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10 November 2016 @ 07:00 am
FIC: Snakes and Ladders (Ginny/Astoria)  
Title: Snakes and Ladders
Author/Artist: kittyaugust
Characters: Ginny/Astoria, implied background characters and relationships
Prompt number: #130
Word Count: 4110
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Explicit Femslash, Epilogue Compliant (ish)
Summary: Astoria had a perfectly reasonable, and perfectly minor crush on Quidditch star Ginny Potter. It was fine. Really, it was. Well, it was until she found out Ginny might feel the same way.
Disclaimer: This is a transformative work and no copyright infringement is intended.
Author’s Notes: Eternal thanks and love to R for being an amazing and patient beta.

Astoria lit a clove-laced cigarette and inhaled while she waited for her interviewee to arrive. Warm smoke and the sharp taste of spice rushed down her throat and the tight ache of the addiction shifted loose. Bliss. She may spend most of her working lunches watching athletes eat salad, but Astoria didn't think that was any reason for her to be a health-obsessed weirdo. It wasn't as if she needed the lung power to break broom racing records; she just had to write about other people who did. She saw no reason to deny herself a few indulgences. Smoking was one of her favourites, no matter how bad it was for Muggles.

Today would not be a salad day. Ginevra 'Ginny' Potter did not do salad.

When Ginny walked into the lakeside pub, she brought summer with her. Astoria wasn't usually into witches, or women at all for that matter, but for this one she made a massive exception.

Ginny was tall and tanned, despite her copper hair and naturally fair complexion. Her broad shoulders boasted a smattering of dark freckles and the muscles in her arms moved like serpents under satin. Every time Astoria saw Ginny she had to struggle not to drool. She normally managed, which was lucky – it would have been so unbecoming.

Astoria's Quick-Quotes Quill shivered next to her, anticipating – but thankfully not expressing – its owner's unprofessional inner thoughts.

Ginny scanned the bar and spotted Astoria quickly. She strode over to the table and took her place opposite Astoria with that endlessly bright smile she always seemed to have.

"Ms Potter," Astoria greeted, stressing the title and stubbing out her cigarette.

The Potter divorce had been final for a while, but so public that there was still no escaping it. People had taken it so personally, even those who had never met either Potter. Ginny's choice to keep her married name, claiming that she’d built her career as a Potter, or that there weren't many Potters left, or that it felt right, or any number of other reasons, had been open to much public scrutiny. With her own divorce waiting only for Scorpius to return from his first year at Hogwarts, Astoria thought she understood. It was something she and Ginny had in common, after all. Sometimes Astoria wondered if Ginny knew what their erstwhile spouses got up to in the dark, and then she wondered if Ginny wondered the same thing about her.

"Hey 'Story," said Ginny, foregoing all formality with another of those too-true grins of hers. Her hazel eyes were bright with some kind of mischief. "Have you ordered?"

If it wasn't so obvious they were here for work Astoria might have been lulled into a fantasy of companionability.

"No," Astoria said. "I thought I should wait for you. You Quidditch stars always eat too much or not enough, we regular folk can't keep up."

Ginny laughed.

"No," Ginny corrected. "You just wanted me to order the jugs of sangria so you can blame it on the talent if your editor questions your expense claims."

"You know me far too well," said Astoria, unable to hold back the small smile that this admission drew. Ginny positively glowed in the mid-afternoon sun.

Ginny quickly caught the attention of the waitress, as though all eyes hadn't been on her from the moment she’d entered the pub. She ordered half a heart attack in pub food and the aforementioned sangria, too. Astoria had to admit that there were far worse ways to spend an afternoon.

The interview went perfectly to plan. They were both good at this part of their respective careers and the banter ran just close enough to open and friendly without anyone giving away anything worthwhile. The world of sports reporting at its finest.

It wasn't until Astoria was packing up her quills and paying the bill that Ginny caught her wrist, stopping her in her tracks.

"Did you know our sons are friends?" Ginny asked, looking deeper into Astoria's eyes than she normally would. Looking at her like a person, rather than an interchangeable face for the Prophet.

"Yes," Astoria admitted. Then, not liking to be wrong footed, "Did you know, I think our husbands are shagging?"

"I wouldn't be surprised," Ginny said, surprising Astoria again with another bold, summer-light laugh. "Though, I don't see why they get to have all the fun."

Astoria blinked at her. She wasn't sure if she was being mocked.

"Are you coming on tour? For the Cup?" Ginny asked, effectively cutting off the odd turn in conversation.

"Yes," Astoria answered by instinct again. "If I'm invited I'll be following the whole tour. That's why we're here, after all."

