A/N 2: FYI - side note - Gretna Green (in Scotland) is famous for its Old Blacksmith's Shop where many runaway marriages were performed. Currently, the minimum age for marriage without parental consent in Scotland is 16. (England is 16 with consent, 18 without.) I learned this from Wikipedia and reading historic romance novels ;).
A/N 3: "Memoria Revoco" is latin for "memory recover". Just made the spell up. *shrug*
Early the next morning, they reach Cornwall and Cho buys a newspaper from the station's newsstand. She digs into her pack, pulls out two smooshed croissants, and hands one of them to Cedric. He gives her an amused look as they sit on a bench.
"I see you're well prepared."
Cho gulps down her bite and shrugs. "I had actually only packed for one but since you decided to tag along..."
"And miss out on all the fun?"
"Have I told you how stubborn you are?"
"Persistent." He corrects her and grins. She rolls her eyes and flips to the classifieds.
"So what's the plan?"
"Find some lodging, maybe a youth hostel, and a job." Her eyes methodically scan each ad. She looks up, guilt on her face. "Cedric, I'm sorry I dragged you into this."
"As you pointed out before, I am the one who decided to come. You didn't drag me."
"But you could be finishing your A levels and getting ready for Oxford." She waves around at the scenery. "Not here, far from London, and everyone else you know."
"I want to be with you, Cho." Cedric takes her hand in his. He gives her a lop-sided smile and reaches into his pocket. "The place really doesn't matter to me... although I would've preferred Gretna Green."
"I didn't know you liked Scotland so much."
"Not Scotland itself per se, but Gretna Green does have a nice old blacksmith's shop I'd like to visit." He winks. He pulls out a carefully wrapped box and hands it to her. "I was going to give you this last night, sort of a 'Happy Birthday' present, but I never had the chance."
"But yesterday was your birthday, not mine."
"True, but I didn't know you on your birthday. So, how could I have given it to you then?" She gives him an incredulous look, but slowly pull the ribbons off. Her eyes widen when she opens it to find a silver promise ring.
"I love you, Cho." He tells her, and slips it on her finger. Cho throws herself into his arms, almost knocking him over. His smile grows when she whispers, "I love you, too" in his ear.
True to form, Cho finds them lodging and employment in the city of Truro, comfortably within walking distance of each other. She will work as a waitress at the cafe next door to the hostel, and he as part of the maintenance crew of the hostel itself. It surprises him, though, that she tells their landlady that her name is "Katie" and he is her husband, "Robert".
"Robert Pattinson?" He asks her as they unpack in their room.
"Your Gretna Green idea inspired me. If we pretend to be married, they won't give us grief about sharing a room and saving on rent."
"I don't mind about the marriage part, but 'Robert'?" He falls back on the bed. "Might as well call me 'Merlin Diggory'."
He laughs but she doesn't look as amused. He pulls her down to his side. She bites her lip, and doesn't look into his eyes. Instead, she stares at his chin. "It's so they won't find us."
He studies her face, but doesn't say a word. She sits up, as the words form. She wants to tell him everything but she knows she can't. So, she spins as much truth as she can into her tale. "There are... these people... from my past. From before... the fire."
He straightens. His eyes register a glimmer of light, as if the pieces are falling into place. "The dragon?"
She nods hesitantly. "They're after me. And I can't tell the police. I have no proof. And if I tell them, my name and picture will be posted... and they will find me."
He pulls her to him. She sighs into his chest. "You are so stubborn. If you had just stayed at St. Agnes, and let me go..."
"Cho, listen to me." His voice is serious. He tilts her chin up, so he can look her in the eyes. "No one has ever loved me as much as you do. And I love you so much it hurts."
He pauses as the words sink in. "This is where I want to be. With you. And I will never let you go."
He wipes the tears from her face and kisses her deeply. "I will protect you."
And I you, she echoes in her heart.
