Chapter image by the awesome (sol) at TDA!
A voice broke his trail of thought.
Harry looked up to see Ginny Weasley looking at him. He noticed the locks of red hair that tumbled on her shoulders and the basket of fruits she carried on one hand.
“Hello Ginny,” he greeted.
“Mind if I sit down beside you?” she asked.
For a moment, Harry did not answer her. He was merely gazing at her.
Moments ago, he was kissed unexpectedly by Cho. His feelings were still stirring inside and his mind had still not found the peace it craved. He could still recall the feeling of Cho’s warm lips on top of his.
It gave him a good feeling…yet it also bothered him.
Did her kiss imply something? Did she kiss him because she felt something for him?
Was it a sign?
Harry blinked as he noticed Ginny waving her hand in front of him, breaking his trance.
“Oh…sorry,” he apologized, “Yeah, you can sit here.” He moved over to the left side, giving space for Ginny to sit. She sat beside him, placing the basket between them.
Harry glanced at Ginny, who was silently looking at her shoes. It was surprising to see her at St. Mungos’ at that time of the night.
“Is Cho asleep?” she asked.
“I reckon,” he answered, “A healer’s inside, giving her potion.”
Harry was beginning to sense awkwardness in the air. It was as if there was something standing in between him and Ginny, and it wasn’t the basket of fruits. He knew they were over that awkwardness stage-
So why did it feel awkward?
“What brought you here at this time of the night?” he asked her.
Ginny tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear. “I just wanted to visit Cho. I couldn’t sleep tonight and Ron said you’d be here, so I figured I should go,” she said, “I hope you wouldn’t mind.”
“No…I don’t mind at all,” said Harry, “Cho would be glad to see you.”
They heard a door close nearby. Both Harry and Ginny were greeted by the healer.
“She’s asleep now,” said the healer, “You can go back and see her.” Then without another word, she left, leaving Harry and Ginny alone together.
“Is she doing well?” asked Ginny.
“Getting better, actually. We’re hoping she could be discharged tomorrow morning,” said Harry. He saw Ginny flash a small smile.
“You must’ve taken good care of her, then,” she said.
Harry shook his head, “I didn’t heal her. I owe it to the healers, they’ve done a brilliant job,” he said.
“I think you had your part,” insisted Ginny, “I noticed Cho gains more color whenever you’re around. I think you must’ve noticed.”
Harry suddenly felt alarmed at her words. He did not want to touch that subject yet. He wasn’t ready.
“Really now?” he asked, “I don’t think so.”
Ginny wasn’t looking at him. She was looking at the white walls of the hospital.
“I do. She brightens up when she sees you. She has these red patches on her cheeks whenever you’re near,” she said, “I think you and I both know what that means, Harry.”
But he refused to acknowledge it for the time being.
Harry shifted his position so that he was facing Ginny.
“What are you getting at, Gin?” he asked her.
She let out a sigh.
“Nothing, don’t mind me. I’m just being barmy, I’m just tired,” she explained, smiling at him. For a second, Harry wondered why he wasn’t convinced with her smile. Something felt quite off…
Then he realized he had just kissed Cho Chang and was now facing Ginny Weasley.
No wonder something felt off.
“Why don’t you go home? You can come back tomorrow. The healer said that Cho had already fallen asleep,” he suggested. Although a part of him wanted her to stay…even if one part of him did not want to see her.
She hesitated. “Well…I also came here cause I reckon…you might need company,” she said, “Ron told me to check on you also.”
“But if you want to sleep, it’s okay for me, Ginny. I can manage,” he told her.
Ginny looked at him. Her brown eyes pierced him deeply.
Harry thought he was hallucinating…
Because her eyes looked as if they were betrayed.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
Ginny nodded her head. “I’m fine,” she said, “And I’m not quite ready to sleep yet so I thought maybe…I could keep you company while you wait for Cho to wake up. I take it you’re not going to sleep yet?”
“Not really,” he said, chuckling.
She gave a small smile.
“Coffee?” she asked.
The aroma of coffee gladly wafted around Harry’s nostrils.
He gazed at his cup, staring at the swirl of cream on the surface of the light brown liquid. Closing his eyes, Harry inhaled once again the sweet scent of the coffee…
And a light hint of lavender scent.
He opened his eyes and cast a look at Ginny, who was seated opposite him. She too was quite absorbed in drinking her cup of coffee.
Neither of them spoke. Harry thought that it was probably due to the fact that it was almost midnight and the both of them were tired. But there was that unease building up inside of him that didn’t help.
“Where’s Caleb?” he asked her.
Ginny sighed, “He’s at home. He wanted to come, actually but I told him he needed rest. He looked quite peaky,” she said.
“He’s not sick, is he?”
“Over fatigued,” she answered, “He hasn’t had a decent sleep in days, too.”
Harry nodded his head and quietly sipped his cup of coffee. Both of them became quiet. The only sounds they heard were the voices of the healers and the rushing of magical stretchers.
“It’s good to know Cho’s doing better,” said Ginny, “She must be excited to go home.”
“I reckon,” said Harry, “I would be too if I stayed in St. Mungos for more than three days.”
Ginny chuckled as she sipped her coffee. Then her face became serious.
“Ron says there’s still no luck with the case so far,” she said, “They’ve been coming up blank for the past days.”
Harry rubbed his forehead. “I know. The moment I get back, I’ll be focusing on that case,” he said, “It can’t go unsolved.”
“True, but it’s quite complicated, isn’t it? There was no magical evidence left in the scene,” said Ginny.
“It doesn’t matter. We will catch the culprit no matter what it takes,” he told her, “Cho deserves justice. Whoever tortured her deserves punishment.”
An odd look flashed on Ginny’s face.
“You’ve grown quite attached to her, haven’t you?” she asked.
Harry finished his coffee and looked at her. “What do you mean ‘attached’?” he asked her. Ginny’s eyes looked down at her cup and Harry sensed some sort of discomfort.
