Chapter graphic by PrincessPotter
Following Her Heart by Ms Fred Weasley
Cho Chang couldn’t read; she always read on her way home from Hogwarts. Cho felt like crying. She didn’t think she could cry anymore, especially after last year. How wrong she was. Dumbledore was gone, finished, dead. How could it be? He was the greatest wizard of all time. A kind old wizard with a heart of gold, how could anyone not love Dumbledore, much less like him? He was a second grandfather to all his students, he cared so much.
She looked out the window of the Hogwarts Express. Dumbledore dying at the end of her last year at Hogwarts wasn’t the way she wanted to end her seven years there. But wasn’t that the way? Love and Death were just a part of life. Love and Death.
Cho had been in love twice in her life. She would never forget Cedric, her first love. Their love was easy, sweet, innocent and pure. She smiled at the thought of Cedric watching down over her. Like all first loves, she knew he would always have at least a small part of her heart. She couldn’t believe he asked her to the Yule Ball in her fifth year. What fifteen year old, fifth-year girl wouldn’t be taken by the older man of seventeen, seventh-year Quidditch captain and Triwizard Champion? They danced all night long in each other’s arms; she was in heaven. After that night, they spent as much time together as they could. Looking back she was glad she did get to spend so much time with him: six months later he was taken from her. Voldemort killed him, Cho sighed, Voldemort killed him in front of Harry.
Cho had been in love twice in her life. If Cedric was her first love, then Harry was her second and, at this point, she truly believed her only love. Where everything with Cedric was simple, everything with Harry was complicated. It should have been easier: he liked her, she liked him. What was so hard about getting together?
She held back her sigh this time, because she knew the truth. Cedric and Voldemort. It was pretty ironic though, as much as Cedric and Voldemort stood in their way, they tied them together. For as long as Cho could remember, Harry Potter and Voldemort were equally as famous. The most evil wizard who lived and the Boy Who Lived. The story was legendary. Voldemort killed at will, he was hated and feared because once he decided you had to die, you died. For some reason he set his sights on the Potters; he killed Mr and Mrs Potter, but he couldn’t kill Harry. Not that he didn’t try, he did. That was what made the story so extraordinary: in trying to kill Harry he snapped his power some how and was believed gone forever.
Closing her eyes, she shook her head; no, not forever. Her second year at Hogwarts was the first time the whispers started, that Voldemort was gaining strength again. Of course, that was Harry’s first year. She didn’t know all the details; she bet Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley did, she thought bitterly, but still. As the now legend goes, Harry had ended up in the third floor chamber that was off limits and barely made it out alive; their Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, Quirrell, didn’t make it out at all. The rumour was that Voldemort was down there in some form with them. Harry was once more the hero, once more the centre of attention. Not that he wanted it; anyone who knew him at all knew that.
Cho could feel her heart breaking again. Everybody in their world knew about the life of Harry Potter, you had to live under a rock or the Muggle world not to. If the truth be told, Harry had her heart longer than Cedric. What little witch didn’t dream of being Mrs Harry Potter? She couldn’t think of one.
She remembered the first night of her second year like it was just yesterday; Chelas, Marietta and she spent the whole night giggling about the fact that Harry Potter had come to Hogwarts. How they wished he was sorted into Ravenclaw. And, of course, how cute he was. Cho remembered seeing him around, she doubted he even noticed her at all. He was always with Ron Weasley and later, after Halloween, Hermione Granger.
Potter, Granger and Weasley, the three of them were thick as thieves. If anything was going on in the castle, bets were that the three of them were in the middle of it. Wherever you saw one, chances were the other two weren’t far behind.
A good part of Cho’s third and fourth year was spent in the library because everybody knew Hermione Granger lived there, meaning Harry would be there as well. The only time Cho could remember Hermione willingly leave the library was to watch Harry play Quidditch. No wonder Cho was at one time jealous of the bushy-haired girl. Ron and Hermione would fight and bicker all the time, but both of them would always stand up and beside Harry. Well, until the choosing of the champions of the Triwizard Tournament. Harry had been chosen, alongside Cedric, much to the dismay of half the student body at Hogwarts, including Ron Weasley.
That was the first time Cho’s heart split. Somewhere along the end of her fourth year, she gave up hope Harry would ever notice her. They were in different years, in different Houses, had different friends, plus the only time they came in contact with each other was when playing Quidditch against one another.
