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Here is the second of four parts of Elemental.
Part One: Earth can be found here

Title: Elemental
Pairing: George/Luna
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Romance with sprinkles of Fluff
Warnings: some pieces of fruit were harmed in the writing of this chapter


Part Two: Air

Luna Lovegood knew what people called her, insults that were usually thrown behind others’ backs were often delivered to her face. She was not loony, she knew that. She was actually rather observant, though she would not have described herself as such. Luna felt that she was just very much in-tune with every part of the world, except the people. Things like the earth and sky, plants and creatures, even magic and the moon were all a natural part of her world. People, on the other hand, were just not natural. And so Luna had put her considerable Ravenclaw mind to the task of studying them.

Luna had studied several of the Weasleys, and even considered Ginny something of a friend, in as much as Luna could understand the concept. Ginny had probably been her first ever friend, followed by Harry, Neville, Hermione and Ron. Maybe that was why she had been so interested in studying the Weasleys. She did after all have two friends from the same family, four if you counted Harry and Hermione who were almost Weasleys.

She was currently studying George Weasley as he polished the handle of a broom at a small table next to his family’s broom shed. She felt that he was most likely the oldest of the two twins. She pondered for a second just how much older he was. Minutes? Hours? There were differences, Luna saw them as rather obvious, but others who did not study people might not. George finished sentences that Fred started. George had not had a date to the Yule Ball, and she wondered if there was some small aspect of him that was shy. That part of him could not be very large, or apply to very many parts of his life, but she felt that it was there. It was hiding somewhere underneath the fireworks displays and portable swamps.

She knew several other things about George Weasley, like the fact that he had been very inquisitive about Ginny’s love life before she dated Harry. She also knew that, as a Weasley, he had a deep capacity for cruelty to those who set themselves against him, and an even deeper capacity for kindness to those he cared about. As she studied George Weasley now, Luna felt that he was missing something. He waved at her and smiled, but that was not it. Smiling back, she reached down almost instinctively and plucked a cornflower, sticking it behind her ear.

“Hey,” George grinned as he set down the polish rag and allowed the broom to hover beside the table. “Are you ready to go for a fly?”

“You really want to take me?” Kindness often left Luna confused, she had learned over her first few school years not to trust it. She saw a shadow of something pass behind George’s eyes. “You don’t have to, I can just go and say hello to Ginny and Harry.”

She turned towards the garden where she could hear light cheerful laughter, but was stilled by a strong hand on her shoulder. George stood behind her with a soft but firm smile on his face. As she turned he left his hand on her shoulder, it felt warm like the touch of sunlight. That was something that she understood.

“I want to take you, Luna. I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t.” His hand trailed down her arm and Luna wondered why her hair did not stir, because it created the same sensation as the wind against her bare neck. Maybe George Weasley was something she could understand, if she had the time to study him. “Are you scared to go up with me?”

He had a twinkle in his eye as he spoke. Luna knew that if he would joke with her in this easy gentle way that he was not really teasing. She shook her head and followed George to where the broom hung so stable in the air. He mounted the broom as easily as if he were sitting down to breakfast, and scooted back to allow her to get on in front of him. Luna slipped her leg over the handle of the broom and settled back.

George’s right arm made an easy loop around her waist and he held her close against his chest. It was better than her favorite blanket, the one her mother had knitted for her as a child, being wrapped like this. His other hand gripped the broomstick and he spoke lowly in her ear. “You can hold on to the broomstick or my arm, which ever you want. I only need the one.”

“You are holding me instead of a Beater’s bat.” Luna answered swiftly as she grasped herself around the waist, covering George’s thicker arm. She wasn’t worried about his ability to fly one-handed. As a Beater, he had done that as long as she had known him. She felt his chuckle rise in his chest.

“Yes,” She could hear the smile in his words as he continued, “Are you ready?” Luna nodded and leaned her head back onto the shoulder behind her. She was ready to see the clouds closer.

George kicked off and Luna felt her feet leave the ground. It was glorious, the sun seemed brighter, the wind seemed faster and she clung to the strong arm about her waist. It was much smoother than her ride on a Thestral and she felt amazingly free and safe at the same time. When they dove, she felt like a leaf on the wind and when they rose up, she felt as if she could almost reach out and touch the clouds. Luna laughed, loud and hard until she thought her face would break and her ribs would crack. She felt George tighten his grip around his waist and he shouted against the roar of the wind and blood in her ears.

“I take it that you like flying?” George was laughing with her, not at her. It was one of the best feelings that Luna had ever known.

“With you, it’s brilliant,” Luna practically shouted as she turned her head to find George’s ear. Her hair twisted and turned against his face and she reached up with one hand to pull it back, and tucked it over her shoulder. The flower in her hair went flying, fluttering across George’s lips as the wind took it away.

Suddenly, Luna felt that their flight had more purpose. George swung the broom against the wind and circled the tiny blue star as it fell gently back to earth. Just as the petals brushed the grass, Luna felt her feet touch down. Her world was still spinning and she was not sure if it was because of the spiraling broom ride or the fact that George had leaned down and placed the flower back behind her ear. His fingertips brushed the shell of her ear and purposefully lingered on her cheek for brief a moment.

