A/N: General disclaimers that I don't own the HP-verse but by goodness Emma Watson is one smokingly hot, beautiful young woman.
A/N 2: This fic starts after the first task but before the Yule Ball.
"Professor McGonagall announces that the Christmas Yule Ball is approaching and that the champions must find partners as they will open the ball."
Harry Potter was many things and if he understood the why then he could accomplish almost anything. In Quidditch he was a natural born flyer and somewhat of a prodigy as a seeker. In his Defense Against the Dark Arts classes Harry picked up the lessons faster than most and could liken the lesson from theory to practicality in an hour, sometimes less. These two examples were credit to how much time Harry put into them though. However, the one thing even Harry Potter could not begin to understand and could not relate to was...
"Is that a new tie Harry?"
"Your hair is looking messily scrumptious today Harry."
"Have you been working out Potter?"
…women. For all of his quick reflexes, snap decision-making and understanding of the defense against the Dark Arts, none of it prepared Harry for the fairer sex. All he had to go off of was Hermione and never once had he seen his female best friend act…girly. He knew Hermione was a girl but it was Hermione for goodness sakes!
In order to avoid the growing knot of girls encircling him Harry strode off at a brisk pace and headed up to the Owlery. The warmth, quiet hoots and silent intelligence never failed to soothe him and Harry breathed out a sigh of relief as he closed the door to the Owlery shut behind him.
"Hello Harry Potter. In need of a place of solitude?"
The dreamy quality in the voice alerted Harry to the identity of the voice and Luna Lovegood stepped into the light afforded to the Owlery. The sunlight shone on her pale blonde, almost silvery white hair in such a way that it appeared to reflect the light in a shimmer around her. Quite simply, for a moment Harry was speechless as even his clueless mind recognized the beauty in this image and moment.
"Are you all right Harry? You look like you have seen something beautiful and don't have the words to describe it."
"You are. I have. Beautiful."
Harry shook his head to clear his mind and tried to work past his word vomit. Luna simply giggled, smiled and went back to feeding scraps of food to the owls. Harry held out his arm and whistled. Hedwig glided down and landed on his outstretched arm. Harry stroked her chest and smiled.
"'lo Hedwig. Sorry I haven't been keeping you busy lately. There's just not a lot of letters for me or from me."
"You have a very strong bond with your owl Harry."
Harry grinned at Luna and rolled his eyes at Hedwig as she preened. He tapped her beak and yanked his hand back when she tried to nip his finger.
"Hedwig was and is my first and best friend. She's my girl."
"That must be nice to have a friend like that Harry."
It was these moments that Harry disliked. He knew that there was something he should and could say but whatever words needed to be spoken eluded him. Hermione would know what to say or maybe Katie Bell would…
"It's all right Harry. There is no need to say anything. The mere fact that you are trying, shows you care and I thank you for that."
"What? How did you? Did you just read my mind?"
Luna giggled again and finished feeding the other owls. She walked over to Harry and slowly raised her hand towards Hedwig. To his surprise Hedwig didn't pull away or screech and Harry watched as Luna stroked Hedwig. She began to hum a tune and Harry's sub consciousness took over.
A woman with red hair rocked from side to side as she held an infant with jet-black hair. Harry's mum Lily Evans?
A woman with red hair tucked an infant with jet-black hair into the crib and smiled down at the infant. Harry's mum again?
An infant with jet-black hair cried as it clung to a woman with red hair's shirt. The infant was afraid of a little mouse but not of the massive black dog by his side and the woman smiled as she tried to explain.
Quite suddenly Harry was back in the Owlery at the present and he hadn't moved a single muscle. Luna stood in front of him, still stroking Hedwig and humming that tune.
"That tune. What is it? Where did you learn it?"
"My mummy used to hum it to me as a child. Don't you remember your mum humming it to you?"
"I just…I think…I don't know! I didn't know my mum."
