They wanted to give their children the world. They never considered their firstborn would be sorted into Slytherin.
School can be a horrible place for 11 and 12 year children in any nation, magical or not, but sometimes it can be worse. Sometimes, even, it can be a kind of changing hell, where you are made or broken by how others see you.
She was the oldest of the Potter brood, with ash blond hair like her mother, and the summer green eyes of her father's family. Unremarkable of height and size, with little heart-shaped glasses to laugh at the world with. When they got the letter—Mom, Dad, I'm a Slytherin! I think the robe brings out my eyes—Luna had smiled and clung to paper, crinkling the edges with loving hands. From Harry, there was silence, a kind that echoed. When Luna turned to touch his cheek he smiled. The letters came often, always honest, always clear.
Someone pushed me from behind yesterday and made me drop my books.
My housemates always ask me questions, like how come I'm not a Griffyndor?
I used to cry, until someone stole my charm bracelet. Then I stopped.
I want to be a Ravenclaw like you Mom. Can Dad write the Headmaster and make them resort me?
I don't like this place.
There's a Hufflepuff boy that won't leave me alone. He says that since I'm a disgrace, your only blood child a Slytherin.
Daddy, how come your letters sound different now?
When can I go home?
Harry and his wife talked about it often, trying to write their best encouragements back. They sent gifts to cheer her up, some purchased and some made by their own hands. But Harry didn't know what to tell his little girl; what could he teach her about Slytherins without telling her to resent herself? And he in part, still did not understand. So his portions of the letter drifted into meaninglessness, full of love and encouragement, but unwilling to address the questions she asked. And so Luna watched him, eyes heavy, and always wrote her half second.
When the owls ceased to light on their doorstep in the beginning of the third month, Harry was relieved. This way, he could pretend, at least for a while. Pretend that his eldest had found friends to distract her, like he had found them, and that maybe she would be okay despite her house placement. When he confessed this to Luna, the reaction was not what he expected. "How can she be okay with her house," his wife retorted, unusually terse, "when you won't even accept what that house means to her?"
So time passed, as time does. They played with their three younger children, all orphans once but family now, and sent out more letters. Harry tried to actually talk to his daughter through them, but his quill always trembled, dribbling ink and breaking his thoughts. She was his little girl.
There were 2 months of silence, and then:
Mom, Dad –
I'll be staying here for Yule break. Mom, I got my charm bracelet back. It still has our flower hanging on it.
When Luna started to cry, Harry held her and tried his best to be a comfort. When his wife turned into his arms, touched his dry, soft cheeks, and asked how he felt about this, Harry broke down.
The season turned and the other children grew, Harry and Luna did as best they could. When the train drew in they waited like all the rest, heart in their throats and fingers intertwined. As they finally saw their own little piece of happiness step onto the platform, they moved forward as one, the siblings clinging at their heels.
"Welcome home," Harry said, eyes hopeful but tentative.
"We missed you so," Luna said loudly, smile wide.
Margot adjusted her verdant cloak, her charms clinking together on her wrist. She paused for a moment, examining the train station from a body a little bit taller. Her shoulders were straight and her stance was strong. Her scraggly blond hair was tucked behind her ears with her wand, and one hand rested on her hip. When her mouth curved into a smile, and she dashed forward with arms wide, her father and mother grabbed her into a hug.
"Dad," She said, stepping back to twirl her robes girlishly, "What do you think?"
"They bring out your eyes," he replied.