Warning: Half-Blood Prince spoilers.

Author's Note:

I wrote this several months ago in a script format just after I'd finished Half-Blood Prince, just to find when I was ready to post it that this site had made a new rule against scripts. I was exceedingly frustrated, to say the least. But I finally worked up the nerve to convert it to an objective narrative, which wasn't as tedious as I dreaded it would be and I got to add a bit more description, so all turned out well.

This is a very short, three-chapter story I wrote mainly because I like the idea of sticking Luna and Snape, two of my favorite characters, in the same room together. It's objective because wanted to do a canon Snape voice without the interruption of inner dialogue and because I'd like to keep the inner workings of Loony Lovegood's mind a mystery. It makes her all the more interesting.

Disclaimer: My title is taken from an icon by PotterPuffs at LiveJournal. The out-of-place thing Luna says near the end is a quote from Ezekiel 18:20.

It was pitch black, cold, and damp. One might have even expected to hear a drip drip drip coming from some unknown leak, but all was silent. That is, until an unseen door screeched open slowly, allowing soft, indirect light pour in from the top of the staircase which blocked the entrance from view. The light revealed that the room was a stone dungeon, though no objects in the room could be made out in the dimness. The light faded with another screeching of the door closing, and the sound of someone locking it reverberated off the rock walls.

"Who is that?" came the voice of a young girl from the floor of the dungeon.

The only answer was the click click of hard soles descending the staircase, but soon a light, like a sparkler or a lighted fuse, appeared midair, with the hissing sound one would expect from such a light. It was being produced from the tip of a long wand. Now two faces could be seen, but just barely. One was the owner of the voice from before; a girl of about fifteen, with enormous, wide eyes and long, blonde hair that was neither curly nor straight. The girl was seated in large metal chair which was bolted to the floor, her arms strapped to the armrests as were her feet to the legs. The other face was the owner of the wand. He was tall and middle-aged, with straight black hair which fell past his face and a large, hooked nose. His expression was solemn and stern.

"Oh, I know who you are," said the girl in a strangely calm tone for someone strapped to a chair in a dungeon. "You're Professor Snape."

As Professor Snape reached up with his wand to light the candle chandelier that hung over the girl's head, he replied in a dignified, deep voice, "You're quite correct Miss...excuse me, but your name escapes me."

He extinguished his wand, all of the candles on the chandelier having lit magically after the first was ignited. Now both people could be seen fully. Professor Snape's complexion was rather oily, which matched his greasy hair, and he wore a plain, black, hooded cloak with the hood down. The girl wore light green, casual-looking robes, which were very pretty but for the rips at one arm and one tear near the knee. She looked as though she'd recently been in a struggle. More of their surroundings could be seen now as well; a heavy wooden table sat about five feet across from the girl's chair, behind Snape. There were also various torture items lining the walls of the dungeon.

"Luna Lovegood," the girl replied promptly. Then, in the same matter-of-fact tone, though somehow full of wonder, "You killed Professor Dumbledore."

Snape stared at Luna Lovegood for a moment, face expressionless, then replied, "You are correct again, Miss Lovegood."

"Why did you do that?" she asked simply. "He was a very nice man, and Harry said he had quite a lot of confidence in you."

"I will be asking the questions here, Miss Lovegood," he replied fiercely, eyes blazing, but keeping his overall composure.

"Oh, yes, that does make more since," she said, sounding oddly conversational. "I thought that they must have tied me up for one reason or another. Only, why have they gotten me, exactly? That doesn't make very much since at all."

"Because you are the only suspected member of the Order of the Phoenix that we have been able to capture," he answered in a much calmer but nevertheless stern manner.

"The Order of the Phoenix?" she repeated in confusion. "Oh, but I'm not a member of the Order."

"No, I didn't think so," he replied, now the essence of tiredness seeping into his words.

"Then why am I still here, Professor?"

"Because you still may have some information that could be useful to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."

Luna furrowed her brow in thought. "I don't think I know any important secrets." Her eyes brightened with an idea. "I do know that the Minister of Magic is training his vampire army to ride Betreckled Blabberhogs, but he's only using them to overrun the French Minister of Magic, not You-Know-Who. But everyone knows that."

"Yes, well, do try to keep the information you give me factual, Miss Lovegood," replied Snape irritably, "and not filth you've gotten from tabloids."

"But it's the truth, Professor," she told him forcefully. "You may laugh now, but people used to think that the Red Backed Hugleblore was only a myth, too, but when Lucinda Plattery met one, she never laughed again."

There was a long pause as Snape considered Luna with an annoyed expression. He then told her in forced calmness, "Alright, then, let us remain in the realm of unpublished...facts."

"Okay," she replied, nodding her head a bit in agreement as if she had a say in the matter.

Then a long period of time passed- several minutes- during which Snape stared intently at Luna while she gazed around the room.

"I can't think of anything," Luna announced finally, causing Snape to relax suddenly as if he'd been holding his breath.

"I didn't think so," he said, half to himself.

"I could make something up if you like," she offered.

"No, no," he replied, waving a hand in the air as if to brush her suggestion away. He was frustrated, but not angry.

"I don't really think I should be telling you things, anyway," she told him simply. "You work for You-Know-Who."

He didn't reply, but only resumed staring at her, boring holes in her with his eyes.

Luna allowed this to go on for about a minute before she asked, "Professor, why are you looking at me like that?"

He blinked and sighed, relaxing much as he'd done before. "I am practicing Legilimency on you. You really do not know anything, do you? Not even the smallest, most mundane, useless detail about the Order."

"No. I'm sorry, Professor," she said in polite apology.

"It's fine," he replied, moving towards the table. He leaned backwards against it, arms folded, then gave a small, humorless laugh, almost a snort, shaking his head.

