Chapter 1 : Everything and More
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NOTE: I wrote the poem, The Love That Never Would, during a really difficult time when I thought my friend had taken his life. He hadn't, and I thank the Lord for that, but needless to say, he gave me quite a scare. Alex, if you're reading this, cheers. You'll always be my Big Bird through and through. Don't ever scare me like that again, you hear?
Now, on to the story! Don't forget to review!
♥ The Love That Never Would ♥
I met you when I was lost and alone.
You gave me your friendship anew.
We talked of everyday goods and bads.
We told stories of love we thought true.
It was just yesterday. No, one year before. But it was yesterday to her. It always would be. Each today became yesterday, each tomorrow brought forth sorrow. Each morning, sunlight gleamed through her chamber window, blazing upon her silken black locks and creamy visage, but also cast a vacant shadow upon her aching heart. Yes, everyday was yesterday.
Today refused to come.
They officially met for the first time just under a year and a half before that day, her yesterday and his. Clad in her fresh blue and bronze tunic and cloak to match, she was primed for the big game, her first chance of the year to prove her aerial prowess. It was her fourth year as a Ravenclaw Eagle, but her third as the house’s talented seeker. At the ripe age of six, her father had exposed her to the wonderment called Quidditch, and ever since, she had been addicted to the fascinating sport. However, it wasn’t until the summer after her first year at Hogwarts that she had even considered trying out for her house’s team. She hadn’t had much choice in the matter—her new friends, Marietta Edgecomb and Ainslee Gunn, wouldn’t have ceased pestering her about it had she not dragged her Comet 260 onto the field that chilly evening and coaxed her nervous self up into the air. Apparently, her nerves had not hindered her performance, for the young and newly-appointed captain, Roger Davies, had all but kissed her when her feet found the ground again, enthusiastically promising her a spot on the team. She could not have been more elated, and she paid no mind to Marietta’s and Ainslee’s “I told you so”s all through that first night and the next morning at breakfast. She could not have asked for more.
And yet, she received more during the next few years—much more. She became the most popular Ravenclaw in her year, not just for her superb seeking skills, but also for her captivating smile, her radiant eyes and perfect form. She was more or less one of the most attractive girls in school, and her kindhearted personality and commendable marks only heightened her status. Marietta and Ainslee always envied her, but they had their perks, as well, for they were both quite pretty and claimed the eyes of many-a-male. With her stellar grades and bountiful friends, what more could she ask for?
Whether she asked for it or not, she got it, alright—more. She followed her teammates as they marched onto the field after having endured Roger’s traditional melodramatic peptalk, feeling the usually euphoric sensation of both excitement and anxiety. As much as she enjoyed the cheers of the crowd and the manic snitch-rush, she couldn’t help but feel antsy: she prayed she wouldn’t let her team down. Roger had preached time and time again about how crucial it was for them to win the match against Hufflepuff that morning. Not only would a loss hinder Ravenclaw’s chances for winning the Cup, but the captain also had some sort of childish grudge against the opposing team’s seeker and captain, fifth year Cedric Diggory. She had never met the boy before, but she certainly had heard about him and his supposed uncanny ability to make girls swoon. She wouldn’t admit it, but when she first laid eyes on him before mounting her broom that morning, she wholeheartedly agreed with her giggly girlfriends—the seeker was drop-dead gorgeous. She found her cheeks flushing slightly when their eyes locked a few minutes later, after having mounted their brooms and faced each other, only a few heads’ distance apart. She savored the moment by memorizing every curve of his flawless face, every blue-tinted wisp in his alluring grey eyes. As Madam Hooch began her count to begin the game, the comely Hufflepuff’s lips rose from the sides in a calm smirk while he still held her gaze.
She was spellbound.
And she felt it was incredibly difficult to waive that spell throughout the match. She found herself eyeing the handsome seeker frequently as she circled the hoops. Her team had the upperhand—most of the Hufflepuff players were novices—and did not lose it. Ravenclaw won, but only because she had happened upon the snitch on accident, instinctively snatching it from her hair when it decided to nestle itself atop her head for a beat. Otherwise, she may not have caught the bugger, much less caught sight of it, for her sights had been on something else—or, rather, someone else—entirely.
That particular someone decided to properly introduce himself to her after the game. She was chatting animatedly with Marietta, Ainslee and her other Ravenclaw posse about the victory and had a terrible time attempting to remain calm when Diggory showed up from behind, introduced himself and she to him, then shook her shaky hand in his warm one.
“Nice win, Chang,” he complimented her with a deep resonant voice that made her shudder, “You’re one fair flyer.”
The blushing Ravenclaw was not in control of what came out of her mouth. “Please, it’s Cho.” She couldn’t stop staring into his eyes, but she supposed it was alright since it seemed he wouldn’t let her. “You’re…y-you’re not so bad, yourself.”
