of the barrier onto the platform, and nearly bumped into him.
 "Oh, sorry dear!" Molly said, a bit frazzled, smiling at him.
 "It's nothing," Cedric said. When Mr. Weasley caught sight of him, he grinned genially and shook his hand. "Mr. Diggory! Nice to see you again."
 Cedric and Arthur had passed each other a few times at the ministry, never really getting to talk. However, he always tried to say hi, knowing how much the Weasleys meant to Harry. Even if his own mother and Mrs. Weasley were somewhat in a competition for Harry's attention now. It was all rather amusing.
 As students filed off the train, he stood with Ron's parents, watching for any signs of messy jet-black hair over the crowd. Harry, being quite a bit taller now, was not nearly as hard to spot as he would of been a year ago. And although Cedric had seen him just in November, he seemed to be looking more fetching every time. His face had slimmed down, making him look older and more mature, and his hair— he must of gotten a haircut since the match. It was still messy, but shorter and perfectly suiting of him, Cedric thought. All in all, going back to his conversation with Maisie, yeah, he was really proud to have gotten someone as incredible as Harry.
 It was not long before Ron spotted Cedric, and nudged Harry in the ribs. Harry quickly looked in the direction his best friend was pointing, and beamed. Then pushed his way through the horde of people. Once he reached Cedric, he dropped his bags and wrapped his arms around his boyfriend, squeezing him tightly for a few moments, before pulling away and swiftly kissing his cheek.
 "Hello, Mrs. Weasley. Great to see you!" he hugged her as well, following with Mr. Weasley.
 Ginny and Ron came up, and their mother kissed both of their foreheads, causing the siblings to blush of embarrassment.
 Cedric, in that moment, felt his life was just perfect. It was a comfort to know that Harry and he would argue occasionally and be able to work everything out. Even for something so serious as the one they just had. Because right now, he completely forgave him.
 "I suppose you'll want to be off soon, but don't forget Christmas! I want to see you both at the Burrow! Your parents too," Mrs. Weasley told Cedric in a commanding tone.
 Cedric put on a charming, honest smile and assured, "Don't worry, Mrs. Weasley, we'll be there."
 "Good. Well, bye bye dear," she said to Harry, and she headed back into the muggle world through the brick wall, followed by her husband and Ginny. Ron, as he was already going through, yelled, "See you at Christmas, Harry!"

 Harry stepped inside the small house and glanced around. It sort of felt like a miniature version of the Diggorys' house. Light, natural, and yeah, still drowned with Hufflepuff pride. But it was cozy, and absolutely Cedric, which made it brilliant.
 "Do you like it?"
 Harry couldn't wipe the grin off his face as he turned around. "Yeah, I think it's brilliant."
 "Ah, good," he sighed with relief.
 "When did..." Harry was interrupted as a gigantic sheepdog came trotting through the kitchen doorway. "Wh..." he laughed, "You got a dog?"
 Cedric smiled and nodded his head as it stood on it's hind legs, and put it's front paws on Harry's chest, almost bowling him over.
 "I wanted to name him Alfie, if that's..."
 "Fine with me," he said, scratching it behind the ears.
 Alfie let out a low-pitched, happy bark, before dashing off into another room.
 Harry glanced outside, thinking it was probably around 5:00, making him ask, "So what should we do for supper?"
 "I usually go to the village."
Alfie came running into the room with a toy in his mouth. Absentmindedly, Harry took it and threw it for him.
 "You don't cook?"
 Cedric suddenly looked a little embarrassed. "Well I can't, really."
 Harry stood up, grinning, and said, "I'll make something." He headed for the kitchen and started burrowing in the cupboards for ingredients.
 "So you can cook?" Cedric called from the living room.
 "Who do you think I lived with for eleven years?"
 Cedric nodded, knowing that a decade with people like the Dursleys must of made anyone a good cook.
 "You don't have anything. Anything!" Harry shouted through the doorway.
 Sighing, Cedric rose, and made to the kitchen. Harry looked near exasperated, which almost made him want to laugh. He wouldn't of expected someone like Harry, of all people, to care about a lack of things to make for supper.
Rolling his eyes, but grinning, he answered, "My sincerest apologies. Why don't we just go out?"
 "No. We're going to the grocer's," he insisted firmly, and walked to the door, putting on his jacket.
 Cedric sighed dramatically, rather like a young child that had to run errands with his mother, and didn't want to. He strode over to where Harry was waiting, grabbed his coat, and the pair of them descended the hilly slopes, hand in hand, faces flushed from the cold.

 They entered the muggle grocer's shop, with Cedric glancing around indifferently, and Harry scanning aisles with a determined look in his eyes.
 "So what are you making?" Cedric asked when Harry started towards the meat.
 "Lasagna?"
 He nodded his approval. Harry hadn't seen him look so out of place before. It was rather endearing to see him completely clueless. On the contrary though, Harry felt smart for once, and was quite proud of himself. He hadn't actually realized how much he knew about cooking before; at least that was one good thing from living with the Dursleys. "Can you get the sugar, crushed tomatoes, and the tomato sauce and paste?"
 Cedric grinned at the chance to be helpful, and went off. It was not long before he came back, carrying brown sugar, and a few tomatoes.
 "I know you said tomato paste, but there wasn't any already made..."
 "Did you look at the canned stuff?"
 Cedric blinked in confusion. Harry wanted to laugh, but instead smiled, and said, "Er... that'll work."
 A muggle lady nearby raised her eyebrows.
 He could just remove the molasses from the sugar magically to make it white, and he new how to make the tomato stuff, so he took it from Cedric and tossed it in his basket.
 Working at the register, not for the first time, a young woman, probably around twenty, began to look at Cedric, and started blushing. "Hello," she said politely, but still blushing silly.
"Good evening," responded Cedric.
 Harry rolled his eyes. This was irritatingly similar to when they went to London and met what's her face.
 But it was just then, that he realized he didn't have any money with him. Muggle money. He nudged Cedric's arm and whispered, "I don't have any..." but Cedric was already pulling some out of his pocket. Sort of impressed, he smiled, and backed away. Until he remembered that there was a girl standing there, and she was blushing because of his boyfriend. Taking a deep breath, he realized that he really shouldn't care. There was no point in being jealous, or protective, when Cedric clearly liked him.
 "What's your name?" Harry asked her bravely.
 She looked far too delighted at being asked.
 "Emily," she said sweetly.
 "I'm Harry, this is Cedric," he continued, grinning at her, with as much charm as he could muster. All he had to do was pretend to be Cedric.
 "Are you two...?" she started with a pointed look.
 Harry stared at her blankly for a second, surprised she would assume... but they didn't look anything alike, after all. They couldn't be brothers. And he suddenly realized he was holding Cedric's hand firmly in his grasp. He didn't remember having done that.
 "Oh, er..." he suddenly switched back to awkward mode, "Uh, yeah." Harry frowned at her apologetically, casting a furtive glance to Cedric, who was still standing there, looking perfectly handsome and very un-awkward.
 "Aw, Well, have a good evening!" she said, attempting to clear the blush from her cheeks.
 "You too," Cedric said with a genuine smile.

 Having returned to their house (Cedric insisted they call it theirs, and not his), Harry immediately began prepping ingredients, while he watched, leaned against a counter. Seeing Harry cook was strange, slightly, but it felt strange too. It made Cedric feel... settled with him. As did their swift, casual kiss at the train station. He couldn't help but notice they were acting more like a married couple, with everything. Not that he minded. He didn't at all. In fact, it made him feel extremely happy inside. He wondered if Harry had noticed this, too.
 "I'm famous for this, you know," interrupted his voice.
 "What?"
"My lasagna."
"Famous, mm?"
 "Even the Dursleys have told me it's good, sort of, so it would be famous... if I ever got a chance to make it other than there."
 Cedric couldn't help the rumbling of his stomach. He could tell Harry was smiling even though he was turned around, facing the Dutch oven.
 "I can make garlic bread?" he suggested.
 "I'll wait."
 "Two and a half hours?" Harry asked.
 "Oh... uh, yeah, garlic bread then."
 Cedric went to sit patiently in the living room, and his conscience forced his very unwilling self to do work. So he took out his papers, groaning, and started finishing an essay. Meanwhile, he could hear the clatter of pans and dishes, and the cutting of vegetables, until his growling stomach got too distracting to get anything done. So he went for just lying down and staring at the now empty basket of garlic bread Harry'd given him a while back. Steadily, the darkness grew darker, and the overwhelming smells from the kitchen flooded his senses.

 "Hey, Cedric."
 He became faintly aware of a voice whispering his name.
 "Ced— "
 And someone leaning forward to kiss him tenderly.
 He opened his eyes, and Harry was sitting on the edge of the couch, smiling at him, amused by the way he was sprawled out over the cushions. He sat up, noticing Alfie at his feet, licking his leg repeatedly.
 "Oh," he mumbled, running a hand over his eyes, "is supper ready then?"
 He smirked, "Yeah."
 As Cedric didn't have a dining table, they sat on the couch, eating Harry's oddly delicious lasagna. Even having lived with the Dursleys, who could have taught him to cook like that?
 "You are amazing, you know?" he said after a few bites.
 Harry looked ever so slightly embarrassed, and shrugged.
 Gazing at him fondly, Cedric gestured his head to the pile of letters on his side table and cleared his throat.
 Harry reached over him and picked one up, sitting himself back down to open it. As he read through it, his eyes fell, and his teeth began to clench.
 "I kept them all," Cedric said, "When we were arguing."
 "I can't believe I said this to you," he interrupted, glaring at what he had written.
 For a moment, Cedric didn't say anything, but then continued, "I was worse."
 Harry looked away, pained.
 "Let's agree to forget it. It wasn't worth getting that upset about, from either of us."
 He reached forward and gently took the letter, and then placed it on the glass table with all of the others.
 "Incendio!" The pile burst into flames, and Harry gave a startled jerk.
 "What did you do that for?"
 "I'm not keeping anything that makes you feel bad."
 Harry pursed his lips for a while, before grinning.
 He walked over to his luggage, and opened up a trunk, pulling out a much neater pile of letters, banded together; then he threw them into the fireplace, and ignited it.
 "That's done," he said.
 Relief spread through Cedric, as he stood up and walked over to him. He put a gentle hand on his back before turning Harry to face him.
 Holding both of Harry's hands in his own, he leaned forward and kissed him, subtly at first, but then harder, until they were both fighting to breathe. But Cedric refused to let go— he ran
his tongue along the edge of Harry's mouth, savoring the feeling he had long since forgotten. When Harry began to moan, he put one hand in his black hair expertly, and only leaned in farther. Sometime later, after they had both had to pull apart to gasp a few times, they separated, both beaming uncontrollably.
 "Wow, that was—" his voice faded.
 "Welcome home, Harry."

Chapter Text

 Harry and Cedric spent the holidays to their fullest.
 Every morning, they would wake up, always tangled together, to the sound of Alfie whimpering for food. And every morning, after Cedric had fed him, he would climb back in bed and lay there with Harry for a while longer.
 During the daytime, they would race to around the house on brooms, playing Quidditch, or Cedric would teach Harry spells useful in dueling that he had been working on as an Auror. Of course Harry was eager to learn all he could, because he wanted to be an Auror too, and Cedric was more than happy to tutor him because of it, but that wasn't the real reason he insisted on Harry learning.
 He knew who was after Harry. He wasn't oblivious. Voldemort wanted Harry dead, and that thought— it was the scariest thing in the world. And honestly, he thought Harry should be a lot more concerned for his own safety. But the fact remained that he was a brave boy, probably too brave; so Cedric insisted on preparing him, in case the time came where he needed to fight.

 Harry saw every day, the panic flickering in Cedric's gray eyes, whenever they were working on something and he couldn't get it right. He knew Cedric was scared for him, and he couldn't imagine what that felt like. To have a dark lord after the person you loved. Because Lord Voldemort wasn't after anyone Harry knew, other than everyone that didn't support him, but that was quite an extensive list, so there was really no way he could spend his time worrying about everyone.
 Harry felt guilty, for being the cause of that worry. For being who he was. Because Cedric had to deal with the consequences of dating Harry Potter. He had to hold that fear.
 And so, everyday, he would ask to practice dueling, just to give him some sort of comfort. Because unlike when others were fussing over his safety, when Cedric did, it made Harry feel loved. The fact that Cedric knew Harry didn't like being pitied, and therefore tried to hide it, meant so much. It meant he truly knew him, and respected his wishes.
 In the evenings, they sat by the fireplace, playing games of Exploding Snap and drinking butterbeer. Along with eating the supper Harry would cook for them. And then they'd both agreed, reluctantly, that they'd work on what they needed to, for school or for work. But it was all worth it, as their reward was usually a snogging session. At those times, Harry was the most inspired he'd ever been to get his homework done.

