Summary: If, on their Hogsmeade date, after a change of plans Harry and Cho hadn't gone to Madam Puddifoot's, and had found that they shared something: they both blamed themselves for Cedric's death.
13th June 2009 Did some housekeeping and removed lines, etc. All quotes in italics are from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, UK Edition.
'Because Cho spends half her time crying these days,' said Hermione vaguely. 'She does it at mealtimes, in the loos, all over the place.'
Cho inwardly sighed as small, cold raindrops fell from stormy wintry clouds. She looked up. The clouds were grey, she noticed. Just like Cedric's eyes had been.
The sixteen year old felt the all too familiar liquid warmth in her throat, and the heavy warm prickly feeling of oncoming tears.
Pull yourself together! She told herself as her gazed dwindled down to her feet. She was on a date with a boy she liked, really liked; she didn't want to spoil it now by becoming a human hose-pipe.
Feeling Harry's bright green eyes on her, she looked up at him, flashing him a smile. Cho cleared her throat. "Um…hey, do you wanna get a coffee?"
'It wasn't your fault, Harry,' Mrs Weasley whispered.
'I told him to take the cup with me,' said Harry. Now the burning feeling was in his throat too. He wished Ron would look away.
Harry brushed away the raindrops of rain off of his rounded glasses that were currently falling from the grey clouds like teardrops.
Coffee, Harry repeated to himself. That would certainly wake him up; he hadn't been sleeping all that well. Not since--
"Coffee would be great," Harry replied, then realised he had no idea where Cho and he would go. "Where, though?"
"Oh, um…" said Cho, thinking. "There's this really nice place up here; I'm guessing you've never been to Madam Puddifoot's?"
"Err, no," mumbled Harry, as Cho lead him through the rain to the coffee shop.
'I came in here with Cedric last year,' said Cho.
Cho looked through the window of Madam Puddifoot's and felt her heart plummet. It was full of kissing, happy couples. The shop was decorated with pink and red love hearts, confetti and frills. Cho shuddered. She hated pink! It was so…happy…and red was so passionate…Since…he'd died, those colours had seemed too bright, like they were attacking her. They were warm colours. All Cho felt was cold, depressed and dispassionate about everything.
At least this date with Harry had brought a smile to her usually tear-stained face.
Harry, Cho noticed, didn't look very overjoyed at the choice of colours either. Boys. "Uh, could we, uh, maybe go somewhere else?"
Cho nodded, giving the overly-pink-and-red coffee shop one last fleeting look, and she and Harry walked away from it, towards the grassy plains near Hogsmeade. The weather grew colder slightly.
Cho Chang realised that this date was becoming very uncomfortable.
'My God- Diggory!' it whispered. 'Dumbledore- he's dead!' The words were repeated, the shadowy figures pressing in on them gasped it to those around them…and then others shouted-screeched it- into the night- 'He's dead!' 'He's dead!' 'Cedric Diggory! Dead!'
'Harry, let go of him,' he heard Fudge's voice say, and he felt fingers trying to prise him from Cedric's limp body, but Harry wouldn't let him go.
Harry blinked a couple of times as he felt a cool hand grasp his and dainty fingers intertwine his own. Cho was holding his hand. She gave him a small smile. Harry felt himself blush. He gave a nervous, tentative smile back.
They were holding hands.
It was if they had passed some new sort of line into the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing. And it felt right.
Harry's own hand was very warm, quite a contrast to Cho's. He looked at her as they walked through the now only sprinkling rain together.
She was very pretty, but he'd already known that, of course. Long, dark blue denim jeans hugged her legs, held up with a stylish black and silver belt; her long, straight, jet black hair reaching her hips, the rain drops looking like little diamonds in her hair. She wasn't smiling.
She was only wearing a singlet top.
Harry let go of Cho's hand, and Cho looked up at him, her eyes expressing a mixture of hurt, confusion and surprise. Harry slid off his jacket and held it out to her.
"You're cold, aren't you?" he asked softly, having noticed the goose bumps on her skin.
"Yes," Cho whispered in reply, not necessarily talking about her body temperature.
Cho took the jacket nonetheless.
One the jacket had been donned, complete his Harry's warmth, she asked him, "But won't you be cold?"
