Posted: 1 February, 2013
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in this story that is recognisable from the Harry Potter books, movies, etc. Everything else however (eg. story plot, original characters, etc.) stems from my own imagination and belongs to me. No copyright infringement is intended and I am not profiting financially from this story in any way.
Chapter 16 - Re-Befriending Luna
Tuesday, 22 September, 1992
Running late, Harry hurtled down the corridor. As he rounded the next corner he had but a moment to realise there was someone in his path before they collided and tumbled to the ground. Harry landed on the bottom on the pile, a soft limbed body sprawled atop him.
Groaning, he raised a hand to rub his head where it had impacted the stone floor, and opened bleary eyes to find himself staring up into wide grey orbs. Surprised at the sight of the familiar face, he blinked dumbly for several long seconds, before gently extricating himself and leaping to his feet, extending a hand to help the other person up from the floor.
"You're Luna Lovegood," he said, rather stupidly.
"You're Harry Potter," she echoed in mimicry of his tone, brushing the dust from her robe.
He opened his mouth, and then closed it again. How, he wondered, had he not realised that Luna would be at Hogwarts starting this year? He felt guilty at forgetting. Still, now that he'd been reminded he fully intended to pursue her friendship. How to go about it though? Well, with Luna, bluntly honest was always the best policy. And it didn't matter if it sounded odd.
"We were friends in a past life," he said to her, and technically it was true.
He expected her to calmly accept him at his word, despite the strangeness of his statement, but instead she stared at him unsurely.
"Are you making fun of me?" she asked in a bland tone. "Only, people seem to do so rather a lot."
He blinked and then sympathy flooded him. Of course they did. And this Luna was only eleven, barely a few weeks into her first year. He knew that her peers had rejected her right from the start. Luna had probably come to Hogwarts hoping to make friends, and wasn't quite over the disappointment yet. He stared at her kindly, and spoke in an open, friendly tone.
"I'm not making fun of you. We really were friends in a past life."
She considered him for a moment before nodding.
"Oh, how lovely. Was I a pirate?" she asked dreamily.
"I always imagined that in a past life I might have been a pirate. Or possibly a newt."
"No. Actually you were pretty much how you are now," he said with a smile, then recalling that he was running late, cursed. "Damn, I really have to go. I'm already late for class. I'll talk to you later."
"You don't have to."
"I want to. Like I said, we were friends in a past life. I'd like us to be friends again. Talk to you later."
And then he hurried off, leaving the young girl behind staring at his retreating figure, a surprised and hopeful look on her face.
Saturday, 26 September, 1992
"Luna," Harry greeted the Ravenclaw friendlily as he and Neville ran into her – though not literally this time – in a corridor.
"Oh, hello Harry," she said vaguely, staring rather intently at his hair. "I've been thinking about your hair, and I've concluded you must have Perbigulums nesting in it. It's the only explanation for the way it defies gravity so impressively."
Harry blinked. "Really?" he asked. "I don't suppose you know a cure for that? My hair's been unmanageable for as long as I can remember. I think I'd rather fancy it laying flat for a change."
"But Harry," Luna's eyes suddenly went wide and teary, focussing on him directly now, "expelling Perbigulums from their nest would kill them!" Her lip quivered. "Surely you wouldn't do that to the poor creatures. They're just misunderstood."
"Of course not," he hastily assured her. "I didn't realise. Messy hair's not really that big a problem. If I've lived with it twelve years I can safely say I'm used to it."
"Oh good!" she cheered, rather louder than was necessary, then settled, gaze going dreamy. "Well, I must be off. I want to write to daddy about your infestation. I've never seen one so extensive. He'll be just fascinated."
"Sure. I'll see you around."
She smiled. "Okay. Bye Harry. Bye friend of Harry's who I don't know."
And then she skipped off. Harry watched her go with a fond smile, before turning his attention to Neville. He blinked to see the dazed and stupefied expression on his friend's face.
"W-what was that? Is she alright? She sounded like she was Confunded. Maybe we should take her to the infirmary."
Harry laughed. "No," he shook his head, "that's just Luna. She's always that way. She's … unique."
"Right," Neville said frowning, before shaking his head, seemingly dismissing the encounter. "Shall we get going then? You said you'd found the entrance to the kitchens, remember. I've been craving a cucumber and strawberry jam sandwich for some reason. Do you think we could make one?"
"Cucumber and strawberry jam?" Harry eyed his friend strangely. "You're not pregnant are you?"
"What?" Neville spluttered, and Harry laughed at his reaction.
"Never mind. And in answer to your question, no you probably can't make one." Neville looked disappointed until Harry added, "But the house-elves will probably be happy to make one for you."
"Hogwarts have elves? Of course they do. Stupid question. A wizarding building as old and big as Hogwarts probably has heaps."
"Hundreds. Now come on, there's a cucumber and strawberry sandwich waiting for us with your name on it."
Saturday, 3 October, 1992
"I don't know Harry," said Neville as he was reluctantly dragged across the castle. "She- she's just a little creepy."
