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Missing Moment - Comparative Shipping Analysis
By Forge2

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Category: Post-OotP
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley
Genres: General
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: G
Reviews: 5
Summary: As they finish a meal in Hogsmeade, Hermione and Ron discuss Harry's new relationship with Cho while comparing the situation to other potential matches for their friend. A reasonable discussion of why two of Harry's friends aren't enthusiastic about him dating Cho that (hopefully!) doesn't veer into bashing, even though Ron can be belligerent at times.
Hitcount: Story Total: 923

Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights ? J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.

Author's Notes:
This story was a real challenge to write at times because Ron isn't particularly understanding or empathetic toward Cho in canon. I didn't want the story to devolve into Cho-bashing, because she can be a fun and interesting character in the right contexts. I've enjoyed writing her differently in my longfic, Harry Potter and the Ritual of Love's Memory. To make up for Ron being a bit callous, Hermione had to pick up some extra slack sticking up for Cho. After writing almost exclusively from Harry's perspective with brief Ginny POV interludes, it was fun to tell a story through Hermione's eyes. Thanks for taking the time to read it!


Ron swore for the third time during their meal, causing an exasperated Hermione to shift up from “stern, disapproving glare” to “eyebrows raised and ready to get loud.” If he kept this up, she would be forced to use his full first name. Possibly even add in Billius.

“Sorry, ‘Mione,” he answered dutifully, though she hadn’t said anything to him. Yet. Her look softened as she attempted to ignore the tiny flutter in her stomach that his nickname for her elicited. “It’s just that we always come to Hogsmeade with Harry. It’s the three of us, y’know? It’s just not the same without him.”

Hermione might have been offended if Ron hadn’t been so right. They had been a trio since their first year. Other than a few isolated incidents, like Ron’s jealous streak the previous year or when she’d been petrified by a Basilisk, the three of them had been inseparable.

It wasn’t that she couldn’t spend time with Ron on their own. Truth be told, there had been occasions when she had pined for a bit more opportunity to be with him on their own. But Harry served as such an excellent buffer for when either of them lost their temper. Hermione was well aware that she was wound a bit too tightly, and she was dead certain that Ron’s lack of seriousness was a legitimate problem that was likely to hound him throughout his academic career and into the future…

She breathed in through her nose and released it slowly. Not the time to dwell on that.

“I agree, but we can’t push him on this. I already feel horrid for scheduling the Skeeter interview for today, but I couldn’t figure out any other way to make it happen without Umbridge interfering. I’m sure Cho will be upset that she doesn’t get to spend the whole day with him.”

Ron scowled. “I know we agreed to be supportive and all that, but I’m already sick of her.”

“Ronald Weasley!” Hermione reached across the table to swat at his arm. “If you said that to Harry, he’d be crushed! You know how much he cares what you think.”

“That’s why I said it to you instead of him,” replied Ron darkly. “You’re the smartest person I know, so if you tell me she’s a good match for him, I’ll try to give her another chance. But seriously, I can’t imagine you think she’s good for him.”

Hermione’s brain attempted to come up with good reasons for Harry and Cho to work out, but the unexpected compliment threw off her typically-stellar analysis.

“Well… It’s not that I think she’s ideal for Harry. But they both really like quidditch.” Ugh, it sounded even worse out loud than it had in her brain.

“Look, I love quidditch more than I can put into words, but I’d much rather date someone who doesn’t know a thing about the sport than her. She’s so weepy half the time, but then she gets all giggly all of a sudden when he’s trying to run stuff for the DA. I swear she’s whispering to Marietta every time he’s trying to give instructions.”

“That’s not fair,” countered Hermione, filing away Ron’s line about dating someone who didn’t know quidditch to consider later. “She’s still dealing with Cedric’s death. That kind of trauma doesn’t just go away after a set amount of time.”

“Then maybe she should sort that out before dating a damn good bloke and ends up hurting our best friend?”

Hermione blinked several times as she tried to refute the logic of the statement to no avail.

“Maybe that’s true, but…” She grew quiet as the simple truth of Ron’s observation settled into her mind.

