First, I own nothing and make no money; it all belongs to JKRowlings. Second, this story does not follow canon. Many, if not all, beloved characters are still alive even after the fall of Voldemort. Third, this will be a threesome and if that bothers you then DON'T READ IT! Fourth, thank-you to my amazing beta, freedachicken!
It hadn't been easy but Harry had finally done it. He'd bitten the bullet and approached the one bloke who he knew, just knew could help him with his problem. He certainly couldn't ask Ron. No way could he do that. It wasn't as if Ron had much more to work with, but he supposed he was one up on him. Ron had, after all, snogged Lavender Brown for a good portion of their sixth year. Yeah, Harry sighed, Ron was definitely one up.
It wasn't that Harry hadn't actually kissed a girl. He had, if you counted Hermione and Mrs. Weasley. Okay, maybe Mrs. Weasley was pushing the envelope a bit but he had kissed Hermione, several times. They just hadn't been romantic kisses, the sort that had your head spinning and your heart pounding. They had been affectionate pecks on the cheek and as a way of saying "hi" or "bye" or when things had been really tough; they were the "everything's going to be all right" sort.
One couldn't actually count that lone fumbling attempt with Cho Chang at Christmas the year they had established Dumbledore's Army. He snorted, what a mess that had been. He'd really wanted it to be memorable, something special; it was going to have been his first kiss and all. Unfortunately, for him, she had still been hung up on Diggory and had blubbered the scant seconds their lips had managed to make contact. It had been anti climatic compared to the first few minutes prior, what with all the obligatory nose mashing and worry over which way to tilt their heads, that along with his glasses getting in the way had made it extraordinarily disappointing and more than a tad mortifying. Therefore, here he was starting his seventh year at Hogwarts finally free from Voldemorts vile grasp with virtually no experience where girls were concerned.
His teen-age crush on Cho had long since passed, for that is all it had been and he knew it now. Now his heart beat for a long-limbed, flaming-haired beauty that just happened to be his best mate's sister. He felt a thrill deep in his bones at the very thought of her. When Harry finally noticed that Ginny was a pretty girl and not just his best mate's sister, there wasn't anyway he could have done anything about it. What with Voldemort and his flunkies dogging his every step. With the war, finally at an end and the threat to the Wizarding World eliminated he could pursue Ginny freely, safely.
It was exhilarating and frightening all at one time. He supposed he should talk this over with Ron first; they were like brothers in every other way. Not that he was thinking of marrying Ginny or anything like that! He was in crisis at just the thought of asking her out.
She'd been real popular with the blokes out and about her fifth year and she was sure to be again this year, and Harry didn't even know if he even stood a chance. He wasn't nearly as good looking as Dean or any of the others, but he knew Gin pretty well and thought he might have a winning shot.
Harry wrinkled his nose and then pushed his glasses farther up the bridge. It was slippery with a light sheen of sweat, just like the palms of his hands. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, he raised his fist and knocked on the door. After a few moments, he heard footsteps heading in his direction and he steeled himself for the face-to-face meeting.
The door swung open and standing in the doorway was one of the best-looking boys to grace the hallowed halls of Hogwarts. Here was a bloke who turned heads, got more than second and third glances. He looked as if his DNA might have been mistakenly mixed with that of the Greek Gods; that's how bloody good looking he was. Not that Harry generally noticed other blokes and how they looked but here was the fella the girls had nicknamed Hufflepuff's Hottie. The bloke that the other boys, most of them jealous toads, had given the title of Pretty-Boy Diggory. Harry was now ashamed to admit that he too, had been jealous of Cedric Diggory once upon a time. Mainly, because he had been dating Cho when Harry had thought himself head-over-heels for her. He had so badly wanted to be in his place. He'd wanted to be the one escorting Cho to the Ball and having Cho as his most prized possession at the bottom of the lake. Instead, he had ended up with Ron, which was fine except he really wished it had been Cho. Ron was great and all, but he was definitely no Cho Chang.
