The Sugar Quill
Author: Mysterious Muggle (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Mind's Eye, Soul's Reflection: A Luna Lovegood story  Chapter: Introspection
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Chapter 1: Introspection

Chapter 1:

Introspection

 

 

Luna Lovegood sat on her bed humming an aimless, wandering tune. Scattered in a haphazard circle around her were all her various school things, waiting to be packed into the trunk by the door. In her hands and occupying her full attention was a sealed inkpot, one of several spares she had. She smiled as she turned it over in her hands, examining every inch of it, running her fingers slowly over the raised patterns on the dark glass.

There was a sharp crack as the bottle hit the ground at her feet, spraying ink all the way up her legs and staining her robes horribly. She looked down in surprise, then back up at Michael Corner, who was standing on the other side of the courtyard, laughing. “Nice throw,” she heard someone say to him.

Luna put it down, carefully setting it next to its fellows. After a moment of pondering, she picked up the ladle from her potions kit and proceeded to do the same with it as she had with the inkbottle, examining it, admiring the craftsmanship, the smooth curve of the handle.

“LOVEGOOD!”

Luna couldn’t help but jump at Professor Snape’s sudden bark of her name, dropping the ladle she had been tapping softly against the side of her cauldron.  She looked up to see him striding towards her, glaring.

“I don’t care what little fantasy world you like to prance around in when you’re not in my class, Lovegood, but when you are in here I’ll kindly ask you to keep your mind in the real one. Ten points from Ravenclaw.”

Luna set the ladle down. Tapping her chin idly with the tip of her wand, she let her eyes wander over the various other quills, books and general school equipment lying around her. Her humming wandered further, flitting from tune to tune, taking in popular, well-known songs as well as odd little melodies of her own invention. Before she could choose another object to examine, though, a call of “Luna, dinner,” came floating from downstairs.

“Coming, Daddy,” she called back. She bounced off the bed, leaving all the stuff where it was. Absentmindedly sticking her wand behind her ear, she drifted out onto the landing.

The Lovegoods’ house was not a large one, but still a shade too big for only two people. It was a pity, Luna thought, not for the first time, as she slowly descended the staircase. It really was the perfect size for a family of three.

The only rooms upstairs were the bedrooms, Luna’s right at the top of the stairs, her father’s at the other end of the landing. At the bottom of the stairs was the modest entrance hall, lined with exotic and enticing souvenirs her father had brought back from his various trips.

As she came down, Luna’s gaze skipped over the genuine combination hat and umbrella stand (hand crafted by real-life Muggles) standing next to the front door, past the three little ornamental flying dragons hanging on one of the walls, past the huge moose head hanging next to them, and fixed on the second door in the hall. The one to her mother’s study.

For the briefest fraction of a second, Luna paused, her eyes coming to rest on the doorhandle.

“Luna…”

The familiar inexplicable ache rose inside her, the compulsion.

There was pain.

To turn the handle…

And there was light.

To open the door…

And then there was darkness.

To step through to the other side.

“Forgive me…”

Luna shook her head very slightly to clear it and stepped down from the last step. She looked away from the door. She knew she couldn’t go in there.

She turned the other way and wandered through into the dining room, smiling at her father who was already sitting at the table, waiting for her.

Samuel Lovegood was a decidedly average-looking man. Average height, average build, unexciting features. Luna’s gaze was always drawn to his pale eyes, so very like her own, looking out from behind his slightly crooked glasses. To the love mingled with sadness that showed in them whenever he looked at her.

He smiled back as she sat down opposite him. Luna leaned forward slightly, examining the unfamiliar soup in the bowl before her. She sniffed at it with a hint of caution. Her father could be somewhat haphazard when trying new recipes. But it smelt good, so she picked up her spoon and began to eat.

“What have you been doing up there shut in your room, sweetheart?” Mr Lovegood asked.

“Oh, nothing in particular,” Luna replied vaguely.

