A/N: Well, this is a new ship I'm trying out. Let me know what you think.
Many thanks to Jazzeh Turnip who has kindly agreed to be by beta for this story.
“Mr Diggory, Mr Diggory! May I have a word?”
Cedric Diggory paused in the corridor and turned back the way he had come. “Something wrong, Professor?” he asked the tiny Flitwick as he weaved his way amongst the sea of students on their way to class.
“No, no, nothing wrong,” Flitwick assured him. “I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind tutoring a student for me? I know it’s a lot to ask what with the Tournament going ahead now, but I would appreciate it,”
“Um, yeah, sure, I suppose so,” Cedric agreed, running a hand through his thick dark hair.
Flitwick smiled his appreciation. “Thank you. I don’t believe that she will take up much of your time. Shall we say after school is out today? At my office? No-one will disturb you,”
Cedric nodded, “That’s fine.”
Flitwick clapped his hands together, “Wonderful. That’s the school spirit. Well, you boys hurry along to class now.”
“See you later, Professor,” Cedric turned back to his friends, Darius Di‘Angelo, more commonly known simply as D, Bobby Jones, and Eddie Kimber, who had been christened Hollywood by Bobby due to his inability to pass a mirror without looking in it and his exceptional good looks.
“That’s just typical of your luck isn’t it?” Darius, Cedric’s best friend complained. “You get to do the Triwizard Tournament and you get to spend hours cooped up with some mystery girl as well.”
“What’s the bets he gets a date out of this?” Bobby said.
Cedric laughed easily, “Don’t be ridiculous, I don’t even know who she is. I’m just tutoring her, that’s all,”
“Yeah well,” Darius said, flicking his long fringe out of his eyes, “You might not know it, but you’re Mister Hot Stuff at the moment, ever since you got picked to do the Tournament. She’ll want you, just mark my words.”
Cedric sighed heavily and shook his head, a grin crossing over his face. “You know I’m kind of dating Cho Chang right now. I’m just doing Flitwick a favour that’s all. Don’t go making rumours up, D,”
Darius grinned, his blue eyes a startling contrast to his olive skin and Mediterranean good looks. “Me? Never, Cedric. Come on, lets get a move on or McGonagall will have our butts.”
“I’m good at Charms, I don’t see why you had to be the tutor,” Eddie complained, glancing in the window as he passed by and touching a hand to his black spikes.
Cedric just laughed, “It’s not as if that’s going to be the highlight of my day is it, Eddie? But what was I supposed to say? Flitwick caught me off guard. I’ve got more important things to be doing rather than tutoring some girl in Charms.”
“You just can’t say no can you, C?” Darius said laughing, “You’re just such a nice guy.”
“The original Mr Nice Guy,” Bobby added with a grin.
“Oh, shut up,” Cedric responded, shaking his head and knocking lightly on Professor McGonagall’s door.
Eddie gave their apologies for being late and the four friends deposited themselves in their usual seats, Cedric and Darius in the back row, Bobby and Eddie in front of them. Cedric sighed softly as he pulled his book out of his bag and dug about for his ink and quill. He’d been best friends with Darius since he was about five years old, and the pair of them had teamed up with Eddie and Bobby since arriving at Hogwarts. Bobby was a muggle born and had met the overly confident Eddie on his first trip on the Hogwarts Express. Eddie moved mostly in the wizarding world, but as his mother was a muggle born, he knew a lot about the muggle world as well, and had delighted in having someone to talk to about football, as well as being able to discuss all things magic.
The four boys were good friends, inseparable, and Cedric was glad that they hadn’t fallen out over his name being produced by the Goblet of Fire as he was aware had happened to Harry Potter and his friend Ron Weasley.
“I bet Flitwick would understand if you said you’d changed your mind about the tutoring,” Darius hissed, leaning into his friends shoulder.
Cedric shrugged carelessly. “I think I’ll be ok, it’ll help me take my mind off things for a couple of hours.”
“You can’t afford not to concentrate,” Darius scolded. “You want to win, don’t you?”
