Chesty la Rue (hogwartshoney) wrote in triwizard_slash,
Chesty la Rue
hogwartshoney
triwizard_slash

FIC: Wizards and Champions - Chapter 20

Title: Wizards and Champions
Pairing: Harry Potter and Cedric Diggory - obviously!!
Story Rating: NC-17. This chapter PG-13
Story warnings: Slash, romance, angst, boy!touching, sexual situations, Harry's underage.
Disclaimer: Jo Rowling owns the Potterverse, and I just lurk and play with her toys.
A/N: Thanks as always to this chapter's betas, charmed310 and janeaverage. Any mistakes are mine. Also posted at my journal and twoseekers. Previous chapters are HERE


With the whistle blast echoed still ringing in his ears, Cedric chanced a sideways look at Harry as they both hurried through the gap in the hedge, and all at once the noise of the crowd died away to nothing. The silence seemed to overpower them as they stood shoulder to shoulder between the tall hedges, and his breathing sounded unusually loud as they moved through the darkness. He lit his wand in order to get his bearings a split second after Harry did the same right in front of him. The hedges towered above them on all sides, and he felt the magic that pulsed through the foliage. The images were scattered and confused, but Cedric was certain that it was the enchantments placed upon them. They stood together for a moment, wary of their next move, and Harry turned to look up at Cedric with a warily apologetic expression.

'Listen, Cedric, about what I said… you know, before…'

'Harry, look… let's just do this, okay?' Cedric saw the hurt in the younger boy’s eyes and regretted it instantly, but the task at hand and the Tournament were still of the utmost importance. He would have to put his feelings for Harry aside until after the Cup was won. There would be time enough after this task to sort out the rest of his life.

He and Harry proceeded further into the maze and after walking for what felt like a minute or so, they arrived at a fork. Always go right, and you'll never go wrong. Cedric wondered where he'd heard that before, and even though he was going to give Harry first choice at a direction, he was relieved that the Gryffindor took the left path.

Cedric watched the young champion walk away and noted the tension in his body, the firm set of his shoulders and the word 'Potter' proclaiming him to the world. His heart was pounding but his mind was surprisingly calm with the knowledge that this final task would be the one to decide his future, one way or another.

Once Harry had disappeared from sight, Cedric turned and walked through the opening in the hedge to his right, wand out and at the ready. He saw nothing, but continued up the maze, determined to put as much distance between him and the rest of the champions as possible. The others were surely in the maze by now, and he thought that he could feel their presence, but the auras were skewed somehow, haywire. He felt Krum's signature but it was distorted, much like that day in the forest, and he could sense only the faintest impression of Fleur in a delicate shade of blue, but again, distorted. He felt Harry's too at various points along his own path, but the very magic that was the maze prevented him from getting a proper lock on his position, and he was left with more like the impression of an aura, rather than the aura itself. There was a certain malevolence that intermingled with all of that, and it surrounded them as though pervading from the outside, but the source was indefinable, and that made Cedric decidedly uncomfortable. He passed many turnings on his left and right, and eventually, he turned left and hurried down the path.

A fiery blast whizzed past his head, and he dropped to the ground. The light from his wand illuminated the path ahead, and he saw a gigantic scorpion with its stinger fully curled over its back. A Blast-Ended Skrewt! Cedric groaned and froze momentarily, costing him his slim advantage, then he dived out of the way as another blast from the creature seared his sleeve. He turned in time to see the Skrewt send forth yet another blast. ‘Protego!’ he shouted, and the blast ricocheted into the nearby bushes. ‘Impedimenta!’ he yelled, but that did little to halt the advancing creature, so Cedric flung himself into a path on his left in a desperate attempt to get away and was alarmed when he came face to face with the glowing tip of Harry’s wand. Adrenaline still pumped through his blood after his near-miss with the Skrewt, and he felt jittery as his heart pounded in his chest. Harry's defensive pose gave him a bit of a nasty turn and his skin prickled at the intense look on the younger boy's face.

'Harry, it's me!' he hissed, raising his hands defensively, but in what he hoped was a non-aggressive manner. After a moment, the wand lowered and he was met with only wide-eyed scepticism.

