[identity profile] zaph.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] exclusive_and
Title: Friends...
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Harry Potter
Characters: Tara Maclay, Luna Lovegood, Rupert Giles, Willow Rosenberg, others
Disclaimer: The usual. Not my characters. Joss Whedon's and J.K. Rowling's characters. The usual copyrights.
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Three significant moments in Luna Lovegood's life. (2390 words)
WARNING: Contains Deathly Hallows spoilers.


* Summer, 1994 *

"I think they're from America!" Luna excitedly told her father, pointing to a girl about her age who was walking a little ways ahead of her with her mother, as she heard one of them speak in a clearly American accent.

"Why yes, I think they are. Perhaps they've even seen the elusive Quadruple-striped Glumpopod, which has long been extinct in Europe!" her father answered loudly.

Luna rushed past the girl and turned to face her. She was shorter than Luna, but not by much, and had a very innocent-looking face, and waist length light brown hair. Luna followed her eyes upwards to the sign above the pub they'd stopped in front of: The Leaky Cauldron.

"You're -- you're a witch?" Luna asked with a knowing look.

The girl looked back at her and then looked up at her mother, as if asking for help, but her mother was already engaged in conversation with Luna's father. Clearly having no other option, she answered Luna, looking at the ground.

"Y-Yes. How d-d-did you know?" she responded.

"You were looking at the sign. Muggles can't see it."

"M-Muggles?" she asked, looking up briefly.

"Non-magic people."

"Oh. So, you're a w-witch, too?"

"Of course. And my mum was a witch, and daddy's a wizard. Are your mum and dad magical?"

The girl seemed amazed that such a person could even exist and stared at Luna, wide-eyed.

"My mother's a witch, but --" she stopped.

"Your father doesn't like magic, does he?" Luna continued for her.

"My father doesn't like much of anything. He and Donny didn't even want to come to England."

Luna assumed Donny must be the girl's brother, and then realised she hadn't introduced herself.

"I'm sorry! I always forget!" exclaimed Luna suddenly. "Daddy always said I should introduce myself first. I'm Luna, but you can call me Loony if you want. Everyone at school does."

The girl laughed, but then seemed to think better of it. "I'm Tara. You can call me, um, Tara." She looked at her feet again.

"Are you here for the Quidditch World Cup finals?" Luna asked. "We're leaving for it next week, so we've come to get my school things a little early this year."

"The what world what?"

"Quidditch. Cup. You do have Quidditch in America, don't you?"

"No, what -- what is Quidditch?"

"Oh, it's a wonderful sport! Come for a drink with us in the Leaky Cauldron, I'll tell you all about it!"

Her father had been listening and nodded his head in agreement, opening the door to the pub and allowing Tara's mother to enter ahead of them, and a minute later, they found themselves seated in a small booth by the window. As the booth was only large enough for two, their respective parents took a table nearby.

"Diagon Alley is just past that wall behind that door," Luna explained, pointing to the back door of the pub. "I can show you later, if you like."

Tara nodded and mumbled something that sounded like "OK," and then turned to look out the window at the people passing in the street.

"Can they -- um --"

"Muggles?"

"Yes, Muggles. Can they -- can they really not see this place?"

"They really can't. It's easier, really. If they knew about us, they'd try to hurt us."

"Yeah," Tara agreed. "It's like that in America, too. Have you heard of the Salem Witch Trials?"

"Ohhh, I had to write an essay on that for History of Magic last year. Well, witch burnings in general, and I wanted a more international flavour in mine, so I researched Salem."

"History of Magic?"

"Yes, it's actually kind of boring. Professor Binns is a ghost, and I don't think he's changed his lesson plans in a hundred years. I much prefer Charms."

"Wait, you're saying your whole school is for ... magic?" Tara asked in disbelief.

"Well, of course, isn't yours?"

Tara looked simultaneously amazed and disappointed, as if her attendance at a regular school was somehow a letdown to Luna.

"Oh, I didn't mean it like that! I just mean ... I remember now, wizards and witches in America don't do magic the way we do."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, we use wands. Your magic is more ritual, isn't it?" Luna asked, trying to recall something she'd read about American witches in A History of Magic.

