part six: pure
Disclaimer: I own nothing. J. K. Rowling owns Harry Potter.
A few minutes go by before the curtian is moved, and Poppy seems surprised that he is still there. He raises an eyebrow blandly but she is not one to be intimidated by such tactics and stares back.
"I wish to speak with the girl," he concedes.
"Ms. Lovegood, is asleep now," she tells him. "And when she wakes up, her body will still need lots of rest," she warns.
"I'll wait," he says flopping down into a chair, his dark robes flaring out dramatically for a moment. She stares at him for a beat before sighing, shaking her head, and walking away.
When she is gone, he turns and looks at the girl. She looks young and innocent - so very tiny. He thought the same when he first saw her out there in the snow, lips blue with cold and babbling as soon as her eyes opened (possibly damaged by a mental link to a strange creature).
It was then almost a protective instinct that caused him to raise his wand then to pull the memory from her – but somehow she seemed to sense this silent movement and her eyes snapped open and the sharpness in those always dreamy orbs stopped him cold.
“I would like to remind you sir, that I am a minor and tampering with my mind without both a warrant from the Aurora’s office and my parent’s consent is subject to time in Azkaban. Furthermore, of more concern to myself, outside of the legal consequences, it would trip off an instant alert to my Father who is working on an important story at the moment and I would be displeased if he were to be pulled away from it,” there was no fear evident at having a wand pointed at her. In fact, he wasn’t entirely surprised by her response, for such an eccentric girl, Luna’s confidence and sense of self always seemed utterly solid (often in the face of much public ridicule) but that too was a Lovegood trait if he remembered correctly. And she had never feared him, unlike many students, only viewed him with a sort of vague curiosity one does an interesting creature.
“The memories in your mind of recent events do not seem like pleasant ones,” he said seriously, watching the small girl carefully - mentally making a note to remind Albus of this and ignoring the threat she had made with a passive face (although he did slide his wand back into the holster in his sleeve). In the end he had little doubt that the Headmaster would come to the same conclusions of what was best for the girl’s continued mental health (which was already suspect at times, although that was somewhat understandable given her past. He hadn’t been close with Selene but they had worked together on a few occasions, been almost friends
) - and the old man could be quite a bit more subtle than he. And, as such, Luna might miss his tampering – but some form of mental ward (which he found himself curious of but hesitant to question given both her fragile state and the oddity often involved in Lovegood affairs
) would probably still go off. And that was an added unpleasantness the school certainly didn’t need.
“And that is for you to decide?” was her firm rebuttal and it brought his mental wanderings to a halt. At his surprised silence she sighed and shook her head – a mannerism that reminded him of Fillius dealing with a troublesome student. She sat herself up, adjusted the pillows behind her, glanced down for a moment and smoothed out the cots comforter across her legs absentmindedly before looking back up at him in that unblinking way. “Why should you get to make such choices for me, Proffessor? Why should anyone? Why should you ever enter my mind at all unless you would like me inside of your own? You should not go looking if you don’t expect someone else to be looking back, after all,” the twelve year old girl chided him gently, her head tilted just a bit to the side so that her still drying hair fell off her shoulder - and he felt significantly unnerved by those blue-grey eyes that seemed as if they knew far too much.
About him, about whatever was in that lake, about everything.
“You went looking,” he blurted – half statement, half accusation. Then flushed in embarrassment, angry with himself for his lack of filter but felt he had to explain now. “This evening in the Lake.”
“I was,” she agreed readily.
“And did you expect something to be looking back?” he threw her words back at her, perhaps a bit more mockingly than necessary, crossing his arms over his chest to mask his discomfort.
She merely stared at him, before smiling slowly and said, “I did.”
“And Professor, the memories, the experience. Some of it might have been scary – but most
of it wasn’t. Much of my life has been like that. But you see, the important part is, it’s mine. These things that happen, that I do, that I think, that I say – they are me
now, all bits and parts that make up Luna."
"Please don’t try to steal a piece of me, Professor. I’m afraid I would never feel quite the same again," she finished her plea.
He gave a start then, as something occurred to him, another piece of the puzzle falling into place. "The question you asked while in my class - it was for that blasted squid."
"Now don’t be silly, Professor," the girl even giggled at him as she shook her head. "It wasn’t. It was about me
?" he almost yelled, only remembering at the last moment to regulate his voice so he wouldn't have an angry medical professional after him.
"I knew if this happened, that you would be the one to find me, you see. Your mind would logically be the one within Opalia's reach," Luna smiled at him patiently as she explained this.
"How did you know I would..," he started to ask, ignoring the name for the beast, but she interrupted him - a shrewd look on her face that seemed out of place.
"I know that you do not respect my Father’s work Professor, but perhaps remember that he is a journalist. I am well aware of much of what went on during the War, and as such what skills certain Death Eaters often employed. You were very well known for your Legimius and Occulamency."
At his silence she continued on with her previous point. "What I had needed to make sure, was that when you found me, you would know what to do. That you knew how to quickly care for someone suffering from the cold in time to get me to Poppy."
He was simply staring for a long time. "You planned this," he said in an oddly clear tone, surprising himself. Severus didn’t know if he wanted to yell at her or simply leave
, but he knew he wasn’t calm
"I did," Luna agreed with a nod her smile turning a bit mischievous. "Jeffery – the Sorting Hat," she explained, "offered to put me in Slytherin, you know."
"Why?" he finally got out. "Why do this at all?"
She seemed genuinely surprised by the question. "Because Opalia was alone, Professor. The last of her kind and she was all alone. I wished to meet her - become her friend if I could. Isn't that reason enough?"
And Severus wanted to yell at the girl, wanted to shake her and tell her not to throw her life into a frozen Lake just to make friends
with a squid - but he couldn't. There was something so genuine about this girl, not saccharine, but pure. (And there was so little actual purity in this Wizarding World, unrelated to blood, that he had almost lost his sense of the word.
He did not wish to be the one to taint that, to pile onto the legions that already mocked her for daring to be so wholly herself. What would the use be?
"Don't do it again," was all he said, as sternly as possible, before sweeping out.
And Luna called out, "Thank you, Professor!" in her sing-song voice, as the doors closed behind him.