The fairy's kiss
When Fenrir Greyback decides to go after a young witch, named after the moon, he encounters something more terrible even than himself. Something that will come back to haunt him years afterwards. Characters belong to Rowling.
Even if she had been rather young at the time - no more than two or three years old - Luna remembered it quite clearly. She had been sitting on the kitchen rug - the blue and orange one - playing with her wooden snorkack, and her mother had been sitting by the table, doing some kind of mummy-stuff and humming for herself. Her father had been out in the living room, by the fireplace. What Luna remembered most clearly was the moment when he had finished talking and joined them in the kitchen. She had looked up from her game to smile at him, and then she had seen how worried he had been. Luna could still remember, if she concentrated, the frowning lines in his face, the lips, tightly pressed together, and the fear in his eyes. She had been scared herself - scared as only a child can be - because daddy was never frightend. He was the bravest man there ever was. He wasn't afraid to write the true things about the bad people in the ministry, he wasn't afraid of going to windy mountains or hot caves to look for snorkacks or heliopaths, he wasn't even afraid of checking the garden bushes for nargles; but now he was frightend, and it scared Luna wittless.
Her father had picked her up and hugged her and told her not to cry, so she had tried not to, and then her mother had came over to them and asked him what was wrong.
"Arthur flood," her father had said, "to warn us that he is in the area, that we should keep inside... especially since it's full moon tonight." And then he had said a name that Luna still remembered, that she still was a bit frightened of since it had made her daddy so very scared.
Her mother had not been afraid at all. She had been cross, and that was a fearful sight. Luna had been a bit weary, because her mother was almost never cross. But it had been reasuring even so. She knew then that the big bad wolf wouldn't scare daddy anymore. Mummy wouldn't let him.
- - -
He grinned eagerly for himself. The night was beautiful, with cold, clear air and tiny whisps of cloud on the starlit sky. The moon would soon rise and the beast would wake up. It would be a fine night's hunting.
How he had laughed when he had read the little note about the child in the paper. What kind of child was named after the moon? What kind of parents thought up a name like that? Not that Fenrir minded, though. It was exactly the small coincidenses like this that made life so fun. He looked forward for the morning, when he would read the paper again and see what the night had brought - if the wolf had swallowed the moon or not. It would be a real treat having the moon-child running in his pack, but he would settle for her being killed, if the beast demanded it.
He saw the warm light from the house, and silently sneaked closer. He wanted to be as close as possible when he transformed. The wood was silent, except from the sound of broken twigs and crunching leaves where he walked. Some kind of nightly insects were buzzing around, just out of sight. Fenrir swatted inefficiently after them a few times, but they didn't botter him much. A thin mist moved slowly over the ground, giving the forest an almost surreal feeling. He could see the house outlined now, it was just in the edge of the forest - ridicously easy to sneak up on. He...
There was a woman standing in the forest, no more than ten steps away from him. Fenrir had all but walked into her without noticing. She was facing away from him, however, and didn't seem to have seen him. She stood with her face turned upwards to the dark sky, dressed in a lose, green dress, with her long, silverblond hair hanging free. Her skin was pale and her feets were bare . She seemed to be humming something for herself. Fenrir stared at her for a moment. She seemed so unreal, almost eterial, where she stood in the mist; like a ghost or a spirit. But his nose told her that she was real enough. He started to grin. Seemed like he would have something to... occupy himself with before the beast woke up. Slowly, carefully, he started to sneak towards the woman.
He hadn't walked more than three paces when the buzzing whatever-it-was increased. Mist seemed to raise around him, and suddenly the smells were all... weird. He forced himself not to curse, not to give himself away.
"Yes, I can see him," the woman said with a voice like tinkling bells. But there was an edge to it. She turned around and looked up at Fenrir with a stern expression in an otherwise beautiful, if yet remarkably oblong face. Her eyes were large and silvery. He was at least a head taller than her.
"So, you are the beast," she said disaprovingly. "I heard news of you, and I felt you in my forest. I bid you to leave." Fenrir, for a moment, taken aback, grinned at her - a nasty grin with too many teeth.
"Ah, but are you sure that's what you want, toots?" he asked and licked his lips meaningfully. "You don't know what you're missing."
"I have asked you once," she said with a singsong quality in her voice. But the voice was cold, nevertheless.
"I think," he said, and his grin was a sneer now," that it's time for you to meet a real man."
He took a step forward, measuring her with his gaze, and the air became alive. It was filled by insects, biting and stinging. Filled by branches and twigs, whiping in his face. Filled by pieces of bark, flying around him, hitting him. With a curse he took a step backwards, svatting like mad at the things that surrounded him, and suddenly they weren't there anymore. It was just the mist, the stars and the woman who regarded him with a meaningful little smile on her lips, her hands resting on her hips. She hadn't flinched the least.
"A real man is a man who wears his own skin," she said. "And I bid you to leave."
"That's a nastly little trick," he said, panting. "You shouldn't do that to people. Someone might be... hurt, you know."
A moth flew through the air, and the woman held up a finger for it, smiling fondly when it circled it and fluttered on. She appeared to have forgotten all about Fenrir.
"You live here then?" he asked, frustrated over her lack of interest in him. "You're the moonchild's mother, aren't you? Terrible if something were to happen her, don't you agree?"
