Chapter 1 : mumbo jumbo
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I know anyone can have said that about anybody they’ve ever met, anyone they’ve run into shopping at the market, or sat next to in Potions, or got engaged to, but it doesn’t make it any less true for me, having had dated Harry Potter for… how many months was it? It couldn’t have been long. It probably felt like an eternity, because adolescence feels an eternity squished into hours, but in strict time, as objective a temporal measure our understanding of time is, it couldn’t have been a long time. They say love can happen in an instant, can take a lifetime to kindle, can come and go like wind over the course of relationships, but who knows?
Sometimes I wonder if he remembers me. I don’t run into him as much as some people would like to believe. My husband loves that I once dated The Boy Who Lived Twice. He tries to nudge me into inviting him over every so often, over Christmas holidays, all would-be casual-like, but there’s very little that’s casual about Michael. He’s about as subtle as a Blast-Ended Skrewt when he’s trying to be anything but.
I love Michael. I do. I said so at our wedding, didn’t I, when the Muggle priestess – is that what they call their marriage ceremony officiants? I don’t know, Michael never said otherwise – asked me if I would take him in sickness and in health, in this and in that, in good times and bad. I don’t really remember saying it before that. In little ways, in kisses before he went to work, in the spell I used to heat the water of our shower when the landlord was slow about calling the maintenance man to do it, in the fires that sprung out of my wand when I wanted them to in the height of summer to annoy him, in the afternoons when I would transfigure his plate into an amaranth petal, in screaming at him for the umpteenth time that his faux-stately mispronunciation of “Accio!” would bring him the telly remote–
But in words, those very exact words, not so much.
I suppose Harry would be surprised to learn that I am not a witch of many words. I might have loved him. And, even stranger to imagine now that he has that mad little family of his own with that Ginny Weasley, he might have loved me.
There are people who wouldn’t say that. There are people who would laugh at me if I said that aloud. I probably would laugh if you told me that he could have loved me. What about Cedric? they would ask, the ones who were well-versed in their history or gossip, whatever generation they consider themselves part of. It was him you loved, Cho, sweetie. It was he who loved you.
I’m supposed to love him.
I know the spell that killed him. I’ve seen it performed. Friends and acquaintances and faces that I knew but couldn’t name, cloaks with masks that screamed at me because I was only a naïve little girl, you know, I didn’t know anything – I didn’t understand what was happening – they killed and died and they screamed. A lot. Michael used to use abra-kadabra mumbo-jumbo to describe what he meant by magic, but he stopped when he realised that his abra kadabra was my Avada Kedavra. I never told him, but he figured it out on his own. Clever boy. Clever Muggle.
Clever, aren’t they, Muggles? That’s all they’re allowed to be, in magical esteem. Even now. “Clever, isn’t he, your husband? All those clever little doohickeys he makes–” he works at a research and development plant for some pharmaceutical company, not that anyone I grew up with would know what that is “–the little pills and powders, and they work? How marvelous!” A marvel, they say. A clever marvel, an object on a dusty little pedestal in a quaint museum in the country, where such things are displayed for high society – and anyone who is not a Muggle is high society, it’s one of the peculiarities of our perfect postbellum world, you see – to gawk at and marvel over all the clever little solutions Muggles come up with when they can’t whip up a Sleeping Draught, when they don’t have access to dragon’s blood.
Why does Michael need dragon’s blood? Why does anyone? Why do I need a magnificent creature’s blood to clear my complexion, to stabilize runespoor eggs when they’re used in conjunction with mooncalf livers, to stain my wood floors, to cure my halitosis, to kill my termite infestation? Why do I need to kill animals of myth and legend, Longtails and Short-Snouts and Ironbellys and Fireballs – Michael loves the last especially, he says he’s saving his holiday bonus to take me to see them – to do anything when Muggles need only to find a plant that grows on the Ivory Coast or the Central Asian plateau – things that work just as well, or not just as well as it happens – what makes dragon’s blood, Probity Probes, lunascopes, Remembralls, Foe-Glasses, Time-Turners automatically better?
Why is Harry Potter, why is Cedric Diggory, why is that Corner boy, even better than my Michael?
Come to think of it, wasn’t that very same Corner boy a Michael too?
Well, how droll.
Fate plays funny tricks. It incites wars and loves. Does it ever bring peace? To anyone? To the wizards and witches rotting in prisons and tombstones for what they’ve done? To the triumphant few who overcame the greatest threat to British magical society in history? To the rest of us, who killed and screamed with the best of them and the worst of them?
Michael loves me. He always has. Such a clever boy, finding a witch with deep emotional scars and fading physical ones, marrying her, letting her take care of everything his heart could ever desire. It worked out so fortunately for him, didn’t it? A veteran girl with a ten-inch slightly springy stick of fig tree wood with a core of unicorn hair, for God’s sake, that’s good for Charms that will take care of everything his heart could ever long for.
Michael loves me. And I do, I love him. I let him hold my wand sometimes, that little thing, and he waves it about and says things like “YOU – SHALL NOT – PASS!” and “Let me introduce you to my little friend!” He always explains what he’s talking about, the references he’s making, the elves and the gangsters, and he lets me laugh with him, and I curve into his body and avoid the hand with my wand in it, because I half-fear one day he will try “Abra Kadabra!” just to get me to laugh. And what would I do, what could I do, if ever it worked?
I’ve seen it work. The real one, of course, not my dear husband’s bastardization of the spell. I’ve made it work, too. On spiders and cockroaches and rats. On a woman, once, but not since then have I tried.
I’m a naïve little girl veteran, and I am bitter about the adversity I’ve overcome and in love with it almost more than I love my clever little Muggle husband, but I’m not quite that mad.
Disclaimer I don't own Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings ("You shall not pass!"), or Scarface ("Let me introduce you to my little friend!"). Just in case that was not painfully clear.
Author's Note This might be the fastest I've written something in a long time. And also my first House Cup foray, hurray! So, the list of prompts:
My House's Champion: Cho Chang!
Unforgivable Curse: Avada Kedavra
Blast-Ended Skrewt mention
Mentions Sleeping Draught
Mentions 4 types of dragons, Longtails and Short-Snouts and Ironbellys and Fireballs
Mentions transfiguration and summoning spells
Uses of dragon's blood!: clear my complexion, to stabilize runespoor eggs when they’re used in conjunction with mooncalf livers, to stain my wood floors, to cure my halitosis, to kill my termite infestation
Dark detectors: Foe Glass, Probity Probes
Champion's wand: A veteran girl with a ten-inch slightly springy stick of fig tree wood with a core of unicorn hair, for God’s sake, that’s good for Charms that will take care of everything his heart could ever long for.
Flourish in adversity: Cho's adapted to her life after the war, marrying a Muggle, seemingly has a happy ending. In the textbook definition, she's flourished and is some sort of happy. But of course, she's more bitter than the word 'happy' would lead us to believe. So.
Hope you enjoyed this (hopefully) out of the box entry!