A flower in her hair

Lord Voldemort and Luna Lovegood find time to discuss a little philosophy. Characters belong to Rowling.

The dynamic between the two main characters of this story is inspired by the highly talented author BellonaBellatrix

Gather ye rose-buds while ye may
Old Time is still a flying
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying
Robert Herrick

Luna Lovegood sat on the cold, damp stone floor, as comfortable as if it had been the warm, thick rug in the Ravenclaw common room, playing with her chains. She rolled them and coiled them and listened to the pretty tinkling they made. When Voldemort and his servant entered the room, she didn't look up. She hummed softly for herself as the chains tinkled.

"You are going to talk." her capturer stated, and she turned her head quickly, startled by his presence.

The thin, pale girl in the chains was dressed in the comfortable, practical robes she usually wore when she was out on expeditions with her father - they were rather worn by now. Her blond her looked even more dirty than usual, and there was a bruise on her cheek. Her eyes sparkled though, just like they always did, and there was a daisy in her hair.

"Hello..." she vaguely said and waved, as good as she could for the chains. He raised an eyebrow.

"Are you not afraid, little girl?" he inquired. "Are you not afraid of the most feared wizards in all times."

"A bit..." she admitted, and glanced at her chains. "You wouldn't mind freeing me, would you?" she asked hopefully. "Only, my friends are probably starting to get a bit worried about me, and I wouldn't want them to be concerned."

"I don't think I'll let you go just yet," Voldemort said with a bemused smirk in his deformed face. "Your friends will just have to be a bit worried, won't they?"

"Oh," Luna said, and her face fell. "I was rather hoping that perhaps you wouldn't hurt me..."

"And where might you have got that idea?" Wormtail asked with squeaky voice. Luna shrugged, making the chains tinkle.

"I don't know, really. People often think that my ideas are a little weird, to tell the truth."

"No shit," Wormtail muttered.

"Where is Potter," Voldemort hissed. "Where is he hiding? What are his plans?" Luna shook her head.

"I don't want to tell you," she said and pressed her lips hard together. Wormtail giggled ever so slightly.

"But you will," he said.

The girl looked up at the small man's nervous face, and - uncharacteristically - hesitated for a moment. Then she lowered her gaze.

"Oh..." she said. "Well, in that case... I don't know where he is, actually. He didn't say, and it would have been a bit rude to ask, don't you think?"

"She's lying," Wormtail volunteered, eager to impress. But Voldemort gave Luna a curious glance.

"She isn't," he said, and Wormtail abruptly closed his mouth and fell silent. Luna nodded earnestly.

"One shouldn't fib."

"On that we can agree," Voldemort whispered and took a step closer, a dark spectre looming before the young girl. His long, delicate fingers caressed her chins and cheek, and turned her face towards him. Luna obediently followed his lead, and opened her eyes wide. Her large, silvery orbs met the purple slits of the Dark Lord.

Wormtail stood unmoving, breathing as silently as he ever could, waiting for his lord to finish.

Eventually, Voldemort withdrew, a thoughtful expression in his face. Luna smiled reassuringly at him.

"You're an odd bird," he said, touching her face. "I can see there is a brain in there, but it works in loops and hoops and quirks. You are your mother's daughter, that's true enough - a halfbreed. You're also your fathers' daughter - a pathetic, delusional muggleborn. Dreams and fairytales and castles of air, that is your heritage, and what good will it do you now?"

"In the castle in the air, all is nice and fun and fair," she chimed. He snorted.

"You have got nothing from your so-called friends but spite, and yet you are willing to die to protect them. So tell me, what can you possibly earn from their cause, other than pain, fear and a too early death?"

"They are my friends," Luna said with serious voice. "They are nice to me." She gave the Dark Lord a curious glance. "Do you have any friends?" He smirked.

"Wormtail here wants to be my friend. Isn't that true?"

"Ye...yes my lord," the small man quickly answered.

"Everyone should have friends," Luna said contently.

He was silent for a moment, and when he spoke next it was with a bemused, intrigued tone of voice - a tone he rarely used, and a tone that made Wormtail far more scared that the usual snarling and raging.

"You are really not afraid of me. How curious. I very rarely meet people like you."

"Oh, I meet people like you now and then," Luna happily chimed in response. "Daddy says that I have to be patient and let you take your time to come around. After all, it would be a funny old world if we were all alike."

"If all were like you, I imagine it would."

"If all were like you, it wouldn't be fun at all," she sadly said, with what perhaps was the closest she had come to defiance during this long talk. He smirked.

"So tell me then, little Lunabird - is your lack of fear in face of death courage, stupidity or simply bravery?"

"My teachers sometimes say that I have problems with my concentration," Luna helpfully offered. "Perhaps that might be the reason?"

"Then perhaps an example would be in order," Voldemort hissed, a deadly edge to his voice. Wormtail cringed back towards the damp cell wall. Luna simply regarded Voldemort in curiosity.

"They say that each time a flower withers, a fairy dies," he said as he took the daisy from Luna's hair. "Her pretty wings crumpled, her happy song silenced, dancing no more..."

"It's sad," Luna agreed, unblinkingly watching her daisy.

