Disclaimer: I don't own Cedric's parents or Cedric himself. But the idea for this was always here and the words and ideas are definitely mine.
Grief and Rebirth
"And what the hell does he think he's doing?" Promise asked, sitting in the Quidditch stadium, Sam on her left accompanied even farther left by Cedric's parents, Calvin Parker and Olivia on her immediate right.
Calvin Parker stopped rubbing his left thumb along her right hand, his hand still clasped in hers. "I thought you liked-"
"No, no, no, not that," Promise said very businesslike before looking at Calvin Parker and smiling sheepishly. "That is welcome." They kissed once and Promise smiled thinking about more kissing… but no time for that. She turned to face the Quidditch pitch again. "I mean what the hell does he think he's doing? Just grab the damn cup!"
Sam giggled. "Don't you already know what he's doing?"
Promise glared at her. "He's right there! He just needs to run up grab the cup and this whole thing will be over! End of discussion, finished!"
"I think it's rather… cool," Olivia said, smiling slightly.
Promise glared at her. "Do you know him?" She turned back to the pitch. "I mean… the guy gets his morning dose of cool by me saying hi to him at breakfast. No reason for him to- oh now what's he doing!"
Cedric and Harry Potter were there, in the center of the maze, just a matter of feet away from the cup and they were shaking hands and Cedric was helping Harry to the cup…
And there went her cut of the thousand galleon prize money. She knew she should've made a rule on a flat rate rather than a fixed hundred galleon prize. But now that the thousand was gone… She could've had some nice gold! Not that she needed it… but still…
"And now, ladies and gentlemen, the high point of the evening, the moment you've all been waiting for!" Promise declared ceremoniously, watching as Cedric placed a hand to grasp one of the handles, looking staunch and firm, yet completely happy. "I give you, the joint grasping of the Hogwarts first ever dual win of the Triwizard Cup!"
And with that, Cedric, Harry Potter, and the Triwizard Cup vanished into thin air with a flash of blue light.
The crowd went silent, deathly silent. Promise looked to the entrance to the maze. They hadn't appeared there. They hadn't gone… anywhere… They'd just… vanished… Like apparition.
But they couldn't disapparate on the Hogwarts grounds. Everyone knew that.
"What's going on?" Sam asked, one of the first people to speak up as the chatter began to spring up all around the stadium a minute after the mysterious disappearance. "Where'd they go?"
"No idea," Olivia said, not knowing how to respond to the sudden unexpected twist to the Third Task. "They were just supposed to touch the Triwizard Cup and that was it. That was the end of the task. Maybe now they have to get back out."
"But they've defeated all the creatures," Calvin Parker said, frowning. "They did what the Judges told them to do. They should be done with the task and out of the maze."
"But they're not," Sam said, concerned, looking around for Cedric and the cup.
"They don't look like they're in the maze," Olivia said observantly.
"No, it was a port-"
But Promise stopped. A shiver had gone down her body and something felt wrong… unsettling. It was as though something had just… vanished, though she couldn't quite know what it was, and the sensation was spreading through her body like the first drink of a cold goblet of ice water.
"Promise?" Sam asked concernedly, looking at her, already knowing something was wrong, although she couldn't know what it was. Even Promise didn't know…
Promise didn't answer, she had a look of confusion on her face. She'd been overcome by an emotion… Terror? Emptiness? And someone, it sounded like Cedric, had called her name.
"Promise, beautiful?" Calvin Parker asked, releasing her hand and prodding her in the arm a few times. "Promise? What's going on?"
But Promise felt strangely cold and limp even though it was a warn night and her back was rigidly in place.
She startled herself back to life, looking over to Cedric's father, who had called her name loudly to snap her out of her… whatever it was.
"Sorry," Promise said. "But… I dunno… is anyone else cold? I feel cold."
"You alright, Promise?" Calvin Parker asked. "You seem… odd and different."
"I'm fine…" Promise said, voice trailing off.
But she wasn't really fine. Not at all. Something had… snapped, broken, shattered. She didn't understand what it was. And she couldn't do anything about it. She couldn't figure out why things were so strange. People on the field, judges and professors were on the pitch running around. What was sitting so wrong with her? Had something happened?
