Luna Lovegood was normally a very upbeat, dreamy, positive soul. While deemed loony by many, she was never afraid to be herself and was always comfortable in the skin she was in. She treasured the time she spent with the few friends she had and was always kind and loyal to them.
Today, however, Luna woke up and skipped breakfast, claiming that she had no appetite. She had also skipped lunch, so by the time she got to potions, her stomach was growling, her mind felt foggy, and she felt strangely hopeless and irritable. It wasn't the first time, but now it was becoming more apparent and much bigger than Luna thought.
Following potions class, Luna felt something inside that pushed her away from her next class. It was some sort of dark force. The grey cloud, she called it. It followed her everywhere and lead her places. And it often lead her to the lavatory, usually with a pencil sharpener, much like today.
No one will notice if I miss just one class, she thought as she sat in the stall of the first-floor girl's bathroom with a screwdriver and a pencil sharpener she had smuggled in from the muggle world.
And the socks and sweater will cover them up anyway, so no one will see them. No one will notice anything, right?
It was Hermione Granger who first noticed something was wrong.
About a week or so after Luna's behavior had begun, Hermione had only taken bird bites of food or simply shifted it around her plate. Somedays she didn't take anything at all. During one Friday morning at breakfast, Hermione had left her plate completely bare.
"Hermione, you should eat something," Ginny urged in concern.
"Ron's told me you have a killer potions exam today and you don't do as well on an empty stomach."
The mousy-brown haired witch shook her head.
"I'm not hungry," she sighed.
"That's what you said yesterday, and the day before, and everyday the past week. Is there something you want to talk about?"
Hermione glanced over at the Ravenclaw table only to be greeted by a vacant spot.
"I'm worried about Luna," she confessed as she turned back to the table.
"Why?" Neville asked, suddenly looking up from his breakfast.
"She's been skipping meal times. I know she doesn't eat much regularly, but she's never simply skipped a meal. On top of that, I've heard people talking about how she's always in one of the girl's bathrooms during classes, and Padma's told me that she doesn't come back to the common room until very late at night."
"Maybe she's just spending time with the thestrals," Harry suggested.
Hermione shook her head.
"I know she likes them, but she's never spent so much time with them. On top of that, how does that explain her going to the girl's bathroom so often?"
Ron and Harry shrugged. Hermione looked over at the front door, only to see a girl with blonde hair holding a cloak. Their eyes met for a second before she turned away and walked on, a bit faster.
"I'll be right back," Hermione said as she got up and sprinted towards the door.
Hiding in the girl's bathroom on the first floor was something Luna had only just begun to do. She knew barely anyone came in there, so it was perfect if she needed to cry or do something else to feel emotion.
"Oh, look who it is."
Well, except for one tiny detail; Moaning Myrtle. Luna looked up to see the ghost girl with brown pigtails and glasses looking down at her from outside of the stall.
"Why, it's Lachrymose Lovegood. Coming in here to give yourself relief? I've see you've got your pencil sharpener and screwdriver."
"Not now, Myrtle," Luna sighed.
"I don't understand why you even use a razor or a small piece of metal like that. Why don't you just cut your whole arm off?"
"Because I don't want to kill myself," Luna replied calmly.
"Oh, are you so sure? You don't sound so certain, Lovegood."
A few moments passed without a response. Then Myrtle spoke again.
"You know you look so much like your mum. I think her name was Pandora, right?"
"I get that a lot."
Myrtle sighed as she floated down beside Luna.
"I remember her. She came a few years after I died. Pandora was the kindest person I'd ever met. She'd come in here and spend time with me. She liked to sing too and she had the sweetest voice."
"Yes, she did," Luna sighed smiling a little and dropping her tools.
"She used to sing me to sleep when I was little. She even taught me to sing a bit. Of course, I don't think I'm even half as talented or beautiful as she was."
"Oh, I doubt that. Your mum was beautiful inside and out. She had to have given her genetics to someone and I've heard you're an only child."
Luna blushed a little before going back to her work. Moments later Myrtle spoke again..
"You know, we're not so different, Luna," Myrtle pointed out.
Luna looked up from her craft again and raised an eyebrow.
"We're both outcasts, we barely have any friends, and we're both very strange. And, you know, it gets quite lonely in this bathroom. I could use a little companionship. Since you're the only one who's even bothered to visit me this year so far, perhaps something could be...arranged?"
Luna cocked her head to one side in confusion and Myrtle giggled.
"Aww, how adorable."
"I don't know what you mean, Myrtle."
"Oh, it wouldn't be painful. I could just possess you and drain your life. Then you'd be a ghost like me. You'd finally have a friend."
"You're suggesting I...commit suicide?"
"Oh no, suicide is such a harsh word," Myrtle gasped.
