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pressure (part 1/2)


Title: Pressure (or "How Luna Unintentionally Made Ronald weasley Fall In Love With Her In Ten Meetings)
Genre: Romance / Humor
Rating: T (just some light language)
Pairing: Ron x Luna
Spoilers: None
Word count: 8,332 total
Warning: Slight canon discrepancies, such as: I'm fairly certain Ron does have a class when Harry and Hermione are in Potions, but I needed him not to be. And, any other meetings Ron and Luna had in the books are being ignored. And there's literally no mention of anything canon at all. Oops.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowlings. The summary is from despair.com

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1.

 

The library was almost silent. Oh yes, there was page turning and scratching quills and shuffling parchment, but there was no restless fidgeting, no chair scraping, no semi-muffled whispered conversations.

 

Ron was fairly certain this had to do with the fact that the library was mostly filled with Ravenclaws.

 

Why, exactly, he himself was here, ensconced in the bowels of boredom was because his two traitorous best friends were in Potions, leaving him all by his lonesome. He had thought to go down to the pitch, but it was raining and he wasn’t entirely sure her could perform that water-repelling charm on his eyes without horrifically maiming and/or blinding himself. He tried the Common Room, but McGonagall was in there dealing with some sort of First Year related crisis that involved flobberworms, teacups, and something catching on fire, so that was a no. The Great Hall was next, but there was literally no one there at this time of day.

 

The library was his last resort.

 

He was beginning to think being solo in the Great Hall was preferable.

 

Time was crawling by slower than a History of Magic class and it was beginning to grate on him. “Ugh, hurry up,” he mumbled, staring vaguely at the stack of books someone had left on the table, “I might actually study if I’m left alone for much longer.” And he really didn’t want to do that. All those words made him go cross-eyed.

 

“Oh, rot!”

 

Ron jumped like a rabbit at the violent exclamation. (it was followed by several dozen “Ssshhh”-ing Ravenclaws) and pivoted in his chair until he could see the table behind him.

 

There sat Loony Luna Lovegood, looking as sweet and bland as the vanilla pudding Ron had eaten last night for desert, surrounded by towering piles of academia, notes in front of her, a smear of ink across her cheek. Her brow was furrowed in concentration as she frowned at something she was reading, before she huffed indignantly and piled the book onto the teetering pile to her left. Bored out of his wits, he glanced at the titles.

 

The Mathematics of Underwater Equations. Sponges and Their Mysteries. Atlantis: Fact or Fiction? Mermish for Beginners. The Nile: What You Don’t Know.

 

The collection was eclectic and the books all grouped together didn’t make any sense to Ron whatsoever. It must take quite an intellect to be able to understand so many different things all at once. Only ridiculously smart people like Hermione or Dumbledore. Or Luna, apparently. Maybe that was just a Ravenclaw thing.

 

“Oh. Hello, Ron.”

 

Tearing his eyes away from the hodgepodge collection of reading material the girl had accumulated, he glanced up to find Luna staring at him.

 

“Hey, Luna.”

 

“It is unusual to find you in the library, Ron. Are you studying for something?”

 

He shrugged, shifted until he was facing her a little more. “Nah, just killing time until Harry and Hermione get out of class.”

 

“That is understandable; you three are very close friends.”

 

He made a noncommittal sound.

 

Her fingers were tapping out a pattern on the cover of one of her books and she continued to stare at him. “I am looking for information.”

 

“Um, yeah, well, then the library’s a good place to be, isn’t it?”

 

“Would you be interested in hearing what I am studying?”

 

Another unsure glance towards her stacks of literature. “I’m listening . . . hesitantly.”

 

“I wish to know how much larger the ocean would be if there weren’t any sponges in it.”

 

Ron blinked. Glanced from Luna to her books and back. Blinked again. Then slowly, very slowly, as if the quiet girl across from him would suddenly lunge for his throat like a rabid kitten, started to stand up. “Right. Well . . . good luck . . . with that.”

