Her feet dragged as she made her way home, shoulders drooping in exhaustion. Traveling via portkey after an away game always took it out of her. She rounded the corner to her place, digging through the side pocket of her duffel bag. Exasperated when an empty mint tin emerged instead of her keys, she continued to root around in earnest.
Ginny didn’t particularly care for the flat itself—it had been the result of a short and, if she was being totally honest, rather bitter search after she and Harry split. She’d taken the first flat her agent found that fit within the parameters she’d laid out: affordable on her salary, close to Diagon Alley, but not too close to anyone in her family.
The first two years she lived there Ginny dreaded coming home, its empty walls mocking her. She found excuse after excuse to avoid it, even when the team was training in London: nights out with friends, house-sitting, and too many family gatherings to count.
That had all changed when Luna asked to crash with her between research expeditions. One visit turned into two and then three and now—well, Ginny had lost count. Rather than asking each time, it became assumed that Luna would stay with her whenever she was in town.
Since they both traveled so frequently, their time in London didn’t always match up. But even so, Ginny had come to love being at home.
Rather than a few bland boxes strung together, the flat had sprung to life under the tender influence of its second inhabitant. Everywhere Ginny looked these days, she saw Luna: the hedgehog toothbrush holders she’d fixed above the bathroom sink; the houseplants that threatened to turn the flat into a bonafide jungle; a clash of patterned textiles in the shape of pillows, throws, and wall hangings from the places she’d visited. Ginny loved every bit of it.
She pushed open the door to her flat and her heart gave a little tug. Luna wore Ginny’s Harpies sweatshirt, adorably oversized with mushroom leggings peeking out underneath.
“Hello, Ginny,” Luna smiled at her, holding out a bowl. “I thought you might be getting back soon.”
“Luna!” Ginny grinned, striding over. “You made dinner?”
“In a manner of speaking,” her eyes danced as she rocked back on her heels in anticipation.
Ginny nearly barked a laugh, looking down at the contents of the bowl. Luna had given her just the marshmallows from Lucky Charms cereal.
“Thank you,” she bit her lip, glancing up at her friend. “I love it.”
Luna beamed, gliding back to the kitchen to retrieve a second bowl. Ginny melted at its contents: one-hundred percent frosted oats, not a marshmallow in sight.
They ate their cereal on the sofa, leaning back against the arms with their legs tangled together in the middle. Ginny longed for this when she was away—this casual intimacy.
“How was Berlin?” Luna asked as Ginny extricated herself to prepare a second round of food.
“Ugh, incredible,” Ginna gushed, putting a pot of water on the stove. “Roberts and I are playing so well together, ever since Coach changed up our formations. We even pulled off a Porskoff Ploy! I wish you could have seen it!”
“Wow,” Luna breathed, coming to join her. She hopped up onto the kitchen counter as Ginny threw together a pasta sauce. “Any time for sight-seeing?”
“Sort of,” Ginny said wryly. “That is to say—Murphy insisted.” Her chest warmed with pleasure as Luna giggled.
“We went to the Botanical Garden,” she continued. “It’s pretty incredible. I heard they do a wild mushroom workshop every week—foraging and the like.”
Luna straightened in excitement. “Really?” she said, interest peaked. “I love wild mushrooms.”
“I know,” Ginny stifled a chuckle. “Next time you’re in Germany, you should go.” Lunna agreed eagerly, continuing to pepper her with questions about the gardens.
They settled back onto the couch with pasta and after that, a glass of wine.
“How’s your book coming along?” Ginny asked, taking another sip.
A dreamy expression came over her face, “Oh Gin. It’s marvelous. To find two people in Sweden who had first-hand accounts of the Crumple-Horned Snorkack... I can actually include them in the guide now!”
“Luna!” she exclaimed, knocking their knees together. “That’s incredible! Congratulations. I know they’ve been sort of your unicorn all of these years.”
“They’re not at all like unicorns,” Luna disagreed, her brow furrowing adorably.
“I know, I know,” Ginny laughed, lifting her palms in surrender. “I’m just happy for you.”
“It’s all very exciting,” Luna agreed brightly. “And my publisher agrees—there’s no reason for me not to remain in the U.K. at this point.”
“You’re staying?” Ginny asked, breath hitching.
Luna hummed in affirmation, “No more trips.”
Ginny felt something shift in her chest. A tide of euphoria rose up, threatening to overwhelm her completely. To have Luna at home permanently—to see her every time she came back from practice or a game, what could be better?
When they got ready for bed that night, Ginny was still riding that high. Putting away leftovers, brushing their teeth in the cramped bathroom, hands brushing as they both fished out their pajamas from the shared wardrobe; every little routine was suddenly an everyday possibility. Well, perhaps not every day; but certainly every day that Ginny wasn’t at an away game.
Ginny flushed, realizing that while she’d been daydreaming, Luna had shucked off her clothes. She faced away from Ginny, her beautifully inked back on display. A small menagerie of creatures danced across her skin: hares and horses and griffins alike. Ginny tore her eyes away, changing into her pajamas.
Ginny slipped into bed, waiting for Luna to join her. She shivered, remembering what she referred to in her head as ‘Before Luna.’
