Harry didn't know if he wanted to laugh in disbelief, cry from grief or rejoin the mourners in the Great Hall as they moved the bodies of the fallen. He settled for hiding in his former dorm room, trying to get control of his emotions. The past thirty-six hours had been the most trying of his life and after everything he'd done and witnessed, Harry still had trouble believing the nightmare was finally over. It was surreal, this feeling of relief mixed with dread that it was going to start over again in a month or a year, just when he was beginning to relax and live his life again.

In spite of how strange it felt, he knew it was real. Voldemort was gone. Dead. For good this time. But he couldn't shake the niggling feeling that something was still wrong. It was the slightest tremor of instinct, but his feelings had served Harry well over the years and he couldn't ignore them. Maybe all he needed was time for everything to settle in. It had only been a few hours, after all. If he could just relax enough to take a nap, perhaps his mind could accept this reality as final.

The door opened behind him and Harry jumped at the sound, turning to face the open doorway. He relaxed as the person walked into the room. It was Luna. Smiling, he stood as she approached his seat at the window.

"How did you get in?" Harry asked.

Luna smiled. "The portraits are very accomodating today. I suppose even they know this is not the time for anyone to be shut out from others."

He considered that for a moment. "How'd you find me?" he asked.

"It wasn't very hard," Luna whispered. "Not with everything going on in your head." She waved her wand towards him. "I've never seen a Nargle infestation that bad. It's a wonder you can think straight."

He had to give it to her, the whole Nargle business sounded like garble, but his mind hadn't been able to settle on any one thought for more than a couple of minutes. As strange as Luna came across sometimes, Harry had always felt a connection with her. The full breadth of it was just under the surface, something he'd never been able to put a name on. Of course, with Luna, there didn't really have to be a name. Just a general feeling. And the feeling he got as her silver-gray eyes traced over his face was something he'd never felt in her presence.

"I want to thank you," Harry began, "for earlier. Distracting everyone so we could leave."

"There's no need to thank me. It was no problem, Harry." Luna stepped closer, until they stood toe-to-toe. "Actually, I wanted to thank you. For everything," she whispered. Her voice had begun to crack.

"Really, I don't need—"

"Shh," she interrupted him. Luna raised a hand to the side of his face and brushed a lock of hair behind Harry's ear. Her fingers lingered along his cheek and brushed down to trace his jawline. "I know a way to get rid of those Nargles once and for all. I think it's the least I could do."

Before Harry could think of a response or question what she was doing, Luna pulled Harry down to her height and pressed her lips to his. It was strange at first—warmth seemed to spark between their mouths and her hand burned against his neck; neither feeling was unpleasant. He considered pulling away and questioning this sudden intimate gesture, but lost the drive as soon as the thought entered his mind. Soon, Harry felt every ache leaving his body and a curious lightness in his head. Whatever Luna was doing, it was working. He decided not to fight her. He began kissing her back.

Neither of them noticed Ginny standing in the doorway of the room. The other girl frowned and then retreated down the stairs, fists clenched at her sides.

Long after he'd lost track of time, Luna pulled away from Harry and smiled at him. "Thank you, Harry," she said, her voice normal. He said nothing in response. In spite of his newfound clarity, he was still blown away by the passion behind that kiss. She touched a hand to his cheek again. "I think you'll be fine from now on." Luna smiled again and then walked out of the room. Harry touched the spot on his face, still overwarm from her touch.


six years later

Harry looked out over the crowd at his wedding reception. It was a miracle that he'd been able to keep the guest list down with the way Molly kept coming up with Weasleys Ginny swore she'd never heard of. But here they were, finally. With a couple hundred of their closest friends and relatives. He found himself searching the crowd every few minutes. In between the hugs from people he hadn't seen since school and dances with his new wife and a plethora of cousins, Harry kept looking for a head of long blonde hair and the person who would undoubtedly be wearing the most eyecatching outfit of the day. At his frown, Ginny placed a hand on his wrist.

"Is something wrong?"

"Luna's not here," Harry responded. "I was looking forward to seeing her. It's been so long."

As he scanned the crowd, Harry missed the scowl from his bride. She managed to clear her expression before he turned to her. Ginny shrugged. "Maybe she couldn't make it. As much as she travels, I wouldn't be surprised if she'd plain forgotten or wasn't close enough to make it in time."

Harry continued to frown, but said nothing. Ginny took a long gulp of her champagne. Friend or not, she knew letting their owl "lose" Luna's invitation was the right thing to do. After all, she couldn't have Harry's head clouded with thoughts of his past. Not when he was beginning his future.