A/N: This was written for the Fortune Cookie Challenge on Live Journal. The prompt I chose was: Good clothes open many doors. Go shopping
Ginny Weasley wasn't sure what she was looking for, but Raven's Rave Robes obviously didn't have it. The robes displayed were hot pink with two glittery star designs over the bodice and a bigger star at the crotch. A matching glitter necklace flashed "Celebrate" as the headless dummy shimmied and wiggled her hips. It was clear which body parts were being "celebrated," but Ginny knew she wouldn't wear such a thing in her bedroom, never mind the London dance clubs.
Ever since she and Luna had been turned away from a club because the security troll didn't like Ginny's jeans, she had been thinking about clothes. She was determined not to make that mistake again, but she hated to think how she would be judged wearing those robes.
She mentally shrugged at her own prudishness and turned away from the window. She didn't want to invite advances from all the wizards in London — just one wizard. And when she thought about it, this shopping trip wasn't about looking cool for the dance clubs. What she really wanted to do was wake Harry up to the fact that she was indeed out of school, of age, and ready to take their relationship to the next level.
So why was it proving so difficult to find pretty dress robes that looked sexy but not sleazy?
Her first stop that morning had been Madam Malkin's, where she had shopped since she was a child. Unfortunately, once she walked past the school uniforms and looked through the rack of pastel polyester robes, she realized that Madam Malkin's was no longer her style.
Not that she actually had a style.
To complicate matters, she didn't have a lot of pocket money. Her signing bonus with the Harpies was earmarked for her room and board in Wales and any other incidental expenses next winter.
She sighed and continued to wander down Diagon Alley in the vain hope she would find a boutique that had pretty, inexpensive robes in her to-be-determined style.
Ginny smirked at her reflection in the window of Quality Quidditch supplies and then something at the top of the glass caught her eye.
She turned and looked at the nondescript building across the street. It contained offices for scribes, prognosticators, and solicitors, so she had never really noticed it. But now there was a gilded sign in one of the upper windows that read: Lady DuSult's Little Black Robes.
Her fingertips tingled. 'Little black robes' sounded so sophisticated. The characters on Days of Destiny were always slipping into "something more comfortable" or donning little black robes. Usually those scenes ended in murder, kidnap or another bout of amnesia, but that was soap opera world. In this world a little black robe might just bring Harry around.
To Ginny's relief, Lady DuSult, while chic and pretty, wasn't much older than her brother Bill, so she found her easy to confide in. It also helped that Lady DuSult had just opened for business and was eager to have a customer.
"So you want robes for going out, but something tasteful, not like the rubbish at Raven's," Lady DuSult asked, running a practiced eye over Ginny's casual outfit of jeans, jumper and trainers.
"Sexy would be nice, too," Ginny added hopefully.
"Er — I have one, if that's what you mean," Ginny answered as Lady DuSult's tape measure went to work.
"Does he like to dance?" She held a bolt of black cloth up next to Ginny's face.
"Harry?" Ginny laughed. "No."
"Do you want him to take you dancing? What kinds of things do you do together?" She frowned as she held a different bolt of black cloth next to Ginny.
Now it was Ginny's turn to frown. "Um. We go for walks — or have a meal at the Three Broomsticks or we go for broom rides. I just finished at Hogwarts, so we haven't had time to do much in London. But yes, I'd like to go dancing with him."
And do other things. Ginny blushed at the thought.
Lady DuSult tactfully ignored the blush. "Your hair is vivid, but your complexion is pale," she murmured. "So it will have to be the softest shade of black I can find." She tilted her head. "You're petite and curvy. Not an easy figure to dress."
"Oh?" Ginny asked sharply, wondering if her bum was indeed too big. "Why?"
"You must always wear clothes that show off your waist," Lady DuSult said, plucking at Ginny's jumper. "You're swimming in that."
"The fabric is soft," Lady DuSult conceded. "And it hides everything."
"I have brothers," Ginny flared. "Flaunting is not an option."
Lady DuSult laughed. "I have one brother, and I understand completely."
Ginny felt a little better, even though it stung to know she wasn't looking her best in her favorite jumper. No wonder Harry was taking her straight home after every evening out. She sighed.
"Don't worry. I can dress you if you give me a week to make your robes," Lady DuSult said. "But you'll have to get used to a little more attention."
She felt a frisson of excitement. "I could get used to that."
A week later, Ginny stood in front of the snarky bathroom mirror. Her bedroom mirror had assured her that the wrap-front robes, in a soft sooty black knit, were indeed flattering, but Ginny wanted a second opinion.
"Those are come-hither robes," the bathroom mirror grumped. "Is that your intent?"
"Come hither to where?" Ginny asked stupidly. Then she blushed and giggled. "Oh, there. Yes, that's my intent."
"If you play with fire —"
"I'm already burning," Ginny snapped, remembering the last uncomfortable parting from Harry. "Half-way" was how she thought of those moments. They were half-dressed, half-satisfied, half-way through the night… and then it was time to go home.
