AN:/ This is an AU in which Voldemort is defeated within the first two or three years of Harry in school, when he leaves school he runs off to escape fame and fortune, but he comes back for Luna. Or so he thinks. p.s The rating may go up as the story intensifies.
The corridor smells of lilies. The thought of Harry instantly appears in her head because of that. He makes her sad. Not a lot of people do that, really. Things do sometimes, animals and articles of clothing. Never people. She had learned to build a moat around herself when it came to people, if they wanted to bother her they would have to swim a long way to get to her. Harry never had to swim. He must have had a boat.
Sometimes when she is feeling sentimental she likes to think about him. She has never understood why humans have such a need to be sad. It really began when she got in her teen years, the overwhelming urge to cry and yell. That was the only time Luna felt unlike herself. When those moments occurred she looked for an anchor, someone or something that gave her excuse to feel that way. Harry seemed like a good option at the time. It became hard to grow out of holding on to the idea of him, so she didn't.
Instead, Luna found herself getting more attached. She would be sitting under a tree outside the castle; sick of feeling put together, and Harry would casually walk by. He'd stop every once in awhile and smile at Luna, even walk over and talk about the weather. Instead of just being a part of her sadness he began to be a remedy for it as well. His smile made her smile, to say the very least.
A day came where she had her toes in the Black Lake, eyes shut, letting the rays of sun shine on her face. Harry Potter sat beside her. He told her he needed someone to talk to so she listened. As he spoke, his voice shook, and Luna realized for the first time how much he had resting on his shoulders pushing him down until he was ready to fall.
For some odd reason, she wanted to be the person to catch him.
Those days continued. They would sit by the water and Harry would talk. Luna would listen, some days she wouldn't say a word, and Harry would leave with a simple: "Thank you." She would promise herself that one day she would speak up, she'd say something inspirational and he would gape at her. All would be well. One day, she musters up the courage and as he is about to leave she grabs his arm and she whispers: "You're just as sane as I am."
His eyes meet hers and he's crying. It's almost an out of body experience, seeing her anchor fall apart in such a way.
"Shit, Luna, you sprung that onto me." He laughs through his tears, finding his place beside her once again. "I remember the first time you said that to me. I could tell you meant it and I needed to hear that from someone at the time."
"I've wanted to say something to you for a long time." Luna pauses, "I wasn't sure when it would be okay."
Harry smiles, tears gone from his face and eyes, "It's always okay. I've always loved that you were never afraid of me or my problems. Stay that way."
She finds herself more interested in a split end of her hair, there are words on the tip of her tongue that she doesn't want to let fall out. "Harry?"
"Do you think I'm crazy?"
He squints, licking his lips, "No. Never." He sighs and breathes out the final bit of words left in him, "Actually, I think you're the only one who isn't."
His words never leave her mind. They stay carved into her heart. He walks away, and she feels her palm against her skin, her mind thinks of heartbeats and being alive. She's starting to like it a bit more.
Then school is over. Most things change. Their talks are less frequent but he manages sending her letters. Their stamped from places all over the world. Luna finds herself imagining him in all of these places, always running through and never stopping to just see what is around him. To enjoy the smallest of details or even to breathe. Breathe in. Exhale out. She knows he doesn't have time for that though.
The letters get shorter. She starts dating. The men she meets are quite nice. But she doesn't know what love is. Is it kisses under the stars? Is it the friction that occurs under the sheets? Is it the whispered hellos and goodbyes?
She's lost, doesn't have a compass, and her wand only does so much.
One day an owl flies in to her window and Harry's familiar scribbles fill pages.
I know it has been awhile. I miss you and Hogwarts and everything being the way it was before. Times have gotten tough. The world spins too fast and I can't stay in one place. I know everything is over but I still have those dreams I used to have. Of Voldemort's face, so close to mine, getting closer and then…it's black. Everything. I remember I once studied dreams. There was never an explanation.
I don't know why I am telling you this.
The letter rambles on about his life and travels, but there is a particular bit that catches her eye.
I'm going to be back in London for a bit and I want to see you. I think about you a lot and I always catch myself wondering why we never talk anymore. I know our friendship felt brief. I don't want it to have ended where it did.
Meet me at the Leaky Cauldron, 3pm.
She tries to dress nice but her body is getting more frail lately, all of her clothes look as if they are weighing her down. She finds a smaller dress and throws it on, jewels clinging to her that she never removes. Luna steps into the fireplace and shuts her eyes, the dust whisking her away.