She smiled, still not looking at him. “I’m not blind, Harry. I know that something’s developing between you and Cho,” she said, “It’s quite obvious already.”
For a moment, he was gobsmacked. He could not believe Ginny’s words.
“I don’t get what you’re saying,” he said.
Her eyes looked up at him, the small smile still on her face. “I have a feeling that you and Cho are sharing something special. And to be honest Harry, I’m happy for you,” she said, “Cho’s a brilliant choice.”
He finally understood.
“But, we’re not together…yet,” said Harry.
She brushed away a stray lock of hair, “But there is something developing between you. I can feel it. Whenever she looks at you, there’s this feeling of longing in her eyes. And whenever you look at her, I see attachment,” explained Ginny. She gave a small chuckle.
“Who would’ve thought, eh?” she asked.
So Ginny concluded that there was something between him and Cho.
He rubbed his hands. Harry was not sure if he wasn’t going to believe what she was saying…or if what she was saying actually made sense.
“I don’t know…” he told her, “I’m not sure.”
“Not sure?” asked Ginny with disbelief, “Why not?”
Harry looked at her. He was speechless…but his mind was screaming.
Because I know that in a way I’m still in love with you. Because I still don’t know what feelings I have for Cho. Because I’m torn in a way…because you keep appearing in my dreams…because I want to move on yet I’m not sure if Cho is the one…because you’re still in my heart…
Because of her…
Because of you…
But all Harry was able to answer was: “I just…I don’t know. Things are complicated, Gin.”
Ginny looked thoughtful. It was as if she was running Harry’s answer in her mind.
“You know, you and Cho would look lovely together,” she told him.
“I know, you’ve told me before,” he replied. Ginny gave another small laugh.
“Well that’s because you do,” she said, “You both compliment each other. It’s as if you fit together perfectly.”
Harry managed to smile back at her, even if he was becoming uneasy once again. He could not find the proper words to tell her. But in a way, he was interested to know what she had in mind.
“How so?” he asked her.
Ginny pulled her sweater closer as she shivered for a moment. Harry was sorely tempted to put an arm around her.
“I noticed that Cho’s like this…damsel-in-distress. She’s the type of girl a bloke would eagerly save from a burning tower or from the clutches of a crazy dragon,” she explained. She stopped for a moment as she took a sip of her coffee.
“What about me?” asked Harry.
At the back of his mind, he had a hunch of what she was going to say.
“Who else? The bloody hero, of course,” said Ginny in a matter-of-fact tone, “You’re the one who saves damsels-in-distress like Cho. It’s common knowledge to everyone that the heroes end up with the damsels they rescue.”
Harry gazed at her. He was biting his lip, unable to believe what she had said.
Ginny moved her face closer to his, looking at him straight in the eye.
“You don’t have to hide it from me,” she told him, “I know that in someway…you’re already attached to her.”
He did not answer immediately. Harry merely looked at her then looked down at his empty cup.
He mind was filled with numerous question marks. So many questions still left unanswered and continued puzzling him. He tried processing Ginny’s word but he found himself split into two.
One part actually believed that she made sense.
Why else would he willingly allow Cho Chang to kiss him and not even making an effort to pull away if he wasn’t attached to her? Why else would he be staying by her side, tending to her and fervently hoping that she would get well already?
Why else would his teeth grit whenever he would remember the day she was attacked?
He checked himself. Could he possible be falling in love with Cho?
Did Ginny realize something he refused to acknowledge?
Harry cast another look at Ginny, still speechless. His mind was not done and was still restless.
He found himself scanning her face, taking in every detail. Her beautiful marble-shaped, chocolate colored eyes…her flaring red hair that fell on her shoulders…her porcelain skin…
His thoughts pondered on the other realization.
If he was truly falling for Cho…
Then why was he still thinking about Ginny when she was right in front of him?
Why then would he feel guilty after kissing Cho?
Was it possible to love two people at once?
Or was he merely deluding himself?
Ginny’s voice brought him back. He blinked and raised his eyes up to her. She was still looking at him and he saw question in her eyes.
“Are you alright?” she asked.
He ran a hand thru his hair, “Oh, er…yeah, I’m fine…just lost for a moment,” he said.
“Are you feeling sleepy already?”
He blinked again. His eyelids began to feel droopy. He was beginning to crave sleep.
But his body remained glued to his chair.
“A bit,” he replied, “How about you?”
Ginny didn’t answer immediately. She glanced at the clock.
“It’s already one o’ clock in the morning,” she said, “Who would’ve thought we’d become nocturnal?” A small smile spread across her lips.
He chuckled, “Guess time flies when you’re having fun,” he remarked. His eyes landed on Ginny once more. He watched as she looked at the clock again.
“I reckon I should go,” she finally said, “It’s dead of the night.”
She began to stand up and Harry immediately followed her suit.
“You need to get some sleep,” he told her, “I bet you have practice tomorrow and you know Gwen…she fires bludgers at groggy players.”
Ginny laughed quietly, “I know that very well. It’s good to know you remembered that,” she said and handed the basket of fruits to Harry, “Take this to Cho, will you? I’m sure she’ll love them.”
She ran a hand thru her locks of hair and looked at him meaningfully at him. “Take good care of Cho. She needs you…and you know that,” she said, “You should be with her.”
For a moment, Harry wanted to contradict but he found no strength to do so. Instead, he smiled at Ginny and simply nodded his head.
“She’ll be okay,” he said.
Silence hovered between them.
Slinging her bag on her shoulder, Ginny moved closer and looked up at him.
“Take good care of yourself, alright?” she said. Harry found himself looking down at her.
“I will,” he promised.
Before he knew it, she wrapped her arms around his neck, enveloping him in a hug.
Harry buried his face into her hair, inhaling the familiar lavender scent she usually wore. His arms encircled her waist, tempted to pull her closer. He closed his eyes.
“Stay with her, she needs you,” Ginny whispered in her ear.
