A/N: I used a lot of repetition to really show how much they have in common, yet how different they are: they're both going through hard changes that are screwing with their heads, but Harry wants to escape while Luna wants to belong. I think Luna could be an escape for Harry, and Harry could be someone for Luna to belong to.
By the way, this takes place around the middle of the sixth book, before Harry and Ginny were together.
Sometimes rain that's needed falls
We float like two lovers in a painting by Chagall
In our rooms filled with laughter
We make hope from every small disaster
Everybody says "you can't, you can't, you can't, don't try."
Still everybody says that if they had the chance they'd fly like we do."
"It just isn't right."
And it wasn't. Luna Lovegood sat in on a window sill, knees drawn halfway up so that the corner of the rough stone ledge pressed a stark perpendicular line across the path of her shin, eyes half-open and drifting out of focus as she gazed at the blending velvets and satins of dusk. She was alone once again, something she was honestly quite accustomed to, yet she couldn't seem to find a reason why it should bother her like it did right now. Something wasn't right.
She tucked her feet beneath her, leaning forward and shivering slightly as the sensation of the cool glass blossomed across the aching expanse of her forehead, soothing it. She never got headaches. She was Luna fucking Lovegood. Who was she, the girl so swiftly swept up by flights of fancy and things like radish earrings and the mating habits of nargles and dew-spangled grass beneath her wriggling feet, to concern herself with trivial things such as physical discomfort? But now, now as she sat and waited for something, anything to happen, she found herself suddenly quite self-aware; she found her mind drifting away from the whimsy in which she so faithfully believed and into the unfamiliar territory of worry and rational thinking.
What was becoming of her? She had lasted ages like this, easily ignoring the murmured slurs behind hands and raucous jeers right before her protuberant eyes. After all these years of being tormented by her peers, of being shunned and teased, could it be that it was finally getting to her? Could it be that she was breaking? She didn't like the thought of getting weak. She didn't like the thought of being affected by the actions of others. She wanted to feel like she and she alone had control over her life, and but now she felt like she was losing grip, like maybe the tiny cracks that she had hastily sealed up long ago were rapidly sprawling in spiderwebs across the cool glass of her composure. The taunts rang in her ears long after she thought she had shrugged them off, resounding like bell chimes in a minor key, ringing sad, shrill echoes that clashed and splintered against each other. The others didn't seem to care, didn't seem to notice the steady crumble of her fortress walls. Or perhaps they did and they were enjoying getting just what they wanted. She found herself caring more than she used to.
"It just isn't right," she said again in a voice she hardly recognized as her own.
"It just isn't right."
And it wasn't. Harry Potter was wandering the corridors, not knowing or caring where his feet were carrying him, his toes clenching the soles of his trainers, the laces straining at their holes. The dim light spilling through the windows cast everything in an eerie shade of misty blue-grey, shadows falling across the cold hard floor that echoed with his rambling footsteps. He was alone, something he was not quite accustomed to, yet somehow right now it suited him perfectly. Something wasn't right.
He urged himself forward, lengthening his stride as if he was making chase, though there was nothing for him to pursue. He had nowhere to go, and even if he did, he probably wouldn't go there, just for the sake of his own feeling of independence. He felt as though he was fleeing from something that kept gaining on him no matter where he hid, which was true in more than one sense. He was Harry fucking Potter. Why shouldn't he, a boy tethered down so heavily by weighty commitments to others and a massive purpose thrust upon him by the powers that be, be entitled to doing whatever the hell he felt like doing every once in a while? He wasn't quite sure what he was doing in the corridors in the first place, but it sure felt a hell of a lot better than sitting around waiting for something, anything to happen.
He didn't want to be told about himself or his life or his purpose or his future any more. He was sick of building and rebuilding a home for himself with the people he thought he trusted and the things he thought he knew, only to find his world being pulled out from under his feet, little by little until all he had left was uncertainty and a burden he felt he could not bear. How was he supposed to save everyone all the time? How much would he have to sacrifice to give everyone else what they needed from him? He couldn't take everyone depending on him. Yes, he knew that it was his destiny that had to be fulfilled. He knew that the lives of millions hung in the balance, that his task was the most important of all. How could he not know? How could he not think of it every waking moment? The meaning of it, the sheer magnitude… Everything he ever knew was changing, everything he ever believed was being ripped away. It was inescapable. Perhaps that was why he was trying to escape.
"It just isn't right," he repeated, listening to his voice reverberating softly in the empty hall.
