Fanfic: A Whisper in the Dark by PinkPandorafrog (Read for Free, 1,332,114 Clicks)

Description: Luna’s job in the Ministry of Magic is pretty unremarkable – at least until she hears a voice that’s been lost for years.

Characters: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive WarningsSirius Black/Luna Lovegood Luna Lovegood/George WeasleyLuna Lovegood Sirius Black George Weasley

Summary: Summary:

Luna’s job in the Ministry of Magic is pretty unremarkable – at least until she hears a voice that’s been lost for years.

Notes: Notes:

I originally wrote this years ago. It was first-person, and I had it up on FFnet. I’ve come a long way since then and I love this whole trilogy of stories in this series, so I’m rewriting/reposting it.

Chapter 1

Chapter Text

Luna sat in Hermione Granger’s office when she heard the voice calling to her.

Lost

, it whispered, rolling through her mind.

Hermione was busy and flustered, as she usually was. Her hair reliably reported just how stressed she was, and that day it spread wildly around her face like a fluffy brown cloud. That’s why Luna visited her so often – to bring a sense of calm to her day.

But it wasn¡¯t Hermione. Hermione had apparently not even heard the voice. She was lost, but only in a myriad of papers and ink. The voice, Luna was certain, was lost in an entirely different – and rather more serious – way.

They hadn’t wanted to let Luna into the Ministry at first. There had been quite a commotion when she’d first been discovered wandering through the busy halls with no shoes on. She’d grown used to not wearing shoes during school, feeling it made her more present in each situation in which she found herself.?

Kingsley Shacklebolt had defended her and offered her a job as a ¡°general assistant.¡± When she¡¯d asked him what her job duties were to be, he’d told her that she was to help out those who needed it, so long as she didn’t get in the way. He said she was a panacea to the still-much-disturbed nature of the Ministry, and she had to agree.

He¡¯d become a dear friend, and she spent a good deal of time with him as well. He spoke slowly and carefully, and never once mocked her for some of the things she said. Someone had once asked him just what the bloody hell she was doing there, talking over her like she wasn¡¯t even there. He’d told them she brought peace to a troubled time. She wasn’t sure exactly what that meant, but she did notice that things tended to get a little quieter and more efficient when she was around.

The voice wasn¡¯t his. Kingsley had a deep, rich voice that made her think of a mountain, strong and solid, and this was altogether different.

Normally Luna delivered messages and ran errands. She sat with Kingsley when his hat was crooked over his left eye, and with Hermione when her hair was like a great cloud.

Like it was now. Hermione¡¯s eyes moved frantically over her spill of papers, a quill snatched up viciously in her hands. She talked to herself from time to time, and Luna sat, still and quiet, simply being present.?

¡°Don’t you have somewhere to be?¡± Hermione snapped at Luna. She did that sometimes when she was especially frustrated with her work. Luna never took it seriously; she knew Hermione really didn’t mean it.

Lost,

Luna heard the voice say, far away in her head. Not in the room at all, then, but somewhere else entirely. It was a man’s voice, weary and pained.

Lost

, he said again. ¡°I do,¡± she replied. ¡°I’ll come back in a little while.¡± She offered Hermione a gentle smile.

Hermione sighed, pushing her hands through her hair. Her forehead rested on her palms like some great, heavy thing. ¡°I’m sorry I snapped, Luna.¡±

Luna shook her head. ¡°It’s alright, Hermione. You weren’t snapping at me, you were snapping at your papers. But I truly do need to go now. Someone is calling for me.¡±

Hermione raised her head and stared at Luna. She cocked her head as if listening before giving a brief headshake. ¡°A memo?¡±

¡°No. I don¡¯t know that anyone else can hear them.¡± Luna gathered her skirt in her lap before getting to her feet.then turned back to her work. ¡°At least, not yet.¡±

Hermione stared for another moment, then shook her head. ¡°I’ll see you later.¡±

Lost

, the voice said again. The familiar voice pulled at Luna¡¯s mind, filled with anguish and hopelessness. She turned and left the scattered office, following the tugging sensation in her brain.

