Title: One (admittedly complicated) Week
Rating: NC-17 (language, sexuality)
Beta: The amazing gidgetzb, who saved my ass.
Disclaimer: I do not own HP. If I did, I would not dirt poor. All this belongs to JK.
Summary: One week (and a few spare days) in the life Ginny Weasley.
Notes: For weasleyfest!
Her teeth felt overly polished as she worked her way through the maze of the Ministry, her hair too thick as she brushed it back from her face repeatedly. Cleaning spells always felt too clean to Ginny—or maybe she'd just gotten used to her mother's talent for them.
Ginny Weasley knew she looked fine, like herself.
But she was humming very slightly, fingers vaguely numb as she cracked her knuckles, trying to get full feeling back as she turned a corner and immediately ducked a lone paper airplane. They were a bit less manic on this level but no less speedy and she glared after it as it disappeared before she continued on her way, dodging two tiny wizards only to bump into a tall witch who eyed her the way a predator would eye some small animal.
"You're still humming."
"I'm lucky to be alive."
Mora's expression showed her feelings toward the so-called "luck."
"You know better than to come back like this."
"Kingsley demanded I report straight to him," and Ginny ducked past her, hitting the door just behind Mora full-speed, spinning when she got through to slam the door behind her— right in the older woman's face.
"You've got her riled up today."
"That's because she hates me."
"You do make it easy," Kingsley stated, and she turned away from the door to eye him, trying as hard as she could pull a Mora on him.
He just stared blandly back.
Of course, he always stared blandly.
Always came as quite a surprise to most people when he showed how impressive he could actually be.
Ginny changed tact's, instead trying to stare him down blandly only to end up blinking a few seconds later, thoroughly depressed by her inability to imitate the people around her.
All of that talent had apparently gone straight to the twins, the bloody selfish bastards.
Huffing out a breath, she crossed the room and dropped into the chair opposite his desk, shifting once and then twice and then a third time until he looked at her and she immediately stopped with a slight cough.
It was odd, him being her boss—not bad but odd, and something she still struggled to get used to after their years spent together during the war. He'd always been older and had more experience but they'd always seen each other as equals until he'd found himself the Minister.
And while he still treated her like an equal, it wasn't so easy to believe anymore.
Kingsley Shacklebolt: Minister of Magic was slightly more intimidating than Kingsley Shacklebolt: Auror.
"What's the matter?"
He flicked a glance at her hands and she sighed, realizing she'd been flexing them, shaking them out furiously.
"You should sleep after this."
"I have other plans."
"You're too obstinate to listen to your Minister."
"And you're annoying to your employees."
"That's because I just insulted the Minister."
He smiled slightly but dropped it, stretching a palm out and cocking an eyebrow until she passed her wand over, wincing when a spark of bright blue arced into the web of her hand. It was all bark now, just an image of the original casting, but her bones were still buzzing under her skin.
"This was a nasty one."
"How is that new?"
She'd been woken up in the middle of the night and staggered into the Floo only minutes later, lids still glued shut with that horrible eye gunk that the twins had yet to find a solution to beyond splashing water into her face every morning.
She'd certainly gotten the damn gunk washed out of her eyes.
"No fatalities— we got the injured party fixed up and she's resting comfortably."
"How do you think they did this one?"
"If I knew, I wouldn't be so damn frustrated."
Kingsley pursed his lips together but said nothing.
Finally— "What do they say about this?"
"They don't have any answers yet."
There was a flicker of worry in dark eyes, a hesitation. "They haven't come up with anything?"
"That isn't good for us."
Only Kingsley, she had long since decided, could get away with such a comment.
"They're still working on it."
"Yes, I know." He passed the wand back, held onto it for a second when she reached to grab it. "You'll be getting this cleansed before you go anywhere else—"
A short nod as he let go of it and leaned back, dropping his hands into his lap. "You'd think there'd be something to find, a marker of some kind, something to trace…"
"I wish you would stop saying that."
She smiled slightly, couldn't help it.
He was still Kingsley, even with the intimidating title.
"I think the humming's getting better."
"It is." He studied her intently, corner of his mouth twisting with amusement. "I think there's a tune there…"
Rolling her eyes, she got to her feet, shaking herself at the odd feeling that matched her movement.
She felt too clean, dammit.
"I heard there was a flood."
She grunted in response, shrugging helplessly.
"I'm glad you didn't drown."
She started for the door, ready to head to pass her wand over for cleansing.
It would take most of an hour, long enough for her to get lunch.
"Oh, and Lovegood's in your office."
She stiffened in mid-step, glanced back to find him smiling broadly enough that it drew a blush out of her.
Sometimes she regretted telling him everything.
"Prat," she muttered, and he grinned outright as she staggered out of his office.
At any given moment, the Ministry was in a state of chaos.
An organized chaos, to be sure, but it was still chaos.
Most of the time, Ginny found herself saddled with handling her own corner in the madness, superiors walking past with quick orders and inferiors staring at her warily as if waiting for her to bite their heads off. When she came to work in a mood, they scattered like pigeons; when she came to work with a pleasant face, they slunk around waiting for her to blow up.
