Disclaimer: Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Written for HP_getlucky on LJ, betad by Kedavranox.
The air outside is still prickly and cold, but that's what scarves are for. Luna has her jacket done up, but her gloves have mysteriously disappeared, along with her favourite hat. Fortunately, she has enough long, blonde hair to keep her head fairly warm. Her skirt's a little too short to help, but her socks come up to mid-thigh, at least. Her heels click against the stone as she walks down the Hogwarts steps, carrying her tray with pride. Then she turns and pulls out a cupcake, placing it on the bottom step. The sprinkles stand out in the dim, evening light.
"What are you doing?" Neville asks.
"Leaving cupcakes around," Luna chirps.
She turns and trails down the path, Neville following behind her. She places more cupcakes here and there at odd intervals, on top of rocks or in the arms of statues. They pass through the bridge, and she leaves on the railing, right in the center.
After a while, Neville gives in and asks, "...Why?"
"For good luck," she says simply. The last cupcake she places on a particularly prominent stump on the edge of the forest. The pink icing looks perfect against the brown and green backdrop. When she reaches over to take the marble cake out of his arms, he's still looking confused. So she explains. "It's Valentine's Day."
"I know." His cheeks turn a bit pink. She smiles at him, but he looks just as lost as ever.
"Fate has a better chance of working under the stars and in the open air. Sweets are good luck charms when you want to attract someone sweet, and the trees are good luck for a sturdy foundation and prosperity."
Neville blinks. "...If you say so."
"Thank you for helping me carry them out."
"Er, no problem."
Luna tilts her head and thrusts out her hand – Neville shakes it somewhat awkwardly. Then he hesitates to leave, and Luna says, "Good luck finding your sweet."
"Uh... thanks." And he turns on the spot, headed back for the school. Luna hopes he won't eat any of her cupcakes on the way back, although she sincerely appreciates of him coming with her. She ran into Harry, Ron, and Hermione earlier, and not a one of them seemed to understand the ritual anymore than Neville did. Hermione was actually quite rude about it, insisting that she didn't need to wait out in the forest behind a trail of cupcakes.
But Luna knows that these things are important, and she finds herself a large fallen log on the cusp of the trees and sits down to wait. She's tucked behind a hill, just out of sight from the school, but there's still enough light in the forest to know exactly where she is. There's a deep orange glow through the trees that makes everything look particularly pretty – things are still just barely starting to bloom again.
Luna holds the cake on her lap and hums to herself to pass the time. The cake is very simple – just a one-tier marble cake with white icing. There's a fork on the side of the plate. She doesn't bite into it, though – that would be bad luck.
About three Thestral cries later, when the light is getting very thin and almost blue, she hears footsteps behind her. Luna doesn't turn around to look – she doesn't want to spoil it. She does stop humming, though. The footsteps come very close before they stop, and this is when Luna glances over her shoulder.
A Slytherin boy from the year above her is looking at her in surprise. He's wearing black pants and a tight black turtleneck, with a green-and-silver scarf and his hands in his pockets. Luna smiles dreamily over at him, holding out her plate.
"Would you like some cake?"
The surprise on his face ebbs into confusion, and he glances over his shoulder, as though expecting to see someone else she's talking to. Giggling, Luna holds firm. When he's determined he's alone, the boy asks, "What're you doing out here?" His voice is deep and low – it matches his strong form and broad shoulders.
"It's Valentine's Day," she says simply, for probably the tenth time that day. Apparently, she's the only one that understands these things. "I'm performing a good luck ritual to find my mate."
The boy's face goes very red, and he seems to be at a loss for words. He opens his mouth but closes it again. Luna holds the cake a little higher, repeating, "Would you like some cake?"
The boy looks simultaneously very embarrassed and wary. He asks, "...What do I have to do for it?"
"Nothing. ...It'd be nice if you sat with me, though." Luna pats the log beside her.
The boy looks very torn. But his eyes linger on the cake, and eventually he concedes, "Alright."
He walks over and around the log, and she shuffles over to make room for him to sit. He's a fair bit taller than her and definitely a lot bigger. It looks like he's very muscled under his sweater, but Luna stops herself from reaching over and feeling around to check. All in due time. He sits only a few centimeters away from her, and she places the cake down on her lap, picking up the fork. Carving out a small piece, Luna says, "I'm Luna Lovegood."
"Gregory Goyle," he grunts. She nods and holds up the fork to mouth-level, smiling invitingly. He blinks at her.
But apparently his sweet tooth wins out, because he leans forward and bites the chunk of cake off the fork, pulling back to chew. Luna stares at him dreamily while he eats, and she's delighted when a grin stretches across his strong features.
"That's really good."
"Thank you, I made it."
He glances back towards the castle. "Did you make all those cupcakes?"
"Yes. Did you eat them?"
He looks back at her with a sheepish sort of blush, muttering, "Yeah."
"That's alright, you're supposed to."
He shrugs. She gets the distinct impression that he doesn't get it, but he's being quiet in the name of getting sweets. Luna doesn't need a man that thinks the same way as her – but she does need one that'll indulge her and enjoy what she can offer. She gets another piece on the fork, holding it up. Gregory's quicker to take it this time. On the next one, she gets a much bigger slice, which he also happily eats. She doesn't hand him the fork like she probably could. When she was very little, her mom used to do this for her dad. There's something that makes it more special, she thinks, and Gregory doesn't protest.