 Christmas swiftly approached, and when the morning finally came, Cedric woke to the trilling buzz of a waxwing right outside the window. He smiled at the bird, before waking Harry up by means of prodding him in the chest, paying no mind to subtlety.
 For a few moments, the boy lay still, until giving a sudden odd jerk and sitting up.
 "Merry Christmas, darling," Cedric said playfully, kissing him on the forehead.
 Harry raised an eyebrow before smiling, beaming actually, and returning the gesture.
 "Merry Christmas, Cedric," he said happily. "Should I make breakfast then?"
 "I don't want you to have to cook on Christmas— though, you definitely can. Not trying to stop you or anything. I mean, if you really want to... bacon would be good, and some eggs.... toast also."
 Harry's eyebrows were slowly raising again, before he chuckled and got out of bed, stretched, and headed to the kitchen.
 When Cedric had finished washing his face and combing his hair (something Harry teased him about constantly, though all in good fun, being so concerned with his looks), he strolled into the living room, smelling something pleasant coming from the kitchen.
 Harry poked his head out of the doorway, and said, "Almost done."
Cedric nodded and fell onto the couch lazily. Glancing over, he noticed all the presents under the tree, from relatives and friends of theirs. The sight was a comforting one. He had been somewhat nervous that because Harry didn't have a family, a proper one, he'd only get something from the Weasleys, but Cedric's family, thankfully, liked him a lot, and were more than happy (or at least his mother was) to think of him too.

 As Harry waited for the bacon to finish cooking, he looked at Cedric lovingly through the doorway. A few years ago, he thought entirely different of him. He was just another student, a friendly Hufflepuff, more courageous than most of his house for getting himself in the Triwizard Tournament (Harry felt guilty now for thinking of them stereotypically as a house), and just a little too interested in Harry Potter. He grinned thinking about it.
 When he carried their plates out from the kitchen, he found Cedric lying down, gazing blankly up at the ceiling, however, he suddenly perked up when he came in.
 "Should I give you your gift now?" Cedric asked.
 "Let's do the others' first."
 He nodded in agreement.

 They both got a number of presents, Cedric getting a fancy set of black and gold quills, several bottles of the best firewhisky from his coworkers, (to which Harry gazed at longingly) and a lot of other things from his family. The Dursleys did send Harry another pair of old socks, as always, and from the Diggorys he received a wand cleaning kit. He remembered Cedric's wand being in great condition during the Tournament, when Ollivander came. He also remembered feeling immediately self-conscious about the way he'd looked after his own. The Diggorys must of noticed how dirty it was— it wouldn't be that hard to.
 The Weasleys said they'd give them gifts tonight, when they came over. So once they had opened them all, there were two left.
 One for Cedric and one for Harry, from each other.
 "Who should open their's first?" Cedric asked.
 Harry thought for a moment, before saying, "I can?"
 "Okay, if you want."
 Taking the flat rectangular gift in his hands, Harry began to tear open the paper. Inside was a deep scarlet and gold coloured book, with old pages. When he opened to the first, there was a picture of Cedric and him laughing with Ron, Hermione, Ernie, and Justin. As he kept on flipping through, there were photos of him with the Diggorys during the summer, some more of them from the Triwizard Tournament, some with the Weasleys, and even the newspaper clipping from the Prophet of them kissing. Harry laughed when he saw the title: HARRY POTTER'S BIG SECRET: Former Hogwarts Champions In Love? and remembered how humiliated he'd felt at breakfast that day (How was he ever humiliated to be with Cedric?) and on the last page, there was one of them hugging on the Quidditch field. And to his great embarrassment, he had a sudden urge to cry of happiness. It was like when Hagrid had given him the scrapbook of his parents after his first year— he felt so in love with Cedric in that moment, he leaned over and kissed him on the lips.
 What not many understood... not even Ron or Hermione, was how grateful he was for the smaller things. Sentimental things, like photos, his dad's invisibility cloak, or the mirror shard from Sirius. But Cedric understood this.
 He always appreciated what people gave to him, but the things that meant the most were the things that told him he had a family once, and he did now.
 "You like it then?"
 Harry smiled at him as he pulled away. He didn't know how to express his appreciation, or love, in that moment.
 "It's brilliant," he whispered with shining eyes, wishing he sounded more thankful. For a while, he sat still, just letting his joy sink in, before motioning with his head and saying, "Your turn."
 He watched Cedric take the rather big gift, littered with pine needles from under the tree, and look at it curiously.
 "Bit heavy, isn't it?" he asked with a grin.
 Harry shrugged.
 Under the wrapping however, was another huge box. When Cedric opened it from the top and looked in, his eyes widened, and the blue light emitting from the object reflected in his startled gray eyes.
 "But Harry..." he started, with an open mouth, "this is the Triwizard Cup!"
 Harry nodded slowly, before saying, "Just let me explain..."
As Cedric only continued to stare at him, he took that as permission.
 "I gave you the galleons on the train home, because I thought you deserved to win. And so really, this should of been yours too."
 "No—"
 "But, I'm actually glad I didn't, because I can give it to you now, and it means something different."
 Cedric suddenly stopped looking as if he wanted to protest and instead stared at him questioningly.
 "I mean, yeah, part of the reason I'm giving this to you is because you deserved it, but actually, I think the bigger thing is that we helped each other out in the final task, and really throughout the whole thing, and so we deserved it. Together. I wouldn't of won without you then... and I don't know what I'd do without you now. And I just want you to know, er, I suppose, that what's mine is yours. Because I love you, and I want to share everything I have with you... which really isn't much. I mean I have things, and stuff, but I meant other than, small things like..."
 It was now Cedric who was kissing Harry. That was a feeling he'd never get tired of. Cedric's soft lips, and that slight woody scent you could smell when he was just close enough. And when they separated this time, Harry could feel his cheeks reddening for whatever reason, and his stomach felt as if it was flipping over. It'd been a while since he'd gotten that feeling. All of a sudden, he felt like he was a fifth year again, and had just kissed Cedric for the first time, by the lake, on a cold (but somehow amazingly warm) winter night.

Chapter Text

 Cedric and Harry turned up at the Weasleys' around five o' clock that evening through the Floo network. Cedric stepped out first, and Harry, a lot less elegantly, tumbled out after him, coughing.
 The entire house smelled wonderful— of turkey, cranberries, and roast potatoes; however, Harry's eyes darted to the Yorkshire pudding sitting on the table immediately.
 "Where are they?" Cedric asked, just as Ginny and Ron came dashing through the front door, leaving watery footprints of snow on the floor.
 "Harry!" exclaimed Ginny, embracing him in a big hug. This wouldn't really of been a problem for Cedric, but she didn't seem to want to let go. It was Ron clearing his throat that caused her to pull back, albeit hesitantly. He then shot Cedric a slightly apologetic look. Turning a pale shade of red, the youngest Weasley faced Cedric, and gave him a thin smile, while she muttered a hello.
 "Well, how are you?" Ginny asked, turning towards Harry again.
 "Don't mind her, mate," Ron whispered to Cedric, leaning in. "She's a bit annoying sometimes; she doesn't know when to give up. But anyways, Harry'll never fall for her when he's got someone perfect like you. Erm," he coughed. "Not saying I'm uh, well you know..."
 Cedric raised an eyebrow slightly, and smiled. As long as this ginger kept her feelings in check for tonight, he was okay with it. It was pretty hard, after all, or at least he believed, to not love Harry.
 "Oh, great, yeah," Harry answered Ginny. "What have you been up to?"
 "Nothing really," she said, gazing at Ron with a blank look. "We've missed you, Harry. Ron's not as fun to play Quidditch with."
 "Oye!"
 Ignoring him, she added, "Lupin is here by the way."
 "Really?!" Immediately Harry, who had been starting to look awkward at the compliment, with his hands pressed flat against his sides, broke into a huge grin. "Great! So he's staying here? Where is he?"
 There were heavy footsteps coming up from behind them.
 "Hello Harry," came a man's voice. "And Cedric Diggory, yes?"
 "Yes, Hi, Professor."
 Lupin smiled warmly as he said, "No need to call me Professor; I hardly deserve it."
 Uncharacteristically, Harry dashed forward and hugged him, causing Lupin's eyes to widen slightly before his expression softened and he hugged him back. Pulling away shortly after, Harry said, "It's great to see you!" Ginny almost looked sour at this. Her eyes narrowed ever so slightly, and her lips were more pursed than when she saw Cedric. But Ron noticed too, and whispered, "No need to be jealous of everyone, Gin. He was a teacher, not a student."
 She reddened, and glared fiercely at her brother.
 Out of all of their Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers, Professor Lupin had undoubtedly been Cedric's favorite. He was a good teacher, and kind also, unlike the others that had come before and after. He doubted as to whether he'd even be an Auror now if not for that class in 5th year.
 "I'll go grab mum and tell her you're here... come on Ginny," Ron said, motioning to the door with his head, and gesturing for Ginny to come along. He headed outside, and reluctantly, she followed.
 "So, Cedric, I've heard you're an Auror now?" Lupin asked after they had vanished from sight. The three of them took seat in the armchairs surrounding the fire.
 "Uh, yeah. Yes, I work at the Ministry." It was a few seconds before he realized that obviously, if he was an Auror, he worked at the Ministry, so he mentally smacked himself for sounding nervous in front of a past-professor he somewhat idolized.
 Of course his parents hadn't been happy when they found out a werewolf had been teaching their son, but Cedric thought it was brave of him, having to go through that, every full moon, and still attempt to live a normal life.
 However, because of his embarrassment, Harry privileged him with a toothy grin of amusement (he was so damn gorgeous sometimes), plus Lupin was still smiling kindly, and pretended not to notice.
 "Well you were a very good student. I remember. As were you, Harry."
 "They've got Snape teaching now," Harry muttered grumpily.
 "So I've heard."
 "I'm never going to pass if he's doing it," he mumbled more grumpily still.
 "You'll be fine," Lupin stated firmly. "You're one of the best. Even Professor Snape can't ignore that."
 Harry gave a small snort, and it was very obvious he was thinking, yeah right.
 Suddenly, a whole party of people came in through the front door, leaded by Mrs. Weasley, who was looking very anxious and about ready to pull her hair out.
Following her were Arthur, Ron and Ginny, the Weasley twins, someone Cedric supposed could only be their older brother, and... Fleur Delacour? He immediately rose from his seat.
 "Cedric! 'Arry!" she exclaimed, running over elegantly.
 Smiling widely, he gave her a hug and she kissed him on both cheeks. Harry grinned at her also, and waved awkwardly before she ran over to kiss him too.
 "Cedric? 'Ow are you? What are you doing 'ere?" He noticed that her pronunciation was quite a bit better than it had been two years ago.
 Still filled with excitement at seeing her again, he was confused for a moment before he realized that she didn't know that Harry and he were dating. She didn't even know that they were gay. But it wasn't even a big deal, so in his most casual voice, he said, "Oh yeah, I'm Harry's boyfriend," though his cheeks were growing red as everyone was watching their encounter.
 "Wat? You mean," she looked to Mrs. Weasley for clarification. "You two are togezer?"
 "Yes," he said, still trying to look indifferent as to how that might be the slightest bit unexpected. The oldest most-likely-Weasley-brother put a hand on her shoulder before coming forward and offering his other one. "I'm Bill Weasley. Nice to meet you, Diggory."
 Cedric shook it, and gave a polite nod.
 "And good to see you again, Harry," Bill added, smiling at him.
 "Yeah, you too."
 "Fleur is my fiancé, so she's come to stay."
 The couple smiled at each other brightly, as Cedric said, "Oh, congratulations!" Though he couldn't help but notice that the three other women in the room were sporting frowns.
 "So nice to see you, Deary," Mrs. Weasley said after a moment, breaking the tension. For some reason, he was feeling extremely nervous, there in front of all of the people Harry considered family. He wondered, possibly, if they were sizing him up. Especially Ginny, who's eyes had not returned to normal size once, at seeing him. They had been narrow the whole time.
 But the loud knock on the front door interrupted everyone's thoughts and they all turned to see Mr. and Mrs. Diggory.
 Immediately Mr. Weasley dashed over, and invited them in. "Amos! How wonderful that you came. And this must be Lauren!" He shook her hand violently, causing her to chuckle slightly.
 "Yes, yes, good to see you, Arthur!"
 Him mum, spotting Harry, broke into a huge smile and ran up to him.
 "Harry! How've you been, love?" She brushed a few strands of hair out of his face before embracing him tightly. "We've missed you!"
 "Give him air, mum," he said, laughing.
 Lauren grinned at her son before facing the Weasleys and greeting them all separately.

