Ginny skipped into the Ravenclaw common room after Terry Boot. Her presence was such a regular occurrence that no one bothered to question it anymore. She never knew the answer to the riddle, but if she waited long enough, a Ravenclaw would come by to let her in.
Unlike the Gryffindor common room, which was filled with a constant ruckus, the Ravenclaw Tower was generally quiet, with intermittent bursts of sound. A note or two would be played on the piano. A debate would become passionate or heated. A book would thud shut. A jar of paintbrushes would be knocked over. Each disturbance made Ginny flinch, but the Ravenclaws, either deep in thought or discussion, didn’t seem to notice.
Ginny sought out the blonde head she was looking for. Luna was lying on her back with her legs spread in the splits against one of the few free walls. She held the latest Quibbler a few inches from her nose. A grin stretched across Ginny’s face at the sight. She loved watching Luna disappear into her own little world. Sometimes she wished she could live in Luna's head--see the beautiful splashes of color and magic that surely floated around in there--but she would settle for living in her heart.
“Hi, love,” Ginny greeted, situating herself behind Luna and placing the girl’s head in her lap. Silvery grey eyes met hers and a dazed smile filled her vision. It took her breath away every time.
“Hello. Have you read the newest Quibbler?” She set down her magazine.
“I can’t say I have. Anything interesting?”
Luna nodded excitedly. “Oh, yes. There’s a new article on the escaped Wrackspurts. Apparently, if two people are in love, their Wrackspurts match in color.”
“Well, they’re invisible, so no one knows for sure, but it’s a lovely theory. Love does have a habit of making one’s brain go fuzzy.”
Ginny laughed. Luna’s enthusiasm for magical creatures no one else believed in made her heart swell. Sometimes it was the only thing keeping her going in the aftermath of the war. No matter how dark Ginny’s mood, Luna could bring a smile to her face in less that a heartbeat. “What color do you think our Wrackspurts would be?”
Luna pondered the question for a moment. “Well, you’re not in love with me, so ours wouldn’t match up,” she said eventually.
Ginny stared blankly, completely taken aback by the answer. “You’re joking.”
Luna stared back just as blankly. “I don’t see what’s funny about it.”
“Of course I’m in love with you. Why would you say that?”
“You’re only dating me to make a statement. Every time we enter a room, you proclaim our relationship, and your hands wrap around my waist like this.” She attached Ginny’s hands to the curve of her obliques. “You like the attention--watching everyone react.”
“What? Luna, that’s not it at all.”
The blonde smiled faintly. “I don’t mind. Your company, even given for the wrong reasons, is better than no one’s.”
Ginny’s heart broke at those simple words. “Luna--” The girl shifted, sitting up to kiss Ginny softly.
“It’s alright. Really.”
Ginny swallowed, nodding almost imperceptibly. She knew nothing she could say would convince Luna of her affections. The Ravenclaw stood up, holding out a pale hand.
“We should be getting to class. I hear there’s a nest of Nargles in the usual staircase so we’ll have to find a different route.”
Ginny took the extended hand, fighting the nagging sense of guilt permeating her thoughts. She shuffled to class with a smiled plastered on her face. Behind the mask was a war of emotions. How could she show Luna how much she meant to her?
“Hermione, I need your help.” Ginny stood across from the seated girl, fighting a strong urge to sneeze. She hated this part of the library, as it was full of the oldest books, and therefore the most dust. Hermione, however, always seemed to be here when Ginny needed her. Apparently, despite its flaws, the section had the best books. Or perhaps Hermione simply enjoyed tormenting her redheaded friend.
The bushy-haired girl looked up from her book. “Will it take long? I have another essay to write for McGonagall, and two for Slughorn before the day is out. And I’m supposed to meet Ron--”
She grimaced apologetically. “Sorry. I’m rather flustered at the moment. Apprenticing is more work than I was expecting.”
Hermione, Ron, and Harry were amongst the dozen or so students retaking their seventh year after the war. Ron and Harry were slacking off as much as ever, but Hermione instead took on even more work by volunteering for an Apprenticeship with Professor McGonagall. She was constantly stressed and frazzled and rarely had time for her friends, making Ron grumpier than usual. Harry and Ginny had taken to rolling their eyes at the both of them.
It was strange how easy it was for her and Harry to fall back into their friendship after breaking up. Ginny feared the conversation in which they would talk things out, but it ended up being painless for both of them. Harry knew their relationship was better as platonic, voicing Ginny’s thoughts perfectly. After that, they grew even closer, becoming better friends than they ever were partners. And then Luna had come along, and Harry was her biggest supporter. The three of them had taken to hanging out when Hermione and Ron were off doing couple-y things.