“Course I want to win,” Cedric replied, his forehead furrowing as he tried to listen to McGonagall. “I don’t need to spend all my time worrying about the Tournament though. I’ll go crazy if I do.”
Darius tapped his quill against his nose thoughtfully, “Yeah, I guess you’re right. We can always do some research for you when your jumping into the running for Teacher of the Year.”
Cedric made an annoyed noise at the back of his throat, “Shut up, D.”
Darius sniggered, “I just bet she’ll praise you up to Flitwick, I bet she’ll tell him how wonderful you are, but after a few weeks she’ll still be having trouble,”
“If you don’t shut up, I’ll shut you up,” Cedric threatened quietly, scribbling down the instructions from the board.
“Hum, I can just see it now, she’ll ask you to stay a little long after each lesson, and she still won’t be able to get the charm right so she’ll want to meet up more often and you’ll be too nice to say no and…ow!” Darius cried out in surprise when Cedric’s foot collided with his ankle.
“Is there a problem, Mr Di’Angelo?” McGonagall asked.
“No, Professor, no problem. I just stubbed my toe,” Darius replied, flashing her a winning smile, although Darius didn’t know why he bothered, his charms never worked with this particular Professor. “You kicked me,” he accused under his breath.
Cedric smiled disarmingly. “You irritated me.”
* * *
“So, do you want us to walk you to class, Professor Diggory?” Bobby asked from his bed where he was flicking through a copy of Classic Quidditch magazine.
“I’m good thanks,” Cedric replied dryly, sorting through his Charms books and placing them in his bag.
“Has anyone given the first task any more thought?” Eddie asked, as he examined his hair closely in the mirror. “I’m still out of ideas. I’m out of gel too, anyone got any?”
“In my trunk, Hollywood, ” Bobby replied, not looking up from his magazine.
Darius sighed heavily, “No thoughts.”
“That’s really good, D,” Cedric told him seriously. “The first step is admitting it.”
“I’m not talking to you,” Darius said, “Not after you kicked me.”
“Come on now ladies, I don’t want to have to referee handbags at dawn,” Eddie said grinning. “I just get better looking everyday,” he added, twisting his black hair up into fresh spikes.
Laughing, Cedric threw his bag over his shoulder. “I’m off then, see you lot later.”
“Have fun,” Bobby called out.
Still laughing, Cedric left the common room and made his way towards Professor Flitwick’s classroom. He was a little nervous about this tutoring business, he’d never been asked to do anything like this before, and it was a bit different to just helping one of the boys out if they were having trouble grasping something.
Part of him wanted to do what Darius had suggested and tell Flitwick that he had changed his mind, and had too much on to be able to tutor anyone right now, but the other part of him was actually clinging to this job like a lifeline, something to make him feel like good old Cedric Diggory again. Ever since his name had been pulled from the Goblet of Fire his life had taken on a surreal quality. People were always stopping him in the corridors to congratulate him, and his face had been smeared all over The Daily Prophet thanks to Rita Skeeter. Cedric was at a loss to understand how Harry Potter dealt with all the fame and attention.
Cedric was a quiet and private person. Of course, he was just one of the boys as well, Cedric knew how to have a good time and could cause trouble quite easily if the situation warranted it. But really, Cedric liked his private life to be kept private, away from anyone outside of his small circle of best friends, D, Bobby and Eddie. They were a small part of a larger group of boys, mostly Ravenclaw’s and Hufflepuff’s who generally hung around together, but the four of them were especially close and Cedric trusted them as they trusted him, and he knew they were his friends because of who he was, not because he was suddenly the talk of the school and all over the papers.
Arriving at the Charms classroom, Cedric knocked once and poked his head around the door. “Hello, Professor,” he greeted.
“Ah, Mr Diggory. I’m delighted that you could make it, come in, come in,” Flitwick motioned with his small arms and Cedric entered the room. “This is Miss Lovegood, she’s the young lady I was telling you about. She could have such a wonderful ability for my lesson if only she would apply herself a little more.”
Cedric turned to look at the young girl sitting at a desk in the front row. She had long, dirty blonde hair and the biggest, bluest eyes he had ever seen in his life, eyes that were gazing mistily at him, almost as though she didn’t see him at all, but was looking right through him.
