In her spare time, Ginny has learned to be patient. She wonders when her mum did so, as Ginny doesn't remember her ever having a moment, but she must have at some point. Because Molly had more patience than just about anyone Ginny knows. Excepting Hermione. Who learned hers the hard way, Ginny thinks.
The brooms have been her teachers. The brooms that have begun as pieces of wood, kindling really, and ended up as highly-coveted quidditch equipment.
She didn't mean for it to happen that way. At first the brooms were just ways to get away from sleep, to stop waking Nymph up in the middle of the night, Nymph who has a day job that requires her to be alert. Then, before Ginny's war traumas healed into manageable gashes in her psyche, then she would creep out of bed and to the living area. This was before the house, even, the house that Hermione paid for partly with money and partly with her all-too-leftover grief.
They were a challenge, then, the brooms. To see if she could make something the way the twins had always made things. To see if she could make something that was her own, nothing like what the others had done with themselves. She read the how-to books on the carving of the wood and the arranging of the bristles and piece by piece the physical structures came together.
The magic proved harder. There were books for that as well, certainly. Nymph bought her one for her birthday which took Ginny by surprise, since Nymph had never mentioned noticing, even though, despite the comfortable size of the house, there were certainly signs. Less so than the flat, Ginny grants, but still, signs.
The books, though, provided elementary help at best. Ginny, however, hadn't listened and learned from her brothers for nothing. Ron and Charlie taught her about flying, its sheer, unbridled joys, the catch of the wind, the brilliance of fear. The twins taught her about the dedication of creation, the small skips and steps and misses along the way to something whole. Bill taught her to recognize and respect the power of magic, to bridle it for her own. Percy taught her to pay attention to the details.
Her dad taught her to appreciate that which most people miss and her mum. Her mum taught her to find joy, even when it would prefer to hide.
Ginny brought all of these lessons to the brooms. She brought all of her experience to bear and slowly her night time excursions became her after and before work hobby. Ginny would fall asleep at night with Nymph's breath on her lips, the taste of honey--Nymph always drank her tea with too much--and the invitation of wind rushing past her. She knew she could make it happen, she would, she just had to find the right spell.
She instantly knew when she found it, always had known when the magic came together correctly underneath her fingertips. She waited until Nymph came home that night and asked, "How 'bout a ride, beautiful?"
Nymph didn't hesitate, didn't ask if she was sure, just climbed aboard and let Ginny take her up, up, up. When they finally returned to the house Nymph was breathless and Ginny could just barely make out her, "Bloody wicked, Gin," but she did.
"Wicked, eh?" Ginny smiled.
Nymph took her inside at that, showed her the definition of the word.
Ginny, when she's feeling pretty confident in the formula, says, "I'm quitting my day job, love."
Ginny's day job is administrative. It's Ministry work and important and she has Nymph to thank for having it in the first place, as Nymph is the one who put her back at Hogwarts when she was nineteen and finally starting to function again and said, "Do your last year, just do it." The job is forty to fifty hours a week behind a desk, talking with people who don't want to listen and Ginny's over it being important, has been for years.
Nymph, who knows all of this, says, "Gonna make us a fortune selling brooms?"
For all their years together, Nymph fills so much of herself with mirth that Ginny is often still hard-pressed to tell just when she's joking and just when she isn't. "Erm, actually, yes."
Nymph grins like she thought the idea up herself. "You could name 'em the Storm Series. Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Lightnings-" Nymph flinches. "Didn't think that through, then, did I?"
"I'm still busy deciding if I should be offended that you want me to name my brooms after your lifelong crush." Ginny has teased her about this before, will tease her about it until the day one of them dies. Nymph's father was brought up on American Muggle comics, and he carried the tradition on with Nymph. She's fond of scores of them, but her favorites are always ones that feature the superheroes called the X-Men.
Nymph turns her hair a stark white. "Don’t want to have her, love, want to be her."
