Disclaimer: Not Mine.
Innocence and Roses
"Oh, Hi Harry."
"Luna? What are you doing out here?"
"The same as you Harry. I couldn't sleep either."
Harry cast a Lumos and pointed his wand at Luna, needing to see her better. She stood barefoot, wearing only low-cut jeans and a too tight tee. Leaning against a shovel, she used her free arm to wipe the sweat off her face. At her feet was a shallow hole and a rose bush, its roots in a burlap ball.
"Night time is the best time to plant. Remember your lessons? 'Best time to plant is when it is still cool,' is what Sprout always says."
"I think Professor Spout meant to plant in the spring, not in the middle of the night."
"Oh," Luna frowned, looked down at the hole and then brightened. "It's a good thing there is no R in its name then."
"Umm, well… there is Luna, its September."
"No, not the month silly. The name." she looked at the rose bush and then up at Harry.
"What kind of rose bush is it Luna, because rose does have an R in it." He fought not to laugh at her but could not stop the lopsided grin that spread over his face.
"It's called Seven Sisters because at the end of each stem seven small blooms grow in a cluster. It is really quite lovely you know."
"Then it has a R."
"That's not the name I was thinking of," she smiled.
"I saw you from my window." Harry looked back at the castle trying to change the subject. "If I can see you I am sure Snape can. He was on patrol tonight."
"No Harry, he left," she said wistfully. "That was when I knew I had the night free."
"Do you want some help?" Harry pulled out his wand to levitate the bush into the hole.
"No," Luna fell to her knees and lifted the bush into the hole, loosened the tie around the its base and then reached to the small of her back to pull a knife from her waistband. Slitting long gashes in the burlap, she proceeded to plant the bush, pushing the soil up around it and packing it tight.
"You mustn't use magic with the Seven Sisters. It is what they call an heirloom plant. It's old Harry, really really old and old Muggle plants do not take kindly to magic."
"You like roses?" He glanced at her and then back over his shoulder up to the castle. "There are plenty up by the greenhouses."
She screwed her face up and thought long and hard. "No, I don't think I do."
"Oh," he said surprised and confused. "Then… why would you…never mind you don't have to answer that. We should be going now."
"Yes, I imagine so." She reached out and patted the soil again. "It's a good thing to be made useful. Don't you agree Harry?"
"Sure Luna, now… we really need to be going back."
"Of course. I am done now." She stood up and started back toward the castle.
Harry shrugged and started to follow her, stopping when he saw bushes along the edge of the forest he had not noticed before.
"Luna?" he called to her. "How many of these bushes have you planted?"
"Only one last year. Two so far this. I have four to go."
"Seven in all? Seven for the Seven Sisters?"
"That's right Harry." She began walking again, talking over her shoulder to him. "I think I am going to bed now."
Harry pointed his still lit wand and shone it on the bushes in the distance. The one furthest away had clusters of blooms, deep pink and fragrant. He shook his head and grinned, thinking of Hagrid's surprise when bushes would keep appearing. A snort of laughter escaped him as he imagined her planting food for the Nargles.
The next morning at breakfast Harry tried to ignore Ronald's sideway glances and sniggers each time he fought to hide a yawn and the punch to his ribs that Ronald's elbow kept delivering. After what seemed like an endless breakfast, he turned to Ronald and pushed his arm away, causing him to splash his pumpkin juice down the front of his robes.
"Blimey Harry, what was that for?" Ronald sputtered and swiped at his robes in an attempt to rid himself of his breakfast.
"Ronald, if you kept your mouth closed things wouldn't spray out all the time." Hermione pressed her lips together and scowled at him. "And Harry, exactly where did you go last night?"
"Is that what this is all about?" He looked at Ronald and pushed up his glasses. "You could have just asked you know."
"Didn't think you wanted to tell me."
"Why wouldn't I Ronald?"
"Don't know. You didn't ask me to go with you. Figured maybe you were out chasing skirt…I mean… skirting around." He gulped and looked guiltily at Hermione.
"Ronald," Hermione sighed. "Just because Harry was out after hours does not mean you had to join him and if he was out with a girl why would I care?"
"I saw a light out the window and …" Harry shrugged. "I couldn't sleep and just wanted to find out what it was."
"A light?" Ronald questioned.
"More like a match lighting."
Ronald looked at him strangely, as Hermione nodded. Seeing her understanding, he told them of finding Luna, the rose bush and returning to the castle, and at last being able to fall asleep.
"She was planting bushes in the middle of the night?" Hermione giggled.
"Yeah," Harry nodded his head and smile widely. "She already had one from last year and this was the second this term."
"Why ever do you think she is planting roses?"
"Could ask Neville," Ron mused, then looked between the two seeing them look at him with raised eyebrows. "You know, what are they used for."
"You smell them," Hermione leaned over the tabled and glared at him. "He said they were roses."
"I mean, maybe there is something more to them. You know, maybe … well at least maybe Luna thinks they are for something …like…ummm."
"Nargle food," Harry grinned. "Thought that myself."
"You know guys, Ronald may be on to something." Hermione frowned. "I am heading up to the library after breakfast to see what I can find."
