Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter etc etc. Please don't sue me!
Warnings: OOC (depending on perspective) and AU.
Now it is on with the story!
Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood were sitting in a quaint tea shop, sipping their drinks and eating the accompanying moist cake as they caught up.
Luna had contacted Ginny, deciding that she was probably her closest and most open-minded Gryffindor friend, to tell her some important news. While Luna knew that Ginny was a little self-centred, stubborn and perhaps not entirely respectful of her beliefs, Ginny was a friendly and loyal girl. Ginny had jumped at the offer to catch up, agreeing it had been far too long and that she had news to impart as well.
Since Ginny had arrived at the cafe, the redhead had been running through what was happening with the Golden Trio and herself in detail, while Luna fidgeted with her jewellery.
The ex-Gryffindor had divulged that she was still dating Harry and that they were 'blissfully happy': a 'perfect match'. She also gushed about being successfully recruited to the Holyhead Harpies reserve team a week ago and that she would start her official training in two weeks; until then, she was on a strict diet and physical exercise regime. Luna had laughed at the redhead who looked at the cake menu like a puppy looks at a steak on the table. Ginny had shot her a mild glare and then asked her to order her cake for her; the temptation being too great, given that training hadn't official started. Luna had agreed, congratulating her friend and offering to pay for the cake in celebration of the news.
Ginny explained that Ron had not been so successful during his trial for the Chudley Cannons, so he was currently working in his brothers' joke shop until he decided on an alternative.
Harry had signed up to the Auror Department straight away. Training took two years, until the he couldn't be a field agent, so he was currently a desk bunny; entering data into the system between training exercises and study.
Hermione had jumped at the offer of a junior position in the Department of Magical Creatures, although was still disappointed that only senior employees could work on redrafting legislation. She hoped her contributions would see that she was soon included in the redrafting.
Luna sucked in a deep breath and held it.
I wonder if the Bobble-snout Miktens are what makes her so very talkative, she mused as she waited for Ginny to ask if there was anything new with her.
Fifteen minutes later, Ginny had finished her large slice of cake.
'Thanks, Luna. I really shouldn't, but the cakes here are divine: I'll just do extra physical training this afternoon,' Ginny said with a grin. 'So, you haven't said what is new with you, Luna. You're so secretive! Are you still dating that guy you mentioned a few months ago?'
Luna felt warmth infuse her like the tea in her cup of hot water.
'Yes, I am. In fact, we're engaged,' she replied, holding out her hand to show the beautiful and unique ring.
I love this ring so much. It is perfect for me!
'Whoa, that is one weird ring – I suppose he is as non-traditional as you!'
'Not really,' Luna replied with a shrug, used to people judging her accessories. 'He just knows my tastes and had something designed that he knew I would want to wear for the rest of my life. I think his mother had a mild heart attack when she saw it wasn't the family ring: not that she said anything against my ring… although, maybe the look of surprise was because I asked him to marry me. I think it is such a ridiculous convention that the female has to wait to be asked; a reminiscent tradition from the days of old. Although, I suppose it makes sense in some relationships: it can be the guy who is hesitant and so the girl just waits until he is ready—'
'Perhaps,' Ginny cut in. 'Are you still working for your dad?'
'Oh yes! I love editing for the newspaper, it is so interesting and the people in the team are fantastic to work with. It also allows me to travel with my fiancé: when he goes on a business trip, I go with him and search of rare magical animals rumoured to be nearby. I've found and documented three new creatures in the last year. It's a pity Hermione does not have a higher position in the Ministry, she could help me protect these new species.'
'But I suppose it is hard to create the legislation, people want to see the new creatures themselves, but removing them from their habitat is just cruel and unjustified: my photos and reports should be enough, but they aren't yet,' Luna elaborated with a sad sigh. 'For our honeymoon, my fiancé has said I can choose where we go. I'm planning on using half the honeymoon for relaxing and exploring with my fiancé and the other half for discovering species.'
