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Different Hues

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Luna Lovegood wore a green dress to his funeral: lime green with light blue tool. She adorned this dress with a soft yellow sweater and thick red tights. People stared and mocked but Luna paid no mind. She had heard once that it is tradition to wear black to a funeral, but Luna did not wear black to her mother’s funeral and she refused to wear black to his. Snape was more than just the color black. He was an abundance of green for Slytherin, he was partly blue for Ravenclaw, and hidden deep down he was slivers of red for Gryffindor. Luna suspected him to have a bit of yellow for Hufflepuff as well. She wishes dearly to discover that Hufflepuff. She wishes dearly to discover the bits and pieces that was Severus Snape and put them together. She believes she has an idea of what that picture would look like: different hues of green, blue, red, and yellow, all outlined in stark black. The picture has depth, it is dark and light and beautiful and stunning. She tried to reflect his lesser known attributes—the lighter parts of him—with her dress and sweater.

She is wearing that same sweater now, she wonders if he knows. He is staring at her now. Ginny told her that Snape’s eyes were nothing but pits of black. They are not, they are brown. Deep brown.

“Miss Lovegood.”

When they revealed that he was not dead she was not at all surprised. Snape’s death had never felt final to her. It was too predictable for him to die over the elder wand. He would have expected such a misconception, he was too paranoid not to.

“Miss Lovegood.”

She is glad he is not dead, but she is not glad that he is once again her potions professor. Not because he could be a bit difficult at times— in fact Luna always thought Snape to be an excellent professor and a master at brewing potions— but solely for the reason that Snape did not belong at Hogwarts anymore. She has a sense that he is a bit lost. Luna has a good sense for when people are lost. She would like to help Snape find his way, if he would have her.

“Miss Lovegood.” Luna Lovegood notices that Professor Snape looks underfeed. She would like to remedy this too.

“Miss Lovegood, are you trying to test my patience?” He snaps.

Most would say that Snape has a way of making the dungeons ten degrees colder then it ought to be. Luna disagrees. Snape’s voice is much too deep and warm to chill her bones.

“I am very glad Nagini did not ruin your voice Professor, it would have been very unfortunate if she did.” Ginny quickly covers her mouth to the left of Luna. Luna thinks that Ginny is trying to stifle a laugh, though she does not know what is so funny or why Professor Snape suddenly looks so taken aback. She hopes he has not taken her comment as an insult, she is not looking to kick him while he is down, and Luna has a feeling that if Professor Snape took off his mask he would look very somber indeed. Luna hates that mask, she imagines it’s stifling.

“Ten points from Ravenclaw, for being an insufferable day dreamer.” Slowly he walks toward her desk, to intimidate. She recognizes his dance, “Please do pay attention Miss Lovegood” he will stick up his nose now, she thinks, and when he does she feels glad that she still knows him so well, “least you blow up the classroom with your potion.” He ends his statement with a sneer, as he always ends his statements with a sneer when it comes to her.

She imagines that Snape takes points away from houses when he does not know what else to say to his students. Luna wonders if she has embarrassed him. She reassures him that she means no offence with a smile, her eyes seeming distant yet all too knowing. Snape’s mask falters, and for a second he looks confused, and then the mask is set firmly back in place and he is off to repeat the same dance with one of her peers. She sighs, because his mask does not need to be his only friend. Ginny finally lets out a giggle.

“What was that all about Luna? ‘I’m very glad Nagini didn’t ruin your voice’” She mimics. Luna turns to face Ginny with her big blue eyes.

“I missed his voice, didn’t you?”

Ginny is frowning a bit now. “Er, yeah. I suppose I did Luna,” she ends her uncomfortable rambling with a, “I’m glad he’s alright too.” This makes Luna smile dreamily and she scribbles in her potions notebook in big pink letters.

“Do you think he would ever read us poetry? I believe it would sound quit stunning.” This makes Ginny laugh loud and hard. Suddenly Snape is before them once more.

“Ten points from Gryffindor. Please do keep your insolent mouth shut Miss Weasley, and try not to distract Miss Lovegood. She needs no help in that department as it is.” Ginny blushes, Snape sneers, and all is as it once was before the war. Snape is off again to make sure the potion boiling over two rows down doesn’t eat away at the table.

“If anyone can get good ole Snape to read poetry, you can Luna.”

 

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This is the third time this week that Luna Lovegood has left an apple on Snape’s desk. In the beginning he was confused, now he is just angry. He swipes the confounded thing off his desk with a flick of his wrist. He feels mocked. He feels the girl is making fun.

