Harry & Cho
By: Karen Kinkaide
Chapter Thirty: Loss
He was watching from the sidelines, frowning at the scene that presented itself.
Brian was laughing and brushed a stray red hair off her face. The look in his eyes was one that Paul recognized on any other red blooded male.
It was one of love.
Paul choked back the bile that rose in his throat. That was impossible.
Brian would know better than to fall in love with anyone from Gryffindor house. Especially her.
“Miss Bookworm Potter,” he muttered, his eyes never leaving the couple in front of him.
Lily kissed Brian’s cheek, turned and waved at him before heading back up the grass. The sunlight shone brightly down, the rays bouncing off the gold highlights in her hair.
Paul glowered as Brian walked back to the pitch, unlacing his Quidditch gloves as he went. He stopped when he was standing in front of him.
“Paul,” he said tentatively, taking in the look that crossed his face.
“You better have it together before the big game against Ravenclaw,” he said, clipping the ends off of each word.
Brian nodded. “Don’t worry about it.” He messed up his already tousled hair. “I think I deserve a little break after exams. Not to mention everyone else on the team.”
Paul smirked. “You better be right about not having to worry about it” he said, “I don’t want the Philips siblings scoring anymore easy goals this time.”
With that being said, Paul brushed past Brian and headed for the changing rooms without another backwards glance.
x x x x
Ginny smoothed the non-existent creases in her knee-length daffodil yellow dress, in an attempt to stall. She did not want to go to the gala. She always hated them; always feeling like she would stand out.
Harry was in front of the mirror, fixing his tie; a frown was creeping across his lips.
“Troubles?” she asked, fastening the platinum and diamond bracelet on her wrist.
He offered her a wry smile as he turned to face her, his hands falling to his sides. “Always. I never was good at this.”
She smiled and began busily fixing the mess he had thoroughly made of his tie. “Why did you never learn to perfect the spell that will do this for you?”
“I didn’t think this one would be black tie.”
“Along with all the other galas we’ve attended over the years,” she muttered, half to herself, half to him.
Harry glanced down at Ginny, taking in her yellow dress, and pale freckled skin. The colour of the dress brought out the brown of her eyes.
“You look nice,” he remarked.
Ginny blushed slightly. “Thank you.”
He ran his hands along her arms. “Shall we?”
They were out of their room and down the stairs soon after.
x x x x
Ginny and Harry were early, as the guests did not really begin to start showing up until quarter to seven. Several of Harry’s advisors and their wives showed up, spilling in through the door looking cheerful. Many other Ministry officials arrived soon after, along with many of the witches and wizards in the financial sector.
Soon after the arrival of all the guests, Ginny began making her way through the mill of people, smiling and laughing through her teeth. She needed some air. Merlin she hated these parties. Despite feeling like this, Ginny wondered if perhaps she was the only one who felt this way. If anyone else felt the same way, they did not let on. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
All except for Cho Chang.
She had arrived with the first onslaught of people, but right now she hung back, not wanting to mingle. Ginny’s eyes kept darting to the darkened corner where Cho was standing, hoping she could catch her eye. It was doing no good; Cho was ignoring her.
Cho looked the same as Ginny remembered. Tall, dark eyed, and standing with an air of overwhelming self-confidence.
Ginny turned her attention away from Harry’s ex-lover and to one of Harry’s advisors.
“All I’m saying is it is a shame that a divorce had to occur within my family,” his advisor was saying. He took a swig from his wine glass. “I mean, would it be so hard to stay with someone?”
“Just live their lives separately, but still stay married?” Ginny asked innocently, playing in to the advisors comments.
“Exactly,” he said. “Or you know, just get married and stay happy to begin with.” He smiled and patted Ginny on the shoulder. “Kind of like you and Harry.”
In Ginny’s mind’s eye she saw a picture of Harry and her, the two of them sleeping next to each other; his back to her, or hers to his. She shrugged the thought away, willing herself to focus on the conversation.
After a few more agonizing minutes listening to the advisor, Ginny smiled politely and made her exit. She made her rounds around the room, stopping for brief moments to engage in discussions with other attendees.
“I have been meaning to find your husband,” one woman who worked in her department said. “Do you know where he disappeared to?”
Ginny shook her head. The woman smiled and waved before hurrying away.
Where was Harry anyway?
Scanning the room, she spotted Harry talking with Cho. The miserable looking, out of place woman who Ginny had seen earlier looked anything but miserable. She had her head thrown back in laughter at something Harry had just whispered to her; her dark brown eyes alight with laughter. In her bright lime green dress and silver earrings swaying with her movements, Cho looked like she was perfectly enjoying herself. In her yellow dress, Ginny felt colourless.
Just what in the name of all that was wizardingly possible so funny? Old times, most likely. They never would get tired of reminiscing. Harry took his glasses off then, and wiped them on his jacket, before replacing them back on his nose. He had not looked this stress-free in a long time. Ginny felt a twinge of jealousy shoot down her spine when she caught the look he was giving Cho.
Ginny watched from across the room as Cho was pulled away by David. She could not help but feel that she was just imagining the spark between her husband and Cho still existed. But that still did not explain why Cho was ignoring her. She could not help but feel a bit jilted. As if they were still competing for Harry. It was not as if they had called a truce, but Ginny still felt that despite that, they could still talk amicably.
