Author's Notes: Thank you to Marley for Beta-in this for me. You r0x0r.
Warnings: Mild suicidal themes.
Cedric believes there are two selves: the Outer and the Inner. When Cedric Diggory looks out the window he always sighs to himself because his Outer Self is very content. It reflects on his life and sees friends, admirers, and plenty of rewards for hard work. But his Inner Self is crying.
His Inner Self looks back at him from the mirror and asks him to stop working too hard because he just so tired. It keeps asking Cedric to stop brushing his hair that way because when the gesture is performed, Outer Self can only think of winking at the shy girls when he gets down to the Common Room. His Inner Self is the only piece of himself that says, if we die tomorrow, it wouldn’t be so bad. And sometimes Cedric thinks that this is the only thing that makes sense anymore. Then Cedric frowns to himself and turns on the water in the sink full blast, only to plunge his head into the water and scream his little heart out.
Then Outer Self gets angry because Cedric has to brush his hair all over again.
And so the story goes…
One night all the seventh year Hufflepuffs decide to meet in the Girls Dormitories to play a game called ‘Ice’. This is where everyone sits in a circle, and they have to pass an ice block from person to person by way of tongue, teeth and lips. It was a new game, and Electra Fennel was explaining it. She said, if it drops between two people, they have to snog. The game began, and it was getting to Cedric’s turn, when Seth Warren came in late and sat down next to him. Cedric dropped the ice, and later he wondered if he was gay.
Which, at the time was during dinner, and Inner Self swore at him. He kept his smile firmly planted on his face, however, and Cho Chang winked at him.
So he asked her to the Yule Ball.
He chose to eat ricotta and parmesan ravioli that night, and while he ate, Inner Self continued to swear at him. He figured, there are only two things that can make Inner Self temporarily shut up, and they were: one, the feeling when his name came out of the Goblet of Fire; and two, the slamming of his heart against his chest just as his fingers are about to close over the Golden Snitch. There was more than his heart beating fast, though, like the swirl of warm honey in his belly and the fire in his nether regions; and these are the feelings he loves the most because for a few measly moments, his body is whole again.
He decides he is not hungry anymore, so he looks around the room. Over his shoulder is the Griffindor table and he sees the other Hogwarts Champion laugh and then he remembers that there are not two but three things that make Inner Self be quiet.
In fact, Inner Self was currently dead silent.
Harry Potter was one of those people who looked so alive; his hair is alive, his cheeks are alive with colour, his eyes are alive and when he smiles everyone around him gasps at the sheer brilliance of his Life. Then they would laugh with him, trying to mimic said Life but it was never the same because Harry was Life, and Life was Harry, and Cedric wanted both and he got a hard-on just thinking about it.
When Cedric looked away, Inner Self was crying so much that not even Outer Self could ignore it, so Cedric left the Hall.
That night, Cedric touched himself and sighed, and wanted to be touched by someone with soft hands that were covered in tanned, glowing skin. He wanted to lose himself in large green eyes; the colour so deep it surrounded your soul and made you shudder at the intrusion. He wanted the red, velvet lips to touch gently on his while a small boyish body lay itself down upon him. And when the ghost-boy of Everything Good placed imaginary hands on Cedric he shuddered harder and it was black for a few seconds before he came back to reality.
He had talked to Harry before, and when Harry talks he speaks with the voice of angels, quiet yet strong and to the point. Harry never rambles like a fool on Gilly Tonic; he talks with a hero’s voice and Cedric was thinking that - while he was putting on his dress-robes - he really wanted to hear more of it, so much it was part of his soul and wondered if Harry would let him.
When Cedric went to the Yule Ball, however, he did not get to talk with Harry, and it was probably good he did not either, as Harry owned more beauty that night than Cedric knew existed in the World. His robes brought out his eyes, and his face portrayed so many emotions at once (happiness, envy, jelousy, confusion, excitement, resignation, boredom), that Inner Self started crying with longing for his touch and the feel of the small glowing body that was hidden under emerald-green robes.
Cedric promised he would not look at Harry all night, but he felt Harry’s eyes on him, and the blush never left Cedric’s cheeks. Cho was looking puzzled over this, so Cedric told her he was just feeling a bit hot.
Hot for Harry, but he did not tell her that.
Once Cedric told Harry to take a bath. It took a lot of will-power to not think of Harry in a bath while he was talking to him. But then he got stuck by a brilliant idea. He gave Harry the Prefects’ Bathroom password, so Harry could take a bath in there whenever he liked, and maybe one day Cedric could see Harry alone.
Cedric walked away with his cock extremely hard, and later that night Cho was very happy.
