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my heart is holding on to you

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The first time Katie kisses a girl it's for a dare. She's thirteen, new on the Quidditch team, and when her dorm mates suggest a game of truth or dare she says yes, still riding on that high of being accepted for the team, up for anything.

Samantha Brixton giggles into her palm when she dares Katie to kiss Alicia because she's just been accepted for the team too and Katie is pretty sure Samantha thinks this means they're in love with each other or something.

"You're not scared, are you, Katie?" Samantha laughs, Laura and Freya laughing along with her.

Katie rolls her eyes and shrugs at Alicia, they might as well get this over with, and when Alicia smiles back and leans in, Katie finds the quick press of her lips against her own quite nice. Alicia smells very fruity, like she just took a bath with a million different potions, and Katie finds herself panicking for a second about what she must smell like, if it’s bad, before she remembers that it doesn’t matter, it’s just for a dare, Alicia doesn’t care.

“How was it?” Freya asks when they pull apart after the allotted ten seconds and settle back into their spaces in the circle.

Katie cuts her eyes to Alicia, watches her shrug and say it was alright. That sets the three of them off again -- across the laughter Katie catches Alicia's eye, both of them rolling their eyes at the same time, and from then on they’re best friends.

It’s funny, the things that start a friendship.

(It's something that's fun to pull out a couple of years later when Fred makes a quip about girls snogging and Katie tells him casually that she and Alicia have already done that. When he slides back along his broom, almost falling off the other end, Alicia and Katie fall into each other high up in the sky, and laugh.)

 


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She kisses a girl over the summer holidays to see if she enjoys it as much as she imagines she will. Her name is Hazel, she’s fourteen, she lives a couple of minutes away from Katie’s house, and one night when they run into each on the way home from the corner shop Hazel asks her if she wants to go for a walk.

So Katie shoves her chewing gum in the pocket of her shorts and walks with Hazel over to the park a few minutes away on the other side of the shop.

“You’re never here during school time,” Hazel says, kicking her feet high on the swings. “Where do you go, boarding school?”

“Something like that,” Katie says because she never likes to outright lie about Hogwarts, even to a Muggle.

Hazel snaps the gum Katie offered her, lips shiny pink with lipgloss. It’s this moment, here, with the two of them swinging high, their feet skimming the leaves of the trees in a way that makes Katie ache for her broom, that Katie watches Hazel, her dark hair flying out behind her, her mouth open in a gleeful yell, that the past few months of wondering click together in her head and she finally, finally, realises what she wants. “All girls?” Hazel asks, breath coming out in a gasp as she pushes to match Katie’s height.

“No, boys too.”

“Yeah?” And now they’re level and Hazel can catch Katie’s eye and Katie can see that Hazel knows everything that Katie’s thinking right at this moment. So she shrugs her reply, indifference to boys clear, and Hazel smiles.

It takes a while for them both to slow down and then it takes a few moments before one of them leans in and then Katie’s mouth is open and Hazel’s tongue is in her mouth and oh, this is what she wants. She doesn’t understand how she missed it before.

They meet up a few more times that summer, slipping down alleys and kissing against the wall as the sun sets and Katie stops counting the days back to Hogwarts as she watches them slip by too quickly.

(Years later she runs into Hazel again, both of them older, wiser, open with who they are and what they want. Hazel has a girlfriend and Katie does too but when they say bye, see you around they smile at each other and Katie is hurtled back to that summer so violently she almost stumbles.)

 



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Cho Chang, Ravenclaw's Seeker, has always been someone Katie has admired from the corner of her eye without allowing it to go much further than that. She's clever and she's funny, the group of girls around her in the Potions class they share always laughing at something she's said every time Katie looks over. She's pretty, too, Katie can see. She's still a little unsteady about this whole girls over boys thing that's going on inside her head at the moment but meeting up with Hazel a few more times over the summer has brought her more to terms with it. Being attracted to Cho feels different from the way she felt with Hazel, though, which is perhaps due to the closer proximity she has to Cho and the way she knows what Cho is thinking and laughing about when she leans just a little closer to hear.

