Summary: Cedric Diggory was living a pretty normal life, until he met someone who wasn't even born yet.
Fandom: Harry Potter
Warnings: Underage (16 and 17)
Title, Author and URL of original story: Rise from the Ashes by midnitemaraud_r
Author Notes: Thanks to my awesome beta reddwarfer! LJ cut quotes are from Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett.
There was another upheaval in the making, but at least it had the courtesy to wait until the following school year and to be good. When the Goblet of Fire spat his name out as Hogwarts Champion, Cedric thought that finally something was going his way.
Of course, then the Goblet also managed to spit out Harry Potter's name. Of course.
Cedric had been looking forward to the school year. The summer had been long and lonely. Most of his friends were gone on holidays, and between the Quidditch World Cup and some other big project, his father had to cancel theirs. But more than that, there was no one- absolutely no one- he could talk to. He couldn't tell anyone about Teddy, and he certainly had no intention of telling anyone about an unspecified male, either. He'd thought about writing to Professor Lupin, but he'd lived too long in the Wizarding world to be as comfortable with him as he was before.
But time heals, and he and Teddy had parted on good terms. Cedric was excited to return to a social life, and his father had let it slip that the top secret project was the Triwizard Tournament.
Becoming Hogwarts champion was everything Cedric had dreamed, even with the shared glory. That year, he had everything he could want- popularity, friends, good grades, good family, and when he asked her, a beautiful girlfriend.
Cedric had known Cho Chang for a while, given that she was the Ravenclaw Seeker. She was bright, friendly, empathetic, and spoke her mind- all traits that Cedric found irresistible. He had been hesitant to ask her out, finding a Quidditch meeting for this Hogsmeade weekend, plans with Caleb for that one. But when Professor Sprout told them about the Yule Ball, something inside Cedric clicked. And after that, it had been easy.
Despite the chill of the winter, they were sitting on a low wall in the courtyard when Cho inadvertently brought the subject of other people up. It was the day before the Ball, and the whole student population seemed to be staying at Hogwarts for the Christmas holidays.
"Are you nervous at all?" Cho asked him. "About opening the Ball?"
"Nah," Cedric said truthfully. "It's easier than facing a dragon, and everybody's been watching me all this time anyway. Besides, it's not like we'll be out there alone."
"True." Cho was quiet for a moment, kicking the wall with her heels. "I've been meaning to tell you. It sounds kind of silly to be worrying about it, but not telling you seems a bit dishonest. Harry asked me to the Ball."
"Oh." Cedric grinned. "I assume you said no."
Cho swatted him playfully. "Prat," she laughed. "Of course I did, although I felt bad."
"You didn't have to tell me, you know," Cedric said. "I mean, I like Harry. He's a nice kid. But it's your business."
"It feels dishonest," Cho insisted. "I don't know. What about you?"
"No, Harry didn't ask me." Cedric sniffled. "I guess I'm not pretty enough."
"Oh, you!" Cho was laughing. "No, seriously. Do you have any past girlfriends or anything I should know about?" She lowered her eyelashes dramatically. "Any rivals for your affections?"
Just one, a little voice whispered inside him. Cedric smiled grimly. But Teddy was his past, and Cho was his future.
"Nope. No past girlfriends. It's just you." He draped an arm around her shoulders. "Just you."
"Aw, Mum! Get away!" Cedric fended off his mother the best he could.
"Then wash your face yourself!" his mother insisted, thrusting a handkerchief at him. "I'm not having you look like a tramp in this!"
"Mum, it's a portrait, not a photograph," Cedric sighed. He wasn't even convinced he had anything on his face to begin with. "I still can't believe you talked me into this."
"It's appropriate," she sniffed. "Especially this year, with you being seventeen and being Champion."
"I could have stayed at Hogwarts for the holidays," he muttered.
His mother raised an eyebrow. "To do work? Or to see Cho?"
