(No, I've not totally abandoned that fandom, I'm just taking a bit of a hiatus while I let my plot bunny overlords dominate the Torchwood world for a while. Ooh, lookie, I said "dominate.")
*cough* Anyway. Here's an old one, my first Harry/Cedric fic ever, written sometime in the late autumn of '08. If I'm good, I'll start getting all of the rest of my HP fanfiction here on my LJ. Every. Last. One. >.> *is not overly-optimistic, nope, not at all*
Title: Making a World
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG-13 for implied m/m sex.
Spoilers: Through HP Book 4.
Summary: Cedric survived the Final Task, and grew up to lead a boring life at the Ministry, always feeling like he's missing something. When he meets up with Harry Potter by chance in a bar, he comes to realize exactly what it was that he missed.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Cedric Diggory (as well as the rest of the dramatis personae from the Potterverse) belong to and are the creations of one Ms. JK Rowling. God forbid that I ever try to take them from her…*silent tug-of-war under the table*
Author’s Notes: Dedicated to Michael Sheahan, fallen classmate and mournéd friend. In the words of Paul Theroux, “Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.” May Cedric Diggory receive the second chance at life that you so deserved. Requiescat in pace.
One man all by himself is nothing. Two people who belong together make a world.
Cedric dropped into a left shoulder roll by instinct as he let go of the whirling Portkey that the Triwizard Cup had become, landing right side up in a crouch with his head still spinning. It was only after he had shaken the stars out of his eyes that he was able to observe his surroundings, casually noticing that Harry was picking himself up and glancing around him with wide, frightened eyes.
They were in a deserted graveyard—deserted and unkempt, with clumps of long grass and weeds sprouting around broken tombstones and pebbly gravel. As he got up from his kneeling position, he tried to use one of the tombstones as his support, only to have it crumble to pieces beneath his weight. Shaking off the grey powder from his hands, he called out to the other boy, “You all right there, Potter?”
“I—I think so,” was the shaky reply. Harry spoke haltingly, dragging out the words as he slowly spun in a circle, always facing outwards. “I’ve seen this—this place before—in my dreams...”
A sharp rustling noise behind him shifted Cedric’s attention, and he whirled around to squint into the deepening twilight. A balding, pudgy man in flowing black robes was stumbling out of the darkness towards them with a lumpy bundle in his arms. At the sight of the newcomer, Harry suddenly surged forward with a sharp cry, his dreaminess long gone. It took Cedric’s restraining hand on his arm to keep the younger boy from physically attacking this stranger.
“Who is he?” Cedric whispered, as Harry seemed to have some clue as to the man’s identity.
“Shit,” Harry replied emphatically. “He’s a Death Eater, Peter Pettigrew, this can’t be good—”
“Who?! Potter, he’s supposed to be dead!”
“Never mind that!” Harry’s voice rose, almost to shouting level, but not quite. “Just go, grab the Cup and go back—”
Cedric shook his head almost before he realized what he was doing. “Dammit, Potter, I can’t just leave you here—”
Harry let out a wrenching yell, cutting off the Hufflepuff in midsentence and falling to his knees, writhing in agony. Cedric tried to take his hand and help him up, but Harry shook him off angrily. “Now is not the time to play hero, Diggory,” Harry hissed in a frighteningly snake-like manner. “Get your Seeker’s arse out of here before it’s sought by someone else!”
And to his horror, he heard a voice, a high-pitched whine, echo throughout the graveyard. It seemed to be coming from the wriggling bundle in Pettigrew’s arms. “Kill the spare...”
A half-moment before he heard Pettigrew utter the words that would ultimately end his life, his mind went into overdrive. Faces of those closest to him flashed before his eyes, replacing the vision of the world he would no longer take part in: his dear mother, his smiling father, Professor Sprout, his raunchy and rowdy roommates (and the best friends a bloke could ever have, he wished he could’ve told them that), his current girlfriend Cho Chang, and the one person he only dreamed of calling his equal—
That last face merged with reality as Harry shoved him down and out of the path of the Killing Curse. Cedric saw the green light flash, just inches away from his eyes, before streaking off and blasting a corner off of a grave marker.
“Potter!” Cedric yelled as he dived behind another tombstone, more green light sparking off the edges as he took cover. “You’re one to talk about idiotic bravery, you stupid Gryffindor! You trying to effing die?!”