With Hazel it had been experimenting and a lot of kissing, something never meant to last more than a few weeks. With Cho, it's a full-blown crush.

Katie's not a romantic. She doesn't believe in fate or destiny otherwise the Kestrels would surely have knocked the Tornadoes off the top of the league by now. She believes in going out and making her own luck, choosing her own decisions, and being content with where she ends up, wherever that may be. But when she gets paired up with Cho for a Potions project she wonders if there's something more than magic buzzing through the halls because how else could this land in her lap.

She's wary at first at what it'll be like. Of course she's spoken to Cho a fair few times over the years through mutual friends, classes, and Quidditch, but they haven't really spent much time alone, just the two of them, and Katie can't help but worry that it just won't work.

But, in a way that has Katie clinging to that giant word fate again, they click.

“I’m glad you’re my partner, Katie,” Cho tells her when they find each other after the class has ended to discuss meeting up. “You always seem like you know what you’re doing.”

“That’s lucky,” Katie replies, falling into step with Cho as they walk down the corridor and climb the stairs out of the dungeon, “because half the time I have no idea. I’m kidding,” she adds before Cho can regret getting landed with her as a partner, she said she was glad after all. “Half the time I’m actually just really lucky but the other half I am kinda good at.”

“That’s good,” Cho says, sitting on a bench in one of the alcoves outside the Great Hall. “Because I’m the same.”

“What a team we make, Cho.”

“Snape likes poisons,” Cho says, rolling her eyes at herself for stating the obvious. “We could find an unusual poison?”

“Yeah, that’d be good,” Katie agrees. “And at the end we could talk about the antidote and its effectiveness, depending on the strength of the poison.”  

Cho nods her agreement. “Good idea. So, when will we meet up?”

To be handed these obligatory hours to spend with Cho is enough of a gift that it takes Katie a moment to remember she has Quidditch practice and homework and other activities and that she can’t declare she’s free every night. “Well, unlike your Captain, we have practice a couple of times a week leading up to games,” she says, bringing the conversation onto a subject she knows they both know well.

“We’re going to win this year, Katie,” Cho retorts, smiling sweetly when Katie shakes her head. “Davies on the warpath. He’s not letting Gryffindor take it from him again.”

“You handed it over easily enough before,” Katie replies, remembering the goal she had scored just as Harry had grabbed the Snitch before Cho could realise what was happening, bringing the final score to a neat 360.

“A one time mistake,” Cho dismisses with a wave of her hand. “I have practice tonight so I should be free the rest of the week.”

With the match with Hufflepuff coming up Angelina has been frantic with her scheduling. “I have it on Wednesday and Friday.”

“Will we meet in the library on Thursday then?”

“I think I can manage that,” Katie says, trying not to focus on the way Cho’s hair is draping across her shoulder and down to her chest and the effect that’s having on her heartbeat. “I’ll see you then, Cho.”

“Looking forward to it, Katie,” Cho calls once Katie has started walking into the hall and it’s a throwaway line but fuck, Katie grabs onto it and milks it for all it’s worth.

The project goes fine. Cho’s a good partner; she makes neat notes as she reads various textbooks, passing them over to Katie who arranges them into more of an essay style, adding parts from her own notes. Sometimes when they work they talk, often discussing Quidditch at first but moving into more personal topics as the meetings go on, and sometimes they sit in relative silence, one of them humming until the other picks up the tune and joins in, always careful not to rise to a level that will lead to Madame Pince kicking them out. It’s fun, Katie realises, in a way that isn’t wholly based on the attraction she has to her partner. They work well together; they’re making good work that even Snape can’t dismiss with a sneer.

