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The Last Year

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Riding the carriage up to school for her seventh year, Luna thinks the thestrals look happier than usual. They pick up their feet and toss their heads like proud stallions on parade. Leaves twirl about them in the September breeze— red, orange, yellow, pale green— like bits of rainbow set against their night-black skin.

Perhaps they know that nearly everyone can see them now.

Luna sees other students peering at them out the carriage windows, faces drawn and pinched. Many of them learned last May what Luna has known since she was nine: that one moment a person can be smiling down at you with eyes sparkling, face warm and half-lit by daylight from the window, and then in the space of a breath, everything changes.

When the ride is over and Luna enters the Great Hall, Ginny walks straight up to her and takes her hand in that kindly way she does. Hermione hurries over too (repeating the year she missed, naturally) and her face is bright and open. Luna notices a lot of people smiling at her, actually, including Professor McGonagall, who nods to her, looking thin but determined.

Maybe this year more people can see Luna, too.