Because She Smiled
Because She Smiled
Smile for me one more time,
Grace me with the cherubic grin
A crown of lilies on golden hair
An angel's halo never shown so bright
Smile for me one more time
My last mortal vision
Before darkness comes
I watched her walk away, blonde hair flying, tears that would never fall filling her pale eyes. I watched, unblinking until her figure faded into oblivion and my vision blurred with tears. But I am getting ahead of myself. I should not tell you this story by starting with my last memory of her. Instead I should begin on a warm spring day when the air was clean, the lilies were blooming and a smile still graced her lovely face.
It began on an unusually warm day in late May. There was a light breeze and the wild flowers were in full bloom. I walked alone through the slightly overgrown grass towards Hargrid's hut. I was well overdue for a visit, but as I rounded the corner at the bottom of the hill I decided he could wait a bit longer. She sat with her back against an old Elm, her eyes closed, her face relaxed. If I hadn't known better I would have thought she had fallen asleep there. She did not open her eyes when I approached and I noticed that her fingers were busily braiding the ends of several large white flowers together.
I stood there, silently watching her for a moment, and was not surprised when she quietly greeted me.
"Hello Harry." Her voice blended seamlessly with the whisper of the breeze through the leaves.
"Hello Luna." I whispered back not wanting to break the utter peacefulness of the moment.
I sat beside her in the grass and turned my face towards the sky. The warm breeze caressed my skin while the gentle fragrance of the lilies in her hands filled my head. Her presence was nearly as intoxicating as the flowers and my head spun when she laid her cheek against my shoulder. I lifted my arm and she ducked under pressing herself against my side, the floral wreath forgotten. We sat like that in silence, watching the sun begin it's decent towards the western horizon. When the top most branches of the Forbidden Forest burned with the red and gold light we rose, gathering our things. Only then did we speak.
"That was a lovely afternoon." Luna said sweetly as she rolled to her toes and leaned towards me.
"It was." I agreed leaning down to place a gentle kiss on her soft and inviting lips.
She reached up, running her tiny fingers through my hair and pulled me closer. I pressed my lips firmly against hers for a moment longer, then sighed and gently pulled away. It was far too easy to get lost in the moment when I was kissing her and I tended to keep a metaphorical safety cushion between us, but today she was determined and pressed herself tighter against me. I wrapped my arms around her, holding her tightly for a moment, before gently gripping her face. I looked down into her pale blue eyes and knew that I did not have the strength to resist her much longer. The near desperation must have been obvious in my eyes because she took a step back threading her narrow fingers through mine.
I knew I still had time to visit Hagrid, that I could leave her to walk up to the castle on her own, but I could not convince my fingers to release themselves from her loose grip. Instead I walked beside her across the lawn and into the castle. She paused just inside the large wooden doors and turned to me.
"Tonight," she whispered, her eyes never leaving mine, "after everyone is asleep meet me at the top of the astrology tower."
I stared at her awe-struck, I had never heard her speak so seriously and I nodded mutely. She reached up and ran her fingers though my hair once more then turned away from me disappearing down the hall leading to the Ravenclaw's common room.
Slightly baffled I made my way up the stairs to Gryffindor tower. My mind was reeling with possibilities, each as unlikely as the next, as to what could put that slightly anxious edge in her voice. Something was wrong, I knew it in the pit of my stomach, but for the life of me I could not come up with a single thought that made sense. Muttering to myself I entered the Gryffindor common room. It was empty and the silence was slightly disturbing. I had been hoping that Ron and Hermione would be waiting for me to go to dinner, but apparently Ron's appetite had won out. My stomach let out a low growl, but food was the last thing on my mind as I changed and washed up for dinner.
The crowded dinning hall brought me no more comfort than the silent common room had and I made my way to the empty seat between Ron and Hermione with my head down. My stomach gurgled again, but I did not feel like eating, my mind was too full to be bothered by my empty stomach, but when Hermione glanced at me I reached for the nearest platter and began to fill my plate.
The evening passed slowly and it was after midnight by the time the common room cleared out and everyone had gone to bed. After convincing Ron to go up to the dorm with out me I pulled out my invisibility cloak and slipped it on. I sat for a moment in the silence staring at the still roaring fire. I knew that there was something important I was going to find out tonight, but I had not yet decided if I really wanted to know. Resigned, I stood and with a deep sigh, left the common room,
The corridors were empty, not even a patrolling teacher in sight, but still I kept myself hidden beneath the cloak. I paused for a moment at the base of the stairs leading past the Divination class room and up to the rooftop. I knew she would be there waiting for me, and I admit, I was frightened. Not of her, never of her, but of what she might tell me. The door was propped open and when I walked through it the cool night air pressed itself against my flushed face. She sat there, in the middle of the stone roof top, on lavender blanket with flowers in her hair. She wore simple cotton pajamas of the palest pink and was barefoot. She reached her hand out to me and I went to her.
I situated myself beside her on the surprisingly thick blanket and she turned to face me. A perfect smile beamed out at me from her pale face, but there was a sadness in her eyes that the smile could not touch. She took my hand and pulled me closer. I obliged and she climbed into my lap, her eyes never leaving mine. Her skin was cool, but not cold and I wrapped my arms around her. She reached up and touched my face, her eyes seemed to be memorizing my every feature.
