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Luna By The Lake by Felonious Folts
Chapter 1: Luna By The Lake
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The perfect blue sky mirrored Harry's calm demeanour as he ambled across the castle grounds. His broomstick rested carelessly on his shoulder, his hair was wild and windswept from an hour spent airborne during a particularly successful Quidditch practice.
The delectable scent of kippers and sausages from Hagrid's hut wafted over the grass. Small groups of students littered the ground, busy going through last minute assignments or lazily reclined on the fresh ground soaking up the unseasonably warm weather.
As he skirted the Black Lake he took in the calming sounds of the water lapping gently, the buzzing of the insects, the thrilling whoosh of a broom flying across its glittering surface... a broom?
Harry opened his eyes and searched the lake. In the distance he spotted the source of the noise. A student was sat astride an old Cleansweep 7 zigzagging over the surface of the lake. Her long tangled locks of blonde hair flowed behind her, the wind billowing the hem of her Ravenclaw robes. Her large, equable grey eyes probed the depths of the water.
He watched her for a while, leaning on the end of his broom. The rays of sunlight coupled with the diamond glow of the water's veneer and her slow, fluid motion was quite mesmerising and also a little more than confusing. What on earth was she doing?
After a few minutes Luna finally pulled her broom to a stop, hovering delicately over the water. She repositioned herself so that she was sat side saddle on her broom and delved a hand into the satchel that was hung over shoulder pulling out a small, tattered leather bound sketch book. Grabbing the pencil that was tucked firmly behind her ear she began to hurriedly scribble onto the pages, casting glances up from her work to look back into the water.
Harry blinked hard, giving his head a rough shake. He looked over towards the castle where a large group of students had begun to make their way inside, the same pupils who he had seen lounging about on the grass earlier. How long had he been stood there?
Luna's voice punctured Harry's mind. He looked back towards the water to find Luna still on her broom floating above the lake a few feet in front of him.
"Luna. Hi." He felt guilty for some strange reason, like he'd been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
"What are you doing here?" She asked smiling at him. She nodded towards his broom. "Quidditch practice was over ages ago."
Harry tilted his head to the side giving her a questioning look. "You're right. How did you know?"
"Oh I sometimes come to watch you practice on the weekends." She crossed her ankles and placed both hands on either side of her broom, as if she was sitting on a bench in the park not dangling above a lake with a giant squid in it.
"You do? You come to watch me?" He felt a hot itch tickle his collar. He pulled at it casually.
"Of course. You and Ginny, Ron too. When you're not playing Ravenclaw I like to show my support whenever I can for the Gryffindor team. I'm sure you've noticed me there?."
He hadn't. He felt rather foolish after realising she hadn't meant just him.
"What are you doing anyway Luna?" He asked quickly to shift the topic.
Luna grinned taking the book from her lap and waving it triumphantly. "Just doing a little a little research. Magizoology requires a keen interest and a commitment of a decent amount of free time. I've got to start thinking seriously about my future once I've finished school and after you defeat Voldemort of course." She added flippantly.
Harry grinned. "Of course."
Luna Lovegood, always so calm and certain. If only he could carry her round in his pocket whenever he needed her... what was he saying?
"Did you know the Black Lake contains the only known Bunyip in Great Britain? Native to Australia but this one came over during the Tri-Wizard tournament. It stowed away on the Durmstrang ship."
"But isn't that in Bulgaria?"
"Doesn't matter. I haven't spotted it yet but I've managed to find a few other intriguing things to take note of."
"It is. I don't normally study by broom but it does have a certain charm." She swung her legs lazily back and forth. She almost didn't notice when one of her shoes flew off and plopped like a stone into the water. "Oops." She peered down and squinted into the lake. "This is my last pair."
"Luna." Harry rolled his eyes.
"Don't worry I just need to..." she leaned forward on her broom her arm outstretched to the water below.
"Luna wait!" But Harry's words came to late as he watched her lose grip on the wooden handle of her ride and fall into the murky drink with a loud splash.
"Oh heck." He quickly tossed a leg over his broom and kicked off into the air, zipping over to where Luna was busy coughing up half the lake.
"Luna quick grab hold." He held his hand towards her. She smiled up at him, grabbing the weeds that had attached themselves to her hair, tossing them aside.
"Thanks." She coughed. She took his hand. The water was cold.
He made to pull her up but something impeded her movement out of the water. She frowned looking down before smiling again.
"I think the Giant Squid's got hold of my foot. The cheeky little scamp."
"Kick it off." Harry said giving a nervous look towards the water.
"No need. It's just playing. I just need to tickle a tentacle or two and then..."
"Luna." Harry bemoaned trying to shift his weight more evenly on the broom.
