“Hello, Harry Potter.”
As Harry brought his arms down he paused awkwardly part way through and stared. “Luna?”
Luna gave him an amused smile. “Were you expecting someone else?”
Harry stared slack-jawed at the woman in front of him. “Luna?” he asked again, softer this time.
“Hi, Harry,” she said, smiling softly.
After what would probably have been an uncomfortable length of silence for most people later, Harry managed to wrap his brain around the fact that Luna, his Luna, was standing in his living room.
“How did you get here? Why are you here? I can’t believe it’s really you. It is you, right? I’m not just making this up? Merlin, I think that book hit me harder than I thought.” Harry frowned and rubbed the bump he still had on his head. Winky had refused to get rid of it after she had caught him trying to sneak out of bed before she gave her permission.
“I’m fairly certain it’s me. I don’t know who else I would be,” Luna said with complete sincerity.
“I can’t believe it’s you. You’re really here. It’s been so long and I…” First the book and now Luna… It was a bit much for Harry’s repressed emotions. And he had been doing so well…
Luna laughed. “Six months isn’t that long,” she said lightly. “Although I suppose it might feel…”
“Wait, six months? What do you mean? It’s been three and a half years?” Harry was confused. Not an entirely unusual state of being, but that didn’t mean it was one he particularly enjoyed.
Luna’s laugh died quickly. “What do you mean three years? Has it been three years here?”
“Three and a half, yeah. Wait, so does that mean… Is time moving faster here?”
Luna thought about that for a moment. “I suppose. Different universes don’t have to move at the same time, do they. It’s not like there’s a rule about it.”
Harry couldn’t argue with that. Mostly since he had no idea what the rules of alternate universes were, if there were in fact any to begin with.
“And Hermione did say you might have time travelled. Or ended up in a universe that was at a different time.” Luna got her “I’m a Ravenclaw and I will now figure out the universe” face. Harry had missed that face. “Well, I suppose the best place to start is the year. So what year is it?”
“Hmm… Oh, that reminds me…” Luna proceeded to pull out a piece of parchment from her pocket. “I think I was suppose to ask these first, but I’m sure it’s fine. Now, let’s see. Since it’s you I don’t have to ask a lot of these…”
Harry tried to peek over to see what was on the list. The writing was so tiny though… Probably Hermione’s doing then. Luna moved her finger down the lengthy list, and Harry was happy when she had nearly reached the bottom before starting.
“Ah. Here we go. You know, it really is lucky that I found you so fast. I wasn’t looking forward to trying to figure out if magic existed here. Now, who are you?”
“Mmhmm. Alright, and you are how old?”
Luna tilted her head for a moment. “I suppose you are older now. When did you get here?”
“April 12, 1989.”
“And what is the date now?”
“December 18, 1992.”
“That’s nice. Well, Hermione wanted me to ask you these other questions, but I don’t have a way to tell her the answers so you can tell me if you like, but I think we can just skip them.”
“Wait, you mean you can’t get back?”
Luna shrugged. “I’m not sure. Maybe there’s a way, but I haven’t found one yet. Have you?”
“Uh, no.” Harry grimaced. “So how did you get here then?”
“Same way as you of course.”
Of course. “You were playing, er, working in the Department of Mysteries too?”
“No. I just touched the same thing you did to come here. We sent the book a little bit before I came, and nothing exploded on this end so I thought it was safe enough to try. It did take them a while to figure out what had happened to you, you know. And even when I left no one was sure where, or when, it had taken you. A few of them were able to pinpoint your magical signature on it though, so we used that and hoped the book would come straight to you.”
“Yeah, well, it sure did that,” Harry said, rubbing his bump again with a small scowl. “SO why did you come? I mean, if there’s not a way back? What about your friends, and your dad, and, you know, everything?”
Luna smiled sadly. “Daddy died, and I didn’t want you to be alone too.”
Harry pulled her into a big hug. “I’m so sorry, Luna.” He held her tightly as a single tear feel from her eye.
After a moment he pulled away slightly so he could look her in the eye. “Luna, why did you come here?” he asked in a way that he hoped did not come across as unkind.
“Maybe it was my turn for an adventure,” Luna said, giving him a small smile.
Harry chuckled. “We might make a Gryffindor out of you yet.”
She rolled her eyes good-naturedly as he pulled into a hug once more.
“I’m so glad you’re here,” Harry murmured.
“Since when do you have a girlfriend?” came a voice from the doorway.
Harry and Luna both turned to face the intruder, Harry’s face perhaps a little redder than it was before.
“Uh, Barty, this is Luna. Luna, this is Barty.”
“Hello, Barty. I never got to meet the real you before,” Luna said, extending her hand to Barty.
Barty stared at Luna for a moment as if he was processing something… And then he got a look on his face as if he had just figured something big out. Harry did not like it.
“Wait, so you’re Luna Lovegood, and you know Harry?”
Barty seemed to be getting more and more excited by the second. Harry desperately wanted it to stop.
“So that means… And you are…” He turned towards Harry. “Wait, then how come you’re a boy and Ivy is a girl?”
