Title: “Snow Fairies”
Pairing: Really Gen, but Luna and Padma are in it
Summary: Padma leaves the Yule Ball in anger and frustration, and stumbles across something extraordinary.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to JK Rowling
A/N: Originally posted on HP_Girlslash about 2 years ago. If I put it here subsequently, I couldn’t find it. Set during “Goblet of Fire”
Padma Patil was alone in the night, moving softly past the greenhouses on her way down to the lake. The Yule Ball, thankfully, was over, and she should have been in her common room but she was not in the mood for a bunch of giddy chatter about the ball.
Her date with Ron Weasley had been a disaster, first he had shown up in those awful robes, and then he had ignored her all night. As if he was anything to write home about. And then that Beauxbatons boy… he was handsome all right, and he had certainly paid attention to her. Who knew there was actually a charm that would give someone six hands? She idly wondered if he had been found yet, or if the stunning spell had worn off. She wondered, but she didn’t care much.
She saw the faint shimmer of the lake as she approached it in the dark, there was very little moonlight, and the clouds hid the stars. The snow still fell gently, and it was blessedly quiet and peaceful. Padma walked slowly towards a bench she often sat upon, feeling the tension drain out of her as the peace of the night seeped into her heart.
Padma saw the shape of the bench through the light curtain of falling snow, and pulled out her wand, beginning the incantation of a warming spell.
“Please don’t,” asked a soft voice, “it will scare them away.” Padma started, and stared towards the bench. There was someone sitting on the bench.
“Who is there,” inquired Padma, “and who will be scared of a warming spell?”
“It is Luna, Padma, and the warming spell will scare the Snow Fairies that I am waiting for.”
“Luna,” thought Padma, “and some more of her imaginary creatures, Snow Fairies indeed; perhaps I’ll go to the common room after all.”
“They will be here soon,” continued Luna, “if you would like to see them I have a wrap that will keep both of us warm.” Padma hesitated, common Ravenclaw practice was to avoid Luna Lovegood when she was off on one of her flights of fancy. On the other hand, Luna would not be chattering mindlessly about the ball, and it would be entertaining to listen to her explain why the Snow Fairies didn’t show up. Her mind made up, she closed the distance to the bench.
Luna was almost completely covered by a white, fleecy wrap that had a hood made into it. She flipped it open on one side and Padma saw that it was indeed big enough for two; it even had a second hood. “Are you expecting someone, Luna?” Padma asked her.
“Not at all, my mother made this robe to keep us snug while we waited for the Snow Fairies together. It’s really quite lovely, come and sit by me.” Padma did as she was bidden, and the robe was indeed lovely and warm. It had a faint smell of flowers that reminded Padma of spring.
“Is it okay to talk?” asked Padma.
“It’s best not to until they arrive, but we can whisper after that,” Luna told her.
“Great,” thought Padma, “here I am stuck in the snow with Looney Lovegood, waiting for imaginary creatures to show up.” But she kept quiet, Luna had not forced her to come here, and she was a polite girl. After a few minutes Padma began to relax in spite of herself, the night was lovely, the robe was lovely, the smell of spring was lovely; she cut her eyes towards Luna and realized with a shock that Luna herself was lovely. Luna’s usual dreamy expression had been replaced by one of peace, contentment, and a very deep happiness that Padma had never seen there before. Padma jumped slightly as a small warm hand briefly squeezed her own, Luna moved her face close to Padma and the spring scent grew slightly stronger.
“They’re here,” whispered Luna, so softly that Padma was not sure that she had heard her, but she followed the direction of Luna’s gaze.
Some yards away, there was a swirling cloud emerging from the snow. A smoky mist rising up in a spinning circle, a mist shot through with tiny, sparkling lights. Entranced, Padma watched as the lights resolved into gossamer-winged little creatures that seemed to be made of crystal, or of purest ice. To her complete astonishment, the crea- no, they were Snow Fairies, she reminded herself, began to dance an elaborate reel and a faint musical sound came to her ears.
The feet of the Fairies left softly glowing prints in the snow, so that the pattern of the dance became a shining path beneath the dancers. Padma could scarcely breathe. She was so enraptured by the sight that she had no room for surprise that Luna had been right, there surely were Snow Fairies.
Padma reached out, trying to find Luna’s hand to squeeze it in thanks for sharing this with her, but she found nothing. She turned her head from the Fairies and saw that Luna had slipped from beneath the robe, and was standing by the end of the bench wearing a simple shift of white linen. The falling snow mantled her shoulders and forged a crystal diadem on her head. Luna stretched out her arms, and the dancing Fairies flocked to her, and perched along her white arms, and on her shoulders, and in her golden hair, and Luna looked at Padma and smiled. Light poured from Luna as from a star. Padma fell to her knees in the snow, and stared in rapt wonder at the woman before her, if woman she was.
Luna took the two steps to her, and took her hand and raised Padma to her feet. She helped Padma back to the bench, and wrapped the robe around her. “You are not proof against the cold as I am, this night,” Luna told her as she tucked a stray strand of Padma’s ink-black hair beneath the hood. Padma nodded in reply, but could not speak.
Luna stepped lightly over the snow, and stood atop the soft glowing tracery of the Snow Fairies dance and spread her arms out wide. She began to spin as if ice skating, and Padma could hear the laughter of the Fairies as they clung to Luna’s fingers and to her hair trying to hold on to her. One by one the Fairies were flung off into the night as Luna spun faster and faster, small shooting stars returning home to the sky.
Padma stared, and the world seemed to fall out from under her.
“Padma, wake up, they’ve gone,” said a voice in her ear as Padma felt herself gently shaken. She pulled herself upright and cautiously turned her head, and saw – Luna. Just the Luna she had always known.
“Did I fall asleep?” she asked numbly.
“Yes, shortly after the dance started, it happened to me the first time I saw them. They have a way of doing that to you, until you become accustomed to them. Aren’t they lovely?” Luna asked happily.
“The most beautiful thing I have ever seen,” said Padma, staring into Luna’s eyes. Luna smiled, and it was a very nice smile, but nothing untoward happened. “Dreaming,” thought Padma, “I was dreaming.”
“I suppose we should head back to the castle now,” said Luna, “it won’t be hard to sneak in; everyone will be tired from the ball.” Padma cast a time spell and realized with a shock that a few hours had passed. Luna stood, and Padma followed, waiting while Luna folded up the robe. It seemed wholly right and natural when Luna took her hand, and side by side they walked silently back towards the castle.
Padma reflected on her experience with the Snow Fairies and Luna. Whatever else she got from it, she would be slow to doubt Luna’s word in future. Her hand felt quite warm in Luna’s, and with that warmth and the scent of spring that still surrounded her she realized that she had quite revised her opinion of Luna Lovegood. They reached the door of the castle, and when Luna bent over to brush the snow from her shoes Padma saw a dark circle on Luna’s hair that was shining golden in the torch light. She reached out her hand and touched it.
“Your hair is wet,” she said softly. Luna met her eyes, and slowly nodded.
“A bit, yes,” she agreed.
Padma looked back across the grounds and saw, faint and fading, a set of glowing footprints leading off into the night.