Luna stared across her house table towards the Gryffindors as she ate her pudding slowly. Harry was being his cute self, smiling innocently as that wretch Ginny kept yammering on about her classes.
Luna knew he was mocking interest. He was just to kind not to say anything to stop her. He was such a caring person that way.
Suddenly Ginny laughed, fake and annoyingly loud as Hermione arrived carrying her stack of textbooks and notes.
Luna's eyes flickered. Ginny was trying to scare away the competition.. It wouldn't work.. Ginny wasn't even in the league to earn Harry's affections. She was a cursed one after all....
Ginny wrapped an arm around Harry, leaning claustrophobic-ly close. Hermione and Ginny glared at each other for a split second before Hermione began talking to Harry as if nothing happened. Luna guessed she was talking about classes. Hermione was brilliant but way to mundane and predictable. Also way to much of a know it all. Even Ron was done with her personality.
Luna finished her pudding and stood up. She made her way to the group and put on a bright smile for Harry.
He turned around and smiled up at her. "Hey Luna. How are you?"
Luna's smile brightened and felt delighted at the question. Harry cared so much for her feelings and well-being!
"Great! Have you tried the pudding today? The Puflins outdid themselves as it is garnbles week after all!"
"Puflins?" Harry questioned.
"The pudding fairy's! They hold sacred pudding festivals to honour the pudding gods."
"Right.. Sounds great Luna." Harry responded amusing her, but Luna took that as interest.
"I know right!" Luna grinned.
"Food here is made by house elves." Hermione responded. Head buried in a book. "You'd know if you attended S.P.E.W."
Luna internalized her doubt with a wistful sighed. "My father wrote an article about your S.P.E.W.."
Hermione looked up genuinely surprised. "Really?" Luna nodded.
"That's great!" Ginny added bitterly, but through a forced grin trying to get back into the spotlight. She was promptly ignored.
"We're finally getting media attention!" Hermione set down her book excited.
Harry looked to Hermione enjoying her happiness. "Maybe change can really happen!"
"Actually that would be bad." Luna replied, eyes looking towards to candle lit ceiling.
Their faces fell into confusion. "Why?" Harry asked.
"Elves enjoy work and it's a part of their pride in their society." Luna stated matter-of-factly.
Hermione opened her mouth to retort that it was a good thing but Luna continued. "It's also healthy for them to expel their magic daily through their chores."
Hermione glared daringly. "Are you saying 'SLAVERY' is a good thing?!"
Hermione's yell caused the grand hall occupants to stare at the two silently.
"No, but your mixing up work with slavery. No one needs to be 'Freed'. Most elves are treated well. It's only certain.. Pure bloods.. that treat them poorly. But they treat everyone poorly." Luna shrugged as if that was that.
Hermione ground her teeth. "Just because some are treated well doesn't mean they aren't slaves. They're forced into working for families with no way out."
"It's their pride. Their way of life. You're robbing them of their culture." Luna argued getting defensive for the poor elves, but maintained her quiet voice.
Hermione stood and slammed her palms on the table. "A CULTURE OF SLAVERY!"
"They don't see it that way Hermione. Did you even ask them how they thought about the matter before you became the great white hope?" Luna's sweet voice rang, only to Hermione's annoyance.
"I talked to Doby!"
"One in a whole species. Goodie for you." Ginny smirked enjoying getting little miss know it all Hermione ganged up on.
Harry's eyes widened as the group argued.. "Hermione.. Maybe Luna's right.."
"Harry!" Hermione's eyes looked betrayed.
"I just mean we should ask the elves their opinion." Harry back tracked.
Luna nodded finally feeling some tension in her chest ease. Harry was so much more open minded then the sour pus. So perfect...
"Yeah, before you force things upon them and their race." Ginny scolded. "Or you're being no better then what you're claiming to fight."
Hermione glared then sighed and grabbed her things. Grabbing Harrys are and pulling him with her. "You're right Harry. Let's go see them."
"Right now? Right, okay." Harry replied getting dragged away.
