A/N: So, here's the much-awaited Cedric fanfic. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating. Stevie: Yes, you are. A/N: Oh, where are my manners? Please, readers, welcome Stevie the garden gnome. Stevie is my assistant. Seeing as I'm rather inclined to be busy these days, Stevie will be my messenger, guiding you throughout the story. So… yeah. Stevie: Hello. I'm a supremely underprivileged gnome that's being forced to take this stupid job, and – A/N: Okay, Stevie, that's enough. Let's let them get on with the story.

One thing you should know about me: Cedric Diggory and I went way back. Back to the years when we could barely form coherent sentences. Our parents knew each other before we were even born. So yeah, that's pretty far back.

Another thing you should know about me: This Cedric Diggory kid? I was insanely, head-over-heels, hopelessly in love with him.

And something else: If he'd known this, maybe we could have avoided the whole "situation." Maybe he would have found out, before it was too late.

Oh, so you want to know what I'm talking about? Truthfully, it kills me to remember it. My seventh year at Hogwarts was simultaneously the best year and the worst year of my life. And after the story's done, well, maybe you'll understand that.

x x x

It was the year of the Tri-Wizard Cup. Well, Quad-Wizard, technically, because of that whole thing with Harry Potter. But more of that later.

The story I'm telling you starts off on the Hogwarts Express. It was two minutes until the train left. If you had happened to look out the window, you might have seen a seventeen-year-old brunette in ripped jeans and a black tee running full out towards the train. You might have laughed and said, "It's going to leave without her."

Well, just so you know – that was me.

And actually, I don't miss the train. But I do miss my footing.

Yep, the moment I get on the train, it lurches forward, and I smack right into someone's chest. Someone's hard, muscular chest. And I know who it is without even looking up.

"Cedrrrric." The name comes out kind of slurred, because I only woke up about a half hour ago and am extremely tired.

"Skyyyylarrr." He tries to copy me but it doesn't sound convincing. Which prompts me to swat him, then give in and hug him. Wretched puppy dog eyes.

He laughs and starts to direct me toward his compartment. "So how was your summer?"

I offer up a long, dramatic sigh. "Murderously dull. Bloody parents grounded me, so I couldn't even make it to the World Cup."

He takes a moment to gloat and does a little victory jig. "The Irish won!"

"Merlin, you think I don't know that?" I groan and shove him out of the way of the compartment door. "The Bulgarians just let them win, there's no need to –"

And this is where the mood sours. Because I open the door and find none other than Cho Chang sitting there. In my seat.

So, a little background on Cho Chang? Ravenclaw nerd. But she's just the tiniest bit pretty, so of course half the desirable males at the school are pining after her.

And, did I mention, she's sitting in MY bloody seat!

I turn around, right in the doorway, and spit out a few well-chosen words. Calmly, of course. Can't you see how calm I am?!

"Cedric, why the bloody hell is she in our compartment?!"

Because, before this, I don't think he'd ever even talked to her. Once. Now all of a sudden, here she is, sitting in my seat. My mind is jumping to all sorts of horrible conclusions –

He half-smiles. "Relax, Skylar. I just asked her if she'd want to sit with us, since the friends she usually sits with are prefects this year and all."

"Right… well… fine," I sputter. I take a seat across from her and try not to throw her a death glare. Just so long as she doesn't try anything. Because Cedric's pretty popular with the ladies, too… whether he knows it or not.

The conversation on the way to Hogwarts is one-sided. The side involving Cedric and Cho. No matter how hard anyone tries to make it otherwise, I just don't think I'll ever like Cho Chang. I think it's got something to do with the fact that she's always acting superior, just because she's a Ravenclaw.

So I listen to them chat about the Cup and Death Eaters and other cheerful things like that while I sit there and look out the window. Not much else to do, you know. Normally, it'd be just me and Cedric, and we'd be talking about anything and everything. But the presence of Cho changes all that, for some reason.

Eventually we arrive at Hogwarts, and it's pouring rain. Literally. I think a Muggle phrase like "raining cats and dogs" would be in order here. We part ways with Cho and desperately try to keep ourselves from getting soaked, which doesn't work too well. By the time we get to the Great Hall, my robes are plastered to my skin. And I know, without even glancing at a mirror, that my hair looks like hell.

Reminding myself that the rest of the people in the room look just like me, I try to maintain a bit of my dignity and sit down at the Hufflepuff table next to Cedric.

Oh, and if you give me any rubbish about being in Hufflepuff, I swear I will smash your face in. Don't tell me that Gryffindor is braver, or that Ravenclaw is smarter, or that Slytherin is sneakier. Because I bloody well know that. Besides, us Hufflepuffs work hard. And that's going to count for something.

Someday.

So anyway, we sit down and then Dumbledore launches into this nice long speech about how there's going to be a lovely little Tri-Wizard tournament this year, but no Quidditch, which sets off quite a few groans – and a particularly loud one from the Quidditch captain sitting next to me. But by the end of the headmaster's speech, Cedric actually seems excited, which scares me. You'd have to be a nobody if you haven't heard of this tournament before, because it's kind of a big deal in the wizarding world. And my dad works at the Ministry, so I knew about this in advance.

I know that it's a good way to get schools to come together and form friendships and everlasting bonds, blah blah blah…

I also know that a lot of people have gotten killed in this tournament, which is why there hasn't been one in over a hundred years.

The way Cedric's going on about it, you'd think he wanted to enter or something. But that's crazy, right? Because there's no way Cedric, level-headed, calm-cool-and-collected Cedric, would ever put himself in a position where he could be killed. Right? You don't have to be in Ravenclaw to know –

But suddenly he completely interrupts my train of thought. We're walking out of the Great Hall after a very satisfying meal, and I'm finally convincing myself that Cedric isn't going to enter the tournament. But then he has to go and ruin it all.

"How about that Tri-Wizard Tournament, Skylar?" he says. "I think I might give it a go."