 Harry would of been annoyed at how warmly Fleur was treating Cedric (he remembered how taken she'd been with him in the Triwizard Tournament), but it was evident she was in love with Bill. Plus, he figured Ginny was probably acting the same way, if not more so, with himself.
He felt a hand on his shoulder, and turned around, finding Mr. Weasley looking at him seriously.
 "Yes, Mr. Weasley?"
 "Harry, Percy and Rufus Scrimgeour came earlier today, during lunchtime."
 "What did he want with me?"
 "I think he wanted to see— Ah," Mr. Weasley nodded; Harry supposed he was right in thinking the Minister had wanted to see him. And honestly, he was very glad he hadn't been at the Burrow earlier in the day because of it. He didn't want to deal with his prying questions right now.
 "He asked where you were."
 "He probably wants to ask me about Dumbledore."
 "Why Dumbledore?"
 Harry shrugged.
 Cedric was casting them curious glances from where he was sitting on the couch, talking to Lupin and Fleur.
 "But... Mr. Weasley, I've been sort of concerned about Snape. He was... well Ron said it was an unforgivable vow..." and he went off explaining everything he had overheard with Snape and Malfoy before the break. All of which he had already told Cedric.
 By the end of explaining, Amos, Cedric, and Lupin were all listening intently.
 "Has it occurred to you, Harry, that Snape was simply pretending—"
 "No, I mean, yeah I know, but he seemed genuine with Malfoy. We can't know that—"
 "Never trusted that Professor," Amos interrupted loudly. Lupin shot him a strange glance before clearing his throat and saying, "It isn't our business to know. It's Dumbledore's business. Dumbledore trusts Severus, and that should be good enough for all of us."
 Amos grunted a "hmph", earning him another glare from Lupin, and a wary look from his son.
 "But, just say— just say Dumbledore's wrong about Snape," said Harry.
 Lupin once again opened his mouth to reply, but Cedric beat him to it.
 "I don't think it's likely Dumbledore's wrong about him, Harry, but even if he is, I'm sure he's aware of the fact that he could be wrong. Whether Snape is or isn't pretending, I'm sure Dumbledore would know."
 Arthur and Lupin both smiled slightly at Cedric, but Mr. Diggory and Harry were frowning still.
 "Listen, Harry," Cedric started, seeing the offended look he had caused, "You may be right, and you should still tell Dumbledore, but I don't think it's something you need to be worrying about. You've got enough going on already."
 "Agreed," Lupin said with raised eyebrows and another proud glance at Harry's boyfriend.
 The night went on with everyone chattering jovially, talking about Ministry business, or the new best Quidditch team. Until at dinner, when Harry was sitting beside Mrs. Diggory, she asked about the thing he had least wanted to talk about.
 "Harry..." she whispered gently. "Is everything all right now between you and Cedric?"
 He looked down to his lap awkwardly, avoiding her gaze.
 "Everything's fine now," he said. "It was my fault, really."
 "I'm sure it was as much his fault as it was yours. But you two are good now, yes?"
 "Yeah."
 "I'm glad. You should have seen the state he was in. Amos went to go see him often."
 He must of looked guilty because she put a hand on his back, and said, "Every couple has their arguments— it's good to fight occasionally. Just to set things straight."
 Harry nodded.
 "He really loves you, you know?" she said, even quieter.
 And now he was blushing furiously. But it warmed his heart, and he grinned at her genuinely.
 "Thanks... it's nice to hear."
 What they both hadn't noticed was Mrs. Weasley's eyes were narrowed, seeing Mrs. Diggory talking to Harry like a son.
 "Harry, dear!" she called across the table. "You'll be staying in the summer, right?"
 Ron glanced at his mother warily, while Ginny suddenly looked very hopeful.
 "Well of course not mum," Fred said, as if it were obvious.
 "And why is that?" she asked, frowning.
 "He's going to be staying with Ced! There's no one around here for him to go snogging, unless you count Ron. But I doubt he'd do the job right, eh, Harry?" He waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
 Ron, Harry, and Cedric suddenly all turned as red as tomatoes.
 "Er..." Harry started, "Well, I don't really know yet, Mrs. Weasley." He tried to ignore the fact that his favorite professor, Mr. Weasley, Mr. Diggory, George, and Bill were all looking at him, clearly amused. And the fact that Ginny's expression had dropped considerably, and Fleur was glancing between the three of them, puzzled.
 "Why must 'ou vight over poor 'Arry? Eee is obviously very uncomvortable."
 Mrs. Weasley glared at her, hating the accusation, but Mrs. Diggory said, "Yes, let's discuss something else."
 "Actually, there's a good chance he'll be here," Cedric intervened. Harry nodded at him.
 "Ah, why is that?" Arthur asked.
 "Well, You-Know-Who mainly."
 Everyone around the table sighed; miraculously they had all forgotten that one of the darkest wizards of all time was after Harry. Except for Cedric, who could barely get it off his mind.
 "I really don't think my place would be safe enough."
 "And you'd be right," Lupin added.
 Seeing as the attitude about the table was suddenly much gloomier, Harry piped in, "Yeah, let's talk about something else." So, for the rest of the evening, they shared in sweets, listened to Celestina Warbeck, and dozed off in chairs.
 It was probably one of the better days in Harry's life. Seeing Cedric and his parents with the Weasleys made him feel like he actually had a family. As he rested on the couch, Cedric muttered in his ear, "Merry Christmas, Harry," and leaned forward to kiss him, but very quickly. He didn't want to draw attention as Ginny came through the doorway with a scowl she was barely attempting to hide. Before long they said goodbye to the Weasleys, the Diggorys, and Lupin, and headed for home.

 In bed later, when they were both drifting off to sleep, Harry mumbled, "Hey... Cedric?"
 "Yeah?"
 "Don't worry about me, okay? Because of the Voldemort thing. I'll be fine."
 "I know you will."
 Because Cedric would never, ever, let anything happen to him.

Chapter Text

 Since Christmas day, Cedric and Harry had been laying low, continuing their daily ritual of one on one Quidditch and dueling. In addition, there had been a visit from one of Cedric's work friends, Maisie, who Harry had actually really liked. When Cedric had said she was dropping by, Harry wasn't sure how he felt about it, but she turned out to be nice, and funny, and the slightest bit peculiar. Maybe he liked her because her eyes hadn't immediately shot to his scar, but really, she had just acted like he was any other person. And the fact that she was a Slytherin just made her seem that much more admirable for it. 

 Other than Maisie's visit, things were just simple. Simple and perfect. And Harry, for the first time really, dreaded having to go back to Hogwarts, where he was now declared, "The Chosen One," and suddenly the center of attention all over again.

~~~

 They were in bed one night, when Harry finally got a little too carried away, as Cedric knew he would eventually.

 They had been kissing, rather intensely, when Harry began to move his hand slowly along Cedric's abs, to the edge of his pyjama shorts.

 Instead of stopping him like he was telling himself he should, Cedric let Harry's hand slowly get farther and farther down his stomach. His fingers were so soft, and cold. And they were getting closer...

 "Harry," he whispered warily.

 However, it seemed now that he wasn't about to stop. He suddenly became aware that he was holding his breath.

 "Harry," he said more firmly, when the fingers had almost slipped under his trousers. Harry's bright green eyes widened and met his own. All at once Cedric was flooded with guilt, because Harry had jerked his hand back as if he'd been burnt and his cheeks were turning red from embarrassment.

 "Sorry," he muttered.

 Cedric sighed and said, "You know I want to also."

 At least Harry smiled at this, and he whispered, "Yeah, I do."

 After a moment of silence, he said, "But didn't you ever... do it at Hogwarts with anyone?"

 Harry realized he didn't really want to hear the answer. Someone as great as Cedric obviously had sex before him, but thinking this, a strong surge of protectiveness went through Harry.

 "No, I didn't."

 "What?"

 "Well, I fancied you starting in my fourth year probably, and I wouldn't of gone and made out with someone else if I already liked you."

 "So, not before fourth year then, either?"

 "Harry!" he exclaimed with a laugh. "What sort of guy do you think I was?"

 Harry shrugged before laughing too. "I don't know, it just seems like there'd be too many that were after you to hold them all back."

 Cedric smiled fondly at him, noticing the touch of control in his voice.

 "Well... no. You'll be the first." And then he added quickly, "When you're out of Hogwarts."

 "Right. A year and a half," he groaned. "I guess I can wait."

 "But for now," Cedric said, leaning forward so he was almost talking against the side of Harry's neck, "you can still kiss me."

 And he lifted his head up slightly so that his lips were pressed against Harry's, which tasted slightly of firewhiskey (when had he stolen some of that?), and he felt fingers roaming through his hair, and down his back. A feeling, his mind involuntarily reminded himself, he wouldn't get for a long time. Once Harry went back to school, and then during the summer... he didn't know what would happen, Cedric may as well enjoy it while it lasted.

~~~

 "Harry, come on, get up!"

 Harry awoke to someone shaking him silly.

 "Harry—"

 Groaning, he lazily opened his eyes.

 "Alright, I'm up! I'm up!" he shouted in response. Cedric was pulling on his arm, attempting to drag him out of bed with little success.

 "What is it exactly I need to be up for?" he asked, yawning.

 "The train! Hogwarts!"

 "Oh, Merlin's beard," he said, hoisting himself out of bed. However, as he tried to stand, his foot caught in the duvet, and instead he ended up falling over onto the floor, to which Cedric could spare some time to chuckle.

 "Hey— help?" Harry asked, glaring at him.

 Cedric cleared the smirk from his face and pulled him to his feet.

 "Alright, sorry, we need to hurry though."

 He desperately tried not to watch Harry get dressed. But any time he saw Harry shirtless was just an invitation to look from him, because seeing each other naked (well, half, he admit he had never seen him out of his pants) was not being with each other naked. And since it was quite clear that they both preferred the latter, they had sort of come to a telepathic mutual agreement that whenever one of them was shirtless or trouser-less, they wouldn't ask why the other was staring. Which made things so much more comfortable.

~~~

 Once again, they were at the train station. However, they didn't quite get a one-on-one goodbye. For starters, only after they had just arrived (which was a good few minutes early), who would've come along to say hello but Cho, Harry thought bitterly.

 Not that he didn't like her— she was a nice person, and he had had a crush on her before, but now that he was with Cedric, he was wary of her. Because Cho had, after all, also been with Cedric.

 "Hello, Harry. Hi— Cedric."

 Harry smiled at her as genuinely as possible, though he shot a nervous glance at Cedric, who also smiled.

 "So, how've you been?" Cho asked him. Harry thought it best to look away. There was no reason to be jealous, but he didn't want to watch. And Cedric was just a good person, so, when he responded with too much enthusiasm (according to Harry) he tried to ignore it.

 "I've been great! I'm working at the Ministry now though, so I've been kept busy. Course I got the holidays off."

 "Oh, you work at the ministry?"

 "I'm in training to become an Auror."

 "Wow, that's brilliant," she exclaimed breathlessly. Well, Harry might of liked her before, but the way she was blushing now at Cedric was too much. So, Harry decided it was fine if he glared at her. Unfortunately she didn't seem to notice. Instead, she grabbed his hand and said, "It was nice to see you again," before waving at them both and walking away.  

 "Sorry..." Cedric said quietly. Harry raised an eyebrow, before replying, "It wasn't your fault."

 To this, Cedric just shrugged.  

 Turned out quite a few other people came to say hello as well, including but not limited to, the Weasleys, Luna, Alistair, and Hermione —couldn't she just talk to him on the train?— Harry thought, before feeling guilty of thinking it.

 "Harry, we have to go," Hermione said, gently tugging his arm.

 "I— er," for some reason he felt a strange urge to cry. He really didn't want to go back to Hogwarts, for the first time in his life. Because that meant stress, and he would have to deal with it without Cedric to comfort him. It meant figuring out what Malfoy was up to, staying up late to finish essays, having to be the center of attention, and remembering that Voldemort was after him... and Cedric was right about the summer. Harry wouldn't be safe with him. He didn't actually know how long it would be before they saw one another again. But he did know it was too long.

 Because there were so many people around, and he wanted to act mature, he didn't kiss Cedric in some dramatic flourish this time, but instead, hastily wiped the moisture from his eyes that was threatening to become tears, and embraced him tightly, before pulling back a few seconds later and kissing his cheek as he did at the start of break.

 "Bye, Diggory," he teased affectionately, though his voice cracked a bit.

 When he looked up at Cedric's expression, he could see that tears were forming in his eyes also.

 "Bye, Potter." And as Harry walked heavily towards the train, he didn't care if anyone had seen them, or him trying not to cry. Even if Rita Skeeter had, he wanted people to know. To know that he loved Cedric, and there should be nothing wrong or embarrassing about that fact.

Chapter Text

 "Harry, you all right?"

 Harry was staring out of the window, absentmindedly watching the snow covered hills go by as the train rattled on. His cheek was pressed against the cold glass, and he didn't bother to get the hair out of his eyes when it began to fall in the front. All in all, he wasn't in a good mood.

 "Harry."

 Eventually he looked up. Justin Finch-Fletchley was sitting across him, with a concerned expression. Next to him were Ernie Macmillan and Ron, and beside Harry was Hermione. It was just now he noticed that they were all staring at him expectantly.

 "I'm fine," he said firmly. Except for that his voice for the second time that day, to his deep embarrassment, cracked as he said it.

 "Oh, Harry," Hermione started. Harry hated how sympathetic her voice was.

 "Hermione, it's fine."

 "I think we can all clearly see it's really not fine," started Ernie, "so just admit it, Harry."

 "Fine! It's not fine!" he yelled. All of them jumped back at this sudden outburst.

 "Er, Harry, maybe you should have some chocolate," said Justin tentatively.

 "No, no, sorry. I'm..."

 "Fine?" Ron asked.

 Harry nodded, and felt Hermione wrap her fingers gently around his hand. Though he couldn't often stand her pity, she could be rather comforting sometimes.

 "Hey, mate, you crying?" Ron said incredulously.

 And again, to his horror— he hadn't even realized... his cheeks suddenly felt quite wet.

 "Er— I was just, no," and he wiped away the obvious tears.  

 "Come on, Harry, you are! I know he's your boyfriend and all, but, you can live a semester without him, can't you?"

 "For goodness sakes, Ron!" Hermione scolded. "You'd be upset too if it was you!"

 "Well, yeah but—" he didn't finish, as her glare was enough of a warning not to.

 Unfortunately, to humiliate him further, Fred and George popped their heads into their compartment.

 "Hey Ron," George said, "we need a favor."

 "Yeah, could you— eh, Harry! What's the matter with you?" Fred asked. "Wait, we know." The twins sat themselves down opposite him, pushing Justin, Ernie, and Ron together on the end.

 "It's Pretty Boy Diggory, yeah mate?"

 Hermione frowned and mumbled, "Honestly. He has a name."

 "Don't worry, Harry!" George said. "We may not come with the extra benefits, but we'll make sure you won't miss him."

 "Yeah, we don't want to see you go moping about like Professor Binns."

 Fred reached over and patted his shoulder before they stood up and left the compartment.

 "Wait— what did you want with me?" Ron called. It seemed they had forgotten; they were already down the hallway.

 It was just then that Lavender Brown walked by, and paused in the door to say, "Hi Ron!"

 Ron, who was slouched against the seat, sat up, startled at being helloed to out of everyone.

 "Er, hi," he said back as she strode on. "What was that all about?" he asked, trying to look confused, though Harry noticed the corners of his mouth twitch upwards. He also noticed, however, the piercing look Hermione gave Lavender.

