Fanfic: This is Why by starspangledpumpkin (Read for Free, 1,332,114 Clicks)

Description: Cedric’s worst mistake was entering the Triwizard Tournament. Hermione’s worst mistakes were yet to come. At least they still have each other for support… right?Sequel to Because Why Not. Updates every Thursday through Year Six.

Characters: Graphic Depictions Of ViolenceCedric Diggory/Hermione Granger Lesbian side ships I have a bunch of other ships but they’re not significant enough to tagHermione Granger Cedric Diggory Viktor Krum Original Characters Harry Potter Fred Weasley George Weasley Luna Lovegood Cho ChangBlack Hermione Granger Latina Hermione Granger Autistic Hermione Granger Disabled side characters disabled main character Prosthetics Wheelchairs Autism Angst Warning: Language Warning: Heavy Topics warning: bullying I’m working through some stuff this is just gonna be very dark not as dark as the movies though you can’t see nothing with those ummm what else new types of magic Cedric Diggory Lives but he’s gonna wish he were dead Positive Female Friendships some people are gonna die tho 🙂 Endgame Cedric Diggory/Hermione Granger

Summary: Summary:

Cedric’s worst mistake was entering the Triwizard Tournament. Hermione’s worst mistakes were yet to come. At least they still have each other for support… right?Sequel to Because Why Not. Updates every Thursday through Year Six.

Notes: Notes:

This story will get finished.Eventually.

Chapter 1: Uhhh, What?

Chapter Text
Hermione had been watching with horror along with everyone else at the obstacles each Champion had to face and was sure that the four of them would suffer from nightmares for the rest of their lives. It was horrible seeing them get hurt, their faces twisting in fear or pain, all live for everyone to see. She was glad there wasn¡¯t any audio. She wasn¡¯t sure if she could stand the sound. Once Viktor attacked Cedric, the crowd went crazy throwing speculation around. Mr. Diggory and Mr. Zdravkov nearly got into a duel, accusing that the other’s son was cheating. Roger used his drill sergeant voice on them to get them to stop, but Hermione hardly noticed the whole ordeal, watching in petrified horror and clutching onto Esperanza. When the fight between Viktor and Cedric ended, they signed desperately to the crystals.¡°Viktor was imperiused!¡± Esperanza shouted jumping to her feet. ¡°Somebody stop this!¡±¡°It¡¯s obviously just Viktor going wild,¡± said Bagman, and though his voice was light, his face was growing pale. ¡°Certainly he wants this as much as anyone.¡±Esperanza looked back up at the projection. Hermione understood enough sign to know what they said.
¡°You¡¯re the one rigging this!¡± Hermione accused. ¡°Set them free right now!”Bagman stuttered and apparated, further proving his guilt. The crystals went dead at that moment and nobody knew what was happening behind those hedges. The teachers and those working on the Tournament began running around trying to get to the Champions but found a curse had been placed not allowing anyone in unless someone specifically cast vermillious. It was a complicated piece of magic, much too complicated for Bagman to place on his own. Professor McGonagall started going around to the wizards who had grown the labyrinth and placed the obstacles inside, interrogating them, though in her frantic state she wasn’t about to get very far. There was likely to be an inquiry when all was said and done, but that didn’t help the Champions in that moment.¡°Surely something can be done,¡± Beatrice cried. ¡°They¡¯re just kids.¡±A blood curdling scream silenced the stands. In silent shock, Hermione looked up and saw a figure flying high into the air. Esperanza drew her wand.
