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Of the Weird and the Lovely by shadowycorner
Format: Short story
Chapter 1: Dare You to Move
Of the Weird and the Lovely
1: Dare You to Move
"Don't be sad," she said softly, her eerie yet somewhat comforting voice reaching him in the dense darkness of the room.
Sighing, slightly annoyed for being disturbed from his private moment, Dean leaned his forehead against the windowpane. "Leave me alone, Luna."
"You're not alone; just try to remember that. I'm your friend," she added cheerily. He then heard her stand up and exit the room.
She really was the most peculiar being he had ever encountered. If anything, she made him feel better, closed up in Shell Cottage and its walls of false security. He tried hard not to let her know, though. For some reason, Dean was wary of getting closer to Luna Lovegood, if only for her deep misty eyes.
Thankful to both Bill and Fleur for their hospitality, he longed for some action -- something to do, to help, and not just sit, hidden away in stagnant, never-changing days.
Harry, Ron, Hermione and the goblin had left early that morning, without saying goodbye, but he understood. Allowing his mind to wonder what they might possibly be up to right now, he heard Luna hum to herself in the garden. Involuntarily gazing out of the window, he spotted her kneeling, her hands digging in the ground. She was probably looking for dirigible plums or any other strange plant she would never stop talking about. Furrowing his eyebrows, he stood up and feeling oddly drawn to the idea of looking at her more closely, Dean left his room and headed for the back door into the garden.
Leaning his body into the doorway, crossing his arms, his lips broke into a flicker of a smile, just watching her.
These shifts in his perception of her confused him. He would spend hours avoiding her, only to end up searching the inside and outside for her. The first few days he tried to find explanations for this behavior, then he realized that there probably was no explanation, just as there hadn’t been any to explain Luna.
What were explanations worth anyway?
At first the awkwardness had been quite unbearable, he rememberd, but Luna never seemed to feel awkward. She seemed to be natural at all times, though natural in her sense meant weird for him. Dean was a regular bloke, he didn’t understand weird and strange and different.
When he saw Luna taking a handful of the wet, fresh earth and inhaling it, smiling into the crusts of dirt and vibrating with life, Dean thought he didn’t need to understand weird and strange in order to appreciate it.
Getting down the three rickety steps of the porch, Dean grabbed hold of Luna's hand, hardly startling her. Opening her eyes, she simply smiled at him.
"Where are we going?" she asked, letting the dirt fall through her fingers.
"I don't know. Let's just take a walk."
Crossing the garden and passing Dobby's grave, both giving it a sideways glance, they headed toward the cliff overlooking the sea, its walls embedded with shells and seaweed. The wind was cool and steady and Dean couldn’t suddenly keep his eyes off the way her hair danced all around her. Sitting down onto the chilly rock, they were silent for a while. Luna stared off into the horizon dreamily and Dean let himself relax at the sound of the waves crashing at the shore.
"Any news of your dad?" he asked suddenly.
On rare moments like these, Dean always watched with interest the almost imperceptible change in Luna's manner. She never seemed to lose her composure, but when she was sad, he learned that her penetratingly blue eyes always widened a tiny bit, as if surprised by a question, a comment. And her upper lip always quivered.
"No news," she said and smiled feebly, wrapping her arms around her body and leaning forward. "He's alright, though. I bet he is. Daddy can take care of himself. What about your family? Do you have any idea how they are doing?"
The thing that had been troubling him the most had finally been brought up. Hesitating before answering, he tried to catch her eye, but Luna wouldn't look at him, she kept looking at the sea. "I don't know anything about them and don't dare let them know, in case the owl gets intercepted and my mum will be in trouble. After all, I'm on the run."
"Things will be alright. Harry will defeat You-Know-Who. Very soon now," she remarked with dead certainty.
"Lucky for you to be so sure," he shrugged.
"What do you think they're doing right now?" she asked, smiling out of the corner of her lips, turning to him, her stare startling him.
Plucking up an eyebrow, Dean propped up an elbow. "Knowing Harry, probably breaking a bunch of Wizarding laws."
Luna laughed at that, much more than he expected her to or believed necessary. Though there was something about her laughter that made Dean chuckle despite himself; it was quite intoxicating.
"You're very funny. I'm glad I got to know you, despite the circumstances," she told Dean with that airy tone, smiling her mysterious, peculiar smile. Dean winced at the swift memories of Malfoy Manor and of how both he and Luna had been treated there. But Luna didn't look at all troubled. Did she ever?
After another dose of silence, Dean asked about the time she spent at Hogwarts that year, and she told him of everything. Of the ventures into Snape's office, of the open or secret rebellion against the Carrows, of the fun despite the misery flooding the Wizarding World, and finally of her kidnapping. She talked about it excitedly, as if it was one great, big adventure she had read about in a book, hardly flinching when mentioning the punishments she received at Hogwarts for rule-breaking, or while being captured by the Death Eaters.
That was Luna -- carefree, lighthearted and able to infect Dean with those feelings. First days spent at Shell Cottage, Dean thought she would drive him mad with her vast talks about nargles, crumple-horned snorkacks and wrackspurts. Perhaps it was the darkness of the times, or completely natural, but all his expectations proved to the contrary. Clinging to her innocent, somewhat naïve, happy persona, Dean couldn't help but like her strange uniqueness, teaching him things he always considered beyond his comprehension.