Miss Lovegood was small in stature, wearing a white t-shirt with a ginger cat on it whose tail kept swishing from side to side, but Cedric’s eyes were drawn more to her choice of jewellery than her outfit. A butterbeer cork necklace decorated her throat, and what could only be described as radish ear-rings hung beside her face. It was an angular face, with high cheek bones and pale skin, it was a pretty face, or it at least she would be recognised as pretty if anyone looked at her long enough, but her jewellery just drew your attention away from her.
“Hello,” she greeted him, her voice soft and dreamy.
“Alright,” Cedric replied, suddenly feeling that his voice sounded very deep and rough when compared to hers.
“I’ll leave you both to it then,” Flitwick gathered up an armful of rolled up parchment and a book and left the room.
Cedric dropped his bag on the desk and busied himself with unpacking the books. She was looking at him, he could feel those eyes on him straight away, glancing up he was surprised to find that she was studying him carefully, sizing him up almost.
“I’m Luna,” she said absently, twirling a strand of hair around her finger. She tilted her head and continued to examine him.
“Yes, I know.”
“Oh,” Cedric shifted uncomfortably. “What are you looking at?”
“You. I think you’re nice,” Luna said softly. “I don’t think that you’ll make fun of me.”
Cedric blinked in surprise. “Why would I make fun of you? Lots of people have trouble with their lessons and need a little extra help, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
“That’s not what I meant,” Luna murmured. She leant forward suddenly, “I don’t actually need help with Charms you know.”
Cedric closed his eyes briefly, if Darius was right about this girl just wanting to spend time with him he was going to kill himself rather than admit it! “Then why am I here?” Cedric demanded harshly.
“Flitwick thinks I need help, he’s head of my house as well as my Charms teacher,” Luna told him.
“Well, if he thinks you need help, maybe you could give it a shot?” Cedric suggested, trying his best to save her pride.
She sighed prettily, “I just don’t concentrate,” she admitted, “I daydream a lot, so Flitwick thinks I need help with my lessons.”
She smiled easily at him, “No you don’t,” shrugging she said, “If you want to tutor me, then I’ll be tutored.”
Cedric frowned, “I do have better things to do you know. I can’t afford to waste my time with someone who doesn’t want to be here.”
“I didn’t say I didn’t want to be here,” Luna said, tucking her hair behind her ears and exposing the radishes even more. Her blue eyes lingered on his confused face for a few moments and she smiled lightly again. Luna liked the look of Cedric Diggory, he was nice, she could see it in every line of his face. Luna felt that Cedric would be nice to her, he wouldn’t make fun of her the way other people did, Cedric would give her a chance, Luna just knew it in her bones.
It would be nice to spend some time with someone who would speak to her like a human being, and not an annoyance that had been rudely thrust into their life. With his thick dark hair, deep grey eyes and lean physique, Luna felt it would be just as nice to look at Cedric as it would be to have someone to talk to.
“Right.” Cedric leant against the desk, “What year are you in? I won’t know how much you know until I know that,”
“This is my third year,” she replied.
Cedric nodded, his brow creasing in thought, “How are you with repairing, cleaning and refilling charms?”
“Show me,” Cedric emptied his bottle of ink all over the top of the desk.
Retrieving her wand from behind her ear, Luna stood up and walked around the desk where he could see her properly. Cedric hid his grin at her ratty old jeans with gapping holes in the knees and brightly coloured patches sewn on here and there. Although, his attention was rather quickly drawn to the fact that her legs were longer and slimmer than they had any right to be.
“Scourgify,” Luna pointed her wand at the spreading black ink, and siphoned it off the desk with delicate movements of her wrist, using the refilling charm to place the ink back in the bottle.
Nodding his approval, Cedric picked up a mug off Professor Flitwick’s desk and dropped it on the floor, it shattered into small pointed fragments. “Can you repair it?”
Luna‘s wrist flicked again, “Reparo.”
“Well, you’re ok with the basics,” Cedric said, watching the shattered pieces draw together again to make the mug look as good as new.
