Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

A/N: I've only slashed Harry/Blaise from Harry Potter, and I wanted to do something different, so I wrote down six names of HP guys I'd like to slash, crushed them into little balls, and picked out names randomly to form pairings I really wouldn't have thought of before.

This oneshot is for the first (of three) couples to be formed in this weird system of mine: Cedric Diggory and Blaise Zabini----a pairing I never would have thought of otherwise. This will be interesting…

Blaise/Cedric, mentions of onesided Draco/Hermione.

Warning: Slash. Somewhat uncannon.

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The first time Blaise met Cedric he'd been freshly sorted into Slytherin and not exactly as proud or smug as Malfoy about it. It wasn't that Blaise wasn't proud of his pure blood or the fact that he'd gotten into the house his father and mother had both come from, but he'd heard rumors about Slytherin, and so he'd decided that while he'd keep his mind open and accept whatever it was that the Sorting Hat picked for him, he'd be wary and not let anyone else sway him.

Cedric had been two years older than him, a third year, and a Hufflepuff at that. All those things combined had made it easy for Blaise to ignore the admittedly handsome guy. He'd had too many things on his mind anyway. He had to learn to circumnavigate the complex inner sanctums of Hogwarts, make friends who weren't Malfoy, keep at the top of his class (his mother wouldn't let him back home over the holidays otherwise) and try keep relative peace between himself and any Gryffindor.

That was a lot for any eleven year old, so he didn't think it was wrong of him to have apparently ignored every single attempt the elder boy had made to catch his attention in the hallway or between classes. Of course, Cedric had only tried to approach him whenever Malfoy or the other Slytherins weren't around him, and Malfoy was, unfortunately sometimes, always around.

And wherever Malfoy was, his two dumbskull minions followed brainlessly.

To be truthful, Blaise liked Malfoy. Sure, the guy needed to be brought down a peg or two from his smug inbreeding status of purity, but thankfully Blaise wasn't the one who had to do that. The feud with the 'golden trio' and especially the scathing looks the mudblood sent Malfoy were enough to keep the blonde busy.

Blaise wondered if Malfoy realized that he had developed a crush on the mudblood and that his teasing when it came to her showed it, and he also wondered if Malfoy would ever figure it out. Probably not. But it was entertaining, definitely.

So, due to all the complexities of his life and daily schedule it was a couple of months before he finally met Cedric, and it was all a matter of luck actually. Blaise was ahead of his class, he was Slytherin's 'Hermione Granger' (a nickname he did not approve of since he was not as show-offy with his knowledge as she was), and when he noticed some taller, lanky kid having difficulties with a spell Blaise had known since childhood, he'd offered to help.

Of course, he hadn't understood the other guy's surprised expression when he'd offered to help, but had contributed it to the fact that he was younger and most importantly a Slytherin, and Slytherins weren't exactly known for their charitable works.

Despite the fact that mostly anyone else would have told him they didn't need the help (even if they did) just because he was Slytherin this guy, who introduced himself as Cedric Diggory, stammered a thank you and accepted his help. Blaise had then spent the rest of the free period explaining to Cedric the few hand movements he was doing wrong, and the subtle mispronunciation of the last word of the spell.

By the time their next classes were scheduled to begin Cedric had mastered the spell that'd trounced him just half an hour before. With a parting smile Blaise had left the elder boy without a second glance, mind now consumed with his next class. He really didn't think he'd spend any more time with the Hufflepuff, the elder guy would probably not even acknowledge him in the hallways…

Blaise had been so wrong it was funny.

Not only had Cedric acknowledged him, but he'd done it in the middle of the Great Hall. Blaise had been rolling his eyes at Malfoy's murmurs about mudbloods and how their bad taste was proven by Granger's friendship with Potty and Weasel when there was a hush in the whole room and a shadow fell over him.

Looking away from his childhood friend, Blaise's green gaze raised and widened in surprise when they collided with Cedric's bluish-grays. There was nervousness in those eyes, and yet there was also determination as he cleared his throat, gave a crooked smile, and spoke.

"I'm having some problems in Transfiguration."

Blaise was silent for a moment, just in awe of the courage the Hufflepuff had to have come up to the Slytherin table in front of everyone. Blaise could have been a jerk and ignored him or something, Cedric had really risked it.

A slow smile touched Blaise's lips. "I have free time after lunch. We can meet up and I'll help you if I can."

Cedric's smile had been blinding, and it was around that time that his popularity with the girls started escalating. Not only did the fact that he'd been 'brave' enough to befriend a Slytherin make him buzz-worthy, but he had a smile to die for, and his pretty face didn't hurt either.

Not that Blaise was really attracted to males, but there was something about Cedric that stood out.

They met later and somehow hanging out together became a regular thing for them. No one made fun of a third year receiving help from Blaise, because it was Blaise, and the young diplomatic Slytherin found himself filled with petitions for tutorial help from many other students from his grade or higher ones once Cedric's grade average rose dramatically.

Blaise's first year of Hogwarts was relatively boring, his time mostly spent studying with Cedric, who'd become a surprisingly close friend, and getting to know people outside of his house.