~~~

 "I'm only saying that I don't think she's right for him."

 "Sure, Hermione," Harry said with a grin.

 "Honestly! She's wasting her time. He's not after some girl that only wants snogging! Ron's different."

 If Harry was honest, he wouldn't put it past Ron to go out with a girl just for the snogging. He didn't mention this to Hermione though.

 "He's not going to like her— it's almost sad, really," she said, more to herself than Harry, eyeing Lavender who was a few tables away in the library, chatting loudly about how much she loves Ron.

 "Harry."

 A familiar, deep, charming voice startled the both of them.

 "Thaxted!" Hermione said, frowning slightly.

 "I was only wondering if... can I talk to you, Harry?"

 "Er... yeah, fine."

 The pair walked down a few shelves from where Hermione was sitting already buried in a book.

 "Listen... I'm sorry I kissed you."

 He didn't respond so Alistair continued, "but can you stop ignoring me?"

 "Who said I was ignoring you?"

 Alistair frowned. "You just are."

 "Ok, well, that tends to happen when you—"

 "I'm sorry!" he said with a frustrated sigh. Several people looked up, and Madam Pince gave them a warning glare.

 "I know. No... I mean, I know. But you get that this," he gestured to both of them, "it's... a few people know that we kissed, so they're going to think—"

 "Harry, please. If you don't want them to think anything, then can you at least not walk away if I'm with Ernie? Or if we're all in a group, I don't think people will get the... wrong idea."

 Harry stared at him for a minute, before sighing and responding with a nod and a small smile. Alistair's eyes lit up immediately, before he said, "Thanks, Harry. Really."

 "Yeah, sure."

 The second he had left the library, Hermione stood up and hurried over to him.

 "Well?" she asked.

 "Nothing."

 "Harry. You know that won't do anything. What did he say?"

 "He wants to be friends."

 "Oh, well that's bound to end in trouble."

 "Of course it is," he said sarcastically. "Come off it, Hermione."

 "I'm only saying. It won't be long before half he school knows about your small—" she cleared her throat, "kissing incident."

 "And how would that happen?"

 She shrugged. "But it will."

~~~

"Oh, come on!" Harry shouted at breakfast a few days later as he, the Gryffindors, the rest of the Great Hall, and Britain, received their newspapers. The world had it out for him. Because there on the front: an article about him and Alistair. And of course their kiss was described in great detail.

 '...unfortunately for Cedric Diggory, the previous subject of Harry Potter's deepest and dirtiest desires, Alistair Thaxted, a seventh year Hogwarts student... were caught in the act, horrified to discover that their well-kept secret... may wake up to find an unpleasant surprise awaiting him, along with...'

 Harry had had enough of Rita Skeeter's rumors and gossip about him. He tried to remember who had been in the library besides Hermione when he mentioned their kiss. Someone had overheard.

 "I swear, when I find out who tipped her off..."

 "I'm sure no one—" Hermione started, but Harry interrupted.

 "No. It was someone in the library. If she had already known, it would've been in the Prophet before now."

 He looked over at Alistair, who seemed appropriately horrified to have his love life written about in a paper going to most wizards and witches in Britain. This gave him some small sort of satisfaction. But still, yet again, all eyes (or half of them— the others were looking at Alistair), for the hundredth time, were on him. And he felt like punching someone. If only Malfoy would come over to taunt him.

 Ron, who was reading the article silently except for the loud chewing of his food rolled his eyes before swallowing and saying, "I don't think Cedric'll think it's anything to worry about this time, mate."

 "Yeah, but everyone else will."

 "You should write to him, Harry," Hermione piped in. "Though, I think Ron's right."

 "Spectacular. This is spectacular," Harry grunted. As he stood up and left the hall, he didn't even bother to feel embarrassed, and he let a mortified Alistair join him. Harry figured he wasn't used to the publicity and wanted to get away.

~~~

 Alistair took a deep breath once they were in the corridor. This wasn't good. The whole school knew now, all of Britain knew that he had kissed a boy, who happened to be Harry Potter. And of course they weren't going to blame anything on the Chosen One— no, this would be all his fault.

 He tried to say something but no sound came out. Harry looked more irritated than anything else, and he didn't want to upset him further. But all of a sudden, they heard someone behind them yell, "Potter! Thaxted!" and turned to see Professor McGonagall hurrying towards them. Now Harry's cheeks began to redden.

 "Professor, I—"

 "No. I just wanted to let you know, both of you, that I'm sorry you have to be the subject of Rita Skeeter's gossip. I have—"

 "I'm still with Cedric though, Professor, we didn't just... we didn't mean to..."

 "Whatever the reason, Potter, just know I won't let her get away with this. I'll be writing to the Prophet."

 Even though she seemed to be ignoring the fact that Harry had sort of cheated on his boyfriend, it was clear to Alistair that Harry didn't want Professor McGonagall to think bad of him, for going and kissing someone when he was already dating someone else. 

 When he was already dating one of her favorite Hufflepuff alumni.

 Which made him say, "Just so you know, Professor, it wasn't Harry that kissed me... he didn't cheat on Cedric."

 "I didn't need to get the details, Thaxted." However, there was a bit of a kinder smile on her face.

 "I suppose the two of you are off to the Owlery?"

 "Yeah," Harry said sullenly.

 "Well, if there's anything either of you need, I'm there."

 "Thanks, Professor," Alistair said, once it was clear Harry wasn't going to. She nodded, and gave them both a last sorry glance, before re-entering the Great Hall.

 The walk to the Owlery was long and awkward, at least to him, because Harry wasn't talking. He was only staring straight ahead, occasionally huffing in a frustrated manner. It actually made Alistair feel rather young. As if he were a small child that was in trouble, even though he happened to be older than Harry.

 Once they had arrived, immediately, the sixth year began scribbling a hurried letter, then read over it once, and tied it to a beautiful white snowy owl. She clicked her beak impatiently as he did so, before taking off into the bright chilly air.

 "Well?" Harry asked him.

 "Sorry?"

 "Were you going to write a letter?"

 "Right, er, I was. To my parents, yeah."

 There was a profound silence, however, with so much anxiety buzzing in the air he swore it was tangible.

 "Alistair..." he said tentatively.

 "They don't know. They don't know I'm... I never told them."

 "That you're gay."

 "...Yeah."

 "Are you worried?"

 The look in his eyes must of shown it because all of a sudden Harry's expression shifted into something else entirely. Pity mixed with understanding.

 "Alistair," he said. "You can't worry about that. You have to tell them either way. Would you rather them just see in the paper, or hear it from you?"

 "They would think something's wrong with me," he mumbled. Harry stared at him for a while, before nodding gently and saying, "That may be what they think. But it's not true.

 "I should just lie and say it wasn't—" He stopped when he felt Harry's hand on his shoulder.

 "Tell them the truth and don't apologize for it. There's nothing wrong with being different, Alistair."

 Harry grinned softly, remembering Cedric saying that to him last school year. Still, it had taken him this long to actually really believe it.

Chapter Text

Cedric stared blankly at the front page of the Daily Prophet. He had read the article three times through already, but he honestly wasn't sure what to think.

He was definitely angry, except for who he was angry with was another matter. Rita Skeeter went out of her way to cause trouble, as she always did. And Cedric was going to be smarter this time. He wasn't going to jump to conclusions and get mad with Harry over some stupid rumor. Which just meant, he was going to have to wait until said person cleared things up for him.

The wait was excruciating. Hedwig was a fast flyer, wasn't she? If Harry had sent a letter in the morning, it should of arrived by now. It was already evening, and since it was also the weekend, his parents were coming over for dinner. He didn't want to have to deal with his dad's anger with the Prophet and his mum's pity. He just wanted to let them know it was all okay. If only Harry could write! But then there was also the sudden spark of panic awakening in his chest. In case this wasn't the same kiss as last time and it— Harry and Alistair, was real.

Cedric really needed to get started on his work. This stupid article was consuming way too much of his attention. However, he thought, once again distracting himself from his assignment, he felt he had a right to be cautious. After all, they had gotten into a fight before about Alistair. Alistair had kissed Harry. Fully giving up on the papers he should be reading, Cedric allowed himself to sulk in silence.

All of a sudden, almost startling him enough to jump out of his seat, he heard the loud tapping of something on the window. Hedwig's beak. Harry's owl was gazing at him innocently as he stood up to go let her in. Her indifference to these sorts of conflicts almost made him jealous.

When he had untied the letter from her foot, she cooed affectionately before flying away, which made him smile. Hedwig had always had a soft spot for him. She hardly pressed for treats or returned affection. Owls were easier.

Dear Cedric,
   I hope you would of assumed already but that article in the paper didn't happen. I was only talking to Alistair in the library, and someone overheard or something, but it's all a lie. Sorry if it sort of worried you though. Anyways, I miss you, and I hope you're doing okay.

Love,
   Harry

Sort of vague, thought Cedric, but he was used to it from Harry and for now, his word was enough. He was satisfied.

~~~

Harry was never good at comforting people, but he found it easier when he had been through the same thing. Slightly reluctantly, he let Alistair follow him around all day. It was weird— having an older student stay attached to you. It wasn't like with Cedric, because Alistair was vulnerable after the article, and guiltily, Harry thought of how Cedric hadn't really had anyone when he had been down. It was only after that they had been together.

But he wouldn't make that mistake again, so he tried to cheer Alistair up, and even told off some of his friends (like Dean and Ron) for being rude to him. Though, Harry appreciated their sticking up for Cedric. And also, he wasn't going to let the seventh year get too close to him again, and think it was alright to snog. Harry would be firm if he had to. He already had someone.

~~~

"Who does she think she is? Writing about my son's boy?"

Cedric almost chuckled at that. He wasn't angry anymore with the paper. It was just stupid gossip, and also, it put him in a good mood to see how angry his dad was on Harry's behalf.

"Amos..." his mother started with a smile. "If Cedric's fine maybe you should just let it go. Rita Skeeter's never going to change. There's no point blowing up about it."

"What about Harry though?" he demanded with a frown. "That foul woman thinks she can just go—"

"Harry's fine too, dad."

"This is delicious, darling," his mum said, changing the topic. Cedric had cooked a beef casserole that Harry had taught him how to make during the winter. Surprisingly, he had memorized most of the recipes.

"Thank you—"

"Since when do you know how to cook beef casserole? Since when d'you know how to cook at all?" his dad asked.

"During the holidays— Harry's really good at that sort of thing, so he taught me."

"He should've come along sooner then!" he said, laughing loudly. "'f it means you'd of been cooking like this!"

"So how is Harry, dear? Besides this mess."

"He's okay, I guess, other than that obviously. But he's looking good on becoming an Auror. I know he's really taking it seriously."