Thoughts of Luna brought Ginny back to the present and the reason she had sought out Hermione in the first place. “I understand. If you can’t help, I’m sure I can manage on my own. I came to you first since I know you’re always up for a challenge...” She trailed off, trying not to smirk at the bait.
Hermione’s gaze sharpened. “I am. What is it you need help with?”
Ginny sat in the chair across from her friend, leaning on her forearms. “It’s Luna. She doesn’t believe I’m in love with her--says I’m doing it for attention or something ridiculous like that.”
“Well...” Hermione said uneasily.
Ginny groaned and dropped her head into her hands. “Does it really look like that? Ugh, I feel so awful. I love her so much, and she can’t even tell.”
Hermione squeezed her hand. “I know you do, Gin.”
It wasn’t the first time Luna was oblivious to her affections. Ginny tried to ask the girl out nearly a million times before getting an affirmative. The first attempt nearly gave the redhead a stroke.
“Hi, Luna,” she had said. “I was wondering if you wanted to go to Hogsmeade with me.” She could feel a blush heating her features, and her knees shook like crazy. Asking people out was supposed to be her specialty. She was Ginny Weasley--captain of the Quidditch team, flirt, and heartbreaker extraordinaire. But at that moment, she felt like her first year self sending Harry a Valentine: anxious, embarrassed, and red as a tomato. She knew her hair did nothing to tone down the ridiculously bright image.
“Hmm?” Luna asked, glancing up from her Astronomy homework. Her wand was tucked behind her ear for safekeeping, and she wore her hair in the messiest braids Ginny had ever seen. When Luna’s eyes locked on hers, she nearly forgot what she was going to say.
“Well, I figured since you don’t have a date, and neither do I, we could go together." Ginny held her breath, biting her lip to the point of pain.
Luna smiled at her dreamily. “That’s okay. I don’t mind going alone."
Ginny tried seven times after that to the same effect. She couldn’t wrap her head around it. Luna was the most beautiful girl she’d ever seen, and yet she still treated herself as a charity case. After a particularly exhilarating Quidditch match, Ginny marched over and tried again, high on victory and hopeful she’d receive a different result.
“Luna, I’d like to go out with you."
The blonde smiled. “That’s nice."
Ginny nearly groaned at the less-than-satisfying answer but prompted further. “Would you like that?"
Luna contemplated. “Yes, I think I would."
Ginny had never grinned wider in her life. “Great. Excellent. That’s...yes. Should we kiss now?"
Luna’s eyes were alive with amusement. “That sounds acceptable."
And they kissed. At that moment, everything clicked into place. It wasn’t the kind of kiss set to explosions or fireworks. It was a kiss like meteor showers and constellations and breathing in crisp winter air after being inside too long. It righted wrongs and made her heart thrum to a new rhythm--one she could dance to for eternity and never tire of. It was everything Luna was combined with everything they were together, and it was perfect.
Ginny sighed, the memory ebbing with her exhale. “I need a way to show Luna how much I love her.”
Hermione’s brows furrowed. “I don’t see how I can help with that.”
“Let me explain.” Ginny pulled out a stack of Quibblers from her bag. “Luna was telling me how people’s Wrackspurts match in color when they’re in love. No one can prove this since they’re invisible, but I was thinking maybe we could .”
“If we figure out a way to see Wrackspurts, Luna would know our Wrackspurts match up, and in the process, we could prove their existence. It’s the perfect gesture.”
Hermione pursed her lips, and Ginny knew what would come next. “That’s all well and good. Except that no one’s proved their existence , so our efforts might be in vain.”
“Hermione, that’s why I know this is what I have to do. No one believes in Wrackspurts more than her, and she’s the one who taught me to believe in the impossible. I owe it to her to do this.”
Hermione studied her for a long moment. “This is really important to you?” Ginny nodded. Hermione let out a sigh. “Alright. I’ll help. But you have to put in just as much effort as I do. I have too much on my plate this year to finish people’s projects for them.”
“Ron seems to be the exception,” Ginny taunted.
Hermione blushed, fighting a smile. “Oh, shut up.”
The older girl pulled the top copy of the Quibbler over to her side of the table. “Yes, well, thank me when we have proof of these ridiculous creatures.”
