Chapter 1 : -to be brave
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"Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory." –Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Cho had never been a fighter.
She was many other things; a dedicated Ravenclaw, a loyal friend, a skilled charms student, a loving daughter, popular and pretty. But when it came to the grittier stuff- the things like death or disease or self-destruction, the stuff with substance- Cho had always shied away, tried to ignore it all and pretend that it couldn’t hurt her, or touch her. Because as far as she was concerned, it wouldn’t. And why should she fight if there were always so many other people who were far more capable than her and willing to go instead?
But that was before Cedric died.
Cho was not a Gryffindor, and did not deny the fact that she was not brave like Harry; she could never do anything as big and dangerous as Horcrux-hunting, or confronting You-Know-Who five times in a row and coming back alive every single time. But Cedric had not been a Gryffindor either. And somehow, Cho thought that Cedric had been the bravest one of all.
After all, Cho occasionally thought to herself, Harry was right. He just always got lucky. It wasn’t as if Harry was particularly skilled, or clever, or charming. Hell, Cedric had been far superior in all of those aspects. But Cedric just hadn’t been as lucky.
If only he hadn’t been so chivalrous, offering to take that Triwizard cup together, shoulder by shoulder, like comrades.
Cedric had never even liked Harry. And still, he’d died for him. Died for him like so many other people had in this war.
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, when her pillow was soaked with salty tears and Cedric’s empty eyes haunted her nightmares, Cho sort of hated Harry.
And so this time, Cho decided she would fight. She would fight, and she would win, and she would survive. She would shine- bright enough for two souls- and, above all, she would be brave. For Cedric. Not for Harry, not for Dumbledore, or for herself, not for all the big, important reasons that You-Know-Who had to be stopped. But for one boy, a boy who had captured her heart and then been brutally turned into little more than a name on a piece of rock. A crumbling piece of rock. She fought with all her mind and heart, body and soul, because she didn’t know what else to do anymore. She couldn’t hide away forever.
Kill the spare.
That’s what Harry had told her You-Know-Who had called Cedric, before he got Pettigrew to murder him. Spare. Not even worthy of a name, an acknowledgement, a recognition. He may not have been amazingly important, or famous, or had his mother die for him but Cedric Diggory was not a spare. He was an essential cog, whirring through Hogwarts and filling Cho’s world up with life and laughter and colour. But then Cedric was just wiped out, and Cho found herself questioning everything she had always taken for granted.
She couldn’t bear the thought of Cedric dying for nothing though.
Cho like to pretend to herself that Cedric had been a martyr; sometimes it made her feel better, as if he was now some sort of angel in heaven, looking down on her and guiding her. But she never truly believed this, and could taste the hollowness of the words as she thought them; for Cedric couldn’t have been a martyr because then he’d have been fighting for a non-existent cause. It was a paradox that made Cho’s head spin, even though she was a proud Ravenclaw and usually loved mulling over concepts like that.
And so, partly in memory of Cedric, and partly because she wanted the full story from Harry, Cho gave herself a cause to fight for- by joining the DA.
Cedric had been the first death of the second war, and Cho realised that unless You-Know-Who was defeated, then he would have died for nothing. Everyone would have suffered for nothing- and would continue to suffer- and if there was one thing that Cho wanted more than anything else now it was for all this pain to just stop.
She wished that someone could create a portrait of Cedric, so she could at least speak to him one last time.
There were portraits of so many other dead people- portraits that still had the same personality and characteristics of the person they had been when alive. But, of course, Cedric had never been important enough for something like that. He hadn’t been a headmaster of Hogwarts, or the inventor of the Self-Brewing Cauldron or anything.
But he had fought a dragon. A Swedish Shortsnout, and Cho sometimes dreamt about those dragons at night, and the feeling of terror consumed her in these dreams, making her break out in a horrible, cold sweat. She would always be battling the dragons herself; the Shortsnout, the Welsh Green, the Chinese Fireball, and, most fearsome of all; the Hungarian Horntail. Their fiery breath would envelop Cho like clouds of molten lava, and even though the agony was unbearable, she still had to face the one after, and the one after that. The dreams always came, no matter how many sleeping spells she performed on herself, and Cho knew they were sound spells because she was a Ravenclaw and had always been excellent at simple charms like that.
Was that what it’d been like for Cedric?
They didn’t remember Cedric’s battle with his dragon though; they only ever remembered Harry’s show against the mighty Horntail. All because Harry had just happened to get put up against the most vicious dragon, and been given that clever tip to summon his broomstick by Professor Moody- who hadn't really been Professor Moody but a Death Eater who was trying to kill Harry, and ultimately Cedric- and thus the person who killed Cedric had given Harry that extra edge to overshadow Cedric once again (and in one of his final great moments alive). A simple summoning charm was all it had taken, and oh, goddamnit, it just wasn’t fair.
But then, as they always said, life wasn’t fair. And Cho now understood that life wasn’t fair because you died at the end of it anyway. And so what was the point?
Cho gripped her wand- fig, unicorn tail hair, 10” long, well-balanced -with all her strength, the alien sound of a heart pounding uncertainly in her throat. There was something wrong- she could tell that from the eerie hush that had fallen over the castle. She could hear no more vicious cries of ‘Avada Kedavra’ in the distance, and it was just her, and her shadow on the wall opposite, and her lonely footsteps echoing through ruined corridors. The stains of sweat, and gore, and horrors covered her weary body, and all she wanted to do was sleep. She descended a ruined staircase, to see crowds of silence and disbelief. And You-Know-Who was lying dead on the floor, Harry next to him.
That was the moment it was all over for Cho Chang.
Cho decided that she was not a fighter, and that she never would be or could even pretend to be a fighter, and she couldn’t imagine how she had got through these last few months alive. But for one tiny moment of her life, she had fought. And that made all the difference in the world, really.
And she thought that maybe, just maybe, Cedric had been watching over her.
But then Cho’s Ravenclaw logic kicked in, and she told herself off for being absolutely ridiculous, and possibly suffering from a mild form of hysteria.
Written for the House Cup. Uses the following 5 prompts:
- features your House’s Champion (5 points) - mentions at least 4 specific breeds of dragon (5 points) - mentions the details of your Champion’s Wand, as provided by your Head of House (25 points) - mentions at least 1 Unforgivable Curse (5 points) - mentions 2 of the following types of magic: a transfiguration spell, a sleeping spell, the conjunctivitis curse, the summoning charm (accio) (15 points)
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