Chapter 15 : The Second Task
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“Are you sure you want to do this?” I asked him.
My hand was wrapped tightly in his and we were breathing heavily.
“I do,” he said.
He let go of my hand and took off his coat. He reached slowly toward his pants and took out his wand.
“Ready,” he said.
We had devised the plan on New Year’s Day lying on his bed. Three days later we were standing in front of the Forbidden Forest. Snow was falling so heavily it made it really hard to breathe. In my hand I had a fluorescent malfunctioning snitch he had stolen from Hufflepuff’s broom closet. It had taken us two days to charm it into accepting coordinates. Then it had taken me an entire night to figure out just how coordinates worked.
“Fine,” I said, “Cover you ears.”
I cupped the snitch in my hands and whispered some random directions. I was about to let it go when I turned to him.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to go hide somewhere?”
“No,” he said definitely, “Screw that, I’m not risking you.”
I smiled at him and let go of the snitch. We waited for a minute until I was sure it had made it to where I had sent it and then he put the bubblehead charm over himself. I checked my wristwatch and told him that he had an hour. He took my hand firmly in his and we entered the forest together.
I walked in complete silence to let him think clearly and he found the snitch in less than forty-five minutes. Still, making it back out of the forest consumed the entire hour.
“It’s good,” I told him checking my watch. The bubblehead charm had disappeared exactly as we exited the forest.
“Not great?” he asked panting.
“It’s pretty great,” I said. It was, and even if it hadn’t been I already knew what the results would be on that day. And they were great, “Plus, we still have another few weeks to practice.”
He nodded at me and we walked slowly back to the castle.
“By the way,” I said when we were walking past Hagrid’s cabin, “have you told Harry yet?”
“Ha ha,” he laughed ironically.
“Ced you promised!” I moaned at him, “You said you would!”
“And I will,” he said though he didn’t sound convinced.
I looked at him through narrowed eyes.
“I swear!” he said, “Next time I see him.”
I arched my eyebrow and he stooped down to kiss me.
“Fine,” I said rolling my eyes.
Sure enough, within the next couple of days he had swallowed his pride and told Harry just how to open the egg. He really must have loved me.
“Expelliarmus!” he screamed.
I had found a dummy in a closet that they must have used back in the nineteenth century or something and I had given it to him to practice. I needed him to practice as much as he could.
“Good,” I said examining the results.
We had been going at it for hours. He really needn’t practice: he could disarm, stupefy, reduce to ashes, protect himself and many, many more things. After stupefying the dummy one last time he turned to beam at me.
“Satisfied?” he asked me.
“Very,” I said leaning back against the only window that illuminated the room in which we had been practicing.
“What’s wrong?” he asked me when he noticed my confused expression. He walked to where I was and with the tip of his finger made me raise my head.
I bit my lips unsure about what I was about to say.
“Ced,” I started, “Do you know the, uh – the Unforgivable Curses?”
“What?” he asked standing back.
“The, uh, the Unforgivable Curses?”
“I heard the first time,” he snapped, “What are you asking me this for?”
“It’s just a precaution,” I said in a slow very quiet voice while staring down at my feet.
He withdrew his finger from my chin so briskly he left a red mark.
“A precaution?” he snapped, beginning to raise his voice, “Good heavens, Georgiana! What do you think I’m dealing with here?”
I knew exactly what he was dealing with here.
“Please Ced,” I begged, “Just tell me you know them.”
He backed away from me and in a brisk movement aimed his wand at the dummy.
“Crucio!” he screamed and a flash of blue light erupted from his wand, hitting the dummy square in the chest and making it fall sideways.
I looked up at him and found his eyes. He looked mad with rage. I nodded slowly and my eyes filled up with tears.
“They send people who do this to Azkaban!” he yelled at me.
“I know,” I said in a cracked voice.
“Why the hell would you want me to know them?” he kept yelling.
“Because I don’t want you to die!” I snapped at him, “Alright?”
I had incorporated and tried to look as fierce as possible, but my stupid wobbly knees failed me and I had to lean back on the window, covering my face with both hands so that he wouldn’t see me cry. He let me cry in silence for maybe a minute before I heard his steps coming closer to me.
“I’m not going to die,” he said in a comforting voice.
“What the hell do you know?” I snapped looking up from my wet hands, “You could die next week at that stupid Task! Or in the next one! Or – ”
I couldn’t keep going. He would die in the next one and it was the first time I had ever revealed it to him, concealed as it had been. I gasped suddenly and put my face back into my hands, sobbing harder than ever. He sat down next to me on the window and put an arm around my shoulders. Without looking at him I rotated my body and leaned my head down on his chest. He grabbed my thighs and pulled me closer to him until I was sitting on his lap crying like a little girl who visits Santa Claus at the mall.
