This is a random idea I got while writing Shadowlands. It seems it's just another peaceful, sunny, summer day in Ottery St. Catchpole. Aranrhod Lovegood and her daughter, Luna, have a small chit...
Aranrhod Lovegood now produced a small, sharp silver knife and systematically chopped a few mandrake leaves, crooning an ancient song in her melodic voice. Next, she reached for a runespoor egg, when a sudden noise, coming from the garden, startled her.
Aranrhod smiled and stood up from her chair, peeking out of the kitchen window. From the sudden movement, the runespoor egg, coloured in livid orange, rolled over the table and it would have fell on the ground, had she not caught it the very last moment. She placed the egg carefully on a small wooden plate – runespoors were an endangered species and their eggs cost a fortune on the black market - and silently watched her daughter, a 9-year old copy of herself, happily dancing on her way, holding a giant carrot in her hand.
The excited, ringing voice of the small girl became stronger and stronger and the next moment the door slammed open. Luna, her eyes glinstering, her cheeks flushed red with excitement, danced towards her mother and planted a firm smooch at her cheek. Then she trimphantly lifted the giant carrot with two hands; it must have been heavy for her thin arms as it was at least two feet long and as thick as her leg.
“Mama, did you use 'Engorgio' on the carrots?” Dropping it heavily into the kitchen sink, she picked up a fork and pointed with it as if it were a wand, intoning the spell. Aranrhod emitted a ringing laughter and drew her daughter into a firm hug, brushing her long, unruly hair with her pale, thin fingers.
“No, sweetheart, it was just a simple vitalizing draught. Magic leaves a bitter aftertaste in edible plants, you know, that's why I prefer natural means,” she shook her head, causing her hair come loose from the knot and fly around in the air.
“Say a small 'h' after the 'm', by the way. Like this.” She pronounced the word again, Luna all ears, her lips silently moving as she was imitating her. “Mháthair,” she said suddenly and Aranrhod clapped in her hands, clearly satisfied. “Very good!” she praised her daughter's progress. “Now you sound like a real shepherd from Connemara!”
Luna pouched her lips and looked disapprovingly at her mother. “I don't want to be a shepherd! I want to be a powerful witch, just like you are!”
“Oh Luna, sweetie, you will be one!” Aranrhod rushed to comfort her. “You already know quite a few spells. I would say you're almost as good as the twins.” She shook her head again and laughed, remembering something funny. “Molly... Mrs. Weasley has her hands full on those two. Did you know that they actually charmed the ghoul that lives in the attic to howl Ron's name at night so that he can't sleep? Poor Ron got the willies and Molly locked them up in their room for three days as a punishment.”
Mother and daughter, two best friends, laughed until their sides started hurting. Still hiccupping, they slowly composed themselves and sat down at the table again. Luna poured herself and her mother a glass of translucent red fluid from a jug, kept cold by a simple Preserving charm. Beetroot juice, her favourite drink. Good for her blood, Mum used to say.
Toasting with their glasses, they drank, then Luna suddenly turned to her mother, making a serious face. “Mum, why did you name me 'Luna'? Why couldn't I be 'Alice or 'Jennifer' or 'Susan'?”
Aranrhod drew her brows together. “Don't you like your name, sweetheart?” she asked in a weighted voice.
“Oh yes, I like it very much,” Luna rushed to answer. “It's just, well, those Muggle kids Ron and I sometimes play with, they say it's a silly name.”
“Should I have named you 'Mathilda', then?” inquired the witch. “It is a proper Muggle name, yet, both wizarding folk and Muggles consider it hopelessly outdated and ridiculous.” Luna nodded her agreement and, climbing off the chair, she seated herself in her mother's lap, putting her head on her shoulder, snuggling closer to her comforting warmth.
“When you were born, Luna, it was full moon. There was not a single cloud on the sky,” Aranrhod started. “The room in St. Mungo's was all moonlit and I couldn't fall asleep until the small hours, even though I was exhausted from the delivery.”
Luna listened very carefully, clinging onto every word her mother was saying.
“I was looking at you, peacefully sleeping in your crib, listening to every breath you were taking and thinking what a miracle it was to finally see you with my own eyes, enclose you in my arms, put you on my breast.”
