Chapter 1 : Spinner's End
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Night after frightful night Harry saw the fear in Sirius’ face as he fell toward the veil. Over an over again it played, and each time Harry was forced to watch as his godfather called out to him for help. Harry was never able to move as he fought the icy sensation coursing through his body, as Voldemort possessed him mercilessly again and again.
Harry shot up in bed with his wand at the ready for battle. Even through his blurred vision, it only took a few seconds for Harry to realize that he was not at the Ministry of Magic. Moonlight filtered in though the window and washed over Hedwig’s cage where the great white owl sat watching Harry.
“I know, Hedwig,” Harry said as he put on his glasses and wiped the sweat from his brow. “Even the relaxation exercises aren’t helping. If I get any less sleep, we’ll both turn into nocturnal creatures.”
Harry stood up groggily, but not ready to make another attempt at sleep, and walked over to the window to take a look outside. Nothing was moving on the streets at that late hour. What Harry wanted more than anything was to open the window and go out for a flight on his broom to clear his head. That, however, was something he knew both the muggles he lived with and the order members who were undoubtedly watching over him would pop a vessel over.
As always, Harry felt like a prisoner while he was at the Dursley’s. His Uncle Vernon’s encounter with Moody and the other order members at the train station at the end of the last term was enough to ensure that he did little to restrict Harry’s movement, but Harry felt less like associating with any of them than he ever had. Every sight he got of them only served to remind him that he had lost the only real family he had ever cared about when Sirius died. So, as a result, he spent most of his free time languishing in his own regretful thoughts in his bedroom.
Unable to face sleep again, Harry sat at his desk and began to write yet another letter to Ron. He would have given anything if Ron would come and take him back to the Burrow. He didn’t think he would sleep any better, but at least he would be around people who he could talk to about what he was going through. It wasn’t to be though; at least not for a while. Ron and the entire Weasley clan had gone to Romania to visit Charlie and were going to stop off in Egypt on their way back to visit with Bill. Even Hermione was away in Switzerland with her parents. Somehow, it made Harry feel even worse knowing that his friends were so far away from him.
Harry sat staring out the window until the sun had risen well into the sky the next morning. He had thought many times after he had sent Hedwig out with his latest letter that he should either go back to sleep or find something productive to do, but the motivation to begin either task never grew strong enough to overcome his growing depression.
A knock at Harry’s bedroom door shook him from his thoughts in time to turn his head and see an envelope slip under his door. Harry just stared at the envelope as it sat on the floor just inside his door for some time wondering who could have sent it to him. It was far too early to get school lists from Hogwarts, and any owls from Ron or Hermione would have come directly to him carried by Hedwig.
Harry walked over and picked up the letter to find his name and address written in a beautiful delicate script he didn’t recognize. Harry noticed that the envelope had a faint yet unmistakable scent of a sweet perfumed fragrance. It wasn’t strong enough to make Harry think that the sender had scented the envelope on purpose, but may have held it long enough to place her scent on it. It was several seconds later before Harry realized he had been savoring the faint fragrance as he breathed it in deeply.
When Harry finally opened the letter, it read:
I hope your summer vacation has been a pleasant one to this point. I realize that you are probably a very busy person, and I know it is rather late notice, but I wanted to write to you and invite you to my birthday party. It will take place this Friday at noon at my house at 24300162 Primrose Lane in Spinner’s End. I hope you can make it, but I will understand if you can’t. Have a delightful summer.
A smile spread over Harry’s face as he realized that there was someone left in England who would understand what he was going through. Quirky little Luna Lovegood was about as patient a listener as anyone could hope for. Of course, Harry wouldn’t want to bother her with his problems on her birthday, but he had a feeling she wouldn’t mind talking with him about it in the days after.
Harry had made up his mind. He had spent his last sleepless night at 4 Privet Drive for that summer. It was already Wednesday, so he only had two days to get to Spinner’s End and buy Luna a present before her party. He was going to leave for Spinner’s End that night even though he had no idea where it was. He had a good idea though of who would know how to find it.
Vernon and Petunia were speechless with joy when Harry brought his every belonging to the bottom of the stairs that night and told them all that he would be leaving. They couldn’t believe their luck. They had only had to endure Harry’s presence for just over two weeks, though it had seemed much longer since they had lived in constant fear of the wizards who had threatened them at the train station.
Harry waited until after midnight before he walked out of the house and pulled his trunk down to the corner. He stopped and took a look around to make sure no one was watching as he stuck out his thumb.
