Posted: 15 December, 2009

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.

Strange But Cute

Charlie walked down the overgrown paths beyond the Burrow, a smile on his lips. They'd just received their Hogwarts letters, and his had come with a badge. Quidditch Captain. Technically Munroe had seniority – he'd been on the team longer and was to be a seventh year where Charlie himself was only sixth – but McGonagall said the Chaser had passed on the extra responsibilities in favour of concentrating on his N.E.W.T. studies.

His brothers had been properly appreciative of his new position, as had his dad to a lesser degree. Being Quidditch Captain was, after all, seriously wicked. His mother was all aflutter too, but for rather different reasons – any of her boys receiving accolades and recognition was guaranteed to get her all excited.

He sighed. His mother. Now there was a problem. She'd thrown a little party, just the family, to celebrate the news. And then she went on and on about how good a leadership position would look when he applied to the ministry in two years. Eventually he'd had to get out before he yelled at her.

He knew she meant well, but a ministry desk job was not for him. Like Bill before him (who had recently been accepted into Curse Breaker training at Gringotts, despite Molly Weasley's strenuous disapproval) Charlie had his own goals in mind. Dragons. He wanted to work with dragons. They were beautiful creatures. Mum of course would have Kneazles, but his heart was set on it.

Of course, telling his mother that was only asking for trouble – and a holiday full of pleading, wheedling, ordering and shrill screaming that he change his mind. No, better for his peace that his job aspirations be a surprise later on. And so he had left the house, before he let the truth slip to silence his mothers blathering about the ministry. He loved her, but she really could go on.

Stepping around a hedge, something colourful drew his attention and he looked down. He stopped in surprise at the sight before him. An amused grin quirked his lips.

"Well hello there, and who are you?" he asked, laughter in his voice.

Wide, solemn, grey orbs looked up at him.

"My name is Luna Lovegood," she replied dreamily.

"Nice to meet you Luna Lovegood. I'm Charlie Weasley. Should you be out wandering alone? You only look about my baby sister's age."

"I'm eight years and five months and three days old."

He blinked at the rather accurate comment.

"Riiight. Well, Ginny's just eight too. Same age as you then."

"Ginny's my friend. We play together sometimes."

"Is she?" he asked. "Where're your parents?"

"Mum's back home, experimenting. We live in the castle house on the other side of town, that way somewhere."

"Oh right, the one on the hill that looks like a rook. And your dad?"

"He's hiding. Like a Gribbly Gumbit. And I'm an Oradon Peptin, hunting him down," she said quite seriously.

"Ah." He nodded. "Is that what you're dressed as?"

He looked once more at her outfit. White tights with purple and pink spots, and neon green shorts with a matching coloured, ruffled, shirt. Pinned to her top were long metal springs with orange fluff balls on the end – they stood out from her body, and wiggled and waved every time she moved. Her face was painted bright yellow, and on her head were two great ears, looking like gramophones, with pretty purple flowers sprouting from the centre. The devices looked far too large for her, and indeed, every time he tilted her head, it almost sank down to her shoulder, before she tilted it the other way.

"Well, I can't say I've ever heard of an Oron Patin-"

"Oradon Peptin," she corrected.

"Sorry, and Oradon Peptin before, but I'm sure you make a fantastic one."

And with that her solemn face lit up with a smile.

"Really?" she asked. "You don't think I'm a loony weirdo?"

"What?" he asked, appalled. "Who said that?"

"Just some kids from town. It's okay though, I'm used to being teased. Even Ginny does sometimes, though not very much. Sometimes she even says mean things back when others are mean to me. That's why I like her."

"Well," he said firmly, "I think you make a fabulous Oradon Peptin. You look brilliant and very pretty."

She looked down, cheeks pinking a little.

Just then there was a rustling in the bushes. To Charlie's surprise she dove into them without a second's hesitation, making strange whooping noises. A second later she emerged. With her came a man with crossed eyes and candyfloss hair. He was dressed just as strangely as Luna.

"Well done my girl," he said, sounding slightly mad, patting Luna on the head and succeeding in knocking her 'ears' askew. "Your Oradon Peptin battle cry was very convincing. This Gribbly Gumbit is well caught."

"Thank you daddy," she said moonily, then looked toward Charlie. "This is Ginny's brother, Charlie. He's very nice."

"Good to meet you," the man enthused, shaking the boy's hand with enthusiasm.

"Riiight," he said slowly, then shook his head, deciding to just accept the oddness of the situation. "Well, now that you've found your dad, I'd best get back home. They'll send out a search party for me if I'm gone much longer."

"Bye Charlie." Luna waved, and he turned to leave.

"Oh, I've a brilliant idea," he heard the man said to his daughter. "We can be a search party, seeking out the Buffling Berdi Bondo."

"No daddy, I want to play a different game."

"What then pumpkin?"

"Wedding! You can be Luna Lovegood."

"But then who will you be?" Charlie heard faintly as he rounded a bend.

The last thing he heard was Luna's reply.

"Charlie Weasley of course," she said. "He thinks I'm very pretty you know."

Charlie gave a little huff of laughter. Cute kid, he thought; strange, but cute.

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