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Old November 14th, 2006, 3:42 pm
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Join Date: 19th June 2003
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 12 The Lovegoods

After Friday's boxing, again interrupted by Marge's verbal abuse, which was by now seeming comical to Harry, Harry again got his things together to visit a friend and Uncle Vernon drove him away from the house so he could apparate. This weekend he was going to visit Luna Lovegood and her father. He had hoped when it was arranged that they would be able to get together with Ron and Ginny, since the Lovegoods lived so near The Burrow, but all the Weasleys were either staying at Grimmauld Place with Molly and Arthur or in Diagon Alley with the twins. Harry apparated to the Lovegood kitchen where he found Mr. Lovegood with a mug of tea sitting at the butcher block table that they both prepared and ate food on.

"Harry, it's good to see you again," exclaimed Mr. Lovegood. "How are things?"

"Oddly, Mr. Lovegood, pretty good," replied Harry, "I mean, I keep training like I'm going to fight with Voldemort (Mr. Lovegood flinched) at any time, I'm getting frequent stabbing pains in this scar telling me of each decision to try to kill more people, and I'm concerned that wizard society is going to fall apart from this terror campaign. But for some reason, I have been getting an ever more positive outlook."

"That's wonderful, Harry. If you're going to be involved in a fight, it's best to have a notion that you are fighting for something."

"Maybe that's it - I'm learning to appreciate people more, and as I do, I have more of a sense of the fight being worthwhile."

"Say, I was hoping that maybe you could write a couple more articles: something about people letting fear get the best of them, and maybe an insider’s view of the Battle of Gringotts? The Daily Prophet reported about it, but I’d like a more personal account. And anything with your name on it really boosts sales of The Quibbler."

"Well, the first one’s okay, I reckon; after all, you've done my friends and me some favors getting things published in the past," said Harry with a smile.

"The favors have been mutual - your articles have added a lot to sales figures. We've been in the black for the past three years, mostly because of the big sales when your name is on a piece."

“As for the battle, I didn’t really see much of it.”

“Harry, you were right in on the crux of the battle – beating the heliopaths that disabled the goblins.”

Harry nodded. “I’m just not too keen on calling that much attention to myself.”

“Still a little publicity shy after what the Prophet did to you?”

“Well, a bit, I guess. But I really don’t want to hog the credit, either. The goblins did most of the fighting and all the DA who could get there did their part. If we must, I’d rather write about that.”

“But people need to know what you’ve done.”

“Everyone who needs to know, knows – especially the goblins. We can say something about Dobby and me disabling the heliopaths, but I’ll keep it brief. If you want any more of me in it, we’ll talk about the DA’s training.”

“I’ll take what I can get out of you, Harry, but don’t tone it down too far – a bit of blood never hurt newspaper sales.”

"That is too true. Well, maybe Luna and I can work on something this weekend. She has a fine way with words. Where is she anyway?"

"She's out de-gnoming the garden - perhaps you'd like to help her,” said Mr. Lovegood, with an odd smile. "I'll take your things to the spare room you stayed in last year."

Harry went out to the Lovegoods' garden to find Luna singing an Abba song at the top of her lungs. "Um, Luna, I thought you were de-gnoming the garden?"

She stopped singing. "Oh, hi Harry. Yes, I am."

"At The Burrow we always grabbed them by the feet, swung 'em until they were dizzy and flung them over the fence."

Luna wrinkled her nose. "This works better. They hate Abba. I can chase them all away further and faster this way. And it's more humane."

Harry arched an eyebrow. "I'm not so sure about that. Do you reckon they're about gone?"

"For now. They'll stay away for several days. Did you have a good trip?"

"What else? I love apparating."

"Ah, yes, that's right. You're doing that now, aren't you?"

“When I can. Are you looking forward to it as much as I was?”

She frowned. “Well, of course I’d like to master it, but I see so many people who have trouble with it. My father can only manage short distances without carrying anything. He’s even left his clothes behind when trying to practice.”

Harry laughed. “I’m glad that hasn’t happened to me. They say it’s got a lot to do with how well you take to flying. I think the only flying I’ve ever seen you do is on a thestral.”