Harry felt the twitch coming. Barty was too smart for Harry’s good.
That was it. Harry was kicking everyone else out his house. Luna could stay, of course. He had practically begged her to stay, though in the end she had agreed without too much trouble. Barty on the other hand? Out. Sirius? Out. Remus? Well it was his fault that Barty was here in the first place, so also out. The fact that Remus didn’t even live there didn’t matter. They were all getting kicked out.
Barty was too smart and he and Luna were getting along far too well. This was terrible. Harry hadn’t seen Luna in three and a half years, and now Barty was stealing all her attention. And Sirius was doing nothing to help, so therefore they were all out.
Harry wasn’t a huge fan of the way Barty put all the pieces together so quickly. He had figured out that Harry was from another universe, he had figured out that Ivy was this universe’s version go Harry, and he kept shooting knowing little glances Harry’s way. Harry wasn’t sure what it was Barty thought he knew, but he didn’t like it.
Sirius was confused. This lady that had apparently appeared à la yesterday’s book was from Harry’s universe, was the grown up version of Ivy’s friend of the same name, which, Sirius didn’t even want to think about how that was going to work. Oh, and she was maybe Harry’s girlfriend? Harry had not mentioned having a girlfriend before he ended up here, but the glares he was sending Barty’s way were of a rather familiar sort.
So yes, that was all a bit confusing, and Sirius would need to unpack all that later, but then there was the woman herself. Luna Lovegood. Sirius had been talking to her for forty minutes and he still had no idea what was going on. She was nice though, and Harry seemed happy (when he wasn’t busy sending mental daggers Barty’s way). Then a thought struck Sirius.
“Wait, does this mean you’re leaving?” he asked Harry.
“What? No. Why would you think that?”
“Well didn’t she come to get you?”
“Oh no, I’m staying. I don’t know of a way to get back to our world,” Luna said matter-of-factly.
Sirius opened his mouth a bit and then closed it and frowned. Okay, there had to be something going on between the two. But just in case, “so why did you come here?”
Harry shot him a glare but Sirius ignored it.
“To see Harry, of course.”
Yep. Definitely something going on.
Well, it had been a long time since they had last seen each other. So, Sirius did what every good wingman did. He abandoned his friend at the opportune moment, with subtly and strategy, and…
“Hey Barty, time to go. Let’s let the lovebirds catch up, shall we?”
As he pushed an amused Barty out the door had thought he heard someone choking on something. He momentarily thought about turning back to make sure everything was okay, but Harry was a competent wizard and from his brief experience with Luna (and Harry’s past descriptions of her), he was fairly certain she was more than capable herself. So, putting aside his concerns, he continued pushing Barty, all the way to the apparition point.
Harry could thank him later.
As happy as Harry was that Sirius and Barty were finally leaving Luna alone, he did have to wonder where the fire was. It was really warm in here.
“Look, Luna, I’m really sorry about them.”
“Oh it’s alright. They seem sweet.”
Harry wanted to argue that no, they were terrible people, but that would mean arguing with Luna and he didn’t want to do that so he just nodded reluctantly.
“They were cute.”
Sirius had better not show his face here ever again.
“They obviously care about you a lot.”
Oh. Well that was a little better, he supposed.
“Still, I’m sorry about them. And what they, um, what Sirius…”
Luna laughed softly. “You don’t need to apologize.”
Harry joined her in laughing. “I’m so happy you’re here, Luna. I missed you.”
“I missed you too.”
Lucius came to an abrupt halt. “How did you get in here?”
“I’m family. Narcissa added me to the wards ages ago.”
Lucius felt his eye twitch.
“Malfoy,” came the voice of the second intruder.
Lucius was certain these two existed solely to torment him at this point. “I don’t want to know,” he muttered. “Narcissa is outside. Go bother her.”
“It’s cold outside.”
“Then use a… oh, forget it.”
For being smart the two current banes of his existence could be idiots.
“Lucius, come join us for tea.”
Lucius was always happy to see his wife. He was much less exited to see the two wizards with her.
“You’re still here?”
Black smiled smugly at him and Barty looked like he knew something. Then again, that was a normal expression for Barty to have. Stupid Ravenclaws.
With great reluctance Lucius sat down as Narcissa waved her wand for the tea to start pouring.
“So Sirius, tell us more about Harry’s girlfriend.”
Well maybe this afternoon wouldn’t be a complete waste after all…
“Okay, we have 65 and a half hours before the train leaves. How’s the plan coming along?”
Percy check over his notes. “All the second years seem fine, except for one, but apparently Smith is a bit of a drama queen, or so I’m told.”
“Who told you that?”
“Uh, Parkinson, Abbott, Brown, and Patil.”
“Gryffindor,” Percy said with a resigned sigh. “Did you know twelve year old girls could be so ruthless? Do you think they’re all like that? Were the girls in our year like that?”
Thomas sympathized, he really did. But, “don’t you have a sister? Shouldn’t you already know this?”
Percy’s face went a little pale. “They are.”
Thomas nodded. “I think so. Remember Sarah Marchand our first year?”
