Disclaimer: Sections of dialogue, the good stuff, have been directly transcribed from Jo Rowling's words... You'll know them because they'll seem familiar and they'll sound better than the other stuff... All of the characters shown here are unoriginal... because Promise hasn't shown up yet. It's just a matter of time, though. Trust me.
The echoing voice came from far away. Why would someone interrupt his flying? Flying away, he flew up and out of the canopy for an instant and then back down under the shelter of branches, between trunks. The wind whistled through his ears, whipping his usually tidy hair around his face, slapping it lightly against his ears, but returning the voice as well, which penetrated his calm again, this time louder.
Cedric perceived urgency and irritation in the voice, as though it was growing louder because Cedric refused to acknowledge it. He zipped back under the canopy again and towards a massive tree. He pushed himself low to his broomstick and propelled himself around the trunk, feeling himself compress like a spring into the broom's handle as his hair barely grazed the wood. He rocketed back into the forest as he finished the turn, fleeing from the voice.
The voice grew closer. Closer. He felt the voice continue to echo around the forest. He continued to fly, pushing his chest onto the broom, allowing the wind to fly around him, and forcing himself faster into the woods.
"Huh? What?" Cedric's eyes snapped open.
"Come on, Ced." His father's eyes twinkled in the very dim light of his room. "We need to start moving. Big day ahead of us. Don't want to be late," He smiled as he stood up from the edge of Cedric's bed and walked out of the dark room.
Cedric rubbed his eyes vigorously and stared out the window next to his bed, blinking hard in an attempt to keep his desperate-to-close-eyes appeased. Darkness blanketed the outside of his window, like a dark curtain preventing light's entrance into his room. Why did his father need to wake him so early? Why was today such a terribly important day?
He nestled and wriggled back into the warmth of the covers on his bed, rolled over, and slipped his hands under the warmth of his pillow, fully prepared to return to his forest flight. How he wished he could actually soar through the air. The Muggles outside wouldn't see him in the darkness, and his house did have several choice protective spells around it. The thought of Quidditch and flying around a large stadium to the cheers of the fans flooded his thoughts.
Quidditch. He missed Quidditch. It had only been two months, but the greatest sport in the world hadn't quite left his thoughts…
And as the thought of Quidditch drifted lazily into his mind, a new, more forcible once wedged into the room of his thoughts as the door of sleep began to close the idea from his mind. The colors of green and red zipped past his eyes as blurs, speeding towards golden hoops, fans cheering beneath him as he watched from the center of a pitch, which demystified itself as he took notice of the world around him.
He sighed in both exaltation and melancholy. Cedric so desperately wanted to go back to sleep at just before two in the morning. As luck would have it, however, the one and only thing in the entire world could have dragged him out of that bed was exactly what his father had awoken him for. He needed to get out of his bed so he could start his… day, if rising at such an hour could be called starting a day. It was closer to slogging through darkness, a thought that buzzed in Cedric's ear, an idea that wished to come to fruition in the form of Cedric physically leaving his bed. He thought about how best to get out of the bed. To relax and wait out the drive to sleep was impossible because of the careful timetable his father had put them on, which maximized the time his son would be allowed to sleep. No, he thought. No more waiting.
With a burst of effort, his first of the morning, Cedric ripped the covers off his body and moved slowly to his desk, fumbling in the weak light for the set of Muggle clothes he had set aside the night before. He pulled on the yellow and black sweater and pair of jeans he had for times when he had to go out amongst the Muggle population, put on his socks and shoes, and was about to shove his wand in his pocket when he paused and gazed at it.
His wand. What could he say about his wand? It never failed him. He remembered Mr. Ollivander, humbly retelling the story of how he had caught the unicorn tail contained in its core. Cedric held the wand flat in his left palm and pulled its end with his right, feeling the ash and smiling. He held it out and felt his left hand drop away. Slowly, carefully, he twirled it around. Its springy nature urged him to swish faster, but he resisted, wanting desperately to stay in control and to not shoot instinctual sparks around his room. He didn't recant any spells, but rather swished the wand slowly to avoid sparks from shooting out of its end. It started slowly at first, but the more he practiced, the better he became at this occasional morning exercise.
"Cedric?" his mother called from downstairs. "Cedric? Hurry up! You don't want to miss your Portkey!"
Cedric smiled and flipped his wand into the air so that it almost touched the ceiling, snatched it as it dropped back down, and gingerly placed it in his pants pocket. He scurried down the stairs, entered the kitchen, and sat promptly at the breakfast table next to his father, who was reading his copy of The Evening Prophet.
"Morning, mother," he said brightly.
