Chapter 2: Explanations and Preparations

Black Magic Discovered

Luna stared in shock at the black mass of magic that had been pulled from her now unconscious friend. The five traces she had expected were also stuck in the archway's field, along with two charms of some kind. But this additional black magic had not been expected, and what was worse, it seemed to be alive. Inky tentacles were whipping around searching, Luna surmised, for a new host. No simple Finite Incantatemwas going to get rid of this, this, whatever it was.

As she watched, the tentacles found the traces and charms also captured by the field, the tentacles wrapping around the traces and pulling them up to the main mass before appearing to eat them.

First things first, Luna thought. She needed to get Harry's body far enough away from the magic so that it could not re-attach itself to her friend. Luna moved cautiously, making sure that she kept a wide birth from the tentacles. She also prevented Hedwig from flying at and attacking the thing. Once positioned correctly, Luna grabbed one of Harry's out-flung hands and pulled.

Harry was not light, and being deadweight didn't help, but Luna did not want to cast any spell in the vicinity of that seemingly living mass of black. She felt sure the casting of any magic would attract its attention. Fortunately Luna was no weakling, and it took only a few minutes before Harry had been pulled to what appeared to be far enough away from the seeking tentacles.

From there, Luna was able to safely levitate her fallen friend and exit the cavern. Once outside the chamber, she called to Hedwig and gave a twist of a special stone. Luna and Hedwig watched the entryway to the chamber close, hopefully sealing the mass inside.

Luna then checked Harry a little more carefully. Other than the blood on his forehead where his trademark lightning bolt scar had burst open, her friend seemed to be unhurt. A quick spell to seal up the scar and then Luna needed to re-apply the levitation spell. Wishing she had learned the Mobilicorpus spell, she continued to pull her levitated friend towards her house.

An interlude with scenes from elsewhere

Albus Dumbledore quickly returned to his office after one of the Hogwarts' house elves reported that something had 'goed boomed' in his office. Walking in, he discovered that the house elf had been right, and that his office was a total disaster. Several bookcases showed signs of fire, which should have been impossible under the fabled wards of Hogwarts. But there could be no denying the scorch marks, and books had been thrown half-burnt from their shelves. Not just one, but all of the doodads and instruments that had been tracking Harry Potter were gone. They were not melted, not broken, not bent, they were gone, and based on the way the scorch marks radiated from that shelf, the 'boomed' had happened on that shelf.

Fawkes was found on the floor and in pain, causing the headmaster some concern. It would be weeks, if not months before the phoenix would be able to fly again.

"Harry? Whatever did you do, Harry?" Albus thought as he worked at healing his companion.

- - (()) - -

'A Horcrux is: 'the receptacle in which a Dark wizard has hidden a fragment of his soul for the purposes of attaining immortality'. Luna stared at the entry in one of her Mother's old books in shock, and she glanced over to where Harry was safely tucked up in a big soft bed with bandages wrapped around his head. Luna had already placed several potions on the nightstand nearby, ready for when Harry woke up.

After seeing to Harry, Luna had then started her research on the black magic that had been pulled from her friend. The fact that the mass had moved and had seemed to feed on other magic, had led her to a book on soul magic, and that book had led her to this entry. She figured that it was going to take a special kind of spell to kill that bit of Tom's soul; it had not taken a huge stretch to guess where that soul fragment had come from. Luna put down her current book and picked up the oldest book from the Lovegood collection. She had some major research to do before Harry woke up.

- - (()) - -

Hermione Granger was feeling a bit unsettled. She had been asked by her headmaster not to communicate with her friend Harry Potter, but she had expected a letter or note from him. Then Professor Lupin had dropped by to see if Harry had been around. It seemed he had run away from the Dursleys and was now missing, and had been missing for nearly a week now. Hermione had promised to notify someone if Harry contacted her in any way. As she sat in her bedroom she had to ask her unresponsive walls, 'Harry, what have you done this time? And where are you?'

Waking Up

Harry Potter knew something was different as he slowly became aware. He had been unconscious enough times he could recognize the feeling, except, this time, he was in a comfortable bed. The previous times when he had awoken, he had been in the infirmary at Hogwarts, and while the beds weren't horrid, they also weren't great.

