"I just know that something good is gonna happen / and I don't know when / but just saying it could even make it happen"
- Kate Bush, "Cloudbusting"
Luna gazed out the train window, her hands folded gently on top of the single suitcase in her lap. "I've never been to London," she said in the soft, Irish-inflected voice that Harry had come to love over the last few months. "It looks like a very large city; I imagine it would be easy to get lost."
"Don't worry, Luna," Harry replied as he patted the top of her hands. "We won't actually be in the city itself. My parents live off toward the Surrey Hills, so they'll drive us to their house. If you're not too scared, I'm sure they'd love to take you sightseeing in London anyday, though."
Luna smiled as the train pulled to a stop. "I'm not scared. A little nervous about making a good first impression - which I wouldn't normally be, but this seems like a very important moment. Is it beautiful where you live?"
"Very much so," Harry nodded, returning her smile. "Bright rolling green hills for miles around. I think it might remind you of Ireland. And don't worry: you'll make the very best first impression." He leaned closer to Luna and kissed her on the cheek.
As they walked out into King's Cross, Luna remained just as in awe as she had been at seeing the skyscrapers and historic buildings out her window. Harry moved Luna over to between Platforms 9 and 10, where she stood holding her suitcase with both hands as if worried she would lose it. Although Harry did admire her for her ability to always be herself, he was nonetheless grateful that she had opted to wear a modest brown sweater and jeans. He hadn't been concerned about what his father would think, but his mother might be a little more protective, and it would work to his advantage for Luna not to look exceptionally "strange" on the very first day.
"Luna, um, if you can just... stay here for a moment..." Harry stammered a bit. "I just... look, you're a bit of a surprise, so I'd like a chance to introduce you. I'll be right back; you won't have to wait here very long."
"Oh, I understand that," replied Luna, although she had suddenly become more interested in taking her hand and running it along the wall behind her. "Do you know, I've heard a theory from a paranormal investigator that there is actually a secret platform or portal of some kind right behind here?"
"How do you figure that works? And what's it for?"
Luna shrugged. "Well, I don't really know for sure, but there have been the most peculiar reports of people showing up here with large carts full of things - some of them even have owls in cages - and then they simply disappear. They don't even seem to board a train."
"Well, all right then," grinned Harry, who had grown used to Luna occasionally bringing up things like this. "I'm going to go find my parents; if there is a portal, be careful you don't fall into it - or at least be sure and make it back here." He walked away as Luna continued feeling the wall, until finally he located two familiar figures in the crowd: a tall black-haired man with glasses who looked much like an older version of himself, and a red-haired woman who shared Harry's green eyes. It was this woman, Lily, who first hugged Harry, while his father James patted him on the back.
"Well now, there's my son back from university, all full of learning," said James with a smile. "Your mum and I have both missed you very much."
"It's true," added Lily, "the house is very empty without you - but the Weasleys and the Grangers stop by to visit frequently, so that's nice."
"...And speaking of the Grangers," James wagged his finger while pacing back and forth, "that reminds me that Hermione often calls us from her dorm to say what you've been up to."
Harry began to feel a bit nervous as he adjusted his glasses and un-mussed his hair. "Yes, well, that is why she got a room two doors down from mine, I suppose. Ever since school, she's been who you've relied on to hear about my grades."
James tucked his hands into his pants pockets. "Oh, she's told us about a little more than just your grades."
Lily ran her hand through her son's hair. "Harry dear... Hermione said you'd been spending time with a girl. Quite a bit of time, actually." Harry found himself surprisingly relieved by this, as it was exactly the segue he had hoped for.
"Yeah, that's... true, and I'm actually glad you know about that, because the fact is, I brought you both a surprise. I didn't mean to keep her a secret forever, but if you'll wait just a moment..." James and Lily glanced at each other in anticipation, then watched as Harry walked around the corner and out of their sight, then re-emerged walking with a girl who had long fluffy blonde hair. Luna walked up to Harry's parents, bowed politely, and extended her hand for a handshake.
"Hello, Mr and Mrs Potter... it is so very nice to meet you both... my name is Luna Lovegood, and I do try to live up to my last name." Lily returned Luna's handshake, while James walked over to Harry and lightly punched his son's shoulder.
