Leanne sat in her chair with a quill in hand. Dipping the nib in her inkwell, she positioned the quill over the page, but stopped. The quill stayed motionless, the ink collecting slowly at the tip, then dropping onto the parchment with a faint plop. The silence in her room was so palpable, it felt like a piece of the finest gossamer, which could be torn to pieces at any moment if someone did so much as touch it.
She was doing a complicated Potions essay on the Draught of Living Death, for which Slughorn had stressed was going to make up for most of their final grade. It's due tomorrow, she told herself sternly. Do it, or you'll have to face detention again, and you don't want that, do you?
Katie would have known this, she thought with a small pang. If only she were here to help me... Her hand began to shake and she put her quill down before anything could happen to it. She closed her eyes. Breathe in, she told herself sternly, and inhaled shakily while she told herself to calm down. Breathe out.
It had been a week since Katie had been moved to St. Mungo's, and she did not seem to be in a condition to move again for a long time. Leanne had already written a large number of frenzied letters to the hospital asking about her Gryffindor friend, but the reply was always the same. "Dear Leanne, we regret to inform you that the patient concerned will be in our care for some time. We express our concern and deepest condolences. Yours faithfully, St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries."
Leanne swore under her breath, staring at her blank parchment save for the blot of ink she had accidentally dripped onto it. Deciding she simply wasn't in the mood to work today, she dressed quickly, wrapped her yellow and black scarf tightly around her neck and set off.
She found herself sitting by the Black Lake moments later without knowing how she had gotten there. She realised this was the place she had last spoken to Katie before the incident at Hogsmeade had occurred. She sat there silently, twiddling her thumbs while she stared at the water's edge, mulling over her Potions essay and losing herself in her thoughts. A tear fell unchecked, dampening the already wet grass. She gave a long sigh and allowed her head to fall backwards so she was lying in the grass. The tufts of grass tickled at her face, and there was a soft rustling which she assumed were insects making their way through the mass of green.
She closed her eyes and tried not to think of anything else, but distracted, her eyes snapped open once more. Turning to her right, she noticed a small dandelion standing alone, its head covered in white seeds. Because she couldn't think of anything else to do, Leanne reached a little further with her arm and picked it. The stalk came clean out of the earth, leaving only a little stub where it had sunk its roots into the ground. Leanne drew a breath and puffed. The seeds detached themselves and flew off, and just in time, a breeze passed, blowing them away like little white parachutes. Leanne watched from her position in the grass the dandelion seeds float farther and farther away until she couldn't distinguish them from the white clouds high above her.
"Did you make a wish?"
Leanne hadn't noticed that she wasn't alone, but the person who had spoken didn't startle her, for it was a high, comfortingly lilting voice. She turned, her hand instinctively reaching into her pocket for her wand, but relaxed as she realised who the intruder was. "Luna," she said with a weak attempt at a smile. "Er – how nice to see you."
"You didn't answer my question," said Luna conversationally, as if it were a mere observation she had made instead of an accusation. "But I suppose it doesn't matter if you don't." She shrugged and smiled. "I get that a lot, you see." She smiled beatifically and sat down in the grass next to her.
Leanne hesitated, unsure how to continue. It wasn't like the Ravenclaw was close to her – they weren't even in the same year. The only reason why she knew Luna's name in the first place was because everyone talked about her so much. As for how Luna knew her, she didn't know. Ravenclaws kept to themselves a lot, and Leanne accepted that. There was a silence as Luna looked out to the water as Leanne stared at the sky. With Luna, Leanne felt the silence wasn't awkward in the slightest; in fact, it was a very comfortable silence as each of them allowed themselves to calmly wallow in their thoughts.
"Katie plays Chaser for Gryffindor, doesn't she?" asked Luna. Leanne stopped looking at a passing Quaffle-shaped cloud and looked at her again. She had enough energy to nod, but not much more than that. "I don't know her awfully well," again, Luna shrugged, "but I suppose she was a nice girl. She never made fun of me."