'So does he work at The Quibbler too?'
'Oh no, he runs his own company, hence the business trips.'
'Hmm… Luna, I don't mean to intrude, but perhaps it is not the best idea to spend half of your honeymoon looking for creatures which aren't real. I mean, if he doesn't work for The Quibbler, then he might not think they exist.'
Luna's eyes flashed, but she sounded nonchalant when she said, 'Thank you, Ginny, but I assure you that I do not need relationship advice. My fiancé supports and respects me and my beliefs, even when my friends do not.'
'Luna!' Ginny replied in an affronted tone. 'I didn't mean it that way. I just think that sometimes you don't understand what is really happening. You implied that he is rather traditional, surely he would be sceptical of these mythical creatures.'
'Just because you do not believe in something, or even the majority of the population doesn't believe in something, does not mean it is not real or that others don't believe it. If you recall, most didn't believe Voldemort was back when he was.'
'That is hardly the same!'
'If I do not try and find these creatures and ensure the world knows about them, then they will have no protection – you can't protect what is not acknowledged.'
'Luna, they do not exist.'
The blond-haired woman narrowed her eyes and frowned. 'I refuse to argue this point with you any further, Ginny. Now are you going to ask me who I am engaged to?'
'I know who you are engaged to.'
'Of course. It's that Hufflepuff you used to hang out with in our final year.'
'Actually, I am engaged to Draco Malfoy.'
'Ginny, you are supposed to swallow your tea, not splutter it all over me: such things upset the Lipsesys,' Luna replied with dismay as her wiped tepid liquid from her arms with her napkin.
Ginny tried to controlling her coughing, waving her hand in her face as tears leaked from her eyes.
Luna gave her struggling friend a concerned look and glanced around the ceiling, trying to spot the errant creature:
'Lipsesy, Lipsesy, please come away,
Lipsesy, Lipsesy, please be gone,
Lipsesy, Lipsesy, please stay away,
Lipsesy, Lipsesy, leave Ginny alone.'
Ginny finally stopped coughing and brushed away the tears. 'Luna, what are you singing?'
'Just something my mother taught me to keep away Lipsesys – they are what caused you to choke,' Luna explained as she focused on the top corner of the room.
Ginny sighed. 'It wasn't some creature that almost choked me, it is what I misheard.'
'I thought for a second that you said you were engaged to the Ferret.'
'I'm not engaged to a ferret,' Luna replied certainly.
Ginny released a breath. 'Thank Merlin!'
'Honestly, I don't know why you would think I would be engaged to an animal,' Luna replied bemusedly.
'I know, ridiculous of me,' Ginny replied with a laugh.
'Besides, that sort of thing is illegal.'
'Well, maybe not, but it should be,' Ginny muttered. 'Bloody, evil Ferret.'
'I don't know about ferrets being evil, but that is beside the point. I must say I am looking forward to marrying Draco, I plan on wearing a yellow dress—'
'Wait! I though you weren't marrying the Ferret!'
'I'm not marrying a ferret, I am marrying a wizard. One you know. His name is Draco Malfoy.'
'But he is the Ferret!'
'Ginny, I can assure you that my fiancé is a wizard and that neither his patronus nor animagus are in the image of a ferret.'
'He was turned into one by Moody in our third year.'
Luna rolled her eyes. 'Yes, a death eater turned him into an animal for thirty seconds many years ago. You know that there are magical creatures which target people who clutch to the past with such fervour, don't you?'
'But Malfoy was horrid to us at school! You were locked in his dungeons, for Merlin's sake!'
'Firstly, he was never horrid to me: he called me Loony occasionally, but everyone did that,' Luna answered with a speaking look at the redhead, who blushed lightly in response. 'For the most part he just left me alone. Secondly, his home was overrun with Death Eaters who invited themselves in and he was not the head of the house. He was as much a prisoner as I: he was certainly living in just as much fear, perhaps even more - as they only kept me there to keep control of my dad, they rarely tortured me – he, however, had his parents nearby as easy targets if he failed any tasks.'