 

“I’ve made you uncomfortable.”

 

He paused, thought about it, didn’t dispute it.

 

“You shouldn’t listen to everything I say,” she said. “I never do.”

 

Ron arched a brow at her. “Right. See ya around, Luna.”

 

2.

 

There was nothing like a good Quidditch workout to put you in a good mood. Hogwarts was great and all, but Ron could definitely do without the vast amounts of homework the teachers liked to pass out to students like it was going out of style. And though he didn’t have to deal with the tediousness of potion-brewing or the dismal dungeons any longer, he still had to deal with that hooked-nosed, over-bearing, greasy git Snape. Whoop-dee-freakin-do.

 

Sweaty and muscles aching pleasantly, he made his way to one of the empty locker rooms, pushing back the hair matted to his forehead.

 

The October air was crisp, with the faintest hint of winter tinting the breeze and the warm shower felt bloody amazing. With Hermione (where else) the library and Harry Merlin knew where, Ron definitely needed something to take his mind off how utterly boring it was without his two best friends. Maybe he could convince Ginny to practice with him next time. It was always better with more than one person, anyway, helped him keep from getting any worse.

 

A soft click had him freezing him place, hands wrist-deep in suds in his hair. That sounded an awful like the door . . .

 

“Oh. This isn’t where I parked my broom.”

 

Giving an undignified scream that he would vehemently deny if ever asked, Ron jumped, slipping on slick tiles and arms wind-milling to keep him steady. Grabbing a handful of shower curtain, he was horrified that gravity was pulling him (and the curtain) into a crumbled heap on the floor.

 

Blinking through the harsh sting of suds dripping into his eyes, clutching the shower curtain to his chest, he peered up at the person standing in the doorway. “L-Luna?!”

 

She blinked at him. “Hello, Ron.” A pause. “What are you doing on the floor?”

 

“You scared the hell out of me! How did you even get in here?!”

 

“I came in through the door,” she answered calmly, stepping further into the room.

 

“Get out!” He was scrambling ungracefully backwards across the slick floor, water still streaming from the shower and flooding across the tiles.

 

She stopped. “Is there a problem?”

 

“I’m naked!” He yelled, voice cracking.

 

“Yes, I had noticed, but I also need to use the facilities. I did not think it would cause you alarm since there are curtains in the stalls.” She was silent for a second. “Was I mistaken?”

 

Yes!” He glared up at her, one eye closed against the sting of shampoo. “What are you even doing here?”

 

“Practicing Quidditch,” she announced proudly.

 

He noticed for the first time that her long blonde hair was pulled up into a long mussed ponytail and her magnolia pale skin was flushed with the faintest tinge of pink. As if she’d been flying around in the cold for a time.

 

“I wish to have something to speak to my friends about. You and Harry both enjoy Quidditch and I thought to give it a try.” She smiled at him brightly, eyes shining like blue marbles against her pale pallor. “But when I started practicing with the Bludgers I accidentally hexed my broom and now it’s gone off somewhere.” She shrugged. “I had hoped it would find its way to the storage shed or the locker rooms, but I suppose it will be found eventually.” She was still smiling. “In any case, I found that I quite enjoy flying. It feels like I’m a cloud.”

 

“Splendid,” Ron said, in a tone of voice meant to convey exactly how splendid he thought that was. Which was: not at all. “Well, why don’t you go chase a snitch and leave me alone?”

 

She blinked. “Do you think I’d be any good? Cho is leaving this year, perhaps I should try out in my Seventh Year.”

 

Ron gaped up at her. Opened his mouth. Closed it. Thought about it.

 

Luna was book smart, but he didn’t think she was exceeding smart smart. But . . . she’d probably do alright at anything she did. She’d never be a brilliant Quidditch player like Harry or Charlie or even that twit Malfoy, but, armed with only the weapon of confusion, she’d probably do alright.

