Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters: Luna Lovegood, references to Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter, and Thomas Riddle
Warnings: Um, none.
Spoilers: I have obeyed the rules of writing Luna by mentioning the Blibbering Humdinger and the Crumpled-Horned Snorkack.
Word Count: 1800 or so
Written For: raz0rgirl
Things the Request Didn't Want: noncon, incest, character bashing
Author's Notes/Summary: I did not turn Luna into a dominatrix, because, really, I'd hate for her to raise a riding crop and then get involved in a philosophical conversation about the spectrum of "belonging to" versus "belonging with," which, while nice and frustrating the first few times, doesn't end up being arousing.
Prompt: Who does Luna grow up to be? What's her life like years after Hogwarts?
They always started with that, as if preparing the listener for bad news. It was the implied, "but," that was the hang-up. The "Yes, she's fabulous, only..." that completely negated the original compliment. Her mother had been "Exceptionally Brilliant." Innovative. Creative. Unfortunately. It wasn't that Luna considered herself anything less than `exceptionally brilliant,' only that, well, all the *other* things she was got in the way.
That was a good example. After all, Luna didn't feel she needed any direction: directions were something you got in bits along the way. Mental landmarks, like, "Oh yes, I've thought this before. Why am I thinking it again? Did someone do the same thing twice?" Weren't there countless proverbs that suggested the journey was the prize, and the destination just a side-effect? Who needed direction when you could just sit and think and end up wherever your thinking led you?
One did not need to be exceptionally brilliant to read between the lines on this one. Luna always considered the lack of imagination in the wizarding world to be one of many reasons Thomas Riddle was able to do all he had done. (She hated the so-smug anagram he made. Not that anagrams weren't neat, just that self-proclaimed honors were, well, premature at best, and if he really wanted to get rid of his muggle name, wouldn't he just call himself something else that didn't include it? This is why he was a Slytherin, and ambitious, not learned. He just didn't think things through enough: if he had planned, he could have taken over the world. Luna often thought things like this that she'd learned to keep quiet.) The point of magic was that it was, well, for lack of a better term, magical. It wasn't merely to replicate the world of the muggles with the special energies one can manipulate with wands.
Oh, and as for that "lack of a better term?" Luna had dozens of terms. Magical ones, even. She had catalogued thirty-four different levels of magic for standard wand effects, each with its own name. She was hoping that "Kroark" became a household word.
In her household, of course, there were lots of words. The Quibbler continued under the quill of many of Luna's friends. Perhaps not as important as it was in the times of crisis, it mixed fantasy (even Luna would admit to that) and reality in ways that made things just a little more exotic. Quirky. Quirky was a good word.
There were many who would have said the world had changed after that crisis. The one with Voldemort. (Alright, if Harry called him that, it was okay.) Luna was not one of them. It was, at best, an imprecise expression. The people had changed; what they had become was what they always were, yes, but more of it. Harry's friends had been beaten between the anvil, the solidity that was Harry Potter, and the blunt object (she always meant to look up a good name for it for the metaphor, but since she kept it in her head she only referred to it as "the blunt object") that was Tom Riddle. They were now stretched thin and sharp in a world that no longer needed them as blades, to be hung up and displayed like that shiny sword of the Gryffindors, archaic in a world that would have continued more or less the way it had, nevertheless.
Luna always felt she had a way with metaphors. A torturous way, perhaps, but there were a lot of interesting sidetrips along it for certain. Of course, being led astray by Blibbering Humdingers was just part of the fun. Occlumancy, after all, was an accidental specialty of hers. A labyrinth awaited anyone who had the thought to, well, think her thoughts.
She was, as far as she knew, the only one to look for Platforms 9 and a Half, and, of course, 9 and one Quarter. She thought she might have overcompensated and managed Platform 9 and 5/16ths. It was odd seeing the ghostly trains, the "almost" and the "might have been." Maybe if she had boarded them she would have gone to an "almost" Hogwarts. Or a "might have been" Hogwarts. Or maybe she would have almost gotten to Hogwarts, and had to walk the rest of the way.
She thought she might have left a handkerchief there in-between space and time. She considered it probably went "where the socks go." She was sure a wizard would figure that one out before the muggles, but it was a dilemma for both kinds. Or for anything that wore socks.
What would have been life after the "almost" Hogwarts? Young Master Riddle had "almost" won, so what if he was "almost" good? Only Luna could have believed for an instant that the evil wizard had had any real purpose in his thirst for destruction, and in that even she was hard-pressed. Maybe "almost" Hogwarts would have tuned his accomplishments to something more effective? Rather than basilisks and horcruxes, he could have focused on enchantments. A set of wands designed to enhance the abilities of purebloods in love? Or potions? A potion to burn away the "muggle taint"?
