It was his chance, Harry decided as he watched her drift down the centre aisle, through the Great Hall's open doors and out into the corridor beyond, out of sight. He dropped his bit of uneaten toast onto his plate and shifted his feet.

He'd waited days for a frustratingly elusive opportunity to speak to her alone, ever since he'd finally resolved to declare to Luna his innermost affections. But something or other had always conspired to scuttle his plan at the last moment, as though fate itself was determined to prevent it. But he would not be denied on this occasion, he resolved.

He glanced up at the ancient wooden clock overlooking the Great Hall's massive fireplace – there was still a good ten minutes before afternoon classes were to resume. He had time, if he hurried.

He quickly excused himself from the Gryffindor table, nearly tripping over Hermione's books in his haste. Hastily piling them back up following her squeak of dismay, he marched out the Great Hall at a near run, having failed to notice the odd look Ron was had given him or the restraining hand Ginny had put on his shoulder.

"Harry, wait u – OW!! Bloody Hell, Gin – "

Harry caught sight of his goal serenely making her way towards the staircase at the far end of the hall, swinging her old twill carry bag playfully back and forth. He swallowed hard – it was as good a time as any. He broke out into a run and quickly closed the distance to the stragglyhaired Ravenclaw.

"Luna, hold up," he said as she turned around, her acorn earrings dangling loosely and greeting Harry with a surprised look. Or at least, that's how she looked to Harry, which did not necessarily mean much given her naturally wide eyes.

"Hello again, Harry," she said wistfully, brushing a long stray lock from her face. "I thought you had a potions class this afternoon."

"Yeah, I do," he confirmed nervously, "but I...wanted to ask you something first."

"Yes, you did seem rather pensive at lunch," said Luna knowingly as she clasped her hands behind her back.

Harry had rehearsed this moment many times in his mind. But now, faced with Luna's mesmerizing stare, the object of his affections standing right there before him, his nerve began to crumble. What if she did not reciprocate his feelings? What if, instead taking their relationship to the next level, he were to inadvertently damage their friendship, possibly beyond repair? How could he take such a risk?

But he couldn't just stand there, she was expecting a question. He opened his mouth –

– and promptly closed it, words unuttered. His anxiety rose sharply. Luna, however, didn't so much as bat an eye. Which, upon reflection, was altogether typical for the Ravenclaw.

How can I tell her, he thought furiously.

He tried again. Maybe if he just started saying something, it would come out on its own.

He opened his mouth. "I – "

Nothing. Mind blank. Silver eyes. Pretty eyes.


"That's a bit ambiguous, you know," said Luna serenely, apparently unfazed by Harry's agonizingly slow selfdestruction.

Harry blinked. "I, I mean I wondered"

Luna inclined her head slightly.

An idea suddenly came to mind, Harry clutching to it in desperation. If he hinted, to see her reaction –

Harry took a deep breath.

"I know, there's the graduation ball coming up in a few you' to go..."

To his surprise Luna simply smiled. "Harry, that's so sweet," she said pleasantly, "but no, of course I wouldn't."

Harry blinked. Had he heard correctly? His stomach was twisting into knots –


"Well, it was nice of you to ask," said Luna, "but I can always go next year, if I wish to."


Luna leaned in close. "Anyway, Harry," she said furtively, "it's going to be a special day for you. You really should ask someone close to your heart, you know."


A large flock of students emerged from the Great Hall and came bustling noisily by, bypassing Luna and Harry on either side as they headed towards the staircase leading up to the second floor. Luna stood back and smiled at Harry. He, on the other hand, was positively shattered at his utter failure in conveying his feelings, though his expression was one of bewilderment, not anguish.

"Well," said Luna airily, "I'll see you later, Harry."


She drifted off up the staircase. Harry watched her go, her every step resounding painfully in his chest. She...she said no...

He suddenly felt very empty. Why couldn't he just tell her his feelings in the forthright manner in which she herself was so accustomed to? Luna had always been so easy to talk to, after all.

He stood there like a pedestal, an obstacle to traffic, until Neville appeared through the flurry of passing students and snapped him out of his doldrums.

