Disclaimer: Our Lady and Mistress JK Rowling owns the characters and some of the concepts mentioned within. I've just... borrowed them, a bit.
Luna goes from the middle of winter to stinking heat in an instant.
Dizzy, disorientated, she is gently herded into a line, her luggage pushed into her hands (a simple bag, not enough belongings any more for a bigger case) as she drops the used Portkey into a bin at the entrance of the arrivals area.
A bored woman drawls a 'g'day' and takes down her details. Luna can barely remember her own name, she's so tired. From deepest winter, eleven at night, in the middle of Diagon Alley - to this. A morning in February, only nine o'clock and already blisteringly hot. Sydney is big and bright and threatens to swallow her whole.
Her papers are stamped and marked with a quick charm before sealing itself away and vanishing. With nothing more to keep her, Luna slings the strap of her bag over her shoulder and walks out into the bright sunlight. She feels very small and colourless and English against the bright buildings in the sun.
She finds herself in Mokoi Street, a long stretch named for an Aboriginal defender against dark magic. It's Diagon Alley with more sun, Hogsmeade with less sheep. She can easily see Ginny here, hair tied back as she ducks into a shop for a bargain. There's even an inn that reminds her of the Leaky Cauldron, although this one claims to be more of a Backpackers Hostel.
Luna stumbles inside, pushes the eight Galleons needed for two nights in a private room, and is asleep in an hour.
Bondi Beach is the logical home of a girl from England.
Within a minute she can feel her fatigue lifting, can feel the warm sand under her curled toes. An impossibly blue ocean beckons, drawing her closer.
Within ten minutes on the sand she feels her shoulders itch, within an hour she's gone lobster-red. An Australian girl with freckles like Ginny laughs and tells her it's a Pom thing, that they all go red. Luna smiles at the mention of red and swims until the burn subsides.
Enmore Road smells of sex and pot.
She fearlessly wanders the footpath, ignoring the blast from a bus beside her, the automobiles rocketing down towards Stanmore. Shops crowd and crow for attention, for her dollars (she had converted her Galleons, she didn't need them), for her attention.
At Enmore Road, she finds music and clubs that make her dance for hours, hair tied back in a messy knot, the wizarding wars back in England forgotten as she loses herself in the music. It is there that she dances with a girl with bright chocolate eyes and a grin that reminds her of Ginny.
The girl smells of sex and pot, and Luna loses herself to the beat.
Oxford Street is the brightest place she's ever seen.
Rainbow flags wave from the windows. Boys with boys and girls with girls wander down the street, shopping for clothes, for music, for real estate, for the weekly groceries. She buys clothes in white and blue and pretends that she can taste snow on her tongue.
In one of the small, exclusive salons, Luna instructs the hairdresser to cut her hair short. Ginny had told her once that she loved playing with Luna's hair. By the end she can feel the breeze on the back of her neck and the hairdresser tells her she's an adorable little baby dyke. Luna nods in vague agreement.
The Queen Victoria Building is where she first feels the tug.
It's so English and so Australian and so warm and cold at the same time. She tilts her head back to study the statue of the Queen that once ruled her country, her country, because Luna is English through and through and not at all Australian.
She says all of this to an old lady that once might have looked like Ginny, and the old lady laughs and says that if she wants to see England in Australia, she should go south to Melbourne.
Swanston Street is England and Australia but not the way the Queen Victoria Building had been.
There is a distinct Englishness in Melbourne. The sun is more reluctant and the city operates on grey rather than yellow shades. Bluestone instead of sandstone. Where Sydney seems like it could slip away into the harbour, Melbourne is solid. English.
It's almost too English to bear, and Dragon Lane is too much like Diagon Alley, and when she loses herself in the Queen Victoria Markets, a boy with Weasley-red hair tells her about the red rock.
Rundle Mall is shops and churches and Australian bizarreness but is sadly bereft of red rocks.
She wanders down Adelaide's main shopping precinct, not Luna, just a British tourist gawking at the bronze pigs and the big silver balls. A man wearing nothing but a very small swimsuit and bright white gumboots wanders boy and she tries not to giggle. Mosquitoes hum in her ears and her brain is comfortably fuzzy in the heat and she reckons she can almost see the Wrackspurts.
A girl of Ginny's height and build smiles at her and Luna manages to smile back.
Cairns is not the red rock.
Instead, it's blindingly blue, nearly garishly green, bright, bright colours that make her feel rather pale and washed out in her white shorts and pale blue top, although her sunburn is peeling nicely into a nice tan. For a little while she thought she would freckle instead, like Ginny.
She goes swimming in the reef and tries not to panic at how big the sea is and how high the sky is, and instead of feeling like a lid it feels like a release. She forgoes the flippers and the wetsuit and the goggles and the snorkel (she laughs to herself and thinks about Snorkacks) and just swims in her skin, silken water protecting the bright coral beneath.
Alice Springs is so very very close to the red rock.
In Alice Springs she finds rugged desert clothes of green and crimson and gold. But the red is Ginny's hair and the gold is the stitching on the Gryffindor tie and the green brings a lump to her throat and she can't bear to look at them, so instead she dresses in Ravenclaw blue and pure, clean white, and she tries not to remember and not to forget and she doesn't want to breathe because she'll remember and forget.
The red rock rises from the desert.
Luna settles herself to the ground, in the red dust. The red covers her white trainers (her sneakers) and her white socks and coats her white shorts, and the dust coats her hands and the backs of her legs and her top and her arms and her face and her hair when she touches them, and when the wind dies down she can brush red dust from all of her but for her clothes and hair.
And she looks like Ginny, a short-haired, Gryffindor-clad Ginny, and she spins around to face the rock. And it's Ginny's hair and Ginny's house and Ginny's heart and Ginny's warm red spirit, and the spinifex grass is as green as the green of the Avada Kedavra curse that killed her.
And the heat is like a blanket around her shoulders as she stands and begins to walk into the desert, and there's no need to be sad or lonely any more, because if she just keeps walking, she knows that Ginny will be just around the corner, on the other side of the rock.