Luna watched somewhat bemusedly as her breath clouded the window, forming a perfect warm circle on the chilly glass, fuzzy around the edges until it withdrew within itself and disappeared. She made every effort to feel the same detachment she was used to, but it just doesn't work that way: you simply can't care about not caring. She traced a finger across the pane, considering with little enthusiasm the prospect of visiting the library or the lake or her favorite tree (she could have sworn she spotted a crumple-horned snorkack in its branches the previous week) as she had so many times before, when a noise bumped her rather rudely out of her trance.
Her hand tensed on the windowsill. Footsteps. And familiar footsteps at that. She relaxed a fraction as she listened to the footsteps approaching, imagining she could hear the muscled toned by Quidditch training expand and contract with each step, imagining she could hear him shaking his hair out of his eyes, imagining she could hear him adjusting his glasses on his nose, imagining he was coming to see her. She didn't know why she cared about him, really, if that's what one would call it – caring. She really was a deeply loving person, and she cared about many people. But Harry? Ohhh, Harry. She cared about him differently. He rarely showed her more attention than any of his friends did, than any of the other people who ever spoke to her as a human being. But as he rounded the corner and those astonishingly green, bespectacled eyes fell upon her form perched precariously on the windowsill, the lurch in her stomach region told her that she cared very much.
"Hello Harry," she said calmly, despite the unfamiliar feeling in her inspired by his familiar gaze. The feeling itself, on a normal day, would intrigue her, but her mind was weary and she wasn't sure she had the energy to jump aboard that particular train of thought.
"Luna!" he said. He didn't sound like he had been coming to see her. He didn't sound like he had wanted to see her at all. He rather sounded like he wanted to be alone and was startled and a bit annoyed by the fact that she was intruding upon that. But he spoke to her kindly nonetheless, and she silently thanked him for it, as he was one of the few people who did. "What are you doing here?
"Waiting," she heard herself say serenely, her words slow and deliberate, letting their individual rhythms fall in time with each other.
"Erm… waiting?" Harry repeated, slowing to a halt in front of her. His fingers traced anxious patterns in the seams of his jean pockets and a bit of his hair alighted charmingly on the bridge of his nose. "For what?"
"I'm not sure. Anything," she said, unable to keep the melancholy out of her voice. She shrugged inwardly, then she spoke exactly what crossed her mind. "Possibly you."
"Oh," Harry said, seeming slightly taken aback. But still he didn't leave, and they both wondered vaguely why this was.
"Care to sit?" she said, adjusting the books held, as ever, in her hands (The Quibbler on top), and gesturing to the empty spot on the windowsill beside her, a charm bracelet twinkling on her wrist, tinkling with the flourish of her hand.
Harry looked at her for a moment. (Well, actually, he had been looking at her before that. In fact, he couldn't seem to stop looking at her. But that's beside the point.) No, he did not care to sit. He cared to stand. He cared to walk very fast away from this window, away from Hogwarts, away from responsibility. He did not care to sit around and ponder the horrible condition of his life with a girl he hardly knew.
And yet he found himself nodding and sitting down next to her.
They sat in silence. Rather awkward silence, in fact, that positively reeked of introductions and nervous first excursions and would you maybe like to?'s. Luna continued to stare unabashedly at him as if it was perfectly normal to not take your eyes off a person for minutes on end (no one had ever told her otherwise, so she thought nothing of it) and Harry studied the windowsill, pretending to be very immersed in the creases and cracks of the stone and that he did not notice her penetrating gaze. He also pretended not to notice the way the pale light from outside turned her light blonde hair a soft, silky bluish-silver or that her shining silver eyes were reflecting the little bit of light from the just-appearing stars or that anything at all was out of the ordinary, really. But little pretending could get past those wide, keen eyes of Luna's, and she tucked up one corner of her mouth ever-so-slightly and gave her hair a little flick so that it settled a bit better on her face, as if she knew exactly what he was thinking.
"Are you alright?" she asked him, although she clearly already knew the answer (As tired as she was of thinking, she left herself slowing gaining a warm, genuine concern for him that refreshed her). He looked up at her, finally meeting her eyes with a strange sort of feeling in the back of his throat.
"I'm…" he began, but he trailed off. He did not know how much to tell her, if anything. All he knew as he looked into those round, unblinking eyes was that he could not lie to her, and even if he did he knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that she would see right through it. "No, I'm not."
Luna was still looking at him expectantly. "Go on…" she prodded gently, reassuring him that she was not offering scrutiny and judgment, but merely the comfort of confiding in someone. She could show him that he was not the only one suffering. Hell, they could compare scars.
"It's just…" Harry continued cautiously, careful to edge around things he had been forbidden to divulge. "A lot of things are changing for me. A lot of things are getting… complicated."