"Morning, dear." His mother handed him a plate of toast, bacon, and eggs. "I don't know how much you'll be eating on the grounds, so I made sure you'd have a big breakfast. You'll need your energy for the rest of the day." She yawned widely. "You plan on getting any sleep at the grounds?"
"We'll see, mom," Cedric said, crunching into a piece of toast his mother had marmaladed for him. "But chances are I'll be too excited to actually catch up on sleep."
"He'll be fine, Eva," Cedric's father said, crumpling down the paper enough to look at his wife and son. "If he needs to, he will. He's not a child anymore. He'll be of age in just two months time."
Cedric looked down; feeling his cheeks flush with color, he found himself unable to meet his father's gaze or trust in him.
Cedric's mother smiled and placed her hands on his shoulders. "I know, but it doesn't make knowing it any easier. A mother should always worry about her child regardless of age."
Cedric stayed silent, focusing intently on the taste of the very exquisite marmalade his mother had so lovingly put on his toast.
"That goes for fathers, too," Cedric's father said, looking over to his wife. They made eye contact and smiled at each other, then looked at Cedric.
"Promise would have something great and witty to say here," Cedric said, bitter and jealous of his best friend's ability to conjure up the perfect retort to his parents acknowledgement of his growing up.
"How is she, anyways?" Cedric's mother asked. "Haven't you heard from her?"
"Not since the Hogwarts Express," Cedric shrugged. "I wish she would write. I've sent Dani to her with letters and parcels to see if she wanted to spend time together, but I've heard no response." He smiled weakly. "Knowing Promise, though, she has a very good reason I won't agree with."
Cedric's father nodded, conceding. "Who was it who said Promise knows best?"
"That would be her," Cedric said, lips firm as he nodded.
"I'm sure she has her reasons," Cedric's mother said. "I'm surprised you haven't gone back to her house since Christmas."
"I'd need an invitation," Cedric shrugged.
Cedric's mother smiled proudly at him. "I'm glad that hasn't been lost on you." She yawned widely. "Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to bed. Have a good time at the game! I'll see you tomorrow!"
She hugged her son and then kissed her husband before dragging herself out of the kitchen, up the flight of stairs, and out of sight.
Cedric's father put down the morning paper and watched his wife slink up the stairs. "She seemed cheery," he chuckled. "We'll go as soon as you're ready." Cedric's father pulled his copy of The Evening Prophet up again and continued to read it.
"Anything about the game?" Cedric asked between mouthfuls of bacon.
"Just the teams' records to date," he sighed, disappointed. "Highlights of the teams' performances this season and some tidbits about the huge transportation issues for the game tonight. Doesn't say much more than that."
Cedric returned his focus to his breakfast, concentrating on scarfing the remaining contents quickly so his father wouldn't wait for him longer than he had to. He picked up his plate, took it to the sink, washed it thoroughly, dried it with a towel, and finally returned it to its cabinet to the left of the sink.
"Ready?" Cedric's father asked him. "We've got about eight miles to go and only about three hours. Let's go."
The trek itself was rather uneventful. True, Cedric never traveled very far on foot, and he had certainly never traveled all the way to Stoatshead Hill. Still, the World Cup. Nothing could possibly keep him from attending, even if it meant a walk across miles of countryside to reach a desolate hill in the middle of nowhere.
After several minutes in silence, he began to discuss his O.W.L results with his father. His father was pleased with his results. He managed to scrape O.W.L.s in all of his subjects. They discussed Cedric's decisions to skip on N.E.W.T. level Care of Magical Creatures for the upcoming year, for which his father teased him because of his standing in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. They discussed his school life in general. They discussed Promise and wondered what she had done over the summer (although Cedric was becoming increasingly more convinced he wouldn't see her till their shopping trip in a few weeks). They discussed Quidditch and how Cedric had won against Harry Potter.
"For the last time, dad," Cedric sighed. "I'm telling you, Harry fell off of his broom."
"Still doesn't change the fact that you beat him, does it, Ced?" His father nudged him teasingly. "That's a good story to tell."
Cedric almost rolled his eyes.
Gray had begun to obscure the sky when they finally approached Stoatshead Hill. The climb at first was relatively level with little incline, but by the time they had reached the top, they wheezed freely, breath crystallizing in the cool, pre-dawn air.
"Ok, we're looking for a Portkey and the Weasley family," Cedric's father said. "Portkey first though. Won't do us any good to find the Weasleys and then completely miss our Portkey's window. It'll be something small and insignificant."
They separated and began to scour the top of the hill searching for the Portkey.
"Could you be more specific?" Cedric called out to his father after about ten minutes.
"No! Sorry!" Cedric's father shouted back.
They continued to search for the Portkey on the side of the hill farther away from as Cedric kept his eyes on the Ottery St. Catchpole side of the hill as he watched the seven members of the Weasley party pop out of the hill like corks.