 

“You know what? Go ahead and try out, you’d probably do alright.”

 

She beamed at him. “You really think so?”

 

“Yeah, sure, why not? . . . Um . . . can you get out now?”

 

3.

 

It was getting pretty chilly out; the days preceding Halloween more often than not cool enough to mist breath in the morning air and every day snow seemed a little more imminent. So it was with real irritation that the Gryffindor boys woke up at an entirely ungodly hour one Saturday to the sound of shouting female voices echoing through the windows. Though Dean, Neville, and Seamus all continued snoring or shoved their heads under their pillows, Harry and Ron both rolled out of bed. Harry collapsed on one of the couches in the Common Room, but Ron, after pulling a robe on over his pajamas, staggered out into the hall, intent of finding the source of the noise and murdering it.

 

Almost an hour later, he was beginning to think the gaggle of girls were ghosts, because, even though he’d started his search under the Gryffindor tower, he had yet to locate them.

 

“Merlin’s beard,” he muttered, pulling his robe around him tighter. It was way colder outside in the morning, and he was barefoot and in his nightclothes still. He glanced back at the castle and thought about food. “If I don’t find them in the next five minutes –” He stopped abruptly as he walked around another corner, trying to process what he was seeing.

 

He saw his sister and the Patil twins, Hannah Abbott, there were a few other Gryffindor girls in the back whose names he couldn’t recall, and several from other Houses who he didn’t know at all.

 

All of them were wearing their school skirts rolled up to mid-thigh with socks pulled up to their knees. Most of them had their hair in pigtails and a fair number of them were holding big, poofy, round pillows.

 

“Ginny . . . I don’t think this is a good idea.”

 

“Nonsense, Padma, this is a fantastic idea!” His sister was standing on a big box, wand pointed to her throat and obviously using Sonorus on her voice, if the decibel was anything to go by. “Our teams need cheering from cute girls in cute clothes and since I clearly can’t play because I’m playing, it falls on my shoulders to turn you into what Hermione tells me are called cheerleaders.” She grinned at them brightly. “It’s a brilliant idea.”

 

“If you say so,” she said, sounding unsure.

 

“I am. Now! Let’s do the House cheer! Susan, Luna, Pavarti, front and center!”

 

Pavarti heaved an annoyed sigh, Susan looked longing towards and castle, and Luna hesitantly tugged at the hem of her skirt.

 

Wrapping his arms around them, Ron cast an appraising eye of the trio. Lavender was tall and gangly, but the other two sure did clean up nice. Parvati’s pigtails made her look bouncy and cute and Ron suddenly felt a pang as he realized Padma would look the same and regretted he was such a killjoy at the Yule Ball two years ago. Had he really been such an idiot that he ignored those long, tanned limbs, the darkly shining eyes? Luna, too, looked different out of her uniform; her legs lithe and pale (probably freezing). And her rich golden tresses where disheveled, looking like rumpled velvet. The three of them looked nervous, but Luna at least was smiling shyly.

 

“Ready?” He sister was shouting. “Okay!”

 

“Give me an H . . .” Susan said, almost whispering.

 

“Can’t hear you,” Ginny said warningly.

 

“Give me an R.” Slightly louder coming from Luna, who waved her fluffy little pillows once.

 

“Still too quiet . . .”

 

“Give me a G!” Now Pavarti was yelling.

 

“Give me a break,” Ron murmured.

 

His sister’s head snapped over in his direction. “Ron!” Her eyes lit up with malicious glee and Ron had one second to take a step backwards before his sister was in front of him, dragging him forward towards the packs of females in short skirts and pigtails.

 

“We’re starting a cheerleading squad!” She announced, thankfully having removed the spell on her voice.

 

“A what?”

