A/N: Thank you to the ladies of the Review Lounge for coming up with such a delightful challenge. Please consider reading everyone's submissions at this being a Review Lounge project and all, a word or two from my readers would be lovely. Yuletide Blessings to all!


Xenophilius Lovegood's Christmas Wish

"… taken, Xeno. Our Ginny saw the aftermath on the train. I'm so sorry. Please, Xeno, if you need to spend some time away, know that the Burrow is open to you, and always will be."

"Arthur, you've put yourself in plenty of danger just by coming here. I thank you for your kindness in delivering this message yourself, but you have your own family to attend to. Keep them safe, Arthur. Keep them close by."

You never did finish that mind-expansion potion, Kitten, but I've read your notes. A potion with which the drinker could accept the world around him based on the faith and love he has in others, rather than on his limited sensual perception. It was going to be your magnum opus, your contribution to Wizarding society. Kitten, I could use some of that potion. Luna's always told me that you're close at hand, yet in this house right now I am so alone, so terribly alone. Could your potion have helped me believe her, even now? I've dusted for wrackspurts. I've checked for nargles, but all I see is an empty house where once the two brightest lights in my life shone. And it doesn't feel like Christmas at all, especially without our little Luna. That goon-squad ripped her right off the train like a common criminal, and Merlin only knows what those monsters are doing, but she's a resourceful girl, so much like you. When you left us Kitten, she was all I had left. She's my entire life now, and she's in the hands of You Know Who's thugs.

The mistletoe is all overgrown without you and her here, Kitten. Do you remember, love, the Christmas when she was six? She took you to every branch to kiss you under each of bundle of the stuff. When I married you I was so much older, and I thought you'd miss your youth with an old man like me. But then came Luna, and your youthful energy just blossomed even further in the silver-grey eyes and guileless exuberance of the most beautiful child the Gods have ever seen. Not that they left us time for the medi-witches or St. Mungo's, mind. Of course she was born in the garden, as we were leaving for the hospital, under the light of the brightest full Moon either of us had seen in ages. And you kept looking up at that Moon, drawing strength from it. And through the Moonlight our precious child shone. Since the Moon had midwifed, the child bore her name. And that light still shines, Kitten; Merlin does it shine. But not tonight. Waning just past the third quarter, masked by clouds, and captive in the hands of the darkest magic.

She's made you a present every year since you left us, Kitten. The first year it was a wreath of dirigible plums, and she said it was so that you would know you are still with us. I'm sorry Kitten, but there won't be any presents from Luna this year. There won't be biscuits baked or cakes drenched in firewhiskey either. I can't even write, never mind decorate. So the mistletoe will go un-kissed this year. There will be no tree, no pudding, no plimpie soup. Just an empty house with a very sad old man.

I know it's not my fault, or I try to know that. But what if I had done as the Ministry asked? Would they have taken my little Luna-light from me? Probably so, because of those friends of hers. Better friends I couldn't have picked out myself. I always did like that Weasley family, even if they are a little odd. And she went and befriended the most wanted man in Britain. Did you hear about the battle at the Ministry, Kitten? Luna stunned several Death Eaters, although she says their ears were full of wrackspurts at the time. She's picking up that Gryffindor modesty hanging around that lot. And their bravery, too. She's sent me owls about what she and her friends have been up to, keeping up spirits around Hogwarts, continuing the fight, even with the blasted Ministry's changes. She's kept me inspired, love, so I've continued to publish the truth. And this is how it ends.

Yes Kitten, she would have been taken anyway. And you were going to make that potion, even knowing the risks. The ingredients were volatile, but it was your life's work. In the end, it was your life. And Luna's life is, for whatever reason, wrapped up in this pointless war. And what does that potion or this war bring? It doesn't bring you near me, together watching those graceful sliver eyes of our Luna light up like heliopaths as she opened up a present. And it doesn't bring Luna here to tend to the mistletoe or help with the Quibbler, or just to go fishing in the stream. Next year, Kitten. Next year I will have my Luna with me for Christmas, whether it's just her and me, or whether we've joined you wherever you are tonight. Whatever it takes, Kitten, this will be the last Christmas I spend without my family.

"…toe the line is it, then? I suppose an article or two could be written, in exchange for my daughter's safety. Toe the line it is, then."

"See that you do, you half-brained old coot. Shame if something were to happen to the lass. She does have the prettiest eyes, doesn't she?"