Chapter 1 : Seamus in Tír na nÓg.
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Seamus Finnigan examined his room wearily. He really ought to tidy it out, he supposed. Every summer his mam said “you’d want to go through those presses in your room and throw out whatever you don’t use any more. I don’t know what you want.”
But he’d never bothered and his parents were so glad to have him back for the holidays that they never bothered to nag him about the little things. If you wanted to get away with murder, spending most of the year away at boarding school was a good way of going about it.
His mam was pretty cool really, even if she did make the most awful fusses sometimes. He’d never forgot the way she carried on after Dumbledore’s murder. But you could hardly blame her. Who’d want to leave their kid at a school that Death Eaters had managed to break into? That was one of the few rows they’d had since he’d started Hogwarts. He hoped she knew that he hadn’t been really angry with her; just determined to attend the funeral of a man he had really come to admire, despite the doubts he’d once had.
She hadn’t touched a thing in his room, while he’d been away, he realised. Oh, she had bought new curtains and bedclothes and things like that. And the clothes he’d outgrown over the years had been thrown out to make room for new ones. But apart from that, she’d left things just as they were, for fear she might throw out something he still wanted.
God, he should have throw some of this stuff out years ago, he thought as he rummaged through the old toys and games he’d left behind when he headed away to Hogwarts for the first time, afraid that the other kids might think him babyish if he brought them with him.
He pulled out a set of Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. Wow, he hadn’t thought about them in ages. His uncle had given them to him for his tenth birthday- his father’s brother. Seamus had never really been sure what the point of them had been. They had been very popular among young boys in the Muggle world apparently. Whatever, he had had good fun with them, particularly once his father had shown him how the weapons they held were used. He had been amazed to think that things like that actually existed and could be used for sort of duels in the Muggle world.
He put them down, wondering if he should throw them away or hold onto them in case he ever had a kid of his own and reached in to pick up a small pile of books which had been hidden at the back.. He sorted quickly through them: Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump and Other Stories, those were stupid kids’ fairy tales. They could go in the bin. Greater Times Ahead. Oh, that was quite a good story actually, about a young wizard who befriended a Muggle boy in Grindlewald’s era. He’d have to read that again some time. He put it aside. What was next? Oh, Irish Myths and Legends. His dad had bought him that. He said they were stories that every kid in the country should know of.
Seamus flicked through the legends quickly. Oh, Oisin in Tír na nÓg. He’d totally forgotten about that one. It was the story of a young man who travelled to a land of ever-lasting youth.
After the events of the past few months, Seamus couldn’t help thinking that it all sounded rather attractive. A world where you would never die; where you could feel completely safe and no danger could ever touch you. And the people around you would never die either. You would never have to see the scenes that still haunted him; never have to watch others dying. Unbidden, images of the battle at Hogwarts flooded his mind. Professor Lupin, one of the best teachers they had ever had lying dead; Colin sneaking back into the school, despite being underage, and fighting to his death. He shook his head, as if to try and shake the images out of it.
Seamus lay back on his bed and gazed vaguely at the illustrations.
Perhaps he had fallen asleep, because he got up to find sunshine streaming through the windows, although it had been dark and overcast when he lay down. The tidying up could wait, he decided. A sunny day in Ireland wasn’t something to be wasted. He picked up Irish Myths and Legends and Greater Times Ahead. He’d go outside and read for a while.
It was strange, he thought, as he sat down outside. It had been raining earlier, but the grass didn’t seem damp at all. Ah, well, he wasn’t going to argue. It was nice to be able to sit down on the lawn to read.
He had barely opened the book, when he was interrupted by the sound of horse’s hooves on the road outside. Not that horses were a particularly unusual sound in the Irish countryside, but Seamus’ family lived in a quiet wizarding area, which was rarely entered by Muggles and there were few wizards who rode. On horses anyway.
He glanced up. Luna was riding towards him on a white horse. What was she doing there? He had finished school, but she had to return in September. Surely, after all the trauma she and her father had suffered over the past few months, he would want her to spend her holidays with him. Were they on holiday in Ireland? And what was she doing on a horse? Wasn’t she pureblood? They tended to be fairly ignorant of Muggle modes of transport.
Somehow those weren’t really questions that you could ask Luna though. He knew her a little, from the D.A., and she was unusual, to say the least of it. He liked her though and Dean had seemed to be getting awfully fond of her. She wasn’t like anybody else and in some ways, that seemed like a good thing.
“Hi Luna. I wouldn’t have expected to see you here.”
She smiled vaguely. There was always something almost fey about Luna. On that white horse with her blonde hair flying behind her, she looked rather like a picture from the book of legends. Niamh Cinn Ór; Niamh of the Golden Hair, arriving on her horse from Tír na nÓg. But Niamh was astonishingly beautiful, whereas Luna looked as untidy as always.
“How are you?” he continued solicitously when she didn’t answer. “That must have been awful, with He-Who-Must –Not-Be-Named and all.” Somehow, even after his death, Seamus didn’t want to refer to him directly. Not after all the pain he had caused in the previous year and beforehand.
“I have found a place away from all that,” she replied in her usual dreamy fashion. “A place where one can live forever and not be harmed.”
Almost his exact thoughts earlier! Somehow, he didn’t have to ask her for details. He knew that it was Tír na nÓg of which she spoke. But she had to be imagining things, didn’t she? Tir na nÓg was from an ancient Muggle story. It didn’t really exist.
