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blindfolded minds collide, and we fall

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Chapter One

Luna had been friends with Ginny for as long as she could remember – they didn’t live all that far away from one another, after all, and Luna’s Mum and Molly Weasley had been friends, once. Not the closest of friends, no; but they’d been in the same year at Hogwarts, so they knew each other reasonably well, and when they both had daughters the same age, it only made logical sense to have play-dates for the two of them.

Luna knew that many wizarding children grew up without real friends until they went to Hogwarts. Instead they relied on the closeness of family (particularly siblings, if they had them) for their human contact. Luna was lucky to have an actual friend, even if she and Ginny only started out as friends because they had no one else – Ginny had too many brothers who didn’t have time to play with the ‘baby’ of the family, while Luna had no siblings at all. Ginny was her only real connection besides her parents.

The year after Luna’s Mum had died had been terribly difficult – Luna had become withdrawn, and – not sullen, exactly, never that, but…

Uncommunicative was the best word, really. Luna hadn’t wanted to have anything to do with anyone, too torn up inside by the terrible pain and grief that constantly filled the imaginary hole in her chest where Luna felt that her heart had been ripped out – and for all that it was a metaphorical tearing-out, the ache in Luna’s chest was real, and constant. Some days it felt like she would die from the emptiness alone.

Luna wasn’t the best company in that time, but Ginny still came to visit her most days, telling stories of her brothers antics, her father’s gentle indulgence when they got into trouble (but never her mother’s exasperated fury, because even at that age, Ginny knew what things to say, and what things to keep to herself). In spite of herself, Luna listened; and although she felt like she would never be okay again, Ginny’s lively presence was a spark of life in her chest. As long as Ginny stopped by, Luna had something to hold onto besides the pain.

Looking back later, Luna knew that Ginny was the only reason Luna hadn’t let go of life altogether. Luna always wanted to hear the next story, to know what activity Ginny would spur her into through tenacity alone. It was Ginny who had kindly bullied her into having imaginary tea parties and swimming in the nearby creek and sneaking out to the shed at Ginny’s house to steal her brothers’ broomsticks. It was Ginny who had slowly taught Luna how to live again, and that was a kindness that Luna would never, could never forget.

During their first year at Hogwarts Luna did her best to return the favour when Ginny was lonely and homesick; but they were in different Houses, and it was hard to find Ginny outside of classes. Eventually it became clear that Ginny was avoiding Luna, for whatever reason; Luna did not understand it. But Ginny had never given up on Luna, so Luna never gave up on her – not even when Ginny’s housemates told her, “Give up, Loony, can’t you tell she doesn’t want to see you?”

But then, on the train home at the end of term, Ginny had knocked on the door of Luna’s compartment, her face pale and troubled, as though she had gone through something terrible.

“Can I sit with you?” Ginny asked, her voice tremulous, obviously unsure of her welcome.

“Of course you can,” said Luna, and the sheer relief she felt threatened to engulf her. She waited until Ginny had dragged her trunk into the compartment and shut the door before she said, “Are you okay?”

Ginny’s face crumpled, any façade of okayness collapsing like a house of cards that had been touched the wrong way. She flung herself at Luna, wailing about how she was so sorry, Tom made me!

Luna had held Ginny close and stoked her hair as Ginny sobbed, the way that Luna’s Mum always used to do with her when she was upset, and the story slowly came out, in tangled, jumbled-up fragments.

Ginny had been possessed for most of the school year, by Voldemort himself, and if it wasn’t for the bravery of a twelve-year-old boy who’d faced down Voldemort and a basilisk all on his own, Ginny would be dead.

Luna let Ginny cry herself out before she said, “It’s not your fault.”

“But I let him in! I told him all my secrets and let him into my heart, and – and he used me!” Ginny looked tragic and tormented. “I thought he was my friend, and all this time, he was – he was–”

“You’re going to be okay,” Luna told her. When Ginny made a scoffing noise, she said, “I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but you will. You’re not the same person you were before this happened, and you never will be again. But becoming a new person is something everyone goes through, eventually. For most people it happens gradually, but for some of us it happens all at once, because of what we’ve been through.”

Ginny stared at her.

“It doesn’t feel like I’ll be okay ever again,” said Ginny, her voice breaking.

“I know,” said Luna. “This is going to be a very difficult time, I’m afraid. But Ginny – I’m here for you.”

Ginny cried again, and Luna held her hand tightly the entire time.

That summer, it was Luna who helped Ginny put herself back together, while Ginny’s family tip-toed around what had happened.

“They don’t want to talk about it,” Ginny said, as she and Luna sat in the shade of the trees that stretched over the creek. They were sitting on the banks of the creeks, watching the water lazily make its way downstream. “But I need to talk about it. It eats away at me inside until I feel like I’m going mad.”

“Tell me,” said Luna. So Ginny did. She described what it had felt like, to feel control of herself wrested away bit by bit, frightening blank spots appearing in her memory, blood appearing on her hands with no understanding of how it had gotten there…

Ginny had questioned her own sanity, before she realised that something far more terrible was happening to her. But by then, it had been too late to ask for help – Tom controlled too much of her.

“I’m never going to be able to hear the name ‘Tom’ again without shuddering,” said Ginny, into the quiet.

Luna listened in silence, trying to hide the fury that filled her at what her friend had been through, her heart breaking at Ginny’s plight. Luna didn’t get angry very often, but when she did, it was a dark, violent thing, coursing through her like the currents beneath the still surface of a river. Luna’s Mum had always told her that it was natural to be angry, but it was what you did with your anger that mattered.

Luna reached out to squeeze Ginny’s hand.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t help you when it all happened,” she said.

Ginny gave a laugh that wasn’t amused at all.

“At least you tried,” she said. “My brothers – they didn’t even notice. Harry Potter asked once if I was okay, someone who barely even knew me, and when I tried to tell him, Percy chased me away.” Another laugh. “I think Percy was afraid I was going to tell Harry about his girlfriend.”

Ginny’s voice was bitter. Luna stayed silent, let her talk.

“But you – you kept trying,” Ginny added. “Even though you knew I was avoiding you – despite the nasty things my housemates said to you, and yes, I heard them – you still kept trying to help me. In the end, the only two people who tried to help me weren’t my family, Luna.”

“Ron tried at the end,” Luna said, because she didn’t want Ginny to feel that her family abandoned her when she needed them the most. “When he heard you’d been taken into the Chamber of Secrets. He went with Harry to rescue you.”

Ginny’s hard expression softened a little, into sadness.

“I know. But I feel like that was a little too late – he didn’t notice anything was wrong until someone else told him. And I can’t quite forgive any of them for that. Not even Ron.”