Luna's pale silver, lightest blue eyes coloured eyes blinked. One slow, long blink and then she looked up at Harry. She met his gaze without flinching or abandon and Harry didn't know what to make of the butterflies in his stomach.
"No Harry I didn't. Your magic led me to the memory and you trusted me enough to let me see it with you."
"You saw it? The snippets of my memories?"
At Luna's nod Harry swallowed and licked his lips nervously. Luna didn't seem to be freaked out by any of this and Harry desperately wished he had her open-mindedness.
"What does it mean?"
"It means that your mum loved you Harry and still does from Beyond. I would have thought that obvious."
Harry grinned and rubbed the back of his head. Hedwig nipped his ear and flew back up to the rafters. Before Harry could say or do anything Luna took his hand and led him over to the wall. She sat down, patted the ground next to her and Harry sat down.
"My mum and your mum were friends during and after Hogwarts Harry. Right up until the day your parents were killed."
"Do you remember them?"
"No. Not really. But I can try and help you remember."
Over the next several hours Harry and Luna talked about everything and nothing. Very quickly on Harry learned he could not force his mind to remember and he had to allow the memories to come as they would. Certain words or phrases triggered memories and Harry remembered that his first word was 'bam' because as a toddler Harry loved banging the pots and pans together. His first toy that he chose was a pot and he would place it on his head like a helmet. He also remembered a small girl with wispy blonde hair that looked like Luna but the memories were too much and then Harry would be thrown on an emotional roller coaster. The ups and the downs, the highs and the lows but Luna was there to support him through them all.
A kindred spirit had been found and soon Harry did as much listening as he did talking. He learned of Luna's childhood, the solitude and the death of her mum. In return she learned of the abuse, the neglect and the scorn of the Dursley's. Both of them realized how hard it was to talk but once they got started it was like a damn had broken loose.
"Luna how long have we been up here?"
"Since a little after the afternoon meal. For several hours."
"So we missed our classes in the second half of the day."
Luna's calm acceptance of things made Harry grin and he tapped her on her knee. He stood up and held out his hand to help Luna up. A spark shot through Harry when he took Luna's hand and he immediately met her gaze. She looked shocked as well and both teenagers let go slowly.
"Fancy some supper then Luna?"
"Yes. I have it on good authority that mashed potatoes and sauerkraut are being served tonight. They make an excellent dish when combined."
Harry didn't know what to make of that statement as Luna looked entirely sincere so he went with saying nothing and opened the door of the Owlery for her. Luna walked past him with a soft thank you and Harry walked next to her with his hands in the pockets of his robes. The two of them walked down the staircases to the Great Hall in silence with Harry being confused by the silence and Luna appearing to be okay with it. Just outside the Great Hall Luna stopped and turned to face Harry. Not knowing what to do Harry followed suit and grinned at Luna.
"Well I'm completely pants with these sorts of situations so I'll see you when I see you Luna. Thanks for the good afternoon."
"You're doing fine Harry. Toodles."
Harry watched as Luna skipped into the Great Hall and when he didn't see her anymore he walked into the hall with a shake of his head. The hall was full of students and loud because it was the end of the day. Harry found his usual seat next to Hermione just in time for Dumbledore to pass on any news for the next day. There was very little despite the two visiting foreign schools, the tournament and the fast approaching Yule Ball and soon Harry found himself under the scrutiny of one Hermione Jean Granger.
"You missed all of your afternoon classes Harry. That was completely irresponsible and you are going to lose us House points. Are you ok? Where were you?"
"I'm fine Hermione and I was visiting the past."
To stop any further inquiries Harry opened his Defense Against the Dark Arts textbook and began to read. Out of the corner of his eye Harry saw Katie Bell finish her supper and get up. Swallowing his last bite of food and hastily dabbing at his mouth with a napkin Harry followed suit. He jogged after Katie and stopped when he stood next to her.