“Shall we go up again?” George was smiling so close to her she could see the places where his freckles bled into the edges of his lips.

“I think so,” Luna replied, still studying the darker spots interspersed with stubble around George’s mouth.

“Let’s fix this first,” George said and Luna watched a blush darken his cheeks. She felt his right arm leave her waist as George pulled out his wand. The whisper of a spell touched the soft skin behind her ear and she felt the stem of the flower magically anchored there. “Wouldn’t want you losing it again.”

They were up and away again before Luna had a chance to secure her arms around herself. George’s hand, though, was tighter around her waist than it had been before. When Luna grasped his arm, her fingers covered his. She felt the wider, rougher digits splay against her jumper allowing hers to slip between them. She almost missed a cloud shaped like a hippogriff when George curled his fingers around hers and pulled them into his warm palm.

Harry had grabbed her hand at Slughorn’s party, and Anthony Goldstein had held her hand once in the common room to win a bet with Terry Boot, but this was different. This was a new feeling that she was not sure that she wanted or needed to understand. She just wanted to enjoy it.

They went into a spectacular curving dive and George gripped her fingers tighter as he bent the both of them lower over the handle of the broom. She thought for a moment that her heart was beating straight through her back and into George’s chest. Her legs automatically kicked back and her feet hooked over George’s ankles. His chin was resting on her shoulder, and his cheek was just not touching hers. Trees and clouds blurred by speeding just as quickly from her mind. There were other things to think on than the sights and smells of summer.

As they came to float mere inches above the ground, Luna began to wonder if one of them would sprout tentacles or break out in boils. It felt as if there were a thousand tiny spells whirring through her clothes, into her body from every place that George was touching her. With so much magic being transferred, surely there would be an interaction. So far, it seemed that the only side effect was that her heart was beating faster and that she had a wide smile on her face. These things could have been explained away by the broom ride itself, but Luna did not believe that was the reason for them.

She had of course ridden all the way to London from Hogwarts on a Thestral, and that wild ride had not had this kind of effect on her.

After completing several wild circuits of the grassy field, they began to glide between the trees on the edge of the paddock. Luna stretched out her free hand, the one that was not entwined with George’s, to caress the pliant crispness of the summer leaves. With careful management of the broom, George wove them in and out of the tangle of branches.

“It’s nice to connect with them on their own level,” Luna said of the leaves, speaking softly, so as not to disturb the trees anymore than she already did with her touch. She knew that her fingers were not as light as the wind, which they enjoyed, but she hoped that the trees saw it as a gesture of kindness. She felt a nod against her collarbone and a low murmur of agreement tickled her ear. Luna smiled.

George began stroking the back of her fingers with his thumb as they meandered through the air. He was not as gentle as the wind on her skin, but his touch seemed to also be an expression of kindness. Understanding struck Luna softly, as it usually did, and she realized something. Maybe George was touching her for the same reason that she was touching the leaves: to express a simple joy at being in her presence.

Luna was pulled out of her own mind and her appreciation of light touches by a hard rustle and snap. She turned her head to see an apple from the nearest tree in George’s hand. He placed it in her open palm before grabbing the handle of the broom again.

“What do you say we have some fun?” The rumbling voice in her ear again felt good, but Luna suddenly thought that maybe she had been wrong before. Leaves were so much easier to understand than people.

“Oh, I was having fun. Were you not?” Luna did not know why she should be troubled by saying it. She was rarely troubled by voicing statements. Questions, she had learned, however, were sometimes more complicated. But George pulled her closer to his chest as he sat up straight and brought the broom to a stop by the apple tree.

“Of course I am having fun. I just… I meant…” George seemed unsure or confused. Luna decided, almost as an experiment, to stroke his thumb with hers in hopes that all those little spells might make him feel better. It seemed to work because he leaned out a bit, pulling her slightly to the other side of the broom to balance and smiled at her so she could see him. His eyes were shining. He looked very nice, a soft rush of pink under his freckles, and very close to her. She smiled back. “I just thought that maybe we could play a little trick on Harry and Ginny.”

“Oh,” Luna watched as George rolled another apple in his hand. She thought back to all the things that she had learned about Weasleys. “Because you are angry with Ginny? Or because she is your sister and she is snogging her boyfriend behind that tree over there?” George chuckled again. Luna liked the sound.

“Just because she is my sister,” He tucked the apple into the crook of Luna’s arm, and reached for another one. “And because she and Harry are snogging under that tree.”

“So you want to drop apples on their heads?” This did not make much sense to Luna. While she had been the object of many pranks and the butt of many jokes, they were almost all very unkind. “That’s mean.” She said as she looked down at the apple tucked into her arm where it met George’s.

“No. It isn’t.” George shook his head and pulled another apple from the tree, keeping a precarious balance as his other arm was still around Luna’s waist. He winked at her. “It’s funny.”

