Coming Back

When Cedric returned from the darkness he had endured, there wasn't much he could remember of the time before. There were some faces flying in front of him, a green-eyed boy with glasses, a pretty girl with black straight hair and a little mousy man with a pair of specks balancing on the bridge of his nose. He soon learned that the man was his farther. The boy with the glasses and the girl were some of his friends, his father told him. But the most memorable memory he had, the most vivid face in his mind, his father could tell him nothing about.

He saw a petit girl with curious, brown eyes and auburn hair that hung in wild curls around her stunning face, teasingly tickling her heart shaped mouth. A smile was constantly hovering near the corners of that same mouth, but while she was fast to laugh, he sensed a seriousness in her that was deeply rooted and not easily discarded. The frown on her forehead, he guessed, was caused by the need and the want to solve the great mysteries of the world. She intrigued him. And he didn't know who she was.

No, his father didn't seem to know who she was. And there was nobody else he could ask. There had been people to see him, but he didn't like talking to them. They all said that they were his friends that he once knew them, but he couldn't even remember their faces, let alone their names. So he usually told that his father to tell them that he was sick, when one of his so-called friends came to visit.

It had been almost a month since he'd been brought back from the darkness. His father had held him indoors the entire time, saying that it wasn't safe outside anymore. That there were people out there, who were dangerous. That they were the ones who'd already killed him once, and his father feared that they'd want to do it again. So he'd been locked up, which he hadn't minded at all. It gave him time to think and try to remember which wasn't easy. It was all such a blur. Except for that girl. He wished he knew her name. Just her first name. But he came up blank.

He was sitting in his old room, looking at things he knew she should be able to remember, when his father came running in, waving a paper in the air with a happy smile.

"It's over, my boy!" he yelled joyfully. "The war has ended!"

He threw the paper on Cedric's bed. Carefully Cedric picked up the paper and was instantly drawn to the large picture under the headline that read 'The Boy Who Lived and His Friends End the War!". In the picture were three tired and worn young people. He recognised the one with the glasses, his friend Harry Potter, and the other boy didn't really mean anything to him. But it wasn't the boys he looked longingly at – it was the third person, the young girl. Though she was dirty and sad he recognised her instantly. It was the girl from his memories. His heartbeat sped up as she looked straight at him.

"Dad!" he said and showed his father the photo. "It's the girl. She's the one I've been remembering."

His father studied the photo and then looked up at Cedric with confused eyes.

"That's Hermione Granger," he said slowly. "She's Harry Potter's best friend. But… I didn't know that you knew her."

Cedric shrugged and answered, "Well, I must have since I remember her."

"I guess so…" his father said a little hesitantly.

"I would like to meet her," Cedric said slowly. His father looked questioningly at him as if he was deciding whether or not he was serious before he nodded slowly.

"I'll see what I can do."

His father didn't say anything more on the subject for the next couple of days, but Cedric never forgot about the girl, Hermione. He read every article about her, closely studied every picture, getting to know her from afar. He began to think that his father hadn't forgotten their conversation until he came to him day.

"There's a visitor for you," his father said with a great smile.

Cedric groaned. Another one of those friends he couldn't remember that he had.

"Can't you just say that I'm ill or something?"

"Oh, I really think you want to see this one, Cedric," his father beamed at him and gestured to someone outside door. Cedric sat up straight in his bed when Hermione Granger walked into his room with a little hesitant smile and her hands shyly holding each other in front of her body.

"Hi," she said sweetly as her cheeks flushed a delicate pink.

A lump formed in Cedric's throat and the sight of her stupefied him.

"Hi," he managed to croak. She laughed timidly and glanced down. "Dad, would you mind?"

His father only beamed brighter than before and got out again, silently closing the door behind him.

"Would you like to sit down?" Cedric asked and gestured to his comfortable reading chair. She smiled as she quietly sat down, her hands neatly folded in her lap. It was obvious that she wasn't quite comfortable, but for the life of him Cedric couldn't find any words to change it. Seeing her in real life after having dreamt of her for so long had him tongue-tied.

"So," Hermione finally said, breaking the tension that had started to settle in, "your father said that you had some questions for me. I don't really see how I'd be able to help, but I'll do what I can."

And then she smiled the most pleasant smile he'd ever seen. It lit up the entire room and practically set his heart on fire.

He cleared his throat before explaining his situation, "Well, you know, I presume what I've been through lately." He paused and she nodded in agreement. "There're not many things I can remember. But your face was one of them. So I was sort of hoping that you might be able to tell me why that is."

He held his breath and waited for an answer. But she looked just as clueless as his father had.

"I'm afraid I can't help you with that particular problem," she said apologetically. "We were never really friends. I don't even think we've ever had a conversation."

He felt his heart sink into his stomach and his mouth going slack.

"Seriously?" he said a little hoarsely. "But, I remember your face so vividly. And your smile and your laugh and the way you walk. It's all so clear to me. Why would I remember you if I didn't even know you?"

"Oh, we knew each other," she said quickly. "Or, at least, we knew of each other. But as I said, I don't think we've ever said a word to each other."

Feeling confused out of his mind, Cedric sat back against the stack of pillows he had pilled at the headboard of his bed.

"I don't understand," he said slowly. "I thought that we…"

Hermione waited politely for him to continue, but when he didn't she prompted him by saying, "That we what?"

"Well, I actually thought that we might be dating."

At those words a broad smile spread on Hermione's face.

"We weren't dating," she said. "Cedric, when you…" she trailed off with an uncomfortable loo crossing her face, making her smile falter.

"When I died," Cedric finished for her. "It's okay, you can say it."

"Well, when you died you were 17 and I was only 14. There's no way you would have looked at me with any romantic feelings."

"Why do you say that with such certainty?"

Again, Hermione looked uncomfortable, but to her credit she didn't hide from his question.

"Cedric, you were the hero at our school. I was just the annoying, bossy know-it-all."

He pondered her words for a while before saying, "I don't mind a know-it-all. I might not have seemed like I noticed you in school, but the fact does remain that I remember you more clearly than anybody else. So I must have noticed you. I simply must have."

Now it was Hermione's turn to ponder.

"Sounds reasonable," she concluded. "But let's not dwell on that subject any longer. Is there anything else I can help you with?"

For only the briefest moment Cedric thought about asking her to kiss him, but it felt wrong to do so. If what she said was right and they'd never been friends he couldn't very well just ask her to kiss him. She'd likely be mad and never want to see him again. No, he had to play this one smart.

"Yes, there is, but I'm feeling a little tired now," he said and pretended to stifle a yawn. "Would you mind terribly coming back tomorrow to help me again?"

Her hesitation was brief before she answered, "Certainly, I'll be back same time tomorrow. You just rest now and I'll see you tomorrow."

She rose from the chair and quickly made her way to the door.

Right before she was about to leave Cedric said to her, "I'm really looking forward to it."

She looked back at him with a little smile and then left.

This story is the first chapter in a multi-chapter story requested by blowing-winds. I hope you like it so far!

I'm not quite certain how I feel about this story yet. I think the idea is good enough; I'm just worried that my execution is all that good. But oh well, I'll make the next chapter better I hope.

As always, please review and/or request!