She knew the vague facts of how she'd found herself here but it made no sense looking back, her years during the war and directly after a blur of shadows and bright spots… a job opportunity she had accepted before realizing what she was doing, a partner that had stepped up to lead a terribly damaged Ministry.
Luna had been a bright spot in the insanity, still was.
Except… things were complicated right now and Luna was… confusing…
But then, Ginny suspected that having sex with your longtime best friend and then never talking about it was probably always confusing— especially when that friend was Luna.
"You're doomed," she told herself as she pushed the door open, peeked in to find a shape digging through her desk drawers, long blonde hair hanging around her face like a curtain. "Luna?"
"Brought you lunch," the other woman informed her without looking up from her apparently intense search for… whatever it was. "The soup is in the flask, the sandwich is in the foil and I had a bite of your cookie." She stopped her digging, finally looked up at Ginny and narrowed her eyes in a rare look of annoyance. "You didn't take anything with you this morning."
"It was an emergency."
"If they had enough time to get you, it wasn't that much of an emergency."
"What are you looking for?"
"You're changing the subject."
"Yes," Ginny admitted, coming around the desk to stare into the drawer along with Luna, find only her candy stash.
Missing several chocolate frogs.
"Stole a few?"
An awkward moment later, she glanced over at Luna, gnawed her lip at the dim memory of pale hips grinding against hers, fingers knotting with hers.
They'd been a bit drunk.
Maybe Luna just didn't remember it.
But that didn't make any sense because they'd woken up the next morning in a tangle of naked skin, talked carefully about their plans before climbing out of bed and going their separate ways.
So maybe Luna just didn't care to think about it.
Maybe she was awful in bed, had awful sex.
Maybe Luna went somewhere and laughed at her, Ginny Weasley and her awful sex.
Maybe there was a club, the Ginny's Old Unsatisfied Lovers Club, and Harry was the President and Luna was the Vice President and they talked about her and drew funny diagrams of her awful sexual techniques that they would poke with a pointer while discussing how very awful she was.
"Your eye's twitching."
"You look a bit pale."
She looked over, and then bit her lip when Luna stared blandly back.
What were the chances that she and Kingsley were somehow distantly related?
"You work too much."
"You're giving me a headache."
"I thought you said you were fine."
"You should eat your lunch."
"Stop telling me what to do."
"Please eat your lunch?"
Ginny shut the drawer and opened the paper bag, pulling out items as she risked a sideways glance at Luna, who was now peering at her bookshelves, head tilted at her usual curious angle.
"What were you looking for?"
"That's privileged information."
"They're my drawers."
Luna gave her an odd look—one she missed completely as she was busy unwrapping her sandwich.
"How did it go this morning?"
Ginny didn't kid herself— it was pure luck on their part that despite a few nasty injuries everyone continued to survive this nonsense.
"What was it this time?"
"Watering spell," Ginny sighed, easing down into her chair as she dipped a hunk of sandwich into the broth and then crammed it into her mouth. "The storm last night triggered it," she continued after she'd swallowed and was tearing her sandwich up into smaller hunks. "The rain triggered the watering spell and the watering spell triggered the curse…"
"I love the rain."
"I nearly drowned."
"But you didn't," and Luna sounded so pleased that Ginny couldn't help but smile. "Your Mum wants to see you this weekend."
In anyone else, the change in topics would have been dizzying.
In Luna, it was downright normal.
"I'll see what I can do."
"Do you think I'm invited?"
"You're always invited."
Luna made a short pleased noise, and Ginny laughed despite herself.
Things were weird but Luna was still Luna so everything was right in the universe.
Even if she wasn't sure what she was supposed to do.
But Luna hadn't brought anything up so maybe it didn't matter.
Or maybe she wasn't interested.
Or maybe she had just been curious and didn't actually like girls.
Well, she doubted that last one— she'd seen Luna pay attention to both sides of the gender fence.
"What do they say about it?"
"They don't know yet," she sighed, barely able to keep from jumping when Luna leaned against her desk, long hair brushing Ginny's shoulder as she moved past. "They're trying but…"
"If anyone can help you, it's them."
The Ministry weren't completely sure how somebody had done it.
All spells left echoes, traces, left a shadow that you could track—but these left none.
It wasn't that they were common that was the problem (they weren't common) so much so that they always a surprise.
They were just… small curses knitted into the fabric of basic spells, undetectable until they were triggered by the strangest and most innocent gestures. The next thing anyone knew, there was complete chaos— homes were destroyed, the weaker spells around it collapsed and everyone panicked.
"We still don't have anything for you."
Ginny pouted at her brothers, lower lip jutting out, tilting her head down to peer at them through her lashes.
They just stared back.
If she had Luna's lashes, long and lovely, they'd be tripping over themselves to help.
Damn, she'd been doing well, not thinking about her at all for a good… hour.
When had she become so pathetic?
Ginny had come to love the shop, had good memories there even if there were also some more uncomfortable ones—the month she'd spent hiding there before Kingsley had come to get her, just before the crest of the war, or the backroom where they had stored several bodies left in Hogsmeade until there could be a proper burial.
But still, she considered it a second home.
Or, well, a third, after the Burrow and her own flat.
No, wait, a fourth home— Xenophilius was always wonderful to her, had also given her a hiding place at one point.
"You two haven't figured out anything?"
"Not a thing."
"But you're good at this sort of thing."
"Maybe we're getting rusty, Feorge."
Ginny closed her eyes, took a slow breath and let it out.
"Our little sister's becoming obsessed."
"Well, she's a tragic figure now, a lone heroine."
"Getting to be as bad as Harry, isn't she?"
"Not as pretty, though—"
Somewhere back in the shop, something exploded.
A heartbeat later— "I want one, Mum!"
Opening her eyes, she stepped forward and pressed her palms against the counter, leaning close to squint at them in what she hoped was an intimidating manner. After a moment, she made sure her brows drew together and her mouth was creased in the right way.
"There's something wrong with your face, Gin."
Oh, god, they never stopped.
They'd been at her side during the most horrible parts of it, had proved themselves a thousand times over, never hesitated to step forward and put themselves into harm's way because they were truly gifted and because they had believed in the fight as much as she had.
They'd survived it together, had all matured more quickly than they should have— and they'd somehow laughed through the worst of it even if it was weak laughter, had stood at her side and told her jokes and given her a reason to keep going.
But damn if they weren't fucking frustrating.
"I broke rules getting you that information."
"That's because you learned from the best."
"If Kingsley even finds out—"
"You tell Shacklebolt everything," Fred replied drolly, cocking an eyebrow at her. "So we know that he knows that you've been breaking a few rules, Gin. Hell, he probably pissed himself with excitement when you suggested coming to us."
They were right, sure, but she wasn't going to tell them that.
"I could be fired."
They snorted at her in unison, the identical bastards.
"You worry too much," George started, lifting a hand to no doubt make some kind of condescending gesture.
"This is important!" she hissed furiously, leaning farther over the counter to glare at them both. "Lives are at stake—"
"Panicking isn't going to save anybody."
It was infuriating, when they were right.
"Mum wants you to come over this weekend."
"Luna tell you then?"
She narrowed her eyes at the tone… then glared outright when she noticed their shared grin.
"What's that look for?"
"Which one? This one?"
"No, the other one—"
She stopped, took another breath and counted to ten.
Then she counted to ten again.
And then she did it again because they were still grinning at her.
"She's as red as her hair."
"Young love's so cute."
"Go lesbianism," Fred grinned, lifting his palms in a slight wave. "Celebrate Sappho love, Gin."
They'd figured it out first, of course, though that wasn't that surprising—Ron was wonderful but never quite as perceptive as most people when it came to her and the twins noticed everything.
Like when she watched women walk past and turned her head to keep watching.
Or when she'd admitted it to them while they'd been hiding out in the mountains just a few weeks before Harry had gotten rid of Voldemort.
Or the time they'd visited her flat just as her girlfriend of the month had been leaving one morning.
From the resulting conversation, there had been a bet over whether Ginny preferred ash or strawberry blondes.
George had apparently won and her father had been almost disturbingly happy for her and Percy had stammered and now her mother wanted her to bring a nice girl home, the same line her mother had used on all her brothers through the years.
"Luna and I are friends."
"Who have sleepovers—"
"At your flat—"
"All the time," George finished.
A moment of silence before Fred asked innocently: "What do you do with all your time?"
"I hate you both," she told them, turning and stalking to the door.
Then she stopped, glanced back at them and glared.
"And I'm stealing these," she announced, walking back fast to grab a handful of whatever candy she could reach.
"Come again," they cried in unison as she stomped out.
"You stole something, didn't you?"
Ginny paused in her scrubbing, tilted her head back to find Luna peering into the bathroom intently.
There was a reason nobody dared to shoplift from the Weasley brothers.
"Yeah," she sighed, and scrubbed harder at the ink on her hands, swearing when it just flashed from green to electric blue and crawled around her palm to spell out "THINK YOU'RE CUTE, EH?" crosswise the back of her hand. She knew the twins well enough to know it was proof that they had somehow managed to make it recognize her as a fellow Weasley, that it was why it had spent a good half hour blooming roses across her palms after she'd first ripped the candy open only to have it explode all over her.
It didn't go up her arms to tattoo the word "SHOPLIFTER" on her forehead the way it did anyone else who shoplifted.
"It's a pretty color."
If Ginny had been sitting at a table, she'd have thumped her head against it for dramatic effect.
Or maybe that was comical effect?
As it was, she sighed again and gave up, twisting the faucet off and drying her hands.
It would be there for a few days, she knew, so she might as well get used to it now.
"You know soap doesn't work."
"Yeah, but denial's fun…" she muttered, walking past Luna only to slow as the ink moved again, slowly resettled.
AND SO ARE YOU, the ink informed her.
