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Chapter 20 : Cho Chang
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It was an obsession. It wasn’t just an obsession, it became the why, the how—the reason everything had fallen apart in my life. It was sometimes easier to sit on my side of the fence and indulge in self-pity than actually just accept things the way they were. That was the reason for the journey that brought me to the moment that I lost everything. The journey was haunted with longing and forgotten memory.
I guess I should start at the beginning. It all started when he asked me to be his partner for the Yule Ball.
Who is he?
He was the first one that stole my heart and then left me. Cedric Diggory was one of the Hogwart’s champions during my fifth year. He was the kindest most understanding person I had every known.
I suppose that brings me to the next question.
Who am I?
My name is Cho. Someone once told me that my name means butterfly. I don’t think it fits me. A butterfly is a creature graces the summer sky with beauty, a butterfly’s life is so elegant and simple. No, I think of myself more as a moth; A moth that is constantly drawn to flames that are destined to burn and die out.
Cedric was one of those flames. He died during the Tri-Wizard tournament, and the last time I saw him he was embraced in Harry Potter’s arm, dead. I never really got a chance to say goodbye. It was that thought that has cursed me. He had always taken the extra step to make sure I’d never be without. Yet, in his final moment of peril, he was without me.
It took me a long while before I could even talk about Cedric. Still now, his name makes my heart ache. It’s amazing how some people can touch our lives within a single moment and shape our destiny.
The summer after I lost Cedric was both the longest and shortest summers of my life. It was the shortest because I dreaded returning to a Hogwarts without Cedric, and the longest because I couldn’t bear my mother’s coddling.
September 1st came and went and another chapter of my life began. It wasn’t until I had boarded the train and saw him, Harry Potter, did that chapter start to show its ugly face. My relationship with Harry was bitter sweet, not to mention short. He was also a moth, and apparently I wasn’t his flame.
I could probably drabble on for hours about my failed relationship with Harry, but it would be nothing more than my self-pity. The only important fact is that it failed, miserably.
This story really begins not on that first day of my sixth year, but my last. The news had broken and the Ministry of Magic was finally willing to admit that Harry had been telling the truth and he who must not be named was rising to power. It came one night towards the end of term, Dumbledore told us not to bother Harry with questions.
That was my first clue something was terribly wrong. Yet, at that moment, there was nothing I could do. Harry and I had already determined our difference were something we could not work through.
The last time I saw Harry that year was on the train ride home. I was walking by his compartment with my friend Marietta. Marietta could be called the reason for my failed relationship with Harry. The last words I had spoken to him had been over her betrayal.
I had convinced Marietta to join an illegal club Harry had created to train the student in the Defense Against the Dark Arts. It was only illegal because Dolores Umbridge had become the Hogwart’s High Inquisitor. Marietta’s conscience was just too pure and she betrayed the entire group, myself included. Harry was never able to forgive her, or me.
When I let my eyes meet his when I saw him on the train, he turned away. While I felt a familiar heat creep into my face and my heart race, his eyes found the floor. There was a coldness that I couldn’t explain. It was an emptiness that made my bones chilled. I don’t think I ever forgot that look.
I spent the entire train ride back, reliving his eyes. Even with my hand enveloped within my boyfriend Michael’s hand, my mind was with Harry. Michael--how I didn’t deserve him.
Michael Corner was a year younger than me and in my house. Our connection was simple; we were both suffering from broken hearts courtesy of two Gryffindors. It was enough to bring us together. By the time Michael had found me, I was damaged goods. Still he offered me companionship, which was something I was desperate for. I think he was to.
The summer between my sixth and final year at Hogwarts was enlightening to say the least. I discovered what was missing in Harry’s eyes that moment when he turned away from me. He had truly been a moth too, and like my flame had extinguished when Cedric died, his flame had died out.
Harry’s godfather, the infamous murderer, Sirius Black was cleared of charges. Little good it meant. Sirius Black had been murdered in the midnight raid that had forced the Ministry of Magic to recognize You Know Who had returned. Life always did have a sick sense of irony.
I decided that summer that my destiny wasn’t to be a weakling who sat by and watched the Dark Lord destroy all that I loved and knew. Rumor was that You Know Who was going to try to kill Harry.
It wasn’t really a rumor, everybody knew that He Who Must Not Be Named had tired to kill Harry when he was baby, but for some reason nobody knew, had failed. It was only logical that he would try again. Not to mention he had tried every year since Harry had reentered the wizarding world.
The more I dwelled on what could happen, the more I couldn’t sit back and do nothing.
