the pearl


"The trick," Tonks said, pointing towards the hallway and the invisible field that stood between them and the kitchen. "Is to determine the boundaries without setting off the alarms." She held up a small ball of crumpled parchment. "Unfortunately, picking the proper size is difficult. The sensitivities of a barrier charm depend on the strength of the caster, the choice of spell, and the weight of the object." She threw the paper ball at the barrier, then quickly ducked when it instantly flew back.

Ginny giggled.

"Once you've determined one point," Tonks continued, pointing towards the spot where the ball had hit, which Ginny could see now glimmered faintly, "You then work out another point, using the same method." She picked up the parchment ball and threw it again, this time a bit lower. The ball flew back, and she ducked again, this time tripping over an unseen bump in the carpet and landing face first against the barrier, swearing as it bounced her back forcefully and began to shriek loudly.

Molly poked her head out of the kitchen and frowned. "Nymphadora!" she shouted over the din as she reached for her wand. "Exactly what —" she waved her wand and muttered a quick spell to turn off the alarm "What do you think you are doing?" she said, her voice as loud as it was before the alarm was off.

Tonks stood up and dusted herself off. "Sorry, Molly," she said, grinning. "I was on my way in when I saw Ginny. We started talking, and I must've just tripped."

Molly sighed, shaking her head. "Well, the meeting's just about over — Kingsley will have to fill you in later," she said exasperatedly. She paused, and peered at her daughter. "And just what were you two talking about?" she asked.

Tonks opened her mouth, about to come up with something, when Ginny flipped back her hair and smiled. "I was asking Tonks about what classes I should take if I wanted to be an Auror," she lied smoothly, never looking away from her mother.

Molly raised her eyebrows in astonishment, then smiled widely. "That's wonderful, dear — I'm glad to hear you're showing initiative in your studies. If only your brothers...Ah well..." She looked back into the kitchen for a second, then popped back out. "We just have a few more things to finish here, and then I'll begin making supper. Nymphadora, would you join us?"

"I'll have to see if Kingsley needs me for anything, but I can't imagine it'll be a problem..." Tonks said, smiling. "Thank you."

Molly smiled in return, then shut the kitchen door, stopping only to recite the barrier charm again.

Tonks paused for a second, looking at the faint magical shimmer in the air in front of them, then slapped her palms against her thighs. "Right," she said, looking at Ginny. "If you've worked out where the barrier is, then you need to figure out exactly how heavy an object you can throw. This is good to know if you don't have pieces of parchment or anything of the sort. And do you regularly lie to your mother like that?"

Ginny grinned. "Ever since Fred and George taught me how to talk," she replied. She started digging around in her pockets. "Will this do?" she asked, pulled out a dungbomb.

Tonks wrinkled up her nose (small and button-like at the moment). "Do you normally keep dungbombs in your pockets?" she asked.

Ginny shrugged. "Only when I swipe them from the twins' room," she said, stretching her arm with a trained move and launching it right towards the barrier.

It flew over in a smooth arc, then, just as smoothly, bounced back, landing on the floor between them and rolling a few feet away.

Tonks smiled. "Right. Since that worked..." Her voice trailed off when she saw Ginny's eyes go wide, staring at a spot on the floor behind her. Tonks turned around, and saw the dungbomb expanding, already having swollen from the size of an egg to the size of a melon.

"Um, Ginny..." she said, looking at it. "It's been awhile since I've had a dungbomb...are they supposed to do that?"

Ginny's eyes never strayed from the dungbomb, which was now the size of Crookshanks. "None that I've ever bought..." she said, stepping back slightly as it began to quiver. "Duck!" she shouted, dropping to the ground.

Tonks fell to the ground, her back to the dungbomb, as it exploded with a large boom that echoed throughout the house. She heard two quick *pop*s of someone apparating into the hallway, a muffled curse, and the sound of several pairs of feet running in from the kitchen. She winced, and wished — for the millionth time in her life — that being a metamorphagus meant that you could blend in with the floor.

"What in the name of all that is good is going on out here?" Molly shouted, standing above the two of them angrily.

Tonks opened her mouth again, ready to confess, when Molly's gaze moved over the two of them and towards another person. "I should have known!" she shouted, moving behind Ginny and Tonks. "I told both of you to stop experimenting and now look what you've done! Throwing dungbombs onto your sister and an Auror! I've never in all my life —"

"We didn't throw it!" Tonks heard one of the twins speak up.

"And it's not even ours!" the other said. "Zonko's been making supersized dungbombs for years now — who knows what kind of things Ginny's been bringing home?"

"Don't you bring your sister into this, Fred Weasley! Just look at her!"

Tonks sat up and looked over at Ginny, giggling slightly when she saw the other girl slowly reach up and pull a large hunk of dung out of her hair with a grimace. Then she felt something fall out of her own hair and winced. "Damnit," she whispered under her breath, reaching for her wand.

