A/N: I have to beg your indulgence for using another '80s movie as an inspiration for a story. This was one of my older stories, and so if the writing isn't as tight, I apologise. Anyway, the whole Cho thing may be old hat, but now that they keep focusing on the kiss scene between Harry and Cho (bleargh) in the OotP movie trailer, I thought that this story may appease the H/G shipper in all of us until we get our kiss in the common room in the HBP movie!
Thanks to Chreechree and Sherylyn, and to those who've read this before, maybe you can read it again and leave a review? :-)
Harry shifted his weight from one foot to the other and checked his watch. He was standing outside the Great Hall by himself, Ron and Hermione having stayed behind for a prefects' meeting. He waved to several fellow Gryffindors and a couple of D.A. members from the other Houses who were also making their way to dinner. He straightened up as he finally caught sight of a head of bright red hair making its way towards him, standing out amidst the sea of sombre black robes.
"Hey, Harry! Thanks for waiting!" Ginny greeted him, smiling and slapping his arm. "Flitwick got a little carried away with Cheering Charms and we had to wait until Colin could get over his fit of hysterics."
"No problem, Ginny." Harry smiled, falling into step beside her. "Ron and Hermione are in a meeting with McGonagall, but they were arguing again before that and I really didn't want to be in the line of fire, so I left."
"Those two! They should really just go and have a quiet snog somewhere and be done with it. I'm getting sick of them dancing around each other." Ginny tossed her head impatiently.
Harry laughed and pretended to be sick at the image of his two best friends kissing passionately.
"But then, of course, my cowardly brother would never make the first move," she continued, her long hair bouncing on her shoulders as she walked.
"Well, that's Ron for you." Harry chuckled. "Never the one to acknowledge his feelings, your brother, yeah?"
"Speaking of bottled-up emotions...." Ginny glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. "What's up with you and a certain dark-haired Ravenclaw? I'm not naming names, but her name starts with Cho and ends with Chang." She grinned playfully. "I saw you at the library yesterday, sneaking looks at her while you were supposed to be listening to Hermione revising you for your Potions essay."
Harry felt his face heat up. He knew that his crush on the pretty Asian girl had been the topic of the school rumour mill last year, but after that miserable date at Madam Puddifoot's, plus that row they had had when she had stuck up for her friend Marietta Edgecombe, he really hadn't got the chance to talk to her again. The few times they had bumped into each other had been very awkward, although Harry still felt a bit of the swooping sensation in his stomach that he had come to associate with seeing Cho.
He was amazed that Ginny would know that he was still keen on Cho Chang. But then, if anyone would know, it would be Ginny; not because she was a gossip, but just because she was...Ginny. She was, Harry had observed, highly perceptive and sympathetic when it came to other people's feelings. He had discovered this for himself during the past summer, when he had been able to spend more time with a completely different and more interesting Ginny. He had always thought of her as a blushing schoolgirl, mainly because of her previous crush on him. He was glad to have been proven wrong.
This Ginny was smart, cheeky, loud, brave (the adventures at the Department of Mysteries had proven that), talkative, and very funny. Between her and the twins, he had never had such an enjoyable summer as the one before his sixth year. He had even managed to ease some of the grief he felt over Sirius's death simply by talking to her - she never tried to lecture him like Hermione did or to placate him like Ron; she just listened in silence and only gave advice if he asked for it. For that, he was extremely grateful to Ginny.
He was glad that they had managed to continue that new-found friendship when school had started. He had got so used to her presence over the summer that he had forgotten that she was one year younger than they were, and therefore, had different classes and schedules. Since Ron and Hermione had numerous prefect duties, Harry had often been left to go down to dinner by himself. During one of those times, he had met Ginny also on her way to eat, and they had unconsciously fallen into the habit of waiting for each other outside the Great Hall before dinner ever since. Eventually, they had started sitting beside each other during all meals.
They made their way through the noisy throng of students and settled down next to each other at the crowded Gryffindor table, greeting several people who were sitting near them. They saved seats for Ron and Hermione.
"What do you mean, what's up with me and Cho? And when were you at the library? I didn't see you there," he said, pouring a glass of pumpkin juice for Ginny and then for himself. He fished out the ice cubes from his goblet with a spoon and plopped them into hers.
"I happened to pass by because I needed to borrow a book for Herbology. Of course you didn't see me, you prat, you were too busy mooning and sighing over Cho," she replied, leaning over to put some bread rolls onto his plate. "And don't change the subject," she said, buttering a roll and handing it to Harry. "You're still keen on her, aren't you?"
He took the bread and absentmindedly bit into it. "Well, yeah, maybe just a little." He chewed thoughtfully, and then leaned over to fork some roast chicken for Ginny from the platter in front of him, taking care to give her only the dark meat, which she preferred. He also put some mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables on her plate before getting some himself. He proceeded to separate his green peas from the rest of the vegetables and then placed the peas onto Ginny's plate. He hated green peas, but Ginny loved them.
