Welcome to my newest multichapter, Nargles Don't Wear Capes! This is a Harry Potter muggle!AU, superhero!AU, and college university!AU. (Note: I am not giving up on Two Kingdoms; I haven't forgotten about it, and I will hopefully update soon).
And with that, I hope you enjoy the story! Reviews are greatly appreciated!
Ginny fastened her apron around her waist and adjusted the name tag that was pinned to her shirt. She pulled her long, flame-red hair back into a neat ponytail before stepping out of the break room and into the empty coffee shop.
She took her place behind the counter and pulled a rag out from a cabinet beneath it. With that, she began to wipe the countertop clean.
Just then, her cell phone buzzed in her pocket.
Ginny sighed. She wasn't supposed to take calls while on the job, but it wasn't like there were any customers for her to serve, so…
She pulled out her cellphone and swiped her finger across the screen, answering it. "Hello?"
"Hey, Gin," came the answering voice.
Ginny grinned. "Hi, Hermione."
"So," her best friend continued, excitement evident in her tone. Ginny could just imagine her idly fingering a lock of her wild brown hair as she spoke. "Have you seen the news?"
Ginny frowned. "What news?"
"Are you telling me you really haven't heard?" Hermione sounded truly surprised.
"Don't keep me in suspense," Ginny said. "Tell me. What's the news?"
"Turn on the telly," was Hermione's only response.
Rolling her eyes, Ginny reached under the counter and emerged with a television remote. She aimed it at the small black screen hanging on the ceiling in the far corner of the shop and flicked it on.
Immediately, the screen was lit up by static that focused onto London's news channel.
A woman stood in front of the camera, her curly hair springing around her face as she talked animatedly.
Ginny pumped up the volume and paused wiping the counter to listen.
" - and the robbery was apparently stopped by a mysterious masked figure who came out of nowhere!"
Another woman joined the first on the screen. "That's it right there, folks," the new, dark-haired woman said. "You heard it here first, from Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown."
Ginny eyed the television, puzzled. She turned down the volume once more to talk through the phone. "I don't understand."
"Gin, don't you get it? There's an actual superhero running around London."
Ginny didn't answer. "That's ridiculous," she said finally. "Superheroes don't exist."
"I know," Hermione agreed. "I don't know why the police haven't yet arrested this person who's been running around all day stopping crime."
"Wait," Ginny said slowly, her brain still working to comprehend what Hermione was saying. "You mean… it's not a joke? Somebody's actually out there playing hero?"
"Ridiculous!" Ginny burst out. "How- why- but-" She pinched the bridge of her nose. "Is it legal to race around in spandex and a cape, 'stopping crime?'"
"Apparently," Hermione snorted. "The police, of course, are quite miffed, with this new hero doing their job for them."
"Huh," Ginny responded, astonished.
Just then, the door to the coffee shop swung open, the tinny sound of a bell alerting Ginny of the arrival of a customer.
"Hermione, I've got to go," Ginny said hastily, hanging up on her friend and stuffing her phone into her pocket. She watched as a young woman entered the shop; definitely not a regular customer, for Ginny had never seen her before.
She was wearing a long gray coat and thick black boots; her wavy golden hair cascaded over her shoulders; and slung over her shoulder was a black satchel.
She approached the counter.
"Welcome to The Gryffindor," Ginny smiled. "What can I get for you today, miss?"
The woman smiled back, her large blue eyes meeting Ginny's hazel ones. "May I have a pumpkin spice latte, please…" her eyes traveled to Ginny's nametag "... Ginny?"
"Sure," Ginny grinned, reaching to the stack of paper cups lined along one side of the counter. She pulled a marker from her apron. "Name?"
"Luna," the woman responded.
"Right." Ginny carefully printed Luna's name across the cup, then turned to start preparing the coffee. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched as Luna took a seat in a booth at the corner, set her bag down on the table, and unzippered it, pulling out a slim silver laptop.
By the time Ginny had headed over to her table with the coffee cup, Luna was focused on the glowing computer screen, her fingers flying over the keys.
Ginny set the steaming cup down on the table. "One pumpkin spice latte."
Luna looked up at her and smiled brightly. "Thank you, Ginny," she said.
Ginny blinked in surprise. It wasn't often that customers bothered to actually thank her. "No problem, Luna."
Luna gave her one last smile before glancing back down at her laptop. For some reason, Ginny desperately wanted to talk to this newcomer.