He chose not to reply but merely slowly nod his head. The very feel of her warmth against him gave the comfort he had been craving for days.
Slowly, Ginny pulled away from him. She gave another small smile and began to walk away, leaving Harry to watch her wistfully.
“Goodbye, Ginny Weasley,” he whispered.
He was left alone in the room. The moment she stepped off, there was a sudden feeling of coldness surrounding him. He began to wonder if that had something to do with Ginny leaving.
Stay with her…she needs you…
Immediately, Harry was reminded of Cho.
He turned around.
Speaking of Cho…
She was standing at the opening of the door, peeking. She was still in her St. Mungos’ dressing gown and wore no slippers. She was looking at him.
“Cho, why are you out of bed?” he asked her, quickly alarmed at the sight of her barefoot and looking tired.
She looked quite embarrassed. “I…I woke up. You weren’t in the room…I figured you left,” she said, “I was looking for you.”
“Looking for me?”
Cho tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear, unable to meet his eyes. She nodded her head.
Harry pushed the chair towards the table and made his way towards her. She was still unable to meet his gaze once he was beside her. Harry saw that she needed sleep.
Stay with her…she needs you…
He wrapped an arm around her shoulder.
“Come on, Cho. You need to go back to sleep,” he told her.
Cho looked up at him, uncertainty in her eyes. Harry nodded his head. For a moment, he saw Cho glance at their back then looking at his eyes before letting out a sigh.
She rested her head on his shoulder as they both slowly made their way back to her room. As they walked, Harry found his mind crowded.
Stay with her…she needs you…
Apparently, Cho needed him…
And Ginny no longer did.
“Thank you so much, Mr. Potter! I am truly grateful!”
Harry buried his hands inside his robes as he smiled sheepishly at Cho’s mother.
“You’re welcome, Mrs. Chang,” he answered politely. Mrs. Chang kept on bowing in front of him, tears of gratefulness pouring from her eyes. Harry was beginning to feel uneasy with every bow. Behind her mother was Cho, obviously embarrassed for her mother’s act.
Cho had been finally discharged from St. Mungos’. Harry made it sure that he would be able to escort her safely back to her home where her mother was anxiously awaiting her arrival.
Compared to the past week, Cho had become better. There was some color in her still pale and quite sunken cheeks and the bruises on her body were slowly vanishing. She still limped for a bit but was able to walk on her own.
“I do not know how I could thank you enough, Mr. Potter,” remarked Mrs. Chang.
“Please, call me Harry,” said Harry modestly, “And it was no problem, Mrs. Chang. I was just doing my job.”
“You stayed with my daughter, looked after her and took care of her needs while I was away. I dearly wish I could repay you in some way,”
Harry waved his hand, “No payment is needed, ma’am. Like I said, I was doing my job. And besides, Cho’s a good friend of mine. I’m sure she would’ve done the same thing for me,” he said, then he looked at Cho.
Her eyes met his and Harry saw the spots of pink appear on both her cheeks.
“How are you feeling?” he asked her over her mother’s shoulder.
“I’m feeling better,” she answered, smiling. He smiled back at her.
“Would you like some lunch, Harry?” asked Mrs. Chang, “It’s the only thing I can offer now.”
Harry shook his head, “I’m sorry Mrs. Chang, but I have to go back to the Auror office now. My department missed me, you see,” he explained, “Maybe I will come some other time. Cho can tell me.”
He saw the flash of disappointment in, not only Mrs. Chang’s, but also in Cho’s eyes. A feeling of guilt burned in his chest.
“Oh well then, next time,” said Mrs. Chang, “Thank you so much again, Harry. Cho and I would be forever thankful! Please do make time for the lunch. It would be an honor.”
Flashing another smile, Harry nodded his head. “I will ma’am, I promise,” he looked at his watch, “Well, I better go now.” He looked at Cho once more.
“Take good care of yourself. If you need anything, I’ll be at the office. You know where to find me. Don’t hesitate to look,” he told her.
“I will,” she said. He saw her eyes shine.
“I’ll be seeing you then, goodbye,”
With a swift turn, Harry was headed towards the gate of the Chang residence.
He was finally going back to the Ministry, after spending a week at St. Mungo’s looking after Cho Chang. He was finally going to be able to distract himself with the mountain of workload awaiting him…and the case of Cho’s attack.
Hearing his name forced him to stop in his tracks. He turned around.
Cho was opposite him.
“What is it, Cho?” he asked her.
She took small steps towards him. Harry could sense she was embarrassed yet there was a message behind that embarrassment.
Of course there would be…they kissed not too long ago, did they not?
She took more steps towards him until she was looking up at him. Harry’s eyes looked down at her.
There was something innocent about Cho. She looked so delicate. Harry felt that if he touched her, she might fall and break into pieces. She appeared to him as a little girl, even if she was a year older than he was.
“Thank you, for everything,” she said, “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you and your team.”
“Glad to be of service,” he said, smiling down at her. Harry saw she was slightly fidgeting and playing with her hands.
“Just remember what Healer Blythe told you to do and get well, Cho,” he continued, “Don’t think about the attack. When you’re ready, we’ll be inviting you back to the Ministry for questions.”
“Will you be able to catch whoever did this to me?” she asked.
“We’ll do everything we can, Cho. It’s not going to be easy but we won’t give up searching for the suspect,” he assured her.
Cho’s eyes were piercing him. She was giving him a look that there was something she wanted him to know.
“Harry…about the um…the kiss…”
He readied himself for what she was about to say.
Cho rubbed her arm as she looked away from him. “I wanted to apologize. It was impulsive, you see. I acted upon impulse but I know I shouldn’t have done that,” she said, “It wasn’t proper.”
“But you know what, Harry?” she asked.
Her eyes returned to look at him meaningfully.
He chose not to speak.
“I meant that kiss,” she told him, “If I would have to do it all over again, I would.”
