Her head throbbed as her body began to regain consciousness. A muffled groan escaped her weary lips as she turned her aching body over, trying to evade the pain wracking her every particle. She cracked open her eyelids, immediately squinting them again, as a blinding light met her vision. Her first notion, as she squinted into the light, was that she had met her death, but promptly dismissed such a thought. Were she dead, she would be out of pain, and that was not the case in the slightest. She could not ever recall so much physical hurt surrounding her.
"Ah, awake, are we?" said a gentle voice from somewhere above. "I'll be fetching you some food then, along with some things to ease the pain. Merlin only knows how much you need both."
Quiet footsteps faded away, and Luna was left alone with the bright light beating down upon her, a beacon of ultra-glow, both a nuisance in its brightness and a comfort in its symbol of life.
"Here you go." The gentle voice was back, and now she could see it belonged to someone who looked to be a Healer. Aforementioned Healer helped her into a half-sitting position on the bed, her back reclining against the pillows, and then placed a tray of steaming food in front of her, along with several glasses of funny-looking substances. "They'll numb the pain," the Healer assured her. "And be sure to eat and drink, you've been out for three days solid now, ever since that battle."
The battle. Ah, yes, how could she have forgotten? She had been in the last battle with You-Know-Who. That was why she was so badly hurt, and it also explained the starch white walls of the room; she was in a hospital.
"I've got to tend to my other patients, so many of you came back injured from that fight. . .can I trust you to eat and take these potions by yourself?"
"Yes." Luna was a bit surprised at how hoarse and rough her voice was, from so much disuse. She cleared her throat weakly and repeated the faithful word: "Yes. I'll – I'll be fine. Thank you."
The Healer left, and Luna docilely downed each of the potions, enjoying the numb, drowsy feelings spread through her body. But food was still the farthest thing from her mind. Even though logically she knew she should eat, she was not hungry. So instead, she glanced around the room. Beds were scattered everywhere, faces on each pillow. Some faces she knew and other she didn't, but all of them were scarred, and either unconscious or sleeping. She traced light fingers over her own face, feeling the sores and bumps, and cringing as she reached the particularly sore areas. Yet, her only thoughts were how blessed she had been to be part of such a battle, to help change the future. No, she had not won all by herself, but she had collaborated with others to make a small difference.
She was torn from these thoughts as her eyes landed on the face in the bed next to hers.
Ronald Weasley. . .
His body was motionless, his position limp. He was lying on his back, arms flopped on either side. His head was tilted slightly towards her, so his pale face seemed to almost stare at her with shut eyes, hair strewn across the pillow. With the serene expression on his features, the very pale glow to his skin, and his pink lips sealed together lightly, he looked like a fallen angel to her.
Oh, but why couldn't he have been my fallen angel, she found herself thinking wistfully, and then gave her head a brief shake. No. No self-pitying thoughts. She had been the one who had never acted on her thoughts. She had been the one who never had enough nerve to tell him. She had been the one who was afraid of what he would say, of what he would do, of what the both of them would become afterwards. So she had tried to content herself with friendship. . .but her feelings had only blossomed in his sunlight, from a budding schoolgirl crush to a blooming love buried deep inside her.
But she still never told him. And she suddenly wished she had. She suddenly wished she had acted on her feelings, wished she had told him, wished that she had not kept her love a secret, wished that he would know how she felt, no matter how he would take have taken it. And now, for all she knew, he could be dead. She might have lost her opportunity.
Luna hung her head, brushing back her long blonde hair from her face. Seven years, she had masked her feelings. From the time she was fourteen, up until now, when she was twenty-one. How had she let so much time go by?
Now is the time.
Jarred by this thought, she lifted her head a fraction. Could she tell him now? Would it do any good? She didn't even know if he was alive.
It will put your mind at ease, at the very least, she thought. And this battle had taught her that nothing was for certain; all could be swayed in a heartbeat. She might never have another chance to confess to him.
Luna placed her tray of food on the bedside table beside her, and shifted her body towards Ron, swinging her legs over the side of the bed. She took several steadying breaths, suddenly light-headed. "I don't know if you can hear me," she began. "Or if you're even there. I don't know if you would even listen to a crazy girl like me anyhow, because. . .well, I know to you that in most ways I'm still Loony Lovegood, your classmate from school.
"I know I'm just an outcast, and that I shouldn't really speak to you like this. But when I see your face, I am compelled to wonder, to ask. . .was that all I ever was to you? Was I always just the strange, lonely Ravenclaw? Did you ever see me as more? As your friend?. . . . Because that's what you became to me, Ron. You were my friend throughout this war, through the good and bad. But I also began to like you in a deeper way. . .as more than a friend. I wanted more than friendship from you.
"But I was scared, and could never. . .I never told you how I felt. Never told you of my silly notions as a schoolgirl, or of my deeper notions as a young adult, for you never seemed to feel the same. You and Hermione. . .you and she. . .you shared something precious." Her voice broke. "And I didn't think we shared the same, nor ever could.
"I'm not asking you to return my feelings, or pretend like you do. All I am asking is for you. . .for you to remember me as more than just that girl from school. I. . .don't expect anything to ever happen romantically between us, and I accept that." She swallowed. "I just needed to get the words out to you, to be content with myself."
Ron, naturally, had remained motionless throughout her entire confession, as he was still unconscious. But, and perhaps it was just because Luna Lovegood believed in the mysterious and strange, somehow Luna just knew that, in his own way, he had heard her every word.
"God bless you, Ron," she whispered, reaching across the space separating them and wrapping his fingers lightly in her own. "And may you and Hermione be happy together."
A/N: Part of Luna's confession (mostly the beginning) is based loosely on the lyrics to the song God Help the Outcasts from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame.