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Living for the Night by notreallyblonde44
Chapter 1: A Dreamer's Lullaby
A tiny bird rested on the bough every night by its lonesome.
No one wanted to hear its song or what it had to tell the world. The world only wanted to shut out and stifle the bird's thoughts and dreams. Stomp its wings and cage the creature as an object to be marveled. A precious sight for the dark, affluent world. Another jewel in an endless arrangement that would shine bright and trill its pedigree for all those who would come upon it.
Only during the nights could the bird flee its confines. And it was on one of those crisp evenings that the bird was noticed. Truly noticed. Not as a remarkable thing. Not as a precious entity to be stashed and stored away or to be put on display. Rather, she was seen for what she was. As a nightingale on a limb, crying her song to the black lake stretching beneath the trees.
A common sight, really, a bird singing a dreamer's lullaby. There was nothing spectacular to behold in such a vision, which is why the stranger below, when he saw the bird, thought nothing of it and kept moving along his own course; a path full of fear, destruction, and isolated desolation.
The nightingale stopped short.
For she was not used to an occurrence like that. Everyone wanted to watch her, at least make a stab at her. Not this stranger though. Not this shrouded silhouette of darkness, whose appearance the bird could not distinguish between the shadows her tree was casting. Unfortunately, she could tell that he did not look twice at her once he spotted the source of the noise.
From one creature of the night to another, the bird saw the stranger below and whistled for its companionship. She did not know why she did what she did. Nor was she ever going to consider that she abhorred the idea that she was not getting attention. No, she never had to seek that before. But the stranger did not stop when she called out to him. He brushed alongside her tree and continued walking, chocking up her song as merely another sound he was to endure.
The nightingale hopped around to see where the stranger was going. She fluffed her feathers and twittered again. He never broke his gaze at the ground. Into the forest he went, leaving the nightingale to contemplate the interaction that never was. She had been ignored and now she was back to being alone, always alone, to face the coolness of the night and the rise of a full moon on the horizon.
She should have been thankful that the entity, who had passed her without a second glance, did not take more interest in her. She should have been fortunate that she was on the bough, high up, and unable to be ensnared in any of the beast's traps below. But she was neither of those things. She was gloomy and the rising chill creeping up the branches ruffled her and rustled the leaves around her. For an instant she though perhaps that she had found another. Another creature of the night to share herself with, but she had not.
She knew that these nightly outings would not last much longer...and she would have given anything to know more about the being out in night like her. To establish a single friendship on her own merit would have meant the world to her. However, she knew this would not be the case.
She took up her song, as if the stranger had never happened upon her. The nightingale hit every note with a solemn finality. Absorbed in her sorrows once more, she knew that day would break eventually and she would have to return to her cage before she was caught.
The young woman of no more than twenty years of age rocked in her chair, shutting herself out to the world beyond her baby's nursery. She cooed to the bundle in her arms, seeking solace in her daughter's giggles and gurgles.
Julienne reflected on the time she met her stranger, the stranger that changed her world. Or, at least, that's how she liked to romanticize the moment when they first met. He took little notice of her initially, but she noticed him. She wanted him. And she pursued that desire subconsciously.
An interaction that should have never started, but it did. Seeing that stranger sparked something inside her that night; a something that changed her life entirely.
Sometimes she would tell herself different versions of the tale to keep her mind preoccupied and her sorrows at bay, if only for a moment. But every time she thought of her love for that strange boy, she could not romanticize it any more than it already was beautiful to her in every imaginable way.
All the bitterness of her current life could be swept away when she dreamed her lover's dream or sung the songs she made for him alone. She would escape the cage...if only for the moments of nights past.
Yet the shadows of her life still threatened to take hold of her. All around her were specters that haunted her every movement.
One day they would stop, one day she would be left in peace, she reassured herself. Until then she could only reminisce about the times in the night that she shared with her lover and hope for a better fate for her beloved daughter.
Julienne rocked and rocked until the night was no longer hers and hers alone.
A/N: Reading the Prologue to Inside Death might be advantageous, but it's not necesary in my opinion. Hope you enjoy the thousandth plunny to hop along my page :)
As per usual, anything you recognize belongs to J.K. Rowling. Everything else is in my own bonkers brain. Constructive criticism is welcome. Chapter/story inspired by Florence and the Machine's "If Only for a Night" on her Ceremonials album, check it out!