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Redefining Sanity - A Place for the most Rare of Loves
Find it in the Room of Requirement

Boca. posting in A Gift Exchange for HP Rarepairs
User: hprare_exchange (posted by msqu)
Date: 2007-10-11 00:09
Title: Redefining Sanity
Security: Public
SoundtrackThe Arcade Fire - Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
Story for: codenamelily
Title: Redefining Sanity
Pairing: Percy/Luna
Rating: PG
Summary: Once upon a time it was three years after the war, and Percy struggled with life…

He closed his eyes once more, turning his head away from the images swarming through his mind. Everything had happened so fast. No matter how many times he forced or didn’t force himself to recall the details, he honestly couldn’t remember where he was pointing when he fired that curse.

He slammed his fist down on his desk, startling a few people passing by. It didn’t matter. Any way you looked at it, it was his fault. He had achieved the one thing that haunted his nightmares as a child: He was one hundred percent responsible for murdering someone. On top of that, it was his brother. The brother that welcomed him first, openly inviting him back to the family.

He immediately stood up and walked out. He muttered something about a break to the secretary as he tore his cloak off the wall and stormed outside.

As he stomped down the steps, the sun’s reflection blinded him. The snow crunched under his feet. The heat of the sun tore at the wind that bit his nose. He moved without thinking — headed across the street to the only park bench within miles and sat under his favorite tree. The one he’d come to refer to as his crying tree though it was a place he’d never shed a tear.

He sat and stared. Not at anything in particular, just hoping to empty his emotion so he could go back to work. Responsibility, unfortunately, still called to him somewhere beneath the emptiness devouring his heart.

He leaned forward, allowing his head to sink into his hands. It was too cold to cry; too bright to hide; too early to drink; too soon to forgive. His mother was torn. Grateful to have him back in the family, she couldn’t hide her misery from him.

He always read her clearer than anyone else could; the only one not fooled by her precious façade. He was the only one plagued by nightmares of his mother pacing the halls and touching each place where he might have stepped. To make things worse, he was also the only one responsible for his mother’s grief.

Lost and frustrated in the torrent of his mind, he looked up at the passing crowd. A day hidden in misery, a day forgotten by most, a day not so different from any other day of the week, and he felt consumed by the monotony.

Percy leaned back into the bench, wondering how much longer he could sit before he was missed. Not that he was trusted with much of anything lately. The workload might push him to pieces, after all…

Percy stood up, prepared again for the dreariness of the workplace, when he looked back at his bench and saw someone staring up at him.

“Percy,” said the man.

Percy sat down, slightly shocked. This person knew his name, his first name.

“I see you here everyday,” the stranger began. “It’s time to accept your past.”

Percy scowled as he looked away. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I know more than you’d like to give me credit for,” the stranger said with a chuckle.

Percy looked over, and in those few seconds when their eyes met, his face grew wide with recognition. But the next moment, the man was gone.

Percy looked around, startled to realize once again how alone he was. Dumbfounded, he looked around, confused at how it could have been him.

His thoughts remaining with the conversation he just had, he stepped toward the impending monotony awaiting his return.

It wasn’t that he enjoyed the time, the exercise, or the countless people passing him by; it was that he didn’t know what to do with the extra time when his arrival was instantaneous.

So Percy took advantage of the hour-long commute to his work place; it didn’t bother him that the wind was blowing, or that last night’s storm had left a layer of ice so treacherous that no one else braved the sidewalk.

When he looked up, he realized he was at his desk, cloak and all. Shaking his head, he walked back, pulling off his cloak, and finally hearing the secretary inform him, once again, that his boss needed to see him.

Somewhat startled, he headed to the back, wondering if this was the day they’d finally given up on him.

He walked into the office, surprised to see two other people in addition to his boss in the office. His boss sat in a chair with the mildly amused expression he always wore. Across from him was Hilda, a lady who worked at a nearby desk, and a girl he’d seen somewhere before but didn’t recognize.

“Percy, excellent!” his boss proclaimed. “Take a seat.”

Percy sat, slowly taking in the posture of the two women. The eccentric clothing of one was harshly contrasted with the elderly elegance of the other.

“Hilda is leaving us for a season, as you know,” his boss said, indicating the elderly woman. “She’s found us an overly qualified replacement for the next few months. She’ll be working directly through you until Hilda returns to us.”

Percy looked over at the girl. Her eyes were unfocused as she looked around — not taking in anything anyone was saying but clearly seeing something that wasn’t quite there.

“Very well,” his boss continued, “it’s time the two of you got to work!”

Percy stood and left, startled by the brevity of the meeting, and confused at how the person slowly following him could be considered ‘overly qualified.’

He sat down at his desk, the blank look still hovering on his face, and turned to the girl.

He met her eyes, for the first time, then sat there looking past her, focusing on nothing in particular.

“Hello,” she said.

Slowly acknowledging her comment with a nod of his head, he turned back toward his desk, slightly unsettled by the sudden change of events.

