Title: Patience
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Ginny/Luna
Summary: One year, four seasons - Luna wears berries in her hair.
Timeline: Canon-complaint only up to "Order of the Phoenix"
Note: Amazing amounts of thanks to my army of private beta-readers and especially to my beloved girl, kinderby, my wonderful beta who stepped in and helped me out here - any mistakes are mine! Written for suchheights at the femexchange!


The day before they leave the school for Ginny's sixteenth winter holiday, Luna wears berries in her hair.

Ginny, wrestling with an armful of books and her bag (which apparently shrank between one class and the next) on the bottom step of the marble staircase, catches sight of her friend by accident coming in from the grounds, face pink from the cold, lazily unwinding her scarf from around her neck. The berries are burgundy against the paleness of her hair, and the clash is brilliant, stunning.

The sight of Luna abruptly shocks Ginny into a startled stillness, eyes flying wide open and jaw dropping the smallest bit as she freezes in mid-struggle with her books.

Luna must see her staring like some dimwit because she pauses in mid-step for a heartbeat, head tilted curiously.

There's a long minute while they gaze at one another across the entrance hall and then Luna's looking at her with a pleased kind of curiosity, lips curved into a slight smile that makes Ginny blink nervously, absently aware of the fact that she probably looks like some kind of bewildered owl.

It all feels surreal, but not at all in an unpleasant way.

The next moment, Luna's moving again and Ginny shifts nervously as the other girl folds herself up and settled on the staircase beside her, dropping her scarf into her lap and opening her coat. When all Ginny can do is continue to stare, overcome, Luna reaches up to brush a finger across one berry, lifting one eyebrow. "Don't you like them?"

Ginny manages a jerk of her head and Luna finally looks a bit worried, tiny wrinkle appearing between her eyebrows.

"Is something the matter?"

"No," Ginny manages, cringing inwardly at the way her voice squeaks a bit.

"Are you allergic to them?" and Luna's vaguely concerned tone pulls a spontaneous little laugh out of her, a small sincere noise that she feels settle in her belly and curl inwards, sinking deep. It's not perfect but Ginny loosens up finally, some of the mysterious tightness melting away as she studies her friend more intensely, fascinated.

Luna's hair is surprisingly beautiful, half of it twisted into a knot and the other half allowed to tumble loose, strands brushing her face and neck, and it's so graceless that it's perfect, makes Ginny swallow and drop her gaze back down to her books, flustered and not sure why. "How did you get them to stay like that?" she asks absently, and feels Luna shift beside her, shrug slim shoulders.

"Just spelled them in--" Ginny feels like a dimwit again-- "My mother used to wear berries in her hair for my father."

How she says the words, the lilt in Luna's voice, makes Ginny lean her head back to stare at her again, take her in carefully, find herself meeting Luna's pale eyes silently, unnerved but not at the same time. Luna has a secret little smile on her face and the redhead feels a sudden thrill in the bottom of her belly, a shift of something under her skin and in her bones.

"They look very nice," Ginny murmurs a heartbeat later, and Luna smiles as if she knows something Ginny doesn't.


When the snow finally begins to melt, Luna weaves forest green ribbon into Ginny's hair.

They settle together under a tree as Ginny tries to gather the courage a Gryffindor's supposed to have, impossibly aware of the fact that she's sitting between Luna's long legs as Luna slowly works. "--it's how it's done, you see?"

Ginny jolts out of her study of Luna's bare toes; goes to turn her head but stops quickly at Luna's quick breath.


"You weren't listening to a word I was saying, were you?"

Tiny pang of guilt filling her middle, Ginny manages a tiny shrug. "Just… thinking…"

"I was telling you about the red-speckled Giffle's courtship," Luna sighs, reaching down to sweep up another portion of thick red hair, and Ginny catches a flash of deep green flick over her shoulder as her friend (no matter what, they're still friends, that hasn't changed) worked. "About how one spoils the other…"

"Lucky Giffle…" Ginny had forgotten how relaxing it was to have someone play with her hair.

"He decorates her mane, to show his respect and his interest," Luna explains, twirling her wrist and reaching for another section of hair. "Gathers pretty things to make her look even prettier, weaves them into her tresses and hopes she'll understand what he's trying to say…" and Luna's fingers brush her neck slightly, a quick touch that leaves Ginny's skin feeling warmer that it probably should be.

Ginny feels like a dimwit yet again but finds herself grinning despite this fact-- "Oh?"

"Mm," Luna hums and Ginny cautiously glances over shoulder to study her, feels that now-familiar thrill when she finds the other girl staring at her with large lovely eyes and a slight smile twisting the corner of her lips. "All done," she says as she finishes a neat rabbit-ear knot, lifts it to show off to Ginny with a touch of pride lighting her face. "Green suits you."

Ginny thinks of red berries and pale hair, meets jewel eyes and finds herself grinning like a giddy idiot, skin flushing as she twists between long legs, scoots closer to Luna. "I like green," she agrees carefully, feeling she was trying to walk some sort of strange Muggle fence. "Mum says it makes my eyes look lovely."

"It does," Luna assures her, and Ginny believes her.


When Ginny's fair skin begins to burn, Luna lifts Ginny's hair off her neck and braids it tight down her back.

"I'm paler than you, but you burn more easily…"

"It's the red hair," Ginny mumbles unhappily, scraping very gently at the skin beginning to peel on her arms as they sit together in the almost-empty Ravenclaw common room. Mum would have used some of her home potions on her, eased all the pain and left her skin looking just a bit pinker than usual but Pomfrey went on and on about how she should know better than to go out without covering herself up so Ginny had decided she'd rather just suffer. "I look like a scrawny tomato," she adds absently, tilting her head to peer at Luna and pausing at the way the other girl is staring at her, satisfied smile on her face. "What?"