She was about to stand up, stretch her legs, hoping it would help, but Ludo Bagman's magically magnified voice rang out around the stadium. "Ladies and gentlemen, please stay seated until the Triwizard Cup appears. Thank you."
People started talking, louder than before, wondering where the Champions could have gone.
As though in a dream, Promise watched the people running back and forth on the field. Professor Dumbledore moving at a brisk pace between other professors, some of whom had entered the maze, leaving trails of various colored dancing sparks to guide them back out along the paths they had taken. The Minister began conversing rapidly with Dumbledore, who seemed slightly too busy for the Minister's comments, but indulged him all the same.
Still the Champions hadn't appeared. How much time had passed? An hour? Two? Four? Promise couldn't tell, daze still hanging over her for some reason.
And then, after an eternity, in a flash of crackling blue light, Harry Potter appeared, face down on the grass at the maze's entrance. In his right hand, pointed upward, was his wand and a handle of the Triwizard cup, and in the other the wrist of someone, a person, face down, stunned.
Promise recognized him at once as Cedric. There he was. Her best friend in the whole… wide…
But something was wrong. Something was horribly, horribly wrong.
And within a matter of seconds, the stadium had exploded into a series of sounds, voices, screams.
But why was it such a big deal? What could've possibly been so…
Promise's thoughts slowed dramatically, as though trying to breathe and gasp after a long run. Stunned. She convinced herself. Cedric was stunned for the time being. Nothing a breath of the word, "Enervate" wouldn't fix.
Yet deep down she knew… Something was going on. She stood up as Cedric's parents did, trying to get a better look.
And Dumbledore was running to Harry and he hoisted him up and he shook Harry, trying to spark some life…
Promise shook her head, trying to awaken her senses. Dumbledore was trying to shock Harry back to life. No. Reality. Dumbledore was shocking him to reality, normalcy.
Harry Potter dropped the cup, letting it fall to the ground with a barely audible thud. And the Minister of Magic was striding forward and trying to figure out what was going on. His voice carried up the seven levels of seats to where Promise and Sam and Olivia and Cedric's mother and Cedric's father were, all in perfect position to see what was happening on the field.
And Harry Potter hadn't let go of Cedric's hand.
And the Prime Minister began to talk. "What's going on? What's happened?"
And Promise felt the crowd go deathly silent around her as the Prime Minister froze.
"My God- Diggory-" The Minister's voice came as barely more than a whisper. "Dumbledore- He's dead."
And the inevitable ripple went through the crowd, word of mouth spreading, words echoing over and over and over in Promise's mind, each with a different inflection.
"What happened to him?"
"Dead? Diggory's dead?"
"Cedric Diggory? Dead!"
"How is he dead?"
"What's wrong with him?"
"How did he die?"
"Cedric?" Promise breathed. "Dead?"
The ability to stand had left her, the ability to function at all had completely vanished from her muscles and veins and she collapsed, only to be barely caught by Calvin Parker, who had just managed to grab her.
And the emptiness overtook her, the feeling that had been in her stomach for what felt like an eternity finally revealed itself: a pit that she had fallen into, like a part of her soul had been ripped out and lit on fire in front of her very eyes.
"Promise?" Calvin Parker asked, sitting her down gingerly.
But Promise couldn't hear him. She was only vaguely aware that he was holding her in his arms, or that Olivia had sunk to the bench in shock, or that Sam had dropped to the bench, head in her hands, crying, or that Harry Potter was being escorted off the field by Mad-Eye Moody or that Cedric's father had begun to stumble his way down the stands, followed closely by his wife.
"Promise!" Promise looked at Calvin Parker hopelessly, brown eyes wide in shock and horror.
And girls were screaming and sobbing and Cedric's mother and father had reached the pitch, only to be stopped by Professors McGonagall and Sprout.
"That's my son!" he shouted, wrestling to get past as his wife collapsed onto the turf, tears streaming down her face. "Stay away from me! THAT'S MY SON!!!"