¡°Arresto momentum!¡±
The body slowed and bounced once almost like on one of those bags stunt people use, but still landed heavily in the center of the clearing, sliding to a stop and going still.¡°Viktor!¡± Esperanza cried, jumping to her feet and racing to his side, his parents and Hermione not far behind.His black jersey was soaked with sweat and something that seemed thicker and as he was moved, the fabric shifted giving her a glimpse of the cuts he’d endured in the maze. His right leg didn’t look right. Even if his shredded trouser leg didn’t show the bruising and pucker marks almost looking like they came from the suckers of the Iku-Turso, except instead of the size of size of ¡ê2 coins, these looked almost as big as her palm and the cuts puncture wounds ran much deeper. His leg was purple and swollen and sat at an awkward angle.¡°Viktor, amor, speak to me,¡± said Esperanza, caressing his cheek.¡°Get a Healer!¡± Mr. Zdravkov bellowed at the gaping crowd.Viktor¡¯s eyes snapped open in panic and he began to scream until he saw Esperanza. She shushed him and stroked his hair.¡°It¡¯s okay, Viktor,¡± she said. ¡°You¡¯re okay.”He groaned and squeezed his eyes shut, falling into her. Hermione suspected he was seeking comfort. After all, if she had to pick someone to protect her from monsters, she would choose Esperanza.¡°My leg¡­¡±¡°It looks dislocated,¡± said a Healer, inspecting it. ¡°We can fix that.¡±¡°What did this to you?¡± Mrs. Zdravkova demanded.¡°A-a monster,¡± said Viktor. His chest started to heave laboriously and his eyes lost focus. ¡°D-don¡¯t let it take me!¡± He hyperventilated and babbled in Bulgarian until Esperanza tapped his forehead with her wand.¡°Sleep,¡± she said.Viktor¡¯s eyes slid shut and he went limp. Esperanza carefully laid him back so the Healer could tend to him. She stood nearby, anxiously twisting the end of her jacket in her hands. Manuia wrapped an arm around her and she leaned against him, seeking comfort. Hermione waved off similar comfort from the rest of her parents, choosing to anxiously watch the space above the maze.Moments later, red sparks flew in the air and people were able to get inside the Maze. Fleur was brought out by Bill, still twisted up in roots from the hedges that seemed to keep twisting and growing, threatening to also bind Bill. It took three wizards to remove them. Once she was no longer being suffocated, Fleur, too, cried about a disfigured beast.Hermione anxiously waited for Cedric and Harry to come out with a teacher, but it didn¡¯t happen. There became rumors amongst the workers that there was a mysterious golden fog consuming the very inside of the maze and all they could do now was rescue what was still alive inside. Stunned creatures were brought out in cages and quickly removed from the Arena. Still no Cedric or Harry.The blue light that had bounced around the maze flickered once and disappeared. That meant the Triwizard Cup was gone, but rather than deposit the boys at the entrance like it was supposed to, Cedric and Harry had simply disappeared. Oddly enough, Karkaroff screamed something in Russian and disappeared moments later, which left a sick feeling in Hermione¡¯s stomach. She ripped off her eyepatch and looked at Snape¡¯s left arm. It shone and pulsed angrily. Professor Snape stiffened and looked at it before moving on with calming down the crowds.Hermione went back to her parents.¡°You have to get out of here,¡± she said. ¡°I think Voldemort is trying to make a return. First people he¡¯ll go after are No-Majs.¡±¡°If we have to leave you¡¯re coming too,¡± said Roger. ¡°We¡¯re not letting you get hurt.¡±”I’m not afraid to put some hurt on dark wizards,” said Manuia. “I did it once, I can do it again.”Certain that she couldn’t convince them, Hermione went back to pacing. Her sister followed her around, looking as if she wanted to say something. Maybe words of comfort or maybe speculate what horrors the boys were facing. Thankfully, she said nothing. Hermione loved her sister, but she didn’t trust herself not to fall into an anger spiral as her helplessness consumed her.? She didn’t like snapping at others, but occasionally the words would often spill out like word vomit before she could eat a self-control cracker.While she waited and speculated every worst case scenario, Healers worked on prepping Viktor and Fleur for transport while Aurors were called in to prepare a search party. How long had it