They tell me I'm sick, but I know I'm not. I tell them I'm not mad, but they don't believe me.
I remember everything that's happened to me—it's bright, vivid, garishly real. It's in my nightmares. Every time I close my eyes, I see green flashes and hear dying screams.
I don't sleep much anymore. Not unless they make me—and they do make me.
Remembering is painful. I see their faces in my mind and I'm not unconvinced their ghosts don't follow me around. My parents, my lover, my childhood friend—they're all gone, and I could have stopped it. But I was too cowardly to save them, and now they're dead and I'm alive when it should be the other way around.
I lost myself that night shortly before sunrise. It was May and the air was saturated with chaos, rent with cries and shouts. Evil was everywhere and I was scared, as everyone else was. The hero was dead and hope was lost, but still the warriors soldiered on. They moved through the halls of my school, killing, torturing, battling, and when I finally elected to fight against them, the hero reappeared, very much alive. It should have been a moment of victory, the moment the Dark Lord was slain, but it wasn't. No, because somehow, he discovered my treachery and before a hundred witnesses, he tortured and killed my parents. It almost broke me, but I stayed resolute. There was nothing I could do for them—they'd made their choices and I loved them, but it wasn't my duty to protect them.
When he killed her, though—when he killed Luna—I felt my own heart stop beating. As her wretched screams faded into echoes that faded into nothing, I silently begged whatever higher powers there were that I would die, too. I hoped that he would kill me, too, because I was unable to save the person who'd saved me from the monster I could have become.
He tried. He tried to kill me, but I woke up, and when I did, my whole world had changed. Vincent, my closest friend from the time I was nine—dead in a blaze of Fiendfyre. My parents, the only family I had left after my aunt's death only minutes before, my parents who had abandoned the Dark Lord and only sought to find and save me—tortured and killed before my eyes. Luna, my lover, the one who captivated and saved me with her innocence, her pure love—killed just like my parents. I had nothing left and I was alone.
They had me committed to St. Mungo's—in the closed ward—because it was somehow determined that I had gone mad that day. According to "them," I was never present at the battle. According to "them," my parents died when I was twelve. According to "them," Vincent was still alive but refused to see me. According to "them," Luna never existed—she was a product of my imagination.
I refuse to believe it because it's not true. Luna was real. She's still real to me. If I think back, it all seems too real to have been imaginary. I can feel every touch—every time she held my hand, every embrace she ever wrapped me in, every kiss she ever pressed to my lips. Her soft voice still rings in my ears. The way she always smelled of outside, like the air after a summer rain—it comes back to me at my most desperate of times. I still see her face, those gray eyes, running through my head whenever I close my eyes. It's true that she was the most imaginary real person I'd ever encountered, but she was real. She existed, and for a brief, delirious moment, I had everything.
I can't be crazy. She's too real. I was in love with her, and she was in love with me. I'd do anything to bring her back, to relive those moments where nothing existed except her and me, her fingers twined through mine and her head on my shoulder, to relive those stolen moments in empty classrooms where no one thought I was evil and no one thought she was strange. No one understood her like I did, except for maybe her father, and no one understood me like she did. Luna Lovegood saved me from myself, but I wasn't able to save her.
I sit in the corner now, hugging my knees to my chest and my head on my knees, staring out the window. It's so bright out that I can only think of one explanation—Glow Spiders. They must be hiding in the tree that I can partially see from my window. I'm so high up, though, that I can't see the ground—just sky and a bit of tree. I wonder what Luna would be doing right now if she were alive. I'm almost certain that, whatever it would be, I would be with her.
"Anything?" the black-haired man asked.
"Sorry, sir. There's been no improvement. There probably never will be. He'll have to be here for the rest of his life."
The man nodded sadly, staring through the window in the door at his childhood nemesis. "So he still thinks—?"
"Yes. Are you sure you don't remember anyone named Luna at Hogwarts? He's adamant that she's real." The Healer seemed desperate to find some cause for the blonde's madness, but she realized its futility.
"No. I'm quite certain. There was no Luna Lovegood. Or Xeno Lovegood. Ravenclaw or otherwise."
The other man, a larger, less expressive man, kept his eyes downcast. "How can you stand to see him like that? This is exactly why Vince won't come here."
"I'm not making you come here, Greg. If you want to leave, go," the black-haired man said, irritated.
"But why are you here?"
"Because he did risk his life in the war. He is a hero. He deserves to be treated like one… even though that will never happen."