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phantasmagoria

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"Sometimes I see things. Hear things."

Luna says nothing. Sometimes it takes a while. Ginny waits.

"They do that, sometimes." "They?", Ginny asks. Luna shrugs. "I don't know their name. They've always just been 'them'. They aren't like, oh, the wrackspurts, say. I'm not sure they have a name. Or that they want one. Daddy says", she fiddles with her necklace, "he says he thinks they're scared. I can understand that. But I would never hurt them, you know."

"I know." Ginny waits. "Sometimes they do other things. Like steal your thoughts. Have they ever stolen your thoughts?" "I don't know." "Okay. Sometimes I wish they wouldn't, I have lost some rather lovely thoughts that way. But maybe they need them more than I do. I hope it helps. Anyways, it was just the other day, I think, someone was touching my hair. And it had to be one of them, didn't it? No one else was there."

"Guess so." There's another lull in the conversation, but Ginny doesn't mind. She thinks Luna needs it, to gather her thoughts, maybe. Ginny thinks she needs it too, honestly. And it's peaceful and not at all awkward.

"People can be mean about things like this", and this seems to be Luna's last thought on the matter for now, because she starts to talk about other things. Ginny finds she feels better anyhow.


"You're scary", she says, "but you were scarier when you could hurt me. You can't do that anymore." The not-ghost's smile widens (as if to say ah, but Ginevra, I know something you don't. I always do, don't I?) and widens and practically spills off his face.

It looks like something out of those cartoons she catches Harry watching on the telly sometimes, and she can't help herself: she laughs. She laughs, and if it has a slight edge of hysteria to it, well. No one need know, except her and her not-ghost.

And poor Crookshanks II, who she must have startled; he yowls and runs right through her not-ghost. It's slightly disconcerting to see, but it's also hilarious. She laughs even harder, great whooping bellows that steal the air from her lungs. "Well", she mutters when she can breathe again, "do go on then." And she walks away shaking her head.


She wakes up from Those Dreams (tonight it's red eyes and the smell of ink; Harry in Hagrid's arms and her skeleton will lie in the chamber forever... and they're all rather something like that aren't they?), and sees the diary. She says quietly (so as to not wake Harry) but firmly, "Tom Marvolo Riddle is a git."

"You tell 'im dearie", the mirror mumbles drowsily. Ginny closes her eyes, her mind filled with a tangled snarl of thought, and falls back asleep. This time she doesn't dream.