"Really? That's wonderful," she said.

~~~

Cedric barely slept that night.

He could hear Harry screaming in the distance. And someone else yelling, in a cold, high voice. Cedric ran towards the shouts, fear causing his whole body to tremble.

He was in a woods, maybe the Forbidden Forest, and the snapping and rustling of twigs and leaves under his feet was adding to his nerves.

The screams were getting louder now. And Cedric recognized the other voice as that of Voldemort. He didn't have to of heard it before to know.

When he came around a very a large tree, he saw the blue glow from a wand lit in the distance. And he saw with revulsion the thing he had hoped he hadn't heard. Voldemort. Tall and thin with lifeless red eyes, slits like a snake's for nostrils, bony white hands, and an expression of pure hatred mixed with delight painted on his face. He had his wand pointed at Harry, who was squirming on the ground.

But when Cedric raised his wand to stop him, Voldemort turned away from the boy on the ground and faced him as his bitter grin widened, and his wand raised into the air again.

Suddenly, Cedric could barely think. One voice was speaking to him, though, inside his mind. And he advanced on Harry, while another voice echoed, No! inside his head.

"Cedric!" Harry yelled, released from the Cruciatus Curse and sitting up shakily. "No!"

Cedric couldn't stop himself before he did it.

Voldemort released him from the Imperius Curse, and he fell to his knees... sobbing.

Cedric awoke from his dream, shivering uncontrollably, with tear tracks on his cheeks. For a moment he thought it had been real, before he realized that he was in bed, and Alfie was at his feet sleeping. His paws were twitching as if he was having a nightmare, and fondly, still shaken, Cedric gently rubbed his belly. The dog seemed to calm down from the gesture.

His dream was still filling his mind. It had been so real... and Cedric was suddenly very afraid. If something like that happened, would he be able to resist the Imperius Curse? But eventually he assured himself that of course he would. He loved Harry too much to harm him, even if under a spell. And realizing this made him feel better. However, he still decided to take a sleeping draught for good measure.

Soon, he drifted off again into a peaceful deep sleep.

This time, it was raining outside. But instead of at Hogwarts, Harry and Cedric were laying on the couch at their house. Harry was tucked tight by his side, his head resting on Cedric's arm.

"Cedric—"

"Mmm?"

Harry had turned over so he was propped up on his elbows, and he was grinning suspiciously.

"What are you up to?" Cedric asked, his eyes narrowing.

Harry then leaned forward and their lips collided. His top lip rested above Cedric's, so his bottom lip was between his own, and the Gryffindor's tongue slipped inside his mouth.

It was then he noticed Harry was straddling him, and... his trousers had been unbuttoned? When did that happen? He was being pressed into the couch, and his hands were soon in Harry's gorgeous mess of tangled black hair. Cedric jerked as Harry kissed his collarbone, and he felt his hips roll forward, and the friction between them didn't seem to be enough. He pushed his hips farther upwards, his thighs going between Harry's legs. The other moaned as he shifted his weight and planted his mouth back onto Cedric's.

Cedric closed his eyes and felt himself coming, as Harry continued to press harder against him, and their mouths became more active. But suddenly, Alfie came into view and barked at the two of them.

Harry groaned and glared at the dog before laughing and collapsing over Cedric. The barking continued even as the dream began to fade.

"Alfie?" he said, once again waking up. The dog was still asleep, but growling and twitching madly. Careful to not disturb him, Cedric placed a steady hand on his belly again, and began to slowly soothe him. When he was settled down and the jerking had stopped, he fell backwards onto his pillow and closed his eyes.

Cedric couldn't remember the details of his dream as he lay there sweating. All he knew was that he was hard, and just this once, he was going to enjoy it, guilt-free.

Chapter Text

Harry sat by the window in the bright Gryffindor common room, staring at the blank parchment in front of him. The sunny weather was almost mocking him. A cold, bitter emptiness was seeping throughout his body, and his eyes were threatening to water again.

It couldn't of happened... it was a dream. It wasn't possible. Dumbledore— Dumbledore wasn't dead. But when Harry closed his eyes and opened them again... he still was.

Cedric would find out from the papers before Harry's letter arrived, but he wanted to write him anyway. It was important— he didn't know why. So taking a deep, shaky breath, he began to.

~~~

Cedric woke up in the middle of the night, sweating. That seemed to have been happening a lot lately. But yesterday evening, some of the aurors had had to go Hogwarts because of some Voldemort supporters getting in to the castle, and this did not at all help Cedric sleep any better that night.

In fact, it was probably the worst he'd ever slept. Waking up every five minutes, shaking uncontrollably... so when he woke up at 2:00 A.M. for about the tenth time, he headed to the kitchen and made some coffee.

It was an agonizing few hours, waiting for morning so he could read the paper, or see if Harry had sent him a letter. That was his biggest fear. Death eaters at Hogwarts would either be there for Harry or Dumbledore. He just wanted to see a letter from Harry, because that would mean it was all okay. He could relax, a little at least, for the time being.

But morning rolled around, nothing. And for the first time in his life, Cedric didn't show up for work, without any good reason except that he was too worried and would rather be at home waiting, than trying to sort through papers or train.

By noon, there was still nothing. Not even a newspaper, which was really concerning because they were supposed to be delivered by 10:00. Which meant something big had happened. Panic started to flood through his body, and he began to sweat again. Nothing could've happened to Harry. Because nothing ever happened to him. He always got away, and he would this time too. Cedric was almost sure.

At the sight of Hedwig, he almost collapsed on the couch from relief. This meant it was all okay. Harry was fine. He anxiously untied the letter that was bound to her leg, and hastily opened it.

~~~

People had been trying to talk to him all day, coming up to express their sympathy or share in their grief. Some even had the nerve to ask for details about what had happened.

So by lunchtime Harry had taken refuge in his dormitory, hidden behind the curtains of his four-poster. Ron and Hermione were sad too, probably almost as much as he was, but they weren't like him. They took comfort in each other— Harry just wanted to be left alone.

Almost.

The one person he knew would help was far away. As much as Ron and Hermione tried, they didn't understand that he just needed someone to be there— they didn't need to speak. He didn't want words, he just wanted someone. But Cedric would understand that.

Cedric would let him cry on his shoulder, and rub circles on his back, and hug him for hours. He was just amazing like that.

~~~

The magnificent black gates that had always meant seeing friends and Harry again, Professor Sprout, going to lessons, big feasts, and truthfully— home, now seemed not half of what they once represented now that Dumbledore was dead. Initially, it was him that had made Hogwarts mean what it meant to Cedric. But now, how could it be the same? The tall gates loomed ominously up ahead, although the weather couldn't have been more perfect. Somehow, he had an odd feeling that everything was going to change now.

Since he had read Harry's letter, a burning sensation of grief had settled in the pit of his stomach. Though, he knew he couldn't begin to understand how Harry must feel.

When he entered the grounds, he saw one of the most massive groups of wizards and witches collected he'd ever seen in one place, other than the Ministry. Most of the students had stayed; there were the Order of the Phoenix members, and a long list of other wizards come to pay their respects— and there were all of the Weasleys, standing beside his own mum and dad. Cedric gave them a friendly nod, which his mother returned, before smiling sadly. Her eyes flickered toward the castle, and Cedric followed her gaze. The Gryffindors were coming down now, next to the Ravenclaws.

He realized he didn't even want to see Harry's expression. It'd be awful, seeing him look all closed off from the world, trying to keep composure. He knew him. Harry didn't like to be pitied. And sure enough, when Cedric saw him, he looked horridly unemotional, completely the opposite of Ron, Hermione, and Ginny, who were standing beside him.

But then Harry looked up, and their eyes met for a brief moment, before Harry turned to Professor McGonagall and told her something before coming in his direction.

"Cedric," he whispered, with much more visible sadness now.

"I'm sorry, Harry..."

"She said I can sit with you."

He nodded before interlocking their fingers and pulling him towards the chairs.

As they took their seats, there was a faint singing coming from the lake that steadily grew louder; Cedric only noticed it when he felt Harry's grasp on his hand get tighter and tighter so that he could hardly feel his own fingers.

With the ceremony continuing, Harry's palm only began to get more hot and sweaty, until he suddenly let go as the short man in black robes began to speak.

"Hey..." he said gently, turning towards him, but seeing sudden tears spill down his cheeks, his mouth fell open barely before he leaned in closer, and pressed his body against Harry's side to show he was there. Cedric then turned away in order to spare him any embarrassment. He wished he could just take away all of his pain, or that it could be him hurting instead. Just seeing him cry made his own eyes begin to water. Dumbledore meant a lot to Cedric... but he knew he had been so much more to Harry. A father, in a way.

~~~

Harry felt an overwhelming sense of dread forming in his stomach, making him feel almost sick.

As everyone was beginning to stand up, and quiet chatter filled the area, he glanced over at Cedric. He didn't know when he'd get to see him again, but he had to say it in person, which meant he had to right now. They had both known Harry wouldn't be able to stay with him over the summer. It was too dangerous now. But this... it broke his heart.

"Cedric?" he reached forward and grabbed both his hands.

"Yeah, Harry?"

"You know I do love you, right?"

But now Cedric only stared at him, his lips parting ever so slightly, before his eyes widened in realization, and he interrupted, "Wait— Harry..."

"Cedric," Harry pleaded, closing his eyes in order to hold back more tears.

"I'll be fine, Harry. I promise. You don't have to—"

"No. He'll hear about you. He'll find you... or use you."

Cedric looked away, his nightmares coming back to him. "I know," he said after a while.

"Which is why we can't... this can't work anymore."

Cedric nodded, his thoughts all muddled in his head. "I love you too, Harry."

And then Harry leaned forward and kissed him, before saying goodbye, and quietly walking away.

Chapter Text

Harry stared out of his bedroom window, avoiding the Dursleys as well as everything else. The world was overwhelming him, and being Harry Potter, he was expected to accept it.

Since the funeral, nothing was replacing the deep sinking feeling he had acquired at the loss of both Dumbledore, and also the only person who'd of been able to get him through it all. Cedric.

"Harry!" Dudley shouted from downstairs.

He ignored it and continued to stare down into the quiet, black street below.

"Boy! Come down here!" yelled another voice.

Harry sighed before getting up and trudging across his room lazily.

"We're going to be leaving soon," said Uncle Vernon when he reached the bottom of the stairs.

"Fine," Harry muttered with a blank expression and tone of indifference.

"We won't be seeing you again. No more magic. No more ruddy owls," he said with a satisfied chuckle.

"Great for you, then. When are you leaving?"

"In just two days!" Vernon said casually with a hint of glee. "Two more days, boy! Better enjoy our providing for you while you can," and he left the room.

Harry hardly noticed that Dudley was still standing there when he yelled, "The sooner the better!"

He turned back around to go up to his room when Dudley said nervously, "Hey, Harry— you gonna be staying with your boyfriend after we've gone?"

Harry just stopped himself from saying something like, just shut up, because Dudley didn't sound like he was trying to tease him for once. He just sounded... worried.

"No," he responded curtly.

"What're you going to do then?"

"I dunno, stay with my friend I guess."

"Isn't that Voldemort man after you?"

"Yeah."

"But you'll be okay with your friend?"

"Hey Big D," said Harry, suddenly grinning. "Are you worrying about me?"

"No!"

"Aha."

Dudley stormed away, but Harry smiled after him. Anything that made Dudley embarrassed could lift his spirits, if even only a little.

~~~

Cedric wasn't Harry's boyfriend anymore. It was done. Just like that, because that's what Voldemort did. He separated people, families and friends, and Cedric hated him for it.

If ever he got the chance, he was going to kill him. He didn't care if it was technically impossible, or if it had to be Harry because of his bond with Voldemort since he got the scar. Cedric was going to murder him if ever he saw him, because Harry didn't deserve the life he got. And yet he still made the best of it.

But Cedric didn't honestly consider him and Harry to be "broken up." They both still loved each other, and the only reason they weren't together anymore was for his own protection. Cedric thought it really was pretty stupid. Having to give up their relationship for Voldemort... but he'd do whatever Harry needed to be comforted.

A sharp tapping on the window and he looked up to see a ragged tiny brown owl pecking ferociously at it.

"Who are you from?" Cedric mumbled as he stood up and headed over to open the window for the bird.

It hooted joyfully before proudly sticking out it's foot so to let him untie the letter.

On it read only four words:

