This was written for the April 2009 Support Stacie story auction on LiveJournal--the story recipient was Minisinoo, who graciously gave me permission to repost it. The auction was a fundraiser, but I did not profit by writing this piece, and no copyright infringement was intended for the use of J.K. Rowling's characters and the Harry Potter universe.
A slight noise wakes Cedric from his half-doze on Harry's couch. He uses his wand to flick off the television—it's all static this late at night, anyhow, which is another of the things he's never understood about Muggles. If a person has the television on at this time of night, there's a good chance said person is trying to stay awake. Letting the talking shows fade away to static helps no one.
A full moon lights the window. He checks the clock. Harry's late, but not unusually so. Not yet.
He leans forward and listens again, then goes to check on the boys.
Albus, the baby—hardly a baby now, he's nearly three, but Cedric can't stop thinking of him that way—is fast asleep, tiny in his big-boy's bed. On the bedside table, a framed photograph of Ginny blows kisses to her son.
Cedric makes his way into the room, air currents from his passage setting the floating stars nightlight into motion. Albus's hand, curled on the pillow, twitches as he dreams. He's the image of his father, dark hair and long eyelashes, and seeing him sleep always makes Cedric's chest ache for the boy Harry was.
Harry, at this age, was an orphan.
Albus is halfway there.
Cedric fixes Albus's blankets and replaces his plush niffler under one chubby arm. A whispered charm dries the drool from Albus's pillow. Cedric smiles because he's done that for Harry before, too.
Jamie, in the next bedroom, is restless, shivering, sheets tangled around his legs. Cedric moves to replace the blankets, but stops when he feels the heat radiating off Jamie's skin. He doesn't need his wand to tell him that Jamie has a fever.
Cedric's Healer instincts kick in and he murmurs a diagnostic spell that has Jamie's left ear glowing red from the inside. No surprise there. Jamie's had more ear infections than his father has broken bones… well, no. Maybe not. Recent broken bones, anyhow.
"Lumos Aesculapius" gives Cedric a focused wand-light that lets him peer into Jamie's ear and see that the drainage charm placed there a year ago has worked its way out, see that the eardrum is swollen and red. Jamie will need a potion for it in the morning—the banana-flavoured one that Harry insists on calling 'potion-cillin' for some reason. Cedric makes a mental note to write the prescription and leave it on the counter for Harry.
For now, something to take the fever down. He tries the bathroom cabinet and is unsurprised to find what he needs there, feverfew and whispering birch infusion, the brown bottle labelled in Ginny's neat handwriting. The bottle is nearly empty. Another mental note.
He accio's a glass from the kitchen and pours the measure that he needs into it. He sniffs at it, then wrinkles his nose. Still fresh, but it's not going to be easy to get Jamie to drink the bitter stuff. He considers, then accio's some sugar. Won't hurt. Might help.
He wonders if Ginny did it this way. Harry might know, but Cedric's not going to ask him.
Back in Jamie's dark room, he sets a lamp to glowing softly. He wakes Jamie, who looks around in confusion. "Dad?" His hair is burnished in the lamplight, red like his mother's.
"He'll be home soon, bud. How are you feeling?"
Jamie sits up and rubs at his ear. "Uncle Ced?"
"Yeah. I've got something for you to drink. It'll help you feel better."
Jamie must be used to this. He hardly protests at all as Cedric holds the glass up to his lips. Once he's done, Cedric lets him pull the covers up high again, knowing that the fever will disappear in minutes. He extinguishes the lamp.
"My ear hurts," Jamie says.
"I know. We'll fix that soon, okay?"
"Dad stays with me when it hurts."
Cedric doesn't know what to say to that, because however much time he spends in his house, however much he cares for Harry's children—and he does care for them, more than he ever believed possible—he is patently not Jamie's dad. Not the one he needs.
And he can't even risk contacting Harry. Not when he's in the field.
He's saved from his own hesitation when Jamie tugs at his arm. "Will you stay?"
"All right," Cedric says, realizing belatedly that he's been chewing his lip. He sits on the mattress, leaning against the headboard, legs stretched out on Jamie's Chudley Cannons bedspread—a gift from Ron, no doubt. He leans Jamie's pillow against him, so Jamie's head is raised up. Jamie sighs and snuggles in, and Cedric lets his arm rest over Jamie's shoulder, feeling somewhat helpless in the face of all this. He applies a mild cooling charm to the pillow, because that's something he knows how to do; because a fever is something he can fix.