"If I can just reach with my other..." suddenly Luna gave a huge jolt downwards with Harry's hand firmly in tow followed by Harry's arm, Harry's shoulders, then his head and then the rest of him. He felt the icy water break his fall before kicking back to the surface taking in a huge breath of air.
"He let go. Don't worry." Luna bobbed beside him, brushing his matted hair away from his forehead. "Just took me by surprise."
"Oh well that's good." Harry grumbled giving an involuntary shiver. "I guess I was planning on taking a bath anyway."
He looked for his broom which had floated away towards the edge of the lake. He took hold of Luna's hand and followed it. "Come on then. I might as well see this mess of a rescue operation through to the end."
"So brave." She chuckled. He let a wry smile meet his lips.
They swam forward until their feet met the ground. They both waded, soaked to the bone back to the verge. He kept hold of her hand which she did not relinquish as they stumbled over the vines and weeds in the shallow water.
"At least it's not raining I guess." He mumbled trying to brush off the damp soil with his free hand.
"That would be great. The rain might bring out the Bunyip, the disturbance of the waters surface creates a..."
Harry didn't hear her last words. His foot caught awkwardly on a small patch of vines, wrapping around his foot. He stumbled pulling Luna's hand before crashing back once again into the cold water, taking the blonde haired witch with him. She landed on top of him, crashing her knee into his stomach.
He let out a howl of pain as water splashed around his head.
"Sorry, sorry." Luna pushed herself up placing her hands on his chest. She rolled off him and they both crawled the last few yards towards the fresh grass collapsing onto the ground again. She rolled onto her back blinking against the sunshine. "That must have hurt."
He laughed rubbing his stomach. "Not as bad as a Basilisk fang or the multiple broken limbs. This is child's play."
She chuckled turning her face towards him. "No need to put a brave face on it. If you want to cry you go right ahead." She teased.
Harry pushed himself up onto his elbow looking down at her. The last inch of water swam about her long locks of gold, they waved about her face, hazily framing her dream like silver globe eyes, her small inquisitive mouth, her lips rosy red from the dunk in the lake. They probably taste like pond water he thought with an involuntary grin.
A line of dirt traced the edge of her nose, a look not uncommon to Luna Lovegood. She splashed her hands by her sides casually letting the water run through her fingers. Her eyes looked over his face absentmindedly. Now that she was in the water she didn't seem that inclined to vacate it.
Maybe it was the heat from the sun or the surprise soaking he'd just received but Harry's mind had all but slowed to a crawl as he looked back at her. His stomach lurched but not in the way he recognised, this was different. A strange mix of nerves and excitement played a furious rhythm in his chest.
"Are you ok Harry?" She asked giving him a searching gaze. She lifted her hand and ran it through her sopping hair. She pulled a small black beetle from it and stared at the insect, letting out a small sigh.
Such a strange girl he thought watching the nape of her neck move with her breathing. Her voice was so soft and serene, alluring you might say... well he would anyway. Her neckless of Butterbeer corks floated on the waters surface away from her chest. He let out a small laugh.
"What?" She asked intrigued, facing him again.
This was not normal he noted as he took in the silence. People don't just stay put laying about in cold lakes unless they were waiting for something to happen. Why wasn't she getting up and why wasn't he for that matter. Could she be waiting for him to... no, no way. Luna?
Suddenly a fresh note of electricity volleyed around his body as he pondered... what if I did? What would she do? A girl like Luna. The thought alone was fascinating enough but he couldn't deny that the idea also aroused a strange impulse in his own mind.
Before he even realised what he was doing he was leaning over Luna, his hand across her, planted firmly in the squelching soil. Luna diverted her attention away from the beetle in her hand which took off scuttling down her arm and into the damp grass.
She looked up at him, blinking hard. “Harry?”
He leaned in closer, giving her chance to pull away. She just stared back, a curious frown played on her brow.
Was he mad? Had he lost all sense?
He could feel her deep breaths dance across the surface of his skin. The closer he got the shorter they became until they stopped altogether, holding the last in her throat as his nose touched hers.
Then as if coming to from a deep sleep her hand rose from the water and she placed it on his damp chest, keeping him at bay.
He stopped, his lips so close to hers even the slightest movement would connect them. He stared into her eyes, those large silver pools of mad ideas and crazy questions now asking just one. It was as if time had frozen whilst her mind ran double time trying to process his actions, every explanation lost to her.
Then letting her held breath go she moved her head upwards and let her lips find his, closing her eyes naturally, her hand on his chest shaking slightly.
Harry's mind fogged over as wave after wave of intoxication filled his brain. Her mouth moved with his, softly caressing each other. Her palm tightened and grabbed hold of his robes. He leaned in further letting her head fall back to the ground, taking his hand and placing it on her neck, softly running it up her cheek and into her hair.
