Chapter 1 : Encounter
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“I am quite certain that this year I will be getting that Gryffindor Prefect’s pin. It is only right, after all I’ve been a near perfect student with my marks since first year. I’m a shoe in if you ask me.” The curly haired ginger said.
“Is school the only thing you ever talk about Percy? You don’t make is sound as good as Fred and George do.” A young Ron Weasley replied.
“Because it is important of course. They only make it sound appealing because they don’t take care enough to do well in school. Always getting themselves into thinks they shouldn’t, like a destructive force I tell you.” Percy said.
“Those letters already make it sound like a lot of work. What is so wrong with some fun?” Ron asked as he fiddled with the hand-me-down wand that he had recently gotten from his brother Charlie.
“Your marks are one thing. If you ever want to get a respectable Ministry job-“
“And whoever said that little Ron would want a hoity-toity Ministry job?” Interrupted Fred, or maybe it was George. Ron could never be entirely sure which was which, when they choose to dress the same or trade names to muck with the family. Not that he minded, it was entertaining when their Mum tried to get them to do chores.
“Maybe he wants to do something exciting like ogre baiting.” The other twin said.
“Or he could be a pixie trainer. I hear they are pretty popular these days.” The first winked. He certainly had to be George; George was the one who tried to involve Ron, or save him from Percy’s boring lectures.
“Not everyone aspires to spoil others fun.” Fred added.
“Oh, just because I like things to be kept in order.” Percy snapped.
“This is really very boring.” Fred yawned, “Ron, Mum says that there are gnomes in the garden that need to be de-gnomed, and she’s already asked twice.”
“She didn’t tell me any thing about gnomes. Mum only said not to taunt Ginny with my wand.” Ron shrugged it off; he didn’t want to be stuck with those creatures.
“Well she asked us once.” George began.
“One,” said Fred, holding up a finger.
“We just asked you.” George continued.
“Two,” Fred held up a second finger.
“That’s twice.” Fred and George said together, grinning the same snarky grin.
Ron huffed, and was about to protest but the twins moved to either side of him, and hoisted him up by the armpits. Percy rolled his eyes and turned around to open up a book. They carried Ron kicking and shouting, down the stair, past their Mother in the kitchen (who rolled her eyes), and on out the front door. Then unceremoniously plopped him down on a damp patch of grass in the garden.
“Well have at it!” Fred exclaimed.
“Aren’t you going to help me at least?” Ron asked, his hands going to cushion his now sore backside.
They chuckled heartily, “Ahh, no. Sorry chap, but we’ve got some tricks to sort out before Hogwarts.” George said, ruffling Ron’s hair.
“If they let us back,” Fred joked elbowing his twin. They went back to the kitchen door.
“See you at supper. Don’t let the gnomes carry you away.” George winked, and shut the door behind them.
That left 11 year old Ron all by his lonesome in an overgrown garden, if you didn’t count the pesky gnomes of course. At first he considered just going to get his broom and fly around a bit then claim he did it. But when he looked back at the kitchen window he saw his Mother watching him in an if-you-don’t-get-to-it-already-I’ll-come-out-there-and-brain-you sort of way, not angry of course, just motherly. Ron quickly took the hint, knowing that things could get worse than a few nips and scratches if he didn’t start tossing gnomes soon.
Picking himself up off the damp spring grass, he wiped his wet hands off on his pants noticing that the grass had left stains on the backs of his pockets. Ron sighed but soldiered on to search for the dastardly gnomes. They were not exactly subtle. He wondered how muggles would get their lawn gnomes, like the ones his father kept outside the garage, so wrong. Only seconds later did one pop up from a hole nearby, and scurry toward a briar patch on the opposite side from him. They were not exactly bright either.
Ron snatched it up by the ankles before it could pass him, then swung it in big circles around his head before releasing it into the air to soar quite a ways over the garden hedges. In the distance, it hit the ground with a faint squeak, and stumbled away delirious. Ron stuck with de-gnoming for a good half hour trying to beat his best distance. Though being a young boy he quickly became bored with doing one thing for an extended period of time. So bored that he did not notice until it was to late as he lifted a squirming gnome over his head; that it grabbed the hand-me-down wand from his pocket.