Less than a minute later, the night bus screeched to a stop right in front of Harry as Stan Shunpike leaned out and said, “Well I’ll be. I was right. I thought it had to be you. We don't get many calls from this area. So, should we call you Harry this trip or are you going by Neville again?”
“Harry will be fine this time,” Harry said with a smile as he handed Hedwig’s cage to Stan. “Do you know how to get to Spinner’s End? I have a friend who lives there.”
“Well of course I know Spinner’s End,” Stan said as he grabbed Harry’s trunk in his free hand. “It’s in Devon. It’s a wizarding section of Ottery St. Catchpole. It’s the section with all of the fancy houses.”
“Ottery St. Catchpole?” Harry asked with surprise. “That’s near where the Weasley’s live.”
“Sure,” Stan said as he ushered Harry onto the bus. “Lots of wizarding families in that area. You had better grab a bed. Spinner’s End will be near the end of our run. We won’t get there until near morning.”
“That’s alright,” Harry said knowing he was in no danger of being able to sleep on the night bus. “I’ll need to go to a hotel if there is one there.”
“Oh there is,” Stan said. “I’ve never been in it, but it’s there.”
Early the next morning, Harry stood in awe in the lobby of the Excalibur hotel of Spinner’s End. The Excalibur was a far cry from The Leaky Cauldron where Harry was used to staying in London. The ceiling was nearly three stories tall with a roof that was supported on columns of faceted crystal that seemed to ripple slowly with a silvery white light. Four great chandeliers floated above his head and the light from them glistened off of golden glitter that fell continually but never reached the ground.
“Do you have a room available for the next couple of weeks?” Harry asked as he got to the gold inlayed front desk.
“Check in time is not until three,” the desk clerk said before he turned and his mouth dropped open slightly when he saw Harry standing there. “Oh my goodness. Harry Potter. I’m sorry. Of course we have a room for you.”
“Anything will do,” Harry said. “I don’t need much.”
“I have a suite available for as long as you need it, Mr. Potter,” the clerk said with a friendly smile trying to make Harry forget about his earlier rudeness.
“Should I pay now or when I check out?” Harry asked.
“Once I tell the manager you’re staying with us,” the clerk said barely able to contain his excitement, “I’m sure he’ll let you stay for free.”
“I’ll pay anyway,” Harry said slightly annoyed that he was being given special treatment once again.
“Oh,” the clerk said a bit deflated. “Very well, Mr. Potter. When you check out we can send your bill directly to Gringotts for payment.”
“Great,” Harry said as he waited in silence. “Do I need to sign something before I go to my room?”
“Your room,” the clerk said suddenly coming back to reality. “Of course. No need to sign anything before you leave. You’ll be in room 619.”
“Thanks,” Harry said as he accepted the key the clerk handed to him. “By the way, make sure you tell your manager that I don’t want anyone else knowing that I’m staying here. I don’t want to find it on the front page of the Daily Prophet. I’m here on private business and I want it to stay private.”
“Of course, Mr. Potter,” the clerk said looking like he had just had his plans ruined.
“By the way,” Harry said as he turned to go, “call me Harry.”
“Oh, thank you, Mr. Potter,” the clerk said causing Harry to shake his head.
Harry walked toward the elevator unaware that another guest of the hotel had already noticed that he was checking in. They had never been introduced, but she was well aware of his history.
Harry dropped his belongings in his overly extravagant suite, and left immediately to find out what shops Spinner’s End might have where he could buy a nice birthday present. Harry walked out of the grand front doors of the hotel and stood still for a moment as he surveyed the street before him.
“Is there something in particular that you’re looking for, Harry?” a smooth female voice said causing Harry to turn around.
Harry was a bit surprised that she would be the first person he would meet in Spinner’s End besides the desk clerk, but he finally asked, “What makes you think I’m looking for anything, Mrs. Malfoy?”
“Well you don’t do a very good job of disguising it,” Narcissa said. “Is this your first trip to Spinner’s End, Harry?”
“Yes,” Harry said wondering if he should turn back around and check out of the hotel before death eaters came to look for him.
“I know Spinner’s End fairly well,” Narcissa said ignoring Harry’s wary look. “I’m sure I could point you in the right direction if I knew what you were looking for.”
Harry studied her carefully for several seconds before he asked, “Why would you want to help me?”
“Is there some reason why I shouldn’t?” Narcissa asked in response.
“I can think of a few,” Harry said. “After the encounters I’ve had with your husband and your son I might think you were trying to lead me into a trap.”