This was nothing like the kisses he had shared with Cho. They had been awkward if rather pleasant affairs, this was something entirely different. He wasn't concerned with where they were or if he was doing it right, all he knew was that he wanted more of it. Each parting of their lips just left him instinctively searching for hers all over again.
If Harry's mind had been more sober he may have recognised the ludicrous state the two were currently engaged in. Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood tangled together by the edge of the lake out in the open, completely drenched whilst students wandered the grounds of the castle in the distance.
It didn't matter to Harry, this was perfectly fine. Luna knew him on a level few did. Didn't care that he was famous or for the lightning scar on his forehead. Whilst Harry was busy worrying about Voldemort or running about the castle solving mysteries Luna was busy dealing with her own problems, her own wants and worries yet here she was with him indulging in a moment of blissful escapism where none of that mattered.
He kissed her once more, soft and slow having to force himself to move away. Letting his body turn and roll onto his back next to her, his eyes finding the blue sky looking back at him from the heavens.
"Well." Luna said after a moment of silence. "That was unexpected."
Harry looked at her as she stared skyward. "Sorry if I..."
"No, no it's fine." She added quickly, grabbing his forearm. "I just don't really do that sort of... I did it right yeah?" She asked, her eyes suddenly inquisitive. "I squashed your nose a bit, and I didn't really know what to do with my hands but overall..."
"Well I thought it was pretty amazing." Harry pointed out.
She nodded, letting out a long sigh. "It was wasn't it. I mean I'm no expert but I do flick through the pages of Witch Weekly every so often."
Harry chuckled enjoying the relaxed mood.
"Ginny said once that..." but she didn't finish her sentence, letting the words fade into silence.
"Oh nothing." She pushed herself up into a sitting position, wringing out the sleeve of her robe. "Anyway I'd better be off. I've got to dry off before dinner. I really fancy some peanut butter ice cream for dessert." She said the last bit to herself, not looking back at Harry as she got to her feet. Large droplets of water fell off the hem of her clothes.
"Luna?" Harry sat up, peering at her, trying to catch her eye. It was as if in an instant the entire mood had changed.
She gave Harry a smile, taking off her shoe and tipping the water out. "And don't worry Harry. What happened is strictly between us. You have my confidence."
"What? Why?" He asked getting to his knees.
"We all have those moments don't we? We act first, think later. Even a Ravenclaw can be caught up in the moment sometimes and I confess I may have over indulged myself. You don't need to worry, I understand it was just a mad moment." Again Luna looked everywhere but in Harry's direction, busying herself with her drenched wardrobe.
Harry rubbed his head, feeling as though he'd been struck suddenly with no warning. "Luna it wasn't a "mad" moment at all. I just wanted to..."
"Thank you Harry. It's nice of you to be so kind about it but it's ok. Your head is positively chock full of Wrackspurts, I mean just look at them." She waved her arm in his direction, Harry looked around him trying desperately to keep up with her train of thought.
"I know all too well what they can do to ones mind if unprepared, I really do."
"Luna stop." Harry made to grasp her hand as she turned to leave but slipped on a wet rock and missed.
"Besides at least I can now say I've snogged Harry Potter." She joked forcing a grin. "I might take a full page out in the Quibbler." She smiled again waving her hand at him before making off towards the castle, her broom and soaking wet satchel following behind. "See you Harry."
"Luna." He called after her but she just continued to walk. He sat back on the palms of his hands. What the hell was that about? Was he really that bad? Cho didn't seem to think so but then he had never actually asked her.
He dragged himself to his feet, taking hold of his broom. He didn't feel like going back to the castle, he needed time to think. He mounted his broom and kicked off into the air. A few laps of the Quidditch pitch were needed he thought and flew off in its direction, thoughts of Luna Lovegood and that kiss, her soaking wet hair, those deep serene eyes and those lips, soft and tempting heavily prominent in his mind.
Chapter 2: The Secret At Shell Cottage
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Harry sank into the sand, he took a handful of cold damp grain and let it run like dust through his fingers. The rhythmic pounding of the ocean waves drummed into his ears, the gusts of costal wind lifting his messy hair and floating it across his reddened eyes. He flicked them from the light blue of the ocean to the makeshift gravestone before him.
"Here lies Dobby. A free elf"
"I'm so sorry Dobby." He whispered to himself quietly. He hoped the tide would take his words out to sea, take them somewhere that would reach his friend's ears. "It's all my fault." He balled his fists, squeezing them tightly, feeling the pain of his fingernails biting into his skin. He wanted to push deeper, deeper than the blade Bellatrix Lestrange had plunged into Dobby's chest. To feel what he felt, to share his pain.
"Then make it right."