Her nightmares had persisted long after the war was over, every night a tangle of truth and fiction. To have Tom Riddle’s voice in her head, even in a dream, was enough for her to wake up in a cold sweat, sheets knotted around her legs. When it wasn’t him, it was Fred—or Tonks, laying cold among the dead.
The first few times Luna stayed over, she started each night on the sofa. But when she heard Ginny thrashing around in her sleep, choked sobs echoing from the bedroom, Luna padded into her room. She’d laid her gentle hands on Ginny, leading her out of the nightmares. She hadn’t protested when Ginny tugged her underneath the covers with her, instead pulling her fingers gently through Ginny’s hair until she drifted off to sleep.
They had quickly abandoned any pretense of sleeping apart, Luna claiming the left side of the bed and its accompanying nightstand as her own. Even now that the nightmares had largely subsided whether or not they were together, Ginny found it unthinkable that they should sleep apart when her bed was perfectly comfortable for two.
Ginny smiled as Luna settled into bed next to her, fair hair fanning out on her pillow. She rolled over onto her side towards Luna, mesmerized by the way moonlight struck her soft cheeks.
“I’m glad you’re staying,” she murmured, fingers itching. She wanted to pull Luna close and never let go. Was that something she was allowed to do?
Darling that she was, Luna laid her right palm face-up between them. Ginny happily slid her hand into Luna’s, feeling the ensuing squeeze in her heart as well as her hand. As she drifted off to sleep, it was to the calming scent of spice and sandalwood—laying next to Luna felt like losing yourself to the woods in the best sort of way.
She could imagine no better thing than having this every night.
Ginny quickened her pace, breaking into a little jog as she approached her flat. Coming home was reliably more exciting now that Luna was always there. She made everything better—especially, Ginny thought wryly, family gatherings. Her whole family converged on the Burrow every Sunday for dinner and unfortunately, coming alone made you the odd man out. Ginny didn’t like being the third wheel. Well, more like the eleventh wheel. Even if Luna was just her flatmate, Ginny appreciated having her there.
Ginny bounded up the stairs, ponytail swinging behind her. She skidded to a halt in front of their door, trying for some level of composure. She pushed open the door, nearly laughing in surprise at the state of the flat.
Luna’s work dominated the room in an explosion of jumbled papers, paints, and other art supplies. They formed a chaotic ring around Luna, who was happily oblivious to it all. Ginny carefully stepped over a spilled box of colored pencils, making her way to the sofa where Luna had curled up with a sketchbook.
“What’s today’s subject?” Ginny grinned, dropping into the spot next to her.
“Demiguises,” Luna blinked up at her owlishly, ink smudged across her cheek. “Have you ever seen one?”
“Um no,” Ginny frowned, peering down at her sketchbook. She appeared to be drawing a whimsical cottage set among a copse of trees. “Are they meant to be invisible?” she asked doubtfully.
“Oh, certainly,” Luna agreed absently, continuing to draw. “They’re almost impossible to spot unless you know what to look for. Their pelts are used in invisibility cloaks you know.”
“I see,” Ginny arched an eyebrow. “And is this a typical habitat?”
Luna frowned in confusion, following Ginny’s gaze back to her drawing. “Oh!” she dropped her pencil. “No, no—this isn’t for the book. It reminds me, though...”
Ginny sat back against the soft cushions, eyes crinkling in amusement as Luna shuffled papers around in search of Merlin-knows-what.
“I’ve had the best idea,” Luna said distractedly, locating what appeared to be several printed flyers. “You’re going to love it!”
“I’m sure I will,” Ginny said, her stomach fluttering with anticipation.
“Well, I was thinking that it would be nice to be able to spread my work out a bit more as I delve into the book—and I’ve always loved living in the countryside—”
Ginny felt her heart already beginning to dive, cold dread settling into her bones.
“And when I ran into Pansy in Diagon Alley this week, I just knew!”
“Knew what?” Ginny croaked, her stomach churning queasily.
“A cottage,” Luna said dreamily. “It has to be a cottage.”
“Cottages are... nice,” Ginny agreed feebly. “I take it Parkinson gave you those?” She nodded at the flyers, which she could now see were from a realtor’s office.
“Oh, Gin!” Luna beamed at her. “I knew you’d agree. Okay, take a look at these.” She spread the leaflets out between them on the sofa. Enticing photographs of country homes beckoned from the pages, ensconced in thickets of trees or perched on craggy moores.
“This one has a greenhouse—but there’s another that’s by the sea. Which do you think?” Luna gazed at her intently, awaiting her opinion.
Ginny panicked, responding automatically, “Greenhouse, definitely.”
“But you love the sea,” Luna tilted her head quizzically. Ginny flushed, averting her gaze.
“Well, we’ll have to see them in person,” Luna decided, fixing her silver eyes on Ginny. “Pansy said she could take us next week if you’re free?”
It was impossible for Ginny to say no when Luna looked at her like that, like she hung the moon and the stars and created the ocean’s tides.
“Of course,” she said gently, even as she felt her world start to crumble. She’d do anything for her dearest friend.