There was a kitten on the battlefield, that is to say, on the Quidditch pitch, and Luna couldn't bear to watch it die.
Who knows what the Dementors might do to it? she thought, Transfiguring her wand into a broom and then straddling it.
"Where are you going?" Ginny called frantically after her, as Luna kicked off from the blackened stones of the Astronomy Tower and sped through the air toward the spiky ball of fluff that was the frightened kitten.
She flew jerkily because of how quickly she had to turn at times to aim her wand-cum-handle at various Dementors, and was pleased that she could still send forth her Patronus to wrap its suckered arms around each of the foul things which sought to waylay her.
Her Giant Squid-inspired Patronus was always reliable. No one, certainly not a Dementor, ever knew how to handle it.
Luna's happy thought, that of her mother singing to her, helped her withstand the dark spectres hovering around her long enough to fly low over the kitten and scoop it up by its scruff—and then she rushed headlong for the Forbidden Forest.
The sounds of battle faded, leaving only those of the furiously mewing kitten, which was orange and white and warm.
"Let's have a look at you," Luna told it, after she'd landed and turned her broom back into her wand. "Good. You're not hurt."
The kitten hissed and swiped at Luna's face.
"Stop that, young man! Is that any way to treat your rescuer?"
Struggling out of her hands, the kitten landed on its paws and shook itself, and then it began to transform.
"Oh! An Animagus!" Luna exclaimed, clapping her hands together as orange fur became hair, and whiskers thickened into a gingery beard. "You're Percy Weasley!"
Glaring at her, Percy demanded, "Why'd you take me out of battle?"
"But you weren't fighting."
"I was—I was trying to . . . to—what was I? It's not clear."
Luna smiled gently down at Percy. "Did you mean to become a lion?"
"Wasn't I one?"
"Oh dear, I'm afraid not. You were fuzzy, if that's any consolation," she said, reaching out to touch Percy's disorderly hair. "How long have you been practicing? And do you really think it was a good idea to be practicing in the middle of a fight?"
"Miss Lovegood—that is your name?"
"What was I?"
"A kitten, Per—Mr. Weasley," Luna replied, kneeling down next to him. "Perhaps you've just not been practicing enough."
Percy hung his head. "I can't do anything right, it seems."
"Bitterness will interfere with your centering, you know, which will make it much more difficult to take the form you desire—at least, that's what I've read."
"Thank you, I'm sure, but I need," Percy began to say, while he patted himself down, "to get back out there. I won't be called a coward for run—my wand! Did you bring it?"
"I only brought you. Shouldn't you have your—oh. You must have dropped it before you Transformed."
"DAMN IT!" Percy yelled, pushing himself to his feet. "Can nothing go the way I need it to?"
"Apparently not," a harsh voice said then, as the hooded, masked figure of a Death Eater moved into the small clearing in which Luna and Percy were standing to threaten them with his wand. "Too easy. Two children," he spat.
Percy turned to face the Death Eater, leaping in front of Luna as he did so, and she took the opportunity of the shelter he provided to draw her wand.
"Leave her alone. She's not for you!"
The Death Eater laughed. "Don't worry, Weasley. We can share her," he, for Luna knew at least that much about him, said, as he pushed back his hood and pulled off his mask. "Selfish of you, keeping spoils all to yourself."
"Malfoy, the Dark Lord said no pureblood students were to be harmed."
Luna blinked in surprise at Percy's words—and conjured a bag of catnip to pour over his head. Exactly the reaction I was hoping for, she thought, as he began to roll in the leaves.
"Clever of you," Malfoy said, "not that it will do you any good."
Luna forced herself to smile as brightly as possible. "What good would it have done me to share myself with that?" she remarked, pointing her wand at the preoccupied Percy. "Did you know he was cowering on the field instead of doing the Dark Lord's bidding?"
"You're not a Death Eater, Miss Lovegood."
"Not yet I'm not, but I think I might easily become one, once the Dark Lord learns from you how I captured Weasley." Swallowing, she took a step forward. "You will vouch for me, won't you?" she asked, falling to her knees before Malfoy.
His lip curled—upward, and he lowered his wand. "Show me just how useful you can be, girl."
Why does fighting arouse some men? Luna wondered, making herself laugh. "My pleasure," she said, pushing open the wizard's robes and undoing his trousers. "Oh, you were ready to 'share', weren't you?" she asked, allowing her eyes to widen in apparent admiration as she gazed on Malfoy's penis before sucking it into her mouth.
