Ginny Weasley was happy with her lot in life, generally speaking. It was true that she didn’t have a soulmark, but that wasn’t uncommon; to her knowledge, most of her friends didn't have one either. Really, even though she’d just broken up with Harry for the third time, she felt good about it. After all, it wasn’t really like she could have kept on dating Harry after she’d realised she was a lesbian. That just wouldn’t have been fair to either of them – even if she wasn’t quite sure what being a lesbian meant to her yet.
Anyway, Ginny had signed on to the Hollyhead Harpies as a Chaser – and she hadn’t even been put on the reserves (eat that, Oliver Wood! She’d had fun rubbing that in his face when she’d visited him and Percy after she’d gotten the news).
And she was good.
She was really good.
Maybe she’d let her skill at Quidditch go to her head. If she was a little bit cocky heading into her first game against the Tutshill Tornados, who could blame her?
She didn’t really know what had happened. One moment, she was holding the Quaffle, getting ready to pass it on to Davies, and the next she was waking up at Saint Mungo’s with the worst headache she had ever had in her life, Harry sitting nearby.
Ginny closed her eyes and rubbed at her head. “What happened?”
“Gin! You’re awake! How are you feeling?”
“Like I just got clobbered by a troll,” she said. “What happened?”
Harry seemed to catch on to the question the second time. “You crashed.”
“Oh,” she said. “How the hell did I crash?” She’d been doing fine!
“Well,” Harry said, “it didn’t really look like you were paying too much attention, and it looks like Tutshill’s seeker saw the snitch in the same place you were going to make a pass, and, well – the important thing is that no one was killed, or really that badly injured. But listen, Gin…”
“There’s something you should know.”
“What is it?”
Harry took a deep breath. “You know how you don’t have a soulmark?”
“Yes,” she said. It was something she’d never hidden from him. Not everyone had a soulmark, really, and – well, that was just fine. There were billions of people on the planet, so with chances like that…
“You might wanna take a look at your arm.”
Ginny didn’t know what he was talking about, but she did as he asked. Right there, on her wand arm, was a soulmark. She recognised it for what it was immediately: a Quaffle and a Snitch circling around each other.
“Who did I hit?” Ginny asked.
Harry rubbed the back of his neck. “Well,” he said.
“Harry… who did I hit?”
“It’s sort of funny, actually.”
“You remember Cho Chang?”
Of course she remembered Cho Chang. She’d never particularly liked Cho, and couldn’t understand for the life of her what Harry had ever seen in her. Michael Corner, she could understand; he was sort of a loser, but Harry was pretty great, all things considered.
“What about Cho Chang?”
“She’s who you ran into. And, er, who your mark should – match with.”
“What the fuck?” She shook her head, even though it was still pounding. “No. Absolutely not.”
“I don’t think this is the sort of thing you can opt out of.”
“What, so you think I should just… shack up with Cho Chang? Cho Chang, Harry.”
“I didn’t say that,” Harry said. “Plenty of people marry people who aren’t their soulmates, right? And they’re not any unhappier, on average, than the people who do marry their soulmates? Hermione’s done extensive research into the numbers.”
Ginny’s parents were soulmates. Bill and Fleur were soulmates. Hell, George and Lee were soulmates. Maybe she’d sort of thought that Harry would end up being hers anyway, in spite of all evidence (including her own sexuality, and his own soulmark that he never discussed) pointing to the contrary. Harry was a safe option – that was, really, why she’d dated him in the first place.
“I guess,” she said, feeling particularly unconvinced.
Harry opened his mouth to reply when a Healer came into the room with a trainee. Ginny recognised the trainee (in violent orange robes, as opposed to the Healers’ uniform of lime green robes – she’d been in St Mungo’s with enough injuries, really) almost immediately. It was none other than Anthony Goldstein, Michael Corner’s (yes, that Michael Corner) friend. And a Ravenclaw. Fucking fantastic. She was sick to death of Ravenclaws.
“How are you feeling, Miss Weasley?” the Healer asked.
“Pissed off, to be honest,” she said.
“That can happen,” the Healer said. “I rather meant–”
“Oh, so your soulmate is your ex’s ex-girlfriend?” Ginny snapped.
“Gin, it’s really –”
“Sorry, unless I’m drastically ill-informed, none of my exes are your soulmate.”
She could see that her words had their desired effect, but Harry controlled himself. “It’s not like Cho and I ever slept together.”
“That’s not the point.”
“I don’t think anyone expects their soulmate to be – whoever it is,” Anthony said.
