He watched her painfully as she sat a few feet away from him looking unlike herself. She hadn’t been the same since the war, she had seemed so… broken. As much as Ben wanted to fix Cho he really didn’t know how. She wasn’t physically hurt; her scars were long healed, as was her heart, no it was something else that broke two years ago during that final battle. He had come to the conclusion not too long ago that it was her soul that had snapped. Her heart had taken a beating when Cedric died, and was stronger for it, her body had sustained abuses at the hands of Deatheaters, and it was her soul that couldn’t take it. She couldn’t take all the death and destruction that surrounded her, and that’s when it happened.
Cho would at times just stare off into space, remembering what she saw on that horrible night, renewing her pain. She would wander the house at night crying, or sometimes scream in her dreams. Ben sat by and watched the girl he loved slowly deteriorate, and knew not how to stop it. This caused him much pain and grief. Ben could manage to get a real conversation out of her maybe a few times a day now, but mostly she was just broken and distant. She hadn’t been this way at first, she was haunted, but he didn’t know how bad it was until a few months ago, on the anniversary. They had gone to the memorial to remember all of her friends who had died in the Final Battle. As she sat before Lavender Browns statue she started crying, than out of nowhere she screamed.
Cho fled from the memorial site, and Ben didn’t find her for hours, but when he did she was just sitting at the edge of Hogwarts grounds crying and shaking. He knew that her memories were more powerful than he had thought before.
“Cho, love, how do you feel today?” Ben asks, putting a hand on her back.
She smiled at him, but the shadow of pain remained. He smiled back as best as he could, encouraging her to talk to him.
“I keep hearing the screams.” She tells him, her smile falling away. “I think one is hers, Lavender’s. I saw her get attacked and I couldn’t help…”
He knew that was one of her many nightmares, seeing Lavender’s attack, and he thinks that’s why seeing the girl’s statue triggered this. But he had an idea.
“That wasn’t your fault.” He says wrapping his arms around her shoulders.
She just nods dreamily, not really focusing on anything again. All Cho wanted to do was forget but she couldn’t that night haunted her every move and breath. She couldn’t go shopping without seeing someone who lost a friend or family member. She couldn’t look through her old pictures from school without seeing someone who died. She couldn’t read the paper without a mention of The Battle of Hogwarts, or that it was the birthday of someone who died in it. Her only escape was the muggle world, and she felt like an outsider there, like she was alone. All she wanted was to be herself again, the girl that could laugh and smile with her friends.
Ben wouldn’t give up on Cho, no matter how hard it was, he was going to fix her. That’s what lead him to The Leaky Cauldron early on a Saturday afternoon, to meet Marietta Edgecombe. She and Cho had grown apart since the war, but she was the only one Ben could find to turn to. She sat across from him; her scars spelling out “Sneak” had long since become a part of her appearance.
“I don’t think there’s anything you can do for her Ben, ever since Cedric she’s been fragile, maybe she just finally snapped.” Marietta told him doubtfully.
Ben almost hated her for saying it, but he pushed back those feelings.
“I disagree; she’s been so absorbed in death for so long that she’s forgotten life. We need to remind her of that.” Ben said with determination. “If we can do that then she might get better.”
“Ben,” Marietta said, she had long since given up on fixing anything, she just wanted it all to disappear “there’s nothing you can do, it’s not like you can just take her out and show her that there is still life in the world and then suddenly she’s fixed. The world doesn’t work like that, that’s why she’s how she is to begin with.”
No amount of discouraging word could dissuade him now; all he needed was a plan.
Cho had never been one for staying inside all day before all this happened, but now she sat curled up on the couch staring at the wall to avoid outside. All that was out there for her was a lie, a lie of a bright and happy life, and she was done with it.
“Cho, honey, please come out with me.” Ben asks her sitting on the couch next to her.
She shook her head, not able to turn him down with words.
Ben wouldn’t take that, he took her hand and pulled her to her feet. She didn’t have the power to resist him, so he pulled her out the door into their small yard. The yard held no life, no green grass, or multicolored flowers, just brown death. But there was something now about it; there were little mounds of dirt everywhere.
Ben had planted seeds all over the small yard.
“If we water these enough, our yard will be vibrant with life.” Ben tells Cho. “There will be more to us than just our memories.”
His hope was that if Cho could get just one flower to sprout then she would remember more than just the death that broke her, but also the life that could fix her.
She was doubtful of his plan, she didn’t care if all the plant were dead, it just matched the rest of the world anyway, she thought. But Cho also new that she owed him for everything, so even though she saw no point to it, instead of wandering the house, she would wander the yard tending to each little seed. Then when they finally sprouted from the dirt, each little plant.
Ben watched from the window as Cho smiled at the blossoming flowers in her well-tended to garden. The first smile of hers he’d seen in moths.
As her flowers grew, so did she heal. Bit by bit her soul became what it was before. She was never really the same as the girl she knew from school, she couldn’t always bring herself to laugh, or smile all the time, but when she did smile it was the most beautiful thing Ben had ever seen. Her garden bloomed every year, bringing with it a bit more of her happiness.
As seasons changed and the garden would die, she would retract back into herself some, but she always came back with the new season.
Even though she never did fully heal, Ben knew that there was hope for his love after all.