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Last Breaths by ImaRavenclaw
Chapter 1: Last Breaths
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A/N: Anything you recognize (particularly scenes/paraphrases from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), belong to J.K. Rowling. Anything you don't belongs to me or will be credited accordingly.
Part I - November 1991
A mist curled between the short 15 year old boy’s fingers. His birthday had been three days ago, but like every year, he never felt a dramatic change in his life. He felt the same in his skin as he had the last morning he woke up as a fourteen year old. Hopefully changes were in store, but at the moment, life was as boring as it would ever be.
This was Oliver Wood’s first year as captain of his house’s quidditch team, and he was living on the pitch at this point, trying to get any information from the other teams. He would drop this practice next year, but for now the novelty of having to direct six other people (not including spares) had not worn off, and he remained intimidated.
So here he was, hiding behind the stands, watching the young Cedric Diggory, whom everyone had started naming ‘Pretty Boy Diggory’ due to his alarming good looks and sense of being more mature than even the oldest male students at Hogwarts. Oliver had to agree that he’d never seen a boy more confident in his own skin.
But like everyone else, Cedric Diggory had many secrets.
The older boy watched the aforementioned younger boy, with glaring interest. He’d overheard a conversation between the young Cedric and the current captain of the Hufflepuff quidditch team, indicating the fact that Cedric had full knowledge of the house’s whole plays for the duration of their next game, which happened to be against Gryffindor. Oliver had heard the determination in this boy’s voice when he talked about wanting to be an elite quidditch player.
Upon first glance, Diggory seemed like he wanted to be revered and he also seemed like he had a big ego. But now as Oliver took notes and snapped pictures of moves and plays, he just appeared to really enjoy the sport.
The day continued on like this, Oliver aware of Cedric but Cedric not aware of Oliver.
Diggory’s a fine player, I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave him captain when this one’s graduated. And he’s only a third year!
Oliver couldn’t have even thought of being that good in forth year, though he had gotten much better in his fourth year, and Diggory was technically supposed to be in that year. But because of two measly weeks he was in his third. But the boy was fourteen, and he was taking some fourth year classes, so Oliver couldn’t see why they didn’t move him up a year.
As he continued to watch Cedric preform his plays, Oliver started to notice something off. He was sweating, more than he should be when just running over simple plays, and it continued. Oliver was way in the back of the stands, and he still notice the large beads of sweat running down Cedric’s face. And then he appeared to have trouble breathing. Cedric held his left arm in what appeared to be pain, but even so he continued to push himself. Oliver was starting to get concerned, but surely if Cedric was still flying then it must be fine.
Continuing to watch in shock, Oliver could see his life de-boring itself and becoming extremely complicated right in front of his very eyes. When Cedric passed out, and Oliver leaped from his spot in the stands and ran down to where Cedric lay still in the short blades of grass, Oliver had no sinking feeling that his life was going to change after this event. He was just scared. But it was definitely going to change.
Cedric was unresponsive, but his pulse was going crazy. Oliver stood up quickly and ran to find Madam Pomfrey like a shot.
The next moments passed in blurs, and when he was finally aware of himself and where he was, it was the middle of the night and he was sitting curled up uncomfortably on a chair next to Cedric’s bedside in the Hospital Wing. It was clear he had fallen asleep. He wondered how long he had been out. He looked at Cedric.
At first glance, he thought that Cedric was dead, and he stared indignantly up at the ceiling, willing himself not to cry for a person he didn’t even know. But he did, and it was only when he heard Cedric stir that the tears stopped rolling down his eyes.
Then some of the moments earlier appeared in his memory, and he flicked through them like a slideshow.
He remembered seeing Madam Pomfrey in a hallway near the exit to the pitch, for which he was thankful. He yelled and shouted at her in a sort of crazed manner, but she stayed incredibly calm as Oliver pulled her wrist towards Cedric’s still body. Madam Pomfrey scooped him up, and ran to the Hospital Wing, Oliver following because he felt the need to find out if Cedric would be alright.