He watches the apple roll on the floor until the nearby wall stops it.

He falters in his anger for a moment, only a moment, and attempts to contemplate what other reason the girl would have for giving him apples. She always struck him as odd, but she has never been spiteful. In fact, Miss. Lovegood was not that much of a nuisance at all. If he was being honest with himself, the girl would have blended into the walls if it weren’t for her odd manor. If it weren’t for her odd manor, or the fact that she traveled with Potter and the Weasels, he wouldn’t have noticed her at all. Still, he had never paid much attention to the brat, and in return she never paid much attention to him. Well, she hadn’t until now. He is irritated because he cannot tell if Miss. Lovegood is giving him apples as a kindness or as a joke. He has always been a pessimist however, and proud of it, so he believes in the latter. He at least convinces himself that he believes in the latter, or tries to.

Lovegood was never a bully. She is not a Gryffindor.

He growls and furrows his brow. He is tired of trying to be understanding so he makes his way to his chair to grade papers. He decides he is angry, and when he is angered he likes to take his frustrations out on his student’s essays. He flips through the stack on his desk and sorts the essays into the student’s respective houses. He writes Outstanding and Excellent in red ink on the essays that belong to his house, then Acceptable on Hufflepuffs’; the sickly smiling bunch never gave him much trouble but they annoyed him none the less. He places Acceptable and Poor on any essay belonging to a Gryffindor because they were a Gryffindor and did they really expect anything else? Finally he makes his way to the Ravenclaw stack. Typically he gives Ravenclaws’ the mark of Excellent; their essays are so thought provoking that sometimes he actually reads them. He would never admit this to anyone, but he always read Miss. Lovegood’s. There were times when her essays took a slight turn into the fantastical, speaking on Nargals and the like, but this entertained Snape because at least her essays were different. She had a way of seeing what wasn’t there and presenting ideas on further research that he himself found impressing. Severus Snape was not normally impressed, in fact he made a point in staying disappointed. So when her name persisted to be the first one on the infernal pile, he hesitates. He hesitates because he is not sure that he wants to read her essay this time around. He is not sure, because he still cannot decide whether he is angry or not. Snape tries to conjure the ball of furry that has followed him around his entire life, and cannot. This frustrates him and he grabs the piece of parchment aggressively.

He reads her essay, and immediately regrets the decision.

Snape asked for two feet of parchment on the effects of Alihotsy Draught that he had the class brew on Monday. The Alihotsy Draught induces hysteria through ingestion or inhalation, which she points out clearly in her analysis. It is then, however, that she continues to speak on hysteria and how hysteria can affect ones appetite and have one forget to eat. She goes on, in a very academic way, to explain how forgetting to feed one’s self is very dangerous indeed. She describes that although one’s head may be screwed on correctly at the moment, after experiencing malnourishment one’s head will be infested with Nargals, and we wouldn’t want that now would we? Miss. Lovegood in all of her infernal, buggering, irritating wisdom then proscribes the antidote to a failing apatite: an apple, one a day.

He marks her essay with a big ugly P for poor. Poor and persistent. He still cannot decide if he is angry.

 

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“What happened to your leg Neville?”

Neville Longbottom is sitting in a chair and has his left leg resting on Luna’s lap. It is horribly bruised, Luna notices, and is swelling. Her poor Neville, always tripping and falling and hurting himself. She frowns and lightly places an ice pack on the ruffed up appendage. She isn’t sure why he won’t go to Pomphrey, but she doesn’t ask and instead enjoys the moment of taking care of her friend. Friend, she hasn’t seen many of her friends lately. She is glad she still has Neville and Ginny.

“Just one of the plants snagged me is all.” He shrugs.

“Only a plant Neville?” She teases. Sometimes she thinks that Neville forgets that she does care about his plants, and that his explanations don’t bore her. As if on cue his eyes light with excitement.

“Alright it’s not ‘only a plant,’ it’s an extraordinary plant. But If I tell you what it is, you can’t tell anyone Luna. Not even Ginny.”

Luna says nothing in reply, she only stares back at him. He clears his throat.

“Right then, I know I can trust you Luna.” He smiles his dopey smile and Luna offers one in return. The moment is broken when Neville blushes and looks down. Luna continues to bandage ice to his leg.

“Is this mysterious plant the reason why you can’t go to Pomphrey?” She wasn’t going to pressure him, but Luna believes that Neville wants someone to talk to. Ginny isn’t one for herbology and Hannah Abbot, the love of Neville’s life, is off training to be an auror with Harry. They are quite alone, her and Neville.