“I can see where you might get that assumption,” Narcissa said as she smiled sweetly at him. “I have my own agenda though. I would rather that you weren’t killed.”
“Really?” Harry asked dubiously. “Why is that?”
“Bloodlines, Harry,” Narcissa said. “My entire goal for my life is trying to preserve the few pure bloodlines left in the wizarding world.”
“Then you’re wasting your time on me,” Harry said with a grin. “I’m not a pureblood.”
“Well of course you are, Harry,” Narcissa said holding on to her smile.
“No I’m not,” Harry said wondering what delusion Narcissa was operating under. “My mum was from a muggle family.”
“Is that what you’ve been told?” Narcissa asked shocked. “It’s a travesty.”
“What are you talking about?” Harry asked getting a bit annoyed that she was assuming to know more about his family than he did.
“Your mum was from a non-magical family to be sure,” Narcissa said, “but not a muggle one. Her parents were both squibs. They were non-magical, but they still had wizard blood in them.”
Harry just stood and looked at Narcissa still trying to determine if she was up to something when he asked, “Assuming that was true, what difference would it make? Why should you care about me?”
“Well I hope that you will marry a pureblood someday and continue your line,” Narcissa said. “You are the last of the Potter line at this point. I don’t want to see your line die out like mine did.”
“At least you’re still alive,” Harry said unable to control the anger that sprang up in him at being reminded that Sirius was gone.
“But the family name of Black died with Sirius,” Narcissa said.
“Maybe you should talk to your sister about that,” Harry said making an effort to calm himself. “Bellatrix was the one who killed him after all.”
“I know,” Narcissa said. “I tried to tell her how important it was that he be kept alive, but I just couldn’t get her to look past her hatred.”
“You seem to have gotten past yours easily enough,” Harry said. “You realize that I’m at least partially responsible for Lucius being sent to Azkaban.
“Yes,” Narcissa said. “With Voldemort still on the loose I don’t imagine he’ll stay there for long. Anyway, my concern is Draco now. I did my part to continue the pureblood line of the Malfoys. Now I have to make sure Draco does the same.”
“I see you aren’t afraid to speak Voldemort’s name,” Harry said with a grin as he studied Narcissa and thought about what she had said. “So, would I be right in assuming that your marriage to Lucius was one of necessity?”
Narcissa was taken aback that Harry would be so forward, but she gathered herself and said, “Yes. He believed in preserving the bloodlines just as I do.”
Harry looked at Narcissa for several seconds before he said, “I was looking for a place to buy a birthday present for someone.”
Narcissa’s smile returned instantly and she said, “Perfect. I know all of the best shops. Is it a present for a male friend or a female friend?”
“Female,” Harry said. “It’s for Luna Lovegood.”
“Ah,” Narcissa said, “another pureblood family. I think she would appreciate something more out of the ordinary than most. I know just the place. I’m on my way to meet someone, but I can show you the shop on the way. Follow me.”
It was one of the strangest days of Harry’s life. Narcissa Malfoy, mother and wife of two of his sworn enemies turned out to be almost normal. Narcissa had taken Harry to the shop she had referred to, and had actually helped him pick out a gift that Harry had to admit he wouldn’t have been able to pick out on his own. She had gone off on her business after that, while Harry went back to the hotel and ordered room service for lunch. That night, Harry was considering ordering room service once again when there was a knock at his door. He opened it to find Narcissa Malfoy standing there asking if he would like to go down to the restaurant for dinner. She would be leaving for Malfoy Mansion in Wiltshire early the next morning, but after a pleasant dinner she took the time to walk Harry down the street to Luna’s house so he would know where he was going the next morning.
That night, Harry’s dreams were just as tormenting as ever, but there was a new element added to it that made Harry smile in spite of the grueling pain. Bellatrix battled with Sirius just as she always did, but she found it a great deal more difficult to concentrate on the task at hand with Narcissa constantly lecturing her on the preservation of the bloodlines. Even as Harry sat on the edge of his bed with his damp head in his hands trying to shut out the memory of his nightmare, Narcissa’s presence had given him a tiny sliver of hope to cling on to.
The next morning, Harry showered and dressed in the nicest clothes he had with him, and at a quarter till noon he left the hotel wondering whom else he would know at the party. It was likely to consist of mainly those from Ravenclaw, and Harry knew he would kick himself later for not paying more attention to the names of those outside his own house.
In the daylight, Harry could see much more detail of Luna’s house than he had been able to the night before. The landscaping in the front of the house consisted of a very unusual looking variety of exotic plant life, though Harry thought it had been arranged very tastefully. The house itself was nothing out of the ordinary other than the fact that it was far more house than two people would ever need.
