This little story follows my AU fic, A Captive Path, though I suppose it could be taken on its own, if one has simply just stumbled upon it. For those wonderful readers who followed the story, between the end of it and this one, there was a role playing game based on it, and many fun things happened while it went on. Unfortunately, a certain character died. This was some time ago, but recently, I realized that my muse for this little doomy AU universe was not at all dead, just resting. And so, this happened. I am not sure if this will be a oneshot or not, I guess we'll see! And maybe someday, my dear Luna will forgive me for everything that I've put her through.

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It was late December in Scotland, and snow was falling thick and soft from a darkened sky. The ruined castle that had once been a great school for magical learning had many refugees living within. They had repaired what they could, and set heating charms on hallways and corridors that led to areas where walls were missing, or roofs had caved in. On the lower floors, friends gathered in their meager means, enjoying each other's company and hoping that loved ones they'd been parted from were out there somewhere, surviving like them, while under the Devil's reign.

Luna had been thankful to come to this sanctuary, saving her children from being raised by her sadistic and evil father in law, the murderer of her own father. She had felt blessed to be near old friends once more, after two years of living amongst their enemy, pretending to be one of them. After the world had ended, she had married an enemy to the struggling cause of good. Though she'd been welcomed after the death of her husband Theodore, a rift remained. Her friends knew she'd had no choice. But they also could not shake the fact that she'd been living in comfort on the other side.

She was sitting alone this night, having left her twin toddlers and newborn sleeping in Ravenclaw Tower, aged and now slightly deaf Professor Flitwick keeping watch over them as he read through old lesson books. The young woman rarely got time to herself those days, her old head of house was happy to give her such. Luna fancied that he did not expect her to spend that time in the frigid cold. She was situated in what remained of the old Library. Most of the books that had been savable had been moved out of the ruins, but everything else remained mostly unchanged since the Last Battle. There were no warming charms there, and the exposed floor was covered in snow as well. Luna was sitting in the drift that had fallen over books, toppled tables, and spell-scorched carpets. She was barefoot, wearing only a thin old school nightgown.

She slowly froze as thoughts swam around her blonde head, thoughts of those she had lost, those she had loved most. Usually she did not dwell, her children needed her and there was still much to do to make the world a better place. Luna hadn't gone outside with the intention of self-freezing. She never had been quite of this Earth though, and the recent events of her short, highly violent life had left her perhaps a bit more numb to the tangible than she'd been even as a strange, loony little girl. And on this Christmas Eve these things were all she could dwell on, crouched in the snow, lithe arms wrapped around bony knees.

This was how he found her, close to midnight, half-asleep in the drift, her lips blue and her thin frame shaking. A curse in the glowing dark, and then he picked her up, marveling slightly at her lightness. She'd always been a waif when she'd been his student, yes, but after having three children while still a teenager, he'd expected her to be a bit fuller. Then again, she had been close to starving while on the run. Her abundant hair flying in his face, causing him to sputter irritably and worriedly, Severus Snape hurried her back to Ravenclaw Tower.

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Luna was dimly aware that she was moving. The high ceilings of the castle halls greeted her vision, as did the rough black wool of the arm that was holding up her neck and shoulders. Luna shut her eyes and whimpered slightly, feeling a painful tingling in her toes and ankles.

"Such a relief to see the damage isn't terribly advanced, then." The familiar voice of her former Potions Professor met her ears. "Though it escapes me utterly as to why a young woman such as you, with tots still clinging to the apron strings, would attempt to freeze herself."

"I was not trying to," Luna replied dreamily, sleepily, "It simply happened..."

"Ah." Severus was not going to try to puzzle out that logic. There was enough logic at hand to be puzzled out, as he answered the riddle to open the Ravenclaw doors, slipping sideways into the commons with the chilled witch in his arms. He set her down in the armchair closest to the fire place, waking the coals to flaming with a wave of his wand. Luna was shaking violently by now, her teeth chattering as Severus wrapped a throw from one of the couches around her shoulders, and set warming charms on her feet, kneeling before her to rub them between his spindly hands. "Brightest and barmiest in your year," He muttered, "Nearly frozen to death..."

