A/N: Hello! I wasn't going to post this so early – I wanted to wait until I had enough written to be able to publish a chapter a day – but a virus is threatening to delete the whole thing from my computer until I load up it now. So... ta-da! This is clearly AU and I disclaim that it's not my own. I hope you enjoy!
Chapter One: Prologue
Hermione had become a bit of a bother recently. Due to the proximity of the Death Eaters and the permanent risk of an attack at any moment, she was always in need of vast piles of library books for research and preparation. That wasn't a problem – it was good to be prepared. However, when she insisted that Luna go and fetch the books for her because she was too busy snogging Ronald, then it was slightly irritating.
Luna set the pile of books she had acquired on the floor, and then stood on top of them to reach a thick volume on the top shelf. She had used to think herself quite tall, but since her fourth year, she'd stopped growing completely, and everyone else had quickly passed her by. The only one still smaller than her was Ginny Weasley – a good friend, but likewise tied up in the Chosen One. Sometimes Luna wondered if she should be done with it and ask out Neville Longbottom, who Ginny said was very keen on her...
She grabbed the book that she was stretching for, and then climbed back down; she glanced quickly over her shoulder to check Madam Pince hadn't seen the 'outrageous abuse of literature' of using books as a stepping ladder. The coast was clear.
Luna piled them up in her arms, towering far over her head, and moved through the library corridors to the next spot. She halted beside a large window with a view of Hagrid's Hut, her book heap swaying dangerously, and she paused to look out at the Hogwarts grounds before continuing Hermione's quest for knowledge. There were two books here – one of the middles shelf and one on the top shelf. She took the lower tome first, and tucked it under her left arm, before attempting to get the second. She strained sideways, wobbling precariously on her mountain of books.
Just a bit further...
Her fingers brushed the spine of the book...
A little more...
At that moment, a yellow butterfly flashed in front of her, and Luna's attention was caught – just as she overbalanced.
She threw her arms out to cling to safety, but that only succeeded in bringing down thousands of books around her as she plummeted to the floor, a yelp of alarm being the only sound from her lips as she fell.
There was a sickening crack as she hit her head on a low shelf - and she knew no more.