Cast Some Light


Story Summary:
Cho Chang goes to visit some friends in hospital, and sees someone she hasn't thought about in a long time ...

Chapter 01


We'll cast some light and you'll be alright ...

Cho strokes Susan's hair one last time, giving her hand a squeeze as she lets go and stands up. She finally looks peaceful, only the occasional unconscious wince showing on her face. Much as Cho hates to see Susie drugged to sleep, it is preferable to the screaming. She stands in the doorway for a few moments before closing the door gently and turning to speak to the Healer.

"When can I take her home?" Cho asks abruptly.

"Oh," the Healer looks a little surprised, "Susan will be allowed home on Thursday, but I'm afraid we can only release her to next-of-kin."

"I am her next-of-kin." Cho says quickly.

"Well, I've got listed here ..." the Healer starts, stopping in surprise as Cho snatches the list out of her hands.

"Let me see that. I thought so. Dead, dead, missing, dead, Azkaban, dead," she says as she points to names on the list, "I'm all she's got left. If she can't come home with me, she can't come home."

The Healer nods as she takes back the list. She is becoming accustomed to authorizing things that do not fit hospital protocol. With the war on, the beds are all necessary, and if this is her only option, she will have to take it.

"I'll have you authorized to take Susan home as soon as she's well enough," the Healer says and walks away.

Cho leans against the wall and closes her eyes as she feels the adrenaline surge wear off. She has been so afraid that they won't let her take Susie home. She knows it won't be easy to begin with, but nothing ever is these days. She pulls herself together and decides that she had better finish her round of visits before she goes home.

Cho stands frozen in the doorway of the hospital room. She doesn't think she should go in, but she can't bring herself to walk away. Not yet. She didn't come to visit the occupant of this room. She came to see Susie. Unfortunately, Susie is not the only person Cho knows who is staying in St Mungo's tonight. She has already been to see Katie and Simon and Adrian, it wouldn't have been right not to come to Ginny as well.

Cho pushes back a stray bit of hair, briefly aware of how unkempt she must look. She no longer cares, which is funny, because she used to spend hours planning 'effortless' outfits to impress the boys. When she wasn't studying or practicing Quidditch, that is. None of that matters anymore though. Not here, not now. In too big jeans and a moth-eaten jumper, Cho Chang leans on the doorframe for support as she looks at her ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend lying in a hospital bed.

Ginny looks like a fairytale princess, Cho thinks distractedly. She is lying flat on her back, white sheets pulled up under her arms. Her hands are resting gently on her stomach. Her face is unnaturally pale and her long red hair is spread out of the pillow. Ginny's freckles stand out against her pale skin. Sunkisses, Cho's mind supplies. That's what her mother called freckles. Sunkisses. All around the hospital room, blue flames flicker in glass jars. It doesn't make sense at first, all these blue flames. None of the other rooms have them and they cast an eerie glow, adding to the fairytale quality of Ginny's sleeping form.

It all clicks into place as Cho finally notices the figure in the arm chair in the corner of the room. Her mind supplies images of all the times she's seen this girl she barely knows with a faint blue glow. In the stands at Quidditch matches, in darkened rooms and caves, in the secret times of war. Hermione Granger is sitting silently watching Ginny sleep. She too is unnaturally pale. Her hair is pulled back into such a messy bun that Cho almost wonders why Hermione bothered, but then she probably did that days ago. Hermione is painfully thin and has dark circles under her eyes. Like Cho, she is wearing clothes far too big for her and in bad repair. All the resentment Cho ever felt towards Hermione is gone in a rush of despair and pity.

Hermione finally looks away from Ginny and sees Cho in the doorway. The two women lock eyes for a long painful moment until Hermione unexpectedly breaks the silence.

"She's afraid of the dark," she supplies in a voice cracked from disuse.

Cho doesn't know what to say, so she remains silent and inexplicably infuriated by her own inability to speak. She stays where she is, against the doorframe for support. She has a sudden desire to cry. Seeing Susan in so much pain was awful. Katie is doing better and may be able to leave soon. Adrian doesn't know who he is anymore. But seeing Hermione here, keeping up her innumerable jars of light for a comatose girl who may never wake up is too much. It isn't fair.

And, honestly, now she knows what love is, and is glad she hasn't found it.