Twelve Dark Moons
As a captive of Lord Voldemort, Luna Lovegood never thought she would live beyond the first twenty-four hours. Saved at first by her quick wit, Luna learns the depth of human evil…and becomes the Dark Lord's greatest weakness. Eventually LL/LV.
Much as I love the Hermione/TRLV pairing, I feel I have nothing to contribute to that field. So in the name of rare ships, let the SS Dark Moon set sail! Luna/Voldemort! I know its unconventional and kind of sick and weird, but interesting as Luna always is.This story will be almost an Arabian-Nights kind of thing, for those of you who know – Scheherazade had a good idea going there. I actually started writing this fic ages ago, but I'm just posting it now... had to make sure I wanted to finish it. And I certainly do.
This is rated M, for scenes of sex and violence later on, so if you don't like that kind of thing, don't read it.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in the Harry Potter universe; JK Rowling does.
Luna Lovegood walked through the Forbidden Forest. She knew it was forbidden, and it was dark and creepy and cold, too. She knew there were things in the forest, creatures like werewolves and acromantulae and snaggle-toothed hags. Luna did not mind.
She was on a quest tonight, not for herself but for the organisation to which she belonged. In the year after her graduation from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the woven threads of her life led her to join the Order of the Phoenix. It was a natural offshoot for Luna after she belonged to the student group calling themselves Dumbledore's Army, that rebel band of Defence Against the Dark Arts learners. They had been Luna's friends. A smile worked across her face at the thought, and a pleasant heat seeped into Luna's chest. It was so nice to have friends.
Together they were a unit, working against the forces of the evil Lord Voldemort. Ever since Headmaster Dumbledore was murdered two years ago, Harry Potter had taken up the mantle of young leadership, and he and Ron and Hermione were always off on some quest or other. Sometimes Luna felt left out of their plans, but most of the time she was grateful for the chance to contribute. Even for a free spirit such as herself, it felt good to be tied down to a commitment, like a balloon on a string.
Her feet crunched through the leaves on the forest floor, soft and still retaining the warmth of daytime. Light tendrils of mist floated along in front of her, moving out of the way for her slight, robed figure. She wore a black cloak lined with red silk; she took a fancy to it after Ginny Weasley's father gave her a Muggle book entitled 'Little Red Riding Hood.' Would she meet a wolf tonight? Luna hoped not. Professor Lupin was a werewolf and that was quite enough for her.
No, Luna was not after wolves or anything else dangerous. Tonight she sought that most elusive of creatures, the unicorn. The Order needed more unicorn hairs, with their magical protective qualities, and the markets in Diagon Alley were closed for the most part. None of the shopkeepers wanted to meet the fate of Ollivander, or Fortescue, or Borgin. The Forbidden Forest outside the now-closed Hogwarts School was one of the only known places in Britain where unicorns still resided.
Luna had been warned that the Forest was more unsafe than ever. The centaur herd was out of control without Hagrid to appease them, and the other creatures sensed the lawlessness as well. Hagrid himself was busy training his giant half-brother Grawp in magical combat, for use in the war, and so it was left to another volunteer to venture into the domain of unicorns. Luna was happy to do it. Her steps were light and her breath shallow, her head off in the sky. The other creatures would not be bothered by her presence.
She was the only young member of the Order to qualify for unicorn hair-gathering; the unicorn responded best to the maiden.
Neither Ginny Weasley nor Hermione Granger fit that description; Ginny and Harry had been going together for two years, unwilling to put off their romance for what was shaping up to be a drawn-out conflict. And Hermione and Ron Weasley had declared their love for one another after an intense battle with Death Eaters a year ago in the streets of Hogsmeade. The brush with death had made everyone reevaluate their priorities, and to the vast relief of the rest of the Order, the famous bickering couple had found another way to release their mutual tension.
There was Neville Longbottom, of course. He was a boy, but Luna was also certain he was a maiden one. Neville's gentle nature was endearing and his inner resolve unshakeable, but he had yet to find romance with any but his adored Mimbulus Mimbletonia plant. Luna would be willing to kiss him, out of curiosity, but she had trouble mustering the healthy lust of a twenty-year-old, not just toward Neville but toward anyone. Her realm was the clouds, the mind, dreams and thoughts and wind. Earthy passion was not Luna's style.
Somewhere nearby, an owl hooted, its call hovering through the cool night air. Luna paused in her stride then continued on. She had no rhyme or reason to her search for a unicorn, but rather let her intuition take her feet where they would. A Weird Sisters tune played in her head, and Luna made up her own words to it. 'Into the forest I go, what trees hide I don't know, I like ice cream and drifts of sno-oow!' Luna's whispered singing was barely audible, even to herself.