God, how he hated that word. Complicated. He had always thought of it as some stupid word that adults used when they didn't feel like explaining just how they really felt, a copout. It was quite irksome to hear it coming out of his own mouth, but there it went. He could have sworn he saw something flicker in Luna's eyes, as if she knew how he felt, but she continued as normal – well, normal for her.
"And me as well," she said quietly, still without averting her eyes. "Things never seem to stay as you want them, do they?"
"No… no, they don't," Harry said, secretly thankful for her bluntness because it was just what he needed to hear.
"It's a shame. Just when you think you've got it all figured out…" Luna made a dreamy sort of gesture with the hand that wasn't laden with books, curling her fingers together and then releasing them suddenly, pushing air through the space between her lips to make a sort of vanishing noise. She fell silent for a moment, her transfixing gaze roving over his features. He nodded slowly in agreement, he words seeming to sooth him a bit, though he didn't know how. She hadn't helped him, she only told him things he already knew, and yet there was something in that enchanting gaze and her light, soft voice that comforted him. Something in knowing that someone else understood, knew that this world was supremely screwed up.
"I know exactly what you mean. It's like everything's so much…"
"…and you don't know what to do…"
"…you don't have anywhere to go…"
"…no one to turn to…"
"Sometimes I just want to escape," Harry said at the precise moment Luna said, "Sometimes I just want to belong."
They looked at each other for a moment, a sort of half-smile playing on their lips as they shared a weak laugh.
"We're a lot alike, you and me," Luna said leisurely, as though she didn't notice how her heart was racing.
"You think so?"
"Well… we've both lost people we loved…" she began, ticking each thing off on her fingers. "We've both been through some of the same experiences… and neither of us has someone who really understands us."
The last thing was what really shook Harry. Not so much what she said, but the very power he could sense behind it. Was it possible that someone he barely knew could have such a connection with him? A wild thought crossed his mind: Maybe she could be your escape. He pushed the thought quickly away.
No, no, no! She's not Ginny, I don't think of her that way. She's Luna, for Christ's sake.
So? said that taunting little voice in the back of his mind that sounded irritatingly like his own.
So… just, no.
I don't know!
Yes, you do. You know that there's no reason it can't be.
So are you, if you haven't realized yet that you're falling for Luna.
That put an abrupt end to his inner argument. He took a deep breath, subconsciously noting that she smelled like Fizzing Whizbees, and looked up at her, hoping his confusion wasn't as present on his face as it was in his mind. He met her eyes and marveled inwardly at how much she had changed from the wispy little girl he had met more than a year ago. Her eyes were still wide and innocent, but there was a different sort of fire behind them that clashed beautifully with her soft yet radiantly silver irises. Her hair was no longer scraggly, but wavy and thick. She really was quite pretty in quirky sort of way. He thought about her courage, her heart, the things she had faced in her past. He thought about her oddities, her eccentricities, her faults. And he thought about her presence beside him, the way warmth radiated from her, the way her spirit complimented his, the way the mere power of her being seemed to somehow make him more complete in this strange way he had never detected before.
As she looked at him and he looked at her, she reached up to him and smoothed out his furrowed brow with her fingertips. Taken out of his contemplations by surprise, he merely gaped at this sudden intimate sort of touch. For the first time he could remember, Luna Lovegood averted her eyes, looking down at his hands braced on the sill beneath them. She inwardly heaved a tattered sigh and studied his hands. They were nice hands, strong and masculine. She'd rather like to hold one of those hands.
As if he had heard her thought, as if to grant her wish, he moved one of his hands under her free one, entwining his and her fingers. Seconds, lightyears, moments, eons later, she was looking back up at him, he was leaning closer to her, breaths were growing shorter, moments longer…
"Oh," said Luna faintly as she found his breath burning on her lips.
The books slipped from her hands, falling forgotten to the floor with a clatter. Suddenly his mouth was on hers, her lips slipping and molding around his, and they were kissing and they didn't know why or how, but one thing was certain: neither of them was confused anymore. This kiss, this moment, this connection was undeniable. It was perfectly clear that this was where they were meant to be and this was what they were meant to do.
And all at once, if only for a moment, everything else fell away. It didn't seem to bother Luna that Harry's lips were dry on hers and that his glasses were pressed uncomfortably against her face; Harry didn't seem to care that her hands were cold and clammy as she cradled his jaw in them or that her foot was digging into his shin. And neither of them seemed concerned about the fact that they were kissing in a public corridor (in a window, of all places) where anyone could see them or about what everyone else would say when they found out about the romance between The Boy Who Lived and Loony Lovegood. This was everything. This was all. They were completely enraptured, encompassed, enthralled, the closeness between them absolute and that closeness the only thing in the world that mattered. At least for a moment.
And in that moment, a thought simultaneously crossed their minds.
"It's just... right."
And it was.