“Do you think this is meant to be Professor McGonagall?”
“It’s a very striking likeness.”
Ginny looked up from her Charms homework to see what Luna was talking about, but found that Luna wasn’t in her seat any longer. In fact, Luna had apparently vanished entirely from their table in the corner of the library.
Ginny frowned and looked around for Luna, but couldn’t see anyone else in the library besides Hermione scribbling away at a seven foot roll of parchment with intense concentration, a table all to herself and her leaning towers of textbooks, and a table of sixth year Ravenclaws whispering amongst each other as though trying to decide whether or not to risk their lives snatching a book from Hermione’s hoard. They’d been at this for an hour now and Hermione’s mood hadn’t lightened any, which meant that Ron and Lavender must have done something particularly cutesy today and the safe window the Ravenclaws were waiting for wasn’t going to appear anytime soon.
Ginny opened her mouth to call out to Luna, wherever she’d managed to vanish to in the time it took a person to blink, but then she noticed that Colin, who was sitting across from her with his own Charms homework spread over their table, was peering underneath the table.
Luna was sitting on the floor, cross-legged beneath their table, her homework abandoned on the table above her. She beamed at Ginny half-joining her and Colin in this new, yet-to-be-explored world she’d discovered instead of working. Then she pointed at the underside of the table.
“Doesn’t that look like Professor McGonagall?” Luna said.
Ginny shifted to lean down as far as she could without leaving her seat, then squinted to get a look at what Luna was talking about. The underside of the library tables usually didn’t have much beside carved initials and the rare pieces of gum that made it past Madam Pince, but somebody had apparently – scandalously, incredibly – found the time and courage to draw a detailed picture of Professor McGonagall in her animagus form.
It was very clearly McGonagall too, not just because it was a very well-drawn tabby cat with square markings around the eyes, but because it bore a striking, lifelike likeness to the witch. It had a very formidable stare for a cat, and an even more formidable stare for an unmoving drawing underneath a library desk.
“It does look like Professor McGonagall,” Colin said, delighted, wriggling around in his seat to grab his camera and get a picture of the artwork. Once he had his camera, he flopped down on the ground next to Luna’s knees to get a good angle.
“NO PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE LIBRARY, MR. CREEVEY.”
“Sorry, Miss! Won’t happen again!” Colin promised to the out-of-sight librarian, completely unrepentant, wriggling back into his seat with his prize in hand and a grin on his face. “I’m gonna show this to Dennis, he’ll love it.”
Luna, meanwhile, remained on the floor, staring up at the drawing on the underside of the desk.
“Colin,” she said. “Can I borrow one of your markers?”
“Sure,” Colin said, without question. He reached into his bag for a permanent marker and passed it to Luna, who immediately uncapped it and reached up to put it to the desk’s underside.
“Wow, we’re living the rebellious life today,” Ginny said, putting her arms and head down on the empty chair beside her to watch. “Who even cares about that Charms problem set due tomorrow anyway?”
“I’m done,” Luna said simply.
Ginny’s eyes met Colin’s under the table, and then they both launched themselves up and towards Luna’s finished homework. True to her word, Luna’s homework was completed – and not just completed, but decorated in hundreds of intricate swirls in a way that announced she’d been done for quite some time. The ink color, Ginny noticed, of the answers didn’t match that of her art or of any of the inkwells she’d brought.
“You were done when I invited you to join us, weren’t you?” Ginny said.
Luna’s dreamy voice floated up from underneath the table to reveal: “I wanted to be social.”
Ginny sighed, but went back to work on her own problem set, as did Colin, trading Luna’s homework back and forth to check their answers. It took them another hour to finish the problem set completely, which would teach Ginny and Colin to put off their homework for Quidditch and photography hikes respectively. By the time they were done, even Hermione had left to get ready for dinner, her seven foot parchment roll and several textbooks under her arms, and the Ravenclaws were almost done with the textbooks Hermione had actually left behind and that they’d descended upon like starving vultures.
“Done!” Colin cheered, slamming his textbook shut.
“VOLUME, MR. CREEVEY,” Madam Pince reprimanded from deeper in the library.
“SORRY, MISS. WON’T HAPPEN AGAIN.”
Ginny stretched her stiff limbs and groaned, she couldn’t tell if she wanted to gnaw her own hand off because it hurt so much or because she was just that hungry. She packed up her own parchment, textbook, and writing supplies, then put her head down on the chair next to her to see how things were going on the underside of the table.
