Hello again! How are you all today? So this is the last chapter for you guys to vote on who Ginny is paired with! I know you are all so excited.
It had been their first chance to be alone together over break.
Sirius could be heard downstairs, screaming at Molly while the rest of the Order was trying to yell over them. George had let off a dung bomb at the end of the stairs that Kretcher was currently refusing to get rid of so the upstairs was a safe haven from the racket.
Fred and Ana were staring out the window to the muggle world, watching as people bustled by, collars up and eyes darting suspiciously for the "terrorists" mentioned on the news. Ana leaned a head on his shoulder, wincing as a particularly nasty shout came from downstairs.
"Have I mentioned I wish I could use magic right now?" Ana asked. Fred huffed a laugh beside her and nodded in agreement.
"A good Silencio and the day would be perfect." They watched another person walk, trying vainly to hail a cab.
"I'M TRYING TO LIVE IN THE MOMENT, DAMN IT! THIS IS A BLOODY WAR, NOT EVERYONE COMES OUT ALIVE, AND NO ONE COMES OUT THE SAME!" Sirius's voice shouted. Molly shouted something back but Ana could only hear Sirius.
Not everyone comes out alive…
Ana straightened and turned to her boyfriend. "Fred? Promise me something."
"Anything." Fred instantly said, his eyes showing his only confusion.
"If I die," Fred moved to interrupt but Ana held up a hand and plowed on. "If I die, I want you to move on. Find someone else, be happy. I don't want you to stay upset over my death."
Fred gave her a long look before nodding slightly. "Then you need to do the same. I want you to be happy." Ana nodded, her eyes slightly tearing up and she kissed him. It wasn't a romantic kiss, not one leading to anything else. It was just a reminder that the other was there and a seal twice as good as any handshake. She backed up and he rested his forehead on hers. "Mind you, you could wait about a year first." Ana gave a watery laugh and smacked his arm.
"ANA!" The yelled scream brought Ana back to the present out of her memory with a jolt. She was sitting on her couch, a mug of tea in her hands, and staring out the window to the busy streets below. The blinked around and saw Ginny staring at her in horrified anger and holding a pair of high heels.
"What, love?" Ana yawned. Ginny looked even more mad that she didn't instantly pick up on the problem.
"Ana, did you wear these?" Ginny said, thrusting the shoes forward. Ana shook her head. She much preferred flats and tennis shoes over high heels. "Someone did and broke the heel! These were very expensive, and now all I have are my dragon hide boots to wear to the company picnic of Justin's. Those boots always catch too much attention and last time we were seconds away from the Misuse of Magic descending upon us for telling muggles."
"I can not have that." Ana teased. She was almost tempted to point out the rather large collection of shoes that was hiding out in the bottom of Ginny's closet, but thought better of it. No need to launch Ginny into the lecture on appropriate shoes with the appropriate outfits, and how two outfits wouldn't necessarily mean the same pair of shoes. Last time the lecture had been two hours with visuals.
"No. How fast do you think I could get a license to get a portkey overseas?" Ginny asked. Ana arched an eyebrow.
"A month, two weeks at the very fastest," Ana estimated. Ginny nodded, biting her lip.
"I was afraid you would say that. The American Ministry of Magic is so touchy since the Second War. Honestly, you would think that it was fought over here instead of back in England." She sighed and looked sadly at her broken heeled shoes. "Why couldn't I have remembered to update the non-break spell? Then an elephant could have worn them and they would be fine."
"An elephant may have warn them. You don't know how they broke, remember?"
Ginny nodded, then shrugged and threw the heels over her shoulder. "Oh well, I guess I'll have to swap my outfit to the yellow spring dress instead. So, what are you doing?" She flopped herself into a couch and picked up a discarded book that Ana had been reading before making her journey to the window. "Oh, so much fun. The Theories behind Automobiles, Airplanes, and Artificial Intelligence, this sounds like a thriller. How could you put this one down?"
Ana laughed at her, snatching the book away and towards her. "I'll have you know that this is a good book. If I can figure out what runes to mix with these things, the wizarding world may finally be able to embrace this century." Ginny laughed.
"Like that would actually happen. You were married to Draco Malfoy and you don't know that?" Ana shoved her with her shoulder.
"I'll have you know that we didn't really talk much about the wizarding world's stubbornness when we were married." Ana said. Ginny wiggled her eyebrows at her and Ana almost slapped her. "Shut up, it's not like that. We just went to the muggle world a lot, showed him new things." Ginny coughed something that sounded like 'mile high club' and Ana did smack her. "How do you even know what that is?"
Ginny gave her a large grin. "Justin has a plane." Ana held up a hand to stop her. Ginny leaned forward and ignored the hand. "He was amazing. He was so passionate and when he-." Ana jumped up and ran out of the room covering her ears.
"No! You're not saying this!" She ran to the door, throwing it open and running down the stairs to the empty café. Ginny followed, adding details as she ran. "Lalalala!"
"Am I missing something?" Ana looked to the fireplace to see Lavender standing there. Both girls stopped running and giving details of her sex life.
"Lavender!" Ana ran to her and gave her a hug. "How are you? How's Bruce?" She pulled her back upstairs to the loft.
Ana and Lavender sat down and Ginny went to the kitchen to make them tea. Lavender looked completely different from what Ana remembered. Her brown hair was short and tied behind a multi-colored and patterned cloth. She had developed a nice tan and her face was devoid of even the light make-up that she used to wear.
