A Funeral and a Wedding
I really knew what grief was after that night.
It was a horrible aching dead feeling in my heart I wished to be free of as I wept for the man I'd considered a grandfather. It seemed hard to believe that I was never going to see him again. I smiled a little when I remembered some words from my first Hogwarts feast. "Nitwit! Oddment! Blubber! Tweak!" Even the tiniest of memories seemed precious now and I swore I would never forget the man whom I owed everything to.
Professor Dumbledore's funeral was sad and mournful. It seemed liked the entire Wizarding population came to pay their respects to the greatest wizard the world had ever known. There were no dry eyes among any of us that day as we left behind flowers and small words. The priest's words gave no comfort as the stone white coffin was lowered into the ground. I did a small piece and when the guests had gone, I knelt by the grave.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
The greatest wizard and headmaster
That had ever lived in our time
Forever loved, never forgotten
July 1881—June 1997
Simple words, yet true. What else could be said about the man I owed so much to and I thought of as a grandfather? My fingers brushed against the cold stone as tears trickled down my cheeks.
"Professor, I don't know if you can hear me, but I just want you to know that I'm not going to give up. I'll find the Horcruxes, I'll end this war forever. Things will be better just as we hoped they'd be. You did so much for me. I feel like I never really got the chance to thank you for it. I promise you, I'll never forget you or what you taught me, ever. I'll see you again someday."
I placed a rose and a red-and-gold phoenix feather on the grave before I left it without looking back.
Three weeks after Professor Dumbledore's funeral, Cedric and I were on top of the Astronomy Tower, talking of how Slytherin's locket had been a fake, who R.A.B. could be and what was to come.
"It doesn't seem real, does it?" I murmured. "It doesn't really feel like he's gone."
"No," said Cedric. "But it's like you said before, Dumbledore will never be gone as long as those who remain are loyal to him."
"I know. While a lot of people are still loyal to him, I'm not coming back here next year, even if the school does reopen. I'm going after the Horcruxes and maybe go to Godric's Hollow to visit my parents' grave. Ron and Hermione already insisted on coming with me."
"I'm coming too," said Cedric. "There is no way I'm letting my two best friends and my girlfriend go off without me."
"Wouldn't dream of it," I said.
"Helena," he said, slowly. "What would you say if I said there was something I needed to ask you? Something important?"
"I would ask what it is."
He reached into his pocket and handed me a black velvet box. "Here, open it."
I opened the box. Inside was a diamond ring with a lion and badger engraved on the gold band. It was an engagement ring.
"Cedric," I whispered, not knowing what to say.
He took the ring out of my hands, got on one knee and held it out.
"Helena, I don't know how long we're going to have together, especially during this war, and I hardly know what I'm doing, but I do know one thing: I kneel before you not as a wizard, but as a man in love and I would feel like the greatest king if you, Helena Lily Potter, would be my wife. Will you marry me?"
Tears of joy filled my eyes as I nodded. "Yes."
He smiled and then slipped the ring on my finger and spun me around in his arms before kissing me soundly. The timing wasn't great with Professor Dumbledore gone, but had he been here, he would've wanted us to be happy.
We decided to officially announce our engagement to our friends at dinner the next night. When some of the chatter died down, Cedric stood up. "Excuse me, I'd like to make an announcement. I'm very proud to say that as of last night, Helena Potter has agreed to become my wife."
The entire table burst out into excited cheer of, "Congratulations!" and "When did this happen?" and "I'm so happy for you!" until Sirius stood up and silenced everyone.
"We'll very excited and happy for you both," he said. "And as I told Cedric the night Remus, Arthur and I gave him our blessing and permission to propose, I can't think of anyone else better for my goddaughter." He raised his glass. "The best of luck to you both. To Helena and Cedric."
"To Helena and Cedric," said the table.
"Oh, Helena, I'm so happy for you. Have you made any plans, yet?"
"We want it to just be private. We've made a guest list, just close friends and family only, and no one else knowing," I said. "We want to do it, if possible, a week from Saturday."
"It's a bit soon, but I'm sure we can arrange something by then," said Mrs. Weasley.
"Actually, we were thinking maybe the Room of Requirement would do nicely and were wondering if Mr. Weasley would carry out the ceremony for us," said Cedric.
Mr. Weasley looked touched. "I would be deeply honored."
After that night, the wedding preparations were well underway. Professor McGonagall was more than happy to let us use the Room of Requirement for the wedding and said that Professor Dumbledore would be proud if he was there. Ron agreed to be Cedric's best man, Fleur and Ginny were my bridesmaids and Hermione was my maid of honor. Dobby was ecstatic when he learnt of my wedding and had the house-elves make delicious food for the celebration. The guests on our short list agreed to attend. The only matter I hadn't tended to was the matter of my wedding dress.
Three days before the ceremony, Sirius pulled me aside when I was reading a book. "Helena, come here for a moment. I want to show you something."
"Early wedding present for you. Come on."
I followed him to his room where he pulled a large trunk out from under his bed.
"Sirius, what is this?" I asked.