Cedric's head jerked back in surprise when he saw who was standing in the doorway.
"Potter? What are you doing here?" There was a short, awkward pause before Diggory flushed a bright pink. "Sorry," he mumbled. "That was rude."
Harry cleared his throat, "No worries, I'm probably one of the last people you'd expect to be on the other side of your door."
Cedric let out a crooked grin and Harry's nerves shot up about ten points while his heart started to beat out an uneven tattoo. Geesh, he thought. I wasn't this much of a mess when I had to get passed the Hungarian Horntail. But, then, he hadn't been about to ask the dragon the best way of winning the heart of one of the most popular girls around and then on how to keep her. Diggory would know. He definitely had the experience Harry needed to tap into.
Opening the door wider, Cedric motioned Harry in and said, "My mum would hex me alive if she knew I'd let you stand on the stoop for so long. Manners and all that, yeah."
"Yeah," Harry agreed, not really thinking too much of it. He'd grown up in a household where very little to no manners were directed at him. So being made to stand at the front door for a bit was much more congenial than being locked in a closet under the stairs or barely being fed as punishment for some real or generally imagined crime.
Cedric stepped aside and Harry brushed by him entering a small but cheerful looking kitchen. It had several windows on all but one of the walls, allowing shafts of mid-day sun to stream through the sparkling clean square-block glass. The kitchen itself reminded Harry a bit of his Aunt Petunia's in its cleanliness but that's where the similarities ended.
Where his aunt's had been scrubbed daily with harsh cleansers and cleaners until each surface and floor were bordering on sterile, Cedric's was clean but without the aftermath of noxious fumes that so often followed one of his aunts' bouts of scrubbing frenzies. Instead, it was tidy, bright, and homey. Harry liked it immediately.
"Have a seat, Potter," Cedric invited, pulling a chair back from a round wooden table.
It was already set for one with a fine lace place mat and a bud rose teacup and saucer. Harry also noticed that a plate, matching the teacup, had what looked to be several currant scones piled on it and a pot of thick, yummy looking cream settled beside the plate.
"Sorry, Diggory. Did I catch you at a bad moment?"
Harry turned his head at the clinking and clanking he heard behind him. Cedric was reaching in a cabinet above the sink pulling down an extra cup and saucer.
"I did, didn't I?" Harry asked, embarrassed. Diggory was obviously expecting company for tea, a girl perhaps. Oh, great, Harry silently admonished himself. He probably has a date and here I come barging in. Stupid, stupid!
"Don't be such a dunce, Potter." Cedric exclaimed laughing lightly. "This is for you."
Now he really felt stupid. "Oh, uh… thanks."
"Earl Grey okay?" Cedric asked, before pouring the fragrant, piping hot brew into Harry's cup.
"Yeah, sure, fine." Harry agreed. Tea was tea to him; it was all the same. Hermione had once called him a heathen with a poor palate when he'd told her, that in his opinion, they all tasted alike.
After pouring the liquid into his own cup and adding a dash of sugar, Cedric sat down opposite Harry and pushed the plate of scones toward him. Harry wasn't actually hungry but he didn't want to be impolite. He was, after all, here to ask Cedric for his help.
"Shit." Diggory's handsome face filled with a rosy hue. "Sorry, Potter. Language and all that. It's just I forgot to get a plate for your scone." Harry could only assume that if Diggory's mum was a stickler for manners then she probably wasn't too keen on swearing, hence the flush. Cedric jumped up before Harry had a chance to tell him that it was fine, that he didn't need one. "It's usually just me, so I kind of eat off of the serving plate." Cedric blushed again and through a sheepish grin added, "Don't tell my mum."
Harry, who'd never met Cedric's mum and was pretty sure he never would, replied with certainty, "No worries on that score."
Cedric heaved a relieved sigh, "Great."
Harry had to hold back a smile. Partly, because his memories of Hufflepuff's Perfect Head Boy did not include this flustered bloke who was overly concerned with being well-mannered; and partly because it was sweet really how much he didn't want to let his mum down. Harry thought that he might well have been the same toward his mum had she lived.
