Author's Note: One of my absolute favorite characters in the Harry Potter series is Cedric Diggory. I've written a lot of one-shots about him, and the impact he had on many people's lives. I had an idea to combine them all into one story about all the lives he touched, so they're all in the same place.
Please review, I adore feedback. If there's any character Cedric impacted that you don't want to read about, feel free to skip that particular chapter. But please enjoy the fic!
Champion of Our Hearts
Chapter 1: Hufflepuff House
Deep in the heart of Hogwarts, in the Hufflepuff common room, lay a scene of complete and utter devastation. Their champion, their brightest star, their inspiration, was not sitting among them, and he never, ever would be again. It had not been long ago when the body of Cedric Diggory had been seen by the whole school, his captivating, honest gray eyes wide open, his face frozen in a look of fear. No one ever thought they'd see him look like that; Cedric Diggory had always let things roll off him, loving every part of his life.
A lot of students were huddling together and sobbing, while others just stared straight ahead, looking numb. Tonight was supposed to be one of joy Cedric was supposed to come out of that maze victorious, grinning and exchanging high-fives with all his friends. He was certainly not meant to be lying on the ground, his face completely frozen, his body unnaturally cold.
Merlin, where did everyone go from here? What were they meant to do now? They didn't even know why Cedric had died; all they'd heard were some rumblings about You-Know-Who. But that couldn't possibly be true, could it? You-Know-Who was damn dead, and had been for thirteen years! But the look on Cedric's face ... what had made him so afraid in his final moments? And there hadn't been a mark on him either; there was no blood, no bruises, no cuts or scrapes. What had happened to him?
Suddenly, a girl named Elly Beckitt, who was twelve years old, lifted her red, swollen face from the robes of Hannah Abbott, who had been holding her and said, with more despair than she had ever felt before, "I want to go home. I want my mum. I don't want to be a witch anymore." She burst into tears again, burying her face back in Hannah's robes, her entire body shaking violently.
And Hannah understood. It must be daunting enough to be Muggle-born, learning you were a witch when you were eleven and coming to a secret world you knew nothing about. Hannah also knew that Elly had been extremely homesick her first day, and the one who helped her out, the one who told her it was okay to be in this world, had been Cedric Diggory. He'd given her a tour of the castle and tried to soothe her fears, telling her everything was going to be okay.
And now Cedric was gone, and to make things a million times worse, Elly had had to see his corpse. She hadn't believed it was real; she'd even ran to where he lay and touched his hand, in total denial. But when she'd felt how cold it was, how stiff he was, how it felt impossible that there had been a human being inside that shell at all, she had grown hysterical. She'd screamed his name over and over again, and it took some older students to calm her down. She'd had to be carried away from the scene, kicking and screaming all the while.
How cruel was it, Hannah thought with tears of her own streaking her face, that twelve-year-old children had to see a corpse, a corpse of someone they had looked up to, admired with everything they had? And why had Hannah had to see it herself? Cedric had been one of the best damn students in the entire school, in her opinion. He'd been so innocent, so good. He had been Hufflepuff's angel, and now he was gone. The thought of a few days later, the fact that he'd be committed to the Earth, his beautiful, handsome face never to be seen again, broke Hannah. And forever it would be, that her last memory of him would be his look of shock, horror, fear. He'd done so damn much for the Hufflepuff house, why couldn't they protect him in return? They had all let him down, not fought beside him when he needed them most.
"I WANT TO KNOW WHY!" screamed another voice, breaking Hannah out of her thoughts. She still held a sobbing Elly in her arms as she turned her head to look at the speaker.
Zacharias Smith was standing, his fists clenched, the most grotesque look of anger on his face. "HE WAS MY BEST FRIEND!" he bellowed into the room. "I WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED, AND NOBODY'S TELLING US ANYTHING! AND IF HARRY POTTER WAS INVOLVED ..."
Ernie McMillan got up and stood beside the distraught boy, laying a hand on his shoulder in an attempt to comfort. "I know, Zach," he said softly, though his voice still carried through the room. "But we can't pin this all on Harry. Innocent until proven guilty, Zach. But I know one thing for sure: it wasn't meant to happen, and I don't think it was an accident."
"So you believe the You-Know-Who stuff?: Susan sniffled, her attention fully on Ernie.
"Well, there was no doubt in my mind that it happened suddenly, and he wasn't expecting it," said Ernie, his fists also clenching. "I hate this world. The best of the best was taken from us tonight, and I've decided that no matter what happens, I will stand up and fight. And I will not stop until Cedric has been avenged."
At this proclamation, some of the younger students began to cry harder. "No, Ernie, no!" Elly screamed. "I don't want to see you die too! I want to go home! I want to go home! I hate Hogwarts, I hate the magical world! I want Cedric, and I want to go home!"
Ernie, realizing he had frightened Elly into more hysteria, came walking over to where she and Hannah were sitting. He joined their embrace, whispering, "I'm sorry, Elly, I'm sorry. That was insensitive of me. I won't do anything stupid, I promise."
"Please don't!" Elly wailed. "I don't want to see anything like I saw tonight ever again!"
For the rest of the night, no one said anything more about avenging Cedric. But some of the Hufflepuffs knew they just had an inkling that something nasty was brewing on the horizon, and Cedric, their Cedric, had been the first to fall.
They continued to sit huddled together until the early hours of the morning, students comforting others as sobs for their friend, their comrade, their role model cut through the night air. Hufflepuff House would never be the same again.
And through the years to come, no student who belonged to that house would ever forget that night. It was a night that each and every one of them had been touched by tragedy. But over the intervening years until every last one of them graduated, they pulled together as a single unit. They eventually learned to move on, but they knew for sure ...
That they would never, ever forget.