My first Harry/Luna, so please be kind.
It took him awhile to realize. It never occurred to him at all until that night—where a single candle seemed to provide in the purest clarity what he really should have known all along.
His life—at twenty-six years old—had become blissfully normal. To him anyway.
Perhaps it wasn't so much of a stretch to not see it before. Who would imagine, after all, that life with Luna Lovegood of all people would bring him the satisfaction and content he felt now.
He didn't know when his life with Luna started, actually. No one really did—people knew they lived together, of course, but until the birth of their daughter, they had no clue they were together. Fact was, until Rowen came along, and Harry saw his own green eyes peak out from under a soft fuzz that promised Luna's blonde hair, they didn't know they were together either.
Only looking back now can Harry guess when it all started—but even then, the lines weren't drawn so clearly. All Harry knows is that Luna showed up at St. Mungo's exactly three hours and nineteen minutes after the final battle of the war. It was the first time Harry had seen her in three years. He was there getting healed. She was there for him. It struck him immediately how different she looked, yet still so the same. She was older, of course; time seemed to have taken the same kind of toll on her as it had on Neville—war didn't save pure hearts, after all. But while Neville now had a wary aloofness, it made Luna seem more real. Her hair was up in a simple long ponytail, gone were the radish earrings. Her wand was strapped to her arm instead of tucked behind an ear. It was Harry's only relief to see she still had that old necklace of butterbeer caps—his only sign that she still had her faith. That she was still Luna. A piece of a puzzle he had never gotten to solve while he was still at school.
"You're alive," she had murmured when she stepped into his hospital room.
"I'm glad, you know. Not many others are." She left only a few minutes after that, but Harry was heartened as much as he was thrown by her too truthful comments.
Harry stayed at Mungo's for six months—unable to face a post-Voldemort world. Luna came to see him everyday, without fail. She spoke of the Quibbler, which she re-established herself after the original had been destroyed. She spoke of rebuilding her childhood home, which was set on fire when her father was killed. She spoke of the election of Neville as Minister of Magic and all the work he was putting in to re-open Hogwarts. She spoke the truth of a world Harry was avoiding, filled in the pieces he didn't want to know. He demanded she'd leave, and she'd stay. He learned to dread her arrival with as much fervor as he dreaded her leaving.
She kissed him at Mungo's. Once on his cheek when she arrived, and once on his lips when she left. He didn't know when she started it, or why, but it felt natural—like she'd been doing it since the day they met and there was no three years of time when they didn't even know what the other was doing, if they were alive. Looking back, he had missed, though he didn't think he knew it at the time. So, he never stopped her.
When he left Mungo's; or rather, he was forced to leave because there was nothing wrong with him besides shellshock and avoidance issues. Luna, so often in the halls of the hospital with Harry, was the one they called when he put up a fuss about leaving. She picked him up, and he followed her by Floo without a word. She brought him to her partially rebuilt house. There was still only one bedroom, so they shared Luna's bed. "Temporarily," they both said—to both sleeping arrangements and to Harry living there at all. He couldn't go back to Grimmauld's yet—too many memories. But when the second bedroom was built, it became a 'guest room'. When he got his things from Grimmauld's Place, as well as a paper from Hermione of nearby apartments—Luna simply left his bag open, a space in her closet, two drawers empty in her dresser, and used the paper as cage lining for her owl, Pickles. Harry, without memory of actually doing so, apparently hung and folded his clothes, and made it his habit to sneak Pickles his favorite treats when he thought Luna wasn't looking.
They hadn't been living together three months when Harry woke up in the morning for the first time to find Luna cuddled against him. That become a new part of their dynamic very quickly—whether it was sleeping entwined with each other or holding each other on the couch after dinner. It was just another missing piece to add to the quirky routine they developed over the ever passing time together. Luna still kissed him when she left or came back, but now both instances were pecks on the lips. They ate dinner together, and washed dishes the Muggle way, because Luna loved to play with the soap bubbles. Harry started going with her to help around with the Quibbler, and it wasn't until he started getting fan mail that was addressed to "Harry Potter, Quibbler editor" and not "Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Killed-Voldemort" that he realized he had his first real job.
Very soon after this realization, Hermione showed up at Luna's now finished house and asked Harry point blank what was between them. Harry blinked, and said that there was nothing. She didn't believe him, and set up lunch dates with him at least once a week from then on forward. It was on the third lunch date that she set her fork down and asked causally if Harry and Luna had had sex yet. When he got flustered and a little angry, she apologized, looking satisfied. Their lunches dates dwindled from every week to every other week again, for she was still having a hard time with getting Hogwarts back to opening. She begged him to come help, even said that Ron would have wanted to, which infuriated him to the point where he stopped speaking to Hermione for a while until Luna calmly requested him to owl her.
