I'm sorry this one took so long to put up, but it was a challenge to write. The title is a Feist song, and I love it.
I realise I didn't put a disclaimer up for a very long time. Here it is. I don't own Harry Potter. It breaks my heart.
(I Feel It All)
Hermione woke the next morning to hushed voices and warm arms wrapped tightly around her. She raised her head, cringing slightly as a small trail of drool followed, and looked to the source of the voices. A small grouping of wizards was clustered around Harry's bed.
"…don't know what he meant…"
"Minerva, don't you see…"
"…awfully tired; just look at those bags…!"
"Molly, stop worrying…"
"…hush, the children are sleeping…"
Confused, Hermione tried to unravel herself from Cedric's firm grip. He moaned and rolled over, tugging her with him. With a yelp, they both went crashing to the floor.
"Ms Granger!" Madam Pomfrey had pulled aside the privacy curtain with alarming speed, and was now glaring down at the pair tangled together on the floor.
Hermione's blush crept slowly up her neck. Cedric was still half-asleep, and rather disorientated.
"…Mya?" he muttered, rubbing his bleary eyes.
"Go back to sleep," she whispered. Cedric nodded sleepily and rested his head on his arms. Hermione sighed.
"I'm sorry, Madam Pomfrey. I couldn't sleep, so I went into Cedric's bed. This has all been such a terrible ordeal…" She let her excuse trail off. Wincing slightly, she pushed herself to her feet, stopping to stroke Cedric's hair back from his forehead.
"You're hopeless, Ced," she told him, smiling. He muttered incoherently in response.
"Oh, you poor dears…here, give us a hand?" Madam Pomfrey bent down and hooked her hands under one of Cedric's arms. Hermione, following her example, slipped her small hands around Cedric's shoulder and heaved with all her might. He stirred, but did not wake.
"He is not a morning person, I see," Madam Pomfrey muttered. Hermione laughed.
"No, he is not. Shall we levitate him? He's had a rough couple of days," she suggested. Pomfrey nodded.
"Yes, yes, of course." Pomfrey quickly muttered the spell and Cedric rose eerily and floated back into his bed. Hermione fetched the covers and spread them over his body, her hands lingering on his stomach and chest. As the matron was still standing behind her, Hermione settled with a quick kiss to his forehead before turning.
"Madam, what are all these people doing in here?" she asked, gesturing towards the huddle of wizards that had quickly resumed discussion.
Pomfrey shot them a glance before turning back to Hermione.
"Well, dear, I'm sure you'll hear soon enough…Come on then…" She reached for Hermione's arm, leading her gently toward the group.
"I told you you'd wake the children," Pomfrey scolded them. Hermione glanced curiously at the wizards, and Dumbledore's twinkling gaze met her curious eyes.
"Ah, Ms Granger, so nice of you to join us!" he greeted enthusiastically. "Well, I don't suppose you heard what we were discussing?"
"No, sir, not quite. If I may ask…why we are at Harry's bed?"
Dumbledore grinned. "Of course, I do believe you already asked. We are at Harry's bed for we are waiting patiently for him to wake. He has not, as such, blessed us with his presence as of yet, so we continue to wait for the moment he shall."
Hermione grinned, but that didn't answer her question completely. "Why do you need Harry to wake, sir? Has something happened?"
Dumbledore's eyes lost a bit of their twinkle. "Alas, something has, indeed, happened. I do believe you were involved, albeit indirectly. But when Harry came back, clutching Cedric, he said something to me that was rather disconcerting. I have waited this long to peruse it for respect of his current state; I imagine the strain this has put him through."
"Oh," Hermione answered. She was very confused. "Would you mind if I…stayed?" she ventured. Dumbledore's twinkle was back full-force.
"I don't see why not! Harry would, without a doubt, tell you exactly what I say to him the minute I leave the ward, anyhow." He smiled at her to show he in no way begrudged her this. "When Harry does wake, do you think it possible to rouse Mr Diggory? I understand he is quite the heavy sleeper…"
Hermione blushed, but nodded. "Yes, I'm sure I could wake him."
"Very good. Now, we wait." And he turned back to Harry's bed and conjured six handsome chintz armchairs. Professor McGonagall stiffly took her seat, as did Mr and Mrs Weasley and Dumbledore. He motioned for Hermione to do the same. Gingerly, she sat, crossing her ankles and glancing awkwardly at Harry. How weird would this be to wake up to?
Mr and Mrs Weasley were back to whispering quietly to one another, and Dumbledore was staring serenely at Harry's sleeping face. Cedric was still out cold in his bed, so that left McGonagall and Hermione.
"How are you feeling, Ms Granger?" McGonagall asked primly, her lips turning down in the corners.