There were rumors that something had happened with the Golden Trio sometime around the end of the year, but other than the fact that it'd somehow ended up involving Dumbledore no one knew for certain what it was, and it was forgotten quickly as everyone went their way to their homes for the holidays.

At his home Blaise heard disturbing rumors being whispered about He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named having returned, but he dismissed them, hoping they were nothing but suppositions.

During the holidays Cedric and he owled each other frequently, keeping each other updated with their lives. It was a nice distraction from Malfoy's many slurs against Granger, and his somewhat insulting, somewhat longing ponderings on whether she would have grown into her hair and teeth as yet.

Finally it was time to return to Hogwarts, and the school year started with a bang as Weasley and Potter (who had somehow missed the train) flew a car into the Whomping Willow. That whole episode (and why they weren't expelled) was an interesting topic of gossip that lasted for a good couple of weeks, Slytherins using it to point out how the Head Master was partial when it came to Gryffindors, especially his pet Potter.

Blaise found himself siding with his housemates on that one, even though Cedric was sure that Dumbledore must have had a good reason for what he'd done.

But that was just Cedric being Cedric.

He was way too nice.

Then again, that was one of the many things Blaise liked about him.

Gilderoy Lockhart, the famous wizard, was their DADA teacher that year, and Blaise had to admit that he developed a slight hero-worship crush on their pretty and pretty flamboyant professor. For some reason Cedric hated Lockhart's guts. And yet if it hadn't been for Lockhart's placing Malfoy and Potter to duel they might never have known that Potter was a Parseltongue.

And then the Chamber Of Secrets was opened and muggleborns, and even that filthy cat Mrs. Norris, were attacked, petrified. Supposedly only the heir of Slytherin could open the Chamber of Secrets, wherever it be, and with the revelation that Potter was parseltongue everything pointed to him being the culprit.

Malfoy was, of course, enraged at the thought that anyone could believe that Potter was Slytherin's heir, but Blaise wasn't sure. There was just something about Potter that made him a little curious.

Even if he was a Gryffindor.

Cedric had tried being optimistic and he was positive that Potter wasn't the Heir of Slytherin, despite all the many evidences against the Gryffindor, but the Hufflepuff still insisted that Blaise and he suspend their nightly time together. Instead they magi-quilled each other from the safety of their own rooms, and it was during that time that Blaise realized how much he missed seeing Cedric.

Watching the other boy's words appear on his scroll just wasn't the same as seeing Cedric's smile or hearing his laughter.

The realization shocked Blaise, but he took it as a show of the strong friendship he'd formed with the elder boy.

"When do you think this is going to end?" He asked Cedric as they sat outside on the lawn, eating lunch together since they weren't able to spend time at night.

"I don't know." Cedric's gaze was on his food, oblivious to the flock of girls watching them and giggling. He was now fourteen, and slowly becoming a man, a very handsome one. "I hope it's over soon though."

"At least we know for sure that it isn't Potter doing this." Blaise announced, picking at his food.

Granger had been petrified earlier that day, and Malfoy was in a tizzy. Of course he wasn't showing he was worried, he was just being more of a bastard than usual. But Blaise knew the annoying prat too well to be fooled, to not see the way his ice blues darkened whenever he heard someone snorting about how the mudblood had finally gotten what was coming to her.

"I always knew it wasn't him." Cedric announced, looking up from his food. "But that doesn't change that whoever is responsible for this is still out there, not even a suspect. Soon someone's going to be killed, and not just petrified."

Blaise smiled softly at Cedric. The guy had such an amazing heart.

Probably why he was sorted into Hufflepuff.

Leaning forwards, Blaise placed his hand on the elder boy's and squeezed. "Dumbledore will find out who is doing this and stop them."

Cedric's eyes widened and a blush tinted his cheeks before he suddenly looked away and cleared his throat, softly tightening the hold on their hands. "Yeah, I know."

Blaise didn't know why he was shy all of a sudden, this was Cedric for crying out loud---his best friend! He didn't understand why his gaze was captivated by the contrast of Cedric's creamy complexion against his own darker tan, or when he'd started thinking of his blushing friend as cute.

In the end he pulled his hand from Cedric, cleared his throat and scratched the back of his head, unable to look his friend in the face. They talked about generic things, just trying to keep it from going silent.

Later that day they found out that Ginny Weasley had, under the influence of the Dark Lord's Diary, been the one doing all the havoc---and Potter had not only saved her, but had battled a basilisk hidden in the school and lived to tell the tale.

Malfoy would have been more pissed at Potter's heroics if it hadn't been for the fact that Granger had finally been unpetrified.

And so Blaise's second year ended and he was surprised by Cedric's invitation to spend the holidays with him and his family. The young Slytherin had been somewhat hesitant, having never spent such a long time at someone else's home, but his mother and her newest husband had urged him to go. Cedric's father worked in the Ministry of Magic, and they both announced it was good for him to have ties in the office if he ever wanted to become Minister (their dream, not his).

So the young boy spent his time with Cedric and his mother and father, and was shocked at how a family of Hufflepuffs differed from a family of Slytherins. Things were lively, fun, and Cedric's parents doted on him, adored him to an extent that left Blaise a little jealous.

