Ginny raised her hand to the door, hesitated--then rapped sharply once, twice, three times.
"I'll be right down!" a voice called out. "Make sure to keep away from the rhodendrons, they've been infested with nargles...oh, hello, Ginny, you're out quite late."
"Are you going somewhere?" Luna asked, motioning to the suitcases by Ginny's feet.
"Yeah, actually. I'm leaving for a bit...that's why I came. Could you give this to Ron and Hermione? And--"
"You can't give them yourself?"
"Well, actually...I haven't told anyone I'm leaving, see. I don't want them trying to stop me."
"Why would they stop you?"
"Because--because I won't be coming back. Not for a long time. I just can't stay here, not with--not with everything that's happened. I don't--I just don't know anything anymore!" she cried. "All I know is that I have to leave. I can't think like this. Luna, please."
"Please don't follow me. And please don't let anyone else, either."
"Why do you have to leave?"
"I have to think. I can't think here. It's so...distracting. Please. You know what happened to me, you should know why I can't stay."
Luna paused. "You wanted me to give Ron and Hermione something?"
"Yeah. This. And this is for Neville. And--" she paused, once, briefly-- "give this to Harry."
"All right. I'll miss you, you know."
Ginny swallowed. "I know." She turned to leave--
"Are you going to think, or are you going to hide?"
She paused, closing her eyes. "I--I'm going to think."
"Goodbye, then. I'll see you again."
"Yeah. Bye." And she walked away, getting smaller and smaller until she was indistinguishable from a blade of grass. Luna stood by the door, taking in the rays of the early morning sun.
"Are you really, Ginny?"
"Luna, have you seen Ginny, she's gone--"
"Oh, are you up already? It's nice to see you, Harry."
"Luna, this isn't a good time. Ginny's missing!"
"Yes, I know. She wanted you to have this, by the way."
"You knew about this? Why didn't you stop her?"
"She wanted to go, so I let her."
"You--you let her--it's dangerous out there, there's Death Eaters all over--she could get hurt--how could you, Luna? Why didn't you stop her?"
"Why didn't you stop her?"
Luna looked up. There was a distant look in her eyes. "Well, she asked very politely, you know.Excuse me, Harry. I have to take this to Ron and Hermione."
You're probably wondering why I left. To tell you the truth, I'm not quite sure myself. Things have become confusing over the past few months...
Anyway, I want to ask that you please not follow me. You especially. I know you were hoping we could pick up where we left off, but after everything that's happened to me since we broke up, I just don't think that's possible anymore. Things have changed between us, for me. Things you couldn't possibly hope to understand. But don't worry. I might be gone a long time, but I'll--I think I'll be back.
Please don't think this means I don't care about you, though, because I do. I just have to be alone for a while.
"Hey, Luna. Listen, I'm sorry about earlier…."
"It's all right."
"You're just going to let it go? Just like that?"
"It's what friends do, isn't it?"
"Well, yes, but…never mind. Luna, do you know anything about where Ginny might have gone?"
"No. Why do you ask?"
"Luna, if you know anything, you have to tell me. Anything at all. I have to know." He waved the letter at her. "She says I don't understand. I have to—she's wrong, I—how could I not—I want to make sure she doesn't get hurt—no, I have to make sure she doesn't get hurt. I'm supposed to protect her. Luna, please."
Luna's hand hovered over the coffee cup for a moment. "I'm afraid I don't."
"Oh. Well, I'm sorry to bother you—"
"But I'll help you find out."
"You—why are you helping me?"
"It's what friends do, isn't it?"
"…I guess it is, isn't it? All right. And Luna?"
"Thanks." He smiled at her, and Luna beamed back.