Theme: #12 (run away)
A/N: The story is set during Cho's fourth year, Cedric's fifth year, aka during PoA.
Index: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
The first Hogsmeade weekend. The first Saturday of freedom. The thrill, the rush encompassed the students as they hurried into the small town. Cho had raced ahead of her friends, eager to buy the newly published Quidditch: Through an Eagle's Eyes. Everyone - that is, every practical quidditch player - already owned Quidditch Through The Ages, but the newest quidditch book was supposed to be a wonderful analytical tool, something to give an edge to certain players who knew how to look at all angles and possibilities.
With book in hand, she released a happy sigh and a brilliant smile that stunned those who passed her in the walkway. The book wasn't for her; she had bought it as a present for someone. She giggled to herself. It was for a special someone, her crush of several years. She was careful not to say who she liked, especially not to the someone in question, and she wanted to wait until the right time to tell him. And this, she determined, was the right time. The first Hogsmeade weekend of the school year.
She hugged the leather-bound book to her chest in excitement and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. As she turned the corner, her smile widened and her heart skipped a beat. There he was. Roger Davies. The handsome, kind, smart Ravenclaw quidditch captain. He was sure to appreciate the book... and maybe her wildest dreams would take fancy. He would realize he had feelings for her, too.
Cho raised her hand, about to call his name, when she stopped. The words froze inside her mouth. He was exiting Honeydukes, holding the door open for... Marietta Edgecombe. Cho felt a cold breeze hit her square in the face. Marietta smiled at Roger, and took his arm, and the two of them started walking towards the next shoppe. They looked so nice together...
Cho swallowed hard, turning abruptly away so they wouldn't see her. The last thing she needed was to fake a smile and talk about the weather. So, she did the only thing she could think of. She ran. Quickly. Darting between couples. Anything to get away. She wasn't paying much attention; her legs seemed to move automatically, simply carrying her body with them. When she crashed into a wall that appeared suddenly, she mumbled an apology, side-stepped the wall, and raced away.
The wall stared at her, curiosity and concerned filling his eyes. He opened his mouth to say something, but she kept running. Someone clapped him on the shoulder and he turned back.
"Cedric?" Logan Cadwallader asked. "You okay?"
"Yeah..." Cedric mumbled.
"I didn't think Chang carried quite a punch." Joseph Summerby chuckled. "Although I'd guess that'd be the reason she's the new seeker for Ravenclaw."
"She's the new seeker?"
"Cedric, where's your head?" Logan asked. "We were just talking about the new teams at breakfast this morning."
"Sorry, it must've slipped my mind." Cedric said.
"I know where his mind is." Joseph teased. "On all those girls who sent him love notes last week."
Joseph clasped his heart in a mock-sigh. "Did you decide on who will be lucky girl?"
Cedric laughed nervously, and rubbed the back of his neck. "That tradition is a bit antiquated, don't you think?"
"I think it's a rumor Madam Puddifoot started." Logan raised his hand to mock-whisper it to the guys. They all laughed. "You have to admit that it's good for business. The first Hogsmeade weekend marks the beginning of 'couple'dom."
"There are a lot of couples." Joseph pointed out, and they all turned to watch a couple pass them holding hands. Cedric turned his head in the direction Cho ran off to, trying to catch a glimpse of her presence. When he thought he saw a flicker of her hair, he blurted out, "Guys, I'll be back in a second."
Cedric rushed off without another thought. His stride was longer than Cho's, so he was able to traverse the crowd a bit quicker, but she still had quite a leeway on him. When she reached the end of the Hogsmeade shops, he watched her pause as she threw a package in the last receptacle. Without a look back, she ran up the path towards the castle.
He paused in his own steps, wondering why he had been following her. He looked at the receptacle, and removed the package. A brand new book? A Ravenclaw wouldn't throw away a brand new book, would she? He wiped the smudges off the cover, and opened it to its first page. And suddenly, he understood. Written inside was a simple signature...
To Part 2