Their holiday together brought the boys closer, as they shared the same room and Blaise wondered how he was going to survive living in the dungeons again after having experienced the sunny life that was the Diggory household. How was he going to put up with listening to Malfoy bitch and complain (everyone else blinding agreeing with the blonde) when he'd gotten used to Cedric's witty dialogs----to falling asleep to the sound of Cedric's cheerful voice?

Those questions plagued him, but the young man decided not to let them ruin the wonderful experience.

School term began again, and just like last year, Potter hadn't even waited to get to school before starting a scandal. Since Sirius Black, the notorious insane killer, had escaped from Azkaban dementors had been stationed around Hogwarts and the train to make sure the convict couldn't get close to them.

And Potter had reportedly fainted when he'd seen a stray dementor. If it hadn't been for their newest DADA teacher, Remus Lupin, who knew what would have happened to Potter.

Honestly, if the rumors of Potter battling a basilisk singlehandedly were true, why would he faint by just looking at a dementor?

At least this had Malfoy in a better mood, the blonde taking every opportunity to taunt Potter with his fear and to leer at Granger, who was always by Potter's side.

Just like the year before, this one was filled with fear an uncertainty, with Sirius Black being spotted close to Hogwarts, and then in Hogwarts itself----although the millions of dementors around hadn't picked up on him.

Not only was Sirius Black something to worry about, but Blaise had deduced that professor Lupin was a werewolf. He shared his theory only with Cedric, and while the Hufflepuff had snorted in disbelief the lunar cycles kept coinciding with Lupin's disappearances, and slowly Cedric came around.

"Should we tell Dumbledore?" Fifteen year old Cedric asked, hugging himself slightly, worried.

"He probably already knows." The now thirteen year old deduced, leaning his head against Cedric's shoulder as they sat in the back of the library together. "We're just going to have to trust that the Headmaster knows what he's doing. I mean, it's not like Professor Lupin has hurt anyone."

Cedric nodded slowly in agreement. "I guess you're right. He's my favorite teacher anyway." He sighed, before turning to look at Blaise. "Is it true that the Griffin Hagrid has brutally attacked Malfoy and nearly killed him during Care Of Magical Creatures?"

Blaise snorted at how Malfoy had managed to misconstrue everything. "Not at all. He got his arm hurt slightly, but he'd acting like it was nearly torn off or something."

The blonde had gotten jealous at the awe and admiration in Granger's eyes as she saw how Potter tamed the beast, and he'd wanted to show her that he could do it even better.

Which he couldn't.

And if Blaise were honest, Malfoy deserved what he'd gotten.

"Oh." Cedric replied before breathing in the scent of Blaise's hair. "You always smell so nice."

Blaise was suddenly glad that Cedric couldn't see his face, or he'd have noticed the slight blush. Lately Cedric would do things that'd leave Blaise confused and blushing, his heart racing a million miles per second, and the younger boy didn't understand what was happening.

Didn't understand these feelings.

"Can we stay out here like this a little bit longer?" Cedric asked with a sigh, moving so that his arm was now resting around Blaise's shoulder, pulling him tighter towards him, gaze trained out of the window.

Blaise suddenly found his cheek resting against Cedric's heart. He found himself trembling slightly at the heat of the older boy's arm around him, marveling at the heart beating against his cheek. Suddenly Cedric's scent was the only thing he could smell, his voice the only thing Blaise could hear, his heartbeat the only thing he could feel.

What's going on with me?

It was that question that plagued the young Slytherin throughout the rest of the year. The news of Sirius Black's capture and escape hardly even penetrated his mind as the school year came to an end and he found himself with another invitation to join the Diggory household, this time it was an invitation straight from Mrs. Diggory, who'd owled his mother and stepfather beforehand to make sure she had their permission.

Blaise hesitated again, yet this time it was because of his confusing feelings when it came to Cedric Diggory. He was frightened, and smart enough to admit it to himself. He'd gotten so close to Cedric last holiday…what if they got closer and he got weirder and did something like kiss Cedric---and ruin their friendship forever?

He wanted to back out of the invitation, he really did, but Ced was completely excited, had already planned all that they were going to do together, and Blaise found he couldn't say no to the ecstatic Hufflepuff. So despite his trepidation Blaise found himself a part of the Diggory family once more, enjoying discussing literature with Mrs. Diggory and politics with Mr. Diggory (both insisted he call them Ma and Pa like Cedric did).

And he began to wonder if Cedric had always been this touchy-feely before and he just hadn't noticed it or if it was a new development in their relationship---friendship. Things were changing between them, slowly but surely, Blaise could see that, he knew Cedric and the Diggorys could as well, and it worried and confused him. What did it all mean?

The first night Cedric told him to scoot over and joined him on his twin bed Blaise had nearly fainted in surprise, and yet Cedric had only turned towards him and talked the rest of the night normally, so he'd relaxed. In the end Blaise had found himself soothed by Ced's company, and he'd fallen asleep easier than he'd ever thought possible. And the feeling when he'd awoken to find himself curled around a still sleeping Cedric was embarrassing and yet not disgusting.

