The dialogue is taken directly from GOBLET OF FIRE and owned by JKR and the companies who own her.

1.

"Dragons…?"

Cedric eyed Harry warily, as if expecting a grand plot to reveal itself under closer scrutiny.

"Yeah, dragons," Harry affirmed, looking around.

Bent down, Cedric began nervously picking up books and quills that had fallen out of his leather satchel. It was a new bag, too. The satchel was an expensive present from his father after a laudable summer being tutored for the upcoming year; and he loved it for what it symbolized – that his father was proud of him.

Nevertheless, Cedric found he no longer cared about his broken bag. His hands were trembling.

'How the fuck do I fight a dragon?' he wondered to himself, 'I think I'm in way over my head.'

Harry squatted down in front of Cedric and began to help him. He reached for Cedric's copy of Advance Transfigurations. His breath hitched at the sudden feeling of Cedric's hand over his. Even with the briskness of the touch, Harry could feel the slightly calloused hands, hardbitten by years of Quidditch broom-handling. They felt of sand and beaches; or, at least, what Harry thought sand and beaches felt like, since he had never been to a beach or touched sand.

"Oh, sorry," Cedric said, realizing that he had reached for the same book.

Harry's cheeks flushed red with heat. He looked into Cedric's eyes; they were grey with silver shard-like coruscations that seemed to catch light from the candles in the halls of the Charms corridor. Harry's breath caught in his throat and he found that he could not swallow, could not breathe, nor could he keep Cedric's gaze.

"Are you sure?" he asked.

"Dead sure," Harry answered, nervously, feeling his chest tighten.

Cedric leaned in closer – oh what was that smell? Harry wondered if it were some new spice the gods had bestowed upon the earth; captured and held hostage by the boy's skin? – "But… how did you find out? We're not supposed to know until--?"

Harry's heart rate increased, "—nevermind. But, I'm not the only one who knows. Fleur and Krum will know by now; Maxime and Kakaroff seen the dragons, too."

Standing with his ripped bag over one shoulder and hands full of ink-stained parchment and quills, Cedric stepped closer to Harry. Mouth open, Harry gulped as he realized that he was still at eye-level with Cedric's crotch. Despite being hidden by robes, he could imagine the smell of it: sweat and musk with a hint of soap from Cedric's morning bath. Harry allowed himself to swoon, faintly, until he realized that Cedric was staring down at him.

Harry stood and tossed his own backpack across a shoulder. He made to walk away when Cedric grabbed his hand, making sure he could not. Pulling him closer, he whispered, "Why are you telling me this?"

Harry trembled with nervous anticipation, his breathing becoming louder and more erratic. He took a deep breath, almost falling forward into the smell of Cedric: a slight air of sandalwood and mint toothpaste.

"It's just," Harry looked around, "It's just fair, innit? We all know… we're all on even ground."

Cedric stood there, thoughts focused in on this child… no, no longer quite a child, but a boy, nonetheless. He sussed whether or not he, himself, would have done something similar -- something noble and honest – were their roles reversed.

He heard the whispers from the other Hufflepuffs: "He's so stuck on himself!"

He caught the taunts of the Slytherins: "Half-blood, pint-sized celebutante favourite of Dumbledore! Gets away with everything!"

He even noticed some Gryffindors admonish the very thought of all things Potter: "He put his name in that goblet, the attention-seeking git!"

The entire school seemed to be against Harry. Cedric even knew that his once best friend Ron Weasley had turned his back on him.

Nevertheless, this was not the action of a snobby, know-it-all, traitor-to-the-cause. This was a boy who was honest and forthcoming and brave and…

… beautiful …

'Were his eyes always that green?' Cedric wondered.

"Come with me, Potter… Diggory, off you go."

Cedric snapped back into the here-and-now when the unmistakable gruff voice of Moody caught him by the unawares.

He watched as Harry walked, head bowed and with Moody's arms around his shoulder, down the corridor where he would, undoubtedly, be taken to the professor's office.

Harry Potter risked a lot by telling Cedric what to expect in the first task of the tournament. He did it without being told to, without having anything to gain and everything to lose. Didn't he want the fame? The glory? Didn't he want to be remembered as the best, the greatest, the smartest, or the cleverest?

Cedric did, after all.

That was when he realized that Harry Potter was more a man than he.

Cedric would have been shamed by the very thought of Harry Potter …

…. were he not so intrigued by him.