Chapter 1 : Snow
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Disclaimer: Everything belongs to JKR :)
It is snowing.
The courtyard is empty.
Warm light from inside pours onto the white layer of snow that lies on the cold winter ground.
The lovers have escaped to the garden, where they will pick pretty flowers and talk sentimentally about the full moon.
The snow falls lightly, barely noticeable if it weren’t for the cold moonlight and the warm candlelight of the castle that shine softly.
A figure. Slim and delicate.
She is known to everyone as the girl with the bushy hair and the know-it-all disposition.
Tonight that has changed.
She moves slowly into the courtyard, her white skin paler than ever.
A single tear runs ungracefully down her cheek and she hastily brushes it off, but the rest continue to fall.
Her dress, long and flowing, is blue. Periwinkle blue. Her hair is sleek and pinned up. Her face is painted with light touches of makeup.
She feels suddenly fake. The dress and the makeup bring her attention, and it is good attention. The kind of attention she has always dreamed of.
And yet, in her heart, nothing has changed. She is still the uncompromising, stubborn girl who sits in the library all day and prides herself on knowing everything.
The snow continues to fall.
The girl gazes at the snow. It is so pure, so white, not a single blemish on it’s surface. She lifts her hands to her hair, and begins to remove the many, many pins that have secured her hair into place. The brown hair, still sleek, falls about her shoulders.
She throws the pins onto the ground. They sink into the snow, making tiny hollows on the snow’s clean surface. It is no longer perfect, and somehow that makes her smile.
It is black against the snow, appearing beside hers.
The new shadow is taller, broader.
She turns to look at the intruder.
He stands there, his hazel eyes apologetic.
“Sorry,” he murmurs, “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
She chuckles darkly.
“Interrupt what?” she asks.
“You wanted to be alone.”
She makes no reply. The snow keeps falling around them.
He turns to leave, not sure of what to say to the ugly duckling who is now a swan.
“Cedric?” she calls, stopping him.
“Yes?” he asks, turning to her, his shoulders hunched against the cold.
It is so cold. He wonders how her fragile white shoulders can stand to be bare in the snow.
“What do you think?” she asks him.
She turns to him. He knows what she means, but asks anyway.
“About the way I look tonight.”
“You look very beautiful,” he says plainly.
She nods, folding her arms, going back to staring at the snow.
“You also look very cold,” he says, approaching her gently as he removes his overcoat.
“That’s because I am,” she smirks. He puts the coat on her shoulders.
“Why are you such a hero?” she asks, looking up at him as they look up at the dark sky together. She pauses, “You’re everyone’s favorite champion.”
He is not the same the boy that she knew from the Quidditch World Cup last summer. In the summer the days were long. Now the days are cut short by the relentless moon.
With the moon, the fear sets in.
He is frightened. He no longer knows where he’s going.
He used to know everything.
Now he is lost
“I’m no hero,” he mutters to himself, but she hears.
She peers up at him curiously.
“Everyone else thinks you are,” she says.
She observes him carefully. Seeing him the previous summer had meant nothing to her. She had known how handsome he is, and how many girls want him, but he has always been unapproachable. So she has never paid him any attention, before now.
Now it is different, as she stands in his overcoat, and he stands next to her in his thin white shirt. She notices that he has undone his collar.
“I’d ask what’s wrong, but we don’t really know each other,” she says, a wry smile in the corners of her lips.
“What makes you think something’s wrong?” he smirks back at her.
“You seem distracted,” she says calmly, “Like you’re somewhere else.”
He says nothing, and the silence between them lengthens.
The snow grows more and more heavy, the small flurries developing into large, foreboding flakes.
“I wouldn’t know. Talking to Karkaroff about the tournament probably.”
He smiles to himself as he gazes down at her. She really does look breathtaking. He finds it hard to believe that this is the same girl who everyone looks down on. But she has always been different. She never cares what others think, or at least she never seems like she does. And what is more she has never looked at him in the adoring way that so many girls do. The way that Cho does.