Ginny smiled and opened a Quibbler to the first page.
Weeks went by, and Ginny was slowly becoming a recluse. Even Hermione left the library more than she did. Harry and Ron suspected Ginny was up to something, and Luna kept giving her studious looks, but no one confronted her. She knew it was ridiculous to spend her last year at Hogwarts hidden in the stacks she professed to hate, but succeeding was the only thing that mattered.
She had read everything ever written on Wrackspurts, which was a surprisingly large amount considering no one had ever seen one. She understood the theory behind their color-coordination and was confident it was true. All she had to do now was figure out how to see them.
The table she sat at now was occupied by Susan Bones and Hannah Abbott from the year above her. She realized early on that sitting alone attracted unwanted visitors to disrupt her research, so she had taken to sitting with others. Generally, she joined study groups or people quietly reading, but the library was mostly empty today, so she sat next to the only students there. The giggling coming from the besotted girls was grating on her nerves.
“What in Merlin’s name is so amusing over there?” she finally hissed. The anger seeping into her tone was unprecedented and very out-of-character. She blamed it on all the late nights in the library.
Susan drew into herself, looking wounded. Hannah took her hand on the table, glaring at Ginny protectively.
“We’re making a scrapbook of our time as a couple. Or we were until you butted in. What’s got your knickers in a twist?”
Ginny didn’t answer, pulling the scrapbook across the table. Hannah protested but was silenced with a look. Ginevra Weasley was scary when she was determined.
The images in the book were artfully arranged, presenting a beautiful aesthetic of love and happy memories. Ginny grinned. It was perfect. Ignoring the confusion on the Hufflepuffs’ faces, she leaped up and sprinted out of the library to the Owlery.
She penned a quick message to her dad and attached it to one of the Hogwarts owls. Arthur Weasley certainly had a camera somewhere in his Muggle collection. If Ginny could get her hands on one, she and Hermione could charm it to capture Wrackspurts on film--with some time and experimenting, of course.
There was still a thrum of pleasure running through her as she made her way to Gryffindor Tower to tell Hermione the news. They were closer now than ever, and Ginny couldn’t wait to see Luna’s face when she presented the scrapbook.
“Ginny!” Ron’s voice stopped her in her tracks. She turned to face a clump of students...
In Quidditch robes.
Her stomach dropped. “Hey, Ron,” she said weakly, purposefully ignoring the rest of the team.
“Hey?” he asked in bewilderment. “You missed Quidditch practice. You’ve never missed Quidditch practice.”
“Sorry, I got caught up.”
His eyes widened. “Caught up? Gin, you’re our Captain!”
“Ron, I know. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
“Should’ve made Harry Captain,” Ron grumbled under his breath. When the rest of the team didn’t refute this, Ginny’s heart broke. The crowd scattered, and Ginny dropped to the floor, leaning against the stone wall.
Her eyes blurred, and she blinked to keep away the tears. She was sick of crying. After sixth year, after the war, after the funerals. She’d had enough tears to last a lifetime. So why did it feel like a waterfall was trapped behind her eyelids? A sob bubbled up from her chest, and she bit her lip to keep it in. Squeezing her eyes shut against the world didn’t stop the pain, but it did barricade the tears. She didn’t open her eyes when she felt someone sit beside her.
“What’s going on, Ginny?” a soft voice asked. Harry.
“Are you mad at me, too?” she muttered, knowing how whiny she sounded but no longer giving a crap.
“No. I know you, Gin. If everything was okay, you would have been there. So talk to me.”
She buried her head in his shoulder, letting the tears roll down her cheeks. “Luna thinks I don’t love her.” Then she drew back. “Sorry, is this weird? Talking about my love life with you?”
Harry pulled her back into an embrace. “Surprisingly? No. Not at all.”
Ginny sniffled. “I’ve been working on a way to prove to her that my feelings are genuine. Hermione’s been helping me, but it’s just so time-consuming, and I’ve been neglecting everything--everyone--else. I know I’m becoming obsessive, but I can’t help feeling like this is the only thing that matters. Luna is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and I love her so much, but she still sees herself as a charity case. I can’t let her go on feeling like she’s worthless.”
Harry didn’t speak for a while, letting Ginny cry on his shoulder unhindered. When he did, his voice was quiet but strong. “Caring about someone that much is nothing to be ashamed of. You should be proud. Your heart is huge and all-encompassing. When you love someone, it’s like there isn’t room for everyone else. You can try to fit them all in, but it’s hard to make everyone feel loved when your attention is stuck on that one person.”