He nodded, taking another spoonful of soup. Halfway to his mouth he stopped, sighing. “Luna, what have I told you about putting your wand behind your ear like that?” he scolded.

“Sorry, Daddy,” Luna said, pulling it out and placing it carefully next to her bowl in the place a knife would go.

“You’ll be even more sorry when it slips and sets your hair on fire, my girl,” he replied mock-sternly, making Luna giggle.

“I put it there so I don’t lose it,” she explained.

“Yes, but you really shouldn’t. It’s not safe. There’s a pocket in your robes to put it in, you know. What would your mother say if she saw you like that?”

There was a sudden, awkward silence, and Luna considered the question. It was difficult to come up with a satisfactory answer; she’d not really known her mother well enough to say.

Before she could answer, though, her father cleared his throat uncomfortably and changed the subject, as he often did at moments like that. “Yes, well… You’re just excited to be going back to school, aren’t you?” he said with a smile. “Have you packed your things yet?”

“A bit,” Luna replied, thinking of the empty trunk by her door and the piles on her bed of things that should have been in it.

“Well, better to do it tonight, so you don’t have to rush tomorrow morning, you know,” Mr Lovegood said. “Always best to be prepared and organised.”

“Just like in publishing?” Luna asked.

Her father smiled and chuckled. “Just like that. Oh, and I haven’t told you next month’s headline, have I?”

“I thought it was the one about Gilderoy Lockhart’s terrible secret?”

“Well, it was, yes, but something better came along. You’ll love this one, sweetheart,” he said with a wink, pausing and striking a mildly dramatic pose. “THE INCREDIBLE PORLOCK-BOY RETURNS!”

“Oh, he’s back, is he?” Luna asked with interest.

“Well, so people are claiming. It’s been a quiet few months, but sightings are on the rise again. And we’re going to get to the bottom of it. We owe it to our loyal readers.”

“Always search for the truth, Daddy. That’s what you always say.”

“Yes, that’s right, sweetheart. Always search for the truth. Always…” He trailed off, giving Luna a strange, slightly sad look. She gazed openly back at him, and after a few seconds he broke eye contact. “Come on, eat up,” he said after another short pause. “You’ve got a big day tomorrow.”

They didn’t talk much more as they finished their dinners. Luna’s father seemed preoccupied by something, and he kept his head down, avoiding her eye. Luna likewise looked down, lost in thought. Her father often got like this. It usually came after a mention of her mother, but sometimes there seemed to be no cause other than Luna herself walking into the room, or just being in the house. She tried not to let it upset her, but didn’t always succeed.

“Pandora, are you sure it’s a good idea to work on that thing here?” he asked.

“What are you talking about?” Luna’s mother said with a laugh. “It’s perfectly safe.”

“Hm, well I’ll believe that when I see some evidence of it,” her father replied. “But it’s Luna I’m worried about,” he added, dropping his voice so that Luna, listening at the door had to strain to make it out. “She’s too curious for her own good sometimes.”

“Oh nonsense. She’s a smart girl. She’ll be a Ravenclaw, just like me. You mark my words.”

“That’s not the point and you know it.”

“Oh calm down. She’ll be fine. Nothing will go wrong.”

After dinner, Luna returned to her room, pointedly avoiding looking at the second door in the entrance hall.

 

 

 

Luna couldn’t sleep. Returning to school tomorrow had a lot to do with it. But she couldn’t decide whether the feeling keeping her awake was excitement or apprehension. She lay on her back staring up at the ceiling for a long time, thinking. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to go back to school.

“Hey Loony!” Patrick Taylor shouted at her from the middle of a group of boys walking down the corridor. Laughing, they all began pulling mad faces at her and bugging their eyes out.

It was just that sometimes it wasn’t particularly enjoyable.

With a small sigh, Luna climbed out of bed, with the intention of going downstairs to get a glass of water. She softly tiptoed down the stairs, again avoiding the second door.

“Where are you going, Luna?”

She turned, smiling slightly. “I’m just going to get a drink, Edgar.”

