Disclaimer: Don't own Harry Potter. Belongs to J.K.Rowling. Me cavetroll.
Summary: Luna Lovegood and the Last Horcrux – a story from a different perspective. Ignores DH. Very dark. And, of course, slightly insane. This is Luna we are talking about.
Of Phoodrans and Hogwumps
She smiles a blinding smile at him. „You know, the flitting hogwumps also agree."
He looks half angry, half stumped, but she can hardly understand why. She has arrived just in the nick of time to ensure that he doesn't mess up what's supposed to happen. Apparently though, he doesn't want to believe her, probably because he thinks it's too dangerous. She likes it how he always thinks of others first, but in instances like this one, it is somewhat of a nuisance.
Everything is so clear; every leaf and every bee and every pebble knows what has to happen. And if it happens differently, it surely will end in disaster. She knows that most people don't hear rocks or grass blades whispering to each other on the wind, but today, the Voices are screaming so loud that she wonders why nobody has gone deaf yet.
She looks at the thread of spring light resting on his shoulder. It says that he won't have to wait for long. Absently, she nods. "That's right. Now that almost all phoodran have been found, it won't be long."
From the confused look on his face, she can tell that he's only heard her part of the conversation. It's not something that surprises her; there are very few people that understand half as much as she does, and he isn't one of them. To reassure him, she smiles again.
"Don't worry. The hogwumps have never been wrong. And they don't like lost phoodrans either. They'll help me."
He looks skeptical. "And you're sure that the… hogwumps know how to destroy Hufflepuff's Cup?"
Honestly appalled at the thought, she shakes her head. "No, no, you mustn't destroy the phoodran! I have to find it."
A lost look spreads on his face. "You don't know how to destroy the Cup? I thought you came because the hogwumps told you that I should keep my strength for the last fight?"
"Yes. The hogwumps were very clear on that. And they said that I had to find the phoodran."
He looks even more lost. "But this is the last Horcrux. The others are already gone."
Curiously, she cocks her head. "Horcrux? What is a Horcrux?"
He stares at her, completely perplexed. "You mean to tell me you came here to find a phoodran? Why did you keep me from destroying the Cup then? Can't you look for your phoodran elsewhere?"
From long experience, she knows that he won't understand. Whenever she tries to explain concepts that go against wizarding logic and dogma, nobody takes her seriously, anyways. But sometimes, at times like these, she wishes that she could express herself more clearly. The Voices tend to have their own concepts that are very different from human ones, and it always is a tedious task to convey them to a deaf being.
She tries again. "There's a lost phoodran in the Cup. I have to find it."
Fortunately, he takes her seriously enough to try and follow her explanation, even if he's not convinced that she's really sane. "This 'phoodran' is in the Cup? But then you've already found it."
"No. It's lost in the Cup. It's the last one, and it's lonely. I have to find it. And then you can go to the last fight."
She can almost feel how he is trying to squeeze her words into his world. It takes a while, then he asks slowly.
"The lost phoodran is in the Cup."
She nods, and he continues.
"There were several lost phoodrans. Six?"
Again she nods, a slow smile spreading on her face. He seems to catch on.
"And this is the last one?"
"Yep. And as soon as I've found it, you can go to the last fight."
He hesitates. "So when you find the phoodran, that will destroy the Horcrux?"
She gives up. Long years of practice allow her to keep smiling and nodding. Just like all those blind people out there, he doesn't understand her. At least he is trying, not that he's doing a very good job of it. She doesn't think there's ever been such a thing as a 'Horcrux'. Just six small, lost phoodrans. But she thinks the result will be the same, so she doesn't tell him that.
Briefly, she is side-tracked by a small dew-drop chattering angrily about how the big skellymunch shouldn't go around loosing phoodrans in the first place, making her laugh in delight.
She has always been able to hear more than normal people, but over the last few months, her hearing has become so keen that it hurts almost all the time. Nowadays, she has to concentrate very hard to not become lost in the hundreds and thousands of conversations that whisper by every moment. She has been having more and more problems to focus on one single conversation. Fingering her necklace, she listens to the butterbeer-caps telling of how the chipped greeneye is going to swallow the nasty skellymunch, this time for real.
Most of the time, she tries to call things by their wizard names, like 'rocks' or 'leaf'. The Voices have their own names for them, which sometimes makes it confusing. Other things don't have a wizarding name, like the hogwumps. It is not like those around her can hear or see them, so they don't have names for them. In those cases, she uses the names the Voices have given them.