“Because you love them?” Luna’s thought process often did not voice itself until it reached a conclusion, but being a Ravenclaw she usually came to them quickly.

“Yeah,” George spoke softly as if maybe he had understood her reasoning. Luna had always had pranks pulled on her by people who did not care if she they hurt her. This prank would be funny because it would be played between people who were friends. George pulled her back in line with his own body. His cheek was against hers for the briefest moment, but it was long enough for her to stop thinking about the cruel jokes of others that had been meant for her. “And,” George went on, “they will most likely retaliate. So have your wand ready, yeah?”

“Okay,” Luna grinned as she released George’s hand to pull out the hem of her jumper, creating a makeshift receptacle for their artillery. She had never played a joke on anyone else before. She hoped that Ginny would not be upset with her for interrupting her snogging time with Harry, but Ginny had plenty of time to snog Harry now. That was the whole point of the war, wasn’t it?

“All right, I’ll drop a couple, one at a time, to start. But as soon as they realize that it is us and not just the wind, you just dump the whole lot and grab your wand quick.” Luna nodded as the weight in her jumper increased sporadically by regular apple-sized increments. “Cause they’ll start winging ‘em right back at us, and we need to be ready.”

“A snowball fight with apples.” Luna stated more to herself for clarification than to George. He laughed softly again, but it was not a teasing laugh.

“Yeah, just like that, love.” He replied.

“Luna,” She corrected George automatically with a skill that came from a lifetime of having people butcher her first name.

“I know your name.” Apples had stopped falling from his freckled hand. His whisper was soft and sweet against Luna’s ear. The familiar green of the leaves and the russet of the remaining apples seemed to burn into Luna’s mind as George’s words sank through her and his arm held her close. She remembered to breathe just as he turned the broom in the direction of a loudly snogging Harry and Ginny. “Ready?”

Apparently, in as much as Luna could devise (having never done this sort of thing before), everything went according to George’s plan. It did indeed only take two apples for Ginny and Harry to notice George and Luna above them on the broom. Luna obediently followed her instructions by letting loose the hem of her jumper and subsequently nearly thirty apples onto Harry and Ginny’s heads. Luna was ready with her wand when an apple flew back towards her. Ginny was cursing loudly as she directed the missiles, and for some reason it made Luna smile. Twenty minutes after Luna had decided that a Reductor Curse might be a good idea, she and George landed next to Harry and Ginny on their blanket.

The four friends laughed until their sides ached, their cheeks were numb and they collapsed, rolling into each other in the warm afternoon sun. They were rather a sight to see, covered in what could only be described as very chunky applesauce.

“What the bloody hell?” Three fits of laughter subsided into giggles, Luna could not stop, at the approach of Ron and Hermione.

“Apple fight,” George replied as if this were an everyday occurrence that Ron should be more than aware of.

“Oh,” Ron just shrugged his shoulder and turned back towards the house. Luna was finally able to slow down to a mad chuckling. She waved at Hermione who returned the gesture with a nearly uncomprehending, but approving smile as she followed Ron back towards the house. It was kind of Ginny to wait until Ron was out of ear shot before she reached over and licked several chunks of apple off of Harry’s face, Luna thought. Ron didn’t like seeing that sort of thing.

“You’re sweet,” Ginny giggled at a still grinning Harry, who rolled his eyes before kissing her quickly. Luna knew what Ron would have done, but she was not sure what George’s reaction would be to his little sister’s behavior. What he did was the last thing that Luna would have expected.

Luna’s giggles stopped abruptly when a rough freckled finger took a soft swipe at her nose to remove the chunk of apple that had been making her look cross-eyed when it caught her line of sight. George Weasley pulled his finger from his mouth with a soft pop, and looked Luna directly in the eye.

“So are you,” there was a gentle, almost shy smile on his face and Luna suddenly felt again as if she were diving through the open sky instead of sitting firmly on the ground. She smiled. It was a feeling that she thought she understood.




Part Three
X-posted to georgeluna

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Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
mizufae
Apr. 14th, 2006 07:06 am (UTC)
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
liliaevans
Apr. 14th, 2006 04:56 pm (UTC)
What a sweet story!
George/Luna, my new OTP. :-) Can't wait for more!
ladytonks
Apr. 14th, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC)
This story makes me smile. It is achingly angsty in a very understated way, but the sheer joy of the tale shines through.

In short, I LUVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEE this story!

LT
jandjsalmon
Apr. 14th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, it was wonderful! I love this pairing... and Luna was perfect! ;)
cyclonejuliet
Apr. 15th, 2006 03:25 am (UTC)
I love this - you have portrayed Luna just as she should be. There is something wonderfully simple about looking at clouds - it reminds me of being a child, spinning around in the yard, and falling down after getting dizzy. That is Luna to me, and George is seeing life through her eyes.
tajareyul
Apr. 15th, 2006 05:05 am (UTC)
When they dove, she felt like a leaf on the wind

I forgot to tell you that I really love this x-over reference.
lisa_ab
Apr. 21st, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
This is just about the sweetest story I have ever had the pleasure to read.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )