The June air was hot as Cho Chang and her parents walked into the church for Cedric Diggory's viewing and funeral. Her heart was broken, smashed into a million pieces. She'd never have guessed that she'd have to go to her boyfriend's funeral, the funeral of the love of her life. Cedric was just seventeen, and had so many hopes and dreams for the future. He was so vibrant and full of life, and Cho could just picture him, his face warm with a smile, gray eyes filled with love as they danced together at their Hogwarts prom. Cedric had held her all night, and promised to be with her always. Under the stars on top of the Astronomy Tower later, they had vowed that they would be in love for all time, and Cho knew she would never find another person like him. His life had been cruelly snuffed out of him, like someone would zap a fly. How could Voldemort have done this to him? She was haunted day and night by the image of his lifeless body on the Quidditch pitch, his gray eyes staring, staring, staring, staring, staring at nothing and everyone screaming "He's dead! Dead! Dead! Dead! Dead!" No matter how many times she'd begged him to wake up, he had not. Cedric's parents were heartbroken, mourning their lost son. It wasn't right that they had to bury him today. Just the thought of those tender lips that she had loved kissing, decaying...'the hands she had held, rotting beneath the earth...it was too much for her to take.
Tears swam in her eyes as she walked through the church to where her love's body lay. Her parents gave her hands reassuring squeezes to let her know they were there for her. Jealousy erupted in Cho. Her parents had had years together, and she and Cedric only got six months. That was too short a time! But within that time they had shared a love so deep that they were soulmates, she just knew it. She had died the night he left the world. At least, her heart and soul had. Her body was still alive, like a Dementor's Kiss victim.
Cedric lay in the coffin, his beauty still evident. His gray eyes were closed now, and Cho touched his cold hand. "I love you, Cedric," she whispered, tears falling thick and fast down her cheeks. He was dressed in fancy dress robes, and she wished he would get up and shout "April fool!" or something of that nature. Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton was playing softly in the church, and she could hear the sobbing of Cedric's parents as they held their son's hands.
"Cho, I just want you to know that Cedric loved you very much," Mrs. Diggory said through her tears. "He was always talking about you. Thank you so much, sweetheart, for making the last six months of my son's life so delightful." Still holding Cedric's hand, she caught Cho in a tight embrace, and they both sobbed into each other.
"I'm so proud of you, my boy," wept Mr. Diggory, squeezing his son's lifeless and limp hand. "We all love you, Ced, wherever you are."
Cho couldn't bear to look at the body any longer. More people filed in: students from Cedric's house from Hogwarts, and friends of Cedric's parents. Harry Potter, surprisingly, was not there. Cho was glad for it; bitter anger swelled in her gut whenever she thought about him right now. He had ripped Cedric's precious life away from him, led him right to Voldemort, right to his death just because he wanted to be noble. She knew deep down that it wasn't his fault, but it was too soon to be wrestling with that part of her mind right now. The shock of his death was still too huge.
Cho's mother put an arm around her. "Let's go, darling," she soothed. "Let's go and sit down."
The funeral was an open casket service, and as the pews filled up, Cho's mother handed her a tissue. But as many times as Cho wiped tears away, more fell. She couldn't stand this. A hymn was sung, and then Mrs. Diggory got up to speak.
"My son," she said, "was a wonderful boy. Amos and I are so very proud of him. He lit up our lives, and we were so blessed to have him. Now in his eternal rest, we hope God grants him the rewards he so richly deserves."
She went on to talk about him from the beginning of Cedric's life: his childhood, his excitement about attending Hogwarts, him making friends, and him even having a loving girlfriend. She smiled at Cho at the mention of her, and Cho sobbed into her mother's shoulder. Her father had at first been very strict to the idea of his little girl having a boyfriend, but he could see how heartbroken she was over his death. It was comforting to have a parent on either side of her.
