A/N: Sorry it's so late! I would have had this chapter to you ages ago, but we went to my Grandparents' farm for Christmas, and they don't have WiFi, so… Anyways, this chapter was really hard to write for some reason, but it's just filler to establish Luna and a little foreshadowing for some ideas bouncing around in my head. Next chapter there'll be some plot development with Dumbledore.
Harry winced as he ran toward the castle with fervor, stupid headache! He was hoping to arrive while everyone was still getting seated so that he could sneak in relatively unnoticed. For once, luck was on his side and he managed to arrive in the Great Hall without calling too much attention to himself. He slid into his seat next to Hermione just as Dumbledore finished the announcements.
"...And, I am pleased to inform you that the library has been repaired and will be reopened after dinner." He finished with a flourish. "Now that that is all taken care of, tuck in!"
Harry mentally did a happy dance.
Finally! Now he could find the book he needed on languages and codes!
Harry turned to see Hermione looking at him with an amused expression. "Sorry about that, I was a bit distracted."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "I was just wondering what you were up to all afternoon, you did disappear for a while."
"Oh! Well, I went to the library and found out that it was closed, but while I was there I ran into a Ravenclaw in the year below us. Her name is Luna Lovegood, and she invited me to see the Thestrals-"
"Thestrals? What are those?"
Harry snickered. Typical Hermione. "Thestrals are magical creatures that you can only see if you've seen someone die. They looked a bit like skeleton horses with giant bat wings. But, as I was saying, something seemed a bit odd while we were there. The thestrals were skittish around me, because they had never seen me before; you know how that is, right?"
Hermione nodded in understanding.
"Well, the thestrals weren't like that with Luna. Actually, a mother with a foal trotted right up to her, and they nuzzled against her. When I asked her about it, she just said that she spent a lot of time with them. Later, as I was leaving to go visit the dragons, I mentioned in passing that I considered her a friend, she teared up and said that she had never had any friends before."
Hermione quickly raised her hand up to dry her eye. "How is that even possible, unless she was bullied…" Then her eyes widened as she processed the first part of his statement. "What do you mean, YOU WENT BACK TO SEE THE DRAGONS!" She yelled in his ear.
"Hermione, I'm fine!" Harry babbled, desperately trying to calm her. "I could speak with them, and they're really quite reasonable. I only had to dodge one pillar of flames!" Harry clamped a hand over his mouth as he realized what he had said.
"HARRY JAMES POTTER, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!" Harry just stared at Hermione.
"You have lost the right to speak right now! I cannot believe that you would endanger yourself so carelessly. Don't you have any sense of self-preservation? And you didn't even think about how it might affect everyone else if you got yourself killed! Or that Ravenclaw girl- Luna, how do think she would feel, having her first friend die within hours of meeting him!"
"But Luna's the one who reminded me to go see the dragons; and I promised Ignis that I would visit."
"That's not the point, Harry!" Hermione raised a hand to her eye to brush away a tear. "You're my best friend- I can't stand the thought of losing you!"
"Hermione, it's okay."
Hermione smiled at the confused look on his face. "Boys." She muttered affectionately.
After dinner, Harry and Hermione started to make their way to the library.
"So I think that it's some sort of magical language or code. I mean, it would make sense." Harry finished.
"Harry… That's brilliant!"
"Why are you so surprised?" Harry asked jokingly "Is it so hard to believe that I might come up with a good idea every once in a while?"
Hermione blushed "Well-" But she was cut off by the sound of cruel laughter in the next corridor.
Harry rushed forward with Hermione close behind only to see a group of Ravenclaws tormenting a young blonde girl. At closer inspection, he recognized some of them. Cho Chang, Marietta Edgecomb, Michael Corner, and Roger Davies were there to name a few. And the girl that they were tormenting, it was Luna!
"Hey Loony, I love your shoes!"
"Invisible is just the latest fashion!"
"Yeah, where'd you get them?"
"She probably borrowed them from one of her invisible creatures."
"Yeah, I bet-"
But whatever Random Ravenclaw #5 was going to say was cut off by Harry. He barged forward and stood between the group of bullies and Luna. "What," He started, his voice filled with cold fury. "Exactly do you think you're doing?"
The Ravenclaws started, and a few of the younger ones backed up, terrified of the expression on Harry's face. The older ones had no such qualms. "It's none of your business, Potter." Davies sneared, "We were just teaching Loony here a lesson."
"Her name is Luna, and actually, it is my business. You see, I tend to make it my business when I see people bullying others, especially when said bullies are bullying my friends."
"Your friends? Don't make me laugh. Loony doesn't have any friends."
Harry's eyes lit up, almost glowing with unbridled fury. "Luna Lovegood is my friend."
Hermione pushed her way through what was left of the group of Ravenclaws. "And if she'll have me, I'll be her friend too."
"Does anyone have a problem with that?" Harry asked, with an arched eyebrow that was eerily reminiscent of a certain potions master that they all knew.
The few Ravenclaws who hadn't run away with their tails between their legs started backing up slowly, some nodding their heads fearfully and some sneering to hide their cowardice.
"Oh, and by the way," Harry called after them. "If I ever see or even hear about any of you bullying again, I will personally come after you and you will be sorry."
Davies managed to pull himself together enough to ask, "Is that a threat, Potter?"
Harry grinned ferally. "No. It's a promise."