"Harry? You all right?"


He staggered off down the hall towards the lower levels, the gloominess of the looming Potions Class being decidedly cheerful in comparison with his spirits.

He lazily circled the middle goalpost on his broom, lost in thought. He slowly spiralled upwards, gradually rising to the level of the large oval goal hoop. It didn't matter that he wasn't really practising, the Quidditch Cup having been won a week before, although the intense delight it had bestowed upon him at the time was conspicuously absent now. In fact, all vestige of happiness had abruptly evaporated since the unexpected developments of the previous day.

But then, he only had himself to kick. Why hadn't he told Luna of his feelings? She was close to his heart, as close as anyone had ever been, perhaps even more so.

He'd come to realize the nature of his growing affection for the Ravenclaw when he began experiencing an increasingly painful void in his heart anytime he'd gone more than a short time without seeing her.

And yet, through all this time he'd never been able to bring himself to tell her how he felt. He'd come to cherish her friendship to such an extent that the fear of losing it pecluded any heartfelt revelations.

The Graduation Ball might have provided him with at least an opportunity...

But then, Luna hadn't grasped his intent, a highly unusual occurence in someone who had such innate powers of perception, dreamy countenance notwithstanding. Either that, or...

Harry came to hover in place over the hoop, his feet soaring high above his heart. How would he ever know? He only had a few weeks left – what then? Would he forever lose his chance?

He could ask her directly, if he could only work up the nerve. Why had he faltered? He found himself envying Luna; there was something to be said for the direct approach, as she'd so aptly demonstrated on numerous occasions.

He sighted dispiritedly. She meant so much more to him than she realized. But how to convey that without risking everything?

At that moment he caught sight of movement along the castle's battlements in the distance. He pressed his glasses snugly up on his nose and squinted – it was a tiny figure, its identity impossible to discern at this distance, silhouetted as it was by the setting sun. But whoever it was, Harry well knew that walking along the narrow ledge was a risky manoeuvre to say the least.

He quickly sped off on his broom, the Firebolt taking only a few seconds to close the distance to the top of the long hall that led to the Faculty Wing. He rose up over the wall and settled down atop the ledge, startled at the sight which greeted him.

There, halted in midstride with arms outstretched was Luna, eyes wide in surprise. The gusty breeze was blowing a myriad strands of sandcoloured locks across her face, her undone Ravenclaw tie fluttering likewise to the whims of the spring winds. For some odd reason she was barefoot, though Harry had long ago learned to appreciate Luna's idiosyncrasies.

As they stood there staring at each other in mutual surprise, Harry was struck by the sheer loveliness of the scene, the sun's rays striking her misty eyes in such a way as to imbue their silvery hues with a life and energy all their own.

"Hello, Harry."


A strong gust blew up, and Harry momentarily lost sight of those lovely silver eyes. Luna deftly brushed away the obscuring locks with a pale hand and moved closer. "I've never seen you up here before. Are you all right?"

Harry blinked. "Uh, yeah," he finally blurted, "I just thought – well it looked like – what are you doing here?"

"Oh, I'm just taking a little stroll," said Luna serenely.

"A stroll? Up here?" asked Harry, befuddled. He'd witnessed Luna taking her long walks in the most unusual of locales, indeed, had even accompanied her on many occasions, but never along a rooftop.

Luna nodded. "It's always lovely here," she said wistfully, indicating the setting sun with a vague wave of her hand. "I prefer the sunrise, of course, but a beautiful sunset is always nice."

"I never knew this was one of your haunts," commented Harry, shifting slightly away from the edge.

Luna smiled. "Yes," she said, staring off at the glowing skies in the distance, "it's a nice place to dream. It's always so peaceful, you know...and it's an excellent place for sighting Swooping Wallagoos. Well, at night, anyway. They don't like daylight very much."

Harry readjusted his glasses. "Wallagoos? Well, that's a new one – "

Luna turned back to him. "You've seen one, you know."

"Eh? I did???