'But you can't marry him! He'll treat you terribly!'
'Draco treats me very well. He loves and respects me. He encourages me and uses his contacts at the Ministry to help me protect the creatures when I find them. He even helps to ensure I can make a persuasive argument to business groups about their existence to gain support in protecting them.'
'He is using you,' Ginny replied determinedly.
'Why would you say that?'
'Because that's what he does, he is a Slytherin and a Malfoy.'
Luna clenched her teeth. 'He is not using me, unless, perhaps, it is to ensure his happiness. He loves me and I love him. Now, I would appreciate it if you stop being ridiculous and—'
'I'm being ridiculous!?'
'Yes. I just told you that I am engaged and you haven't even bothered to congratulate me.'
'How could I congratulate you on the biggest mistake of your life?' Ginny hissed between her teeth.
'You didn't even congratulate me before you knew who I was marrying.'
Ginny drew back sharply and chewed her lip. 'You are right. But you're also engaged to a prat, so I can't congratulate you now.'
Luna gripped the tablecloth tightly out of view. 'I had hoped to share this news and celebrate with you, someone who professes themselves to be a friend. Clearly, however, I am talking with someone who cannot see passed their own black and white world.'
'Luna, that was hurtful!'
'I don't care,' Luna snapped. 'I am trying to share my happiness with you and you are trying to drag me down.'
Ginny's eyes widened and jaw dropped.
'You have said you disagree with my decision and I accept that you don't like him. But I stand by my decision, a friend would now support me for here on.'
'No, I can't,' Ginny whispered in horror, head shaking dazedly.
'Very well. If you cannot be happy for me, then I guess I should leave. I will see you around, Ginny. Good luck with your position with the Harpies, I know you will be brilliant at it.'
Luna abruptly stood up and dropped some coins on the table. She could feel Ginny's eyes on her as she left the restaurant. It irritated her when people could not pull themselves out of their own views and see that sometimes others could like or believe in things that they did not.
It is narrow-minded. It didn't matter if Ginny doesn't like Draco; what matters is that I do, and Ginny should have been happy that I'm about to marry the person I love.
Luna made her way through Diagon Alley and into the pub in search of her waiting fiancé. She saw him with a glass in his hand, rolling the amber alcohol and watching the liquid slosh up the sides of the glass, dangerously close to spilling over.
Millicent Bullstrode and Theodore Nott sat by his side, chatting together.
While she had been telling Ginny, Draco had being telling some of his friends. Specifically, two very gossipy friends.
The couple had chosen their most open-minded friends from each house to inform today, in the hopes they would pass on the news and their other friends would have time to recover from any shock outside of their notice, so they could then offer their sincere congratulations when they next met.
Given Theo and Milly where still sitting by Draco, albeit being ignored, his conversation had obviously gone better than hers.
Assessing the amount of froth on the top of Draco's beer, she decided that it was still sufficiently cold, so went straight to the table without ordering for herself.
She slide into the space by her fiancé and swiped the drink from his hand, gulping down a few mouthfuls before handing it back.
Nice and cool, that is better.
'Ekk! Congratulations, Luna, I am so happy Draco has finally found a worthwhile witch!' Milly jumped up and gleefully pulled Luna to her feet to wrap her in a tight hug.
Luna gratefully returned the tight hug with a pat on the exuberant girl's back.
'Thank you, Millicent,' Luna replied.
'Milly, you have to call me Milly!' the girl replied with a grin.
'Thank you, Milly,' Luna replied serenely.
Theo then lifted his glass to Luna as she sunk back into her seat. 'Congratulations and welcome to the group,' Theo said with a smirk. 'And call me Theo.'
'Thank you, Theo. Draco, your friends appear to have been far more positive than mine. Did you release a Brown Nil-on-ent Thrush on these two?'