Jamie falls asleep in seconds. Cedric waits there just another moment or two, his arm rising and falling with Jamie's breath, to make sure.
* * *
"They need a mother," Harry said, the last time Jamie was sick. He'd been up all night while Jamie vomited, and had finally called Cedric in desperation.
Cedric lives in fear that Harry will decide he needs to give them just that.
"They have a good father," he says, brushing his lips over Harry's forehead.
* * *
When Cedric opens his eyes again, Harry's leaning against Jamie's doorframe, watching him.
"Rough night?" Harry asks.
"It's his ear again," Cedric says. "What time is it?"
"Late. I'm sorry. I know you have to work in the morning."
Cedric grins. Harry's home. He's not tired anymore. "Sleep is overrated." When Harry doesn't grin back, he peers at him. "What happened? You look like hell." He can't make out Harry's face, but his robes are torn and he's holding himself stiffly. Cedric eases himself out from under Jamie, resettling the boy on his pillow.
Harry approaches, leans over to kiss Jamie on the forehead. Cedric doesn't miss the slight wince when Harry bends. "He seems fine, now. Good work, doc."
Cedric waits for him in the hall, giving him a moment alone with his son. When Harry joins him, he stares. Seen in the light, Harry's face is haggard. He looks drained. Looks like he's been casting too many spells for too long a time. "Rough night," Cedric says. It's not a question.
Cedric puts his hands on Harry's face, runs his thumbs along his cheekbones, and kisses him. It's warm, lingering. Welcome home. Then he pulls away before Harry can deepen it. "Let's have a look," he says.
"Just ribs," Harry says. "They healed it."
"Field healing. It's not the same thing."
"I have standards, that's all."
Harry laughs, but ends up gripping his rib cage and grimacing.
"Let me see." Cedric leads him by the hand into his bedroom, stopping on the way to grab the pain potion that Harry keeps in the medicine cabinet.
Harry is tired enough to be docile. He sits on the edge of the bed and fumbles with the fastenings on his robe until Cedric brushes his hands out of the way and undoes them himself, then the shirt beneath. Cedric slides robes and shirt off, careful not to move Harry any more than necessary.
The bedspread is deep red and gold. Gryffindor colours. Cedric hasn't felt the need to decorate his own room in black and yellow, but then, he had a home before Hogwarts.
He sometimes feels displaced in Harry's room. It's a den for lions, not badgers. There are no photographs of Ginny in the bedroom, not anymore, but her presence lingers. Sometimes Cedric even catches her scent, like honey and cinnamon, when the wind catches the curtains or he opens a closet that hasn't been used in a few days.
He liked Ginny, truly. It's just that he's the wrong shape to fill the hole she left.
Appalled, he reins in his mind, focuses on the task at hand. On Harry.
Harry's ribs are mottled red and blue, swollen where bones are knitting together. Cedric places his hands on Harry's chest and feels the crackling of mending lung and bones. "Just ribs, is it?" He probes deeper, senses an oxygen replenishing spell. "You apparated home like this? Harry, you're lucky you didn't splinch yourself!" To cover his irritation, he pours out a measure of the pain potion and hands it to Harry.
Harry shakes his head. "Seamus brought me by side-along. See? I'm not completely irresponsible."
"Not completely, no. Drink the potion." Cedric doesn't realize he's biting his lip until Harry smoothes a finger along it. He captures Harry's finger with his mouth and is rewarded by a sharp intake of breath.
"Not yet," Cedric says. "Lie down and let me fix this mess first. Bloody field medics."
"You're so bossy when you get like this," Harry mock-whinges, but he complies. His chest feels warm under Cedric's hands. The ribs are less prominent than they were a year ago; here, in this small detail, is proof that Cedric is good for him.
He smoothes his hands over Harry's skin, feeling possessive. "Who was it? Death Eaters?" He can never keep from asking. Can never keep from worrying, once he hears the answers, but he thinks it's better to know.
"Course," Harry says. "They love a full moon. Besides, who else would be so inconsiderate on a night when I've got a babysitter to see home?"
Cedric snorts. "Babysitter? Thanks a lot." He lets his palm linger over Harry's sternum, over his beating heart.
"Kidding. I'm not planning to see you home at all." Harry grabs for him, but Cedric pins his hand.