"Ah Hermione, it's the weekend." Harry groaned. "It's only Loony. You know how she is."
"At least she earned her name," Ronald laughed, leaned back his chair on two legs and almost tipped over when Professor Snape walked by and gave one of the two remaining supports a firm kick.
"Wha the bloody hell?" Ronald flayed his arms to gain purchase of the table, righted his chair and spun around in his seat.
"Language, Mr. Weasley."
"Yes… Professor…," he stammered. "Caught me by sur… sorry, Professor."
"And 10 points for misuse of Hogwarts' property."
Professor Snape watched him carefully, and then moved only his eyes to take in Hermione. When he was satisfied that she had no glib comment in the offering he turned to Harry.
"Mr. Potter, since you see fit to be out after hours you shall see fit to clean the cauldrons as well. Shall we say right now?"
"But sir, it's Sunday. You can't …"
"I assure you I can. 10 points for arguing. Is there anything further, Mr. Potter?"
Harry stood and followed Professor Snape, glancing back over his shoulder to see Ronald and Hermione watching him. He left the Great Hall and headed down the stone hallways, almost running to match the long strides of the Potions Master. Arriving in the lab, he paused seeing no cauldrons set up on the workstations.
"Professor? The cauldrons, sir?"
"Close the door, Mr. Potter." Severus waited until the boy had shut the heavy wooden door and turned back to look at him. "Sit."
Walking back up the aisle quickly, his black robes fanning in his wake, he angrily slammed both palms on the top of the desk Harry sat at and leaned forward, his face inches from Harry's own.
"Where were you last night Mr. Potter, and do not dare to lie to me."
"In bed, Professor."
"Before that you twit. You left the castle. I want to know where you went."
"How…? I couldn't sleep. I just … I thought a walk would …. I was on the grounds is all sir."
"Who did you see there? Who did you talk to?"
Harry watched the Professor's hands, knowing that at any moment he may pull his wand and try to enter his mind. Swallowing hard he looked up into the dark eyes of his teacher.
"Potter, do not make me repeat myself."
"I… no-one sir," he nearly whispered, not knowing why he felt a sudden need to protect Luna.
"You know I can find out what you are hiding."
"Yes, sir," Harry looked straight into his eyes and fought not to flinch.
"It would be wise not to step out of these halls once curfew has been reached. Do I make myself clear?"
"You foolish boy. You put everyone around you at risk." He stood up and sneered at Harry.
"Who did you think I saw, sir?"
Severus gave him a look of utter contempt before turning and walking out of the door leaving Harry alone. A quick check under the workstation counter assured Harry that Professor Snape had only used detention as a ruse to get him away from the others. Running from the lab, he all but flew to Hagrid's hut, knowing that Luna was there every Sunday morning to help with the feedings.
"Why Harry, Harry Potter," Hagrid's face broke into a big smile. "Now I got two of my favourite people to cook fer."
"Thanks Hagrid, but I already ate. I just came to see Loo…Luna."
"She and Fluffy are down by the pens. Got some young unicorns in there. Shouldn't say this but …" he looked around to make sure they were alone. "Someone killed their Mum. Didn't take nothing I could see. Just left her there dead. Two little ones she had. Rare to have two."
"Nothing? You sure?"
"Course I am Harry. Had Dumbledore his self down here to double check I did."
"Harry!" Luna stepped into the hut. "Hagrid was just about to fix breakfast. You will stay of course."
"No, really," he looked at the fireplace trying to figure out what smelled rancid and hoped it was not what was cooking in the pot. "I just wondered if we could talk. Outside… if we could talk outside."
"That's really rude Harry." Luna frowned at him.
"Nah, we don't stand on fine manners here. You two go on. I'll give a shout when the foods done."
"Thanks Hagrid." Harry smiled at him before grabbing Luna's hand and pulling her outside and down the path.
"Whatever do you need Harry?"
"Snape just asked me why I was outside. I lied and told him I didn't see anyone, or talk to anyone."
"Oh," she said weakly. "You didn't tell him you saw me? No, you wouldn't be here if you had. Thank you Harry."
"He wanted to know if I had seen anyone. Did you? I mean did you see anyone?"
"Well," she bite her lip and tilted her chin up thinking. "I saw you."
"I know Luna," he grinned. "Other than me I mean. Did you see anyone else?"
"I saw Professor Snape leave. He was carrying what appeared to be robes, strange that. Anyway, he was carrying what appeared to be a set of robes and going into the forbidden forest."
"Luna, I don't think he was asking me if I had seen him. He seemed concerned that someone else had been on the grounds."
"That's what I'm asking you."
"Now Harry, how would I know who he asked you if you had seen?"
"What?" Harry rubbed his forehead.
"Is it the scar?"
"Umm, no Luna, not this time."
"You should go see Madam Pomfrey, she can give you something you know."
"You need to stay inside at night," he whispered with an air of urgency that make her step back and stare at him. "Luna, listen, whatever you do, stay inside. Something's going on, it's the only reason Snape wouldn't have given me a real detention for being outside. He was upset, really upset Luna."