Luna didn’t know what to say to that.

Chapter Text

Chapter Two

By the end of the summer, the worst of the damage done to Ginny’s shattered psyche had mended itself, even if Luna could still see the cracks. But Ginny’s heart was slower to recover, and Luna knew that she had been right: Ginny would never again be the person she had been before Tom.

Ginny was warier, now, and bitter; cynical, in way that she hadn’t been before, as though Tom had left some of his twisted viewpoint to seed itself deep inside her mind. Luna did her best to chop the creeping growth of that cynicism off at the roots, but those roots spread to places Luna couldn’t reach, and she knew, by the end of the summer, that this new Ginny who always saw the worst in people would always be here. All Luna could do was either accept her or reject her for it.

But Ginny was still Ginny, for all she’d changed: still the person who had been Luna’s last tenuous thread to life, pulling her bit by bit out of the darkness. This time it was Luna holding the thread, wielding the lamp against the darkness, and she would not falter, no matter what Tom had done to the person Luna had known before.

For the first time Luna wished that her Mum was still with her not merely for Luna and her Dad’s sakes, but for Ginny’s. Luna’s Mum would have known what advice to give, the right words to say to help Ginny heal. But she wasn’t here, and it was up to Luna to muddle through on her own.

But it must have worked, because even as Ginny began building up a wall between her feelings and the rest of the world, there was a door in the wall that was for Luna alone. Ginny might smile that sly smile with everyone else, might laugh and scoff and poke fun at other people’s weak spots; but with Luna, she was always real, the person underneath the mask.

Second year was harder than the year before, in some ways. Ginny wasn’t being possessed, and Luna wasn’t being shut out by her only friend, so it that respect it was easier; but it seemed that there were all kinds of rumours going around about what had happened when the Heir of Slytherin had kidnapped Ginny and why he’d picked her to kidnap in the first place.

“Because her family are blood-traitors, of course,” said the Slytherins, to hide their lingering unease that it had been a pureblood taken by the Heir.

“Because no one else is friends with her?” suggested the Hufflepuffs. “I hate to say it, but the Heir probably chose her because he thought she wouldn’t be missed straight away…”

“Perhaps he saw her as a threat,” the Ravenclaws mused. “Someone to pick off before she acquired the knowledge to defeat him. Although, what threat a Gryffindor could be, I have no idea.”

The rumours and speculation grew more and more outlandish with each telling, and Luna saw Ginny’s jaw clench as each one met her ears – because of course no one had the kindness to at least discuss it out of Ginny’s hearing. It was an extra cruelty, making Ginny herself hear it, and Luna felt the anger rising in her chest.

The Gryffindors didn’t spread rumours, not in the same way. But they all stared at Ginny, and asked her questions about what being kidnapped had been like, and was it true that she’d been rescued by Harry Potter? The way they asked it implied that Ginny had been some sort of damsel in distress, while Harry Potter had been the brave one. It always got on Luna’s nerves, because while Ginny might not have faced down a basilisk, she’d fought a different kind of monster – and while she hadn’t won that fight, she’d fought him as best she could.

Or perhaps she had won, in the end – because Ginny was Ginny, not Tom, and she still had a sense of self to fall back on. Luna didn’t doubt that if Tom had had his way, there would have been nothing of Ginny left to survive his possession.

So Ginny was just as brave as Harry Potter, in her own way, but it wasn’t a story they could tell, even if Ginny hadn’t wanted it kept quiet. The children around them wouldn’t have appreciated it, anyway: they thought that heroics was the only kind of bravery there was, too young to understand that sometimes just being who you were was an accomplishment in itself.

But Luna understood that, and so did Ginny, and that helped make things easier to bear.

It was in second year that the other girls in Luna’s dorm began hiding her things. Luna knew that they didn’t really mean it – well, no, that wasn’t true, they did mean it; but to them it was just a game, making silly Loony Lovegood run around looking for her stuff, and making her get into trouble for going to classes with a missing tie or mismatched socks. They never stopped to think about the pain that they were causing, and if they had, some of them might have begun feeling uncomfortable with the way they treated Luna.

That didn’t stop it from hurting every time the other girls giggled as Luna discovered her homework was missing, or that someone had left a toad from the lake in her bed while she’d been in the library studying before curfew. Still, Luna was determined to be the better person. She knew all too well what unkindness felt like to be pushing it onto other people.

Ginny, when she found out, had no such reservations. She’d always had a vengeful streak, as her brothers knew all too well, but Tom’s possession had amplified it fivefold.

“They can’t do this to you,” said Ginny, and while she was angry all the time now, this was a different kind of anger, burning in her like a flame. “I’m going to stop them.”

“I’m fine, really,” said Luna. “Although I do wish they hadn’t taken my Mum’s locket.”

Ginny’s eyes flashed, and Luna knew that had been the wrong thing to say if she wanted to discourage Ginny from her declared course of action. Instead, she’d accidentally cemented it.

Luna waited, on edge, for Ginny to act. She waited all day, and only when she went up to bed did she think that Ginny must plan to take her vengeance on another day.

Luna went to get changed into her pyjamas, only to find them gone from where she’d left them folded and tucked into her sheets.

“I guess you’ll have to sleep starkers from now on, won’t you, Loony?” one of the other girls remarked. There was a chorus of giggles from the others in the dorm.

Behind them, Luna saw Ginny appear in the dormitory doorway as though from nowhere. Her expression was afire, and she was twirling her wand in a way that meant trouble. Ginny had learned a thing or two from Tom – knowledge and muscle memory that made her more dangerous than the average second year.

It took a second for someone to notice Ginny standing there.

“What are you doing here?” Samantha asked, catching sight of her. “You’re not a Ravenclaw! How did you get into the Tower?”

Ginny looked at the other girls one by one, and her wand never ceased its twirling.

“I’m here to have a little talk with you all about the fact that you keep taking Luna’s things.”

“We don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Grace.

“I thought you might say that,” said Ginny. She tilted her head. “But I thought I’d give civility a go, first. I suppose that’s a failure, then.”

Don’t,” said Luna to Ginny, knowing that it was already too late; Ginny’s wand was moving, taking aim.

Luna would never admit it, but as the first curse came flying and hit its target; as demonic, bat-like figures streamed out of the screaming girl’s nose and went after her, while the other girls shrieked and tried to dodge as they same curse was applied to them… Luna felt a twinge of satisfaction that she would later be ashamed of.

Ginny vanished again, as swiftly as if someone had thrown an invisibility cloak over her.

Luna watched the whole scene from where she was standing beside her bed.

