Author: ChoCedric PM
All he wanted to know was what had happened in his friend's final minutes. A sympathetic look at what Zacharias Smith might have been feeling at the DA meeting, and the depth of his friendship with Cedric Diggory.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst/Friendship - Zacharias S. & Cedric D. - Words: 1,870 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 4 - Published: 11-13-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4652828
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
As Zacharias Smith walked into the Hog's Head with his Hufflepuff friends, he hoped that this meeting with Harry Potter would be worthwhile. Every day since Cedric's death, in his mind he was haunted by his lifeless gray eyes staring at the shocked and wailing crowd. He could still remember Cedric's girlfriend Cho's screams and sobs, her pleas for him to wake up, his father wailing over his lifeless body and his mother holding his hand tenderly, sobbing as though love could bring him back.
Over the last few years, Cedric had been a real mentor to Zacharias. The younger Hufflepuff had been struggling in several subjects, and Cedric had always been a loyal friend and helped him out. Now he was dead, and Harry Potter was claiming he'd been killed at You-Know-Who's resurrection.
Zacharias didn't know what to believe. Many people had told him that Harry was an attention-seeker, that he was mentally ill somehow. All Zack wanted to know was how someone who had been like a big brother to him had died. No one had bothered to tell him anything except for the fact that Ced had been killed by You-Know-Who. Now Professor Umbridge was doing all she could to counteract that, saying his honest, strong, loyal friend had died in an accident. She was even forbidding the students to learn proper Defense Against the Dark Arts. Zack was getting frustrated. What was he supposed to think? Was he really supposed to believe that Harry, a fourth-year at the time, had duelled You-Know-Who and survived to tell the tale, and brave, strong, kind Cedric had not? How had a fourteen-year-old lived when a seventeen-year-old had not? It was baffling to Zack. Then seeing Cedric lying there lifelessly on the Quidditch pitch haunted his dreams and waking thoughts. Fixed in his brain were the sobs and screams of the students, the teachers frantically trying to herd everyone back into the school. He'd never forget the look of his friend's dead body, the shocked expression on his face. In that moment, Zack had wanted to be the one to mentor Cedric, to be there for him, to let him know it was all going to be all right; the older boy had looked so lost and alone.
Zack sat in a seat at the pub. He was willing to listen to what Harry had to say, but he had questions for him. And why should he not ask them? Though it was plain to see that Harry was traumatized by Cedric's death, he had a right to know what had happened. Cedric had been his friend, and he wanted to know what had transpired so he could avenge him.
The pub started filling with more people, and once everyone had pulled up a chair around the infamous Golden Trio, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, all the talking and the hubbub died out.
"Er," said Hermione, her voice high-pitched and nervous. "Er--hi. Well ... erm ... well, you know why you're here. Erm ... well, Harry here had the idea-- I mean, I had the idea--that it might be good if people who wanted to study Defense Against the Dark Arts-- and I mean, really study it, you know, not the rubbish that Umbridge is doing with us--because nobody could call that Defense Against the Dark Arts ..." "Hear, hear," said Anthony Goldstein, and Hermione looked pleased, "well, I thought it would be good if we, well, took matters into our own hands. And by that I mean learning how to defend ourselves properly, not just theory but the real spells ..."
"You want to pass your Defense Against the Dark Arts OWL too though, I bet?" said Michael Corner, who was watching her closely.
"Of course I do," said Hermione at once. "But I want more than that, I want to be properly trained in Defense because ... because ..." She took a huge breath. "Because Lord Voldemort's back."
There was an uproar from the crowd of students, and Zack shuddered at the sound of the name. But how could You-Know-Who be back? He'd been dead for years now! And why would he kill smart, brave Cedric, of all people?
"Well, that's the plan, anyway," continued Hermione. "If you want to join us, we need to decide how we're going to ..."
"Where's the proof You-Know-Who's back?" Zack blurted out, not being able to hold it in anymore. Cedric's blank, empty eyes were still rooted in his mind. He wanted proof, and he wanted it now!
"Well, Dumbledore believes it ..." began Hermione.
"You mean, Dumbledore believes HIM," said Zack. Was Harry lying? Had HE been the one to hurt Cedric? It was obvious that Harry had been jealous of the older boy; Zack had seen it in his eyes. After all the stuff Zack had heard about Parseltongues being evil, and the whole fiasco with the Chamber of Secrets, and then his name coming out of the Goblet of Fire, it all seemed bizarre that he'd then held Cedric's body in his arms claiming a dead Dark Lord had returned.
