||[Jan. 19th, 2006|02:15 pm]
Title: Second Chance (aka The Break-up part 3)
A/N: I couldn't leave them miserable, could I?
It didn't surprise him when Cho didn't wish him luck on the Second Task. He expected her -although he wished otherwise- to stay in the castle and avoid the lake altogether. But when he swam to the bottom of the lake, it surprised him - hell, it shocked him - to find she was one of the hostages.
He was quick, the first champion to return to the platform, but the Tournament was the farthest thing on his mind. He quickly wrapped Cho in a blanket, was about to offer her his blanket as well when Madam Pomfrey interceded with two cups of hot chocolate.
"Are you okay?" He asked. She nodded, half-shivering, pulling the blanket tighter.
"If I had known..."
"... you would have chosen someone else?"
"No!" His tone was sharp and she was taken aback. He softened his expression. "I just meant... I didn't want to put you through that. I wish I had some kind of warning..."
We've taken what you'll sorely miss. The chant of the merpeople reeled in his mind. He had already lost her love, and he could live with that. But to lose her completely...
"I... I don't know what I would do without you..." He murmured, turning away to look back at the lake. She didn't know what to say.
"Did you see the way Viktor Krum looked at Hermione Granger?" Cho didn't bother to look up as Erica and Whitney entered the bedroom. They sat down, pulled their pillows out from under the covers, and hugged them to their chests. They didn't notice Cho's mood, as it really hadn't changed since her row with Cedric, and continued to chat amongst themselves.
"It was so romantic." Whitney sighed dreamily. "It's like he loves her."
"She was the one he'd miss the most." Erica echoed the sigh. "I wish that could have happened to me."
They giggled, and Cho tuned their voices out.
"Cedric?" Fleur's voice caused the hairs on the back of his neck to stand. He sighed, flipping to the next page in his book. He was in the library, doing his Advanced Charms homework, alone at a desk between the stacks. She had found him there before, he remembered very clearly, but he wondered how he could make it more painfully obvious that he wanted to be alone. That was why he chose that desk instead of sitting with his friends at one of the large tables in the center of the library.
"Hello, Fleur." He marked the book with his hand and looked up politely. He really didn't want to talk but his manners had been ingrained since birth and he remained a gentleman. "Is there something I can do for you?"
"I know we haven't known each other for very long..." Fleur said. "But I like you and..."
"Fleur." He interrupted her, trying to save her from continuing. "I'm flattered. I really am. But I only like you as a friend. Nothing more. I'm sorry."
"I see." Fleur became quieter. "Is it Cho?"
"Yes. I love her." Cedric said. "I still do."
"Even though she's moved on?"
"Yes." He turned back to his book, sensing her disappear from his peripheral vision.
Fleur found Cho standing on the shore of the lake, staring at the diving platform erected for the second task. The latter seemed serious in thought, not bothering to acknowledge the former's presence. Fleur cleared her throat.
"Champions could not choose each other as their loved one for the second task." She spoke up.
"Naturally. That would be unreasonable." Cho said matter-of-factly. Her gaze remained fixed on the lake.
Fleur stared at her. "If you love him, why don't you fight for him?"
"You can't force someone to love you. You can't make someone feel something he doesn't." Cho said. Then, she amended her thought. "Unless you use the Imperius Curse, or love potions... but then that wouldn't be real love."
She turned to Fleur with surprisingly a forgiving smile. "If he loves you, treasure it. Treasure him. Maybe, I didn't tell him as often as he wanted to hear it."
As Cho walked away, Fleur spoke again, her words warming the air. "He loves you."
Fleur gave her a small smile and nodded. A light brightened in Cho's eyes. She returned the smile and left.
In the library, Cedric continued to bury himself in his work. It was the only way he could keep his mind occupied. Even flying would remind him of her, and right now, he just didn't want to think. Moments passed. In the middle of his Potions homework, he felt a hand on his shoulder, and he felt his irritation rise. He continued to stare at his book.
"Fleur. I'm sorry. I'm just not interested." He said. The hand remained and he turned... surprised to see Cho behind him. He rose suddenly, almost knocking his chair into the next stack.
"Cedric..." She kept her eyes fixed on his tie for the longest time. He kept silent, unsure of what to say, afraid she would run from him again if he did the wrong thing.
Her gaze lifted and she took a slow step towards him. She was trembling and tears started falling silently down her face. When she placed her hand against his cheek, he sucked in his breath. Her voice was quiet and hesitant. "Cedric... do you think we can 'un-break-up'?"
"Oh God, yes." He pulled her closer and crushed his lips to hers before she could change her mind. When he pulled away, his face was wet and he wasn't sure if it was her tears or his own.
"Cho... I never meant to hurt you..." She placed a finger on his lips and then buried her face in his chest. He wrapped his arms tightly around her.
"I missed you so much." She said.
"Me too." His words were muffled by her hair. They stood that way for a long time, holding each other, until she pulled herself away from him.
"Let's get out of here." She took his hand in hers and he nodded. Without another word, they left the library together leaving the gossip mongrels to whisper the news amongst themselves.