That was the moment that it became my obsession. I planned out every detail that summer. I had a plan, a purpose.
When I boarded the train at Kings Crossing that September I felt more alive than I had felt since Cedric had died. It was a sensationally terrifying experience. I sat in my normal compartment, with the same group of chattering friends I had always surrounded myself with.
Michael was there of course. He held my hand, but he didn’t realize that my mind was already gone, and my heart already shattered beyond repair. He didn’t know that an obsession was brewing that would drive me away from him.
It happened when we were passing the river. I remember the river because it caught my eye and made my body rise from its safe position.
“I’ll be right back,” I said.
Marietta rolled her eyes and tutted, her usual response when I did something she didn’t approve of; “Where are you going?”
I gave her my boldest smile, “To the loo. Is that alright?”
“Do you want anything from the trolley?” Michael asked.
I shook my head in a ‘no’ response and crept out of the compartment before I faced any further objections. It wasn’t a complete lie, I did need to visit the loo, but I had other intentions as well.
Being a Ravenclaw, I was very perceptive. I knew where to find Harry. I knew which compartment he’s most likely be sitting in. I knew whom he would most likely be sitting with. My feet carried me faster and faster towards the back of the train. I knew seeing Harry was the answer to everything I had been contemplating all summer long. I just had to see the loss in his eyes; I had to know if what I was planning was justified.
I remember my heart racing in my chest as I inched closer and closer. I was just about to reach the compartment door when it crashed open and Harry walked out.
“Hello,” I remember uttering.
Harry looked at me with his sad eyes, and passed without saying a word. A coldness surrounded him, and it was unlike anything I had ever seen from him before. I stopped in my thought, my emotions. I think time actually froze in that one moment.
“Harry,” I remember calling out.
He stopped, but didn’t turn around.
“I’m sorry,” I said, as if it would mend all his pains.
He never turned to look at me, nor did he say anything in response. He just started walking again. Walking away from me. Eventually I reclaimed my mutinous legs, that had rooted me to the spot, and I made my way back into my compartment.
“What’s wrong?” Marietta asked almost the instant I got back.
I lowered my head; in fear my tears would give me away and softly said; “Nothing.”
“Oh, I suppose the site of a train toilet brings you to tears then?” Marietta continued.
I cringed at how well Marietta truly knew me, and I dreaded the next words that came out of her mouth.
“It’s Potter isn’t it?”
“No,” I said instantly, but I knew Marietta wasn’t the only one who was seeing right through my lie.
“Harry Potter?” Michael asked.
“No, Harriett Potter… of course Harry Potter,” Marietta fried back.
I took a seat near Michael, but avoided his touch.
“Did he bother you? Did he say something out of spite?” Michael asked, being true to his part as my boyfriend.
I forced a smile; “No, he didn’t…”
“Honestly, Cho, when are you going to realize that boy is nothing but trouble,” Marietta ranted.
“There is nothing going on between Harry and I,” I argued, knowing it was pointless. Marietta never did have any tact.
“Oh course nothing is going on. That doesn’t mean you still don’t have feeling for him,” Marietta continued.
I felt a squeeze on my hand and I noticed Michael’s face flushed; “Why would Cho still having feeling for that prat?”
“Mighty brave words, Corner,” Marietta taunted. “You almost sound worried.”
“I don’t have feeling for Harry any more. I did,” I said quickly, “but that was last year.”
“Then why are you so upset? You can’t lie to me, Cho. I know the Potter look from you,” Marietta interrogated.
I finally conceded, unless I gave her something to feed on, she’d continued her relentless attack; “I read an article this summer. Did you see it in the Daily Prophet?”
“The one about Potter’s Godfather being Sirius Black?” Terry Boot asked.
I nodded, “Did you notice what else it said? It said Black was murdered by you know who.”
“No it didn’t,” Marietta corrected, “It said he was murdered during the raid.”
“So it proves Harry was telling the truth. You Know Who is back,” I said as I lowered my voice to a whisper.
“Didn’t we determine last year that Potter was telling the truth?” Michael asked.
I frowned, “I just know what its like to lose somebody. I feel sorry for him.”
I noticed Marietta touch her forehead, where her scars were still faintly visible, “How can you pity him?”
The rest of train ride’s conversation revolved around Harry and the former DA. Marietta didn’t remember much of the DA, but what she did remember wasn’t a fond memory. I didn’t mention that I had tried to talk to Harry. Sometimes things are better left unsaid.
A couple uneventful weeks pasted, and the idea that was swimming in my head was almost forgotten. Whoever said that the seventh year at Hogwarts was the most difficult was not exaggerating. I had barely had a moment to think about anything besides Magical History, Ancient Runes, Potions, Charms and Transfiguration—among other subjects.
