About the Dance (1/2)
Pairing: Mostly Ginny/Cho, with some Neville/Justin and Ron/Hermione (sorta), plus unrequited Harry/Cho. I'm really covering all bases here…
Rating: PG. Because I'm not even sure Ginny is old enough to kiss open-mouthed yet…
Notes:: Fair warning - this is mostly femmeslashy, and also has slashy and heterosexual themes. So if you have problems with any of that, this is where you say ta-ta. Finally, the characters and Hogwarts are only being borrowed, not mine.For my sweet Floria… my muse. ABOUT THE DANCE
"So, um, Hermione… about the dance…"
Four pairs of amused, slightly malicious eyes fixed on a rather red-faced Ron. For a moment, Hermione's were gleaming the most wickedly of all, but she dropped her lashes to hide their sparkle. "Yes Ron?" she asked with airy innocence.
"You told me that if I wanted to go with you next time I should ask plenty in advance… so… doyouwannabemydate?" he finished with a rush.
"Why, Ron, what a surprise. I never would have imagined," Hermione began mock-gushingly. But the helpless giggles from Neville and Ginny were too much for her, and she laughed too. "Your manners still need work, but… I suppose so. As you were the first to ask. Just treat me better than you treated Padma, or you'll regret it," she added calmly. She turned, suddenly. "And that goes for you too, Harry Potter. You both need to learn how to treat a date."
"What exactly did I do wrong? I took her, didn't I?" Ron demanded, and Harry opened his mouth to protest as well. Unfortunately at that moment Harry's attention was deflected like a squash ball hitting the wall.
Ginny sighed to herself as Harry's gaze swung around to fix on Cho Chang, wandering into the library with a group of her Ravenclaw friends. She had hoped a little, but… Oh, well, now she would have to watch Harry make a fool of himself over the Ravenclaw girl again. It wasn't as though she wasn't used to it.
He had been hovering in Cho's wake lately, his green eyes bright with the desire to comfort her over the events of the Triwizard Cup. It wasn't as if Ginny didn't understand how he felt, the aching desire to take away some of the beloved's pain and maybe, just maybe… She had cried herself to sleep at night over how tired and strained Harry had looked this term, and her own inability to comfort him. But at least Ginny had learned to tell where she wasn't wanted.
Apparently, Harry was still having difficulty with that.
"Cho!" Harry half-rose in his seat, and called softly to her.
The girl caught his gaze, hesitated for a moment, then said something to her friends. She walked over to the table where the Gryffindor friends were sitting. Ginny's heart sank. It would be bad enough to sit at the table knowing Harry was asking someone else to the dance, but now it looked like she actually had to sit and listen to it. She buried herself in her book, trying to block it out. Through the top of her head, she felt Hermione and Neville shoot her sympathetic glances. Ron was still too busy blustering at Hermione to notice his little sister was upset.
"Yes, Harry?" Cho looked drawn and exhausted, but she'd looked that way ever since coming back to school. Her beautifully shaped eyes were just a little reddened, as if Ginny wasn't the only one crying herself to sleep. She also seemed somewhat nervous and wary to Ginny, underneath her usual poise. She ran a hand through her hair, uneasily lifting it and letting it settle on her shoulders again.
Ginny's father had once brought a Muggle toy called a television home, with a mini-generator, to proudly display Muggle ingenuity to his family. Of course, the twins had blown it up a few minutes later, claiming they were trying to convince the tiny flat people to talk to them – Ginny had her doubts – but in those few minutes, she had seen a shampoo advertisement. Cho had thick, silky hair like the girls on the ad, hair that didn't hang limply like normal people's did. It floated in a glistening cloud, and was so heavy it almost *flopped* back when she lifted it. Ginny had never thought real girls had hair like that. Her own red curls seemed coarse and dull in comparison.
"I was just wondering… if you didn't have a date… I know that, um, Cedric, well… I mean, just as friends. For the dance, I mean." Harry was stammering. Ginny blushed for him.
Just for a second, Ginny thought Cho looked hunted, before her usual charming smile was back on her face. "I'm sorry, Harry. I really would love to, but I'm afraid I already have a date." Her smile sweetened still further, sugaring the blow.
"Again? Who with?" Ginny glared at her brother. Hermione was right – he had no manners.
"With – " Ginny was sure that Cho's dark eyes flicked speculatively around the table. "With Ginny."
Ron choked, and even Hermione blinked. Cho rushed on, "In fact, that's why I was coming over, to make arrangements. Right, Ginny?"
"Ginny asked you?" Harry gasped. He looked at Ginny with something which, for the first time, was tinged almost with awe, but also with a little resentment. Ginny felt like she had been accused of betraying him, and was glad when Cho shook her head.
"I asked her. She hasn't said yes yet, but… well, shall we go talk about it?" Ginny, dazed, let the older girl pull her to her feet and guide her away.
From behind her, Ginny could hear Neville's voice pipe up, "Are we really allowed to do that? I mean, bring dates of the same sex…" Ginny could almost hear the wheels turning in his head. She chuckled, despite her shock and embarrassment, and Cho laughed with her.
"I'm sorry, Ginny," she said ruefully. "I know I put you in a difficult position then. It's just that I can't bring myself to be rude to Harry… not after what he's been through, and he seems very nice, really. It's just that it's not really fair to encourage him, either."
Ginny was silent. She didn't think she could say any of what she was really thinking; firstly, that she couldn't understand why anyone would want to turn Harry of all people down, and secondly, that she'd been on the receiving end of the gentle letdown often enough to know how much it actually hurt. Poor Harry. But then, a brutal letdown would be much, much worse, she supposed…
Cho picked up on her discomfort, and looked apologetic. "I know I just kind of sprang this on you. You don't have to come with me, if you don't want to, you know. If you have another date… That boy you went with last time?" She glanced back at Ginny's friends, who were watching the pair, open-mouthed. Ginny found herself trying not to preen under the attention. It wasn't everyday a beautiful older girl swooped down and carried her off. Actually, it was the first time it had ever happened.