It was after a couple of nights of sleeping in the same bed that Blaise first began to wonder what it would be like to kiss his best friend, and that was when he had to finally admit to himself what was happening.

He was attracted to Cedric.

This could only cause problems.

Thankfully the Quidditch World Cup began, and Pa Diggory took Blaise and Cedric to it to watch the game between Ireland and Bulgaria. They saw a lot of people from school, namely Malfoy dressed somewhat identically to his father, and Potter, Granger and the Weasley brood.

The latter confrontation had been somewhat tense due to the last game between Hufflepuff and Gryffindor, mostly though because of Pa Diggory and Mr. Weasley than Cedric or Potter. Potter had even smiled at Blaise, and the Slytherin had been shocked that a Gryffindor, that Gryffindor had smiled at him. Still he smiled back and when the two companies parted ways Blaise had turned back to gaze at the others in contemplative silence.

Maybe Potter wasn't all that bad.

Cedric's arm suddenly went around Blaise in an act that surprised the Slytherin, and he quickly jerked back to look up at Cedric, eyes wide, blushing.

For a moment the Hufflepuff had been glaring at him, but then looking into Blaise's face he suddenly broke into a pleased smile and gave the younger boy's shoulders a little squeeze. "C'mon, the game's about to start."

They watched as Bulgarian Quidditch legend despite his young age Viktor Krum played outstandingly, and Cedric was more than a little disappointed when they'd had to leave early thus he hadn't been able to try and get a signature from his role model.

But it was a good thing that they'd left.

The Dark Mark had been cast in the sky in the forest close to the stadium.

The work of Death Eaters.

Blaise felt a knot in his stomach as they returned to Hogwarts, and then Dumbledore announced that they'd just revived an old tradition, The Triwizard Tournament, an inter-school competition. Students from Beauxbatons Academy in France and Durmstrang Institute in Bulgaria joined them to compete.

All students in year six could try out to represent Hogwarts in the Triwizard Tournament by placing a slip of paper with their name inside of the Goblet of Fire. Many younger students tried to put their names but the age line Dumbledore had placed around the goblet hadn't allowed anyone under 16 to cross it. Even the Weasley twins hadn't been able to.

Blaise had been shocked when the choices of competitors had been spewed out of the goblet. It wasn't Fleur Delacour from Beauxbatons or Viktor Krum from Durmstrang that surprised Blaise, it was both Cedric Diggory and Harry Potter from Hogwarts that did. Cedric's name shocked him because his best friend hadn't even mentioned in passing that he was interested in participating in the extremely dangerous competition---and Potter was too young.

Plus, there was only supposed to be three competitors, and with Potter there were four. And what else was surprising?

Potter claimed he'd had nothing to do with his name being put into the goblet, and while the whole school and even his best friend Weasley thought him a liar, Blaise believed Potter.

And it worried him.

He'd been angry, pissed at Cedric and hurt that he hadn't shared this decision to try out for the competition with him, but he'd decided to help his friend (turned crush) survive the grueling competitions.

Malfoy got a real kick out of the fact that the whole school seemed to have turned against Potter. He'd suddenly become artsy/crafty and created special "Support Cedric Diggory—the REAL Hogwarts Champion…Potter Stinks!" badges and circulated them all around Hogwarts.

Despite Cedric himself asking people not to wear them, because since Blaise believed Potter was telling the truth so did Cedric, people still wore them and taunted the young Gryffindor mercilessly.

There was no need to say that this was Malfoy's favorite memory of Hogwarts.

Potter though, proved to be a good sport.

When he found out that the first task of the competition was going to be a dragon he'd warned Cedric. Together Blaise and the Hufflepuff had hyperventilated in the astronomy tower, where they could be alone. This was a dragon they were talking about, and it was all Blaise could do to not hex Cedric into petrification to make sure he didn't do the idiot's thing and go up against a dragon.

Of course, he knew the other boy would never forgive him if he did that, so Blaise did all he could to help him plan a way to defeat a dragon and steal a golden egg.

"I'm thinking distraction." Blaise announced, nervous, sitting on the floor of the astronomy tower, refusing to look at Cedric, who was leaning against the window frame. "From the little I know of dragons I'd say that would be your best bet. You could transfigure something into something else, something distracting, something loud. It has to be something that would catch and keep the dragon's attention long enough for you to get the egg and get to safety."

"Blaise…"

"I'm thinking a dog." Blaise plowed on, refusing to let his brain or his mouth rest long enough for him to start thinking about anything other than how to help Cedric. He was a nervous wreck, he didn't need to keep imagining Cedric eaten alive. "Dragons are family to crocodiles, and they say that crocodiles hate dogs and attack them all the time."

"Blaise…" Cedric's voice was more insistent.

"So I say you transform it from a rock or something else in the area, and while it's being loud and barking and attacking you get the egg and get out of there." Blaise was moving his hands as he spoke. "But we should have a backup plan just in case---."

"Blaise!" And suddenly Cedric was kneeling in front of him, eyeing him in stark worry. "What's wrong? Why are you crying?"

