Disclaimer: Anything appearing here that has previously appeared in any other form does not belong to me. No copyright infringement intended.
AN: Alright, this is to satisfy my newest ship: Harry and Luna. First time I've written in this present tense sort of form, so criticism is greatly welcomed :)
Many thanks to Mithborien, who does everything for me and doesn't expect anything in return, and to Soph, who well, listens to everything from me and hasn't told me to shut up yet. Oh, and to Kat and the Sus who try to be patient with me, and to Sarah who is an idiot because she doesn't believe in The One True Way (Remus/Sirius), but a very nice idiot still. And to Christina who listens to my random mumblings about Harry and Draco, and to Abigail and Princess who are just so damn wonderful about everything. And ahem, to Mum who will have to live with my academic failure should I continue writing fics when I should be studying.
What Raindrops Bring
Every time my tears have ever fallen, I keep them in my pocket for a rainy day.
– On A Bad Day (Kasey Chambers)
He doesn't understand why she keeps her wand tucked behind her ear when it was just so much easier to keep it in her pocket. It puzzles him when she bursts into peals of laughter over a giggle-worthy joke, and when she turns her book upside down with a satisfied sigh, he shoots Ron and Hermione amused glances that they return. He frowns when she wanders into breakfast with her tie twisted around her neck like a makeshift scarf, and then he laughs along with everyone else when she tries to explain to Professor McGonagall that it's because of the Golampus Gloppies (or whatever they were called) but gets sent back to right herself anyway.
Sometimes if he sees her with an exceptionally crazy accessory (more so than her usual radish earrings or that roaring lion hat she had taken to wearing at Quidditch matches), or when a particularly amusing bit of gossip about her makes its way around the Gryffindor common room, he would take the time to try and divulge the reason, or lack of reason, behind Luna Lovegood, she with her absent ways and dreamy eyes that couldn't or wouldn't see the standing joke she was among the students, and she who seems so detached from their day to day activities that even Professor Trelawney declares her beyond the brinks of normality.
But oftentimes, when Ron engages him in a conversation about Quidditch or Hermione reminds him of an unfinished piece of homework, he would simply forget about it. She fades away from his agenda and when next he catches a glimpse of her wandering through the halls on her own or curled up with a book in the common room, he would just shake his head and fall back on his now well established impression that Luna Lovegood was just plain loony.
It's been a particularly long and hard session of Quidditch one day and Harry is hurrying back to the castle, glancing worriedly up storm clouds are hanging precariously off the evening sky. He doesn't want to get caught in the rain, because as things in life go, the next Quidditch match is Gryffindor versus Slytherin and he already feels a little weary after the cold that went around the school. So he hurries, as fast as his feet will take him and wondering whether he should just climb on his broom and let it take him that extra distance, he meets Loony Luna.
She stands in the courtyard by herself, as always, silent with a small smile twitching on the edges of her lips. Her eyes are turned upwards, almost reverently towards the dark heavens, but when his first step on the stone paving makes a scuffing sound, she turns to look at him.
Her smile grows a little wider. "Oh hello. I hope there's lots of thunder with this storm, don't you? There wasn't much with the last one," she says conversationally as if they were just talking about last night's dinner.
Harry blinks and he realizes that Luna isn't wearing a cloak or a coat or a scarf or hat or anything that would remotely protect her from the shower of terror that was just bidding its time to come. This fact doesn't seem to bother Luna though, she serenely turns her head away again, dreamy blue eyes scanning the cloudy horizon.
Foolishness is an abomination and should be crucified with the vengeance of a thousand angry aunts, Harry thinks to himself as he stands there feeling like the ultimate fool and the wind is blowing coldly, mockingly around their bodies decently dressed for nothing less than the standard summer climate of Australia. A shiver is climbing up his spine and he ventures to care.
"Loon –" he begins but manages to stop himself in time. "Ah, Luna, do you want to come inside? It's going to rain soon."
"I know," was her simple reply. "I'm waiting for it."
Something is tugging at Harry's mind, more than one faint memory of being called to the window by Parvati and Lavender and seeing a willowy figure dancing out in the rain, uttering shrieks of delight, shaking her head and sending crazy raindrops everywhere. And people had laughed, even when she had appeared back at the common room, soaking wet and grinning a goon, but Luna hadn't cared.