"Excuse me Katie, do you mind if I, um, talk to you for a minute?"
"Merlin's beard Harry! I didn't hear you come up. How did you do that?"
Harry shrugged despite the fact that he knew he had acquired his sneakiness through not disturbing his relatives and kept pace with the older girl.
"Don't know. I just always have been quiet. So can I talk to you?"
"Isn't that what we're doing right now? Kidding Harry, I'm kidding. What about?"
"Well you see, I have this new friend-"
Katie's loud squeal cut Harry off and she grabbed his arm as she sprinted the last few hundred meters to the Fat Lady's portrait on the seventh floor and they were inside, up the stairs to Katie's dorm (Harry was bewildered how he actually made it up the stairs without them turning into a slide) and sitting across from each other on Katie's bed before Harry could explain anything.
"I knew you were just a late bloomer and all the speculation about your orientation was just vicious gossip. Now, who's your new friend?"
"Um Luna Lovegood but she's not-"
"Luna? You're girlfriend is a year younger than you and stares at the Great Hall's ceiling because she believes she can count the Nargles?"
The disapproving tone in which Katie spoke of Luna made Harry angry for some reason and he sat up straighter as the anger fizzled up and down his spine. He narrowed his eyes and brought his lips together in a straight line as he had seen Professor McGonagall and Sirius do whenever they were angry.
"Luna is not crazy or loony Katie. Have you ever even talked to her? Looked past the façade that she is showing you? And no, she is not my girlfriend."
Katie looked surprised at Harry's sudden outburst and opened her mouth to say something but Harry didn't want to hear it. He stood up off her bed and turned on his heel to leave her dorm.
"Harry wait! I'm sorry. I'll listen this time I promise."
"I thought you were different Katie. You are always helping out the fellow Gryffindors and especially us younger years. I'm sorry to have wasted your time."
Having already reached her door before Katie called out to him, Harry opened it and walked down the staircase back to the Common Room. He ignored all the gaping mouths and wide eyes as he left the Common Room and back out into the castle.
Luna was having better luck in talking to someone, Padma specifically, about her new and budding friendship with Harry Potter. At supper earlier tonight she had eaten her food with a small, secretive smile on her face and a warm feeling in her chest. Once finished, she skipped back to the Ravenclaw Tower and claimed her usual window seat at the far end of the Common Room. There she had finished what little homework she had left for the next day and went up to her dorm. She had just finished her bedtime routine and settled into her four-poster bed when Padma burst into their dorm.
"Luna you better start sharing girl. You were out of all your classes for the second half of the day and you were smiling like a girl with her first crush all throughout supper. Spill. Now."
Padma's phraseology had intrigued Luna and instead of answering her friend right away Luna tilted her head to the side as she thought about it. She pushed Padma's hand out of her face as the other girl had taken to waving it in front of Luna's face as Luna had spaced out.
"I talked with Harry this afternoon. That's why I was not in my classes. Who told you I wasn't?"
"Lisa Turpin. And you talked with Harry Potter all afternoon? About what?"
"Yes Harry Potter. What other Harry is there? Did you know that there are no other boys named Harry here in Hogwarts at this time? And I don't know of any Harry Potter's that are girls but Millicent could pass for a boy if you look at her in the right light…"
Luna giggled and lost the spacey look she adopted when she was thinking. Padma rolled her eyes and gently hit Luna with one of the pillows resting against the headboard.
"So what were you talking to Harry about all afternoon? Did you kiss him? Are you to going out?"
"Noooo. And we were talking about our childhoods."
Luna dragged out her no to try and lessen her blush at Padma's questions and the thought of going out with Harry only made her blush worsen.
"You're childhoods? Isn't that something you don't talk about till like the fourth date or something? On the first date the two of you should have been talking about silly things like whose going out with who, rating the professors and the such."
"As I told you Padma we were not out on a date and we just happened to be in the Owlrey together."