Only when the flying squealing creature released the wand, sending it sailing into a nearby wooded glen did he finally see it. They way the wand shot away from the gnome, was as if it were propelled by disgust.
Ron groaned with irritation, he had only just gotten the wand a few days before for his eleventh birthday, and it was already trying to get away from him. That had to be a bad sign. He knew he should find it soon, because if he went back with out it his Mum would surely make him grow up as a squib. Not a very appealing thought to a young boy awaiting his first ever Hogwarts letter.
So Ron set of at a run in the direction he last saw the wand go. It did not take long to reach the part of the woods where it hopefully was hiding. He wished that it might just reappear in his pocket, but the wand had other ideas and was making itself difficult to spot.
The grassy spot before him grew thick and almost to his knee. It was the deep green of spring forests, intermixed with large rocks covered in a damp moss. The trees before him were covered in the same moss and revealed a quaint little meadow with a stream running through it. And wedged there in the sand, was his missing wand.
He looked back at the Burrow, seeing that he had wandered some way from home. Still he had to get his wand, which he decided didn’t like being held by anyone but a wizard, and probably him. Ron walked through the grass, and made it to the clearing with both his trainers and ankles of his pants soaked.
When he went to get his wand, he saw instead a young blonde girl about his sister’s age holding a grapefruit halve in one hand and his wand in the other. She smiled and beckoned him over. Ron approached her, trying to make his observation seem casual. The girl had long hair tied up in several places that still reached her elbows, she wore an odd pink print dress, and had very big grey eyes that were looking at him from her tilted head.
“I found this as I was crossing the brook. Is it yours?” The girl asked, holding out his wand for him.
“Um, yeah I was bored and started throwing sticks.” Ron answered cautiously, avoiding putting the wand in his pocket, unsure if she was a muggle or not (though she did not dress like one.)
“Don’t worry. I know what that is, I should be getting one soon.” The girl said taking a big slurp from her grapefruit.
“Oh, good then. I’m Ron Weasley. Are you going to go to Hogwarts this year too?” Ron asked with a smile.
“I am Luna Lovegood, and I am only 9. But I will go soon. I hope they teach about Nargles.” Luna said, “Would you like to look for them with me?”
Luna turned in the direction and skipped slowly over.
“Sure?” Ron answered confused at what she was talking about, but followed her anyway.
Luna perched herself in an odd position on a low tree branch. She then took a big finishing bite of the grapefruit, and draped the spiral peel across the branch beside her.
“What exactly is a Nargle anyway?” Ron asked as he climbed up one branch higher than his new acquaintance.
“You don’t know?”
“Well not many people do. I don’t think that many believe in odd creatures like the Blibbering Humdinger, or Nargles. Magical folk just aren’t curious enough these days.” Luna shrugged, gazing into the leaves around Ron like they were stars. “My father had an article published about them in the Quibbler not long ago, they are really quite fascinating.
“Oh,” Ron answered, now utterly confused. She had told him everything but what a Nargle was.
“I think they tend to stay in mistletoe bunches, like the one you are sitting in.” Luna told him.
“What? Merlin, ah!” Ron fussed trying to get off the mistletoe.
He didn’t know whether a Nargle was a big scary beast, or a harmless little mouse but he didn’t want to be sitting on the same branch as one. He fell from his branch, and landed beside Luna on hers with a snapping noise.
Luna giggled as she pulled out a pouch from her dress’s pocket. From the pouch she took out another giant grapefruit halve, that did not seem like it should have fit there to begin with.
She handed it to Ron, who though it was an odd fruit, he was eternally hungry. And was rewarded when he took a bite with his face immediately puckering.
“I forgot to tell you that Nargles don’t really like the smell of grapefruit. That is what my Mother told me.” She broke off a bit of the mistletoe and twirled it around her fingers with a dreamy look.
Ron nodded along with a friendly grin, “You’re very odd.”
Luna smiled to herself then gazed at Ron, “I know.”
A/N: Hi! I'm glad I've finally gotten this out. I think this is a little different from other stuff I've done since it doesn't have much warnings. :) So I wasn't really trying to imply a ship here or anything as they are young children, (only just discovering that Ron/Luna was a ship) but take it as you will. Thank you to those who helped name it! Also this is written for The Food Challenge! I hope you enjoyed this, please review. Thanks for reading!
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