Chelas twin brother was in Hufflepuff and was friends with Cedric. Needless to say, Cedric and Cho did hang out in the same circles. Even when they were playing Quidditch it was fun and light between them. Cho was growing up, Cedric was part of that; he helped her move on from Harry. It was almost laughable now. What would have happened if Harry had asked her to the Yule Ball before Cedric did? Would she have said yes? At that point, she did have feelings for both of them. It didn’t matter now, did it? Thing happened the way they happened, now all she had were the what ifs and memories.
When Harry reappeared at Hogwarts clutching Cedric’s body, Cho’s whole world fell apart. She had just turned sixteen and lost the first guy, and at the time the only guy, she truly loved. Though they were young, they were happy and at peace when they were together; Cho could imagine herself with Cedric forever and always. That year was the first time Chelas, Mari and she would stay up late talking about their weddings. For herself, Cho always pictured Cedric as her groom and her in her great-great-grandmother’s lace that all the women on her mother’s side of her family wore.
That summer was the worst in her life. She couldn’t eat or sleep and she would start crying for no reason. She didn’t think she would ever love again.
The one reality in Cho’s life at the time was that Voldemort was back. Not in plain sight, but he was back, Cho believed it with all her heart. Who else would kill an innocent for the sole purpose that he was in the way? Who else seemed fixated on Harry? And why would Harry lie? Anybody who cared to take a closer look at him would know that he wouldn’t make something that big up.
Voldemort, Cedric and Harry. The three men who haunted Cho’s dreams. She feared what Voldemort could do. Who didn’t? But it was more than that; how much more could she lose because of that thing? In her heart, in her soul, she knew the truth, the other man she loved. Cedric and Harry. Harry and Cedric. It was weird, some days Cedric was all she could think about, but mostly she was thinking about just Harry. Then there were days like today, when her heart and mind were one big jumble. Always though, she would be reminded of the events of last year and she would re-play them in her mind.
Dumbledore’s Army. Harry and her making a go of it. Hermione Granger. Mari. How confused she was. Cedric. All of it. It was too much but what more should she have expected?
By the end of that awful summer she made up her mind: she was going to find out what had happened the night Cedric died. Cho wanted to know, she needed to know, and Harry had the answers. She had a plan, it was simple: she would find him on the train on the way to Hogwarts, start talking to him like it was no big deal and easily bring up the subject of Cedric. But she froze. She had gone to his compartment, lightly knocked and slid open the door. There he was covered in green stuff, holding a toad and looking adorable. Looking adorable? Cho remember how confused she was in that moment, she didn’t understand it. She was over him. She had come to find out how her boyfriend died, a man she thought that she was going to marry, but then one confusing look at Harry Potter and her heart flipped.
She got out of there as fast as she could. She had no clue what she was going to do next. Looking back she wished she did, then maybe things wouldn’t have gotten so messed up.
So she had taken a step back. Friends. Harry and she were friends, in a way. Hi, how are you? What happened when Cedric died, by the way? No she couldn’t do that; she would have been pushing too hard. So she decided to start with the ‘Hi, how are you?’ at least. If Cedric came up, he came up.
The next time she saw him she was ready, ready for everything, including the flipping of her belly when he looked at her. What she wasn’t ready for was Ron Weasley. How was she going to talk to Harry if Ron wanted to attack the fact that she was a Tornados fan? Okay, that was just an excuse for why she walked away. The truth was he asked about her summer; how was she going to explain the summer? Yes, she still wanted to know about Cedric, but Harry had crept back into her heart. How was she supposed to handle that? She didn’t know then, and truth be told, she didn’t know now.
At least the morning of her mother’s birthday went better. When she heard that Harry stood up to Umbridge, telling her off about Voldemort and how he killed Cedric, Cho couldn’t help but be a bit hopeful. If he had been willing to stand up to that toad by telling her the truth that Voldemort had killed Cedric then maybe he would be willing to talk to her about the details of said event. Just as she was about to ask him about it though, she was cut off by Filch. At that point Cho really believed she would never get the chance to ask him about Cedric, but on the upside she was getting to know Harry better and better. As nice as that was, though, she couldn’t help but get more and more confused.
Cho took a deep breath, looking across the compartment at Mari, who was reading. Would things have turned out different if she had taken Chelas to that first DA meeting rather than Marietta? Mari didn’t really want to go anyway, but Cho had cornered her and begged her because Chelas couldn’t make it to Hogsmeade. She had to make up some work for Professor Snape.
