Grounded (This Is Not My Beautiful Life Mix)

~1700 words :: Harry Potter :: Ginny/Luna, Ginny/Harry :: 7/12/09
It’s not the life she wants, but it’s the only one she can imagine having. (Note: This is a remix of Isis’s Just Like Flying written for Remix…Redux VII.)

Only two people ever send letters by Muggle post, and since it’s not Christmas, Ginny knows the letter’s not from Harry’s Aunt Petunia before she even sees the familiar looping handwriting and the mass of stamps that cover half the envelope. Luna loves the idea of stamps; she’s just never bothered to find out how they really work.

Ginny sits down on the sofa, tucks her legs up and turns the letter over, murmuring a quick spell to open it. How long has it been now? Two years? Her heart shouldn’t still race like this.

There’s only one sheet inside. Luna’s handwriting is large and doesn’t even fill the whole page. She is in Japan researching kappas. She thinks they may be related to the water babies her father wrote about years ago. She has enclosed a picture.

Ginny pulls the photo out, sits there watching Luna laughingly struggle with a funny green creature until the baby starts crying.

It takes longer than usual to soothe him and Ginny feels oddly guilty. “Mummy’s here,” she sing-songs. “Mummy’s not going anywhere.”

She holds him tightly and blinks back tears, glad it’s still another three hours before Harry will be home.

Ginny doesn’t mention the letter to Harry. If he sees it, he sees it; there’s nothing in it that would make him suspicious. There’s nothing to be suspicious about, not anymore. But it’s been two years and her name is still a lump in Ginny’s throat, a tightness in her chest. Harry has never asked why she stopped talking about Luna. Maybe he hasn’t even noticed.

When the baby is finally asleep in his cot, she crawls into bed herself. It’s not even nine, but these days she’s more exhausted than she ever was playing Quidditch.

It makes it easier with Harry. She doesn’t have to pretend to be asleep when he comes to bed.

She can’t remember the first time she heard about Harry Potter. He was a part of her life long before she ever saw him that day at King’s Cross.

What she can remember is being eight or nine and talking about boys. She remembers how Romilda blushed and Sandhya giggled. She remembers Lavinia saying she liked Blaise Zabini and she remembers wondering if it was because he was black, too.

And when Sandhya asked her which boy she liked best, Ginny said Percy, because Bill and Charlie were as bad as Ron and the twins sometimes, but Percy never teased her.

They laughed then, all of them except Luna, and Sandhya said, “You can’t marry your brother!”

“You didn’t say anything about marriage,” Luna said.

“You know that’s what she meant,” said Lavinia, rolling her eyes.

“I know,” Ginny said. “I was just kidding.”

Somebody said, “So who is it really?” and Ginny said the first name that came into her head.

She remembers Romilda bursting into tears then and saying she was going to marry Harry Potter. She remembers Sandhya and Lavinia comforting Romilda. She remembers Luna just sitting there, looking as alone and confused as Ginny felt.

She’d thought with two children now – two babies, really, because James isn’t even eighteen months yet – it would be easier to put Harry off. She knows Harry’s keen; he’s always liked sex more than she has. But she’d thought he’d be more understanding.

And he is at first. And he helps with the babies, so maybe she shouldn’t complain. But she’s exhausted and she’s sick of being practically housebound and every time she sees Hermione with her cheerfulness and her new-mother glow it’s just too much. The last thing she needs is Harry on top of all that.

She knows he’s not doing it to annoy her. He loves her, and she loves him, of course. But she doesn’t like the feel of his cock pressed against her thigh when he rolls over and kisses her good morning. She doesn’t like the unsubtle way he rolls his hips or the way he always tries to turn a quick peck into something deeper.

When she tries to pull away, he says, “The healer said…” and she wants to snap I know what the healer said, but she doesn’t. She reaches down under the duvet, slips her hand into his pyjama bottoms and wraps her hand around his cock. She even smiles.

The thought of it inside her makes her feel sick, but she can do this at least. He tries to reciprocate, but she squirms away. “Let me,” she says, and pushes the duvet aside. “I want to taste you.” The words sound silly, not sexy, but Harry’s too busy pulling down his pyjama bottoms to notice.