Harry never really dwelled on his living situation with Luna. It just was. He talked of anything he knew about, and she understood. She spoke excitedly of Quibbler findings, or demurely of rebuilding the Wizarding world and what that all meant after the war. He asked about what people did after Hogwarts was closed, she filled in the missing pieces. If either were aware they were becoming more then roommates and friends, both kept it a secret from the other. And because Harry knew well enough that Luna didn't keep pointless secrets, he assumed that she was just as oblivious to their relationship as he was.
One day, when Harry was about to leave to go see Hermione, Luna kissed him as usual, but when she pulled back, she said plainly, "I love you, you know."
"I know. I love you too." Luna smiled, and Harry left. That was another piece that got added slowly, but very surely, to the custom of their life in their cozy little house, that tipped slightly to the side because of Luna's distraction when she was spelling the roof on.
A few days after Harry realized that love had become a regularly repeated word in their house, he woke up in the early morning with Luna's hands on him. He soon learned that Luna was just as playful in bed as she was out of it, and sex became another way for them to express how they felt about each other. But they still weren't 'together' in the sense Harry knew. He never looked at Luna and thought 'girlfriend', as she was always and forever just Luna to him. So when people asked, he always said they weren't together, but he also carefully avoided any question of whether or not he was single.
He was twenty five years old, and had just realized he'd been living with Luna for five years. Harry was reading an owl from Neville, telling him how he'd been re-elected as Minister and hinting overtly about how Headmaster George Weasley was still looking for a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts. He had just put down the paper and took a sip from his coffee cup, when Luna, who had been quieter than usual all morning, blurted suddenly from behind him, "I'm pregnant."
Harry choked on his coffee, and when Luna patted his back, he spluttered, "What? How?"
"Well, Harry, I think it was from when we were in bed…though perhaps it was when we were in the kitchen…and…"
"I know how," Harry interrupted, blushing; "just…" he paused, staring at Luna wildly while she just looked serenely back at him, "really?"
Luna nodded and for a moment, Harry knew that this kind of happiness was what their five years had been leading up to.
For nine months, Harry knew that even war could never teach a man about helplessness to the same degree as what watching a pregnant woman could teach. Luna, in the same fashion of everything else in her life, had an unconventional pregnancy. Strange cravings and a large stomach were the only things that could mark her from the outside as with child. She was tranquil and peaceful most of the time, and wanted to go to comedy shows with Harry a lot so she'd had an avenue to laugh so hard she cried. There were other complications, and Harry had a hard time trying to keep her in bed for the last two months of her pregnancy. Hermione and Ginny helped a great deal with that, though. They told Harry privately that the newspaper had been making headline stories about their child. Harry had just shrugged and told them that they didn't receive the Daily Prophet anyway.
Harry brought up marriage to Luna once. Luna simply shrugged and told him that things were fine as it was, and that they only reason he was bringing it up was because of what the papers said. They agreed that when their child was old enough to be part of the ceremony was when they'd marry. They never had a real reason to bring it up again after that.
Harry will remember clearly for the rest of his life the night that Rowen was born. Luna shook him awake in the middle of the night, and asked him to help her get up out of bed.
"Where are you going?"
"To owl St. Mungo's and tell them to please contact the midwife we selected a few weeks ago. I do think that the baby is about to be born soon."
Harry sprang up out of bed and accompanied Luna right up to and including the birth of their little girl. Harry was of the opinion that she was perfect, besides for a lack of name.
"Name?" the midwife asked. Luna and Harry looked at each other before peering down at the tiny girl.
"Rowen?" Luna whispered. Harry instantly believed that the name could be no better than if she had been born with that name stamped across her.
Rowen had green eyes and blonde hair and was tinier than Harry would ever imagine a baby could be. She became the largest piece of Harry and Luna's life together.
It took him awhile to realize. It never occurred to him at all until that night—where a single candle seemed to provide in the purest clarity what he really should have known all along. Rowen's first birthday party was a small affair, although a loud one. Rowen, sitting on Luna's lap across from him, realized quite quickly that all the attention was on her. So she of course was giggling and trying to seem as entertaining as possible. As the ones around them started singing 'Happy Birthday' in their dim kitchen, Harry could see more from that little candle than he would have if ever light in the house had been on.
Life with Luna Lovegood had no reason to it. But he was twenty-six years old and he had found the missing pieces to his life.