Tom had to be lying- he just had to be! There was no way Cedric Diggory could be dead! He was only seventeen, far, far too young to die! How could this happen?
Candice stared at Tom in horror as the words started sinking in. Tom realized she didn’t fully believe him and pulled out a copy of the newspaper she wanted to work for- The Daily Prophet. On the front page, a screaming headline confirmed the awful news.
It all made sense now as she quickly scanned the article. There was ‘something special’ happening at the school (the TriWizard, now that she put two and two together), the dance that he’d wanted to attend (the Yule Ball), and his parents being mysteriously quiet when she’d visited them the other day.
“My God…” Candice murmured. “Tom, can I take this? I think it’s time Dad knew what was going on in the world.”
Tom nodded. “Of course you can. Do you want a butterbeer or two to take home for your brother?”
Candice nodded and pulled her wallet out of her purse, placing the appropriate amount of money on the bar. “You’re a saint Tom. Thanks so much.”
“It’s no trouble Candice, no trouble at all. Have a good day, and make sure your sodding father lets you come home, okay?”
“I’ll do my best Tom, and if Dad doesn’t let me, I’ll ask Grandfather and Grandmother!” Candice said, walking towards the door. The last thing she heard was Tom’s familiar roaring laughter fill the small pub as she closed the door on the Wizarding world once again.
This time though, it wasn’t going to be the last time.
She knew where she had to go this time; she had to go to King’s Cross, she didn’t care if she was spotted by anyone, even her old best friend Katie Bell. She needed to see Seth- comfort him about Cedric’s death, even it was only for five minutes. She did need to get home for Diane’s special dinner with a friend of hers, even if she didn’t really give a damn about it, but her father was important to her, and therefore, Diane had to be respected on some level.
Even if she didn’t want to respect the woman and respect wasn’t easy to get back from her. Sighing, Candice waved down a taxi cab and asked it to take her to King’s Cross. She had ten minutes before the train was due back in London.
Running into the ever busy train station, she ignored the calls she got from familiar people in the Muggle world. She didn’t care about them right now. All that mattered was Seth.
“Platform Six… Platform Seven… Platform Eight… Platform Nine…” she counted, running past all the unimportant platforms, smirking when she saw the barrier into the Wizarding World. Taking a deep breath, she ran straight for the wall and onto the familiar platform. She shook with excitement, she was finally back. Now all she had to do was-
“Candice? Candice Stanford?”
She turned slowly on her heels, wearing a guilty look. Behind her stood Molly and Arthur Weasley, both of whom looked very confused as to why someone who had been hidden from the Wizarding World suddenly showed up on Platform Nine and Three Quarters.
“Um… good afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley,” Candice said, trying to calm her anxious heart. “N-nice to see you again.”
“Candice, what are you doing here? Your father banned you from coming back here!” Mr. Weasley said.
“He can’t stop me from coming back to the world I belong to,” Candice replied. “Besides… I heard about Cedric Diggory dying and I wanted to be here for Seth.”
“How did you hear about Cedric Diggory’s death?”
Candice bit her lip, looking down guiltily. “I got into a fight with Diane… and I went to the Leaky Cauldron. Tom told me… he showed me a copy of the Prophet. So I- I came here to see Seth… Diane isn’t letting us go out tonight, so I thought I’d surprise him here."
“So your father doesn’t know you’re here?”
Candice shook her head. “No. He doesn’t know I’m gone.”
“You snuck out?”
“Pretty much. Mr. Weasley, I can’t take being there anymore! Every day it’s the same thing! Get up, go to school, come home, eat and work in the café for four hours! I can’t take it anymore- not with my dizzy spells getting worse.”
Arthur looked concerned. “Dizzy spells?”
Candice nodded. “Yeah, I’ve been getting them off and on for a few months now. The doctors don’t know what’s wrong.”
Arthur gave Molly an odd look, and opened his mouth to speak before the train pulled in. Candice had to fight back tears as the familiar scarlet train pulled in in front her. She felt like a first year again, with excitement and nerves bubbling up in her stomach, anxious eyes searching out the familiar blond.
Finally she spotted him, surrounded by his Slytherin cohorts, of course. Taking another deep breath, she stepped into the crowds, heading straight for her boyfriend.
“Surprise,” she said softly, placing a hand on his shoulder.
He turned in surprise, eyes softening when they noticed it was here. “Candice.”