Ginny likes Nymph just the way she is, though, so she kisses her, which always makes her lose her control over her hair. Sure enough, when Ginny pulls away, it's red and in ringlets. Ginny smirks. "The Lightning idea isn't so bad. I mean, I'd have to talk with Min, first, course. But I rather think Harry'd like that, people thinking of him when they looked at a broom."
"A really fast broom," Nymph, helpfully, points out.
Ginny nods. "Incredibly fast."
"Dinner at wereworld, then, sometime this week?"
"You mean to say you're actually free for dinner at some point?" Ginny asks. Nymph's job isn’t the most reliable for making sure she's home on time to eat.
Nymph shrugs. "I have some people who owe me favors. It's been awhile since we've been. I'll never forgive myself if I pass up the opportunity to annoy the hell out of Severus while he's all stressed out about the pregnancy."
"You're the most sympathetic person I know."
"It's why I still crawl into my bed and find you there every night."
"That and the fact that there's no limit to the shapes that your tongue can take." Tactfully, Ginny doesn't mention the lengths to which it can grow.
"It's always romance with you."
Ginny kisses her again. "That's why you still crawl into my bed every night."
Lorraine and Zev are working in the kitchen when Nymph and Ginny stroll in, looking for his parents. Lorraine smiles. "If it isn't the crazy, not-so-maiden aunts."
"Watch it, whippersnapper, I know curses that Voldemort himself would have blanched at," Nymph says without any bite whatsoever, while rifling through the Cooling Box. Ginny nods to give this brash statement a bit of validation. Neither Zev nor Lorraine so much as quakes.
Ginny sighs, "Where art thou's parents, young Zev?"
Zev frowns at something he's working on, finally looking up to meet Ginny's gaze. "Severus is brewing, Dad's teaching, Mum's probably sleeping. Third trimester's hit with a bit of a bite."
Ginny makes a mental note to drag out her mum's journals, the ones that she kept all her household remedies written in, to pass onto future generations of Weasley women. Ginny often feels that she's betrayed her mum by only pulling them out when desperately needed, but then, Molly was never one to deny aid in a time of need any more so than times distinctly lacking in need. As her mum made it through six pregnancies, there's almost bound to be something about making them a bit easier on the woman experiencing its types of everyday traumas.
"Severus might actually be glad to see you," Zev muses.
"False prophet," Nymph accuses.
Lorraine snickers. Zev says, "I was being serious, imagine. Mum wanted the three of them to eat in the Hall tonight, and now he's a free pass to turn that down."
Ginny, who has never seen a need to make anything easier for Severus Snape, not even in the years since her best friend has been technically married to him and the even longer years that she's been madly in love, says, "We could always come back another night."
Suddenly dead serious, Zev says, "I'd prefer you didn't. It's not so much that Severus minds the Hall as that mum eats better when she's away from the noise. It gives her headaches which diminish her appetite and there's nothing to be done for that that won’t possibly adversely affect the baby."
The thought of losing anyone else, let alone Min, who might as well have red hair and freckles and everything that being Ginny's biological sister would necessitate, sends Ginny into a sort of gibbering madness that starts in the region of her stomach and runs outward in all directions. Nymph must notice something, perhaps Ginny pales or looks to the side or gives herself away in some manner that Nymph has learned to read where others haven't, because Nymph's voice is even despite the fact that she's obviously chewing on something. "We have things to discuss. The happiness of Severus will have to be an unfortunate by-product of this, I fear."
Ginny flits a smile in Nymph's direction before horrifying herself by letting, "You'll ruin your appetite," slip out of her mouth.
Nymph just throws one of whatever she's munching on at Ginny. Ginny's reflexes save the morsel in time and she looks down at it. It's a raisin. She pops it into her mouth. Zev rolls his eyes. "Good example to set there, mate."
"You'll notice my lack of having gone and gotten myself with child," Ginny defends herself.
"Yes," Nymph sighs dramatically, "and here I've been trying so hard as well."
Lorraine rests her head in one of her hands. "I wonder if a potion could be made for that?"