“Very well, thanks,” Luna said, capping her marker. “What do you think?”
Next to the CatGonagall drawing, Luna had drawn a very short crow with wildly fluffy feathers and an expression of bright, surprised delight. It had its wings spread wide and high, like a conductor.
“Is that Flitwick?” Colin said, wearing his own delighted expression.
Luna grinned, clearly pleased with herself. “Professor Flitwick doesn’t have an animagus form that we know of, so I had to pick an animal that might suit him. Crows are terribly clever, you know, with excellent memories.”
“It’s pretty perfect,” Ginny agreed, grinning back.
“It’s amazing!” Colin said, wriggling for his camera again. “I need another picture.”
“Thank you for letting me borrow your marker, Colin.”
“Oh, no! You keep it! This is a way better use than I would have put it to!” Colin insists, flopping onto the floor. “This is great. Dennis is gonna love it.”
“IT WON’T HAPPEN AGAIN, MISS.”
They were back in the library again next week, because Ginny had made a promise to herself to stay on top of her homework for once. Quidditch was life, Quidditch was love, but her mum would not be loving it if Ginny threw the rest of her school life away so she could pursue her destiny of badass flying and kicking butt.
Of course, because Ginny had picked Colin Creevey and Luna Lovegood as her study partners, actual studying and homework was thrown aside within the first five minutes. They took everything out, all their textbooks and writing supplies, and were totally ready to start their homework when Colin realized they were sitting at the same table as last week and wondered what had happened to the drawing.
Of course, because they were all them, they had to check. Much to surprise and delight all around, the drawing on the underside of the table – CatGonagall and Crowwick – hadn’t been viciously eliminated by Madam Pince (which could only mean she hadn’t found it yet). It was still there and…
“There’s another one!” Colin said, bubbling with delight and immediately wriggling for his camera.
Next to CatGonagall and Crowwick, someone (the same person as before, it had to be, with the same style) had added a plump wild pig, smaller than CatGonagall but much larger than Crowwick, with curly hair and rosy cheeks. The pig was sitting in a mud puddle, with a torn-up dandelion in its mouth, and beaming up towards the cat.
“Who do you think it is?” Luna said, smiling.
“Professor Sprout!” Colin said, flopping onto the floor and raising his camera. “It has to be.”
Ginny scoffed and corrected very loftily, “I think you mean Professor Snout.”
Colin laughed and Luna giggled.
They waited for Madam Pince’s indignant shout, but they ended up waiting for a very long and very awkward moment, before Colin finally said,
“I think she’s in the Restricted Section at the moment.”
“I think there’s one missing,” Luna said, scooching under the table and settling in with her legs crossed. “Colin, do you have another marker?”
They did get some homework done in the end, but that was hardly important next to the bat that ended up scowling down its large nose at them from next to Crowwick. It was a tall and gloomy-looking thing, even taller than CatGonagall, with long wings and black eyes and greasy looking fur on its ears.
Ginny had dubbed it Bat Git.
She could probably be cleverer about the name, but she didn’t really feel like it.
Besides, Ginny was soon busy being chased out of the library, since Madam Pince had finally snapped and tried to confiscate Colin’s camera. The fight had been gruesome. Colin would later go down in history as possibly the only person to win against Madam Pince’s powers of confiscation – “MY KINGDOM FOR MY CAMERA, MISS. IT WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN, I PROMISE.” – but the price of that was that he and Ginny, who’d fought with him to distract the formidable librarian from Luna still drawing on the underside of the table, got banned from the library for the next week.
Ginny didn’t mean to forget about the drawings on the underside of the table, but she had others things on her mind that took precedence, so before she really knew it, two weeks had passed since her library ban had ended. In those three weeks, she hadn’t given them much thought. She was unfairly preoccupied with classes, Quidditch, and how stupidly good-looking Harry was after Quidditch practice in the rain, clothing soaked and water dripping down his jaw.
She and Luna didn’t get much opportunity to hang out outside of class and meals. They mostly talked about class and Quibbler articles when they had the time to sit together. Ginny didn’t remember the drawings to prompt Luna about them and Luna could be oddly silent about some things, like they didn’t even exist, unless specifically prompted or reminded that they did exist, so a certain library table just… never happened to come up.
Plus, there had been some… other stuff too. Like Ron and Lavender’s increasingly rocky relationship, Ron and Hermione’s increasingly explosive friendship, and Lavender and Hermione’s increasingly frosty interactions as roommates. Or whatever. Admittedly, Ginny hadn’t really been paying attention to whatever the fuck that was, but it had definitely been A Thing and was annoyingly distracting.