She twirled her wand in her slender fingers, enjoying the way it whirled in the half moonlight that filtered down through the trees. If she moved her fingers just fast enough – there – the wand looked like a solid circle. How fun! For a moment she stopped walking and practised twirling. Then she practised drawing her wand from her robes, holstering it, drawing it again. It was important to be quick on the draw.
With remembrance of her initial task in the forest, Luna did an abrupt turn to her right and took off walking that way. 'Unicorn!' she called softly. Her voice disappeared into the trees.
A flash of white ahead. Luna paused. Had she been answered? She reached out and touched the smooth bark of a leafy tree. She took two steps forward. 'Unicorn?'
The young unicorn clopped into view, its hooves patting down the forest floor. It looked at her out of liquid silver eyes, the exact shade of Luna's own. The creature radiated innocence and light, and the air around it seemed to shimmer.
'Are you a boy unicorn or a girl unicorn?' Luna asked, extending her hand in friendship.
The unicorn drew back a little, then allowed Luna to pet its velvety nose. It gave no indication as to gender and Luna felt funny about peering at its underbelly to determine it. She ran her hand along its head, gentle as a feather, and brushed the fabulous spiraled horn that extended out of its forehead. The tip was deadly sharp, she knew; they had learned about unicorns in Care of Magical Creatures, one of Luna's favorite classes.
'May I take some hairs from your tail?' Luna asked. She was not sure if the unicorn understood human-talk, but there had to be a way to gain permission. To her delight and surprise, the unicorn whinnied and turned, stomping its two back feet. It stood still, and Luna ran her fingers through the exquisite cascade of ponytail hair. Then, with even more delight, Luna felt a good twenty hairs detach themselves at will and fall into her hand like a pile of moonlight spaghetti.
'Thank you,' she murmured. It was important to talk to creatures as equals. She had learned that when she met the Crumple-Horned Snorkacks in Sweden while traveling with her father.
The unicorn whinnied once more and turned back around, nudging Luna with its nose. It seemed a gesture of affection, and Luna patted it and rubbed its ears. All animals liked that. The unicorn rewarded her with a final nuzzle, then looked at her. She stared; did it have tears in its eyes? Yes, a little drop of a tear gathered at the corner of the creature's silver eye, then slid down the soft coat of its cheek.
Instinctively Luna wiped away the trace of the tear, and the unicorn blinked. It shook its head once, then fast and silent it galloped off back into the forest from whence it had come. She looked after it for a moment, then shrugged and pocketed the precious bundle of unicorn hair.
Now, to find her way back out of the forest... Luna was hopeless with directions and even if she cast the spell to show her true north, she had no idea whether the closest edge of the forest was east, west, north, or south. That did not matter, for Luna had a better idea. With a whisper and a small jet of indigo light from her wand, she leaned against a tree and waited.
Five minutes later, the fluttering of leather wings disturbed the air above her head, and Luna looked up. It was her Thestral, once part of the magical herd that pulled the Hogwarts carriages. For some reason, the Thestrals were very loyal to Luna, and this one took a particular shine to her. She named him Abacus, because he made a funny clicking noise with his teeth. Like a Chinese abacus. For two years the Thestral had followed Luna into battle as a member of the Order. More than once, the timely arrival of the dark winged horse had pulled her out of danger.
Abacus set down on the ground and pawed at the dirt, waiting for Luna to get on. She swung her leg up and over his bony back and onto the embroidered cloth saddle she had fixed. 'To the Order headquarters,' Luna directed. For what Luna lacked in directional sense, Abacus made up for, and he always took her where she needed to go. They lifted up into the sky and swooped forward, keeping low over the forest. Luna murmured concealment charms to prevent Muggles and Death Eaters alike from spotting them in flight.
'Have you had a nice day, Abacus?' Luna asked the Thestral. It never talked back to her, but that was all right with Luna. She could imagine what his response would be.
'Yes, Luna, I had a nice day. I ate some fresh grass and drank some cool water. I am glad we are flying, I like to fly,'Abacus would say.
'I'm glad for you,' Luna said. 'I like to chew on fresh grass sometimes, too.' This was true; she also liked to put a blade of grass between her palms and make it sing.
Beneath them, the nighttime lights of Britain glowed, and Luna had fun making constellations out of the human lights. They had a long way to go, to London from Scotland, and although Thestrals were fast in the air it would take at least an hour at high altitude. When the wind whipped through her robes too hard, Luna cast an Imperturbable Charm and then a warming spell, creating a nice cocoon of comfort. Below her, Abacus snorted in appreciation.
The headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix was a new and improved Number 12 Grimmauld Place. Luna remembered when they first moved there, when Harry inherited it from the late Sirius Black, also known as Stubby Boardman. Sometimes Luna marveled that Harry had such famous friends like that renowned singer. In any case, 12 Grimmauld had been a moth-eaten, hexed piece of property with a funny smell and few comforts. Luna had almost liked it that way; it had character. Now it was practically a Gryffindor common room, reds and golds and warm fires blazing in the hearths. Luna preferred deep, soft colours like purple, silver, or green. Colours of the night sky.
Anyway, it was home for now. She still stayed with her father for holidays and made visits at least once a month, but he kept busy with the wartime Quibbler, ever-popular since that famous interview with Harry. It was nice to feel independent, and Luna liked watching the camaraderie of the Order headquarters from her favourite leather armchair in the front sitting room, the only piece of furniture that was green.
The terrain sped past below her, and from between her knees Luna felt Abacus begin his descent toward the heavy cream glow of London lights. They circled down in a spiral and Luna brought out her wand as she alighted from the back of the Thestral onto the sidewalk of Grimmauld Place. 'Thanks, Abacus,' she said. With a swish, she conjured him a shortbread biscuit, his favourite. 'You can rest now.' One final pat on the head, and Abacus took off again, disappearing over the rooftops. When he was not chauffeuring Luna or serving the Order, Abacus grazed in Hyde Park.
She said the correct charmed password and the great narrow hulk of Number 12 squeezed in between the other townhouses, popping into view. Luna ascended the stairs and went in the door, quiet as she could. They were still unable to remove that big old screaming portrait of Stubby's mother. It was covered with a heavy velvet curtain, and the woman must have another portrait somewhere else because she was usually absent from the frame. Sometimes, however, Mrs. Black reappeared to shout and huff and disturb the peace.
Tonight, the front hall was empty, and Luna brought out the unicorn hairs to take to the kitchen. That was the main gathering place, as kitchens tend to be, and then she might learn the ultimate purpose of her night's task.
For a curious girl like Luna, the whys and hows were important. She sought the occult, the hidden things in life, the details that others overlooked. She saw patterns and songs in everything, and each thing grasped her attention only to be overwhelmed by the next wonder.
In the Order of the Phoenix, however, the members rarely knew everything. The enforced ignorance was not haphazard or mean-spirited; rather, it was for the grim reason that someone who didn't know, couldn't tell. Lord Voldemort could not glean information via torture or Veritaserum or Legilimency when the information did not exist inside the captive's mind. Luna understood this, but still her head spun with the details of what she observed and she wove colourful tapestries of events in her mind. Whether they were true or not, she would never know.
In the kitchen, Luna found Harry, Ginny, Lupin, and Tonks. They clustered around a pile of parchment, Harry pointing and gesturing.
'Greetings,' said Luna.
The four looked up. Luna already felt like a fifth-wheel. Oh well. People tended to pair off, especially in dangerous times.
'Did you find the unicorn?' Harry asked.
'It was such a beautiful night,' said Luna. 'And clear, for flying with Abacus. Do you know, I believe songs are infectious?' At the blank, impatient stares, Luna got back on track. 'Oh, and here are the unicorn hairs,' she said, bringing out the handful of shining white strands.
'Yesss,' Harry said. 'Thanks, Luna.'
'Mmm!' she said.
'You didn't run into trouble in the Forest, did you?' Lupin asked, looking at her with concern.
Luna smiled to alleviate the former professor's worry. He was such a kind man. She was glad he found someone to love, in spite of being a werewolf. 'No problems at all,' she said. 'I like the Forbidden Forest.'
'She's a closet Gryff,' Ginny said.
'Luna, I don't know if you're brave or just barmy!' Tonks added, grinning.
'I don't think I'm brave,' said Luna. The others started to laugh out loud, and Luna was not sure why. That happened a lot, when she said things and people laughed. Luna was glad to make others laugh, even if she did not understand why. A little more light in the darkness was a good thing; a little more joy in a world of tears. And the laughter of her fellow Order members was never mean or harsh or mocking, as had been the case with many of her Hogwarts classmates. 'What are the hairs for?' she asked.
Harry shook his head. 'You don't want to know,' he said, with a wry smile.
'You know how it is,' Tonks said.
'Even I don't know,' Ginny said with a look of happy empathy.
'All right, then,' Luna said, and sighed. 'I think I might sleep now.'
'Good night!' the others chorused.
The once-rickety staircase to the upstairs floors was now carpeted in the predictable red, and Luna took off her shoes to climb barefoot. She hated wearing shoes with their constricting form, unless they were fun and sparkly or colourful. Tonight's shoes were plain black to go with her black skirt, black jumper, black cloak. Only the red satin lining of her cloak gave a splash of interest, and this she swung off to hang upon the hook inside her bedroom door on the second floor.