"Hey!" Ginny glared as Harry was stolen away. She turned back to her meal that had been getting cold. "B*tch." She muttered silently.
Luna's eyes followed them out. Possessive need settled in her stomach as she looked on impassively. "I'm gonna look for my socks. Monmothmans have probably buried holes into them." She mentioned to no one in particular, and with that she was gone. Quietly stalking Hermione and Harry from a distance.
Harry and Hermione spent the next week together apologizing to the Elves, while Ginny felt furious.
Ginny stalked around, glaring at anyone who'd mention anything about 'what was wrong' or mentions of Hermione. She tended to be by herself most days, stewing in her own jealousy.
Luna hadn't even seen Ginny in the Great Hall as much as she used to. No one else seemed to notice or care. With most of the Weasley's graduated and Ron currently unaware of his sister's turmoil, as he was to busy snogging Lavender Brown. Something which Luna approved of.
So as it was, the next morning that Luna was the only one that noticed the Weasley delivery owl Errol swooping about in a wobbling manner until finally face planting into a window.
Luna got up from her table and made her way to the tiny bird. She never could take the sight of an injured animal.
"Oh you poor thing!" Luna cooed, as she carefully sat the owl up. Errol hopped up and hooted disorientated, before snapping to blind attention.
"Here, lets get this heavy box off you." Luna didn't like the box. It was heavy and about the same size as the tiny owl itself. Much to large and weighty for the poor elderly bird.
Luna looked at the colourful box. The sender and receiver tag read, for Ginny at Hogwarts, from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
She brought her attention back to the owl. "I'll give it to her. Quick as a Niffler. Don't worry Errol."
Errol squawked and was off. Luna looked back towards the box and got up.
As she made her way to the Gryffindor House Portrait, curiosity got the best of her and she stopped off by the bathroom first to take a peek inside the box.
Sitting on the floor cross-legged, Luna placed the box in-front of her.
"What's that?" Myrtle asked as she arose from her toilet.
"A delivery for Ginny."
"Why do you have it?" Myrtle replied as she floated lazily along.
Luna didn't answer, to enticed by the box. She opened it to find a potion inside. Luna frowned and took out the note that came with it. A warning from her brother to be careful with how many drops used.. As love potions are potent..
Luna picked up the glass vial gently and stared at the bottle, rage bubbling inside her.
"What is it?" Myrtle questioned.
"A love potion."
"Ooooh. Getting into trouble again are we? Whose she fancy?"
"Harry." Luna replied, outward appearance numb.
"WHAT!?" Myrtle screeched, water from the toilets sloshed about aggressively. "That ginger headed Hornby! HARRY IS MINE!" Myrtle threw a tantrum, as the bathroom pipes rattled.
Luna didn't notice or hear a thing. Her eyes stared wide and empty at the bottle.
Myrtle eventually caught on to Luna's mental absence. "Miserable, Luna?"
"What?" She asked distantly.
"You look.. Haunted.."
"She.. She'd do this to Harry?" Luna asked mystified.
"The poor misguided boy.. Well all boys can be dumb sometimes.. His stupidity rests in trusting that girl."
"But.. Ginny's not this bad.." Luna defended, as her mind couldn't rap around this revelation.
"She's the cursed one. He who must not be named possessed her, right?"
"Well.. Yeah, but-"
"So maybe she's finally finishing the job." Myrtle theorized in a scary hushed whisper.
"Get him all interested just to kill him. Oh my poor poor Harry."
"No.. No.. She can't do that to him!" Luna's eyes were wide and afraid.
Luna got up and paced the bathroom. "No, no, no.. She wouldn't.. Couldn't.."
"She was quite the freak when she'd come in her crying and trying to drown that disturbing diary. Definitely a weird one."
"What- What should I do? I can't let her hurt Harry."
"You know what you must do."
Luna bit her lip. She was in Dumbledore's Army. She knew what she had to do.
Protect Harry. No matter the cost.
"Ginny!" Luna's smile was large as she bounded up to Ginny. She was all alone on a balcony sulking in a self pity party.
