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Under A Twilight Sun

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*

Mad as the moon, they say.

Luna has heard the many ways that her Hogwarts classmates and strangers in the Wizarding World referred to her when she was not there.

It doesn't upset her.

(Her mother thought it only fitting to name her Luna after being born during a full moon.)

She has friends from Hogwarts, but they are growing up and moving on without her. 

On her twenty-first birthday, Luna spends it alone with the One Minute Feasts - It's Magic! recipe book, thumbing through the recipes needing flour and eggs and dark chocolate, baking three helpings of souffle for herself and her mother, long since deceased, and her father, long since vanished without a word after leaving Azkaban. She conjures up a sparkling silver candle for the middle of it. 

*

In March, Luna receives her first letter from Xenophilius Lovegood in years. A red-collared, red-tailed dove carries it in.

He has taken a lead himself for a Quibbler article about the ever-elusive Zouwu.

She understands.

(It would be nice to receive another letter though.)

*

Spring becomes unusually cold, dampening everything with spirals of frost. 

Luna curls up on a bright purple couch-cushion, knitting. Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan will be having their child soon, with Parvati Patil helpfully offering to be a surrogate mother. They'll need warm, cozy socks for the little one.

Luna's bare toes wiggle.

She takes a moment to relax her fingers, stretching them, reaching for a litter of much older Quibbler magazines.

Her mind preoccupies itself with the bold, scrawling letters forming and un-forming magically on the first page: HARRY POTTER SPEAKS OUT AT LAST: THE TRUTH ABOUT HE-WHO-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED AND THE NIGHT I SAW HIM RETURN.

It's a lengthy read, going on for a few more pages of the Quibbler, and Luna knows it all by heart. She believed Harry. 

Harry did not lie about things that mattered most to him.

(He lied to himself, if anything.)

In the past year, she only glimpsed an older-looking but handsomely aging Harry in the Daily Prophet, smiling as sheepishly in his photos as he did in the Quibbler. It was easy to love Harry, Luna thinks. Everybody's a little in love with Harry upon meeting him.

She does wonder if… 

For her… if it's not a little more than love with Harry…

A knock thumps against her front room, once, twice for good measure. Luna politely calls out, wedging herself from the cushions and padding with her naked feet into the circular and pastel-hued kitchen, and to the front door's corridor connecting to it.  

THMMP!

"I did hear you the first time," Luna murmurs, removing the chain from the towering, blackwood door studded with iron.

She opens it, feeling April's burst of night chill, discovering after a moment… she has become face-to-face with Harry Potter himself.

He's panting, drenched to the bone, flushed hot and on edge with his nerves. Harry's spectacles splattered with rain. His silk-white wedding robes breathtakingly ruined with large clods of wet, dark dirt. Moonlight gleams in his dark, windswept hair.

Luna assumes he must have used a Portkey outside of this area of Ottery St Catchpole and walked.

(Why did he leave so suddenly?)

"S'rry…"

It's an apology that rasps in Harry's throat.

Luna cants her head to the side, mouth softening. 

"Hello, Harry," she breathes.

"I didn't know where else to go…" Harry admits, wiping off his cheek. He's so very tall, Luna admits. Was he always this tall when they were young? Or is she getting shorter? "Everything's gone barmy… I didn't even have time to send an owl."

He hesitates, peering over Luna in her oversized nightshirt, with it half-unbuttoned. A thin, frilly lavender chemise underneath.

"Was I disturbing you?"

Luna supposes if she should have pulled on trousers, as Harry's eyes narrowly avoid her legs—but in all fairness, she was not anticipating guests so late in the evening. Especially not her best friend who was meant to be marrying Luna's other best friend.

"That's quite alright, Harry," she says airily. "You're shivering. Was it a long journey? Are you cold?"

Instead of answering her, he lets out a low laugh.

"Would you like to come in?"

She moves aside, and Luna blinks when Harry's dripping-wet fingers grip onto her hand positioned to the door. 

"You weren't there," he points out, almost accusatory.

"Of course."

"Ginny's your friend."

"Of course she is," an expressionless Luna agrees. Saying otherwise would be dishonest. Even if hasn't been since bumping into each other at Gringotts Wizarding Bank, last spring, Luna knows a sense of familiarity being in Ginny's presence.