"I'm not---." But bringing his hand to his face Blaise realized in horror that he actually was crying. "I---I." He closed his eyes and ducked his gaze, embarrassed and defensive. "I'm scared, okay?"

"Scared?"

Blaise's green eyes flew open as he glared angrily at Cedric. "You're going up against a dragon, Ced, in a competition where students have been known to lose their lives! You're the most important person to me! What if because I'm incompetent and couldn't teach you the spells you need you get hurt or killed or---?!"

But he never got to say the rest because he'd been silenced…by Cedric's lips.

The Slytherin's eyes widened even further in surprise before they slowly drifted closed and he tentatively began to respond, moving his lips against Cedric's, whimpering slightly in shock and pleasure as the Hufflepuff's tongue teased his, owning his mouth.

And then Cedric pulled away and grinned, ducking his gaze, face as bright as Blaise's. "I'm not going to die. I've got something important to live for."

Blaise ducked his gaze, blush darkening, a small smile curving his lips.

Cedric chuckled softly before sitting down next to Blaise. "So. What were you saying about transfiguring a stone?"

Blaise's farfetched plan actually worked.

Cedric only got a burn to prove that he'd faced a dragon, and that disappeared after a trip to the infirmary.

And then they were left with the second phase of the task.

Figure out how the egg related to the second task.

Whenever it was opened the egg would let out this horrible, ear-splitting screech that was intolerable to hear. Blaise tried to figure out a way to understand the screeches, sure that it was a message of some kind, but Cedric really wasn't being cooperative.

There were other things on his mind.

"Will you go to the Yule Ball with me?"

Blaise dropped the golden egg as soon as those words escaped Cedric's lips. "What?"

Cedric cleared his throat, nervous, rubbing his hand behind his head. "The Yule Ball we're having in a couple of days? The thing everyone's going crazy about? A Triwizard tradition? I have to go, I'm a champion, remember?" He chuckled nervously. "You wanna be my date?"

The young Slytherin forgot all about the damned egg and he found himself sitting down, knees having given out on him. "Date?"

Cedric frowned slightly. "Yes, my date. I---," he blushed and looked away. "I like you, Blaise. And I know you like me too. So go with me. Be my date."

"I---I can't." Blaise whispered, eyes wide, still not believing they were having this conversation. "I'm a guy, Ced. I---I can't be your date."

The Hufflepuff turned to look at him, eyes narrowed. "What does your gender have to do with this? The Wizarding World isn't like the muggle world, homosexuality is understood, approved of. I mean, the greatest wizard ever, our Headmaster, is a homosexual too."

Homosexual.

The word hit Blaise hard.

He ran his hands over his face and looked down at the floor. "I'm not----I----we've only kissed…three times." He bit his bottom lip.

It wasn't that he didn't like Cedric, he did.

A lot.

But this was too much too soon.

He needed some time.

But he didn't want Cedric to misunderstand—to think he didn't---.

Cedric sighed and bent to his knees in front of him, fingers clasping around Blaise's chin and softly raising his face so that they were looking at each other. "It's okay. I'm sorry. I was pushing you too hard. We---we have time, and you're still young. We'll take this slow, okay?" He gave Blaise a crooked yet tender smile. "I'm not going to scare you away just because I got impatient. We have the rest of our lives to work this out, right?"

Blaise smiled softly at Cedric, sweet, honest, caring Cedric…Cedric who always put others feelings before his own. "I really like you."

Cedric smiled and blushed. "I'm really happy right now."

Closing his eyes Blaise trembled slightly before leaning forwards and pressing his lips to Cedric's in their first kiss that he had instigated.

There was a clearing of the throat.

Both students pulled away quickly to see their newest DADA professor, Professor Moony, standing there in the doorways of the Astronomy Tower.

"And here I thought you two were here trying to figure out the clue." He snorted. "You must learn and practice constant vigilance, young men! Constant vigilance!"

"Yes sir!" Both announced, embarrassed at having been caught.

"About that clue." He motioned to where the egg lay on the ground between Cedric and Blaise. "Open up the egg underwater and listen to it, you might be surprised." And with that he hobbled away mumbling about hormonal teenagers.

The two young students looked at each other before grabbing the egg and rushing towards the prefect's bathroom.

They talked about the Yule Ball again, how Cedric was supposed to attend with a date, and the Hufflepuff decided to ask Cho Chang, a ravenclaw. According to Cedric Cho had already figured out his feelings for the Slytherin and had confronted him about it months before, telling him to just confess his feelings to Blaise already, that she felt it was the first step in house unity.

Apparently Cho was a 'yaoi' fan girl, and while neither Blaise nor Cedric were sure what 'yaoi' was exactly, they had a pretty good idea.

So Blaise went with Cedric to talk to Cho, and the pretty Asian girl had frowned, saying that Blaise should be the one going with Cedric, that it was the perfect opportunity for them to 'come out'. After explaining how Blaise still wasn't ready she sighed and agreed to go as Cedric's date to help them, but her condition was for them to come out before Cedric graduated---which really wasn't that far away now that Blaise thought about it.