“Alright, Cho. Then I suppose what we have is a perfect match.”
All she could muster was a shy smile, but it seemed enough for him, for he smiled back the same way that took her breath away as they waited for the match to begin. Something about his calm, charismatic manner forced her to relax the slightest bit.
“Oi, pretty boy! Hop your arse over ‘ere!”
Diggory visibly flinched and peered over his shoulder to find his teammates staring impatiently at him. With him facing away from her, Cho couldn’t help but admire his broad shoulders and Quidditch-built figure. His light honey brown hair really did it for her, as angelically soft to the eye as she assumed it to be to the touch. She longed to reach out and run her hand through those locks…but she knew better.
He turned back round and chuckled, “I’d better go.” He jabbed a thumb over his shoulder, indicating the motley crew. “The storm awaits.”
Cho put on her best laugh and smile, both of which she knew her latest ex-boyfriend hadn’t been able to get enough of. “It was really nice to meet you, Diggory.” She wasn’t aware of her girlfriends sniggering behind her, mocking her with ogling eyes.
The Hufflepuff captain leaned in and briefly touched her shoulder, sending a wave of giddiness through her entire body. “Please,” he laughed, copying her, “It’s Cedric.” After holding her gaze for a precious moment, the boy ran off to face his unhappy team.
Cho avoided her friends’ amused looks as she excused herself to the changing rooms. For much of the remainder of the morning, she pondered on the new male figure in her life. What had sparked such intense feelings inside her? She hadn’t ever seen the boy before that day, yet she couldn’t erase his beautiful image from her mind. What was wrong with her? Was there a love potion involved? Cedric Diggory was more or less a complete stranger to her.
Little did she know that he would become so much more. Over the following months, she and Cedric greeted each other in the corridors with friendly smiles and occasional waves. It didn’t take long for them to stop and chat with each other between classes, and before Cho knew it, the heartthrob had become a friend. She discovered to her delight that Cedric was an avid reader and exemplary student, just as she was. The two met sporadically in the library, outside in the courtyard by the fountain, on the grounds…everywhere, until their meetings became regular and almost daily. Over the course of the remainder of the year, Cho found she could confide in her new close friend about practically everything.
You seemed to be flirting with me all the while,
But I ignored the signs.
I sheltered myself from bountiful love,
Unique with its turns and declines.
“Ainslee won’t even give me a chance to apologize,” she complained one Saturday afternoon under a beech tree during the end of the spring term. “I know I screwed up in a major way by letting on to Marietta about her fancying another girl, but—”
She had said too much.
“God, I wasn’t supposed to tell y—”
“Cho,” Cedric interrupted while tying his tie round his head for fun. “You know me—I won’t tell anyone.”
She sighed. “I know, but I already messed up by telling Marietta, and she just about died and got all bent up about it, thinking Lee was in love with her or something.”
“Oh, no.” The Hufflepuff exclaimed sarcastically, curling himself into a very puzzling position against the tree, his tie hanging over one side of his face. “I’m all bent up about it, too.”
Cho punched him playfully on the shoulder. “Oh, belt up, you.”
Cedric simply had a way of making her feel better about just about anything. He was a real card, but he knew when to be serious. He was childish, but not immature. Cho admired him for his sincerity and selflessness. He was kind and respectful to everyone, so unlike the pretty boy she had heard not-so-clean rumours about during her first years at Hogwarts. When she joined him as a prefect the next fall at the start of her fifth year, she saw a completely different side of her best male friend. And yes, he was just a friend and nothing more. However, she often fantasized about what it would be like to be on the receiving end of one of his kisses, with those firm but soft lips atop hers that appeared as if they could both caress and suffocate her at the same time.
As she completed prefect duties with him each night, she observed with an intrigued eye his knack for authority. He always knew just where to look for the cozy couples, marauding pranksters and sneaky Slytherins. None of those who were caught ever tried to cross him, for he was intimidating and stern, not hesitant to report any foul business to the Heads of Houses.
Though they were often alone by the lake or in the library when they met, as well, Cho truly treasured her late night rounds with the dashing sixth year. She somehow felt more connected to him when they shared their stories and worries with each other while passing through the empty corridors. It was their time, all to themselves. The castle was wonderfully peaceful at night, neither spooky nor foreboding. She especially felt the serenity of the place when she and Cedric checked outside the towers for any troublemakers at the peek of their patrolling each night.
The view from the Astronomy Tower was one she would never allow her mind to muddle. The scene overlooking the grounds, forest and rolling hills beyond was simply breathtaking. A part of her knew she wouldn’t have enjoyed it so much if Cedric hadn’t been there each night beside her, but she always ignored that side of her, the side that was so immensely attracted to her friend that she could hardly contain herself. Her denial was a known trait of hers amongst her friends, for they all concluded that the two C’s were “made for each other by Merlin”.
