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Author: Bitterfig
Title: A Picnic Near Alpha Centauri
Fandom: Crossover- Harry Potter/Sandman
Pairing; Luna Lovegood & Despair
Summary: When Luna is locked up during the war, Despair comes for her and finds herself a bit baffled by Miss Lovegood’s outlook.
Beta Reader: Fedink
Word Count: 1945
Rating: PG
Warnings: None
Author’s Note: Written for yuri_challenge  prompt: Sandman/Harry Potter Lovegood Luna/Despair Luna as an inadvertent avatar of Delirium attracts Despair's attention during the War. As it turns out it’s a bit more gen than femslash…

A Picnic Near Alpha Centauri


The manor house was grand, a regal thing bespeaking prosperity.  And yet the gloom of February seemed to have seeped into the place.  For all its opulence and beauty, the place stank of misery.


Despair felt quite at home within its walls. 


In the parlor she found the family that called the manor home – man, wife and child.  They were all of them proud and blond, wealthy, attractive, intelligent, noble of birth, pure of blood and wretchedly unhappy.  They were huddled together as the poorest family in a slum might huddle around their meager fire. 


The source of their misery was simply that they had attained everything they believed they had wanted.  Now it threatened to tear them apart. 


“You will lose your son,” Despair whispered to the woman.  “You’ve done everything in your power to protect him but to no avail.   You are helpless, powerless; you can only watch him die.” 


She moved on to the boy.


“Because you were weak, the Dark Lord is punishing your parents.  All your father has worked for so long will come to nothing because you failed in your task.  You have brought shame to the Malfoy name.” 


Then it was the father’s turn. 


“You foolish man, how very important you imagined yourself.  How little you matter in the end.  You loved a phantom more than your wife and child.  You sacrificed them to your ambitions.  Now they pay the price for your mistakes.”


The woman began to softly cry.  Her son hung his head.  Her husband clenched his fists in frustration.  All his wealth, all his power was worth nothing.  He had no help to offer them; he was helpless in the face of their desolation.   


Despair moved on.  She found no satisfaction in what she witnessed.  It only made the burden of her more hopeless, heavier.  That was what it was to be Despair.  


In the kitchen was a wretched, sniveling little man with a silver hand. 


“Mistress says take it to them,” a serving Elf said as she handed him a tray of bread and water. 


“Why can’t you do it?”  The man grumbled.


“Mistress says you, that you must make yourself useful.” The Elf said with smug conviction.   


Smarting, the man accepted the tray.


Despair took the form of a rat – naked of fur, bloated and pale as death.  She perched upon his shoulder and rode with him towards his destination, whispering in his ear.


“All you’ve risked, all you’ve done for Voldemort and he makes you the servant to his servant’s servants, taking orders from a House Elf.  No one appreciates you, no one gives you value.  The Dark Lord is no different than James Potter.  He doesn’t see all you have to offer.  Is there a curse upon you, will you always be overlooked, undervalued?  Will anyone ever see you?  Will anyone ever love you?”


Whimpering to himself, the little man carried Despair down twisting stairs deep into the manor’s cold, dark heart.  There he came to a door, locked and barred.  He pushed the tray though a slot beneath the door and Despair went along with it.  This was the place she belonged, deep down in the darkest depths. 


Inside the wretched cell were two wretched souls, an old man and a girl.  The man walked in the realm of Dream.  He slept, his grey head pillowed on the girl’s lap.  No matter, when he woke Despair would be waiting for him. 


For the time being, she turned her attention to the girl, poor thing.  Stored in the basement like a winter potato, she had grown pale as the moon.  Her long, yellowish hair hung lank and dirty, her thin dress offered little protection against the chill.


Her cheeks were sunken and her stomach growled with hunger yet she never moved towards the tray of food that had been deposited on the floor.  It would have woken the old man and she seemed to care for him, deeply and tenderly. 


What was the point of that, Despair wondered.  Why care for anyone, especially in a situation like this, where loss was inevitable? 


Though the girl would not see her, Despair instinctively took on a form familiar to her and became a bedraggled brown rabbit with matted fur, tattered ears and watery pink eyes.  She hopped up onto the girl’s shoulder and began to whisper in her ear. 


“How many months have you been trapped down here?” Despair asked the girl.  “Locked up in the dark hoping someone will save you.  You must know by now that no one is coming for you.  They’ve abandoned you, your father and all your so-called friends.  When you disappeared they were glad to be rid of you.  By now they’ve forgotten you entirely.  You’ll die here, in this dark and lonely place.”


A tear trickled down the girl’s wan cheek, then to Despair’s immense surprise she lifted the brown rabbit from her shoulder and cradled it in her arms. 