Once they’ve handed in the essay Katie wonders if this is the end of their friendship, not too wildly hoping that Cho will want this to continue. She’s been having fun, too, Katie can tell.

What she’s not expecting is for Cho to step into her space and kiss her in an alcove on the seventh floor a couple of days later. Immediately Katie sighs and leans into it more, hands winding into Cho's hair, and when Cho pushes her body up against hers, she wonders how the hell they waited so long to do this. It feels so great being able to kiss Cho after wondering what it would be like for so long -- Cho is eager and frantic, hot breaths pushing into Katie’s mouth as she searches for more. It’s unlike any first kiss Katie has had before. It’s the best first kiss Katie has ever had, too, although she's currently very biased in Cho's favour.

“Was that okay?” Cho asks when the kiss peters out and the two of them are resting against the wall.

Katie’s heart is fluttering in her throat, overwhelmed from the last few minutes; when she runs a tongue along her lips she can taste the cherry tang of Cho’s lipgloss and that too feels almost too much.

“That was definitely okay,” she breathes. When she looks at Cho she’s chewing at her lip, somehow still unsure with Katie’s reaction. “Cho, that was -- I’ve been wanting that for a long time.”

“I wanted to be sure but I couldn’t tell if you were just being nice or if you really liked me.”

“I really like you, Cho,” Katie says, enjoying setting those words into the world and enjoying the blush on Cho’s cheeks even more. "I thought I was being so obvious."

“So I can kiss you again?”

This time, Katie kisses her first. It’s just as good the second time.

 



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A few weeks later they progress past the kissing and into the realms of possibilities that Katie has been vividly imagining for months and months now. Her brother had told her once about going down on a girl, not explicitly, just had mentioned in passing as they’d had one of their tipsy-ish heart-to-hearts over Christmas. He had made a joke about his friend and his girlfriend and what they did and drunk imaginative Katie’s mind had grabbed onto that and ran with it. The thought of it had sent her head reeling, dizzy and wild with the thought of being with someone that way, of tasting them, of making them feel like their body was falling apart and then wrenching it back together again, all with her mouth.

So she stumbles back to Hogwarts in January, her mind full of her mouth and parts of Cho she hasn’t been privy to yet, probing fingers dancing around waistbands the closest she’s been. She kisses Cho hello when they meet up after dinner in their spot on the sixth floor, around the corner from the portrait of Welda the Wicked, and she wonders and wonders as her mouth familiarises itself with Cho’s again if Cho has had these thoughts too.

“What are you thinking about?” Cho murmurs, pulling away to press kiss after kiss to Katie’s cheek, her jaw, the curve of her neck. Katie allows the wall to support her and tilts her head back. Cho follows her back, mouth soft as she moves up to her ear. “Katie, what’re you thinking?”

“Let’s have sex,” Katie blurts out, completely unromantic and not subtle in the slightest. She closes her eyes and groans.

Cho huffs a laugh into Katie’s neck and then her hand reaches for Katie’s. When Katie opens her eyes again Cho is staring at her, eyes wide and lips parted, and Katie is just is just about to cut her losses and run when Cho nods. “Yeah. I’ve been thinking that as well.”

“Oh.” Katie sighs, then grins. “Good.”

Cho leans in to kiss her again, this kiss that little bit more insistent and eager than the last now that they know what’s on the table. Katie’s knees wobble when her brain flashes forward to the vision she’s built up of Cho stretched out on her bed, her legs open, Katie’s head between them, and when she pairs that with the way Cho is pressing herself closer and closer to Katie and the short pants of her breath when they break away for a second, she wonders how she’s managing to focus on anything at all.

“When?” Cho asks a while later when the kissing has come to an end and they’re sitting side by side on the floor, legs stretched out in front of them as they discuss their Christmas holidays. It’s freezing in the castle, especially when you’re sat on a stone floor against a stone wall. Katie leans heavily onto Cho, seeking warmth.