Harry smiled, yet feeling wintry on the inside. "It doesn't matter, anyways."
He could have never said a truer statement. It was better to feel cold; it froze the hot guilt inside him for a while.
He held Cho's hand again with a smile, noticing that the rain had finally stopped. Harry then led her to a spot under an oak tree which looked like a good…romantic…spot to sit.
The grey clouds refused to let the sunshine through as Harry and Cho made small-talk as they sat on the dewy grass.
"I really like this jacket, Harry," commented Cho. It was blue denim, like Cho's jeans. "Where'd you get it from?"
'Diggory got the snitch,' said George. 'Just after you fell. He didn't realise what had happened. When he looked back and saw you on the ground, he tried to call it off. Wanted a rematch."
"Hermione," replied Harry. "My friend. She gave it to me last year for Christmas."
The jacket wasn't making Cho warmer. Tears were threatening to fall from her dark, dark brown eyes. The clouds were grey like Cedric's eyes- like Cedric's eyes had been. Everything seemed to be spinning way too fast, making noise that was way too loud.
"S-So you and H-Hermione Granger are pretty c-close then?" Cho questioned, hiccoughing, half-hysterical as tears poured down her face of their own damned accord.
For the love of Rowena, what was wrong with her!? She didn't give an honest damn about Granger; she knew Harry and her were just good friends.
"Cho?' asked Harry in his deep, comforting voice, taking Cho subconsciously into his arms, mirroring Mrs Weasley as she had done to him after the Third Task some months ago. "What's wrong?"
'I know it must be horrible for you,' she said, mopping her eyes on her sleeve again. 'Me mentioning Cedric, when you saw him die…I suppose you just want to forget about it?'
Harry hugged Cho tightly as she sobbed helplessly into his chest, inhaling drawn-out, hitched breaths, and exhaling shakily. Warm salty tears drenched his shirt, not that he gave a damn, and he could almost feel the guilt, grief and fatigue reeking havoc inside her heart as she cried.
Harry knew what was happening, and squeezed his eyes tightly shut as Cho continued to cry, hoping to suppress his own emotions. She was having a breakdown; and if he wasn't careful, he'd break with her.
Cho tried to speak. "I…" she let out a fresh heart-piercing cry, sniffed and tried again to avail. "I-it's my fault he's dead, Harry." She fingered his shirt, fretting that she was finally confessing. "I told him to enter the tournament."
He turned and saw Cho standing in the middle of the room, tears pouring down her face.
He didn't know what to do. She was simply standing there, crying silently.
'What's up?' he said, feebly.
Harry's mind reeled. How on earth did Cho think it was her fault Cedric was dead? How could she think that? He looked down at the sobbing form of Cho, clutching tighter and tighter to him.
His throat suddenly became obstructed, but he soldiered on. "It wasn't your fault, Cho!"
Harry then added in a tight, soft whisper, as if an afterthought, "It's mine…"
Cho didn't hear him over her cries.
"Yes, yes, yes it is!" cried Cho, repeating her words for a reason Rowena Ravenclaw would only know. "It is my fault! He didn't even want to enter until I told him he should! His parents didn't even know it was me. In his eulogy, Mr Diggory asked why Cedric would do such a thing-- enter a stupid tournament." Cho breathed in and out harshly. "And I'm the reason."
Harry shook his head roughly. "It's not, Cho, its not." he said, his mind racing. Harry had no idea what to say. He was pretty sure 'It's actually my fault your boyfriend's dead, Cho. I told him to take the cup with me.' wouldn't go down smoothly.
Cho's voice was rather high when she spoke again.
"I've been meaning to ask you for ages…did Cedric- did he- m-m-mention me at all before he died?"
Cho had no idea how much time had passed when her head stopped throbbing and she finally stopped crying. Mayhap a few hours, for the sun, only just peeking out of the stormy clouds (when had it stop raining? Cho wondered) was in a lower position. She looked to whom she was leaning on, while wondering when on earth she had decided to lie down. Behind her was her date, Harry Potter, laying down also, his back against the oak tree they were lounging under. He was sound asleep, and his shirt was soaking wet with something that smelt akin to tears and sweat. No-one else was around; probably having a fun time at the shops….
