The black and gold Hufflepuff common room was quiet the night before the last match of the Triwizard Tournament. The other nights had been louder and rowdier with everyone cheering for their champion, but tonight was different; tonight was subdued and still. Susan shifted nervously in her chair as she chewed on the end of her quill; her words eluded her. Absolutely everyone was wound up tight. A cloud of foreboding doom hung over them all, and no one knew why. They sat in small groups, talking quietly, looking around worriedly.
Their champion was his usual calm self, but he seemed more withdrawn tonight, flipping book pages, instead of cheerfully talking with his friends. Cedric had done well on the other challenges, everyone was more than proud. Yet the most difficult task was now at hand, and that thought had overwhelmed everyone, more than they knew why.
Susan looked around the room, most of the students had actually gone to bed early rather than face their gloomy friends. She wondered how the Gryffindors were faring. Like the others, she had been annoyed with Harry for somehow managing to get "chosen" by the goblet. Yet over time, she had forgiven him, he was her friend after all. He'd been doing well, surprisingly so. She hoped that he and Cedric would both be safe.
As she sat there pondering, she was startled when Cedric sat down next to her. He smiled quietly as he said, "Well, Susan, I think you might be the only one left staying up with me."
Susan flushed slightly, "I hadn't noticed everyone else go up." She fiddled awkwardly with her damp quill before setting it down. "Are you nervous?"
Cedric grinned, "Somewhat."
Susan wrinkled her nose back at him, "Me too."
"Why are you nervous?" he asked.
Susan blushed again, "I just don't want you, er... anyone to get hurt."
Cedric leaned back and ran his long fingers absentmindedly through his hair, "Me either. There's been some close calls, hasn't there?"
Susan nodded and they both sat in silence for a few minutes, thinking.
"Are you going to get some sleep?" Susan asked, concerned.
"I will, just not yet," Cedric leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs.
"Do you want me to stay up with you?" Susan asked softly, shyly.
Opening his eyes, Cedric looked at her, "I'd be honored."
Susan smiled and leaned back in her own chair. They sat together in silence for a half hour before Cedric stood. Susan followed suit. Ruffling his hair, Cedric said, "I think I'd better get some sleep now."
Susan nodded as they headed to their respective rooms. "Good luck tomorrow," she said, the words falling short in her ears. Cedric smiled half-heartedly. Susan watched him walk up the stairs, somehow sadder than before. It all seemed so forlorn and final.
All at once, she ran over to him and grabbed him around his waist and enveloped him in her biggest hug.
At first he just stood there, but he soon wrapped his arms around her back and hugged her tightly. They leaned against each other for a minute, and then slowly released one another. Susan looked up at Cedric and was mildly surprised to see him blushing. She grinned to herself and stated, "You're going to do great tomorrow, Cedric."
"Thanks, Susan," his voice seemed to have lost a layer of stress that she hadn't even noticed had been there before. "You're a good friend."
Susan patted his arm once more, and they both headed to gentle, happy dreams, knowing that tomorrow would turn out all right in the end.