They sang the hymn Morning Has Broken, and then Cedric's roommates got up to deliver a eulogy about him. They spoke about how loyal he was to his friends, how much of a mentor he'd been to younger students, how he'd even do anything to protect people he didn't know. They shared some of the funny moments they had had, and some of the mischief he had gotten up to. It caused some laughter to come from the crowd through their sobs, and even Cho managed a watery smile. That's my Cedric, she thought.
Then, it was her turn to go up to speak. Fighting her tears, she went up to the front and began.
"My name is Cho Chang, and I was Cedric's girlfriend. We met last year because our love of Quidditch brought us together. We became best friends, and then friendship developed into love. He was my first real love, and what we shared will always stay with me. I'll always love you, Cedric, and thank you for everything you ever did for me. And I'm going to make You-Know-Who pay for what he did to you," she said fiercely, gazing stonily at the crowd. "You will be avenged, my love. You can be sure of that." She gazed at Cedric's peaceful form lying in the casket while she was speaking, his beautiful hands at his sides. He looked as though he was taking a long, long nap.
That was all Cho could manage to say, for the tears flowed fast and freely once again. "You were my angel, why did you have to die?" she choked out before running back to her seat. She hid her face in her mother's robes during the rest of the service.
When it was time for the burial, they all went outside. Mr. Diggory and Cedric's Hufflepuff friends carried the casket, which was closed now, to where he was to be buried. The grave diggers dug a hole, and Cho couldn't bear to watch as they lowered her love's body into the ground. "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust," said the minister. "May you rest in peace, Cedric Amos Diggory. May the Lord Jesus take care of you."
"Goodbye, Cedric," Cho sobbed. "I will always love you, always and forever."
"We'll never forget you, sweetheart," Mrs. Diggory said gently. Cedric's friends were staring at the casket with looks of numbness and horror still etched on their faces. Albus Dumbledore was also there, and he looked sadly at the coffin.
"Rest well, my son," Mr. Diggory whispered. "I know sometimes I didn't show it, but I'm so proud of you. You've been so brave."
As everyone took handfuls of dirt and threw it on top of the coffin, Cho closed her eyes; she couldn't watch anymore. Wrenching herself out of her parents' grips, she screamed, "No!" and ran from the scene, faster than she ever had run in her life, away from the sobbing, wailing, and last goodbyes to a seventeen-year-old that were being said. She ignored the calls of "Cho! Cho!" echoing around the graveyard, and continued to run.
She sat down on an empty spot of ground, gazing out at the sky. "WHY!" she screamed at the top of her lungs. "WHY CEDRIC? IT ISN'T FAIR! HE WAS ONLY SEVENTEEN, AND I LOVED HIM!"
The rest of the funeral was a blur. All she could remember was her parents finding her and bringing her back to Cedric's grave, which had been filled now and a headstone had appeared there, which said the dates of his birth and death. Underneath that was: "Loving son, friend, mentor, and hero. We will never forget you."
The next thing she knew, she was back at home, lying on her bed. She was gazing at the picture of her and Cedric the night before he died, the picture of their school prom. He'd been so...alive, was the only word she could think of that described how joyous and happy he was. Her mother gave her a dreamless sleep potion so no haunting images of his lifeless eyes could fill her that night. She knew that if she didn't take it, she wouldn't be able to sleep at all without waking up to either the scene on the Quidditch pitch the night he was murdered, the scene of him lying so quiet in the hospital wing afterwards when she had snuck in to visit him, or the scene today of him lying in that casket, so, so still.
As she drifted to sleep, her last thought was that she was desperate to see Cedric again. She would dance in his arms like she did the night of the prom, the night they were made prom king and queen, the night before his life had been brutally zapped from him by pure evil. She slept with that picture under her pillow, and she could hardly wait until the day she got to see his gray eyes filled with warmth, life, and laughter again. Cedric was her angel, and she hoped he was happy. She hoped he hadn't suffered before he died, that he hadn't screamed out her name while being tortured, his lips dry and parched and his body burning from Voldemort's curses. As sleep finally claimed her, she whispered, "I'll always remember you, angel of mine."