Warning: Merest shades of femslash. Enjoy.
Hermione spent the whole rest of the day worrying. She had always thought that people who called Luna Lovegood crazy were exaggerating, but… no. She had spiders living in her hair, called them "nargles", and wore butterbeer corks – bloody butterbeer corks – as jewellery.
But Hermione was not going to let divination get the better of her.
So it was that Hermione Granger, the top student at Hogwarts, was waiting nervously by the ladder up to the divination classroom.
Of course, Luna was late. When she finally turned up, she seemed unaware that she had kept Hermione waiting. Hermione would have protested, but she really did need Looney Lovegood's help with divination.
"How are you?" Luna asked brightly, clambering up the ladder into the divination room. Hermione followed, making a general non-committal noise in her throat.
"Good," Luna said, apparently taking Hermione's noise to mean Fine, thank you.
"Right," said Hermione, lifting herself into the divination classroom. "So, how should we start out?"
"Pardon?" Luna asked, tilting her head and blinking innocently at Hermione.
"How do we start out?" Hermione repeated. "What do you teach me first?"
Luna shrugged. "I thought you would know. I mean, you were the one who wanted me to teach you."
Hermione shut her eyes, sighed with exasperation.
"Well, what's the most important sort of divination?" she asked.
"Oh, that would be crystal-gazing, I suppose," Luna said, sitting down on at one of the tables. "Is that what you'd like to start with?"
"Yes," said Hermione, grabbing a crystal ball off a shelf and setting it down in front of her. "What do I do first?"
"That depends what you want to know," Luna told her. "I always thought it was easiest to look for romance. Would you like to start with that?"
"Why not," Hermione said, shrugging. "How do I do that?"
"You ask the crystal ball to show you the person you will love," Luna said, as though that made sense.
"How do I do that?"
Luna blinked at Hermione, a little frown creasing her forehead. "Well, you talk to it, naturally. How else?"
"I… talk to the crystal ball?"
"Well, of course," Luna said, maddeningly serene.
"It can't hear me!" Hermione exclaimed. "It's a crystal!"
Luna blinked at her again.
"Oh, all right." Hermione stared at the crystal ball, trying not to let her irritation get in the way. She took several deep breaths, then said, as calmly and pleasantly as she could, "Show me the person I will love."
"Say please," Luna reminded her.
It's a bloody crystal ball! I don't have to be polite!
Hermione sighed, then began again.
"Could you please show me the person that I will love? If it's not too much trouble."
Then she stared at the misty sphere.
And stared at it.
And stared some more.
This is absurd. I must be insane to even try this.
"I think I see something," Hermione said suddenly. "There's something in it!"
"What?" Luna asked.
"I'm not quite sure," Hermione admitted. "It looks like a person, though." She squinted at the crystal.
"Don't strain," Luna reminded her. "Relax, let it come into focus."
Hermione sighed. This was almost more annoying than not being able to see anything, to be able to almost see it…
"Oh, hang on, I think I've got it!"
Hermione forced herself to breathe deeply, keep her eyes unfocussed, gazing blandly into the crystal.
"I think it's a girl," she said, and was surprised to hear the serenity in her voice. That must be why Luna always sounds like that – you have to when you're crystal-reading.
"Go on," Luna encouraged, never losing the lightness in her voice.
"I don't know what else, I can't see too well," said Hermione. "Except she has really long hair… and some sort of necklace… with… I don't know, some sort of big beads on it…"
"Big beads?" Luna asked. Hermione glanced at her out of the corner of her eye, and saw her fiddling with her butterbeer cork necklace.
"That's it!" Hermione was suddenly furious. She had been trying as hard as she could, and she had finally thought she was getting somewhere, but no, it was just Looney Lovegood's reflection. "There's no point!" She stood up, and stormed towards the trapdoor.
"What's wrong?" Luna asked, swivelling on her chair to watch Hermione.
"It was your reflection, your bloody reflection!" Hermione snapped. "I'm done with this! Divination doesn't work, it's just your mind playing tricks on you!"
She heaved the trapdoor open and lowered herself through it, leaving Luna, rather surprised, in her chair.
Luna sat there quietly for some minutes, then slowly turned to look at the crystal ball.
"Odd," she said to whoever might be listening. "I don't think I could be in the reflection from here…"