A/N: Dedicated to those who like happier endings or couldn’t bear the thought of Cedric dying (again). Forgive me for using the old “it was all a dream” excuse, but since they have no magic powers, I couldn’t use a time-turner; and besides, using a time-turner would make the plot a bit more complicated – not to mention, I’d have to write part 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, and so on... ;).
Cho’s scream startles Cedric. He quickly pulls her closer, rests her head on his shoulder, and strokes her back. “Shh...” His voice is quiet and soothes her nerves. “It was just a bad dream.”
She can’t help but continue crying. Everything seemed so real. They had found them; he had died again; and there was nothing she could do to prevent it. She blinks against his shirt, murmuring an apology for getting him wet.
He smiles. His words are soft against her forehead, his tousled hair glinting from the morning sun. “Maybe I can make you feel better.”
As the train winds in and out of a tunnel, he pulls out a small package from his pocket. She looks at him surprised when he sets her on the bench and goes on bended knee in front of her. “I wanted it to be more romantic...”
She pulls the ribbons off the package and opens the box. His words warm her heart. “Will you marry me?”
“Cedric...” Her tears start again and she bats them away with the back of her hand. He takes the ring from the box and slips it onto her finger. She hugs him fiercely almost knocking him into the parallel bench.
His smile lights his eyes and he rises, taking her with him. He sits back down and draws her into his lap. “I’ll take that as a ‘yes’.”
“Maybe we should go to Gretna Green, like you wanted...” She whispers into his ear.
His eyes sparkle. “Seriously?”
“If you still want to...”
“Of course, I do.” His grin spreads from ear to ear.
“Um... the thing is...” She bites her lip. “After buying those two tickets to Cornwall, I only have enough money for one ticket to Gretna Green now. So... you could go ahead and meet me there.”
He raises his eyebrows, a smirk crossing his face. “Are you trying to get rid of me, Ms. Leung?”
“Of course not.” She hides her smile. “I’m just being reasonable. You could go first and once I work long enough to pay for a second ticket...”
She never finishes her train of thought as he tickles her mercilessly. She tries to wiggle away, but his fingers always find her ribs. Soon, she finds herself under him as he glowers at her from above. “Tell me you love me.”
“And if I don’t?”
His eyes glint mischievously. “Then I’ll have to find other ways to convince you that you do.”
He nibbles at her neck as his fingers slip under her shirt. She pushes at his shoulders. “Cedric! Someone could walk in any minute!”
“Not when I locked the door.” He grins. “All I have to do is draw the shades.”
“We’ll be in Cornwall in less than an hour!”
“That’s more than enough time...” He lowers his mouth onto hers. She threads her fingers into his hair and pulls his head away.
“Okay, okay. I love you.” She says breathlessly. “Satisfied?”
He stares at her lips and recaptures them. “Not anymore.”
How he manages to pull the shades down and keep his mouth on hers she may never figure out. But the gentle buzz of the train and soft rhythm of his hips keep her in a blissful daze. When the train slows to a stop, he licks his lips and smoothes the lines of her jeans back into place.
“You’re incorrigible.” She laces her fingers through his as they step off the train.
“I know.” He grins. At the ticket counter, he purchases two fares for Gretna Green himself, giving her a wink and explaining that even if she didn’t have the money, he did. “You’re not getting rid of me that easily.”
“I guess that means I’m stuck with you.” She sighs, and pretends to look irritated. His smile is infectious though, and she finds herself smiling as they board the next train.
She looks at her reflection, wondering what her mother would think, what Marietta would say, to the fact that she is getting married today. She is wearing the white dress from their first date and a ring of daisies crowns her head. She looks... pretty, she thinks. Not quite a blushing bride, but perhaps that is due to the knots in her stomach. You’re too young. You have your whole life ahead of you. That’s what they would say. But they don’t know... that life is short... and she wants to be happy... if only for a little while.