Hilda had mentioned she was leaving, but Percy couldn’t remember working with her ever, and suddenly this new girl was his shadow? No, his teammate?

Struggling to accept the reality, he turned to ask her a few questions.


“It’s okay,” she started, “Wrackspurts are known to infest old, square-shaped offices.”

Percy stared at her as she began following something around the room with her eyes.

“Right,” Percy said, entirely unsure how to respond to that statement. “Well, have you ever worked…?”

“Oh, no,” she replied. “Since the war, I’ve been on my own.”

“That was three years ago.”

“Yes, Hilda was my aunt’s best friend. She’s the first one to offer me employment since, well, since I left Hogwarts, really.”

“You went to Hogwarts?”

“Oh yes, we were at school the same time. You’re Percy Weasley. Your sister Ginny was the nicest girl at school — my friend, I think. But you never spoke to me. She told me you were like that at home too. So you probably don’t know, and I know you won’t ask. But my name is Luna. Luna Lovegood.”

Percy just looked at her. He had no clue how to respond to someone like this. Startled by her honesty, he tried to remember what he was asking.

“So… So, you’ve never had a job before?”

“Not in the sense that I sit at that desk across from you and do whatever you tell me, no.”

“And that’s what you expect, me to tell you everything to do?”

“That’s what Hilda said happens everyday.”

Percy sighed as he looked back at her. This would be a long, long day.

Percy stood outside the office building and took the first deep breath he’d had all day. Not a minute to himself, he’d spent the entire day teaching Luna office basics such as how to store your wand, make copies, and not destroy the pressroom every time you walked by.

Percy leaned against the brick, desperate to get away, but exhausted enough to sit for a year without moving.

He settled for the nearby park bench and sank down. Luna had left ten minutes before he did, eager to go on a Snorkack hunt with her Auntie May.

He shook his head as he pulled his cloak closer and watched the passers-by. It might have been seconds or minutes that he sat there. Either way, it was comforting to stare blankly at people passing without analyzing or anticipating their every move.

When he pulled himself out of his trance, he looked over at the bench and saw the man that had lingered in his thoughts since their last meeting was sitting, smiling at something.

“Hello again, Percy.”

Percy swallowed the cry threatening to escape his throat, desperately wanting to move toward the person next to him, but frightened that it might be just a dream.

“The time it takes to heal the past comes as quickly as it takes to love again.”

Percy looked up at him. He’d never heard him speak like this before.

“Don’t lose your chance,” he admonished.

Percy blinked, and he was gone.

“Should I come with you?”

“No!” Percy startled himself with how sharp his voice sounded. Taking a deep breath, he repeated his request. “No, stay here and finish this report. I’ll be back shortly.”

With that, he stepped out, grateful for the momentary escape from his recently acquired shadow.

He moved more quickly than his body was accustomed to as of late, finding himself slightly winded as he reached his park bench.

Sinking down, he fell into his favorite position: head slightly back, ignoring all that was around him, and particularly not thinking about his new work partner.

As he sat there not thinking about her, he realized that in the week they’d been working together, not only had he found the one thing that annoys him most thoroughly, his thoughts hadn’t wandered to the black spot in his heart. And when he had thought of Fred, it hadn’t been nearly as painful.

He recalled some of the times he thought of Fred recently.

Luna walked in from a five-minute break — soaking wet from the snowball fight worthy of Fred’s approval she managed to initiate outside. He thought of the time he walked by Luna as she was in the pressroom and flicked his wand — a replica of how Fred held his wand around the house — to initiate a flurry of papers that took her an hour to fix. But he enjoyed every second of that hour he had to himself. And finally, he thought of the moment when Luna took a bite of a canary cream he’d left on his desk, and feathers were found about the office for the next three days.

He smiled as he opened his eyes to look next to him. He nearly jumped as he saw Luna sitting there, staring back at their workplace.

“Gah! You’re infuriating!” he exclaimed as he turned his back to her.

Luna perked up. “I do believe, sir,” she began, “that is the first time you’ve honestly spoken to me.”

Percy turned toward her, dumbfounded. He searched her face and realized that her eyes were mildly more alive than he’d ever seen them, and for once, they were actually focused on something — him.

“What are you talking about?” he asked. “We’ve worked together for a week, I’ve spoken to you every day.”

“No,” Luna began. “That was more… instructed. That was the first time you’ve ever let me talk to you being you and not you being your work you.”

Percy thought back on all the interactions they’d had, and could not for the life of him figure out what this girl was talking about. Clearly, his first impression was the most accurate: she wasn’t really there.

“Right…” he said, thoroughly interrupted and frustrated by the oddities surrounding this strange girl he was forced to work with. “Well, seeing as you’ve completely destroyed my restful bench, it’s time for us to go back to work.”

“Oh, please don’t go,” Luna insisted. “The other you is rather dull; I won’t be sane much longer if I have to work with him.”

