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that old black magic

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***

      The stage lights go up, and Ginny, seated in the audience, feels a flutter of nerves in her stomach. After all this time, she still feels protective. She has a need to shield her girlfriend from the judgements of others.

When the announcement of a new season of the wizarding version of those popular Muggle dance shows went out earlier this year, no one had known exactly what to expect. Ginny was certainly unprepared when Luna had floated into their kitchen and declared her intent to audition for a celebrity contestant spot on Waltzing with the Witches.

“It will be wonderful, Ginny, just imagine it! Learning all the steps, feeling your body move, dancing under an enchanted sky!” Luna had beamed, twirling messily around the kitchen island. Ginny could hardly keep from pulling her in for a kiss, it was so adorable.

And now, here Ginny is, in the audience at the final night of the competition, dolled up in her best suit and rooting for Team Lovegood-Thomas.

    Ginny is so proud of Luna, though she could do without the wizarding teenagers on the magical side of the internet shipping her girlfriend with her professional dance partner from the show. It sets Ginny’s teeth on edge, that Luna and Dean are the shippers’ new favorites. There’s precedent for it as well, what with last year’s big story of pro dancer Astoria Greengrass falling for her celebrity dance partner, a tentatively reformed Draco Malfoy. Ginny still doesn’t understand why anyone would be interested in him.

Dean Thomas, by contrast, has become a noted painter as well as a dancer since the war, and he’s the pinnacle of gentlemanly kindness, Ginny remembers sourly, thinking of their messy teenage breakup. Still, every time Ginny sees him dancing with Luna, graceful and gentle with his hands on her waist, and Luna looking as happy as she’s ever seen her… Ginny’s only human. It’s natural to be a little jealous.

She can’t help that she’s rubbish at proper artsy dancing. She still wants to be the one holding Luna, lifting her like clouds, making her smile.

     Ginny sighs as the music swells, and Dean and Luna sweep out onto the stage. Luna is glowing, her face unusually highlighted by the TV makeup artists’ work. Her knee-length dark blue dress accentuates her long, shapely legs, and the swish of her hips… Ginny stares, biting her lip, as Luna and Dean begin to dance, and Luna’s dress begins to glint and glimmer with magicked silver spots. They’re in her hair, too, shining off the pale blonde, as though Luna really is the moon, haloed in all her stars.

She and Dean dance like the flow of water, or maybe the ripple of blue fabric against Luna’s pale skin. He twirls her, strong and precise, masterful. Luna's movements are just as perfect, her arms swanlike as they cut through the air in a momentary flourish. A sultry Muggle song about some weird type of Dark sex magic pulses alongside their motions as they capture the crowd, hit every beat, make it look easy. And the smile on Luna’s face, ethereal and glowing, lighter than she’s looked in ages, takes Ginny’s breath away all over again. She really is good at this dancing thing, and she loves it so much. Ginny could never begrudge her that.

All too soon, the music fades, and Luna and Dean strike a final pose, breathing hard. The audience bursts into applause, and the host, Augustus Cobblepot, reads off the dancers’ names in his booming voice, praising their “fabulous routine”. Ginny is on her feet, cheering and letting off her famous Quidditch whistle, because everyone needs to know that her girlfriend is amazing and talented and loved.

      Luna beams at her for just a moment, meeting her eyes with a look that’s for Ginny alone, before she and Dean head up to receive their scores, arm in arm. Ginny pouts, pushing the long side of her hair behind her ear, as she’s been doing ever since getting her undercut.

It’s not fair that Dean’s the one who gets to put his arm round Luna now, when all Ginny wants is just to touch her, bask in her glow. And yeah, Ginny’s dated famous people before, had to share her war hero ex with the whole of the wizarding world. She should be used to this. But Luna… when she’s with Luna, the world draws close, until there’s only the two of them left in it, and nothing more. She craves that feeling, that peace.

      Ginny’s pulled back from her thoughts by the roars of the crowd, watches Luna and Dean nodding along as each judge reads out their score. An 8 out of 10 from Celestina Warbeck, an 8 out of 10 from Elphias Doge, and an 8 out of 10 from Filius Flitwick (whose dueling career had also taught him ‘the fine art of physical movement’, according to the clip they played to introduce him at the top of the show, and Ginny makes a mental note to tell her brothers about that. Ron and George will have a field day.)

The scores are all right, but Luna and Dean droop slightly against each other, and the audience bellows its displeasure with the harsh judgement. Ginny would have given them a ten out of ten, but after all, she is horribly biased.

She’s standing on tiptoe, craning her neck to see where Luna’s going. Ginny is waiting on tenterhooks for Luna’s reappearance, but her girlfriend is nowhere to be found, having retreated to the contestants’ lounge to watch as Viktor Krum and Elle Rookwood take the dance floor.

Glumly watching Krum and Rookwood attempt a ridiculous twirl, Ginny reflects on the evening, and Luna’s dress accentuating every curve of her, and the way she moves her legs, and just how very, very gay Ginny is, really.

Something sharp pokes her in the soft bit of her upper arm, and she yelps and swats at it. Her hand closes on a small bit of parchment enchanted into the shape of a paper airplane, with Luna’s fine, spidery writing along both wings.

Come find me. Dancers’ Lounge in ten.

***

    The moment Ginny enters the room, a chorus of excited voices start calling her name. She just recognizes the boys who are waving at her – a bearded, burly Seamus Finnegan holding Dean, who is leaning against him in a tired, affectionate way – before another body comes flying at Ginny’s own. Luna is barefoot, and euphoric, and the stars are falling out of her hair as she runs to throw herself into her girlfriend’s arms.

“Did you see? Did you see? The Whorlets were with us tonight, I just know it," Luna gasps. "That’s why there were no Nargles around to throw us off, like last week.”

“You were amazing.” Ginny kisses her cheek, buries her face in the taller woman’s hair as she hugs her, inhaling the sweetness of her perfume. “Congratulations, darling, I am so proud of you.”

They break apart, still holding hands, and Luna laughs at the bits of enchanted stardust that have transferred from her hair to Ginny’s long fringe and even her eyebrows. “You look good, Gin, those stars really go with your tie.”

“I wanted to match you,” Ginny says, looking down at her blue suit of robes and silver tie. “I’m sorry I was jealous of you and Dean before. You really are brilliant together.”

Luna casts a laughing look at her dance partner and his boyfriend, who only have eyes for each other. “Tell that to Seamus. I told you there was nothing to worry about, silly! Besides, you’re the one I really want to dance with.”

     Ginny lets herself be drawn in, as Luna guides her hand to her waist and eases them into a waltz, right there in the half-crowded lounge. Their bodies pressed together, the two women slowly spin, gliding and turning along to the muffled music of the next two dancers onstage in the adjoining hall.

She can feel Luna’s warm curves beneath her hand, the slight pressure of Luna’s other hand in her own, guiding her. Ginny wants to be closer, as close as possible, and she leans in to whisper in Luna’s ear exactly what she’s planning for tonight, how much she wants to take off Luna’s stupid, perfect dress already.

“Merlin, I love you.” Luna blushes despite herself, leaning in.

     The kiss is deep and desperate and Ginny sighs as Luna takes her lower lip between her teeth- and then, too soon, she’s gone again, dancing away.

“I have to get back,” Luna calls. “Wait for me?”

“Always,” Ginny says, and grins to herself.

      She and Luna are so going to steal the dance floor at the next family wedding. The Weasleys won’t know what hit them.

 

***