“Couldn’t sleep?” the moose head hanging on the wall asked her. It spoke slowly, with a warm, cultured voice.

“No,” Luna said with another sigh, shaking her head.

“What’s the matter, child?”

“I don’t know,” Luna said, sitting down on the bottom step and resting her head thoughtfully on her hand. “Do you ever feel sad for no reason, Edgar?”

“I’ve always got a reason to feel sad, Luna.”

“What’s that?”

“Look at me. I’ve got no legs, for crying out loud.” Luna put her hand to her mouth as she giggled. Edgar chuckled softly. “But no, my dear, I know what you mean,” he said more seriously. “Sometimes people just feel that way. But there’s always a reason. You just might not be able to see it. There is a reason for everything, you know. Sometimes people just miss them.”

“Everything has a reason?” Luna asked.

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Then what is the reason for you being able to talk?” Luna asked with another little giggle.

Edgar laughed. “Oh, that’s very simple, Luna. I speak English because I learnt it from a book.”

Luna nodded. That did indeed make sense. Then, after a second’s thought, she cocked her head to the side. “But Edgar,” she said, “you’re just a head hanging on a wall. How are you able to speak at all?”

“Luna? Is that you?”

Luna looked back over her shoulder. Her father was standing at the top of the stairs, his wand lit, looking down at her. “Yes, it’s me, Daddy.”

“What are you doing out of bed? It’s one in the morning.”

“I’m sorry, Daddy. I came down to get a drink and I was just talking to Edgar.”

An odd look flitted across her father’s face. For a second he looked like he was about to say something, then he closed his eyes, smiled and nodded. “Well, you’d better get your drink and go back to bed, sweetheart. You have to be up early in the morning, remember?”

“I know.” Luna smiled. “Goodnight, Daddy.”

“Goodnight, Luna,” he said.

Luna stood up and walked into the kitchen. She got a glass of water from the tap and walked back through the entrance hall. As she turned to go up the stairs, she said, “Goodnight, Edgar.” She saw the moose head wink. Or she thought she did. It was hard to tell in the dark.

 

 

 

Luna woke up at half-past six the next morning and lay in bed for a few minutes, trying to remember what it was she had dreamed about after finally getting to sleep. Try as she might, all she could recall were softly rippling shadows and a myriad of indistinct, whispered voices. She remembered a feeling of intense fascination, but also of something else, something just slightly…disturbing. But no matter how hard she strained, she couldn’t bring back anything more. The nighttime vision slipped from her mind and flowed away to wherever it was forgotten memories go, and Luna eventually gave up. She sighed and rolled over, trying to get back to sleep. She must have managed, because the next time she looked at the clock it was an hour later, and she could smell breakfast being cooked downstairs. The vague dream entirely forgotten, she slipped out of bed and went downstairs.

As she had packed all her school things the night before, the morning of the first of September was a pleasantly laid-back one for Luna. Apart from venturing down for breakfast and then getting dressed, she spent most of the time in her room, idly flipping through the most recent issue of The Quibbler. She’d already read it several times, but she didn’t mind. The many subtle suggestions and possibilities suggested by the goblin-crushing antics of Cornelius Fudge were fascinating to ponder.

Just as she was turning to read for the seventh time about the indiscretions and underhanded tactics perpetrated by the Tutshill Tornadoes in their rapid climb of the ladder, her father called for her. She rolled the magazine up and put it into her bag, which she shouldered. Slipping her wand behind her ear, she took one of the handles of her trunk and opened the door, dragging the trunk out behind her. Her father was standing at the foot of the stairs smiling up at her. “Here, let me help you with that,” he said and with a flick of his wand he floated Luna’s trunk down towards him.