"Will you be torturing me now?" Luna asked, and though her voice was slightly smaller, it was nevertheless oddly confident.

"No," he replied, almost businesslike. "You seem to be cooperating to the best of your ability. I am usually only forced to torture those who are sufficiently experienced at Occlumency to the point where I cannot obtain information from them through Legilimency alone."

"That's good. When is the last time you've tortured someone, Professor?"

"When I was twenty-six," he replied solemnly. There was a short pause, and then Snape asked, "Why do you still refer to me as 'Professor'?"

"Oh, you're not my professor anymore, are you? I suppose because I still think of you as my teacher. May I still call you that? It's really hard to change habits like that."

"Call me whatever you like, Miss Lovegood," he told her irritably.

"Oh, good. Thank you, Professor."

Then there was an exceedingly long pause during which Snape stared at the floor and Luna stared at Snape.

"What are we doing now?" she asked after a while.

"I'm thinking," he replied sharply.

"What are you thinking about? Maybe I can help."

"I am attempting to contrive an alternative method to acquire information from you."

"But I don't know anything, Professor."

"Yes," he replied, voice suddenly dead and dark, "but do you know what will happen the moment I return with nothing to report?"

"No, I don't. What?"

"They'll send someone down to kill you."

Her already impossibly huge eyes widened further and she said in a fearful whisper, "Oh, no! Why would they do that?"

"Because you will be better use dead," he told her gravely. "It will scare the Order and those involved with the Order, particularly if you are sent to them in pieces." Luna gasped. "However, if you are able to give me even the tiniest piece of information, you will simply be returned to school and have your memory erased."

"Why?" she whispered.

"Because that way the Order will not know that we've gotten information out of you. Now, are you absolutely certain that you know nothing?"

"I don't know! Maybe I do know something but I just don't know it's important." For the first time she was beginning to sound urgent.

"Alright, then, let us try and extract it from your memory." He pushed himself from the table and grabbed a chair from the wall, placing it in front of Luna and taking a seat. "You were in Dumbledore's Army with Potter, were you not?"

"Yes!" she whispered.

"Then tell me about that, Miss Lovegood."

"What would you like me to tell you, exactly?"

"Anything that comes to mind," he told her, now sounding a bit like a psychiatrist. But a very grumpy one.

"Okay," she said, and thought for a moment. "Well, D.A. was Hermione Granger's idea, I think. She got nearly thirty people together so Harry Potter could teach us because she didn't really think Professor Umbridge was doing a very good job. I don't think she was, either." She was sounding more relaxed now, as though she'd forgotten her life was on the line.

Snape sneered and commented venomously, "Oh, I'll wager that Potter loved being automatically chosen as your leader."

"I don't really think he did," she replied thoughtfully. "I think he was probably embarrassed. He kept saying that he didn't do all the things he did because he was good at defending himself, but because of luck or something. But Hermione convinced him anyway."

"Tell me about the lessons," he said, moving things along.

"Oh, they were really wonderful. We learned how to block spells properly and lots of counter jinxes and things. I think my favorite was learning how to make a Patronous. Mine looked like a bat, and Zacharias Smith said it was because I was batty, which I think was rather mean of him. But then Harry told him to shut up for me. Harry's very nice. He took me the Christmas party in Professor Slughorn's office last year."

"Did he now?" he replied, sounding bored.

"Yes. It was really very fun. Except he left after a while. But that's okay because I got to talk with Professor Trelawney. I like her very much."

"He left, you say?" he asked, lifting his eyebrows in slight interest.

"Yes, I think he left right after you and Draco Malfoy did. I don't think Harry likes Draco Malfoy very much." They sat in silence for a moment, staring at one another. "I like this. No one ever listens to me for very long usually."

"I'm glad you're enjoying yourself," he replied peevishly. "However, I have yet to read anything of any use from you thus far, so your endless ramblings haven't saved you."

"Oh, no," she said, remembering to be upset. "Maybe if I keep talking..."

"Maybe," he said sarcastically.

There was a short pause as Snape waited for Luna to speak again.

"You don't like Harry Potter very much, do you, Professor?" she asked.

Irritated, he replied, "No, I believe it is safe to say that I don't, Miss Lovegood."

"Why is that? He's usually very nice to people."

With surprising heatedness Snape replied, "Potter is a pompous, self-absorbed, self-satisfied moron who thinks the world is in love with him."

"Oh, he doesn't think the world is in love with him."

"He doesn't," he replied flatly.

"No. He knows the world is in love with him. Though I don't think he enjoys it very much. I think he wishes people would leave him alone." Snape replied with a "hmph" noise. "That's why he took me to the Christmas party, I think. He wanted girls to stop bothering him about it and he knew I'm not really- well, in your words, Professor- I'm not 'in love' with him."

"You seem to know quite a lot about Potter for someone who claims lack of interest in him," he told her skeptically.

"I don't think I know much about Harry. What I've said seems fairly obvious to me. Excuse me, Professor, but remind me again why you think he's self-absorbed?"

"It runs in the family," he replied darkly.

"What do you mean by that?"

With a passionate but controlled anger he replied "I mean that I knew Potter's father and know what sort of attitude he had about himself and the people around him. He assumed that everyone worshiped him, and he therefore worshiped himself. He was a bully and a coward, and these traits have been passed down to his son."

Then Luna said in a tone no longer conversational but firm, "The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself."

"Excuse me?" Snape said, taken aback.

"It's really unfair of you to assume Harry is like his dad," she said, returning to her usual voice.

He stood, giving a frustrated sigh- almost a grunt. "We're getting nowhere. Miss Lovegood, do you wish for your appendages to be lopped off and sent to different members of the Order of the Phoenix?"

"No," she answered quietly.

He suddenly lunged at Luna, seizing her by the shoulders. "Then think!"