Harry obligingly plopped a large dollop of clotted cream on to his scone, it definitely looked and smelled mouthwatering. Perhaps, he could force a forkful or two down, just to be polite mind you and get Diggory in a receptive frame of mind. That fact that he hadn't had anything this good since visiting the Burrow had absolutely nothing to do with him scarfing down his first scone and then moving on to another with nary a second thought.
Neither spoke as they ate scone after scrumptious scone. Diggory, the perfect host, re-filled Harry's cup whenever he noticed the dwindling supply. For a while, the clinking of china cups against their saucers as they drank their tea was the only sound in the room. Conversation being made impossible as they stuffed their faces until the serving plate was empty of all except a stray crumb or two.
Cedric licked his fingers clean of a spot of cream, glancing up at Potter who had already wiped his lips with the napkin provided. Cedric and just opened his mouth when Harry jumped in, "Don't worry, mums the word to mum."
Cedric chuckled, before wiping his own lips free of crumbs. "Silly, I know," Cedric shrugged his broad shoulders. "I've had that sort of thing drilled into me from the time I was knee high to a grasshopper."
A wave of empty sadness washed over Harry. He would have given anything to have had that sort of thing drilled into him by loving parents intent on making him a better young man. Harry could say with all honesty that he was envious of Cedric's upbringing. All he'd had to show from his own abysmal childhood had been a scrawny build, and over- large hand me downs.
"So," Cedric interrupted Harry's musings. "To what do I owe this unexpected though pleasant visit?"
The jittery nerves that had disappeared while they had enjoyed tea, returned with a vengeance. Wiping his sweaty palms on his trousers Harry decided to just go for it.
"Well, I've come for advice; yeah that's why I've come… advice." Harry inwardly cringed and wondered if his comment had sounded as lame to Diggory as it had to him.
Cedric must have thought so too because his brow furrowed into a puzzled frown. "Right, how can I help?"
It was clear to Harry that Cedric was curious as to what and why The Boy Who Prevailed, had need of advice from him. Boy, was he ever in for a shocker! If Harry hadn't been so dead set on doing things right with Ginny, there was no way he'd be here now. No way, he'd be admitting to Diggory that he hadn't a hope in hell of knowing what girls liked or --he gulped-- where they liked to be touched and all the other stuff that followed.
To give himself some time and something for his trembling hands to do, Harry picked up the fork he'd used for his scones and absently began to tap it on the rim of his teacup. Harry didn't know it but each clank was as distracting to Cedric's ears as it was distressing.
Cedric's mum would be horrified at such treatment of her second best china but Potter looked so distraught that he didn't have the heart to reprimand him. He tried not to wince with each tap but something must have shown on his face because Potter stopped mid tap and hastily replaced the silver utensil.
"Uh, sorry bout that." Harry mumbled, while clumsily fingering the tines.
"Potter…," Cedric started, "relax." Speaking slowly and with an encouraging nod of his head, Cedric continued, " Now, why don't you tell me why you're here."
Feeling a little less nervous, Harry decided to just say it. "There's this girl. I really like her… a lot." Harry hesitated, waiting for Cedric to say something or laugh or anything to show that he thought Harry might be sounding stupid. Diggory didn't do any of those things, much to Harry's relief. He just rested his chin on his palm and watched Harry with curious grey eyes. Licking his dry lips, Harry continued, "I've been kind of busy and I haven't had much time to, you know… learn much about girls."
Cedric stifled a grin, it was tough, but he managed to keep it back. He'd never put much thought into Potter liking girls. The poor kid always seemed to have so much dangerous drama surrounding his existence that adding romance on top of it seemed a bit like overkill. I mean really, no one has that many issues, right? Apparently, even with Voldemort out of the picture, Potter needed to drum up drama in some form or other and one couldn't get much more dramatic than in affairs of the heart.