He looks up at the castle and though he can't see anything, he can feel Lavender and Parvati's smirks as they sit up there waiting for the show to begin, and then his stomach gives a sudden lurch and he knows it has nothing to do with indigestion.
Harry swallows. "People watch you, you know. They watch you and...and sometimes they laugh."
The truth burns on his lips and he doesn't know how to explain it really but there's a bubbling desperation in him making him think that perhaps, just perhaps if she knows the truth of how people see her she'll stop her strange ways and people will stop laughing at her, but it contradicts with another more sensible voice in his head that tells him that Loony Lovegood already knows and frankly, she gives shit all.
She says nothing. Harry's not even sure she's heard him and certainly the next time she speaks it seems to have nothing to do with what he's just said.
"Did you just have Quidditch practice?"
Harry gives a sigh. He He almost wants to shout at her, yell at her, scream and ask why she insists on being so different, so odd, why she cares to make him feel as if he needs to look out for her reputation when he definitely should have way better things to do, but just then thunder cracks overhead, the wind tugs at his thin Quidditch robes, and now all he wants is to be inside.
"Yeah," he replies reluctantly. "Last practice before the next match."
"I've seen you at the matches." Harry knows, he remembers hearing the lion on her hat roaring even when he's up in the clouds. "You're a very good flier."
"Oh." That was unexpected. "Thanks."
"I'm a little scared of flying myself," she confesses mildly. "Daddy says trusting something that can't think for itself is recklessly imprudent. You must be terribly brave to fly so much. That's why you got put into Gryffindor, I suppose."
Her skewed compliments are an awkward tease in his mind, bringing out good old guilt from the times that he had made light fun of her with his friends and in a way it was eating at his indifference. He hasn't forgotten the possibility of people watching from above, hasn't forgotten the promise of the crashing thunder but this abrupt empathy makes him step towards her and soon one step leads to another until he's standing in front of her, forcing a coaxing smile onto his face, though he admits that the smile doesn't come as hard as he makes it seem.
"Come inside, Luna," he says. "You'll get drenched in the rain."
But there's no smile on her lips any more and her eyes are sub zero. He can't detect any anger or coldness in her blue eyes but the void left after her wanton brightness had gone, the void that stares eerily out at him under the flash of lightning, it makes a dangerous shudder rip through him and he almost takes a step back, away. She speaks and Harry barely hears it under the roll of thunder that follows but he gathers that she's said that she wants to stay.
"Please come in, Luna," he says again, an urgency in his voice that echoes in the dense, tempestuous air. But she ignores him and waits and Harry finds the picture terrifying, Luna Lovegood caught in wicked tangles of the pre-storm winds, her fine hair whipping around a white face coloured only by the innocent pinkness in her cheeks and the worldly glaze of sapphire eyes. Her body seems nothing but a unstable ensemble of fragile bones and Harry wonders how in bleeding Mary's hell she manages to stand while he, if it wasn't for nerves of steel that Fred and George claimed he had and the inane manly image that all his various body parts stood for, would have run screaming back to the castle with his hands over his hair.
There is another glaring flash of lightning and a tumultuous crack of thunder, and then the monstrosity of nature's bottled fury begins. The mammoth raindrops come, throwing themselves altruistically from the high heavens to slap against Harry's glasses so that everything first starts to blur and then run together to become a gloomy, grayish screen. The wet is soaking through his skin, freezing his blood and so he reaches blindly for Luna's hand with the grim notion of dragging her back to the castle with him. He finds it too and for a moment he holds her small, wet, cold hand in his triumphantly but then she yanks it away, and the lost makes Harry's patience snap.
"What is wrong with you?" he bellows, temperament making his entire body quiver, although it may have just been the cold conditions. "If you want to be a stupid sod, fine! I don't bloody well care alright! But you...you don't have to make yourself sick to do it you know!"
"Fine," she sings out at him from somewhere. Harry can't see a thing now so he pushes his glasses so they sit on top of his hair: everything suddenly becomes a great deal blurrier but at least they're not running anymore, not like that disgusting mess that Dudley always makes when he's eating Aunt Petunia's sluggish, gray porridge.
He sees Luna, though she's just a hazy outline a few metres in front of him, skipping cheerfully in circles. "Fine," she calls again. "You don't care, I don't care, and that's just as sweet as pumpkin pie!"
