AN: You guys have no idea how friggin' sorry I am. I honestly did not mean to disappear and leave you lot hanging. There was just a bunch of real life getting in the way and keeping me from my lovely audience. Seriously, I haven't even been able to sit down at my computer and do anything that wasn't work/school related in over a month.

But, on the plus side, because so much time has passed, my wrist is almost completely healed. I'm half way through physiotherapy. It's going to be another month or two before I can have surgery to remove to metal bits in my bones, though. (Which is actually a completely optional thing, but I really don't want to have to deal with the hassle at airports and such. That, and it's one of my nightmares that I'll end up in a hospital one day and they won't know about the plate and screws and try to give me an MRI...)

So, anyway, here's another little Harry interlude that I wrote up last night to keep you entertained while I start writing the real next chapter. I'm hoping to have it up by the coming weekend, but please don't hold me to that. I'm horrible with meeting deadlines.

Interlude - Where In There Is The Moon And The Darkness

Once upon a time, there was the darkness.

It was dim and luminescent, and silent and ambient, and still and kinetic. It was everything and nothing, all the extremes and all the inbetweens. There were creeping terrors and crawling horrors. There were all the things that you never want to know, all the things that grab hold and never let go.

It was darkness and from within it come the things. The things that whisper in your ear all that you and no other were ever meant to hear, and flash before your eyes what you and no other were ever meant to see.

And, oh, how it made you want to scream.

I see the moon, the moon sees me,

Under the shade of the old oak tree.

Please let the light that shines on me,

Shine on the one I love.

It's all so orange.

It's gold and it's umber and it's burning, like the sun's come too close and the world's on fire and the drums are pounding in your brain. The girl curled in on herself next to you is shaking, like the drums are reverberating through her core, and she's so, so orange. Same as all the others in the room, huddled together and whimpering.

Bruce is there, you think. You hope. You're sure, because only Bruce has that shade of cerise, too much red still, not yet the byzantium he'll become.

He's there, trying to soothe, trying to explain away the raging of the world outside, like people are wont to do.

Trying to explain that monsoons are the norm here and that they were prepared. Trying to calm, you and him both, but his yellows were too bright for his words to do any good while he murmured promises and platitudes.

Everything's going to be okay, Bruce promises. Don't be scared.

You imagine the storm you find howling inside these walls must be doing more damage than the one outside.

Don't be scared, Harry.

Over the mountains, over the sea,

Back where my heart is longing to be.

Please let the light that shines on me,

Shine on the one I love.

Twice upon a time, there was the moon.

She shone high, casting herself across the dark like a cool blue balm, like a soothing melody that scared all the things away. Driven to the cover of the shadows, the things that spoke and showed what they ought not to.

The moon whispers words of her own, stories of what once was, memories lost to you in the darkness. Faces and places that slip through your grasping fingers. Pieces missing from the broken images that used to belong to you.

But the moon speaks and sings and soothes, and for the moment, it's enough.

Under the sun and through the trees,

Hear the whispers in the breeze.

Please let the light that shines on me,

Shine on the one I love.

Don't be scared, Harry.

The stars were bright and the sky was clear and the world glowed an astral blue under the watchful moon.

Now Orion, Bruce says. Orion was a great and mighty hunter, a hero to the Greeks. And a dear friend and love of Artemis, the goddess of the hunt and wilderness.

Apollo, Artemis' twin, was jealous of the attention the Orion received from his sister and sent a giant scorpion to kill the hunter. Torn with grief, Artemis begged her father Zeus to place him in the sky, among the most brilliant of the stars, where he could be viewed by all for eternity, chasing the hare Lepus with his hunting dogs. She wanted him to never be forgotten, to always be looked to by the people for guidance and protection in the night.

So, to honor Orion as a warrior, Zeus placed him facing the fierce charging bull, Taurus.

Afterwards, not to be slighted, Apollo insisted that his scorpion be placed in the sky as well, to mark the downfall of the mightiest of hunters.

Zeus agreed, but put the scorpion far away on the opposite end of the sky, so that when one rises, the other will always set. As a precaution, he also took Sagittarius the Archer and set him next to the scorpion, his arrow aimed firmly at the scorpion's heart, as a warning to never try to make its way over to Orion, lest it be shot by the guard. So that Orion would always be protected, always there to guide the travelers through the dark.

And the stars were bright and the sky was clear, not a cloud to be seen.

We should keep an eye out, Bruce says. The calm before the storm.

Don't be scared.

I see the moon, the moon sees me,

High in the sky as I give my plea.

Please let the light that shines on me,

Shine on the one I love.

Once upon a time or twice upon a time or all the times together, there was the darkness and there was the moon.

And for a time, that was your world. Your one and your only, your everything and anything, the tug between one and the other.

Now, in this time, there are stars and skies and clouds and storms. And Bruce. One Bruce, singular. The only that there has ever been and will continue to be, you're sure.

Everything will be okay, he promises. Has promised. Will promise again.

Sometimes, you wish he could see. You wish he was shown and whispered to, could see and hear as you do. Wish he could know what he was promising, what he asked of you. Don't be scared, Harry.

But then, well, where Bruce couldn't see, he could understand.