The voice was soft and familiar. He turned to find Luna Lovegood trudging up the nearest sand dune. Her long locks of blonde hair flying behind her, cheeks flushing red from the wind. She wrapped her long blue cardigan around her as she walked.
"Luna." He smiled as she approached him. Something about her presence comforted him, be it her calm resolve or just the fact he never had to pretend when she was around. He felt no need to dry his eyes or hide the fact he was hurting, she wouldn't judge.
She stood next to him looking down at Dobby's grave. She wiped her eyes briefly, taking a deep concentrated breath before sitting next to him.
"Make it right?" He asked her, keeping his eyes fixed on the tiny headstone.
"Harry I'm not going to sit here and tell you it isn't your fault. You know it's not. But because you are who you are you're always going to blame yourself. So I say just make it right. Use it to push you forward, fuel your fire so to speak." She grinned at him.
He felt her shoulder touch his, memories of their brief moment of intimacy by the Black Lake came flooding back to him. Neither had uttered a word about their kiss to each other since that day though Harry had often thought about it.
Luna herself had never shown any hint that she held any regrets for not taking things further. Indeed the very next day she had greeted him at breakfast in the Great Hall as if nothing had happened. He wondered if this was truly the case though.
Even after he and Ginny had finally got together he detected no sign of change in her attitude or mindset apart from one moment during Bill and Fleur's wedding. He had been dancing with Ginny alone when he had caught sight of Luna, she was sitting next to Ron and Hermione who were in the middle of a conversation. Luna herself had not been involved. She just sat there in her bright yellow dress with her legs crossed leaning on the table, her head resting absentmindedly on her hand.
The warm gleam from an enchanted orb of light that hung over their table bathed her in a golden light, making her hair sparkle. She was looking right at Harry, not past him or next to him but locking her eyes with his. He didn't think she even realised she was doing it but it didn't stop him from keeping her gaze, ignoring the surge of guilt he felt punch at his stomach as he felt Ginny's hand run across his back.
She smiled lazily at him, her eyes heavy lidded no doubt from the late hour and many beverages. A cold wave of shame washed over him as he realised how much he wanted to be sat next to her at that moment, whispering in her ear, kissing her neck.
He pushed the thought from his mind and turned to face the opposite side of the marquee. He could feel Ginny's breath on his neck and wanted to back away. He needed to be somewhere else, away from the wedding, away from Ginny, away from Luna. When he turned again Luna had left the table and was walking away from them towards her father who was deep in conversation with an elderly witch stood next to the wedding cake. The only person looking at him now was Hermione who had her eyes narrowed in his direction, a frown on her face. She looked over towards Luna then back at Harry.
And still they danced on.
Now as they sat together on the windswept beach something inside Harry was screaming, something he thought he'd long learned to ignore. He looked at Luna as she monitored the horizon.
He felt lost, at the end of his tether. His friends were dying, for him and still had no idea how he was going to successfully sneak into Gringotts and yet he felt for the first time in a very long while sitting here next to Luna that something was right.
"I want to make it right Luna... I just hope I'm able to." They sat for a while looking out to sea, watching the waves crash onto the shore below them. Then he felt the warm touch of her head on his shoulder, the soft cushion of her hair, the smell of her scent dancing across his nostrils.
"You will." She said finally.
"How do you know?" He asked, smiling at the confident tone of her voice.
"Because you've never let me down before." She turned her face towards him and he looked down at her. Her lips were so close, all he need do was lean forward slightly and he'd be back by the lake again, in her embrace, feeling her mouth on his.
"No." He thought to himself, turning his face away from her. He couldn't do this, not now, not after Ginny. His grief was urging him to hold onto the things he could lose but now was not the time to be complicating matters, not when there was so much he had left to do.
But... who knew how long it would be till he saw Luna again? Days? Months? Years even? Would he ever? Feelings he had kept suppressed we're bubbling back to the surface.
"Luna do you ever think we could have..."
"Thank you Harry." Luna cut in, nudging his shoulder with hers. "For saving us at Malfoy's."
"I didn't do anything. It was all Dobby..." he trailed off, saying his name was striking a tender nerve at the moment.
"Dobby too of course. Thank you sir." She smiled and bowed her head towards his grave. "But no one ever really thanks you for anything do they? I supposed it's just expected of you being Harry Potter. So thanks."
He nodded at her with a smile.
"Was it awful at Malfoy's? Did they do anything..." he trailed off again not really knowing what to say.
"It was unpleasant." She replied simply. "They wanted to know if I knew where you'd been hiding for the past few months. The witch they kept calling Bellatrix, she was awful. I think she may have been born under the gaze of a Three Headed Bloodbug Toad, it's been said it can lead to evil intentions being imprinted on the child in later life. Simple to dispel the curse of course, just requires that the baby be swaddled in the flayed skin of a female Poppakin, then turned to face east and burped three times it..."