Ginny blinked at him, wondering who he was talking about. Harry usually wasn’t much help in situations like this, and she’d never heard him talk about relationships in such an expert manner. His words applied, and she understood him completely, but he spoke almost too authentically--as if from experience. “So I’m not doing anything wrong?”
Harry laughed a little. “Well, missing practice wasn’t entirely right. And you’ve been a bit prickly to Ron and me and, well, everyone. So perhaps be more conscious of that.” Ginny made a face. He poked her in the nose. “I know. I’ve gotten a similar lecture from Ron and Hermione many times. You’re not a bad person, Ginny. Nor are you a bad Captain. But it seems like you’re becoming a bit obsessed with whatever it is you’re trying to do.” Again, he looked distant, like he was talking about someone else. “In the meantime, you’re neglecting Luna, too.”
She sighed, lessening the guilt pooling in her stomach. “You’re right. Thanks, Harry.”
He grinned, standing and brushing off his robes. “Does that mean you’re up for a short break from your project? We could play a little one-on-one Quidditch. You know, to make up for your lack of dedication to the team.”
She slapped him lightly. “Shut up. I was just starting to feel better.”
He lifted his hands in mock surrender, green eyes lit with amusement. “I’m just stating facts. It’s not my fault the Captain’s a slacker.”
She rolled her eyes, slinging an arm over his shoulder. As they walked onto the Quidditch pitch, she couldn’t keep a smile from covering her face. She was grateful to have Harry as a friend.
“Hermione, do you think Harry’s right?” Ginny asked, laying on her stomach on the other girl’s bed, legs swinging lazily.
Hermione tied her tie and shut her trunk. “Yes, oddly enough. He’s usually not so helpful when it comes to romantic matters.”
“I know. It was almost like he spoke from experience.”
Hermione looked up, brows furrowed. “From when you and h--”
“No,” Ginny said, cutting her off and shaking her head. “Nothing like this ever happened between Harry and me. I think he’s seeing someone, or at least has a crush.” Hermione was lost in thought and didn’t respond. “Anyways, I think I’m going to take a break on my project--spend some time with Luna. I’ll pick it up again after Christmas on a much smaller scale. Hopefully, we’ll finish by her birthday.”
Hermione smiled. “I’m proud of you, Ginny. You’re putting a lot of thought into your relationship, and even if Luna can’t see it, I can tell how much you love her.”
Ginny blushed. “Thanks, Hermione. Catch you later.”
Luna was sitting in the library when Ginny found her. The redhead slid into the seat next to her, planting a kiss on Luna’s pale neck. A smile appeared on the girl’s face.
“Hiya, Luna. I was wondering what you were doing for Christmas break.”
The blonde brightened. “Well, my dad has a meeting with some creature specialists in Barcelona, so we’re going to take a vacation there.”
“How would you feel if I tagged along?”
“That would be nice,” Luna said with a nod.
“Great, because I’d like to spend Christmas with you.”
If Ginny went home, she wouldn’t be able to visit Luna with a good conscience--her family would still be very much mourning Fred, and leaving them like that to meet with her girlfriend would make her feel guilty. She had mourned in her own way and moved on as best she could, but her childhood home made it all resurface again. It would be far better for her mental state if she went with Luna.
For the first time in weeks, Ginny sat and talked with her girlfriend for a few hours straight--about everything and nothing at all. It shouldn’t have felt like such a beautiful abnormality. She thought there might have been more truth to Harry’s words than she realized.
Ginny licked a medium cone of helado as she walked hand in hand with Luna. She wasn’t sure what flavor it was, as they were listed in Spanish, but she figured it was some sort of caramel or butterscotch. Luna’s cone was enthusiastic with its multicolored scoops, and she seemed to have a better time keeping it in the cone. Ginny’s own ice cream was dripping down between her fingers no matter how quickly she licked them.
Her other fingers tingled contentedly. She liked holding Luna’s hand. The blonde always participated dazedly, as if she wasn’t quite aware they were still attached. This meant sometimes Ginny was dragged places Luna intended to walk alone, much to the redhead’s amusement. Other times the hand was limp in hers, and that made her smile as well.
Barcelona was beautiful. The helado was great, of course, but the thing that stood out most were the street performers. She’d seen some in London before, but never like this. Human statues stood on every corner, painted in full gold or silver. Musicians played with their guitar cases open for money. Tourists took pictures with fully costumed characters, and the street was alive with art. Ginny felt a tug at her hand. She couldn’t resist smiling as she was pulled towards a street magician.
