Title: Relearning How to Fly
Ratings/Warnings: 1st-2nd, fem-slash
Word Count: 492 words
Author's Note: This was so hard to cut down. There's so much more I wanted to write, but this will have to do for now.
On a secluded green on the edge of Hogsmeade, a year after the Battle of Hogwarts, Ginny Weasley met with Cho Chang.
Cho looked as elegant and beautiful as ever, but she had been scarred by the Battle too. One scar sliced her left eyebrow in two. She held her old Cleansweep, so tightly that her knuckles were white. “Relax,” Ginny urged, placing her hands over Cho’s and squeezing gently.
“I haven’t flown since the Battle, Ginny.” Cho whispered. “Not since I dueled with Jugson and fell off the walls.”
“And I promised that you would fly again, play Quidditch again, and I meant it,” Ginny insisted.
Cho smiled, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes. “Stubborn Gryffindor.”
Ginny allowed herself a grin. “So your Ravenclaw calculations say that you have to give in to what the stubborn Gryffindor wants, right?”
Cho closed her eyes and took a deep, shuddering breath before opening her eyes again. “Yeah.”
Ginny abruptly realized that she was still holding on to Cho’s hands. She let go and picked up her own broomstick and mounted it easily. “Let’s go.” Ginny kicked off and Cho followed a moment later.
They flew a few careful, low circles. Ginny spiraled higher and higher. Cho followed slowly. “How are you feeling?” Ginny asked, when they reached fifty feet.
Cho pulled alongside. “Better than I have for a long time.” She grinned, and for a moment, Ginny saw the old Cho, the pretty flirt, who Harry and Cedric had both adored. “I... I think we should go back down though,” she continued, as the smile faded.
Ginny wanted to insist that they continue upwards until they reached Quidditch playing height but then decided against it. “Alright.”
After they landed, Cho looked back up at the cloudless sky. “I never thought I would fly again... Thank you,” she added, turning back towards Ginny.
“Maybe in a few weeks, we can have a Seeker’s Duel,” Ginny said, pulling a Snitch from her pocket.
Cho frowned slightly. She’s so much prettier when she smiles... she shouldn’t ever frown. As soon as she thought it, Ginny wondered where it had come from. “I thought you preferred playing Chaser,” Cho said.
“I do. But I can play Seeker, and this way we can play together without needing teammates. And you always played Seeker.”
Cho’s smile was back, and Ginny felt herself return the smile. “Thanks, Ginny” Cho said, again and hugged her abruptly. Ginny froze and then slowly raised her arms so that she held Cho. It was strange to hug someone slightly shorter than her, but it was nice at the same time. Cho’s hair smelled good, and was soft under her fingertips. When she finally pulled away, Ginny somehow wished that she hadn’t.
“I’ll see you next week then?”
“It’s a date,” Cho replied, and then hesitated. After a moment, she leaned forward to give Ginny a quick peck on the cheek before Apparating away.
Ratings/Warnings: 1st-2nd years; character death.
Word Count: 498
The sun is high in the sky, a beacon at midday. I stand in the fringe of trees at the edge of the clearing, out of the hot light. He leans against the fence, looking up at the Shrieking Shack. It seems more desolate than usual; he just stares at it, gaze unwavering. He hasn’t noticed me lurking.
His legs are straight, but his back is bent forwards at a slight angle, his arms balanced, perpendicular, on the strip of timber running the length of the fence. He isn’t wearing robes, just a baggy white t-shirt and frayed jeans.
He looks plain.
This realisation annoys me, because Neville Longbottom should not look plain. He’s, without a doubt, one of the bravest people I know, whether he believes it or not. Biting my lip, I take a step and go up to him. He doesn’t react to my approach.
‘Hi, Cho,’ he says flatly, with no intonation, glancing at me. I mirror the position he’s adopted, settling my forearms on the top of the fence beside him. The wood digs into my flesh.
‘Neville,’ I reply in acknowledgement, smiling. He smiles back, though it lacks any enthusiasm.
We stay like that for a few minutes. I pretend to look at the Shrieking Shack, but, actually, I continue to examine him from the corner of my eye.
I think he’s depressed, drained by everything that’s happened -- even though we won the war, everybody has something to be sad about. Some have more to mourn than others. Even Neville, one of the bravest.
The silence presses in on me; it grows uncomfortable, and I push away from the fence abruptly. Neville looks around in surprise. I smile again, glad to see a real reaction from him. His face is red from the sun, and shiny with sweat.
‘Cheer up, Neville,’ I tell him, looking right into his eyes. They’re sad. He makes me feel guilty for having moved on so quickly. When Cedric died, I mourned for months. This time there’s death on a greater scale, but an overall victory. And this time I want to celebrate for those that were lost. I don’t want to be sad. It feels counter-productive.
‘I’m fine,’ he says. He gives me a small smile, but it’s not real. It’s not fake either.
Sympathy rushes through me; I hug him, and he returns it numbly. ‘You should celebrate for them, Neville,’ I tell him. I feel him nod against my hair, and I think I feel moisture, too. His tears don’t make me uncomfortable like his silence did; I’ve been there. I pull back and kiss him on the cheek. ‘You’re a hero, Neville. So are they.’