After another two minutes, Cedric's father's voice bit into the air. "Ah ha! Got it, Ced!" He raised his voice higher. "Over here, Arthur! Over here son, we've got it!" He waved his arm with the boot in hand to the figures on the other side of the hill.
The tallest of the party strode over to where Cedric and his father stood. "Amos!" Mr. Weasley's face grew slowly visible as he approached Cedric. He extended a hand and shook it vigorously with Cedric's father, and then Cedric.
The other six members of the party approached.
"This is Amos Diggory, everyone," said Mr. Weasley. "He works for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. And I think you know his son, Cedric?"
Cedric waved nervously at the other six of the party. He remembered that all of them resided in the Gryffindor house and wondered if any of them had forgiven him for accidentally defeating them in last season's Quidditch match. "Hi," he said, slightly embarrassed.
They each chorused a hello together, with the exception of the two twins, whom Cedric recognized as the beaters for the Gryffindor team. Nodding a polite greeting, Cedric realized they obviously didn't forgive him for their defeat. He shouldn't have won that match. It wasn't fair to them or to Harry.
He looked around the circle at each one in turn. He didn't recognize the red headed girl, and blanked on the names of the twins. He did, however, recognize Ron Weasley purely out of Ron's relationship to Harry Potter, and Hermione Granger, whom had gained the reputation as the smartest student at Hogwarts. Finally, his eyes landed on Harry Potter, but then again, who didn't know of Harry Potter?
"Long walk, Arthur?" Cedric's father asked.
"Not too bad," said Mr. Weasley. "We live just on the other side of the village there. You?"
"Had to get up at two didn't we Ced? I tell you, I'll be glad when he's got his Apparition test. Still… not complaining… Quidditch World Cup, Wouldn't miss it for a sackful of Galleons- and the tickets cost about that. Mind you, looks like I got off easy. All these yours, Arthur?"
"Oh no, only the redheads," said Mr. Weasley. "These are Fred, George, Ginny, Ron, Hermione Granger, a friend of Ron's, and Harry, another friend."
Cedric watched his father's eyes open wide, as he had known they would. Cedric suppressed a smile. He'd actually waited for this moment since he had recognized Harry in the weak light. For his father to suddenly become star struck at the sight of a "celebrity" was too priceless for Cedric to pass up.
"Merlin's beard," his father gasped. "Harry? Harry Potter?"
Cedric almost let his smile split across his face. He really should have told his father that Harry would show up, but where would the fun have been in that?
"Er- yeah," Harry murmured.
"Ced's talked about you of course," Cedric's father continued to look at him in wonder, forcing Cedric to allow the slightest of smirks to perforate his face. "Told us all about playing against you last year… I said to him, I said- Ced, that'll be something to tell your grandchildren, that will… You beat Harry Potter!"
Cedric's smile and any remaining inkling of it dropped off of his face at the mention of Cedric capturing the snitch before Harry. Why couldn't his father take less pride in him for once? He watched as Harry merely continued to look at Cedric's father while the twins scowled at him. What was he supposed to do?
"Harry fell off his broom, Dad," Cedric muttered. "I told you… it was an accident."
"Yes, but you didn't fall off, did you?" roared his father genially, slapping Cedric on the back, embarrassing Cedric even further. "Always modest, our Ced, always the gentleman… 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 know which one's a better flier."
"Must be nearly time," Mr. Weasley interrupted, forcing Cedric's mouth shut, silencing him from mentioning that Harry was probably the best flier he had ever seen. "Do you know if we're waiting for any more, Amos?"
"No, the Lovegoods have been there for a week already and the Fawcetts couldn't get tickets," Cedric's father informed him. "There aren't any more of us in this area, are there?"
"Not that I know of," said Mr. Weasley. "Yes, it's a minute off… We'd better get ready…" He turned around to Harry and Hermione, who apparently had no idea how to use a Portkey. "You just need to touch the Portkey, that's all, a finger will do-"
Cedric touched the boot held out in front of him by his father, squished between the two fathers of the group.
"Three… two… one…" Mr. Weasley counted down.
Cedric felt the incredibly uncomfortable sensation of being jerked forward and watched as his feet left the ground and colors swirled and blurred his vision. He reflected on just how much he hated this mode of transportation, remembering to focus his energies on his feet an instant before they hit the ground. He stumbled slightly, panting along with his father and Mr. Weasley as the rest of their motley crew collapsed to the ground in front of him. He would have laughed were it not for the fact that he needed to catch his breath and he was still stinging from his father's reminder that Hufflepuff had beaten Gryffindor.
"Seven past five from Stoatshead Hill," came a voice from the man to his left.