The muggle was doing some sort of card trick. Ginny started to wander off, dismissing it as a joke when compared to all the things she’d experienced at Hogwarts. Luna, however, was rooted to the spot.
“It’s not real magic,” Ginny told her.
Luna didn’t look away from the performer. A faint smile covered her face. “Muggles can do magic, too. They can love. That is what saved Harry as a baby, wasn’t it? You don’t need to be a wizard to see how powerful love can be.” Luna skipped off after a pause, dragging a stunned Ginny Weasley behind her.
Ginny didn’t notice when ice cream dripped onto her shoes.
The camera came in a week after Christmas vacation ended. Ginny and Hermione worked on it every night, limiting it to one hour at Ginny’s request. The books began piling up, and the discussions got more heated as the days drew on and sleep deprivation reigned.
“What if we took regular pictures and then used Apparecium to reveal the Wrackspurts in the printed photographs?” Ginny rubbed her eyes with her fingertips. It was nearly curfew, and they had been through over twenty new suggestions already, each shot down after some debate.
Hermione shook her head for what seemed like the 100th time that night. “That wouldn’t work. Apparecium reveals things hidden in ink, but the Wrackspurts aren’t hidden in the ink. Cameras pick up visible images, so there’s nothing to reveal.”
“But if we--”
“Ginny, it’s late. We should get some sleep.”
Ginny sighed. “Alright.”
Hermione stood, stacking the books like they weighed forty pounds. “Are you coming?”
“No, I think I’ll stay here a bit longer.”
Hermione nodded, lips pursed in disapproval, but she left without another word. Ginny stared at the camera, thoughts drifting. She thought again about what Luna said in Barcelona. She’d been thinking about it a lot lately.
Muggles can do magic, too. They can love .
That’s what was missing, wasn’t it? They had tried every revealing technique they knew to no avail, but they hadn’t put any human emotion into it. They used textbook magic, tested methods, and pure logic. But witches and wizards were human, and magic came from the heart as much as the brain.
At that moment, Ginny knew what she’d done wrong. Not just with her project, but with her relationship. She had gotten caught up in the gestures instead of love and emotions. It wasn’t enough to spend time working on a gift for Luna. She had to spend time with Luna. Going through the motions of a relationship to prove some sort of point would never mean as much as loving Luna with all her heart.
Love didn’t have to prove itself. It didn’t have to meet anyone else’s standards, and it couldn’t be measured. It wasn’t static, nor was it explosive. Love was like water trickling through a riverbed--sometimes fast and rushing, altering everything in its path, and other times gentle. It allowed for growth and sustenance, and rinsed the dirt of life from your feet. It was a soft caress or a tight embrace. Love was infinite if you never tried to quantify it.
And that was her mistake. She had tried to show how much she loved Luna, instead of just loving her. Love didn’t need a how much or a how long . It was a feeling, all-empowering yet subtle in its entirety. And it was the most powerful magic Ginny could imagine.
Inspiration struck. She began casting spells on a whim, no more research required. An alteration of Point Me to focus the camera, followed by the strongest revealing charms she and Hermione had discovered. Sparks bounced off the lens as magic built up. She got more creative with each casting, putting as much personal flare into it as she could muster. And then she cast what she hoped would seal the magic: a Patronus charm.
She conjured her favorite memories all at once in a way she never had before. Pranking Ron with Fred and George. Playing one on one Quidditch with Harry. Getting kicked out of the library a week ago when she and Hermione started singing cheesy Muggle songs after a particularly late night researching. Dancing in the rain with Luna outside the castle. The memories built up until her Patronus galloped out of her wand. It was blindingly bright, and she had to squint as she directed it into the camera. When it dissolved into the lens, she let out a breath.
A warning from Madam Pince told her it was curfew, but Ginny didn’t need to test her experiment tonight. She knew the spells had worked--felt it in her bones, in her heart. After weeks of miserable failures, she finally left the library with a grin on her face.
“Hermione!” Ginny squealed, not even disgusted at the ridiculous sound escaping her mouth. The bushy-haired girl blinked up at her in the dark. “I think I’ve done it. Test it with me tomorrow?”
“Sure, Gin,” she murmured, not awake enough to feel the excitement radiating from Ginny. Lavender and Parvati were sitting in the same bed giggling and didn’t seem to notice Ginny’s arrival. It was hard to tell if they were kissing or gossiping or doing more...illicit...activities. One never really knew with those two. As a way of recovering from the war, they overcompensated for their sorrow with laughter. Giggles accompanied nearly everything they did.
