Author's Notes: Don't even ask why I decided to write Cedric/Fleur. I honestly don't know. I stumbled across some, decided to do my own, etc. I hope it's alright. I've never written Cedric before.
The Trials of Pursuit
The first time Cedric sees her, he thinks he's dreaming. She moves with a grace that suggests that she's floating instead of walking, something that he's certain can only be dreamt.
The first word that comes to his mind is lovely, even though he's never used that word before with a straight face. Beautiful would be clichéd, because sunsets and Quidditch plays can be beautiful, but after a while, they become the same. Fleur Delacour is the most unique person he's ever seen, so it's only fitting that he thinks of her like he thinks of no one else.
She glides past him without sparing him or anyone else a glance, even though he continues to stare at her long after she's out of sight.
For the first time, Cedric realizes that the girls at Hogwarts aren't as pretty as he thought they were.
The second time he sees her, he decides that he should speak to her. Not just because she's lovely and unique, but because he thinks she looks a bit lost. She's standing on the lawn outside the entrance of the castle, pursing her lips and regarding the stone with a critical eye.
Not yet spotted, he practices a smile. It's usually easy for him to smile, as he does so quite often, and always genuinely. But now he has to be careful to look friendly and hospitable, and he can't remember if he's ever had to portray those sorts of qualities before.
He takes a deep breath.
The moment he starts walking toward her, someone cuts across the grass from a different side, calling her name. Cedric freezes in mid-step.
"Cho," Fleur greets. She sounds relieved.
"Have you got lost yet?" Cho asks. Though the girls are rather far away, Cedric can see that Fleur's companion is the Ravenclaw Seeker.
"I 'ave," Fleur frowns. "Where ees ze Astronomy Tower? I 'ave 'eard zat zere ees une vue très jolie…"
Cedric wishes he hadn't spent so much time practicing his facial expressions. His mother hosts luncheons all the time at home, and he's always hospitable at those.
The third time he sees her, it's very brief.
Everyone is pushing into the Great Hall all at once, despite the attempts of the teachers to regulate their passage. Somehow, Fleur is right in front of him, so close that he can reach out and touch her arm if he wants to.
Before he has time to consider doing this, he's jostled forward by someone behind him, propelling him straight into Fleur.
She stumbles slightly with a dainty "Oh!" of surprise.
He apologizes, but she doesn't hear him because another someone steps on her foot. By the time she looks up, the culprit has vanished, so she glares at Cedric since he's still there.
Then he's bumped again until she's lost in the crowd.
The fourth time he sees her, she has been the Beauxbatons champion for a few days. Of course, he's seen her a lot more than four times by this point, but after his name was drawn from the Goblet of Fire, things have seemed a rush. For all he knows, he might have spoken to her after the Halloween Feast, but he's forgotten.
This time, though, he's fully prepared to remember, because he's prepared to talk to her. With her, he hopes.
When he starts toward her, no one comes in front of him to whisk her away. Encouraged, he smiles, and it isn't practiced.
"Fleur!" he says brightly.
She glances up, and at first she doesn't see him. When she does, however, her eyes narrow.
"Hi," he continues after a small falter. "Er, salute. Comment kah vah?"
She stares at him in bewilderment, as if he's started speaking to her in tongues.
"My foot 'urts,' she declares at length, and she turns her back to him with icy accusation.
Cedric fingers the book of French phrases in his pocket and shakes his head.
The fifth time he sees her, she doesn't even let him speak. She holds up her palm and then brings her fingers to her thumb, a makeshift closed mouth and a blatant be quiet.
Then she points at her foot and stalks off. She isn't floating this time.
"Nice going, Ced," his best mate chortles.
Uneasily, Cedric wonders if pointing to one's foot has a double meaning.
The sixth time he sees her, he's frustrated. They say that the third time's the charm, but it's double that already, and he still hasn't had any luck.
He meant to ditch the French phrase book, but he decided to keep it at the last minute. He practices things from it every so often, though since he's been all but discouraged, he doesn't put forth much effort. He should be focusing on the first task, not the girl he's got to compete against to win it.
His gaze lingers upon her briefly before he returns it to the doodle he's been scratching into his History of Magic book.
The seventh time Fleur sees him, he isn't paying attention to her. She thought that it would be nice to have the boy leave her alone after following her so adamantly, but now she can feel his absence, and it bothers her. There are plenty of other boys there to dote upon her, but they never attempt a conversation.
In irritation, she flicks her hair over her shoulder. The silvery ends slap against someone's face, but she doesn't care to know whose.
The eighth time Cedric sees her, she's right in front of him again. Only this time, she wasn't there a second before.
"Salut, Cedric Diggory," she says quickly, and then she draws her lips into a thin line as if daring him to act surprised.
But how can he not be? (Surprised, that is.) He's bloody shocked.
"Hi, Fleur," he manages to say after a length of silence has transpired. "Er… comment ça va?"
Apparently, she's shocked, too. Her thin eyebrows arch dangerously high.
"Zat was much better zis time," she nods.
Hopeful, Cedric wonders if she isn't just referring to his pronunciation.
"But ees eet all zat you know?"
"Not exactly, but pretty much," he admits with a grin.
For the first time, she smiles. "Zat ees alright. I will—"
"Fleur! Venez ici, s'il vous plait. Je dois vous parler." Madame Maxime interrupts whatever she was going to say.
"I am sorry," Fleur apologizes, "but I must go. I will see you at anozzer time, I 'ope?"
She waits for him to say yes before she leaves.
The ninth time Fleur sees Cedric, she thinks she's dreaming. He is more handsome than any other boy she's ever met, and when he asks her to dance, she accepts. Such things only occur when she isn't awake and when she has no control over her thoughts.
She might admonish herself, but she's enjoying this far too much.
She doesn't glare or frown, or even smile. Instead, she laughs, tossing her head back. Once, he twirls her outward and then inward again, pulling her so close that she can kiss him if she wants to.
The tenth time he sees her, when the Yule Ball has ended, she does.