"Ana, could you do the magical marriage ceremony for Bruce and me? I know we forgot last time you were there, but I found this book that talked about all the blessings you get on your marriage with the ceremony and we really want to do it. You're the only one we know that still practices all the rituals of the Old Religion." Lavender rambled.
Ana smiled at her. "I would be honored to. Just give me a time and location and Ginny and I'll be there." Lavender grinned back in relief.
"Thanks. Oh, you guys should come back with us! We've moved out of Africa and we're staying with some of Bruce's friends. They have a fireplace and stepped out for a week with Bruce, some medical ritual that he takes part in, so I snuck over. Oh, what he does is amazing; and the other day I was invited to speak at a rally for werewolf rights!" Lavender told. "What have you two been up to?"
"I'm seeing a superhero." Ana said, "and Ginny's dating his rival. Well, not superhero rival, but business rival. It's not a dating thing, though. Not formally yet. He keeps referring to me as his date, but since there was no asking, I'm just calling him my friend. You should have seen the faces of some of the ladies in the café when he picked me up for this charity event."
"You'll meet him tomorrow." Ginny broke in. Both girls looked at her curiously. "Don't tell me you've forgotten that you two are going to have dinner tomorrow? You just planned it this morning!" Ana laughed as she remembered.
"Oh, yeah. Right."
As it turned out, they didn't have dinner out as they planned.
Around five Pepper showed up at the café, dragging along an upset looking Tony. "Oh, no! Ana gets to deal with you now! I'm sick of it!" She was saying. A few customers looked up, but most were used to Tony coming in.
One young couple in the corner stared and the woman whispered to her boyfriend. "Oh my God, Mike. That's Tony Stark! The tour guide was right!" She was instantly at the receiving end of several disapproving looks and another customer had to walk over and tell her that in the café they didn't point.
Tony sat down at the counter and gave Ana a kicked puppy expression. "Ana, please tell Pepper that what I did was not as bad as she is making it seem."
"What did you do?" Ana asked; she handed the counter over to a curious Lavender to take over.
"He stole a race car, that's what he did!" Pepper snapped. "Poor Natalie and I almost had a heart attack. He just popped himself in Formula 1 and took off like there was nothing wrong. He got in a wreck too!"
Ana gave him a concerned look but he brushed it off. "I'm fine. She's just being dramatic."
"I am not!" Ana stepped away quickly and brought them both drinks, slipping a Calming Drought into Pepper's and a Pick Me Up into Tony's.
"Just breath, the both of you." She instructed. "Take a sip." They did. "Now, I think I have the gist of what is going on. Who's Natalie?"
"Natalie Rushman. She's my secretary. She takes care of anything I need, and she's quite good at it too. I swear sometimes she knows what I need before I do." Pepper said, taking several sips and relaxing. "This is amazing, thank you Ana."
Ana smiled, "Always happy to help. Natalie seems nice. So, Tony just stole a race car? Did he drive it around New York?"
This time Tony answered. "I drove it around the race track, and I almost won. Pepper and Natalie are just worrying too much. Honestly, I am perfectly fine." Ana snorted in amusement.
"Tony, you stole a racecar. I feel like that defines not fine." She shook her head, realizing she was nagging, and changed the subject. "Have you two met Lavender?" They shook their heads and she introduced them to her. "She went to school with Ginny and me. While we went to the city, though, Lavender went rural- living with her husband in the middle of nowhere now. This is the first we've seen or heard from her in over a year." Ana relayed fondly.
"How old are you, Ana?" Pepper suddenly asked.
"I'm turning twenty-one in the fall. Why?" She asked.
Pepper just shook her head. "Nothing, I was just telling Natalie about this place and I realized I had no idea how old you were. You seem much older than that."
"Oh. Well, yeah, I'm just twenty-one right now. How old are the two of you?"
"Pepper's almost thirty-five and I'm twenty-nine." Tony whispered. Pepper hit the back of his head.
"I am not!" She cried. "I am only a year older then you, thank you very much. He is such a brat."
Ana laughed then an idea occurred to her. "Hey, Pepper? Would you like to stay for dinner? The press over Tony's joyride is going to be too much to go out tonight." Pepper nodded slowly, puzzled. "Good! Tony, go to the back and get the box of potatoes from under the sink. You get to peel the potatoes for tonight. You probably want to peel at least a dozen for everyone." Pepper slowly grinned as she realized the punishment while Tony pouted. "Go on, I have to start boiling them before too long if I want all of them to cook. Luckily I had a pot roast cooking for later in the week that we can have with it. Happy and Natalie want to come, too?"
"He would love to." Pepper decided. "I'll call Natalie." Tony sulked behind the counter and went for the potatoes. Pepper flipped out her Stark phone and quickly dialed the number. "Hello, Natalie? Yes, this is Pepper. No, it's not about work. I was wondering if you wanted to come out with us to dinner tonight. It's at the Rabbit's Nest; I was talking to you about the café yesterday. Really? Good! See you at," She paused and Ana wrote down the number seven on a napkin and held it up. "See you at seven. Yeah. Bye." She hung up the phone. "She'll be there."
Ana grinned and turned to yell at the back room where Tony was. "Get the whole bag!"
Hoped you liked it! This was my longest chapter yet, and I promise to be writing longer chapters when I can. A reader pointed out that my chapters are so short, which I didn't realize. (I meant to make the chapters steadily longer, but totally forgot the length with Life in the way).
Remember, this is your last chance to tell who you want with Ginny! Make it count!
Next chapter has them meeting "Natalie Rushman"!