He isn't hard to spot, his head ducked and his hair shaggy. She spots a resemblance to Sirius Black. Though she knows it's impossible.
"Hi." Her voice comes out floaty and light, her smile displaying a different mood.
"Ah, Luna. You look…" His face droops, "You don't look well."
"Always a charmer." Luna bites her lower lip, "I've been lost."
"Coming here? We used to come here all the time."
"No, no. I've just been lost." Luna sits down in the chair next to Harry, "Lost in life. I never found my way. It always said in crystal balls that I would know myself."
"You don't?" He questions, a drink in hand suddenly.
He gets Luna a drink and takes a long look at her. "Luna, have you ever been in love?"
She thinks about it and smiles sadly, "I have tried. I didn't like it."
"That wasn't love then."
"How do you know so much about it?"
"I don't." He laughs, "I'm just going off of what everyone always said."
"You're interesting." Luna says, her finger swirling in her drink, "I've always liked something about you."
"What is that?"
"I don't know." She answers honestly.
"Want to know what I like about you?" Harry pauses, "You are magic. You're what magic is supposed to be… free spirited and beautiful. I look at you and you live and breathe what it's all meant to be."
"Nobody has ever called me beautiful." She looks down at the table, "You're so nice to me."
"I'm only telling the truth." Harry lets his hand rest on hers, "I went to Paris, people – even muggles – called it the most magical and beautiful city. I didn't see it."
"Why?" Luna says this quickly, her voice no longer calm, she almost pulls her hand away.
"I thought it was no different than any other city."
"It wasn't special? Not even a little bit?"
"No, no it wasn't." Harry removes his hand and scratches at his neck, "There are streets and buildings, lights and people. There isn't much beauty in any of that."
"It's unconventional then, you were looking at it all wrong."
"You're unconventional, Paris is not."
"There you go with your words." She shakes her head and her hair falls a bit from its set place.
"What if…what if I tried to be someone for you?"
"What do you mean by that?"
Harry sighs lightly, taking another drink, "I mean what if I taught you something about love?"
"I don't think you'd like that."
"I'm not the type of person that people want to love, is all."
"Who told you that?" Harry is pressing her for answers now. His glass is empty.
Hers is full. "I told myself."
"No, no, you're just the person."
"Just the person for what, Harry?" Luna shakes away the tears forming in her eyes, "The person to fuck with?" Her persona falls, the free spirit dies out, and the walls fall down. "The person that you want around for one night but not the next? I don't like love. If that's it, I don't want it."
"Luna." His eyes soften, "I never meant it that way."
"What?" She looks up at him, her hair sticking to her tear covered face. His lips twitch as if he's going to smile but they fall again, his hand cups her cheek and he takes a long look at her.
"I wanted to show you that love is the opposite of just that, actually. I've always thought you were…so different. The right kind of different. I admired you for that. But I can see how you are crumbling now, turning into someone else, and I just want to help you piece it all back together. I want to make you feel good. Not in those ways, maybe someday but not now, I only want to be a friend. A friend who loves you."
"You love me?" Her voice squeaks, and his hand pats her cheek.
"Of course I do." Harry smiles and removes his hand from her face, "I'll always care about you. That's what friends do."
"I care about you."
"I know." He rephrases, "It shows."
"When will I see you again?" Luna asks, "Are you going to run off to faraway lands once more?"
Harry laughs whole heartedly, "If it's okay with you, I'd like to stay put this time."
"I'd like that."
"I'll visit you whenever you want."
"Where will you stay?"
"I don't like that." Luna sighs, whispering over to him, "Lots of wackspurts here."
"I'll manage." Harry rises from his seat.
"I…" Inhale. Exhale. "I really like you."
"I like you, too." He pats her head, "Goodnight."
"Goodnight, Harry." She heads to the fire place and floo powder carries her home.
Her eyes are still stinging from the amount of tears that have exited her eyes. She starts to see what love is.
It's the things in life that others say are "weird", the moments where people cry from happiness, the times where you throw away everything you ever pretended to be just so you can be honest with someone, it's the times where someone tells you you're beautiful and nobody else will ever say it the way they did. It's how she feels about Harry.
She loves him. It's weird, it's strange, but she does.
There isn't' a bone in her body that isn't begging for him to feel the same.
She'll wait though, Luna will, because that's what you do when you love someone. Or so she decides.
It gets dark in her room around nine pm, that's when she misses his face the most.
It gets light in his room around five am, that's when he wonders if he's really fucked it up this time.
He doesn't send her a letter.
So she'll wait.