It was another week before Fin saw Luna again. The day after the party, Fin’s parents had sat him down on their river stone chair and insisted on knowing all the details on where he’d been disappearing to and with whom he’d been associating.
When Fin explained it all, his father nodded knowingly. “I suspected it had something to do with the girl,” Emre stated. “But your interest in her sounds like it’s beyond friendship, Fin. You know Dream Catchers are unobtainable to bond with except with other Dream Catchers, don’t you?”
Fin shrugged, but it was an action showing he didn’t want to agree with his father’s statement, not that he wasn’t aware of that information. His mother sighed sadly, and his father mandated that he was not to go out after dark for any reason for the next week.
Fin vehemently tried to argue that point, but achieved nothing. His father did allow for a message to be delivered to Luna so she wouldn’t look for him to show up during that time. Grumpily, Fin caught a firefly friend, explained the message, and asked the little bug to pass the words along to Luna. After that, it was a matter of impatiently waiting for his time in disgrace to end.
He did put an extra visit in to Lorelei during that week, and found himself divulging his feelings for the pretty Dream Catcher to her over sweet mint water and blackberry jam on crackers.
“She’s the prettiest fairy I’ve ever seen, Lorry. Her eyes are the shade of a spring lilac, and her hair looks like the color of the sky when it pinkens with the sunset.” He sighed softly. “I hope she’s there when I’m allowed to go back.”
“You have it bad for her, don’t you, little mole-boy,” the elder fairy said knowingly.
Fin blushed. “I like her a lot,” he admitted. “But you’re probably going to tell me it’s impossible to be with her, just like everyone else, right?”
“No, I’ll make no such statement,” Lorry asserted, surprising him. “There is no one on earth, not a fairy or gnome or merfolk or leprechaun or human or anyone else, who can tell what the future holds. I’ll not say what is or isn’t possible because I’ll just be proven wrong.”
Fin started to look hopeful at Lorelei’s words, but his face felt a bit as she continued speaking.
“I will say that I’ve never known or heard of a Dream Catcher fairy finding a compatible life-companion outside of another Dream Catcher.”
“But is that because the Bond Guard picks the mate? You just said no one can tell the future. That would be the Bond Guard too, right?”
Lorelei popped a jam-filled cracker in her mouth and looked thoughtful as she chewed. When she swallowed the bite, she took a drink of her mint water before answering him.
“The Bond Guard fairy’s gift is not in telling the future,” she agreed, “but those born as a Bond Guard have an ability to recognize and understand the part of us that that would typically latch onto a companion. This fairy can see all the little quirks and talents, faults and qualities, and wants and needs in each individual, and then instinctively know with whom they are best matched. The Bond Guard directs us to our match, and will fight for us to have the best relationship possible with that match, but he or she cannot see the future and know the details of what will happen. They can only guide and advise.”
Fin considered Lorry’s words. “Is the Bond Guard ever wrong?”
Lorelei nodded. “In some things, yes. But, when it comes to matching mates, no; I’ve never known of a Bond Guard to mismatch anyone.”
Fin sighed. He still held out hope to be matched with Luna when the time came, but that hope was constantly being tread on.
Lorelei heard the sigh and patted Fin’s purple hair. “You dwell too much on things that are out of your control, Fin. What will be will be. Now, tell me what you do have control over. What have your Earth Reader duties been lately?”
Since Fin loved his role as an Earth Reader, that change of subject was easy to move to. He told Lorry of moving a colony of earthworms to a section of the forest where the soil was lacking in air and water, and of his favorite mud bank where he and his Earth Reader friends would wade and wallow in the cool, squishy patch.
Lorelei chuckled over that information. “You Earth Readers are the only fairies I know who like to get completely covered in mud.”
Fin laughed with her. “It’s fun, and it feels so good! It’s cool and smooth and gooey!”
“Of course it is. It’s mud,” Lorelei stated. “I do hope you all wash yourselves well before you go traipsing into your mothers’ homes.”
Fin assured her they did. He learned his lesson about that when he was five and had discovered the joys of mud wallowing for the first time. Just two steps into the house and his mother had shrieked at the sight of his dirt-covered form. His father had quickly whisked him back outside to a dew shower and scrubbed him with aloe soap, while admonishing Fin to not track such large amounts of muck into the house if he wanted his mother to keep her sanity.
Fin hadn’t understood exactly what his father had meant, but since the high-pitched shriek from his mother had hurt his ears, he’d been careful to wash after mud wallowing in the future.
When their snack was eaten and the dishes cleaned, Fin said his good-byes to his friend and began a leisurely walk back home, his thoughts easily drifting back to the pink-haired fairy he had to wait a few more days to see.
