Chapter 2 : First Impressions
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Chapter two: First Impressions
“I knew this was a hell of a stupid idea,” I kept saying under my breath. Fortunately, the noise in the Hall prevented all my cursing from being heard. What an idiot I was! Strolling happily into this world I didn’t belong to! Knowing everything I needed to know suddenly didn’t seem to be such a huge advantage. With every useful thing that I knew, I was also well aware that by the year’s end Cedric Diggory would die. And I needed to tell someone about it.
My mind was racing fast through all my options. Dumbledore had not even mentioned the Tri Wizard Tournament yet, let alone brought about the Goblet. All around me people were stuffing their mouths with pudding and cakes, oblivious to the death they would experience soon. I could see Cedric from my place, sitting but two tables away from me, looking amused at everything that surrounded him, reddening in the face whenever a girl went to say hello to him. I couldn’t let him die, now could I? I had to speak to Dumbledore, and I had to do it now.
“Luna, will you –” I was beginning to say when Professor Sprout cut in.
“Sweetie,” she said in a caring voice, which I found extremely unnerving at the moment, “Professor Dumbledore sends you this note.”
As soon as the plump little witch had gone away I opened the note in my lap. There, scribbled in flowing golden letters were four letters: Please don’t say anything.
I stared disbelievingly into the man’s eyes. How dare he? How could he ask this of me? How—how did he know, come to think of it? He nodded politely at me and pointed his chin towards the door. Perhaps he didn’t know about Cedric.
“What are you talking about?” I mouthed to him, though soon I didn’t require an answer anymore. The doors suddenly burst open and a man with a wooden leg, long and greying hair and beard and an eye rolling around as if out of control walked into the Hall. Mad-Eye Moody. Though it wasn’t really Mad-Eye, and I knew it. And Dumbledore knew that I did.
Lying in bed I decided that that just had to have been the most absolutely embarrassing moment of my life. I didn’t care about Moody, or the Veelas, or Viktor Krum, the Tri Wizard Tournament or the stupid Goblet of Fire everyone was so excited about. I just kept remembering what that damn Snape had done to me. The feast had ended and I knew that the Headmaster’s announcements would start soon. He uttered, as always, some words of warning about the Forbidden Forest and was about to get on with the Tournament when Snape, that damn Snape, had stood up, walked over to him and quietly suggested that I be introduced to the rest of the student body. And as stupid as that might have been, Dumbledore agreed.
“Oh, yes, yes, yes,” Dumbledore had said, “There is one more thing.”
That’s odd, I thought. I didn’t remember there being something else to say besides the obvious topic of the Tournament.
“There will be a new student joining us this year,” Dumbledore had said.
Oh God. No. No! Nonononono.
“I trust that you will make her feel at home,”
No, no, no, God! Please don’t, please don’t. Oh, nonononono.
“Uh, miss,” came Snape’s voice, “it might be better for everyone if you would just stand up,”
I could just feel my face turning tomato red. Even if I was not standing up everyone was getting a pretty good view of me. I started to get up so slowly I could hardly feel any movement. That is, until Professor Sprout thought it best to speed things up and nudge me right in the back so that I would stand up straight already. I let out a little shriek and finally stood up. I winced a little and biting my lip waved my hand ever so slightly. I felt like I suddenly was the girl on top of one of the cars in the parades, except without the pride and the sense of self-fulfilment. Luna patted me on the back the second I sat down.
“I thought it was pretty good,” she said. I couldn’t thank her kindness enough.
Almost everyone had turned their faces from me already. Hermione was giving me a friendly smile from the Gryffindor table; Malfoy was pretty much snickering; Diggory was looking at me with some sort of grin, half surprised and half amused.
Oh, Merlin. Will someone just come and kill me already?
Snape had the best look on, though, grinning broadly at the Slytherin table, unbelievably happy with his recent felony. How I hated him. How on earth could that man, that greasy-haired inflictor of my pain, have loved Lily Potter for the past God-knows-how-many years? After that, I hadn’t bloody cared about anything concerning the stupid Tournament. I heard uninterestedly the exclamations of excitement when the Goblet was brought out; I even heard Hermione scold Ron for staring at the Veelas. I had certainly paid attention to every single thing happening around me, but I just didn’t care. I didn’t know my purpose there anymore. The second we were dismissed I let Luna guide me in my state of trance to our common room. And now, there I was in bed, thinking about today and wondering about tomorrow.
“It’s going to be a God awful day,” I said to the darkness, since all my roommates were already asleep.
I had been lying in bed without being able to shut my eyes for hours. I didn’t really know whether I was still on the same day or the next one had already been announced. What am I supposed to do? I kept thinking. I had to tell Cedric. Of course I had to. That was the only way to save him, wasn’t it? Keeping him from the Tournament? I knew he was really excited about the whole thing. I had heard many whispers in the corridors as I walked with Luna towards the common room. I had to tell him.
