"Dumbledore Dead at the Hands of Death Eaters," reads the Daily Prophet newspaper that blew into my window not a moment ago.
My heart clenches in agony at the mere headline. Surely this must be rubbish. The Daily Prophet does report loads of rubbish nonsense. It has to be rubbish, right? My hands can't help but tremble as I read the headline over and over. The more my eyes wash over it, the more I attempt to convince myself it's rubbish.
The sound makes me jump.
"What is it this time, Berthilda?" I ask.
Then I remember. It's the last day of term. I'll get to see my Luna again. Perhaps she can clear up this nonsense for me. I'm supposed to pick her up!
I sit inside of the train car by myself, glancing out the window. Everything's seems to move quite slowly since Dumbledore died. People are heavy with grief. I do what I can, but sometimes the Wrackspurts get into my head and everything goes all fuzzy and sad.
"Hey, Luna," a voice calls out.
I turn to find Ginny and Neville.
"Is it alright if we sit here?" Ginny asks.
I nod and they take their seat across from me.
"How are you feeling?" I ask them.
"Fine," they mumble.
I know they're lying.
"Is there something troubling you?"
Ginny shakes her head, but Neville lets it out in a blurt of fear.
"I'm scared of what will happen to Hogwarts."
"We're all scared, Neville," Ginny assures him as she puts her hand on his shoulder.
"We just need to stick together and keep our heads on straight."
"I don't think you can take off your head," I say, tilting mine in puzzlement.
This makes Ginny and Neville snicker a little, not exactly in a mean way, but enough to make me more puzzled.
"It's just an expression, Luna."
We go silent for a while afterwards. When the trolley comes by, I buy some pumpkin pasties to split with dad when I get back. I also buy a few chocolate frogs. Maybe a few too many.
"Bloody hell, Luna," Ginny gasps.
"Why do you need all of those chocolate frogs?"
"If we're going to be prepared to take on the future, we might need some fortunes and signs."
The two of them look at me in bewilderment.
"What does that have to do with chocolate frogs?"
"My mum told me about this. Each card has a meaning associated with it. For instance, if you get Godric Gryffindor, it means something is coming that requires a lot of bravery. Or if you get the Bloody Baron, it means someone you know is going to die soon. Or if you get Albus Dumbledore, it means you're going to endure something that brings you great wisdom and insight. That, or someone is going to give you a sherbert lemon for free. Both have happened to me before."
I hear Ginny giggle kindly.
"Can I ask you something, Luna?"
"How do you manage to stay so...positive and innocent? In a good way," she adds quickly.
This sets off a spark in my mind. I never thought about that. I have gone through a lot and yet, I still have a sort of positive outlook on the world. In it I tend to believe that anything is possible and that no one is completely bad. Even You-Know-Who was good at one point in his life. Some people might see it as naivety, but I like to think of it as an alternative view of the world. I shrug.
"I suppose by keeping my mind open and looking at life as an adventure. But everyone has their own ways."
Ginny nods as I open a frog card.
"That's odd," I remark.
"I've never gotten this one before."
The two of them look up in interest.
"Which one did you get?" Neville asks.
"Helena Ravenclaw," I say.
"I wonder what this frog card could mean."
"Well, how do you determine the meaning?" Ginny asks.
I shrug again.
"Usually it's something related to what traits are most prominent in them or their backstories. Like the Bloody Baron represents death or murder and Dumbledore represents wisdom and insight."
"Wasn't the Bloody Baron obsessed with Helena?"
I nod at this.
"I can't really think of anyone who'd be obsessed with me, though."
"Hey. You never know," Ginny shrugs.
I study the card. On it is the tale of Helena and her untimely death, but I don't need to read it. Every Ravenclaw is told the story of Helena, but only if they ask.
"A mystery," I muse.
By the time we pull into the station, the sky begins to fade into the color of a clementine orange set aflame. I look out the car window as the train begins to slow down. Families of different sizes, colors, creeds, and abilities wait for their children to leave the train. I scan them for my dad. He's not that difficult to pick out usually.
Soon I spot him with his flowing light-blonde/silver hair. He seemed to have aged a bit. I can see it in his eyes.
"Daddy," I exclaim excitedly as I run to him.
He smiles tiredly as he sees me and we embrace. But just like with his eyes, his hug seems aged and tired.
"Daddy, is something wrong?" I ask kindly.
He shakes his head.
"Nothing," he answers.
"It's probably the wrackspurts. Let's go get your things."
"It's true, you know?" I say somberly.
He stops in his tracks.
"Dumbledore's dead, daddy. For once The Daily Prophet didn't lie."
I see it immediately. His eyes age considerably.
"Is that what this is all about?"
Once again he shakes his head.
"Of course not, Luna. Dumbledore was a very good man who lived a very good and long life."
Without another word, we go to grab my things and then apparate back home.
"Daddy, you don't need to make supper," I insist as I help him into an armchair.
"I can take care of it tonight."
I don't want him to exert anymore unnecessary energy on me. When we had apparated, he nearly fainted trying to get up the stairs to the front door.
"No. It's alright. I don't mind."
I know I can't use my wand outside of school yet and I want to try making supper the way muggles do, so I skip over to the kitchen and see what I can put together.
"Oh, of course!" I exclaim.
"It's three o clock. I'll make some tea and scones."
"Luna, my love, you truly don't need to do this."
"No, but I want to. You go ahead and rest, daddy. I should have the tea and scones ready in about half an hour."
