You Had Me At Goodbye
Chapter One: Typical Luna
She was at the small sink, quietly washing away the grime of the meal. The dishes clinked almost threatening against the porcelain sink. Her soapy rag swept the foamy suds round and round the plates, twisted inside the mugs they had their tea in, polished the grey forks and knives to star-bright silver. She seemed blissfully unaware of the gentle noise she was making, her head titled downwards so that she could focus upon her task. She turned the tap, and a small stream of water spurted from the faucet clear as glass, rinsing the soap from the pairs of dishes. Gently, as though she was handling a small child, she set the newly cleaned dishes on a plaid drying towel.
Turning away from her place at the sink, Luna Lovegood glanced at the speaker with wide silvery eyes, similar to the silver she had just cleaned. A small whimsical smile played about her lips, as her hands, still damp from doing the dishes, dropped to her sides, right to where the checkered apron hit the middle of her thighs.
"Yes, Harry?" came her dreamy reply.
"Why do you do that?" The question held a note of irritation in every syllable. Yet, at the same time, each word was soft, and cajoling, like how one talks to a child.
"Do what?" Innocence, Harry Potter realized. Pure innocence. He paused, sweeping a black strand from his eyes.
"Why don't you use magic?"
"What, to clean?"
"Yes, Luna." The exasperation was back, and coldly unfriendly. She didn't seem to notice, though, her smile even growing on her face.
"I don't know really," she mused, playing with the slightly fraying edge of her little apron. "I guess I just like the simple things of life. The normal, grounding things in life."
He looked away from her. This was absolutely too much. Everything about Luna Lovegood was too much, from the tips of her slightly scraggly, wavy, dishwater blond hair, to those familiar radish-shaped earrings, to a new necklace of Chocolate Frog wrappers (Harry couldn't figure out how exactly she had made it.) and then to her clothes: a patched robe, the sleeves rolled up to her skinny elbows, a black and white and pale rose striped t-shirt and then, in typical Luna-style, a florescent orange skirt to complete the outfit that fell to mid-calf. Not to mention that ridiculous apron she had put on to cook and wash up in. Rubbing the back of his neck in slight agitation, Harry pondered upon how his was going to survive two to three weeks, at the least, with this maddening person.
When he turned back to her, she was no longer facing him, but instead watering a terracotta flower pot, filled to the brim with dark dirt. And while that wasn't so very out of the ordinary, the silver spoons poking up from the soil was. He stared at the flower pot in amusement, surprise, and also annoyance. Typical Luna, he thought impatiently, suddenly irritated once again. Frustrated even. It was beyond his comprehension how someone could be so utterly ridiculous, especially during the harshness and cruelty of the times they lived in. He could tell that that the war had had an unpleasant effect on him. He could feel it. He noticed he wasn't quite as carefree as he used to be. And it bothered him that Luna seemed untouched by the daily horrors. It just didn't seem fair.
"It's a Spoon Plant."
His gaze shot rapidly from the flower pot to her beaming face. She had a watering can clasped in her hands, and she was watching him with a brilliant, yet somehow quixotic smile on her features. Harry felt another shiver of exasperation shudder up his spine, and he had to bite his tongue to keep from saying something hostile to her. Instead, he roughly ground out,
"A what?" His glance briefly flickered back to the ludicrous object.
"A Spoon Plant," she chirped again, maintaining her misty tone of voice. "You can never have too many spoons, you know."
"Sure," was his muttered response as he reclined in his seat, relaxing after all the stress of the day. No, not just the day, or even the week. Not even the past year. Try the nineteen years of his life so far. Every moment of his life he had been hated by someone, loved by another, worshiped by yet another, and loathed again by someone else. He probably should have grown used to it. But whatever someone felt for him always took some sort of effect on his life. But especially this past year had been particularly hard on him. Each and every day was an adventure, or a torture. It was either running and hiding, or searching and pursuing. There were the horribly long hours without sleep, days without substantial food. Then there were short times of rest, like these, before the vicious cycle began again. But the most difficult thing of all that after two years of looking for Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes, he still didn't know where to begin. The late Albus Dumbledore had left him no clues, it seemed. Either that, or the clues were too complex for Harry to understand right now. Around two years had passed since he had last spoken to Dumbledore. Every minute was a desperate regret.
And now, thanks to the Order of the Phoenix, a society dedicated to getting rid of Lord Voldemort and his dark followers, he was stuck here, trapped with Luna Lovegood, a notoriously weird girl. But how staying with Luna could keep him safe for this brief moment in time was beyond him, although he supposed it had something to do with Luna being a lesser-known member of the Order, therefore most likely overlooked by the opposition. That really didn't make him have a positive outlook about his situation though.