If Harry was seated on a chair, he knew full well that he would fall over. The feeling rushing inside him was not normal. He could not understand it himself. He didn’t know if he was torn…or not.
Silence hovered above them once more.
“Cho…I don’t know what to say-“
“Don’t say anything,” she said, “I just wanted you to know.”
She stepped forward, tipped on her toes and planted a kiss on Harry’s cheek. Harry felt his eyes enlarging and his cheek burning the moment she stepped away from him.
She flashed a small smile.
“Thanks again Harry,” she said, “I’ll be seeing you.”
With a swift turn of her back, she left…
Leaving Harry with his thoughts…
His lifted his hand to touch his cheek. His fingers brushed over the spot that remained warm after she kissed him.
Harry knew he had to do one thing.
And that was to-
“SHE KISSED YOU?!”
Harry looked around the surroundings of his cubicle, dearly hoping that no one heard his best mate’s sudden exclamation.
Opposite him was Ron, eyes wide with disbelief and mouth hanging open. It looked as if Ron had just heard that Hermione had chosen to leave him and run off with Kingsley Shacklebolt.
“Can you not say it aloud?” asked Harry in a whisper, “I don’t want the whole department to be buzzing about this.”
Ron was still frozen. Harry suddenly wondered if he should’ve approached Hermione instead of Ron, figuring her reaction would’ve been completely different from her fiancée’s.
Ron managed to find his voice again.
“I…I just can’t…I can’t believe it,” he stammered.
Harry sighed, fixing the parchments on his desk, “You and me both,” he remarked, running a hand thru his hair.
Ron rubbed his chin, a thoughtful look on his face. The shock was still evident in his eyes.
“Mate…does that mean what I think it means?”
Ron bit his lip, “Could Cho Chang be actually falling for you?” he asked, “Merlin’s beard, I can’t believe I just said that.”
Harry rubbed his forehead. Cho Chang? In love with him?
“I honestly am not sure, Ron,” he told his best mate, “It’s complicated.”
Ron shuddered, “I hate that word,” he said, “Did she kiss you once?”
“Twice, one on the lips and another on the cheek,”
Ron slopped down his chair, “Bloody hell,” he remarked, “I don’t believe it.”
Harry sighed once again. He didn’t know what to think of either.
“But mate, I’d like to ask you one question,”
Harry looked at Ron, who was already sporting a serious look on his face. Harry felt as if he wanted to shudder.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Well, how do you feel about it?”
“Feel about what?”
Ron rolled his eyes, “Don’t play dumb, Harry. I know you. I’m asking you if you feel anything about it…you know,” he said, “If you feel like returning that feeling she’s giving you.”
How did he feel?
Harry spared a moment to think.
He recalled the feel of Cho’s lips on his. He remembered how her smooth hands touched his face, bringing him closer to her.
Truth be told, Harry did feel something when they kissed.
It wasn’t the usual fuzzy feeling. It was more.
In fact, it was something intense.
He remembered also wanting to pull her closer but something held him back. It was probably the fact that he was unsure back then.
His memory shifted to the moment when Cho said that she meant that kiss. What did that mean?
Did she really imply that she had feelings for him?
Ron’s voice broke Harry’s trail of thought. Blinking, he looked at his best mate who was looking at him and awaiting an answer.
“I dunno Ron. If I’m going to be honest, I will say that I did feel something when she kissed me. I just don’t know what it really means to me,” said Harry.
“How can you not know?” asked Ron.
Harry gave him a look that suggested he should know the answer. Ron thought for a moment, racking his brain for an answer while Harry awaited the light bulb to light up in his friend’s mind.
“It’s Ginny, isn’t it?” asked Ron.
Before Harry was able to answer, Tyler had arrived.
“I’m sorry to interrupt, Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley. But Vance from Magical Inspection department is here with their findings and is looking for you, sir,” he said, looking at Harry, “It’s about Miss Chang’s case.”
This alerted Harry.
“Send him in,” he told Tyler.
A minute later, a wiry-haired Auror entered Harry’s cubicle and nodding his head to acknowledge Ron and Harry’s presence.
“What have you got for me Vance?” asked Harry. The Auror named Vance placed a mound of paperwork on Harry’s desk, which both Harry and Ron leafed thru.
“Mr. Potter, we’ve confirmed that evidences of dark magic were indeed used on Miss Chang. It’s clear that her memory has been modified, which explains why she can’t remember her attacker, let alone the fact that she was attacked,” said Vance.
There was a thoughtful look on Ron’s face. “I reckon her memory wasn’t just modified,” he said.
“True, she’s cursed,” said Harry, looking at the reports, “Whenever she tries to remember her attacker, she can’t. Do you have any idea about this curse, Vance?”
“McDonald and Stevenson are both on it, sir although they admitted to having difficulty in determining what curse was used,” said Vance, “It’s advanced dark magic and seems as if it was…created.”
“She was tortured, no doubt about it,” said Ron.
“Question is why the suspect would want to torture Cho Chang,” asked Harry.
There was silence as all three Aurors processed the information.
Harry sat back, both hands near his lips.
“So our suspect is a genius,” he said, “He’s going to be difficult to catch.”
“Or a she,” said Ron, “Never underestimate the power of a woman, Harry.”
Harry took the stack of parchment and looked at Vance.
“You may leave now, Vance. Come back tomorrow when you have something for us,” he said. The Auror nodded his head and left Harry and Ron to contemplate.
Ron sighed as he rumpled his hair. Harry knew that the case was also bothering his best friend.
“This is barking mad,” said Ron, “We’ve got a case that’s going to be bloody difficult to solve. Our star witness isn’t even fit to tell us what happened to her and there aren’t enough evidences. All we know is that Cho was tortured but we have no damn idea on why and who.”
Harry took his glasses off as he settled back and closed his eyes. His head was beginning to throb and he felt his nerves aching one by one.
He gave a deep breath.
“We’ll figure this out, Ron. Don’t worry,” said Harry in an assuring yet tired voice, “We’ll catch the one behind this. You don’t have to stress yourself too much. I can handle this. Just think about your wedding.”