'Where the hell did you come from?' Harry asked in a slightly-worried tone, and Cedric shuddered as he shook his head and checked his clothes for burns.

'Bloody Blast-Ended Skrewt nearly had me back there; you'd better get away from here right quick!' Cedric fought against everything that urged him to stay and dived through a break in the fence to his right, needing to keep moving and finish the task. He had seen the surprise on Harry’s face and hoped that the boy would also get away from that area.

Cedric continued through the maze, working in logical steps, first a right turn, then a left turn, then right again which would put him in a roughly diagonal pattern toward the centre of the maze. He periodically used his wand to mark certain intersections along the maze to ensure that he knew where he’d been. He came across some of his markings after a particularly confusing set of turns, and realized that he’d come full circle without making any headway. Frustrated, he paused for a moment to gather his thoughts and clear his head.

Relax, Cedric old boy, just breathe and concentrate, he thought, inhaling deeply before moving on. He continued quickly up the path, but froze when he heard Fleur scream up ahead. He ran towards the sound, wand at the ready, straining with all his might to get to her. He turned the corner and saw – nothing – but there was a surge in the malevolent power that he'd experienced before. Confused, he moved forward, and wondered whether the maze was playing tricks on him. The hair on the back of his neck stood up and he paused, remembering the previous night's dream. He turned rapidly to find Viktor Krum standing before him with his wand pointed directly at Cedric’s chest.

'What… what are you doing?' Cedric shouted as he stepped backwards quickly, bringing his own wand up in defence. 'What the hell d'you think you’re doing?' was all he managed before…

‘Crucio!’

The pain was unbelievable, and anguished yells wrenched their way from his mouth as he fell to the ground; his entire body felt as though he was simultaneously on fire and being stabbed by thousands of knives. Every breath was agony and his muscles contracted spasmodically, threatening to break him in two as his heart felt as though it might explode, taking his life with it. His mind grasped for something sane, for anything to make sense, but there was nothing but the shrieking, clawing agony of pain. He dimly heard screams in the abyss and wondered who else was being tortured, not realizing that the screams were his own.

Suddenly, the biting pain stopped. Cedric’s mind clawed its way back to the present as his body stopped convulsing, and he curled into the foetal position as he fought back waves of nausea. He was shaking uncontrollably and his breathing was laboured as every breath seared his lungs, and there was a loud ringing in his ears, even as his heart thundered in his chest. He dimly heard someone approach, and his mind screamed, Danger! as he hastily reached for his wand. Whoever it was knelt beside him and grabbed his arm, but he pulled back just as he tightened his grip on the handle of his wand, trying desperately to think of a protective spell as he prepared for whatever was to come next.

'Cedric. Cedric, are you all right?'

In his haze, the voice sounded like Harry’s, and Cedric realized that he’d most likely gone mad. Harry was probably winning the Cup while he… while he endured the Cruciatus.

‘Cedric, can you hear me?’ Harry's breathless voice was tinged with anxiety as he pulled Cedric into a sitting position. Still trying to recover from the curse, he could barely do anything as Harry placed his arms around Cedric’s waist and helped him to his feet. The Gryffindor’s touch was like a gift from Merlin that quieted his raging and frayed nerve-endings, and he shook his head to steady himself, groaning from the pain. The motionless form of Viktor Krum lay mere feet from him, and a burst of anger swelled inside him so powerfully that he took an unsteady step in the Bulgarian's direction to even the score.

A hand stopped him.

‘No, Cedric! He was under the Imperius Curse. He wouldn’t have known what he was doing!’ the younger boy shouted, and his grip tightened on Cedric’s arm, his fingers bruising flesh.

They struggled for a few moments before Cedric was able to see that Harry was right. He felt his rage subside as reason fought its way back into his mind, but when Harry suggested that they alert the others to Krum’s whereabouts, Cedric hesitated, happier to leave the Bulgarian in the maze forever. It still rankled that Harry and Krum had shared moments together, and even though he knew that nothing untoward had happened, the jealousy still bubbled deep within him. Trying to be rational, he did his best to stamp out those thoughts as he concentrated on doing what he knew was right.