“Loony, do something!” one of the girls screamed.

“What do you expect me to do?” Luna asked – quite reasonably, she thought. “I don’t know the counter-curse.”

Just then the prefects came running up the stairs, summoned by the noise. The chaos multiplied.

It was only when someone ran to get Professor Flitwick that things began to calm down. He applied the counter-curse to all of the affected girls, and turned a stern glance over all of them.

“Would someone like to explain what happened here?”

“It was Loony’s friend from Gryffindor!” said Leticia, in between hysterical sobs, forgetting to say Luna instead of Loony. “Weasley! She burst in and cursed us!”

Professor Flitwick only raised an eyebrow.

“A second-year Gryffindor broke into the Tower, and cursed you all with a fifth-year spell?” he asked, his voice deceptively mild. “Hmm. Why would she do that?”

His gaze swung to Luna.

Luna hesitated. She didn’t want to be a tattletale, but… she really did want her Mum’s locket back.

“They’ve been stealing from me, Professor. That’s probably why they think it was one of my friends.”

Professor Flitwick’s expression darkened.

“Is that so?”

“She’s lying!” Grace said immediately.

“Miss Lovegood, can you give me an example of something which has been stolen?” asked Professor Flitwick, as though Grace hadn’t said a word.

Luna began to hope.

“My Mum’s locket, Professor.”

Accio Mrs Lovegood’s locket!” said the Professor, and there was a loud thump from Grace’s trunk, as though a summoned object had smacked into the closed lid.

“Miss Smith, open your trunk.” Professor Flitwick looked grim.

‘I–I–” Grace stammered, all her bravado gone. When she didn’t move, frozen to the spot like a frightened rabbit, Professor Flickwick walked over to her trunk and unlocked it with a tap of his wand. When he opened it, Luna’s Mum’s locket was sitting in the corner for everyone to see.

“Miss Lovegood, who else has stolen from you?”

“Everyone in my dorm, I think,” said Luna. “At least, they all thought it was funny when my things went missing.”

“To the Headmaster’s office, all of you,” said Professor Flitwick.

“But we were attacked, isn’t that more important–” Leticia began, only to be silenced by a look of cold fury from the Professor, daring her to finish that sentence. She gulped.

The interview with the Headmaster left most of the girls in tears.

“Stealing is a very serious offence,” said Professor Dumbledore.

“But it’s just Loony!” said Leticia, and the other girls blanched, knowing that Leticia had said the worst thing possible.

The Headmaster went cold and stern.

“Miss Lovegood is a member of your House. I am very disappointed that far from showing her the welcome expected of a fellow Ravenclaw, you have behaved in a manner which does not befit your House.”

“You shame Ravenclaw,” said Professor Flitwick, still looking furious. “You will return all of Miss Lovegood’s things immediately – in the same condition as you found them – and serve detention for the rest of the year. If I have any reason to think you are bullying Miss Lovegood further, you will be lucky to remain a student at this school.”

“B-but… her Gryffindor friend cursed us!” Grace wailed. “The Weasley girl! Isn’t she going to get into trouble, too?”

“While someone undoubtedly cursed you, I have grave doubts that it was a second year student,” said Professor Flitwick. “Very few second years could cast that advanced a spell, and while Miss Weasley’s work in class has improved this year, I very much doubt that she is an example of such a student.”

Luna knew that while Ginny’s capabilities with a wand had improved drastically, she rarely let it show, to avoid attention of the wrong sort. But Luna wasn’t about to tell Professor Flitwick that.

“Filius, perhaps you would like to see Miss Lovegood back to her dorm while I discuss the severity of their actions with the culprits?” said Professor Dumbledore.

“Yes, of course. Miss Lovegood–”

“They took my pyjamas as well, Professor,” said Luna. Leticia scowled at her, but the other girls looked frightened.

There was a chilly silence.

“I see.” Professor Flitwick’s glare swept across the other girls. “Where are Miss Lovegood’s pyjamas?”

“In an – an abandoned classroom,” Samantha stammered out.

The telling-off that Professor Dumbledore gave the other girls was scathing enough that Luna almost felt sorry for them.

In the end, Professor Dumbledore walked Luna back to Ravenclaw Tower himself, while Professor Flitwick was busy making the other girls retrieve all of Luna’s things.

Halfway there, Professor Dumbledore paused, and said, “You may come out now, Miss Weasley. Mister Potter, also.”

Luna’s heart jolted; but two figures appeared out of thin air, one of them holding a silvery cloak with a sheepish look on his face, the other looking defiant.

“I’m not sorry,” said Ginny. “They’ve been making Luna miserable, Professor. And no one was doing anything to stop them.”

The Professor made a noncommittal sound.

“I see. And your role in this, Harry?”

Harry still wore that sheepish expression.

“Ginny asked if she could borrow my cloak, Professor. But when she explained why, I wanted to help. No one deserves what Luna was going through.”

“Exactly,” said Ginny fiercely. “Especially not someone as kind as good as Luna.”

Luna felt a tendril of warmth curl through her. She smiled at Ginny and Harry.

“Quite so,” said Professor Dumbledore. He looked at Ginny and Harry over the top of his spectacles. “However, I feel sure that the others are learning their lesson, so I do not expect to see a repeat of the Bat Bogey Hex, do you understand, Miss Weasley?”

Ginny nodded.

“And I do not simply mean that you should use a different hex next time,” said Professor Dumbledore. Surprise rippled across Ginny’s face, swiftly hidden, at the Headmaster correctly divining her intention.

Professor Dumbledore smiled wryly at them.

“While I understand the desire for vengeance, it will only lead you down a dark path. And I am certain that is not what you wish.”

“How you know?” Ginny said, and Luna reached out to grab Ginny’s hand in support, knowing what was coming next. “I had Tom in me for months. How do you know he didn’t leave part of himself behind?”

There was desperation in Ginny’s voice – she was terrified of receiving confirmation, and desperately wanted reassurance to the contrary, even though she didn’t think she’s going to get it.

But it was Harry who says, “Maybe he did.”

They all turned to stare at him, Ginny included.

“Maybe he did,” Harry repeated, pushing his glasses up his nose and looking stubborn. “But that doesn’t mean you’re him. He never would have cursed someone to protect someone else. He would have just cursed them.”

Luna saw the wall Ginny had between her and the world crack.

“But I enjoyed it – I wanted to curse them for going after Luna–”

“Yeah, well, so did I,” said Harry. “But that doesn’t make me a bad person. It just makes me human.”

Ginny stared at him like she’d never seen him before.