The word ‘wedding’ immediately lightened up Ron’s spirits. Harry saw his best mate’s eyes light up in sudden excitement.
“I know. Three weeks till D-Day, eh?” asked Ron, making Harry laugh.
“Don’t let Hermione hear you say that,” he said.
“Don’t let me hear what?”
Both Harry and Ron were startled at the sound of Hermione’s voice. She appeared in front of them, a questioning look on her face.
“Nothing!” exclaimed Ron, “Wh...what are you doing here?”
A suspicious look flashed on Hermione’s face as Harry bit his lip, holding his laughter. He definitely had no intentions of Ron getting reprimanded by his fiancée.
“I just wanted to visit,” said Hermione, entering Harry’s cubicle and sitting on a chair, “How are you Harry?”
“I’m fine, Hermione,” said Harry, clearing his desk of parchment, “How about you? Excited for the big day?”
A blush crept on Hermione’s cheek. Ron held her hand and smiled. Harry on the other hand, was on the verge of laughing.
“Couldn’t be more excited mate,” answered Ron, “Can you imagine it? Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Bilius Weasley.”
“Yes, I’m looking forward to becoming a Weasley,” said Hermione, “Food security becomes one of your privileges when you become one of them. Just hope I don’t get fat.”
“Nah, you wouldn’t. Trust me,” said Ron, then he patted his stomach, “You don’t think I’m fat, do you?”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “Trust me, Ronald. You wouldn’t want to know what I think,” she said.
Harry gave in and burst into laughter, making the heads of his co-workers turn. Ron’s face was redder than his hair while a smug look was on Hermione’s face. It felt good to have Hermione and Ron together, especially when they tease each other. Apparently, Hermione scored this one.
Hermione wrapped an arm around a red-faced Ron as she laughed.
“Just joking,” she said, “Don’t tell me you’re offended.”
“Am not,” said Ron, hiding his embarrassment. Laughing, Hermione pecked Ron’s cheek, therefore causing him to blush even more. Harry on the other hand, was tempted to look away.
“So Harry, how’s Cho?” asked Hermione, “Is she recovering?”
The subject of Cho once again brought the heavy feeling in his heart. He couldn’t help but become uneasy again. He was hoping dearly that Hermione wouldn’t notice.
But Hermione was Hermione.
Removing her arm gently from Ron, Hermione leaned forward.
“Harry? Is there something you want to tell me?” she asked. Harry avoided her eyes and sought Ron who was seated behind her. Ron nodded his head, as if to say, ‘Go on. You knew this was coming.’
But Harry’s tongue was tied. He couldn’t get himself to repeat the story again. He looked at Ron once more, hoping he could do something.
“Er…Hermione, I forgot to tell you something,” said Ron, “We need to meet with the caterers today…they want to know if we still want those African canapés.”
“And Mum says we should see her today. You don’t want her to fuss again, do you?” asked Ron who stood up all of a sudden.
Thank Merlin for Ron.
Hermione glanced at Harry for a moment, her eyes searching him.
“Go on,” said Harry, “I’ll tell you some other time, don’t worry.”
“You don’t want Mrs. Weasley to launch in her full-blown rants again do you?” he asked her again, “I’m fine, Hermione. Go and worry about your wedding plans.”
He was relieved when Hermione chose not to bother him anymore and stood up. Clutching Ron’s arm, she cast him another meaningful look.
“We’ll be seeing you, mate,” said Ron, “Oh by the way, you’ve got to come on the 24th, it’s my bachelor party. Just you and me.”
Harry laughed, “Duly noted, mate. See you both,” he said.
Ron and Hermione left his cubicle, with Hermione looking at him once more and finally giving up.
Alone in his cubicle, Harry was left to ponder with his thoughts.
Closing his eyes, Harry remembered the scent of lilac.
Along with that scent of lilac, he recalled the scent of lavender.
He groaned and rubbed his forehead.
“Bloody hell,” he murmured.
Bloody hell indeed…
He needed to get out of the office once again.
He needed a distraction.
“UNCA HAWEEEEE, WHEE-BEE! WHEE-BEE!”
An elderly witch chuckled fondly as she watched Teddy point his stubby finger at a box of Fizzing Whizbees.
“What an adorable child!” another witch exclaimed.
Harry managed to smile back as he shifted his position while carrying his godson. Teddy was wiggling in his arms, pointing at the variety of candies offered by Honeydukes. His hair kept changing color tones, attracting more eyes and more cooing.
“WHEE-BEE! WHEE BEE!” exclaimed the tiny tyke, pointing at the shelves. His waving arms caused Harry’s glasses to be lopsided.
“Okay, okay Teddy, hang on for a moment,” said Harry, approaching the shelves. Slinging the excited boy on his back, Harry grabbed a box of Fizzing Whizbees along with another box of Chocolate Frogs while Teddy laughed merrily in his arms.
Nothing like distracting yourself with your godson.
Harry figured that Teddy was the perfect distraction. He adored his godson and Teddy never failed to delight his godfather during times of confusion and distress. In order to relieve himself of the stress, Harry decided he would visit Teddy and bring him to his favorite shop in Hogsmeade: Honeydukes.
At the back of his head, Harry was already worrying about the sugar rush that may cause his godson to go haywire.
Carrying Teddy and the candy, Harry approached the counter. The smell of sugar and peppermint wafted under his nose.
“Good morning, Mr. Potter!” greeted the shopkeeper, “Well, hello there Teddy.”
“Morning,” greeted Harry, laying down his purchases. Teddy was still giggling and smiling as he hung on his godfather’s shoulder, charming the witches behind them. Harry could hear them ogling and cooing.
Let’s hope Teddy doesn’t become a Casanova when he grows up.
After paying, Harry and Teddy left the candy shop. As soon as he was immediately given a Fizzing Whizbee, Teddy immediately ripped the wrapper of the sweet and proceeded to devour it like a hungry hippogriff.