The thought of living in Hogwarts without Ced was distressing, but Blaise couldn't let himself be distracted.

They found out what the clue in the egg was and Blaise threw himself into figuring out how to help Cedric breathe under water. He decided on the Bubble-Head Charm, and then it was time for the Yule Ball.

It wasn't really that grand, and Blaise didn't like dancing, nor did he particularly like seeing Cedric dancing with Cho, but it'd been his decision and Blaise couldn't be fickle right now. Anyway, he liked Cho, and knew that she supported his quasi-relationship with Ced and would never try anything with the Hufflepuff.

He had to admit though, he felt a little perverse happiness that he wasn't the only one not enjoying the Yule Ball. Potter and Weasley looked miserable, their dates the Patil twins looked miserable, and Malfoy (who was ignoring his date Parkinson) kept sending death glares at Viktor Krum, who had surprised the whole room by bringing Granger as his date.

"Why did he ask Cho?"

Blaise turned in surprise to see Potter standing beside him at the refreshment table, plastic cup filled with juice in hand, eyes on the dancing duo. "What?"

This was the first time they'd actually spoken to each other.

It was odd.

"Diggory." Potter turned his green gaze on Blaise. "Why did he ask Cho to be his date if he obviously likes you?"

"Obviously?" Blaise squeaked and hated it.

Potter nodded, face serious. "Does he plan on playing with her?"

"No." Blaise shook his head. "She knows. About us." He cleared his throat, uncomfortable with a Gryffindor knowing this. "I—I wasn't ready to make this public and she helped us."

Potter looked like he finally understood, and the misery drained from his face as he smiled slightly.

"Oh, right." Blaise turned to Potter once more. "Ced was going to tell you this himself, but since you're here now…" He paused. "How are you doing with the egg?"

Potter looked surprised. "You found a way to understand that unholy screeching?"

Blaise grinned mysteriously before looking around to make sure no one was listening in on them. The young Slytherin lowered his voice. "If you open the egg under the water and listen to it, the screeches become a voice singing."

"Singing?" Potter asked, leaning in closer, face attentive.

"I memorized it." Blaise offered.

"Please." Potter accepted the offer trustingly despite the fact that it was a Slytherin offering.

Blaise leaned in closer, lowering his voice as he repeated the poem.

"Come seek us where our voices sound,

We cannot sing above the ground,

And while you're searching, ponder this;

We've taken what you'll sorely miss,

An hour long you'll have to look,

And recover what we took,

But past an hour - the prospect's black,

Too late, it's gone, it won't come back."

Potter frowned for a moment, before his green eyes widened and he looked up at Blaise's face with a grin. "I know where we have to go."

"Good." Blaise smirked back before he frowned. "It has me a little worried with this 'we've taken what you'll sorely miss' part."

The smile left Potter's face as he nodded. "Yes, it does sound somewhat ominous."

"I hope we're not interrupting anything."

Both boys turned to see a frowning Cedric and concerned looking Cho Chang next to them. Both of the older students were looking at Potter disapprovingly.

"Well, I should be heading back to my date." Potter announced before giving Cho a nervous smile. "You really look beautiful tonight." And with that he left.

The rest of the ball passed by quickly, with Cho, Cedric and Blaise spending the time together talking and laughing, and then it ended and everyone returned to their dorms to sleep.

The next occurrences were fuzzy, because one minute Blaise was going to sleep, and then the next he was taking a deep breath, soaking wet, outside, with someone pulling him out of the freezing water of the Lake.

For a moment he thought he was in a nightmare, but then Cedric was there in front of him, looking him over, face pale and frightened.

"Are you okay? Did they hurt you?"

"What?" Blaise was disoriented and confused. "What's going on? Why am I outside? Who?"

"The merpeople, did they hurt you?" Cedric ignored all of his questions, pressing his own, near frantic. "I was nervous when I couldn't find you at all before the second task this morning, but when I saw you floating deep in the belly of the Lake, tied to a merman statue----I nearly, I---." And then he couldn't speak as he pulled Blaise into a desperate hug, burying his face into the younger boy's neck. "I should have guessed! 'We've taken what you'll sorely miss'…how dumb could I have been?!?"

Blaise, still confused, placed his arms around Cedric as the elder boy trembled, clutching to him frantically.

The Slytherin didn't even notice the amount of people watching this development in surprise, or see Cho in the stands cheering, a large smile on her face.

"It's okay Ced…It's okay." He tried comforting the older boy.

"No it's not!" Cedric snapped against the skin of his neck. "You remember what the poem said! 'Too late, it's gone, it won't come back.' If I hadn't found you, gotten you---!" And then Cedric pulled away far enough to kiss him.

Blaise's eyes widened at the loud cheering and shocked gasps coming from the onlookers, only now getting that they were in the middle of the tasks, but he didn't pull away. He softly kissed Cedric back, trying to comfort the shaken up champion.

The kiss was soft and sweet, comforting and reassuring, and when Cedric pulled away so he could hug Blaise again the Slytherin was surprised at how sad he was that the kiss had ended, but then Cedric's warmth was all around him.