"I can kill you just as easily," Voldemort stated, as the petals were crushed in his hand. Luna nodded sadly.

"I suppose you can."

"And just as your flower now is gone..." he begun, but Luna interrupted him.

"It isn't really," she earnestly said. "I can still remember its smell, and how nice it was to look at. It's not really gone at all."

"Memories!" Voldemort smirked. "There is nothing that is as easily changed, destroyed or manipulated. I can make you remember that your flower was blue, if I wish to, or that it was ugly, or make you forget it altogether." He raised his wand to prove his point. Luna gasped.

"You wouldn't? Not with such a pretty flower?"

"See," he said and lowered the wand. "The flower is gone, and your memory of it is just a strange fancy. How do you even know that there ever was a flower to begin with? Perhaps I did change your memory, after all." She looked up at him with a genuinely happy smile on her lips.

"If you did, it's a really beautiful flower you made. I don't think that anyone who can make memories of such flowers is altogether evil. Thank you so very much!"

"I was trying to prove a point, not listen to silly thanks;" Voldemort sneered, put slightly off balance by Luna's earnestness.

"Hmmm?" she asked, busy examining her hair after more imaginary flowers.

"I can end the existence of your flower so thorougly that you even won't keep your memory of it, and I can do the same with you, and with anyone who opposes me. Tell me now, what you still think it's worth fighting for."

"What about its seeds?" Luna asked, pointing at the crushed flower. "Or its roots? Surely, there will be many more flowers from this plant, even if this one is a bit bruised."

"A metaphor taken a bit to far," he shrugged. "People have neither roots nor seed worth mentioning - none that will be a challenge for me, anyway."

"Beg to differ," Luna happily said. "It IS a challenge for you."

"What is?" he asked with frustration in his voice.

"Harry," she simply said. "He's the flower that has grown from seeds you have sowed yourself, when you hurt all those people. Sooner or later, there was bound to come a crop you couldn't handle."

"I will kill your hero in due time," Voldemort hissed. Luna shook her head.

"Beg to differ. He has killed you, oh... four or five times, by now, and you haven't even killed him once."

"But when I do, it will be the death that counts," he snarled.

"Oh, they all count," Luna solemnly said. "Every little death is just as important - just as every little life is. It's rather beautiful, actually."

"But your flower is still dead," he pointed out.

"Beg to differ," she defiantly repeated, raising her cheek.

He regarded her in silence. The girl was bruised and hurt and cold and hungry, but she wasn't afraid. Her mind was a kaleidoscope of colours and sounds and images, each and every one more fantastical than the last. There was defiance there, a faith and a strength of a kind he was not used to. But still - she was in his power.

"I met your mother once," he said with low voice. "She was a fool, just like her daughter. And she died a fool."

"My mother was nice," Luna breathed in response. "Anyway, it's not like I'll never see her again."

Voldemort blinked.

"What do you mean, little girl?" he demanded. Luna tilted her head and regarded him with wide eyes.

"You can hear them too, can't you?" she whispered. "Beyond the veil?"

"Fantasies," Voldemort muttered, but Luna eagerly shook her head and went on in an eerie voice that made Wormtail shiver.

"It really isn't. You of all people should know that. They are all there - each and every one we have known in life. They are watching us, waiting for us... Sometimes, when the veil grows thin, it's almost like they can reach out and touch us..."

"SILENCE!" Voldemort cried, making Wormtail cringe. Luna, however, didn't seem the least faced by the Dark Lord's fury.

"I can hear you quite well, you know," she calmly stated. Voldemort grabbed her chains and jerked her towards him, as easily as if she had been a ragdoll.

"Death is a void," he snarled. "A blackness, a nothing. There is no one waiting there, no one watching. Death is the final escape for those who are weak - and the final enemy for those who are strong." Luna, half-hanging in the chains, said nothing. She tilted her head to one side and regarded him in silence. "You're just a silly little girl," he went on, somewhat more controlled. "You cling to fairy tales about hope and happy endings and love," he spitted out the last word, as if it tasted foul in his mouth. "You whisper your pathetic little story about your dead mother, because that is the only thing you have left. But you will learn, before I kill you, that that is just a fantasy. There is no such things as a happy ending, little freak. There is no such thing as a life after death. There is only power, and those who are too weak to seak it." He dropped Luna to the ground with a little 'eek'.

"That's a bit narrow-minded, actually," she said, rubbing her wrists where the chain had dug into her flesh. His eyes narrowed to small, purple slits.

"Really?" he hissed. "Is it so wise to insult me under these circumstances?"

Luna blinked.

"I'm sorry," she earnestly said. "I wouldn't want you to feel insulted

Voldemort snorted and stepped back.

"Wormtail, keep her under close watch," he ordered. "When Potter shows up, I want him to have to think about the life of this weird flower."

And the Dark Lord swept out of the room.

And they were alone.

Luna watched Wormtail, Wormtail watched Luna.

He blinked first.

"Er..." he said. "Do you really think the dead ones wait for us?"

"Oh, yes," she chimed. But when she saw his expression, her face got concerned, and she stretched towards him - as much as the chains admitted, and could just put her hand on his.

"Maybe you can tell them that you are really, really sorry?" she suggested.