Luna descended the stairs, following the trunk. Grinning, her father moved his wand, drifting the trunk up and down, side to side, laughing as Luna’s gaze followed it. She laughed back and began reach out, trying to touch the trunk, but he kept pulling it away from her, darting it further down the stairs. Luna leapt down the last three steps, reaching out, only to have the trunk suddenly whip upwards and out of her reach. Laughing and smiling harder, she jumped, stretching out her fingers to try and touch it. After watching her do this a few times, her father said, “Alright, that’s enough.” Luna made a small noise of disappointment as he lowered the trunk back to hover at waist hight, but she grinned and promptly sprang up to sit on it. Laughing again, her father made it wobble precariously, causing her to gasp and try to hold on.

“No, come on, that’ll do,” he said. Luna nodded and slipped off the floating trunk, still smiling. Her father smiled back, then turned and walked into the kitchen, followed by Luna and the trunk. He manoeuvred the trunk into the fireplace then reached over and picked up the pot of Floo powder. “There you are,” he said, passing it to Luna, who took a pinch and threw it into the fire. The flames turned a brilliant emerald green and leapt higher. “We’ll go into the office, then take the Portkey from Diagon Alley to the station.

Luna nodded. She squeezed herself into the fireplace next to the trunk, the tickling warmth of the flames all around her. “The office of The Quibbler!” she said loudly and clearly.

There was a rush of noise and a sensation of whizzing along a tunnel, spinning very fast. Luna closed her eyes and tucked her elbows in, enjoying the ride. Then, without warning, it came to an abrupt halt. In a haze of dust and smoke, she stumbled out of a completely different fireplace, coughing and turning quickly to catch her trunk before it fell.

“Oh hi, Luna,” a voice called out. Luna looked around for the source, which was a shadowy form waving its way through the cloud, also coughing. “Sorry about all the smoke,” the figure called out. “Must be that cheap wood we got. I knew there was something funny about it…”

The flames turned green again, casting an eerie glow through the smoky room. A second later there was the sound of another coughing figure staggering out of the fireplace.

“Mark? What on earth’s going on?” Luna’s father called, waving his arms to try and clear the room.

“Sorry Mr Lovegood!” the first figure called back. “It’s that –“ But he dissolved into a coughing fit and didn’t get to finish what he was saying.

“Oh this is ridiculous,” Luna’s father muttered. “Adflatus!” A strong blast of wind issued from the end of his wand, clearing the haze. He turned and doused the fire with a stream of water, then strode over to open a window. He then walked up to the coughing, hunched over figure and patted him heartily on the back till he stopped. The figure straightened up, revealing it to be Mark Fischer, one of The Quibbler’s in-house writers and general helper around the office. He was only nineteen, thin, with a shock of badly slept-upon brown hair and a constant air of great enthusiasm and optimism about whatever he did.

“Would you mind explaining what just happened?” Luna’s father asked, though not unkindly.

Mark coughed again as he turned to face him. “Ah…yeah, sorry about all that, Mr Lovegood. That was my fault. See, there was this bloke selling cheap firewood door-to-door the other day, and seeing as we needed some, I figured it was a bargain. He swore it was quality stuff, perfect for magic fires.”

“Well obviously not. What was his name?”

“I can’t remember. Fletcher or something like that. Little guy, bandy-legged, serious need of a bath.”

Luna’s father sighed. “Just get rid of it,” he said wearily.

“Yes sir, Mr Lovegood, I will.”

Mr Lovegood nodded and rolled his eyes very slightly, but Mark didn’t seem to notice. “Any post?” Luna’s father asked.

“Umm…yes!” Mark said, rummaging around in his robes. “Lisa Lyall sent in a little piece…” He continued turning out his pockets, tipping quills and bits of parchment out onto the floor, along with a few Chocolate Frog Cards and a half-empty packet of Bertie Botts Every-Flavour Beans. “She said you were looking for a filler on page five…?”

“Yes, that’s right,” Luna’s father said encouragingly as Mark continued to search his person for the missing letter.