"You look lovely even when you resemble a tomato, Ginny."

Fascinated, Ginny flicks the end of the braid over her shoulder and shifts, the better to reach out and grab Luna's hand, knit their fingers and press their palms together. "But I still look like a scrawny tomato," she teases softly, delighted when Luna actually blushes, the corners of her mouth twitching.

"You're putting words in my mouth…"

And she scoots closer to Luna, enchanted on levels that she's never felt before. "What does he gets for his spoiling?"

"The Giffle's courtship…?"

"Mm," Ginny murmurs and scoots even closer, enjoying the way Luna seems to shiver slightly, the barest race of movement under pale skin. They kiss all the time, nervously at first (at least on Ginny's part) and then with more enjoyment (on both of their parts) but that's as far as they've gone so far, having to deal with helping Harry do something or other against the Dark Lord and trying to pass all their classes so that when the war's finally over, they can deal with their lives.

"He gets attention, of course."

"That's all?"

Luna quirks her mouth into a sly little smile, and Ginny grins like a fool, untangling their fingers to reach up and smooth blonde hair from a face, flick absently at a radish earring. "He understands that it's the little things in life that are most important…"

"Mm," Ginny decides and kisses her lazily, slanting her mouth carefully over Luna's, feeling her insides tighten in anticipation, feeling heat pool low in her middle. She pulls back slightly, grins giddily and whispers in a slightly rough voice-- "The poor thing must have a lot of patience, I think…"

"Patience is a virtue," Luna states solemnly before reaching to curl fingers around Ginny's nape, pull her back for another kiss, one that's harder and softer at the same time, sweeping her tongue languidly only to suddenly shiver at the way the redhead skims a palm against her face, cups a cheek and murmurs softly into her mouth.

It's a very good thing they have a corner to themselves in an almost empty common room.


As the world fades from green to red and gold, Luna laces her fingers through Ginny's hair.

Luna comes to the Burrow for Ginny's birthday and the rest of the red-haired herd scatters beneath the might of Molly Weasley's will, allows the two girls to have a few hours of peace away from pushy older brothers and schoolmates. They end up curled together on Ginny's squeaky old bed, a tangle of pale limps, lounging about in a comfortable stillness.

"I like your Mum," Luna says absently, and twirls a finger playfully in dark red locks.

There's more silence and Ginny studies her quietly, enjoying the ability to without being worried about it. Luna's taller than her and her skin's cool somehow, cool until it heats under her own palms, under her fingers when she touches her. There's something a bit dizzying about touching Luna, and something a bit balancing at the same time, like holding onto somebody you trust and spinning yourself around until the world's become a blur.

Knowing they'll catch you when you sway and drop--or, at the very least, fall to the grass along with you.

"Any minute now one of my brothers is going to come crashing through the door…"

"You worry too much," the pale girl sighs with a smile in her voice and pulls fingers free from burgundy tresses, brushing them across Ginny's face, following the curve of her cheek. "It's not healthy, and it ages you horribly, leaves you old and bitter and possessing far too many cats."

"I like cats."

"So do I," Luna chirps conversationally, and Ginny blushes at the vague dirty thoughts brewing in her head.

How and when had felines become dirty jokes for her?

"Still, when they barge in--" but Luna's fingers slide further down her face, pressing slightly against Ginny's mouth, quieting her as the redhead finally goes still again, dropping her head back down to her pillow.

"You fret when you shouldn't," Luna states bluntly, and smiles brilliantly as she pushes playfully at one of Ginny's sock-covered feet with one of her own, giving a little laugh as she hooks it around the back of the redhead's knees and tangles their legs more tightly together. "Fretting when you shouldn't on top of fretting when you should simply isn't healthy."

"My brothers-- You know, locking the door isn't going to stop them--" she mumbles past the fingers against her mouth but she doesn't mean it because Luna's hand is sliding around her waist, finally stilling on her back, fingers plucking at the hem of her shirt.

"You need to relax," the cool-skinned pale girl whispers as if sharing a secret-- and Ginny spends that birthday feeling Luna's heat beneath her palms, her fingers.


The day before they leave the school for Ginny's seventeenth winter holiday, Luna wears berries in her hair for Ginny.

Luna's long-legged and soft, skin chilled by the cold as they curl up together in the snow, and Ginny doesn't care at all that they'll have to warm up for a good long while when they finally go into the castle again. Half-formed snow angels surround them as they curl up together, as Ginny dips her face to the curve of Luna's neck and savors the warmth there.

They'll be spending the holiday together since Mr. Lovegood is off in hiding, and they have things to do for the Order because the world is getting darker now.

Things are dizzying but balanced, because at least they're together, and--

"Your nose is cold."

"Sorry," she murmurs but when she goes to pull away, Luna keeps her still, snuggles closer.

A long time later, as the sky goes dark and the cold begins to truly bite, they finally drag themselves to their feet and head into the castles, fingers knotted together with a stubborn strength. They shed their coats and unwind their scarves and finally settle together besides the fire, silently counting down the hours until they go out into the dark again.

Luna keeps the berries in her hair as long as she can.


During the worst point of winter, as they bury the people they seem to lose more of every day, as they mourn in black for those missing around them, as the world goes white and silver and cold and dark-- Luna wears brilliant red berries in her hair for Ginny.

Patience learned from courtship wins out, and spring brings green ribbon threading through Ginny's red mane.


January 21st, 2008