“I won’t die,” he whispered into my hair and I sobbed harder, “But please understand that I can’t use those curses.”
My cries stopped as suddenly as they had come. I looked up at him.
“What?” I asked.
“I can’t Georgie,” he said.
I stood up so suddenly he almost lost his balance. In one swift movement I turned around and slapped him hard on the cheek.
“Don’t you say that Cedric!” I said fiercely.
“Georgie, I can’t,” he repeated in a soft soothing voice. I hit him again, though softer.
“Yes you can!” I yelled, “If someone tries to hurt you, you have to protect yourself!”
He stood up and tried to grab me by the shoulders. I escaped his grasp.
“You hurt them! Or kill them! But you do something!” I kept yelling, “You do whatever it takes to –”
I didn’t go on.
“To what?” he asked softly.
I cleaned my tears with my sleeve and looked down at the floor. I regained my voice and looked at him through defeated eyes.
“You have to come back to me,” I said.
He furrowed his eyebrows and cleaned my flowing tears with his hand. Once I had regained control he walked slowly to me and put his arms around me. Smelling his neck hurt as much as arrows shot at my heart.
“I will always come back to you,” he whispered.
But of course he wouldn’t.
“What if you want to stun someone?” I asked in an uninterested voice, Mansfield Park resting between my hands.
“Stupefy,” he answered.
“Fine,” I said closing the book and thinking hard to find more difficult one, “What if a Dementor is coming right at you?”
He leaned into my neck and kissed it softly, rising very slowly to whisper “Expecto Patronum” into my ear.
We were sitting on a couch in the library; he was holding me and I was holding my book. The Second Task would take place early the following morning.
“Can we stop studying, please?” he asked kissing my neck with more force, “Couldn’t we do, I don’t know, something else?”
He kissed my neck with such passion I had to bite my lips not to moan out loud. He had said that day on his bed that he wouldn’t force me to do anything I didn’t feel ready for, and yet I knew he was getting kind of desperate. I was sitting once again on his lap and could feel just how aroused he was. I turned my face to kiss him and had just moved to his lips when I heard steps coming our way.
“Someone’s coming,” I said and moved back to my previous position, still on top of him but with the book open on my lap. He pretended that he was reading over my shoulder.
“Miss Georgiana,” came Moody’s voice, “Professor McGonagall wants you.”
It was hard not to walk over to him and slap him until his fake eye popped out.
“But sir,” I said, “The Second Task is tomorrow; we need to practice.”
“I’m sure Mr. Diggory has practice enough,” he said and tended a hand to me, which I took with disgust.
“I’ll see you at dinner, alright?” I said leaning back into Cedric before leaving with Moody.
“Okay,” he said and kissed me softly.
I picked up Mansfield Park from where it had fallen on the couch and moved past Moody.
“I suggest a cold shower Mr. Diggory,” I heard him call back and I blushed so fiercely I felt my hair was on fire.
“No need to blush Miss Georgiana,” he said. He knew though my back was turned to him. Stupid weird magic eye.
He guided me silently to McGonagall’s office and pushed me in, quickly closing the door behind me. I turned around before the door shut closed and I caught a peek of him leaning his flask full of Polyjuice Potion into his mouth. I turned to the office and saw Ron and Hermione staring at me.
“Do you know why we are here?” Hermione asked me. She looked really pale and McGonagall was nowhere to be seen.
“Of course she bloody doesn’t,” Ron said, “She looks as pale as you do.”
“Thanks Ron,” I said ironically.
“I bet it has to do with our helping Harry,” Hermione said while pacing the room, “We are not supposed to be doing that.”
“Well,” I said standing in front of her so that she would stop pacing, “I for one have not helped Harry.”
“But I bet you helped Diggory,” Ron said. I turned around to face him but nothing came out of my mouth.
“Oh God,” Hermione said when I didn’t deny Ron’s accusations.
“I’m sure everything’s fine, Mione,” I said soothingly just before the door opened and McGonagall walked in followed by a trembling Gabrielle Delacour.
McGonagall instructed us to seat in the four chairs arranged before her desk and then she sat down behind it.
“I suppose you all know about the clue for the Second Task?”
“Yes,” Hermione’s voice cracked.
“Good,” McGonagall said, “An hour long you’ll have to look, to recover what we took.”
“Oui,” came Gabrielle’s shaking voice.