Hermione turned to her professor. "Oh, er…I'm fine…" McGonagall raised her eyebrows. Hermione blushed slightly before continuing. "It's just…I'm…confused."
She glanced up at her professor's face, and was surprised to see her smiling.
"I thought as much. You know, Ms Granger, t'is not a bad thing to be confused. And you of all people should be. What happened to Mr Diggory and you was, it has to be said, baffling. But I do believe I shall leave that bombshell for Clara to explain. And perhaps Cedric should be awake when she does?"
Hermione smiled and nodded. "Probably. It is rather puzzling though…and how are these rings involved?" She gazed down at the ring on her right ring finger, the silver band glinting in the lights of the ward.
"How, indeed…" McGonagall murmured, raising her eyebrows. A startled gasp caught their attention.
"P-professor! W-what's going on…?" Harry exclaimed, clutching the bed covers closer to himself and reaching hastily for his glasses.
"Ah, Mr Potter! So nice to see you with your eyes open!" greeted Dumbledore, grinning merrily and leaning back in his chair. Harry stared at the assortment of wizards clustered around his bed.
"Ms Granger, I do believe now is the time for Mr Diggory to wake," he told her, winking.
"Oh, of—of course," she stuttered, sending an apologetic glance at Harry's nervous face."Cedric," she murmured, touching his shoulder. Nothing. "Cedric!" Hermione pushed harder against his shoulder. He grunted and rolled over.
Sighing, Hermione reached for his covers and pulled them off. Cedric just curled into a ball. Pinching the bridge of her nose, Hermione reached for her wand. She looked to Dumbledore.
"Sir, may I…?" Dumbledore raised his eyebrows and chuckled in response. Turning back to the slumbering mass that was Cedric, she pointed her wand and muttered an incantation. A jet of water shot out and splashed his face. Cedric sat bolt upright, spluttering. Hermione fought back a smile and reached for his hand, rubbing his palm.
"Sorry, Ced, but you need to wake. Dumbledore would like to speak with us. Come," she said quietly, tugging at his long hand. He nodded and wiped his face with his shirt.
"Was the water really necessary?" he asked her. Hermione smiled again.
"Yes. Nothing else was working!" she told him. He sighed and shook his head.
"There are drier ways to wake a person, you know. I'll have to teach them to you…"
Dumbledore looked to the pair, and they fell silent. "Now, Harry, I'm sorry for the ambush, but we must know. When you came out of the Maze, you said something that was rather startling. And quite vague. But I do have my suspicions. Will you be so kind as to tell me if my suspicions are, in fact, correct?"
Harry nodded. Hermione noticed he was quite pale.
"Very good, Harry. Now, judging by the actions yourself and Mr Diggory witnessed, I have surmised a sequence of events. It starts with your arrival in the graveyard, and ends with your arrival to the pitch. Do you understand?"
Once again, Harry nodded.
"When you and Mr Diggory touched the Cup, it transported you to this graveyard. Once there, Harry, you recognized it from a dream you had had the previous summer, and realized it was not the most desirable place to be. You and Mr Diggory—" Cedric cleared his throat.
"Sir? You can call me Cedric, if you would like," he told Dumbledore politely. Dumbledore smiled.
"Thank you, Cedric. Now, back to the graveyard. You and Cedric attempted to escape, but something kept you. As of now, I am guessing. Voldemort somehow got to the graveyard—" There was a sharp intake of breath from the Weasleys, "and stopped you from escaping immediately. He performed a spell to regain his body, and you escaped. This is all very vague, and I would appreciate anything you two have to add."
Harry cleared his throat. "Well, when we got there, Pettigrew was there. I attacked him, and we got in a sort of fist-fight. He punched me in the mouth, then jumped on top of me. But then he did the weirdest thing; he pulled out a—a vile or something and collected my blood. It was all so mental. Anyways, Cedric helped me up and we started back to the portkey. That's—that's when it happened."
Everyone was leaning in close, hanging on his every word. "What happened?" whispered Mr Weasley.
"Cedric was hit, with Crucio. I stupefied Wormtail, and we started running back to the Cup. But Cedric had dropped his wand, so he went back to get it." Harry turned to Cedric. "It was a bloody wand, Ced. Honestly…Anyways, he went back to get it, and that's when Wormtail…I'm not sure what I should call it. Avada'd him? Well, he was hit with the curse, and it hit his chest and sort of exploded. It seemed it seeped into him, but at the same time it was bouncing everywhere. I tried to avoid the jets of light, but they were everywhere, so I got hit. I thought it would kill me, but it just sort of stung. So Cedric's on the ground, eerily still. But I could almost feel his pain; it was creepy. He wasn't saying anything, and then he screamed 'Hermione'…This heat was radiating off of him, and it nearly burned me to touch him. I summoned the Cup over and held on to him as best I could. When we left I saw Wormtail waking up, and my scar started burning really badly. It made me want to throw up, it hurt so bad.
