Disclaimer: None of the characters in this story belong to me, they belong to J.K. Rowling. The songs "Ruby Tuesday" and "Gimme Shelter" belong to the Rolling Stones.
A/N: This story was based on prompt. 5, at radish_love, on livejournal. "Harry helps Luna and her father rebuild their house after the war."
This story can also be found in my livejournal page, under the username miss_izzy92.
He imagines it's odd. Heroes either die or collect their winnings after their heroic deed is over and done with. Harry Potter, on the other hand, has never been ordinary. Not even by wizarding standards.
And so, maybe it's not that surprising to be standing at the doorstep of the destroyed Rook, staring into the always-wide eyes of one Luna Lovegood, feeling oddly at peace for the first time since this whole mess began.
She doesn't say anything, just steps aside for him to pass through the door with a rucksack that currently holds all of his worldly possessions.
He never liked his fame. He could count on one hand the times it had actually done him any good.
And he certainly could not stand to deal with a Wizarding World desperate to fill the void Dumbledore had left behind. They were two different men, him and Dumbledore.
The late headmaster had had an extraordinary mind who laid out plans left and right. Harry was not an imbecile, by any means, but he couldn't stomach the idea of someone spending their entire lives being directed to a set point, just to fit with the plan.
He didn't have the patience, either.
Of course, there were still other people around him. There was Hermione and Ron and Ginny.
Who he stood in front of, for a good five minutes, before realizing that there was no invisible red string tying them together. There had been teenage hormones, affection, familiarity and a burning desire to be a part of something, to have a home.
In the end, the stories of veterans who came back from war to find their girlfriends and fiancées waiting for them out in the sun, were just that.
Stories made by bitter old men who didn't want to admit that after what they had seen and done, after they had married and had children, all there was left was pain and resentment.
She seemed to realize that too, and after a hug, a kiss and a hushed "Thank Merlin, you're alright", she went to her family and he was left standing.
Because no matter how accepted he had been in their home, how Mr. and Mrs. Weasley always treated him like one of their own, he wasn't.
His feet had lead him from the Burrow to the Rook.
After a war, there's always reconstruction.
He doesn't have a wand of his own anymore. Just a spare one found in the rubble, but as much as it doesn't quite fit, he doesn't really want to use it either.
Because wands mean spells, and spells mean battles and duels and Stunners and Imperius and Cruciatus, and that means Bellatrix Lestrange and having to mean it.
Of course, he shouldn't be feeling guilty. It was a Death Eater (Snape was a Death Eater too) and people always do rotten, ugly things during wars.
He decides to do something with himself. It's not hiding (yes it is). He finds himself helping Luna and Xenophilius, who's even more absent-minded than usual. Their home needs to be rebuilt and it's not like he has one for himself.
Xenophilius manages to impart a pearl of wisdom. Magic is unreliable. You can't build anything solely on magic, because sooner or later it will crumble. Just like you can't be fed eating only conjured food. It's an illusion. Tangible and there but still an illusion.
He welcomes the hard work. It means he's doing something. It means he's still there. It means building plants and tool boxes and existing.
They start with the foundations seeing has the Rook was nearly imploded. There's paper all around them as they sit on the floor, making sense and then saying something so out of place that Harry has to do a double take, just to make sure he didn't miss anything. Luna just looks at him calmly while he catches up, a faint smile on her lips, the light catching her hair.
Neither him nor Luna have ever built a house and Xenophilius is unreliable to come up with something sensible, so that means trips to the town, where people look at them, the odd boy with the veteran eyes and the girl with the flowy skirts and daisies in her hair. They spend hours in the public library, finding books that can help them, photocopying the pages they need, and paying with money he exchanged on his last trip to Gringotts.
On the way back home, Luna grabs his hand and doesn't let go.
They begin planning and making lists of what they need. They order material like wood and cement and wait for it to arrive the next week. Harry and Luna cook and Xenophilius wanders around outside. He asks if it's painful for her to see her father like that. She doesn't answer, except with her usual smile and he doesn't know what to say.
They go back to the town during the week with the list of things they can just pick up at the local hardware store. He picks what they need while Luna filters about the by the bolts and nuts. The owner sends her odd glances as Harry waits for him to tell him how much they owe.
There are things they shouldn't even try to meddle with so they call for a plumber from the Wizarding World. He comes on a Thursday, makes budgets and tells them that the world's a mess and he has so much work they he's had to start to turn people away. But he's Harry Potter, so he makes an exception. He's not sure how to feel.
They send the Lovegoods the same glances the hardware store owner sent Luna. He wonders when he became so desensitized and he finds that he doesn't really care.
The materials arrive one morning and Luna and Xenophilius cast a spell to protect the large piles from the environment, before going back inside what remains of the house. They start working that afternoon.
Xenophilius is a surprisingly good worker. He's focused and good with his hands. The first Harry genuinely didn't expect and was surprised at. Luna is in charge of levitating supplies to where they are needed and making sure that they are cared for and don't strain themselves. She's good at it but it doesn't really surprise him anymore. There's a lot more to Luna Lovegood than meets the eye.