“Good,” McGonagall said again, “You all are what has to be recovered.”
My face blanched. It made perfect sense: Gabrielle for Fleur, Hermione for Krum, me for…
“Cedric?” I finished out loud.
“Well you can’t be surprised,” Ron said, “He looks at you like butterbeer comes out of your lips.”
“He does,” Hermione agreed but when I turned to see her I saw that her gaze was pretty much lost and a silly smile crossed her face.
“Wait,” I said suddenly, “What the hell is Ron doing here?”
I realized my words had sounded really harsh and turned to him.
“No offense Ron,”
“No, I was actually wondering the same,” he said leaning forward on McGonagall’s desk.
“Well, Potter of course,” McGonagall said slightly taken aback.
“Wait,” I giggled, “You mean Harry’s person is Ron?”
“Yes Miss Georgiana,” McGonagall said.
I managed to hold back my laughter but finally blurted out:
“Well, Cho is going to be pissed,” before bursting into roars of laughter that were soon chorused by Ron.
Hermione joined us in our laughter while Gabrielle looked at us very confused; McGonagall tried to suppress a smile.
“Well, enough,” she said after a while and conjured four crystal glasses full of a silvery potion before us.
Gabrielle took hers and fell unconscious with the glass still in her hand. Hermione looked dreamily at hers and took it too. I turned to see Ron’s reaction and saw his cheeks were aflame with fury.
“Damn Viktor Krum,” he said to me before emptying his glass.
I smiled at McGonagall and took my potion. Drowsiness took over me and I didn’t really notice when I was carried by Hagrid all the way to the boats or when I was submerged by several sticky hands into the lake.
I woke up exactly twelve hours later to a roar of applause. My skin was very pale and my fingers were wrinkled, and still I was as happy as I could possibly be, finding myself securely trapped in Cedric’s arms.
“Are you okay?” he asked me. He looked almost divine, pale because of the cold of the lake, blushing because of the exercise, only his head emerging from the dark waters, concern in his grey eyes.
I leaned forward to kiss him and the crowd erupted into cheers.
“Never better,” I said and he smiled widely.
He helped me get to the platform where everyone was waiting. I saw Fleur looking really concerned at the water, unsure as to what would happen to her sister. Less than a minute after Cedric had got me safely on the platform and his arm was wrapped around me we saw Krum and Hermione emerge. Five minutes more passed and Ron came out of the water holding Gabrielle. Finally, way after the clock had marked the hour, Harry emerged. It was announced that Cedric had the first place and Harry had been awarded the second for his courage or whatever and people started to leave on the boats.
Without saying a word to me he sat me down on the platform and left to get us some towels. He looked annoyed but I assumed it had something to do with Harry getting second place. Since it was not yet March the air and water were pretty much cold and I sat on the wooden platform with my eyes closed concentrating on not shaking.
“May I speak to you?” a voice that was not Cedric’s called to me.
I opened my eyes and saw his father towering over me. I attempted to stand up but he held out his hand.
“Please don’t,” he said.
I was getting frightened.
“Cedric is somewhere around,” I told him as if to threaten him, “He could be back any second.”
“I requested him the chance to talk to you,” he said in an annoyed tone. All that was missing in his phrase was a ‘stupid girl’. No wonder Cedric had looked mad.
“Fine,” I said.
“I thought we had agreed that you would try nothing with my son?” he said.
“I thought you had agreed I would try nothing with your son,” I responded, “I would never for my life agree to such a thing.”
“Stupid girl,” he said in an angry voice, “This is distracting him! He is not some teenager you can just seduce and bend this way or another.”
“But Cedric is a teenager!” I said from my sitting position, “And trust me, I would never do anything to hurt him.”
“You are hurting him already!” he raised his voice, “He’s focusing less on school and the tournament and more on you!”
“He is happy, for God’s sakes!” I cried, I didn’t know anymore if I was shaking with cold or anger.
“Happy doesn’t matter!” his father said in a fierce whisper, “Things are expected from Cedric! This Tournament, grades! He has to graduate and come to the Ministry with the rest of us!”
“Oh, God forbid that your precious Ministry should miss sticking him in a filthy office all day!” I said ironically.
“If you were in my position –”
“If I were in your position Mr. Diggory, let me assure you that I would want only what is best for Cedric.”
“Do you think I don’t know what is best for my boy?” he said. His face was getting very red, “I’ve had a plan made out for him since before he was born!”
“He doesn’t want your stupid plan!” I yelled as if it was an obvious truth.
“These are your words!” he dismissed what I had said.
