Harry & Cho
By: Karen Kinkaide
Chapter Fourteen: Comfortably Numb
We need to talk. David gave me divorce papers.
Harry re-read Cho’s owl for what seemed like the billionth time. He was waiting for her at their pre-arranged destination, and he seemed to be feeling somewhat elated, if at the same time, worried.
Worried because what would happen if she didn’t sign them? What then?
He knew that the odds of that were pretty slim, but still. He still couldn’t shake the feeling. This was silly, worrying about something that was very obviously not going to be a problem. He loved Cho, always had, but that still didn’t stop him from caring about Ginny.
It was only natural. To care about someone who had spent the majority of their life by your side. It just wasn’t enough, and it wasn’t what she deserved. When he had told her that she deserved someone who would wake up every day and know they were lucky to have her in their life, he’d meant it.
“Harry?” her voice sounded stiff, and business like, but to Harry, it was music. He set his coffee cup down, before turning to look at her.
Dressed in a gray and pink pinstriped suit, she looked professional, and beautiful. Oh so beautiful. It took every ounce of willpower he had not to wrap his arms around her and hug her. Too many of the passersby knew who he was.
“That’s the one problem with being the Minister of Magic. You’re recognizable wherever you go,” he muttered as he rose to pull her chair out.
“Sorry I’m late. Meeting ran a bit later than I thought,” she offered as an explanation. She set her briefcase beside the chair, and settled herself in her seat. Cho sighed, and brushed some loose strands of hair off her face. “It was really important, and imperative that I was there,” she finished breathlessly.
Harry smiled at her. “You look beautiful,” he said, reaching for her hand.
She blushed, and reached for the menu that was in front of her. “I’m starving! I didn’t manage to have a proper breakfast this morning.” Cho flipped the pages in the laminated covered parchment, totally oblivious to the penetrating stare Harry was giving her. “Have you ordered yet?” she asked, her eyes finally looking away from the menu. “What?” she asked, noticing the way he was regarding her.
“You wanted to talk,” he pointed out. “And I haven’t. I was waiting for you.”
“Oh, in that case, let’s order. Then we’ll talk.” Cho gestured for their server to come over.
After ordering their lunch – steamed mussels and clams for her, and a sandwich with salad for Harry, she finally looked at him. Fondness filled her eyes, as she squeezed his hand.
“So,” she began.
“So?” Harry prompted.
“So, as you gather from my note, David gave me divorce papers.” She paused to take a sip of her water. “And …”
She smiled brightly then, and reached into her briefcase. Slowly, almost like she was afraid to let go of them, she set them in front of him. “I left the originals on his desk this morning. My lawyer’s have a copy, but I thought you’d want to see for yourself.”
Harry took the papers, and flipped through the first two pages or so. “David Christopher Philips …” he mumbled, before finding the page he wanted.
IN THE GENERAL COURT OF JUSTICE
DISTRICT COURT DIVISION
David Christopher Philips, plaintiff.
Cho Xiu Philips, defendant …
Down at the bottom of the papers, was David’s scrawl – written much the same way he signed his books. And, across the page, Cho’s signature, appeared in her detailed handwriting: Cho Xiu Philips.
He glanced up after he read the signature. “So, that’s it then?”
Cho nodded. “I’m giving him the house. It never really was mine in the first place. I’ve agreed to his alimony offer, as it’s reasonable. I don’t really need it, but he offered it.” She shrugged, took a sip of her water, and moved her hands off the table. “Luckily we didn’t have any children, so that makes it a fair bit easier.”
He barely heard Cho as she continued talking. He was too busy reading the divorce agreements over and over again. Harry blinked at the papers. Part of him still couldn’t believe that he was actually reading her delicate scrawl, and the other part of him was thrilled. He flipped the papers back to the beginning, and flipped furiously through them again, making sure he wasn’t dreaming. But, it was all there. Everything he ever wanted was so close to happening.
“Here you go,” their server said, placing the platter in front of Harry, and placing the bowl in front of Cho. “Enjoy. Let me know if you need anything else.”
“It looks good,” Cho remarked, squeezing the lemon wedge over her steaming mussels and clams.
“So that’s it?” Harry asked rather stupidly, his attention still on the papers in his hands.
“Yes, Harry. Everything is all there.” Cho picked up the little fork, and began poking the mussels, pulling out the soft meat from inside the shell. “Did you give Ginny yours?”
“Did I give Ginny what?” he asked, flipping through the pages again.
She wiped her hands on the linen napkin folded neatly in her lap, before taking the papers out of his hands. “Your divorce papers. Did you give them to Ginny?”