“That’d be fun to do again, you know, under better circumstances. I visited with Hagrid several times last year and I’m starting to appreciate what he means about ‘innerestin’ creatures’ – although I think it helps to have a giant’s hide to deal with some of them.”

“Yeah, Hagrid’s heart is in the right place. He sometimes doesn’t appreciate that he’s a bit different than the rest of us.”

“Not that there’s anything wrong with being a bit different, hmm, Harry?”

“Oh, no, I’m sorry,” said Harry, a bit chagrined. Then he looked sidelong at her. “Are we talking about you or me?”

“Doesn’t really matter, does it?’ said Luna, with an airy smile. “We’re all different in our own ways. Take the most typical-seeming or average person you can find – there’ll be something that makes them a bit different. One of the best things about the magical world is that our powers allow us to express our differences. I feel sorry for the old line families and those who are so hung up on ‘pureblood’ – they all think they have to be just this one particular way and they stifle their uniqueness. It’s no wonder so many turn out so nasty – they have no other way to express themselves.”

“You’re doing it to me again," said Harry with a little smile.

“What’s that, Harry?” asked Luna.

“You got me to see those hung up on ‘blood’ as victims locked in a cultural box they don’t know how to escape from. Every time we speak you give me insights into things that I really need to know. You don’t seem to be trying even,” said Harry.

“I can assure you I’m not trying to do anything, except …” she paused and thought a second, twiddling her kumquat earrings, “I talk more around you than I do around most people. You don’t make fun of me. You’re open to people being different. It’s very nice to be able to let things out without people sneering and walking away. Hagrid’s good that way, too.”

Harry looked down and said, “I have to confess there are plenty of times I’ve found you very odd, dotty even.”

Luna laughed to the stars. “Well, of course, I’d be disappointed in both of us if you didn’t. It’s not that you don’t think about what I’m saying, and I certainly recognize I’m not on the same wavelength as everyone else. You’d have to have an opinion. But you don’t put me down for it, and you’ve kept me as a friend. Ginny’s wonderful about that, too.”

Harry felt a pang at the mention of Ginny, like he didn’t want the intrusion of thinking about her while he was here with Luna. He made a mental note to think about that feeling later.

“So, Harry, have you eaten yet?”

“Ahh, no, I haven’t.”

“Then help me put dinner on the table. We were just going to have raw fruits and vegetables, cold meat and cheese, and if you’d like, I’m pretty good at making fresh bread with magic – I could have some done by the time you got the table set.”

“What more does a person need?” replied Harry rhetorically.

“Truly,” said Luna, leading him in the side door.

On Saturday after their workout and defense practice, Harry and Luna were at the kitchen table working on what to put in an article about reaction to the war for The Quibbler when Harry heard Professor Dumbledore’s voice calling from the mirror.

“Yes, Professor,” said Harry. “Good to see you. It’s been awhile.”

“Remus have been doing such a thorough job informing me of what you tell him, and you have been doing such a thorough job informing him of everything that there has been no need. But as what I am calling about affects many of my students, I preferred to make this call myself.”

“I take it this has to do with the training sessions I heard about,” said Harry.

“Yes, it does. Is Miss Lovegood with you there?” asked Dumbledore

“Right here, Headmaster,” she called out.

“Good. In discussing the plans to work with the aurors, it was suggested that we bring in the team leaders for next year’s DA, so that we can get a head start on that work. Any interest?”

Harry smiled. “I think I’ll pass.”

Dumbledore chuckled and winked. “I wasn’t really asking you, Harry. We both know you’re committed for the duration.”

Luna spoke up. “Then is my commitment being questioned?”

“Not at all, Miss Lovegood. You have been exemplary, but I prefer to at least follow the protocol of an invitation.”

“But wouldn’t we students be hindering the training of the aurors?”

“Actually, most of you in a head-to-head battle are more than a match for the aurors. They exceed you in other special skills of their vocation, but as fighters, they need the practice more than you.”

“Interesting. I’m concerned about leaving my father here, though. He would be quite vulnerable to an attack. He can use the Patronus Charm, but to do so while fighting a wizard would be another matter.”

“Is he available?”