“If I went to Pomphrey there would be questions and I promised Professor Sprout I’d not tell anyone,” he hesitates, and then, “It’s a baby Devils Snare. For whatever reason the Order of the Phoenix asked me and Professor Sprout to raise it. It got a little exited is all, when I watered it, and grabbed my leg. It didn’t mean anything by it though, doesn’t know its own strength, the silly bugger.”

“It must be quite large” she says softly as she imagines what a Devils Snare looks like. She remembers Harry speaking about his encounter with one fully grown during his first year. It had felt soft, he had said, and was endlessly black. She wonders if the Devils Snare feels anything like Professor Snape’s hair?

“Very, I wonder what the Order wants with it?” It takes a moment for Luna to reply, because the Order has been a touchy subject with her as of late. Luna will never forget what it felt like to be a part of something. She will never forget being a part of Dumbledore’s Army, how it felt to fight for a cause she believed in next to Harry. She will also never forget how it feels to be excluded by the very people who had included her before. She desperately wants to join the Order, but Harry said no. She understands somewhat, she understands that Harry wants her far away from the repercussions of war. She is still sad, sad because not being a part of the Order has disconnected her from Harry and Ron and in a way, even from Ginny.

“Luna? Are you alright?”

“I think it will take up Hogwart’s entire dungeon when it’s grown.” Neville laughs at this, believing Luna to have been day dreaming about Devils Snare.

“I’m sure it will Luna.”

Luna no longer wants to talk of Devils Snare or what order a phoenix should have.

“Neville, if Professor Sprout is supposed to be raising the plant with you, where is she?”

“On another one of her trips I suppose.” Luna wrinkles her nose. Ever since Neville became Professor Sprout’s apprentice, Sprout went on many vacations leaving Neville to teach her classes and to care for her plants. Neville did not mind, but Luna felt that he should have a true mentor. He deserved more.

“You know Neville, you could always apprentice under someone else. With everything you’ve done I’m sure anyone would have you on.”

“I know Luna, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to leave Hogwarts yet. It’s been home to me for so long now that I don’t know what I’d do without the place.”

Luna squeezes his hand and offers a comforting smile, because Luna understands. Luna understands this feeling all too well.

 

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Snape begins to throw the apples away in the waste basket beside his desk. He does not understand why he does when he could simply magic them away. He tosses the newest apple in his hand once, twice, and then places it on top of the ever growing pile of red and green.

Perhaps he is trying to make a point?

That must be it, he decides. He is trying to show the girl that there is no saving him. He had died long before the snake and in life there is no place for a walking corpse. A pair of blue eyes and blond hair was nothing against the raging black.

 

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Luna notices that the bin by Professor Snape’s desk is now full to the brim with uneaten apples. They are red and green and caged in black wire, they remind Luna of Christmas. This makes Luna curious. She wonders not only why he has not eaten her apples, but why he has intentionally showed her that he would not be eating her apples. The Professor Snape she knows would not just carelessly toss apples in the classroom bin without a reason. He is sending her a message. She crinkles her nose and chews on her quill.

Then Luna is gazing at the essay Snape magically sends out to his students.

It is marked with a big, red, angry P.

When she looks up, she sees that Professor Snape is sneering at her. Other students openly grumble about their grade, but her professor only has eyes for her. It is an intense gaze, one that she senses comes from his frustration over her constant pestering. Never the less she enjoys the attention, it makes her skin warm. Snape’s eyes narrow to slits, and it is clear that he is not at all amused with Luna’s essay.

Snape was definitely trying to send her a message. She hears it, she understands it.

She will ignore it.

Luna Lovegood gives Severus Snape the biggest smile she can muster. The sneer he had adorned is visibly wiped off his face and is replaced with a look of concern. Her Professor should not worry so much; she will take care of him. Class has ended and Luna grabs her bag, waves at Professor Snape, and skips out of the classroom with a confused Ginny trailing behind.

 

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“You should have seen his face Harry, it was brilliant!” Ginny laughs while tears of mirth trickle down her cheeks. Harry’s face can be made out from the flames of the fire as he cocks an eyebrow.

“You made Professor Snape make a face Luna? That’s impressive. I didn’t know the man had a face other than condescending.” Luna picks at the cushion of the couch that she sits on with Ginny.

“I only smiled. Perhaps Professor Snape is not used to people smiling at him.”

