Story: [Petty Priorities]
Summary: The Lovegoods and the Potters have a long and petty relationship. Unfortunately, no matter how Luna tries, Harry is just too nice. Also, he's cute. Totally unfair.
Luna had been looking forward to this for years.
This would be the big moment. She'd finally be able to go off to Hogwarts, where she could make friends that cared about things other than pretend-weddings and quidditch. Where she could learn a lot about magic, things that her mother had once known. Where she'd find her technically-still-betrothed and do a grand amount of petty things to reinforce the centuries-long feud between their families.
She didn't manage to find him on the train, which was a bit odd, but perhaps he'd anticipated her arrival and pettily assured that she would be unable to find him. Devious. He clearly showed great promise, this petty rival of hers.
It took until halfway through the end of the Welcoming Feast before she figured out how he'd managed it. He'd driven a flying car to school, instead of taking the train.
Clever, but reckless. Also, she wasn't entirely sure how she felt about him going to such lengths to avoid even having a brief encounter with her. It was one thing to use magic, or a talent for hiding, so that he could silently mock her for her inability to even find him to officially start their rivalry. It was another thing entirely to randomly rush off and steal a car, and violate a very old tradition of taking the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts, in order to avoid her.
Honestly, it almost felt like his avoidance hadn't been about her, but rather that he'd just... wanted to steal a car and fly to Hogwarts in it. Which was... actually rather appalling, that she was somehow so low on the boy's priorities that he hadn't even considered that this was her first year, and that they should meet on the train and exchange petty barbs for the very first time.
Luna was actually a bit offended. Which she supposed was the point of having a rival in the first place, but it wasn't supposed to be this kind of offended, and she wasn't sure what to do about it.
So she wrote her father and asked for help.
Luna had never really considered what Harry Potter being an orphan really meant. She'd always been able to ask her father anything. But if Harry hadn't had someone who'd known about their family-rivalry, then-... Then it was entirely possible that Harry didn't even know that they were technically-still-betrothed and that their families had had a petty feud since before the unification of England.
And what the bloody hell was Luna supposed to do about that?
The belatedly obvious answer was to simply tell Harry Potter that their families had a long recorded history of pettiness against each other, and that she was hoping to continue the tradition.
It was so easy, it was a little bit silly that it'd taken her so long to figure it out.
Admittedly, it was a little bit embarrassing to literally spell it out like that, but if that's what she needed to do, then that's what she needed to do.
However, it wasn't the kind of subject that should be spoken of outside of either of their families, because she'd have to bring up the whole 'technically betrothed'-situations as well, and that wasn't really anyone's business but theirs. So she needed to corner Harry Potter for a personal meeting.
That shouldn't have been so difficult, except for the fact that Harry Potter was apparently notoriously withdrawn, and she was in a different House.
She had a few options for cornering him despite this, but perhaps bodily tackling him into an abandoned classroom and locking the door behind her would be a bit extreme. It might be considered an attack, and Harry Potter's two friends were supposedly really protective of him, so they might try to interrupt them before Luna could explain the situation fully.
But despite how withdrawn Harry Potter was supposed to be, he seemed to always be around someone. Either it was his two best friends, or the Gryffindor quidditch-team, or he was somewhere in the Gryffindor dorms.
Her only option – despite how vaguely humiliating it felt – was to confront Harry Potter whilst he was surrounded by his best friends. It would be better than to do it in front of a quidditch-team.
Luna still preferred the idea of breaking into the Gryffindor dorms in the middle of the night, but she was pretty sure that that might give the wrong kind of impression.
She still wasn't going to actually admit to the old betrothal-contract until she managed to convince Harry Potter to meet her alone, but it'd be easier to convince his friends to leave him alone, than to convince a quidditch-team to not get curious about it.
In hindsight, the fact that everything went perfectly to plan up until that point should've been a warning-sign.
"We're engaged?" Harry choked out, face a little bit red.
"Yes. Before our rivalry started our families were very close, and magical betrothal-contracts was traditional back then. It has plenty of escape-clauses, but every generation has to use those escape-clauses individually, and until they do they're still technically betrothed." Luna wrinkled her nose. "I can get you the actual contract if you want, but your family should already have a copy, and I don't actually know if there's other important papers that you should probably be aware of included wherever that copy ended up, so you might want to look for that anyway."
Harry blinked at her, looking a little bit stunned, and a little bit confused. "Do you want me to help you cancel the contract?"