“Yes.”

“Then please ask him in and we’ll discuss the matter together.”

Luna left to get her father. While she was gone, Dumbledore asked Harry, “How about the scar - of course, I know you are learning about the attacks. Have you been learning anything else through it?”

“Perhaps.” said Harry, “I’ve been noticing that when I practice new spells, the wand motions and the pronunciations are coming too easily. You know how you can see a pronunciation key in a dictionary and you slowly sound it out, and then practice it until it flows like a word you are used to using? I’ll see the name of a new spell and pronounce it before checking the pronunciation guide and I will have it correct already, even nuanced. Same thing for the wand motion – I see the diagram and that is enough, without even reading the commentary. When I’ve tried the spells out on the weekends I’m with wizards, I find that I am performing them perfectly.”

Dumbledore nodded his head thoughtfully. “The divide between the minds is breaking down. You are gaining access to Voldemort’s knowledge, and presumably he could gain access to yours, although other than seeing what we are up to, the only things you know that he does not are friendship, love and trust. He would have little interest in that. Have you found yourself moody or irritable?”

“Quite the contrary, Professor. Even with my Aunt Marge, who used to really make me blow up …”

“And vice versa?”

“Yes sir,” Harry said with a grin. “I am finding patience and understanding. Once or twice she’s gotten to me, but it has taken more than it would previously have. I am cheerful, despite my concern over the war. I am no less serious about preparations or fighting – if anything I’ve been working harder. But I’m not getting angry and depressed, and I even have been getting fewer visions of death and destruction.”

“I believe that would be the result of your sessions with Reverend MacBoon. But let’s not forget that your scar is an open portal in both directions, and either of you may exploit it either purposefully or in times of crisis. We have been making use of a small portion of the opportunities, but there are great dangers there as well.”

“Possession?”

“Perhaps that, Harry, although even at the Ministry, from what you have told me, he was only able to take control of your body – your personality and soul remained quite distinct. Let’s keep working on the emotional maturity that you have been developing.”

“Yes, Professor,” replied Harry. Just then Luna and Mr. Lovegood came in. “Ah, the Lovegoods are here, Professor.”

“Hello, Professor Dumbledore. So good to see you again.”

“Yes, Adrian, it’s good to see you again as well, especially in these trying times.”

“Of course, Luna was just telling me her concerns.”

“I cannot say they are idle, either, Adrian. You are triply a target, for being the father of a witch who has fought Voldemort’s forces, for being the publisher of articles which have helped rally the magical world against him, and for being a wizard Harry is quite fond of.”

“Are you now, Harry? I thought you might just be acting politely,” he smiled at Harry, who smiled warmly back. “Well, then Professor, do you advise me to go on the lam?”

“Not exactly, but I would recommend moving for the duration to Diagon Alley. The Weasley twins have been expanding their business premises. Originally they were going to house production facilities in the extra space, but they are making alternate arrangements for that. The extra space is being made available fairly reasonably for sorcerers seeking more secure accommodations. As I understand your operations, as long as you can send and receive owls, you can continue publishing The Quibbler.”

“That’s true, Albus. Of course, the printing is done on Practic Alley – that’s the industrial district connected to Diagon Alley, Harry – so the location would actually be more convenient for me. We have always simply liked the bucolic surroundings here.”

“And why not, Adrian, but we are all bearing some hardship, and all of us would like to see you and The Quibbler make it through the war intact. And knowing you are in more secure accommodations would make it easier for both your daughter and Harry to fulfill the duties that they have undertaken.”

Mr. Lovegood turned to Luna and Harry, “Is that so?” They nodded earnestly. “Well, then, I suppose I could endure a change of venue.”

“Adrian, I will see to it that the Weasleys’ house elf, who is maintaining The Burrow in their absence, is instructed to keep your house neat and secure as well.”

“Thank you, Albus. That was another concern I had.”

“I would like to have the two of them at the training facility tomorrow evening. Can you be ready to go by then?”

“Of course, Albus. I live a simple life. Well, simpler than most wizards. A couple of grips should do me. What else I might need I can buy or borrow. I’ve quite a few friends who’ve made the same move in the past month.”