It was important, Luna had known since she was a Fourth Year, to make boys believe they were impressive in these sorts of situations.
And when one concentrates on their 'impressiveness', they tend to forget things, she thought, sucking even harder as she heard the low growling rising from behind her. Oh, good. He's not bitter anymore. He's furious.
Of course, it occurred to Luna a bit too late that Percy might be angry with her, but she held onto hope and began to manipulate Malfoy's testicles to further distract him—and herself—from what was coming.
When it did come, Luna fell back and gagged, spitting out the rush of urine that had filled her mouth as Malfoy died. Turning her head, she saw his—not far from his body, which Percy, in the form of a rather welcome though fearsome-looking lion, was eating.
Quietly, Luna patted the ground until her hand found her wand, and then she crept backward on her hands and knees toward a tree.
Lion-Percy looked up at her then, blood dripping from his maw, and tensed as if in preparation of springing at her. Luna wasted no time in casting a levitation charm upon herself and rushed upward toward a branch well out of his reach. For good measure, she Accio'd Malfoy's wand to herself, as well, lest Percy change back and attempt to hurt her with it.
"Good kitty," she said hopefully, wiping her mouth. "That is, are you a good kitty? A spy, I mean? But do you really want to eat him? I can't think you're actually enjoying that act of cannibalism."
For once, it seemed to Luna that she'd said the right thing, because Percy did Transform then, only to begin vomiting with great violence.
Luna peered down at him, concerned, but remained up her tree. It was the safest option, she felt.
"I am so . . . sorry that happened to you, Miss Lovegood. Rest assured . . . I will never speak of it," Percy promised.
"Do you need help?" she asked, and Percy uttered an exclamation that was something between a laugh and a sob; Luna couldn't be certain. I feel like doing both, myself, but I think he must be good, or he wouldn't have apologized to me. Gentlemen always apologize, don't they?
"I . . . I don't know. This is all terribly, horribly wrong."
"Well, no, it isn't. We're alive and he's dead and I think the fighting may have stopped. Listen," Luna urged Percy, as she levitated herself down from the tree.
"What are you doing?" Percy asked, not appearing to listen as he watched her re-fasten Malfoy's trousers.
"Well, you see, you just saved me from a Death Eater," Luna replied, Scourgifying her hands before pulling a small pad of paper and a quill from her robes and beginning to write busily. "And in the interest of our readers' delicate sensibilities, there are some facts I'm going to leave out of the story."
"You're . . . you're planning an article for The Quibbler? Now?"
Luna giggled nervously as she felt herself begin to shiver. "I'll be leaving Hogwarts s—soon, you know," she said, blinking back relieved tears, and I can't m—make a living . . . servicing men, now c—can I?"
"Oh, Miss—Luna," Percy said fervently, gathering her into his arms. "It's all right now, brave girl. You're safe with me."
"Percy!" a familiar voice called then. "What are you—Luna?"
"Ron, Miss Lovegood needs attention," Percy said, instantly becoming, Luna thought, masterfully calm. "There's been an . . . incident."
"He s—saved me," Luna told them, as Ginny and several Aurors followed Ron into the clearing. "Percy's a hero."
Luna's father was so proud of her for getting her story and not dying for it that he made her an assistant editor the day she left Hogwarts, and, the same day, as she walked into her office for the first time, she found a carton cut with air holes on her desk.
"That fine gentleman, Mr. Weasley, he left this for you, my dear," her father said, leaving Luna alone with her present.
There was a card. It read:
"Thank you for your exercise in editorial discretion. The spell with which you credited me, the 'Spell of Gnashing Mouths', has ensured that my secret will remain secure until such time as I am able to apply for the appropriate license. I am in your debt, and I owe you one kitten.
"I will, of course, naturally wish to see you at some convenient time in the near future to ensure that you and your kitten are getting on well.
"P. I. Weasley"
Luna smiled. You're right, Dad. He's the finest of gentlemen, isn't he? she thought, as she opened the carton to reveal a tiny sleeping orange and white kitten. Picking him up—for she suspected and quickly confirmed that Percy would have ensured the male sex of his offering—she said, "Hello . . . Iggy. We're going to be very good friends. I just know it."
On that same day in the years following her receipt of Percy's gift, Luna received—or rather it would be more correct to say that Iggy received—a bag of particularly potent catnip. It was how Luna and Percy elected to remember the end of the war, and a pleasant way for the Weasleys to remember the beginning of their own friendship.