He did not need to see the words; they were imprinted indelibly on the back of his eyelids.

Luna Lovegood

1981-2000

He lay on the ground, looking not at but past the tombstone. In his mind, they were almost touching, rarely so close but never further apart.

Do you miss me, Luna?

"It's time to go home, Harry."

He didn't move. "I'm not going, Ginny."

"Harry, please. I know you're...upset, but you have to come back with us. You can't stay out here; you'll freeze to death."

"But you're not going to jump."

"How do you know?"

Luna shrugged. "I just do. Now get down from there, Harry, you'll catch cold."

"Good."

"Harry--"

He didn't answer.

"Damnit, Harry, you can't keep going on like this!" she burst out. "You're always gone, you avoid us when you're not--Luna wasn't the only one who loved you! We care about you, I care about you--"

"You? With your pathetic little crush?"

"You know that's not what I mean--"

"Dear Tom," he mocked, "do you think the good, great Harry Potter will ever like me?"

"How dare you?"

He sneered at her.

"I'm going home," she snapped.

"Good."

She began to stalk off, then seemed to think better of it. "Please, Harry. Luna would have wanted you to come home, you know she would. Come home with me."

No answer.

"We'll be waiting," she said quietly.

"Don't hold your breath."

She gave him one last glance, then walked away.

He waited until she was gone before taking it out. It was a velvet box--with a ring inside.

He had wanted to give it to her a year ago.

He never got the chance.

The ring looked no different from when he'd first bought it. If he held it on his palm just so, as he had a year ago, he could almost imagine that nothing had changed.

But everything had changed. A year ago, it had given him hope, courage, strength. Now--

Nothing.

He would give it to her anyway.

He began to dig, using not a spell, but his bare hands, turning the earth again and again. His fingers were numb from the cold, but he couldn't have cared less.

One handful. (Luna had a garden, didn't she?)

Two. (It died the day her father did.)

Four. (That was the only time I'd ever seen her upset.)

Ten. (Somehow, she always found the energy to smile.)

Twenty. (She always believed we could pull it off.)

Forty. (She believed in me

Fifty. (She shouldn't have.)

Done. (I failed her.)

He dropped the ring in. The stone was green--her favorite color, he remembered. To her, it meant life.

To him, it meant death.

He knew it had been the last color she'd ever seen.

He covered the hole. There were tears running down his face, he realized.

He wanted to go home, but he couldn't. He'd lost something precious, and he didn't know where to find it.