She made sure to shut Hermione’s door quietly behind her before heading slowly down the hall. Silvery eyes fell shut, blocking out her sense of sight so she could concentrate on the voice. She heard people moving about – heard the footsteps and the curiosity, the bustle and the confusion. She heard life itself passing on around her. Whoever called for her wasn¡¯t part of that life, part of the daily happenings of the Ministry.

The stone floor grew colder as she walked, smooth under her feet. That usually meant the lower levels of the Ministry, deeper underground.

Lost

. Closer, she was getting closer. He would bring her to him if she let him, so she listened and she walked.

Noise fell away. Wherever he was leading her had fewer people moving about, but that made sense. It would be difficult to be lost if one was surrounded by people.

Her hands, slightly outstretched to prevent injury, brushed a cold, hard surface. She opened her eyes, blinking in the dim light. She was alone. The corridor was tidy, but had the air of being seldom used. She¡¯d been there before, but not in many years. Memories trickled in – pain, bloodshed, loss. This was not a happy place.

Lost

. The voice came from the other side of the door. The past made her hesitate, one hand heavy on the handle. She almost wanted to turn around, to return to the brightness and the noise of other people. But she¡¯d come this far. Could she really abandon the man on the other side?

She took a deep breath and opened the door. The room had not changed since she¡¯d seen it, though it was rather less crowded and busy. A pit yawned endlessly in the floor. A dais rose up, graced by an old archway, ancient and crumbling. Long-forgotten voices and secrets whispered behind a black curtain hanging in the archway. It fluttered, like fingers curling in to beckon her.

Harry¡¯s anguish rang fresh in her head, but above that rose the voice.

Lost

. The voice was quite loud now. It wasn¡¯t in her head anymore; rather it was almost in the room. Perhaps he was stuck just behind the curtain.

The black fabric fluttered again, rising in the windless air. She took a step, moving toward the archway before she even realized it. The floor was almost painfully cold, the air almost a physical weight as it pressed in around her.?

Her steps were short, quick. The sooner she reached the archway, the sooner she could leave. The curtain no longer beckoned, seeming to shoo her away.

Leave

, it breathed even as the voice called to her again. Voices hissed along the walls, crawled along the floor, wordless whispers that filled her mind and spilled out like fog. She closed her eyes as she reached the crumbled stone, reaching blindly forward.

Fingers scrabbled at her palm, searching desperately for purchase. A hand closed around hers firmly, almost hard enough to bruise. The room felt like it was collapsing around her as she was pulled in. ¡°No,¡± she told it firmly, her voice high and clear. ¡°No.¡± She took a step back, pulling the hand with her.

A man tumbled out onto the floor. He shivered, a tangle of black hair and dark robes, his face obscured in shadow. His shoulders heaved as he tried to catch his breath, as though he¡¯d just been running.

Luna knelt by his side, her free hand coming to stroke through his hair. ¡°There now, it’s alright,¡± she told him softly. Comfort, she knew how to provide comfort. ¡°You’re not lost anymore.¡±

He clung tightly to her. One hand gripped hers, the other closed around her elbow. He didn’t speak again, just held her as though he was afraid she would disappear. Even down on the floor she couldn¡¯t see his face, but she was overcome with a sense of familiarity. She had seen this man before, in that very room.

¡°Kingsley will help us,¡± she told him in the same soothing tone. ¡°He always seems to know the right thing to do.¡±

He didn¡¯t reply, but when she rose to her feet, he stood with her. He was taller than she expected, and thin, almost gaunt. He let her lead him out of the room, his steps slow and halting.

The door slammed loudly, closing itself with a bang. The man jumped, startled, and clutched her arm as though he was trying to wrap himself around it.

She needed to get him away from there. He needed warmth, he needed light. ¡°We’ll have to walk.¡± Her voice carried the apology unspoken in her words. ¡°We can’t apparate in here.¡±

He nodded, and she got a flash of turbulent gray eyes through his curtain of dark hair. She felt a little relieved that he could at least hear her. Her shoulder brushed against his chest with every step, and she almost felt like she was going to fall over. She let him dictate the pace, and he walked almost as though he was a dream, each step hesitant and careful.