"I have asked you twize..." she said detachedly, still following the moth with her gaze.
"So you can damned well kiss your little girlie goodbye," he sneered. "And, tell you what, unless you run REALLY fast you'll get a nasty surprise as soon as the moon gets out from the clouds. Can you hear what I'm saying?" The last worlds were shouted, and the woman turned to him with large, proturbant eyes reflecting the stars.
"I can hear you quite clearly, you know," she said, "and I do bid you to leave, Mister beast. You are not welcome here."
"Damned if I care," he snarled and threw himself forward. Insects or no insects, the woman was getting on his nerves.
"I have asked you thrice!" she screamed, and the wrath of the winter storms were in her voice. In the depth of her large, unblinking eyes, the full moon burnt like St. Elmo's fire in an otherwise dead ocean, burnt like lighting over uncharted mountains. He felt the air thickening around him, felt it like he was pushing through water. When he tried to move his legs, he felt grass and creepers winding around them, fetter him to the ground. On the night sky, the full moon burnt, but its rays didn't reach him. The woman walked up to the struggling man and placed a cold hand - far colder than a hand should have been - on his chin. And in that moment, Fenrir wondered how he could ever have mistaken her for a human.
"I have asked you thrice," she repeated in a calm but deadly voice. "I have asked you to leave me and my daugther, and thus you will. Never again, Mister beast, will you raise hand or paw against my child." Fenrir found himself unable to turn away his gaze from her. She bent forward and touched his cheek with her lips. The kiss was light as a feather, but it burnt his skin like boiling iron. He couldn't scream, though, trying as he might. The woman stood back with an expression of satisfaction.
"You came to me, to my home and to my place of power," she sternly said, and mist arose around her. "You threatend my daugther with moonlight; but at this place the moonlight answers to me. To come here, Mister beast, was not wise. Not wise at all."
Fenrir tried to open his mouth to answer; to curse and threat; but as the woman had finished speaking, the darkness that covered him was scattered and the light of the full moon hit him with full force. He screamed, or tried to scream, as the curse came upon him, as the beast rose inside him. But it wasn't his beast anymore. It wasn't his strength. While the beast he harbored inside him was a mockery, a parody of mankind and nature alike; half controlable and usable; what arose in him now was the real beast; untamable and unusalbe as the moon itself. It was the wolf, not the manwolf, and the wolf had no intention of being used. He ran, ran for his life through the night, with the laughter of fairies in his ears.
- - -
"I'm scared," he had said, and she had looked at him with those silvery, never-blinking eyes of her, and she had touched his cheek.
"It's all right to be scared, you know," she had answered with the dreamy voice he would never get tired of listening to. "Otherwise, we wouldn't know when we have to be brave, and then we might miss it. You wouldn't want that, would you?"
No, he had answered, and he knew it was true. He didn't want to miss the chance to prove himself, to protect his friends and to fight those who had harmed his family. She had said that it made sense, because he was a hero, and he had been very confused then, because he wasn't. Ginny was a Hero, Hermione and Ron were Heroes. And Harry definately was a Hero. But he wasn't. She had smiled and not said anything more.
But she had kissed him.
Luna's kiss had still burnt on Neville's lips when he had raised his wands to fight the death eaters that had invaded the castle.
- - -
How he had enjoyed himself, inside Dumbledore's castle at last, with all those tender little children. He had fought with Dumbledores guards and felt the beast howl within him. He had defeated the curse-breaker, and his blood had burned in his mouth. Ah, he had nearly feasted on Dumbledore himself, but the traitor hadn't let him. Oh well, one of these days that snob would be taught a lesson. He didn't care for him anymore than he cared for the other snobs. But they were useful. They protected him when the moon was waining, and the gave him pray when the moon was full. They thought of him as a dog, an unstable dog, perhaps, to be hold on short leash, but nevertheless a faithful dog.
They would learn one of these days how futile it is to try to tame a wolf. Learn it the hard way.
When he had seen Potter he had glefully jumped at him. The boy the Dark Lord feared would be a nice treat indeed. They had been alone - Potter's friends had been either ockupied or brought down, and Fenrir prepared for the feast. But when they had struggled, he had looked up, for just a moment. He had sensed an old fear comming over him, a scent that he thought he had forgotten, even if it had lingerd just outside his conciusness all the time. And he had seen him.
The boy had been lying on the floor, panting and bleading. He had reaked of fear and doubt. He looked nothing but a bumbling little fool. Children like him never join the pack, even if they were bitten. They were food for the wolves.
But on his lips the fairy's kiss had burnt.
He had raised his wand with a shaking hand, he had pointed it at Fenrir, and suddenly the songs of the Fair People, up to that moment a silent whisper, had become a raging tornade, deep in his soul. It tore through his brain, it boiled his blood. It screamed at him, mocked him, taunted him. Yelled about a wolf chained up, about a beast tamed, about the lure of the wild, forever and ever and ever without his reach. He cried out in hatered and rage and fear and pain, cried like a kicked dog.
The curse of the boy hit him like a sleigthhammer, but he could just as well had pointed a stick for all that Fenrir could resist what burnt on his lips. Fenrir collapsed on the floor, and he knew that the time he had borrowed was at an end. He knew that the curse of the fairy's kiss had found him at last, and that he would never again run as a beast under the full moon.
The moon swallowed the wolf.