Well, not tonight.
She didn't have to return to Burrow if she didn't want to. Her parents were babysitting Victoire at Shell Cottage for the next two days.
She gave an experimental twirl and felt the soft fabric brush sensuously against her calves. Harry had promised to take her to a club as soon as her new robes were delivered.
She met her shining eyes in the mirror's reflection. She looked…
Harry was gratifyingly speechless when she met him in the Atrium of the Ministry. His eyes traveled from her face to the v-neck that outlined the swells of her breasts, then dropped to the nipped-in waist with the soft tie holding the dress closed, and finally settled on her toes peaking out from her strappy sandals.
With a saucy smile, she turned so he could see how the skirt molded around her hips.
"Wow," he said hoarsely.
She giggled in triumph and held out her hand. "We're still going dancing?"
"I — uh. I'll have to change." His robes were crumpled from whatever they had been doing in Auror training and there was a grass stain near his right knee.
"You're going to slip into something more comfortable?" she asked, swinging his hand as they walked to the Floo Fireplaces.
He laughed. "I don't think comfortable is possible with you around dressed like that."
Harry unlocked the door and stood back for Ginny to walk through. She looked around eagerly. The banister was polished and the black and white tiled floor of the entryway gleamed. Number Twelve was no longer a dreary place.
"Kreacher's been painting and stuff," Harry said, standing awkwardly in the center of the entryway. "He got rid of Mrs. Black's portrait."
"Very nice." Ginny started up the stairs and grinned down at him. "Can I see your etchings?"
"What?" she snapped. She didn't want him to over-think this.
"We have to talk." He followed her half-way up the stairs.
"I don't have to talk," she retorted. "These are my come-hither robes and they're talking for me."
He started to speak, but she leaned down and put her finger on his lips. "You're driving me mad, Harry. I'm out of school. It's going to be a long winter away from you when I'm in training and playing for the Harpies, but we have this summer to be together." She took a deep breath because she was feeling suddenly shy. "Come hither."
"Come hither, please?" She touched her forehead to his.
"Ginny." He put his hands on her waist and tilted his head back so he could see her eyes. "Sometimes the bloke likes to — er — lead."
"Oh? My mistake." Hurt, she tried to pull away from him. "I shouldn't have worn these robes then."
"Ginny. That's not what I meant." He kept his grip on her waist. "You look perfect. Beautiful." She stared down at him as his hands loosened and traveled over her hips. "You're like a dream — a really, really good dream. A perfect dream."
"Harry," she said breathlessly, putting her arms around his neck. "What are you saying?"
"Maybe I don't want to ruin things for us." He nuzzled at the v of her robes.
She touched his hair, the same soft black as her robes. "How could you ruin things for us?"
"I could ruin it for you."
She blinked. "Me?"
"It's the first time for both of us and I don't know if I…"
"So you do want me?"
He stared at her, amazement in his green eyes. "Of course I want you! I think about you all the time. And now, seeing you like this…"
"You've been — I don't know — nonchalant lately when you say good night."
He snorted. "Nonchalant. Only a cold shower cures that."
She laughed. "Let's go dancing then. We've never done that together, either. If we can make a go of it…"
"Then we'd better dance here," he interrupted.
"Here," he said firmly.
The laughter died on her lips. The atmosphere was suddenly charged.
"We'll need music." He waved his wand and the voice of a wireless announcer wafted in from the sitting room. They heard snatches of a jazz tune, a jarring rock anthem, and finally, a soft ballad.
He held out his hand, palm up. It was a formal gesture that surprised her. She followed him down the stairs until they stopped, facing each other in the middle of the entryway.
This was their first dance, Ginny realized, feeling oddly nervous, as he put one hand on her waist and gently clasped her hand with the other. It wasn't at all like she had pictured when she went out looking for dress robes.
He shuffled forward and she backed up. Her skirt swung around her legs. Then her nose bumped into his shoulder when she followed too quickly and she could smell his familiar scent.
He didn't stop and neither did she.
Then suddenly they moved together with ease. It was as if something clicked to connect them, so that the music flowed from him to her and back again.
They were dancing.
She was wearing a beautiful dress; she was in his arms and they were dancing. But Harry was concentrating too hard to smile.
"I don't want to step on your toes," he whispered in her ear. "I don't want to hurt you."
His breath on her ear, his concern for her, the sweetly earnest way he was holding her made her melt for him. "Even if you did step on my toes, it would only hurt for a second," she said, looking into his eyes. "And I'd only remember this dance and how beautiful it was."
His eyes flashed and then he kissed her.
The confidence and desire in his eyes — the love, too — this is what she had been longing for when she went looking for robes. The marketplace tried to sell such moments, but it never quite succeeded.
The song ended.
"Come hither, then," he said.
A/N: Thanks to TDU and Sherylyn for the beta, Gabriella Du Sult for the use of Lady DuSult's Little Black Robes. (You might remember her character from Roger and Lisa, A Romance or her brother, Michael DuSult, from The New Zealand Chronicles.)