"Huh? I'd say more than a little," she teased, ladling gravy into the little well he always made in the middle of his mashed potatoes. "Couldn't take your eyes off her, could you?"
"Shhh! Keep it down, will you?" Harry pleaded, looking around the table in case someone had overheard them. He really didn't need anyone to know about his pathetic love life right now. "Nobody knows I still kind of fancy Cho."
"You do?" said a surprised voice behind them. Harry groaned and looked up as a smirking Ron sat down beside him and immediately started pulling dishes of food towards himself and loading up his plate. "Choostifancerary?" he asked, talking through a mouthful of roast chicken and mashed potatoes.
"Ron! Don't talk with your mouth full of food!" Hermione scolded, as she sat down opposite Ron. She also started filling her plate and eating, although she did it with a little more finesse than the redheaded boy.
Ron swallowed with extreme difficulty. "I said: 'Do you still fancy her, Harry?'"
"I dunno. I guess I do." Harry shrugged, not really liking where this conversation was going. "Can we please drop the subject? There are more important and interesting things to talk about apart from my love life."
"Or the lack of it." Ron sniggered into his pumpkin juice.
"Leave him alone, Ron," Hermione admonished. "As if you have a love life," she added acerbically.
"Well, you don't seem to have one, either," Ron shot back nastily. "Unless you and Vicky Krum are -"
"For the last time, Ron, it's Viktor, not Vicky. And we're just friends," Hermione retorted, colour blooming on her cheeks.
Ron scowled, jabbing his fork onto his mashed potatoes viciously. "I'll call that ruddy bleeding Bulgarian whatever I want."
"Language, Ron!" Hermione said, flaring up at Ron's snide tone.
As Hermione and Ron entered into another pointless row, Harry turned to Ginny and said, "This is entirely your fault, you know. Why'd you bring up Cho in the first place?" He grabbed some chips off her plate and chewed grumpily.
"First of all, it's because it's kind of pathetic, really, you mooning over a girl when you can have anyone you wanted." Ginny held up a hand as Harry made a grunt of disbelief. "Secondly, it's quite obvious that Cho still likes you too, seeing as she's been looking over here since the start of dinner."
Harry immediately whipped around and glanced over the Ravenclaw table. Ginny was correct; there was Cho, a small smile on her mouth as Harry turned to face her. He waved weakly at her before turning back to Ginny, who had an odd sort of expression on her face, which was quickly replaced by a knowing smirk.
"See, what did I tell you? Honestly, you can be quite thick at times, Harry," she said, shaking her head in disbelief. "She appears to be still interested in you, doesn't she?"
"D'you suppose she'll go out with me if I ask her? Hang on, I thought she was going out with Michael Corner," he said, and then stopped as he remembered that Michael had been Ginny's former boyfriend.
"Oh, they broke up during the summer. Michael told me the first day of school," she said blithely, watching Ron and Hermione glare at each other over the table.
"You talked to Michael? When was this?" Harry asked, a little taken aback at this information. He had not known about this.
"He came up to me right after the Sorting. He said that he had made a mistake with Cho, and that he should never have let me break up with him," she said, now preoccupied with how purple Ron's face was getting in his anger at Hermione.
"And...?" Harry pressed her, quite forgetting that they had been talking about his chances with Cho just a while ago.
"And, nothing," she said firmly. "I told him I don't feel anything but friendship for him. And that I was kind of interested in someone else," she added, blushing a little and not quite meeting his eyes.
They were temporarily distracted when Hermione suddenly stood up and stormed out of the Great Hall without saying a word to any of them. Ron stared at the table for a minute and muttered, "Bloody mental, that one." He seemed to come to a decision, however, because he then drained his pumpkin juice in one gulp, and promptly ran off after Hermione.
"Oh, that's good. I don't want you to go back to him just because he feeds you a line about making a mistake," Harry said forcefully. "Slimy little git. You deserve better, Gin." Reaching awkwardly across the table, he patted her on the shoulder. "So, are you gonna tell me who's the new guy that you fan-"
"There's a Hogsmeade weekend coming up in about two weeks," she interrupted him hastily. "Why don't you ask Cho? I'm sure she'll say yes."
"I suppose it won't kill me if she rejects me again, just like the Yule Ball," Harry mused, pushing his glasses up his nose. "After all, I survived that disappointment enough to face Voldemort," he said, half-joking.
"She won't," Ginny assured him. "I'll even help you plan your date, so you won't make a fool of yourself like last time."
"You will?" he asked, a little surprised at her offer.
"Sure. I mean, what are friends for?" She smiled sweetly up at him, a curious gleam in her brown eyes, and handed him a plate of treacle tart.