Harry trying his hardest not to burst out laughing, colour coming back to his cheeks as he chuckled. "Sorry Luna, really I am."
Luna frowned but grinned and shook her head. "It's true Harry. It's this sort of reaction that lets dormant evil doers slip by unnoticed until it's too late."
He smiled broadly and felt the ball of worry weighing heavy in his stomach lift slightly. "I've missed you." He said absentmindedly.
She nodded silently keeping her eyes trained of the rolling waves. "How's Ginny?" She asked finally fixing herself a smile which looked slightly off.
"I... erm... she's fine." He replied caught off guard by the question.
"I haven't seen her in months, I hope she's ok." Luna rested her head on her knees tucking them beneath her chin.
"Neither have I."
"You don't even write?"
"I don't really know what I'd say. Can't be specific about anything just in case our letters were intercepted."
"You could just talk about random stuff. Doesn't have to be about Dark Lords and secret missions all the time you know? Oh Ginny I saw "he-who-must-not-be-named" in the Leaky Cauldron last week blah blah blah blah." She smirked at him.
Again Harry burst into laughter again. Only now had he realised it had been nearly eight whole months since he'd last seen Luna at Bill and Fleur's wedding. Though little had really changed about Luna she did seem slightly different, still as serene as ever but maybe just a little more self aware, more mature.
"So what will you do now?" He asked her. "Will you go back to Hogwarts?"
She pondered this a moment before answering. "Bill said I'm welcome to stay here, might be a good idea. If I go back to Hogwarts they'll only try and nab me again won't they?"
For a brief moment Harry wondered whether Luna would be up for a trip to Gringotts then realising how insane the idea was remained quiet. Truth was he just didn't like the thought of having to part the next morning not knowing if he'd ever see her again. It felt as if Luna was the last piece of his normal school life, as if he'd been given a second chance to linger in a past he thought he'd said goodbye to when he left the wedding in August.
"What's that?" Harry asked noting the large dark purple bruise that marked her forearm, peeking out of the sleeve of her cardigan.
Luna rolled up her sleeve showing the full extent of her injury, it looked painful and was larger than he had expected. "Oh this is just from Bellatrix. As I said before they were really keen to find out where you've been over the past few months." She touched the bruise. "Horrible person that woman."
Harry felt sick to his stomach. He studied the mark and moved on to the cuts and scrapes on her face. The thought that Luna had suffered through all this pain just because she had been friends with him made him feel equal parts angry and grateful. She wasn't even going to mention the injury. She had stayed strong for so long and hadn't complained once.
He took her arm gently and softly ran his fingers along the tarnished surface of her skin.
"I'm sorry Luna."
"Harry it's ok."
"Let me make it right." He lifted her arm and placed his lips upon the bruise, kissing it softly.
"Harry..." Luna lost the words on the way to her mouth and instead remained silent. She lifted her hand to his face and ran her fingers over his brow, up into his hair. He leaned forward, placing his hand on her knee and going to kiss her lips but she quickly placed her hand onto his chest and held him back. "Harry we can't do this again."
"Why not." He asked, he was so close he could smell the fresh scent of lavender in her hair. He placed his hand on her face, her cheek was cold from the breeze. He moved his head towards her neck letting his lips rest upon the chilled skin.
Luna held her breath, her fingers grasping the back of his head. Then her eyes snapped open and she moved away, scrambling to her feet.
"Luna?" Harry got up and went to place his hand on her shoulder but she took another step away from him.
"Harry please. This is hardly the time or place." She pointed out motioning to Dobby's graveside.
"This is exactly the right time." Harry argued. "I leave tomorrow. Who knows when I'll see you again... if I...."
Luna quickly rushed up to him and placed her fingers on his lips. "When Harry, not if. When." She smiled and placed her forehead on his. "I'm sorry Harry. If things had been different then... but I can't do this, I can't just do what I want."
"Why?" He asked again, every part of him longing to feel her touch.
"Ginny." She replied simply, it was enough to fill Harry's heart with a heavy sense of shame. "She's my friend, one of the few who have stood by me and never... I can't..."
"Ok." Harry cut in. He saw the pain and hint of tears in Luna's grey eyes and hated himself. He knew how much Luna cared about Ginny, knew how much she valued her friendship yet here he was selfishly putting his desires above hers. The fear of the unknown future had made him momentarily reckless, the panic had overcome the calm and he couldn't stand seeing her tormented like this any longer.
"Luna it's ok." He let go of her and took a step back. As his hand slipped from hers he felt her grip his fingers as they parted. "But if you ever fancy another walk down by the lake you just let me know, ok?" He forced a grin at her and she let out a laugh. She wiped her tear filled eyes and smiled at him.