Harry also felt better than he should after being unconscious. His scar was hurting a bit, but not as much as it had been. He couldn't remember any dreams or visions from Voldemort, and for whatever reason, he felt, well, cleaner. Another difference was that he was lying on his back and when he tried to open his eyes, he found something was blocking his vision. Reaching up, he found two slightly damp pads resting on his eyes, but since nothing was holding them in place, Harry was able to easily remove them.

As Harry blinked at the light in this room and looked around, he discovered three things: First, he was in a large bed, a large comfortable bed. Second, next to the bed he found a nightstand that had several different potions, labeled one, two, three four etc. Third, he could see! He could see without his glasses on his face. Harry therefore spent a couple of minutes just looking around, savoring his newfound ability.

Harry then threw the covers off, and swinging his legs out of the bed, he sat up. Looking a little more closely at the nightstand, Harry found his now now-unnecessary glasses and a note, along with vials of different colored potions.

As Harry took additional stock of himself, he found he was wearing a loose nightshirt of midnight blue. Picking up the note, Harry started to read.

Harry:

You gave me quite a scare. Did you know you were carrying a piece of Tom's soul in your head? But don't worry. I'm going to teach you how to destroy Tom's soul bit.

No, Harry had not known he carried a piece of Tommy around. The Headmaster had only said there was connection; not that the connection was a part of Voldemort's soul. Harry was relieved, however, that Luna seemed to have some idea of how to deal with it. He then continued reading.

Now that you are awake, you should take the five potions that are sitting on the table.

The first potion should finish the repairing of your eyes. Before you ask, it would not have worked while Tom's soul was housed in your head. The second potion will continue masking the pain you should be feeling after having the soul bit removed without the proper preparation. The third and fourth potions will help your head and scar heal. Take the last potion in the loo (first door to the right after you leave this room). It will counter the simple spell I cast to prevent you from waking early with the need to relieve yourself.

Afterwards, get dressed, and then come looking for me. I should be seeing outside under the big tree. I am waiting for you.

Luna

Harry figured his slightly strange friend couldn't write a sensible note if she tried. What did she mean by saying she would be seeing under the big tree? But she had known how to turn Harry into an owl; she had known where to put those sheltering boxes; and she had planned an excellent escape. So he could trust her with the potions. Harry took the first four potions and carried the fifth into the loo.

Looking at himself in the mirror, Harry could see that his head was wrapped with a bandage, a bandage so comfortable he had not even noticed it earlier. After cleaning himself up a bit, Harry took the fifth potion, and was immediately grateful he had followed the note's suggestion and had not taken the potion in the bedroom.

Once the flood had subsided, Harry returned to the bedroom and found his wand next to another note and a couple of squares of fabric.

Harry,

At the bottom of this letter is a spell you can use to adjust the size of the clothes you will find in the closet. Be sure to practice on the provided squares. It takes a bit of practice before you learn how to stop the fabric from shrinking correctly.

Luna

Harry cringed at the thought his pants shrinking while still on him, and studied the spell closely. After a bit of practice though, he was able to adjust a pair of pants and a loose shirt to exactly the correct size, and feeling better about how he looked, Harry looked for a door out of the house.

Different! Again, that was the only way to describe where he was. Light seemed to come from everywhere, and there were plants and even some animals roaming around. But the biggest difference was the horizon. There wasn't one, or rather it didn't look at all like the horizon he was used to seeing; it looked as if the ground was rising instead of curving downwards. With his newly corrected vision, Harry could see what looked like a series of boulders in the distance, but Harry was looking upwards to see them. The house he had exited looked like a very normal kind of large four story house, which made it look totally incongruous in this place.

Several meters off, Harry could see a large tree of a type he could not identify, and under that tree sat Luna. Harry trotted over and then stopped. His friend was unnaturally still, and, while her eyes were open, she had not made any signs that she could see him, even though he was standing directly in front of her. Looking a little closer, Harry could see a slight rise and fall of Luna's chest, so she was breathing, even if it was shallow.

Her note had requested he come find her, and based on how accurate all of Luna's other notes and letters had been, Harry decided he should interrupt this light trance. Harry sat down beside his unusual friend, and taking her hand in his, he quietly called her name, "Luna."

The response from his friend was immediate, Luna bucked, nearly pulling her hand from his. Then she took a gasping breath and in a surprise move she turned into his side and threw an arm around his waist and squeezed.