They both shuddered at the memory.
“Greenhouse Four was shut down for months after that.”
“Well, that’s the second years at least,” Thomas said, clearing his throat. “What else did you find?”
“I asked the twins about the fourth years. Seems most of them were content to follow along with what Ivy’s friends in that year had to say, so no worries there.”
“Wait, who else is she friends with in that year?”
Percy pulled out his ongoing Ivy’s friends list from his bag. “Let’s see, so far we’ve got, Fred, George, Lee, Angelina, Alicia, Higgs, Pucey, Diggory, Walker, and Holmwood.”
Thomas frowned at the last couple names. Diggory he knew from Marcus’s numerous quidditch talks, but…
“Both in Hufflepuff,” Percy added helpfully.
“Right, okay, so fourth years are good. Anything else?”
“Well sixth year Gryffs apparently decided that anything to do with Ivy was somehow Oliver’s and my job so… Yeah, pretty sure they couldn’t care less.”
“Same for Slytherin. Sort of. Mostly I think the girls find it all funny. Something about the ongoing plight of us sixth year guys? Not really sure.”
“Any luck with the other houses?”
“Not yet, but I don’t think most of them will care to be honest.”
Percy nodded. “Probably not. Alright, so that leaves us with… First, third, fifth, and seventh.”
“All the seventh years I saw yelled at me for disturbing them, so I don’t think they care all that much. At least not until tomorrow when they are officially done with the term.”
“And fifth years in Slytherin… Okay this one was split. About half of them think it’s really cool and have declared Ivy the new Slytherin mascot, and the other half also… don’t seem to care.”
Percy frowned. “That’s good though, right?”
“I guess,” Thomas said, shrugging. “But doesn’t it seem like there should be, I don’t know, more of a reaction to this?”
Percy nodded, leaning back in his chair. “Maybe because Lord Peverell was already discovered to be a Parselmouth? And Lord Slytherin? I mean, it might have made everyone a little more, I don’t know, blasé about the whole thing now?”
Thomas raised an eyebrow. “So you’re saying that because one other person was discovered to be a Parselmouth, that it’s what, not a big deal this time around? Old news and all that?”
Percy shrugged. “Not saying it is, just that it might be.” He paused and frowned for a minute. “I suppose you’ll hear more about it over the holiday. Maybe keep an ear out? Hear what kids go home and tell their parents about this?”
Thomas nodded. “Good idea. Okay, so what about the other fifth years?”
“They seem to be going with the sixth years on this one.”
“Not their problem?”
“Any luck with first or third years?”
“Well I asked Ginny about first years. She said that a lot of them were nervous about it at first but then saw that the second years all seemed fine with it, so at least in Gryffindor they are fine. A few comments about Ivy being the next dark lord or something but someone mentioned Lord Slytherin obviously already doing that so they apparently settled down after that.”
Thomas frowned. “Peverell is trying to be a dark lord.”
Percy shook his head. “Not that I’ve heard, but you know how people get with Slytherin and…” Percy gestured vaguely and Thomas nodded in understanding.
“I asked around about the first years and Kenneth said Ravenclaw and Slytherin firsties are all fine. I think he, uh, may have talked to a few of them.”
“And I think I probably don’t want to know.”
Thomas grimaced. “They’re the only real problems I’ve seen so far. Slytherin third years are a bit mixed. Obviously Claridge is going around spouting off that Ivy tried to kill him.”
“Pretty sure not, but to be fair I didn’t actually ask.”
“Fair enough. And the others?”
“Claridge has a few friends, mostly Slytherin and Ravenclaw from what I’ve gathered, that are taking his side, but the others seem mostly torn between wanting to express outrage of some kind and not wanting to get shown up by the first years.”
“Sounds a bit like Gryffindor then. The third years don’t want to be outdone by the firsties.”
“Any word on Hufflepuff?”
“Not much. I did hear that Scrivens yelled at some of them to stop whining about it until the term was officially over though. So maybe a bit mixed as well?”
“If Audrey yelled at them then I’m not worried,” Thomas said. “Remember third year?”
“Our third year?”
“Yeah. Our third, her fourth. When she yelled at all those seventh year Gryffindors?”
Percy chuckled. “Yeah. Charlie went on about that for at least a week.”
Thomas grinned. “Been my favorite Hufflepuff ever since.”
“So mix her distaste for the all-Slytherins-are-evil spiel and the fact that some kids were annoying her on the last day of the term and…”
“Like I said. Not worried.”
Percy laughed. “Yeah, makes sense. So, does that mean we’re all set then?”
“For now. We still have to wait to see what the reaction over the holiday is like. And the reaction from parents.”
Percy winced. “Yeah that might not go over so well with some of them…”
“No, I think they’ll be fine, they know Ivy. But some of the others, especially ones whose kids don’t know Ivy well or actually don’t like her…”
Thomas grimaced. “Yeah, well, I’ll keep an ear out. So I guess we need a plan for the new term then, huh? Just in case?”
“Yes. So here’s what I’m thinking. If we keep the gossip focused now, then…”