"I hate them."
"You love them."
"Not at the moment."
Luna just smiled, slow and sweet.
It left Ginny to bite her cheek and keep walking, ignoring the desperate urge to turn and wrap her arms around Luna and just drape there for a little while until she felt better. It always worked, wrapping herself up in Luna, but it would be weird now because she knew what Luna looked like under her clothes.
Well, she'd already known what Luna looked like under her clothes (they'd seen each other nude more than a few times) but she knew what she looked like naked and writhing in ecstasy now.
It would all be awkward.
So she held herself back.
"You stole something, didn't you?"
She had a desk but her lunch was sitting in front of her now.
She looked up from her desk, found Kingsley smirking down at her.
"It's a nice color."
"I hate you."
He grinned, slow and wicked, and handed her a box.
Glancing inside it, her annoyance ignited into excitement. "Is this…?"
"Looks like it, doesn't it?" and he grinned even more broadly.
"And what is this now?"
"The only remains of the watering system at the last incident."
"Looks pretty useless," Fred commented slowly, turning one shard over a fingertip.
"One man's useless is another man's useful," George reminded him and they nodded… in unison.
Carefully set out across a black cloth, it looked more innocent than it was—or, at least, than it had been.
Wizards were less twitchy about their lawns than Muggles but they still liked their greens to be green, leading to the curious little creation that lay shattered before them—a glass globe that had once been a basic sensor and a tube with miniscule openings stretching around it. The sensor would adjust the spell according to weather every morning and every night, would ensure the perfect lawn.
Ginny preferred to use a good old hose, thanks, even if her father had always tried to steal her cheap Muggle one.
(Sometimes she missed having a house instead of a flat.)
"This was a cheap one."
"Not like ours."
Ginny rolled her eyes, counted to ten. "Well?"
"We didn't get anything from the first little gift you brought us."
"Yeah, but we found this one within a day."
"But we doubt it."
"We just need to know why we can't detect it," she reminded them warily, thoroughly unnerved by the greedy way they were eying the empty remains, the slight wicked smirks on their faces. "We can go from there just fine."
"Yeah," they said and kept staring at it intently, seemingly fascinated.
"I can't handle this feeling of dread," she scowled, stepping between them to press a quick kiss to both their cheeks before moving back again to stomp towards their private fireplace. Around her, their private workroom stretched out as an intimidating space that had birthed some of the most frightening and incredible creations the world had ever seen.
"Mum told us to remind you to bring Luna this weekend!" they yelled just before the world went emerald green.
In unison, of course.
"What should I wear to dinner?"
Laid out on her bed, too tired to sleep after the last two days, Ginny studied the ceiling, traced the slight shadows there into shapes.
Luna's head tilted into view above her, blonde hair falling around them both, pale eyes amused.
"What should I wear to your Mum's?"
"You like me in blue?"
She was tired, so the word slipped out before she could stop it— "Always."
The smile she got was slow, quietly brilliant, as Luna dipped her head to press a quick kiss to Ginny's forehead.
"I'll even match your hands then."
And she was gone, leaving Ginny to sigh, close her eyes and try to ignore the bright blue that still traced her hands.
"You know better than to steal something from the twins."
There was something surreal about the fact that it was the first words out of her mother's mouth.
"Yes, Mum, I know."
Grabbing Ginny's elbow and helping her step into the house, her mother's face lit up when she noticed Luna stepping out of a second blaze of green. "Oh, Luna, dear, you look lovely!"
"Thank you, Mrs. Weasley."
Her mother eyed her up and down, grinned over at Ginny. "Doesn't this girl look stunning in blue?"
"You look marvelous in blue, dear."
"So Ginny tells me."
Her mother beamed some more, eyes moving intently between the two young women.
"Mum?" she prodded uselessly.
"Mm? Oh, yes, Luna, dear, Arthur has some questions for you," her mother babbled, pushing Luna deeper into the house with a palm at her back. "About your use of the… the, um, that net you used a few months back in the backyard."
"My butterfly net?"
"Yes, dear, that."
"He wants to know what spell you use."
"It's just a net…"
And then Luna was gone in a flicker of pale blonde and bright blue, arms grabbing her as the Weasley clan swallowed her up. "Such a nice girl," her mother commented a moment later, turning to smile pleasantly at Ginny. "Isn't she a lovely girl, Ginny?"
"Yes, she's wonderful." Wandering away from the redheaded tribe, she slunk into the kitchen, moving through the heat to peer curiously at bowls and plates of food. She stole a spoonful of pudding and a green bean and munched while her mother fiddled with things behind her.
"I really do wish you would bring home a nice girl."
"I know, Mum."
A moment of silence as Ginny stole another green bean (the bright blue flashed green and spelled out STICKYFINGERS for a moment before going back to its previous formation) and popped it into her mouth.
"I think Luna's a nice girl, don't you think?"
"It's just you two are always joined at the hip," her mother interrupted, idly smacking her hand when she reached for the pudding again. "And I know blondes are your type and you two get on so well—"
"Because we're friends—"
"Kingsley told us you were more than that."