Cedric was put on one of the beds, and Madam Pomfrey rushed to a cupboard. It was then that he noticed something he’d never payed attention to on his other many trips to this place. But now he saw that one of the cupboards had C. Diggory labeled on it.
Madam Pomfrey opened the cupboard, and inside were many muggle looking mechanical devices and tools. There were tubes of potions and even bottles of pills that didn’t appear to be magical. On the side of one door there was a sheet that read in big letters:
WOLFF-PARKINSON-WHITE SYNDROME (HEART CONDITION)
CONGENITAL ABNORMALITY (PRESENT SINCE BIRTH)
DIAGNOSED AT AGE 12
WEARS LEATHER BRACELET ON LEFT WRIST WITH HIS CONDITION AND BRIEF INSTRUCTIONS.
CALL MUGGLE HOSPITAL, WELLING REGIONAL HOSPITAL IF CONDITION IS OUT OF HAND.
MAY INCLUDE: Tachycardia (fast heartbeat) of up to 240 beats per minute. Can include symptoms of sweating, shortness of breath, angina pectoris (pain of the chest, arms, neck or back caused by an inadequate blood supply to the heart), fainting, nausea, and lightheadedness.
Then there were detailed instructions for Madam Pomfrey to follow in the event of an attack, and lists of daily medications and when they were to be had. There were a list of restricted activities Cedric was not allowed to do or had to restrict doing to certain amounts of time or times of day, and there was lists of foods to be avoided. The last list was a list of people who knew, or were allowed to be informed of Cedric’s condition.
And it was the smallest list.
More importantly, Oliver didn’t think his name was on it.
Now Oliver knew why Cedric was hardly at meals, or sometimes missed quidditch matches, or wore that trendy leather bracelet that girls mused over because they didn’t know what was etched into it.
Madam Pomfrey grabbed a small machine out of the cupboard, and brought it over to Cedric. She started doing CPR (the only thing Oliver could actually recognize in this situation) on him, and when he appeared to be alright she decided there was no need to use the machine, and put it back.
Then she went to the cupboard, and piled medications into her arms, putting them on Cedric’s bedside with a little note and a glass of water.
And somewhere after that, Oliver dozed off.
But he never left Cedric’s side.
Oliver had fallen asleep once again, but when he woke up the second time it appeared to be midday, and there was a blanket over him. Cedric was still laying down, but this time his eyes were open, and the bright blue irises were filled with fascination as he stared at Oliver’s face.
“Diggory,” Oliver gasped, throwing the blanket off himself. He got to his feet, but then crouched back down to meet Cedric’s eyes, which he quickly noticed were breathtaking.
“What were you doing down by the pitch anyway?” Cedric asked. He didn’t seem angered or confused, to Oliver, it seemed as if it was just a simple question. And it was.
“I was—.” Oliver started nervously.
Cedric cut him off. “You were spying.” He chuckled.
“I was spying.” Oliver admitted. He looked over to the open cupboard door, and saw that below the neatly typed font on the last list, his name had been scribbled in messy handwriting that wasn’t Madam Pomfrey’s.
“You probably want an explanation,” Cedric predicted, “I don’t know why else you would be here.” He said, sitting up very slowly, and leaning against the headboard once he was up.
“I just wanted to know if you were okay.” Oliver said. “But an explanation might be nice.”
“You know things now, so it’d be wrong not to give you one. And you should probably call me Cedric from now on.” Cedric told him. And then he started his story. “When I was born, I was born with an already rather rare muggle condition. Of course no one knew, because symptoms don’t really tend to show up until adulthood, but it was there. So one day when I was twelve we were at a summer barbecue, and all of a sudden I just pass out. Everyone thought that I was going to die, but luckily my Mum is a muggleborn, so she figured out was happening pretty quickly, and apparently my granddad had the same condition.