“I’ll see when I can schedule you in,” Katie replies not needing to ask what Cho’s referring to, laughing when Cho nudges her belly. “Uh -- I have Quidditch practice tomorrow.”

“I have it on Wednesday.”

“McGonagall gave us so much homework today I’ll still be doing it on Thursday,” Katie whines.

“Friday?” There’s this lust-tinged edge in Cho’s voice that has Katie’s stomach twisting into anticipatory knots.  

“That’s so far away,” Katie says, voice climbing into a whine she’s not even a little ashamed of. Now that she knows it’s going to happen it’s going to be all she can think about all week. This is probably why it happens spontaneously in all the books, no time to obsess over it in the lead up to it.

“We’ll manage,” Cho says, ducking her head down to catch Katie’s lips in a long, slow kiss that warms Katie up immediately. “I have to go,” Cho sighs when she pulls away far too soon. “Arithmancy,” she adds when Katie makes to lean back in, keep her here a while longer.

“Think of me,” Katie calls after her as she makes her way along the corridor. From here she can see the rumpled edge of Cho’s jumper where her fingers had burrowed underneath and she knows that she has a lot to do with the way Cho keeps reaching up and tucking her hair behind her ear, a tick that indicates she’s too happy to keep still.

At the end of the corridor Cho looks over her shoulder and, when she sees Katie still slumped against the wall, she waves and grins her goodbye.  

Merlin. Katie’s really missed Cho.

When Friday finally comes around Katie is a fumbling mess of nerves and excitement which is stupid because this Cho, the person she knows better than anyone, who she’s more comfortable around than anyone she knows, but this is new and it’s different and she can’t wait.

The majority of Gryffindor are involved in Fred and George’s recent snackbox scheme so it’s not hard at all to smuggle Cho through the common room and into her dorm, the two of them collapsing onto her bed in whispered giggles. “Stop, Cho,” Katie gasps, dodging the hand tickling under her ribs and making her struggle to think. “I need to -- I need to do the charms.”

With Cho’s help they get the bed as secure as possible and then Katie is falling back onto the pillow, arm around Cho’s waist to pull her with her. “I’ve been a mess all week,” Katie admits, mouth already slanting towards Cho’s for a quick brush before she’s leaning back again, biting back a smile, “thinking about this.”

Cho does this thing sometimes where she treats even the smallest things like they’re secrets, putting her mouth impossibly close to Katie’s ear to whisper whatever it is inside. She does this now, her hair tickling Katie's nose when she whispers, “I’ve barely been able to think about anything else,” which is a secret worthy of such a production.

“Let’s get on with it then,” Katie whispers back, both of them grinning stupid giddy grins before they dive in, teeth and tongues messy and desperate, and they begin pulling off clothing faster than they can untangle. “Cho,” she breathes, dragging her mouth away from Cho’s for a second, “Cho, can I --?” she loses her train of thought when Cho’s nails scratch along her thighs lightly and her back arches so her boobs squash against Katie’s and all Katie can think is that they’re both wearing too many clothes for them to do any of the things she has planned.

“Where’s my striptease?” Cho teases, tilting her head in question when they make quick work of removing everything but their underwear. When Katie ducks down and kisses Cho again, lying flat on the bed beside her, the first touch of skin-on-skin contact is so hot Katie almost flinches before she goes looking for more. “Was that not what I was promised?”

“That’s tomorrow,” Katie promises and then she’s sucking a bruise onto Cho’s collarbone, watching her pale skin bloom into purple and blue before she moves to her chest, to her stomach, and finally she maneuvers herself to between Cho’s legs, gently nudging them open to allow her to settle between them.

