As she lay on her bed silently wishing that she was far away Luna was unaware that someone was thinking about her not so far away at all.
Luna moved slightly so that she could see the sun shining on the lake far below and her radish earrings swayed with the movement, reminding once again of all the stares and whispers that followed her almost constantly throughout her waking hours.
There was a knock at the door and she wiped her face quickly before telling them that it was alright to enter. The door swung open and revealed a tall girl with bushy brown hair.
“Luna, I was worried about you when you didn’t turn up for our revision session, you haven’t missed one before.” Hermione looked concerned, Luna thought, but she didn’t know anything.
“It was nothing,” she said dismissively, “I’ve just been a bit busy with all the stuff that’s been going on you know, that’s all. I’ll make sure I don’t miss another week.” She lowered her gaze shyly; a change to her usual characteristic confidence, and Hermione came towards her and took hold of her hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze.
“ I wasn’t worried about you missing the revision, I know that you don’t really need much help with your work, but I just came to tell you…” she hesitated and Luna looked up at her questioningly, “well I guess just to tell you that I’m here if you ever need anyone to talk to…about anything.” She blushed slightly, the colour on her cheeks making her look even more beautiful to Luna.
They stood in silence for a moment and then Hermione dropped her hand and said “I better go, Harry’ll be looking for me, I told him I was going to be a minute…” she rushed out of the door and was gone, the only sign of her having been there a lingering warmth in Luna’s hand. She sat down on her bed, trying to figure out what the meeting had meant and what the feelings she had every time that she saw Hermione were. She always assumed that it was friendship, never having experienced that emotion before since her parents shunned human company in favour of the strange creatures that they searched for.
Whilst trying to understand this new emotion she fell into an exhausted sleep brought on by nights spent staring miserably up at the stars through her window. Her dreams were, for once, not of her misery but of Hermione and the respite that she brought.*******
The next day she had a particularly bad Potions class in which she had been picked last as a partner and her partner had given her the wrong instructions so that her potion had turned the wrong colour entirely, resulting in her humiliation to the whole class. But then, as she was leaving the class she caught sight of Hermione wandering down to the great hall for lunch, which was next.
“Hi Luna!” she smiled when she saw her, “how’s it going?” Luna almost lost her composure when faced by the care in Hermione’s voice but she managed to keep control and not give the crowd of students the satisfaction of seeing her tears.
“Can I talk to you later?” she asked in a low, quiet voice, “it’s important.”
Hermione looked a little surprised, perhaps years of her concern not being rewarded with a response had made her think that she would never get through to Luna, but she replied, “Of course, I’ll meet you after dinner in the usual revision class room ok?”
Luna did not trust herself to answer with a steady voice so she just nodded and then hurried in to lunch.*******
That evening, Luna rushed to meet Hermione, she knew that she was late and she wanted to get there before Hermione gave up on her. As she entered the door of the classroom she saw to her relief that Hermione was still there, reading some notes.
“I’m so sorry I’m late! I had to clear up in Divination after my crystal ball smashed on the floor…”
“It’s ok, I brought some notes in case I had to wait,” Hermione interrupted, gesturing to the notes, “You seem to have had a lot of accidents lately, I’m guessing that it wasn’t your fault that your crystal ball fell off the table or that your potion turned blue instead of pink this morning?”
Luna looked at the floor, she wasn’t surprised that Hermione had reached this conclusion but she had never told anyone of the ‘mistakes’ and their cause, not any other students and definitely not any teachers. “I didn’t tell you about the potion.” Was all she mumbled.
“I heard some students laughing about it,” Hermione explained, “don’t worry, I didn’t do anything but I think that you should, Dumbledore would definitely stop them...”
“No! I can’t!” Luna interrupted, “please don’t tell anyone.”
“I won’t,” Hermione reassured her, “but I really worry about you, you know.”
Luna blushed and she chewed the ends of her long blond hair in her embarrassment.
“Sit down,” Luna sat on the edge of the chair next to Hermione nervously, regretting her impulsive decision to ask to talk. “So what did you want to talk about that was so important? Is there something that I can help you with?”
Luna played nervously with her earring and tried to work out where to start, “It’s hard,” she said eventually, “I’ve not told anyone for so long, not even my parents.”
“It’s alright,” Hermione drew closer and put her arm around Luna protectively, “you know, I’ve never felt this way about anyone before.”
“But what about Harry? And Ron?” Luna protested.
“They’re different, they’re just friends, good friends but that still isn’t the same thing as this.”
Luna’s breath caught in her throat and she whispered, “But I thought this was friendship.”
“No,” Hermione smoothed her hair, “this is much more than friendship, I can show you if you like.” She moved in closer and brought her lips up to Luna’s in a gentle kiss.