I pour some water into the purple Pygmy puff-shaped kettle-my mother's favourite. The tea tastes much sweeter when it's from that kettle-and place it on the stove. Turning it on, I gather what I need for scones.
"It's been a while since I've made these," I exclaim to myself.
"I wonder if I still remember the recipe."
I think back, as I get what I need, to times when my mum and I would make scones together for afternoon tea. The house always smelled so lovely and felt so cozy afterwards. She taught me a few tricks to scone-making, but told me that they're Lovegood family secrets, so I can't really tell you anything. Apparently they're very arcane and highly sought after.
As it turns out, scone-making is "in my blood," which is another expression Ginny taught me. I've never really understood expressions, but it's funny to think of them in a literal sense. Another expression I learned from Ginny is "mad as a wet hen." I wonder if anyone who's gotten angry has actually turned into a wet hen. And how would the hen get wet in the first place? Maybe someone dumped a transformation potion on them and they turned into a hen that got wet from the potion.
My mum also taught me a few of them. My favourite expression is "away with the fairies." A boy in Harry Potter's year, Seamus Finnegan, has actually said that one about me several times, even though I wasn't away with the fairies. I was at Hogwarts. I often wonder, though, what it would be like to actually be away with the fairies. Perhaps they have a fairy prince. I wonder what scones would be like in the fairy world.
One that I don't understand, though, is "throwing a sausage down O'Connell street." I heard it the day after Lavender Brown started dating Ron Weasley. Why are people throwing sausages down that street? And where is O'Connell street anyway? Does it have a big pile of sausages at the end of the street? Wouldn't birds and cats and rats have eaten them by now? Or would someone just pick them up and eat them if they were hungry? But wouldn't they get food poisoning from sausages that have been sitting out for so long? Or would the sausages have gone stale by then? Do they have a special street sweeper just for the sausages people throw? Why are people throwing sausages? Isn't that a waste of food? And why did they pick sausages to throw? Are they angry at the people who make sausages? Muggles are sometimes very peculiar people, but lovely ones nonetheless.
The sound of the tea kettle singing breaks me from my thoughts. I glance down at my mixing bowl; it seems that I'd made the scone mix whilst I was thinking, at least the flour portion of it. Now onto the wet ingredients.
I remember how this has always been the most difficult step for me, especially when I was younger. Many a time would I end up covered in a concoction of eggs and milk, whether from overflowing the bowl or spilling it somehow. My mum didn't mind, though. I was still learning about the world and I was blindly wandering through life. I still am, though, but who isn't? Why, even you are still blindly wandering through life. My mum always told me that if you're not confused about what to do next in life, you're all the more lost than the wandering blind. People aren't meant to know what's going to happen next in life. Whenever one of her friends would go to her and spill their woes of plans gone awry or of messes not meant to be made or of loves not going as planned, my mum would praise them and then offer them some tea and scones.
But she admitted that she's seen instances where those who know what's next aren't quite lost, as they often turn up wandering blind once again. In a way, we are all small children; curious, eager, and stumbling through life just as we were meant to, but we may not like to believe so. To society, a non-questioning perspective takes precedence over the innate curiosity we are all born with. Once you give up that curiosity, you follow the path society has set as the correct one, when in reality, we all have our own paths to follow. When you completely surrender the ability to view the world through an ebullient philosopher's eyes, you instead gain the eyes of a callous cynic; doing everything they're told, not questioning even a single direction ordered to them, and seeing the world as a vile planet and its inhabitants as unscrupulous, rapacious, aberrant, and sometimes insipid people.
I find people to be quite nice generally, but I think they do think I'm a bit odd. I've been called Loony Lovegood quite a bit actually. I suppose I might be a bit odd, but it's really about perspective. I'm odd to them as they would be to muggles. When we come across something out of the ordinary, our first instinct would be to categorize, ostracize, or minimize it. Mum and dad have taught me that things that seem out of the ordinary are simply things that only make life more unique and interesting. I suppose if everyone considered thinking like that, wars might not be started, but to each their own.
I hear the oven go off and I open my eyes only to see the kitchen crowded with steam. I quickly snatch the kettle from the stove and set it down on the counter. Grabbing a set of oven mitts, I open the oven. The scent of chocolate chip scones infuses itself into the air as I take them out. I set them aside to let them cool and then place a tea bag in each cup.
The sound of the water hitting against each tea cup is very tranquil to me. Of course, I think most people would agree, but it's tranquil in a different sense, as in the calm before a storm. I let the tea bags sit and the scones cool before giving a bit of each to dad with a kiss on the cheek.
"Thank you, my Luna," he gasps after he tastes the scone.
"This is fantastic."
"It's not exactly mum's recipe, though," I say with a shrug.
"Ah, but if it were, then it wouldn't have truly been made by you."
"Of course," I agree with a smile.
"I do miss mum's scones, though. There was always something….magical about them. Did she really use powder from the Bulgarian Rose Fairies to make the scone mix?"
"Indeed," my father answers.
"She made quite a lot of it though," I add.
"Especially right before she died."
There's a small silence before I finish my tea and stand up.
"I think I'll go unpack a bit and then work a bit more on the mural in my room before starting supper."
"If you do," he interjects.
"Please be careful on that ladder, dear."
"I'll be fine," I assure him.
"I've done this a lot before, but it's sweet of you to tell me."
I kiss him on the cheek again and then skip up to my room.