“Oh, and you would know that how, Anthony? Please, enlighten me.”
“Personal experience,” he said. “I’ve got a soulmate, and it’s not who either of us expected.”
Ginny narrowed her eyes. “And what did you do about it?”
Anthony shrugged. “Talked about it. In the end, we decided to wait a bit before trying anything.”
“So you’re not together?”
“Not at the moment, no.”
“Are you in any pain, Miss Weasley?”
Harry cut her off before she could say anything. “She was complaining of a headache.”
“I don’t need you to speak for me,” Ginny said.
“All right,” Harry said, holding up his hands in surrender. “I’m sorry.”
Ginny looked at him, and she sort of felt bad. “It’s fine,” she said. “I do feel like I’ve been clobbered by a troll, and that’s not counting the emotional trauma.”
“I can’t do anything for the emotional trauma,” the Healer said. “But I can help you feel like you’ve not been clobbered by a troll.”
Ginny tried to ignore it. So what if she and Harry were broken up? So what if she was a lesbian? That didn’t mean Cho Chang was supposed to be her soulmate! At best, she’d tolerated Cho in the D.A.! She was supposed to find some gorgeous girlfriend she actually liked! That was how this was all supposed to work, but Cho had thrown a great bloody wrench in that plan by crashing into her.
Cho sent a letter asking to talk, which Ginny had promptly ignored. She didn’t need to talk to Cho. This didn’t change her life at all. She could just continue on as she had been, pretend like nothing of significance had happened, and then she’d address it if and when she felt good and ready.
Telling herself this didn’t make her feel any less on edge. She was so stressed that she decided to go to the market herself. It wasn’t like Harry enjoyed being recognised in public any more than she did.
And yet, it seemed, to put the metaphorical cherry on top of the shit sundae that was her life right now, she ran into Cedric Diggory, who was, quite frankly, a massive pain in her arse as of late.
He was objectively handsome, funny, charming, kind, and infuriatingly popular – just about everyone had been in love with him back in school. What was worse was that he played for Puddlemere United now, and they’d beaten the Harpies the last few times they’d played. Not that it had been Ginny against Cedric directly; she was a Chaser and he was still a Seeker (surprising no one at all). But still. It pissed her off.
She tried to sneak by without him noticing her – but it was too late. He’d seen her. “Ginny Weasley?”
She forced a smile that probably looked pained. “Cedric! Hello! I didn’t see you there!”
Cedric shot her a smile that probably melted anyone who was actually attracted to men. Fortunately, Ginny was not one of them.
“How have you been?” he asked.
“I’ve been well,” she said.
His expression softened. “I heard about your collision with Cho last week. Are you all right?”
“I’m fine,” she lied. Even if she were okay with everything going on, why the fuck would she tell Cedric Diggory? “I was out of St. Mungo’s later that same day.”
“That’s good to hear,” Cedric said. “Quidditch injuries like that are serious stuff.”
As if she wasn’t aware of that. Really, what had Harry ever seen in him? Or Cho, for that matter? “I know,” she said. “I think Harry was more worried about it than I was, really.”
“How are you two?”
Wait, what? Ginny thought the breakup had been pretty well publicised, despite what she and Harry had both wanted. “Harry and I broke up six weeks ago.”
Cedric’s eyes widened. “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that.”
“Don’t be,” Ginny said. “I’m a lesbian.”
“Oh,” Cedric said. “Then, er, congratulations?”
“Thanks?” she said. “Erm, listen, it was – nice seeing you, Cedric, but I’ve really got somewhere to be.”
“Right,” Cedric said. “I won’t keep you. It was lovely seeing you.” He offered his hand to shake; his sleeve slipped up a bit when he did so, and Ginny realised with a start that she wasn’t the only one who’d been keeping secrets in her relationship with Harry.
“You seem distracted,” Neville said. They were at the cottage he shared with Luna, where they were meant to be having tea. And, well, to his credit, he had actually prepared the tea. Ginny’s cup was sitting on its saucer, the tea probably having gone cold.
“It’s nothing,” Ginny said.
“It doesn’t seem like nothing.”
“Have you found your soulmate?” she asked.
Neville hesitated. “Why? You’ve never asked me that before.”
“You’re still single.”
Neville sipped at his tea. “That doesn’t mean I haven’t found my soulmate – it just means that I’m single.”
“I always figured you for the sort who’d run into your soulmate’s arms as soon as you found each other,” Ginny said.
“There may have been… extenuating circumstances.”
Ginny’s eyes widened. “Did your soulmate…?” It wouldn’t be too surprising. It was pretty common during war, from everything Ginny knew.