 

“A cheerleading squad.” Ron turned away from his sister to Luna, who was flushed with cold and standing next to Ginny. “According to Hermione, they’re groups of girls who do choreographed, motivational routines at Muggle sporting events to cheer their team on. Ginny thinks each House should organize one for Quidditch games.” She glanced at the group of girls. “The Slytherin girls didn’t come, I wonder why.”

 

“Probably because they’re busy plotting their evil plans.”

 

“So, big brother, what do you think? Good idea right?”

 

“I –”

 

“Hey, Luna!” Pavarti shouted, waving the blonde over to them.

 

“Well, I better go, it was nice to see you again, Ron,” she said, skipping away.

 

“Hm.” Ron watched her go, watched her join the group of girls. She laughed at something one of the girls said and responded with something that made every look at her strangely, before laughing along with her. Her smile was kind of perpetual, and even if he thought about it, he couldn’t really remember ever seeing her without it. It was like his freckles or Hermione’s bushy hair or Harry’s scar. She might be a strange little bird, but, seeing her twirling around and waving those pillow things in the air, there was also a very timid charisma about her.

 

“Course,” Ginny continued, glancing at Ron from the corner of her eye, “it might prove to be too distracting to the players.”

 

Ron looked over at her, frowned at the sly little smile on her face, and glared when her watched her eyes slid pointedly over to Luna, who was now gesturing broadly as she told some story to a young Hufflepuff girl. “Ginny, because you are my sister, I’m going to tell you this nicely: Leave. Me. Alone.”

 

4.

 

It was at a completely horrid hour of the morning and the only reason Ron ever dragged himself out at bed at such a time on the weekend was because of the vast cache of food that was waiting to be consumed in the Great Hall. It was never too early to eat. But there were just some people that couldn’t be dealt with until after lunch.

 

“Good morning, star shine. The Earth says hello!”

 

“Oh, sweet mother of Merlin . . .” Ron groaned into his eggs, as Luna flounced over to their table and situated herself in between Harry and Ginny across from him.

 

“Hello, Luna,” his sister greeted the blonde warmly. “Decide to sit with us today?”

 

She nodded. “The Ravenclaw dorms have been infested with Wrackspurts and none of the girls are in very good moods because of it.”

 

“Oh, well, I hope that’s taken care of soon.”

 

Ron snorted into his food, staring resolutely at his plate and not the blonde girl reaching for tea and bagels. Nine A.M. and already that girl wasn’t right.

 

“Yes, there are several important tests coming up and I would hate for the girls to be so muddle-headed during them.” She paused and glanced around at the Gryffindors surrounding her. “It seems like this infestation might have spread to this House as well.”

 

When the silence grew long enough that it became uncomfortable, Ron looked up from his methodical eating of his breakfast to find everyone staring at him. Luna’s own hazy blue eyes were fascinated on him with a discerning interest. “What?”

 

“You are positively surrounded by Wrackspurts, Ron, it is a wonder you are clear-headed enough to ingest your food. I can help, if you like?” She asked, pouring crème into her teacup and stirring it thoughtfully.

 

“No.”

 

“But, Ron –”

 

“No!”

 

“If you would just let me –”

 

“Would you please just shut your pie hole?!”

 

“The only thing that shuts my pie hole is pie,” she answered calmly, sipping her glass of tea with a true lady’s daintiness. “Your energy is all green and spiky. It does not look healthy at all.”

 

“I don’t care.”

 

“It will only get worse if you ignore it. Oh look! It’s gone all greenish-yellow!”

 

“Would you stop the live coverage of my aura?!”

 

She shrugged elegantly. “I simply thought you would be interested in the icky color of your energy fields.”

 

“Well I’m not,” he snapped, frowning drowsily at her. He glanced down the table, whipped out his wand and attempted to summon the jug of pumpkin juice that was halfway down the table, but wound up exploding it all over Seamus and Dean. As the pair yelled indignantly Ron glared at all the people staring at him like he had gone off his rocker. “What?!” Stupid kids. Trying to act like they’d never seen anyone explode a jug of pumpkin juice before.