It was a good thing she hadn't snatched another spoonful of pudding.
She'd have choked on it.
"Well, your father does work with him," her mother stated, as if it explained everything.
In the light of the betrayal, it was all she could manage.
"I'm going to kill the Minister!" she hissed, spooning pudding rapidly into her mouth and smacking her mother right back she tried to stop her. "I'll kill him dead and I'll do it so well I'll take that stupid bland look off his face and he'll look horrified when I kill him dead."
"Now you're just being theatrical, Ginny."
Ginny gave her mother a furious glance.
Her mother stared back.
"I hate you." She stopped, swore under her breath as she thought of the war. "No, I don't— but I want to!"
"Nobody else gets pudding," she snapped, grabbing the bowl and fleeing the kitchen, bursting into the mass of Weasleys holding the bowl protectively to her chest.
They ignored her, of course.
They'd all lived with her for seventeen years, so they knew how to deal with her.
Dropping into a chair beside Luna as she chattered breezily with the twins, Ginny started to put the pudding down until she noticed Fred eying it.
Fine, back into the lap it went.
"What's the matter, love?"
She noticed the way the twins were smirking at her, narrowed her eyes at them.
"What?" she demanded, unnerved.
"That's not 'nothing' face."
"Do you know what you just said?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," she muttered, scooting closer to Luna.
"I win," Fred told George triumphantly.
"But the weekend's not over yet."
"It's halfway over and this is Ginny we're talking about. She's almost as bad as Ron."
"They're talking about me as if I'm not even in the room," she scowled, bumping knees with Luna. "Curse them for me."
"I'm not good at curses, you are."
"I'll get in trouble if I do it."
NO, YOU WON'T, the ink informed her in a cheery rosy color.
She had eaten too much pudding.
It was the only explanation for how sick she felt.
Stretched out across the couch, head pillowed on Luna's thighs, she lay there and died slowly, the only bright spot was the slim fingers that combed through her hair.
"I told you not to eat the entire bowl."
"I didn't want them to have any."
"You could have just thrown it away."
"But then I wouldn't have won."
"Yes, but now you're dying."
"My stomach hurts."
"Then drink the potion."
"I'm not letting them win."
"But we're home now."
"It doesn't matter—they'll still win, okay?"
"I'm going to push you off my lap if you don't drink this."
"You're not that cruel."
Small hands pushed at a shoulder and she panicked, swiping blindly for the glass that was pressed into her hand.
It tasted horrible, seemed to crawl down her throat, but the swollen feeling in her belly eased and she was able to open her eyes, peer nervously up at Luna. "I didn't know it was possible to get a hangover from pudding."
"You can get a hangover from anything."
"I didn't know that."
Sore but better than she had been, she eased up slowly, reversing the way she had been laying, knees bending over Luna's legs and head leaning back against the arm of the couch. "I'm sorry my family is stalking you."
"I adore your family."
"But they're insane."
"I adore you and you're insane."
"Oh— Wait, what?"
A palm slid up and down her calf, and Luna was gazing at her from under ridiculously long lashes.
Ginny hesitated, beginning to squirm when Luna's stare intensified and then darkened a bit.
"I talked to your Mum while you were eating the pudding."
"And?" she prodded helplessly when Luna just continued to stare at her intently.
"How did Kingsley know about our shag?"
The surreal quality of the question left Ginny to blink once and then twice, to lay there and stare and wait for the world to make sense again because didn't Luna belong to that club that made fun of her awful sex?
"Why did you tell Kingsley?"
"I didn't—" Off Luna's sharp glance, she stopped, coughed. "He's a friend of mine so we… talk as friends often do."
"Yes, but about your sex life?"
"He tells me about his."
Luna flicked her curious look and she coughed again, this time a bit nervously.
"I thought you were going to ignore it."
It took a moment to sink it, to settle in her, the realization of what she was saying.
"The way you rushed out of here the morning after…"
"You rushed out!" It came out as a croak and she snapped her mouth shut, cleared her throat a few times. "You went flouncing off when we woke up," she babbled when she could trust her voice. "We talked and then you got up and you went to shower and that was that."
"You got out of bed first."
"No…" but she had, she realized as something that felt like a stone dropped into her belly.
"You ruined the afterglow, Ginny."
Oh, fucking hell…
Badly rattled, Ginny pulled her legs away and scooted backwards, staring at Luna with wide eyes.
"That was awkwardness, Luna, not afterglow."
"Only because you kept talking about work and curses and—"
There was a crash from the kitchen, and then something shattered.
Flustered as she felt, Ginny was on her feet in a second, wand gripped in strong fingers, muscles strung tight.
But Fred stepped into the living room, coughing and covered in flour. "Why do you keep moving things in that fucking kitchen? Every time I pop in, I come crashing into something else—" He stopped, eyes flying open as they flicked from the frozen Ginny to Luna and then back again. "Sleepover?" he grinned a heartbeat later.
If she were closer, she'd have poked him in the eye.
