Harry never was good at dancing. Then again, he'd never had much practice. Dancing, like most other things considered fun by normal humans, was banned in the Dursley household.
Harry shuffled around the halls of Hogwarts, hands in his pockets, just days after the Yule Ball. Ron and Hermione were having yet another fight that Harry was trying to avoid being dragged into. He felt badly about the way he'd treated his date (though he couldn't remember which sister he'd gone with), having spent all night staring at Cho Chang.
Cho Chang, who had the perfect boyfriend and probably wouldn't go for Harry even if she didn't.
Harry sighed, looking around him. Life at Hogwarts was never exactly dull. Someone was out for his life – as per usual – he was failing potions (again, as per usual), and the weather was reflecting his mood…a sleet kind of rain that prevented his motivation from getting him down to Hagrid's hut. He couldn't stay in Gryffindor tower long enough to find his invisibility cloak and get out, so he was now slouching behind a column, pretending not to exist.
"What are you doing here?" One of the two sisters he and/or Ron had gone to the Yule Ball with was standing in front of him. Going by the sneer on her face at the sight of Harry, he'd guess it was his date.
"Oh, I'm just…hiding."
"From Ron and Hermione."
She lifted her nose. "Oh. He ignored my sister at the dance. May as well have just stood her up." Yup. Definitely his date.
"Yeah, sorry about that. He's kind of…confused."
"I'll say." She flipped a braid back behind her robes. Harry wondered why on Earth she was wearing her school uniform on a weekend. He didn't think it polite to ask.
"And…I'm sorry…I didn't ask you to dance. I really can't dance… I might've stepped on your foot."
To his great surprise, she smiled genuinely. "That's okay. I figured as much. That, and you couldn't keep your eyes off of Cho Chang."
Harry blushed deeply, unable to keep himself from cooing "yeah, she did look quite beautiful, didn't she?"
She looked horribly perturbed and offended. "Well, I never!"
Harry never really understood why she stormed off, but he guess that it might have had to do with the fact that he never told her half as much about herself at the dance. Hermione would probably smack him for this later.
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Harry remembered his flaw at the Yule Ball, and couldn't help connecting the moment then to the moment now. He couldn't stop staring at Ginny. He knew that he should be the one dancing with her, holding her closely, telling her how beautiful she looked…not that smarmy ex-boyfriend of hers. Who the Hell invited Dean Thomas anyway?
Harry kicked a stone on the ground with such force that it smacked the leg of a crotchety old witch at the nearest table, who promptly turned to glare at Harry. He shrugged sheepishly, trying to whistle aimlessly. He rocked from side to side, a million thoughts bursting through his mind at once. I should just forget about her. Just forget about her. Just forget about her? I can't just forget about her! She's the only girl I've ever felt this way about…
But he looked at the smile on Ginny's face, as Dean twirled her around, and he felt his blood boil. He thought that she loved him. She kissed him on his birthday. Was this just some sort of act to make him jealous?
He could see the same look on Fluer's face. As nausea-inducing as it was, Harry also found it…kind of sweet. Although on Hermione's face, it was sickening. (She was like a sister, and was dancing with Ron, who was like a brother.) Ron was going to get the girl in the end, they all must have known that. Ginny, if she ever even forgave Harry – was she even going to be alive? Was she going to be the least bit interested in him? What if she had moved on? What if Harry himself never survived…
Harry had started a nervous pacing, biting his lip and twirling his knotted fingers around one another, when Luna Lovegood, of all people, walked up to him.
"Oh, hello Harry. Is that a new kind of dance you're doing?"
"How did you –" Harry shook his head. This was Luna Lovegood, the girl who talked to trees, fed Thestrals, and believed in Nargles. Why was he even asking such a ridiculous question? "…I don't know, maybe in some places it is."
Luna looked over to where Ginny was standing. Ginny shot Luna a stare of complete animosity, as if warning Luna to keep away from Harry. Harry, feeling she had no right to talk - er, look - stood directly in front of Luna, outside of Ginny's eyesight.
"I suppose you still love her, then?" Luna was looking at the ground shyly. Her hands were behind her back and she was swaying to and fro. Her hair swished back and forth.
Taking this opportunity to improve on his social manners, Harry asked, "Would you care to dance, Luna?"
"Love to!" she took his hand lightly, leading him out to the dance floor. Harry was impressed with the strength that he felt, just through her fingertips. He was even more impressed when he found that she was also leading the dance. "I noticed that you weren't very good at this at the Yule Ball."
"Really? What, were you spying on me?" he joked. She smiled, but shook her head. Harry wondered why on Earth she wouldn't look him in the eyes.
"You were dancing in the middle, silly."
They remained silent for awhile. Harry was usually unnerved by the silence, as it usually meant that somebody was creeping up on him. But with Luna, it was a calming quiet, as opposed to an eerie quiet. He held her closer, putting his head on hers. Everything felt so calm and so peaceful. He wished it could be this way all the time. Why were things never this restful?
The dance ended, and it looked as though speeches about whatever it was speeches were normally about at weddings were getting ready to be made. Luna leaned up on her toes. She kissed him on the cheek. "I think I should go check on my dad now. I hope I'll hear from you…" she gave him a knowing look. "If you can. Be careful." Harry watched her walking away, missing the heartbroken glance from Ginny, standing moodily in the corner.
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Harry trumped through the wreckage that used to be Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They'd managed to clear the bodies up, and their allies were discussing ways and times to rebuild the school. The teachers were trying to take care of the injured. Neville was surrounded by a horde of girls, and didn't really look like he knew how to take it. Ron and Hermione were cuddling in a corner, holding hands, and surrounded by Ron's family. Hermione was taking on the roll that Harry imagined Mrs. Weasley would play in any other situation – quieting everyone down and trying to console them all. Harry, although he thought of them as family, didn't think he could quite handle all the pain at the moment.
He slouched down to the lake, sitting cross-legged and watching the Giant Squid toss debris out of the lake. He couldn't hold it all in. All of the deaths, all of the destruction…he didn't even like his aunt and uncle, yet he couldn't help wondering where they were right now, and were they okay? Was Dudley any different now? Would he grow up to be as ignorant and fearful as his parents? What about Draco? His mother really loved him, what was she doing with someone like Lucious? Would Draco change? Was he ever really evil at all? How would Harry let everyone know the truth about Snape? Who would the Headmaster or Headmistress of Hogwarts now? And the thought that caught him most off-guard: Where was Luna?
"Hello," he turned to see Luna just standing there, as if she had read his mind. She looked dirtied and injured, but okay. She sat on the ground next to him. "I imagined you'd be here…to cool off…and maybe you'd like some quiet company…" she reached deep into her pockets. "And some candy."
Harry smiled. Oh Luna. You always know what to say."
"It's a gift." They both ate their candy in silence.
If they completely forgot about the war that had just been going on, it almost looked beautiful. The sun was sitting just on top of the hills, a soft pinkish glow making everything look calming and demure. Harry shook his head. "It's all so…weird." He laid back, staring at the trees.
"They look like they're smiling, don't they?" Luna asked dreamily. "I love the trees…they don't discriminate."
Harry didn't really care what she meant or what she was thinking. Her voice was making him forget about all the evil he had just encountered, and making him think about the trees. He just knew he was going to have weird dreams about trees dancing around and singing to him.
Or was that…Luna singing? She seemed to be humming a lullaby.
Harry laid on his side, breathing rhythmically. He could feel Luna laying close to him. Without thinking about it, he put his forehead next to hers, and kissed her softly on the nose. She didn't ask him anything. She took his hand in hers, and the two fell asleep, for the first time in several days.