Luna watched as Padma got more comfortable on her bed and laid out on her stomach with her feet kicked up and dangling over her arse. Luna hugged a pillow to her front and stared at Padma expectantly.
"What? You actually want to talk about what happened between you and Potter this afternoon? I thought you said it wasn't that big of a deal!"
A blush dusted Luna's cheeks and she couldn't look her friend in the eye. Padma squealed and bounced upright again. She clapped her hands and when Luna looked up at her Padma had a wide, goofy smile on her face.
"You fancy Harry Potter!"
"Keep it down will you Padma? There's no need to let the whole castle know!"
"As if girl. Please, more than half the girls here at Hogwart's want to take his cute little bum into a broom closet and have their wicked way with him, myself included."
Luna's mouth fell open and she stared at her best friend but Padma waved her hand like she was admitting old news. Luna's eyebrows slanted downwards and she tilted her head to the side.
"But I thought you fancied that bloke from Hufflepuff!"
"Ernie? Sweetie he's old news. Rumour has it that one of the Slytherin prefects caught him with a hand down two Ravenclaw sixth year girls knickers and this rumour was then verified by my sister Parvati."
Despite her exceptional logic and reasoning skills Luna was having a hard time processing what Padma had just told her. For the longest time that's all she had heard about from her best friend and now, for Padma to so breezily dismiss the object of her affections…
"Anyway that is neither here nor there in this conversation as we are focused on your crush on the boy-with-the-most-deliciously-messy-hair. How long have you fancied him?"
"Um, for a while now I guess but it really didn't hit me till this afternoon when we were just talking. You really had to be there Padma as he was so vulnerable and open…it was really touching."
And long into the night the two girls shared Luna's bed and had whispered conversations about Luna's developing crush on Harry Potter.
"Harry! Harry wait!"
Harry didn't turn around as he heard Katie Bell call out after him and after he ducked around the corner of the corridor he was walking in he hid behind a tapestry. He waited a full ten minutes before chancing to peek out and when he didn't see Katie, he resumed walking down the corridor.
"Rather sneaky of you Harry Potter."
Automatically all of Harry's muscles tensed and his wand slid down his arm but remained hidden in his sleeve as he heard someone talking behind him. Very slowly Harry turned around but the tension in his body left once he saw Susan Bones leaning against the wall and he re-holstered his wand in his forearm holster.
"And you've gotten loads better as well I see. Skipping class Susan?"
"No, just using an empty classroom to finish writing a letter to my auntie in peace. Why didn't you want to talk to that Bell girl?"
Harry sighed and looked down at his scuffed trainers. After he left the Common Room last night and walked off his anger and frustration with his failed talk with Katie, the guilt had set in. He felt like an arse for not trying to smooth things over between him and his 'older sister' but he was still smarting over how she had handled the whole thing last night.
"We…I tried to….it's nothing. Hopefully it will settle itself out in the next few days."
"What was that Harry? You know I don't understand or tolerate mumbling. Speak up if you want to talk to me and look me in the eyes."
At Susan's commanding tone Harry's head jerked up and he looked his friend in her eyes. The two of them had started a friendship late last year after Harry and Hermione had rescued Sirius and Buckbeak. While the two of them finished fully recuperating in the hospital Susan had come to visit Harry seemingly out of the blue and the first time the buxom blonde had stood by his bedside to talk to him Harry had been flabbergasted. It took Hermione throwing a medicine bottle at him for Harry to close his mouth and try and regain the use of his vocal cords. Susan had been nervous as well but she inquired how he was and although there first conversation started a little awkwardly and had several hesitant pauses it had been a conversation nonetheless.
"Is there anything I can do to help you feel better Harry?"
That question was what sparked the friendship between Gryffindor's Golden Boy and the niece of the Director of Magical Law Enforcement. She had called him by his first name instead of both of them or just his last name and he had grinned. Over the next couple days while Hermione was confined to her bedside and trying to deal with a jealous Ron, Susan had overseen the final stages of Harry's recovery and the two of them had walked around the lake many times out on the grounds.