“Answer me this, then,” said Ron with the same grin he wore when he was approaching a checkmate. “Can you see her hanging out with the three of us? Us all being friends?”

“We could probably get along alright…” answered Hermione without conviction.

“Not just get along. Can you imagine a world where we’re all close friends? Or do you think she’d try to pull him away?”

“Just because I can’t really picture it right now doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.”

“I’m just saying that I don’t think she’s good enough for him. And anytime I’m around her, I get the feeling she thinks we’re not good enough for her.”

“We don’t know if she believes that.” Hermione felt her will to argue the point slipping as her own feelings about how Cho acted around her began to press in. Cho hadn’t ever really spoken to her before, even when they all sat at the same table at the Yule Ball.

“Okay, try this one: how many girls in our year would you feel this much anxiety over Harry dating? ‘Cause I’m betting your list isn’t very long.” He peered at the ceiling and stuck the tip of his tongue out of the corner of his mouth in concentration, causing a small smile to return to Hermione’s face.

“Pansy, for sure.”

“Not counting the Slytherins. It’s not fair to include girls whose daddies probably want to kill Harry.”

Hermione laughed as she was taking a sip of butterbeer, spilling some on the quarter sandwich she hadn’t finished. “Lavender would probably drive me around the bend, but I don’t think I’d be this anxious about him taking her on a date. She annoys me to no end, but she really can be nice. And I thought when Harry brought Parvati to the Yule Ball that they were good together for the couple of minutes when they were dancing. She’s been talking about trying her hand at becoming a Healer, and it’s not like Harry isn’t accident-prone.”

At the mention of the Yule Ball, Ron’s eyes darted away and his ears went slightly pink. “So, nobody yet…”

She tapped her finger against the mug of butterbeer as she considered other options. “Any of the Hufflepuffs wouldn’t be too bad. Hannah is the sweetest girl in our year. And Susan is really smart.”

Ron laughed. “Susan’s fine and all, but our friend group’s ‘genius’ position is already taken. We don’t need anyone else pestering us about revisions and OWLs.” Hermione glared at Ron, though she did admit to herself that Susan could be a bit too enthusiastic about Ancient Runes. “But I’d happily take any of the ‘Puffs over Cho.”

“Ravenclaws… I really like Su Li and Padma. I guess any of the others would be okay, even though I don’t know them too well.”

“Agreed, although Seamus mentioned a few weeks back that Mandy’s dating Audra, so I kinda doubt she’d be too interested in Harry.”

Hermione pursed her lips in thought before nodding. “Well, good for them. I know you said no Slytherins, but I honestly think I could even feel alright about him on a date with Daphne.”

She half-expected Ron to protest, but he merely cocked his head to the side and shrugged. Hermione thought it a remarkable concession, at least from him, and worth a reward. She lifted the edge of her plate to offer him the remaining sandwich section, which he quickly grabbed.

“It’s not like any of them are perfect for Harry, but I wouldn’t feel nearly as anxious about it if Harry had asked one of them.”

“Aha! So you are anxious about Harry and Cho!” Ron looked smug as he spoke with sandwich still unchewed. Hermione inwardly cringed slightly and fought the urge to scold him. Instead, she sighed and shrugged.

“Okay, I’m a little concerned.” She rolled her eyes as Ron pumped his fist. Another reason why she rarely conceded in their arguments. “She’s just not a very good fit for him, especially with him being so on edge and her clearly still hurting about Cedric. He’d probably be better off with someone…”

“Less of a downer?”

“I was going to say ‘not currently processing a huge trauma.’”

“Alright, well, if you were setting him up with someone, who would it be?”

The question had bounced around in Hermione’s head before, but she wasn’t sure Ron would appreciate her conclusion. “Hmm… I’m not sure. Who would you choose for him?”

“There’re only two realistic options who I wouldn’t think he was too good for.” Hermione was immediately puzzled by his response. “I wanna see if you pick one of them.”

“Well, if I had to pick someone for him, I’d probably go with…” She braced herself in case her answer pushed his overprotective button. “Ginny.”

