Author's Note: This ficlet uses pronouns excessively. Just a warning.
The characters are easy to discern, so I don't think you'll have a problem.
If all events left their impression on wood, then I would be tattooed from core to bough. Alas, such a frivolous idea is not true. Touch that knot right there – yes, that one – and sit if you want to hear the many chronicles of my past. Ah, thank you. I've had such a terrible itch there, and it has been making my young boughs fly about wildly. Really, they need to learn a thing or two about patience. It is a virtue you know. However, sit comfortably now, and make sure Albus doesn't catch you out here. He is a bit wary around me these days. Now, listen to the breeze carefully... It has much to tell. You would never believe how gossipy it is though.
Today, I remember one event very clearly. It was almost as if it happened yesterday... But I won't tire you with such meaningless accounts. I will tell you that it wasn't too long ago. An age to you perhaps, ten to twenty years ago, during the Second War. Or even a few years before that. I can't quite remember. I'm getting old you know. I don't have as much energy as I used to. Nothing will fix old age – not even that bloody Gilderoy Lockhart and his heathen methods. Professor Sprout is a much of an expert on Herbology than he was...
Excuse me; I'm digressing, aren't I? Sorry. I have so much to tell. One day melds into another and a year into the next... The same happens to me. I just keep going. I know much though, don't doubt me on that. Do you see that young lady over there, Professor Hermione Granger, teaches Arithmancy now I believe... Anyway, I've known her since she first came to Hogwarts. Yes, yes, I know... that seems a long time ago. She's pretty young though, you know. Mid-twenties. I remember the first time she visited me. It was with her famous friends. It was terribly exciting, I think. It was like one of those... those... what do you call them? Ah, yes. Muggle soap operas. It had everything! Betrayal, drama, etcetera. Unfortunately, the villain got away. I suppose that's the price of adventure.
Well, this story starts even before the first rise of the Dark Lord – Voldemort, wasn't it? – in the year 1971. There was this lovely boy who used to visit me every month. It was hardly a pleasant visit though. Always business. I never could convince him to stay longer. But that was expected. You see, this lovely boy – an extremely intelligent Gryffindor, by the way – had this dreadful illness.
I remember the first time I met him, very clearly. It was a beautiful night. The sky seemed to be covered with a layer of thick, black velvet with punched holes of minute sizes within it to let in the sparkling light we call stars. A younger Madame Pomfrey was hustling a sickly child toward my body. The woman abruptly darted forward to touch the knot, stilling my flailing branches. The little boy – a first year at the time – stepped forward unsurely. His sad, gray eyes flickered toward a luminous, swelling orb suspended from the luxurious of night. Grim resignation and utter melancholy emanated off of the boy. It was as if he felt he was going to die. And as I soon found out, he did. Every month, every single full moon. It was heart-breaking.
He had three friends. Three wonderful friends who adored and accepted him. And all he ever wanted was acceptance... and love. And both he received with his group of friends, the infamous, closely knit Marauders. I must say, they all complemented one another very well. Still, they weren't enough to alleviate his fear of having his fragile existence shattered. And that's why he had started coming. He began sneaking out at night to solemnly sit next to me. The boy always gazed at the sky wistfully, as if wondering if one day he would find be able to gaze upon a full moon. I always kept silent for him. His was a delicate boy and needed his space. Anyway, he wouldn't have heard me. No one ever does. Not even you, child.
Well, days melded into weeks, into months, and finally into years. He grew up into a fine young man. It was a pity sorrow marred much of his life. I remember him going to the coaches, ready to ride back to the train. The unsure boy I once knew was ready to start a new chapter of his life. Then the young man did the last thing I expected him to do. He looked at me and smiled
You're probably wondering the relevance of this memory in the overall story. I assure you, it's very important. The past and future are all related, you know.
Many people have visited me over the years; most of them are frightened. It was saddening, and still is. Rejection is a tough thing to bear. The young man understood that fact quite well. Some of us live in glass orbs – orbs that can be shattered by a wrong movement. The next person to realize this visited me for the first time in 1992, I believe.
She was a sweet, young thing with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was someone whom everybody should have loved. But they didn't. Maybe it was because her hair was a bit limp and cut unevenly, or it could have even been because her caring blue eyes bulged a little when she was excited. Either way, she learned rejection quite fast. No one wanted to be around her – she was too odd, too different. She wasn't made from the same, cheap plastic mold that shaped all the others. This girl was much better.
The sweet, sweet girl used to sneak out at night to bask in the moonlight. She never minded my swinging boughs, and the boughs never minded her. She was tied to nature, just as I was rooted to the ground. Her blue eyes would always stare up at her namesake, absorbing the magnificent spectacle of the swelling moon. The picture she painted was so pure and innocent that I always wished I could preserve it.