"I thought you wanted to win," Luna smiled, and he shifted the grin to her.
Ginny shot Luna a glare even as she stepped closer to her brother, brushed him off only to realize there was a funny bright purple coating on his skin under the flour. "What did you do to yourself?"
"Shielding spell went a bit funny at the end," he shrugged, "but we figured it out."
"What do you—?" And she stopped, froze, and blinked at Fred. "Did you…?"
"Tricky bastards," he chirped, walking past her and dropping into the couch beside Luna, sneezing as flour puffed up around him in a cloud. "There isn't a curse," he informed her as he picked at a whorl of lavender along his wrist. "There's just the trigger—which has actually been built off of the original spell."
"Triggers don't work like that."
How on Earth was Luna sitting like that, head tilted and serene smile on her face?
Ginny's head pounded and her heart beat fast in her chest—she'd apparently ruined the afterglow and then added insult to injury by walking out on Luna, her brothers were betting on her sex life and now they'd apparently figured it out…
No, wait, that last thing was a good thing.
"We tried something new after you gave us our present," Fred continued, plucking up the glass that had held the potion and sniffing it curiously before putting it aside. "We couldn't detect anything so we started trying to figure out how we would do this kind of thing."
"Pretty brilliant actually. Not quite sure how they're doing it in different factories but give us time." He stopped, glanced over at Luna. "How did you bring it up?"
"I tried to do it gently."
They looked at her, eyebrows lifted in similar bland expressions, and she gestured weakly at him.
"The trigger manipulates the original spell," he explained flatly, "and the confusion is what causes the magic around it to go a bit…" Here he gestured at himself, wriggling purple fingers. "Off."
"It's pretty. I like how the shades whorl together."
"I thought so, too—we're going to use it when we update the yo-yo line."
"So… it collapsed your shield?"
"Nah, but it turned the windows into sand and turned a few of the floorboards into a tree."
"And the shield…"
"Stuck to us like glue."
She thought of showing up at the house two days before, the damn watering spell coming undone around her as the rain had seemed to fall harder, unable to cast any damn spell to keep herself dry as she tried to undo the nonsense without letting her own magic tangle up with it…
"Mm-hmm," he agreed, apparently seeing it on her face.
Overwhelmed, she sank down onto the couch between them and dropped her head back tiredly.
"I'm an idiot."
"Nah—although if you are an idiot, so are we. I mean, we worked on it for more than a month before you gave us the parts of the watering system," he comforted her. "Not that it did any good since there wasn't anything to find but, you know, it's the thought that counts."
"That's the pudding."
"I'll come by tomorrow to see how it works," she sighed, reaching behind her and pulling the blanket off the back of couch, shaking it open. "And we'll talk tomorrow," she informed Luna as she set her feet on the coffee table and scrunched down in the cushions. "And everybody will stop betting on my sex life."
"We will when you get yourself a steady one."
She glared at him before she closed her eyes and sighed softly, snug between the both of them.
George was more green than purple.
It suited him as he gestured vaguely at the assorted objects on the table to Kingsley, made it easy to tell him apart from the bright purple figure that was picking at a nail as he stared at the table.
"We're ready," George remarked and Ginny stepped forward quickly, crossing her arms across her chest as the twins spoke in quiet turns and finally turned to eye the two of them intently. "Remember, don't try anything, just… duck if anything flies at you."
"Basic cleaning spell," George explained, pointing his wand at a careful scattering of dirt and shredded grass on an old shirt. "We've already undone some of our other charms in here, so everything should stay confined to the table."
"Should?" Kingsley echoed at the same time Fred jerked his wrist down and snapped, "Scourgify!"
She heard the hum a split second before she felt something jerk under her skin, heard the noise spike before fading even as the table jumped and the shirt—
"The shirt didn't move," she said slowly a long minute later.
But the twins grinned at her, flexing their fingers as Kingsley cautiously reached out, pulled at the shirt only to have it collapse into a pile of thread and dirt. Eyebrows lifting, Kingsley glanced up at the twins. "What was the hum?"
But they ignored the question, exchanging delighted glances.
"The trigger's built into the original spell. When it's used, it snaps back—sometimes it increases the original power of the spell, sometimes it twists it and sometimes it reverses what it's supposed to do. The magic around it gets a bit unstable in response."
Curious, she pulled a few threads from the mess, spun it in her fingers, watching as it folded over like any other piece of thread.
The dirt was still there and the shirt was destroyed.
And there was a branch growing out of the side of the wooden table, spots of green decorating the end.
"Why can't we detect it?"
She already knew, they'd explained it, but her brain hurt so she asked aloud, for clarification.
"Because it is the spell, turns on itself and causes instability in anything weaker than itself."
"How the fucking hell are we going to figure out how to fix this?" Kingsley asked drily, idly picking through the threads. "Tell everybody not to use any magical items at all?"
"Just factory-made ones."
Auror and Minister exchanged depressed looks.
"Why do we keep humming after we clean these up?" Kingsley asked even as Ginny noted, "I find it hard to believe that with all our history, there's never been anything like this before."
