Author's Note: This story was written for fallingskyes in the 2009 Draco/Ginny Fic Exchange on Live Journal. It's complete in five parts. Thanks so much to MC and treesuhboo for beta-ing this for me.
Blanket Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related characters and terminology belong to JK Rowling. I make no money from this story.
Part One - Prologue - Premonition
July 5, 1987
The tall grass swaying with the breeze seemed to move as if in slow motion, giving the hill from which the young girl observed the six rowdy boys below the appearance of an enormous creature slumbering under a summer sun. Six-year-old Luna Lovegood might have been the lone tick on its back peering through the beast's fur to watch happy fire ants on the ground.
She blinked her wide blue eyes once and swept a bothersome insect away from her face. This was the first time she had moved since beginning her reconnaissance nearly half an hour ago. The dark blonde hair that her mother had brushed to sleekness early that morning had since collected bits of long grass and wildflowers, giving Luna a wild appearance. She had lost one of her wooden barrettes, carved and painted into the likeness of a radish, by the river near her house.
Luna had never met her neighbors at Ottery St. Catchpole. Her family kept mostly to itself; her father had his magazine, her mother her experiments. She had never had the opportunity to meet children her own age, and without a single brother or sister, she had always been quite alone.
Being alone was not something she had regretted, until now.
The only thing she had known about her neighbors was that they were called the Weasleys. She had not known about their six sons, all with the same red hair that seemed to ignite like fire in the setting sun. They were playing Quidditch, a game Luna had never seen played live, though she enjoyed listening to broadcasts of matches on the Wizarding Wireless. The boys were cheering each other on, screaming insults as well as encouragements, smiling and laughing. It looked like more fun than fishing for Plimpies—and that said a lot.
Even as engrossed as she was in watching the Weasley boys play, it did not surprise her when a voice asked her what she was doing.
Luna turned onto her side to see the head of a girl, probably around her own age, peering at her through the tall grass. Her hair was vividly red, like the boys', her eyes a sweet shade of brown. Apparently, Luna had not known about a Weasley daughter, either.
"I heard screaming. I thought your family was being attacked by a rogue pack of Picklies," she replied. The girl giggled and knelt down beside her, setting aside a basket filled with wildflowers.
"What are Picklies?" she asked.
"Daddy says they're nasty buggers that steal noses right off peoples' faces. He featured an article about them in his magazine once. Mama says I'm not allowed to say the word 'bugger.'"
The girl giggled again. "You're funny! My name is Ginny Weasley. I live at the Burrow, over there." She pointed in the direction of the boys and their Quidditch match. Luna peered through the grass again and saw them ending their game, landing on the ground and heading for a strange house that looked unnaturally lopsided. Luna thought magic must have held it up, or maybe the guardian anglos Daddy had told her about.
"I'm Luna Lovegood. I live at the Quibbler headquarters over there." Luna pointed in the direction opposite the Burrow, but her house remained hidden behind more hills. "Why weren't you playing with the others?"
Ginny frowned and sniffed, turning her nose up as if she found the idea revolting.
"My brothers never let me play with them. I'm a girl. They think I will get hurt because I'm the youngest, but I can already toss my brother Ron onto his back! I can take care of myself."
"Maybe they don't want you to play so they don't have to play nice. Maybe your mum told them not to hurt you," Luna replied candidly.
Ginny thought about that for a moment before smiling brightly. "I reckon you're right. Mum probably threatened to kill them!"
This seemed to Luna an odd thought to take pleasure in, but the smug smile on Ginny's face endeared her to Luna nonetheless. She liked oddities in other people, feeling she had none in herself.
"What's in the basket?" she asked.
Ginny lifted the basket onto her lap and pulled out several of the flowers, arranging them in a childish semblance of order.
"Flowers for my boyfriend," she replied importantly, smiling a secret smile.
"Be careful of Nargles," Luna warned her seriously.
"Nargles? What are they?"
"Daddy says they hide in plants meant for lovers and make them sneeze all over each other."
Warily placing her arrangement carefully back into her basket, Ginny asked, "Do you want to help me pick more flowers? I don't know how Nargles look. You could make sure none of them get me."
The sun had almost finished setting, and Luna knew it must nearly be supper time, but the idea of doing something with a new friend, helping her out in some way, filled her with such delight that she never wanted to go home as long as Ginny wanted to play.
The girls jumped up and began walking down the hill, scouring the waving grass for nefarious creatures and pretty batches of color.
"He doesn't know it yet, but I'm going to marry him one day," said Ginny.
"What's his name?" Luna asked.
"Draco Malfoy. You wanna be the bridesmaid?"
Luna decided to like this Draco Malfoy, if just for his funny name, and although she didn't know what a bridesmaid was supposed to do, maybe clean things, she readily agreed to be one. Their voices faded away with the sun as they continued down the hill.
A woman with long dirty blonde hair dazedly watched the twenty-year-old memory of herself disappear into the darkness with a lazy smile on her face.
"This one will do," she said to the dusk, before pulling herself out of the Pensieve.