The look that Ginny recognizes from knowing Severus Snape more than she ever thought she'd care to know him comes over Zev's face. Ginny says, "Run, Nymph, we must run for our lives."
They do then, setting an awful example for all the students just being released from class and running into Ruel, who just sets Ginny back on her feet, shakes his head and says, "Remus's classroom is a floor up. No running in the hallways."
They defy authority.
Remus smiles that smile that always makes Ginny think of second year, a year made wonderful by its relativity to the first. It's a tired smile, and the lines around his face--more plentiful by far than when she first met him--do nothing to lessen that appearance, but it's also sincere. He greets them, "Gin, Nymph. What brings you two out our way?"
"Gin was too lazy to cook me dinner," Nymph says.
Ginny snorts. "We get tired of our own company, I'm sure you can figure out why."
"You'd think by now I'd be able to," he says, and Ginny can't decide if he's referring to her and Nymph or his own long-standing relationship.
Either way, "Quite the gentleman he is, eh?" Ginny asks Nymph.
Remus shakes his head a bit. "Let's off to find those miscreants I married, yes?"
"Zev thought Min to be sleeping," Nymph says, "and Severus grafting monkey brains into human nervous systems."
"Brewing?" Remus clarifies.
"Possibly that as well," Nymph allows.
"We should stop by the Hall, then. He'll be expecting us at dinner."
As per suggestion the three of them swing by the Hall, Remus whispering into Redda's ear, over half the Hall waving at Nymph and Ginny, who wave right back. After that it's up to the Snape-Granger-Lupin's rooms, where the Granger part of that equation is just coming out the door. She nearly runs into them, pulling back just in time to blink and say, "Oh, I know you."
"In more ways than one," Remus says, all too obviously pleased with himself. He kisses Min on the cheek and moves into the room.
Nymph and Ginny each take a kiss for themselves as well. Min pecks back, "Weren't expecting the two of you."
But as Ginny and Nymph never floo ahead, they both well know that she wasn't exactly not expecting them. Min frowns then, "You only brought me one?"
"The other one is busy planning world domination by way of superior hormone-relieving sludge," Remus says in their defense.
"Ingrate," Min scolds lightly--they all know Remus well appreciates Severus's persistence in just about everything. "Dinner here, then? Should I send a message to Zev-"
"We caught him earlier," Nymph says, "but we'd prefer if it were just the five of us."
Min's flicker of a smile is nervous. "Ominous."
Ginny, who fears the loss of Min's child nearly as much as she fears the loss of Min herself, says, "No, hardly. I just want permission to do something. If you say no, that will be the end."
Min curls her neck a bit. "I'm fine, Gin."
"I know that," Ginny says, and she does, but it doesn't hurt to hear it from Min, who's looking a bit pale and whose eyes are hidden beneath a fine patina of bruising.
"Rumors of your knowledge, Miss Weasley, are generally grossly exaggerated," Severus says as he slips in the door.
Min says, "Be nice. Any progress?"
Remus moves in to kiss Severus. "Don't listen to her, I like you curmudgeonly."
Severus accepts the kiss with a certain long-suffering grace. "You learn how to use a dictionary recently?"
Remus smiles, "Right after you taught me to read. Hungry?"
"I am," Ginny and Nymph say at once. If someone doesn't stop them, they'll keep this up all night.
Despite the fact that Ginny has very carefully explained the whole situation, with her putting the brooms together and finding the right spells and looking up how marketing and product security work and then, only then, finally mentioning what she wants to call the series, all that anyone in the room finds it in themselves to say is, "Yes, but how exactly did you manage the element of human control?" and that's Remus, who is, sad to say, a big geek.
Then again, Ginny considers, look at the two people he married. Min looks equally eager to understand and Severus is strenuously keeping his face down, as good a sign as any of immense interest that he in no way shape or form wants revealed. Ginny says, "It was a matter of coordinating willful magic with innate magic, I figured it out, that wasn't really the point of this whole story."