"Wands? You mean like --" Tara made a gesture with her arm as if she were holding an invisible wand.

"Yes, exactly. I haven't got my wand now, though, as I'm not allowed to do magic outside of school until I'm seventeen."

Tara laughed. "My mom doesn't like me doing magic without her around, either. She says it's too dangerous."

"She's right," Luna said quietly.

Tara seemed to understand and reached out and gripped Luna's hands on the table. Looking straight at Luna for the first time, she said quietly, "You miss her."

Luna didn't pull back and gave a slight smile. "I do. You can feel it."

"I -- I learned to read auras last year. I didn't mean --"

"No, it's all right. I haven't learned to read auras yet, but I'm starting Divination in September."

Tara smiled, and they sat there for a minute in silence, and Luna finally felt like someone understood her, and could sense Tara felt the same way. They were no longer alone.

When they finally parted several hours later, after spending the afternoon in Diagon Alley, learning about the similarities and differences between each other's magic, and trying to understand all the complexities of Quidditch, Tara hugged Luna and said, "Promise you'll write to me?"

"Of course!"

She smiled.

* Summer, 2002 *

It had been a rather long day at work -- George had been sick, so Luna had to run the shop by herself, and it was nine o'clock by the time she got home. She was looking forward to a quiet evening to herself, and maybe she'd pick up the guitar she'd been trying to teach herself to play and practise a few chords.

There was a knock at her door, which startled her, as she seldom had uninvited visitors, especially so late in the evening. Preparing for unwelcome guests, she put her wand safely behind her ear, just in case, and went to answer the door.

Standing outside were a tall, older man and a red-haired woman who looked like she was around Luna's age. They were both dressed in Muggle clothing, but Luna could sense that the woman was powerful. She also seemed very on edge and fearful. She didn't seem to want to look at Luna, or like she even wanted to be there at all.

However, the man spoke first.

"Are you Luna Lovegood?" he asked.

Luna smiled at him. "I am! Are you here from the Prophet to talk to me about the new Wrackspurt-repelling charm I've invented?"

"Er, no," the man answered, clearly confused. "My name is Rupert Giles, this is Willow Rosenberg. We've got ... well, I think it would be best if we sat down."

Willow whispered to the man, barely audible. "Giles, please, do we --"

He silenced her with a look.

"Please -- please come in," she told them, now nervous about their presence; their desire to sit before speaking struck her as ominous. "There are plenty of chairs. Would you like something to drink? I've got an infusion of Gurdyroots -- my father invented it," she offered. As an afterthought, she politely added, "There's also tea."

Mr Giles answered, "Thank you, Miss Lovegood, but we can't stay terribly long," as Willow nodded her head in agreement.

They entered the living room, where six mismatched chairs were placed around a small table, and sat down, Willow and Mr Giles in two chairs opposite Luna.

Mr Giles opened a case he was carrying and pulled out a stack of parchment.

"You're a difficult woman to find, Miss --"

"Please, call me Luna."

"Luna. I believe you were in correspondence with a friend of ours, Tara Maclay."

Willow started to cry silently, but seemed to be trying to hide it. Suddenly Luna knew what he was going to say before Mr Giles even opened his mouth to speak again, and she felt as if all the warmth of the summer evening had left her.

"We ... we found these letters, and decided we should try to find you, so we could tell you ..." he trailed off, and Luna stared at him.

Luna was certainly no stranger to death, but the conclusion Mr Giles never spoke still came as a shock to her. She hadn't seen Tara since that summer day eight years earlier, and although Tara didn't write back nearly as often as Luna wrote, she was the first person Luna truly considered a friend. For one of the few times in her life, she found herself at a loss for words.

"I'm sorry," Mr Giles said simply as he and Willow both stood up. He handed the parchments to Luna, and she took them hesitantly.

As they turned to go, though, she stopped them.

"Wait!"

Mr Giles turned around, but Willow did not. Luna approached anyway, and walked around to face her.

"You have these," she said, handing Willow the parchments.

Tears formed in Willow's eyes, but she otherwise maintained her composure. "I -- Luna, that's --"

"You love her. Keep her with you."