Leanne wondered how Luna knew she was thinking of Katie. "Who'd make fun of you?" she asked, trying to act surprised, though she had heard all this before.
"Oh, I'm not sure, really," said Luna in her melodic voice, swaying slightly as if she were dancing to the rhythm of the wind. She sat down next to Leanne with a toss of her long, ash-blonde hair. Leanne suddenly noticed that Luna wasn't wearing any shoes. Luna didn't seem to mind, however, as she dipped her bare feet into the freezing water like it was a most ordinary thing to do. "They just take my things - clothes, usually - but I always find them," Luna continued. "And they call me 'Loony'. But that's an old story."
Leanne nodded quietly. She could tell Luna hadn't finished speaking, and she was right. "Is Katie close to you?"
"Yes," said Leanne, grateful that Luna wasn't using the past tense like everyone else did when they asked her similar questions. She suddenly noticed that her voice sounded more choked than she would have liked it to be. "She's my best friend," Leanne concluded in a small voice.
A tear fell into her lap, another quickly following suit, then another. Leanne felt embarrassed and stupid, crying in front a person she barely knew who was several years her junior to boot, but she was too upset to care. She ducked her head so her hair fell forward, shrouding herself in a curtain of privacy where she could cry without people seeing her face. Leanne let herself forget everything else for a while, so the emotions that had been bottled up inside her for so long could finally escape.
Luna didn't seem to acknowledge the fact that Leanne was crying; or rather, she didn't seem to mind. Instead, she looked behind her and picked a buttercup from a small bunch of flowers growing in a patch by the water. "Look," she said, and Leanne looked up, hastily brushing her hair out of her face and wiping her tears, though Luna wasn't even looking at her. "It has five petals," Luna observed.
"I know it does," said Leanne, a little confused, wondering why Luna was telling her something so obvious. "All buttercups have five petals."
"When I'm afraid something bad will happen, I pick buttercups," said Luna, as if she hadn't heard, as if it were the most ordinary thing in the world to be talking about flowers and the number of petals they had. She glanced at Leanne and handed the buttercup to her so she took it by the stalk. "Pick a petal off," she said.
"Humour me," said Luna. Leanne decided that this was no harm, as the flower had already parted ways with its roots. Giving Luna another befuddled look, she picked a petal off.
"Now say, 'Katie's going to be okay'."
"Katie will be okay," Leanne repeated. She picked another petal off. "Katie will not be okay."
Luna smiled. "I think you're getting the hang of it!"
Leanne picked off the remaining three petals and sang in chorus with Luna, "Katie will be okay. Katie will not be okay." The last petal came off. "Katie will be okay." There was a silence as they looked at each other, thinking about this new revelation.
"See, there's no need to worry," said Luna, smiling softly. "She'll come back."
Leanne blinked to see through her tears. "But five is an odd number," she said. "If buttercups always have five petals, then won't you always get something good?"
"Yes, I believe that's the point of it," said Luna. "It's nice to believe. But it's also important not to get your hopes up too much."
"What do you mean?"
"I suppose," said Luna thoughtfully, "it would be good to say 'hope for the best and prepare for the worst'."
Leanne gave another half-hearted sob before sitting up. "Thanks," she mumbled, managing to smile through her puffed-up and tear-streaked face. "I'll keep what you said in mind." She got up. "I – I'll see you around."
Leanne left Luna sitting there by the water, still dabbing her bare feet into the lake, smiling serenely as the wind rushed through her ash-blonde hair. Looking back, Leanne thought for a moment that Luna looked quite like an angel.
I don't have any more stories with Leanne for you, but I do have many Luna stories! For Luna fics with no ships, try Lost and Found and/or Golden. For Luna stories about her involved with another character, try Virtuoso and/or Accidentally on Purpose.
I hope you enjoyed this rare pairing!