“Harry is right,” said Professor Dumbledore in a gentle voice. “Everyone has a darkness inside of them. It is how we choose to respond to that inner darkness which determines what kind of a person we are.”

Luna saw Ginny swallow.

“Alright, I won’t curse them again,” she said, and Luna knew it was a promise. “As long as they leave Luna alone. I don’t want to be like him.”

Luna squeezed Ginny’s hand. Ginny gripped back tightly.

Somehow Harry Potter had managed to say exactly the right thing. Ginny looked like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

Luna was grateful.

Chapter Text

Chapter Three

After that, somehow, Harry Potter became Ginny and Luna’s friend.

His two best friends were still Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, of course, but there was room in there for Luna and Ginny, too. They talked in-between classes, sitting sometimes by the lake and skipping stones across its surface.

The first time Luna and Ginny sat with Harry in the library, Ginny’s brother objected.

“Ginny, what are you doing here? And Loony – ow!” he finished with a yelp as Ginny slugged him in the arm. “Ginny! That hurt!

“Don’t call her that.” Harry spoke in a quiet voice. “Ginny and Luna are my friends, too. So don’t call her ‘Loony,’ Ron.”

Ginny’s your friend?” asked Ronald, incredulous. “And Loo – I mean, Luna? Since when?”

“A while now,” said Harry vaguely.

“Why?” asked Ginny. “Are you jealous?”

Ronald flushed.

“Of course not!”

“It’s the wrackspurts,” Luna told Ginny. “They do all kinds of things to a person’s brain.”

Ginny snorted with laughter. Luna smiled.

Ronald turned red.

“I’m sorry, wrackspurts?” asked Hermione.

“They’re invisible creatures which float in through your ears and make your brain go fuzzy,” Luna explained.

“I don’t think–” Hermione began.

“You can read about them in the Quibbler,” Luna added, trying to be helpful. Hermione’s expression changed.

“The Quibbler’s rubbish, everyone knows that,” she said, and the dismissal hurt. Luna straightened her spine, her eyes narrowing.

“My father’s the editor,” said Luna, while Ginny sent Hermione a truly skewering glare. Harry didn’t look too happy, either.

Hermione crumbled under the weight of their disapproval.

“Oh,” she said. “Well, I mean, it’s quite… it’s got some interesting…”

“Just because you don’t believe the Quibbler’s articles doesn’t mean you have to be rude about it,” Ginny snapped, tugging on Luna’s arm. “Come on, Luna. We can talk to Harry later.”

“Of course,” said Luna. “I’ll see you later, Harry.” She gathered her books and let Ginny pull her away.

They found an empty table elsewhere in the library. Ginny began taking notes from her Charms textbook in sharp, spiky handwriting. Ginny’s handwriting used to be a messy scrawl, Luna knew. But Ginny didn’t need that pointed out to her, and so Luna never had.

After a while Ginny slanted a glance in Luna’s direction. Luna smiled at her, and was rewarded with an answering smile, swift and secret.

“I’m glad you’re my friend,” said Luna suddenly, because she was thinking how much better this year had been, compared to the confusion and loneliness of the previous year, which she’d spent wondering what she’d done wrong and what was going on with Ginny.

Ginny’s expression softened in a way it rarely did.

“I’m glad you’re my friend, too. Luna – you do know you’re the most important person in my life, don’t you?”

Luna supposed that on some level she had known, but there was a difference between knowing something in a vague, subconscious sort of way, and having the truth declared in so many words.

Luna’s heart began beating rather fast.

“I–” said Luna, and stopped, because while her Dad was still important to her, somehow without Luna quite noticing it at the time, Ginny had taken his place as the person who mattered the most. Maybe it was because Ginny had been there when Luna had needed her the most, or maybe it was just that she spent more time talking to Ginny than she did her Dad – because while she loved him, there had been an awkwardness between them ever since Luna’s Mum had died, and her Dad had lost the guiding force in his life.

Luna wasn’t quite sure what it all meant, but she knew, without even thinking about it, that there was nothing she wouldn’t do for Ginny.

“I’d do anything, if you needed me to,” she blurted out. “You’re the most important person in my life, too.”

Ginny’s smile was like dawn breaking, and she reached forward to take Luna’s hand. The two of them sat there, their hands firmly intertwined, smiling at each other almost foolishly. But there was a light in Luna’s heart that had never shone brighter, and from the look on Ginny’s face, she felt the same.

“Luna,” said Ginny. “I…”

Luna waited, on tenterhooks, because something in her went, this is it, as though she had been waiting for this moment for a long time.

“You’re my best friend,” said Ginny finally, and there was a strange weight to her words.

“You’re mine too,” said Luna, and the two of them held hands for the rest of the study period, ignoring their homework completely.

But it was worth it.


That summer was much better than the previous one. Instead of trying to help Ginny piece herself back together, bit by bit, Luna’s time was spent much more happily. Her Dad was lost in his own world, as always, and although Luna tried to bridge the gap, it was easier to get up in the morning and head over to the Weasleys straight after breakfast to hang out with Ginny instead.

Seeing the way that Ginny’s face lit up at the sight of her, every single time, made Luna feel warm inside. If her answering smile was anything like Luna felt, then it must have been nearly blinding.

One morning when Luna came over, there was a stranger in the kitchen. It took Luna a moment to recognise him as Charlie, Ginny’s older brother, who had been away dealing with dragons for the past several years.

Luna blinked at him, unsure of what to say.

“Luna, isn’t it?” asked Charlie in a friendly kind of way, as though there wasn’t a space of several years in which they hadn’t seen each other. “You here to see Ginny?”

Luna nodded.

“She’s my best friend,” Luna felt the need to explain.

Just then Ginny came clattering down the stairs, her face alight the moment she spotted Luna.

“Luna!”

“Hello, Ginny,” said Luna, smiling back.

Ginny threw her arms around Luna’s neck and hugged her. Luna hugged back, warmth rising in her chest.

When they broke apart, Charlie was staring at them like he’d just seen something strange and novel.

“Is there something you want to tell me, Gin?” he asked, his voice slow and considering.

Inexplicably, Ginny flushed.

“Shut up,” she snapped, and took Luna’s hand. “Come on, Luna – let’s go sit by the creek. We can chat without any of my nosy brothers turning up.”

She tugged Luna away, and Luna went willingly, but as they reached the door she glanced over her shoulder to look at Charlie.

His brow was furrowed, and his expression was complicated. He met Luna’s eyes for a moment, before Ginny pulled her through the doorway.

Luna thought about asking what that had been about, but decided not to: Ginny had an irritated twist to her mouth, and anyway, if she wanted Luna to know, she would tell her.

