Neptune

Saturn I - structure

Saturn Structure


"Strong wind at my back so I
I lift up the only sail that I have,
This tired little white flag.

(White flag, white flag...
White flag, white flag...)"


Sixth Year:

Luna wasn't a bad kid, as much as others wanted to label her as. In fact, she didn't apply to any labels, really. She likes to think of herself as her own woman, as she liked to put it. She was confident, courageous, intelligent, openminded—a perfect Ravenclaw, in Echo's opinion. But Luna always brushed the compliment aside, stating that Echo was just as wonderful as she was.

Well, Echo didn't quite believe that.

Ever since that announcement that Umbridge made before being kicked out of Hogwarts, Luna noticed her cousin's change and how she seemed to retreat more into herself. It was like Echo had begun taking a step forward with Professor Lupin's therapy, and now it was two steps back.

She had gotten worse. Echo didn't sleep much, her mother had told Xenophilius Lovegood in passing. Echo rarely talks and most times she just curls into herself in her bed and stares outside. Sometimes she cried too, and her mother just didn't know exactly why or what to do.

Echo's mother tried speaking to Luna about it, but the girl was always vague and said she didn't know if it was any of her business to share. But Luna always did say that Echo would be fine when she returned to Hogwarts. Her friends were there that would help, girls named Gretchen, Isabelle, and Grace. Luna would be there and so would Neville, Susan. Echo's mother knew very little about her daughter's friends, mainly because Echo never spoke of them and her mother was nervous to upset her daughter.

She didn't want her daughter to return to Hogwarts, since Echo was injured there in the first place but remembered how Echo had begun getting better—until that wench Umbridge took over, that is. Something had happened there that made her daughter distraught, and Echo's mother wanted to prevent anything else from happening. She missed the days her little girl was more exuberant, smiled more. She knew Echo's recovery was quickening but still...

She hated that Umbridge just as much as every other student had.

Luna and Xenophilius agreed.


It's funny how time flies. Just a year ago it felt like they were hearing about that giant serpent in the pipes. Sometimes it was hard to believe that five years have passed since they all met that first year coming into Hogwarts. And if looking back, so many have changed, even if they wouldn't agree. If Harry was younger, if he looked at himself today he wouldn't have been able to recognize his older self. He thought of this laying shirtless in bed. It was an absentminded musing that showed in the way his fingers played with the tousled head of brown curls asleep on his chest. He wouldn't move in fear of waking her up, even though she would have hated falling asleep like this.

She would disprove of this. He preferred it.

So many of Harry and his friends have transformed into people he wasn't sure they were proud of yet. It was trying times—they were in the middle of war, after all—and many of the things he thought of now were of questionable morals.

It was their sixth year, not even four months in and hell was already breaking loose. The year had started off fine, normal even, with the usual Hogwarts Express and new classes and meeting new students—with a few inconvenient circumstances.

George and Fred have dropped out of school. Ginny was dating Dean. There was constant tension, even slight, between Hermione and Ron. Neville was noticeably hanging around Luna and some strange girl more, but was improving greatly in studies and magic. Colin wasn't as annoying anymore, and Angela frequently asked about Fred. Dumbledore had been alarmingly silent, not speaking to Harry at all so far this school year. And Harry…well, Harry has gotten on a different track rather than what others—and himself—would have suspected.

He twirled a blonde curl around his finger.

Everyone was turning out differently than originally thought, then what they thought when they were younger.

So could be said about Hannah.

Since their early years, Hannah Abbott had been one of the few who had been kind to Echo, not wanting to judge the girl by rumors rather her own opinions. She had been with Echo when she went crying in the bathrooms, when she couldn't sleep from nightmares after her attack, when others would ridicule her. But now, she was becoming bitter. She had been bitten but the bug and infected with the green eyed monster, and it was starting to show.

First, it begun with her brushing Echo away, and then ignoring the girl completely. Hannah knew she was causing the girl more hurt but Hannah didn't know how to deal with her own feelings at the moment. So she alienated herself. She stopped speaking to Echo directly, and when she did, she almost always felt her lip curl and an angry, hot feeling bubbling up in her chest.

Hannah was jealous. She was envious of Echo, of having people care and support her so. Hannah saw Susan Bones, Luna, Neville, and the few others Echo hung around and how close all seemed to be—almost like family. She especially saw it with Echo's relationship with Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom. Hannah has seen it since third year and wanted that closeness. She saw the way Echo and Luna were so close, like they were actual siblings despite being a year apart; she saw the way Echo would grab Neville's hand and look at him like he was the world.