"Ced! Blaise!" Amos 'Pa' and 'Ma' Diggory cried as they hurried out from the stands and hugged both cold, wet boys.

"Are you two all right?" Ma Diggory asked, pulling away so she could look at their faces. "When Ced was worried that he hadn't seen you this morning I thought he was just being paranoid, men in love are like that sometimes, but then when he surfaced with you and you looked dead!" Ma hugged Blaise tightly again. "Don't let any filthy merperson kidnap you again! You'll give me a heart attack!"

Blaise hugged Ma Diggory back, gulping back the tears in the back of his eyes as he always had to do while around the Diggorys. Why couldn't his family have been like them? "I'm fine Ma."

"Of course he's fine, Sylvia." Pa announced, clapping his son proudly on the shoulder. "He's got Ced looking out for him, and Ced's not about to let anything ever happen to our Blaisy. Isn't that right son?"

Ced grinned at his father. "Right father."

Blaise and Ma Diggory shared a smile before Ma and Pa helped the boys up and they watched as the others surfaced one by one and the task was successfully completed.

At the dinner that night it was declared that the last task would be to circumnavigate an overgrown maze in the back of Hogwarts that would be filled with dangers. Whomever got to the Triwizard Cup situated in the middle of the maze first could be champion.

Instead of going to bed early Cedric asked Blaise to the Astronomy tower to go over some last minute details---which just ended up being an excuse to make out. Blaise really should have seen that one coming, but he was academically minded, so when a school hunk asked him to the local make out point to 'study' he'd really thought they'd be studying.

He wasn't too disappointed in the outcome though, to be truthful.

"You really should be sleeping now." Blaise whispered as he laid on the floor later that night, Cedric's head resting against his stomach, the lights out, one hand caressing Ced's hair and the other with his fingers entwined with Cedric's.

Cedric's only answer was a sleepily grumbled: "I am sleeping now. Shhh."

Blaise looked up at the stars. "I love you, Cedric."

There was a moment's pause. "I love you too." Cedric shifted slightly, getting more comfortable. "Stop worrying. I'll be fine tomorrow."

Blaise's face went grim, remembering the last task. "Please be careful Ced. Please. People have died in this competition before."

Sighing, Cedric pulled away and sat up, looking down at Blaise with sleepy intensity. "I'm not going to due, Blaise." He lowered himself so that he was leaning over the Slytherin, lips just a breath from the younger boy's. "If I did die----I wouldn't be able to do this, now would I?" And with that he claimed those lips beneath his hungrily, urgently, before sinking downwards until he was covering Blaise.

There were whimpers and moans and whispers of love as the stars watched on, and then, much later, they fell asleep, Blaise resting with his cheek against Cedric's heartbeat, sleep plagued with nightmares he couldn't quite remember once he woke up the next morning.

He tried not to be anxious as the champions got ready to enter the maze, but he couldn't help it. Blaise stood next to the Diggorys and waited patiently for both Ma and Pa to say their due and give their love to their only child before stepping forwards and looking up at Cedric.

"Please."

Cedric smiled at him and clasped his fingers around Blaise's chin, lifting his face to the kiss he dropped on the younger boy's lips before winking. "I'll give you another when I come back the winner." And with that he joined the others, and the competition begun.

Blaise went and sat next to the Diggorys instead of the Slytherins, and throughout the whole thing he was a nervous wreck, that horrible feeling deep in his stomach. So many different monsters and dangers assailed the champions, and in the end only Potter and Cedric made it to the clearing with the Triwizard Cup----because they'd helped each other throughout the whole maze.

Hogwarts watched in bated breath as both hesitated, spoke to each other, before nodding and reaching for the Cup at the same time, obviously aiming for a tie.

But the moment they touched the Cup they disappeared.

The next half an hour was chaos.

No one could understand what had happened---where Cedric and Potter had disappeared to. This wasn't a part of the competition.

Something had gone terribly wrong.

And then Potter returned in a flash of light, just like they'd disappeared, bruised, bloody, and carrying a lifeless Cedric.

Blaise went into shock around that time as Ma and Pa rushed to the side of their only child, crying his name. Tears filled the Slytherin's green orbs as he sat there, gazing at Cedric's lifeless face, eyes open and staring unseeingly at the sky as his parents fell to their knees and cried brokenheartedly.

It was only later that Blaise found out that Professor Moody was actually Barty Crouch Jr., working with Voldemort to make sure that Potter won the competition---that the Cup was a portkey that had taken Cedric and Potter to a graveyard in Little Hangleton.

It wasn't until later that Blaise was told how with a careless "kill the spare" Cedric's life had been stolen from him in such a cruel way by Voldemort's minion Peter Pettigrew.

And it wasn't until later that he was informed that the Dark Lord had returned and gained his own body again (although the ministry firmly denied this due to lack of evidence as Barty Crouch Jr., was 'tragically' kissed by a dementor and thus lost his soul, memories, every piece of evidence).

But Blaise just couldn't care anymore.

Cedric was gone.

Gone.