It was interesting seeing how everyone coped with the war. Ron and Hermione found solace in each other. Harry was doing better than anyone expected, but he still woke with nightmares every other night, and he fidgeted far more than he used to, as if he was afraid to stop after all his running and hiding and fighting.
Ginny spent the first few months after the war barely saying a word. She felt alone in a way she hadn’t since first year when the Chamber of Secrets opened. The funerals became too much, and she stopped going. The tears felt like fire burning tracks in her skin. But the worst was when she could hear her mother wailing at night, screaming for a son she would never knit another Christmas sweater for. No one could face her when she got like that.
When Ginny went back to Hogwarts, it was a relief to escape her home. To get away from the constant reminders of Fred, and the constant cloud of despair that floated above her. She wished the Hogwarts robes were any color other than black. She’d seen enough of that color to last a lifetime.
The turning point for her happened on a particularly bad day. She had woken from a nightmare around midnight and cried silently until morning. She couldn’t eat, couldn’t think, couldn’t talk all morning. And then Luna had wandered over to her, taken her hand, and led her to see the Thestrals.
“When I lost my mum,” Luna said quietly, “I thought I would never smile again. But Thestrals show us that we can move on. People think it’s depressing that they can only be seen by those who have watched someone die. I think it’s beautiful. They appear for those who most need a friend. If you ever need a friend, Ginny, I’m here for you.”
Ginny hugged her, burying her head in that blonde hair. She cried, but it wasn’t like fire this time. It was like river water, washing away her pain and suffering. For a few short seconds, she felt like she was more than a corpse. That was the moment she started healing. It was also the moment she fell deeply in love with Luna Lovegood.
Ginny went to sleep with the camera clutched to her chest. She dreamt of Fred, and for the first time since the war, it wasn’t a nightmare.
“Hey, Ginny,” Harry said, smiling as he joined her in the Great Hall. “Practice tonight?”
“You can count on it.”
Ginny slugged him in the arm with a smile. “I’ve missed one practice in all the time I’ve been on the team. Cut a witch some slack.” Then she lifted her camera and took a picture. Green eyes blinked owlishly at her.
“I see you’ve taken up photography.”
Ginny raised her brows. “You sound disapproving. I assure you it’s very artsy.”
“Wouldn’t doubt it.”
Ginny winked before snapping a photo of Hermione and Ron as they walked in.
“Ginny!” Hermione shrieked.
Ron glanced between them in confusion--Ginny’s innocent smile, Hermione’s blush. “What’s going on with these two?” he asked Harry.
The day went by in much the same way, with Ginny snapping photos of students with varying rates of success. The Slytherins proved the least agreeable. Malfoy threatened to hex her, but she skipped off before he could follow through. She felt high on life, and her growing collection of photos added to her bubbliness. She passed the camera to Hermione when Luna appeared, and it flashed just as Ginny’s lips met the other girls.
“What’s this about?” Luna asked curiously. “Are you doing a news story on us?”
“Not quite. Though I have a feeling the Quibbler might be interested when I’m finished.”
“That’s rather mysterious.”
Ginny grinned mischievously. “You’ll find out soon enough.” And with that, Ginny left. She now had everything she needed to finish her project.
Hermione was looking at the array of photos in awe. “I don’t understand how you did it.”
Ginny beamed. “I know. I’m a genius.”
Hermione shook her head. “No, I mean really. How did you do it?”
They were in the dusty section of the library again. Somewhere over the past few months, Ginny stopped hating the way clouds fogged up the air each time she withdrew a book from the shelves. In fact, she found the scent of yellowing pages quite relaxing. Over the last week, she found herself studying there even when she wasn’t with Hermione.
Ginny wiggled her brows. “With the power of love.” She drew out the last word in a ridiculous manner.
Hermione rolled her eyes, to which Ginny grinned unabashedly.
“We were looking at it all wrong before,” she explained. “We didn’t have to make the camera pick up on the Wrackspurts--we just needed to see the color spectrum of light that radiates from them. Since the colors are determined by an emotional trigger, I used a Patronus charm to focus the magic on love.”
Hermione smiled. “I suppose that’s what I sound like when I talk about my studies.”
“So how do we know if the colors really show who’s in love?” Hermione asked.
