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pressure (2/2)

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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Part 1


 

7.

 

In retrospect, sneaking out of the Gryffindor Common Room at well past midnight without the benefit of Harry’s cloak or map (which Ron was sure Harry would have given him with little to no explanation needed) was not as brilliant an idea as it had seemed at first go. Granted, he had actually thought about it a surprisingly (or perhaps not so surprisingly) small amount, just rolled out of bed, glared sleepily at Neville who kept snoring like a gutted hippogriff, and padded out of the dorm. So, minus one Invisibility Cloak, without the Marauder’s Map (and sans footwear), he stumbled out into the dark and quiet of the castle.

 

With no destination he mind he wandered aimlessly, creeping like one of the castle’s ghosts through the (eerily) empty halls.

 

“Where the hell are all the teachers?” he said, stopping abruptly. The suit of armor next to him shrugged, then went back to holding its battleaxe.

 

“They’re near the Ravenclaw dorms.”

 

Ron made a startled noise, like a mouse being stepped on, and leapt a foot in the air. “L-Luna?!”

 

She slanted a look at him, peeling her eyes away from the painting she had her nose about a half-an-inch from. “Yes?”

 

“What are you doing here?”

 

She stared at him silently for a long moment, giving Ron the irritating impression that every emotion that crossed his face, every thought in his head, was being analyzed and cataloged away for future use. “I think a better question would be: why are you here?”

 

“W-what?” he stuttered, momentarily stunned by how intense her eyes shone in the dark, like blue lamps in the dim hallway.

 

“Why are you,” she repeated, stepping closer, hands clasped loosely behind her back, “here,” another step, “at this time of night,” two more steps, “with me?”

 

“Wait, wait, wait! I’m not here with you! You’re here with me!”

 

She shrugged. “I was here first. So, it seems to reason that you wandered off from your Common Room, at night, and found me here.” She took another step and suddenly she was right there. “Why is that?”

 

Ron jerked back, wondering if she had any idea what personal space was, and tried to make his mouth and his brain agree on what exactly it was he wanted to say. “That’s not what happened! Well, actually, I guess it is kind of what happened, but not that way! I mean, not for that reason . . . well, you didn’t give a reason, so, I guess that is the way it happened, but not for any reason and I –”

 

He quieted suddenly, his words trailing off like disappearing smoke. Luna was smiling at him. Not in that vague, disaffected way she gave off sometimes or that half-intelligent, half-mad air she had all the time. Just a slight upward tilt at the edge of her lips, her eyes crinkling at the corners as they softened at him.

 

“You are a very amusing person, Ron,” she said eventually.

 

“I –”

 

“Mreow?”

 

Ron jerked backwards at the sound, and the two of them turned to see Mrs. Norris sitting halfway down the hall, staring at the pair of them, golden eyes gleaming like twin lamps in the darkness. She stared at them unblinkingly for several long moments, before standing, swishing her tail once, twice, and walking away.

 

“We should get out of here,” Ron said, eyes still fixed to the vanishing feline. She had the distinct air of a cat that was about to report to her boss.

 

“I suppose,” Luna said airily.

 

“Guess I’ll see you to –”

 

“Over here, you stupid beast? Geez, I can’t believe I’m taking orders from a flea-bitten cat.”

 

Ron gave an involuntarily lurch at Malfoy’s sudden voice, leaping forward and pushing Luna into a shadowy alcove, instinctively trying to not get either one of them in trouble.

 

Damn, Harry, Ron thought, as Luna’s big blue eyes stared up at him in interest, his arms on either side of her head. Damn his hero complex rubbing off on me. Oh, don’t think about rubbing. Think about Filch! And detention. With Snape. And

 

“I admire that you are trying to shield me from Malfoy, but I’m fairly certain he’ll find me anyway.”

 

“Huh? Oh, yeah. Sorry, instinct,” Ron said sheepishly, but did nothing to move away. His eyes were drawn down to her lips, parted and inviting, and he noticed that she wasn’t scared or nervous here in his arms, just intriguing, waiting patiently to see what he would do. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

 

“I think so, Ron,” she said, head tilted sideways, “but isn’t Lucius Malfoy already married?”