"So, you see, I could really use a few pointers on how to talk to girls and stuff like that." Harry's voice trailed off, dying out completely at the confused look on Cedric's face. "What?" Harry belligerently demanded, now not as certain that he'd done the right thing in coming here.
"Now don't go getting your knickers in a twist, Potter," Cedric replied nonchalantly while leaning back in his chair, eyeing Harry in a way that made him a bit uncomfortable. "You caught me by surprise is all. You've talked to girls before, haven't you?"
"Some," Harry agreed before amending his answer. "Very little, actually."
"Potter, I don't get it, you hang out with Granger; have done for years. Are you telling me that you haven't or don't talk to her?"
"That's different." Harry replied in exasperation.
"How so?" Cedric asked, waiting anxiously for Potter's response.
"Well," he sputtered, "for starters, Mione's not a real girl, ya know?"
Cedric laced his fingers behind his head and he stared at the ceiling of his little home for a second or two before meeting Harry's perplexed gaze and answering. "No, Potter I don't. Do your spectacles need adjusted or something?"
Harry's mouth fell open but nothing came out and so Cedric filled in the gap. "She's a girl through and through, make no mistake about it. She's got quite a lovely figure too."
"Hermione?!" gasped Harry in surprise, at a total loss as to where this conversation was headed.
"Have you seen her without her robes, Potter?" Harry nodded. He'd seen her in Muggle clothes a million times but she'd just been Hermione. She'd looked normal enough to him, nothing special.
Giving Potter a quizzical look, he asked, "And you've never noticed how incredibly full her breasts are? How tiny her waist looks when you compare it to the curvy swell of those breasts and the flair of her hips?" Cedric's lips twitched in amusement at the sight of Harry's bug-eyed reaction to his words. "She's got amazing legs too. Granted, she's not tall, but they're nicely shaped and I'm partial to women with delicate, tiny boned ankles." Swiveling in his chair so that he was partially facing away from Potter, he added, "She has this delightful tear-shaped mole right about here." Cedric pointed to an area just off to the side and below his shoulder blade.
Harry felt a jolt of fury shoot through him. He felt his hand itching to reach for his wand and he had to actually clench his fingers into a fist to prevent himself from doing so. How dare Diggory make such comments about Hermione! Harry shot to his feet and demanded. "When the hell have you seen 'Mione's naked shoulder?".
Cedric sat upright in one fluid movement and Harry wondered if everything the bloke did was naturally graceful. From what Harry could remember, during Quidditch matches, Diggory had flown like poetry in motion. More than once, Harry had, had to pull his eyes away from Cedric's form to focus on the game. Sure, Harry knew how to fly well too, he'd been told often enough by others. But he was more interested in speed than in the lissomness that Diggory had so often displayed. Not to say that Diggory wasn't fast off the mark, he was. Harry just rarely ever saw those two qualities aligned so completely in any other flyer and so Diggory stood out, again! The only other person, who had come close, Harry thought, had to have been Viktor Krum. While Krum had been elegant and lethal on a broom, he just didn't have that something else. That unknown factor that Harry couldn't place, couldn't quite put his finger on. Maybe Harry couldn't put a name to it, but he did know that whatever it was, Cedric had it in mass amounts.
Diggory's abilities, wasn't just geared in the area of aerodynamics either. At the Yule Ball, he had swept Cho across the floor with a precision and ease that had Harry fuming at his own inability to keep from stepping on his partners' toes. It had been one of his most humiliating moments to date, and Harry still hadn't forgiven McGonagall for insisting that he not only take a date, but dance with her too!
Harry recalled with perfect clarity that Cho had been wearing the most amazing robes that he had ever seen. She'd looked so damned glorious standing along side Diggory in her finery. They had been a difficult couple to ignore, that much had been true. Cedric in his dress robes and been every girls walking wet dream and possibly some of the blokes as well. Harry wasn't dead certain but he had thought that Seamus might have been one of those blokes. He'd gushed on about Diggory just a tad too much and too often for it to have been mere admiration. Adoration seemed to have been better word for it all. It had gotten to be so bad that Ron had finally offered up Colin's services as photographer in order for Seamus to have a picture of Diggory to wank off to in private. Seamus never mentioned Diggory again. Harry couldn't really fault him on that, Ron's comment hadn't even been addressed to him and he'd been embarrassed by it.