"I believe you. About Sirius Black being innocent and so does my auntie."
Susan Bones was good at throwing curveballs into their conversations like that and when she had told him this Harry had stopped and stared at her. He had the wild impulse to kiss her then and she had giggled stating that he wore his emotions on his sleeve. Embarrassed, Harry turned away and told her quietly that besides Hermione and Katie Bell, no other girl had just simply talked to him like Susan was doing then and he just wanted to show her how grateful he was. This open candor was rather startling at times but so far the two unlikely friends didn't have that many problems in their friendship.
"I…I made a new friend yesterday which was why I wasn't in any of my afternoon classes."
"Yes I know. Luna Lovegood is it?"
Harry looked up at Susan and saw her grinning at him. He did his best to hide the vulnerability in his eyes as Susan had only reinforced the notion that displaying vulnerability or too much vulnerability could get you hurt or killed.
"I'm not going to pry or tell anyone Harry you know that. You are free to make friends with whomever you choose. She must have done something special to make you all flustered though?"
"I thought you said you weren't going to pry?"
Harry grinned at Susan and she nodded her head. She held out her arm with it crooked and batted her eyelashes.
"Escort me to breakfast Mr. Potter?"
"How scandalous Ms. Bones! What will the gossip mill say?"
"About the same things they say whenever you are in the company of one Hermione Granger."
Harry walked over to Susan and looped his arm through hers. She tucked his arm down by her side and they made their way down to the Great Hall for breakfast. They passed by many foreign students who gave them both curious glances and many of the girls gave Harry flirtatious glances that made him uncomfortable. Susan must have felt his discomfort because she giggled and patted his forearm.
"You know you're going to have to pick one of these fine ladies in the castle to accompany you to the Yule Ball that the Headmaster announced a few days ago right?"
"Come off it Susan. These girls don't make it easy for a bloke to ask them to the ball you know!"
Susan giggled again and turned them so they walked down the corridor leading towards one of the central staircases that spanned all seven levels of Hogwarts.
"That's the point sweetie. If we came across as too eager or too easy than you blokes would only serve to give us a bad reputation when you went and bragged to your friends. If we come across as too hard however than we get the reputation as frigid and not all of us can pull that title off as well as Daphne Greengrass."
"Well she's hot!"
Harry grunted when Susan elbowed him in the ribs and he grinned down at her. She rolled her eyes and pretended to huff in vain annoyance.
"Anyway, so are you going to try and see if you can ask your new friend?"
It was credit to how strong their new friendship was that Harry didn't need to look down at Susan to know she was rolling her eyes in a very Hermione-like fashion but his thoughts left the blonde by his side as he saw a familiar shade of silver-blonde hair by the doorway to the Great Hall. As if she could sense the direction of his thoughts, Susan left Harry (not like he noticed right away) and the boy-who-lived stared at Luna for a few more minutes.
"Your gaze is very intense and penetrating Harry. Just so you know."
Harry shook himself to stop staring at the dainty Ravenclaw and walked over to her. She was staring at the window atop the Entrance Hall doors and Harry stood behind her off to her right. She didn't move to acknowledge his presence but Harry knew she knew he was there all the same.
"Waiting for something?"
"Yes actually. Ah there it is. The morning sun only does that precisely at seven thirty-two you know."
At her words Harry looked up and saw the sun streaming in brilliant shafts of sunlight through the small window. The moment passed however and Luna turned halfway around to focus her attentions on Harry. They both gasped at the close proximity and Harry steadied Luna with a hand on her shoulder when she took half a step backwards. Her small movement was enough however, to break some of the tension their closeness caused and Harry looked down into Luna's silver coloured eyes.
"Care to join me for breakfast Harry?"