"Then we landed back on the pitch, and everyone was there, and Cedric was still so hot. Then Moody grabbed me and carted me up to his office and, well, you know the rest…" Harry finished awkwardly. He never had been one for public speaking, or attention.
"I see," Dumbledore said, his wrinkled face grave. "So when you said 'He's back,' you meant Voldemort?"
Harry nodded, still rather pale. Hermione reached for Cedric's hand and squeezed.
"Very good. Thank you, Harry. You may go back to sleep, if you wish."
"No, thank you sir. Actually, I've a question for you…" He looked up at Dumbledore with a mixture of curiosity and bashfulness.
"Of course, of course, I can imagine what you must be feeling. Molly, Arthur, Minerva, Ms Granger, Cedric, if you'd be so kind as to excuse us?"
Hermione and Cedric shuffled out, their hands still linked.
"Mad, eh?" Cedric said, turning to her. Hermione had to focus on the question harder than she would have. His eyes were mesmerizing.
"Y-yeah…why do you think it didn't…kill you?" she asked, squeezing his hand again as she spoke.
"I haven't the slightest. My mum is being infuriating." He had his bottom lip in his teeth.
"Yes, she is. Do you think Madam Pomfrey would let us out to go speak with her?"
"I certainly hope so. We've been in here for four days!" Cedric tugged Hermione to the direction of Pomfrey's office. "We'll ask her now, yeah?"
Hermione nodded. She'd let Cedric do the talking…
"Madam Pomfrey?" he called. Hermione heard the door knob turn and Madam Pomfrey shuffled out.
"Yes, dear?" she asked, giving him a smile.
"I was wondering if Mya and I might be able to leave the ward today? We've been here for so long, and the fresh air would do us some good. Plus, it's the End-of-Year feast tonight. We wouldn't want to miss that…" He gave her his most charming smile, and tilted his head slightly. Hermione tried not to laugh.
Pomfrey seemed a tad flustered. "Why, Cedric, I-I don't think that wise…there would be so many questions…"
Cedric shook his head. "Madam, after this year, I can handle a couple questions. As can Mya. Please?"
Oh no, Hermione thought, his puppy dog eyes were on. Madam Pomfrey had no chance.
"Well…all right. But come back if you feel weak, or nauseous, or light-headed!" she called as they turned and walked quickly to their beds.
"Nicely played, Mr Diggory," Hermione teased, bumping his hip with hers.
"Well thank you, Ms Granger. They don't call me 'Pretty boy Diggory' for nothing…" he grinned, bumping her back. Hermione smiled and grabbed her robes from her bedside table, throwing them over her hospital gown.
"Let's go find your mother!" Cedric reached for her hand and they marched out the Infirmary doors, a mission in mind.
"Mum!" Cedric called, his voice carrying over the grounds. The tall woman with the bronze hair stopped walking and turned.
"Cedric! Hermione! What do you two think you're doing out of the Infirmary?" she asked, her face stern.
Hermione blushed before saying, "Madam Pomfrey let us go. And…we had a few questions for you…"
"Oh?" Her eyebrows were raised, but there was a smile on her face.
"Yes. What the bloody hell happened?" Cedric piped up. Clara sighed.
"Come on, let's have a seat before I get into this whole mad story. It's a beautiful day, we could go sit by the lake," she suggested, already walking in that direction. Hermione and Cedric followed, excitement bubbling at the prospect of knowing what had happened to them.
Clara settled down beneath the birch tree. She looked up at the pair expectantly, and they sat down across from her.
"Alright. So what would you like to know?" she asked, looking from Cedric to Hermione.
Cedric groaned. "You know, mum, stop being so infuriating!"
Clara smiled. "All right, Ced, don't get so cross. I'll start with the rings, shall I?"
Hermione and Cedric nodded enthusiastically.
"Very well. The rings. Well, as you know, they were my grandfather's rings. He had given the one you wear, Hermione, to my grandmother when they were married. He himself wore the one you have on your finger, Cedric." Both looked down at the rings settled comfortably on their right ring fingers and grinned. "But do you know what they mean?" Clara asked.
Both shook their heads in answer and looked back up at her.
"I expected as much. You see, there is this strange and wonderful thing that happens once in a blue moon. Not everyone gets to experience it, but those who do are truly blessed. My grandparents were deeply and truly in love." Cedric and Hermione were smiling slightly and gripping each others hands.
