Disclaimer:Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter, and all related characters, ideas, and materials belong to J.K. Rowling, not me.
Author's Notes:This was written for LiveJournal user Lasultrix's Harry Potter Flashficathon. This fic was for LiveJournal user Delz, who requested Harry/Luna with angst. Not sure how much angst there is, but I tried! Feedback would be very much appreciated.
I noticed him last autumn. He looked so small, next to the dragon. He probably felt like a mouse feels when it sees a person. Mice have feelings too, you know. And castles, too small for us to notice, with tapestries woven from spiderwebs and windows of dragonfly wings. They ride frogs instead of horses, using needles instead of swords. I used to build mouse castles out of sticks and earth.
He should have a white horse, like the knights in the stories mummy used to tell. I remember all of them. I am in bed, warm from the bath, and it's spring and the wind comes in the window cool and smelling like the blossoms on the apple tree. My sheets are soft and pink as the petals, and she sits in her chair by the white wood bed and closes her eyes. We go to Camelot on the hooves of her words. I can still see them before I sleep: Lancelot and Percival in bright blue and red tunics, Guinevere with forget-me-nots in her golden hair.
I hate her now because she didn't care at all for Arthur, but the knights were brave and good, charging here and there on their faithful steeds. His steed is a broomstick instead, a mahogany bay with a chestnut tail. Red for Gryffindor, I suppose.
It's funny that his eyes are Slytherin. But he'd look strange if his eyes were red. And it's very peculiar that Gryffindor is blood and Slytherin is spring, but then, red is autumn, too.
It was autumn when I saw him.
I just wanted to talk to the dragons. I'd never seen one up-close before, and I wanted to ask someone if I could try speaking to them backwards. Someone wrote an article for father's magazine when I was ten that said dragons understand human speech if it's backwards. I've practised, and now I can even read backwards. Upside-down, too. I wonder if entire conversations with dragons must be held backwards, because that would be difficult. You'd have to answer questions before they were asked, and everything you know at the beginning, you wouldn't know anymore by the end. Dragons are strange.
But there he was, suddenly, looking so very small after the others had gone. Like a mouse. Or perhaps a very tiny lion. Or the mouse that took the thorn from the lion's paw. That was a brave mouse. But he stood there and called for his steed, and then he rose up and became a blur of robes as he flew at the beast, again and again, until at last he managed to grasp the egg and complete his quest. Then he flew right over me, and I saw his face. And he wasn't a mouse anymore; he was a lion. And I felt small.
He'd been at Hogwarts since I started, and I'd seen him, but then I started watching him on purpose. He has a redheaded friend, not handsome enough to be Lancelot, and then Hermione, who's quite bright. She seems too solid to be real. I think she's more here than I am. I think she'd be Merlin if she had a beard.
But he is a hero, filled with golden light, one foot on the flagstones and the other in legend. He fought the dragon who laid the golden egg, and he talks to snakes (I saw him do it my first year at duelling club), and he swam with the merpeople. I wonder if it felt like knives when he was breathing.
Sometimes when I've been in the bath for an hour and the water is cool, I slide under and imagine I'm beneath the lake. I close my eyes, and my hair wraps around my skin like seaweed, and I can hear the water swirling in my ears. I can almost see him swimming up to rescue me, and then I always run out of air and have to surface back into the stark greyness of the Ravenclaw bath. Once, underwater, I put my palm to my lips and kissed him before the lake faded. He tasted like shampoo.
At night, under the sheets, he tastes like salt on my skin or the faint dusty leather aftertaste of books. His hands are small and smooth, with ragged cuticles. It was easier first year when the hands were Professor Flitwick's; his fingers are tiny. Or Professor Snape's. He's homely, but his skin is very soft. But now they never come anymore, and it's only him, with his palms that really aren't rough enough for a boy.
It is only him. He's an orphan, which is so very fitting because all the best heroes are. I don't know anything about his parents, but they must have been wonderful people. I won't be surprised if someday he turns out to be Headmaster Dumbledore's grandson or perhaps even the Heir of Gryffindor. I'm not certain if Gryffindor has an heir. Lady Ravenclaw doesn't; her line died out in the sixteenth century. I wrote a ten-foot essay about her in History of Magic last term.
At least, I think I did. I know I read every book about her in the library.
I read every book about him, too. He's mentioned in all the recent histories, but nobody seems to know much about him. Someday I'll write a book, and I'll be certain to mention that his eyes are like spring and his hair glints in the sun like black armour when he flies.
He's already in books. You can see that about him, that every movement he makes isn't just an act, but it's words, too. He's living a story and doesn't entirely belong to himself. I wonder if he knows his aura is all splotched with ink.
I really oughtn't be in the story. My hair isn't golden. Someday it will be long enough for him to climb, though, or perhaps I'll cut it off and spin it, day and night and day, until he learns my name. Perhaps the mice wouldn't mind blankets woven of dirty blonde. He's Gryffindor, blood and sunshine, but I am murky blue and water, with hair like damp weeds. Unfortunate, really, because that's Ophelia.
Once upon a time, there is a boy named Harry Potter. His eyes are like serpent scales, and his hair is dark as midnight. He is a hero mouse, with scarlet drops of bravery on his needle, and he has fought a dragon for a golden egg. At the same time, in a dusty tower full of books and quills, there is a girl who sits spinning tales thin as spiderwebs, waiting for him to speak her name and turn her hair to gold.