He groaned, and then stuck his tongue out at her, and she ruffled his hair. "Hey, Mum! Portrait!" They laughed together, but his was a bit forced.
"Is there something wrong, Cedric?" his mother asked. When Cedric didn't answer, she gently pressed, "Why didn't you stay at Hogwarts for Easter?"
Cedric pulled his legs up under him. The waiting room of an artist's studio wasn't exactly where he'd planned on having this conversation, and his mother wasn't the one he'd planned on having it with, but now that the moment was here, he found he really wanted to. "Mum, do you like Cho?"
His mother didn't seem surprised by the question. "It's not my opinion that's important."
"I know. But do you?"
"Yes," she relented. "From the few times I've met her, I like her very much."
"Right," said Cedric with a sigh. "She's smart and she's nice and she's pretty and she's… well, she's fantastic. There isn't one thing that's wrong with her."
"I think that might be exaggerating," his mother said mildly.
"Well, yeah. But there's no reason I should not like her. And I do like her. But, well, it's not… there's no real spark."
His mother looked like she was swallowing her laughter. "Spark?"
He groaned. "I sound like such a girl. Spark. Fireworks. Connection between souls."
She gave up trying to hide her laughter. "You do sound like a girl," she said when she could speak. "Now let me sound like a bloke. Sparks, fireworks, and connections between souls just don't exist."
Cedric pulled back. "You're joking."
"No, Cedric, I'm not."
"So you don't love Dad?"
"I didn't say that in the least. I'm saying that love isn't something that just appears. It doesn't just happen between two people for some mystical reason that no one understands. It has a basis in friendship and common ground, and it grows over time. Love, true love, is comfortable and solid and strong. It can be romantic, but it's not unexplained. I believe in soul mates, Cedric, but I believe they're made, not born. You're seventeen, Cho is sixteen. Don't be so quick to dismiss a relationship just because you don't feel like the love songs say you should."
He pursed his lips together in frustration. He was going to argue, when the portrait artist came out with his hand extended and the subject was definitely dropped.
Perhaps he wasn't articulating it right, he thought, as he followed the artist back into the studio. He couldn't actually say what was lacking from his relationship with Cho, so maybe his mother was right.
But deep inside, a little voice whispered that he'd felt the fireworks before, just with someone else.
"Are you ready?" Cho asked him as they left the library.
Cedric smiled. "I was born ready," he responded automatically.
"I wonder what they're going to have you do," Cho mused. "I saw Bagman talking to Hagrid, of all people. So I'm sure there's some repulsive monster in there. Maybe the skrewts," she giggled. "At least then there'd be a use for those things. I can't believe-"
She continued on, but Cedric tuned her out. They had just passed Harry Potter, who was walking with Sirius Black, who turned out to be his godfather and was here for the Third Task. Black was still too thin and haunted, but the look on Harry's face suggested he didn't see that at all. Cedric was glad to see it- Harry was a nice kid who deserved better than not to have any parents. Suddenly, he realized that Cho was still talking, and he sighed inwardly. He'd been mentally ignoring her far too often recently. He had to be a man about this. After this task, tomorrow… he'd do it. He would.
He glanced at her from the corner of her eyes, at her happy expression and lovely face, and reminded himself sternly that she deserved much better than this sort of treatment.
"Hey, Diggory!" Caleb came over, along with what seemed like half of the house. "Are you rested? Are you ready?"
"It's all about you, tomorrow," Rob said gleefully. "The other three are going to be left in the dust."
"You're going to win for certain!" Ernie proclaimed.
Cho squeezed his hand and smiled, and then bent down and kissed her gently. They moved towards the doors, the crowd earning a berating from Madame Pince. Cho laughed at something someone else said, and he turned with a smile on his face automatically. But when he turned back, he felt the smile slip from his face and all feeling slip from his body.
Standing in front of him, in the same robes he'd been wearing over a year ago, was Teddy Lupin.
