Chapter 20 : Don't Fight Back.
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I felt like a fool, a weak, pathetic fool, as I allowed Harry Potter to spew profanities and cruelties at me. I knew Luna was standing with a clear vantage point. I felt her presence. She could no longer hide from me—nor I from her.
I hated myself as I told myself, “Don’t fight back. Take what he gives you.” My silence seemed to irritate Potter even more than anything I could have said. He circled me like a vulture would a putrid carcass.
“What do you think you’re playing at anyway?” He was asking. “What’s the plan? What could you and your lot possibly need Luna Lovegood for? Not exactly my first expectation for a ransom—but your lot’s always been a bit daft.”
I clenched my fists. My lot didn’t want her for anything. The only one that wanted Luna was I. I needed her. I needed to be with her. I prayed that as she looked on from where ever she stood she knew this. I remained still and silent holding my put on air of calm.
“How’s Lucius? …and your Mum… how’s she holding up since her little Draky put his life at the mercy of the Dark Lord?” He was asking now as though he was genuinely interested in my family. “What do they want Luna for? Is she a trade to get you out of the club?”
I stood, staring hard at Harry Potter. My eyes roved over his scar for a moment. Big talk—I thought. Deep down I hoped he’d live up to his destiny. I didn’t like the work I had signed up for. He was shouting at me again. I made a grunt, not exactly sure if I’d actually said anything—or just made a noise. Whatever the case, wands aside… Potter threw himself at me. I was beneath him and his fist collided with my cheek, and my nose, and my eye, and the other… and didn’t stop. Unrelenting.
Potter rose into the air and he was still punching at air. “Damn it to hell! Bloody miserably Death Eater!”
There were footsteps racing through the entryway and not just one set. “Damn it to hell.” I repeated, in my head.
“Harry!” It was the Weasley girl, followed closely by the other Weasley and Granger. “What’s going on?”
I felt eyes on me, but I wasn’t sure, my eyes were swollen shut. I tried to grope for my wand but it was several feet away.
Then at three voices sounded… all summoning my wand. As they did, Potter fell from the air with a stomach lurching crack. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost.
“Who’s there? Show yourself!”
Luna stumbled out from a gargoyle from the landing above. She began to climb precariously down. She dropped painfully… at least, it sounded rather painful for she had given a little yelp as the sound of flesh skidding on stone could be heard as she lost her footing. She strode right past me—still lying on the ground feeling blood trickling from my nose into my pristine white-blond hair. She reached Harry Potter and stood a foot from him. She looked at him with that ever so hard to read expression. Potter groped for words and all he could say was “Luna… I--,” before Luna hit him very hard across the cheek. I couldn’t help the rippling sensation of triumph that washed over my entire body. Luna took my hand and put her other hand on my shoulder as she pulled me to my feet.
“Luna…” Granger began, “I don’t think you should.”
“I don’t think you should be speaking to me, please. I don’t think any of you should. I think you should all stay away from both of us.” She said it all so placidly. Not a cruel note in her voice. She said it in such a friendly way that I was positive that it hurt them. At least it hurt Ginny Weasley. Ginny feigned insult. She rushed to Potter’s side, as though he had been the one who was assaulted.
I gathered my bearings and I put my arms around Luna and kissed her forehead. “Thank you,” I whispered in her ear. I felt her slip my wand into the pocket of my robes. “Luna, I love you.”
She made a sound that was hard to interpret but she gave me a squeeze.
“Would you excuse us, please?” I said to the intruders. “We were finishing our dinner.”
Potter gave me a glare of deepest loathing, as did the rest. But I found it considerably easy to brush it all off with Luna in my arms.
The four filed out of our presence and I found myself feeling rather pleased. Pleased that I hadn’t fought back. Pleased that Potter didn’t get what he wanted. Pleased that Luna was there with me. Pleased that I was there with her.
“Why did you do that?” She asked.
I frowned. “Do what?”
“You let him hurt you. You let him say and do things he should have never done.”
“Sometimes Luna,” I said, sadly speaking from experience, “Allowing someone to say and do things… but being entirely unresponsive to their taunting and torture hurts them and sends them a message more profoundly than fighting back.”
She looked contemplative. Not in the dreamy sort of way. In the subtly distressed way. If I hadn’t grown so accustomed and attached to her, I probably wouldn’t have picked up on that. “…oh.” She said after an uncomfortably long pause.
“What else is on your mind?” I said noting how cold her hands were. I took them to my lips and caressed them. Her eyes fluttered involuntarily, but still she did not smile.
She pressed her face to my chest again. As she did, any time she wanted to say something that frightened her. “Should I let Pansy hurt me and get it over with, then?”
Damn it! I pulled her tightly into my arms. I kissed the top of her head. I closed my eyes and stroked her hair. “Never, Luna. I won’t allow that.”
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