When the week of his punishment ended, Fin’s father insisted on coming with him the next time he went to meet Luna. Fin wasn’t pleased with that decision, as the embarrassment of his father needing to approve of his visiting with the pretty fairy made him blush from the tips of his wings to the soles of his feet.
He did try to argue against his father’s presence initially. “She won’t come out if she sees a fairy she doesn’t know. You know how shy Dream Catchers are.”
“I do know,” Emre agreed. “But shy does not mean completely antisocial. You and I will call out that I am there and not a threat.”
“She still might not come.”
“Then I will go with you until she does.”
Fin stomped his foot. “You will make me lose my friendship with her!”
His father’s hands went to his hips, which was never a good sign in Fin’s experience. “If she refuses you friendship over the presence of a father who loves you and cares for her safety as well, then she is not a good friend for you.”
Fin’s hands clenched into fists, but he turned and strode away before arguing further and risking extending his grounding.
Now the two of them sat on the familiar rock Fin usually shared with Luna, and waited for the fairy to appear. When they had arrived, Finn had seen the firefly who’d delivered his message the week before, and asked him to find Luna and explain that his father only wanted to meet her and then would leave.
The little bug, unconcerned with Emre’s presence, simply flickered his understanding and flew off into the darkness.
Quite a long while passed as they waited. Fin was coming to believe Luna would not show that night; but then, just a few minutes before the moon would touch the tallest tree, he heard a whispered rustling and turned toward the sound. With a happy flutter in his heart, he recognized a bit of Luna’s pink hair peeking from behind a fallen pinecone. He smiled and called to her softly, knowing she didn’t like loud noises.
“Luna, it’s okay. My dad just wanted to meet you because you’re special to me. I’ve missed you this week.”
Slowly, the timid fairy stepped away from her hiding place, although she only approached them by a few steps before stopping. She looked to Fin’s father and lifted her fingers in a tentative wave. “Hi, Mr. Emre,” she said very softly.
Fin looked to his father who stood behind him, noting the elder fairy’s brief surprise and then soft smile.
“Hello, Luna. I’m surprised you remember me. You were only a newborn when I last saw you.”
She shrugged bashfully. “Dream Catchers always remember faces, no matter our age. It helps in our calling. Plus,” she added reservedly, “my parents always spoke highly of you.”
“Thank you. I’m glad to see you’re well, and please don’t be nervous about my presence tonight. I was simply concerned for my son because he was disappearing so frequently.” Emre then gave a mild look to the younger man. “And not always being completely honest about where he was. I just wanted to ensure everyone’s safety.”
Luna still kept her distance, but she looked less reserved as she nodded. “I wouldn’t let him come to harm, Mr. Emre. He is my friend.”
“I am glad for your friendship, but I hope that if either of you have a problem that you might come to me.”
Fin almost spoke up to argue against any problems they might have, but Luna responded in her quiet voice with a simple, “Thank you.”
It wasn’t a promise on her part at all, but it was an acknowledgement of the offer.
Emre then patted Fin’s shoulder and made him face him. His voice lowered as he spoke so Luna wouldn’t hear. “She’s a sweet girl, Fin, and your friendship can be valuable to both of you. But son,” he said in warning, “guard your heart.” He put a warm palm against Fin’s chest to enforce his words, letting them seep in for a moment. “I’ll head home now, but I expect you to not be far behind me. Understood?”
Fin looked and saw the typical time of his departure was drawing near, and he nodded in acknowledgement. “I’ll be home soon,” he promised.
With a nod, Emre simply turned and flew away, but Fin knew he’d stay awake until Fin returned.
When the younger man turned back to Luna, she looked nervous again. “I missed you too, Fin,” she finally offered.
He felt some of his tension dissipate. “You did? I was worried you wouldn’t see me after this.”
She approached slowly then, and joined him on the rock where his father had sat. “I like spending time with you,” she admitted. “It’s nice to have a friend who isn’t a Dream Catcher. You…see the world differently. It’s nice to experience.”
Fin grinned at her. “I’m glad. Are there many other Dream Catchers around? Are you all friends?”
“There are more of us than most day-fairies realize. We are all friends, but we do not often gather in groups. Our friendships are...individualized,” she explained haltingly.
Fin would have like to ask more questions about that, but Luna looked over his head and spoke warningly. “You need to leave now. The moon has touched the tree.”
Fin sighed and very nearly argued to stay just a few more minutes. But, as if knowing what he was about to say, Luna shook her head.
“The bats are stirring. It is not safe to stay, and I promised your father.”With a deep breath, he knew she was right. “I’ll be back tomorrow,” he swore, then pecked a very light kiss to her cheek before taking off in the direction his father had flown.