"Ah, now, that's the way to do it, son! I should have known you could land a lovely girl like this! I'm so proud of you; we'll get her set up in the spare room right away..." As Harry and James walked away together, James continuing to talk, Luna and Lily remained face-to-face with each other. Luna had maintained a friendly smile, but Lily had a more somber expression on her face. She placed her hand firmly but gently on Luna's shoulder.
"I trust my son to make the right decisions, Luna, but I do still want to make sure he's with somebody who's good for him. I do hope you'll pardon my simply being a mother... I look forward to getting to know you."
"I understand, Mrs Potter." With a light grin, Lily released Luna's shoulder, and the two of them silently followed after James and Harry as they made their way out of the station.
Harry had met Luna one year into university. With his and Hermione's shared sense of justice, it had only made sense for them to both study criminology. Of course Harry was grateful to have Hermione playing the same role she had in school: motivating him to study, helping him understand the class material, and generally just giving him the extra push he needed not to goof off. She was not and never would be his girlfriend, but she still meant the world to him. Even though being away from home felt unnerving and strange, looking a few rows down in the lecture hall during Professor Moody's class and seeing Hermione jotting down notes as quickly as possible helped Harry feel at home.
Which isn't to say that he had necessarily wanted Hermione to live two doors down from his own dorm room, or to frequently bang on his door in the morning and tell him he needed to wake up, there was an important exam coming up, why the bloody hell hadn't he gotten dressed and come to breakfast yet? Yet he knew, despite all this, he could always rely on her as a study partner or a shoulder to lean on, and her dorm room was always pleasant to visit. Compared to the sparseness and basic white walls of his own, Hermione's room was crammed full of bookcases and bookshelves filled with presumably every book she owned, including a stack of impossibly thick legal tomes. They had both been fortunate enough to afford their very own personal rooms without dormmates (which was for the best, since Harry appreciated his privacy and he didn't know how Hermione could have fit another person into her room anyway).
Now, one year later, he and Hermione were moving in separate paths: she had chosen to specialize in pre-law under Professors Bones and Scrimgeour, while Harry was more intrigued by the process of actually tracking down criminals using evidence, so he had decided to study forensics under Professor Slughorn. What he had not anticipated was that forensics would require an increased knowledge of the sciences, specifically biology and chemistry. Hermione's own studies were becoming so intensive that she wasn't able to devote as much time to helping Harry now, and although she was humbled to admit a lack of knowledge in any area, she also had to say that biology was not her strong suit.
"If you need someone to help you out, Harry," she said in her usual matter-of-fact tone, "you can always go down to the library and put your name on the tutor board." As usual, Hermione had a good idea, so Harry did just that. Looking at the names of biology tutors, he saw one standing out in particular: Luna Lovegood. It was a promising-sounding name, one that suggested kindness and gentleness and was rather pleasant to say as well. He jotted his name down, making sure his penmanship was good, and although he could have simply let Luna look him up via campus e-mail, he decided to leave the number for his dorm room telephone as well.
A day later, Harry's phone began ringing and he picked it up to a soft wispy female voice that suggested an Irish accent. She introduced herself as Luna and asked him what he needed help with and when he wanted to meet. Harry replied by telling her about what he was studying and saying that he needed to know more about DNA and genetics, with Luna giving off little "hmm"s and "OK"s as she listened. She then explained that she was specializing more in zoology, but certainly knew enough to help him out. They set a meeting time, and the first study session was even better and more helpful than Harry had expected.
The girl he met with had soft blonde hair down beneath her shoulderblades, was wearing a tie-dye t-shirt, and carried a World Wildlife Fund bookbag with her. Luna was all smiles from ear to ear, and wanted to hear all about what Harry was studying and why he wanted the career he did. At the end of the session, he felt he had a much better understanding of genetics, and was much more prepared for Slughorn's next class. Luna gave Harry her phone number, along with that of the zoology professor who would always know how to get in touch with her, and said she would gladly see him again anytime.
She would gladly see him again anytime. Not "she would gladly help him again anytime" or "she would gladly study with him again anytime". Harry wasn't sure what to make of this, but she had been nice - and very pretty - so giving her another call seemed like it couldn't hurt anything. So he called her back and asked if she would possibly be interested in having coffee or tea together someday. There was a long pause on the other end of the line while Harry anxiously twirled the phone cord in his fingers.
