AN: Last in the quartet. Although it has a little of the previous chapters' playfulness, this one is quite a bit more serious, and gets a progressively dramatic as it goes on.
Ginny was exhausted. You'd think after two pregnancies she'd be an old hand at it by now, but as her mother smugly chirped every time they visited, "Each pregnancy is unique and special, dear, just like each child is unique and special." Needless to say, she hadn't been back to the Burrow in a month.
It was one of Harry's rare days off from the Auror Office where he'd recently been promoted to assistant Head. They'd packed off the boys to visit their granny (that should buy at least another week of gloating-free peace), and decided to spend a relaxing morning together, just the two of them. The problem was, Ginny just couldn't relax- it was once again that time she had come to dread. They now knew they were having their first daughter, which meant a brand-new round of the thrice-cursed name game had to be faced, and she knew it was really better to deal with it now while she was still guaranteed a few hours to weep her sorrows away before the kids returned.
She sighed, part resigned, part knackered, part apprehensive, and part grateful for the cuppa Harry had just handed her. Might as well get it over with...
"So... what have you decided to name her?"
Harry glanced up from his own cup, apparently startled at the non sequitur. His expression, however, swiftly morphed into one of moderate guilt.
"I think you should do the honours, Gin. Whatever you want. You could name her Peaches Pixie Sparkle Moondust, and I'd support you 100%."
It was Ginny's turn to look startled. She had not expected that at all. Damn. As much as the arguments over Jamie's and Al's names had irritated her, if she was really honest with herself, it had also been something of a relief to not have to be responsible for coming up with something decent. With the boys, if anyone ever made a remark (particularly about Al's name), she could just point the finger at her husband. Now, though...
Harry's discomfort grew at her shocked and somewhat worried silence, and he sheepishly ran his fingers through his hair.
"Look... you already made a point about the second name following the name of the parent, so at least that's sorted, right? Her middle name will be Ginevra and you just have to pick her first name." Seeing a growing thundercloud on his passionate (moody) wife's face, he quickly backtracked. "Or, like I said, you can name her anything you want. She can have 3 names or 5 or 10 or..."
"Not. Ginevra. I didn't mind the whole Camelot theme growing up, but at this point, the press has completely killed off any of my previous love for romantic legends. Besides, it sounds too much like Gineva, and I won't have my daughter named after some place. Especially one which has war conventions."
Ginny shuddered while Harry stifled a laugh. It had been a mistake to take teach her about popular muggle culture before teaching her about muggle world history. She had really enjoyed the Star Trek convention, but it came back and bit him on the arse when he tried to explain post-WWII Europe.
"Look," he said in a valiant attempt to actually enjoy their morning in, "we don't have to decide anything right now. Why don't we just watch a film, or something. "
Ginny sighed, then shrugged somewhat despondently, "Alright, then," and got up to browse their DVD and video collection while Harry set up the telly and players. A sudden squeal caused Harry to jump and bump his head on the television cabinet shelves.
"Harry! This is it! I've found it! Our daughter's name!"
He turned around, muttering darkly as he rubbed the forming bruise on his crown, only to freeze in bewilderment at the sight of his wife brandishing the case for The Fifth Element as if it was the ruddy Ten Commandments.
"Leeloo! We can name her Leeloo!
"Leeloo? As in the orange-haired alien who shoots light out of her mouth?"
"And kicks major arse." Ginny was radiant in her confidence.
Harry nodded. "And kicks arse. Fine. But... Leeloo as in L-E-E-L-O-O? Like trying to write "hello" when you're pished?"
Ginny nodded emphatically, but then tilted her head in consideration. "Well, I guess it does look a little odd. We could always do it Continental-style: L-I-L-U."
A strange expression flickered over Harry's face before it resumed the "neutral Auror" look that he'd taken to keeping as a default during all of Ginny's pregnancies.
"So basically," Harry paused, worried about broaching this, but knowing that it had to be done, "...it's "Lily", but with a 'u' instead of a 'y'."
Ginny fell back to her seat, the wind gone out of her sails at this little revelation. "Huh. You're right. Well... I don't have a problem with naming her after your mum, I guess. I mean... I suppose it fits in well enough with Jamie and Al, but... well, I really like Lilu."
Harry abandoned the cables on the telly and sat down next to Ginny, wrapping his arm around her and handing her back her tea. They sat for a moment in companionable silence as they thought over the options.
Determined to remain as neutral and non-interfering as possible, Harry meekly offered, "Well... what about giving her a second name that when it's shortened and added to her first name, they can become Lilu, like a nickname?" He quickly added, "And the first name doesn't have to be Lily—it could be... I don't know, Leanne, or something like that."