"Luna." She replied unhappily at being interrupted from her thoughts or as Luna saw it.. Her schemes...
"I haven't seen you in a while! What have you been up to?"
"What types of things?" Luna questioned brightly.. Fake curiosity..
"Nothing Luna, I'm busy.. Can you leave me be?" Ginny gave a smile, but her voice was oozing silent passive aggression.
"Kappa's are doing fine this year. Does Charlie work with them?" Luna asked. Eye's wide with wonder.. Or was it something else?
Ginny blinked at the question. "Kappa's?"
"They're Japanese demons." A wicked smirk crossed Luna's lips.
"Oh.. Maybe.." Ginny frowned, realizing Luna wasn't going to leave. "I'm not sure Luna. He mostly deals with dragons."
"Kappa's are my favourite type of water creature!" Her smirk changed to a teeth bared grin.
Ginny looked away and gazed past the balcony, trying to ignore her and focus on her own thoughts in turmoil. "That's nice Luna."
"Do you know what Kappa's are known for?" Luna's head tilted, eyes slightly off..
"No, not particularly." Ginny responded distractedly, Luna smiled. It was the last thing Ginny said as Ginny felt arms grip her neck.
Ginny was stunned as she reached blindly for her wand in her pocket, only to not feel it. It was gone! The hands that held her had them in their grasp. Ginny pawed at the arms until darkness clouded her vision.
Once unconscious, Luna used her wand against it's wishes and created a rope. She then placed the wand back into Ginny's pocket. Ringing the rope around Ginny's neck and tying the other end to the railing, she tossed the body over the ledge. The large drop took care of the rest.
Ginny's body took a few hours to be found. Only by chance by someone catching a far away view, while arriving from Quidditch practice.
With how Ginny had been distant and despondent lately. Angry and depressed, people took it as a suicide. Even the rope had Ginny's magical imprint which left no doubt to first glance observers that she hung herself.
Luna was glad her favourite magazines told her about magic imprints, or she might have been caught. Never doubt the Quibbler.
The Weasley's, and Harry were devastated, and Hermione and Luna ached for them. However, Luna knew she had done the right thing.
Ginny's things were sent back to the Weasley's along with the group of friends to attend the funeral.
Molly quickly hugged Ron and Harry as soon as they arrived. Embarrassing them both with shaking sobs.
"I'm so sorry for your loss." Hermione hugged Molly, genuinely hurt to see the pain in everyone's faces.
"I'm sorry too Misses Weasley. She was a great friend." Luna responded, joining in the group hug. She really did feel bad for Molly. Despite how messed up Ginny was, Luna decided she should be remembered well for those left behind, for their benefit at least, and not the person she had become. If that meant talking good about her now, even if it hurt her teeth she would. She had to make Harry happy again. After all his emotions were most important.
"Thank you all." Molly sniffed and straightened, trying to put on a brave face for the children.
She led them to the living room and they sat down on the couch. Harry put his head in his hands. "How could we have not known?.." The emotional strain stained his voice.
"I'm so sorry Mum.." Ron's eyes turned from disbelief shock to visible self hatred. His voice more aggressive. "If only I had paid more attention I would have seen-"
"Stop." Molly put her hands on their shoulders and sniffed. "No what-ifs okay? We-.. We can't go back and-" Her eyes turned hauntingly distant.
After a dinner that started out silent and awkward to fully of wistful happy stories about a young Ginny and a toast in her honour, the children went to an resentful sleep.
In the morning, it was revelled Molly and Arthur had spent the night sleepless. Staying awake and going though Ginny's things. Reliving memories and trying to reconnect with and learn more about their lost daughter one last time. When the box and potion were discovered, the twins admitted their sister sent them requests. Soon a journal and love notes were found filled with writings for her longing for Harry. What started out as a harmless crush and fantasies soon showed to have blown into full out stalking and creepy cryptic scribblings about plans to get Harry to fall for her. Many attempts made and every moment spent together documented. As well as her rage and jealousy for any girl who looked at him, especially a certain type of hatred for Hermione. Fantasy's of kidnapping, torture and murder evident for the young genius.