However, at that first DA meeting she got one of the answers she was looking for right off the bat: Harry would not talk about Cedric’s death. Cho watched him as he got angry at that twit Smith, and Hermione, when he was being asked about it. She could tell that he was still upset about the whole thing. She watched as he became a bit embarrassed when talking about the things he had seen and done. Cho could see the modest pride fill him when she brought up the first two tasks of the tournament, though.
The fact was she couldn’t keep her eyes off him. She wanted to talk to him after the meeting but Mari pulled her out of there. She knew that Mari was hesitant about the whole thing, but she signed up because she knew Cho needed her. Mari was a really good friend, she knew Cho so well. She knew that Cho was falling for Harry again, and was willing to do something she didn’t want to do to be there for her.
That night Cho cried herself to sleep. She was falling for Harry again but where did that leave her feelings for Cedric?
Cho didn’t run into Harry after the meeting at the Hog’s Head. She remembered that she was going to try to talk to him about the Decree to disbanding clubs, but she never got the chance. Michael Corner found her in the common room one night and let her know that everything was still a go. She knew he had to have heard it from Ginny: they were going together at the time.
Ginny Weasley. She should have known. At the time, she was so focused on the idea that Hermione Granger and Harry could be a couple, she never thought that little Ginny Weasley would ever be the one Harry fell for. She bet the two of them were cuddled up right now. Hell, the girl even undermined her at that second meeting. The Defence Association was a good name and it wouldn’t have gotten Dumbledore in trouble. Though, Harry would have been the one in trouble then. Neither of them would have gotten in trouble if it wasn’t for her pushing Mari to be there.
She should have told Mari not to come after that first night. Cho knew she blamed Harry for Cho setting her robes on fire and Cho’s emotional turmoil. Mari had cornered her in their dorm afterwards, asking her what was going on between her and Harry. Cho had told her the truth: nothing. But Mari and her both knew that wasn’t quite true. Cho was split, and with the way Harry was looking at her, she was sure that he was as well. How do you move on from the dead? Harry didn’t know that once upon a time she fancied him. At least she knew he cared enough about her to ask her to the Yule Ball the year before.
The fact was there was something between them. They could pretend that it wasn’t there but it was. That is why she sent Mari out ahead of her at the end of the last DA meeting before Christmas: they needed to talk. She would never forget it. She had never been so embarrassed, so confused, so happy.
There he was cleaning up after the meeting, everything was cool, and then he moved. She couldn’t explain it then and she couldn’t explain it now. The way he turned or something made her think of Cedric. Here she was ready to deal with her feelings with Harry and she was thinking about Cedric.
As she looked around the room, she could remember why she was there in the first place: Cedric was dead. She was there to learn how to defend herself. When Harry came over to talk to her, she lost it, she couldn't help but feel that Cedric was short handed in facing Voldemort. Harry had reassured her that Cedric knew what he was doing when they faced him, she didn't know it if that her made her feel better or worst. Cho knew she was being a bit touchy and bitchy, but her emotions were all over the place. Harry had understood, though, he made her laugh, he made her feel good, even if she was a mess. Cho remembered never being so happy to see mistletoe in her life. His kiss was wonderfully gentle, just what she needed.
The next couple of months were confusing but nice. It wasn’t that Harry and she were together every last minute of every day, but they did make good use of their time together… okay, they were snogging. And she only cried once with him. In fact, up until that deathly date, she was crying less and less.
It started off fine, but then Pansy Parkinson messed it up. Cedric was a sore subject with both Harry and her, so for both their sakes they didn’t talk about him. So what did that cow do when she saw the two of them together? Compare Harry to Cedric. It was something Cho tried really hard not to do and there it was thrown in her face. Harry looked so embarrassed. They should have turned around right there. She should never have suggested that they go to Madam Puddifoot’s. She was still kicking herself in the butt for that one. It was just that when Parkinson mentioned Cedric her brain had gone out the window. She wasn’t thinking, so when Harry mentioned Hermione, of course she got jealous. Who wouldn’t? Everybody knew how close the two of them were! And it was Valentine’s Day! So she tried to make him jealous. Okay, letting him know Roger had asked her out wasn’t the smartest thing ever, but come to think of it, it was smarter than what she said next.
Cho knew that Cedric was an off the table topic, but because of Parkinson, Cho had been thinking about him. Looking around Madam Puddifoot’s with all the those couples whose relationships were simple, it reminded her how easy it was with Cedric, and how happy they had been. She let it slip that they had been there the year before. The next minute was like an avalanche, Cho remembered. When Harry hadn’t said anything, Cho couldn’t help what she asked next. It had been something she had wondered about for months: did he say anything about her before he died? When Harry said no, it hurt and it hurt bad. Cho was dying a bit on the inside, so when he tried to change the subject, she threw it back at him that she needed to talk about it. Like that was the only reason she was going out with him. She was a fool, she knew that, but she was hurting. So when he had said that he had talked about it with Hermione, she lost it. Cedric didn’t care about her the way she did him, and Harry had Hermione. Cho’s heart shattered. She loved them both but they didn’t care about her.