“Ah!” he exclaimed, pulling out a small, folded piece of parchment, which had somehow slipped inside the bag of beans. “Here we go! She says that she’s heard that there’s a secret, hidden message in a song by the Weird Sisters. Apparently when you use Audius Reverso to play it backwards, it says ‘I am Lord Vo…’ Well…you get the idea. But needless to say, this raises some very interesting questions about Myron Wagtail.” Mark looked anxiously at Mr Lovegood for agreement, his eyebrows creeping alarmingly high and disappearing behind his fringe.

Luna too looked to her father to see what he would say. It was certainly a very interesting claim.

“Yes, very interesting,” her father said, “but which song? Just saying a song isn’t good enough.”

Mark looked at him blankly for a few seconds. Then he peered down at the piece of parchment. After a moment he flipped it over to look at the other side. “It, um, it doesn’t say…”

“Yes, well knowing Lisa, I’m not at all surprised.” Luna’s father sighed and gently took the letter from Mark, who was still fruitlessly scouring it for the elusive song title, and quickly looked over it himself. “Well, we’ll see,” he said. “I’m… reluctant to do another music article like this. We’ve already claimed that the lead singer of the Hobgoblins is Sirius Black, and this is claiming, well, sort of claiming that the lead singer of the Weird Sisters is You-Know-Who.”

“Don’t you mean revealed that Stubby Boardman is Sirius Black, Daddy?” Luna asked.

“Yes. Yes, of course. That’s what I meant,” he said, not making eye contact with her. The momentary silence threatened to become uncomfortable, but Mr Lovegood quickly broke it. “But that’s not the point,” he resumed. “It’s too similar.” He handed the parchment back to Mark. “File it, we’ll run it some other time. And send an owl to Lisa, tell her to find out which song and to actually check it. Right now, I have to go and take Luna to the station. I’ll be back in later.”

“Oh, of course, first day of school!” Mark said. “Are you excited, Luna?”

“Yes, I suppose so,” Luna said. She liked Mark. He was so hugely energetic in everything he did, yet so earnest and sincere at the same time.

“Yeah, I remember my fourth year-“

“That’ll do, Mark,” Luna’s father interrupted. “We don’t have time for another one of your never-ending stories.”

“Right you are, Mr Lovegood,” Mark said amiably. “I’ll go and file this, then.” He waved the piece of parchment with the Weird Sisters story.

“A very good idea, Mark,” Luna’s father agreed. Mark nodded and turned to leave the room, waving and flashing a grin at Luna as he went. “Have fun,” he said to her.

“I will,” she replied.

Luna’s father closed his eyes and massaged his temples for a moment, then briskly turned to take one handle of her trunk. “Come on,” he said with a sudden burst of cheerfulness that felt slightly less than genuine. Luna decided that she shouldn’t let it bother her, and she leant down to take the other handle. “I’d levitate it,” her father was saying, “but Diagon Alley’s just too crowded this time of morning. But you’ll be fine, won’t you? My big strong girl.” He winked and ruffled Luna’s hair. With an exaggerated sigh he paused and pulled her wand out from behind her ear, dangling it in front of her face while wearing an expression that was supposed to be scolding and exasperated, but instead looked oddly comical. Luna put her hand to her mouth and looked abashed, having yet again completely forgotten she’d put the wand there. Wordlessly, Mr Lovegood reached out and slipped it gently into one of the pockets on the front of her robes. He shook his head and rolled his eyes, but Luna could tell that he was trying not to laugh.

He led the way out of the office with a final wave to Mark, who tripped over the wastepaper basket as he waved back. They made their way down the thin corridor with the uneven floorboards and down the two flights of cramped, rickety stairs to the ground floor. Stepping out of the tall, run-down old building where The Quibbler lived and into Diagon Alley was like walking into a different world entirely. The sun shone down brightly, still as hot as it had been all summer, illuminating the crowd of witches and wizards that seemed to stretch forever in either direction along the narrow, colourful, noisy street. Luna, holding tightly to her end of the trunk, trailed after her father as he edged his way through the bustle.