"Yeah, one reason." Ginny winked at her and left it at that, leaving the pub and the conversation with a flick of fire-red hair. As always, Astoria was left wondering where she stood with the Quidditch goddess that was Ginny Potter.

The next time Astoria saw Ginny was at the Quidditch Cup Opening Ball. Technically, Astoria wasn't on the clock; she was a guest in her own right. Well, more like in Draco's own right, as with far too many things in Astoria's life. But technically didn't have much to do with it, and Astoria was always on the lookout for that little tidbit that could turn another boring page 6 sports piece into front page news instead.

It wasn't journalistic instinct that made her notice Ginny's entrance, though. Ginny swept into the room on her ex-husband's arm and stole every eye in the room. Astoria wasn't sure if she was more jealous or turned on by Ginny's refusal to bow to social expectation, in this or anything else.

Ginny was swathed in the sort of evening gown that muscular women everywhere dreamed of but so often failed to find. In neither hid nor was drowned by the power in her arms or the breadth of her shoulders. The shimmering blue fabric swept over her body, accentuating her femininity and her unparalleled strength in perfect symphony. It was breathtaking -- literally, apparently.

"Now, now, Storia," Draco drawled over her shoulder. "Do control yourself. Breathing rather suits you, and I’m reliably informed that our dear Saviour no longer flies for your team."

Astoria shook him off along with his comments. "Must you be such a prat?" she asked. "Why do I put up with you again?"

"A child of your blood, and forty thousand galleons a year for the rest of your life, if I recall?" He smirked down at her and graced her with a raised Malfoy eyebrow to emphasise his point.

"Oh, yes. There is that," she smiled back at him. She really was fond of him, even when he was being awful. "Go and bother someone who cares and let me do my job, will you?"

"I'm stung, 'Storia, stung," he said, with mocking dramatics, but departed soon after. She didn't bother watching where he went. She was better off not knowing what he got up to; dragging his name through the muck would just bring her down with him.

Instead, she watched Ginny dance with Oliver Wood and noted that he let Ginny lead. Astoria very purposefully didn't allow herself to daydream about cutting in.

Astoria's sister was apparently dating Marcus Flint again, and she let herself be dragged into conversation with them. Daphne was quiet but dangerous, while Flint was as boring as his namesake and even Astoria's fairly deep interest in Quidditch could only stretch so far when a man's opinions were as puerile as his. She made her excuses and found the buffet as a distraction. She really wanted a sodding smoke.

"Evening," said Ginny Potter, not quite startling Astoria but dragging her back to the present. As always, Ginny's confidence sliced through Astoria's composure like a well-aimed hex.

"Ms Potter," Astoria said.

"Astoria, darling," said Ginny, mimicking Astoria's own drawling accent. "We've known each other for a decade, longer if you consider all that business at school. I'm pretty sure I saved you from a Carrow once or twice."

Trust a Potter to bring up the war like it meant nothing, like it was perfectly normal canapé conversation. Astoria managed not to choke on her hors d'oeuvre.

"I think I recall that, yes," Astoria said, proud that her voice hardly quavered. She had been thirteen, not quite fourteen, and Ginny had been comfortably sixteen and stunning. In those days, there had been things even a good pureblood name and a Slytherin tie couldn’t save you from. Ginny had come in like an avenging angel, and maybe Astoria had never quite got over it.

"Well then, I think we can stop with the ‘Ms Potter’ nonsense, don't you?"

"I suppose we could," Astoria agreed. "If you insist."

"I rather think I do," Ginny said.

Then, popping a whole deviled quail egg in her mouth, Ginny departed with another of those disconcerting little winks.

"What was that all about?" Draco asked, startling Astoria more than Ginny had.

He gave her a knowing smile, but he didn't comment. Perhaps he had some natural spousal loyalty after all.

"I'm not sure," said Astoria. She accepted the glass of Elf-made wine Draco proffered in apology for the disruption. "I think I’d rather like to find out, though."

"Is that so?" The eyebrow was in play again.

"Yes," said Astoria, carefully giving nothing else away. Draco wasn't the only Slytherin in their marriage, after all, and Astoria knew when to keep a card up her sleeve rather than on it.

It wasn't until later that Astoria noticed the ladder in Ginny's stocking. She wanted to climb it. Something about it made her want to touch Ginny even more than usual. It was something human in contrast to the previously classical perfection.

The Quidditch World Cup took place in Italy that summer. The sun shone down, hot and clear, catching on Ginny's bright red hair and making her freckled skin glow. She was flying for England again that year, and Astoria watched her closely – even more closely than usual. Ginny flew like she was born to do it.