And he was past them in a matter of seconds, grabbing his son's face in his hand, his son's face which had a look of mild shock and surprise. He grabbed Cedric's head and pulled it into his chest, howling to the sky, hoping it would somehow restore his son back to life. And Promise looked up too, unable to think, unable to breathe.
"Promise!" Calvin Parker said, shaking her, and putting his hands on her cheeks to make her look at him. "What's wrong?"
And Promise's lip quivered as the thought that had run through her mind finally voiced itself as words to Calvin Parker, who was staring at her, concern etched n his face.
"It's all my fault, Calvin Parker," she whimpered, the first tear starting to fall onto her face as he pulled her into his shoulder, robes instantly growing damp from her tears. "It's all my fault."
Promise sat outside Professor Sprout's office, waiting, not moving, not thinking, Calvin Parker next to her, arm around her. She didn't want him there. She didn't want anybody around her, but she had no energy, no resolve to push him away.
"It's not your fault," he whispered.
She had no idea how many times he had said it, she hadn't been listening. All she knew is now she finally had heard it, she didn't want to understand it. It could have been the first time or the hundredth, it didn't matter. She had heard it once and that was all ready too many times.
Finally, because she couldn't think to do anything else, she stood up, shaking off Calvin Parker, and began to pace, back and forth, wringing her hands. The tears were still there, the ones that hadn't dripped off anyway, having dried and chapped the skin on her face so her cheeks felt raw and battered. She wouldn't wipe them away, she couldn't, not when it was one of the last things she had to cling onto. Olivia, who had been sitting next to Calvin Parker, Sam leaning on her shoulder, mouth contorted in silent pain, trying to hold back the tears, looked up. They were both crying and hadn't stopped, not for the two hours since… Since…
"Promise," Calvin Parker had stood up, facing each way as she passed him. "You have to stop."
"Stop?" She cried. "Stop what? What do I have to stop?"
"This," Calvin Parker said. "Blaming yourself. It's not your fault."
Promise glared at him, frowning, once again at the verge of tears. "You don't understand." She resumed her pacing, Calvin Parker still appealing to her.
"Then let me understand," he pleaded. "Please, Promise. I want to help."
"You can't," Promise said, looking at the ground as she paced. "No one can."
The door opened and Mr. Diggory stepped out of Professor Sprout's office, looking grim, Mrs. Diggory leaning heavily on him, tears streaming down her face.
"If there's anything you would like me to do," Professor Sprout began to offer. "Cedric was a great wizard. He will be revered and missed."
"I want to see him," Promise said, turning to face them abruptly.
Calvin Parker grabbed her arm. "Promise, I don't think that's such a-"
Within a second, Calvin Parker was on his hands and knees, one hand holding his jaw, Promise massaging her knuckles.
"I need to see him," she demanded, pleading with Professor Sprout and her best friend's parents. "Please."
"Promise," Calvin began. "I-"
"Leave, Calvin," Promise said, anger in her voice.
Without another word, Calvin Parker turned his back on Promise and set off down the corridor and out of sight.
Mr. Diggory looked to his wife, who nodded consentingly. "Of course, Promise."
They all stood up, and Professor Sprout led the way down a few floors, to an antechamber of the Entrance Hall. Olivia and Sam were following, more out of a need to not be alone, and Mr. and Mrs. Diggory were watching them, walking in each others arms, needing someone to hold onto. They had already seen his… him.
Professor Sprout tapped the lock with her wand and it clicked, swinging open soundlessly.
"Take as long as you need," someone said, shutting the door behind Promise as she entered.
Promise took a few steps into the small foyer. It was a very unspectacular room, with several torches and a large stone table in the center of the circular room, upon which lay a figure, draped in the yellow and black of Hufflepuff. Promise stared at the shroud for a long time before reaching forward and pulling the large sheet forward.
She revealed him slowly, taking in his appearance, from jet black somewhat messy hair, to his perfect nose, to his eyes, which had closed serenely, to his mouth, which was straight and expressionless. Even here, on this table, he was still remarkably handsome looking not so much happy as peaceful, at ease.