She smiled, taking his hand and leading him away from the group. “Tom told me… about everything. That you’re a part of the Warrington Family… and about Cedric.”
His smile faltered when she said why she was there. “Oh… listen Candy, I wanted to tell you but-”
“I know. I know you would have told me if you could have. It’s my father’s fault that you had to keep it from me. I’m not mad at you,” Candice said, sitting on a bench.
“You sure you understand?” Seth asked. “I mean… I pretty much lied about my life to you… I don’t see how you can forgive me for that.”
“Again, I know… it wasn’t your fault. It was my father’s. That’s who I’m angry with- not you. If you’d told me the truth and he somehow found out… then he would have forced us to break up, and that’s worse than any lie you ever told me. Besides, my grandfather filled me in on most of the stuff that’s been happening in the Wizarding world. I just haven’t seen him today.”
“Then how did you talk to Tom about all of this?” Seth asked.
“Diane and I…. got into another fight.”
“Oh Candice again? About what this time?”
“She won’t let us go out tonight. We’re having some stupid dinner with a friend of hers.”
“Damn… I needed to get away for the night. I guess I should be thankful that you came out here to see me though.”
“That’s why I came. I knew that if we couldn’t see each other tonight then we can see each other right now.”
“Seth! There you are. Your mother and I were- Oh Candice!”
“Hello Mr. Warrington, Mrs. Warrington, Chase,” Candice replied, smiling at her boyfriend’s parents and brother. “Lovely to see you again.”
“We didn’t think you’d be here… we thought you were-”
Candice shrugged. “I wouldn’t be here if Diane would let me go out tonight with Seth.”
“That woman has been nothing but trouble for your entire family. I don’t know what your father was thinking,” Mr. Warrington said, shaking his head. Thank God someone understood her. Mr. Warrington was such a kind and understanding man, much like her father used to be before Diane came into the picture. Mrs. Warrington was like a mother to her. “Unfortunately, it seems that we have to leave. I have some business to attend to at the Ministry.”
“Of, of course,” Candice said. “I should get home anyway… knowing Diane I’m going to be dressed like royalty to entertain her guests.” This again was followed by an eye roll.
“I’ll escort her back. I’ll see you guys at home,” Seth said, standing and taking Candice’s hand, helping her up.
Mr. Warrington nodded. “All right then son, be quick about it.”
“I will,” Seth said.
Seth and Candice walked away, hand in hand.
Candice felt eyes on the back of her head, people staring at them (or really, her) in complete shock. She was beyond the point of caring though, and ignored the stares. At the moment, she didn’t care if her best friends were looking at her for the first time in three years, she needed to get back home, and she wanted to spend time with Seth. She could catch up, hopefully, with the others in time.
“I missed you, over the Christmas holiday,” Candice said softly as they entered the Muggle world. “But I love the necklace you sent me.”
“I’m glad,” Seth said. “Do you think we can talk about Cedric?”
Candice nodded. “Of course we can.” Seth needed to talk about this to someone who wasn’t his father or mother.
Seth grabbed them a car and slid in after Candice. When they pulled away from King’s Cross, Seth began to speak.
“Cedric and I met first year you know, on the train on the way to school,” Seth began. “I knew I was automatically going to be a Slytherin because of my family, but we didn’t know what house he’d be in. We both wanted him to be a Slytherin like me because we wouldn’t be apart, but even though he was a Hufflepuff we didn’t grow apart. Nothing tore us apart.”
Candice smiled. It sounded like her relationship with Katie and Angelina. The three of them had been inseparable since they sat together on the train. Candice listened as Seth went into details about the past year, how Cedric had convinced him to go to the ball, even though Candice wouldn’t be there, how Cedric had been so excited about being a participant in the Tri-Wizard, and how excited he was for his father to watch him compete in the final challenge.
“When Harry came back with Cedric’s body, we thought maybe he’d been stunned or something… but when Dumbledore held all of us back from congratulating Harry for winning… we knew it was so much worse. Then Mr. Diggory yelled out… and they told us he was dead,” Seth explained.
“Oh Seth…” Candice said softly. “I’m so sorry. That must have been so hard for you to hear.”
Seth nodded as the cab came to a halt. Seth opened the door for Candice and helped her out. “I’ll call you tomorrow. Hope the dinner goes well.” He gave her a smirk and kissed her once more before getting back in the cab. Candice waved as the cab rolled away.