Prompts and character choice from chelsey this time.


(Luna – irreverent)

"You don't understand, Dean," Luna says patiently. "Things are there whether you believe in them or not. It doesn't matter what you think."

Dean shakes his head and tries not to laugh.

"There's nothing there, Luna," he points out. "It's just an empty cave."

Luna leans back against the rock and lets out a peal of laughter.

"Oh Dean," she says, once her mirth is under control. "You are so funny."

Dean is inclined to be offended. Surely he is the sane one here? But circumstances have thrown them together, and they need to get on with each other. Besides, despite everything, he rather likes this strange girl.

"I'm sorry," he says. "I don't mean to upset you or offend you."

Luna laughs again and hits him gently on the arm.

"Silly boy!" she chides. "You believing or not believing doesn't affect the Snarklebacks in the cave, and it doesn't offend me either. Silly boy!"

Dean smiles as he leans back on the rock next to her. He is rather relieved that she is not angry with him.


(Harry, Hermione – tree, hidden)

"It won't be here. Not after all this time."

Harry turns and grins at his friend. "Are you trying to convince me or yourself?" he asks, half laughing.

Hermione glares at him, but says nothing, merely continuing forward doggedly across the uneven ground. She stumbles over a hidden tree root, and Harry hurries forward to catch her arm.

"Careful!" he says. "You'll hurt yourself."

Hermione shakes off his hand impatiently. "I'm fine," she insists, although she has turned her ankle and it is throbbing. "You're worse than Ron. I'm pregnant, not incapable!"

"You're eight and a half months pregnant," Harry points out as patiently as he can manage. "And if Ron knew we were on a wild goose chase in the middle of the Forest of Dean in the rain at this time of the morning, he'd kill me slowly and painfully."

Hermione smiles at him. "Which is why he doesn't know," she says. "Anyway, we're here. This is the place. Look!"

She points to an old tree on the edge of the clearing they have just crossed, twisted by the wind and with a dead branch hanging low to the ground. There is a hole in the trunk level with the lowest branches. Harry frowns. To him, it looks like just another old tree; but Hermione seems so certain.

"Are you sure?" he asks, and she nods.

"Of course I am," she says serenely. "Don't you remember camping here? You must do, surely?"

Harry shakes his head uncertainly. "There were so many places," he says. "I can't keep them apart in my mind."

"Well, I can," Hermione says firmly. "This one at least." She runs a hand over her swollen abdomen and her voice sinks to a whisper. "You were asleep and I was on watch. I was… " Her voice cracks, and she swallows. "I was so miserable about Ron, I couldn't help it. I had to do something. So I wrote. A letter."

Harry raises his eyebrows. So this is what this is all about.

"A letter?" he asks, coming over and taking his friend's arm. "To Ron?"

Hermione shakes her head. She is crying now, tears glittering on her cheeks.

"No," she says. "" She stops, shaking her head, fighting for self-control. "Harry," she pleads, once she manages to speak again. "Get it for me. If it's still there. Please."

She is white as a sheet and looks exhausted. Harry can think of nothing but getting her out of here to somewhere warm and quiet and safe where she can be looked after. But he knows that arguing with her will just waste time. He points his wand at the hole in the tree.

"Accio letter!" he says firmly. Nothing happens. Hermione is crying again.

"It isn't there," she says, in a voice which sounds flat and hopeless. She is rubbing her back as if it hurts her and she looks ill and desperately unhappy.

Harry walks over to her and hugs her. "It still could be," he says. "It might just be stuck or something. I'll look. But first..."

He waves his wand and conjures a chair and a blanket.

"Sit down," he orders. "Ron's going to be mad enough at me for this if it doesn't hurt you and the baby. If it does..."

Hermione obeys without argument, sinking into the chair and pulling the blanket gratefully around her. Harry watches her in silence, and when he is satisfied, looks back to the tree.

"Should've brought a broom," he mutters, half to himself, and Hermione manages a weak giggle.

In the end, it is easy enough. There are enough footholds in the old trunk to enable him to scramble up to the branch near the hole. He settles himself firmly, and leans over.

Hermione is watching him fearfully, her lips forming the word, "Careful!" without making a sound. Harry feels around in the hole, finding dead leaves and bark, but nothing else. He is about to say as much to Hermione when his probing fingers find something else deep, deep in the hole.

With a cry of triumph, he pulls at it and it comes free easily enough. A folded parchment, slightly damp, but with the ink on it still legible. Hermione's writing, and the direction, written in faith and hope all those years ago when all the world seemed hopeless:

"To our children. Because I have to believe that you will be."

He smiles down at Hermione, waving the parchment in his hand. Now he understands.