Castleton had always been a pretty little village. Located next to picturesque valleys, broad meadows and cavernous peaks, it had always been a tourist attraction. After all, Castleton was located in the heart of Peak District National Park.

Although born in London, my parents moved me here when I was six. I was now nineteen and knew the area like the back of my hand. It also helped that I knew who most people were in the village. I think when Cedric Diggory first moved here from Ottery St Catchpole, he was already disadvantaged in that area.

I observed him from my main street window – it wasn't too hard because he lived directly across the street. Still tall, with dark hair and grey eyes, he was probably around the age of twenty-one now. The war had changed him, it seemed, and he no longer walked with the confident aura that he had at Hogwarts. In Castleton he walked with his head inclined towards the cemented footpaths, and when he finally looked up his eyes showed incredible depths that were hard to decipher. What was he thinking?

I watched one balmy summer's day as he attempted to ask old Mrs. Peterson for a cup of sugar. He asked her four times before she shook her fist angrily at him and slammed the door in his face. I couldn't help but giggle because Mrs. Peterson was mute and deaf, and didn't like to be bothered. I knew that all Cedric wanted to do was to be on friendly terms with his Muggle neighbours, who I daresay did not know who he really was and what he had experienced in the past. I would not have been surprised if he still haunted his dreams.

Two weeks passed and I watched him – not like a stalker of course, but just enough so I knew what was going on. One day he came home with little red scratches on his arms, obviously the work of one of Mrs. Delilah Jones' many cats.

"I don't even remember which ones are mine!" she had chuckled to me as I passed her house just last week. I shuddered – the thought that Castleton had heaps of feral cats disturbed me, although I reflected in the hope that one of them was strict Transfiguration teacher, Professor McGonagall. Had she made it out of the war? To this day I do not know.

By chance I spotted Cedric heading up the hill towards Peveril Castle. As a local I had seen it so many times that the novelty had worn off, but I decided to follow him anyway, and perhaps… introduce myself after all these years.

"Hullo there, Hermione!" Frank Overton, who worked at the main entrance, greeted me. He was a Squib and coincidentally cousin to Argus Filch, although their temperaments were quite opposite.

"Good morning, Frank. Thought I might see old Peveril again,"

"Got ya money? Good, good. May I suggest you keep an eye on that young fella over by there," Frank asked, taking my £2 and nodding his head towards where Cedric had almost reached the top of the hill.

"Of course. Why do you ask?" I said, knowing full well what the answer would be.

"Seen him round 'ere tryin' to fit in. You help 'im out, won' ya, Hermione?"

I consented by nodding my head and smiled, opening the metal gate and following the steps that led to the castle.

However, once I reached the top, Cedric was no where to be seen. I wandered aimlessly for ten minutes before I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. Soft, sombre eyes met my own honey-coloured ones, and the young man in front of me suddenly seemed speechless, which was definitely uncharacteristic of the Cedric I once knew. I remembered him to be a hard-worker, a kind and loyal friend, with a heart of gold. A flicker of recognition swept through those troubled eyes, and I felt my own brimming with tears. 'Isolation is good in small doses', my mother had told me once… but it had gone on for far too long after the Second War.

"Hi, um… are you by any chance Hermione Granger?" he said quietly, almost timidly.

I acquiesced without words, and suddenly felt a lump form in my throat and warm, hot tears started to fall down my cheeks. I furiously tried to keep my composure, but it was all too much and my vision became blurred whilst the tears kept falling, all in the while Cedric watching me in bewilderment.

"Hermione I – I'm sorry…"

"Don't apologise, Cedric, for what happened," I replied, surprised to find my voice although it shook horribly.

"Please don't cry…" he whispered, lifting a hand to brush a few cinnamon curls that had fallen into my face.

I surrendered to his touch and collapsing into his arms wasn't what I had originally planned, but thankfully Cedric had quick reflexes (owing to his duration as Seeker on the Hufflepuff Quidditch Team) and caught me, wrapping his arms around me and letting me cry onto his chest, my tears dampening his fleece sweater.

I'm not sure how long we stayed there, with my crying and his comforting words, but as soon as eyes had been cried out and my breathing subsided, I felt safer than I had ever felt since Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort had been obliterated not nearly a year ago.

And I believe Cedric felt the exact same way…

What can I do just to make you see
that you're so good for a man like

A man like me


Please see the sequel, "Reminscent".