Harry gave Luna a lopsided grin and turned with her to walk into the Great Hall. He deliberately ignored all the stares he was getting and sat down a few seats down from Hermione. The Gryffindor bookworm gazed at him for a long moment over the top of her thick tome but with a small smile returned her attentions back to her morning reading. Taking that as a sign of her approval Harry turned to Luna and grinned.
"So is breakfast at the Ravenclaw table any different than here at Gryffindor's?"
It wasn't until later that night that Harry met Luna again outside of classes and the circumstances couldn't be that much worse. Throughout the day Harry had done his best to avoid the questioning glances of Hermione and Katie Bell, as well as the flirtatious girls (who appeared to be overly flirtatious today for some strange reason…) and keep atop Ron's annoying questions about him spending time with Luna.
"She's my friend Ron. Just that!"
"She's called 'Loony Lovegood' for a reason Harry! There are plenty of other fine birds wandering the halls for you to choose from!"
"I'm not saying either way if I have a girl picked out yet Ron but that doesn't mean I can't make new friends as well."
And that was how Harry had left it with Ron after Charms class. The tall, redheaded Weasley boy hadn't ignored Harry but he kept muttering to himself and shooting Harry weird glances. Harry did his best to continue on with his day but after his 'talk' with Ron he felt like the gazes of everyone else was magnified.
"I don't know what you're talking about. Harry Potter is simply a friend."
"Cut the bullshit you slag. I know you want something more with him!"
Harry pressed his back against the wall and took out his Marauder's Map to get a sneak peek at who was around the corner badgering Luna. His eyes widened and then narrowed as he saw that it was Cho Chang and her followers but Harry decided to wait a little longer before revealing himself.
"You stay away from him you hear me? There is nothing an ugly, anorexic, motherless little girl like you can offer him. He's only hanging out with you because he is bored and wants something to make him laugh."
"That's not true…"
Harry almost pushed off the wall and confronted Cho right there when he heard what she said and how small Luna's voice had sounded when she responded. His gut told him to wait however but Harry, still with his back against the wall, moved closer to the corner and let his wand slide down his sleeve.
"Don't you dare talk back to me you bitch! Harry Potter has been making gaga eyes at me since the start of the fall term and you will do nothing to stop him from asking me to the Yule Ball here in two weeks. I'll decline of course as although Harry is a fine catch he is still a boy compared to my Cedric."
That last comment from Cho really got Harry's blood boiling and he stalked around the corner. He could feel his magic coursing through him and he knew he cast a spell but he couldn't make out what it was. Cho and her posse fell to the floor like dead weights and without thinking Harry reached out to pull Luna close to his side. He still had his wand trained on Cho, who appeared to be unconscious but he immediately dismissed the girl to cast a worried glance at Luna.
"Harry! Your eyes…"
"Are you okay Luna?"
Harry didn't respond to Luna's comment about his eyes as his entire attention was focused on Luna's well-being and he unconsciously wrapped his arm low around her waist to secure her closer to him. He heard Luna squeak and saw her cheeks flush but she didn't fight him.
"I-I'm fine Harry. They really didn't do anything besides throw a couple t-taunts."
He didn't know it but Harry's eyes darkened like a brewing storm and his mouth tightened into a firm line. He felt Luna grasp his forearm and cup his cheek.
"I'm okay now Harry. Really."
"If you're sure…"
When Luna's thousand-watt smile lit up her face then did the tension leave Harry's body and he grinned. Luna gently maneuvered her way out of Harry's firm hold and Harry blushed hotly. He stepped back sharply, fear in his eyes and his hands were fidgety. Luna giggled at him and held out her hand.
"There's nothing wrong with my new knight in shining amour protecting me and holding me like I'm the most precious thing in the world to him."
"Luna! I…we…hold you…I'm sorry!"