Draco smirked, his eyes lightened when she turned to him. 'Not at all, Slytherin's are used to being on the receiving end of prejudice, so we form a tight-knit group who back each other up. While there are power plays amongst our members, all that is kept behind closed doors: well, when they aren't shocked. I take it the female Weasley didn't take your news well.'
Luna leaned into his side and Draco wrapped his free arm around her, bringing up the other to take a sip of the liquid.
'Not particularly, it seems that she wishes to live in the past and keep her childhood views.'
A drop of condensation dripped off the glass and hit Luna on the nose, which she twitched in response. Draco leaned around and kissed the spot softly.
'I'm sorry it is hard for your friends to accept this,' he said.
'Pah!' Milly spat. 'If they can't accept your engagement then they can all go jump off a cliff.'
'Oh, I don't think they would do that unless they stumbled across an infestation of Orange-Mickle Gimps,' Luna reasoned seriously.
Theo glanced to Draco, but the besotted man was watching his fiancé with an amused smile.
'What's that?' Milly asked.
Luna shrugged and Draco sniggered. Luna looked at her fiancé and smiled widely.
'They are good friends, you should let them in on this,' Draco said with a nod to Theo and Milly.
'Very well,' Luna said airily. 'Do you promise not to pass this information on?'
Theo and Milly nodded eagerly.
'I will know if you tell anyone: I was in Ravenclaw for a reason and can curse you horribly without having to resort to dubious magic.'
Theo and Milly paled slightly and looked at Draco who gave them a smug smile. The two gulped and turned their attention back to the bemusing blond with the bottle-cap necklace.
'Maybe not every creature I mention is real, it is simply my way of venting. There is no such thing as Orange-Mickle Gimps. When I create a creature, I use the acronym of what I am thinking and design a name with those letters, using a colour at the start.
'So what does O.M.G. mean?' Theo asked.
'Isn't that some weird Muggle phrase?' Milly replied.
'I don't know about Muggle phrases, but it means Open Minded Guilt,' Luna answered with a shrug.
'So you think your Gryffindor friends would jump off a cliff if they opened their mind?' Milly asked.
'And if they realised how much their close mindedness hurt others, then yes. Although, I never said it was a dangerously high cliff…'
'Hang on, what was that creature you mentioned earlier? That brown thing,' Theo asked.
Luna smiled innocently at him.
'A Brown Nil-on-ent Thrush, wasn't it?' Milly suggested.
'It was,' Draco said with a smirk.
'Well, what does it really mean?' Theo asked.
Milly's eyes widened as she glanced from Theo to Draco to Luna.
'Can't you figure it out?' Draco teased.
Theo scowled and tapped his finger. 'B.N.O.E.T.'
'You don't say,' Draco drawled sarcastically.
Theo looked towards Luna. She blinked owlishly in reply.
'Luna! There you are!' a call came across the room.
As one, the four looked towards the voice. Ginny Weasley. And she was flanked by the Golden Trio.
Draco crinkled his nose, Theo sneered, Milly narrowed her eyes and shuffled slightly to the left so that Luna was slightly shielded from the Gryffindors' view, and Luna glanced at her fiancé and said 'Brown Nil-on-ent', before she blanked her face into pleasant vagueness. Draco's eyes flicked away from the Gryffindors and towards Luna, giving a stilted nod.
The Gryffindors walked toward them, shoulders back and wand hands clenched in their pocket. The Slytherins leaned back insolently in their chairs.
'Luna, thank Merlin we found you,' Hermione said in a serious tone. 'Can you come with us for a moment?'
'Why?' Luna asked curiously.
'We just need to speak with you in private,' Harry said persuasively. 'Come on.'
'Come on? I would ask you not to treat my fiancé like a dog, Potter,' Draco drawled.
'Don't call Luna a dog,' Harry snapped.
'I didn't,' Draco replied coolly.
'Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, just tell me what is on your mind. You can talk in front of these three,' Luna lilted airily.