Hermione was thoroughly freaked and disgusted. Ron, his brothers and father were traumatized at how sick her murder fantasies could get. Harry was full of regret and blamed himself. Molly was furious and inconsolable, realizing her daughter had been going down hill for a long while in her obsession. Furious she hadn't noticed it when she should. Luna felt justified. Luna felt glad.
"My fault." Harry sighed as he drank his beer that Arthur had provided everyone the following evening.
"No it wasn't Harry." Luna placed a hand on his knee.
"If I had just talked to her. I knew she had a crush on me but I just.. I just played along.. How sick is that?" Harry spat at himself.
"It was you-know-whos. He messed her up not you!"
"I should have realized something was wrong! And I should have saved her! Fixed her!"
"Harry." Luna gazed into his eyes, as he gazed on unfocused. "Even someone as amazing and kind as you can't save everyone."
Their was a funeral honouring Ginny's life. Everyone attended, even Charlie. Everyone supported Molly and Arthur. Hermione held strong for Ron during the ceremony, and Luna held Harry's arm and rested her head against him during the proceeding.
By the time they had returned to Hogwarts, they were quite behind in school work. Ron dropped the semester, knowing he'd never make it up and wasn't in the right state of mind to even attempt to force himself. Besides, he wasn't that bright and school motivated at the best of times.
Molly was severely against it at first, arguing for Ron's education, however she realized he was in no state to keep going. She didn't want another depressed child to be driven over the edge by the stress of school work. Also it was good for the family to be together in dark times such as these.
So, Harry, Hermione, Luna, Lavender as well as Ginny's friends that had shown up, had returned without him.
Hermione drowned out her emotions by digging through the coursework. Even more so than usual for the brainiac. She pulled Harry into it and soon they were burrowing their conflicting emotions in books.
Luna was glad that Hermione was helping Harry move on. She'd bring them food from the Hall whenever they'd be to spaced out in their own thoughts and work to realize the time.
This was all great and fine until eventually Luna was later than usual as she was confronted by Dumbledore, while on her way out of the Great Hall with two trays of dinner.
"Ah, Ms. Lovegood. A moment if you please?" His calm elderly voice asked.
"Of course, anything you need Professor! A pleasure to see you!"
"Like wise my dear, however I'm been having trouble seeing someone else."
"Oh?" Luna tilted her head. Why wouldn't anyone want to see Dumbledore? He's amazing!
"Have you seen Mister Potter around?" His eyes looked down at the dinner trays knowingly.
"Oh yes! I was on my way to see him now!"
"Good can you relay a message that we have important things to discuss?" An eye quirked.
"Of course, Sir!" Luna replied happily.
"Good, good. The password is toffee." His eyes twinkled and he was gone.
Luna went off to find Harry and Hermione in the usual study area, except this time she caught the two alone in the corner of the library's hidden and out of the way restricted section's side area reserved for Prefects, making out and getting rather touchy feely. Their shirts off.
Luna's insides turned and stomach knotted, but she just plastered on a innocent smile. "Harry!"
The two bolted straight in their seats caught, faces red. "Luna!"
"You're here early with the food." Hermione stated after she cleared her throat and avoided eye contact.
"Actually I'm late!" Luna grinned with pretend ignorance and looked to Harry. "Dumbledore wants to see you."
"Oh right.." Harry sighed as he put on and straightened his dress shirt. "I-I forgot.. Hopefully it's not about occlumency lessons with Snape." Harry gave an awkward 'Ha'.
"The password is toffee." She reminded as he left, leaving Luna and Hermione alone in awkward silence.
Hermione began getting her shirt back on as gracefully and pridefully as she could under the circumstances. "You're.. You're not going to tell anyone, right?"
"Tell anyone what?" Luna replied dumbly.
"He hasn't been going to occlumency?" Luna asked warily.