Even though Harry hadn't seen Luna in around a year and a half up to this moment, he hadn't dared to hope that she might have gotten sensible since the last time they had met. He had certainly had his doubts about residing with her for a little while. as Kingsley Shacklebolt had advised, then later, instructed him to do. Harry hadn't even known that she was a part of the Order. But as it was, he had turned up at her doorstep (which was painted in a kaleidoscope of colors, as much of an advertisement as any that someone mad lived there), worse for the wear, and with an escort. He had knocked on her door, feeling slightly apprehensive, but his nervousness was broken when she had flung open the door wide, standing there clad in her "interesting" clothing, welcoming him in with a vague,
"Hello, Harry." Her words were so familiar to him. It was exactly the way he remembered her speaking to him back at school. Just typical Luna again.
She had let him in to the little house, which looked fairly normal on the outside. But on the inside, his kelly green eyes surprised and opened wide in disbelief. Like the doorstep, the home was bright and colorful, the walls painted an assortment of the sunniest hues in the rainbow. On one pineapple colored wall there were pictures. The one in particular that Harry noticed was a tall, lean man beaming, and gesturing at something only he seemed to be able to see.
"Is that your father?" he had asked her quietly, glancing towards her as she stood near him, as though waiting for his approval of her home. A sort of sad smile had grown on her face.
"That was my father," she had said proudly, losing her airy tone for a moment. "He was killed in the war."
Guilt had flooded his insides then, threatening to choke him. He felt sick, like the very death of Luna's father was threatening to take his life as well. As though this whole affair was his fault. Though in a way, his more unreasonable side argued, it was. If it hadn't been for him, there would never be a war, although it was likely that Voldemort would have full power then. He had shaken the thoughts from his head.
But Luna seemed just as lighthearted a moment later as before he had asked the question. She had gone, no, maybe it was skipped, into the kitchen, and was setting a gigantic yellow pot on the stove, pouring random ingredients in. But Harry ripped his attention from her, his suitcase still in hand. He took in the rest of the house. Mismatched furniture filled the tiny living room – a brown leather couch, a paisley chair, a flowered footstool, and then a striped, lumpy-looking love seat. There were paintings on the wall, mountains and rivers, then a field of sheep, and then a strange one of a crescent moon and the stars that looked extraordinarily realistic, in a daytime sky. In fact, Harry almost convinced himself that the stars were twinkling, and maybe they were, even in midst of the sunlight and moonlight. He gave the painting a parting frown before looking around some more.
The kitchen was about as big as the living room, but it was just as full of life, Harry thought. All the pots and pans were different colors, not the same old black or stainless steel ones he was accustomed to in Aunt Petunia's sterile kitchen. There were aqua pots, with bright pink lids, and green ones, and fire engine red pans, teal and orange striped ones, and of course, the largest of them all, the yellow one perched on top of a little black stove, which seemed to be humming a little bit, though Harry couldn't quite figure out the tune. There was a shelf stuffed with cookbooks, but were so dusty that Harry doubted they were often used. There was the small sink. There were pictures here too, of a smiling woman, the sort of loopy looking man that Harry recognized as Luna's father, and then what appeared to be Luna at a younger age. Maybe seven, he decided.
He jumped as though burned, staring at her like he had never seen anything quite like her.
"What are you doing?" she asked curiously, cocking her head to the side so that most of her wavy hair dangled to one side, making her look a little lopsided, with a wooden spoon in hand, and that checkered apron on.
"Nothing," he had muttered coldly, his first irritation of the night. Suddenly, he realized why Luna Lovegood's home struck him the way it did. It bothered him that there was so much light in this house, almost as if joy was solely contained in this tiny abode, and that Luna had stolen it from the rest of the world with her easy going attitude. If one went out among other wizards and witches, they didn't see them clothed in bright hues, or with silly smiles on their faces. There was only sadness, hopelessness, anger, and hate, emotions which he wondered if Luna had ever experienced fully. Then he remembered, uneasily, that like him, she had lost both her mother and her father. It almost made Luna human.
