Disclaimer: I own nothing; Harry Potter and the elements of his universe all belong to J.K.Rowling. I'm just borrowing the characters to play with for a while. This is for pleasure only, no profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
One rainy afternoon, the summer before her sixth year…
Luna was wearing her favorite raincoat. She quietly snuck her way down the stairs and began to put on her favorite rubbers. She was tiptoeing and doing her best to not squeak as she made her way towards the back door.
"And just where do you think you're going, little lady?" the concerned voice of her father startled the mischievous young girl.
"Can't I pretty, pretty please go frolic naked in the rain?"
Mr. Lovegood shook his head negatively. "Nuh-uh. We talked about this Luna. That's not normal rain falling from the sky right now. And you're still a virgin, so it would burn your skin and disfigure you horribly."
"I don't care!" Luna pouted.
"No," Mr. Lovegood insisted, swatting her on the nose with the newspaper in his hand. "You are not going out in the middle of a flesh-eating storm."
"But there's nothing to do inside!"
Mr. Lovegood sighed and felt guilty every time he had to tell his daughter 'no.' "Why don't you go upstairs and clean your room? Wouldn't that be fun?"
"Maybe," Luna reluctantly agreed thinking of her last attempts at cleaning.
"We should really find you a hobby."
"I already have a hobby, thank you very much."
"Frolicking naked in the rain is not a proper hobby."
"That's not what I meant," she petulantly insisted.
"Well, what is your hobby then?"
"I'm a criminal mastermind! I devise convoluted, nefarious schemes!"
"Why don't you work on one of those?"
Luna sighed and frowned. "The muggles won't let me play with their uranium anymore and you won't sign the waiver to let me get plutonium."
"Luna we've been over this," Mr. Lovegood shook his head. "If you can't remember to feed the dog then how do you expect me to believe you're responsible enough for weapons grade plutonium?"
"I hate you!" Luna yelled. "And I do feed the dog."
"He chews through my underwear all the time."
Mr. Lovegood's face lit up with a smile. "Of course! You're a hormonal teenage girl! What if you tried making a nefarious scheme for one of those boys or girls you're sweet on? Perhaps that one with the hideously mangled forehead you're always talking about?"
"Oooh!" Luna giggled. "Good idea, Daddy!" She turned and ran up the stairs enjoying the squeak of the rubbers on her bare feet.
"Just remember, no dating until you're twenty-five!" Mr. Lovegood called from downstairs.
"Fiddlesticks," Luna commented idly to herself. "Well, I suppose there's still unconditional sex."
"And no sex either!" Mr. Lovegood amended from the floor below.
"Phooey," Luna said plopping herself down on her bed. "No sex, huh? Good thing Daddy always says rules are meant to be oaken. Hmm… if I were to throw sex out the window then it would present a formidable challenge for my creative genius." The young woman paused and took off her raincoat as she did her best thinking in the nude.
"I just hope the defenestrated sex doesn't hurt any squirrels," she commented picturing a very curious mental image and a territorial skirmish over a pair of nuts. "Yes, yes, this is going to take some really nefarious scheming."
Plans and hypotheses were tossed around and juggled in the mad yet brilliant young woman's mind. Civilizations fell and rose only to fall again depending on just what sort of wrath she chose to inflict upon the few who foolishly dared to oppose her. It was going to take some refinement but she had been making a conscious effort to earn exclusive rights to the phrase 'that's crazy enough that it just might work.' She knew she would have been queen of the world several times over now, if only her initiative had lasted as long as her schemes required attention.
Mr. Lovegood went back to his crossword puzzle. "A one-letter word for myself, first letter is I. Hmm…" His musings were interrupted by his daughter's mad cackling from upstairs.
"Yes! Yes! Muhahaha!"
Mr. Lovegood took a break from his mental exercises to just listen to the barrel of happiness every parent received when they raised a teenage girl.
"Yes! Yes! No… wait, yes! Muhahaha!"
"Good scheming, sweetheart?" Mr. Lovegood called out towards his daughter.
"Yes Daddy!" Luna chirped happily. "And this time I'm going to follow through with my plan!"
"That's wonderful, Luna," Mr. Lovegood replied. He just smiled and sat back enjoying all the evil chortling, cackling, and squealing that filled the rest of the rainy afternoon in the Lovegood household.
Shortly after NEWT Potions early in the school year…
"Professor Slughorn?" Luna asked once all her classmates had left the room.
The Potions Professor always felt nervous around Miss Lovegood ever since she scared a vampire away from his Christmas party the year before. Luna insisted it was merely idle conversation, but no one had seen nor heard from Sanguini in months. The rumor was that he'd burrowed himself into a small cave in the side of a mountain, fearful of blibbering hugglehumpers or some such nonsense.