They went down to the creek, as Ginny had suggested, and spent the morning either chatting idly, or more often, sitting in companionable silence, appreciating the landscape around them.

Luna stared up at the canopy of tree branches, and thought that she’d never been so happy in her life as she was this summer.

She told Ginny so, and Ginny gave her a small, almost-shy smile.

They didn’t say anything further for some time.

Finally Luna asked, “Is there a problem with Charlie?” At Ginny’s sudden frown, she added, “You don’t have to talk about it, if you don’t want to.”

“Thanks,” said Ginny. “Right now, I’d rather not. Whatever he thinks he knows – well, I’m not ready to talk about it, yet.”

“Alright,” said Luna, and let the matter drop. Ginny gave her a grateful look, tinged with something more complex than gratitude, and Luna simply smiled, and started talking about the latest articles in the Quibbler.

Ginny listened in silence, nodding here and there, and Luna cherished the sense of peaceful understanding that existed between them.


Third year was different again.

Everyone else seemed to have suddenly changed, the girls giggling at the boys for no reason, the boys watching the girls awkwardly, as though they had transformed into something strange and unknowable.

Luna sailed through it all untouched, and wondered why. The boys were neither more interesting, nor less, than before: she couldn’t understand why the other girls abruptly found them so fascinating.

“I feel like everyone is losing their minds,” Ginny announced one day. “Everyone in my dorm only talks about boys. It’s driving me mad.”

“Oh good, it’s not just me,” said Luna, relieved.

“I mean, don’t get me wrong, some of them are cute,” said Ginny, and Luna’s heart dropped into her shoes for reasons she didn’t understand, “but they’re still the same boys we spent the last two years with. Pillocks, most of them.”

“I don’t see what the fuss is,” said Luna. “I mean – the girls are prettier.”

Ginny stared at her for a long moment. Then she burst out laughing.

Luna flinched back, feeling hurt – Ginny never laughed at her. But Ginny leaned forward and took her hand, smiling in a way which eased the hurt.

“You’re right,” said Ginny. “And you’re the prettiest of them all.”

Luna felt a flush work its way up her neck and rush towards her face, staining it red.

She looked down at their linked hands, and had an epiphany.

Oh,” she said, and this time it was Ginny who turned pink, although she never let go of Luna’s hand.

“Is this okay?” Ginny asked, and Luna hurried to reassure her.

“Oh, yes,” she said fervently, and Ginny’s smile bloomed across her face again.

For days after that, Luna was walking on air. Every time she saw Ginny, her heart gave the little leap Luna had become accustomed to, only now Luna knew why. And every time Ginny saw Luna, that beautiful, blazing smile filled her eyes and curved her mouth, and Luna felt loved.

There was a Yule Ball that year, one that Ginny and Luna were a year too young to attend. But while Luna was sitting in her common room there was the sudden sensation of a hand on her arm, and Ginny’s voice in her ear.

“Come on,” Ginny whispered from underneath Harry’s invisibility cloak, and when no one was looking in her direction Luan ducked under the cloak, too. There was barely enough room for both of them – they were taller, this year – but together they made their way out of Ravenclaw Tower.

Only when they were outside, in the castle gardens, did Ginny pull the cloak off. Her eyes were shining bright in the moonlight, and Luna could hear the music from the Great Hall, quiet and a little muffled but providing a gentle melody all the same.

Ginny put the invisibility cloak down on the nearest bench and held out a hand to Luna.

“Care to dance, m’lady?”

Luna took her offered hand, and Ginny pulled her in close, with one hand clasping Luna’s, the other resting on Luna’s waist as though it belonged there. They swayed back and forth in time with the music, staring into each others’ eyes.

Luna wasn’t sure who leaned forward first, but she found herself standing still with her eyes closed, kissing Ginny. Ginny’s arm moved to wrap around Luna’s waist, holding her close, and Luna felt like something in her chest was about to burst from – from happiness, and all the other emotions she was feeling in this moment. Her hand reached up to trace Ginny’s neck, the side of her face, before coming to rest in Ginny’s lovely copper-coloured hair.

Luna had no idea how long they stood there kissing for, but when they broke apart and she opened her eyes, the music from the Great Hall had stopped.

Ginny tucked a strand of hair behind Luna’s ear, and smiled.

“We should probably be getting back to our common rooms,” she said, her voice unsteady.

Luna leaned forward to press one last kiss to Ginny’s mouth, and smiled, taking Ginny’s hand.

“Probably,” she agreed.

They slipped back under the cloak, and made their way back to Ravenclaw Tower. When Luna stepped into the common room, no one was in sight. She turned and kissed Ginny one more time. Ginny grinned at her, and disappeared back under the invisibility cloak.

“Where have you been?” asked Grace, when Luna walked in.

“I was in the common room, of course,” said Luna airily, and went to her four-poster bed and climbed into it, shutting her curtains before anyone could ask her any more awkward questions. She changed into her pyjamas with a smile on her face.

She lay awake for a long time, reliving the memory of standing in the gardens wrapped in Ginny’s embrace.

Chapter Text

Chapter Four

Of course, it was inevitable that someone would find out. It was just fortunate that it was Harry.

Luna and Ginny were snogging in an empty classroom when the door opened, and Harry walked in.

“Luna, Ginny, I’ve been looking for you all over the–” he began, and stopped, eyes huge, as he caught sight of Luna and Ginny hurriedly breaking apart. He made a strangled noise.

“Oh for Merlin’s sake, just come in and shut the door,” said Ginny, rolling her eyes, although Luna knew her well enough to tell that Ginny was a little worried.

Harry shut the classroom door, and stared at them.

“Were you kissing?” he said, at last.

“Obviously,” said Ginny.

“Haven’t you seen people kissing, before?” asked Luna, feeling curious at his reaction.

Harry flushed.

“Well, yeah, but – not girls,” he said, as though that made a difference. He hesitated. “I didn’t know that was a thing that girls could do. With each other, I mean.”

For some reason, that made Ginny pause, and look at him closely.

“Well, it is, although some people would disapprove,” she said. “Sometimes girls only want to kiss girls, or boys only want to kiss boys, or – or they might be interested in kissing boys and girls.”

Harry’s eyes were wide, as though this was all new to him.

“Oh,” he said. “Really?”

“Really,” said Luna. She didn’t ask why Harry hadn’t known this before. “It doesn’t make you bad, or wrong. Just different.”

Harry looked like he’d never heard anything so important in his life.

“Oh,” he said again, and for a moment Luna thought he might cry. He cleared his throat. “So, you and Ginny are…”

“In love,” said Luna, in the same moment as Ginny said, “Dating.” They looked at each other and smiled.