With a flick of her wand, she conjured a stool and sat facing the table, but far away so she was removed from him, not right next to him. She sat in silence with him for several minutes, not feeling anything, not quite sure exactly what to say, somehow hoping that he'd start the conversation, like he had on the Hogwarts Express that first time, or whenever there was a slightly awkward pause between them. But he wouldn't he would never…
"Cedric?" she asked, as though half expecting a response. "I'm sorry. I really shouldn't have…" she inhaled deeply, nose clogging from the tears she still hadn't wiped away. "I…" she looked away from him for a moment and then back at his boyishly handsome face, the face she had looked on for six years, always taking it for granted. "Why did we have to make that stupid deal?" She looked away. "It's all my fault. Why did I have to lie to you? You must've known." She looked back at him. "I didn't mean for you to leave! That wasn't what I wanted. I just… that first time I needed you to stay, and then you were there and I don't know what happened to me because life became beautiful and wonderful and I never wanted you to leave because I love you so much. But today I got so in the moment I said you'd win and life would be… perfect."
She paused, thinking about how far perfection really seemed, how inherently imperfect the world and her life… their lives really were.
"But it's not perfect, is it? Life is awful and… you left? Cedric? How could you leave me?" Silence. "Didn't you love me?" No response. "Didn't you care?" Silence again. "I was only joking about leaving and I never…" She looked away and thought for a minute. "Or maybe you're right. I'm not much of a friend. I can't even tell my best friend, the one person in the entire world who's actually been there at my side, always there to show me the way or there to comfort me and say 'I'm here, Promise,' that life's gonna be okay.
"And how do I repay you? I lie and say life will be perfect and you'll come out of the maze holding the cup in your hands." The vision flashed through her head, of celebrating and tackling him and rubbing her hands through his hair, Sam next to him and Cedric was kissing Sam passionately and Promise was watching, smiling, beaming, Calvin Parker at her side and Cedric was lifting the cup over his head to the tumultuous screams of everyone in the- "And you don't. You come out and you've left me behind." The idea had left her lips before she could stop herself, and the idea flooded through her veins, turning her skin cold with each pulsating beat of her heart, sending waves through her. "How could you leave me behind? Why would you want…" she fumbled for the words, unsure, suddenly not able to comprehend anything about her best friend. "Wasn't I good enough as a friend? Wasn't I worth your time? Didn't you love me Cedric? Didn't you?" Tears had started to well in her eyes, not falling, but present, looming. "But you've left me, Cedric." The first tear fell, sliding sluggishly along her cheek. "You've left me alone! Why?" The second fell. "Is it because of Calvin Parker" A Third. "Or how I treat first years?" A fourth and then a fifth. "Or Were you just tolerating me all this time? Ready to jump ship the second I'd told you something untrue?"
She stood up and ran to her best friend's body and grabbed his lifeless shoulders, cold and dead, tears streaming from her face and falling onto his face and neck and hair. Pit pat. Pit pit pit pat pat. But she didn't care. She needed to tell him, to make him understand. Pit pat. Tears didn't stop now, they kept falling and she was sobbing, letting the wall that she had held up for so long fall away and crumble, just like Cedric had fallen away and crumbled out of her life. "Why can't you be here with me! Why can't you just come in and fill this hole!" Pit pat, pit pat. "I don't know what's happening to me! But I feel empty! And now you're gone and there's nothing left!" she shuddered at the thought of slipping away, of losing who she was and who she had been for so long. "I feel like nothing's good enough and now you're gone and I don't have you to talk to!" Pit pit pit. "Who's going to laugh at my stupid jokes or tell me not to use magic or tell me what he thinks about Calvin Parker or pass notes with me in class or tell me not to hurt First Years or smile at me when I feel down and bring back all the memories of better times?" She smiled hopefully, several tears, the ones that had slid down her cheeks, sliding onto her lips and then to her tongue, tasting salty and bitter. "Don't you miss me?" she asked hopefully. 'It's been hours and I already feel cold and dead. Why, Ced? Why'd you have to leave me? Can't you come back?" she paused, waiting for a response that would never come. "Please. Come back." Still no response in the deafening silence save for the slowing tears that were still falling onto her best friend's face, his beautiful face. 'I'll do anything. But don't leave me like this. Don't leave me alone." No answer. "Cedric? I love you."