Though they were technically not permitted to linger in any place for too long during their prefect duties, Cho and Cedric always took a good ten minutes or more every night to enjoy the seclusion of the Astronomy Tower together. These were the nights Cho would never forget, even through all of her yesterdays. They would discuss their most troubling worries and fears some nights, while others were spent in shared silence, words no longer a necessity between them. All it took was an encouraging squeeze of the hand or a shared smile to convey what needed to be shared on those nights.
There was one night in particular that would never leave her for the rest of her life. Dumbledore had just drawn the names of the chosen Triwizard Tournament Champions. Cho had nearly shed tears of joy when the Headmaster’s booming voice announced Cedric’s name. She applauded with all the rest and felt an odd jittery sensation when her friend passed her and winked on his way to meet with the other schools’ champions, Fleur Delecour of Beauxbatons and Viktor Krum of Durmstrang. Cho’s enthusiasm died when the Goblet of Fire decided to emit one more slip of paper, but she felt the same churning in her stomach when Harry Potter, the one and only, stumbled past her, receiving no applause at all. She had always had a soft spot for The-Boy-Who-Lived, and she couldn’t understand how he had managed to get chosen as the impossible second Hogwarts champion. She felt a sudden desire to follow him and comfort him—he had looked completely terrified.
We’ve kept in touch all of these months,
These months since the day we first met.
We’ve sought each other for truth and support,
A friendship I’ll never forget.
“I’ve been dreaming of this, Cho…ever since the first night back,” Cedric sighed as the two of them stood close together and leaned on the Astronomy Tower’s wall, their gazes on the magnificent scene before them. Cho had no doubt—Cedric was most definitely worthy of competing. She had seen him duel for fun with his Hufflepuff friends, seen him demonstrate bravery for others in times of trial. He’d been there for her, as well, despite her stupid girl drama and boyfriend heartaches. Yes, she had dated a handful of boys since she met Cedric. The two were only friends, after all. However, though she wasn’t conscious of it, she tended to compare each of them to her lovable friend, and they hardly ever measured up.
“I’m really excited for you,” she replied and laid a warm hand atop his. “And so proud.”
When her hand made contact with his, he broke his gaze away from the night landscape and brought it to hers. Her heart beat a bit faster when his smile met his eyes. There were times when Cho wondered what went on in that gorgeous head of his, especially when he did what he did next:
He kissed her.
Granted, it was only on the forehead, and it had been so brief that she could have imagined it, but it was something different, nonetheless. He had never done that before, and Cho almost wished he had—she hadn’t known what she had been missing. She felt so alive in that moment and almost scowled at her dizzying reaction. Ever since the day she met him, he had had that same strange effect on her. As soon as she imagined him kissing her somewhere else, somewhere more intimate, she shoved her feelings aside and turned her eyes away from his, not trusting herself to keep his gaze.
“Cho?” His voice cut through her thoughts painfully. Her fantasy forgotten, reality had just hit her smack in the face:
He was in danger.
Of course, the Goblet of Fire could not have chosen a worthier candidate to compete, but that did not mean he would leave the school at the end of the year unscathed. Champions died during the trying tasks.
She found her voice with difficulty. “I’m…I-I’m also scared for you, Cedric.” Before she knew it, her eyes were wet with tears that threatened to fall down her face. Where had they come from? She made a point not to look at her friend; she didn’t want him to know how upset she was. She wanted to be strong and support him, not be a burden.
Against her wishes, her tears did not go unnoticed by him. He placed a hand on her back and rubbed it lightly, worried.
“Cho?” he repeated, softer this time and more tender, and she couldn’t avoid looking at him any longer. When her eyes met his, she let go. She crashed her head against his shoulder and let the tears stream down. His arms wrapped about her protectively. Being so close to him felt much better than she had imagined. She almost felt as if she were right where she belonged.
“Shh…” he cooed, stroking her hair soothingly, “S’alright.”
Cho sniffed and clung to him tighter. “You could die. I…I-I don’t know what I’d…I-I don’t k-know…” Her voice trailed off as she continued to sob silently, soaking his shoulder with her heartfelt tears. She hadn’t known she was so close to him, that she would act like this if he was ever in danger. She had taken him for granted, and the thought of losing him, losing her best friend, her confidant, her…
He kissed her forehead once again, and a wave of warmth shot through her. The feeling acted as some sort of switch that turned off her tear ducts, for the heavy river flowing down her face dried up almost instantly.
“Please, don’t fret about me,” he cooed in her ear, still rubbing her back, comforting her.
“I’ll never leave you.”
And those words stuck with her through thick and thin. As Cedric prepared himself for the first task, she found the only way to cope with her fears for him was to remember those words.
If only they were true.
They grew closer, if that were possible. The two spent almost the entire day before the first task together, Cho trying to relax for him, and Cedric trying not to faint from fright. Harry Potter had just recently told Cedric that the first task would involve dragons, and Cho couldn’t have felt more grateful to the fourth year. Something stirred within her when Cedric mentioned his name that night.
