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Gripping Harry by the arm, Cedric shoved him forward. "They ran -- together, this time, not against each other, exploding out at the end of the leafy corridor into the little clearing where the cup glowed blue on its pedestal. As one, their fingers closed over the cup's two handles. So Cedric was thinking about of all things, when he felt something -- some power -- yank him off his feet and he was falling, falling through space -- too startled and unprepared to land gracefully. "Cedric didn't answer, just climbed to his feet as well, and looked around at ancient, tilted tombstones. It stopped just at his hips -- about where he remembered the curse striking his back.

Cedric expected it all to end -- a sudden, bewitched calm as soon as one of the champions had touched the cup. They'd have a party -- Hufflepuff and Gryffindor together, maybe. He came down hard on his back, the wind knocked out of him and the cup tossed free of his hand. For just a moment, Cedric did nothing but breathe, cough, and stare up at the night sky. There was a crypt nearby, and just behind them, a large statue of the Grim Reaper. As he and Harry both seemed unharmed, Cedric's natural curiosity replaced immediate alarm. He and Harry began pacing off in different directions to explore. "Harry," he called, "the cup is a Portkey.""I've been here before -- in a dream," the boy replied, almost interrupting him. Rising, Cedric went to rejoin Harry near the Reaper statue, alarmed himself by the fear in the kid's voice. " Harry yelled, looking up at him -- face full of a terror. Pieces snapped together in Cedric's brain in rapid progression. He didn't want to think about what they were doing to keep him from wetting his bed."You'd still have feeling in your lower body," Madam Pomfrey was saying.

The-Boy-Who-Almost-Died has to figure out what it means that he didn't. They'd all leapt aside for cover, and suddenly the air was awash with the bright light of curses and hexes, and Cedric -- who'd never seen a real wizard's battle -- hunkered down with hands over his head, certain he was about to die.

Harry's tumultuous 5th year at Hogwarts is Cedric's 7th and final. Lives AU), and was completed about 2 years ago -- so it's not a new story. He knew the Malfoys rather better than he'd have liked, and would've been more surprised had Lucius ? Voldemort spun from his torture of Harry to face the one wizard in all the world of whom he was actually afraid. " he cried, as if delighted by this unexpected turn of events. ""Let Harry go, Tom," Dumbledore said in a quiet tone that raised the hairs on the back of Cedric's neck. But after three breaths, he regained his courage and peeked around the side of the reaper.

He wanted to earn something for , not have it handed to him because of his parents' love (much as he realized his good fortune to have it), or because of his pretty face, or even because he was clever. That was why he'd become a Quidditch Seeker, although really too tall for the position. Both his parents were gripping him, as if afraid to let go. ""He's in the graveyard," Cedric said, suddenly exhausted as the adrenaline began to drain out of him. Cedric had his wand out and pointed at Moody before either were aware of him. Dumbledore spun around, arm snapping out with his wand, aimed right at Cedric, who felt himself frozen right where he stood. The second was a searing agony in his lower back and legs the like of which he'd never experienced in his life. Then he and Harry landed together smack in the middle of the Task arena, Cedric on his back and Harry on his knees again. Sometimes there were people around him, sometimes not. His mother was still there, and his father now, too, and --"Esiban!

And it was why he'd let the rest of his House talk him into putting his name in that blasted cup. They'd picked up -- as parents' did -- that he was terrified, and upset, and that something had gone terribly wrong. "You're about to faint."He started to sit as instructed, but found himself face-to-face with Potter's other friend, Ron Weasley, along with the twins and the little Weasley girl behind. "" he shouted, and bright white light exploded from his wandtip, catching Moody square in the back and sending the man's wand flying from his hand as his body was lifted a foot in the air and thrown forward onto his face. Dumbledore glanced down at Moody, then hurried over to Cedric, peering carefully into Cedric's eyes as if searching for something, then -- wand still held out carefully -- he stepped back and released Cedric from the freezing charm."Moody tricked you! " Words came tumbling out of him in a rush, no pause for breath. Cedric wasn't thinking about the irony of their postures, however. Body-wracking agony arched his entire frame rigid and he screamed, his hands tearing mindlessly at the base of his spine. Cedric woke to weeping: his mother's, soft and painful in its hopelessness -- all the more so in that she so rarely wept. He was aware of conversations held over his prone form, but couldn't summon the energy to be interested. "A familiar whiskery face was peering into his, and despite everything, Cedric laughed as Esiban climbed his chest to his shoulder, and thence to his characteristic perch squarely on Cedric's head.