And it was a stupid thing she did next. Promise lay down across Cedric's body, waiting for something to happen, hoping he'd spring to life and hug her just like he always did or maybe he'd fawn over Sam and she could watch him and live vicariously through him or just… talk. He'd come back and they could talk.
But he didn't move. He just lie on the table, stone cold, face pointing towards the ceiling, eyes still closed, mouth still expressionless, nose still perfect, hair still ruffled and beautiful. She ran a hand through his hair, never really having ever appreciated how soft it felt.
And it was in that moment she realized that he wasn't coming back. He wouldn't be there to ever sit and talk or listen or have a Parchment War or eat toast or try to take Crème Brule or nick food from the kitchen or fly around or laugh or dance or sing or anything. He couldn't ever do those things. He could never hug her again, never run, never cry never hurt, and here she was hurting and hating him for not hurting and not feeling what she felt, for not caring when she needed him to care more than she needed anyone else in the world to care.
"Why couldn't it have been me?" Promise whispered. "Why couldn't I have gone first?"
And without another word, she walked out of the anteroom and up the stairs, not paying attention to anyone around her, not even to Sam who tried to reach out to her and grab her hand and just… talk. What was happening to her? Why was this so awful and unbearable? Just hours ago she had been unable to eat food with him and the day before she was telling him to go snog Sam. She didn't want to deal anymore.
But Cedric wasn't here anymore. He couldn't split that éclair with her or try another cup of her tea. He'd never almost spill it on his jeans or pass her another note by Menty. There were so many things she'd never get to do with him again.
With no other options, she tapped her wand on an empty classroom door knob and shut the door behind her. Wand in hand, she looked at the various small bookshelves and tore at them, throwing books to the ground, stomping, tearing, ripping pages out. It felt good, shearing books in half. She picked up a handful and threw them across the room, screaming, howling out in perhaps a last attempt to bring her friend back. Tears screaming, she let it sound out, sounding primal, pitiful. She'd wake up the whole castle, but she didn't care, she didn't care about anything. She fell into a small mass, tears flowing freely in the room they had spent time practicing for the various tasks. In the place where he had first kissed Sam, where they had worked so hard to give Cedric spells that would protect him in the maze and it was all for nothing. There was no purpose. There was no purpose for anything.
There was no purpose, no rhyme nor reason for his death. It was senseless, just like her existence. There wasn't anything left. She needed out, she needed him so desperately. It just felt so empty and gone and dark within her, without him.
Slowly, she pulled out her wand and pointed it at her chest.
She inhaled a few times, choking on the tears which were falling from her face.
Her lip trembled and another tear slid down her nose, dropping with a soft pat onto her wand.
More resolve. She needed to believe it. There wasn't anything for her anymore. There wasn't a reason for her to not believe it. She was ready. She needed to see him again, more than anything she needed to see him.
Someone knelt in front of her and put his hand on her wand, pushing it downwards, away from her chest so it now pointed to the tile floor below. She looked up.
Calvin Parker hadn't removed the wand from her hand. He was looking right at her, tears in his eyes, palm making light contact with her wrist, keeping it from pointing at her chest. "Don't do it, Promise," he pleaded softly.
"Why?" Promise asked. "Give me one good reason why. He was all I had. I wouldn't exist without him, I don't exist without him."
"He wouldn't want this," Calvin Parker… Calvin said softly, soothingly, bordering on a plea.
"You don't know that," Promise snapped, trying to force energy into her wrist to bring her wand back to face her chest, stopped by his heavy hand. "You don't know what he would've wanted."
"Cedric wouldn't have wanted you to do die," he said. "He loved you too much."
"If he loved me so much why isn't he here?" Promise shouted. "Why did he have to leave when I lied to him?"
"You lied to him?" Calvin asked, voice soft, trying to understand.
"I told him life would be perfect and it's not and now he's gone," Promise sobbed.
"But why would he leave?" he asked, speaking to her like an adult trying to understand a child's explanation of why things were the way they were.