"This is where I kept some things of your parents I planned to give you when you were old enough. Here we are." He pulled out a flowing white silk dress preserved in tissue paper, embroidered with pearl beading and had a flowing train behind it. There was also a while silk veil with a silver goblin-made tiara with diamonds set into it. It was beautiful.
"Sirius, was-was this—?"
"Lily's?" he finished. "Yes, it was. She wore this on the day she married James. It was her hope that she would see you wear at your own wedding someday. What do you think?"
"It's perfect," I breathed. "Thank you. Thank you so much!"
We hugged each other tightly as a few happy tears escaped us.
Before I knew it, it was the day of the ceremony. Cedric wasn't allowed to see me until I walked down the aisle with Sirius. Twenty minutes before the ceremony, I was making sure I looked just right after Mrs. Weasley had helped me get ready.
Tradition said I needed to take something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue to the alter. I wearing my mother's dress and veil for something old, a silver heart-shaped necklace I was borrowing from Mrs. Weasley, and a new silver bracelet with a blue gemstone set into it. My black hair was in gentle curls down my back, contact lenses replaced my glasses, and I had a bouquet of red and gold roses and lilies.
There was knock on my door.
"If you're Cedric, don't come in. The groom can't see the bride until the ceremony."
"Well, what about godfathers?"
I laughed as Sirius came in wearing handsome black dress robes. "Oh, Helena, look at you. You look as beautiful as your mother did on her wedding day to your father."
"That's what I was hoping for," I said, as I smoothed out the dress. I still could scarcely believe I had my mother's wedding dress. I was nervous and happy at the same time, but also wished for something. "Sirius, I wish they were here."
Sirius sighed and nodded. "I know, sweetheart. So do I. But they're watching you right now. I'm sure they're very proud of you, Helena."
Sirius smiled as he placed his hand on my shoulder. There were tears glittering in his eyes. "It seems like only yesterday you and I met and now here you are about to be married. It hardly seems fair I have to give you away so soon."
I wiped his tears away. "Hey, hey, no tears today. This is supposed to be happy. You're not giving me away; you're just letting someone else take care of me for a while. I'll always be your little Lena, Sirius."
"Yes, you will," he said, as he hugged me. "Now, let's go. We have a wedding to do."
I chuckled as I took his arm and entered the Room of Requirement. Beautiful music was playing, there were silver and crystal decorations, red and gold flowers falling from the ceiling, a dance floor for the reception and everyone looked amazing in their dress robes and were smiling and crying.
Cedric looked so handsome in his black and silver dress robes. "You look perfect," he said, as he took my hand.
"So do you," I said, smiling.
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the joining of these men and women in holy matrimony. If there is anyone here who does not believe these unions should take place, speak now or forever hold your peace," said Mr. Weasley.
No one spoke, so he went on. "Who gives this woman to this man?"
"I do," said Sirius.
"Who gives this man to this woman?"
"I do," said Mr. Diggory.
"Do you, Helena Lily Potter, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, richer or poorer, for all long as you both shall live?"
"I do," I said.
"Do you, Cedric Edward Diggory, this man to be your lawfully wedded wife, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, richer or poorer, for all long as you both shall live?"
"I do," said Cedric.
"Exchange your rings and vows."
Cedric turned to me as he slipped my wedding ring on. "Helena, from the day we met, I knew nothing would ever be the same. You are the reason I keep going. You are my life. I'll always protect you and fight for you and I will never stop loving you."
I smiled as I slipped his wedding ring on. "Cedric, you were my first friend. You were there for me when I had no one else. I can never thank you enough for all of that, but I will always love you and protect you with every fiber of my being for as long as I live."
"I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
Cedric lifted my veil and then kissed me as I tossed my bouquet over my shoulder and Hermione caught it as the guest burst into applause and cheers. Cedric and I shared our first dance as husband and wife at the reception and I had my father-daughter dance with Mr. Weasely, then Lupin and then Sirius. I kept my maiden name at Cedric's request as he said it made me who I was. But I still called myself Mrs. Helena Potter.
I felt so happy and lucky that this had all gone off without a hitch. Maybe Fate decided to be kind for once. Maybe for one night, we could be happy. Maybe for one night we could just forget everything that was wrong in the world and enjoy our precious time with those we loved.
The time soon came for me to stay with the Dursleys, but only for a little while and only because the protection my mother left in me would end soon. The four of us had agreed to go looking for the Horcruxes after Bill and Fleur's wedding. We hadn't told anyone but Sirius of our plan, and hoped it'd all go well.
As we got off the Hogwarts Express for the final time, Cedric, Ron and Hermione eyed the awaiting Dursleys with distaste.
"It hardly seems fair. You're a married woman now and you still have to go live with those jerks," said Ron.
"It's not my choice, Ron," I reminded him. "I have to go. But it won't be for long."
"Let's hope so," said Hermione. "Wonder how they'll react if or when they learn that you're married?"
"Well, it doesn't matter if they find out or not. We don't need their approval," said Cedric, squeezing my hand. "I'll see you soon, love, I promise. I love you."
"I love you too," I said, as I kissed him.
Soon, the final battle between myself and Voldemort would begin, but whatever way it ended, the world would never be the same. Everything would change again, but if we were lucky, maybe it would be for the better.