"You know the Prefects' bathroom on the fifth floor? It's not a bad place for a bath."
So Cedric had whispered to Harry, sparking their first secret tryst. But now with the anniversary of Cedric's murder at hand, Harry was aching to confide the whole truth. The one person he trusted with this deepest of secrets was Sirius who, besides being his godfather, was the only acknowledged Apollophile he knew.
It was the word Dumbledore had used once referring to his bond with Gellert Gindlewald. From the way Dumbledore said it, Harry had a vision of two young men whose souls were intertwined.
"It was only a few times, though," Harry shrugged.
"Why was that?" Sirius asked with a half-smile.
"Let's just say his wand was more powerful than mine. He knew more than I did and I suppose I was scared."
"You were what, fourteen? And Cedric was seventeen?"
Harry blushed furiously but Sirius only raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, don't get me wrong, Harry, I'm not judging. By the time was I your age I had learned a lot. Still, it sounds as if it was a bit more than a shock for you."
"Yes, of course. Everybody loved Cedric. All the girls at least. The rest of us deeply admired him."
Sirius raised the other eyebrow.
"Okay, it was more than admiration. Seeing him fly, smile, breathe...seeing how comfortable he was in his own skin, I started having pretty much the same recurring dream. We'd be off in a field somewhere away from the castle, just us without our school robes, trying out different spells and laughing. He'd put his arm around my shoulder and draw me close. I'd never felt so happy, secure, or cared for. Without knowing I was going to do it, I'd kiss him. He'd be wide-eyed with surprise for a moment and then kiss me back. That's usually when I'd awaken."
"Harry, most boys in school go through a time like that. We call it hero worship."
Now Harry was studying his godfather's face, wondering as he had on several occasions how close Sirius and his father had really been.
"Yes, I'm sure. But it was more. Much more. Cedric made me feel I could be as good a person as he was, that we cared about using magic only for good. When I was with him, I believed everything was possible. And then that day in the Prefects' bathroom..."
Sirius said nothing but laid his hand comfortingly on Harry's arm.
Taking a deep breath, he went on with his story.
"It was supposed to be just me but when I got there Cedric was in the pool. He had a smile on his face, just like in my dream. I said I thought I was supposed to open the egg on my own. His smile changed ever so slightly and he told me it was our secret, that he had put a charm around the whole place so that only he and I could enter. After a moment of not being able to speak, I disrobed and got in beside him. Our bodies touched in the warm water. Just as in my dream, he pulled me close. This time, it was he who kissed me. Sirius, it was like...like...I don't know, like how I imagine a love potion must work."
"But there was no magic except the feeling between you, was that it?"
"Why didn't you tell me? I would have understood. Dumbledore would have understood. As would your friends, after a while."
"If I didn't understand, how could I have explained it to anyone else? Besides, Cedric was going away at the end of the term. We snogged quite often but connected intimately only a few other times. It may have been a bit of fun at first but I believe we both grew to care about each other in that Apollophile way. And then the last test in the Triwizard Tournament happened. We had won the cup together! Bringing his body back from the graveyard, I wanted to die, too."
At this, Harry began sobbing. Sirius took him into his arms, held him tightly, and kissed his scar.
"My boy, this has been a terrible time. Everyone in the wizarding world was shocked by Cedric's murder. His poor father I thought might not make it, but his life has gone on even with a great hole in his spirit. You must do the same. Had Cedric lived, I have no doubt he would have considered you far more than a secret fancy. He was indeed kind and honest and brave and true, and he would have wanted the world to know he loved you."
* * *