Luna gives Harry a bit of assurance.
Considering that he hadn't found a single clue all day, he was thinking not.
Harry sighed loudly as he slouched in his chair, finally deciding that he wasn't going to get any more work done tonight. Ron and Hermione had offered to help, but he'd refused. He wasn't up to having company just now. He thought Hermione had been about to protest, but Ron's hand on her shoulder seemed to have convinced her otherwise. That's when Ginny had come in, and Harry had unceremoniously disappeared, wanting very much to avoid a confrontation. No one had bothered him since.
He sighed again, slamming his forehead down onto the book in front of him. Harry rolled his head to the side, his cheek now resting against one of the rough, crisp pages of Rowena Ravenclaw--Martyr or Maniac?
His eyes wandered, taking in the walls of books, closing around him like a cage. Harry squeezed his eyes shut as his breath quickened, trying to imagine himself some place else. Some place loud, boisterous, and happy. It had always worked in the cupboard...
It was with a heavy heart that Harry raised his head, realizing that he was already in one of the loudest and happiest places he'd ever been in his life, and the only thing he could hear were the sounds of his own ragged breathing and the ticking of the clock on the wall across from him. He found himself wishing that Ron hadn't insisted on coming to the Burrow for the Christmas holidays.
Harry cursed, hurling the book he'd unconsciously picked up across the room. It struck the clock--a seemingly normal one. Or, at least, he'd thought so, until it sent its minute hand flying at him in revenge.
Harry moved his head to the side quickly, making a narrow escape. Just what he needed--an inanimate object with a personal vendetta against him. Perfect.
"You might want to apologize," said a dreamy voice, from somewhere behind him.
"Luna...when'd you get here?" Harry asked, turning to face her. Hadn't the others told her that he didn't want to be bothered just now?
She ignored his question, choosing instead to add to her previous comment. "I don't think it's very happy with you right now. I imagine it's because you threw a book at it," she continued, walking over to inspect the damaged clock.
"It's just a clock," he shot back.
The clock rumbled, as if to attack him again. He ducked below the table to avoid being speared in the eye with another hand.
"Oh, he doesn't mean it," he heard Luna say. "He's just frustrated," she continued, dropping her voice into a whisper, as if she hadn't wanted Harry to overhear. Harry snorted to himself, poking his head out from under the table, to see if it was safe. The clock seemed satisfied with this answer, so Harry returned to his seat, shaking his head incredulously.
"What're you doing up?" he asked her, straightening himself in his chair. "It's nearly midnight."
"Oh," she responded beaming. "Well, I've been helping Daddy all week with the Special Edition of The Quibbler due out next week. I've been too excited to get much rest," she finished, still grinning from ear to ear.
"That's...er...that's great, Luna," Harry replied, rubbing the back of his neck nervously.
Luna pulled a chair up next to him, much too close to be comfortable. Not that Luna had ever been one for respecting personal space. Her wide, silver eyes were inches from his face, causing Harry to look at the ceiling instead, avoiding her gaze.
In a flash of movement that he missed, Luna jerked up a paper from some unknown location (presumably her robes), holding it between them. "You can have this one, even though it isn't quite finished yet. I'm sure Daddy wouldn't mind."
Harry brought his gaze back down, taking in the glittering text and moving pictures before what he was looking at had really registered.
The Legendary Treasures of the Four Founders--Truth or Fiction?
Harry jerked the paper out of her hands hastily, turning towards the table to inspect it more thoroughly. Luna seemed pleased that he shared her enthusiasm, and Harry felt a brief pang of guilt that it was for a different reason than she thought.
Not that he was claiming to know what she thought about, by any means.
Setting his mind back on task, he skimmed the paper for any signs that it might help him. Seeing a mention of Hufflepuff's golden goblet, he almost whooped for joy, setting the paper down for more thorough inspection later. To think, he'd been doing all this work and research, when the answer might have been right in front of him all along. Or, right beside him, anyway.
"Luna," he said seriously, "This is very important. Can you tell me where your Father got this information?"
She frowned. "Sorry, Harry, a journalist never reveals his--"
"Luna!" Harry interrupted, slamming his hand down on the table. "This is important! It's about Voldemort!"
"You'd have to ask Daddy," she responded calmly, looking back at him as if nothing had happened. "What's that?" she asked, moving to pick up the broken fragments of glass where they lay on the table next to Harry.
"That's--" he began, trying to move them out of her sight. He cut off, though, because she was already holding them up in the meager light to inspect them.
"Why do you carry around a broken mirror?" she asked, her eyes wide with curiosity. Harry didn't want to tell her that it was his closest reminder of Sirius; that he'd spent hours looking into it, hoping to catch a glimpse of Sirius looking out. Or...something. Anything. He wasn't picky.
"Because Reparo won't work on it." Well, at least he hadn't lied. Luna looked at him then, studying his face intensely. He shifted uncomfortably under her gaze. He wished she would look away.
When she finally did, she had drawn something else out of her robes in a swift motion. She was holding it tightly against her chest, preventing Harry from seeing what it was. She studied him for another moment, before setting it on the table in front of him.
It was a mirror, too, though in much better shape than his. It was smooth, unblemished. It had a frame that looked like wood painted white, but he really couldn't tell. Harry looked at her curiously.
"My mother gave this to me, before she died," Luna explained. Harry blinked at her in confusion. Luna sighed. "It's like yours, see?" she asked, setting the broken fragments of his own mirror next to hers, as if for comparison purposes.
"Luna, I don't see what--"
"I used to think that I'd see her in it, just like she said I would," she interrupted. "But I didn't. It took me a long time to realize that I never would." She said this all very methodically, as if she were talking about the weather. Harry continued looking at her, not quite sure how to respond. The fact that Luna had stopped believing in anything seemed rather...well--
"You're still upset about Dumbledore."
"A lot of people are," he countered.
"Yes, a lot of us," she agreed, nodding. "Professor Dumbledore was a good headmaster, but I think he liked you best. He spoke to me that time. When he gave me the note for you. I think he was worried."
Harry swallowed the lump in his throat, wondering why she always had to bring up these sorts of subjects, catching him off guard.
"He said, 'Harry needs his friends. Now more than ever.'"
Harry rubbed his arms, as if cold, knowing the truth behind those words.
"I'm your friend, Harry."
"Do you?" she asked innocently, shuffling her feet. Harry looked down, amused at the sight of her long, blue skirt peeking out from underneath her robes. Harry's gaze snapped back up when he noticed that Luna had placed her hands on the sides of her seat, as if steadying herself.
Luna suddenly leaned towards him, pressing her lips to his left cheek; she lingered for a moment, but not long enough to make it anything more than a chaste kiss. She pulled back, nodding in satisfaction.
"Good night, Harry," she said, standing up. Harry looked back at her, too dumbstruck to say anything.
"And try to be a bit nicer to the clocks, won't you?"