Chapter 3: Cho Chang
As Cho Chang sat at the Ravenclaw table for dinner the night of the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament, she was about the happiest she'd ever been in her life. A girl of fifteen years old, she was very pretty, with black hair and shining eyes. She was very popular, but it wasn't her popularity she was happiest about. The thing that made her smile the most, and what caused her eyes to shine, was the fact that she was in love.
Cho and her boyfriend, Cedric Diggory, had been dating for the past six months. They had started talking because their equal love of Quidditch had brought them out flying one day in September, and they got to know one another. They became best friends, and their friendship blossomed into love. She could remember the night he asked her to the Yule Ball; it had caused butterflies to flutter in her stomach. When she was with Cedric, she truly felt as though she were flying. He took her away to places no one had ever taken her before; places in her imagination that were wonderful and joyous.
The night of the Yule Ball, he'd gently taken her hand and led her out to the dance floor, and they had swayed together to the music, feeling as though nothing could go wrong; the night was perfect. Later in the evening, they had gone out to the beautiful courtyard, and there they had their first kiss. Cedric had confessed, "I'm in love with you, Cho Chang," and she had immediately returned the feelings. They had gone back into the Great Hall, their relationship now at the next stage.
The last six months had gone by in a whirl of happiness. Of course, Cho had been nervous about him taking part in the tournament, but Dumbledore's assurances that nothing bad would happen caused her to calm down. Cedric was very sweet with her, and assured her that he'd always be careful. "Don't worry, sweetheart," he'd said lovingly the day before the second task, "I'll be fine. I know what's coming; I worked out the clue for this task. I'll surprise you when the time comes."
And, what a surprise it had been! The love she felt for Cedric when she found out she was the thing he would miss most caused her heart to swell.
Cedric was seventeen, and extremely handsome. It never bothered Cho that he was nice to other girls; quite the contrary, it was one of the things about him that she liked best. He never had a mean word for anyone, and not one bad bone in his body. He had confessed to her that he was angry at first that Harry Potter got to compete in the tournament, but had also said that the anger was not really because of Harry, but because of his father. Amos Diggory, he said, was a good person, but was always harassing his son to be the best. The fact that the famous Harry Potter was competing was only another reason for Amos to pressure him. He confessed his worries and fears to Cho, and she told him that he'd always be champion of her heart, whether he won or not. She said that Amos should be proud of him no matter what, and not to worry about what the man said.
"I know, but it's hard," Cedric had confided just that afternoon, as he and Cho sat by the lake on the Hogwarts grounds. The sun was shining, and the sky was completely blue. They sat there holding hands, Cho leaning against him. "My father always expects me to be perfect. But thank you for your confidence. One thing I've learned about Harry over the course of the tournament is that he's not some attention-seeking loser who entered the tournament just to get more fame. How he got in I don't know, but I believe now that he didn't enter his own name. I have no hard feelings for him now; my father will just have to get used to it if he wins. Quite frankly, he deserves it. I'll do anything to make my father proud, but if it comes to it, Harry should have the victory."
"Oh, Cedric," Cho said softly. "You're so sweet. I never had a problem with Harry either. As I told you before, he did ask me to the Yule Ball. God bless him, he was so nervous. I was sorry to turn him down, but I know I wanted to go with you."
Cedric kissed her softly. "I'm glad you did go with me," he whispered. "We had a wonderful time. And last night, too."
"Yes, last night was the best," she whispered back. The night before had been the junior and senior Hogwarts prom. Since Cedric was in his sixth year, he was allowed to go, and the rules were that he could take a younger girl with him if he wanted. So he took her along, and they had the time of their lives. Cho would always remember her head on Cedric's shoulder, dancing their last dance, tears pouring down her face because she didn't want the night to end. Cedric held her and promised her that it was not over yet.
His father owned an invisibility cloak, and Cedric happened to have it with him. After the prom was over, he led her to the astronomy tower, both of them under the cloak. There they spent a night under the stars, snuggled up together. In his warm embrace, Cho felt safe and secure. It was the most romantic night of her life.