Severus glares at her then, and she has the grace to look mildly apologetic. "Sorry, it's just. Well, I've been a bit nervous about the asking, and if you could perhaps not put the answering off any further I could act like a restrained and somewhat kindly human being."
"What was the question again?" asks Remus, who doesn't look to be much paying attention. Ginny knows he's still worrying at the question of reconciling such opposing magics.
Nymph puts a hand to Ginny's lower back. "We want to name the series the Storm Series, with the principle broom being a Lightning. You can see how this might conjure up images. We didn't want that out there without permission."
Min sets down her fork for the first time since picking it up, her appetite prodigious and not just a little frightening. "I think Harry would've gotten an absolute kick out of it."
Ginny nods. "That was part of the idea. It's not entirely mercenary."
Severus looks away, but Ginny knows he's smiling. Severus, more than anyone she's ever met outside of Nymph, appreciates self-awareness.
"Go ahead then," Min says, her eyes on the back of Severus's head. "But I want one for each of my boys. And when this one," her hand goes to her stomach, "is old enough to voice an opinion, if he or she wants one, that's part of the deal as well."
"I don't need-" Severus starts, but Ginny cuts him off with, "Bloody hell yes you do. Think I haven't noticed the quidditch equipment at this place? I have a fondness for the sport, you know."
"As I don't play-" Severus tries again, and it's Nymph who gets in on the action this time with a smart, "But you do fly. Min's requested, the request will be fulfilled, you'd best sit back and eat the rest of your dinner, luv."
Severus, at a loss for what else to do, sits back and lets his dinner wait. Min whispers a charm to keep it warmed. At the sibilant sounds, Severus goes back to eating, not wanting her to worry. She hides a smile behind her hair.
"And if I offered you the lower end models, maybe the Tornadoes, at absolute cost? They're good, I swear, much better than the outdated Cleansweeps the kids are playing on. Those are near to dangerous at this point and we all know it," Ginny says.
Min sighs. "Where's the money to come from, even at cost, Gin? Even with Ruel, Kieran and I writing grants like mad, those of us who have personal funds sinking it into this place, and the ones like Hydrea, Severus, Zev and Lorraine bringing in cash from the outside, we generally barely have enough to keep the school in good repair and everyone fed."
Ginny rests her chin on her hand. She would like to just donate the brooms, she knows what a good game of quidditch can do for just about anyone who's down on her luck, but starting up a business is no cheap venture, and the three Lightning's are going to be drain enough on their resources. At her back, Nymph says, "I have an idea."
Severus nearly chokes. Min perks up. Remus does his best to not look hopeful, which just makes Ginny want to cry. Luckily, she trusts Nymph enough to know that his hope would be well placed. "Yeah?"
Nymph, though, isn’t in the mood to divulge. "I have to work out a few of the details."
"Nymph," Min near-whines.
Nymph just smiles. "Dessert, anyone?"
Later that night, when Ginny's hand is strewn casually over the damp skin of Nymph's stomach and she isn't really all that concerned about the answer to her question, Ginny asks, "Do I get to know about this plan of yours, or is mine simply to keep making those brooms?"
Nymph's exhaled breath resounds against Ginny's palm. "No, I just. . .was taking precautions."
Nymph, for all her boldness in both the field and bed, has long shown a tendency toward the oh-so-careful about the precarious emotional states of her friends. It's one of the main reasons for Ginny's relatively hale mental condition. "If it doesn't work out, I'll just figure out something else."
Nymph stretches and then rolls into Ginny's side, pliant and heavy and familiar. "It's hardly like we don't know at least three professional quidditch affiliates personally."
Katie Bell stopped playing four years earlier when she had her third child and decided that between her career and her penchant for family, enough wear and tear on one's own body was enough. She'd taken a position as an announcer for the largest European league and is currently more popular than she was while playing for Puddlemere. Oliver retired one season later out of deference to his age and now coaches for an upstart team out of Ireland that everybody has their eyes on. The third is an ex-coworker of Nymph's, who left the world of magical law enforcement to play Keeper for the Cannons. Ginny steals the hand that's now crushed between them and brings it up to play with Nymph's hair, long and silken for the moment. "Endorsements, huh?"