Luna giggled again and her hand was still held out in his direction. Harry didn't move towards her, steadfast in his embarrassment and Luna took the step closer to him. Harry stepped backwards which caused Luna to step forward again and to an outsider it would look like one weird version of the tango. When his back hit the wall of the corridor Harry gulped and the moonlight shining in Luna's eyes was really distracting. She stood very close to him and her eyes were unrelenting in their gaze.
"You better not be sorry for something so beautiful Harry Potter."
"Good. Now I suggest we leave this place before Cho wakes up and goes crazy angry or a professor catches us."
The fog lifted from Harry's brain and he nodded. When Luna skipped off in the direction of the Ravenclaw Tower though, Harry walked after her and took a hold of her elbow. She looked up at him, questions in her eyes and his gaze was firm.
"I don't think so. You're going to get checked over by Poppy and stay overnight in the hospital. I don't trust Cho to leave you alone when she wakes up and returns to the Ravenclaw girls dorms."
"That's really unnecessary Harry and it's sweet and all but…"
"No buts'. March off to the hospital."
Luna fell silent and looked like she wanted to disagree but after a moment she nodded her agreement. Relief coursed through Harry and he gallavantly waved his hand in the direction of the hospital. Luna raised an eyebrow and a sneaky smile crossed her face. She groaned, fell backward and completed the act with a hand over her eyes. Harry's quick seeker reflexes caught her and Luna grinned when she opened her eyes.
"It's only fair Harry. Since you're kicking me out of my nice warm bed to sleep in the hospital it's only right that you should carry me like the damsel in distress you think I am."
Still, Harry didn't argue and he gently slung Luna around so she was hanging off his back in the classic piggyback style. He hooked his hands underneath her surprisingly firm and toned hamstrings and an unknown torrent of sensations ran through his body when Luna played idly with his tie just above his chest. The walk up to the hospital went uninterrupted and Harry made the proper excuses when an irate Poppy bustled out of her office. The older woman's lips tightened when she heard about the bullying and she ushered Harry over to a bed to set Luna down in. After properly chastising Harry for his hot-headedness in dealing with Cho and her gang Poppy bustled off.
"You going to be okay tonight Luna? I promise I'll be here first thing in the morning to help spring you out."
"I'm going to hold you to that Harry. I'm serious."
"No that's my godfather."
Both young teens laughed at the bad pun and an awkward silence settled over them. Harry wasn't sure what to do and Luna was looking at him expectantly.
"You'll tell me if you're still being bullied right Luna?"
"Why? It's nothing I'm not used to."
"You shouldn't be used to it though Luna and now that you're my friend I'm going to make it stop because I care."
Luna's eyes misted and she tugged on Harry's hands so he had to bend down. Her small, lithe arms wrapped around his neck in a hug and she played with the hairs at the nape of his neck. Surprised, Harry awkwardly hugged the smaller girl back and he nervously swallowed the lump in his throat.
"Luna? Will you um, go to the er, ball with me in two weeks?"
He heard Luna gasp but when Harry went to look at her expression, Luna wouldn't allow him to and tightened her arms around his neck.
"Are you sure Harry? There's a bunch of prettier girls to go with and you won't be laughed at quite so much."
"With the exception of a few, they're all floozies and I don't want to spend the night listening to their bad jokes and fake laughs."
"If you're sure, then I'd love to go to the ball with you Harry Potter."
A weight fell of Harry's shoulders and he hugged Luna tighter to him for a moment before letting go. Poppy stepped out of the shadows, a small smile on her face and she handed Luna a sleeping gown familiar to those that spent the night in the hospital.
"Shoo Mr. Potter. It's bad manners to overstay your welcome and hound a lady while she changes. You can see her tomorrow morning. Shoo!"
With a goofy grin Harry nodded and left Luna with a small wave. He felt a millions times lighter as he walked down the corridors back to the Gryffindor Tower and it was all due to the girl back in the hospital. Harry fist pumped as he let his mind daydream and it was a wide-eyed Fat Lady that let him into the Tower.