She kisses Cho’s thigh first, high, right at the seam of her underwear. Then, with the underwear gone, she moves her mouth onto Cho’s clit, pressing a kiss where she seems the wettest, guessing this is the right place when Cho moans above her. Katie’s heart is beating so fast she thinks she can hear it in her ears as she ducks her head down and uses her tongue. She’s used her fingers on herself before, she knows where things feel good on her, but this is someone else, this is Cho, and she wants to make her feel the best possible. She continues this, mouth seeking out every last bit of her, desperate to taste the hot, wet heat that is almost overwhelming.

“Fuck,” Cho stutters, hand trembling where it’s clasping Katie’s shoulder, when Katie blows gently on her clit. “Katie -- Kay -- Merlin.”

Katie can only mumble a response, focused on getting Cho to come, wanting to know how she sounds, how she looks, what she’ll say when that happens. She wants to know if she’ll scream loud enough for them to panic about the Silencing Charms and she wants to know if she’ll finally allow her thighs to clamp around Katie’s head so unlike the way she’s been struggling to restrain herself up until the now and she wants to know, fuck, she wants to know if Cho will say her name because she imagines that’ll be the most incredible thing she’ll ever hear.

She gets her answers and then some when she slides a finger into Cho at the same as she licks along her folds and over her clit, repeating the action once, twice, three times, until Cho is shaking and gasping and she’s sighing Katie’s name over and over again. Her thighs briefly close, skin soft where they brush Katie’s cheeks, and then Cho is pushing herself into a sitting position and tugging at Katie’s shoulder until she gets the hint and scrambles up to meet her, the kiss messy and dirty and perfect.

“I’m still trembling,” Cho laughs when Katie breaks the kiss, distracted by the humming deep in her body that’s yearning for more and more. She wants what she just gave Cho, she needs to feel that rush that has left Cho languid and breathless, to know how it feels to allow another person to do that to your body. “Hey, Katie,” Cho says, dragging Katie’s attention away from the sweat collecting in the hollow of Cho’s collarbone. “Lie down, okay?”

“You gonna do me?” Katie smirks.

Cho rolls her eyes. “Yeah, Katie. I’m gonna do you,” and then she’s gently pushing Katie onto her back and Katie’s brain fizzles into nothing comprehensible past Cho’s name and a few fucks after that.


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During the war when everyone is scared or dying it’s crucial to hang onto the things that make you happy, however small they may be. For Katie it’s knowing that her job is helping people as much as she can; it’s knowing that she has a safe home she can return to at the end of each day; it’s knowing that her girlfriend is doing the exact same thing in other areas of the country, returning to that same safe home each time. On days when Katie is losing hope that they’re ever going to win this war, when she accompanies families with members missing or when she hears that another schoolmate has been murdered, it eases the grief, just a bit, when she goes home and Cho is there

“How was it today?” Cho asks when Katie falls onto the couch, half her body landing on top of Cho’s.

“Awful,” Katie sighs, dropping her head onto Cho’s shoulder. “How was your day?”

“The same,” Cho replies. She raises her arm to run her fingers through Katie’s hair, brushing away any dirt and blood that has collected over the day’s work. It’s hard, transporting Muggleborns out of the country. It’s hard and it’s dangerous but it’s so important that Katie is glad to do it. Working as a Healer to the same groups of people means Cho’s job isn’t any easier. It’s what they can do to aide the war effort when they can’t be on the front line with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the Aurors. “I ran into Roger Davies’ family in Cornwall; they’re Apparating to Spain tomorrow.”

“I had no idea he was a Muggleborn.”

“Yeah,” Cho says, and then sighs sadly. Katie knows she admires Davies as much as Katie has always admired Oliver. “He used to bring Hubba Bubba bubblegum to practice whenever his mum sent him some.”

“I might run into him tomorrow, then,” Katie says, wriggling her arm so it can fit in the space between Cho and the couch, her hand settling on the patch of the skin where Cho’s top has ridden up. “He’ll be okay, Cho,” she says when Cho doesn’t speak. “We’re helping people.”

“The dream team,” Cho says, calling back to their Potions project that pulled them together. “Yeah. You’re right -- it’s just -- when I stop and think about it for too long I worry about everyone.”