Reluctantly, Cedric raised his wand and sent up a shower of sparks into the air where they hung, glowing overhead. He turned to face Harry and saw his one remaining opponent in an entirely new light. This boy, his brave Gryffindor, truly believed in fair play and was more than capable of winning the Cup himself. Cedric felt a thrill of excitement run through his body, a pleasant electrical charge that heightened his senses, and suddenly, he was aware of Harry’s closeness, of his sweat-streaked face and his breathing, still uneven after their tussle. The hair on the back of Cedric’s neck stood up once again, but this time for an entirely different reason. As he stood in the midst of the swirling, haphazard energy, he realized that this was a pivotal moment. The magical fields of the maze distorted everything, partially blinding his senses but somehow it enabled him to focus that much more clearly on the reality of now. The blood pounding in his head drove home the fact that this was it, the time had come, and he must take the next step towards becoming the man he wanted to be.

Without another thought, Cedric moved forward and pulled Harry to him as he met those lips in a kiss, his tongue hungrily tasting the young flesh and wanting more. His hands were all over Harry as he crushed their bodies together, pulling him closer even as he devoured him. Harry's responses were tentative at first, inexperienced but eager, much too eager, and Cedric's blood roared in his ears like a freight train. His entire body was alive, more alive than he'd ever felt before, and he shuddered as he felt the magic in his chest burst out of him, entwining and merging with Harry's. His excitement at this uncommon act of pure abandon was all-encompassing, and he was relieved that Harry never resisted or objected, but acquiesced to the kiss, parting his lips to take Cedric’s tongue into his mouth. Before long Harry was as deeply involved as Cedric, their hands tangled in each others' hair and clothes as the taller boy breathed in Harry’s scent, trying to get all of him inside his mind and soul so that, no matter what else happened, he would always have this.



They were one, he and Harry, and the only sounds were their rapid breathing and the slick, wet sounds of their mouths on each other that muffled their grunts and moans of desire. Cedric broke their kiss and gasped for air, then continued kissing and sucking along the side of Harry's neck as Harry's hands roamed clumsily along Cedric's back and shoulders; then those fingers were in his hair and they tightened their grip as Harry pulled. The delicious pain and gentle brutality of it sent pulses of want and need through Cedric's cock, and a guttural roar came from somewhere within him.

Deep in his consciousness he knew that this was wrong, but he was too far gone to resist the singular pull of their magic. Everything was Harry, and he felt control ebbing from his mind. He reached for it with mental fingers but it strayed further from his grasp, and a part of him wanted to be lost in the sensations; to finally let loose and take what he wanted most. Somewhere in the recesses of his mind he heard Markus' words. ' This final task is a job, so just do your job, get the Cup, claim your victory, and deal with the emotional aspect after.'

With supreme effort, he hauled himself back from the edge. They parted, and stood with their foreheads still touching as they breathed heavily.

'Gods, I've wanted to do that all year,' Cedric panted, a little surprised by his actions and that he had actually said those words out loud. There were no other sounds in the maze but their breathing as they stood in the darkness for several moments, and Cedric’s heart thundered in his chest as his mind whirled with too many conflicting thoughts, each striving to occupy his full attention. He stepped back slightly and looked at Harry, who ran his hand through those untidy black locks as though trying to straighten out his own thoughts. Oh, yes, just do that again!

'All year?' Harry seemed incredulous, and Cedric smiled ruefully.

'Well, ever since the Yule Ball, I guess.'

Harry shook his head. 'I didn't know. I mean, I thought… well, I thought something, but I didn't really think you felt that way too. You kept pushing me away, making me angry, and then after what you said about Dumbledore…'

A warm wash of shame flooded Cedric as he remembered their conversation that night, and he nodded ruefully as he reached out to wipe a smudge of dirt from Harry's cheek. Harry's eyes fluttered closed for a moment at Cedric's touch, and his soft sigh encouraged the caress as he leaned into it. The sight of Harry's acceptance was something that Cedric's barely-contained yearning almost couldn't resist, but logic nudged its way unkindly into Cedric’s mind when he remembered that the Cup and the Tournament were still very much in play. He locked onto the unhappy fact that he and Harry were still, first and foremost, opponents. ‘Finish the task!’ a tiny and miserable part of his mind stated. The rest of his mind, and his entire body, strenuously objected.