 

“What? Why would I –”

 

His words were cut off suddenly when Luna leaned up, pressing her lips to his.

 

For a moment, he was too shocked to do more than stand there, and really, they must have looked ridiculous, both of them stock-still, only touching where their lips met. Then Ron decided to just take it and run with it.

 

Her lips were soft and she smelled really good, Ron decided, leaning down farther, pressing their lips together harder.

 

“Where – Ow! Hey, you stupid, cat! Come back here, you mangy vermin!”

 

Ron pulled away from Luna at Malfoy’s shout. He steadfastly didn’t look at her as he listened to that Slytherin twit thundered off after Filch’s cat, shouting spells.

 

“Ron?”

 

“Hm?” He glanced over, remembered the position he was in, and took several hurried steps backwards. “Oh! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to – Well, I did, but I don’t want you to be mad at me. You were just there and so close and – Not that is your fault or anything!” He blathered, arms waving in front of him.

 

She laid a soft hand on his shoulder, stopping him mid-tirade, smiling at him again. He smiled back hesitantly. “We should both be getting back,” she said, stepping away from the dark niche. “Next time someone comes by we might not be so lucky.”

 

“Um, yeah. Um . . . are we . . . okay?”

 

“Of course!” She grinned at him broadly. As she turned to walk away, Ron took one step towards her, unsure why, and she paused. “You should probably head back to the Gryffindor Tower and not follow me this way. I get lost sometimes. And locked into rooms.” And then she walked off, whistling I’ll Put A Spell On You.

 

Ron watched her go, wondering how much trouble he’d get into if he got caught in the Prefects’ bathroom at this time of night. He figured it’d be worth it. With any luck, he’d fall asleep in the tub and drown.

 

8.

 

“How about this one,” Dean said, leaning forward from where he sat several seats down from Ron and Harry. “How do you make a blonde laugh on Friday?” He paused, staring from one expectant face to another. “Tell her a joke on Wednesday!”

 

There were chuckles all around, though Hermione huffed and shut her book with a sharp snap. “Now really, Dean,” she said, leaning forward and staring at him. “That’s sexist.” She stared at the laughing boys around you. “How can you heathens laugh at something to derogatory to both the female sex and blondes? There’s no scientific proof that blondes are somehow less smart than people with any other hair color.”

 

Ron elbowed Harry in the ribs and shared a look with him, both of them rolling their eyes at the girl across from her.

 

“Ron! Harry! You can’t tell me you think jokes like this are funny!”

 

“Oh, calm down, Hermione, it’s all in harmless fun,” Harry said consolingly to her, but he quieted when she glared at him harshly.

 

“Yeah, Hermione, bugger off.”

 

“Why you –”

 

“Hello, dazzle bunnies!”

 

Ron lurched at the cheerful voice, elbow sliding over the edge of the table and bringing a plate half full of food with him. “L-Luna!” Harry gave him a strange, sideways look but remained silent, choosing instead to turn and greet their new lunch guest as she walked up behind him.

 

“Hey, Luna. What’s up?”

 

“I thought I would sit with you all today.” And if she was staring straight at Ron while she said it, no one commented.

 

Ron, meanwhile, was busily cleaning up the mess he had made of the table and his clothes, so didn’t notice. “Hey that’s cool,” he said finally, casting one last scourgify at his shirt, then twisting in his seat to grin at her. She was still staring at him. He swallowed, suddenly nervous. “You can sit in between Harry and me. Right, Harry?”

 

Harry glanced between the two of them, shrugged, and slide over, arching a brow at Ginny at her brother’s strange behavior.

 

As Luna settled into her new spot, Ron rubbed his sweaty palms on his pants, killing time by taking a swig of pumpkin juice. It had been a couple of weeks since he’s accosted Luna in the halls after hours and she hadn’t mentioned it since. Ron was taking this to mean she was mad at him (no matter it was her that had kissed him first, girls were weird and confusing like that) or that she was trying to pretend it had never happened (since she’d done nothing but ignore him and go around vomiting sunshine since it’s happened). And now, here she was, sitting next to him, the table so crammed with people at this hour that every time she shifted her long hair whispered against her arm or her leg pressed fleetingly against him.

