Luna's always believed that trees would save her.
Daddy always told me that trees could save my life. When the Phoenix Games started I walked right into the forest and found a nice tree to climb. Nobody paid any attention to me, they just went for the weapons and things. Metal would have been nice for this adventure, but I could survive without it for a while. I know everyone thinks me "Loony" so they won't be too bothered with me anyway. I don't know what's so strange about wanting to study the Crumple-Horned Snorkack. I'm sure that studying unicorns or hippogriffs is a much sillier dream, and a lot less exciting as well.
While I'm in the tree, I collect nuts. I think most people overlook this simple food source. Or maybe that's just because the forests in the last two games were coniferous? We normally think of nuts coming from deciduous trees. I still don't think anyone will climb trees to get food. Maybe Hermione might, but I don't see her as the tree-climbing sort. She was smart enough to fail her exams, after all. The intelligent types aren't usually the foresty types too.
It's really hard to jump between trees with all of your pockets filled with nuts.
I find him on accident. I had gone further into the forest now, and was considering how to sew some large leaves together for a small pack when he came running and collapsed at the base of my tree. He seemed to favour his right side and I wondered what happened to him? Did someone attack him? Did he fall and hurt himself? Or maybe the heliopaths got to him. I have noticed them lurking about.
Without meaning to I stop and watch him. Something dark and wet-looking trails on his arms. When he removes his shirt, I realise that it's his blood. Not only are his arms covered in it, but his whole right side is dripping from a hole in his side. Poor thing.... But even while he is in such a state, I can't help but take in certain details of his appearance. I wish I could touch him. Or help him with his wounds. Or maybe both.
Sooner than I would have liked, he stands and prepares to leave. I wonder if this will be the last time I ever see him while we're both living? I don't want it to. I can't really follow him through the forest though, can I?... Can I? He begins to walk and I think, he doesn't check the trees. It's always the trees you should watch, there could be other competitors hiding up here and he would never know it. I decide then that it will be my mission to protect him from everyone else.
That might mean that I'll have to make weapons soon. Oh, but tree fires are potentially problematic...
The two of us travel in silence for a while. I can hear the soothing song of the blibbering humdinger somewhere in the distance, but I have to watch how much I listen to it. If I pay too much attention, I can get hypnotised and the umbugular slashkilter will take over my body. I rather enjoy controlling my own body. But I do wish Daddy were here with me. I've seen more of our favourite creatures here in one day than I ever could in a year. He might like to be hypnotised by the humdinger song, just for the experience. He taught me how to snap someone out of the trance.
Maybe the humdingers did get to me. I got distracted and stepped wrong on a tree branch. Below me he stops, and I try to regain my footing. I make more noise, on accident. Then he runs. Only he isn't the only person. I'm hit with a sudden premonition, and I take off, following them. I want to warn him. I really do. But something's stopping me. Maybe it's fear. My heart is hammering a little too roughly, near my throat. I can't tell if it's because of what will happen or what might happen. I should save him. I need to save him. But I can't. I don't know why, but maybe it's because of the sneazles. I noticed a few but I did not see when they latched onto my clothing.
It's while I'm convincing them to let me go when it happens.
They are both running, one chasing the other. He's been calling to him, but he just doesn't seem to hear. The sneazles still have me so I can't call out to either of them. Sneazles just know when something is important and keep you from acting. It's not fair. Finally he stops and I hope that he's realised that it's his best friend, but he doesn't.
Instead Blaise Zabini stabs Draco Malfoy through the chest.
The sneazles cackle and finally let me go, but I don't move. A strange, high-pitched noise clogs my throat and my eyes burn. I've never watched anyone be murdered before. I saw my mum die, but that was different. It was an accident. Well... this was an accident too, only a different sort of accident. An accidental murder. That thought makes me feel better, but not by much. I still feel sad inside. Hurt. Hurting especially because he's hurting. Draco liked to tease me, but I don't think he meant much by it, he doesn't really know me after all. He didn't deserve to die. I think he should have had his own canon at least. Daddy used to own a canon. We would fill it with all manner of fun and sparkly things and shoot it off at night when it was a holiday. Watching everything glitter in the moonlight had been so pretty... Mum was there too. Somehow I doubt that the canons the Dark Ones use when one of us dies shoots glitter.
From this distance, I can't see Blaise's face, but somehow I know what it looks like. His eyes have to be wide with shock and confusion. Maybe his mouth has gaped open. His nostrils are flared with anger, I think, and the higher ends of his eyebrows raised with fear and guilt. Yes, I can see it perfectly. And in a moment, Draco won't be here anymore. And he won't have is own non-glittery canon. Not right now when it matters the most, but later tonight, lumped in with everyone else who was unfortunate. I feel a tear slide down my cheek, but I'm sure it isn't for him. It's for me and what I wish I'd done. I could have protected them. I wanted to. I think it would have been kind of romantic, you know, to die so that the one you love could have some sort of peace.
Maybe love is too strong a word. Adore. Admire. Fancy. Yes, those are much better verbs.
It's painful to watch him try to hold onto his best friend and know that it's my fault. I hate listening to his cries and indistinguishable growls. I know it was the blibbering humdingers and the sneazles that stopped me, but it doesn't feel like it. It just hurts.
Somehow I remember the Dementors. They'll be coming soon, to retrieve... the body. No, dementors retrieve souls. They'll be coming to retrieve Draco's soul and then his body... I wonder what happens to that? Does one Dementor create a new one when it takes a soul? Or does the body turn to dust and is just lost forever? Or - I should stop this train of thought. It's only making me feel worse. And I still have to save Blaise. I refuse to fail twice in the same day.
As quickly as I can I climb down from my current tree. On the ground I feel so much worse. Guilt, and fear, and nervousness. I shouldn't intrude on him, but I have to. I take a step forward then pause; it won't help if I end like Draco. So I call to him instead.
"Blaise, we need to go." I say it once, quietly, then repeat myself, louder. It's hard to make my voice sound stronger than wind, but I do. He jumps when he hears me, but only throws a glare at me.
"Go away, Lovegood."
I hate when people ignore me. I think it's the only thing that really annoys me, besides when Hermione thinks that she knows everything there is to know about the universe and discounts my opinions. But I think that counts as ignoring me.
"Blaise Zabini you listen to me right now," I storm over and yank Blaise into standing. I think people are surprised when I lose my temper. Besides, he's interfering with my goal to save him. "Do you feel that? The temperature is dropping so the Dementors are coming. I can't perform a patronous, can you?" I don't give him time to respond, just start pulling him behind me as I run. "I didn't think so. Even if I could perform a patronous, I do not have a wand. Do you have one? No, none of us do. And you don't do Draco any favours by having your soul sucked out of your mouth either. We need to move on."
The temperature continues to drop, calming my flare of temper. Now I'm scared. What if I'm too late again? What if I'm walking right into the dementors? I won't just fail, but we'll both be dead.
"Lovegood, let go."
I don't. I almost physically cannot let go of his arm and I don't want to. I'm not sure if it's because I don't want him to run back and lose his soul to the dementors, because I feel safer holding on to him, or maybe it's the slight thrill I'm getting from just touching him at all.