Her relief grew with each step. The further they got from that horrible room, the closer they got to people, to noise, to life¡­ The floor itself grew warmer, more inviting. Luna pulled her shoulders down from around her ears, taking a deep breath. ¡°We¡¯re almost there,¡± she told him, and she thought she saw another nod.

Shock greeted them when at last other people came into view. Horror and confusion twisted everyone¡¯s expressions, whispers and mutterings chasing them as they passed. People stopped and stared, flattening themselves against the walls in some cases, only to hurry away after Luna couldn¡¯t see them behind her.

Ron¡¯s red hair was always easy to see, rising above the crowd that drew in on them like waves encroaching on the shore. He came to a stop a few paces away, surprise on his face. ¡°Luna,¡± he whispered in disbelief, his wand half out of his robes. ¡°Is that who it looks like?¡±

She wasn¡¯t entirely sure who it looked like, but it didn¡¯t matter. ¡°This is a man who needs help,¡± she replied firmly.

The voices grew louder as the crowd grew. Luna could pick out a few words, but nothing that particularly made sense. Not until Kingsley¡¯s deep voice rose over all of them. ¡°Luna.¡±

Relief swept along her shoulders. She turned her face up to whisper to the man. ¡°There’s Kingsley now. He’ll know what to do for us.¡±

The people who had gathered parted for the Minister of Magic. He strode through them, dark eyes fixed on Luna¡¯s face like no one else was around. He came to a stop beside Ron, though he didn¡¯t reach for his wand. He looked between Luna and the man clutching her arm like he was assessing the situation, concern etched on his face. ¡°Yes, come back to my office,¡± he stated finally. ¡°Everyone, back to work please,¡± he told the crowd. ¡°We¡¯ll release a statement when we know what¡¯s going on.¡±

His robe swirled impressively as he turned back the way he¡¯d come. Ron fell in on the rescued man¡¯s other side, with a couple of aurors coming to walk behind them.?

Luna looked past Ron, her eyebrows drawing down in confusion. ¡°Why are you treating us like we¡¯re dangerous?¡± Ron had even finished pulling out his wand, holding it ready in his hand.

Ron¡¯s eyes widened as he blew a puff of air out from between his lips. ¡°Luna,¡± he started.

¡°Not here,¡± Kingsley cut in. He sounded troubled, even more than running everything usually made him.

Luna frowned, but she didn¡¯t question either of them further. Instead she patted the man¡¯s hand, trying to reassure him. ¡°We¡¯ll sort it out,¡± she said brightly, but he didn¡¯t respond.

They had to go up several levels to get to Kinglsey¡¯s office. People seemed to be expecting them before they got there, peering out of doors and huddled in knots along the sides of the corridor to stare and talk. Whoever this man was, he was creating quite a stir. As odd as they may have found her, Luna never got that kind of reaction on her own.

Kingsley seemed to relax as he admitted them into his office. A chair stood behind his sturdy, dark wood desk for him to sit in, though he didn¡¯t take his seat. He gestured to the pair of chairs opposite it.

Luna eyed the furniture dubiously. ¡°I don¡¯t think that¡¯ll work.¡± She¡¯d fix it herself, but she wasn¡¯t sure she could get to her wand.

Kingsley looked between them, at where the man clutched her tightly enough that his knuckles stood out in sharp white detail against his skin. With a flick of his wand, the chairs melded together into a small couch. ¡°It¡¯s not often I rearrange my office for my guests.¡± His aim for levity didn¡¯t get there, not with the troubled look in his eyes.

¡°We should sit down,¡± Luna murmured to the man, starting toward the couch. He sank down beside her, not daring to let her go.

The aurors took up positions around the couch, one on either side and Ron behind her. They were still behaving as though the man were dangerous, as though he¡¯d done anything but clutch at her like a frightened child.

Kingsley sat on the edge of his desk, folding his arms. He was quiet for a long moment as he stared at them, his expression unreadable. His attention focused on the man, flicking back and forth, recognition solidifying in his eyes as well as concern. ¡°Luna,¡± he began in that deep, careful voice. ¡°Where did you find a man who looks exactly like Sirius Black?¡±

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