Ginny nodded thoughtfully. "That's a really good idea, Harry. Not Leanne, though. Reminds me of that friend of Katie Bell's. Couldn't stand her—she was one of those whingey girls that's always determined to be helpless."
Harry chuckled and thought about how far removed that was from his own orange-haired arse-kicker.
"Really though... yeah. I like Lily, if I can just find something to go with it..."
"Well, if it's shortened to "Lil", then all you'd need is a "U".
Ginny started giggling. "Perfect, Harry! I can't wait to introduce everyone to little Lily Umbridge Potter..."
The giggle became an all-out shout of laughter as Harry decided that her comment deserved a solid sixty seconds of tickling. They were both laughing by the time she surrendered and begged for mercy.
"Alright, alright—I just can't think of a single nice 'u' name, and certainly not with anyone we know."
"Well, you can just keep the "lee" part, and the follow it up with "loo", like, you know, Louise, or something.
"I don't know, Harry. I mean, if we're going to go with Lily, then it makes sense for the Loo bit to be after someone we know, too, but the only one who has... a... name..." Ginny trailed off with a look of surprise, and turned to Harry, who proclaimed with her in unison,
"I've always liked Luna, but... well, unless you change your mind about this being the last, Luna would be the only living person we named one of our children after. Do you think people would be angry... or hurt?"
Ginny waved her hand dismissively. "Naw. It's not like they've named their kids after us..."
"Pfft. That's because they know better." She chuckled at her husband's suddenly sulky pout as he continued. "Besides... Gin, what about the Weasleys? I mean, this would mean that all three of my parents have been honoured. Isn't it time to honour your family?"
"'Molly' and 'Fred' have already been passed onto grandkids, and it's not like we can name a girl, 'Arthur'."
"Well there's always Arthuretta. OW! Merlin, woman—go easy on me! It's my day off, you know."
Ginny smirked in superiority, but then got a faraway look in her eyes. "Luna is family, Harry. She was my only friend outside of my brothers, growing up. We used to do everything together. But then... then there was the diary..."
She sighed and Harry stopped pretending to be offended and instead pulled her closer as she took a deep breath and continued. There were certain topics that they just didn't talk about, but it looked like maybe the time had come for one of those boundaries to finally be crossed. Mingled with the sadness, Ginny's eyes had taken on that determined glint that he knew so well.
"We had been so excited about going to Hogwarts together. But once I had the diary, it was all I could think about. And then, we were supposed to meet on the train, but you and Ron had vanished, and Fred and George wouldn't listen, and... well... I think it was like a potions addiction, you know? I was stressed and I felt like the only thing that could make me feel better was Tom. I forgot all about Luna—didn't look for her on the train, on the boats, the sorting. And that was it—I was so wrapped up in the diary that I completely froze her out. There were times that I was aware, you know, but it was already too late, and I'd just end up writing to Tom about how I didn't know why Luna didn't want to be my friend anymore."
Harry gently stroked her hair as the tears began to fall.
"After you, after you saved me... it took a long time before things felt, well, right again. Out of all of my brothers, I had probably felt closest to Bill, so when the money came, they took us all out there."
Harry nodded, tucking her head under his chin. "I had wondered about that. It seemed pretty strange for your parents to just spend all of that money in one go."
"They wanted to get me away from everything and hoped the sunshine would help "drive away the shadows". I didn't want any of the rest of my brothers to know though, so in the end, they just decided that we would all go so that no one would complain about me getting a special trip. And it did help, at least a little. But then back at Hogwarts, I felt so lost. I mean, Tom... Tom would usually only... you know, take me over when there was no one else around, but I think I was just too young to go through something like that for such a long time. Everything in my memory from that year was completely muddled and I was having to work constantly to try to make up everything I had... missed... the previous year and to just, you know, stay on top of things."
He gave her a reassuring squeeze. "I'm so sorry you had to go through that, Gin. I should have noticed, or given the diary to Dumbledore, or... just something. And I'm sorry I wasn't much better in your second year."
She leaned up and gave him a brief, gentle kiss and then lay back against his chest.
"You had enough to be going on with, Harry. But yeah—the dementors sucked out most of the sunshine I had stocked up on in Egypt, and then I completely freaked when Sirius tried those two times to break into Gryffindor. I... I know it's stupid, but... but I was sure he was after me, that somehow Tom got a message through to his most faithful servant, and that no matter what everyone else said, that he had come to get me... to punish me." She had started crying again, and was having a hard time getting the words out. "When he... when he had... the knife... and Ron... I thought... I thought he was going to use Ron... to... to capture me..."
They sat there on the settee, the only sound Ginny's steadily quieting sobs, released after 14 years of repression, getting on with it, and having more important things to worry about. She sniffled and continued her story.
