Ariana loves butterflies. She will chase them around the garden, laughing and pretending she can catch them. At times like these she seems almost like an ordinary child. Her mother pretends that someday she will be a witch with a family of her own.
Ariana likes to pretend, too. Sometimes she curls up in her mother's lap, though she is becoming too big for that.
"Mum, tell me about Hogwarts." Ariana will never get that happy letter inviting her to come, and doesn't really understand about the school her brothers go to every year.
Kendra Dumbledore tells the story again, about the train and the teachers and the students passing through the ever-changing halls. She can picture her daughter among the students, blonde hair and sharp blue eyes, learning potions and charms as her mother did.
Sometimes she goes all the way back, tells her daughter about Rowena Ravenclaw and her friends, how they founded a school of magic to last the ages. This usually confuses Ariana enough that she naps as her mother strokes her hair and finishes the story.
Then there are the other times. Ariana running, wordless, unable to control what is happening to her. Sometimes there is lightning, sometimes the plants of the garden are transformed into twisted shapes that Kendra quickly destroys. Her mother watches now as she stands before a bush full of butterflies, staring wildly, her hands forming shapes that her mother recognizes.
"Ariana, no!" she shouts, but it never helps.
Ariana stares blankly as fire envelopes the bush, then stands before a blackened stump covered in charred wings. She begins to cry for her beloved butterflies as her mother watches helplessly, no longer able to pretend.
Later, Kendra will use her own magic to produce clouds of butterflies, and Ariana will dance among them and sing her private song. And Kendra will learn to hide her own tears.
Image from www.britishbutterflies.co.uk