"Then we could give them the brooms ourselves," Nymph says wistfully. Ginny knows the feeling.
"Not to betray my generally cocksure and confident young woman reputation," Ginny, who hasn't felt half so young as she's put out for the masses in quite some while, says, "but I think you might have more faith in this venture than I do."
"I've tested the product. It's solid."
Ginny can hear the note in Nymph's voice that tells her she doesn’t have much longer to hold this conversation. Nymph is much a fan of the immediate post-coital slumbering. "Neither of us are pro-quid players exactly, though."
"Your confidence always fails you at the worst moments, love," Nymph murmurs, obviously working to stay awake.
"Yeah," Ginny acknowledges.
"You want me to talk to Harvey?" she asks, referring to the ex-Auror.
Ginny, though, hasn't had someone else fight her own battles in years. Not since- Years. "No, I'll have the Woods over to dinner. Sometime this week?"
"They like your pudding."
Ginny smiles. Nymph is the one who likes her pudding. "Using visitors to get your way again?"
But all Nymph has as an answer to that is a small, surprisingly ladylike snore.
"You'll play us a game on them, of course," Katy says when they're taking coffee after dinner, the little ones sipping at their more sedate tea.
Peggy, their second child, perks up. "Can I play, mum? Please!"
Olivia, the eldest, rolls her eyes. To her father's everlasting disappointment, Olivia is much more interested in the latest robes from Paris than she is in brooms and balls. Peggy nearly makes up for it with her fanatic love of the game, and at four Frederic is showing signs that he might share the interest. Ginny half hopes he doesn't, just to put someone in Olivia's corner.
Katie smiles. "Maybe a bit, Peg." She catches Ginny's eye and transmits concern.
Ginny says, "I'll just take the dishes into the other room."
Olivia, who has recently started at Hogwarts, asks, "Why not use a levitating spell?"
"Because a woman's metabolism isn't her friend forever, dear," Ginny says, and whisks away her plate the old-fashioned way.
Katie, having cottoned on, takes a few plates and follows Ginny from the table. When they're past the door, Ginny weaves a silencing charm on the room. "I've slower models, that's the stuff I'll most like be marketing to the average consumer."
"She's frightfully daredevilish."
"I daresay she gets it from you," Ginny teases.
"I suppose it's too much to hope that you'll get yourself knocked up one of these days so as to allow me to poke some fun at you?"
"Probably," Ginny admits. The thought of being a mother both entrances her and scares her unmercifully. For the moment, at least, she's quite fine being niece to Nora and Charlie's brood and fairy godmother to the children at wereworld.
"Ginny, these brooms-" Katie cuts off.
Ginny turns to look at her. "They're perfectly safe. I've tested them countless times."
"No, it's just, this is so terribly like business and I was thinking," Katie busies herself with cleansing charms on the dishes, seemingly unsure of what it was she was thinking.
"That if you didn't like them it might hurt things between us?" Ginny asks.
"Because I'm not sure I could risk it, honestly."
Ginny peers into the dining area, where Frederic--Fred, for short--is crawling onto his father's lap. "You think I could? That I've lost so many people, what's a few more?" For all the bark of the question, there's very little actual bite.
Katie's head comes up sharply and then she shakes it, a firm little twist. "No, 'course not. Silly of me to even consider it."
"If you like the brooms, help me out. If you don't. . .maybe I should be going back to the drawing board anyhow. You are the professional opinion here."
Katie giggles at that a bit. "Don't tell Oliver that, he'll quote it back to me for years."
Ginny grins. She's no snitch.
Oliver orders twelve Lightning Brooms straightaway and Ginny finds out that the grapevine in the professional quidditch community is actually better than the one at Hogwarts, as within two days she's had four more coaches come to test the product and place orders. Ginny demands an advance so as to acquire supplies and hire an apprentice, as sixty brooms is no small workload and each team wants theirs quickly.