It wasn’t until I discovered where Harry had been spending his time. I didn’t say anything to him when I found him. I had said everything that needed to be said on the train. We clearly had a difference of opinion on our issues from the previous year, and I clearly wasn’t someone he wanted to talk to.
Harry had been hiding out in the far dark corner of the library-- the one that only desperate Ravenclaws sought when the silence of the library was just too noisy.
I was that desperate Ravenclaw that day I discovered where he had been hiding.
A couple of second years were at the table next to me, having a discussion by slipping notes back and forth to one another across the table. The scratching sound of the letter sliding across the table was just about to drive me mad.
I flashed the two a scolding look and gathered my books, and I made a dramatic departure from my place of study and headed to this rarely used sanctuary. I was so angry I almost didn’t even see him sitting there. However, Merlin was watching out for me, and I paused for a brief moment to send one more annoyed look back at the two second years. When I turned back to enter the little nook, I saw him sitting there, staring out the window.
I didn’t enter. Instead I watched him for a minute. I could have been longer, but in some situations, time doesn’t seem to really matter. He eventually noticed me. I quickly lowered my head and walked away. Part of me decided that if he truly wanted to talk to me, he would have called out. He didn’t.
As I was watching him in that frozen moment in time, I saw the same emptiness. I felt I would forever be haunted by that sadness.
Another irony of life-- sometimes when were searching for answers, we seem to collide right into them.
“Watch where you’re going,” hissed an annoyed voice as I winched at the impact.
I recoiled and grabbed my now bruised shoulder, “Sorry.”
“Next time I’ll hex you to make sure you’re sorry,” the angry boy added as he started to walk off.
I suddenly felt the gears in my mind turning and I called out; “Wait, you’re a Slytherin.”
“Brilliant perceptions you have there. How did ‘you ever become a Ravenclaw?”
I ignored his hateful comment and instead sacrificed whatever dignity I had left; “You might be able to help me.”
The young stringy looking boy sneered at my suggestion, but I digressed.
“Who would I need to talk to…” my voice caught in my throat.
“I don’t know what you’re trying to ask,” the boy finally said after a few moments of awkward passed.
I drew a deep breath, realizing if I said the next words that there was no turning back; “I want to know how I can find You Know Who.”
“No, I don’t know who,” he scoffed.
I felt frustration building in me. Perhaps this was a sign.
“He Who Must Not Be Named,” I whispered.
The boy raised his eyebrows in surprise, “Why would I know?”
It never occurred to me that not all Slytherins were involved with the dark rising.
“Well, because you’re a Slytherin…” I said matter of factly.
“And you’re a Ravenclaw, that doesn’t mean you’re intelligent, obviously.”
I felt my cheeks flush with embarrassment. The only option I had left to was to take my battered pride and run.
I thought it was suppose to be easy. I thought I merely just confront a Slytherin and he or she would take me straight to the Dark Lord. Once I was in the presence of the Dark Lord, I could take him by surprise and cast a simple killing curse. That would be the end, and nobody would ever be sad again.
Yes, I know it was a naïve thought, but it made perfect sense at the time. However, when I discovered that not all Slytherins were associated with the Dark Lord, I realized how little I had really thought everything out.
It also raised the problem that I had no way to actually get into the Dark Lord’s inner circle. If not all Slytherins were evil, then it left me in a real predicament. I couldn’t just wander up to everyone I saw and ask him or her if they knew how to contact the Dark Lord.
It seemed that my purpose had hit a dead end. I never thought about my own house as a place that breeds dark followers. So I was more than a little surprised when one of my own became the answer to my predicament.
It was about two months into the semester—about three weeks after I had seen Harry in the library. I was sitting in a corner in the common room; studying my notes Professor Binns had given us on another Goblin Revolution.
“Chang, I hear you’re looking for answers,” whispered a seventh year Ravenclaw I didn’t know too well.
Peter Chambers was one who kept to him self. Nobody knew much about him. He didn’t play Quidditch. He didn’t hang out with the other seventh year boys. You could find Peter usually sitting in a corner, reading a book.
I raised my eyes in curiosity; “What answers am I looking for?”
“You Know Who?” he murmured.
I almost gasped, and I did jump back slightly; “You?”
He gave me an evil grin, “Are you interested in joining a winning side?”
I felt my heart constrict. Could I really go through with my naïve little plan? I wasn’t always the most practical thinker. I was ever logical and meticulous, but not very practical.
