Joe's Note: Strictly speaking, this isn't a new chapter so much as a found chapter. Not sure where this was hiding or how it managed to survive twelve years without me finding it during one of my periodic cleansings of my documents folders and posting it... although I'm glad that it did because it definitely fits better after the two new chapters that I came up with for this story. That said, if I ever go back and add more to this story, there's a good chance that this chapter will get bumped backwards because there's a roughly month and a half time skip going here. Evidently I wasn't too far off when I guessed when Luna's birthday was; canonically, it was mentioned in one of Rowling's tweets that Luna was born on February 13, 1981.
Dedications & Thanks: To Nicholas, Howard, Daniel, Alonsis2, Tibor, William, Koby, George, Chris, Ziryo, Marc, bloodylord, Riley, Jason, Joseph, Morgan, Fablesrogue, Odd Duck, Crygon20, Charles, Mikey, PbookR, Wil, Roofcrawler, Edward, Haematite, Adrien, Sam, Gerald, mpotato, TheTenthAncestor, Gavin, David, JJbelle, Haunz, D, Darrell, Zordmon, Bryan, Warren, Roman, Lookshy, and Hawken for sponsoring me on , and making it easier for me to spend more of my time writing.
"Just out of curiosity, what part of a girl are you most attracted to?" Hermione nibbled on the end of her quill nervously as Luna looked up over the top of the book she was reading at the moment. "I mean, at this point it's obvious that we're both attracted to girls but I guess I'm wondering what exactly about a girl draws you to her? Physically speaking, that is. I mean, I'm not exactly known for my looks."
Over the past month and a half, their relationship had continued to grow… after a fashion. They still walked around the school holding hands, having grown well and truly used to the looks that they got for it. They still kissed on a regular basis. But that was all they did. Seeing as how Luna was generally the aggressor when it came to taking their slowly growing relationship to new levels? Like the decision to cuddle in Luna's bed with an arithmancy book two weeks ago? It was enough to start making Hermione insecure about her looks. Sensing that this was a serious discussion, Luna closed her book and set it down on the table so that she could give Hermione her undivided attention. "Well, it depends, I suppose."
When the blonde declined to offer any further information, Hermione closed her book with a soft huff and sat up a bit straighter. After waiting a bit longer, it became clear that she wouldn't be receiving an explanation and so she gestured for Luna to continue. "It depends… on what precisely?"
"Whether she's coming or going." Hermione's jaw dropped at the answer, making Luna giggle softly at the brunette's gob-smacked expression before evidently deciding to see if she could make it any worse. Carefully, she raised and lowered one eyebrow, then the other, and then both at once. Hermione let out a choking sound and that set Luna off again, laughing loudly at the normally composed Gryffindor.
Someone clearing their throat disturbed the moment and Hermione's head whipped around to glare at Madam Pince. The librarian didn't seem at all cowed, sadly, glaring right back at her. "There will be none of this behavior in my library. You are disturbing the other students. Out with you! Now!"
Muttering unflattering things under her breath, Luna shoved her possessions haphazardly into her bag before throwing the strap over her shoulder. A far tidier person, it took Hermione a bit longer but with Pince standing there glaring, she was soon on her way out of the library as well. Hermione stopped as the doors shut behind her and scowled. "Well thanks a lot, Luna. And I didn't even get an answer to my question."
"Yes, well, I doubted that was a discussion we really wanted to have in there. Besides, it's my birthday." Luna grabbed Hermione's hand and began to tug her away down the hallway. "Let's go down to the kitchens and see if the house-elves would be willing to part with some ice cream. Or sticky toffee pudding. Or better yet, both."
Hermione didn't protest as she was pulled along. Or at least, she didn't protest Luna's plan. "Wait a minute. It's your birthday? Oh my God, we've been dating for over a month and I didn't even know when your birthday was? I'm a terrible girlfriend. I should have known; I could have tried to organize a party with Su and Morag, or gotten you a present, or… something."
Shrugging, Luna stopped in front of a portrait of a bowl of fruit. "I honestly didn't think to say anything because nobody here ever celebrates my birthday. I'm used to it. Besides, it wouldn't really be fair to expect you to celebrate my birthday so soon in our relationship when I have until this coming September to prepare for yours. And Daddy sent me some new clothes from his visit to Japan. I'm taking a bit of a shine to lolita fashion. It makes me feel like a doll." Tickling the pear, she grabbed the doorknob that appeared and entered the expansive kitchens. "Hullo, everyone!"
"Missy Moonbeam!" House elves surged across the floor of the kitchen, each wanting their chance to hug her legs before zipping back to their evening work. A pair of plates with a serving of sticky toffee pudding and two scoops of vanilla ice cream each appeared on a table before Luna could say anything, making Hermione snicker softly. Evidently the blonde was becoming a bit too predictable in her old age.