Time stopped. The voices faded to a buzzing in his ears, Cho's hand became a cold inanimate object in his. For a few heartbeats, the only two people in the world were him and Teddy. And for a moment, everything was perfect.
Then Teddy took in Cho, and his face crumpled. He turned on his heel and ran.
"Teddy, wait!" Cedric called, but he didn't stop.
He desperately wanted to drop everything and chase after him, but reason stopped him. Teddy was a time traveler. How was he going to explain any of that to Cho, who would reasonably want to know where he went?
"Cedric, are you okay?" Cho asked him.
"Of course. Why?"
She looked down at their twined fingers. "Your hands are shaking."
"Oh. It's… it's nothing." He looked back to where Teddy had been, but he was gone. Cedric took a deep breath. He'd find Teddy; he had to at least see him again. But he had to get himself under control, first.
He waited until everyone had gone to bed. Another day he could have slipped off unnoticed. But the night before the third and final task, everyone seemed to want to talk to him, congratulate him, wish him luck. He couldn't afford to arouse any suspicion.
But finally, near midnight, he was standing outside the Room of Requirement. He knocked, and after a moment Teddy answered, shirtless.
If Cedric had had any doubts about his sexuality, they were gone with that particular sight.
"You came back," he whispered. Teddy nodded, and the word ripped out of Cedric. "Why?"
"Does it matter?"
"No," Cedric replied. "Maybe. I don't know. Can I come in?"
Teddy shrugged, and walked away, sitting down on the edge of the bed. "You're angry," Cedric observed. Teddy shrugged again, a loud and clear yes. Cedric closed the door and walked closer until he stood in front of Teddy. "You're jealous," he chided.
"I'm not," Teddy insisted.
Cedric let it pass, because it really wasn't that important. "When…?"
"Today," Teddy said. "About an hour before I saw you."
Cedric nodded. "It's been a long time. You look exactly the same."
"For you," Teddy said bitterly.
Cedric's stomach dropped. "What do you mean?" Teddy turned away. Cedric sat down beside him, bracing himself for the answer. "Teddy?"
"It was only yesterday for me," Teddy whispered. He shook his head and turned back. "Doesn't matter."
A day for Teddy, a year for him. Cedric winced. "Oh. I'm sorry," he said lamely.
"Nothing to be sorry for," Teddy said bravely. "She's pretty."
"Why did you come back?"
"Lots of reasons. No reason. I told you, it doesn't matter."
Cedric sighed. As a conversation, this was going nowhere. He had deliberately sat down far enough away so they weren't touching, but he was close enough that he realized Teddy still smelled the same. Worse, he could smell a hint of the foam from the bath they'd taken together. He closed his eyes. "You gonna go see your father?"
"I don't know. I'm not sure where he is right now. But I know where he'll be soon enough. At least I think I do. Maybe I'll send him an owl."
That said volumes, right there. If Teddy wasn't here to see his father, Cedric suspected somehow he'd messed up the future and was back to set it right. What he and Teddy had had was wonderful, but Teddy never would have left if it had been worth changing time for. "Tell him hello for me," he heard himself saying. "And tell him thanks. You were right; I did get an Outstanding on my O.W.L."
"I guess you had more time for revising after I left."
"I went and talked to him a few times. After, you know. He was nice. I haven't seen him since he left. I thought about writing to him, but I didn't know what to say. I guess you know…"
"That he's a werewolf? Of course I know."
Cedric shrugged. "You never said."
"Wasn't my secret to tell."
"True. I don't care. When you see him, tell him there's a bunch of us, in my house, probably more in Gryffindor." It was a realization that had taken several months to dawn, but at least he could say it now.
Teddy smiled. "He'll be glad to know that."
"So, you gonna stick around for a while? Tomorrow's the third task. I'm one of the Champions, but you probably knew that, too."
"Yes," Teddy said softly.
"And Harry." Cedric felt like he was talking to fill the silence. "He's a good kid. Strange as it may sound, we've become friends, sort of. I like him. It's been a strange year. Interesting, though."