"Miss Lovegood," he answered with a forced smile. "What can I do for you?"
Luna tilted her head to the side and asked, "I have this friend with absolutely dreadful hair. And I was contemplating making up a fake memory to perhaps persuade her to try a new style. I've not really made up my mind just yet, but I heard a rumor you were the resident expert on altering memories?"
"Who told you that?"
Luna blinked, not even hesitating for a second. "The knobgoblins that live in the walls were quite insistent you were the authority."
"Oh," Professor Slughorn paused uncertainly. "Well… umm… alright. To actually craft a memory from scratch requires an imagination beyond most people's ability, but I suppose I could help you refine your memory."
"That would be excellent, sir," Luna nodded with vacant expression. "Here's what I want to do…"
Three weeks later, after much tutoring…
"I must say Miss Lovegood," the Professor heartily cheered. "You are far more gifted at this than I could ever hope to be. If I hadn't been helping you, I never would have suspected it to be anything less than a completely true memory."
"Thank you, Professor," Luna accepted the praise, holding in her evil cackling.
"And you have quite a devious mind, my dear," Slughorn said with a chuckle. "I'd hate to see you use your gift for nefarious schemes."
"It's like my daddy always says," Luna agreed. "It's not the size of your brain, but the color of false. Or was it the color of fifty-three?"
Professor Slughorn stood there clueless on how to form a proper response to that. "Good day, Miss Lovegood."
Luna smiled brightly and waved as she hurried from the room. She couldn't contain her glee and just as she was past the doorframe she cackled, "Muhahaha!"
"Did you say something?" Slughorn asked, sticking his head out of his classroom.
"No," Luna answered.
Slughorn just nodded nervously and went back into the Potions dungeon thinking it might be time to hide in abandoned muggle houses again.
Luna went back up the stairs to begin the next phase of her current nefarious scheme. She nearly plowed right into her friend as she turned the corner in front of the Great Hall.
"Luna!" Ginny cried as she struggled to regain her balance. "Watch where you're going!"
Luna nodded, twisting her body like a ninja, her center of balance never once wavering. "And you should watch where you've been."
"Nothing," Luna said, holding in her evil cackles. "Ginny, have I told you how wonderful your hair looks lately?"
"Oh," Ginny said and smiled. "Thank you. It's a new conditioner."
"That red suits you quite well," Luna said as she ran her fingers through it. "If I were you, I wouldn't ever change it."
"I don't plan to," Ginny assured her.
"Excellent," Luna mumbled excitedly, rubbing her hands together.
"Nothing. I'll catch up with you later, Ginny," Luna said turning to leave. "I've got to watch where I'm going and it's that way."
"Alright," Ginny said uncertainly as she turned to go back to the Great Hall.
Luna was muttering to herself, "And I've got a memory to refine even further. Muhahaha!"
About a month later, sneaking away on a Hogsmeade weekend…
"Well I'll be an ingrown toenail," the goblin admitted in surprise. "I never would've believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. Unless…" the goblin paused and was carefully scrutinizing the teenager, "you're up to something…"
"Moi?" Luna said a little too innocently. "You honestly think a young witch still in school could ever hope to fool the most brilliant methods and minds of the dashing, handsome goblins of Gringotts?"
"No, no, of course not," the goblin corrected with a grin. "That's too silly to even imagine. Though I would like to thank you for your unorthodox foresight. Most wizards wouldn't think twice about spreading their communicable diseases to goblins, but you were kind enough to carefully gather your own blood and brought it with you for our testing purposes. Terribly gracious of you, Miss Lovegood."
"If we're not considerate," Luna said shaking her head. "Then we're no better than a Malfoy."
"Eargit help us if that ever happens," the goblin said shaking his head in despair. "Now that we've proven your status since blood can obviously not lie. And of course no ancient family would ever willingly share blood with an outsider. So what can we do to help you?"
Luna smiled vindictively in an effort to comfort the goblin and continued her carefully constructed deception. "I suspected the connection through my mother and have wanted to know more about her side of the family ever since she passed." Luna's bottom lip began to stick out and she started to get more glassy-eyed than usual. "I promise to not make any withdrawals as I don't wish to cause any problems, but I was hoping I might visit the family vault. Just to connect with the more personal items of my ancestors."
"As long as you're not withdrawing anything, you can go visit right now, while I prepare the contracts so that you may legally stake a claim to at least a partial share of the family fortune."
"Oh please," Luna argued shaking her head. "Don't bother. I haven't decided if I even want to stake a claim. This isn't about money for me. I know how irrational that may sound to you, but to me this is simply about my history and my family. Money is simply less important, when compared to doing the right thing."