Oh, he sounds concerned. She has probably been listening to her necklace too long. It helps her focus away from the Voices, and she likes how it calls him 'chipped greeneye'. She thinks that's a good name, a fitting name. A name that says a lot more than something bland like 'Harry Potter'.
She squints at the crumpling sweckies flittering across his forehead. They are more agitated than usual. "Hm?"
"Are you sure you want to do that? I mean, after what happened with Hermione it's probably better if I …"
She shakes her head vigorously, and her necklace protests together with her. He mustn't find the last phoodran because he still needs to swallow the nasty skellymunch. Almost anybody can find a phoodran. But because of the crumpling sweckies on his forehead, he's the only one who can take on skellymunch.
"You need to wait for skellymunch."
He sighs. "Skellymunch?"
Oh, she has once again forgotten that the deaf ones use different names. "Voldemort," she adds absentmindedly.
He looks at her incredulously for a moment, then he barks out laughter that temporarily sends the sweckies flying. "Skellymunch. I like that. Sounds a lot better than Voldemort."
After a moment, he becomes serious again and the sweckies return. "Luna, the last Horcrux killed Hermione. I don't want you to get hurt. There's hardly anybody left, and I can't lose any of you. I just can't. It was hard enough after…"
He abruptly chokes himself off because a small nibpick is trying to make his eyes water. His crumpling sweckies become green with worry and center in between his eyebrows. It almost looks as if he had grown a third eye. And she can hear the Voices clearer than ever.
"Either the sweckies or the nibpicks must have addled your brain. The hogwumps say it is us who can't lose you. You still have to face skellymunch."
He sounds almost desperate. "But I'm good at finding things. If you tell me what to do, I can look for the phoodran, too!"
Slowly, she shakes her head. "If you can't even hear the hogwumps, you can't find something as thoroughly lost as this phoodran."
He scrunches his forehead, and she can see how he struggles to converse in her language. That expression looks a lot better than the one he had when fighting the nibpicks. "Hermione and I can't hear any hogwumps, and both of us destroyed a Horcrux each."
She smiles sadly. "But Hermione got lost, didn't she? And it was Ron who got lost instead of you the last time."
The nibpicks are coming at him again until he suddenly looks up. "Nagini biting him was an accident. You know about the Chamber of Secrets, don't you?"
"The hogwumps say that there was a phoodran, too."
He seems quite animated. "Yep, and I destroyed it, too. Nobody died."
Once again she doesn't understand how he can live in the same world but see such different things. "The Last Guardian became lost, and it almost took you with it."
"Last… Do you mean Slytherin's basilisk? It was already dead before I destroyed the diary."
She frowns. That's not what the hogwumps had whispered last time. "Then how did you find the phoodran in the diary?"
He looks more and more animated. He probably thinks that he can convince her that he'll be the one to find the phoodran in the Cup. "I used the fang that became stuck in my arm."
Ah. She nods gravely. That explains it. "So the Last Guardian was the one to find it, and since you helped him, you almost became lost yourself. You mustn't become lost in the Cup because you still need to go to skellymunch. Don't worry, the hogwumps will show me how to find the last phoodran."
For a long time, he is quiet, studying her intently. Finally, he asks: "Finding the … phoodran … is really important to you, isn't it?"
His sweckies convey his need to think in fluttering circles, so she doesn't interrupt him.
He continues. "And you are certain that it should be you who finds the phoodran. I am supposed to keep my strength for the fight against …", he smiles, "… skellymunch. There really is no other way so that you won't endanger yourself?"
She smiles brightly. "But there is no danger. I just have to find the phoodran. And since all hogwumps are going to help me, it will be the easiest thing in the world."
"And you won't become… lost yourself, like Hermione and Ron and Dumbledore? You can find it without getting lost?"
The Voices tell her to do some headbanging, so she does. She thinks it is great fun, but he seems a little bit disturbed. Of course, she only sees that after stopping her headbanging, throwing her hair back one last time.
He calmingly pa"Okay, okay, I understand. You didn't have to react that extremely!"
She looks at him a little bit strangely. Did he really hear the Voices to tell her to start headbanging? And does he think that headbanging should be done a little bit less extremely? Well, with his muggle upbringing, he probably knows best, since she hasn't seen any wizard do headbangs yet.
"Thanks for telling me!", she nods seriously, earning another strange look. But she has been getting strange looks all her life, so she isn't too concerned about that. "Good, then we are agreed. I find the phoodran, and you go to fight skellymunch."