Leading Hermione over to their private table, Luna seated the brunette before taking her own. "To being fourteen. May it be similar to being thirteen and fifteen." Hermione contemplated the odd toast for a moment before shrugging and digging in. After six weeks of exposure, she was starting to become desensitized to Luna being Luna. Picking up her fork, Luna used the edge to cut a piece of the cake off one edge, then gathered up some ice cream as well and shoved the entire mess into her mouth. "Mmm. I respect muggles, but there's something to be said for magical cooking. Each time is just as good as the last."
Hermione leaned over the edge of the table, watching the ever-moving stream of house elves rush back and forth. "I still don't think it's right. I mean, they're slaves. They should have a choice about what they do with their lives, not be born into it, live, and die still slaves. But since they need to be bound to a master to be healthy… perhaps S.P.E.W. should focus on the welfare of elves. I mean, Hogwarts elves seem happy enough while Malfoy…" She shuddered. "Poor Dobby."
"Mmm. It's a bit like having magic, I suppose. It's a power. Whether it's good or evil depends on the person using it. Hogwarts obviously uses it for good, as do a lot of pureblood families, while the Malfoys… not so much." Luna took another bite of her snack before deciding to switch the topic. "So… coming or going?"
It took a moment for Hermione to understand what she was referring to and a moment further for her to overcome her indecision and answer. "Hmm. If you're like most boys, I'm fairly certain I can guess what you like on the front side of a girl's body."
Luna reached across the table, tapping her fork gently against Hermione's lips. "You mean these?" Chuckling, she leaned back as Hermione scoffed. "It's true. If a girl doesn't have nice lips, there's no way you're going to get a decent kiss out of her."
Going cross-eyed, Hermione stared down at her lips for a moment before wincing and meeting Luna's gaze again. "I can't tell. Are mine nice?"
"Considering how often I kiss them, you should know the answer to that by now." Luna took another two bites of her sticky toffee pudding, staring at the brunette consideringly, before evidently coming to some sort of conclusion. "Besides, I'm a girl. I have my own breasts. If I want to stare at some, I can just peek down my shirt. And I'm a lot less likely to get slapped for touching these."
That made Hermione blush as red as her house's primary color. "Luna!"
Luna did her best to look innocent, chopping off another piece of cake to pop into her mouth. "What? It's true."
"Yes, well… still. Alright, I'll bite…" Luna made her eyes widen in mock fear and leaned away, causing Hermione to huff impatiently. "Oh, don't lean away, we've already had this discussion. What do you like on the other side?"
Swallowing her pudding, Luna offered up a simple, one-word answer. "Bottoms."
Hermione frowned. "Bottoms?" Leaning to the side, the brunette peeked under the table for a moment before straightening up. "Last time I checked, you had one of those too. So doesn't it fall under the same category as your chest?"
After taking a moment to indulge in one more bite, Luna slid off of her chair and turned to present her backside to her girlfriend. "It would, except for the fact that it's not exactly easy to see nor do I seem to have much of one. I do believe I'm the only witch in the castle who's not a first year who's quite so lacking when it comes to their bottom." The blonde reached back, putting her hand at the small of her back and running it downward for emphasis. "And I for one appreciate big bottoms. Nice, big, rounded, plump. So unless I get especially lucky later in puberty, I'm going to be stuck lusting from afar in that department. Or finding a girl with a nice bottom."
"Oh. I see. It seems like you've been staring at a lot of bottoms for comparison then, hmm?" Hermione bit back a tolerant smile at Luna's unapologetic shrug; given that boys did the same exact thing all the darn time, she could understand why the blonde wasn't ashamed of doing it too.
She nibbled on her lower lip uncertainly for a moment as Luna retook her seat, a faint blush spreading back across her barely cooled cheeks. "Do you think I have a nice bottom?"
Luna opened her mouth to answer, only to quickly close it as she appeared to think better of what she was going to say. That pattern repeated several more times over the next minute as the blonde struggled to come up with an answer that she was willing to share with Hermione. Finally, she settled on something that she was actually willing to verbalize. "Hermione? Why do you think I let you walk a step or two in front of me most of the time?"
"I don't see what that has to do with… oh." The blush grew darker even as Hermione grinned at the implied approval of her body. "Ohhh."
Returning the smile, Luna hefted a piece of her pudding and slipped it into Hermione's mouth. "So is your crisis of self-image over with, at least for now? I've convinced you that I really do find you attractive?" Hermione nodded, pulling back and leaving a clean fork behind. "Fabulous. Although it does beg the question… what do you find attractive in someone?"
Hermione swallowed and grinned impishly. "Blonde."
If Luna could be a tease during a serious relationship conversation, so could she.