Harry knocked on the massive front door and could hear the sound echo through the hollow space beyond. Harry waited only a few seconds before the door swung open slightly.
“Harry,” Luna said as excitedly as Harry had ever seen her. “What are you doing here?”
“Well,” Harry began not sure if the invitation had been a hoax, “I got a letter that said you were having a birthday.”
“Oh, that,” Luna said as she opened the door wider and revealed to Harry that she was wearing a pair of jeans and a pretty white shirt that somehow made her face look radiant to him as the light reflected off of her shirt. “Come on in.”
Harry walked inside and saw no indication of a party going on and asked, “I did get the right day, didn’t I?”
“Yes,” Luna said. “I didn’t think anyone would come, so I didn’t bother to decorate.”
“I’m sorry,” Harry said. “I would have sent you an owl to let you know I was coming, but I had already sent Hedwig out with a letter.”
“That’s fine,” Luna said casually. “I’m glad you’re here.”
“Aren’t you expecting anyone else?” Harry asked.
“Not really,” Luna said without a care. “No one ever comes to my parties. I send out the invitations, but no one ever has time to come. Ginny has come over for the past couple of years, but she’s away on vacation with her family this year.”
“I know how it is to be alone on your birthday,” Harry said suddenly remembering that he was holding her present in his hand. “I almost forgot. This is for you.”
“Thanks, Harry,” Luna said sincerely as she took the small rectangular package in its shimmering white gift-wrap and a delicate white bow. “You didn’t have to get me anything.”
“Well, what would a birthday be without presents?” Harry asked. “Go on and open it.”
Luna began to carefully peel the edges of the paper away so she wouldn’t tear it any more than necessary. Harry had the brief thought that perhaps Luna was planning to save the paper, since he had done the same thing when the Weasleys had given him gifts for his birthday. The simple paper his gifts had been wrapped in was among his most precious possessions.
“Oh, it’s beautiful, Harry,” Luna said as she opened the lid to the box and took hold of the silver chain inside. She pulled it free of its box so she could take a closer look at the orb at the end of it with swirling mists of varying colors inside.
“It’s supposed to work on the same principle as a foe glass,” Harry explained. “It should turn black any time you get near someone who is a true enemy. It will turn green when you find someone who is true of heart, and red when you find someone who loves you.”
Luna blushed slightly as she said, “I don’t know if I’ll ever find that.”
Harry knew he should say something supportive, but instead he said, “Let me help you put it on.”
Luna handed the chain to Harry as she turned around. Harry got the clasp apart and reached his hands over Luna’s head to place the chain around her neck. He was just about to re-clasp the chain when he was stopped in mid action by a familiar smell. The same captivating smell Harry had been so distracted by on the letter was emanating from Luna.
“Is something wrong, Harry?” Luna asked when Harry delayed clasping the necklace.
“Oh,” Harry said as he returned to the task before him, “no. I was just wondering what that perfume you’re wearing is.”
“Do you like it?” Luna asked smoothly as she turned around with a smile. “I made it myself from plants in the greenhouse out back. Does it really smell good?”
“I think it smells wonderful,” Harry confessed noticing the joy on Luna’s face.
“Oh good,” Luna said. “I thought it smelled good, but my senses seem to always be tuned differently than everyone else’s. I wasn’t sure it anyone else would like it or not.”
“I seriously think you should sell the formula for it,” Harry said. “You would make a fortune.”
“Oh I don’t care about that,” Luna said. “I do it just for fun. It’s been a hobby of mine for years.”
“I wish I had a hobby I was that good at,” Harry said as he noticed the color of the necklace had turned to green.
“You have quidditch,” Luna said.
“I guess you’re right,” Harry said with a smile.
“I’m sorry I don’t have any party supplies here in the house,” Luna said as she drifted back to an earlier part of the conversation.
“Are you hungry?” Harry asked. “I passed a nice little café on the way over here if you would like to go out.”
“That sounds lovely,” Luna said as she glided back toward the door. “After that, I’ll show you around Spinner’s End if you’d like.”
“I would love it,” Harry said as he followed her outside. “I’m going to be here for a couple of weeks, so I have time to explore a bit.”
“That long?” Luna asked with a rare smile. “I don’t know if there will be enough of the town to keep you occupied for that long.”
