Luna's ice cream

Luna and Myrtle share an ice cream. Characters belong to Rowling.

Since it was such a fine, sunny summer day in Scotland, Florean had decided to close the shop for the afternoon and take his business to Hogwarts instead. He had sat up a little booth right at the main gates where he now beamingly stood and handed out his Vanilla Delights, Charmed Chocolates and Magical Mangos to the eager students. The sweet-toothed Hogwarts kids had caught on quick enough, and all over the grounds people were now eagerly engaged in ice cream-licking. Laughing groups of first-years chased each other and yelled angrily about dropped cones. Small knots of OWL- and NEWT-students sat in the shades of the large trees, pouring over their books and their Scholars Surprises. Slytherins, with their green-and-silver Salazar's Sorbet, sneered half heartedly at Gryffindors with red-and-gold Godric's Goodies, who answered the politeness in the same manner. Here and there, blushing pairs shared a Strawberry Kiss, mixed with the more mundane kind and lots and lots of giggling.

Luna Lovegood sat alone with her ice cream, just at the edge of the lake, contently watching her peers socializing all around her. Said peers were used to seeing the strange girl by herself, and didn't approach her. Perhaps she did prefer to be alone, after all.

However, if we were to look more closely, we would realize that Luna's perceived loneliness in this case was superficial. She had in fact company, but one that wasn't very easy to spot in the bright sunlight. The transparent girl was lying in the grass next to Luna, eyeing the polka-striped cone with jealous eyes.

"We never had ice creams like that when I lived," she bitterly said. "Plain vanilla or boring strawberry, or if you were really lucky - cardboard chocolate. Nothing of this kind."

"That's a shame really," Luna kindly answered, her voice as usually sounding as if it came from far away. "It tastes deliciously, you know."

"That's nice, is it?" the ghost pouted, but even she couldn't find the energy to work herself up to a tantrum this beautiful day. "Stupid Myrtle is too dead to eat. Shove it in her face, will you?" Luna looked up with eyes that were even more surprised than usual.

"Really? Oh, if you say so!" And before Myrtle had time to react, Luna had placed the half-melting ice cream cone right into her ectoplasmatic mouth.

"Wha..." she begun, but Luna interrupted with a shriek of laughter.

"You look really funny!" she exclaimed when she had put herself together enough for speaking, tears of mirth in her eyes.

"You would too, with an ice cream-cone for nose," Myrtle gruffed, sending Luna right into another fit of laughter.

"It wasn't THAT funny," the ghost protested, but Luna was lying on the ground, rocking back and forth and doing her best to keep the ice cream intact.

"...cone for nose..." she repeated for herself between the laughs. Myrtle rolled her eyes.

"Your so-very-tasty ice cream is melting," she pointed out. "You should eat it instead of laughing at me." Luna gave her ice cream a distracted glance.

"You can have it, if you like," she said and handed over the cone to the ghost.

"I can't eat it," Myrtle muttered, but Luna insisted.

"Taste it," she said. "It's really nice." And to prove her point she bent forward and licked the ice cream herself with a red-coloured tongue. Myrtle could feel the warmth of Luna's face for just a second outcompete the sticky coldness of the ice cream - and of her own body, for that matter. She felt oddly disappointed when the living girl withdrew.

"You know I can't taste anything," she reminded Luna, but the girl shook her head in a determined manner.

"Of course you can. Let me help you!" And she licked the cone again, with a content expression, and she looked Myrtle in the eyes.

"Its quite cold at first," she breathed, "but it melts away rather quickly. The taste of vanilla - sticky and sweet, almost like a sugar-dipped Gongle egg, you know? - is replaced after a second by the strawberry, which makes me think of the way that little strawberry patch behind the shed smells like when its really, really warm outside and you lie there on your back and watch the clouds and wonder what kind of shape they will form next. But then the aftertaste of the vanilla comes back, but more damp this time, tasting almost like that forest path behind Hagrid's hut when it has just rained, and then it all mingles in the back of the mouth..." she smiled. "It's really nice, actually."

Myrtle caught herself with holding her breath (in a manner of speaking), all her attention focused on Luna's words. She stared at the living girl.

"You get all that from a single lick?" she managed after awhile.

"Oh yes," Luna chimed happily. Myrtle hesitated. She remembered ice creams, of course. If she concentrated she could even remember faint traces of what they tasted like. Her parents had bought them to her, sometimes, and when she was evacuated during the war, every kid on the train got one for keeping their spirits up. She had always enjoyed them, if nothing else because of the special occasion they symbolized. But she had never thought of it as such a treasure of tastes and associations before. But then again, she reflected, there were many things she had never thought, before she met Luna Lovegood. She looked up and met the eyes of the ice cream-eating girl.

"Can I have another lick?" she pleaded. "Please?"

- - -

She stood before the ice cream booth with her hands on the back, looking as sincerely at the man behind the counter as if she had been asked to recite a piece of poetry in class, rather than being in the process of buying ice creams. Florean smiled fatherly at her.

"Oh my, two cones! That's rather a handful for a single girl such as you, isn't it?" he mildly asked as he artfully scoped at the two Hogwart's Hazelnuts The young customer shook her head with a faint tingling (due to her bluebell earrings).

"Only one of them is for me. The other one is for my friend," she said with a vague smile and nodded towards the lake.

"That's good," Florean said with a certain amount of relief. He had watched the girl sitting alone on the lakeshore, and it had troubled him slightly to see her being alienated from her peers this beautiful day. He put some extra cream on top of the cones, just for good measure.

"No one should lack friends to share an ice cream with," he said as he handed the girl the two cones and his own deepest felt philosophy of life. She received them and nodded, looking him straight into the eyes.

"Noone should," she agreed sincerely, and turned around, happily skipping back to her very own, seemingly empty, spot by the lake.