Hannah wanted that.

But she didn't exactly want to appear inconsiderate, so she almost completely stopped talking to Echo Bell unless necessary. Unless Neville approached with her.

She wondered if she was getting it from the students she has started hanging around, several of being in Slytherin. It wouldn't be a surprise, to her. In Hannah's mind, just like most of those in Hogwarts, she believed the stigma of Slytherin house being nothing but conniving and bad. She was hanging around one girl who had gotten her boyfriend through a love potion slipped into his butterbeer. The girl had saw her opportunity, and she took it.

Hannah wasn't a bitter person, but she could feel herself becoming one.


"Luna~!"

The blonde ceased her slow stroll and turned at hearing her name called. She turned to see her cousin running her way, robe billowing behind her and white side bangs in the wind. Luna was caught off guard. She was taking her restroom break to muse about the halls and not expecting to see another. But what she was even more surprised was the openmouthed look on her cousin's face as she ran, the corners of her mouth curving up.

"E-Echo…?"

"Luna, Luna!" Echo shouted.

Luna blinked.

"Guess what!" Echo came to a stop at her cousin's side.

Luna blinked.

"You know that new teacher, Slughorn? He's…there's this club he's starting and he was asking for you. It's-it's this fancy club only special people can get into and I told him about you and I think you can get in!" Echo was breathless. Luna wondered how much she had been running.

"Why was he asking for?"

"Harry Potter's friends."

Oh. Well.

"It's something called the Slug Club, if I remember right. And Neville got in, I think!"

Luna forced a small smile. "Well that's great…"

Her older cousin beamed at her.

This was a shock in itself. Luna hasn't seen a smile on her cousin's face for years but she knew better than to say something discouraging to this girl. It was a small smile that curved a the slight corners of her mouth, but the excited look in her eye had returned. They had only been back at Hogwarts for four months and Luna wondered what had happened, what potion she drank that made her this way. She also noticed that she stopped getting her hair trimmed i the back, and it was now an uneven messy style that reached to the end of her neck.

Echo was a precious girl, a girl who believed with all her might in things impossible but who was as fragile as parchment, older Luna knew from experience and having grown up with her. She knew Echo's limitations and what could break her, and she the same for Luna. But as the young Lovegood took the wrist of her cousin and pulled her into a hug before accompanying her down her stroll, she didn't know that that harm was just around the corner.

Neither Luna nor Neville got in the club, however. Luna hadn't been searched for by Slughorn, that was just mishearing on Echo's part.

It was with Susan Bones and Isabelle Banks of Hufflepuff as to why Echo was so chipper this afternoon. Susan, after speaking with Luna, did some investigating of her own and found out the jinxes and charms used on Echo by the nurses in the hospital wing, along with Isabelle's help. They calculated a guessing amount of how many times it had been placed on her, which passed the safety amount for a patient. It must have been due to some lacking of keeping up with the data somewhere down the line. They took this information to Professor Sprout, And after it being carried up to Dumbledore as soon as he regained his Headmaster's position, those nurses were fired and after a few more months of recreational treatment and charms, Echo was doing much better.

So much more that she was beginning to smile.

Everyone was starting to see it. Classmates, administrators. Echo would glare at Finch when she walked past and he would jump at her and she'd sprint down the hall. Echo would raise her hand proudly, and through she would still sometimes jumble her words, she proved she was just as smart as those who made fun of her. She was more involved in The Care of Magical Creatures and found she was taking the same Muggle Studies courses as Hermione Granger. But she wasn't as talkative as she once was, years ago. She didn't give her onslaught of questions, and really, that was the only thing that was really different.

It was a gradual process, but Echo was getting better.


Echo has never had a crush before. She isn't the type of person to—it just isn't in her makeup to. When the other little girls discussed the topic around her, she could never grasped her mind around it. She has never had any such thoughts as so many of others her age have had, which hadn't aided her teasing either. She was thought even more as an oddment because she had no desire to kiss or sneak into the boys dormitory at late night. This was revealed about a year ago, told from Echo's own lips and with Luna at her side, Luna came out as having a lack of arousal as well. Those like Susan Bones, Angela Johnson, and Ginny Weasley and others who had overheard, were kind and thought it no big deal. But it did put to rest many questions that had been buzzing their heads.