“No,” Neville said. “No. It’s just that we’re both rather busy, and it certainly wasn’t who either of us expected, so things have been – sort of put on pause. We’ve discussed it, and it’s what works best for both of us right now.”
“Anthony said something similar about his.”
Neville stiffened a bit at that, which was sort of strange; he and Anthony were friendly, weren’t they? Despite being friends with Michael Corner, Anthony Goldstein had always seemed too painfully nice to actually offend anyone. “When did you talk to Anthony?”
Ginny shrugged. “Last time I was at St. Mungo’s. He’s a trainee Healer. But then – I don’t think Bill had trouble like… like that. Even if he did end up marrying a frog. And George and Lee were already mates.”
“I thought you liked Fleur?”
“Yeah, now.” She certainly hadn’t liked Fleur when she’d found out that she was Bill’s soulmate.
“I expected Luna to be my soulmate, you know.”
“I think we all did,” Ginny said. It was true; it had seemed natural, when they were in school, that they’d all pair off; Neville with Luna, Ron with Hermione, and her with Harry. Of course – none of that had actually panned out that way.
“I’m sure Bill and Fleur both had their own ideas of who theirs should be, too.”
“Yeah, maybe,” Ginny said.
“I take it yours isn’t Harry.”
“No,” Ginny said. “You know – I sort of thought, when I realised I was a lesbian, that I might find some gorgeous witch who I actually could tolerate and we’d… I dunno.”
“That’s really not the end of the world. It might feel like it right now, but I promise you, it’s not.”
“And that’s why you’re dating your soulmate.”
Neville shrugged. “I probably will in the future. Again. We’ve discussed it.”
A terrible thought occurred to her then. “Neville.”
“Your soulmate isn’t – in Azkaban, right?”
“Of course not,” Neville said. “My soulmate is definitely – as far from all that as you can get – at least without being a Muggle, anyway.”
“Good. You deserve much better than that.”
After some deliberation, Ginny decided to speak with George and Lee. Her whole family already knew, anyway, and they might be able to help. Charlie would have been her first choice, really, but he was in Romania – and she couldn’t quite justify running away just yet.
She met them at their flat in Diagon Alley for dinner on a night that she knew Harry, with whom she still shared a flat, had plans with Ron and Hermione. She had to admit that they were disgustingly happy together. Even if she wasn’t convinced they wouldn’t put a skiving snackbox in her food.
“How did you two find out you were soulmates?” she asked.
George and Lee exchanged a look. “Well,” Lee said. “We were both working on a new invention for the shop –”
“And the mental thing is, we were working on a new addition to our witches’ line at the same time – a love potion, naturally – and that wasn’t even what did it,” Fred said.
“What’s really mental is it was hardly the first time we’d come into significant physical contact, and that’s what’s meant to do it, isn’t it?” Lee asked.
Ginny pulled a face. “I’m not sure I want to ask.”
“Oh, not like that,” George said. “Don’t be ridiculous. Lee and I never did anything like that before we found out we were soulmates.”
“Yeah,” Lee agreed. “That was Fred I was fucking. George and I had always just been mates, really. If you’d have told me I was fooling around with the wrong twin, I’d have laughed in your face.”
Ginny glared at them both but settled her glare on George, who’d probably be more likely to listen. “If you don’t shut him up, I’ll tell you both all about my sex life.”
George frowned. “No need to get snippy. We get it.”
“Well, anyway,” Lee said. “We were working on the Quidditch line – this was before we’d worked out all the kinks.”
Ginny was familiar with the Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes Quidditch line; it included Quaffles that were enchanted to fall mid-toss or, alternatively, follow you around just out of reach, Bludgers that stuck to your bat, Golden Snitches that would vanish completely for minutes at a time, as well as some gear that was likewise enchanted. Ginny actually sort of thought the whole line was brilliant, really. “I’m aware.”
“Well, we were working on the Quaffle, and it exploded. We got kicked back in the blast, and George fell on top of me, and as we were checking for injuries, we found the soulmarks.” He pulled his sleeve back to show Ginny his soulmark: a firework coming out of a megaphone.
“There’s no confusing it, really,” George said, pulling back his own sleeve to show Ginny his matching mark
“And – how did you two react to all that?”
“I thought it was bloody hilarious,” George said.
Lee shrugged. “It’s not like I didn’t know I was gay. I guess I was sort of surprised it was George, again, since we’d had plenty of physical contact before, but there are worse ways for it to go. We were already mates, at least.”