Astoria could remember Ginny flying for Gryffindor. Astoria had flown at school, too, but not until after Ginny had left, taking her red and gold glory with her. Ginny had flown on hand-me-down brooms, always hampered by the age of her equipment and the weaker members of her team. Not so any longer. Ginny quite famously flew a top of the line Blackbolt. Not a Chaser's normal choice, but the handling was excellent and Ginny didn't need to cull for weight. She shot through the opposition, and even now, nearing the end of her career, she was something to see. The England team worked well with her, even though she normally flew for the Harpies and half of them normally dreaded having her on the other side of the pitch. Flying with her on their side, though, they had drawn together to pull off some top-notch flying all around. Astoria's copy was practically writing itself.

England made it to the semi-final for the first time in years, and Astoria had never been to a commiseratory bash that felt so much like a celebration.

Astoria escaped the whirling rush of the team tent and the dancing crowd. She needed a fag; the exuberance of so many drunk sports fans and giddy players was a bit much for even Astoria's well-trained fortitude. The cool night air tingled when it hit her flushed cheeks and she breathed easily – even more so when she lit her cigarette and sucked the acrid smoke into her lungs. It was a clear night and all over the camp people celebrated; victory or loss, they celebrated. It felt real and honest in its simplicity. More honest than many of the similar situations Astoria had borne witness to in other summers long since past.

Ginny wasn't drunk, per se. She was merely very tipsy. When she tumbled out of the tent and into Astoria's orbit she stayed there, so Astoria wasn't about to complain. Her strappy singlet showed off a lot of skin. Astoria wondered yet again just how far down those dustings of freckles went. She smelled like honeysuckle perfume and cider. It was even more intoxicating than any of the various liquors being passed around inside the tent.

"Hi, Story – got a story for me?" Ginny giggled and leaned in close, attempting to use Astoria for support despite her much slighter frame.

"Not yet," Astoria said, with as much dignity as she could maintain when Ginny's breasts were so perilously close to her own.

Astoria took a drag of her almost-forgotten fag, taking refuge in the warm smoke. She almost offered one to Ginny, before remembering just how much care pro-Quidditch players took of their lungs. Especially pro-players in their mid-thirties with only a few playing years left. The fact that Ginny even came near Astoria while she smoked was probably meaningful.

"I like watching you smoke," Ginny said. Astoria hadn't taken her for a Legilimens so she decided to allow the uncanny mirror of her current thoughts.

"Is that so?" Astoria prompted, pleased more than she ought to be by Ginny's loosened tongue.

"Mmhm," Ginny swayed a little too close again. Astoria didn't pull away. Barely resisted leaning in, in fact. Honeysuckle and cider, and something else too; gin or maybe just Ginny. "You've got beautiful lips, anyone ever tell you that?"

"Yes," Astoria said, honestly, yet still playing for all she was worth. "But no one with lips quite as good as yours."

Ginny bestowed Astoria with one of her perfect smiles. But Astoria hadn't seen this one before. It wasn't summer sun and lakeside bliss. Oh no, this was a night-time smile, all dark promise and knowing curves.

This time Astoria did step closer. Just close enough.

You only live once, unless you're an evil noseless bastard or a git with a hero complex, so why bloody not? As Ginny bent down, Astoria leaned up to meet her. She didn't have to lean quite as far as with a man, but it still felt comfortably right, maybe even more comfortable in such close proximity.

Ginny's lips were delectable, and so soft Astoria thought it must be magic. The kiss was subtle at first, but firm and real and strong. Just like Ginny. Her hands found Astoria's waist and pinned her closer, soft and deadly and so very sweet.

"Ginny?" A male voice broke through the magic and Astoria stepped away fast. She wrote the papers, she didn't need her name in them.

Oliver Wood appeared in the tent flap only seconds later.

"Oh good, there you are," he said. "Don't go giving anything away to the Slytherins, Gin." He grinned at them both to make it a joke. Astoria wasn't convinced. "C'mon Gin, we need you for the speeches."

"Right, be there in a minute," Ginny said without taking her eyes off Astoria. "Night, Mrs Malfoy," Ginny added with a delightful smirk. "See you in the morning, yeah?"

It took Astoria a moment to catch up with the new game and agree. "If you like, you know where my tent is."

She needed to think over the sudden change of address, but that would have wait until she didn't have speeches to annotate and a tight deadline to get her copy to an international courier. In fact, she was going to have to think over all of the evening's events, in private and in detail. Too bad she didn't travel with a Pensieve, really.

