A look back at that sad day when Luna was nine. Characters belong to Rowling.
The soul of this pitiless place
With pitiless magic has bound you
Ah! woe for the loss of your face
And the loss of your laugh with its lightness
Ah! woe for your wings and your head
Ah! woe for your eyes and their brightness
Ah! woe for your slippers of red
Come away while the moon's in the woodland
We'll dance and then feast in a dairy
Though youngest of all in our good band
You are wasting away, little fairy
- William Butler Yeats -
"You are wasting away, little fairy," he dryly remarked.
"That's rather observant of you, you know," she absentmindedly answered, busy with examining her hands, watching for the first signs of disappearing.
"Which means that I win, and you lose," he went on and stifled a yawn. "As easily predicted from the outset."
"I wasn't aware that we played a game," she mildly retorted. He arched an eyebrow.
"You tried to destroy me, if you recall."
"And now you have killed me, which puts us on even footing, I would say."
"With the somewhat striking difference that while you are the one dying, I'm the one still living."
"Oh, all right, let's say that you won." she generously admitted, "even if I would say it is a somewhat academic question whether or not you are actually living, considering this thing with your soul and all..."
"A divided soul is a strength, not a weakness," he stated. The blond woman shrugged in a non-committal gesture.
"Anyway, I'm sure we could have worked out our differences," she concluded. He snorted.
"Oh, you seriously think that I would have let you just stroll away and spread my secret for the winds?"
"Why not? It's not like you will manage to keep it hidden for long anyway. You do know that your body is gone, don't you?" He gave her a sharp look.
"Yes, so much I've been able to conclude. But not the circumstances. Tell me," he commanded. "Who had the power to defeat the most powerful wizard in the world?" She put a finger on her lips with a little smile and shook her head.
"Don't wanna tell you," she said. His eyes narrowed.
"I will find out, and I will restore myself to my full power again."
"You do that," she said absentmindedly and held up her hand again.
"Can you see any difference?" she curiously asked. The pale, dark-haired man glanced at her fair skin.
"Who knows? Why are you so eager to be gone anyway? Most people try to cling to their last moments, not rush them."
"I suppose you should know," she sadly said. She looked down at her cold, lifeless body on the ground and smiled a bit wistfully at the young girl by its side. "I really thought I was on to something this time, you know."
"Finding the necklace was clever," he admitted. "I had hid it well."
"It was not easy - but that only made me more interested... there are so few of Rowena's heirlooms left nowadays, you know."
"I'm fully aware of that."
"So you can imagine how excited I was when I found traces of a living soul in it, traces of dark magic, traces of..."
"Of me," he filled in. "Of course I can. Curiosity and naivety is tools that are only too easy to use, after all."
"I can agree on that," she said with a glance at her daughter. He followed her gaze.
"Oh, the poor girl," he taunted.
"It's the duty of every child to bury their parents," she said with a little sigh.
"On that, we can agree," he said and glanced at his left hand.
"She's a good child," the woman said with pride in her voice. "Clever and polite as anything. When I'm gone, she will still be carrying a piece of me inside her. That's true immortality, you know - the kind that is worth having."
"I'm aware of the theory," he smirked, "and to me it sounds like an awfully convenient way for poor, dying fools to comfort themselves. Children are not immortality, they are just parasites that scavenges the space you leave empty."
"I think that if you had truly understood how marvellous it is to be human, you wouldn't have tried so hard to become something else," she mildly remarked. He gave her an amused look.
"Really - look who's talking. If you were so content with what you had, why are you not out there fooling around in the mist and singing silly songs about flowers? Why did you leave the place that was given you?"
"Fair point," she admitted. She stretched in a leisureful fashion. "Curiosity, I suppose. Or love, perhaps." She smiled at her daughter. "Her father is a very handsome man, you know."
"How comes weak people always fall back on love?" he said to the air. She giggled ever so slightly. ""How comes people that look down on love always think they are strong?"
"You know," she went on with curious voice. "If you truly didn't want to die, why did you not just go the mist and the moonlight? They would have welcomed a pretty face such as yours in the Dance, actually."
"An eternity as plaything to flower fairies is not my idea of immortality," he said dismissively. "Fairly better than being a ghost. I will keep my death at bay myself."
"Well, that's up to you, I'm sure. How come you still lingers here anyway? Not that I mind the company, but somehow I got the impression that you wasn't very interested in me."
"I'm bored," he shrugged. "Talking to you is marginally more interesting than just waiting."
"While the other part of your soul is out, having all kind of fun with your body... makes you wonder, really." He snorted.
"You can't turn me against myself, little fairy. We are one and the same."
"But still you are the one that is bored," she said with an innocent smile.
"But still, you are the one that is dying," he retorted. "You do realize that, don't you?"
"I have lived a full life," she proudly said. "I have had a man that loved me, and that I loved back. I have raised a wonderful daughter. I have taken space in the world - and now I am to leave it. What is death other than the final confirmation that what you had was worth having? I have choosen to live as a human, and now I'm going to die as one. My death is my choice, and I wouldn't part with it for anything in the world. Anyway, it's not as though I'll never see her again, is it?"
"What do you mean?" he sharply said.
"The veil," she said, and for once she gave him her full attention. "Have you seen it? Have your spliced soul brought you close enough to the edge?"
"I have no idea what weird things you are talking about," he said. She shrugged.
"Oh, well. You will see, eventually." His eyes narrowed
"Perhaps I will pay your pretty little daughter a visit, once you are gone. Such a curious child might be open to... suggestions." She nodded solemnly.
"Yes, I suppose the two of you will meet, one day. But it won't be yet. I have hidden Rowena's necklace from her where she won't find it until she has grown up. If you face her again, it will be as a woman, not as a little girl, and by then she will be able to make her own choices."
"I can wait," he said, the threat in his voice obvious. She gave him a pitying look.
"Life is not a fight," she said, and her eyes were wide. "Life is not a struggle, it's not something you have to endure. Life is a glorious summer's day, when the insects dance and the grass smells rich and nice and the sun is kissing the world with love, and you yourself is part of it all. Don't fear the night just because you enjoy the day."
"The night you're entering is not followed by a new day," he said, and he couldn't quite prevent himself to shudder ever so slightly.
"The night is beautiful too!" she said, and then she glanced at her hand again.
"It's time for you to go back to your prison now," she sighed. "It was most enjoyable talking to you, you know, but my time is running out, and my last moments are not for you."
"It was mildly entertaining," he said and stifled a yawn. The woman bent forward and gave him a light kiss on his pale chin.
"I don't mind dying," she said with serious voice. "Perhaps you will have lived enough not to mind it either, when it is your turn to go."
And when she turned to her daughter, there was no pale, dark haired man in the room any longer.
"Luna, my love," she said with a warm, comforting voice. "I'm going now to a place where you can't follow me just yet. I'm sad for you, but I'm happy to go. My death makes my life worthy and full, you know, as nothing else could have done. I want you to live and love, and to claim your own space in the world - just as I have done. Cry as long as you wish, my child, but don't forget to be happy. Never cease to enjoy the marvel that is life, and never cease to enjoy the marvel that is you. Remember all the songs I taught you. Sing for the world and listen to the song that the world sings to you. I'm sorry to leave you behind, my Luna, but I promise to wait for you, my love, just beyond the veil..."
She bent down, and her ghostly lips touched her daughter's forehead in a fading, tender kiss.
Luna sat on the floor with running tears, holding her mother's cold hand. All around her, the Fair People gathered, silently watching their dead sister with large, confused and nonunderstanding eyes.