"I keep my tutoring work and my dating life separate, Mr Potter," said Luna bluntly, "and I hope you can understand that. I've had to turn down offers like yours before." Another pause, and Harry felt his heart sink as he started deciding how he would apologize - and then Luna's voice came back into the phone. "However... they can stay separate as long as we don't talk about uni at all while we have our tea. How would Saturday morning be?" It sounded excellent, Harry told her with relief.
First dates were always nerve-wracking, even over something as simple as a cup of tea, but this one felt easier than others. Luna was staying calm and relaxed, which helped Harry feel more like he was talking to a friend than a stranger. "Of course, we're not talking about our studies today," Luna had begun by saying, "but the first thing I will need to know is how you feel about animals and protecting wildlife." This was an extremely easy question to answer, as it led to Harry telling her about all his fun childhood trips to the London Zoo, and about his parents joining the effort to ban fox-hunting in Surrey. Luna in turn talked about her childhood on the Irish coast, and one hour of conversation later, there was no doubt that this had been an excellent date.
As the Potters' blue Ford Anglia moved down the motorway away from London, Harry sat calmly in the front passenger seat as James drove. He occasionally cast a cheerful gaze back to Luna in the mirror, as if to say: don't worry, you're doing fine. Luna once again had her suitcase in her lap with her hands folded on top of it, while she sat behind James and directly across from Lily, who had continued to give her rather thorough up-and-down looks both in the train station and in the car. Once everyone was seated and on the road, the two of them had finally begun small talk much to Harry's relief.
"You look very nice, Luna," Lily observed as she leaned against her window. "I notice you're not wearing any lipstick or makeup."
Luna shook her head. "I suppose it does make one look good, but I didn't see a need for it. I do like to be the most authentic version of myself. And besides, I'm not very fond of the way that makeup companies have been known to test on animals."
James looked at Luna in the mirror now. "Ah, I see you're an animal rights supporter, then? I imagine you'll quite appreciate the work people in Surrey have been doing to stop fox-hunting. Is that how you and Harry met - you've been studying law?"
"No, not at all, Mr Potter; I'm actually studying biology - mainly zoology. I do want to care for animals. Harry told me that you would often take him to the London Zoo as a child, and how much he enjoyed it, and that helped us hit it off. And I thought it was quite admirable how he wants to solve crimes and help people have justice."
"Harry's always wanted to help people out," Lily chimed in. "I do suppose you've met Hermione by now?"
"Aye, of course, Mrs Potter."
"Oh, the poor dear," Lily shook her hand while making a half-successful effort to withhold a chuckle. "Harry always stood up for her, even when they were just small. Although her parents are dentists, she had the most unfortunate overbite for years, and other children thought it was quite fun to call her a 'beaver'. And of course you know it wasn't even a very clever joke, but they kept using it, and Harry would always get into little fights with them over it."
"He's a good lad," nodded Luna. "That does sound very much like something he would do. When I was a child the other children called me 'Loony'; they thought I was a bit strange and didn't want to play with me very much. I spent a good amount of time alone, but I lived by the coast, so I could always go collect seashells by myself." Lily looked at Luna with a bit of concern for the first time; although still sizing the girl up, she could feel her maternal caution sliding away a bit.
All things considered, she could definitely tell that this person had an air of kindness and warmth about her - and, Lily presumed, a deep level of insight as well. Luna's arrival alongside Harry had been a complete surprise, but it was beginning to look like a very pleasant surprise. It was impossible to know a person fully after only one hour, but the thought of this woman kissing her son - possibly even in bed with her son - was suddenly not objectionable in the least.
"Well, I'd say those kids were probably missing out, Luna," James grinned. "You know, it just occurred to me, we've still got a ways to drive and you're probably peckish from that long train trip. Would you like to stop somewhere for some fish and chips? Ah, no..." - here James tapped his hand on the side of the steering wheel - "I'm suspecting you might be a vegetarian. Is that correct?"
"Aye, sir," Luna replied, "I don't like to eat animals - but please -" she gestured with her hands, "I honestly don't mind what anyone else eats. This is just my own choice." She looked around, hoping she hadn't said anything wrong, but everyone (Lily included) seemed to be smiling at her, and James and Lily seemed to share an encouraging look in the mirror.