 

Oh, crap, maybe I should have asked her to sit next to the girls, he thought, glancing over at Hermione and his sister way on the other side of the table. He didn’t think he could get through the rest of the lunch period like this. Not with Luna sitting so close and looking so adorable. Her hair looked tousled like she’d just rolled out of bed. And between her bright blue eyes, the huge silver earrings she was wearing, and the smear of ink across one cheek, she looked like the poster child for Ravenclaw.

 

“So what were you all laughing about over here?”

 

“O-oh! We were telling jokes! Wanna hear one?” And if he seemed overeager and leaned in towards her closer than necessary, she didn’t comment. She probably didn’t notice. She was annoyingly oblivious about those things. When Luna nodded, Ron ignored Hermione’s huff and turned farther towards her. “Okay, I’ve got a good one then. A man was going from house to house in this guy Jeff’s neighborhood, right? ‘How many times a do you sleep with your wife?’ asked the man. So Jeff thinks about it and says, ‘Three times.’ The man writes it down and says, ‘That’s one more time a week than your neighbor.’ And Jeff goes, ‘That makes sense. Since she’s my wife.’”

 

All the boys at the table burst into laughter, but Luna just blinked at him, head tilted to one side.

 

“It’s a misunderstanding between then,” Ron said, trying to explain the joke to her. “The man asking questions means that Jeff’s neighbor sleeps with his own wife twice a week, but Jeff thinks he means his wife.”

 

“Oh!” Luna said, eyes lighting up, as she gave a tinkling laugh. “Oh, I understand! That’s funny now that I get it.”

 

Ron stared at her, before breaking into a face splitting smile. “So do you know any good jokes, Luna? And not any smart-people, bookworm jokes!”

 

“Well . . . I did hear this one . . .”

 

9.

 

Harry was watching his best friend with poorly concealed concern. Ron was staring avidly at Luna, had, in fact, been staring at her for the past chunk of time, as the girl twirled around the Entrance Hall near the doors.

 

“Um . . . Ron? You okay man?”

 

“Hm? Oh! Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?”

 

Trying for tact (Hermione said it worked better than just blurting things out), he said slowly, “Well, we’ve been standing her for twenty minutes. I was just wondering if there was any particular reason.”

 

Ron was silent, staring. Luna had stopped spinning and was now weaving around the room, trying to get her equilibrium back.

 

“Ron?”

 

“You know, I asked her once, if it bothered her. That people thought she was strange, you know?” He waiting until he saw Harry nod. “And you know what she told me?”

 

Ron had this sickeningly sweet smile on his face, the one Luna wore a lot of the time, and Harry was starting to get concerned.

 

“What?” He asked hesitantly.

 

“She said, ‘A griffin can’t change its feathers.’ Cute, right?”

 

“Um, I guess so. Ron are you sure you’re al-”

 

“Oh! And then, and then! She – ” He broke off, looking around.

 

“Ron?”

 

The redhead didn’t answer, just set off at a jog towards Luna.

 

“Off you go . . . apparently.”

 

Harry watched him run off, walking up to Luna and touching her arm lightly to get her attention. She spun towards him, smiling brightly up at him, hands clasped behind her as she rocked on her heels.

 

Ron was talking to her avidly, gesturing wildly, pointing from Harry to himself, then towards the door. Luna was nodding in excitement, before reaching out to grasp Ron’s wrist, tugging on it lightly.

 

“Wait there for one minute, Harry, I’ve for to go get something off the ground.” And the two of them darted out the door.

 

Harry blinked.

 

A few minutes later, the two of them came back in. Ron said something to Luna, leaning down to whisper in her ear. She giggled, and stayed standing there while Ron jogged back over to Harry, who was more confused than he’d ever been in his entire life.

 

Ron was holding a handful of flowers.

 

They were pretty flowers, make no mistake. A bright, brilliant gold, with huge petals and ferny little leaves. But they were still flowers.