"These -- these aren't hers, they're yours," she said, indicating the letters.

"They're hers now. I sent them to Tara," Luna answered, trying hard to keep her own tears in.

Willow stepped forward and hugged Luna. She remembered what Tara had told her years earlier about reading auras, and found that she couldn't help but read Willow's. She felt hollow inside. Beyond grief. Luna pulled her closer and tried to say something reassuring, and although no words came, she was sure Willow understood.

When they had departed, Luna abandoned all thought of her relaxing evening and walked slowly upstairs to her room. She felt numb as she pulled a small box filled with ordinary paper out from a cabinet by her bed and began reading old letters. And for the first time since she was nine, she cried herself to sleep.

* Summer, 2009 *

Luna had just finished arranging the living room for the large number of guests she was expecting when the first of them arrived.

"Luna, hi! Congratulations!" Neville greeted her as she welcomed him into her house. He edged nervously into the circular living room and sat down in one of the chairs, placing a gift on the coffee table. "Ran into Harry and Ginny on my way over. They'll be here soon. They were having a little trouble with their oldest. Takes after his father, I think."

"More his grandfather," laughed Harry, dragging his five-year-old son, James, into the room. Ginny followed behind him, carrying baby Lily in her arms and leading three-year-old Albus by the hand.

"Which one would you say he's more like, though, Harry?" Ginny asked with a grin as Albus giggled behind her.

Luna laughed, too, having heard plenty about James and having met Mr Weasley on a number of occasions. She thought Ginny had a good point.

"Hi, Luna," said Ginny brightly, now turning towards their host and handing her a small wrapped box, which she promptly placed on the coffee table with Neville's.

"We'll open those later," she explained.

It wasn't long after that Ron and Hermione arrived, Ron carrying Hugo, their one-year-old, and their older child, Rose, walking alongside Hermione.

"Rosie, do you remember what you're supposed to do?"

Rose had been holding her arms behind her back and brought them forward to reveal a box that she had been carrying, and handed it to Luna.

"Mommy says it's for you!" she exclaimed, as Hermione smiled at her daughter. Luna thought she heard Harry mutter something about wishing he'd thought to do that.

Luna took the gift and placed it on the table. She counted the chairs and quickly conjured another one, thinking there was one missing.

"Expecting someone else?" Harry asked.

Counting the chairs again, she noticed the empty one. She thought for a moment and almost thought she had forgotten to tell her father her good news, but then remembered he had been there for the past week, and only just left this morning.

"I don't really know," Luna replied, now looking around uncertainly. "Just in case, I suppose?"

Her friends looked back at her expectantly. No one seemed to have anything to say. Hermione broke the awkward silence with a more awkward question.

"Tell me again how it happened, Luna?" she asked.

Luna gave her a puzzled look.

"You know how it happened. You're clearly no stranger to it," Luna answered with a smile, pointing to Hugo and Rose.

Hermione rolled her eyes, but Ron grinned.

"Yes, but ... the father ..."

"I'm not worried," said Luna serenely, walking over and retrieving her newborn daughter from a cot in the corner before sitting down. "We can take care of ourselves."

The others sat there, staring at Luna as she cradled the infant in her arms, obviously unsure of what to say.

"It's all right. Really. And my dad isn't far away. He'll like to look after her sometimes. I think he misses me being a baby."

"But --"

"Hermione!" Ginny silenced her.

Luna knew Hermione would probably never understand, but Hermione was just a bit narrow-minded, even if it had turned out she was right about Crumple-Horned Snorkacks.

"I think what Hermione's trying to say," Ron told her, "is 'Congratulations!'"

Luna beamed at him as the others nodded agreement and Harry conjured champagne and glasses to celebrate.

After much clinking of glasses, Ginny finally spoke. "What is her name?"

Luna thought for a moment -- she hadn't considered a name right away. It hadn't seemed very important at the time. But Ginny reminded her of something -- more of someone, actually -- and calling to mind a face she hadn't seen in fifteen years, she thought of the first person she had truly considered a friend, and wished more than anything she could be there now. She knew who the empty chair was for.

"Tara."
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fanfiction by zaph

December 2008

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