He cleared his throat. ‘Yeah. Erm, I s’pose we’d better go on…’ he managed, unable to look at Harry, almost afraid of what he might see reflected in those emerald depths.

‘What?’ Harry asked incredulously, and Cedric thought that the younger boy still looked rather dazed by the recent events.

'The task, Harry. The Cup. We'd better get to it.' It hurt to still have to think of the Gryffindor as his competition, but the bare bones of the matter were that they both wanted to win, didn't they, if not for Hogwarts, then at least for their houses.

Harry's expression tightened for a moment before his gaze fell to the ground between them. 'Oh… yeah… right…'

Or did they? Harry's reaction wasn't quite what Cedric had expected, and unwillingly, he turned to leave but was stopped by Harry’s hand on his forearm.

'Cedric.' Harry's voice, barely more than a whisper, hung in the silence of the maze, and Cedric shivered at the unspoken question that rode on each syllable. He placed his hand over Harry's and moved it to his own chest where he pressed Harry's smaller hand against his thudding heart, and as always, the mere touch of the younger boy's flesh sparked riots of sensation through Cedric's body. He looked intently into the eager younger face and wished for so much more. 'After this is over, okay, Harry?' he murmured. 'When one of us has won, then you and I no longer have to compete.'

Harry's eyelashes flickered as he nodded silently, and Cedric stole a glance at the young Gryffindor who was still close to him in the semi-darkness. He saw the hurt in Harry’s eyes, but also understanding.

~*~

After several minutes of stumbling through the maze with the feel of Harry’s lips lingering on his own, Cedric felt that he was at last making progress, continuing to mark his passage through the maze and satisfied to know that he had not retraced any of his steps. He had also managed to avoid a sucking, gaping chasm that had suddenly appeared in front of him and threatened to swallow him whole. Reacting quickly, he had jumped for the other side, desperately straining his entire body as he willed himself to succeed, and thankfully, his long legs landed on the opposite side and he ran, never turning back to see what lay behind. As he approached another turn, he saw a glowing light down a passage that lay at an angle to his own path. The Cup! A new rush of adrenaline surged through him and he started sprinting towards the glow, merging into another passage which led directly to the glowing object. As he lengthened his strides and fixed the Cup in his gaze, his only thought was of acquisition. He could visualize his hands closing around the handles and the year-long anguish of the Triwizard Tournament would finally be over. In his mind, winning the Tournament was second only to his longing that his life return to normal, or as normal as it could be, once he could get a chance to sort out his life and his priorities.

'Cedric! On your left!'

The words rang out in the air and he turned, surprised at the closeness of the sound. He realized that Harry was mere metres behind him and also noticed – too late – an enormous dark thing emerging from a passage to his left. Somehow, he managed to avoid a collision but tripped and fell, his wand cast aside as he struggled to avoid injury.

Cedric turned his eyes to the shadow and realized with horror that it was a huge spider with malevolent black eyes which bore down on him with amazing speed. He threw up his arms in defence and heard Harry yelling spells at the beast which mercifully arrested the creature’s attack on him. Unbelievably, it turned away from him and rounded on Harry. Cedric heard Harry’s volley of spells, one after the other, none of which seemed to have any effect on the spider this time, and he quickly retrieved his wand and advanced on the creature as it lifted Harry into the air. He could feel his stomach fill with dread, and he pointed his wand at the spider, taking careful aim as he screamed 'Stupefy!', and desperately hoping to free Harry from the creature’s pincers without hitting him by mistake. Harry was struggling with the creature and he appeared to be in agonizing pain, a fact that caused Cedric enormous concern.

He shouted his spell again, but again to no avail, until Harry finally screamed 'Expelliarmus!' This time, the spell worked, especially from such a close distance, but as the spider dropped Harry, he fell several feet and collapsed. Cedric ran forward, furious both with the creature and with himself for being so bloody ineffectual, and screamed 'Stupefy' just as Harry raised his wand and did the same, their spells combining powerfully as they successfully thwarted the beast.