Coming out of his trance-like state, Harry jumped slightly. “Oh, divorce papers. Yes. Yes, I did. All she has to do is sign them.”
“So, you don’t know if she will?” Cho asked. Her tone was contemptuous. She broke off a slice of bread from the bread roll in front of her, before buttering it. “What happens if she doesn’t? What then?”
Harry patted her hand gently, before stabbing his fork into the crisp greens. “She has no reason not to sign them,” he replied diplomatically.
“She has every reason,” Cho nearly shrieked. She glanced around to make sure no one heard her before she pressed on. “Or, have you forgotten that she is preggers. Or the fact that she’s still in love with you.”
“Look, Cho. I just gave her the papers two days ago. Give her some time to digest what I’m asking of her.”
She sighed, before setting her fork down. “I know that what you’re asking her is substantial, but damn it, Harry.” Cho leaned in closer to him. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” Harry glanced into her brown eyes, wanting desperately to kiss her.
They finished their lunch in silence. After they settled the bill and vacated the restaurant, they spoke. “I love you. You know that,” Harry said.
Cho nodded. Her briefcase swung against her side as they walked. “Do you have to get back to the Ministry?”
Harry glanced at his watch. “I think I should. I have a lot of things to attend to.”
They stopped at the corner of the street. Harry adjusted his robes, and offered Cho what he hoped passed for a confident smile. “I’ll owl you as soon as I know anything.” He leaned in then and kissed her lightly on the cheek. He was gone then.
She was sitting at her desk when he arrived home. Her quill was tapping her inkbottle in irritation. In front of her sat a fat stack of parchment. So many things needed her signature, and it seemed like for every one she signed, ten more appeared. Ginny set her quill down, and rubbed her temples, praying silently.
“Rough day?” he asked from the doorway.
She didn’t turn around, but she was sure he saw the way her back tensed. “Nothing I can’t handle,” she answered coolly. She counted to ten slowly under her breath, before turning to face him. “Actually, I’m glad you’re home now.” She gave a cat-like stretch, before locating some sheets of parchment; folded and laying neatly on top of her stack of papers.
Harry recognized them at once. The divorce papers he’d given her two nights ago. The crest on the first sheet caught his eye. “Gin,” he started.
She cut him off by raising her hand. “We already talked, Harry. I’ve been thinking about what you said, and … well, everything.” Ginny turned the papers over in her hand, and then turned them back again. “I haven’t signed them yet,” she said, spotting the expectant gaze he cast her. She took a deep breath, dispelling the tears. I won’t cry, she vowed. “I just want to know something. You owe me that at least.”
“Anything, Ginny. Anything you want to know, ask.”
Ginny looked up at him, her eyes brimming with hard suppressed tears. “I just want to know how much you love her, Harry. Tell me. Tell me everything.”
Harry went to his wife’s side then, kneeling in front of her, he cupped her chin in his hand. “I loved her from the very first moment I saw her. She was beautiful, and graceful, and so … free. I kept telling myself that I never stood a chance. She was so close, and yet so far.
“I thought I was dreaming when we kissed under the mistletoe that year. I remember how I nearly messed it all up. Stupid teenager angst, I suppose. We wrote when she left, we drifted apart, and the rest … the rest just happened. One minute she was a fleeting image, and the next, she was there.” He finished breathlessly. Harry stroked Ginny’s cheek softly, before he kissed her.
She was the first one to break the kiss. “That’s all I wanted to know,” she whispered. Turning in her seat, she picked up her quill, and flipped through the pages. “I read the documents beforehand,” she said, in a way to explain why she wasn’t bothering to read over the extraneous details. When she reached the last page, she dipped her quill into the inkbottle. She hesitated slightly over the line where her signature was supposed to be, before she took a deep breath and wrote in a long, flowing line: Ginevra Molly Potter.
As they waited for the ink to dry, she was vaguely aware of the low ticking noise from the clock, and the intent way he was looking at her. Slowly, she blew on the ink, before tapping her finger on it. Satisfied that it was dry, she picked up the sheets, before standing up from her desk.
She handed Harry the sheets. Before she let go of them, she whispered, “You know, Harry. Falling in love with you was easy.” Ginny swallowed then, an attempt to rid her throat of the lump that was forming. “It’s the falling out of love with you that isn’t going to be.” She let her fingers drop from the parchment. Offering him a slight smile, she kissed his cheek, and left the room.
Author’s Note: Title of the chapter comes from Pink Floyd’s song of the same name.