Moira's mother had never wanted Moira to work on a spaceship, much less one so full of ... aliens. She always pestered Moira during her vacations.
"Why can't you be happy harvesting the crystal flower seeds like your cousins?" she asked. "Or you could become a Sky-Guardian and work in weather control on some uninhabited planet. Why this? Why the Space Academy?"
Moira couldn't explain. Well, okay, she probably could, but then she'd have to mention Luke, and if her father ever found out about Luke ...
"If I never see one of those round-eared short-lifer headblind pathetic humans again, it'll be too soon!" he started ranting one evening. "They breed like moonflies!" Which Moira always thought was a silly comparison, because moonflies were pretty and absolutely necessary for spreading the pollen on the crystal flowers, so was he saying humans were beautiful and necessary? Still, the moonflies did have an average of six thousand eggs in a batch, so the insult was obvious.
Moira certainly wasn't going to be the one who convinced him that short lives could be beautiful too, like candles, and that she didn't always want another telepath for a romantic partner, and that round ears and muscular bodies had their own appeal, and really, some humans had the cutest dimples ...
Okay, there was more than one reason not to talk with her father about humans.
[This is where I would put in a link to the picture, if I had permission to do it and could find the link, because it would be just perfect. It was awesome; Moira was standing naked in a garden of crystal flowers and Luke was kneeling at her feet and the little moth-ish things with moon-shaped bodies were all over the place If anyone reading this knows the picture I'm talking about, please PM me and see if it's creative commons or something so I can put it into my story because I was so inspired by it.]
He'd probably think she was going to be one of those… those prossie-tutes, or whatever the humans called them, who watched sad vidshows and sold their tears to druggies. One hint of her interest in Space Academy being more focused on the people she could meet than the places she could go (where she would, presumably, look for a nice empty moon to plant crystal flowers on until the oxygen count was high enough to move there), and he'd revoke her traveling rights and she'd have to wait until she was legally adult, another eighty years before she could leave her home planet.
[Canon is so inconsistent about this! First space-elves are immortal, then they're just very long-lived, and by the time Red shows up the showrunners obviously don't want to talk about lifespan at all. I'm going with immortal with really long childhoods after puberty, kinda like the Elfquest elves, b/c I think of the Ghost Soup Elves as related to Jink, a little bit, even though we know they evolved on the surface of a cold star and not a normal planet.]
Luke would be dead. She couldn't have that. And then she realized that, unless something miraculous happened, Luke would be dead long before she was a legal adult and old enough to marry him.
She wept bitter, bitter tears into her silken pillow, soaking the featherfoam with the psychoactive chemicals her eyes secreted when she was sad. She even thought about trying to catch them in a bottle, to give to Luke to enjoy, so he'd have extra happiness in his short, short life. But then she remembered that humans get addicted to space-elf tears, and she didn't want him hurting. Even though she'd be happy to cry for him any time he wanted it.
[I just love all those pictures of Moira crying on her bed, which are kind of amazing considering we never even see beds in the series, just platforms in people's rooms, but there's this huge fanon thing about the debauchery of the space-elves and their huge beds and satiny comforters even on spaceships. I think I heard it came from this one early fic that nobody remembers the name of anymore. I don't care where it came from; I just love the elves-crying-on-beds trope.]
When she was all cried out—and wow, that had never happened before, never happened to any space-elf she knew of—she started thinking: how can I help Luke? How can I make him live longer, enough to have a real life, like we have?
[And that's as close as I'm going to get to the whole "(long)lifer privilege" debate that's raging all through the meta these days. I am *so* not getting into the lifer-vs-spacer debate and who's more oppressed, the short-lifers or the people who can't tolerate nul-grav. Just not.]
And she remembered the legends of the red crystal flowers, grown from a seed and fed only on tears, shown only starlight and never anything brighter. The dim light forced them to turn red, almost black, to absorb all the radiation they could, and the tears made them vibrate on a wavelength that slowed time for whoever was close enough to them.
She'd grow a single red crystal flower for Luke, and make him a necklace from its petals, and he'd live long, long, and be able to wait for her to grow up.
The Elf-Maid, sad to see his sore constraint,
Cride out, "Now now my Luke, shew what ye bee,
I'll add to thy life-force, so be not faint:
Throughout the years we will together be!"
[This poem is in the public domain at the Ghost Soup Wiki site, and it's one of the first ballads ever written about Luke and Moira's love. The whole poem is 387 verses long and I didn't think I should quote it all here, but this verse is my very favorite. It shows how Moira's love is eternal and she'll always be there for him, even if he turns away from her. Theirs truly is one of the great love stories of the ages.]