And whatever she did, he would be there. He made that perfectly clear. She tried to protect him from her. But he wouldn’t let her leave. He wouldn’t give her up. He said he was happy.. that he is happy. Happier than he has ever felt. And she couldn’t take that away from him.
She scribbles her signature to end her letter, looking one last time at its contents. Her reasons, her explanations, everything is in there. As she moves to the window, she takes a deep breath. An owl sits in the glen mere paces away from the blacksmith’s shop.
“Hello.” She calls. “I know you don’t normally speak to muggles... but would you do me a favor? Would you deliver this to Albus Dumbledore at Hogwarts?”
The owl flies to the windowsill and whoots softly. It raises its leg in response. Cho smiles and ties the note to its leg. She strokes its feathers and softly says, “Thank you.”
The owl flies away, and she turns to pick up a bouquet of daisies and baby’s breath. She could run, she knows. She could climb over the window and grab the next train to Wales, before he even realized. But she doesn’t. She doesn’t want to run anymore.
From the moment he watches her walk the few steps down the aisle to the moment she says “I do”, he feels as if he has been holding his breath in anticipation, in worry, in disbelief. But when he kisses her and the minister pronounces them “husband and wife”, all of that disappears and he feels he can breathe again.
It feels as if he had been waiting his whole life for this. He knows that sounds rather cliche and unrealistic, but he can’t help it. He only remembers vague images and feelings of his parents, and he only feels the mutual bonds of friendship and love with his fellow orphans at St. Agnes. But it wasn’t until Cho entered his life when he started to want, to need. To be seen as more than just the “pretty boy” or the “good-natured pal”. To be known as Cedric Pattinson, faults and all.
And Cho knows him, even more than he knows himself, and it’s scary. And the fact that she is so modest, and unaware of the effects of her actions makes him love her more...
“Cedric, why me? I’m a boring girl. I like to study. I’m a nerd, for goodness sake. If I were you, I’d find someone more exciting!”
“It’s a good thing you’re not me then, because I happen to have a thing for nerds.”
“Do you know how infuriating you are?”
“Only to you, darling.”
“But you love me anyways.”
She couldn’t refute that, and Cedric grins at the memory. After they sign the license, he leads her to a little bed and breakfast in Gretna Green, a little honeymoon cottage near the blacksmith’s shop. Her eyes widen at the surroundings.
“Cedric, we can’t afford this...”
“Cho...” He wraps his arms around her and presses his lips to her forehead. “I couldn’t give you a fairytale wedding, but I can at least give you a wonderful honeymoon.”
“I have money, a small fund from my parents.” He explains.
“But that was for Oxford... or Cambridge...” His thumb strokes her bottom lip.
“You underestimate me, Mrs. Pattinson.” He smiles as the words ring in his ears. He leads her inside and pulls out a key. “Let’s worry about the future tomorrow. Tonight, nothing else matters. Just you... and me.”
He picks her up and carries her over the threshold, just as tradition dictates. It is a lovely room, decorated in a quaint floral design that Cho knows Cedric would only tolerate for her. His kiss is warm and deep as he sets her on the bed... but he must sense a little hesitation in her response because he pulls away. He kisses her on the cheek, and tells her he will get her some water from downstairs.
After he leaves, she makes her way to the window, trying to release her nerves. It isn’t like she doesn’t love him or that she’s afraid of physical intimacy. But she wonders if her parents or his will burst in any minute and take everything away.
An owl flies up to her, almost startling her. Cho blinks in surprise, and unties the note on its leg. Written are three words, words that dissolve all the knots in her stomach with its simplicity. The owl flies away and she feels a flutter in her heart as Cedric reappears and kisses her neck. She turns to him and returns his kiss with more passion and feeling than she has ever revealed. It marvels him and send his spirits soaring.
As he carries her back to the bed, a gentle breeze carries the note out of the room. Its message has been received. And as it flutters in the wind, it carries all her worries away.
The dragon understands.
to Part 10