Oh no! Cho mentally shrieked. She'd completely ruined their date! Oh how she hoped Harry would forgive her for-
Her date's sudden movement caught Cho off guard. His whole body jerked upwards, his eyes were screwed up, as if in pain, and his scar was scaring the heck out of Cho- it was almost like it was glowing, burning hot, and fire-red in colour.
In his deep sleep- what Cho presumed to be a nightmare- Harry whimpered; "Cedric, no, no! Get up, please, get up! My fault…my fault…"
Cho's insides froze. It had never really crossed her mind before; Harry had watched Cedric die. He had seen someone die. Rowena, Godric, Helga and Salazar damn it!
How could she have been so blind? How could she have been so numb to everything and everyone?
How could she be so cold?
Cho spun around to see Harry yawning and opening his eyes. "Hey, Harry." she said, smiling a little.
Harry smiled back. "Hey. Do you know what the time is? My watch doesn't work."
Cho shrugged her shoulders awkwardly. "I dunno. Ah…erm…Harry…about earlier…I…"
'What's-er-going on with her and you, anyway?' Ron asked quietly.
Harry took in a deep breath, thanking his lucky stars that Cho was looking at the ground, and bravely clasped Cho's hand. She looked up, and Harry was relieved to see that her face was no longer blotchy and red. He shook his head a little to clear his mind of the nightmare, the recurring one that he'd just had. Harry then said to Cho;
"It's fine, it doesn't matter. You just owe me, okay?"
Cho looked up, and smiled. She then leant over and kissed Harry, right on the lips. Harry's mind went as foggy as the sky was.
All of a sudden, it started to rain heavily again, and Harry and Cho stopped. Blushing, they both got up and decided to run back to Hogwarts through the freezing cold rain. Something inside Harry felt ashamed, and Harry suddenly felt very cold and glacial compared to the burning hot he had only moments ago.
It could have been Cedric she was kissing if it weren't for him.
And then, without warning, Harry's scar exploded with pain. it was an agony such as he had never felt in all his life; his wand slipped from his fingers as he put his hands over his face; his knees buckled; he was on the ground and could see nothing at all, his head about to split open. From far away, above his head, heard a high, cold voice say, 'Kill the spare.'
---- It was the end of another school year, and Cho was walking around the grounds. The sun didn't seem to be mocking her by its brightness and the happiness it spread. Laughter didn't slice her, and smiles didn't wound her.
It was the end of another school year, and Cho was walking around the grounds. The sun didn't seem to be mocking her by its brightness and the happiness it spread. Laughter didn't slice her, and smiles didn't wound her.
It's a shame Marietta couldn't have come for a walk, Cho thought. Her best friend was too scared to go out in public for having SNEAK written across her face. Cho still felt kinda mad at Harry for it--
Cho frowned as she spotted the boy she'd just been thinking about, sitting down by the lake, staring out into the water. He wiped his face on his sleeve, and Cho knew something was wrong.
She walked quickly down to him, saying breathlessly in a worried tone, "Harry?"
Harry looked up, surprised. Cho took one look at Harry's face, and, without thinking, hugged him furiously tight. His eyes were rimmed red, and his face was blotchy. Tears fell of their own accord, and Harry looked as though he hadn't slept properly in days.
"What's wrong?" Cho asked, playing with a lock of Harry's hair. Harry swallowed thickly, sniffed and said softly, "M-My godfather, I saw him die…it's m-my fault he's dead, just like last time…"
Last time? Cho wondered, not realising that the question had slipped from her lips.
"Cedric…" Harry whispered.
Cho didn't know what to say. What on earth could she say? "Everything's going to be okay, Harry. I-I'm here for you, okay?" was all that Cho could come up with, and wiped away one of Harry's tears.
Cho waited patiently until Harry had no tears left to cry. He had stopped sobbing. The happy sun had gone down, it's replacement a quarter moon, lighting up the navy blue sky.
Harry looked up at Cho weakly. "You didn't have to do that, Cho."
"Hey," replied the beautiful girl, "I owed you one, remember."
Cho smiled a little, but broadened it when she saw Harry smile a tiny bit with her. She squeezed his hand reassuringly, and his bright green eyes seemed to start to fill with life again. Cho suddenly realised she hadn't felt like this in a long, long time.
She didn't feel so cold anymore.