They're about quarter of the way into the cake, sitting and eating quietly in the fading light, when Gregory asks, "How much of this can I have?"
"As much as you want," Luna replies. She takes another chunk and carving a bit more onto the fork It was all chocolate and it should be balanced with vanilla. The way the two are swirled together is randomized, but Luna tries to balance. She dips it in some icing from the top. "I made it for you."
Gregory bites it off her fork and chews while he talks. "For me? You sure you didn't mean to trap someone else?"
Luna doesn't really mind when people talk with their mouth full. She tilts her head as he swallows, opening his mouth for more. She holds up another piece. "Quite sure. You like my cooking – that's a good start. And you came all the way out here. Things happen for a reason, you know, even things that seem just by chance."
Gregory shrugs and mumbles around his cake, "I like cupcakes. Er, and cakes." His cheeks turn a little pink, which looks rather compelling on such a big, muscled man. "Er, and your cooking, I mean. Not, like, just any... well, no, I would..." He trails off in a bit of a mess, and she giggles.
"You were outside alone on Valentines' Day, and all the way down here by the forest." Remembering something from earlier, Luna brightens, leaning forward a bit in earnest. "Did you see one of the Moon Frogs? Is that why you came closer? I saw one earlier, but wasn't fast enough to catch it."
Gregory forlornly blinks at her empty fork and says slowly, "Er... I followed the cupcakes. ...What's a Moon Frog?"
"A frog from the moon, of course." He grins again when he sees her scoop out another piece. They're nearing halfway through now, but he hasn't asked to stop, so she isn't about to. She holds up the fork while she elaborates, "It's difficult to tell them apart from other frogs, sometimes, but they glow a little extra and they have human faces on their backs."
Around his cake, Gregory scrunches up his face, muttering, "That sounds gross."
"Yes, they're quite strange-looking."
Now they are halfway through. Looking down at the cake and then back at Gregory, Luna muses, "Would you like it all now, or do you want to perhaps save some for later?"
"Can I take it back?" Gregory asks, looking both surprised and happy. Luna nods. "Wow... uh, thanks. Sure, I... I guess."
Luna looks in her jacket for her wand and taps the plate. A plastic covering appears on top, securely locking it in. Then she shifts a bit closer so that they're legs are touching, and she carefully shifts the plate onto his lap, her fingers brushing his thighs. He takes it and grunts something that sounds like, "Thank you."
He holds onto it, and she doesn't shuffle back. Luna's legs are getting cold, and she tugs her skirt over her thighs, pulling up her socks and then rubbing her knees. When she looks sideways, their faces are scant centimeters apart. He looks at her curiously. "So... what now?"
Luna shrugs. She left the copy of the Quibbler she was reading back in her trunk, but she remembers most of the important details of the article she found this in. "Well, I put out the cupcakes, and I gave you a cake, and we came out to the forest, and we found each other, so... now I suppose we just wait to get lucky."
He lifts his eyebrows. He blushes again, something, she's finding, she can cause fairly easily, without even trying. It's sort of nice, and she smiles serenely back at him. He blinks at her a few times. Out the corner of her eye, she can see that he's holding the cake very, very tightly.
Then he leans forward, all at once, and presses his lips against hers. Luna closes her eyes, tilting her chin up, pressing back. His mouth is soft and wet. He doesn't stay long. When he pulls away, her eyes flutter open again.
His eyes are wide. Her hands are clasped in her lap, and she lifts her shoulders, kicking her legs idly out. There's a moment of silence where they just look at each other. Luna brushes some of her hair over her shoulder, hopefully to give him more room.
Gregory grunts dully, "Was that okay?"
Luna nods. "Yes-" She's barely finished the word when he's closed the space again, pressing against her harder. One of his large hands shoots to her shoulder, turning her body into him, and Luna sighs happily. He smells sort of musky and very masculine. She shifts one of her hands to balance herself on his thigh, then lifts the other up to his shoulders. She can feel the tip of his tongue press at her lips, and just when she's about to open her mouth and let him in, he pulls back again.
He puts the cake container carefully onto the forest floor, then goes right back to kissing her. Luna lets him right in. She's never been kissed with tongue before, but she finds that she likes it, and she pushes her tongue against his. He doesn't seem to know what he's doing much either, and it's vaguely comforting. He tentatively lifts one hand to the back of her head, gently against her hair. Luna mewls happily. It seems to give him courage – he tilts his head and kisses her harder.
When Luna turns to face him, there isn't really anywhere to put her legs. So she just drapes them over his lap, and she holds onto his shoulders. He leans forward, and she doesn't offer any resistance. He holds her back tenderly as he drapes over her, lowering them down until her back hits the log. They keep kissing – he tastes very sugary.
She doesn't really want him to stop, but after a while, he does, breathing very heavily. All they have left is starlight, but she doesn't see any reason to go back to the castle, yet. With a big strong man over her, she feels very safe. He waits for a minute to catch his breath. She's panting a little, too. He's very warm and wrapped around her like a blanket.
But then Luna gets impatient, and she pulls him back down.