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Back with another CDHG one-shot, probably the last thing I'll post before NaNoWriMo starts. Or for a while after, honestly. I'm still trying to get back into the Potterverse, and what better way to do it than small pieces like this? Enjoy!
It was a pure stroke of luck that had saved Cedric Diggory's life. After all, who knew that he would somehow have tripped over a rock right as the killing curse headed his way?
Through the whole ordeal, he had stayed still and pretended he was dead. It took a monumental effort to keep up the act when the snake-man-thing put its foot on his face, especially after he heard the name "Voldemort". Every instinct he possessed had been screaming at him to get out of the graveyard and away from the supposedly dead Dark Lord as fast as he possibly could. Still, he laid unresponsive.
The hardest moment though, was when it seemed that Harry's luck was about to run out. No one had ever survived a full duel with You Know Who. Only his constant mental chant of 'If anybody can, it's him,' kept Cedric motionless on the ground.
As he laid there, a face came to mind with startling clarity. Brown eyes like honey, wild caramel curls and an impish grin that he had only seen once on her usually stern countenance: Hermione Granger. Every pale freckle that dotted the bridge of her nose, the exact shade of the shadows under her eyes, were in stark relief behind Cedric's eyelids.
Though he kept a careful ear on the battle further into the graveyard, Cedric allowed himself to muse on the pretty fourth year. Yes, pretty. It was a wonder that no one had noticed her before, with the gentle curves she had grown and the mild mischief in her smile. They had drawn his attention at Stoatstead Hill, though he never did get up the courage to talk to her.
So he really couldn't blame Krum for asking her to the Yule Ball. It wasn't like Cedric was ever going to get up the nerve to do it. But when he spied Hermione walking down the staircase in floaty periwinkle dress robes with her hair tamed and a glow of pleasure surrounding her, he really wished he had.
Not that Cho was a bad date- she was a little too good. It had obviously broken her heart to see the happiness he couldn't hide during that dance with Hermione. But what was there to do, lie to her and hurt them all even worse further down the line?
No, he decided, keeping a careful ear on the battle, he did the right thing at the end of the night by keeping it at friendship despite Cho's wishes. He didn't hear the same for Hermione and Viktor, though considering that he'd heard it through the grape vine.. It could have been complete fiction and they were just friends for all he knew.
It had hurt to hear about, but by Merlin it had hurt worse to rescue Cho for the second task instead of coming to the surface with Hermione wrapped in his arms. With Harry there at the bottom of the lake watching everything, however... He wasn't ready for any feelings he may have to be known to the public. Back then, he wasn't sure what to make of them.
Now that he might not make it the rest of the night and Harry may not either, he decided that he was done playing coy. If ('When,' he reminded himself.) he got out of this mess, the first thing he was going to do was run up the stands and kiss Hermione Granger. It would probably be sloppy and a little awkward, especially if she slapped him, but he couldn't think of anything he wanted more.
Footsteps and shouting broke Cedric from his thoughts. When he risked looking toward where the battle was, he saw that it was over and Harry was running straight for him. Or rather, for the Triwizard Cup.
Heart racing, Cedric muttered, "Portus," hoping that he had the spell right. In response the trophy cup gleamed bright blue, which he really hoped was a good sign because he had to move now.
The look on Harry's face was almost comical when Cedric rolled smoothly to his feet and started running alongside him for the cup. Nothing was said however, as even if they tried to speak they wouldn't be able to hear each other over the shouted spells. They were all stunners, Cedric realized with amazement as one flew past his ear, not one killing curse.
'You-Know-Who probably wants to kill him personally,' he thought, risking a glance over at Harry. The boy wasn't to be envied, that was for sure.
It felt like forever, but was probably only a minute of running at most before they both dove for the cup. The familiar feeling of a hook behind Cedric's navel was never more welcome, even with the unpleasant whirling sensation. He and Harry were out of danger, for now at least.
They crash-landed on the field roughly, the cup rolling away under a hedge. 'Good riddance to that,' Cedric thought, shooting it a nasty look as his trembling arms and legs struggled to support him. If he never set eyes on the thing again, it would be too soon.
The band playing and wild cheers of the spectators barely reached him, even as Harry helped him to his feet. Leaning on each other, they shambled up to Dumbledore as fast as their tired bodies could take them. "He's back!" Harry blurted out in a panic, "Voldemort's back!"
Sure now that the return of You-Know-Who would not go unnoticed, Cedric looked all over the stands for the mass of curly hair he wanted to see. It took less than a moment, as Hermione Granger was barreling down the stairs at breakneck speed. Unlike those around her, her face was pale and anxious, with red marks from her fingernails tracking down her cheeks.
She was the most beautiful sight in the world to Cedric. Despite that his parents were making their way down the stands after her, she had his whole scope of attention. It was her he was drifting toward as if someone else were controlling his legs.
She didn't seem to notice however, her eyes solely for her best friend. That wouldn't do at all.
Right as she was about to pass him by, Cedric grabbed a hold of her wrist. He was going to do this if it killed him, which by the look on her face, it surely would.
"What do you-" Hermione began, her eyes sparking dangerously.
Cedric leaned down and pressed his lips to hers firmly. Electricity flew through him from the simple contact, her mouth soft and pliant under his. His free arm wound around her trim waist and pulled her closer, while the hand that had hold of her wrist brought it to his chest.
Not wanting to scare her, he pulled away and leaned his forehead against hers. "I've wanted to do that since the World Cup," Cedric confided, turning a deaf ear to the virtual uproar of those in the stands. They didn't matter, only the witch currently in his arms.
"What?" Hermione asked, her eyes wide and startled, "You've wanted to..." She seemed lost for words.
Taking her not trying to physically or magically maim him as a good sign, Cedric smiled. "Kiss you in front of the whole school? Run my fingers through your hair? Ask you out on a date?" he suggested, "All that and more."
Still, Hermione couldn't seem to form words. It made Cedric rather proud of himself, knowing from all he'd heard about and watched her how difficult of a feat that was.
"There's no need to answer now," Cedric told her gently, "I'll be here when you're ready." Only after the words came out did he realize the double meaning, but it didn't bother him. Both applied to the situation very well.
With a last short kiss to her lips, not really even a peck, Cedric released her. The ball was in her court now, so to speak, and his parents doubtless wanted to smother him.
It shouldn't have surprised him when it was his wrist being tugged on not a moment later. With a raised eyebrow he looked over his shoulder. The sight made him smile; a blushing Hermione Granger was an extraordinary sight.
"If you're being serious about it... I'd like that date," she said softly, almost too much so to be heard over the chattering all around them.
Cedric could have sworn his heart was palpitating with the utter joy in it. He could tell that the goofy grin that suddenly set up camp on his face was blinding, as Hermione looked a little dazed now. It was impossible to describe in words how he felt about that, so he did the next best thing: he lifted her into his arms, twirled her about, and kissed her again.
You-Know-Who was back. The world was going to go to hell in a handbasket. He had very nearly died in that dank graveyard where he should never have been. But in that moment none of it mattered, because he now had everything he wanted and more.
Perhaps the nearly dying thing wasn't too bad, Cedric thought as Hermione started kissing him back. It gave him the courage to finally follow his heart.
The end! This file has been sitting in my Google Docs forever, and it's such a joy to have finished it! Personally, I think of it kind of as a foil to my other CDHG one-shot, Closure. Everyone seems to have cried when they read that, now I'm hoping that they'll smile when they'll read this.
Please review and tell me how I did!