"We had a deal!" Promise shouted. "If one of us lied to the other, the other had to leave! And I lied so he left me. He left me alone." She looked away, lip trembling.
"But you're not alone," he whispered.
Promise looked up at him.
Calvin smiled at her. "You have Sam and Olivia, they could use someone. And you have his parents who consider you their daughter. You can take care of them."
"But who will take care of me?"
He looked into her eyes, speaking with sincerity. "I'll always be here for you."
She looked into his eyes, her own sparkling with tears. "Would he?" Promise asked.
"I think he loved you more than anyone," Calvin said, smiling weakly. "So yes, he would. And he wouldn't want you to die."
"But he did," Promise whispered. "Why can't I?"
"I doubt Cedric wanted to die," Calvin said. "Things were perfect. Few people want to die, and I don't think you're one of those people, and I know he wasn't."
Promise looked down at her wand and then at Calvin. "And he can't come back?"
"Even if I want him to?"
"No," Calvin shook his head remorsefully.
And Promise burst into tears, unsure exactly how to act, but dropping her wand, and allowing Calvin Parker to move forward and hold her again, squeezing tightly, feeling warm.
"He's gone," she whispered. "I can't believe he's gone."
The air reformed around her as she apparated into the circular driveway of her parents' house, fountain splashing behind her. She looked around at the overcast sky, sun trying desperately to break through the clouds.
With a wave of her wand, she levitated her trunk so it followed in front of her up the steps and through the front doors of her house. She left them open, she would not be long.
It was silent, but that didn't surprise her. She never walked in on her parents making noise although they were definitely there, in the house. For people who worked multiple top jobs at the Ministry, they were home far more often than expected.
Promise led her trunk up the staircase to her left to the second floor, where she turned right at the top and stopped in front of the third door on her left. With a wave of her wand, the door handle clicked and swung open, revealing her room just as she had left it, sheets with the same unmade folds as when she had left in late August, books untouched but with no dust to speak of. They hadn't been in to clean, of course, the thought of that was ludicrous, Promise had just cast a good anti-dust spell on her belongings.
Trunk following behind her, she entered her room and dropped it on her bed so it bounced once before clicking open. Her clothes and belongings left in a line as they levitate out one by one and she sorted them into a pile of "take" and "not take." She needed to get going. It would be best to go sooner rather than later.
Most of her school books went into the "don't take" pile, while most of her non black robes went to the "take" pile. She opened her drawers with her wand and withdrew all of her blue robes, two of her lilac robes, and a few of the acid green, stowing them into her now empty trunk. With a wave of her wand, the trunk's insides expanded and it carrying capacity grew as she piled in books and objects around her room: the series of spell books Cedric had given her for Christmas and birthdays, the shiny medallion Olivia had found in Zonko's that could hold the contents of a very small safe, the sharp ornate quill Sam had given her for Christmas that checked not only spelling, but emotions, feeling the words as the author wrote them, laughing when it was supposed to laugh, crying when it was supposed to cry.
And still there came more books, books from her private library, her bookshelf, the ones she had wanted to read but had never gotten around to. And now she would, she'd have time for anything.
The last thing to come to her was a set of ten scrolls, loosely tied together with a yellow ribbon. Already half-knowing what they were, she unrolled the first one.
In neat, Promise handwriting across the top were written the words, "The Pretty Boy's Guide to a Happy Married Life; An outline."
She opened the next one: "A Pretty Boy's Guide to Life After Hogwarts; An outline."
And the next: "A Pretty Boy's Guide to Waiting for the Girl of Your Dreams; An outline."
She felt the tears come again, but they didn't fall. Smiling reminiscently, and thinking about how much he had loved the books she had written for him, she rolled them back up, tied them together with the yellow ribbon, and placed them by hand into her trunk.
Dani the owl soared in through her open door, landing on top of her slammed shut trunk, small note attached to her leg. For a second, she had thought, hoped it was from Cedric. But it couldn't be, she knew it couldn't be.
"You miss him?" she asked Dani.
The owl nodded slightly, but tilted her head, giving the impression she didn't understand.
"Well I expect better from you than Cedric did. But I give out more treats."