“Please little woman,” she pleaded, stroking the rabbit’s mangy fur. “Please don’t say such horrible things.”


“You can’t see me!  How can you see me?”  Despair squealed, flailing her rabbit legs wildly. 


“Hush, you’ll wake Mr. Ollivander.”  The girl said, carefully setting the wriggling bunny down beside her.  For a moment, the rabbit seemed to swell and turn inside out then Despair stood there in her true form, a naked little troll of a woman, pale and bloated as a dead fish’s belly.


“Why can you see me?”  Despair demanded.  “How did you know I was a woman and not a droopy bunny?”


“I know you,” the girl explained calmly.  “I’ve seen you before.  You were at my mother’s funeral.  I remember you went around the room, taking the shape of everyone’s Patronus and whispering to them.  I was little then and I didn’t have a Patronus yet so when you came to me you looked like you do now.  You told me my mother was gone forever and that I should have been a better daughter when she was alive.  You told me I should have done something to save her.  That wasn’t very nice of you, it upset me dreadfully.”


“You saw me then?  Why didn’t you say anything?  Why didn’t you let me know?”


“I’m very sorry if I was rude, but my Auntie was staying with us and she’d told me that I mustn’t talk to or about figments of my imagination.  Besides, I was frightened of you.  The things you said made me so sad and not just me, everyone you spoke to.” 


“That’s what I am little girl, sadness and regret.  To see me you must be an avatar, somehow linked to one of my siblings.”


“You don’t say, I’d always thought I was dreadfully ordinary.  Especially compared to my friends—Ginny’s ever so popular and good at sports, Ron and Hermione are both so clever in different ways, and then there’s Harry who’s rather messianic…” 


“I think you must be one of Delirium’s toys,” Despair snipped.  “In fact I’m quite certain of it.” 


“Who please is Delirium?”


“My sister, one of the Endless.”


“I’ve heard of the Endless,” the girl said.  “It was a story, a myth, but most stories are true in their own way.  Which of the Endless are you?” 


“Me?  I’m Despair.”


“And my name is Luna Lovegood.”


“Lunatic, lunacy, you’re definitely Delirium’s property,” Despair muttered.  “Well if my loopy sister’s picked you out, then she must have some plan for you.  Or whatever if is that passes for a plan in her cluttered head.  I’d best disappear.” 


“Oh please don’t go,” Luna said.  “Won’t you stay and keep me company for a little while?”


Despair scowled.


“Are you simple?”  She asked rather impolitely. 


“I don’t believe so; most people say I’m rather too complex.  Will you stay and talk to me?”


“Maybe you didn’t hear me, little Lunacy Lovegood.   I’m Despair.  I’m all your regrets, all your doubts, all your worst feelings made manifest.  I’m misery, anguish and emptiness.  I am desolation and the absence of hope.  No one welcomes Despair.  No one wants Despair to stay.” 


“I’m so sorry,” Luna said quietly.  “That must be very lonesome for you.” Again, Despair was taken by surprise. 


“Everyone is alone, always.”  Despair finally said.  “I only remind them of it.” 


Tentatively, Luna laid her hand on Despair’s shoulder. 


“I don’t know that it makes a difference,” she said.  “But I was rather glad to see you again.”


“Why would you be glad to see me again if the last time you saw me was when your mother died?”


“When my mother died I was sadder then I’d ever been in all my life,” Luna said.  “I didn’t think I would never laugh or smile again.  Even my best memories of my mother only made me feel alone.  I thought I would never be happy again, but somehow I have been.  It took a long time but the bad feelings stopped being so strong.  After a while I could remember my mother and feel warm and glad to have known her.  Seeing you reminded me of that.”


“Of feeling bad?”


“Of eventually feeling better.  I don’t like being locked in this dungeon, but it will get better.” 


“You might die here,” Despair suggested. 


“I will die,” Luna admitted.  “It might not be here, it might not be for a long time but someday, I will die.  Everyone does, don’t they, except perhaps those who are endless.  Most things are meant to die.  I’ve always thought that whatever power or person gave us life intends for us to die.  And since I’ve always felt, deep down inside, that this power or person is kind I can’t believe that death can be all bad.”


“What an odd creature you are,” Despair said.  “So much like my sister.” 


“You sound as though you miss her.”


“I do.  Once we balanced each other, Delight and Despair, but since she became Delirium she has wandered off in her own direction.  These last few centuries it seems as though our family has broken into fragments.  Delirium has changed so much, Destruction has left us altogether, and Dream has gotten himself killed and become another person entirely (not that I can fault him, as I did the same thing once myself).  We will never be together again, as we once were.” 


“Were you happy then?”


“I have never been happy,” Despair answered. 


“But there must be times that are better than others.”