"There probably has," Fred shrugged, "but we all forgot about it until somebody else figured it out. That's how all the great gags are."
"This isn't a joke," Kingsley reminded him sharply, but her brother just grinned slightly, tilting his head.
"It's somebody's joke. You've been dealing with these things for more than a year, and there's been no fatalities, yeah?"
"We've gotten lucky."
"It would be pretty easy to use this little trick in more lethal ways."
Uneasy, Ginny looked at the shirt again, took it in more warily.
She'd grown up with the twins, had woken up to new jokes every day and chaos that they happily twisted into their own designs. It hadn't been until she'd gotten older that she'd understood how careful they actually were, how often their experiments could go wrong if they were any less responsible about their own creations.
It wasn't an accident that their business had gotten such a good name so fast.
"So this is somebody's idea of a joke?"
"We'd bet on it. Especially with the humming thing… and by the way, it's humming 'God Save the Queen' backwards at a very high speed."
"I thought we were going to shag."
Lifting her head from Luna's stomach, Ginny peered at her, found pale eyes staring at her with amused warmth.
"Hmm," Luna agreed, and slid a thumb across a freckled cheek.
Sighing, annoyed at herself, she rolled onto her back, half-dressed and wired as she tried to stop thinking.
"It's no problem." Luna sat up and finished unbuttoning her shirt, peeling it off and starting on the bra, dropping that to the side before lying back again. "You've been working on this for months, haven't you?"
"The twins think it's some… practical joker."
Luna stretched out at her side half-nude, cheek cradled in a palm as she studied Ginny curiously. "They would know."
"Maybe they're insane practical jokers."
Quiet then, slow breaths at her side as Luna watched her fret.
"The twins are planning something."
"Maybe," Ginny admitted cautiously.
"A plan of great deviousness, I suspect."
"More likely than not," she agreed.
"What is it?"
"…I don't know."
"You're going to be a lousy girlfriend if you don't figure this out soon."
Ginny took a sip of her tea and squinted at the twins as they picked bits of her herb garden out of their hair.
"You've been talking to Luna."
"Maybe you two should stop Apparating into my kitchen and try the living room."
"Maybe you should stop moving your stuff around."
"So?" she asked a few minutes later.
"You're not going to tell me what you're doing?"
"I have the authority to arrest you."
"And we have the authority to show funny baby pictures to Luna."
The bastards actually preened as a leaf dropped out of Fred's hair into his tea.
A minute passed, then another.
"Why are you here?"
"We wanted tea."
She looked at them.
They stared blandly back.
They exchanged a quick look, shared a smile.
"Mum wants you to bring Luna by—"
She glared, seethed when they smiled brightly back.
"How much does she know?"
"She knows about the sleepover the other night."
"You told her."
It would be wrong, she knew, to throw tea in their faces.
Teeth gritted from her latest run-in with Mora, Ginny stomped right into Kingsley's office with intent to do harm.
Wand balanced on the tip of his finger, he stared at her with wide eyes, mouth formed into an O.
"Your parents are friends of mine," he defended as he hastily dropped the wand to the desk and attempted to school himself from Bored Wizard to Minister of Magic. "They worry about you—"
"So you tell them about my shag with Luna."
"Boss," he corrected but she just gave him a look, lip curling.
"You're a traitor."
"It's none of your business."
"You bitched and moaned to me about it for a week—"
"It's none of their business!"
"Have you met those people, Ginny?" She opened her mouth, paused and then closed it. "Percy threatened to come back to work if I didn't tell him what I knew," he continued, panicked glint in his gaze.
"I'm still mad at you."
"Just don't sic them on me."
"I'm not that mad."
"What are the twins doing?"
"Haven't the faintest clue."
"Maybe we should be worried."
"I'm trying not to think about it."
It occurred to Ginny hours later that she had never really noticed how often Luna went at least partly nude in her flat.
She had pale skin that followed across slight curves and long hair that always brushed the small of her back, walked around in old bras that kept her covered but only barely as she made herself at home. She wasn't quite as brave but she'd walked around herself in various states of undress, one of the wonderful things about being longtime friends with someone for so long that such didn't matter.
But now she noticed it, found herself watching with… a bit more interest.
"You don't think your mother's going to force us to marry immediately, do you?"
"No," she said and watched as Luna flipped another page in her magazine, heaving a sigh that made small breasts rise and fall like mountains.
No, that was stupid.
Mountains didn't move.
"At least your father likes me."
"Are you listening to me?"
"My Mum's not that crazy and, yes, my father adores you."
The smile that Luna graced her with did all kinds of pleasant things to her.
"You won't attack the pudding again, will you?"
"Do you want me to put a shirt on?"
Dropping the magazine to the coffee table, Luna stretched her arms over her as she slouched down a bit more on the couch, staring at Ginny from under her lashes.
"You look like you're about to have sex with my couch."
"Not with the couch," Luna assured her.
Ginny felt her eyes bug out a bit.
Something shattered in the kitchen.
