Chapter 2 : Chapter 2: The Believer
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The gentle ripple of the water calmed her, like it always did. Something about the unpredictability of the flow of the river gave Luna a sense of peace, just like when she was little. She covered her mouth with a pale hand to suppress a yawn though, typically, no one else was around.
Her legs dangled off Bottom Bridge and her toes touched the water below. Luna leaned back and stared up at the full moon above, bringing the steaming cup of coffee to her mouth again. The other thing that soothed her, a good cup of coffee. She always added a little bit of Gurdyroot, it gave it a slightly bitterer flavor. Her mother had taught her to make it years ago, before she had died in the accident…
That had certainly changed things, Luna thought. Nothing was the same after Elysina Lovegood had died. Her father had sold their far away house and they had moved to Britain, supposedly to distance themselves from those painful memories, and so Luna could attend Hogwarts, rather than Salem University. Things were hazy, back then. Or perhaps her memories had only recently become so confused.
But the accident that had taken her mother's life… Luna remembered it so vividly, it haunted her dreams more nights than not. She wondered if that was partially responsible for what people called "Loony" Lovegood, but in truth she didn't really care. She was just curious.
In fact, something had happened recently that had piqued her curiosity quite a bit. It was just after the end of term, after she had fought the Death Eaters at the Ministry of Magic with her new friends, Harry, Ron, and Hermione and the others.
She had just Apparated home to find her father in his upstairs room, reading an older edition of the Quibbler. He jumped up at the sight of her and pulled her into a tight hug, which had made her smile.
He didn't let go of her for several long moments, and before he did, he had whispered the thing she had been trying to understand for the last few weeks: "You've got your mother's courage, honey, please, let that be all you inherited…"
She hadn't said anything about it at the time, and neither had Xenophillius. But after they had had their happy reunion, and she had time to think, she started to wonder what that could possibly mean.
Her mother had been a truly amazing witch, she reflected, all the way up until the end. She had worked in the Department of Magical Games and Sports and always had Quidditch tickets to the best matches.
Luna loved Quidditch. She never played, though she did try out for Seeker on the Ravenclaw team her first year. She had been disqualified, and laughed at, at tryouts however, when she had given up her pursuit of the Golden Snitch, which was nearly within reach, and diverted her path off the pitch and high into the sky because she was trying to get away from the Wackspurts trying to attach themselves to her.
That had started a lot of rumors about her, that she was insane, or retarded. Once again, she didn't really care, though did feel a bit of jealousy when Cho Chang was made Seeker instead of her next year. She brushed it off and went about her life however, at first trying to meet people with a smile, though it soon became clear that that wouldn't be so easy.
Luna's thoughts turned back to her mother. Her father had warned her about dwelling on her mother, but Luna never really understood why. Yes, it was sad what had happened, but why was it that anytime she brought her up, over dinner or any other time, her father would become uncharacteristically angry?
Never loud or abusive, far from it. Xeno loved his precious Luna, but he simply refused to ever speak about his dead wife to her.
Luna remembered once, when she was nine, her mother coming into her room in the middle of the night. Luna was curled up under the covers, clutching her stuffed Snorkack doll, though the horn was gone, she couldn't quite remember why.
Her mother gently sat down on the edge of the bed and brushed a strand of blonde hair from Luna's face, softly calling her name. Luna slowly woke up and stretched with a tiny yawn, smiling up at her mother.
"Mommy?" she had asked, still holding the doll, "What time is it? Is something wrong?"
"No, honey, nothing's wrong," Elysina said soothingly, a slightly trembling smile on her face, "It's just…" she paused, and tired as Luna was, she couldn't miss the tear in her mother's eye, "I love you Luna. Don't ever change anything about yourself, no matter what happens in life, okay?"
Luna nodded, though now she felt fearful. She noticed her mother was wearing a traveling cloak complete with a hood and had her wand drawn.
"Are you leaving?" she asked, sitting up and pulling the Snorkack to her chest.
"Yes, and I'm going to be gone awhile," her mother said, "I have something very important to do, and I have to leave immediately."
"But why do you have to go now?" Luna asked curiously, "Is there a big match coming up?
"Yes, Luna, something big is coming up, and I have to take care of it. I promise, I'll be back as soon as I can be." Luna stared at her mother for a moment, lips parted. Something wasn't right.
"But why do you have to leave now?" Luna asked again. "Can't it wait till morning? I thought you were making waffles tomorrow!"
Elysina chuckled and discreetly wiped the tear from her eye.
"Luna, you are a gift from heaven," she said, smiling. "Whatever happens, whatever anyone tells you, never forget that. I love you so much," she kissed her on the forehead and gently pushed her back into a lying position.
"I love you too Mommy," Luna said automatically, "But don't stay gone too long, okay?" She motioned for her to lean close and she did so, so that Luna could whisper into her ear, "Because Daddy can't cook."