“I told you, I just need to concentrate some more.”
“Maybe,” Cedric conceded. He could understand why Professor Flitwick thought she didn’t concentrate, Luna looked as though she were away in some little world of her own, but she still managed to produce results.
Fishing out a bottle of water from his bag, Cedric tipped some into the mug and frowned when the clear liquid began to leak through some of the cracks.
“Oops,” Luna studied the mug for a moment. “Reparo,” she tried again, and was satisfied when the leaking stopped. “See, concentration.”
Cedric sighed softly, “Well, we can work on that as well.”
“How nice,” Luna smiled at him, a dimple in her left cheek dancing in and out.
For the next hour, Cedric worked with Luna on her concentration for the simplest of spells. Most of the time she did alright, and Cedric could tell now when her concentration was starting to lapse. Running a hand through his hair he said, “You need to concentrate all the time, Luna, otherwise we’ll never move on from the simple stuff and Flitwick won’t realise that you are good at Charms.”
He was surprised when she turned to look at him, she was beaming. “That’s very nice.”
“That you call me Luna.”
“That’s your name isn’t it?” Cedric asked confused.
“Oh yes, but no-one calls me by my name,” Luna told him, “Everyone call’s me Loony Lovegood.”
Loony Lovegood sounded familiar to him, and Cedric had a vague memory of Cho mentioning her to him once or twice before, but he couldn’t remember the conversation. “Why would they do that?”
Luna shrugged, “They think I’m loony. Daddy owns The Quibbler and of course I read it, people think I’m loony because I believe what daddy reports.”
“Oh right. Well, that magazine has been going for years hasn’t it? People must enjoy reading it.”
She was smiling again, seemingly happy that he wasn’t making fun of the magazine. “Yes, it has, we have lots of subscribers. It‘s just that people at Hogwarts don‘t see The Quibbler for what it is.”
“Yeah, well, I’m sure your friends stick up for you,” he said, beginning to pack his bag up.
“I don’t have any friends,” she replied, tucking her wand back behind her ear.
Cedric looked up, shock clearly written on his face at her blunt admission. She didn’t sound sorry for herself, and he also had the feeling that Luna wasn’t looking for pity. He shifted uncomfortably, he wasn’t sure what to say to that. “You must have one,” he said finally.
Luna shook her head, her long blonde hair tumbling around her shoulders. “No, everyone thinks I’m odd, but that’s alright. Everything comes to those who wait,” she quoted.
“It’s about time for dinner,” Cedric said, changing the subject completely. He had no idea what to say to her now, what did she expect him to say? Cedric had the feeling that Luna wouldn’t want his pity, but he didn’t know how else to react to such a statement. How could she not have a friend? Everyone had someone, didn’t they?
“I do hope there’s pudding,” Luna murmured dreamily, titling her head and staring out of the window.
“There probably will be.”
“We can go together if you like?” Cedric offered, swinging his bag up onto his shoulder.
Small indents appeared in Luna’s forehead and her eyes suddenly lost their dreamy look becoming sharper in seconds. “I don’t need you to feel sorry for me, Cedric. I’ve been going to dinner by myself for three years, I don’t need you to pretend to want me around for a five minute walk to The Great Hall.”
Cedric flushed at her words, fumbling in his mind for something to say that would take away his obvious mistake. He had only been trying to be nice to her.
“Let me know when you can fit in another lesson. Goodbye, and good luck with the tournament, Cedric.” Luna floated out of the room, closing the door lightly behind her.
Cedric stared at the closed door for a few moments, he was feeling incredibly bad, he hadn’t meant to upset Luna. Although, she hadn’t seemed upset when she left, Luna had reverted back into her dreamy self. She was an odd one, anyone who read The Quibbler would have to be a bit bizarre, but not strange enough to have no friends at all.
Groaning, Cedric left the classroom and headed for The Great Hall, as if he didn’t have enough on his mind as it was, now he knew he would be thinking about Luna’s lack of friends as well. This was an ongoing situation for her, something Luna had obviously dealt with herself over the last three years, so just why she was bothering him so much Cedric didn’t know.