"No, no, dear," Molly said, suddenly turning away from the boys and towards the girls. "Let me do that." She reached for her wand. "Scourgify!" she shouted, waving her wand over the girls.

The tea stain on her trousers disappeared, but the dung still sat on Tonk's shoulders.

Molly frowned, looking at them both. "Oh dear..." she said, shaking her head. "If that didn't work, then I don't think any other cleaning spells are going to'll just have to wash it all off."

"Ugh," Ginny said, reaching up into her hair again. "I don't think I'm going to be able to get all of this out by myself. She turned towards Tonks. "I'll scrub your back if you scrub mine?"

Tonks frowned, then felt another piece slide from her hair down into her robe and shuddered. "Deal."


Ginny slid into the master suite's bath (the only bath big enough for two people) and closed her eyes in bliss. "Ohhh..." she said, dipping her head down underneath the water for a few seconds.

Tonks grinned and reached for the scrub brush. "C'mon," she said, poking Ginny in the thigh with it. "I'll wash your back."

Ginny blew a few bubbles up, then surfaced, grinning. "Let me wash my hair first," she said, her long ginger hair plastered down with water. "It's going to take forever to get the stink out." She reached for the bottle of Professor Sleekeezy's Full-Body Charming Shampoo.

"Let me do it," Tonks said, snatching it out of her hand. She poured a sizeable amount into her palm and then set to work on Ginny's thin hair, quickly building up a lather.

Ginny closed her eyes and made comforting noises. "I don't think you were meant to be an Auror," she said. "You're so much better as a hairdresser."

Tonks paused, trying to find an answer, then, finally, just dunked her under the water. Ginny resurfaced instantly, snorting and spluttering, then pushed her hair out of her eyes before splashing Tonks.

Tonks shrieked and started splashing as well, aiming for Ginny's face.

The two splashed about for a few minutes, shouting and shrieking, until they finally had to catch their breath, both of them breathing heavily and still giggling.

"You're obviously a Weasley, Ginny," Tonks said, leaning back against the edge of the tub. "You're nothing but trouble."

Ginny raised an eyebrow and grinned. "Oh yeah?" she said. She cocked her head slightly, looking at Tonks, the expression in her eyes strange, then, suddenly, leaned in and kissed her.

It was fumbling and a bit crooked, and Ginny's nose hit hers before Ginny shifted slightly, and then it felt kind of good, but then Ginny's breasts rubbed against hers, and they were the breasts of a teenager and, just as suddenly, Tonks was pushing Ginny away from her, back to her own side of the tub.

Ginny turned bright scarlet and started to climb out of the tub, reaching for a towel to cover herself up even before she was out of the water. "I-I'm sorry..." she stammered, hiding behind her wet hair.

"No, I'm sorry..." Tonks said at the same time, her eyes wide. "Ginny..." she said, reaching out and grabbing the girl's wrist. "Wait."

Ginny paused, setting herself on the rim of the bathtub, quickly wrapping a towel around herself.

Tonks looked down at the water, wincing slightly when she realized how naked she was, then looked back up at Ginny. She sighed. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Ginny bit her lip and shook her head.

Tonks slunk down into the water a bit deeper, trying to get the bubbles to cover up as much as possible. "You sure?"

Ginny bit her lip again, then sighed heavily. "You're really cool," she finally said.

"You're really cool too," Tonks said, frowning slightly.

"No, but, you... you're, like, cool, y'know? And you're the first cool girl I've known and I can talk to you about stuff that I can't talk about to Hermione or Fred or George or...or even my mother, and I just..." Her voice trailed off. "I don't know. You probably hate me now."

A little light went on in Tonks' head and she nodded. "Oh, Ginny..." She paused, reaching over to stroke Ginny's shoulder. "I don't hate you. I couldn't."

"But I —" Tonks shook her head. "You just surprised me, that's all. I wasn't expecting it, especially since you told me you're seeing...what's his name...Michael Connors?"

Ginny nodded, looking down at the towel wrapped around her torso.

Tonks nodded as well. "So you just surprised me a bit. I wasn't expecting you to have feelings for me. But I guess I forgot what it's like to be fourteen, y'know?"

"Everything..." Ginny bit her lip again, searching for words. "Everything hurts."

Tonks smiled sadly. "I remember..." She continued stroking Ginny's shoulder. "But it gets better. And people get better. And, one day, when you're old enough...I'll still be here."

Ginny looked up at that, her eyes wide with surprise. Tonks smiled, brushed a strand of hair out of Ginny's face, and, just for a second, leaned forward just enough to kiss Ginny, pressing her lips against hers.

Tonks sat back in the tub and smiled at Ginny, who sat there, the towel still wrapped around her, a single hand near her lips. "So," she said, stretching slightly. "You gonna wash my hair too or have you decided you're too cool for something like that?"

Ginny broke out of her spell and started laughing.

This Harry Potter story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at