"Well, Luna," said James, "you're our guest, it would appear, so... I think we can find a good place with a salad bar. Or better yet... Harry's on holiday; I imagine he might like to stop for some ice cream?"
"Ice cream sounds very good, Dad." Although part of Harry had been trying to find a way to enter the conversation, he did feel a strong sense of validation in having seen Luna hold her own, and in seeing his plan bear out the way he had hoped it would. Yes, ice cream sounded very good indeed.
Immediately after their first date, with the agreement that future dates seemed like a good idea, Luna had invited Harry back to her dorm room. Once inside, Harry was treated to an even different sight than Hermione's room: half of the room was decorated in paisley and tie-dye patterns interspersed with posters of UFOs (a couple of which read "I Want To Believe"), while the other half was decorated with a combination of rainbow flags and posters of metal bands. Sitting on the bed in this half of the room was a friendly-looking girl in a Judas Priest t-shirt, with hair alternately dyed black and blonde.
"And this is my dormmate Chloe," Luna remarked. "She's studying music; oh, you might have heard her before - she has a daily program on the campus radio station. Chloe, this is Harry - he's from Surrey - just west of where you're from in Kent, I believe?" Harry waved a hand to Chloe in greeting; then, while she and Luna started talking with each other - Chloe speaking in an equally soft tone to Luna's - he took a closer look at what he had now determined to be Luna's half of the room. Her desk had a long line of biology and zoology books on it, while a shelf positioned some distance above it held a much different assortment of books on such topics as Bigfoot, crop circles, alien abductions, Atlantis, and the Bermuda Triangle. For a moment, he felt just a little bit silly for knowing Luna, but he pushed it down by reminding himself that this was a perfectly nice girl - not to mention an extremely good-looking one.
And besides that, she'd just given him the best date he'd had at uni so far, and unlike previous attempts, this one had a promise of more dates in the future attached. Not to get too ahead of himself, but the thought of a good round of snogging with this delightful blonde a few weeks from now seemed like too good a prospect to pass up. If you've met a nice girl, he told himself, why the bloody hell would you tell her goodbye just because she's interested in things like UFOs and Bigfoot? Come on, Harry, this could be the most interesting girl you ever meet! Luna now seemed to be pointing to him while talking to Chloe, who was looking very proud and excited; as his attention drew back to their conversation, Harry realized that Luna had been talking all about her date, and her dormmate seemed to approve.
Partially because of how colorful it was compared to his own room (and partially because it had the helpful advantage of being further away from Hermione), Luna's dorm room became one of Harry's new favorite places on campus. Something about checking in on her unannounced in between dates seemed like a violation of dating etiquette - but Luna also seemed very happy to see him each time. Her dorm soon became the favored place for study sessions, either with the two of them working together or else silently focused on their own work. Some days, depending on whether it was on, they would listen to Chloe's radio program, where she played an impressively wide range of music and also passionately commented on current events. Despite her quiet voice, Chloe had a talent for drawing her listeners in while she explained a situation or shared some musical trivia.
Luna first met Hermione quite unintentionally. Not finding Harry in his dorm room, Hermione had taken it upon herself to scour all the dormitories looking for him. She had been going door-to-door for about an hour, holding up a photo while asking residents if they had seen anyone resembling Harry Potter, because if so, she needed to make sure he was studying. Finally, she knocked on Luna's door and asked her the same question, to which Luna pulled the door open and gestured with her head toward Harry, who was sitting cross-legged on the floor attentively taking notes in a book. Harry looked sheepishly up at Hermione, who was glancing somewhat startled from him, back to Luna, to one of Luna's UFO posters, and back to Harry.
"Ah... is Harry... here often?" she finally managed to let out.
"Very often," Luna smiled politely. "May I help you with anything else, Miss... I didn't catch your name?"
"Hermimminy," said Hermione in shock. "Hermioninny. Merhimandme. I'm sorry; I have to go." And she rushed off down the hall with Luna calling "Nice to meet you, Merhimmany!" after her.