been? Half an hour? An hour? It felt like eons.She noticed light streak across the sky. She might have thought it was a shooting star, but it was much too slow and she could only see it with her star eye. It grew bigger and bigger and she realized she was seeing three magical signatures, spinning in the sky like a pinwheel. They slowed and their physical bodies appeared into existence, landing smack in the front of the maze. She recognized all three signatures. Cedric, Harry, and the Moody copycat that had tried to kill her.Amalea stifled a scream before Hana slapped her hand over her eyes. Harry and Cedric were both covered with blood. Harry collapsed to the ground and writhed almost seizure-like and the dark wizard tried to make a break for it. Cedric shambled forward. His faced was scratched up, his shoulder was bleeding profusely, and his right hand was twisted and charred down right to the skeleton.¡°He¡¯s back!¡± he shouted, the clearing falling silent. ¡°Voldemort¡¯s back!¡±~o0o~Hermione didn¡¯t bother grabbing her trunk. She had already packed it away in her beaded purse. Hell, she had planned on running away with Cedric tonight as soon as he exited the maze. She¡¯d announce that he won a fabulous prize. An all expenses paid trip to Hawaii.That would have to be put on hold.All of the Champions were being rushed to St. Mungo¡¯s at the moment.Hermione and her family raced out of that Arena to Hogsmeade where they grabbed their luggage out of the Three Broomsticks and hailed down the Knight Bus. The Delacours and Zdravkovs were not far behind. Basira and Amos caught the bus just in time.¡°My name is Stan Shunpike and I am¡ª¡±¡°St. Mungo¡¯s,¡± Hermione interrupted.Basira shoved a handful of coins at him. ¡°Hurry, please. Priority.¡±¡°Take it away, Ern,¡± said Stan, shrugging and accepting the coins. “Priority to St. Mungo’s.”¡°Yeah, take it away, Ernie!¡±Everyone was flung back into seats, bags and suitcases spilling everywhere as they tried not to get whiplash.¡°Have you ever heard of seatbelts?!¡± Beatrice shouted, holding onto her husband and child. ¡°Every vehicle is obligated to have them by law!¡±Stan eyed them. ¡°Are you wizards?¡±¡°If we¡¯re not are you going to kick us off?¡± she challenged.¡°Er¡ª no.¡± Stan shrank under the challenging glare of Basira. ¡°Erm, what business do muggles have takin¡¯ the Knight Bus anywho?¡±¡°We have to get to St. Mungo¡¯s,¡± repeated Hermione.¡°¡®ey,¡± said the Shrunken Head. ¡°Wasn¡¯ that Tournament tonight?¡±¡°Oh, yeah!¡± said Stan. ¡°How was that? Any good?¡±The families glared at him.¡°No,¡± said Basira. ¡°It wasn¡¯t.¡±¡°Oh, shame,¡± said Stan. ¡°Wha¡¯ happened?¡±¡°Take a wild guess as to why we are all going to St. Mungo¡¯s.¡±Stan¡¯s eyes widened. ¡°Merlin¡¯s beard¡­¡±Ernie grunted and seemed to drive a little bit faster if that were even possible.¡°England sucks,¡± said Amalea.¡°Technically, this is Scotland,¡± said Stan. The bus lurched. ¡°Now, we¡¯re in England.¡±Hermione gripped onto her purse and felt a surge of panic.¡°Is Cedric going to die?¡± she whispered feeling sick to her stomach. ¡°What if the Healers don¡¯t help him because he was infected?¡±¡°We won¡¯t let that happen,¡± said Hana. “I’ll take care of him myself, you have to have Healer training as part of Potion Master qualifications.”Ernie slammed on the breaks throwing everyone out of their beds.¡°¡®ere we are,¡± said Stan. ¡°St. Mungo¡¯s Hospital for Magical Maladies.¡±As one, they piled out and hurried inside. The greeter witch looked up from her magazine.¡°Cedric Diggory,¡± said Hermione, approaching the greeter witch. ¡°Viktor Zdravkov, Fleur Delacour, and Harry Potter.¡±¡°Hey! I remember you,¡± she said. ¡°You were here¡ª¡±¡°In January,¡± said Hermione waving her hand. ¡°Where is Cedric?¡±¡°I¡¯m sorry,¡± said the witch. ¡°We can¡¯t allow anyone back there at this time.¡±Esperanza slammed her hand down on the counter and leaned forward.¡°You tell us where they are right now!¡± she growled.Cowering, she pointed down the hallway on the right side.¡°Down there,¡± she whispered.