Look, a chapter! Also, Luna. Also, it is short. And it has been a very long time. Um. Hi again! Look, it lives!
Chapter Fourteen: Luna, and Lectures
The bed is warm and soft. It has a lumpy spot near the foot and on the right, by which Harry knows that it is the third bed from the left in the hospital wing. He opens his eyes, fully expecting to see the funny crack in the ceiling over bed three. A pair of large eyes are three inches from his face.
He shrieks and falls off of the bed.
Madam Pomphrey comes rushing in at the sound, her hair only halfway pinned up. Harry peers at her over the side of the bed sheepishly. "I'm alright, Madam. I just fell out of bed," he tells her.
Luna looks down at him calmly from her perch on the side of the bed. "Good morning," she says cheerfully. "Is it comfortable down there?" She has her hair up in a bun with a bright green Fwooper feather stuck through it.
"Not particularly," Harry replies. "Would you help me up?" After several minutes of struggling, he manages to disentangle himself from the sheets, and Luna pulls him to his feet.
"I like your pyjamas," she tells him, as he sits on the edge of the bed.
He looks down. They're plain, white, hospital pyjamas. "Thank you," he says. "Speaking of my pyjamas, why are you here?" He considers, after he says that, that he might not be fully awake yet. Until the words left his mouth, they seemed like a perfectly logical response to 'I like your pyjamas'.
"Oh, I just wanted to see you. I was starting to rather miss having friends, you see."
Harry's hand stops halfway through grabbing his glasses off the nightstand. He thinks about the last few days. He's seen Luna since the Welcoming Feast, hasn't he?
…oops. He winces, guilty. "Sorry, Luna. Everything's just been so crazy lately…"
"It's alright, Harry. I know what's happening." She leans forward, and whispers secretively, "Your previously-subdued changeling nature has been released, and is turning you into a very tall fairy." She pauses, looking thoughtful. "You probably won't get wings, though. If you do, would you do an article with the Quibbler about it? My father would be ever so pleased."
It's a bit frightening, but that actually sounds almost plausible. "Oh," Harry says. "Well, I'm glad that you understand."
Luna waits patiently for something.
"Oh! And, yeah, I'll think about doing an article with you guys if I grow wings." Once again, Harry finds himself vaguely horrified at what's just come out of his mouth. He searches for a new subject. "How was your summer?"
"Oh, lovely! Daddy and I went to Africa to study the effects of Fwoopers on-"
"Mr. Potter!" Madam Pomphrey exclaims, in the tone of voice one uses when one has attempted to get the attention of someone several times before.
"Sorry," Harry says, blushing. "Yeah?"
"This is not the time to be chatting with friends. You're in very big trouble, young man," Madam Pomphrey snaps, her foot tapping on the floor. Harry winces. He's obviously upset her more than usual this time. "Professor Alyssum wants to speak with you in the headmaster's office about power control; after that, you're going to go speak to the headmaster. More precisely, he will be talking to you. I'll be surprised if you're not suspended for that trick you pulled yesterday." She sniffs, spins on her heel, and sweeps out of the room, her long robe swirling behind her.
"Will I get to be outside all the time if I'm suspended?" Harry asks. Pomphrey tenses and doesn't bother to answer.
"Have you felt any itching on your back?" Luna asks him, trying to do a handstand on the bed.
"No," Harry says firmly, and decides to do a handstand too. Maybe the world will make more sense upside down.
"I was pleased to see you working with a Glow Globe yesterday, Harry," Alyssum says. She doesn't look pleased. "However, I do believe that we had agreed that you would come inside at night."
Harry can't quite bring himself to care about her frustration, too busy looking around the headmaster's office. It's... practical. The desk is clear but for ink, quill and parchment. The shelves are filled with books, instead of nick-nacks and strange machines. One shelf has been replaced with a closed cabinet; Harry wonders what's behind the doors.
"Mr. Potter, are you paying attention?"
Harry looks up at the sound of his name, and shakes his head. "Do all the headmaster's change the office?" he asks, curious as ever.
"I wouldn't know," Alyssum retorts, but then she sighs, looking suddenly old and tired. "Why did you stay out when you had agreed to sleep inside, Harry?"
Harry looks at his feet and shrugs, twitching a foot to make his root wiggle. "I didn't mean to," he mumbles. "I just fell asleep. I like sleeping outside," he adds, looking up at her. "I always used to, unless I was-" he stops himself.
'-unless I was locked up.'
"Unless you were...?" Alyssum prompts, studying him intently. Her hair is much tidier today, he notes, but the circles under her eyes are much deeper.
"I think you're wrong about the roots," he tells her suddenly, not really thinking about what he's saying. He just wants to change the subject. Now that he's said it, though, it feels true.
"Really?" she asks, intrigued. She leans forward a little in her practical, wooden back seat, and peers into his eyes. "How do they work, then?"
Harry shrugs, then, and looks away. "I don't know," he says. "They're just too wiggly to be grounding me. Why is it good that I was playing with a Glow Globe?"
"They improve your control of magic. What do you mean, 'wiggly'?" She won't be deterred from her current subject of interest.
"I don't know!" Harry snaps. He doesn't know that he's going to rise to his feet and walk to the window until he's done it. His bare feet are silent on the stone floor, muffled by his roots. He reaches up and pushes on the window, which swings open easily at his touch. "I don't know," he repeats, more calmly now that he can feel the air on his face.
"Well, why don't you tell me when you do know," Alyssum says dryly. "In the meantime, I'll just wait around, twiddling my thumbs and hoping you don't die." He hears rustling behind him, shoes on stone, and then finally a door opening. "Keep using the Glow Globe. I'll send up the headmaster."
Harry turns around, startled. "Wait, that's it? Just, 'keep playing with your toys'?" But there is no response, and the door closes on his last word.
"I can't believe you got away with just a few detentions," Ginny tells Harry brightly, skipping along beside him as they head toward the lake. "Why on earth did you stay out all night, anyway?"
"I was going to come in, but-" Harry begins, but Ginny doesn't seem to hear him.
"Everyone was looking for you, you know. Even the Aurors were out looking in the dark. I thought you might've been eaten by a werewolf or something, only obviously it wouldn't have been an actually werewolf because it wasn't a full moon, that was the night before- oh, and did you hear, Hogsmeade weekend the week after this- are we going together? And-"
Harry rolls his eyes, but smiles and lets his girlfriend chatter away to her heart's content. He absently turns the Glow Globe in his hand the golden-red colour of Ginny's hair, and works on making gold flicker through it in the same way it does in her hair where the light touches it.
The colour reminds him of something else as well, but he can't think what. He changes the Globe to the blue of the lake and thinks no more about it.