“Take it slow, Teddy. You wouldn’t want a stomachache,” said Harry as he walked down the streets of Hogsmeade. As usual, people greeted him as he walked and some were still awed at the sight of him. Harry chose to ignore this yet he kept on smiling to anyone who smiled at him. He didn’t want his awful mood to show.
“So, where should we go Teddy?” he asked his godson, “Want to have some tea?”
“Tea! Tea!” exclaimed the excited boy, “Unca Hawee dwink tea. Teddy eat candy!”
Harry chuckled as he made his way thru the streets.
He patted himself on the back for the brilliant escape plan. Nothing cheered him up better than taking Teddy out.
It helped him clear his head.
Just walking down the streets of Hogsmeade, with nothing but him, Teddy and some candy…
Harry chose to have tea at Madam Pudifoot’s shop. At the sight of the tiny tea shop, Harry was once again reminded of Cho. He gulped.
“Don’t think of that,” he told himself, “You’re just going to have tea.”
Yes, he was just out for tea.
As he was about to enter the shop, Harry heard his name.
The voice sounded familiar. His heart gave a thud.
Turning around, Harry saw the owner of the voice. Problematic as he was, he smiled.
Cho Chang was right across the street and made her way towards him. She was carrying a bag of goods on one arm and wearing a sweet smile on her face. Harry was beginning to feel the unease inside his system but he chose not to show it. Cho looked healthier compared to the last week. He didn’t dare spoil it.
At the sight of Teddy, she gave a small gasp.
“Oh! Who’s this?” she asked.
Harry looked at Teddy who was also ogling the new stranger.
“Cho, this is Teddy Lupin, my godson,” introduced Harry, “Teddy, this is Auntie Cho. Say hi.”
For a moment, the boy said nothing but continued staring at the raven-haired woman. Harry didn’t know if he was either terrified or mesmerized.
He was relieved when Teddy lifted one hand, offering it to Cho.
“Hello,” greeted Teddy in a polite voice.
The smile on Cho’s face widened as she took Teddy’s hand and shook it. “Hello there, Teddy. Aren’t you adorable?” she asked. Harry glanced at his godson once more, hoping he’d respond. Teddy had become unusually quiet.
The boy suddenly giggled and his hair tone changed to black, mimicking Cho’s hair. The color of his eyes transitioned from brown to black.
“Choey! Aunt Choey!” he said.
“Teddy, it’s Aunt Cho,” corrected Harry. Teddy was laughing gaily in his arms while Cho couldn’t help but fawn over the boy.
“May I carry him?” she asked.
“Sure,” said Harry, handing Cho the 4-year old. She eagerly scooped him in her arms and covered him with kisses, much to Teddy’s delight.
“So, how are you doing, Cho?” Harry asked as he watched Cho coo over Teddy. She looked so radiant as she fawned over his godson.
She tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear as she smiled at him. “I’m feeling better, Harry. The potions given by Healer Blythe were quite helpful,” she said, “How about you? What brings you here in Hogsmeade?”
To clear my head…ironically, it involves you.
“I just wanted some fresh air, and Teddy wanted some Fizzing Whizbees,” answered Harry.
“WHEE-BEE!” exclaimed Teddy, wagging the remains of his Fizzing Whizbee at Cho, “Whee bee, Aunt Cho! Look!”
Cho giggled as she held Teddy closer. “He’s such an adorable boy,” she remarked, “I wonder whom he takes after.”
A smug smile widened on Harry’s face. “From his godfather, who else?” he said. Cho laughed and Harry saw her eyes twinkle. Was it true or just vain imagination?
Cho looked at the opening of the tea shop.
“Were you about to have tea too?” she asked.
“Well, since we’re both here, why don’t we go in together?” she suggested.
Another tea moment with the girl who just kissed him days ago?
“That would be great,” he said, his insides screaming in alarm. Cho flashed him a smile and together, they both approached Madam Pudifoot’s tea shop.
“I know, maybe it’s the place where we’re always meant to end up,” Harry added.
“I’m okay with it, as long as I’m with you,” said Cho.
Harry felt his hands become cold at her words. The torn feeling was rising up in his chest.
He did not reply. Instead, he just smiled at her as he ushered her inside the tea shop. He allowed Cho to enter first, Teddy in her arms.
“Well, look at that!” exclaimed a voice.
A very familiar voice.
The moment Harry himself stepped inside the tea shop, he was greeted by the blinding smile and vivid blue eyes of Caleb Andrews.
“Hello there, Harry!” greeted Caleb.
“Hello, Caleb,” Harry greeted back. He saw Caleb looking at Cho and Teddy.
“Why, hello there Miss Chang. Might I say you look better today?” complimented Caleb, making Cho blush.
“Thanks, Caleb,” she said, “You too.”
“Oh and little Teddy. How’re you little tyke?” asked Caleb, ruffling the boy’s hair, “You know from afar, you and Cho look like mother and son. Same hair and same eyes!” At the same time, Caleb winked slyly at Harry.
Harry found himself at odds with Caleb’s comment. Cho and Teddy appeared like mother and son? If they did and Harry was with them…then he was the-
He didn’t even dare finish his thought.
Instead, he just smiled at Caleb and chose not to reply to the comment. Just then, a thought popped into his head.
If Caleb was there, then he was most certain that-
“Hello Ginny!” greeted Cho.
Ginny had appeared behind Caleb and it was obvious that she was surprised to see Harry and Cho.
“Hello Cho,” she greeted back.
“Auntie Ginny!” squealed Teddy, squirming in Cho’s arms. His hair had turned vivid red at the sight of Ginny and his eyes mimicked her chocolate brown marbles. He began reaching out for her.
Caleb chuckled as he swung an arm around Ginny’s shoulder. “Looks like you’ve enchanted the little tyke too, love,” he said. Harry saw Ginny’s cheeks blush at the remark. She held out her hands for Teddy to play with.