“Anyway, no one knows yet, so please don’t tell anyone,” Ginny added.

“Who would I tell?” asked Harry, his voice bitter. “No one’s talking to me except you two and Hermione, and she doesn’t want to take sides.”

Luna blinked in surprise.

“No one at all? What about the other Gryffindors?”

“They’re glad that Gryffindor is being represented in the Tournament, but they still think I cheated my way in.” Harry let out a short, angry huff of air. “No one believes me except for you and Ginny and Hermione.”

Luna frowned. After a moment, she turned the frown on Ginny, because while she and Ginny had been caught up in each other lately, Harry was still their friend.

“Ron’s being a prat,” Ginny explained. “Don’t worry – I’ve already hexed him a couple of times.”

Luna nodded, unsurprised by this, but Harry looked very surprised.

“You’ve what?”

Ginny looked at him, and some of the sharpness in her expression gentled.

“Harry, you’re my friend. In my family, we tell each other when someone’s doing something unbearably stupid. You’re the best friend Ron’s ever had, and he’s an idiot to throw that away out of jealousy.”

Harry blinked, and looked suddenly fragile again, like no one had ever said anything like that to him.

“I have to face a dragon,” he blurted out, and Luna felt her eyes widen. “For the First Task. I don’t know what to do – everyone else is two years older than me, I’m afraid I’m going to do horribly next to them and maybe get eaten or something–”

Ginny held up a hand to halt the sudden rush of words, and Harry stopped.

“How do you know it’s a dragon?” she asked, and Luna nodded in agreement.

Harry took a deep breath.

“Hagrid – he found out from your brother, Charlie – he took me down to see where they’re keeping the dragons, under the invisibility cloak. I saw them myself.”

Ginny frowned.

“Dragons.”

“Yeah.”

Ginny began tapping her fingers together in thought.

Harry looked to Luna for explanation.

“She’s thinking,” said Luna. “Ginny? What are some of the more advanced spells you know?”

For once, Tom’s legacy might be useful.

“Well, there’s the Bat-Bogey Hex, of course,” said Ginny slowly, “although that would probably just make a dragon angrier… it would need to be something Harry could learn in a short time, but given that he’s a Defence prodigy, that shouldn’t be too hard…”

“The Summoning Charm?” Luna suggested.

“Yeah, but what could he summon?”

“The Sword of Gryffindor?” suggested Harry.

“Do you really want to fight a dragon with a sword?” asked Ginny flatly. “Not to mention that if you managed to do it, you’d have to face down my brother afterwards – he loves his dragons.”

“Erm, maybe not, then.”

“What are you good at?” asked Luna. “What are your strengths?”

“I don’t have any,” said Harry immediately.

Ginny and Luna exchanged mildly exasperated looks.

“Of course you have strengths,” said Luna.

“You’re a bloody good Quidditch player, for a start–” Ginny began, and stopped. She stared at Luna, her eyes widening.

“His broom,” said Luna, in understanding.

They both looked at Harry.

“You can summon your broom, outfly the dragon,” said Ginny. “You’ve got a Nimbus 2000, haven’t you? It’s a few years old, but someone with your skill could easily outfly a dragon on one of those…”

Harry stared at Ginny and Luna.

“Alright,” he said at last. “It’s a plan. What’s the spell I need to learn?”

“The Summoning Spell,” said Luna. “The incantation is accio, and it summons whatever you cast it on – Ginny?”

Accio chair,” said Ginny, and one of the empty chairs slid across the floor towards them. “You need to maintain focus until whatever item you’ve summoned shows up, no matter how long it takes.”

“And if you’re summoning your broom, you’ll probably want to make sure you leave the nearest dormitory window open,” said Luna, because in her experience, people rarely remembered those kinds of smaller details.

Harry looked at them, his eyes bright and determined.

“Thank you,” he said, and then, “teach me how to cast the Summoning Spell.”

They did.


Somehow, Harry learned the Summoning Spell in time, and when the First Task came, was successful in beating the dragon to the golden egg.

Afterwards, Luna and Ginny hurried out of the stands to the medical tent, to find Harry being hugged by Hermione. He looked exhilarated and overwhelmed at the same time, but couldn’t stop grinning.

“Well done,” said Luna, beaming at him.

“I knew you could do it,” said Ginny, while Hermione was looking between the three of them in puzzlement.

“Yeah, well, only because I had you two teaching me,” said Harry, still grinned. But his grin suddenly fell away at the sight of something behind Luna and Ginny. They turned, to see Ronald approaching. Ginny’s grip tightened on her wand. Luna prepared to stop her from casting whatever hex was in her mind.

Ronald looked deadly serious, and rather worried.

“Harry – whoever put your name in that Goblet, I – I reckon they’re trying to do you in!”

Ginny raised her wand. Luna shoved it back down, and waited to hear what Harry had to say.

“Caught on, have you?” said Harry, his voice cold. “Took you long enough.”

Ronald opened his mouth, looking suddenly uncertain.

Harry looked at him carefully, then at Ginny, Luna, and Hermione.

“Ron… we’re still friends,” he said, and Luna saw Ronald sag in relief. “But…” Harry added, and Ronald tensed again. “This whole thing has taught me that I need people I can depend on. Before, I thought I could depend on you. But the only ones who didn’t desert me over this were Hermione and Ginny and Luna.”

Ronald flushed red.

“You’re choosing my sister over me?”

“I told you that you were being a berk,” said Ginny sharply. “While you were busy making Harry miserable, Luna and I were actually trying to help him. Grow up, Ron. Actions have consequences.”

Ronald looked like he was about to say something angry, but he met Harry’s cool stare and bit it back. He stormed out of the tent.

Hermione looked like she was almost in tears.

“Harry… you know he didn’t mean it…”

Harry looked regretful, like this hurt him as much as it did Ronald.

“I know, Hermione – but Ginny’s right. Actions have consequences, and I can’t depend on Ron to have my back.”

Hermione said nothing more. The nurse finished treating Harry, and the small group left the tent to see what the champions’ scores were.

Unfortunately, the Malfoy boy was standing near the entrance. Harry tensed.

“Not bad, Potter,” said Malfoy, smirking. “And getting rid of Weasley… one of them, anyway… you have my congratulations.”

His badge chose that moment to flash POTTER STINKS at them.

“What do you want, Malfoy?” asks Harry, his voice suggesting that he had very little patience left.

Malfoy looked Luna and Ginny over, and there was something in the look that Luna didn’t like.