Percy looked at her. This girl was unbelievable. If he had to work with her much longer, he knew he’d be insane.

“Whatever I say goes, remember? And I say back to work. Our break is over.”

Percy fell onto the couch, exhausted. It had only been one week, yet it felt like a lifetime he’d been stuck in the office with that loony girl.

He covered his face with his hands — the last thing he wanted was to think about her when he didn’t have to. This was his time, home time. The only Luna-free time he ever seemed to find.

His flat was small and bare but quite spacious for his taste.

As he allowed his thoughts to wander, they strayed to the one thing that melted the cold protecting his heart. The one thing he loved and hated at the same time. The one thing that brought him insanely inexplicable amounts of joy yet tore his heart to pieces every time.


His eyes focused on a picture of the two of them when they were younger. It had always been his favorite — the two of them smiling for mom yet wrestling at the same time over something absurd that he’d long since forgotten.

He shook his head as he recalled, for the first time with a sense of fondness, the memories he cherished of his brother.

A knock at the door shook him out of his reverie. He opened it and to his surprise found Luna.

“Hi,” she said, breathing heavily. “I’m sorry it’s four hours past the six o’clock deadline, but I finished it and thought you’d want to look at it before tomorrow.”

Percy looked down at the report Luna handed him. Earlier that day he’d invented a pressing matter he needed to deal with and requested an impossible report to keep her occupied so he could work more efficiently and silently.

Looking back at Luna, he noticed the slightly tattered condition of her clothes and the circles around her eyes. He saw the way she slumped as she stood — partially from exhaustion, partially from feelings of inferiority. And for the first time, he realized that someone else might be hurting just as much as he was.

“Luna…” he started.

After a moment of silence, she asked, “Is the format okay? I wasn’t sure if it would be acceptable to write it Regulated Rowena style. It’s slightly outdated, but one I find to be more practical in common speech.”

Percy laughed inside. “Yes, the format is just fine.” He looked up again to see her looking anxiously up at him and wondered if he had this affect on everyone. Would he be able to live with himself if he continued pushing everyone further and further away?

In the split second it took him to ask himself and answer those questions, he’d opened his mouth again to speak to Luna. “Luna, we’ve both been working hard. How about tomorrow after work we go to dinner?”

Luna looked up at him skeptically, and Percy realized his mistake.

“Not as co-workers,” he added hastily. “But as friends.” His eyes traveled to the floor hoping he hadn’t made the situation more awkward and silent.

After a pregnant pause, he continued. “I’m sorry I haven’t been friendly or honest with you. This report didn’t even exist—”

“I know,” Luna interrupted. A trace of a smile played on her lips.

“You knew?” Percy asked. “But then why…”

Luna just shrugged as she began tracing her fingers along the doorframe.

Percy stepped closer and took her hand in his. He felt her tense up and look down at their hands, but he started speaking anyway. “I’m sorry I haven’t been any kind of person that you deserve to know or spend time with. But if we could start over, I’d like to show you who I really am tomorrow night.”

Luna pulled her hand away and looked up at him. “That won’t be necessary.”

Percy made to move forward, then as her words sunk in, took a step back. Confused, he hung his head and opened his mouth, but no words came out.

Before he realized it, Luna was in front of him again. “I saw him too,” she began. “And I know you mean it.”

Startled, Percy looked at both her eyes, rapidly trying to figure out if she was telling the truth, and if she was, how she knew.

“And I’ll be happy to see you tomorrow night at seven.”

With that, Luna turned, leaving Percy alone, slightly bewildered and flustered — a feeling he’d begun to associate with her — but filled with more optimism than he’d known in the past three years.
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Boca.: pretty
User: msqu
Date: 2007-10-11 06:32 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)

I loved that. Love love love. This is an interesting fic and I enjoyed reading it.
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there's joy not far from here!: misc - Katherine Heigl
User: ohstarling
Date: 2007-10-12 03:09 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
Keyword:misc - Katherine Heigl
Aaahhh, this is so adorable! You've captured both Luna and Percy marvellously well. I love this. =D
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Beth: Seasick
User: bethyb00sh
Date: 2007-10-12 16:13 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
Oh how lovely! I agree, Luna and Percy were characterised tremendously well. Loved the last sentence especially.
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User: codenamelily
Date: 2007-10-15 05:00 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
I can't beleive I missed this earlier! What a great story. Thank you so much, mystery author! I love the characerisation between Luna and Percy and the way they interact. I love that Percy is so confused by her because that's exactly how it would be. And he knows he loves it! =D Thank you thank you thank you! =)
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joye the obscured: SQUEE Wedding Peach
User: dustthouart
Date: 2007-10-15 06:21 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
Keyword:SQUEE Wedding Peach
Adorable :D
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User: snitchcatcher
Date: 2007-11-14 16:08 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
Just wanted to let you know that this story has been rec'ed at

The Golden Seeker
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Pining for...
March 2008