A male voice cried theatrically, "Why does she do this to us?!"
"Are you fucking kidding me?"
The man's entire body was humming 'God Save the Queen' in reverse.
Young and pleasant-faced, sharp-eyed and thin-mouthed, the young cleaning man sat and hummed as he stared at them in annoyance.
"Your practical joker," the twins stated in unison.
Kingsley was actually… gaping.
She'd never seen him do that before, not once.
A few parts of the factory had been destroyed but they were easily fixable, had mostly affected the man who that had triggered the actual spell itself, left him with hair that stuck up and, she noticed with vague amusement, streaks of ink decorating his skin.
"How many spells did you put down?"
"How many is a few?"
They just stared at her.
The tattoo on the young man's face read simply AMATEUR in bold red letters.
"How did you get the ink in?"
"We altered the spell a bit."
"Uh huh," she said doubtfully, exchanging a slightly frightened look with Kingsley.
"And his magic's…"
"A bit frazzled at the moment—"
"Poor guy electrocuted himself when he tried to escape—"
"Set himself on fire, too—"
"Don't forget the mushrooms—"
They'd decided to fight fire with fire, had laid down the spell in a "few" places in several of the factories and simply waited patiently— he'd been with a service, had done rounds on a handful of the factories and apparently just started weaving the spell into whatever caught his fancy at the time.
He'd tried to lay down a spell on something that had already been charmed and nearly blown himself up.
Pitiful, that she almost felt sorry for him.
"What if he hadn't decided to charm this object?"
"We would have caught him in one of the other factories," George shrugged.
"My brain hurts," Kingsley informed her quietly and she reached out, set a palm on his arm, squeezed gently. "What in the world are we going to do with him?"
"Hang him on a wall and show him off?"
Under her, the grass was cool.
Sure, her robes were wet but it was worth it.
And there was quiet.
Eyes closed as she stretched out in the yard of the Burrow, Ginny dozed as her family chattered inside, the noise a calm murmur that somehow made the world feel still. Every so often, there were the muted footsteps of small things living in the garden that crept out to investigate her before going back to their dens again.
There was a creak of a backdoor somewhere behind her, larger footsteps.
Somebody settled down beside her, a female voice sighing softly.
"How did you escape?"
"I paid Bill off to make a distraction."
"You're the perfect woman," Ginny grinned, opening her eyes to glance over at Luna, finding her stretched out, long blonde hair a flood of white around her head in the bare starlight. "My family loves you and you're my equal in mental brilliance and you understand my insanity and you know your way around my kitchen."
"What about my breasts?"
"I love your breasts."
"That's good then."
Chuckling, she rolled enough to wrap an arm around a waist and duck her face into a cool neck, breathing there for a few minutes. Fingers curled around her nape, a palm sliding against her hip as they laid there in the quiet, as Luna slowly slid a leg between hers, lifted slightly.
"Sex in the garden?"
"It's dark out here."
Ginny agreed, tipping her head back to brush her lips against a cool mouth, to deepen the kiss when it opened lazily, deepening even further when a knee pushed hard between her legs, a startling contrast to the soft mouth beneath hers. She was a bit shaken when she drew back, a bit dizzy as she smoothed fingers through pale hair.
"My family could come out any time."
"Is my sex awful?"
Luna stopped, hands pausing in their exploration, blinked. "What?"
"Never mind," she muttered hastily, dipping in for another kiss, firmer than before, shifting forward onto a knee as her fingers slid down Luna's form, pushed open robes enough to find bare skin. She couldn't help but grin when Luna made a short sound, grinning more broadly as she pressed against cotton and moisture seeped against her palm. "Don't worry about it, it doesn't matter now—"
She obeyed, shifting again to make it easier to keep a tight grip on slim hips, fingers pushing easily between cloth and skin, sweeping past tight curls to slide fingertips through heat that seemed impossible with the cool grass under her.
Gnomes didn't have cameras, did they?
Eh, fuck it, she decided, straddling a leg as she concentrated, stopped thinking about insulting ink and Ministers and family members as heat spiked through her, as muscles tightened with startling viciousness around her fingers, as heat spread against her palm.
She nodded in complete agreement, pressing kisses along a collarbone and then moving down to the swell of a breast, allowing her mouth to fit there for a heartbeat while a body jerked hard beneath hers, sliding her tongue firmly around the peak of a nipple before pulling away.
God, she could get used to this, could easily do this for years, for a fucking lifetime—
She stroked as muscles tightened in the body under hers, as she rolled her palm against the curve of a breast, and then stroked harder when Luna locked a shaky leg around her waist, pushed her hips up in a frenzied movement that did more pleasant things to Ginny.
A short noise as muscles contracted, flexed tight, and Luna arched, head dropping back.
A curious silence as she went loose again, trembling as she pulled Ginny down, fit her mouth hard against hers.
There was tightness low in her belly, a heat ignited not yet eased, but Luna panted and she grinned helplessly, kissed her back as a shaking hand patted Ginny's cheek. "Very good."
The week was over, things were fine… she'd shagged Luna.