“Me, a miracle?” Luna cast a glance, full of disbelief, at her mother. “I'm clumsy, ugly, talk stupid things... what kind of miracle am I?”
“Silly, silly girl of mine,” Aranrhod stroke her dirty blonde curls. “Every child, every person, every living being is a miracle. The way we are born to this world, breathe, think, eat, do things good or bad, is a miracle. And, you are a particular one, because you are Dad's and my miracle.”
Luna thought over her words for a while, wearing a serious face, then her eyes, her pretty face beamed up with joy. Nodding her to continue, she snuggled even closer.
“Your hair had the color of the moonbeam,” Aranrhod's eyes filled with happy tears, recalling that special moment. “In fact, it still has, it hasn't changed ever since, although for most of the children it does.”
“Did it change for the Weasleys?” blurted out Luna and her Mum snickered. “Well, I don't think so. They were always red, one redder, than the others. But, where were we? Oh yes. See, 'Luna' was the goddess of the Moon in Roman mythology. So, you are special, what with being named after a goddess. Next time those Muggles tease you, you just tell them that.”
“And what does my other name mean, Mum?” inquired the girl. She enjoyed the proximity of her mother; their bond being stronger than a usual parent-child relationship. They were best friends, understanding each other from a word, a gesture.
“'Selene'? It's an older story, sweetheart. She was a daughter of two Titans or Elder Gods, and the Goddess of the Moon people had worshipped thousands of years before the Romans. She had a yoke of white oxen that drew the chariot, in which she sailed across the nightly skies.”
“Wow!” Luna's bluebottle-coloured eyes opened wide with excitement as she digested what she'd just heard. "I never knew that, Mum."
Brushing those long, dirty blonde locks of hair, Aranrhod drew her closer. “What shall we do with that giant carrot, Moonchild of mine?” she asked, giving a small peck at the tip of her nose.
“Well, I was hoping for a carrot cake, Mum,” Luna said dreamily, licking her lips in anticipation. The witch smiled; she knew her daughter all too good and was already expecting this answer. “Let me tell you what, sweetie. This carrot is waaaay too old to make a sweet cake. Come on, let's cut it up into chunks and you can feed it to your rabbits. Still remember the incantation?”
Luna climbed off her lap and nodded silently, holding out her hand in expectation. Laughing at her antics, Aranrhod summoned her wand and handed it over to her daughter, watching over her shoulder as she pronounced “Diffindo!” and, first somewhat clumsily, directed the wand to cut up the vegetable. When finished, she handed back the wand to her mother and fetched a small basket, where she collected the carrot chunks.
Aranrhod effortlessly lifted up her tiny frame and pressed her cheek against hers. She held her for a very long second, her eyes drinking in her angelic features. Gently slapping her bony bum, she directed her towards the door.
“I need to start up this potion, sweetheart. Go feed Billy and Willy and if you find a few, slightly smaller, carrots you like, “ she stressed that particular word, ”I'll bake the most delicious carrot cake in the world for you. Do we have a deal?”
“Sure, Mum. We have a deal.” Luna rushed out of the kitchen, for a moment lingering in the doorstep. “I love you, Mum!” she said, turning back for a split second, and danced away, making her way to the shed where her rabbits lived.
“I love you, sweetheart!” Aranrhod watched as her daughter, her Moonchild ran across the garden, her thin, bony feet barely touching ground. Then, still wearing the same proud, loving smile, she went back to her potion ingredients.
Billy and Willy, Luna's rabbits were twins. Needless to say, it was Fred and George who had given them to Luna on her ninth birthday, a mere two months ago. By now, the rabbits were almost full grown, two fluffy, furry hairballs; Billy, the bigger one, completely black, Willy black with white socks. They were tame, following their small mistress everywhere.
Luna was lying on her stomach in the grass, supporting herself on her elbows, her eyes a few inches away from the two rabbits. Curiously watching the two tirelessly nibbling on a chunk of carrot, she completely lost her senses to the outside world.
When she heard the roaring sound followed by the immense bang of the blast, at first she didn't understand what was going on. She sat up in the grass, turning towards the huge, rook-shaped tower, their home. When she saw the thick, purple smoke wreathing out of the breach where a part of the wall had just been blasted away, she emitted a heart-breaking, high-pitched shreak.