Ginny frowned. “I guess we start by matching up the colors and seeing if they make sense.”
Hermione nodded, blushing as she pulled out the photo of her and Ron, both of whom were surrounded by dancing orange lights. They sorted through the pictures, snorting at some of the more obvious ones, and placing the questionable ones in a separate pile. It appeared that everyone who wasn’t in love was bedecked in white. When Ginny paired up the two people with green Wrackspurts, she deflated.
“Hermione, something’s not right.”
The older girl looked up from her stack of photos. “What is it?”
Ginny’s brows furrowed. “It’s Harry. His Wrackspurts match with Malfoy.”
Hermione stared at her for a moment before bursting into laughter. “It works. Trust me.”
Ginny gave her a bewildered look, which only made Hermione laugh harder.
It was dim in the stone corridor, the sounds of students’ voices echoing faintly. Ginny had cornered Harry outside of Charms. The look on his face showed confusion to the nth degree (Hermione taught Ginny some Muggle math over the summer in an attempt to shock some life back into her).
“Okay, Harry. I know about Malfoy. Spill.”
The confusion cleared, and sheer panic danced across his face. “Um...I don’t know--I mean, what are you--”
“Harry, you’re--” The dark-haired boy cut her off as a third year walked past them. She rolled her eyes but waited until the coast was clear to continue. “You’re in love with him.”
“I am?” he asked meekly, looking rather like a kicked crup.
Ginny gave him a sad smile. “You helped with my problem. It’s only fair I help with yours.”
“So what happened between you two?”
Harry slid down the wall, placing his mess of hair in his hands. “Nothing happened. That’s the thing.”
“What do you mean?”
Harry stared up at her with a desperate look in his eyes. “Nothing changed. He didn’t redeem himself, or start being nice to me. But somehow, I can’t keep him out of my mind. It’s like my obsession from sixth year is back, but now instead of wanting to pin him against the wall and punch him, all I want is to snog him senseless.”
“That’s all you want?” Ginny asked with a smirk.
Harry shoved her, a flush creeping up his face. “I just don’t understand. How can I lo--” He winced. “How can I want to be with someone who treats me and my friends like rubbish?”
“He doesn’t anymore, does he?”
Harry got quiet. He heard the unspoken words: since the war . It was true. Since coming back for his eighth year, Draco Malfoy had switched to ignoring them instead of seeking them out for torment. Ginny figured the Slytherin was dealing with things in his own way. It was strange realizing they were all part of the same war. So much of their lives was “us” against “them”, but now that it was all over, it was easy to see that they were all just kids. Even Malfoy.
Finally, Harry sighed. “It doesn’t matter anyways. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s not like he would ever like me back. All that pureblood traditionalism...he’s probably as straight as an arrow.”
Ginny tried to hide her smile. “You might be surprised.”
Harry looked up, eyes wide. “You mean--”
“He’s in love with you, too.”
“One hundred percent serious.”
A crooked smile lit his face. “Brilliant.”
“I guess we know why it didn’t work between us. We both have a thing for blondes.” They both cracked up. By the time they separated, they were a minute late to their next classes. Ginny was still smiling when she walked into Transfiguration.
It was nearly midnight on February 12th when Ginny finally acted on her plans. She led Luna by the hand the way she loved to as they made their way through the deserted halls. Their other hands carried wands with activated Lumos charms, and it was hard to keep from giggling as the portraits squinted irritatedly at them. Luna’s grey eyes flashed silver in the spell’s glow. It made her look electric, like a steady thrum of electricity was gusting through her. Ginny felt the magic of those eyes all the way to her toes.
She inhaled deeply as they stepped out of the castle doors, night air crisp on her tongue. The stars glistened to match Luna’s eyes, and Ginny thought she could gaze at the latter forever. She led the other girl towards the Black Lake. When they arrived, Ginny stopped, biting her lip as Luna assessed the situation.
A blanket was spread out on the grass, with bowls of pudding set out beside glasses of pumpkin juice. A single wrapped gift lay in the middle of the cloth.
“Isn’t it a bit late for a picnic?”
Ginny laughed. “Maybe, but I wanted to be with you the moment February 13th began.”
Luna hid a smile. “Valentine’s Day is the 14th.”
Ginny kissed her. “You know that’s not what this is for. Happy Birthday, Luna.”
“I love you.” As Luna spoke those words, Ginny’s heart flipped. Silver eyes were fastened on her like she was the center of the universe. Luna’s mind was always in a thousand places at once, and if you held a piece of her attention for a few moments, it was enough to last a lifetime. Under that gaze, Ginny was eternal.