And the Luna of "almost" Hogwarts? Almost popular, almost together. Luna imagined her as having all of her own stuff, organized, always where she wanted to find it, not just where she found it. Which suggested she found things she looked for, including papers that teachers did not write upon. ("Fascinating point! Doesn't fit in with topic: maybe you'd like to write another paper?")
Auror. The Luna of "almost" Hogwarts was an auror who sought out those who do not fit in this world. This world of "almost" gone bad, a world of "almost" loves, and "almost" misses.
Nine and five-sixteenths. The Luna who "Might Have Been" was an interesting sort, Luna thought.
The Luna Who Might Have Been a Hero.
Luna always felt herself close to the members of Dumbledore's Army. She never considered herself a heroine. A heroine, she thought, implied someone who sacrificed something for the cause. She gained by the cause. She gained belonging, friends, experiences. She wouldn't give any of it up, not even the cold nights in the Malfoy manse learning from Ollivander. If only a Crumple-Horned Snorkack had the right kind of scales to blend with the wand magic!
Voldemort "might have" won, she decided, because people were afraid of their own feelings, and afraid of each other. He capitalized on that fear. "If people understood that people were just people," she decided, and then crossed it out in her notebook before she started listing different kinds of people, and not just to include or exclude those who did not want to think of themselves as people. After all, she knew dragons that were people, and dragons that definitely weren't people, and people who were, well, just people, and people who were friends, which certainly crossed that "just people" line, at least for her. There needed to be terms for that.
"Kroark" just wasn't right for it.
She drew a Blibbering Humdinger beneath the crossed out sentence.
Oh yes, she believed in the Humdinger, and the Snorkack. It wasn't a "Might Have Been." She'd a feather from a Jub-jub Bird, too, that she wore on a fabulous silvery hat that exactly matched her eyes. She never expected to find the Snorkack: sometimes just the fancy of it was enough.
It was one of the ways she and Ginny matched. Ginny was a fanciful thing, although her fancy was more for kisses. Which was fine; someone who kissed as much as Ginny did was a good kisser. Neither of them expected the kind of reaction Harry had had, but Ginny said the kissing afterwards was good.
Well, actually, Ginny's storytelling left very little to the imagination. Luna was not sure if she should be disappointed in that. After all, some of what was left to the imagination took root and developed into briars of possibility, protecting castles for hundreds of years of enchanted sleep, or grew tall into tumtum trees that would shade her from the painful bits. The bits that hurt for Ginny when the wistful tone came into the Weasley girl's voice. Ginny was never satisfied with fantasy.
Ginny never was "Almost." She was never "Might Have Been." She was always simply Ginny. And Wistful Ginny was not the Ginny Luna knew. It wasn't hard, really, once Luna had picked up the pieces of the puzzle. There was no "Wistful" platform to Hogwarts. Not even at Nine and Five-Sixteenths.
So Luna decided to cure that wistful tone. She would talk to Neville herself. It was the people who got in the way of their own intentions, who insisted things were more difficult, more complicated than they really needed to be.
"Yes, um, Luna. How good to see you!" Neville looked surprised. He wore a suit that was more Twilfitt and Tatting than anything less. He twirled a quill in his hand, obviously thinking about something. He had become quite the writer. Luna had a copy of his treatise on the uses of knotgrass. She'd found it strangely erotic.
Luna mentally catalogued the sentence. Not a question mark, so she didn't have to answer it. "What have you done to Ginny?" she asked. It wasn't that Luna didn't understand polite social noise, it was just that she had no talent for it.
Neville squirmed under Luna's stare. "Nothing!" he finally stammered. "Why, is she in trouble?"
"Quite possibly," Luna decided. Luna had to go through the myriads of possibilities for which Ginny was suffering. Certainly not from Rotfang or a Glumbumble, although the symptoms...she cut herself off. "I believe she is suffering a malaise of the spirit for which Harry Potter's affections are not sufficient in alleviating."
Neville processed this. "If you're looking for relationship advice," he began carefully. "I mean, I'm Harry's friend, and maybe you should be talking to him--"
Luna cut him off. "I believe the most appropriate cure for this particular surfeit of melancholy is essence of Presence of Neville."
"Oh." Neville looked shocked. The quill quivered in his hand. "I never suspected you for a matchmaker, Luna," he finally managed.
Luna stopped thinking for all of a moment, the idea stupendous in her head. "Sometimes you need someone who sees what's really there," she decided.
She thought of what to call it. "Dumbledore's Amour?" No, Hermione would poke fun at her. The "almost" Luna smiled. That's how Voldemort "might have won," drawing wizard to love wizard instead of hating them. Silly Slytherin.
She drew a heart around her Humdinger.
Hmmm. Harry Potter was looking pretty lonely these days. Luna knew exactly who he was looking for. Well, she was at least 99 and 5-sixteenths sure.