(It's only natural that, at times, her love for Harry matches her love for Ginny. They're both so dear to Luna and handsome…)

"Then why aren't you at the ceremony?" Harry asks, frowning.

His hand tightens over hers, and a solemn-eyed, silent Luna pulls free.

She remembers Neville writing about the planned reception, and how it changed to the Leaky Cauldron. It must not be so dingy and dodgy, but full of golden, enchanted lights and friendly faces and sprays of roses hanging gracefully from the banisters.

It's anything anyone could dream of.

Luna steps out into the rain, backing Harry up, her feet pressing to the rock-hard but slickened ground.

"The same reason you aren't, I expect," she whispers.

Harry searches her wide, silvery eyes, beginning to collect the pieces of Luna's truth she has kept to herself.

Like they're broken and little seashell fragments pricking him.

The highly publicized and months-long anticipated marriage between Ginevra Molly Weasley and Harry James Potter has already been delayed. The missing groom won't be there. He won't be there, because Harry stands at Luna's front door, as this quiet, cold twilight sun fades into the rain.

"You have been avoiding me," Luna acknowledges. Harry grimaces, covering his lips. "Ever since we left Hogwarts, hasn't it?"

He shakes his head. "I had to. I had to try for Ginny."

"Peace and quiet then?"

It's like they are back in the Great Hall, sitting on the bench and exhausted, and Harry's eyes light up. That's why he came here. 

That's why…

"I think I understand," Luna admits.

She does, and she does when Harry shudders his exhale and draws her in.

His lips feels wet, like the rain.

Luna feels the rain pattering on the tip of her nose. Harry kisses her, and it's a shock of warm to Luna's insides. It's like drawing a breath after being trapped underwater for so long. Her mouth opens slightly, uncertain of returning his needful kiss, before deepening it.

Her fingernails brush Harry's chin.

Both of his hands drift to Luna's sides. His fully soaked robes cling to Luna's nightshirt, wetting it.

She does nothing to stop Harry's hands all over her, wrinkling up the blue-flannel nightshirt and exposing her pants.

Their hips crush together, and Luna feels him pulsing against her, and it's… anything anyone could dream of…

(The only thing more skin-hungry than him must be a Erkling…)

She and Harry were children once, fresh from a War, battling not only the Dark Lord but themselves as well.

It was emotionally complicated.

Harry looked out for her, protected Luna and wanted to know what she felt and if he could help her. Nobody ever wanted that before. Luna encouraged him, when Harry was at his lowest, and admired him for all of the strength that Harry was finding in himself.

Rolf Scamander met Luna during a Ministry visit, and was fascinated by Luna's knowledge of the unknown Magical creatures.

He tried to please Luna by reading the Quibbler, and giving Luna her favourite sweets, but it was passionless.

And so, Rolf Scamander bowed out.

The first kiss from Harry came when they were ignored for the first time in their lives. 

Harry, seventeen and covered in grim and blood-stained, turned as if sensing Luna and she met his eyes across the entrance gates.

He rushed towards Luna, practically weak-kneed from his relief. Survivors of the Battle of Hogwarts disappeared past Harry, heading inside. Harry threw his arms around her, groaning her name, hugging Luna so tightly that her bones ached. 

Luna didn't know what to do, not then, other than holding Harry's dirtied face in her hands, and murmuring comfortingly, and accepting Harry's kiss. She wanted to kiss him back, so she did. Even if it might have been bad. Even if Luna knew how Ginny felt. 

That twinge of guilt stirred.

She has accepted it.

(But… hasn't Harry?)

"Luna," Harry croaks, pulling out of their kiss and looking like the boy who stood in front of the Thestrals and saw them, as Luna did. He had been frightened and bewildered and weighed heavily by his doubt, and Luna felt only her kindness. 

Her hand seeks Harry's fingers touching her hip, covering him.

"Would you like to come inside?" she asks, smiling fondly as the corners of Harry's mouth grin. 

He does.

The things we lose, Luna, my darling… they always have a way of coming back to us in the end…

If not always in the way we expect…

*