Chapter 1 : Orange Marmalade
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It had been a while since Harry had gone into a muggle shop. Aunt Petunia used to send him for groceries every once in a while, until she thought of the prospect of him stealing the money and running off with it. It was no real loss though, he never liked it when she sent him anyway. People would stare at him, ask him if he was lost and even call the police to help him find his way home. Luckily, Harry had no reason to look lost now, not with a party of this size.
“Is there any type of jam that you would prefer, Harry?”
Not focusing on the situation at hand, Harry lost track of what isle Mrs. Weasley had led Ron Hermione and him down. Apparently this one had to do with jam.
“JAM, Harry. She asked you if you’d like any JAM,” Ron acted as if Harry had gone deaf.
“Right. Erm...Orange Marmalade? If possible.”
They strolled down the isle lazily, magazines in the teenagers’ hands, trying to fully experience the muggle lifestyle. And they were succeeding quite nicely.
“Mrs. Weasley? Do you mind if we get some whipped cream? The canned kind? I haven’t had that in ages.”
“Of course Hermione, dear. Just put it in the basket. It’s quiet all right; muggle money is absolutely worthless in the wizarding world. We could surely buy this whole isle twice over.”
Which was saying something; they happened to be face to face with Italian Caviar, in tiny, useless tins. Soon the boys became bored with their magazines on how to properly find the appropriate cufflinks for the fox hunt, and nearest available magazines were the ones Hermione was reading.
“You done with those?”
Boredom overcame the boys who gave into Hermione’s pile of periodicals, lying unused in the bottom of the basket.
“You can’t be serious.”
“What if we are?”
“Then I get to see yours.”
Harry exchanged his Horse and Hound for Hermione’s Vogue and Ron watched the transaction carefully, wondering if that was the proper course of action. Once Harry opened Vogue, eyes wide, he knew it was.
“Hermione, could I trade you too?”
“Why not. Here.”
Luckily for him, he got W. Slowly he turned the magazine sideways, as if to get a better interpretation of what the hell the photographer was getting at. Not that he would complain, but he though it a bit odd that, well, you know...
“Why, exactly, does this girl not have any clothes on?”
“I was wondering the same thing,” came Harry, running to catch up. He had fallen back a ways, more interested in fashion than walking.
“Hmm? Oh, that’s the new thing in fashion. Actually, it’s not all that new. I guess it’s their version of art. I mean they have to make it respectable somehow.” She barely looked up from Horse and Hound to respond. Then again, she always liked cufflinks.
“Art? That’s”-pointing to a Kalvin Clien ad-“art? How could they possibly get away with that? Not that I’m complaining, but you have to wonder.”
“Ron, think of it like this; if they make a profit selling the magazine, which is apparent judging by your reaction, they can publish anything the want, just as long as it looks nice. Does that help?”
“I guess your on your own, then.”
“WAIT! Are you breaking up with me?”
Harry sighed and returned to his magazine. Ever since they became and “item”, although Harry was never sure of the meaning, Ron had become paranoid that he would lose Hermione, thought that she’d think better of it and him. He’s been a lot less, well, idiotic ever since. But not in the sense that he hasn’t realised that Hermione has stuck with him for nearly six years already.
“Love does funny things to you, I guess,” Harry said not realising that he was alone, wandering about three isles behind the Weasley's. Each isle became a blur as Harry lost track of his surrounding, deep in the analysis of each new fashion photographer and there use of, um...
Well, that “analysis” didn’t get him very far. As wands, glasses, Vogue and blonde hair went flying, Harry came to the realisation that he had run into someone.
“I’m terribly sorry... I didn’t see you...” Harry said, fumbling for his glasses.
“It’s quiet alright, most people don’t,” said an unmistakably dreamy voice as a pale hand gave him his glasses.
“Luna? What... how are you? Did I hurt you?” Harry said, astounded. He couldn’t think of any odder place to run into another wizard. Then again, this was Luna Lovegood.
“Not physically, no. I’m well, and you?” she said, helping him up. She seemed well adjust for such a hard hit.
“Didn’t you fall over at all? I mean...I...er, I must of hit you rather hard. Didn’t I?”
He always felt a little awkward around her, although that feeling had lessened considerably since the Slug Party. She was definitely a sight to she. He still couldn’t believe that she dressed rather normally.
“I ran into you,” Luna said definitely.