Luna nodded. "I showed you a picture of one on the train, remember?" she said serenely. "You said it looked rather elephantine, as I recall."

Harry thought carefully. "That thing with the trunk? I didn't know they could fly."

"They don't," corrected Luna. "They swoop."

"Um...'swoop' "? asked Harry, looking overhead at an unobstructed view of the blue and lilac sky.

"That's right," said Luna, smiling dreamily. She spread out her arms like wings and spun around on one foot, long hair flying wildly. "They leap down from lofty perches and swoop through the night skies like Sylphs performing the ancient Moon Dance – "

Luna's foot drifted over the edge of the worn granite wall. "Hey! Careful!" exclaimed Harry, dropping his broom and hastily grabbing Luna's arm, pulling her quickly away from the ledge.

She looked at Harry strangely, and he hastily released his grip on her arm.

"Cripes, Luna, be careful," exhorted Harry. "You nearly fell off!"

"Well, I could always levitate down if I did," she said, shrugging, pointing to the wand tucked in its familiar place behind her ear.

"You'd have to be pretty quick," said Harry, glancing over the ledge. It would take only seconds to reach the ground below in a free fall.

"Well, even if I didn't," continued Luna, "I'm rather good at surviving falls from heights."

"Don't remind me," said Harry, recalling her 'accident' she'd had as a child. "You're not going to test that theory again though, I hope?"

Luna laughed softly. "Not this day," she said merrily.

They stood there, gazing at each other. The wind was making Luna's hair billow playfully, long strands brushing across her features, the wind and sun combining to give her a decidedly ethereal appearance.

Harry made his decision. He had to try –

"Luna, can I...ask you for advice?" he asked tentatively.

"Sure, Harry," she said, brushing her face clear of pale windblown locks. "I'm not terribly wellversed on the intricacies of Snitchcatching, but – "

"It's not Quidditch," amended Harry, holding his broom loosely and letting the head drift down to the ledge. "It' you remember the other day, when you said I should invite someone...'close' to the Ball?"

"Close to your heart," recalled Luna, smiling dreamily. "Yes, I remember."

Harry took a deep breath. It was now or never.

"Well, I did."

He stared at Luna, looking for the slightest reaction.

"What did she say?" asked Luna curiously.

This was not the response Harry had expected.

"Er...she said no," he answered.


"Yeah. But...I don't think she knows..." Harry hesitated. He was caught in a quandary; trying to tell Luna how he felt without actually telling her was proving to be quite problematic.

Luna tilted her head slightly. "Knows what?"

Harry swallowed nervously. There was nothing for it, he decided. He had to plunge in all the way; dipping one toe into such emotional waters wasn't enough.

"How I feel about her," he finished. He stared at Luna with baited breath, but she continued to gaze at him blankly. He chewed his bottom lip.

"So...I was thinking of asking her again," he continued.

"Well, I suppose that's reasonable," said Luna pensively.

"Do you think I should?" asked Harry, feeling more than a little strange to be asking Luna for advice on...Luna.

She nodded and smiled. "I think so," she said. "If you do feel strongly about her – "

"Yeah," blurted Harry, his voice sounding strangely disembodied. "I really do. A lot. I've been wondering how to tell her for months, actually."

He steeled himself. It was the moment of truth.

"So...would you like to go to the Graduation Ball with me?"

The wind died down just as Luna's dreamy smile slowly faded from her face; Harry's insides churned.

He opened his mouth and just as quickly closed it. There was nothing else to be said now. She knew.

Luna's gaze faltered for the first time Harry could ever recall, her eyes drifting slowly down to his Gryffindor crest as she crossed her arms around her midsection as though holding some imaginary books. The posture was not lost on Harry – it conveyed a tangible discomfort, a defensive pose that was shocking to see, considering its originator. Luna was silent for a long time, her pale cheeks flushing slightly as she kept her gaze firmly locked on Harry's Gryffindor crest. Her reaction was not at all what he'd hoped, and his anxiety jumped an order of magnitude.

"LLuna – "

"You shouldn't jest about such things, Harry," said Luna very softly, her eyes seemingly fixed on a point along the horizon somewhere behind him.