She holds her hand out, and he hesitantly shakes it. Rolling her eyes, he shakes his hand back. Strange customs; she only wanted to have the phoodran. Her necklace whispers to her that chipped greeneyes is still not really convinced, but she tells it to wait a little bit. When he freezes in his tracks, she absentmindedly waves him on. "I wasn't talking to you. The hogwumps are getting a little bit impatient because skellymunch is growing stronger and stronger."
Some grass blades whistle at her, but her attention is caught by the lost phoodran he slowly hands her. She smiles up at him, seeing that his sweckies have gone purple with worry. "Now, off with you to skellymunch. The sweckies and hogwumps are going to help you, you just have to listen to them."
He slowly smiles back and nods. He looks as if he wants to say something, but then he only nods again and turns around. She watches him walk away, listening to the Voices comment on his chances to defeat skellymunch. From time to time, there is a ray of light that says something about him failing, but the general consensus is that he's going to succeed.
When he is out of sight, she looks at the little phoodran in her hand. The hogwumps help her guide her energy, and she hears the Voices encourage her. Gradually, she feels herself losing contact with her body, but the Voices are clearer than ever. Smiling she stretches out even further, guided by her necklace. In the far distance, she can feel the poor phoodran, and she can hear its cries.
Soon, she thinks, soon she will reach it. Only a little bit further, and she has finally managed to become lost. After all, to find something so thoroughly lost like this little phoodran, one has to become lost oneself. Smiling, she makes contact with the phoodran. She has found it by becoming lost. Then the Voices swallow her up.
After his unnerving conversation with Luna, Harry disapparates back to the Order's Headquarter, feeling somewhat uneasy. Ginny, who had reluctantly agreed to be left behind in case the backwash of the destruction of the last Horcrux was too dangerous, immediately greets him enthusiastically.
"The Cup is gone?", she asks breathlessly.
Harry hesitates and nods slowly. "Yes." He feels bad for lying to Ginny. He doesn't know whether the Horcrux is gone or not, and how Luna is faring. In a split-second, he makes a decision. "But, I have just realized that I have forgotten my cloak at the place. I'll be back in a second."
The uneasy feeling grows stronger, and he knows he has to go back. He shouldn't have left Luna alone with the Horcrux, no matter what she had said.
Arriving at the meadow, he immediately spots her crumbled form at the center. Heart aching terribly, he runs towards her, not heeding the little holes and bumps he is stumbling across. He shouldn't have…
Kneeling at her side, he hastily presses two fingers against her throat. There is no pulse. And he can't see any breath… Sitting back on his haunches, he digs his fingers into his knees, seeing everything through a haze of tears. She had somehow known, and she still… she had sacrificed herself instead of him so that he could fight Voldemort.
An unknown amount of time later, he finally gathers himself together enough to get up again. She looks as if she was sleeping, smiling like an angle, cradling the cup carefully in her hands. But she is too cold, she isn't sleeping…
With a few waves of his wand, he checks if the Horcrux is indeed gone. But she has kept her promise, as strangely as she had worded it. She has found the phoodran. Then, he digs a deep hole into the grass. About three months ago, she came to him to tell him that if she was to die, she wanted to be buried in a nice meadow. By him, since all her family has been killed. Now, he wonders if she hasn't seen something of the future. And she still had come…
Then, he levitates her body together with the empty Horcrux into the hole, covering her diligently with the remaining soil. He wonders what he is supposed to tell Ginny and Neville, the only ones who have really befriended the strange girl. Finally, the only thing to remind of her is a small stone slab rising from the head of her grave.
He kneels down and bows to her one last time. He decides that it will be better not to tell them anything. All their power will have to be gathered against Voldemort, and it wouldn't be good if they were weighted down by grief. Afterwards, there will be enough time to mourn.
Like an old man, he gets up and apparates away.
Back at Headquarters, Ginny throws herself against him once again. "I was so worried, it took you so long, and you haven't even found your cloak!"
From somewhere, Harry drags up a smile. "I'm sorry, I must have lost it somewhere else. I was looking for it, but I couldn't find it."
Ginny looks up at him, smiling radiantly. For a moment, he thinks he sees Luna in that smile, but then it is Ginny again. "Come with me," she says, "you look exhausted."
Taking his hand, she tugs him inside. He follows slowly. Tomorrow, they are going to prepare for the last stand against Voldemort.
Skellymunch, he hears her voice.
He can't help but smile.
A/N: I wanted to try a piece from Luna's perspective, since she seems insane all the time. I hope I gave at least some explanation for her scatter-brained attitude. And I hope that her dialogues weren't too confusing