Now, sitting in the Great Hall, Cho was nervous for him for the task, but was confident that he'd make it through all right. He'd promised her that when he came out of the maze, they would celebrate together whether he won or not, and spend another night under the stars.
"Cho! You're a million miles away!" her friend Marietta Edgecombe pinched her. "Yoo-hoo! Earth to Cho! Thinking about Cedric again, are you? Daydreaming again?"
"Oh, Marietta," Cho smiled. "You know me too well."
Professor Albus Dumbledore suddenly got up to speak. "Ladies and gentlemen," he said, "the champions should now make their way down to the Quidditch pitch for the Third Task." Cho glanced at Cedric and mouthed, "Good luck, and please be careful. I love you," to him.
"I love you too. Don't worry, I will. See you afterwards," he mouthed back. They had shared a longer "I love you" and "good luck" just before going to dinner. They'd had a long, passionate kiss and a big, warm hug. "When this is all over we'll be together again, love," he had whispered.
Now, Cho sat in the stands next to Marietta, her other friends Alison and Megan also sitting around them. The whole place was bustling with apprehension and excitement. The task was about to begin! Cho saw Cedric pacing nervously at the entrance to the maze. She smiled and waved at him, and he gave a wave and nervous but gentle smile back.
"Okay, on my whistle, Harry and Cedric!" Ludo Bagman called, and he blew his whistle. With one last loving look at each other, Cho watched Cedric hurry into the maze.
After that, it became very, very boring. Nobody could see what was going on in the maze; the champions obviously had to deal with some kind of creatures. Cedric had explained to her what he had to do earlier. Cho was very excited for the outcome. But the thing she longed for the most was for all this to be over, for him to swoop her up in his arms and for her to hear his soft, soothing voice again.
About half an hour later, she saw red sparks fly into the sky. Her heart almost stopped; was that Cedric who needed help? Was he okay? Then she saw Madame Maxime leading Fleur Delacour out of the maze. She was unconscious and looked pale. Cho sighed in relief that it wasn't Cedric, but felt immediately guilty for it. What if Fleur was really hurt?
Some time later, she saw more red sparks. Her stomach lurched again, but this time it was Viktor Krum who was carried out of the maze. It looked like both him and Fleur were okay, though. They just seemed stunned and in shock. She figured this out because nobody was saying anything about the fact that they wouldn't recover.
About five minutes later, she saw him. Her sweetheart. And she saw Harry too. He and Cedric were at the center of the maze, near the gleaming Triwizard cup, battling a huge acromanchula. The crowd whooped and screamed as they watched the two contestants battle. Finally, they both shouted a spell at the same time, or that was what it looked like, anyway; they couldn't actually hear what the two were saying. But they finally tackled the creature and it slumped to the ground, unconscious.
Cho held her breath, waiting for Cedric to take the cup and claim victory. It looked like there was something wrong with Harry's leg, and that Cedric was nearest the cup. But as she and the rest of the spectators watched, the two rivals seemed to be having a conversation. Cedric was not taking the cup. He seemed to be arguing with Harry. Did they happen to be arguing about who was going to take it? This made sense to Cho; from what Cedric said earlier, as much as he wanted the victory to make his father proud, he felt Harry deserved it.
After some time, Cedric helped Harry limp towards the gleaming cup. Cho immediately understood what was happening; they were taking it together! The crowd held its breath, as Harry and Cedric each grasped a handle. Everyone was about to all cheer and celebrate, when suddenly...
The two contestants disappeared.
Pandemonium erupted through the stands. "What's going on?" Cho yelled as she watched her boyfriend and Harry disappear into thin air. She jumped out of her seat along with many others. "Is this supposed to be part of the task?" she yelled above the noise.
"I don't know!" Marietta hollered back. "I don't know anything!"
But as Cho looked around, she realized with horror that this was not part of the task at all. The teachers were looking stricken, and even Dumbledore himself did not look right. Cho felt her mouth go dry and her heart plummet into her stomach. As the yelling and confusion continued around her, her mind was going a mile a minute.