Ginny makes a deal with Kieran that if he'll allow her use of one of the classrooms as a virtual factory that she'll hire one of the graduates who's still floundering for a job. Since wereworld has far and enough space to spare and a near overwhelming need to employ its occupants, Kieran readily agrees. Ginny says, "If I can afford it, later, I'll hire a second, but right now if I split things up I'd be paying them less than decent wages, and I think that would-"
"Send a wrong message, I agree Miss Weasley." Kieran smiles at her with his whole face, chin to hairline, and floos Ruel, who will know where there's an open room.
Ginny hunts up Acacia Lewan just as she's finishing with her morning class. "Take lunch with me?"
"I'll suppose you don't mean in the Hall."
"No, I wanted to show you something."
Ever curious--like any worthwhile Charms professor--Acacia pushes her sharply pointed cat's-eye glasses back up her nose and says, "Lead the way."
Ginny takes her to the room Ruel has recently given her, where she's already managed to set up the basics of what will become a full-fledged Storm Series Broom Studio. "Any ex-pupils you'd be willing to recommend my way?" Ginny asks when she's explained at what Acacia is actually looking.
Acacia sweeps long fingers with long fingernails over a wooden board that will become a handle. "Not a pupil."
"I promised Kieran-"
"Oh, he'll be equally pleased, don't worry about that." Acacia looks up at Ginny. "Remember the boy who came to us last year from Belgium? Ambrose?"
Ginny remembers. Since nearly all werewolves in Britain have come to live at wereworld or accepted exile, the number of infections in Britain is near to none. If there's one infection a year it's considered unusual. Other countries, however, are experiencing the same amount of infection as always. It has become more and more common to have werewolves from other countries request sanctuary, but Ambrose was among the first three. He was twenty-two and painfully shy and got himself caught in the wards when approaching. He'd nearly fled when Ruel and Kieran had finally managed to get him free. "Knows a thing or two about Charms?"
Acacia snorts. "He could teach me a thing or two. He's a Beauxbatons boy, so I looked up his record, when I realized that some of the Charms work around the house was being done by someone considerably better at it than I. He was top of his class every year in the subject, but more than that, his skills exceeded that of a fifth year when he entered the school, despite being Muggle-born. His basic intuition for Charms is incredible."
"Is he a snob about it?"
Acacia shrugs, her too-long robes not even lifting from the ground. "He might have been, once. I doubt it, though, he's too much of a. . . I imagine him and Min were probably quite alike in school."
Ginny laughs at the thought. "How's his English? Because my French leaves quite something to be desired, and I'm not keen on using Translation Charms constantly."
"No, other than the accent, it won't be a problem."
"And you think he'd like the work?"
Acacia smiles. "I think you'll have to drag him away in the evenings."
Ginny thinks they'll probably both be there until Nymph comes and kicks them out.
Ambrose is never late to work. Sometimes Ginny wonders if he ever actually leaves. He's quiet and dedicated and has an off sense of humor than Ginny thinks George would have appreciated. The two of them work well together and within three weeks they've filled the original four orders. Only to have another ten fly in the window. Literally.
Ginny answers each of them with a "You've been queued," and tells Ambrose, "We have another order to take care of first."
Ambrose pushes eight or so of the curls that have gotten in his face back--Ginny isn't entirely sure why he won't cut the bushy mess that doubles for a hairdo, but it's his head, really. "Did I misfile something?"
Their "files" are the orders on parchment, stacked by way of how they were received, locked in a cabinet. Ginny shakes her head. "No, this is, I'll be paying for this one."
"You're prioritizing a personal order?" Ambrose doesn't sound surprised, more interested.
"Twenty of the Tornadoes," Ginny says.
"Building a private army?"
Ambrose tilts his head. "Quite a gift."
"Nymph was the one who came up with the plan, don't go becoming all impressed about it, right?"
"Was it Nymph's idea that you hire one of us?"
Ginny doesn't say anything, just starts poking around for the right wood with which to craft the brooms. Ambrose doesn't let off. "Gin?"