"So…" Ginny said awkwardly. "What're you working on?"
Luna tilted her face back up and seemed to give Ginny a once-over. "Why don't you sit?" she offered.
Ginny bit her lip. She wasn't supposed to be sitting down with the customers, but the shop was empty…
She slid into the booth across from Luna.
Luna beamed. "I'm working on a novel," she replied. "I'm an aspiring writer."
"Oh," Ginny said plainly. "What's it about?"
Luna's grin widened. "It's called The Quibbler, and it's about all different sorts of magic."
Ginny couldn't help but grin back. Luna's smile was contagious.
The bell jangled again as another customer entered the shop.
"Well, I have to go," Ginny said, standing up. She couldn't help but feel disappointed, though she didn't know why.
"See you tomorrow, then," Luna replied cheerily.
Ginny blinked. "Tomorrow?"
"Oh, yes," Luna quickly explained. "Every writer needs a coffee shop, you see? And I'd like this to be mine. You do work Fridays, no?"
"Er- yes. I do."
"So see you then."
Ginny strode away from Luna's table, unable to control the wide grin spreading across her freckled face.
For the rest of the afternoon, even as Ginny poured countless mugs of coffee to countless grumpy customers, she would glance up and Luna would still be there, nestled in her booth. Every once in a while, they would make eye contact, and both would smile.
For once, work didn't seem so dreary.
By the time the sun had set, the coffee shop was completely empty- even Luna had paid for her drink and left over an hour ago.
Ginny yawned, pulling off her apron and placing it neatly beneath the counter, exchanging it for her comfortable gray fleece sweater. Making sure she had her keys in her pocket, she crossed the coffee shop and exited the front door, locking up behind her.
Ginny hugged herself tightly as she walked swiftly through the darkening streets. It was late in autumn, and the nights were longer and colder; the chilling wind tinged her face with red and made her ears go numb. She couldn't wait to get back to the small flat that she shared with Hermione- it was always cozy and warm in there.
Lost in thought, she didn't notice the dark shadows lurking in a shady alleyway nestled between two tall buildings.
She didn't notice as two of the figures crept towards her, preparing to strike, and she wasn't prepared when she was suddenly grabbed from behind and slammed against the brick wall of the nearest apartment building.
A rough hand clamped over her mouth before she could scream, and Ginny was face-to-face with her three attackers; all of them were bulky, with varying heights, and all were wearing black jeans, black leather jackets, black studded boots, and black ski masks that revealed only their beady eyes.
Ginny resisted the urge to groan. How much more stereotypical muggers could they be?
"Her purse," the man in front of her growled, the one who was holding her jaw tightly shut.
The guy on her left reached forward to dig through the pockets of her sweaters for her leather pocketbook.
Her heart was pounding. She wasn't scared, exactly, more like… nervous. For some reason, the three robbers didn't strike her as particularly threatening, and even though she knew they could easily harm her if they wanted to, all they seemed interested in was her money.
Just then, seemingly out of nowhere, a fourth figure joined the three men, standing directly behind them, hands on hips.
Except the new silhouette was very clearly a woman; Ginny could tell that much even through the dim, watery orange light of the streetlamps. She was wearing some sort of navy blue, skin-tight costume, complete with high-heeled black boots that reached her knees, a silver belt, and…
Ginny almost laughed. An actual, navy blue cape.
She had no doubt that this was the so-called "superhero" that had London in an uproar.
"I suggest you release her," the superhero commented idly, and the three muggers whirled around, Ginny momentarily forgotten.
"Who the hell are you?" one of the muggers spat, and Ginny found herself wondering the same thing.
The superhero cocked her head to the side. "Don't you watch the news? I'm Wrackspurt."
And then, in the amount of time it took Ginny to blink, Wrackspurt had punched one man in the face, her fist shattering across his nose, and he crumpled to the ground, his two friends quick to follow.
It happened so fast Ginny wasn't even sure it had happened at all; the three unconscious men on the sidewalk, however, were all the evidence she needed.
"Are you alright?" Wrackspurt asked, taking a step closer, and consequently giving Ginny the chance to study her features. Her hair, long and wavy and golden-blonde, was pulled back in a tight ponytail. A mask- the sort of mask you might wear to a masquerade party, the kind that had winged tips and sat delicately on Wrackspurt's pale nose, revealed only her lips and her wide green eyes.