As it turned out, Ginny knew exactly where Astoria's tent was. She had even, somewhat gratifyingly, taken a sobering charm before arriving.

"I wasn't sure you'd come," Astoria said as she let Ginny into the spacious wizarding tent which she employed whilst on tour.

Ginny shrugged. "Seemed like a good idea at the time. You know us Gryffindors."

"It seems I'm starting to," said Astoria. "Tea? More wine?"

Ginny shook her head and took two short steps into Astoria's personal space. "I didn't come here for drinks, Astoria. We've got those in the team tent."

Astoria swallowed, then nodded. She hadn't been intimate with another witch since Hogwarts, but she wasn't about to let a sudden bout of timidity get in the way of living out this particular fantasy. Maybe Ginny's confidence would be contagious.

Seeming to sense Astoria's resolve, Ginny kissed her. Less clumsy than before, more intent. This was the kind of kiss that knew where it was going. Astoria rather thought it was going to her bed.

The soft and firm edges of Ginny's body pressed into Astoria's. Curve to curve, hip to hip, burning her even with the fabric of their clothes between them. Ginny drew a gasp from Astoria with a subtle bite of her lower lip, then another when her hands traced Astoria's waist and gentle as you please across her breast. Astoria certainly wasn't about to be outdone.

They kissed with increasing passion and Astoria allowed her hands to rove across every inch of Ginny she could reach. It was Ginny who steered them back towards to the sofa; Ginny who pressed Astoria down and back into its plush cushions. But it was Astoria who took matters, and buttons, into her own hands to unclasp her own blouse.

This time it was Ginny who gasped. She drew her eyes away from Astoria's hands just long enough to catch her gaze. The heated fervency caught Astoria by surprise. Ginny's breaths came sharp and fast, her bosom heaving with every one. Astoria licked her lips and didn't miss the way Ginny followed the movement with more of that Gryffindor intensity. Astoria's own breath quickened, it came alive in her breast. She lunged forward, forgetting the buttons in her own fervour, and kissed Ginny again.

Ginny's hands came up to help her, both of them fumbling with Astoria's blouse until it fell away, leaving the silver satin of her corset exposed.

"Oh, wow," said Ginny, when she saw the undergarments. "You're perfect." Then, before Astoria could respond, their lips were together and they were kissing once more. Hot breath and slick tongue, and blissful give and take, slip and slide.

Blouse discarded, Astoria had to take her hands off Ginny again to loosen her corset. Ginny didn't help and, based on how the Quidditch players normally dressed, Astoria wasn't sure she would even have known how to. She watched instead, with rapt fascination, breaking her gaze only to drop soft kisses to Astoria's neck and collarbone.

The moment she had enough room Astoria unclasped the busk too, freeing her quite adequate breasts to the warm air of the tent. The mage lights in the room caught and glinted off the silver nipple rings. Astoria was glad she had chosen the little silver serpents last time she changed them. Ginny seemed to be, too.

Ginny's hazel-gold eyes flicked momentarily up to Astoria's once more, before she sank to ply her insistent lips to each of Astoria's breasts. Tiny nibbling licks and kisses, each one more tempting than the last. Astoria soon found herself arching into Ginny's caresses.

Then, Ginny pulled back, as swiftly as she moved on the Quidditch pitch, and pulled her own loose singlet top free of her body. Her sports bra quickly followed and Astoria ached to touch her.

The freckles did, indeed, go all the way down. Realising she could, Astoria reached out. Ginny's breasts were pert and stiff-nippled when Astoria's hands found them. She moaned and pulled Ginny in closer, skin to skin and breast to breast. They arched into each other, rolling their bodies together in a perfect undulation of pleasure and touch.

Then Ginny was sliding down Astoria's body and dragging Astoria's skirt down with her. Astoria whimpered again, knowing what was coming but still not quite believing it until she caught the heat in Ginny's eyes.

Ginny pushed Astoria's thighs apart and slid her hands over Astoria's knickers, smooth silk against her skin almost as tempting as Ginny's lips. Astoria's legs ached, not from use but from desire. Ginny's hot breath ghosted over the fabric, so, so close. Ginny seemed almost as taken by the silver satin as Astoria was with Ginny's freckles. She undid each clasp of Astoria's stocking clips with undue care. Slid the stockings off Astoria's legs like an act of worship. Every touch and too-slow, too-eager act was another spark to the flames of anticipation already smouldering inside Astoria's limbs.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity of teasing proximity and too-light touches, Ginny's fingers found the waist of the panties that so enraptured her. She looked up and caught Astoria's eyes, seeking something; permission or reassurance, or maybe both. Astoria nodded, almost frantic with lust. Ginny's hand on her thigh was hot with promise. She almost couldn't take it.

