Cho considers her options and actions, then settles on a decision. Hermione/Cho Femme Slash Warning!
Chapter Title: Confrontations (1/2)
Story Rating/Chapter Rating: PG-13/PG-13
Disclaimer: I do not own any canon parts of /Harry Potter/.
Summary: Cho considers her options and actions, then settles on a decision.
Genre: Romance, Angst
Archive/Feedback: Both are appreciated. Feedback should be helpful, and I should know where the story is going.
Pairing: Cho Chang/Hermione Granger
Warnings: Femmeslash, adult insinuations
Email/Websites: betagirl23 at yahoo dot com/See Profile
Author's Notes: This is the sequel to "Peace Offering". The first story does not absolutely need to be read, but it does explain what caused this story to take place. "Peace Offering" can be found here: http://www.ficwad.com/viewstory.php?sid=409.
With the memory of the kiss fresh in Cho's mind, and hot on her lips, she strode away from the stunned brunette. She could not allow her mind the privilege of dwelling on what she had just done. If she stopped now to consider why she kissed Hermione Granger, a complusive bookworm and reasonably pleasant young lady, Cho knew that she might not make it back to Ravenclaw Tower without embarrassing herself.
Cho had a terrible habit of doing that these days. Everything from her crying all over Harry about her poor, dead boyfriend, Cedric Diggory, or causing some other scene, had taken up all of her time. Cho did not know what to do.
She had gone to Harry for comfort, but it had nearly been no comfort at all. Just looking into the eyes of one who saw him last tore into Cho's heart with a relentless anguish. She had not known what to do with her feelings for Harry when she first discovered them in her fifth year, and Harry's fourth, while Cedric was still alive.
Cho had always thought of Harry as brave from the way he was determined to head up a challenge, instead of running away from his responsibilities as most teenaged boys would. Harry was tall, strong, and very much alive, and Cedric was not. Though Cedric was handsome and charming, and had gotten to her first, Cho had known inside that she carried flickering embers of hope for a "Maybe one day. . . " with Harry.
Now, that had been spoiled too, and here she had kissed the girl who was partly the reason behind the resolution of her feelings for Harry. Cho did not know what was happening.
It was as though, she, Cho had not been jealous of Hermione in only a trivial fashion. Perhaps, there was more to the dislike.
Of course, she knew that some of the animosity grew from the insecurities of previous experiences with Cedric. People would love to believe that popularity equals perfection, but it does not. She laughed and smiled with her girlfriends, but jealousy ate at her when all the other girls would stare longingly at Cedric, and shamelessly flirt with him when they thought she was not looking. All in hopes of winning his favor. All in hopes of nicking him away from her.
Cho reached the portrait that concealed Ravenclaw Tower's entrance. She spoke the password as two of her fellow Ravenclaws, and D.A. members joined her. She nodded politely to Michael Corner, her newest beau, and his friend, Terry Boot. They watched her with expectant expressions as if waiting for more conversation as they entered the smartly decorated, circular common room.
Cho pretended not to have noticed their attempted attentions, and marched over to the staircase that led to the girls' dormitories.
She stalked up the stairs, passing several younger girls who greeted her merrily as she passed. Cho nodded and stretched an elastic smile across her face to satisfy the girls' bids for acknowledgement.
Cho reached the doorway that led to the spiral staircase, her mind thrumming with electricity. She had kissed her, and part of Cho wanted Hermione to kiss her back. She could not bear the imminent rejection, so she had backed away.
Cho thought about her supposed jealousy of Hermione, letting it flip over in her mind with every step she placed between herself and the common room. By the time she made it to her lofty dormitory, Cho had settled into several uncomfortable, but clear conclusions.
The first being that she truly had cared about Cedric with a deeper appreciation than she originally thought she did. Although she was fond of Cedric as a person, there was certainly no denying the skill of his tongue. He was the perfect boyfriend, was born into a respectable family, and above all else, was a prime male to introduce to her parents.
Harry, though brave and captivating in his leadership and charming, ritualistic habits, would not have been as well-received. Cho's parents, like many others, thought Harry something of a laughable hero, and a certified freak. 'What kind of person survives You-Know-Who?' they would ask more to themselves than Cho. They would always answer their own question with the same answer and a snobby little laugh, a /freak/.
It certainly did not help matter that Cho had been caught in those blazing green eyes more times than she had the dignity to admit.
Then, there was Granger, straight-forward, frighteningly intelligent, passionate, and was starting to fill out her school uniform with the blessings of rounded hips and exquisite cleavage. Though some would be put off by the intellect and the wild bushel of dark hair, Cho felt drawn to Hermione because of these things. Her Gryffindor wit would be an adequate challenge for her Ravenclaw own. Then, there was the hair, all by itself. Cho wanted to be lost in its depths, never to return.
Cho clutched at her chest, shocked, and thoroughly scandalized. She had never felt anything like this for another female before. She could not understand why she would now.
She trudged over to her four-poster bed and threw herself down upon it. Cho knew that her feelings stemmed from a number of emotions. She readily identified admiration, longing, curiosity, and attraction for something she could not have easily among the jumble of thoughts and interwoven sentiments.
There was something else that Cho could not identify. It was a prickling of an itch which told her she should recognize this particular feeling.
Cho considered everything she knew about Hermione. She mentally leafed through every note-worthy action she could remember Hermione taking. When her mind lingered on the causes Hermione had taken up over the years from S.P.E.W. to Neville Longbottom, it was then that the long awaited realization came into focus. Hermione had a warmth, a caring for others, and a knack for doing the right thing that she knew to be rivaled by two other students. Those students were Cedric Diggory and Harry Potter.