Then he turned slowly, looking towards the cottage. "Come on. Let's see if they need any help preparing dinner."
She nodded and followed him back towards the house.
The last night spent at Shell Cottage was a busy one. Harry, Ron and Hermione spent hours finalising their plan to break into Gringotts along with the help of Griphook. He only saw Luna at Dinner that evening and just before everyone had retired to bed. They shared the occasional long glance at each other but had little chance to speak.
Harry sat with Ron in the tiny spare room Harry was sleeping in busy putting the finishing touches to Ron's disguise for tomorrow morning.
Ron yawned loudly, sitting on the window sill overlooking the vast ocean.
"Nervous?" Harry asked as he put down the black snatcher robes with a long sigh.
"Nah. After the hollering Hermione gave me when I came back, this is nothing."
They both grinned at each other. Then after a moments silence Ron's tone became more serious.
"She will forgive me won't she?" He asked in a hopeful voice.
Harry was tempted to tease Ron further on this but noting the pleading look on his friend's face he nodded. "Of course she will. It's you after all. Hermione would forgive you for anything."
Ron pondered this for a long time as he studied the light rain pattering on the window. "I really don't want to muck it up this time Harry. I want her to see me as someone she can rely on. I mean after we've defeated you-know-who... which we will." He added determinedly. "Hermione will be free to you know... move on, she'll get a job and so will I and we're bound to see less of each other..." he ran a hand through his hair looking fretful. "All the time I've wasted being a complete and utter berk, not being clear when I should have. Playing games..."
"Ron." Harry interjected giving him a hard stare. "Just tell her mate. Don't wait till it's too late."
"I know but it's not like with you and Ginny, it's obvious you two are meant for each other."
Harry felt a wave of nervous heat around his neck. "Y-yeah... I guess so."
"I mean even if she doesn't feel the same, we'll still see each other at Christmas and every birthday so that's something. Then there's Halloween and... Sir Nick's Death Day? What other holidays are there?"
"Ron so far this year you've infiltrated the Ministry, taken on a Horcrux with a sword, been chased by Snatchers and escaped certain death at Malfoy Manor... do yourself a favour, man up and just give Hermione a snog."
"Shhh." Ron hissed, "she might hear you."
"Lets hope so. She's just as guilty. Hermione!" He called out. "Can you please come here this instant and kiss Ron. Give him a big old smacker!" Harry chuckled as Ron chased him round the room slinging pillows at him.
"I left being hunted by Snatchers for this!" Ron yelled before they both burst out laughing.
"If you keep this up I'll march right over there now and give her the kissing of her life." Ron announced walking towards the door.
Ron shrugged and grinned. "I'll probably just go to bed instead. Night Harry."
"See you tomorrow."
Ron left leaving Harry to the silence of the room. He felt much better and pulled off his shirt, taking the spare pyjamas Bill had left him on the nightstand.
A knock came at the door and Harry rolled his eyes. "Ron if you really did it you don't have to rush back to tell me." He joked taking the handle and opening the door to find not Ron but Luna standing there.
She was dressed in a pair of Fleur's pyjamas, the sleeves where too long and rolled up and the trousers bunched around at her feet. She had her damp hair tied up on top of her head like a pineapple and smelled like she'd just step out of the bath.
"Luna?" Harry smiled and opened the door wider. "You alright?"
She said nothing, her eyes flitted from his face to his chest and back again. Having only just realised he was shirtless he quickly pulled it on and grinned. "I know what you're thinking... "wow"."
She laughed and shook her head. "No. I was just wondering where the Hippogriff was."
"Oh I got rid of that ages ago." He replied.
"That a shame. I've always fancied getting a huge Werewolf done myself, on my back."
"You are joking?" He asked looking unsure.
"Well it's a thought but they'd probably chuck me out of Hogwarts." She explained. "My grandfather had a Leprechaun on his arm. It would tell rude jokes and wake him up at midnight singing "Oh Danny Boy.""
Harry just stared at her, a grin plastered on his face and a puzzled look in his eye.
"Can I talk to you?" She asked finally, her tone becoming more serious.
"Come in." He walked back into the room leaving the door open for her. She surveyed the room briefly before stepping past the door, closing it quietly behind her.
Harry sat at the window Ron had just occupied. He leaned back and let his eyes follow her. She sat on the edge of his bed, placing her hands under her legs. The moon was shining brightly through the glass behind him and illuminated her face in a soft glow. She looked angelic with her blonde hair and silvery grey eyes, the effect left him momentarily frozen as he struggled to look elsewhere.
"Harry I've just got the reply from the letter I wrote to my father..." she trailed off, her expression fretful. She didn't meet his gaze and focused on the sky outside.
Harry only now realised he hadn't fully explained to Luna how he had ended up at Malfoy Manor in the first place and the roll her father had played.
