We all love Hufflepuffs. They are kind and sweet and smell like cinnamon rolls. They prize fairness above all else. I feel like people stereotype Hufflepuffs as innocent lemon drops who are too shy to speak a single word or stand up for something. On the contrary, they are just as outspoken as Gryffindors. They have a sense of justice that cannot be snuffed out. They will go to the ends of the Earth to make things fair. In light of this, a Hufflepuff will often spend their time like this…
The Hufflepuff Quidditch team was up early on Saturday and sitting in their common room. Though they usually rose early on the day of a match, this time they weren’t up by choice. The thunder and lightning was loud and bright enough to keep anyone up. And with the game day nerves running high in the majority of the team, insomnia was inevitable.
“It’s going down heavy out there, Ced,” Gabriel, one of the Beaters, directed uncertainly to their team’s captain and Seeker, Cedric Diggory. “Doesn’t look good.”
Cedric turned to look at Gabriel and gave him a reassuring smile. “And it will continue to be ominous if you keep staring at it. Come on, Gabe, away from the window.”
Gabriel bit his lip and tore his eyes from the storm. Cedric watched as his friend and teammate paced and sighed. Quidditch really was only a game and not worth stressing over. He had known Oliver Wood, the Gryffindor Captain, since his first year and…Cedric hated to be the judge of anyone else’s character but Quidditch mania seemed to have taken a toll on Wood.
Don’t get him wrong, Cedric loved Quidditch as much as the next wizard, but there were more important things. What he was worried about was the safety of two teams, playing in this storm.
“Do you think Hooch would allow Water Repelling charms on the Quidditch robes?” He wondered out loud. “I don’t want any of the players catching cold…”
Diana, the Keeper, shrugged. “…well, maybe if Potter caught a cold…” she smiled guiltily.
The other Beater, Margaret, laughed but ended up yawning halfway through when she caught sight of Cedric’s disapproving look. Then she said anyway, “We don’t need to worry about Potter or the Chaser girls. They’re skinny enough that the wind will knock them right off their brooms.”
And fall fifty feet, Cedric thought. That was exactly what was worrying him.
“It’s Wood we’ve got to worry about,” Gabriel said, his brow creased. “He’s determined that Gryffindor will win the cup this year. What if he plays dirty?”
“He won’t,” Cedric said confidence clear in his voice. “Wood plays fair no matter what, as do the rest of his team. So long as we return the courtesy, we need not worry.”
Gabriel shook his head, “Wish I shared your confidence.”
“‘Worrying means you suffer twice,’” Cedric quoted.
The Hufflepuffs started at him with adoration.
“Wow, Diggory,” Diana said in awe. “Did you make that up yourself?”
“No, it’s a quote from…oh, never mind.”
As Cedric, and no doubt everyone in the castle, had easily predicted, the storm did not let up. And Madame Hootch did not call of the match as she never did.
“Wish Malfoy’s arm wasn’t broken,” Gabriel shouted as the team trudged through the puddles and mud to get to the stadium. “Than Slytherin would be playing.”
“Malfoy’s arm isn’t broken!” Margaret shouted. “Everyone knows he is faking it.”
“What?” Shouted Gabriel, unable you hear her over the roaring thunder.
“Either way,” called Cedric. “We’re playing this game and we are going to do our best. Gryffindor hasn’t lost a match in two years, we can break that streak if we try hard enough.”
The team cheered Cedric’s words and followed his up the path. Soon they were close enough to see the hazy outline of three goal hoops on one side of the stadium.
“Inside!” Cedric said, gesturing them towards the changing rooms. He waited until each of his team was inside before going in himself.
Having changed into the dry yellow and grey robes, it took only one step outside for the clothes to be soaked by the rain. He held out an arm, stopping his team before they too stepped outside. Wood and his players weren’t out yet and Cedric didn’t want his players wet until it was absolutely necessary.
By holding up a hand to shield his eyes and squinting, he saw Wood’s figure emerge, walking out to the stadium, broom in hand. Cedric grappled his own Comet and motioned for the Hufflepuffs to follow.
They did so readily.
Cedric shook Wood’s hand with confidence and said, “Good luck,” but he didn’t think Wood heard him.
Mounting their brooms, Madame Hooch’s shrill whistle beginning the match could just barely be heard over the crack of thunder that had started.
Kicking off the muddy ground, the match had begun.
Having been too concentrated on his team’s wellbeing, he had forgotten to think about how he would see the Snitch in the storm. Poor Potter must have been having the same problem, doubled by the fact he wore glasses.
A few hours in, the Snitch was nowhere in sight and the rain was pouring as hard as ever. Cedric had heard Gryffindor score three goals but was sure they were up more.
Madame Hooch’s whistle sounded a time out. Cedric was grateful to land on the ground and join the the other students.
Wood had called a timeout and was talking to the Gryffindor team. Cedric noticed Potter trying to wipe his glasses clean of water droplets, most unsuccessfully. Looking over his shoulder, Cedric noticed the girl who he knew to be Potter’s friend coming up the pitch. Taking a step back from his own team, he stopped her as she passed by.
“Granger, right?” He asked.
She looked at him in surprise. “Yes.”
“Your friend, Potter. Do you know Impervius?”
“Of course but-“ Her eyes brightened. “Thank you!” And with that, she rushed off to the Gryffindor team.
Cedric went back to his own Quidditch team. “Okay,” he started, “Gryffindor is fifty points up. If Potter gets the Snitch we’ll be out of the running. Chasers,” he directed his attention to them, “Focus on getting as many points as possible, stay near the Gryffindor end. Gabriel, Margaret, forget about me, I want you protecting the Chasers from the Weasley’s. Whether I get the Snitch or not, I don’t want us to win or loose without us knowing we did our best. Yes?”
