Title: Message in a Pumpkin
Author E-mail: AmethystJackson@hotmail.com
Keywords: Ron Luna Halloween pumpkins
Spoilers: For all five books
Summary: Ron's got an admirer, and she's got an interesting way of showing it.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Whoa, check it out – I wrote something with pumpkins, and it doesn't even involve H/Hr! Er…much! Be proud of me!
Volume 1000, Issue No. 2
October 26, 2003
Welcome to our pre-Halloween issue of Witch Weekly! Unfortunately for our editor, Katie, this turned out to be Amethyst's turn to write our weekly ficlet. Dear Katie, in her rabid shipper fashion, wanted to write about Harry and Hermione in a tub of pumpkin goo, but Amethyst would have nothing of it. Of course, Katie probably wrote in a few H/Hr scenes just to spite Amethyst. [Ed. Note – I did not!] So, without further ado, Witch Weekly presents to you…
Message in a Pumpkin
By Amethyst Jackson
Luna had an idea – and a very good one, at that. She intended to tell her one true love – she was certain he was her one true love – how she felt, and she was going to do it in the true spirit of Halloween. Her message would be carved into a pumpkin.
Hagrid had already agreed to let her have one of his magically enlarged pumpkins to carve. Luna got along well with Hagrid; he had a proper appreciation for unusual beasts, which was hard to find. She had the feeling he thought she was a bit strange, but she liked Hagrid just the same.
It was going very well, she thought. She had filled her cauldron with the pumpkin's innards, and she fully intended to dry out the seeds and make a nice necklace with them. Perhaps she would make one for Ginny Weasley, too. Carving the words would be no problem. She knew a very handy spell for that; Ravenclaw students had a tendency to learn a lot of handy spells.
It would sit in the Great Hall, right across from his usual spot. She wasn't going to sign it. She was sure he would automatically know it was her, though. He was perceptive like that.
Ron walked into the Great Hall on the 30th of October, Harry and Hermione to his left, fully expecting another average day. His expectations toppled over like a drunken Harry Potter (it was a well-known fact that the boy couldn't hold his liquor) when he saw what was carved into a pumpkin across the hall.
"Weasley is my King." The i's were even dotted with hearts.
Hermione and Harry, the wonderful friends that they were, started to laugh as they slowly continued toward the table amid the stares and snickers of the rest of the school. Harry seemed to enjoy not being the center of attention this time. Ron was tempted to backhand him. "I think you have an admirer, Ron," Hermione said. Ron glared at her, though she and Harry kept laughing.
"I reckon she's right, Ron. I mean…there are hearts," Harry said. Ron caught Harry and Hermione sharing a look as they sat down. He hated it when they did that. He could never tell what they were up to.
"What?" he demanded of them, scowling. "What was that look for?"
"Well…" Hermione hesitated.
"It's just that," Harry broke in, finishing for Hermione, "it looks like Lovegood wants to be your Queen."
Ron's eyebrows shot up into his hair, and he glanced over at the Ravenclaw table. Surely enough, Luna was staring intently at him. He glanced back at his friends.
"Really, Ron, it's been obvious," Hermione said, smirking. "Ever since the train ride fifth year, when she nearly died laughing over one of your jokes."
Harry looked as puzzled as Ron felt. "What was so obvious about that?" Harry questioned.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Just when I thought there was hope for the two of you, you turn out to be just as clueless as ever. Haven't you learned by now that when a girl laughs like that at a boy's jokes, it means she likes him?"
Ron blinked. "Well, that explains a lot."
Harry frowned. "You know, Luna doesn't seem quite as strange as she used to now."
Hermione laughed and shook her head. "You boys are positively hopeless. I pity the woman that actually ends up with either of you."
Ron turned away from the conversation and blocked out Draco Malfoy's impromptu performance of "Weasley Is Her King." While his toast wasn't exactly more interesting, he needed to sort things out. Luna liked him. He supposed Hermione was right in saying it had been obvious. The problem was that he didn't know how he felt about Luna. In his view, she had always been Ginny's very strange friend. Of course, the Department of Mysteries had changed that slightly. Luna had definitely proven that she was smarter and much more focused than she appeared. Still, he hadn't paid much attention to her. During his fifth year, there were bigger things on his mind – such as Hermione. Luckily, he had gotten over that severely misguided obsession.
