Harry never expected that gardening radishes could lead to an affair. Of course, it wasn’t an affair in the traditional sense. Bodies never collided, and the words “I love you” were never spoken. It was more an emotional affair. His wife couldn’t understand the scars that had been left by too many battles; butshe knew.
He had only meant to stay for a couple of minutes, to return her twin boys from a play date with his youngest son. Her husband was out of the house, as usual, researching unknown creatures in South Africa. The boys went straight up to their room, without so much as a ‘hello’ to their lonely mother. Curious about his longtime friend, thirty-two year old Harry Potter went around the back to visit.
Her long blonde hair hung in straggly strands, obscuring her face. It shone in the afternoon sun like the bright reflection of a peaceful lake. Her hands were covered in dirt, and she was yanking hard at some green leaves that were poking out of the ground. “Hello, Harry,” she said, without turning to him.
“Do you need any help?” he asked, smiling at her uncanny ability to sense people.
“I’m alright,” said Luna, turning her probing gaze on him. “They have to come out sooner or later.”
“Yeah, I guess that’s true,” said Harry, chuckling mildly. He watched her pull for a few more moments before asking, “When will Rolf be home?”
“I don’t know,” said Luna airily, although he could sense the tenseness in her voice. “He wrote last week that he shouldn’t be much longer than two more months.”
“Oh,” said Harry, feeling a surge of pity for his beloved friend. True, he and Ginny weren’t having the marriage they expected, but at least they were never physically apart. It was just the emotional distance that came between them. Even their kids had noticed; Albus, ever the insightful one, had asked, “Are you and mom going to get divorced?”
He had, of course, explained that sometimes couples went through tough times, but that he still loved his wife. They would get through it. Or at least, he hoped they would.
“Something on your mind?” asked Luna, seemingly focused on her vegetables.
“I’m having nightmares again,” said Harry, shocked at how easily the words fell out of his mouth. His wife knew that had been having trouble sleeping, but he couldn’t express to her the terrors that he saw. Dumbledore’s fallen body; the red eyes of Voldemort; even Cedric still haunted his subconscious. “They’ve been happening more and more frequently.”
Luna released the leafy turnip and gently took his hand, giving it a gentle tug as she stood. “Come with me,” she said, guiding him carefully through the brambles that led to her garden shed. “I’ve often experienced nightmares, as well. I don’t dream about the past. Just the future.”
She said it so peacefully that Harry, if he didn’t know better, would have called her a liar. “What do you see?” he asked.
Her usually dreamy eyes came into sharp focus, and her lips tightened. “My dreams aren’t real,” she replied. “And neither are yours anymore.” She reached up and grabbed something off a high shelf, reading the label intently. “People often die.”
“What?” asked Harry, afraid that she was referring to the bottle in her hands.
She looked back at him, and he could see world-weariness in her big, blues eyes. It was as if all those years of fighting and struggling, no matter the success, had finally come to her. “In my dreams,” she said, her voice a little unsteady. “Rolf, my boys…even you.”
A single fat tear rolled down her cheek, and he resisted the impulse to wipe it away. “I invented this,” she said, handing him the bottle. “It’s a dream-catching potion. Made mostly of turnips and the slime of Oraganda Snail.”
“Oraganda Snail?” asked Harry, controlling the urge to laugh. Some things never changed, after all.
“It lives in your shoes,” said Luna seriously. “I haven’t seen one yet, but I’ve found plenty of slime. Mostly on the boys’ shoes.”
Harry didn’t even want to venture a guess as to what that ‘slime’ could really be. Instead, he examined the bottle closely, removing the stopper and taking a whiff. He was surprised to find that its scent was actually pleasant. “This takes away bad dreams?” he asked curiously. “How much do I have to take?”
“Oh, you don’t actually drink it,” said Luna, with a small laugh. “Just put a small saucer of it next to your bed. The bad dreams get stuck in it on their way to your head.”
“Thanks, Luna,” said Harry, smiling fully for the first time in ages and pocketing the bottle.
“Will you come back tomorrow?” asked Luna. “I’ve missed you.”
“Of course,” said Harry, embracing her quickly. “Thanks for listening.”
He headed out of the garden, his heart lighter and yet more full than it had been in ages. Finally, there was understanding and clarity in his life. On his way out, he bent down and tugged on a leafy piece of turnip, pulling it out of its former home in one swift movement. He pocketed it with a smile. Luna wouldn’t mind.
And if she did, he would be back again tomorrow to return it.