A/N: I am so happy to receive so many reviews and I love you all!
Some people pointed out some obvious problems in the story... things I either forgot or assumed my reader will get it...
First, the back and forth with Cedric an Harry is meant to be a brainstorm session- they are essentially sitting across from each other without really moving and just firing off ideas and so I don't have any tailing lines like 'he said' or 'he blinked'. I am sorry if that confused anyone, I personally feel those sorts of postscripts take away from what I originally wanted to convey. I'm going to leave it as is for now.
Next, something I was hoping people may pick up, is the judging system. I wished to demonstrate the sheer idiocy of the organizers when they attempt to award individual points for team-work... then again the minds of the Judges want to choose ONE champion as the winner... just something~~
About oaths... Harry knows about them because he isn't as passive as in cannon... he reads... and listens...
Finally, some (you know who you are! Thank you, by the way...) were shrewd to point out Harry had actually fought with Hermione and then suddenly they were together... so, well... the omake is to fix that massive oversight on my part. It is set somewhere between November 1st and November 24th (date of first task)... Enjoy~~!
PS: I have updated the first chapter with minor corrections- some grammar, additional phrases to make identification of the speaker easier... small stuff that doesn't really take away from the story. I don't have a beta so please forgive any left over errors. Thanks guys!
Harry observed his best female friend through the stack of books in front of him. He felt guilty about shouting at her when she was only trying to help. It was true that she was being overly patronizing in what she said to him and he was already stretched thin and had snapped however, he was also painfully aware that usually he did depend on her intelligence to save his life… many times over. At first it was to let her take the limelight, then it became a habit- a habit he was ready to break. Still he should have been more gentle.
He pondered what to do about this latest situation in his life. On one hand he did not want to lose Hermione. On the other, he wanted her to really think about her behavior and maybe tone down on the bossiness. In hindsight, perhaps he just needed to communicate better. In some corner of his mind, he was upset she wouldn't trust him… after all he always made it through didn't he. Another part of his troubled mind reminded him he wouldn't have done much without Hermione's help. His long-suffering sigh drew his partner's eye.
"What's got you sighing?" Cedric asked softly, wary of Madam Pince.
"Right… that's why you are staring at your girlfriend morosely." Cedric nodded.
"She's not… I'm not staring." Harry folded his hands.
"Uh huh. Why don't you tell me what's bothering you?"
"Come on Harry." Cedric huffed.
"Fine… It's just that… She got a bit overbearing and I was angry and felt betrayed by Ron and I snapped at her and now she won't talk to me." He said in a panicked breath.
"She won't talk to you or you won't talk to her?" He asked shrewdly.
"Um… She probably doesn't want to talk to me." Harry said in a small voice.
"Did you even try?" Cedric asked patiently.
"No." Harry squeaked.
"What if she hexes me?"
"Then dodge." Cedric waved his hand dismissively.
"I… but what should I say?"
"An apology sounds good."
"Right… you're right… I uh… should apologize… for being a prat…"
"And explain why you said what you did." Cedric added. "From what I heard through the industrious rumor mill of Hogwarts, Hermione was being a bit too patronizing and combined with Ronald's absolute refusal to listen to your claims, no one is surprised you lost your patience. It might help to point out that and maybe reassure her you're really fine as far as the preparation goes."
"Ok… Ok… I'll… um… try." Harry sighed. "Later."
Cedric had given him an amused look but had said nothing. It took another week before Harry mustered up the courage to talk to Hermione. In this time Cedric was none too subtle pointing out the witch was often hovering around where they were, observing Harry worriedly. It gave him some hope, at least. He also realized just how much he missed her, bossiness and all. Despite his exasperation, he really didn't want her to change.
"Hermione?" Harry approached her silently one day by the lake. She stiffened but did not say anything."Can I… Can we maybe talk… just a bit…" He said uncomfortably. She gave a small nod. "I need to apologize." He dove head first; at least she turned to look at him. "I snapped at you and that was out of line and really mean of me. I hurt you and I am very sorry. I understand if you don't like me anymore… Well…"
"Why?" She asked softly. "I expect Ron to blow up like that but we always talked, Harry." She looked so sad, it broke his heart.
"I know… I am sorry. I had just had a row with Ron and I was a bit frazzled. It's not a big excuse but… well, my patience was running thin. When you seemed to not believe me and then as much as said I was incapable of getting out alive… I guess my temper flared and well… You saw what happened." He sighed and added. "I'm not proud of it."
"Why are you apologizing?" She asked. Harry turned to look her in the eye.
"I was wrong and I hate feeling guilty." He nodded as if to confirm it to himself. "And I miss you, terribly so. I was hoping I could possibly save at least one of my friendships."
"How is the preparation going?" she changed the subject.
"Good. Cedric and I brainstormed and came up with some ideas and plans. We are practicing some advanced spells and the like…"
"That's good." She nodded. They sat in silence for a spell until she spoke again.
"I don't know if I forgive you…" She cut him off with a look. "But I suppose I was partly in the wrong. I didn't believe you at first…"
"What about now?" Harry asked softly.
"I should have known better than to believe you'd enter yourself." She sighed. "I… need some time to think things through."
"Okay." Harry nodded.
"This doesn't mean I'm no longer you're friend." She added as she got up and brushed herself off. "It just means you, mister, are on probation… for now." She sniffed haughtily. They shared a laugh and Harry watched her return to the castle. At least she wasn't mad at him still, he mused, he still had hope.
A/N: If anyone has ideas on how Harry helps Salazar's reputation... feel free to share your thoughts or even write up a companion piece ^_^ As of now, I have no idea how Harry could do that but if something pops into my head, you'll see it here. Once again, Thank you all... Can't believe how bloody popular this one-shot is...
PPS: Did you know an author can comment on their own story? I tried it just because and it worked... weird