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A/N: Haha, yeah, this chapter REALLY has no DH spoilers...Maybe it's just me, but I didn't quite like the way this chapter turned out.  I honestly envisioned something else...something better....something...great.  Oh well.  Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy and leave me some constructive criticism!  Thank you guys. 

And thanks to Cara Nicole Luvitz for the chapter image!








Luna,


Would you like to test our new product?  By simply chewing the enclosed purple ball, you will be thrown into a real life scenario of your wildest fancies.  When you’re done, just drop us a line about it.

Fred and George Weasley

Luna placed the letter from Fred and George on the table in front of her and picked up the purple gumball.  She glanced around the room for any sign of Madam Pince.  After all, eating, drinking or chewing gum in the library was strictly forbidden.  Seeing no one in the vicinity, Luna popped the ball into her mouth and began to chew.

The door behind her opened and Luna glanced around.  A crowd of people entered the library and in the very center was a handsome boy with brown hair, Cedric Diggory.  They were whispering excitedly but stopped as they reached Luna.  Most of them threw disdainful looks her way, while the others ignored her.  Cedric merely glanced at Luna, and upon making eye contact smiled apologetically and allowed himself to be led to a table on the far side from where Luna sat idly, twirling her wand through her fingers. 

Of course Luna knew him, who didn’t know Cedric Diggory?  Luna gave a small sigh of pity for the boy.  It must be awful to be so popular and be surrounded by so many people everyday. 

Luckily, Luna thought happily, she had never been bothered by such annoyances.  If she had, why, there would be hardly any time to search the castle for Nargles, let alone get any homework done.  Absentmindedly pushing her books, parchment, quill and inkbottles into her bag, Luna glanced across the room and saw Cedric attempting to wave off his group of admirers, claiming he had to finish his Transfiguration essay by the end of lunch.  And without another second to lose, Luna stole out of the library and headed toward the Great Hall for some pudding.

Fridays were always Luna’s favorite due to the fact that she would then have the whole weekend to explore the castle grounds and make friends with the critters of the Forbidden Forest.  Best of all though, Luna used these precious hours to discover those most hard to find mystical creatures, such as the Crumple Horned Snorcak.

“Hello Luna,” Harry Potter called to her from the Gryffindor table as she passed by. 

Luna paused and smiled vaguely at Harry, her mind still on the exploring she would commence tomorrow.  “Hello Harry.”

Lunch having just begun, and with Ron and Hermione on Prefect duties, Harry was quite alone.  “Er—would you like to join me?” he asked her.

“Why yes.  I was just hoping to discuss some new clues my father had found out on the whereabouts of the Crumple Horned Snorcak.”  Luna sat down next to Harry and reached over to scoop up some steamed vegetables on her plate.  As more students filed into the Great Hall, they threw incredulous looks at the Ravenclaw sitting so comfortably at the Gryffindor table.  “We went on vacation last summer to Sweden.  It was really very nice.  Daddy believes he has found a claw from the Crumple Horned Snorcack.”

Harry stared into his pumpkin juice to keep his face straight, but Luna took no notice.  As she continued on her banter about her vacation in Sweden, the Great Hall quickly filled up, then slowly emptied.  “Have you seen Cedric lately?”

The question took Luna by surprise, and she lost her vague look for a moment.  “Oh, yes, in the library.  Oh, it must be awful to be so well known.”

“Yeah,” Harry muttered, being no stranger to having people know all about him.  Rummaging around in his pockets, he pulled out a short chain with a badger on it on it.  On the back was inscribed the name Cedric Diggory.  “Er—would you mind giving this back to him?  He left behind in one of his classes.”

Not questioning why Harry wouldn’t do it himself, Luna accepted the charm and placed it in her pocket.  “Yes.”  Looking around Luna noticed that the Great Hall was nearly deserted.  “Oh, well, lunch is over.”

Harry glanced around the Great Hall.  “Oh, yeah.  Well, I guess we’d better go.  Don’t forget about Cedric.  Thanks, Luna.”

The two friends parted at the entrance to the Great Hall, Harry turning right to head towards the Gryffindor tower, and Luna turning left to make her way towards Defense Against the Dark Arts.  Glancing at her watch, Luna noticed that she had only ten minutes to get to class.  Hastening her walking pace, she heard someone swearing up ahead.  Rounding the corner to the staircase, Cedric Diggory stood, his foot caught in the accursed missing step.  He was trying valiantly to get the staircase to relinquish its hold on his foot, but to no avail.  The only way to get the stairway to release its hold was to have someone pull you out, or to magic your foot free.  And the more Cedric struggled to free his foot, the further in he sank, and the farther away his wand seemed to be.