She was only twelve when the young man came back. He was still young for a wizard, though his outwardly appearance was worn. She didn't care. The girl adored his class, enjoying the variety creatures displayed. Some were common, others strange enough to hold a candle to a Crumple-Horned Snorkack. Not that she ever saw one of course, but if one exists in some part of the world, I'm sure it must look quite odd. The young man took note of the girl. She was like him – so isolated, even more so than he was at school. It broke his heart. No person should ever have to suffer isolation or even taunting as she did. But he couldn't reach out – he was a professor, so much older than her, too old to be her friend. She was a female and he was a male; suspicion would arise for no apparent reason. It was different with Harry. Harry he knew, at least a little bit. As you may very well know, his last full moon at the school waxed and waned in a horribly dramatic fashion. The strange, vague second year was no longer on his mind.
When my boy left for the second time, he came to me. I admit, his presence surprised me greatly. After all, during the years I had given more than a few good thwacks to the rear. He simply stared at me for moments, his eyes distant. Abruptly he became alert and gave an almost wistful half-smile. "She comes here, doesn't she? Dangerous place..." He shook his head slightly and continued. "She's a good person," the man murmured to me. "This is ridiculous. I'm chatting away amicably with a tree." A bemused expression appeared on his face as he turned around and walked away.
I still haven't gotten to the meat of the story, have I? Well, that's what you get for coming to an old chatterbox like me. I haven't had anyone to talk to in a long time, so I do tend to get excited and get off on a tangent.
Though as odd as it may have seemed, I had a sneaking suspicion that my boy fancied her. After all, she seem to be on his mind often. I never felt so happy for him. There was finally a person to make his days brighter. Oh, I know what you were thinking – that he was a perverted man lusting over an innocent little girl. You're wrong though! I mentioned your Professor Granger earlier; do you know who she's married to? Severus Snape, that's what, so shush. Now, where was I?
The young girl visited me soon after he left, babbling joyfully about the trip she would go on during summer hols with her father. Suddenly she stopped and leaned back on my trunk as she usually did. "I'm going to miss him," she said to me. "He was always nice to me. And... and I don't know why, but my stomach always felt a bit funny whenever I was around him. I wonder if I have the stomach flu. Papa always said that trekking so much could cause that..." I couldn't help but smile. It would be nice to see how this innocent crush would develop by the time she was in her seventh year.
She came to me at least once a year after that to confide in me. Her fourth year she solemnly walked up to my side and sat now. Her soft blue eyes were more distant usual. "Harry's godfather disappeared. Sirius Black. Fell into the Veil. He's with my mum now, I think." A bittersweet smile tugged at her lips. "I could hear the voices too." She plucked a blade of grass from the ground and twisted it between her fingers. "Mr. Lupin was there too. Poor man. He looked like he needed a hug."
What happened next was utterly cliché, but it definitely tugged at my heartwood. Remus, my dear child, stepped out from the passageway at that moment. "Luna! What are you doing here? You could get hurt!" he said sternly, his voice full of palpable worry. Only a man like him would put his sorrow aside for someone else.
"I was thinking about things Professor," she murmured dreamily, the blade of twisted grass still clutched in her hand. Abruptly she stood up and pulled the man into a tight hug. I could tell he was surprised because he tensed immediately at her touch. With boyish awkwardness, he returned the hug. The girl smiled brightly, "Doesn't that feel better Professor?" She let go of him and slipped her hand into his boldly.
"Thank you," he murmured his face flushing as he squeezed her hand gently. "I needed that." She smiled benignly and nodded. It was almost as if their relationship had transformed in that second. "Call me Remus, please." With that, they began to walk towards the castle. Remus looked back at me moments later, his intelligent eyes regaining some of their former sparkle. They almost expressed a silent 'thank you.' My boughs thrashed loudly in response.
They visit me occasionally now. Remus isn't ostracized anymore and isa very respected authornow, from what I've heard, and Luna is well on her way to being a brilliant Unspeakable. They have a baby named James, I think, and so far he hasn't shown any wolfish tendencies. He's a darling little child with his father's brown hair and his mother's blue eyes... You should have seen him toddling about yesterday! Oops! Sorry again. I do get distracted...
All's well that ends well, don't you agree?
Oh deary me. It's almost suppertime! You ought to hurry to the Great Hall now, before a professor catches you! I've been told that Severus hasn't been in a good mood since he found a toad in his soup yesterday. Hurry along now! And come back again! What story will I tell next? Err, well, let's see. Ah, I know!
Next time, I'll tell you about the great, and superbly secret, Slytherin-Gryffindor romance of Pansy Parkinson and Ronald Weasley...
Author's Note: (winces) I thought it would be cool to have
a story told from an odd point of view. In this case, it's the
Whomping Willow and the coupling is Remus/Luna, a somewhat unique ship.
However, this didn't turn out as good as I would have liked it so I would really, really
appreciate it if I received constructive criticism. I might revise it and add some stuff later.
That being said, I hope you enjoyed it somewhat, and I'm not lying when I'm saying that I am still writing Tiger Lily. It's just going... slow.
Happy Belated Easter to those who celebrated it.
Reviews are lovely. ;)