He allowed himself the luxury of tears for a couple of minutes, then sniffed and settled down to his homework. He knew he wouldn't be getting any sleep tonight; the load was just too great.
Cedric was what the Slytherins would have called a 'dumb jock', the Gryffindors 'slow', the Ravenclaws, if they deigned speak to people as stupid as he, an 'idiot'. The Hufflepuffs called him a friend. And they helped him keep the other Houses from ever finding out he was a slow, idiotic dumb jock.
He had problems understanding things. Often, he never really got them- like Arithmancy. His father, of course, expected him to take all the toughest courses, and maintain an extremely respectable average. And Cedric wanted to please his father more than anything in the world. So, he did everything that was expected of him, forsaking friendships, girlfriends, hobbies, even sleep. And so, he struggled through every Arithmancy problem, studied herbs for hours for Herbology, pulled all-nighters going over potions ingredients.
And so, his father approved. He had one of the highest averages in his class, and he was the most miserable Hufflepuff ever. His fellow Housemates knew this, and tried to help. But all of them knew the only thing that would help was Outside help, and Cedric had asked them not to go Outside with his problems. Hufflepuff was the 'wimp' House, the one everyone else picked on, and to them, every non-'Puff was 'Outside'. Even graduated Hufflepuffs had assimilated into the Outside world, and were not Inside any more. So they helped in little ways, drawing him up review sheets, bringing him food, trying to explain things to him. Cedric was the Golden Boy of Hufflepuff- but the Outsiders said it for a different reason than the Insiders. The others only knew he was smart, athletic, driven- but the 'Puffs, his Housemates, knew he exemplified Hufflepuff- he worked hard- non-stop, in fact. He was loyal to his father, to a fault (though none of them would tell him that).
But still, his father was not pleased enough, did not love Cedric the way he wanted to be loved. So Cedric signed up for the Tri-Wizard Tournament. And was chosen. How could he not be? He was Hufflepuff's Golden Boy, and people expected nothing less. And he cried as long as he could, for he knew he was whittling away his childhood. He knew he would stay up even later, studying for the Tournament, trying not to fail; just as he knew there would be other Hufflepuffs there with him, helping. Not for the glory of their House, not for the points, or any of the nonsense he was sure a Slytherin would have cared about, but because he was a Hufflepuff, and he was in need- and he was one of them.