Chapter 1 : Madness
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A/N: This story contains lyrics from the song The Lucky One by Taylor Swift. The lyrics are bold and italic. I own neither that song nor the magical world of Harry Potter.
“Everybody loves pretty, everybody loves cool…”
I’m sitting in a deserted alley somewhere off of Diagon Alley trying to catch my breath. In moments like these I feel like the world is closing in on me. It’s been several years since the war has ended, but in a sense it feels like a new war has begun for me and some of my friends. Everywhere I go now, I am constantly dogged by tabloid reporters. Somehow when I gave up my safety as a child for the cause, I also traded away my privacy as an adult. Funny how that works.
Today it started because I wanted to buy some new robes. I apparated right into Madame Malkin’s, but unfortunately it wasn’t empty as she had promised me. There was a young girl in the store with her mother, most likely picking out her robes for school. When she saw me, her eyes went wide.
“Oh my gosh! You’re Luna Lovegood, aren’t you?” the girl squealed at me.
I smiled the friendliest smile that I could muster and posed for a picture with her as she jumped up and down in excitement.
“You have no idea how excited I am! You’re my hero. I have your posters on my wall at home and I follow everything that you do. I literally read the Quibbler obsessively,” she rambled on.
I knew that she was being genuine, but I couldn’t help feeling slightly irritated. She knows nothing about me or who I am. Everything she thought she knew has come from Witch Weekly and the likes.
Suddenly, I noticed that the girl had stopped talking and was staring at me, an eager smile plastered across her face. I realized that I’d zoned out.
“I’m sorry. What did you say?” I asked.
“Oh. I asked how you and Neville are doing.”
“Neville is fine,” I responded curtly with a sad little shake of my head. People always ask me about him and as many times as I’ve tried to explain that we’re just friends, no one ever seems to listen. The tabloids really egg it on. There’s always some article or another about us breaking up or getting engaged, usually held together by the most tenuous bits of evidence.
For example, when Neville’s grandmother passed away unexpectedly from heart failure last year, I spent some time with him, helping him get her things organized and packed up. I was just being a supportive friend, but article after article started popping up about our romantic getaway together. It was infuriating. Here he was mourning the loss of the only family member he’d ever really had and the media warped it into a bunch of lies.
I tuned back into the girl. She had a puzzled look on her face. “Are the two of you still together?”
Trying not to let the frustration show, I said, “We never were together to begin with. We’re just friends. That’s all.”
Disappointment was clearly written in her eyes. “Oh. That’s too bad. You two make such a lovely couple.”
Just then Madame Malkin swept in. Her eyes went wide as she saw me. “Oh. Luna, I’m so sorry dear. I wasn’t expecting you until two. Let me just get this young lady’s robe packaged up and we’ll get started, alright?”
“That’s fine,” I responded, thinking that it might be better if I came back another day.
Soon the young lady had her robes and was on her way. Just as she was about to exit the store, she turned to me and waved. “Bye Luna. It was so nice meeting you. I can’t wait to show the pictures to my friends!”
I waved in return and forced myself to smile once more.
As soon as the door slammed shut, I pointed my wand at it. The sound of the lock clicking shut was the best thing I’d heard all day. I just wanted to get these robes made and get out of there before anyone else spotted me.
“And your secrets end up splashed on the front page…”
Moments later, Madame Malkin was busy wrapping me in fabrics of different colors. A tape measure floated in the air to my right and was constantly measuring different segments of my body.
“How have you been lately?” Madame Malkin asked a bit timidly. I know she was feeling bad about the store not being closed already when I arrived. We both know far too well how one person spotting me can lead to a mob hounding me.
“I’m alright, I suppose. It’s a bit tough being in the spotlight all of the time. I just really want to take off to some other country where no one will know me. I just need a break from the constant harassment. I have no idea how Harry’s dealt with this his whole life, but it’s so suffocating. I just want to feel like a normal person again.”
It was hard for me not to tear up as I poured out my frustration, but it’s the truth. The vibrant, whimsical, happy person that I was no longer exists. She’s been chased away by all of the awful things that fame does. I held onto her for as long as I could, but recently it has become impossible to hold onto that innocence anymore.