"Ancient Muggle curse, 'May you live in interesting times'."
Cedric frowned. "How is that a curse? I'd choose interesting over dull any day."
"Cedric." Cedric wasn't looking at him. He was staring at the rug beside the bed. "Cedric," he said again.
Cedric turned his head, and Teddy leaned in and kissed him. Cedric gasped and Teddy slipped his tongue inside, gently, probing, testing. Cedric responded at first, and then Cho's face flashed to the front of his mind. Breaking up with her was one thing- cheating on her was a whole other ball of wax. He pulled away firmly.
"I can't. I'm sorry."
"Cho," Teddy said.
Cedric spread his arms and ducked his head. "It's not fair to her."
"No. I remember her. I met her once or twice. I didn't recognize her at first. She was a friend of Harry's. Ginny didn't like her much, but she was nice. We talked Quidditch. I remember she was a Tornados fan."
"I should go," Cedric said, shifting closer to the edge of the bed and standing.
"You coming tomorrow? To watch?"
Teddy started to nod, then grasped Cedric's hand and stood up, facing him. "Wait. I have to talk to you. It's about tomorrow. The maze. The cup."
A thrill passed through him that had nothing to do with Teddy touching his hand. "I win? No, don't tell me. I don't want—"
"Listen to me!" Teddy said, squeezing Cedric's hand. "This is important. Fuck the tournament! If you touch the cup, if you take it, you'll die."
Cedric froze. "What are you talking about?"
"Tomorrow. You and Harry, the both of you. Some giant spider or skrewt or something." Oh Merlin, not the damn skrewts. Cedric shuddered. "You both get there, you help each other and you both choose to take the cup together. Listen to me, Cedric. You can't go with him. Harry has to go. Something happens, the cup is a Portkey."
"Well, then we'll go to Dumbledore," Cedric said. "Right now. We'll tell him. He'll know what to—"
"No! You don't understand. Harry has to go where the Portkey takes him. It's the only way he can defeat Voldemort."
Cedric started at the name. "You-know-who is dead," he snapped, narrowing his eyes and finally pulling his hand from Teddy's grasp. "I know you're angry with me, and you obviously want Harry to win since he's your godfather, but I'd thought—"
"It's not about the bloody tournament, you arse! I could give a fig about the tournament! I'm trying to save your life!"
It was like a slap in the face, in so many ways. "Why should I believe you? When you were here last time, you told me you knew me in your time. How could you know me if I die tomorrow? Answer me that."
And the world came crashing down. "I see."
"No, I didn't..."
"We're finished here, Teddy. I have to go," Cedric said, storming off towards the door.
Teddy ran after him, grabbed him by his shoulder, and slammed him up against the wall. He gripped the front of Cedric's robes in his hand and tugged.
"We are not finished." Teddy was shaking as he looked Cedric straight in the eye. "I did know you, but not you. I said I lied because I didn't tell you the whole truth. You weren't flesh and blood, you were a bloody portrait! I know you know which one I'm talking about, because you would have sat for it only recently."
"Easter," Cedric whispered, his eyes wide.
Teddy nodded. "Everyone knows you in the future, Cedric. Hufflepuff house practically worships you. Your portrait is in our common room, 'Remember Cedric Diggory'! Professor Dumbledore laid a charge on the entire wizarding world with his eulogy to you – did you want me to recite it? You're a fucking legend, and we're all a little bit in love with you for it."
Dead? Tomorrow? Cedric swallowed. "I don't believe you," he said, his voice a hoarse rasp. But he did. Teddy was too pale, too upset… and at the same time, there was nothing frantic about his story.
"I'm sorry. I wish it weren't true. I wish I could tell you a different future, but that's why I came back, today. When I went home, everything was different. Voldemort"—Cedric winced—"had won, Harry was dead - everyone was dead, Gryffindor tower was destroyed – there was no Gryffindor house anymore – and no more Muggleborn wizards. The death eaters ran the wizarding world. It was a nightmare, and it was my fault! I did something, changed something accidentally when I was here. That's why I had to come back. I can never go home, because I no longer have a home to go to!