“Yes!” The team echoed enthusiastically.
They grabbed their brooms and within minutes were back in the air.
While the rest of the Hufflepuffs went to the Gryffindor end of the pitch, Cedric flew around as much of the stadium as he could, looking for any flint of gold. Now that Granger had charmed his glasses, Potter and himself were now on even footing. Cedric would have to do better if Hufflepuff was going to win.
And then he saw it, the Snitch, just behind a silhouette on a broom. Hoping it wasn’t a Gryffindor Beater, he changed his course and sped towards the Snitch. The figure he had seen was Potter’s own but it didn’t look like the younger boy had seen it.
The ball was too far ahead of him and he would have to be quick. Once Potter realized that Cedric was on the Snitch’s tail there was no doubt he would be after it too.
Whizzing ahead, the Snitch seemed to be teasing Cedric.
“Come on…” Cedric urged his broom. “Come on, we’ve got this.”
He didn’t dare look back for a second. Potter might be gaining on him but he couldn’t afford to take his eyes away from the Snitch.
A chilling feeling washed over him. It wasn’t like the numbing feeling the cold air and rain had on him. It came from the inside. But Cedric pushed it aside. He had to get the Snitch, he couldn’t let his House down. He was going to get it…
He stretched out his arm and caught the golden ball.
“Yes!” He cried to himself.
He turned around his broom, expecting to see Potter behind him. But no one was there.
A dark shadow caught his eye. A hazy cloaked body flew about the pitch. A dementor.
“We need a rematch!”
The rain had finally let up and the sun had come out. Harry Potter had to be taken to the Hospital Wing after the dementor attack.
Wood, his hair damp and his robes splattered with mud, was shaking his head. “You won fair and square, Diggory. It isn’t your fault Harry fell.”
“Madame Hooch,” Cedric implored, facing the referee. “Potter got hurt before I caught the Snitch. That can’t be okay. If we played again when he was better-“
“Wood is correct, Hufflepuff won fairly,” Hooch said shrilly. “Potter’s situation is no one but the dementors fault. No rematch will be allowed.”
Cedric ran a hand through his rain soaked hair and shook his head. He glanced at Wood, who was looking deeply depressed. “Sorry, mate,” he said.
Wood made no acknowledgement except for a murmured “Good game” before turning on his heels and skulking away.
Dinner was full of commotion and merriment at the Hufflepuff table that evening. Cedric did his best to join in the merriment, though he was still disconcerted at what he believed to be an unfair game. The glares from passing Gryffindors also put him at unease.
If he had only looked back he would have seen Potter and the dementors. He might have been able to help. Potter might not have fallen if Cedric had only checked if he was behind him. But no. He had kept his eyes on the Snitch and had missed everything.
Only this morning he had scorned his teammates for thinking Quidditch was a priority. Yet when it counted the most, he had put winning over helping.
A girls voice said his name and he turned around. Cho Chang was standing between the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables, smiling shyly at him.
He stood, politely, “Hey, Cho.”
“Good match. You did really well…I watched you. From the stands, I mean.”
Cedric shook his head. “We should have a rematch. Potter fell of his broom-“
“No, no,” Cho shook her head. “Hufflepuff won. It’s no ones fault Harry got hurt.”
“Wish I felt that way…” Cedric smiled. “You want to sit down?”
She nodded enthusiastically but then blushed. “If you don’t mind.”
Cedric made room for her at the Hufflepuff table and they sat down.
“So I guess this means Hufflepuff will play Ravenclaw next.” Cho remarked.
“Unless there is a re-“
“Oh, give it up, Ced,” Margaret interrupted having overheard. “There isn’t going to be a rematch!”
“I think it’s really noble of you,” Cho said, once Margaret had toned down. “To want a rematch. Not everyone would.”
“‘Course they would,” Cedric said modestly. “Just common decency.”
Cho shook her head. “Not as common as you think.”
They sat in silence for awhile. Silence, save for the cheering Hufflepuffs. Cho broke the mild tension by asking.
“How is the career searching going?”
“Well enough, but-“
“Cedrics got an offer from the Appleby Arrows!” Gabriel piped in.
Cho looked at Cedric with fascination. “Really? That’s amazing!”
Cedric felt his face heat up and he quickly said, “I don’t know if I’m going to take it. I don’t think I could play Quidditch for a living.”
“If not Quidditch, what would you do after Hogwarts?” Cho inquired.
“Dad wants me to go into the Ministry,” Cedric rubbed the back of his neck. “I’d like to get a internship there next summer but I don’t know if I could work in law. It’d just be nice as training or a startup, you know?”
Cho nodded. “Marietta’s mum works at the Ministry. We’re going to get an internship in our sixth year. If your still working there, that’d be cool.”
“It would be,” he smiled brightly at Cho and she tried to not smile too widely back.
“Cho!” A girl cried from the Ravenclaw table. “Cho, come back over here!”
She looked apologetically at Cedric. “Suppose I better go. Great game today…again.”
And with that she stood up. He waved her goodbye as she walked back over to her House table. Gabriel winked at Cedric who rolled his eyes and shook his head.
“We’re just friends,” he chuckled.
“Sure you are,” Gabriel teased.
Angelina Johnson walked by the Hufflepuff table and Cedric stood to ask, “Johnson! How’s your Seeker?”
“He’s awake,” she said. “Merlin knows he needs some rest but he’ll live.”
“If there’s anything I can do just tell me.”
Angelina nodded, “Will do, Diggory.”
He sat down again and was immediately told by several other Hufflepuffs, “You’re gold, Cedric. Just gold.”
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