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Ashes by Pookha
Chapter 1: Ashes
She stood on top of the Astronomy tower, the moon reflecting silver in her eyes. A shadow loomed tall over her: a green flash and she fell…
The falling dream again. She shifted in her sleep, spread her arms like wings, and flung her bedspread onto the floor.
The ground rushed nearer, growing closer as she spread her wings. She suddenly soared, her pale hair flying behind her as she rose. A sound drew her attention and she turned her head to it. A phoenix soared with her, singing a lament of terrible beauty. She flew with him, joined her voice with his. He sang of the loss of a friend and she sang of the loss of a mentor. They circled the grounds, until he gave one last mournful cry and flew off over the dark, mirrored surface of the lake.
She descended and came to rest by the lake, in a small clearing, the song remaining in her, vibrating in her very being.
Luna opened her eyes and looked around. Before she had returned to bed, she had focussed her mind on Fawkes’ song, hoping to dream about Professor Dumbledore, to say goodbye to him. She shivered slightly in her worn nightgown, the cold air drawing gooseflesh from her. She knelt in the soft mud by the bank, staining her nightgown. Leaning over the lake, she saw her face reflected on its surface, rippling as the slight breeze distorted her features. A bright light drew her attention as a phoenix flew low over the lake toward her.
Orange and yellow streaks of flame licked off the phoenix as he skimmed the lake, and reflections of the fire left streaks of blue witch-flame burning where he passed. Luna raised her head and lifted her arm. Fawkes landed on her outstretched arm, tears flowing in a pearlescent stream from his eyes. He sang.
Luna felt the music in her; it sang of grief not for the dead, but for those left behind. Her soul stirred as he sang, and she clearly saw Professor Dumbledore standing tall and strong before her.
“I just wanted to say goodbye, sir.” He smiled faintly as she stood and moved to him. Fawkes’ tears still fell as he sang. “There will always be someone loyal to you here. We’ll remember you joyfully and keep your spirit alive.”
The singing reached a crescendo and Luna’s knees trembled. She sank back down by the edge of the lake. Fawkes leapt off and circled her. Professor Dumbledore held out his hands in blessing and slowly faded, sliding into mist that shone silver and gold in the moonlight.
Luna woke to Professor McGonagall shaking her. “Miss Lovegood, are you well?”
Luna opened her eyes to a beautiful morning, the sun shone large and orange on the horizon as it rose. She blinked, trying to get her bearings.
Professor McGonagall helped Luna stand. Luna saw herself in the lake. Her nightgown was torn, rent down the front and covered in mud. Her face was covered in ashes and her eyes were red-rimmed from tears. She shivered.
Professor McGonagall removed her coat and held it out to Luna. “Cover yourself, child and we’ll go to the hospital wing.” She buttoned Luna into the coat, as if she were a much younger child. “What were you doing out here, anyway?”
“I came to say goodbye to Professor Dumbledore. I wanted him to know that he’ll be missed.” She met Professor McGonagall’s gaze and held it until tears started to brim in both of their eyes.
“But why did you come here?” Professor McGonagall indicated the lake.
“I followed Fawkes’ song in my dream and this is where he led me.”
Professor McGonagall shook her head. “It was just a dream, dear.”
“That doesn’t mean it wasn’t real, Professor.”
She knelt and picked up a brightly coloured feather from the ground.