“These are his words!” I said, “You know nothing about your son!”
“I know more than you do, thank you very much!” he screamed.
“At least I know what your son wants!” I screamed, “When have you stopped to ask him?”
“I don’t need to!” he kept screaming, “I know what he wants! We planned it out together!”
“You planned it out with a five-year-old boy!” I screamed and for once he remained quiet.
“He’s not five years old anymore and he does not want your stupid plan!” I tried to calm down, “He bloody wants to decide for himself.”
What few people remained on the platform were staring at us. I had managed to control myself but Mr. Diggory had obviously not, for his hands were shaking with rage. I saw him reach for his wand and I gasped.
“You filthy – ” he started and I closed my eyes.
“That’s enough father!” Cedric yelled and I opened my eyes.
Cedric reached down, grabbed me by the hand and forcefully made me stand up.
“I gave you your chance but that is enough!” he kept yelling at his father.
“Ced, stop,” I whispered and he controlled himself.
He turned to me in pain and his grip on my hand softened.
“Let’s go,” he said to me and turned to his father, “I’ll see you on the next Task.”
He started walking with me trailing behind him.
“Son!” his father yelled and we stopped short, “She’s not good for you!”
I whimpered involuntarily and Cedric turned to him.
“She knows what I want!” he yelled at his father, “When was the last time you asked me?”
He pulled me a little harder and waited for me to get on the boat. We were soon moving across the waters with perhaps another five boys and girls. I bit my lower lip so hard not to cry that I started to bleed. He wrapped a towel and then his arm around me and we travelled in silence ignoring all those surrounding us. When we landed he took me by the hand again and pulled me out of the boat. We walked in silence towards the forest and when we stopped by a tree I saw Barty Crouch Sr. walking a little ahead of us. I shivered.
“Are you okay?” Cedric asked.
“No,” I said, my eyes welling up, “I feel so embarrassed.”
“Well,” he said, “At least your father is not the biggest asshole in all humanity.”
“Your father is not an asshole,” I said, “He just – he doesn’t really know what’s going on.”
“What’s going on?” he asked. I looked up at him and saw a mischievous smile curling his lips.
“I don’t think he fully realizes his son is human,” I said.
“Well,” he said kissing me on the nose, “Good thing you noticed.”
I smiled at him and before I knew it he had wrapped my arms around his neck and was carrying me on his back to the castle. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Harry, Crouch and Moody together. I looked ahead again and saw Dumbledore walking slowly. When we were close to him I asked Cedric to put me down and go on without me. He clearly saw Dumbledore, for he put me down without asking for reasons.
“I’ll wait by the door,” he said and walked away, people patting him on the shoulder whenever he walked past them.
I reached Professor Dumbledore and stood right in front of him to stop his walk.
“What news on the Western Front, Miss Georgiana?” he asked.
“Barty Crouch Sr. is going to die in about an hour or two,” I said in a clear monotone voice, “You can try to stop it or you can prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.”
He blinked down at me.
“I, for one,” I said, “Have done what is right to do. I have told this to the one man who can stop it from happening.”
I left him standing alone on the grass and walked as composedly as I could to meet Cedric at the door. Sure enough, two hours later, while we were sitting together in the Great Hall, we saw a bunch of teachers carrying Barty Crouch’s corpse to Dumbledore’s office.
Hello, readers! I'm sorry it took so damn long to upload this one, but I went away on holiday, you see, so there wasn't much I could do. So, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I think it's shorter than the other ones, isn't it? But I hope it was the content that you enjoyed and not the length. Anyway, disclaimers: The fragment from the poem that the egg, uh, recites? belongs to J.K Rowling; the last thing that Georgie says to Dumbledore ("prepare a face to meet the faces that yo meet") is yet another reference to Eliot's Prufrock. Read it! It's brilliant! And the thing about the western front is a silly allusion to "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque, which I have not read and do not own.
Now, on to business. In the spirit of posing questions so that you might be tempted to answer (wink): so, what do you think about Georgie and Cedric's relationship so far? Do you think they should get more, err, intimate? Because if it looks weird there is no way in hell I will put it in... (That's what she said... or he said, actually. Oh God, I need to stop watching The Office)
This is just a question... like a discussion topic, if you will. You are free to answer or not... you know, since you will only be posing your oppinion... which is what the comments section is about isn't it? But, you know, comments are appreciated. Even if it is to say "I love gravy!", write! We all love gravy! No one will judge you!
Alright. That's the end of my little speech. I love you all, thanks for reading and please (PLEASE!) write. See you next time.
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