"Harry I'm so sorry. Daddy explained everything in his letter. He feels terrible." She looked straight at him, her expression full of remorse.
"Luna it's ok."
"No it's not ok. It's really not Harry. Here's my dad saying you've got his full support one minute and the next he's trapping you in our house and planing to hand you over to Death Eaters the next." She couldn't stop the frustration from leaking into her voice.
"Luna they'd kidnapped you. His only daughter."
"Harry if you don't win this fight then it really doesn't matter if I'm at home or not. Soon there will be no home to return to. The Death Eaters will burn it to the ground, probably with both of us in it." Luna was getting angry, something Harry had never really witnessed before. "So my father handing you over just to get me back isn't going to help anyone but himself. It was stupid and selfish."
Harry remained silent. He wanted to tell her it was ok, that he didn't hold any ill will towards her father, that he understood his actions but Luna would not have heard. Her father had let her down, there had been no one higher in her eyes, it had been just the two of them for so long and here he was not standing up for her friends when she needed him to.
He understood the disappointment, he had experienced a similar feeling with Dumbledore but he'd had time to accept it and move on, this was fresh for her and knew it would eat her up for a while to come.
She had so much faith in Harry, it was unwavering and it was what he needed. Her confidence that he could do this gave him strength and now she needed to feel that he had understood her.
"It's scary isn't it? But you won't lose him Luna. I'll do everything I can to end this. I won't stop."
"But what if I do? I'm surprised they let him live after you escaped. I can't lose him too Harry, I'll be alone." Luna's voice was unsteady and her slender shoulder shook.
"You won't be alone Luna. You'll never be alone. I'm here." He moved across the floor and sunk to his knees in front of her. "I'll always be here."
"I always thought mum would be too." She replied in a low tone, a bitter edge to her words.
"Luna. I can do this. I won't lose." He took her face in his hands and forced her to look at him. Her eyes held his despite shimmering with tears. "I'm here. Whenever you need me."
"I need you." She whispered, more to herself than to him. She held her breath for a moment before leaning forward and kissing him. She sat back and stared at him. The rain had picked up and was now pounding on the window pane. A low rumble of thunder bellowed somewhere over the waves. The lights in the room flickered and went out leaving just the moon to illuminate the space between them.
"What am I doing?" Luna rose from the bed and pushed past him making for the door.
"Luna please don't go." Harry could still taste her tears from the kiss but could not ignore the pull he felt no longer. She consumed his mind and all he wanted was one more day spent with her. He couldn't face her walking out this room and never seeing her again.
"Harry it's too late for us. What could this be now other than a complete mess." She looked torn, her hand on the door handle but she made no move to open it. "I need to be the one to end this and I need to do it now, otherwise I never will." She wrenched open the door and exited leaving Harry knelt of the floor facing the closing door, staring at the place she had just stood.
That was it. He felt devastated. He knew it was never likely to happen between them but never thought that this would be how it would end, incomplete and hollow. He sat on the bed staring at the wall opposite. With all that had happened with Ginny he'd had to put his feelings for Luna to one side for so long and now that it was over he could think of nothing else.
Another knock came at the door. He didn't feel like talking to anyone else but dragged himself up and walked across the floor to the door, opening it slowly.
"Sorry I just..." Luna stood in the open doorway. She was pulling at her sleeve and looking at the floor. "I just needed to..." she didn't finish her sentence and instead launched herself at him, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him fiercely. Harry stepped back and let the door close behind them. He took her face in his hands and pushed her back against the closed door letting his hands fall to her waist.
This kiss was different to the last. There was no hint hesitation, no tears and no guilt. A product of pure impulse. Thoughts of Voldermort, Horcruxes and bank heists fled Harry's mind leaving nothing but the thrill and joy of having Luna Lovegood's lips on his.
They stumbled sideways over the rug and fell onto the bed, knocking over the stack of Hermione's old textbooks that they'd been using to plan the raid on Gringotts.
"Shhh." Luna grinned as she clambered on top of Harry and sitting up.
Her hair had fallen down and long wet strands ran across her eyes. Her cheeks were flushed red and her eyes were narrowed onto his face, with a look Harry had never witnessed from Luna before. It charged a bolt of electricity in his chest, giving fire to his blood.
He leaned up and kissed her again, pulling her towards him. The rain continued to beat a tattoo on the wall of the cottage. As most its inhabitants slept on through the storm Harry and Luna met the late hours with enough passion to match the thunderous waves outside.
The sunlight was harsh against Harry's eyes. He held his arm out to obstruct its glare. The sound of seagulls could be heard outside the windows, the calm lapping of the waves drifting into the bedroom. He turned over expecting to find Luna's face staring back at him but only a vacant space greeted him. He sat up and stared bleary eyed across the room. It was empty. There was no sign that Luna had been here at all.