"You are quite the enigma, Miss Lovegood."
"Muhahaha!" Luna cackled unable to hold it in any longer.
"Excuse me?" the goblin asked in confusion.
"Oh pardon me," Luna said covering her mouth with a blush. "Tickle in my throat. No, just visiting the vault was all I hoped to accomplish today."
"Very well," he agreed and called for a goblin to escort her to the family vault. "And may I, once again thank you for not endangering us with our admittedly crude methods of drawing blood."
"It was the least I could do," Luna said fighting down a cackle relapse.
"I do hope your AIDS clears up soon," the goblin said dismissing the young woman.
Luna smiled mischievously and headed down to the family vault. "I'm feeling better already. Muhahaha!"
"What?" the goblin in the cart turned to her in confusion.
"What?" Luna replied innocently.
"What?" the goblin repeated harsher.
Luna tilted her head to the side and slowly said, "What?"
A couple of months later on Christmas break…
Harry had been looking forward to this trip down to his family vault to see if he had any good secret family weapons. He'd been pleasantly unsurprised to discover he had a whole separate vault dedicated to centuries of Potters, but he had not had the time to conduct a proper inventory of the vault. A situation he was hoping to rectify today. He hopped into the cart and sat back enjoying the wild ride down to his family vault.
Harry had told the goblin he may be down here for a while and they'd already given him a buzzer to ring for a ride back when he was done. The sight of enormous mounds of coins off to the side didn't even interest Harry, except perhaps to roll around naked in because who wouldn't want to do that. There were various old trunks and shelves full of curious objects that all looked very intriguing. This opportunity to go through his family's lore, without worrying about upsetting an impatient goblin was the best little Christmas gift he could have given to himself.
He saw piles of books, a few wardrobes of old clothing, a couple of fancy looking swords and daggers, but nothing as nice as the Sword of Gryffindor, which he'd already appropriated at the start of the school year. A couple hours in the Room of Requirement swinging it around like a lunatic and he'd realized a magical sword was kinda nifty and all, but a bit on the lame side. And while his scarred legs might argue otherwise, it just didn't feel dangerous enough. Transfiguring throwing stars had only earned him detention, but at least the Creeveys were keeping their distance now. Come to think of it, he still owed Colin a camera and Dennis a pinky.
This was why he was hoping to find some super secret Potter Crossbow of Doom, maybe a poison-tipped dart shooting belt buckle that responded to mental commands, recipes for the family explosives, or even just a wand with a pen and clock built in. Harry figured there had to be something cool down here.
He was just making a rudimentary glance around at first when something caught his eye. He walked over to the seemingly empty corner and began poking it with his wand. A shield flickered into view before disappearing and Harry suddenly realized that this corner of the vault was warded! If the Potter Crossbow of Doom was going to be anywhere, it'd probably be hidden back there.
Harry was immediately thankful for all the special training he and Luna had been doing. She had suggested learning about blood wards, and other basic wards including how to make them, recognize them, activate them, and break them. It was not a field of magic anyone should study on their own, considering any time you mess up which Harry and Luna were prone to doing, you would need someone else to get you out of your own failed ward. At first the sight of his blood made him a bit nervous, considering a certain rebirthing ritual and all, but now Luna and he had both cut themselves and each other so many times that he never even paused at the use of his blood in magic.
A couple of diagnostic charms later and Harry realized he wouldn't even have to tear down the wards on the corner. They area was protected so that only Potters could pass. And even more curiously, it was restricted to the male gender. Harry wondered why the Potter women weren't allowed to know about whatever lay in the corner, but figured the Crossbow of Doom might be too dangerous for them.
Harry cut open his hand and linked himself into the ward, flickering to reveal not the Crossbow of Doom, but a small pensieve sitting on a stool with a silvery memory floating in it. Harry's disappointment lasted for a few moments before he swirled the memory in the pensieve and saw a young man he immediately recognized as his dad. His own father must have left this here, and for some reason he didn't want his mom to know about it. Briefly considering some of the memories of his father that he had seen, Harry was slightly apprehensive. But the fact that it was linked to all Potter men indicated he probably wanted Harry to know something. Considering his father's love of pranks, the invisibility cloak passed on to Harry, the Marauder's Map and such, Harry figured there was probably some mischief involved.
With barely a second thought, Harry descended into the memory and found how wrong he was.
James Potter looked haggard and freaked out. "I'm telling you, she won't leave me alone! She's insane!"
"Oh come on James," a younger and healthier looking Sirius Black replied. "You know you're just as crazy about her."
"No!" James insisted. "I'm not! She's not just crazy about me, she's literally crazy! Bonkers! Round the bend and back again, totally nutters!"