When Ginny pulled away her knickers, Astoria was already panting. She could hear her own breath, sharp and needy, in the air around them. When Ginny's tongue finally, finally, reached out and all too tentatively licked at the over-sensitive folds of her labia, Astoria's entire body burned for her. Astoria bit her lip, needing the sharp sting of pain to contrast with the too soft, too good laps of Ginny's tongue. It was Astoria's turn to bite back a half-sobbed moan of desire. Ginny responded, fingers digging into Astoria's flesh, almost right, almost enough.

Astoria could feel the toe-curling heat coiling through her body but it wasn’t quite enough. Ginny's fingers teased at the very edge of her entrance even as her tongue honed in with merciless perfection on Astoria's clit, wet and hot and just damn right. Tingling heat built and built under Astoria's skin and she stopped holding back. She let herself whimper and writhe and beg for just a little more. Just a little more of everything.

When Ginny's fingers breached her, it was just as torturously slow and achingly good as the rest of it. A rush of jagged pleasure followed every point of contact. The incendiary, coiling heat inside her finally built to breaking point. Spirals of bliss shuddered through Astoria. Her body clenched, one final time, trying to lock Ginny's fingers inside her. Trying to hold on to the very edge of that crashing wave of ecstasy.

Ginny gasped as Astoria came, like it surprised her, or thrilled her. Astoria wanted to hear that kind of sound again. Maybe forever.

She pulled on Ginny's firm Chaser’s shoulders. Ginny acquiesced easily, flowing back up Astoria's body like healing magic. Astoria pulled her in to kiss her, warm and insistent, tasting herself on Ginny's lips. Ginny pressed in closer and made to straddle Astoria's lap, but Astoria stopped her. She kissed away the frown and reached down to show Ginny what she wanted, demanding with her hands on the buckled waist of Ginny's denim skirt. Talking would have meant less kissing and Astoria thought if that stopped, so might her breathing and her heart beat.

Ginny grinned at her, obviously pleased with herself, but Astoria was fairly pleased with her too so she didn't complain. They kissed again, with heated fervour, their bodies moving in an almost synchronised need for more.

The skirt was swiftly shed, and Astoria got her hands where she'd wanted them all along: between Ginny Potter's thighs. She didn't even bother demanding that the cotton knickers be removed too. They were so practical and perfectly Ginny that she kind of liked them. Instead she pushed past the hampering cotton and straight into the hot wet folds of Ginny's cunt. Her fingers found their place like they belonged there.

Ginny made the most glorious sounds. Her ability to just feel and react and move was even sexier in Astoria's arms than it was on the Quidditch pitch. If Astoria had thought watching Ginny play was so sensual it was practically sex, then she had underestimated the reality. Ginny's whole body reacted to even the slightest twitch of Astoria's fingers. The hot wet heat of her, the heave of her bosom, the flutter of dark copper lashes against golden skin. It was too much, a picture of passionate abandon. Astoria didn't think she would ever get over it. She would never forget the way Ginny bit her perfectly pink lip, the way her shoulders rolled back when Astoria found the soft spot inside her, or the way she cried out Astoria's maiden name when she came.
naarna: mainnaarna on November 10th, 2016 01:04 pm (UTC)
I haven't read femslash yet, but this was a very enjoyable read! =)

I especially like that you made it from Astoria's POV, as she is very rarely portrayed like this. But both women are strong in their own ways, just following their own instincts for once.

And even Draco as a secondarycharacter was well done, the git he is sometimes.

punknovelettepunknovelette on November 11th, 2016 04:32 am (UTC)

This was my fist time reading femmeslash. I really liked your punchy conversational tone, and characterizations of both Ginny,and Astoria,who had all the right Slytherin snark.
Machiavellian Puppet Mastertjs_whatnot on November 21st, 2016 04:08 am (UTC)
Oh man, there were just so many great turn of phrases and imagery that just totally put me in the moment and in the emotion, the burning desire that drove the piece. Like this:

It wasn't summer sun and lakeside bliss. Oh no, this was a night-time smile, all dark promise and knowing curves.

Well done!

articcat621: pic#120760023articcat621 on December 14th, 2016 01:44 am (UTC)
Oooo this was delectable and sinfully delicious! Love the promise in Ginny’s gaze before they kiss, and I looooved the smut. So hot. The little detail of Ginny calling out Astoria's maiden name was perfect too :D thanks for sharing!! <3