The house had been magically expanded, added on to accommodate a greater number of Order members. Harry, as the owner, was a permanent occupant, as were Ginny, Ron, and Hermione. Lupin and Tonks stayed here, as did Aberforth Dumbledore, the Headmaster's elderly brother. Luna suspected that Abe, as they called him, was actually the long-lost Irish Minister of Magic, who disappeared in the wild west country of Clare after an incident of fraternisation with a banshee, but she never told anyone of this thought. The other bedrooms in Number 12 rotated between the many guests and safety-seekers. For a time, Draco Malfoy and his mother had lived here before being shuffled away to France; others included Madame Malkin of the robe shop and Hermione Granger's Muggle parents.
As she disrobed for bed, Luna contemplated her day. Ginny thought she should be a Gryffindor, but was that true? She did not consider herself brave, because to be brave was to overcome fear. Most of the time, Luna never felt afraid to begin with. She did not see danger in the world the way others did and even death did not frighten her. Luna knew that her dead mother was somewhere else, a better place, and she never doubted it. If she should die, then there was a familiar face already on the other side.
As for the rest of the horrors that might confront a human being, Luna had never held phobias for creatures, or darkness, or heights. In her opinion, most things weren't scary, they were just misunderstood. The only thing in the world with a capacity for true evil action was the human being, and that too was often misunderstood. 'Love the sinner, hate the sin.' Luna had heard those words somewhere, and they stuck. No one could be pure evil, just as every cloud had a lining and even the darkest night held stars.
Then, she understood Tonks's words, and why they had laughed: Luna had implied she was not brave, but barmy. 'Hmm,' she said, tilting her head back and forth. There was no one to see.
She hummed a little tune, a different one from the Weird Sisters song.
In her nightgown, Luna approached the face-mirror on the vanity table and sat down. The mirror was silent of comment today, and she regarded herself in the glinting reflection. Large grey eyes in a heart-shaped face. A fringe of thick dark blonde lashes, at contrast with her long light hair. A small but well-formed mouth. She appeared older these days; the round cheeks of girlhood had faded into more gaunt cheekbones, but that was likely the effect of the war. Sometimes she went days without eating properly, not on purpose but out of distraction. Luna was tall for a girl, five-foot eight, and bordered on skinny, but settled for svelte with her languid posture.
Many people accused Luna of not caring for her appearance. The opposite was the case. Luna thought of her body and face as a palette for creativity, and fashion an opportunity to express herself. She could not wait to get a tattoo, but she had trouble deciding what she wanted. Perhaps it would be best to get the finest wizarding tattoo, the kind that could be charmed to any appearance. Then she could have a new design every day, or every hour. Her taste in clothing may have been eclectic, but it was not careless. She put great care into her feather earrings, her handbags made of Chocolate Frog wrappers, her necklaces of bottle-caps and silver spoons and chunky stones.
Luna turned back the covers of her bed and did her series of pre-dream stretches. They were based on research by a man named Lazarus Temple, whom her father had interviewed for the Quibbler. He said that doing these stretches allowed for astral travel and precognitive dreams, to unlock the Seer within. Luna did them religiously.
As she finished the series of Seer Stretches, Luna pulled back her long blonde hair and tied it into a loose knot for sleeping. Her hands then hugged her flat stomach, and she pinched in her waist, letting her arms go akimbo. She stood on her tiptoes for a second, then leaped into bed and snatched the covers up to her neck, to keep out Invisible Bed Fliers. Otherwise they might sneak in and lift up the covers in the night, leaving her cold. This seemed the type of house to have an infestation of them.
Uncharacteristic for Luna, she had a nightmare that night. A dark shape chased her through a forest of silver trees, and although she ran and ran, it gained on her. Luna did not know what would happen when the dark thing caught up, but it would be bad. In the dream, she wore a white shift that caught and snagged and tore on the sharp branches of the trees. When she looked down at the gaping rips in the dress, the cloth bled bright red around the edges.
She awoke with a start at four in the morning, and did not have time to contemplate her dream before falling back into her sleep, the second half of which was free of such disturbing images. When the sun filtered through the curtains at Luna's second awakening, she rose from her bed, sure to let her right foot touch the carpet first.
It was best to start the day on the right foot, especially when you were a member of the Order of the Phoenix.
A/N: I shall take this opportunity to say a word about the frequency of my updates. I'll add new chapters whenever I can, but it won't be as frequent as my other stories were. Sorry about that! I'll try to post a new update at least within every three weeks or so. However, you have my ever-holding promise that once the story starts, it WILL be finished -- I don't abandon stories. Even if they get put on hold. Cheers for your patience and please read, review, enjoy!