Title: Beautiful, Fresh

Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.

Pairings: Ginny/Cho, background Harry/Ginny and Harry/Cho

Warnings: Mild angst, present tense

Rating: PG-13

Wordcount: 2600

Summary: Ginny knows there must be something special about Cho if Harry keeps looking at her. But she has no idea what it is, and that means taking drastic measures to find out.

Author's Notes: Another of my July Celebration fics, for what was originally an unfulfilled anonymous Advent prompt: Can you try your hand at writing Ginny/Cho? It's my newfound ship and I think it's got a LOT of potential. For the story scenario: Ginny starts noticing Cho when Harry looks her way during DA sessions. Wanting to know what's so great about Cho, Ginny corners her and surprises her with a kiss. This happens before the mistletoe/nargles kiss with Harry, and Ginny's such a good kisser that Cho becomes a little in love with her instead, and they meet in empty hallways and abandoned classrooms for more kissing.

Beautiful, Fresh

Ginny first notices Harry looking Chang's way in the DA meetings.

There was a lot of it before that, Ginny has to admit. She's seen the way Harry turns his head when Chang crosses the Great Hall, and sometimes stares at the Ravenclaw table. She thinks that maybe he agreed to lead the DA at all because it meant he would get more chances to stare at Chang.

He looks at Chang the way Ginny wants him to look at her.

Ginny frowns as she watches Chang struggle with some of the spells and Harry gently help her. It can't be her magical power Harry wants her for. Ginny's stronger, and she's already managed a smoky Patronus before Chang starts to produce any smoke at all.

And it can't be that Harry's impressed by Chang's ancestors or wealth, the way people like Malfoy would be. Harry has never cared about that at all.

It has to be because Chang's pretty, Ginny finally decides. And while Ginny likes her own hair and height, Chang is taller and doesn't have freckles. And she has long dark hair that might be prettier than red if you like that sort of thing, and absolutely clear and shining eyes.

There's only one way to find out for certain, though. Ginny tries to hint the conversation around to Chang sometimes, but maybe because they think it would be embarrass Harry, Ron and Hermione will never talk about her.

And Ginny thinks she's most likely to find out what's going on if Chang doesn't know it's coming.

It's simple to linger behind the other Gryffindors at the next DA meeting; no one in her own House notices what she's doing when Harry's around. Swallowing her bitterness, Ginny leans against the wall near the door and pretends to be keeping a lookout for Umbridge and the Inquisitorial Squad.

Everything is working out better than she could have imagined. Chang usually comes out with a few of her friends, but they've already left. Chang is the last one, after Vanishing one of the padded mats that she conjured so people could fall on it. Then she turns towards the door.

Ginny steps out to meet her. She can feel herself already starting to flush, the curse of a fair redhead, but, well, the Hat Sorted her into Gryffindor for a reason.

"Weasley?" Chang looks only startled, not suspicious or upset. It widens her beautiful dark eyes a little, that's all. "Is something wrong?"

If Ginny tries to explain, it will only sound stupid, and if Chang wants Harry back, it'll make her look indignant. She won't look indignant if she kisses Harry, Ginny's sure. Surprise isn't ideal, but better than any stronger emotion.

So she leans up and kisses Chang before her expression can change or she can call her friends back.

Chang gasps. Ginny feels the tiny flip of a tongue, and soft wet lips, and she blinks and backs away before she can think about it.

But the feeling of the kiss is still with her as she stands there and looks into Chang's eyes. It feels like it lasted a lot longer than the touching of lips. Chang puts a hand over her mouth, and her eyes get wider and wider.

In the moment before Ginny turns around and flees, she thinks she understands what Harry finds to stare at in Chang.

"Weasley. I need to talk to you."

Ginny swallows. Of course this would happen, and she can only be grateful that Chang didn't come up to her in the Great Hall or somewhere else with lots of people, but waited for her after the next DA meeting.

"All right," she says, turning around and disregarding the curious glances Ron and Harry give her. Neither of them noticed there was something wrong with her in the past week, and Ginny can't help but resent them a little for that. She sure feels changed, like someone branded her face with permanent heat.

She thought about telling Hermione, but, well, how did you explain something like this?

Chang's friends don't wait for her, probably because she shakes her head at them. A few of them give Ginny suspicious glances, and she knows she's blushing again. What did Chang tell them?

