Disclaimer: I don't own anything but the ideas and original characters in this story
Thanks for your reviews! I appreciate them so much! Sorry this took a while, I'm trying so hard not to take too long. Also, a HUGE thanks to JulieMalfoyZabini for helping me so much with ideas, especially for this chapter!
Rest in peace Jamey Rodemeyer and Jamie Hubley. May your souls find peace and move on to better and greater lives. It is such a shame that people think it's ok to treat you the way they did, at the cost of your lives. Thank you for being you, and for standing up for who you are and what you believe in. This chapter is dedicated to you.
Luna stayed behind when the gang went to Hogsmeade. It wasn't that she didn't feel like going; she loved Hogsmeade, especially running around with her rampant, sugar-loving redheaded best friend - but she felt like she was supposed to stay today. Something was niggling in her head, something keeping her here, so she told them she wasn't going to go after all. She had work to do, anyway, that she was currently doing, still at the Gryffindor table. Most of the tables were empty, but a good portion of students stayed behind, not including the first and second years.
She stretched and looked up, noticing that Astoria Greengrass was still sitting alone. Luna packed up her things and brought them over to Ravenclaw's table. "May I sit here?"
Astoria looked up, surprised. "Uh, sure. What's up, Luna?"
"I was simply wondering if you would like company."
Astoria gave her a fond smile. She always liked Luna; Luna had a consistently positive attitude and was sweet to everyone. She was also glad Luna came over because she was feeling lonely. "Yeah, I would. My friends are all in Hogsmeade."
"So are mine. Why didn't you go?"
"Didn't feel like it. I also have Slughorn's essay to do."
"Me too." Said essay wasn't due until four days from then... but they were Ravenclaws. "Would you like to do it together?"
Astoria smiled. "Sure. Do you want to go to the library? You and I have been here for almost two hours now."
Luna nodded. They had another cup of juice, packed up, and left the Great Hall. "You are very brave."
Astoria looked confused. "Why? For what?"
"For standing up for what you believe in, for who you are."
Astoria's hand went to the big letter L on her sweater, her fingers sliding over it fondly. "Thank you. That means a lot. You too, though. You're doing it too."
"Yes but you are stronger than I; those who find being bi or homosexual bad or disgusting will hold more contempt for those who are, than those who support."
"Oh my god!"
Luna looked up, confused at Astoria's sudden outburst. The other girl was already running down the hallway, and she followed. Her usual calm and positive expression fell away in horror when she saw what Astoria was kneeling over. "Seamus!" She ran to Seamus's other side. "Seamus, oh merlin... scourgify." Luna tried to wake him by gently shaking him, then by patting his cheek. "It's not working!"
"We have to get him to the infirmary," Astoria rattled. Her voice was shaky but she stayed focused on Seamus. She levitated him and they ran as fast as they could while each keeping a hand on him.
"Wait, accio Seamus's wand." The wand flew at Luna from down the hall and she caught it. "I thought they might have thrown it."
The infirmary wasn't far. It was past the staircase to the new dorm built for the repeat seventh years, and down one floor.
She came bustling out of her office on the other end of the huge room. "Goodness, what is with all of this yelling?" But her eyebrows shot up when she saw Seamus. "Put him on a bed, any bed. Quickly."
Astoria lowered her wand until Seamus was safely on the bed, and said, "Finite incantatem."
Poppy went straight to work, healing what she could without potions first. "This is terrible. Who did this?"
"We don't know, ma'am," Astoria answered. "We found him this way. I don't know how long he's been there."
"Send a message to Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore." She called over the infirmary owl and gave Luna and Astoria paper and quills. "Write to his friends too, I suppose... but get Mr. Thomas here first. I need space to heal Mr. Finnigan, not a bunch of his worried, angry friends."
Dean was there before the two professors. His note had been sent not by an owl but by Luna's charmed paper crane. He burst through the door with a bang and ran to Seamus's side.
"Mr. Thomas!" Poppy exclaimed, a hand on her thudding heart. But she didn't chastise him; he was leaning over Seamus, a loving hand on his cheek.
"Shay, Seamus, why is he unconscious? What happened to him?"
Luna answered this time. "We found him unconscious, Dean. He was on the floor in the hallway between your dorm and the stairs we used. We were going to the library."
"Thank you... thank you so much..." He turned back to Seamus and stroked his hair. "Shay... I'm so sorry..."
It was then when McGonagall and Dumbledore arrived. She was livid, but he looked stoic. Anyone who knew Dumbledore, though, knew that if his face did not show merriment or happiness, he was furious. Poppy beckoned them to her office
Astoria had been awfully quiet. She stood back, away from Dean and Seamus, as if she was afraid to get closer. Her heart was in so much turmoil that she didn't dare speak, but Luna walked over to her anyway. "He'll recover. I know Seamus; he'll be stronger than before. You'll see. This won't phase him one bit."
"You think so?" the other girl asked quietly.
"I know so. Don't worry about yourself or others. It won't happen to you."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Your sister is a Slytherin, and her best friends like you. By association with a Slytherin, you are as good as a Slytherin, and they protect their own. They won't let that happen to you. Also, you're a girl. For some reason boys think it's hot for us to like each other." Luna giggled lightly.
Astoria smiled and shook her head. It was amazing how this girl was so good at making people feel better. "I think we should write those cranes of yours and send them to his friends."
"Are you going to stay with me the entire time you and your friends are here?"
"Yes George. The entire time."
