A/N: I love a cheeky Cedric almost as much as I love a charming Tom Riddle. This is a two shot, second part will be posted tomorrow or the day after. Let me know what you think. =]
She wandered around, now in her dressing gown and pyjamas as opposed to her dress robes. She hadn't bothered to remove the light make-up that Lavender and Parvati had insisted she wore and her eyeliner was smudged under her eyes. She kept to the shadows as she made her way down to the kitchen, listening intently for any sign of movement, for those shuffling footsteps so recognisable as Argus Filch's.
She was just reaching forward to tickle the pear in the painting that opened onto the kitchen when she heard a loud gasp and a small commotion. Hermione whirled around, wand out, looking to see who had discovered her. Her heart was beating wildly even though she would know by now if she was about to get in trouble or not.
The dark figure straightened in an archway that led to a set of stairs going down to the basement and he stepped forward. The dull orange light from the torches in brackets on the wall showed Hermione a tall boy with light brown, almost blonde hair, rosy cheeks and a dark blue dressing gown tied loosely over his pyjamas.
"I could take points off, you know," he said with a small smile.
"And what would Professor Sprout say if she knew one of her prefects was out of bed? What would Professor Snape say if he knew?"
Cedric Diggory shuddered a little. "I won't tell if you won't," he offered, supplying a winning smile to seal the deal.
"Seems fair enough," she replied as she reached forward and tickled the pear. They both winced as the pear laughed loudly and reformed itself to resemble a door handle. Hermione opened the door and went inside, more than aware that Cedric was following closely behind her.
"Are sir and miss requiring food?" a house elf squeaked as it ran towards them. "We still has plenty left from the feast or we can prepare something if sir and miss would prefer."
"Could I have a sandwich, please?" Cedric asked politely.
"What sort of sandwich sir? We has -"
"Surprise me," Cedric told the elf, then sat down on the steps as he waited for his food.
Hermione paused. She didn't know what she wanted, she just knew she wanted something that would make her feel better. Food so good that she wouldn't care about stupid Ron or Viktor's irritating staring and lack of verbal communication. She would also try and forget about how he attempted to take what had just been a simple kiss much further than Hermione wanted. She would also try to forget the look of hurt on his face when she pushed him away.
"Miss?" the elf prompted.
"Just...get me something good. Something nice. I want food so good that I want to marry it."
"Yes miss, of course miss," the elf scurried away and rounded up several of his fellow kitchen staff to prepare their food.
Hermione sat down and when she glanced at Cedric, she saw he was smiling.
"Food so good you want to marry it?"
"Is there a problem?"
"Well apart from the fact that the law prohibits such marriages, how in the name of Merlin would the wedding night work?"
Hermione blushed and her jaw dropped. "I didn't mean literally!"
"I know, I'm just curious. It's your fault, you put the images in my head in the first place. I just can't wait to see what they give you to eat."
Hermione's blush deepened. "You should have more self restraint," she told him, in an attempt to be mature and save herself a little dignity. "I don't let my mind wander off at the first opportunity."
"Oh really?" he smiled widely at her and shifted so he was closer to her. "Is that so?" his voice was almost a whisper. "Tell me, Hermione," his lips were millimetres from her ear, "what are you thinking right now?"
Hermione inhaled deeply and ignored the fresh masculine scent that assaulted her nostrils. "I'm thinking that you've had far too many girls falling over your feet for just a second of attention. And I'm thinking that you've let it all go to your head."
He laughed gently and his breath tickled her neck. "Wow," he said, "that's the first time that's ever happened."
"You do that a lot?"
"Never intentionally. Still, it's nice to know that a girl is listening to what I'm saying rather than just enjoying the view."
"You're very sure of yourself."
"You've shaken my confidence a little, I admit. Still, I suppose it'll do me some good."
"Harry hasn't started the egg yet," she said in a rush.
Cedric sat up straighter. "Change of subject..." he mused.
"I'm worried he's not going to work out the clue in time. He's just going to leave it until the last minute and..." she sighed and rubbed her temples with her fingertips. "I don't think he should be doing this."
"Who do you think put his name in?" Cedric asked quietly.
"No idea," she replied, turning to look at him. "Cedric, it's Harry, he's got a long list of people who want to see him dead."
"You don't think someone did it for a laugh, then? Not one of the Slytherins who want to see him make a fool of himself?"
"Slytherins couldn't fool that cup. The magic on that cup is ancient, too powerful for a student to mess with."
An elderly house elf trotted up holding a plate above his head, a ridiculously large sandwich resting on it. "For you, sir," the house elf said in a reedy voice. "We hope you likes it."
"Thanks," Cedric said, taking the plate from the house elf and resting it on his knees. The elf trotted off again. "They like to go overboard, don't they," he said, carefully picking up one half of the sandwich and frowning at it, as though trying to decide how best to tackle the thing.
They fell into silence as Cedric started eating his sandwich, chewing each bite thoroughly before swallowing.
Hermione's attention was drawn to a house elf holding a large tray.
"Chicken soup, freshly baked bread and chocolate éclairs. Is that to your liking miss?"
"Thank you," Hermione said kindly. She noticed Cedric smirk out of the corner of her eye and her teeth ground together.
She ate her soup in silence, the tray balancing precariously on her knees, her pumpkin juice on constant danger of toppling over.
