"What the bloody hell is Dumbledore thinking?" Harry asked, joining Ron and Hermione at the Gryffindor table in the great hall. Ron and Hermione shared a guilty look.
"Oh," Ron said. "Guess I didn't think of that." Ron and Hermione had just been cheerfully discussing their plans for Hogwarts Family Day, when all the students would be invited to have their parents visit the school for a carnival held on the grounds. Harry shot them a dirty look.
"What? Forgot that I don't have a family? That a lot of us here don't?" he spat, looking at his soup. Hermione gave him a pat on the hand, which he jerked away.
"I'm sorry, Harry. I know it must seem very insensitive, but I assure you, the intentions behind this are actually quite brilliant. Did you know that this is the first time in Hogwarts history that the muggle parents of magical children have been allowed to see the the castle? If the deatheaters are planning attacks on the muggles, we may need more allies from their world. This will also help solidify the wizarding community by showing an acceptance of those from non-magical families," Hermione said. Harry nodded. He knew all Hermione said was true and logical, like always, which made him all the more irritated.
"Fine. Whatever. I don't want to talk about it anymore," Harry grumbled. Ron and Hermione turned to their food, occasionally giving each other glances. Harry knew they were itching to talk more about their parents' visit. He sighed heavily, and stood.
"I'm not hungry. I think I'll go sit by the lake or something," he said. Despite their sympathetic looks, he could tell they were relieved as they returned to having an animated conversation. Reaching the tree by the lake, he sank against it and stared at the water, which rippled with jewels of sunlight. The giant squid poked its saucer sized eye above the surface, looking at him curiously. He'd never really seen the beast this close before, and stared back in awe.
"Kind of cute isn't he?" he heard a voice above him ask. Above him? He let out a small cry of surprise, then looked up to see Luna Lovegood perched on a branch. Her bare feet dangled just a few feet above his head as she straddled the limb, lying upon her stomach with her chin resting on her hands.
"Er, no, not really. What are you doing up there? Where are your shoes?" he asked. He cursed his newly raging hormones, finding it difficult not to admire the smooth, shapely legs that hung from her blue, plaid skirt, which rode up her thighs from the way she sat. Luna peered down at him with her luminous gray eyes, a mysterious smile on her lips.
"I was wading in the lake and one of the girls stole them," she said with a shrug. Harry felt a pang of sympathy. He wondered why anyone found pleasure in tormenting the quiet and good-natured girl.
"You should tell a teacher on them when they do stuff like that to you, Luna," he said. Luna just kept her Cheshire sat smile.
"Doesn't matter. I'll probably find them on the Astronomy Tower. That's where they usually like to hide my things," she said.
"Do you want me to go and get them for you?" Harry offered. Luna shook her head, her shaggy blonde hair falling over the tree limb.
"No, that's okay. Just stay here. Not many people know it, but the squid likes it when we sit by the tree. He thinks we're coming to visit him," she said with a musical giggle. He stayed put, watching the squid roll merrily in the lake, his tentacles undulating and splashing.
"See? He's doing tricks for us," Luna said. Harry gave her a smile.
"So, what are you upset about?" she asked. Harry gazed up at her questioningly.
"Who says I'm upset?" he asked. Luna swung her bare legs.
"I don't know. People who sit under the tree staring off like that usually are," she said.
"I guess I'm just thinking about Family Day. Doesn't really seem fair, does it?" he asked, skimming a stone across the water.
"What doesn't?" she asked.
"Well, some of us don't have families, now do we? Your mum won't be there, my parents are dead, Neville's are as good as gone. Hell, I can't even help but wonder what Malfoy thinks about it. His dad is in Azkaban," Harry said. Luna nodded serenely.
"My dad isn't coming, either," she said. Harry stretched out on his back where he could see her better.
"Why not?" he asked.
"He can't afford to miss work. The Loathsome Lobster of Leeds is on a rampage again," she said, rolling her eyes as if this were as casual a problem as burnt toast.
"The what?" Harry asked, wondering if he should.
"The Loathsome Lobster of Leeds," she said slowly, sounding almost like Hermione did when stating a point she felt was obvious. " He's really a mackled malaclaw, but the muggles don't know any better. He lives in their sewers. No one knows why he left the mountains."
"Oh, I see. Well, it's a shame about your dad. I don't guess either of us will have a family on Family Day," he said bitterly.
"I don't mind," Luna said. " I'm used to being alone anyway." There was no self pity evident in her voice, which briefly made Harry feel ashamed of his own. Harry laughed.
"What's so funny?" Luna asked.
"Oh, I was just thinking how funny it would be to see what family I have left here. My aunt and uncle are terrified of wizards," he said. Luna hung her head down from the branch at a funny angle that made Harry smile.
"Even you?" she asked. Harry smiled even wider.
" Especially me. They hate my guts," he said. Luna's eyes glazed slightly.
"They're the ones you live with?" she asked. Harry nodded.
"It's hard being around people who hate you," she said in a small voice. "When there's no reason, and all." Harry forced a smile.
"How do you know there isn't a reason they hate me?" he asked. "Maybe I'm terrible to them." Luna shook her head.
"No, not you. You're not terrible to anyone," she said, her face disappearing behind the branch. Harry's eyes widened as she swung her long legs over the branch and landed beside him with a thud.
"I'd better get back to my dorm room. If I don't get there before the others come back from dinner, they'll lock me out," she said, dragging her bare feet through the grass as Harry watched her walk away.