The castle is dark and silent. It is eerie after curfew. Without the carefree chatter of children and the loud clacking of hard shoes, the halls show their age. The castle is centuries old. I don't want to intrude upon their silence. It is still: thoughtful and slightly sad. I carry my shoes in my hand. Now is not the time for them to talk upon the well worn floor. Barefoot I walk slowly. There is no rush. To rush would be an insult to the walls that have stood for so long. They never get a second glance. No, the night is not for rushing. I wander slow and quiet through the halls. I listen.
The stone walls are dotted with tapestries and portraits, but they are sleeping. Now is when the walls themselves are seen. No moving threads of gossiping paintings move to draw the eye from the stone. I wonder what it must've been like in the Founders days. When the walls were not yet over decorated and hidden. It must've been like the night. I wonder if they respected the walls back then. The hall turns and I follow it blindly. I trust this kind castle. It has not harmed me yet.
The marble stairs are cold. My feet are going numb. But I like it. I feel strangely alive in this silence. I pause in a large window of moonlight to gaze at my shadow. The shadow is like the walls. I don't leave the moonlight. I don't want to erase my shadow. If I don't pay it attention, who will? I stand in the moonlight and make puppet with my hands. I marvel at the lengths my shadow can cast and the distortions it creates so mockingly. The girl shadow is so tall and so thin. "You should be a model" I tell it. It doesn't respond. The castle is quiet and so am I.
My shadow stays with me in the box of moonlight. Though I can feel the chill spreading up from the soles of my feet and through my white night gown, I don't want to leave it. I count the bricks in the wall. My shadow follows my finger faithfully. I try to repay the favor, but fail. It mimics my every movement with precision and calmness. It is a good companion, a reliable friend.
Footsteps of scuffling slippers shuffle down stairs. I ignore them. McGonagal often wears slippers while patrolling. She takes a few points and walks me to the dorm. The one to worry about is Snape. He likes to grab my arm - sometimes it bruises. I like Filtch though. He walks quietly and understands the castle better than most others. He knows me, and walks by when I am sitting here. Perhaps he understands.
The slippers don't keep going down to the third floor. They turn and approach. I don't want to leave though. My shadow will get lonely. I keep my eyes down. McGonagal will sigh, and stop at the edge of the light, a few steps away. But the footsteps don't stop. They walk right up to me. I glance up. Ginny sits down in front of me. I look away. She doesn't let me enjoy the silence for long.
"My brother was right when he told me about what Mum would say," she told me, conversationally. I bit my lip, of course she would bring up that mess. I had hoped… but no.
Only hours ago, at lunch, I had sat by her again. We had been making sure we weren't sitting too close, or looking at each other too often all week. And it had gone so well… even Hermione hadn't seemed to notice anything. I was so happy… I sat right next to her, so close a textbook couldn't fit between us. I should've noticed the looks Hermione suddenly sent Ron and Harry. But I was too caught up looking at Ginny and making her smile. Beneath the table I let my hand sit on hers for a while. Ron finished lunch very quickly. With a redness in his face that was unusual, he asked to talk with Ginny before she went to class. Something to do with the family.
She followed him outside, promising to meet up with me in the creature section of the library to study in our free period. Harry and Hermione were quiet, I left soon. Outside I saw Ron talking to Ginny by a statue. I caught only a few words, but they made my heart skip a beat, "Mum doesn't like fags." I looked away and hurried up the staircase. I felt Ginny glance at me, I didn't slow down.
I waited for Ginny in the library, where we always studied. But she didn't come. I wanted to cry, but I didn't. I did try to study, but it didn't work ‘cause my eyes wouldn't focus. I snapped the book shut and left. I needed a walk, so I went onto the grounds. But it was crowded There were a dozen other students hanging around. I walked on. My shoes sank a bit in damp grass. I took them off. My robe caught on the little bushes at the edge of the forest. I took it off as well. I hurried up and my arms got tired from all my belongings so I dropped them. I wanted to get away, so I ran.
I ran until my breath was short and my body was burning. I still felt like crying. But I couldn't. There were probably Whindlypuff’s around because the tears wouldn't come, even though I wanted them to. I needed to fill the rip in my chest. I was so far into the forest that I couldn't hear the bell ring for class. I wouldn't have gone any ways. I had class with Ginny. If she didn't want to see me then I wouldn't force her to.
I hadn't meant to screw it all up. Ginny had told me herself it was just an experiment. The day after the first kiss she made sure I knew that. She'd drug me into the girls bathroom before breakfast real quickly. "Luna," she had told me. I had smiled. I always loved the way she said my name. I brushed her bangs from her face but she shook her head. "Not now." It was serious. I remember it really well, the green tile room was dimly light with morning light. The mirror was so bright I had to squint to look at it. "Luna," she drug my eyes easily back to hers. "I think I like you," she confided, "but I like boys. So, like, I don't mean to be rude, but - I donno know - if you really want to, um, have a relationship… it's just an experiment, okay?" she rushed on. "Because I like boys.” she said firmly. “I've never liked a girl before."
I had just smiled back then, just happy to be with her. Now though, it seemed so much more important. "Just an experiment". An experiment would never come before a family. I know that. Ginny loved her family more than anything. It was over. Two weeks of bliss… I couldn't look at her, I knew her big brown eyes would be pitying, they'd be sorry, but so sincere.
"Mum won't be happy," she tells me in a soft voice. I wish she'd just say it. Just spit out the horrible truth and leave me to deal with it on my own. It hurt to be by her, knowing she didn’t love me the same way. I don’t want to face the fact that it was all “just an experiment”. I love her too much.
"But it's not just an experiment any more." I don’t believe my ears. My eyes flashed to hers in disbelief. She held my gaze. "I - I love you Luna, and not even my family can keep me away from you."
I gape at her, "You mean it?" And she nods. Suddenly the halls don’t seem so silent and my shadow isn’t all-important. Because I have Ginny, the love of my life, admitting that she loves me too.
"I love you Ginny," I whisper back in a voice hoarse with tears. I hug her tightly, reveling in the loving embrace of her arms, her chest pressed against mine. No one is here to see us but the dark halls and our shadows. And though I know we wont publicize our relationship for a long time, I know it doesn’t matter. If she loves me enough to put me before her family… Nothing is going to keep us apart I hold her close as she rests her head upon my shoulder. "I love you,"
A/N: I suppose Luna's a little OOC but I thought it was fun, it's kind of off my other story Just A Cup of Coffee, but the Luna's are quite a bit different in their speech and thought. What do you think? My romances still need help but I'm trying! Does the intro harm it? I'm just at a loss as to how to start. I feel like the mood changes too much. Please leave me a review and give me some feedback.