“Luna, your smile practically took up your entire face. It wasn’t just a smile. And his waste basket is full with Luna’s apples, Harry! The poor man doesn’t know what to make of it!” Ginny is mirthful in her amusement. Luna is bemused. She didn’t mean to frighten her professor.

“Well, Luna is known to be very persistent when she wants to make a friend. Isn’t that right Luna?”

Luna looks up and finally meets Harry’s eyes. She gives him a light smile. Harry smiles back, and although it is difficult to make out facial expressions through the forever leaping flames, she can tell that it is drawn and tired. He looks pale and his hair is sticking up as if he were struck by lightning. His green eyes are dull. Luna is concerned. He had mentioned earlier that the auror training has been intensive. That he has long nights and few breaks. Luna suspects something more is going on, however, because Harry looks like the war never ended. He looks like he never stopped fighting.

Luna suddenly feels a chill in the warm Gryffindor common room. She shivers.

“When will you visit me?” Ginny asks, pleads.

Harry sighs. “You know that I haven’t the slightest idea Ginny.”

“I know, but I—I miss you.” Luna has never heard Ginny so open, so fragile. Harry falters.

“Tell you what, I promise to come to the burrow for Christmas.” Christmas seems a long time away but Luna sees Ginny smile and she knows that for her friend, this promise is enough. It is enough because it shows that Harry Potter is still very much in love with Ginny Weasley. Ginny loves him too.

Luna knows nothing of love, apart from the platonic sense. There was a time when Luna thought she loved Neville, and when she thought Neville loved her too. But then Neville had run up to Hannah Abbot after he killed the snake. At first Luna was stung. She has always wanted a person of her very own. She has always wanted someone to travel with, to write on and search for fantastic beasts with, and to share in her adventures. She has always wanted someone to hold at night, to whisper secrets to. She had wanted this person to be Neville; Neville with his brown hair and gangly limbs and awkward manner. But Neville was not hers to have. She realized this when she saw Neville kiss Hannah Abbot. He kissed her passionately at the Hogwarts entrance as bricks fell from the sky like rain.

Neville would never kiss Luna like that, not in a million years.

Luna knows nothing of love.

“Luna?” Luna has pulled a chunk of stuffing from the couch, “Luna did you hear Harry?” Luna looks up and blinks once, twice. She notices that the fire is much lower than before and that Harry is gone. Ginny sighs. “Off catching creatures again are we?” This is what Ginny calls Luna’s day dreaming; ‘off catching creatures.’

“One was particularly loud and had red hair” Luna replies with a twinkle in her eyes and Ginny smacks her arm playfully. They laugh until the laugher dies out.

Then Ginny becomes serious.

“Harry was telling us to be careful Luna. He said there’s still extremists out there and they’re picking off the death eaters that betrayed you-know-who’s cause. He said . . .” Ginny pauses.

“What did he say Ginny?”

“They murdered Narcissa Malfoy, Luna. The Order found her dead this morning.”

 

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The smell permeates the air and Snape wants to purge his senses. He believes it must smell of home cooking, but his mother never cooked a damn thing in his life so how was he to know? He wants to throw whatever the fuck it is that’s making his potions classroom smell homey out the God damn window.

He wants to breathe it in.

The smell is coming from Miss. Lovegood’s desk and this, in a very small sense, frightens him. What in damnation was the twit up to now? When he found no apple on his desk this morning he thought the silly girl had given up.

Self-note: stop underestimating blond girls with blue eyes and a penchant for madness.

He tries to ignore the stench, dear Merlin does he try, but its driving him up the wall. He attempts to lecture on the different fumes the current potion will emit if brewed incorrectly, but his mind continues to drift to the smell and he trips over words.

His dungeons should never, ever, smell of biscuits.

Finally he gives up, and shouts in mid-sentence “What, in Merlin’s name, is that STENCH?”

The entire body of students jump in their seats, all but Miss. Lovegood that is. She does not even flinch. Instead she stands from her chair, slowly, daintily, and procures from the bottom of her school bag what looks to be a pie. Snape’s stomach drops because Miss. Lovegood is now making her way to the front of the classroom. She glides towards Snape, and holds the pie out as if she expects him to take it.

It is a chicken pot pie. It smells divine. Severus Snape makes no indication that he thinks Luna Lovegood’s pie smells divine. Instead he chooses to curl his lip, he chooses to look down at her as if she is the most loathsome thing in the world.

“Are you daft? Take your detestable dinner elsewhere.”

Without a pause, without a stutter she replies. “This is for you Professor.”

It is as he suspected and yet he is still surprised.

“Detention Miss. Lovegood.” Because, honestly, what else could he say?