Hormones Suck When You're a 16 Year Old Boy
All of it was pure raving madness, Harry decided as he turned the corner. Whatever was going on at Hogwarts today had to stop now, or he'd be bonkers soon as well. And then how would he defeat Voldemort, become an Auror, make it to his 18th birthday? No one wanted a crazy hero. Definitely, definitely had to stop. When he turned the next corner, Harry saw Luna advancing on him and released a grateful sigh. Ah, Luna. She was so blessedly sane, that her quirkiness could mean at least one thing was still right in the world. He smiled in what he hoped was a way that did not say 'Please help me, everyone is mad today.'
"Luna, I'm so glad to see you. What is wrong with everyone this morning? Did you notice? You'd notice, right? I mean, you seem to notice things. Though you'd probably think it was normal anyway, but, you know... I mean—bloody hell. What's going on? Tell me you know."
"No, I don't know what you mean at all, Harry." She paused, and fingered her necklace. Harry realized her regular necklace of butterbeer caps was gone, replaced by a wide stack of muggle soda can pull-tabs on a cheap link-chain. Harry squinted at it in perplexion, and his eyebrows rose as she carefully removed one of the tabs and then refitted the links.
"Do you know what this is, Harry?"
"Er...soda pop top?" he offered. Where the hell did Luna get this stuff? He didn't think she had any muggle relatives. A creepy feeling began to settle in the bottom of his diaphragm.
"Exactly so, Harry! Do you know what it means?"
"Well," she began, smiling a dazed smile as she stepped closer to him, hand outward presenting the little aluminum tab for him. "It's a muggle trend for children and young people in America. You pull of the tab, and give it to someone. But you have to be precise, see."
Harry didn't see. Harry didn't want to see today. Harry backed into a wall and decided to just shut up.
"If you just pull the tab off, it means you get a hug. If you pull it off with the little ring in the center still intact, you get a kiss. A real kiss." The feeling in his diaphragm had taken on disturbing familiarity. Please not her too! She was four feet away now. Harry began to sweat. He had no idea someone so little could be so scary.
Luna smiled a wide, loopy smile, teeth shining pearly white and cheeks dimpling cutely. "And see this little dot here in the center of the ring?" Harry obediently looked down. And there was a little round dot just as she said.
"Well," Luna continued, "It's almost impossible to pull it off and not loose the dot. Happens rarely. You know what it means, though, don't you?" She peered at him, now only a mere foot away, and nodded resolutely at what she saw. Harry stalled.
"Umm... How...ummm..." Hug. Real Kiss. The next thing. He hated—loathed—to be the first person to bring the word into this particular conversation, but the only other option was even worse. "...marriage?" he said tentatively.
Luna laughed in his face, and leaned forward until her nose touched his as he hugged the wall. Her hand slipped the soda tab into his.
"You're so sweet, Harry. No, not marriage."
"Harry, do you think my eyes are pretty?"
Luna eyes. Luna eyes, inches away from his, big as silver dollars, all shiny and pearly and matching her dimples just so...
Harry panicked like a horse at the races, nearly squealing as he dashed to the side and tried to sprint down the hall. Luna's voice trailed after him like the dessert bell from the underworld.
"I'm glad you accepted my soda top, Harry Potter! We'll be meeting soon to take care of it!"
Harry kept running, all the blood rushing to his face in a wave.
Luna eyes. Luna dimples. Luna real kiss. Luna... other thing. Other thing. Other thing with Luna. Other thing with Luna soon. Harry skidded to a full stop. Could be doing Other thing with Luna now.
Harry stared at the corridor carpeting and thought firmly about that. For a moment he couldn't produce a better thing he could be doing.
Then he grasped what he was actually contemplating, and blood flow turned back on its proper course to his brain. Madness, madness! Everything was mad today. Even Luna Lovegood was going mad, and that could only be a bad thing. Luna. Luna wearing only a soda top necklace. Luna, right around the corner—
Harry turned and banged his head smartly into the wall, and then started running down the hall again. Best not to think about at all it right now, he decided, right before tripping over Malfoy's nude body and fainting clear away.
"NAAAAAKED!" Harry woke up shouting, his own voice ringing in his ears. Great gulps and gasps of air entered his parched lungs, and he squinted as his eyes adjusted to early morning brightness. No…the mid-morning brightness.
"Damn it!" he yelled as he scrambled—nearly falling—out of bed, and dug through the clothes in his chest to find something clean to wear. The whole dorm sounded empty. Why hadn't anyone woken him up? He was going to miss breakfast, maybe even his first class! Ron was going to get it this time, letting him sleep in like that. Best buds existed to save you from this kind of thing. Supposedly.