After only a few minute’s walk, they had arrived at the Public Portkey Departure Point, a small, single-story building with a long queue out the front leading to a bored-looking witch manning the ticket booth. They joined the line. After a wait that was noticeably longer than the walk from the office, they got to the booth. “Return adult and one-way student for Platform Nine and Three-Quarters,” Luna’s father said to the witch at the counter.

“Any luggage?” she drawled.

“Just this,” Mr Lovegood said, indicating the trunk carried between them.

“Three galleons, eight sickles.”

Luna’s father handed over the money and was given two shiny blue tickets and a purple luggage tag, which he gave to Luna to stick on the trunk. They followed the signs into the departure room inside the building. The room was circular and fairly large, with benches running all the way around the wall, broken by roughly a dozen doors, each with a sign above them, listing the destination and time of the Portkey they led to.

“Perfect timing, too,” Luna’s father said, glancing at the ticket and then at his watch. “Only a couple of minutes to go.” He then looked up at the signs over the doors, trying to find the right one.

“There it is, Daddy,” Luna said, spotting the door marked “10:50 – King’s Cross Station, Platform 9¾.”  Being closest, she took the lead, pulling the trunk and her father along behind her. Through the door was another, substantially smaller circular chamber. In the centre stood a pedestal, upon which was resting the Portkey, a large, flat disc with the logo of the Department of Magical Transportation stamped in the middle. Standing around it were several other small groups of people. Even without knowing their destination, it would have been obvious that these were Hogwarts students. Some, like Luna, were already dressed in their school robes. There were trunks and book bags everywhere, as well as several owls in cages and cats in carry baskets. Luna looked curiously over the students, but she only recognised one of them, a sixth-year Ravenclaw girl with curly reddish-blonde hair who she was fairly sure was called Marietta Edgecombe. Marietta caught sight of Luna, and Luna could tell she had been recognised by the way the older girl narrowed her eyes very slightly and turned away, coughing softly to stifle a laugh.

“Why don’t you ever have any friends over in the holidays, Luna?” her father asked, completely out of the blue.

Luna paused, her fork halfway between her plate and her mouth. A small chunk of mashed potato dropped off it and landed on the table, though Luna didn’t really notice. For once, this was a question she didn’t need to ponder or consider. “Because nobody likes me, Daddy,” she simply replied.

“Oh, nonsense,” he replied dismissively, though Luna couldn’t help but notice that he didn’t quite meet her eye when he said it.

“It’s true,” Luna assured him calmly. “They tease me and call me names and tell me that I’m strange. That must mean they don’t like me.” A small part of her wondered why this didn’t upset her more.

At this, her father looked at her properly, his face suddenly serious. “No, Luna, you are not strange. You’re different. Lots of people are…afraid of things that are different. If that’s the reason that people don’t like you, then those people are no big loss. Forget about them.”

“It’s alright, Daddy,” Luna said reassuringly, somewhat surprised that he was taking it so seriously. “I don’t like them very much either.”

“Attention travellers,” said a pleasant female voice with no discernable source, interrupting Luna’s observations of the other students. “The ten-fifty Portkey to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters will depart in thirty seconds. Please ensure you are holding tightly to all luggage, and that you are touching the Portkey itself.”

There was a shuffle as everyone moved forward, rearranging their baggage and stretching out fingers and hands to touch the disc in the centre of the room. Luna hitched her bag up higher on her shoulder and squeezed in next to her father, who was still holding the other end of the trunk.

“Ten seconds,” the voice said.

Luna placed her hand gently on the Portkey. For a moment, her eye was drawn again to Marietta, who was standing directly opposite her. Marietta ignored her completely.

“Five seconds. The Department of Magical Transportation wishes you a very pleasant day.”

By the time the voice finished giving them its best wishes, the five seconds had elapsed. Without any further warning, Luna felt a jerk from the region of her navel. There was a rush of wind and a swirl of colour. The ground had disappeared and she felt like she was hurtling along, hand glued fast to the disc, swaying and banging into the people on either side of her. And then, just as suddenly as it had begun, it was over. Solid ground reappeared beneath them and Luna was thrown off balance. As the spent Portkey hit the ground with a dull thud, her father grabbed her by the shoulder to steady her.