He knows that Cho is not the one for him. He has no clue who is the one for him. But the girl who stands beside him, with her chocolate brown eyes that gaze at the moon, seems to come pretty close.
“Dance with me,” he says softly.
She turns to look at him, her eyes wide, although unsurprised.
“Do you want to go back inside?” she asks.
“No,” he says, “We can dance here.”
Her mouth curls into a soft smile.
“I’m not very good at it.”
“Neither am I,” he grins.
“Really? You? Cedric Diggory? Hufflepuff Hearthrob?”
Slowly he puts his arms around her, one hand holding hers as they draw closer and closer to one another.
They begin to turn, the snow spinning around them.
The hand that holds hers is laid against his chest. She rests her head on his shoulder and the two revolve in comfortable silence.
“What do you dream about?” she asks, her face feeling the warmth from his chest.
He is startled by the question, but then everything about her takes him by surprise.
“The dragon,” he mutters, “I have nightmares about the tournament. I dream that it’ll kill me in the end.”
She says nothing at first, but then she exhales softly as she absorbs his words
“You’re brave,” she says, “I watched you fight the dragon. It was brilliant.”
She feels him flinch.
“I’m not brave,” he says darkly, “Not even close. I was terrified. I still am. I have no idea of what to do with the egg. I mean, I only survived the first task because Harry told me that it was dragons. I would have been clueless otherwise. I know that if I don’t die, I’ll run away in fear.”
She can tell that his panic goes a lot deeper than he lets on. He is the golden boy, brave, handsome and kind. And nevertheless, she can feel him shivering.
“I don’t think the library has a book that can help with that,” she confesses.
He laughs, and although he doesn’t feel any less terrified, her answer is the right one. She doesn’t show any sympathy and sympathy is something he can’t stand. People worry for him, they help him, but all they can do is imagine.
If you hadn’t been there, and seen those things, felt that terror, felt the sweat running down your neck as panic set it and yelled in pain until your voice was hoarse then you didn’t understand.
Hermione was right. She didn’t understand. But, as Harry Potter’s best friend, and after hearing the stories of what they had done in their first year, he knew that she had a small idea.
“So why were you crying?” he asks quietly. He feels her stiffen in his arms and she looks at him.
Her eyes are filled with something that he can’t quite grasp. Everything about her is a mystery, because she is so guarded. She is practical; she never lets her feelings get the best of her.
Then she puts her head back onto his shoulder.
“Do you ever feel like, even though you know you shouldn’t change to please other people, it’ll make your life that little bit easier if you just fit in?”
He pauses to contemplate her question.
“You thought that putting on that dress will make people forget who you are?” he asks.
“Exactly,” she mumbles incoherently, “I was just so tired of being ‘that bookworm that Harry Potter’s friends with’. The know-it-all that irritates everyone.”
He says nothing, because he can’t think of a reply.
“But once you’ve changed, you realize that there was only one person, deep down, who’s opinion you wanted to change. No one else’s opinion matters, only theirs. Do you ever feel like that?”
“Sometimes,” he murmurs. He feels a little disappointed, “Must be a lucky guy.”
She is so amazed that she laughs.
“I wasn’t talking about a boy,” she says, “I was talking about me.”
“You?” he sounds confused.
“I meant that I was happy with my books and my good grades. I was willing to ignore all the snarky comments about me being a know-it-all or a mudblood as long as they knew that I was the ‘brightest witch of my age’. I thought that maybe if I changed, and dated a Quidditch player, I could be the ‘brightest witch of my age’ and no longer be the ‘know it all.’ But in the end, I don’t care what they think. It’s sounds so cheesy, but the only person I should have been trying to please was me.”
He is still confused, but feels that he understands her on some other level.
