From when I was little, I had always found it fascinating, and a little frustrating, that the moon – seemingly no bigger that a pearl when I admired it from between my fingers – was never able to be within my reach.
When she was alive, my mum used to tell me stories about the moon. About how the muggles used to say that there was a man who lived on it or that it was made of cheese and other silly tales. She said that they were terribly mis-informed because it was in fact, made of little creatures called pimflies that glowed at night. The man they spoke of was actually a very powerful warlock who very bravely caught millions of pimflies – they had a nasty sting when touched – and kept them in a magical lantern in hopes that the glow at night, would one day lead his love to find her way to him.
At this point, mum would always look a little sad. She said that his lover was long dead and that not even a beautiful glow would help her find her way back from where she slept. Mum said his wait would be an eternal one, but he would not give up. As proof, no matter what changed, the moon would always be there. When his willpower weakened, the moon waned, but when he yet again strengthened his resolution, it bloomed full and bright again.
Mum loved that story.
I also once heard a story from my father that it was a wad of the most delicious cotton candy that anyone would ever taste, if they managed to snag it from its perch. But you see, there was so much magic surrounding the moon that it could not possibly be tamed by magic. There were no known spells nor any that could be invented.
After careful inspection, I came to my own conclusion; that sitting among a bed of diamonds in blue velvet, it could only be a gem.
The biggest and most precious.
Its beauty left me breathless. I wanted it.
Night after night I spent concocting plans, thinking up schemes and the like. I would not be outdone. Up till my seventh year at school, I was still trying to reach it. I spent many nights in one of the highest points of the school, the astronomy tower, gazing at it, fishing rod in hand and a bowl of water. Why? Well, because the moon was reflected in it. The water would act as a gateway, and if I fished in the bowl of water, then soon the hook would reach my target, and pull it through.
Anyway, it was a particularly beautiful night, quiet, and I was just settling into my usual corner in the astronomy tower when he came in. I heard footsteps but I paid them no mind.
"What do you think you're doing Loony?" he said in his most imposing voice. Could he not see the fishing rod in my hand, I wondered? What I was doing should have been obvious.
"Nothing. And you?"
"I'm doing rounds and no one is supposed to be out past ten," he said, teeth gritted and hands folded.
"You're in here," I pointed out.
"No one that's not a prefect."
"Alright," I replied and looked back into my bowl. Tonight felt like a night when luck smiled and would surely bless me.
When I realized he was still standing there I looked to him curiously.
"Well?" he said.
"Well what?" I asked.
I should say by now that this incredibly rude boy was none other than Blaise Zabini, Slytherin and a very intimidating figure. Tall, and angry looking with his arms folded.
"I want you out," he replied plainly, narrowing his eyes so that they very nearly became one and pointing his finger to the direction of the door.
I smiled. "Why?"
Here, he clenched his fist and his mouth barely moved when he replied. "Because, I told you it's after hours and everyone should be in bed."
"But tonight I may very well capture it tonight."
He came closer to me, looking around at his feet. "Knowing you it might be some weird, invisible shi – what in Merlin's name are you doing?" I could see him holding back at first but then he released his laughter, loudly and unkindly.
I was hurt but apparently he couldn't tell because he carried on. "How many fish have you caught out of that bowl then Looney?" He bent down, staring in and right past my pearl.
"Fish? Why would I try to catch fish from here? That's ridiculous. I'm trying to capture the moon."
His eyes opened wide and he stared at me for a long time. I guess he found it surprising that I had such a small rod for a task of that size.
"Because, clearly, trying to hook the moon is much more conceivable. You really are cracked."
Shaking his head and smiling to himself, he straightened himself and went away, leaving me there alone again.
A strange thought occurred to me, that he should smile more, but it left me, and I focused again on the bowl in front of me.
It was a surprise to me when I saw him there the following night, entertaining me with stories of me interfering with his patrolling and how he would report me for loitering and refusal to listen to a prefect and something or the other.