There's a spell that Xenophilius uses that joins the old foundations with new ones, the wood uniting at the ends. It's only when they are finished with that part that Harry realises that they don't speak to each other.
They know what each other needs but they don't talk. The silence is refreshing. No questions and no answers. No expectations. They simply exist.
They take a day off in between the foundations and the rest of the work.
Xenophilius disappears somewhere until that evening. Harry and Luna walk.
They walk to the town and their presence isn't as surprising as it was in the beginning. They go to the hardware store and are leaving the grocers when Luna drags him by the hand to a flea market that's taking place in the square.
Harry buys a radio.
It's an old thing that has clearly seen better days, one of those Philco cathedral radios. Luna falls in love with it. She puts it to work on magic as soon as they get home and they lay on the grass together, watching the darkening sky, Mick Jagger asking for shelter.
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
They all sleep on mattresses on what's left of the kitchen's floor. He can see the stars through the cracks in the ceiling and a blue hummingbird painted by Luna in the cupboard closest to his mattress.
She sneaks in next him that night and he wraps his arms around her.
The plumber comes and goes the following days as the walls of the house rise up. There are bricks, and cement and so much dust. But Luna is right by his side and she's talking, about Crumple-Horned Snorkack and Nargles, and other things and other creatures whose names he's pretty sure he can't even pronounce.
But Luna's talking and there's sound again other than the one resulting from their work and the old radio. Sometimes she even sings. Of course, she's no Celestina Warbeck.
It's light and free and other-worldly, even.
It's the most beautiful thing he's ever heard.
Soon the outer walls are finished and they start focusing on the interior. The Rook is being rebuilt much like it once was. Kitchen on the ground floor, the living room on the first floor and the bedrooms on the second. After the floors are done with, and the stairs in their due place, Harry and Luna spend an entire evening dancing in her bedroom like two escapees from St Mungo's Mental Ward.
He feels free.
He almost is.
It's about a month in the rebuilding that Hermione stops by. She doesn't say anything about the condition she finds them in, living almost like hermits, their clothes beyond the strongest Reparo. She just asks if he's coming back to Hogwarts the following year.
He says he isn't (there's too much blood, too many corpses) and she nods, finishes her tea and kisses him on the forehead before leaving him sitting the front step of the house, the purple and yellow mug standing where she sat.
He goes back inside where Luna and Xenophilius are attempting what appears to be a tie-dye pattern on the living room walls.
Luna hands him a bucket and he helps them.
The first time he kisses Luna Lovegood, it's mid-August.
They're lying in the grass, during one of their breaks from painting the outside of the house, when a chirping from a bird makes him turn his head to the left. He sees Luna and her grey eyes and her long blond hair shining in the sun.
It's too much for him. He leans over and kisses her.
It's not like kissing Cho (wet) or Ginny (memories of days by the lake).
Kissing Luna Lovegood is light and dark. It's sunny days filled with nothing but their breaths and sweat and it's starry nights and humming.
Most of all, kissing Luna Lovegood is freedom.
He draws away and goes back to his original position. A few seconds pass before he feels a pressure on his left shoulder and finds himself inhaling the scent of Luna Lovegood's hair.
Harry Potter is almost there.
The following day she comes out with a large wooden box. He peers into it, curiously, and sees glass and porcelain. Shards of different colours reflect the sun.
He asks why not just fix them with a Reparo.
She answers that some things can be fixed and go back to what they were. Others, however, are better used when their pieces are picked up and turned into something new. He takes the wooden box from her.
They pave the pathway leading to the house with them. When they're finished Luna casts a spell to ensure that no unfortunate feet find themselves the recipient of a piece of their labour.
It's night when Luna wakes him up and drags him out of the house. He goes without a word, blinking sleep from his eyes.
When they're at the edge of the lake, Luna twirls away from him in a flurry of blond hair.
She holds out her hand to him and he takes it.
They fall into each other's arms in what very few would call dancing. Harry's mind takes him back to Hermione and their tent.
In this case it's completely different, however. It's not about comforting or taking anyone's mind off a sore topic. It's more like the time when Harry and Luna danced in her bedroom, but still not quite.
This time is two people, largely misunderstood, empathy and the moon and the stars reflected on the lake.
Luna takes great care in painting the flowers, insects and birds in the kitchen. He smiles when he sees a small Hedwig painted next to the window.
The furniture is the simplest thing, and soon the house looks like a piece of patchwork. It's bits and pieces of things found in the oddest places, and pieces of themselves. That house is their sweat, their work.
Harry doesn't think he ever felt as proud of anything. This isn't about death and destruction (and pain, so much pain).
Harry Potter, for the first time, built something.
Luna Lovegood is with him when he goes out in Diagon Alley to buy a new wand. She takes his hand, and he ignores the looks.
There's not much that bothers him anymore.
(There's an invisible red string around their locked hands)
(Harry Potter is free)