"Stay still. I mean it." The trouble with the pain potion is that before it knocks Harry out, it takes him down about eight levels of inhibition… putting him at approximately minus six on the inhibition scale, if there were such a thing.
He passes over Harry's chest with his wand to make sure his ribs are all healing correctly and his lungs are intact, then mutters a spell to help with the swelling and bruising. If the healing were done slowly and carefully—properly—there would be no need, but as Harry's fond of reminding him, that's not the way it works in the field.
"It tingles when you do that," Harry says. "I like it. My own personal medic." He frees his hand and places it on Cedric's chest, palm to heart, mirroring Cedric's pose of moments ago.
Cedric rolls his eyes. "Only you would need one."
But Harry's fingers are working now. "Not fair that you're dressed and I'm not," he says, fumbling with the buttons on Cedric's shirt.
"Your ribs are still healing." Cedric pulls Harry's hand away.
The hand returns, insistent. "Better be careful, then." Harry snakes his other arm around Cedric's neck and pulls him in for a kiss.
"You're going to be out cold in about three minutes," Cedric murmurs into Harry's mouth.
He feels Harry's lips curve up. "Better work fast, then."
They usually set wards before they do this, but Cedric doesn't figure they have time. Besides, Jamie isn't going to wake up anytime soon, and Albus rarely gets out of bed during the night.
Cedric kisses Harry once more, then works his way down, hands and lips skimming over Harry's injured chest. He licks his way down from Harry's navel, pressing Harry's hips back into the bed when he strains towards Cedric. "No moving, remember?"
"Tease," Harry says. It sounds like his teeth are gritted.
Cedric unfastens Harry's trousers and pushes them down to his knees. "Hardly."
Three minutes is more than enough time.
Harry falls back, sated and smiling, eyes falling shut. "Stay with me," he says. The words roll out slowly, as Harry melts into the sheets.
"Reckon I'd better," Cedric says, kissing Harry's closed eyes. "S'okay. I've got spare robes at the hospital." Harry's not likely to hear the boys anyhow, if they wake up in the next few hours.
Awake and urgent again, Harry looks up at him. Fingers tighten around Cedric's wrist. "Not what I mean'," Harry says, sounding like he's had three shots too many. "I wan' you to live with us."
Cedric freezes. Because Harry's never said this before, and most nights when Cedric stays, they set wards on the boys' doors so Cedric can apparate quickly to the guest room and not be caught in Harry and Ginny's bed. Because he's pretty sure the Weasleys have guessed that he and Harry are well beyond friends, but no one ever admits it, least of all Harry.
Because he wants it so badly.
But Harry's drugged up to the gills with pain potion, and he's drifting again.
"Ask me in the morning," Cedric says, nearly certain that Harry can't hear him. He waits until Harry's breathing evens out, then goes to check on Albus and Jamie one more time before sliding back into bed.
It's not until he's cold against Harry's warmth, curling into sheets that smell of lemon-tinged cleaning spells and of sweat and mostly of Harry, that he notices. The small glass of pain potion sits on the bedside table, nearly untouched.
He allows himself some small kindling of hope.
* * *
Ginny's photo sits on the mantel. She smiles and waves, hair glinting in the sunlight. She's beautiful. Magnetic, vibrant, alive. Like Harry.
Harry leaves the photos up for the boys, but avoids looking at them.
"I love him," he tells Ginny-in-the-photograph. "You should know that. I think I love all of them."
Ginny doesn't seem to notice that he's there.
* * *
A sound from Jamie's room wakes Cedric way too early in the morning. He yawns in protest, but slips out of bed, careful not to disturb Harry.
Jamie's fever is back. Cedric gives him the last of the feverfew infusion and writes out the prescriptions Harry needs, and then Albus decides that it's time to start the day. Cedric is feeding Albus breakfast in the kitchen when Harry stumbles in, appealingly disheveled.
"You should have woken me up," he says. "You don't have to do this."
"I wanted to." If he lived there, it would be assumed, wouldn't it? Part of the family, not an outsider who needed to be thanked.
"Well, thanks," Harry says.
He waits for Harry to repeat what he said last night. It doesn't happen.
* * *
The hospital, fortunately, is not as busy as it usually is after a full moon night.
After Cedric has called a patient by the wrong name for the second time, knocked his shoulder off a doorframe for the third time, and yelled at an orderly for a mix-up that turned out to have been Cedric's own fault, Luna takes him aside.
