Cedric glanced at the newspaper his girlfriend was holding. "God, those Brits are nuts. What type of super-villain calls himself 'Flight of Death' anyways?"
Sheila laughed. "It is times like these when you should be glad your parents decided to move, eh Ced? Like either one of us would be stupid enough to join some sort of ball-busting medieval tournament thing anyways...."
Her boyfriend just gave a snort of agreement, and turned back to his book.
Cedric watched intently as Dumbledore drew the Age barrier around the Goblet. The light of the floating candles and the sparks of Dumbledore's power glimmered across the surface of the Goblet – perplexing, mesmerizing, tempting. And Cedric knew he could go across that Age Line, write his name on a piece of paper, and slip it into the Goblet.
But he wouldn't.
The Dark Lord had other plans, and who was Cedric Diggory to mess them up?
The second task had been exhausting, and catastrophic.
The merpeople, Dumbledore had mentioned in his press release, had known the plan and agreed to the task. However, something – somewhere – had gone cataclysmically wrong.
The four Champions, Dumbledore said, were all currently staying in St. Mungo's. Although all four were expected to make a full and complete recovery, the Triwizard Tournament would be cancelled in honor of the tragic death of Minister Fudge. An investigation was under way as to why five, not four 'treasures' had been abducted for the task and why no one had known that the dear departed Minister could not swim.
The guests beamed as a flash went off and both figures paused to pose for the photograph. There was cheering, and cake, and a great deal of celebration that occurred before the two newlyweds could sneak off, hand-in-hand.
"Well," huffed Cedric. "Thank goodness that's done! If I had to kiss one more wrinkled cheek, or thank one more obscure dignitary for coming, I think I would have volunteered the lot to be the Twin's new guinea pigs."
The other figure laughed tiredly. "I think that's my line, Ced. You're supposed to be the polite and gentle Hufflepuff, remember?"
Cedric turned around, tie in hand, to raise an eyebrow at his partner. "Polite and gentle, Harry James Potter? I thought we managed to correct that misapprehension years ago, love!"
And the Man-Who-Destroyed-He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named simply quirked an eyebrow back. "What? You thought outright refusing to compete under unfair circumstances in a centuries-old tournament and then engaging in a homosexual love-fest with the Boy-Who-Lived made you a rebel, or something?"
Exhaustion. Satisfaction. Joy, that he was a Champion. One of two, sure, but a Champion none the less. His parents, he thought, would be proud, oh-so proud.
And then there was the hard gleam of the Cup, and dizziness, and screaming, and a blast of green light.