“So she brought me to Wellings Regional, that same hospital on the list, and they stopped my attack, but then they ran tests and diagnosed me with what I have. So now I still live my normal life, except for there’s thousands of things I’m not allowed to do or eat, and I’m so ashamed that I don’t want anyone to know. Now you know my secret Wood.” He started to cry. “Please don’t tell anyone.” He pleaded.
Surprisingly, Oliver took Cedric’s hand and gripped it hard. “I won’t.”
Part II - November 1992
One year had past since Cedric had looked directly into Oliver’s hazel eyes. They had no opportunities to speak, and they weren’t in any of the same classes due to being in different years, and Cedric was rarely at breakfast or lunch or dinner because he had to take pills with food.
But on this day, Oliver came up to Cedric as he held his head neck in pain, feeling faint. “Are you alright?” He asked him. Of course Cedric was alright, he had never felt better than now when Oliver’s palm was pressed against his forehead. He wasn’t having another attack, he was just having some side effects of the medication, but he was glad that Oliver was with him. Cedric had no idea when he’d stopped being just ‘Wood’ to him. Over the past year, Cedric had developed an embarrassing crush on the boy. He would watch him whenever he could, and even though Oliver didn’t spy on his team anymore, Cedric certainly spied on him.
If Oliver was a girl, Cedric would tell all of his friends about his pinning, and he would complain about lacking the confidence to ask Oliver out. They would tease him and wink at her if she passed. But he was a boy, so eventually the secret of his liking Oliver became more painful to keep than even the secret of his heart condition. Liking Oliver was sort of a heart condition in itself.
“Yes, I’m okay. But why haven’t you spoken to me since, y’know!” Cedric outraged, glad there was no one else around them.
“I figured you didn’t want to see me. After all, I didn’t know about your story before what happened, so I guess you just thought it’d be weird if we just started hanging out or something.”
“You saved my life Oliver! We could spend the whole duration of each others lives together with me doing everything for you, and it still wouldn’t be enough to repay you!” Cedric told him.
Oliver raised his eyebrows. “You want to spend the rest of you life with me?” He asked playfully.
“No,” Cedric tried to play it off, but he knew that the heat of his cheeks was giving him away.
But, astonishingly, the older boy took Cedric’s hand. “Okay,” he smiled. “But you don’t have to repay me. I’m pretty capable of running my life by myself.”
Cedric beamed, his eyes widening in shock. “Uhhh,” was all he could manage.
“But in return of me keeping your secret you keep mine,” Oliver looked at him seriously. He then smiled lightly and brought Cedric’s hand up to his soft looking lips to kiss it. “I like you.” And then he dropped the caramel haired boy’s hand and sauntered away without a look back.
Cedric gaped in shock and awe.
Part III - June 1995
The last task was upon them, and Oliver had come to wish Cedric good luck. They were in the champions tent, behind a curtain at the very back. Everyone had gone anyway, but Cedric still felt the need to keep some secrecy.
“I brought you something.” Oliver whispered. He fished around in his worn grey coat and eventually clasped his hands around a jewellery box. When he pulled it out, Cedric gasped.
How was he supposed to explain, not only a relationship but a wedding ring to his father? He’d been planning on introducing him to Oliver, properly, if he won the cup. But explaining a marriage proposal was out of the question.
“It’s not a, ring is it?” Cedric asked nervously.
“No,” Oliver laughed warmly, opening the box. The only thing inside was a golden piece of neatly folded parchment. Cedric unfolded the paper nimbly and cautiously. There were just three words on it.
I love you
Once the letter had sensed Cedric finished reading it, it burst into flames. Cedric shrieked a little, but he didn’t want to drop it. “It’s fine,” Oliver said. “They won’t hurt you.” He finished, taking Cedric’s hand as the flames continued to lick away the paper. A few moments later the parchment had turned into a gold bracelet. “Look at the inside,” Oliver said.