“I love you, too,” she replied. Luna didn’t protest this time, only smiled down at their joined hands. “Come sit. There’s something I want to show you.”
Luna situated herself in Ginny’s lap, wrapping her girlfriend’s freckled arms around her waist. Ginny kissed Luna’s neck softly, feeling a subtle shiver roll down the blonde’s spine.
“Open it,” she breathed in Luna’s ear.
Luna did as instructed, unwrapping the gift in a strange fashion, tearing single strips at a time. She flipped the scrapbook to the first page. The picture was the one Hermione took of them on that first day.
Luna twisted in Ginny’s arms to look at her. “I don’t remember those lights being there.”
Ginny smiled, unable to help herself. “They were there, just invisible. Remember when you told me about Wrackspurts matching when two people are in love? Those are ours.”
Luna touched the clear plastic page cover gingerly, as if applying too much pressure could make the Wrackspurts fly away. “Lavender,” she whispered.
“I wanted you to know how much you mean to me, so I started this project, thinking I could prove my love. Somewhere along the way, I realized I don’t need to prove anything. You’re not a ploy for attention, or a charity case, or whatever other nonsense you’ve thought up. I show you off because I’m proud to be standing at your side. I love you, and I want people to know that we belong together.”
Luna smiled. “I want that too.” Then she giggled. “I understand what you meant about The Quibbler now.”
“Do you think we can make the top story?”
“I believe that could be arranged.”
“Perhaps with our earnings, we could travel the world.”
Luna perked up at that. “What a lovely idea. We could seek out undiscovered magical beings together.”
“Ginny and Luna, world travelers, explorers, and creature experts. I like it.”
They ended up sprawled on their backs, fantasizing about the future until sunrise came. While it was fun to imagine, Ginny couldn’t help but think that the future was irrelevant to the magic that was happening right now.
It was eight-thirty-two when a first year discovered the photographs posted in the Divination stairwell. Hermione and Ginny were trying to hide their smiles as the gossip traveled through the Great Hall.
“...said it shows who’s in love...”
“...well, I heard that Greengrass has a thing for Longbottom...”
“...but did you hear about...”
“...of course it’s real...it’s outside the Divination classroom...”
“...white lights mean you’ll be forever single...”
“...oh, sod off...”
“...Parkinson’s doesn’t match Malfoy’s, so who...”
“...I heard he’s got a thing for a Gryffindor, but none of the pictures were green...”
And the most common: “Who took them?”
Ginny, Hermione, and Luna all agreed not to say a word unless asked directly if they were responsible. Hermione noted that they were least likely to be suspected since they were usually the ones to stay out of drama or gossip. Harry knew about their involvement, of course, and had requested they remove all pictures of him, but that didn’t stop him from glancing around in panic.
“Harry, relax. No one will guess it’s you,” Ginny told him.
Just then, the conversation arrived at their section of the table.
Parvati looked at them excitedly. “Who do you think Malfoy’s mystery lover is?”
“Harry, of course,” a voice said from behind them. Ginny turned. It was Luna, oblivious as usual to the surprise left in her wake. Harry’s head flew into his hands.
“Oops,” Ginny said, shooting him a sympathetic look.
The whispers began traveling down the tables until everyone in the Great Hall had heard the news. It took approximately six seconds for Malfoy to strut over.
Harry looked up at him wearily. “Malfoy.”
The Slytherin’s sneer was a bit over the top in Ginny’s opinion, but she supposed Malfoy always was rather dramatic.
“I hear our Wrackspurts match.”
Harry rolled his eyes. “Don’t try to make it sound like this is all on me. If you’d been listening at all, you’d know the Wrackspurts work both ways. So if my color matches yours...”
Malfoy snorted. “If you’d been listening at all, you’d realize I wasn't denying anything. I was merely stating a fact.”
Harry blinked. “So you admit that you’re in love with me?” He looked genuinely confused.
Malfoy smiled. It was the first time Ginny had seen him do such without a hint of a smirk slipping into the expression. “Well, as you said yourself, if the color matches...”
And then they were snogging in the middle of the Great Hall. Chaos ensued, but the only thing Ginny noticed was Luna’s small figure slipping into the seat beside her.
“Love is an odd thing, isn’t it?” Luna plucked a grape from the bunch and plopped it into her mouth.
Ginny kissed her on the cheek. “I think it’s absolutely magical.”