It had been difficult to realize that Hermione was completely wrong for him, but he had done it, spurred on by one of Seamus's comments ("I don't know how you two are still friends; it's like you can hardly stand each other."). He was very close to correct. Ron and Hermione didn't get along well at all. Ron liked to be right; Hermione liked to tell him he was wrong. Ron wanted to have fun; Hermione wanted to bury herself and everyone around her in books.
He liked Hermione well enough, but it should have been very obvious that dating her would be a disaster.
Luna, however, wasn't at all like the brainiacs that Ravenclaws were supposed to be. The only books he had seen her with were schoolbooks and otherwise very weird volumes like The Beginner's Guide to Creating Ghoul Traps. She didn't seem like the studying type, and she was certainly too far away from earth to nag him about studying. The girl even liked Quidditch, though her enthusiasm was oddly shown.
She was pretty, too. That wasn't the first thought that would cross one's mind upon seeing her, but if one took a second look, it was true. While blonde hair, gray eyes, and pale skin made Malfoy look more and more like a ferret every year, they were quite pretty on Luna. She almost resembled a veela, and Ron couldn't deny that he had a slight weakness for veela.
Ron felt an elbow in his ribs. He was jerked out of his reverie by the person at his left – a very amused Harry. "Haven't you learned by now that it's rude to stare?" Harry said quietly. Hermione snickered on Harry's other side.
"Oh, shut up, the both of you," he snapped. Ron didn't like having to change his mind about things, especially people.
But it was an undeniable fact. Ron liked Luna.
Hermione looked up from her book as Luna approached the table that she, Harry, and Ron occupied in the quiet library. She noticed Harry glancing up as well. The only one oblivious was Ron. Hermione kicked him in the shin.
"Ow! What was that –"
Ron whipped his head around so quickly that it must have caused an injury. "Luna!" he cried, blushing down to his toes. Several nearby students looked over at them to see what all the commotion was about. Hermione nudged Harry with her elbow, hiding a smile.
"We've, um, got to go get something from the common room, haven't we, Harry? Let's go."
Harry, thankfully, understood what she was doing, and he went without argument. She yanked him behind a nearby bookshelf, which went unnoticed by Ron and Luna.
"What are we doing?" Harry asked quietly, frowning in confusion.
"Eavesdropping, naturally," Hermione said, peering through the bookshelf.
"Of course. What else would we do?" Harry replied in sarcastic tones, shaking his head.
"Oh, don't act so high and mighty, Potter. You know you want to listen. Besides, Ron liked to eavesdrop on you whenever you were talking to Cho last year," Hermione said innocently.
That was enough justification for Harry, and he leaned in next to Hermione to hear what Ron and Luna were saying.
"You really think Hufflepuff has a chance this year?" Ron said doubtfully, eyeing Luna with a raised eyebrow. She had occupied Hermione's empty seat. He had a feeling that Harry and Hermione were standing behind the bookshelf nearest to them, listening. He certainly wasn't going to ask her out with those two eavesdropping, so instead, he struck up a conversation about Quidditch. He knew Hermione would eventually get bored with listening to them and leave, and Harry, naturally, would follow.
"Of course Hufflepuff has a chance," Luna said. "They're just jinxed. I'm sorry to tell you this, Ronald, but I think they have a better chance than Gryffindor."
Ron nodded reluctantly. "Yes, you could be right there. With all new Beaters and Chasers, I don't know if Harry's Seeking skills will be enough."
"Well, you're certainly a good enough Keeper to prevent the other teams from scoring against you," Luna said, smiling almost…shyly. Ron flushed. Luna continued, her cheeks turning faintly pink as she did so, "I've taught my lion hat to sing 'Weasley Is Our King,' though you can't really understand the lyrics…"
Ron was sure he had turned a shade of magenta, remembering the pumpkin in the Great Hall. No, Harry and Hermione would not be leaving from that bookshelf any time soon.