“Potter didn’t have to tell me, but he did,” said Cedric. They were watching the sunset together under their usual beech tree by the lake. “I wish there was something I could do to repay him.”
Cho sighed. Harry really was a wonderful boy. She wouldn’t deny it. She also wouldn’t deny that he looked awfully cute with his unkempt hair and glasses. And his shocking emerald eyes…but they held nothing to Cedric’s eyes…
“Don’t worry about that now,” she replied, looking at his profile. “You can make it up to Harry later.” She knew that he knew what she meant—worry about the feisty dragon first.
Cedric didn’t speak for a while. Neither did Cho. The silence wasn’t awkward, nor was it invasive. Both felt it spoke more than words could ever do.
When he finally did speak, his voice was soft and innocent. “Cho…if I make it out alive—”
“Don’t say that.” His words had instantly formed a lump in her throat. She knew he might die, but she most certainly didn’t want him to say the words aloud. That would have been too much for her to handle.
“Fine—when I make it out alive,” His chuckle didn’t meet his eyes; his voice grew soft once again. “Will you go to Hogsmeade with me?”
Cho gasped. Though they had met up at Hogsmeade before, he had never asked her like that. No, before it was a, “Let’s connect up in the Three Broomsticks after you, Mari and Ainslee finish doing your girly things. How’s that sound?” or “Ed’s spending the entire day with Katie Bell. Want to drag me round with you guys?”. He had never asked her in such a way that told her he wanted to spend the entire day with her and her alone.
She couldn’t stop the butterflies—but she did deny they were there.
“Of course,” she answered, feeling her ears grow warmer. Perhaps, the heating charm hadn’t worn off from class earlier that afternoon…
Cedric beamed brightly and lazily laid his arm on her shoulder. “I’d best beat that dragon, then.”
And he did…though not without injury. After having finally emerged from the medical tent after completing the task, Cho nearly glomped him. Fortunately, he hadn’t had any injuries in her line of fire, for he would have been screaming in agony; her grip was so tight.
“Oh, God, you’re alive! I was afraid…when he slashed you…oh, but what a performance! Absolutely brilliant!”
He just let her keep at it for a while, not saying a word, just appreciating her enthusiasm and attention for all it was worth and more. Yes, much more…
He hadn’t done as well as Harry had, but Cho kept that to herself. Despite how incredibly impressed and relieved she was with Cedric’s performance, she couldn’t help but be in awe at Harry’s. He had been so insightful to use his broom, on which he always looked fantastic. He wasn’t much shorter than Cedric anymore, and he was almost as lean. Though she forgot about it once she saw Cedric exit from the tent, she had been completely enchanted with the Gryffindor seeker during his go at the Hungarian Horntail…
Cho had a brilliant time with Cedric the following Hogsmeade weekend. They perused all the shops, only purchasing a handful of items and candies. Cedric truly made her day, her week, her…well, needless to say, he was quite crucial toward her happiness. When she turned in that night, she felt lighter than air.
The days creeping up to the Yule Ball flew by at lightning speed, but Cho had not been asked. No, she had been asked by countless hopefuls, but not by him. Or the other him…but she kept her thoughts of Harry even from herself.
“Just ask him,” suggested Ainslee from one of the dark blue armchairs before the fire one afternoon in the Ravenclaw common room. Cho shook her head from her seat on the couch next to Marietta and returned her attention to her Herbology essay…or, rather, pretended to.
Marietta objected, “She can’t do that. We girls don’t ask our boys. It’s their responsibility.”
Ainslee sighed, looking somewhat confused, “It shouldn’t matter, should it—who asks who?”
Cho decided she’d rather not join in the conversation and pretended to ignore her bickering friends. Ever since Marietta found out about Ainslee’s girl crush that spring, she had been a bit wary of the blue-eyed brunette. Ainslee never talked about it, nor did she pursue whoever it was, but the strawberry blonde remained perturbed.
“Of course, it matters, Lee,” Marietta scowled, rolling her eyes and crumpling up a note from her secret admirer (aka: stalker) simultaneously. “It’s the gentlemanly thing to do.”
“Well, one would think it would be just as ladylike to—”
“What do you know about being ladylike?!?”
“Would you give it a rest? I don’t fancy her anymore!”
“But you…you still…you’re camp, is what!”
Ainslee was livid. “That was out of order.”
“You’re out of order!”
Cho, who couldn’t stand it anymore, snapped, “Shove it, you two!” Her friends quit speaking and glared at her. “Mari, Jeremy Stretton asked her to the ball, alright? Last time I checked, he was most definitely male. She’s fancied him for ages, haven’t you, Lee?”
Ainslee beamed at her in appreciation, blushed, then teased, “Just as you’ve had eyes for pretty boy Diggory.”
