Once Upon a Time, there was a Princess who didn't think she was a Princess, and a Dragon. They grew up together; side by side, moment by moment. They were an odd pair (always had been, always would be; how could they not be, this dragon and princess?). And then one day, the dragon died.
To early, to young, they tamed the great beast, they vanquished her. And the Princess was never the same.
Luna Lovegood, with her dirty blonde hair (a Princess in her own right, whether she believed it or not), Tatiana Lokison, with her mousy golden-brown locks (the dragon, dangerous and fierce, nearly impossible to beat) had spoken to each other about Happily Ever Afters, Once Upon a Time. Luna had wanted so badly to believe they existed. Ana had always been convinced.
(Fate would prove her wrong. The Dragon dies too young, too early. She has not chance for her Happily Ever After.)
Luna doesn't know exactly how it happened, of course. She was off, fighting her own battles, exhausting herself in the pursuit of a battle she could not hope to win. Somewhere, in a different part of the school, while trying to smuggle children out, Ana dies. The reporters all say they won the battle, won the war.
Privately, Luna still believes they lost.
Luna, Ginny, and Neville had all been Generals of a Revolution staged inside their school. Luna had asked Ana to be their Spy Mistress. Ana had agreed.
(Lokison. Daughter of a Trickster. Of course Ana had agreed, Ana wanted to raise hell against those who sought conformity.)
Luna was kidnapped. She didn't come back after Christmas break. Ana continued on as a Spy.
Luna comes back, beaten, bloodied, bruised, but not broken. Never broken.
Ana greets her with a quiet “Welcome Home,” and an all too sharp smile. There are scars running down her arms now, and a bruise on her cheek. Luna may not have been here, but Ana was.
Ana is a natural spy. She listens, because no one seems to think she is important. The Carrows talk to her because her tie is green and silver. Slytherins pass her information as the year goes by, silent in their revolt.
Ana takes everything back to the Room of Requirement, to the Generals and Lieutenants that have since been forced into hiding. She smiles at the First Years when she's there, and promises them safety. And when she attends classes the next day, she makes good on that promise, every time.
(Ana takes the Crucio multiple times, in the final year, all in the defence of the much younger children. Still, the Carrows continue to see her as one of their own.)
Tatiana Lokison is born the daughter of a Muggle, and the daughter of a demi-goddess. She's the first in her family to have magic since her great-grandfather.
During that final year, Ana walks among the enemy, and they never once realise it. After all, the Sorting Hat would never have put a mudblood into Slytherin. It simply wasn't done.
(Luna hates sending her back. Any day could be her last.)
Ana gives her last report to her Generals, to her friends, and tells the children that it's almost over. Before she leaves for her Common Room that night, she kisses Luna solidly. It's their only kiss.
Later that evening, Harry Potter comes back to Hogwarts.
Once, in her first year, Luna was not impressed with Harry Potter. He had seemed like the traditional Gryffindor: brave to the point of stupidity. He was always the one that things were centred around, always the one with the attention.
In her fourth year, she finally meets Harry Potter. He's nice, nicer than she thought he would be. In her fourth year, both she and Ana are finally impressed by Harry Potter.
By the end of the Battle of Hogwarts, Luna wished they stayed unimpressed.
Harry Potter come back to Hogwarts after Luna has finally kissed Ana, and Luna gets a sinking feeling in her chest. She knows that bad things are about to happen. She can smell it coming from a mile away.
When all is said and done, and Luna finally gets a break, after everything, she'll think back to a conversation she and Ana had.
“I'm not really certain Happily Ever After exists. I'd like to have one, but I don't think they're real,” she had told her best friend one day, sitting in front of the lake.
Ana had laughed. “Of course they're real! Even if they don't come like the stories say. Lu, Happily Ever After exists, sure. You've just got to work for it.”
Luna shook her head. “I still don't believe in them,” she said softly.
Ana shrugged. “To each their own, I guess.”
(Luna had never wanted to be proven wrong so badly.)
Luna helps Harry Potter on his quest, and then goes to fight, school uniform still perfectly in place, Ravenclaw tie still hanging around her neck. She wipes her makeup off though. The time has come for masks to be irrelevant.
Ana doesn't want to fight, instead choosing to evacuate the building before anything else. She tears off her tie, takes off her sweater, but leaves her makeup on. It is her warpaint, and her lack of school crest is her armour.
