What if Luna responded differently to Harry during their conversation before the leaving feast? AU set near the end of OoTP. Harry/Luna
Chapter 2: The Leaving Feast.
The closer they came to the great hall and the leaving feast, the slower Luna seemed to walk, until she eventually came to a halt near the entrance to the great hall.
She turned to face him."Thank you for walking with me Harry" she said, brightly. "I do hope they still have some treacle tart left for you."
She released his hand with alast little squeeze, and entered the great hall, heading for the Ravenclaw table.
Harry watched her take a seat near one end of the table, and start selecting various desserts, including a small slice of treacle tart. He hoped she liked it, then wondered idly why it mattered to him.
He walked absently over to his usual seat at the Gryffindor table next to Ron, and spooned some of the tapioca pudding into a bowl. Remembering what Luna had said, he drizzleda tiny amount of honey over it and then a spoonful of cream.
Harry studied the pudding suspiciously. What was tapioca anyway? He'd always steered clear of it because it looked like fish eggs in a white blancmange.
"Errr, mate..." Ron began.
"What is tapioca anyway?" he asked, instinctively looking across the table at Hermione.
"It's like sago Harry", she answered him.
He looked at her and waited for her to continue. Surely she wasn't going to stop there? He had no idea what sago was either.
"Sorry Harry, that's all I've got" she said, a little embarrassed.
"That's ok Hermione; I'm just surprised to find there's something you don't know." He grinned at her, "It's kind of refreshing in a way. Besides," he teased "it's not really a life skill or something that's going to come up in our NEWTs now is it?"
Hermione darted a look at Ron as though not quite sure how to react and looking for some help.
"What's wrong Hermione?" Harry asked
"It's just... well, an hour ago you were so sad that you didn't even want to come down with us to the feast, and now... you're joking around like normal, and you NEVER eat tapioca. You don't even add anything to ice cream when you have it, but now..." She gestured to his bowl and he looked down at it, almost as though noticing it for the first time.
"We're just worried about you mate" Ron added. "We know it hasn't been easy for you after... well, after the ministry, but you know you can talk to us anytime don't you?"
Harry swallowed a little. He hadn't thought about Sirius at all since he'd run into Luna, and now those feelings of loss were starting to return at Ron's mention of the ministry.
Guilt at how he'd led his friends into the trap started to overwhelm him again. They all could have died, so easily. He thought the image of that purple curse hitting Hermione was going to stay with him for the rest of his life. Like Sirius falling through the veil, the image of Hermione falling had haunted his dreams every night so far, along with Ginny trying to walk with a broken ankle.
The images returned to him again, unwanted. There was Neville trying hard to cast spell after spell with a broken nose, and Ron struggling while the tentacles from that brain-thing wrapped around him. Then his breath caught as his mind replayed the image of Luna flying through the air and hitting a desk, before sliding across it and onto the floor, still as death...
"Harry?" Hermione said softly, interrupting his thoughts, her hand had touched his where it shook, loosely gripping a spoon. As his gaze lifted to hers, she saw the desolate look he'd had the last few days had returned to his eyes. Her grip tightened on his hand as she struggled to think of how to bring her friend back from his thoughts.
"Oh, I see you're going to try the tapioca Harry. There wasn't any left on our table, so do you mind if I share some of yours?"
Hermione looked over to see that Luna had walked over and was standing next to where Harry was seated, her left hand on his right shoulder as she looked down at the table.
Taking his lack of reply as assent, she squeezed in next to him and pulled his bowl closer to herself.
"May I?" She asked, gesturing towards his spoon. Hermione released his hand as he handed the spoon to Luna, a small smile playing cross his face.
She took a spoonful of pudding and ate it happily, then looked at Harry. "Yummy!" She exclaimed "So why haven't you tried it yet?" She asked.
When Harry didn't reply straight away, she scooped up another spoonful and held it out towards him. His smile widened, but he didn't make any moves towards it.
"Come on Harry, open wide. It's not like I'm trying to feed you Polyjuice potion"
"Polyjuice isn't that bad really" he replied, thinking of the Polyjuice potion Hermione had brewed and automatically trying to protect her feelings. It wasn't her fault it tasted like raw sewage, that's just how it was. Hermione raised an eyebrow at him.
"Well, come to think of it, yeah, Polyjuice tastes really awful". Harry grinned.
Harry took the mouthful of pudding Luna had patiently held for him, and thought about the taste as he swallowed. It was quite bland in his opinion. He could taste vanilla, and a hint of the honey he'd added, but the tapioca itself didn't seem to have any real flavour. As a pudding it was ok, but he doubted he'd choose it again. He wondered why it appealed to Luna. There was so much he didn't know about her.
"My mother always made this for me when I was feeling sad" Luna said, as though reading his thoughts "and it always made me feel better. Anyway, I've got some things to do now so I better go."