Breathing heavily as he ran to Harry, Cedric noticed that the boy’s leg was bleeding and that he was in a great deal of pain. Harry leaned against the hedge, grasping it for support, and unable to put weight on the injured leg. Cedric watched as if from a great distance as the light of the Cup illuminated the surreal scene before him: the mammoth spider lying motionless, Harry wounded but fighting to remain upright, and himself, closest to the Cup and certainly able to claim it as his own. He paused, conflicted; although he wanted to win for his father and for the honour it would bring to Hufflepuff, were those reasons enough to leave Harry behind? Was his quest for victory worth the price of his integrity? He studied the younger boy who had twice saved him in the maze, had showed extraordinary courage in the previous tasks, and had survived everything that the Tournament had thrown at him, all while enduring the scepticism and distrust from students and adults alike. He had, in fact, behaved as a true Champion. Cedric knew it, and his heart sank in defeat.

It was over.

‘Go on, you take it. You should win,’ he said, and he could practically hear his father's wails of anguish at the loss of the prize. Although he relished the thought of glory for his house and for his family, the desire for it didn't burn within him and his sense of honour prevailed. Fair was fair.

Harry's expression was nothing short of stunned, even as he struggled to stand. 'What?'

'You heard me. Just…' Cedric squeezed his eyes shut and took a steadying breath. '… just take the Cup, Harry. The win is yours.'

'Cedric, what are you talking about?'

Cedric grit his teeth. 'The Triwizard fucking Cup, Harry! You deserve to win more than I do.'

Harry grimaced, partly in pain and partly in annoyance, Cedric thought. 'You're already closer to it, and I can't get anywhere on this leg. YOU take the bloody thing.'

'I don't want it,' Cedric growled, his heart so tight in his chest that it was hard to breathe.

'Like hell.' Harry became more and more angry, and Cedric became more and more adamant, eventually turning his back on the Cup and walking towards Harry as they continued their diatribe.

‘Harry, I’m not doing you a favour or anything, I just think that you deserve the victory. Don’t think this is an easy thing to give away, believe me!’

'Look, Cedric, I don’t care about the bloody victory, all right?' Harry shouted and attempted to stand, but he failed miserably and staggered forward with a shout of pain. Cedric moved quickly enough and caught him as Harry fell against his chest, their combined momentum causing him to stumble backwards until he was leaning against the hedge and supporting Harry’s weight. He attempted to pull them both into a standing position, only to be stopped by Harry’s hands as they grasped around his waist.

‘Wait. Just wait. Give me a minute,’ he whispered roughly, and Cedric couldn’t tell whether his voice was tinged with pain or something else.

The shorter boy’s face was scratched and streaked with blood, sweat and dirt, but to Cedric, Harry had never been more… beautiful. Harry eyes searched Cedric’s, green jewels darting from side to side, and Cedric hardly dared to breathe lest he ruin the perfection of that very moment. The spell was broken a second later as Harry reached up and touched Cedric’s face, a gentle and hesitant touch which sent fire rippling through him, body and soul. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply as shivers roamed his spine like wild beasts, and the maze, the Cup and his surroundings seemed to disappear as his body shuddered in response to the warmth of Harry’s touch.

Harry shifted slightly and groaned as he put more weight on his good leg, but Cedric was strong and held the boy close to him. 'I've got you,' he whispered into the silence as he looked at Harry, who finally, finally, held his gaze, and he could only swirl helplessly in the emerald depths. Harry’s lips parted, and Cedric’s eyes were drawn to their fullness, so near, so ripe, so… ready.

‘I know, Cedric…’ And he had never heard his name spoken like that, barely more than a breathy whisper and with such longing and desire. Harry’s words vibrated in his chest and Cedric could feel them as he held the boy against him. The combined sensations were enough to make his knees buckle.

Harry's hands reached further, running through Cedric’s hair, and he groaned as Harry grabbed a fistful of hair and brought their faces closer. His body exulted in Harry’s touch which showed none of his earlier hesitancy as the Gryffindor licked his lips and pulled Cedric's mouth down for a mind-shattering kiss.