“How are you, Cho?” she asked, “You’re looking better.”
“I’m doing well. Thanks for the fruits by the way,” said Cho, “They were delicious. Thank you so much for them.”
“No problem,” said Ginny, then her eyes met Harry, “Hi Harry, good to see you.” A small smile spread on her face.
“Good to see you too,” he said, “So, what are you two doing here?”
“Oh we were just out for some tea,” answered Caleb, “We’ve barely spent some alone time for the past days so Ginny and I decided we’d have tea here. How about you two? What brought you here?”
Harry could still feel Ginny eyeing him silently behind Caleb.
“Er…I was just out shopping with Teddy. I sort of bumped into Cho and we decided to have tea,” said Harry.
“Tea,” remarked Caleb, “I have a brilliant idea. Why don’t the four of us-?”
“I think we should leave Harry and Cho alone, Caleb,” interrupted Ginny.
She said what?
Harry was much sure that there was a stunned expression on his face.
Did he hear right?
He was not the only one stunned.
Caleb was left speechless for a moment. He tugged on his collar and cleared his throat.
Ginny on the other hand, remained as if nothing shocking had happened. Her eyes were not on Harry but on Teddy, who was wiggling in Cho’s arms and trying to reach out to her.
“Besides Caleb, we have some…er…stuff, to talk about remember?” added Ginny, looking up from Teddy and smiling at Cho. She held Caleb’s arm and was attempting to pull him away.
A light bulb had struck Caleb.
“Oh, right on, I forgot,” he told her, then he looked at Harry and Cho, “Sorry, but Ginny and I do have to discuss things right now. Maybe we’ll have tea next time. Enjoy your time together!”
“Er…will do,” said Harry, looking uncertain at Ginny.
She flashed him an encouraging smile as she pinched Teddy’s little cheeks.
“I guess I’ll be seeing you when you come to the Burrow for your bachelor night with Ron,” she said.
“Yeah…I reckon too,” he told her.
She smiled again and waved to the both of them.
“See you around,”
Then with one swift move, she and Caleb proceeded to a table located at the right side of the tea shop, leaving Harry with his thoughts.
Cho’s voice broke his reverie.
Teddy was tugging on his sleeve and Cho was gazing at him, question on her face.
“Do you want to sit down now?” she asked him.
“Oh, yes, let’s go,” he said, accompanying her to a table at the left side. After helping Cho to her seat, Harry sat opposite her. Incidentally, he sat on a chair that allowed him to see Ginny’s face a meter away.
As he sat down, Harry found himself staring at Ginny as he watched her talk with Caleb. He saw a lock of hair fall from her headband and unto her face. She tucked it behind her ear…
“…would you like to order?”
Harry saw Madam Pudifoot smiling down at him, a quill and note pad floating beside her and awaiting his order.
“Er…I’ll have some tea,” he said, “With honey.”
“Same,” said Cho, “And we’ll have a batch of cookies for this little boy, please.” She cuddled Teddy in her arms, making Madam Pudifoot smile as she went away with their orders.
Harry’s lips widened into a smile as he watched Cho and Teddy. There was something about them that made him somewhat happy. But when his eyes went past Cho’s shoulder and at Ginny Weasley, there was that feeling of uncertainty once again.
“Ginny has grown into something, huh?”
Harry saw Cho looking at Ginny and Caleb then looking back at him.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
She shrugged, “Well, she has come a long way from where she used to be and where she is now,” remarked Cho, “You have to admit, that is quite impressive.”
Harry glanced at Ginny once again.
“Truly impressive,” he said absentmindedly.
“She used to be so quiet whenever I saw her around Hogwarts,” she continued, stroking Teddy’s hair, which had turned brown, “I would never have guessed that she would become a feisty young woman loved by all.”
“Neither did I,” said Harry.
They were quiet for a moment. Madam Pudifoot had arrived with their tea and a plate of cookies, which caused Teddy to go berserk with joy as his pudgy hands found their way towards the plate.
“Cookie! Teddy loves cookie!” squealed the 4-year old as he munched on a cookie. Harry helped himself to the sweet treat and savored the chocolate chips melting on his tongue. He dearly hoped the sweetness of the cookie would distract him from his thoughts.
“No wonder a number of people fawn over her,” said Cho, “Especially Caleb.”
Harry sipped his tea, “Yeah, no wonder,” he said.
He didn’t notice that Cho was looking at him with a concerned look on her face. Looking up, he saw her eyes.
“Are you alright?” he asked her.
“I reckon I should be asking you the same thing,” she said, “You seem…preoccupied. Is there something wrong?”
You shouldn’t be acting like this…there’s nothing wrong with you…
“Just thinking about work,” he told her, “Don’t worry about me, Cho. In fact, you should be worrying about yourself. How are you doing? Are you getting better?”
She sipped her tea and managed to smile as she fed Teddy a cookie. “There are times when I feel quite nauseous but most of the time, I feel perfectly fine. I’ve been taking the potion Healer Blythe gave me and it’s helped a lot, especially with the bruises,” she said. Harry spotted a purple bruise on her skin.
“Do you have enough rest? Healer Blythe said you shouldn’t overwork yourself,” he said.
Cho waved her hand off him. “Harry, I’m telling you, I’m fine. When I get better, I might be able to recover from whatever happened to me,” she said, “In the meantime, we should just relax, don’t you think?”
He took another sip of tea. “It’s no easy matter, Cho. You were attacked and I’d like to make sure you’re okay. It’s a part of my job, you see,” he said.
Removing her left hand from Teddy, she reached out the table to touch his hand.
“I know, Harry. But please, don’t stress yourself. Let’s just be quiet for a while and not mind heavy matter. It’s one way you can help me recover,” she said.
She was looking thoughtfully at him, her hand still on top of his. She was trying to assure him.
But why didn’t he feel assurance?
He smiled at her and nodded his head, patting her hand with his other one. His eyes once again shifted gaze from Cho to over her shoulder.