She stood up and waved her farewells to the Gryffindors around her and started walking off. Harry wondered what she could possibly have to do the night before leaving, then remembered the notices she'd put up on the board. "Wait up Luna" he called, starting to get to his feet. Luna stopped and turned back towards him.
"Harry, what is it?" Hermione asked
He leaned across the table while still standing, and noted Ron had leaned forward to listen in as well. Keeping his voice down he quickly told them what he knew and suspected about Luna's missing possessions.
"That's just not right!" Ron blurted out a little louder than he should, and at their looks he lowered his voice and continued "We're going to help look as well, aren't we?"
"Well of course we are" Hermione said.
Harry thought for a minute."You two go with Luna and get started then. I think I need to have a word with Padma and see if I can find out what is going on in that bloody tower. I'll use the map to find you afterwards."
He watched his best friends get up and lead Luna out of the hall, then started scanning the Ravenclaw table looking for Padma. Not having any luck spotting her, he looked up and down the Gryffindor table for her sister, but it looked like she'd already left for some last minute packing, or whatever, as well.
Turning back to the Ravenclaw table, he tried to find Anthony Goldstein, the only other Ravenclaw prefect he knew of. He doubted he'd be able to help, but he could at least get Padma for him if needed.
"Err, Anthony, can I have a word in private please?" He asked, after finding him at the table.
"Sure Harry." He excused himself from his friends and followed Harry out of the hall and into the corridor where they had a little privacy. "What's up?" he asked.
"What do you know about Luna's stuff going missing?" Harry asked without any preamble.
Anthony frowned. "I don't have much to do with Luna...why would her stuff be missing?" He asked.
"Why indeed?" Harry replied, before leading Anthony over to a noticeboard. Sure enough, Luna had placed one of her notices on it, and Anthony read it.
Anthony appeared to be puzzling out what this meant, and from what Harry could tell from his expression, he wasn't any happier with the conclusion he'd reached than Harry was.
"I didn't know anything about this Harry, or I'd have done something about it. We don't usually have much to do other than patrols in Ravenclaw as we're a fairly boring bunch & don't get into a lot of trouble...well, not usually anyway. If Luna had said anything, it would probably have been to Pad, so let's go talk to her."
Anthony led them up to the Ravenclaw tower entrance, and answered a riddle in order to let them in. Harry gaped at the large windows draped in blue and bronze silks, and glanced over at the white statue in a niche across from him.
Anthony indicated the nearest chair "Best wait here Harry while I get her. I'll only be a minute." He took off up a staircase near the statue of Rowena Ravenclaw, or at least, that's who Harry assumed it was.
"What are YOU doing in here?" a voice demanded harshly.
He looked over at the speaker, and tried not to stare at her forehead. The word Sneak was still very visible, and at Marietta's angry glare, he realised that with his glance to her forehead he'd done exactly what he wished others wouldn't do to him.
"I'm waiting for Anthony to come back. He's gone to get Padma" He replied.
She looked confused "What would you need to speak to Padma about? Parvati's here with her sister if that's what you wanted to know."
"No, I need to speak to her about a friend of mine in Ravenclaw."
"Cho's NOT your friend! You stay away from her!" Marietta said angrily
"It's nothing to do with Cho" Harry replied calmly, though starting to get annoyed himself.
"Who then?" Marietta said disbelievingly, contempt dripping from her tone.
Harry had had enough of her. It was her fault Umbridge had found the DA and that had resulted in the toad taking over Hogwarts. Maybe if the DA sessions had continued his friends would have learnt more and not been hurt as much, and Sirius...
"It's none-of-your-bloody-business that's who!" Harry yelled back at her, and she stepped back in alarm.
Padma arrived and stepped between them, facing Harry. She looked back over her shoulder at Marietta "I've got it now Edgecombe, you can go back about your business" she said to her coldly, before turning back to Harry. She took a seat next to him.
"Harry, Anthony told me what you talked about, and I'm sorry, but I haven't heard anything about this until now. She never came to me about it."
Harry could see she was a little upset. She probably felt responsible as she was a prefect.
"Hey, it's alright Padma, but is there anything you can do about it now? I think if I found out who's been hiding Luna's stuff I'm liable to start hexing first and asking questions later."
At his statement, Marietta let out a quiet gasp and turned pale. Harry looked up at her, and noticed her starting to back slowly away. "It was YOU! He growled, and started to stand up, his eyes fixed on her with a cold hard glare.
Padma's spell hit Marietta, and she fell to the carpet wrapped tightly in ropes.
"Harry, let me please." Padma said, again standing between him and Marietta. Placing a hand on his chest, she gently pushed him back towards the chair he'd just risen from before turning to Marietta.
"I want to know where Luna's possessions are, and then I want to know who else was involved. I do NOT want to hear any denials or excuses, or else..."
Marietta couldn't stop herself asking "Or else what?"
Padma smiled. "Or else I'll kick everyone else out of the tower and leave you with Harry. I think he might prefer to be the one asking anyway."
Padma reached for some parchment and a quill as Marietta started talking.