Cho didn’t bother arguing. Cedric was just a friend, and she was content with him staying that way. Yes, he was incredibly good looking. Yes, he was intelligent, kind, loyal, and brave—he was perfect. He was everything, everything and more, but did she really want all that?
Did she want more?
“Just chat him up a bit, Cho,” said Marietta, still irritated at Ainslee but attempting not to make her anger blatant. “He’ll come round.”
And he asked her the very next evening. They were out on the Astronomy Tower for usual nightly chat before completing rounds. It hadn’t been romantic…and yet it had been at the same time.
“So, this ball,” said Cedric, his shoulder brushing against hers ever so slightly as they watched an owl make its journey to one of the castle windows below. “Whose your lucky catch, eh?”
Cho laughed—he sure had a way with words.
“No one as of late.”
He nudged her playfully and found her eyes. “Well, I can change that.”
Her heart skipped a beat. “Oh, really?” She noted that his arm hadn’t moved away from hers, and, frankly, she hadn’t minded.
“Want to know how?”
Cho turned to face him and immediately noted how tight the space between them was. She could practically feel his breath upon her skin. For a reason she could not comprehend, she did not back away.
“How?” she whispered back.
He grasped her hand loosely in his, then locked his silver eyes with her dark browns.
“Go to the ball with me.”
It wasn’t a command, nor was it a question. It was an invitation. Though he hadn’t said so, she knew it was an invitation to enter another level of their relationship. Did she want more? She didn’t know.
She would have to see what this more thing looked like first.
And Merlin, did she love more once she received a taste of it. The ball was everything she could have dreamed of. Cedric was the sweetest person she’d ever met, and he reminded her that all through the night and early morning through his actions. They danced and laughed, screamed, joked, and had the time of their lives. The night was one to remember for the rest of her yesterdays for all those reasons…
All those reasons and more.
When Cedric had invited her onto a new playing field, he hadn’t taken the invitation back. There was most definitely a difference in their relationship by the time they parted their separate ways. After having danced for hours with the rest of the school on the dance floor, Cedric led Cho outside the castle doors, into the dark of the night…
And in the direction of the Forbidden Forest.
“Cedric,” Cho asked, tightening her grip on his escorting arm in slight trepidation. “Where exactly are we going?”
He answered in a way that told her he was holding something back, “You’ll see.”
She was definitely not satisfied with his answer, but she did not push him to tell her. She trusted him, trusted him more than anyone, even Marietta and Ainslee. However, she didn’t trust herself, not when there was another someone that kept entering her mind on occasion. She really, truly felt terrible for having rejected him, but Cedric had asked her just the night before. He hadn’t seemed too thrilled to be dancing with one of the Patil twins earlier that night…
“Really, Ced’,” Cho hissed, somewhat annoyed, after there was no mistaking where they were headed. “We aren’t allowed in there.” She didn’t bother pretending to hide her uneasiness.
He didn’t answer, and when they had reached the edge of the forest, he suddenly grabbed hold of her hand and began skipping in the direction of the lake. Yes, skipping. Cho hadn’t had time to express her shock before all she could worry about was keeping her dress shoes on. The super-high heels dug holes into the earth, causing her to have to work extra hard to keep up with her date.
“Cedric! What the bloody h—”
He laughed, cutting her off, “You should have seen your face!”
“Oh, ha ha.” They had finally reached the lakeshore, and Cho did not waste one more second before parting her uncomfortable shoes from her feet. As soon as her bare feet had made contact with the spongy, cool grass, Cedric grasped her hands in his and danced about with her, humming one of the fast tunes they had danced to earlier. Before she could object, he had hoisted Cho into his arms and twirled her about, laughing all the while.
“Cedric! Put me down!”
He just laughed merrier. “Wouldn’t dream of it!”
After the initial confusion wore off, Cho couldn’t help but join in his laughter and joy. She thought he must have been crazed, but she realized she didn’t much mind this different Cedric. He was exciting.
At long last, both got quite dizzy and had to reorient themselves with the reality that the earth was not nearly spinning as fast as they had been. Cedric continued laughing and stumbled around. At the last minute, he grabbed Cho’s hand, lost his balance, and brought them both to the ground. They continued laughing until their lungs would not allow it anymore. All her thoughts of a crestfallen Harry moping at the table near theirs back in the Great Hall had leapt and gone far, faraway.
A few minutes later, Cho and Cedric sat themselves before the lake and settled close together, their shoulders brushing as they always did on the Astronomy Tower. The view wasn’t all that different from the Tower’s, only being from a different angle. The moon cast an ethereal glow upon the water and illuminated the picturesque landscape surrounding the water body.
Cho leaned her head against Cedric’s shoulder, reflecting on his moment of utter insanity. “You, my friend…” She snuggled a bit closer to him, for the winter air was all but frosting her over. “Are one entertaining enimga.” He chuckled and placed an arm round her shoulders to provide her with more warmth.
