Sweet oblivion
by Komillia (komillia@hotmail.com)

She escaped the Great Hall as soon as she could, declining people's offers to keep her company and harshly shrugging comforting hands off her shoulder. No guilty, embarrased apologies were heard from her like they normally would. She didn't wish to be polite, to reassure others that she didn't mean to hurt their feelings by ignoring them. She simply wished to get away.

To the Ravenclaw Tower. Yes, she'd make her way there. There she'd find the solitude she needed. There she could mourn without the pity, the stares and interuption. There she would be alright.

But hardly five minutes after leaving the Great Hall she stopped and didn't take another step. The sound of her light footsteps echoed shortly before fading away. Silence crept into the empty hallways, into every very corners of the high ceiling and the cold floor. The hallway was unfamiliar to her. In her upset state she must have taken the wrong way without noticing it. A small lamp hanging on the wall provided little light. Cold air blew from a window that someone had forgotten to close.

Had it been someone else, he or she would have left the hallway. But not her. In the quiet hallway, she was alone with her thoughts, just the way she wanted to. But there, standing alone and quiet, Cho Chang dropped to her knees and, for the second time in the evening, shed tears.

Leaning against the wall, she felt it's coldness through the thin fabric her robe was made of. But it was something she neither noticed or cared about. She was too busy crying, too busy with her pain to notice anything. There was a strange heaviness in her heart, not physical but emotional. But nonetheless, the heaviness was too much for her. She had walked as far towards Ravenclaw Tower as she could, before the heaviness had brought her down and she didn't have the strength to pull herself up. It weighted her down, consumed her, til a point that she had never thought had existed.

With tears still streaming down her cheeks, slightly red from the cold, Cho ran her hair through her thick black hair. She didn't care that it might look unruly, that she had spent one hour brushing it earlier that morning as a bad excuse to not go down to the common room and face everyone. What the hell did her hair matter? Nothing mattered anymore, not when Cedric was...

A wave of pain struck her and Cho shut her eyes tightly. It hurt so much, thinking about Cedric. The slighest mention of his name and she would start crying. The pain and the tears had been a part of her every moment of the last few days that the last time she smiled or before the heaviness inside her seemed like years ago.

"Well, well... who do we have here?"

Cho jumped at the sound of a voice. She brushed away a portion of her hair from her shoulder and looked over it to see who it was. Standing less than a feet away from her, casting a shadow over her slouched form was no other than Draco Malfoy. Clouded by tears and with the little light that the small lamp was providing, she couldn't see the expression on his face.

"Poor little Cho..." Draco mocked, pretending to sound sympathetic as he bent down so that they were at eye level. "All alone here, crying over poor dead Cedric."

Cho flinched at Draco's insensitive remark. She immediately pulled herself up, tears and heaviness forgotten for a while. Edging away from Draco, she stayed close to the wall and backed into a corner. Her eyes were fixed on Draco, watching him as if he was a dangerous creature that was about to decide if he should eat her or not.

"Leave me alone," Cho whispered. She had meant to say it in a clear, commanding voice but all that she could get out of her mouth was a weak whisper. When Draco slowly rose up, he had such an amused look on his face, like he was about to laugh at her. Whether it was at her tears or her pitiful attempt to speak, she wasn't sure.

"It's not me you should be afraid of," Draco spoke. "You should watch out for other people... like Potter."

Cho tensed upon hearing Harry's name. A small part of her flared up in anger. How dared Draco say something about Harry being responsible for Cedric's death?

"I'm not afraid of you," Cho replied coldly, although the anger inside her wasn't expressed vocally. "And leave Harry out of this."

This time Draco laughed cruelly. Cho's words had the effect of a good joke rather than the defensive and angry reply she had hoped for. He walked over to her and lifted her chin up with his index finger. Although Cho was a year older than him, he was a few inches taller. A tear that had gotten stuck in the corner of her eye suddenly rolled down her cheek and all the way down to Draco's finger. He stared at the tear drop on his finger shortly, then looked at Cho again.

"Tears don't suit you, Cho," Draco said, smirking as he slowly ran his fingers down to her throat and then to the back of her neck. She shuddered and was about to raise her hand to push his away when he crushed her lips with his own.

Letting out a muffled cry in protest, she tried to push Draco away with both hands. But he wrapped one arm around her waist and pulled her towards him, closing up the small distance between them. She made a rather pathetic attempt to pull her head away, only to have his hand reach out to the back of her head and push her closer.

Finally giving up, Cho instinctively closed her eyes and yielded to his kiss. Her lips parted. He tasted sweet, like the pumpkin juice that had been served at dinner. Her heart pounded fast, slamming against her rib cage.

Slowly, not right away but little by little, the heaviness and sadness faded. The kiss was having a strange effect on her. Whether it was good or bad she didn't know. Suddenly she found herself kissing him back with the same hunger and eagerness he had.

What was so wrong with it? She wanted to forget, to feel light again. She drowned in his kisses, responded with a burning desire that had laid dormant until now. Knowledge, reason, memories... all disappeared and the only thing that was left in her mind was Draco.

His lips hungrily kissing her, his arm wrapped around her waist. The way he held her... so tight, so possessive. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she dug her hands into his hair. Just like she used to do with...

Cedric.

Suddenly it all came back to her. The third challenge of the Triwizard Tournament. Shaking hands with Cedric's parents, blushing as they said that Cedric had told them so much about her. Giving Cedric a kiss for good luck just before the challenge. Then... Screams. Amos Diggory's flat refusals to believe what he had seen or been told. Mrs. Diggory's devestated cries. A corpse covered by a white blanket on a stretcher.

Cedric was dead.

It all rushed into her head again, so many memories and so much pain. With a new found strength she pulled herself away from Draco and backed several steps. Instantly, she felt light dizziness. Her lips were suddenly cold, missing his lips and their warmth. Cho pulled a deep breath and put her hand over her chest where her heart beat like crazy. Slowly, she raised her gaze and looked at Draco.

He was still standing on the same spot, staring at her. There was so much emotion in his eyes... anger, disappointment. Cho immediately turned her face away from him, she couldn't look at him. Opening her mouth, she tries to say something but it only came out in a barely hearable whisper. Then, she turned around and ran.

She ran as fast as her legs could carry her, until she reached the Ravenclaw Tower and entered the common room. She didn't stop there. Once inside the common room, she found it filled with people. They must have arrived while she was gone. Ignoring them and their questions, Cho rushed up the stairs and pushed the door to the dormitory open. There was nothing but silence there.

Cho closed the door behind her and used the last of her energy to walk towards her bed and throw herself on it. She buried her face into the soft pillow, doing nothing but lying there for a long time. When she finally turned her face away from the pillow, she caught sight on something lying on the table next to her bed.

It was a small bracelet, made of fine red beads. Cedric had given the bracelet to her just after the Yule Ball. Despite red being her least favorite color and Cedric's poor taste in bracelet, she had been so happy when he had given it to her. After receiving the bracelet, she had received her first kiss.

Cho shut her eyes, trying to remember the moment. But all she could think about was Draco Malfoy and the kiss she had shared with him less than fifteen minutes ago. Inside her, a small feeling of guilt started to grow bigger and bigger. The first she had shared with Cedric had been nervous and sweet. But it was nothing compared to Draco's kiss. His lips and his touch had awakened something inside her... something that could make her forget all about sadness and pain.

Turning over, Cho half-buried her face into the pillow again. The heaviness had returned and she had no desire to ever get up or leave the bed. She pushed a strand of hair away from her face. Her hair brushed across her neck, vaquely reminding her of the feeling of Draco's fingertips touching her neck.

And she fell asleep.