And yet, if such a thing did exist, he thought that Luna would be the person most likely to find a way there. She was…well more open to the possibilities of strange things happening, he supposed. She didn’t dismiss the things that others did. Everybody thought her a little strange, but maybe, just maybe, she knew more than they did.
“Tell me about it.”
“I think you know,” she replied. “Accio Irish Myths and Legends.”
“Could you not just get down?” he asked.
“You know I can’t.”
Oisin had set foot on Irish soil and had immediately turned into an old man and been unable to return to Tír na nÓg.
“But you’re not old.” It was a stupid thing to say, but he couldn’t think of anything else. “I mean, even if you have returned from Tír na nÓg or something crazy like that, you can’t have been there long. Not much time has passed in this world either.”
But wasn’t there a rule that once you entered Tír na nÓg, you had to leave your previous life behind and if you ever did return, you could not set foot on the ground?
“I don’t really remember,” he explained to her. “Those are stories I read as a kid. I just found them today when I was tidying up. I’d practically forgotten them.”
“And of course you didn’t believe it existed,” she stated matter-of-factly. “People never do believe anything. They always say that something is just a story. Even after my dad has published them in his newspaper.”
It didn’t really matter if he sounded a little sarcastic. Luna never seemed to notice things like that.
“I know. It’s like people don’t want to open their eyes to the possibilities around them.”
“And you’ve actually been to Tír na nÓg?” he asked. “You’ve actually seen it?”
He wouldn’t put it past her to have simply dreamt up the entire thing. She talked about so many things that she couldn’t possibly have seen; things that couldn’t possibly exist.
She nodded. “I have been there. And I’m going back. I’ve seen enough of death, Seamus. Firstly, there was my mother and then there was everything that happened last year. I’ve had enough. I don’t want to have to watch anybody else die.”
“I know how you feel.” He sighed. “Thankfully, my mam and dad were safe enough over here. I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to them. But that battle at school…I don’t ever want to see anything like that again.”
“You could come back with me, if you wanted.”
It was tempting. Everlasting youth. It would be like recreating the Philosopher’s Stone.
As if in a dream, he climbed up behind her on the horse.
Tír na nÓg was just as beautiful as the legend implied. A large island, with gentle blue waves lapping at the shore and flowers of all kinds blooming all around. Although they hadn’t seemed to travel far from the West cost of Ireland, the sea wasn’t like the rough Atlantic ocean. It was more like a tropical island, but without the unbearable heat. Tír na nÓg was neither hot nor cold; just pleasantly warm.
“We can get down now,” Luna said, as she leapt gracefully from the horse.
Seamus followed her, landing just as easily as she had, not awkwardly like he had expected.
They headed through the large golden gates and were greeted by numbers of people, none of whom looked any older than their late thirties.
Luna smiled back at them and introduced him. She appeared to have befriended a large number of people in the short time she had been there.
“This is Seamus, a friend of mine from school.” She stressed the word “friend” and he felt a little uncomfortable. Until they had been drawn together by the Carrows’ brutality, none of them had really gone to too much trouble to befriend her. He was glad she seemed so popular here.
As the days passed, it became clear that it would have been close to impossible to avoid popularity in Tír na nÓg. There were no quarrels or fights, no nastiness or cruelty. It should have been the perfect world.
And yet, somehow Seamus couldn’t help feeling an increasing dissatisfaction. It was totally illogical. How could you be dissatisfied when everything was so absolutely perfect?
There was nothing to achieve in Tír na nÓg. Horrific though life under Voldemort had been, at least he had had a purpose. They had fought and they had eventually succeeded where so many others had failed. Despite their youth, the D.A. had shown more courage than many adult witches and wizards. And he had always assumed that when he left Hogwarts, there would be a career to look forward to. Before Luna’s mysterious appearance, he had been waiting for the N.E.W.T. results that would tell him what he could do.
But now? What could you do in a world where everything seemed to work perfectly without the slightest input from anybody. Nothing really happened in Tír na nÓg. Every day just succeeded the previous one in a peaceful, relaxing fashion.
As he had noticed almost immediately, everybody in Tír na nÓg was as young as the island’s name would suggest. There were no Dumbledores there to pass on the wisdom of old age to the population. Perhaps he had never really appreciated how much the older generation had to contribute.
Luna didn’t seem to feel any of this. She was in her element. Tír na nÓg was the vague sort of dreamy world that she’d always seemed to inhabit mentally anyway. She couldn’t understand his lack of satisfaction.
“What’s the matter?”
“I miss my family.” He gave the only excuse that he thought people might understand.
It was only when he said it that he realised how true it was. He missed his mam and dad and all his friends. The decision to join her had been made in a split second. He hadn’t taken the time to realise just how it would feel to leave everybody behind and if there was any truth in the old story, he would never be able to see them again.
Time passed differently in Tír na nÓg, he remembered. How could he be sure how much time had passed since he left home? It was possible that his family and friends were already dead. Tears stained his eyes. If only he could hear his mother’s voice again.
Faintly, he thought that he heard her in the distance. Could it really be? Or was it only his imagination?
“Seamus! Seamus!” She was calling him!
He looked up and there she was, standing in the doorway of his bedroom. He must have fallen asleep and been dreaming.
“Seamus, look at the state of your room. I thought you were going to tidy it up.”
“I will. I promise. Sorry Mam, I must have fallen asleep. I’ll do it now.”
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