Summary: Hermione smiled, dazed because of unexpectedly lovely lips and undoubtedly severe, oddly enjoyable, sunstroke.
Hermione concentrated on her floating charm as dragonflies, blue and green, buzzed around her ankles. The wind blew her hair about and caused the willows to tangle their flailing branches together as they curved along the edge of the Black Lake. Her O.W.Ls stress melted in the sunshine. Spring was in ripe bloom and, contrary to what Ron and Harry might say, she did enjoy a little fresh air. She had to escape the library because her refuge had turned into a stifling cage. Fifth years, anxious and stressed, filled the tables and chairs. Madam Pince stalked around, glaring at the students over their piles of parchment and books, audibly grinding her teeth. After a pale Ravenclaw cried into her blue scarf, Hermione knew she was never going to concentrate in there. It was more of a challenge to make herself float instead of a quill, she rationalized to herself, and it was such a nice day. She tipped her head back and smiled. Hermione lowered her wand arm down cautiously. She didn't want to fall, but even if she did, she was the only person on this isolated stretch anyway. Besides, who would be cavorting by the lake with the O.W.L.s painfully near? No one sensible at least.
A gust spun her around, but Hermione kept her focus on the floating charm until she saw something out of the corner of her eye. Grubby brown feet and hands peeked out from under the cover of willow branches. Hermione looked over. The dirty feet were attached to muddy legs which were covered only by twigs and leaves. It was definitely a girl who had a long blonde braid thrown over her shoulder with a wand stuck in it. Hermione knew only one girl that had hair color-- Luna Lovegood. She looked like she had rolled in mud and garnished herself with a bird's nest.
A blush heated up Hermione's face. Her stomach lurched between the second she realized she was falling and the one before she hit the lake. Her black robes twisted in the water as she trashed her arms about. The murky water wasn't very deep, but her heavy robes coiled around her hips. She staggered on rocks slippery with algae.
⌠Are you all right?■ Luna asked. ⌠You startled me.■
⌠Oh, no, I'm quite fine.■ Hermione shook her head, looking up at Luna through her lashes, and tried not to let embarrassment eat at her. A little hand tug at her foot and she tripped. Blasted grindylow, she thought as she caught herself on a half-submerged stump. Waves pushed against her, but Hermione welcomed the distraction. Her cheeks still felt hot whenever she caught a glimpse of Luna. There was a splotch of leaves and pebbles above her collarbone that drew Hermione's eye and made her feel like Cornish pixies had settled in her stomach. Using the stump for balance, she started to walk up the bank telling herself that it was only Luna who wouldn't have even noticed anything was off. She was a little silly, but her father had believed Harry when everyone thought he was bonkers and that put her ahead of most wizards. Hermione wondered if she had sunstroke because Luna seemed different. Was it her hair? Luna looked pretty even under all the mud. A sting on her palm broke her from her thoughts. She lifted her hand out of the water and off the slimy bark.
Luna held out a dirty hand to her. ⌠You shouldn't hunt Invisible Skinket Fish without a qualified witch.■
⌠Thank you. I was practicing my floating charm.■ Hermione snorted, smiling, as she let the other girl help her out of the water. On closer inspection, Luna was wearing a brown bathing suit with green frogs on them. Hermione patted her pockets looking for her wand before shrugging off her robes and throwing them on a bush. It was hard to stop staring at Luna. She dried her robes using her wand; her hand hurt where she was stung. ⌠Why are you covered in mud?■
⌠Its not just any mud. Its my own top secret recipe to lure a Blue Ramar. I'm studying for Professor Grubby-Plank and I spotted one, but you scared it away. Shy creatures with sensitive noses, you know.■ She said, but she didn't sound disappointed as she stared at Hermione like she found something better to observe.
⌠Er-- Sorry about that.■ Hermione said, her eyes darting away from Luna's gaze. She lifted up her throbbing hand and she saw that there was a raised red bump. ⌠Ouch.■
Luna took Hermione's hand, rubbing her skin in circles with her thumb, and shook her head. Her expression serious. ⌠This isn't good. You've been bitten.■
Hermione didn't know she had held her breath until she exhaled raggedly. ⌠Skinny fishes, yes?■ She said more breathy than she meant. ⌠I didn't see any fish.■
⌠There's only one cure.■ Luna put her free hand on Hermione's cheek before kissing her.
Hermione could only blink. The kiss was light and quick, but she felt like she had gulped down two Butterbeers and dived into a hot tub. She could only think about how soft Luna's lips had been. She didn't know why it had ended; she thought it had been going well. She looked down at her palm in Luna's muddy grip and saw that the bump was gone. ⌠Wow. You were righ-■
Luna kissed her again, entwining their fingers together. The Ravenclaw smiled as they broke apart. ⌠Better safe than slowly poisoned by a Skinket Fish.■
⌠You smell like peppermint.■ Hermione smiled, dazed because of unexpectedly lovely lips and undoubtedly severe, oddly enjoyable, sunstroke.
⌠Its the secret ingredient.■
⌠Do you want someone to study with?■ Hermione blurted. Forever stretched by while she waited for Luna to speak. ⌠Well, I expect that you need quiet to observe creatures...■
Luna grinned. ⌠Ever see a boogle of water weasels?■
Hermione had never heard of a water weasel, but she wasn't going to question. It didn't seem to matter with the sunshine sparkling on the Black Lake, birds chattering in the trees, and a minty fresh Luna walking beside her. O.W.Ls were a few days away and she knew that she was going to have to buckle down. But not now. She didn't want to be sensible.
She wanted to cavort around the lake with Luna.