"I prefer to call it assisted ceasing of life. It would be quite quick and painless. I wouldn't want you to scream or die in agony."
"But who would feed the thestrals?"
"You can still do that. It would just be a bit more difficult. But thestrals can see ghosts, you know. They'd still recognize you. And you'd get to spend more time with Helena."
Luna's eyes widened with interest. She had wanted to spend more time with Helena Ravenclaw.
"Maybe you're right, Myrtle. I doubt anyone would miss me anyway. Maybe I'm better off dead."
"Luna?" a familiar voice asked.
In a panic, Luna quietly flung the cloak she had brought along. It was Harry's invisibility cloak.
"Don't worry. I can take care of this," Myrtle assured her.
She floated up to face the fellow witch.
"Myrtle, where's Luna?" Hermione asked.
"Luna who?" Myrtle asked innocently.
Beneath her cloak, Luna could hear Hermione scoff in disbelief. Next she began to hear stall doors banging open and panicked a little. She shuffled her feet further under the cloak quietly as Hermione approached her stall.
"Luna?" Hermione called.
Each time Hermione kicked open a stall door, Luna's heart jumped in her chest. Soon Hermione had only one stall left; Luna's. She kicked the door open violently, but no one was there. She huffed in frustration and began to leave. By this time, Luna had unscrewed the pencil sharpener and proceeded to drag it across her arm. But something made her dig in deeper and she gave a small cry of pain, dropping the sharpener and blade.
Hermione's footsteps halted. Before she knew it, Luna's way out was blocked by Hermione once again. Luna shut her eyes tightly, hoping Hermione wouldn't know there was an invisibility cloak. Her stomach clenched in fear and tears began to fall down her face when she felt a flourish of air hit her face. Hesitantly she opened one eye and peeked upwards. Where had the cloak gone?
"There you are," Hermione gasped in relief.
"What are you doing in here?"
Luna jumped as she pulled out her wand in defense and stood up.
"Just let me be, Hermione Granger," she said calmly.
"There's no need for magic, Luna," Hermione assured her.
"I just want to talk to you."
Suddenly her eyes fell on the razor which was slightly covered in blood. Her stomach jumped, assuming the worst. In a flash, Hermione had her wand out.
"There's no need for magic, Hermione," Luna assured her.
"Luna, if that blade is being used for what I think it is, I swear I will use any and every spell that I know to keep it from happening again."
"I'm fine, Hermione," Luna said as she attempted to shuffle around her.
"I don't think you really are. I think something's wrong."
Luna stood still for a moment, glaring at Hermione. Then before she knew it, Luna dashed around Hermione and ran out of the girl's bathroom. It seemed she was headed for the astronomy tower. This made Hermione's stomach jump. If Luna got up there, and she wasn't fine like she claimed to be...
"I can't let this happen," she told herself angrily as she ran to obtain help.
Tears streamed down Luna's face as she made it to the highest point in the school; the Astronomy Tower. Her wand still in hand, she walked over to the ledge and curled up into a ball.
Nothing seemed to make Luna happy anymore, especially now that she knew she was making Hermione unhappy. Tears rolled onto her stockings, nearly freezing on contact. It was near Christmas, but Luna felt less than merry.
"Maybe I could give Hogwarts the greatest present of them all," she sniffled.
She shivered as she stood up and brushed the snow off of herself. With resolve, she turned and looked below. It was snowing quite violently, so people might not notice anything until it was too late. Hands trembling from the cold, she climbed up onto the ledge and looked down once again. It was a good 20, maybe 30, meters to the ground, and from where she was standing, the snow didn't look very soft. Perhaps she would hit her head against the wall on her way down. Or cut her arm open on one of the sharp bits sticking out. Perhaps she would simply die of hypothermia. It didn't matter. Death was death and Luna had seen enough of it in her life. It was time for her to experience it.
She turned her head up to the sky.
"I'll be with you soon, mum," she whispered before facing forward.
She closed her eyes and held her arms out. Shifting her weight forward, she began to feel herself plunge and smiled.
Luna felt something hit her in the back and suddenly her fall had come to a halt. She opened her eyes as something pulled her far away from the ledge. A shadow hovered above her and she closed her eyes again.
"If you touch me or speak to me, I'll do it," she growled.
"Just let me go, whoever you are."
There was a moment of silence as Luna anticipated for the tension to explode. Then suddenly she felt a hand gently touch her shoulder and she slapped it away before sprinting back towards the ledge.
"Stupefy!" another voice yelled in desperation.
The spell hit Luna in the back again. She felt herself falling against the ledge and saw only two pairs of feet before she lost sight of where she was. Everything was going black all of a sudden. As she fell mentally, Luna hoped and prayed that death was going to take her at last.