He looked at an old clock on the way out of the common room, and relaxed slightly. It wasn't too late for some nibble of breakfast, at least. More if he could munch fast and finish in the halls on the way to class. And he needed food. He desperately, desperately needed food. Food would be the perfect distraction from the thing he was trying not to think about. It was that something about his dream, something he knew he wanted very much to forget, though he couldn't recall exactly what. Which was why he needed the distraction. Harry trusted his subconscious on a few points at least: there was enough going on in his life that he didn't want to have to think about, and if Harry's brain was telling Harry that there was one more thing that he really didn't want to know, Harry reasoned he probably didn't want to know.
So breakfast was the paramount priority. He was almost to the dining hall now; he could see the double doors just down the way. So far, nothing had jumped out at him (but who would?) and he hadn't tripped over anyone (why was he worrying about tripping over bodies in the hall?) and no one had tried to give him anything. The doors loomed ahead, almost there, almost safe, almost...
"Ouch!" A smaller mass tumbled into his, and down they went.
The two students untangled their robes and limbs, and ended up facing each other, butts on the floor and legs splayed out in front of them. Harry was rubbing his neck with a moan, and he raised his head to see Luna Lovegood rubbing hers. Her hair fell all to one side of her face, and her skirt was riding too high in that sitting position, up to her thighs at least. In a rush his entire dream from the night before bloomed in his head (the thing he didn't want to know about, he definitely knew), and he gaped at her legs.
"L—Luna," he choked.
She smiled wanly, shaking out her hands as if there were bugs on her fingertips that she wanted to dislodge. "We seemed to have had an accident. Are you, by chance, sitting on my bag? I was chasing Peeves for it; he's a very odd one, don't you think?"
"Peeves?" The name entered into his ears, lingered in his hypothalamus, and was stalling in the Current Even Comprehension corner of his brain. Its effort to be registered and officially request a verbal response kept being interrupted by thoughts from Harry's visual nerve receptors, which wouldn't stop flashing "Girl legs!" and his REM recollection center which was busy whispering lascivious memories of his dream at full blast into his cranium.
"I would have let him hold onto it like the others, except it has my Arithmancy exam project in it. I think it's there, under your left knee."
Harry pulled his eyes from her pale skin, looked down, and realized that he was sitting on the bag. "Oh. Oh, I'm sorry Luna, here," he managed holding it out to her and giving it a halfhearted swipe to dust it off. Just as she took it from him—Thank you, Harry—he noticed it.
Oh God, not NOW! He thought with a mortified mental squeal, and slammed his knees up in front of him. He would just stay like this until she left. No way he could stand with this, absolutely no chance of it.
"Humm... I suppose I've missed the pancakes by now. They're the only kind of breakfast food that guarantees you won't stub your toe all day, you know. Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, Luna. I...uh... just want to sit for a minute. Don't mind me." Please don't make me get up now, please don't make me get up now...
Luna nodded, stretching her body as she stood up. The act caused a number of funny "stretching person" expressions to cross her features as she reached outward, talking at the same time. "I understand. I usually carry a copy of the Quibbler, in case of moments like that, so if I have to sit down at least I'll have something to read."
"I highly doubt you have moments like this," Harry said before he could stop himself.
She paused mid-yawn, and brought her arms down to her sides, gazing at him quizzically with bits of wavy ash blond hair fluttering in her face. Her serene stare seemed to jump out of her countenance at him, as if she were trying to propel herself forward though her eyes and see as far into him as she could. He felt like he'd been professionally hypnotized and in the next moment she might order him to squawk like a chicken; he wasn't sure he wouldn't do it either.
"I'm afraid I don't understand."
"Look, uh—don't worry about. I'll be fine."
A careful nod, and Luna started to back away. "Thank you for stopping Peeves at the expense of your own ability or reason to stand. The Professor always looks at me funny when I tell him an assignment has been stolen. Good day, Harry."
He watched her turn to float off in the opposite direction of the dining hall, he supposed to get to class early since she'd missed the pancakes. He hoped she didn't stub any of her toes because of it, and found his arousal had faded with her words. It was really unfair, he thought, that people would even stoop to stealing her homework too.
"Luna, hey!" Harry called, jumping up and jogging forward to catch her. She stopped and looked around at him. Her eyes shone like silver dollars.
"Um, there's still a few minutes before breakfast is over. Do you want to go to the kitchen and have pancakes there, with the elves? There won't be a crowd and we can at least get a little down before class."
Luna leaned her face forward, and peered at him with such intent and for so long that he pinched his palms to keep from squirming.
"After all," he added, unnerved by her silence, "I don't want to go around all day getting my toe stubbed."
Another moment of quiet passed, and then Luna giggled. She took his elbow, and with no effort at all made him float alongside her to the kitchens.
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