A reflection on the father-daughter relationship of Xenophilius and Luna Lovegood. Prequel to my fics in the Lunar Harmony Through Time and Space series, but no familiarity required.
It was Xeno who taught Luna to have reverence for all creatures and living things, who taught her how to both tend to a garden and find food in the wild. It was Xeno who taught Luna how to treat others with irreverent respect when they looked down upon oneself. And it was Xeno who showed Luna how to be strong when the world came crashing down around her.
Disclaimer: When you think about it, the nargles really own us all…. In any case, I certainly don’t own any rights to the Harry Potter series and good luck figuring out who owns Doctor Who (spoiler alert — it ain’t me!)
A/N: Thanks to Transreal_Clouden for betaing this short oneshot I wrote as a present for cyborg_goddess, and thanks too cyborg_goddess for copyediting her own present. Y’all are the baest.
Plimpys and Printing Presses
Xenophilius Lovegood didn’t think of himself as a particularly complicated man. He cared deeply about his daughter, and his newspaper, and his garden. He missed his wife dearly, but he knew he would see her again someday, and that dulled what was otherwise a searingly painful ache. But really, he lived a simple life. He published the truth as he saw it, and the facts as were presented to him. He did not discriminate against those who had been disbelieved, those who had their stories ignored and erased. Perhaps a few of the things he had published were slightly less than accurate, but Xeno prided himself on giving a voice to the unheard, and making them feel seen in ways that a traditional news publication did not. And he didn’t accept just anything that was presented to him. There had to be a certain quality to the writing, and vigor to the story. He told the stories that yearned to be told, no matter how ridiculous they seemed to the outside observer.
Xeno’s number one comrade and co-conspirator when it came to his publication was his daughter, Luna. From a young age, he had been training her in the workings of the Quibbler, from how he accepted and solicited articles, how he wrote his own articles, and even the physical printing of the Quibbler using their magical printing press. The Quibbler was published every second Thursday, and so every second Wednesday they would spend the afternoon working together, putting the finishing touches on what would be that fortnight’s issue. They worked quietly and in sync, only occasionally consulting one another about a particular font, or a last-minute comma placement. It was their time together and they cherished it.
The other time that they spent rather exclusively with one another was on Sunday mornings, which was when they would go fishing in the river for plimpys, before bringing them back to be made into soup for lunch. That is not to say that they did not spend plenty of time with each other outside of these endeavours. Luna tended to follow her father around quite a bit, hovering and watching his every action like a little ghost, seeking to emulate him wherever he went. Luna loved her mother too of course, but the woman was very much wrapped up in her spellwork, whereas Xeno had a soft spot for and made every effort to include his daughter in what he did.
It was Xeno who taught Luna to have reverence for all creatures and living things, who taught her how to both tend to a garden and find food in the wild. (Knowledge that would serve her well when cold and hungry in what would have been in sixth year.) It was Xeno who taught her how to treat others with irreverent respect when they looked down upon oneself. And it was Xeno who showed Luna how to be strong when the world came crashing down around her, such as when Pandora died, and they were left without the woman who had been so important to their lives.
Because for all that Xeno and Luna were close to one another, they each had a strong bond with Pandora. For Xeno, she was the love of his life who had been with him through very dark times, and for Luna, she was her mother, and for better or for worse, one’s parents hold an irreversible place in one’s psyche and often heart.
Xeno didn’t often like to think of the man that he used to be, back when he and Pandora were young. In many ways he felt as though the path they had taken was more destructive than necessary, and ultimately did more harm than good, and he wasn’t at all surprised at the route that Pandora had taken to perform her personal penance. Spell creation was dangerous work, and the natural high achieved was similar enough to their old practices that it took the edge off. Pandora always did push herself too hard. And then came the day that she pushed herself off the edge, and Xeno couldn’t even say that he hadn’t been expecting it.
The overwhelming emotion, beyond the sorrow, even, because the loss was expected, really, was anger that Luna had to see it, and that Luna had been put at risk. Luna was his light, and the one truly good thing that Xeno felt he had done in his life. So many regrets welled up within him from his actions over the years, and it was part of why he worked so hard to make the Quibbler a worthwhile publication, one that gave voice to people, and also one that brought laughter and smiles.
More than anything else, Xeno wanted to bring back the balance and restore what he had destroyed. He and Pandora had no idea what their work was being used for, but did it matter? They knew that what they were creating was destructive, had horrific capabilities, and that was part of the heady appeal. They were dumb kids seeking power. Thinking they could change the world, and they did, for the worse. Neither he nor Pandora had really believed in the rhetoric. They were easily influenced, drawn in by power, and by what they were being told by the adults around them. It was only when they pulled away from it all that they realized what they had done.
And now he was the only one left, because she was gone too. One day he would be gone, and no one would remember that other world. That beautiful, shining world full of creatures that he could half glimpse out of the corner of his eye. He knew Luna could see them too, and he knew one day he would have to tell his daughter. His wonderful daughter, who adored him and thought he could do no wrong, about how her parents had cracked the world in two, committing genocide on an epic scale, and how they ended up on the wrong side of the crack, in a universe not their own.
And when he did tell her, on a quiet night after the end of her fourth year, after she had risked her life and seen the veil, and he realized that she could have gone to the other side never knowing. That was when he laid bare all the secrets, all the things he had kept hidden for so long. He told Luna the full truth of everything — more in fact than a fifteen year old girl should probably ever know about her parents or about the world.
Luna sat in silence for a long time before she spoke.
“I forgive you, daddy. I forgave you a long time ago, in fact,” Luna looked up at him. “The stars told me your secrets long ago, and mother told me some of them even before that. She visits me sometimes. In my dreams. She tells me she is sorry for leaving us. That it was the only way,” Luna smiled at her father’s astonished and tear-strewn face, and threw her arms around him. “I love you, daddy. And I can’t say I’ll never leave, because I’m a traveller. But I will keep you in my hearts wherever I may go. And besides, I’m not going anywhere soon. That’s all still to come.”
Xeno didn’t always understand his daughter. But he did understand that she loved him, and that although she was getting older, and given this war was not much longer a child, she would always be his child, and they had at least this one more summer together to spend catching plimpys and working the printing press.