“You do know you’re hanging about with a pair of lesbians, don’t you, Potter? They’ve been all over the castle, snogging in abandoned classrooms–”

That was as far as he got before bats erupted from his nose, and he started screaming.

Luna looked to Ginny, whose mouth was a thin line, her fingers twirling her wand.

Harry watched Malfoy for a moment, ignoring Hermione’s shocked expression.

“So what?” said Harry, his voice steady. He gazed at Malfoy being attacked by his own bogeys for a moment, before walking past him, heading for the locker rooms.

Ginny turned her head and glared at Hermione, who still looked shocked.

“Problem, Hermione?” Her voice said that there had better not be.

“No, of course not… it’s just… I didn’t realise…”

“That was a nice curse, Gin-Gin,” a familiar voice says loudly, and an identical one adds, “But what’s that young Malfoy was saying about you and Miss Lovegood, here?”

Fred and George grinned as Ginny scowled at them.

“You do realise Mum is going to go spare, don’t you?” one of the twins added. “She’s been planning on grandchildren…”

Ginny gritted her teeth.

“Not that we mind – although we do question your taste in women.”

Fred,” said Ginny, as much of a warning as she was going to give. Grinning, her brothers backed off.

“Just kidding, Ginny.”

“Although not about Mum,” said George, his expression turning uncharacteristically serious. “It might take her a while to come around to the idea.”

“But Mrs Weasley likes me,” said Luna, frowning. “Why would she be upset that Ginny and I are dating?”

Fred slung an arm around her shoulders.

“My dear sweet, innocent Luna,” he began. “Mum likes you because she’s under the illusion that you and Ginny are simply the best of friends. Not girlfriends.”

Ginny was scowling.

“Fred–”

“Mum’s old-fashioned,” said George, his voice sober. “You know this, Gin. She could barely handle it when Bill grew his hair out and got an ear piercing. She’s probably going to react badly.”

Ginny’s mouth twisted, and her wand was twirled within her fingers.

“I know. So don’t tell her, okay?”

Both twins mimed buttoning-up their lips.

“She won’t hear it from us,” said Fred. “But she’ll find out sooner or later. You know how she listens to gossip.”

“I don’t understand,” said Luna, feeling bewildered. “Why would Mrs Weasley be upset that I love Ginny?”

Ginny sent her a quick look at that, her gaze softening, but there was conflict in her face, and Luna just didn’t get it.

“Some people are funny about people being together with the same sex,” Hermione offered hesitantly. “My uncle is… well, gay, and while my Mum is fine with it, my grandparents weren’t – they threw him out of home when they found out, and it took years before they were able to rebuild their relationship with him.”

Luna stares. While she knew that some people disapproved, she’d never imagined anyone having such an extreme reaction.

“Mum never assumed I’d only date a boy,” she said slowly, unable to articulate the notions swirling through her mind in any other fashion. “She told me that one day, whether I brought home a boy or a girl, if they loved me then she and Dad would welcome them.”

It hurt to remember her Mum’s words, knowing that she couldn’t tell her Mum all about Ginny – about how being the focus of her love made Luna feel.

“Your Mum was great,” said Ginny quietly, and there’s bitterness in her face; bitterness and desperate yearning. Luna takes her hand.

She doesn’t know what to say to make Ginny feel better. She tries anyway.

“If your Mum loves you, she’ll accept us sooner or later. She’ll want you to be happy.”

If,” Ginny repeats. Luna squeezes her hand.

Ginny looks at Luna, and then shakes her head.

“It doesn’t matter,” she says, and her voice is full of steel. “You and Harry are the only ones who were there for me when I was in trouble. You’re the one I choose, Luna – now and forever. If Mum makes me choose between her and you, she’s going to regret it.”

“Ginny, she’s your mother,” says Hermione, disbelieving.

But the twins looked solemn. It was clear that they knew Ginny wouldn’t be swayed.

“We can write to Bill if you want,” one of them offered – Luna’s lost track of which one was which. “In case you need someone else to move in with.”

“I’m pretty sure he’d understand,” said the other twin. “Even if having you there would cramp his swinging bachelor style,” he added, trying to lift the mood.

Ginny considers the proposition for a moment. Then she nods.

“Thanks.”

“What are big brothers for, ickle Gin-Gin?” said one of the twins, obnoxiously cheerful, but the look in his eyes was anything but.

Ginny gave a wan smile.

“Come on, let’s go find Harry,” said Luna, and so the two of them left the empty stands in search of their friend.

But Luna’s mind was troubled behind her placid exterior. She had no doubt that Ginny felt the same way.


The Howler arrived at breakfast a few days later. Luna looked up as it began screaming, recognising the voice immediately.

“GINEVRA MOLLY WEASLEY!” Mrs Weasley’s voice bellowed. “WHAT IS THIS RON TELLS ME ABOUT YOU BEING IN SOME KIND OF – OF RELATIONSHIP WITH LUNA LOVEGOOD? I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT ANY DAUGHTER OF MINE WOULD CHOOSE TO ACT LIKE A SCARLET WOMAN!”

On and on Mrs Weasley’s voice went, for three excruciating minutes. Finally the tirade stopped, and the Howler extinguished itself.

Even from the other side of the Great Hall Luna could see Ginny’s white face, contorted in fury. Luna didn’t pause. She stood up from her seat and ran.

When she reached the Gryffindor table, Harry was saying in a furious voice, “How could you, Ron?” while Ronald tried to sink down into his seat.

Luna threw herself in front of Ronald just as Ginny went for her wand.

“Get out of my way, Luna.”

“Not if you’re going to curse him,” said Luna. “You’ll regret it later.”

“Like hell I will,” said Ginny. Her voice was so icy that Luna barely recognised it. “That duplicitous, two-faced little snake–”

Ronald was looking sullen, but at that, he protested.

“Hey, don’t call me a snake!”

Luna saw the exact moment Ginny snapped.

To everyone else’s surprise, Ginny began to laugh, high and cold. The sound made Harry start and stare at Ginny in consternation.

“You know what, Ron? You were never there for me when I needed you. In first year you just completely ignored me, while I underwent the worst ordeal of my life. Only two people were there for me that year. There was Harry, who rescued me from the Heir of Slytherin, and there was Luna, who tried all year to help me when my own brothers wouldn’t. And then I was left to piece myself back together all that summer, and the only one who made an effort to make sure I wasn’t alone was Luna. Not you. It’s never been you. Never. And now you’re trying to get between me and Luna out of, I don’t know, spite? Jealousy that Harry would rather be my friend than yours? I don’t know and I don’t care. From now on you’re no longer my brother. You’re dead to me.”