"It's only their names that I mixed up, not their diagnoses," he says, ignoring the incident with the orderly. He apologized, after all.
The look she gives him needs no words.
"Sorry. Late night, bad morning," he says, shoving his hands through his hair in a way that never ends well. "I'll do better."
She brightens. "That's wonderful. I need some help with my report on the uses of Madagascar tree sap. You can look it over for me."
"Luna, no one has ever found a Madagascar tree."
"I know that. But it's important to be prepared." She flashes him a luminescent smile. "I'll meet you in my office. No one will disturb us there."
He expects a lecture. The hospital overlooks Luna's idiosyncrasies because she's a brilliant administrator, and a brilliant administrator would not let Cedric get away with showing up for work with a splinched brain.
Instead, she hands him a report and tells him to make himself comfortable on the couch while he reads.
Three pages in, he cannot believe that she's serious about this thing. It's a fictional tree, for Merlin's sake. He looks up at her, ready to protest, but she only smiles and offers to fetch tea for them.
Tea is good. Tea will help him stay awake, because the report is long and it's dry as toast, barring the fictional nature of the tree in question. He frowns and tries to concentrate. The words swim in front of his eyes. When Luna gets back, he's going to hand back her stupid report and tell her not to waste his time. Tell her as nicely as possible, of course, but…
* * *
Cedric casts a quick drying charm on his palms and exhales sharply before he knocks on Harry's door.
No answer. Right. He'll just wait another few seconds, then—the door opens.
Harry's holding a crying Albus in his arms while Jamie clings to his leg. That's either ketchup or blood on Harry's t-shirt, and Cedric hopes it's ketchup, because the same stuff is spattered all over the baby's bib. Harry looks two shades short of frantic.
He holds out the bag in his hand. "I brought you curry. I know the traditional thing is casseroles, but… well, I don't really cook."
Harry grins. "Curry's brilliant. I'm bloody sick of casseroles. Got enough for two?"
It's a beginning.
* * *
Cedric wakes up slumped on Luna's couch, the Madagascar tree report still open on his lap. She's working at her desk. When he moves, she glances over. "You did well," she says. "Most people don't make it past page five. Feel better?"
He rubs his hands over his face, stifling the urge to laugh. "Yeah," he says. "Yeah, I do. Thanks."
She beams. "Excellent. Then there's a patient in room 128 you should see. I told him we have a Healer who specializes in lycanthropy."
"Lycanthropy—Luna, I'm hardly a specialist. I did some research, that's all."
"I know," she says. "But it made him feel hopeful. And don't worry. It's not a fresh bite."
That, Cedric reflects when he enters the room, is an understatement. Remus Lupin has been dealing with his lycanthropy for longer than Cedric has been alive.
Lying in the hospital bed, he looks grey and drawn… but no more than usual for the day after a full moon, Cedric thinks. A younger man, close to Cedric's age, holds his hand, his face pulled tight with love and worry.
"Professor Lupin," Cedric says. "Luna didn't tell me it was you."
"Cedric. Call me Remus, please. This is Jordan." No explanation given. None needed. Jordan stares, chin up, almost daring Cedric to disapprove.
Cedric meets his gaze, letting Jordan evaluate his reaction for himself.
Jordan nods. "They told us one of the Healers here had made a special study of the werewolf curse. Was that you?" He places his free hand on Remus's shoulder.
Cedric shifts. "A close friend of someone I care about is afflicted," he says, as honestly and carefully as he can.
Remus smiles. "And what did you discover?"
"Nothing unexpected, I'm afraid." Cedric says. He's watching Jordan's face while he speaks, so he sees the flicker of disappointment. "What brings you here today, Remus? Anything unusual happen last night?"
Remus shakes his head but Jordan is the one to speak. "He wasn't waking up. Even when I tried—he wouldn't—I got worried."
"I see. May I examine you?"
"It's all right, Jordan, you don't have to stay. I'm in good hands." Remus waits until Jordan leaves the room before continuing. "He doesn't like hospitals. Lost his parents young." He laughs, self-deprecating. "And now he's dating an older man. I know."
"He must have been worried," Cedric says, ignoring the last part of Remus's comment. "To bring you here." He casts a base-level diagnostic spell.
"He worries too much."
Looking at the spell readings, Cedric thinks Jordan had reason to worry. He frowns and casts a spell for a more detailed read. "Cardio Apparecium," he tries next, and an image of Remus's heart appears, hovering over his chest.