Now the hedges were pulling him under and he couldn't think, he was so scared. Plead with the boy he'd just been shoving around while trying to get to the cup first. " Cedric shouted as soon as his tongue was his own again. "The cup was a Portkey; it took us to a graveyard -- we both grabbed the cup together and it took us to a graveyard. He'd have liked to sit up and tell her not to cry, that he was all right . When he finally found himself able to open his eyes and keep them open more than a moment, it was dark outside, but this time, there was no weeping at his bedside. "They said he was crying incessantly," his father explained.

And now, shamed, he avoided Harry's eyes, still breathing hard. " It was all he could think to say."Some game," Harry agreed, but with something in his voice that spoke of anger, perhaps with Cedric, perhaps with the larger situation -- or both. Then the creaking started up again, and the wind, and their narrow aisle was closing. Then -- to Cedric's astonishment -- he said, "Together." And didn't give Cedric time to protest before counting off, "One, two --"Astonishment faded quickly. " Cedric finished together with Harry even as they rushed forward. The Minister of Magic was trying to lift Cedric's arm over his head in victory, but Cedric yanked it down and barely restrained himself from belting Fudge."body touch that cup! Reaching down, he poked at his torso and legs to see how far feeling went.:-) If there are a lot of readers here, I'd be happy to format it. He could feel hard plant-fingers clutching at him, twining around his arms and legs as he fought. He sounded more like seven than seventeen, and was humiliated. " Cedric bellowed and tore free of the hands on him, which had relaxed when he had. Dumbledore had told them that Moody had put the cup in the maze, and it must have been who'd turned it into a Portkey. The figure's half-mask slipped off, leaving the dead man's face staring up at the sky. Neither, he thought, had Harry -- who'd fallen on his arse in shock -- and to stay out of the way of the curses.He'd been scared before during the tournament -- piss-his-underpants scared -- but able to think still. "I came back to get Dumbledore." He glanced up at Granger. ""Not anywhere in the crowd," Granger replied."Dammit! "Professor Dumbledore went with Professor Moody."Cedric let out his breath and stopped struggling."Both of them went into the maze to find Harry," Mc Gonagall continued. He was sprinting back for the hedge before they could grab him again, knocking people aside as he ran for the maze. That's why he'd been angry when he'd seen Cedric come back with the cup -- alone. Yet Cedric had told Moody exactly what he'd wanted to hear. So Moody had lured off Dumbledore into the maze to keep him from talking to Cedric. Lucius Malfoy was advancing on him, seizing the opportunity while Dumbledore had Voldemort engaged -- and Harry didn't see him coming. So Dumbledore had told him to stay hidden, but if he didn't do something , Harry would be dead.One of Cedric's other hidden faults was a terrible temper when poked hard enough through the bars of his tightly controlled exterior. His face must have relayed his devastation, as she went on, "Healing has progressed a lot since the last time this curse was employed, Cedric.Dumbledore had warned them that the maze changed people. When push had come to shove, he'd literally shoved a kid three years younger than he was behind him in a race for a trinket of silver and crystal, yet when he'd fallen, that same kid had come back for him."Go on, take it! He was being honest, or trying, even if it killed him inside. A reversal may still be possible -- quite possible, these days -- and the healers at St. ""I'm not sure," Madam Pomfrey said, fidgeting needlessly with the blanket covering his lower body -- which, he realized now, he didn't .

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He was a good planner, and could keep his head under pressure, or at least, under certain kinds of pressure. He'd entered to prove something to -- to defeat his own fear, overcome his tendency to fly apart when it mattered. The noise was dying down, too -- or really, changing in timber as those nearest him began to realize this wasn't a victory or celebration. Cedric's own mother was restraining his father."Stop it! " Cedric shoved himself to his feet to lunge away -- back towards the hedge where he'd thrown the cup. " his father was shouting to calm him down, and Mc Gonagall, too, along with Professor Sprout, who'd come over. Just as in the graveyard, everything was coming together in his head, creating a horrible picture of what must have happened. Tearing down a corridor between bushes, Cedric found that -- just as he remembered -- sound faded behind him, cut off. They must be keyed to human presence, not the Third Task specifically, but he didn't have time for ornery hedges. The man -- Voldemort, I guess -- started a fire under it just before he tried cursing me."Dumbledore turned from Cedric and motioned to Professor Mc Gonagall. Minerva, I hate to ask --""Of course."Arthur Weasley had pushed forward as well, "And me."Dumbledore just nodded at them as they joined him near the cup. Cedric counted their number, but couldn't be sure of the identity of any except . Malfoy had his wand out, face twisted with a sneering hatred. Leaping out from behind the reaper, he ran low to the ground. In eight steps he had a completely startled Harry by the waist and was pulling him back, out of Malfoy's way.

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  1. The first girl, he said, was “a little too tall,” and the second girl was “a little too short.” Then he met my mom. Let’s look at how I do things, maybe with a slightly less important decision, like the time I had to pick where to eat dinner in Seattle when I was on tour last year.