"Harry! Oh, thank you, Harry, I had become lost and couldn't find my way back to here from then."

Harry savored the feel of a hug from a friend as he wrapped his own arms around Luna. It was a hug he hadn't expected, and the fact that a young lady was the one hugging him, made him feel both better and a bit guilty as he savored the extra sensations against his chest provided by her chest. Still, he was not in the habit of feeling stupid, and yet again his rescuer was confusing him with her speech. This wasn't the same kind of speech, like at school where Luna would go on about different animals that Hermione were sure did not exist. Luna was using small words, but for some reason the syntax just didn't make sense.

"Ahem, um, you're welcome? Luna? ... Thank you for the potions and I don't know how to thank you for fixing my eyes. But, I think I am missing something. 'Finding your way back to here from then?' and you said something about seeing and getting your tenses mixed up."

The blonde in his arms sighed and relaxed into his hug. "This is very nice, Harry Potter. I could become very used to being held by you." Then Luna took a deep breath and started speaking again.

"You're welcome Harry, and I'm glad your eyes are much better now." Harry was nearly distracted when Luna took another deep breath. "You are right, of course, I did promise to tell you what I will be meaning, or rather what I meant. Oomph! I'm doing it again. Please let me up, Harry, as while this is very comfortable, I need to be able to think more clearly."

Harry released his part of the hug and helped Luna sit up, and the two of them turned slightly towards each other while still leaning against the tree trunk as Luna started speaking again.

"Thank you, Harry. Let me explain why I am not able to make as much sense as I should. I became a seer the day after school ended. It wasn't planned, and this kind of seeing normally doesn't happen to witches until they are several years older. But when I saw my Daddy… my Daddy's body at home… well my inner eyes were opened."

"From what little I remember from those useless classes in Divination, it takes at least a couple of years to train for such a curse, um, gift," Harry interjected as he gathered Luna into another hug. All thoughts of paying attention to her body pressing against his were ignored as he again mourned with his friend.

"Harry? Please don't let go!" came a quiet sniffle from the now grieving girl.

"No worries there, Luna, you helped me escape, so I'll hold you through some of your grief. It's what friends do for each other."

Harry adjusted Luna a bit so they were more comfortable and held her, while murmuring gentle nothings as Luna cried.

- - (()) - -

"…It's what friends do for each other," Even as Luna 'Loony' Lovegood mourned her lost life, and the lost lives of her parents, she was thrilled that she had a friend. A friend that was holding her and was cooing in her ear and telling her that he was here for her; that life would go on; and reminding her that they could hear the voices from the veil, and that they would be waiting for her, still loving her from the other side. All the while her friend did these things, he continued holding her like it was not a problem. It was just like he wanted to hold her. In a heart that had known very little but rejection and abuse from her peers for far too long, a little ray of hope shone down on some new growth. Harry Potter had just declared that he was her friend.

Seers Need Friends Too

Harry didn't know how long he held his crying friend. There was no sun in this place so he could not use the changing shadows, but he guessed Luna cried hard for at least half an hour and then sniffled into his shoulder for what he thought was another half an hour. When she quieted, she was still leaning against him, with his arms wrapped around her loosely.

"Harry?"

"Yes, Luna?"

"I haven't done a very good job of explaining anything yet."

"You will, Luna," Harry answered. "I am sure you will, just as soon as you get past the grief and loneliness you are feeling. In the meantime, you can use me to lean on. I will no doubt need to lean on you whenever I'm missing Sirius the most."

Harry paused for a few seconds, and then continued. "While we wait, can you tell me about that medallion that turned me into an owl? Do you think it could be modified to include some clothes? I think I would really like to go flying with Hedwig again, but I'm not sure I would like to end up naked again. Where is Hedwig by the way? I haven't seen her since I woke up in that bed."

"Hedwig is under the attic of the house, Harry. She is having a bit of trouble adjusting to the lack of a day/night cycle. I ended up having to put a spell over her cage so she could sleep." Luna answered his second question first, and then continued on.

"It is possible to create medallions that can both be used multiple times, and include a simple set of clothing, Harry. But you have to make it for yourself if you want it to include clothes, and I did not have the time to teach you before we had to leave. I didn't even have time to make such a medallion for myself. "

"So I can create such a medallion for myself after you teach me?" Harry asked. "What about medallions that change us into other types of creatures?"