"That's bloody disturbing," Remus says, but he's staring along with Cedric, transfixed.
When he's seen enough, Cedric banishes the image with a wave of his wand. He turns to Remus and thinks, maybe, that Remus reads his face before he speaks. "It looks like sometime during the night, or more likely during one of the transformations, you suffered a myocardial infarction. A heart attack." It's a bad habit, he knows, using medical-speak when he has to say something he doesn't want to say.
"I don't remember," Remus says. He sounds peaceful.
Cedric nods slowly. "The good news is, the damage is fairly minor." He hesitates. "The transformations are an intense strain on your system. You realize…"
"People afflicted with lycanthropy don't usually live this long. I know."
"There's an above average chance of it happening again," Cedric finishes.
Remus's smile seems to drift over his face. "I interrupted you."
Cedric sits beside him and takes his hand. "It's not good news. I'm sorry. But there are some things we can do. A heart strengthening potion that you can take before the full moon, for one. Oxygen supplementing spells. Rest, right now, is probably the best thing for you. I suspect that I can trust Jordan to make sure you behave yourself?"
This time, the smile settles. "Jordan. Yes, he'll make sure." Just saying the name makes his face light up.
"How long have you two been together? Harry never mentioned him."
"He doesn't know," Remus says. "I don't mean to keep it a secret, but it just feels so fragile, I hardly believe it's there." He holds his free hand out flat, palm up, looking at it. "And Harry loved Sirius so much."
"He loves you, too. You should tell him. Give him the chance to be happy for you."
Remus sighs, then settles his too-shrewd eyes on Cedric. "What about you? Are you happy?"
"Of course," Cedric says. He lets go of Remus's hand.
"Then things are good with Harry?" Watching Cedric's face, he laughs. "I'm neither blind nor stupid, Cedric. Yes, I know you're together. I can also see that you're out of sorts about something. You two aren't fighting, I hope."
"No." Strained politeness is hardly fighting, is it? For them to be fighting, one of them would have to admit that something was wrong.
Remus watches him.
"I'm sorry. You don't need to be listening to me go on," Cedric says. "You're tired. You should rest."
"I will. Once we finish this discussion."
"Nothing to discuss, really." Cedric stands and pats Remus on the shoulder. "I'll send Jordan in. I'd like you to stay here overnight, just to be on the safe side, but you can be discharged in the morning if all goes well."
Remus grabs his wrist, and Cedric knows werewolves are strong, but it's not something he ever thought about with regards to Remus. Remus's grip is not tight, he's not hurting Cedric, but there's no way Cedric could break free if he tried.
"Forgive me," Remus says, but doesn't let go of Cedric's wrist. "I'm not quite finished yet."
Cedric nods and sits down again.
"It's not easy, is it, being the second one? Jordan could tell you, I'm sure. Because the first can seem… perfect in absence."
Cedric blinks. This is not what he was expecting. He's not sure what he was expecting.
"I lost Sirius twice, really. I never thought I'd have another chance for this again, with someone. And I am fortunate… so fortunate." Remus lets go of Cedric's wrist but pins him with his eyes. "Ginny Weasley was a remarkable young woman. She was a good match for Harry. You are a remarkable young man. And you love him. Harry, I think, deserves to be loved. Don't you agree?"
"Yes, of course. It's just—" When did the patient end up in charge?
"You worry about whether he wants you around. And then, sometimes, you worry about why he wants you around. Is that right?"
Cedric nods again, stiffly this time. No point talking. Apparently he's here to listen.
"You trust Harry, don't you?"
"Then trust him."
"Talk to him, you mean."
Remus smiles. "You always were a quick learner."
Cedric folds both his hands around Remus's, lying limp on the bed sheet. Hard to believe that these fingers gripped his wrist like stone just moments ago. "And you were always a good teacher," he says.
Remus closes his eyes. "You've no idea how much it means to hear you say that." And now he's the patient, and Cedric is the doctor again.
"I'll send Jordan in," Cedric says, squeezing Remus's hand once before standing. "Thank you."
He stands in the doorway, watching for a moment as Jordan rushes to Remus's side and takes the hand that Cedric was just holding. Something inside him warms, seeing them together.
Remus's heart is in good hands.
* * *
Cedric casts a quick drying charm on his palms and exhales sharply before he knocks on Harry's door.
The door opens. This time it's Albus clinging to Harry's leg. Jamie must be inside. "Cedric. I didn't expect to see you tonight." His tone is wary.