‘I did them proud,’ he whispers. His expression is vacant, and I know he’s talking to himself now. Despite this, I say ’yes’, and back away from him, into the main town, leaving him smiling to himself, leaving him to his thoughts.
I think I helped him.
Title: A Little Light
Word Count: 499
Neville hid in the corridor until Ginny grew quiet. When her tormentors were gone, he rushed in and found her trying to sit up, mutinous tears on her face. “Ginny.” He helped her up and disillusioned them both before moving out into the open. “Are you all right?”
They walked in silence for a few minutes.
“I wish…” She didn’t finish, but Neville guessed it was something to do with Harry.
“What?” he asked.
“Just… a change of scenery would be nice. I wish we could go to Hogsmeade. Stupid, I know.”
He stopped walking and studied her face: she looked so tired, and not just from this new brand of detention. All at once, it came to him; he took her hand and led her up several staircases to the seventh floor.
“Where are we going?”
When they reached the spot, he stopped and closed his eyes, concentrating hard. He heard her sharp intake of breath and looked: a door had appeared. He grinned, stepping back to let Ginny enter first.
“Neville,” she gushed, looking around. “How did you… it’s amazing!”
It was The Three Broomsticks, truly and exactly like the one in Hogsmeade: the bar, the tables, the fire… everything was the same. Foggy windows revealed a light snow falling outside, just like always. The place was deserted—not even Madame Rosmerta was around.
Ginny laughed and pulled Neville toward the bar, where she took one of the two Butterbeers from the counter and handed him the other. “Cheers!” She took a long drink of the frothy liquid and beamed at him. “You’re brilliant, you know.” Her eyes were full of fire as she talked about Hogsmeade, and Neville was immensely satisfied to have cheered her so.
A while later, her voice grew serious. “I wish we could stay here.”
The energy of the room shifted, and Neville realized how close she was to him. He’d always been attracted to Ginny, but this was different: this time he was sure she felt it, too. He almost said something to stop it happening, but then it was too late. She kissed him first, and he did not have it in him to resist. Her lips were cool and soft, fitting so nicely to his, and when she pressed herself to him more earnestly, he responded in kind.
After several minutes, he pulled back. “Ginny, we can’t… Harry.”
“He isn’t here. And we aren’t together now, anyway.”
“I like you, you know.” His voice was hoarse. “I always have.”
“You’re my best friend. No one else will ever understand what this has been like.” She kissed him again. “Please… let’s stay a while longer.”
In response, his hand found her waist and he buried the other in her hair as he kissed her, this time with less restraint. They clung to each other, exploring… finding comfort… and Neville pressed down the guilt that fought for the surface.
They’d shared so much darkness already... why not a little light?
Title: Old Friends
Ratings/Warnings: 3rd/5th, sexual situations
Word Count: 498
As always these days, Cho had hung back in the changing rooms after the match. She rarely wanted to talk to anyone, and quite enjoyed those moments of solitude.
How different the solitude now was to that then. Now, only days later, she felt nervous, expectant, even scared. The person she was waiting for – would they come? Had it just been another trick?
Unexpectedly, the door opened. She turned around to see a girl, slightly younger than Cho, slenderly built, with dark hair.
Cho applied some of her raspberry-flavoured chapstick – just to protect her lips from the cold.
“You’re in the wrong changing rooms, Pansy. And Draco wasn’t even there – didn’t he tell you?”
“No, I– I knew that. Of course I knew that. I just thought he might–”
“Well, he’s not here. So if you don’t mind...”
A figure was walking towards her; the snow was falling in such thick flakes that it was hard to make anything out, yet Cho found that her heart was beating unreasonably fast.
Finally, she realised that it really was her. It was hard to believe that she had actually meant it, that she hadn’t intended for Cho to make a fool of herself.
For a moment, Cho thought she had been a bit too snappy, but when Pansy returned to her usual self, those doubts vanished in an instant.
“Oh, sure, Chang, I’ll leave you to your moping about. It’s all you seem to have done for the past year. No boys around to listen now, are there?” Without waiting for an answer, Pansy turned back around to leave.
Pansy was close enough for Cho to see the nervous expression on her face, her eyes that darted this way and that, and the snowflakes that got caught in her dark hair. Almost hastily, Cho pulled Pansy close and placed her lips on hers. Pansy responded deeply to Cho’s tentative nibs, and soon, the entire snow-covered village around them had disappeared.
She had her hand on the doorknob when Cho said, “I haven’t forgotten, you know.” Pansy froze. “We used to have lots of fun back then,” Cho continued. “Before all of this started. Boys, I mean, and all the pressure. I liked being able to just talk to you. I still see you around town a lot at home.”
This was it, Cho thought as she ran her hands up Pansy’s softly curving side beneath her cloak. It hadn’t been Harry’s insensitivity, or all the attention Cedric got from other girls. It had been Pansy. Her full, sweet lips, those delicious hips, the way her body arched against Cho’s when they kissed...
The tension in the room became almost unbearable. Suddenly, Pansy spun around and, her eyes fixed on the floor, spoke. “I’m going to Hogsmeade on the next weekend. I’m going there alone. Draco never has time anymore.”
“I’m glad you showed up,” she said.