The week progresses without much incident... well, except for the laundry mix-up when Cedric didn't realize there was a red sock left in the washer (the hostel said they'd try to use the pink linens for the girls' floors). Cho is always exhausted after work, and complains about the forty-year-old males that make passes at her. This causes Cedric to turn into over-protective mode, but she makes him laugh when she says those males would make more passes at him if they switch jobs. She says the tips are good, and maybe they could save up to get an apartment. He counters that they should save up for a small wedding first, and she playfully smacks him in the arm for his unromantic proposals. He tells her that he is simply getting her used to the idea first, because when he does propose for real, he wants her to say yes. She grins, and tells him not to bet on it, and he tickles her until she concedes. She will say yes when the time is right, and he kisses her to seal the promise.
Slowly, Cho's fears start to disappear. A day passes. Then another. Soon, September slips in and she realizes that maybe they won't find him. Hogwarts should be starting soon, and that means Justin and the other muggle-born students would be gone, and no one would be able to accidentally run into him. And then they would be safe.
But she should know, as she has often learned, that fate has a strange way of pushing and pulling the strings of their lives. She should know that no matter what she did, they would eventually find him. After all, she wasn't a witch anymore. She had no powers; she could not become his secret keeper; she could not shield him from their eyes.
When she returns home one afternoon, she hears voices in the common room. It is a bit unusual since the hostel is practically empty due to the off-season for tourists. She walks up to the room, each step growing shakier as a sinking feeling settles in her stomach.
"You ARE Cedric Diggory!" Amos Diggory practically shakes the young man senseless. Cedric breaks away from his grasp.
"And you, sir, are sadly mistaken." Cedric says in a serious voice. "My name is Robert Pattinson. I'm sorry if you think I look like your lost son, and you do have my condolences, but I am not who you think I am."
"He believes he is... who he says he is." Dumbledore speaks in his usual quiet manner.
"Don't you remember me? I'm your father!" Amos points out. "And she is your mother!"
Mrs. Diggory is already in tears, mixed joy, relief, sadness, questions. When Cedric shakes his head in the negative, she bursts into more tears and Cedric feels guilty. He kneels to her. "I'm really sorry, ma'am. I truly am. But I'm not your son."
"This is all YOUR doing!" Amos accuses Mr. Chang, who patiently sits on the side. Mrs. Chang looks numb to the entire situation, as her own emotions mirror Mrs. Diggory's under her calm facade. Mr. Chang stands up as Amos continues. "It is YOUR daughter's fault!"
"How can YOU say that?" Mr. Chang's usual pleasant voice grows irritated. "She brought HIM back to life!"
"She BOTCHED the entire thing!" Amos screams. "He doesn't REMEMBER! He's INCOMPLETE!"
He grabs Cedric again, who is a bit stunned by all the arguing, and shakes him again. "Come on, boy! You're a wizard! You have to remember at least that!"
"You're all crazy!" Cedric tells them, and breaks away from Amos again. "There are no such things as wizards and witches, unicorns and dragons..."
His voice trails off as he realizes the words shared between Cho and these people.
"You are CEDRIC DIGGORY!" Amos practically screams again. Cho rushes in, places herself between the two men, and blocks Cedric from Amos' tirade.
"Leave him alone!" Cho yells back. "He doesn't KNOW you! He doesn't need to! Let him live his LIFE!"
"This is all YOU!" Amos grabs her instead. "He only remembers YOU! No one else! Just YOU! You selfish, little..."
Cedric pulls Amos by the shoulder and slugs him. Amos stares, bewildered, at the blood he wipes from his mouth. Cedric's gray eyes flash angrily. "Don't you ever consider finishing that sentence."
He looks down at Cho; his heart wrenches when he sees the tears in her eyes. His eyes blaze at their parents. "If you will excuse us, as you are upseting my wife, Katie, we will take our leave."
"You two are MARRIED?!" Both Mr. Diggory and Mr. Chang raise their voices in unison.
"In every sense that counts." Cedric narrows his gaze.