"These rings," she waved her hand towards them, "are extraordinarily rare. As Molly said, one of three pairs in existence. And not everyone can wear them. Oh no, in order to wear them, one must be absolutely and positively in love." Hermione was blushing slightly and had a mad urge to laugh.
"Do you recall what happened when you two put them on?" Clara asked, looking at Cedric. He nodded. The memory was still vivid. "Good. Do you know what the words meant?" He shook his head, and Clara looked to Hermione.
"Not a clue. But I'm guessing Latin?"
Clara nodded approvingly. "Very good, Hermione. Yes, they were Latin words. In short, they mean true love, forever and absolutely." It was very hard not to giggle now.
"But…but that doesn't explain why I'm still alive, mum," Cedric pointed out. His brow was furrowed and his eyes full of questions.
"Ah, but it does, son. There are very few things more powerful than the truest of loves. Death is not one of them."
Cedric and Hermione looked to one another, a little taken aback.
"But…wouldn't death be the only thing that could be more powerful?" Hermione asked. Clara shook her head.
"No, no. My grandmother died of a strange muggle disease, what was it…? Scurry Fever, Scant Fever, Scoop Fever…"
"Scarlet Fever?" Hermione supplied.
"Yes!" she snapped her fingers. "My grandmother died of Scarlet Fever while my grandfather was off at sea with the British Navy. At the exact moment my grandmother died, my grandfather fell violently ill. In two days, he was dead. Do you see?"
"Not in the slightest. What are you getting at?" Cedric asked. His teeth were gnawing on his bottom lip.
"What am I getting at? Cedric, I'm showing you the true extent of their love! One could not live without the other! Despite being hundreds of miles away, my grandmother's pain was still shared with my grandfather! Death could not tear them apart! It merely changed the circumstances! Do you see?"
"Okay, so you've proved their love was true, and that death is not more powerful. That doesn't explain why I didn't die!" Hermione could see that Cedric was getting extremely frustrated. She lay a small hand upon his arm.
"Cedric, I think what she means is, you're not dead because of how much I love you."
Cedric looked to her, a small blush warming his cheeks. "How?" he whispered.
Clara spoke softly. "It works much the same way as Harry's mother's love did for him. Except neither of you had to die for the other to live. Your love for one another acts as a shield, just like Lily Potter's love saved him. No spell could break this. But you do remember the pain you both felt?" Both nodded emphatically. It wasn't something you forgot so easily…
"I didn't think so. As with my grandparents, what happens to one happens to the other. When Cedric was hit with the curse, Hermione, you were feeling exactly what he was feeling. And the only way to save you both was solid proof the other was still alive.
"When you came back, Cedric, I very nearly thought you were dead. And Hermione, you were no better. But then I remembered what my grandfather had told me about the rings, and about a love like the one you two share. So I gave you both solid, unwavering proof that your other half was alive, and you woke."
Her explanation was followed by silence. Hermione and Cedric stared at her in awe, both with a pink blush colouring their cheeks.
"S-so…so you're saying…" Cedric trailed off. This was all so overwhelming. Hermione gripped his hand tightly.
"I'm saying what you two have with each other is a once-in-a-lifetime deal. It's the truest of true loves. And it shouldn't be taken for granted." Clara raised a hand to wipe hastily at her wet eyes before standing to leave.
"Wait, Mrs Diggory…thank you," Hermione said softly, looking shyly at her. Clara smiled warmly.
"No, Hermione. Thank you. You saved my son." She took a deep breath and turned away. "Oh, and you pair," she turned back to them, her eyes lingering on their intertwined fingers, "make sure you're back for the End-of-Term feast. I believe there are some awards to be given."
"Wow," Hermione whispered softly. Cedric blew out a breath of air.
"You can say that again," he agreed.
"Wow. This is…this is…wow."
Cedric chuckled softly. "So…what do we do now?" He raised his gaze from his lap to her face.
She turned her head to face him, her amber eyes catching the sun. "I don't know. This is big. I mean, I knew I was in love with you, but..." she said breathlessly.
Cedric nodded. "I know. But it just goes to show, you can't learn everything from a book, Mya." He grinned impishly. "Some things you have to experience."
"I know that," she huffed, swatting his arm lightly. "I just didn't expect it to be so…absolute."
Cedric's face became serious. "Are you afraid?"
Hermione looked into his eyes. "A bit," she admitted.
"Me too. But," he told her, his fingers brushing her jaw, "you must remember we have a lifetime to get used to it."
oh, it's over. I love Cedric. I hope you enjoyed the journey! And I hope the explanation made sense...Review! jasperrrrrose!