This idea struck me when I was rereading "Started With a Kiss" by bookworm1993 and then "Meet Me in the Basement" by IfweDieYoung, both pieces worthy of reading over and over for concept if nothing else. Very original and I urge you all to read them!
Disclaimer: I own nothing under copyright, only Jon and Nate. Enjoy!
If there were a rehabilitation program for dare junkies, Cedric Diggory would be in it for life. It was a commonly known fact, kind of like how Dumbledore was nuts and Snape was a greasy git.
In his first year, the whole school had gaped when during breakfast he serenaded Madame Pince on bended knee. They hadn't been quite so surprised when he gave Professor McGonagall catnip for Christmas. By June, it was simply amusing for the rest of the school when Cedric would do silly things.
Now when he did something unorthodox, like playing chicken with the Whomping Willow or challenging Sir Cadogan to a duel, it was pretty much the norm. Or, at least no one in second year or above ever asked him what the hell he thought he was doing.
As he sat at breakfast one day, the thought struck Cedric that maybe it wasn't such a good thing that it was the norm. In that regard, him accepting crazy (and not-so-crazy) dares was like the Weasley twins pranking but without a goal in mind. While they were determined to outdo the infamous Marauders, he was in it for the fun. And the adrenaline rush.
During his second year, he had attempted to cut down on the dares by trying out for (and getting onto) the House quidditch team. It provided adrenaline and excitement, so there would be no need to use an invisibility spell on Snape's robes when Nate eventually came up with the idea. Cedric would be perfectly content with trying to not get his head smashed in on the field, right?
Wrong. If anything, that year he was more showy and over the top than ever. And so the years went on and on, until this particular day in his sixth year.
Being in the Triwizard Tournament was an adrenaline junkie's dream come true. There was danger, glory, and competition aplenty during the First Task to the point where he had sworn that it would kill him. On normal days like this one however, boredom was rampant.
"Why is nothing happening?" whined Jon, pouting at his dinner.
Instead of calling him annoying and cuffing him up the head, Nate nodded. "Even the meatloaf looks less lively," he commented glumly. He stabbed his fork at the platter in front of him before taking another bite of his carrots.
When Cedric looked, he grimaced. Indeed, even the meatloaf looked droopy and kind of sad at the moment. "Something interesting needs to happen," he agreed, casting a pitying look at the meatloaf and then his friends.
As if realizing for the first time that he was there, his friends blinked at him. Then they looked at each other, and again at him. This time, however, Jon had a grin on his face that made Cedric's heart start pumping faster already.
"What are you thinking?" he asked warily. The last dare he had done (decorating the Great Hall for the upcoming winter holidays using Gryffindor and Slytherin first years) cost him a week of detention with Snape and a week with McGonagall. It was only natural that he would be hesitant to do anything else for a while.
"A dare, of course!" Nate answered happily.
'I will resist,' Cedric told himself, forcing his mouth to stay closed and unsmiling, 'I will not encourage them. I will not show interest. I will- oh bloody hell, why not?'
As if reading his mind, Jon then announced, "I dare you... to kiss the next person who enters the hall!" He even used his most commanding voice and pointed a finger at the huge doors.
"And not on the cheek," Nate clarified instantly, "It has to be on the lips, and you have to make a huge show of it." He smirked, his eyes darting from Cedric to the doors and back. Obviously he was looking forward to seeing this.
For a moment, Cedric thought about it. This dare wouldn't get him into trouble unlike so many other ones, though he would rather take more detentions than yet another fangirl. Or fanboy for that matter. Or the possibility of it being a teacher... The mental image of Binns floating through the door made him shudder. It was replaced by having to kiss Moody, then Trelawney, then Snape, and by the end of the mentally scarring tirade his mind had taken him on Cedric was hard pressed to not whimper. Oh yes, there would be adrenaline aplenty.
"Well?" pressed Jon.
