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“It’s more than that, though,” Draco said. “Harry is pretty much the only thing left the Dark Lord fears, and that might mean he’s the only thing that can defeat him. If that’s true, then if Harry dies, this nightmare is never going to end.”

The words chased themselves around Luna’s head, and she looked at them carefully. Then, very slowly, she pushed herself from under the bed and stood up.

“You called him Harry,” Luna pointed out, brushing dust from her ragged dress, “not Potter.”

“Did I?” Draco said.


“I suppose I did,” Draco said. “What of it?”

“There’s power in a name,” Luna said. “Professor Dumbledore was right about that.”

“He meant people should use the Dark Lord’s name,” Draco said.

“Yes,” Luna said, sitting carefully on the edge of the mattress and hearing an enormous squeak, “but I don’t think that’s all he meant. He usually meant a lot of things at once.”

“Fine, so I can humanize my enemy and call him by his first name,” Draco said sarcastically. “Hooray for me.”

“Yes, actually,” Luna said. “Except this isn’t school. Harry isn’t your enemy anymore. If what you say is right, he’s our last hope.”

“You have no idea how much I hate the idea of that,” Draco said. “He’s a moronic idiot raised by Muggles with no proper blood pride and no understanding that in order to win this war, he’s going to have to be just as vicious as the Death Eaters.”

“No. That would be losing, not winning,” Luna said firmly. “If hate makes more hate, it doesn’t end hate, now does it?”

Draco shook his head at her, still looking very weary.

“You’re either a fool or the only sane one of us left,” he said. “I don’t know which anymore.”

“I think there are plenty of sane people out there,” Luna said. “They’re just twisted up inside because of all that’s happened. Like you. You seem to be making more sense now than you ever did at school.”

Draco said nothing, only looked at the dusty floorboards.

“It feels like a very long time ago to me, too,” she said. “You still haven’t told me what you want. It must be important for you to plot out all of this.”

“Do you have a way to contact them?” Draco asked, facing her. “Can you get them a message at least?”

“Oh good,” she said, smiling with relief. “I thought you were going to ask me something that would make me have to lie, and I’m pants at it even after all the training from the D.A. I can answer that one truthfully without putting anyone in danger. No. We’re completely out of communication.”

“I suspected as much,” Draco said. “I figured if they know their friend was here, they’d have come to get you.”

“It’s the sort of thing Harry and Ron and Hermione would do,” Luna agreed, “so I’m glad in a way they didn’t. Mr. Ollivander needs company.”

“You really care about what happens to that cranky old man?” Draco said.

“Yes,” she said, almost confused by the question. “Why wouldn’t I?”

“With everything else going on, how important can he be?” Draco said. “Snatchers are capturing dozens of people every day, killing a lot of them, and the Dark Lord is winning. The whole world is undone, and you’re worried about an old man who sold wands?”

“Yes,” Luna repeated. “You’ve got to care about something, you know.”

“Do you?” Draco said in a tone that said he didn’t think so. “Why?”

“Because that’s what life is.”

Draco opened his mouth as though he wanted to say something, but he sighed instead, his shoulders drooping.

“Maybe you’re right,” he said.

“Why did you want to get in touch with Harry?” Luna asked.

“To tell him if he’s as crucial to the Dark Lord’s destruction as he seems to think, then Harry needs to get out of Britain and stay hidden,” Draco said.

Luna laughed, the noise startling him.

“Are you laughing at me?” he asked angrily.

“Yes, if you think Harry would run from a fight,” Luna said. “Ron and Hermione too, if it comes to that.”

“I’m serious,” Draco said. “If he gets himself killed, we’re all doomed here. It’s better to live to fight another day.”

“Maybe,” Luna said, “or maybe he needs to fight. Maybe that’s what You-Know-Who truly fears.”

“A seventeen-year-old wizard against the greatest dark wizard who has ever lived?” Draco said. “What chance has he got?”

“Well, Harry beat him not too long after his first birthday, so I’d say a fair one,” Luna said.

“That was a coincidence.”

“And then again when he was eleven, and again at twelve, and fourteen, and fifteen, sixteen,” Luna counted off on her fingers.

“Merlin, she’s right,” Draco muttered to himself.

“Possibly a couple more times,” Luna said, nodding. “I get it a bit confused, but whatever the whole tally is, it’s always been in Harry’s favor.”

“It better stay that way,” Draco said.

“Aren’t you rather worried that You-Know-Who will be able to tell what we’ve been discussing?” Luna asked.

“Snape’s been teaching me Occlumency,” Draco said. “He’s surprisingly good at it, and You-Know-Who, despite his act, is a rather weak Legilimens. Otherwise he wouldn’t need torture.”

“I thought he might be,” Luna said, but Draco wasn’t sure exactly what part she meant.

“I don’t suppose there’s any chance we could get some better food in the cellar?” Luna asked, sensing their discussion was nearing a close. “Maybe warmer blankets? More daylight? Fresh air? Something?”

“I don’t know,” Draco said. “This really isn’t my home anymore.”

“So you’re trapped too, just with better accommodations?” she asked.

He grunted.

“Well, I must admit, if you live with Wormtail and that Lestrange woman walking about all the time, I’ve got the better end of things for companionship,” she said.

“You’re not wrong there,” he said. “We don’t have much time left before they come back.”


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