"It's not about the tournament, you arse. Voldemort comes back tomorrow. Oh!" He spun around and pointed at Cedric, stabbing his finger in the air. "The Quidditch World Cup – I remember. There was a dark mark in the sky at the Cup! Damn it, you know I'm telling the truth, Cedric."
He was. It wasn't just that the story made sense, in a twisted sort of way. It was because Cedric knew Teddy, and that made all the difference.
"What happens to Harry?" Cedric asked, voice quiet.
"Voldemort kills you, well, Wormtail does. Peter Pettigrew. Heard of him, have you? I thought so. A killing curse. You haven't any chance, I'm sorry. They use Harry's blood to create a new body for Voldemort. He's never really been gone, you know.
"But Harry gets away, he escapes, fights his way out, and only because he's a lucky bastard. There's a proph—" Teddy waved his hand in dismissal. "He told me – last Christmas he finally told me everything. He wouldn't talk about it, ever. I had to beg him to tell me. That's how bad it was for him. He's always blamed himself for your death.
"Harry gets away, brings your dead body back to your parents." He glared at Cedric, his chest heaving. "There's a reason the Room brought me back here today. I know it. I won't let you die."
"There are no buts. We can't go to Dumbledore. It has to happen the way I told you. Harry has to touch that damned Portkey."
"But if we know where V—You-Know-Who is, we can stop him before he comes back."
Teddy shook his head. "It doesn't work like that. We could end up making things worse. I told you, he was never really gone. He just needed a body."
Cedric's head hurt. "Maybe we could make it better."
"Are you willing to take that risk? There are things I know. I don't know everything, but I know a lot about what's supposed to happen. If we change this, then everything reverts to chaos. I might even disappear, erase my entire existence. I'd risk that for myself, but I won't risk everyone else's lives along with mine. Don't you see? It has to be this way."
Cedric steeled his shoulders. While he believed every word that Teddy said, he couldn't absorb it. It was too much, too big. But there was one thing he could wrap his mind around, and on that one thing, his course was clear. "I won't let Harry go alone. He's just a kid."
"Then you'll die."
"Maybe not. Not now that I know what's coming."
"Cedric," Teddy said, pleading.
"Thank you." Cedric smiled. "I'm glad you're here. I missed you."
He wanted to stay, but it would be more of the same. More arguing, more discussion, more panic. He needed to be alone, to think and to plan. So he turned and walked out the door.
I'm going to die.
Now that he was alone in the silence of a sleeping dormitory, the thought echoed through his mind and paralyzed his throat with fear.
Cedric embraced his legs, burying his forehead against his knees. Of course he'd imagined his own death before- there wasn't a teenager alive who hadn't, he suspected. But visions of grief-stricken parents and crying friends were always tempered by the deeply held belief you were going to live forever, and there was always a sort of romanticism to it. This was different.
This was real.
He wanted to be stoic and focus on the situation at hand. And later he would be. But there in the moonlight, in pajamas and the comfort of his own bed, all he could think about was his own death.
He began to shake, and the tears welled in his eyes as his stomach twisted into knots.
Would it hurt? What would happen after? Did he believe in God, really? Did it matter? And his parents… oh, God, his parents. He couldn't even think of what they would feel.
He sat in his bed for a long time, until his body hurt from keeping the heaving sobs quiet and he couldn't breathe because his nose was so clogged. Then finally, when he had to move, he took a deep breath, and then another one.
Right. That was that out of the way. Now it was time to pull himself together and plan.
"Both of us."
He and Harry Potter stood facing each other across the Triwizard Cup. It was a spider they'd had to defeat, thank God, not that blasted Skrewt, although Harry had apparently run into the thing. Lucky Harry.
"We'll both take it," Harry insisted. "It will still be a Hogwarts victory."