Picking up Cedric’s fallen wand at the foot of the stairs, Luna made her way towards the boy.  Waving her wand in the direction of Cedric’s left leg just as he gave a tremendous tug, the brown haired teenager fell backwards in surprise as his leg came whipping out.  “Sorry.  Thanks for that, though,” Cedric said as he turned around to help up whomever he had knocked into.

Luna took the hand offered her and stood up gracefully.  “You dropped your wand,” she said, holding it out to him. 

“I—yeah.  Thanks.”  Cedric seemed taken aback at who had just helped him.  Moreover, that she was speaking to him normally.  He followed her as she began to walk up the staircase.  “Where are you headed?”

“Defense Against the Dark Arts.”  Luna looked at the boy walking beside her.  “You don’t like being so popular.”

Cedric was nonplussed.  “Sorry?”

“Well, I wouldn’t, anyway.”  Luna smiled at a suit of armor to her right and it raised its arm in salute to her.  “All those people all the time.  I much prefer to be able to hear my own thoughts.”

“But having friends isn’t so bad,” Cedric replied mildly.

“Oh yes.  But they aren’t your friends when you’re popular.  They’re your fans.”  She stopped for a moment to scrutinize the boy walking next to her.  “How many of them know your favorite color?  Or your favorite creature?”  When Cedric seemed unable to reply, Luna smiled in an offhand way and began to walk again.

“So they don’t know that I prefer owls to cats.  That doesn’t mean that they’re not my friends,” Cedric responded, catching up with Luna.

Without even looking at him, she commented, “But you don’t talk to your parents about them.”  Cedric stayed silent behind her.  She was right after all; he’d never mentioned any of his friends to his mum or dad.  But they were still his friends…right?

Slightly resentful, Cedric asked, “You tell your father about your friends here?” 

He hadn’t really expected Luna to say yes.  Perhaps she would have just said she didn’t have any friends, and he would have felt better.  But instead, she smiled at him and replied, “Oh yes.  I talk about Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Neville all the time.”  Luna rummaged around and took out a small frame no larger than a cracker from her robes.  In it was a picture showing six people.  Cedric stared at the cheerful faces of Luna and her friends for a moment and looked away hurriedly.  The longer he talked with Luna, the more unsure of just how many real friends he actually had.

“That’s…really great,” Cedric muttered. 

“You really should talk to them more,” Luna observed.  “So when you’re no longer popular, you’ll still have friends.”  Perhaps this blunt honesty more than anything else struck Cedric.  Of course he wouldn’t be popular forever, but then, he’d never really thought of a life outside of Hogwarts much.  “Transfiguration is that way,” Luna told him as he copied her movement of turning left to head down the hall to Defense Against the Dark Arts.

“Oh, yeah.”  As they reached the door to the classroom, some of the students gave the pair odd stares: an extremely popular Hufflepuff with an outcast Ravenclaw.  Jealous mutters of “Why is he talking to her?” went unnoticed as Cedric raged a battle in his head.  “Hey listen.”  Luna turned away from the door and looked instead at Cedric.  His dark eyes were full of turmoil, and yet a determination.  Luna watched as he shifted uncomfortably and adjusted his backpack on his shoulder.  “Er—well, would you like to hang out at Hogsmeade with me tomorrow, then?  And maybe tell me what your favorite color is?”

Luna blinked in surprise.  This wasn’t something she had expected.  “Oh, yes.  That would be lovely.”

“Great,” said Cedric, and he seemed taller, lighter, as If a huge weight had been lifted from him.  “Well, see you tomorrow.  Oh, and being popular isn’t as great as it seems,” he added, turning to hurry down to Transfiguration. 

Luna stared at the back of Cedric Diggory, as he hurried along.  Not overly surprised, but pleasantly shocked that she had made him see that life wasn’t all about being popular, she was about to enter the classroom when she remembered something.  “Cedric!” she called after him. 

He whirled around to face her, apologizing to some first years he nearly rammed into.  “Yeah?”

 Luna held up the badger with his name on it.  “You forgot this somewhere.”

 Cedric grinned charmingly.  “You keep it,” he called over his shoulder as he broke into a run.

 Luna smiled serenely and attached the badger to her bag.

 

 Slowly coming to, Luna rubbed her eyes.  She was still in the library and must have fallen asleep, she reasoned.  Taking in her surroundings, she noticed a letter lying open a few inches from her quill, and her papers still spread out over the open book she had been reading.  “Of course,” she mumbled to herself.  She pulled a fresh sheet of parchment towards her, dipped her quill into and open inkbottle near her and began to scribble:

Fred and George,

Hope your products give more of a warning next time.  I didn’t know what had happened.

Luna

 As she folded the letter, and began to pack up, Luna noticed something she hadn’t before.  On her bag seemed to be some new charm.  Upon giving it another glance, she noticed it to be in the form of some animal.  Indeed, it looked very much like a badger.

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