Then they're alone again, and even though she wants to be a Gryffindor and courageous, Ginny can't help but say, "Umbridge will be looking for us soon, you know."

"I know. This won't take long."

Oh, good. Ginny braces herself, thinking she'll either hear a short rant or feel a slap on her exposed cheek any second.

But instead, Chang comes forwards, stares at her searchingly, and whispers, "You kiss really well. Where did you learn that?"

Ginny stares at her blankly. Then she says, "I don't know." She can't attribute being a good kisser to the indifferent boys she's dated so far. She wonders for a second if Chang wants to learn more from her so she can seduce Harry, but there's a strange glow in Chang's eyes that tells her it's not that simple.

"Because you kiss—really well," Chang says, and curls her hand around Ginny's neck, and leans in and kisses her again.

This time, Ginny is the one who gasps, and Chang the one who presses her backwards, against the wall, against the door, and Ginny flails with her hands and thinks, Wait, this didn't happen before. And Chang is everywhere, a sleek hand sliding under Ginny's robes, a tongue flicking at hers insistently, a brush of hair against Ginny's chin.

It goes on and on until Ginny knows she's enjoying it too, knows by the warm glow in her cheeks that isn't really a blush and the tingle behind her knees and between her legs. But that last scares her a little, and she reaches up and pushes Chang backwards.

She can't send her sprawling, though. Chang has too good a grip on the back of her neck. They stand there, panting and staring at each other, and Chang finally ducks her head and smiles.

"See?" she whispers.

"No, not really," says Ginny, deliberately rude. She knows what Chang's trying to say, but it's not something she wants to hear. She looks away and scrubs at her mouth. She can almost hear Mum's voice in her head, saying Ginny is being shockingly vulgar, but—

She doesn't think she knows any rules from her mum that cover this kind of thing. Ginny wants to laugh, hysterically.

"Yes, you do," says Chang. "That was like nothing I ever experienced in my life. And now I want to experience it again."

Ginny expects more words after that, but instead, Chang's moving forwards like she expects Ginny to embrace her. Ginny wonders if she would, feels the sweat under her breasts heat up in anticipation—

And flees again, whipping out of the room and around the corner as if Umbridge herself were chasing after her.

Ginny tries to avoid Chang after that. But it's difficult. For one thing, it's not like she can stop going to DA meetings unless she thinks of a better story than she has right now. And for another, they seem to see each other a lot, more than Ginny has noticed before, in the Great Hall and in the corridors between classes.

Chang watches her, but she's subtle about it. Ginny keeps expecting one of the other girls in her year, or Hermione, who's always been observant, to ask her what's going on. At least none of them would guess the truth, Ginny thinks. She can hardly think about the truth herself.

When she has those thoughts, she gets hysterical again, and has to go and sit on the loo until she calms down.

But Chang doesn't make a move for a week. And then a lovely owl comes flying up to Ginny at breakfast, an owl Ginny didn't know Chang owned, black with a white mark like a star on its chest. It lands on the table in front of Ginny and nudges her insistently with a small beak until Ginny takes the letter.

"Why would Cho Chang be writing to you, Ginny?"

Ginny stares at Harry for a second. There's an ugly tinge in his voice. It takes her ages to understand. He fancies Chang, right. He thinks Chang should write to him if she writes to anyone in Gryffindor at all.

It sparks a little flare of hurt in Ginny, hot as a peppercorn seed. Harry only notices her when the girl he fancies writes to her. And of course Ginny knew about that fancy, it was the reason she wanted to kiss Chang in the first place, but now she feels her fingers shake with something that's not fear as she reaches out and takes the letter from the owl.

"What, I'm not allowed to have friends in other Houses now?" she snaps.

Harry's face is a study in astonishment. "I didn't mean—" he says, but he stops, as if he knows that it's pretty hard to interpret his words any other way.

"Yes?" Ginny asks, deliberately sweet.

Harry finally shakes his head and turns back to his plate. Ginny opens the letter, because she has to now that she's taken it, and she even knows Chang is watching her.

Meet me in the North Tower at midnight tonight. You know what for. You know why.

Ginny just looks over at Chang and nods like it's unimportant confirmation of a study question, but inside, her heart is hammering hard enough she thinks other people can probably see her pulse. Yes, she knows what it's for. And she thinks Chang is mad to ask her to the North Tower when Umbridge and her minions are crawling all over the school.