Come to the Burrow

~~~

Cedric's head was spinning slightly from the apparition. And although the day was gloomy, wet and dark, a pleasant earthy scent filled the air making it bearable.

"Cedric!" Mrs. Weasley exclaimed, running out of the house and waving her wand. There must have been wards up.

"Hi," he said back, giving her a small smile before she threw her arms around him tightly.

"You must be so hungry— not being able to go out! I'll fix you something. Come on! Inside!"

"I am, thanks," he said as his stomach growled and she ushered him into the house.

"Hey!" came a familiar voice from around the corner.

"Ron, hi."

"I'm sorry mate, Harry told me about your... you know... cause of You Know Who,"

"Ron," another familiar voice, Hermione's voice, said sternly.

"Wha— I mean, it's understandable. We all know Harry's still in love with Diggers."

Cedric raised his eyebrows before smiling slightly. "Diggers now, is it?"

Ron looked him up and down before saying, "It suits you," and heading back into the kitchen.

Hermione sighed sympathetically, and said, "It's just not fair, is it? Having to give each other up because of— Voldemort. When you need them the most, you have to push them away to keep them safe." There were tears in her eyes; Cedric had a feeling she was crying for a reason other than Harry and his breakup.

"Hey," he began, taking a step towards her, before Mrs. Weasley rushed by her side and enveloped her in a hug. "There, there, Deary. This will all be over eventually, and you'll get to see them again, hmm? You did the right thing."

Hermione nodded, making an odd, shaky breathing sound as her tears fell onto Mrs. Weasley's shoulder, forming one big wet patch.

Cedric decided to leave them alone, and walked into the kitchen, where he found Ron, with a pastry stuffed in his mouth.

He coughed, causing the redhead to whip around with wide eyes, and quickly swallow down his food.

"I was just... hungry," he finished lamely.

Cedric grinned and shrugged. "That's understandable."

There was a moment of silence between them, as they both tried to figure out what to say.

"Listen, I got a letter earlier this morning telling me to come to the Burrow, but... it didn't say why. Do you know anything? Your mum's occupied."

"Oh, yeah, that'd be about getting Harry."

"Sorry?"

"There's a guard that's going to go pick up Harry from the Dursleys'. I think that they wanted you to be in it. I am, and Hermione. So, only seems right."

"Really? When?"

"Tomorrow."

"Is that the 27th?"

"Yeah."

"At least I'll get to see him around his birthday then. But I didn't get a gift—"

"Cedric? Cedric. There you are," Mrs. Weasley said, dashing into the room followed by a red eyed Hermione.

"Hermione!" Ron said, running over to her side and grabbing her hand. "What's—"

"Some volunteers," Mrs. Weasley began in a raised voice, "—are going to pick up Harry tomorrow, and of course you being over seventeen, are allowed to also. We figured you'd want to be a part of it."

"Ron's just told me. Yes, I would."

"Well, good. I'm afraid you'll have to stay tonight."

Cedric's eyes widened before he asked, "Sorry? Em... why?"

"It's too dangerous for you, warping around all over the place. And they could of already found your home..."

"Mrs. Weasley— you've no need to worry, I'll be fine."

"Mum he's an adult and has a job," said Ginny walking into the room. "Let him leave. Stop worrying," she rolled her eyes behind her mother's back and grinned at Cedric.

"They'll be looking for him!"

"They will," piped in Hermione. Mrs. Weasley looked glad for the support.

"If you want me to stay... I'd be happy to. But I have a dog... I'd need to fetch him and some clothes first."

"A dog?" Ginny asked, suddenly looking excited.

"His name's Alfie."

"Oh, go on, fetch the dog and whatever else you'll need. But be quick about it."

Cedric nodded and headed outside again, stomach still rumbling. For over a month he'd not spoken to Harry. It felt too similar to when they were arguing. No letters, and both still aware that they were missing each other. But tomorrow, when he saw him, he was going to hug him so hard Harry wouldn't be able to breathe. Because Cedric was never letting go. He was never again going to let something like a dark lord keep them apart.

Chapter Text

It was mid-afternoon, and the breeze was beginning to cool as the evening came around. Cedric was now waiting to leave the Burrow with the rest of the group. Mad-Eye and Kingsley were said to be arriving soon.

"Oh!" they heard Mrs. Weasley exclaim inside the house, before she came running out. "Tell Mundungus he doesn't have to come after all," she said quickly to her husband. "He was—" and at that moment, a short bald man whom Cedric had never met before popped in front of them, regaining his balance from apparition. "So there's no way of gettin outta this then?" the wizard asked right away as he walked towards them all with a frown.

"As it turns out, Dung," said Arthur, while Mrs. Weasley looked slightly relieved, "you don't have to come after all. Cedric here is willing to go instead."

The man called Mundungus eyed him wearily before shrugging. "All righ wit me then. Never wanted to do it anyway." All of a sudden two more wizards appeared in front of them— Mad-Eye and Kingsley. Ignoring the racket Mrs. Weasley was making as she went around hugging everyone and telling them each to be safe, Mad-Eye Moody took a drink from the flask on his hip and came straight for Cedric, who took a cautious step backwards.

"You Cedric Diggory?" Moody grumbled.

"Yes, you—"

"Heard a lot about you. Good to meet you, lad." It was then Cedric realized that he had never met the real Alastor Moody before.

"Likewise," he responded with a nod.

"Must say you should be loads better for this job than Fletcher," and with that Moody headed towards the house.

"Pleasure to meet you Mr. Diggory," said a lower voice, though less rough and intimidating. A tall black man wearing dark blue robes stuck out his hand. Cedric took it and smiled this time, saying, "Pleasure's all mine." He had seen the man a few times at the Ministry, but never bothered to talk to him before.

"I think we're ready to head off," said Lupin, drawing their attention as he looked around at them all.

"How are we going to get Harry here?" Cedric asked Hermione and Ron quietly.

"Polyjuice," Ron responded with a grimace. Hermione did a better job of answering his question. "Six of us will have to use Polyjuice Potion to turn into Harry— you, me, Ron, Fred, George, and Fleur, and we'll each be flying with someone else. I think you'll be with Moody. That way, in case the Death Eaters are waiting, they—"

"They won't know who the real Harry is," he finished. "I'd like to see how Harry takes that."

"Yes, he will most likely refuse. But it's actually a brilliant plan."

The prospect of turning into Harry was a cause of concern for Cedric. He smirked. Would they also expect him to keep his hands off himself, looking like that? Technically, he'd still be Cedric... it wouldn't be that wrong if he did it to himself...

"What are you smiling for?" asked a new voice with suspicion. Cedric turned around to see Fred and George alongside Hermione and Ron, staring at him, all with raised eyebrows.

"Uh," he felt his cheeks flush, "...nothing," he ended with a grin.

"It's okay mate," said Fred putting a hand on his shoulder. "We know exactly what you're thinking," continued George before they walked away. Hermione bit her bottom lip, trying to contain a smile before she followed them with Ron.

~~~

Heart pounding for some reason, Cedric took a shaky breath of chilly night air as they waited for Harry to answer the door. Perhaps he was nervous because there was a possibility that Harry would be upset he had come. After all, the reason they were no longer together was because of dangerous things like this. But as long as Cedric wasn't on Voldemort's side, then he really didn't see why he shouldn't do everything he could to help Harry. Voldemort'd want to kill him either way, just for being against him.

He stood at the back of the group; for whatever odd reason he wanted Harry to see him last. When the door opened, Harry, along with several of the others gave a shriek of greeting and Hermione rushed forward throwing her arms around him and kissing his cheek in her delight. Next he acknowledged Ron, who clapped him on the back genially before Harry hugged him too.

"All righ', Harry?" said Hagrid. "Ready fer the off?"

"Definitely," Harry said with a huge grin. "But I wasn't expecting..." he stopped, because he had just spotted Cedric.

Everyone looked back at him, before Mad-Eye grunted and said, turning around to face Harry again, "Change of plan. Let's get undercover before we talk you through it."

Cedric noticed that when Harry opened the door wider to let them all in, instead of leading them into the house he stayed behind with an unreadable expression on his face. When Cedric walked last through the doorway, Harry put a hand on his arm to stop him, and said, "You're here..." as though trying to convince himself that Cedric was, indeed, right in front of him.

"Yeah," he said.

For a moment it looked like Harry was going to get angry, before a smile appeared on his face, and instead he teased, "You just couldn't stay away, huh?"

"You're crazy if you think I could," he replied with a smirk, and Harry's cheeks turned a slightly darker shade of pink.

"This is what I was afraid of..." he mumbled truthfully.

"Harry, I'm an Auror." Silence. Cedric sighed, looked him in the eye and said in a consoling tone, "Trust me. Please?"

And he answered back with a nod, though his eyes showed doubt.

"Hey, come on, you can catch up later!" shouted George from the kitchen, and so they headed into the other room, where all of them were waiting, leaning against Aunt Petunia's spotless countertops or settled in armchairs. Cedric gazed at Harry fondly as his boyfriend looked around the group of people with shining eyes and a dazzling smile. "Kingsley, I thought you were looking after the Muggle Prime Minister?" he called across the room.

"He can get along without me for one night. You're more important."

An expression of pride and gratitude flickered over Harry's face, before Tonks grabbed his attention when she said, "Harry, guess what?" and she held up her left hand to show off a glistening ring. His eyes widened almost comically as he yelped incredulously, "You got married?"

Cedric had been invited to the wedding, although he was advised by more than one person not to go, including Lupin himself, because having several Order members together, in an unprotected area was a concern. They assured him he wouldn't be missing much. Only Tonks's parents, Mad-Eye and the Weasleys were going. It was just a small ceremony and party, though Cedric still felt guilty for not going. However, he'd feel guiltier if he did because Harry wasn't invited... not that that was a possibility anyway with him being stuck at Privet Drive.

"I'm sorry you couldn't be there, Harry. It was very quiet," Tonks said.

Cedric swore he saw Harry shoot him a nervous sideways glance before saying, "That's brilliant, congrat—"

~~~

"Any questions?" Mad-Eye asked.

Harry looked around the room. Cedric was sure he knew what he was thinking. "Er... yes," Harry said. "Maybe they won't know which of the twelve secure houses I'm heading for at first, but won't it be sort of obvious once... fourteen of us fly off toward Tonks's parents'?

Cedric and Hermione's eyes met when Moody grumbled, "Ah. I forgot to mention the key point. Fourteen of us won't be flying to Tonks's parents'. There will be seven Harry Potters moving through the skies tonight, each of them with a companion, each pair heading for a different safe house.

As Moody withdrew a flask from inside his cloak containing a mud-like substance, Harry's eyes widened before he shouted, "No!" as response to the idea.

"We knew he'd take it this way," said Hermione, nodding her head towards Cedric.

"No! Absolutely not! If you think I'm going to let six of you risk your lives—"

"—because it's the first time for all of us," said Ron.

"This is different, pretending to be me—"

"Well, none of us really fancy it, Harry," said Fred. "Imagine if something went wrong and we were stuck as specky, scrawny gits forever."

"Hey," Cedric warned, glaring at Fred before he could stop himself.

"I was joking! Joking."

A small smile had appeared on Harry's face, before it vanished an instant later and he began, "Well you can't do it if I don't—" but Cedric had interrupted him. "Harry. We're all overage, we're all willing to do it, but if you've got a better idea than by all means share it."

This successfully shut him up, and he closed his mouth and nodded grudgingly. George and Ron both raised their eyebrows and looked at Cedric who cast them a dismissive grin. "Great," he said, turning towards Harry. "We need a hair then."

Sighing, he reached up and grabbed a thin strand of hair before pulling it out and placing it in Cedric's outstretched hand, who in turn handed it to Moody. When he dropped in the hair, the dark brown substance began to bubble violently, before instantly becoming an attractive bright gold colour.

"Ooh, you look much tastier than Crabbe and Goyle, Harry!" said Hermione.

Ron raised his eyebrows and faced Cedric whispering, though loud enough to be heard by everyone, "Better watch out for that one, mate."

She blushed and quickly said, "That's not what I meant, Cedric. It's just that Goyle's looked like bogies."

"Fake Potters over here then," called Moody. So Fred, George, Fleur, Cedric, Ron and Hermione formed a line in front of the kitchen sink.

~~~

Cedric's eyes narrowed as he drink the potion, and actually he was the most subtle about it out of the lot of them, who were all grimacing as their faces began to distort. All of them were shrinking except for Hermione who was shooting upwards. Cedric's wavy brown hair was turning blacker and shaggy, and his face was getting a little rounder.

Harry's eyes were glued to Cedric, or really, himself. Looking him up and down, Harry thought maybe he should consider dressing like that. He looked good in Cedric's v-neck sweatshirt and light coat, even with it being a little too big. Actually, the idea of being in his boyfriend's clothing made his stomach do a strange leap.

When he looked around at them all though, he was overwhelmed with the strangeness of their plan. Six Harrys were standing before him, in odd flashy coats, a jean jacket, a skirt and sweater, and the only two things that Harry wasn't embarrassed to see himself wearing were Ron's and Cedric's clothes. He looked absolutely ridiculous in everything else.

Moody who had previously been carrying two large sacks turned back to them and started opening them up. "I've got clothes for you here, and don't forget the glasses, they're in the side pocket there. And when you're dressed, there's luggage in the other sack.

"Where are we going to—" Cedric began to say, but his question seemed to have been answered by the stripping off of clothes from the others, to Harry's great embarrassment. However, he felt a little better when he saw Cedric's, or his own expression. It seemed he wasn't the only one who didn't want to display his body to everyone if the half protective, half jealous glances were anything to go by. Quickly, the Harry that was Cedric changed and finished before all of the rest of them, and he came and stood by the real Harry. "Upset they all get to see me too?" he asked quietly with a smile.

"Perhaps..." responded Cedric, "though that makes it worth it," and he nodded towards the opposite end of the room where Harry saw himself in a bra. It was the most horrific and humiliating thing he'd ever seen. He looked back at Cedric who was simply smirking in an incredibly amused sort of way.

Mad-Eye began to list who everyone was going to be with, but Harry wasn't actually paying much attention until he was nudged in the ribs and Cedric nodded at Fleur again, who was giving Bill such a soppy and slavish look that Harry really hoped with all of his heart it would never appear on his face again.

"You should look at me like that," Cedric whispered with amusement.

"I wouldn't get your hopes up."

"Noted."

All of the Harrys reformed their line, beside their partners this time. Standing next to one another, even all being the same person and wearing the same clothing, Cedric looked the most handsome. He was the only one standing with good posture, or who looked relaxed at all. And he was smiling such a charming smile that Harry didn't even know was possible for him to do. He knew he'd never looked that good before.

~~~

Cedric paused at the door, again at the back of the group. There was a weight in the pit of his stomach, and slowly it was making him more anxious. He was only just aware that Harry, the real Harry, was standing beside him, fingertips brushing his own lightly before he intertwined their fingers.

"Er... are you alright?" he asked with a gentle nudge.

Instead of answering, Cedric burrowed his face in the crook of Harry's neck, and inhaled deeply, breathing him in, before he realized that this must look really weird— Harry clinging tightly onto himself... Cedric wished he had done this before taking the Polyjuice potion.

"Harry," he said, glancing down nervously before looking him in the eyes again. "I'm not... not saying that anything will happen up there, and I don't want this to be uncomfortable because I look like you right now, but I... " he stopped when he saw a grin on Harry's face. "What the hell, can I please kiss you? I mean we don't have to... because—"

Harry laughed and said while starting to lean in, "I'll close my eyes."

"You two! We need to be off!" said a rough deep voice, successfully causing them to jerk apart. Tonks answered back, "Give them a moment, Mad-Eye!"

"Be quick about it at least," Moody said with an impatient huff.

Cedric frowned, and started to say, "I guess I'll see you at—" but Harry with a look of determination not to have this moment ruined, lunged forward and pressed his lips to Cedric's, or, his own. Out of habit he had aimed a little too high and had to awkwardly lower his head. It didn't last long, they pulled back, Harry looking slightly awkward, and Cedric trying to figure out what to say. "I'm sorry," he muttered eventually. "That was probably really strange."

"I closed my eyes," Harry assured him with a smile. "But my lips aren't as nice as yours."

"That's not possible!" Cedric exclaimed while looking mock offended on Harry's behalf.

"Right, well if I ever take polyjuice and become you, kiss me and you'll see."

"Potter! Diggory!" shouted Moody.