“Welcome to King’s Cross Station, Platform Nine and Three-Quarters!” a short and enthusiastic man was saying as he bent to pick up the Portkey. “For those not continuing on the Hogwarts Express this morning, the next Portkey back to Diagon Alley will depart at three past eleven. Have a nice day, everyone!”

The group began to disperse again, moving out and merging into the crowd on the platform. “Well, come on,” Mr Lovegood said briskly, setting off down the platform, pulling the trunk and Luna along with him. Luna followed, gazing around her as she went. The platform was packed to bursting point. Students milled around chatting and bidding goodbye to their parents. There were animals everywhere, too. Lots of owls and cats, the occasional toad, and even a huge, shaggy black dog that Luna felt sure couldn’t be a student pet. She couldn’t really say why, but there was something soothing about wandering through the large crowd, unnoticed. It was something about the wash of voices, so many as to make no particular one immediately distinguishable. She closed her eyes briefly and simply let her father guide her along. The feeling of contentment increased.

Most unusual.

The train’s whistle blew, slicing through the babble of talk and drowning it all out. Luna’s eyes snapped open. They were standing right next to the door of one of the carriages and her father was smiling down at her. “Time to go, I guess,” he said. “Do you need help getting your trunk on the train?”

“No, Daddy, I’ll be fine.”

“Alright. Well have a good time, sweetheart. Remember to write.”

“I will,” Luna said.

“And I’ll see you at Christmas.” Luna smiled, and he pulled her into a hug and kissed her on the cheek. “Go on, then,” he said. “Enough hanging round with an old man. Go find your friends.”

Luna didn’t reply, she just smiled and nodded. “Goodbye, Daddy.”

“Goodbye, Luna.” He kissed her on the other cheek, then straightened up and stepped back. Luna hauled her trunk up and into the carriage, then waved. Her father waved back. Just then, the whistle blew again and the door swung shut. A moment later, the train began to move, and Luna stood, watching through the window as her father diminished into the distance, and was finally gone, lost around a corner.

“She’s going into shock! We have to get her to the hospital, NOW!”

“What about the mother?” a second voice asked franticly.

“I don’t know!” the first voice snapped. “We can’t move her like this, and it might be too late anyway!”

Luna felt cold. She lay on her back, shivering, eyes unfocussed. She could hear voices. She thought that they were coming from the blurry, green-robed figures who kept sweeping past her. Or they might have just been in her head. She honestly didn’t know. She felt…funny.

“Luna! PANDORA!” another, more familiar voice screamed.

Luna felt herself being gently lifted and placed onto something marginally softer than the hard floor. A stretcher? Why was she on a stretcher? Something had happened… Mummy…she had…she was…

“Hold her down!” a voice shouted as Luna tried to sit up. Even if she hadn’t still been shaking like crazy, she wouldn’t have been able to fight the strong arms that pushed her back down.

“No…no, mummy…what’s happening?” she moaned, still unable to focus on anything. She shook her head violently to try and rid it of the voices that were filling her ears. The shouts of the unidentified men, and the soft whispering that seemed to be coming from all around her.

A hand closed itself tightly around hers. “Luna, be still,” her father’s voice pleaded, cutting through all the other sound. “It’s going to be okay, it…it’s…going to be alright…” His voice cracked and Luna felt the grip on her hand lessening.

“Get the Portkey set up! Do it now!” another voice shouted. The stretcher began to move, drifting away from the source of most of the noise.

“Daddy?” Luna murmured, her head lolling to the side, trying to see where he was. A blurred shape turned to face her. “No, sweetheart,” she heard it say, “go with the men…they’ll help you…”

She watched the shape of her father shrink as she was pulled away.

“Daddy…”

Luna stood for a short moment, looking through the window, not really seeing the scenery that went whizzing past. Then she turned around and went to look for a seat.

//
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