10 June 1995

Cho frowned as she sat in the library, a Potions book open before her. She was mentally kicking herself for leaving this essay so late, especially since she had O.W.L.s to study for, but it looked as though she'd be able to hand it in on time. She only needed six more inches on her roll of parchment. As she picked up her quill, preparing to use the paragraph before her, Cedric dropped into the seat before her.

"Hi," Cho said with a smile. Cedric smiled, and she melted a little.

"How's it going?" he asked, nodding to the essay.

"Nearly done," she sighed.

"I'll leave you to it," Cedric said, getting up.

"No, stay!" Cho said. Cedric sat again, not meeting her gaze. "Is something wrong, Ced?"

Cedric shook his head, still looking anywhere but her eyes.

"Cedric." Cho's tone was kind, but firm. "What's going on?"

"I…Cho…" Cedric trailed off awkwardly. "I'll be graduating as soon as this tournament's over," he told her.

Cho hoped her eyes didn't betray her sadness too much. "I know that," she said.

"I—well, you have another two years to go here." Cho nodded. Cedric looked uncomfortable, anxious.

"What I want to know is—well—do you—I mean—"

Cho could never remember seeing Cedric this distressed. He cast her a helpless look.

"Will I wait for you?" she asked gently.

Cedric sighed, looking very relieved. "Yeah, Cho. Will you wait for me, while I get a job? I—I'd really like to be able to support—I mean, if we ever—you know—" he looked uncomfortable again and broke off.

"Cedric," Cho said in a half-whisper. "Are you—?"

"Cho Chang," Cedric said. "Will you accept this as a token of my promise to do everything I can to show you how much I care for you, and how much I hope for us to stay together?"

He held a piece of blue string out to her in the palm of his hand.

Cho felt tears prick her eyes. She nodded. "Yeah, Ced, I will." He grinned and tied the string around the fourth finger of her right hand. Then Cho leaned forward, held Cedric's face close to her own, and kissed him, very softly. They broke apart with smiles on their faces.

29 June 1995

"Cho?" Marietta asked timidly, approaching her friend's motionless form on the bed. "Cho, I've nearly finished packing. Do you need any of these things?"

Cho turned over, her eyes red and puffy, to face her friend. Marietta held a few small items on the palm of her hand. A silver thimble—Cho had no idea where that could have come from, she flicked it aside with her forefinger—a bottle of makeup that she'd lost at the beginning of the year—

She drew in a sharp breath, pulling away from Marietta's outstretched hand and clutching a pillow in front of her chest. "No—"

"Cho?" Marietta asked, frightened. "Are you—"

"NO!" Cho shrieked. "Keep that away from me!" Tears started pouring down her face, and she began to hyperventilate. Marietta, terrified, dropped the things she was holding onto Cho's bedspread.

Cho climbed higher against the headboard, her rapid breaths sounding more and more like screams.

"Cho!" Marietta cried, reaching for her and pulling Cho close. "Cho! It's all right! Calm down!"

Cho sobbed against Marietta's shoulder uncontrollably, squeezing her tight. For a split second, Cho caught sight of the blue string lying on the bedspread, still in the neat bow that Cedric had tied it in around her finger. Then Cho forced her eyes shut, feeling the tears slide down her cheeks.

For the "Weird Phobia Challenge" by don'..

Bonus points for making it an angsty phobia? :( Goodness, I was in a MOOD when I wrote this...

Poor Cho. I always did like Cedric.

Thanks for reading,