A broad smile lit up Ron’s face as he clapped his hands together loudly enough to startle an elderly couple sitting in a nearby booth. “Exactly! They’d be perfect together!”

“Wait a second, you think so, too?”

“Of course I do!” he exclaimed with a laugh. “It’d be great! Ginny’s had a crush on him for ages. Mum and Dad already want to adopt him, and she could smack him around when he starts getting too moody. Plus, she wouldn’t ruin our whole friend thing we’ve got going. She drives me barmy sometimes, but it’s not like you and Harry don’t do that, too.”

Hermione let out a confused laugh of her own. “Oh, thanks for that vote of confidence, Ronald…”

“I’m serious! She was basically my best friend before I came to Hogwarts and met you two. You and Ginny seemed to get along great over the summer. You’d have another girl to hang out with who doesn’t want to talk about the latest issue of Witch Weekly. She can talk quidditch with me and Harry, and she’s enough like the twins that she could help us prank Malfoy every once in a while. And she’s better than either of you at chess!”

“That’s well and good, but all that sounds like we should just hang out with her more. She doesn’t have to date Harry to be our friend.”

“But then we have to deal with both of their plus ones!” Ron gave her a disappointed look. “Do you really want to go from the three of us hanging out to spending our time with Cho and Corner?”

His point made Hermione frown.

“And Harry already fought a killer snake to save her. Good luck to any other bloke trying to live up to that. You know she’ll always have that in the back of her mind. ‘Sure, you got me flowers for Valentine’s Day, but have you rescued me from any rampaging monsters?’”

“You know Ginny would never say anything of the sort!”

“Okay, maybe not. But still! Me and Harry could be brothers-in-law! That should be enough reason on its own!”

Hermione refused to allow herself to dwell on the sudden flash of a way that she, too, could become one of Harry’s future in-laws. “I guess I just thought you might be against the idea since she’s your little sister.”

Ron considered the point. “That’s the thing: I love Ginny. There’ll never be anyone good enough for her. Except maybe Harry, if he pulls his head out of his arse.”

A smirk appeared on the corners of Hermione’s lips. “So, I told you who I’d pick for Harry. You said there were two obvious choices, and Ginny was one of them. Who was the other?”

The pink rushed back to Ron’s cheeks and ears. “Well, err… About that. Other than Ginny, there’s really only one other person who wouldn’t make me think, ‘He’s too good for her…’”

He trailed off and took a long sip of his butterbeer without meeting her eyes. Hermione, for all her smarts and insight, had no idea who he could be talking about.

“Well? Who is it?” she asked rather impatiently, frustrated that he had thought of someone worth their friend’s time and attention.

He muttered something under his breath that she couldn’t make out.

“I didn’t catch that?”

“You, alright?” he said quietly. “I figure it had to be either Ginny or you.”

It wasn’t her proudest moment, but she snorted so hard that a concerned Madam Rosmerta called over to ask if she was alright. Hermione covered her reddening face with one hand while doing her best to signal to the barmaid that she was fine with her other. It took a minute before she composed herself.

“Ron, you’ve been reading too much Rita Skeeter!”

His eyes met hers as she tried to contain her laughter. “I was being serious. Harry hates how people act all weird about him for being famous and having a bunch of gold. But I know you don’t care about all that.”

Hermione rolled her eyes. “That’s true, but Harry’s basically like a brother to me. We talked about it when Skeeter’s article came out, and he feels the same. Harry’s great, but the idea of us together?” She grimaced as if Ron had suggested she ask out Draco Malfoy.

Ron’s tone was still a bit quieter than it had been earlier, but he did have the beginnings of a smile when he said, “Well then, looks like we’re making Harry and Ginny happen.”

“Oh, no, no, no,” replied Hermione quickly. “Ginny is happy with Michael and we’re not meddling with Harry and Cho.”

“Corner’s not good enough for her.”

“How about this: if both Harry and Ginny are single at some point, we can try to give them a nudge. But until then, we don’t stick our noses into their business.”

A sigh and a grumble were the only responses Hermione received.
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