Madame Malkin eyed me. “How have you been dealing with the fallout from the scandal? I know that must’ve been terrible for you to go through.”
My heart sank. That was the last thing I wanted to talk about.
“I suppose I’m adjusting, but it’s made it hard to feel safe anywhere.”
“Of course, dear. What that jerk did to you is completely out of line. I hope the Wizengamot throws him in jail for a good long time. To think that he broke into your home and took those pictures of you when you were sleeping. It’s a complete invasion of privacy.”
“Yeah,” I muttered, silently refusing to go into any more detail. The whole thing had been humiliating and the fact that people still call it a scandal as if I’ve done something wrong fills me with rage. I was the victim.
Now the whole world knows what the most intimate contours of my body look like. After, I spent days on end crying. All I could think about was how ashamed my father would feel. It took weeks before I was even able to leave my apartment and when I finally did, I jumped at even the slightest movement around me.
To make it worse, the tabloids spun it and tried to make it look as if these were some photos a boyfriend took. They speculated and gossiped about who it could’ve been and even when the truth finally came out, there were assertions that perhaps I had staged the whole thing to get my name in the papers. It was horrific.
“You wonder if you’ll make it out alive”
Madame Malkin had just finished with my robes and I’d decided to try and sneak a little ways down the alley to Florean Fortescue’s for some ice cream. It had been ages since I’d had one of his luxurious ice cream cones and I found myself wanting one badly.
I had pulled a traveling cloak from my bag of purchases and wrapped it around myself. I put the hood up and hoped that it would keep people from noticing me. Usually, if my bright blonde hair is covered up, I can sneak through the crowd easily enough.
On my way down the street, I managed to pass everyone undetected. Things were going just fine. That is until I reached Florean’s. I went to step inside the door and when a woman bumped into me causing my hood to fall off of my head.
“OH MY GOSH! YOU’RE LUNA LOVEGOOD!” the woman shrieked! “I totally thought Sarah was lying when she said that she saw you here, but here you are. Can I have your autograph?”
I quickly tried to sign the napkin that she held out for me, but by the time I’d finished a crowd had surrounded me. This was really the first time that I’d been in a crowd since the paparazzi had broken into my home and I began to panic. My breath began to catch in my chest and my palms started sweating profusely. Black spots were floating in front of my eyes and I just knew I had to get away before I passed out.
I tried to spin in the crowd, but hands were groping at me. I was afraid that if I apparated to my home, I’d accidentally take someone with me. Then they’d know the location of my home. I couldn’t risk it, so I began to wade through the crowd.
Once I broke free of the mob of adults and children, I sped down the street as quickly as I could. The pounding of feet behind me told me that most of the crowd was following me. Every time I sped up, they sped up too.
Soon I was at a full sprint, tearing through the streets. I could hear the people behind me calling my name, but all I could think was that I had to escape. My bags were banging into my thigh, bruising them as I went.
As I rounded the corner, I was momentarily out of sight and took my opportunity to dodge into one of the many side streets. I took the first right and then a left and before I knew it I’d ended up here, lost in the maze of little streets that surround Diagon Alley.
So far no one has discovered me, but I feel quite certain that they will. I want to go home, but I’m afraid they’ll find me there. No where seems to be safe anymore. No matter where I go, it seems that they always know. I’m sure when they find me here a headline will follow. I can see it all now.
“Luna Lovegood Goes Mad in Front of Thousands.”
“And they’ll tell you now that you’re the lucky one.”
This story was written for the Taylor Swift Quote Challenge and the lyric I was assigned was “Everybody loves pretty, everybody loves cool,” and the character that I was assigned was Luna Lovegood. To tell you the truth, I had never actually listened to a Taylor Swift song before this challenge and was pleasantly surprised to find out that this song was about the struggles of being famous and being hounded by people. The whole song in general inspired this piece and I’ve broken each section up with a different line from the song.
This piece was quite the challenge for me and I’d like to thank both Unicorn_Charm and Pixileanin for their suggestions and help.
Now I’d love to know what you think, so feel free to leave me a comment in the little box below.
Thanks for reading!
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