Cedric’s legs trembled as he gave in to Harry's advances, their hungry tongues entwined in a delicious dance. Their first kiss had started gently and then more intense, but this! This time, it was Harry’s passion that fuelled their fire, and he was insistent, as though he could not get enough. Cedric was almost drunk with the sensations, and his mind whirled as he revelled in Harry, his taste, oh! the smell of him, the feel of him, the deep pull of desire and the way his own heart threatened to leap free of his chest. He had kissed a few girls in the past, but nothing in his life had ever felt like this, nothing he had dared dream could possibly equal this moment. He ran one hand down Harry’s back and pulled him closer still as he delighted in the feel of Harry’s body against his own. The younger boy pushed his hips forward, and Cedric moved his thigh, carefully sliding it between Harry's legs. They both enjoyed the friction they found there, and the needy, almost desperate noises that Harry made as he rubbed against Cedric only spurred their passion further.

They parted, breathless once more, and Cedric pushed against Harry's chest to keep him upright as he examined the injured leg with the light from his wand. He was moderately amused that his hands shook and was comforted by the knowledge that as long as the blood wasn’t spurting from a wound, there was time, but still, Cedric wouldn't gamble with Harry’s life.

'It doesn't look too bad. Madame Pomfrey will have that fixed as soon as the task is over.'

Harry nodded in response, and Cedric suspected that Harry no longer cared about tournaments, or cups, or winning. Not that he ever really did…

'Harry, I… '

'Remember at the World Cup,' Harry interrupted, 'after we'd taken the Portkey and you helped me up?'

Cedric shivered involuntarily at the strong images in his mind of that very event, and he nodded.

'I felt… whatever it was… when our hands met, and I knew.'

Cedric’s confused brain tried to make sense of the words. 'You… knew?'

Harry spoke slowly, as though trying to piece together his own thoughts. 'Well, I guess I hoped. Look, I don't really have much experience with this sort of stuff, but whatever it is that we have, you know, together… well, I like it.'

A rush of relief flowed through Cedric’s mind and body as he fully took in the meaning of Harry’s words, and suddenly, he could sense Harry's complete soul. For the first time, he could really feel him, and there was no more confusion of colours or fragmented thought patterns, there was only a pure, luminous green. Like the green of his eyes, it embodied harmony, compassion and unconditional love, and Cedric was taken aback by its sheer power.

They stood close to each other as Cedric supported the warmth of Harry’s body, and together they regarded the Cup.

'Both of us,' Harry said.

'What?' Cedric was momentarily confused at Harry’s words.

'We'll take it at the same time. It’s still a Hogwarts victory. We’ll tie for it.'

'You… you're sure?'

'Very sure,' Harry said softly, and Cedric was not prepared for the intensity of those green eyes nor for the emotion that swelled within him at those words. His mind was instantly filled with thoughts of their mutual victory, of what their lives might entail after the Tournament and what his, what their future might hold. He suspected that their 'involvement' might be a cause for some concern, but he pushed those thoughts from his mind as he concentrated on the task at hand.

Cedric was again amazed at Harry’s sense of fair play, especially since he knew he would have surrendered anything to the younger boy. Nodding his agreement, he hugged Harry closer to him, lending his support as they moved towards their prize. They paused to smile at each other before they reached for the Cup’s handles, and Cedric felt the all-encompassing and unmistakable rush of triumph. He'd won the Cup, he had Harry in his arms and hopefully soon in his life; he’d finally done something exactly the way he wanted. Cedric felt as though he held the world in the very palm of his hand.

'On three, right?' said Harry. Cedric nodded as his heart and soul sang while Harry counted down, but as they each grabbed hold of a handle, he felt an unexpected and all-too-familiar pull.

I’m so afraid to love you, but more afraid to lose
Clinging to a past that doesn’t let me choose
Once there was a darkness; deep and endless night
You gave me everything you had, oh you gave me light – Sarah McLachlan


TBC

A/N: Pic is by drake, and it is SO fab for this chapter!

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