All he has done, all his life, is try to impress everyone. He gets good grades because he wants to make his parents proud. He has girlfriends because he likes showing them off to his friends. And he insists on being so brave throughout this tournament for the Hufflepuff’s, who are all so excited, who have all put so many hopes of glory in him.
He has never done anything for himself, which is why he can’t understand her. Her pride in who she is and her strength impresses him more than her beauty. Hearing her doubts, her secrets and her own personal fears, is unexpected because Hermione Granger is so untouched.
“You’re probably bored by me,” she sighs, even though she knows that if he was he wouldn’t still be here with his arms around her, with his chin resting softly on the top of her head.
“Never,” he chuckles.
The distant sound of the band fades away into silence.
“It must be the end,” he says.
She withdraws her arms.
“We should go,” she says. Suddenly she drops to the ground and begins to clear away the snow with her palms, in search of something.
“What are you looking for?” he asks, crouching down beside her.
“My hair pins,” she mutters distractedly, her fingernails scrambling around, feeling around for them, “I threw them on the ground.”
He feels through the layers of snow and feels a small, thin piece of metal. He picks it up.“
“Here’s one,” he murmurs. He holds it out toward her and for a moment she gazes at him and they stare at each other.
She takes it quickly and stands up.
“Don’t you want to find the rest?” he asks, his eyebrows risen in concern at her odd behavior.
“Um,” she says, “Er, no. One is fine. It’ll take ages to find the rest.”
She lifts off his overcoat and hands it too him.
“Thanks for the coat, and the dance,” she says quickly. Far too quickly, and he can’t help but feel that she wants to get away from him.
He stares transfixed at her as she nods once and turns away from him.
His instincts immediately make him stand up properly.
“Wait,” he utters awkwardly, although he doesn’t know if she will.
“Why?” she asks, turning to face him. She doesn’t make eye contact with him, her eyes roaming the snowy ground, following the foot tracks that they have made.
“Just…wait,” he says hopelessly.
She smiles to herself.
“I just spilled my secrets to a stranger,” she laughs.
“Well, so did I,” he says, taking a step closer to her.
“It’s late,” she sighs, “And I’m cold.”
“Just take my coat!” he cries, handing it to her in frustration.
He takes another step towards her.
“No!” she says, “You can’t be everyone’s hero all the time.”
She starts pacing away.
“What makes you think I even need you to be my hero anyway?” she snaps angrily, “I don’t need your protection! I’m not some damsel in distress.”
She waves her arms about in frustration and he approaches her more boldly. He grabs her arms and brings her closer to him.
“Let go of me!” she looks shocked.
“Just stand still will you!” he says in exasperation, his face centimeters from hers.
She stops and stares at him.
He thinks that this would be the right moment to kiss her. Her lips look so tempting, but he decides against it, because he thinks she doesn’t want to.
But then she does. She touches her lips to his ever so softly, with a shyness and a tenderness that makes him smile.
She is worried that she is too bold. She draws back, and their lips part.
He stares at her, taking in every little detail as a blush creeps along her cheek bones.
“I don’t know how to make the fear go away Cedric,” she says, “I want to make it better, but I can’t. Tell me how I can help, even though I won’t be able to.”
“Will you kiss me again?” he grins cheekily.
But he doesn’t wait for an answer. He takes her face in his hands and kisses her; only it is deeper and more passionate. She wraps her arms around his neck immediately, feeling butterflies soaring in her stomach.
It is her first kiss, and it is magical.
It isn’t his first, but it still makes him giddy, and his fear is gone.
His lips move deftly over hers as they wrap themselves around one another.
And the snow keeps falling.
It covers up the footprints on the ground. Soon no one will ever know that they were there.
No one will ever know that Cedric Diggory kissed Hermione Granger, after they confided their darkest secrets to one another.
The snow will deepen all through the night, and it will cover up the secrets that they keep.
One day the snow will melt.
When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
- To Make You Feel My Love - Bob Dylan
A/N: This was just something that randomly popped into my head. Thoughts?