"I kn-know you m-must ins-sult me to c-c-cancel out your alt-truism S-S-Severus," Luna chattered, and the turn-coat Death Eater shot her a glare, which was somewhat lacking in venom, considering that he was rubbing her dainty, frozen feet. She smiled her dreamy smile, "S-So thank you."

"Don't mention it," Severus muttered again. After a moment, Luna's feet began to warm, and upon realizing this, the former professor jerked his hands away, pressing them to his coat and trying to mask his discomfort. Not as if he was disgusted by the digits themselves, but more at himself, for daring to touch her so. Severus Snape had precious little experience at touching females, least of all a former student. Still, he had an especial fondness for Luna Lovegood and for her well-being, which kept him from running off after his self-proclaimed indiscretion. "Miss Lovegood..." He paused, shutting his eyes momentarily in consternation with himself. "Mrs. Nott..."

"Luna," She hummed dreamily, turning her head away from the side of the chair, looking down at him with a soft, sad smile. If it were at all possible for such a wretched man to feel like Dante at Beatrice's feet, Severus Snape felt as such at that moment. She was only nineteen still, and this fact was betrayed on her face, except for in her eyes. The girl had known depths of passion he had not ever, and she'd known pain, which he had also. The light from the fireplace lit on her flossy gold hair, her pale skin, her pale grey eyes, and Severus began to fear, if only for a moment, that his fondness for her might exceed that of a simple protector. "Theodore is dead. Miss Lovegood is dead. I am just Luna now, Severus."

"Of course," The Potions Master cleared his throat, once again running his hands slowly over the front of his robes, a subconscious, nervous gesture. He had no doubt that she could see through it already. "Luna," Severus started again, his throat tight around the word. "I am hardly any sort of confidant," He went on, in a slightly softer version of his usual aloof, bored tone, "Nor am I any good at dealing with blatant shows of emotion," Another small smile whispered across her face, she knew this well. "But I pride myself in easily discerning the state of those around me, and a young woman leaving herself to freeze in the snow is hardly something easily missed." Her head dipped forward, her long, lank ropes of hair coming forward to shade her face, "Have you spoken to anyone since you came, regarding your husband's death?"

"No..." Luna whispered, eyes intent on her feet, which she curled up under her blanket, "Only the children..."

"Well," Severus sighed, reaching up and pinching the bridge of his nose, "While I am quite sure that a pair of two-year-olds and an infant can provide you with plenty of sound advice, you may wish to try someone closer to your own age?"

"Perhaps," Luna lifted her chin again, looking at her former professor for a moment, as he crouched like a great black gargoyle by the arm of her chair, "I think my peers are a bit...uncomfortable with me these days. I am sure you could understand..."

That he could. Severus had noticed, on his occasional trips to the remains of the school, that Ginny Weasley certainly avoided her old best friend most of the time, the rift between them great and complicated. But others seemed unable to talk to Luna as well, even those who were well-meaning toward her. She had, of course, been married to one of the murderers. She had lived in comfort, while they fled for their lives...at least; she had for as long as her husband's protection lasted. Old Firenze reached out to her a bit of course, and Neville Longbottom continued his longtime torch-holding from afar. And everyone took delight in her children. But other than that, Luna was held as a thing apart.

"Yes, I can understand," Severus rose, standing at her side then. He hesitated for a moment, before daring to rest a hand on her slim shoulder. "But we are very different, you and I." His tone did not change, but looking up; Luna saw that something in his eyes had. They were still dark as always, but regarding her with a softness that was but a slight change. Steel melting, if only for an instant, "I shall be apart from them forever, for the things that I have done. Terrible things, murderous, traitorous things. And rightly so, I care not for their respect..." One mutinous, evil finger reached out to brush a strand of that infuriating hair out of her eyes, "But not you. If you are guilty of anything, Luna, it was staying with one whom you loved. And in time, they will see this..." He allowed himself to take in how she looked then, aglow and so very, very strong, so very sad, so very floating off in another world, "Honestly, I pity the poor fool who could ever manage to keep himself apart from you."

And before she could thank him, he made sure that he was well on his way out of that common room.

He would check on her tomorrow though, of course.

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Author's Notes: Hmmm, to continue or not...I suppose we'll see what happens!