Echo required loyalty, kindness, a patient and understanding heart, and gentleness, only. It also supported why she had turned down Neville's invitation to The Yule Ball those years ago. She just didn't tick that way like some her age, and that was understandable...to some.

Unfortunately, Hermione hadn't been one of those people. Like Hannah, she had turned her nose up a little, more confused than anything but nose turned either way.

It had been when entering The Great Hall, the brunette Gryffindor spotted Neville and Echo walking side by side, a grin on both's faces until they had to part tables. Dean spoke up that he's heard about Echo Bell from a fifth year Gryffindor, Isobel MacDougal, and asked why Neville and Echo not date already. Dean then pointed out—once again—his current romance with Ginny Weasley, much to Ron and Harry's annoyance. That's when Neville revealed that little detail about Echo—like he usually does, blurting things out—and stating that Echo was just a friend. Hermione had this look on her face. Ron took a loud drink from his goblet, and Harry was staring off at some girl down the table.

But it had went over Neville's head. And when he was finger-painting alongside Echo that night in the abandoned room, he told her that he had mentioned that to his friends and Echo froze.

How could she explain to him that it had been something she wasn't sure she had wanted others to know?

Six feet away, Neville was still blabbering talking about something that put a smile to his face.

The problem that Echo saw was not in the information about her, but who heard. She was already well aware of Hannah Abbott's sudden dislike of her and didn't want to make anymore enemies. It was known that Hermione was very logical and literal, and Echo was concerned about that.

Just earlier that day, Echo had went to Hannah with a question about their astrology homework. Hannah answered her question but left afterwards.

"Hey," Neville called, shaking her from her thoughts. He looked over with a crooked smile and fingers still covered in colors of green and grey.

Echo met his gaze with wide eyes.

"You're growing your hair out?"

Echo's hand automatically raised but stopped before she stained her white hair with a rainbow of colors. She shrugged.

Neville told he that it looked nice, though it didn't have a style, and was growing out unevenly.

"You said I should."

He was confused and asked when.

"Fourth year. You said something like "it would nicer if you grew it out.""

"Oh." Neville resisted rubbing the back of his neck.

She remembered that long ago?

"…W-well it does look nice..."

Echo smiled.


After her fallout the night Dolores Umbridge boarded up the doorway, Echo had been in pieces. She had been broken, a remembrance of how she had been when she was younger and when she was recovering from the dementors. She had curled up into a ball, wanting to become nothingness and cried for days. And when she was asked what she would be crying for, especially by teachers, she would bawl. She didn't speak much on the train ride home, and Luna kept her in sight. She didn't do much at home either.

It had been the grace of Dumbledore returning and Neville and Luna simultaneously slipping hints about the importance of taking down the boards to the sixth floor, the wooden planks were gone before the end of that school year. And Echo had been ecstatic about it, eyes large and a o-formed lips forming a wide grin on her face for the first time in months. That night, when everyone was asleep, she snuck up there to talk to Azure. They hadn't spoken since the boards were placed and Echo wished she could hug the woman in the portrait.

"Wipe your eyes now, chid," Azure smiled. "Those faint of heart and soul are like dusty in the wind. But," the woman knelt, as if coming closer, "those with a heart that roars and a soul that blazes as bright as the sun, will last forever."

The woman in the painting smiled and Echo gave one with tears of happiness on her cheeks. She returned to class because Azure told her so and was greeted by scolding looks from her professors.

Echo was happy and thats all that mattered.

That's when it all started, her slow yet steady recovery. She had been burdened, troubled and confused. But now she saw that she had real, true friends. And the girls, Grace and Isabelle, and Gretchen noticed the uplifted change in personality and who had been by her side just as long. And despite Hannah's look burning into her back almost everywhere, Echo was recuperating. She could feel it. And it felt uplifting, to having migraines several times a week. Her memory had been improving when Umbridge came into office. With Neville and Luna's teaching, her magic was now stronger though she still ran from bullies. And from the help of her two closest friends, her life was beginning to improve.

She visited the abandoned class room less frequently now, and usually in the company of her cousin.

Echo talked that how she wondered how Professor Lupin would say, if he would be proud of her by now. She still struggled more—like anyone—but she was the one helping Neville when he forgot something or fixed Susan Bone's potion if she messed up and before Snape saw. Her magic and grades had increased noticeably. Echo was smiling for the first time in months.

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