"Lovegood, Luna," Professor McGonagall read off of the long list of student names.
Fred Weasley watched from his spot at the Gryffindor table as a petite 11 year-old girl with long blonde hair sat down on the three-legged stool. Even from the distance he was at he could tell there wasn't something quite right about her. She had a spacey expression and her wand was tucked loosely behind her ear, looking like it could fall at any second.
The hat pondered for a few seconds before giving out its verdict.
"RAVENCLAW!" the Sorting Hat roared, its voice traveling throughout the hall.
The Ravenclaw table clapped excitedly and Fred clapped lightly along with the rest of the Gryffindors. He was in his fourth year and couldn't possibly think of why he would ever talk to the girl, and the fact that she was now in Ravenclaw only put more distance between them.
The rest of the sorting went on and ended with Fred's own sister, Ginny, being sorted into Gryffindor along with the rest of her siblings. Ginny walked to the table and sat across from Fred and his twin, George.
"Where's Ron?" she asked, looking up and down the table.
"Dunno," George shrugged. "Somewhere around here, I guess."
"You mean you don't know either?" a voice from a few seats down asked.
Ginny and the twins looked in that direction to see Hermione Granger sitting there without the presence of her two best friends, Ron and Harry Potter.
"No," Fred shook his head.
The feast began soon and Fred was too busy eating to pay attention to anything until something Ginny started to say caught his attention.
"That Luna Lovegood girl who got sorted into Ravenclaw is going to have a rough year," she said, helping herself to mashed potatoes.
"How so?" Fred asked.
"She's not exactly… Well there's nothing wrong with her, she's just…" Ginny's voice trailed off as she tried to think of the appropriate word.
"Different?" George prompted.
"Yeah," Ginny nodded. "I already heard some of the students giving her a nickname. Loony Lovegood."
George snorted into his napkin while Fred perked an eyebrow.
"That's pathetic," George said thoughtfully.
"I know, isn't it horrible?" Ginny said earnestly.
"Yeah, you would think they could have thought of a better nickname," Fred agreed with a small laugh. "The girl hasn't even had her first day of classes yet, Gin."
"She's probably just nervous," George said nonchalantly.
The conversation took a different route so Fred tuned them out once again and focused on eating. His eyes drifted up and down the Gryffindor table in search of his little brother, but they slowly moved past the Hufflepuff table and to the Ravenclaw table.
She wasn't sitting alone, but wasn't talking to anyone either. There didn't seem to be anything completely bizarre about her. George was probably right about the nerves.
After dinner when they all began to make their way to their common rooms Fred caught a glimpse of a frantic Hermione rustling through a crowd of Gryffindors and trying to find her friends. Had Ron and Harry really not made the train?
Fred was about to tell George that their little brother was missing so they could start a search when a dreamy voice interrupted his thoughts.
"I've never seen so many Wrackspurts floating around one person before."
Turning, Fred looked down to see Loon- er, Luna Lovegood standing there with a vacant expression as she stared at some mystery object around his head. Up close he began to see where the term "loony" came from.
Other than her spacey expression, huge blue eyes, and her wand that was just threatening to slide out from behind her ear, she also wore radish earrings and a butterbeer cork necklace. Not to mention she just mentioned Wrackspurts. Whatever those were.
"Uh, pardon?" Fred said after gawking at her for a few seconds.
"Your brain must be awfully fuzzy," she said as her eyes continued to look around his head.
Apparently nerves weren't apart of her strangeness. She was just downright bizarre. No worries though, George and Lee would come rescue him soon enough- Wait, was that them?
Over Luna's head Fred could make out two distinct and clear figures that could only be his twin and best friend. Both were watching Fred with amused expressions on their faces. Gits.
"My brain's fine, thanks," Fred said to Luna as he tried to walk around her to get to George and Lee.
"Not with all of those Wrackspurts around," she said, looking him right in the eyes now as she side-stepped in front of him to block his path. "You should go to the hospital wing to get your head looked at."
"Good idea," Fred nodded. "I'll do that now."
He quickly walked around her and started toward George and Lee when her voice reached him again.
"I may be mistaken, but isn't it the other way?" Luna asked.
He could keep walking and pretend he had never heard her. That would be the end of that and he would most likely never have to talk to her again. The thought was very appealing, but then he thought back to what Ginny had been saying. Not even one class and already given an unflattering nickname was going to be tough no matter how much she could act like she didn't mind. Or notice for that matter.
"I'll go tomorrow," Fred said, turning around slightly. "You should be heading toward your common room, um…"
Even though he knew her name he trailed off so she could introduce herself properly.
"Luna Lovegood," she said simply. "It might be too late in the morning. The Wrackspurts might have called Nargles by then. I suggest you go now…"
She mimicked him by trailing off herself. The corners of his lips twitched up in an involuntary grin.
"Fred Weasley," he supplied.
With that he was walking back toward George and Lee. Away from that strange, little girl.