But at least it should be as much risk for Chang as for her. And if Ginny thinks the danger is too great, she'll just take Harry's Invisibility Cloak. Why not? He probably won't notice it missing, for the same reason he never notices her.

In the end, she doesn't have to take Harry's Invisibility Cloak. Knowing where Filch and the prefects usually patrol is enough. Ginny never thought listening to Hermione and Ron's boring arguments about prefect duty would benefit her, but here she is.

She leans on the parapet of the North Tower and listens to the wind whistle through the loose stones. There are legends about people who got surprised here and fell to their deaths before they could stop it. Ginny wishes the details of those legends, which she hasn't heard for years, weren't suddenly so sharp and bright in her mind.

"You came."

Ginny starts and turns around. Chang melts out of the darkness behind her. She must know some spell Ginny's never heard of, because she wasn't hiding under an Invisibility Cloak or a Disillusionment Charm. Ginny blinks and shakes her head. "You'll have to show me how you did that."

Chang's even prettier when she smiles. "I'll be glad to. I'm not a sixth-year Ravenclaw for nothing, you know. There are some interesting books in our Tower."

For the moment when they're talking about the spell, the air around them is warm and calm, but then Chang's smile dies and Ginny glances away. She takes a deep breath a second later. She has to be firm with Chang, or they'll be on top of the bloody tower all night.

"You have to know that I don't know what this is about," she says, and turns back to Chang. "Not really."

"It doesn't have to be about more than that you're pretty, and you kiss really well."

"Huh," Ginny says, so taken aback that she's not sure what else she feels about Chang's pronouncement. "So that's what it's really like for you?"

Chang smiles, and draws nearer. "I said it didn't have to be about more than that," she whispers in a voice as thick and soft as a secret. "For me, it's more. Like the way you smile, and the fact that you approached me first."

Ginny might not have had all the courage a Gryffindor is expected to show, in these last few weeks, but she knows she can at least be honest. She fixes her gaze on Chang and says, "I was trying to see what about you appealed to Harry. I didn't kiss you for you."

"Oh, I know. But I did."

Chang is surprising her more and more. Ginny stares. And when Chang walks right up to her and adds, "And I don't think you came here for Harry," she doesn't pull back.

Chang doesn't lean in right away and start the kiss, though. Ginny stirs, impatient, and Chang laughs softly and holds her back with her hands around Ginny's arms, her gaze bright and sly.

"I need to know if you're still here for Harry. Or for something else."

Ginny hesitates. She didn't come here for Harry, of course. But she doesn't know the whole reason she's here.

Except that she wants more of Chang's hands. And the warmth under her breasts and between her legs. And the kisses that she thinks will be coming, if she can just convince Chang to press her lips against Ginny's again.

"To be warm," Ginny says at last.

Chang gives a little gasp, but it's not an unhappy sound. As she leans in and slides her lips against Ginny's, Ginny thinks, that at last, she did something right, not something cowardly or unbefitting of a Gryffindor.

And when Chang pulls her hair and slips her hand down Ginny's shirt, and pushes Ginny back against the stones with the lightning-like jab of her kiss, Ginny is sure that she's right where she's supposed to be.

Things change after that, slowly, subtly—so subtly that Harry hasn't stopped gazing at Cho yet, and Ron and Hermione are still bickering and ignoring Ginny. But Ginny and Cho realize it, and that's enough for right now, Ginny thinks in honest contentment.

They pair up now when they're ready to learn a new spell in the DA. Ron notices it, but doesn't say anything beyond, "I think Chang really likes your spellwork, Ginny."

"Oh, yeah, my spellwork."

Ginny can't help herself, but Ron utterly ignores the nuance, and just pats her on the shoulder. "You're getting better. Not ready to duel a Death Eater yet, but I don't think most of us are."

No, I'm ready for something else.

Ginny catches Cho's eye across the room, and watches as Cho speaks gently to her friend Marietta—who Ginny knew was getting upset and planning to maybe go to Umbridge, only Cho persuaded her not to—and then leans back. Their eyes meet and find each other again.

Later, they'll announce it and surprise everyone, and Ginny wouldn't be herself if she didn't admit, privately, that she hopes to see chagrin widen Harry's eyes.

But for now, it's for them. They're going to enjoy it.

And be warm.

The End.