~~~

Cedric and Moody's Portkey was supposed to be the last one back, but waiting for it was excruciating. A million thoughts were racing through Harry's head. George's ear, Voldemort, and Hedwig... he was hardly capable of processing... she was dead. Harry allowed himself to cry, as he waited by the doorway— nobody was watching him anyway. But suddenly a loud noise came from the front of the house, and Lupin, Kingsley and Harry ran outside while the others stayed behind with George.

A glowing blue light, and a second later Mad-Eye and Cedric were both on their feet, panting.

"Cedric..." Harry whispered to himself so that not even Cedric could hear. And with the tears from Hedwig's death still burning his eyes, he ran forward and threw his arms around him, as he was simultaneously enveloped in an almost painful hug.

"Harry!" he heard Lupin shout from behind, but he didn't need to check if this was an imposter. Only Cedric could embrace him like this— could make him feel warm and safe and calm. He was vaguely aware of Mad-Eye and Lupin talking in the background. He needed this right now, because if he pulled away there was a chance of losing Cedric too. He was never going to let go.

Chapter Text

Cedric gingerly planted a kiss on his forehead before stepping away to look him in the eyes. But in them he saw anger, and fear, and yet still an incredible determination. When Harry spoke, his voice was rough. "Hedwig's dead," he whispered, looking away.

For a moment, Cedric stared at him, hardly comprehending his words. The owl that had showed up at his house so many times, carrying Harry's letters. She wasn't his, but she was as good as. And somehow, it always seemed she was invincible.

"She..." he began, but not being able to find the right words. "She died?" he said quietly. Harry took a deep breath before nodding, still facing away, looking at something over the field.

"Harry... I'm... I don't know what to say."

"It's fine. I'll be fine."

"No— no you won't. You loved her. You don't have to always say you're fine."

"I don't always—"

"You do, and you shouldn't."

"I..." but Harry seemed to have given up, and his voice cracked before he cleared his throat and nodded again.

"—would've died if Diggory wasn't so good on a broom!" came a loud voice from to their left. Harry's head jerked up. Mad-Eye was talking to Lupin and Kingsley, looking very proud as he shot a wink at Cedric.

Immediately, Cedric put a hand on Harry's shoulder to direct him away. This was the last thing he needed to hear right now.

"What?" Harry asked, shrugging off Cedric's hand and walking over to them.

"It appears..." said Lupin, "that Cedric's skills saved them from a killing curse."

"What?" Harry mumbled again, more weakly this time.

"You Know Who came after us first," Moody said, "and fired a killing curse at your pal Diggory here— I didn't even see him, but Diggory'd swerved us out of the way and it just barely missed him."

There was an intense silence following this statement, as Harry closed his eyes very tightly before rubbing a hand over his face and shaking his head like he was saying no. Cedric put a hand on his back, but at the touch, Harry jerked away.

"Why all the chatter?" said a female voice— Tonks, who had just finished assuring everyone inside she and Ron were okay. But at seeing Harry and Cedric's grim expressions, she stopped smiling.

"You two alright?" she asked. Moody, who seemed to of just realized that maybe he shouldn't of said what he said, grunted and walked away, giving Harry a pat on the back as he did.

"I'm afraid I have to return to the Ministry," said Kingsley, and he headed inside with Remus beside him.

"I think they're fleeing..." said Tonks with a small grin as she watched them walk away. Turning back towards Cedric and Harry, she said, "So what's up? Relationship troubles? I can't really help with that, but I know a thing or two. Oh, I should probably leave you alone, shouldn't I?" she said, and Cedric offered her a smile but nodded ever so slightly, so she said, "Right. Got it. Ok," and she hurried away, stumbling a little as she did so.

"I don't know why..." Harry began while looking down at his feet, voice quavering, "I ever agreed to you all using Polyjuice. And you shouldn't of come. I have to leave, before this happens again."

"Harry," Cedric said firmly.

"No! You almost died! Any of you could of died!"

"Yes, and we didn't."

"It was all my fault. No one's going to die for me. I have to leave," he repeated with finality.

"Oh," said Cedric, now actually starting to get irritated. "So you're just going to walk away? After what we went through? You know this isn't just about you, Harry."

"You almost died trying to get me here! That was the point of this whole thing tonight. That seems like it's about me!"

"If I'm going to die fighting Voldemort then I'd be proud to do it for good reason!"

"I should've never... allowed this."

"You don't get to allow it, Harry! Because it's not always your choice! It was ours. We all chose to come tonight— we all knew what we were signing up for!"

Cedric was now aware of the eyes watching from the doorway and windows, but he found he didn't care. Harry didn't get to act like this. Not now, when they had worked so hard to get him here.

"Why did you come?" Harry asked quietly, but still with a bite.

"So now I don't get to come just because I'm your boyfriend? What the hell, Harry! I know you're worried, but am I the only one who doesn't get to fight?"

"YOU DON'T GET IT!"

"WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN, I DON'T GET IT? HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL HAVING TO PRETEND EVERYTHING'S FINE WHILE YOU GO BATTLE VOLDEMORT?!!" He paused, and Harry opened his mouth but Cedric cut him off. "Do you think..." he said, gritting his teeth although his voice was breaking, "that I don't think... about how Voldemort wants to kill you, every single day, and I have to live knowing this! You had to fight a basilisk, a dragon, Voldemort himself more than once! Do you think I don't worry, Harry?" he said, turning into a pile of desperation. "And you expect me to just... sit and wait patiently while you walk into death traps— when there's nothing I can do to help? I hate being useless..."

"You're not—"

"Yeah, I am! When you don't even want me to be part of a guard transporting you, but Ron and Hermione can?"

"But I didn't... I meant..." and Cedric realized that Harry was about to break down, and feelings of guilt started sweeping over him.

"I just...you almost died. And I don't know what I'd do if you weren't there, because you— you're—" a tear ran down Harry's cheek. And then a few more tears, before he was crying openly. Cedric couldn't remember ever seeing him look so weak, and frankly, pathetic, and for the first time, he didn't know what to do or say to comfort him. He stood there helplessly, watching with so much guilt. How could he of yelled at Harry?

"Harry... please don't cry..." he mumbled weakly. "I'm so sorry." Cedric didn't even realize he'd been crying himself until he felt a tear from his cheek run over his lips. "I... um..." but Cedric never finished— he had disappeared to a secluded spot behind the house, slamming his back into the wall before falling to his knees in a mess of tears.

Chapter Text

Harry stared at his plate, deciding if he had the appetite to eat his food. Ron and he were sitting at the table in the kitchen as birds chirped and rays of morning sunlight streaked in through the windows. But despite the weather, Harry felt empty. Cedric and he had never fought, in person, before. And since then, they hadn't spoken. Just cast a few solemn glances each other's way.

He supposed that it should be himself that apologized. Harry knew he'd made a mistake. He knew every time he was in danger that at some point, Cedric would break, and it finally happened. But he couldn't bring himself to say sorry, even though he was.

"You alright, Harry?" Ron asked, gazing at him with concern.

"I'm fine."

"Why don't you just say you're feeling lousy, mate? I saw what happened between you and Diggers the other night. I mean, we all did."

Harry felt a twinge of annoyance with Ron for reminding him how everyone had seen them argue. He was about to comment before closing his eyes and sighing instead. Then, he said quietly, "Diggers?" with raised eyebrows. He didn't want to be upset with Ron along with everything else going on.

"It's better than some others," he responded with a shrug.

Someone cleared their throat. Fred and Cedric had come down, and were standing in the doorway.

"Morning," said Fred.

Ron nodded in acknowledgment. Cedric's and Harry's eyes met for a brief second before Cedric broke his gaze and looked back at Fred. The reason he was sleeping in the twins' room, and not with Harry and Ron only made Harry feel guiltier about their argument. Since Cedric had been at the Burrow before they went to collect him from the Dursleys', he had chosen to stay in a separate room from Harry, because he knew the three of them (Harry, Ron, and Hermione) were going to be planning something and he wanted to give them space. But now that he'd complained (but with good reason) about never being in the danger too, this made things slightly more awkward.

"Something the matter?" asked Fred, who was too busy making sure George was okay that night to have noticed that Cedric and Harry were not.

"No," Cedric responded shortly, earning him raised eyebrows from Fred. Ron glanced at the two of them before looking away cautiously.

"You seem a bit tense," Fred said, addressing both Cedric and Harry. "You know, I've got a very good—"

"Fred," Ron stated wisely with a warning in his tone and conveying eyes.

"Alright then, but no need to get all secretive!" Fred said, clearly confused.

The four of them sat in an uncomfortable silence— Fred looking bemused, Ron anxious, Cedric sullen, and Harry thoroughly depressed. He understood that Cedric was upset, and rightfully so, but it was as if they had switched places. Harry had never seen Cedric looking so constantly irritated, while he felt so helpless. Was this how Cedric had always felt?

~~~

He could tell Harry wanted to talk to him. Every time he walked by, the look on his face showed it all. And Cedric wanted to talk to him too, he really did. But he couldn't. Not yet. He needed time to cool down for a while, not that he wanted to be angry with Harry, but it was difficult not to be when he was oblivious to the way Cedric felt all of the time. The panicked thoughts he had to endure simply because Harry was Harry. If something happened to him... Cedric couldn't even cope with that idea.

He was suddenly jolted from his thoughts as he heard someone shout. "Listen!" —Harry's voice.

He'd been sent by Mrs. Weasley to look for Hermione. Unfortunately, he figured, she was probably with Harry since she wasn't anywhere else. He climbed the last few stairs to get to the attic bedroom before pausing outside the door.

"...We're coming with you. That was decided months ago— years, really."

He cleared his throat, ignoring the slight twinge of jealousy he felt in his chest. He'd love to go with Harry. And he was more than a little hurt that Harry hadn't actually told him he wasn't going to be at school during his seventh year, even if it wasn't difficult to figure.

All three of them jumped, and their eyes shot upwards to the intruder on their private conversation.

"Don't worry. I didn't hear anything important," Cedric said, not bothering to keep the bitterness out of his voice. Somehow, Ron didn't seem to pick up on it because he responded with, "Oh, good. You know mum's going mental trying to figure out—"

"Ron," said Harry firmly, beating Hermione to it.

"Anyway," Cedric continued, ignoring the back and forth of meaningful glances Harry and Ron were throwing each other. "Mrs. Weasley wanted to see you, Hermione. She has something else for you and Ginny to do."

"Oh, er... okay," she said. "I'll go down in a moment I suppose."

He nodded before descending the steps again, reluctantly turning away from a desperate Harry.

Cedric pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes while breathing heavily. He should apologize. He lashed out too hard the other night, and just because Harry cared about him. But guilty as he felt for yelling, there was still a part of him that was upset. A part that thought (or knew) Harry was being unfair for wanting him to stay behind.

"Alright, Cedric?" asked Fleur in her soothing French accent, who was standing by the counter with an apron on.

"Yeah," he said, unaware that he'd arrived in the kitchen again.

"You look very upset."

"I'm—"

"Fleur! Deary, if you wouldn't mind going out and degnoming the garden?" Mrs. Weasley announced as she entered the room.

"I went out zis morning already."

"Ah. Right. Well I saw a few more. So if you could just..." and Mrs. Weasley motioned out the door with her hands.

Fleur looked the slightest bit annoyed, before smiling again and hurrying off.

"Is Hermione coming down?" she asked, now turning towards Cedric.

"Yes. But... Mrs. Weasley, I don't want to sound rude, but I was thinking that maybe— I think that both of us know they aren't going back to Hogwarts this year. And... I don't know that there's anything you can do to stop that from happening."

She looked away with a sad frown and whispered, "I just don't them to get hurt..."

"Neither do I. But if it's inevitable, then don't you think that it would be best to give them time to plan? They're probably going to need all the time they can get to prepare the next few days, and I think that if nothing else, we can offer them that."

"Well I..."

"I mean if they're going anyways, why not allow them to be together so they're ready?"

A tear ran down one of her cheeks, before she sobbed, "You're right. Of course you're right. I should let them... they need to be... I'm just so frightened to let them go..."

He rushed forward and hugged her, and she gripped his arms and sobbed even harder against him. But at least Cedric understood how she felt. He was just as frightened as she was. "Mrs. Weasley," he said comfortingly. "There's nothing the three of them can't do. They'll be alright."

Someone cleared their throat politely. They separated, and saw Hermione looking at them with a soft expression.

"Is there um... something you needed me to do?" she asked.

Mrs. Weasley smiled, wiping her eyes and said, "No. No, you go back up."

"Oh. Alright." Hermione turned, but she lingered by the wall for a minute, before glancing back Cedric's way. She didn't say anything, but Cedric knew she must of overheard, because her eyes were full of gratitude, and oddly, she looked also very sad. Her eyes started to water slightly before she went back up.

~~~

She stopped outside of Ron's bedroom taking several deep breaths. After hearing Cedric tell Mrs. Weasley what he did, her guilt was at it's peak. Hermione didn't feel right about doing this without him when he cared so much. But she knew exactly what Harry and Ron were going to say.

