Author: victoria p. [musesfool]
Summary: Luna is used to waiting.
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Luna Lovegood/Ginny Weasley
Disclaimer: Rowling's, not mine.
Original story: Of Waiting by quietliban
Notes: Thanks to laurificus for looking it over.
Time Has Come Today (Love Is Patient Remix)
Luna is used to waiting.
When she was little, her mum used to take her down into the laboratory to play while she worked. Luna would play with the ghost that lived in the coal cellar, and then she would color in her coloring books, and when she wanted to tell her mum something, Mum would always say, "Wait just a minute, Luna, please. I'm in the middle of something." And that minute would stretch into an hour or more, and Luna would occupy herself with her coloring and her book of fairytales and her friend the coal cellar ghost.
A minute, Luna knows, can be as long as a lifetime.
She's nine when she watches her mother die, the stretch of tile floor between them endless as Mum collapses in a heap, and Luna knows it's not a joke, not a game, but Mum's dead before Luna can reach her, the light gone from her eyes, though her skin is still warm to the touch.
"There was nothing you could have done," her father says, stroking her hair, but Luna doesn't believe that. She's a witch, and what use is magic if it can't stop people from dying stupidly?
"It happened so quickly," she says. "One minute, she was fine, and the next minute, she was gone."
Dad kisses the top of her head, but nothing she does can make that haunted look disappear from his eyes.
A minute, Luna knows, can be as quick as the last beat of a heart or the last breath of a loved one.
The year Luna turns eleven, she waits by the window each day after school, looking for her Hogwarts letter.
"It won't come until summer," her father says when he notices. "And anyway, a watched pot never boils."
After that, Luna experiments. She's fairly certain her mother would approve of her use of the scientific method as she sets a pot upon the burner and turns up the heat. Ottery St. Catchpole is a Muggle village, and the house is hooked up to the town gas main, because Mum had been as fascinated by Muggle science as she was by magic.
Luna marks the time down in her notepad, then sits on a stool and watches, careful to keep her hair and hands away from the burner, blinking only when her eyes are so dry they sting.
She learns it takes nine minutes and eighteen seconds for four cups of water to boil at high heat.
She dumps the water out, waits for the pot to cool down--the conditions must be the same each time, she remembers her mother saying, to see if the results are replicable--and starts again. Four cups of water, the burner set to high heat, but this time, she turns away, reads some of the letters to The Quibbler that her father brings home, and doodles a quick sketch of a Blibbering Humdinger in the margins of her notes. The pot is whistling before she realizes it, steam hissing when she raises the lid, and she can't believe it happened so much more quickly, but when she checks her watch, she finds it's been nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds.
Time, Luna learns, is relative, and sometimes all you can do is wait. She still goes to the window and watches, but patiently now, knowing that the letter will arrive when it is meant to, and nothing she does can change that.
Luna quickly learns that she's not like the other children at Hogwarts, or that the other children are not quite like her. They call her names and take her things, and she bears it all, secure in the knowledge that this, too, shall pass. At the end of her first year, she puts up signs asking for the return of her belongings, and they trickle back to her anonymously, or in the hands of people who claim to have found them someplace else. She doesn't question, just nods and smiles and thanks them for taking care of her stuff while they had it.
She doesn't really have friends, but she hangs out in the common room with Ginny Weasley, who is always in a rush to go everywhere--to grow up, to play Quidditch, to get Harry Potter to notice her--but who sometimes takes the time out to stop and say hello, to make Luna feel like she exists and is noticed herself.
Ginny never notices that Luna notices her in return. But Luna is content to watch and wait. Ginny is kind to her, and Ron is funny and sweet, and she thinks she might like him, until she realizes that she only has that funny tickle in her belly because he looks like Ginny, instead of because he is himself.
All year she waits and watches as Harry finally wakes up and notices Ginny's a beautiful girl, and she ignores the pangs of loneliness and longing that occasionally plague her. She's happy for Ginny, and she will eventually have her chance. She has to believe that.
All year, she waits for the coin to call her to the next meeting of the D.A., waits to feel useful, to feel like part of something bigger, and she's ready when the call finally comes, even if she spends the battle locked in a room with Hermione, the two of them like the two sides of that coin, Hermione with all her knowledge and so little wisdom, and Luna with conviction in her beliefs and her perception; perhaps the slow-growing seeds of understanding have been sown between them.
Everything changes that night, and Luna knows she's not the only one watching the ripples and waiting to see what happens next.
Harry leaves right after Bill and Fleur's wedding, Ron and Hermione with him, and Ginny spends what's left of the summer with Luna, the two of them lying listlessly in the sun, Ginny brown and freckled, and Luna swathed in filmy pink scarves and wearing a giant straw hat to keep the sun off her skin.
The grass tickles her bare feet, and the air smells of wet dirt from the morning rain, and Luna has a new issue of The Quibbler to read, but Ginny is restless. She flings herself up into a sitting position, the sun gleaming in her hair, setting it on fire.
"Do you ever get tired?" she asks.
Luna reaches out, runs her fingers through Ginny's hair, which is soft and warm to the touch, nothing like fire and yet everything like it in the heat it raises beneath Luna's skin.
"Yes," Luna answers, "but I'm used to waiting."
Ginny turns, eyes wide and surprised. "I didn't know."
"Now you do." Luna smiles. She hopes Ginny doesn't feel sorry for her, or embarrassed.
Ginny holds her gaze for a long moment, brings up a grass-stained hand, and cups Luna's cheek.
"Now I do," she says, leaning forward and pressing a kiss to Luna's lips.
She tastes of iced pumpkin juice and sunshine, heat and sweetness like Luna's always imagined, and Luna kisses her back with more eagerness than skill.
They're both laughing with the thrill of it when Ginny breaks the kiss, and Luna says, "It was worth the wait."