Harry had just about had enough of this Cedric is the REAL champion nonsense kick that the whole damned school seemed to be on since some genius had gone and handed out Potter Stinks buttons to every student in Hogwarts that would take them.

But he knew better than to let them get to him. He wasn't about to let his feelings of frustration over these people's behavior take root in his mind—it would only drive him insane. There was that, and the fact that he liked Cedric in that way and realizing that he was up against his biggest crush ever put him in an extremely awkward position during the rare few times that he and Cedric actually had to interact.

Growling to himself when he saw a pair of Ravenclaw girls press their buttons at him, he continued to walk away from said girls and towards the dungeons. Oh, sure, he could stand the infinite number of people shoving those damn buttons into his face, or the endless taunts from select Slytherins all throughout the day. But the one thing he simply couldn't stomach was knowing that the Hufflepuffs were putting him down and giving him a bad name in Cedric's eyes.

It was in one such bout of Hufflepuff taunting that he finally blew his top. The band of them that he instantly recognized as Cedric's clique were upon him the instant he rounded the corner to enter the courtyard.

All pressing their buttons in perfect symphony, one of the heavier-built ones stepped forward. "We support Cedric." It was said with such malice that Harry couldn't help but inwardly wince.

Not losing any of his reserve, he replied ice-cold, "Well, so do I."

At this, they were all speechless. Then one of them gasped at something at his back and signaled everyone to herd away, ripping the buttons from their robes at once. Harry turned and saw why—it was Cedric himself.

Cedric with an uncanny, fascinated expression on his face.

"You-you . . . you . . ."

"Are late." Harry filled in for him, then stepped away and headed off straight to Potions class. On his way, he realized that all of a sudden, Potions didn't seem so scary. The memory of Cedric's elated, albeit surprised expression was enough to keep him going for the next few days until he saw Cedric again . . .

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"H-Harry?" Harry looked up from Hermione's copy of The Daily Prophet and his supposedly-quiet Sunday morning breakfast. Cedric was standing there behind him, blushing a bit, shy and handsome. "Hi." A self-conscious but charming smile. "Can I have a word with you?"

Harry stood up, ignoring the daggers Ron was staring at Cedric, the daggers Hermione was staring at Ron, and the jittery flutters in his stomach as Cedric placed an arm on his back and gently let it slide down til it fell back to Cedric's side as they moved away from the Gryffindor table and out of the Great Hall.

Wait. Out of the Great Hall? "Uh, Cedric?" Harry looked around at the hallways they were passing, "Where exactly are we going?"

"Oh, well, I saw that you were, you know, done with breakfast already, so I thought maybe we could go for a walk." Cedric replied, his luxurious hair falling over his forehead as he walked. "There're also a few things I'd like to discuss with you."

"Discuss away." Harry felt nervous, but he didn't want to show it. Soundlessly glancing out into the empty courtyard, he awaited certain doom at the hands of his love.

"The other day," Cedric started, pausing and looking in the other direction to phrase his thoughts in the best way possible, "I overheard you tell my friends that," he glanced hesitatingly at Harry, "that you supported me, too."

Harry summoned the courage to look up at the tall Hufflepuff boy. "Yeah."

"Oh." Cedric paused again. "Well, why?"

"Because you should have been the only champion, and I don't want to be in this tournament." Harry said simply, but unintentionally rather bitterly.

"I do believe you when you say you didn't enter your name you know." Cedric said after a moment.

They paused in a sunlit patch of grass and stared at each other, assessing the other as if they were seeing him for the first time.

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Harry barreled into the common room where he found Hermione and Ron sitting on the plush couches. They looked up at him, breathing heavily and sweating all over, and were at once at his side.

"What happened?"

"What'd Cedric do?"

Harry raised his hands to silence them, and for him to catch his breath. "Alright, you guys know how I like Cedric?"

"Well, you've only mentioned him a million times this year." Said Ron.

"Okay, well . . . he hugged me."

"He what?" Hermione yelped, eyes widening.

"It was a very . . ." Harry took a seat on one of the couches, "a very magical silence. There was sun, and warmth, and he was smiling and looking so attractive, and he just swept me up in a hug and I was just standing there and I didn't even hug back! And then I ran all the way back here."

"Harry!" Hermione excitedly hopped up and down. Ron was grinning broadly.

Hermione suddenly turned serious. "Okay, now you just need to find a way to ascertain whether or not he likes you back."

Harry nodded. Here comes the tricky part.

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Harry noticed that Cedric had suddenly begun to avoid him. The most obvious time was when Harry and Cedric had been walking towards each other in an empty corridor. When Cedric had caught sight of him, he'd paused, looking like a cornered animal, before deciding to run in the opposite direction.

Catching Cedric's eye at the Hufflepuff table only to have the contact broken for the nth time that meal, he decided this nonsense had to end.

Running into Cedric again in a corridor after classes, Harry observed that he had developed the ability to surreptitiously turn and walk away without drawing attention now.

It was now Harry who bolted after him. "Cedric!" He reached out and caught Cedric's hand in his, forcing the other boy to turn and look at him.

And in front of all the onlookers, who had begun to ogle at the prospect of having a Champion-face-off, pulled Cedric's strong, muscular form against his.

Cedric pulled away a bit, that same look of adorably pleasant surprise on his face again. Leaning in, he whispered loud enough so only Harry would hear. "You think these people would mind if I kissed you right now?"

Harry was a bit shocked, but he whispered back, "No, but I would if you didn't."

Cedric broke into a small smile. "Good, because the answer wouldn't have mattered—only yours."

So they kissed, softly. Amidst the whoops and cheers, and the oncoming sunset and cold air, Harry and Cedric were happy.

"I do like you, Harry." Blond hair falling over affectionate eyes.

"So do I."