'I don't think that is a good idea, Luna,' Hermione replied, hands wringing together as she eyed the Slytherins.
'Can't you see she isn't going to leave them,' Ron said as he pointed at Luna. 'They obviously won't allow it with the spell she is under.'
'Oh, I'm not under any spells, Ronald, my necklace protects me from them,' Luna replied.
'It's just bottle-caps,' Hermione said slowly, 'they can't protect you.'
'It was a gift from some faries, the spells they placed on the necklace are actually quite powerful. They were ever so nice, the faries,' Luna answered dreamily.
'Luna, just come back to the Ministry with us. Hermione can do some research and I can have the Aurors find whatever spell Malfoy is holding you under,' Harry offered.
'Harry, I am not under any spell. I truly love Draco and am delighted to be marrying him. I am sorry that you can't see that, but I hope one day that you can. I suggest you talk with the Ikerbak Faries of Prussia, they can explain my necklace to you,' Luna suggested with a smile.
'There is no such fairy,' Hermione answered confidently.
'I don't think Luna is going to listen, Harry. I think you need to speak to your boss and get a warrant to bring Malfoy in and have her tested,' Ron strategized.
Draco sneered at the Gryffindors.
'Fine,' Harry scowled, placing his clenched fists on the table and leaning over Malfoy. 'I'm watching you, Malfoy, and you won't get away with this. Luna is my friend and if you think you can hurt my friends without me stopping you, then you have another thing coming.'
'I'm quivering in my boots, Potter,' Draco drawled with a yawn. 'Now, do leave us in peace, we were celebrating the engagement before you lot showed up clutching your wands,' he continued with a flick of his hand towards the exit.
'This isn't over,' Harry hissed and turned on his heel, striding determinedly towards the door.
Hermione cast Luna a concerned look, before she followed with Ron's arm linked in hers.
Ginny turned to Luna and rubbed her pale arm. 'Don't worry, Luna, we will help you,' she consoled before hurrying after the departing Gryffindors.
Luna waved vaguely at Ginny.
'You don't seem overly worried,' Milly commented to Draco.
'Why would I be? Luna isn't under any spell and my lawyer is one more unjustified harassment case away from keeping the Aurors out of my family's and my doings for the rest of my life.'
'Totally not fair!' Milly whined. 'They raided my family home three times since we graduated.'
Draco shrugged. 'I can give you my lawyer's details if you like. Their office is very effective against bias targeting.'
'Hmm, maybe I will take you up on that,' Milly answered.
'Best News Of Ever Talk' Theo cried with success as he jumped up from the table.
The other three looked at the standing man perplexed, until Draco said, 'Wrong,' and Theo slumped back down with a scowl.
'Sod it,' Theo muttered.
'B.N.O.E.T. means "be nice or else threat",' Luna explained.
'Ah,' Theo replied. 'He didn't threaten us: you're an intelligent and talented pureblood, maybe rather quirky, but, quite frankly, Draco needs someone to keep him on his toes.'
Luna smiled at the two friends. 'Thank you.'
'Well, I need to meet Pansy for dinner,' Theo said before he sculled the remaining liquid in his glass.
'And I need to go and get ready for my date with Daphne,' Milly added as she stood.
Luna and Draco stood as well, saying farewell and then making their way towards the apparation point to head to their home.
'All in all, I don't think that went too badly,' Luna commented.
'I'm glad you think so,' Draco replied as he wrapped his warm arm around her waist.
'What do you think of me inviting the Ikerbak Faries of Prussia to the wedding?'
'I think that would be an excellent idea, if they can bear leaving their home for the event.'
Luna smiled and slid from Draco's arm, entwining her fingers with his and starting to skip when the apparition point was in sight. Draco speed up to match his lively fiancée's gait, a soft smile as he watched her happiness infect those that they passed.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this little story! If you see any Oxford English punctuation/grammar corrections, please PM me so I can fix them up. Otherwise, reviews and favouriting make me ever so happy :D