¡°Thank you,¡± said Esperanza sending her a sweet smile.The stampede hurried down the hallway. Manuia hung back in the lobby with Gabby and Amalea since they were too young to witness whatever was going on in that room.They had set up the Champions in the same area and many Healers crowded the room leaving no space for the families. Though there were dividers, Hermione had an excellent view of what was happening with each of them. It was chilling to witness the curses taking hold of Cedric and Harry, they were the ones needing the most care.Two Healers stepped away from Viktor to go assist Fleur. The hedge vines seemed to keep sprouting around her the more they cut them away. It seemed they hadn’t gotten all of them in the arena, though the lights there weren’t nearly as good as the ones here. These vines were like a hydra. Cut off one vine, two more take its place.¡°Hey!¡± said a Healer, noticing them. ¡°Out! No one is allowed in¡ª¡±They were interrupted as Cedric released a blood-curdling scream. The Healers helping him backed away immediately as he writhed in his bed. The scream transformed into a howl. Fur sprouted from his skin, his face elongated.¡°WEREWOLF!¡± a wizard screamed, running from the room.Hana took his place producing a potion bottle from the bag that carried her equipment. She poured it down Cedric¡¯s throat and clamped his jaws closed with her hands. She pinched his nose shut and rubbed his throat forcing him to swallow it. He kicked and tried to scratch at her, but his right arm refused to function and a brave witch with snow-white hair grabbed onto his left.Cedric the Werewolf stopped kicking and laid on his side whimpering. Hana looked up at the terrified wizards and witches. Though his injuries were being tended to by the white-haired witch, they would need a lot more help if he was¡­ if he was going to¡­ oh, Hermione couldn’t even think the word. If she thought it, she might jinx everything and¡­ She couldn’t watch him die, but she couldn’t bring herself to move.¡°Fine,¡± said Hana. ¡°I¡¯ll save him if you¡¯re too scared to. Herminia, you won¡¯t want to witness this.¡±¡°Hold on,¡± said Mr. Zdravkov angrily. ¡°I will not have werewolf in same room as my son!¡±¡°He¡¯s sedated!¡± she snapped. ¡°And he will be until sunrise which is in four hours. Nia, go wait in the lobby with your mom and dads.¡±¡°But¡ª¡±¡°Now!¡±Roger and Beatrice guided Hermione away from the scene and back to the lobby. Manuia was distracting Gabby with a tale about Maui. Amalea was flipping the pages of a paperback she’d had in her backpack, but didn’t seem to be reading at all. Hermione sat next to her sister and folded her hands in her lap.Eventually, only one parent for each child was allowed in the room while the Healers worked. Sirius stayed with Harry, Apolline sat with Fleur, Mrs. Zdravkov with Viktor, and Basira for Cedric. Amos had disappeared, nowhere to be found.Hermione hated how helpless she felt. Powerless to do anything to help any of her friends. Cedric¡¯s screams would haunt her dreams and she hated how some of the Healers weren¡¯t willing to help once Cedric had transformed. She could see the fear and disgust in their eyes. As everyone dozed in their chairs and the sun rose, she decided to go check on Cedric, she wrote a note of her whereabouts on a sticky note and stuck it to Manuia’s chest, then crept down the hallway, to where her friends were.Sirius, Basira, Apolline, and Mrs. Zdravkova were missing, perhaps they had gone up to the tearoom for coffee chased out by Healers who needed to change wound dressings or administer potions.Cedric was completely hidden by a divider and Hermione could see it was magicked to keep him in despite it being sunrise; Harry was ashen, his arms folded over his stomach, the only movement being the shuddering rise and fall of his chest; Fleur was covered with cuts and bruises from where the plants had gripped her too tightly, she was asleep though not peacefully from the way she moaned softly and twitched her head. Viktor could not be seen behind his screen.Voices came from the hall, she turned and through the wall saw the magical signatures of Sirius and Dumbledore. Judging by their tones it was urgent. Deciding her options, she hurried to Viktor¡¯s side of the room and hid between the bed and the wall. Viktor raised his head and looked at her, furrowing his brow. She held a finger to her lips and he nodded. He signed the letter “E” and tapped it against his forehead. ‘Esperanza.'”I-N L-O-B-B-Y,” Hermione fingerspelled.Viktor nodded and settled back into his pillows so they could eavesdrop.¡°It looks like Dolohov¡¯s curse,¡± said Sirius. ¡°Seems its been refined to worsen the hemorrhaging. I was scared I was going to lose Harry. Any sign of Bagman?