Title: White Christmas
Author: Martine Lewis
Setting: Post DH
Summary: Harry is alone for Christmas. Little did he know that Luna was also. This story was written for Arpad during the 2013 TLX Christmas Exchange.
Disclaimer and copyright recognition: Potterverse and all of Potterverse original characters and settings are the sole property of JKR. Thank you JKR for giving us such a wonderful world to write in!
A/N: I very rarely write outside of cannon, but when I picked my friend and beta Arpad during the 2013 TLX Christmas Exchange, I absolutely had to write something that I hope he would like. Arpad's ship is Harry/Luna so in appreciation of everything he does for me (and he does A LOT, I'm telling you), I wrote a story set after his own story called the Cheese Shop Sketch.
Hope you enjoy.
Harry always found the Holiday season to be a hard time for him. Everybody he knew had families but he was alone. Again this year, he had been invited by the Weasleys but he didn't feel like attending, especially since he now knew things would never be the same between Ginny and him. And while Ron was his best friend, he was now with Hermione and to see the two of them together only reminded him of his own loneliness.
It was now Christmas Eve, almost midnight, and Harry was walking down a path in Hyde Park. Dean, his roommate, had gone home for Christmas and Harry hadn't wanted to stay in his empty apartment. He did not hold it against Dean to want to be with his mother as Harry knew very well had he had any family to go to, he would have gone in a heartbeat. Of course, the Dursleys always sent him an invitation but it was never sincere. Harry was pretty sure his uncle and aunt wanted nothing to do with him but Dudley probably guilt his parents in inviting him anyway. After the War, Harry had met quite a few times with his cousin, and Big D and he had become friends of sorts. Dudley was in fact living a few streets away from Harry, and they did go and drink the occasional pint at the pub on Saturday nights.
It had snowed all evening and the empty park was covered with two inches of snow. Harry looked around and found the place beautiful, if not as lonely as he was. His footprints were the only ones on the path and it made him reflect on the last few years of his life.
His lonely road.
With a sigh, Harry walked to a bench near the lake and sat down after brushing off the snow. It was still snowing, big huge heavy flakes, the kind that looks just pretty to look at. It wasn't cold really, and it was very peaceful. Harry actually liked the sound of the snow falling and he just stayed there, looking in front of him, thinking about nothing of importance really.
He didn't know how long he had been there, looking at the lake and listening to the wind in the trees when he heard footsteps approaching him. For a moment, he wanted to turn around to see who was coming but he was just too comfortable in his inertia and didn't look. Besides, who would know him in Muggle London?
"Harry Potter," said a gentle voice he recognised so well.
For a moment, he wondered if he had heard right, then he slowly turned his head to look at the girl who was now taking a seat next to him on the snowy half of the bench.
"It is peaceful, isn't it?" she asked, in her dreamy voice, the one he never really tired of hearing.
She was wearing a warm looking pink cloak with a white hat, scarf and mittens. From under her hat, he could see plum earrings, something that was uniquely Luna, something he had learned to expect and appreciate over the years. In her hands, she was holding a big black bag which looked rather heavy.
Harry hadn't seen her since they had listened to the Monty Piton Cheese Shop Sketch, the one she had been so alarmed by. He had often wondered, after their night at the bar, if she would be okay. He had sent her an owl or two during that time but he had received an answer to only one. He had hoped against hope she would not have cracked and loose it. After all, Dean had been right; while she was strong, she was also very fragile.
But seeing her, Harry thought she looked good, and a lot calmer than when he had seen her the last time. Now what she was working at the Quibbler with her father, she looked perfectly content and Harry believed it was a good thing she was no longer in school.
"You're not with your dad?" asked Harry curiously, wondering what she was doing alone on Christmas Eve.
"No," she answered with her calm voice. "My dad has a new girlfriend now. She is the first woman he's been with since my mother died. I thought it would be nice for them to spend Christmas together. I told my father I would be with some friends so he wouldn't feel bad."
"Friends? But… but you're alone!" protested Harry.
He was impressed by her generosity towards her father but at the same time saddened by the fact that she would be as lonely as he was.
"Well, of course not," she answered with her dreamy smile. "I am with you. Besides, I was to meet with friends here too," she added, looking up at the sky, her big eyes searching the clouds.