Cedric, I will love you until both of our last breaths. And if it is possible, I will love you long after that.
Cedric gave Oliver the bracelet to put it on him. Once it had been sized to perfectly fit his wrist, he dove into Oliver’s arms and squeezed tight. He enjoyed the familiar smell of rain, cinnamon, and homemade soap, the same smells that had filled his nose at the beginning of the year when he was shown amortentia.
“I love you too.” Cedric smiled into Oliver’s shoulder. “And I’m telling my dad and everyone else exactly who you are when this is over.”
Oliver gaped. He was so happy right now, and this made it better. At the beginning, hiding and sneaky around had been very sexy. But now it was inconvenient, and every aspect besides Cedric was boring. This was the freedom they both wanted, to express themselves. But freedom, like everything else, came with consequences.
“Take your time to think about. But I’m ready when you are.” Oliver grinned.
And then there was a loud voice from outside the tent, announcing the need for the competitors. Oliver and Cedric gave each other one last yearning kiss, and then Cedric went out the entrance and Oliver slipped out the back and into the stands.
Oliver’s heart was beating so fast, he was sure that if Cedric’s condition was contagious this would be the moment he discovered that he had it. The palpitations he had were not because of the desire for Cedric to win. It was for the hope that he would live to see the end, and the excitement of what would happen when they took each other’s hands and announced their secret to everyone.
And as they drew what they didn’t know would be their last breaths drawn together, Cedric gave Oliver one last longing look.
Oliver waited for the moment that Cedric came out of the maze, holding the cup proudly in his hands, but the moment never came. It was only when he heard the cry of Harry Potter, and saw him shouting in revolt, did he see Cedric.
And this time, unlike when they’d first spoken in the Hospital Wing, Cedric was most definitely dead. And Oliver couldn’t help himself. He buried his face in his hands as the first tears rolled down his face.
The whispers ran through the crowd like a wave, and the voices of the people filled Oliver’s ears. Diggory’s dead.
He heard the rumblings and cries of Cedric’s dad. His mum had died recently, and Oliver recalled having held Cedric in his arms afterwards for days on end as he cried in mourning.
Now it was Oliver’s turn to feel grief, and it sliced his body up like a knife. He felt like laughing at his stupidity. He told Cedric not to enter the tournament, but he should have stopped him completely. Now Cedric’s heart wasn’t just beating too fast, it wasn’t beating at all!
Oliver couldn’t take it, he ran down the stands in horror like he had the day Cedric passed out. He didn’t kiss Cedric or hug him tightly like he wanted to, he just looked down at him and cried. “Harry, what happened?”
And he quickly learned that it hadn’t been the elements of the game, or even his heart. Peter Pettigrew had killed his Cedric.
Then Oliver nodded solemnly and looked up. He unexpectedly met Cedric’s father’s eyes. Amos Diggory did his best to smile at him through his tears.
“He told me about you. Talked about you all the time.” Amos mused on Oliver. “Thank you for being such a good friend to him.”
The two men shook hands with tears streaming down their eyes, and Oliver felt like he’d received permission of some sort. So he dropped to the ground and hugged Cedric.
“Goodbye my love.” Oliver whispered when he stood, so inaudibly that even he could barely hear it. But up in Heaven, Oliver was sure that Cedric heard him shout.
And more breaths passed and came.
And he hoped that the last drawn, would lead him to his love again.
Author’s Note: Thank you so much for reading through the end of this trilogy of one-shots! If you’ve only read this one, I highly recommend you check out the other two, Ask and La Jalousie. I really appreciate you taking the time to read this, and I hope that you have a lovely day!
The information on heart attacks and heart conditions was from the New Oxford American Dictionary, Wikipedia, and the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. I of course put it into my own words, but that was my quick little bibliography!
The paraphrases of the last ‘part’ are all from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.
Thank you, and love to you all!