The Story of Harry and Cedric
by Hermione Granger
I have to start with setting things right. The rumours of the death of certain Cedric Diggory, a tall, handsome and extremely popular student of Hogwarts were greatly exaggarated. The truth of the matter is that the famous curse that supposedly killed Cedric was nullified by a considerable rarer occurrence. But, as you realise after reading this, claiming his death in the wizarding world media was an easy way out. After all, certain conservative wizarding circles could not admit the greatest hero of the century, the Boy Who Lived, was and is, in fact, gay.
The cover-up did not happen in Real Life (tm), being strictly a media stunt, nor did it last for very long. The staff and students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry knew that Cedric did not die, and got to know about the true nature of their relationship. Many others suspected, and got confirmation to their beliefs at one time or another, when the boys in question were out of the school and came completely out of the closet. Anyway, the cover-up was much louder, printed on front pages with stupefying point sizes and much bolder typefaces than the later corrections somewhere near the classified ads. One of the end results was that poor Cedric had to explain his continuing existence for years afterwards, when meeting people who only read the tabloid headlines. I can never stop marveling how many of those there are around. After all, reading is a most useful habit if you want to be in the know. So read on, my friends, and stand corrected...
THE BOY WHO LOVED
To Be or Not To Be
It was the third day after Halloween and the selection of tournament champions. Harry was seething. He walked a corridor after the last class of the day with an almost visible black thundercloud floating above his head. His best friend had done what felt like the ultimate betrayal by not believing he hadn't put his name in the bloody Goblet, even if it was clearly above his powers to do so in the first place. Ron of all people should have stood by him, but instead he acted like Harry had been disloyal to him, not the other way around.
Harry was stepping so angrily, it was nearing running speed. Around the corner he went. A violent crash, and suddenly there were flying backpacks, swinging limbs and flapping robes. Harry fell spectacularly into one mingled heap with somebody who had been coming around the corner from opposite direction. After a bit of trashing and finding out which limb belonged to each, Harry found himself face to face with Cedric, lying on top of the older boy.
"Harry." Cedric said with a grin that suddenly made Harry feel all right, regardless of the several bruises he felt were about to manifest themselves. He didn't even realise that the grin wiped the whole Ron situation out of his mind.
"Cedric! I'm sorry. Are you okay?"
"I think I'm going to live. The backpack landed under my head, so I didn't hit it to the floor. And you?"
"Nothing major. I really didn't put my name in that Goblet, you know." Harry blurted.
"And this was the best way of telling me that you could come up with?" Cedric asked with a wry smile. He seemed quite relaxed and calm considering the way they had just met.
"No, I... " Harry suddenly realised how close he was to the other boy. He could actually smell Cedric, whose eyes were just inches from his. They seemed very clear and bright, and they were laughing at him, but in a good way. He was not being mocked, only teased. And Cedric smelled nice. After having thought of that, Harry felt his ears getting hot and he tried to get up. Too quickly. Being flustered and momentarily awkward, he almost managed to kick the other boy in the groin.
"Stop!" Cedric commanded. "This is really getting dangerous. Let me." And Cedric rolled them expertly around so that he was on top and Harry below. Being taller, he had no trouble finding solid footing. After getting up, he offered Harry a hand. Harry took it, and Cedric pulled him up. Again they ended up face to face and close to each other. But this time Harry lowered his eyes. He could not look into Cedric's laughing eyes out of his embarrasment.
"I'm really sorry. Are you still ok?" he managed.
"No harm done. But I'm starting to wonder how on earth you can be so graceful on a broom... Or did you perhaps smuggle some firewhisky in from Hogsmeade?"
"Not me. You have to ask Fred & George if you want to get into the black market. Listen, I gotta go."
Harry grabbed his backpack and started off, still somewhat red around the ears.
"And Harry." He looked back to meet Cedric's eyes. "I believe you."
"Thanks." A delighted smile was spreading on Harry's face. When he turned and walked away, there was a new, more relaxed spring to his steps. Cedric watched him go until he turned the next corner. There was a peculiar expression on his face, a smile that didn't seem to be able to decide if it was a sad or a happy one.
