Ginny Weasley was in a bad mood.
She had just returned to her building after a long day of work to the realization that her wand was buried underneath a huge pile of rubbish in her purse. She did not want to go through the trouble of searching for it now, but, as the door to her building was locked and she had long abandoned the idea of carrying keys around with her, she had no choice. Setting down the huge cardboard box filled with potted plants that her boss had asked her to take care of over the weekend, as he would be on vacation in Croatia, Ginny began rummaging through her purse.
She did not notice the small flash of silver near her, nor the tiny potted flower that was dropped into the cardboard box. After a few moments, she managed to pry her wand out from between a self-help book (“Am I Addicted to Wizards and What Can I Do About It?”) and a half-empty box of chocolate drops from Honeydukes. Triumphantly, she unlocked the door and unsteadily held it open with her ankle as she leaned forward to grab hold of the cardboard box again. She went inside and took the lift up to the third floor.
As she unlocked the door to her flat and shuffled into the dark front hall, she suddenly wondered why she hadn’t simply Apparated into her flat. Shaking her head at her own stupidity, she put down the box of plants down, closed the door, and turned on the light. It illuminated her cozy flat and she smiled, glad to be home at last. She cast the plants a scathing look and, ignoring her boss’s instructions to put them in a place easily accessible to sunlight and water them straightaway, she went into her bedroom and changed from her work robes into her softest pair of flannel pajamas. She fed her obese cat, Nancy, and put some popcorn on the stove. On her way into the living room, she caught sight of the cardboard box and decided to put the plants up and get it over with.
She hauled the box into the kitchen (Nancy looked petrified and ran to hide under a chair) and set each individual plant onto the windowsill, her mind wandering to Draco Malfoy and his goddamn unoriginality. She had been thinking about their date and her dramatic exit from it for the past couple of days, and she could not decide whether or not she had done the right thing. Of course, it was a slap in the face that she was treated like all of his previous women (and future women, she thought darkly), but had leaving the restaurant and publicly embarrassing him been rational? Good Ginny was appalled at what she had done and wondered if she should send him a letter apologizing for her behavior. Bad Ginny, also known as Alfonsa, Ginny’s delightfully horrible alter ego, advised against this, reminding Ginny gleefully of how she was no one special with this man, and poking fun at her for even thinking that this could go somewhere. ‘What if he fell in love with this version of her?’ Draco Malfoy? Love?
Ginny had to give it to Alfonsa. She had been stupid to have those thoughts. Draco Malfoy was nice to look at, and charming in his own way, but he was definitely not relationship material. At least Ginny hadn’t put out for him like poor Penelope, and had managed to leave in a slightly dignified, if not plain cool, exit.
Once she was finished, she set the box back into the hall, took her popcorn into the living room, and settled herself onto her couch with a romance novel. She had barely reached the part where Sir Edward Caden, the handsome and charmingly rude wizard living in Scotland by himself, had seduced Helena, the poor Squib working for him, when there was a slight pop and Hermione was standing next to her.
“Oh, hi, Hermione,” said Ginny, sitting up. She was slightly startled by this unexpected visit.
“What are you doing here?”
“Um… I, uh… I live here.”
“No, no…” Hermione waved her hand impatiently. “Why aren’t you on your date?”
“I wasn’t…really… aware that I had a date,” said Ginny, more than a little confused by now.
“You mean… you didn’t see… Ah.” Hermione sat down at Ginny’s feet, shaking her head. “I told him… not obvious enough…”
“You told who? What’s not obvious enough?”
“Never mind. Get up.”
“Get up. Get dressed. Look nice—but put something Muggle-ish on. You have five minutes.”
“Are you joking? Is this a joke?”
“No, just go get dressed,” said Hermione, standing up.
“I will not!” Ginny stood up as well, crossing her arms. “I’ve been working all day and now I’m tired and I just want to eat my Muggle food and read my book!”
Hermione glanced at the cover of Ginny’s novel, which featured a very suggestive illustration of a tall, handsome man and a beautiful Indian woman, and raised her eyebrows.
“Oh, fine!” Ginny muttered. She went to her room and slipped her pajamas off. “I’m not dressing up, though!” she shouted, for Hermione’s benefit, and quickly pulled on her most ragged pair of jeans, with a lot of very noticeable holes in odd places, and a worn T-shirt she had purchased a few years ago at the Quidditch World Cup. Her hair was still up in a large, messy bun at the top of her head and she did not bother doing anything else with it.
Feeling smug, she exited her bedroom and posed jauntily for Hermione.
“Don’t I look gorgeous?” she asked sarcastically, blowing her a kiss.
Hermione crinkled her nose.
“What’s with the jeans?” she asked.
“What?” Ginny asked defensively, even though she hadn’t been going for compliments on her interesting wardrobe choice. “These are my favorite jeans. I’ve had them since I was sixteen.”
“Don’t snort at me,” said Ginny hotly. “You might have forgotten this, seeing as both you and my dim-witted brother get big paychecks every month, but I do not come from a very rich family. We learned to keep things that we can reuse, even if it is frowned upon by some people.”
“Yes, well,” sniffed Hermione. “Not all of us can still fit into the clothes we wore when we were sixteen.”
Ginny understood where Hermione, who was fourteen weeks pregnant, was coming from and reached over to give her a quick hug.
“I’d rather be loved than skinny,” she murmured, patting Hermione’s small baby bump.
“Are you calling me fat?!” Hermione demanded, pulling away.
“No,” replied Ginny quickly. “Of course not. You’re ravishing, Hermione, especially for being…”
“You were better off without the ‘especially’ part,” interrupted Hermione, rolling her eyes. “Now get some shoes on and let’s go.”
Ginny quickly stepped into a pair of beaten Birkenstocks and beamed up at Hermione.
“Are you trying to look like a hobo?” Hermione asked pointedly.
Ginny opened her mouth to reply, but Hermione had already grabbed a hold of her hand and they were swirling away in apparition. She closed her mouth, and then her eyes, and allowed herself to be transported from her apartment to…
Author notes: Questions about what the mysterious silver flash was? And what the heck was dropped into the box of potted plants? These questions will be answered later =)
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