¡±¡°From what I hear, when Cedric told Miss Sanchez that Ludo Bagman had imperiused young Mr. Krum he disappeared,¡± said Dumbledore. ¡°Looking back on everything. I would be willing to bet all my possessions that he was the one who sent that cursed necklace to Miss Granger.¡±That made sense. Hermione knew she talked to him before she received that necklace. The idea she had to get Harry out. She still, for the life of her, couldn¡¯t remember what it was. It was moot now.¡°I never would have thought Bagman would be a Death Eater,¡± said Sirius. ¡°He was thick, but not evil.¡±¡°I think it was not willingly,¡± said Dumbledore. ¡°It circles back to Miss Granger and her ability to see magic. Barty Crouch Jr. wouldn¡¯t have been able to pose as Professor Moody which I assume was his goal in the beginning. Ludo was in hefty debt with goblins and Crouch Jr. has money. Perhaps he bribed Ludo by paying off his debt in return for rigging the Tournament in Harry¡¯s favor.¡±¡°Thinking back on the Tasks I can see that each one had something that tried to kidnap him,¡± Sirius murmured. ¡°The Triwizard Cup becoming a Portkey was a last resort. I don¡¯t think they were counting on Cedric showing up as well.¡±¡°They were ready for me,¡± a hoarse voice whispered.¡°Cedric, you¡¯re awake,¡± said Sirius. ¡°Can you tell us what happened?¡±¡°We¡­ we were in a graveyard¡­ I was attacked by two of Fenrir Greyback¡¯s followers. They made me watch Crouch perform this ritual on Harry¡­ Bone of the father unwillingly taken¡­ blood of an enemy¡­ flesh willingly given¡­ Cut off his hand¡­ And then Voldemort¡­ he¡¯s back. I saw him. With me there¡­ the werewolves performed their own ritual because of my father and¡­ they planned on killing Harry and sending me back with his body. Then¡­ then something strange happened¡­¡±Hermione looked up at Viktor as Cedric whispered what had happened to him. His face was twisted with sadness and anger. She understood the feeling. Her heart broke hearing the recount.¡°We¡¯ll have to put everyone on alert with Voldemort¡¯s return,¡± said Sirius. ¡°I¡¯ll set up a safe place to protect Harry.¡±¡°I¡¯m afraid no one will believe of his return.¡±¡°What do you mean?¡±Dumbledore¡¯s voice grew tight and angry. ¡°Fudge had Crouch Kissed by some dementors before we could get him to admit anything. The only proof we have is his missing limb, but I don¡¯t think anyone will listen to reason.¡±¡°They¡¯ll pin this whole thing on Fenrir Greyback, won¡¯t they?¡± said Sirius. “That’s the only reason why Cedric is alive.”Hermione imagined Dumbledore nodding solemnly and resting his hands under his beard.¡°We should discuss this further another time,¡± said Dumbledore. ¡°Let these children rest for a little longer until they¡¯re flocked by their visitors.¡±¡°Cedric?¡± Sirius called.No answer. Hermione felt a shudder of dread. She looked up and saw Fleur¡¯s signature, Dumbledore¡¯s, Sirius¡¯s, Harry¡¯s, and¡­ oh, thank God, Cedric¡¯s was there. Perhaps he had fallen asleep.Wait¡­Hermione narrowed her eyes. She didn¡¯t care if she revealed herself now. Dumbledore probably knew she was there anyway. She jumped to her feet and crossed the room, startling Sirius but not the old wizard as she suspected. She tried to touch the curtains but was zapped with electricity. Why couldn¡¯t she get in?¡°Cedric,¡± she called. ¡°Can you hear me? Cedric!¡±Gritting her teeth, she placed her hands on the curtain and focused on grabbing the sheet of magic layering it. A painful buzzing ran over the length of her body, but she refused to let go. She twisted and it broke, flinging her back.¡°Hermione, are you alright?¡± Sirius asked, helping her up.¡°I¡¯m fine,¡± she said, ripping back the curtain and gasping at the sight.Cedric was still and looked absolutely exhausted. The scars on his face were covered with bandages and he had bandages stretching across both shoulders, but they were heaviest on his right. And then she realized that his right arm stopped at his elbow. She remembered how mangled it looked when he and Harry came in. It must have gone too long without treatment. The worst part, however, were the magical restraints keeping him to the bed. They had even wrapped one around his right bicep so he couldn’t move around. Had her mom did this?!¡°Cedric,¡± she cried. ¡°What have they done to you?!