"I'll do it," Cedric decided with a shrug. Even before he got up, his heart was pumping hard and fingertips were tingling. It made him grin lopsidedly.
As always, Jon and Nate high-fived each other. It was a ritual by then, that whenever one would take a dare the other two would celebrate in some way.
As quickly as his feet would take him, Cedric walked toward the entrance doors. Luckily, there wasn't even a few seconds to wait; what at first glance looked to be a tome with wild brown curls and a body walked in. It was none other than Hermione Granger.
When he realized exactly who it was, Cedric felt his mouth go a little dry. 'Merlin's pants,' he thought even as he reached out for her wrist, 'Why did it have to be her?'
His hand closed around her arm and she looked up curiously. "Diggory, what-" Hermione began impatiently.
Before she could even get her third word out, Cedric pulled her closer and sealed his lips over hers. It was absurd to say, but he felt something of a spark. Not to mention that when he felt more than heard Hermione gasp, his belly started doing crazy little flip flops. Without much thought to it, he deepened the kiss.
As his tongue plundered her mouth, the hand on her wrist migrated to her lower back. The other found its way into her hair, which a corner of Cedric's mind noticed was much softer than it looked. It was difficult to remember that this was only happening because of a stupid dare, because Hermione had unfrozen herself and was beginning to kiss him back.
The mere thought sent a wave of giddiness through Cedric. Even if it hadn't been required by the dare, he would have made a show of it because by Merlin, he was doing it! After months of wanting to, and not doing so because the very thought intimidated him, he was finally kissing Hermione Granger!
Smiling against her lips, he took the opportunity to dip her back like he had seen in so many wedding photos and magazines. Distantly he heard a mild uproar, but it might as well have been a hundred miles away for all he cared. All that mattered at the moment was the startled, but definitely not unreceptive, witch in his arms. Everything else could be sorted out later.
Needing air, Cedric ended the kiss and drew back just a short inch. There was an odd feeling in his gut that if he took much more distance he would lose his nerve as always. That was an unacceptable thought.
It was a boost to his ego that Hermione's eyes were half lidded with pleasure. What he could see of her cheeks was flushed and there was a dazed look about her as she tried to get her thoughts together. "What was that?" she mumbled, obviously bewildered.
"That was a kiss, princess," Cedric replied, somehow not stumbling over his words, "Now that we have that sorted out, I'd like to know if you would go to the Yule Ball with me?" It felt almost like someone else was saying those words. The voice sounded too confident to be him, as he was currently terrified out of his mind.
For a long moment that seemed like forever, Hermione simply stared at him in disbelief. Then she nodded.
That simple little gesture made Cedric's day. With little effort, he brought Hermione back to her feet only to shift both his hands to her waist and lift her up, twirling her in a circle before he set her down again. "I'll meet you at the Grand Staircase at seven on the night of the ball," he promised, his grin so big that it hurt his face.
Again, Hermione simply nodded. Her eyes were wide and a little glassy, and she was most likely wondering if she had tripped and hit her head sometime on her way down the stairs. It was a much better reaction than rabid squealing.
Once again Cedric leaned down and pressed his lips to Hermione's, but this time he kept it short. It was barely more than a peck. As much as he wanted to snog her some more, here and now were not the time and place for it.
"I'll see you around, Hermione," he whispered, releasing her in favor of leaving the hall. It was nearly impossible to resist the urge to whoop and skip away, but Cedric managed. Barely.
He made a mental note to get Jon and Nate whatever they wanted for Christmas that year. If they hadn't come up with that ridiculous dare, Cedric would still be trying to figure out what to do about the Yule Ball. Now he had the girl of his dreams as his date and perhaps the fangirls would even leave him alone, since Hermione could be rather frightening when she wanted to.
Never before had Cedric been so grateful that he was a dare junkie.
… That was interesting. I really didn't expect to come up with any of this, so I'm just sitting here scratching my head and hoping that more ideas like this will bludgeon me with a bedpan. I like it!
Please let me know if you did too.