 

“This is amaranth,” Ron said. “Luna said that it’s a really important plant used in healing potions. The plants common enough, but every now and then, you get one flower that comes out like this.” He held up the only flower that wasn’t golden, but was instead a soft, pale white. “It’s not a defect or anything, the plant works in potions the exact same way, with no different side effects or anything. It’s just . . . different.” He grinned. “Luna says she’s like one of these white ones. The same, overall, but still different enough to be noticed.”

 

Harry was concerned about the way Ron was rubbing the petals of the white flower over and over. Harry would have thought Ron wasn’t aware of what he was doing, if it weren’t for the way he was staring so intensely at it.

 

“But I don’t think we’re like flowers at all.”

 

“Well, that’s good –”

 

I think we’re more like caterpillars.”

 

“. . . What?”

 

He looked up at Harry. “Caterpillars, you know? Like, we’re all the same, kind of like these flowers. But Luna’s a butterfly . . . off in her own world, so far off that we don’t understand her all the time.”

 

Harry was worried. He was worried Ron had been jinxed or cursed or had some kind of potion slipped into his tea. Maybe this was some kind of trick Malfoy was playing on him. Maybe he had Ron under the Imperius or something. Or maybe . . .

 

“Oh, God.”

 

Ron blinked. “What? What is it?”

 

Harry laughed and pat his friend on the shoulder. “You’ve got it bad.”

 

“Huh? What does that mean?”

 

Harry just shook his head and left him standing there, waving over his shoulder.

 

“Wait! Harry! What does that mean? I’ve got what bad? Am I dying?!”

 

10.

 

The end of the year came far too quickly after that. Or maybe not quickly enough, depending on what you were weighing it against. Quidditch made the time go by ridiculously fast, while Hermione’s seemingly never-ending study sessions and reviews and lectures made the days crawl by at a snail’s pace.

 

Either way, exams had ended, and in true irony, the weather was dismal and dreary to mirror everyone’s feelings of leaving Hogwarts and friends behind for another summer.

 

Harry, Ron, and Hermione had been sitting in the Quidditch stands when the sky had opened up and it had begun to pour quite spectacularly. Halfway through their mad-rush up to the castle, Ron and realized he’d dropped his wand and turned around to find it, waving the other two off with assurances that he’d be fine by himself.

 

“Stupid, useless piece of wood,” Ron muttered, brushing a wet lock of hair out of his face. “Accio wand!” Not exactly to his surprise, nothing happened, and he was left to trudge through the increasingly muddy ground, water falling endlessly in his eyes.

 

He gave the pitch a cursory sweep before starting to climb the stairs, but stopped suddenly as what he’d seen caught up with his brain.

 

There was someone out on the pitch.

 

Their robes were in a crumpled, soaking heap on the grass, and they were spinning in circles, arms outstretched and head tilted back so the rain fell in streams onto their face. On second glance, Ron realized he recognized them. That brilliant blonde hair stood out as bright as a candle in a dark room.

 

Yes, it was Luna. And yes, she was dancing by herself in the rain in the middle of an empty Quidditch pitch. Why does that not surprise me, Ron thought, almost fondly, turning and watching her spin and prance around. What kind of dance she was performing wasn’t entirely clear, in fact, Ron was fairly certain it wasn’t a specific dance at all. But she had a remarkable gift of performing every step in a way that seemed like a complete accident, and yet flowed smoothly into her routine, if there was any.

 

She was by no means the worst dancer he had ever seen (and thanks to the Yule Ball, he’d seen enough of them to make a fair comparison), but she had a sort of awkward grace in the way she moved that was endearing. There was a whimsicalness to her that was rarely seen outside of very young children, or perhaps Dumbledore.

 

Ron snorted at the thought or Luna passing out lemon drops or of Dumbledore reading the Quibbler. Oddly, the two scenarios didn’t seem that farfetched. Luna certainly was a mixed bag of nuts, and as the year had gone by Ron found himself caring about it less and less. It certainly didn’t bother him as much as it had when he’d first met her during Fifth Year.

 

“Ron!”

 

Snapping back to the present at her joyful shout, he lifted a hand in a casual wave, smiling at the sight Luna made. Mud had splattered all over her legs and the hem of her skirt. Her clothes were heavy with water and her hair was straggled and plastered to her face, while her huge eyes were nearly luminous in good spirits. She looked like a very elegant drowned rat.

