Disclaimer: JKR owns everything. I'm just having fun.
Luna Lovegood sat at the long, age-worn table in the basement kitchen of number twelve, Grimmauld Place, waiting for the Order meeting to begin, her silvery grey eyes dreamily roaming over the crowded room. She knew that no one was paying her any mind; she was often forgotten about and she was grateful for it, in truth. Luna was an observer, though no one noticed, and she discovered the most fascinating bits of information about people when they didn't realise anyone was watching.
Toying with one radish earring, she smiled as Neville Longbottom accidentally knocked over his cup of tea. She serenely removed her wand from its tucked position behind her ear and, with a murmured Evanesco, vanished the spilt liquid from the table. Neville offered a shy smile and a nod of thanks before returning to his conversation with the Weasley twins.
Most people didn't notice that Neville had matured greatly after the War ended; he now exuded a quiet confidence in himself that had previously been absent. He may not be as confident as a female Crumple-Horned Snorkack during mating season, but he was now more aware of his strengths as well as his limitations; he was currently working for the Ministry, where he was able to contribute greatly in the Botanical Research Department.
Luna tucked her wand behind her ear again for safekeeping and resumed waiting. It had been almost four years since Voldemort's defeat during the summer after her sixth year at Hogwarts. The War had ended in a brief and bloody battle on the grounds of Hogwarts, with casualties high on both sides.
The Order continued to meet once a month under the guise of discussing the status of renegade Death Eaters. In reality, it was a thinly-veiled excuse for getting together. The Order of the Phoenix – this strange confederation of people – had strategised, fought, and for some, even died, side-by-side. Those who were left were considered family, and these monthly meetings allowed everyone to stay abreast of the happenings in each other's lives.
As she did at every Order meeting, Luna took a moment and closed her eyes to remember those who had been lost: Hagrid had been killed by Rabastan Lestrange, but avenged moments later by his half-brother, Grawp, who literally ripped his killer limb from limb; Professor Trelawney had been hit by a stray hex and died from her injuries; Mad-Eye Moody apparently had not been vigilant enough, hit by an Avada Kedavra – from behind, the bloody cowards! Hannah Abbot, Zacharias Smith, Lee Jordan, Cho Chang, and Terry Boot were all lost. Also among that number was Fleur Weasley, who had been killed by Bellatrix Lestrange, but only after she had exacted her revenge on Fenrir Greyback for what he had done to her beloved husband. Of course, Luna could never forget the man whose death had affected all of them the most – Albus Dumbledore.
Having completed her monthly ritual, Luna opened her eyes, then returned to watching and waiting.
Seated on Luna's left were her friends Ginny and Harry Potter. They appeared to be discussing the outcome of the last Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch match. Luna wondered if perhaps the headmistress might ask her to be a guest commentator sometime. That would be nice. Ginny was currently finishing up a short-term Healer's apprenticeship at the school under Madam Pomfrey, whilst Harry had taken on the Defence Against the Dark Arts position two years ago. The two were inseparable and obviously head-over-heels in love.
Glancing around the room, Luna's eyes rested for a moment on the silvery blond head of Draco Malfoy as he spoke in quiet tones with Remus Lupin. Luna alone had been unsurprised to learn of Malfoy's defection from Voldemort's camp. For years, she had seen something in the aristocratic young man – a melancholy and a growing despair regarding what was being expected of him. She had been as happy as a Pygmy Puff when he had proven her instincts about him correct. The information Malfoy had provided had been invaluable, especially given the then absence of the Order's only other link to Voldemort's operation.
Luna's thoughts were interrupted when the kitchen door swung open to reveal the arrival of Ron Weasley. Her eyes widened comically and she had to smother an amused gasp as Ron let go of the door, causing it to swing back into the face of his girlfriend, Hermione Granger. Mere centimetres before the door smashed into Hermione's nose, it was stalled by the hand of Severus Snape, former Death Eater-spy-professor, who was following Hermione into the kitchen. Hermione murmured her thanks to her employer whilst glaring at her careless boyfriend.
"Honestly, Ron! Would it be too much to ask for you to hold open the door?" she scolded, her annoyance clearly written on her face.
Ron had the grace to look sheepish as he muttered an apology before making his way through the room to sit at the table across from Neville.
Hermione, followed by Snape, also went to the table to sit down. As they reached their seats, Snape pulled out the chair next to Ron for Hermione, allowing her to be seated before elegantly seating himself in the adjoining chair.
"I am certain that your mother taught you how to respect a lady, Mr. Weasley," the Potions master intoned. "Do try to remember your manners."
Ron's face flushed. He was about to retort when Hermione placed a hand on his arm, and warned, "Don't. Severus is correct, although he really should learn to be more tactful." Ron's mouth snapped shut, whilst Snape nodded his head in deference to her reproof, his dark eyes showing his amusement.
Luna hid a smile behind her hand, catching Hermione's eye. Hermione smiled slightly as she shook her head at Ron's antics. Luna and Hermione were both well aware that Ron did not intend to be inconsiderate; he was just being Ron. Luna acknowledged both him and her former professor before greeting her dearest friend.
She was always happy to see Hermione. She was grateful for their friendship, as she knew full well that Hermione had not always liked her as she did now. When they first met, Hermione had considered Luna to be a complete nutter.
Luna sighed; such fond memories she had of those days!