Professor Dumbledore smiled sadly. “It’s good to see so many pulling together, though too many are pulling away. I only wish we could find grounds for cooperation when we weren’t faced with life-or-death matters.”

“Indeed. Well, I’ll let you talk to the young-uns about their arrangements while I go set my things in order.”

“Harry,” said Professor Dumbledore, “the training camp is at Longbottom Manor. They will be prepared to receive you anytime after 5 p.m. tomorrow. You can apparate to the entry hall, where the house elves will show you your way. Miss Lovegood, either Harry can apparate you there or you can use the Floo network. Take all the things you will need for the coming school year. With the war on, there may not be an opportunity for you to get back to your house before then.”

“Yes, Headmaster.”

“And Harry, don’t worry for now about your things. You will be able to get back to your aunt and uncle’s house. I have also already notified your relatives that your disciplinary boot camp has been extended for the entire week. Keep in touch, Harry.”

“I will, Professor.”

“Disciplinary boot camp?” asked Luna, after they had said their good-byes to Dumbledore.

“My uncle’s sister believes I’m a serious juvenile delinquent. My cover story for getting away on the weekends is that I am at a boot camp being whipped into shape.”

“Why did you have to tell her all that?”

“You know my relatives used to hate me, or at least resent magic, right? Well, they kept pushing the idea I was a bad egg, and then made up a story when I went to Hogwarts about a residential school for evil thugs like me. Now they accept that I’m a wizard, but they can’t really explain the change in attitude to my uncle’s sister, not without letting on about the whole magic thing. So we’re kind of stuck in the whole story.”

Luna giggled at the whole predicament. “I never knew it could be so difficult to have muggle relatives. The muggles around here just think we’re very odd.” She laughed and added wryly, “Can you imagine that?”

That evening over dinner, they talked over all their plans and how they would keep in touch. Luna’s father suggested additions and changes to the article Harry and Luna had been writing together. After dinner, Luna wrote an additional article for The Quibbler about people moving to Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley for mutual security. While she was writing that, Harry and Mr. Lovegood sat out on the porch. Harry asked about Mrs. Lovegood and what Luna was like as a little child. It of course took little for a fond father to launch into all manner of stories about his beloved child.

After a while Mr. Lovegood got kind of quiet, and then said to Harry, “I know you’ve got a lot on your shoulders, Harry, but would it be too much for me to ask that you keep her safe? She’s all I have that matters to me.”

Harry’s eyes got moist. “I understand, Mr. Lovegood. As long as you realize all the things I’m expected to tend to, then you can accept my assurance that I’m doing everything I can to see that she and all the other students make it through the war. And I’ll put a bit extra into Luna’s safety – she’s very special to me, too.”

“But you won’t be keeping me out of the action, either, Harry Potter!” interrupted Luna, coming through the screen door where she obviously had been listening. “Dad, I know you love me, and I love you too, but I’ve been training to defend myself and those I care for, and I’ll not hide behind the others and let them risk their necks without me beside them.”

Harry had never heard Luna so focused and direct. Mr. Lovegood just smiled benignly and stood up. He kissed Luna on the forehead. “You can’t blame a father for wanting his angel to be safe, sweetheart. I’d better head in and leave the night to you two youngsters.”

Luna stomped to the post holding up the overhang and leaned against it. “Ooh, he makes me so mad doing that.”

Harry smiled. “Luna, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you upset before.”

“Parents have a knack for it. I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to call attention to … but he makes me so mad sometimes!”

“He’s just worried about you.”

“What!? Oh, not that.” Luna regained her usual demeanour and laughed uproariously. “Oh, it’s not that. I was just putting on a bit of a show so he wouldn’t coddle me too much. No, I’m upset because he’s trying to fix us up.”

“Huh?” said Harry, as clueless as one can be.

“Fix us up, you troll. He wants us to date. He’d like for the great Harry Potter to eventually be his son-in-law.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“I wish I was.”

“And that would be awful because …”

Luna laughed. “Here’s the part where I’m supposed to tease you about thinking that you’re the finest ‘catch’ in the world and say that you’re too full of yourself, all the while avoiding the question of whether I would be interested or not. But you’re not like that and neither am I. You’re a wonderful fellow, in spite of the things you’ve done. And I don’t care to lie to you – of course I have considered what it would be like for you to be my boyfriend.”