Elysina laughed. "I know he can't, but he tries, so be nice, okay?"
"Okay, if he needs help, I can make some things!' she said brightly, "You taught me how to cook eggs, remember?"
"Yes, honey, I remember," Elysina said. "I have a feeling you'll be making breakfast for your dad a lot soon…"
"I'll take care of him," Luna said seriously, "just come back as soon as you can."
"Sure thing honey," Elysina said, pulling the covers up and tucking her daughter in. "And I'll tell you what, I'll bring you back a present, how's that sound?"
"Great!" Luna said enthusiastically, "What is it?"
Elysina looked deep into Luna's pale eyes for a moment, and then said, "I can't tell you honey, it's part of the surprise."
"Oh, well," Luna said with a little huff, "Bye, Mommy."
"Goodbye, Luna," Elysina said softly, kissing her daughter on the forehead again. "And remember, you are a gift. Never, ever, ever, forget that."
Elysina had left after that and she fell asleep after saying a quick prayer to keep her mother safe. She rolled over and fell back asleep soon, knowing her mother would return, like she always did.
About a week passed, and Luna didn't worry too much about her mother. It was typical of Elysina to have to go on long trips to faraway countries, to book matches or such things. She noticed her father was oddly on edge and irritable, but she supposed that he simply missed his wife like she missed her mother.
Then, after ten whole days, Elysina had Apparated into their kitchen during dinner. Her mother had been a beautiful woman, but just then Luna could barely stomach the sight of her. Her left arm was in a sling and there were a number of cuts and scratches, some looking deep, on her face. She stumbled into the third chair at the dinner table, and sighed.
"Mommy, what happened to you?" Luna asked immediately, before Xeno could say anything. She quickly jumped up to hug her mother. "How did this all happen?" she asked, close to crying. Luna was tough, but seeing her mother like this was more than she could bear.
Elysina shut her eyes, then opened them and quickly glanced at Xenophillius, who was staring wide-eyed at her. She hitched a smile on her face and stood up so that Luna could wrap her arms around her.
"You know I'm not very good on a broom Luna, not like you," Elysina said as Luna squeezed her tightly. "I was in Ireland, organizing a match, you know, and one of the players offered me a ride on her broom. I couldn't resist, but I got a little carried away, and fell."
"You fell off a broom?" Luna asked, as Xeno stood up and pulled a drink out of the refrigerator. "Are you okay? Does it hurt?"
"I'm fine honey," Elysina said relaxingly, "Your mom's tough, I can take care of myself. Thanks Xeno," she added, taking the Firewhiskey from her husband.
"So you got everything set up?" Xeno asked, embracing his wife as Luna released her. "Things going to go our way?"
Luna didn't really understand the question, but assumed he meant England beating Ireland in the upcoming match.
"I think so," Elysina said, after considering him for a moment. "And speaking of Quidditch, I promised to bring you something, remember Luna?"
"Yeah, I remember!" Luna said excitedly, "You got me something? What is it? Do you have it with you?"
"Well, you said you wanted to play Seeker when you start at Salem in a few years, right?"
"Oh, yes, I'd love to!' Luna said cheerfully, "Did you get me a Snitch to practice with? The one you already got me is great, but a new one never hurts, does it?"
"No, Luna it's not a Snitch," Elysina said quietly, "I think these will help you, though."
She reached into the pocket of her robes with her good arm and pulled out a pair of old looking gloves. Luna took them with a sense of awe. They were made of something leather like, the bottoms were midnight black; the tops of the hand and fingers were a dark blue color.
"Seeker's gloves!" she said breathlessly. "They're beautiful!" She slipped them on and flexed her hands.
"Where did you get those?" Xeno asked, watching as Luna beamed down at her hands.
"Dublin," Elysina told him, "A little shop near the stadium."
"Always so thoughtful," Xeno said with a smile. He kissed his wife quickly on the lips, which Luna didn't notice. She was too busy taking in the good feeling coming over her. She also failed to notice the wink Elysina gave her husband.
Luna still had those gloves, eight years later. They had some sort of charm on them that had caused them to enlarge over the years as she grew, so that they still fit her.
She rarely wore them, only on days she really needed to go right. She had taken them to the Ministry at the end of last year and had been the only one to suffer no real harm, so she found extremely easy to believe that the gloves really did bring luck.
And even if they didn't, so what, Luna thought. They were a reminder of her mother, one of the last things she had to remember her by. That was reason enough to wear them.
She suddenly looked up at the sky. Something had just shot across the dark backdrop, too fast to tell what it was. She turned her head slightly, staring at the spot where the dark mass had been a second ago.
"A Ravenwing?" she asked out loud, to herself. "Hmm, I'll have to ask Dad if they go that fast…"
She sighed and stood up, stretching her arms out wide in the moonlight. Done meditating, she headed back up the winding down road that led back to her house, humming to herself, her radish earrings swinging as she went.
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