Surprisingly, he saw Ginny looking at his direction. Immediately, she withdrew her gaze and was now busy sipping her tea.
It was no mistake.
He saw Ginny looking over at him and Cho.
Harry wondered why this discovery of his boggled him. Ginny was only looking over. Hadn’t he done the same thing for the past moments?
Once again, he found himself looking at Ginny and Caleb on the other side. He was hoping that Ginny would look again…even if the idea sounded stupid in his head. Why would she? If she did, she probably did for other reasons…not the reason Harry had.
He thought he was being rude to Cho. He kept looking over her to look at Ginny who was obviously busy with Caleb.
Then it happened.
Ginny had once again looked at Harry’s side, but this time, they locked eyes.
Brown and green met…even at a distance.
Harry didn’t know what feeling emerged the moment his eyes locked with Ginny’s. All he knew was there was a mixture of emotions within him.
She didn’t withdraw her eyes from him. She merely looked at him the way he looked at her.
For a moment, Harry felt as if he could just look at her forever.
But as all moments go, this one had to stop.
She flashed him a small smile, then returned her gaze at Caleb, who had begun talking.
“Unca Hawee, want cookie?”
Harry’s attention was taken by Teddy who was shoving a cookie to his face. He saw Cho smile encouragingly at him. He obliged and took a bite.
He could still feel the warmth from Ginny’s gaze.
He was sorely tempted to look over again but he restrained himself. He didn’t want to offend Cho and he didn’t want to arouse an issue with Caleb.
He glanced at Cho who was watching him as he took a sip of his tea. There was a look of concern on her face, which she easily masked with a smile once she caught him looking at her.
“Do you still want to come with me to Ron and Hermione’s wedding?” he asked her.
“Of course,” she said, “I wouldn’t miss it.”
At the thought of the wedding, Harry laughed.
“What’s funny?” asked Cho.
“I just remembered I had a bachelor party with Ron,” he said, “Only me and Ron, that is.”
Cho chuckled as she wiped Teddy’s mouth with her hand. “That would be fun,” she said shortly.
“It would be fun,” he said. They both smiled at each other and resumed drinking their teas. As he sipped on his chipped cup, Harry permitted himself to glance at Ginny once more…
He could do so…forever…
“…will you be okay?”
Cho nodded her head as she handed Harry his godson who had fallen asleep in her arms. They were outside of the teashop, saying their goodbyes.
“Thanks for letting me hold him,” she said, stretching her arms, “He’s truly adorable. No wonder many love him.”
“What do you expect? Takes after his godfather,” joked Harry as Teddy rested his head on his godfather’s shoulder. His hair color changed into a raven black. Harry saw Cho smile a sweet grin at him.
“What?” he asked.
She rubbed her arms and saw spots on her face, “You’d make a good father, Harry,” she said, “Just by looking at you and Teddy.”
Harry was quite sure his cheeks reddened at the comment but chose to brush it away. “I’m just a good godfather, Cho. But not sure on the dad stuff,” he said.
Cho shrugged, “Well, you’re a good man and Teddy’s lucky to have you,” she said, then she looked at her watch, “It’s time for me to go. I have to help Mum with the house now. I’ll be seeing you around?”
“Yes, I’ll be checking up on you, as expected,” he teased.
Cho smiled and tucked a stray lock of hair of Teddy’s behind his ear.
“I want to thank you for the time, Harry,” she said, “I hope we can have tea again.”
“Just visit me at the Ministry. You know where to find me,” he told her.
Cho nodded her head. She stepped forward and planted a kiss on Teddy’s cheek.
“I’ll be seeing you again little man,” she said. She looked up at Harry, flashed him another smile and kissed him on his cheek, leaving him struck.
“Thank you,” she whispered, then without another word, she left.
Harry watched Cho as she walked away from him. His left hand touched his cheeked and felt the warmth of her kiss. He wasn’t surprised anymore but the rush of emotions had once again invaded his space.
“She looks happy.”
Startled, Harry turned his back to see Ginny standing behind him.
“How long have you been there?” he demanded.
“I didn’t think it was proper to intervene,” said Ginny, “Don’t worry, I just came here.”
She approached him and patted Teddy’s small head. At that instant, his hair color changed into a vibrant red.
“Where’s Caleb?” asked Harry.
“He already left,” answered Ginny, “You were too busy with Cho to notice.” There was a small teasing smile painted on her lips.
She continued stroking Teddy’s hair while Harry was looking down at her.
“It’s good that you’re making her feel better,” she said, “She needs the love and attention.”
“She is feeling better,” said Harry, “I did what you told me.”
Ginny looked up at him and he saw meaning in her eyes.
“You did,” she said, “And the results are undoubtedly good. She needs you, Harry and I’m proud of you for keeping her company.”
She continued stroking Teddy’s hair and there was a tender look on her face.
“I heard you’re coming on the 24th,” she said, “Ron’s bachelor party. Only you and him.”
“Yeah, you heard right,”
“Well, I bet Ron’s going to tell you every dirty secret he wouldn’t want Hermione to hear. You’re going to have to make his transition from singleness to married smooth,” she said.
“Really now?” asked Harry, “I guess I’m looking forward to it.”
Ginny smiled and withdrew her hand.
“Well, I’ll be seeing you then,” she said, “Goodnight, Harry.”
She touched his arm, then turned her back…
Harry was all alone, carrying a sleeping godson and pondering with his thoughts.
Something felt off.
He once again glanced at Ginny’s retreating back.
He had a feeling he would know at Ron’s bachelor party.
Hello! I’m so sorry it took so long! I had exams, you see. But semestral break is here, and I’m FREE!
Anyway, I don’t know what you’d think with the last line of this chapter. I wrote it so you would read the next one. I’ll be finishing this fan fiction soon. I estimate it by 10 chapters left or something like that. Let me know what you’re favorite moment in this fic is by commenting or reviewing!
You know I love you,