I opened my mouth to speak but she silenced me with a soft kiss.
"No words," she whispered, her lips still lightly pressed against mine, "not tonight. There will be enough words in the morning."
With that she wrapped herself around me with an abandon I had never seen before. I tried to pull back, to resist as I had countless times before, but she refused to let go. I fought to control myself, but soon realized I was destined to fail as I felt her recklessness pulsing through her veins and into me. Finally I gave in. I held her tight, letting my hands roam as I had never dared before. She moaned softly against my lips as my fingers grazed her silky skin and I shuddered.
When the sun began to brighten the eastern sky I looked down at the tiny woman still wrapped in my arms, her flowery crown was slightly askew atop her long blonde hair. She slept quietly while I watched her. That night I had learned every curve of her body, I had felt the strength I never would have imagined she possessed, and I felt what it was to truly love and be loved for the first time. I knew that for as long as I lived I would never forget this night. Just then a single Magpie darted through the sky and she opened her eyes.
"Is it morning?" she asked quietly, her eyes still blurry.
"Yes." I whispered, running my fingers through the ends of her hair.
She did not speak again, but closed her eyes and let out a deep breath. Concerned I ran the back of my hand down her cheek
"Luna," I said, my voice quivering, "what's wrong?"
She shook her head, and cleared her throat before looking at me again.
"I told you last night no words, but now it's time for them." She said, her voice clear as the morning sky.
I was confused and didn't know what to say. What kind of words was she expecting? She knew that I loved her, I had told her that countless times during the night, but what other words could she possibly need now? I began to open my mouth, to tell her once again how much I loved her, how she had made my life worth living, that I had never felt love like this before, but she shook her head and began to speak.
"When I said there needed to be words, I didn't mean from you." She said, looking away for the first time. She glanced at the rapidly brightening sky and then continued.
"We don't have much time." She whispered.
Once again I opened my mouth to speak, and once again she silenced me.
"Last year, in the Department of Mysteries something happened that I never told you about." She paused again and let out a long, slow breath. "During the fight in the room with the prophecies… you never notice…" her voice faded away, "there was so much going on that no one did."
Still confused I sat silently waiting for her to continue.
"I had known it would be there," she went on, "My mother had told me before she died." A tear trailed down her pale cheek, "I didn't believe her." She cleared her throat and wiped her eyes, "There was a globe there with my name on it, a prophecy about me, about my future."
Now she looked up at me, her pale watery eyes burning into mine.
"I never thought it would be you." She said, her voice stronger then before, "never dreamed it would be you, that it would be now."
I stared at her in shocked silence for a moment before I found my voice.
"What are you talking about?" I choked out, my throat as dry as dust.
Luna looked away for a moment, I could see her collecting her thoughts. She eyed the sun's progression in the morning sky then turned back to me.
"Do you remember the first day, the first time I approached you, that I made it known I was interested in more then just your friendship?"
I nodded. I remembered that day perfectly. The dreams, visions, whatever you want to call them, had been worse then ever before. I was at an all time low. I knew I could never escape the horrifying images as long as he lived… as long as I lived. It was a thought that had been occurring to me more frequently as that winter approached. I thought the visions would drive me mad, or perhaps they already had, because I found myself sitting on the ledge of the high stone window in the owlery contemplating the distance to the ground, and if it would be enough. I had been perched on that icy ledge, both physically and mentally, when she had walked in. She had looked up and smiled at me, that angelic smile I now loved so much, and reached out her hand. I remembered hesitating a moment and looking down once again at the hard ground far below, but before I could make a decision she had stepped forward and taken my hand. She guided me down from the window and when I stood beside her on the straw strewn flood she threaded her fingers through mine and led me down the stairs. She had saved my life that day and I had never known if she realized it until now.
"I knew that day that the prophecy had been true, and suddenly the sacrifice seemed worth it."
"Sacrifice?" I asked slightly alarmed.
Luna took a deep breath and stared at me a moment before releasing it. When she spoke again her voice was different, older, and seemed to come from further away than the mere inches between us.
"She will be born fair of hair and fair of heart. She will teach him to love and to be loved for her love will be his strength. She will love him, then she will depart this Earth, leaving him the strength and courage he will need to fight for our people and for those depending on his victory. She will be born to love him, and she will die to save him."
Her voice trailed away on the last sentence, her eyes never leaving mine. I opened and closed my mouth, but the words would not form.
"I've known from the beginning." She said after a long moment, her voice once again the melodic whisper that made my heart pound.
She glanced at the sky once again.
"It won't be long now. I'll ask you to stay here, not to follow me, though I know you will argue, but I'll ask you anyways. Consider it a last request." She said with a sad smile.
She stood and leaned over me, my limbs too numb to follow her actions.
"Remember me Harry, remember my love and the strength it gives you, remember me and smile."
She reached out and ran her steady fingers through my hair and kissed me sweetly one last time. Then she smiled at me and turned away.
I watched her walk away, blonde hair flying, tears that would never fall filling her pale eyes. I watched, unblinking until her figure faded into oblivion and my vision blurred with tears.
Then she was gone, tears splashed down my cheeks as I stared at the empty doorway and I clung desperately to the last memories she had given me. She had walked into my life and changed it, and now I knew that I had lived because she smiled.