Looking back, she knew that both those facts weren’t true, but that was what she was feeling at the time. She remembered meeting up with Mari and Chelas later, telling them what had happened. Mari was pretty quiet on the subject, but Chelas let her have it. She was almost kind about it, but still, if one of your best friends can’t tell you when you are being a git, then who can? What made it a hundred times worse for Cho was the fact that she overheard Luna Lovegood and Hermione talking about the interview, the reason why Harry needed to meet up with Hermione during their date in the first place, in the library a few days later. He didn’t want to just hang out with Hermione. Once she read Harry’s interview in The Quibbler, she knew how wrong she was about both Harry and Cedric. Harry had asked her to come along; she would have gotten all her answers she wanted then. Harry had told her on their date that there wasn’t much time for Cedric to talk before he died; he didn’t get the change to say anything about her.
Reading the interview was a double-edged sword for her, though. On one hand, she knew she needed to make up with Harry for over-reacting. On the other hand, it brought Cedric’s death back tenfold. Her heart was once again stuck between the two men she loved the most. Friends, she remembered, Cedric and she had started off as just friends and, in a way, Harry and she started off as friends the first time around, so why wouldn’t it work the second time around? And it had. Cho finally felt that she and Harry were getting back on the same page again.
The next thing she knew all hell broke loose. She should have known something was up with Mari, but Cho wasn’t paying attention. Cho once again looked up at her best friend. She knew why Marietta went to Umbridge, but she wished that Mari had told her. Cho could have warned Harry. And she knew that was exactly why Mari didn’t tell her what was going on.
That last row with Harry though, she knew, was the one that broke the camel’s back, as the Muggles say. The truth of the matter was they were both tremendously loyal to their friends. Mari was her best friend and Hermione was just as sneaky to set them all up. It took nearly seven months for Mari’s boils to clear up, and if you looked closely you could still faintly see the word ‘SNEAK’ across her forehead. Or maybe that was just Cho feeling guilty because she was the one to push Mari into going to the DA meeting to begin with.
Cho’s jealousy of Hermione may have played into everything as well. Now she knew that Ron and Hermione belonged together, but then she couldn’t help feeling like Hermione was always coming between her and Harry.
Oh how wrong she was though, Ginny Weasley was who she should have been jealous of. And why couldn’t she beat that girl at Quidditch?
Last summer was another long summer for Cho, she needed to figure out what she wanted to do about her feelings for Harry. When she saw him on the train on the way to Hogwarts this year she froze. She knew what she wanted, she wanted Harry, but she didn’t know how to get him. At the end of last year, they left on bad terms and, plus, she was sure that he had heard that she and Michael dated a bit.
This whole year just flew by; she knew it was because it was her last. She was never coming back to Hogwarts. She may never see Harry again, other than in the papers. She may never get the chance to tell him that she loved him. Especially now everybody knew he was with Ginny.
All of a sudden the compartment door flew open. “Potter is fool and I love it!” Cho looked up at Michael; he looked like it was his birthday, Christmas and Ravenclaw won the House and Quidditch cups all at once.
“What are you talking about Michael?” Cho asked quickly.
“Potter broke up with Ginny!”
Chelas looked up from her book. “Let me guess, you are going to try to get back with her, Corner.”
Michael sat down next to Chelas and opened one of her Chocolate Frogs. “You know it.” As he bit in to the frog, he looked at Cho. “Hey Cho, this means Potter is free again as well.”
Cho didn’t know what to say, so she just shrugged and went back to pretending to read her book. Harry was single again. Maybe they could get back together. What was she talking about, Harry most likely broke up with her because he was going after Voldemort and Ginny would be coming back to Hogwarts. Ginny would be in Hogwarts, Cho wouldn’t be. Maybe she could help Harry in some way. That was the point of Dumbledore's Army, wasn’t it?
Cho smiled. She would do whatever it took to help Harry; she would be loyal to him. She would be there for him, and if they happened to get back together, then all the better. And if they didn’t (she didn’t want to think about that), it wouldn’t matter. She was going to follow her heart. Cho Chang knew she loved Harry Potter and she would stand by his side.
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