"I brought you curry," Cedric says, holding out the bag in his hand. "I wanted to know how Jamie was doing."
"Loads better, thanks," Harry says. It's still there, that terrible politeness, but Harry invites him in, and they work together to put the boys to bed. Somewhere in between baths and tooth brushing, they're comfortable again. By the time they're sitting on the couch together, opening the curry boxes, Harry's leg is pressed against his.
"I missed you today," Harry says, out of the blue. He's lit a fire in the fireplace. They've been listening to it, to the crackle of flame on logs.
Cedric feels a smile warm his face. "Missed you too. It was a… strange day." He tells Harry about Remus, because Remus said he could. Not about Jordan; that's for Remus to do, when he's ready. Soon.
"But he'll be all right?" Harry asks.
"He'll be all right." They eat together, and the curry heats him from the inside. They're beside each other, he and Harry, touching legs, arms, shoulders. It feels like coming home. "Last night," he begins. "You asked me something."
"You didn't answer." Harry's face is redder than can be accounted for by the fire and the curry. "It's all right. You don't have to."
"I wasn't sure you remembered. I wasn't sure… you'd had that potion, and…"
Harry snorts. He's studying the couch now, his face angled away from Cedric. "Did not. I didn't drink the bloody thing. Spent all day planning that when I got home, I'd finally ask you, and wasn't about to fall asleep before I could."
"So you meant it."
"Of course I did, you git." Harry stills, then looks up at him slowly. The red is gone from his face now, and as he studies Cedric, his eyes narrow. "You thought—"
"I think," Cedric says, kissing him, "we've both been rather stupid."
He stands and pulls Harry off the couch, leaving the curry. Ginny's photo waves at them from the mantel.
Harry gestures at the dishes. "We should—"
"Later." Cedric kisses him again, deeper this time, and starts walking backwards without releasing him.
Harry laughs and pushes him away. "Git. We're both going to fall. I'll come with you."
"Or first, if I have my way," Cedric says, wiggling his eyebrows.
Harry's still laughing as they reach the bedroom and he pushes Cedric down on the bed. "Was that a challenge?"
Cedric reaches for a smart remark, but it gets lost somewhere between his brain and his tongue. Harry's above him, pinning his wrists down on the bed and looking at him that way, and it's suddenly hard to think. He moves instead, arching up, and he can tell by the way Harry's pupils dilate that now he's having trouble thinking, too.
"If you like," he says, vaguely remembering that Harry asked him something.
"Oh, I like," Harry says, his words vibrating against Cedric's throat. "I like very much." He pauses, his tongue in a place that makes Cedric's hands clench and his toes curl. "What was the question?" Harry hasn't shaved today. His stubble is rough against Cedric's skin. He unbuttons Cedric's shirt as he works his way down and down.
"Don't know," Cedric says, arching up again. "Doesn't matter."
Harry's wearing a t-shirt, and Cedric's hands are free again, so he grabs two fistfuls of cotton and pulls. There's a loss of contact as the shirt slides over Harry's head and off his arms, but after that they're skin to skin, Harry pressed against him, and that's much better.
"Did you—the wards—" He's gasping now.
"Damn." Harry pulls away, and Cedric can't help moaning. "Shh. I'll be right back," Harry says, fingers tracing Cedric's lips again, even though Cedric's pretty sure he wasn't biting them this time. He hears Harry mutter the spells that will warn them if the boys are up and a locking spell for good measure.
Later, they lay together. He's wrapped around Harry and he's blissfully tired and he doesn't want to move, ever. Harry's head is heavy on his arm, his hair damp with sweat. Cedric traces patterns on his chest.
"Just to make certain," Harry says. "While we're both still awake. You are going to move in with us, aren't you?"
Cedric sees them together, and it's easy. Natural. Falling asleep together at night, waking up together in the morning. Taking Albus and Jamie to the park. Sharing jokes and curry.
He sees them together, and it's terrifying. He's the man who stole Ginny Weasley's husband, and Harry's pinned down by the publicity, hating it. Hating him for it.
Harry turns, not leaving his arms, but facing him now, watching him. "Don't think so much. I love you." Harry's finger touches his lips, stopping him from chewing them.
"Yes," Cedric said. "I'm going to move in with you." It feels right.
Curled into sheets that smell of lemon-tinged cleaning spells and of curry and mostly of Harry, he's home.