Other days, instead of listening to the radio while they worked, Luna would pull a crate of her favorite vinyl out of the closet and play something on Chloe's turntable. Luna flipped through the assorted bands she had with her: Jethro Tull, Moody Blues, Grateful Dead, 70s-era Rush, Psychedelic Furs, Echo and the Bunnymen... and then one day she pulled out Kate Bush's Hounds of Love album and asked Harry if he wanted to hear her favorite song. Harry said yes, and Luna immediately set it on the turntable with the stylus set to the song "Cloudbusting".
It was a beautiful song with intricate music, unique instruments, and peculiar lyrics which did seem to tell a story. The narrator of the song (which, with a woman singing, could have been a girl) talked about how their father had built a machine that could make rain, how he had given the narrator a glow-in-the-dark yo-yo that needed to stay hidden, and then how government agents had shown up and taken the father into custody. But it was also a hopeful song, talking about "the sun coming out" and how "something good was going to happen". When the song ended, Luna pulled the stylus back away and looked over at Harry.
"That always reminds me of my dad, back home in Ireland," she mused. "He puts a lot of research into the supernatural and paranormal - things which people would rather he didn't know about - but that song always reminds me that I'm never too far away from seein' him again." She closed her eyes and lowered her head, and Harry decided to use this moment to lean over and plant a light kiss on Luna's cheek. Luna's eyes darted open instantly, and she looked at Harry with an expression almost of disappointment. "I'm sorry I did that," he said weakly.
"Ya bloody should be," said Luna, her accent emerging more strongly. "I mean, ah, Harry, ya poor lad. I can't believe ya had an opportunity like that, and ya missed. How ya gonna live with yerself?"
"What do you mean I missed?" Harry asked, confused by what she was getting at.
"I mean that if ya want ta kiss a girl... ya gotta do it like this." And Luna moved her face toward his, and Harry leaned closer in, and their hands clasped together, and then finally they kissed. Harry had just discovered a new use for Luna's dorm room.
The rest of the term continued much like that, with Harry visiting Luna more than ever before. Friday and Saturday nights, following dates around town, became reserved for staying up together in her room with Chloe, where activities ranged from discussing music and the news of the day, to making signs for demonstrations, to the occasional palm-reading from Luna. Discussions would last well until after midnight; one night at about 2:00 AM, even though he had barely heard of the band Opeth before, Harry found himself deeply immersed in a debate Chloe and Luna were having about them.
"They're just not the same now that Mikael stopped doing the death growls," Chloe complained.
"But the vocals are easier to understand now, and the music's so much prettier!" countered Luna.
Each girl kept citing different songs to make their case with, and eventually, with the debate still going, Harry said that he needed to be getting back to his own dorm room. By the time he finally arrived (intentionally using a route which prevented having to walk past Hermione's door), he saw Hermione in her pajamas, walking straight toward him with a stern look on her face.
"Harry, I've refrained from telling your mother how late you're staying up," she scolded, "or where you're staying up, for that matter - but I just hope you're being careful with that girl."
"Don't worry, Hermione," Harry said as he unlocked his door. "It's nowhere near as scandalous as you think it is. Besides, did you notice my grades are better than ever?"
Hermione sighed and grudgingly nodded her head. "Yes... I've noticed that. And I have let your parents know that." She paused as Harry started to enter his room. "Harry?"
"Yes?" Harry paused, his hand on the doorknob.
"I'm glad you met her."
Luna had opened up considerably more at the ice cream parlor: throughout a wide-ranging conversation over banana splits, Lily had been quite enthused to hear about the different animals Luna had been able to handle in her studies, while James found himself amused by her thoughts on crop circles. Harry, meanwhile, was pleased to see that Luna's eccentricities were not affecting the way his parents spoke to her. I always knew I could rely on mum and dad to be open-minded, he thought.
Once they were all finally arrived at the Potter house, a chance late-afternoon arrival by Uncles Sirius and Remus had led to a summoning of Ron and Ginny Weasley from down the street, which then led in turn to an impromptu three-on-three football match in the large back garden. One team consisted of James, Sirius, and Remus, with Sirius asserting quite sharply that experience could always beat youth. Meanwhile, Luna had quickly joined forces with Ron and Ginny as the other team, and Harry and Lily were now watching everybody play from the kitchen window while they washed dishes together for what now looked to be a large dinner.