"Robert..." Cho brushes her fingertips against his hands, softening his anger. Cedric still glares at Amos. Cho touches his cheek and murmurs, "Cedric... please go upstairs. I need to speak with them..."
"I'm not leaving you, Cho." He tells her with a determined look.
"Cedric, please..." She begs.
"Let him stay!" Amos commands. "He deserves to know the TRUTH!"
"Cho..." Mrs. Chang rises and takes a tentative step. She wraps her arms around her daughter. "How I have missed you..."
"I'm sorry, mama." Cho says in a small voice. She hugs her mother, closing her eyes in the short reprieve.
"Don't coddle her!" Amos grows impatient. He points at Cedric. "What did you do to him? Why doesn't he remember?"
Cedric continues to glare at him. Cho is hesitant, looking at her parents and at his, and at Dumbledore who remains quietly situated in a corner. "He can't remember... because he's not supposed to..."
"You signed the Contract?" Dumbledore asks. It is more of a statement than a question, and she confirms his suspicions with a small nod.
"You don't remember me?" Mrs. Diggory approaches Cedric. "You don't remember your childhood? Auntie Emma's caramel clusters? The first time you picked up your father's wand and accidentally turned the cat purple? How floo powder makes you sneeze? The first day you rode a broom and chased poor Cody up and down the street?"
"Your first day at Hogwarts? Being made Seeker in your third year? How excited you felt when you were made Captain of your quidditch team? How honored you felt being chosen as Prefect? Being TriWizard Champion?" Amos bombards him with questions.
"No, he doesn't remember! He can't!" Cho pleads with them. "Can't you just be happy that he's alive?"
"Cho, come home with us." Mr. Chang tells his daughter. "We can let them sort this all out amongst themselves."
"I can't." Cho cries. "I'm sorry, mum, dad. My powers are gone."
"I'm not a witch anymore." She tells them.
"You gave up your powers... for him?" Mr. Chang's voice raises a notch.
"It was part of the Contract." Cho feels small, but dignified. "I had to."
"To hell with whatever contract you're talking about." Amos pulls out his wand. "I will make him remember."
"No!" Cho screams. She pushes Cedric down as Amos delivers, "Memoria Revoco."
The spell hits Cho in the back and Cedric screams, startled by the flash of white and blue. "Cho!"
And suddenly, he remembers... everything. The love in the room is not unified; the memories cram into his mind, arguing which are real and which are not. St. Agnes becomes a big blur, and he remembers a flash of burning green. His parents, Hogwarts, the Quidditch World Cup, the Tournament, yellow and black, butterflies and rainbows, everything is swirled and mixed in his mind. But his love and his memories of her remain constant.
The white light disappears and the adults (with the exception of Dumbledore) look stunned. Cedric picks Cho up and cradles her in his arms.
She coughs as her body starts turning translucent. "I wanted to protect you."
The scroll, the Contract, materializes beside her hand. "It was the only way to bring you back."
The tears fall freely and Cho looks apologetic to Mr. and Mrs. Diggory as well as her parents. "I'm sorry. The only way he could live again was to be free of his past, free of his memories. I tried to stay away from him. I wanted to, but he wouldn't let me..."
She gives Cedric a half-smile. "Have I told you how stubborn you are?"
"Persistent." He corrects and brushes the bangs off her face. "Come on, Cho. You can fight the Contract. Don't let it win. Don't let it take you."
"Ever the optimist." She chuckles, and coughs again. "I love you, Cedric Diggory."
She closes her eyes and breathes in his warmth. His own body starts to fluctuate in a haze of yellow and green. He reaches for the scroll, and opens it. He turns to his father. "Accio wand!"
The wand flies through the air and lands in his hand. He gives his parents a bittersweet smile. "The contract doesn't say anything about using what remains of my own life to save hers."
All sets of eyes widen as he signs the contract. The scroll disappears and he places the wand down. He kisses Cho for the last time. "I love you, Cho Chang. I always will. Never forget that. Never forget me."
And his body fades into nothingness.
to Part 8