Thoughts of Pudding by Brian 64

Summary: Chaos theory; a nargle flaps its wings in China, and Luna responds differently to Harry during their conversation before the leaving feast. AU, starting near the end of OoTP. Harry/Luna/Hermione. NB: no nargles were harmed during the writing of this fic.

Author's Notes: This story started off as part of a drabble contest designed to run over several days on potterficforum. Check my bio/profile for any other author's notes, as I refuse to add them anywhere else except the end of the last chapter when this story is finally finished.

Disclaimer: Is there anyone on the planet (or at least, anyone reading this story) that doesn't know Harry Potter and associated characters were created by JK Rowling? Well anything you recognise in this story belongs to her, and anything you don't… probably belongs to her as well. I'm just playing in her world and have no intentions of making any profit from this story or messing with her copyrights (and neither should you!).

Chapter 1: Thoughts of Pudding.

Saturday 22nd June, 1996.

It was the end of term in her fourth year, and Luna's thoughts were on pudding as she wandered around the castle putting up notices on the various boards outside classrooms. She really didn't mind the hide-and-seek games her roommates played with her, but it did make packing a chore.

She noticed Harry walking along the corridor as she stepped back from fixing her last notice and greeted him. She took a look at him and sighed a little to herself. He looked so sad and lost, and she wondered where his friends were. Why had they left him alone like this after all that had happened to him recently?

"How come you're not at the feast?" he asked.

She was about to tell him about her lost possessions, but thought that would probably make him feel either sorry for her or angry, and changed her mind. She decided he had quite enough to worry about. "Oh, I was just about to go now. I was following a tri-winged scruffy nerfherder and got a little distracted. Would you like to walk down with me?"

"Hmmm? Oh, okay then," Harry replied distractedly. He was curious to see what Luna had been doing at the noticeboard and started looking over the various notes to see what it was that had attracted her attention.

"Come on, Harry," she said, while moving to block his view of the noticeboard. "We should hurry before they run out of pudding."

Harry had seen what looked to be a list of books and other items and wondered what it meant. He stepped around her so he could read the rest of it.

Please return to Luna Lovegood, Ravenclaw tower.

He turned to her. "Luna, why are your—" But she grabbed his hand and started to drag him off in the direction of the Great Hall.

"It doesn't matter, Harry. Pudding, remember? What kind are you hoping for?"

Harry decided to put aside his questions for the moment. "Well, I usually go for the treacle tart for dessert. What about you?"

Luna gave him a radiant smile and squeezed his hand in thanks for dropping the topic. "Oh, I don't mind what I have as long as it's sweet and yummy. I don't think I've tried the treacle tart before. Do you always choose that for dessert?" she asked, staring straight at him.

Harry gave in and simply continued talking about desserts with Luna. Her hand and conversation were both very comforting given recent events, and he liked how they made him feel. As they walked on towards the Great Hall and the leaving feast, a part of Harry's mind was still wondering why Luna's things had gone missing.