She remembered the Death Eater activity at the Quidditch World Cup; she could never forget all the terror and chaos that had caused. Something had not felt right all year; she had just felt it in the air. And Harry Potter somehow getting into the Triwizard Tournament without putting his name in at all struck her as just weird. She wholeheartedly agreed with Cedric that the sweet, nervous fourteen-year-old boy had not entered his own name in to get attention. Oh no, she thought, terror gripping at her. The cup was a Portkey. Someone's got them, and God knows what's happening right now. Will Cedric be okay? She also worried for Harry, but since Cedric was her boyfriend, she worried for him beyond anything else.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please!" Albus Dumbledore's voice rose over the chaos in the stands. "Please try to stay calm! We are trying to see what this is about! Please stay where you are!"
But as the minutes passed, and as muttered conversations were exchanged between everyone in the stands, Cho felt her heart sink lower and lower. Dumbledore was talking to Snape, Moody, and Professor McGonnagall. They had their heads together and all of them looked grim. Cho was crying, and Marietta was trying to comfort her. "Don't always think of the worst case scenario!" Marietta was soothing. "Cedric will be fine, he's strong. You know it as well as I do."
Suddenly, there was a huge THUMP! And two figures landed on the ground out of thin air. It was Cedric and Harry. They were back!
Harry was lying on the ground, bloody and worn out. In one hand he clutched the Triwizard cup and in the other hand...''
Was her Cedric. But his eyes didn't look right. The gray eyes, that had looked at her with so much life, love, and laughter were now staring, staring, staring at the sky...''and as Cho looked on in horror, she saw Cornelius Fudge and Dumbledore come running over to them. Fudge started yelling, and the words he was saying got passed from person to person and now loads of people were yelling it, screaming it into the night...''
"DEAD! DEAD! DIGGORY'S DEAD! DEAD! DEAD! CEDRIC DIGGORY! DEAD!"
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Cho let out a heart wrenching, soul-crushing scream as she jumped out of her seat and started running. Not caring about anyone in her way, she pushed past them, trying to get to Cedric. Hands held her back, and through the crowd she could see Professor Alastor Moody dragging Harry away from the scene. Girls had burst into tears, boys were looking horrified. Mr. and Mrs. Diggory were also running to their son. Cho yanked at the hands that were holding her back, and with the amount of adrenaline she had pumping through her system, she managed to break free. She ran and ran, until she got to where Cedric lay.
He lay slumped on the ground, his gray eyes still staring into the sky. Frozen on his face was a look of shock and vulnerability, and as Cho bent down to touch his hand, she cringed violently. His hand was ice cold.
Then, without even realizing she was doing it, she began to scream, howling until her throat was raw. "cedric, wake up!" she shrieked. "WAKE UP CEDRIC! PLEASE WAKE UP!" She raised her wand and pointed it at him. "ENERVATE!" she screamed through tears, hoping to all Heaven that this would work, that everyone was wrong, that the love of her life was not dead, that he would stop staring into the sky like that, staring at nothing, that his hand would warm up, that he would smile at her and swoop her into his arms...''
"ENERVATE!" she screamed again, but nothing happened. A comforting hand suddenly rested on her shoulder and she whirled around, facing Professor Sprout, who had a sympathetic look on her face. "It's not going to work, dear," she said gently. "He's gone."
"NOOOOOO! HE'S NOT! HE'S NOT GONE! HE'S NOT!" Screaming and sobbing, she held Cedric's hand. "CEDRIC, PLEASE WAKE UP! PLEASE! PLEASE!"
But nothing happened.
"My son! My boy! Cedric! No! No! Nooooo!" Mr. Diggory was wailing over his son's body. The scene was the most horrific thing ever witnessed. The teachers were trying to herd the students back into the school. Cho felt her knees give out from under her and almost collapsed to the ground beside Cedric, but Professor Sprout and Roger Davies grabbed her at the last minute.
"Roger, dear, please take Cho inside the school," Professor Sprout said softly. Cho then felt herself being pulled away from Cedric, away from the still screaming and wailing Mr. Diggory, away from the crying students. She kicked and struggled, screaming Cedric's name, but Roger was too strong. Finally, she went limp in Roger's arms, and she was carried away from the lifeless body of her love.