The image of the sweet, caring, tender Hufflepuff's face blanked by death haunted him, nightmares of Cedric calling his name, begging for help nearly sent Blaise insane.

He almost didn't go to the funeral because he knew he couldn't stand still and watch Cedric be buried with the Slytherin composure he knew was expected of him, but he needed to go, needed to say his goodbye…even if it was going to destroy his soul.

But Blaise couldn't say goodbye.

Not even as he stood over the casket, reaching in to caress Cedric's cold, pale cheek with his thumb, his silent tears falling onto that face he'd kissed and loved.

You promised me. He accused in his mind because the sobs in his throat made it impossible to speak. You lied to me. You promised. YOU PROMISED!

Closing his eyes, tears blinding him, Blaise lowered his trembling lips to Cedric's in one last kiss before breaking down in front of the coffin and all those at the funeral, crumbling to his knees, not caring who saw him.

He felt warm arms going around him, heard Ma's and Pa's cries as they knelt down by him and cried along with him. The three people who'd loved Cedric the most broke down pitifully, sharing their grief, their heartbreak. They'd never be whole again, and they mourned the loss they knew they'd never recover from.

The day Harry Potter got out of St. Mungos he searched out Blaise in Hogwarts.

"I'm sorry I couldn't save him." Potter whispered, eyes red, guilt written on his face. "I'm so sorry."

Blaise shook his head, closing his eyes, telling himself he wouldn't cry. He wouldn't. Not anymore. "It's not your fault. You couldn't have done anything."

Potter sat down next to him, where he'd found him sitting by the edge of the Lake. "When, after, when I was battling with Voldemort, our wands' cores connected and the Priori Incantatem was triggered."

Blaise's eyes flew open at that and he turned to Potter, desperate. He knew what Pirori Incantatem was. During a wand duel, a simultaneous spellcasting by both parties would trigger an effect where both wands were linked through a golden thread of energy. The two wand holders then competed in a battle of wills, in which the loser's wand was forced to display in ghostly form the spells which had been cast by said wand.

If the death spell had been cast, then 'echoes' of the victims would appear briefly.

"You saw him." Blaise whispered, swallowing passed the lump in his throat, eyes welling with tears.

Potter nodded. "I saw him, my mom and dad, and others. They—they helped me escape by distracting Voldemort long enough for me to reach Cedric's body, then summon the Portkey to return us both to Hogwarts."

"That sounds like something he would have done." Tears were falling, and his voice was hardly controlled, and yet he smiled slightly. "Helping others even after he was dead."

Blaise closed his eyes tightly and bit down on his bottom lip to keep the sob from escaping.

"Before his echo disappeared he—he asked me to not leave his body there, to take it to his father." Potter's voice was trembling with emotion, his eyes just as tortured as Blaise's. He stopped talking for a moment, blinking, two silent tears making their way down his pale cheeks before he brushed them away. "And he also, he asked me to give this to you---and to tell you he was sorry he couldn't give you that kiss he promised."

And Blaise broke down.

He didn't even know what Potter was searching in his pocket for. He just covered his face with his hands and sobbed.

He felt a warm hand on his back, rubbing it, heard soft crying to his right.

"I'm sorry." Potter's voice was broken. "I'm so sorry!"

They both cried until there were no more tears, and Blaise wiped at his eyes before turning to Potter, who was holding a chain with a an amethyst colored stone pendant. "It's Ced's chain."

He took the necklace reverently from Potter's hand, looking at the stone, before his eyes widened as he suddenly realized what it was. It was a special stone, which copied the owner's favorite, happiest, most cherished memories.

Potter stood silently and left, realizing this was a sacred moment.

Blaise watched him go before taking in a deep breath and staring straight into the stone. For a moment there was nothing, but then the cloudlike designs on the stone began to shift and Blaise smiled sadly as he saw the time Cedric had walked up to the Slytherin table to ask for help and Blaise smiled at him----saw times they spent together---their first kiss----all the memories, every single one that played on and on and on, were of them.

And then there was the last, of right before Cedric had started the third task.

"I love you, Blaise."

Cedric hadn't said it out loud, but he'd obviously thought it, because it was recorded into the memory as Cedric smiled down at Blaise, whom he'd just kissed.

Seeing Cedric's smile hurt a place deep inside of Blaise, but it also gave him something he hadn't had since Voldemort had returned and destroyed Blaise's life by taking away the one person he'd ever loved---a purpose to continue on.

I'm going to make Voldemort pay, I swear it Ced. He vowed, not even wincing at saying the Dark Lord's name. He'll pay, and maybe when he's dead I'll finally be able to let you rest in peace.

"I love you, Blaise." The memory replayed itself.

Blaise chuckled a soft, sad sound, a lone tear drifting down his tear-stained cheek. "I love you too, Ced." And with that choked whisper he pulled the necklace over his head, the pendant now close to his heart.

Hugging his knees to his chest, the Slytherin looked out to the horizon, silent, with only the memory of Cedric Digorry to accompany him.

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Oh my god, I've never cried while writing something as much as I did writing this! (blows nose and wipes eyes) I knew it'd be sad but wasn't prepared for how strongly it would affect me…

Review?