Harry gave his friend a disappointed look. "She's a sweet girl Nev. Admittedly quirky and bluntly honest too, but still very sweet. And most of her house seems to find her 'creepy' too, so she doesn't have any other friends. Just give her a chance?"
The comment about a lack of friends seemed to sway Neville. He'd confided to Harry that he'd not had any himself when growing up, and had feared he wouldn't make any at Hogwarts either. Neville was just too kind and sympathetic a soul to be unaffected at knowing Luna had no other friends.
"Well, alright then," the blond said. "I suppose if you like her, there must be something more to her. I'll give her a chance"
They continued on to the library, where they were to be meeting Luna in one of the study rooms. Harry had run into her again on Wednesday, and in chatting, Luna had confided that she was having some trouble in her classes. Harry had offered to tutor her if she wanted and the girl had gratefully accepted. They'd agreed to meet up on Saturday.
They reached the library and made their way to the study room they'd booked. They entered, only to be greeted by a great sneeze.
"Ah-CHOO!" Luna sneezed loudly. She sniffled, dabbing at her nose with a handkerchief.
Harry and Neville took in the scene. A flushed, red-nosed, watery-eyed Luna Lovegood was sat amongst a pile of textbooks and parchment. In one hand she held a quill and in the other a giant of a handkerchief, coloured neon green. More strangely was her hair. In addition to the usual wand tucked behind her ear, her pale blonde locks had been slathered with some sort of dark bluish goo, which made her hair stick up worse that Harry's own.
"You alright Luna?" Harry finally asked, setting his book bag on the table and deciding not to ask about the hair. "Looks like you caught that flu bug that's going around."
"Oh no," she shook her head, hair whipping around with a squelching noise. "This isn't the flu, it's clearly a case of Trieggitis. I should have known better than to eat three eggs for breakfast three days in a row. It's … ah-CHOO!"
"Right, of course," he said concernedly. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"Quite fine," she said looking even more dazed than usual. "Shall we get started?"
Beside him, Neville sat down, staring strangely at Luna.
"If you're sure," Harry said. "So what's your biggest trouble area then? We'll start there."
"Charms," she said. "Professor Flitwick is so short he doesn't notice as he walks the isles between the desks."
"Oh, that the others are stealing my quills, jinxing my books, or hiding away my wand, and such."
That seemed to jolt Neville from his silent staring and he frowned.
"They pick on you?" he asked.
"Oh, I'm sure they're just being playful, but I do perhaps wish they wouldn't do it when I'm trying to learn the Levitation Charm."
Neville's frown deepened. "Luna, that's not fun, that's bullying. You should report them to a teacher," he said earnestly. "You don't deserve to be treated that way by anyone."
Luna stared at him for a moment. "Do you really think so?" she asked, looking even more watery eyed for a moment.
"Yes!" he said strongly and she stared a moment longer before smiling very brightly.
"That's very sweet of you, but it's not as bad as all that. Now, do you think you two could help me learn the Levitation …" She trailed off midsentence, blinking quite a lot, and then suddenly exploded. "Ah-CHOO! Ah-CHOO, ah-CHOO! Ah-CHOO, ah-CHOO, ah-CHOO, ah-CHOO, ah-CHOO!"
Neville and Harry gaped in shock.
"Luna!" Harry cried. "How about we take you to Madam Pomfrey? Some Pepperup and that flu'll be gone in an instant."
"Oh no Harry, like I … ah-CHOO! … said, it's not the flu, it's Trieggitis," she explained, pausing to blow her nose with her giant handkerchief. "I've already applied the cure." She gestured to her blue goo covered hair. "It should start working any time now."
Harry hesitated. He was almost positive it was the flu, and not this Trieggitis that Luna had. He was also almost positive that her goo would not be making her better.
Neville was staring at Luna once more. Or rather, to be more precise, at her hair.
"Is that Bloobark sap?" he asked, then leaned forward and sniffed. "It looks and smells like it."
"Yes is it," Luna nodded. "It's the best cure for my Trieggitis sniffles."
A glance toward Neville had Harry blinking in surprise. He recognised the gentle but firm expression on his face. It was the same one the older, alternate timeline Neville used to get when talking Luna around one of her less than wise ideas.
"Trieggitis you say?" he asked her, and she nodded. "And the Bloobark sap in your hair should cure you?" Again she nodded. "But how long will it take?"
"Oh, it varies. Anywhere from … ah-CHOO! … a few seconds to a few hours."
"Right … Can I ask if you've ever tried Pepper-Up as a cure for Trieggitis? I know it's traditionally used for the flu, but the symptoms seem similar," he said reasonably. "I'm sure the sap will work eventually, but why suffer if there might be a quicker cure you could try."
"Well …" Luna stared at him unblinkingly, "I suppose it can't hurt to try."
As he and Neville led the girl up to the Hospital wing, Neville gamely joining in the chatter about Trieggitis and Perbigulums and Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, and looking to find it only the slightest bit 'creepy', Harry smiled. Logic and calm words, but without undermining or disclaiming her beliefs; Neville had always been the best at reasoning with Luna. He was glad to see the relationship developing again. As much as his purpose was to change things, there were some things he was glad to see could still be the same.
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