“I know.” Some nights Katie goes to sleep without ever getting rid of the lump in her throat that had risen up as she had escorted tiny kids across the borders to places where You-Know-Who doesn’t reign terror across the country. Everyone is having to grow up so fast. “I can’t wait for it to be over.”

Cho twists her neck so she can press a soft kiss to Katie’s cheek and even that is promise enough that there are so many things worth fighting for.

 

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The war ends with a thud as Lord Voldemort’s body hits the ground and Harry Potter stands with a face that can only be described as exhausted relief. The room breathes for a second, making sure it’s final, and then it bursts into cheers and tears and hugging all round.

On the other side of the hall Katie sways with the same exhaustion and relief that Harry is trying to fight as people come up to thank him, congratulate him, cry for their dead. Katie backs against the wall and watches as the next era of Wizarding Britain begins -- the clean-ups, the mourning, the promises that this will never happen again, the same as last time but stronger this time. Katie isn’t privy to much of the inner-Ministry discussions nor does she know much about the higher levels of the Aurors, only following the instructions given to her, but she’s heard whispers of Kingsley Shacklebolt for next Minister, and standing here, she watches him make his way around the hall, consoling the injured and the grieving, congratulating the fighters, all in that deep, low, comforting voice, and Katie thinks yeah, that’ll be a good fit.

As she watches Kingsley Shacklebolt move through the survivors and Harry back away as subtly as he can she keeps an eye out for Cho. She hasn’t seen her for a while, not since the giants joined the battle, but they made a promise not to spend the whole battle glued to the others side otherwise they would be useless for panic. She needs to find her now.

So she slips out of the hall, smiling tiredly at classmates when they catch her eye, and she starts her search of the castle. It’s horrible, walking through the skeleton of where she once called the best place on earth. Another wall falls as Katie walks along a third floor corridor and she can’t help but think about the hundreds of people who will be mourning the destruction of their home. Waving a wand won’t fix this.

It’s on the seventh floor, steps away from where they first kissed, that Katie finds Cho -- Katie wonders if Cho came here to wait for her, she’s always been a romantic.

“Cho,” Katie calls quietly. They’re the only ones around.

Cho spins from where she’s been looking out of a broken window. There’s a gash on her face, cutting from her temple to her chin, and Katie can’t gauge the severity from here but she’s seen too much blood tonight that to see any on Cho is crossing an invisible line.

Katie runs the final few metres. “It’s over, Cho,” she says. “He’s dead."

“I heard,” Cho replies, voice quiet, a little breathless. “Everything just stopped.”

“It’s over,” Katie says again; she wants to repeat it again and again, the words wonderful and unbelievable on her tongue.  

And then Cho laughs and the sound is so beautiful that Katie almost breaks down and cries. “I can’t believe it, Katie. I can’t believe we both made it out alive. I can’t believe we’re free.”

And Katie can do nothing but join in with that disbelieving laughter, throwing her arms around Cho’s shoulders because yes she’s standing right here in front of her but she needs that solid, unbreakable, truth that she’s alive, that they’re both okay. “I love you so much, Cho.”

“I love you too,” Cho says into Katie’s shoulder. They stand there, swaying, for a long moment, the silence around them overwhelming compared to the chaos of the Great Hall. “Katie, you’re bleeding,” Cho says, voice climbing into worry when her fingers catch the wound on Katie’s side.

“So are you,” Katie replies, pulling back slightly to examine the cut on Cho’s cheek. It’s not too deep, she doesn’t think, like the gash on her side she doesn’t remember getting, but they should both get checked out.

“We better go down; people will be wondering where we are.”

“Okay, but first, I need to --” and then Katie is kissing Cho, lips moving slow and soft, and this is when Katie allows everything to wash over her, this is when she relaxes, both of them escaping death for now. This is where she’s supposed to be.