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sweet tea in the summer

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Celestina Warbeck, Quidditch, crop tops. These are things Ginny likes.

“Are the Lovegoods coming?” No one she’s asked so far was able to give her an answer, so she can’t really blame Hermione for not knowing either. Still, it’s a little disappointing, like most things lately.

Sexual frustration, boring conversations, childhood memories, crying babies. These are things Ginny does not like.

She leaves Hermione in the crowded kitchen and makes her way outside. At some point, Christmas at the Burrow started feeling more like a chore each year, while the shimmer of the snow covering the hilltops has not changed at all. Ginny enjoys looking at it. The sadness she feels seems a lot more poetic laid against a backdrop of a shimmery nightscape. More worthwhile. Almost productive, in a way.

Why does Ginny love Celestina Warbeck so much?

1. Because she didn’t like Celestina all throughout her childhood and teenage years.

2. Because she liked Celestina all throughout her childhood and teenage years, but convinced herself she didn’t so she could join in on the joke with her brothers whenever they heard A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love on the radio.

3.

Bill sticks his head out of the window and calls for Ginny to come and help Fleur in the kitchen. She turns around to go inside, but in that moment it strikes her just how empty the packed and noisy Burrow seems. It strikes her how clean and full of inner, pulsing warmth the snowy hills look.

Fuck it.

Not every impulse should be acted on, Ginny thinks as she knocks on the front door of the rook-shaped house on top of the hill. Most impulses should be resisted. But then the door opens to reveal Luna, mid-yawn, standing in a puffy neon green dress, and it feels so good to smile and really mean it.

Luna beams. “Come inside.”

The small kitchen is just as Ginny remembers it from years ago. There are no chairs, so she leans against the wall and watches Luna prepare tea. Luna’s not beaming anymore. She’s quiet, swaying gently to the music coming from the tiny mushroom-shaped radio. The dress rustles as she moves, the neon green as poisonous as it is mesmerising. Sour candy.

“Sorry,” Ginny says. “I know it’s late.”

“Is it?” Luna puts something that looks suspiciously like a batwing – Ginny doesn’t want to know – in the mortar and starts grinding it. “I suppose it is. Dad went to bed already.”

How was your Christmas? Ginny means to ask, but what comes out instead is: “I just really wanted to see you.”

Luna hums thoughtfully. “I like that.” She puts down the pestle and scoops out a bit of the freshly ground powder from the mortar. Her green dress rustles as she leans into Ginny’s space and looks deep into her eyes for a moment, so close Ginny can see her every freckle, before carefully smearing the powder on Ginny’s nose in a straight vertical line. “You should always come when you want to see me. You don’t do it often enough.”

What can Ginny do? Gazing into Luna’s eyes and forgetting to breathe, she’s helpless. She’s always been helpless around Luna; it never went away, and it never stopped feeling like both a blessing and a curse, a two-in-one gift wrapped in dirty blonde hair.

Why does Ginny love Celestina Warbeck so much?

3. Because it’s not an obvious person for her to admire.

4. Because Celestina’s songs are lyrical masterpieces, carefully crafted and evocative, each telling a story or expressing a feeling in such a way that listening to them is nothing short of cathartic.

5. Because “All Too Magically” was playing on Witching Hour when Luna kissed her in the Ravenclaw common room three years ago.

Not every impulse should be acted on. Pale eyes, cold hands, hammering heart. More than enough time for the memory to fade and for Ginny to move on. And yet.

“Can I kiss you?”

Could it be as simple as that?

Luna smiles. “The tea’s almost ready.” She doesn’t move an inch, just raises one pale eyebrow. Her eyes sparkle with what feels a bit like challenge, a bit like mirth.

Not as simple, then.

Ginny supposes it’s only fair. It did take her three years.

“I love your dress,” she tells Luna upstairs, balancing a beer glass full of hot blueish tea in her lap.

“Thank you!”

They talk about the dress and the spell Luna used for the neon colour, but only for a while. Luna doesn’t seem very interested in holding a conversation. She leans back in her armchair and fixes her eyes on the ceiling. Ginny watches the rise and fall of her chest and hears the material of the dress rustle.

I’ve missed you, but have you missed me? Are you just trying to teach me a lesson? Are you teaching me a lesson because you’ve missed me and you don’t want me to run away again?

Luna glances at Ginny’s face and then again at the ceiling. She might be looking for any details she missed or got wrong when painting Ginny’s portrait; she might be checking how her face has changed over the past few years.  Ginny flushes under the attention and takes a sip of her tea. It tastes bitter, in a strangely satisfying way. “Find anything?”

“Yes,” Luna says smugly. “You don’t have black powder on your nose in the portrait.”

“Oh, I completely forgot about that.” Ginny automatically reaches to wipe it off before stopping and looking at Luna for permission. Luna nods, so Ginny goes ahead. “What was it for?”

Luna shrugs, smiling. “You look really pretty tonight. I thought I’d be less nervous if I made you look silly.”

Old friends, new lovers. They grin at each other, feeling the last remnants of tension bleed out from their bodies and leave them elated.

 

The soft hairs on her forearms, the thin scars on her left breast, the colourful tattoos. Ginny likes everything about Luna.

“I’ve missed you,” Luna says when the first of the morning light creeps into the room, slowly replacing the safe darkness. “Don’t run away again.”

Ginny hides her face against Luna’s stomach, bites the smooth, salty skin of her waist. Closes her eyes as Luna’s fingers wind in her hair. “I won’t.”

She won’t. They’ll play Celestina Warbeck at their wedding.