Patronus Practice - a Harry Potter fanfic
by Erika Riggio [Filia]

Disclaimer: None of the characters of Harry Potter belong to me; they belong to J.K. Rowling. This is a work of fanfiction.


Luna Lovegood and Ginny Weasley were sitting on the Hogwarts grounds in the shade of a large tree on a unusually sunny winter afternoon. As usual, Luna's face was buried in the latest edition of her father's wizarding tabloid, The Quibbler. The headline on the cover proudly proclaimed, "Researchers Find Evidence of Wizard Life on Neptune!" Ginny also had her nose in a book, but the cover of her tome was well hidden in the blanket that she had spread over the snow on the ground -- it was a book stealthily stolen from the Restricted Section of the library, detailing the methods and procedures most commonly used to summon a Patronus.

Finally, Ginny threw her head back in desperation, catching her red hair in the sunlight as she did. "I'm never going to be able to do it, Luna!" she exclaimed, knowing full well that her companion was most likely not listening to a word she was saying. Ginny lowered her voice before continuing. "I'm never going to get anywhere in the D.A. if I can't figure out how to summon a Patronus." She frowned, then sniffed indignantly. "At least Neville's having a hard time, too, and so are a few of the others. But it's still so frustrating.." Trailing off, she lowered her freckled face back into the book.

Ginny's mood wasn't helped any by the fact that Luna decided at this point to let out a loud, echoing laugh, which degenerated quickly into a rather annoying set of hysterical giggles. Hands on her hips, Ginny jumped up, almost knocking her book closed (and revealing the title, which would have proved quite disastrous) in the process.

"Oh, stick it in your ear, Luna Lovegood!" Ginny cried, glaring at her companion with a look that could kill. Luna did not see this look, naturally, because her eyes were still hidden behind her copy of The Quibbler. "It's not like I've ever seen you summon a Patronus, either!"

At this, Luna looked up, regarding Ginny with confusion. "Patronus? Were you talking about your Patronus? I wasn't listening." Back into the newspaper went Luna's nose.

Ginny's face was as red as her hair, matching the shade of her freckles and making them disappear. "Then what on earth were you laughing about so hysterically?"

Luna, refusing to look up again, simply pointed at the Quibbler. "The very idea that an owl could mate with a Blast-Ended Skrewt is simply preposterous.. although I certainly would be interested in seeing a Skrewt with feathery wings.." Setting the paper down momentarily, Luna put what she assumed was a very Skrewt-like expression on her face (assuming, of course, that Skrewts have faces) and flapped her arms. This personal display caused Luna to be completely consumed once again by giggles.

After her laughter had subsided, Luna turned back to regard Ginny with scrutiny. "So, what were you saying about your Patronus? Does it take the form of a horribly ordinary animal or some such thing?"

Ginny scowled. "I don't care what animal it is.." she began.

"Well, then what's the problem?" Luna interrupted. "Is it too strong? Too weak? Can you not control the poor beast?"

"I can't create the poor beast!" Ginny shouted, remembering a second too late that she shouldn't talk too loudly about their secret D.A. activities. Lowering her voice to a whisper, she added, "At least we're in the same boat, you and I."

Luna looked puzzled, which was not uncommon. "Same boat? How so?"

"Well, you haven't been able to summon one, either," Ginny said, already feeling a little better about the whole situation.

"Oh, yes I can," Luna replied quickly, burying her nose in the Quibbler again, obviously bored of the conversation.

Ginny's abated anger was quick to return. "What? You're lying! I've never seen you do it! Not once!"

Luna, exasperated, set down her paper and rolled her eyes. "Just because you haven't seen it doesn't mean I can't. You really mustn't be so dramatic, you know. You'll call attention to yourself."

"Well, prove it, then!" Ginny snapped, the volume of her voice rising dangerously again. "Show me your bloody Patronus! And you'd better make it a good one, too! A bloody dragon or some such thing!"

Luna put on a smug smile. "Oh, it's better than a dragon," she said, setting down her Quibbler, picking up her wand, and rolling up the sleeves on her wizard's robes. "You just wait and see. It's fabulous." She took a quick look around and, seeing that no one was in earshot or at an angle at which one could see, stole a sideways glance at Ginny before calmly intoning the words of the summoning spell.

"Expecto Patronum."

Ginny was astonished to see a silver mist come forth from the tip of Luna's wand, rather slowly, but surely, forming a corporeal being..

A shining, glorious, silver duck-billed platypus.

"Isn't it smashing?" said Luna proudly. And with a vague smile, she returned to the pages of her Quibbler, leaving Ginny completely speechless.