"You do know that Fred can get Pansy to do something, like talk to Nott, right?" Ginny sent him a deadly glare. He gulped, but that wouldn't stop him. "You also know that we're only thinking about you, right?"
Ginny sighed. "Yes I know George but I was going to talk to you about him, then I got cold feet because I knew you'd react like this."
"What was that you said in the storage room about no more secrets?"
"I know! Okay, I know, but when you force this on me, talking to him, getting involved, what am I supposed to do? I don't want that, George. I want things to move at their own pace."
"You don't really think that'd happen without a push, do you?"
Ginny's shoulders slumped. She knew exactly what George wasn't saying. Every time she liked someone, she would never let them know. She was too scared, of rejection and of love, no matter how much she wanted love.
"I dunno. He is not bonkers for me. Pansy is wrong. He's one of the most popular guys in school, why the hell would he like me?"
"Just because he's popular and you're not doesn't mean he can't like you. Besides, I've got some news for you, kiddo. You are pretty popular among the guys. At least in the top fifty." He winked at her shocked expression.
"How the hell do you come up with an idea like that?"
"Well, when you run a shop like this that almost every Hogwarts student buys from, you hear a lot. I've even thrown a few people out of our store. Now are you going to let me do my job or make me lose sales by sticking by my side and distracting me?"
"... Oh fine. I'll go. Do not do or say anything to Theo, George, or god help you. I'm telling you he doesn't like me, and interfering will only make it awkward between us and he'll think I'm weird or something. I'm going to find Hermione."
"Sure, sure, see you later! You will stop by to say goodbye right?"
"Yeah." She hugged him and he pointed the way to Hermione, who wasn't far. "Thanks for letting me use your tallness."
He ruffled her hair and gave her a little push in Hermione's direction. She made an indignant noise, smoothed her hair, and flipped him the finger, but smiled and pushed through the crowd. He on the other hand went to find Fred. He would take a few minutes out of his time with Pansy to do this, and she would wholeheartedly agree when he told her what they were about to do.
"I hate these crowds. Why are we in here, again?"
"Because I need to restock my stash of sugar quills, Draco, because someone likes to steal them," Blaise said, playfully irritable.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Yeah sure you don't," Theo said. "You steal mine when his are gone."
"It's not my fault Pansy steals mine."
"So don't let her, Draco."
"You know Pansy, you can't say no to her. She uses that stupid puppy dog face and strips you of the ability to deny her." Draco grumbled.
Blaise and Theo laughed. They were headed towards the section of the store that had the sugar quills but someone grabbed Theo's arm and Blaise and Draco disappeared in the crowd. "What the... " He turned and saw the twins. "Uh, hello, guys. What's up?"
"Let's chat," one of them said. Theo didn't like the sound of that.
"Our sister is the most dearest, most precious, most special thing in the world to us," the other one said.
"She came with you, did she not?"
"Not with me, we all came as a group. Why? What's this about?"
"Oh nothing... just that we know."
Theo's heartbeat sped up a little. Ginny's brothers were not a force to mess with. "Know what?"
"You know exactly what."
One of them turned to the other. "I'll be back, I have to sort out a commotion over there." He slipped away. Fred nodded and looked at Theo. "We hold no ill feelings towards you or any Slytherin."
"Not at all. We're very happy you've befriended Ginny. She's much happier now."
"Was she not before?"
"Well the war took it's toll on all of us." He pointed to his face.
"Oh, you must be Fred."
"Yep. We're just concerned, is all. Ginny's heart is as good as pure gold."
"I know that." Theo took a straighter stance. He wasn't nervous, but he was curious as to how the twins knew of his feelings.
"You like her don't you?"
"... I am wondering how you have come to that assumption."
"With all due respect, I like you and your brother, and I have never had a problem with your family, but I don't feel I have to tell you what my feelings are for Ginny."
"Oh but you already have."
Theo blinked. Damnit. "Well, okay, what did you want to say to me?"
"I wanted to tell you to man up and ask her out because she's too scared to ever tell you her feelings. Take care of her."
Theo looked confused at the last bit, but he was then shoved into none other than Ginny Weasley.
"What the hell?"
"Merlin, I'm sorry Ginny, I didn't mean to, are you okay?"
"Theo! Oh, it's okay, yeah I'm fine..."
They noticed they were holding each other; they had to grab each other to keep from falling. Ginny developed a pretty blush and Theo's face was getting hot. "I, uh, I'm sorry. Someone... the crowd is terrible, and I got shoved into you."
Ginny saw a flash of red behind Theo and saw her brothers trying their best to get away from her as fast as they could. They met her eyes and she glared her best. "It's fine Theo, I'm glad it was you and not someone I don't know."
He was pleasantly surprised by her answer, and smiled. "Do you want to get out of here?"
"I'd love to. Want to wait outside for them? I have nothing I want to get here, and I can come back for what Fred and George were going to give me."
"Well I was hoping I could buy you a tea or coffee."
Ginny's heart gave a jolt and started thudding. Was Pansy actually right? "Sure... but I can buy mine, I don't mind."
"I insist." He gave her an award-winning smile and held out his hand.
She took it and blushed. "Alright. But we have to be in the Three Broomsticks in forty minutes. Think you can have me there by then?" she asked with a grin.
"Hmm, that's not a lot of time... I think I can manage, as long as you agree to give me a second date."
Date! There was her answer. She smiled so big, her brothers could see it from across their store.
I hope you enjoyed it!