"Who are YOU?" said Harry's friend Ron rather rudely. Well, where was he last year when Harry needed the support? thought Zack. He had believed himself that Harry had put his own name into the goblet.
"Zacharias Smith," Zack answered his question, "and I think we've got the right to know exactly what makes HIM say You-Know-Who's back."
"Look," said Hermione, "that's not what this meeting was supposed to be about."
Zack felt anger sweep over him. Where was Cedric's calming presence when he needed it most? All he wanted to know was what his mentor's final moments had been like!
"It's okay, Hermione," came Harry's soft voice. "What makes me say You-Know-Who's back?" he continued, looking at Zack. "I saw him. But Dumbledore told the whole school what happened last year, and if you didn't believe him, you don't believe me, and I'm not wasting an afternoon trying to convince anyone."
"All Dumbledore told us last year was that Cedric Diggory got killed by You-Know-Who and that you brought Diggory's body back to Hogwarts. He didn't give us details, he didn't tell us exactly how Diggory got murdered, I think we'd all like to know ..." started Zack heatedly.
"If you've come to hear exactly what it looks like when Voldemort murders someone I can't help you," Harry said angrily. "I don't want to talk about Cedric Diggory, all right? So if that's what you're here for, you might as well clear out."
Zack was furious. If Harry didn't tell him how his big brother had been killed, how was he supposed to know what to defend himself from? True, he'd seen the Unforgivables performed in Moody's class last year, but how was he supposed to prepare for a war if You-Know-Who indeed was back? He missed Cedric more than ever as he tried to stop tears from coming to his eyes.
Another question was asked of Harry; he was asked whether he could really produce a corporeal patronus. Zack listened as Harry confirmed this. He was also asked about whether he had killed the basilisk from two years ago, and this he said yes to as well. The Sorcerer's Stone was also mentioned, as was the Triwizard Tournament. Zack was baffled by this boy. How could someone so young have gotten through all these ordeals? Was Cedric just incredibly unlucky? It was so unfair. Cedric had been so bright and young, his whole life ahead of him. He'd had so much to live for, and it had been cruelly snatched away from him.
Harry admitted, blushing, that he'd had help with all of those things. Zack still wanted to know how he'd achieved them, though, so he said aggressively, "are you trying to weasel out of showing us any of this stuff?"
"Here's an idea," said Ron very loudly. "Why don't you shut your mouth?"
"Well, we've all turned up to learn from him, and now he's telling us he can't really do any of it," Zack hissed venomously.
"That's not what he said," snarled Fred.
"Would you like us to clean out your ears for you?" inquired George, pulling a metal instrument from a Zonko's bag.
"Or any part of your body, really, we're not fussy where we stick this," said Fred.
"Yes, well," said Hermione hastily, "moving on ... the point is, are we agreed we want to take lessons from Harry?"
Many people agreed, and Zacharias folded his arms and said nothing. He was willing to give this a chance, but he was only doing this for his departed friend. He owed it to Cedric. This was his way of thanking him for boosting his confidence and for everything else he'd ever done for him. He'd known how to make Zack feel as though he was worth something. Cedric was special; he'd been like that with everybody, even the scared and timid first-years. He hadn't had one bad bone in his body; a kind word was always coming out of his mouth.
The meeting continued. The question about how often they'd meet was approached, and Hermione explained that the Ministry had foisted Umbridge on everyone because Fudge thought Dumbledore was building an army to fight against them. Zack didn't know what to think of this information. Were Harry and Dumbledore making this all up or not? He was so confused. He once again heard the cries of "Dead! Dead! Dead! Cedric Diggory! Dead! Dead! Dead!" as he flashed back to that terrible moment. He again saw Cedric's lifeless eyes staring, staring, staring at the night sky.
Zack's mind snapped back to the present as the subject of where they should meet came up. They couldn't decide on a location, and Hermione said she'd send a message to everyone when she could think of somewhere. Then, all who were there were asked to write their names down on a piece of parchment if they wanted to participate in Harry's club.
So as Zack did just that, he vowed to himself that he would somehow find out what had happened in his mentor's last minutes. For you, Cedric, he thought solemnly as he scribbled his name on the parchment. It's all to you. Thank you for everything you've done, my friend. You were always loyal, and now I'm going to be the same for you.
And with that, he and his friends left the pub, and Zack's resolve remained firm as he glanced at Harry one last time.
Always loyal. Here's to you, Cedric.