"It's in your blood James," Sirius argued. "Everyone knows Potter men always fall for redheads."
"No they don't!" James snapped back, frantically peeking over his shoulder. "That's just what they want you to think."
"Who are they?" Remus asked skeptically.
"Potter women!" James whispered fervently. "They're evil, conniving witches!"
"Your mum is a sweetheart," Sirius argued not believing a word of this. "And I won't stand by and let you badmouth the woman."
"Sure, she's a fine mum," James said. "But why do you think Dad's with her?"
"Because he loves her?" Remus said stating the obvious.
"Potter men aren't attracted to redheads anymore than anyone else!" James explained hastily. "It's just that determined flat-chested redheads stalk Potter men! It's like a family curse or something!"
"Oh stop it," Sirius shook his head. "Your mum didn't stalk your dad! He's been head over heels for her for as long as I've known them. Besides, Lily has a… well it's at least an average chest."
"That's the muggle in her!" James argued. "And Dad's not head over heels for Mum, it's the love potions! For my sake, and the family's, he just takes the potions and we're a happy family by all appearances. But a couple of times he's tracked me down and explained it to me, before mum can dose him again. And now I'm telling you, that's what Evans has been doing!"
"Is there a punch line coming soon?" Remus asked. "Because this really isn't that funny."
"Try me," James said. "I'm sure there are still remnants of her occasional Imperius Curse. Remus, you can probably smell the potion on my breath. I just took it yesterday, but she didn't know I swallowed a bezoar in the morning. It didn't counter everything, but it sped up the effects so that I'm in my right mind now. I've got a couple hours before she's dosing me again. You guys gotta help me! She's nuts!"
"You said you loved her more than life itself just the other day," Sirius argued.
Remus moved closer and sniffed James' breath. "Hmm…" He turned to Sirius. "I do smell a potion. But I still don't believe it."
"James, sweetie?" a voice called out from the next room. The slim redhead walked into the room. "Is everything alright?"
"You guys gotta help me, come on!" James argued in whispers stepping away from Lily.
"Oh dear," Lily said with a soft smile. "I was afraid of this."
"What's that?" Remus asked cautiously.
Lily shook her head. "I was afraid he might have drunk one of my Paranoia Potions. I've been working on altering them to smell and taste better, so that we can slip them to Death Eaters. I hope it hasn't been too bad for you, sweetie?" Lily smiled vindictively, promising him punishment very soon.
"Guys?" James looked at Sirius and Remus pleading for help.
"Come along sweetie," Lily said pulling James with her. "I've got an antidote in the other room."
James dropped his head sadly and obediently followed unable to completely fight the effects of the potion still in his system.
As soon as they reached the next room, Lily cast a privacy charm and shook her head. "What am I going to do with you?"
"I can fight your Imperius and I won't be taking any more potions from you," James said lifting his chin defiantly as best he could. He struggled with the words and said, "There's nothing you can say that will ever make me go out with you again."
"Nothing?" Lily replied, batting her eyelashes and looked deceptively kind.
James gritted his teeth, wishing the bezoar in him countered this potion as well as it did poisons. "Nope, nothing."
"Now, I think we both know in the best interests of our son," Lily continued softly.
"Son?" James perked up.
"Yes, it's a boy," Lily pleasantly explained. "I think the best thing would be to get married as soon as possible, and for you to drink your potion like a good future husband and father."
James exhaled roughly, fighting his instincts and desires but seeing no alternatives.
"You know you don't have any choice, sweetie," Lily said patting him on the chest. "As soon as you take your potion you'll even stop being upset about this. Everyone will be happy and you'll be just like your father."
"Fine," James conceded, taking the potion she handed him. "But you can bet your flat little arse, I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure my son doesn't date any redheads!"
"Whatever you say sweetie," Lily agreed.
James reluctantly swallowed the down the delicious concoction and let out a loud sigh. He looked over at Lily happily and smiled. "I'm sorry I was so upset with you."
"That's okay sweetie," Lily purred hugging James back. "Everything will be just fine. And very soon, the royal ginger family will produce a freckled female offspring again. Once one of those lands a Potter man, then the gingers will rise up and rule the world again! Muhahaha! Muhahaha!"
"What?" James asked looking at his wife.
"Nothing," Lily said hugging her fiancé tightly as she rubbed her hands together in evil glee.
Harry fell out of the pensieve and sat there numbly in disbelief. It couldn't be true, could it? But it all made so much sense including why the memory was here and protected from Potter women. Why his parents got married so young and why he'd been born so soon out of school for them. It certainly explained why everyone was so insistent that his parents loved each other so much too. After thinking it over carefully, Harry decided from that moment on he would do everything in his power to make damn sure that his dad was always proud of him.