Ginny was so caught up in staring at her she hadn't even realized that Wrackspurt had asked her a question.
"Oh- er, yes, I'm fine," Ginny stammered, adjusting her sweater. "Thanks." She glanced at Wrackspurt again, and because she was impulsive and apparently didn't know when to shut her mouth, she went on. "So you're that lunatic that's been running around dressed like an honest-to-god superhero?"
Wrackspurt's lips quirked upwards in a smile, and only then did Ginny realize how rude that sounded.
"And I mean that in the nicest way possible, of course," she added hastily.
"Of course you do," Wrackspurt replied, but she was grinning. "Why are you walking around so late at night, anyway?"
"I was on my way home from work," Ginny explained. "And then, out of nowhere, they just kind of sprang at me."
"You really should be more careful," Wrackspurt told her seriously. "Especially when you're walking the streets alone at night. Evil lurks at every corner."
Ginny raised an eyebrow. "'Evil lurks at every corner?' That's a very… superhero-ish thing for you to say, I suppose."
"Is it?" Wrackspurt answered, looking thoughtful. She shrugged. "Perhaps. But that doesn't mean you should be unaccompanied."
Ginny snorted. "I'm twenty years old, thanks. I can walk home without a chaperone."
"I don't know," Wrackspurt said, almost mockingly, but her green eyes were twinkling. "You did get attacked just now, after all. Maybe I should walk you home, just in case."
Ginny smiled. "If it makes you feel any safer."
Wrackspurt grinned back. "I think the point is to make you feel safer, no?"
With a laugh, Ginny turned and continued down the sidewalk, Wrackspurt falling in step beside her.
"Superhero," Ginny mused as they walked. She turned a corner and continued down the street. "How'd you manage to pull that off?"
"It was quite simple, really. All I had to do was come up with a costume and stop thugs from robbing poor, innocent Londoners. The reporters ate it all up, and, well, here I am. A self-proclaimed superhero."
"Do you have superpowers?" Ginny joked.
"Nah," Wrackspurt answered teasingly. "I don't think I need them, do you?"
"Probably not," Ginny admitted. "You took all three of those guys out pretty fast. How'd you-"
"Oh no," Wrackspurt interrupted, eyes widening. "The criminals. I just left them unconscious in the street without even calling the police! If they wake up, they'll run away!" She smacked herself in the forehead. "Oh, how could I be so stupid?"
"Hey," Ginny said gently, "don't beat yourself up over it. You'll catch them again, no doubt about it."
"Still," Wrackspurt sighed. She hunched over, sliding her hand in her boot, and pulling out a slim silver cell phone. She quickly dialed a number and held the phone to her ear.
"Yes. Police? There are three unconscious muggers on the corner of…"
As she spoke in hurried tones with the emergency operator, Ginny allowed herself to consider the masked hero. It really was so horribly cliche, but she somehow found it endearing.
And why did Wrackspurt seem so… familiar?
Ginny knew they had met before, even if she couldn't quite put her finger on when or where.
"There," Wrackspurt sighed, sounding satisfied. "Hopefully the police will make it there in time." She turned back to Ginny. "I'm sorry about that. Come on, we've got to get you home."
Ginny nodded, clenching her teeth to prevent them from chattering. The wind was bitingly cold, and she desperately wished she had brought a warmer sweater. The gray fleece obviously wasn't enough.
"You're cold," Wrackspurt stated. She reached up to a black buckle around her throat and undid it, her cape sliding off her shoulders. "Here. Wear this."
"Your… your cape?" Ginny asked, beginning to shiver.
Wrackspurt draped it around her shoulders and fastened it up, not even bothering to listen to Ginny's protests.
"But aren't you cold?" Ginny asked, sounding concerned.
Wrackspurt shook her head and smiled. "I'll be fine."
Ginny shot her a grateful look. To her surprise, the cape was surprisingly warm and even more comfortable than she had imagined it to be.
She and Wrackspurt walked down her street, approaching the tiny, one-story flat at the end of it.
Once outside the front door, Ginny turned to Wrackspurt.
"Thanks for walking me home," she said, feeling almost bashful. "And thanks for the cape."
"No problem," Wrackspurt answered with yet another easy grin. "Stay safe, Ginny."
And with that, she skipped backwards a few steps before seemingly melting into the shadows of the London streets.
Ginny stared after her, fascinated.
It was only then she wondered how the superhero knew her name.