“Shut up, and just get the hell out of this place!” Harry shouted back and leapt up to fire a Disarming Spell at Pettigrew. It worked, sending the Death Eater’s wand flying and causing both Pettigrew and the bundle to curse viciously. Cedric hesitated, torn between staying and helping Harry fight—or leaving him to the mercies of this obviously deranged criminal. But, like the good and loyal Hufflepuff he was, Cedric made his choice.
He Apparated directly to the Portkey, having passed for his license even before dropping his name into the Goblet of Fire, and went back to Hogwarts in a swirl of color. He had to inform the Headmaster that the Final Task would be extending into a nightmarish finale at a different venue.
“Fancy seeing you here tonight, Diggory. I wouldn’t have pegged you as the sort of bloke for late-night drinks.”
Cedric glanced up from his ale, heart pounding at the voice he hadn’t heard since the Triwizard Tournament almost five years ago on the dot. Harry Potter had survived that hellish night in the graveyard, had held his own against a reborn Voldemort until Cedric had returned with a furious Headmaster Dumbledore in tow. Cedric, his father, and Mr. Weasley from the Ministry fought had dueled with at least two score of Death Eaters who had returned to show their loyalty to their Master—thanks to the three men, and one barely of age by a year, all were taken into Ministry custody or died fighting.
Voldemort had escaped, true, but not before Harry and Dumbledore had seriously injured him with their combined spellwork. Cedric would never have imagined how deadly a Summoning Charm could be, when used improperly. It wasn’t more than a year before Harry—that small, slight wisp of a boy!—had cornered He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in the bowels of the Ministry of Magic and finished off Voldemort once and for all.
Cedric had been carted off to St. Mungo’s almost immediately after the battle to be treated for curse-related wounds. But he had heard his father tell how, just before collapsing from his own injuries, Harry had looked straight into the elder Diggory’s eyes and murmured, “I knew Cedric would come back for me, I knew it...”
But Harry’s Healers had refused to let anyone but close friends and family visit—no, not even the co-Champion of the Triwizard Tournament was allowed to see the Boy Who Lived. After he had been released, Harry had chosen not to return to Hogwarts that year, nor for the year after; rumour was that he was being privately tutored by the Headmaster himself in order to better defend himself from You-Know-Who. The last time Cedric had seen Harry was on the front page of the Daily Prophet the morning after the Final Battle, the black-haired hero gazing down on You-Know-Who’s lifeless body with absolutely no emotion on his face.
That was when the dull ache returned to Cedric’s heart, letting him know that he was missing out on something—he just couldn’t quite put a figure on exactly what.
And then Cedric graduated from Hogwarts, celebrating his outrageously high number of NEWTs by going out with a group of other Hogwarts friends and getting utterly debauched. This led to one very disturbing revelation on his part, causing a rather fiery breakup with Cho Chang, his girlfriend of nearly two years. But he survived it, just like he had survived the graveyard battle during the Final Task; and he plodded onward along the path of his life, joining the ranks of Ministry employees until he had moved up to become Assistant Head of International Magical Cooperation. A fine job, his father had proclaimed, and clapped him on the back; his mother merely smiled at him and said she always knew he was ever the good diplomat.
It was a very uneventful life, though. From his nearly bare flat to his cramped office, from the office to the pub, from pub to home—that was the cycle of his day, every day, year after year, and Cedric was frankly getting sick of it. His colleagues called him a lone wolf, and perhaps he was. But he damn wished he wasn’t. He just—“hadn’t found the right partner yet,” as his mother put it. Cedric knew that he would never find the “right partner” in the arranged dates his mother had set up for him with the other pureblood girls whose mothers she had tea with on Friday afternoons. She just didn’t know his unutterable secret yet, and he would be damned if she found out anytime soon.
All of this still left Cedric pondering life late one summer evening over a strong drink in the Leaky Cauldron. Or, he had been, until Potter had shown up and dragged him out of his reverie—Harry Potter, top Auror Academy graduate before he even came of age, winning a Star of Valour in Combat before Cedric was getting ready to dust out his new office as Assistant Head. Harry stood before him now, his hair still as black and mussed as it was in the Tournament. His face had slimmed out over the years while the rest of him had gotten a bit of muscle on those bones; he still wore plain-looking black glasses, but they seemed to enhance the vivid green of his eyes more than before...