She did not have much time to ponder this, as dinner was served then, and she made her way to her assigned place at the tables. When the dinner was finished, and dessert was being served, Ginny stood up and was heading for the bathroom.
It was then that Cho spoke to her.
“Can you spare a moment?” she asked. “We should talk.”
Ginny nodded and they headed down the hall to the door. As she pushed the door open, the cold air invading her nose, she felt her blood boil. The last time they really had a conversation like this was back when her and Harry’s affair had been brought to light. Ginny remembered feeling how hurt she had been, how she wanted to hit Cho. Hurt her. Hurt her as much as she hurt her.
The door shut behind them. She turned to look at Cho, and wanted to shrink away from the haunted look in her eyes. Cho’s cheeks were flushed with colour too.
“I did not want to come tonight,” she said, in a voice that she thought explained everything to Ginny. “I had too though.”
Ginny balled her hands into fists at her side. Trust Cho to talk to her when no-one else was here.
“You know you could have stayed home,” she suggested, “that may have been the best thing.”
“Probably.” Cho crossed her arms across her chest, her lips tightening. She looked like she was holding something back, something she wanted to say. Eventually, it overflowed. “Ginny, for Merlin’s sake, I’m sorry. I went through counselling with David, and I’m sure you and Harry worked through things, but it is not entirely my fault that we still talk.”
Ginny leaned back, a look of shock marring her flat expression. Feeling deadened, she looked around her surroundings, taking in the dark sky, and the crowd of trees. Cho was looking at the sky, her face looking contemplative.
“What would you like me to do?” Ginny challenged.
Cho shook her head. “I don’t know.” She pushed a hand through her hair, before staring at Ginny. “I think it is best if we work this out now. Before anything gets too out of hand. Ginny, I’m sure you must see it is not fair to either of us if you still harbour all this animosity.” Then, she softened her voice slightly. “I know how hard it must be. I sometimes feel the same way.”
“And you know how I feel?” Ginny asked. She could not help but feel that this conversation with Cho was ruining what shred of happiness she had felt earlier in the evening. “Did it ever occur to you, Cho, that you don’t know me at all? Let alone my feelings?”
Cho inhaled deeply. “I’m not suggesting that I know you or your feelings. All I am saying is that this is not fair to you, me, or Harry. Do you really think it is fair to Harry? Crying any time I so much as cross paths with him?”
Ginny’s eyes widened, and she cringed as if Cho had slapped her. It was then that she realized that this was about more than just her feelings, or Cho’s. It was something else. Something darker. Ginny saw a darkness burning behind Cho’s eyes. She was sure it was resentment. This was about Harry. It had to be about Harry. Was it possible that she still loved Harry, even after all this time?
“I can’t help but feel,” Ginny started, “that you called me out here to hurt me.”
Cho pushed her hair off her face. “Is there some reason you think that I would intentionally try to hurt you?”
“You tell me,” Ginny challenged. “I saw you talking to Harry earlier. You looked quite cozy.”
Cho sighed. “I don’t know what to tell you anymore, Ginny.” She reached a hand out to touch Ginny’s arm, but at the last minute, she thought better and pulled her hand away. “All I can tell you is that nothing is going on between us.”
Ginny watched as Cho dropped her eyes from her gaze. That was it. Something in Ginny snapped, and she crossed her arms across her chest in a gesture of defiance. “So, explain why Harry decides to spend more time with you every chance he gets.”
“That I can’t explain.” Cho shrugged. “Look, Ginny, I’m just suggesting that you stop worrying so much about the very minute possibility that Harry and I are still fooling around.”
“How dare you,” she said. “You call me outside so that you can assume that you know me. That you know how I feel. What gives you the right?
Cho met her eyes then. “If you only knew.”
Ginny thought she may elaborate on that thought, but she did not. This had to be about Harry. Always had been about Harry. Maybe having Harry leave her all those years ago had hurt her more than she let on. Ginny wondered if seeing Harry again after all those years apart in Diagon Alley had caused old feelings in her to stir. She wondered if maybe Harry was also partly to blame for that. Ginny knew he had stopped talking to Cho for awhile so that they could try and work on their marriage. But, she still couldn’t help but feel that maybe Cho had gotten the wrong idea about Harry’s kindness.
“This conversation was never supposed to be about your so-called concern for my feelings. This is about you. You lost Harry over two decades ago, and even now you are still not over him. Get over him, Cho. Get over yourself.”
The moment the last words left her mouth, Ginny regretted them. She reached a hand behind her to steady herself, her legs suddenly feeling like putty. Why did I say that?
She knew it was the wrong thing to say. Cho’s eyes darkened, and became cold and distant. The tears she wanted to shed, Cho held back. She roughly pushed at the arm that Ginny held out to her.
In a voice laced with fervour and resentment, Cho whispered, “You really have no idea what it is like to lose someone you truly love. I sincerely hope, Ginny that you never have to experience that kind of pain.” She crossed her arms across her chest then before continuing. “I lost someone I love twice. Harry at sixteen, because we grew apart, that was both our faults. Over two decades ago, I lost Harry again because you stole him from me.”
x x x x