She smiled suddenly. "I rather think he's now trying to work up the courage to ask out Justin Finch-Fletchley."
"Really?" Cho probably had no idea who Justin was, but she flashed her pretty smile anyway. Actually, Ginny was surprised the Ravenclaw Seeker even knew who she was. "Um, then… Hermione?" Cho asked delicately.
"Uh, no. I think Hermione is going with my brother. I don't think she likes girls that way. Actually, I'm not sure she likes boys that way either. Ron's just her friend. It's just… not important to her, you know?" Ginny stumbled to a stop, horribly aware that Cho was going to laugh at her for being a stupid little girl, or say that everyone wanted someone. After all, Cho was obviously far more sophisticated than she was – it would never have occurred to Ginny to ask a girl to a dance.
But Cho merely nodded calmly, as if Ginny had confirmed something she already suspected, and said, "Some people are like that, you know, although you'd never know it by the way everyone else carries on. So, Ginny…" Her smile deepened and she leaned closer. "Does this mean I have a date?"
Ginny panicked. "I'll tell you soon, okay? Okay?" Her eyes pleaded with Cho to understand.
"Sure," Cho said calmly. She waved as she went back to join her friends, leaving a very flustered girl to make her way back to her own group.
"Wow, Ginny," said Ron, in an impressed tone, then yelled as Hermione elbowed him in the ribs.
Ginny ignored him, and reached for her quill. She needed help, urgently.
* * *
How are things at work? Please don't work too hard, try and remember to have some fun sometimes.
I want to ask your advice about something. I've got no one else to ask, really. I still don't have a special friend in my own year, but Hermione makes sure I'm included with her and Harry and Ron. And Neville too, sometimes. Hermione's so kind, I'm so lucky to have her as a friend, Percy. And she's smart too, like you. It's nice of her to take the time to look after me. But I'm not really close enough to her, or any of them, to ask them about this. Especially not Ron.
I miss having you here a lot. You're my favourite brother, you know that? You're the only one of our brothers who always listens, and who never teases me. I miss you heaps.
The thing is, this girl asked me to the school dance. I don't know whether to say yes or not. She's nice, but I didn't even know she knew my name. And I think she just asked me to avoid having to go with someone else. I don't even know if she likes me, let alone likes likes me.
But it's not as if anyone else has asked me. I think Neville is going with someone else this year, so I can't rely on him. Just like me, to be asked by a boy who likes boys one year, and a girl the next. Why don't straight boys ever pay me any attention?
Percy, I really don't know what to do. I don't think I've ever heard of girls going to the school dance together. I don't want to be weird. But I don't want to miss out on the dance, or be you-know-who's second choice.
Please send Hermes back with an answer as soon as you can, if you're not working too hard. I mean, if you have the time.
I love you.
XXXXXXXXXXX OOOOOOOOOOOO Ginny
It might be wrong to play favourites with siblings, but well… you've always been my favourite as well. What you said about the others teasing you goes for me, too, you know. I know the others don't mean any harm, but – you've always been so nice to me. I miss you too.
About your problem, though…
I think of course you should go! She must like you, or she would have chosen someone else to ask, even if she's trying to avoid someone. And that she knows your name might mean something. You need to show more confidence in yourself, Ginny- you're a very nice girl. As to whether she likes likes you, well, I wouldn't worry about that too much. Just go to the dance and try to have fun. I know I'm not exactly at my best myself at these occasions, but I'm hoping you're growing up with a bit more social grace than I'm afraid I displayed.
About her being a girl… Well, I wasn't going to tell you this yet, but… I've been dating someone lately myself who is, actually, male. It's… rather serious. Please don't tell the family yet, until I'm ready. I'm just trying to say that I don't think it should make a difference if your date is a girl.
If you're nervous, maybe Neville is too. Perhaps you should suggest a double date. It might draw less attention than both of you showing up as separate couples. It's just a suggestion.
Take care, Ginny, and let me know how it goes. I love you too.
* * *
CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I'm so glad you trusted me – I won't tell anyone, I promise. And I want to hear all about him!
Thanks for your advice. I'll talk to Cho and Neville today.
::thousands of hugs and kisses::
your loving sister,
* * *
Ginny was beginning to regret her decision, when she finally found Cho lounging on the shore of the lake with a few of her friends. Cho always seemed to be surrounded by a group of girls, all, Ginny couldn't help noticing, as pretty as she was. And all sixth years.
"Um, Cho?" The other girl smiled and rose to her feet, and Ginny said before she lost her courage, "I want to go with you. If you still want to. I mean, you don't have to."
"I'd love to," Cho said firmly. "I'm really glad you're coming with me, Ginny."
"Coming where?" one of the girls sprawled on the grass asked.
Cho put an arm around Ginny's shoulders. "Ginny has done me the honour of agreeing to be my date for the dance." There was no defiance in her voice, only her usual perfect self-possession, but she did arch a delicate eyebrow. "Any problems?"
The girl looked at her for a moment, then shrugged and flopped back on the grass. "Fine by me."
"Good." Cho smiled at Ginny. "I'll pick you up at the entrance to Gryffindor Tower, okay? And don't wear pink – I'm wearing scarlet."
Ginny gave her a terrified nod and smile, and ran for it. She was sure she heard a feminine voice behind her ask Cho if she had gone utterly insane, but she would prefer not to hear.
She had enough doubts about her own sanity.TBC
Feedback gratefully accepted. :)