Cedric blinked and shook himself mentally. He hadn’t thought things like that since his—discovery—back after graduation. Merlin knew how much he’d forbidden himself from doing it. But as much as he hated his errant thoughts, they seemed to spark a small flame in the empty space of his heart that he never could identify before...
“Likewise, Potter,” Cedric said aloud, ignoring the increase in his pulse as Harry pulled out a chair and sat across from him. “It’s been a long time. How’s your godfather these days?”
Harry grinned as he waved old Tom the bartender to their table. Cedric had been the youngest influential witness at Sirius Black’s hearing the summer after the Triwizard Tournament; Fudge could deny all he wanted, but having two students (one of them a model student, both of them Champions of the Tournament Fudge had so promoted) corroborate Dumbledore’s story was more than the administration could hide. And so Sirius Black was exonerated from all of his crimes in 1994, joining the Auror force a year later and taking over Kingsley Shacklebolt’s position as Head Auror. From what little gossip in the Ministry Cedric had heard, Harry had spent his first year on the Force as a special apprentice under Auror Black’s tutelage.
“Sirius is wonderful, thanks for asking,” Harry said after ordering a round of Firewhiskey for the two of them. “The old dog is always trying to get out from the office and assign himself to the most dangerous cases. Honestly, if I weren’t there, I don’t know what hijinks he’d get up to. Nearly as bad as the Weasley twins, and more dangerous to boot.”
Cedric laughed, finishing off his first drink before helping himself to the Firewhiskey that Tom brought over. “How about yourself?” he asked the younger (and more qualified, he reminded himself) wizard. “Any of that juicy romance the Prophet cooks up once a week holding water?”
Harry snorted. “Like a sieve. The only woman I’m seeing now is my work, I’m afraid. Ron says it isn’t good for me, but there you go. He said that when I was seeing Ginny, too. Wouldn’t shut up after we broke up—kept saying he’d warned me, how he hoped I hadn’t broken her heart otherwise he’d have to kill me, was she still a virgin, blah blah blah...”
Cedric felt a strange sense of relief at knowing that Harry was single, but he quickly pushed it to the side as Harry raised his glass to him in a mock toast. “Since we’re here together as it is, how do you feel about playing a drinking game?” he asked, brushing his black fringe out of his eyes and revealing the pale scar on his forehead.
Cedric shrugged. “Why not?” he said as affably as he could. “What game did you have in mind?”
Harry grinned boyishly. “It’s called ‘Truth.’ We ask each other questions; and after every question you don’t answer honestly, you have to drink a shot of Firewhiskey.”
“But how would you know if I’m answering honestly or not?”
Harry pulled out his wand and waved it over the two of them in response. “Veritatem Demonstrato!” A cloud of silver dust settled around them and onto the table, drawing the attention of some of the less-drunk patrons of the pub. “There,” Harry said slyly. “Now, if you tell a lie, Diggory, you’ll spray sparks from your ears, and the same goes for me. Ready to begin?”
Two hours later, Cedric and Harry were well into their fifth bottle of Firewhiskey and had lost track of how many (and what) questions they’d asked the other. Harry’s arm was slung over a second chair, and he had loosened his shirt to expose the beginnings of his bare chest. Cedric himself felt very flushed and found that the world didn’t seem so empty under the influence of potent alcohol.
Well, perhaps there was one other factor affecting his judgment...
“So, my turn.” Harry was beginning to slur the ends of his words together. “What was it like to shag Cho Chang? Was she as good as they said she was?”
Cedric half shrugged, half shook his head. “Dunno. I never did. Shag her, I mean. We broke up before that could happen—” He was cut off by Harry’s laughter at the red sparks flying from his ears. Cedric scowled and tossed back a shot, annoyed that Harry had insisted on using the Truth Revealing Charm. Though, he was glad Harry had suggested it before they were totally pissed, as neither of them would be able to cast it properly in this state. “All right, well, there’s also the fact that I—couldn’t shag her. I just—couldn’t. We tried a couple of times, you know, but nothing ever happened. Happy now?”
