A/N: I'm surprised I didn't do this pairing earlier; I've liked it for some time. Sorry if this turned out crap, by the way. I've started and stopped this several times, and I still hate it.

Love is a Losing Game

It happened like a dream. Looking back, he could hardly believe that his memories were real and not some strange hallucination cooked up by stress and over-active hormones. Dreamy or not, it did happen, though. In his fourth year, Harry Potter fell in love with a boy, and no love he felt afterwards ever came close to comparing to the glory of that first love.

He'd met Cedric Diggory briefly that summer, before the fiasco at the World Cup. All he remembered was that he was handsome and nice to everyone. He was the quintessential Hufflepuff, good humored and kind. Harry would bet money that he had one of those adorable families with a pretty but matronly mom who loved baking and a steady dad who liked to crack jokes.

They helped each other with the First Task. Harry revealed the secret, and Cedric shared his notes with Harry in private. He was terrified at the thought of facing a dragon. Cedric said he would do fine.

They nodded to each other after the Second Task, soaked and shivering on the dock. Harry noticed him looking a little too long, a fact that he tried to rationalize away later. He gave up after a few hours of lying awake in bed and decided that it didn't matter.

That is, he decided it didn't matter until he caught Cedric looking and found that he didn't exactly mind. Hell, earlier when Cedric told him about the Prefect's Bath and said that it would help, he almost asked him what he was trying to say but kept his mouth shut at the last minute. He didn't know what made him want to ask that.

After the Second Task, he joined Cedric in the library. There was a little cubbyhole the Huffflepuff liked to use where his posse couldn't bother him. Harry decided that Cedric was going to kiss him tonight, so he stared at him fixedly and sat as close as he dared while discussing theories about the final ordeal they would have to suffer through.

He was just giving up hope when the time for Cedric's Prefect Rounds drew near, and began to gather his things together. He gave Cedric one last look, and saw that Cedric wasn't playing dumb anymore. For all the time it took, their first kiss was oddly satisfying.

There was a party for no particular reason a month after that, and both of them ended up drinking the Firewhisky the Twins smuggled in through some mysterious contact of theirs. Harry went out into the hall to breathe and get his head to stop spinning, where Cedric joined him soon after.

He flattened him against the wall between his outstretched arms. Harry could smell the alcohol on his breath, and see its effects in the blurred quality of his grey eyes. Things got heavy quickly, and a good slice of Harry's virginity floated away that night behind a tapestry.

Their relationship was kept a secret for reasons of the invasive press and Cedric's dad, who wasn't the most accepting person. In public, they treated each other with polite respect. A nod when passing each other in the halls was the only acknowledgement they deemed appropriate. But in private, oh, in private things were different.

They met and fumbled in corners of old classrooms, in dark corridors, in the greenhouses at night. They met in the Prefect's bathroom a few times, and once Harry crept into the Hufflepuff dorms to share Cedric's bed for half the night. He crept out before dawn, still tingling.

Hermione could tell there was something going on, but she was distracted enough by Viktor not to ask him what was making him smile like that, in that dizzy way. He never told her, and she never asked.

The events of the Third Task left Harry stunned, adrift without an anchor to reality. He wanted to die just to be with Cedric again, to be held and kissed and even told that everything would be fine, as Cedric was wont to do even when it was obvious that everything was not alright.

He cried every night that summer at the Dursleys.

"I miss you," he whispered in the dark, allowing his tears to flood unchecked down his cheeks. There was no one see him, and everyone else was asleep.

For a first foray into the dangerous territory of love, things could've gone better, but Harry didn't regret it. He just wished he could have had some more time with Cedric before everything ended the way it did. He supposed it was better than a fight or a slow drifting apart, but not by much.

~000~

End Love is a Losing Game