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Title: The Long and Lonely Road
Character Pairing: George/Luna for rarepair_shorts 
Prompt: flying bricks
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,428
Summary: It’s almost Christmas, and Luna feels further away from George than ever. Will a long walk help her clear her mind or only lead to more confusion?
Author’s Note: So. I think the last update I made on this series was roughly two years ago (*meep*). I never intended for there to be such a long gap, but I have to chalk that up to a combination of writers’ block, crazy-hectic RL, and a few other unforeseen factors. I hope that there are still some folks out there who might be interested in my perspective on this pairing and I apologize for the long wait!! My goal is to finish the series over the summer, hopefully before DH2 comes out…but at the very least before fall. Luna and George still don’t appear together in this one – sorry!! – but they will in the next one, which I’ve already started working on. This is 8 of 13, and it takes place on December 23, 1998, roughly three weeks after Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting). The feel of it is very loosely inspired by Snow Patrol’s song Lifeboats.
Link to Prompt Table: Click here!!



“Are you sure you don’t want to stay just a bit longer?”

Luna had just stepped off the Burrow’s back porch, having already pocketed her magically miniaturized and lightened school trunk, when Ginny’s question caused her to turn back and look at her friend. Ginny was poised, hanging halfway out of the Burrow’s back door with one hand propped against the jamb to steady herself. Her face was a strange mixture of hopefulness and something that Luna couldn’t quite place, but that she thought might be a faint hint of frustration. It was an expression she’d caught on her friend’s face more than once during her overnight visit with the Weasleys, but it had usually vanished before she could question Ginny about it. Until now, she’d not been entirely positive that she’d even seen it in the first place.

Before Luna could inquire as to its cause, however, the strange expression melted away, replaced by Ginny’s familiar, and formidably persuasive, pout. This, Luna knew how to interpret, and she smiled at Ginny regretfully. “I would love to, Ginny,” she said sincerely, “but I really can’t. Father is due home soon, and I need to head home. But please thank your mum again for me – it was lovely of her to have me.”

“I will,” said Ginny warmly. “You know you’re welcome here any time.”

Luna nodded and waved cheerily before turning and setting off on foot across the Weasleys’ backyard. She walked for a time in silence through the snowy fields behind the Burrow, her thoughts far-ranging, settling on nothing in particular until she finally crossed the large, rough hedges that separated the Weasleys’ property from the wide, public country lane.

In truth, though she was terribly fond of the Weasleys, and the Burrow, she had been rather eager to start her walk home. It was the day before Christmas Eve, and though she’d traveled from King’s Cross with Ginny yesterday and spent the previous night at the Burrow because her father wouldn’t be home from his exploratory research trip to Brisbane until sometime today, she’d spent the entire visit half-worrying and half-hoping that George might drop by. In fact, fear of an unexpected meeting with him had almost prevented her from saying yes when Ginny had extended the offer to stay a few days before the term had ended.

He hadn’t made an appearance though, and she didn’t know whether she were more disappointed or relieved. The last time she’d seen him had been months ago now, and though she still held out hope that he would change his mind and seek her out once more, that hope was growing weaker with each passing day. She considered yet again Ginny’s repeated urgings that she be the one to approach him, but Luna knew that she just couldn’t. She’d been the one to take the risk the first time, and George had ended up pushing her away. No. If there were going to be any chance for them to be together, George would have to be ready for it. He would have to give her some sort of sign.

She shivered slightly, looking around at the barren fields. With the exception of the occasional set of animal tracks, the snow stretched, unbroken, as far as the eye could see. She could have Apparated home, of course, but she preferred the solitude the walk afforded her. It gave her time to clear her head and prepare herself. As if her problems with George weren’t enough to worry about, she had even more on her mind. She wasn’t at all sure what she would find when she reached the house she shared with her father.

Their home had been badly damaged by the Death Eaters who had come searching for Harry that horrible night nearly a year ago. Luna sighed heavily, remembering. The top floors, housing the two bedrooms, had been completely destroyed, their walls blasted apart by hexes. Stones and bricks had tumbled helter-skelter to the lawn below. The flying masonry had laid waste to their garden – it had been a miracle that any of the dirigible plum bushes had survived.

The printing room had been half caved in, the press itself covered with the rubble of the upper floors, and so jammed with debris as to be rendered unusable for the foreseeable future. The kitchen, being on the bottom of the house, had fared the best, but it too had suffered. A large hole had been blown in one face of its wall, exposing the room to the elements and wreaking havoc on the decorative paintings Luna had created when she was a little girl, playing under her mum’s watchful, yet encouraging, eye.

Though she’d not been there when it happened, Luna just knew that the Death Eaters had blown their home apart without a moment’s pause, sparing no thought for what they were destroying. And they left devastation of more than one type in their wake. For when she’d first seen the damage, Luna had been angrier than she’d remembered being in a long time, but her feelings hadn’t solely been directed at the Death Eaters. When she thought about the events of that night from a purely objective point of view, she knew that her father had only been doing what he had believed would guarantee her safe return. She knew his actions had only been motivated by his love for her, and his desire to protect his only child.

But it was difficult to always remain purely objective about it, and though Luna understood her father’s point of view, she had found that she couldn’t completely agree with it. He had sacrificed his principles, something Luna had never thought he would do, and it had been a bitter pill for her to swallow. This had made their post-war reunion rather bittersweet at times, and it had been the source of one blazing argument between them last spring. Thankfully, they’d reached an understanding well before she’d left to return to school in the fall, and though their relationship was still slightly strained at times, things had been much improved. She was hoping for a pleasant holiday with him.

She’d been so lost in thought that she hadn’t realized quite how much ground she’d already covered. Pulling up short at the bottom of a hill, her cloak swirling to a stop around her ankles and kicking up a small flume of powdery snow, she saw that it was the last one she had to climb before she reached home.

Pausing, she breathed deeply, letting the crisp air fill her lungs and enjoying the way it made her feel a bit lightheaded. It was a pleasant giddiness, and it gave her a sense of calm and clarity as she released the breath, puffing white clouds of exhalation up into the country air.

She started up the slope, hoping to find that her father had already returned, but content to set about unpacking her trunk and making their tea while she waited if he had not.

They had lived in a tent in their backyard during the past spring and summer, using the kitchen to cook meals, and working to repair as much of the house as possible before the cold weather arrived. Though they had finished the printing room and fixed the kitchen wall, when Luna had gone back to Hogwarts the bedrooms had still been in total disrepair. She didn’t know how much progress her father would have made on his own during the fall. His letters on the subject had been vague; he’d been far more excited about returning to his research and, as having something to look forward to had helped him recover from his time in Azkaban, Luna hadn’t had the heart to push him too much about the house. They would find a way to manage with heating charms in the tent, if need be.

Reaching the crest of the hill, she paused again to catch her breath, but instead found herself gasping in shock.

Their house stood before her, completely restored, a curlicue of smoke rising from the chimney and white fairy lights twinkling in the kitchen windows. She started down the other side of the hill towards it as her father, who was home and who must have been watching for her, burst exuberantly out of the front door calling her name with delight. As she let herself be swept up in his embrace, only one nonsensical, hopeful question repeated in her thoughts.

Is this the sign I’ve been waiting for?

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
jesuisenchantee
Jun. 24th, 2011 06:58 am (UTC)
LJ tells me it is your birthday? It may be lying. If it's not, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! ♥
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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