"We will each be able to make such a thing, Harry. Those spells are in one of the books I brought from the Lovegood library. I know we will need several other spells from that book."

Luna squirmed a bit, so Harry released his loose hold and helped her sit up. Luna thought for a minute and then continued.

"Daddy and Mommy only ever used the single use owl spells, and never went to the trouble of creating a multiuse medallion. But they liked to see each other without clothes. Before Mommy died, I walked in on them playing with each other in their bed more than once. I think the spells can be set up for many different types of creatures. With practice, it should be possible to change back into a human without the need of that special stone."

As Harry watched, Luna's eyes lost focus for a moment before she said, "In fact I think that is how we will rescue your snakes. But I don't think they will like the fact that they will change back with no clothes while we remain covered."

"Are you being a seer again?" Harry asked, confused by the idea of snakes wearing clothing.

"It isn't something I can turn off, Harry," Luna answered. "I will be a seer of some type for the rest of my life. I should be able, with practice, to ignore the visions. But when I actively go looking into the future, it is sometimes very hard to find my way back to myself. I really need an anchor."

"Okay…So how do we make you an anchor? I have no desire to discover my friend, Luna, is so lost in time she can't come back. I don't have a lot of friends to be throwing one away like that."

Harry watched as Luna's very red eyes got wide, but they did not become unfocussed this time, rather they focused directly on him for a moment. Harry squirmed uncomfortably thinking about how much he had enjoyed the feeling of her next to him and afraid she was reading his mind or seeing that or something.

"You really do, don't you?" came the cryptic reply, but before Harry could guess at what Luna was talking about, she continued. "You really do consider me a friend." Before Harry could comment on those strange words, Luna smiled that smile that had convinced him before that she was a very good looking girl. "Thank you, Harry. That means a lot to me."

Harry didn't have a lot of experience dealing with emotional girls or friends, but it now looked like Luna had even less. Going by guesswork, and hoping for the best, Harry gathered Luna back against him in a gentle undemanding hug, and he said, "Yes, I do consider you a friend, right now, one of my best friends. You are the only one that has managed to contact me since school ended, and the only one that seems to care about getting me away from the Dursleys."

"It means a lot to me to hear you say that, Harry, it really does," came Luna's soft response from his shoulder. "To answer your earlier question, an 'Anchor' in this case is a person not a thing. A seer can anchor to someone that they trust. You are the only person I am going to be seeing for the next bit, so I may ask you to anchor me. But we will need a bit more time to learn about each other before that can happen."

As Luna again disengaged from his arm, Harry helped her sit back up, and changed the subject to one that had been in the back of his mind since waking up and finding Luna's first note. "So I had a bit of Voldemort's soul in my head?"

"Well, not exactly in your head, Harry," Luna replied. "More like in that strange scar of yours. Your scar looked pretty bad once I got you far enough away from that ugly bit of magic to look over your injuries. But once I got you into bed, and put a poultice on the wound, it has started healing, and should disappear in the next week."

Harry wondered for half a minute if Dumbledore had known about the part of his connection to Tom, and then brought the conversation back to the question he wanted answered. "Is the piece of Tommy's soul still 'alive', Luna?"

"Ah, you want to know how to kill it, Harry." Luna's face took on a more animated expression. "Most magic can't deal with an intentionally severed soul, which is the only way a soul fragment like this could continue to live outside of your body. However, the Lovegood library has a couple of really old spells that came from our Druid roots, and one of them deals almost entirely with souls and what muggles call astral projection. I have the book in the house, and another book with the page marked for the dismissal that should do the trick."

"Are you ready to go in yourself, Luna? I am anxious to kill that bit of Tom that helped me kill Sirius," Harry started, and then his stomach rumbled to remind him that he was very hungry. Before he could apologize, a similar rumble could be heard from Luna's own midsection.

"I was going to ask to stay out a bit longer, Harry, but I think perhaps I should join you inside." Luna smiled over at her friend.

Luna stood before she noticed that Harry would have been willing to help her stand. Another ray of hope found its way into her heart at the friendly willingness to help her.

The two of them walked side by side towards the house. About half way there, two hands joined almost of their own volition.