"I think we should let Cedric come too," she announced as she walked in, getting it out of the way.

"What?" they asked in unison.

"This year."

"Well..." started Ron, "but he's not... you know he's not like, one of us. No offense, mate," he added quickly to Harry.

"No, no Ron's right," Harry said. "I mean I already didn't want you to come, and if he—"

"Harry! Haven't you seen how much he's been doing for us?"

"Well, yeah, and it's nice of him, but... what are you doing back up here anyway?" he asked irritatedly. "Shouldn't you be downstairs—"

"He just convinced Mrs. Weasley to allow us to plan together."

"Wh... how?" asked Ron.

"Well, it was quite simple really. I can't believe I didn't think to say it myself. He told her there's nothing she can do to stop us, so the best thing they can do for us is give us space so we can prepare. He... he really cares Harry. And I think we should give him the chance."

~~~

Harry looked around at them all— Hermione, Ron, Mrs. Weasley, Fleur and Bill, Cedric, and Fred and George. Some of the closest people he'd ever had to a family. And getting to be with them all on his birthday was one of the best feelings he'd ever gotten. But when everyone started getting up and he felt a hand on his shoulder, a sense of dread rushed through him.

"Harry... can we go talk somewhere for minute?" Cedric asked. And even though Harry knew he shouldn't be worried, he started to panic.

Seeing his expression, Cedric quickly reassured him and said, "No, I'm not... you know... everything's fine."

"Oh."

Harry allowed himself to be pulled up out of the chair and led off to a spot outside, behind the house. "Okay," he said shortly. "What did you want?"

Cedric looked pained for a second before the look vanished and was replaced with one of nervousness. "I'm really sorry, Harry," he whispered, looking him directly in the eye. Harry found he couldn't hold his gaze so he turned away. Cedric continued, "I shouldn't of been so angry with you just for being...you know."

Harry closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "Cedric," he said. "You don't need to apologize. I was being stupid. You were right."

"No, Harry..."

"Yes, and I'm— I'm sorry.

Cedric stared down at him, frowning, before suddenly he grinned and reached forward, wrapping his arms around Harry tightly. "It's okay," he said into his ear.

"I... um... I have something for you."

Cedric fiddled with the inside pocket of his jacket before pulling out a book.

"Suddenly Hermione's the one you all turn to for gift ideas, hmm?"

"Open it."

Harry opened the book and discovered it was filled with empty pages.

"Is this a diary?" he asked.

"Not a normal one," Cedric answered. "I have one just like it, so if you write something in yours I'll see it in mine. I thought... because you'll be gone..."

A heavy feeling was sinking in the pit of Harry's stomach. Because without Cedric, for that long— it seemed impossible. He'd never been away from him so long since coming to Hogwarts. Even when Harry had no idea who he was as a first year, at least then Cedric represented a part of the place he cared the most about. A part of home. And during third and fourth year, he'd become a friend. Someone he could rely on, and someone he looked up to as a role-model (though Harry wouldn't of admitted it then). But after fifth year, he'd been one of the greatest things in Harry's life. And to leave that behind...

Harry was still too selfish though. Hermione wanted Cedric to come with them, but how could he let that happen? Too many things could go wrong on their hunt. And Harry was not willing to risk Cedric.

"Harry! Harry where are you?" Ron called.

"I'm really going to miss you, Cedric," he said, trying not to get distracted by Ron's lack of consideration.

"I'l miss you too, Harry."

~~~

"Cedric!" he yelled repeatedly as he collided with people trying to get out. "Cedric!" He had made up his mind. There was no way he was letting him slip away like this.

"Harry? Harry, where are you?"

"I'm—" someone knocked into his shoulder, "here!" Harry was smashed into Cedric's back, pressed for a moment against the soft cashmere he was wearing before Cedric turned around, wide-eyed and breathless. Harry heaved a sigh of relief and before either of them spoke he had grabbed his arm tightly and pulled him along.

"We have to find Ron and Hermione!" Harry shouted. He heard a reply but as he couldn't make out the response, ignored it and continued on looking.

On the far end of the tent, he spotted them together, also looking over the crowd before they saw him and waved them over. "Hurry!" Hermione yelled. Cedric and Harry ran their way, and without thought the four of them grabbed one another's hand and apparated out of the wedding.

Chapter Text

"Where are we?" said Ron's voice.

Cedric looked around, and saw that they were in a crowded street full of bright lights and muggles walking by, who were throwing them curious glances.

"We need to change," Cedric said immediately when Hermione beckoned them down the road. The three of them followed at a run, ignoring the reactions they were getting from people on the streets.

"Luckily..." said Hermione, after she had led them down a dark alleyway, far from the main road, "I brought clothes."

Harry's brows furrowed, and he said, "But what about Cedric? He doesn't—"

"He doesn't stand out too much," interrupted Ron. "He looks the most muggle-like of all of us."

"Actually," interrupted Hermione, "I brought clothes for you too," she said, handing over a shirt and jeans to Cedric, and then the same to Ron.

"But how on earth—" Harry started.

"Undetectable Extension Charm," answered both Cedric and Hermione. She shot him a pleasantly surprised look. "Yes," she said. "Yes, that's it."

Cedric began to change, triggering Ron to follow his lead. Hermione turned away, while Harry gazed at Cedric a few seconds longer, seeming to debate the consequences of staring at him undress in front of his friends, before decidedly turning away also, but not before Ron had noticed and seemed slightly more uncomfortable.

"But I said he wasn't coming," resumed Harry with embarrassment, internally praising Hermione's thoughtfulness.

"I figured you'd bring him in the end."

Cedric glared half-heartedly at Harry, but did not seem to be able to look suitably offended that it was Harry who said he wouldn't be coming.

"What about... there were all the others at the wedding," he said to Hermione, as a look of dawning apprehension came over his face.

"Don't be ridiculous, Harry. We can't worry about that now," Cedric said shortly, though immediately regretting his tone, for it didn't comfort him at all, but just seemed to hurt him. "I'm— sorry, I didn't mean to sound..."

"It's okay," Hermione piped in. "The Order is there, Harry. You don't need to worry."

"Yeah... you're right."

"Right now," she continued, "I think we need to find somewhere to sit and make a plan. So Harry, you should put this on." And she pulled out his invisibility cloak from her handbag, before tossing it to him. "We passed a café on the street that looks like it will do."

Once they had made their way back to the café Hermione mentioned and had seated themselves in a booth (Cedric had took the side opposite Ron and Hermione, and had his arm on top of the seat so that Harry was nestled against him comfortably, albeit invisible) Hermione ordered them three cappuccinos.

"Just make that two," Cedric said to the waitress with an apologetic smile, though causing her to blush all the same. She nodded and hurried off. "I don't need one," he told Ron and Hermione, making Ron throw a guilty glance in Harry's direction.

"So where to from here?" Cedric asked.

In that moment two workmen walked into the café and took a seat at a table on the other side. The bigger of the two shot the three of them a glance before looking up at the bored waitress who had come over to take their orders.

"Well personally," said Hermione, "I think we should find a quiet place to Disapparate and head for the countryside."

"Don't you think we should go to the Leaky Cauldron first? It's not that far from here," Ron said.

Before Hermione could open her mouth, Harry whispered, "Shh!" because Cedric had discreetly taken out his wand, and had it pressed down into the seat.

The blond workman caught Cedric's eye, and then suddenly the two men had whirled out of their chairs and shot several spells their way. Instinctively, Cedric dived out of the way and cast a shield charm. Hermione was instantly up, as was Harry, and they both aimed at the bigger Death Eater while the other cast a spell in Ron's direction, successfully binding him in ropes. Unable to see Harry, the bigger Death Eater fell to the ground, stunned by his spell.

The other man was looking around quickly to see who had cast the spell, when Cedric shouted, "Stupefy!" and he fell to the ground as well, unconscious.

"Diffindo," Cedric said calmly, pointing his wand at the ropes binding Ron. They split, and he shook them off, shaking his arms to regain feeling.

"Thanks," he moaned, still clearly in pain. All of a sudden the waitress came out of the kitchen, and let out a small screech. Terrified, she looked up at the three of them and Harry's head, which was uncovered.

"Go!" commanded Hermione, before the woman ran back the way she had come.

"That was quick," Ron said, looking proudly at the fallen Death Eaters. "They barely even got to aim."

"Did you actually do anything?" asked Cedric, his mouth forming a smirk.

"Well," said Ron, "that depends really."

"How so?"

"Okay okay," Harry interrupted, frowning. "We don't have time for this."

"We need to get moving. But... this doesn't make any sense. How did they find us?" Hermione said over Cedric's and Harry's bickering.

"Dunno," said Ron. "I recognize this one though," and he poked his foot at the Death Eater closest to them. "Dolohov," he elaborated. "I think the other one is Thorfinn Rowle."

"That's really helpful and everything," she continued, "but what are we going to do now?"

Harry answered her. "First, lock the door, turn out the lights, and we should wipe their memories. Then we can discuss where to go."

~~~

They stopped outside of Grimmauld Place. Exactly the type of place Cedric would picture a pure-blood family like the Blacks living in. A dark mansion with grey tinted windows and bricks the color of charcoal.

Cedric had hardly heard anything from Harry about this house, or Sirius Black. It was one subject that was just too painful for him to talk about. When Sirius had died, Harry had ignored him for a week. And after, whenever Cedric would ask about him, he'd shake his head and turn away. As they headed up the steps he cast an uncertain glance in Harry's direction, before following last through the door.

The place was just as dark in the inside as it was on the outside. Cobwebs were covering the walls and pictures, while oil lamps were glowing dimly, illuminating the heads of house elves.

"Severus Snape?" someone whispered in the dark, causing the four of them to start.

"We aren't Snape!" Harry croaked. A chilly air washed over them, and Cedric felt his tongue curl backward for a brief second before it unraveled. But taking another step forward, a figure— Dumbledore rose from the ground causing Hermione and one of the paintings to scream. It was transparent but dirty, and with his wand raised, flew towards them. Cedric barely processed Harry's shouting as he ducked, but suddenly with a boom the faux Dumbledore exploded in a cloud of dust.

~~~

Cedric awoke the next morning to the sound of creaking stairs. Streaks of daylight were pouring through the window making the room glow a more pleasant brownish color, rather than the black hole it had been the night before. For a brief moment, he remembered the times when he would wake up with Harry pressed beside him and light would be filling the room, just like it was now. But that felt like ages ago. And Harry was not curled up beside him now. Something had distanced them since the night they brought Harry to the Burrow. And perhaps it was still their argument, but he wasn't sure if he could take much more of this. He needed him. He needed them to be normal again. And if he knew Harry as well as he thought he did, Harry wasn't okay either.

Propping himself up on his elbows, Cedric saw that Ron and Hermione were still fast asleep. Her hand was just inches above his, and he wondered if they had fallen asleep holding hands. For some reason, that thought made him smile.

Deciding to get up and find Harry because he was the only one awake, Cedric headed in the direction the creaking had come from.

At the very near top, there was a rustling of papers before the door swung open and Harry was staring straight at him.

"I was jut trying to find..." his voice breaking gave it away.

"It's okay, you don't need to—"

"I... " Harry cleared his throat and looked down. "I really wanted him to meet you." His voice had gotten a raspy edge to it. And although usually he would rush forward and comfort him, Cedric stayed silent, deciding to let him finish his thoughts.

"Even in fourth year. When we weren't yet— or you were in sixth I suppose. He would've liked you."

Cedric took a step closer to him.

"He didn't even know I was gay."

"Harry..."

"He didn't even know. He didn't know anything about you! Because I... I'm sorry. I was just too scared to tell him, for whatever stupid reason."

Cedric nodded.

Harry looked down at the photograph in his hands. And suddenly, a tear drop fell onto it with a splat. "I'm so sorry. He didn't even know about you." But Cedric was unsure who Harry was now talking to.

"What was he like?" he asked quietly.

"What?"

"What was Sirius like?" Cedric took the remaining steps before reaching him, and gently grabbed his hands and pulled them both to the ground.

"He was..." Harry took a deep breath, before he grinned slightly. "He wanted me to live with him. After he was proven innocent— my dad's best friend. Never fancied this house that much though. He didn't belong with them here. Always the one to rebel. Be different." Harry paused. "But... He always pestered me about girls though," and he looked up at Cedric with a bigger smile now.

"If only I could have—"

"It's okay, Harry."

"I love you."

A little stunned, Cedric looked him in the eye and said, "I love you too."

"He would have also. He might have made fun of you a bit, because of your hair being so unrealistically perfect. Or your manners making everyone else look bad... but if he had known you."

Harry reached up, brushed a few strands of loose hair out of Cedric's eyes, and leaned forward. They were kissing, so intensely that it hurt. But it also felt as if they were the only people in the world. Both seemed afraid to let go, and so they just kissed harder. Cedric could feel their mouths working perfectly together, his own tongue slowly reminding itself of everything Harry. The one sharp tooth on the side, the way he'd tilt his head back when he moaned. And that sweet, sugary smell that he somehow always managed to taste of.

He was only faintly aware of someone whispering the name, "Ron!" and then the sound of scurrying footsteps.

But he found he didn't care at all.

Because they were the only people in the world.

"I love you," Harry moaned against his lips before kissing him again. "I love you," he said, and a little while after he'd collapsed on top of Cedric and they were laying on the dusty floor, "I'm glad you're here with me."