She didn't know how she got through the next few hours in the Ravenclaw tower. She was surrounded by friends comforting her and weeping with her, and she felt like she would never be happy again, as if a dementor had sucked every happy thought out of her. "He WAS MURDERED!" she kept screaming out, tears streaming down her face.
"We don't know that for certain, Cho," Marietta said gently.
"BUT HE WAS!" Cho wailed. "IT WAS THE KILLING CURSE! PEOPLE'S EYES DON'T STARE LIKE THAT UNLESS...UNLESS..." She couldn't finish her sentence, she was crying so hard.
She didn't know how she calmed down, but finally, she did. But instead of feeling better after a good cry, she felt hollow, like she'd never be whole again. The boy she loved was taken from her, gone forever in one single flash. She would never see him again, never see his gray eyes light up again, never hear his soft voice, and see his smiling face. They would never fly on the Quidditch pitch again, never tese each other about who would win their mock matches again, never hold each other again, never kiss ever again. She couldn't bear it.
She didn't sleep. In the middle of the night she slipped out of bed and walked out of the Ravenclaw tower. She didn't care if she was caught by Filch; that was the least of her worries right now. She let her feet lead her on autopilot, and found herself at the entrance to the hospital wing. She quietly opened the door and walked inside.
She was nervous about approaching Madame Pomfrey, but surely on a night like this she wouldn't care. She softly knocked on her office door, and Madame Pomfrey poked her head out.
She looked at Cho and instead of her face hardening and a reprimand coming out of her mouth, her face softened and she walked to where Cho was.
"You shouldn't be out this late, dear," she said gently, "but I know what you're here for. Cho, I am so, so sorry." Cho felt tears starting to form in her eyes again and tried to wipe them away, but they kept coming. But she knew she had to be strong if she was going to do this. After taking a few seconds to compose herself, she followed Madame Pomfrey to a private room. "I'll be right outside when you're ready to leave," she said gently.
Cho walked over to the bed in the corner of the room, and there, lying on the bed, under a white sheet, was her love, Cedric. Someone had closed his eyes for him, and he looked beautiful, as always. Cho knelt down and took his lifeless hand, squeezing it in hers, willing the life to come back into it although she knew it wouldn't. She wished she could wipe the look of shock, vulnerability, and loneliness off of his handsome face. It sickened her that even when he was buried beneath the earth, he'd still be wearing that look of horrified surprise.
"Cedric," she whispered, feeling tears starting again. "I loved you so much. There were so many things we were going to do together, that I wanted to do with you." She came closer and kissed his cold lips. "I'm so sorry, love," she said, not being able to hide a sob. "I'm so sorry this happened. But no matter what, I'll avenge you. I'll find the person who did this to you. I promise." She kissed him again, putting her arms gently around him. Oh, how she wished for one of his hugs right now.
She spent the next few minutes quietly talking to him, hoping that wherever he was, he could hear her. She remembered that he had been so alive the last couple of days. "Just know that I love you," she whispered, "and I always will. I'll fight for you, love. No matter what, I'll fight for you."
She then kissed his hand, and, sobbing, made her way out of the room. Madame Pomfrey was waiting for her, and immediately embraced her. "Oh, Cho," she soothed. Cho sobbed on her shoulder for some time, and finally, when her crying subsided, she lifted her head. "Thank you," she whispered brokenly.
"You're welcome," Madame Pomfrey said. "He really loved you, you know."
"I know," Cho said. "And I'll always love him."
"I know you will," the nurse said. "And I know he'd want you to be happy. I know it will take time to get over this, but I know what he'd want for you. I know, it was just the way he looked at you."
"I'll try," Cho said. "I'll t-try to m-make him proud." nurse and student embraced again, and then Cho left the hospital wing and started back to her dormitory. She knew her heart would hurt for a long, long time, and that she wouldn't be able to stop the tears. But she knew that Cedric would want her to be happy, and she would try her best to, as she said to Madame Pomfrey, make him proud. And she knew, as much as she knew that the sky was blue and that the sun was yellow, that she would fight for him.