When Hermione's parents had been killed during the war, her grief had almost consumed her. She had locked herself in her room at headquarters, eating little food, and neither Ron nor Harry had known how to help their best friend. In a misguided attempt to conform to her wishes, they had left her alone. Luna knew everyone had been shocked when it had been she who was granted admittance into Hermione's room. Luna had first-hand knowledge of the death of a beloved parent; she knew all too well what Hermione was going through. After many conversations and tears, a bond had formed, and the two were now as close as any sisters could ever be.
"Hi, Luna," Hermione greeted her warmly. "How was your day?"
Luna grinned at her friend. "Just fine, thanks. Yours?"
Hermione smiled softly, her brown eyes shifting to look at Ron for a brief moment. "It was fabulous, actually."
"That's nice. Daddy was wondering if you were still coming for tea on Tuesday."
The friends laughed together. Every week Luna's dad would ask if Hermione was coming to tea, even though he was well aware that the young witch would never miss Tuesday tea with the Lovegoods.
After catching up a bit more with Hermione, Luna excused herself to fetch a drink of water. She was dying of thirst; it was so hot. She blew at a strand of hair that stubbornly continued falling into her eyes as she leisurely made her way to the sink. She took a cup out of the upper cupboard and filled it with water. Turning around, she leant against the counter as she sipped the cool liquid.
Her mind wandered to Snape for a moment. What a fascinating man, really. Luna had grown to like the sardonic Potions master during the war. He looked much healthier now than he had right after they had secured his release from Azkaban. It had taken the Order six months to convince the Wizengamot to free him. The headmaster had left evidence hidden in his office. When his portrait had finally "woken up," the very first thing Professor Dumbledore's likeness had said was, "Minerva! Find my Pensieve. You must continue to trust Severus." The memories in the Pensieve had shown that Albus Dumbledore had already been dying that night on the Astronomy Tower, and that he had sacrificed himself to save Snape's position as spy. Poor Professor Snape had been forced to kill the headmaster. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place …
Luna saw that Ron had joined the conversation with his brothers and Neville, whilst Snape and Hermione sat talking quietly, most likely discussing business. Snape had bought the apothecary in Diagon Alley after the war, and Hermione was working there part-time as a brewer whilst she completed her Potions mastery at the Magical University in London. Ron and Harry had not been pleased, to say the least, at Hermione's choice of employer, but Hermione had been adamant, and one did not refuse an adamant Hermione Granger unless one wished to be hexed most severely. Luna assumed the young men had decided they liked their dangly bits just as they were since their objections had been quickly withdrawn at the first sign of Hermione's ire.
The kitchen door swung open again and, at last, Minerva McGonagall entered the room. "Good evening everyone! Please, forgive my lateness; it could not be helped. Well? What are you waiting for?" A wave of her wand and the kitchen table was magically enlarged so that everyone in the room could be seated. "Find a seat so we can get this infernal meeting over with and get on to more important matters – Molly's cooking!"
Laughter and murmurs of agreement followed her words, and there was a general shuffling of people as everyone took their place around the table. Luna quickly returned to her seat between Ginny and Neville.
"Ginny, my dear, would you mind taking notes this evening? Thank you.
"It appears as if we are all present and accounted for. Let us begin. Kingsley, could you please give us this month's update on …"
Luna stopped listening at that point; if anything was said that was vitally important, someone would gasp or yell, thus alerting her to pay attention. Yawning, she glanced over at Ron and Hermione. She cocked her head as she surreptitiously watched them. She wondered about their relationship. It was an odd one, that. They were dating, to be sure, but Luna had never seen that special spark between them, like the one between her own parents, Ginny and Harry, Tonks and Remus, and even Molly and Arthur. She sensed more of a friendship between them than anything else. She shuddered at the thought of the two of them so much as kissing. Ew. It would be like kissing a sibling. At least she assumed so; she didn't have any siblings, so she didn't really know what it would it be like to kiss one, but surely it would be disgusting …
Her musing was interrupted by Minerva's voice. "Ginny, did you get that last bit about Greengrass? Good. Now, then, I'm told two of us here have happy news to share. Ron? Hermione?"
Luna's eyes were drawn to Ron as he stood, pushing his chair away from the table, a goofy grin lighting up his features. He took Hermione's hand – was she blushing? Luna couldn't tell behind the curtain of hair – and after taking a deep breath said, "Er, yeah. Hermione and I … we're getting married."
The room was eerily silent for a moment – Luna thought perhaps she was not the only who found this announcement bizarre – and then exploded with well wishes and congratulations.
Dazed, Luna saw Snape hastily remove himself from the table to avoid the onslaught of people wanting to congratulate the newly engaged couple.
Luna sat stunned for a moment. This was her dearest friend, marrying a man who Luna knew was not the one for her. As Hermione's friend, she could do only one thing.
She stood and leant over the narrow table to offer her congratulations. She embraced Hermione, whispering in her ear, "I hope you'll be happy, dearest. I love you."
She felt Hermione squeeze her tighter and return her sentiment. As they released each other, Luna felt dizzy for a moment, swaying slightly on her feet.
"Luna?" she heard Hermione's concerned voice ask. "Are you all right?"
"Yes, I think so …"
Luna suddenly stiffened inexplicably, her eyes rolling back in her head as she began to speak in harsh tones so unlike her own …
"It comes to pass …"
A/N: This story is completed in ten chapters. Two chapters will post each week. Thanks to the world's best beta team, Subversa, Deanna, and Elfarren. My undying gratitude to LettyBird for Brit-picking, and to ubiquirk, for giving the entire thing a final pass. Special thanks to MollySister for being a fabulous friend and alpha reader. You are all wonderful!