It was all therefore a little surprising to Ginny to come across Luna underneath the library table again, when she came to return the books she’d made one of her roommates check out for her. She hadn’t thought that Luna might return to the library table without her and Colin.
“Hey, Lune-Moon,” Ginny said, leaning down to look at her friend.
“Hey,” Luna echoed.
She was sitting cross-legged and had one of Colin’s permanent markers in her lap, but she wasn’t drawing. Instead, Luna was just staring at the underside of the table, not even looking away to glance at Ginny, much less meet Ginny’s eyes. Which was just fine, really, because that was Luna, but Ginny thought there was something especially thought-absorbed about Luna’s staring here.
Ginny dropped to her hands and knees so she could crawl underneath the table with Luna. “What’s been going on underside while I’ve been gone?”
“Stuff,” Luna said.
Ginny turned around and sat, then looked up and felt her mouth drop open a little. The entire underside of the table was covered in drawings now. Amazing, incredible, gorgeous drawings of an entire menagerie of animals in two different but complimentary styles.
“Some stuff,” Ginny said, awed. “Lune-Moon, this is amazing.”
Ginny raised a hand to trace some of the beautifully clever and creative creatures, starting with a short and scrawny-looking owl that had enormous eyes reminiscent of bottle-end goggles, puffy feathers around the head, and a spacey, tottering look. One of Luna’s drawings, clearly.
“That’s Professor Treowlney,” Luna said.
Ginny moved her hand to an enormous dog, larger than any of the other animals, with fur that was so wild and so long that its most distinct feature was perhaps that its features couldn’t be seen. Its tongue lolled, though, and it still somehow looked happy exactly as it was. It even might have been a bear, but it was hard to tell.
“Professor Doggrid?” Ginny asked.
“I like to think of him as Professor Howlgrid, actually,” Luna mused.
Then there was a tall, dignified, wizened bird with half-moon markings around its twinkling eyes, the hint of a smile around its beak, and flamboyant feathers. It might have been a phoenix, but it also might have been an augurey. It might not have been any specific bird at all. Whatever bird it was, the drawing of one of Luna’s and she introduced it only as “Headmaster Featherfore”.
The other artist had countered with a very pretty mouse, all wide eyes and sleek fur and a skittering, curious look, that could have only been Professor Babbling. She was tiny next to the massive Doggrid, but none the less detailed or expressive, her little paws were clearly clenching and unclenching in anxious excitement.
“Professor Squeaking,” Luna supplied. “She’s my favorite.”
Ginny couldn’t have picked a favorite. They were all her favorites and she said as much.
Though, admittedly, she might have had a soft spot for the line of Defense teachers. It started off of the free space next to the Bat Git, with a nervous looking squirrel clearly on the edge of running (the other artist). Next to that was a silly, flattered peacock with beautiful but floppy feathers (Luna), a kindly and tired-looking wolf (the other artist), and a ragged, fur-on-end badger with wild, mismatched eyes and a peg leg (Luna). The last of the line of D.A.D.A. teachers, a drawing by the other artist, might have been a contender for Ginny’s favorite though: it was a particularly stout, smug, and hideous toad, which had an equally hideous bow that was nearly as big as it was.
They moved through every animal together and when they got to the end, Ginny didn’t know what to say. As she’d moved through the animals, she’d noticed little notes scribbled underneath claws and feathers, between Luna and whoever her new friend was. They were cute, friendly, funny, filled with compliments and suggestions for titles and nicknames and other professors.
Something about the other person’s handwriting seemed familiar, though Ginny couldn’t immediately place it.
“Do you know who they are?” Ginny asked.
“No,” Luna said. “I don’t think they know who I am either. They haven’t asked.” There was something wistful and a little bit lonely in Luna’s voice, before it was pulled back and placed carefully under dreamy understanding. “I haven’t asked either. It might be rude; they might like their privacy.”
“Hmm,” Ginny said.
“It’s fun like this. It all feels very mysterious.”
Ginny made an agreeable noise, still thinking things over. Then she asked the truly important question:
“Has Colin gotten a picture of this yet?”
“I don’t think so.”
“We should go get him, he’ll love this.”
“Did that writing look familiar to you?” Ginny asked, after Colin had complimented Luna’s work to pieces and eagerly taken dozens of pictures.
At least, that’s what Ginny assumed happened, since Luna had been bright red with delighted embarrassment by the time Colin had given the signal he was finished and that Ginny could stop distracting Madam Pince. Also, Colin was, as a rule, possibly the nicest and most sincere person that Ginny had ever met. Presumably complimented beyond bearing, Luna had hurried off, still red, saying something about supper being soon and needing to return her drawing supplies to her room.
Colin hummed, fingers rubbing over his camera. “A little bit.”
“Who is it?” Ginny asked, because if anyone had the visual recognition to pinpoint the writing and the art style, it was Colin.
As delighted that Ginny was that Luna had found and was making a friend, there was always the chance it could unfortunately, somehow, be a complete fucking dickhead. If this had the potential to end in someone making fun of Loony Lovegood, then Ginny was going to do her best to keep Luna from hurting. Luna’s reluctance at meeting her drawing partner said it all and made Ginny angry enough.
“Well, I’m not sure, but…”
“I bet you Seamus can tell you for sure.”
Ginny tilted her head, thinking this over, trying to recall various Quidditch banners over the years.
“Huh,” she said.
“I can’t wait to show these to Dennis,” Colin said happily. “He’s gonna freak.”
Ginny talked to Seamus, who apparently had a similar sort of puzzle going on and recognized the tracing of Luna’s mystery friend’s handwriting immediately. He cursed a lot about Ancient Runes homework that he knew hadn’t existed and complete dickheads of lying best friends, then gave Ginny exactly what she wanted, before he stormed off. Ginny didn't follow him, assuming that he probably went to let off some steam by either blowing stuff up or blowing himself up.
Ginny walked right by Ron and Lavender snogging, Harry and Hermione arguing over a book, and an angry-looking Pavarti playing chess with a nervous-looking Neville who clearly didn’t want to be dragged into any of this. She didn’t have time for any of that; she had to get to the library for some reconnaissance.
Sixth-years were ridiculous.
“Ginny, I have class very soon.”
“I know, but we have to visit the library right now,” Ginny said, as she led Luna exactly there. “What I’m looking for is only going to be there at a specific time, which is now, so we have to go now.”
“How mysterious,” Luna said.
They entered the library, ignoring Madam Pince’s suspicious glare towards Ginny, clearly determined to know what mischief this Weasley was up to now. Ginny wasn’t willing to get caught in an interrogation, so she held her head high in a way that would have made Fred and George proud, and led Luna towards their table in the corner of the library.
“The books aren’t usually this way, Ginny.”
“I know, I’m not looking for a book.”
“How very mysterious,” Luna said placidly. “What then are we looking f-?”
Luna’s eyes went wide with surprise when she caught sight of someone underneath their table, and Ginny had to reign in a particular smug feeling. She gently took Luna’s hand and tugged her friend towards the mysterious artist hiding underneath a table and hard at work on the underside.
The person under the table froze as they approached, but it was no use, not only had he been seen, but they were looking for him in particular. Ginny grinned a particularly sharp smile as she leaned down to look underneath the table.
“Hiya, Dean. How’s’it?”
“Uh, hey, Ginny. Not bad. How’re you?”
Dean made a poor effort to hide his pen. “This, um, isn’t what it looks like.”
“Hmm, well… Luna, I supposed this isn’t Dean Thomas, then, the person who’s been drawing a zoo of professors underneath a table with you for the past month.”
Luna leaned to look underneath the table, a little pink in the cheeks.
“Hello, Not Dean Thomas.”
Dean looked at Luna with wide eyes.
“Oh,” he said. “Hi.”
Dean tried to get to his feet, but all his long limbs could barely fit under the table as it was. With a bit of struggling and a lot of awkwardness, and a few incidents with the chairs, he managed to pull himself free of the table and stand so he could offer Luna a hand in greeting. He looked very embarrassed, so much so that he really looked like he’d rather crawl back underneath the table, but he stood firm.
“It’s nice to meet you, Luna,” he said.
Luna looked up at him, something that would give her a crick in the neck if she did it too much, given how tall Dean was and how small she was. It took her a few seconds, but she reached out to take Dean’s hand too and smiled in an uncertain way that was a little bit breathtaking.
“It’s nice to meet you, Not Dean Thomas,” Luna said, as they shook. “I like your drawings.”
Dean smiled back, unsure, clearly a little bit breath-taken. “Thanks. I really like yours," he said. "And it’s just Dean, by the way, to friends.”