Harry grinned at him. “C’mon, Diggory, any man would have an orgasm just looking at her! Unless you’re blind, or impotent, or gay.” Suddenly, he sat up straighter in his chair and fixed his green eyes on Cedric’s gray ones. “Wait...are you? Gay, that is?”
Cedric’s jaw clenched uncontrollably. He’d tried to forget about it, put it in the past, Merlin knew he tried! That drunken night in the summer after seventh year, he’d gone and kissed Zacharias Smith, a known poofter if there ever was one, and had been shagged senseless by the younger Hufflepuff in the back room of the Muggle bar where they had been partying. When Cho (who had passed out fairly early on) found out about the whole affair, she’d abruptly dumped Cedric by owl without so much as a parting word in person. After her response to his sexual orientation, Cedric hesitated even telling his parents about it—what would they do if they thought it was “freakish and disgusting,” as Cho had so elegantly written in her farewell letter?
“Yes,” Cedric ground out. “We broke up because she and I discovered it at the same time. And you asked me two questions in a row, you bloody wanker. What’s your preference—boys, girls, or sheep?”
Harry laughed again. “Jeez, Diggory, spare the anger ‘til you’re sober! If you really must know, I’m bent. Well, not as bent as a nine-pound note, but more bent than straight, anyhow.”
“Speak in the Queen’s English, Potter,” Cedric growled. “I’m too tired and too drunk to make heads or tails of it.”
Harry looked Cedric in the eye again, with such an open frankness that it surprised him. “Bisexual. I like ‘em both, and proud of it.”
Cedric poured the two of them another glass, mainly using it as an excuse to keep from meeting Harry’s pointed gaze. “How’d you find out?” he asked the table. “By accident?” Like me?
Harry gazed at him thoughtfully. “I s’pose you could say that,” he said after a moment. “I didn’t realize it until fourth year, actually. During the Yule Ball. I’d asked Parvati to go with me, for lack of a better date; but after I got there, I knew there was one person I’d rather have been there with instead.”
“Who? Cho?” Cedric vaguely remembered hearing Cho tell him how she’d had to turn down the famous Harry Potter for his sake—she’d made it almost sound like a whine at the time, now that he thought about it.
Harry rolled his eyes. “We’re talking about how I found out I was gay, for crying out loud. No, it was a guy I fancied that evening. The problem was, he was older and already taken at the time. Not to mention that I wasn’t sure which way he swung, either. But I think I know the answer to that one now.”
Cedric picked up his glass, ready to take another drink. “Oh? Who was it? Someone I know?”
There was a short, yet pregnant, silence between them. “It was you,” Harry whispered before leaning forward and pushing his thin lips against Cedric’s, knocking Cedric’s glass to the floor with a tinkling of glass. Harry’s lips, Cedric realized somewhat foggily, tasted like cinnamon and Firewhiskey; the edges of Harry’s glasses pressed awkwardly into Cedric’s high cheekbones, but Cedric didn’t mind it in the least.
And then Cedric decided that the table was an unnecessary addition to their ensemble and kicked it out of the way, pulling Harry into his arms and returning the kiss in such a way that expressed the very high approval it deserved.
They lay entwined on the bed in Harry’s luxurious flat, stark naked, tracing invisible designs on the other’s skin with their fingertips. “I think I’ve fancied you since I was fourteen,” Harry murmured into Cedric’s ear, tickling the lobe with the tip of his tongue as a snake might. “You were so popular, though, and I thought you must’ve been straight if you were seeing Cho...”
“Yeah, well, I think I fancied you since that Quidditch match the year before,” Cedric confessed. “You’re quite the sexy flier, you know. Cho was nice, yes, but she wasn’t anything to scream about—literally.” Harry snorted at that, and Cedric grinned before running a knuckle along Harry’s strong jaw. “But you—you, I wanted to impress. In Quidditch, studies, the Tournament, anything. Even though you were two years behind...I felt like I wanted to be your equal. I wanted you to consider me your equal. Do you, Harry?”
Harry drew Cedric into another firm kiss as his only response, and Cedric smiled into Harry’s lips as he felt the missing section in his heart warm and expand, until it felt as if nothing had been missing in the first place.
Cedric had always wanted Harry, even if he hadn’t always realized it. Without Harry, he was nothing. But with him...together, the two of them had enough love to make an entire world.