"Look, you weren't around when the legislation to allow for wereworld citizens to hold outside jobs so long as they didn't leave the compound went through. You didn't see what it did, how Zev fucking came alive. Redda and Kieran and Ruel and whole bunches of the others, they like just being here, being left alone, having this be the only world they have to deal with, probably because they were on the outside for too long, but Zev and the other kids, they were wilting and then Min managed to push that through, spirits only know how and it saved lives. I really. . .lives. And I just sat back that entire time and patted her on the hand in support and didn't do much of anything, so I thought it might be time for a little bit of pitch in. You don't seem to mind."
Ambrose smiles with his full mouth, something he rarely does as his teeth grow back more crooked with each transformation for some reason that nobody can determine. He looks down near to immediately. "I was just going to thank you. And tell you that I'd work overtime on the Tornadoes. For free. There's uh. . .you ever met Brigitte?"
"From Austria? Been here about two years?"
"She loves quidditch," Ambrose says, "is always challenging the adults around here who will play, always biting back complaints about the quality of the brooms. They make her feel fenced in."
"And you'd like to give her the chance not to feel that way."
"I believe I heard it called 'paying it forward' at one point." Ambrose gives Ginny a weighted glance.
Ginny says, "Just don't forget to eat, okay? Severus gets really bitchy when people start throwing up Wolfsbane because they haven't been taking care of themselves and I don't want to hear it."
"Yeah," Ambrose sighs, "can't blame you there."
Ginny gives Zev the first Lightning that her and Ambrose manage to complete because she's used to spoiling him and doesn't really feel like getting out of the habit. She gives Severus the second because the day it finishes is the day after Nymph has come home bloody and bruised from a raid that was supposed to be routine and Ginny needs someone to say nasty things to her and give her a reason to return the favor. Severus does not disappoint and she near well kisses him for his predictability upon leaving.
Remus, then, ends up being last and she takes his to the library, where about four people have spied him. She pulls a chair from one of the other cubicles to where he's sitting, trying to put together a lesson plan and says, "Have something for you."
He puts his quill down and looks at her. She says, "What is it?"
"Look, Gin, I know that Min was all at arms about you gifting us and whatnot, but, see-"
"You plan on riding that Firebolt until the day one or both of you dies, is that it?"
Remus's smile is boyish, sheepish, apologetic, and nostalgic all at one. "That's precisely it, actually."
"I would too."
Remus' eyes widen slightly at that. "You're not upset?"
"I was surprised she even asked me to make you one."
"She worries about leaving people out. Severus has well nigh brought on a complex in all of us."
"He seemed pleased with his," Ginny says, fishing with Remus, because Severus would never so much as blink in a pleased manner in her direction, at least not over this.
Remus whispers, "Don't tell Min, but we flew for four hours straight after she fell asleep last night."
"I'm amazed you're on your feet."
"She fell asleep at six."
Ginny pushes down at the flutters that seem to attack her entire torso every time Min's exhaustion comes into a conversation. "Still, four hours."
"He wouldn't even let me take a turn. Not by myself at least."
Ginny's inventor-curiosity peaked, she asks, "How's it ride double?"
"Perhaps too well," Remus says, and though he doesn't blush, Ginny reads it well enough into his tone.
Ginny giggles. "So I'll just put this toward the Falcon's order, then?"
"They could certainly use it." Remus is not a fan.
Ginny leans over to kiss Remus. "I'm glad you're keeping the Firebolt."
She saunters out, Apparates home, heats some tea and waits for Nymph, who says, "You look like a girl I once met."
Ginny puts her head on Nymph's shoulder. "Feel like her too."
"There's a quidditch game scheduled for this afternoon, on the pitch," Min says. Min doesn't much come down the extra set of stairs to get to Ginny's little factory. "To try out the new brooms."
"I'm almost afraid to watch." And despite the fact that four professional teams have already played full games on her brooms, Ginny is.
Hermione plays her trump card. "It'd break Remus and Zev's hearts."
"Seems they've made it through an awful lot just to have me go and do that."