Ronald was gaping at Ginny, his jaw slack, his complexion slowly turning pale. Ginny gave him one last, mocking smile, laughed that high, cold laugh again, and turned and stalked out of the Great Hall.

The last thing Luna saw before she went after her was the twins converging on their brother with expressions as dark as a thundercloud.

Luna found Ginny sitting by the lake, with her arms wrapped around her knees. Ginny’s eyes were closed.

They sat in silence, and even though classes were due to start any minute, no one came after them.

Chapter Text

Chapter Five

The rest of the year was a blur of Tournament events, classes, homework, and sneaking off with Ginny.

Luna knew that Ginny had stopped writing to her parents, although she still wrote letters to Bill and Charlie. Luna knew also that Ginny had told them about the Howler, and about her and Luna. They’d both been supportive, although Bill had apparently been quite surprised. Charlie hadn’t.

But there were more important things to think of by the end of term, like Voldemort’s return. Harry was in a terrible state. He’d gone quiet, much as Luna had when her Mum had died years earlier, and he flinched at the most innocuous things, just as Ginny had that first summer after Tom. He needed all the gentleness and assistance Luna and Ginny and Hermione could give him.

So it wasn’t until they were on the train and nearly at Kings Cross station that Luna asked Ginny, “What are you going to do about your Mum?”

“Bill’s going to meet me on the platform. If Mum looks like she’s going to be reasonable, I’ll go home with her.” Ginny shrugged. “Bill and Charlie have both been writing to Mum, trying to make her see sense. But no one knows how she’s going to react when we walk off the train.”

“I don’t get it,” Harry spoke up. “You two love each other. Why would anyone be upset about that? I mean, apart from my relatives, maybe, but they’re not very nice people.” He sounded honestly baffled, and rather sad.

“We’ll write to you over the summer,” said Luna. “Make sure you write back?”

Harry nodded seriously.

“I… I’ll try,” he said. “Even if I probably won’t feel like it, some days.”

Luna gave in to impulse and hugged him. Harry was stiff in her arms, but slowly relaxed as he realised what was happening. He even leaned into the hug, and Luna wondered when the last time was that anyone had hugged him.

After a minute or so Luna let go of him, and Harry reluctantly released his hold on her, his expression bittersweet. Hermione patted his arm.

“You know, your Mum came and visited Harry when he was in the hospital wing,” she said to Ginny. “You could have talked to her then.”

“I didn’t want to,” said Ginny shortly, and Luna understood. Ginny had already been upset enough over what had happened to Harry, without adding the pain and uncertainty of a confrontation with her Mum to the list.

Voldemort’s resurrection was another thing troubling Ginny. It troubled everyone who believed Harry, of course – but very few people knew what the Dark Lord was like as intimately as Ginny did. It wouldn’t surprise Luna if Ginny experienced a resurgence of the nightmares she’d had after first year, just knowing that an older version of Tom was alive and awake in the world, and plotting his next move.

The only saving grace was that to Voldemort, Ginny was probably just the youngest Weasley child, and nothing more. Harry had said, a couple of days after the disastrous Fourth Task, that Voldemort didn’t seem to remember Harry’s confrontation with his younger self from the diary.

“Not that we really stopped for conversation, or anything,” Harry had added, with an attempt at a laugh. It fell flat. “Although he did monologue a bit, now I think about it. Monologued a lot, actually. Like a B-grade movie villain.”

No one besides Harry had thought the observation was even a little bit funny, even once Hermione explained what a movie was.

Now, as the train pulled into the station, all of them began collecting their things and getting ready to leave the train.

Ginny stopped in the carriage doorway, ignoring the people streaming past her on both sides, and took a deep breath. Luna waited by her side, her hand in Ginny’s. Then, with the strength Luna had come to know so well, Ginny stepped off the train.

The Weasleys were immediately obvious from their bright red hair. Mr and Mrs Weasley were standing not far from the train, while Bill Weasley stood a short distance away.

Ginny continued walking until she was only a few feet away from all of them, and stopped. Tilted her chin up, with all the regal determination she could muster, and never let go of Luna’s hand.

“Mum. Dad,” said Ginny, and it was only because she’d heard what Ginny had said to Ronald that Luna couldn’t truthfully say she’d never heard Ginny’s voice sound so cold.

Mrs Weasley burst into tears.

“Oh, Ginny!” she wailed, and tried to hug her daughter. But Ginny stepped swiftly backwards, pulling Luna with her. She looked like someone had just tried to hand her a live snake.

Mrs Weasley looked incredibly hurt. Bill cleared his throat.

“I think you have something to say, Mum.”

But Mrs Weasley just cried and cried. The other people on the platform gave them a wide berth.

It was Mr Weasley who stepped forward.

“Ginny, your mother is very sorry she sent you that Howler,” he said, a little awkward and visibly pained. “She didn’t understand. I can’t say I did, either, but… we understand a little better now, after talking to Bill and Charlie.”

Ginny just looked from her Dad to her Mum.

“Is that true?”

Mrs Weasley struggled to get herself back under control. After a few moments had passed, she more or less managed it.

“I’m really very sorry, dear,” she said.

Ginny looked at her for a long moment, but finally nodded.

“Alright,” she said. “But if you start – making nasty comments, or trying to stop me from seeing Luna, then I’ll run away and live with Bill.”

“Oh – I wouldn’t!” said Mrs Weasley.

“Alright,” said Ginny. She turned to Bill, and gave him a hug.

“Thanks for having my back,” Luna heard her whisper.

Luna, relieved that everything was going so well, looked around for Harry. He was standing behind them, looking ill-at-ease.

“Are your relatives here, yet?” Luna asked him.

“They’ll be on the other side of the barrier,” said Harry.

“Then we should escort you there, shouldn’t we, Arthur?” said Mrs Weasley, still wiping at her eyes, but with a hint of her usual briskness in her voice. “Come along, Harry dear.”

Luna caught sight of her Dad then, at the other end of the platform.

“My Dad’s here!” she called to the others. She rushed forward to drop a kiss on Harry’s cheek, reminded him again to write over the summer, and dropped a second kiss to Ginny’s mouth. Mrs Weasley looked discomfited, but said nothing – no doubt wary of her daughter’s newfound hostility.

Luna hurried over to where her Dad was waiting. He wrapped her in a hug, and Luna hugged back, because despite the invisible gap between them, she still loved him dearly. He was her Dad.

“Hello, sweetpea,” he said. “Did you have an eventful year?”

Luna thought of everything that had happened this year.

“That’s one way of putting it, I suppose.”

Together, she and her Dad left the platform, ready to Apparate back home.