"Can I just ask," Cedric said suddenly when she was almost finished her soup, "What exactly are you planning to do with those éclairs?" Cedric smirked at Hermione's blush and returned to his sandwich.
"Are you this rude to Cho?"
"Does Krum know you're having a romantic liaison with a chocolate éclair?"
"I'm not having a -"
"Chill out, Hermione. Merlin, anyone would think that you're on the verge of a nervous breakdown!"
"Who says I'm not?"
The smile disappeared from Cedric's face. "Are you?"
"I'm fine," Hermione told him, her voice slightly hysterical. "You know, in between trying to make sure Harry stays alive and dealing with homework as well as Ron being a stupid jealous git oh and to top it off it turns out that Viktor is only really after one thing but apart from those tiny little hiccups my life is perfect."
Cedric's eyebrows were raised so high that they almost met his hair.
Hermione sighed. "Sorry," she said quickly.
"Ball wasn't the perfect night you expected?" he asked carefully, his eyebrows resuming their normal position.
Hermione let out a short sarcastic laugh. "You could say that."
"So Weasley has decided as soon as he can't have you that he wants you, and he's taken it out on you despite it being his own stupid fault that he didn't ask you to the ball in the first place..."
Hermione nodded and Cedric continued.
"And Krum what...invited you back to the ship?"
Hermione shook her head.
"Just went for it anyway?"
"Did you get away?"
"Yeah," Hermione picked up her goblet of pumpkin juice and drained the cup. "Éclair?" she offered.
Cedric held back a laugh and took one.
"What are you going to do with that?" Hermione questioned, picking up her own one.
"Well," Cedric said as he tore off the end of the éclair and popped it in his mouth. "First I'm going to open it like this," he bit down the side of the éclair so it opened flat, the cream completely exposed. "And then I'm going to eat the cream," he dipped his finger into the cream then put it in his mouth, sucking the cream off. He did it again, and again, and again, until all the cream was gone. "Then I'm going to eat the pastry," he told her, before he bit off a large chunk of pastry and chewed it. He did this until there was only the long strip of chocolate left. "And now I'm going to eat the chocolate, save the best for last and all that," he put the chocolate into his mouth and closed his eyes as he chewed it.
"You're disgusting," Hermione told him, one eyebrow raised. "If only your fan club could see you now."
"Oh if only they'd all jump in the lake," he said exasperatedly. "Cho hates it. She's not one for sharing."
Hermione made a note to tell Harry, a small consolation after his rejection.
"So, what are you going to do with yours?" he asked her, glancing at the éclair and then back at Hermione.
"I don't think I could possibly beat that disgusting display."
"Oh try, please."
Hermione found that his smile relaxed her, dulled her inhibitions ever so slightly. She found that she was much less self conscious and a lot more prepared to have fun, to laugh. She had been so stressed lately and the ball had not helped matters at all. Now she was sitting in the kitchen in the middle of the night with the 'true' Hogwarts champion (the fact that he was widely acknowledged to be the best looking boy in the school was completely inconsequential) discussing disgusting ways to eat éclairs.
"Hermione, I'm waiting."
"Patience is a virtue, Cedric. Creativity does not merely spring forth at three o'clock in the morning."
Cedric smirked and waited.
"I...can't think of anything," she admits finally. "Any ideas?"
"You could put it all in at once."
"You're really quite disgusting, aren't you?"
"I think you like me like that."
"I'd prefer it if you didn't try and force me to do ridiculous things with an éclair."
"You were the one that wanted to marry it."
Hermione rolled her eyes and bit off the end of her éclair.
"Wow," Cedric said, feigning amazement, "that's sexy."
"I know," Hermione replied dully, "I don't know how you can resist me."
"What, are you trying to get through all the champions before the tournament's over? Or even before new year's eve?"
"Definitely," she had given up on being indignant and just decided to let his mind wander down whatever nonsensical trail it had created.
"Not being funny, Hermione, but I'm not sure Fleur swings that way."
"Shame, I was looking forward to it."
"Oh cheer up, for Merlin's sake! Potter will probably fluke his way through this in the way that Potter does, Weasley will probably stop being an idiot soon and if Krum's worth having he'll apologise unreservedly and beg for you to give him a little of your attention. Just relax, it's Christmas Day."
"I didn't even think about that," Hermione said mildly, staring unseeingly at her last bit of éclair before she popped it in her mouth.
"He says, as though I'm completely unaware."
He laughed and stood up. "Time for bed, I think."
"Yeah," Hermione agreed, setting her tray to one side and getting to her feet.
"You're joining me?"
"Don't be ridiculous."
"You're very bad for my ego."
Cedric grinned and Hermione was reminded why he had so much female attention bestowed upon him.
She looked up.
"You've got some chocolate -" he gestured towards his own mouth and Hermione felt the heat rise in her cheeks slightly as she wiped at her mouth.
"Gone?" she asked.
Cedric shook his head and reached forward, wiping a tiny smear of chocolate off of the corner of her lips with his thumb. "Gone now," he said.
Hermione nodded, her throat too constricted to formulate words.
Cedric frowned, looking a little worried suddenly. "I'll just – goodnight, Hermione."
She nodded again. "Night Cedric."
He looked at her one last time and disappeared from the kitchen.
"Did miss enjoy her éclairs?" a little house elf squeaked as it collected her tray and Cedric's plate.
"Yeah," Hermione told the elf, "they were very nice, thank you."