It became something ordinary to hear him coming in and not leaving until hours after. Sometimes he would sit and be quiet the entire time, sometimes he would ask my opinion on certain things, but then laugh when I gave him my answers. Other times he would come and chat right up until he left. Also very peculiar, was the fact he no longer stood near to the door when he came, he drew closer, until he used to come and sit right beside me and peer into my bowl with me.
"Do you really think you can get the moon with that, Luna?" By this time he had stopped calling me Loony and I was glad. He prodded the water with a long finger, sending ripples to each corner. "What, why are you staring at me?"
"Blaise is a very beautiful name." It was. I realized this after giving it some thought.
"T-Thanks, Luna is a great name too," he said, scratching his head and turning away from me.
"It suits you. You're beautiful as well. Your eyes are slanted like a cat's and they shine in the moonlight too. " He was sitting so close. I was describing him from looking at his profile. But I did not tell him all that I was thinking. Like how I thought his skin reminded of me of my favorite caramels my aunt used to send me in the summer. Or how his smile – on the rare occasions when he did – caused a strange sensation in my belly, or how his plump lips looked as soft as velvet.
He was looking everywhere but at me. "To answer your question, yes, I'll catch it soon. I have a feeling."
"Do you always do that?"
"Say exactly what's on your mind?" His voice sounded funny, his feet shaking in an oddly nervous way.
"Isn't that the best thing to do?"
I was confused by this. "Why?"
"It just isn't, Luna! I-It's difficult."
He got up, and seemed to be lost. He stepped back, paced up and down once, rubbed his hand down his face and knelt down in front of me again, taking my hand.
He was staring at me intently, his face moving steadily closer to mine. I didn't move, just closed my eyes and waited. But when I felt his forehead touch mine, his lashes tickling me, I opened my eyes.
"Are you sick? You're behaving strangely."
His answer floated out on a little laugh. "Yeah, I'm sick," he said in a raspy voice, swallowing ant putting distance between us. Standing abruptly, he left again but not before giving my hand the briefest of squeezes.
I did not see him for weeks after that. How many I wasn't sure but I won't say four because that would mean I was counting. I thought about him often but I feared he had left me for good.
One night, when my lack of progress saddened me he returned.
" I don't know if I should tell you this but you're not going to get the moon that way," he said matter- of-factly.
He was so tall and striking. Not seeing him for such a long time made my head spin. "What should I do then?" I whispered.
"I've been thinking about it and I've come up with something."
He held out his hand, his fist folded. The clouds covered the moon like a thick blanket and the room was completely dark, until he opened his hand and light poured from it. Not like the flickering glow emitted from a candle or the bright rays of the sun; moonlight.
I instinctively moved closer. In his palm rested a small sphere and within the sphere, were swirling clouds, faint stars, and hanging in that sky, a magnificent full moon.
He'd managed to capture it.
Along with my heart.
Where I had failed, he'd succeeded.
I couldn't move, I felt that time had halted. Life had stopped to a point where the only thing that moved were my tears, flowing with nothing to hinder them.
"Now will you get rid of that fishing rod and bowl?"
Did I nod? I can't remember. Everything after that was eclipsed when he tilted my chin up, placed the moon in my hands, and bent his head close to mine again, only he did it right this time, our lips met for the first time in a kiss.
I had my pearl.
"And that is how I met your-"
"Shh," Blaise put a finger to his lips, his other hand squeezed Luna's arm. Her gaze was focused outside, so she did not notice that the children had fallen asleep. Torrents of rain rolled down the windows, the sky a mass of dark grey, but the children's bedroom held a soft blue glow. Stars were splashed across the wall; clouds hovered above their sleeping heads, casting shadows on their faces, and the full moon rested in Luna's fingers.
"You always get so intense when you tell them that story."
Luna smiled serenely, tears in her eyes. "I wonder why…"
Blaise rubbed their noses together and smiled with her. "I have no idea," he said softly, leaning in for a kiss.