The smell and the taste, the feel of his cock in her mouth, it’s enough to make her gag, but when she does, she just laughs and says, “Sorry, too far back.” She doesn’t know how other women stand it.

Michael Corner was the first boy she ever kissed. She kissed him for the same reason she went out with him: it’s what she was supposed to do. She remembers thinking kissing was weird, and later, that he just wasn’t any good at it. Mandy Brocklehurst was so much better.

When she was with Dean, she thought maybe it was just that he wasn’t Harry. She was sure of it.

She was sure of it until the night she and Luna got drunk on a stolen bottle of fire whiskey. It wasn’t the first time she’d kissed Luna, but it was the first time since they were little. It was the first time there was more than kissing involved.

Luna’s fingers were cold, or maybe they just felt that way because Ginny was burning up. They slid into her easily, twisting and rubbing as Luna sucked on her clit.

She wanted to blame it on the whiskey, but that didn’t explain the next time, or the time after that. It didn’t explain the whole winter of fifth year. It didn’t explain the thrill of sneaking kisses in empty corridors or the ridiculousness of writing their initials in the snow so big they had to fly up to read them.

A giant G and L intertwined, stamped down in the white snow of the Quidditch pitch, the kind of grand, romantic gesture Ginny’s always rolled her eyes at. The kind of thing Luna loves.

And then Harry had kissed her, and it wasn’t the same. It was no different to Michael or Dean, but she’d always liked Harry, hadn’t she? She’d always wanted this.

It’s not that she doesn’t love the kids, but she needs something else. That’s not how she phrases it to Harry, she doesn’t say I need to get out of here or I’m going to lose my mind, but she thinks maybe he knows. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

She gets a job at the Prophet. Writing about Quidditch isn’t the same as playing, but it gets her out of the house. There’s always someone to watch the kids.

It’s supposed to be a job she can do mostly from home. Go to the games, take notes, write the articles up at home. But she spends a lot of time at the Prophet anyway.

There’s a girl who writes a fashion column, can’t be more than a year or two out of Hogwarts. Allison Morishita or Murashita, Ginny deliberately does not pay enough attention to know for sure.

She would never really do anything, of course she wouldn’t. Not after all this time. It’s just a harmless fantasy. She’s sure Harry thinks of other girls sometimes, so why shouldn’t she?

It wasn’t something she ever thought she’d hear Luna say.

In Ginny’s mind Luna was invincible, fearless. The rules never applied to her and she never cared what anyone thought. She was not the sort of person who smiled sadly and said, “I love you, Ginny, but I can’t do this anymore.”

Except when she was.

They were in bed. Harry was at work. Right then all Ginny could feel was relief.

By the time the kids are all at Hogwarts, she’s been promoted to Senior Quidditch Reporter. She’s got a whole staff now. Well, two. Still, it means more hours at the office, but Harry is always so busy with work, too, it doesn’t really matter.

She’s proofing an interview with Titania Grant, highest-paid woman in Quidditch. She’s in editor mode, not really thinking about what she’s reading, and maybe it would have slid right by if not for the photo. Titania’s stood there in her Quidditch uniform grinning, her arm slung around the woman Ginny nearly ruined her marriage for. They’re not really looking at the camera, and Titania says something that makes Luna laugh and lean in to kiss her, first on her cheek, then again on the mouth. The way Luna clutches at Titania’s robe is so familiar it hurts.

The caption reads Grant with her partner, zoological writer Luna Lovegood.

She doesn’t go straight home. She floos Harry and tells him she and a couple girls from the paper are going out for drinks. She tells him not to wait up, she doesn’t know when she’ll be home.

She goes out for drinks, but the girls there aren’t from the Prophet. She hasn’t been here in years, not since she ended things with Luna. The girl eyeing Ginny right now probably wasn’t even born then, doesn’t look much older than James.

Maybe Ginny will dance with her later. Maybe she’ll press her up against the wall and kiss the lipstick off her bright red lips. Maybe she’ll take her upstairs and taste every last inch of her.

If not her, then someone.

She remembers the way Luna danced, the way she laughed, the way she kissed. She remembers the way Luna would lie there afterwards, cheeks flushed and hair mussed even more than usual, how she’d stretch and say making love was just like flying.

She remembers thinking she could never fly like that.

Maybe she’ll go home and tell Harry where she’s been.