The dinner that night wasn't among the better ones Harry had spent in the great hall. Actually, without the Cedric incident it could have been one of the worst. Harry had, after some soul-searching, decided that he would forgive Ron and act like nothing was awry. So he headed to his usual place next to Ron, who suddenly put his backpack onto the chair and started rummaging it. He answered Harry's friendly hello with a cold stare and said something very rude about not needing any backstabbing fame-seekers in the next chair. With gritted teeth Harry found another place.
Luckily the chair had a clear line of sight to the Hufflepuff table and Cedric, who was chatting happily with his friends and admirers. Harry had only to glance at Cedric to remember there was at least someone who believed him, and didn't act like a spoiled brat. Someone he might be able to call a friend at some point not in a very distant future. That made it very much easier to bear Ron's tantrums and ongoing hostility. But no matter how many times he looked, he could not catch Cedric's eyes, even if the Hufflepuff was facing Harry accross the hall.
This went on for days, which excruciatingly turned into a slow week, then two. Harry found himself wondering why the bad times seemed to drag their miserable feet, while happy days flew past with the speed of a whirlwind. He kept looking for Cedric just to get a smile from him to reinforce his waning hope that the other Hogwarts champion really liked him and wanted to be his friend. The few times he managed to see Cedric without him being surrounded by a ring of fans, his smile started of nicely, but turned almost immediately into a worried, almost brooding expression. Harry dared not to try his luck by actually greeting Cedric and speaking to him. Instead he slowly started to avoid the older boy and convince himself he only had imagined the friendliness, that Cedric really was as shallow a fame-seeker Ron was accusing Harry of being. All in all, the first half of November was a dark time indeed.
Hermione was the only close friend Harry had to talk to. And even that friendship was being under attack by the lies of Rita Skeeter. Three days after the Skeeter article, Harry and Hermione were alone in the Gryffindor common room. It was well past midnight. The situation had drawn them closer to each other, and they had fallen into a habit of staying up late to be able to talk freely.
"Harry," Hermione asked, "have you ever thought, you know, why you feel so hurt when Ron is being a blockhead?"
"Well duh, maybe because he is supposed to be my friend?"
"Friends argue, it is quite common, you know. I didn't mean that. Would you feel as bad if I was being a blockhead?"
"It's different. You are a girl. They do unfathomable things all the time."
"So you would just shrug and think nothing of it, right?" Hermione asked. "I'm supposed to be your friend too, you know."
"I know you are my friend. You have always stood by me. Unlike Ron, who acts as if I cheated him. I'm afraid I'm loosing the stupid git for good."
"That is exactly what I thought. Harry, I have a theory."
"You always have at least five theories. Okay, tell me."
"This is important. It might be the most important thing in your life."
"I'm all ears." And despite himself, Harry was intrigued by now.
"Don't get mad at me if I'm wrong..."
"Now you got me all worked up. Tell me, I promise to behave."
"Harry, I think you are, you know..."
"No I don't! WHAT!"
"Harry, I think you are gay."
"No I'm not," Harry said, nonplussed. "Why do you say that."
"Friends don't loose each other, Harry. Friendship is a solid thing. I think you are so upset because you are a bit in love with Ron, and you fear of loosing him. Lovers you can loose."
"We're not lovers! How can you say that."
"I know you're not," Hermione assured him hastily. "I just think you're gay, or might be. I know for sure Ron isn't. Only straight boys can be so thick about how they feel."
"I'm fourteen, Hermione," Harry argued, "I'm not supposed to be anything yet."
"Don't give me that. I'm fourteen too. And I know that I want Ron."
"The git is all yours. I'm not interested."
"There is nothing wrong with being gay, you know."
"I know. I just don't think I am one."
"I take back what I said," Hermione said, exasperated. "It seems that gay boys can be just as thick as straight ones."
"I am not gay, okay!"
"Fine, whatever. Seen Cedric lately?"
"What exactly is that supposed to mean?"
"If you don't know, that's going to be your homework," Hermione finished, "I'm sure Cedric wouldn't mind working on it with you..."
TO BE CONTINUED