They are fighting for the same thing, but Luna is open, the time for hiding done. Ana sneaks children around corners, wand in hand, and curses on the tip of her tongue, ready to defend.
They are different, but they are the same.
They both fight Death Eater after Death Eater. Many of them are former classmates.
Ana is taken down by Bellatrix LeStrange.
Luna is shown Ana's body at the very end. She's laid out with everyone else, in the Great Hall, between Tonks and Lavender Brown.
She looks pale in Death, but her grey skirt is still pleated perfectly, and her white button down is still pressed, despite the battle. Her shoes, flats that were formerly black, are covered in dirt and grime. There's a cut on her cheek that looked like it had been bleeding. Her hair, once short, is pulled back in a ponytail.
Luna is the one to cover the body. She is also the one to announce Ana's death to the children she saved.
When Luna marries Rolf, things get better.
When Luna has Lorcan and Lysander, she's convinced that she might be happier than ever.
When Luna has to tell a reporter that she fought in this war, this war fought by children, and that she suffered losses in this war, all she can feel is pain.
Padma Patil writes her, a few days after the incident with the reporter, to ask Luna if she'd like to get drinks with her.
They spend the whole night reminiscing. About better times, times when they didn't jump at the slightest sound. They talk about their days at Hogwarts, the ones before that final year, before the Occupation. They talk about lost friends.
Luna sometimes forgets that she's not the only one who lost people in the war. Parvati lost Lavender. George lost Fred. Dennis lost Colin. Poor little Teddy Lupin lost Remus and Tonks. Luna lost Ana.
Those who fought in that final battle jump at every noise. Those who were there for the Occupation of Hogwarts keep their wands in holsters at their wrists, and have hexes on the tips of their tongues. They learned not to jump.
Luna learns to live without Ana.
The Wizarding World moves on.
Sometimes, Luna thinks back to what Ana was like. She tells Rolf everything, and he listens patiently, says that he would have loved to know her.
She tells her children more.
She talks about their Aunty Ana, and how she was a beacon of light. She tells them about how Ana would always have time to talk to the younger years, always have time to help them learn, to teach them. She talks about how Ana used to dance around the Ravenclaw Common Room like she owned it, listening to a mixture of classic rock, musicals, and classical.
(Luna has all of Ana's old CDs, and she knows all of Ana's favourites. She plays them for the boys, for Rolf, for herself as she dances around the kitchen. Takes pride in watching the boys and Rolf dance around her living room singing Elvis Prestly, takes pride when she catches the boys studying to the Danse Macabre, or In the Hall of the Mountain King. Somewhere, she knows Ana's smiling.)
Luna knows the names. Sees their faces swimming before her as she tries to sleep that first year after the battle. Still hears the voices of her late classmates. Knows that the ones who survived hear them too.
Luna, Parvati, Padma, Dennis, and Neville all go out drinking on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts.
They share stories about their friends, about their loved ones. About what they had, and what they lost. Luna takes comfort in that night, with those few people. It's the one night of the year she gets well and truly drunk. She thinks it's the same for the others as well.
Once Upon a Time, a Princess befriend a Dragon; one who she would later fall in love with. The Dragon would be slain on the field of battle, and the Princess mourned.
In that Once Upon a Time, however, there was work to be done. The Princess rolled up her sleeves, and got to work, rebuilding, and continuing. The battle had been fought, the war won. The Dragon may be dead, but there were others that needed the Princess' help.
But Princesses, even in Once Upon a Times that don't have a Happily Ever After, have to grow up. And so, the Princess became Queen. And she sought to fix, sought to change. She took a King, and together they had Princes. The Queen had work, and so did her courtiers. She moved around with a cheerful disposition, 'til the point where many had forgotten their Queen fought a war.
But she and her council met, and they spoke. They were soldiers. They missed their Happily Ever After, and maybe it was for the best.
But Luna thinks (hopes, maybe even prays) that there are other little girls who learn from her example.
“I think any of them would be good,” one will say. “Even Slytherin, or Hufflepuff. The Badgers are always overlooked, underestimated. And being ambitious isn't a bad thing you know.” Her words will have meaning.
Luna hopes that meaning will come to fruition. After all, just because she didn't get Happily Ever After doesn't mean these girls won't.
“I'm not really certain Happily Ever After exists. I'd like to have one, but I don't think they're real.”
“Of course they're real! Even if they don't come like the stories say. Lu, Happily Ever After exists, sure. You've just got to work for it.”