After lunch, Luna took Harry on a guided tour of Spinner’s End as she had promised. There was a park at the end of town where the wizarding section met with the muggle town of Ottery St. Catchpole. Harry and Luna sat under a tree in the park and talked. Harry had known that Luna would be a good person to talk to, but he had no idea just how wonderful it would be to open up all of the feelings he had kept bottled up to her. She was the most unflappable person he had ever known. No matter what emotions raised within him, Luna’s calm voice and soothing words were enough to keep his emotions in check.
They walked back into Spinner’s End in time for dinner, and Harry talked and laughed with Luna like they had been friends all their lives. When Harry was walking Luna back to her house that night, he looked over at her and suddenly realized that he would never be able to look at her as Loony Lovegood again. He would never be ashamed to be seen with her again. A strange feeling had begun to stir inside of him, and he wasn’t exactly sure what it was.
On Saturday, Harry arrived at Luna’s house just after breakfast, and spent the entire early part of the day touring her greenhouse and hearing all about the process she used to make the perfume Harry loved so much. Harry had never had an Herbology lesson that he enjoyed so much. He didn’t have to say much. He spent most of his time listening to Luna’s voice as she smoothly explained everything she thought he might need to know. He found that, in her own element, away from Hogwarts and the other students, many of the strange behaviors people attributed to her were no where to be seen.
The next evening, Harry lay in the grass of a small hill next to Luna as they looked at the stars and tried to draw new animal forms in them. Harry learned a lot that night about Luna and her belief that her mother was still watching over her and that they would see each other again someday. Listening to the conviction of her words, Harry could do nothing but believe, and hope, that they must be true.
On Monday, Harry took Luna with a picnic lunch to the Weasley’s house. They still weren’t home, but Harry didn’t think they would mind if Harry used their paddock for a bit of flying. Rarely had Harry ever trusted anyone enough to let them fly his firebolt, but he handed it over to Luna without a second thought after he had taken a quick flight. Once she had taken to the air, Harry quickly wondered why she had never tried out for the Ravenclaw Quidditch team. The graceful flowing movement he had always seen from her on the ground translated easily to the air as she flew his broom with an ease that even he would never be able to imitate.
“You never cease to amaze me,” Harry said as Luna landed softly in front of him.
Luna looked into Harry’s eyes and wanted to say something, but stopped herself and said, “Thanks, Harry.”
Late Tuesday evening, Harry sat next to Luna on a bench in her back yard listening as she pointed out all of the different plant varieties found there and the unusual properties of each. Harry just couldn’t make himself pay attention. His attention was elsewhere, and without thinking Harry reached out and took hold of Luna’s hand. She paused briefly to look at Harry, but let him slide his hand into hers as she continued what she was saying.
If Harry had any doubt about it over the past days, he couldn’t argue his way out of what he was feeling any longer. He had suspected it was growing within him, but a look at the necklace around Luna’s neck did nothing but confirm what he already knew. Luna looked down and noticed the change in her necklace, and when she turned to look at Harry he reached out and touched her face lightly as he leaned forward and placed a tender kiss on her lips.
That night, back in his hotel room, for the first time in a very long time Harry fell asleep and was not touched by a single negative dream. Instead, he dreamed about the journey that had brought such happiness into his life. Luna Lovegood was like no other girl he had ever met, and he would fight any force that tried to take her away from him with every ounce of his strength.
The next morning, Harry sprang out of bed feeling better than he ever had. He showered and dressed quickly before going downstairs to meet Luna. When he got to the lobby, Harry saw Luna sitting in a chair near the front entrance. He could also see that someone else was with her.
“Well hello there, Harry,” Lupin said. “Fancy meeting you here.”
“Hi, Remus,” Harry said with a smile as he walked over to Luna and watched her necklace turn red as he got near. “What are you doing here?”
“Looking for you,” Lupin said with a grin. “Did you forget that you were supposed to send a message to the order every three days to let us know that you were okay?”
“I guess I did,” Harry said wondering what had made him forget something like that.
“You’ve got the entire order out looking for you,” Lupin said. “When we didn’t hear from you, Moody went over to pay your uncle a visit.”
“I wish I could have been there to see that,” Harry said with a smile.
“So do I,” Lupin said, “believe me. All he could tell us was that you packed up your things and left late one night, I can’t believe it took me so long to realize that you would have taken the night bus when you left. Stan told me where he had dropped you off.”
“I thought I would stay here until Ron got back from vacation,” Harry said as he inched closer to Luna. “Besides, I wouldn’t trade this trip for anything.”
“No,” Lupin said as he surveyed the obvious affection between the two teenagers, “I suppose you wouldn’t. I can’t say that I blame you. Is there something you would like to tell me, Harry?”