This was it. "Harry, it won't."
Harry looked at him, baffled. "You and I had the most points going into the maze. Of course it will."
"Harry, it…" Cedric wanted to explain, but stopped himself. There was a reason Teddy had never given him any foreknowledge of the future. He took a deep breath. "Right. You're on. On three. One, two…"
"Three!" They said it together, took the Cup, and Cedric felt the all-too-familiar vertigo of the Portkey.
They landed in a graveyard. Harry fell forward, partly because of a leg injury he'd sustained in the maze, but also because he had not been prepared in any way for the journey. Thanks to Teddy, Cedric had been.
There was an old house in the distance, and crumbling, mossy tombstones nearby. The night was dark, and there was no light source save the moon. Cedric pulled out his wand. "Lumos."
"Where are we?" Harry asked, looking around.
This was it. "I don't know. But Harry, whatever happens… just remember… just remember hold on." He didn't know what else to say, so he squeezed Harry's shoulder. Harry looked at him like he was crazy, but he didn't argue.
"Someone's coming," Harry said suddenly.
Cedric's mouth went dry. Harry was right. The figure was short and hooded, holding something and walking briskly towards them. Pettigrew. Teddy said… no. He couldn't think about it, or he'd freeze and he'd be dead. He looked at Harry, who was obviously wary and scared, but was standing like a whippet thin blade of steel. The younger boy's posture hardened his resolve.
Then Harry fell to his knees, clutching at his forehead. Cedric was going to go to him, but a high, cold voice said, "Kill the spare."
The hood fell back, and for an instant he saw Pettigrew's face. It was pale with dark shadows, but cold- ever so cold- and resolute. He lifted his wand, and Cedric Disapparated.
He hit the ground in Hogsmeade, stumbled, and began to run. He ran until it felt like his lungs would explode and his legs ached, but he pushed on harder. If he stopped, Harry would die.
He could see the glow of the Quidditch pitch… hear the low rumbling of the crowds. He was almost there… almost there… almost there…
He burst into the area and saw the judges, and Dumbledore. With an inarticulate cry, Cedric hurled himself at the table, falling to his hands and knees in front of Dumbledore. He fumbled to his feet, gasping out the story.
He was vaguely aware of others; his parents were there, all concern and panic. Cho was trying to help him stand, although he didn't need the help. He accidentally hit her with an expansive gesture, and she backed off after that. Professor Moody was asking him questions, and Professor Snape was there as well, with something in his eyes that reminded him of the look on Harry's face when Pettigrew had approached. Sirius Black was raging at anyone who would listen, and indeed, anyone who wouldn't. And there was Teddy, on the edge of the circle, his eyes clear and scared.
Then there was a blinding flash of light, and Harry Potter fell from the sky clutching a large golden cup.
In the excitement of Harry's return, Cedric was shunted into the capable hands of Madame Pomfrey and dragged off to the Infirmary.
Everyone knows you in the future, Cedric, Teddy had said. Hufflepuff house practically worships you. Your portrait is in our common room, 'Remember Cedric Diggory'! Professor Dumbledore laid a charge on the entire wizarding world with his eulogy to you – did you want me to recite it? You're a fucking legend, and we're all a little bit in love with you for it.
From legend to extra baggage in one evening. The irony didn't escape Cedric, but he couldn't be annoyed in any way. The relief to be alive was overwhelming. Not just because what Teddy had told him, but because now that he was safe, he could admit just how close he'd been to being killed by Pettigrew's Avada Kedavra.
The Infirmary was quiet. Madame Pomfrey had told him that Fleur and Viktor were both there, but she had the privacy screens up. Cedric wasn't sure how he felt about that- of all the people he might have liked to see, they were at the top of the list. Fellow veterans, in a way.
The person who was at the bottom, however, was the one who came into his little section. Cho was tentative, her face tear-streaked. Cedric sighed heavily.
"Hi," he said gently.
