Chapter 20 - The Second Task

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I awoke surrounded by water in the middle of the Black lake. Two stands layered with people that began to erupt with cheer stood in front of me, and I had no idea why. I felt a hand wrapped around me, holding me tightly. Cedric.

"It's okay, you're okay." He explained as he and I swam towards the stands.

"What's going on?" I asked with concern. "Why the hell are we in the middle of the Black Lake and why-" Then it hit me.

This was the second task.

The riddle said that something would be taken from each champion, honestly, I wasn't expecting to be the thing that was taken.

A few teachers and students pulled Cedric and I out of the water, handing us towels to dry ourselves off, congratulating Cedric as they did. We sat at the back of the stands as everyone else returned to watching the Black Lake, presumingly waiting for the other champions.

"You, Hermione, Ron and Fleur's sister are the taken people. Harry and Viktor are still down there." Cedric explained.

"So you came second?" I stuttered through my shivering, that water was extremely cold.

"First." Cedric corrected me. He must have noticed the confusion in my expression as he then continued with "Fleur had to forfeit. She was attacked by something in the Lake."

The crowd erupted with cheering as Viktor and Hermione emerged from the lake. Viktor had turned himself into a shark, and when he rose from the water he transformed back to his human self. They swam to the stands.

"What about Fleur's sister? She's still down there! And Harry and Ron are!" I shouted, making a break for the lake, but Cedric held me back.

"They'll be fine, I promise." Cedric confirmed as a gigantic clock sounded behind us. "Time's up."

Just as Cedric said that, I spotted Harry and two others in the lake and yet again, the crowd burst into applause. I was able to make out Ron, but not the other girl, she was probably Fleur's sister. They were assisted onto the stands and given towels like the rest of us. Everyone made a fuss over Harry saving two people instead of one, including Fleur who seemed incredibly grateful.

"I was wondering where you were earlier when I couldn't find you in the stands, now it makes sense." Cedric said, mainly to himself.

"Oh don't worry. I was just in the lake. going for a casual swim with the merpeople. Did you know that Ariel from the Little Mermaid lives in that lake? She showed me her collection of forks." I sarcastically replied and Cedric laughed.

Suddenly, Dumbledore's voice boomed over the sounds of cheering. "Attention! Attention! The winner is... Cedric Diggory!"

Cedric beamed beside me as he grabbed me and hugged me tightly, then stood up as a bunch of people came over to congratulate him with everyone else clapping. I stood next to him and he wrapped his right arm around my waist and whispered "Thanks to you." in my ear.

"For showing unique command of the bubblehead charm. The way I see it, Mr Potter would have finished first had it not been for his determination to rescue not only Mr. Weasley but the others as well. We've agreed to award him second place! For outstanding moral fibre." Dumbledore announced and I ran over to Harry and hugged him.

"Congratulations! You deserve it!" I told him, but he coulldn't answer back as he was consumed by the other students and teachers congratulating him.

A few minutes later the stands were barren as everyone had made their way back to the school using the Hogwarts boats. To celebrate Cedric's victory, the two of us decided to spend the night together sitting by the lake.

"Isn't it funny knowing that a year ago we didn't even know each other existed. And now, 7 months later, your my boyfriend and one of my favourite people in the entire world." I smiled as I looked up at Cedric. My head was in his lap and he combed my hair with his fingers, looking into my eyes as I spoke.

"You're one of my favourite people too Elizabeth." Cedric beamed.

"Good." I smiled back.

It was silent after that. We just stayed like that for a while, my head in his lap, until he leant down and softly kissed me on the forehead.

"What was that for?" I asked innocently.

"Can't I kiss you without a reason?" He asked, returning in an innocent tone.

Instead of answering with words, I sat up and answered him with a kiss. As our lips connected a feeling surged through me that I couldn't explain, I just knew it was right. His lips were soft and smooth, like silk. Something inside of me changed, something that would never change back. The familiarness of him being with me overwhelmed me, feeling his breath against mine and his lips attached to mine. Cedric placed one of  his hands on my back and the other cupped the side of my face, holding me up to him as I wrapped my hands around his neck. I'd be fine staying like that for all eternity, just sitting there, feeling him with me. It was perfect.

Eventually our lips parted, eyes opened and our foreheads met. Cedric smiled at me, and I smiled back, holding onto him. He was mine and I couldn't have been happier.

It was my happy ever after.

I thought back to that little girl in the orphanage, waiting for my parents to save her from the hell hole. I thought back to that little girl who dreamed to be set free, to be a part of the world. I thought back to that little girl with big dreams that she thought would never become a reality. She was wrong. This was everything I ever wanted.

I broke out of my thoughts to Cedric tracing my face with his fingers until he came to my lips. He held my chin and brushed his thumb over my lips before returning his hand to my cheek.

"I love you Elizabeth. I want you to know that." Cedric said, quietly so only I would hear him. "You are my world. Mine."

"Yours." I repeated."Forever and always. I love you too Cedric."

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