Min smiles a slow, knowing smile. "I invited Nymph."
"She's so busy these days-"
"She said she'd be here, three sharp."
Ginny looks at the clock. "So, now."
"I thought you'd help me back up the stairs."
Ginny sets down the bristles she's been culling. "Does Ambrose know? He took a late lunch."
"I caught him on my way down, sent him out. Took some persuading."
Ginny walks over to Min, tucking one arm just underneath her shoulder blades. "He's very dedicated."
"Can't say as I'm surprised."
Ginny locks the door behind them and the two begin their ascent, making it to the top of the stairs several minutes later and resting there before continuing out to the pitch, where, sure enough, Nymph is waiting. Wisely, she has chosen seats on the bottom row. Ginny can feel Min's relieved exhalation.
Ginny seats herself in between Min and Nymph. She knocks her knee against Nymph's and asks, "Auror training has a unit on catching things that fall from the sky, yes?"
Nymph doesn't look at her. "Right after the one on trusting your partner."
From the very first moment of the game, Ginny is near doubled over, watching intently. She can feel Min and Nymph making fun of her with their expressions over her head, but is too concerned about the flight path, rhythm, action of the brooms to really care. Halfway through the game a keeper for the team in green jerseys does a flip that Ginny knows intimately- "Hey, do you remember when Ron-"
Hermione says softly, "Yes, I do."
Ginny looks up at Min, at the tilt of her head, the press of her hand to her abdomen. She nods and looks back at the field. "Good. Good."
Ginny comes home later than Nymph one night. There's the smell of potatoes in the air, which is reassuring, because potatoes are the one thing Nymph can successfully cook. Ginny comes into the kitchen, "Making me dinner?"
Nymph has her up against the wall in seconds and Ginny braces herself to enjoy what comes before she realizes that Nymph's face isn't anywhere near hers. Ginny asks, "Nymph?"
"I flooed wereworld," Nymph says.
"I left a little early." Then Ginny sees it. "Oh, Nymph. No, I just had a little shopping I had to do. They could've asked Ambrose, he would've said."
Nymph's hands are shaking when she pulls them away from the bruises that are forming on Ginny's arms. "Didn't think to ask, didn't want to alarm them. Said something stupid like how you'd mentioned needing onions. Don't think Min believed me. I should call her."
"You haven't been sleeping well," Ginny whispers. It happens sometimes. To all of them. Too many memories and not enough space in a person's brain to keep them all safely locked away. "I wanted to get you something. Cheep up giftie."
"Bad caseload," Nymph says with a dredged up smile. "Old friends involved. We're close to wrapping up."
"Here." Ginny holds out the plastic bag she's brought in. "For you."
Nymph takes it. "Now that you're rich, I think I'd best start experiencing the pleasures of a kept woman."
"With pleasure comes responsibility," Ginny tells her with a gravity not at all appropriate to the situation.
"You think I'm not up to it?" Nymph raises an eyebrow in challenge.
Ginny backs down. Nymph can exhaust even her. "Just open your present. I went to places far ranging and Muggle to find it." Well, the second part is certainly true.
Nymph peels the bag back and lets out several sounds that are a might too high pitched to technically be squeals, but are probably related in some way. "I was going to ask for it for my birthday."
"Now you can think up something even more exotic," Ginny says.
Nymph flips the book open to look at the art on the inside pages before the table of contents, which splits up the histories by comic book. They're all Marvel, as that's Nymph's favorite. Ginny's actually had her eye on purchasing it since the first time Nymph mentioned the book being released months before. Until now, she's had to put it off as a possible birthday present as well. Muggle books are even more costly than many a wizarding one.
Ginny asks, "How's that for being kept?"
"If you were hoping to get payment," Nymph mutters, her head still stuck in the book, "you certainly picked the wrong gift."
Ginny goes to check on the potatoes. They're near to burning. "Throwing me aside for your white-haired lover?"
"She flies, you know?"
Nymph looks away from the book, up at Ginny. "On the wind."