“Perhaps.”  In the recesses of her mind she found herself thinking of those rare times when they had all been together, her brothers and sisters, the Endless.  Destiny raising an eyebrow as Delight (who later became Delirium) reeled into him, Dream lost in his own thoughts while Death teased and Desire flirted with them both.  She and Destruction watching, not speaking but somehow attuned to each other as they always were.  After all, Despair and Destruction went hand in hand.  It hadn’t been happiness per se but it had been belonging. 


“There have been times,” Despair said.  “Times when I was less alone, when I felt like I was a part of something beyond what I am.  Those times were not so bad as most.”


“Tell me please,” the girl said.  “I’d like to hear about those times that were not as bad as most for you.”


Despair sat down on the dungeon floor beside the strange, delirious girl.  She was Despair yet she felt almost welcome.


“I remember once,” she began.  “It was around 3,000 years ago.  Death took it into her head that we should have a picnic near Alpha Centauri…” 


( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jun. 10th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
I'm not that familiar with the Sandman fandom, but that didn't matter. I love this piece of fic all the same. And Luna is simply awesome^_^
Jun. 11th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much.
Jun. 11th, 2008 01:52 am (UTC)

I've never read any of the Sandman books but this worked beautifully even so! I can just see Luna comforting Despair... So sweet and sad and lonely and Luna.

Did you by any chance read holyfant's recent ficlet about Eris? This reminded me of that quite a lot.


Jun. 12th, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm so pleased you liked it. I haven't read the Eris ficlet, I'll have to check it out. Classical mythology is one of my first loves, I used to get in trouble in 3rd grade for reading my book of Greek myths under my desk during math class.
(no subject) - mickawber_fics - Jun. 12th, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 11th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
I love it!

You know, it'll be really cool if you had a spin off from this, I've seen few a few with Luna and the Endless and they're all very interesting especially since most of them have her meeting Delirium or Death.
Jun. 12th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, I'm glad you liked it. It would be neat to do another Harry Potter/Sandman crossover. I was thinking maybe something where Snape and Tonks meet Dream and Delirium.
Jun. 11th, 2008 03:47 am (UTC)

a Sandman/HP crossover!

and so well-written, too. the characters are totally believeable, and i love your descriptions.

Luna is just the most adorable young lady.
Jun. 12th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I'm really pleased to know you liked it.
(no subject) - traumsprache - Jun. 12th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 11th, 2008 05:20 am (UTC)
Well done, great characterization all around.
Jun. 12th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Jun. 11th, 2008 07:01 am (UTC)
This is just wonderful! Luna is very true, here, emotional but unswerving and full to the brim with knowledge and the longing for knowledge. It does not surprise me in the least that Despair would be present in that manor of deception and failure, but her strange bonding with Luna was just lovely.
Jun. 12th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I'm glad you liked it.
Jun. 11th, 2008 10:45 am (UTC)
Despair and Luna!

How awesome. This is too cool.
Jun. 12th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked it.
Jun. 11th, 2008 11:42 am (UTC)
Luna -> lunacy -> delirium! Clever way to tie Luna into the endless. Entertaining read!
Jun. 12th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much.
Jun. 11th, 2008 01:01 pm (UTC)
I loved the hell out of this. My two favorite characters from their respective fandoms, even! :-) And the last line is pure awesome.
Jun. 12th, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading and commenting, I'm glad you liked it.
Jun. 11th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
Memorable. And I did enjoy reading this. Your Luna is both extraordinary and 'real'. Well written.
Jun. 12th, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much.
Jun. 11th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
Perfect. the voices for both characters are just spot on. Great Job!
Jun. 12th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much.
Jun. 12th, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)
Wonderful! It would certainly take a girl like Luna to befriend Despair.
Jun. 12th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I'm glad to know you liked it.
Jun. 14th, 2008 03:47 am (UTC)
GREAT fic! I really liked the setup/progression from the Malfoys to Pettigrew to Luna. And what a great crossover idea!
Jun. 14th, 2008 12:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked it. I don't do a lot of crossover writing but Sandman is one of those universes that's really perfect for combining with other fandoms because the primary characters are so timeless and enigmatic.
Jun. 20th, 2008 06:42 pm (UTC)
Despair is such a great character and concept, and you really dealt with her well here - how poignant she is when set against the HP characters!
Jun. 21st, 2008 10:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and commenting. This is one of those pairings that's so offbeat and such a challenge I had to give it a try when I saw the prompt.
Jul. 22nd, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
Wow, what an amazing idea! Someone just reced your fics to me and this is the first one of them that I've read. Looks like the first of many!
Jul. 24th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I hope you find lots more stories you enjoy.
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( 42 comments — Leave a comment )

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