"Hi." She wiped her nose on her sleeve. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah. Have you heard anything about Harry?"
"Pretty much everyone has. Sirius Black has been shouting loudly enough that they must hear him down in London. Harry's fine, though."
"That's good." He looked down at his hands awkwardly.
Cho sighed. "Cedric, I know this isn't the best time for this conversation, but… I know."
"You know?" He looked up, startled, because he'd never, ever mentioned Teddy. "How could you possibly know?"
"When you hit me earlier," she said. "I know it was an accident, and I know that there was a lot going on, but you didn't even acknowledge me. I didn't register. That's how I know you don't love me."
She said it simply, bravely. Cedric realized that she must have been thinking this on some level for a long time. "I was going to tell you," he said. "Not tonight and not so baldly, but I was going to tell you."
"Well, I guess I saved you an awkward breakup speech," Cho said with a crooked smile. "And this way I get to dump you instead of you dumping me."
Cedric laughed. "Whoever does love you will be very, very lucky."
Cho wiped at her face. "I know," she said. "Who knows? Maybe I'll give Harry Potter a go."
Cedric smiled. "Good luck with that."
When she left, he decided enough was enough and he was leaving the Infirmary. He had his own second chances to investigate.
Nineteen Years Later….
"Do you have to be here?" Adrian complained.
"Yes. Now shut up and be a good little boy," Cedric said, slightly mockingly. "Don't forget, look for Hagrid when you get off the train."
"I know, I know," Adrian said, rolling his eyes. "You've only told me a million times, and Teddy's told me a million times. I get it. Really."
"You're going to get beaten up with that attitude," Cedric said.
Teddy put a hand on Adrian's shoulder comfortingly. "No you won't. If anyone gives you any trouble, you just tell us and we'll be right there. But no one will give you trouble in Hufflepuff."
"I'm not going to be in Hufflepuff," Adrian insisted. "I'm going to be in Ravenclaw like- Mum! Finally!"
Cedric looked up and saw Felicity hurrying towards them. She kissed Cedric on the cheek. "Thank you, Cedric. I got here as soon as I could."
"Not a problem. Do you really think I'd miss my little brother's first day on the Hogwarts Express?" Cedric asked, ruffling Adrian's hair. Adrian scowled and stepped away from him. "Is Dad coming?"
"I think he's going to be tied up in the Ministry," Felicity said. She looked down at Adrian, but he was currently occupied in arguing house merits with Teddy. "Between you and me, I think Platform Nine and Three-Quarters still has too many memories of your Mum for him."
Cedric nodded. It had been seventeen years since his mother was killed by Death Eaters, but he still missed her. He smiled and looked away.
Across the platform, he spotted Harry and Cho. Their daughter was starting Hogwarts this year as well, and their son was already a third year. Cho spotted him and smiled; he waved back.
Finally, the kids were settled and the train was pulling away. Felicity said goodbye and rushed back to St. Mungo's, but Cedric and Teddy were able to leave at a more leisurely pace.
"You know," Cedric said, as they walked out of the station, "it just occurred to me how long it's been since you came back. Do you think we're safe from you disappearing on me?"
Teddy laughed. Cedric had seen it many, many times in the past nineteen years, but the sight still made him smile. "I guess. Funny, I don't think I'm even supposed to be here."
"Not unless your dad and Sirius have found a way to make male pregnancy possible." They looked at each other and shuddered simultaneously. "I hear Dora Tonks is in line to be the next Head of the Auror Department."
Teddy pumped his fist in the air. "That's my mum," he said proudly. "Although after all she did to help Harry defeat Voldemort, she'd better be."
"No kidding." Those years had been hard on them all. "Do you… do you ever wonder who died that might not have? If you hadn't…?"
"I try not to," Teddy said. "This future is different from the one I remember. But it's not worse… not like it could have been."
Cedric put his arm around Teddy's waist. "I know I tell you all the time, but I'm glad you came back."
Teddy smiled. "Me too. Now let's go home."