"Well, as I'm sure you can imagine, I wasn't in the headspace yet to face trying to make up with Luna. By the end of the year though, I had caught up on my work and was slowly starting to relax again. Things got a lot easier once the dementors were gone, too. So by the time we went back home, I was starting to make friends with the other Gryffs in my year. My parents tried to get me to contact Luna that summer, but I was too confused and embarrassed. So they made special arrangements for Hermione to come over so that I could have another girl to spend time with."
"That makes sense. I had wondered at the time, and now... well, I know about Hermione's situation and why she spent so little time with her parents, but the invitation had to have come from your parents, first."
Ginny nodded against Harry's chest. "They asked her for me. In third year, I finally got up the courage to find Luna and apologise, but... well, she had changed a lot. I mean, nothing was quite right again after her mum died, but... well, you know how she was treated. And she had thought that I was ignoring her at first because I was mad that we were in different houses, and..."
She sighed. "It's my fault. She had always laughed about the Quibbler creatures and that stuff they published, but when I changed so dramatically for apparently no reason at all, and when people were mean to her for apparently no reason at all... well, she was a Ravenclaw, and determined to find the reasons. And to her 11 year old self, well... she figured that maybe it was possible that invisible problems were caused by invisible creatures, and that maybe her father wasn't so silly after all. I... I felt horrible, of course, and it was even worse because it wasn't just fixable. You can't apologise for something that a person doesn't think is bad." Ginny sighed again.
"So when did you two become friends again? You were in the compartment together the following year..."
"By the end of third year, I had realised that the only thing I could do was just accept the things she said, try not to laugh too hard, and hope that if I didn't let her down again, then maybe after a long time... well, maybe she wouldn't feel the need to look for invisible reasons anymore. Our family had a couple of weeks at the Burrow before we moved to Grimmauld Place, and I spent time with Luna then, finally making plans to meet up on the train. What you saw then was us trying to 'start over'."
"Is that how you met Corner?" Harry growled in a slightly jealous tone to lighten the mood a little bit.
"Yeah. 'Claws aren't as territorial as Gryffs, and so I spent a lot of time in their Common Room. I had hoped that being there, you know—proof that Luna wasn't alone—would help with the bullying, and I think it did, a little. They stopped pushing her around and being nasty to her, but they still hid her things and called her Loony."
"So when do you feel like things kind of went back to normal with her? With your friendship?"
"It was definitely the Autumn term of 6th year while you guys were gone. With just the three of us leading the DA, we all got a lot closer. I mean, before in 4th and 5th year she was a part of the DA with us, and with our smaller group and everything, but it wasn't personal to me. Overall, she was still pretty wary. But once it was just her and me and Neville, and with the stuff that was going on... I think she finally learned to trust me again. But then she was taken... and, well, you know the rest."
They both sat there quietly, and Harry thought back to that fateful year, to Luna's beautifully painted ceiling, to finding her in the Malfoy dungeons, to holding her hand during her father's funeral after the prisoners had been released. He thought of all of the years that followed as she fled Britain in grief, determined to prove her father right; of the steadying influence that Rolf had brought into her life; of how she blossomed after having the twins.
"So... Lily Luna Potter, then? Lilu for short?"
Ginny sat back and beamed at him, taking Harry's hand in hers so that they could gently rub the baby bump together . "Yeah. She's going to kick some serious arse with such great role models."
Harry grinned back at her, a soft light dancing in his eyes as he stared at their entwined hands. "Sure you don't want to name her Pigwidgeon? It's not too late, you know. Ow! Dammit, woman!"
Ginny hit him with the scatter cushion a second time, her expression one of mock outrage. "I wasn't even twelve yet, you big git!" They play wrestled for a bit, laughing with a new joy now that they knew the name of their daughter. Eventually, Ginny got up to make a fresh pot of tea and Harry went back to disconnecting the Playstation. As they watched The Fifth Element, every time the name Leeloo was mentioned, they both smiled. When the movie was finally done and Harry was fishing the box of tissues out of the sofa cushions, Ginny turned to him, her huge smile and bright brown eyes unmarred by the big red blotches all over her face.
"Harry, is this what you felt like when you chose the names for the boys?"
He took her hand and gently kissed it. "Yup. Still do. Every time I think of them, luv. Every time."
AN: There have been a lot of interesting theories bandied about in fanon on what makes Luna, Luna, and they've all influenced me to a point. Most recently, Heart's Home by Aealket, an HP/HG/LL story, discussed the possibility of Luna's father dying from his imprisonment, which once it was pointed out, seemed highly likely to me, unfortunately.
Well, that's it! If you enjoyed this story and think that other people would enjoy it as well, please post a review. The higher the number of reviews, the more likely people are to take a punt and read. Thanks!