“It was pretty awkward, though,” George said. “Once we realised the gravity of the situation.”
“Oh yeah,” Lee agreed. “Especially since Fred and I –”
“Lee, if you finish that sentence, I will hex you to next Tuesday,” Ginny said.
“All right, all right,” Lee said. “I mean, yeah, it was a bit awkward, but we talked about it and made it work. Though your mum’s been a right pain about kids. It’s like, we’re both twenty-two – why would we have kids right now? That’d be mental; let us enjoy ourselves a bit first, yeah?”
“And how is everything with Cho?” George asked.
Ginny rolled her eyes. “Who told you?”
“Well, it was pretty obvious. Give us some credit,” George said. Ginny glared at him, and he shrugged. “Ron might’ve said something.”
“You really should talk to her,” Lee said. “She’s probably just as confused and frustrated as you are. I mean – it’s not like you two don’t have a – history.”
“What do you expect talking to her to accomplish?” Ginny asked.
“You might reach some kind of mutual understanding,” George said. “Or something like that.”
Ginny snorted. “The only thing Cho and I have ever mutually agreed upon is that Quidditch is the best sport in the world and that Harry’s fit. And I’m a lesbian, so I don’t quite think that last one counts anymore.”
“Do you think Cho is thrilled about the way things are going?” Lee asked.
“Well, no,” Ginny said.
“So talk to her.”
“I’m not any happier about this than you are, you know,” Cho said, sitting quite primly in her seat.
“I can imagine,” Ginny said.
“Really, can you think of anyone who was happy about their soulmate from day one?”
“My parents were quite chuffed, actually,” Ginny said defensively. Though, really, from everyone she’d talked to, her parents were quite unique in that aspect. Even Bill and Fleur, happy as they were now, had gotten off to a rocky start.
“Then besides your parents.”
“My brother Charlie seemed fine with his soulmate.” And why wouldn’t he have? Charlie’s soulmate’s grandfather had only been his hero since any of them could remember; not everyone was lucky enough to find their match in Newt Scamander’s grandson.
Cho sighed. “This is difficult enough without you trying to make it even more so.”
“What, did you expect us to skip off into the sunset? Just talk it out and then move in together and everything’s brilliant and perfect and wonderful?”
“No,” Cho said. “I expected us to have a civil conversation about it and come to some sort of solution that works for both of us. You know – like adults.”
Ginny scoffed. “Sorry if I’m not as happy as you’d like, now that my life’s been totally upended overnight.”
“Get over yourself,” Cho said. “Do you really think that my life hasn’t just been upended, too? You’re hardly alone in all this.”
“How has your life been upended, then?”
“How hasn’t it? You know Michael and I live together, don’t you? My parents haven’t got any idea that I’m bisexual – my sister just had a baby, for Merlin’s sake! But I’ve at least been willing to discuss it with you!”
“Don’t presume to know the first thing about me,” Ginny snapped.
Cho scoffed. “I know plenty about you, but I’m not the one jumping to conclusions. If you’d like to discuss this like adults, I’d be happy to, but I’m really not going to sit here and listen to how difficult this has all been for you, as if my feelings aren’t worth your consideration.”
“And yet you’re dating Michael Corner,” Ginny said.
“Yes,” Cho said. “I am. Though, honestly, I’m not sure how that’s going to turn out, considering…” She gestured between them.
“Neville said he and his soulmate aren’t together.”
“No,” Cho agreed. “They’re not. But they’ve got a plan, more or less, of what they’re going to do.”
Ginny furrowed her brows. “Hold on – how do you know that? I wasn’t aware you’d ever talked to Neville.”
“I don’t think I have,” Cho said. “I know his soulmate, though.”
“What do you mean, you know his soulmate?” Ginny asked.
“Hasn’t he told you who his soulmate is?” Cho asked, as if that would answer all of her questions.
“It’s not Corner, is it?”
Cho laughed. “Merlin, no. Not Michael. You should ask Neville if you really want to know – it’s not my place to tell, but trust me when I say the two of them have a plan in place. I don’t think it’d be a bad idea for us to develop our own.”
As much as Ginny hated to admit it, Cho had a point. A plan – especially an adaptable one – wasn’t a bad idea.
“What did you have in mind?”
“First, I think we should get to know each other. We really don’t know each other that well. Then we can see about an actual plan.”
That sounded reasonable enough. “All right,” she said. “It’s a deal.”
She didn’t know how this would end up, or if things would work out between her and Cho, but if she’d learned anything in the past few weeks, it was worth a shot.