A few seconds later, Harry heard something. It sounded like wings beating. A moment later, he heard it again but louder this time, and he looked up. He couldn't see through the clouds which looked orange from the reflection of the street lights.
Then, he saw them: three thestrals.
They landed on the snow covered grass, a few feet away and looked at them.
"Hi," said Luna, standing up and petting the muzzle of the one closest to her.
As she did so, the smallest of the thestrals walked to her and muzzled her bag.
Harry could only stair in surprise. Of all the things this unpredictable girl could come up with, thestrals in the middle of London was one he had not expected.
"Come Harry, you can pet them too you know," she said with an amused chuckle at his expression.
Harry was transported to a time, some years back, where Luna had seemed to be one of his only remaining friends. He remembered when the article about his version of Voldemort's return had been published in the Quibbler. Luna had always believed in him, never wavering, and had been one of the first ones to say so.
Harry stood up and came to pet the muzzle of the closest thestrals while Luna fished in her bag for raw meat, which she gave to the hungry youngster. Shortly thereafter, the other thestrals were eating too, happy for the treat.
"Can't the Muggles see them?" asked Harry, looking around furtively, suddenly realising they were in the middle of Muggle London.
In the next instant, he wondered why he had bothered. It was still snowing heavily and as desert as it had been an hour earlier.
"Most of them don't. But the other day, there was this homeless man who could see them. He was talking to them and the passersby thought he was mad because they thought he was talking to himself," said Luna with a small smile. "He was happy to see I could see them too."
Harry looked at Luna and could only relate with the man. He remembered she had been the only one to see the thestrals the first time he had, and she hadn't believed him mad when the others had looked at him funny. While Harry hadn't believed it meant a lot that Luna could see them too when he was fifteen, now he understood that in fact it had.
"I know the feeling," he said.
A few minutes later, the thestrals were done eating and, after receiving a fair share of petting from Luna, flew away.
"I thought they all lived in the Forbidden Forest," said Harry, looking at them fly away.
"Most do," answered Luna. "You didn't recognised the adults, did you, Harry?" she asked with a small smile in his direction.
"Should I have?" he asked.
"They flew us to the Ministry of Magic in your fifth year," she answered. "Unfortunately for them, they developed a taste for pigeons. And you have to admit, they are plentiful in London."
"So they stayed? Where do they live?"
"In a small piece of woods north of here," she said, beginning to walk down the path.
Putting his hands in his pockets, Harry followed her.
"It is sad, really. They do not have a very big territory. But as far as eating goes, they do have plenty of food in the city."
"And they don't want to go back to the Forbidden Forest?"
"We've tried," she answered. "But they just flew back," she added with a sighed.
They walk a little while in silence and Harry simply enjoyed being with her. With Luna, things were often strange but they were never very complicate. Not that she was not a complicated girl. She just was true to herself and didn't pretend to be someone she was not. Harry loved that about her. And during those months of absence, he realised he had missed her more than he should have.
"Mistletoe," said Luna dreamily, looking up in the air. "I wonder if there are nargles in this one."
From a lamp post, was hanging mistletoe. Looking down the path, Harry could see that most posts had some. Then he was transported in his fifth year, when they had met for the DA. When Luna had seen the mistletoe, he had quickly taken a step back.
But not now.
He stood his ground and waited to see what Luna would say, if she really wanted him to kiss her as much as he wanted to.
"You are not taking a step back, Harry Potter?" she asked, looking at him with a dreamy smile on her face.
"No," he answered simply.
"Good," she said, taking a step towards him.
She rose on her tiptoes and kissed him.
This was better than the first time he had kissed someone under the mistletoe.
It was better than anytime he had kissed someone under the mistletoe!
Luna was soft, happy and tasted of plum and vanilla pudding.
After a moment that didn't last long enough in Harry's book, Luna took a step back and looked at him.
"That wasn't so bad," she said.
Slowly he raised his hand and caressed her warm cheek.
"Not at all," he said.
Harry knew he was grinning. He had enjoyed that kissed more than he could have said.
"Harry, you have wrackspurts coming out of your ears," said Luna.
"What, you can see wrackspurts without your spectrespecs now?" asked Harry surprised.
"No, but with your eyes being so shiny, it is not hard to imagine they would be floating somewhere near," she said with a small smile.
Harry grinned again.
He definitely believed he would never get bored with her.