The Little Things that Matter

Clouds

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Title: The Little Things that Matter

Challenge: All Aboard the Love Boat

Paring: Luna Lovegood and George Weasley

Prompt: Clouds

A Year AF (After Fred)

"You're a very strange person, George Weasley."

George looked up over his potions set at Luna Lovegood who stared at him with those large, deep, sleepy, blue eyes of hers and that vague smile. She still wore that same Butterbeer cap necklace and those radish earrings that he used to see her with in school, her long blond hair pulled up into two high pigtails, the way she normally wore it when she was at work.

And she was calling him strange?

Having just finished her schooling at Hogwarts, she had come looking for a job at the beginning of the summer. Sure she was still working on her father's Quibbler, but she had needed some extra money to rent a small apartment somewhere else in Diagon Alley (somewhere very near his own shop and flat, though he hadn't been there yet and had no clue where it was). Why on earth he had hired her, he wasn't sure, but he had needed the help since . . . well since he had been working by himself.

"How am I strange?" he asked.

"Well," she said, swinging herself onto the bench in front of him, "it's just when I knew you back in school, you were always so . . . fun. I remember you used to run around and every once and a while you'd call me Loony Loopy Luna Lovegood and now you just call me Luna . . . it's kind of boring. You even used to have some funny comment when I talked to you about Warbled-Fang Nisbits and I didn't mind. You've . . . changed."

"Yeah, well, some time things change, Luna," George said as he stood, heading for the front of the shop to make sure the door was locked for lunch.

"I've already done it," Luna said as he made for the door. "It's just strange how someone can change how they've acted their entire life."

"That's just the way things are." He was beginning to get frustrated with Luna. Ever since he had hired her, she'd been going on about her strange creatures and asking all sorts of unnecessary questions. It just all became so tiresome.

"But do things have to change you?"

George spun around on her, glaring. "Having – having your brother, your twin die is not just a thing, Luna."

"Yes but, would Fred like that you've changed?"

He turned away from her, angry because she could speak his name so . . . so callously, without feeling some type of way and angry because –

She was right.

. . . . His tw – Fred would be angry to see how he acted now, shutting himself away from their family and becoming almost obsessed with work. Truth be told, George hadn't even gone to see Victoire yet, though Bill had wrote him and told him to come over any time to see his nice. His mum was worried, especially since he hadn't come to the Burrow for Christmas. She had brought his presents over and expressed her concerns. He had lied and told her he was in the midst of a breakthrough on a new invention . . . but he really hadn't had any ideas since Fred had died.

Merlin he missed him.

Feeling a hand on his back, he looked over his shoulder to see Luna gazing up at him, that same small, vague smile, but there was something in her eyes, something less dreamy and more . . . serious. He couldn't tell.

"Come on," she said. "You need some fresh air."

She took hold of the crook of his elbow, leading him through the workshop and out of the back door. She stopped taking in a deep breath of air. "Lovely. . . . Come on then."

He followed her reluctantly to a nice little grassy area where he noticed she always went to eat her lunch, rain or shine. She sat, patting the space next her. As he sat, she laid back, placing her arms under her head.

"Luna, what are you doing?" George asked.

"Just lay down," she said, staring up into the sky.

Sighing he did as told, placing his arms under his head too. The sky was nice and blue today, and even though it was slightly humid outside, a small breeze kept the cool, rustling the wisp of hair that had escaped Luna's ponytails.

They lay there in silence for at least five minutes before George said, "What exactly am I looking for?"

"Don't you see?" Luna said.

"See what?"

"The clouds."

George stared up at the sky, confused. Big, thick clouds moved slowly across it with the breeze. "What about the clouds?"

"When I was younger, my mother and I would go outside and look at the clouds whenever we were feeling upset. It helps if you imagine things that make you feel better. . . . That one looks like a cat."

George looked up at the cloud she was pointing to. The corner of his mouth twitched slightly . . . it did sort of look like a cat. He was surprised she didn't call it a Nipflit-Wingled Fangbart or whatever.

"Why don't you try?" Luna said.

He stared up at the clouds, squinting his eyes. "That one sort of looks like a broomstick."

"Well, look at that." George looked over at her to see her smile widen. "It does look like a broom. . . . What about that one? It looks like a Nargle, if you ask me."

Leave it to Luna. "Are you sure it's not a dog?"

"Yes, well, if you squint your eyes this way. . . ."

"Come on, Luna. A dog is a dog."

"Nargles are often mistaken for dogs."

George rolled his eyes, a slight smile coming to his face. "So what about that one?"

"That one looks like a flower."

"But it's the same shape as the one you called a Nargle! Don't try to tell me Nargles are mistaken for flowers, too."

Luna laughed, a tinkling little sound. He didn't believe he had ever heard her laugh before. It was nice.

"Let's move on, shall we?" she said. "Umm . . . a heart."

"A . . . Beater's bat."

"A potions set."

"A dragon."

"A centaur."

"A Pygme Puff."

"A Bifflap!"

"A what?"

"Little creatures that fly around in the night screaming 'Bifflap!' in your ear so as you don't get any sleep but often it just sounds like this annoying ringing noise in your ear. Many people think they're the reason for insomnia."

George laughed. It was the first time he had laughed in a while, besides from the occasional chuckle here or there. So, maybe having Luna around wasn't the worst thing. She did seem to know a lot about her potions; enough to make the some of the most unique combinations he'd ever seen. And she was good help, always doing what she was told and helping when she wasn't. Maybe, after a while, he'd grow to like having her around. "You're certainly are Loony, Luna."

She laughed again. "Thank you."

They continued on like that for a while, with Luna pointing out strange creatures almost every other cloud, making George laugh more than he thought he would after Fred's death. He had to admit he felt a lot better and he told Luna so.

"That's good, George," she said, sitting up. "Now come on. I bet we've got people just waiting to get in after the lunch break."

George got to his feet, shaking his head as he followed her back inside the shop.

She definitely was a strange one, that Luna Lovegood.

A/N: Hey!!! Hope you like it. Stay tuned for the next chapter.
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