The Sugar Quill
Author: PiperX (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Musings  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

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Cho stepped through the great front door of the castle and jogged down the steps. She couldn’t help but speed up when she saw him sitting by the edge of the lake. She fought a sudden childlike urge to start skipping and giggled at herself. Is this what it feels like to be in love? she wondered.

She finally slowed down a few meters from him. Cedric was staring into the sparkling black water and didn’t seem to notice her arrival.

“Hi,” she said sitting down in the grass.

His face lit up when he saw her, “Oh, hi! I didn’t even hear you come up.”

“You looked deep in thought,” she said.

“Yeah,” he smiled weakly. “How are you?”

“Wonderful!”

“You finished your paper then?”

“Paper?”

Cedric grinned, “Yes, you know - that thing you have to write for Transfiguration that’s worth about half your grade?”

“Oh - that! Yes, well...” Cho gave him a sheepish look.

“Cho! You haven’t finished it yet?”

She shrugged, “Not exactly.”

“I thought you weren’t going to take a break until you’d finished it? That’s not like you.”

Cho silently agreed. She certainly hadn’t felt like herself the last few weeks. “I know. It’s not that it’s really difficult or boring. It’s actually really interesting theory but...” she felt a sudden pang of shyness, “I just don’t want to think about anything else right now ... but you.” She leaned over and did the thing she had been dreaming about all day in the library over blank pages of parchment and unopened books. As their lips met, Cedric wrapped his arms around her in an affectionate embrace. The warmth of his body felt good in the chilly spring air.

When he finally pulled away, he shook his head reprovingly. “Do you want me to go to the library with you?”

“No - then I really won’t be able to concentrate,” she grinned.

He laughed and looked back out toward the lake.

“So what were you so lost in thought about?” she asked. “Thinking about the second task?”

Cedric nodded. “Just thinking about...” His smile faded. “It’s just...”

Cho couldn’t help but get concerned at his expression, “What wrong, Cedric?”

“Oh, nothing. It’s probably nothing.”

He definitely had something on his mind. She instinctively reached over to put her hand in his and waited until he was ready to discuss it.

He stared pensively at the lake, “I’ve just been thinking about... about Harry.”

This was the last thing Cho expected him to say. “Harry... Potter?” she said, knowing perfectly well that’s who he meant.

“I was just trying to make sense of it all.”

She frowned, “Do you mean - how he got his name into the Goblet of Fire?”

“Yes, that’s part of it.” He began picking shamrocks absentmindedly out of the grass, “Do you remember how I told you that he wouldn’t tell me how he got his name in?”

Cho nodded.

“Well, that wasn’t exactly true.”

Cho tried to hide her surprise. She had come to believe that Cedric was the most honest person she had ever known. Was he saying that he lied to her?

“Oh?” she tried to sound casual.

“He actually said that he didn’t put his name in and he didn’t know how it happened.”

“Really?” she said. It was more of a statement than a question.

“Of course, I didn’t believe him at the time. But now... I don’t know anymore. He’s...” He searched for the right words to accurately describe his co-champion.

Cho was very curious to hear what Cedric thought of Harry. He had always seemed like a very nice person. He was certainly an amazing Quidditch player.

“He’s what?”

“He’s...” he said slowly, “a really good kid.”

“So... you believe him?”

Cedric wrinkled his forehead. “I think I do,” he said thoughtfully. “You said so yourself, there’s no way he could have gotten over the age line. It’s impossible.”

“No way that I know of. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible.”

“Cho,” he raised his eyebrows, “You’re the smartest person in this school. If you don’t know of a spell, I’m sure it doesn’t exist.”

She tried to suppress a smile, “A bit biased, aren’t you?”

“Maybe...” Cedric leaned forward and peered into the black water, “You should have seen him at the bottom of the lake. He was just floating there, waiting for the rest of us. He had his hostage free. He could’ve won - easily. I could tell he was really worried about everyone. I mean - I was too. But... he refused to leave until everyone was safe.”

“Well, that was really noble of him but he should’ve known that no one was in any real danger,” said Cho. “Dumbledore would never let that happen.”

“I know. He’s pretty young and he grew up with Muggles. He probably didn’t know any better. But... I don’t know. Maybe it’s something else. Maybe he knows something we don’t.”

Cho suddenly got a queasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. “What do you mean?” she couldn’t stop herself from asking.

“Well, there’s more,” said Cedric apprehensively. “I don’t know if I should tell you or not. People could get into trouble.”

Cho took a nervous breath, “You don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to, Cedric.”

“Thanks. Actually, I want to tell you. It’s just... it’s bad.”

“Bad?”

“Well, we weren’t supposed to know about the dragons. It was supposed to test our ability to keep our heads when facing the unknown.”

Cho thought about what he had said. “Are you saying... that you knew about them ahead of time?”

