Author's Note (3-28-06): This fic was originally written as a slash challenge, and the only romantic material is found in this chapter. If you don't want to read it, I think the first four are okay by themselves. Thanks for reading! Ember Nickel

"We've gotta get in," Cedric said, and Wood agreed. They sped toward the locker room and stored the brooms. Then it was a run from the pitch to the school: normally a breeze, but in this weather perilous. Both of them were too hefty to be good runners.

And up, and up. The doorstep of the school was-there, and they panted inside.

Wood shook his head a few times, and water droplets sprayed through the front hall. "I wonder..."

"Yes," Cedric said.

"Yes what?"

"Yes, you can still win the Cup if you win against Ravenclaw and Slytherin."

"But-how did you-"

"I'm not in both Arithmancy and Divination for nothing, Oliver."

"What part of "Everyone calls me Wood" do you not understand?"

"None-I understand all of it. But I'm not everybody."

", you're not."

Cedric didn't have a very good reply to this. He turned and watched a passing Cho Chang. "She's really good."

"So she is. At Quidditch, you mean?"

"Yeah. Yeah, at Quidditch. Although-"

"Oh, you can't shut up now."

"Can so..." Cedric saw Wood's glare of extreme annoyance. "But I won't."

"Thank you."

"She's good at Quidditch, and I think she likes me."

"You think she likes you? That puts you behind the vast majority of the school, who knows she likes you."

"And you include yourself in that majority?"

"Of course."

"I like her as an opponent, but not...that way."

Now it was Wood's turn to be unable to reply without being awkward. "Makes Quidditch look easy."

"You're right there. Quidditch has nice and clear rules."

Wood took Cedric's hand. "From here on in, we make the rules."

When mouths meet, the game of deception ends
And from its ashes suddenly is found
A new game, for opponents can be friends
And even more, by tradition unbound.

Chatotic, like a fractal, life appears
Until a sturdy base exists to build
A new existence, beyond taunts and jeers
But open to all those whose hearts are filled

With love and courage, willing to go on
No matter what the cost, until at last
A new winner is crowned. Dusk fades to dawn.
For when all that we know has come and passed

Love will endure. Though all may think it strange
Perfection is, per se, immune to change.