Harry followed Snape back into Slughorn's party. He bumped into Luna again, and she had apparently brought her Spectrespecs to the party, as she was now wearing them. And although Harry would much rather have focused on his obsession with Draco Malfoy's secret task, Luna managed to drag him out of it.
"Look at all of those Nargles," she said, pointing toward a large clump of mistletoe. Harry, of course, saw nothing. "I think there's an entire family in there," she continued. "I wonder where they live when the mistletoe isn't around," she mused aloud to herself.
"Maybe in the student's underwear drawers?" Harry joked with a smirk.
Luna looked at him and replied, quite seriously, "Oh, that does make a lot of sense, Harry! My knickers seem to go missing quite a bit," she replied.
Suddenly, Harry found himself wondering if Luna were wearing a brassiere and pants underneath her silver dress. The thought was entirely random, but not wholly unpleasant. He blushed at the idea of asking her such a thing, and began laughing aloud at the absurdity of it all.
Luna shook her head, and clucked her tongue at his sudden laughter, "I broke up a cluster of Wrackspurts that were hanging out over the table of mead." She tilted her head, studying him, "Although, judging by your reaction, I'm pretty sure one of them managed to find its way in through your ear."
Harry shook his head and grinned. "No," he said, "I just happen to be glad that I brought you along, is all."
Luna tilted her head the other way and removed her Spectrespecs for a time. She smiled, a real genuine smile, and Harry couldn't help but think how beautiful she looked with that expression on her face. "That's such a perfectly nice thing to say," Luna told him softly, still smiling.
"I'm not just saying it, Luna," Harry replied honestly, wondering if a Wrackspurt had indeed managed to work its way into his brain. "Thank you for agreeing to come with me."
Luna suddenly took his hand and said, "I had to, Harry. You're my friend." Then she put on her Spectrespecs again and led Harry out of the room and out into the corridor.
"Luna," he said, once they left the party, "you didn't have to agree to go just because we're friends. I hope you didn't feel obligated to come with me."
Luna simply shook her head, and began mumbling to herself. For the first time, Harry noticed that the ends of her hair were curled. The girl really had gone to a lot of effort to look nice this evening. "I like your hair," he said from behind her. Harry wondered where on earth she was taking him.
"Do you really?" Suddenly, Luna stopped and beamed at him. "Cho Chang helped me style it."
"Oh," Harry said, the mention of his ex-girlfriend all at once making the otherwise pleasant situation incredibly awkward.
"She's such a nice girl," Luna continued. "I figured since you dated her before, she would know how you would like your date to look."
Harry cleared his throat uncomfortably. "I guess," he said quietly. "Where are we going?" he asked.
"To the Astronomy Tower," Luna said. "It was getting quite stuffy in Slughorn's room, what with all of the Slashkilters in there. There's something I want to show you," she said.
At last they reached the tower, laughing and joking all the way. Harry began to notice just how warm and soft Luna's hand felt in his own. She really was a remarkable person.
Luna finally let go of Harry's hand. He couldn't help but notice how empty it felt without Luna to hold it. She stood up next to one of the large telescopes, pointed it toward a certain patch of sky, and focused the lens.
"I know you're not in Astronomy anymore," she said softly, "but I thought you'd like to look in here." Luna stood back from the telescope to let Harry look into it.
Harry gave a little gasp at what he saw. It was a beautiful binary star system. He watched the heavenly bodies orbit one another, ever-so-slowly. Magical telescopes worked far better than Muggle ones, when it came to observing the stars.
"It's beautiful," he said, with awe in his voice. "Do these stars have a name?"
"Yes," Luna smiled softly, "it's Canis Major." Harry stood back from the telescope and stared at her.
"Are you certain?" he whispered.
"Yes," she said, more softly than Harry had ever heard her speak before, "I was pretty sure you didn't know—Canis Major is a binary star system. The two stars together reminded me of you and your godfather," she said.
All at once, Harry was filled with a huge amount of warm tingles at Luna's thoughtfulness, because Canis Major was none other than the Latin word for the star that Sirius was named after.
"Thank you," Harry said softly, knowing that Luna meant well. He turned back to the telescope the hide the sudden tears that had sprung to his eyes. Luna quietly moved over to another telescope nearby.
"You miss him," she said to Harry. It was a statement, not a question.
"Of course," he answered, a catch in his throat. "He was the closest thing to a real family that I can ever remember. I can't believe I lost him," he whispered.
"Drat," Luna whispered suddenly. Harry turned toward her in concern. It was the first time he could ever remember seeing her look…worried? He watched as she felt around in the dark for something. Harry quickly walked over to Luna. She really was struggling.