Thinking she must have left early for breakfast he got up and pulled on a pair of jeans and a shirt. Maybe she didn't want to come across anyone on the landing and be seen leaving his room. He stood at the window, his mind returning to last night and a smile ran across his face.
"Harry?" Ron's voice called from the other side of the door. "Bill's made us breakfast if you fancy some."
"Coming." Harry called back.
"Mind you with Bill's cooking you're taking your life in your hands." Ron's voice disappeared down the stairs.
Ron's morning call instantly brought his mind back onto Ginny and Harry felt the knot in his stomach tighten. They weren't together but it didn't stop him from feeling a strong sense of guilt as he join the others in the kitchen.
"Morning." Bill greeted, busy frying up a couple of eggs.
"Mphring." Ron mumbled between mouthfuls of toast.
Hermione was sat at the table but said nothing, she merely smiled weakly and nodded as he entered. Harry scanned the room and noting the lack of a certain Miss Luna Lovegood turned to Hermione.
"Where's Luna?" He asked trying to keep his tone casual.
"She's gone." Hermione said shortly, crossing her arms in front of her chest.
"Gone?" Harry replied failing to mask the shock in his voice.
"She gone to meet up with her father. She said they need to talk." Hermione swapped her stoney expression for one of concern. "She'll be alright." She added looking at Harry as if this statement was meant only for him.
"Y-yeah. Sure she will." Harry felt a heavy stone of worry drop into his stomach. "Did she say anything?" He asked hopefully.
"No. Just that she'd wanted us to be careful and that she'd be ready to help whenever we needed her."
Harry couldn't deny this was not the farewell he had hoped for. Luna knew that the three of them were leaving for Gringotts today and yet this was how she wanted to leave things between them. He felt a strange sense of loss wash over him. Didn't she care that they may never meet again? After everything... this was it?
"Harry can I have a word?" Hermione asked, getting up and motioning to the back door of the kitchen.
"Yeah. Sure." Harry gave her a questioning look and followed her out the door.
The wind was mild and the sun left a warm glow in its wake. Hermione stepped onto the decking that lead to the beach and turned to face him.
"Harry what's going on?" She asked, keeping her eyes trained on her friend.
"What'd you mean?" He asked shoving his hands deep into his jean pockets.
"You know perfectly well what." She frowned. "Luna didn't come back to our room last night. She said she was going to talk to you when she left."
Harry scratched his head absentmindedly and looked over her shoulder. "Yeah. She came to see me."
"And when she came back this morning she was all over the place. She wouldn't say where she'd been and the next thing I know she's getting ready to leave and go see her father."
Harry tried his best to look normal but couldn't seem to keep his voice as casual as he'd liked. "Did she say anything else?" He asked feeling hopeful.
"No." Hermione replied shortly.
"Oh." Harry felt sick. He had wanted to see her before they left. He'd wanted to spend time with her, talk things through.
"Harry?" Hermione prodded again.
Harry sighed and felt his face leak into a red tint. "Alright, alright. Luna came over and sorta... spent the night." He stared defiantly at Hermione.
"In your room?"
"No I slept in the boat outside." He replied sarcastically.
Hermione remained silent for a moment letting the thought work around her head. "And..."
"Yes... we did."
"Don't give me that. What about Ginny."
"Hermione we aren't together." He replied defensively but feeling the stabs of guilt all the same.
"He wasn't there."
"This isn't a joke Harry. Does Ron know?"
"Well don't tell him."
"Well obviously I'm not going to... yet."
"What do you mean yet? Why would you ever..."
"Because he's my friend and Ginny's his sister. It'd be better coming from me than it would some other way. I just need to find out how Luna feels first."
"So you're serious about her then?" Hermione asked, a warmer tone coating her words.
"Well I really like her and I think she likes me, a bit at least." He added feeling uncertain.
"Well I would hope she does all things considered." Hermione said briskly looking a strange mix of disapproving and amused.
"But Harry... you're timings not great is it? I mean..."
"Not you too." Harry moaned rolling his eyes. "Look I might never see her again but if I do I'll sort it out then."
Hermione cast him a concerned look but smiled. "I really didn't expect this." She muttered to herself.
"You're telling me." said Harry with a chuckle.
"Oi! Are you two coming? Griphook said he's ready and you haven't even taken the Polyjuice yet." Ron stood at the door calling out to them.
Hermione waved her arm at him and walked past Harry towards the house. "Really Harry don't tell Ron. I'm not sure how he'll take it."
"Probably punch me on the nose and I'd deserve it too."
They both made for the house. Harry glanced up at the window belonging to the room he and Luna had shared last night. He wondered where Luna was this very moment and if she was thinking of him too.