This is my first HP fic, so be kind and please review! I love Luna Lovegood and really wanted to write a story about her, because, disturbing as it is, I identify with her more than the other characters. In here, Luna has a secret admirer who sends her messages signed 'Eternally Yours,' and lavish gifts that go from weird to flattering to downright scary. Harry can't make her see the danger, and takes it upon himself to protect her. Interesting things happen! See if you can guess the admirer – I'll have clues in the letters in future chapters, but for now, enjoy the first part!
PG for now. I'm going to try to keep it clean, but that may change. Characters have a bad habit of doing naughty things quite without my control, and I just have to let them. ;0
Disclaimer: Yeah, I don't own any of this. That honor goes to J.K. Rowling. I'm just having some fun with characters I love, and hopefully no one's going to sue me over this. I'm already over my head with school loans...
Chapter One – The Letter
The letter came at breakfast.
It was written on a simple piece of white parchment, folded neatly in thirds and stuffed into an envelope bearing the address:
Miss Luna Lovegood
The Great Hall
Inside were hurriedly scribbled violet words in an old-fashioned scrawl that took up most of the parchment. The barn own who delivered it fluttered neatly to the table and stuck its head inside Luna's goblet of pumpkin juice, but she didn't notice. She was busy staring at the parchment before her, her wide eyes somehow more protrubent than usual.
Darling, (it said)
Forgive me the familiarity when I haven't properly introduced myself, but feel comforted that in time you will know me like I know you. Every moment we're apart weighs heavily on my soul, and I yearn for the happy hour when your eyes will meet mine and you'll see me as I am. Until then, a rose for every moment I thought of you this summer, and I remain, as ever, your servant and ardent admirer.
And indeed, Luna barely had time to finish the note before hundreds of owls poured into the Great Hall, bearing in twos and threes gigantic bouquets of technicolor roses which flashed and changed color rapidly. Sea green. Melon. Iridescent blue. Buttercup yellow. Scarlet red. Royal purple.
Until now, Luna and the note had gone unnoticed. Students frequently received letters on the first day of school from parents offering well-wishes, so it was nothing unusual, and anyway, no one paid attention to what Loony Lovegood did unless it was something they could make fun of. At the Slytherin table, Malfoy had received his usual box of sweets which he was only too pleased to brag about, but it was nothing like the rainbow of flowers heading for the Ravenclaw girl.
Students' heads turned and their jaws dropped as the flock of owls one by one dropped their bouquets in front of Luna until the pile nearly concealed her. After this, they started lining the walls of the Great Hall so the room was decorated with flashing roses. Thousands of them. Beautiful and fluorescent, with a scent so sweet and strong it pervaded the entire hall. And Luna simply glanced from the note to the roses and back again, bewilderment clear on her face.
The Great Hall was silent for a long moment until the girl next to Luna snatched the note out of her hands. Her eyes bulged as she read, despite Luna's failed attempts to get it back, and within seconds the girl was repeating the contents to her friends. The message spread quickly to all four house tables. They buzzed with excitement. A secret admirer! Loony Lovegood of all people!
No one knew what to make of it, but they all had their theories. "She sent them to herself," Parvati Patil said confidently to her best friend Lavender Brown. "I mean, what else could it be? It's just a cry for attention."
"And where would she get the gold?" Ginny demanded sharply. "They must have cost a fortune."
"Well, her father's rather well off, isn't he? Owns some kind of magazine, I heard," Lavender put in knowledgeably. Other students were obviously in the same mind, for they were sending contemptuous looks at poor Luna, and Pansy Parkinson's raucous, mocking laughter could be heard from the Slytherin table. Malfoy's expression was similarly gleeful as he said something to the boy next to him and they both snickered.
But Harry, watching Luna intently from across the room, couldn't believe it. He could see how anyone who wanted to think badly of the girl might say so, but he knew for a fact that Luna didn't care what other people thought, and for this reason would never call attention to herself by ordering thousands of roses. Besides, all it took was one look at her face to know that she was as stunned as the rest of them.
"What do you reckon?" Harry asked Ron and Hermione quietly. He couldn't take his eyes off Luna, who had put the letter away and was calmly finishing her bacon, pretending not to hear the giggles around her.
"About that secret admirer fellow?" Ron snorted. "Anyone who falls in love with her must be mental. Probably some deranged Azkaban escapee."
"That's not funny, Ron," Hermione snapped, looking up from the new schedule she was examining. She had been in a bad temper with him since they got on the Hogwarts Express the day before, for reasons unknown to anyone but herself. Ron just rolled his eyes and deliberately turned his back on her.
"Whoever sent them must have cleaned out an entire store," Seamus said, eagerly craning his neck to look. "Charmed roses are really expensive." He sounded awed.
"Like I said," Ron stated, chewing noisily. "Mental." A piece of egg fell from his mouth and landed on the table. Hermione eyed it with obvious disgust, but wisely decided not to comment.