“Can I … meet him?” I asked slowly, knowing my simple plan was hinged on the aspect of meeting he who must not be named.
“Perhaps, once you’ve proven yourself,” Peter said slowly.
The image of Cedric flashed in my mind. Then I saw Harry…
“How would I do that?”
“I’m going into the Forbidden Forest tonight. If you’re interested, you can tag along,” Peter commented.
I glanced over my shoulder to see if Marietta or Michael were watching me. When I saw it was safe and they weren’t, I nodded; “What time?”
“Meet me in the common room at midnight,” Peter said slowly.
Midnight came quickly. I should have stayed in my dorm room. I should have just forgotten about Harry and Cedric. I should have, but I didn’t.
As the clock crept closer to the twelve O’clock hour, I crept down into the common room, and towards a fate I could not foresee.
Peter Chambers was waiting for me in the common room, right at the stroke of midnight. He didn’t smile, or offer me any greetings. Instead he wordlessly tossed me a dark cloak and motioned me to follow him. He led me out of the Ravenclaw common room, and along the dark corridor towards the back entrance. I could see the dark forest glaring in the background, and for the first time I felt fear.
There wasn’t any turning back. I was pretty sure Chambers would hex me if I tried. The woods turned from shallow to dense before I even realized how far in we had gone.
“I hear these woods are haunted,” I whispered, pulling the cloak closer around my shoulders.
Peter didn’t respond. We traveled for what felt like a long time, and then he suddenly stopped. I saw his shoulders heave and then he turned to look at me.
“You don’t have any idea of what you’re getting yourself into,” Chambers sighed.
I lowered my head, fearing that my eyes would give me away, “I know exactly what I’m getting into.”
Chambers nodded and lifted his wand to touch a tree next to him. I found this action strange, but when a doorway presented itself in the base of this particular tree I understood. As I entered into the passageway I realized how this was the point of no return.
It was much shorter than I expected it to be. Part of me thought the passage should have gone on forever. The room we entered into was unlike anything I had ever seen. The walls were draped with a green satiny materiel and the floors glowed as if moonlight was shimmering upon them.
“This way,” Chambers motioned.
I followed. I felt a sense of dread touching my very soul, and I subconsciously felt my hand tighten around my wand. My mind was desperately searching for the wordsAvada Kedavra.
Peter Chambers seemed to be struggling, as if only part of him wanted to lead me any further.
“You’re taking me to him, aren’t you?” I asked slowly.
Peter nodded, “The Dark Lord trusts nobody. He will take your life and make it his own. You’ve just sold your soul to the devil.”
I felt my feet stop moving and I glanced over my shoulder to see if there was still time to run, but there was no escape.
“My dear…” hissed a voice that was so evil and so dark that I was sure I would never be able shake it from my mind.
I took a few steps forward clinching onto my wand as tightly as I possibly could. It wasn’t until this moment I realized I might not get out of here alive.
“Ah, so you want to kill me? You want to avenge those you so foolishly love,” the voice continued.
I felt my body shaking; I never really prepared myself for death. Looking back I realize how ignorant it was not to consider such a possibility.
“You foolish girl—you’re heart actually believes that Potter may return those weak feelings for you. There is no such thing as love… only power, and those to weak to seek it.”
I tried to speak, but my voice caught in my throat.
The voice cackled, “You’re grip on your wand is very tight—this would be your first kill. Are you powerful enough to go through with it? There is only one way to find out. A wizard duel than—which ever one of us can cast the first spell. On the count of three then?”
I felt panic surging in my body; “I don’t know where you are?”
Voldemort laughed louder and like a firecracker, appeared in front of me.
“Is this better?” Voldemort hissed.
I felt my knees buckle and my heart freeze. He was more terrifying than anything I had ever seen in my life. His eyes glowed a dark ember red and his skin was a pale ghostly white. He didn’t even look human.
“On the count of three?”
I felt my chest constrict, and I wasn’t sure at that moment if I should just accept death or fall to my knees and beg for mercy.
My hands had become so sweaty I could barely keep hold of my wand.
My face had become damp with tears of fear. I was a coward, and everything I had tried to prepare myself for had been in vain.
I ripped my wand from my robes and shouted at the top of my lungs, ”Avada Kedavra .”
I’m sure I got the spell out, but I never saw if the green burst of light hit its target. As my spell was sent, so was his. I heard the word ’Imperio.’
Suddenly my soul felt lifted and light. All the pain and suffering that I had felt in the past years was gone. It was wonderful. Everything that was Cho Chang no longer existed. In that moment, there was no good or evil, only power—and I was not too weak to seek it.
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