He’s standing on the doorstep, waiting, though he can’t remember what he’s waiting for. Luna is down by the creek, he knows. He fancies that he can see her from here, blond strands obscuring her face as she casts her nets with an expertise quite remarkable for a girl her age.
But is it her that he is waiting for? His brain is oddly muddled. Wrackspurt, probably.
He waves his hands around his head, and strains to think. Perhaps he’s expecting an owl?
And the only solution was to stand and fight
And my body was bruised and I was set alight
And then, it comes. He staggers forward with the force of the explosion behind him. Rocks and dust pour from the sky, bruising him, knocking dirigible plums off their bushes. He lets out a despairing wail, feeling a horrible certainty about what’s happened to Pandora. He already knows he’ll find her gone, a charred body whose spirit is floating up with the plums. He’ll run his fingers along the burns on her skin, tears dripping from his nose. He’ll curse the melted cauldron at her feet, the smashed flasks of powder strewn around her, the singed scraps of recipes from the Quibbler’s weekly Potioneering column. The very things she loved most; and they were the ones to betray her.
Dreading the sight, he turns around.
But you came over me like some holy rite
And although I was burning, you’re the only light
Air suddenly rushes into his lungs. She’s there. Pandora is still there, standing in the middle of the ruins. She’s fixed her gaze on him in that way of hers, that way he knows so well.
With a cry of joy he runs to her, leaping over rubble and broken furniture. He wants to tell her how much he’s missed her, how glad he is to see her face, untouched by flames. How he loves her, needs her.
Before he can find words, she smiles at him, an understanding smile. She knows. He sighs in contentment as she leans into his arms.
And I heard your voice, as clear as day
And you told me I should concentrate
He isn’t sure what she means. It’s not quite like her to say something like that. Pandora always preferred to let her mind wander. She believed it was better not to try to guide one’s thoughts, as they know the way better than we do.
Nevertheless, he decides he should take her advice. These are dangerous times, after all. Very dangerous, and he must do all he can protect his family. Instinctively, he turns to look over to the creek, checking that Luna was still there fishing for Plimpies. With a sense of growing unease, he realizes he can’t seem to locate her. Where has she gone? Where is Luna?
It was oh so strange and so surreal
That a ghost should be so practical
In that instant, he remembers. Luna’s taken, and Pandora—his wife is dead, has been dead for years. He turns back to his dream-Pandora, reaching for her. “NO! Wait! Pandora, please, stay! ” But she’s fading before his eyes, and behind him he hears a crack that’s surely Harry and the others Disapparating, and when he whirls around to try to stop them he comes face to face with two hooded Death Eaters, cackling into his ears while he scrambles for something they’ll let him trade for Luna’s life, pleading with them, begging—
Only if for a night.
Xenophilius Lovegood wakes with a start. He’d been sleeping in a brown armchair, underneath a many-colored blanket that his mother-in-law had knitted for Pandora long ago. His bed, along with the ceiling and much of the furniture, had been destroyed again yesterday when the Snorkack horn went off.
Slowly, he gets to his feet, accidentally stepping on an old Quibbler issue whose cover featured Luna’s first painting of the Squatting Whemp.
Heart aching, he walks through the open front door. The edge of the sky is tinged red with the earliest rays of dawn, but there is still a while left before the sun rises. He sits cross-legged on the doorstep, buries his face in his hands, and cries.