“At least I’m not boring,” he replied humorously.
Cho giggled, “I never said you weren’t.”
“Deny it forever, but you know as well as I do that I never cease to amuse you.”
“You amuse yourself, more like.”
He didn’t answer, but his gaze never left hers. His crooked smile gradually disappeared. She almost turned her eyes away, for his were so…alive.
“You’re beautiful.” His words were so light and sincere. “You’re beautiful, Cho.”
She blushed, her eyes falling to the ground as she smiled sheepishly. “Thank you.”
“No.” His abrupt exclamation surprised her into looking back at him. “No. I don’t mean that.”
She was confused.
“Yes, you look beautiful…hell, you look absolutely stunning,” he said airily in a way that made him seem overwhelmed—he truly was. “But I don’t mean that.”
Cho wondered if he could feel her heart flutter; they were certainly close enough.
“What do you mean?” It was difficult for her to find the words…or any words for that matter.
“I mean…” He gulped, suddenly seeming flustered, which was totally unlike him and brought his arm away from her shoulders to run a hand through his perfect hair. “I-I mean…well, I can’t really describe…” And then, he looked at her. Time stopped. There was no yesterday, no today, no tomorrow. There was only that moment, their moment.
He kissed her.
It was the real thing this time, not some feeble peck on the forehead. As their lips met, Cho’s mind went completely blank—it felt sensational. From the moment she met him, she had fantasized what it would feel like, never truly knowing just how magical it would be. His hand moved to the side of her face, and as he deepened the kiss, Cho shivered. All her hidden feelings for him, all that she hid even from herself, poured through her mouth into his. The intimacy told a story, a story that could never have been passed on through words. She not only wanted more, but also needed more, and Cedric was more than…well, more than anything she could have ever imagined. He was more, right down to its definition.
But could she trust herself with more?
The next few months flew by at such a speed that Cho could hardly keep up. Being with Cedric was like a dream, but she feared it would be the sort of dream that, when she woke up, she would have forgotten all the details. She did not want to forget any second of her time with him. She wished to cherish every moment, every smile, every kiss, every promise…everything.
She knew she cared for him more than she ever had any of her past love interests, yet, when she came face-to-face with the extent of his feelings for her, she felt hers didn’t measure up. In past relationships, all the boys didn’t measure up, didn’t measure up to him. However, this time, she was the one who fell short.
She feared he cared more for her than she for him.
“You know,” said Cedric quietly, cuddled up against her wet, shivering form after having “saved” her from the murky depths of the Hogswarts Lake, completing the second task. “For a minute there, I thought this was actually real.”
She laughed, stuttering, “A-and Harry s-still thinks it is, ap-p-parently.” She couldn’t help but be worried about The-Boy-Who-Lived. The teachers and judges hadn’t taken into account that one of the contestants would try to save more than one captive. If they had to send mediwizards to retrieve him…would they be too late? She shuddered at the thought. She almost yearned to do something ridiculous and dive back in the water to see if he was alright. She shoved her worry for the 4th year to the back of her mind, focusing on Cedric, instead. For some reason, she always felt she was betraying her boyfriend whenever she thought of the other Hogwarts champion…
“Yes,” he agreed, his smile fading as he blinked hard, muttering, “Always the hero, that one.” How was it he wasn’t freezing his bum off like she was? She wondered if he was naturally so romantically warm.
Cho noticed the slight bitterness in his tone, so she dropped Harry from the conversation. “But y-you were w-wonderful, Ced’.” She made sure to make each syllable sound sincere, even through her chattering teeth. In truth, she really was grateful and touched by his performance in “saving” her. She felt so cared for and warm inside—but wished the warmth would spread to her outside; she was freezing.
He tightened his arm around her shoulders, bringing her closer against him. “I thought I just might lose you today.”
She gave him a funny look. “D-don’t b-be ridiculous. They w-wouldn’t—”
“I’m serious, Cho,” he interrupted, his voice still incredibly soft. “This tournament…people have died, not just the champions. That’s why it took such a period to bring it back—the last tournament cost too many lives.”
His seriousness caused her heart to ache somewhat as she replied, trying to reassure him, “And t-times have changed. Th-they’ve t-taken many pri-precautions.”
“Yes, but if something went wrong today—”
“Cedric.” She pulled away from him slightly so as to look up at him and wipe a stray, sopping wet lock of hair from his forehead. “I’m h-here. Y-you’re here. We—”
She quit speaking abruptly—Harry and the other two captives, Fleur Delecour’s sister and Harry’s friend, Ron Weasley, had just staggered into the tent. An overwhelming feeling of joy spread throughout her entire body, bringing warmth to her inside and out. Before she could congratulate the champion in any way, the bushy-haired—though less bushy than normal, considering how damp her hair was—Hermione Granger had practically thrown herself on top of him, leaving a glum Viktor Krum to himself in the corner of the tent. A twinge of jealousy shot through Cho, but it was gone in an instant, just enough time for her to miss it completely and bring her attention back to her courageous boyfriend beside her.