"Come on, I'll show you where you can sleep," Luna continued, staring at him with eyes as large as saucers, or as grey and big as the moon, ignoring his previous and rather rude reply. She disappeared down a hallway, painted lilac, humming a little song, her bare feet pit-patting on the smooth tile. Harry followed after her uneasily, taking in the sights of the hallway. It was very narrow, but regardless there was a small wooden table to the right side of it, doilies and lace draped over it, reminding him of Mrs. Figg, the batty old lady that lived near Number Four, Privet Drive. There was a bottle of some substance in the middle, surrounded by dried herbs. Harry made to touch it, to pick it up and examine it but -
"I wouldn't touch that if I were you," came Luna's sing-song voice from somewhere in the house. Harry jumped horribly, biting his lip in the process, and cursing Luna under his breath afterward. She was honestly the astonishingly eccentric person he had ever known. Harry would never admit it, but maybe she scared him just a little. He abandoned the bottle of whatever it was, proceeding to travel down the purple hallway to where Luna's voice had come from.
He had found her in a strangely dark room, but the darkness did not necessarily convey depression. The walls were a deep ruby color, and rather than emitting a feeling of sorrow, they broad casted an emotion of power and strength. The blinds covering the windows were dark grey, allowing just enough light in, and bedspread was a rich, forest green. For the first time, and likely last, the ghost of a smile crossed his face.
"I thought you would like it," Luna whispered in his ear, making him jump again, just a little though this time. But before he could turn his head to face her, she had flitted away, lighting the candelabra by the bed with her wand, as well as the small chandelier overhead. Golden light flooded the room, and she beamed up at the candles. Then she was gone, humming again down the purple hall, back to the colorful kitchen to finish whatever she was making in that huge yellow pot.
Harry set down his suitcase on the bed, feeling oddly lonely and forsaken. The feeling overwhelmed him, and he found himself traveling through the light violet hall once again, towards the kitchen. Delicious scents wafted from within, and he suddenly realized how hungry he was.
Entering the kitchen, he noticed that the shelf of cookbooks had been moved somewhat to the side, and that a minuscule table set for two, but lacking spoons, had replaced its previous position. Then, his attention shifted to Luna, who was pulling some, well, interesting things out of her canary yellow pot. There was a blackberry pie first, then a cherry-red kettle whistling piercingly until she cooed to it and it subsided its racket, and after the kettle, a bowl of something orange, maybe mashed sweet potatoes, and then, lastly, a huge bowl of spaghetti, complete with tomato sauce and cheese sprinkled on top.
He hadn't even noticed she was watching him, until he felt her silver eyes upon him, unnerving, that, and glanced up. She was sort of chewing her bottom lip, as though waiting for his approval. Immediately Harry felt uncomfortable, and glanced away, unable to speak.
But his stomach did the talking for him with a large, elephantine rumble.
When he looked up again, Luna was smiling again, somehow fitting all that food on the tiny table with enough room to rest one's elbows on the edge. Soon enough, Harry found himself sitting at the table with Luna directly across from him, her eyes fixed upon his, prattling on about the oddest things – the incredibly rare occurrence of duel-headed Hippogriffs, and of course her beloved Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, then there was something about the Minister of Magic snogging a vampire, and the list went on. He sort of tuned her out, focusing on the food, just happy to have a friendly voice to speak to him even if it did belong to someone that was likely criminally insane.
When the meal was over, she had leaped up, gone over to the sink and washed the dishes, like it was some sort of ritual. And Harry had been left at the table, now remarkably smaller, unwilling to get up from his seat, and forced to resort to look at the so-called Spoon Plant.
After explaining what the flower pot was, she had deposited the watering can on the counter, and then brushing a stray wave from her face, sitting back down on her side of the table, resuming her staring at him again. It was so intimidating to him. How could she just sit there and look at him like that?
He jumped up from his seat, feeling slightly wild, and said quickly, "You know, I think I'll go to bed now if you don't mind," and left before she could say anything to stop him. As he was passing through the purple hall, he heard her voice from the kitchen, cheery, yet forlorn,
"Good night, Harry."
He tried to ignore his feelings of guilt at deserting Luna after the fact that she had given him refuge and sustenance. The whole way to his room he argued with himself. Yes, Luna was a bit mad, but she didn't deserve to be treated rudely, especially when he was on her turf. On the other hand, she was brashly open about everything, and seemed to want him to be that way too. And that wasn't him. What did she expect of him? They had never really been 'friends'. Acquaintances, maybe, but there was no way in hell that she could expect him to talk with her as easily as she did with him.
Shoving his suitcase to the floor, where it landed with a thunk, Harry sank onto the bed, kicking of his shoes almost violently, set his black, round-framed glasses on the mahogany bedside table, then burrowed under the covers, feeling like he was five years old again. Luna was just so absurd. She had always been. It was typical Luna, but Harry felt like he couldn't deal with that right now, though he could hardly doubt that this 'vacation' would prove to be, well, interesting. Painfully, he drifted off to sleep, unaware that he was lulled to sleep by a gentle humming from the living room.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter not mine!