"So have you met Luna's parents yet?" asked Lily in a calm tone. Harry tensed up slightly, even though he had seen this coming: he could tell that his mum had been waiting for a chance for them to be alone, so she could ask any and all questions she had in mind - some of which were bound to be quite private. He could only hope, now that he was an adult, that this wouldn't be quite as awkward as all the questions she had asked him about Cho Chang back in school.
"No, her dad lives in Donegal, Ireland. We'll go to see him next holiday; we both agreed it should be you and dad first - just because we didn't think you'd like the idea of me flying off to Ireland with a girl you didn't even know."
"Oh, she's Irish? I thought I noticed a bit of an accent. Does she have a mum?"
"Luna's mum died when she was little. I'm not sure from what; just that she became very ill."
Lily now had a very sorrowful look on her face, as she paused in her work. "Oh... oh my... oh, that is so incredibly sad." She focused her eyes on Luna outside the window; the game appeared to be pretty well tied. There was silence for a while, then Lily resumed her questions with the one Harry had dreaded: "So... how close are you and Luna?"
It took quick sleight of hand for Harry not to drop and chip the plate he was holding. "Um... do you mean physically, or emotionally, or... because we're, um, close."
Her son's sudden nervousness worked Lily out of her downcast mood and into a chuckle. "Oh, I don't need details, Harry," she said, "I know you're being responsible with anything you're doing, and you're free to do whatever you want. We don't need to go over all that again." Harry felt a good deal of relief, even as an old image flashed into his mind of him sitting on his bed, awkwardly forming sentences about Cho while his mother peeled a banana and used it to demonstrate the proper use of a condom.
"But..." Lily said quietly, drying her hands with a towel and then folding her arms across her chest, "relationships are different when you're older, and it may be time for a different kind of talk. You obviously really enjoy Luna's company now, but... is she someone you can see yourself with for a long time, a very long time? When you picture yourself ten, twenty years from now - is she still with you?"
Harry looked out the window, where Ginny had stripped to her sports bra and was now jumping up and down, practically doing jump-rope with her sweater after scoring the winning goal. James and Remus were bent over catching their breath, Ron and Luna were wiping the sweat from their faces with their sweater sleeves, and from the looks of things, Sirius was strongly protesting that having a future soccer pro in the match had made it unfair.
"Yes," he said after a long pause. "I really do think I can see that. She's a special one. In fact... it's getting hard to remember a time when I didn't know her."
Lily stood beside Harry and looked out the window with him, her hand on his shoulder. "Do you want to know what I think about all this?"
"Yes, please, mum. Always."
"Well, what I'm thinking is... I'm looking at Luna out the window, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone else who showed up at our house and fit so perfectly in only one day. I see someone who is very intelligent, very thoughtful, very unique, and is just the kind of person I've always wanted my only child to meet. And I'm grateful you've brought her home, and I'm grateful I've seen this... because now I know my son will always be in good hands." She hugged Harry tightly. "Luna Lovegood has my most absolute approval."
"Thank you, mum," Harry said while wiping away a few tears. Everything from King's Cross this morning up until today... Harry knew how important it had been, and if ever there was a time for a Mission Accomplished banner, this was it. His father had liked his girlfriend right away, of course, but his mother's seal of approval was somehow even more important - probably because he knew how much thought and effort his mother put into weighing people's character. She was always completely honest - as she had been about Cho - and he knew if there had been any concern or reservation at all about Luna, Lily would have said so. But instead, there was nothing she could offer but the best compliments he'd ever heard from her - and Harry knew that only Luna could have received them.
...And speaking of Luna, here she was entering the kitchen right now from outside. She had removed her sweater and tied it around her waist, now dressed in the close-fitting sleeveless shirt she had been wearing underneath - and with a bit more of her figure on display as a result.
"Ah, Janey Mack, that was a bit o' a workout," Luna trilled as she helped herself to a glass of water from the fridge, her exhaustion somehow causing her accent to become more prominent. "That Ginny lass is quite the fireball, isn't she?"
Even with his mother in the room, Harry couldn't help noticing Luna's figure - or comparing it to what he knew she looked like unclothed. While she certainly wasn't a tomboy like Ginny Weasley, it was clear from seeing her bare arms that Luna had some amount of athleticism about her; being vegetarian had certainly helped her stay slender as well. And, although the sweater had kept her fairly well covered, one could now more easily discern that Luna did, in fact and without question, have a pair of breasts. Not big, not small, just a delightful medium round - and, Harry hoped, he would perhaps have a chance before dinner to watch Luna change in the guest room, and perhaps catch a glimpse of them more fully exposed.