¡±Sirius drew his wand and tapped the restraints and the buckles clattered noisily against the metal frame of the bed. The noise startled Fleur awake and she let out a weak cry.Hermione couldn¡¯t stop the tears from forming at seeing Cedric like this. It felt like her heart was splitting as she realized that he could¡¯ve died. Hell, she didn¡¯t know what he faced or how much he¡¯d been neglected the past five hours. What ifs ran through her head as she sat on the bed and hovered her hands over him, too scared to hurt him with her touch.¡°Who authorized this?¡± Hermione asked Sirius, tightly.He shook his head helplessly. ¡°I don¡¯t know. They wanted to put up that ward as a precaution. Hana spoke against it, but I guess they put it up when they made us leave.”¡°That¡¯s inhumane!¡± Hermione shrieked. ¡°I thought St. Mungo¡¯s supported S.A.M.B.! This doesn¡¯t look like the work of a hospital that cares for werewolves!¡±¡°Hermione, could you be any louder?¡± Harry mumbled.¡°Harry!¡± Sirius forgot everything else as he hugged his godson. ¡°You¡¯re awake.”Hermione jumped to her feet and ran out of the hall down to the lobby. Hana had joined them, dark circles under her eyes. She must’ve worked through the night, but this was too important.¡°They¡¯ve all woken up,¡± she said loudly, startling the families awake.¡°Awake?¡± Beatrice repeated.Hermione nodded. ¡°You won¡¯t believe this! They- they chained Cedric up like, like an animal!¡±¡°They what?!¡±Once again, they stampeded down to the hospital room containing the champions.¡°Ay, bomboncito,¡± said Esperanza rushing to Viktor¡¯s side and showering his face with kisses.Hana went to Cedric¡¯s side and examined him since it appeared no one else had since she left. Hermione lingered close, looking over her shoulder until her stepmother told her sharply to step away. Manuia hugged both of his daughters tightly.The room was chaos.¡°QUIET!¡± Hana bellowed. When the noise silenced, she continued on pleasantly, ¡°How about this? Everyone should go home or to their hotels and shower, eat, and rest for a few hours. Then, you will come in shifts to be with your child-slash-boyfriend-slash-whatever. Okay?¡±¡°But¡ª¡±Hana gave Hermione a look and she closed her mouth.¡°Apolline, Bastien, I know it¡¯ll be a little crowded but perhaps you¡¯d like to stay at our house while you look for other arrangements?¡± Roger asked. ¡°Have some breakfast and tea?¡±¡°That would be nice, thank you,¡± said Apolline. ¡°Come, Gabby.¡±¡°I don¡¯t want to leave Fleur,¡± she whined.¡°We¡¯ll be back,¡± Apolline assured her and kissed her eldest daughter on the head.¡°I¡¯ll be back, Cedric,¡± said Hermione. ¡°I promise.¡±~o0o~Cedric opened his eyes as soon as everyone left and Hana had made sure his injuries were redressed. The room was quiet and probably would until the first shift started.Everything hurt and his right arm felt weird. Tingly but not in a good way. A sticky poultice wrapped in gauze. covered his face, arms, and his left leg. After he reached the front of the maze he couldn¡¯t remember much except flashes and feelings; anger followed by fuzzy relaxation. He thought he talked to Sirius and he was sure Hermione was calling his name, but she wasn¡¯t anywhere now. He was sure it’d come to him at the most inconvenient moment.Lolling his head, he looked over and saw his friends in the other beds looking as terrible. Fleur was curled up on her side and stroking her hair as she stared at nothing, Viktor was nervously picking at his bandages, and Harry was staring up at the ceiling.¡°That sucked didn¡¯t it?¡± he said.¡°Cedric, you¡¯re awake,¡± said Fleur, sitting up, grimacing in pain as she did.¡°I agree that this, as you said, sucks,¡± said Viktor, crossing his arms. ¡°We should be halfway around the world on a beach.¡±¡°We?¡± Cedric asked.¡°Esperanza said her aunt and uncle have boat,¡± he said and looked at him. ¡°So you know, you have my full support.¡±¡°Mine too,¡± said Fleur.¡°And me,¡± Harry croaked.Cedric pursed his lips. He had hoped that was just a nightmare but, judging by everyone’s reactions, it seemed to be true. He was a werewolf. He wasn¡¯t sure what his own reaction would be it just¡­ it didn¡¯t feel real. He didn¡¯t feel different. Like¡­ something gross was coursing through his veins or anything like that. If he weren¡¯t in so much pain he would probably feel normal.Urgh! His arm itched so bad! He reached to scratch it but came in contact with air. What? He tried to raise his arm to look at it but didn¡¯t see anything. Looking down at his shoulder, all he saw was his bicep, but nothing below the elbow, that section wrapped up in gauze.There were many reactions a person could have to realizing they lost a limb. Rage, denial, grief. Cedric? He gaped at it in silent horror. What was he gonna do? Scream about it? That wouldn’t make his arm grow back and there wasn’t anything his friends could do about it. What else was gone? Cedric pulled up his blanket to check his legs and feet. Two of each though his left leg was swollen and purple from the Chimera. Well, there was that. He frowned. He was still positive. Guess fake it til you make it really worked.