Understanding

He needed to be alone. He didn't want to see Ron, or Hermione, or anyone. He needed space to think and breathe, which was why he excused himself from the Gryffindor table, supposedly to go to the bathroom.

However, he hadn't gone to the bathroom. Instead of turning right at the top of the marble staircase, he had turned left and continued up the spiralling staircase that lead to the Astronomy Tower. It was the perfect place to be away from everyone else. He just needed to process the events of the last few hours.

Reaching the top of the staircase, he walked out onto the platform that was the Astronomy Tower. There was a large chunk missing from the side, but otherwise, the tower was relatively undamaged.

Harry sat down and ran his hands through his hair, the fact that he had just killed the most evil wizard that had ever lived finally sinking in. He didn't know how to feel. On one hand, he was a hero, the one that had brought back peace and stability to the wizarding world, the one who had brought about the downfall of Lord Voldemort. On the other hand, he was a murderer; he had killed someone. Granted, the person he had killed had been a murderous bastard himself, but Harry couldn't help but feel that he had stooped to his level. He had killed today, and it felt awful.

"Hello, Harry."

Harry sighed exasperatedly as the dreamy voice drifted over to him. He knew who it was without having to turn around.

"Hi Luna," he said, "What are you doing up here?"

"I saw you going up the staircase and thought that you might want someone to talk to," Luna said, skipping over to him and sitting down.

"Thanks Luna, but I really just want to be left alone right now," Harry said. Luna was silent for a minute as she cocked her head to the side and surveyed him.

"You feel guilty," she said. Harry looked at her with a confused expression on his face, suddenly wondering whether Luna could read minds. "That's okay," Luna said, "It's instinct."

"I wonder if Voldemort ever felt guilty," Harry thought aloud, staring out over the grounds which were thrown into shadow by the setting sun.

"I'm sure he did," Luna said.

Harry laughed sardonically, "I seriously doubt it, the bastard."

"Everyone feels guilty at least once in their lifetimes," Luna said, putting a comforting arm around Harry's shoulders. Harry sighed.

"I don't know, Luna; I just don't know what to feel. I stopped this war, but I also killed someone. I'm technically a murderer now. What gives the Ministry the right to throw all of the Death Eaters into Azkaban, but not me?"

"I killed someone today, too," Luna said softly. Harry looked up at her in surprise, "We all did…You can't expect them to throw everyone into Azkaban, can you? They don't have enough cells," Luna said, "It's just the fact that the Death Eaters committed so many terrible murders that gives the Ministry the right to lock them up. We only killed in defence."

"I guess you could look at it that way," Harry said, shrugging slightly.

"You're a good person Harry and I think that you should go back downstairs to mingle with the others. Everyone will want to congratulate you," said Luna.

Harry ran his hands through his hair again, hoping that it might relieve some of the stress and trauma, "I don't want to," he said softly, "I don't want to go down there and see everyone's happy faces and I don't want people to congratulate me for killing someone."

"It's quite an achievement," Luna said, trying in vain to cheer him up. Harry sighed.

"The things I've been through, Luna, the things I've seen. You wouldn't believe most of them but sometimes I just wish that Voldemort had chosen Neville on the night that he killed my parents, and I know that sounds really awful to wish that on anyone, but sometimes I just think that my life would be a whole lot better without me being 'The Chosen One' and all," Harry muttered, tugging at his hair.

"Would you like me to summon a Wrackspurt? They make your brain go all fuzzy and you can't think straight. They could be very useful in a situation like this," Luna said, nodding earnestly.

"Thanks, but no thanks," Harry said, smiling slightly at Luna's complete and utter belief in these creatures.

"Well," Luna shrugged, "Do you want me to go away, or would you like me to sit with you a little longer?"

"Can you sit with me?" Harry said, surprised at how desperate he sounded for company.

"Of course," Luna said happily, "I've got nothing better to do."

Harry turned to look at her. He had never met anyone with as much optimism as her. He had never met anyone as caring as her, despite her not knowing him nearly as well as Ron and Hermione. He had never met someone so peculiar, yet so normal.

Before he knew what he was doing, he was leaning in and planting a soft kiss on her lips. He pulled away quickly, battling with himself internally.

"I'm so sorry Luna, I-I didn't mean to do that," he stammered. Luna just smiled at him.

"It's okay," she said, pulling him into a hug, "I understand."

And that was all Harry needed in that moment – for someone to understand.


AN: many thanks to the lovely Being A Wallflower for beta'ing

Well that was certainly an interesting experience… I've never written that before so I apologise for how horribly written and OOC Harry and Luna were, I can never get Luna right and I'm not Harry's biggest fan either.

This was written for:

The 2012 Hogwarts Games, Men's Football Round 1.1 – Fanon Pairings: Harry/Luna

The Paring Diversity Bootcamp – Prompt #32: dangerous

The 100 Pairings Competition – Prompt #7: Stay

I'd love it if you could leave me a review :)

Potter on

~The Original Horcrux~