“Oh, you have, have you? And what is the result?” said Harry, with a smirk.

“Oh, I’d give you a chance, but I’m not about to throw myself at you. I know you enough not to be bowled over by your resume’, like some girls would be. But I don’t know you well enough to say whether I’d want to be more than friends.”

“The honesty is refreshing. Too often girls seem to want to play games,” said Harry.

“Sometimes that’s just to put boys off who just want to play around,” said Luna.

“Goes both ways, huh?”

“Yeah, but the hurt comes in when you get someone who is honest meeting someone who plays people. And the players don’t even understand that there could be honest people.”

Harry looked at her and she looked back at him. “I can’t tell you,” he said, “how hard it is for me to suppress legilemency right now. I so want to know how that mind of yours works. You can be so insightful at times and then an utter goose at others.”

“I admire that you resist it. There’s something kind of obscene about looking into another person’s mind, kind of like peeping through a bathroom keyhole or something. There are the glimpses of ourselves that we offer, like a girl wearing a scoop neckline, and those that we don’t, and each person should have the right to choose.”

Harry stood for a minute thinking about what she had said, when suddenly his scar began hurting severely. “I’ve got to speak to Professor Lupin. I’ll be back,” he said hurriedly as he ran in the door to the spare bedroom.

When he was done, he came back out to the parlor and found that Luna had come inside and gotten a fire going in the fireplace and was sitting in an easy chair, watching the flames. Harry pulled up a rocker and sat a couple feet from her.

“Business attended to?” Luna asked.

“Yeah.”

Luna nodded for a few seconds, then asked, “Why do you do it?”

“What?”

“Reading his mind to raise the alarm, training the DA, all of it.”

“Shouldn’t I?”

“I’m just asking. I’m curious.” She looked at him and gave him a smile. “Can you shut off the warnings? If you could, would you?”

“Well, I don’t think I could shut them off. I guess I’ve never particularly tried, so I can’t prove it one way or the other. If I don’t report them, people would die.”

“What is that to you?” she asked quietly.

“They’re … people. Why wouldn’t I care?”

“You don’t know them, well, very few of them.”

“But they’re people. And, if more people were dying, then society would fall apart even faster than it has been.”

“And you can control that?”

“I can help fight it,” said Harry.

“Why?”

Harry’s head was swimming. “Well, if we don’t hold together, then we won’t be able to resist. I might go first, but eventually we would all fall.”

“So it’s just to protect yourself, to have more allies. And the DA as well? Just a way of making allies?”

“Why are you asking all this? Are you saying it’s wrong to try to help protect people and help them protect themselves?”

“I’m just asking. Harry, you’re getting too upset. You’ve never thought about the why of all this. You’ve been led by both your enemies and your friends. But you’ve never figured it out for yourself. Take some time now. Nothing’s happening. Professor Lupin will take care of the threats. Let your mind grapple with the why of what you do, the whole ‘people-saving’ thing.”

They sat and looked at the fire a long time. Every so often Luna would put a couple more logs on the fire. She said she didn’t mind lighting a fire with magic, but she preferred a real fire. Harry worked on all the possible reasons and sorting out which ones really mattered to him and which were just excuses or makeweights. The fire died down low when Harry decided he knew the answer. Luna had fallen asleep with her arms across the armrests. Harry gently grasped her forearm and gave her a gentle shake.

“Luna? I think I know.”

“What, hmm? Oh, Harry,” said Luna.

“I said I think I know – why I do the ‘people-saving’ thing,” Harry said gently.

“Oh, yeah,” she said yawning. “What did you decide?”

“Down deep, I just feel that every person is very special and deserves a chance at a full, happy life.”

Luna stood up, stretched, and then bent down toward him. She placed a hand on his shoulder and gave him a sweet innocent kiss on his cheek. “I know, Harry. I knew that all along. But you needed to find that answer for yourself. Helping people is what you do because you really do care for people. It’s beautiful. Good night now.”

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__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
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