As the day dragged on, after dinner, Luna and Dean ended up on the cliff again, with a full stomach and cheery spirits. Dean's depression of doing nothing overcame him for the moment being, just as the frustration with the trio for leaving him, hardly connecting with him even through their stay. Things felt right in that evening, sitting by Luna, hearing her tell him of her mother's experiments.
Quite suddenly Bill ran out of the cottage, yelling for both of them. Standing up swiftly, they ran to meet him climbing the cliff, a little out of breath.
"Listen up, you two, Harry's at Hogwarts and You-Know-Who with his Death Eaters is charging at the castle. Everyone willing to help is welcomed. We Apparate to Hog's Head and fight! What do you say?"
"Wonderful. I can't wait to try out my new wand," Luna said calmly, as if the ground-breaking news did nothing to her.
His heart speeding up at the idea, Dean fisted the air and jumped up. "Yes! Let's go."
Bill nodded with a grin and ran back into the cottage. The pair of them was just about to follow, when Dean pulled Luna back, his hand lingering on hers.
"Luna," he began softly, making her smile at him. It no longer annoyed him. "Thanks for being so cool while we stayed here. So I guess it's time, isn't it? The time to end it all."
"Yes, the time to end it all," she repeated and hugged him, shocking him, but after a few seconds, Dean embraced her as well, there by the sunset. As they set off for the cottage, the sun went down and a shadow fell upon the world, as it would face the last battle.
"Come on, Luna," Dean called as he passed, holding out his free hand; she took it and followed him back up the stairs. People passed them on their way, surprised to see them, but there was no time for friendly greetings and conversations. Turning a corner, Dean and Luna found themselves in an empty corridor.
"We have to go to where the towers are," Luna said hazily, as they searched for a shortcut to make it to other people quickly.
"I don't feel sure about this," Dean said, letting go of her hand. "I still don't have a wand."
"You'll find one sooner or later." There was something wrong with her, Dean noticed. She didn't seem to be scared in the slightest, merely flinching at the deafening explosions carrying through the air, but her voice was losing the smoothness to it, quivering.
Able to hear voices coming nearer and nearer as they walked, Luna stopped in her steps, Dean following suit, sending her a questioning look.
"Can I kiss you?" Luna asked unabashedly, staring up at Dean, the look in her face soft and flustered at the same time. Her eyes were wider than usual, perhaps with the shock of what she had just said.
Daring to move closer, despite his sudden desire to run away, Dean's feelings of wonder and embarrassment clashed. "Why?" he asked in confusion, but his hands betrayed him as he slipped them into her hair, slightly cupping her face.
Smiling nervously, Luna averted her gaze for a fraction of a second and then looked back at him. "I've never been kissed before," she said with a shaky chuckle. "I don't want to die without knowing what it's like. But I will understand if you refuse to," she added merrily, making Dean wonder where did all the boldness and honesty come from.
By normal circumstances he would stagger away, frightened by this request, but it might've been due to standing at the brink of a battle that he found it completely understandable. His eyes traveled to her lips and with the love of a friend and tenderness of a lover he bent down and placed a soft kiss on her lips.
Hardly responding, feeling so numb, Luna kissed him back only slightly, but her touch, so intimately shy, made Dean's head spin.
Parting and taking in a trembling breath, they eyed each other for a moment, the world becoming sharp at the edges once more. Luna smiled again, only for him. "Thank you," she said, sounding as though what happened was as simple as a conversation on how to water plants.
A scream pierced the night, and all hell went loose.
Grasping her hand, Dean led her toward the raging battle, feeling peculiarly calm at heart and ready for anything.
It felt strange to feel so lonely and isolated in a place so crowded, Dean thought. Old friends were coming up to him, greeting him, but none of them went out to see him specifically, just as he hadn't felt any special need to linger between them. He felt warmer upon seeing them again, but everyone was looking for someone – a friend or a missing member of a family – just as he did.
People were celebrating, grieving their losses and gingerly enjoying their first moment of a true freedom, free of Voldemort's reign. He was happy, too, immensely, but for the time being his happiness was secluded away, not quite reaching the tips of his fingers. Someone was missing.
It seemed years ago since he had held her hand and her gaze in that deserted corridor. The battle had sent them both in different directions, fighting their way through perils of their own. And he didn't know what happened of her.
Sure enough, he could see her jumping her way through the crowd instead of walking, singing cheerily, of course, and her waist-long blond hair hopping at her back.
"Luna!" He grabbed her by the shoulder, for she didn't notice him at first, grinning ear to ear. Her face was dirty with soot and there was a deep gash over her cheek.
"Dean, how nice to see you."
"We've made it," Dean said quietly and both of them looked away sadly for a moment, remembering everything that had to be sacrificed.
Smiling back up at him, Luna took his hand and led him out of the Hall, into the sunrise.
She inhaled the fresh morning air. "Can you feel it?" she asked, her voice no longer calm but vibrant with unmasked exuberance and energy. Her eyes sparkled in a tantalizing fashion. Dean didn't choose to look away.
"The beginning," she replied simply, staring hungrily at every portion of the crumbled world around her. There was longing in that look – to live and to love and to not waste another minute ever again. Winding an arm around her shoulders, Dean smiled and let the freshness of the moment engulf him.
"Yeah, I feel it."
AN: The chapter title was inspired by a song from Switchfoot. The little bit you recognize from DH belongs to JKR. I hope you enjoyed the first chapter. This is my short and simple take on Luna and Dean. Please review, even if only briefly to let me know what you think. Thank you.