"It come to naught that I forgive you, if you’ll not forgive
Arthur Miller, The Crucible
Answers are important things. Just ask anyone. Ask Harry Potter. Harry
had so many unanswered questions of his own that it never occurred to
him that he might hold answers in which anyone would be interested. Which
was why it was such a surprise to him when he was pulled aside to answer
a very important question.
It was the first day of classes in Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts, and
he, Ron, and Hermione were making their way to Defense Against the Dark
Arts from Potions. Ron had had a few choice words to say about that
being the first class on their schedule. He was still complaining.
"Two rolls of parchment! Two Rolls! On the first day back! There
is no doubt about it this time, the man is evil." Hermione pounced. Harry
was beginning to suspect that she did indeed enjoy scolding the two of
them. Including Ron. Especially Ron.
"Ron! We have our O.W.Ls this year, if you haven't forgotten, which you
probably have! We need to do more work to be prepared! Professor Snape
is just trying to..." Ron interrupted her tirade with an unholy glee.
"Two. Rolls. Hermione, he assigned us two rolls. He. Is. Evil."
"Ron Weasley, you…"
"Umm…Excuse me?" All three looked down to find one of the first
year Gryffindors, a pretty little auburn-haired girl, standing in front
of them. She was holding a plate of cookies in her hands and looking incredibly
nervous. Harry searched his mind for her name, eventually coming up with
Grace. She fidgeted under the gaze of the older trio. With an expression
that suggested that this action was costing her more effort then anything
she had ever done before, she thrust the cookies toward Ron. He took them
automatically. Grace, blushing furiously, spoke in an embarrassed rush,
"Thank you for helping me with my trunk yesterday!" Message
delivered, she bowed like a Japanese schoolgirl and raced away at breakneck
"She’s a sweet kid. She didn’t need to do that." Ron looked
amused as he stuffed one of the cookies in his mouth. "Mmmm…Good."
Hermione rolled her eyes at him. "What?" Crumbs crumbled onto
the front of his robe.
"You are making a mess." Hermione reached out to brush crumbs
off his front. He caught her hand and they both froze, staring at each
other. Harry watched, grinning stupidly. He found it highly amusing when
Ron and Hermione had one of their U.S.T. moments (Ginny’s name for them).
He thought it was great that his two best friends liked each other.
The sound of someone clearing her throat nearby caused Ron and Hermione
to jump apart and Harry to look around for the source. He promptly wished
It was Cho Chang. An icy cold knot gathered in the pit of his stomach.
Cho was exactly the person he had been hoping to avoid. All summer he
had been unable to think of her without picturing her the way she had
looked at the end of term banquet, tears rolling down her cheeks and wetting
her collar as she made no attempt to wipe them away. Cedric’s death had
done that to her, and since on some level, he still held himself responsible
for that death, he was afraid she blamed him for it too.
"Harry?" she asked.
"Yeah?" he answered, as the cold knot broke into little ice butterflies
that proceeded to attempt to fly up his throat.
"Could I talk to you?" she glanced at Ron and Hermione who were being
very quiet. "Alone?"
She and Hermione exchanged a look. Hermione nodded and dragged
Ron down the hall. He was protesting feebly and confusedly. Harry found
himself wondering how girls exchanged complex messages without words.
Maybe they were telepathic.
"Yeah, sure," Harry heard himself say. He seemed to have lost control
of his vocal cords. She opened the door to a nearby classroom. He followed
her in. It was yet another of those classrooms no one ever seemed to be
using. All the desks had been shoved against the walls and there was a
fine layer of dust all over. Slowly she turned to face him and took a
deep, shaky breath.
"I know I'm asking a lot . . ." She glanced down at her hands, which
she had woven tightly together, "and I don't really expect you to tell
me . . . but . . ." She trailed off and took another deep breath. Harry
began to feel even more nervous. What was she going to ask? "How did .
. . What hap. . . How did Cedric die?"
Harry froze. He couldn't think of what to say or how to say it, and yet
he was somehow telling her everything. He told her about the spider at
the center of the maze and how he and Cedric had helped each other past
it. He told her of their decision to take the cup together and how it
had turned out to be a port key. He described the graveyard they had been
taken to and told her that there had been a death eater waiting for them
there. His voice cracked when he spoke of the spell that had ended Cedric’s
life and he heard himself stop. He looked up from the spot on the floor
he had been staring at all though his narrative to find that Cho was crying.
She wasn't making any sound but her shoulders were shaking and tears were
running down her face.
"Er . . . Cho? You okay?" He felt extremely awkward.
"I'll be fine. Thank you, Harry." She smiled sadly at him. "Harry? I
don't blame you for what happened. You shouldn't blame yourself." Harry
could feel tears beginning to burn behind his own eyes. Cho gave him a
warm, sisterly hug, thanked him again and disappeared down the corridor.
Harry stayed behind, trying to sort out all of the confusing emotions
inside him. There was grief for Cedric, sympathy for Cho, and a great
deal of relief that she did not blame him, but none of the giddy joy he
would have expected after being hugged by her. Which could mean only one
thing. He no longer had the feelings toward her that he had had the year
before. This was almost as much of a relief as discovering that she didn’t
blame him for Cedric’s death.
As he walked to Defense Against the Dark
Arts for which he was about ten minutes late, he felt as if something
inside him had been unlocked. As if some part of him that had been tangled
and knotted was coming undone. It hurt a little but he didn’t mind. It
was the kind of pain there was when a wound was healing, a reminder that
it was still there, but would soon be gone.
Harry felt better then he had all summer. He had been forgiven for his
failure, and now he could move on. If Cho could forgive him for such a
fatal error, then surely he could take whatever was coming.
No, I don’t think Harry failed. Harry thinks he failed, that’s
why I put it in. So ‘fore y’all flame me for it stop and think.
Yes, Grace is a self insertion. She’s pretty much who I was when I was
eleven and had a huge crush on a guy who was two years older then me.
That’s less of an age difference then there is between Grace and Ron,
but hey! It’s just a crush. Besides, if I had met Ron when I was eleven
I would have had had a crush on him. I think I handled her pretty well.
Thank you for reading, please review. Pretty Please? Pretty Please with
a cherry on top?