“Well, you nearly ran into that nice muggle serving samples of his new sausage, just there,” She point and Harry grimaced, noticing that the nice muggle was also displaying new, self-sharpening, brand of meat cleavers, “so intentionally ran into you rather then have to intentionally heal you in front of all these muggles.”
“Okay, er...sorry about that, then.”
“No problem. I needed the practice. What were you looking at?”
“Er...nothing,” he said, suddenly immensely embarrassed.
“It must have been interesting. Nothing that I would read of course, I tend to be quite loyal to the Quibbler. It just seemed like you were putting an awful lot of thought into something so blatant as fashion.”
“So, erm... how has your summer been.?” said Harry, quickly trying to change the subject which proved effective.
“Oh, Delightful!” beaming, she divulged a heart wrenching story of a poor SparkKnicker that curiously found it’s (they apparently have no definite gender, thus explaining the “it”) way into the Lovegood home. Luna had spent the summer looking for the poor fellow’s family and had learned quite a bit about the SparkKnicker culture. Harry indured this for about five isles as they wandered aimlessly, looking for the Weasley’s.
“...so, that is why we’re here. You see, Garfunkle has a fondness for Chutney. And being in a muggle environment really helps the Muggle Studies process.”
“Wait, who’s ‘we’? Is your dad here?” Harry snapped out of the kind of trace Luna’s voice usually put him in. He heard the word “we” and kind of lost it, thinking that she meant them. He had already daydreamed enough about Ginny this year and didn’t want another girl in his head.
“Oh, I suppose so. He came here with me but I haven’t seen him for about three hours.”
“What? Did he leave you here Luna?”
“I trust that he had reason to do so, but yes, he did.”
“Don’t you need to get home?”
He had forgotten all his previous panic of him and Luna being an “item” (again, he still isn’t sure of the meaning) in her eyes because of the party, and he had begun to worry about her well-being. Surely, it wasn’t a great sign that she was miles away from any wizarding families with no way to get home.
“I imagine he’s forgotten about me again.”
Harry was now in a fair panic as to the situation of her Father’s sanity. How could you leave someone like Luna all alone like that?
“No worries Harry, he does that sometimes, he’s a little absent minded, or rather his mind was left at home. He usually keeps it there.”
“But, but you need to... don’t you...can I give you a ride?”
“Oh, you’ll be glad to know that very little of my belongings were stolen this year. I think it’s because that they are afraid that you’ll curse them, since were friends now.” She sort of looked up hopefully and then forward again very quickly.
“Are you asking if we are friends? Of course we are Luna. Why would you think other wise?”
“Well, since you said that we were going to Slughorn’s Party as friends, I thought we were and then we lost touch and we didn’t do anything as friends anymore. I enjoyed myself there and I thought that maybe you left because you were cross with me since I didn’t say so. But the rest of my house still thinks that were are, so no harm done.” She smiled as if that was all she needed. Harry looked in astonishment. How...how...
“No no no. I didn’t leave because of you. Something..er, came up.”
“That’s settled then. I knew you weren’t like anyone else,” She strolled down the isle beaming and chatting about Garfunkle. She found his name in a muggle music shop and started calling him that since she didn’t speak Sparklish.
“Oh and if you find any light purple socks with a golden map of the Butterbeer factory in Germany on them, let me know. They should jingle.”
“I thought you said that nothing was stolen.”
“Nothing besides those. I do hope I get them back. They don’t sell those socks anymore, apparently not very popular, I can’t think of why.”
“I can’t stand the fact that people do that to you.”
“If they would just get to know you, they’d see how great you are. People have no respect, they can only cope with what they know. You deserve better, Luna”
She looked positively aghast. Harry didn’t realise the impact of his word until he looked up from his shoes and at her.
“Th-at wa-as very...kind of you...to say...”
“It was true” he said with all sincerity.
She suddenly looked at him with the harshest of glares, as if to question his integrity. A few almost angry second s passed as Luna tested his honesty, coming with in a centimetre of his nose, until she stood back and a broad, truly happy smile unfolded upon her face, as if she liked what she found.
Luna threw her arms around Harry and kissed his ear. Steadying himself, Harry heard a tiny “thank you” in his wet ear and felt her pull back, still bearing the 1.21 gigawatt smile so visually demanding that he couldn’t help but smile back at.