¡°Hello, Champions!¡± said an overly cheerful voice.Minister Fudge entered the room along with Percy Weasley and a woman who was probably Ludo Bagman¡¯s replacement. She was carrying a large, velvet bag and the Triwizard Cup.The teens glared at him. Cedric wished Hermione was here to intimidate. He loved how she could make adults listen and pay attention.¡°Now, I know things didn¡¯t quite go according to plan with the Tournament,¡± said Fudge. ¡°And I had hoped to make this an official ceremony, but I hear that most of you will be going out of town, so I will just announce the winner here and Miss Marpole will present the winner with the prizes.¡°Now, the winner of the Triwizard Tournament is you Harry. Congratulations!¡±Miss Marpole held out the prizes to Harry. Her grin was hugely false and it was clear that she had not wanted this job at all. She just happened to be at the office early when the “promotion” was dropped on her. She had so much paperwork to do.¡°What about Cedric?¡± Harry asked. ¡°I think he deserves to be the winner. I didn¡¯t even want to be in this stupid Tournament!¡±¡°Ah, yes, well,¡± Fudge tugged at his collar. ¡°Cedric received help for several of the obstacles by teaming up with Mr. Krum and the rules stated that you had to do this on your own, which, er, disqualifies him.¡±”But I teamed up with Fleur, so I guess that disqualifies me, too!”Cedric caught Fudge¡¯s eye.¡°Well that¡¯s the biggest load of crap I¡¯ve ever heard,¡± he snapped. ¡°The only reason why I¡¯m not the winner is because I¡¯m a werewolf and I announced the fact that Voldemort returned!¡±¡°Voldemort did not return!¡± said Fudge sharply.¡°You must have been hallucinating,¡± Percy added, narrowing his eyes. ¡°This was all the work of Fenrir Greyback.¡±¡°No, it was Voldemort,¡± said Harry. ¡°I saw him!¡±Miss Marpole held back the prizes and looked at Fudge in alarm.¡°I¡¯m sure you might¡¯ve thought that,¡± he said condescendingly. ¡°But you have been through a very difficult time, Mr. Potter. Now, we must be off. Congratulations on your Victory!¡±Cedric seethed.¡°Well, isn¡¯t this just perfect,¡± he growled once they had left.¡°Here, Cedric, I don¡¯t want it,¡± said Harry.¡°But taking an award that was given to you wouldn¡¯t be fair now would it,¡± said Cedric bitterly. ¡°Because I got disqualified for not wanting to die.¡±¡°But I don¡¯t need this money,¡± said Harry. ¡°Take it.¡±¡°Maybe when Rita Skeeter finally shows up she can make it into a headline,¡± he replied. ¡°Werewolf Snatches Winnings From Boy-Who-Lived-Twice!¡±¡°Well then, what should I do with it?¡± Harry demanded.¡°Give it to Fred and George,¡± Cedric huffed. ¡°Bagman still cheated them out of their winnings.¡±¡°Okay, fine.¡±Cedric leaned back against his pillow and looked down at his arm. What the hell was he going to do? No way would his dad buy him a prosthetic. They were too expensive. He couldn¡¯t tend to a farm with only one arm¡­ At least it wasn¡¯t his wand arm, but he couldn¡¯t tend to farm animals with magic. He tried it once and spent all day and half the night wrangling the animals back to the barn. Mel held it against him until he died.If he didn¡¯t have a forearm then how come it hurt so much?Nobody really had anything to say. He could feel the lingering anxiety. Anytime there was an odd sound, a scream from a fellow patient, or those shadows coming down the hallway, they jumped and scrambled for wands that weren¡¯t there.Healers checked on them and went, though Cedric could feel their wariness around him, as if he were going to bite them. This one Healer, Chiara, a fellow werewolf though one in hiding, was volunteering to tend to him.Esperanza and Hermione walked in carrying trays filled with hot beverages and bags of pastries. They didn¡¯t pretend to be cheery which Cedric was grateful for.