Later, as he wandered aimlessly through the corridors after curfew, he wondered what he could say to Harry. Harry, I like you a lot, and I think we should go out. He realized that it sounded lame, and besides, he did not know if boys went out with boys or whether or not they just had sex with each other. He thought that a boy dating a boy was against one of those Dating Rules that he knew so little about. And then he wondered if he was going out with Cho Chang or not, and if so, he supposed you cannot go out with someone while you are going out with someone else, even if they are opposite sexes. So he thought maybe, Harry you are a sexy little bastard and I want to shag you all night long, was a good thing to say, but then he decided it was not.
He was thinking about the phrase, Harry you have a nice bum, when he found himself nose to nose with the Prefects Bathroom door about to utter the password. He shivered as he said it, his voice rough and his heart banging fiercely against his ribcage. Would Harry be in there? Would Harry let him touch him? Would Harry like it? Would he touch him back?
Inner Self was babbling complete nonsense at this point, bouncing around his body like a loose Bludger, trying to grab his attention. It sounded so loud in his head as though the empty corridor was full of talking annoying teenagers, shouting in his ear about love and lust and chocolate and other stupid hormonal dribble that teenaged boys cared about.
When he entered the bathroom, he felt as if he would just burst in anticipation.
The fourteen-year-old Boy Who Lived was waist-deep in the large bath, gangly limbs dripping, his head thrown back, eyes closed, and black hair plastered to his head. His lips were parted and he was panting from the thickness of the steamy air. His eyes opened, looking straight at Cedric, glanced down at his bare torso, and blushed slightly. He was a skinny little boy, and despite the heat his nipples were pink and hard.
And despite the fact that Cedric had lost all control of thought, he moved toward the bath, stripping, and plunged himself in the hot, frothy water. Harry blushed harder.
They were silent for a while, until they started talking about, oh, Quidditch, because really, that was all they had in common. That and Cho Chang, Cedric supposed. Cedric knew that afterwards he would remember almost nothing of what they had said to each other, and anyway, Harry’s lips were red and raw from the heat, and his eyes were so bright they glowed from beneath his matted black fringe.
At some point they had exhausted their topic of conversation, so they went silent again. Harry was moving around restlessly and kept dipping under the water, so it was kind of hard to talk to him properly anyway. Harry emerged asked Cedric something peculiar, that made Cedric ask him to repeat the question.
Oh, have I kissed Cho yet? Well, I suppose I have.
Cedric played with some soap. It was liquid and sticky, but felt nice and soft between his fingers. He wondered if Harry’s cum would feel like this. Cedric dipped under the water, running long fingers through his own hair. When he emerged, Harry was at the edge of the bath tub, fingering the cement grain between the tiles. His eyes were shadowed by his wet hair, and he mumbled another strange question that Cedric only just caught.
Only it was not really a question, but Cedric answered anyway. I’ll show you, if you like.
Harry muttered an affirmative and glided over to Cedric through the water. Cedric thought that if Inner Self had a form, it would be wide-eyed and scared to death right now. Then it reminded him that he was not afraid of death anyway, at the same time Outer Self mumbled something about having fresh breath. Cedric was momentarily confused at the sudden voices in his head, and it must have shown on his face because Harry stopped moving.
No, it’s okay, really.
The smaller boy nodded and came forward, and put a hand on Cedric’s bare shoulder. Inner Self was screaming so loudly with delight at the sudden touch of Harry and Life, that Cedric thought someone had turned the hot water on in one of the shower stalls and it was making a hishh noise as it hit the cold tiles. He was wrong, of course.
Cedric snaked an arm around Harry’s waist and lowered his lips to Harry’s. They pressed together for two seconds, and then Harry pulled away. In and out, Cedric was silent. Harry left shortly after.
The day of the Third Task came, and Cedric found irony in the architecture of the Maze. It was like a life-sized diagram of his own mind; winding, confusing, green, luscious, spectacular and influenced greatly by Professor Dumbledore. Somewhere within Harry Potter was running around, along with a few monsters that Cedric had banished to the back of his memory; and within a minute or so, he may run in to one and have to face it down. He heard someone in the maze scream. Oh, so much like his mind.
A big spider came and Harry and Cedric fought it together. Cedric suppressed the urge to laugh.
The Triwizard Cup was gleaming golden in the shadows. For one small moment, Cedric thought he had crawled out of his own mind and was staring at his heart.
Harry’s voice echoed in his mind. We both got here. Let’s take it together.
Cedric thought the strange spinning in his head and the pain behind his navel was the feeling of True Love. He liked the idea of Harry grabbing his heart at the same time as him, and lifting it up together to show the World that they were special, and equal, and very much in Love. Everyone would see that they belonged to each other, that they were really part of one person, and they would live forever in each other’s hearts and share that beautiful glowing Life.
It took a moment to realize they were no longer in the maze but some where dark and awful, and that Harry was not looking at him lovingly but was looking scared and determined. The Triwizard Cup lay forgotten.
Cedric did not scream, Inner Self did not cry, and Outer Self did not grumble. The three were finally One as they peered into Harry Potter’s face, reflected green against the surrounding light.
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