“Yes,” Cedric sighed. “We knew. We all knew. Well - everyone except me. Do you know how I found out?”

Cho shook her head but somehow she knew what he was going to say.

“Harry told me.”

“Harry?”

“Yes. He said everyone knew but me. And he was right. They all knew ahead of time. I could tell by the looks on their faces.”

“When did he tell you?”

“The day before the first task. He said it was fair. He thought we should all be even.”

“Wow,” she said. “That was really good of him.”

“Yeah. But it doesn’t make any sense. If he really wanted to win, he wouldn’t have told me about the dragons. And he wouldn’t have waited at the bottom of the lake for everyone to get there.”

“Do you think he doesn’t want to win?”

“No. No, I don’t think that. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind winning. Look at how he plays Quidditch - he’s very competitive.” His voice became quiet, “I think it’s something else.”

“What?” said Cho still fighting the churning in her stomach.

“I don’t know. It’s like he wants to make sure nothing bad happens to anyone. I think... I think he’s afraid.”

“Could be. There’s nothing wrong with being afraid, Cedric.”

“I know.” Then he let out a laugh, “You should have seen us all before we faced the dragons. Even Fleur was scared.”

“Fleur Delacour?” Cho’s eyes went wide with exaggerated surprise, “Break a sweat? I don’t believe it!”

Cedric laughed, “Yeah, we were all pretty terrified. There’s no denying it.”

She beamed at him, “I can’t imagine how it must have been for you.”

“Viktor was just standing there scowling and clenching his fists. Fleur was wringing her hands and biting those long fingernails of hers. Harry was just standing there staring at the wall. I thought he might pass out.”

Suddenly, Cho knew that she didn’t want to talk about the tournament any more. She was ready to go back to her Transfiguration paper. Just as she was about to get up, Cedric started talking again.

“It just really makes me wonder if there really is something going on.”

Resigned to indulging him but fighting a sudden irrational fear, she thought the best thing to do was to think logically.

“Cedric, what makes you think something’s going on? Just because he’s scared? Just because it’s Harry Potter, doesn’t mean that something horrible is going to happen. Yes - him being a fourth champion is very strange but unexplained things happen here all the time. What makes you think this is so different?”

Confident she had put his (and her) concerns to rest, she once again started to get up to go back to the library.

“Actually,” said Cedric, “It was something that Professor Moody said.”

She stopped. The queasiness had now turned into a rock in the pit of her stomach.

Cedric continued, “He seemed to think that someone put Harry’s name into the Goblet because they wanted to hurt him.”

She stared at him, “Professor Moody said that?”

“Yes. He said that after Harry got named Champion. Harry didn’t even respond. He was just standing there with a blank look on his face. It was weird - it was the same look he had before we met the dragons. Almost like he was afr-” Cedric finally noticed the expression on Cho’s face and stopped, “Are you all right? I’m sorry - I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“I’m not upset,” Cho insisted, though her voice quavered.

“Listen - I’m sure you’re right. It’s nothing. Moody’s completely paranoid. And Harry... who could blame him for being a little paranoid, too.”

Cho desperately tried to swallow the lump in her throat, “You really think so?” Most of her classmates thought that “Mad Eye” Moody was one step shy of the loony bin but she had always been very impressed by him. She had studied his life history. Alastor “Mad Eye” Moody was the greatest Auror to exist in their lifetime. He had almost 100 years in service fighting the Dark Arts. Somebody with that kind of experience - you don’t just shrug off their comments as witless noodling. She had gotten quite angry with more than a few people who had made light of him. She felt he deserved respect. If Professor Moody thought there was something sinister going on with the tournament, she wasn’t about to question it. But that would mean that Cedric could be in danger as well. She shivered.

“Cho, Moody didn’t know for sure. He was just trying to come up with an explanation. He’s always thinking of the worst case scenario, right?”

Cho tried to force a grin, “Yeah.”

“You know him,” Cedric opened one eye wide and wrinkled up the rest of his face and said in a gruff voice, “CONSTANT VIGILANCE!”

Cho couldn’t help but let out a laugh. “Don’t make fun of him,” she said gently.

Cedric gazed at her affectionately, “I respect him as much as you do. He’s just thinking of the worst scenario. I’m sure everyone will be all right. Think about it - we’ve got Moody and Dumbledore looking out for us. Nothing is going to happen.”

Cho was grateful for his words. She was even starting to believe them. “Promise?”

“I promise. I’m sorry I scared you.”

Cho tried to appear nonchalant, “I wasn’t scared. Really. See?” She pointed to her forehead, “Didn’t even break a sweat.”

“That’s my girl,” he leaned over and kissed her. “By the way, were you going somewhere?”

Cho smiled as she put her arms around him. “No.”

//
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