¡°We brought sustenance,¡± said Hermione. ¡°Herbal tea with honey for Viktor, cappuccino for Fleur, hot chocolate for Harry, and coffee with milk and lots of sugar for Cedric.¡±¡°We bought an assortment of pastries, too,¡± said Esperanza. ¡°We weren¡¯t sure what you¡¯d be hungry for. We¡¯ve got croissants, donuts, and danishes.¡±¡°I¡¯ll take a danish,¡± said Fleur. ¡°Cream cheese.¡±¡°Not worried about your figure?¡± Hermione teased as Esperanza gave the pastry to her on a napkin.¡°Who cares anymore?¡± she muttered, then perked up as a thought entered her head. ¡°What do you know about Bill Weasley?¡±¡°Bill?¡± said Hermione, not surprised. ¡°Oh, he¡¯s about the same age as my cousin Cecilia. She¡¯s the one who gave him the dragon earring.¡±¡°I see¡­¡± said Fleur wilting slightly.¡°Oh, don¡¯t worry,¡± said Esperanza. ¡°Cecilia would be way more interested in you than Bill.¡±Fleur relaxed and smiled.¡°Right,¡± said Hermione. ¡°Bill¡¯s really nice. He tried to teach me how to ride a broom when I found out I was a witch but I fell on my face.¡±¡°You should know that he thought you were pretty, Fleur,¡± said Cedric. He saw the interest in Bill¡¯s eyes. ¡°And not because you¡¯re a veela.¡±¡°Really?¡± said Fleur.¡°He works at Gringotts bank,¡± said Hermione.¡°And his favorite color is purple,¡± said Cedric.¡°Any particular shade?¡± Fleur asked.¡°He¡¯s a bloke,¡± said Cedric cracking a grin. ¡°Most blokes can¡¯t distinguish plum from aubergine.¡±¡°And you can?¡±¡°I have a lot of friends who are girls,¡± he replied. ¡°I made it my business to know because ¡®they both look nice¡¯ is not an appropriate response.¡±Hermione turned her attention to him which he¡¯d been dreading. Sadness at his condition and rage at the people who put him through that flashed in her eyes. He also saw her anger that he¡¯d been chained up like a rabid dog. However, he didn¡¯t see pity and he didn¡¯t see disgust of any kind even when she saw his arm, or rather lack thereof. Instead, she was already coming up with ways to help him, research she needed to do to help him, and ways to accommodate him.¡°Chocolate croissant?¡± she asked holding it out to him.He looked at the croissant, at his left hand which was holding the coffee cup, then at his residual limb, and back at Hermione.¡°Uhh¡­¡± she thought and then she became embarrassed.Oh.¡°You don¡¯t have to feed me,¡± he said. ¡°I¡¯ll just trade you.¡±¡°Thank you,¡± she said, trading him. Though she was awkward about that, she still pressed her forehead against his as gently as she could. It stung a little, but he didn¡¯t show it.¡°Okay,¡± she continued, sitting down. ¡°So, the plan is to get you and Viktor well enough for travel and all of us are gonna go to Hawaii. I invited your grandmother to join us but she said she¡¯s going back to Algeria after she makes sure the farm is taken care of. Sound good?¡±¡°Uh¡­¡±She noticed the Triwizard Cup on the floor and picked it up. ¡°Oh, they brought this? Hm¡­ I would have thought it¡¯d be shinier. It looks like they dug it out of the Room of Things.¡±¡°Get rid of it,¡± said Cedric before he could stop himself.¡°What?¡± she looked confused. ¡°Don¡¯t you want to shove this in Amos¡¯s face and be like ¡®Ha!¡¯? I thought¡ª¡±¡°It¡¯s not mine,¡± he said. ¡°They deemed Harry the winner.¡±¡°Oh, I think not!¡± she said, standing up.Cedric dropped his croissant in his lap and grabbed her hand.¡°Intimidate the Minister of Magic another day,¡± he said. ¡°Part of it is because I created panic about Voldemort returning when really it was all a hallucination to cover up the works of Fenrir Greyback.¡±¡°That¡¯s stupid,¡± said Hermione. ¡°What about that Death Eater you dragged back with you?¡±¡°Kissed.¡±Hermione¡¯s anger came off her like heat from an oven. When she graduated, she would be a force to be reckoned with in the Ministry. He hoped he could be there to see it if he wasn¡¯t completely ostracized from society.Oh, God, everyone was going to hate him now. He must¡¯ve looked like a fool in that maze. He was going to be a laughing stock.¡°Oy¨¦.¡±Cedric blinked and realized Hermione was snapping her fingers in his face.¡°Hey,¡± she said warningly. ¡°Don¡¯t spiral.¡±He blinked and saw that the trophy was still in her hands. She looked at it and stuffed it away in her bag fully intending to chunk it in a dumpster for him. He was glad she wasn¡¯t going to try and keep it safe thinking he might want it later. The only award he cared about right now

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