She finished comfortingly, “We’re here…together. That’s what’s important, right?”
He simply stared at her for a minute, his eyebrows furrowed a notch in concentration. He seemed to be trying to figure something out, figure her out. He wouldn’t have any luck, she was sure—she had enough trouble trying to figure Cho out, herself.
He finally whispered, leaning his head closer to hers, “More than anything.” His lips found hers, and all the jumbled voices around them seemed to silence themselves. Cho closed her eyes and followed the tender movements of his lips, and they remained closed for a few beats after he pulled away, then fluttered open.
Their foreheads touched and breaths mingled, creating an atmosphere between them that was theirs and only theirs.
She hadn’t been sure she heard him correctly at first, but she knew the words had been spoken, spoken from the bottom of his heart, and the top, and everywhere inbetween:
“I’m in love with you.”
She couldn’t tear her eyes away from his, nor could she speak. Inside, she was panicking. What should she say to that? She knew the proper thing to do would be to say the same words back, but, honestly, she didn’t know if they would be a lie or not. Did she love him? Of course, she did. But was she in love with him? She didn’t know. Cedric had been one of the best things that had ever happened to her, certainly, but had she really, truly fallen in love with her best friend? She wasn’t sure she knew what love was.
She thanked whatever God existed for Ludo Bagman’s interruption just a beat later, calling the champions back out of the tent to be announced their scores. She knew Cedric was disappointed that she hadn’t answered him, but he pretended that everything was alright, and eventually, everything was. She was so thankful that she hadn’t ruined his day by not answering him.
She knew he was at least somewhat bothered by it over the next few months leading up to the third task, only because he never repeated the words again. Otherwise, it was almost as if he had never spoken them. Their relationship soared with flying colours, and she wondered how she had ever lived her life without him by her side. She hoped she wasn’t too dependent on him being there, though. There was no telling whether he’d always be there for her or not.
And yet, he continued to remind her that he would be there, that he’d never leave her. She wanted to believe him, she needed to, but she couldn’t. There was still one more task ahead, and she couldn’t count on him coming out of it alive. She hated thinking about the possibility, but she couldn’t stop herself. And so, she continued to hold herself back, and, unbeknownst to her, kept holding her love back, too afraid to give her heart away to someone who might not be alive the next day.
Of all the memories that pained her through all of her yesterdays, one stuck out the most. It was excruciating to remember, yet it was the most joyful memory in her life:
It was the last time she saw him alive.
“Cho,” he addressed her as he walked with her, his friend, Edwin Sparks, Marietta, and the newest, cutest couple, Ainslee and her ball date, Jeremy, to the maze on the Quidditch pitch. It was the evening of the third and final task, and the excitement—and tension—was higher than ever.
He glanced at the others, who continued on their way down to the pitch. “Will you…will you stay back with me?” Cho nodded, then halted, waiting with him until their friends had gained some distance ahead of them. Cho linked her arm with his and laced their fingers together as he began walking forward again. She sensed his fear, so she planted a swift, comforting kiss on his jersey-covered shoulder. His grip tightened—she felt his sweaty hand shaking in hers.
They were silent for the remainder of the journey, but much was exchanged between them through the silence. They were enjoying their last moment of peace together before Cedric was to be forced into the unknown, not sure whether he’d ever come out.
When they reached the point where they would have to part their separate ways, the point of no return, Cedric halted, causing Cho to stop in mid stride and turn to face him. He wasn’t looking at her, but at the ground, and his hand shook even more in hers.
“Hey,” she cooed, rubbing his hand between both of hers in attempt to soothe him. “Relax.” She smiled reassuringly, but the gesture didn’t meet her worried eyes. “It’ll all be over before you know it.”
He took in a loud breath through his nose at her words. “I know. But what will—the task or…o-or my life?”
Cho’s head began to swim violently, her heartbeat’s throbbing only making things worse. Her hands began to shake this time as she grasped both of his tightly.
She almost choked her response, “D-don’t talk like that.”
He ignored her, rubbing the backs of her hands with his thumbs. “I’ve been incredibly lucky. So’ve the others. But what if my luck’s run dry?”
“I’ve got a gut feeling that…well, something’s not right. Something’s wrong. Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but—”
“Stop it!” she cried, shoving him backwards and making him almost lose his balance. He stared at her, bewildered. Not a moment later, she stumbled to him and collapsed against his chest, clinging to the front of his jersey for dear life. She had been so strong all those months, not breaking down once after that night on the Astronomy Tower when he’d first kissed her on the forehead and told her he’d never leave her. Granted, she had cried herself to sleep every once in a while, but she’d kept herself together in public…for him. She knew she couldn’t be strong for herself, but she could be for him. She had to be.