Harry gaped at her, his insides twisting painfully. It was the closest thing to a reprimand he'd ever heard Luna utter.

"Bbut I'm not," he stammered nervously.

She continued to stare silently at his chest, her cheeks flushing even more vividly as she clutched at her sides more tightly. She shook her head slowly.

"Harry, no..."

"Luna, I'm not trying to trick you," said Harry in desperation. "I swear. I meant every word, please believe me..."

At that, Luna's eyes slowly rose up to meet his. Harry felt a lump in his throat. For the first time since he'd known her, Luna's silvery eyes emitted an emotion he'd never witnessed from the Ravenclaw. Her mouth opened slightly –

She took a step backward and quickly turned her gaze out towards the Quidditch Pitch in the distance.

"Luna – "

"Harry," she interrupted, her usually melodic voice sounding unusually strained, "please don't..."

Harry's emotions were threatening to burst. His world suddenly shrank to a single, small imaginary circle atop a rooftop, with a population of two.

He took a step closer to Luna, at once helpless and despairing, knowing he could not leave things as they were and yet utterly flustered as to what else to say or do.

Luna seemed no better off as she continued to stare blankly into the distance, her mouth opening and closing without uttering so much as a word. Though Harry could scarcely believe it, Luna seemed...lost.

"Luna, what's wrong?" asked Harry, feeling his emotions welling up within him with alarming intensity.

When Luna slowly turned to him again, her eyes were wide with...fear??

"Forgive me..."

"What? No, Luna, wait – "

But Harry never finished his sentence. He stood there, shocked and grieved, as Luna ran off, watching her go until she disappeared from sight behind the clock tower.

Harry emerged from Professor McGonagall's office late the following night, head throbbing and emotionally exhausted. He shuffled slowly along the gloomy torchlit corridor, the flickering shadows seeming to mock his every step.

He headed down the staircase to the main hall, his mind drifting back for the umpteenth time to the previous day's disastrous encounter with Luna. No one, not even Ginny, had since seen the Ravenclaw, to Harry's ever increasing worry. The fact that it was a weekend with no scheduled classes scarcely alleviated his concern.

Her reaction had been so unlike what he'd expected, or certainly hoped for. So much so that he now feared his actions might have damaged their friendship, as unfathomable as such a thing had been just days before. Luna had always seemed completely alien to the concept of fear, having stared down Death Eaters and worse without so much as batting an eye, and yet had fled in apparent panic at Harry's profession.

It was with a sickening feeling of emptiness that Harry walked past the exit to the inner courtyard, oblivious to a forlorn figure observing him from the shadows. The fact that it was long past curfew was lost on him; the possibility of being caught by Filch wasn't even in his remotest thoughts.


He froze. He knew that voice all too well. He slowly turned and saw Luna standing just beneath the vaulted archway to the courtyard, the torchlight casting a soft glow across her pale features. A lump formed in Harry's throat at the sight of her atypically demure countenance.

"LLuna?" he stammered in surprise. "Where were you? Are you all right?"

Luna walked up to him, her steps slow and hesitant. "We do need to talk, Harry," she said softly, her eyes wide and earnest.

"I – yeah, I think so too," he echoed, though something in Luna's expression scared him. But he knew that there was no question now of pretending the events of the previous day hadn't taken place. A step had been taken, a line crossed; there was no going back now.

Luna stared at him carefully before gently tugging on his sleeve and leading him out into the moonlit courtyard, whereupon she stopped before the stone fountain and released her hold on his arm.

She stood there, facing the ancient marble sculpture for several moments, taking a deep breath before turning to face Harry.

"Luna, I – "

She gently pressed her fingers to his lips.

"Harry," she said gently, "you know that things can never be the same now..."

Harry's shoulders slumped as he felt his spirits drop even further. He was losing her.

It was all he could do to manage a single, weak nod.

"I behaved shamefully yesterday, Harry," she said, all traces of dreaminess conspicuously absent. "I'm dreadfully sorry. I shouldn't have run off like that. I...I was..."