"Come on," she said irritably, gathering her books. "Transfiguration starts in fifteen minutes. I don't want to be stuck in the back again this year."
"Yeah." Ron swallowed and pushed his plate aside. "Coming, Harry? Harry?" He had to poke him twice to get his attention.
"What? Oh... right." He stood and looked back at Luna, who was biting daintily into a croissant, her eyes lowered to avoid the laughing students trying to catch her attention. "Bit strange, really. They could have confronted her in secret. Why embarrass her like this?"
"Dunno. Probably just someone having a laugh." Ron didn't sound very interested. "Race you to the Entrance Hall." And when he took off, Harry had little choice but to follow, although his mind stayed behind with Luna and the note, wondering.
O O O
Harry's first day back had gone smoothly, certainly nothing like the year before. They were greeted in Transfiguration by a stern-eyed Professor McGongall who reminded them that although OWLs were over, this was no time to slack off. This was followed by a few hours of Herbology with Professor Sprout who gave a similar speech, although more lightly, and by the time he left Charms that afternoon his head was spinning with the work load he predicted. Only Hermione managed a cheerful face as the three of them headed to the Great Hall for supper.
They turned a corner and Harry spotted a girl walking quickly in the opposite direction, her head bent and long scraggly blonde hair concealing her face.
"Go ahead," he said, surprising himself. "I'll meet you there."
Ron raised an eyebrow as he looked at Harry and then over at Luna. A muscle in his jaw twitched. "Harry..." he started, but Hermione put a gentle hand on his arm and tugged.
"Right," she said cheerfully. "We'll see you later. Come on, Ron." And he yielded to her tugging, but not without several suspicious looks back at Harry. Harry knew he was right, and that Luna's note was none of his business, but he couldn't help feeling that there was something strange about the situation (besides the fact that it had happened at all). He would have called it a premonition, except that three years with Professor Trelawney had made him wary of such things. Anyway, what was so sinister about some flowers and a love note?
But these thoughts didn't stop him from striding down the corridor after her and calling, "Luna!"
She was surprised . In fact, she dropped her books at the sound of her name, and this delay in her stride gave Harry a chance to catch up. She clutched her books her chest as she rose and blinked. Although her wand was still stashed behind her ear for safekeeping, she appeared slightly less dotty than the year before. She had traded in her radish earrings for dangling stars, and wore a candy necklace, which, although strange, was still more normal than a necklace of paper clips.
"Er..." said Harry, unnerved by her silence. "Had a good summer?"
"Oh. It was alright." She shrugged.
"Find any Krinkle-Headed Snifflings?"
"Crumple-Horned Snorkacks. Sadly, no, but Daddy and I are going to try again over the winter holidays." Her voice sounded serene, but there was an edge to it that made him wonder.
"Luna, look," he said in a rush. "Do you mind what happened this morning?"
"Mind?" Her eyes were blank as she looked at him. "Why should I?"
"Well, you know... the note and what people are saying, and all."
She smiled faintly. "It's just a joke. Nothing I'm not used to." Harry remembered seeing her the last night of school the year before, posting requests for the people who stole her things to return them. He had felt a desperate stab of sympathy for her then, and he felt it even stronger now.
"Why does it have to be a joke? Is it that crazy to think that someone might actually like you?" Luna stared at him and Harry felt his cheeks flush slightly in embarrassment. "I guess you're right. But, well, they'll get over it."
Luna shrugged. "I suppose."
She made a movement to turn, but Harry frowned and said, "You're not coming to dinner, are you? Look, avoiding them won't do any good. It'll just be worse when you do show up." And I should know, he added silently, bitterly.
"I'm not avoiding anyone," she said and for the first time her eyes focused and she looked at him seriously. "I'm just not hungry."
"Come on," Harry coaxed, wondering at the same time why he cared whether Luna starved or not. "Let's go eat. Sit with Ron and Hermione and I. I know Ginny's been anxious to talk to you." He didn't know if this was true, but Ginny would take her under her wing either way. She had a big heart and didn't mind sharing it.
Luna smiled at him. A true smile, not the dreamy vague ones she usually gave. Something genuine. She even briefly showed her teeth.
"You're sweet. Thank you, but really I am not hungry. I have to write Daddy – he'll want to know how my first day went – and I want to get an early start on my homework. OWL year, you know. It's been piling up already." And with a final little nod, she turned and continued towards the Ravenclaw common room.
Harry blinked after her in some surprise at the abrupt end to their conversation. But he shrugged to himself and started towards the Great Hall. If she didn't want to acknowledge the threat, it was her problem. And it was probably fine anyway – he was just being paranoid when he detected a hint of something dark in the message. But he wasn't thinking of this very much as he went to join Ron and Hermione. He was puzzling over how Luna had called him sweet – and how he really hadn't minded at all.