Having more really came with a price.
“Shh…s’alright,” he whispered lovingly while kissing the top of her head and tightening his arms around her. She breathed in his scent, his lovely, uniquely-Cedric scent, and closed her eyes, no longer crying. She smiled, feeling the warmth emanating from him against her, enjoying everything about him. No matter what happened that night, she would always remember the feeling of his strong hands on her waist, remember his loving arms encircling her body, protecting her from everything, claiming her as his own.
“I don’t want to say this, Cho. You know that as well as I do.”
Instead of protesting, she listened. He was right—he had to say what might be his last words to her.
He pulled away an inch or so to look into her eyes. “You’re amazing. I’d give all this up and quit now if you asked me to. I’d…” He cleared his throat. “I’d…well, frankly, I’d do anything for you, as pathetic as that sounds…and…oh, to hell with this. I’ll get right down to it.” Cho’s lips flickered upward in the smallest beginnings of a smile—he was still so Cedric.
“I might not live for tomorrow. You know that. But if I do…” He brought his hand to her face and caressed her cheek. “I love you, Cho. I effing love you to bits. I told you before, and I know you care for me…but…do you, d-do you—”
“I don’t know,” she croked sadly, truthfully. She knew what he was asking her, if she was in love with him, too. She still wasn’t sure if she was.
She wasn’t sure if she was ready to be, either.
He looked crestfallen, and Cho felt completely terrible. She should have lied, saying she did love him. She knew she would someday, given time...she just couldn’t stop holding herself back.
His hand hadn’t left her face, but she could feel it still shaking. “Then…th-then promise me something, will you?”
There was no doubt in her mind as she whispered honestly, “Anything.”
He sighed, stroking her hair, then her face, her neck, “Then promise me this: Whether I make it out alive or not, you’ll let go of this…this fear and let yourself love. If it’s me—brilliant. If not—cheers to him, but don’t let me near the bloke, or I’ll slug him.” She chuckled softly, a few tears running down her face. It was just like him to attempt humour in such a moment as that.
Cedric’s smile faded. “So? What’ll it be?”
Cho placed her hand on the back of his neck and pulled him down to her, stopping when their lips were hardly apart. “I promise.”
His eyes, mere millimeters before her, looked radiant.
She added, “I promise that and more.”
His lips were dry at first, but she fixed that instantly. The kiss was tender, loving, desperate, passionate…everything all at once. It was overwhelming. Her hands roamed over his back and chest, his waist, arms, through his hair…anywhere in a desperate attempt to memorize ever inch of him she could. She didn’t know why she felt like she should do that: he was going to live. He had to.
She wouldn’t live another day if he didn’t.
When they broke apart, Cho flung herself on him in a tight embrace. With one last kiss, he whispered his same words:
“I’ll never leave you.”
His voice rang in her ears all through the evening and into the night as the champions struggled through the maze in pursuit of victory. When the Beauxbatons’ champion was pulled from the task and taken to the Hospital Wing, followed by a crazed Viktor Krum, Cho felt she’d go insane with worry. It got to the point where she felt sick to look down at the entrance to the maze, for her mind kept imagining Cedric’s limp body spread eagle on the ground, dead. Nothing her friends told her made her feel any less frightened. After a few hours, she felt faint, and Ed had to rush and conjure a glass of water for her before she could collapse.
However, when her imagination became reality, she did not feel sick. She did not feel faint. She only felt cold, ice cold, stone cold. He couldn’t be dead. No, it was impossible. Harry was sobbing hysterically only because of exhaustion. Yes, that had to be it.
When reality hit her, all she could do was tear her way through the frightened crowd and crawl to his side. She had to see him for herself, no matter how much it would tear her apart. She had to blow her last flicker of hope out.
When she gazed into the unseeing eyes of Cedric Diggory, her Cedric Diggory, her world fell apart. Her hopes and dreams for today, for tomorrow came crashing down upon her. Her broken heart was torn from her body, then flung up to heaven, the action suffocating her until she breathed her last breath of innocence.
She died with him that yesterday, that yesterday one year before. She still walked the earth, but did it matter? Cedric was taken away from her, and with him, she lost everything…
Everything and more.
She lives in yesterday. She cannot face today. Not yet. Not without him.
Now that you have been torn from my life,
Now that you’ve left me for good,
I feel the love burning for you,
The love that never would.
She had fulfilled her promise.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hello, all! How was it, eh? Different from Slytherin Song (if you haven't read that, PLEASE do!!!)? I cried writing this...I hate Cho, but I suppose I've turned into a human fountain like her...
Please REVIEW with absobloominlutley anything! Really and truly, I cherish my reviews, good and bad. Thanks again, forever and a day for reading this. Love ya'll!