Harry blinked. Why was she apologizing?

"Scared," finished Harry for her, his voice strained.

Luna's gaze faltered once more as she seemed to struggle with herself for a moment.

"A little, yes," she finally whispered, her eyes distant.

Harry bit his lip. "But...Luna...why?"

She looked up. "Matters of the heart are very...personal to me, Harry," she said, moving closer. "I'm not accustomed to having someone make such professions. At least without it being...well..."

"A prank," finished Harry painfully, knowing full well the abuse Luna had endured from her housemates over the years.

Luna looked, if anything, embarrassed. "Yes," she finally breathed. "Harry, I must know..."

But before Harry could utter a word, Luna's hand reached up, stopping only inches away from his face, pale fingers hesitating. "May I?" she asked softly.

He swallowed. He had no idea what it was she was asking, but –


She gently removed his glasses, leaning in so close that her huge silver eyes completely drew his attention.

She stared at him intently for several long moments, her silver pupils flicking slightly back and forth, as though searching for something, for what, Harry had no idea. All he knew was that the person he loved more than anything in the world was standing so very close.

Finally Luna's mouth opened slightly just as a few pale stray forelocks brushed lightly against Harry's forehead. She blinked.

Harry gazed in wonderment at those wonderful, ethereal silver eyes that had captured his spirit long ago –

"It wasn't a jest," she whispered in realization, her eyes widening.

"It wasn't," affirmed Harry. "Luna, I meant every word. I've been meaning to tell you for months...I...I love you..."

There, he thought, I said it. It's out in the open –

"I believe you," said Luna gently. "And I you, Harry..."

Harry's mouth fell open, hardly daring to hope. " do?"

Luna moved even closer, gently pressing the palm of her hand against his chest. "I've had time now to listen to my heart," she said, smiling slightly. Harry could see the Moon reflected in her wide, silvery eyes. "And it's something that I'd felt before, but, well – "

Harry gasped. Luna smiled.

Oh, God –

Harry reached out and wrapped his arms around a startled Luna, hugging her close as he buried his face in the curve of her neck and shoulder, one cheek pressed against pale skin, the other covered by a mass of long sandcoloured hair. "Luna," he said blissfully, "I...this is...I thought..."

He felt her hands slide up his back. "It's wonderful, isn't it?" asked Luna airily. "It's so appropriate that this should be the night..."

"I'm just so happy," whispered Harry. "I was beginning to think that – "

He paused. "This night? Why?"

Luna giggled and pulled back, staring at Harry with sparkling eyes. "Well, because of Celene, of course," she said, turning to gaze up at the brightly glowing orb high in the sky. "See? We're caught in her rays, Harry. That's highly significant."

Harry looked up at the shining celestial body, its spherical contour somewhat blurred without his glasses. " is?"

Luna nodded as she leaned her head against his. "Professing one's love under the spell of the Moon makes it everlasting, you know," she said airily. "It's a well known fact."

Harry smiled and squeezed her close. "I wouldn't want it any other way."

"Well then, Harry," said Luna, "my answer is yes. I will go to the Ball with you."

Harry almost laughed. He'd almost forgotten about the Graduation Ball.

"Well, you won't have to dance," said Harry. "I know how you feel about that. I'm not much of a dancer anyway."

"For you, Harry," breathed Luna wistfully, turning her large silvery eyes on him and smiling, "I'll make an exception."

He turned to Luna and stared into her captivating misty hues. "Since this is a night of firsts," he said, "I've been meaning to ask you something for a long time -- "

She stared at him expectantly.

"How come you've never called me Harold?"

Luna tilted her head slightly. "Would you prefer that I do?"

"No! No, no Harold, please," replied Harry in haste. "I just wondered, you know? With all the 'Ronalds' and 'Fredericks' and come you never did that with me?"

She gazed at him appraisingly for several moments. "No," she said finally, "you're entirely too personable for 'Harold'. You're most definitely a 'Harry'."

As they stood there staring into each other's moonlit eyes, Harry found himself looking forward to the Graduation Ball for the very first time...