Of Confessions

Luna watched as Harry stared blankly at the old book in front of him. He hadn't even opened it yet. Then he turned and looked back up at her.

"You said this was how old, Luna?" he asked. "And you want me to even touch it? It shouldn't even exist in a readable state if it is that old."

"Harry, what is the answer to almost any impossible thing that happens around you?"

Harry looked lost in thought for a moment and tentatively said, "Um, magic?"

Luna smiled at him and nodded. "Yes, and countless of Lovegoods have handled that book, including myself."

Harry took a deep breath, and, expecting it to turn to dust at any moment, he reached over to pick up to book intending to read through to the section Luna had marked earlier. Except the book did not let him. When Harry touched the book he froze, not of his own volition. Harry could actually feel a 'presence' in the book react to his foreign magic and rise in defense of the special knowledge found in the book.

How long Harry was frozen, he wasn't sure until a second hand appeared and a command Harry could not quite understand was issued. Just turning off a switch, Harry was able to move again.

"I'm sorry, Harry, I forgot some of the books were protected. I'll need to grant you access to all of the Lovegood books in the library." Luna explained.

– – (()) – –

Luna and Harry had just finished a short repast. With there being no real day or night, it was hard to describe a meal as breakfast, lunch or dinner. It had been fun, yes fun, to prepare a meal with Harry. It seemed that he knew how to cook some things, although it was the muggle way of preparing things. It just so happened that they had worked out a rhythm while they were sharing the duties.

Another first for Luna: someone that shared the work, shared the meal, and Harry had even shared with the clean up afterwards. Even if Harry was going to be upset with her, she had this time to treasure. But she needed to confess to him soon. But since she was involved, and she couldn't 'see' herself, Luna had no idea how this conversation was going to go.

"Luna?" Harry's voice interrupted her thoughts. "You aren't lost again, are you? You are frowning something fierce and you don't seem to be looking at anything."

"I have some unpleasant things to talk to you about, Harry," Luna said, looking down towards her hands. "Whenever my Mum was feeling a bit lazy she would say that she was 'dreading' the dishes, meaning that she would do the dishes later. I've been 'dreading' this conversation as I'm worried about how you are going to take what I need to tell you."

Luna glanced up from her hands, and noticed that she had Harry's complete attention, and he was looking wary. But he had not backed away from the table or her, yet.

"Harry, by bringing you here, I am... I am using you. I am manipulating you every bit as much as our senile Headmaster has been manipulating you."

She couldn't look at his face, so Luna looked back down towards her hands, which were now clenched together.

A few seconds passed without the expected cry of denial or rage, so Luna glanced up through her eyelashes, just enough to see Harry's face. It was unchanged; he was still looking wary, but he had not moved either away or towards her.

"Say something, Harry!" Luna whispered in a frightened voice.

"How about you finish telling me about your manipulations of me first," Harry said. "I need a bit more information. I went off half-cocked and got Sirius killed. I don't want to do the same thing with a new friend."

Friend, he had said that wonderful 'F' word again. Still he had to know.

"Based on what I have been 'seeing', I've started pushing you down a path I don't think you would normally take," Luna confessed.

"What is special about the path you want me to take? Compared, say, to the one you would expect to me to follow without your interference."

Luna winced at Harry's words, and tried to answer. "Less death, or rather, less innocent death," was all she was able to say.

"Less innocent death? That sounds like a good thing, but who counts as an innocent? Or more importantly, who doesn't count as an innocent?"

"Death Eaters killed my Daddy. They are not innocent!" Luna's answered hotly. "Although there may be a couple of them that we can save, for the most part, if they are Death Eaters, they are going to die."

"If we kill all of the Death Eaters, do we save all of the innocents?"

Luna took a deep breath to calm her emotions. Thinking about Daddy's killers wasn't helping right now. "No, Harry, we save more of the innocents. There is no way through any of the multitude of paths I have seen where we save all of the innocents. Also it is likely some of your friends, me included if you still count me as a friend, will not survive the war."

"But more of my friends survive?" Harry asked.

"That number has not been determined, Harry. There are chances in this path that will cause you to lose a couple more friends, and strain the friendship of others," Luna replied. "Each of those friends has choices to make that can influence their own survival. But knowing a couple of them like I do, they may not all make the correct choice. If they all make the wrong choice, you will end up losing more friends, but you can't make those choices for them."