Dani cooed as Promise took her free hand and scratched Dani's throat, letter unfolded in her hand. She read it through once, nodded, folded it, and placed it back in her pocket.
"Ready?" she asked, hoisting her trunk to her side, looking at it, and then flicking her wand, making it levitate again. Dani hooted in concurrence.
She walked down the stairs and into the kitchen, leaving the trunk at the front doors, ready to leave at a second's notice, Dani perched on top. Her parents were standing at the kitchen counter, opposite each other and were feeding each other bites of salad, eyes lost in each others.
"I'm leaving," Promise said simply. She turned to leave.
"Leaving?" Promise's mother asked dreamily.
She turned to face them. "Yeah, well you don't want me around, so I figured I wouldn't be a nuisance to you." She turned to leave again.
"Wait," Promise's father said, making Promise turn around. "What do you mean?"
Promise shrugged. "Well you're always wrapped up in yourselves, so I figured…"
"We are not!" Promise's mother protested, fork she was using to sensually feed her father still suspended in midair, ready for him to eat.
"Oh you're wrapped in yourselves right now!" Promise shouted. She didn't have time with this. She didn't even want to do this. "You're so wrapped up in each other that you don't notice anything! You don't notice that I've grown up or that I have one friend. How old am I? Who's my best friend?"
Her parents stared at her, clueless.
"That's right! You don't care. Don't care enough to know that this," she flicked her wand and the spoon flew out of her mother's hand and clattered into the wall, salad and dressing splattering the light green walls. "Won't get me kicked out of school! I'm seventeen and my best friend's name is Cedric Diggory."
Her parents' expressions changed to those of calm sadness and understanding.
"Oh, he died didn't he?" Promise's mother asked. "The Triwizard Champion who died? That was him, wasn't it?"
"Terrible tragedy," Promise's father shook his head.
"No," Promise said, venom in her speech. "He was murdered by Lord Voldemort. And I'm going to leave now to fight the good fight."
"Now wait just a minute-" her father protested.
"No," Promise said.
"Don't you talk to your father that way," Promise's mother snapped.
"He was never my father, just like you were never my mother," Promise snapped back. "It was always 'you' time. You cuddling on the couch or going to parties, leaving me here, alone, to my own devices for as long as I can remember." She shook her head sorrowfully. "You've had no impact on who I am except to let me know that I'll never have children because I'll end up like you, who have yourselves and care no one but each other, which is fine, but not if you're a parent." They remained silent, stone faced in shock. "Being a parent is about being there and showing your child who to be, and you've done none of that for me. Never, once have you. "So I'm leaving to make my way in the world without you because I don't need you, and I've never needed you. You were awful parents and you never appreciated me and who I am. So I leave and hope you might have learned something by it."
And without another word, Promise strode out of the house trunk following behind her, Dani perched on top. She stood at the point where she had apparated just moments before and looked back on the house, grabbing the trunk and holding it to her side, Dani flapping and landing on her shoulder as the sun finally broke through the clouds, bathing her in light and warmth.
Thinking about Calvin Parker and his new apartment, which were both waiting for her in Diagon Alley, where she could start her new life after one more year at Hogwarts she whispered, "Goodbye."
And she spun around, transporting into the vacuum of blackness and no air.
"Wait here," Promise said as she turned around and walked up the steep hill, passing tombstones on either side of her, heading for the one near the top of the hill. Even in the gray tinged sky of early morning she could see it identical to the others, the same, yet different, special.
She stopped when she reached it, looking down at the name on it:
Born: September 19, 1977
Died: June 23, 1995
The Greatest Hufflepuff since Helga herself
"Hi," she said softly, smiling faintly, looking at the dates. "That was along time ago, and yet, it feels like yesterday." She smiled, laughing slightly. "I'm better. Same as last year and the year before that and the year before that. Things haven't changed much since… you know… Harry Potter defeated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named… how long ago was that? Ten years? Man I feel old. But it's alright. Things are good. I'm good, Calvin's good. You'd be good, I'm sure."