Although, with Lily so close nearby, Harry didn't want to hope too fervently - better to wait for a time when he and Luna would be more assuredly alone. Still, there was no harm in walking up to her in full view of Lily, hugging her, and planting a kiss on her cheek.
"Mum and I were just talking about you. She really likes you."
"Ah, well, I had been hopin' she would. That was the plan, wasn't it?"
Harry had been self-conscious the first time Luna had been in his dorm room: compared to her own, his felt a bit empty and under-decorated, and he was suddenly a bit concerned that there was perhaps a layer of dust he should have taken care of. But Luna remained her non-judgmental self, and soon enough his room had also become a prime locale for study sessions - and even better, for make-out sessions, since there was no potential of a roommate walking in. Harry could simply lock the door and snog Luna to his heart's content, and with time, Luna found herself willing to let them both have their shirts off.
With the end of term and a visit to his parents approaching, Harry was well aware that he was running out of time for a chance to become fully intimate with Luna while he could still have her alone and be in complete control of their surroundings. While he was growing more confident that Luna would be welcomed at his home, his room back there was after all quite different from his dorm room: less independence, and less privacy. Better to shag her now, while he could spend the entire night focusing on it.
So it was quite delightful to see that Luna seemed to have a similar notion of carpe diem and was also willing to be the one to ask about that next step. How lovably and typically direct of her, he thought.
"I do think," she purred into his ear while he was stripped down to his jeans and she was all the way down to her underwear, "that perhaps we should study our... anatomy tonight? Would you like me to start?"
Heart racing, Harry could do little more than nod yes. His first thought was of how glad he was that the room was still fully lit, which meant that he would have an excellent view of Luna Lovegood in her entirety, with no shadows or other obstructions. And that was exactly what he received: she quickly removed her remaining clothes and then, as an added courtesy, turned around in a circle so he could see almost all of her from every angle. Whatever pictures of Luna he had imagined in his head, whatever memories he had of Cho Chang's nudity to remind him what a naked girl looked like, were now both far surpassed.
Luna first let her arms hang limply at her sides and then placed her hands on her hips, making no effort to cover herself. Her facial expression, once Harry was able to focus on her face, was a blend of tenderness and desire, and he realized that he needed to offer her the same view as well. The jeans and undershorts came off, as Luna moved back closer to the bed, eyeing Harry up and down, with a possible preference for down.
"If we're going to do something," asked Luna in the closest thing he'd heard to a worried tone from her, "will we be able to do it safely?"
"Yeah, no problem," Harry replied as he flung open his desk drawer, reached way in the back, and found a box of condoms. Uncle Sirius to the rescue. Luna watched with great curiosity as Harry rolled it on, and after one final shared kiss on each other's lips, she lay back on the bed and opened her legs - a fascinating view that now showed Harry all there was left to see of her.
The position seemed easy enough - nice and straightforward, given how long it had been since he'd last done this - and Luna seemed very much at ease - just had to make sure there were pillows for comfort - presto. He was inside her, and Luna's flesh felt so warm against his own, and now felt like a good time to run his hands through her long hair - impossibly soft - and kiss her again.
And then they just stayed like that for a good several minutes; this was so comfortable, it didn't make much sense to Harry to do anything else right now.
"Harry?" Luna said softly in a near-whisper, "Are you planning to thrust, or just stay like that? I'm interested in either; I'd just like to know your plan." This struck Harry as an odd time for small talk, but he decided to go along with it.
"I think I'll just stay like this for now; might as well make this last. You look very beautiful without clothes on."
"Ah, so do you, Harry lad. It was very lovely to see your genitals. It's quite pleasant what you're using them for right now." Odd compliment, but he'd take it.
"You sure you're staying comfortable - with your legs like that?" Luna glanced down to where her legs were splayed out on either side of him.
