Chapter 1 : The Sign of the Birtwhistle
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Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters. Or the Norwegian government. But I DO own the Balkan Birtwhistle. And it shall decide your destiny. *cackles evilly*…
They’re a perfect match – I know it. I’ve seen it in the way they glare at each other. Ginny herself told me that’s a sure sign of true love.
Of course, she was talking about her brother, Ronald, and that Hermione Granger. I don’t think Hermione likes me very much. I still haven’t figured out why. I’m not sure it matters, anyway.
In any case, it was Ginny who informed me that their constant verbal attacks on each other are really disguised displays of romantic interest. We were walking back from the library after working on a Potions essay, when we came upon the two of them bickering in the entrance corridor. I don’t even remember what they were bickering about. Just the reason for their bickering.
The next morning, I had walked down to breakfast only to find Ginny hexing Draco Malfoy, in the exact same spot where Ronald was arguing with Hermione earlier. Ginny said that Draco had been insulting her family. I told her it was simply a disguised display of romantic interest. Then she threatened to hex me. But I know she didn’t really mean it.
The more I think about it, Draco really is the perfect match for Ginny, and not only because of the way they pretend to dislike each other. They do pretend very well though. I should really ask Ginny how she does it. Maybe she could give me lessons on pretending to hate people. I don’t know why I’d want to do that, though. It doesn’t seem like a very nice thing to do.
I have plenty of other tasks which are much more important, anyway. Like petitioning the Norwegian Ministry of Magic. And going on expeditions with Father. Or maybe I should plan Ginny and Draco’s wedding. Ginny obviously isn’t going to do it herself, and she’s been so nice to me when no one else has - I really owe it to her.
But of course I can’t plan the wedding all by myself, not when Crumple-Horned Snorcacks are suffering such injustice at the hands of the Norwegian government. Luckily, I spot the perfect person sauntering towards the castle. Leaping up from my comfortable spot under a tree by the lake, I run quickly to catch up with him.
“Hello, Ronald,” I say, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. One must make sure to keep their ears well ventilated, to prevent them from getting infested with spurtwhacks. Dreadful creatures.
“Er… hi, Luna…” he greets me. Funny, he sounds rather intimidated. It must be the jinjits getting to him.
“I need to talk to you. It’s quite urgent.”
“Oh. About what?”
“It’s about Ginny.”
“WHAT!? What happened? Is she all right?”
“There’s no need to sound so upset, Ronald. Ginny’s fine. I just need your help with something. I want to plan a surprise for her, you see.”
“Oh. Well, why didn’t you just say that in the first place?”
“Because,” I explain patiently, “it’s not just any surprise. In fact, it’s quite special. You see, I need you to help me plan a wedding for her and Draco Malfoy.”
At this, Ronald turns bright red and shakes me by the shoulders, letting out an extremely inappropriate stream of curse words. Interestingly enough, Hermione Granger chooses this exact moment to walk past, and soon she and Ronald are so engrossed in their disguised display of romantic interest that they don’t notice me slip away to find a more receptive audience. Lost in my thoughts, I wander aimlessly through the corridors.
“Well, well, if it isn’t Loony Lovegood,” Draco Malfoy smirks, leaning against a wall.
“Oh, hello, Draco,” I reply, looking up at him, and then looking back down at my magazine. Yes, his hair is definitely the right color.
“I was just looking for you, actually,” I continue, still looking at the magazine. “You see, I’ve had a revelation.”
He ignores me, staring instead at an extremely revealing skirt which is being worn a few feet away.
“You and Ginny Weasley are destined for each other.”
For some reason, he looks like he’s about to throw up. I should really tell him to check his toothpaste for warlpitters.
“Say that again, Lovegood, and I’ll hex you,” he growls, brandishing his wand threateningly.
“Oh, never mind,” I sigh, walking away. If he won’t listen to me, I’ll just have to go find Ginny. Perhaps she’s in a better mood.
I find her in the library, reading. I check my magazine one last time before approaching her. Yes, my calculations are definitely correct.
“Hi, Luna. Want to study Transfiguration?”
“No, that’s okay. Could I talk to you about something, though?”
“Sure,” she replies, putting down her book. “What’s up?”
I decide to use a different approach: “Have you ever heard of the Balkan Birtwhistle?”
“Oh. Well, you should really read about it, then. It’s hatching this year, you see, and I’m almost positive it will affect your destiny.”
“My destiny?” she echoes. “In what way?”
“Er… what exactly do you mean?”
“You and Draco Malfoy. You’re going to get married.”
“WHAT?” she shrieks.
Madam Pince takes this opportunity to usher us out of the library.
“I know, it’s very exciting, isn’t it?” I remark as I help her gather up her things.
“That’s NOT what I meant, Luna,” she hisses.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ve done the calculations correctly.”
“Look, Luna, what I’m trying to say is that I don’t like Malfoy. At all. And I never will. I’m sorry, but can’t the Quibbler just be WRONG for once?”
“But Ginny,” I persist, running to catch up with her, “the Balkan Birtwhistle, which is green with silver tail feathers, always seeks out the Dallofleur, a golden flower with red tips on its petals. Always.”
“Then WHY,” Ginny demands furiously, “hasn’t every single Gryffindor girl in history fallen for a Slytherin guy?”
“Because,” I explain impatiently, “the Balkan Birtwhistle only hatches once every seventy-three years. I thought everyone knew that! And it’s hatching this year, you see, so now is the perfect time to confess your love for each other!”
“So,” Ginny inquires skeptically, “you’re saying that all the Gryffindor girls in our year will marry Slytherin guys?”
“Not all of them, silly! It’s a very rare gift, to be blessed with the sign of the Birtwhistle.”
“The sign,” she repeats.
“Yes. You see, the tail feathers of the Balkan Birtwhistle correspond directly to a person’s distinguishing feature, which is usually their hair. You have red hair. Draco has silver-ish hair. So, you’re obviously destined for one another. There are plenty of other reasons, of course, if you'd like me to explain them to you.”
“Er… I see…” Ginny replies uneasily. “Well, it was nice talking to you, Luna, but I’ve really got to get going now. Quidditch practice.”
As she walks away, I hear her mutter some interesting words under her breath. They don’t offend me though – I’m used to much worse. I just hope the Balkan Birtwhistle doesn’t hear her. Nasty things can happen, if you upset them. They’re more temperamental than hippogriffs.
I sit back down under the tree where I first conceived these thoughts. Perhaps I’m wrong, and they actually aren’t the ones the Birtwhistle has chosen. After all, I do have silvery eyes. But then I’d have to marry someone with red eyes. And no one has red eyes. Except, well, Voldemort. I suppose I should make a test calculation, just in case. Somehow, I don’t think Harry would like that idea very much, though…
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