A Wild Snorkack Chase

There are so many reasons why I like him. His laugh is deep, rich, and strong, but never obnoxious; the kind of laugh that is infectious. His hair is a deep, rich red and so obviously soft that I can't look at it without wanting to bury my hands in it. His shoulders, arms and chest are firm and strong from his years in a physically demanding job. During my third year, I snuck down to the dragon enclosure before the first Triwizard task. My father had mentioned that the Tournament would mean lots of exotic magical creatures, and I've always been curious about them. I went to see the dragons, but ended up watching Charlie Weasley instead. He was my first crush.

The Weasleys are a nice family, though I know Ron doesn't think much of me. 'Loony Luna' I'm sure is how he thinks of me. Ginny is probably the closest thing I have to a friend. Even so, I can see that she likes me in spite of me instead of for me. Hermione Granger as well. I've grown used to people dismissing me as odd, but that still doesn't mean that I enjoy it.

Perhaps the things I believe in are fictional. Perhaps trying to find these creatures and prove these theories is just a wild Snorkack chase. But I truly don't think so. There are so many ways to see the world. Muggles, of course, don't know about our world. They'd find the existence of Hogwarts, a Ministry of Magic, Voldemort, and all of the other insitutions, creatures, villians and dramas of our world absolutely ridiculous. Loony, they'd call anyone who believed in these things. Our world is also full of ideas that desperately need to be challenged: the purity of blood, the inferiority of certain creatures, the existence of others.

That's why I like the Weasley family so much. They're an old pureblood family, yet they are generally tolerant, kind and open-minded. They count Professor Lupin and Tonks as friends, instead of shunning them as Dark or dubious creatures. They accept Hermione as a future daughter, even though she's Muggle-born. Perhaps they aren't ready to believe in Gulping Plimpies and Blibbering Humdingers just yet, but some of them have potential.

The war is finally over, and my father and I have joined the Weasley family for a celebratory dinner. The war had changed all of us. All of the Weasleys have survived the war safe and sound, more or less. Molly spent the first part of the evening fussing with a special clock she owned, trying to decide where she should leave it. Ginny explained that for the first time in 3 years, the hands were pointing to something other than 'mortal peril,' and her mum hadn't yet gotten used to it working normally.

At the end of dinner, the conversation turned to future plans. Fleur was pregnant and she and Bill were preparing to settle in France, near her family. No one brought it up, but it seemed clear that it wouldn't be long before Ron and Hermione got married. Most likely as soon as they could stop arguing about the best date for the wedding. Harry and Ginny seemed to be heading in the same direction. Fred and George were excited about expanding their business beyond Hogsmede and Diagon Alley; perhaps they'd expand into Paris and find part-Veelas for themselves. Percy was preparing to leave dinner early.

"A complete disaster," he grumbled happily. "Who would have thought that there actually were Heliopaths and that they'd cause so much damage. I've loads of paperwork to deal with."

"I thought!"

"What? Who thought what?" said a confused Percy.

"I thought Heliopaths existed," I replied. "Dad tried to publish a story years ago, but the Ministry wouldn't let him. It's a shame, really. We could have been better prepared. At least no Umgubular Slashkilters came round. They're particularly nasty."

People think that I'm oblivious to the things around me, just because I'm contemplative, so they don't always control their reactions to the things I say. Each person showed their character then. Arthur Weasley smiled fondly at me, while Molly gave a stern warning look to her children. Bill and Fleur were too busy studying her belly; I don't think they heard me at all. Poor Ron snorted a large amount of Butterbeer up his nose, which probably stung quite a bit. Harry grinned at Ginny who smiled slightly. The twins made silly faces at each other, with lots of eyeball rolling and eyebrow wiggling. Hermione tried to suppress a look of cynical disapproval. Only Charlie looked unperturbed.

"Have you ever seen one," he asked gently. The way he asked was what took me by surprise. No challenge, no disapproval, no patronizing humor. Just simple curiousity, genuinely waiting for a real answer. The rest of the room seemed to disappear, and Charlie was all I could see.

"No," I admitted. "Not with my own eyes. But I still believe they might be real."

"You should keep looking. Most people only believe in things they see with their own eyes or read about in a Ministry approved textbook. If I ever told a Muggle what I do for a living, they'd think I was a nutter. I tried to date a Muggle girl when I first arrived in Romania. Didn't take long before I realized that my being a wizard and a dragon handler would be too much for her to swallow."

When he said 'dragon handler' the image of him working with the dragons at Hogwarts came into my mind. I was suddenly keenly aware that my old crush wasn't gone, and that combined with his beautiful body, his kindness and his open-mindedness, nearly undid me. I'm fairly sure that I just sat staring at him with a silly smile on my face. He didn't seem to mind, though. I slowly became aware that everyone else in the room was preparing to go home for the evening. My father was getting ready to Floo home, so I tore myself away from Charlie's smile and followed.

As I was just about to step into the fireplace, I felt a strong, broad hand slide down my arm. "You forgot your scarf," Charlie said softly, as he placed it around my neck. His forehead creased as he glanced at my left ear and he waved his hand near my head.

"What's wrong," I asked him, laughing.

"Oh, it's just...I thought...Nothing."

"Was it a Wrackspurt?" I asked nervously.

"I thought so..." he paused. "I've never met anyone else who believes in Wrackspurts," he said, sounding amazed.

"We've got a lot in common it seems." Summoning up all of my courage, I leaned towards him and kissed his cheek. "Goodnight Charlie."

"Good night, Luna. See you very soon, I think."