But, then again, Dumbledore had asked me not to. Or had he only asked me not to say anything about Alastor Moody not being Alastor Moody?
And why was he allowing that to happen anyway? He might as well have been opening the doors to Voldemort himself! Goodness! So, did he know? Did he know everything? Surely if he knew about Moody he must have known about Cedric all along. Was he just going to let it happen?
I checked my wristwatch and discovered that it was thirty minutes past midnight. And so, the new day had begun. I could bear to be in bed no longer; tossing and turning and playing Cedric’s death in my mind was certainly not my concept of getting a good night’s sleep. I quietly got out of bed and left the room. It was a warm night, even for September, so I didn’t grab a jacket. I had made my mind to walk around the grounds for a while and had already come to the main doors when the blue glow radiating from the Goblet of Fire caught my eye.
Without knowing how I had got there, I suddenly found myself standing before the Goblet itself. It was unbelievable that that silly cup, that stupid blue cup, should be the cause of all my misery; and the cause of Cedric Diggory’s death. The idea of putting my own name in quickly vanished. I thought that if I managed to do it there would be at least one less chance of Cedric being chosen the champion. And yet I knew that the perimeter had been tricked, and that I wouldn’t be able to step any closer to the cup than I was now. I was well aware that everyone in school was experiencing some odd fascination with this very object. How little they knew. In a few weeks the Goblet would call out the names. Unless I could stop him, Cedric would be our champion; Fleur Delacour would be Beauxbatons’ and Viktor Krum would be Drumstrang’s. Harry would be chosen next, and during the Third Task would see Voldemort come back to life. And Cedric would die.
“Stupid Goblet of Fire,” I said.
“I don’t see what’s so wrong about it,” a voice behind me said.
I turned around in time to see the very object of my thoughts, Cedric Diggory, stand up. He had been sitting all this while at his table, far, far away from the Goblet and me. How had I not noticed him? His soft voice in the darkness made me jump a little, my skin reacting to his presence in the room. I don’t quite think that I got to compose myself entirely. Suddenly I was very aware of my pyjamas and my uncombed hair. I probably looked like hell. Cedric didn’t, though. Dressed only in some pyjama bottoms and a grey t-shirt he looked even more stunning than he had when I first saw him over dinner. He obviously didn’t think that it was a cold night, either. He stood up slowly and walked over to where I was standing. His proximity made me shiver.
“Cedric Diggory,” he said, extending towards me his big hand and long fingers.
Shit, what should I do? Should I tell him my real name? A fake one? Why shouldn’t I tell him the real one, anyway? Or shouldn’t I?
I took Cedric’s hand. The mere touch of him sent a hint of electricity through my body. I tried to tell him my name. What was my name, anyway?
“I’m pretty sure my name starts with a ‘G’,” I told him.
He smiled sadly at me and I knew that I had made a mistake. I knew very well that Cedric was used to girls fainting at the sight of him. Surely more than one had forgotten her name in his presence. And there I was, doing the same thing girl after girl had done.
Lie, I told myself.
“That’s what people call me, actually,” he lightened up at this, “Gee.”
That was fairly plausible, now wasn’t it? Why that’s how they called the Duchess of Devonshire. Or that’s what they had called her in that movie, anyway. Nobody ever called me that, actually, but I guessed then and there that I could bear it for him.
“Gee?” he asked. A smile was drawn ever so slightly in his eyes.
“Cedric,” I answered him right back, hardly noticing that we hadn’t let go of the other one’s hand. When we finally did the air turned unbelievably cold around my fingers.
We stood side-by-side looking dead ahead at the Goblet.
“What is so wrong about it, anyway?” he asked me suddenly.
“I- I don’t know,” I told him, though of course I knew, “I guess I’m worried about what it might do to people.”
Good answer, I congratulated myself, hardly a lie.
Cedric seemed to be considering this.
“I take it that you aren’t going to put your name in, then,” he said.
I smiled at the faint sound of worry in his question. I half turned around to face him.
“I’m in fourth,” I said.
“Oh, good,” he said.
“Good?” I asked.
“Yes, well,” he stammered, “I’d hate to see you get hurt.”
His honesty surprised me, and him too, apparently, since he suddenly started to back away from the cup.
“I-I,” he said, “are you going to be here much longer?” he asked.
“Just going to bed, actually,” I told him. Somehow, speaking with Cedric had eased my mind and I suddenly felt an enormous lust for sleeping.
“Come on,” he said, “I’ll get you on your way.”
We walked silently towards the main staircase. At the top of it we parted ways, him leaving for Hufflepuff and me leaving for my own house.
“I’ll see you around, Gee,” he said, “hopefully.”
“Night, Cedric,” I answered him.
He disappeared quite quickly from view and I was left shivering at the top of the stairs, wishing so very hard that Cedric Diggory could be mine.
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