"Are you overly warm, Ronald?" Luna asked, tilting her head in a strangely owl-like fashion.
"You're red – are you hot?"
"Oh! Oh, um, yes, yes…it's very warm in here, don't you think?" Ron sputtered, beginning to wish he could crawl under the table and hide.
"I'm quite comfortable, actually," Luna said. She seemed to be thinking for a moment. "Er, Ronald…do you know who, um, who carved that pumpkin in the Great Hall?"
Ron panicked. She would expect him to know, and then he would have to ask her out, with Harry and Hermione listening in, and he was going to mess it up horribly, he knew.
"Er…sorry, Luna, but I have to go," Ron said, standing up abruptly. "I've got Quidditch practice, I completely forgot…er, talk to you later."
He rushed out of the library, shooting Harry and Hermione a glare as he did so. He didn't look back long enough to see the disappointed expression on Luna's face.
"Bugger," Hermione said sadly, glancing at Harry. "I think he needs our help."
Harry frowned dubiously. "I don't know, Hermione…maybe we shouldn't interfere with this. What if it went wrong? Ron wouldn't speak to us for weeks."
"Don't be silly, of course we should help!" Hermione replied. "Ron would understand. Besides, everyone could use a little help – Merlin knows you could have used some last year."
"I did not need help," Harry said defensively. "Cho was completely mental! That wasn't my fault."
"Mmm hmm," Hermione said, rolling her eyes. "Whatever you say, Harry. Still, Ron is going to need our help. We both know he's completely hopeless with girls – he's worse than you are." Harry glared at her. "We just need to give him a little push, Harry – and I know just how to do it! Come on, we've got to go see Hagrid," Hermione grinned, grabbing Harry and dragging him out of the library. They passed Luna on the way out, but she was entirely unfazed by their odd behavior.
Ron knew something was abnormal when Hermione and Harry snickered as they approached the Great Hall for the Halloween feast. He questioned them about it, but Hermione refused to answer, and Harry only offered him a vaguely guilty look.
When they walked in, Ron immediately searched for the cause of the snickering. He found it right next to the source of all his current troubles. Next to Luna's pumpkin sat another, which held a similar message to the first.
"Lovegood is my Queen."
Ron glared at Harry, who now looked extremely guilty, and then at Hermione, who only shrugged. "You needed our help, Ron," Hermione told him. "Didn't he, Harry?"
"She made me do it," Harry said sheepishly to Ron.
"Oh, I'm sure she put the Imperius Curse on you," Ron snapped. "Why didn't you stop her? What are friends for if they won't even save you from complete humiliation?"
"Well, you eavesdropped on me and Cho," Harry scowled. "Had to get you back somehow."
"You could have at least not dotted the i's with hearts!" Ron said. "Come on, let's get to the table quickly, before the entire hall is laughing at me."
They hurried over to the Gryffindor table, but not before Luna caught up with them. Ron saw Harry and Hermione look at each other and sit down quickly, pretending to ignore her.
"Oh, Ronald," Luna said, throwing her arms around his middle. Ron staggered backward, quite startled by the sudden impact. She released him, beaming.
"I just knew you would figure it out," she said happily. "And telling me with another pumpkin is such a sweet idea. I hope you watched for snarks, though – they love to infest pumpkin patches."
Ron blushed and ignored Luna's last comment. He knew Hermione was going to be insufferably smug for the rest of the evening. Upon brief inspection, he saw that Hermione was already quite pleased with herself.
"So," Luna continued, an almost hopeful expression on her face, "do you want to help me look for Crumple-Horned Snorkacks tomorrow night?"
"I'd love to," Ron accepted, grinning. He had picked the strangest girl in the school, and he couldn't be happier with the decision.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
And now it's time for me to shamelessly advertise for Witch Weekly! Witch Weekly is a tiny organization, currently located at the SpellbookFics! Yahoo Group where writers take turns in posting stories every Sunday for your reading pleasure. We're always looking for new readers and writers – if you're interested, hop on over to the group's file section and find the Witch Weekly folder. You won't regret it!