She sounds like her usual lilting self but there's something else in her voice now, a murmured break that Harry's never heard before and it scares him more than the furious, clashing cracks of thunder and lightning above. He hears it and he knows he can't leave yet because she frustrates him and she makes him rage and he wants to know why she is the way she is. And the ragged breath she draws, audible even in the relentless splash of raindrops around him makes him realize that he already knows why but he needs to hear it from her, needs to hear it in Luna's own frail admission.
He makes his way to her, stumbling a little over the cracks in the paving and slipping a little on the puddles already formed but he gets there in the end and there she is, like a wild faerie on midsummer's night except for the rain factor, splashing and kicking the splash, and a laugh escapes her cold, bluing lips.
"Why the rain, Luna?" he asks but she only ignores him, dancing by merrily, throwing imaginary chocolate covered petals over his feet. The next time she comes close though, he grabs hold of her by both arms and he almost feels bad for interrupting but he just needs her to say it, needs her to tell him what he already suspects.
"Why the rain, Luna?" he breathes close to her and to his surprise she actually replies though it takes a while.
"Because I'm different, Harry, haven't you noticed?" and she breaks into bubbly ripples of giggles.
Before, in the not so very distant past, he might have muttered something distinctly politer than 'that's glaringly obvious' but now all he can see is the glistening rain on the top of her pale head and the drops that roll lazily down the white skin of her face, neck and arms, and all the dry, unshed tears in her brilliant blue eyes and the silent, wanting cries from her trembling, laughing mouth. The world everywhere else is growing distant and all he can hear now is the gentle fall of raindrops and the beating of his heart.
Something is clawing its way from inside Harry, something that's gripping its way through his veins and pulsating with his curdling blood and it's fostering a slow, blooming understanding inside him. Luna Lovegood is just like the rest of them. Oh, on the outside she's different and yes, she always would be. She would hold her head up high and smile at them and say hello, never hold a grudge because she understands that was just the way they were. But looking into those desperate eyes and that silently crying, laughing mouth, Harry knows now that it doesn't hurt any less, she doesn't feel any less pain when they poke good fun at her, treat her like a freak...laugh her into oblivion.
And why the rain? That too, Harry now knows. Luna doesn't want to wipe away her unshed tears, she wants to wash them away and so she binds herself to the biggest force she can find, stands outside and breaks when the skies break, weeps when the heavens weep. Then she makes herself anew in the first glow of sunlight or moonshine and tries to smile again.
Harry has no idea what he's thinking but he sweeps her into a sudden embrace and he can feel her quiver in his arms, can feel the hurt and want and need that she's kept locked up for so long and he only knows that he desperately wants to it better. He trembles himself as he traces the soft skin on the back of her neck, soft and too easily burnt by cruel touches, too easily frozen by hate and then he knows he's doing the right thing.
Luna breathes one shuddering breath, pulls away from him, draws away and releases a grip that will leave imprints on his back for eternity, and a lingering saccharine sweetness. She's looking at him with a different kind of wet on her cheeks and he finds himself breathless, spiraling into the depths of those blue distances and all the secrets they offer, and then she kisses him.
It's only a whisper of a kiss, just a gentle brush of her lips against his with raindrops squeezed in between but it makes his lips tingle and entices soft flares of heat elsewhere on his body, leaving him oh so very wanting. So he grabs her before she can take a step back, takes her back into his arms and presses his mouth on to hers.
She doesn't respond for a moment and he's almost afraid, but then the small shift and the light flicker of damp warmness comes and the kiss erupts in sinful hunger. And it's hot, hot all over from the red, swollen slash of their lips to where Luna touches him, honeyed fingers cautious but eager, burning raindrops into his heart. He can't let go because if he does, his heart will stop breathing and he will die and be dead from deprivation.
And he knows she needs him, too. He doesn't understand everything about her still, he never will divulge every mystery given by her heart, but for now, he accepts her and he understands that she needs someone here for her, someone to hold her and love her and give her kisses beyond desire.
And for now, that was enough.
AN: Oh, forgot to mention at the start "Be Warned: Angsty. Very Angsty." :) Also, I'll like to thank and credit the various fan fiction that I may have possibly 'borrowed' certain phrases from, some including Maya, anniesj, and possibly a hundred others.
Anyway, thanks for reading and please review!