Luna took another breath, "And, Harry, in this path you will do a lot of the killing. Death Eaters and Voldemort will fall by your hand. Actually, Voldemort will need to die by your hand several times. In the path of no interference, you would personally kill fewer. You'd kill Voldemort, once, as only you can kill him, but that would pretty much be it."

"How do you know that only I can kill Tommy?" Harry asked sharply. "I haven't told you anything about that."

"I 'saw' your conversation with the Headmaster at the end of the term, Harry," Luna responded.

Luna paused again, but Harry was still not raving at her and with another quick glance, she could tell he was still listening. So Luna plowed on with what she knew about the path of least innocent death. "Harry, you won't be alone, and, you won't need to kill all of the Death Eaters. I have every intention of killing my fair share of those things. And we will need to rescue your snakes to help."

Luna was startled when Harry stood and crossed over towards her. He was not menacing her; instead he sat down beside her and pulled her into a gentle hug. "I haven't decided if I want this path of yours, Luna, but I am concerned about your need for vengeance."

Luna looked up and stared at her friend. Her friend, who still seemed to be a friend, stared right back at her and his face displayed no disgust or anger. Instead his vivid green eyes looked concerned and worried. "But I…I…"

"Yes, Luna, you did. You were pushing me, but there is a very big difference between you and Dumbledore. You talked to me. I have been awake and human for less than a day, and you confessed. Now then, I expect I will still be a bit annoyed at you, but not angry. To be honest, your plan or path is already made out, whereas whatever Dumbledore has or had planned for me is still a secret only he knows."

Luna felt Harry sigh more than she heard him take a breath and release it. "And the fact that you're going through the same emotions I am feeling about Sirius, is helping me to cope with his loss. I am sorry you lost your dad, Luna. But seeing you in a vengeful mood is curing me of the need to do the same for Sirius."

It was Luna's turn to sigh, since it appeared that she had not broken this new friendship that she was beginning to depend on so much.

Harry's arms released her from yet another hug - he had given her several today - and his hands moved to her shoulders, setting the two of them just a short distance apart. "Talk to me, Luna. Tell me about what you have seen, and what we would need to do. I am not sure I want to do that much killing, but to have a chance to save my friends I am willing to at least talk about it. And what snakes do you keep bringing up? Is there a magical breed of snakes down here?"

Luna smiled a weak watery smile, and began to explain the first steps.

Dismissals

Looking through the doorway into the chamber Luna had just opened, Harry stared apprehensively at the bit of Tom's soul that had been riding around in his head. Even though the equivalent of several days had passed, although there were no tentacles surrounding it, the black sphere was pulsing ominously, and based on what Luna had just said, it seemed to be no weaker.

"You're sure this will work, Luna?" Harry asked, "I so don't want that thing getting angry and trying to re-attach itself to me."

His friend, and in this his teacher, smiled a tight lipped nervous smile, and gave him the answer that he did not want to hear. "No, Harry, I'm not sure it will work. It should work, the book says it will work, but I haven't done anything like this before either."

"This Horcrux thing scares me," Harry said to her, returning Luna's nervous smile with one of his own.

"Harry, it scares me too, which is why there are two of us, and each of us has learned a different dismissal. I really think yours will work though, and I'll only cast mine if I have to."

The ancient book on soul magic of Luna's did not actually contain the spells that the two of them were planning to use, rather it just mentioned that the magic holding the soul fragment would need to be dismissed. As Harry had pondered that, Luna had dropped another very old book onto his lap that did nothing but talk about dismissals. As soon as he could, Harry was going to go back and read that book cover to cover; some of the things you could do with dismissals were amazing.

According to the book, you could cast some dismissals silently, but the more powerful dismissals required some kind of incantation. But the book said it did not matter what kind of words you used, just that they needed to express what magic was to be wiped away.

That was the beauty of the dismissals; they 'dismissed' or interrupted the magic they were aimed at. In theory, with the magic holding Tom's soul bit in place suddenly gone, the soul would be unable to sustain itself and would pass on. In theory, which is why Luna had prepared a different dismissal, one that was designed to actually dismiss the soul. When they had practiced three sleep periods ago, that spell had drained Luna's magic to the point where she couldn't even cast a lumos for twelve hours. They had therefore needed to wait for Luna's magic to build back up before they could try their hand at being Tom exterminators.