"You know, Potter, you're a real pill." Cedric picked up his plate and carried it over to the sink. "Tell me, what difference could it possibly make to you as to when I've seen a bit of Granger's skin?"
Spinning around Harry stated, "She's my friend and I'm kind of a brother substitute and brothers look out for their siblings, especially the girls. She's got no one besides me and Ron in the wizarding world; her parents are Muggles. Did you know that?"
Waving his hand over the sink, Cedric started the cleaning up process before commenting. Harry took a moment to grudgingly admire that he'd done it using silent and wandless magic. Each was really quite difficult and rare talents singularly, but to be able to accomplish both spoke volumes on Cedric's abilities. "Yeah, word does get around, you know. What with her being a hero of the War and all." Instead of returning to the table, Cedric leaned back against the rim of the counter.
Harry eyed Diggory's reclining figure with suspicion and once again held off the urge to reach for his wand. He wasn't too keen on being spoken to as if he didn't have a brain in his head and Diggory sounded down right condescending.
Harry thrust his chin out in aggressive manner that did not go unnoticed by Cedric. "Not to sound rude, Diggory." Harry knew full well that his tone belied his words. "But I think I know more about Hermione than most and most definitely more than you."
Crossing his arms over his chest, Cedric gave Harry a look that had "are you for real?" written all over it. "I'm quite familiar with Hermione Granger and her attributes, thank-you very much. I also think you're selling her short in a multitude of areas." It was stated simply, precisely and with a quiet certainty that bordered on snide.
Harry's bottle green eyes narrowed. "What exactly are you saying, Diggory? And if I were you, I'd be real careful on what comes out of your mouth next."
"But you're not me, are you?" Diggory was standing now, his own eyes as cold and grey as the ice that crusted on the lake during the winter months. "And if I were you, I'd change my attitude and tone considering you came to me for help and advice."
"That was before…"
"Before what?" Diggory, interrupted harshly. "Before I expressed my observations of Granger? Before I pushed home the knowledge that she's a real, live breathing woman and an attractive one at that? Or is it the fact that I can see her as something more than an extra appendage to the great and mighty Harry Potter? You, my friend, are an arrogant arse if you believe that that's all she has to offer. You act as if she's your own personal wand that can be picked up and used when necessity calls for it, and then be replaced in your pocket when she's served her purpose; forgotten until the next crisis arises. She's her own person, Potter with extraordinary talents and a matchless intellect, an intellect that has served you well through out the years with nary an acknowledgment on your part."
Harry felt sick. Sick and confused. Had he really done all that? Had he shoved Hermione into a tiny box marked, "Harry's Helper" and then taped it up, closing out the possibility that she was or could be something other than that? Had he really used his best friend in such an atrocious manner? Apparently, Diggory thought so. But the big question on Harry's mind at the moment was, did she? He wasn't sure. She'd never given any indication that she was unhappy or discontent with how their friendship ambled along.
"Diggory, you don't know a thing." Harry had been striving for confidence but even he could hear the uncertainty in his voice.
"I know enough." Cedric was at the door in two strides, flinging it wide open before saying, "I certainly know that I'm not in a generous frame of mind at the moment. So any advice you need from me will have to wait. And in the words that a Muggle friend used in my presence once and fits this situation remarkably well… don't let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya. In plain English… get out."
Harry remembered himself enough to say before crossing the threshold, "Thanks for tea."
Cedric pulled on every ounce of manners that his mother had pounded into him and replied with civility, "My pleasure."
But he didn't, Harry noticed, invite him to come back again. The door shut behind him with a loud thump. Apparently, Diggory's manners didn't extend to not slamming doors. Strangely enough, that pleased Harry.
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