Sensing a pattern aching to make itself known, Cho rolled over onto her side to curl into a half fetal position. More than all the Honeyduke's chocolate in the world, Cho needed her Dwarf Poodle, Mr. Mittens. She missed the way he would lick her tears as she cried in a spirited attempt to drink her sorrow so she would have none left to consume. Cho longed for that comfort now as the first of numerous tears to come spilled from her closed eyes to creep along her skin. More than anything, she craved a true friend. She had to find a way to stop the incessant crying in order to move forward with her life.
It has been a year since Cedric's murder, but the memory remained planted in the front of her mind. It stung as though no time had passed at all. Time was peculiar this way.
Cho flopped over onto her back when she heard someone enter the room. She raised her head to peer over her breasts to see who had disturbed her privacy.
Cho's insides clenched in anger when she saw that it was her ex-friend, Marietta Edgecombe. Cho had defended the girl when Harry called her, Marietta, on the mess she had made. She had stood up for Marietta to all the other D.A. members who approached her with scathing glares of resentment and digust in the halls, classes, and at meal times. Cho had championed Marietta to her own mind when doubt and accusation crawled in, and still, the girl had been unappreciative.
Cho had made certain to spend every break between classes and free time before and after dinner in the hospital wing, comforting Marietta. She had lied to Marietta and told her the spots did not look as bad as she thought they did. Cho assured her then-friend that something Madame Pomfrey tried must have worked, because her skin was looking better already.
But Marietta appreciated none of this. In fact, she snapped at Cho, calling her a liar and told her to go away. Cho had felt an affronted indignation no one previously evoked from her. Here she had done all that she could to be a good friend to the D.A.'s betrayer, and her selflessness had been nonchalantly thrown aside.
Three days had passed since the argument, and it looked as though Marietta or Madame Pomfrey had cast a Glamour on Marietta's unfortunate face. Its affects masked the bulk of the jinx, but now Marietta's face appeared to be a deep crimson, giving her the impression of a lasting embarrassed blush. Cho figured most of the coloring to be of Marietta's own doing, instead of the Glamour's.
Cho sneered uncharacteristically, and hissed, "Sneak. . . "
Marietta gasped before setting her face in a stony show of indifference as she tugged open her trunk to dig amongst her possessions.
Cho chuckled in her throat, letting her head fall back to the mattress. Perhaps Granger was right after all, Marietta deserved what she got. If anyone deserved to be jinxed, traitorous sneaks would be at the top of the agenda.
Cho listened to the sounds of Marietta's exploration of her trunk. Normally, the knowledge of having her best friend close by and overhearing the rustle of clothes against the contents of Marietta's trunk soothed her when she felt overwhelmed or panicky. Now, even the softest bump of her books against the inside of Marietta's foot locker annoyed her. She wished that Marietta would now be the one to go away. Cho did not want to see her marked face again.
Cho ran her hands through the length of her charcoal hair. She relished the smooth texture of the strands, and the muted chill that clung to them. She sighed in content, closing her eyes once more to enjoy the sensation of air leaving her lungs.
The evaporation of Cho's sorrow from her face relaxed her. She was done crying. At least she would strive not to do it every day. Cho had given up nearly everything she held dear to a memory and laments. Her grades, flying, and personal relationships all suffered because of the saline that was ever present upon her person. This was going to have to stop.
The soft sigh of pleasure unfailingly drew Marietta's attention. Marietta turned her prim face to her sprawled one-time friend.
"You know, you don't have to act so happy about what Granger did. That is unless you were in on it," Marietta spat.
Cho's mind slammed back to earth from the delightful drift it had been floating in by Marietta's comment. The miserable girl was trying to goad her, and was attempting to make Cho as unhappy as she was. Cho made up her mind not to let Marietta's bitterness affect her. She had already eaten a year's worth of her own heartache.
Cho sat up to see clearly into Marietta's eyes before she dignified the girl's remark with a reply.
"I was not "in on" anything. You know that I was just as horrified as you were when we saw the effects of the jinx. How were any of us to know that Hermione Granger jinxed that parchment? I tried to be your friend, even though you did a rotten thing," Cho whispered forcefully.
Marietta took a full step back from Cho's heated words. Marietta knew that Cho was right, but she could not help herself.
"Is that so? Perfect, little, weepy Cho Chang was doing me a fine honor by being my friend. Shall I worship you now for all of your hallowed deeds, or would you prefer for me to kiss up to you when everyone else does?" Marietta eyed Cho aggressively, daring her to speak up.
Cho scoffed at Marietta's push to present herself in a cold, villainous light. She knew that Marietta still sucked her thumb at night, much like she did other body parts of men whom she did not know very well in a tragic move to improve her nonexistent self-esteem.
Cho, never having been inclined to be overly catty, broke then, and told Marietta that she was among those who often tried to appeal to her to gain even a crumble of recognition. Cho told Marietta to pull the broomstick from certain areas of her anatomy, and then to go jump in the lake. Lastly, Cho told Marietta that she had no idea what kind of friend she had just pushed away.
Marietta countered every insult and insinuation with vile words of her own before storming out of the dormitory all together.
Cho exhaled at the relief of getting specific, gnawing thoughts off of her chest, and into the ears of one who long should have heard them. Cho exhaled deeply again to the now empty room in acceptance that everyone had been correct about Marietta. Most all of, Hermione Granger had been right. Cho knew then that it was her that she needed to see.