Disclaimer: The characters belong to JK Rowling, as always, and the song, Hey Jude, belongs to The Beatles.
A/N: My first Cho fic. Slash is implied, so if you don't like it, just flame me now. The style of this is quite different to most of my previous stuff, so please let me know what you think.
Take a Sad Song
Hey Jude, don't make it bad.
Take a sad song and make it better.
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better.
As the song finishes, I drag myself out of bed and press the repeat button on my CD player. Hey Jude. It's the only song I ever listen to these days. If you look at the lyrics, they could be singing to me. The music starts up again, and I flop back onto the crumpled sheets, burying my head in my pillow.
I caught Harry staring at me again today. It's getting creepy really. I mean, it was sweet when he was a scrawny fourteen-year-old with nerdy glasses, but he's sixteen now. I pity him. He's so insecure, so helpless.
I have a sort of sixth sense for people who have a lot of misery in their lives. I sense out those who do at Hogwarts and I watch them. It gives me something to do. That's how I got to know Hermione.
I watched her for a long time before I approached her. She had a sadness about her that no one else seemed to notice. We became friends very quickly - similar interests and that. She would help me with my Transfiguration homework and I'd give her a hand with her Arithmancy. One evening we were sitting in the library and I decided it was then or never. So I kissed her.
I expected her to be disgusted, to back away. But when she didn't, I could have danced for joy. I don't know if I love her, but I'm certainly happier with her than without.
Our relationship is based on mutual need. We were both desperate for someone to talk to, someone who would understand us. She has never told anyone else about her childhood, and I've never told anyone else about mine. Somehow I knew instinctively that I could trust her, that she wouldn't betray me.
My parents were very deeply involved in the fight against You Know Who, so I lived with my grandparents during that time. I don't know what they did exactly, as no one has ever bothered to tell me, but I know it was important. Then, when I was two, Harry defeated him and our family was reunited again.
For the next four years, I had a model childhood. My father worked full time while my mother stayed at home. She planned to go back to work after I had been at school for a few years. We were very happy. I went to nursery every weekday and we took weekend trips to the seaside. My parents never really argued, except in jest, and I made lots of friends at school and the local park.
Then one sunny afternoon, a little after my sixth birthday, my life was irreparably shattered forever.
I remember the actual incident only too well. I remember standing at the top of the slide, calling, "Mummy, look at me, look at me!" My mother laughed and waved. Suddenly out of nowhere, a blinding green light flashed. She just collapsed on the floor, limp as a ragdoll. I never saw her attacker, but they told me later that it must have been a Death Eater, something to do with the war.
I ran to her side, not understanding what had happened. She was still smiling. I shook her and cried out, but she didn't respond. That was when I started to get scared.
The aurors apparated there in seconds to cover everything up. They took me away to a place where I waited until my father arrived to take me home. "Why isn't Mummy coming with us?" I asked him. I remember his voice shaking as he told me that Mummy was dead. I didn't believe him. Mother's didn't just die like that, I tried to tell him. All that had had happened was that she had been hit by some funny light.
I saw her one more time, at the funeral. Her lips still smiled, though her eyes were closed now. She was wearing a heart shaped necklace, which caught the light and sparkled around her neck. She looked so pale and vulnerable, so I knew it wasn't really her in there. My mother had always looked so strong. It was inconceivable to my six-year-old mind that I would never see her again. Of course I would see her, I yelled at everyone. She was my mother. She would never leave me.
I lived with my father after that. At first it was fine. He gave up his high-flying job and found one with shorter working hours so that he could be there to pick me up from school. He kept me neat and tidy and checked over my homework. We missed my mother terribly, he and I, but we got by somehow.
But gradually, things changed. He forgot to make my packed lunch more mornings than he remembered. I often left the house with unbrushed hair and crumpled clothes, having had only a chocolate bar for breakfast. Most evenings he left me at our neighbours house, to sit in front of the television for hour upon hour while he serial-dated girl after girl.
On the outside, I remained the same Cho that everyone had always known. Happy, popular and outgoing. But my friends started to notice that I never invited them round to my house anymore and that I never seemed as anxious as them for the weekend to arrive.
Things came to a head on my ninth birthday. I jumped out of bed feeling that delicious sickness that comes from pure excitement. A few days earlier, I had handed round twenty-five home-made invitations for my party that afternoon. I ran into my fathers room and bounced up and down on hi bed, chanting, "It's my birthday Daddy! It's my birthday!"