 

“What are you doing out here?” She asked, jogging over to the stands.

 

“I dropped my wand around here somewhere,” he answered, walking over to the railing and leaning his forearms against it, staring down at her. “I was just trying to find it.”

 

“Oh! I can help with that!”

 

“Oh, no it’s alright, I probably just dropped the stupid thing up in the stands while we were sitting up there, you don’t have to help –”

 

She laughed, a light tinkling sound that make the words vanish from his mind as she smiled up at him in obvious amusement. “With my wand, silly!”

 

“Oh,” Ron said blankly, comprehension dawning and making him blush in embarrassment. “Yes, of course.”

 

Luna laughed again, before beginning to turn away. “Now, I’m sure I left it around here somewhere . . .”

 

Ron chuckled quietly, as he watched Luna walk back over to where she’d been dancing, peering around intently through the mud and wet grass. The rain was letting up, lessening to a soft drizzle as the storm moved on and the sun began to filter through the clouds once again.

 

After a moment, his smile softened since Luna had dropped to her knees and started to squelch her way around the wet earth. She looked so fey there, clothes and skin dirtied, mud up to her elbows, her shirt grass stained and soaking, her face flushed and smeared with soil, hair tangled and wild, eyes bright as stars. A nymphet, a sylph, a goddess from the old world.

 

“Aha!”

 

He was staring at her with growing horror, watching as she summoned his wand (it had fallen down a few sets of bleachers in the wind) and made her way back over to him. When had that happened? When had he gone from thinking of her as Loony Lovegood to one of the most beautiful girls he’d ever seen? When had her quirks gone from irritating to endearing, her strangeness gone from annoying to adorable?

 

He watched her with wondering eyes as she got closer, smiling with the carefree abandon he was so enamored with. He sucked in an astonished breath. “Oh no,” he murmured with dawning awareness. “They were right. I do have it bad . . . I think,” worry colored his tone, “I think I love her.

 

“Here you are Ron,” she said, holding his wand out to him. “Good as knew.” A pause, as she glanced at the mud she was leaving all over the wood. “Well, almost.”

 

This was not supposed to happen, he though. He was not supposed to fall in love with Luna Lovegood. He was only sixteen; he wasn’t supposed to fall in love at all. Date, yes. Someone like Lavender or one of the Patil sisters or Hermione. Not Luna. Crazy Luna who asked weird questions that didn’t make since and didn’t get his jokes. Mad Luna who made awkward comments about Malfoy’s father that he didn’t want to understand and stood out by the lake in short Muggle uniforms. Lovely Luna who danced in the rain, who had legs like pale stepladders, who smiled at him like he was the only person in the world.

 

“Ron? Are you alright?”

 

She was starting up at him, concern shining out from her blue, blue eyes, standing up on tiptoes to get as close to him as possible. He wondered what she was seeing on his face, before he decided to stop thinking so much about it, leaned over the railing, leaned down as far as he could, and kissed her full on the mouth.

 

As Ron has his eyes screwed tightly closed, he didn’t see Luna’s eyes widen in shock, but soon let them drift closed. For a long moment, Ron was afraid he’d overstepped some boundary, some signal she’d sent but he hadn’t gotten telling him she only wanted to be friends. But then she kissed him back so sweetly he thought he’d fly right of the ground.

 

When he pulled back from her, he could feel the grin almost splitting his face in two.

 

Luna’s eyes seemed drawn to it, and she reached up one hand, movements slow and graceful, to caress his cheek, to run a finger around the shape of his smile.

 

“Luna?”

 

“I like it when you smile,” she said, glance shifting upward so their eyes met. “When you smile, it’s like my heart smiles, too.”

 

The grin that had started to fade came back full force. “Yeah,” he said softly, leaning down again. “Me, too.”

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A/N: Some of the lines used here are from movies or shows I’ve seen. Pinky & the Brain, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Code Gaess, King of the Hill, Firefly, Psych and Le Chevalier d’Eon.



 


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