 

“. . . You are a strange person.”

 

Ron glanced back at Luna, who was regarding him calming over the rim of her teacup. “Is that so?”

 

She nodded. “True as toast.”

 

And with a groan, he let his head slam onto the table.

 

5.

 

Hagrid was huffing and puffing his way into the Great Hall with Christmas tree after Christmas tree as a group of Gryffindors lounged on the staircase near the entrance way. The doors were swung wide, letting in the cold and random snow flurries. First Years were out and about gallivanting in the stuff like snow bunnies. It was nauseating.

 

“They should be studying,” Hermione said, glancing up briefly from the book in her lap. She turned to stare at the rest of them. “You should be studying.”

 

“Later, Hermione, geez, at least we’re not out playing in the snow like five-year-olds. At least give us some credit for that.”

 

“There’s nothing wrong with playing in the snow.”

 

“Hey, Luna,” Neville greeted, seemingly unperturbed by the fact that her winter clothes were in garishly clashing colors of green and purple or that her earrings were Christmas orbs and her necklace made of garland. “What are you doing out here?”

 

“Playing in the snow.”

 

“Little old for that, aren’t you?”

 

She shrugged, eyes sparkling iridescently against the backdrop of white, white snow. “I don’t think people ever outgrow having fun. They just outgrow the idea that they’re allowed to do it.”

 

“Is that so?”

 

She nodded eagerly as Harry arched an interested brow in her direction. “Absolutely. People forget that they’re allowed to behave like children. Actually,” she placed a thoughtful finger against her lips. “I think we’ve earned the right to behave a little foolishly after everything we go through as adults.”

 

“That’s . . . I’ve never thought about it that way.”

 

Ron frowned at his best friend as he grinned at the girl in front of them. He wasn’t actually buying this stuff, was he? And where did he get off encouraging her crazy theories anyway?

 

“Yes. People spend so much time working and studying that they don’t remember to enjoy life. Do you know,” she asked him eagerly, leaning forward, “why snow is white?” He shook his head. “Because it has forgotten what color’s it’s supposed to be.”

 

Harry stared at her blankly for a moment, before throwing back his head and laughing. Luna gave a delighted giggle at the sight, clapping her hands together in glee. Ron stared at her as she laughed at whatever the hell it was she was finding so amusing. Must be nice to be that carefree all the time. He started as she turned to him abruptly. “You boys might want to watch out,” she said, tilting her head upwards.

 

When they looked up, all the boys but Harry scrambled out of the way and even though Ron tugged on his arm he didn’t budge.

 

“Any Nargles in this one, Luna?”

 

Ron stopped tugging, blinked once, looked from Harry to Luna and back again, then took a step backwards, away from the something-or-other infested holiday plant.

 

Luna was nodding. “Lots of the mistletoe in the castle has them. I think they like the holiday spirits. That’s why they’re found in mistletoe so often.”

 

“Fantastic, something to dislike about Christmas. It’ll never be the same again,” Ron muttered, pouting childishly up at the (to him) innocent looking greenery.

 

“Yes, but at least there’s snow.”

 

“Hm.”

 

“I mean, if there was no snow, where would all the penguins dance?”

 

For a moment, it seemed like Ron hadn’t even heard her, but he turned slowly, giving her a look that spoke volumes of how completely confused he was. “Come again?”

 

She laughed, before reaching out a hand and poking him on the nose, then spun around and skipped off through the snow. She didn’t seem to care that it was probably seeping into her boots, into her clothes or that her nose was probably going to freeze off any second now. No, she just pranced merrily along, reaching down to toss it in the air over her head, laughing the entire time, sun catching off blonde hair and making it glow, making her eyes shine.

 

Ron stared after her for a moment, upper lip curled back in confusion, before he shook his head, smiled to himself, and took one more step away from that stupid mistletoe.

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Part 2