Author's Note – This fic was written for princess_lirin who bid for a 500+ word fic at the Help Japan community on LiveJournal. Thank you so much for your donation to a wonderful cause! Disclaimer – I STILL do not own HP.
As Luna entered the station, she tried to keep to the edges of the platform and avoid the eyes of many of the adults bringing their children in. Spotting Neville and Ginny, she hastened over to them. Keeping a careful watch on the strutting purebloods, the three friends remained silent and waited for the Hogwarts Express. They watched as several students were hassled and bullied. Even though their parents were present, no one dared to speak out. Anyone could be listening these days.
Upon the arrival of the train, they hurried on board and managed to grab a compartment to themselves. Neville turned serious eyes to the two women.
"Did you see them? How everyone acted?"
Ginny nodded, as Luna flipped though a book she had pulled from her bag. Neville frowned at it for a moment.
Why is she looking at a Muggle book on knitting?
Ginny answered his question, drawing his attention away.
"The half-bloods and Muggle-borns are trying to keep out of the way; trying to keep their heads down. And I don't blame them. With Snape installed as Headmaster…"
A slight snarl crossed his face, but Neville shook his head before she could say much more. Tapping his ear, he pulled out his wand and cast a privacy spell. When the air became more opaque, he put his wand back, silently offering a thank you for Harry and Hermione's tutoring the previous couple of years. Taking a seat, he leaned forward and tilted his head to meet Ginny's eyes.
"We'll have to be more careful. They're watching us."
Luna turned to face them, her usually dreamy voice heavy with sorrow.
"Of course they are. They think they control Hogwarts, and we're the flies in their pumpkin juice. We're the substitutes for the ones they really want. Since they can't get Harry or Hermione or Ron, they are watching for us."
Ginny snorted, and they looked at her – Neville with confusion and Luna with curiosity. Ginny shook her head and gave a half-smile.
"I wonder which one of us is which?"
Neville's mouth quirked in a small grin, but Luna looked thoughtful.
"Well, if we take their places, Neville would play Harry; you would be Hermione; and I would probably be Ron."
They blinked at her, both of them now confused. Neville took a deep breath before huffing out a slight laugh.
"Luna, where'd you get that idea?"
She focused all of her attention on him.
"Well, how do you think it would be? You are the only one who has the right attitude to take Harry's spot. You've got the long feud with a Death Eater, and you're the one who thought of the privacy spell. I guess I'm more like Ron because everybody underestimates us. It's not a bad place to be – it is difficult to disappoint somebody that way and easy to surprise them. Ginny will have to be the one good at books – people expect her to be special."
She leaned back and looked at both of them for a long moment before smiling.
"We'll have to do something you know."
Ginny sighed and leaned her head against the window, remaining silent. However, Neville nodded.
"If we don't, the little kids are going to be sitting targets. At least we have a chance."
Luna glanced at the silent red-head before turning her silvery-grey eyes back to him.
"It'll mean a lot of trouble for us though."
"What else can we do? Right or wrong, our guardians chose to send us back to school. At least there, we can do something."
Both of them turned to stare at the suddenly irate Weasley girl. She fumed.
"We're stuck – going back to a school run by a murderer and being given over to a bunch of bigoted…"
The sharp rebuke from the usually mild Ravenclaw startled her so badly that Ginny mouth snapped shut and she sat down in her seat rather abruptly. Luna's eyes focused with deep determination on the Gryffindor girl.
"Yes, we're going to a bad situation, and yes, it's horrible to be the one left behind, but enough. Your family are doing what they can, and so is Harry, and so is Hermione. If that means we have to work from school, then so be it. We won't be alone."
Neville looked for a long moment at the unusually forceful blond before slanting a look in Ginny's direction. The red-head blushed and bit her lip. She gave a rueful grin.
"Luna's right. I'm sorry – I'm worrying about everyone and not knowing. I guess…I guess that's what war is…long waits, frantic moments, and waiting."
He stood up, and leaned on the door with his head bowed in thought. After a few long moments, he lifted his head and focused intense eyes on both girls.
"Harry and the others are out there. They're doing whatever they have to in order to fight. We're going to do the same. It's time for them to realize that the school is not going to fall that easily. They're going to learn that we're not frightened little first years hiding in the closet or behind the professors. People will tell us the smart thing would be to keep our heads down and stay out of trouble. Well, that's out. If we can't do something smart, we'll do something right."
He drew his wand and held it out towards the girls. Each of them rose and drew their own wands. Turning to face the center of the compartment, they moved so their three wands touched – tip to tip. He spoke once more.
"Will you do this with me?"
Ginny tossed her hair back.
"They'll learn that even the smallest can fight. I'm with you."
Luna gave her dreamy smile.
"They expect the least from me, but I'll prove them wrong. I'm with you."
Neville gave an unexpectedly wicked grin.
"They think they've won, but I'll hold the line. The DA is back in business."