Luna tilted her head, also a bit confused by that train of thought. "Either side can cancel the contract without the other's input. That's what I meant about the escape-clauses."
"So... why haven't you done that already?" Harry still looked like he wasn't really understanding something.
Luna stared at him for a long moment, vaguely offended. "It'd be very rude to cancel the contract without even meeting you first."
After all, the Lovegoods only used their escape-clauses in order to make a point about how they still hadn't forgiven the Potters, and usually also hinting something along the lines of that the particular Potter involved was rude and smelled bad.
For all that Harry Potter was kind of ignorant – through no fault of his own, technically – he certainly didn't smell bad. A bit like grass and an oddly inoffensive version of 'wet dog', probably because he'd recently taken a shower after quidditch-practice.
"Then are you going to be canceling it now?" Harry clearly didn't seem to grasp what she was telling him.
"No?" Luna frowned at him. "That's up to you."
The Potters had always been firm believers of having their children make their own way in life, so tradition dictated that it would be the Potters that used the escape-clauses.
"Why is it up to me?" Harry frowned back at her, a suspicious look on his face.
Patience. He wasn't actually acting stupid deliberately, just because he didn't know things that she maybe hadn't properly explained. "Because traditionally, it's the Potters that cancel the contract. So it should be up to you."
"So your family is fine with it?" Harry asked.
Luna scoffed. "Of course not, we're long since established as petty rivals. But if a Potter cancels it, then that's normal, but a Lovegood canceling it is very specifically a rude gesture." Luna nodded, satisfied with her explanation. "And you haven't given me any reason to be rude specifically to you, rather than to your family in general, so me doing it would be weird."
"So canceling the contract is rude?" Harry made a face. "And you don't want to be rude to me, but you're expecting me to be rude to you? How does that make any sense?"
Luna blinked at him, feeling suddenly weirdly caught off guard. That was-... That wasn't supposed to be a question that actually made sense. "Because it's tradition?"
Harry glared at her. "If it was tradition to jump off a cliff, would you do it?"
Luna frowned, because that wasn't at all the same thing, and besides, she didn't know anything about that cliff, or why it was tradition to jump off of it. Not everyone followed the same traditions, so it was entirely possible that it wouldn't even be one of hers.
"That's a silly question." She told him. "What kind of cliff is it? Who made it tradition to jump off a cliff? Why did they do it? How should it traditionally be replicated? Is it part of some kind of religious 'leap of faith'? What is my family's relationship with the instigator of the traditional cliff-jumping? There's way too many unknown variables for that question to make any sense."
Harry's jaw looked like it'd gone a little bit slack, and he was blinking rapidly, as if he was trying to process a lot of things all at once, and couldn't quite keep up with it.
There was a long pause as Luna waited for Harry to get his bearings again.
"Do you want me to cancel the contract?" Harry finally asked her, face strangely serious.
Luna opened her mouth to tell him that he kind of needed to do it in order for them to be properly petty rivals, but halfway through her throat the words seemed to shrivel up and die.
Harry's eyes were really green. Not like emeralds, or like the lush green of summer, but more like the unassuming solidness of the green of a pine-tree. They were... nice.
Luna's face started to get really warm for some reason, and rather than showing weakness in front of Harry Potter, she decided to immediately retreat and regroup.
She was sure she must've said something, as she all but turned and ran out of the empty classroom, but it was honestly quite a blur.
A/n: I'd written a few more scenes for this fic, but they got accidentally deleted, and I lost all desire to continue with it as a result.
The basic idea of the fic was to continue having Luna's plans to be petty towards Harry backfire into him being nice to her.
Things like Luna asking her dad for help, and Xenophilius publishing an article about Harry's parents where he very much shows them as being people (including silly pictures of them drooling on themselves whilst sleeping), good and bad sides both.
Unfortunately for both of them, Harry is so grateful at seeing his parents being portrayed as real people (he barely even know them) that he sends him a heartfelt letter of thanks. Leaving the Lovegoods to silently tear their hair out about how nice he is.
Long-term, obviously Luna and Harry end up getting married. Everyone knows that they've had some weird flirting-thing between them for years, and nobody is surprised. Even if nobody knew about the old marriage-contract. They just assumed that it was more of a 'Romeo and Juliet'-situation, where Luna approached Harry despite the history of a friendly rivalry between their families.
(Yes, I'm still alive. I had school, writer's block, a pointlessly long-winded story-idea, a kidney-stone, and the flue. Oh, and I also fell into a new fandom somewhere along the way.)