Luna nudged Harry, and then crept into the room, hugging the wall of the chamber to the left of the doorway. Harry counted to twenty and then also entered the room, although he hugged the wall to the right. Once he was far enough into the room that the archway holding the Horcrux no longer blocked his view, Harry glanced across the room to where Luna had stopped. She was holding her wand at the ready and looked more determined than he had ever seen her.

Harry looked at the black mass he wanted to destroy and nearly recoiled in horror as it changed. The pulses were noticeably becoming more rapid, and tentacles were forming at the top of the mass waving in the air like antennas trying to locate whatever had disturbed it. Then the antennas stopped weaving: they had found their prey. As Harry watched nearly spellbound, the mass extruded additional tentacles that started to weave their way towards Luna! Harry heard his friend whimper and softly call his name.

Harry knew time was running out, so he waved at Luna, and then with his free hand, he started a countdown, holding three fingers up, then two, then one. As the countdown reached zero, Harry pointed his wand at the Horcrux and firmly chanted his incantation. "Dimittere, sāwol cupa." Just like it did when they had practiced, a multicolored sphere sped from his wand to the target.

There was a popping noise when the spell impacted the black ball that made up the Horcrux, followed by a screech. The black ball and tentacles were just as suddenly gone leaving a slivery gray sphere that was much smaller. As the screeching got louder, Harry decided it must be the un-holy sound of a dying soul as the remaining sphere began to shrink.

Smaller, and smaller it became, although the screeching seemed to get louder. Then, there was another loud pop, and the last bit of Tom Riddle's soul fragment disappeared, leaving blissful silence in its wake.

As Luna continued to watch, her wand at the ready, Harry cast several detection spells before relaxing and giving Luna the all clear sign they had selected.

As Harry relaxed against the wall a blonde missile crossed the room and latched on to him.

"Harry! I told you that you could do it, Harry. I told you," Luna cried as she held on like she wasn't going to let go.

Harry wrapped his arms around Luna and hugged her back. "Yes, Luna, you did tell me."

The two of them spent several minutes trying to put their scattered wits back together. When Harry felt Luna's grip on him loosen a bit he continued his thoughts, voicing the fears he had been fighting. "You did tell me, Luna, but I am not like you or Hermione; it often takes me several tries before I get a spell right."

"Posh, Harry!" a recovering Luna replied as she broke free from the hug and turned to leave the chamber. "You are a lot better than you give yourself credit for. Hermione would not have been able to cast that spell at all; her ordered mind would not accept that you can just pick an incantation to match your desired results. The old magic was more about results, as opposed to the cause and affects that we learn at school now."

Two hands again joined as the two of them continued left through the tunnels toward the entrance to the Lovegood Reserve. Harry glanced down at his companion and smiled. You could only see traces of 'Loony' left; in her place now walking beside him was an attractive young lady with a delightful sense of fun. Loony had disappeared the moment Harry had said that he had forgiven her for her manipulations and agreed to go for the path of least innocent death.

When Harry thought about it, which wasn't as often anymore, he thought it was a shame that he had not befriended Luna before. Her ideas often ran counter to his, but she was willing to discuss them openly without getting defensive, and the resulting compromises often worked better than either of them expected. If he had been able to listen, really listen to this young lady during the tri-wizard tournament, several things would have been different. During the DA meetings when he had been teaching what he knew, he hadn't been open to suggestions, but listening to Luna now, he had made several changes to his spell casting, and was getting much better results.

Luna claimed it was the same for her, and swore that the practice Harry was putting her through had increased her magical core a bit, making her spells a little stronger, and her casting time a little shorter.

References:

The description of the inside of the fairy mound is based on Pellucidar as created by Edgar Rice Burroughs ( en . Wikipedia wiki / Pellucidar).

The Horcrux definition came from the HP Lexicon; they credit it as being from a notebook from JKR.

'Dismissals' as a type of magic comes from a book by Brian Daley. "Starfollowers of Coramonde" (first printing 1979) which is the second book of a duology.
The first book was "Doomfarers of Coramonde" (first printing 1977). I have expanded the concept of dismissals to fit my requirements.