She paused and looked over her shoulder, smiling. "Sam says hi, so does Olivia. She's popular you know… Olivia I mean. Took Cal's advice and joined Puddlemere United. Fantastic chasing." She looked to one side and scowled. "Traitor." She smiled at the tombstone. "But you should see her, Ced. It's like she's some kind of genius out there. Reminds me of you. Sam though… boy, she's been so… I don't see her all that often. We still talk, but not as much as you and she would… She's not married you know. She's single so it could maybe work out between you two if you stepped on it…" Her face fell. "Bad joke, I know. But it woulda worked Cedric. I think she knew it cause she never dated anyone else, and I don't think she ever will. People call her 'the old maid' although she's the youngest undersecretary at the Ministry. She's fightin' for you, Ced. I think she might have her eye on the top job. Said that's what you wanted. And there were so many things I didn't know. I never asked you that. So many things I never asked you… So many things we never got to experience in life after Hogwarts. And… you woulda been there, next to Calvin and me. Best man. I woulda made it work. Woulda parchment warred Cal for it too, but he's getting pretty good. I woulda beat him in the end though." She smiled. "He wanted to come, but it's just a formality. He knows this is 'us' time so he doesn't argue with me about it." She smiled reminiscently. "It's one of the few things we don't argue about. All in good fun of course. Take away the arguments and you get my parents and you know what that's like. Regardless, he says hi too."
She sighed. "I miss you," she smiled, looking at the headstone. "Every day I think about it, wondering what life would be like, you on the top floor of the Ministry, me on the floor below. Not any more though. That only woulda worked for three years. But that would've been fun. You and Sam, me and Cal. Would've been insane. It would've been… She chuckled once. "Maybe we would've gotten sick of each other. But I doubt it."
She sighed. "It hurts, you not being here. It's better now. Been better for four years. He makes it bearable." She looked over her shoulder again and smiled.
She looked back at the name on the stone. "My parents are back. Did I tell you that?" she chuckled. "They've been back for a while, but they'd never… They're more involved. Figure they want to put something right, but they're trying. Really, they are. Makes me hopeful, lets me know people can change. But I already knew that. You made me who I was. Remember me before? All meek and quiet and shy?" she sighed evocatively. "I don't miss that. I don't miss that at all."
She felt a tear well in her eye. "Thank you, for making me who I am and showing me who I wanted to be deep down. I owe you for that. I owe you for so much and you never asked for anything." She smiled broadly, a thousand images of her best friend flashing through her mind. "I love you." Promise kissed her fingertips and placed them on the tombstone.
And with a final look at Cedric's grave, she began the walk down the hill, looking at a little boy, who was running under a large tree which was full of leaves and life, trying to catch a small yellow hummingbird with his hands, running and jumping to catch the taunting bird. His hair was curly and brown and his eyes were blue, like his father's.
"Mommy?" the boy asked, stopping the chase for the hummingbird as Promise approached, looking up at his mother, smiling cheerfully. "Are we going home now?"
Promise nodded, smiling at her young, four year old son. "Yes, Cedric. We're going home."
And she held out her hand for him to take, which he did. It was warm and full of life.
"And is this where Uncle Cedric is?" the boy asked looking up at his mother in wonder.
Promise smiled and nodded, beginning the walk down the hill of the cemetery. "Yes."
"What happened to him?" Cedric asked looking slightly sad and forlorn.
"I'll tell you one day," Promise said, smiling.
"I wish I had known him," Cedric said, frowning.
Promise smiled again. "In a way," Promise said, looking down at her everything, her pride and joy, her reason for living. "You already do."
The boy looked up at her, smiling. "I love you, mommy."
"I love you too, sweetie," she said, meaning every word.
And they headed down the hill, reaching the black pavement of street leading away from the cemetery and walked down it and out of sight, the sunrise shedding light and casting a beautiful red and orange glow on mother and son.
Author's note: Yes, there you have it. The very end of this epic journey into the world and life of Cedric Diggory. Hopefully you really truly appreciate one of the most important, yet perhaps the most underrated character in the Harry Potter universe. I hope you enjoyed my take on the events surrounding his tragic last year, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading. You don't know how much it means.
We'll always have Promise!