"Aye, I suppose they might cramp after a while if you're just plannin' to let yourself marinate - but I can always do somethin' with 'em." Harry grinned; he'd learned that Luna's Irish accent came out more often whenever she had something up her sleeve (even, it now seemed, when she had no sleeves on whatsoever). And thus speaking, she wrapped her legs in an X across his back, leading to an even more pleasant sensation of having her body's warmth all around him. "That ought to keep you locked in place for a while."
Now that it would be relatively easy to grab hold of her and flip her over (if it could be managed on what was actually a fairly small bed), Harry wondered if he should switch positions so that she could be on top. But Luna did seem highly content where she was, and besides, the support he now had made it seem like a good opportunity to finally thrust into her -
So, after whispering "you're beautiful" into her ear, that's exactly what Harry did. He was pleased to soon find Luna joining him with motions of her own in the same rhythm, and although he was enjoying the confident expression on her face, he decided it was best to close his eyes and pay attention to all the sensations combining together right now. It was just a small bed in a dorm room, but it felt so good, they could have been under the softest silk sheets in the most extravagant bed in the world.
He felt so full, so full, so full - and then he felt himself being drained, bit by bit - looking into Luna's silver-blue eyes as it happened and seeing fulfillment and trust -
And then he was back outside of her - heading to the bathroom in a daze to dispose of the condom - and then back to the bed where he noticed there was no blood - which didn't necessarily mean anything, but he still wondered -
"Luna?" Harry asked with shortened breath. "Was that your first time?"
"No, not at all," smiled Luna as she curled up next to him, "but it was absolutely my best."
Harry briefly wondered who the first person to experience Luna Lovegood might have been, but ultimately they didn't matter any more than Cho did - although he supposed it was good that he and Luna had both had previous practice before tonight. Certainly it had allowed for a very smooth shag, almost like a tightly coordinated dance.
"Really?" Harry wiped his brow, somewhat incredulous. "Your very best? I couldn't tell that you even really... you know... finished."
"No, I didn't," Luna admitted, "but the journey's more important than the destination, and I enjoyed every minute of that. But more importantly, I was with my favorite person."
"Aww, Luna... you're my favorite person, too." He stroked her hair; he was looking very forward to her falling asleep and waking up next to him...
But it wasn't quite time for that yet, as Luna's sudden grip on his anatomy made clear. "Now then, Harry lad, surely ya didn't think we were done studyin' tonight? Ya gave me my best, but the bar can only be set higher from here..."
A few minutes and another condom later, Harry was now experiencing what it had been like for Luna to be on her back. He saw why she'd liked it.
Epilogue - Twenty Years Later
Deep in Scotland Yard's inner sanctum, past a maze of hallways, laboratories, and several doors requiring keycards, sat a large office which despite its roominess was nonetheless packed full of books, binders, file cabinets, and all sorts of papers laying about. The gold nameplate outside the office read HARRY POTTER, with the title Lead Forensic Investigator underneath in slightly smaller print. Harry sat at his desk, smiling as he talked on the phone with Hermione, who always made time to call him even though she had the busiest schedule of anyone he knew.
"Harry, I can't tell you how grateful I am for you sending those DNA results as evidence," she said excitedly. "This gives me everything I need for my case, and it should be just what the family needs to get the justice they deserve."
"I was just doing my job," Harry replied. "You're the one doing the really important work; anything I can do for you is just one step."
"Well, I still couldn't do this without you."
"You're one to talk; I wouldn't even be here in this job without you."
"Oh, I think there's someone else you wouldn't be there without instead. Remember, she was your tutor when I couldn't help."
Harry chuckled. "Well, let's be honest: I wouldn't be anywhere without her."
After telling Hermione goodbye so she could return to work, Harry leaned back in his chair. He had more important calls to make, but he could afford a couple minutes' break before then. He briefly gazed at his wedding ring before turning to the two framed photos he had sitting on his desk, right next to his computer. In one, a beautiful blonde in a zookeeper's uniform with a hat reading ZSL London Zoo sat with an open-mouthed smile as she clutched a jaguar cub in her arms. In the other, he and Luna posed together while the little girl between them shyly glanced at the camera while hugging her plush rabbit. The girl had a wild mane of shaggy blonde hair, but also a pair of bright green eyes.
Even with everything Luna had taught him, and everything he had learned on his own, Harry had to admit that his favorite thing about DNA was how wonderfully his and Luna's had combined.