"What's wrong?" Harry asked, forgetting himself as he leaned down next to her.
"I can't find my Spectrespecs," she said anxiously, the stress in her voice becoming more evident.
"It's okay," Harry assured, "we'll find them." He searched under the telescopes, by the battlements, and even on the stairs leading up to the tower. No Spectrespecs.
"The wind must have carried them away. I'll have my dad send me some more," Luna said, trying to be brave. She still sounded a bit scared, though. It was the first time Harry had ever seen her look vulnerable.
"Yeah, that's it," Harry agreed. "You can have some more within a couple of days," he smiled at her, but Luna simply stared off into space. But she was…doing so in a way that Harry had never seen before.
Typically, when Luna stared off into space, it was with a dreamy look on her face. And athough he didn't want to appear rude, Harry stepped up to her quietly and he waved a hand in front of her eyes.
She had absolutely no reaction.
"Harry?" Luna said. "Why are you so quiet?" Harry stared at his friend before replying, and waved his hand in front of her face again. And again, she didn't even blink.
"Luna," Harry said, his voice barely louder than hers, "I don't want to pry, or sound rude, but…are you…blind?"
"Only without the Spectrespecs," she said, a soft smile on her face.
"But….when I first met you, you could see without them. You took off the Spectrespecs and we talked about the Thestrals together," Harry protested.
"You're right," Luna answered, in her usual voice, "back then, I could see without the Spectrespecs. I had an accident, you see. Much like my mum did when she died."
"You were experimenting with potions?" Harry asked dubiously.
"Not quite," Luna said. Then she turned away. "Seven months ago, when we fought in the Department of Mysteries, Dolohov threw some sort of nasty hex at you. I managed to deflect most of it, but it ricocheted toward me. And what I couldn't dodge managed to catch me here." She pointed to her eyes.
Harry looked at her in dismay. Without knowing quite what he was doing, he took up her hands in his and apologized profusely. "I'm so sorry," he said, sorrow filling him. "How come you never told me? Told us?"
"Because it wasn't important," Luna replied softly, still smiling.
"Bloody hell," Harry swore, his voice rising, "how can you say that, Luna? Of course it's important." He released a sigh of anguish. "So…you now have a permanent disability because of me."
"No," Luna said, her smile getting bigger, "I can see things that I never thought possible because of you."
"What on earth does that mean?" Harry asked, at a loss, still with her hands in his.
"For example," Luna said, "I don't need perfectly functioning eyes to see that you're still alive. Besides," she smiled again, "there are ways around it. Magic works, you know. " Harry stood there and shook his head in awe.
"So…what are you saying, Luna?"
"That if I could do it all over again, I would, if it meant saving you." Warm tingles exploded in Harry's chest as she said those words.
"But…w-why?" Harry spluttered.
"Because," Luna said simply, "I love you, Harry."
Suddenly, Harry's stomach got the same sort of swooping sensation he originally got whenever he was around Ginny Weasley. He didn't dare speak for a moment. It was odd…until three hours previously, he hadn't even entertained the possibility of a relationship with somebody else. But that was before the party…before spending a wonderful evening with Luna Lovegood… Was Luna just being candid, like her usual self, or had Harry deluded himself into thinking she had just confessed her attraction to him?
"I can't believe this is happening…" Harry whispered, as he looked down at his feet, more for himself than for Luna.
She tightened her grip in his hands and giggled a most un-Luna-like giggle. "I can't either," and she drew imperceptibly closer to him.
Thunderstruck, Harry recalled all of the stolen glances Luna had given him, all of the funny things she said, the peculiar way she would change the subject whenever it got around to something romantic. Could it have all been because she liked him?
Harry chuckled with her and shook his head, not knowing exactly what was overcoming him. He reached up to Luna's face and caressed her cheek. She closed her eyes and leaned into his touch.
"Luna…" Harry said her name softly, "how many Wrackspurts are out here right now? Because my brain has gone all fuzzy…"
"Mine too," she whispered, "we must be standing in a colony of them…" Then she said, "Let me look at you—my way." Luna reached up and delicately touched every feature on his face.
Then before he knew what he was doing, Harry leaned down and kissed her on her eyelids. It seemed just the thing to do.
"I've always wanted to be kissed like that," Luna confessed, beaming. Harry smiled. Leave it up to Luna to have a fantasy about being kissed on her eyes.
"How about like this?" Harry asked, leaning down and covering her mouth with his. She sighed into his mouth and made a little sound of pleasure during the kiss, before pulling back and whispering onto his lips.
"Yes, I rather like that, too," Luna smiled.
And Luna and Harry spent the rest of their evening on the Astronomy Tower, Luna's lost Spectrespecs forgotten.