Hermione breathed out a breath of relief at the change of topic. "No.. Professor Snape's been.. Difficult.."
"He doesn't think Harry can get it. His mind isn't disciplined enough."
"So.. He's distracted..."
Hermione looked back to her work. "It's much more complicated then that, but yes."
Luna's eyes stared straight into Hermione. Your the distraction, she thought to herself.
She smiled. "Speaking of Professor Snape, Hermione, I was wondering if you can help me with my potions assignment?"
Hermione looked up curious. "Sure.. After the whole Elf incident and well.. Yeah, I owe you one, Luna."
"Oh, Thank you, Hermione."
"What's your assignment?"
"That's a tricky one. We better get started." Hermione stated as she began packing up her notes.
Felix Felicis, or liquid luck is very difficult to make. A disaster if attempted wrong, and even if done right, toxic in high quantities. Regardless of the outcome, that's what Luna was counting on..
"Hermione, you care for knowledge above all else, right?" Luna asked as the pot's contents magically stirred in a golden deadly whirlpool.
"I care for friends above knowledge, Luna." Hermione answered her Ravenclaw friend curious, "But knowledge is very important to me, yes."
"Then you'd do anything for your friends?"
Luna's eyes gazed at the gold. Her mind ran with questions. "What if someone was a bad influence?... And was ruining a friends education? What if someone cared much for that person, but couldn't see the wrong? What if it was for their own good? For the good of the entire wizarding world?"
Hermione stared at Luna, she may have responded but Luna didn't see or hear. She could only hear the voices in her head telling her she knew what she had to do.
After all.. It was all for the good of Harry, right?
As the next night approached, Harry was in conference with Dumbledore, Hermione was at the back of the potions room, checking on their work. Luna had already checked this morning.. A sample when it wasn't ready..
"Hey Hermione." She looked up to Luna's bright ginning face. A tray of food and a large mug hot chocolate, whip cream and sprinkles that covered the liquid beneath, that held a decorated straw. "Dinner's here."
"Oh thanks, Luna." She took the offering. "Dessert?" She asked indicating the special drink.
"Just a special thanks for the help you've done."
"No problem, we all have to pull together after-.." She looked down at the thought of Ginny. Then changed the subject. "I'm sorry about before with S.P.E.W... I shouldn't have gotten upset."
"It's fine.. We all have thoughts and opinions that are hard to get rid of.." Some thoughts can be dark.. Obsessive even..
Hermione nodded and took a sip of her mug and began talking potions babble.
Soon after, when all the food and drink were gone, and Hermione had slowly began to not feel well, she collapsed, and Luna walked away nonchalant.
Luna's mental voices spoke in choir. This will keep Harry focused.. Will keep him safe.. Will get him ready to survive when you know who comes.. No distractions.
Luna knew she would protect Harry Potter.
The voices told her so.
Luna felt justified.
Luna got pudding.
Luna loved pudding.
Luna scooped out a large helping of pudding and brought the spoon to Harry's mouth.
He gazed distant and impassive as he was fed. He was strapped down to a chair in a dimly lit flooded cellar.
She had invited him to her and her fathers house under the guise of training and he had accepted to avoid the abusive Dursleys. Little did he know he'd never leave her side again.
Luna's father had accepted it as well. His contact had told him that his daughter was a target for kidnapping and in desperation gotten a transport key to a place far removed from civilization. The best place to go was a flooded abandoned village in Japan. Luna had forced Harry to come with, now Mr. Lovegood couldn't let him leave with potential to expose their hideout.
Luna stroked Harry's face. "Don't worry sweetie. I'm here. He'll never find you in this place. I told you I'd keep you safe."
She stroked his hair and sighed as her fingers traced over his mark that burned.
"The Dark Lord, Professor Snape, the Dursleys, and Dumbledore's schemes will never hurt you again." Luna smiled.
Luna wrapped her arms around Harry's neck and pressed her cheek against the back of his head.
Luna felt justified.
Luna felt happy.
Luna loved Harry.
Luna was never going to let him go.