He sat up sleepily, opened bleary eyes and said, "Oh Cho, I'm so sorry. I forgot."
There were no presents and there was no party. I had to face the humiliation of calling all my friends and telling them the party was off. He did go out, a few hours later, to buy me a cake. Sponge, with jam and cream and white icing. I never did like sponge cake.
I spent the day watching television, while my father nursed a bottle of beer in the big armchair. I tried to look happy, I really did, but I didn't succeed very well. He noticed the first tear, as it made its watery path down my cheek.
Later, he told me he was sorry, but his handprint still stung red and raw on my face and his breath still smelled of alcohol. I told him I forgave him, but inside, my mind was screaming at him. How dare he hit me. How dare he. If mother had only been there to see that…
That was when he decided he couldn't cope with raising a child on his own. The very next morning he took me to a gloomy grey building, and left me outside the door. He didn't even have the guts to take me inside.
I stayed there for a long time before anyone found me. It was November, and very cold. My lips were blue by the time a soft-voiced woman led me into the sterile warmth inside.
I soon learned that it was called a children's home. Home, I spit on the word. How can a place full of screaming toddlers and bullying teenagers, where nothing is your own, be called a home?
They sent me to the local state primary school, with the rest of the younger children there. I told them that I already had a school, but they wouldn't listen. One of the older kids laughed at me when she heard. She teased me for being a "posh cow". She spoke differently to anything I'd ever heard before.
The children at my new school spoke like she did as well, most of them anyway. I couldn't open my mouth without someone mimicking my accent. So I withdrew into myself. I became quiet and sullen, only speaking when I had to. It was impossible to do your homework properly at the home; there were never enough pens and paper, and some of the other kids would rip it up as soon as you had finished. I fell behind in class. The teachers despaired of me. I tried to explain, but I was the only one in my class who lived at the home, and the other children mocked me for it, so I gave up.
When I was ten, I tried to hang myself. I just couldn't stand life the way it was anymore. When I think about it, I can still feel the scratching, choking feeling of the cord pulling tight around my neck. They found me, of course, and took me straight to the hospital, where I recovered.
They tried to give me counselling after that, but I wouldn't comply. To me, counselling was something crazy people had, and I knew I wasn't crazy. In the two and a bit years I spent there, two things stand out in my mind. One was that I never cried, not a single tear. The other is that my father never came to visit me, not even once.
Then, just before I turned eleven, a miracle happened. A couple agreed to foster me. Normally, people only wanted the younger children. No one could be bothered with a ten-year-old with behavioural problems. But these people saw past that. I was worried that they would be horrible, in keeping with the horror stories the older children used to scare us, but they were lovely. The sweetest people you could ever meet.
I still live with Chris and Alice now. They always let me call them that, never tried to make me say "Auntie and Uncle" or the like. My new home was small, but with a friendly feel to it, in a pretty little suburb of London. They told me that, after the summer, they would move me to a private senior school, rather than the local comprehensive, which I had been dreading.
Then my Hogwarts letter arrived.
I spent a miserable day wondering how I would make them believe me, that I was really a witch. I thought they would think I was crazy, screwed up, and send me away from them, back to the home. But, when I finally gathered the courage to tell them, I found out something incredible.
Alice is a witch.
They took me to Diagon Alley and saw me through my nerves and onto the Hogwarts Express. I loved it from the moment I got here. I am now in my seventh year at Hogwarts. I have some great friends and I go home every holiday, except if there's something like the Yule Ball going on. I have managed to revert almost to my old happy self. Almost.
When people think of me, they often connect me to Cedric Diggory. I never loved him, but he was a good person and a better friend. Obviously, I was terribly saddened when that happened, but it was a long time ago now, and I have had to move on. I have to forget my past.
In Hermione, I have found someone who has more understanding of me than even Alice and Chris. I think I could fall in love with her, but as yet I can't let myself. Not until I know how she feels about me.
I haven't seen or heard from my father since the day he abandoned me, and if he did turn up one day, I wouldn't want to know. He didn't want to be a part of my life anymore, so he can have what he wanted. I don't need him. I have proven to myself that I can get through life on my own. Even if Hermione doesn't love me, I will get through it.
I am strong enough now. I can survive anything.
It implies in this that Hermione had a bad childhood. If you want to know more about that, please read my fic "Things Can Only Get Better". Please review!